‘Girls Trip’ Writer Tracy Oliver Signs First-Look Deal At Topic Studios

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By: Amadi Taylor 

 

Tracy Oliver, Girls Trip co-writer and The First Wives Club series creator has signed a first-look deal for film and TV with Topic Studios.

The deal begins during the busy time for Oliver, April 1. Currently, she executive produces and showruns First Wives Club, a half-hour comedy based on the movie. It stars Ryan Michelle Bathe, Jill Scott, and Michelle Buteau and will air later this year on BET.

In film, she wrote the Will Packer-produced movie Little, releasing April 12 via Universal. Oliver wrote and executive produced Warner Bros’ adaptation The Sun Is Also a Star, which comes out May 17 and stars Grown-ish’s Yara Shahidi and Riverdale’s harles Melton. Furthermore, she is producing a remake of Clueless at Paramount.

Oliver stated: “Topic Studios is the perfect home for me as a filmmaker. They understand the landscape and completely support the projects, TV, and film, I would like to make.”

Oliver is the latest first-look deal set at Topic joining the likes of producer and former Focus Features President John Lyons, and Arctic filmmakers Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison. Recent projects at the company include Debra Granik’s Leave No Traceand upcoming pics The Laundromat from Steven Soderbergh and On the Other Side starring Carey Mulligan as war correspondent Kate Webb.

 

Google Is Looking for Podcasters & Creators of Color

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via black enterprise~ The Google Podcasts Creator Program, run by PRX, is back and is looking for its next round of participants. The program provides 20 weeks of training and mentorship as well as seed funding to promising podcasters with the aim of promoting underrepresented voices throughout the industry and around the world.

Catalina May and Martín Cruz, the team behind Las Raras (The Outsiders), are independent podcasters based in Santiago, Chile. They are one of the six teams participating in the first round of the program. Their training began in January 2019 with a week-long intensive bootcamp at the PRX Podcast Garage in Boston, and will culminate in a final showcase on June 19.

“At the PRX Podcast Garage, we met amazing trainers and the five other teams in the program,” stated the Las Raras team. “It was a dream to talk about podcasting for 12 hours a day with a diverse group of people who share our passion.”

Other podcasts accepted into the program included AfroQueer, a podcast that sets out to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ people’s lives in a place where homosexuality is illegal, Long Distance which tells stories from the Filipino diaspora; The Colored Girl Beautiful which reflects on modern beauty standards; Timestorm introduces children to Puerto Rican history, and “Who Taught You How to Drive?!”, a [odcast that talks about car culture and road rage.

Las Raras,” was inspired by the first season of Serial. As a journalist and a sound engineer, the team understood the influence that podcasts could have on their culture. “This intimate medium is perfect for telling stories of people who are frequently overlooked, stories of people challenging norms, and stories of people defying the status quo.”

The Google Podcasts creator program has sense assisted all of the teams in bringing their goals to fruition by helping to increase the diversity of voices in the podcasting industry.

Applications for the next round are currently open and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, Sunday, April 14.

Meet A Dope Black Woman in Tech: Aja Page Hill

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By Ijeoma S. Nwatu

We recognize women of color everyday, however throughout the month of March we will be featuring women of power who are balancing it all. Our first spotlight feature is Aja Page Hill, a Microsoft executive, a Yoga queen, Real Estate mogul, mother of two and loving wife. Check out her interview below:

What does a typical day look  like for you?

My mornings start with my two kids in my room. I have a four-year and a two-year old. I work as a customer success manager with Microsoft, supporting federal civilian customers like the United Nations, the American Red Cross, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). My job might involve traveling, developing strategy, implementing solutions, or taking calls and building plans from home.

After work, I pick up my kids. I typically reserve an hour in the evening to work out at the gym, do yoga or weight training. I then head home, have dinner and then back to bed.

What’s your advice to other women when it comes to "balancing it all"? Does balance really exist?

I do think balance exists. I was always fearful of being a mom because I heard Oprah say she couldn’t be excellent at both (her career and motherhood). Having a family was important to me. I have to build systems into my life so I can be great at my job and with my kids. I don’t do laundry. I don’t clean the house. I have a loving, supportive husband. Systems reduce the burden and are really important. I am also grateful to have financial security and job flexibility.

What sparks your interest?

As of last summer, I am a certified yoga teacher. I get to coach other people to stop and take note of things around them, emotionally, physically, physiologically. Yoga is a place where I can have an experience with myself. I like to  challenge myself and my body.


Do you think sisterhood, personally and/or professionally, is important?

Personally, it is more than invaluable. I’m not sure how I would function. I have a core group of friends, most  of whom have two kids. My closest friends are black, professional women who mirror my life.

Professionally, I have a separate support system at work. Information technology (IT)  is dominated by men but I have always worked for women and been mentored by them, which is rare. I reach out to people I admire and ask for help; it so happens to be from other women. It is important for women to sponsor you, submit your name for opportunities, etc. Be curious and fearless in seeking that sponsorship and mentorship. There are women who want to help other women, in particular black women.

Where do you get your news information? How do stay on top of your profession?

I don’t watch the news. When I get the news, it’s via a podcast, social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). I get a daily newsletter of RSS feeds from my industry, that I peruse in my email.. I take at least one training a quarter (product or management skills focused).

Share an experience in which you learned a valuable lesson.

In addition to working at Microsoft, I co-own a real estate company, buying rental properties and flipping dilapidated homes. We had a team that was smooth. Later on, we made a decision to work with friends and it did not turn out great in terms of expectations and performance delivery. When we ended the business relationship, the friendship ended as well. I learned to be crystal clear in not making business decisions based on friendships. I probably won’t make that mistake again. Trust in business relationships does not translate into trust in a friendship.


Is there a woman in your life or throughout history whom you admire?

My mom was a single mom–a constant visual of a woman that was running my entire life was empowering for me. She put me in an all girls school. I grew up with an understanding that there was no limitation to success and my career. I never had an impression that a woman could not do it.


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Color Vision Book Club Giveaway: The Engagement Game by Joi-Marie McKenzie

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In “The Engagement Book”, Joi-Marie McKenzie talks about her life, she has almost everything that she could possibly want, a thriving career, supportive family and an apartment in one of the busiest cities, Manhattan. However, she doesn’t have is a husband.

Joi-Marie tells us all about her life in ‘The Engagement Game’. On paper, she has everything any successful woman could want, except her boyfriend, won’t commit. We’ll follow Joi-Marie as she plays the engagement game to get her boyfriend to propose her. Over time, she discovers she’s becoming someone else and to get herself back she has to decide which is more important, marriage or herself?

🚨🚨Giveaway Alert!!! 🚨🚨Are you looking for a NEW book to read? If you had to choose between yourself or #marriage which would you choose? Color Vision is doing a #GIVEAWAY! 3️⃣lucky winners will get the book, The Engagement Game by Joi-Marie 🤩Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow @thecolorvision on Instagram and Twitter

2. Comment #TheEngagementGame

3. Bonus entries: Email us at info@colorvisioncreates.com to tell us why you want a copy!

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Open to the US ONLY. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Shipping is provided. The giveaway ends 3/20 at 11:59 PM EST. The Winners will be chosen randomly and will have 24 hours to respond after notification. Good Luck!

#TheEngagementGame #NewRelease #BlackGirlMagic

Najla Austin to open Social Space in NYC for Women of Color

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By: Amadi Taylor

New York has always been a place where people go to chase their dreams, however while places like The Wing, SoHo House and tons of other spots have exclusive social memberships, none seem to cater to people of color. The New York Times recently sat down with a number of black entrepreneurs starting their own social clubs and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We’re especially excited for “Ethel’s Club” which will cater specifically to black women, founded by Najla Austin. Learn more about Ethel’s Club and the other new social club locations below.

  1. Ethel’s Club

 

Ethel’s Club is a forthcoming membership social space that will be housed in Brooklyn, NY. The founder Naija Austin was inspired by the success of The Wing and wanted to create something similar for women of color. There will be a boutique featuring products made by people of color in the front of the club, and a members-only quarter in the back. Membership is application-based; interested parties must support the brand mission of empowering and advancing people of color. A one-year membership is required, and events will range from matchmaking to wellness to tech workshops. Her credo is “for us by us.” Ethel’s Club is set to open in August 2019.

 

  1. Chroma

 

Founded by Ladin Awad, June Canedo, and Sienne Fekete, all women with lineage from the diaspora, they plan conversations about identities, privilege and the spectrum of experiences for women of color. Chroma has organized events such as “Working Women of Color” and “Continuity: A Conference on Self-Preservation for Women of Color.” They recent;y celebrated the grand opening of their Lower East Side studio. At the Chroma studio, they partner with other collectives and document the conversations, which have themes such as digital archives, social media, and mental health, and alcohol and drug addiction.

 

  1. The Gentlemen’s Factory

 

It's one of the few spaces in New York City that is exclusively for men of color with over 100 members. The Gentlemen’s Factory began as a middle ground between work and home for men who need a venue for networking and socializing. This space is open to men of color of all ages and backgrounds.

 

In New York, the law states that any public establishment must allow full and equal access to people irrespective of race, as well as “color, religion, or national origin.” Alicia McCauley, Deputy Press Secretary of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, says, “NYC Human Rights Law protects against racial discrimination in any form, including in public accommodations such as social clubs. However, social clubs can be centered around certain experiences as long as the membership policy is not discriminatory based on race, religion, national origin, or any one of the other 22 protected categories in NYC.”