Celebrity Investors Invest in a Black-Owned Company and Make History

It see s that 2021 is the year for black Venture Capitalists to expand access to capital for black owned businesses.

 

An A-list of celebrity investors are investing millions of dollars in a black-owned snack company, and helping the black female owner make history in the process.

 

Partake Foods which was founded by Denise Woodard, a black woman, just snagged a $4.8 million round of funding that will fuel the company’s operations, marketing, and manufacturing.

 

Among the celebrity investors is billionaire R&B star Rihanna as well as Black Capital and Black Star Fund belonging to ex NBA players Kevin Johnsons and Bobby Wagner.

 

All the new investors into Partake Food investments are said to be from black celebrities like Jay Z through his Venture Capital Fund Marcy Venture Partners.

 

H.E.R, a Grammy award winning singer is going to be pouring in her own substantial investment of $7.5 million.

 

It was no accident that these black A-listers chose to invest in a black owned business.

 

“That was very deliberate,” explained Denise Woodard. “I feel very passionate about continuing to increase wealth in the Black community wherever possible and so having investors on board that understand those missions and goals is really important to me.”

 

These investors come influencers have helped Woodard to make her mark in history as the first woman of color to receive $1 million in funding for a culinary startup.

 

Partake Foods has been growing rapidly, with 350 stores opening just last year.

 

By the sounds of it, she is going to need the money. Woodard wants to set up a massive 5,500 physical locations by the end of the year. Taking her company from just 350 stores last year to 5,500 locations will be an ambitious undertaking.

 

The exciting funding round is evidence that black investors are actively looking to invest in black enterprises

 

Rihanna’s participation in this funding round was unique because it is her first time to invest outside of her own ventures. Apart from Rihanna and Kevin Johnson, John Foraker, Jay Z, and HER were also investing. Rihanna was the lead investor though.

 

Partake is a snack brand that is allergy-friendly and it has catapulted founder Woodard to her own unique position as the first black woman of color to raise $1 million for a food startup. She plans on using the money to fuel her rapid expansion plans.

 

Woodard is well aware that even though black women are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in America, they get less than 1% in funding. Woodard hopes that her work will help to change that situation so that black women are better able to raise funding for their businesses.

 

Partake is at the helm of a fellowship program called Black Futures in Food $ Beverage that is working to build inclusivity in the food industry. Her initiative brings together HBCUs, NC A&T, Clark Atlanta, Florida A&M, and Howard.

 

Woodard hopes that her remarkable story, which begins with her selling cookies out of her car, will inspire other people towards greatness.

 

“I sold cookies out of my car up and down the street in New York every single day; I drove to natural food stores and did demos every single day . . . there’s so much of a longer grind,” she says. “I say that to say that if I can figure this out and get here, anyone can.”

 

If Woodard succeeds in her vision, she won’t be the last woman of color to raise millions of dollars in funding for a food startup.

Indian Cricket Idols who turned Investors in 2020

We have witnessed a chain of unexpected occurences in 2020, and even elite cricket players in India had to keep themselves busy in other ways when their training was interrupted. We saw Indian cricketers deepen their interest in technology and business as they connected with their fanbase in different ways.

 

The cricketers invested in startup companies as well as growth stage companies that were already backed by Venture Capitalists.

 

Cricket players like Yuvraj Singh, ViratKohli, and Mahendra Singh threw themselves behind the latest entrepreneurs of 2020. They invested in ventures like dukaantech and healthtech startups among others like Digit Insurance, Sarva Yoga, and Khatabook. These ventures are in different niches across the economy.

 

Ravi Shastri, a coach and commentator went into male hygiene and grooming with 23 yards, which is a private label that he launched in a partnership with AdorMultiproducts, a Mumbai company that will be producing hand sanitizer and grooming products for men aged 25-40.

 

Startups appeared prominently in the Indian Premier League as sponsors as well as appeared as brand associations. This gave the startups a stronger connection to Indian cricket.

 

Here are some cricket stars and what they were up to in business:

 

AjinkyaRahane

 

We don’t know exactly how much the Indian cricket test vice captain invested in MeraKisan, but the cricket star is now an in vestor in the agritech company as well as a brand ambassador.

 

MeraKisan is backed by the Mahindra Group and founded in 2016. The company works with organic farmers to achieve certification, provide technical support and produce high quality organic food.

 

Rahane is also working with ELSA Corp as the global ambassador for their edtech products.

 

GautamGambhir

 

GautamGambhir is best known for cricket and politics, but he is now solidifying his portfolio of investments. Gambhir put an undisclosed amount of money in healthtech company FYI health. FYI is working to help offices reopen safely after the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

FYI provides education to employees as well as provide health checkups on the daily.

 

HarshaBhogle

 

HarshaBhogle is not a cricket player, but his popularity is at par with many popular Indian cricketers. He is diversifying his investment portfolio with a cash injection into Fantasy Akhada, a fantasy sports game.

 

Bhogle will be the public face of Fantasy Khada for the next two years.

 

AmitPurohit founded Fantasy Akhada in 2020. The platform provides players with a range of gameplay options. Bhogle’s addition to the brand has attracted an additional 1 lakh customers to the platform.

 

Bhogle has also invested in Chqbook, a Gurugram finance marketplace for bringing together borrowers and lenders.

 

KapilDev

 

KapilDev, a former India Captain and a winner in the World Cup has a diversified portfolio of investments. Dev has sunk some of his own money into Harmonizer India, a deeptech startup.

 

Harmonizer is a product that was founded in 2019 to help enterprises better manage their power usage using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions.

 

Dev has interests in other startups like PeopleEasy which is an online supermarket, Samco Ventures (fintech), VAOO, and WizCounsel.

 

 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

 

Former India Captain, or ‘Captain Cool’ as he is better known, Mahendra Singh Dhonialready  has an impressive investment portfolio.

 

In 2020, Dhoni invested in Khatabook, a business ledger app company based in Bengaluru. Dhoni serves as the brand ambassador as well.

 

Launched in 2018, Khatabook has already succeeded in raising $87million in capital from investors like Sequioa Capital Surge, Falcon Edge Capital, DST Global, Capital Group, Better Capital, Tencent Holdings, and angel investors like RohitBansal and Kunal Shah.

 

In 2019, Dhoni put money into Cars24, an online car bazaar that achieved unicorn status in 2020.

 

RudraPratap Singh

 

Singh was a fast bowler for the Indian team and he has now invested in a sports technology company called SportsUno.

 

He now serves as a board member for the startup which provides sports companies with technical support, specializing in cricket, badminton, football, basketball, and table tennis.

 

ShikharDhawan

 

ShikharDhawanhas thrown his weight, and his money, behind Sarva, a fitness startup based on yoga.

 

Sarva is a yoga studio chain founded by SarveshShashi in 2020 and which has attracted funding from individuals like mark Mastrov and David Giampaolo as well as Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez, AishwaryaRai, Mira Kapoor, Alex Rodriquez, and MalaikaArora.

 

SouravGanguly

 

SouravGanguly is an former India Captain as well as the president of the Board for Control for Cricket in India.

 

Ganguly invested in ClassPlus, an edtech startup and he doubled up ass the brand ambassador for the company.

 

MukulRustagi and BhaswatAgarwal established the company in 2018, as a Delhi based startup that provided tuition centers, private tutors, and coaches with mobile-first software to set online teaching.

 

Ganguly has also invested in Flickstree, a curated video platform based in Mumbai.

 

ViratKohli

 

Kohli is a former captain of team India who has been passionate about investing in startup companies. In early 2020, Kohli invested in Digit Insurance which is an insurance tech company from Bengaluru.

 

Digit Insurance is the brainchild of PremWatsa and KameshGoyal who launched it in 2016. The company provides customers with cheaper, customized insurance policies for their travel, health, smartphone, auto, and commercial needs.

 

Kohli has also thrown his weight behind Universal Sportsbiz which is a fashion startup backed by Sachin Tendulkar. he had also invested in Sport Convo, a socialmeadia startup based in London.

 

Yuvraj Singh

 

Yuvraj Singh is not just a perennial winner in the game of cricket, but also a serial investor.

 

Yuvraj invested in Wellversed which is a healthcare startup focusing on nutrition.

 

Founders AananKhurma, RipunjayChachan, and Aditya Seth started WEllversed in 2018. The service provides users with thousands of health transformation plans that enable skin health, sexual health, weight loss, sexual health, and hair care.

 

Other companies that have enjoyed a capital injection from Yuvraj include YouWeCan, EazyDinner, Cartisan, JetSetGo, Healthians, and Buddy.

Beyonce’s Brings her Music into Home Fitness with Peloton

Home workout enthusiasts will soon be able to workout to the sound of Beyonce. This is after the music powerhouse and cultural phenomenon went into a partnership with Home Fitness company Peloton that will see her release special themed classes featuring her music.

 

If you purchased a treadmill or Peloton bike during the pandemic to exercise at
home, you will eventually get a new collection class from the Queen Bey herself.
The collaboration is an unyielding pursuit expected to offer a motivating and
engaging experience to Peloton members and leverage the product’s expertise and platform for a happy and healthy community.

 

Beyonce is an American singer and actress who made her debut as the lead singer in the 1990’s girl group ‘Destiny’s Child.’ She she went from singing in one of the most successful girl groups of all time to launching a highly successful solo career.

 

Peleton is a media and exercise equipment company founded in 2012. It’s flagship products include the treadmill and stationary bicycle that allow subscribers to participate in streamed classes from the company’s fitness studio remotely. Peloton bikes come equipped with a touchscreen.

 

In January 2017, Peloton unveiled a bicycle version designed for the commercial environment. Besides cycling, various types of classes are available to users, such as cardio, strength training, running, yoga, meditation, walking, barre, boot camp, and stretching.

 

Every day, classes are recorded and live-streamed from Peloton’s cycling studio and then uploaded to their library for 24/7 on-demand access.

 

Peloton Tread+ and Tread are the treadmill products by the company. Peloton
Digital (app), a monthly subscription service, allows users to stream their classes on smart devices. Since April 2020, Peloton instructors have been streaming ‘live from home’ classes.

 

Beyonce will help to curate the fitness company’s class’s subscription service. It’ll start with Homecoming-themed classes to honor the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

 

Just like other Homecoming festivities have adopted virtual celebrations since the global pandemic, a series of themed experiences have been created to help the extension of Homecoming to Peloton members across several fitness categories through classes.

 

Peloton stated that Beyonce is one of the frequently requested artists for their
playlists by over 3.6 million members. Beyonce-themed classes are already
ongoing. See for yourself. They include outdoor runs, meditations, bike rides, and many more on the way.

 

All monthly subscribers through the peloton app for $12.99 or via Peloton’s Tread+,Tread, Bike+, Bike devices for $39, could attend the classes.

 

If you aren’t a subscriber yet, there is a 30-day free trial offer by Peloton to see
Beyonce classes. Students from 10 HBCUs will be awarded two-year memberships of Peloton Digital that will give them access to Peloton’s full library of fitness content through the Peloton App.

 

The digital membership offer extends to students at Clark Atlanta University,
Bennett College, Grambling State University, Howard University, Hampton
University, Wilberforce University, Texas Southern University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine. It’ll help build relationships with each school for a long-term recruiting partnership.

Ryan Reynolds And George Clooney Aren’t The Only Celebrities In The Liquor Game

Ryan Reynolds

Last week Ryan Reynolds made news as Aviation Gin, the gin business he hadan interest in since 2018, sold for a great deal of money. Famously, George Clooney earned a big chunk of cash a few years back when he allowed the tequila business to continue selling for much more capital. Celebrities who own alcohol companies have become quite fashionable, so let’s have a peek at what other stars are serving up common libations.

 

Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel was also a popular producer when she was one of the founding cast members of New York’s Real Housewives, beginning a bakery company in 2003 and then appearing as a judge on the short-lived The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. It was her next idea, Skinnygirl, that really took off, although the baking company didn’t last. Like in all of these deals, the figures are typically confidential so it’s impossible to pin down just how much somebody really earned, so it’s fair to assume that Frankel received a fortune.

 

George Clooney

It’s a bit easier to guess how much George Clooney earned after his tequila company, Casamigos, sold for at least $700 million to Diageo. The figure will go up to a whopping $1bn after all is finished and done. Clooney stands to earn as much as $333 million as a one-third investor of the business along with Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber and real estate tycoon Mike Meldman. This deal, plus the reality that Clooney has been one of Hollywood’s highest-paid stars for decades now, is undoubtedly the explanation that the gossip press is so quickly inventing false rumors about George plus his wife, Amal Clooney.

 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Tequila has proven a very common form of spirit to surround celebrities with. Including Clooney, when he formed Cabo Wabo way back in the late 90s, Sammy Hager became the first celebrity-turned-tequila distiller. Rita Ora has a tequila named Próspero, Michael Jordan, and Cincoro launched in 2019 with other NBA players and officials. Teremana was introduced earlier this year by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Today Dwayne Johnson is the Ceo and chairman of a corporation that strives not only to distill a luxury quality but also to do so sustainably.

 

Diddy

While for Johnson this could sound out of the left hand, note, this is a guy who has gone from getting hurt on the college football field to rising through the ranks of the WWE to being the best paying actor in the industry. His choices are challenged at your own risk.

Sean Combs is one of the early trendsetters in the field. Combs team to create and sell the CÎROC Vodka for alcohol giant Diageo. Combs acts as the company spokesman and as its chief marketer and has been in service since its 2007 introduction.

 

Dan Aykroyd

Funnyman Dan Aykroyd always had a nightlife fondness. In 1992 Aykroyd co-founded the nightclub chain House of Blues with branches in Boston and New Orleans. LiveNation acquired the company for $350 million in 2006. The Blues Brother singer launched Crystal Head Vodka in 2007 along with painter John Alexander. Crystal Head has a very strong reputation among vodka drinkers for its distinct bottle style, crafted by co-founder Alexander, and a robust price tag of about $70 a bottle.

Success Of Shaq’s Investment

It is observed that Most of the players go broke after retiring from the sport, but this did not happen to Shaquille O’Neal – a retired professional American basketball player. He also has mastered the business. The decision to pursue a degree was because of his fear that he might go broke once he retires from the sport. The same fear made him closely follow Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, primarily how they invest their money.


Today, Shaq is known as Hall of Famer, wrestler, podcaster, sports analyst, and venture capitalist. It is intriguing to know that a sports person became a venture capitalist. Shaq endorses the fact that it is investing that made him wealthy from rich. Shaq had started investing in companies while he was still playing; he was already building his portfolio. He has investments in companies like Ring, Lyft, vitamin water, and Google.    


It all did not happen all of a sudden, Shaq gradually learned the art of investment and started making the right investments. He missed his first investment opportunity because of no experience at all. Shaq was approached by the founder of the Idea lab to become an equity partner in one of his companies and become the face of the company, which Shaq rejected asking for cash instead. He did not understand the importance of equity at that time until he saw that some years later, the same company was worth lots of dollars, and the worth of his capital was much more than the cash.


Shaq’s learning from declining the equity offer and earnings up to $100 million by 2002 after winning three consecutive NBA championships, made him feel comfortable taking a smart risk. He believes his investment in Google was luck. He quoted; he met a top profile investor who was somehow linked to a kid who he was playing inside a restaurant. The high profile investor introduced him to the Google guys, who pitched him to become an equity investor. He knew it would be a wise decision to invest in Google as it was going to make the lives of people more relaxed, and he remembered Jeff Bezos saying that any investment made in a business that can make the world a better place is always a good investment. Thus, he invested. When Google went public, Shaq earned $15 for every $1 spent. At that point, he realized the actual worth of equity investment and that he could always use his celebrity status to buy equity in companies that are performing well and planning to go public shortly.     


Down the years, Shaq became a serial investor. He also appeared in commercials for companies like Ring, Lyft, and Vitamin water as they offered him a lot of stock. Further, he realized that his association with companies like Ring would help double the positive impact of business on society because of his PR, links, and relationships. This also made him invest in companies. He also made a fortune when Amazon acquired Ring for $1 Billion.


Shaq continues to invest in companies and enjoys his journey as a venture capitalist seeing his wealth multiply and grow.

Ashton Kutchers & Gaius Chibueze Investment Life

Ashton Kutcher is one of Hollywood’s most plorific Silicon Valley investors. He has developed a lucrative investing career, from taking a bet on Uber and AirBnb early on and growing a $30 million fund into $250 million in 6 years.

  • Ashton Kutcher is one of the more lively Silicon Valley investor in Hollywood. From angel investing early on to co-founding 2 venture capital funds, Kutcher has built quite the bountiful investing career over the past ten years.

Kutcher, aged 41 has invested over $3 billion in startups and taken part in 177 funding rounds over the past 10 years.

Kutcher and Oseary poured $1 million each of their own money into the fund, while Burkle contributed $8 million. A-Grade also received backing from experienced tech executives like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as businessman Mark Cuban.

Kutcher’s money hunger began at a young age. As a teen, he held down multiple jobs, such as lawn mowing, cleaning work, and dishwashing.

Kutcher told the investing blog “Grow” that he saved fourteen hundred dollars for a snowmobile at age 13. He said “I pitched in after school and on weekends for 18 months, and deposited every cent into a savings account.”

Brought up in Iowa, Kutcher comes from blue-collar genes. His father made a living at a meat-packing plant while his mother was a school teacher, Jackie Lam reported for Business Insider. Kutcher was studying biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa where he was scouted as a model, which eventually let to his breakthrough in the acting world.

Actor and model is just a few of the many caps he wears as part of a multi faceted career. Kutcher is not only a producer and entrepreneur he is also a philanthropist, with many ventures in every field. As well as being a rather serious investor.

Whilst not the 1st celebrity to make it in investing, but over a decade in, Kutcher has made a brand for himself in Silicon Valley. Bani Sapra for Business Insider referred to him as the most active celebrity investor and, arguably, tinsel-town’s most knowledgeable tech investor.

His vision is to help connect the “everyday man” with new companies to solve everyday problems, Kutcher began as an angel investor before co-founding two venture capital funds: A-Grade Investments and Sound Ventures.

Concentrating on this basic goal of identifying and allowing top entrepreneurs to build a brighter tomorrow is the crux of my investment strategy,” Kutcher wrote in a blog post for Atrium, a legal and tech start-up.

“I spend a lot of time thinking about new and simpler ways to do things, but I’m too short on time to execute on all those ideas,” he told Grow. “So I found people who were executing on them and invested in their success.”

In 2013 the Telegraph reported that Kutcher is very drawn to consumer technologies. “The companies that will ultimately succeed are the companies that chase happiness,” he advises. “If you find a way to help people find love, or health, or friendship, the dollar will chase that.”

Kutcher’s foray into angel investing kicked off when he founded production company Katalyst in 2000, which led to Silicon Valley connections.

Forbe’s reports that Kutcher poached Katalyst’s digital chief from TechCrunch, the person that brought him to the big names in Silicon Valley. “I spent all of my time just listening,” Kutcher told him.

Kutcher soon became familiar with the tech scene. In 2009, billionaire Marc Andreessen asked if he could invest $1 million into Skype 2 years before Microsoft bought the company and tripled the value, according to O’Malley Greenburg.

A-Grade focused on early-stage investments, according to TechCrunch. O’Malley Greenburg wrote that these start-ups had to have three defining characteristics: founders A-Grade wanted to work with; a problem-solving mission statement that would make the most of time; and a business model A-Grade could grow.

While there were a few failed investments along the way, such as BlackJet and Fab.com, A-Grade made many successful ones: $500,000 into Uber, $2.5 million into Airbnb, $3 million into Spotify, $300,000 into Warby Parker, and $1.5 million into Houzz, among many others. These are all multi-billion dollar companies today.

In 2015, Kutcher and Oseary took a more formal approach to venture investing, co-founding venture fund Sound Ventures with $100 million from Investing other people’s money instead of their own allowed “them to make bigger investments, invest in later-stage startups, and put more money into investments that raise follow-on rounds,” according to TechCrunch.

As of 2017, Sound Ventures was managing more than $100 million in investments, reported Cat Zakrzewski for The Wall Street Journal. By 2018, it had made over 50 investments and led six rounds of financing.

Its portfolio includes Neighborly, a municipal bond crowdfunding startup, and OpenGov, a financial tech company for local governments.

The same year, Kutcher guest-judged on investment show Shark Tank after Mark Cuban convinced him to audition.

Kutcher was originally hesitant about going on, but felt it “might deliver the opportunity to bring an audience to the show that might not normally watch it.

He ended up splitting a $200,000 investment with Shark Tank judge Lori Greiner for 15% each of Beebo, a shoulder strap that holds a baby bottle for optimal bottle-feeding. Kutcher has three rules when investing, all focused on what he sees in entrepreneurs.

  • The primary rule is that entrepreneurs must deeply understand both their product and their industry, he told A-Plus. They must also have a personality that will allow them to withstand failure and setbacks, he said.

Kutcher continued: “You can have the best idea in the world and absolute domain expertise and know how to do everything right, but if you want to do something great in the world, there are going to be obstacles; and you have to be a person who has ingenuity and sheer willpower to get through those times.”

The third rule, he added, is that the entrepreneur must get along well with him.
“One of the critical tests that I try to run when I’m sitting across from a founder is: Can you sell me your idea?” Kutcher said at the conference.

For Kutcher, the ability to convey a company’s mission determines whether or not they’ll be able to snag the best talent in a competitive job market, Zoë Bernard reported for Business Insider. He sees telling the story of an early stage company as integral to its future growth.

“If you can’t sell me, how are you going to sell your first hire, your second hire, your third hire?” Kutcher asked. “How are you going to create the capacity for the rest of your team to sell those next hires?”

On Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show “Chelsea,” Kutcher offered up his best investment advice:

“Invest in the things that you know. If you drink beer all the time — if you go to microbreweries and you try all kinds of them — you probably know which ones are the best, and my advice is always to invest in what you know.”

He also emphasized this in his interview with Grow, where one of his top three tips for deciding on what to invest in was to invest in your own expertise.

  • He likes to help out others by giving investing advice such as invest in what you know, learn all you can about it, and create a plan to make what you invested into a reality.

Kutcher said you should invest in what you want to bring to life, but approach your vision carefully.

Kutcher told Grow you should invest in what you want to see become reality. “Worst-case scenario, you lose money — but at least you will get the life you want,” he said.

But for what you don’t know, he advises “in Atrium blog” finding out everything you can about it. “Learn what you don’t know.”

That involves asking stupid questions. Kutcher advised doing just that at a recent QuickBooks Connect conference. He said that when he was first introduced to key players in the tech world, he would ask every question he could think of.

When it comes to implementing that reality, Kutcher has said that while having a vision is important, making a plan is better. At the QuickBooks Connect conference, he advised starting with what you’ve done to work towards your vision or goal, then looking at what you can do next to finally achieve your vision. In other words, nail out the nitty-gritty details that get you from point A to B.

For his many investments, Kutcher said he considers his relationships the best investment he’s made.

He told Grow, “Taking the time to get to know people, what motivates them, what their challenges are,”?. “These things are often overlooked. Investors get so wrapped up in returns and numbers that they forget that the true privilege of their position is to share a journey with exceptional people.”

His views on investing and life in general all goes back to his Midwestern origins. He said he needs to give back to those who need a helping hand.

 At QuickBooks he said “I’m very appreciative of the things I have, I’m always fighting for the guy on the street, no matter what, because I always feel like I am the little guy. If you’re lucky enough to be doing well, it’s incumbent upon you to help folks who are struggling to grab that first rung on the ladder to start their climb.”

Gaius Chibueze & Crypto Currency

Gaius Chibueze is a little known crypto investor rarely mentioned in the public domain for this unassuming past of celebrity.

However Gaius was recently ranked amongst the leading cryptocurrency traders in 2019 according to Binance traders rankings.

At 27 years old, Gaius Chibueze began an obsession to meet all his 5,000 Facebook followers across the globe in person.

Well known as a champion for Blockchain solutions, and ardent crypto educator, not many are aware that Gaius Chibueze was once proudly entertaining audiences with rap music.

Mr Gaius’ history with rap music can be traced back to around 10 years ago as a student of College of Education, Akamkpa, Cross Rivers State .

Sosoflow, as he called himself, attended every concert in Calabar, performing for rap fans, and of course earning a living from it.

Channeling the same passion led him to invest in his growing music record label business, Konvest Music, a label that now houses budding music talents with unique sound and strong prospects.

Today, Mr Gaius Chibueze has deep interest in many industries, and markets, and is heading a team of global change makers in creating pertinent solutions to meet the demands of the ever mobile growing young African population.

Chance the Rapper & Quibi brings back ‘Punk’d’

Fondly enjoyed early noughties MTV prank reality show Punk’d is officially being brought back.

Revived by device streaming platform “Quibi” and MTV have forged a deal with “Chance the Rapper”. Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper will now fill the director’s chair for the updated version of the hidden-camera show to become the new host role, previously filled by charming prankster Ashton Kutcher.


“Punk’d is one of MTV’s most iconic franchises,” said Chance in an interview. “I grew up watching this show and it’s surreal to be in the driver’s seat this time around on Quibi.”

Chance is hardly a surprising choice for hosting duties, given his history with MTV reality shows including the network’s Wild ‘N Out, hosted by Nick Cannon.

The show, from MTV Studios, will be reimagined for a new generation of viewers and available in episodes of 10 minutes or less, alongside short daily news and sports programs which is in keeping with the providers mission objective of offering viral quick content.


The show’s original version piloted in 2003 and featured hidden cameras that recorded celebrities as they were epically pranked by Kutcher. The series officially finished in 2007. Numerous reboots of the series, including one helmed by BET, have arrived and been canned over the years.

Fingers crossed “Chance” can keep the show running this time around.


The service aims to offer three hours of new content each day, with users paying $5 every month for the regular version or $8 to remove adverts. 

Celebrity “marks” for the show will be announced later, although Megan Thee Stallion is featured in a short preview clip for the series. Quibi, which is set to launch on April 6, has yet to reveal premiere dates for any of its more than 50 original series.


Punk’d comes from STX Television in association with MTV Studios. The original co-creator Jason Goldberg returns, along with Ashton Kutcher, who executive produces the revival.


In the series trailer, the show appears to pick up exactly where it left off. Lucky celebrity guest Megan Thee Stallion appears as the first victim in the teaser and seems to be punked into believing that a live gorilla has escaped off the back of a truck.

While no other guests have been announced, previous stars have included Lindsay Lohan, Matthew Perry, Rhianna, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake.


Quibi is a tech and entertainment startup in Hollywood that plans to deliver bite-size mobile content from big industry names like Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Idris Elba, Don Cheadle and Will Arnett and more for a monthly fee.


The platform aims to air 7,000 pieces of content a year following its North American launch in spring. So far, Walmart, PepsiCo and P&G have all signed on as brand partners.


Classic Episodes


Beyonce

Former Destiny’s Child star Beyonce’s “Punk’d” episode is absolutely hilarious. This superstar shows up for a Christmas event for underprivileged kids, sings “Silent Night” for them, then is entrusted with adorning the star on the giant tree.


Lo and behold, as soon as she starts placing the star, the tree falls over. At Kuther’s behest, the children start yelling “you ruined our Christmas” and put Beyonce in an awkward position. Chance the Rapper is good friends with Beyonce, so hopefully, there’s a part two for the celebrity.

Justin Timberlake

Kutcher made Justin Timberlake’s heart skip a beat for this “Punk’d” episode. The Inland Revenue Service comes knocking at Timberlake’s door, claiming that he owed $900,000 in back taxes. They raced into his house and started repossessing his things, a young and an incognito Dax Shepard at the head of the prank.

The singer ended up calling everyone for help, looking forlorn on the front porch of his home. Coming to the rescue, Kutcher came in smugly, Timberlake relieved he wasn’t in actual trouble.


Elijah Wood

Kutcher wanted to teach Elijah Wood a lesson in smoking, naming the episode “Don’t Blow Smoke Up My Ass”. Wood and his friend were smoking and driving, and stopped by a giant trash bin to throw a cigarette in a can away.


To Wood’s dismay, it was a bin with flammable material that exploded from the cigarette and threw debris on top of another person’s car. That person came out yelling, the cops came, and Wood looked helpless until the crew revealed the truth.

Why celebrities like startups in India

During recent years there have been an increasing number of celebrities transforming into startup investors. These stars have shown that their talent exceeds taking a great selfie in front of the camera or on the field and they are ready to use their celebrity status and power to increase their millions outside of their normal comfort zones. From retail to aerospace to fitness, Indian celebrities are keen to own a pie in the country’s startup ecosystem, both global and local.


Indian celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan have invested in “Edu’s Fun” and “Just Dial” , Virat Kohil has invested in “Wrogn” the gym chain “Chisel” and Convo and Indian Cricket Captain Run Adam has invested in Cars 24.


This phenomenon of celebrity investors isn’t a surprise or anything new, but the fact that the role and equity of a star are moving beyond brand ambassadors endorsing the product is an curious trend and one that is likely to expand in time.


A recent television interview with a group of startups about this growing trend of celebrity investors. The product advertising has been a lot easier by Facebook’s new initiative ‘Boost with Facebook’ empowering businesses across India with digital education to allow for their business growth.


Anything from retail, aerospace and fitness , Indians are keen to own a piece off the pie. Indians are investing their millions into start up companies.


From local to global the start up companies are looking for celebrities to do more than endorse the products like men’s grooming products. The small and medium businesses are looking for big investors and to contribute to brand ideas.


Across the globe, there are approximately 90 million Small – Medium businesses (SMBs). In India, there is exceptional commitment to giving a boost to the SMB ecosystem. There are two sets of SMBs in India, where a fraction that know how to do business online, but the level of understanding is really small. Suprisingly there are SMB’s that haven’t come online yet, and are still learning the online world completely. For the first set of people who are already online, there are several programmes launched recently to support them. This includes the Venture Capital (“VC brand incubator”) that helps Facebook partner with VCs and as a result helps micro-business entrepreneurs skill, mentor, and train. Small businesses and startups who have small budgets can access various workshops where leaders from Facebook extend solutions that can enable them to grow and scale their business. Facebook recently also launched the SheLeadsTech programme exclusively to encourage women entrepreneurs. The programme has enabled 600 women entrepreneurs access to tools, mentorship, and resources to help overcome barriers, and build a successful business in technology.


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Billie Eilish, H&M Team for Sustainable Clothing Line

While cementing her place as one of the biggest names in the music industry in recent years, Sh’es been known to use her platform to speak out on environmental causes.


Billie Eilish has ventured into yet another fashion partnership with fashion brand H&M for a collection aimed at eco friendly clothing.

The 18 year old “Everything I wanted” singer has released another fashion collaboration, the line is targeting sustainability.


The range of clothes are made from 100% sustainable materials and are a collection of pieces inspired by Eilish’s signature look. The range is made up of baggy t-shirts, bucket hats and oversized sweaters with every item emblazoned with her logo.

Previously Eilish has joint ventured with various fashion outlets like Bershka, Urban Outfitters and Freak City as well as an online merchandise shop named “Blohsh.”


Eilish, like many celebrities has become more and more outspoken about the fight against climate change and sustainability. She and Woody Harrelson have recently released a public service announcement video titled “Our House Is On Fire,” which details ways people can live more sustainable lifestyles. The video message was broadcast an episode of Saturday Night Live which featured Elish. Before previous concerts, she also gave fans free gig tickets if they pledged to do their best to fight global warming.


 H&M have collaborated with other artists to launch merchandise. Celebrities like Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande have also branded lines, however, Billie is the first celebrity to make her line sustainable.


“We’re super excited about this merch collection drop,” says Emily Bjorkheim, head of design for Divided, H&M. “Billie Eilish is obviously an inspiring artist but also someone a lot of people around the world admire for her personal style and empowering way of expressing her values.. We want to enable her fans to step into her world and feel empowered to freely express their style as well.”

“Billie Eilish is clearly an inspirational performer, but also someone a lot of people around the world admire for her unique style and empowering way of spreading her values,” she added. “We want to enable her fans to step into her world and feel empowered to freely express their style as well.”


In late 2019, the young singer explained how she was planning on making sure the upcoming “Where Do We Go?” world tour to be as ecologically friendly as possible, by barring plastic straws, asking fans to supply their own reusable water bottles and having plenty of recycling bins accessible in each venue.

In 2019, Eilish’s signature baggy sized outfits and fondness for the colour green saw her make the top of Google’s Most Googled Style list, so it’s a safe bet we can expect a similar vibe for the singer’s H&M merch, all of which is made from sustainable materials.


A big part of her latest eco-responsible venture, Eilish has launched a merchandise range with high street retailer H&M, featuring clothing that imitate her signature enlarged silhouettes.

H&M states in a press release. Every item in the collection has been made using materials that have been “sourced in a more sustainable way”,

Billie Eilish and H&M release sustainable clothing collaboration


The pieces’ designs feature Eilish’s official logos and come in beige, black and neon green colourways. The collection includes printed T-shirts, bucket hats, a bumbag and oversized sweatshirts.

It is available to purchase worldwide from all H&M stores carrying the Divided concept and online at hm.com.


Emily Bjorkheim, H&M’s head of design said “Billie Eilish is obviously an inspiring artist, but also someone a lot of people across the globe look up to for her personal style and empowering way of expressing her values,”.

“We want to enable her fans to step into her world and feel empowered to freely express their style as well.”


3D make-up artist Ines Alpha who worked on the collection’s launch campaign, creating delightful visuals that have been turned into an exclusive Snapchat filter.

Billies collection features long, boxy T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirt dresses, joggers, and T-shirt dresses in Eilish’s signature green, as well as cream, black, and pale green. According to a press release, Alpha created the graphics for the campaign imagery, using “surreal 3D elements” that resemble paint splatter. She also made a custom Snapchat filter with the same splattered look for shoppers to play with — while wearing the merch, of course.

“For the H&M Billie Eilish merchendising campaign, I wanted to work with liquids from another planet, floating around the models and bringing colours and fun to this augmented world,” the artist said.

Samuel L. Jackson & Amazon Alexa

Amazon has kicked off its “Celebrity Voice Program” by giving users the ability to choose the voice of Samuel L. Jackson. The company announced the “Celebrity Voice Program” in early September and has ow fulfilled its promise.


To get the voice of Samuel L. Jackson and replace it with Alexa’s default voice you are able to pay $0.99. The voice of Samuel L. Jackson is able to perform all the tasks that the default Alexa voice is able to do. It is able to tell you the weather, music and can even tell kids to go to sleep.


After you pay the price tag of $0.99 you own the voice. It is simple to activate according to Amazon. All you have to say to enable this feature is simply say “Alexa introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson.” However, Alexa’s default voice does not go away and remains the default. According to ‘The Verge’ you have to specifically request the voce of Samuel L. Jackson by saying “Alexa, ask Samuel L. Jackson,” and then say your question or command.


According to multiple sources, Amazon is using its neural text-to-speech model which is a deepfake but more lightweight. However, Samuel L. Jackson has allowed Amazon to prerecord clips of his voice. He was able to record and provide lots of audio for Amazon to use and base most things on. You can hear one of the neural text-to-speech clips of audio by asking for the weather forecast but other responses are from pre-recorded, provided clips of audio.


The Samuel L. Jackson celebrity voice can also be set up to be explicit. This means that if you requested it or turned it on in settings it will swear in your responses. However, Samuel L. Jackson is quite explicit in his vocab as an actor. It is a touch by Amazon to make the celebrity voice even well heard.


If you ask the Samuel L. Jackson for jokes it will say special recorded jokes. Amazon and the famous actor have also included comments and personal information of Jackson. Some disappointing news is that the standard artificial voice of Alexa is still heavily required to set reminders, make shopping lists and other various tasks.


His voice as of now is only in English and as of current knowledge Amazon has not yet revealed if it plans to expand the voice into further languages. However, Amazon does have plans to include more celebrity voice options in 2020. Samuel L. Jackson is just making the way for more celebrity voices to be introduced and adapted to Alexa.


Currently you can say a few things asking to be Samuel L. Jackson’s voice for Alexa / him to say:

“Alexa, ask Samuel what it was like making Star Wars“.

“Alexa, ask Samuel for the news”.

“Alexa, ask Sam Jackson to sing happy birthday”

He will respond with personal comments and a good sense of humour. Google is attempting the same exact thing with a feature it calls ‘Cameo’ and heavily relies on Google’s WaveNet technology. It allows Google Assistant to sound like either Issa Rae or John Legend. However, unlike Amazon’s neural text-to-speech Google’s WaveNet is a lot more limited in capability which reduces its function and purpose.


It seems as though celebrity voices will soon be a standard across virtual smart assistants as artificial intelligence improves and celebrities join. Hopefully, you are soon able to control these smart virtual assistants fully through the voice of the selected celebrity.