BOTWC - Weekly Roundup https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/newsletter BOTWC Weekly Roundup Mon, 21 Jan 2019 13:03:27 GMT Top Basketball Recruit Makes History As Highest Ranked College Basketball Prospect To Commit To An HBCU https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/five-star-basketball-recruit-makes-history-as-the-highest-ranked-college-basketball-prospect-to-commit-to-an-hbcu-after-announcement-to-attend-howard-university https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/five-star-basketball-recruit-makes-history-as-the-highest-ranked-college-basketball-prospect-to-commit-to-an-hbcu-after-announcement-to-attend-howard-university Sun, 05 Jul 2020 21:54:58 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com HU! You know! Five-star athlete Makur Maker makes history as the highest ranked college basketball prospect to commit to an HBCU after announcing his choice to attend Howard University, ESPN reports.  Maker is a 6-foot-11 basketball powerhouse ranked No. 16 in ESPN’s top 100 for 2020. The Kenyan native moved to California in 2015, making a name for himself as a versatile player, averaging 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds with... HU! You know! Five-star athlete Makur Maker makes history as the highest ranked college basketball prospect to commit to an HBCU after announcing his choice to attend Howard University, ESPN reports.  Maker is a 6-foot-11 basketball powerhouse ranked No. 16 in ESPN’s top 100 for 2020. The Kenyan native moved to California in 2015, making a name for himself as a versatile player, averaging 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds with a 73% shooting range. Last fall, Maker visited Howard University along with other top recruits, re-igniting conversations about the importance of Black college athletes committing to Black schools.  Former ESPN host Jemele Hill wrote an article last year calling for Black athletes to leave white colleges. In her article, Hill cited the $100 million Division I schools make in revenue annually, while boasting 55% of Black football players and 56% of Black basketball players while only making up 2.4% of the Black student population on these same campuses. Also noted in the article is the fact that HBCUs make up only 3% of four year colleges in the nation while producing 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black lawyers, 40% of Black engineers, 40% of Black members of Congress, and 13% of Black CEOs.  Yet and still, our universities are struggling, primarily due to lack of investment. Hill makes the case that since many of these predominantly white institutions have gained billions in revenue “largely on the exertions of (uncompensated) black athletes,” it is time for those same athletes to take a good look at how their power and influence could better serve their own communities by committing to schools who historically have a vested interest in them outside of their athletic capabilities.  Maker decided to step up and be the first, choosing Howard University over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. “I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream ‘what if.’ I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U and coach Kenny Blakeney,” Maker wrote on Twitter.  I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other started to dream “what if”. I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney #MakerMob— Makur Maker (@MakurMaker) July 3, 2020 Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian said he chose Howard because he felt like he belonged, even outside of sports. “A lot of people are comfortable with familiarity. Kids could say, ‘I would feel welcome that I’m not just an athlete -- I’m part of a community. On the visit at Howard, that was the main difference. Just for me on the outside looking in, he’s part of the fabric. You’re not just the athlete or the Black athlete,” Smith said.  Coach Blakeney said Maker’s decision has huge implications for other athletes and the University and expressed his commitment to the young athlete’s success. “Wherever a five-star lands, we can’t mess it up. If we mess it up, we may not have another opportunity to be able to do it,” Blakeney told ESPN.  Maker expressed his thanks to his family in helping him to make his decision, including his cousins, Detroit Pistons forward, Thon Maker and Australian Basketball Player Matur Maker.   “First of all I’d like to thank my family and friends for being here with me on this journey. I especially would like to thank my parents for believing in me and my siblings for sticking by me always, as well as my cousins Thon and Matur for supporting me. I am honored to be mentored by coach Edward Smith who shared and supported my vision of attending Howard u. Without the help and guidance from them and contributions from all of my coaches and teammates along the way, I wouldn’t be in the position to chase my dreams,” Maker said. Congratulations Makur!! #MakerMob Photo Courtesy of @makurmaker1/Instagram Bozoma Saint John Named Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix, Making Her Their First Black C-Level Executive https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/bozoma-saint-john-named-chief-marketing-officer-at-netflix-making-history-as-their-first-black-c-suite-executive https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/bozoma-saint-john-named-chief-marketing-officer-at-netflix-making-history-as-their-first-black-c-suite-executive Tue, 30 Jun 2020 18:30:07 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com LETS GO! Netflix named Bozoma “Boz” Saint John as their new Chief Marketing Officer, making her the company’s first Black C-Suite executive, Bloomberg reports. Saint John is one of the most sought after marketing executives in her industry, boasting a 20 year career spanning multiple sectors. The marketing guru is coming over to Netflix from sports and entertainment giant Endeavor. Before that, she was Head of Global Consumer Marketing at... LETS GO! Netflix named Bozoma “Boz” Saint John as their new Chief Marketing Officer, making her the company’s first Black C-Suite executive, Bloomberg reports. Saint John is one of the most sought after marketing executives in her industry, boasting a 20 year career spanning multiple sectors. The marketing guru is coming over to Netflix from sports and entertainment giant Endeavor. Before that, she was Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple Music and prior to that, she worked with Pepsi-Cola North America as head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing Group.  Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos spoke to Deadline about Saint John’s appointment, saying, “Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone. As we bring more great stories to our members around the world, she’ll define and lead our next exciting phase of creativity and connection with consumers.”  The online streaming company has been working behind the scenes to bolster inclusion, committing $100 million to Black banks and figuring out ways to diversify their workforce which as of now, is just 7% Black. Saint John said she hopes that she can help to forge a new path at Netflix. “I’m thrilled to join Netflix, especially at a time when storytelling is critical to our global, societal well-being. I feel honored to contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy, and to continue driving engagement in the future,” Saint John said.  Congratulations Boz!! Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Shutterstock Mahershala Ali Will Play First Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson In New HBO Series https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/mahershala-ali-will-play-first-black-heavyweight-boxing-champion-jack-johnson-in-new-hbo-series Thu, 02 Jul 2020 18:12:42 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com A story worth being told! Academy Award winning actor Mahershala Ali will play Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, in a new upcoming HBO series, The Wrap reports.  Unruly is a six-part series that will tell the story of Jack Johnson, the famous boxer who became the first Black heavyweight champ in 1908. According to Pop Culture, Johnson retained the title for seven years, eventually retiring in 1931... A story worth being told! Academy Award winning actor Mahershala Ali will play Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, in a new upcoming HBO series, The Wrap reports.  Unruly is a six-part series that will tell the story of Jack Johnson, the famous boxer who became the first Black heavyweight champ in 1908. According to Pop Culture, Johnson retained the title for seven years, eventually retiring in 1931 with a 70-11-11 record. The trailblazing boxer was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.  Ali will executive produce the series as well alongside Tom Hanks and Tony Award winning playwright Dominique Morisseau who wrote “Ain't Too Proud,” a Broadway musical based on the life of hit singing group The Temptations. The series is based on the PBS documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Ken Burns. The new series garners inspiration from the Burns’ doc, touting itself as a “bold exploration [depicting] the champion’s rise to athletic greatness and the costs he paid for his skin and defiance, which created a blueprint for Black resistance in every justice movement for generations to come.”  The Moonlight actor has long said that playing Johnson was his dream role, having previously portrayed the iconic boxer in a stage production of “The Great White Hope.” Ali has several other projects in the works including his upcoming role in Marvel’s new film Blade.  No word yet on when Unruly will be released but we’re definitely on the lookout! Congratulations Mahershala! Photo Courtesy of Kevork Djansezian/Bettmann Archive/Getty Images CROWN Coalition To Celebrate 1st National CROWN Day On July 3rd In Honor Of Historic Anti-Hair Discrimination Act https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/crown-coalition-set-to-celebrate-first-national-crown-day-on-july-3rd-in-honor-of-historic-anti-hair-discrimination-act Wed, 01 Jul 2020 23:20:55 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com Put down the flag and pick up the fros! The CROWN Coalition just announced its first annual “National CROWN Day,” to celebrate the one year anniversary of the signing of the historic CROWN Act, The Glow Up reports. The coalition is made up of several companies including Dove, the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Color of Change, who came together to ban hair discrimination in... Put down the flag and pick up the fros! The CROWN Coalition just announced its first annual “National CROWN Day,” to celebrate the one year anniversary of the signing of the historic CROWN Act, The Glow Up reports. The coalition is made up of several companies including Dove, the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Color of Change, who came together to ban hair discrimination in schools and the work place. The alliance began in 2019 with the goal of “creating a respectful and open world for natural hair,” eventually expounding their scope earlier this year to fight against all forms of racial discrimination.  The CROWN Act was made law in California by Governor Gavin Newsome just a year ago, and has already been adopted in 7 states and 2 municipalities with two dozen more states on board to review the bill in upcoming legislation. To celebrate this win, the coalition, which has since grown to 65 members including organizations such as the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the American Civil Liberties Union, announced their first annual CROWN Day.  “The CROWN Coalition...is declaring July 3, 2020 as National CROWN Day; the 1-year anniversary of the signing of The CROWN Act in California. National CROWN Day will be a day of solidarity for the human rights of Black men, women and children to wear their natural hair boldly and proudly, without the fear of being discriminated against in school or the workplace,” the coalition said in a statement.  Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of North America Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, one of the founding companies in the coalition, spoke about the new holiday, saying, “Dove has always stood for beauty inclusion and rejects social injustice of any kind. We are proud to have inspired a movement with significant impact, but we still have work to do...We know that hair discrimination is just one form of racial discrimination and we are determined to help bring about systemic change to eradicate racism in all its forms.”  Dove, which is owned by Unilever, has already pledged $5 million to the cause and Eggleston Bracey says the company plans to continue backing that money with action. The new holiday “will feature a full day of virtual conversations [while encouraging people] to #PassTheCrown and sign the petition to end hair-based discrimination.” View this post on Instagram We've marched. We've let our voices ring. Now it's time for legislative action. . To create a respectful and open world for natural hair, we have to work together. United, we can make a difference. . Let’s #PassTheCROWN. Join the movement to end hair discrimination—link in bio. . #PassTheCROWN #CROWNDay #TheCROWNAct #CROWNCoalition #Dove #NationalUrbanLeague #ColorofChange #WesternCenter #TakeAction A post shared by Official Campaign (@thecrownact) on Jun 29, 2020 at 9:56am PDT To sign the petition and find out more information visit www.thecrownact.com.  Ain’t no more 4th of July child! But we still have a reason to celebrate!  Photo Courtesy of @thenotoriouskia/@dove/Instagram U.S. Coast Guard Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday in New Orleans https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/new-orleans-u-s-coast-guard-veteran-celebrates-100th-birthday Mon, 06 Jul 2020 10:21:46 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com He has really seen it all! A United States Coast Guard veteran recently celebrated his 100th birthday in New Orleans, Fox 5 DC reports.  Andy Washington was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) from 1942 until 1946, having served in World War II. On June 27th, Washington celebrated his 100th birthday, with a full on parade, second line band, tributes from USCG officials and surrounded by family and... He has really seen it all! A United States Coast Guard veteran recently celebrated his 100th birthday in New Orleans, Fox 5 DC reports.  Andy Washington was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) from 1942 until 1946, having served in World War II. On June 27th, Washington celebrated his 100th birthday, with a full on parade, second line band, tributes from USCG officials and surrounded by family and friends, all wearing shirts emblazoned with “Andy’s 100th Birthday” on it. The centenarian watched it all from his front yard seated on his black and gold throne.  Captain Michael Paradise, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Base New Orleans came to pay honor to Washington, saying, “This week I had the privilege of finding out about Mr. Andy’s 100th birthday, and that Mr. Andy was a World War II United States Coast Guard veteran. When I heard that, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come over and wish Mr. Andy a happy birthday. And from me, and the United States Coast Guard, sir, I stand here and salute you.”  Paradise and Washington exchanged salutes before the Captain presented the vet with a gift and an official Coast Guard flag. You can check out Mr. Washington’s celebration below! Happy Birthday Mr. Andy! Thank you for your service! Photo Courtesy of Fox 5 DC WNBA Star Maya Moore Put Her Career On Hold To Fight For Justice, Now The Missouri Man She Fought For Is Free From Prison https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/wnba-star-maya-moore-put-her-career-on-hold-to-fight-for-justice-now-the-missouri-man-she-fought-for-is-free-from-prison Thu, 02 Jul 2020 18:05:49 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com What a courageous endeavor! Former WNBA star Maya Moore sat out for the last two seasons to help free a wrongly accused Missouri man from prison, and now that man is free, ESPN reports.  Jonathan Irons was convicted for burglary and assault in 1998 at just 16-years-old. Being tried as an adult, Iron was sentenced to 50 years in jail. Moore, a Missouri native, met Irons her freshman year of... What a courageous endeavor! Former WNBA star Maya Moore sat out for the last two seasons to help free a wrongly accused Missouri man from prison, and now that man is free, ESPN reports.  Jonathan Irons was convicted for burglary and assault in 1998 at just 16-years-old. Being tried as an adult, Iron was sentenced to 50 years in jail. Moore, a Missouri native, met Irons her freshman year of college, visiting him in jail after learning about his case through her godfather Reggie Williams who was already fighting on Irons behalf.  Moore spoke previously about her commitment to Iron’s freedom, speaking about how the current state of the country eventually led her to examine her own ability to help exonerate someone she believed was innocent. In 2016, shortly after the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the former Minnesota Lynx player came together with her teammates and coaches to figure out how to honor Castile and Sterling on the court. The team chose t-shirts that read, “Change starts with us -- Justice & Accountability,” along with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” and the Dallas police shield, to honor the victims of the July 2016 Dallas police shooting.  “If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change,” Moore told reporters at the time.  Following the Lynx public display of solidarity, other demonstrations began within the league, some players even being fined for breaching uniform guidelines. Less than a week later, the 2016 Espys were opened up by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony who spoke out against violence and encouraged other athletes to help create change. That summer, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, sparking a national conversation about police brutality.  Moore, a four-time WNBA champion, six-time WNBA All Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist never wore a shirt again, but something in her had already started to change. On February 5, 2019, she made an announcement that she would be sitting out the 2019 season “to focus on the people in [her] family, as well as on investing [her] time in some ministry dreams that [had] been stirring in [her] heart for many years.”  But before Moore could begin those dreams, she had to see Irons free. A latent fingerprint that was never given to Iron’s legal team was discovered by Williams in 2007 and for years he had been trying to get a judge to review that evidence. Finally, this past March, Judge Daniel Green did just that, granting Irons’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus and vacating his conviction. After several appeals and attempts to overturn Judge Green’s decision by the state of Missouri, Irons walked out of Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man.  Having served 22 years behind bars, maintaining his innocence the entire time, Irons thanked Moore and her family for their help in getting him released. “I feel like I can live life now. I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence,” Irons said.  When Irons walked out of prison, Moore dropped to her knees in an emotional moment caught on video. “In that moment, I really felt like I could rest. I’d been standing, and we’d been standing, for so long; and it was an unplanned moment where I just felt relief. It was kind of a worshipful moment, just dropping to my knees and just being so thankful that we made it,” Moore said.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by Maya Moore (@mooremaya) on Jul 1, 2020 at 4:30pm PDT Irons said he hopes that eventually he can reach back and help others the way people have helped him. “There’s a lot to adjust to out here, and I’m gonna take it slow...I want to be able to reach back and help other people. I want to advocate for people who are less fortunate. I want to help people with their cases,” said Irons.  Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve expressed support and respect for Moore’s decision, saying, “Maya Moore got to celebrate another championship yesterday and none of us who have been blessed to have Maya in our lives are surprised. I cannot imagine, however, what this one must feel like. I was overwhelmed seeing Maya watch Jonathan Irons walk out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man.” The former WNBA star also sat out the 2020 season and has not yet communicated, if or when she’ll return, saying she just wants to rest and then see what the future holds. “I have just been trying to take it one season at a time, one day at a time. This is a real life situation. It’s not a cause to me as much as it is a real person’s story. I definitely see myself having purpose in this criminal justice space because, unfortunately, there’s so much work to be done,” Moore previously told reporters.  Thank you for your sacrifice Maya!  Photo Courtesy of @mooremaya/Instagram RandB Legend Mary J. Blige Teams Up With Popular Italian Winery To Release New Collection of Wines https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/r-b-legend-mary-j-blige-teams-up-with-popular-italian-winery-to-release-new-collection-of-wines Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:34:35 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com Just in time for the summer! R&B superstar Mary J. Blige just announced the release of her new collection of wines in partnership with Italy’s Fantinel Winery, Black Enterprise reports..  Sun Goddess Wines is “an exclusive collection of limited-edition wines” Blige has been working on for the past few years. The New York native said the endeavor came about organically, meeting CEO Marco Fantinel through singer/songwriter Maxwell and partnering to create something... Just in time for the summer! R&B superstar Mary J. Blige just announced the release of her new collection of wines in partnership with Italy’s Fantinel Winery, Black Enterprise reports..  Sun Goddess Wines is “an exclusive collection of limited-edition wines” Blige has been working on for the past few years. The New York native said the endeavor came about organically, meeting CEO Marco Fantinel through singer/songwriter Maxwell and partnering to create something that she felt was authentic to her.  “[Creating a wine] wasn’t something that was originally at the top of my head. One of [Maxwell’s] friends happened to be Marco Fantinel, from the Fantinel Winery. I was drinking white wine with them all night long, [the Fantinels] asked, ‘do you want to do a wine?’ I didn't even hesitate,” Blige said.  According to Food & Wine, the collection is currently releasing two wines: a Pinot Grigio Ramato and an Italian Sauvignon Blanc, both retailed at $19.99. Only 15,000 cases of Ramato and 5,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc are being released in select stores for now with a full national launch this August. Mary said the name is inspired by her sister’s nickname for her.  “When I hang out with my sister and we’ll [vacation] to an island or something like that, I hang out in the sun a little longer than everybody else. So other people are getting burned and I’m not. My sister will say, ‘I’m not messing with Sun Goddess today. I’m out of here!’ She gave me the name and I ran with it,” Blige said.  The Queen of Hip Hop Soul took to social media to announce the launch saying, “It’s finally here! I’ve been creating this for 3 years now and I hope this brings you some joy during these trying times. I hope you love it and it makes you smile.”  View this post on Instagram It’s finally here! @sungoddesswines I’ve been creating this for 3 years now and I hope this brings you some joy during these trying times. I hope you love it and it makes you smile. Available in NY & NJ Pre-Order on wine.com & Available worldwide in August 🔗 in bio A post shared by Mary J Blige (@therealmaryjblige) on Jun 29, 2020 at 8:20am PDT Sun Goddess Wines are available for sale in select stores in New York and New Jersey as well as online at www.wine.com. Congratulations Mary!! Send us a case girl! Photo Courtesy of @therealmaryjblige/Instagram Malcolm X’s Daughter Announces New Children’s Book About Her Father's Life https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/malcolm-x-s-daughter-announces-new-children-s-book-about-the-icon-s-life Tue, 30 Jun 2020 15:56:02 GMT newsletter@becauseofthemwecan.com The legacy continues. Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, is releasing a new children’s book about the icon’s life.  The Awakening of Malcolm X is a new book written by Shabazz and award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson. The book focuses on the young life of the famed civil rights leader, his time in jail as a young adult, and the transformative work he did to change his life. Aimed toward... The legacy continues. Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, is releasing a new children’s book about the icon’s life.  The Awakening of Malcolm X is a new book written by Shabazz and award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson. The book focuses on the young life of the famed civil rights leader, his time in jail as a young adult, and the transformative work he did to change his life. Aimed toward children ages 12-18, the book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers and illustrated by digital artist Jeff Manning and Macmillan Children’s book designer Cassie Gonzales. Shabazz took to social media to share her excitement and a preview of the cover art. “What a time to share this book cover about my father’s young life. He was only in his 20s when the world learned of him and gunned down at 39. That’s 12 short years of work to have made such a global and lasting impact during the height of Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, the Voters Rights Act, and police brutality! Honored to have worked with Tiffany D. Jackson (and Grace Kendall),” Shabazz said.  Jackson is a Howard University Alum who has received a number of accolades for her work including the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Jackson has several books under her belt and echoed Shabazz’s sentiments about their upcoming novel, calling it an honor to write about “her legendary father.” Shabazz dedicated the book to her students at John Jay College where she is a professor and the Black Student Union on campus. She applauded them for their work around injustice, the pandemic and their desire to be “young, bold leaders amidst today’s movement for social change.”  The Awakening of Malcolm X will be released January, 5, 2021. You can click the link here to pre order. Thank you for this Ilyasah and Tiffany! Photo Courtesy of @ilyasahshabazz/Instagram