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Former NFL Player is Expanding Brand Into A Sports Bar Concept

Updated: Jan 7

Sports bars are a go-to option in the world of casual public kickbacks. From the vast drink options to the relaxed and pressure-free environment, people often feel a sense of connection, camaraderie, and comfort in those places.

Now imagine adding an uplifting aura of cannabis to that picture. The vibes would elevate as patrons endeavor to eat, drink, and roll in the same place.

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams is on a mission to make this concept a reality with his cannabis brand, Highsman.

According to Boardroom, Williams launched his cannabis brand to provide sports fans and herb enthusiasts an opportunity to have a more personal relationship with the flower and spark greatness.

For Williams, sparking greatness is vital for him and his business model. He admits that when he consumes the herb, he is more aware and in tune with details. While hosting an event for his cannabis brand during a Monday Night Football game, he described to Boardroom that exact feeling.

“When I consume cannabis, I get more focused on the little details. So, it becomes more interesting."

The now 45-year-old promotes Highsman by visiting the dispensaries that offer his flower and apparel to host meet-and-greets. Williams has since advanced that concept by hosting immersive live events to create more in-depth connection points with his customer base.

William’s in-person social events are critical to his ongoing branding plan.

“Americans are used to the sports bar, so this is a similar kind of thing where you can come and consume with other people and enjoy sports together,” Williams said to the outlet. “This concept allows people to relax and create. There’s the power of the plant that’s also great for creativity. Everyone is more relaxed, open, and talking. That’s the magic happening. Most of us, our favorite songs, our parents’ favorite songs, were probably written or created in an altered state.” Lover of Culture. Curator of Motivation. Advocate for Equity. Josh Rodgers is a writer and content creator originally from Memphis, TN. Along with AfroTech, Josh's work can be seen on Blavity News, Travel Noir, Shadow & Act, and Buzzfeed. When he isn't writing, he can be found on the mic as the co-host and founder of The Jigsaw Podcast - a platform dedicated to helping Black millennials attempt to navigate the craziest puzzle piece ever created, life. Raised in Gary, IN, and having a mother who is a singer, the rising R&B singer found herself gravitating to the art. Although Noelle was initially focused on basketball, she joined a singing group she met during gym class at her performing arts high school. From there, Noelle found herself exploring music more on her own. However, without money for studio time and transportation, she was on a tight budget. Initially, she bought studio equipment but found it to be too challenging to learn. The dilemma turned Noelle to leverage what she had — her iPhone. She remembered making movies via iMovie in high school and figured that she could also use the editing program to make music. “I looked it up on YouTube and saw Steve Lacy and a whole bunch of other people and they taught me what to do,” Noelle recalled to AfroTech. “I tried it and uploaded it to SoundCloud, and it ended up getting 5,000 plays. And they were like, ‘What studio do you go to?’ And I’m just like, ‘I make this on my phone.’” After officially making the pivot from basketball to music, Noelle would record for hours on end after work both at home and in the car.

“I knew I wanted to do music after I graduated from college,” she said. “I got kicked off the basketball team in college. I went on a scholarship, got kicked off, and I’m the type of person, if I can’t be successful in one thing, I’ll be successful in another. I had picked up [music] as a hobby in high school. So, I’m familiar with it and people liked me. I was doing it a little, but then when I graduated college, I’m like, ‘I can’t find [any] jobs. I can’t do anything.’ I was working at Papa Johns, and Dollar General, but always working on my music.” Although Noelle quickly found her groove, thanks to utilizing her phone — she admits that in the early stages of her musical journey she struggled with caring about others’ opinions. “I can say at first, I was uncomfortable because I’m a perfectionist. I didn’t know how people would really take to me recording on a phone. When I used to say it, they would be like ‘Oh that’s cool, but are you going to get in the studio?’” Thankfully, Noelle stuck to her “unorthodox” way of recording music because it led her to meet her team at LVTRRAW, a production, and management company. In addition to securing a team, Noelle landed the support of YouTube after becoming a part of the YouTube Music Foundry Class of 2022. As previously reported by AfroTech, the program provides independent artists with seed funding to develop their content and partner support to grow.

“YouTube has taken a weight off my shoulders,” Noelle expressed. “The most rewarding thing to me is the funding that they put behind it because it gives me an opportunity to just freely express myself creatively without worrying about how I’m going to do [things],” she continued. “The wild visions that I have, because of YouTube and the Foundry program, I’m able to still put those into play and I don’t have to just put them on the back burner.”

Source: AfroTech

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