*The name Solomon ‘RC’ Ali might seem obscure to you right now, but if you’re at the high end of technology and use your phone as a means to lock or unlock the door to your house, his name should ring a bell. Pun intended. You’ve seen the commercials: A FEDEX, UPS, or Amazon delivery person rings your doorbell. You’re not home, but your phone, and its camera, alerts you that someone is there. “May I help you?” you ask. “I have a delivery,” is the response. At this point you can unlock your door, allow them to place the package inside, and lock the door when they leave.
Thing is: you’re in Tahiti. Something they will never know!
What about this scenario: Porch pirates! Someone rolls up on a bike and decides to help themselves to the packages left on your porch. Having the right technology would at least allow you to see who the culprit was.
Revolutionary Concepts, one of Solomon Ali’s two companies, owns the intellectual property as well as the patents to this technology. In fact, Ali, who has been listed multiple times in Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 100 Black American Entrepreneurs” currently holds sixteen live and active patents that his company licenses out to retailers including Amazon, Livewatch Security LLC, Alarmforce NC Inc. and SkyBell.
…and that’s just to name a few.
In a telephone interview with EURweb publisher, Lee Bailey, Mr. Ali talks about his journey and his desire to help African American entrepreneurs and business owners bring their ideas and concepts to fruition.
“Revolutionary Concepts is just a company that I manage…I’m the CEO. The Intellectual Properties that it holds is 2-way audio/video locking and unlocking of the doors. That’s the technology. We hold a bunch of different patents for that particular technology. We license that technology out to all types of companies… a bunch of different licensees (and) sub-licensees.”
So that’s one company.
Ali also heads the company Universal Bio Energy, an independent diversified energy company incorporated in August 2004. Reuters states the company’s primary business is the production, marketing, and sales of natural gas, propane, coal, petroleum, (Bonnie Light Crude Oil), liquefied natural gas (LNG), refined petroleum products, including jet fuel (JP-54 and Jet A-1), D2 Gas Oil/Diesel Fuel, and electricity. Through its subsidiary, NDR Energy Group LLC, it has contracts to sell natural gas to around 31 public utilities, electric power producers and local gas distribution companies that serve commercial, industrial, and residential customers throughout the United States.
“I raised and arranged lots of financing for that company to grow its business,” Ali tells Lee Bailey when speaking of UBE. “It’s a $60-70 million dollar energy company. That’s approximately what we did in sales last year.
…and check this:
A panel on the popular investment TV show, Shark Tank, had denied the video-doorbell when it was pitched to them in 2013. You know they are kicking themselves…still.
But I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s backup a minute, shall we?
Sure Solomon Ali holds major degrees from esteemed universities. But from his conversation with Mr. Bailey, it’s easy to sense his most valuable and appreciated lessons came from The School of Hard Knocks; where one particular hard knock inspired him to make two drastic, personal changes. One: shed his birth name (Richard Carter) like a layer of old skin, and two: change his ways — from a self-titled “dictator” to a more peaceful and compassionate person.
He explains…“Well, I was running a fairly large business. We had just under 500 employees and we were doing quite a bit in revenue. All of a sudden, after many years of being in business, I had some regulatory issues which later they stated, ‘Well, we’re sorry. That was a mistake. And those mistakes are very costly to one in business because they don’t pay you for those mistakes. All they can say is ‘we’re sorry’ and turn around and tell you that you have the right to sue them. Well it’s kind of hard to sue a government agency and it takes a lot to sue one, and it also takes a lot of time….So the apology was enough, since I really didn’t have the resources to go after them.”
Mr. Ali believes the problems came about because, as he puts it, “some people wanted more money and a bigger stake in the company.”
Cut to the chase: He lost the business — a chain of successful nursing homes, with assets valued at $100M dollars, and subsequently spiraled into a spell of depression, which forced him to self-reflect. A man of deep Christian faith he started to entertain thoughts such as, when I was on top running my multi-million-dollar business, how did I treat my employees? What kind of boss was I?
He wasn’t pleased with what he saw. In his eyes it didn’t reflect the Christian way. He realized these people have families. They have their own lives.
“After I lost that I turned around and walked on some barges. I didn’t want anything to do with business whatsoever. At all! Under no circumstances because I felt like, “Wow, I did everything right. I did everything I was supposed to do. I’d worked 7 days a week, 15, 16 hours a day for 8, 9 years only to have that to be the outcome through no fault of my own.”
Fortunately, and thanks to friends who had witnessed his business savvy up close, Ali didn’t have the “luxury” of remaining depressed. Business needed him! Friends started asking for his help to raise money for their ventures. They wanted him to share his expertise on how to go about taking their idea(s) to the monetizing stage.
After a bit of resistance, he agreed to negotiate with lenders on their behalf and share his expertise on building a presentable package, but made sure they knew that they would have to do the heavy lifting.
He tells Lee Bailey:
“So I guess what we’re talking about is how do I help other entrepreneurs or business owners take their idea from where it is and take it through the different stages to developing a true business that’s scalable. How do we take it to a business that they can live on, with employees, and have it benefit our society?”
“I think the best way to go into that is to state that when I look into a business or anything, I look at what service or problem have they solved? Take it from a biblical standpoint,” he adds.
Clearly, Solomon Ali’s vision going in is not only how the business will benefit a particular company, but what does it do to benefit society. This is how he assists minorities in particular and all business owners in general, in upgrading their business models. With his expertise businesses are now able to secure their intellectual properties, raise funding, form strategic alliances, bring their products to market and make them scalable.
At the end of the day, Solomon ‘RC’ Ali wants entrepreneurs and business owners out there to know this: “You would find me when you are looking to grow your business. How do you strategically grow your business within the marketplace? And then second, you would look for me to help you arrange financing through either banks or different investors. Bringing them to the table and sharing with them why they should invest and things of that nature.
Ali states further, something extremely important; and something this writer and many of you have cringe-watched on Shark Tank pitches time and again. “A lot of business owners have no idea of what they should give up. Whether they should do what’s called an Equity deal with investors, whether they should do a Debt deal with banks or investors? Some that think they may know, they realize they have no idea what they should give up.”
Ali lays out an all-too-familiar scenario…
“You go to a venture capital company and what do they do? They want to take controlling interest in everything because it’s their capital. So, I’m kind of that buffer,” he says. “One: You have to respect the money, because they bring great value to the table, and if you respect the money you’ll have access to more money down the road. And two, you have to understand what the money is looking to get in your deal, but also as their exit out of your deal. So, they are looking for a particular return on capital, they’re also looking for that return on investment. Things of that nature. So let’s break it down”: They are looking to the net present value…how long do they have to be ‘in’ before they see a return, and how do they get out? Is this a safe venture for them? How is their money protected?”
It is precisely this kind of expertise that Solomon ‘RC’ Ali uses to bridge the gap. With his assist, the entrepreneur is educated on how to build an all-around package that can be presented to a bank or investor with confidence.
For more information on Solomon ‘RC’ Ali, his companies Revolutionary Concepts and Universal Bio Energy, go to at https://www.solomonrcali.info/
About writer DeBorah B. Pryor:
Former personal assistant to funk legend, Sly Stone, DeBorah B. Pryor began her journalism career backstage at the Apollo in New York City 45 years ago. She has been a writer with the Electronic Urban Report (EURweb) since 2003. As a senior editor with the site, she has written hundreds of articles including theatre reviews, features, profiles and even served as editor of the publications’ blog site, EURThisNthat, writing daily news articles. In May 2018 her first nonfiction book, AREN’T YOU SCARED: Lessons from a Lady Rideshare Driver was published. Learn more about her at lessonsfromaladyridesharedriver.com or on social media sites Facebook: DeBorah B. Pryor, Instagram: deborah.b.pryor and Twitter: @pryor_deborah
Nigerian Bread Seller Lands Modeling Contract After Photobombing Rapper’s Shoot
She was discovered on the streets of the city of Lagos by international photographer Ty Bello, who was shooting with English rapper Tinie Tempah. Unintentionally, Orisaguna came out in one of the images.
Days later, Bello shared pictures from that shoot on his social media but with interest of finding out who the bread seller was in the photo.
“WHO IS SHE? Everyone has been asking if this lady is a model… She definitely SHOULD be a model… I’ll find a way to track her down somehow. You guys can also help,“ the photographer captioned the post.
BEATIFULX : WHO IS SHE.Every one has been asking if this lady is a model .. It was just perfect coincidence … She just happened to be walking by while I photographed . It happened so fast .She definitely SHOULD be a model. .. I’m happy to help her build a portfolio if she’s interested .She’s so beautiful and photographed so well. I’ll find a way to track her down somehow . You guys can also help #lagos #doesanyonerecognizeher #okunorentwins #tinietempah @thisdaystyle #lagos #phaseone
As PEOPLE notes, from that moment on, her life changed forever. In less than a year, Orisaguna managed to sign contracts with recognized agencies. Earlier this year, she wrapped up her tour of South Africa and she also launched a vlog and reality show.
“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” she told CNN. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success.”
In March, she celebrated the one year anniversary of her discovery. In an exclusive interview with Pulse in January, Orisaguna spoke about the people who have been influential in her rise to fame. During the interview, she thanked Azuka Ogujuiba of ThisDay Newspaper, as she was instrumental in Olajumoke’s success story.
Orisaguna, who left her two children and husband to sell bread, is now being offered by a bank to pay for her kid’s education through college.
‘Origin of Everything’ on PBS Sparks Interest with Controversial & Everyday Topics (EUR Exclusive!)
*“Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org, has been exploring topics since 2017 that run the gamut. The show jumps into a variety of subjects by investigating daily life like the words we use, pop culture, and why we are hooked on technology.
The show does not shy away from controversial topics such as slavery, race and ethnicity, and mass incarceration of African Americans.
Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., the host and lead writer of “Origin of Everything,” told the EUR in a recent interview that the series is about making people think beyond the restrictive ways we have been taught to view history.
“It’s a show about our collective story and how we are envisioning history,” Dr. Bainbridge said. ”How do we think about history that includes all of us and just not the figures and facts that we were taught in school. So, it’s a show about under told and underrepresented history. We’re trying to make history feel very present to the people who watch it.”
She continued, “One of the reasons to watch it is if you’re curious about how did we get to our current moment? How do small things such as why do we eat popcorn at the movies or what is the origin of ethnicity and how do these things still impact the way we think about the world?”
DOIN’ GOOD IN THA HOOD: Michael B. Jordan Partners with LyftUp to Provide Free Rides to Underserved Communities
Deftly equipped to talk about controversial topics, Dr. Bainbridge holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English & Theatre Arts. She is also a faculty member at Northwestern University in Theatre and African American Studies
In early 2017, when she was a graduate student, she was contacted by PBS about working on the show and thought it was a joke.
“When they first reached out to me, I thought it was a hoax,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I was thinking how would they even know who I am because I was a graduate student? But I think they found me through a since defunct janky website that I had set up. They reached out to me, I auditioned, did a screen test, and a writing sample and after that I was hired to help develop the show.”
Viewers are encouraged to be interactive with the series because it is digital. With instant commentary from the audience, the show knows immediately what viewers think, which for the most part is positive. However, when it delves into controversial subject matters things can get sticky.
“I would say overall people are pretty positive about the series because most of the folks who watch it are longtime watchers who tune in every week for episodes,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “The only exception is if we cover more sensitive topics like, race, gender, or sexuality we will get some pushback. I think that’s just the cost of doing business with open discourse.”
One of the most controversial shows was about the transatlantic slave trade.
“We did one episode on why Europeans enslaved Africans and that was probably our most viewed episode as well as our most critiqued one,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I think often times if you view yourself as pretty well versed in history from what you learn in school and then you learn something that goes in the opposite direction it can be jarring or for some people upsetting. We think of it as our value or service to our audience to present accurate history or history that doesn’t get told that often so that people can be informed with the whole picture.”
She added that she has an answer for those who point out that Africans sold slaves to Europeans.
“Slavery was not invented with West Africans and Europeans,” Dr. Bainbridge continued. “Some form of enslavement – whether through war, becoming a prisoner of war, or through different systems – goes back to ancient societies from around the world. So, it is not distinct to West Africa or Europe or any other region of the world.”
Dr. Bainbridge added, “But the difference with this particular moment in slavery was that it intersected with capitalism in a way that was very different with slavery that preceded it. People were taken into the system and their children inherited their status as a slave and that is where the differences started to emerge. We have to think about these things as distinct only because the system that existed with chattel slavery was so radically different than the slavery that existed around the world beforehand.”
With the ongoing protests against police brutality, “Origin of Everything” has also tackled the racist beginnings of United States law. Dr. Bainbridge breaks down the discriminatory history by looking at colonialism, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and mass incarceration.
“I decided to write this episode about legal discrimination, and I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind,” she said. “As I started doing the research it was overwhelming. I started to find (material) that just dealt with legal discrimination about black people in this country from its origin to now. I thought it was something that people needed to know.”
“I was never taught in any history class that I took through high school any of the information from that episode. I was taught that things are fair and that a lot of the blame was placed inadvertently or inherently on black communities, impoverished communities, or communities that struggle. When I saw that in some ways the law was stacked against black people and certain other populations, I thought that was important to bring to light. In this moment, people are looking for reliable sources and this could add to the conversation.”
New episodes of “Origin of Everything” are available on PBS.org and the PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube Channel. Join the conversation by visiting Twitter-@PBSOrigin and Instagram-@pbsoriginofeverything.
THE REAL: Garcelle is in the Hot Seat About Jamie Foxx! / WATCH
*On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the ladies of The Real have some follow-up questions for co-host Garcelle Beauvais after her revealing conversation with Jamie Foxx on her podcast.
In an outrageous Girl Chat, Garcelle reveals some shocking secrets, and admits she could be interested in a relationship with her former co-star!
Ravi Patel visits to talk about his new HBO Max docuseries, Ravi Patel’s Pursuit Of Happiness, and reveals how he would like to create his own neighborhood.
Rapper YelloPain drops in to explain what inspired him to come up with the song “My Vote Don’t Count,” and the message he wants to get out to young voters.
And Florida teacher Edith Pride explains why she stood up at a Palm Beach County school board meeting to scold parents on their behavior during their children’s distance learning classes, and the responses she has gotten. The hosts of The Real have a special gift for her!
The Ladies Have Some Follow-Up Questions For Garcelle About Jamie Foxx!
Loni Love: Last week, Jamie Foxx, who was your coworker since 1996… y’all were in your little Jamie Foxx Show…
Adrienne Houghton: I loved it.
Loni: He was on your podcast. Your lovely podcast, Going to Bed With Garcelle. And he admitted that you two probably should have been together! And then – this was all on the podcast, because I was listening, I was like, “Ooh, Jamie, really?” – and he also said that every time like y’all did a movie, and you tried to hook up, you had a boyfriend and he was always mad when you had another dude, and he was acting like real funny. And so then you really responded like –
Loni: …Why didn’t you all get together – oh, y’all gotta listen to her podcast, it was good, right? And then you said that Jamie Foxx – you said, “How we gonna be together?” He hung like a horse! I was like, “What’s wrong with that?” So, I just want to know, Garcelle, what’s going with y’all two?
Garcelle Beauvais (laughing): Adrienne’s face! Oh, look at Jeannie!
Jeannie Mai (ear pressed to the camera): Come on! I got some things to know!
Garcelle: Mind your business, Loni. (laughing). Listen, he and I we have such a great friendship. And when he and I were doing The Jamie Foxx Show we sort of had a pact like we weren’t going to date while we’re working together, right? So two weeks before we were done with our hundredth episode, which was amazing in itself, I got engaged! And he was like, “You couldn’t wait! You couldn’t wait two weeks?” So we’ve had a great friendship, I love him, but you know, sometimes like if we got together we probably wouldn’t be the friends that we are right now. What, what are you doing this for Jeannie?
(Jeannie is raising her hand)
Jeannie: Yeah, yeah, I got a question! Anyway, anyway, Garcelle!
(Garcelle is laughing)
Jeannie: How you know how he’s hung?!
(Loni starts laughing)
Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!
Garcelle: We did a hundred –
Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!
Garcelle: -episodes, right? Every now and then he’d have to like rip off a pair of pants, or some kind of, you know, comedic, you know, act, or whatever, however you want to say it. And it came out, honey. It rolled out.
(So much laughter)
Jeannie: Oh my god!
Garcelle: I love him so much!
Adrienne: Wait! I have more asks!
Garcelle: Never say never! But who knows.
Adrienne: You said what were you gonna do with that! And… and, and.. I’m just curious. Is that not your thing? You’re like, no, it’s too much, like?
Garcelle: It’s a bit much!
Adrienne: Oh Lord Jesus.
Garcelle: I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much.
Loni: OK, all right.
Garcelle: Listen to the podcast! Look at Jeannie!
Loni: Listen to the podcast!
(Jeannie is climbing back into her chair)
Jeannie: Can we end the show?
Jeannie: Y’all are single now! Why can’t you do the thing?
Jeannie: Why can’t… I don’t get it!
Garcelle: I don’t know! I mean – I don’t know, I don’t know. I think we’re too much in the Friendzone. I don’t know. But let me tell you – he’s a great kisser. Great kisser.
Jeannie: What are we doing?!!!
Adrienne: These are are reasons for Yes!
Jeannie: What are we doing?
Garcelle (fanning herself): Oh my god, I’m so hot.
Adrienne: You’re literally telling me he’s got everything great about him, but – but… ok, this is real Girl Chat and we keep it very real.
Garcelle: Yes, it’s real.
Jeannie: OK, Garcelle, Garcelle, no, no…
Adrienne: Not just that thing.
Jeannie: Focus this, focus… are you…
Garcelle: So if he asked me out, I would say yes. Can I leave it there?
About THE REAL
THE REAL is a live daily, one-hour, two-time NAACP Image Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated talk show now in its seventh season on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network Bounce. The bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, Garcelle Beauvais and Emmy® Award-winners Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, all frankly say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about their personal lives, current events, beauty, fashion and relationships (nothing is off limits). Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite viewers to reflect on their own lives and opinions. Fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have made THE REAL a platform for multicultural women. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, THE REAL is led by Executive Producer, Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) and Co-Executive Producer Tenia Watson (Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, WGN-TV Morning News, Just Keke, The Test) and shot in Los Angeles, California.
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