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Street Soldiers TV: Hip Hop and Business Beyond the Studio

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Many people have big dreams of hip hop stardom. But even if you make it to the top you get no guarantee that your money problems are over. So some of the sharpest minds in hip hop are diversifying to keep the cash flowing in.

Fetty Wap blazed across the top of the Billboard charts for months with one hit after another. That brought big rewards to Fetty and his manager, Danny Su. It also taught Su a valuable lesson. Still working in the music industry, Su found new opportunities in real estate, acquiring a variety of properties across the country. Now he is on the cutting edge of hip hop entrepreneurs who are building long term wealth and revitalizing urban communities.

Yandy Smith-Harris is a media mogul and star of “Love and Hip Hop New York.” She’s also an entrepreneur and owner of Yelle Skincare. She says there’s never been a better time for women in business, especially women of color.

Debra Harris created her own lane 17 years ago when she founded Hush Hip Hop Tours using her own savings and a lifelong passion for the culture. Now they’re a top-rated Trip Advisor attraction.

One quality all these entrepreneurs have in common is perseverance—coming back even stronger after a setback.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: CBD: The Craze and the Confusion

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Whoopi Goldberg is just one on a growing list of celebrity CBD entrepreneurs. Kim Kardashian loves it so much she had a CBD-themed baby shower. Former NFL star and New York Giant Kevin Ogletree turned to CBD to deal with the pain of a physically punishing career and still pass the drug tests.

Cannabadiol, or CBD, is a non-intoxicating marijuana extract without the THC that gets you high. It is available in states that have legalized medical marijuana. It is being promoted—even by major companies—as a treatment for problems ranging from sleeplessness to anxiety.

But there are very few medical studies about its safety or effectiveness. An FDA panel did recommend approval of a CBD product to treat severe childhood epilepsy.

The most common products are edibles and topical lotions and creams. The Life Gardening Tools product line features tinctures and edibles. Personal dosage is by trial and error. Industry-wide oversight does not exist.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers


Street Solders TV: Can Social Media Influencers Make Real Money?

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People will do anything chasing popularity and social media likes, even crossing the line with dangerous or destructive behavior. Now Instagram will test hiding the likes to ease the pressure and mental stress of low numbers.

Marketing strategist Sean Prez called this a responsible move.

“They’re paying attention to the fact that many people are chasing these likes,” he said. “People are posting and they’re not really having discretion or discernment with what they put up so long as they get the feedback and the likes.”

Fashion and beauty influencer King Steph turned her high numbers of followers and likes into a business that became so lucrative she put her Columbia master’s degree on the shelf and quit a full-time office job. She is paid by fashion and beauty brands to model and post her pictures. She views it as a launch pad.

“I don’t just want to stay here doing this one thing, I think it’s really important to grow and use this platform to launch yourself upwards,” she said.

Flossy Carter has more than 1 million subscribers on his tech-oriented YouTube page, and has the plaque to prove it. The former paramedic who worked at ground zero on 9/11 started making videos as a hobby and found about six years later it became more than a labor of love.

“At a certain point, I started to notice that I was making the same amount of money on YouTube as I was making at work, and I was doing both of them at the same time,” he said. “I noticed I wasn’t spending that much time with my daughter, that I didn’t have a lot of free time, so I had to make a choice and quit one or the other.” YouTube won out. Flossy said his following appreciates the fact that he gives his honest opinion. And the income streams just keep flowing.

“You make money from ads on your videos, the watch time of the video, the longer the video is the more opportunity you have to put ads in that video,” he said. “You also make money from affiliates, so say if I make a video for XYZ company I’m going to make that money from YouTube for the ads, and also if you buy that product from that XYZ company, they’ll give me a little commission.”

–LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers


Street Soldiers TV: Social Media and Relationships: Does It Help or Hurt?

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Dating used to be so sweet and simple: ask the object of your affections out, treat them to a date, and let nature take its course. But social media has changed the game and not necessarily improved it, according to strategist Kristen Ruby. It has made things much more complicated and added to the disposable culture, she says.

Hip hop artist and “Love and Hip Hop New York” star Grafh is also skeptical. He says that people don’t know how to communicate and connect one on one.

But if you’re at the stage where the goal is variety with no strings, then social media is ideal, according to up-and-coming hip hop artist Lougotcash, who is featured on the “Into the Spiderverse” soundtrack. He doesn’t use dating apps—just Instagram. He calls his approach “same day shipping.”

On the positive side, others say the many choices on social media help you clarify what you really want. And once you find that person, you may need to take it one step further to make sure you’re on the same online page.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers


Street Soldiers TV: Nipsey Hussle’s Life and Legacy

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The outpouring of love continues for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle. Even former President Barack Obama sent a condolence letter. But the most moving remembrances of the hip hop artist and community activist came from those closest to him.

Thousands of people filled the Staples Center in Los Angeles to celebrate Hussle’s life and mourn their loss. His son and his mother showed their personal strength despite their heartbreaking loss.

Hussle was on the verge of major mainstream success with “Victory Lap,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. He was also becoming widely recognized by city officials for his leadership in his Crenshaw community in South L.A.

He built Vector 90, a shared workspace to attract science and technology entrepreneurs and give youth a wider variety of role models. Hussle also created a playground for the kids.

He opened his Marathon clothing store in the same strip mall where he first sold his mixtapes. Employing formerly incarcerated gang members, he created real economic opportunities. It was the same location where police say he was shot and killed on March 31 by a suspect named Eric Holder.

Hussle never renounced being a member of the Rolling 60’s Crip set and tried to build on that affiliation to transcend gang violence.

The audience for the memorial included Jay-Z and Beyoncé but with the tickets free on a first come, first serve basis many of the community people Nipsey cared about so much were able to attend.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers


Street Soldiers TV: Teen Girls Town Hall

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Lisa Evers hosted the very first Street Soldiers town hall inside a high school. Hundreds of teenaged girls from several schools in Jersey City attended the town hall, which focused on confidence and mentoring. The panelists were Laura Stylez of Hot 97, Velissa Vaughn of Dsquared2, and recording artist HoodCelebrityy.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers



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Multiplatinum hip hop artist Cardi B smashed through a music industry glass ceiling to become the first solo woman to win a Grammy for best rap album. She proved once and for all that a woman could do it on her own. She got support from hip hop legends like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and Salt N Pepa.

Cardi B also inspired emerging talent like Hood Celebrityy. Her hit “Walking Trophy” became a popular pro-female anthem. Hood Celebrityy’s new single “inside” showcases her unique style, seasoned with reggae and dancehall flavor. It also gave her a chance to show a softer, more vulnerable side.

Nowhere has the progress of women been more visible than in politics. For the first time, more than 100 women were elected to Congress, making the public face of government more closely reflect the diversity of the United States.

Women have long been the glue holding families, organizations and neighborhoods together. Now in increasing numbers, they’re taking that concern and caring for others beyond the personal to leadership roles, and empowering others.

—LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers