Sunday, February 22, 2009

NEWBOs: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass


Lee Hawkins, a Wall Street Journal/CNBC reporter, has coined a new term: NEWBOs. America’s New Black Overclass. It describes black celebrity entrepreneurs who accumulated wealth from sports, entertainment and media, at a young age.

What are their stories? Successes? Challenges? And most importantly, what is their responsibility to the community?

Hawkins profiles these NEWBOs in an upcoming television show, airing February 26th, 9pm ET on CNBC. From CNBC.com: Based on Lee Hawkins' forthcoming book of the same title, NEWBOs: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass, [the show] examines the growing responsibilities of black celebrities in the Obama age. The project features personal stories and interviews with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. It's an inside look into how each successful NEWBO surmounted challenges to achieve the American Dream.

Among those profiled is major league baseball star Torii Hunter, who grew up in poverty and now has a $90 million five-year contract with the Anaheim Angels. His commitment to giving back is through the Torii Hunter Project, which aims to increase the opportunities for America’s youth to enjoy the game of baseball in inner cities and beyond. Torii has contributed over $1 million of his own money to the project.

Also profiled is gospel artist Kirk Franklin, who through his Franklin Family Foundation, has given hundreds of scholarships to Texas high school graduates attending Texas colleges and universities, and Cash Money Records founders Ronald “Slim” and Bryan “Baby” Williams. The brothers formed the Johnny and Gladys Williams Foundation that donates food, offers scholarships and provides housing for the less fortunate in their hometown of New Orleans.

Others profiled on the show include NFL star Terrell “T.O.” Owens, billionaire Bob Johnson, and NBA star Lebron James.

View preview here and view the website here.

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