All Posts By Kesha B

Tessa Thompson & Nnamdi Asomugha To Star In Jazz-Era Romance Film ‘Sylvie’

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Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha will star in an upcoming jazz-era romance film titled ‘Sylvie.’ Set in New York City between the late 1950s and early 1960s, the film follows Sylvie (Thompson) who meets aspiring saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) when he takes a job at her father’s record store in Harlem. After a summer romance that comes to an end, the two fatefully reconnect several years later and find that their feelings for each other have never disappeared.

According to Deadline, ‘Sylvie’ is currently in production and will be directed by Eugene Ashe, who also serves as the screenwriter. Asomugha and Thompson will not only star in the film, but the pair will also be producing and executive producing. Asomugha will produce the film through his iAm21 Entertainment label along with Jonathan Baker, Gabrielle Glore, and Matthew Thurm.

Tessa Thompson will also star in the upcoming film, ‘Men in Black: International,’ as well as the voice of character Lady in live-action/ CG hybrid remake of ‘Lady And The Tramp’ for Disney.

Queen Latifah To Invest In $14 Million Affordable Housing Project In Newark

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A new housing development project is coming to the city of Newark, New Jersey. Queen Latifah is partnering with GonSosa Development through her BlueSugar Corporation company, where she serves as co-president, to develop affordable housing for residents in her hometown of Newark, valued at $14 million. The project will include 20 three-family townhomes and a three-story mixed-used building with an additional 16 units of affordable housing based on an individual’s income, a fitness center, and commercial space for nonprofit community organizations. 60 of the units will be market rate starting with a price of $1,800.

 

 

According to Cristina Pinzon, a spokeswoman for the project, all of those involved is dedicated to making life better for the residents of Newark.

“They understand how difficult it is to make ends meet for many residents and want to be part of the solution,” Pinzon said in a statement. “They remain dedicated to making life better in communities like Newark.”

The homes will be located on Springfield Ave. and South 17th Street and the project is expected to break ground this summer.

Michael B. Jordan Partners With Obama Foundation To Create Fellowship For Underrepresented Youth

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Michael B. Jordan’s production company Outlier Society is teaming up with the Obama Foundation and their My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK) to create a fellowship for boys and young men of color who are looking for a career in the entertainment industry.

The ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Creed’ actor made the announcement during the MBK’s first national meeting in Oakland, California, February 18-20. Jordan spoke on the importance of giving back once you’ve reached a certain level of success.

“When you get in a position of power or you get a little bit of leverage to help create opportunities for other people, I think that’s really, really important,” he said. “It’s something I always promised myself that once I got a production company, I would be able to do that.”

Outlier Society’s partnership with the Obama Foundation will help provide support and opportunities to young people of color. The organization will include a summer internship program open to high school and college students from underrepresented communities. Young men and boys will get work experience, networking opportunities, and mentoring from other men in the arts and entertainment fields, including Michael B. Jordan himself.

For the closing conversation, “Changing the Narrative: The Story We Tell, and Who Tells the Story,” Jordan was joined on stage by director and producer Ryan Coogler. The pair discussed the impact that the media has on young men of color and how important it is that the storytelling showcases young men of color in all forms. Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler worked together on Coogler’s first feature film, ‘Fruitvale Station’, the Oscar Grant story about an unarmed 22-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a police officer at an Oakland train station.

“Since Fruitvale Station, it’s been a dream of mine to use every opportunity I have to create pathways of success for young people,” says Jordan. “Outlier Fellows is a chance to find and cultivate a purposeful pipeline of talented and diverse minds from the next generation — the voices who will shape our community for years to come. Pulling up a seat to the table for the next group of cultural leaders is the greatest investment we can make as a community.”

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Bennett College’s Accreditation Restored By Federal Judge After Appeal Rejected By Accrediting Body

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After celebrating the victory of being able to raise nearly $10 million in an effort to keep from losing accreditation, it was announced Friday (Feb. 22) that the Southern Association of Schools Commission on Colleges had rejected Bennett College’s appeal to have their accreditation restored. However, the institution then filed a lawsuit against the accrediting body, in which a federal judge granted the college a temporary restraining order to prevent the organization from revoking the college’s accreditation and notifying the Secretary of Education of its decision. It is because of the judge’s decision that Benett College’s accreditation has been restored and will remain restored during legal proceedings, which is expected to last several months.

For more, see the press conference below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZWp4pi9Jhs?start=789&w=560&h=315]

Ryan Coogler To Produce Film About The Rise & Fall of Black Panther Fred Hampton

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Ryan Coogler is working on his latest project — and there’s no better time to make the announcement than during Black History Month. The Black Panther director is teaming up with Charles D. King to produce a brand new film for Warner Bros. titled Jesus Was My Homeboy, which tells the story of iconic Black Panther Party (BPP) member Fred Hampton.

According to Deadline, Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) is in talks to star as Fred Hampton, with Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) in talks to star as William O’Neal. O’Neal is the man who betrayed then 21-year-old Hampton by providing the FBI with a detailed layout of Fred Hampton’s apartment, which resulted in a controversial 1969 raid that killed both Hampton and fellow BPP member Mark Clark. The film, as seen through William O’Neal’s eyes, will also explore how the FBI infiltrated the Black Panthers and the psychology of their informant. In the angry controversy after the raid, the Chicago Tribune reports, police maintained they were justified in opening fire, but the Panthers saw the raid as a pretext for killing Hampton.

Fred Hampton was an activist and revolutionary. He also served as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers organization and deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party.

Set to executive produce Jesus Was My Homeboy, which will be co-financed by Warner Bros. and King’s production banner MACRO, is Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler and MACRO’s Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks. The screenplay is based on a story originated by Shaka King, Berson and the Lucas Bros.

Muhga Eltigani Secures $1 Million Investment From Richelieu Dennis For Her Natural Hair Care Brand ‘NaturAll Club’

After becoming frustrated with commercial hair care products that left her hair dry and brittle, Muhga Eltigani began experimenting with fresh and natural ingredients by concocting her own line of hair care products, which has now landed her a $1 million investment from Richelieu Dennis, the co-founder of Sundial Brands!

“I started making hair products in a college dorm room,” Eltigani writes. “Frustrated with commercial hair products that left my hair dry and brittle, and supported by a small YouTube following, I committed to a three-month journey of using only fresh and natural ingredients in my hair.”

The result of her experiment left her hair 32-inches longer and a YouTube channel that attracted 40,000 more subscribers.

NaturAll Club is a company that uses handmade avocado hair products to promote healthy natural hair. It is also the first hair care company that Richelieu Dennis has invested in.

“We are the first hair care company he’s invested in,” said Muhga Eltigani founder and CEO of NaturAll Club. “I selected him as my first investor because he looked at my three-year strategy and told me he could get it done much faster with his network. I come with the ingredients and he comes with the connects.”

NaturAll launched its product line with a deep conditioner that includes fresh avocados, which must be kept in the freezer in order to keep them from spoiling. The company then expanded to a Jamaican Black Castor Oil Growth Serum and now includes a wide range of products from such as Cleansing Avocado Shampoo, Hydrating Avocado Conditioner, Nourishing Avocado Leave-in Conditioner, and Avocado Curl Custard. If you’re looking for any of these products at your local beauty supply store, unfortunately, they are not available in retail stores. However, it’s only because Muhga hopes to continue to give her customers the full brand experience.

To shop NaturAll Club hair care products, click here!

Nicole Lynn of Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports Agency Talks Being A Black Woman In A Male-Dominated Industry

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It’s often hard for women to be taken seriously in a male-dominated field such as the sports industry. However, we are beginning to see more and more women who are able to navigate their way into the all boys club and change the narrative of what it means to be a woman in sports. Nicole Lynn is one of the women who will help transform the conversation as she is the first black female sports agent to represent one of the top ten sports agencies, PlayersRep Sports Management, which was acquired by Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports Agency in 2017.

Black Enterprise caught up with Nicole Lynn to discuss what it’s like being a black female sports agent in an industry dominated by men, how she got her start in the industry, and what sets her apart from her male counterparts.

“There are so many random issues I face that my male counterparts will never understand,” says Nicole. “For example, I have to be extremely cautious about the outfits I choose. I have to find the fine line between being presentable and looking nice, but not too nice. You never want to look like you’re trying to stand out more than any other wife or mom in the room. The last thing you want to do is make a wife feel uncomfortable. So I battle with choosing a lipstick that isn’t too bright, heels that aren’t too high and a dress that isn’t too “dressy.” And to make matters worse, being a black woman who likes to change her hair frequently, I have to think of how potential clients will take it. Can I be the girl with Beyoncé weave? Will they be OK with my 3C natural hair with a twist out? Male agents never have to think about half of the potential issues black female agents silently battle.”

When asked how she got her start into the sports industry, Nicole admits to it being no easy task. She stated that she initially wanted to learn how to help athletes manage and retain their wealth. However, Nicole learned that the most influential person in an athlete’s life is not their financial adviser, but their agent. Nicole reveals that she was told that she should “rethink” her plans of being a sports agent.

“While working on Wall Street I learned that the most influential person in an athlete’s life is their agent, not necessarily their financial adviser,” she said. “After I determined I wanted to be a sports agent, I immediately applied to law school. I went to law school knowing I would later sit for the NFLPA agent exam. I worked at the NFLPA in Washington, D.C. before starting as an agent so I could learn everything I could about life after football.”

She continued, “In 2015, after passing both the Texas Bar and NFLPA exam, I started calling around to different sports agencies. Almost none returned my calls. I finally got one to answer, Ken Sarnoff. He basically told me that being a sports agent is hard and that I should rethink my plans. He even challenged me to get him a meeting with a certain NFL prospect with little faith that I would actually succeed. If you know me, then you know that I don’t give up. I called Ken back a couple hours later like “hey he’s available tomorrow, you got an opening?” From that point on, Ken understood that I had what it took to be in this industry. He hired me a week later and I joined the top 10 sports agency PlayersRep”

Being accepted into the sports industry as a woman is not an opportunity that is presented every day. Nicole Lynn says that confidence is key to being successful in the sports industry. When asked what sets her apart from her male counterparts, she says it’s her ability to wear so many different hats.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the men that work in this business,” she says. “There are a lot of very good male sports agents that truly care about their clients. However, I think one of the differences between me and my male counterparts is that I focus on more than just the NFL contract. I tap into the human element and the emotional aspect of the relationship with my client. I am a sports agent, but also a life coach, a financial adviser, a travel agent, a therapist, a friend, a sister, and a keeper of peace for my clients. I wear a lot of hats. Many men in this business refuse to wear those hats.”

H&M Partners With Environmental Media Association For Its Garment Collecting Initiative

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In an effort to bring awareness to and promote environmental change, H&M USA and Environmental Media Association (EMA) have partnered up in support of H&M’s Garment Collecting initiative.

Launching their clothing collecting initiative in 2013, H&M became the first fashion company to do so worldwide to ensure fewer garments end up in landfills. Through the program, the clothing retailer has been able to collect 163 million pounds of textiles globally. To help spread the word on the importance of promoting environmental progress, they’ve called on celebrities such as Malin Akerman, Constance Zimmer, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Karrueche Tran.

“The Environmental Media Association is proud to partner with H&M to support the Garment Collecting initiative and provide visibility on such an important program that aims to divert millions of pounds of textiles from landfills,” says Debbie Levin, CEO. “Helping people learn about alternatives for their unwanted textiles is an important and exciting step in creating a positive impact on our planet for a more sustainable future.”

If you want to become a part of the environmental change, H&M encourages you to drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they’re sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you’ll receive a discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRB-YwvNkJw&w=560&h=315]

How Women Conquered The Grammys: Live Civil Highlights Marsha St. Hubert, Kirdis Postelle, & Ebonie Ward

The 61st annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday (Feb. 10) and it was a ceremony dominated by female performers and presenters. First-time host, but fifteen-time Grammy award winner Alicia Keys not only opened the show by walking on stage to her 2007 hit single, “Superwoman,” which won a Grammy award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2008, but she also welcomed to the stage Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The lineup of performers included Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile,  Jennifer Lopez, and Janelle Monáe alongside Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, and a tribute to Aretha Franklin, which featured Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, and Andra Day. While there was no shortage of female star power at Sunday night’s event, here at Live Civil, we wanted to take a moment to also acknowledge the female star power behind some of the night’s biggest winners from Cardi B and Dua Lipa to Future and Kendrick Lamar!

Marsha St. Hubert

Senior Vice President of Urban Marketing, Atlantic Records

One of the most talked about wins of Grammy night was Cardi B being awarded the Best Rap Album for her debut release, ‘Invasion of Privacy.’ Cardi B made history by becoming the first female solo artist to win the award. During her acceptance speech, Cardi thanked her team for their hard work and dedication, including Atlantic Records Senior Vice President of Urban Marketing, Marsha St. Hubert, whose work with Cardi B helped her to claim a #1 album on the Billboard charts.

With more than fifteen years in the music industry, Marsha St. Hubert got her start as an intern for Lyor Cohen at IDJ in 2002. However, in 2004, Cohen left IDJ for Warner Music Group (WMG) but asked St. Hubert to join him. Shortly thereafter, Marsha went to work as an assistant for Atlantic Co-Chairman & CEO Craig Kallman. From there, she advanced to A&R Operations Manager.

Serving as a Project Manager for Atlantic Records in 2007, Marsha St. Hubert helped to develop breakthrough projects by artists such as Wiz Khalifa, DJ Drama, and Lupe Fiasco. Following a two-year departure from Atlantic to work at Epic Records, Marsha returned to the label in 2014. It was then that she was able to begin working on new campaigns for Gucci Mane, Missy Elliott, Kodak Black, and PNB Rock, just to name a few.

Marsha took to Instagram to post a clip of Cardi B’s acceptance speech with the caption, “You’re welcome! It was a long road traveled to get here. Some days were great. Some days were… well… not! But you always showed up and showed out! Your career trajectory is now the new blueprint. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of me. I’m proud of US!”

Kirdis Postelle

Senior Vice President of Marketing, Warner Bros. Records

With an extensive resume detailing over twenty-five years of experience in the music industry, Kirdis Postelle started out working as an administrative assistant in the artist development office of LaFace Records in 1992. Working with industry moguls and founders of LaFace Records, L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, it is there that Postelle says she learned the basics of the music industry and it has helped to guide her career to where it is today.

“My first job was as an administrative assistant at LaFace Records in Atlanta,” Kirdis says. “Working at LaFace was like music industry boot camp. I worked long, hard hours and learned a lot of the basics that have guided my professional career to date.”

For the next seventeen years, Kirdis would work under Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, managing multiple divisions of the company. Like her experience working at LaFace, Kirdis was able to take what she learned and applied the next several years that she would spend as a veteran music executive.

“One of the most important lessons I learned working for Dr. Dre for 17 years was: Always strive for excellence,” she says. “He would set the bar for us so high that in most instances we couldn’t reach it, but when we did the results were extraordinary. He also taught me not to be afraid to walk away from or let something go that didn’t meet the standards we’d set.”

She continued, “[Dr. Dre also taught me to] never take no for an answer, even from him. People tend to work from ‘no’ as a default position. I learned that a compelling argument, new information or enough money was often enough to turn a no to a yes. I can count on one hand the number of times I had to tell Dre something couldn’t happen.”

During her time at Aftermath Entertainment, Kirdis Postelle worked with artists such as Eminem, The Game, and Best Rap Performance Grammy winner for “King’s Dead,” Kendrick Lamar. Today, Kirdis Postelle serves as the Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Records where she develops and implements marketing strategies for artists such as Andra Day, Lil Pump, and Best New Artist Grammy winner Dua Lipa.

Ebonie Ward

Brand Manager, FreeBandz

From opening men’s clothing boutique Fly Kix ATL nearly ten years go to serving as the Brand Manager for Future and his Freebandz label, Ebonie Ward is certainly a well-known name throughout the Atlanta music scene. Ward was able to get her foot in the door of the music industry by hosting curated music events and in-store appearances with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Future early in their careers, according to Atlanta Magazine. Today, Ebonie Ward serves as the Brand Manager for Grammy award-winning rapper Future, who took home the award for Best Rap Performance alongside Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, and James Blake for “King’s Dead.”

“I basically oversee his image in its entirety,” Ward says of her current role as his brand manager.

In 2017, Ebonie got her first official recognition as a creative director on Future’s self-titled and Hndrxx albums.

3 Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day When You’re Single

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, it’s almost time for the long-drawn-out social media love notes from couples professing their love for one another and photos of dinner dates, gifts, and marriage proposals.

While I will admit that Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily a single woman or man’s favorite holiday, it isn’t necessarily the worst either. As I got older, I began to look at Valentine’s Day as more of a day to spread love to all, yourself included. Believe it or not, there is room on Valentine’s Day to celebrate self-love and you can do so by using a few of the ideas I’ve provided below!

With Your Other Single Friends

Instead of dwelling on the love that you don’t have on Valentine’s Day, let’s get into the habit of celebrating the love that you do have. A fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day when you’re single is to gather up a few of your other single girlfriends and make it a girl’s day or girl’s night out. I’m talking get dressed up and make reservations at one of your favorite brunch or dinner spots. It’ll be the perfect time to catch up over good food and drinks and engage in that much-needed girl chat. I mean, who doesn’t love that?

Make It A Self-Care Day

Listen, I’m all about self-care, so any opportunity that I have to make a single day all about treating myself, I’ll take it. A trip to the spa, a relaxing day at home watching Netflix, a day of shopping, or a movie ticket for one are all great ways to spend Valentine’s Day treating yourself and celebrating self-love, which to me is the most important kind of love. If you’re interested, be sure to check out my previous post on how to create the perfect at-home spa day.

Buy A Gift For Someone You Love

You may feel like you should be the receiving gifts on Valentine’s Day, but you’d be surprised at how good it’ll make you feel to buy a gift for someone you love. Whether it’s a gift for your mom, your daughter, your grandmother, or best friend, the idea is to not always be on the receiving end of Valentine’s Day but to spread love to others as well. Trust me, I’ve done it for my mother and it’s worth it.

Oprah & Gayle Offer Advice On Dating & Relationships In New Video Series ‘The OG Chronicles’

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Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have launched a new video series called ‘The OG Chronicles.’ The new series, which is named after the first letters in Oprah and Gayle’s first names, will feature questions from Oprah Magazine readers. Each month, the lifelong besties will respond to these questions, offering their time-tested advice — and revealing fun tidbits about themselves.

January’s topic was all about dating and relationships. In the video clip below, Winfrey and King responded to questions on spicing things up in long-term relationships, should you have your significant other’s passcode, how to deal with a long-term relationship that hasn’t introduced the possibility of marriage and children, and more.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya0jeeQxDMI&w=560&h=315]

Marsai Martin Signs First-Look Deal With Universal Pictures

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Soon to become the youngest black executive producer in Hollywood history as her new comedy film ‘Little’ hits theaters on April 12th, Marsai Martin is making her mark on Hollywood early. The 14-year-old ‘Black-ish’ star has signed a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures under her production company, Genius Productions.

The first film under Martin’s deal with Universal is a comedy called ‘StepMonster’, in which she will star as a teenager adjusting to life with a new stepmother. According to Variety, Martin will develop scripted projects for Universal alongside Genius Productions co-founder Joshua Martin, VP Carol Martin, and head of creative Prince Baggett.

“Working with emerging talent is a cornerstone of Universal’s overall slate strategy and Marsai is a star on the rise,” Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said. “She is not only tremendously talented in front of the camera but offers a unique perspective as a creator and producer that will resonate with all audiences. We look forward to moviegoers getting to see how brilliant she is in ‘Little’ and watching her evolve as a filmmaker here at Universal.”

Marsai Martin expressed her excitement about the new partnership and wants to use this as an example to young girls that you can never be too young to pursue your dreams.

“I am so excited for the magic I’ll be able to create and produce with Universal,” Martin said. Mr. Cramer and Ms. Langley’s commitment to investing in, and uplifting diverse and young voices is both refreshing and important, and I’m happy to be a part of that legacy. My goal is to show young women and girls that our voices and ideas matter and you are never too young to dream BIG!”