Latest posts by Lauren Everett (see all)
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What title can you give a man who holds more than your average? From philanthropist, wellness master, advocate, entrepreneur, actor/TV host, chef and NBA Champion — one more title can’t break the camel’s back, right? That is why RYSE has the pleasure of donning John Salley with a new title: Chief Visionary Oracle.
RYSE (Pronounced Rise) is an Atlanta-based, multi-media tech company venturing into the rapidly growing video-streaming market. RYSE provides video on-demand programming targeted at multicultural audiences. RYSE recently launched a beta version of its mobile app and is currently expanding its library of movies, series and documentaries created by minority filmmakers and producers for multicultural millennials.
“We are excited to have John join our growing team. He not only has made a name for himself in the sporting arena, but has also expanded his brand into the entertainment industry, and therefore he brings a significant amount of expertise and relationships to the company,” states RYSE Founder and CEO, Jay Jackson.
Salley is no stranger to Georgia, graduating from Georgia Tech’s School of Management prior to being drafted into the NBA. After 15 years in the NBA, four championships and an aggressive on-court persona that earned him and fellow teammates the reputation of NBA “Bad Boys,” Salley has continued to tackle his career off the court with the same tenacity. He previously launched his own production company, a brand of Vegan Wines and made numerous television and movie appearances.
When asked about his interest in being involved with a start-up, Salley stated that since 1997, he has believed in a creative’s ability to own their own. Salley sees RYSE as a platform for creatives of color to tell their stories, without having to ask for acceptance from those who don’t relate to their stories. Stating, “Black Americans have been involved in the entertainment/movie industry since 1910. Something that most people don’t know is the Oscars – a very coveted award in this industry – was named after African-American director, Oscar Micheaux. People of color, specifically black people, have altered and have been a pillar in pop culture. Whether it’s jazz, hip-hop, R&B, movies, action, sports, politics – no other group of people have been more influential.”
So what about his title, Chief Visionary Oracle? As a visionary, one must have a vivid imagination and creativity. To be dubbed an oracle, one acts as a medium, wielding advice that is valuable to the organization. In this role, Salley will serve as a management adviser as RYSE closes on a current round of funding in preparation of their national expansion, and ultimately, international expansion.
“Without change nothing changes. With change, EVERYTHING changes.”
John Salley’s quote on Change only briefly scratches the surface of the values shared by RYSE.
“Every day you get up to a routine. When it comes to creatives, we must change that routine and that includes how we approach things. Stop asking for acceptance and create your own. When you look at people like Master P, Dr. Dre, and Spike Lee (with his first movie,) they all sought their passions and created them. Instead of asking for acceptance, they worked hard to get it done on their own terms, and it ultimately ended up being much better for them financially.”
Just like John, RYSE aims to be a part of the change the entertainment and media industries so desperately need, with regards to diversity and inclusion. Since the Oscars controversy in 2016, which ultimately led to the trending hashtag Oscar’s so white, Hollywood has worked to make steady progress in increasing the number of films being produced and distributed by minority filmmakers. Providing a streaming service like that of Netflix— one of RYSE’s objectives is to expand on that progress. RYSE seeks to bring diversity not only to the screen, but in the writer’s room, director’s chair, and to viewing audience as well.
“There are a significant number of creatives who have great stories that are going untold. Stories that have the potential to authentically connect with a niche audience. John shares our belief that people of color want to see, hear and understand themselves through the images they see on screen and that we [at RYSE] have an opportunity to amplify the voice of the individuals creating that content. For that reason, bringing John on board made perfect sense,” states Jackson.
RYSE is overwhelmingly pleased to welcome John Salley to the team. These small stepping stones are leading to a mountain of inclusion that only occurs with change. And to Salley and RYSE, that means everything!