'Newbos' has Madison ties

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Posted by madcityradio.com on February 27, 2009 at 09:26:25:

'Newbos' documentary has Madison ties
Katjusa Cisar | February 25, 2009 | 77 Square

A CNBC documentary on "Newbos: The Rise of the New Black Overclass," premiering here Thursday evening at 8 p.m., has strong Wisconsin ties.

Former Wisconsin State Journal reporter Lee Hawkins hosts the one-hour television special, which explores "the growing wave of young black multimillionaires coming out of the sports, media and entertainment industries." Now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and correspondent for CNBC, Hawkins is also working on a book about "newbos," a term he coined.

His longtime friend and Madison music producer Greg Doby composed the theme song for the television special, and Milwaukee singer/producer Carlton Thompson, Jr. provided vocals for the track.

Doby said he created the music to be fast-paced and "a little melodic, something that's going to make you feel excited to watch."

Both he and Thompson said they're happy to be a part of a project that's inspiring and motivational.

"We're in the Obama age. It's a season where young black Americans are being recognized and making new strides," said Doby.

Older generations of young African-Americans had Martin Luther King, Jr. or Jesse Jackson as role models, he added. "A lot of Gen Xers and teens haven't had those role models. Now we're getting more black professionals."

The documentary explores the lives of several high-profile Newbos, including NBA superstar LeBron James, baseball player Torii Hunter, the Williams brothers of Cash Money Records, Dallas Cowboy player Terrell Owens, billionaire entrepreneur and "Newbo pioneer" Bob Johnson, gospel singer Kirk Franklin and former-Fugee Wyclef Jean.

Hawkins asserts that with the right financial literacy, collaboration, intergenerational mentorship and social awareness, Newbos "could have a profound, positive impact on America."

A press release for the show continues, "While there is no shortage of coverage of the unfortunate realities of black America -- such as crime, incarceration rates and wealth disparities -- this is the first analysis of the growing number of self-made young black multimillionaires and the impact fast-wealth has on them and others that surround them."

Thompson has seen clips of the special and said what sets the Newbos apart from other wealthy entrepreneurs is the way they approach business and life in general. While a lot of people look at quick-money as a "meal ticket," Newbos follow their passions and continually reinvent themselves.

"It's that extra 'it' -- whatever 'it' is -- that these people have," he said. He was especially inspired by a quote in the documentary from Percy Miller, aka Master P: "I'm a work in process."

"When you think you've made it, then you've lost that drive," said Thompson. "It gives you something to shoot for."

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