A Personal Testament By Bonita Stewart, VP, Global Partnerships

Inline image 2Bonita Stewart with Dr. Wayne Frederick at Googleplex in Mountain View, CA (credit: Google)
When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex"Howard West" is now the centerpiece of Google's effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)-and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: "The best way to predict the future is to create it." This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to manifest a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what incredible innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard's computer science program can attend Howard West, a dedicated space at Google, for three months at a time.Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the computer science (CS) education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.  

Through GIR we've learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We've also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between the Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

"Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind - to advance a strategy that leverages Howard's high quality faculty and Google's expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve."
- Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard's tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.


Advice guide shows readers how to present their best selves via social media, networking and their personal image

In this age of social media, there's never been a more critical time to understand the power of personal branding. The newly-released
Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through 'On-Purpose' Living does just that.

A timely advice tool from author, marketing strategist and entrepreneur Courtney R. Rhodes, Make Your Mark is designed for the modern-day professional, college student or dreamer looking to achieve lifelong goals through smart use of their personal brand. Rhodes has channeled her 20+ years of sales and marketing expertise into relatable strategies that will motivate you to harness your most valuable asset -- you! -- and show you how to take your dream from vision to victory.

In Make Your Mark, readers will learn:

1.     What your personal brand is and why it matters
2.     How to embrace your authenticity to build your 'on-purpose' brand
3.     Effective communication skills for a positive lasting impact
4.     How to build and engage your network through social media platforms
5.     Designing a personal image that aligns with your brand story

"I have always believed that we innately hold the power to change our lives," says Rhodes. "Much of that power lies in understanding our personal brand - essentially our authentic selves - and how to present our brand to the world. I wrote 'Make Your Mark' because I've witnessed firsthand how just a few smart changes to your communication skills, relationships and overall image can significantly impact your career, goals and life."
Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through 'On-Purpose' Living is now available on and

Follow Courtney on Instagram and Twitter at @thebrandista.

Super Producer Drumma Boy Fresh Joins 66 Raw


Grammy nominated super producer Drumma Boy Fresh, known for his plethora of hits for major artists and one of his latest "Look At My Dab" for Migos which cause the "Dabbing" frenzy across the world has joined 66 Raw as official Brand Ambassador and will be debuting his own show "2 Hours of Fresh" exclusively on 66 Raw very soon. Drumma Boy also has several business ventures which includes 2 alcohol brands and his Fresh Phamily Clothing Line where 66 Raw will hold contests to give a way.


Tune-In at 10PM ET/PT on Centric
Sneak Peak of BEING
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017 at 10PM ET/PT
"BEING" on Centric
will feature Kierra Sheard
Kierra Sheard and her episode of BEING is the story of a young woman born into a family of Gospel music royalty (The Clark Sisters) and a heavy Christian faith. With expectations set high to follow the successful blueprint already written, Kierra struggles to find her own way in both artistry and ministry. Not wanting to be boxed in by the presets of her mother and father, she is a lot more honest about her shortcomings than the gospel fan base is used to experiencing. Kierra is an open book and she connects to the masses by often discussing her weight issues, cosmetic surgery and her own character flaws - including her choices in men. She is boldly creating her own path, in hopes of reaching those who aren’t interested in stepping inside a church. But she is learning that sometimes the road less traveled, is a hard one…


Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat and Michael Mauldin pictured with Seasons 1 - 3 Cast Members: Nova, Mani, Miss Mulatto, King Roscoe, Supa Peach, Deetranada, Nia Kay, Lil Key and J.I. the Prince of NY
[Photo credit: Chris Mitchell/So So Def, Michael Walker/Umeek Images, Thaddaeus McAdams/]

On Wednesday, So So DefScream Nation and Live Nation hosted a press conference at Topgolf Atlanta Midtown to formally announce the upcoming "Jermaine Dupri Presents: SoSoSUMMER 17 Tour" featuring the stars of the hit Lifetime series "The Rap Game."

So So Def CEO and "The Rap Game" executive producer Jermaine Dupri, rapper and radio/tv personality Da Brat and Scream Nation CEO Michael Mauldin were on hand to share details on the teen concert tour and to present the performers: Miss Mulatto (winner, Season 1 of "The Rap Game"), Mani (winner, Season 2 of "The Rap Game"), Lil Key (Season 2 cast), J.I. the Prince of NY (Season 2 cast), Nia Kay (Season 2 cast), Supa Peach (Season 1 cast), Nova (Season 3 cast), Deetranada (Season 3 cast) and King Roscoe (Season 3 cast).

"Jermaine Dupri Presents: SoSoSUMMER 17 Tour" begins May 25 in Louisville at the Louisville Palace, with stops in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Memphis, and many more. Tickets go on sale TODAY, March 24 at livenation.comComplete tour dates and cities below:

Jermaine Dupri Presents SoSoSUMMER 17 Tour
Thu May 25
Louisville, KY
Louisville Palace
Fri May 26
Detroit, MI
Fox Theatre
Sun May 28
Chicago, IL
Chicago Theater
Thu Jun 01
Norfolk, VA
Chrysler Hall
Fri Jun 02
Columbia, SC
Township Auditorium
Sat Jun 03
Baltimore, MD
Pier Six
Sun Jun 04
Cleveland, OH
State Theatre
Wed Jun 07
St Louis, MO
Peabody Opera House
Fri Jun 09
Indianapolis, IN
Murat Theatre
Sat Jun 10
Charlotte, NC
Ovens Auditorium
Sun Jun 11
Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Memorial  (Duke Energy Center)
Thu Jun 15
Richmond, VA
Altria Theater
Fri Jun 16
New York, NY
Beacon Theatre
Sat Jun 17
Washington DC
DAR Constitution
Thu Jun 22
Atlanta, GA
Wolf Creek Amphitheater
Sat Jun 24
Houston, TX
Revention Music Center
Sun Jun 25
Dallas, TX
Music Hall Fair Park

Michael Mauldin (CEO of Scream Nation) and Jermaine Dupri (So So Def CEO and "The Rap Game" executive producer) share their excitement with media

Jermaine Dupri is joined by Da Brat and Season 1-3 cast members
Jermaine Dupri hits the carpet with Da Brat and Michael Mauldin

(left) Mani (season 2 winner), Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, Michael Mauldin and Miss Mulatto (season 1 winner)
(right) Jermaine Dupri with season 1 rivals Miss Mulatto and Supa Peach

(left) Jermaine Dupri with season 2 cast members Mani, J.I. the Prince of NY, Lil Key and Nia Kay
(right) Jermaine Dupri with season 3 cast members Nova, King Roscoe and Deetranada

Montana (BET's "Ink, Paper, Scissors"), Cornbread (recording artist) and Da Brat sharing some love

Atlanta media made sure to pack the house!


(left to right) Iyanla, Neffe, Soullow

In a two-part season premiere, Iyanla travels to Atlanta to visit former reality stars Neffeteria "Neffe" Pugh and Shelby "Soullow" Lowery, who are now living in a hotel on the brink of divorce. Overwhelmed by financial obligations, his troubled marriage and recovering from a heart attack, Iyanla helps Shelby find the courage to confront Neffe about her alcohol abuse and combative ways in hopes of building a solid future for their family.
In another episode, Iyanla also visits the former front-man of R&B group 3T and nephew of the late pop superstar Michael Jackson, Taryll Jackson, to uncover the issues that lurk beneath the surface of his failing relationship with the mother of his children and girlfriend of 10 years.  Continuing to focus on relationships, Iyanla also invites four married "couples in crisis" to the "House of Healing" for explosive three-part episode. Having dealt with infidelity, communication breakdown and on the brink of a break up, Iyanla works to help guide each couple as they struggle to heal their broken hearts and regain peace from their broken pieces.
Later in the season, former "Basketball Wives" star Laura Govan comes to Iyanla for healing. Laura believes that her ex-fiancĂ© is targeting her on social media, and has even accused him of sleeping with her sister, Gloria. Iyanla works to help Laura strengthen her relationship with her parents and make sense of her life before it's too late.
In an emotional season finale, Iyanla brings together six survivors of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Each have been suffering in distinctly different ways since surviving the shooting. With no "fix," Iyanla will explore this painful memory so that each person can hopefully heal and begin to move forward, so that we can all learn from this tragedy.

"Iyanla: Fix My Life" is produced by PIGEON for OWN with executive producers Paul Harrison ("Welcome to Sweetie Pie's") and Iyanla Vanzant.

DJ Young Music and Streetz Stop The Violence Foundation presents “The Streetz Blunt Truth Tour,” a multi-state effort to spread peace, love and understanding through music, while seeking to combat youth violence and crime in our communities.

With the rash of violence rampant among our youth today, in schools, throughout our neighborhoods, and social media platforms, I wanted to bring your attention to an initiative, launched by radio host, 20-year old DJ Young Music. Young Music, a 2015 high school honor graduate, who is also the youngest DJ to have a syndicated radio mixshow that reaches over 30 million listeners weekly, will kick off his “Streetz Blunt Truth Tour” under his non-profit organization, Streetz Stop The Violence Foundation, to partner with schools to end crime and street violence among youth. 

“Now more than ever, we have to talk to our young generation about the dangers of reacting violently, and provide them with alternatives,” says DJ Young Music. “When you see so much hostility in the streets and you have a platform like I do to reach so many of our youth, it’s time to make a difference,” he says with commitment.

Young established the youth-centered organization starting in part as a response to the murder of his friend and up-and-coming DC rapper Douglas “Swipey” Brooks. Young Music recognizes the vital role a dialogue amongst high school and college students could change life altering decisions.

The “Streetz Blunt Truth Tour” is one of DJ Young Music’s first outreach initiatives. The purpose of this event is to partner with high school and colleges from city-to-city, in order to empower students and discuss the best practices for youth violence prevention. The one-hour-and-thirty minute event will consist of a video presentation, dialogue and live entertainment featuring local and national artists working exclusively with DJ Young Music.

“My awareness of everyday challenges could help make a positive change. It’s part of a movement for me to work to make a difference in our community. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future, so of course my first stop is in my own backyard, – the DMV.”
In addition to launching the “Streetz Blunt Truth Tour” in his hometown, other events will take place at schools in cities including Atlanta and Savannah, GA; Wilmington,  Greensboro and Charlotte, NC; New York City; Florence and Charleston, SC; and Philadelphia, PA, with additional tour dates to be added.
As we know, crime and violence in today's schools and neighborhoods where the students live, is too often the headline in the national news.  DJ Young Music and Streetz Stop The Violence Foundation will be the buffer and meet the youth where they are, collaborating with schools to reach and encourage the young people by telling his story and providing the platform to give students the tools to set their dreams forward.

We would LOVE  you to support this movement and help bring awareness to DJYM's campaign and video on the Streetz Tour, so that we reach our young generation and let them know that there is a future beyond street violence.  

FOX Hosts 'Shots Fired' Screening in New York

Inline image 3
Photos by Bernard Smalls

Last night, FOX hosted its New York screening for the much-anticipated new series "Shots Fired"at the Paley Center for Media. Creators/executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Bythewood attended along with cast members Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Mack Wilds, Richard Dreyfuss and Jill Hennessy.

Attendees enjoyed a pre-reception followed by a screening of the premiere episode and a Q&A moderated by Associated Press editor Nekesa Moody.

Special guests included activist Nicole Paultre Bell (fiancee of Sean Bell), fashion icon Bethann Hardison, actor Rotimi("POWER"), NY City Councilman Jumaane Williams, actor J. Alphonse Nicholson ("Shots Fired") and model Ebonee Davis.

#ShotsFired is a 10-part event mystery that examines the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings by law enforcement in a small southern town. With amazing music, and an all-star cast led by Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Mack Wilds and Helen Hunt, "Shots Fired" will entertain and challenge perspectives. 

The series premieres March 22 at 8/7c on FOX, prior to the spring return of "Empire" at 9/8c. 

Follow the show on social media @ShotsFiredFOX using hashtag #ShotsFired