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How Michael B. Jordan, GOAT and Converse Use Sneakers to Give Back

Sneakerhead haven GOAT has teamed up with “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan on a new charitable initiative.

On Monday, the pair announced a partnership in support of GirlTrek, a public health non-profit organization benefitting the health and wellbeing of African-American women and girls.

GOAT, a platform for the most in-demand sneakers and streetwear, will release five exclusive Nike and Converse footwear styles in collaboration with the award-winning actor. Each silhouette contains stylistic references to the actor’s favorite films, including “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Casino,” “Sandlot,” “Coming to America,” and “Last Dragon.”

Each style will be customized and reinvented by artist and cobbler Dominic Chambrone, known in sneakerhead circles as the Shoe Surgeon, and raffled off with proceeds benefiting GirlTrek.

Participants can enter the raffle by purchasing tickets through the GOAT app and beginning Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. PST, and closing on Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winners will be announced the following day.

“I’ve loved sneakers since I was a kid and there are so many people in the sneaker community that inspire me,” Jordan said in a statement. “Coming up at a time where I couldn’t afford all these kicks, I would use my imagination to think about what my sneaker would look like if I had a chance to build it.”

Sneakerhead haven GOAT has teamed up with "Black Panther" star Michael B. Jordan on a new charitable initiative.
Michael B. Jordan attending The Black Panther European Premiere at The Eventim Apollo Hammersmith London. Ian West/PA Wire URN:34853355 (Press Association via AP Images)

Jordan explained that designing sneakers has been a life-long goal, and his newfound relationship with Chambrone has allowed him to bring his visions to life in support of a worthy cause.

“I’m excited to partner with GOAT to showcase my custom kicks to a community that loves sneakers as much as I do,” he said. “More importantly, I’m excited to help bring awareness to the health movement amongst African-American women, a cause that’s close to me and my family.”

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GOAT, said co-founding CEO Eddy Lu, has always sought to support widely admired public figures like Jordan who aim to use their celebrity for good. “Michael is deeply involved within the community and we’re honored to partner with him on this project, which is intended to help empower African-American women and girls and enable them to be their greatest,” he added.

GirlTrek encourages women and girls of color to engage in walking as a primary, practical step toward embracing a healthy lifestyle. Jewel Bush, chief of external affairs for the non-profit, characterized a commitment to walking as “a declaration of self-care.”

“As the largest health movement for Black women in the country, it truly is a gift when Black men are passionate about Black women’s health and ready to join us on the frontlines,” she said.

Meanwhile, iconic American sneaker brand Converse is also expanding its efforts to help elevate its creative fans through its mentorship program.

Over the past two years, the Nike-owned company has been working to engage 3,000 emerging leaders and personalities in sports and culture across 27 cities across the globe. The Converse All Stars, as the group has been dubbed, has been helping to shape the brand’s voice and vision across social and digital platforms.

For the first time this fall, though, the company is inviting up to 250 creatives from the general public to join the All Stars team, and will be accepting submissions through November. Newly engaged members will have the opportunity to participate in the All Star Series, a suite of creative workshops, conversations and performances from individuals who have mastered their crafts. The most recent series featured actor and comedian Issa Rae, singer Lay Zhang, musician Tobe Nwigwe, Dazed Media creative director Jefferson Hack, Off-White CEO Virgil Abloh and designer Samuel Ross.

“We know there’s massive inequalities in access to careers within creativity,” Converse chief marketing officer Jesse Stollak said in a statement. “If we create new pipelines of experience, we can open an engine for youth opportunity.”

“With the All Star Series, we’re able to share this amazing creative curriculum,” he added. “The programming is designed to provide access to real-world advice, building confidence and getting valuable feedback on ideas.”

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. Her public appearances wearing Converse sneakers have boosted the brand's profile.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. Her public appearances wearing Converse sneakers have boosted the brand’s profile. AP Photo/Morry Gash

The expanded All Stars program has been supplemented by a $1 million commitment to an accelerator program called Converse All Star Captains, which aims to bolster the career development of individuals with especially promising talent. These 13 All Stars were handpicked for their ideas surrounding the advancement of sustainability, inclusivity, diversity and youth development. The committee includes James Mathew and Ifeoma “Ify” White-Thorpe, Harvard College’s student body president and vice president, respectively, whose collective work on an undergraduate council campaign went viral in November.

In October, All Stars will be asked to submit their proposals to the brand’s creative network, and beginning next year, the first class of Captains will receive funding for a year’s worth of work on advancing their ideas. They will also have access to mentorship from others in the Converse creative network, and will ultimately help select future All Stars.

“This generation creates with intent—they’re operating with an urgency and focused on where the world needs change,” Stollak said. “We want to champion ideas that create more opportunity to accelerate this impact.”