Leaders Style

What Skateboarding Taught Me About Style

“Do another kickflip,” my friend said. A gaggle of bug-eyed teens watched me under the blue autumn sky. The first day of our freshman year of high school had just ended, and we gathered in the parking lot of the skatepark across the street.

“Dude…ride around, just ride around,” my friend instructed. I did a lap. My friend threw his hands up. “You don’t have any style! That’s what it is. You have no style.” 

“You don’t have any style! That’s what it is. You have no style.”

I was stunned, and a little aggrieved—my friend didn’t even know how to kickflip. Who was he to criticize me? I had spent the summer in seclusion, studying the kickflip and had offered it to my peers for their respect. Instead, they dogged me.

At first, I didn’t understand, then I did. 

My friend—who was technically a worse skater but more thoroughly steeped in the culture—was right. I could land a kickflip and I could ride around, but it didn’t look beautiful. When I did flip tricks, I didn’t always land on the bolts—the board would hiccup and my heels would graze the ground. When I rode around, instead of throwing my foot out and arcing it back in one motion, I hobbled along like a geriatric. There was a lot more to skateboarding than just landing tricks. There was something that elevated it into art: style.

There are a few reasons one becomes a sneakerhead: through fashion, following others or by necessity. The third is the way for ballers and skaters. As soon as I began learning kickflips, my shoelaces severed and a gash opened in my shoes. Tennis shoes would no longer suffice. My mom took me to a skate shop, and I bought a forgettable pair of black, white and gray DC clunkers. But they were the first, and you always remember your first.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
My shoe game evolved with my skate game.

My shoe game evolved with my skate game. Each new trick—heelflips, frontside flips, the notorious tre—begot new shoes to replace the ones the feats destroyed. I got a pair of black És Ones, a classic shoe, the very first Nike Eric Koston shoes, baby blue Emerica Reynolds 3s, my favorite shoe of all time. These shoes stood out for their details. My Reynolds 3s had a faux-diamond earring in the eyelet, my gray-purple És-Chocolate collaboration mid-tops concealed a stash pocket and my Bryan Herman Emericas had “WUSSUP” and “HATERS” written on the heel.

My friends and I chattered about shoes constantly. I remember my friend Ethan coming into math class with a new pair of black Vans Half Cabs, an iconic skate shoe. They still had the fresh leather and chopped timber aroma. He took one off, and we passed it around, burying our noses in it, deeply inhaling like it was a skull filled with smelling salts. We nodded and smiled at each other.

Our fashion tastes climbed upwards to our legs, torsos, arms and heads. All of my favorite skaters like Jerry Hsu, Heath Kirchart and Eric Koston had a personal style, not just for tricks, but fashion. I was inspired by them and started ordering less typical apparel: high socks, corduroy pants, knit sweaters and flannels. I never felt like I was copying anyone. I took bits and pieces and combined them to create something new.

By the end of my sophomore year of high school, everyone respected my skating and my style. Kids’ eyes popped out when they saw my new shoes. Friends offered me money to buy the clothes off my back. I wasn’t the best technical skater, but I had mastered the four elements: my flip tricks got air, I pushed wood with grace, my style flowed like water and everyone knew I was fire.

As high school went on, kids dropped out from skateboarding and mastered different elements—they could breathe smoke, change mental states or down bottles of strong liquid. I left skating behind too. But skating never really left me. The principles I learned (and earned) endow my style forever. 

One could learn how to do every trick in the book—or one could buy every piece of designer clothing—and yet still lack style. One could just cruise around on a skateboard and have style. It’s not what you do—it’s how you do it. 

Beauty takes effort but looks effortless. It’s worth it to try.

Culture Music

These Are the Top 10 Artists That Emerged in 2019

Undeniably, 2019 has been an amazing year for music. Tons of new artists have hopped on the scene and made a name for themselves, making the final year of the decade their year of breaking through. Additionally, a ton of notable triumphs have been made in the music industry, like Lil Nas X coming out as a gay rapper and simultaneously creating a new genre of country-rap. Female rappers like Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat have put female empowerment at the forefront of their lyrics, paving the way for a more progressive and accepting industry. And lastly, a plethora of young artists like Lil Tjay (18) and NLE Choppa (17) have mastered the hip-hop market with no restrictions to hold them back.

With so many new artists debuting and landing spots on music charts and playlists, we thought we’d pick our top ten who earned a seat at the table in 2019. 

1. Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X rose to fame after his song “Old Town Road” grabbed the attention of TikTok users in early 2019. By November, the track was diamond certified and landed a number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 list, remaining there for 19 weeks, the longest time for a song to stay in number one since 1958. The rapper, singer and songwriter is popular for tapping into multiple genres, including pop, rock, country and rap and in less than a year he’s already endured huge triumphs like being the only openly gay artist to win a CMA award and the most Grammy-nominated male in 2019. 

2. Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty has been making major moves for herself in the music industry since 2017, but 2019 is the year we witnessed her stardom. Signed to Atlantic Records, her songs like “Smack a Bitch” and “Anger Management” have gained heavy momentum on music playlists on multiple streaming platforms. The Washington, D.C.-area rapper has a sound like no one else, blending hip-hop with sugar-trap, creating an unparalleled aesthetic that makes any listener hype upon a first play. 

3. Doja Cat

We know what you’re thinking, Doja Cat isn’t new. But in 2019, the Los Angeles-born rapper took off after the release of “Juicy,” which earned Doja Cat her first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Then in November, we witnessed major momentum after the release of her second studio album Hot Pink, which peaked at 19 on the Billboard 200. 

4. Ari Lennox

As the first woman to be signed to J. Cole’s record label, Dreamville Records, Ari Lennox already had shoes to fill when she entered the scene. She guest featured on two songs with her label mates: EarthGang on “Nothing but the Best” and Bas on “Icarus.” In May, she released her debut studio album, Shea Butter Baby, went on her first headlining tour and opened for Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You Too” tour. After losing at the Soul Train Awards in November 2019, the Washington, D.C.-born artist announced she was quitting music entirely but has since reactivated her social media accounts and plans to continue her tour. 

5. Megan Thee Stallion

The Houston-born rapper has had one of the most amazing years yet. In 2019 she released her first full-length project, Fever, trademarked her catchphrase “hot girl summer,” signed a management deal with Roc Nation and released her song “Hot Girl Summer,” which topped the Rolling Stone 100 chart and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. But even before this year, Megan proved she has what it takes to set her apart. As the first female rapper to ever sign to 300 Entertainment and gaining popularity from a viral cipher of rap-battling men, all while balancing a college education, Megan Thee Stallion is a powerhouse through and through. 

6. DaBaby

We couldn’t have made a Top New Artists of 2019 list without paying homage to DaBaby. In this year alone, the Charlotte, North Carolina-born rapper released two albums, Baby on Baby and Kirk, demonstrating his unmatched endurance. Appearing on the songs of Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Gucci Mane, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone and more, DaBaby has been hard at work year-round with no immediate plans to slow down. Known for his energetic personality and hyped stage performance, DaBaby has the range to keep fans on their feet and welly lit with every release.

7. Lil Keed

Rapper Lil Keed first started to gain popularity in the music industry in 2018, but after signing to YSL Records and 300 Entertainment, his career took off. In 2019, the artist released his debut studio album, Long Live Mexico, along with other singles and features, making this his most production-heavy year yet. His high-pitched delivery and versatile flows is one of a Cleveland Avenue, Atlanta-native, the same sound that drew listeners in to his mentor and biggest inspiration, Young Thug, years ago.

8. NLE Choppa

The youngest artist on our list, at just 17 years old, NLE Choppa rose to fame after the release of his 2019 song “Shotta Flow.” The track went platinum in the same year and has resulted in two sequels and one official remix version, featuring rapper Blueface. In May 2019, “Shotta Flow” ranked 96 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and later rose to 36. At such a young age, we can expect a lot more to come from this Memphis-born artist in 2020. 

9. Lil Tjay

This Bronx, New York-born artist is only 18 years old and has the whole world ahead of him. In 2019, Lil Tjay gained popularity after his collaboration with Polo G on their song “Pop Out.” The track hit number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, leading to a contract with Columbia Records. Additionally this year, the singer-rapper released his debut album True 2 Myself, with songs featuring top artists like Lil Wanye and Lil Baby. His sound has been compared to A Boogie wit da Hoodie and he notes Drake and Meek Mill as his musical influences. 

10. Benny the Butcher

Benny the Butcher’s amazing run began in 2018, but this year, he really cemented himself as one of the most dominant, sought-after lyricists in hip-hop. Earlier this summer, he dropped the hard-as-nails project The Plugs I Met, featuring noteworthy cameos from heavy-hitters like Black Thought and Pusha T. After that, he got together with Smoke Dza and Pete Rock for the somewhat slept-on albeit excellent Statue of Limitations album. He closed the year out with his fellow Griselda brothers on the Shady Records Release, WWCD. In between, he secured a Roc Nation management deal and drop exceptional verses on albums from Vado, Styles P, Dark Lo, Paul Wall, etc. In the arena of gritty lyrical street rap, no one had a more impactful year than Benny. And the scary part is that he just seems to get better and better with each new outing.

Grind Productivity

5-Time Pro Bowler Tamba Hali Is Building a School in Liberia

What’s next for a former NFL player who dominated the gridiron for over a decade? The answer is simple: a smooth transition into retirement. This is what former Kansas Chiefs great Tamba Hali is currently doing—and doing it extremely well—through an array of business ventures.

Hali had an amazing 11-year career on the Chiefs, finishing second of all-time in franchise history with the most sacks (89.5, to be exact). A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selectee, Hali was a favorite among die-hard Chiefs fans, showcasing smooth cat-like reflexes and a “leave it all on the field” mentality. Effectively, he inspired a new winning streak in Kansas City. But what many people might not know about Hali is the struggle, grit and grind he possesses. 

Born and raised in Liberia, Hall left West Africa for the United States when he was ten. His homeland was in the middle of a dangerous civil war. Upon arriving in the United States, Hali did not know how to read and write. After some difficult years, Hali’s father became a professor. When it came time to apply to colleges, Hali received a full scholarship to Penn State. Now, he is on a mission to give back to his homeland of Liberia and provide children with the opportunity to succeed in life through the education he so hungrily sought.

Hali recently announced that he has plans to build a school in Liberia that focuses on STEM.

ONE37pm caught up with Hali. Here’s what he had to say.

ONE37pm: Describe the experience of building a new school in your home country.

Tamba Hali: We had to create the proper legal documents and make sure it was a nonprofit. I’ve had to travel several times back home searching for land. I think we’ve come up with the place where I believe we would like to have the school. We’re in the stage of raising funds, and we’re still being progressive. I really want to see this happen. 

Do you have any objectives for the kids who will be attending your school? What do you want to see them achieve?

Hali: Well, we started from the ground roots. I can’t come in and try to do something bigger than myself. I see myself as these children. We’re planning to start them very young and begin to implement the STEM program—where we’re teaching first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. We plan to observe and to study to see how this can relate to the success that the kids in the United States are having. I’m trying to partner up with my alma mater, Penn State, to see where we can basically keep track of how they’re progressing in school in the long run. The STEM program can drive economies. I know it will help the young children as well as the community with their problem-solving skills by introducing science, technology, engineering and math into their world.

If you were able to open the school today, who would you make your principal or your dean and why?

Hali: I’ll have to say, my dad. I will have to talk to him about that, but he’s a good teacher. I’d love to be so knowledgeable—he’s been around for a long time and he’s a very, very, very smart guy. 

You started making music roughly two years ago and had a solid single called “Mastercraft.” You just released a new track titled “Pay Day.” Are you going to release more new music for your fans?

Hali: Music has always been my passion. Right now, we have a compilation that’s being created with the Liberia market. I went back, and some of the prominent names that are in that market I’m trying to do music with me. I’m putting the compilation out from my record label, Relumae Records. I created it ten years ago and it is English record music being presented to Liberia. I have my own EP coming out called Loving Life. It displays my versatility of being an artist who can sing and rap on Afrobeat music. 

Entrepreneurs Grind

How Shaq Quadrupled His Net Worth After Retiring from Basketball

Most people know Shaquille O’Neal, or “Shaq” as he’s affectionately known, as one of the most well-known basketball players of the past 20 years, but what most people don’t know is that he’s maybe one of the most financially savvy athletes of our generation.

Over the past two decades, Shaq has more than quadrupled his net worth by making some pretty astute investments, which include Google, Apple, Krispy Kreme and Five Guys, to name a few.

So, what makes the four-time NBA champ different from other high-profile athletes? After all, it’s no secret that many athletes often experience some post-career financial struggles—a staggering 60 percent of NBA players have gone broke within five years of leaving the sport. Well, Shaq puts his success down to one simple investment strategy that he learned from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“I heard Jeff Bezos say one time that he makes his investments based on if it’s going to change people’s lives, and once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I’m worth,” he recently told The Wall Street Journal.

Invest in What You Believe In

One thing is for sure, Shaq isn’t shy when it comes to investing in what he believes in and what he thinks will make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to his stake in Google, Apple and Krispy Kreme, he also has shares in Papa John’s, Auntie Anne’s and even tracked down Jamie Siminoff, the creator of Ring, the doorbell and security company, and told him that he wanted to invest and become involved in the company. Shaq’s investment in Ring paid off handsomely because Amazon acquired the company in 2018 for $1 billion.

Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

Being a savvy investor and having a talent for picking winners is a large part of why Shaq has seen success in the venture space over the past ten years. He also credits luck as playing a large role in his success. He recalls an instance in the late ‘90s, when he overheard two people in the Beverly Hills Hotel talking about a search engine that would change the way we access information online. Upon intersecting himself into the conversation and learning more, he decided he wanted to invest in the company they were discussing. That company was Google, and needless to say, Shaq has seen some pretty incredible returns from that investment.

Shaquille O’Neal

When you look at the perfect picture, it looks like I’m at home saying, ‘Do this, do that,’ It isn’t, it’s just about being in the right place at the right time

Control the Outcome

Venture capital is a risky business. Most of the time, whether you see a return on your investment is completely in the hands of others. However, Shaq tends to flip that narrative. How? By not only investing his money, but truly becoming involved with the brand, often becoming a spokesperson for the business, starring in numerous commercials and using his fame and popularity to bring additional eyeballs to the brand, thus increasing the chances of success. He’s done this multiple times for companies including Ring, Steady and Carnival Cruises.

Be Smart with Your Money

Another aspect that plays a large part in Shaq’s success is his ability to manage money wisely. Throughout his playing career, he accumulated over $300 million. This made him the third highest-paid NBA athlete in history. But, as we’ve seen before, with great riches comes great opportunity to spend those riches, especially if you are in the public eye. 

In a 2017 Business Insider interview, Shaq gave some great advice to up-and-coming athletes who quickly acquire great wealth. “I would take a $100 bill and rip it in half, and I’d say $50, don’t even look at it. Now this other $50, you play with it and do whatever you want, but if you’re really smart, you’ll rip this other $50 up too, and also half that, now there’s $25, now you can really do whatever you want with that,” he said. It’s a simple strategy that shows how Shaq thinks about money and why he has so much capital readily available to invest in businesses that he believes in.

Overall, you could easily say that Shaq is undoubtedly laying out the blueprint for future athletes. Not only is he demonstrating that you can save your money, but you can also multiply it by investing it in projects that you believe in and by leveraging your personal brand to help those businesses grow. Now almost ten years retired from the NBA, he now makes more money each year in endorsements than he did each year playing in the league. Today,  O’Neal has a net worth of more than $400 million.

Culture Music

Talking Honesty, Positivity and Building Your Brand with TisaKorean and Manager Marcus Ecby

This week on the ONE37pm podcast Monday to Monday, Mike Boyd sits down with rapper/dancer/icon TisaKorean and his manager Marcus Ecby. The episode covers Tisa and Ecby’s realtionship. You can hear in their voices how much they respect each other, and it ultimately makes for an unstoppable team. The duo dives into going left when everyone else is going right, Tisa’s mindset when making music, how they make brand deals and the best advice they got from Lil Uzi Vert.
Digital Art by Dawaye Kirkland for ONE37pm

Tisa is full of unbelievable quotes. When speaking about his mindset for recording music, he tells Boyd, “I never wanna create the same thing I just created. Never.” His process prizes staying dynamic and trying to give fans some kind of emotion. Whether it be happiness, sadness, dancing, Tisa just wants to make the people feel something. On happiness, he tells Boyd, “I believe in happiness bringing success, not success bringing happiness.”

A running theme throughout the episode is Tisa and Ecby’s emphasis on honesty. They both say multiple times that “honesty is key.” This ethos fuels their process of making deals with brands, how Tisa interacts with social media and how they interact as a manager-artist duo. Ecby’s advice for managers is this: “Find someone that matches your energy, matches your vibe and matches what you can deal with.” They address the importance of thinking alike, and how sometimes managers try to force their artists to think a certain way. But that isn’t the case for Tisa and Ecby.

Marcus Ecby on choosing talent to manage

Find someone that matches your energy, matches your vibe and matches what you can deal with.

Courtesy of Mike Boyd
Courtesy of Mike Boyd

Tisa tells a story about Lil Uzi Vert giving him some good advice for getting a read on artists. Uzi apparently told Tisa, “If you wanna know what’s really going on, look at the manager.” The relationship is totally symbiotic. Ecby also notes the importance of both parties doing the work: “If you’re waiting on your manager to make it happen for you, you need to get out the business right now. It’s all about what you put in—your sweat equity. If you don’t bring nothing to the table, I can’t work with nothing.” The manager is there to amplify the artist. “We’re the microphone,” says Ecby. 

They also spend some time talking about Tisa’s commitment to positivity and how it has been a huge contributor to the duo’s success. Ecby tells Boyd, “That’s why he’s working. Because he’s a ray of positivity in a negative space.” Tisa’s response to dealing with negative comments embodies this idea. His response to the haters:  “I be laughing. It make me laugh. I like laughing.” 

This episode is truly amazing; you can feel the relationship between Tisa and Ecby and can infer why they’ve been so successful. Boyd closes the episode by asking the duo what advice they’d give their younger selves. Tisa again emphasizes the importance of being honest. And Ecby, who packs the episode full of so many inspirational quotes, perhaps closes with his most insightful of all: “I would tell my younger self that it’s seven days in a week. And someday isn’t one of them. So you gotta apply the pressure now.”

Marcus Ecby, Manager of TisaKorean

I would tell my younger self that it’s seven days in a week. And someday isn’t one of them. So you gotta apply the pressure now.

If you loved this episode, make sure to check out last week’s interview, when Boyd sat down with Cuco’s manager, Doris Muñoz. 

Episode 3: TisaKorean and Manager Marcus Ecby
Entrepreneurs Grind

How a Former Beats by Dre Marketer Is Igniting the Cannabis Industry

Jason White is a name that the cannabis industry will soon know.

For five years, while Apple owned the company, White was vice president of marketing for Beats by Dre. In 2016, he then graduated to the global head of marketing. White worked with LeBron James’s “Re-Established” campaign that marked his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and got Beats by Dre headphones on three of the top four picks in the 2015 NFL Draft.

For years, White’s job was to make Beats irreplaceable in popular culture, and his efforts helped Beats command 46 percent of all the money spent in the U.S. on wireless headphones in December 2016, according to Statistica. That marketplace share was more than 20 times larger than its parent company’s Apple AirPods demand. White was dominant but wasn’t fulfilled.

“Beats was starting to become a mature brand. We were competing with Apple AirPods in the headphone space. I was at a point in my career when I wanted to do something creative,” White told ONE37pm. 

For White, owning market share dominance and working at one of the most successful U.S. companies in history wasn’t enough. While he loved his time at Beats, White says he didn’t always feel a perfect alignment with his purpose in life and the work that he was doing. It wasn’t until he came on as chief marketing officer of Cura Partners in February that he felt complete. “For the first time, I was able to put purpose and profession together,” he said.”

Cura Partners, Inc touts itself as the most significant cannabis oil company in Oregon and California and was sold in May for $1 billion, the largest deal for a company in the cannabis industry. White oversees the development of Select, the consumer-facing subsection of Cura’s company. He spoke with ONE37pm about how his time at Beats has helped him in the cannabis industry.

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT
Jason White speaking at the REVOLT X AT&T Summit in 2019

Wild Marketing Ideas

The legal cannabis market is booming in the United States, but it’s still young. There’s no McDonald’s or FashionNova of cannabis, where the brand is more known than the product it sells. That’s primarily due to the growing pains of an industry that isn’t entirely legal.

California alone is on pace for $3.1 billion of licensed cannabis sales in 2019. However, recreational cannabis use, sale and possession are still illegal in more than 60 percent of the United States. That fragmentation precludes even the most prominent cannabis brands from advertising on a national scale and developing large-scale brand recognition. 

White saw those hurdles with Select. There was an apparent demand for the product, but customers didn’t know the necessary details about the company, like its place of origin. So, White decided it was time for Select to give the world its origin story. In the first advertising push under White’s tenure, Select shot a commercial of fewer than two minutes, breaking down how the company was formed. There were no celebrities, just real Select employees, the Select co-founder Cameron Forni, some professional actors and a few choice cameos of the cannabis plant.

“At Beats, while everything had a famous artist or athlete attached to it, we never wrote the strategy around them,” White said. “The strategy was about the brand, what we stood for and the product we made. Then, we would choose the talent and music.”

The Select commercial may lack the star power of a typical Beats commercial, but White’s marketing plan is reminiscent of his disruptive ways at Beats. He plans to show Select’s origin story as a preview in cinemas across 800 screens in California. Select chose California as a home base for cannabis’ legal status in the state and will only show the commercial before R-rated movies because they believe most of the audience will be over the age of 21, the legal age to possess cannabis in California.

“We said, ‘Let’s go find places that don’t feel like cannabis places.’ Let’s go find places where the everyday consumer will be spending their time and could be our next consumer,” White said. “They may not be listening for a cannabis message. So, let’s go find them when they are stuck and looking to be entertained.”

The idea to put a cannabis commercial in movie theaters when that content is barely allowed on television or Facebook is the sort circumvention of circumstances that those who have done it before think up, and the sort of mind ambitious enough to disrupt the NFL draft.

Beats by Dre: Innovation by Any Means

In the 2015 NFL Draft, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper were drafted first, second and fourth, respectively. Top draft picks receiving their onboarding call is customarily televised on a live broadcast, and nothing was different for the 2015 NFL Draft. That’s a lie. There was one thing that changed: Jason White. 

The three players took their calls from home instead of the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, where the draft was held. Each player, sponsored by Bose headphones, answered their life-altering calls by speaking into a microphone attached to their Beats by Dre’s Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones. The players didn’t make any unnatural gestures or thank Beats by Dre—each athlete seemed authentic. This disruptive marketing parallels the decision to put cannabis commercials in movie theaters. 

According to White, the story goes that one day in 2015, the Beats by Dre head Jimmy Iovine was frustrated that people are only using the Powerbeats2 as headphones. He wanted the customer to know that the product could also host phone calls. To Iovine, the Beats marketing team needed to facilitate a shift. So, the idea to have Marcus Mariota, the Oregon star, take his draft call while wearing the Powerbeats2 was conceived.

At first, Mariota was reluctant. The Hawaiian-born athlete wanted to take the call at home and didn’t want to turn a sentimental moment in his life into a commercial. There’s an almost indiscernible line between commercialization and cultural immersion that brands have to toe. White turned that line into a starting point.

“We told him, ‘This is not going to be a commercial moment. We’re going to send a whole team out there for days. We’re going to document your final journey to America as you get drafted. We’re going to be part of your family, part of your Ohana. We’re going to tell this story for you, and you’ll have this story for the rest of your career,’” White said.

The time White and his team spent with Mariota’s community helped them be the only camera crew besides ESPN in his home when he took his call. The idea was passed along to Cooper and Winston, and Beats’ draft day trifecta was complete.

Black Empowerment in Cannabis

Every step that the cannabis industry takes is shrouded in black clouds and built on the backs of people of color, who are disproportionately incarcerated more for cannabis-related offenses than their white counterparts. According to the data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related offenses than white people. Even with legalization sweeping the nation, there’s a nearly impenetrable racial barrier. In 2017, 81 percent of cannabis business owners were white, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

Educating the public on cannabis is essential for all businesses to remove negative perception, to entice new customers to buy and to encourage lawmakers to lower the legal barriers. It’s willfully ignorant, and frankly, lousy business to educate on cannabis without, at the very least, addressing the racial inequities central to the industry.

White sees the cannabis industry as a perfect merger of his passion and his purpose. Within six months of joining the Cura Partners team, White helped launch the Possible Plan, a nonprofit that aims to fund companies that ensure access for people of color to the cannabis industry. It also helps those unjustly affected by past cannabis laws. 

The Possible Plan is working to help people with low-level marijuana convictions, expunging their records through “expungement clinics.” Held Dec. 17 in Baltimore, Possible Plan and cannabis activist Steve Diggs of Bmore Power Foundation held a public event to help people enroll for medical marijuana cards. White does not want people of color excluded from the booming cannabis market, but he also wants them to look further. 

“We don’t talk to young people of color about why they should get into the industry. It’s always about equity and reparations, or it’s about ownership,” White said. “But, for a coder living in Oakland, there are so many opportunities. We don’t have great PLS systems. We don’t have social media popping yet. We don’t have apps yet.”

White stresses that in an industry so young, people of color should take advantage of this influx of new companies continually entering the market that are eager to hire and build. Leafly, a popular cannabis website with more than 15 million monthly visitors, put out its 2019 Cannabis Jobs report in March. Leafly estimated that there are 211,000 full-time jobs in the cannabis industry, and the market experienced a 110 percent growth in employment over the last three years. More than half of those jobs were for technical positions such as lab workers, accountants and marketers. “I don’t want this generation of people of color missing these opportunities by waiting for an equity license to own their dispensary,” White said.

The Future of Cannabis
Death to Stock

For the Select brand, the first half of 2020 will be focused on communicating what the brand represents and its story. Even though White said the company wouldn’t start by leveraging celebrities, he attested to entertainment and music as a critical part of helping the brand’s image. “We’re going to make sure we’re around music’s biggest moments,” he said. “People understand that this is a global, cultural brand that shows up naturally next to Samsung, Nike and Beats.”

The brand will also be launching new vape cartridges and hardware in the new year. 2020 could mark the watershed year when cannabis is legalized on a federal level following the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of a bill in late November, removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. This approval comes two months after the House of Representatives passed legislation that legally protects banks that work with cannabis businesses. 

Select is available in eight states after recently expanding into Colorado, Maryland, Michigan and Oklahoma. What happens over the next few years for the cannabis industry is anyone’s guess, but you can expect White to be there. 

“I don’t know if Apple Watch will one day figure out the right music for the kind of weed you smoke,” White said. “I don’t know if Nike is going to use hemp to make sports materials because it’s saving water and the planet. I’m certainly going to make sure those things are part of the conversation of innovation.”

Sports Strength

3 Moments That Prove NBA Throwback Jerseys Are Superior

In August, the NBA announced that some teams would pay homage to classic squads by sporting nostalgic threads that helped build the foundation of the franchise. As the NBA continues to heat up, certain fans have been lucky to relive the golden days of their favorite franchises, as teams have occasionally swapped out new threads with timeless throwback uniforms. Two months into the season, iconic uniforms were revived. Young fans got to witness how dope these uniforms are, and seasoned fans get to remember how much of an effect the clothes had on the game. It makes you wonder what other hidden gems these teams have in the treasure chest of dope threads that could bring back the golden days of NBA hoops. 

There have been three moments in this season that would make basketball fans of the ‘80s and ‘90s proud. These examples properly show the new generation of fans what NBA hoops looked like in their prime. Here are our favorite throwback jersey revivals.

2000, Utah Jazz vs. Vancouver Grizzlies
Brandon Dill/Getty Images

On paper, the Jazz and Grizzlies looked like a convincing match of the league’s brightest stars: Donovan Mitchell and Ja Morant. Although they were losing by 15 at halftime, Memphis couldn’t seal the deal, and the Jazz came out victorious. Both squad’s uniforms caught the eye of many fans, as they turned back calendars to the year 2000. The Jazz sported their iconic purple/glacier blue away uniforms that represented their glory days of the Malone/Stockton era. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies rocked the nostalgic turquoise away jerseys that reminded die-hard hoop fans of the team’s humble beginnings in Vancouver. 

Somewhere in America, Shareef-Abdur Rahim and Mike Bibby are smiling from ear-to-ear at the groundwork they put into creating this amazing moment for the new age of ballers who may have forgotten about the Grizzlies hooping in the 604. But most importantly, the hardwood court layout creates a moment and sends an unofficial “thank you” to the man who became the franchise’s first superstar/ambassador: “Big Country” Bryant Reeves.

1997, The Cleveland Cavaliers
Jason Miller/Getty Images

This new Cavs squad is in its pre-teen stage as they search for their swagger post-LeBron. With a new coach who is used to winning, John Beilein leading the way—and vets who have championship experiences like Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love—the future looks bright for this young core meshing together at “the Land.” But sometimes, teams need friendly reminders of when there were forces to be reckoned with during the era when every team had a chance to sneak into the playoffs. So what better way to remind the league and fans that they weren’t slouching by taking it back to 1997. 

The Cavs rocked the classic yet forgotten black/sky blue away jerseys from the 1997-1998 fifth seed in that same season. What was the end result for this year’s squad in paying homage to coach Mike Fratello and the company? An impressive 110-104 win over the playoff-contending Portland Trail Blazers. 

The way they showed up that night dominating in those uniforms makes Cleveland fans think of the days when Shawn Kemp, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Bob Sura used to light up the scoreboard in the vintage Gund Arena. In fact, they might have just found their good luck charm in classic threads. Be on the lookout for the next time they rock those unis.

1970s, Los Angeles Clippers
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The LA Clippers are one of the league’s best teams and are considered heavy favorites to make it into the NBA Finals in June. When picking up two key players such as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, you have every right to switch up the on-court swag—something the Clippers executed when they faced off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 3. They took it way back to when they weren’t even known as the LA Clippers. They sported the classic white/orange/black colorway of the Buffalo Braves—an NBA franchise that lasted from 1970 to 1978. Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo won an NBA MVP award sporting these unis. The squad even had fellow Hall of Fame hoopers Moses Malone, Adrian Dantley, and coach Jack Ramsey.

The Clip Show was looking like the ‘75-76 Braves as they completely dominated their opponents en route to a 20-point win.

Don’t be surprised if owner Steve Ballmer and head coach Doc Rivers continue to use these unis to reinstate some of the winning roots the organization embodied on the road to Tinseltown from Buffalo.

Sports Strength

Here Are Your Best Bets for Week 16 in the NFL

Hear me out—I’ve been doing this betting thing for a while now as a sports betting consultant and a regular on CBS New York’s Fanalysis and on Twitter at @OldManWhoBets. I report for duty today in order to share my learnings. Let’s get straight to the picks.

Best Bets
Broncos -6.5 (72 percent of bets)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Blough vs. Lock: the week 16 quarterback showdown I’ve been salivating over since the preseason is finally here. In a battle of backups, a battle of losing teams, a battle of god knows what is it smart to take the 6.5 point favorite Denver Broncos? If, for nothing more than their vintage jerseys, the answer is yes. 

The Lions shocked the world on Thanksgiving with Blough behind the center, but outside of a very productive first quarter (75 yard TD pass on blown coverage), Blough has been b-lough average. (Worst joke ever? Possibly. Moving on.)

While neither of these teams has playoff aspirations, there are some positives to highlight. First, Denver currently ranks 12th in defensive efficiency, far better than Detroit’s defense at 26th. Offensively, Detroit is at 19th overall (efficiency) versus Denver’s potent 26th ranked offense (both mediocre), but these Detroit stats are inflated from when their team was healthy previously. 

Blough, since starting, has a 3:5 TD/INT ratio and a fumble. Meh. Amendola stepped up last week but I don’t think he’s the game changer to keep Detroit close here. I’m expecting a cold ugly game in Denver with the Broncos grinding out the win and cover.

Colts -6.5 (34 percent of bets)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Jacoby Brissett, where art thou? Last week, you simply were nowhere to be found—missing wide-open receivers left and right. Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton and every other offensive player, where art thou? 11 carries for 19 yards and four catches for 25 yards simply will not cut it!

I’ll give the Saints credit, as their defense stepped up big time and the offense hummed as Brees broke the touchdown record and completion percent record. Coming back from big deficits just isn’t in this Colts team’s DNA. 

However, all of the above just makes me like the Colts, even more, this week. Joe Public is an emotional being, and with only 34 percent of bets backing Indy, we can see last week’s performance weighing on their minds. Even with last week’s Monday night meltdown, this is a very solid Colts team—one who outperformed expectations when captain Andrew Luck retired, and one that should win by more than 6.5 this week against Carolina. 

The Colts ranked 17th in offensive efficiency (average), but 9th in rush efficiency. Their passing game should improve this week with another week for both Hilton and Jacoby to heal. 

Carolina ranks 32nd in defensive rush efficiency, which is a glaring statistic. Marlon Mack and the Calvary (Hines, Wilkins and Williams) should eat regardless of who’s on the field, and I’m ready to feed them. 

The Colts’ defense ranks 20th in rush efficiency, which is a slight concern due to Christian McCaffrey, but with either Kyle Allen back at the helm or Will Grier making his first NFL start, the Colts should be able to sell out to stop the run, leading to both a win and cover.

Patriots -6.5 (37 percent of bets)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Here we go again with the @OldManWhoBets auto-pilot bet of the week: Tom and the Boys back at Foxborough in December with the division on the line. Yes, please.

We’ve already seen this matchup once this year: a low scoring affair in hostile Buffalo where the Patriots squeaked out a 16-10 win. With that score in mind, this line at home is relatively weak (strength towards the Bills), but the Patriots have historically struggled on the road in division (or rather, flourished less so than at home). 

I’ve talked about the Patriots ad nauseam this season, so I will get right to the point: The Patriots are the better team, have seen this offense once already and should roll at home.

Looking at efficiency numbers, the Patriots lead on both sides of the ball: 14th on offense versus Josh Allen’s 22nd ranked O; number one on defense versus number four for Buffalo.

Breaking down Buffalo’s defensive efficiency is what really interests me, as they’ve been fantastic versus the Pass (third) but just average against the run (19th). 

But, what does that mean? I expect McDaniels to have quite the scheme for this one, running early and often to set up the play-action, which truly is when the Patriots offense is at its best. As I mentioned last week, I love the added involvement of WRs-not-named-Edelman (eight targets for Sanu last week, five for Edelman, four for White, four for Harry versus the week prior where Edelmand received 12 and no other WR received more than three). 

Close game to start but the Patriots pull away. Win and cover. Ship it.

49ers -6.5 (80 percent of bets)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Right off the bat, always concerning when you’re riding with 80 percent of the public, but hey, often times the public wins too!

This bet is less so about the 49ers and more so about the Rams. I am sticking to my theory that the 49ers are consistently overrated. The true Jared Goff has emerged this year, and he’s looking like an average quarterback. Fading him on the road is also one of my favorite hobbies, so here we are. 

Things I love about the 49ers, as highlighted last week: 

“Their run game has four NFL starting running backs who all eat yards up (Breida and Mostert seem to get five or more every carry, Coleman and Wilson JR are talented in their own right), and Jimmy G with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders and the maturation of Deebo has stepped up big time. And then there’s Kittle, and their defense, collectively can be grouped into the category of “Beast Mode”. I love it all.”

Let’s call a spade a spade: I couldn’t have been more wrong about the 49ers last week (awful loss to ATL), but perhaps we can conclude they were looking ahead to the Rams, or forgot that the Falcons are indeed professional athletes?

San Fran ranks third overall in team efficiency (vs. 10th for LA), ninth in offensive efficiency (vs. 18th for the LA, go Jared), and second in defensive efficiency (versus eighth for LA). 

Why is this a “lean” and not a “lock”? I don’t love that the Rams got absolutely embarrassed last week (even though we had the Cowboys +1). The Rams after allowing 55 to the Bucs come out and beat the Seahawks. The Rams after getting spanked by the 49ers came back to destroy the Falcons. After getting smacked by the Ravens, they handled the Cardinals and the Seahawks (maybe the Rams just have the Seahawks number?). 

The Rams after getting embarrassed to the Cowboys? We’ll see.

Tampa Bay +3 (18 percent of bets)
NurPhoto/Getty Images

This is a game I’ve wrestled with all week. Jameis “YOLO” Winston is off back to back 450+ games, but now without his top two WRs. Their running game is pedestrian. The Texans have beaten the Patriots, the Chiefs, the Titans—strong teams. 

So what gives with this line? How is Tampa Bay only three-point underdogs? Great questions. Going deeper under the hood, Tampa is surprisingly better in terms of efficiency metrics, ranking 13th compared to Houston’s 17th. Hmm.

Offensively, both teams can ball. No denying that! But it’s this Tampa defense that has been quietly very good, ranking ninth in defensive efficiency. Houston’s defense? I had to scroll for a while to find them hanging around at 27th in the league, including 26th against the pass.

Even without Jameis’ top weapons, the lack of pressure that Houston has been able to generate this season is crucial, as Jameis with time is a FAR different quarterback than without. It’s borderline Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as his QB rating is more than two times better with a clean pocket. 

I’m looking for both Brate and Howard to step up big time with the absence of Evans/Godwin, with both Perriman and Justin Watson also playing strong roles in this game.

Let’s not forget that the Bucs (7-7) went one out of four in a five-game road stretch in the middle of the season against a few strong teams (beat the Rams before losing to New Orleans (one score), Carolina, Tennessee (one score) and Seattle (one score).

The Bucs have been playing it tightly with good teams all year, and I’m looking for them to step up big time here this week.

Mental Health Strength

These 6 New Year’s Eve Horror Stories Will Make You Want to Stay In to Bring in 2020

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, expectations don’t always become realities. What you think is going to be a wild-in-a-good-way night out with great drinks, great friends and general happy vibes often ends up in some sort of disaster. From nights out that were foiled by hot dogs to coat-check thieves, here are seven NYE horror stories from friends—real and digital—and coworkers that will make you want to lock your door on December 31 and hibernate until 2019 begins.

Roberta, 27

“One year I had a hot dog for dinner before going out on New Year’s Eve. While I was out, I had only had one drink, but started to feel super sick—like throw-uppy sick—and went home. I ended up puking all night from food poisoning from the HOT DOG. So miserable.”

Conor, 29

“In 2013, I went to a bar near Washington Square Park in NYC, paid more than $125 for an ‘open bar,’ which essentially equated to tipping the bartender $20 every time I went up for a drink because dozens of people were trying to be served all at once. On top of all that, the police were called around 1 a.m., because it turns out the women who were working the coat check were robbing everyone’s jackets and bags. I was stuck waiting around until 4 a.m. to get my coat back, before struggling to make my way back to my friend’s apartment. Needless to say, I’ve soured on NYE ever since then.”

Maggie, 28

“This was in college (I was young and stupid). My friends and I were going to a house party that ended up being super crowded. Because it was so hot and loud inside, I decided to hang outside for a little while. I was having a great time until my right ear started to get extra cold. I didn’t think anything of it until I woke up the next morning and discovered that it was fire-engine red and still feeling numb. It turns out I had gotten frostnip (basically a less-serious version of frostbite) and had to spend the rest of the winter basically living in earmuffs.”

Anonymous, 31

“I was at a large New Year’s Party that was being thrown by an arts group that I was a part of in a two-story Irish bar near Penn Station. Eventually, my friends and I made our way to the dance floor where I happened to run into another friend of mine that I had had a big-time crush on. We started dancing together a little bit and just when I felt like maybe there were some sparks going on between us, we both noticed that her ex was standing a few feet away and staring at us. We tried to ignore him and keep grooving, but he kept staring. We would move to a different part of the dance floor. His eyes would follow. Typically, I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump ‘n’ grind, but we left plenty of room for the Holy Spirit, lest this man decide to ring in the New Year by thumping my butt into the ground. It felt like we were trapped in an episode of American Bandstand.

Anyway, the tension was finally cut when another friend of mine started puking all over the place. I know a lot of people puke on NYE, but I remember having to pick up her shoes and bring them to her cab, so I can only assume that she puked her shoes off. Anyway, this story has a happy ending because we ended up dating, but ALMOST YEAR LATER. We now live together, but that lurking ex delayed our happiness BY 10 MONTHS.”

Lauren, 35

“Does being at an open bar event, which cost an exorbitant amount of money, and not being able to even get close to the bar because it’s so crowded count? If yes, then every New Year’s from age 22 to 26.”

Sneakers Style

adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Yecheil” Might Be the Loudest Pair Yet

When Kanye West signed his multi-year partnership with adidas in 2013, most didn’t assume that within six years, the Chicago-native would be nipping at the heels of another legendary Chicago sneaker figure—Michael Jordan.

Jordan Brand, expected to generate about $3 billion in 2019 sales, has been an industry leader since Nike released the Air Jordan series in the mid-‘80s. Yet, in just six years, West’s adidas Yeezy line is expected to take in $1.5 billion in 2019.

During his unparalleled ascension with adidas, West has produced classic sneakers consistently. None have been more successful or impactful on the bottom line than the adidas Yeezy Boost 350. The brilliantly designed slip-on, constructed in Primeknit fabrication and set atop adidas’ Boost cushioning, has been a best-seller since its debut in September 2016.

The very first Yeezy Boost 350 (a textured, heather gray iteration deemed the “Turtle Dove”) set the tone for the neutral collection. Many of the styles that followed the “Turtle Dove” where monotone or, at very best, one primary shade with a contrasting “SPLY 350” side stripe, adding a jolt of color to the shoe. But this month’s highly-touted adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Yecheil” might be the loudest Yeezy to date.

Adidas Original
Adidas Original

Quickly ranking among the most complex Yeezy 350’s since the silhouette came to market three years ago, a bold union of color with pattern complements the shoe’s “Yecheil” moniker, meaning “May God live” or “God shall live” in Hebrew. Like the earliest Air Jordan colorways—which paid homage to Jordan’s Chicago Bulls team colors—shades of black and red litter the low-cut silhouette, with Primeknits in colors like soothing gray and light blue.

As with most Yeezy Boost 350 v2 releases, the “Yecheil” is coveted. The amount available has increased since the early days of adidas Yeezy. Previously, only a few hundred pairs circulated through a small number of premium retailers. If you were lucky enough some, you were the only one among your friends with such luck.

West promised to make the shoes more available after becoming aware of the age-old supply and demand gap, stating that in the years to come, each release would be produced on a broader scale. West has delivered on that promise, but the popularity of the Yeezy Boost 350 made it difficult to keep the product in stock, even after the increase.

Shop Now on StockX

That exclusivity has made the ease of purchasing on StockX an obvious choice for many. The “Yecheil” Yeezy Boost 350 v2 launches at select retailers on Dec. 19, but if you want to save time, cop a pair early on StockX.