Business Titan Robert F. Smith Named Carnegie Hall’s 1st African-American Chairman

Robert F. Smith, 53, elected chairman of the Carnegie Hall Board of Directors on Thursday. (Credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times)

article by Michael Cooper and David Gelles via nytimes.com

Robert F. Smith, the private equity titan who was named the richest African-American man by Forbes last year after making a fortune in software, also has a quirky musical side.

He owns one of Elton John’s old pianos. He hired John Legend and Seal — and a youth orchestra — to perform at his wedding last summer on the Amalfi Coast. His youngest sons, Hendrix and Legend, are named after Jimi Hendrix and Mr. Legend. And he bought and refurbished a retreat in the Rocky Mountains that was beloved by jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington.

On Thursday, Mr. Smith’s intersecting worlds of money, philanthropy and music came together when he was named the chairman of Carnegie Hall, the nation’s most prestigious concert stage. He became the first African-American to hold the post at a time when diversity at leading cultural organizations lags — a recent survey of New York’s cultural institutions found that nearly 78 percent of their board members were white.

“Carnegie Hall is perfectly placed to champion not only artistic excellence, but also access and exposure to the best music in the world,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.

The election of Mr. Smith, 53, who played an old upright piano while growing up in Denver and was told that with enough practice he might make it to Carnegie one day, brings to an end a low moment at the hall. The billionaire Ronald O. Perelman served as its chairman for less than a year before stepping down last fall after he alienated the board by clashing with the hall’s executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson.

After shunning the spotlight for years, Mr. Smith, who is based in Austin, Tex., where the private equity firm he founded, Vista Equity Partners, has its headquarters, has recently taken a more public role — starting a foundation, the Fund II Foundation; giving commencement addresses; and donating money. His alma mater, Cornell University, renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for him earlier this year after he announced a $50 million gift.

Unlike Carnegie’s most recent chairmen, Mr. Perelman and Sanford I. Weill, the former Citigroup chairman, Mr. Smith does not come from the world of New York finance, and he has not been a major fixture on the city’s social scene — he is more known for flying in to attend events in the city and then flying out. But his work outside the city with investors and tech firms could provide entree to new potential donors in the coming years.

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Michael Jordan Makes Forbes’ World’s Top Billionaires List For 2nd Straight Year

Michael Jordan (photo via bet.com)

Michael Jordan (photo via bet.com)

article by Mark Lelinwalla via bet.com

For the second straight year, Michael Jordan was named to Forbes‘ World’s Billionaires list, with a net worth valued at $1.14 billion.

The value makes MJ the 1,577th richest person in the world and 486th richest in the United States. That’s up nearly 200 spots from the 1,741st worldwide ranking that Jordan had on last year’s list, which marked his debut on Forbes‘ World’s Billionaires list in 2015. What makes his place all the more special is Jordan is the lone current or former athlete on the prestigious list.

Jordan’s 90 percent ownership share of the Charlotte Hornets accounts for about $500 million of his assets, while his Air Jordan line with Nike continues to thrive in the sneaker market with 32 years in the game.

Carmelo Anthony, whose sneakers are designed by the Jordan Brand, couldn’t be prouder of his mentor.

“It makes me proud. Yeah, it does,” Melo told ESPN. “I remember getting there and seeing where the business was then. I remember sitting in the airport in 2006, coming from the world championship, and I remember when the brand had just hit a billion, and to see where it’s at right now — [nearly $3 billion in sales] — that’s a lot. That’s a lot of growth to be a part of.”

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Dr. Dre is Forbes’ Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Act at $620 Million for 2014

Dr. DreDr. Dre tops Forbes list of highest-paid hip-hop acts with a total of $620 million earned this year. This is the most money ANY entertainer that has been evaluated by the magazine has earned in one calendar year.

What makes this even more incredible is that Dr. Dre alone made more than all 24 of the people combined on the 2014 list.  Two second-place entries, both tied at $60 million, made 10% of what Andre “Dr. Dre” Young did. But, with that total, Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs won’t be cashing any unemployment checks any time soon.

Cash Money claims a large stake in the money game as well, with Drake in fourth place at $33 million, Birdman (Co-CEO of Cash Money) at No. 7 with $24 million, Lil Wayne a hair behind him with $23 million and Nicki Minaj, the only female artist on the list, at No. 11, with $14 million.

The complete “World’s Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Acts” list follows:

1. Dr. Dre: $620 million

2. Sean Combs: $60 million

2. Jay Z: $60 million

4. Drake: $33 million

5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: $32 million

6. Kanye West: $30 million

7. Birdman: $24 million

8. Lil Wayne: $23 million

9. Pharrell Williams: $22 million

10. Eminem: $18 million

11. Nicki Minaj: $14 million

12. Wiz Khalifa: $13 million

13. Pitbull: $12 million

14. Snoop Dogg: $10 million

15. Kendrick Lamar: $9 million

16. Ludacris: $8 million

16. Tech N9ne: $8 million

16. Swizz Beatz: $8 million

16. 50 Cent: $8 million

20. Rick Ross: $7 million

20. J. Cole: $7 million

20. DJ Khaled: $7 million

20. Lil Jon: $7 million

20. Mac Miller: $7 million

article by Cedric “Big Ced” Thornton via blackenterprise.com

12 Year-Old Moziah Bridges Creates and Runs His Own Fashion Line – Mo’s Bows

Moziah Bridges

Moziah Bridges

Always impeccably styled in a button down, creased slacks and dress shoes, Moziah Bridges pins patterns and sews stitches after school. As noted in a promotional descriptor, we can find his youthful fingers on a sewing machine for hours or at least until his mother tells him it’s time for bed.  He is young, gifted and Black.

While a fourth grader at Rozelle Elementary School in Downtown Memphis, Bridges started his career as a fashion designer at the age of 9 in June of 2011 with his exclusive line called Mo’s Bows.  His creations are aimed “at playground pals and adults alike.”  Moziah – “Mo” for short – delivered one of his ties to Fox 13’s bow-tie wearing weatherman Joey Sulipeck, who wore the gift on the air.  Since then, Bridges has been a guest on The Steve Harvey Show and has been featured in British GQ, O Magazine, and Forbes.

“Oprah is big,” said Mo. “Nobody is bigger than ‘O’. I thought, ‘this is really cool.’ What kind of kid gets to be in an Oprah magazine?”  Mo describes himself as a 12 year-old entrepreneur. Recalling his beginnings just three years ago, he says: “I couldn’t find fun and cool bow ties one day. So I decided to use my granny’s scrap fabric to make and sell my own.”

He adds that he likes to wear bow ties, “because they make me look good and feel good. Designing a colorful bow tie is part of my vision to make the world a fun and happier place.”  Tramica Morris, Mo’s mom, said that “Old School” trends as mirrored by his well-dressed dad and grandpa inspired his love for fashion and instilled in her son the importance of dressing for success.

A huge selection of Mo’s bow ties are from his grandmother’s vintage fabric, respective selections of which date back more than 50 years.  And it was, in fact, his grandmother who taught him to sew. Mo’s Bows is indeed strongly guided by his mother and grandmother. After stopping by his grandmother’s house to pick out fabric and patterns, he settles down with his mother and grandmother and starts stitching.

“He can sew a bow tie from start to finish,” says Morris in Sayle. “But there are some things he really doesn’t like to do, like the ironing. We’ll do some of that for him.”  Says Mo, “I just pick whatever I see. It has to speak to me. It has to be fun. It has to be preppy.”  Each bow design has its own name: “Night Magic,” “Beale Street,” “Paper Boy,” “Buster Brown,” and “Think Pink.”

Bridges has earned over $30,000 as of 2013 from his creations.  He sells on his own website-accessible Etsy page.  Mo’s Bows are also available in upscale boutiques in Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and in Arkansas.

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Beyoncé and Jay Z Rank as Forbes’ Highest Earning Power Couple

Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z attend a rally honoring Trayvon Martin outside One Police Plaza in Manhattan on July 20, 2013 in New York City. Demonstrators have gathered in various cities across the country to protest the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman and press for his federal prosecution in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Beyonce and her husband Jay Z attend a rally honoring Trayvon Martin outside One Police Plaza in Manhattan on July 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Although African-Americans weren’t prominent in Forbes’ annual list of the richest Americans, they are definitely well-represented among Hollywood power couples.  The finance magazine has released its list of the highest earning celebrity couples and perhaps to the surprise of no one rapper Jay Z and his wife, pop icon Beyoncé, top the list.  The chart topping duo earned $95 million last year through their concerts, album sales and endorsements, putting them ahead of couples like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, as well as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who just welcomed their first child, a daughter named North, into the world, came in 5th overall, earning $30 million.  Still none of these couples’ earning power combined reaches the height of say Oprah Winfrey, who, bolstered by rising OWN ratings, has made close to $3 billion in the last year.

article via thegrio.com

Denzel Washington, The Rock Among Top 10 Highest-Paid Actors in Hollywood

In this handout production photo provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg portray Bobby and Stig in '2 Guns'. '2 Guns', a film directed by Baltasar Kormakur, is about a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer who investigate each other and tackle the mob on April 20, 2013. The film is set to be released in August 2013. (Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment via Getty Images)

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg portray Bobby and Stig in ‘2 Guns’, set to be released in August 2013. (Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment via Getty Images)

Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.  This year, Robert Downey Jr. topped the list with $75 million in earnings from his work in the mega-blockbusters Iron Man 3 and The Avengers.  Denzel Washington and The Rock were the two performers of color to make the top 10.  For 1o straight weeks in 2013 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had a film in the top 10 of the box office.  This year he headlined hits like GI Joe: Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6.  He earned a whopping total of $46 million this year, placing him at #5 on the list.

Washington is on an upswing following his 2012 hits Safe House ($126 million at the box office) and Flight ($93 million). His deal for back-end profits on the latter film, which earned $162 million worldwide on a $31 million budget, paid off for the actor. He earned $33 million last year, ranking him at #9 on Forbes‘ list.  Washington is poised to capitalize on his A-list status again this summer with his highly anticipated action film 2 Guns, co-starring Mark Whalberg, which opens August 2nd.

article via thegrio.com

Oprah Winfrey Regains No. 1 Slot On Forbes 2013 List Of The Most Powerful Celebrities

Oprah Winfrey

Everyone should know this by now: Never count Oprah out. Oprah Winfrey returns to the top of Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 ranking of the most powerful celebrities after two years in second place. She leads a female-dominated top 10 that includes Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres.

Even without her eponymous daytime talk show, Winfrey made an estimated $77 million between June 2012 and June 2013, down from last year’s $165 million. While she wasn’t the highest earner on Forbes’ list, her money, mixed with strong fame scores in metrics like press mentions and social networking power, pushed her to the top.

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