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10 mins read

Jon Gosier’s FilmHedge is Democratizing Access to Film Investing

Jon Gosier is the Founder and CEO of FilmHedge, a financial lending platform for TV and film producers. FilmHedge provides solutions for both film financiers and producers looking to borrow.

In this interview, Gosier discusses his inspiration for creating FilmHedge, the company’s business model, and his goals for the future. He also shares his thoughts on the current state of the film and TV industry and the emerging technologies that are shaping its future.


What inspired you to create FilmHedge?

I’d been working in tech and VC for about 10 years and I’d learned how long it can take for a tech investment to pay out (usually 5 to 10 years), if ever as the fail-rate of seed-stage startups is like 99%.

After selling a company back in 2017, with a lot of new money to invest, I started to think about different asset classes to get involved in. I put some money into a movie, a $10 million sci-fi film called SKYLIN3S that repaid me my money with 15% interest in around 7 months. 

I couldn’t believe it. I have companies that I invested in in 2010 that I still haven’t seen a dime from! After that, I was convinced that scaling Film/TV lending was a huge opportunity I had to pursue.

Can you explain how FilmHedge’s business model and how it benefits filmmakers and investors?

FilmHedge is one of the largest and fastest growing private financiers of Film/TV productions. 10% of all major Film/TV productions in the United States apply for FilmHedge lending (Data source: MPAA, Box Office Mojo).

The real problem we solve is for institutional and accredited investors who want to allocate capital to Film/TV but in a risk-mitigated way. 

FilmHedge is a private credit platform, a lender, to TV and Film producers who need liquidity. We evaluate their productions based on pre-sales, distribution agreements, or tax incentives – all deals any filmmaker can negotiate before they even pick up a camera. If any of those are in place, FilmHedge advances up to $20 million in cash to a producer.

Our model is simple, if there’s a sales contract or tax incentive that’s worth say $5 million to the producer or production company. We’d advance say $4.8 million to the producer. When the receivable pays out, it pays us back instead of them.

Because we only offer debt, this allows producers to retain equity (the most valuable part of their ownership). So the problem we solve for TV/Film producers is we help them retain ownership and be more profitable. 

What criteria do you use to evaluate potential investment opportunities in the entertainment sector, and what strategies do you employ to mitigate risk?

A lot of inexperienced Producers think the way to make a movie is to ask as many rich people as they can find to invest money and hope for the best. This is incredibly risky and there’s very little recourse for an investor if they give a lot of money to a producer who may not do the right thing, or who may even do the right thing but ends up making a movie that isn’t ever distributed to the public.

In both scenarios, the investor is simply out their money. 

FilmHedge is a platform where films are financed after thoroughly being de-risked. Our team has been behind more than 35 feature film productions starring A-list talent, with budgets ranging between $5 million and $35 million. We’ve had zero defaults, incurred zero losses, and all of those films have made their way to places like Hulu, Netflix, Apple, Paramount, and national and international theatrical distributors.

We apply bank-grade underwriting and risk mitigation and apply it to independently financed productions.

This allows our institutional and accredited investors the opportunity to do something they normally wouldn’t have the risk tolerance for, financing Film and TV. 

How has the film and TV industry changed in recent years?

Business is booming. There has seriously been no better time in the history of Hollywood to be a creator. There are more places than ever for people to distribute content, to consume content, and more ways for that content to be funded (at every level).

Groups like our friends at Legion M make it possible for regular people to invest in movies and for any Producer to crowdfund their budget, BondIt and Buffalo 8 allow independent filmmakers a better path to get coverage on their scripts and an opportunity to be financed as well, allows aspiring creators to meet and match with financiers based on their investing preferences. 

All groups that do nothing like what FilmHedge does yet all of us are expanding opportunities for financing (and investing) in Film/TV.

On top of that, groups like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, Paramount, and others are on buying sprees to acquire as much independently produced finance as possible, or they license existing content libraries (legacy shows that already exist).

I say all this to say that there’s been an exponential growth in opportunity for everyone. This is what has created the opportunity for groups like FilmHedge to pop up only four years ago and become one of the largest and fastest growing private lenders in the space. We originate over $1 billion in loan applicants annually and each lending opportunity is around $10 million grossing 16-27% each.

It’s an incredible business for us. 

What current trends or emerging technologies in the entertainment sector excite you the most, and how do you see them shaping the future?

I think the best emerging technologies are related to A.I. specifically NeRF technology (Neural Radiance Fields) which allows one to ‘scan’ any photo or video of an environment and turn it into a fully immersive 3D space that can be manipulated in a computer.

When you couple that with XR Stages and LED Screens, it means you can very cheaply re-create any real-world location as a digital set without spending 1,000s of hours computing or spending on special FX.

This is going to greatly reduce the cost of producing everything from Film and TV shows to video games. I’m currently producing a film called COLLATERAL DATA where we’re experimenting with these technologies and it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!

What are your goals for FilmHedge in the next 5-10 years?

FilmHedge is already the fastest growing lender to Hollywood and we’re already on the path to be a unicorn company in the next 18-24 months based on revenues.

What is really accelerating is the sheer demand we now have from accredited investors who are looking for new places to invest. They might be angel investors or high net worth investors who have been used to writing checks to companies with a 99% fail rate like tech on a hope and dream and rarely ever seeing a return. 

When they learn they can write a check into an asset class that has a 99% success rate (the complete inverse of what they’re used to), earn double-digit interest returns, in less than 12 months from a platform with a demonstrable track record of returns (the content they’ve actually enjoyed at home on streaming channels or in theatres) it’s a no brainer. If nothing else it allows them to diversify into a new asset class beyond real estate and tech investing.

Our mission is to build a new financial operating system for Hollywood!

by Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

Tina Turner, Queen of Rock and Roll, Dies at 83

Tina Turner, the legendary singer and one of the most influential performers in music history, has died at the age of 83.

Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, in 1939. She began her career as a backup singer for Ike Turner before branching out to begin a solo career that would see her achieve even greater success.

Her solo career was launched with the release of her 1984 multi-platinum album, “Private Dancer.” The album spawned the hit singles “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and “Better Be Good to Me,” and won Turner a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. She went on to release several more successful albums, including “Break Every Rule” (1986), “Foreign Affair” (1989), and “Wildest Dreams” (1996).

Turner was a powerhouse performer with a commanding stage presence. She was known for her energetic live shows, which often featured elaborate costumes and choreography. She was also a gifted vocalist with a powerful voice that could belt out rock anthems or soulful ballads.

She was a pioneer for women in rock music and a true icon of music and culture. She broke down barriers and paved the way for other female artists. She was a Grammy Award-winning artist who sold over 200 million records worldwide. She was also a successful actress, appearing in films such as “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985) and “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” (1993).

She retired from music in 2009, but she continued to tour and perform until 2013. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and she received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2005.

Tina Turner was a force of nature. She was a talented singer, a powerful performer, and a survivor. She will be remembered as one of the most iconic and influential artists of all time.

2 mins read

Tyler Perry Signs Four-Film Deal With Amazon Studios

Tyler Perry has signed a four-film deal with Amazon Studios. Under the terms of the agreement, Perry will write, direct, and produce four films for Prime Video, which reaches more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

“I’m excited and grateful to start working with Amazon Studios to bring movies to Prime Video,” Perry said in a statement announcing the deal. “Jennifer Salke and the entire team have welcomed me with open arms. I’m looking forward to continuing telling unique stories and bringing my next projects to the global audiences that they reach.”

Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry

News of the deal comes amid a surge of recent successes for Perry. In 2021, Perry was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards and presented the Governor’s Award at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Perry’s last three films — “A Jazzman’s Blues,” “A Madea Homecoming” and “A Fall from Grace”— were released by Netflix. “A Fall From Grace” attracted a reported 26 million viewers to the streamer in its first week, while “A Madea Homecoming” marked the 12th installment of the wildly popular franchise, in which he stars, directs, writes and executive produces.

In September, Perry released his longtime passion project “A Jazzman’s Blues,” developed from his first screenplay written 27 years ago. He also directed and produced the historical drama, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

@Tony O. Lawson

1 min read

Black Owned Record Stores You Should Know

In the ’60s and ’70s, there were as many as a thousand Black owned record stores. Today, only a fraction of the US’s 2,500 record stores are Black owned.

Black Owned Record Stores

That’s why today, on Record Store Day 2022, we want to celebrate the culture of the independently owned records store by highlighting some stores located around the world.

Black Owned Record Stores

Brittany’s Record Shop (Cleveland, OH)

Freshtopia (Norfolk, VA)

Halsey & Lewis (Brooklyn, NY)

HR Records (Washington, D.C.)

Black Owned Record Stores

Jampac Records (Monroe, NC)

JB’s Record Lounge (Atlanta, GA)

Moodies Records (Bronx, NY)

Maestro Records (Peckham, London)

OffBeat (Jackson, MS)

Black Owned Record Stores

Re-Runz Records (Orlando, FL)

Serious Sounds (Houston, TX)

Stokely’s Records (Valdosta, GA)

Supertone Records (Brixton, London)

The Jazzhole (Lagos, Nigeria)


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2 mins read

AMP Global, Empowering Creators and Giving a Voice to Music Fans Across the Continent

Three-time Emmy-nominated producer and host Derrick N. Ashong is the CEO and co-founder of AMP Global Technologies, the company behind the Take Back the Mic (TBTM) app, and The Mic: Africa, the first interactive TV format born on the continent.

This tech-enabled entertainment company helps content producers build a direct relationship with their audience and be rewarded for discovering and sharing trending content.

amp global

The “AMP-powered series”, Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of Hip Hop was the first 100% fan curated series to get an Emmy nod, becoming a back-to-back Emmy Finalist for Outstanding Interactive Programing and proving itself in the market with deep engagement, media impressions, and ROI across Mobile, Digital, TV, VR and Live media.

AMP Global also gives brands and media companies deep insight into global youth audiences.

amp global

In this interview with Lucia and Derrick, we discussed:

  • The inspiration behind “The Mic: Africa”, the first interactive TV format on the African continent
  • Why the Take Back the Mic app, is sometimes described as “Netflix meets Instagram.”
  • How the Take Back the Mic app empowers artists and creators.
  • How the pandemic influenced a key feature of the app, benefiting users.

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Watch all 5 episodes of “The Mic: Africa” Season 1 and download the Take Back the Mic app at


Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

This Black Owned Media Company is on a Mission to Create Generational Wealth for Black Artists

Four Screens is a management, development, and production company that produces fresh new content celebrating under-represented voices.

“We give under-represented talent a chance to realize their full potential and for opening doors that have been shut or inaccessible in the past.  It isn’t enough to make diverse content, we have to change the way deals are financed, greenlit, constructed.” – Messiah Jacobs, CEO of Four Screens

The company also manages the Estate of music icon Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) and boxing Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier.

In this interview with Four Screens CEO, Messiah Jacobs, we discuss:

  1. What inspired the creation of his company
  2. Empowering Black artists while they are here and after they are gone
  3. The importance of intellectual property and why Black creatives should be more business minded.
  4. The $10 billion diversity opportunity and how Four Screen is positioned to play a larger role in it.
  5. The reason behind his decision to raise money through crowdfunding.

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2 mins read

Gil Scott-Heron Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2021 inductees, and among them is the pioneering singer/songwriter and poet Gil Scott-Heron who made socially and politically potent music in the 1970s that fused jazz with R&B and who—although he preferred to refer to himself as a “bluesologist”—is widely regarded as one of the earliest rappers.

Gil Scott-Heron

Recognizing Scott-Heron’s seminal role in the development of hip-hop, the Rock Hall honored him with an Early Influencer Award.

Scott-Heron is one of only a small number of Rock Hall inductees (so far) to have strong jazz connections. Over the 35 years of its existence, the Hall has also inducted Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Nat “King” Cole, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Dr. John, Quincy Jones, Nina Simone, and Dinah Washington. Only Charles, Davis, Dr. John, and Simone were inducted as performers; the others received either the same Early Influencer honor as Scott-Heron or (in Jones’ case) the Ahmet Ertegun Award for music-industry professionals.

In collaboration with keyboardist/songwriter Brian Jackson, Scott-Heron wrote and recorded 10 albums between 1971 and 1980 that featured a string of hugely influential songs, including “Pieces of a Man,” “Lady Day and John Coltrane,” “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” “The Bottle,” “Johannesburg,” “Angel Dust,” “We Almost Lost Detroit,” and—the track he remains best known for—”The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Gil Scott-Heron

Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been working on for years up to the time of his death, The Last Holiday, was published posthumously in January 2012. Scott-Heron received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He also is included in the exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) that officially opened on September 24, 2016, on the National Mall, and in an NMAAHC publication, Dream a World Anew.

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1 min read

Regina King to Produce and Star in Shirley Chisholm Biopic

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Regina King will be starring in and producing a biopic of America’s first Black congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm.

‘Shirley Chisholm’s fearless determination has been an inspiration to so many of us, and with this film, we hope to inspire many generations to come,’ King said in a statement about the project.

regina king
A political poster for 1972 United States Presidential candidate, Shirley Chisholm.

She will produce alongside her sister, Reina King, and fellow Academy Award winner John Ridley will serve as the film’s writer and director.

“To collaborate once again with my friend and mentor, John Ridley makes this decade-long journey even sweeter.”

Production on Shirley is set to begin later this year.


Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

7 Black Opera Singers You Should Know

Opera has a long and rich history, but it has not always been inclusive. For many years, Black opera singers were denied opportunities to perform on the world’s greatest stages.

Today, there are many Black opera singers who are dominating the stage, both nationally and internationally. These singers are breaking down barriers and inspiring a new generation of artists.

In this article, we will highlight seven Black opera singers who you should know. These singers are all incredibly talented and accomplished, and they are making significant contributions to the world of opera.

Black Opera Singers

J’Nai Bridges has been heralded as a rising star, gracing the world’s top stages in repertoire ranging from traditional favorites to world premieres to spirituals and standards.

Russell Thomas is an American operatic tenor. He has performed leading roles at some of the worlds leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the English National Opera, among others.

South African native, Sunnyboy Dladla made his successful BBC Proms debut in the 2018 festival with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle.


American-born tenor Lawrence Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world, and has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today”.

Pretty Yende, OIS is a South African operatic soprano. She has performed leading roles at opera houses internationally, including La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.

John Thomas Holiday, Jr., is an American operatic countertenor who has won several major music competitions and has appeared in supporting and leading roles with several American opera companies.


Pumeza Matshikiza, a Lyric soprano from South Africa graduated Cum Laude, then at the Royal College of Music, London with a full three-year scholarship and in the Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


Vuvu Mpofu taught herself to sing by mimicking the singers on two opera DVDs and, several years later, her talent was spotted by a voice coach. Now, the soprano has mentors in the world’s foremost opera companies.


Sir Willard Wentworth White, OM, CBE is a Jamaican-born British operatic bass baritone. In 1976, he made his London opera debut with English National Opera. He has since sung at the Met, Covent Garden, Paris Bastille, the opera houses of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the major European cities.

Solomon Howard is a graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He garners high praise from the press for his vivid performances on the great opera and concert stages of the world.

Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, young tenor Frederick Ballentine is a graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, and the Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.


by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Howard University Teams With Amazon Studios To Launch Howard Entertainment

Howard University and Amazon Studios have teamed to launch Howard Entertainment, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other marginalized populations to train and study alongside entertainment executives.

Howard Entertainment

The immersive program, which kicks off January 2020, will be two semesters and take place in Los Angeles. It will include a unique interdisciplinary curriculum and will also include hands-on work as well as an opportunity to network with Amazon’s industry partners.

It will offer Howard University students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship embedded in the entertainment industry during the summer semester. The coursework will be applied to the student’s graduation requirements.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.

Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next level collaboration will enable us to have even greater impact.”

Howard Entertainment

“Amazon Studios has been working to create new pathways into the industry for talented students of all backgrounds and we are proud to team with Howard on this new program supporting aspiring entertainment leaders” adds Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

“As we strive to delight our Prime Video customers, we’re ensuring there are diverse perspectives and experiences around the table to help us make the best decisions in all aspects of the business.”

Howard Entertainment

To qualify, students must be enrolled as a Howard University student, must be an upperclassman or graduate student and will have to complete an application and interview to be considered for the program.

Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This will give students to work in projects that offer “real world” application and will help students develop “work ready” skills prior to graduating.

Source: Deadline