“Hey, be good. Be good. You know what, be good. Be good!”
For Russell Wilson, one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, that phrase is so crucial that he repeated it three times while talking to The Huffington Post. Each time with a different emphasis, each time with increasing resound.
The words are easy to say, but harder to heed. So the 27-year-old NFL star, guided by his strong faith and devotion to inner-city communities, decided it was time to prove that he, too, was living by the motto.
That’s where the Good Man Brand came in. With the coolly confident goal of inspiring an entire generation, Russell Wilson is teaming up his Good Man Brand with his Why Not You Foundation to launch something they hope will better lives. Using a business model similar to that of TOMS — a company known for its policy of “buy-one, give-one” — Good Man Brand opens its doors with the promise that for every item sold, it will share its profits with a charity of choice.
The “Good Man Brand” is promising that $3 from every purchase will go to charity — and he’s committing now to assisting inner-city education, a cause personally selected by Wilson and his team for the tangible, immediate impact it can have on inner-city children all over the nation.
As Wilson sees it, this is the blueprint for how he and the foundation can begin to “make a major difference in the world.” And as Wilson sees it, the beauty of the brand is that it enables its customers, along with the company, to make a difference.
That is, it gives the gift of giving right back to those getting the goods, as they suddenly have the power to make waves in the community, to “be good” to the kids around them, simply by ringing up a sweater at the register.
“We’re trying to change the way and the attitude of a culture,” Wilson told HuffPost on Sunday. “Ultimately, this brand is going to help change people’s lives.”
“We’re trying to inspire people, give back and make a culture change,” he added.
Through one brand giving back, every customer gives back — it’s the business model incarnation of a slogan that’s been in our collective subconscious for decades: all for one and one for all.
For the team behind the brand, how you become that titular “good man” comes back to that omnipresent, crucial No. 3 — the same number that’s plastered on the back of Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks jersey and the number of dollars donated from every item sold: “The good man leads, the good man inspires, and the good man lives a good life.”
Lead. Inspire. Live. Supporting good by “sporting good.” The mottos and mantras of the Good Man Brand are seemingly endless, but even with the surfeit of slogans, they all share one quality in common: Each encourages customers to go from passive to active, to not just sport the clothes, but support the cause — to ask themselves, “What good will you do today?”
Cam Newton’s new contract is historic. Now the Carolina Panthers will hope his play jumps to historic levels. Newton not only got a mega-deal from the Panthers, it’s one of the biggest the NFL has ever seen. Newton will make $67.6 million in the first three years of his five-year, $103.8 million deal, according to multiple reports. The deal became official on Tuesday.
That would be the largest payout over the first three years of a deal in NFL history, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said. USA Today’s Tom Pelissero said Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger held the record at $65 million. The deal includes $60 million in guarantees for injuries, according to reports.
Newton is very talented and his production has been severely underrated throughout his career, but that’s still a heck of a payout based on what Newton has done so far. And it must make the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks a little nervous.
Newton isn’t considered at the same level as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, and hasn’t been a part of as much team success as Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. So it’s fair to wonder if Luck and Wilson, who entered the NFL a year after Newton did, will get long-awaited contract extensions that will surpass Newton’s deal. That deal certainly sets the bar high.
Newton put up career lows in most statistical categories last season, but he dealt with some major injuries along the way. Still, expectations will increase for Newton now. That’s the nature of such a big deal. And, at least by one measure, there has never been a bigger deal.
At Good Black News, February is an especially invigorating time. When Black History Month rolls around, people have more interest than normal in African-American history, music and culture, and GBN inevitably benefits from the heightened exposure. We make an extra effort to provide a wide variety of information and stories (historical and current) during this time, and point to events and programming we find to be educational as well as entertaining.
Even so, we are a small operation with limited (albeit growing) reach, and we know a lot of black folks feel skeptical about BHM — it always seems like the same old, same old — Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, and the black movie, tv show or person du jour get celebrated in the national news, and then everybody forgets (or tries to forget) about African-American history until next year.
Last night, however, as I was flipping through cable before going to bed, I noticed there was not only an increased amount of black programming (and not just on BET or TV One or PBS), it was more varied than ever. So much so, I wasn’t even sure what to watch: “Angel Heart” with Lisa Bonet and Mickey Rourke, a horror thriller set in New Orleans and the world of voodoo (which reminded me of a time where the media considered Bonet the controversial one from “The Cosby Show”), “School Daze”, the Spike Lee movie set at an all-black college in the South, or “Iceberg Slim: Portait of a Pimp”, a 2012 documentary produced by Ice T, primarily chronicling the author’s experiences in Chicago and Los Angeles.
I had been thinking about “School Daze” earlier that day, so I took it as a sign and flipped to that. It was the scene where the light-skinned sorority girls (lead by Tisha Campbell-Martin and Jasmine Guy) bump into the dark-skinned girls (lead by Kyme and Joie Lee) and go into a full-on musical fantasy where they square off as they sing “Good and Bad Hair.”
My jaw about dropped — I saw this movie in the theatre when I was in college, but I’d forgotten how provocative the lyrics and the visuals were. I mean, this movie was released in 1988 and had black women going hard for each other over hair, calling each other “high-yellow” and “jigaboo,” holding up fans with images of Hattie McDaniel as Mammy and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett to taunt one another! Up until Chris Rock‘s 2009 documentary “Good Hair,” when had this subject matter ever received exposure in mainstream entertainment?
I’d also forgotten how talented the actors and dancers were/are, blending traditional and historical dancing styles and choreography with contemporary steps, and how creative and original Lee was to even imagine doing a number like this in what was then only his second motion picture.
The next scene was a frat hazing scene where pledges where being paddled and this all-too-real violence (as well as the abhorrent misogyny that would soon be coming down the pipe) made me realize the film was deeper and pointed to more problems and issues in the black community than I’d recalled. “School Daze” received its share of flak (at the time and over the years) for being the hodgepodge of styles that it is, but it’s an important, innovative part of Lee’s work as well as black cinema, as relevant as “Dear White People” is in 2015, and fully worth a re-watch and discussion with the new generation of young people and college students.
Jazzed from this rediscovery, I flipped over to the Iceberg Slim documentary. Although I’ve known about Iceberg Slim for decades, I’ve never read his work, dismissing it based on its categorization as “gangsta” literature. Having matured since my 20s however (at least I think I have), I realized I really didn’t know anything about Iceberg Slim other than my perception, so perhaps I should learn more. I’m so glad I did. Not only was the documentary particularly well-executed (creative visuals, innovative music, interesting talking heads and dynamic footage of old Slim interviews), I learned what an intelligent man (Robert Beck) lay behind the Iceberg Slim persona, and how he wrote books such as “Pimp” and “Trick Baby” as cautionary tales rather than celebrations of street life. Even though I don’t (neither does he in his later years) condone or excuse his repulsive criminal behavior and abuse of women, I do recognize he artfully captured and described a very real part of the black experience in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
I also had no idea “Trick Baby” was made into a motion picture by Universal, which helped spur the burgeoning “Blaxploitation” film boom in the 1970s, or that he lived for years only ten blocks away from my grandparents in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles/Inglewood. It was equally fascinating to learn Birdman of Cash Money Entertainment acquired the rights to “Pimp” and Slim’s other works to keep them alive on the Cash Money Content imprint via Simon & Schuster. And now I want to read those books and get that movie.
All in all, these late-night viewings made me even more excited and energized about Black History Month. And when I looked at my DVR this morning, I saw a variety of options casually waiting for me there, too: the latest episodes of the “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Empire”, “Black-ish” and what I hear via Twitter was an incredible performance by D’Angelo on “Saturday Night Live” last night. If that wasn’t enough, I started writing this piece while watching NFL QB Russell Wilson attempt to lead the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl wins, which, if he does, will be a first for an African-American quarterback. (And btw, what an unexpected treat to see Missy Elliott featured in the halftime show with Katy Perry — Missy was fire!)
We all have the ability, even casually, to celebrate and discover (or re-discover) our history, music, literature and culture and I invite all GBN followers to comment, tweet, email or share any unexpected, positive BHM experiences you have. I’m going to continue to chronicle mine alongside more formally-presented stories and articles — looking forward to hearing yours as well!
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson became the first contributor to Derek Jeter’s new website, The Players’ Tribune, on Thursday, using the forum to urge people to donate money to an organization that deals with the problem of domestic violence.
When Jeter started the website Wednesday he promised to offer athletes a forum to communicate with fans without the filter of the news media. He followed through quickly with an essay by Wilson, whose profile was boosted by Seattle’s Super Bowl victory in February. Wilson described himself as a “recovering bully” in the essay, and called for people to talk more openly about the problem of domestic violence.
“This issue is much bigger than N.F.L. suspensions,” Wilson wrote. “Domestic violence isn’t going to disappear tomorrow or the next day. But the more that we choose not to talk about it, the more we shy away from the issue, the more we lose.”
Wilson, 25, said that he was a bully as a child, but that he dealt with his anger issues and now believes there is no place for violence off the field.
Wilson did not address the Ray Rice incident specifically, but he did write that “recent incidents of domestic violence have forced the league, its fans and the players to take a hard look into our collective conscience.” And he urged fans to join his new foundation’s Pass the Peace initiative and donate money to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Russell Wilson hoists the Lombardi Trophy in just his second season as an NFL quarterback. (ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
He didn’t dominate, and he didn’t dazzle. He just won. Again. And this time, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did it on the biggest stage possible, in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, leading his underdog Seattle Seahawks to a 43-8 demolition of Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
In a game where he was supposed to be the “other” quarterback, the second-year pro did exactly what he had to do to win the Lombardi Trophy. Very quietly, he passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl since Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to victory in Supe XXII.
“It’s something I think about, to be the second African-American to win the Super Bowl,” Wilson said. “That’s history right there, man. It’s something special and it’s real. There are so many guys before (me) who have tried to change the game and have done a great job of it.”
While Manning bumbled his way to two interceptions and meaningless Super Bowl passing records, Wilson never tried to do too much. He just calmly completed seven of his first 10 passes on the first two drives — including a 37-yarder to Doug Baldwin — to set up a pair of early field goals and set the tone in the runaway win. He was efficient the entire evening, completing 18 of 25 passes.
Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is interviewed after their 24 to 14 win over the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been added to the NFC roster for the Pro Bowl after Atlanta’s Matt Ryan withdrew due to an injury. Wilson was added to the team on Monday. He will be the sixth Seahawks player in the game, joining offensive linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung, running back Marshawn Lynch, safety Earl Thomas and kick returner Leon Washington.
Wilson threw for 3,118 yards and tied the NFL rookie record with 26 passing touchdowns in the regular season. His finest performance of the year came in Seattle’s NFC playoff loss at Atlanta where Wilson threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-28 loss. Wilson was originally voted a third alternate for the NFC. Ryan was injured in Sunday’s NFC championship game loss to San Francisco.
Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Robert Griffin III. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) & Russell Wilson (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Young quarterbacks have been the dominant storyline of the 2013 season. Of the 12 NFL playoff teams, six start quarterbacks that are either in their first or second year. The days of needing an established veteran at the quarterback position may be over.
Of those five young starting quarterbacks, three are African-American. Rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson will play each other in the premier wildcard game this weekend, with the Washington Redskins hosting the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon. Colin Kaepernick gets a week off, as he helped lead his San Francisco 49ers to a bye.