Devin Crudup


Devin Crudup

AfroTech blogger

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Meet Matthew Portis, the Inventor Who Engineered and Patented the First Solar Workstation

Have you ever been in a situation where your devices are in need of a charge, but all the outlets inside the coffee shop are occupied and you forgot to pack your power bank? Well, SolGreen has created a solution. As the first to invent, engineer, and patent a solar workstation, their Evodia Solar Workstation generates power to charge cellphones, laptops, lighting, and Wi-Fi. Akron, Ohio native, Matthew Portis, founder of SolGreen and inventor of the Evodia, thought of the idea to create an outdoor solar-powered workstation, after visiting a bookstore and wondering why none of the patrons were using the outdoor seating. Portis came to the conclusion that most people stayed inside the bookstore because there was no access to power to charge their devices outdoors. The solar-powered workstation provides adequate seating for crowded facilities and is built to withstand harsh outdoor environments. “It withstood Hurricane Irma back in 2017, we had a fleet of units in Miami at Florida...

Feb 1, 2021

Philly Sanitation Worker Starts PPE Fundraiser For Overlooked Frontline Workers

As the country comes together to support and provide for essential workers, there is an overlooked group of frontline workers no one talking about — our sanitation workers. Terrill Haigler aka @_yafavtrashman , a Philadelphia sanitation worker, is speaking up and bringing awareness to the hardships he and his colleagues face as garbage collectors during the pandemic. “I just want to bring awareness to the fact that we are left out of the top when it comes to being essential,” Haigler told NPR’s Whyy . Seven months ago when Haigler took the job with Philadelphia’s city Sanitation Division, he was met with the unforeseen physical demands of the job. “This has been one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done in my life, consistently,” Haigler said. Haigler and colleagues’ 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shifts sometimes extend 14 consecutive days in harsh environments. “It’s just the beat that your body takes, the mental, the emotions, the elements you deal with, the rain… And, you know, sometimes you...

Jul 30, 2020

This Entrepreneur Offered McDonald's Employees Higher Paying Jobs During Her Drive-Thru Order

Philadelphia restaurant owner, Saudia Shuler’s drive-thru order recently went viral after she offered two McDonald’s employees higher paying jobs on the spot. The Country Cookin’ owner took to her Instagram to share how she snagged her new employees. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Saudia shuler (@countrycookin1) Increasing the country’s minimum wage has been a controversial topic over the years and many companies have stepped up to the plate to provide employees with an appropriate wage. Last year Amazon increased its minimum wage to $15 and the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission voted in a new policy to set Uber and Lyft drivers’ minimum wage to $17.22 per hour. Although industry giants have made efforts to increase employee pay, it seems McDonald’s still lags behind. Shuler asked her soon-to-be employee her current wage in which she responded $8.25 per hour. The two McDonald’s employees immediately walked out and accepted Shuler’s $12 an hour offer. View...

Jul 28, 2020

Serena Williams' Daughter Becomes Youngest Owner in Pro Sports at Age 2

Following in the footsteps of her mother, 2-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., has already begun to seal her name in sports history. The daughter of tennis goat, and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian Sr., is now the youngest owner of a professional sports team. According to a National Women’s Soccer League news release , Olympia is among the founding investors of Los Angeles’ soon-to-be professional women’s soccer team, Angel City. Other investors include Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian Sr., Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, and more. Olympia’s new ownership role was also announced via Twitter. 👼👼🏻👼🏼👼🏽👼🏾👼🏿⚽ @WEAREANGELCITY — Olympia Ohanian (@OlympiaOhanian) July 21, 2020 As a lead founding investor, Alexis Ohanian Sr. sees his investment as a chance to advocate for women in sports and continue building his family’s legacy. “As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my two-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front row seat to this...

Jul 22, 2020

Julian Bass Inks Deal With ICM Partners After TikTok Special Effects Video Goes Viral

While many TikTok videos garner thousands of views and eventually go viral, few users are able to take their talents beyond the five minutes of social media fame. However, Julian Bass, a special effects artist, musical theater actor, short film writer, producer, and director, not only captured millions of views but caught the attention of International Creative Management (ICM) partners, one of the world’s leading talent agencies. According to Deadline , Bass posted a visual effects (VFX) video on his TikTok to pay homage to some of his favorite superheroes, including Spider-man, Jedi Knights, and Ben 10. After showcasing his VFX skills he soon received a call from media giants James Gunn, Josh Gad, Matthew Cherry , Peter Ramsey, and Bob Iger, executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company. Bass’ plan to rally his social media following in efforts to help spread the word worked just as he predicted. The video has garnered over 23 million views and a tweet from Iger himself. The...

Jul 22, 2020

Black-Owned 7-Eleven Becomes Top Retailer For Largest U.S. Black-Owned Wine Merchant

7-Eleven owner, Alyson Rae Lawson, is making history all while taking Black girl magic to the next level. Lawson’s Texas-based store recently set record-high sales as the franchise continuously sells out of its Black Girl Magic wine inventory a part of the McBride Sisters Collection founded by Robin and Andrea McBride. According to Fox News, Robin confirmed the store is the country’s highest volume-selling retailer of the Black-owned brand. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Black Girl Magic Wines (@blackgirlmagicwines) “It kind of blew out of the water,” Lawson told Fox News . It all started when Lawson decided to make more Black-owned products available to her 1,000 daily customers. The store owner then ordered a bulk shipment from what is currently the largest Black-owned vintner in the country, according to Fox News. “I don’t know that we’ve seen an account quite like this before,” Robin said. “They brought in 10 cases of Black Girl Magic and they sold out the first...

Jul 20, 2020

Kevin Hart Invests in Largest Black Woman-Owned U.S. Beverage Manufacturer, Ellis Island Tea

Movie star and comedian, Kevin Hart, is known for using his coins to invest in startups. This time he’s expanding his investment portfolio via a partnership deal with Ellis Island Tea , a Black-owned tea company headed by Nailah Ellis. According to Cision PRWeb, Ellis Island Tea’s humble beginnings resonated with Hart and inspired him to invest. At age 20, Ellis started brewing tea in her mother’s kitchen using a recipe handed down by her great grandfather, Cyril Byron, a Jamaican native who arrived in America 100 years ago by way of Ellis Island. The cat is out of the bag! Ellis Island Tea is now officially partnered with @kevinhart4real ! 🥳🎉Thank you for your belief in us, Kev! Now I need y’all to go buy some tea because I gotta pay him back 😥😂 #EllisIslandTea #KevinHart #entrepreneur #hibiscus #tea #free — Ellis Isle 🌺 (NEW DRIP, SAME DOPE TASTE!) (@byellisisle) July 14, 2020 “Cyril’s story is one of a true risk taker. He came here with nothing but his...

Jul 17, 2020

Democratic Senators Introduce New Bill to Permanently Support Black-Owned Businesses

Democratic senators have up the ante on COVID-19 relief support for businesses owned by people of color. Recently Capitol Hill representatives introduced new legislation aimed at investing in Black-owned businesses. According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) proposed the Minority Business Resiliency Act, a multi-step bill centered around the improvement of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The bill involves officially making the agency permanent, expanding its grant-making authority, introducing new regional offices, and broadening its networking reach with fellow federal agencies. Currently, the MBDA supports businesses owned by people of color in all industries;...

Jul 16, 2020

Michelle Obama Set to Launch New Podcast on Spotify

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama continues to provide leadership despite being four years removed from the White House. Her most recent guidance comes in the form of a new podcast titled The Michelle Obama Podcast. According to CNN Politics , Obama will host the podcast and discuss topics related to meaningful relationships as well as conversations. Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, teamed up with music streaming giant, Spotify, to set the podcast in motion. “Hosted by Michelle Obama, the series will bring listeners the former First Lady’s most candid and personal conversations, showing us what’s possible when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to open up, and to focus on what matters most,” said Spotify in a news release . CNN reports the podcast’s guest lineup will include Obama’s mother and brother, Marian and Craig Robinson, Conan O’Brien, Valerie Jarrett, Michele Norris, and Dr. Sharon Malone. Obama’s vision for her new podcast is to spread the love in efforts to...

Jul 16, 2020

How Michaela Coel Inked an Agreement With BBC After Rejecting a $1M Netflix Deal

Although you may have come across some must-watch movies and TV series while scrolling through Netflix, one hit show you won’t see is Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You.” Coel took her dramatic comedy series to BBC and HBO after turning down a $1 million deal with the popular streaming service. According to Pop Sugar , Coel, who’s the show’s lead actress, creator, writer, and director, rejected the deal with Netflix after a disagreement over ownership, in which Netflix denied Coel’s request for a percentage of the copyright. Corel’s moment of clarity came during a call with a Netflix representative where she asked for five percent of her show’s copyright. “There was just silence on the phone,” Coel told Vulture . “And she said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’” Vulture reports Coel’s negotiation with Netflix went as low as 0.5 percent ownership of the copyright. Yet, the Netflix representative told Coel she’d have to run it past her...

Jul 15, 2020

Media Mogul Byron Allen Reveals He Has Sights Set On Owning CNN

On the heels of his hard-fought racial discrimination settlement with Comcast, media mogul, Byron Allen has his sights set on a new business venture, which is owning CNN. The Entertainment Studios owner went on record earlier this month revealing his ultimate dream of owning one of the most viewed cable news networks in the U.S., according to Statista. “I’d love to own CNN. But I have to buy AT&T to do that. And I will. Believe me, I think about it every day,” Allen told The Hollywood Reporter. Allen has a master plan brewing that he predicts will be on par with the likes of News Corp. founder, Rupert Murdoch. “I’m close to the same age when Rupert Murdoch came here to America,” he said. “He was in his 50s. I’m 59. What you see today will be 10,000 times bigger.” Those who know Allen, like his longtime friend and chess rival, Eddie Murphy, vouch for his acumen, especially his ability to patiently wait for the opportune time to secure epic business deals. “He’s super patient. He...

Jul 14, 2020

Darnell Atkins Goes Against Gender Norms and Enters Billion-Dollar Nail Industry

Nail salons in the U.S. generate over $5 billion annually with manicures and pedicures ranking in the top three nail services offered , according to Statista. Simply put, the nail industry is a cash-making machine. With only 2 percent of nail technicians being Black — UCLA Labor Center reveals — and a smaller portion of that number being Black men, Darnell Atkins is a nail tech unicorn. Atkins — founder of Nen10doe’s Table —  decided to go into the nail business after returning home from a stint in the Navy and finding it difficult to secure steady employment, according to Black Enterprise. “I resorted back to a couple of hustles,” Atkins told WUSA-9 . “But in the midst of me resorting back, I always found myself in front of a Black-owned nail salon. All the hustlers would gravitate towards this area because that is where all the pretty girls were.” After realizing the potential profits from a single pedicure, Atkins set his sights on...

Jul 13, 2020

5 New Platform Features Instagram Has in The Works

While social media continues to change the way the world communicates and does business, Instagram is continuing to secure its spot in the ever-changing landscape. According to Plann That , the platform is on the verge of giving its reported 1 billion monthly users new feature updates. Check out five new updates Instagram has in the works below. Monetizing IGTV For Content Creators Unlike Youtube, Instagram’s IGTV hasn’t been a source of income for influencers and content creators. However, the social media giant is planning on changing that with its new on-platform ads. Plann That reports the ads will be 15 seconds long and only available when users watch IGTV videos from their feed previews. Content creators and influencers will receive a 55 percent cut of generated ad income. Platform Revamp It’s rumored that Instagram is set to revamp its entire platform similar to Facebook’s makeover in 2019. The new design is said to feature a full-screen story mode where users’ stories appear...

Jul 10, 2020

Information Systems Professor Receives $190K Grant to Improve Self-Driving Cars

Trailblazing information systems professor, Siobahn Day Grady, Ph.D., is a Black tech unicorn you should know about. Not only is she the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in the field of computer science — according to North Carolina Central University — from North Carolina A&T State University in 2018, but she also recently received a $190,000 grant to conduct research to improve self-driving cars. Grady received the grant from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Excellence in Research program and plans to use the funds to research and identify issues with self-driving cars. “This research is very timely and relevant; it’s the future,” Grady said, according to North Carolina Central University . “I’m excited to contribute to the field as well as provide research opportunities to students.” North Carolina Central University reports that Grady’s research will center around analyzing fault-detection capabilities of self-driving vehicles including...

Jul 9, 2020

Kevin Durant's $1M Investment Expected to Turn Into $15M as Uber Acquires Postmates

Two-time NBA champion, Kevin Durant , has proved once again that his skills extend far beyond the court as he is set to cash in big with his investment in restaurant delivery service, Postmates. Over the years, Durant’s VC, Thirty Five Ventures, has invested over $15 million into 40 plus startups — one of those startups being Postmates. According to Nothing But Nets — in 2016 — Durant invested $1 million in Postmates after spending the day endorsing the company as a bicycle deliverer. Forbes later reported that his investment would soon score him a $15 million payday, if Uber went through with the acquisition. Fast forward to earlier this week and Uber Technologies announced it would be acquiring Postmates in a $2.65 billion deal . Durant ranks No. 7 on Forbes’ world’s highest-paid athletes list bringing in $64 million over the previous 12 months. Throughout his NBA career, Forbes reports Durant has made $500 million off his salary and endorsements. The NBA MVP shows no signs of...

Jul 8, 2020