Category: Business/Finance

business and finance

Barry Jenkins’ Production Company PASTEL Signs 1st Look TV Deal with Amazon Studios

Barry Jenkins
Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (CREDIT: ERIK PENDZICH/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winning producer/writer/director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight“) and his PASTEL production banner have landeda first-look television deal at Amazon.

Jenkins is planning to direct the entire limited series “Underground Railroad” at Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel from 2016. Under the deal, Jenkins will exclusively develop television series for Amazon Studios.

“Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.”

“We at PASTEL are excited to continue our Amazon relationship begun on ‘Underground Railroad’ and look forward to growing that partnership on projects near and beyond,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins’ feature film debut, “Medicine for Melancholy,” was lauded as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. He recently debuted his latest film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” based on James Baldwin’s novel and starring Regina King and Brian Tyree Henry, at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The U.S. release in theaters is scheduled for November 30 of this year.

JP Morgan Chase to Pay $24 Million to Settle Class Action Discrimination Lawsuit

(photo via black enterprise.com)

by Jeffrey McKinney via blackenterprise.com

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $19.5 million to more than 200 current and former black financial advisers and their attorneys in a class action settlement with the bank.

The nation’s largest bank also will spend $4.5 million to launch in-house development programs over the next three years to recruit advisers and help them be successful in those positions.

The New York-based bank recently reached the $24 million settlement after six current or former black financial advisers at the bank filed a discrimination suit, basically alleging they were mistreated because of their color.

The settlement will help the banking powerhouse avoid a court battle. The advisers had been seeking class-action status, Bloomberg reported.

“This allows us to continue to focus on the diverse and inclusive environment that is critical to our success,” Tom Kelly, a JP Morgan spokesman, said. “We’ll keep work with our black advisers through recruiting, development, coaching and management training.”

The suit asserts JP Morgan sent white advisers to wealthier sites while assigning black peers to branches that were not as successful. The advisers added black employees received lower pay and had fewer licensed bankers to support them. Further, the suit claims black personnel was blocked from a program that catered to wealthier clients.

“These racial disparities result from Chase’s systemic, intentional race discrimination and from policies and practices that have an unlawful disparate impact on African Americans,” the six plaintiffs said in court papers, Bloomberg reported.

The plaintiffs included Jerome Senegal in Texas, Erika Williams in Illinois, Brent Griffin in Wisconsin, Irvin Nash in New York, Amanda Jason in Kentucky, and Kellie Farrish in California. “Our clients are proud of this outcome and acknowledge that JPMorgan had a choice to fight,” their lawyer Linda Friedman said in an email via Bloomberg. “Each case builds on the last. This is how progress is made.”

Other major banking and financial services firms have faced parallel accusations. Last year, Wells Fargo reached a $35.5 million settlement with a group of black financial advisers who claimed the firm discriminated because of their race. Five years ago, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch resolved a race discrimination suit for $160 million.

Source: https://www.blackenterprise.com/jpmorgan-chase-discrimination-lawsuituit/

Former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons Named Interim Chairman of CBS’ Board of Directors

Richard Parsons ( Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/ AP/REX/Shutterstock)

by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

Richard Parsons, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner, has been named interim chairman of the CBS board of directors.

The newly configured CBS board had its first formal meeting via teleconference on Tuesday after the shakeup that began Sept. 9 with the forced resignation of longtime CEO Leslie Moonves amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Parsons was appointed to the CBS board earlier this month along with four other new members. He’ll be tasked with leading the board at a time of great transition for CBS.

Also on Tuesday, two more long-serving CBS board members, Bruce Gordon and William Cohen, confirmed that they have resigned from the board. Their departures leave the panel at 11 members. It’s not immediately clear if their seats will be replaced.

Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a former top Verizon executive, was credited with stepping up and leading the negotiations that led to Moonves’ resignation and the settlement of the lawsuit CBS filed against its controlling shareholder, National Amusements Inc.

Source: https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/richard-parsons-interim-chairman-cbs-board-1202957772/

Tennis Star Naomi Osaka to Sign Adidas’ Biggest Deal With a Woman Athlete at $8.5M

Naomi Osaka (AP Images)

via newsone.com

2018 U.S. Open women’s tennis champion Naomi Osaka is winning both on and off the court. After defeating Serena Williams, the 20-year-old Haitian and Japanese athlete has become a household name. According to Business Insider, Osaka is slated to make history by inking the biggest deal that Adidas has ever offered to a woman athlete.

Osaka is reportedly working on a deal with the sports brand that is worth $8.5 million per year, the news outlet writes. The deal could possibly make her one of the highest-paid women in the realm of sports; out-earning her tennis opponents. Osaka currently has a contract with Adidas for six figures which is ending this year.

It seems as if the Adidas deal is just the beginning of more endorsements to come for Osaka. She recently signed a three-year endorsement deal with Nissan to be one of their brand ambassadors. “With a combination of grit and grace, Naomi Osaka is not afraid to take on the best tennis players of our time, and win,” Asako Hoshino, Senior Vice President, Nissan, told the news outlet. Osaka is humbled to represent the brand and says she was drawn to Nissan because of its “strong Japanese DNA and global competitive spirit.”

Osaka’s win over Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open garnered a lot of attention after Williams was hit with a slew of unjust code violations for coaching, breaking a racket, and her exchange of words with umpire Carlos Ramos. Despite the drama surrounding the match, the tennis veteran displayed sportsmanship by giving her opponent encouraging words as the crowd booed the outcome. “She said that she was proud of me and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me. So, I was really happy that she said that,” said Osaka during a recent appearance on The Ellen Show.

Source: https://newsone.com/3826727/naomi-osaka-adidas-deal/

“Just Do It”: Nike Stock Closes at an All-Time High in Aftermath of Colin Kaepernick Ad Campaign

image003-18

by Ny Magee via eurweb.com

When Nike selected Colin Kaepernick to be the face of its “Just Do It” 30th-anniversary ad campaign, one analyst noted that the move proved the company knows its customer, and they would boost sales.

Nearly two weeks after the ad provoked calls for boycotts, shares hit an all-time high, closing at $83.47 Thursday — an all-time high for the company.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Nike had previously faced a dip in its stock price immediately after its Kaepernick announcement, dropping nearly 3 percent in the next day of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. That fall has since been made up and more, per Yahoo.

Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ‘Just do it’ campaign is a two-minute video featuring the former 49er narrating stories of athletes who have beaten the odds, ending with the words: “It’s only crazy until you do it,” then changing to “Just do it.”

Pushback came from many who were outraged by the ad and planned boycotts: some burned their Nike gear and one Louisiana mayor tried to ban the brand from being sold at public facilities before pulling back. Donald Trump tweeted that Nike was getting “absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”

As it turns out, a spike in sales and brand awareness was worth the backlash, and so far it seems Nike is being proven right by betting on Kaepernick.

Source: https://www.eurweb.com/2018/09/nike-stock-closes-at-an-all-time-high-in-aftermath-of-colin-kaepernick-ad-campaign/

Michael B. Jordan Teams With Warner Bros. to Launch Diversity and Inclusion Policy for All Future WarnerMedia Productions

Michael B. Jordan will star in “Just Mercy.” (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

WarnerMedia, the parent company of Hollywood studio Warner Bros., announced Wednesday a company-wide policy aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera. The initiative, established in partnership with actor Michael B. Jordan, is to apply to all productions going forward, beginning with Jordan’s “Just Mercy.”

“The WarnerMedia family has introduced an approach that accomplishes our shared objectives, and I applaud them for taking this enormous step forward,” Jordan said in a statement. “I’m proud that our film, ‘Just Mercy,’ will be the first to formally represent the future we have been working toward, together. This is a legacy-bearing moment.”

Since April Reign and #OscarsSoWhite took over headlines beginning in 2014, the entertainment industry has openly grappled with calls for more accurate and representative portrayals of more communities.

But it was, for many, Frances McDormand’s fiery speech at the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony (she won an Oscar for her lead role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) highlighting the concept of inclusion riders that drove some people to action.

(First coined by Stacy Smith, director of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, an inclusion rider is a provision that can be placed in stars’ contracts to mandate equity in casting and beyond.)

“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” Jordan said. “[But] it wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice. It allowed me to formally pledge my production company, Outlier Society, to a way of doing business.”

WarnerMedia’s policy, which will also apply to HBO and Turner, focuses on having women, people of color, members of LGBTQ communities, folks with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in greater numbers in front of and behind the camera.

Along with the help of his agent, Phillip Sun at WME, Jordan worked with WarnerMedia to launch the policy with “Just Mercy.” Jordan is also an executive producer on the film, which is set to begin production in Atlanta this week.

“I’m proud that Warner Bros., and our sister companies HBO and Turner, are willing to state unequivocally that this is where we stand on diversity and inclusion,” Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“Our policy commits us to taking concrete action to further our goals, to measure the outcomes and to share the results publicly,” he added. “I’m also thrilled that we were able to work with Michael B. Jordan to craft a meaningful policy and framework that will apply to all of our productions, across all of our divisions, going forward.”

Though the policy as written does not include specifics, the company does commit to “in the early stages of the production process, [engaging] with our writers, producers and directors to create a plan for implementing this commitment to diversity and inclusion on our projects, with the goal of providing opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups at all levels.”

“And, we will issue an annual report on our progress,” it said.

“Just Mercy” is a legal drama about a gifted young lawyer’s defense of the most vulnerable in this country and his fight for equal justice in a flawed legal system. It’s based on the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-warner-bros-michael-b-jordan-20180905-story.html

Serena Williams Tops ‘Forbes’ List as Highest-Earning Woman Athlete

Serena Williams (Photo by Jed Leicester/AELTC – Pool/Getty Images)

by Lydia Arevalo via vibe.com

Despite a 14-month maternity leave, Serena Williams has topped Forbes’ “Highest-Paid Female Athlete” list for the third consecutive year.

Due to her pregnancy in January 2017, Williams was off the court for the majority of the past year, leaving her with only $62,000 in winnings. Still, the 23-time Grand Slam champion collected twice as many off-court coins than any other female athlete.

Earning $18.1 million in endorsements, Williams was able to top the list by over $5 million, with Australian Open winner Dane Caroline Wozniacki second in line.

Though Forbes did not include a woman in their ranking of the world’s top 100 highest earning athletes of 2018 after Williams’ earnings fell by approximately $10 million since the year prior, only 16 male athletes earned more than Williams in sponsorship money over the last 12 months.

In addition to over a dozen sponsors including Nike, Intel, Audemars Piguet, JPMorgan Chase, Lincoln, Gatorade and Beats, Williams also launched her first solo fashion compilation, Serena, in May.

Williams is currently gearing up to match Margaret Court’s 24 grand slam title record at this year’s US Open.

Check out the full list of rankings below.

  1. Serena Williams (tennis) — $18.1m
  2. Caroline Wozniacki (tennis) — $13m
  3. Sloane Stephens (tennis) — $11.2m
  4. Garbine Muguruza (tennis) — $11m
  5. Maria Sharapova (tennis) — $10.5m
  6. Venus Williams (tennis) — $10.2m
  7. P. V. Sindhu (badminton) — $8.5m
  8. Simona Halep (tennis) — $7.7m
  9. Danica Patrick (race car driving) — $7.5m
  10. Angelique Kerber (tennis) — $7m

Source: https://www.vibe.com/2018/08/serena-williams-tops-forbes-as-highest-earning-woman-athlete/

How Four Millennial Entrepreneurs Established Tupuca, Angola’s 1st Food, Grocery and Pharmaceutical Delivery Startup

Erickson Mvezi and Wilson Ganga (Photograph — Ventureburn)

by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com

Erickson Mvezi, Wilson Ganga, Patrice Francisco and Sydney Teixeira set up Tupuca in 2015, Angola’s first food delivery platform that allows users order food from multiple restaurants straight from their smartphone. Fast forward to the present; Tupuca has added groceries and pharmaceutical delivery to their services.

Originally, the idea was to create a clothes delivery platform but legal and market issues forced them to place the project on hold. After a while, influenced by a personal need to always order food, Mvezi, who is also CEO of the startup, began a research on how food delivery platforms operated outside Angola.

“It was then that I took the model on hold, adjusted it by replacing the fashion stores with restaurants, and then started doing some feasibility studies and noticed that it would be a profitable thing, and then Tupuca was born,” Mvezi said in an interview.

“We realised that people living in Luanda had a difficult time going around to pick up food and other essentials. Tupuca has validated many assumptions in the delivery industry in Angola. Many people were sceptical about the readiness of the market,” Mvezi told Disrupt Africa.

Since its establishment four years ago, the startup only managed to get a total of $200,000 from two investors, U.S. businessman Rohit Daswani who lives in Nigeria and a local restaurant owner Pramod Asija. Prior to those investments, funding for the startup was bootstrapped.

As at Q3 2017, Tupuca had a total of 30 employees. In a bid to minimise costs, the delivery drivers(Tupuquinhas) have to bring their own motorbikes, while the startup supplies backpacks and smartphones, along with insurance. “That way it minimises our costs… and they get a cut from the commission we make from the delivery fees,” Mvezi said.

According to the founders, the initial set up phase wasn’t easy. It took six months to get their first client signed on. But once they were able to convince the first, second and third restaurant, which happens to be well known, everything got easier from there. Currently, the platform has over 100 restaurants signed up and over 20,000 users with orders increasing from 400 monthly in January 2017, to 8000 monthly in January 2018.

In 2016, Tupuca was selected as one of the top 10 startups in Angola by Seedstars World, Luanda. And last year, the startup won the Angolan leg of the global Seedstars World competition, the world’s biggest startup competition in emerging markets. Now, the startup is getting solicited by investors and entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries like Congo and Mozambique to replicate the model by franchising, something the founders have said they would consider.

For founders, Mvezi, Ganga, Francisco and Teixeira, Tupuca is unfazed by increasing competition in Angola’s food delivery space instead the startup is focused on guaranteeing quality service, setting the market trend by introducing new services and inspiring young entrepreneurs across Africa.

Source: http://venturesafrica.com/how-4-millennials-established-tupuca-angolas-first-food-grocery-and-pharmaceutical-delivery-startup/

“Black-ish” and “Grown-ish” Producer Kenya Barris Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal

Kenya Barris (photo via deadline.com)

by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

Kenya Barris has become the newest big-ticket addition to Netflix’s lineup of television producers.

The “Black-ish” creator has signed a three-year overall deal with the streaming service that will see him produce series exclusively for Netflix. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the deal, which carries an option for an additional two years, is valued at roughly $100 million — putting Barris in the same ballpark as recent Netflix recruits Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

Barris’ departure from ABC Studios, where he was under an overall deal, became official last month. But according to insiders, his release from his ABC deal had been secured several months ago, and the basics of his new Netflix agreement had also been in place for some time.

Barris’ relationship with ABC began to show signs of strain in March when Variety reported that the network had indefinitely shelved an episode of “Black-ish” that he wrote and directed, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” which touched on current events, including controversy over athletes kneeling during performances of the national anthem. Barris told Variety at the time, “Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it.”

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Disney-owned ABC’s concerns were related to comments that characters made in the episode about President Donald Trump, not to the football storyline.

A month later, reports surfaced that Barris was being courted by Netflix for an overall deal. But his ability to pursue a Netflix deal was complicated by the renewal of his ABC agreement that he signed last year, and which ran through 2021. Barris had to secure an exit from ABC before moving to Netflix.

With his departure from ABC Studios last month, Barris stepped away from his post as co-showrunner of “Black-ish,” but will continue to serve as executive producer. Barris also has “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish” at Disney cable channel Freeform, where he will continue to be an EP.

“Black-ish” has been a rarity among broadcast comedies in recent years — drawing solid ratings and robust critical praise, particularly for episodes addressing complex social issues. It also, when it premiered in 2014, was the first broadcast comedy in years to feature an African-American family. It has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards over its run, and this year received its third Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series. It received a Peabody Award in 2016, and a Golden Globe Award in 2017 for actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

“Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers,” said Cindy Holland, vice president, original content at Netflix. “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.”

Barris added, “When my agents reached out to me about this little garage start-up called Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to think. But after I talked to Ted and Cindy, I started to believe that maybe this mom-and-pop shop with only 130 million subscribers might just be something… so I decided to take a swing… a leap of faith if you will, and take a chance with the new kids on the block.”

With his new agreement, Barris joins the ranks of television’s highest paid creators. In the last year, Netflix has signed Rhimes and Murphy to nine-figure deals as it continues to grow its original-programming volume in an increasingly robust challenge to the traditional pay-TV business. The streaming service last month revealed an initial programming slate from Rhimes that includes eight new series projects.

Read more: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/kenya-barris-100-million-netflix-deal-1202907726/

THIS WAY FORWARD: John Legend Teams Up with New Profit to Help Formerly Incarcerated Entrepreneurs Succeed via Unlocked Futures Program

by Dena Crowder

“I care deeply about issues of incarceration and criminal justice reform,” says Tulaine Montgomery, managing partner at New Profit, a philanthropic venture capital fund. It’s a passion she shares with Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend.  Like Legend, whose mother cycled “in and out of jail for charges related to drug addiction” when he was growing up, Montgomery has seen the impact of prison on families firsthand.

“This idea that there is a group of people we can *other*…that we cannot advocate for – that’s not something I’ve been able to entertain,” she explains. Montgomery believes that when someone who’s been incarcerated faces barriers preventing successful re-entry into society, it doesn’t just damage them alone.  On the contrary, it wreaks havoc on their extended family, community and nation, often for multiple generations. 

In addition, she says that treating entire groups of people as “expendable” and “counting them out” of making productive contributions makes zero economic sense. The USA spends $80 billion a year to keep people behind bars. Once paroled, even non-violent, first-time offenders struggle to find housing, jobs, or chances for further education.  Feeling locked out of opportunity and unable to sustain themselves, many end up right back in prison.  It’s a costly revolving door. Providing a path to success rather than creating a class of “throwaway people” is not only morally redemptive, it’s also economically sound. 

Tulaine Montgomery, New Profit’s Managing Partner (Photo Courtesy of New Profit)

Transforming inequities and imbalances in the criminal justice system is part of the larger mission behind Unlocked Futures, a partnership between New Profit, John Legend’s Free America campaign, and Bank of America. A 16-month accelerator program that supports entrepreneurs who have been previously incarcerated, Unlocked Futures provides funding, leadership training, business skills building, executive coaching, content development and peer support to eight members or cohorts. 

The program identifies innovative entrepreneurs whose businesses solve problems that affect those impacted by the criminal justice system.  They are uniquely qualified to address the “most pressing challenges” and break down barriers, precisely because they’ve been there, Montgomery says.   

It’s her belief that “someone who has served time—one of the most dehumanizing conditions we pay federal dollars to create—and emerged mentally intact and ready to lead a business, that’s a leader I want to know.

Topeka Sam is one of the eight inaugural Unlocked Futures cohorts and a case in point. Her organization, Ladies of Hope Ministries, helps women transition from incarceration back into meaningful participation. She knows the terrain and has insight into how to navigate the road to re-entry because she’s lived it.  

Marcus Bullock, CEO of Flikshop, a mobile app company that delivers postcards to inmates from loved ones, says the idea came to him because it was “connection” with family and his mother in particular that gave him a thread of hope during imprisonment.

Every dollar invested in correctional education returns $19.76 back to society,” according to Dirk Van Velzen, founder of the Prison Scholars Fund. Van Velzen’s organization helps inmates gain degrees and skills that are marketable in the job sector because he knows that if they’re employable, they’re far less likely to commit new crimes. The statistics are staggering: national recidivism stands at 68%. For graduates of the Prison Scholars’ Fund, that rate plummets to 4%. 

When Unlocked Futures kicked off at the end of last year, John Legend joined New Profit and the eight cohorts for a round table discussion. After listening to their stories, Legend remarked “with people like you working tirelessly to change the system and the narrative, I’m optimistic.” Continue reading “THIS WAY FORWARD: John Legend Teams Up with New Profit to Help Formerly Incarcerated Entrepreneurs Succeed via Unlocked Futures Program”