Congressional Black and Hispanic Organizations Receive $1 Million Each from Walmart

With the purpose of expanding internship opportunities for youths of color, and in an effort to help place more blacks and Hispanics on Capitol Hill, Walmart gave the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc., (CBCF) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) one $1M apiece.

According to a press release, the funds “will help provide career pathways on Capitol Hill for students and young professionals through education and hands-on experience in the nation’s capital.”

“The CBCF is committed to increasing diversity on Capitol Hill and in the public sector by creating a new generation of informed and engaged citizens and leaders,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chair, CBCF Board of Directors via the press release. “Internships are a critical component toward building a career in public policy. Through Walmart’s continued support and dedicated partnership, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has successfully increased the number of scholars who have access to the intern-to-staffer pipeline.”

congressional black

“Walmart has led the way as the Founding Partner for CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program by significantly investing in our nation’s future leaders, “said Rep. Joaquín Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in the same press release.” We value Walmart’s support of CHCI’s mission to address [the] underrepresentation of Latinos on Capitol Hill by providing transformative experiences and the critical skills needed to embark on careers in public service.”

Both the CBCF and CHCI offer fellowships and internships. The CBCF also awards more than 100 scholarships to students across the country, according to its website.

Back in April, the Walmart Foundation—the company’s philanthropic arm—announced it has awarded $4 million to 12 organizations including several that are committed to helping communities of color.

The organizations included Coalition for Queens, a group that teaches coding and professional skills to talented adults from diverse and low-income backgrounds; The Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis, which is focused on advancing opportunities for young women of color; and The National Black Justice Coalition, which works to further inclusion of members of the LGBTQ community at HBCUs.

 

 

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Black Journalist Orgs Slam News Station for Airing Controversial Photo of Nia Wilson

Several prominent black media groups are condemning a local television news station that aired a photo that they say criminalizes a slain African American teenager.

While reporting on the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, who was viciously attacked by a white ex-felon at a Bay Area Rapid Transit train (BART) station July 22, KTVU FOX 2 News showed a photo during the July 23 noon newscast of what appeared to be Wilson holding a gun. Later that day, KTVU issued an apology on Facebook and on its Ten O’clock News. However, black journalists say that’s not good enough.

In a statement, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA), and the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE) called the photo “unethical” and are demanding a meeting with KTVU. According to them, the picture, which was originally posted by Wilson on social media, implied that she was “dangerous” and deserved to be killed. They also argued that it triggers unconscious racial bias toward black victims.

The use of the photo can be seen as an attempt to dismiss her humanity and silence those who view her death as a racially-motivated attack. It was also in violation of copyright laws, reads the statement.

 

Such depictions reinforce unconscious bias, particularly against people of color, who are over-represented in stories about crime and violence. Please see the study “Young men of color in the Media” from the Joint Center Health Policy Institute.

 

Although KTVU anchor Frank Somerville offered a sincere apology Monday via Facebook and during the Ten O’clock News, we submit that swift action needs to be taken by the station.

 

Given previous editorial lapses, we would have hoped KTVU would’ve been more careful. The station made an embarrassing error when it read the fake names of four Asiana Airlines pilots on-air in 2013. These incidents would appear to illustrate a lack of cultural competency and training around unconscious bias among station staff and leadership.

 

NABJ, BABJA and the Maynard Institute have requested a meeting with executives at the station this week or at the NABJ Convention next week to discuss how KTVU will avoid making such an egregious error in future stories, particularly as it relates to its portrayals of persons of color.

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New LGBTQ Summer Read Challenges Notions of Black Masculinity

Hardships. Growing pains. Revelations. Triumphs. Victories. Being a free black man in America has its advantages as well as disadvantages and Darnell L. Moore’s No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America is a journey by a member of the LGBTQ community that many of us can relate to. Born into tough circumstances; his ideal of masculinity questioned, the Camden, New Jersey-reared author stopped running from himself, confronted his enemies, and fully realized his lifelong purpose. Moore opens up about his life in a curated recollection that provides a look inside how society, whether your secular orientation and socio-economic strays, is shaped by cultural  and sub-cultural normals alike.

Black Enterprise: This project, No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, is not a tell-all. What is the best way to describe this book?

Moore: “It’s a memoir that is both a personal and a social study into a complex, beautiful and messy world of a young black person who came of age in an era that forced one to wear the mask as well as bite the bullet in order to survive. I tried my best to offer snapshots of my life, and the various forces that shaped me.

Healing and survival, and in your case, death, are central themes throughout this book. How are your own interactions with youths grappling with these themes similar to your own?

I was honest about my dances with depression and suicidal attempts in the book. But I was also honest about the many people who aided in my survival. We cannot expect young people to be so strong and so self-loving as to navigate life on their own. Young people need communities who can wrap them in support. I’ve spent a little more than two decades working with young people in my role as an educator, therapist, program director, and much more. I’ve spent a considerable amount of that time working with LGBTQ youth of color.

LGBTQ

 

Pride Month seems to be more important than ever given the current administration’s stance on gay rights and the more recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Colorado baker refusing to serve a same-sex couple. But we have positives: FX’s Pose and Viceland’s My House, which both highlight the black and Latino ballroom scene. Just as those ‘houses’ serve as a sense of community how will your book foster the same?

I wrote the book for the 16-year-old version of me. I wrote it for young people, and the many individuals and institutions charged with their care. I hope that black young people can see semblances of themselves, as well as their struggles and joys, in it. And I hope some reader will feel as if they are understood.

What advice or steps would you give aspiring authors on the art of writing a book from conceptualizing to securing a deal to completion to marketing?

Know what it is you want to write. Know who it is you are writing to and in conversation with. Be clear. Be specific. And know the reason you want to write a book before beginning the journey to publishing. Talk to folks who have written published books. All of my connections, to my agent and publishing house, were forged by friends and writing peers. Build a community of peers and through that community; reach out to people who may be able to help you.

Orators and oral history are mentioned several times starting with your great-grandmother to work as a feminist, activist, and Black Lives Matter supporter. Touring, with numerous stops in small and renowned bookstores, allows your readers to connect with you on a more spiritual, personal level. What voice will readers discover throughout this memoir?

It’s an honest and vulnerable voice. Sometimes it’s sermonic. Sometimes it’s poetic. Sometimes it’s analytical. But it’s always gesturing toward a love for black people.

How has queerness and masculinity appeared in your life and shaped your character throughout the years?

The idea of manhood and masculinity have functioned like cages in my life. I am finally getting free. Cages aren’t doorways. Queerness, or rather, defying norms and rules have been a key to my freedom. It’s been a journey, and still is, but it’s been worth it.

To read more about Moore’s journey and purchase his book,  visit www.darnelllmoore.com.

 

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What’s At Stake in the Fight to Save SCOTUS and Voting Rights in America

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to make rounds of congressional courtesy calls seeking support, civil rights groups have been turning up the heat to push the U.S. Senate to either “press pause on the nomination” or reject President Trump’s pick outright. To achieve that end, representatives from such organizations—The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)—are rallying their multicultural constituencies to speak out. Under the banner, “#WhatsAtStake for Voting Rights in SCOTUS Fight,” this collective held a press briefing Monday to strongly communicate how Kavanaugh’s addition to the conservative-leaning high court would further undermine the franchise of people of color.

With midterms less than five months away and the 2020 presidential election in the wings, the civil rights leaders asserted that the stakes couldn’t be higher. “We consider his nomination an immediate threat to our community’s right to vote that is already under daring attacks,” says Suzanne Bergeron, senior director of civil rights and workforce policy for NUL, one of several organizations urging voters to call their senators in an effort to halt the confirmation process. “Having Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court to rule on voter rights cases could leave African-American voters even more vulnerable to voter intimidation and added suppressive tactics that negatively impact black voter turnout.”

The rapidly changing voter demographics have added intensity to this battle. “I will remind that the U.S. electorate is diversifying racially and ethnically at warp speed. Last year was the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse electorate ever, with nearly one in three eligible voters on election day being a person of color,” says Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “And the 2018 and 2020 elections promise to continue this trend with voters of colors comprising 44% of millennial voters, which is the largest generation of eligible voters.”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference, which organized the call, argued that the Senate “must demand the release and full review of Kavanaugh’s records.” Declaring that “if confirmed, Kavanaugh would undermine voting rights enforcement in our nation,” she cited one of the decisions he made in his role as a judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals. In 2011, he wrote an opinion upholding South Carolina’s voter ID law that the Department of Justice had blocked, deeming the measure as being discriminatory to minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“He refused to include language put forward by the other judges on the panel that acknowledged the critical role of the Voting Rights Act in preventing racial discrimination in voting,” she said. “It is telling and troubling that Kavanaugh refused to recognize the importance of the historic Voting Rights Act. Kavanaugh backed the spurious claim that the voter ID law would prevent voter fraud. But given that South Carolina could not produce any evidence of fraud, it’s clear the law’s real purpose was to suppress voting, plain and simple. What we know so far about Kavanaugh’s record is that he has been a partisan, politician operative. So we need to know more.”

Gupta, along with the group, also raised concerns about the nominee based on the track record of Trump’s previous Supreme Court appointment Justice Neil Gorsuch, who served as “the fifth and deciding vote in two devastating anti-voting rights decisions. One decision allowed voter purging in Ohio and the other upheld racial gerrymandering in Texas.”

Even before the Trump administration came to power, the Supreme Court tilted right in such cases. With the 5-4 decision in Shelby v. Holder in 2013, the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that stripped the law’s formula to require all or jurisdictions of states with a history of electoral discrimination—many of them located in the South—to get “pre-cleared” by the federal government before making any adjustments to voting laws.

“It is quite clear that we are at a critical point in time in our history of defense of civil rights. For the last five years, because of Congress’ failure to act following the decision in Shelby County by the Supreme Court…we are evaluating proposals to change voting rights laws in important regions across the country,” Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, said. “Without pre-clearance, we are left with federal court as the last resort to ensure that our laws reflect the constitutional rights of every individual who is eligible to vote.”

Nelson agrees: “Voting rights protect every other right we enjoy and it is essential that the next Supreme Court justice has a clear commitment to protecting access to the ballot box.”

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Shonda Rhimes Announces 8 New Netflix Original Series

Acclaimed TV producer Shonda Rhimes has eight original Neflix productions in the works. Rhimes, the showrunner who created hit series like How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal, left her longtime home at ABC Studios in 2017 and moved her Shondaland production company to Netflix. In return, the TV mogul signed a lucrative nine-figure deal with the streaming giant.

Rhimes’ first original production on Netflix will be based on the life of Anna Sorokin, a 27-year-old socialite who scammed banks, businesses, and her wealthy friends into financing her lavish lifestyle. Sorokin, who went by the alias Anna Delvey, was eventually busted for six counts of grand larceny and theft of services in October of last year. The slate of Shondaland productions also includes a documentary on Debbie Allen’s reimagining of The Nutcracker and a series based on investor and activist Ellen Pao’s memoir adaption.

“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” Rhimes said in a statement, reports the L.A. Times. “This is Shondaland 2.0.”

According to The L.A. Times, here’s a rundown of each of the projects Rhimes will launch on Netflix:

Untitled Shonda Rhimes Project: Based on the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler. Manhattan makes a new friend like no other. But is she the stuff American dreams are made of, or is she New York’s biggest con woman? Is it a con if you enjoy being taken?

 

Untitled Bridgerton Project: Based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling series of novels, this smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high-society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

 

The Warmth of Other SunsBased on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name, this series tracks the decades-long migration of African Americans fleeing the Jim Crow-era South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970.

 

Pico & Sepulveda: Set in the 1840s against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own.

 

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting ChangeNetflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Ellen Pao’s groundbreaking memoir detailing her life and career, including the lawsuit she brought against her former employer that sparked intense media scrutiny, shook Silicon Valley to its boys’-club core and presaged the Time’s Up movement.

 

The ResidenceNetflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Kate Andersen Brower’s nonfiction book The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, which offers a vividly accurate insider’s account of White House residence staffers and the upstairs-downstairs lives they share with the first families at one of the most famous homes in history.

 

Sunshine Scouts: In this darkly comedic half-hour series, an apocalyptic disaster spares a rag-tag group of teenage girls at sleepaway camp who must then summon their moxie and survival skills to weather the fallout and ensure all that remains of humanity abides by the Sunshine Scout Law.

 

Hot Chocolate NutcrackerThis documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s award-winning reimagining of the classic ballet The Nutcracker. This staged contemporization—with its inclusive cast of all ages and its blend of dance traditions—has further cemented Allen’s legacy as one of the greatest forces for good in dance.

 

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Actor and Comedian Diona Reasonover Is On The Rise

It was recently announced that actress and comedian Diona Reasonover is replacing Pauley Perrette as the show  NCIS’s forensic scientist. Perette’s quirky nerd character became a fan favorite. If there is anyone who can win over fans it’s Reasonover. In 2015, Black Enterprise had an exclusive interview with the rising young star who was then appearing on a sitcom called Clipped.

Black Enterprise: Tell me a little about yourself. How did you break into acting and when did you decide to pursue comedy?

Reasonover: Well, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down – no, just kidding. Don’t sue me, Will Smith. I was born and raised in Detroit. I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be an actor, I just kind of did it on the side and figured I’d keep doing it ’til someone made me stop. I’ve had so many jobs before and during acting – I used to always be on Craigslist – just little [acting jobs] here and there to make a couple of bucks while I was in school. My favorite was when I was a barista at the school coffee shop. I didn’t buy groceries the whole time I worked there. I [lived] off pastries and espresso.

Tell me about Clipped, your role, and what attracted you to the comedy?

Clipped is a sitcom set in Boston about a group of high school friends who all work in the same barber shop. Ashley Tisdale from High School Musical, George Wendt from Cheers, and Lauren Lapkus from Orange is the New Black all work at the shop. My character is Charmaine, one of the barbers. She’s that friend who tells you when you’ve messed up. She’s so real. I get to have all this verbal sparring with George Wendt, it’s great.

I love comedy, even more than drama sometimes, because it allows you to be the truest version of yourself. I find comedy in everyday situations and I bring that on screen with me. I love it.

Charmaine is a funny yet quirky character. What do you love most about her? Do you ever find some of your personality spilling into the role?

I love how protective she is of her friends. She may come off as pretty cool, but ain’t nobody messing with her clique. Charmaine also manages to have a better booty than me. No lie. The pants they put me in make those legs look fly, and as soon as I’m out of character, my butt deflates by 8%. It’s sad.

I find little parts of me in the character – my facial expressions [and] my laugh. One of the hardest scenes we shot is one where Charmaine is laughing at a video of herself. I’m not a huge ‘laugher’ because I have the goofiest, most awkward, backwards laugh you’ve ever heard. It’s bad. Like, Steve Urkel should be giving me the side-eye kind of bad. So we’re shooting the scene and one of the takes has that terrible laugh. It’s immortalized on tape. Ugh.

There’s this belief that black actors are currently ‘trending’ on television and in Hollywood. What is your perspective on this? Has this notion affected you and your career?

People don’t trend. Fashion trends. Leggings are a trend – and a terrible trend, at that. Lycra will always betray you.

Our stories must be told and, as audiences, we have to support diverse, inclusive stories. The more we limit ourselves, the more networks will limit our options.

This is a pretty big role for you. What did you hope to gain from this opportunity, and what’s next for you?

My mom is freaking out. I’m freaking out. My high school English teacher is freaking out. I love Charmaine’s wit and insight. I’d love to play someone a little closer to me, a little neurotic, kinda geeky, a klutz. (I’m really selling myself as awesome here, aren’t I? Date me.) I’m also a writer, so I want to see something I write [get] produced. There are so many exciting directors out there I’d love to work with. Send Ava DuVernay and Dee Reese my number.

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Meet the First Black Woman to Own a Male Professional Sports League in the U.S.

Evelyn Magley has made history as the first African American woman to ever own a male professional sports league in the United States. Magley and her husband, retired NBA player David Magley, are the founders of The Basketball League (TBL), a newly formed minor professional basketball league which acquired the North American Premier Basketball (NAPB) league and is scheduled to debut next year.

“I am thrilled to start a league that treats our players with the greatest level of respect thereby impacting our community in a manner that is consistent with our faith, by serving those who need it the most,” said Magley in a statement. She was named as the CEO of the league while her husband operates as president.

The league has targeted 40 markets in the U.S. and Canada and expects to start with 12 to 16 teams in January 2019. Some of the teams include the Kansas City Tornados, Ohio Bootleggers, Nevada Desert Dogs, Vancouver Knights, Raleigh Firebirds, Tampa Bay Titans, and San Diego Waves. Each team will play 32 games that will be available via livestream.

TBL offers athletes who don’t make it in the NBA or G-League another option to play ball professionally and earn anywhere from $1,500 to $7,500 a month. TBL is also dedicated to providing families with affordable and quality entertainment as well as community support through the launch of an upcoming philantropic arm, youth camps, clinics, and nonprofit organizations. Plus, the league gives individuals and groups an opportunity to own a professional sports business with a relatively low cost barrier to entry.

David Magley, who most recently served as the Commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada, said Mrs. Magley brings a “unique vision” to the new league as the wife of a pro athlete and the mother of four children who played sports collegiately. “Her passion for people allows us to build on a vision of impacting community through giving young men opportunities that do not exist today, then leveraging our platforms to engage each local market to benefit the youth and non-profit initiatives she is so very passionate about,” said the former Cleveland Cavaliers small forward in a statement. He was drafted in 1982.

According to her bio, Magley is the former Director of Community Engagement for the Brampton A’s of the NBL Canada, where she scaled the forward-facing programming of the NBL team and nonprofit organizations within the community at large. She graduated from the University of Kansas and worked as a professional music educator and music therapist. She also co-founded an inner-city ministry focused on mentoring children through the gospel, academic services, food, and music called Children with Purpose.

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The First Black Woman to be Crowned Miss Universe Great Britain Speaks Out

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, a dark-skinned beauty with dreadlocks, became the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Great Britain in the pageant’s 66-year history on Saturday. As a result, the 25-year-old will go on to represent the United Kingdom at the international 2018 Miss Universe competition later this year.

Originally from Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean, Rogers never aspired to be a beauty queen. Instead, she played competitive sports, dreamed of becoming an Olympic heptathlete, and competed in the Commonwealth Games twice. However, a knee injury deterred her from the Olympics. That’s when she decided to pursue pageantry while simultaneously studying for the bar exam—which she recently passed—in order to become a barrister.

“My dream kind of reinvented itself and it shifted into pageantry because in pageantry you have the same reach,” she told BBC News. “Miss Universe Great Britain was the pageant equivalent of becoming an Olympic athlete for Great Britain.”

Ironically, Rogers says preparing for the Miss Universe Great Britain competition was more challenging than training for a sports match. “They’re very similar, but being in a pageant you have to undergo a kind of surgical examination of yourself, your ambitions, things that people don’t do until they’re very, very old.” She added, “most of the preparation for the Commonwealth Games is done on the track…but in pageantry, the mind is the focal point, and the mind is, I think, the hardest muscle to master.”

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers

(Twitter.com/AsToldBy_Dee)

Following her historic win, she received an outpouring of support from around the world via social media, which she admitted “kind of startled” her. “Although I’ve been preparing for this pageant for a long time, I’ve just been preparing as Dee-Ann,” she said. “Now that I’ve won the pageant, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve not only won the pageant as Dee-Ann, but as a black woman.” Nevertheless, she described the win as “a great achievement.”

Prior to her win, the University of Birmingham graduate told Pageants News that she believes she is the first woman to compete in Miss Universe Great Britain with dreadlocks. “To my knowledge, I am the first dreadlocked woman to walk across a Miss Universe Great Britain stage and that is absolutely most exciting to me,” she said. However, she also admitted that she was questioned on whether or not she’d consider straightening her hair for the competition. She refused. “I felt that it was very important for me to represent my cultural identity and to represent myself truly on this platform. This is a part of who I am. If you’re going to take one part of me, you’re going to take all of me.”

Should she win the Miss Universe pageant in December, Kentish-Rogers would join this list of women of color who earned the crown.

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New Inspirational Online Series Unpacks the Journey of Creatives of Color

Creatives looking for some inspiration? This show may be for you. Corey Emanuel Omnimedia recently launched its first online docu-portrait series, Lend Me Your Lens, a show that unpacks the journey of successful creatives of color, highlighting artists, authors, designers, influencers, and musicians. During each episode, these creatives dive into their journeys by sharing inspirations and the tangible steps they’ve taken to transform their passions into a purpose-driven lifestyle.

“This project was really a labor of love that derived from my dissertation research,” said creator and producer, Corey Emanuel. “I set out to assess the positive and negative effects of black entertainment and entertainers on black culture. Eventually, I had this ‘aha moment.’ I could create an online platform for shared stories of self-efficacy, therefore, contributing to the discourse surrounding black mental health. I wanted to ignite positive emotions, behaviors, and attitudes toward one’s creative endeavors. I wanted to create what I felt was missing from the unscripted genre of entertainment and make it accessible across the globe.”

Emanuel became inspired by the content that would eventually become this project while studying Media Psychology in graduate school. The new school form of psychology helped to provide an understanding of what happens when people interact with media as producers, distributors, and consumers. According to Emanuel, black millennials watch almost 33 hours per week of television and 48% of them are watching it on PCs and smartphones.

Emanuel sought to understand more about how black millennials perceived the content they were consuming and through that journey, Lend Me Your Lens was born. Inspired by his own creative journey, he designed a series to target a Black audience seeking to take their own creative endeavors to the next level.

The first episode highlights Jennia Fredrique, a multihyphenate, a term currently used to describe career-oriented individuals who excel at multiple endeavors. During this episode, Emanuel chats with Fredrique, who discusses transcending from being an actress to a working writer and director, while maintaining her work-life balance as a wife and mother.

creatives

Lend Me Your Lens (Image: Corey Emanuel Omnimedia)

Tune in to Lend Me Your Lens every Thursday and catch the new episode here.

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Cultivating a Community for Creative Millennials of Color

Leaving no stone unturned in the realm of content creation, conversation facilitation, and event curation, Driven Society has become part of the creative professional scene in New York City by its focus on live events targeted to millennials of color.

The organization has partnered with major brands including WeWork, JBL, Hennessy, Belaire Rose, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, New York Latino Film Festival, and more, The platform’s CEO and co-founder Travis Weeks sits at the helm of the ship with co-founders Natalia Saavedra, Zuhaib Kokab, and Darren Bowen. I spoke with Weeks about the mission behind Driven Society, its various arms of business and the importance of amplifying up-and-coming talent.

“The goal of Driven Society is to cultivate a community of creatives that push the culture forward and build success for millennials and post-millennials. We envision a world where business, philosophy, and art converge to provide equal opportunity for success regardless of background or privilege. We want to lead, nurture, and support the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and leaders in creating cultural change and professional success.”

Driven Society’s goal aligns with the outlook of millennial Americans. According to Forbes, millennials start their first business around the age of 27. Surveys suggest over 62% of millennials have considered starting their own business. Seventy-two percent feel that startups and entrepreneurs are necessary for economic improvement through job creation and innovation (yet 77% are holding back because they view business startups as too risky).

Millennials

(Photo Courtesy of Driven Society)

“We enjoy always keeping our eyes and ears open to whoever isn’t afraid to voice their opinions and those looking to implement change and/or impact their communities. Whenever we see that, we make it a point keep track of those individuals and look for ways to build relationships. Once you spot one and surround yourself with a rising cultural leader, it becomes easier to keep track and come across them.”

The group uses a multi-pillar approach to foster the game changers of the culture. Live events, interactive marketplace, and strategic partnerships. The live events serve as platforms for the sharing of knowledge and best practices. The interactive marketplace is where products can be showcased and sold as a result of the knowledge and best practices learned through the live event series. The strategic partnerships help amplify both the live events and the marketplace by putting up-and-coming creatives in the same room with representatives from major brands.

Millennials

(Photo Courtesy of Driven Society)

“Our community of creative entrepreneurs exists to inspire, energize, and nurture ideas in support of a thriving generation of young people. We envision a world where business, philosophy, and art converge to provide equal opportunity for success regardless of background or privilege. Working with brands that value the multicultural perspective is a big part of it and brands that want to expose our community to something of substance. Since we’re a part of this community, it’s easy for us to identify our peers who are also pushing culture in their own way and giving them the platform to grow.”

Driven Society’s latest event, titled SoundByte, is the organization’s effort to stay on top of innovative life programming. The bi-monthly series addresses the growing convergence of tech, music, and culture as millennials of color seek to obtain the information needed to take ownership of their billion-dollar influence on pop cultural industries

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