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A February to Remember: Amplifying Black Excellence

As the calendar turns, Boardroom looks back on some of the biggest investments in Black excellence that occurred throughout Black History Month.

Amidst the protests of the civil rights movement, Black History Month came to rise in its current form. Now, each February, the calendar opens up to honor Black excellence in all of its various manifestations. From meaningful investments in expanded opportunities for Black athletes and creators to exclusive merch drops, the month brings daily headlines that proclaim the power of melanin.

As we enter March, Boardroom looks back on a month of celebration — highlighting some of our favorite storylines.

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Weedmaps Spotlights Black Entrepreneurs as Part of “Together for Change” Initiative

For decades, policing around cannabis has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities across the United States. With the rise of legalization — and relaxation of criminal codes — Weedmaps is doing its part to enhance the general population’s education about cannabis. As part of the Together for Change initiative, which lifts the profiles of Black and queer trailblazers in the industry, Weedmaps celebrated Black entrepreneurs.

Boardroom caught up with Whitney Beatty, Founder and CEO of Josephine and Billie’s, the L.A. dispensary that launched its own BHM celebration with its signature Black Box.

Broad St Ventures Welcomes India Robinson and Sara “Lovestyle” Hood

When NFL veteran Malcolm Jenkins started Malcolm Inc, he saw its power as an incubator of excellence. Under the umbrella of Malcolm Inc sits Broad St Ventures. The $10 million purpose-driven venture capital firm focuses on the development of tech and consumer products companies. BSV seeks to disrupt the space with its backing by exclusively Black and Brown investors.

This month, it introduced two new powerhouses to its team of investors. India Robinson, co-founder of Listen Up Media, and Sara “Lovestyle” Hood. For Jenkins, in addition to strengthening its already stacked foundation of investors, partnering with Hood and Robinson also fulfilled his personal mission to continuously uplift Black women.

Warner Music Group Links with BlackRock for $750M Commitment to Diversifying Music

BlackRock linked up with Warner Music Group to invest in the music industry. The $750 million fund will back the acquisition of music catalogs with an eye toward diversity. Traditionally, big-name artists who have been primarily white, have benefitted from the expanding trend of catalog sales. However, the BlackRock/Warner efforts seek to disrupt the space — tapping Influence Media and its founder Lylette Pizarro to spearhead the efforts, which will focus on artists who identify as people of color and women.

Photo via Nike

Nike, Inc. Deepens Black Community Commitment

For 17 years, the Swoosh has committed to the cause of expanding opportunity in the Black community. This year, the Beaverton brand continued this tradition, further expanding its $140 million fund to support social justice and community investment. This year’s donations total nearly $3 million and will support 44 organizations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Portland, and St. Louis.

In addition, Nike launched a limited-release Black History Month collection featuring the designs of Black creators and including three new Air Force 1 Low FM colorways.

Meta Launches Go Lab 2.0

Last February, Meta launched its We the Culture initiative, which has earmarked $25 million for Black creatives to “share their vision with the world, spark community, and empower them to build successful, entertaining and sustainable networks” across the technology giant’s various platforms. This year, Meta brought together its second cohort of the next generation of creators in sports and sports media as part of its launch of Go Lab 2.0. The program includes 40 student-athletes who attend 17 HBCUs across the country — helping to develop a diverse skill set to maximize name, image, and likeness opportunities.

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