After Fox 2000‘s space race drama “Hidden Figures” was released last year, an unprecedented amount of United States embassies were reportedly calling the State Department requesting the film. Eventually the movie was screened to nearly 80 locations overseas and because of all those screenings, a new, publicly funded exchange program will bring women from around the world working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to the United States.
The program, called #HiddenNoMore, will bring 50 women from 50 different countries who are working in STEM fields to the United States. The chosen participants will travel to Washington in October before traveling across the country for three weeks meeting with universities, Girl Scouts, and other organizations.
Then they’ll all come together in Los Angeles for a two-day event on the 21st Century Fox lot. Across STEM industries, women, particularly women of color, are vastly underrepresented. “Hidden Figures” already shed light on the important history of black women in mathematics, but with programs like #HiddenNoMore it’s cool that the movie can now help create its future.
ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, announced today that it will honor legendary musician Stevie Wonder with its inaugural “Key of Life” Award at this year’s ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO in Los Angeles, April 13 – 15, where Wonder will also appear in a keynote “I Create Music” session.
The “Key of Life” Award celebrates Wonder’s incomparable, peerless contributions to the world through his music. In the future, the honor will be presented to songwriters and composers who best exemplify his legacy through their commitment to the art form he elevated through his talent, dedication and unparalleled heart.
“Stevie has deservedly been given every award imaginable,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams. “Yet he continues to innovate and elevate the art of songwriting to the point where no honor can truly capture what he means to his creative kin at ASCAP, and to songwriters and music lovers worldwide. This award has been created as a way to honor his singularly inspirational songwriting career and to recognize his spirit in generations to come.”
The 25-time Grammy winner has been an ASCAP member for the better part of five decades, amassing more than 60 Billboard Hot 100 hits during his time with the performing rights organization, including eternal anthems like “Superstition,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Wonder received ASCAP’s highest individual prize, the Founders Award, in 1984, and was honored during the organization’s 100th birthday celebrations with a once-in-a-lifetime Centennial Award.
Now in its 12th year, ASCAP’s “I Create Music” EXPO is the United States’ largest conference for songwriters, composers, artists and producers in all music genres. Last year’s conference was the most well attended in EXPO history, attracting 3,000 participants from up-and-comers to GRAMMY winners.
Shonda Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of three hit ABC television series—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder—under her ShondaLand production company banner.
The queen of Thursday night and creative force behind some of television’s most popular shows will offer a writing for television course on the MasterClass online platform. For the first time, Rhimes will give students an intimate, instructional look into how to write a script, pitch a pilot, and run a writer’s room. The class will include over five hours of lessons, along with exclusive access to the Grey’s Anatomy story bible, scripts of Scandal, and much more. Pre-enrollment is now available at the MasterClass website. You can also view the MasterClass’ official trailer.
Rhimes on Being an “F.O.D.”
Rhimes made history as the first African American woman to create and executively produce a top-10 network series, with the hit primetime show Grey’s Anatomy. The TV powerhouse also is one of ABC’s top-earning executive producers.
In the past, Rimes has mentioned that she has had to work four times as hard as her peers, while also addressing the pressure of being an African American, female, showrunner—or what she calls an “F.O.D.”: First Only Different. In her book, The Year of Yes, Rhimes writes, “When you are an F.O.D., you are saddled with that burden of extra responsibility, whether you want it or not.” She felt the pressure when she dodged reporters’ questions about diversity or race. “You can’t be raised black in America and not know,” she writes. “This wasn’t just my shot. It was ours.”
The first annual Detroit Startup Week, powered by Chase, kicked off in May featuring over 100 events with some 2,500 participants attending free activities over the course of five days. Detroit’s inaugural Startup Week is expected to be largest first-year event in the global brand’s six-year history.
Ten learning tracks will be offered to entrepreneurs at all levels: technology, entrepreneurship 101, mobility, music, food-preneurship, art+design, civic innovation, neighborhood collaboration, social entrepreneurship, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Our city is unlike any other, with both ingenuity and a welcoming spirit, brilliance and grit, and opportunities abound. Detroit Startup Week is designed to glue together those opportunities, celebrate what’s already working, and lay the groundwork for what’s to come,” notes Kyle Bazzy, lead organizer.
“Entrepreneurs are playing an invaluable role in Detroit’s comeback,” adds Jennifer Piepszak, CEO of Chase Business Banking, whose firm has committed $100 million over five years to Detroit’s economic recovery. “Detroit Startup Week is a great opportunity to recognize small businesses’ importance to the city’s recovery and to ensure they gain access to the necessary resources to support and grow.”
On Friday, the World Economic Forum on Africa presented the five winners of the conference’s challenge to find Africa’s top women innovators. The winners, whose innovations were from the areas including mobile health insurance, solar powered vending carts, bio medical materials and IT training as well as food processing, hail from Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
Currently, Africa has the youngest population in the world and this is expected to double by 2045. In view of this, several global leaders have attested to the fact that Africa’s future lies in the hands of its youthful population. The region’s start-up businesses are gaining confidence and scale with a growing number of innovations achieving recognition beyond the region’s borders. However, a lot still has to be done in order to create an enabling environment that will allow women to flourish. Due to this set back, the World Economic Forum decided to run this competition to find Africa’s top female innovators especially as the potential of women entrepreneurs is far from optimum.
“I strongly believe that the 21st century will be Africa’s century, that its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution. This is why we are showcasing Africa’s best female entrepreneurs in Kigali this week,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum.
Here are Africa’s top female innovators, selected based on the criteria for the WEF Africa challenge. This required entrant companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year and have proven innovation and positive social impact.
Natalie Bitature – Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda
Musana Carts has used frugal innovation to develop environmentally friendly, solar-powered vending carts. With a price point of $400, each Musana Cart saves 3,000 tons of carbon emissions and improves the health of cities by eliminating pollution from charcoal and kerosene stoves.
Audrey Cheng – Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya
Audrey Cheng established Moringa School to enable an entire generation gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy. Two years on, graduates work in the top tech companies in the region, earning, on average, 350 percent more than before they completed the course.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Northrop Grumman Foundation and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) have launched a three-year, $2-million program designed to expand the nation’s engineering workforce through a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Northrop Grumman Corporation/NSBE Integrated Pipeline Program will provide 72 engineering students with $8,000 scholarship grants, internships with Northrop Grumman and year-round academic and professional development support.
The program’s three HBCU partners — Florida A&M University, Howard University and North Carolina A&T State University — will receive grants, technical assistance and a package of programs researched and managed by NSBE, to increase their already high capacity to recruit, retain and graduate engineers. NSBE is one of the largest student-governed professional societies based in the United States.
“Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation are committed to helping improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to ensure a future workforce that can protect our nation and maintain our global leadership,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, Northrop Grumman vice president, global corporate responsibility and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “Our partnership with NSBE will help us achieve that goal and develop the pipeline of diverse talent that is so important to our company and our society’s future.”
“We are delighted to receive this endorsement of our work from one of America’s most innovative companies,” said NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “For years, we have spoken about the vital role that engineering diversity plays in our national economy and national security. Northrop Grumman’s investment in this program illustrates that they understand the need exists and are willing to do something about it. This fact is reflected not only in their longtime support of NSBE but also in the high ratings the company receives from our membership.”
The first cohort of 24 Northrop Grumman Corporation/NSBE scholars will be selected in December, and their participation in the Pipeline Program will be kicked off with a summit meeting in March 2017, during NSBE’s 43rd Annual Convention in Kansas City, Mo. Summer internships for the first cohort will begin in May 2017.
Warner Bros. is continuing its efforts to tackle Hollywood’s diversity problem by launching an emerging film directors workshop, a talent incubator designed to give access and voice to new and underrepresented talent. The studio will begin accepting applications next month and hopes to have the workshop up and running by the end of the third quarter.
The emerging film directors workshop will provide aspiring helmers from underrepresented communities with the opportunity to showcase their work to the film world after an intensive nine-month fellowship at Warner Bros. participants will be partnered with a Warner Bros. executive mentor as they work through the entire film production process, from pitch to final cut to premiere. The inaugural class will have five filmmakers.
“Our emerging film directors workshop continues Warner Bros.’ commitment to being the industry’s most talent-focused studio,” said Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’ president of creative development and worldwide production. “There are so many bright, creative individuals at the threshold, who just need access to bring their vision and voice to a bigger audience. By providing that access, as well as a professional network and funding for a short film, Warner Bros. will play a small part in developing the next generation of great storytellers, whether they work in film or television, at our studio or elsewhere.”
Silverman came up with the plan and spearheaded the program, which has been in development for about two years.
Designed to re-create the features production process on a micro level, the workshop will have participants pitch, write or work with a screenwriter, and develop a script for a short film that’s three to 10 minutes long and budgeted at $100,000. Once they have a final screenplay, filmmakers will work with physical production to prep, create a budget, cast, shoot on the lot and edit with a full post-production process. Warner Bros. will cover all production costs and salary for filmmakers for the duration of the workshop.
The workshop will culminate in a film festival showcasing the directors’ work that will be held for agents, managers, producers and film executives from across the industry. More information on the program and the application process can be found here.
Walt Disney World Resorts, in conjunction with Essence Magazine and comedian Steve Harvey, recently hosted its 9th Annual Disney Dreamers Academy in Orlando, Florida. After selecting from thousands of applications, Disney rewarded 100 U.S. high school students and their chaperones with a four-day seminar (March 3-6) geared towards inspiring, exposing and guiding them on how to achieve their dreams.
After kicking off the long weekend leading a parade down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and being welcomed by Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, Walt Disney World Vice President and Executive Champion Tracey Powell, Essence Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and host Steve Harvey, the Dreamers are immersed in intensive sessions with motivational speakers such as Jonathan Sprinkles and Capital Prep School Founder and Principal Dr. Steve Perry to help them understand how to overcome obstacles, learn from failures and how to work hard to make their dreams become reality.
Additionally, the Walt Disney World theme parks become vibrant “classrooms,” where Dreamers participate in hands-on, intensive “Deep Dive” workshops led by industry experts. Covering a myriad of career paths ranging from animation to imagineering to marine biology, the Deep Dives do more than expose students to a career choice; they bring to life an opportunity that otherwise might seem distant or impossible.
Celebrities such as MC Lyte, Tamera Mowery, Loni Love, Lance Gross, Lamman Rucker, Silento and film producer Will Packer also gave their personal time and shared their knowledge with the Dreamers on what it takes to gain and maintain an unconventional career.
“It has literally been so amazing,” said Dreamer Deja Kirk from Oklahoma City, who is interested in becoming an elasmobranchologist (a marine biologist who specializes in sharks and rays). “I’m not one to be corny at all, I’m usually a very stoic person, so for me to be so excited about this is really huge. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do, just getting the general exposure to everything I feel like not only am I prepared to pursue my career, if I were to change it in any way I still have a really good foundation for whatever I want to do.”
This week, Good Black News will be bringing you even more stories from this unique event, including spotlights on several Dreamers, perspectives from their parents, as well as interviews with some of the dedicated professionals who gave their time and wisdom to DDA this year.
Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris won the coveted California Democratic Party endorsement for U.S. Senate on Saturday, solidifying her status as the front-runner and delivering a setback to her top rival, Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
Harris captured 78.1% of the votes to earn the state Democrats’ official seal of approval. It’s a prize that provides her with a clear edge in the June 7 primary and, most likely, financial support from the party.
The endorsement came after the two Democratic Senate candidates, running to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, made their final pitches to local activists and other elected officials.
Harris asked Democrats to help her deliver a “more perfect union” and Sanchez asked them to trust her experience and record over other candidates’ “talk.”
But Harris prevailed in a landslide. Of the 2,139 ballots cast, 19.3% were for Sanchez and 2.6% voted for no endorsement at all. Their back-to-back speeches, the warm-up acts before Vice President Joe Biden took the stage, capped a furious two days of campaigning by both women.
Sanchez spoke of her hardscrabble upbringing, cleaning homes to help one of her brothers pay for college, and how her Mexican immigrant parents’ hard work and perseverance allowed them to achieve the American dream. The congresswoman emphasized her record and experience in Washington and received the warmest response when extolling her votes against the Iraq war, the bank bailout and the Patriot Act.
“While other candidates talk about boldly changing in Washington, I’ve done it for 20 years,” Sanchez said, taking a subtle dig at Harris. “Experience matters, and I will hit the ground running in the Senate.”
Harris walked onto the stage to rousing applause and described the life-shaping experience of growing up in the Bay Area as the daughter of two civil rights activists. Harris’ speech hewed to the high ideals of the Democratic Party and the “poison” politics consuming the Republican presidential race. She vowed to protect and restore the fundamental rights of all Americans.
“For far too many, liberty and justice for all is a promise we have failed to keep,” Harris said.
In celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth, Ernst and Young LLP will be hosting a Black History Month Executive Roundtable event in Los Angeles tonight that focuses on stories of cultivating and leveraging diverse teams and achievements of successful black professionals.
Ernst and Young partner Gracelyn Hodge will be moderating the panel. Panelists will be Dr. Robert Cherry, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at UCLA Health, Cookie Johnson, President of CJ by Cookie Johnson, Beverly Kuykendall, President of American Medical Depot and Guy Primus, CEO and Co-Founder of The Virtual Reality Company.