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RIP Hagrid: Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane dies at 72

Just one day after we found that Cartoon Network is officially over, another symbol of our childhood is now gone. Actor Robbie Coltrane, who plays the beloved Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, was announced dead at 72.

Starring in 6 Harry Potter franchise films from 2001 to 2009, Coltrane truly embodied his character of Hagrid.

He was known as a gentle, caring man on and off the set and was loved by his fans on co-stars alike. In a behind-the-scenes interview, while filming his final Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, he said,

“The legacy of the movies is … that my children’s generation will show them to their children. So you could be watching it in 50 years’ time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly, but… Hagrid will, yes”

– Robbie Coltrane, 2009

Who was the man behind Hagrid?

The Scottish-born actor had an incredible 44-year career in TV and film including a role in James Bond Golden Eye (1995).

In 2006 he was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth herself, for his contributions to the genre of drama.

Tributes have been pouring in and you can really see the impact he’s had on an entire generation.

Robbie Coltrane will be a part of many childhoods to come

According to NBC News, representatives of Coltrane from William Morris Endeavor said that he had been ill and wasn’t active recently. His agent Belinda Wright said,

“For me personally I shall remember him as an abidingly loyal client. As well as being a wonderful actor, he was forensically intelligent, brilliantly witty and after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.”

– Agent Belinda Wright

His larger-than-life character will be missed but appreciated forever. Danielle Radcliffe’s character Harry Potter said it best: “There is no Hogwarts with you, Hagrid!

Warner Bros.

The most raunchy moments in Cartoon Network TV show history

90s babies everywhere were shocked to hear the news that the iconic Cartoon Network is officially over with.

As a result of some corporate consolidation, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav announced that Cartoon Network Studios would now full under Warner Bros. animation, according to The Verge.

Of course content will still be available on streaming, however it’s safe to say we’ve seen this story with networks switching hands and it never works, especially for the viewers who want new content.

Happy Cartoon Network GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Launched in 1992, Cartoon Network lasted a good 30 years and gave us classic shows like Ed, Edd n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, Power Puff Girls, Dexter’s Labratory and so much more!

That’s not even including original Adult Swim shows like Rick & Morty or new ones like Adventureland.

A big reason why so many of these classics are loved to this day is because in many cases, the episodes were very ahead of the time. In face you can even say that thew were downright NSFW, let alone kids!

In honor of Cartoon Network and its greatness, here’s a throwback to some of their wildest moments:

Remember the time Johnny Bravo hooked up with a clown on a plane?

Probably because Johnny didn’t have much game with real women

When Dexter’s Labratory almost turned into Dexter’s Strip club. Only on Cartoon Network!

Speaking of Dexter, maybe he had some mommy issues

Just imagine your parents walking in during any of these Ed, Edd n Eddy episodes

Who else had nightmares after this Courage the Cowardly dog episode?

You think Power Puff Girls candy addiction was a metaphor for something?

Cartoon Network… what the hell was even this?!

No really, how were we all watching this as kids?

But seriously, we will always remember the Cartoon Network glory days

sean o'malley

How UFC superstar Sean O’Malley built success outside the Octagon

“Suga” Sean O’Malley is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC today.

Hailing from Helena, Montana, the 27-year-old sensation faces former bantamweight interim champion Petr Yan (16-3-0 MMA, 8-2-0 UFC) at UFC 280 on Oct. 29 in what will be O’Malley’s most significant fight of his career.

O’Malley (15-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) is looking to earn his long-awaited title shot in the bantamweight division with a big win over Yan. He is widely known for his spectacular knockout finishes – six out of his eight wins in the UFC have come by knockout.

With his accumulation of finishes, O’Malley has been awarded the $50,000 Fight of The Night Bonus four times and two Fight of the Night Bonuses, one being $50,000 and the most recent being $75,000.  

Sean O’Malley the entrepreneur

Despite O’Malley’s successful fighting career thus far, most of his money is made outside of the octagon.  

“I’m way more comfortable being in front of the camera now, way more comfortable entertaining and understanding what my job is. I’m an entertainer” 

O’Malley said on Chris Van Vliet’s Insight podcast when asked how he has evolved as his career has progressed. 

“I’m a UFC fighter/entertainer; they go hand-in-hand. Some people are just fighters, and they’re not making the money I’m making outside the UFC. I’m getting paid from merch [merchandise], YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, and Instagram,” he explained.

“I’m making six figures easily – sometimes six figures a month, not even from fighting. Understanding entertainment and being a fighter and balancing that is something I’ve gotten really good at,” O’Malley said.  

Social media presence

O’Malley has a significant social media presence – racking up over 480,000 YouTube subscribers, 150,000 Twitch followers, and 2.4 million Instagram followers, and he is one thousand followers away from a million on TikTok.

Unsurprisingly, his enormous following has resulted in a successful podcast called the TimboSugarShow, which O’Malley and his Coach Tim Welch host.  

What makes O’Malley so likable to the naked eye is that he is simply himself. O’Malley understands he does not need to play a fabricated character to gain fans.

O’Malley is not afraid to dye his hair vibrant colors, spend his time live-streaming video games to his thousands of followers on YouTube, or even get spontaneous tattoos from rappers like 6ix9ine.  

Suga Sean taking over fashion?

“The merchandise drops we’ve been doing go insane. Like the undefeated merch right after my fight, I had to make up undefeated merch. I said I’m going to post this right after my fight – and that did six figures in a week. It was crazy,”  

O’Malley told Vliet.

O’Malley was referring to his limited undefeated hoodies and t-shirts, which are now unavailable. He offers shirts, hoodies, slides, and even a ‘Suga Sean’ costume, a pink wig you can wear on Halloween, all found on  

“I have YouTube, Twitch, podcasts, all that stuff I do is another way for people to interact with me – and it’s all genuine, organic stuff. It’s not like God I have to do this, I want to do everything I do, and I think people know that – it’s a fun way for the fans to interact with me,”

O’Malley told Daniel Cormier on the DC Check-In. 

What can fighters learn from him? 

In a sport where nothing is promised, Sean O’Malley is an example of what to do with your career in Mixed Martial Arts; fighters should use the platform they are given to expand their sources of income.

No athlete wants to be stuck in a position where they struggle to make ends meet after losing a fight – O’Malley has shown the benefits of having various sources of revenue and how being your genuine self is key to gaining fans.  

It will be fascinating to watch Sean O’Malley build his notoriety inside the octagon and how he will continue to grow his brand outside of the locked cage doors.

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Blink 182 reunites and announces 2023 world tour with wild commercial

Blink 182 made the epic announcement on YouTube of their upcoming reunion tour by releasing a wild commercial to get their fan’s attention, and trust me they did.

Titled “WE ARE COMING! to a city near you!” just watch the video below to see that they still haven’t lost their comedic touch.

Of course, they are no strangers to being raunchy. After all, they were all but ass naked in one of their first major music videos for “All The Small Things.”

Blink also announced that they will be releasing a new album and it’s safe the say washed people from the 90s are getting their tickets now.

The band has been a little embattled in recent years as bandmate Tom Delonge has been estranged from both Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus, but now it seems that everything is all good.

In recent interviews with Joe Rogan and Steve-O, Tom has seemed a little out of sorts speaking on conspiracies making many people question his mental state.

Just last year frontman Mark Hoppus was dealing with a public battle with cancer and is now in remission and cancer free. And maybe Mark going through that had something to do with the reunion.

In an interview with People, Hoppus says that they all reunited before starting his chemotherapy. He said,

“It was the first time that all three of us were in the same room in, like, five years. It’s actually better than it used to be. There was no agenda. There were no lingering grudges. It felt very back to what it should be: three friends sitting in a room.… Everybody’s in a really great place right now.”

Travis Barker on the other hand has been mostly in the spotlight for his hip-hop collabs, touring with MGK, and of course, marrying a Kardashian.

It’s going to be awesome to see these guys together again and while Mark and Travis have reunited in the past for Blink 182, it just wasn’t the same without Tom.

Is the sneaker resell market dead? It really depends

Is it curtains for the sneaker resell market?

Those Yeezys don’t move like they used to. But, they still move. We’ve all taken Ls on the front end. We’ve all made purchases on the backend.

But, are we attacking the apps with the same veracity? Are we tapping those resellers with the same level of urgency?

The sneaker resell market, like many others, may be going through a bit of a correction, at the moment. And, is that a huge surprise? 

Rising interest rates amid inflation. 
Global supply chain issues.
Oversaturation and constant misses.
And the frequent dialogue around all of these factors.

As a result, many resellers are dropping prices to keep up with consumer reticence and an increased focus on the “essentials.”

Those Yeezys don’t move like they used to. But, they still move. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, resale sneaker prices hit 40 – 50% above retail. These prices, which may also become a heel to sneakerhead activity, have simmered to an average of 24% markup in recent months. 

But, resellers and nearby analysts remain optimistic about longevity. Some (like StockX and investment firm Cowen) estimate the global resell market will hit $30 billion by the start of the next decade. That’s “billion” with a “b.”

This confidence could be tied to the community. 

Sneaker culture has been around for decades. 

It’s strong and heavily embedded – from entertainment to pro sports to prevalent digital and social media pockets.

Brands and the sneakerheads that support them have built an inclusive space with a spectrum of consumers and tastemakers – from the casual to the die-hard. Sneaker culture represents belonging and being part of something.

However, this community – like society overall – is adjusting to another shift. Sneakerheads are returning to IRL events, programming and encounters. 

Many are likely navigating this transition with an eye on the macroeconomy and whiplash from a litany of automated transactions, steep prices, product authenticity worries, and long wait times

Last week, Nike disclosed that inventory in the U.S. grew 65% (year-over-year), the impact of a rebounding production channel.

After navigating limited supply in 2021, the behemoth has multiple seasons landing stateside at once, particularly in clothing. This will lead to overflow discounts and deals – yet another consideration sitting atop collectors’ minds.

Nostalgia revitalized the market. Perhaps, nostalgia can sustain the market.

We’re seeing some valiant efforts to innovate the market through subscription services (KYX, Sneakertub, and FTL) and fractional investment (Rares). 

But, again, the sneaker resell market community is seeking connection and access.

The next innovation may not be about app UX or packaging but instead zeroed in on the consumer XP. 

Perhaps this is why we’ve seen an uptick in brick-and-mortar resale storefronts. LA’s Cool Kicks has made a splash since doors opened through crafty social media, giveaways, and challenges and content – all focused on in-store (or right out front of the store) experiences and fun. The iconic Flight Club recently reopened following a long hiatus. 

Other new entrants like Impossible Kicks, which labels itself as the nation’s largest brick and mortar reseller, are also bursting onto the scene.

“IK” as customers may know them, boasts elevated storefronts, reps hired for their customer service XP just as much as their knack for discerning authentic products, and a balanced inventory of men’s and women’s inventory that ranges from $80 to $50,000. 

“Consumers would rather shop in person,” said John Mocadlo, Impossible Kicks COO and Co-founder.

“With so many products in the market, they want an opportunity to explore and sample – new and especially old styles and collections – talk to the experts, and not only partake but share these new attainable-yet-luxury experiences with their community.” 

The Impossible Kicks franchise expects to open its 16th and 17th stores in October – just 19 months after its February 2021 founding. According to Mocadlo, each of its existing stores averages approximately $4 million in sales. 

impossible kicks store

Perhaps this is a small indication of what a carefully curated shopping experience can do for buyer confidence.  

So. Is the sneaker resell market dead?
It depends… on who you speak to. 

Consumers may be stepping away from or spending less on luxury and speculative items. But they’re still spending. They’re still showing up at major events, taking selfies in front of notable storefronts, and looking to share these experiences via digital and social channels.

And, at least for now, they’re still supporting brands and platforms that support them. Nostalgia for legacy brands and retro releases revitalized this market. 

Maybe a throwback approach to meaningful shopping experiences can sustain the sneaker resell market.

White Lives Matter

Kanye just made White Lives Matter shirts and Twitter is in chaos

By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of Kanye West and Candace Owens at his latest Yeezy Szn 9 show in Paris rocking the Kanye White Lives Matter merch.

At this point, Ye has to know what he’s doing right? At the very least we can say that he knows how to pull a reaction out of just about anyone.

Of course, the Black Lives Matter movement over recent years has sparked endless controversy.

The argument from conservative side argues that “All Lives Matter,” or “White Lives Matter,” when they are entirely missing the point.

Whether you appreciate it or not, Kanye is going to Kanye.

Of course, he gave a big speech to the attendees at the event which included Doja Cat, Naomi Campbell, and his ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk.

It’s safe to say that anything else he showed during the show got overshadowed by this purely marketing moment. According to NY Post, Ye fashion went on a rant explaining his actions to the haters saying,

“I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader. “You can’t manage me.”

– Ye

It’s safe to say that everybody has their fair share of opinions on both sides. From the left, right, and in between here are some of the rumblings on Twitter:

Jaden Smith has been one of the most vocal so far

And you know Boosie ain’t going for it

This was pretty much the general reaction of the public

Is White Lives Matter Kanye just a walking contradiction at this point?

The cycle just continues with this one

It’s getting scary out there

There are always 2 sides to the story I guess



Van Lathan who famously stepped up to Kanye in the past had this to say:

But at the end of the day, it’s all about perspective

Working in a toxic creative space? Here’s to pushing out the bad vibes

There might be nothing worse than working in a toxic creative space…

Toxicity is the quality of being toxic, very harmful, and unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way. It happens to be a slow burn that we all face in our lives.

Whether from exterior influences or if it is coming from inside ourselves, toxicity will, in due time, take over your mind and body while hindering you from reaching your creative potential.

Everything from the crabs-in-a-bucket mentality to the haters-gonna-hate, scenarios we find relatable. Self-deprecation is also considered a toxic thought process and not the reality check we think it is. 

Working The Incredibles GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

These are key drivers of a toxic creative space. We have expectations of our lives as much as someone has expectations of us, and often creating an infrequency between the groups and the individuals.

Toxicity comes from more than one place in our lives.

Bodying the toxic work space

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In a survey conducted by Fierce Conversations in 2019, they found that 44 percent of respondents said the number one response is to ignore toxic co-workers.

Although 50% agreed in 2017, the downturn fails to suggest enough to cancel out toxicity. The survey also concluded the 72% of respondents wish their employers were less tolerant of toxic employees. 

Stacey Engle, President of Fierce Conversations, says, “the fact that confronting problematic employees directly is people’s third choice of action should be concerning to all organizational leaders. The amount of time and energy that can be saved by providing employees the skills and empowerment to address issues head-on.”

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The fact is, there will always be someone who will want to see you in a subordinate position to them, or in no position at all. And you may think you haven’t received a fair shot at life. But dissidence will not help you get ahead in life and reach our creative goals. 

When the toxicity stems from a superior or an equal counterpart, the result will lead to failure if the communication doesn’t change.

Ignoring the toxicity will not help while addressing the matter head-on creates anxiety. Believe that change will come from how you perceive your situation, and you will be able to work through it.

Overcoming your own toxic headspace

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Subconsciously, most fall victim to comparison scenarios in relationship to hyper-connectivity. This constant distraction from social media like Instagram and our smartphones discredits our livelihood and our accomplishments. 

It’s difficult to acknowledge the obstacles we have conquered for the possible privileges afforded by others in this condition. A constant rundown of why someone else is where they are and why you remain where you are, holds you back, hindering creativity and adding toxicity.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard sums this feeling as, “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” The anxiety you feel is letting you know that something about you can change your environment.

Other factors included jadedness, becoming overwhelmed, and even “gassing” yourself up to believe you are owed something you hardly worked for yet. These are the telling signs of creative toxicity within ourselves. 

A life not grounded in reality but floating high in a proverbial castle is how we may craft our self-image. American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau said:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Henry David Thoreau

He encourages the “big idea” creative to take the small, consistent steps of brick-by-brick construction of your vision.

If self-doubt of your abilities comes from “thinking big” and the anxiety and the inability to take the first steps – in any direction – you may want to narrow your perspective on the idea.

Ease the creative process by doing the little jobs that get you closer to your goals. You want to drown out that toxicity with small actions in “building that castle.”

Navigating the toxic shared space

Beyond the hype of creativity and creating the world around us is social engagement and community upbringing.

Alliances with like-minds and same or adjacent skillsets bring creatives together to achieve common goals. Within that lies an enormous amount of altruistic individuals who support other participants of the group and their creative endeavors. 

Harvard Biologist E.O. Wilson outlined this way of thinking as “eusocial” behavior during a talk at the Geological Lecture hall at Harvard University.

Human social behavior evolved through competition with groups of related and unrelated individuals, working selflessly to benefit the group and not for selfish gain. 

Facts or nah?

Eusocial behavior is responsible for the survival of the smallest creatures like ants and mole rats in Africa, as well as evident in human cultures.

If you are a supporter of creativity from others and seek to benefit the group, you gain positive ground, reducing the creative toxicity by changing your environment. Eusocial communities are in sync with one another and are reluctant to extend themselves outside of the group, though. 

This external push is often what social and working environments use to protect and grow their creative space. This group will avoid toxicity for the benefit of preserving their environment and creativity.

The creative toxicity you experience may be from being in the wrong group. But you may not be presenting yourself as related to another group. You may be holding on to past thoughts and emotions of inadequacies. 

Reliving past moments or trying to correct something you have no control over stunt your evolution as a creative. It won’t help with the toxicity in your environment, rather keep you in the thick of it. 

Seeking to change who we believe we are with who we want to become creates harmony. Especially within our creative space, although it may be anxiety-filled as well. If the past has you stuck, the growth you seek, and the future of your creativity is at stake.

Changing up your space

Sisqo Is Back With The Remake You Didn't Know You Needed

What has to change is your attitude toward toxicity and how we perceive ourselves. Disconnect from that toxic creative space and recognize that it is a place to create. Realize your worth as a creative and transform those defeating thoughts. 

Change in perspective happens when we pivot from defending ourselves from the toxic creative space to accepting who we are and change. We have an opportunity to elevate our vantage point to where our goals are always visible, and we move toward them earnestly.

Look out for this article on PAGE magazine.

Retired NFL players who expanded their wealth with side hustles

NFL side hustles are among the most important in sports, as football is a dangerous game where any day could be a player’s last. Due to this fact, it is not just paramount that NFL players have a side job, but that they are able to continue making money from it once they step away from the field.

When it comes to chasing a bag, longevity lives the longest. In our world, everyone has dreams of grandeur. It takes an unlimited supply of energy, endurance, work ethic, and timeliness to make it into those top tax brackets.

And athletes need to keep this in mind, as their bodies performing at physical peaks is no longwinded guarantee. They need to make their money from their craft, but at the same time think about their future.

With that being said, here are five ex-NFL athletes that have racked up a bag via sports, and then continued this trend through their subsequent side hustle ventures.

Brandon Marshall (Side hustle – Broadcasting, etc.)

nfl side jobs
Brandon Marshall sits stoically as, “I Am Athlete” podcast host. (Photo courtesy, I AM ATHLETE)

Marshall was a highly-talented wide receiver who had several productive years in the NFL. But a big part of his story was that he became injury-prone early.

Rather than put his body through endless procedures, Marshall developed an early exit plan and leveraged his personality. He knew he could be successful in a side hustle outside of the NFL, and he has been.

By accepting wisdom and surrounding himself with people who are smarter than him, Brandon Marshall soaked up knowledge on the daily. 

Side Hustle Ventures: Co-Founder of Project 375 (Mental Health Advocacy), FitSpeed Founder, Inside The NFL on Showtime, I Am Athlete Podcast, and co-host on FS1’s ‘First Things First.’

Terrell Owens (Side hustle – Prototype 81)

terrell owens
When it comes to greatness, T.O. accepts no substitutes. (Photo courtesy: Mark Humphrey)

Well-known for his outgoing and emotional nature, T.O. was not always the wisest connoisseur.

Trying to please others through material flair can be quite the slippery slope. Nearing bankruptcy, Owens needed to flip the script. And that is exactly what he did with his side hustle off of the NFL field.

Side Hustle Ventures: Prototype 81 – a fashion-forward sports luxury line that combines fit and function.

With inspiration from Lululemon, T.O. aims to provide comfort in the form of oversized clothing that falls within three different categories – Core, Active, Exclusive.

Stationed in California, Owens has been able to source different fabrics within important fashion districts. Not quite financially responsible from the jump, T.O. pounced on an opportunity to utilize his persona to chase a bag and reframe his trajectory.

In the famous words of YG on ‘Big Bank,’ “I got white folks money that I won’t blow. And if you ask why, cause the white folks don’t.”

Roger Staubach (Side hustle – Real estate)

retired nfl players
Nicknamed “Captain Comeback,” Staubach is revered by Dalls Cowboys fans. (Photo courtesy: TREVOR PAULHUS)

This man is just different. From the outset of his retirement, Roger Staubach partnered with the Dallas Cowboys to create several opportunities for expansion.

Given that salaries were much lower during his era, Staubach worked as a real estate broker in the offseason. A determined and smart side job outside of the NFL.

Side Hustle Venture: By grinding, absorbing game from Henry S. Miller (Texas real-estate mogul), Staubach was able to sell his real-estate company for upwards of $640 million to a Chicago firm, Jones Lang Lasalle. He is currently the executive chairman for JLL. 

Vernon Davis (Side hustle – Acting, producing, etc.)

nfl side jobs
Vernon Davis embodies the role of Columbus Johnson in “Hell on the Border.” (Photo courtesy: KAYLA SORTOR)

Riddled with concussions and injuries that could hamper his livelihood, Vernon Davis decided to prolong his career with multiple types of bags. Looking for side jobs outside of the NFL was a savvy move for the savvy Super Bowl-50 winner.

He has starred in movies like Hell on the Border and Baywatch as well as series like The League and Inside Amy Schumer. Recently, his self-titled foundation raised $70,000 to feed frontline workers and children during the pandemic. 

Side Hustle Ventures: Reel 85 Productions, Between the Lines Productions, Gallery 85.

Tony Romo (Side hustle- Color analyst)

tony romo
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo teases Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott before an NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets (Photo courtesy: Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)(Ashley Landis / Staff Photographer)

The man who infamously mishandled the field goal hold to cost the Cowboys a playoff victory against the Seahawks certainly exited much smoother than his entrance.

As a mainstay on CBS, Romo prepared for announcing just like a player and watched tape prior to every outing. This has allowed him to provide excellent insight and damn-near predict plays as they unfold.

Together with Ezekiel Elliot, Tony Romo started the National Fantasy Football Convention as a SportsCon-type venture. He continues to fight an uphill battle with the NFL while remaining business savvy in his side hustles.

Side Hustle Venture: CBS Sports color analyst

NFL side jobs should inspire everyone, not just pro athletes, to get an extra bag

Regardless of how you do it, it is so important to live below your means. However, it is much easier said than done. Especially if you have never touched those types of bags before.

Either way, those who live humbly and utilize their funds for investments typically outlast those who blow their wealth on material goods. Pouring back into communities, creating foundations, and finding a way to stretch the bag will always be the way.

If NFL players (who in most cases, dreamt their whole lives of reaching this level), can manage their funds and set up side hustles to not blow through all of their money right away, anyone can.

So look at Brandon Marshall, Terrell Owens, Roger Staubach, Vernon Davis, and Tony Romo when thinking about your next move. We may not all be millionaires yet, but like these NFL athletes, we can be smart with our side hustles and money. Earned not given — always remember that.

Erin Ashley Simon defines the meaning of ‘gaming culture’

Erin Ashley Simon is among the few Black or Latino leaders in gaming. If you’ve hit the start button, entered the queue, or spawned into a map, you’ve undoubtedly heard her name or seen her face

Born to a Black father and a Puerto Rican mother, she’s making significant strides to elevate and equalize representation in the space.

In the past few years, Erin has grown from collegiate athlete (University of Kentucky) to on-air personality and streaming host (for the likes of VENN, Bleacher Report, Cheddar, and ESPN) to an executive at one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming and lifestyle organization (XSET).  

As her career extends into new areas, she keeps the up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, and Start close. Because gaming is no longer a niche vertical or a hidden secret. Gaming has become a major part of our culture. And, Erin – in her evolution – is a big part of that. 

We recently caught up with the CCO (chief culture officer) about how she Sonic’d her way here and what’s next.

Cutting right to the chase, you’re an Afro Latina. You embrace the culture. Has it always been that way for you? 

Erin Ashley Simon: I’ve always embraced my cultural identity. People do try to box you in, referring to you in ways that they can understand. They’ll ask or say that I’m this or just that. 

But I’m Afro-Latina. My mother made me cherish both sides of that identity and make them one. I lean into this every day instead of correcting others.

You are a former D1 soccer player. What was that experience like, and what did it teach you? 

Erin Ashley Simon: First of all, it was an incredible experience. It taught me a lot about discipline, work ethic, and collaboration. It provided me with friends and memories, and life lessons. 

It also introduced me to journalism and interviewing, specifically in the sports industry. My soccer experience is a big reason I continue to be involved in the UK (University of Kentucky) community. 

What do you do best? 

Erin Ashley Simon: This is a challenging question. My POV on what I do best differs from what my peers, colleagues, friends, or family might say. But, I pride myself on being a connector, someone who brings good people and good things together. 

How and why did you get into gaming?

Erin Ashley Simon: I’ve been a gamer all my life. My brother Ian introduced me to it. 

Growing up, most moms struggle with the concept of gaming as a career. But my mom supported me. My family embraced the prospect. Their trust has helped my confidence. 

What was the first game you played? 

Erin Ashley Simon: Sonic the Hedgehog on SEGA Genesis. Maybe that’s why I’m constantly on the move today! 

Did you have a moment where you thought, “hey, this could be a career for me”? 

Erin Ashley Simon: Yes. When I signed with CAA, I realized, “Heck yes! This is my job!” 

What do you bring to your role as CCO that separates you within/amid the space? 

Erin Ashley Simon: In gaming, there aren’t many Black or Latin women in the executive suite. There should certainly be more, and this is something I’m hoping to help change. 

As CCO, I’m always looking for ways to align our organization, or even gaming overall, with other pockets of culture that align with our values – that yield more inclusion and collaboration. 

I think I’m a strong, active listener. I’ve always been this way. But, I sharpened this skill during my time as a journalist. 

Through listening, I can learn about this community and those looking to make an impact within it. This helps us develop meaningful strategies and ways to infuse positive values of equality and partnership. 

Do you believe gaming is a lifestyle? 

Erin Ashley Simon: YES! 100 percent. 

I believe gaming has always been a lifestyle. Athletes game in between practices and travel and after games. Rappers and DJs bring their consoles or PCs into the studio or on tour. 

In recent years, we’ve seen many more crossovers and collabs, platforms, and activities where gaming has shown up or tapped into new and different ways.

Take a look at what Riot Games just did with Lil Nas X and League of Legends. Or the NFL’s Tuesday Night Gaming platform, which brings together competitors from the gridiron and map. Gaming has become ubiquitous in so many spaces. It’s fun. It’s incredible. 

I hope that new entrants in the space recognize the legacy and the history of gaming. Because there’s a lot there. 

Biggest accomplishment in the space to date? 

Erin Ashley Simon: I’m proud of what I’ve been able to bring to this industry thus far. 

I’ve been privileged to host on some of the biggest networks and as part of some of the biggest events in gaming and entertainment. Just recently, I started on a new series developed in partnership with the NFL. And, I’m soon to announce another opportunity on ESPN. 

Representation matters and I hope that I’ve brought a little inspiration to other Afro-Latina women trying to break through. 

Do you anticipate gaming will always be a part of your life? Are there other areas you’d like to build around? 

Erin Ashley Simon: Gaming will always be part of my life. My mom raised me to be a renaissance woman. I have multiple interests. And throughout my career, I’ve made it a point to try new things. 

This has led to success and fulfillment. So, why stop now? There are so many incredible opportunities out there. I’m just getting started. 

What do you say to those following you, aspiring to the success that you’ve been able to achieve? 

Erin Ashley Simon: You have to start somewhere. You’re not going to be great right away. Don’t waste time hoping to get what you need. Build. Use what you have and tap into the resources available to you. You can do it.  

That said, I always encourage people to practice gratitude and stay grounded. Nothing is promised, and in a sea of rejection, that gratitude will carry you to the next wave of success.  

There are 10K80 minutes in a week. Where do you expend or reserve that time?

Erin Ashley Simon: I love this concept. I treat my passions like a business and operate from the 80/20 rule – just with a few personal modifications. I attribute 50 percent of my time to work, whether in front of or behind the camera, admin efforts, and helping to develop deals or partnerships. 

Then 25 percent goes toward exploring opportunities that may carry more risk, whether investing or otherwise. 

That final 25 percent is reserved for rest! I try to take one to two weeks off every quarter. Saturdays are my off-days and help me ensure a baseline of rest and check-ins. 

I’m all about working smarter, not harder.

How Naomi Osaka’s road to business mogul is opening doors for minorities

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka is not only championing women of color on the court but also in the board room with multiple business ventures. And she’s just getting started.

This includes launching a new media company with LeBron James and her popular skincare line KINLÒ which she started from the ground up.

Historic wins from the 24-year-old American, Haitian, and Japanese tennis superstar brought cultural representation in sports to a whole new level.

Naomi recently lost to Zhang Shuai in Cincinnati back-to-back open match and failed to proceed to the next round. This heartbreaking loss for Osaka and her fans has not fazed a single fan of the cultural icon.

Birth of her grand slam tennis career

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a father who’s of Haitian-American descent, Naomi is no stranger to the struggles of a mixed-race child.

Documented in the Netflix docu-series titled “Naomi Osaka” is her journey to finding her voice, building a name in tennis, her mental health, and contributing to the changes in post-match conferences.

At just 16, Osaka made her mark in Tennis during her WTA Tour debut back in the 2014 Stanford Classic, when she defeated former US Open champion Samantha Stosur.

At 24 years old, Osaka is the 20th highest paid athlete according to Sportico with a net worth of $53.2 million.

What with her own skincare line and major deals with big brands such as Nissan, Tag Heuer, and Louis Vuitton, Naomi’s all set to continuously dominate more than her beloved sports.

Acing outside the court

True to her role as a cultural icon, Naomi Osaka ventured to break old myths and stigmas about skincare by launching her own skincare line catered to melanated skin just like hers, KINLÒ.

Debunking skin myths that are harmful to melatonin-rick skins, KINLÒ ensures their brand and their products go beyond the promise of healthy glowing skin.

Growing an inclusive and informed community is only just one of Osaka’s many accomplishments.

Sharing the glow with student-athletes

Naomi Osaka recently signed 5 student-athletes with their #GlowOutside campaign.

These five student-athletes are Deja Kelly (UNC women’s basketball), Reilyn Turner (UCLA women’s soccer), Robert Dillingham (Kentucky men’s basketball), Xolani Hodel (Stanford women’s beach volleyball), and Ziyah Leigh Holman (Michigan women’s track and field).

“I’m so excited to partner with these amazing student-athletes to help spread awareness for our Glow Outside campaign. As young, influential voices in the space, they are the perfect fit to help champion such an important initiative and as a brand, we couldn’t be prouder to empower and support NCAA athletes.”

Naomi Osaka, Forbes

These five student-athletes are the perfect brand ambassadors for Osaka’s KINLÒ suncare line as they prove to their communities the benefits of using sun protection during their sports seasons and year-round day-to-day activities.

Media company to cryptocurrencies

Naomi also recently launched her own media company in partnership with Lebron James through The SpringHill company.

With the goal of providing media platforms to people of color (POC) student-athletes and increasing their media representation. Osaka also launched Evolve, an athlete representation agency.

“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform. In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is a testament to that as well.”

Naomi Osaka, CNBC

An unstoppable future for Naomi

Going beyond medals and trophies, Naomi Osaka has shown the world how inspiring stories are built and how a huge platform as big as hers can be used to do great things for others with their own stories to tell.

Naomi Osaka may have captivated the world with her beast tennis skills, but she is conquering it one community, one company, and one mission at a time. From women’s tennis, crypto, Evolve, and, for now at least, KINLÒ, there is no stopping Naomi Osaka from collecting victories.

It’s no longer just about representation for Naomi Osaka. It is now amplifying the many voices of minorities just like herself.