Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and First Round Capital Invest $3 million in Bail Reform Startup

Nationwide, 62 percent of the jail population accounts for people who can’t afford bail, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. A lot of these incarcerated individuals are behind bars because they allegedly committed crimes at the misdemeanor level or lower. This is a significant statistic from a human rights perspective, as well as an economic one. It costs about $38 million a day to keep these largely nonviolent people behind bars, according to the Pretrial Justice Institute.

This is where Promise, a de-carceration startup that just raised over $3 million in a round led by First Round Capital with participation from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital, comes in. Last Father’s Day, Jay-Z penned an op-ed about the bail industry and pre-trial incarceration. He noted how every year, $9 billion is wasted incarcerating people who have not been convicted of crimes.

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Promise, which is part of Y Combinator’s  current batch of startups, offers counties and local governments an alternative to holding low-risk people behind bars simply because they can’t afford bail.

For each participant, Promise provides counties with a comprehensive intake procedure and then sets up each participant with a care plan specific to them. Promise will then monitor and support participants by helping them ensure they know when they’re supposed to appear in court, and remind them of obligations like drug testing or substance abuse treatment needed. The app also helps participants access job training, housing, counseling and referrals.

Instead of a county paying to incarcerate someone simply because they can’t afford to post bail, they can use Promise to monitor compliance with court orders and better keep tabs on people via the app and, if needed, GPS monitoring devices. Counties, courts, case managers and other stakeholders can also access progress reports of individuals to monitor compliance.

Already, Promise is onboarding one county this week and is in talks with another three counties. Instead of a county jail paying $190 per day per person, Promise charges some counties just $17 per person per day. In some cases, Promise charges even less per person.

 

Lacoste adopts temporary logo to help endangered species

Lacoste temporarily replaced its polo shirts’ crocodile logo with the images of 10 endangered species to help counter the threat of extinction.

The shirts, which are part of a limited run supporting the “Save Our Species” campaign that launched during Paris Fashion Week on March 1, have sold out.
Replacing the crocodile above the left breast of the shirt are the Gulf of California porpoise, the Burmese roofed turtle, Sumatran tiger, the Anegada ground iguana and the northern sportive lemur, among others.
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The French clothing company calibrated the number of shirts produced for each series to the population of the remaining animals in the wild. Of the 1,775 shirts available, the Gulf of California porpoise had the smallest print run, with just 30 shirts available.
The Anegada iguana, by contrast, was the most available, with 450 editions. Proceeds went to International Union for Conservation of Nature, an international advocacy organization working to protect nature that sponsored the campaign.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service has placed 1,459 animals on its threatened and endangered list. Lacoste’s crocodile logo was introduced in 1936, and the company has never before sold shirts featuring other animals.

Ad Love: Lexus for Black Panther

Brands roll the dice when they affiliate with movies since it’s anyone’s guess what will be a blockbuster.

Lexus chose correctly when it signed on 18 months ago to play an integral part of Disney’s “Black Panther,” where the main character drives a Lexus LC 500.

The movie, which opened in theaters Feb. 16, is smashing box office records. Global ticket sales by Monday will total an estimated $387 million, according to comScore. Disney said on Sunday that ticket sales for the film in North America alone will total roughly $218 million between Friday and Monday.

The partnership includes a website with a series of online comics featuring the vehicle. A 30-second spot “Long Live The King” ran during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The 60-second version of the spot has already garnered more than 5 million views on YouTube.

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McDonald’s Lavish ‘Bling Mac’ Ring Could Be Yours

This Valentine’s Day, how will you show your love for McDonald’s Big Mac?

Let’s see … you could eat a Big Mac, of course. Or maybe a Grand Big Mac. Or even a Big Mac Jr. Or you can save yourself all those empty calories by playing a pair of brand-boosting games. (Kidding, of course. This stuff is health food, at least compared to the chocolate shakes.)

If you’re feeling poetic, try composing a few lines of love to the sandwich on Twitter for a chance to win the “Bling Mac.” That’s an 18k gold, stackable ring with seven tiers of gems representing Big Mac ingredients, including orange sapphires as the special sauce:

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 Only one burger buff will win the Bling-y thing-y, designed by Nadine Ghosn and valued at $12,500. Do you love it?

Alamo Drafthouse is Donating to Nonprofits in The Name of King T’Challa

Seeing so many people jump on and do the #BlackPantherChallenge is amazing. I brought my tickets a month ago and can’t wait to see the movie!

In honor of this challenge, Alamo Drafthouse locations across the country are teaming up with local community groups who work with the underprivileged to give back and raise money to benefit the leaders of tomorrow (including Black Panther screenings in some markets).

Starting this week, they’ve added an optional charity ticket add-on to the checkout process for all films. Funds raised will go directly to helping a local community group/organization in your area (they’ll also be contributing in each market).

Here’s what that ticket add-on looks like:

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Check the list below for more information on who they’re working with:

Austin, TX | Boys & Girls Club of Austin
Ashburn, VA | Loudoun County NAACP
Brooklyn, NY | NAACP and Girls, Incorporated
Charlottesville, VA | Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet
Corpus Christi | SRG Force Sports
Dallas, TX | Boys & Girls Club of Dallas
Denver, CO | Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver
El Paso, TX | TBA
Houston, TX | TBA
Kansas City, MO | Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City
Laredo, TX | SRG Force Sports
Lubbock, TX
New Braunfels, TX | SRG Force Sports
Omaha, NE | House of Afros, Capes and Curls
Phoenix, AZ | ICAN Arizona
San Antonio, TX | SRG Force Sports
San Francisco, CA | Bayview Magic
Springfield, MO | Springfield Dream Center
Winchester, VA | NAACP chapter of Winchester Virginia
Yonkers, NY | Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle

“The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquered and the conquerors. You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.” – King T’Chaka.

 

Ad Love: Apple’s Animoji

I will likely never purchase an iPhone. I just don’t like them. I must admit, though, the two Animoji ads which aired during the Grammys tonight,  almost changed my mind.

The spots highlight the Face ID technology in the iPhone X that can make custom 3D versions of animated emoji based on your facial expressions, and are so darn cute!

One ad, called “Amigos,” features a dog and a poop emoji singing along to “Stir Fry” by hip-hop trio Migos, while carrot, broccoli, and cucumber emoji fly by.

The other ad features Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” being sung by an alien emoji and unicorn backup singers, which spiral out into a psychedelic universe of cascading cat, panda, robot, and unicorn emoji.

Both Migos and Childish Gambino were nominated for multiple Grammys, including Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! up for album of the year and Migos’ Culture up for best rap album.

Check out on of the ads below:

Jeff Bezos Sends Dreamers To College

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, donated $33 million to TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are protected from deportation under the DACA program.

The grant is the largest in the organization’s history. It will go to DACA-eligible graduating high school students around the country. Each student will get $33,000 in aid over four years to help pay tuition and fees. The students will be eligible to attend one of 76 colleges and universities in 15 states that partner with the scholarship fund. At present, nearly 3,000 undocumented students are enrolled today through TheDream.US.

Bezos is the richest person in the world. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts his wealth at $108 billion. “MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships,” he said.

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In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg gave $5 million to TheDream.US to fund college scholarships.

Bezos’ donation is the latest step by the nation’s top CEOs to protect Dreamers. Donald Trump moved to rescind DACA in September, and it is set to end March 5.

More than 100 business leaders, including Bezos, signed a letter to Congress this week urging Congress to pass legislation preserving provisions of the program. Failure to act will cost businesses valuable employees and hurt the economy.

Ad Love: My Brother’s Keeper

Just in time for Christmas, My Brother’s Keeper, President Barack Obama’s program dedicated to guiding young men of color, released a new star-studded PSA.

The ad features two well-known friends of Obama: rap star Chance The Rapper and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

The video is a montage of Chance, Steph, Obama, and various young people watching a video on their respective devices. In the commercial you hear Obama’s voice say:

“I want you to know, you matter. There is nothing, not a single thing, that’s more important to the future of America than whether or not young people all across this country can achieve their dreams.”

Watch the My Brother’s Keeper ad below:

Nike Headquarters Names Building After Serena Williams

It has been one heck of a year for Serena Williams. She’s going to end it with a bang. Fifteen years after the tennis GOAT landed her first Nike sponsorship, she is getting her very-own building at the sportswear brand’s world headquarters.

 

 

Nike’s Serena Williams building is set to measure over one million square feet upon completion in 2019, making it the largest on its campus.

The 36-year-old new mom shared the news via Instagram, captioning her post: “What a year it has been. First a grand slam win followed by an awesome baby… then the most magical wedding. What next? How about a building!!… Nike announced yesterday that one of its new world headquarters buildings will be named after me. It will be the biggest on campus and is scheduled to open in 2019. I am honored and grateful! #TeamNike @nike”

“Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time, one of the most inspiring people in sport, and a dominating presence on and off the court,” Nike told Money. “She has won Wimbledon seven times, the US Open six times, and more Grand Slam tennis titles – 23 – than any man or woman in history.”

Today, the world’s highest-paid female athlete also teased a new shoe collaboration with the powerhouse, sporting sneakers boasting a glimmering gold heel and sole, paired with matching gold and white socks.

Here’s to an event better 2018, ‘Rena!

Ad Love: Issa Rae Debuts for CoverGirl

Issa Rae is taking the spotlight in a new way and she’s far from Insecure. The creative is featured in a new CoverGirl ad campaign for the special-edition Melting Pout Metallic lipstick.

In a nod to Rae’s character on her HBO series, “The Pickup” ad features the actress and comedian sitting at a bar talking to an unidentified potential love interest as music plays in the background. She’s a sparkly and stuff.

It’s everything. Check it out: