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Bet On Black Founders are being the change they want to see

“For John Graves Productions (JGP), Betting on Black means promoting the work of black performance artists; sharing stories of black history and excellence through music, spoken word, and plays; and offering a platform for black artists to create, perform, and network with one another and the community at large.” – John W. Graves III, Founder & CEO of John Graves Productions, Inc. and HerestoCoolStuff

JGP Bets on Black by extending opportunities for Black artists to audition for stage plays, concerts, and many other performances. We also present plays that celebrate Black history and culture. For example, Black Kid Joy is a John Graves’ original production that chronicles a Black boy’s journey through time. He learns the antiquity of who he is, the importance of community, and the worth of it all.  Despite tragedy, his reflection serves as the perfect gift in time for the holidays. In addition to founding and operating John Graves Productions, John W. Graves III owns and operates Heres2CoolStuff, which is an online and Philadelphia based retail store. In connection with JGP, Heres2CoolStuff Clothing Store creates and sells a wide variety of afro-centric apparel that celebrates and honors Black history. The brand exemplifies unity, freedom, and the beauty of being Black. The apparel at Heres2CoolStuff as well as the individuals associated with the brand creatively express the fact that betting on Black is something we should all strive to do more often.

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“If you’re a business owner during this turbulent time in our history, my hat goes off to you. This is even more so if you are a business owner and also a person of color because it seems we shoulder the weight of not just surviving the setbacks of COVID19, but also systemic racism in our country. Some days it feels absolutely impossible to get ahead. Other days I’m hopeful because of the passionate clients we work with and the projects we work on. ” – Jessica Watson,  CEO of Points North Design Studio


I have always viewed the world through creative eyes, and the work that I do is an extension of that energy. I’m also active in the Baltimore community by participating in the Have a Nice Day Project, which donates coffee cup sleeves with positive messages to Baltimore cafes; 28 Days of Kindness, a global good deeds campaign; and Shine Your Light which sells T-shirts to benefit Community Law in Action. The Shine Your Light Baltimore project started out as a need to put one message out there for our city, that we are brighter together. This project is a collaboration between Points North and TheWaireHouse. We now have two murals in Baltimore, with what we hope are many more to come. We donate sales from proceeds to Outward Bound, which uses experiential education techniques in a supportive yet challenging environment to teach their students that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible.


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