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OZY Fest illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Virtual Ozy Fest

OZY MEDIA ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL OZY FEST FOR MAY 15-16 IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HBCUs, CLUBHOUSE

Headliners at the May festival include Chance the Rapper, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Sevyn Streeter and Marc Rebillet

OZY Media announced that OZY Fest, its one-of-a-kind festival of great entertainment, interactive experiences and big conversations, will return on May 15-16 as a virtual event, after the 2020 festival was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Headliners include musicians Chance the Rapper, Sevyn Streeter, Big Freedia, Marc Rebillet and Kat Cunning; comedians Tig Notaro, Maz Jobrani and Aida Rodriguez; chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai; thought leaders Dr. Anthony Fauci, Mark Cuban, Condoleezza Rice, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Cramer, Revd. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sunny Hostin, Alicia Garza, Marcus Scribner, Sophia Chang, DeRay Mckesson, Carmen Yulín Cruz, Adam Grant, Katty Kay, Matt James, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Michael Lomax, Mariana van Zeller, Dr. Danielle Moss, Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., Angela Benton and Carlos Watson; and sports figures Michael Vick, Stephen A Smith and CC Sabathia. The festival will be livestreamed to the Carlos Watson Show YouTube Channel, presented by OZY Media.

OZY Fest brings together the game-changers and change-makers who are ahead of their time and worthy of yours for a virtual celebration of bold change and big ideas. The festival has previously been held in New York City’s Central Park with guests including John Legend, Trevor Noah, Issa Rae, Padma Lakshmi and Joe Biden, and has been described as “TED meets Coachella” and “New York’s answer to SXSW” for its unmatched blend of thought leadership and entertainment.

The virtual festival will be streamed live, with two simultaneous virtual stages between 5pm and 9pm ET offering a combination of live music and comedy performance, thought leadership, and interactive programming. VIP tickets are available for purchase allowing access to exclusive interactive virtual offerings. OZY Fest’s partnership with new live social media platform Clubhouse will break new ground, employing the app’s private chat functionality to host VIP meet-and-greets in an intimate audio-only setting.

“We are so excited to be bringing OZY Fest back,” says OZY COO and co-founder Samir Rao. “Virtual events and festivals have been hit and miss over the trying past year, but OZY Fest is going to take things to the next level, with the most interactive virtual experience of all time. OZY Fest won’t disappoint if you’re as tired of Zoom as we are.”

The theme of OZY Fest 2021 is “Reset America,” with organizers saying that it hopes to host conversations to reimagine how democracy, racial justice, education and more should work in the 21st century. OZY Media is partnering with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to provide free access to all current students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and to donate proceeds from VIP ticket sales to UNCF. UNCF CEO, Dr. Michael Lomax, is featured among OZY Fest headliners.

“It’s a privilege to be partnering with UNCF to make an impact with OZY Fest this year,” says Carlos Watson, OZY CEO and co-founder, and host of The Carlos Watson Show. “I have said before that the 2020s will be the new 1960s, and OZY will play its role in facilitating some of the most important conversations about where we turn next as a society.”

OZY Fest is brought to you by Chevrolet and American Family Insurance. It is produced by OZY Media in partnership with YouTube, Twitter, Clubhouse and iHeartRadio.

For a full list of headliners and information about how to register for tickets or purchase VIP passes, head to OZY Fest.

OZY Fest 2021
Beyond Green illustration by Heather Skovlund (original photo provided by Beyond Green) for 360 Magazine

Introducing Beyond Green

INTRODUCING BEYOND GREEN: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN HOSPITALITY BRAND DEDICATED TO HELPING GLOBAL CITIZENS MAKE TRAVEL A FORCE FOR GOOD

Forward-Thinking Hotel Network Debuts Booking and Storytelling Platforms That Invite Travelers to Explore How to Travel Gently and Travel Well

Committed to building a better and brighter future for people and the planet, Beyond Green officially launches today as a curated guide for travelers seeking a more purposeful way to explore the world, featuring a global portfolio of 27 hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability in action. Debuting at the onset of a new era of travel in which protecting nature, benefitting local communities, and celebrating cultural diversity has taken center stage, this forward-thinking brandinvites travelers to discover, plan, and enjoy adventures that align with their sustainable travel values and aspirations through a variety of intuitive tools and experiences. These include a new brand website; dedicated storytelling via its @StayBeyondGreen social media accounts; exclusive benefits through I Prefer Hotel Rewards; and a celebratory, limited-time Journeyer’s Pick Package. 

“At the heart of Beyond Green is a belief that to travel gently and with purpose is to travel well. More than ever, each of our individual travel choices make a difference, and, together with our outstanding member properties, we designed Beyond Green to make it easier for travelers to enjoy incredible luxury vacations that also support significant social and environmental change for the future,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of both Beyond Green and its parent company, Preferred Hotel Group. “The world has shown an unwavering need to Believe in Travel, and this is our defining moment to inspire a kinder and gentler way to explore the planet together, where good guests meet good hosts.”

“The question is no longer whether we can transform travel based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices to be a powerful force for saving nature, regenerating ecosystems, and providing tangible social and economic benefits to local people, while also celebrating cultural diversity and inclusiveness around the world. This is now happening, as also represented by Beyond Green members. Rather, the most important question is how travelers help can make sustainability the new normal around the world while also having a great vacation. The answer is when we travel the sustainable way – the Beyond Green way – we can have a positive impact right now on the places we visit,” said Costas Christ, Brand Leader of Beyond Green and President of Beyond Green Travel, also an entity of Preferred Hotel Group.

Digital-First Resources for Inspiration and Information

Experiential travelers looking for a more meaningful way to explore the world can now visit Beyond Green’s website for thoughtful, essential resources and tools to book truly sustainable luxury getaways, from Belize to Bora Bora. The new website features highly curated visual content of each member property and the experiences they offer, along with vivid stories about the world of sustainable travel through its Good Stories blog, where novel content, tips and advice will be added on a continuous basis. The brand also invites travelers to engage in daily dialogues about sustainable tourism, inspiring travel experiences, and best practices for being informed  global citizens on social media by following its newly launched FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn channels and #StayBeyondGreen and #TravelGently online conversations.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Member Benefits

As part of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, Beyond Green invites travelers to enroll in I Prefer to access meaningful rewards at more than 650 participating properties worldwide. In addition to receiving standard, I Prefer benefits such as points for every eligible stay and early check-in and late check-out privileges, I Prefer members who book stays at participating Beyond Green hotels, resorts, and lodges receive access to exclusive bonus points-earning opportunities that are tied to participation in on-property enrichment activities representative of the three pillars of sustainable tourism. Varying from property to property, these experiences range from an Ecology Tour in San Juan Capistrano at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in California to a specialized lecture on the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia. I Prefer members with Elite-tier status will also receive a welcome amenity or community giving opportunity, in addition to earning 50 percent more bonus points during every eligible stay.

Celebratory Launch Offer

Whether seeking to stay within their own country or satisfy the pent-up desire to dust off their passport and go somewhere new, Beyond Green encourages travelers to seize the moment by taking advantage of a limited-time only Journeyer’s Pick Package, available at 15 participating properties for bookings made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021. Featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or meaningful memento exclusively available through this special offer, as well as 5,000 I Prefer bonus points, the Journeyer’s Pick Package include highlights such as, but not limited to:   

  • Private 1.5-hour Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy session at andBeyond Vira Vira
  • Traditional sunset Dhow Cruise with snacks and drinks at andBeyond Mnemba Island
  • Guided walking tour of the Monastery of Panagia Spileotissa at Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas
  • Body scrub wellness experience using organic ingredients at Borgo Pignano
  • Polynesian outrigger experience at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Where Good Hosts Meet Good Guests: The Beyond Green Portfolio

With plans for steady, thoughtful growth, Beyond Green celebrates its official launch in collaboration with 27 inspiring member properties that each take a unique and genuine approach to hospitality while representing sustainable tourism leadership through actionable, measurable efforts:

  • Americas – andBeyond Vira Vira (Pucón, Chile); Arenas Del Mar Beach Front and Rainforest Resort (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica), Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA); Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize); Carneros Resort and Spa (Napa Valley, California, USA), Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, USA); Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama); Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, USA); Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, New Mexico, USA); The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, California, USA); Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
  • Europe – Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece); Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland); Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy)
  • Africa – andBeyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya); andBeyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania); andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia); Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa); Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda); Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana); Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia); Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe); Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana); Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
  • Asia – InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia); Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)

Travelers are invited to access more information on Beyond Green, its three key pillars of sustainable tourism, and its member properties, and book authentic, luxury travel experiences around the world by visiting Beyond Green.

About Beyond Green

Guided by a passion to embrace travel as a force for good, Beyond Green is a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability leadership. To create a more purposeful way to explore the world where good guests meet good hosts, Beyond Green has curated a unique portfolio of properties based on their commitment to deliver on the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage; and contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities. To be considered for membership in Beyond Green, a property is vetted according to more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Owned and operated by Preferred Hotel Group – the family-owned company that manages and operates other hospitality brands including Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Historic Hotels of America, and Historic Hotels Worldwide – Beyond Green ushers in a new way to experience genuine hospitality by the people for the planet. For more information, visit Beyond Green.

About Preferred Hotel Group

Owned and operated by the Ueberroth Family, Preferred Hotel Group is the parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beyond Green, Historic Hotels of America, Historic Hotels Worldwide, PHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel, representing more than 1,100 hotels, resorts, and residences across 80 countries, in addition to a global portfolio of destinations such as Suzhou, China; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Uganda. With more than 200 seasoned travel professionals situated across 20 countries, the company connects independent hotels, hospitality companies, destinations, and tourism bureaus to key markets worldwide through a variety of strategic branding, sales, integrated marketing, revenue management, and comprehensive distribution services, along with other consultancy services. Fueled by its brand promise, Believe in Travel, the company champions an unwavering belief in the transformative power of travel and its ability to enrich people’s lives and create greater tolerance. For more information on Preferred Hotel Group’s entities, please visit Preferred HotelsBeyond GreenHistoric HotelsPHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel.

The Brando
The Brando – photo credit: Beyond Green
Child with phone illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Children and Screens Announces Grant

­CHILDREN AND SCREENS ANNOUNCES $100,000 GRANT SUPPORTING NEW RESEARCH INTO DIGITAL MEDIA USE AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant of $100,000 to Marc Potenza, Ph.D., MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University, Yihong Zhao, Ph.D., member of the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies at Rutgers University, and their interdisciplinary, interinstitutional team, in support of their research exploring the associations between screen media activity and brain development in school-aged children. 
 
“It is vital to investigate what ever-increasing digital media engagement means for developing brains, especially in middle childhood when children’s devices and brains are working on overdrive. Technology is advancing rapidly, and we hope to do our part to help science keep up; we are delighted to create opportunities to advance scientific research on this topic through the Institute, which I founded 13 years ago.” Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development 
 
Drawing on longitudinal data from the NIH’s landmark Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, Dr. Potenza, Dr. Zhao, and their associates intend to utilize state-of-the-art statistical methodology and predictive modeling to investigate the relationships between digital media use and changes in brain structure and function, as well as the associated clinically relevant behaviors. The study, which was proposed following the Institute’s March 2020 Digital Media and Developing Brain Research Retreat, will examine the effects of a variety of specific media-based activities and will focus on children from ages 9-12. The results of this research will yield benefits and insight not only for the research community, but also for families, clinicians, and policymakers.
 
“The advances in ‘big data’ approaches have led to an unprecedented increase in our understanding of how brain structure and function relate to specific behaviors. With the support of Children and Screens, we aim to apply novel and innovative big data approaches to ABCD data to understand how brain structure and function relate to, and importantly may be impacted by, types and patterns of screen media activity. Dr. Martin Paulus and colleagues used a portion of the first wave of ABCD data to identify patterns of cortical thinning associated with screen media activity. We hope to build off and extend this work by examining the full initial sample and subsequent waves of ABCD data to determine brain-behavior relationships with respect to youth screen media activity. We hope to communicate these findings in order to advance prevention and policy efforts that promote healthy childhood development in environments increasingly involving digital technologies.” – Dr. Marc Potenza, Grant Recipient
 
Bridging the medical, neuroscientific, social scientific, education, and academic communities, the Children and Screens’ interdisciplinary scientific research grants program was conceived as part of a larger research program to advance and support study, knowledge, and scientific collaboration. Developed in 2017, the grants program provides researchers with access to the early-stage financial support necessary to pilot worthy new projects studying the impact of children’s engagement with current and evolving technologies.
 
In addition to the research funds awarded as part of the retreat program and those granted to explore the impacts of digital media during the current health crisis, Children and Screens’ regular Tips for Parents newsletter provides evidence-based, practical advice for families coping with the unprecedented realities of the pandemic, including changed economic circumstances, health concerns, lockdowns, social distancing, remote learning, and working from home. Each newsletter features insights from world-renowned experts, who share tips and advice about managing screen time, social media use, gaming, technology addiction, privacy, parenting, and more.
 
In addition, our popular, bi-weekly Ask the Experts virtual workshop series features dynamic conversations among international, interdisciplinary experts in the field of digital media and child development. Each discussion explores a different digital media challenge associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and presents families with current scientific research, clinical advice, and practical, evidence-based advice. Panelists include leading parenting experts, former AAP Presidents, top child and adolescent psychiatrists, high-impact journal editors, leading researchers, well-known authors, and others. To date, the series has reached parents, researchers, educators, clinicians, government agencies, and public health professionals in over 30 countries and all 50 states.
 
About Children and Screens:
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness.

Friends Virtual Tour illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

FRIENDS Virtual Tour

Award-winning NYC Tour Company Launches F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Virtual Tour

The One Where Friends Comes to Your Apartment

Oh. My. God. Could this BE any more exciting? Just in time for the Friends 25th anniversary, On Location Tours has launched a Friends Virtual Tour, where YOU can be your own cast member alongside Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey! This activity is perfect for those desperate to beat the winter (and quarantine) blues.

The Friends Virtual Tour is the latest from Georgette Blau, founder of On Location Tours, one of the world’s largest TV and movie tour companies, based in New York City.  With Covid-19 shutting down tourism, On Location Tours had to “pivot” their business model to ensure a safe experience for everyone. The Friends New York City apartment building was a famous location highlight on the NYC TV and Movie Tour. Since tour operations are “on a break” due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the virtual tour will let any Friends fan jump into second gear, and it will make their day, their week, their month, and even their year! The tour is hosted by tour guide Roseanne Almanzar, an actress and mother who has been a dedicated staff member of On Location Tours for 20 years.

Roseanne takes Friends’ fans on a 40-minute tour to 18 locations made famous by the acclaimed series. Additionally, purchasing a ticket will also grant a customer admission to the virtual Friends trivia night, which On Location Tours holds monthly.  The trivia ticket can also be purchased separate from the tour.

If customers are based in the US, they can purchase an additional add-on Friends box shipped to their home address (don’t worry, a smelly cat isn’t included). The box contains a Central Perk mug along with four other surprise keepsake items. The full package (tour, trivia, and goodie box) is $68, and the tour + trivia (no goodie box) is $29.  If you would like more information about The Friends Virtual Tour, please contact Erin Miller by email.

About On Location Tours:

On Location Tours is one of the world’s largest award-winning TV and movie tour companies and the only one operating in multiple cities. We feature sites from the hottest and latest on the big and small screen. Founded in 1999 by Georgette Blau, it has become one of the East Coast’s most popular tourist attractions serving over 100,000 tourists and locals annually. Some of the tours include NYC TV & Movie Tour, When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour, Sex and the City Hotspots, Gossip Girl Sites, Sopranos Sites, TCM Classic Film Tour, Central Park TV & Movie Sites, and Holiday Lights & Movie Sites.  

Star Trek illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Star Trek: Mission Chicago

ReedPop and ViacomCBS Consumer Products Unite to Produce 

STAR TREK: MISSION CHICAGO in Spring 2022

ReedPop to Beam into the Windy City for Star Trek: Mission Chicago on April 8 -10, 2022

ReedPop, the world’s leading producer of pop culture events, announced today that they are joining forces with ViacomCBS Consumer Products as the official convention partner for the Star Trek franchise. The partnership will kick off in 2022 with an all-new event that will serve as the ultimate destination for fans of the iconic franchise – Star Trek: Mission Chicago. Produced in partnership with ViacomCBS Consumer Products, Star Trek: Mission Chicago is a three-day immersive experience that will take place at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center from April 8 – 10, 2022. 

Star Trek: Mission Chicago will feature celebrity guests, interactive exhibits, exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities, costume exhibits, autograph sessions, gameplay and other special surprises all set within the ever evolving and expansive Star TrekUniverse. Mission Chicago will give fans the opportunity to boldly explore the past, present and future of the franchise, while embracing the ideals of a diverse and inclusive future that remains at the center of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved creation. 

Following the inaugural event in Chicago, future Star Trek: Missions will travel to a new city each year, offering thousands of fans around the country the opportunity to convene with fellow Star Trek lovers and celebrate the iconic franchise.

“The Star Trek franchise has one of the most passionate and spirited fan bases out there, and we at ReedPop are excited to welcome them and ViacomCBS Consumer Products into our family,” said Lance Fensterman, Global President of ReedPop. “Together we plan to give the fans an incredible experience to remember, and I speak for all of us at ReedPop when I say that we can’t wait to experience the energy that Star Trek fans will bring to Chicago next April.”

Veronica Hart, executive vice president, global franchise management, ViacomCBS Consumer Products added, “As the Star Trek franchise continues to grow and evolve, so too is our convention business evolving. We are excited to partner with ReedPop as our official Star Trek convention partner to take this next step in creating an event that will introduce the Trek experience to loyal and new fans alike each year.”

For more information and updates on Star Trek: Mission Chicago, please visit Star Trek Mission’s website and follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Computer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

VC Pitch Deck Advice

­­14 words to take out of your VC pitch deck

By: May Habib

170 seconds. Weeks or even months of working on your pitch deck could come down to the 170 seconds (on average) that investors spend looking at your deck. “Investors see a lot of pitches. In a single year, the classic general partner in a venture firm is exposed to around 5,000 pitches…and ends up doing between zero and two deals,” writes VC and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

With all that pressure to make an impact quickly, founders spend an incredible amount of time on the design of their slides. Less consideration, however, is usually spent on the words on the slide. That’s a mistake, especially when you only have 170 seconds. When not used intentionally, the words in your deck can be distracting or downright off-putting. We used what we know about language and healthy communication from the millions of documents we’ve processed at Writer to come up with 14 words and phrases to remove from your VC pitch deck:

Negative Association

Runway”

  • Pitching VCs is a balancing act: you want to position your idea in the best light, but also show that you’ve thought things through. However, volunteering for certain types of information can have the opposite effect. Don’t write: I’m seeking $X in funding to provide Y months of runway. You certainly need to show how you’re going to use the funding you’re asking for, but you don’t want to frame things in terms of runway in a pitch deck. The word is associated with a looming cash-out date, which can put an investor in a negative state of mind.

Exit strategy”

  • Don’t write: Our exit strategy is…Yes, thinking through your business means knowing how you’ll handle worst-case and best-case scenarios. But putting exit strategy in your deck can only get investors thinking about the inherent risks. You want them focused on the opportunity. You need to know what to say when the topic comes up — just don’t volunteer the information on a slide.

Cliches

Just one percent”

  • A pitch deck is a tool to show VCs why your idea merits an investment. Using cliches can work against that goal. Don’t write: If we could capture X% of the market… It’s not only a cliche but also wishful thinking rather than a plan. Keep the text on your slides grounded in relevant facts and figures. Other cliches to cut include: the Amazon of X, imagine a future, and moving Y to the blockchain.

 Absolutes

Everyone”, “always”, “never”, “no one”

  • A great pitch requires nuance. Using absolutes to talk about your idea fails on that count. And, if you look closer, chances are there will be exceptions to the absolute that’s being set up. When discussing your TAM, target customer, or product value, your words need to reflect a thoughtful and measured approach. Using absolutes, such as everyone likes X falls short of that goal and casts doubts about the validity of your plan.

 Imprecise Language

Unique”

  • Precise communication makes it easier to bet that a business has the potential to succeed. But imprecise language is one of the top no-no’s we see in pitch decks. Take the word It may seem like an ideal word to show differentiation, but it’s imprecise as to the nature of the uniqueness. Just describe the uniqueness directly, or better yet, the plan to execute on the uniqueness. Ideas are important — but the plan is what gets companies funded.

“Intend”

  • Good intentions aren’t the same as a plan. Using the word intend in your pitch deck makes the discussion conceptual and somewhat nebulous. An intention is easier to reject than a plan backed up by compelling storytelling.

No competition”

  • Don’t write no competition anywhere in your deck. Like, anywhere. At best, it will be seen as an exaggeration: if there isn’t direct competition, there may be indirect competition to consider. And, at worst, it could make investors think that you haven’t fully explored the market, meaning your entire premise could be flawed.

“Good”

  • Investors don’t want good ideas; they want the best Using the word good to describe any part of your plan (for example, good growth) lacks specificity and lowers your pitch’s believability.

Qualifiers a.k.a Intensifiers

“Very”, “so”, “quite”

  • Brevity is key when you’re working with a visual format, like a pitch deck. Qualifiers not only clutter your slides with unnecessary text, but they’re also less precise. Don’t write: very, so, and quite. Ask yourself one question: What does very fast growth look like? Your answer would likely be different than someone else’s. Instead, you might say the growth of X% a year so there isn’t confusion. Again, you want to be as precise and fact-based as possible.

Other things to keep in mind:

Readability

  • In an analysis of successful decks, we found an average readability level of Grade 10 or 11. For unsuccessful decks, that number was higher — Grade 12 or college. Never use jargon, keep your sentences simple, and include a maximum of 1-2 sentences per paragraph. To analyze your own deck’s language, try out Writer’s readability

Humor: Just don’t

  • Cracking a joke on a slide can easily backfire. The last thing you want is to have a failed joke make your pitch awkward or throw you off. That could derail the entire process. So, it’s best to skip the deck humor and get to what really matters: your plan.
Award illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

BESLA Honored by Recording Academy

THE RECORDING ACADEMY HONORS THE BLACK ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS LAWYERS ASSOCIATION AT THE 23RD ANNUAL ENTERTAINMENT LAW INITIATIVE EVENT

Today, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) earns recognition by the Recording Academy at the virtual 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship PresentationBESLA stands out as a nationally recognized leader in legal education and professional development for lawyers and professionals in entertainment, sports, and related industries.

During a historic GRAMMY® Week among the nation’s most prominent entertainment attorneys, BESLA proudly received the 2021 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. This achievement highlights leading entities that have demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Additionally, BESLA celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2020 and commemorated the founding group of attorneys in Philadelphia during the First Annual Black Music Association Conference. Their actions sprung from a need to create a continual learning and networking environment for underrepresented attorneys in the entertainment industry, one that today reflects the incredible tenure adopted and developed over 40 years ago.

To continue elevating the trajectory for professionals of color, BESLA has recently committed to establishing an endowment that will support future generations of aspiring executives. This endowment serves as an acknowledgment of BESLA’s commitment to empowering and uplifting its community through service.

On the honorable mention, BESLAs Chairwoman Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard said, “We are honored that the Recording Academy has selected BESLA to receive the ELI Service Award for our commitment to creating an equitable, inclusive and diverse industry. While this award is in recognition of what we have accomplished to date, it is also a reminder that we must continue to create pathways for people of color to gain entry, access, and opportunities to excel in entertainment, media, and sports.”

As part of their mission to support and advance the excellence of professionals in entertainment and sports, BESLA has consistently opened doors for members via annual conferences, regional events, key initiatives, and most recently through the establishment of their endowment. Today, it continues to build on a 40-plus year legacy to advance people of color in the entertainment industry, as recognized by the 2021 ELI Service Award.

BESLA was founded by like-minded professionals who saw the need for an organization where collective experiences and knowledge could be shared for professional development, networking, and the advancement of people of color. Before BESLA, artists, athletes, lawyers, and professionals of color in the sports, entertainment, and legal professions were anomalies– exceptions to the rule. Black professionals like Muhammad Ali, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Thurgood Marshall, and Hank Aaron all fought uphill battles for fair and equitable treatment and the rights of others, like themselves, who did not have the celebrity, platform, or voice to call attention to their respective struggles. They were agents of change. They challenged the status quo and forced society to reevaluate their preconceived notions of the skills, capabilities, and ‘place’ of people of color.

As a result, the Black Entertainment Lawyers Association (BELA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was formed in 1980. To incorporate growing opportunities in the sports arena, the name was changed to the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) in 1986.

Keep up with BESLA on Facebook and Instagram

Robert Goggins – Until We Rich

Robert Quentin Lawrence Goggins (born August 3, 1978), American rapper from Harlem, NY. ENTERTAINER AT ROCDASTAR unreleased album IT’S UNTIL WE RICH featuring Hot Single All I Wanna Do and Street Hit Follow Me. Robert Q. Goggins is currently signed to Bentley Records and Robert released his first album to about Spotify in the top songs for 2019. Currently, he embraces his occupation as a jack of all trades, including: Entertainer, Record Executive, Composer, Songwriter, Singer; Commentator, Socialist, Entrepreneur, and Investor, Businessman, Actor, Author, Publisher, Marketer, Video Director, Inventor, Student and a College Graduate.

Goggins’ first stage performance was in 1993 at Amsterdam Community Center in Manhattan, which was televised on the Public Access Channel. In 1997, Rocdastar recorded a collaboration, called “Chilling In The Studio,” with some of his high school mates in New Jersey City. There, they would form a group called “The New Service Click”. In 1998, he and local neighborhood friends recorded a track called “You On Point”, which was produced by Roc Raida. In 1999, he featured a track called “They Say We Rougher” with Jamaica’s own Face Dada, Lady Thug, and Don Cease.

His second stage appearance was in 2000, in Rockaway, Queens at the Allstars Talent Show Network, where he won 2nd Place in the novice category. He also worked with Harlem’s own producer J R Blass. He’s worked with Producer Huggies, on songs like “What You Looking At”, and “They Don’t Want To Fuck Around With Me”. In 2001, one of his Neighborhood friends, A Gutter Snipes introduced him to his cousin Now Reality, who was with True Light Energy. They began working with Producer Diamond Cuts on songs like “Talking The Talk”, “Niggas Is Scared”, “Funny Ass Niggas”, “We Want Fast Money”, and more.

In 2003, he began recording his first mixtape “Threat Spitting That Fire.” The Mixtape features most of the members of his Lyrical Threat Family, as well as artist such as L Onez; Breeze Iceberg; Chynna Blakk; Red Platinum; and DJ Crazy.

In 2004, he would work on his second Double Mixtape called The Crack Team: Another 48 Grams. The Mixtape included appearances from artists such as Shawn Foster, Snapfu, Ninoman, and others.

In 2005, he began working alongside with A Gutter Snipes, where he would appeared on A Gutter Snipes Real!fe Sh!t TV. The show ran concurrent till 2009.

In 2007. He would appear on Internet’s sensation “Video City” alongside neighborhood friends “Millz Lane”, and Tech 9, where he would be interviewed by Nina B. Following this, in 2009, he performed on the Chocolate Thai Showcase in Midtown NYC. He was introduced to Ty Wiz (Wiz Bradley) by Detroit’s finest Timophy “T.A.” Atkins. They decided to record Rocdastar’s Third LP Inspire Freedom Of Speech.

As of April 5, 2018, Goggins signed an Exclusive deal with Bentey Records, and released his first debuted album called The Beginning Of The Truest Movement”. The album is a thirteen track LP, which included music features by A Gutter Snipes, Now Reality, and Red Platinum. Production by Huggies, Diamond Cuts, True Light Energy, and exclusive track produced solely by himself. He’s currently working on his sophomore album called “Until We Rich”. The seventeen exclusive songs included with features by A Gutter Snipes, Charlie Grounds, Rich Nino, MF, and More. Production from D.Cole, J.R. Blass and more.

QxA with Akeem Mair

This holiday season, actor Akeem Mair took the time to speak with 360 Magazine about his craft, his inspirations, how his career has been impacted by COVID-19, and more. Movie star Akeem Mair is the entertainment industry’s up-and-coming icon. In his career as an artist, he has appeared in several movie productions including All About Money, A Wonderful World, Limbo, Life of a Villain, Red, Fine Line, Silent Love, The Kidnap, etc. He’s worked with many production companies, including the Columbia College of Hollywood Production.

Akeem has signed with two agencies: Commercial Talent Agency (under Sarah Angeli) and Minc Talent (under Mariko Ballentine). At 32, Akeem is in his prime. With his noteworthy work ethic and passion, he is destined for greater heights. In fact, he has over 5 million views for a single video alone – the time when he appeared for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which Ellen described as “the best episode she’s ever seen.”

Besides this feature with 360 Magazine, Akeem appears in many publications such as NY Wire’s Top 25 Individuals, US Reporter’s Top 15 Entrepreneurs, LA Wire’s Top 20 IG Accounts to Follow in 2020, and many more. Read on to hear 360’s interview with Akeem below.

What do you love most about being an actor?

I found a strong love of being in front of the camera with everybody watching. It’s like my escape from my own reality, which is refreshing to me. I get the opportunity to pour myself into different characters and experience that person’s life. How they see the world and how different their life experiences are from mines. I love to learn how they think, how they would react in certain situations, the way they talk and walk, the way they dress, etc. Then, you can take what you learn from playing that character and use it to make your own life more complete. Meaning if you like how that character approaches life, then copy and apply it. At first the camera scared me – I’m not gonna lie. But a director once told me that the fear I show in front of the camera robs the audience of their entertainment. Once I broke out of that, my understanding of my own craft changed. Acting is my life!

Did you always wanted to be an actor, or did you have other ambitions?

Actually, believe it or not, I wanted to be a financial banker. I watched Michael Douglas in the film called, “The Game,” and became hooked after that. I saw the 2000 BMW 740 I, the designer suits, the excitement of winning their clients’ money in the office, the personal maid that lives at his house, and I always loved crunching numbers in a calculator. But as I was working at Ralph’s grocery store when a loyal customer ending up changing my whole life. I was a cashier, and she came into my line with a sad demeanor. I could tell something was troubling her, so I tried to brighten up her day with my personality. I said “Hi, it’s good to see you again, did you find everything ok?” She said softly, “Yes I did, thank you!” I said, “Usually I see you smiling, but whatever you’re going through I know God will not give you more than you can handle! He has something better for you!” After the transaction I said, “Have a Blessed day! I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and I could tell she had been crying. She asked me, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left, I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful actor? I thought about how I would be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night, I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. The next day I reached out to Central Casting in Burbank for their free introduction and here I am today! I am more than satisfied and really love what I do!

How has COVID-19 impacted your industry?

My industry has changed a lot! At first, the acting classes I would attend would be at different acting studios across Los Angeles and held in person. Same as the auditions I would get. And I would have to deal with sitting in the heavy traffic, busy freeways, hoping to get to where I need to on time. Now it’s crazy to think everything is happening on my iPhone 11 Pro! My auditions are either through Zoom or I would have to submit a self-tape that would record off of my phone’s camera and be edited in the iMovie feature. All of my classes have been online through Zoom. So, the coaches now email you a link to jump on when class starts. The biggest issue now is not the heavy traffic, it’s the internet connection. If you have bad WiFi, it easily destroys your Zoom live audition and costs you the job. So, it is extremely important now to have amazing WiFi connection.

Do you have other passions besides acting?

I love writing poetry; it really soothes my soul. I like to write out all the emotions and experiences I go through like in poems and lyrics. 2pac was the one who really inspired me to use my pen as an outlet.

I appreciate Vaughn and 360 Magazine

For allowing me to tell my story

It was a journey to chase my dreams

And stayed away from things ain’t for me

I would sit in the movie theaters

And picture myself reaching glory

I knew could take care of my family

If I stop feeling sorry

By working hard building my legacy

It creates an attraction

Sending me blessings of opportunities

I would of never would of imagine

I had to escape from my reality

By following my passions

I can’t be worried about anybody else

I constantly take action

When I’m finished grinding everyday

I die as a legend

What is the biggest life lesson you learned?

You have to decide to go after your dreams because that’s what you want to do. There’s going to be so many people in your ear telling you different things and most of the time, it’s family because they want to protect you from failing. The only problem about that is it takes you away from doing what you love and moves you closer to a life of regret. So, take your time and really think about your dreams and how you want your life to be. Take out a piece of paper and write what you want out of life. I am an actor today because it’s my dream. I wrote it down, I proclaimed it in front of the mirror, and I tell my friends and family all the time what my dreams are and that I am going to achieve them.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is balancing my money and time. Because let me tell you, I’ve invested a lot of money to strive as an actor. Dreams come with lots of sacrifices. This is the one side of dreams that is not so glamorous. I can’t watch television when I get home because I have to practice, do auditions, or attend classes. Before I can even think about buying the latest technology, clothes, or shoes, I would have to also think about classes, camera equipment, printing, headshots, costumes, etc. You have to be willing at any moment to sacrifice for your dreams and it’s the hardest part. I’m giving up sleep most days because I’m so busy, but I love it!!

Who are the people who are your biggest influences and why?

Tupac Shakur, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy are my biggest influences. Everyone knows why Eddie Murphy is so big of an inspiration to me. It’s how I got my name! His character, Akeem, from Coming to America made my parents fall in love with the name due to his performance. As I’m older now and have watched it for myself, it’s crazy so much of my personality has rubbed off of him and into me. He possesses a sense of humor and radiates authority, yet he remains humble, practices kindness and self-sacrifices for the people around him. Denzel Washington is my next inspiration. I always love how Denzel approaches his game. The confidence, swag, fearlessness, and mental toughness he possesses in most of the characters he played, you can just feel his presence through your television. His Oscar performance character Alonzo Harris in Training Day was unbelievable. You felt the selfishness, greed, carelessness, ruthlessness, and his betrayal. I would love to ask him, “how do you get to that place in a character and stay there?” Finally, 2pac! His wisdom and his work ethic are what really blow my mind. I love how he was able to captivate a crowd of people and get everyone to follow him around. To be so young and so ahead of his time is crazy. He inspires me to think ahead always and to do more than what you think your capable of doing. And stop taking breaks! I remember how upset he got when his team took breaks and reminds them how time is short.

If you could change one thing you did at the beginning of your career, what would it be?

I would go back to tell the younger me to keep track of your day. Stop worrying about your yearly resolutions and worry about your daily resolutions. Because if you can’t take care of a simple day, how on earth are you going to conquer your year? It’s going to escape you every time. I always hear it in people’s voices when they talk about what they are going to be or going to have. I’m like, wait a minute, what are you going to do today? And people are usually confused or haven’t thought about it. See, it’s that’s answer right there that’s gonna kill everything you just told me.

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Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

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Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit projects to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.