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Contents 2018


Level Up Motivation! 06

Did You Know? Little known facts to incite motivation & creativity

Business & Technology 08

Is leadership created or instinct


Great Black Men & Women in Tech Forging the way!


Cover Feature: Ofo Ezeugwu Whose Your Landlord?


Cover Feature: Janeya Griffin, CEO of “The Commercializer”

Urban Money Matters: 22

“The Debt Free Black Girl” Kristin Sutton

Fashion 24

Fashion Brands with a Message


Shop the Black Business School


Rihanna Million-Dollar Fenty: Beauty meets Business

ART 30 Freedom Gallery FeatureDeveja Webb 34 What we can all learn from Basquiat 36 Mexico allowing artists to sell their paintings to pay taxes: Resurrection of Art in Business

Music 38

Independent Music artists keeping your mind woke & eardrums lit!


Nipsey Hussle: The keys to financial freedom & taking risks going where you have never been to do what you have never seen, for results your community needs!

Entertainment 44

KweliTv Feature & Partnership


Movers & Shakers en route to taking Black Hollywood by storm

CREDITS Founder & Editor-in-Chief Mercedez McIntyre Writers: Shade Bowman Melanin Reigns Michelle Reed Rasheedah Merritt Tahirah Wiley Cover Photographer for Janeya Griffin: Cody Allred Cover Photographer of Ofo Ezeugwu: Dontez Henderson Photography Contributor: Priscilla Marie Photography Graphics: Jayden Designs West Coast Creative Director: Randolph Holly Partners:

Entertainment Contributor: KweliTV

Finance Contributor: The Debt Free Black Girl

Message FROM THE EDITOR The way we see it at Urban Freedom Magazine is that all uncertainty has the ability to teach lessons when applied correctly. Created to teach persistence, faith beyond what your eyes can see, commitment even when things look ugly and a spirit of grateful ambition. This can be applied no matter what the situation may be for inevitable results of progress.

Welcome to 2018!


017 was a year of unexpected twists and turns. From natural disasters, uncertainty in government and politics, exposure of wrongdoing by leaders, and even spilling over into the sports arena. Throughout such an uncertain year I have come across people of all backgrounds including myself who had their own interpersonal year of uncertainty. As I listened to each individual, some through business and others through a personal or social connection they all related! Every single one trying to figure out how to find the bridge between that which they see and that which they hope for. Trying to find a bridge between success in business and success in personal relationships. Finding a bridge between generational hurt and the prayer for a better life beyond that which they know. Creating a new bridge between loved ones lost through death and a new life without those we never imagined losing. With all of that, we closed the year making it to see 2018, which is a sign we still have a purpose to serve and a reason to hold onto hope pressing forward even during uncertainty. So with all that 2017 held, still living in a world of uncertainty, what can a person hold onto for 2018?

2018 is a year to use what you have been given to maximize opportunity. We can’t predict our future but we can build stamina during times of uncertainty that will equip us for times of success. Do not despise the day of “small beginnings”. For those who rush in the process also forsake the skills needed to maintain the success that they seek. Our “Black History in the Making” issue highlights entrepreneurs who have taken the tools given to them to press forward no matter what. Each journey holding stories of uncertainty leading to triumph. As you read each article, bio, journey keep in mind that we are all human. That no person is above periods of uncertainty. However, we all contain the ability to keep applying brick by brick day by day to build that which we hope for. Each person you see here is a testament to that. As you walk into this new year and read this issue think about your own life, lessons and how you can get to work with your own figurative hammer and nails. To build the future your faith sees even when your eyes do not. This is Black History in the Making and remember, so are you! Power, Love & Sound-mind, Mercedez J. McIntyre Founder & Editor-in-chief

Level Up Motivation!


Little known facts to incite inspiration & spark the mind. By: Mercedez McIntyre

Omari Hardwick


id you know, Omari Hardwick ended up following his passion for acting only after his first dream took an unexpected turn. A knee injury during the time he finally landed a spot in the NFL! At the time Hardwick had a set course to play for the Los Angeles Chargers. Can you imagine the amount of fear that would overcome someone when betting all on a dream?! Now imagine how this story would have ended if Omari Hardwick didn’t open is mind to being flexible about the plan God has for his life with the courage to press forward. Talk about a comeback story!

Erykah Badu


id you know @ErykahBadu was sentenced to 6 months probation & fined for disorderly conduct creating visuals for the powerful song “Window Seat”? The video was shot in Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated in 1963. “My point was grossly misunderstood all over America,” she said on “The Wanda Sykes Show.” “John F Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt-naked truth,” she told the comedienne. Can creativity exist with boundaries?

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Level Up Motivation! The Fugees


“The Score” by The Fugees was not only an entire 20-track album that reached heights most in hip-hop strive to meet but did you know it was created in Wyclef Jean’s basement. Using funds from their first failed album the group put together a small studio in the basement called. Recording began in 1995 & took longer than most expected. However, Wyclef described it as a “relaxed pace” by stating “It was done calmly, almost unconsciously. There wasn’t any pressure - it was like “let’s make some music,” and

it just started forming into something amazing. It sounded like a feel-good hip-hop record to us, and it was different than what anyone was doing at the time. It was three kids from an urban background expressing themselves.”

Lauryn Hill stated “It’s an audio film. It’s like how radio was back in the 1940s. It tells a story” Being authentic & in divine timing is the only way to go!

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Business & Technology

Is leadership created or instinctive? By: Melanin Reigns

What separates a leader from a follower, is their response to outside opinions of themselves. These opinions can be as simple as a friend speaking negatively about you, or as general as a commercial telling you, you need to buy something to be someone. How you see and affirm yourself determines how prosperous you’ll be. Divine leadership is instinctive. However, political and other forms of leadership are created. All forms of leadership require high levels of authenticity. Regardless of how a leader is viewed, their confidence and ability to persevere is the reason for the position they hold. Trials throughout life have the ability to weigh on self-esteem, if not rectified. Prior to the universal shift to a higher state of awareness, conformity was a hiding place for the majority of us.

Credit The Integral Business Leadership Group

Now, as we ascend, we are learning that we all possess the abilities to lead. Let’s find out . . . Leadership takes initiative. A mixture of being fearless, self-assured and unorthodox. We all specialize in areas, in which it is our birthright to reap the abundance in that field. Our prosperity is not limited to any particular stream. However, it is guaranteed to flow wherever we set focus.

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This does not always mean leading a large group of people, but we absolutely should lead our own lives.

Business & Technology Here are some tips to evolve in the vibration of leadership: Be confident Abundance & mastery is your birthright. Do not be afraid of what you can achieve. Stop worrying about who will and will not be made uncomfortable by your success. Commit to your craft As a leader, you should be constantly creating, in order to become a better version of yourself! Communicate clearly Speak up! Why?

Trust your inner voice, what works for others may not work for you. Trust your spirit, and your ego will not feel threatened. It is the temporary panic of the body detaching from the spirit that can conjure destructive leadership skills. Ex: Dictatorship Take care of yourself In order to reach out to others as your best self, you must begin within. Studying yourself keenly will provide vital pivoting points that can assist you in relation to others.

To acquire what you need, and get things done. When you take out time to communicate effectively, you inspire others to feel just as free to manifest their vision through networking & proper delegation. Listen Great speakers are superb listeners. A critical part of communication is listening (with discernment). Everyone should be considered when carrying out the vision. This is where self-assurance steps in to guide you. All advice isn’t “good” advice but something positive can be drawn from everything. Find your formula and expand upon it consistently If it works “don’t change it, expand it”. Recreate the elements that have proven to be successful. This may mean acquiring updated resources, investing more money, time, focus etc.

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Business & Technology

15 Great Black Men & Women in Tech Forging the way! By: Tahirah Wiley

Aaron Russell San Francisco, CA Aaron Russell is the Tech Lead within Facebook Edge Strategy Network Engineering team. Russell negotiates agreements covering internet interconnect, peering colocation, and content distribution services among many other tasks. He was also a speaker at the Afro Tech Conference 2017. aaron.russell.3914

Andrea Moore San Francisco Bay Area, CA Andrea Moore is the Founder and CEO of the organization Black Tech Woman(BTW). BTW is a community built for black women in the technology ecosystem to connect, learn, and grow. Moore currently is the WW Growth Lead for Apple since 2016. This position consists of recruiting and managing a team of five. She is also the one to execute partnerships with companies like Google, Samsung, Lyft, eBay, and More.

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lthough technology consumes the world around us there still remains a huge gap in the inclusion of AfricanAmerican entrepreneurs. Yet and still the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley has not stopped those with a mission to open the doors for the black community to not only be consumers but contributors. You are taking a look at present day “Black History� This touches home here at Urban Freedom Magazine as we strive as well to break barriers in Black Owned Media by turning our digital publication into an interactive framework that we will be extending into 2018.

Angela Benton San Francisco, CA Angela Benton is the Founder and CEO of Black Web Media. Under Black Web Media she founded both the NewMeConference and the NewMeAccelerator. The goal for the company is to create a more diverse and inclusive economy in the internet world. Benton is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design. She graduated with a B.A. in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design.

Business & Technology Chris Bennett San Francisco, CA Chris Bennett is the CEO of Soldsie, a tech company that helps merchants to sell products through social media. Benett is also the CEO of Wonder school, which makes it easy for teachers to start a school out of their home, and also for those parents in need of finding those schools. Bennett graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics. 8ennett

Courtney Eimerman-Wallace Washington, DC Courtney Eimerman-Wallace is a front-end developer, designer, and UX leader at the United States Digital Service team at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Eimerman-Wallace is the director of Technology for the company Color of Change. Eimerman-Wallace stated she is dedicated to using technology to improve access to create opportunities for underrepresented communities. She also serves as a board member for LGBTTech Institute.

Dineo Seakamela Greater Chicago Area Dineo Seakamala is the COO of Black Tech Mecca, which translates to the brains of the Black Tech community. Seakamala is originally from the heart of South Africa. She stated on LinkedIn (which is a professional networking site) that her current goal is to “Make tech accessible to continental and diasporic Africans, by using data to define and retell the story of innovation in our communities.� Her ultimate intention is to establish an operational framework that creates a new generation of global Black Tech practitioners who challenge limiting social norms and break down stubborn, systematic barriers.

A Conversation with Black Tech Mecca

Erica Joy Baker Oakland, CA Erica Joy Baker is the Senior Engineer at Slack Technologies and the advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech. At Slack, Baker built the Native client build and release infrastructure. Baker began a career in tech over 15 yrs ago starting with Domain Administration at the University of Alaska statewide system.

Video Credit: Synap Journeys

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Business & Technology Greg Greenlee Cincinnati, OH Greg Greenlee is the Founder of the Blacks in Technology organization. Greenlee works as a system and Network Engineer and has spent over 15 years in the information technology field. His experience includes networking, IT security, system administration, virtualization/cloud computing, and storage administration. The ultimate vision is to create an online technology hub where “knowledge and experiences can be shared, news and information can be obtained, relationships can be forged, and a community can grow.” blkintechnology

Hadiyah Mujhid San Francisco Bay Area, CA Hadiyah Mujhid is a software engineer and entrepreneur. Mujhid is the founder & Manager of HBCUvc, which has been awarded a Kauffman Foundation Inclusion, Open Grant. Mujhid has over 13 years of experience as a software engineer and has built web and mobile applications for startup and mid-size corporations.

Kaya Thomas Staten Island, NY Kaya Thomas created a mobile application as a way to encourage people to read the work of Black Authors. The directory contains more than 600 children’s and young adult fiction books. Thomas was honored in 2015 on BET’s Black Girls Rock! an award show for educating people of color in technological and cultural literacy. She was also named one of Glamour magazine’s 2016 College Women of the year. Her app is said to have more than 5000 users currently.

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Business & Technology Kimberly Bryant San Francisco Bay Area, CA Kimberly Bryant is an electrical engineer who worked in the biotechnology field at Genentech, Novartis Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Merck. She is also the Founder of Black Girls Code. This camp was created, in thought of her daughter Kai, for girls of color to be introduced to computer science with the goal of building a new generation of coders. “We are creating a powerful community of women skilled and confident about what they can create in the workplace,” Bryant told USA Today. She stated she plans to reach 1 million girls by 2040.

Laura Weidman Powers San Francisco Bay Area, CA Laura Weidman Powers is the Co-Founder & CEO of Code 2040. Code 2040 places software engineering students of color internships with major tech companies and startup companies as well. Powers is a Harvard and Stanford MDA graduate. The John S. and James L Knight foundation gave CODE2040 a 1.2 million grant to assist with the expansion of the company. laurawp

Marian R Croak Fair Haven, New Jersey Marian R. Croak is the SVP at the AT&T Labs. She is also the creator of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Croak currently owns over 135 patents with many more that are under review. In 2013 she was inducted into the Women in Technology International’s Hall of fame in recognition of her achievements in tech. marian_croak.pdf marian-croak-926361bb

Tristan Walker San Francisco, CA Tristan Walker has been named as Ebony Magazine’s 100 Most powerful people list, to name one of the few titles he has been honored with. Not to mention the Forbes 100 list. Walker is the Founder and Chairman of Code 2040. It is a program that matches high performing black & Latino undergraduate and graduate coders, and software engineering students with Silicon Valley startups for summer internships. Walker recently raised $24 million for his modern personal care line for people of color. He is a man on the move creating his own business “Bevel Brand”

Wayne Sutton San Francisco, CA Wayne Sutton has 14 years of experience in technology from various angles. Sutton has CoFounded and/or worked alongside multiple non-profit organizations and programs in the tech world. One of those including the NewMe Accelerator, the first minority led startup accelerator/incubator in Silicon Valley, which was featured in CNN “Black in America 4”. He has been featured on a list of media sites, such as USA Today and TechCrunch, and was also recognized as one of the Silicon Valley 100 coolest people in tech. Sutton is currently one of the leading voices in diversity and inclusion in tech.

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Business & Technology

Whose Your Landlord? The Man that will ensure you can finally answer that question beyond a name By Mercedez McIntyre

How can other renters or students avoid such landmines?


t’s winter of 2011 in Baltimore, MD. I am a transfer student at Morgan State University. Returning home from an interview to find my heat has been turned off. Like most students, funds are tight and I am renting a room whereas my heating & gas bill is included! Long story short I found out the man in which I was renting from was actually renting a foreclosed property with the utility bills in the name of previous renters! How could I have avoided renting from someone with such charisma?

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For every answer, we only can hope for solutions. In this case, Ofo Ezeugwu has done just that! He has a solution, which is absolutely needed when it comes to handing over such large sums of money to a landlord. How can you trust who they are? The background process is a one-way street. I had the pleasure of a great conversation with the Founder of “Whose your Landlord” Ofo Ezeugwu and the choice of words is no accident but of literal context. Check out how this ambitious young man saw a global problem and took an idea into a full-blown movement in social impact and technology.

Business & Technology The power dynamic is very one-sided. The name is called “Land LORD”. They are lord of your land yet you have no idea who they are. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What type of funding is needed for such a project in social technology? How do you even begin to know how much is needed for such a project? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: In the beginning, I honestly was naive to the amount of funding needed. When I started in 2013 which isn’t a long time ago yet it is in the world of technology.

@UrbanFreedomMagazine: Where are you from? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: Paterson, NJ & grow up in Ellicott City, MD. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What was your upbringing like growing up? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: Both of my parents immigrated to the United States, my Dad came from Nigeria, my mom came from Barbadoes. They met in college in Buffalo, NY. I have 3 other siblings. Growing up my parents enabled me to dream and achieve. I was taught high work ethic and to live a life of moral standards. When I look back on it I thought my parents were strict. As an adult, I see they just held a level of standards for me that they knew I needed at a young age. I apply everything they taught me and I am grateful for them. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: How did you come up with the name “Whose your landlord”? & What it is it, for our readers who are unaware. @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: My senior year at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, I was Vice President of the student body. One of the biggest issues students had in Philadelphia was housing. With the rise of gentrification, housing became harder. This really resonated with the students. The word “whose” was chosen as using the word as ownership. Exactly who are you renting from?

When I came up with the initial capital, I worked on campus, acted, modeled, and used that to pull resources. From there, the funding for the platform was seeded through crowd-funding and through close friends and family. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What does your day to day schedule entail? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: “Every day putting each foot before the other”. The night before each day I have a prioritization and goal chart that I write out to make sure I know what I need to do. I also do this for the team every Sunday so everyone has knowledge going into the week of what needs to be tackled. 10 am is our daily start meeting where we go over priorities for the day. The day then commences in different directions daily. Between investor meetings, community meetings, I also travel frequently between Philadelphia and New York as a constant. Outside of the main two cities, I balance I also do traveling across the US to meet with partners, investors, planning, and seizing opportunities presented to us. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What community services or outreach do you participate in? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: I get asked a lot to speak at schools in general. It started in college when I began running a project where we took

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Business & Technology groups of college students and paired them with youth that matched their upbringing to talk to them about college. With in-depth conversation and active participation in providing leadership to help many who pass by colleges every day without every thinking, the door of opportunity includes them. In doing so one student asked me “Where is Temple University?”. This was puzzling because it was right around the corner. However sometimes when we get used to seeing something we forget it’s there. I still speak at schools, universities, etc. The exciting part is that my business is geared towards community impact so it ties in with my schedule. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle but what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: If my mind isn’t right then I am not right. I keep my personal team of family and friends around me to keep me grounded. I also make sure I get my rest and sleep, I’ve never been apart of team no sleep because it is counterproductive. I need my mind right and my energy up. I love community events, music, and art shows. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: How did your friends and family adjust to your lifestyle and entrepreneurial transition? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: Fortunately, I started this right after college so I was already used to being broke. The humility aspect was already built in! However, in the areas, I needed assistance my friends and family were actually my support system. They taught me how to ask for help. If you are going to let people help you, make it easy as possible. Friends and family saw my passion and drive. So they actually helped to fuel me

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even more instead of standing in my way. This helped the process go even faster. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What roadblocks did you face business-wise or personally? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: I had adjusted to being broke personally, but the roadblock was getting financing for the business out of thin air. There are some things we can’t take control over but we all have to find ways for us to get around it. I say that to say that as a minority startup we only get 1% of funding. The reality sucks and even at my meetings where I may be the only minority with a line of certain questions. For example “your very well spoken”. I learned very broadly how important capital is to learning a business, therefore I know how to move among rooms in effective ways. We have raised a quarter million in capital, which is a lot. I am aware that a guy of another race can walk in and get more than that in one meeting, but it has prepared us to know how to do a lot with a little. Although it is a speed bump I know we’ll make it, turn that money around and invest in other Black Businesses.

Business & Technology Urban Freedom Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Question: @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What advice would you give to others going through the growing pains of seeing who they are vs. where they want to be? @Ofo Ezeugwu Response: Three things come to mind. Keep going. I know it sounds so simple but I literally mean it. Things may start out great but no matter what you keep going. Half the battle is staying long enough to see something really happen. People who are super successful are always failing. Social media is so loud. I can go online and say I will do a,b,c and if I don’t do it nobody cares. So realize it doesn’t matter what people see because they will soon forget it. Just keep trying and they will remember all that you did do.

Always open your mind to learning. Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Even on my team as COO, everyone is smarter than me in their position. That is why they are on my team. It keeps you on your toes. Head over to WYL website to find out more, join the conversation and renting resources you wish you knew! Website: Instagram & Twitter: @wylandlord Email:

If you have a story that you feel is WYL Blogworthy, share it with them!

Ever been duped by a fake landlord?

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Business & Technology

Janeya Griffin

CEO of “The Commercializer” From Providing strategy to NASA, to helping aspiring entrepreneurs monetize their talents through technology By: Mercedez McIntyre *Please note this interview was not conducted on behalf of NASA or any affiliation. Janey Griffin is a contractor for NASA through Jacobs Engineering.


had the utmost pleasurable and enthusiastic conversation with Janeya Griffin. Her voice springs with joy and peace simultaneously in such a way that you can’t decide if you want to be friends with her or taught by her. Armed with passion, vision, and an upbringing which taught her tenacity through faith. Griffin is a down to earth example of hope for a generation. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What was your upbringing like growing up? @Janeya Griffin Response: I had a very good and stable upbringing for the most part... Around 16 both of my parents were incarcerated. Not for major reasons or a very extensive amount of time but it was life-altering. After they returned things were still rocky. They both tried their best to land back on their feet. I specifically remember how hard it was for my mom to find work again. She had a good job

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Business & Technology before things shifted but with her record smudged finding work became a battle that sent her into a depressive state. She would go into interviews courageously and humbly being honest about her re-

@Janeya Griffin Response: My mom was always who I looked up to. As I said before the previous struggles around the age of 16 made it hard as I watched my hero go through so many phases.

My life has always taken unexpected twists and turns but I am a firm believer that things will always turn out for my good.

cord with the ability to explain exactly what happened. Yet and still it impacted her in ways that made me look at incarceration differently. My mother, my role-model took that hit extremely hard. To go from such success to struggle from a small mistake took a very long time for her to recover. It becomes so hard for people even with the smallest infractions. I can say growing up it made me into who I am. My life has always taken unexpected twists and turns but I am a firm believer that things will always turn out for my good. Of course in the middle of those moments it was hard to see but as an adult, I realize that such independence so early shaped me into being an independent woman in a positive manner. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Who did you look up to and why?

candy that my friends and I liked. So I would go out and make friends. I am a people person. I would meet them and sell them candy. Then when my mom and her friends would go out I offered every time to babysit for a price. I always liked to keep busy and enjoyed coming up with ideas and following through. At the same time, I remember my dad used to always make us play these trivia games. Of course back then it could be annoying but now I realize I was being groomed.

Yet her will to succeed I inherited and am grateful for. I would also say my best friend growing up. She read a lot, always had ambitions of college at a young age. She set a standard. She ended up going to Princeton, working at Morgan Stanley, joined the Navy and now she is in Law school. Watching her go through all she has to accomplish these ambitions let me know that I can do anything I put my mind too. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What were your passions growing up that you can see were paths to where you are now? @Janeya Griffin Response: Growing up I didn’t know I was an entrepreneur. As I got older and found out the meaning I realized I had been an entrepreneur my whole life. When I was younger my mom would let me pick out

I used to hate math with a passion. Then one day it clicked. I was in about 5th grade and after that, I learned to apply concepts and used it for math. I understood it in a different way because I saw it with different eyes. I love having solutions for a problem. When I was in high school I did an internship at NASA. Which in turn is the same space center I am at now. Overall looking back on it, now that you ask, my entire life was preparing me for where I am now before I knew it. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: How did the name “The Commercializer” come about and what is the mission? @Janeya Griffin Response: My mission is to get the word out to my community about commercialization, licensing, access to testing technology and things of that nature. A large portion of our

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Business & Technology community hasn’t been told that they can have access to federal labs to test their own products. That made me want to teach my community. Through my consulting, I want to lead businesses to understand what it means to truly create technology-based businesses. I want our ideas patented. If it is patented what are you doing with it? Do you know how to monetize it? I have that expertise and wanted to exercise it. The name is also a play on words. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What are a few of the unexpected high or low points? @Janeya Griffin Response: Everybody is not for the culture, per say. Some people are only in it for their own selfish reasons. For example, only a few positions are available for our people in some industries. So sometimes instead of helping each other, there are people that will deter you because they worry about you taking their position. I experienced that myself when attempting to reach out to someone and told him what I wanted to do and asked if he could come on board. That was the first problem. 2 months later my ideas on are on his website. I even called him to ask if it stemmed from our conversation. He actually admitted it. That was my first lesson. I tell people from now on do not share your ideas without the proper protection. I had to pray on it and not let my emotions respond. After that, I had to look at it from a differ-

ent view. It gave credibility to my idea that someone so high up from me, with so much access to things I don’t have saw my idea as something to actually implement. Nobody can ever truly take your blessing. That is something I know about myself and life. The high parts would be now. I went through a phase where it was just so hard for me to get started in certain ways. For example, I needed my website done and kept procrastinating because I wanted to do it myself. My business partner gave me the last push like “Just pay someone and get it done”. For me, I like to do everything myself. I had to realize I need to have an expert step in since it is their field and I focus on mine. It came out perfect. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Is your time primarily dedicated to your business? @Janeya Griffin Response: Most of my time is split up between my contracting work at NASA, I referee high school basketball, and I also have my business. I am able to do what I am doing now because I have a good team that is just as passionate and they are my accountability partners. When I am slacking or feeling like I just want to kickback they are the most supportive. That is what you need, people who push you when you don’t feel like it. I know that is part of why God put them in my life. I also believe it is important to have balance. I need sleep.

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I know me well enough to know I need proper rest to accurately get everything done. People say “I’ll sleep when I am dead”. Not me, I am doing it now. I kid you not. I regain my energy to accomplish all of my goals. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: How do you balance such a schedule between all roles and responsibilities? @Janeya Griffin Response: Everything aligns when I remove chaos. When there is chaos I pull what I can learn from it. God literally works out everything for me. I move according to listening to him. I keep my mind in positive places as much as I can. Remaining eternally grateful. All that I have been through has gotten me to this point so I rest in knowing that everything is happening the way it is supposed to. I am human so I do have my moments of when I overreact but quickly thereafter I am in prayer. I ask for alignment, discernment and it gives me clarity. My faith has allowed me to experience life in a different way. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Of course, we had to ask, did you see “Hidden Figures”? Were there any portions of the movie you were able to relate to? @Janeya Griffin Response: I went to see the movie and loved it down. I was screaming at the screen and had to calm down, I loved it so much. However, I did not experience that type of racial tension. I don’t work in the lab areas where it is mostly male-dom-

Business & Technology inated. I have friends who have experienced similar things but not for me. I certainly feel those women portrayed in the movie went through those trials for everyone after them. It is through them that I don’t have

to walk into such an atmosphere and I am so grateful for it. Just as our ancestors had to fight for equality on all jobs. Sometimes there are occasions I run into a moments of question outside of NASA. When I went to school in Louisiana I remember entering into places and

being given strange looks because I was a minority and my knowledge took me to places where race was still a point of tension. At this stage in life, I am grateful that in my field things are changing. Race is one area and in gender it’s something we are still pushing into.

Urban Freedom Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Question: @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What advice would you give to the community? @Janeya Griffin Response: Three things: 1. Invest!!! The burning question that is always asked is how do we take action in changing the way the world is? The answer, we don’t! Let the world be the way it is and we create our own world, then if we allow them to be apart of it they can have a seat at OUR table! We are so focused on having a seat at their table that we limit our capabilities and the practicality of using our talents to just create and own our own. Why can’t we be the next Google, or Apple, Tesla, or SpaceX or even better, the next disruptive technology/company that no one has even fathomed. Let’s stop limiting ourselves and realize we are not just employees, but also employers. We are not just consumers but we are creators. Let’s have the world rise to our standards, instead of trying to meet them at theirs and then change them. ​We need to restructure our com munities, the

way we think, the w ay we spend, the way we invest. We need to Invest the black doll ar back into the black community to make any type of Impact. We need to invest into our children and their futures, into our communities, In vest into our mindset, our intellectual assets and what we are learnin g, invest into one another. Doing this will not only create a positive impact within the community, but also a sustainable model that wil l start with the education of our children and keep growing past their generation. 2. Collaboration ov er Competition: It is ok to c ollaborate with others within the same field/industry. There is enoug h of the pie to go around. The only way we will succeed is if we wo rk together as a community. Stop competing with your brother and si ster, be intentional on finding w ays to collaborate. We can all h elp one another get to where we need to be 3. Give with the i ntent to grow: Grow another person, grow another mindset, grow s piritually. Giving

is always better t han receiving, in the gratefulness o f the opportunity to even be able to give. People are placed in unique positions for a reason, so use your talents to teach someone else, to u plift someone else, to connect someone else with a network they might not have had access to if they had not met you. Let’s focus on the value you can bring to people you meet and be ok with knowing that God will return the growth of the seed you plant. Janeya Griffin: Instagram: @JaneyaGriffin Twitter: @JaneyaGriffin

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Urban Money Matters

debt free black girl

Kristin Sutton for some money to eat, losing my entire retirement savings, trying to pay rent with no income which had me evicted and almost street level homeless, and creditors trying to bust down my door every chance they got.

Who am I? Your Winter “Black History in the making” Financial Contributor!


y name is Kristin Sutton, founder of Debt Free Black Girl (based in Washington, DC) whereas a personal finance coach I help individuals change the way they think about money so that they can take control of their finances and achieve financial freedom. As a licensed therapist, my mission is to uncover and eliminate the mental roadblocks that hinder people from living the life of their dreams. I am no stranger to my money “being funny,” being “broke as a joke,” and struggling to survive until my next paycheck. I have been through it all: the negative checking account, having to beg

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Once I gained clarity and committed to changing my mindset, despite my circumstances, despite all obstacles, things started to change. My poor spending habits changed. I stopped living paycheck to paycheck. I started saving and paying off my debt aggressively. I made wiser decisions. My life literally changed forever. My experiences led me to start the Debt Free Black Girl platform; the struggles that I’ve been through. I knew that there had to be someone out there like me who wasn’t taught much about finances growing up and had a hard time navigating it all as an adult. I noticed that people in finance didn’t really look like me or even sound like me. I wanted this to be a different feel. I wanted to make finances fun and cool to talk about in the Black community. I’ve always known that I was

Urban Money Matters meant to help people work through hard times and mindset struggles but I never imagined that I would be doing so in the personal finance realm. It’s really dope that I get to apply my expertise in psychology to what I do with DFBG. I’ve been focusing on creating and launching my signature course, Be Debt Free. Be Debt Free teaches individuals how to pay off their debt with ease so they can have peace of mind and do more of what they love. Here are a few quick tips to get you started on the path to having the most LIT financial year you’ve ever had -1. You gotta keep it 100 with yourself and get clear. In order for change to occur, you have to first get real with yourself and admit that there’s a problem. Why are you on the struggle bus? It’s important that you recognize the specific reasons why you’re living the way that you are if you want to change your situation around. 2. Tell your money where to go boo boo. If you never know where your money goes and are always wondering why you’re broke, then it’s time for you to get it together! You need to create and stick to a budget. A budget (spending plan) is an imperative piece to the puzzle. You cannot be successful with your finances if you don’t know where the heck your money is going. You should be purposely planning out each and every

dollar that you receive. 3. Decrease your expenses. Take some time to review all of your expenses and determine where you can trim the fat. Most of the time, we throw our money away on unnecessary stuff, just out here being reckless in these streets. 4. Pay yourself first bruh. You work hard day in and day out and still have nothing to show for it. That’s because you forget to pay yourself first. You should at the minimum, be putting away at least 10% of your income. If you find it hard to save any type of money, then you need to decrease your expenses and increase your income if you can. 5. Pay down those debts. Just think about how much extra money you’d be able to free up if you weren’t paying all of those bills? You have to work on eliminating your debt by any means necessary. In order to get out of debt sooner rather than later, you’re going to have to be aggressive with your payments. And stop racking up new debt! 6. Get those temptations in check. You have to know your triggers man. By identifying your triggers to spend money, you’ll be able to work on avoiding those triggers from taking place. You should try writing your triggers down and have them someplace where you can review them often. Once you start working on breaking those habits every day, you’ll be that much closer to changing your

financial situation. 7. Get you a real accountability partner. You can’t experience real growth if you don’t have any type of accountability. You are more likely to commit to something if you have someone pushing you along the way. You need someone who isn’t scared to check you and get all up in your ish. 8. Be patient with yourself and the process. It takes time! You know that it didn’t take hours or days for you to form those habits that you currently have, so don’t expect everything to change overnight. You have to allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Be gentle and patient with yourself during the process and keep pressing through.

You deserve better financially and you have to believe that you’re deserving. Change your mindset, change your life! Contact & Booking Info:

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Fashion Brands with a Message!

Brand: Omomii (O-mom-e) @omomii_ Founder: Abi Adesina Location: London, United Kingdom The name itself means ‘My Child’ in the native Nigerian Yoruba dialect. The essence of this brand is to celebrate all things culture. Omomii aims to provide a lifestyle brand for the entire family, infusing African culture in every piece made. This brand was specially made for those abroad who may have roots in Africa or just love the African culture but don’t necessarily get to go regularly. Culture is so important and beautiful and the richness of the African culture has to be one of the best in the world. Urban Freedom Magazine Subscribers: Omomii10 for 10% off all orders

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Fashion Brand: Rise To Greatness Clothing @rtg_clothingco Founder: Joseph Johnson Location: St. Louis MO

Rise To Greatness is not just a Clothing line but a lifestyle. We want our customers to feel empowered to do anything they put their minds to and Rise To their greatest potential

Brand: Rejected SocietyX3 Founders: Swadeya Starling, Tamara Todd, Shimese Coleman @rejectedsocietyx3 Location: New Jersey RSX3 is a three way partnership made up of Swadeya Starling, Tamara Todd and Shimese Coleman, three young androgynous females, to which whom or who have been a part of the LGBT community for over ten years. RSX3 was unsatisfied with the negativity, lack of education, and support from society including the lack of support from members within the LGBT community. This inspired RSX3 to want to make positive changes in sharing, educating, and supporting the LGBT community. RSX3 came to the conclusion, in order to communicate to each part of the community they would have to make a clear understanding of each letter; LGBT, one at a time. Never forgetting about anyone within society with our new generation of fashion Genderless Clothing! The Rejected Societyx3 purpose is not to alter anyone’s feelings. We are here to educate the eager, inspire the dreamers, motivate the believers, & support & recognize the Go-Getters & thats goes for anybody in the world, not just the LGBT community. Website: Email:

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Brand: Syrus Klothing Company Founder: Darrius Whitfield @iamdread @syrusklothingco Location: St. Louis, Mo

Syrus Klothing has been created hope to spread their message that you can do anything you believe in as long as you are consistent, passionate and utilizing everything you know. Assisting a generation to understand it’s not about the money because that will come; If you apply yourself to see what is right in front of you with value. It’s about utilizing the skill you were given or adopted. If you really study, spend your free time learning, getting out engaging with the people and building relationships you can be successful which would make you S.Y.R.U.S (Successful Young Rebel Utilizing Skills)! Urban Freedom Magazine Subscribers use Promo Code: “Syrus” when purchasing!

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Fashion that, if we do not address financial wrongs of the past, we will not be able to fulfill the dream that many of us share today.

Resurrecting Black Wall Street


efore Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered by the government, he’d begun to explore the deep impact that economic inequality had on his ability to affect social change. Dr. King found

“Resurrecting Black Wall Street: The Blueprint” examines Little Africa of Tulsa Oklahoma in 1922 as a shining example of what black people can accomplish when we pursue our economic goals as a collective. Featuring leading financial scholars, historians, and activists, the film allows us to study the body of knowledge left behind by our ancestors in order to move on to a more empowered future. Principles of cooperative economics, wealth building, and black business development are addressed, along with the TRUTH about what happened to the people who had their wealth stolen and their story buried for over 100 years.

Shop Now at The Black Business School Store!

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Rihanna ‘Million-Dollar” Fenty

Fashion meets Business By: Rasheedah Merritt


eing of mixed race, if anyone understands cultural divides and a desperate need for diversity, it’s Rihanna. Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna spent parts of her life in Barbados and parts in the U.S. Everything Rihanna has seen and experienced has given her a deep connection to world culture and has inspired her to bring her vision to existence.

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Fashion “I have wanted to do a line for years but needed it to be credible; something that industry pros and girls around the world would respect.” says Rihanna. On September 8th, 2017, at the age of 29, Rihanna launched Fenty beauty. She released a whopping 40 foundation shades. Make-up lovers over the world flocked to the internet and retailers.

culty in finding a foundation that matches their skin.” Fenty Beauty has given hope to many women who just want to feel beautiful and included. Ironically, the darkest shades sold out first.

In its first month, Fenty Beauty brought in 72 million dollars, applying pressure to brands who have been in business for decades. “I don’t feel like I have to buy something five shades lighter or mix two shades to get my shade. I’m honored that I’m recognized in this beauty line!” Says Viola Davis, triple crown award-winning actress, and producer. She too has broken many barriers and pushed through adversity due to being a dark-skinned woman in the entertainment business. Poshly Insights states, “Shade matching has historically been a major concern. 60 percent reporting at least some diffi-

Rihanna has brought attention to the lack of melinated representation in cosmetics. Stirring up a bit of controversy. Beauty brands that have been around for years are just now starting to expand to please women of color. We do not fit the standard of light, medium, and dark. Sorry, not sorry. Why aren’t we included from the beginning? Why is dark not standard but light is. Bringing awareness to the fact that so many women have been waiting for the day that someone would see the void and fill it, Fenty Beauty has given women the ability to step outside and live in color, your color. Rihanna and Fenty Beauty is changing lives. If you have a dream pursue it, you just may outdo Rihanna and make 73 million in your first month!!

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ART “Freedom Gallery� Winter feature

By: Mercedez McIntyre

Deveja Webb

A vision that goes beyond the Lens. When you take a look at this gentleman you think he is the model when in reality prefers to be the spotlight instead of in it. It is hard to believe there was a time Deveja felt he was not photogenic and struggled with self-esteem. Yes, he is a gifted photographer who walks it like he captures it. Mr. Webb is no shallow man but in fact, everything one can admire about him has come from a twist and turn in life that he used to grow himself further. For example, his great sense of fashion was bestowed upon him by his grandfather. He found out due to having to be raised by his grandparents. Unconventional, yet something many in our generation can relate to. Through this unconventional upbringing, he was gifted with wisdom, faith, fashion, perseverance and many other attributes that you can only get from a generation that has seen and lived through that which we barely can manage without complaining.


andsome, humble & a sense of fashion that gives a fresh breath of nostalgia. The best way I can describe Deveja Webb. From Little Rock, Arkansas and raised in Dallas, TX by his grandparents and 5 generations of women who showed him how to pay attention to detail and expression through art.

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Furthermore, you would think that this much talent has one focus alone. Not at all. Deveja is focused on not just being content with social media glorification or the applause of his peers. Yet he also goes to school to attain a degree in business to ensure he is not only talented but is a wise steward of such talent.

ART As you read further you will see questions and answers from an interview that ran over time graciously. Deveja Webb is also a great conversationalist! Check out life from his vantage point beyond what a photo can capture. Feel free to reach out to him as he loves to receive feedback. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: In occupation are you a photographer full time? @Deveja Webb Response: I am currently in college for a business degree. I don’t prefer school like atmospheres but I am going to make sure I have my own ducks in a row. I am also working as an insurance adjuster which involved me working with hurricane Harvey victims as well in order to fund my ambitions. At the age of 24 where I know, I am is going to make mistakes but that is his scariest part because I always want to stay the right course. For that same reason, I don’t smoke or drink for purpose of wanting to stay the course. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Is Photography your first experience in entrepreneurship? @Deveja Webb Response Yes, photography was my first hand at entrepreneurship.I know in my heart that it is my calling. Photography is not a business you can just walk into for the money. You have to be all in. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What was the most surprising lesson learned big or small? @Deveja Webb Response: I broke into photography I realized the truths of the illusion. Specifically, that it is not about what you have but using what you have creatively. Sometimes it is overwhelming seeing other renowned photographers. I thought it was all about having finances but I found out it is first the value of using experience and using the creativity you have to produce the picture. It’s about having a gift and an eye.

@UrbanFreedomMagazine: What would you say are the mental roadblocks that you push through as an entrepreneur? @Deveja Webb Response: My major roadblock is procrastination, to be quite honest. I made one wrong decision in my early 20’s. His great-grandmother was sick. and he left work to be with her. Procrastinating also on his career goals which cost him big time. As we all know family comes first and that is my motto. However, my great-grandmother told me to stay focused. I was surprised but understood that making choices is hard but the focus must always remain. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What does your day to day schedule entail? @Deveja Webb Response: Mostly a balance between school, work and mostly my photography. I work with other photographers and I am very particular. I inform everyone I work with that “we can’t play with peoples moments”. We aren’t just pushing buttons on a camera day to day, we are capturing moments. The person will never have that look again, never be that age again or have that moment. I take the responsibility of my gift serious. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: You are an extremely fashionable young man, and we saw the transition stages via your Instagram ac-

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ART count. What led to that shift on the exterior? @Deveja Webb Response: My fashion style came from my grandfather. Once I ended up living with him I saw how similar our styles were. From there I wanted to push the style of the classic gentleman. Not as a fad but as how one consistently dresses. With that mindset, I began working a job that allowed me to invest in my style and not throwing money away with traditional lifestyles. Since then I have had many opportunities just walking it as I talk it. Stores even offer me clothes. For example, I ended up meeting an H&M executive in a park that turned into a great connection. So much so I rarely even pay full price for my garments. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: How did your friends and family adjust to your lifestyle and entrepreneurial transition? @Deveja Webb Response: I am a very black and white person. I don’t have many gray areas. So once I started this journey people had to understand that I can’t be with friends and family as much anymore. My family said, “I know we may not hear from you but we know you are doing what is right.” From there I only keep people around me who understand that in working you can’t be sensitive in that portion. I lost friends in the process especially with those who thought I changed just because of Instagram pictures. Which is crazy to me because I am still me and even more humble than before. It is interesting how much people will rely on social media photos to draw a conclusion of who you are as a person.I wish people had better perspectives of maturity. I mean to be real I still go skating 3 days a week and it takes people understanding I am elevating but I am still a down to earth man. Others in my life have to be secure.

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ART It showed truths I didn’t want to know about people around me but I needed it. @UrbanFreedomMagazine: Where do you see your interpersonal self and business self by 2020? @Deveja Webb Response: Business: I want to be recognized as one of the best African American photographers. I want to help be the gravity to pull people back to Dallas, TX. I feel the city has great talent that assumes they can’t make it here. I want to create a pulse for photography in Dallas TX.

As a Man: I want to work on building a better relationship with my family. Being raised by my grandparents, I have been raised to be independent. Yet I am realizing I want but to be better at staying connected with loved ones. As well I to work on my relationship with my mother. With the want to connect again with my mother, it is teaching me to let go of things and to remember we are all imperfect. I don’t want those past imperfections to have a permanent impact on building all areas of my family. I want that unconditional bond and pure foundation.

Urban Freedom Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Question: @UrbanFreedomMagazine: What advice would you give to others going through the growing pains of seeing who they are vs. where they want to be? @Deveja Webb Response: “A society goes great when wise men plant trees which shade they will never sit in”. My grandmother always said this to me. I feel you should always plant seeds in others so that the future has something to hold onto. We must pass knowledge along. We have to educate others and not just focus on self. Overall you will do a disservice even if you make it, if you do not educate your community. Deveja Webb Instagram: @_djuice Email:

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ART What we can all learn from Basquiat:

The artist who gave up too soon... By Michelle A. Reed

Although he had run away from home, often sleeping outside, Basquiat was a middle-class kid who attended private schools and independently explored the art world with his mother even as a toddler.


tudies show that most artists have a versatile often hyperactive frame of mind. The world and its history are filled with the outlets of the most creative individuals. Either it is dance, literature, or even portraits, artists seem to have a beautiful way of communicating with the rest of the world. Born on December 22nd, 1960, in Brooklyn New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an African American painter who rose to fame during the beginning of the Neo-impressionism era. His father was a Haitian accountant and his highly supportive mother was Puerto Rican. Although suffering from mental-health issues his entire life Basquiat’s mother always was a place of peace even when she became hospitalized.

Initially, Basquiat was a graffiti artist. In the 70s he formed a duo with childhood friend names Al Diaz and they called themselves Samo, which meant “Same old shit.” Their eye-catching work consisted of tagging buildings on the lower east side that had boldly conscious statements such as “Samo as an alternative to food stamps.” The Neo-impressionism era became popular around the mid-80s helping with his success. Its rise being similar to that of Hip Hop culture. Basquiat’s work was abstract and expressive containing dialogue that often brought out bold perspective. He was thought of as extremely rebellious. Although his work displayed depth and bravado in a beautifully twisted yet childlike blatancy. Once he gained notoriety Basquiat even collaborated with Italian artist Francesco Clemente and American artist Andy Warhol. Basquiat did a show with Warhol that included “Ten punching bags” which seemed to be a re-

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ART buttal to Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The last supper.” Its purpose was to fight all forms of oppression. Basquiat’s most expensive piece of work was a 1982 untitled painting of a skull. At $110.5 million, this piece became the sixth most expensive artwork sold at an auction. Around that time gallerist Annina Nosei, was rumored to have a genius black kid locked in her basement making masterpieces. To which JeanMichel Basquiat commented “If I was white, they would just call it an artist-in-residence.” Ultimately he surpassed what was expected of him racially and socially being a black kid from Brooklyn. It seemed as though more mental obstacles allied with the success of Basquiat. His affiliations and fame allowed him easy influences in a negative direction. Jean Michel Basquiat, unfortunately, became addicted to heroin not long after his popularity began. On August 12th, 1988, his 22-year-old girlfriend found him overdosed in his bathroom at 28 years old. His funeral was a small closed casket service with family and only a few members of the art world. It was said he left behind 1,198 drawings, sketch books, prints, and paintings. His father Gerard Basquiat, inherited the estate and when he died in 2013 he left the estate to his daughters. There are documentaries associated with the life and work of Basquiat including “The radiant child” and also “Rags to riches.” If nothing else Basquiat’s life teaches us not only to give into our creative passions, but to remain grounded and focused during those transitioning stages to success.


1. Basquiat came from a culturally rich, yet troubled family. After his parents divorced. Basquiat’s mother was institutionalized for mental illness. He then left his father’s due to physical and emotional abuse. Prior to becoming famous he spent the next handful of years homeless, staying at friends’ houses, park benches, and abandoned buildings. 2.His style was shaped by his history, both urban and ethnic. Many of his works depict black celebrities such as writers, athletes, and musicians. He also often featured the griot, an oral storyteller in Western African societies. 3. Though very young, Basquiat’s talent captured the interest of Andy Warhol. He was the youngest artist to join “documenta,” an international exhibition of contemporary and modern art held every five years in Germany. 4. Basquiat’s street smarts and daring were instrumental in his rise to fame. Homeless, he supported himself by peddling postcards and sweatshirts featuring his art. With the rise of graffiti art and Neo-Expressionism, Basquiat’s work finally gained traction in the Times Square Show, a landmark Punk Art exhibit. His first solo exhibition came two years later. 5. He died after seven short years in the industry. Basquiat’s rise to prominence was accompanied by an equal rise to his personal struggles. He vacationed in Hawaii to kick his heroin addiction, but ultimately failed and died of an overdose.

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P Resurrection of Mexico allowing artists to sell their paintings to pay taxes:

Art in Business By Tahirah Wiley

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“Pago en Especie” which translates to “Payment in Kind”. The Payment in Kind program all started in 1957 by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Siqueiros made a proposal to keep a fellow artist out of jail for tax evasion by suggesting to “Let him pay his debt in art.”. The number of pieces in its possession is the only statistic that the SAT records. In recent years, the government agency has been forced to purchase additional warehouses in Mexico City to store an ever-growing collection of paintings, graphics, and sculptures according to Atlantic. In an article from 4/11/14 “Murals were how Mexican history was first portrayed to the

ART 1. Participate. One thing about an artist is that we love to share our gifts with others. See if there are any events in your area to incorporate into family or date night. 2. Invest. Look at the art as an investment. Like any rare artifact, it comes with a price and possession brings about heirlooms. 3. Local. Start buying the art from local artists as gifts to loved ones for the holidays. It’s a great way to build-up the creativity amongst your family and community. 4. Attend. or create art exhibits/shows in your Community. Sidewalk art nights are popular in many areas. public. A country’s culture and its understanding of itself evolve through its art. That is something we are in need of, especially now.” José Ramón San Cristóbal Larrea, director of the government’s Cultural Promotion and National Heritage Office told The Atlantic. Mexico has lost billions to tax evasion. Yet, have gained countless pieces of artwork from sculptures to paintings. The proposal from Siqueiros soon led to lawfully allowing the artist to pay federal income taxes with their own artwork. This brings on the question if Art is commonly ignored as beautiful possessions to invest in? Especially, in our urban communities here in the U.S.? There is a high percentage of artists in many of our communities. Many of which go unnoticed or end up unable to use their art as income. You will find many artists, however, who struggle with local customers to willingly pay the minimum worth for their artwork. What are some ways to support our Artists better you may ask? After listening, watching, studying, and becoming an artist I found 5 major ways we can assist with supporting.

5. Promote. The best promotion is by word of mouth. If you know a local artist you love, share their work or tell someone about them when possible. There’s always somebody that will appreciate it. Don’t forget you can also use websites like & keep an eye on @urbanfreedommagazine on Instagram for current art and designers as well.

BONUS*: In the UK, you can pay your taxes with art. You even get full fair market value credit without selling it or paying tax on your gain.

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Music Independent Music artists keeping your mind woke & eardrums lit! By: Shade Bowman

Detonator @detonator.ig Long Island, NY Independent Artist/ Owner of “DayDreamers” Fashion Line A hip-hop artist out of Long Island, NY with witty wordplay and a vivid lyrical imagery that represents the 9-to-5’ers who won’t settle for the corporate shackles but instead choose to pursue their life’s passions. “I’m the voice of that dreamer stuck at some deadend day job who vows every day not to lose hope in his daydream.” Over the past year, his tour lit up both coasts, touching NYC, Philly, DC, Baltimore, Boston, and LA. Detonator movement includes relatable, yet club-bangable music, a super trendy fashion line called “DayDreamrs,” and unique outside-ofthe-box events like speed dating (for dreamers) and sip-n-paints (with actual mixology lessons!). “Don’t quit your daydream”

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Benniharding @benniharding Trenton, NJ Recording & Visual Artist Benni’s art is inspired by her life and the things she’s felt. Her goal is to create art that makes her viewers and listeners FEEL her. She recently curated a film she called “Drained” that will be releasing the February 2018. Going through hardships most wouldn’t imagine from such a woman Benni has forged through in music by a humble nature, honesty and using multiple vessels of entrepreneurship.

Mobish.Young @mobish.young Washington, DC Mob Ish Records, LLC: Founder/CEO/ and Artist My mission is to put my myself in a position to Grant the most opportunity as possible for others. Coming from doing 13 years in prison to having a marathon run in Music. A true testament that trials can lead to triumph, literally. Keep an eye on Mobish all 2018. He is an artist that moves at a fast and deliberate pace.

Music BlaqueStone @Blaquestone_ Washington D.C Metropolitan area BlaqueStone |Artist|Performance Arts|

BlaqueStone LLP located in Maryland/ Washington D.C Metropolitan area. A music couple with an amazing band! With a mission to spread love, light, and truth through the arts. “As African Americans and humans period, we all have a story to tell, and with our love, community and personal lenses of life and continued lessons, this is our outlet. “ One of their biggest accomplishments arose out of New York City and being interviewed on Revolt TV. Another moment was partnering on an event with the Smithsonian Museum in Anacostia Washington D.C. Finding creative ways for kids to express themselves through music and lyrics. What led to their brand flourishing was them being unapologetic about being black, showing true authenticity in what love is and a message that is so relatable to many, is truly what made and makes us prosper. As the world inspires them to stay true, learn/teach balance, and spark love in others, it’s positively contagious!

Quinton Randall aka Mr. Baltimore Blues @Baltimoreblues_ Baltimore, MD Independent Artist Quinton Randall, a full time multi genre musician. A composer, film scorer, teacher and singer-songwriter. Armed with a mission to lead by example as an entrepreneur in many fields providing a sense of hope, and clarity. Still growing as an artist Quinton understands the purpose of having a gift is first to serve your community, second to provide knowledge and last comes self.

Life.of.Shalane @lifeofshalane Riverside, Ca Independent Music Artist Growing up in Southern California, in a small city called Pomona. Shalane began writing poetry when and later on in life, her love for words unfolded into a passion for Music. A powerhouse to be reckoned with, releasing two full albums in the last 10 months and her music broadcasted live on public radio (102.3 KJLH Radio based in Los Angeles, CA). Keeping in mind that music connects all, her music can be found on all streaming sites with new music dropping in 2018.

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Music Pmg.Barz @pmg_barz Baltimore, MD Pandemonium Music Group/ Co-Founder/Artist

Infamous Taz @infamoustazjcoe Bay Area, California Independent Artist/ J.C.O.E Entertainment The leader of the Bay Area-based rap group and aspiring independent label known as J.C.O.E. Entertainment. His mission overall is to use my music as a platform to spread unity amongst my community and globally, as well as a platform to guide listeners that have been through the same hardships and life situations.

Independent Artist from the west side of Baltimore City. The name Barz came from a past of always being incarcerated given to him by close family and friends. Reversing the name to showcase his talent in writing songs and pursued music. With a background so rough his persistence is the driving force in his music. Be sure to check out his Newest Video “Paid in Full” on Youtube now. Mixtape coming late winter of 2018.

As an artist, Taz has released multiple songs and videos and have been featured, as a poet he has spoken for schools and local events within the community. As an actor, performed at the California Theatre in Pittsburg, CA, the King Center in Denver, CO, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He began to freestyle on social media over well-known instrumentals every Tuesday and tagged it as “#TazForceTuesday” to gain more attention while continuing to release his own music and music with his group...which was a success.

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Asia Karin @Asia_karin Baltimore, Md Singer/ Songwriter: Asia Karin aka “Miss Singing With a Rapping Flow” “Miss Singing With a Rapping Flow”. Not just a young woman with talent but a mission to save her family. Most artists are in search of lavish living, materials etc, however, this woman is here to save the community and her family. Growing up with so much pain and anger brought her closer to music as a pain reliever. Taking advantage of opportunity even at the physical risk of singing on the streets of Baltimore, MD as a woman. Asia is a true lesson of learning to use what you have while staying focused on breaking generational chains.

Music Gudda Cal


@gudda_cal Baltimore, MD Independent Artist

Baltimore, MD TNB Greenbackz Independent Artist: Singer/ Songwriter

Gudda Cal and his music campaign name From The Gutta ( FDG ). Appropriately and humbly titled to describe his upbringing in the rough streets of Baltimore. Cal is determined to allow the truth of his music to elevate him instead of facades as most do in the music industry.

Growing up in the church, she soon found her voice in between those faith-filled walls. It was in the church choir that Ebonyy really focused on her vocals. Which helped to prepare her for what was to come. She didn’t know when but waited until the time was right. Now is that time. Not only an artist Ebonyy is a great songwriter honing in on her skills as a poet. At a young age, Ebonyy has experienced life that has taken her through all forms of positive and negative experiences. No matter what the situation she has a silent strength that comes out in words of diversity that every songwriter wishes they could do. Stay Tuned for Ebonyy 2018!

His Ep is called 60sec Killing Spree drops on January 1st on spinrilla so stay tuned!

DrizzyThaDon @drizzythadon Baltimore, MD On Point Event Management (owner/ operator)/ HigherGround Music

With a past of struggling what has propelled him to where he is now would have to be his work ethic, practice, and patience.

A hip-hop artist, model, and also owner and operator of my own event planning, management, and promotions company, called On Point Event Management, based out of Baltimore as well. Dre Thompson as an artist/ model, his mission is to be able to sustain life and recreational endeavors solely from his art. As an event planner, Dre’s mission is to be able to provide a one of a kind experience at any event we have “stamped” from small parties to as large as festivals.

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Nipsey Hussle

The merge between business & music that every artist should be able to vision. By: Shade Bowman


orn Ermias Asghedom, Nipsey Hussle’s journey, the one thing that he never did was give up. Although he’s had his ups and downs as an artist and a businessman, he’s never let that get in the way of his dreams or the reality of his success. Living life as a reformed reflection of his environment. Throughout the years Nipsey lets us know that the merge between business and music has always been a mindset. As an artist, it’s very important to invest in the ones who gave you a platform. Being labeled as “Real” is a respect thing, often times we use the word real to justify one’s actions. But, Hussle shows us what the definition of what “Real” actually means, “Always execute what you start” is one of the mottos that he lives by. Which is a method he has stuck to, even during a prison sentence

“We brought back the block and that’s how you give back, open businesses and create wealth in your community”

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The Marathon Clothing 3420 W. Slauson Ave #F Los Angeles, CA 90043

right in the middle of creating his brick & mortar store”The Marathon”. Real is when you as an artist or businessman lead by example, it’s when you can walk the walk and back it up with actions...not just all talk. Nipsey lives by the code, give back to your community! Music was one of the ways to get his name heard on a global scale, build a following, and building a foundation that he can stand on was the goal. Nipsey has made it very clear on what his goal was even back in 2008 when he first took his music seriously. When you see that there’s a need for something in your community, what would you do? Since rap music is one of the only genres that embraces business principles, Nipsey made a wise decision to merge the two. By opening up a business in your community, you show the younger generation that they can do the exact same thing. You start to create jobs, rebuild families, police your own neighborhoods, etc. just by investing in the community.

surrounding yourself with unmotivated people. It’s about connecting the dots and merging the arts together to build one creative umbrella. Make your moves, expand your mind, and support your own. That’s the new wave. Be Sure to check out the exclusive documentary of ups and downs leading to the creation of “The Marathon” clothing brand. Nipsey Hussle has not only changed his life but that of his family, friends, and even helped those in his neighborhood become clean from drugs and become a member of his growth. Video Footage Provided by World Star Hip-Hop

Through prison, brutality, growth, wisdom & community support “The Journey to Opening Marathon Closing” Credit: World Star Hip Hop

The merge between business and music is an investment and in business, when others around you are watching you makes them want to invest. As an entrepreneur that’s a very smart business move, and Nipsey explains how to create wealth in but so little words. If you’re the only one generating wealth around you then you’re

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Entertainment ABOUT KWELITV

Feature & Partnership Check out a few Editor’s Choice Films from KweliTV ELEMENTARY GENOCIDE 1 \ 1:06:28 min \ USA Director: Rahiem Shabazz Elementary Genocide: “The School To Prison Pipeline” exposes the socially engineered mechanism created by our government that utilizes the public school system to label elementary aged African-American males as work for hire targets within the U.S. penal system. Many refuse to believe there is a corporate attack on the minds and productivity of Black youth through intercepting their educational, economic and social development which results in statistically funneling them through the revolving doors of the criminal justice system. This documentary confirms this theory and seeks to educate parents, teachers, and families so that we can reclaim our young men and ensure the future of our community. The Award Winning documentary was also mentioned by the Obama Administration during a press release honoring the ‘Champion of Change’ honoree Tracey Syphax. Since the release of “Elementary Genocide”, more than 100 pieces of legislation have been introduced into the U.S. Congress, with another major legislation that is still pending. This particular legislation seeks to change the ‘Zero Tolerance’ laws that disproportionately affect African-American male students who are

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kweliTV is a video streaming service that curates independent films, documentaries, web series, children’s programming and news of the global black community—North America, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean & Africa. Kweli means truth in Swahili so our mission is to curate content that’s a true reflection of the black experience. 98% of the films have been in film festivals; 65% are award-winning. Visit: to learn more about subscribing.

URBAN FREEDOM MAGAZINE SUBSCRIBERS (must be an Urban Freedom Magazine Subscriber) Urban Freedom Magazine subscribers receive a 25% discount off of a monthly subscription for the first 12 months using the code: URBNFREEDOM8 Link to subscription page: orders/checkout?o=12406

three times more likely to be suspended for the same offense as their white counterparts. FESTIVALS/AWARDS Black Power Awards 2017 - Black Excellence & Documentary Film Award; Miles College - Outstanding Contribution/ Black History Award 2016; Urban Fashion Award - Outstanding Contribution; Peachtree Village International Film Festival (PVIFF) - 2015 Best Documentary; YEGA Award - 2010 Video Director of the Year Award; Atlanta Hip-Hop Film Festival 2006 Best Short Film


SEEKING ASYLUM \ 45:04 min \ USA Director: Darnell Lamont Walker Seeking Asylum is a documentary about Black Americans escaping American tyranny--one in particular, Darnell Lamont Walker. This is the filmmaker’s story: It was April in the states, I had a ticket to backpack through Europe with friends in hopes of making it to Amsterdam for King’s Day, and Freddie Gray had just been killed by police in Baltimore, Maryland. Being raised not far from Baltimore and feeling very connected to the situation due to a racially-motivated run-in I had with the law several years ago that left me face down with a gun on my head, I strongly reconsidered my trip to stay and march in the streets. My friend, Terrence, who’d just learned of my trip two days before departure, asked, “why are you going to Europe? To seek asylum?” Perfect! FESTIVALS Pan African Film Festival, Rapid Lion Film Festival, LA Cinefest, Hollywood Sky Film Festival.

GONZO \ 4 episodes \ USA Director: David Kirkman A drama that follows the struggles of black college students and their efforts to make reform on their university campus. But once there is a clash in ideology between the school’s Black Student Organization and Gonzo, Gonzo is pressured to step up, take charge, and be the voice of the school’s black student body.

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JERMAINE \ 20min \ USA Director: Angela Dugan Jermaine Johnson is a 36-year old father of three and husband to his high-school sweetheart, Lawanna. Recently returned to his Chicago home from jail, Jermaine is determined to raise his children with strong principles to prevent them from making the same mistakes he did. Unfortunately, in the midst of teaching his eldest son a valuable lesson, tragedy strikes, forcing him to face the world he once left behind. This time, will he make it out alive, and how will his son be affected? FESTIVALS/AWARDS Bronze Award Winner, Spotlight Short Film Awards; Nominated for Best Drama, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards; Official Selection, Black Harvest Film Festival; Official Selection, BronzeLens Film Festival

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Movers & Shakers

en route to taking Black Hollywood by storm By: Michelle Reed

Series: Brother with no Game Entrepreneur: BWNG - Masibu Manima, Leon Mayne and Paul Samuel Production: BWNG UK Summary: Four young guys humorously trying to discover what to do and say when it comes to dating and women. BWNG’s production started in 2016 and all three entrepreneurs are storytellers.

Series: Tough Love Entrepreneurs: Roni Davis and Caleb Davis Production: Creative Directions Group (Distributed by Black and Sexy Tv) Location: New York City Receiving a Nomination for a Daytime Emmy, Tough love displays lines between success and entanglements in New York City. Caleb Davis is director and producer. He has filmed all over the world and is even worked for productions like CBS, Bravo, Oxygen, and the food network. Holding his Masters in Film from Kingston University in London. Roni Davis writes and directs the show and has interned for CNN, Entertainment Tonight, the Dr. Phil Show and Fox. Both currently are based out of NYC. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, and Master’s Degree in Media Management.

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Series: The Grapevine Entrepreneur: Ashley Akunna Production: Created by MEKS and Powered by Wordpress Location: Maplewood, NJ

Series: Milk and Honey Entrepreneur: Brown Paper Dolls – Jeanette McDuffie, Dana M. Gills and Asha Kamali May Production: Issa Rae Productions Location: Los Angeles, CA

Ashley Akunna hosts a series that is an intellectual panel style discussion. Her topics are controversial, artistic, and even venture into the current pop culture. Topics like R. Kelly scandals, the New Spike Lee Joint She’s gotta have it, and politics, get passed around to a panel of speakers who voice their opinions. Akunna has a degree in Film from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Summary: The struggle of chasing artistic and business success while maintaining relationships, current jobs, and friendships is depicted in Issa Rae’s productions of Milk and honey. The shows ultimate goal is to witness the beauty and struggles of black women chasing their dream. The women of Brown Paper Dolls are graduate of Spelman, Howard U, & FAMU.

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Series: Giants Entrepreneur: James Bland Production: Issa Rae presents Location: Los Angeles, CA Summary: The lengths people will go through to survive and even “get by� is displayed in the Issa Rae web series Giants. From executive producer Jussie Smollett, this is a captivating portrayal of the costs to fight life back when it beats you down. James Bland has studied A&M University in Florida.

Series: Minnie Small Entrepreneur: Minnie Small Location: London Summary: Minnie Small is a talented artist from South-East London who is very popular for the art that she shares on her YouTube channel and her IG. Her goals her to inspire beautiful creativity through life experiences.

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