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How the NBA 2K League has become a lucrative business

ROLLINGOUT — In 2018, the NBA teamed up with Take-Take Interactive Software Inc. to launch the NBA 2K League, an esports (or electronic sports) league where gamers battle on XboxOne. Each of the league’s 21 teams drafts six players to compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play in regular-season games, in-season tournaments, and playoffs.

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Hawks Talon GC head coach Wes Acuff (Photo credit: Atlanta Hawks PR)

By A.R. Shaw

In 2018, the NBA teamed up with Take-Take Interactive Software Inc. to launch the NBA 2K League, an esports (or electronic sports) league where gamers battle on XboxOne. Each of the league’s 21 teams drafts six players to compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play in regular-season games, in-season tournaments, and playoffs.

With the Hawks Talon Gaming Club, the Atlanta Hawks become the first Atlanta professional sports club to have its own esports team.

Rolling Out recently sat down with Wes Acuff, head coach of the Hawks Talon GC.

How did you get involved in this league?

I started out as a player, and I qualified as one of the top 200 players in the world. That’s where my journey started. There are 21 teams in this league. The goal is to have all 30 teams in the NBA with an esports league. We meet up in New York to play games and compete for a championship.

How do gamers get better?

There is no trick in getting better at NBA 2K. Like anything you want to get good at, you have to put the hours in. You have to work on moves that will make you better.

What are your tools to motivate the team?

Coaching a team is like coaching a regular sport. You deal with personality management and managing all of the players on the team. I draw up plays in different situations. We practice eight hours a day. It’s a career for these guys. I have to decide which players will be on the roster.

What can players earn each year by playing in this league?

Every tournament there is big prize money, so I constantly remind these players what they are playing for, which is $90,000 that six players get to split. There are three tournaments throughout the year where players compete for a large amount of money. They are playing for about $15,000 of bonus money apiece. I remind these guys that this is a dream job. Everyone can’t get up and play a video game for work every day. I focus on drafting winners. The highest salary is like $40,000 for six months, plus the bonus money. Last year, a player won two tournaments and nearly took home a six-figure salary. He made about $98,000 in six months.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com

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2018 NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship

How Idris Elba saved a fan’s life

ROLLINGOUT.COM — Idris Elba rushed to the aid of a fan who was in distress during a performance of his stage play, Tree. The “Luther” star leaped off stage to help Amanda Bilington when he saw she was having a seizure in the audience at the Upper Campfield Market in Manchester during the preview the production on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

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Idris Elba (Photo Credit: Bang Media)

By Rollingout.com

Idris Elba rushed to the aid of a fan who was in distress during a performance of his stage play, Tree.

The “Luther” star leaped off stage to help Amanda Bilington when he saw she was having a seizure in the audience at the Upper Campfield Market in Manchester during the preview the production on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

The 33-year-old theatre-goer who suffers from regular seizures didn’t realize the 46-year-old actor was standing by her side until she regained consciousness a little while later. Elba continued to stay with her until the paramedics arrived to take over her care.

“I would love to thank him personally but doubt I will cross paths with him, he’s very famous,” Bilington told the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Meanwhile, although Elba is busy with the play at the moment, the Mountain Between Us actor who is married to Sabrina Dhowre and has children Isan, 17, and five-year-old Winston from previous relationships, is working to spend as much time as possible with his loved ones.

“Everything’s a balance in life. I have to do the work, because it’s a popular time for me, and it’s best to have that. But also: I’m madly in love with my wife and my children,” he said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair.

“At home, I’m not famous, I’m me. And to my team and my family and the people that I work with every day when we build what we build, we’re not famous. You know what I mean? It’s day one every day,” Elba said.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com
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Hip-Hop

Homophobic 50 Cent shames Young Buck for posing with Lil Nas X

ROLLINGOUT — In a move that won’t surprise pop culture fans, rapper 50 Cent tried to shame Young Buck for posing for a photo with Lil Nas and posting it on Buck’s Instagram page.

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By Terry Shropshire

Young Buck must owe 50 Cent some money.

In a move that won’t surprise pop culture fans, rapper 50 Cent tried to shame Young Buck for posing for a photo with Lil Nas and posting it on Buck’s Instagram page.

This is the same Fifty, by the way, who publicly disowned his own son, despite the fact that Marquise Jackson looks just like him.

Lil Nas X, as most music fans are aware by now, came out at the end of the Pride Month to announce that he is gay. And Fifty is trying to use Nas’ sexuality to taunt Buck with the following Instagram post:

Young Buck, 37, born David Darnell Brown, was simply congratulating the 21-year-old Lil Nas X for the phenomenal success he’s experienced right out the gate with “Old Town Road,” his camp told TMZ. As rolling out reported, the single is No. 1 on the Billboard charts for the 13th consecutive week, setting a new record for a rap song on the pop charts.

Also, the photo with Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, was taken at the top of June, long before Nas decided to come out to the world. Buck’s people told TMZ he doesn’t care about Nas’ sexual orientation nor Fifty’s taunts. Buck just believes Fifty is trolling Buck, his former labelmate, over some past contract dispute that has never been rectified, TMZ reports.

What do you make of Fifty’s trolling of Young Buck and Lil Nas X?

This article originally appeared in the Rollingout.com.
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Art

Music director Jermaine Hill shares his passion for working in the theater

ROLLINGOUT— Hill’s journey in musical theater began at 5 years old when he started playing the piano. He grew up in New York with an affinity for Broadway productions and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and a Master of Music from New England Conservatory in Boston. In addition to his work with Goodman Theatre and other regional playhouses, Hill is an assistant professor of theater and music director at Columbia College Chicago.

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Jermaine Hill (Photo courtesy of the Goodman Theatre)

By Eddy “Precise” Lamarre

Jermaine Hill is currently serving as the music director for the production of “The Music Man” at Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

Hill’s journey in musical theater began at 5 years old when he started playing the piano. He grew up in New York with an affinity for Broadway productions and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and a Master of Music from New England Conservatory in Boston. In addition to his work with Goodman Theatre and other regional playhouses, Hill is an assistant professor of theater and music director at Columbia College Chicago.

Rolling out spoke with Hill about his passion and experience as a Black man working in this space.

When did you know that music direction was something that you could do well?

I music directed a cabaret my senior year of high school and knew that was what I wanted to do. I loved performing, but there is something about helping other actors to bring their characters to life that I’m passionate about.

Talk about your experience as a Black musical director in the theater.

I did feel a bit of a sense of “Who is this guy?” when I first started working at some of the larger houses, but I hope that the quality of my work demonstrates that I work hard to be good at what I do. I think it’s important for all of us who are working in the field to serve as examples to future generations of artists and to give back to and mentor other artists in our communities. It is critical for institutions to have serious conversations around institutional power and maintaining accountability and transparency to communities and artists who are still underrepresented.

“The Music Man” is your latest job. What can the audience expect that is unique to you?

I dive deeply into score study and text analysis to try to bring the composer and lyricist’s vision alive. I find that my attention to detail and specificity is the key to unlocking compelling performances from the actors I work with.

What are your top two favorite musicals?

I love “The Wiz.” It was the first musical I did in high school and one of the reasons I knew I wanted to do musical theater professionally. The music is iconic. The show is an extraordinary achievement in terms of how it reimagines a “traditional” story and gives voice and visibility to theater-makers and musical styles not traditionally represented.

“The Light in the Piazza” is one of the most stunning, challenging and ultimately fulfilling scores in the musical theater canon. Adam Guettel wrote an incredibly gorgeous neo-classical work, and I think every moment of the score is absolutely brilliant. Every time I hear the last song in the show, “Fable,” I burst into tears.

What is next for you?

I start rehearsals for “The Color Purple,” then I move into serving as director [for] “A Man of No Importance” at Columbia College Chicago. After that, I move into rehearsals for “Sophisticated Ladies” where I’ll be music directing and serving as a pianist [and] conductor.

“The Music Man” runs through Aug. 11, 2019, at Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com
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Hip-Hop

US Women’s soccer champ Megan Rapinoe quotes Nipsey Hussle after victory

ROLLINGOUT — To call soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe “bold” is an understatement. She is one of the few athletes audacious enough to take up the cause with Colin Kaepernick and kneel during the play of the national anthem. She has publicly declared that she may never sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” again because of the multiple instances of inequality in America.

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Megan Rapinoe with girlfriend, WNBA legend Sue Bird, after the USA Women’s soccer team took home the World Cup. (Photo: Instagram – @mrapinoe)

By Terry Shropshire

To call soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe “bold” is an understatement.

She is one of the few athletes audacious enough to take up the cause with Colin Kaepernick and kneel during the play of the national anthem. She has publicly declared that she may never sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” again because of the multiple instances of inequality in America.

Most of all, Rapinoe generated all kinds of quakes when she told outlet “Eight by Eight” that she’s “not going to the f—-ing White House” if the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup — which it did — inciting a vicious backlash from the right wing of America, especially from the Oval Office.

Furthermore, when Rapinoe won the most valuable player of the record-breaking U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) that won the World Cup on Sunday, July 8, 2019, one of the first things she did during the post celebratory festivities, was quote the late, legendary rapper, Nipsey Hussle.

Rapinoe, an activist athlete who ardently advocates for gender and racial equality, posted this message on her Instagram page as an ode to the slain founder of The Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles.

Rapinoe, who is dating basketball legend Sue Bird of the WNBA, has also quoted Martin Luther King Jr. as sort of a clue into her sociopolitical philosophy.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com. 
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Business

Diana Schweinbeck describes her evolution in the music industry

ROLLINGOUT — Rolling out‘s Romeo International recently sat down with Diana Schweinbeck, who started her company, Schweinbeck LLC, in 2007 to showcase deejays, producers and up-and-coming recording artists. Her clients have included Sy Ari Da Kid, Damar Jackson and Paxquiao. Schweinbeck discussed her journey from helping entertainers get their music out to her new role as head of marking for Cinq Music Group in Los Angeles.

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Romeo International and Diana Schweinbeck (Photo credit: Chelsea Davis)

By Romeo McCord

Rolling out‘s Romeo International recently sat down with Diana Schweinbeck, who started her company, Schweinbeck LLC, in 2007 to showcase deejays, producers and up-and-coming recording artists. Her clients have included Sy Ari Da Kid, Damar Jackson and Paxquiao.

Schweinbeck discussed her journey from helping entertainers get their music out to her new role as head of marking for Cinq Music Group in Los Angeles.

How did you arrive at this career choice? 

It was a natural evolution. I never, per se, wanted to be in the music industry, but it really just fell into my lap. When I moved to Atlanta from Alpharetta, Georgia, to attend Georgia State University, I kept meeting so many people who were in some aspect in the music industry. After building real relationships [and] friendships, I put two and two together and combined by relationships with my business background.

What separates you from others in your field? 

I separate myself by being genuine. Everything I work on I truly believe in. It isn’t about the money for me. It’s about helping someone achieve their dream, which in the end becomes our dream.

Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? 

I wouldn’t say misconception, but I feel people really have no idea what I do, and I’m completely fine with that. I continue to work even harder and show them I’m not just some role in this industry. I can do it all.

Why do you consider continued learning important? 

I am always eager to learn. This industry changes drastically fast. You always have to be one step ahead, and no one in this industry knows the industry 100 percent. There is always room to learn further than what you know.

What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?

I use technology all day every day. Without it, I couldn’t get anything done. From email to social media to research, I need it.

What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life or career? 

For me, I would have to say Twitter. That was the first social media I was on when I began in this industry, and it was the easiest way to connect with someone else. It was also uncomplicated to show support by a simple tweet or shout-out, which eventually blossomed into a relationship.

What is your favorite vacation destination and why? 

My favorite vacation destination would be really anywhere with beautiful beaches, all-inclusive resorts and a pool that I can get in by going out [onto] my balcony.

This article originally appeared in the Rollingout.com.
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Rollingout.com

Sensational run for teen tennis phenom Coco Gauff ends

ROLLINGOUT — Cori “Coco” Gauff’s magical Wimbledon run ended after a loss to No. 7 Simona Halep on Monday, July 8. Gauff was one round shy of the quarterfinals in her first appearance at the tournament.

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Image source: Instagram – @cocogauff

By Lericia Harris

Cori “Coco” Gauff’s magical Wimbledon run ended after a loss to No. 7 Simona Halep on Monday, July 8. Gauff was one round shy of the quarterfinals in her first appearance at the tournament.

Despite showing flickers of brilliance, Gauff was unable to find her rhythm as she had done in previous matches. Halep, 27, resembled a far more experienced player in this match — ultimately claiming a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

There is no doubt the 15-year-old stole the hearts of many during her Wimbledon run. She has proven herself as a rising force in tennis surpassing expectations with victories over seven-time major champion Venus Williams and tennis professional Polona Hercog.

A qualifier who ranked 313th, Gauff already exemplifies characteristics of a seasoned pro: tenacity, savviness, composure on and off the court, poise under pressure, and quick thinking on the court. The tennis phenom is definitely here to stay.

Gauff, a native of Atlanta, was the youngest player to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw in the modern era. She became the youngest player to reach the round of 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati in 1991.

This article originally appeared in the Rollingout.com.

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