Now, a few months later, Pharrell is launching a venture called Black Ambition, borrowing its title from that song’s opening lyrics. It is billed as “a non-profit initiative that will provide a bridge to success for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are launching tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products/services start-ups.”
According to the official press release, there will be two concurrent competitions to start the project and are scheduled to end in July 2021. The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize. For the HBCU prize, there will be a focus on ideation and deployment, and the grand prize is $250K. Eligible teams must have at least one HBCU student who identifies as Black or Latinx. However, that student can be currently enrolled, or it can be someone who is no more than two years removed from attending an HBCU, whether the student graduated or not. The second prize does not require a team member attend/to have attended an HBCU, is geared towards companies already in early-stage development. The winning team of this competition receives $1 million.
Working with the Neptunes’ frontman, there will be an advisory board. Some of the personnel includes The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in social impact and change. Virgil Abloh, whose initial artwork for Pop Smoke’s posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was infamously not well received, contributed to the logo and concept design. Black Ambition will also receive support from companies like Adidas and Chanel, which have worked with Pharrell in the past. There will even be a dedicated chocolate bar made by Tony’s Chocolonely, and part of the proceeds are slated to be put towards the organization.