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Black Boy Fly: St. Louis Pre-Teen Starts Club To Promote Literacy Among His Peers

Representation matters. 

After growing tired of selecting books out of his school's library that featured characters and authors that didn't look like him, 11-year-old Sidney Keys III decided it was time for a new reading curriculum. So, the St. Louis pre-teen started Books N Bros, a reading club for boys that celebrates black books and promotes literacy.

Sidney first got the idea after visiting Missouri's University City bookstore, EyeSeeMe, according to St. Louis Public Radio. The bookstore is known for its large collection of African-American children's books. Upon his first visit, Sidney's mother, Winnie Caldwell recorded a video of her son reading in the store, which garnered more than 62,000 views on Facebook. Almost immediately after the impressive video reception, Sidney came up with the idea to form the book club, using EyeSeeMee as the common meeting grounds.

Since September 2016, Books N Bros has met monthly to discuss one book with a black protagonist that the group votes on for an hour. In the past, the group has read and dissected Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Ty Allan Jackson's The Supadupa Kid, and A Song for Harlem: Scraps of Time by Patricia McKissack. After the hour-long conversation, the boys play video games for thirty minutes at the Microsoft Store nearby.

In addition to group discussions, Book N Bros also invites authors and black, male mentors to attend and speak at each meeting. Ty Allen Jackson, author of Supadupa Kid and the club's inaugural book, Danny Dollar, joined the first meeting on Skype.

Although the main focus is on books with black characters, the club welcomes boys of all different backgrounds, ages ranging from 8-10. And for only a monthly fee of $20, the boys not only get to participate in book meetings, but they also receive worksheets that go along with the theme of the month, snacks, and a selection of more than 250 donated books to take home for their personal collection.

"My motivation is I already love to read but it would be awesome, even better, to read with other people,” he told the radio program. "I want to keep doing it because I don’t know what will make me stop reading because I love to read."

 

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Cam Newton Launches Limited Edition Travel Bag With VINTA Supply Co.

Former NFL MVP Cam Newton has a reputation as one of the most fashion-forward athletes in the world. And now, he's placing his stamp on a new travel accessory.

In early 2019, Newton joined forces with the startup premium accessories company Vinta as a creative partner, and the two have launched Newton's first premium backpack, the TYPE-II C1N, available for pre-order at vinta.co. The bag, according to a press release, is "specifically created for style-conscious travelers and busy city living."

“I’m excited to be working with Vinta and putting my first bag out into the world. It’s called the TYPE-II C1N, and it’s designed for a person like me, with a constant schedule, who doesn’t stop and wants a fashionable, high-quality bag that’s functional for everyday life,” Newton said in a statement. “It’s customizable, stylish, and every feature has been so well thought out and designed. That’s what Vinta embodies: travel made easy. I know they’ve done it for me, and I know they’re going to do it for everyone who buys one.”

The TYPE-II C1N comes in two colors – sand and berry – and is made of a weatherproof coated twill exterior, with features such as a modular leather field pack and dopp kit, space for a 15” laptop, an elevated satin interior, internal mesh pockets, and flat lay panels.

This isn't Newton's first foray into fashion and accessories. Along with turning heads with his outrageous outfits at game days and press conferences, earlier in his career, he launched a menswear line with the Southern department store Belk.

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Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Delta To Relaunch SkyMiles American Express Cards With More Perks For All

Business owners and consumers alike will soon be able to reap even more benefits from the Delta Skymiles American Express Card. Beginning January 30, 2020, cardholders will be able to earn more miles on everyday purchases and access more travel perks.

The relaunched American Express Card portfolio will include 4 tiers of card options for consumers (Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card) and 3 tiers of options for business owners (Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card).

“We’re constantly listening to our customers and spent the last year digging deep on what they expect from an industry-leading Card. The result is a diverse portfolio of redesigned Cards that will deliver rich rewards and benefits that give travelers unmatched options that fit their lifestyle needs,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Customer Engagement & Loyalty, and CEO – Delta Vacations. “Each Card is tailored to what our customers have told us is most important to them – ranging from ways to earn even more miles to travel perks along the way.”

Some new perks for consumers and business owners include earning 2 times the miles for purchases at restaurants and supermarkets, no transaction fees, earn 3 times the miles for airfare and hotel bookings, access to complimentary upgrades and more.

“This is a powerful expression of the backing we provide to our shared customers. We listened to their needs and made exciting changes to the Cards that give them greater value across the board,” said Eva Reda, Executive Vice President, Global Consumer Partnerships, American Express. “With lots of perks that elevate your travel experience, double and triple miles on spending where it counts and so much built-in value, it really pays to have our Delta Cards.”

To learn more about the new perks and their limited time offer (ending on October 31, 2019), visit news.delta.com.

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A view of the atmosphere at the Star-studded Adventure Ride hosted by Polaris Slingshot And RZR on September 12, 2019 in Tenmile, Oregon.
Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Polaris Inc.

Polaris' Slingshot And RZR Offer Unforgettable Behind-The-Wheel Experiences

Polaris is taking customers on a wild ride. The company behind more than 30 products including off-roading vehicles and snowmobiles offers up unforgettable experiences that cater to your inner adrenaline junky.

Earlier in the month, the powersports giant flew members of the press and social media influencers, including Snoop Dogg's son Cordell Broadus, rapper Bia and BMX rider Nigel Slyvester, to Eugene, Oregon for the Polaris All Out Adventure. The daylong event gave participants a behind-the-wheel experience with the Polaris RZR and Polaris Slingshot.

After being in business for more than 60 years, Polaris continues to expand its reach to include a diverse group of consumers. “[It's about] creating accessibility to power sports and an interest that maybe folks didn’t have before because they saw it as something that you had to be off in the woods [to do], or you have to be off in the snow,” Joey Lindahl- Marketing Manager, Customer Growth & Engagement told VIBE.

“We make all that stuff, too — but now this is another option and it is really something that we see resonate with a lot more people than maybe have been our other products in the past.” The company has seen “organic growth” among “young riders, women, and people of color,” added Lindahl.

Among the lineup of impressive creations, the Polaris Slingshot steals the show. The sleek, three-wheel autocycle reaches speeds of up to 130 mph and was designed by Tiger Bracy, Polaris' Senior Manager of Industrial Design.

Bracy has worked with Polaris for more than a decade and is among the small group of black designers in his field. And even after years in the business, Bracy still gets excited to see his designs go from paper to pavement.

“I’ve been doing it so long that I’m used to it,” Bracy shared with VIBE when asked of his reaction to seeing a Slingshot on the road. “I think the first time that I saw something [that I designed] it wasn’t on-road if was an off-road product. It wasn’t [about] seeing someone on it, it was it being manufactured and coming together. Because in my brain I can see this but it’s still on paper, once it's out and it’s there and people are enjoying it? [My] mind [is] blown.”

More customers have identified with the Slingshot than the company anticipated, which allows Polaris to learn more about a diversified group of buyers. Although the Slingshot doesn't have a specific target audience, it was designed to “reach a different buyer,” Bracy explained.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said. “It’s a polarizing vehicle in terms of how you drive it, how it looks, but we wanted to take that risk to go find a new area.”

See more in the video below.

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