Urban News From Across The Web

    NFL Takes Hard Stance Against Kneeling With New 2018 Anthem Policy

    23 May 2018, 6:00 pm

    The NFL and Roger Goodell will now penalize players for protesting.

    The NFL approved a 2018 national anthem policy, but the NFLPA is not having it. The new rule will “subject teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem.” If they choose to not participate, they’ll be allowed to remain in the locker room until the performance is done.

    Here is the NFL’s new national anthem policy: pic.twitter.com/ybjKoO6E3s

    — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 23, 2018

    Such a rule was bound to happen due to the NFL and President Trump’s continued criticism of both Colin Kaepernick and the movement that he ignited.

    “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

    But, even with this “solution” to end further criticism and to protect the league’s ratings, the NFLPA are willing to continue the fight for players’ rights.

    NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told ESPN of the NFL’s proposed new national anthem policy: “We were not consulted ahead of this meeting on any potential changes to the anthem policy. If there are changes to the policy that put players in a position where they could be disciplined or fined, we are going to do what we always do—fight anything that encroaches on players’ rights to the end.”

    Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pic.twitter.com/1Vn7orTo1R

    — NFL (@NFL) May 23, 2018


    This story originally appeared in The Shadow League.

    The post NFL Takes Hard Stance Against Kneeling With New 2018 Anthem Policy appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    Stacey Abrams Makes History With Georgia Primary Win

    23 May 2018, 5:15 am

    As polls closed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night in the state of Georgia, and with only 34% of the votes counted, one thing was clear to everyone: Stacey Abrams, the former State House minority leader was going to make history.

    With only 30% of the votes counted, the race wasn’t even close. Abrams, who is vying to become the country’s first black female governor, trumped Stacey Evans, who was also looking to make history as the first female gubernatorial nominee for any major party in Georgia. Abrams overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination by a 53% margin by the end of the night.

    Abrams’ triumph isn’t just a win for African Americans and young progressives, but also the Democratic Party, which has lost numerous elections over the years to Republican opponents. Come November, she will face the winner of a run-off election between Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

    According to The Washington Post:

    Stacey Abrams, vying to become the country’s first black female governor, has surrounded herself with leaders representing women, labor, the LGBT community and other causes on the left—predicting at a rally over the weekend that a rising coalition of minorities and liberal whites “is going to turn the state of Georgia, and the nation, blue again.”

    In a victory speech, Abrams echoed the progressive ideologies that not only won her the go-ahead nomination for the gubernatorial seat but one that has now proven the theory that liberals need to curb white, moderate Republican voters.

    “Our mission is to see beyond the challenges that face us, to create a Georgia where our dreams and aspirations become real and lasting legacies,” she said. “A state of excellent schools, with jobs that create wealth and opportunity, and good leaders who stand up for all of us.…that is why we are here. To ensure that all Georgians… from farmers in Montezuma… to mill workers in Dalton know we value them. That educators in Sparta and airport workers in College Park know we see their efforts. That former prisoners across our state working towards more know we believe in their redemption. We are here to ensure that everyone who calls Georgia home has the freedom and opportunity to thrive—to live their very best lives!”

    According to The New York Times:

    What may prove decisive this fall is whether Ms. Abrams—in addition to drawing out voters who typically do not vote in a midterm election—can also win over the sort of white women who have recoiled from Mr. Trump and powered Democratic turnout in a series of special elections and primaries.

    To do so, she will have to make inroads that have eluded other Democrats. In Georgia, about seven in 10 white women voted for both Mr. Trump in 2016 and Gov. Nathan Deal, the term-limited incumbent, in 2014, exit polls found. In Georgia’s last election for governor, African-Americans made up about 30 percent of the electorate, and nine in 10 gave their votes to Jason Carter, the Democratic nominee and a grandson of the former president Jimmy Carter.

    In another primary race in Georgia’s 6th district, Lucia Kay McBath, the mother of 17-year old Jordan Davis, who was shot to death in Florida over loud music, ran as the only woman on the ballot in an area that over 70% white. She will have to beat Karen Abel in a runoff election in July.

    The post Stacey Abrams Makes History With Georgia Primary Win appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    How I Did It: From Humble Roots to Leading Major Maryland Healthcare System

    23 May 2018, 12:00 am

    The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” can affirm that oftentimes even the closest among us can’t fully grasp and follow the undercurrent that shapes an individual’s destiny. I recently had the honor of sitting down for an exchange with Neil J. Moore, CEO and President of University of Maryland Capital Region Health headquartered in Cheverly, Maryland, to talk about his passion, path, and impact as a servant leader and agent of change in the healthcare industry.

    Humble Beginnings

    The British Guiana native was reared in humble beginnings, living in a two-bedroom house partitioned to accommodate 10 additional siblings. He felt the ripple effects of a two-parent household surviving on a single income. It was then that young Neil made a commitment to create a new narrative that would bypass and break the cycle of that kind of family burden. By age 16, he and several family members migrated to Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated from G.W. Wingate High School, which was a stone’s throw away from Kings County Hospital. There, he was accepted as an intern and assigned to work in the payroll department.

    Moore worked primarily in finance and human resources and was elevated to management in several hospitals in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He secured his first executive position in 1991 when he was tapped to be the first Chief Financial Officer of East New York Diagnostic & Treatment Center. While there, he worked on issues including addressing the uninsured, securing grants and funding, launching programs in schools to provide access to doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners and primary care professionals, and reducing the amount of emergency room visits.

    His life was radically transformed when he met Conrad Johns, who was an attorney and was serving in the role of head of Human Resources for Kings County Hospital Center. “Connie,” as Moore referred to him, eventually became a judge in the State of New York. With no concept of mentorship at the time, Moore didn’t realize that he was strategically being groomed by Johns, who scooped him under his wings and sowed continual seeds of knowledge, belief, motivation, and affirmation: “Young man, you’re very smart, and you’re going to go places.”

    His mentor convinced him to complete his degree because he understood that a lack of formal education would limit him as a black male. Johns would even invite Moore to high-level meetings and expose him to associations to stretch his capacity and create a hunger for future possibilities. In retrospect, Moore adds, “this key relationship has set the baseline of who I am today. It’s because of what someone has done for me and shown me that mentorship is extremely important in developing others, and helping others along the way.” To this day, Moore makes mentorship an active priority and responsibility of giving back and paying it forward. He has mentored student members of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE), University of Maryland, and Greater New York Hospital Association. Many of his mentees have subsequently pursued careers in healthcare.


    After Moore transitioned from New York to Maryland, and analyzed the demographics, he was more passionate than ever to make a difference in his new assignment. While serving six years as CFO, he was asked by the board of directors to take the helm as the President & CEO of the then Dimensions Healthcare System, now University of Maryland Capital Region Health, in leading the organization through a very difficult period; transforming it to a regional medical center. The last six years, Moore worked collaboratively with the University of Maryland Medical System to ensure a successful merger of the new healthcare system. There was a lot of negotiation, creativity, and innovation that included program creations, resource allocations, cost reductions, and strategic relationship developments—creating a new culture of unity and trust.

    Moore shares some guiding principles and experiential advice on developing organizations and communities.

    Create an Environment of Trust – Be honest about who you are. As a person of integrity, I’d never ask anyone to do anything that compromises their integrity. I have an open door policy and am always open for conversation. I believe that you should always do right by people, not only in your personal life, but in your professional life.

    Foster an Atmosphere of Inclusion – Communities want to know if they can rely on you in whatever products or services you offer. Therefore, I became very comfortable with actively engaging and strengthening relationships with county, state and government officials, and members of Congress.

    Produce a Climate of Change – The only constant is change. This has to do with your leadership ability to be able to get everyone on board. Cast the vision so they can buy into that vision and become one with it. For our organization, that sometimes included hosting team-building events that I personally funded out of pocket. These events ensured that we nurtured, strengthened, and transitioned a team from volatility to stability, from non-trusting to safely trusting, from divided to united. Leadership is about investing in the lives of others for the greater good of the overall mission.

    Build a Tolerance for Tenacity – One of our largest challenges in our healthcare system was the implementation and operation of electronic (digital) records. If we failed in this requirement, we would be penalized at the federal level, and continue to lag behind at the service level. Both were unacceptable. I brought in a top consultant and he concluded that the project would be nearly impossible to pull off. That it would require a lot of sacrifice and the process would be painful. After the meeting, my immediate response was, “has this ever been done before?” Indeed, it was everything the consultant predicted, but we persisted in the face of adversity and got it done—major, major accomplishment!

    It was recently announced that Moore will step down from his position as CEO of University of Maryland Capital Region Health in June 2018.



    The post How I Did It: From Humble Roots to Leading Major Maryland Healthcare System appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    Leading the Push for Media Diversity

    22 May 2018, 10:00 pm
    David Morgan is the managing partner of D. Morgan & Partners, a company in service to those in government as well as the private sector that specializes in developing and implementing advocacy and communication strategies relating to taxes, public-private-partnerships, financial regulations, and media. Much of Morgan’s work and that of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association (MMCA), an organization of which he is president, focuses on media diversity.
    Previously, Morgan was a lobbyist on corporate tax policy at American Express Co. for almost 10 years.
    The Multicultural Media Correspondents Association has issued a call to action to shift the needle on media diversity. Morgan shares his insights with Black Enterprise contributor Tia Walker on how to further diversity in media.

    What has your greatest achievement been to date in regards to D. Morgan & Partners and what’s on the horizon for the company?

    David Morgan: 
    D. Morgan & Partners’ greatest achievement is our recent partnership with several prominent government relations firms to formally launch United By Interest (UBI). UBI is the first ever majority minority-owned, bipartisan government-relations and public-affairs firm in Washington D.C.

    The idea behind UBI is that the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and conservative Republicans collectively represent the 100 poorest congressional districts and have common constituent economic interests. And, those common economic interests create opportunities to build unorthodox coalitions. Our business model is to help clients find and forge areas of agreement between these members that constitute the base of both the Democratic and Republication parties.

    One particular example of note is UBI’s work over the last two years to get a group of CBC, CHC, and conservative Republican members on bipartisan legislation that would raise the funding to pay for infrastructure projects in the 100 poorest districts. These members are seldom targeted by the business community, but provide a clear path for building a winning coalition.

    In what way does your current profession complement or enhance your role as MMCA president?

    My work as a government affairs executive at the intersection of business and the political system allowed me to step in and leverage my extensive network and knowledge of Washington to engage all the key stakeholders. It also put me in a position to effectively work with these stakeholders to get support from Capitol Hill and the Administration to develop consensus-based policy solutions and best practices to remove barriers to media diversity. Once MMCA achieves key milestones and the right candidate is identified to steer the organization into the future, I will move into an advisory role.

    What is the ultimate goal of the MMCA and in what way will its work affect the media industry? In what way will it affect journalists of color?

    Demand for multicultural news and entertainment is soaring, and multicultural media stakeholders have clearly demonstrated the ability to create, control, and distribute profitable and culturally sensitive content. In addition, people of color represent over 40% of the population and growing. However, this strong demand, demonstrated ability, and increasing size and buying power of people of color has not resulted in increased media diversity. Instead, the convergence of rapid consolidation, technology transformation, and rushed policy changes continues to threaten the survival of multicultural media stakeholders and is creating insurmountable barriers for new entrants.The threats to our society from the continued economic exclusion and negative cultural narrative of people of color in the media mandate that media diversity be viewed and treated as a moral and economic imperative.

    MMCA’s goal is to ignite and sustain a call to action that results in a significant increase in the percentage of people of color that own and control media content, and an increase in diverse representation in news and entertainment behind and in front of the camera to levels that reflect our percentage of the population. MMCA’s specific role is to create a common ground environment that fosters engagement and thought leadership between policy makers and media industry stakeholders. We will then collaborate to develop viable recommendations for policy prescriptions and industry best practices that will move the needle on media diversity.

    Lastly, what’s next for the MMCA?

    [The] MMCA is excited to host its 3rd Annual Multicultural Media Correspondents Dinner on May 24 in Washington, D.C. The event will again honor a host of multicultural media luminaries, including Cathy Hughes and Soledad O’Brien, and highlight the need for greater media diversity. During the dinner we will join a host of multicultural journalists and media advocacy organizations in asking Congress to pass a resolution reaffirming their commitment to media diversity and designating May as Media Diversity Month. Post-event, MMCA will launch its solution series with a panel discussion titled “Combating Barriers to Media Diversity: Assessing the Impact of Data Analytics in Selecting Diverse Programmers and Programming.” MMCA will also begin planning the launch of our 2019 Media Diversity Month campaign.

    The post Leading the Push for Media Diversity appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    CariClub Helps Young Professionals Join Nonprofit Boards

    22 May 2018, 8:30 pm

    Rhoden Monrose moved to the states from St. Lucia when he was 12 years old. Planting in Harlem, he was heavily involved in after-school and nonprofit programs, benefiting from the services they provided. When deciding to create a company, these memories propelled Monrose forward. 

    In 2014, Monrose was working at Citigroup as a derivatives trader and decided it was time to try something different. He left and founded CariClub, a membership company that makes it easy to discover associate board positions with hundreds of inspiring and effective nonprofit organizations. The company officially launched in 2015 in NYC and San Francisco and already has over 1,500 millennial members. Clients include Citigroup and Deloitte, span financial services, consulting, legal, and technology sectors with a network of over 1,000 nonprofit organizations. 

    Black Enterprise caught up with Monrose to find out more details on why he decided to start the company, why he chose to specifically focus on nonprofits and young professionals. 

    “72% of Millennials are Interested in Participating in a Nonprofit Young Professionals Group” 


    young professionals

    Rhoden Monrose, Founder & CEO (Image: CariClub)


    Black Enterprise: Why did you start CariClub?

    Rhoden MonroseI learned how rewarding it was to help nonprofits while I worked at Citigroup as a derivatives trader. In 2014, I left Citigroup and founded CariClub after seeing firsthand that there was a strong desire from young professionals to engage nonprofits at the board level and yet there was no easy way for them to do so.

    CariClub is the world’s only social-impact networking platform to connect young professionals to leadership opportunities on nonprofit boards. Offered as an employee benefit paid for by employers, our platform offers members a database of 1,000+ nonprofits to choose from, while our matching algorithm provides carefully curated nonprofit matches based on member information and demonstrated interests.

    CariClub was created because the young professionals of today want more than just a paycheck—they want to live with purpose and to “do good while doing well.” CariClub believes that those things aren’t mutually exclusive and that we can both enjoy successful careers while leaving a positive impact on the world around us. We have democratized access to nonprofit engagement while working with industry leaders in a host of verticals that demonstrate the scope of CariClub’s appeal. Our clients include firms like Citigroup, Deloitte, Davis Polk, KKR, and Unilever, to name just a few. Our network of nonprofits currently consists of over a thousand qualified organizations in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston.

    Most importantly, our members are providing skills, energy, and time to nonprofits that focus on thousands of causes (from education to health to the environment and community aid). Their direct impact on organizations has been emphasized by every nonprofit leader with whom we have engaged. CariClub is bringing together and training the next generation of leaders while setting the bar for the future of corporate social responsibility initiatives.

    Why did you focus specifically on non-profits?

    According to a survey, Millennial Impact Report, 72% of millennials are interested in participating in a nonprofit young professionals group but don’t know how to seek out these opportunities. CariClub helps connect millennials who want to give back and make an impact with causes that they care about. With over 1,000 nonprofit opportunities on the platform and a recommendation assistant powered by our proprietary AI, CariClub members can quickly find opportunities to get involved in causes they feel passionate about on a personal level. In the end, everyone wins: employees benefit from the networking and by developing a sense of fulfillment; companies benefit from the boost in employee engagement and professional development that comes from joining an associate board; nonprofits benefit because they are given access to a highly motivated pool of volunteers and donors.

    CariClub unlocks the potential within each individual to become a driving force for good. The vision for CariClub is to create a global hub for all things philanthropy. From governing board matching to internal board management and fundraising tools, our aim is to make philanthropy accessible, transparent, measurable, and easy for all.

    How important is it for young professionals to join an associate board?

    Becoming an associate board member is a personally rewarding experience. You join forces with a group of like-minded peers to use your skills and experiences to have an impact on a cause you care about. Through this opportunity, you network with industry leaders, acquire new skills and gain a wider perspective of the world. There’s no better way to develop a deep sense of fulfillment than through philanthropy. And as I think about my millennial peers, I know for a fact this is one of the most effective ways for companies to drive authentic employee engagement and loyalty.

    What has been the success rate so far with matching young professionals to boards?

    CariClub has already had a measured impact on the world. Over a thousand young professionals in New York and San Francisco now have access to the platform. We are serious about connecting quality people with quality opportunities, and CariClub members see about a 95% acceptance rate on various nonprofit boards to which they apply. Furthermore, every month we inform CariClub members about dozens of philanthropic and nonprofit events in their specific locale. This encourages them to grow their impact and network with other CariClub members with similar interests.

    What has been the fundraising outcome of the boards who have participated?

    Millions of dollars raised along with the immeasurable increased exposure and engagement for these very worthy organizations.


    The post CariClub Helps Young Professionals Join Nonprofit Boards appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    53-Year-Old Kimberly Moore Launches Ridesharing Platform for Students

    22 May 2018, 7:30 pm

    Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are typically known to be white, middle-aged men who graduated from top Ivy League schools, but not Kimberly Moore. At the illustrious age of 53, Moore is just getting started. She took the leap of faith to launch CarpooltoSchool, a safe & reliable school carpool solution and so far so good.

    Black Enterprise caught up with Moore to discuss why she decided to start the company when typically age, race, and gender could potentially cancel her out due to pattern matching and unconscious bias in the Valley, what perks and benefits her differences have actually afforded her, and why she felt her company was so important to the market.

    Black Enterprise: Tell me about your background

    Kimberly Moore: My background has four experiences: sales, wireless technology and customized applications, logistics, and trusted leadership. During my 14 year career in building sales and sales operations at Verizon Wireless last as executive director of the Federal Government Division at Verizon Wireless, I was an intrapreneur creating a new category that others initially thought would consume resources but was one of the highest revenue producing and capital efficient sales channel. I then spent seven years producing large events—national conferences and concerts—with logistic demands to ensure the thousands of attendees had a great experience. Executives have trusted my vision and results to entrust me with millions of dollars to execute a return on their investment. One of the pinnacles of this trust was serving as Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s personal/executive assistant. I was entrusted not only with her professional matters but with the Kennedy family’s relationships and properties.

    Given that the odds are against you, what made you decide to start your company?

    I made a decision to live a life of no regrets. I saw an opportunity to tackle the problem parents have in getting their children where they need to go with people they trust leveraging my wireless technology, sales, and trusted roles experience. Maybe as one of the first African American woman sales executives at Verizon Wireless who rose to executive leadership against odds in corporate America in the early 90s, I saw early the odds I would face in the tech space. I’m confident that experience, succeeding by doing well, and being visible with this success will interest those who are interested in high-growth companies.

    How specifically did you raise funding?

    I raised the first round myself from friends and family, which helped me launch a beta and acquire CarpooltoSchool in 2015. I pivoted from the beta after acquiring CarpooltoSchool realizing targeting schools would bring trust with parents, scale faster, and build a national brand.  It is a software platform that schools subscribe to empower parents to meet in that trusted community and coordinate going together whether it’s a carpool, walking, biking or taking the subway.

    When Charles King, previously just an adviser, became my co-founder in 2016, he finished the first round of funding. Since the acquisition we’ve tripled the number of schools and now have 43 schools in 20 states.

    Charles King and Kimberly Moore, Co-Founder of CarpooltoSchool (Image: kdbellz)

    Charles King and Kimberly Moore, Co-Founders of CarpooltoSchool (Image: kdbellz)

    Are you going after institutional funding?

    So far, we’ve raised over $400K through friends and family and are set to raise $1.5M in a seed round in the fall. Yep, that’s something most millennial founders can’t do. Why?  Because being 53, we have friends and family who have created wealth over time.

    Why do you think this company was so important to start given the other ride-sharing apps?

    CarpooltoSchool is Go Together’s first product in the market. There are over 133,000 schools in the U.S. with school choice emerging as the pathway to education opportunities all parents are trying to take advantage. All of the products we launch democratize this education and open the door to extracurricular opportunities especially for girls and children of color. Parents are often busy working; juggling the demands of their lives and seeking opportunities that because of distance and lack of community where transportation is the barrier.


    We’re innovating carpooling a process parents need but hate trying to find parents, organize, and manage changes and an industry that stakeholders felt safe from the emerging disruption.

    We’re not HopSkipDrive and Zum that is Uber for Kids models and expensive to operate and scale. Both have raised over $20M and are just adding more cities. This capital infusion is a signal investors now know the problem is big and can’t be solved by Uber and Lyft because of the trust, regularly scheduled trips, and logistics needed. We are leading this ride-sharing space of carpooling with Go Kid, a more capitalized competitor who switched their business model, quickly gaining traction.

    We’re targeting trusted networks like schools and the software facilitate the parents sharing rides. Trust is the real currency exchange in our web and mobile apps. Other ride-sharing apps don’t have the trust parents need for their children. Our apps are exclusive to their child’s school with the administrators approving each user. Schools have a few problems with transportation too—the lack of bus service, which can affect admissions and the congestion in the carpool lane. They benefit by having the latest technology at the least capital investment. According to Safe Routes to School, the average cost of a bus route is $37,000 per year. With the pressure of tight budgets, schools are ending bus routes or choosing not to purchase new buses leaving busy working parents desperate to find trusted options.

    How are you developing your partnerships with schools?

    The pain point for schools is high. They find us through organic search and ultimately subscribe online to CarpooltoSchool. We then partner with them cobranding CarpooltoSchool and launching it to their parent community.

    Click to find out more about Moore’s endeavors with CapooltoSchool.


    The post 53-Year-Old Kimberly Moore Launches Ridesharing Platform for Students appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    Millennial Moves: Meet the Marketer Behind Those 40oz Bounce Tours

    22 May 2018, 6:30 pm

    Devin Cobbs understands the value of creating space for genuine human connection. Cobbs is the marketing force behind the 40oz Bounce tour, and most recently the 4 Lovers Only R&B party.

    Originally from South Carolina, Cobbs moved to New York with dreams of being a journalist but ended up homeless. “Nobody knew I was homeless. I would keep [my] haircut and take showers at Planet Fitness. Sometimes I’d sleep there, or on the Long Island Ferry. I always thought to myself, this is just going to make the story that much greater. I remember putting change together to buy dollar pizzas and M&M’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It taught me that everything will always be OK.” Eventually, Cobbs found an opportunity as a marketing intern.

    Around the same time, 40oz Van—whose real name is Joel Fuller—was heating up the summer with his infamous 40oz Bounce parties. Fuller is an entrepreneur and an event creator who produces and promotes parties via social media. New York was the mecca for those experiences. An after effect of moving into the marketing department, Cobbs ended up connecting with 40oz Van.

    “In any situation, I like to look at what I can provide. For Van, I saw that he was only doing events in NY. I figured I could help him take his events to different markets. I told him I could take him on a tour before I had ever even gotten on a plane.”

    Cobbs told 40oz Van that he could take 40oz Bounce on a national tour, although he had no connections in any of markets outside of NYC at the time. The national 40oz Bounce tour resulted in 50 tour stops, bringing in about 30,000 attendees over the course of two years.

    40oz Bounce


    Fill in the Gaps

    The success of the 40oz Bounce tour helped Cobbs transition from fitting in to standing out. He wasn’t just a creative trying to find his place in the industry; he was an accomplished event planner and curator. However, the true mark of a forward thinker is the ability to fill in gaps that folks of the same profession have yet to fill. While there were countless events being thrown especially in New York, Cobbs trained his eyes on providing the experiences people weren’t getting yet. Thus, the idea for 4 Lovers Only was born.

    “I think less about the live event and more about connecting with people. I want to know everybody. I want to have a connection with everyone who comes through the door. I think connecting with people is a lost art. Once things become a money grab, you see the creativity dwindle. When you do anything with love and creativity first, it works.”

    After noticing that he hadn’t seen an event specific to 90s R&B, he dove into plans to occupy that vacancy in the culture. More importantly, he looked for ways to give attendees a feeling of genuine service. It couldn’t be about ticket sales or revenue from the bar. More importantly, it couldn’t be some exclusive industry party filled with the same people who see each other at every private event and only interact for professional gain or a chance at a “candid” photo for social media clout.

    40oz Bounce

    (Photo: Melodie Rivera)

    “I hadn’t seen an event that was specific to 90s R&B. How can we take it up a notch? We’ll get the right sponsors and partnerships so that people don’t have to buy anything. For the consumer, you’re not being sold anything besides a good time. We make it cool to do a sponsored event. It’s not industry people only. Everyone can pull up, from a record exec to some guy who saw the flyer on social media and wanted to come.”

    “I know for sure that what drives me now is knowing that I want to be remembered for all of this. People think I have my entire life planned out. I don’t. I wake up every day and plan for that day. I don’t worry about where I’ll be by 30. I want to know what we can do to make people remember this sh*t. I don’t care if I’m working at McDonalds 10 years from now. If I have a kid and can tell them I was out here doing this and people can validate it, that’s the most important thing.”

    Once you’re able to recognize and tap into what fuels you, it’s time to look at how you can use your gifts to solve problems bigger than yourself. The fact is, black people in America navigate through more overt systemic oppression and daily micro-aggressions than we care to count. All while balancing the stress and anxiety of just wanting to make it in this world as successful adults. We’re constantly on our toes and carrying that much stress without any release is dangerous. Cobbs isn’t just throwing events. He’s creating safe spaces to decompress.

    40oz Bounce

    Photo: Melodie Rivera

    “For me, it’s not just a party, it’s therapy. We do all this work for four hours, but for some people, it’s the best four hours to just be. We deal with all these societal ailments plus wanting to be successful. I want to be the person that creates space where everyone can let their hair down, and I don’t want to take any money out your pockets. I’m going to charge the corporations for that. That’s why I don’t like to be called a promoter; I’m giving you a party. I’m giving you therapy. The best feeling is having people telling me they had a good time.”


    The post Millennial Moves: Meet the Marketer Behind Those 40oz Bounce Tours appeared first on Black Enterprise.

    Marvin Ellison, JCPenney CEO, Resigns For Top Job At Lowe’s

    22 May 2018, 5:23 pm

    Marvin Ellison, chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Corp. Inc. and BE’s 2016 Corporate Executive of the Year, will take over as Lowe’s new president and CEO, the company announced Tuesday.

    He will assume the position on July 2, and will also join Lowe’s board of directors at that time, the company said. Ellison will succeed Robert A. Niblock, the longtime CEO of the company, who previously announced his intention to retire.

    “I am thrilled to take on the role as Lowe’s next president and CEO. Working closely with Lowe’s board, management team and the more than 310,000 talented employees, I believe we will not just compete, but win in today’s complex retail environment. Together, we will leverage Lowe’s omni-channel capabilities to deliver the most simple and seamless customer experiences as we execute with purpose and put the customer first in everything we do.”


    Marvin Ellison previously served as president and CEO-designee of JCPenney from 2014 to 2015. Prior to that, he spent more than 12 years at The Home Depot Inc., where he served as executive vice president of U.S. stores from 2008 to 2014 and was responsible for sales, profit, and overall operations for 2,000 stores, more than 275,000 employees and $65 billion in annual sales volume. Prior to joining The Home Depot, he spent 15 years at Target Corp. in a variety of operational roles.

    Ellison is currently a director of FedEx Corp., the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation. He was named to Fortune‘s “World’s Greatest Leaders in 2016” and recognized as the “2016 Corporate Executive of the Year” by Black Enterprise. Ellison holds a BBA degree in marketing from the University of Memphis and an M.B.A. from Emory University.


    In 2015 when Ellison joined JCPenney as its chairman and CEO, the 116-year-old retail store was struggling. Ellison’s predecessor had “sought to reposition Penney as a flashier retailer with fancier merchandise” but it backfired. Sales went down by almost a third and the company was crippled financially. When Ellison took the reins at JCPenney, he made changes with the use of data to “diversify from apparel and move into home ware.”

    Pure intuition without any data gets you in trouble,” Ellison told Fortune early in 2016.

    Penney reported a 3.9% increase in comparable sales during the 2015 holidays, one of the best performances in retail that season. (Rival Macy’s saw “comps” shrink by 5.2%.) That followed seven quarters of sales growth in the previous eight. And although Penney hasn’t reported a profit since 2010—and hasn’t predicted when it will again—it’s aiming for $1.2 billion in Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for fiscal 2017, nearly double the level of fiscal 2015.

    He cut costs, streamlined expenses, and tried to drive sales of big-ticket items, but even Ellison couldn’t save a sinking ship. The retail industry has been under siege since the founding of Amazon, and other eCommerce websites, which have eaten into the retail chain revenues and have lured shoppers with the ease of ordering from one’s couch.

    JCPenney’s revenue that year, an estimated $12.6 billion, was still down 37% from its peak in 2006, according to Fortune. Its stock closed to a 35-year low. In 2017, the retailer, facing stiff competition from eCommerce sites along with its other brick-and-mortar competitors, decided to shut down nearly 140 stores, with more than 5,000 layoffs. Early in 2018, the retailer announced that it would cut an additional 360 jobs at its stores and corporate headquarters. Just last week, the company reported a $69 million adjusted net loss in its first-quarter earnings report.

    Shares of the department store chain plummeted 11 percent to less than $2.80 per share on the heels of the report, which put comparable sales at a meager 2.1 percent and lowered expected earnings to between 13 cents per share on the high end, and a loss of 7 cents on the low end, again missing analyst forecasts. Sales, which were expected to fall 2.7 percent to $2.6 billion, in fact dropped 4.3% to $2.58 billion, compared to $2.7 billion for the first quarter of 2017. The company blamed the hit on the closure of 141 stores in the last half of the year, part of its strategic closure plan to streamline the business.

    Since Ellison took over in 2015, JCPenney’s stock is down nearly 70%.


    Ellison is a 30-year veteran of the retail industry and “he has experience in the home space.” He made his reputation at Home Depot, a Lowe’s competitor, ‘helping create the chain’s turnaround by focusing on unsexy but primordial things” with the integration of stores and eCommerce.

    Bloomberg’s Intelligence Senior Analyst Poonam Goyal:

    Lowe’s has been struggling from what I hear in comparison to Home Depot and they probably just need leadership to help improve execution, which Marvin Ellison has played a key role in his past career.”

    Ellison gives Lowe’s significant leadership and operational expertise, including his experience managing a large network of stores and associates as well as insights and perspectives on managing global logistics networks.


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