Breaking Brown

Black Culture

07/06/16 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Muhammad Ali Sold 80% of Licensing Rights to Billionaire for $50 Million in 2006

Muhammad Ali Sold 80% of Licensing Rights to Billionaire for $50 Million in 2006

Being a free black man is near impossible in the United States, even for a heavyweight champion who came as close to freedom as any black person ever could’ve dreamed.

In a capitalist country with over 500 billionaires, freedom in America isn’t about a predisposition, but a number. How free you are in the U.S. is directly connected to your bank account. And freedom requires not only capital, but human relationships with enough expertise to leverage both your capital and image.

Muhammad Ali inked a deal to sell 80% of his name and image licensing stake for $50 million dollars in 2006. Robert F. X. Sillerman, former chief executive of the entertainment company CKX, announced he’d bought a majority stake in Ali’s licensing in 2006, the New York Times reported.

CKX has made a name for itself by making superstars even richer through celebrity endorsements. The company specializes in acquiring brands of stars that are under-performing. For example, according to the Times, CKX also owns licensing for Elvis Presley.

Mr.  Silverman said during an interview that acquiring licensing for both Ali and Presley were goals when he started the company.

“When you have the name, image and likeness of the most-recognized person on the planet, that’s the most important thing to have,” Mr. Sillerman said at the time.

Mr. Sillerman, a billionaire, retired from the company he founded in 2010.



0 likes 21 responses
28/04/16 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Prince Won Masters, Was In Deal With Jay-Z to Drastically Reduce Record Company Profits at Time of Death

Prince Won Masters, Was In Deal With Jay-Z to Drastically Reduce Record Company Profits at Time of Death

by Yvette Carnell

One summer evening in August of 2015, a group of journalists gathered at Paisley Park Studios to meet with a reticent musician who’d somehow single-handedly transformed himself into the record industry’s most persistent adversary.

In 2014 Prince won a hard-fought battle against Warner Bros. to gain control over his music catalogue and his name. Now, in a joint venture with Jay-Z’s Tidal a year later, Prince was sharing with reporters his plan for using what he’d learned in combat with Warner Bros. to advantage other artists in their dealings with record companies.

When asked how he planned to garner attention for his new project, Prince replied with a smile, “that’s why you’re here.”

That Prince had invited reporters into his private mansion in 2015 to announce a renewal of conflict between himself and the record industry was a news-making event. Mainstream media, however, buried the ground-breaking meeting in other headlines.

The same press that gave only a cursory nod to Prince’s 2015 meeting is now falling all over itself to report salacious gossip about the details surrounding the musical icon’s mysterious death. Anonymous sources are being used to depict Prince as a drug addled, AIDS infected, pill-popping degenerate.

The Daily Mail even went so far as to interview Prince’s alleged drug dealer,  somehow surmising that a musical legend who seemed more comfortable on the stage than anywhere else, suffered from stage fright. Another report claimed that Prince hadn’t slept for days at the time of his death. Prince’s brother-in law, who did not live with the singer, was the source for that report.

After Prince’s death, his estranged sister, a former crack addict and prostitute, rushed to cremate the singer without conducting an independent autopsy or opting instead for a burial. (Reports indicating that Jehovah’s Witnesses require cremation after a follower’s death were untrue.)

What we do know about Prince paints a picture in stark contrast to what is currently being presented by mainstream media. As he expressed to reporters during that fateful meeting at Paisley Park, his next battle wasn’t just about artistic freedom. It was about financial freedom–for all artists. Prince was demanding ownership, and with billions of dollars at stake, this was a much more perilous adventure.

“Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves,” Prince said during the meeting, according to NPR. “Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves.”

Prince had been David to the music industry’s Goliath in several well publicized skirmishes. He famously refused to sign contracts with record companies where he did not have creative control and in 1997 became the first artist to sell records directly over the internet.

The only thing standing in the way of Prince turning his passion for ownership into a movement was the refusal of other artists to follow suit.

“He was forever trying to persuade other artists to do the same,” says Prince’s former attorney, Gary Stiffelman, according to Billboard. “This truly was a cause, not just ‘I want to make more money.’ ”

Although Prince had secured his own freedom as an artist, he’d previously lacked a mechanism with which to institutionalize his model for the entire industry. It’s one thing to accuse the music industry of turning artists into slaves, as Prince did during that August meeting, but another thing altogether to devise a plan that promises to get those artists off the plantation. That’s where Jay-Z’s Tidal came in.

Tidal was Prince’s instrument for allowing artists to receive revenue untouched by their record label. “I would tell any young artist … don’t sign” record deals, Prince said.

In the current figuration, artists are beholden to record companies for revenue, but Prince prefigured Tidal as a way for artists to control their revenue from streaming. He’d already removed his own music from streaming services that only pay artists a pittance.

Prince had a plan. Part of that plan included giving money to Trayvon Martin’s family through Rev. Al Sharpton. Another part of that plan was donating money to black activists through Van Jones. But Prince also had a plan to free artists from the grip of their record labels, a constricting force that he knew all too well. Why would a man with a plan for everything die without a plan for what happens to his fortune after he’s gone?

Is it possible that Prince neglected to sign a will and spent his last days self-medicating? It’s not only possible, it’s likely that this was the case. Chronic pain can convert even the strongest willed people into addicts.

It is just as true, however, that whole industries in this country are built on black failure. The mass incarceration complex in this country doesn’t provide lucrative contracts for builders or provide jobs unless black men fail. The payday loan industry doesn’t exist unless black people are financially strapped. Our failure is the gasoline on which this country runs. Anyone strategically plotting a way forward where blacks are not on the bottom of the economic totem pole is not only risking his art, but his life.

One of two things happened; either Prince died without a will or someone is withholding it. We may never know. It is curious, however, that a man who understood the power of contracts and their skillful execution left the bulk of his estate to former drug addicted sister to whom he was never close.



0 likes 18 responses
18/04/16 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Hillary Clinton Carries Hot Sauce in Her Bag Too, Just Like Beyoncé

Hillary Clinton Carries Hot Sauce in Her Bag Too, Just Like Beyoncé

When Beyoncé sang about keeping hot sauce in her bag (#swag), the line resonated because it was believable. Beyoncé is a black woman with Southern roots, so it’s not far fetched to believe that she keeps a bottle of the red hot stuff in her purse, but Hillary Clinton?

From 105.1’s The Breakfast Club:

Hillary Clinton says something that she always carries with her is… sauce.

“Now listen, I want you to know that people are going to see this and say, ‘She’s pandering to black people,’” Charlamagne Tha God told Clinton.

“Okay,” Clinton said. “Is it working? No, but seriously. I’ve been eating a lot of hot sauce. Raw peppers and hot sauce. I think it keeps my immune system strong. Hot sauce is good for you.”

Even though Hillary Clinton enjoys an array of hot sauces, as noted in a 2015 Slate article, and admittedly carries a bottle of Tobasco sauce on her person, many African-Americans aren’t buying the idea that she’s toting it around like Bey.

The reason black people are doubting Hillary, and questioning why she offered that as her answer during the radio show, is because her husband played the saxophone to get the black vote and she danced the nae nae:

At this point, many black people have caught on to the scam. We know we’re being pandered to instead of treated like a serious constituency with serious issues.

Can you imagine what would’ve been the reaction if Bernie Sanders had remarked about carrying hot sauce in his briefcase on a black radio show? Neither can I.

0 likes 18 responses
14/04/16 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

President Whose Policies Left HBCUs Bankrupt Will Deliver Howard University Commencement Speech

President Whose Policies Left HBCUs Bankrupt Will Deliver Howard University Commencement Speech

by Yvette Carnell

In “Double Down: Game Change 2012” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Obama is described as harboring disdain for  “professional blacks”, as opposed to black professionals. According to those close to Obama, it is for this reason that he has no “patience” with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The CBC is deserving of criticism from its constituents, but not Obama, considering that its members have been supportive of the first black president, affording him cover even when his policies undermined their own communities. The CBC has been loyal to Obama, yet he hates them still.

Although poor treatment of CBC members can be relegated to the domain of inside the beltway bickering, the same cannot be said of Obama’s cruel treatment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

BreakingBrown has covered in detail the damage done to HBCUs by the Obama administration here, here, here and here. Due to a unilateral decision by the White House, the number of PLUS loans granted was unexpectedly cut in half. This policy change forced 28,000 HBCU students to drop out, and cost schools $150 million.

“I do predict several HBCUs will close,” said Jarrett Carter, editor of HBCU Digest. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”

When asked during a meeting about the underfunded HBCUs that represent only 3 percent of America’s colleges, but produce 50 percent of black lawyers, 40 percent of black engineers, and the majority of black public school teachers, Obama shocked CBC attendees with his indifference.

“He said there were some HBCUs that were not good at graduating students and if they did not improve they’d have to go by the wayside,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA).

“In other words he didn’t show much empathy for struggling HBCUs.  It was like show me the numbers and if the numbers aren’t where they need to be, that’s it. It was a somewhat callous view of the unique niche HBCUs fill,” Rep. Johnson, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, said at the time.

Even Howard University, the wealthiest HBCU with an endowment of around $460 million, has found itself in financial crisis. NBC Washington reported that Howard cut 84 staff positions  in response to budgetary constraints. Now Howard University, this writer’s alma mater, is receiving President Obama as its 2016 commencement speaker.

Despite all of the evidence showing the damage Obama has done not only to HBCUs, but to the black community in general, proud Bison are still sharing this commencement announcement as if it’s an accomplishment. They’re proudly gleeful when, given the circumstances, they should be shame faced.

If President Obama’s Morehouse commencement speech is any indication, Howard graduates who are celebrating an increasingly rare achievement in the black community, made even rarer by this president’s policies, will endure a bit of finger wagging on their big day.

“Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing,” Obama scolded Morehouse grads in 2013. “But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years, is there’s no longer any room for excuses.”

It is doubtful that Obama would’ve made similar remarks at Stanford or Harvard. As Obama’s interactions with the CBC demonstrate, this sort antipathy is reserved for us. This is how he treats black people.

0 likes 6 responses
07/04/16 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Michael Eric Dyson to Sanders Supporters: “This Ain’t Jesus Man”

Michael Eric Dyson to Sanders Supporters: “This Ain’t Jesus Man”

As the contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton heats up, African-American pundits are taking sides. In an interview with theGrio, Michael Eric Dyson offered an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, dismissing Sanders supporters as naive. Meanwhile, appearing on Morning Joe, Tavis Smiley expressed his belief that black Democrats are tired of being taken for granted.

“Bernie Sanders supporters on the Left are like Donald Trump supporters on the Right. We’re not electing a messiah,” said Dyson. “This ain’t Jesus, man.”

“Hillary Clinton has more insight about race than Bernie Sanders.. of at least engaging these issues,” added Dyson, who wrote a glowing praise of Clinton titled “Yes She Can” in The New Republic.

Meanwhile Tavis Smiley said black voters are tired of being taken for granted.

“Well, I am tired of black voters being taken for granted by one party and ignored by the other party so it was a clarion call to Democrats to not do that this time around. We all know the conventional wisdom left the building before the train ever left the station. So anything could happen this time around. I just don’t want Democrats to take the black vote for granted,” Smiley said Wednesday morning on MSNBC.

“The Clintons have a long-term relationship with the African-American community there’s the sense that the black political establishment rallying around her suggests that there’s going to be just lockstep voter support for her candidacy and I think that with Barack Obama clearly not being on the ballot this time, you can’t count on the high percentage of turnout with African-American voters you saw in that election. That’s just common sense so you have to work harder for that African-American vote and I’m glad Bernie is pushing Hillary to be more progressive,” Smiley added.

Watch Dyson’s video below:


0 likes 19 responses
1 2 3 4 5 42
Support Independent Black Media
Make a One Time Donation
Subscribe to our Exclusive Paid Newsletter