Growing up as an African American, it’s uncommon to see those who appear to be you’ve gotten precise possession of something, even inside our communities. The African American Sports and Entertainment Group has a plan to change this in East Oakland, California.
Led by Co-founder, Oakland native and US Marine Corps veteran Ray Bobbitt, AASEG formally got here to be in the summer time of 2020. And since then have set the wheels in movement to doubtlessly deliver skilled basketball again to Oakland in the kind of a WNBA franchise and purchase an NFL team for the metropolis.
One goal for AASEG in buying the first majority black-owned NFL franchise is to pour cash and sources again into the group round the Oakland Coliseum complicated and East Oakland. Along with two skilled sports activities groups, the group seems to present high quality reasonably priced housing for the group, jobs, a corridor of fame museum celebrating the artists, athletes, and entertainers of Oakland, a brand new stadium and conference middle, and a Black-owned enterprise district.
Having grown up in the Bay Area myself and dwelling in Oakland for a interval, I do know the satisfaction in and round Oakland, so it’s encouraging to see a gaggle of those who know the group taking the lead in giving again to their group in such a method. I not too long ago spoke with Mr. Bobbitt about the venture and what it means for him to be a component of this and do it in his yard, for his group.
“For people to really understand the importance of it and the way I feel about it is to understand the area in the neighborhood and in the communities surrounding the Coliseum,” Bobbitt defined.
“So, it’s probably one of the most impacted and marginalized communities in the country. So, it’s one of those things where, you know, the Coliseum for so long has been a place of civic pride, with all of our iconic sports teams. Obviously, with the Oakland Raiders being born here, and the Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors have won so many championships here. So, we’ve had a lot of parades here and a lot of pride. But those three teams also with concerts and everything created an economic opportunity to supplement income in an area like this.”
“My brother and sister both work concessions. And me as an entrepreneur in my family, I sold things around the Coliseum. So, I was the kid you would see out there selling water bottles if it was hot and selling small umbrellas if it was raining. So, I’ve always had an economic relationship with the Coliseum site. I love the Raiders. I’m a huge fan. But my relationship with the team was me being on my grandmother’s roof, being able to watch the fireworks when they won. But it’s always been more of an economic relationship with that site. So, me as an adult at this point, to be able to be in a position to create a economic vehicle at that site that can help revitalize this community is just a blessing.”
Bobbitt and AASEG took one step nearer to engaging in their purpose final week when the Oakland metropolis council voted unanimously to enter an unique negotiating settlement (ENA) with the group. So, now AASEG, in partnership with Loop Capital (largest African American-owned funding banking agency), has 18-months (plus 6-month extension) to negotiate a deal for management of the 100-acre Oakland Coliseum web site.
There is nonetheless rather a lot of work left to do, however since the AASEG group was fashioned lower than 18-months in the past, they’ve made great strides in making this dream a actuality. It hasn’t been straightforward, and it’s definitely taken a team effort on the half of everybody concerned. Just a few years in the past, the group initially got here collectively from a standard curiosity in combating to maintain the Raiders in Oakland.
“And so, as we sort of went through the process, it became sort of more easier to outline the framework or objective because we were looking at it like 75 percent of the players in the NFL are African American, but there’s no owners,” Bobbit stated.
Along with Ray Bobbitt, the AASEG Oakland Coliseum venture partnership is led by group leaders like Shonda Scott, CEO and founder of 360 Total Concept, Robert Bobb, the former City Administrator and Deputy Mayor for Washington, D.C., and President & CEO of the Robert Bobb Group LLC, Alan Dones who is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of SUDA LLC, AASEG co-founder Karim Muhammad, basketball super-agent Bill Duffy, and LaNiece Jones the Founder of LA Jones & Associates and President of the BWOPA Oakland/Berkley chapter. These are just some of the names main the cost in restoring the group in Oakland with this Coliseum venture.
Another major factor is the group fairness facet of the venture. AASEG is on the floor in these Oakland communities round the Coliseum web site doing the work and exhibiting their dedication by not solely telling Oakland residents their plan however actively exhibiting their intentions. AASEG is working with these completely different group leaders and has given them fairness stake inside the firm, which is able to ultimately flip into extra sources and larger outreach for the group.
While there is nonetheless a method to go, this venture might be the lifeline that East Oakland has been in search of for many years. East Oakland is one of the extra impoverished and underrepresented communities in the nation. The AASEG is on the brink of offering one thing that may profit their group for generations to come. By bringing in skilled sports activities groups, jobs, education schemes, and high quality reasonably priced housing, amongst different issues, they’re additionally offering folks possession inside the group. As black folks in America, that’s one thing we now have little or no of even in our personal neighborhoods.