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Black Lives Matter Licensing movement gains momentum

A further two executives from Universal Brand Development and US-based Savvy Synergies come on board, as industry shows it is ‘ready to take action’.

The Black Lives Matter Licensing movement is continuing to grow, with a further two executives coming on board, including one which expands the movement into the US.

Kim Saxelby (pictured right), senior design manager at Universal Brand Development, is on board to help build the framework for the movement’s licensing programme.

In addition, New York-based Shontae Savage (pictured left) will be leading the licensing initiative in the US.

Shontae – who has almost 20 years’ experience in the licensing business representing brands including NFL, CBS, Showtime and DC Comics – is the founder of consulting company, Savvy Synergies which focuses on filling the void for licensed products for African American IP.

“Being an African American, I am personally aware of the unmet needs of the African American consumer and fan base of Black IPs,” Shontae commented. “I have focused my efforts to create cultural-focused licensing programmes around Black IP and fulfilling the pinned-up consumer demands of historically over-looked Black IPs and its fan base in licensing.

“This movement is something I am passionate about and it is the experience I have lived with. I am keen to help this real cause for change – I hope to lend my real life experience and my extensive experience in licensing to represent this niche market from a culture-centric approach.”

Kim continued: “I am excited and honoured to be joining such a talented and passionate team. I can’t wait to get started and can hopefully bring my experience to make positive change not only to our industry but to this social injustice issue which is very important to me.”

Earlier this year, Simta Sawhney, category director at ViacomCBS Consumer Products UK, Hannah Miles, md of Fashion UK and Ravina Mehta, graphic designer at BB Designs joined the BLM Licensing committee.

Saphia Maxamed, who is co-leading the Black Lives Matter Licensing movement, believes it is clear that the industry is ready to take action.

“We have been working solidly on a framework for the licensing programme for a year and having key talents from major licensors being at the forefront of the work we are doing is a testament to what we as an industry can do together when the subject matter touches all of us,” she commented. “If you really think about it, this industry is uniquely positioned to send the message in every household on a global scale though consumer products. That puts us in a place of responsibility and the industry understands that.”

Christina Jordean from Black Lives Matter UK is also “thrilled” with the support from the licensing industry.

“We are very happy that Kim and Shontae have joined us,” she offered. “We have been candid that we need to work with our allies. Kim is passionate about making the change, Black Lives Matter is something that is very important to her. Shontae is a key member of the team for us, she is a great addition who understands black culture from an African American perspective.”

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