Tag Archives: TechCrunch

Celebrity Cyber Report – Kenya Barris

Netflix has netted yet another major black television producer. Kenya Barris, creator of the ABC comedy Black-ish and the spin-off Grown-ish, has signed a multi-year deal with the streaming television service.

Barris will remain an executive producer on those shows while exclusively developing new series for Netflix. According to Techcrunch Barris’ deal only covers his television work because Barris, who co-wrote Girls Trip, has a first-look movie deal at Fox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barris agreed to a three year deal with numbers in “high-eight-figure range.”

Barris joins Netflix after negotiating his way out of a contract with ABC Studios. Barris’ label, Khalabo Ink Society, will write and executive produce Netflix shows that “reflect culture through an urban- youth- and female-focused lens.”

Netflix Vice President of Originals, Cindy Holland said of Barris, “Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers. Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh. His honesty, comedic brilliance and singular point of view, combined with the creative freedom he will enjoy at Netflix, promises to create powerful new stories for all our members around the world.”

Netflix is bringing onboard some of television’s  greatest black talent. Television producer Shonda Rhimes  joined Netflix last year. But Netflix is not alone. It seems that streaming television is the medium of choice for black talent as heavyweight producers like Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins have joined Amazon and Oprah Winfrey has joined Apple streaming television efforts.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent

Rapper/Entrepreneur Snoop Dogg

Rapper Snoop Dogg, like many rappers, is hell bent on growing his money. He has transformed his career in music into other businesses most notably the weed industry.

Now, according to TechCrunch, the D-O double G’s Casa Verde Capital venture firm recently closed its debut fund with a $45 million take.

Cannabis, weed, reefer, whatever you call it, is expanding nationwide as a business as legalization becomes the norm. Snoop’s venture firm invests seed money and Series A investments in businesses working alongside the cannabis industry. Casa Verde Capital’s website defines an ancillary cannabis business as company that it is “not touching the plant.”

Casa Verde Capital targets its investment capital on  marijuana businesses developing ag-tech, health and wellness, financial services, technology, media, compliance, and laboratory technology. According to Karan Wadhera, the firm’s managing partner,  Casa Verde has made eight “seed-stage to Series A-size investments” of “$1 million plus” so far, with the largest going to LeafLink, a marijuana marketplace for retailers and brands.

50 Cent

Now did he or didn’t he find millions of dollars in bitcoin he didn’t know he owned? The AACR reported that 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, claimed that he found he owned nearly $8 million dollars in bitcoins that he received off sales of a previous album.

But now Curtis Jackson is rapping a different lyric. According to TheBlast.com court documents showed that 50 admitted he never owned any bitcoin and knew the story was bull but went along because it enhanced him image. 50 Cent admitted that he never owned $8 million in bitcoin and said “so long as a press story is not irreparably damaging to my image or brand, I usually do not feel the need to publicly deny the reporting.”

But 50 Cent did a little bit more than just go along with the story. He  bragged about his sudden bitcoin windfall on Instagram and Twitter. The rapper posted  “Not bad for a kid from South Side, I’m so proud of me.” and “A little bitcoin anyone? LOL. l know l make you sick but excuse me…I’m getting to the bag.” On Instagram 50 said to his fans,  “Ima keep it real, I forgot I did that shit lol.”

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Mo’Nique, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Kevin Durant

Oscar Winner Mo’Nique

Mo’Nique

Comedienne and actress Mo’Nique has called for a boycott against Netflix. According to the Oscar winning actress the streaming television service is guilty of gender and race-based pay inequities. Mo’Nique said she was offered $500,000 for a comedy special where white comedienne Amy Schumer was offered $11 million. Black comedian Dave Chappelle received $20 million for his three comedy specials . Mo’Nique said she challenged Netflix on the gap, but received contradictory answers. Mo’Nique said se was told by Netflix that  “we don’t go off resumés” when justifying her pay. But then  it reportedly defended Schumer’s revenue by citing her experience.

Mo’Nique also learned that she was not the only black female comedienne who may have been short changed by Netflix. According to a tweet from fellow comedienne Wanda Sykes Netflix offered her “less than half” of that $500,000 for a Netflix special. Mo’Nique hasn’t objected to the compensation Netflix offered other performers but is asking why the figures for her and Sykes were so much lower.

 

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith

Three generations of actress Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s family will join Facebook for a talk show that deals with social issues. Smith, her daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris will come together to discuss their individual perspectives on various topics. According to Deadline, the inter-generational talk show will be executive produced by Pinkett-Smith along with Ellen Rakieten and Miguel Melendez. EntitledRed Table Talks the show was originally streamed in 2012 on the YouTube channel. 

 

NBA All Star Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

NBA superstar Kevin Durant is joining forces with YouTube to expand its sports content offerings. Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman have agreed to develop programming based on Durant and his fellow professional athletes under the umbrella of their Thirty Five Media video business.

After moving to the Bay Area to play for the Golden State Warriors Durant became interested in tech investments. He is not alone, teammate Andre Iguodala is another big tech investor. According to Kleiman, Durant became interested in YouTube after meeting YouTube executive Neal Mohan at the star’s 28th birthday party.

Durant’s YouTube channel is a fan favorite giving them documentary-style productions offering peeks into the life of an all-star professional basketball player. It also gives players a direct venue to interact with fans.  In less than a year, Durant’s channel has scored more than of 21 million views.

Durant told TechCrunch, “Outside of the incredible relationship that we’ve developed with the team at YouTube it’s a huge destination for video content where sports fans, including myself, spend a lot of time, and we really wanted to create content where fans are most likely to find and engage with it.”

Apple’s Diversity Chief Departs After Just Six Months

Denise Young Smith

Denise Young Smith, a 20 year Apple veteran, is departing her job as the first Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion after just six months. Smith has announced she will be accepting a position as executive in residence at Cornell Tech in January.

Smith’s departure was planned but comes on the heels of a controversial comment made in October.  Smith was speaking on a diversity and racial injustice panel at the One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Colombia. She was asked by Quartz’s moderator Aamna Mohdin  if she would focus on any specific group in her diversity efforts. Her reply was not well received. Smith said she wouldn’t single out any one demographic for advancement. Her comment, transcribed by TechCrunch is as follows;

“I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color or the women or the LGBT or whatever because that means they’re carrying that around… because that means that we are carrying that around on our foreheads. And I’ve often told people a story—there can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation. The issue is representation and mix and bringing all the voices into the room that can contribute to the outcome of any situation.”

Silicon Valley has a serious diversity problem and Apple is not immune. Apple’s workforce numbers show that only 9 percent of Apple’s workforce is African-American, 12 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Asian and 56 percent white. It’s not a pretty picture when you consider that most non-white employees are found in  Apple’s retail stores. Smith was expected to at least make progress on the issue but not a lot has changed. However, she was working on developing Apple’s diversity scholarship program.

Realizing she had fumbled the issue Smith emailed her team following the comments;

Colleagues,

I have always been proud to work for Apple in large part because of our steadfast commitment to creating an inclusive culture. We are also committed to having the most diverse workforce and our work in this area has never been more important. In fact, I have dedicated my twenty years at Apple to fostering and promoting opportunity and access for women, people of color and the underserved and unheard. 

Last week, while attending a summit in Bogota, I made some comments as part of a conversation on the many factors that contribute to diversity and inclusion. 

I regret the choice of words I used to make this point. I understand why some people took offense. My comments were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry. 

More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.  

Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone. 

Our commitment at Apple to increasing racial and gender diversity is as strong as it’s ever been. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, but there is much work to be done. I’m continually reminded of the importance of talking about these issues and learning from each other. 

Best,

Denise

Breaking It Down

This was  a sad day for the idea of diversity in Silicon Valley. People of color thought Apple had appointed a warrior to fight the diversity fight. Perhaps they did. Perhaps Smith misspoke. People do that. But her statement reveals how severe the diversity problem is in Silicon Valley boardrooms. A boardroom that she was apart of. Did she feel not focusing on a single group was an effective strategy? Again, perhaps. But diversity is about bringing in different colors of skin as well as ideas. Its about inclusion. I believe her when she said she believes in that. What she failed to realize is that ‘blue eyed blond white men” are not what her job asked her to bring in. This is just not what diversity advocates want to hear from a person in her position. Wrong choice of words Ms. Smith but lets move on. Smith is a women. A black women. A successful black women. A successful black woman at the world’s most successful company. She was in a position to change things, to make difference, To find other women and minorities who are as capable as her and look like her. I’m not going to label her a failure. But she clearly stumbled.

 

 

‘Today in Black Twitter’

Mark S. Luckie

Mark S. Luckie

Mark S. Luckie, former Manager of Journalism and News for Twitter, launchedToday in Black Twitter. The new website was actually introduced months ago but has recently undergone a makeover. It is intended to document and catalog the daily conversations happening on the powerful Black Twitter platform. Already the site amassed thousands of followers and has been found the attention of Vox, Fader, TechCrunch and CNN Money

According to the website’s about page ‘Today in #BlackTwitter’ is a daily digest and Twitter account that algorithmically highlight trending conversations among the network of users collectively known as “Black Twitter.”

Twitter has become a powerful communication tool for the African-American online community. Pew Research data indicates that 28 percent of African-Americans using the Internet are also on Twitter. Using Twitter black people have voiced issues and held conversations of concern to black people. Black Twitter has kept alive numerous issues that concern black people including the deaths of black people at the hands of white police officers. Hashtags like #policebrutality, #blacklivesmatter focus attention on these issues.

According to Luckie “A random person can have a worldwide hashtag trend. Black Twitter surfaces individuals who are sparking conversations. Each day, you’re going to get something different. That’s what keeps it interesting for me.”

‘Today in Black Twitter’ website will encompass the past 24 hours on Black Twitter including cultural topics, politics, entertainment, memes and viral comedy.

Each post will include full attribution of the tweet source and will be free of any editorial subjectivity. The most popular or impactful tweets will be displayed based on the number of re-tweets or, in the case of hashtags, the original author. Readers can join in the conversation by subscribing to the daily digest and following @todayinblk on Twitter.

Today in Black Twitter also works as a source for journalists looking for the latest conversations in the African-American community. Luckie has written about “How *not* to Report on Black Twitter” and believes that mainstream media fails when it comes to black issues.

More about Mark S. Luckie – Mark was formerly the Manager of Journalism and News  at Twitter . He is the author the Digital Journalist’s Handbookand his most recent novel Do U. Check Mark’s web presence at LinkedIn.com, Twitter and Tumblr.com.