Amazon’s Facial “Rekognition” Gets Regulated

Amazon’s Facial “Rekognition” Gets Regulated

By CultureBanx Team

  • Amazon’s Rekognition tool may finally get audited

  • The facial recognition sector is set to surpass a valuation $8B in 2022

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E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN -2.58%) is finally stepping up efforts to audit its A.I. facial Rekognition tool that has been called out for built in bias. They are working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop standardized tests around this issue and improve accuracy. Will this move help stymie concerns over whether or not Amazon is exacerbating racial profiling and bias?

Why This Matters: Amazon has been selling its facial recognition program to police departments across the U.S. for quite some time now. Research shows commercial artificial intelligence systems tend to have higher error rates for women and black people. Some facial recognition systems would only confuse light-skin men 0.8% of the times and would have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women.

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Changing the Game: Cooperative Capital Helps Neighbors Invest in Their Communities

Changing the Game: Cooperative Capital Helps Neighbors Invest in Their Communities

By CultureBanx Team

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Being able to buy properties in your neighborhood is an idea many people have, but may not have a lot of extra cash to make the dream a reality. This is where Kwaku Osei’s Cooperative Capital comes into play, by allowing residents to pool their money together, as little as $1,000 into a real estate fund. They are starting with the Detroit real estate market with plans to launch community based funds that criss cross the country. “This is the right time because there is a lot of growth and more people can benefit from it. All boats can rise if there’s even distribution of ownership and we’re trying to create a bridge for that,” Osei said. It’s a simple process that starts with an investment committee who reviews and rates all opportunities and then the larger group of investors will vote on the top five. Cooperative Capital will determine if the investment can produce at least a six percent annual rate of return. “We want to become skilled at helping communities aggregate capital. Giving residents an equity stake in their own community.” The fund also views this as a way to increase financial literacy and plans to offer an online class called Get Financially Lit that teaches the basics of finance and investing. Right now Cooperative Capital is two and half months away from closing its first fund and raising one million dollars. There are already 20 other cities outside of Detroit ready for this model including Cleveland, Oakland and Baltimore.

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Nissan Revs Up Production in Africa

Nissan Revs Up Production in Africa

By CultureBanx Team

  • Nissan opening up a new $160M car plant in Algeria

  • In 2014, Africa had 35 vehicles per thousand people

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Nissan (7201.T +0.09%) is ramping up its investment in Africa with a new $160 million plant. As part of its commitment to the continent and its 2022 midterm plan, they are now focused on Algeria for a new car assembly facility.

Why This Matters: The Japanese automaker signed a joint venture agreement with Groupe Hasnaoui, a private partner in Algeria to build 63,500 passenger cars and light commercial vehicles annually at the plant. With the new Algerian plant Nissan’s total potential capacity in Africa will increase to about 200,000 vehicles. Additionally, Nissan has invested at least $100 million in a light pick-up truck assembly plant in Kenya.

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Poshmark Puts Serena Center Court As Newest Board Member

Poshmark Puts Serena Center Court As Newest Board Member

By Amina Kane

  • Serena Williams joins Poshmark’s board of directors

  • Poshmark is now valued at $600M

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Online retailer Poshmark welcomed Serena Williams to its board of directors to help the company in its next phase of growth. With the best female athlete of all time in its corner, Poshmark’s board diversity has ticked up a notch and should help their corporate governance, as they evaluate whether or not to become a publicly traded company.

Why This Matters: Poshmark served an ace by bringing Williams on board. Not only do they get a savvy business woman who’s had her own clothing line, they also get the wealth of knowledge her Silicon Valley heavyweight husband Alexis Ohanian has to offer. “What we are trying to build is a very diverse, independent board. ... People who can guide us to the next level of growth,” said Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra.

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Gap’s Threads Are Still Out of Fashion With Black Millennials

Gap’s Threads Are Still Out of Fashion With Black Millennials

By CultureBanx Team

  • The Gap is spinning off Old Navy into its own company

  • Black millennials drive fashion trends

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The Gap (GPS +16.18%) used to be the coolest brand in retail with its logoed sweatshirts and signature denim, but has failed to attract black millennials who drive fashion trends today. Due to irreconcilable differences between Gap and Old Navy they are splitting into two independent publicly traded companies.

Why This Matters: Time is up for the retail brand once synonymous with casual wear, promoted by high profile advertising campaigns fronted by the likes of Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz. Unfortunately, the Gap's popularity among the young and fashionable has waned, even though they’ve tried to use millennials like Sza, Janelle Monae and Metro Boomin in ads to revive sales and appease investors. Shares are down nearly 20% in the past year and Gap plans to buy back about $200 million of its own stock.

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Payday Lending Vultures Live to Prey Another Day

Payday Lending Vultures Live to Prey Another Day

By Sabrina Lynch

  • African Americans are 2x as likely to take out a payday loan than other ethnicities

  • Black families carry debt-to-income ratios greater than 40%

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Many cash strapped minorities are being thrown back into the lion’s den as the Trump Administration looks to roll back consumer protections against predatory payday loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to rescind regulation that requires lenders to confirm if borrowers can afford to pay back their high interest rate loans.

Why This Matters: Rolling back Obama-era restrictions could create harmful barriers for Black communities working to close the racial wealth gap. Given the average household wealth of African Americans is $17,600 less than 15% of white households, they are twice as likely to take out a payday loan than other ethnic groups.

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Oprah’s Plight to Help WW Get More Bread

Oprah’s Plight to Help WW Get More Bread

By CultureBanx Team

  • WW revised its 2019 revenue forecast down to $1.4B

  • Oprah owns around 8% of WW, a stake once worth $500M

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Stock in WW (WTW +8.45%), the company formerly known as Weight Watchers slid more than 30% after they reported dismal Q1 earnings results. WW’s premier spokesperson and investor Oprah Winfrey has helped many companies reach stratospheric levels, but saving a failing weight loss brand may prove to be “weigh” more challenging. After a failed rebrand can the media mogul help WW level up with investors?

Why This Matters: Remember when Oprah told the world “I love bread!” in a Weight Watchers commercial as a way to attract more customers to their program. However, the problem with this is that folks are less interested in old fashioned carbs, and diets like paleo along with keto are currently en-vogue with health conscious audiences. This is why WW’s quarterly sales came in at $330 million, well below analyst estimates of $347 million. The company also had to revise its 2019 revenue forecast from $1.66 billion down to $1.4 billion.

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Working Towards the Sea Change, Now the Countdown Begins

Working Towards the Sea Change, Now the Countdown Begins

By Cheryl McGinnis

  • Emma Amos has gained a seat at the table with white mid-century artists

  • The Whitney Museum will mount a large scale exhibit for black artists

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From historically black art museums and galleries to one of the most important museums for American contemporary art, Emma Amos has arrived and gained a seat at the table with the important male, white mid-century artists. It’s a huge achievement for the artist, for the public, for the museum and for those of us who have continually mounted exhibits of once underrepresented artists whose voices will now be apart of the American Art History.

Why This Matters: It has always been my hope that her work would break out of these confines someday. I wanted a greater audience to benefit from work like Emma’s. That day has come because in May, the Whitney Museum will mount an exhibit that will forever change the context of Emma’s work and on a larger scale black artists in general. Spilling Over Color: Painting Color in the 1960’s is a large group exhibit that explores the use of color in that decade with artists Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Miriam Shapiro and others.

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The NBA Shoots Its Shot at Africa With A New League

The NBA Shoots Its Shot at Africa With A New League

By CultureBanx Team

  • The Basketball Africa League will begin to play next year in January 2020

  • 13 players who were born in Africa play in the NBA

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The NBA announced the coming of a pro league team in Africa in partnership with FIBA, the governing body of the sport called the Basketball Africa League. Even our forever President Barack Obama is using his affection for basketball to help the sport in the continent of Africa. The Basketball Africa League is set to be a 12-team league and will begin to play next year in January 2020.

Why This Matters: On opening night NBA rosters this season included 13 players who were born in Africa and the league hopes to cultivate even more talent in the region. In order to set up various teams qualification tournaments will be held later this year. Contenders from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia are expected to be among those taking part. Each club can only have a maximum of two teams in the league.

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