Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Company's products aim to motivate black youth

Much respect to my homeboys from Jersey:

Company's products aim to motivate black youth
Three friends aim to inspire kids with clothing depicting famous female civil rights leaders.
July 20, 2006

Tommy Jones, Todd Smith and Damien Eastman were riding around in a car a few months ago trying to think of ideas.

They wanted to positively affect black youth in urban communities, and they needed to make some money. The answer came in the form of T-shirts with images of late civil rights leaders Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.

The three friends, in their early 20s, now own a graphic design, media and marketing company, Supply & Demand.

"The mission of these T-shirts is to show black youth that women played a vital part in the civil rights movement," said Jones.

The trio have been friends since middle school. "We were raised by women who were very dedicated," Smith said. His friends nodded in agreement.

In addition to promoting the late civil rights leaders, they developed another T-shirt that reads "Young, Black and Educated."

This message is to inspire youth to reach for an education, especially black men, Smith said. "Black men are not stepping up to the plate in society. They need to stay in school," he added."

Statistics are such that we are not successful, and it is hard for people to take those of us trying to make it seriously," said Jones, a recent Hampton University graduate. "That is why we came up with the idea to show what we are and what others can achieve."

Smith is taking computer programming classes to maintain the company's computers. "We want to keep as much as we can in-house," he said.

The plan for the T-shirt sales is to create a pool of college scholarship money, Jones said.

The group was well-received at the Black College Expo in Atlanta."

We heard about it on the radio and decided to head down," Jones said. "We just wanted to set up a booth, and we ended up speaking at two seminars."

The group met with organizers and presented their T-shirts.

Expo organizer Pluscedia Williams said, "We really liked the shirts, especially the ones that read 'Young, Black and Educated.' That really applies to this group."

Most African-American males who go to college are on an athletic program, so it was nice to meet some who went to college just for education. I was also impressed because they are so young and are already trying to figure a way to give back to the community."

At the seminars, they spoke to students about how to prepare and handle new life in college."

We talked about not letting the freedom get to you," said Eastman, an HU pharmacy student.

The three friends also spoke to parents on how to prepare their children for college."

We told parents to give their children responsibilities before college, such as going shopping for their own school supplies and dorm room items," Jones said."

I liked that Tommy Jones emphasized to parents that he always knew financial struggles," Williams said. "But he told the group he also knew how to shop with just a little money in his pocket. Many of his classmates did not know how to do that."

Supply and Demand began less than a year ago as a media company that copies event CDs and DVDs for clients to sell. They hope to eventually open stores where the public can make copies of CDs.

Their clients include rapper Quan and professional skateboard athlete Andy McDonald.

Supply & Demand can be accessed at the following link:

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