Last night the "AT&T History Makers 28 Days" tour in honor of Black History Month made its New York City stop at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Hosted by acclaimed rap artist/actor Common, the tour creatively focuses on the theme of honoring pioneers in Black achievement by celebrating success stories of young African-Americans today via lively stage discussions. The February 24th event, however, welcomed a capacity audience at the Apollo, signifying the desire and importance of creating avenues for notable Black business role models to speak to the community. This particular evening focused on Daymond John, self-made multimillionaire, author, business strategist and co-founder of the global fashion brand FUBU.
John is a young entrepreneur who is a highly regarded marketing expert. He was selected by AT&T for the series due to his impressive background as one who has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought after branding expert and motivational speaker. Thus, he had a wealth of experience and insight to share with the audience by injecting both humorous moments and statistical information. Fighting the flu, John talked about his meteoric rise to even business success once he wisely collaborated with the entertainment icon LL Cool J to wear FUBU for a promotional campaign. He expertly created a variety of distribution deals to benefit the brand as well as expand his overall empire. "I'm always interested in good business deals," explained John. "What we have to understand is that sometimes it's important to partner. It's always better to have 20% of something big rather than 100% of nothing. That's one of my main mottos."
Common, host of the overall tour, provides grace, celebrity charm and heightened awareness of Black community perhaps unmatched among his peers today; and therefore seemed to resonate particularly well with the audience for this endeavor. The two-time Grammy Award winner and activist has a track-record of speaking to and motivating college minds. In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation which is dedicated to developing urban youth by helping them to realize their full potential in business and life.
Given the fact that African-Americans out-index in mobile phone expenditures and usage over the mainstream coupled with the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau recently released statistics that Blacks are out-indexing in entrepreneurship, the "History Makers..." tour resonates well for the AT&T brand.
The final stop of the tour features Common with Cookie Johnson, businesswoman and wife of Magic Johnson, on February 28th in Oakland, California. Join the conversation on Twitter via #att28days.
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