Category Archives: Economics

Meek Mill Gets New Case

By Free Radical

Rapper Meek Mill has been granted a new trial which can make him a free man.

The Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill has been granted a new trial which can potentially make him a free man.

In a ruling that many say is overdue, Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill was granted a new trial and new judge for a 2008 gun and drug conviction. On Wednesday the Pennsylvania appellate court saw enough evidence to vacate the earlier conviction based on a rash of misconduct by police officers and a disgruntled judge. In doing so, the court also vacated Meek Mills’s 2017 parole violation which stemmed from an alleged fight and a traffic violation involving a motorbike.

Philadelphia city judge Genece Brinkley who oversaw the rapper’s trial was accused of being biased. Brinkley reportedly became upset with Meek Mill when he did not shout her out in a song and his refusal to collaborate with the singing group Boyz II Men.

During the trial, prosecutors only offered one cop as their star witness. However due to past behavior, the police officer has been placed on a list of city cops who have exhibited so much questionable and potentially criminal behavior that they will not be called by the Philadelphia district attorney for trials.

Meek Mill’s case became a flashpoint for the urgent needs for criminal justice reform. The rapper used his experience to create the Reform Alliance to push for progressive change in this system.

Meek Mill may still be tried again for the 2008 case. However, it is also a possibility that the case will be dismissed because of the sketchy record of the police officers involved in the original investigation. If prosecutors choose not to take up his case, he will be a free man.

Along with the news of his case being vacated, Meek Mill has an additional reason to celebrate. On Wednesday it was announced that he will partner with Jay-Z’s imprint Roc Nation to form his own Dream Chasers label. As the company president, Meek Mill will to sign and develop artists and oversee the label’s creative strategy.

The rapper and now label head tweeted about his momentous day, “I’m not on probation now …new deal with jayz!!! Today was lit already… ‘wtf GOD’ you be acting a fool…”

Klutch Sports Makes Major Deal With UTA

By Free Radical

Super agent Rich Paul recently brokered a deal with the UTA firm.

NBA agent Rich Paul brokered a deal with his Klutch Sports company and the  UTA talent firm.

Super agent Rich Paul announced this week that he has brokered a deal with the leading Hollywood talent firm United Talent Agency.

Under the terms of the deal, UTA will invest into Paul’s prominent sports agency, Klutch Sports. Paul will maintain his role as head of Klutch and will also head UTA’s newly created sports division.

In commenting on the deal, Paul said that “nothing changes” with his company which has enjoyed meteoric success in previous years. According to Paul, the deal will allow him “to go out and further build Klutch:”

This enhancement will likely involve the NBA players he represents making forays into Hollywood, similar to how his biggest client, LeBron James is featured in the soon to be released Space Jam 2 movie.

UTA gets an inside to the NBA by partnering with one of its preeminent power players in Paul. UTA currently represents Hollywood stars such as Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and Angelina Jolie. Yet they have been slow for expanding into the sports world unlike many of its rivals.

Paul was first brought to the national scene as a childhood friend of LeBron James. Yet after leaving the talent firm Creative Arts Agency, Paul created Klutch with just four players including James, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe, and Cory Joseph. Since that time,  Paul has amassed a number of the NBA’s top athletes.

His youth, swag, and brash style has rubbed some NBA gatekeepers the wrong way.

LeBron James believes that the criticisms are racially based. Particularly “Because he don’t wear a suit every day,” according to James, “and he’s Black.”

Paul chalks it up to generational differences. “The modern athlete thinks differently, and I, as the modern agent, think differently,” Paul says. “Guys want more. Guys want to build separate businesses. I tell our clients all the time that the most money you’re ever going to make in your life is probably going to be doing what you were born to do, but it’s OK to think outside the box.”

Jay-Z Officially Enters the Weed Business

Jay-Z will be the brand manager for the Caliva marijuana company.

Jay-Z will be the chief brand strategist for the Caliva marijuana company and will focus on criminal justice reform.

By Free Radical

Hip hop mogul Sean “Jay-Z” Carter announced Tuesday that he would partner with San Jose, California based marijuana company Caliva. Jay-Z has been deeply involved in a number of alcohol companies such as Armadale vodka, Dusse cognac, and Ace of Spades champagne. However this is first foray into the legal marijuana industry.

The Brooklyn based emcee will serve as Caliva’s chief brand strategist. In a statement, Jay-Z noted that “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good, and bring people along the way.”

The rapper was particularly attracted by Caliva’s social justice ethos. According to sfgate.com, Caliva has roughly 600 employees, many of whom are marijuana delivery drivers. Their pay ranges from $14-16 an hour. Unlike drivers for ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, Caliva employees have full time shifts and are offered health insurance and vacation days. They are also paid for their car mileage and cell phone usage.

Caliva has worked with ice cream manufacturer Ben and Jerry’s to support the expungement of non-violent marijuana related criminal offenses.

According to Caliva’s CEO, Dennis O’Malley, Jay-Z will concentrate on criminal justice reform within the company. “Mr. Carter will focus on and work to increase the economic participation of citizens returning from incarceration — many of who are not seeing the monetary benefits of legalization — through advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development.”

Jay-Z brings a hefty record of criminal justice reform experience and passion to this new position. In 2017, Carter executive produced a documentary on Kalief Browder who spent multiple years in New York prisons without being convicted of a crime. Browder eventually took his own life. Jay-Z has also partnered with fellow rapper Meek Mill to create Reform Alliance which also supports victims of criminal justice abuse.

Carter’s TEAM ROC has offered legal assistance to rapper 21 Savage who faced deportation from federal authorities. The imprint also came to the defense of a Phoenix couple that was severely accosted by police, a Memphis man who was arrested for wearing a hoodie in a mall, and an 11 year old Florida boy who conducted an anthem protest.

Commissioner: NBA Avoids “Owner” Language

By Free Radical

Draymond Green has railed against the use of the term "owner."

Golden State Warrior power forward Draymond Green has railed against the use of the term “owner.”

Earlier this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told TMZ that the league has strayed away from using the term “owner” for years.

“I don’t want to overreact to the term because, as I said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word owner,” Silver said. “But we moved away from that term years ago at the league. We call our team owners ‘Governor of the team’, and ‘alternate Governors.’”

The term is still used by most sports leagues and by many members of the general public for non sports businesses. Nonetheless, the racial overtones of the word is readily apparent in the NBA where nearly four out of every five players is of African descent. However all of the heads of NBA teams are white save for Michael Jordan.

Silver mentioned the anomaly of the former Bulls player by stating, “I think a few players have actually spoken out and said the greatest thing that ever happened was when Michael Jordan was able to call himself an owner.”

Nonetheless, some have countered that although “owner” is a racialized concept, some people of African descent also enslaved people. Yet this does not make them more respectable or benign.

Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green expressed his discomfort with the word on an episode of the LeBron James’s produced show, “The Shop.” Green prefers the term “chairman” or “CEO.”

Steve Ballmer who heads the Los Angeles Clippers calls himself “chairman” while Philadelphia 76ers executives call themselves “managing partners.”

Yet some basketball heads are pushing back. Mark Cuban, who heads the Dallas Mavericks franchise has disputed Green in the past. In response to Silver’s comments, Cuban told TMZ, “If you run a company, own a company, start a company … you decide [on what to call yourself].”

Cuban has consistently been spurned by top Black free agents and has focused on White, foreign born stars such as Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic, and Kistraps Porzingis.