The Weeknd Levels Up Into The Billion Dollar Esports Industry

By Taylor Durham

  • The Weeknd invests in eSports organization OverActive Media

  • In 2019, eSports will surpass $1B in revenue

CBx Vibe:Gold Watch” Lupe Fiasco

Esports is believed to be the next wave of competitive entertainment and everyone is taking notice, since its expected to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2019. This cash flow has attracted some big names, such as Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. The Grammy-winning artist recently announced his investment in OverActive Media, the parent company of the Overwatch League franchise Toronto Defiant. Just how ripe is this industry for more investment?

Why This Matters: It’s estimated that 380 to 400 million people worldwide will watch esports this year, including 165 million regular esports viewers. In order to fully capitalize on this audience, The Weeknd will work closely with OverActive Media during the 2019 season. His involvement and influence is expected to bring more attention to the industry. Also, he’s not the only entertainer dropping coins in this space, Drake invested in esports company 100 Thieves in October of 2018.

Facebook Taps PayPal Exec As 1st African American Woman To Join Board

By CultureBanx Team

  • Peggy Alford will become 1st African American woman to join Facebook’s board

  • Facebook’s workforce and leadership is only 3% black

CBx Vibe:Connected” Victor Oladipo

Social media giant Facebook (FB -0.28%) is doing a board reshuffle and now PayPal (PYPL -1.33%) senior Vice President Peggy Alford will have a seat at the table. Alford will become the first Black woman and the second Black person to join the company’s nine-member board. She’s coming onboard during a strong cultural shift at the social media giant that has been embroiled in scandals.

Why This Matters: The call for diversification in corporate America is as pronounced as ever. Last year former American Express (AXP +1.71%) CEO Kenneth Chenault became the first African American to be appointed to Facebook’s board of directors. For Alford, she will need to tap into her decades worth of leadership experience at some of Silicon Valley’s premiere companies like eBay (EBAY +0.03%) to help Facebook deal with its plethora of public missteps. She can also use her wealth of knowledge that comes from serving as a board director at the Macerich Company (MAC +0.97%), a real estate investment trust.

Changing the Game: Bandwagon’s Blockchain Approach For Live Events

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:Don’t Stop Believin” Journey

As a sports fan growing up Bandwagon founder, Harold Hughes realized being in a venue brought people together from different socio-economic status. He launched his blockchain-based ticket authenticity and fan identity management company to help event organizers connect with people directly. “Fans were using dozens of ticket marketplaces, so we decided to become a B2B marketplace to help organizers make the gameday experience even better,” said Hughes. The data and analytics company helps sports teams, festivals and event organizers know who’s actually there on the day of events in real time. He noted that it’s thought around $2.3 billion is spent each year on fake ticket sales.

Filing Taxes Continues To Be A Sunken Place

By Christopher Pitts

  • In 2018 HR Block and Intuit spent $6.6M lobbying for tax legislation

  • 70% of Americans are already eligible to file taxes for free

CBx Vibe:Warning” The Notorious B.I.G.

Let’s face it, preparing your taxes can be difficult if not an arduous process, and for several years now the IRS has advocated for a filing system to make it easier for Americans to file taxes. However, with the adoption of new tax legislation the filing process is destined to stay complex. The recently passed Taxpayer First Act prohibits the IRS from creating a free online filing system, and oddly enough, this bill garnered support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Why This Matters: Over 40% of black Americans make less than $30,000 per year, putting them at an income disadvantage if taxes are not filed correctly. If a free system was established people of color could be alleviated of this burden, possibly with a sizable return. Furthermore, according to the Root, it was verified that when filing taxes the IRS tends to conduct a substantially higher percentage of audits in poor, disproportionately black areas, where the African American population is high and income is low. Though some of the most diverse and wealthiest counties in America result in normal audit rates.

Warren Buffet’s Exploitative Mobile Home Investment

By CultureBanx Team

  • Warren Buffet’s Clayton Homes has 49% of the manufactured home market

  • In 2015, 72% of black borrowers got their loans from Clayton’s mortgage companies

CBx Vibe:Buy Back the Block” Rick Ross Feat. 2 Chainz

Warren Buffett’s company Clayton Homes, the biggest mobile home manufacturer in the U.S. has continued to profit from high interest rate loans. The Oracle of Omaha has sold low-income Americans the dream of ownership for nearly 20 years, and his investment company Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB +1.88%) makes money on the loans since they own the company that Clayton urges its buyers to go through. Many of the people buying these homes are minorities and have helped to fuel Clayton’s $13.7 billion mortgage portfolio.

Why This Matters: Clayton operates the two biggest mobile home lenders, 21st Mortgage Corporation along with Vanderbilt Mortgage. According to The Seattle Times Clayton finances more mobile home loans than any other lender by a factor of more than seven. In 2015, 72% of black borrowers got their loans from Clayton’s Vanderbilt Mortgage and 21st Mortgage, according to FFEI federal data.

Easter’s Favorite Treat Meets CBD

By Justin Moore

  • The craze continues for CBD in everything from skin care to food

  • Experts predict the market for CBD could surpass cannabis by 2022

CBx Vibe:Taste” Tyga Feat. Offset

Cannabidiol (CBD) is popping up in products throughout the U.S. with claims it can ease everything from epilepsy to joint pain without the high of its cannabis cousin. Largely unregulated in the U.S., established businesses and entrepreneurs alike are touting the benefits of CBD in oils, creams, sodas and even in one of America’s most popular Easter snacks, jelly beans.

Why This Matters: CBD is big business as experts have predicted its market could reach $22 billion by 2022, surpassing the market for cannabis, due to its lack of regulation. This could provide more opportunities for Black entrepreneurs that typically have tougher times accessing the capital necessary to enter the traditional cannabis market.

Disney’s Family Streaming Bet To Dethrone Netflix

By CultureBanx Team

  • Disney+ streaming service set to launch November 12

  • African Americans stream videos more frequently on all devices than the total U.S. population

CBx Vibe:Tune In” Massari

The mouse house wants more of your attention and coins with the launch of its Disney+ streaming service. Disney (DIS +11.54%) will need to use everything in their arsenal to dethrone streaming leader Netflix (NFLX -4.49%), which already has a strong focus on black content. Will family friendly content be enough to gain a strong foothold with African Americans who stream videos more frequently on all devices than the total U.S. population?

Why This Matters: To stream about 7,500 episodes and 500 movies on Disney’s newly minted platform it will set you back $6.99 per month. Even though this service will cost less than the lowest priced package for Netflix which is $9, it will be important for the company to create authentic original shows. A report from Horowitz Research found black audiences are also content trendsetters, with 58% reporting they want to be the first to know about new content and are more likely to watch shows that reflects their experiences.

The Ivory Art Tower Collapses

By Cheryl McGinnis

  • The Museum of Modern Art reopens in the fall with more inclusive artwork

  • MoMA’s first solo-exhibit will be by prominent artist Betye Saar

CBx Vibe:Woke” Yoshi Flower

Get ready for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to close its doors this summer and with good reason! Alas, it will reopen in the fall with a brand new mindset, inclusiveness. They finally got the memo, woke, whatever you want to call it and all art lovers will benefit. The Ivory Tower of art museums is collapsing under its own weight and rebuilding to reflect a truer American story.

Why This Matters: With Gen Z on the heels of millennials, museums are forced to change the way they do business, otherwise they will not be in business. In short, the collections are a big bore, been-there-done-that kind of thing. Don’t want to go there, even if it’s free kind of bore. When the MoMA reopens in the fall, look for a reconfigured space, inclusivity, along with more African American artists and increased Native American Art. The museum’s first solo-exhibit will be by prominent artist Betye Saar.

African Music Bops Help Boomplay Raise $20 Million

By CultureBanx Team

  • Africa’s Boomplay raised a $20M Series A round

  • Boomplay reaches 44 million active users

CBx Vibe:Soco” Starboy Feat. Wizkid

Boomplay, Africa’s top streaming platform owned by Transsion has just closed a $20 million Series A funding round, for content acquisition, recruitment and product optimization. Music across the continent is widely fragmented but remains one of the last true growth opportunities in the world. This begs the question: is Boomplay’s long term play to get acquired by streaming giants like Spotify (SPOT -0.28%) or Apple Music (AAPL -0.36%)?

Why This Matters: The success of streaming has attracted lots of new investment and longtime owners have seen an opportunity to cash out. Much of Boomplay’s growth is due to the streaming service coming pre-installed on Transsion smartphones, which are the best selling ones in the continent. This strategy has allowed Boomplay to quickly reach 44 million active users. By comparison Spotify and Apple music have 200 million and 56 million active users.

Millennials Shelling Out Big Racks for Fine Art Work

By Donitra Clemons

  • In the last two years millennials bought almost half of the artwork priced at $1M

  • Millennials purchase more socially conscious pieces of work by people of color

CBx Vibe:Going Bad” Meek Mill Feat. Drake

Many millennials are foregoing starter homes and instead buying art. They are choosing to leave the cheap reprints in their college dorm rooms and invest in original pieces by fine artists. Catalyzed by higher incomes and the ubiquitousness of the internet, millennials are purchasing more art than the generations before them. In the last two years, 22-37 year old adults bought almost half of the artwork priced at $1 million or more, according to a new Art Market report by Art Basel and UBS.  

Why This Matters: The purchasing power of these young collectors helped to boost the “global art market to its second-highest level in a decade,” notes the report. A substantial amount of their purchases were sourced or purchased through social media, where black adults are the largest user group. Specifically, the Art Market report noted that 93% of millennials made purchases online, spending and average of $106,930.

Dating Block: Grindr’s Chinese Owner Forced to Sell

By CultureBanx Team

  • Kunlun bought a majority stake in Grindr for $93M in 2016

  • Grindr has 27 million users worldwide

CBx Vibe:It’s Raining Men” The Weather Girls

California-based company Grindr, the popular gay dating app with 27 million users worldwide has ruffled national security feathers. A U.S. government committee has pressured the platforms Chinese owner, Kunlun Tech to sell the app over national security concerns. Is the notion that a dating app could threaten national security misplaced?

Why This Matters: With more than 3 million daily active users, Grindr keeps a lot of social data on them. The hookup app’s privacy policy notes they collect a wide range of personal data including location information, messages, and even HIV status if users choose to provide it. One of the most exposed groups is likely black gay and bisexual men, because in 2017 they accounted for the largest number of HIV diagnoses at 9,807, followed by Hispanic with 7,436 and whites at 6,982, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Warner Music Makes Money Moves to Replace R&B With Algorithms

By Sabrina Lynch

  • 2018 saw a record high of 534.6 billion on-demand audio streams

  • 52% of African-Americans use streaming services for music and podcasts

CBx Vibe:Computer Love” Zapp

In a first of its kind deal, Warner Music Group has signed German technology company Endel to its label, to expedite business growth through A.I. generated music. Streaming now accounts for almost half of all music label revenues, prompting the record company to place big financial bets on Endel. This new tie up will create a stable of tracks from bona fide artists, namely bundles of algorithms to successfully displace artists such as Post Malone and J. Cole from the top of the charts.

Why This Matters: African-Americans’ choice in music streaming played a crucial role in making R&B/Hip Hop the No.1 music genre in the U.S. Given the commercial power that Black audiences wield over the industry, Nielsen found they spend $173 annually on purchased music. Warner Music Group will greatly benefit from developing tracks that appeal to this demographic so they can cash out in a big way.