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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Black Ink Crew: Chicago’s Ryan Henry & Charmaine Bey Talk About Drama, Reflection, R. Kelly & More

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Black Ink Crew: Chicago’s Ryan Henry & Charmaine Bey Talk About Drama, Reflection, R. Kelly & More

After a pandemic shortened sixth season, Black Ink Crew: Chicago is back, so that means fans can expect the return of the tattoos and, of course, drama in season 7.

We’re heading back to Chicago. No, the pandemic isn’t officially over, but the world is slowly opening up, so that means 9 MAG’s owner Ryan Henry and 2nd City Ink’s boss Charmaine Bey have turned on the lights and tattoo guns in their shops again. We spoke with the reality stars/ tattoo shop owners on Zoom, and during our online conversation, we talked about Ryan’s drama with his former best friend after he got called out for sleeping with his boy’s baby mama. We also touched on how Charmaine keeps it together after losing both of her parents in a short time span and at the same time becoming a new mom.

Henry and Bey also talked about being back in front of the VH1 cameras full time, what they were reflecting on while Chicago was shut down, and even R.Kelly finally getting convicted.

Hip-Hop Wired: Last season was a pandemic shortened season for you guys. And this is your first full season back. So how does that feel for you guys to be back in front of the camera full time?

Charmaine Bey: I mean, I was grateful and fortunate because there was a time during the pandemic where you see all these headlines about these shows being canceled. And I was just praying that that wouldn’t happen to us because we love filming our TV show. And I mean, I would have been really sad. I’m really fortunate and so happy that we are still on the air, even without a pandemic. We’re in our seventh season, and a lot of shows don’t make it that long. And for us to be putting out even better content than we were before. Now we’re with a new production company, and the focus of our show has changed. And I’m just grateful. I’m very much happy and grateful to be back in front of the camera.

Black In Crew Chicago Key art Season 7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

Ryan Henry: Yeah. I mean, we didn’t know how it was going to go. And it wasn’t even real that it was going to have to stop and shut down, and then for as long as it did. That’s what made it more real. And then just like a lot of businesses, a lot of things didn’t survive. A lot of shows didn’t survive. People cut cable subscriptions in half.  At that time, you got people who going to cut what they consume in half. And it could have been one of the shows. So it was a blessing to be back.To still have the support of the people a year and a half later because those things don’t last like that.

RYAN HENRY BLACK INK CREW S7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

HHW: Yeah, absolutely right. Well since there wasn’t really much recording, y’all had plenty of time to reflect on things, like a lot of people had because everything was shut down. Outside wasn’t open yet. So what did you guys reflect on during your time in the pandemic?

CB: I was reflecting on being a mom, and I was just living in the moment. Postpartum was definitely very difficult too. I mean, we hear women talk about it, but to go through it. I mean, that was like, whoa. I think the pandemic had something to do with it. I’m stuck inside. There’s this thing called the coronavirus outside. We are all finna to die. And I got a newborn baby. I was dealing with those thoughts, but then also the sadness of losing my mom. And I almost had to reprocess her death all over again once I had Nola. So it was not easy for me during those times, but I was just focused on being a good mom. Yeah.

RH: Yeah. I mean, I guess, yeah, I felt like I was tapping more into other things. But like I said, that idle time, it allows for you to really be yourself. That can be a good or bad thing. So as I was tapping more into how I was going to handle business and change my lifestyle health-wise and things like that, I was messing up. I was losing my mind. And these things ended up leading to some of the worst decisions and some of the worst situations for me, simultaneously as I’m growing in other aspects. So, I mean, it has different effects on the people, and they are not always just positive ones, even if they look like it.

HHW: Ryan, you touched on messing up and doing certain things. And this season, you actually get a little candid about a situation you got involved in with a friend of yours. In the show, you actually have that conversation with him in regards to what happened between him and his baby mama and all that stuff. So what was that scene like? What was it like filming that?

RH: The scene, it was tough. Like you said, we were friends. The friendship wasn’t fake or anything. It was just the fact of how the things led up to what it was. And then when we parted ways, it was a lot of stuff that went on between afterward. So it was a lot of mixed emotions from anger, the results, and the actions. So through a lot of that growth and that time that I had to be in therapy, and you know what I mean, started to take accountability for myself for how I want to do things, it allowed for us to be so separate to where the conversations we had had before,  that weren’t out to the public, they began to dissolve in what they meant, or even what they might of meant in the beginning.

I’m a different person as I’m growing and changing. So now, it might not have been sufficient. So the way that I might have apologized to him last year wouldn’t have been as valid as it would be now, and what I can do and how I can display it. And then you can actually get him to a point of understanding. I might not have been able to get him to the point of understanding. I might’ve still just been in my ways back then. So it had been so long in the times where we had been able to speak, and like I said, a lot of stuff in between that. So you’ve got anger and non-accountability. So when you get to that point, it’s like, all right, now I can do this.

And I can say that because I mean, you’ll see. We spoke only because he felt at that time that we never spoke. And it’s like, all right, now we got to disconnect. But I’m more of a man now. I can tell you straight face-to-face, let’s meet. Because before you say we ain’t spoke at all, I’d rather you hear it straight out. And then give clarity as opposed to excuses and whatever you thinking.

HHW: You guys are no longer friends. Is the friendship done?

RH: Yeah.

HHW: Charmaine, you touched on losing your mom, and just recently, you lost your dad too. We watched a lot of reality TV and honestly never seen a person go through so much, and put it out there on television like that. So we commend you for that. And we want to know how do you deal with that daily?

RH: And had a baby, Nola.

CB: And had a baby.

HHW: That too. That too.

CB: Our show has allowed me to use it as therapy sometimes where I’ll be holding in all my emotions, and my emotions is at the very tip of the iceberg. And I might be emotional all day, but don’t let it out and don’t let myself feel it. But then I know I have this scene with Ryan coming up where I get to talk to him about what I’m feeling. And Ryan and I, we talk more often outside of the season because during the season, we try to save those communications for our face-to-face interactions on camera. But I look forward to that. I need those conversations with the people that I love and the people that I’m close with. Because when I sit down and I talk to Ryan, or sit down and talk to my cousin, Danielle, or my husband Neek, I mean, usually I’m not allowing myself to feel those emotions until I’m having this conversation with the people that know me. You know what I mean?

So it’s hard. But the show, in some sense, is also a sense of therapy where you’re able to kind of talk about it. But then when you’re talking to someone like Ryan, he kind of plays devil advocate a lot where he’s kind of bouncing it back at you, like, “Well, did you think about this,” or, “You say this, but what’s going to end up happening is this.” And then it really just opens up my mind to a whole different perspective. And I actually really need those conversations, those genuine conversations with people that matter to me. So it’s been really tough. I haven’t really dealt with it to be honest with you. But those conversations with these people have gotten me through some of the really hard times.

HHW: That’s dope. Shout out to Ryan for that, man. That’s really dope.

CB: That’s my dog.

RH: Ain’t nobody else will listen to it.

HHW: Charmaine, during one of the seasons, you were very active in the protest streets against this particular artist [R.Kelly]. And this artist has gotten convicted. So I wanted to know your thoughts about that.

CB: I’ve been working all day long and have not been up to date of what’s been going on today. But I will say obviously R. Kelly is from Chicago. And it was definitely a hard topic for a lot of people from the city because not only do they love R. Kelly and they grew up on his music, but they also know the history of the past of how it seemed like something else. It seemed like he was having these parties, and everybody wanted to be involved. But then, all these stories ended up coming out. At the end of the day, for me, it doesn’t matter who you are or your importance in life. No man or woman should have to go through some of the things that these victims were going through. And I am very pleased that R. Kelly has to face his demons.

Black Ink Crew: Chicago returns Monday, Oct.4 at 8 pm EST on VH1.

Black In Crew Chicago Key art Season 7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

Photo: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Black Ink Crew: Chicago’sRyan Henry & Charmaine Bey Talk About Drama, Reflection, R. Kelly & More

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Black Ink Crew: Chicago’sRyan Henry & Charmaine Bey Talk About Drama, Reflection, R. Kelly & More

After a pandemic shortened sixth season, Black Ink Crew: Chicago is back, so that means fans can expect the return of the tattoos and, of course, drama in season 7.

We’re heading back to Chicago. No, the pandemic isn’t officially over, but the world is slowly opening up, so that means 9 MAG’s owner Ryan Henry and 2nd City Ink’s boss Charmaine Bey have turned on the lights and tattoo guns in their shops again. We spoke with the reality stars/ tattoo shop owners on Zoom, and during our online conversation, we talked about Ryan’s drama with his former best friend after he got called out for sleeping with his boy’s baby mama. We also touched on how Charmaine keeps it together after losing both of her parents in a short time span and at the same time becoming a new mom.

Henry and Bey also talked about being back in front of the VH1 cameras full time, what they were reflecting on while Chicago was shut down, and even R.Kelly finally getting convicted.

Hip-Hop Wired: Last season was a pandemic shortened season for you guys. And this is your first full season back. So how does that feel for you guys to be back in front of the camera full time?

Charmaine Bey: I mean, I was grateful and fortunate because there was a time during the pandemic where you see all these headlines about these shows being canceled. And I was just praying that that wouldn’t happen to us because we love filming our TV show. And I mean, I would have been really sad. I’m really fortunate and so happy that we are still on the air, even without a pandemic. We’re in our seventh season, and a lot of shows don’t make it that long. And for us to be putting out even better content than we were before. Now we’re with a new production company, and the focus of our show has changed. And I’m just grateful. I’m very much happy and grateful to be back in front of the camera.

Black In Crew Chicago Key art Season 7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

Ryan Henry: Yeah. I mean, we didn’t know how it was going to go. And it wasn’t even real that it was going to have to stop and shut down, and then for as long as it did. That’s what made it more real. And then just like a lot of businesses, a lot of things didn’t survive. A lot of shows didn’t survive. People cut cable subscriptions in half.  At that time, you got people who going to cut what they consume in half. And it could have been one of the shows. So it was a blessing to be back.To still have the support of the people a year and a half later because those things don’t last like that.

RYAN HENRY BLACK INK CREW S7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

HHW: Yeah, absolutely right. Well since there wasn’t really much recording, y’all had plenty of time to reflect on things, like a lot of people had because everything was shut down. Outside wasn’t open yet. So what did you guys reflect on during your time in the pandemic?

CB: I was reflecting on being a mom, and I was just living in the moment. Postpartum was definitely very difficult too. I mean, we hear women talk about it, but to go through it. I mean, that was like, whoa. I think the pandemic had something to do with it. I’m stuck inside. There’s this thing called the coronavirus outside. We are all finna to die. And I got a newborn baby. I was dealing with those thoughts, but then also the sadness of losing my mom. And I almost had to reprocess her death all over again once I had Nola. So it was not easy for me during those times, but I was just focused on being a good mom. Yeah.

RH: Yeah. I mean, I guess, yeah, I felt like I was tapping more into other things. But like I said, that idle time, it allows for you to really be yourself. That can be a good or bad thing. So as I was tapping more into how I was going to handle business and change my lifestyle health-wise and things like that, I was messing up. I was losing my mind. And these things ended up leading to some of the worst decisions and some of the worst situations for me, simultaneously as I’m growing in other aspects. So, I mean, it has different effects on the people, and they are not always just positive ones, even if they look like it.

HHW: Ryan, you touched on messing up and doing certain things. And this season, you actually get a little candid about a situation you got involved in with a friend of yours. In the show, you actually have that conversation with him in regards to what happened between him and his baby mama and all that stuff. So what was that scene like? What was it like filming that?

RH: The scene, it was tough. Like you said, we were friends. The friendship wasn’t fake or anything. It was just the fact of how the things led up to what it was. And then when we parted ways, it was a lot of stuff that went on between afterward. So it was a lot of mixed emotions from anger, the results, and the actions. So through a lot of that growth and that time that I had to be in therapy, and you know what I mean, started to take accountability for myself for how I want to do things, it allowed for us to be so separate to where the conversations we had had before,  that weren’t out to the public, they began to dissolve in what they meant, or even what they might of meant in the beginning.

I’m a different person as I’m growing and changing. So now, it might not have been sufficient. So the way that I might have apologized to him last year wouldn’t have been as valid as it would be now, and what I can do and how I can display it. And then you can actually get him to a point of understanding. I might not have been able to get him to the point of understanding. I might’ve still just been in my ways back then. So it had been so long in the times where we had been able to speak, and like I said, a lot of stuff in between that. So you’ve got anger and non-accountability. So when you get to that point, it’s like, all right, now I can do this.

And I can say that because I mean, you’ll see. We spoke only because he felt at that time that we never spoke. And it’s like, all right, now we got to disconnect. But I’m more of a man now. I can tell you straight face-to-face, let’s meet. Because before you say we ain’t spoke at all, I’d rather you hear it straight out. And then give clarity as opposed to excuses and whatever you thinking.

HHW: You guys are no longer friends. Is the friendship done?

RH: Yeah.

HHW: Charmaine, you touched on losing your mom, and just recently, you lost your dad too. We watched a lot of reality TV and honestly never seen a person go through so much, and put it out there on television like that. So we commend you for that. And we want to know how do you deal with that daily?

RH: And had a baby, Nola.

CB: And had a baby.

HHW: That too. That too.

CB: Our show has allowed me to use it as therapy sometimes where I’ll be holding in all my emotions, and my emotions is at the very tip of the iceberg. And I might be emotional all day, but don’t let it out and don’t let myself feel it. But then I know I have this scene with Ryan coming up where I get to talk to him about what I’m feeling. And Ryan and I, we talk more often outside of the season because during the season, we try to save those communications for our face-to-face interactions on camera. But I look forward to that. I need those conversations with the people that I love and the people that I’m close with. Because when I sit down and I talk to Ryan, or sit down and talk to my cousin, Danielle, or my husband Neek, I mean, usually I’m not allowing myself to feel those emotions until I’m having this conversation with the people that know me. You know what I mean?

So it’s hard. But the show, in some sense, is also a sense of therapy where you’re able to kind of talk about it. But then when you’re talking to someone like Ryan, he kind of plays devil advocate a lot where he’s kind of bouncing it back at you, like, “Well, did you think about this,” or, “You say this, but what’s going to end up happening is this.” And then it really just opens up my mind to a whole different perspective. And I actually really need those conversations, those genuine conversations with people that matter to me. So it’s been really tough. I haven’t really dealt with it to be honest with you. But those conversations with these people have gotten me through some of the really hard times.

HHW: That’s dope. Shout out to Ryan for that, man. That’s really dope.

CB: That’s my dog.

RH: Ain’t nobody else will listen to it.

HHW: Charmaine, during one of the seasons, you were very active in the protest streets against this particular artist [R.Kelly]. And this artist has gotten convicted. So I wanted to know your thoughts about that.

CB: I’ve been working all day long and have not been up to date of what’s been going on today. But I will say obviously R. Kelly is from Chicago. And it was definitely a hard topic for a lot of people from the city because not only do they love R. Kelly and they grew up on his music, but they also know the history of the past of how it seemed like something else. It seemed like he was having these parties, and everybody wanted to be involved. But then, all these stories ended up coming out. At the end of the day, for me, it doesn’t matter who you are or your importance in life. No man or woman should have to go through some of the things that these victims were going through. And I am very pleased that R. Kelly has to face his demons.

Black Ink Crew: Chicago returns Monday, Oct.4 at 8 pm EST on VH1.

Black In Crew Chicago Key art Season 7

Source: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

Photo: Courtesy VH1 / ViacomCBS

... Continue Reading
Mike Tyson Willing To Properly Fade One Of The Paul Brothers For Big Bucks

Mike Tyson Willing To Properly Fade One Of The Paul Brothers For Big Bucks

Mike Tyson

Source: Allen J. Schaben / Getty

In another one of those oddities that has marked society during the pandemic, YouTube celebrities Jake Paul and Logan Paul have been making waves by nabbing victories in the boxing ring against seasoned athletes. There’s one significant figure who looks ready to square up in the ring against them – Mike Tyson.

The former heavyweight boxing champion sat down with rapper Freddie Gibbs as the featured guest on his Hotboxin’ podcast. The two spoke about the growing sentiment that the sport “fell off”, and Gibbs elaborated on his feeling by saying, “They just need to put the right fights together, man. You know what I’m sayin’? I’m sick of seeing all these Jake Paul fights and all that type of s–t.” Tyson countered by saying that there is a huge audience now for those fights. Gibbs then asked if Tyson would step in the ring against either Jake or Logan Paul. “Hell yeah. They would, that would be a lot of money,” he responded, pointing to the promise of a huge payday being a key factor. “For $100 million bucks, they’d do anything. They don’t care about getting beat up.” Gibbs responded by saying he wants to see the brothers knocked out and brought down.

The 55-year old did state that if he had a choice, he would fight Logan instead of Jake, being that Logan currently clocks in at 190 pounds. This is a reversal from his previous stance in May when he stated he wasn’t too keen on participating in those kinds of fights as Logan was preparing to meet former middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. The elder Paul lasted the entire eight rounds of the exhibition bout, but while it garnered over one million pay-per-view buys it was seen as a snoozefest due to the lack of action throughout. Logan did call Tyson out on the Impaulsive podcast he has with Jake in June, saying: “You can’t tell me I can’t beat Mike Tyson. He’s old, old.”

Check out the entire interview below.

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Lamar Odom Win’s Latest Celebrity Boxing Match, Benzino Wants A Shot At The Champ

Lamar Odom Win’s Latest Celebrity Boxing Match, Benzino Wants A Shot At The Champ

Lamar Odom Uncensored

Source: via UNCENSORED / TV One

Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers traded Lamar Odom away to make cap room back in 2011, the life of the former NBA Sixth Man of The Year went into a spiral that he has never been able to recover from (Kardashian Kurse?).

After surviving the infamous OD at a brothel in Las Vegas in 2015, the man has struggled to piece back together his life and has resorted to celebrity boxing just to get a paycheck. That’s the bad news. The good news is at least he won his bout against J. Lo’s ex-hubby, Ojani Noa (who?!). According to TMZ, the 6’10 former NBA star put the beatings on the 6’1 Noa and won the fight via decision even though he probably should’ve scored a KO at that height advantage.

This is Lamar’s second win as he took home the “W” when he knocked out former pop star Aaron Carter in the first round of their fight last June as expected.

Benzino who was calling the fight wasn’t impressed with what he saw and actually suggested he wanted to go one-on-one with Odom at some point in the future.

“I wasn’t impressed with that fight,” Benzino yelled in the ring following the bout, “I want a shot at the champ!”

What in the Boston Beans is going on in 2021?

No word on whether or not Lamar would give Benzino a shot at the title, but regardless we’d still put our money on Odom should that ever come to fruition (no shots). Given that LO is under contract to fight contenders until March of 2022, it might happen. Might be the only Verzuz that Benzino might ever participate in too so good luck, homie.

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Lizzo Credits Twerking with Helping Her Totally Embrace Her Body

Lizzo Credits Twerking with Helping Her Totally Embrace Her Body

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - September 25, 2021

Source: NDZ/Star Max / Getty

Lizzo is opening up about her road to loving herself unconditionally, revealing that twerking has helped her learn to embrace her “least favorite” body part.

Last week during a recently released  TED Talk, the three-time Grammy Award winner delved into the history of twerking and explained how the dance move helped her embrace her butt, a part she revealed was her “least favorite body part.”

“I used to think that only asses like J.Lo’s or Beyoncé’s could be famous,” Lizzo said. “I always felt like my body type wasn’t the right one or the desirable one growing up because I grew up in an era where having a big ass wasn’t mainstream.”

In regards to the support she’s received over accidentally becoming the face for the body-positive movement, the “Rumors” artist reveals that despite her derriere being the topic of conversations the support she’s received from her celebrity colleagues like Rihanna has helped her embrace the parts she didn’t like about herself.

“My ass has been the topic of conversation,” Lizzo continued. “My ass has been in magazines. Rihanna gave my ass a standing ovation. … How did this happen? Twerking! Through the movement of twerking, I discovered my ass is my greatest asset.”

Lizzo also took time to explain the origin of twerking and how it evolved from West African dance styles like mapouka, to being made a staple in Black club culture since the 1980s. the “Truth Hurts” singer also pointed out how Miley Cyrus’ 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance pushed twerking into the mainstream ― but not before adding that since the exposure the widely popular ye criticized dance has been widely “misunderstood and taken out of context.”

“I wish that a Black woman could have popularized twerking in the mainstream,” Lizzo said. “Everything that Black people create, from fashion to music to the way we talk, is co-opted, appropriated, and taken by pop culture. I twerk for fat, Black women because being fat and Black is a beautiful thing. Black women invented twerking and twerking is part of the revolution. We’ve been doing it, we going to keep doing it because we have and always will be the blueprint.”

Check out Lizzo’s TED Talk below.

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Chika Engages In All-Out War With Twitter Stans, The Barbz & Babies Catch Strays

Chika Engages In All-Out War With Twitter Stans, The Barbz & Babies Catch Strays

2019 A3C Festival & Conference

Source: Prince Williams / Getty

Chika established herself as one of the most talented young artists by way of a series of viral freestyles and a steady social media presence, which culminated into a major label record deal. The Montgomery, Ala. native has been engaged in an all-out war with Twitter stans and the Barbz along with some babies caught some vicious strays.

Chika is, of course, known for her musical ability but also for being a transparent public figure by way of tweets that revealed she has contended with mental health issues and even threatened to retire from music just this past spring. For those who follow Chika on Twitter, most are already aware that she is quick-witted and does not allow trolls to get the upper hand. When folks go low, Chika goes subatomic if provoked.

The 2020 XXL Freshman and Grammy Award-nominated rapper and vocalist has been going at it on Twitter for the better part of the weekend and we’ve tried our best to discover the root. From our observation, Chika issued a tweet on Saturday (October 2) lambasting the use of the word “females” in place of using the proper term women. For whatever reason, folks on the social media service saw first to try and correct Chika, and the responses really didn’t go their way.

Many of the replies within the tweet mostly sided with Chika, but there were some who sought to belittle and lob harsh putdowns and it was off to the races from there.

One Twitter user who is either trolling or painfully obtuse tried to treat the discussion and apparently didn’t realize Chika was a musician.

“Imma be real, y’all must not listen to a lot of female rappers then, cause it’s literally either “b*tches” or “females from them – it’s weird yeah but what you gonna do?” the user wrote, although in fairness, it was probably a general statement and not directed at Chika. It got weird when men kept trying to shame Chika into accepting their terms but she would not fold.

Things went left when Chika got into an intense back and forth with @HenGriffeyJr23, who used the b-word in addressing her after failing to get the upper hand. Chika took a shot at the man’s daughter writing, “Hope someone says that to the person in your pinned tweet one day.”

Not that we condone bringing the kids into it but Chika has suffered a series of attacks online, no doubt due to colorism and fatphobia. She chose to handle the attacks with her own jabs, and some schools of logic would say that she’s well within her right to defend herself. Are her methods harsh? No doubt about it. Did she start it? Not at all. Is everyone doing too much? Absolutely.

Again, the jabs at the children are our least favorite part of all this brouhaha, as they don’t have anything to do with how their parents are behaving online. But as Chika herself tweeted, “They go low, we go to hell” and that’s as apt a way to address it as possible.

Check out the reactions from all sides below.

Photo: Getty

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Yeezy Tech: Kanye West Files ‘Donda’ Trademark for All The Tech Products

Yeezy Tech: Kanye West Files ‘Donda’ Trademark for All The Tech Products

"DONDA By Kanye West" Listening Event At Mercedes Benz Stadium In Atlanta, GA

Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty

Kanye West is certified in the apparel and sneaker game. But now Ye has his eye on the tech world, and he’s applied to use the “Donda” name on various tech products.

The guy has repeatedly name-checked the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame as inspiration. Whatever you can think of, from laptops to watches to headphones, Ye is fittin’ to slap ‘Donda’ on it.

Reports TMZ:

According to legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Ye’s company filed a trademark application on September 21 to slap the name “Donda” on a slew of tech line products. And, by the looks of things … this line could be one helluva empire.

Ye is looking to lock up the rights to slap “Donda” on a bunch of electronics, including tablet computers, audio speakers and surround sound systems. It seems he took a page out of Steve Job’s playbook over at Apple … ’cause Kanye also wants to emboss “Donda” on wearable computers in the nature of smartwatches, smart glasses, wearable activity trackers and protective flip covers for tablet computers.

Oh, there’s more.

Dr. Dre may also be on his mind … ’cause Kanye may also put his mom’s name on earbuds, headphones, wireless headsets for tablet computers and wireless headsets for mobile phones.

If Kanye has his way … he might do the same to wireless receivers in the form of jewelry and smart rings. It also looks like he wants “Donda” on downloadable electronic publications in the nature of books, magazines, journals, brochures, leaflets, pamphlets and newsletters all in the field of music and entertainment news.

Considering Kanye’s latest venture with Gap is seeing his $90 hoodies reselling for $300, this is going to be easy money. So long as the tech isn’t cheap.

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Cardi B & Offset Show Out At Balenciaga Show During Paris Fashion Week

Cardi B & Offset Show Out At Balenciaga Show During Paris Fashion Week

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

Source: Richard Bord / Getty

Cardi B and Offset are in Paris and showing out. The Hip-Hop power couple attended the Spring 2022 Balenciaga show during Paris Fashion Week on Saturday (Oct. 2) and made sure all eyes were on them at the Theatre Du Chatelet.

Bardi turned heads off the rip thanks to the big ass hat she was rocking. Also getting much attention was the trench coat she was wearing that was adorned with newsprint graphics. It all makes sense considering the Bronx rapper became the face of a Balenciaga campaign back in Fall 2020.

Offset’s gear was a bit more subdued. Actually, not really since his mostly black outfit features oversized everything including a leather jacket and pants. Other celebs in the spot reportedly included Naomi Campbell and Anna Wintour, of course.

Check out photos of the couture couple in the gallery.

1. Balenciaga – Runway – Spring/Summer 2022 Paris Fashion Week

Balenciaga - Runway - Spring/Summer 2022 Paris Fashion Week Source:Getty

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: Cardi B walks the runway during the Balenciaga Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2022 fashion show as part of the Paris Fashion Week on October 2, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) 

2. Balenciaga : Runway – Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022 Source:Getty

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY – For Non-Editorial use please seek approval from Fashion House) (L-R) Cardi B and Rapper Offset poses the runway during the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2022 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Theatre Du Chatelet on October 02, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images) 

3. FASHION-FRANCE-BALENCIAGA

FASHION-FRANCE-BALENCIAGA Source:Getty

US rapper Cardi B poses for photographs as she presents a creation for Balenciaga during the Women’s Spring-Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show in Paris, as part of the Paris Fashion Week, on October 2, 2021. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images) 

4. Balenciaga : Runway – Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022 Source:Getty

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY – For Non-Editorial use please seek approval from Fashion House) (L-R) Cardi B and Rapper Offset poses the runway during the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2022 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Theatre Du Chatelet on October 02, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images) 

5. Balenciaga : Runway – Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022 Source:Getty

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY – For Non-Editorial use please seek approval from Fashion House) Cardi B poses on the runway during the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2022 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Theatre Du Chatelet on October 02, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images)

6. Balenciaga : Runway – Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022 Source:Getty

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY – For Non-Editorial use please seek approval from Fashion House) Cardi B attends the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2022 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Theatre Du Chatelet on October 02, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images) 

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Fat Joe Describes The First Time He Met Allen “Bubba Chuck” Iverson

Fat Joe Describes The First Time He Met Allen “Bubba Chuck” Iverson

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards

Source: G Fiume / Getty

There are three things in life guaranteed, death, taxes, and Fat Joe having a dope story to tell.

The Bronx rapper linked up with retired NBA veteran, now successful cannabis entrepreneur Al Harrington to talk about the one and only Allen Iverson. Despite suffering an L during his VERZUZ with Ja Rule, Fat Joe has seen his price go up following his masterful recap of The LOX and Dipset VERZUZ that put storytelling skills on full display.

It should come as no surprise that the Hip-Hop historian had a story to tell about Iverson, who recently became the latest NBA player to throw his fitted hat in the legal cannabis game with a collaboration with Harrington’s VIOLA brand. In the roughly seven-minute video titled “The Legend of Chuck,” Joe and Harrington chop it up about Iverson’s contribution to the sport of basketball and his global influence on the game that can still be seen in the style of the players today.

Naturally, Fat Joe, who honestly has interacted with everyone you can think of in Hip-Hop culture, even had a tale about the first time he met Allen Iverson.

“I met A.I. when he was in high school,” Joe begins. ” I had a show in VA (Virginia) it was my flojo, my first song ever was in 1993, I had a show there. After my show, I’m walking out. Little dude walks up to me with an army jacket and a hoodie like 10,20 guys. They all had army fatigues on. He was like, “yo, what’s up?” I was like, “yo, what’s up?” He was like, yo, I’m Bubb Chuck, Allen Iverson. He was in high school, you knew he was special, like you seen him out there and you was like this kid, he different. He was like, “you know imma be in the league” this, this, that, “you know imma see you soon. I f**k with you Fat Joe.” That’s how I met Allen Iverson.”

That sounds about right.

You can peep the entire interview below and head to VIOLA’s website to learn more about the “96” Allen Iverson strain which launches on today.

Photo: G Fiume / Getty

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Halle Bailey Performs “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” At Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Halle Bailey Performs “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” At Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Global Citizen Live, Los Angeles

Source: Rich Fury / Getty

Halle Bailey is just 21 but already, she is considered one of the top vocalists of her generation alongside her big sister, Chloe Bailey. After performing a moving rendition of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” song at Disney World’s 50th anniversary special, fans on Twitter are singing Halle’s praises at the moment.

Bailey, who is set to play the lead role of Ariel in Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, sang one of the standout songs from the classic 1994 film, The Lion King. Some might not know but the singer who vocalized the original song was Kristle Edwards, a Black gospel vocalist and the smash hit was composed by Elton John with lyrics from Tim Rice. The song won an Academy Award in 1995 for Best Original Song, and that same year, John won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

As one could expect from such as a lavish event, Bailey was backed by a full orchestra while wearing a beautiful Black gown. The performance is soul-stirring as one can imagine, and Bailey’s voice soared atop the instrumentation with ease. If anything, this will silence anyone who had something to say about Ariel being played by a Black woman and cements the fact that she’ll be a fine Disney princess. However, we’ll need to wait a bit because that film won’t release to theaters until 2023.

Across Twitter, Halle Bailey’s performance of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” has folks chining in with reactions. We’ve got them listed out below.

Photo: Getty

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Hip-Hop Wired Presents: CRT FRSH [Certified Fresh] Playlist 10.1.21

Hip-Hop Wired Presents: CRT FRSH [Certified Fresh] Playlist 10.1.21

Smiling man surfing the net on smartphone in public park

Source: chabybucko / Getty

We at Hip-Hop Wired pride ourselves on being fully immersed in the music of the culture we rep proudly. Part of our duty as a publication and crew is to school the masses on who is doing what musically and there’s no better way to do that beyond our CRT FRSH (Certified Fresh) bi-weekly playlist.

Welcome to October! As the fall season is going along, we’re still turning up the temps when it comes to delivering to the masses fresh heat bi-weekly. This week’s crop of songs includes the usual mix of artists you know, artists you don’t know, and artists you might’ve heard before but needed a reminder of how dope they are.

We open up the CRT FRSH playlist with the intro from Meek Mill’s latest album Expensive Pain, and the Maybach Music Group spitter continues his high-energy delivery speaking on his usual trials and tribulations. We follow that with Lil Wayne and Rich The Kid’s “Feeliin’ Like Tunechi” from the pair’s Trust Fund Babies project.

Wale makes a much-welcomed return to music with “Poke It Out” alongside J. Cole, and the past “My Boy” collaborators make more studio magic over Cool & Dre’s flip of the late, great J. Dilla’s track that Q-Tip blazed on his hit single “Vivrant Thing.”

Recently announced as a new sports team minority stakeholder, Yo Gotti spits more of his hustle talk on “For The Record,” and midwxst, one of the most impressive young artists we’ve heard in some time, delivers “LA” alongside KA$HDAMI.

Baby Keem, who recently released the dope The Melodic Blue project, tweaked the album and added a new track, “lost souls” featuring DMV vocalist Brent Faiyaz, and Philadelphia’s Privaledge drops off “Politics as Usual” featuring a blistering verse from Dave East.

The Council Of The Gods, consisting of MCs Five Steez, Nomad Carlos, and The Sickest Drama along with producers Time Cow, Sawandi, and Son Raw, deliver their refreshing take on the American art form of Hip-Hop via the lenses of artists born and raised in Jamaica. However, don’t expect “toasting” as you’re used to hearing in traditional dancehall reggae as this is screwface, smack-your-fitted-off music. We selected “Instant Replay” from the collective’s Trilogy project.

Check out new tunes from BIA, Coi Leray, Icewear Vezzo, Gunna, Big Twins, Boldy James, Stove God Cooks, The Alchemist, Willie The Kid, Hus KingPin, and more in the playlist below.

Photo: Getty

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Meek Mill “On My Soul,” Lil Wayne & Rich The Kid “Feelin’ Like Tunechi” & More | Daily Visuals 10.1.21

Meek Mill “On My Soul,” Lil Wayne & Rich The Kid “Feelin’ Like Tunechi” & More | Daily Visuals 10.1.21

On Friday, October 1,  Meek Mill released his latest project, Expensive Pain, and to accompany his fifth album release, the Philadelphia rapper dropped some new visuals for one of the album’s standout cuts.

In his latest video for “On My Soul,” Meek showcases his love of dirt bikes and motorcycles while using a collage of footage from his youth to his time in the studio with the likes of Bobby Shmurda and Swizz Beatz. One of Meek’s rules to be in the studio is to wear jewelry because there was enough ice in the studio to make the temperature drop a few degrees. Geez!

Elsewhere Lil Wayne makes a rare video appearance and for the clip to “Feelin’ Like Tunechi,” Weezy links up with Rich The Kid to kick it on the ave before being questioned about police about his whereabouts.

Check out the rest of today’s drops including work from Meek Mill, Ne-Yo, and more.

MEEK MILL – “ON MY SOUL”

LIL WAYNE & RICH THE KID – “FEELIN’ LIKE TUNECHI”

NE-YO – “WHAT IF”

MEEK MILL – “HATE ON ME”

MINUE GRAVITY & CHANEL WEST COAST – “YEA, YEA, YEA”

SAUCE GOHAN – “I’M BACK”

POPCAAN – “SUPERIOR”

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Bow Wow Not Concerned With Diddy Being Entangled With His Child’s Mother [Video]

Bow Wow Not Concerned With Diddy Being Entangled With His Child’s Mother [Video]

The 58th GRAMMY Awards - GRAMMY Charities Signings - Day 2

Source: Maury Phillips / Getty

Diddy continues his world tour of bachelorhood and his newest love interest is Joie Chavis. Thankfully Bow Wow is not upset with the mogul dating his child’s mother.

As spotted on TMZ the former So So Def Records star is not phased at all by the pictures of his former flame looked very cozy with the Bad Boy Records founder. Last month Puff was photographed kissing Chavis on his yacht while vacationing in Italy. Naturally the image quickly made the rounds on the internet. During a recent trip to Los Angeles the celebrity gossip site caught up with the “Let Me Hold You” rapper to get his official response to the new couple.

When asked about a new man being around his daughter he simply responded “I don’t think it will get that far”. He went on to explain his stance on the matter. “Only because when you know somebody since 13 years old and when you know somebody bro, you kind of know. You’ve been around him, we’ve kicked it, we’ve partied, so I know how we move when it comes to the ladies” he explained. Needless to say he doesn’t think the two will take it farther than just hanging out. “It ain’t going to be no wedding bells or chapels or no sh*t like that. That’s my least concern. Everyone is grown and everyone can do what they want to do.”

Prior Diddy was seen boo’ed up with Young Miami of the City Girls but it seems the two are no longer kicking it. You can see the Bow Wow interview below.

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The Sneaker Game: RARES App Founder Gerome Sapp

The Sneaker Game: RARES App Founder Gerome Sapp

Gerome Sapp

Source: Brian Rubio / RARES

Sneakers are big money, and investing in them is a no-brainer, now. Gerome Sapp, a former NFL player and the Founder & CEO of RARES, introduced a new app that allows users to literally invest in kicks, but convincing venture capitalists of the money in the sneaker game was practically a non-starter.

Despite a degree in Finance from Notre Dame (and an MBA from Harvard Business School), a keen insight into the viability of sneakers as an asset class, and a dedication inherent in anyone who can carve out a career as a pro-athlete, Sapp had to pull up stakes and go for self.

“Finally, I was just like, ‘these people aren’t even my demographic’,” recalls Sapp of getting the cold shoulder from venture capitalists. “They don’t understand sneakers. They can’t think outside the proverbial sneaker box. So, I’m chasing ghosts here. [It was] one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is stop pitching it and save my money up for essentially three years.”

After a few years of putting aside his own dough, Sapp was able to launch RARES, a sneaker investment app. The company received a strategic jolt of marketing gold (note: sneakers currently trade higher than the aforementioned precious ore) when it was revealed that it was Sapp and RARES that brought the Air Yeezy Prototypes that sold at auction for $1.8 million.

Hip-Hop Wired spoke to Sapp for our The Sneaker Game column about what it took to bring RARES to market and the inspiring conversation including topics like representing for people of color in the Tech space, never giving up after hearing no repeatedly and the inspiration found in the freshest of sneakers.

“I went out pitching this idea to investors around four years ago, and I was told no 87 times. I thought they were crazy for saying no—that never wavered my confidence in the concept or the industry.”

HipHopWIred: Let’s get right to it, you were a high school football star, went to Notre Dame, and eventually the NFL. But, when did you first get into sneakers?

Gerome Sapp: I first got into sneakers when my father gave me a pair of Jordan 4s before he went into prison. That got me hooked on Jordan 4’s. With Jordan’s in general, I always had a sentimental value to me because of that, right? After that, we couldn’t afford Jordan’s anymore. I was probably about eight or nine [years old. I always looked at Jordan as not only the man, but the shoe is an inspiration. Almost like if Michael Jordan, a Black guy, that was once a Black kid like me, could get an endorsement deal from Nike to get his own shoe, so, can I. Not that I want my own shoe, but it was almost like the possibilities are endless. And this shoe represented that type of success or potential of success and I think that’s where my love for sneakers really started.

 

HHW: You were a football star so we figure you were able to get blessed with some better kicks than usual, right?

Sapp: When I got to high school I started being able to wear nicer kicks because I was actually working, and I can afford it. Nothing too crazy. But I was a Jordan guy. I remember the 11s came out. It was a wrap after that, You know what I’m saying? And then I got a scholarship to Notre Dame. And the crazy thing is, in South Bend, Ind., nobody gave a damn about sneakers. But I did, though. I still wore my kicks up there.

HHW: Was it still a Nike school at that time?

Sapp: Actually, it was in Adidas school. So, my shoe game was kind of more like on my own time. An offseason type thing. But in the meantime, I was studying finance. I was a finance major, and then in the summertime, I would work at Merrill Lynch back in Houston. I’d go home for about a month and a half and get an internship. I was learning money management from a real-world perspective.

 

HHW: So that sparked the business interest?

Sapp: That’s why I started to craft kind of this idea. I wanted to do something in finance, but something that was out of the box. I didn’t want to sit behind a desk, but I was fortunate enough to get drafted. I really started to buy a lot of sneakers at that point. But then in the off-season, I went to Harvard Business School, and that’s really where the concept of RARES was born. I remember actually wearing some Jordan 11s and the dude stepped on my sneakers, and I remember checking him. I was like, “Well, he didn’t step on the laces, right?” I remember getting to class wiping my sneaker off and thinking, “Man, there’s got to be a better way to get value out of this sneaker because I knew at that point, sneakers were appreciating.” This was before the secondary market and corporate America really started taking note, it was about 2005 or 2006…

 

HHW: Before spots like Flight Club and Stadium Goods really spotlighted the money that could be made.

Sapp: This is well before that and in my business class, I started to learn about alternative assets. When the professor talked about an alternative asset, my mind instantly shot to sneakers because I knew it as an asset class all of its own — this is still at Harvard. And obviously, it was an alternative, too. It wasn’t something that you can readily invest in on the stock market. I was like, “Man, what if you can turn this sneaker into stocks, or, more importantly, turn it into the equivalent of a company and allow people to invest in this company?”  Essentially, you securitized the shoes, split them into shares, and allow people to own shares in the shoe if they can’t [own flat out] because, at that point, a lot of people started to get priced out of the sneaker game, especially the communities and cultures that I came from that made the sneaker game what it is that made it valuable and made it popular somewhere along the line. More importantly, they were being priced out of the secondary appreciation of the shoes.

 

HHW: Right, you can cover the shoe but there’s no way it makes it into your own collection if you don’t have the income.

SAPP: What if you split a shoe up into thousands of shares and allow people to own shares in it? So, when that shoe would appreciate in value, so do the shares you own in that sneaker. Just like in a company. When a company appreciates in value, if you’re a stockholder in that company, you reap the benefit, too, via your stocks. So, I was like, “Man, what if you do that with the sneaker?” But at the time, it was a little ahead of [its] time, way ahead of time. It was just an idea. I ended up playing a few more years in the NFL, starting a few tech companies. That’s why I’m actually out here in [Las] Vegas because my lead investor, Tony Shai, was out here and he’s like, “If you want this money, you got to move to Vegas.”

So, I relocated the family to Vegas and ended up selling out of that company. But the concept of securitizing sneakers [was] still on my mind. Basically, when StockX came out, I remember thinking, this is an opportunity to do what I always wanted to do, because for the first time, companies like StockX and GOAT, they centralized the pricing around sneakers. The evaluation of a sneaker, basically meaning you can go to one place and for the most part, people agree that this is the price that this sneaker is worth. Once you centralize the pricing or have a centralized pricing mechanism, you can create a market around that, like a real market.

About that time, [President Obama] was leaving office. He changed the rules and regulations around Regulation A to allow people, unaccredited investors, to start making investments in real securities. Before that, you couldn’t do that. Basically, he wanted to pump money into the economy via investment.

 

HHW: So before Obama made that move, it was “illegal”?

Sapp: Exactly. Before then, there was no law or regulation that would allow for that. But when Obama’s administration made that change to Regulation A, which is a part of the Jobs Act, opening the door for fractionalized ownership and allowing people, especially people who don’t make a certain amount of money a year, to invest a portion of their income into these assets. So when I read that, I was like, “Oh, sh*t.”

I cold-called one SEC regulation attorney [I saw in] Forbes. I remember calling him, and he answered. I said to him, “Hey, I know you don’t know me. My name is Gerome Sapp, but we’re gonna be best friends in a year.” And he answers, “Well, who are you?” The funny thing is, he’s now our Regulation attorney. I pitched him that idea, and he said, “Man, this is brand new. No one’s thinking about fractional ownership and sneakers.” Rally Road was the only company around at that point, and they were factionalizing ownership in automobiles and collectibles. So, I knew it could be done for sneakers, and I knew sneakers were a more liquid asset class. There were millions of transactions being done a day online for sneakers. We’re just offering them another way to own a sneaker and make money off of it, which most people wanted to flip the sneaker just to make money anyway. Now we’re making it easy for them.

 

HHW: Sounds good on paper but were you able to convince investors immediately?

Sapp: I went out pitching this idea to investors around four years ago, and I was told no 87 times. I started keeping track of them in my journal. The crazy thing about the whole being told no that many times, I still thought they were crazy for saying no—that never wavered my confidence in the concept or the industry. I thought these 87 people are out of their damn minds for not understanding what I’m presenting to them. But also, I didn’t take it personally. And I think being an athlete helped me with that. You’re told “No, you’re not good enough or your body is not what it used to be. We’re going to go younger and we’re going to cut you.” You learn how to [not] take those things personally. That’s part of the business. That really helped me when I was out there, literally pounding the concrete, going from VC to VC, pitching this idea, pitching my heart out. And when they said no, I wanted to understand why they said no. Then I took notes on that because maybe I could improve my pitch. That’s when it started to be a game to me of how I can improve my pitch to get a yes.

 

HHW: What were some of the reasons that these VCs are telling you that we’re not going to give you any money? What were some of the rationale for it sounds like, in hindsight, obviously, it’s a great idea? But what… what are they not seeing?

Sapp: The biggest one was we don’t see collectible sneakers being big enough. It’s almost like how many collectible sneakers are there in the world. It’s like [a] f*cking million. You know what I’m saying? I mean, sorry to curse, but I’m like, there are millions of them. More importantly, Nike comes out with a new hype drop every week. What do you mean?  I understood the situation. This is not my demographic. These aren’t sneaker people. They don’t know what I’m talking about. They have no point of reference to anything I’m saying.

 

HHW: Right.

Sapp: The other reasons were like, they didn’t know how this alternative asset space was going to go. We’ll keep in contact, or once another player comes in, the investment game, come back to us. And it’s almost like, Well, sh*t then I’m too late. But the biggest one is they just couldn’t see sneakers as an asset class that could support itself. So, I literally saved my money. I saved up for three years. That was hard because I remember praying, like “God, why do you keep this on my mind if I can’t do it yet?” It’s almost torture,  you know what I’m saying? That’s when I saved up enough money and I was able to do it, I realized that’s why he kept it on my mind because he wanted me to be fresh with it. Even though I couldn’t do it. During that time, I still stayed up on all the relevant sneaker news and tech. So, when I was ready to do it, I had the money. I literally rolled right into it.

I made a phone call to one of my best friends who’s now my Chief Operating Officer and said, “Hey, remember that sneaker concept I was telling you about? Let’s do it.” This is the middle of the pandemic shutdown. So, we’re all sitting at home with nothing to do. And I was like, “This is now or never, the world literally slowed down to a halt.”

This is my chance to do what I’ve been thinking about for all these years,  that’s how it started, literally. That’s how we got going. From there, the deeper reason was financial literacy and creating a marketplace for everyone, but especially us, the communities and cultures that I come from to have a chance to make money off an asset class that they already know about…people invest in what they know.

If you give them the opportunity to invest in something like a sneaker and make money, creating a new way to generate revenue out of an old kind of trend, something you’re familiar with. I thought that that would be very special and beneficial to everyone, but especially the Black community, minority communities. That’s essentially what we’re doing. We’re creating a new way to generate wealth or revenue by allowing people to invest in what they know. Even if you don’t know about how sneakers appreciate or the factors that go into it, you have a certain familiarity with sneakers from your childhood. So, we’re asking you now to come to the side and let me educate you a little more. That’s not necessarily a big ask, especially when that’s potentially money to be made on the other side of that. Essentially, that’s the why behind RARES.

HHW: the RARES app has a section that explains the procedure in layman terms. Basically, that could easily be applied to the stock market where a lot of people might be intimidated or think that there’s no way into that. This could be that entry.

Sapp: You hit it on the head. This is like the gateway into bigger investments for a lot of people. This is the first time some have invested in any type of security. It just so happens to be a sneaker. We figured out a way to turn a sneaker into a security. By making it digestible and, let’s be honest, tangible, we attract more people and we appeal to more people because we’re not trying to talk over your head. We’re trying to talk to you and educate you and allow you to make money off of it. That’s exactly what we set out to do. Let’s explain this simply as possible, and we’ll educate you and help you become a better investor, starting with sneakers. Eventually, you’ll move on to other things and increase your portfolio. But why not start with sneakers?

 

HHW: How are things going now? Like how many users do you have, what are your projections, and the like?

Sapp: We have about 30,000 users now and of that, we have about 5000 we call active users that are literally investing in every IPO we drop. But we’re in the process of raising an investment round, so we know once we close that round, we’ll do a bunch more marketing, and eventually, RARES will become a household name. We’re in conversation with Cash App to do a partnership with them, we’re in conversation with Foot Locker, [we have] a lot of big opportunities ahead of us. I think we’re in the right place at the right time.

HHW: So, you famously purchased the Air Yeezy 1 prototypes that Kanye West wore at auction. How did that actually happen?

Sapp: I’ll tell you a back story. I don’t think I’ve ever told this story before. Sotheby’s reached out to me maybe five months before. More specifically, Brahm Wachter at Sotheby’s, who’s the president of the sneaker and streetwear division. He reached out to me and was just like, “Hey, I heard you guys were launching, and you guys seem to be different.”

HHW: You’re definitely doing something right if Sotheby’s is hitting you up because they heard about you.

Sapp: Yeah, that was a real blessing. To be honest with you, we talked maybe once a month, just checking in. He called one morning and we were still in the Tech Stars accelerated program. Tech Stars is one of the top two accelerated programs in the world. They actually reached out to us to have us in the program and the funny thing is, they were hounding me about our go-to-market strategy, and I’m like, “Hey, man, don’t worry. We’ll have one.”

I remember leaving a virtual meeting with Tech Stars, and I got a call from the Sotheby’s brand. It went like,  “Gerome, I got this sneaker. Let’s make a deal.” And there were other bidders, but Sotheby’s was like, “Listen, this shoe is perfect for you guys. I know it’s perfect. It’s perfect for everything you wanted to do.” Little did he know that shoe had a sentimental value to me. The Yeezy One prototype, I remember it because I retired from the NFL in 2008, and I remember watching that Grammy performance. Kanye wore the sneakers in 2008.

Let me rewind a little bit. All athletes go through some sort of identity purgatory when they retire. You play that sport your whole life. Anyone who’s done something their whole life and being good at it— their identity is wrapped in that to a degree. Then you don’t do it anymore,  and you ask yourself,”Now, who am I?”  I remember going through that a little bit and seeing Kanye wear these sneakers. I knew everything about these sneakers. It was a big deal because this is the first time Nike collaborated with a musician instead of an athlete and allowed the person to have input in the design. This shoe was a first for a lot of different things. I remember thinking, “Man, this shoe was going to propel Kanye, into a new height that I don’t even think he understands yet, because now he’s dabbling in sneakers and fashion.” That that literally hit me. It was like, okay, yeah, I could be an entrepreneur and have a better career as an entrepreneur than I did as an athlete. That’s what that shoe meant to me. That symbolized that to me.

So, fast forward, Graham is calling me to want to make a deal to purchase this shoe. It has sentimental value to me. But on the business side, that shoe is the grail of the sneaker industry, at least one of the five top grails. So, we had to make a deal from a business perspective. But from a personal perspective, obviously, I won’t let the personal stuff get in the way of business. I was satisfied once we made the deal because that let me know I was on the right track. Everything was happening in the way it needed to. We negotiated for two days and came to a price. The hardest part was holding it in and not really breaking the news that we arranged the deal to purchase that shoe. So, Tech Stars were still hounding me about our go-to-market strategy [but] once we broke that news, it was a game-changer for the company, for sure.

 

HHW: These rooms you’re in now often don’t have a lot of people that look like us. You mentioned it a little bit, but how important is it that you’re representing?

SAPP: It’s super important. I come in there and I know there’s an elephant in the room. A lot of people wanted to talk football with me as if I was there for football. And obviously, I mean, I get it. It’s a natural thing to want to talk to an ex-NFL athlete about football, but I always make sure that I curve the conversation back to my business and make sure that I was here for business and not to relive old war stories.

One thing they can’t take away from you is your mind. You show them your mind is sharp and you know what you’re talking about. I don’t care what they think about you, when you leave, you left a lasting impression on them That was my goal. It was super important to represent as well because we’re so underrepresented in the tech space, especially the finance tech space. Not only that, once we get investment, we don’t get reinvestment as much as our white counterparts. So not only do we have to be better, but we have to be consistently better. Once again, as an athlete, that was my life, man, always competing, always having to be better than the next man. And I understood if I wasn’t [there would be] consequences to that. So now I go to the tech space. That’s no different for me. I treat tech and I treat RARES in the same way I did with sports. In fact, that’s my therapy of not having that contact, that competition of football. The business world filled that for me. It’s competing in the business world, getting up in the morning, going over my notes, going over my schedule, being prepared that’s filled that void that sports created for me. So, I take this seriously.

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Nicki Minaj Playfully Reacts To Not Being Invited To Lil Wayne’s Birthday Party

Nicki Minaj Playfully Reacts To Not Being Invited To Lil Wayne’s Birthday Party

Nicki Minaj The Meadows Festival

Source: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz83

Nicki Minaj’s FOMO was on full display in Mack Maine’s Instagram comments.

Nicki Minaj has been relatively quiet on social media since her ridiculously ballsy tweet and the fallout that stemmed from it. She hasn’t returned to Twitter after claiming she was banned by the platform, taking her shenanigans to Instagram. Anyway, the Young Money crew came together to celebrate their general, Lil Wayne’s 39th birthday, all of the heavy hitters that Wayne had a huge impact on were there except for Nicki.

Under a photo gallery post shared on Mack Maine’s IG account featuring Weezy surrounded by his Young Money crew, Minaj jokingly decided to wonder where her invite to the party was? The Shade Room doing their comment creeping duties, spotted Minaj’s sarcastic comment under the group photo saying, “I had so much fun.”

Mack Maine wasted no time responding, trying to explain that the gathering was thrown together last minute.

“Lawwwdddd,” Mack replied. “Don’t do it like that Nicketo!!! This shit was so last minute. We could run it back deaux it wasn’t complete without you.”

Wayne’s daughter, Reginae Carter, also chimed in, saying, “They always do that shitttttt,” she wrote under the post. “They did it to me last time, sis it’s okay!” HotNewHipHip reported.

Despite not being in the building, Minaj did take time to show Lil Wayne sharing a picture of the two from 2009, writing, “Happy Birthday to my everything [Lil Wayne],” and stating the image and moment “changed her life.”

Of course, Minaj eventually caught wind of blogs trying to make something out of nothing, and she decided to give them a piece of her mind in her Instagram Stories.

“These blogs so thirsty to post smthn for y’all to hate under. The obsession is a diff kinda real. We weren’t even in the same state. Just a lil jokey joke between me & my boo Mack”

“Have a blessed day y’all. I sure will. That’s why ya’ll pressed. #HappyPapaBearDay,” the Queens rapper continued referring to her son’s first birthday.

We’re sure she won’t be forgotten next time by her Young Mother brothers next time.

Photo: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz83

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