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F.U.B.U: Broccoli City Festival Celebrates Your Blackness & Mine

Solange, Smino, Nao, and more celebrate blackness at DC's Broccoli City Festival. 

The 2017 Broccoli City Festival kicked off as it has for the past three years -- with rain showers pouring over Washington D.C. and brisk winds blowing through the Southeast venue. Nevertheless, concert goers trekked through the sinking mud in translucent ponchos and iridescent raincoats to see their favorite artists perform.

Since its conception in 2013, BC Fest has boasted impressive acts, including SZA at its inaugural show, to Future, Erykah Badu, and Jhene Aiko. But this isn't just another show to add to festival season's extensive roster. The event, which is the brainchild of  Brandon McEachern, is apart of a larger initiative to bring "solutions" to the Washington area in regards to health, hunger, and environmental issues. BC was created as a platform for millennials to learn about Earth Day and adopting a clean lifestyle, but in recent years, its underlying goal to celebrate blackness, has come to the forefront. Especially with the current political climate as well as pop stars such as Miley Cyrus reducing hip hop culture to misogynistic lyrics, the need for more movements and events honoring black musicians, artists, and businesses has multiplied.

This year's lineup was a superb group of rap and R&B acts, who not only celebrate their own blackness, but all the different forms of their audience's identity as well. From Solange to Smino and more, here are all of the artists who payed tribute to the culture.

Sir The Baptist Takes Us To Church

Born a pastor's kid, it seemed only natural for Sir the Baptist to incorporate spiritual practices into his act. As one of the very first performances of the day, the Chicago rapper decided to invite his audience to an early church service of sing alongs and rap gospels. The artist's rhymes over soulful beats most definitely left fans feening for more, but it was his powerful vocals and charisma that drew many into the sermon. You didn't have to grow up in a Baptist church to find comfort in his call and response tactics either.

Nick Grant Takes Pride In His Blackness 

South Carolina artist, Nick Grant hit the Broccoli City main stage around mid-afternoon with an enthusiastic set. While he got the crowd riled up with uptempo and choppy beats, he managed to sneak in a number of important messages. One in particular came during his performance of "The Fire," a smooth, R&B-infused track from his 2016 mixtape, '88. "Like living in sadness we are young and we black / Adapting to equipment so no tactics so stop calling me n***a / Cause I take pride in my blackness this is the fire," he rapped while pacing back and forth on the stage.

Smino Celebrates A Black Woman's Worth 

Smino loves black women. That idea was made clear following the release of his debut album, Blkswn, which listens sort of like an ode. As an extended tribute, Smino took the stage -- crutches (he injured his foot during a previous concert), du-rag, and all -- to deliver jazzy tracks from his latest project. With a strong sense of humor and an even stronger accent, the St. Louis native honored the strength, grace, and sexiness of a black woman during his performances of standout tracks like "Anita," "Amphetamine," and "Netflix & Dusse."

Nao Dances To Her Own Beat 

Nao's soothing pitch will hypnotize you, but her dance moves will awaken you and compel you to sway along with her. The British songstress vibrated on a high frequency that her energetic fans just couldn't deny. In a vibrantly patterned pants set, Nao twirled, popped, and bounced on the City Stage to the tunes of her electro-soul and funk tracks like "Girlfriend," "Firefly," and "Bad Blood." Her carefree spirit most definitely embodied the #BlackGirlMagic movement.

Solange Invites You To Have A Seat At The Table 

There's nothing that Solange doesn't think of when it comes to live performances. From her crew's synchronized dance moves to the alluring color scheme, the singer-songwriter delivered a carefully planned set that also left viewers with a sense of confidence and joy. Solange whipped her curly locks to "Don't Touch My Hair," high kicked and shimmied to "Mad," and initiated a sing along to "F.U.B.U." Singing songs primarily from her No. 1 album, A Seat at the Table, Solange left a mark of empowerment on her sea of fans.

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(L-R) Adam Selkowitz, Michael B. Jordan, Toni Braxton and Nick Cannon attend Michael B. Jordan's MBJAM19 at Dave & Buster's Hollywood on July 27, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Lupus LA

Toni Braxton, Nick Cannon And More Attend Lupus LA And Michael B. Jordan's MBJAM19

Over the weekend, Michael B. Jordan and Lupus LA celebrated their 3rd annual MBJAM in Los Angeles (July 27). The non-profit health organization united lupus patients with celebrities, athletes, advocates, and children of all ages at the Dave & Busters Hollywood.

During the star-studded event, the Creed actor shared how his family is connected to the autoimmune disease and how the MBJAM came to be.

"My mom [Donna] suffers from lupus. When we moved to LA as a family and needed resources to help her, Lupus LA was the first place we turned [to]. They've been awesome to us, so we wanted to give back in a meaningful way. That's when MBJAM was born," he said.

 

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@michaelbjordan shares his vision behind #MBJAM, and why families play such a critical role within a patient’s #lupus journey. A lupus diagnosis isn’t something you should face alone. 🧡

A post shared by Lupus LA (@lupusla) on Jul 27, 2019 at 9:40pm PDT

Partnering with American Airlines, Coach, GSK, and Warner Bros., all lupus patients and their families attended the charity event for free. Lupus LA raises funds under three core values, as stated in a press release, supporting medical research, providing patient services, and promoting awareness and advocacy. A total of $13M has been raised for the cause mainly through special events including MBJAM.

Nick Cannon (who's also been open about his life with lupus) led the event as the Master of Ceremonies and Jamie Foxx, Toni Braxton (who also narrates Lupus LA's PSA for their #YourStoryOurFight campaign), Kyrie Irving, Omari Hardwick, Storm Reid, and more made special appearances.

Lupus LA chairman Adam Selkowitz kicked off the program by welcoming over 250 lupus patients and families. "The more we can do to give a face to what is so often referred to as an 'invisible' disease, the greater shot we have at finding a cure," said Adam Selkowitz, Chairman of Lupus LA in a press release.

For more information visit www.LupusLA.org. See more pictures from the event down below.

 

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Billboard And The Hollywood Reporter To Host First-Ever Pride Summit

Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter have joined forces to launch their first ever Pride Summit. The inaugural event will take place Aug. 8 at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood and will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the contributions they have made to the arts and entertainment. The summit will provide attendees with "thoughtful panels and conversations" stemming from editorial information and insight both brands possess about what LGBTQ+ audiences consume.

Pride Summit follows in the footsteps of other inclusive and diverse, live-events such as Billboard's Latin Week, Women in Music, and Hip-Hop and R&B Summit, as well as The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment and Empowerment in Entertainment. The minds behind the summits, newly hired VP of Pride Alexis Fish, VP of Cultural Media Datwon Thomas, and VP of Latin Leila Cobo "support strategic content pillars with a dedicated focus on short-form video, data, and real-life events."

In a press release, Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group president Deanna Brown explained the creation of Pride Summit. "Our company has a year-round dedication to diversity, inclusion, and representation, and we're proud to establish the summit during this year's historic summer of pride to honor the LGBTQ in real life," she said.

"This event, our new hire of Alexis Fish and our comprehensive editorial and data products underscore our commitment and expertise in super-serving the LGBTQ+ community in a multitude of ways."

Aside from the illuminating panels, Pride Summit, which falls on the same day as Billboard's annual Pride Issue, will feature the issue's cover star, top LGBTQ+ artists and industry executives. The panels will discuss a variety of topics such as bringing LGTBQ+ voices into the songwriters' room, upcoming queer artists, eradicating homophobia, and the best methods on welcoming queer and gender non-conforming people in the workplace.

In addition to the new event that Billboard curated with THR, the brand has announced two, new Pride scholarships that will cover the costs of its Music Industry Essentials course at the NYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Students will receive valuable insight on the music industry, from music production to history and marketing; they will also have the opportunity to learn from Billboard staff members and music industry leaders.

The winners of the scholarships will be announced at the summit, and more information about the course and the scholarship (applications are open through July 30) can be found here.

Registration for the summit is open BBTHRPrideSummit.com. Specific participants will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Carol's Daughter Founder Lisa Price Reflects On Selling Company And More At The 'In Between Series'

October 2014 was supposed to be one of the highest points in Lisa Price’s life. Instead, it felt like one of the lowest for the Carol’s Daughter founder. That month, the entrepreneur announced that she’d sold her company to one of the largest cosmetic brands, L’Oreal. As a result,  many onlookers and supporters vocalized their disappointment, especially Black Twitter, and accused the Brooklyn-born success story of being a “sell out” quick to leave behind her people to chase a dollar.

While many felt the move would result in the end of hair milk moisturizers as we know it, Cornell University professor, Noliwe Rooks, wasn’t wrong when she said: "[Lisa’s] love for that community and love for black women and economic possibility for black people is as much a part of her creation story and her narrative as whatever her products would do for your hair."

5 years and a 25th-anniversary milestone later, I would soon learn how Price handled the criticism and learned from her experience.

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As several aspiring entrepreneurs and industry shakers gathered in the Made By We workspace for the intimate In Between Series facilitated by Tiffany Hardin, founder of boutique consultancy, Gild Creative Group, I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive in hearing what Lisa had to say —mainly because of, well, haters. Admittedly, I was a hater by association when the sale was first announced. I keke’d along with tweets that accused her of giving in to “The Man” while I was rocking a weave with a permed leave out. Clearly, I was in no position to laugh. While hearing her reflect on that trying time at this event, I left with not only a better understanding of why she decided to sell her company but also with a couple of her products in my Amazon Prime cart. Above all, the happy 57-year-old mother of three kept it real about her journey during the event and dropped gems too shiny to pass up during the audience Q&A.

When asked about how someone who had zero experience owning a business ended up being the owner of such a profitable and preeminent company, Lisa's response was simple. “Just because you’re not in a certain space, doesn’t mean you can’t dominate it.” And dominate she did. For those who don’t know, let’s take it back. In 1993,  Lisa Price began her business in the kitchen of her Brooklyn home. Originally, Lisa created natural fragrances, body butters, and oils for skin care but after realizing several people weren’t showing her love at craft fairs for not having hair products, Lisa began making them. $27M, a Home Shopping Network (HSN) partnership, and several fully-stocked shelves in Sephora, Target, and Ulta later, Lisa became living proof that it’s possible to be successful in a field you otherwise knew nothing about.

Despite selling her company to L’Oreal, Lisa remains heavily involved and committed to her “child”, Carol’s Daughter, until she’s ready to retire. (Don’t let her angel-kissed skin fool you, sis is seasoned.) “ I’ve been doing this for 26 years...When your child is 26, they need their mom but not every day. I don’t need to be there as much.”

However, it wasn’t all easy choices. There were several times when Lisa was presented with the opportunity to take her business to the next level, but they just didn’t feel right to her. “I needed help. [But] I wasn’t desperate,” she admitted. Although she met with many big bank bosses, she held out until she found the right partner - one who understood her. That key player ended up being Steve Stoute. Through their partnership, Lisa was able to fulfill her vision, one that most prominent beauty brands still don't fully see. “Beauty companies need to understand that we’re no longer buying ‘the box,’” Lisa stressed.

To us, going natural means not having a perm made by Just For Me and protective styles are braids. To Lisa’s 12-year-old daughter, the word “natural” when it pertains to hair doesn’t mean much because, well, not it’s just hair. ”What happens when we all raise children that just look at it like hair?” Price asked. “My daughter has no perspective of [a] relaxer and she doesn’t go to the salon.” Like Lisa’s daughter, Generation Z is being raised in a time where young girls are celebrated for rocking their natural tresses and cornrows or ponytails are just an added accessory to an otherwise fierce look. Hair is not unique and Lisa feels that big cosmetic brands need to understand that there will be a shift in consumerism. “There has to come a time where we don’t buy shampoo in our own section,” said Price. “You can just line up all the shampoos, I’ll I know how to read, find one that I need… I don’t need to go to a separate aisle.”

And if you really think about it, hair really is just hair. We’re all born with it. There is no need to go to the ethnic aisle just to buy some conditioner. As long as you educate yourself, know what works for you, and can read the ingredients on a bottle. Any product, regardless of the brand, could be a fit for you.

With that being true, shouldn’t we have been rooting for Lisa instead? Shouldn’t we want for as many people as possible to use her bomb dot com product line and support her business? “Everybody needs to get comfortable with folks building stuff,” Lisa stressed. “That’s what we gotta do until we can build it and have wealth….Wealth doesn’t go away. It stays with your family.”

The backlash from selling her company was a lot, but it didn’t break her. Instead, Lisa turned that moment into a learning opportunity because, at the end of the day, no Twitter bird is writing her story but her. And no one should ever write your story for you. “As transparent as I thought I was being about [selling Carol’s Daughter], people were writing a whole different story for me. But you can’t write my story. I’m living it and so I used the opportunity to teach.” When chasing success, you will have uncomfortable moments, and how you move in them will define how far you’ll actually go.

As the In Between Series conversation and Q&A came to an end, Price revealed that these days she invests in people instead of businesses, and offered advice to those entrepreneurs in attendance and offered suggestions like the importance of having a financial advisor and paying taxes. “In this day and age, [you need an accountant] because you’re probably going to make money online and they have receipts for that,” she pointed out. “That’s real, that’s not cash when someone Venmo’s you. You might not need an accountant on retainer but you need to understand ‘What’s my liability?,’ ‘What do I need to deduct?,’ ‘When do I 1099?’” Price continued: “As soon as you get money, you have to know how to pay taxes ‘cause they never go away.”

Price answered another question about mentorship and reminded attendees that it’s good to follow and seek out, but just be inspired by them. “You can find those people to follow and to watch and to listen to,” she said. “You just don’t want to try to be them… just watch how they move.”

At the end of the day, the goal is to build a legacy for your family, an empire that still stands long after you’re gone, while expanding its reach across generations and races. So was Lisa’s decision worth it? I’d say very much so.

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Guild Creative Group's “The In Between Series” is a conversation series that brings together unique founders and leaders across the beauty, fashion, tech, and culinary industries to share their journeys of entrepreneurship.”

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