Newark Culture Heroes

Prudential is proud to launch a series of REUNIONS exploring the power of diverse entrepreneurs across the country. The Culture Heroes REUNION spotlights artists, gamers, creators, and designers in the Newark region who are redefining the cultural space. Overcoming many obstacles, Newark has long demonstrated historical resilience. These founders are positioned to transform the city by ensuring that its most critical resource - its people - have the cultural capital to thrive.

17 people following Newark Culture Heroes

Businesses in Newark Culture Heroes

BYHAZE

Camp Clarity

Artist Incubator Focused on Self-Care Retreats

Tamika R. Guishard

Guishard Films

Educational Media Centering Marginalized Voices

Johnson Family

361 Commission

Esports Management Focused on Underserved Communities

Ayana & Siree Morris

Newark Moonlight Cinema

NJ's First Black-Owned Drive-In Movie Theater

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Camp Clarity

BYHAZE

Challenge: Pitch in with Camp Clarity

BYHAZE needs your help to take Camp Clarity to the next level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

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Guishard Films

Tamika R. Guishard

Challenge: Pitch in with Guishard Films

Tamika needs your help to take Guishard Films to the next level in integrating her creative and consulting arms. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

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361 Commission

Johnson Family

Challenge: Pitch in with 361 Commission

Ryan and Iverri need your help to take 361 Commission to the next level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

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Newark Moonlight Cinema

Ayana & Siree Morris

Challenge: Pitch in with Newark Moonlight Cinema

Ayana and Siree need your help to take Newark Moonlight Cinema to the next level. Explore the challenge below by clicking the icons and interacting with the content. Provide any feedback in the comment box and please rate the experience.

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Origin Story

Camp Clarity

Camp Clarity was born at a retreat I curated in July 2019. After touring for eight months while balancing my nonprofit work, I experienced burnout. After hosting strategic retreats for my nonprofit, Them Clouds Kids, to combat burnout and build camaraderie, I learned of the healing benefits of a mindful break. Like the retreats, the music I produce promotes healing and introspection, and it inspired me to create a visual work that highlighted best practices. I teamed up with my director friends to make a film that showcased Black Creatives practicing self-care together at a retreat to inspire others to do the same. After securing the date and an off-grid location, I invited my artistic tribe to attend for a weekend. The retreat aligned with three powerful performances I had for NJPAC, Afropunk Battle of the Bands, and SOBs. The retreat timing served as an opportunity for my creative friends and me to recharge, reset and prepare while creating something timeless. I realized how much space can build camaraderie and skill amongst my creative friends. Thus, Camp Clarity was born. The retreat's goal is to offer a space to unplug, recharge, and prepare through strategic planning sessions around creative goals. Participants learn skills in workshops that allow them to leave with a tangible list of things to do and a timeline to complete them. Retreat experiences are curated locally and internationally and include healthy food options, nature excursions, and group workshops. All activities and excursions are curated to support local businesses in the retreat area in order to show the benefits of cooperative economics and social enterprise.

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Business Basics

Founders

BYHAZE

Founding Date:

2020

Geo

East Orange

Identity

Black / African American LGBTQI+

Solution

Creative Product Service

Impact Area

Race & Equity Community Support

Advising Needs

Business Models and Financials Information Technology Marketing and Communications Product / Service Design Vision and Strategy

Problem:

Artists are often responsible for shaping culture, capturing history, and sparking revolutions globally all while being expected to pour from an empty cup. The pandemic has increased stress levels for artists that are in need of a retreat. Their job demands, however, don't afford them the time or resources to practice self-care in a safe and affordable space. Particularly BIPOC, Latinx, and LGBTQIA artists in urban areas don’t have access to wellness centers or nature spaces dedicated to healing and business development. Camp Clarity provides artists with a community space where self-care and creative business development coexist.

Solution:

Our solution is to provide artists with accessible and affordable retreat experiences that teach self-care practices alongside strategic planning skills to apply to their creative toolkit. Camp Clarity allows for artists to rest and learn in a creative community space while building their network of creatives. By equipping artists with best self-care practices, strategic planning skills and business acumen we will improve their ability to be spiritually and economically sound in the real world.

Market:

Our initial target audience are current and aspiring artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Our customers range in age from 21-65+ and are male, female and gender non-conforming people of all race and ethnicities. Our customers are primarily based in the US but also travel internationally. They will engage via our website on their desktop, mobile or via social media platforms. and SMS text messages services.

Traction:

Right now we are in the early ideation so our website and social media are in the development stage. Our founder has a social media following of over 110,000 supports across all platforms that will be used to convert to Camp Clarity clients.

Origin Story

Guishard Films

What do a Park Ranger, dancer, educator and filmmaker have in common? Me! Through my journey as an educator, I segued from teaching middle school Social Studies in my hometown of East New York, Brooklyn to NYU Graduate Film School. My goals were to resurrect the Afterschool Special and mainstream the marginalized voices critical to student empowerment that were missing from classroom textbooks. Since then, I have continued to carve my space at the crossroads of education and storytelling through numerous outlets. My brand of edutainment includes authoring interactive filmmaking curricula where students, particularly those of color, see themselves as change agents; producing innovative video-based, professional learning; amplifying the lost history of Lower Manhattan’s African Burial Ground; and interviewing teachers, too often on the periphery of policy discussions, on how they best receive instructional feedback.

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Business Basics

Founders

Tamika R. Guishard

Founding Date:

2018

Geo

Queens

Identity

Black / African American Woman-Identified

Solution

Creative Product Service

Impact Area

Advocacy Race & Equity Youth & Education Community Support

Advising Needs

Growth, Scaling, and Investments Human Resources Marketing and Communications

Problem:

Although media in the form of video is increasingly being used for professional learning, it is generally created either by production houses who lack the background to capture instruction authentically or individuals without knowhow to document it effectively. Moreover, while some contemporary films may be rooted in topical issues capable of unlocking viewers’ critical thinking, their auteurs are not educators endowed with the inner-workings of (non-didactic) pedagogy to ensure that those conversations organically continue long after the credits roll and harmonize with existing rubrics. Finally, Black and Indigenous people need to see themselves thriving on the big screen, whether in academic or cinematic canons. Too many videos showcasing instructional exemplars feature students who are not reflective of youth and environments in underserved schools, similarly films about said communities are largely not by auteurs from these spaces.

Solution:

Through a lens of equity, we equip disenfranchised communities with tools to tell their own stories while spotlighting the nuance and greatness already occurring but unseen. We fuse our expertise in storytelling and pedagogy and fill the gap between large filming teams with disruptive equipment and over-tasked classroom instructors recording themselves. We teach educators "how to fish" in filming their spaces, and ideate blended learning experiences to optimize said media as well as our original, Black women-helmed productions. Distilling and activating pedagogy from mass media that helps spark engaged citizens is more vital now than ever, especially given that the lack of interpersonal connection has forced us to lean on video and new media in unprecedented ways.

Market:

My customers fall into two groups -- nonprofit and for-profit -- both looking to leverage storytelling in ways that advance their mission and cultivate human capital, with an eye to highlight suppressed communities and narratives. Nonprofits include educational organizations (not just schools) where services can yield student, teacher, and / or evaluator-facing experiences. Nonprofit collaboration often involves intense consultation to understand then prioritize organizational objectives and formulate holistic media that align with their goals. Whether in a school or a theatre, with viewers conscious or unconscious of it, my work results in interdisciplinary learning that empowers viewers.

Traction:

Since founding Guishard Films in 2018, I have doubled my consultative customer base each year. 2019 partners include Dwight-Englewood School and Tenement Museum. 2020 marked my inaugural public school contract (NYCDOE) that did not launch due to the pandemic, however. My revenue has been generated through consulting while social media exposure has been driven by alma mater profiles, industry publications (i.e. Variety, Deadline), and film festivals. While campaigning for my first feature film, RHYTHM IN BLUES, budgeted at $2M, my revenue target is $75K.

Origin Story

361 Commission

In a group chat that was created by five cousins, we would have intense sports talks and share funny memes. We would often express our frustrations about our personal careers and think of ways we could turn our individual passions into sustainable businesses. Our fathers, five brothers, never came together to do business even though they talked about it for many years. One day an article was shared that outlined the lack of diversity in Esports and gaming. As a collective, we agreed that diversity and inclusion, mentoring the younger generation in a fun and dynamic way, and helping people turn their passion into profit was something we could build upon. That is how 361 Commission was created.

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Business Basics

Founders

Johnson Family

Founding Date:

2019

Geo

Newark

Identity

Black / African American

Solution

Creative Product Service Technology

Impact Area

Advocacy Economic Power Race & Equity Youth & Education

Advising Needs

Growth, Scaling, and Investments Information Technology Operations and Administration

Problem:

The representation of diversity at the professional level of Esports and gaming does not equate to the representation at the amateur level. Our mission is to bring new opportunities and create new ecosystems for the underserved. Self-made, The Commission derives its strength from the unity of its members, and its everlasting focus on innovation and standing out. The 361 Commission is a family-based company with a commitment to being a opportunity conduit by providing first-class management services to gamers, game developers, and content creators.

Solution:

361 Commission cultivates a diverse community by bringing the culture to gaming through our social channels (IG,FB, Discord, Youtube, Twitter). Our proprietary process allows us to identify the gamers and content creators that are most dedicated and passionate. We listen carefully to understand what the gamers goals are and work with them to build their social brand through quality content, increased participation in tournaments, and strong connections to sponsorships and paid opportunities.

Market:

Gamers and content creators come to 361 Commission to become a part of a family. Our gamers are compromised of Generation Z and Millennials. Customers engage through our website where they can purchase official 361 merchandise. Our community is fluid and communication through our discord and social media is frequent. Our broader customer base can partake in tournaments and find up-to-date Esports information. For our signed talent, we offer guidance through video and group chat as well as custom development plans where progress is monitored. Our home base, New Jersey, is where we have significant influence, but we have grown a comparable presence in New York.

Traction:

Since being founded in 2019, 361 Commission has successfully hosted more than 7 online tournaments, 2 in-person tournaments, and co-sponsored over 50 online tournaments. Our current total Instagram reach is over 25K+ followers, 400+ twitch followers, and over 630+ discord members.

Origin Story

Newark Moonlight Cinema

Newark Moonlight Cinema opened its doors on July 24, 2020 to a staggering 670 attendees. NJ's first black-owned drive-in movie theater immediately went viral. Co-founders Ayana, an accomplished filmmaker, and her husband Siree, a community-focused real estate developer, were heralded as heroes of the pandemic for providing socially distant fun and for honoring black art in the midst of the social justice movement.

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Business Basics

Founders

Ayana & Siree Morris

Founding Date:

2020

Geo

Newark

Identity

Black / African American Woman-Identified

Solution

Creative

Impact Area

Economic Power Community Support

Advising Needs

Growth, Scaling, and Investments Human Resources Marketing and Communications

Problem:

In the pandemic age, people are seeking out socially-distanced entertainment.

Solution:

We allow people to view movies from the comfort and safety of their cars. Moreover we also offer food, live music, and a great entertainment experience.

Market:

Our key customers are Tristate-area millennial couples.

Traction:

In the first season, Newark Moonlight Cinema saw over 30,000 visitors. The theater created 35 jobs for college students and former movie theater employees who were impacted by COVID-19. Within 5 months of operation, NMC established partnerships with Amazon Studios, Michael B. Jordan for “A Night At the Drive-In,” and HBO that allowed hundreds to attend for free. Newark Moonlight also hosted private events for local schools and universities to give families the opportunity to commune in a socially distant environment. We are projecting a gross revenue of over $1M this season.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Marketing (40%)

Staffing (35%)

Operational Expenses (25%)

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Human Resources (70%)

Marketing / Comms (15%)

Operations (15%)

Funds collected would be primarily used for human resources, both operationally and as seed funding to help secure A-list talent and educators for my feature film and its corresponding, holistic curriculum. Funds would also be used to attract a producing partner capable of spearheading our scaling up and financing strategy. Finally, they would go toward marketing and communications in messaging my work more broadly and securing partnerships.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

Mobile Gaming Truck (50%)

Social Media Paid Marketing (25%)

Operational Expenses (25%)

As we are looking to expand our lines of business, we would use the funds to invest in a mobile gaming truck that will consist of high-performance gaming PC and next-generation Playstation and Xbox gaming systems. Marketing has been a huge part of our success with paid advertisement across our social media channels. The remaining funds will be used for operational expenses.

Funding & Impact

How we'll use it

New Location Setup (100%)

December 13th was the last screening of the season and the drive-in is relocating to a much larger site. Originally envisioned as a short-term pop-up theater, Newark Moonlight is transitioning into a mainstay in Newark. The new outdoor theater will host 3-screens, a restaurant with outdoor seating, 12 dine-in green houses, and a seasonal outdoor roller skating and ice skating rink. Another new addition is Moonlight Market, a weekly outdoor market curated to highlight black small businesses and artists. Newark Moonlight Cinema is anticipating a successful sophomore season and is eager for what’s to come.