Tag: Kickstarter

Amazon Engineer Thomas Phillips Works to Turn Unused School Buses Into Rolling Tech Teaching Labs

Thomas Phillips (photo via blackenterprise.com)
Thomas Phillips (photo via blackenterprise.com)

article by Samara Lynn via blackenterprise.com

An Amazon engineer hailing from Detroit has a novel idea for that city’s unused school buses: turn them into mobile tech labs.

Thomas Phillips presented his idea at last month’s Hack the Central District Cultural Innovation Conference (Hack the CD) in Seattle, according to The Detroit Metro Times. The Aspire Tech Bus would be a school bus modified into a mobile tech lab. In this lab, students will work on coding projects as an actual software development team.

The students will learn basic and advanced topics in full stack Web development: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for front-end development, and NodeJS and ExpressJS for back-end development. Students will also be taught to build a website and a server from scratch. Furthermore, Phillips’ vision extends to teaching career skills as well, such as project management skills, how to create LinkedIn profiles, and how to establish professional email addresses.

The planned curriculum includes two 16-week courses, in total. The mobile lab students will receive a Raspberry Pi computer. By the end of the program, they will have a portfolio of coding projects to present to potential employers.

“I envision this project as a ‘high-tech, voc-tech,’” he says, as giving students high-tech skills before college will better position them for success. “Some of them will choose to pursue their education further at the college/ university level, others will venture into the entrepreneurial sector. Both of these have far reaching implications that reverberate across the world,” said Phillips at the event.

Phillips’s project has already attracted attention, and he will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign for more support. “I want to drive around to different locations in the city and teach web development or other advanced STEM programming concepts to kids in Detroit,” he said in an interview. His goal is to eventually roll out his program to other underserved communities and school districts.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/technology/detroit-engineer-turn-buses-rolling-tech-teaching-labs/

Terminally Ill Comedian Quincy Jones Lands Stand-Up Special on HBO

(photo via visualnews.com)
(photo via visualnews.com)

article by Meredith Blake via latimes.com

Here’s a bit of heartwarming news to start your Monday: HBO announced Monday that comedian Quincy Jones will headline a stand-up special to air this spring on the premium cable network.

What’s the big deal? In July, the 32-year-old Jones (not to be confused with the legendary music producer of the same name), an aspiring stand-up comedian, was diagnosed with Stage 4 mesothelioma cancer and given a year to live. He is undergoing chemotherapy and performing when he is well enough.

His friends Nicole and Mickey Blaine recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help Jones realize his dream of starring in a stand-up special. The campaign quickly reached its $50,000 target and also generated a flurry of publicity for Jones, who made a charming appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last week.  To see it, click here.

The special will be taped in Los Angeles in April and will air on HBO this spring.

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-comedian-quincy-jones-cancer-standup-special-at-hbo-20160321-story.html

Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred”

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The media’s representation of Baltimore in 2015 hasn’t been the kindest—well, aside from that time President Obama praised HBO’s The Wire. The sad fact is, the media would’ve continued to ignore the crime-ridden city’s residents’ needs and discontent had it not been for the tragic death of Freddie Gray, the 20-year-old black man who died while in police custody in early April.

Rightfully angered, many of Baltimore’s citizens let their frustrations be seen and heard via riots and protests. And since nationwide news outlets were there on the scene for every broken window and raised-in-solidarity fist, much of the viewing public saw Baltimore’s post-Gray events and formed opinions based on those acts.

Instead of spending so much time focusing on the city’s angriest moment, however, media outlets should be paying more attention to the young men and women who are busting their humps to uplift Baltimore both emotionally and financially.

In the new documentary short A Dream Preferred, filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) have done just that. Co-produced by Tribeca Digital Studios and American Express, the film—which is currently available on various cable on-demand platforms—follows the efforts of six young black men in Baltimore, led by an outspoken go-getter named Devon Brown, who’ve started their own dessert company, Taharka Bros. Ice Cream. (The name is a tribute to Taharka McCoy, a 25-year-old local mentor who was senselessly gunned down in January 2002.)

The company’s goal is, naturally, partly to use their handmade frozen treats to turn profits, but ultimately the Taharka Bros. are aiming to inspire other young entrepreneurs—they’re proof that inner-city minorities don’t need to play sports and make rap music to be successful.

A Dream Preferred, shot throughout the summer of 2013, captures their efforts to raise $28,000 in 29 days through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Dubbed “Vehicle for Change,” their Kickstarter plan was crucial to allow the brothers (in the figurative sense, not literally blood-connected siblings) elevate their business above using a rinky-dink ice cream truck.

With charisma to spare, the Taharka crew—especially Devon Brown, who’s the film’s de facto star—give A Dream Preferred a lightheartedness that offsets its heavier underlying themes, mainly the racial discrimination they experience everyday as young black men. In one scene, their efforts to solicit Kickstarter contributions from white folks is mostly a cold-shoulder struggle, and the Taharka brothers’ frustrations are visible.

That scene has struck a lot of people who’ve seen the film,” says Taharka Bros. creative director Darius Wilmore, 42. “It’s interesting, because that scene is part of the challenge of something like this. You have the softest product on the face of the Earth, which is ice cream, that’s made and sold by people who’ve been deemed to be the hardest, and that’s an interesting juxtaposition. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the issue of race. It’s always gonna be there. Some people will be open to it and others aren’t, but you can’t let that stop you from doing what you’re trying to do.”

Continue reading “Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred””

Miami Mom Angelica Sweeting Creates Beautiful Natural Hair Doll for Her Daughters to Raise Their Self-Esteem

Angelica Doll

Frustrated by an inability to find a doll that highlighted her three daughters’ beautiful African-American features, Angelica Sweeting created one of her own.

Sweeting, 27, of Miami, Florida, created the Angelica Doll after realizing that her daughter Sophia was unhappy with her kinks and curls because of the straight-haired White dolls she played with every day, she said on a Kickstarter page started nearly a month ago to raise money to develop a line of Naturally Perfect Dolls.

“Sophia wanted long straight hair, and she even started expressing a strong dislike for her facial features and skin tone,” Sweeting says. “With the help of my daughters, we created ‘The Angelica Doll’ — the first natural hair 18-inch doll for young girls.”

As she began to develop the doll, Sweeting herself realized that she had been influenced by society’s White beauty standards for as long as she could remember.

“Here I am – 27 years old, and I am honestly just beginning to walk into who I am, my natural beauty,” she said on the fundraising page. “I want this to happen earlier, not only for my daughters but for your daughter, your niece, your sister, and for all young girls around the world. I want this to happen for all the young girls who never felt pretty enough because of their kinks, curls, wider noses or fuller lips.”

The Angelica Doll boasts the face of a beautiful brown girl, including a full nose, fuller lips, beautiful cheek bones, and brown eyes. And the hair can be washed, twisted, bantu knotted, combed, brushed, blown out, and curled just like the hair of brown girls.

“Say goodbye to spray-painted brown Barbie dolls!” Sweeting says. “I’m creating Angelica to let girls know that they are beautiful. Our girls need to see a reflection of their own unique beauty. It’s time for our young girls to have a new standard.”

As of Friday, she’s surpassed her funding goal of $25,000 by over $8,000.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

*FULL DISCLOSURE FROM GBN: After reading the story above, I immediately went to the Kickstarter page to see the doll.  My own 5 year-old daughter Phoebe lately has been grappling with the exact same issues Angelica Sweeting’s daughter is dealing with.  Phoebe and I watched the site’s video together, and when she saw the Angelica Doll – particularly her curly, versatile hair – she was so excited, she asked to have one right away.  And I bought one right away, so GBN is an official backer of what I feel is an incredibly helpful and worthwhile product.  We can’t wait for it to come and for more Naturally Perfect dolls to be created.

There are still 26 days left to pitch in or buy a doll… there is even an option to get a doll designed to look like you!  Check it out/donate/buy by clicking here.

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-In-Chief (and very happy mommy)

De La Soul’s Kickstarter Campaign for New Album Surpasses Goal

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De La Soul (DE LA SOUL/KICKSTARTER)

According to theroot.com, it’s been over 10 years since the last De La Soul album was released, but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the trio famous for songs such as “Potholes In My Lawn,” “Me, Myself and I” and “Saturdays” will begin recording its eighth album, And the Anonymous Nobody. The group’s goal of $110,000 was met within 48 hours and has since been surpassed by $178,262 for a current grand total of $288,262.

And the Anonymous Nobody really plays on two ideas,” the group told Rolling Stone.”No egos, no seniority, no bosses, just a group of equal ‘nobodies’ working towards one goal: making music. Second, there’s always a silent champion or brave individual—a ‘nobody’—that steps in saves the day. The person that steps in and stands for something. Something bigger than him … and makes a change. ‘Nobody can save the day!’ Well he sure can! We are those nobodies … stepping in, standing for something and hopefully making a change.”

The new album will also include guests such as David Byrne, 2 Chainz and Little Dragon. Those who helped fund the album will receive rewards ranging from exclusive album tracks to a shopping excursion with De La Soul.

There are still 30 days and several prizes left in the campaign, so if you’d like to donate, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

TLC Exceeds $150,000 Kickstarter Goal to Produce 5th and Final Album in 72 Hours

TLC

TLC sent the signal up and fans, including pop star Katy Perry, answered.

T-Boz and Chilli surpassed their $150,000 goal on Kickstarter to raise money for the production of their fifth and final album. At this time, the pair raised $172,319 via donations from more than 1,542 people in 72 hours. At this rate, TLC is on course to more than exceed $200,000 as it has 28 more days to raise funds for the album.

The Kickstarter achievement was welcomed by a very happy T-Boz and Chilli, who broke the good news via Twitter on Thursday.

T-Boz tweet

Chilli tweet

News of TLC exceeding its goal triggered an enthusiastic response Perry, who donated $5,000 to the cause, according to E! News.

“Nothing but love for #demtlcgirls ahhh I’m SO EXCITED! I can barely focus here at work! Love you ladies with all I have! ❤ xoxo #BACKEDbyTLCArmy #TLC2015Takeover #LookWhoRunninThangs #BOOM” the “Roar” singer tweeted.

“Thank You ladies for letting me be a direct part of this adventure.I have loved you since the beginning.We have been through alot together and I want to tell you both that you are my Superheros. Congratulations, and Keep on Kickin Ass Ladies!”

“I love this!! TLC is forever!!..pledged and done!! woooo!!”

article via eurweb.com 

Levar Burton’s ‘Reading Rainbow’ Kickstarter Campaign Breaks Record With Number of Backers

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‘Star Trek’ actor and ‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton has created a supremely successful Kickstarter campaign to make a web version of his award-winning PBS show that’s on track to raise $5 million when it ends. (COURTESY OF READING RAINBOW)

“Star Trek” actor and “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton has created a supremely successful Kickstarter campaign to make a web version of his award-winning PBS show that’s on track to raise $5 million when it ends.
A little “Reading Rainbow” has gone a very long way.

The Kickstarter campaign to create a web version of the award-winning PBS show has broken a record on the crowd fund-raising site for most individual contributors, Entrepreneur magazine reports.

With just one day to go, the effort, created by the show’s executive producer and host LeVar Burton, has amassed more than 97,000 contributors and nearly $5 million.

“Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere” was created at the end of May. In a matter of hours, the campaign surpassed its initial goal of $1 million.

Soon after, “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane pledged to match donations to the literary project up to $1 million, Burton announced June 28.

As the “Reading Rainbow” effort quickly became the fifth-most funded campaign on Kickstarter, in an unprecedented move the four bigger campaigns — including the “Veronica Mars” movie project — have all donated rewards to it.

article by Chiderah Monde via nydailynews.com

Karyn Parsons (‘Fresh Prince’s’ Hillary) Raising Funds for Animated Doc on First Black Prima Ballerina

Karyn Parsons, best known for her role as Hillary in the TV show “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” is raising funds for a new animated short about Janet Collins, the first black prima ballerina and soloist to ever perform at NYC’s Metropolitan Opera. In Collins’ journey, she overcame many great obstacles; at the age 15, the young dancer was asked to join the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but only if she performed in whiteface.

After refusing to dance in whiteface, Collins went on to become a renowned Prima Ballerina, winning awards for her performances on Broadway. In 1950, Collins was honored with the Best Dancer of Broadway title, making Collins a pioneer in this industry for paving the way for other black dancers and companies such as Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theater of Harlem.

The short story will be narrated by actor/comedian/producer Chris Rock and presented by Parsons’ founded award-winning organization Sweet Blackberry, whose mission is to educate kids on the achievements of African Americans with inspiring true stories.

So far, the project’s Kickstarter page shows 18 days left to go in the campaign, with over $16,000 already pledged of its $75,000 goal.

For more information on Sweet Blackberry, click here to see the Kickstarter video and contribute!

article by Vanessa Martinez via Shadow and Act

LeVar Burton Helps Raise $1Million on Kickstarter for “Reading Rainbow” Reboot

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LeVar Burton, host of the children’s educational program Reading Rainbow, started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday with colleagues to create an interactive online version of the reading program for kids everywhere and to help schools in need.  The goal of $1 million was reached in just 11 hours.  (See video of Burton’s reaction below.”

Burton hosted the show since its beginning on PBS in 1983 until it went off the air in 2009 and recently helped launch the Reading Rainbow application for tablets.  The Kickstarter campaign says they would like to be on the internet, not just in an app, so the program is accessible to more children.

With the first $1 million, Reading Rainbow could be placed in over 1,500 classrooms for free.  New extended goals will be released for donations past their original goal, said CEO and writer/director of Reading Rainbow Mark Wolfe in an update.

The 35 day campaign still has 34 days left.  As of Thursday morning, the Kickstarter campaign had raised over $1.7 million with over 37,900 backers who had donated.

article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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