This Consulting Firm Is  Making Sure Black Athletes Don’t Fall Prey To The ‘Broke Curse’

This Consulting Firm Is Making Sure Black Athletes Don’t Fall Prey To The ‘Broke Curse’

This Consulting Firm Is  Making Sure Black Athletes Don’t Fall Prey To The ‘Broke Curse’

 American football player in a haze and rain on black background. Portrait. Athlete dissecting white smoke and water drops. Sportsman shines in the rays of light By Jasmine Browley ·Updated February 16, 2024

In 2015, Sports Illustrated reported that around 80% of retired NFL players go broke in their first three years out of the League. Back then, the income in the NFL was about $750,000, yet many footballers found themselves in dire financial straights, and often seeking refuge in bankruptcy protection filings.

Michael Ledo doesn’t want the current generation of players to face the same fate.

He was inspired to launch his business consulting firm Rise Advisors, after watching his high-powered NFL agent uncle, Eugene Parker, shape the careers of seven Hall of Famers including Deion Sanders, Emmett Smith and Rod Woodson among others.

“I got to see Black excellence in close proximity that me know a career doing what I love the most, helping people build wealth, is possible,” Ledo tells ESSENCE.

Although he didn’t think he’d be doing what he’s doing right now, his uncle gave me an entrepreneurial identity. Now, his firm is managing a client portfolio worth $100M+ that includes the likes of Jessie Bates III, Matt Judon, Jaylon Smith, and Blake Fisher, who is expected to be the 2nd overall pick in the NFL.

Rise Advisors plays the role of a fairy godparent, so to speak, for its clients. Not only does the team identify fitting business opportunities, it brokers, oversees, and manages them alongside its clients. It also provides agents, managers, publicists and a myriad of other pros that the player may need in their quest for financial viability.

“Our success depends on the success of our clients,” Ledo says. He explains that as opposed to his firm taking a commission from every successful project they broker, the firm is paid bottom line of its clients’ net worth, “not off of their pay.”

He gives the example of an agent getting paid 3% of a $100 million contract they helped broker on behalf of a client.

“We get paid on the bottom line of what they’re worth in investments,” he says. “So, how much do you have in real estate? How much do you have in equities and stock and bonds? How much do you have in venture? How much do you have sitting in the bank? We aim to grow that worth because if it grows, our pay grows.”

Ledo says he created this compensation structure for the company because many athletes, particularly Black athletes, aren’t given guidance to properly allocate a new influx of cash. But most importantly, he provides mentorship when it’s needed the most, When asked if he feels like he also takes on a paternal role in addition to consultant he responds in the affirmative.

“I do,” he says. “I take a strong responsibility in protecting them and educating them. I don’t ever desire to control them because I don’t want to be controlled, but that’s very much true. That’s very much true. And it feels good to know I have a part in helping their futures remain bright.”

The post This Consulting Firm Is Making Sure Black Athletes Don’t Fall Prey To The ‘Broke Curse’ appeared first on Essence.


Celebrating Trayvon Martin: How His Legacy Continues To Thrive

Celebrating Trayvon Martin: How His Legacy Continues To Thrive

Celebrating Trayvon Martin: How His Legacy Continues To Thrive

Source: Jason Armond / Getty

Trayvon Martin would have been celebrating his 29th birthday this week and his passing still resonates with so many Black Americans. 

Trayvon Martin never asked to be the face of a movement; he never asked to be a martyr. But, his untimely death has had a lasting impact on our discussions about systemic racism and gun violence. Scholarships were created in his name, laws were scrutinized in his honor and documentaries were created to tell his story. Trayvon Martin’s legacy still lives on through the many who work hard to keep his name alive. This starts with his mother, Sybrina Fulton, who also did not ask to become the mother of a movement. 

She recently took to social media to keep his name in the minds of all his supporters by posting a birthday message to her late son. 

“Happy Heavenly Birthday to my Sun/Sonshine just know I do this all for you,” wrote Fulton. “You will forever be a part of my heart & even the death of you has not separated my LOVE for you, Mommy.”

The family also participated in the 12th annual Trayvon Martin Peace Walk and Talk last weekend in Miami Gardens to commemorate his life and promote peace and dialogue in his memory. 

It’s not just Trayvon Martin’s family that is working diligently to keep his legacy alive. 

Filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, is releasing a new film called Origin, which, according to Business Insider, is based on Isabel Wilkerson’s bestselling 2020 nonfiction book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The film, which will tackle themes centered around the social hierarchy of racism in America, will open with a scene that begins on the last night of Trayvon Martin’s life in 2012.

DuVernay told Business Insider that she decided to start the film this way to humanize Martin in a way that films hadn’t in the past. 

“It opens on him having a very carefree conversation with his homegirl on the phone, and going in to buy candy, and being very deliberate with counting out change for the cashier, and defending himself against the sprinkles happening outside in the rain by putting up his hoodie,” DuVernay told BI. “You don’t see anything that happens to him until another 20 minutes in the film.”

She continued, “By speaking to what was shown, you humanize him. That was the goal, and he deserves that.”

Twelve years after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, Stand Your Ground laws continue to be a point of contention among Martin’s supporters.

In 2022, the Northwest Florida Daily News published a report about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law’s enduring nature despite ongoing disparities in the application of the defense.

The January 2022 essay by Kami Chavis for the Duke Center for Firearms Law observed that in Florida, in more than half of the state’s Stand Your Ground cases, the shooter could have deescalated but didn’t. Stand Your Ground laws differ from traditional self-defense in part because the shooter does not have to avoid confrontation.

“At the same time, Black defendants accused of crimes do not enjoy the same protections under these laws as similarly situated white defendants,” read the essay. (Read the full essay here).

Trayvon Martin’s birthday is a day to celebrate his life and also a day to remember his name. It’s up to us to make sure his legacy lives on and actual change is made in his honor. 

The post Celebrating Trayvon Martin: How His Legacy Continues To Thrive appeared first on NewsOne.

Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts

Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts

Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts

Source: Robin L Marshall / Getty

Actress Taraji P. Henson has been a major publicity run with the cast of The Color Purple and for most of it, the actresses were expressing a united front of feel-good Black girl magic. But that’s until Gayle King, interviewing Henson, Danielle Brooks and director, Blitz Bazawule, asked her about a rumor that she wanted to quit acting.

Turns out, King’s research was good. Henson became visibly upset. After pausing, she answered the question affirmatively and said the major reason was that she was tired of fighting the battles related to compensation.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she told King as Brooks moved to comfort her. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over.”

She added, “It seems every time I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did. “What is that telling me?” she said, starting to cry. “If I can’t fight for them coming up behind me, then what the f-ck am I doing?”

Henson says that she has been historically underpaid throughout her two-decade career. She famously said that she was only paid $150K for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2008 Brad Pitt movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Henson has shared that she had to audition for The Color Purple despite a stellar movie and TV career that includes critical and commercial success in Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, Hidden Figures, and as the star of the TV show Empire. And she’s not the only one who thinks that Hollywood’s compensation system is biased.

Terrence Howard, her Empire co-star is currently suing his agency CAA, saying that he was paid less for his role on the show than white actors like Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm and others.

Henson said in another interview that she feels she’s starting over on each project.

“I’m really getting tired of Black women having the same story,” she said in another interview on a SAG/AFTRA panel.”It breaks my heart.It’s like every time you achieve something really incredible, the industry looks like its a fluke. Like that was like some one-time thing. So you fall back to the bottom and you gotta negotiate and fight tooth and nail to get what you made the last time. Where’s my raise? I haven’t seen a raise in my income since Proud Mary.


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Henson said she almost didn’t take the role as Shug Avery in The Color Purple for those reasons. Her comments were flooded by fellow actresses Keke Palmer, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry and others who cosigned her struggles and lamented having to fight for their quotes as well.


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But Henson quickly denied she harbored any animosity toward Winfrey after a TikTok post seemed to show Winfrey ignoring her at a photo shoot.

At the photo op in New York City, it appeared from the footage shot on the scene that Oprah ignored Henson and then moved as far away from her as she could to take the photo. While Henson hasn’t commented on what exactly happened and if the footage was misleading in any way, she did praise Winfrey on Instagram.

“Ms. OPRAH has been nothing less than a steady and solid beacon of light to ALL OF THE CAST of The Color Purple!!!” Henson posted.


She told me personally to reach out to her for ANYTHING I needed, and I did!


Thank You Ms. @OPRAH For ALL That You Do 💜💜💜


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See how social media is reacting to Taraji’s honesty below.

The post Taraji P. Henson Says She’s “Tired” Of Being Underpaid & Shuts Down Oprah Feud Rumors, Social Media Reacts appeared first on Black America Web.

The 7 U.S. Aiports Named For Famous Black Americans

The 7 U.S. Aiports Named For Famous Black Americans

The 7 U.S. Aiports Named For Famous Black Americans

With the renaming of James Herman Banning Ames Municipal Airport in Ames, Iowa on June 17, 2023, there are now seven airporst in the United States named in honor of a great Black American. The long journey to rename these insitutions serve as a reminder that there needs to be greater representation in our airspace and travel industries: only a tiny fraction of the nation’s 19,000 airports bear the names of African Americans.

We recognize National Air Traffic Control Day with these seven airports named for Black Americans, who are remembered every time we take flight from one of these locations.

James Herman Banning Ames Municipal Airport—Ames, Iowa

James Herman Banning cemented himself in the history of aviation when he became one of the first Black pilots to successfully fly from the United States’ west coast to the east coast in the early 1930s. As one of the most notable Black pilots in early aviation history, the Iowa resident was honored with a renaming ceremony of the Story County airport in 2023. There, travelers can also learn more about Banning’s record-setting accomplishments through an exhibit within one of the airport’s terminals.

Frederick Dougless Rochester International Airport—Rochester, New York

In 2021, Rochester, New York’s international airport was officially renamed to recognize the accomplishments of Black abolitionist and Rochester resident Frederick Douglass. Located in the third most populated city in the state of New York, the renaming of the airport started with a sculpture. “Our project ‘Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass’ put 15 fibreglass monuments on the streets of the city of Rochester for the Frederick Douglass birthday Bicentennial, which was in 2018,” says Carvin Eisen, a professor at SUNY Brockport who helped spearhead the project. One of the sculptures now finds its home in the newly named aiport. “We suspect that somewhere around a million travelers a year come here. So this will be the first image that they see of Rochester and the last image that they take with them when they leave,” he delcares.

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport—Birmingham, Alabama

Celebrated activist Fred L. Shuttlesworth stood strong against Jim Crow laws and deadly racism to see civil rights reforms come to fruition. The Mount Meigs, Alabama, native worked with other activist organizations in the 1960s to organize the historic Freedom Rides, marches and boycotts in the name of equality. In 2008, Shuttlesworth’s name was added to the state’s largest airport to honor the pastor’s legacy.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport—Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Ambitious Baltimore lawyer Thurgood Marshall made history in 1967 when he was named a justice on the nine-panel United States Supreme Court, the first Black American to ever hold the position. Throughout the entirety of his law career and his 25 years on the Bench, Marshall advocated and secured victories for women’s autonomy and civil rights. In 2005, the Maryland airport changed its name to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to honor this civil rights pioneer.

Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport—Jackson, Mississippi

World War II veteran Medgar Evers dedicated his life to advocating for racial equality after returning home from the military. He worked tirelessly to desegregate education and eradicate Jim Crow in Mississippi, putting his own life on the line for change. His assassination in 1963 spurred an intense outcry within the Black community and a fiercer push for civil rights, with the Civil Rights Act being passed a year later. In January 2005, the international airport in Jackson, Mississippi, was renamed in honor of the civil rights martyr.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport—Atlanta, Georgia

The grandson of activist John Wesley Dobbs, Morehouse graduate Maynard Jackson made his own history as the first Black mayor of Atlanta. As he worked to reform the city’s police department during his two consecutive terms as mayor, he paid special attention to the city’s airport. After working to expand and modernize the facility, the city voted to rename the airport to pay homage to the former mayor after his death in 2003. Today, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serves millions of travelers as one of the busiest airports in the United States.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport—New Orleans, Louisiana

Louis Armstrong is one of the most beloved figures in music and a staple of the budding jazz scene of the 1920s. While the raspy-voiced musician worked to revolutionize the genre with hits such as “What a Wonderful World,” the New Orleans native, known as “Satch,” left his mark on all of America. In 2001, Armstrong’s hometown renamed their local airport to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to pay homage to the iconic Louisiana trumpeter.

The post The 7 U.S. Aiports Named For Famous Black Americans appeared first on Ebony.

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Has Multiple Versions

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Has Multiple Versions

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Has Multiple Versions

There’s an easter egg in the long-awaited animation epic Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. After a Twitter user shared differences in a scene between character Miguel O’Hara and his virtual assistant Lyla, Spider-Verse associate editor confirmed multiple versions of the film, which is still in theaters.


A Reddit list also shows key changes between the film versions, with scenes featuring protagonist Miles Morales, supporting character Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman, supervillain The Spot, and more.

Prior to the revelation, the Spider-Verse swung into more success. According to Deadline, the film has earned a total of $506.3 million at the global box office since its June 2 theatrical release, five times its $100 production budget. Domestically, the film has garnered $290.4 million while its international release has grossed $215.9 to date.

The Spider-Verse fame is partially due to marketing, as its Metro Boomin executive-produced 13-song soundtrack – with features from Nas, Offset, A$AP Rocky, Coi Leray, Swae Lee, Lil Uzi Vert, Future and more – led to children and adults raving over the Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment franchise. With its strong opening, the new Spider-Verse, titled Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is expected to release in March 2024.

For more music from the Spider-Verse franchise, concerts for Into the Spider-Verse will be held in various cities throughout the country starting in August.

For those unfamiliar with the new Spider-Verse, here’s an official description via Sony Pictures:

Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga, an epic adventure that will transport Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man across the Multiverse to join forces with Gwen Stacy and a new team of Spider-People to face off with a villain more powerful than anything they have ever encountered.

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson and Kemp Powers, Across the Spider-Verse stars Shameik Moore (Miles Morales), Hailee Steinfield (Gwen Stacy / Spider-Woman), Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson “Jeff” Morales), Luna Lauren Vélez (Rio Morales), Issa Rae (Jess Drew / Spider-Woman), Daniel Kaluuya (Hobie Brown / Spider-Punk) and more.