Happy Black History Month, ya’ll! As a black-owned and women-owned business that develops games, merch, and original content strictly for the culture, we think it goes without saying that we’re Black 365! From day one we’ve made it our mission to build our brand through the hiring and collaborative efforts of black professionals and creatives and we are constantly looking for ways to do more. We’ve recently celebrated our 4 year anniversary with a rebrand and have collaborated with more POC creatives than ever before. So as part of our black history month celebration, we wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge the oh-so-talented individuals we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past year.
As you probably already know, the University of Dope brand runs purely on black girl magic. And if you don’t know, now you know. Created by two dope lady MCs, AV Supreme (A.V. Perkins) and Skinni Bee (Marian Andoh), the brand has since expanded to include Graphic Designer, Martina Wilson aka Director of the Illmatic Illustrations, Events Coordinator, Whitney Robinson aka Director of the Kickback, and Merchandiser Kristin Satawhite aka Director of the Drip. Each who have and continue to help us build and expand the UDOPE Universe.
Shine a light on ‘em!
Outside our amazing team, we've had the unique opportunity to incorporate black-owned business throughout our entire rebranding process. From our website developers to our legal team, here’s a shout out to the amazing talents that helped us take UDope to the next level.
Deans of Hip Hop Portraits
Pope Phoenix, William Pope
As if we weren't already cute in real life, we went and had illustrated portraits made of us too. We had the honor of getting our portraits illustrated by the brilliant Pope Phoenix, a self-taught, Bronx-born art director, illustrator, and motion designer known for his work with major brands like Essence, Time Inc, and BET. As a fellow lover of Hip Hop, Pope Phoenix flawlessly brought our “Deans of Hip Hop” concept to life. We’re definitely looking to collaborate on more projects in the future. Check out Pope’s Instagram for more of his work.
New Decks on Deck
Brothas N Sistas, Arielle Wilkins
Understanding the impact made by some of Hip Hop’s most iconic album covers, we wanted to bring that same thoughtfulness into the design of our new game packaging. “We wanted a design so dope that customers would buy 2 decks; one for playing and one for displaying,” says University of Dope Co-Founder, A.V. Perkins. But it was most important to us that our packaging told a story and truly deepened the customer’s overall experience. Already being huge fans, we reached out to Arielle Wilkins, a New York-based art director and creator of the illustration brand, Brothas N Sistas. Using her signature aesthetic of colorfully vibrant illustrations, Arielle leveled up our branding by transforming our original Black and white card box into a collector-worthy piece of art. She even incorporated a few “Easter Eggs” of hip hop references right into the box design, giving our brand an even deeper connection to its Hip Hop origins. Arielle also designed our upcoming R&B expansion pack, “Anatomy of R&B,” coming May 2020. Pre-order now available here.
Website Revamp “aka” UDU (UDope Universe)
In 2020, We revamped our website with the intentions of providing a central portal for all things UDope, sort of like a UDope universe. We contracted a diverse and inclusive end-to-end business consultancy, Lunax, to handle our vision of a more visually appealing, responsive and user-friendly website. Thanks to this creative team our new site is faster, easier to navigate, provides bold visuals, loads of engaging content and an expansive shop stocked monthly with new merch. If you’re looking to build a relevant and sustainable brand, we definitely recommend that you check out this talented team of creators.
We Lawyered Up
The Creative Law Firm, Ticora Davis
We’ve known since day one that our game is dope. So when it came time to secure the rights to our brand, we sought legal help from people who’ve believed in us as much as we believed in ourselves. That premise led us to creative business attorney, Ticora Davis of The Creative Law Firm. She understood our brand needs and shared our passion for uplifting women entrepreneurs. So we advise you bookmark Ms. Davis website to legally secure your next million dollar idea.
Social Media Game Strong
TC Creatives: Branding & Design Studio, Tiffiney Cornish
We know you’ve seen and loved our new social media campaigns. We know this because our website traffic is showing numbers we’ve never seen before, and the numbers don’t lie! We have the creatives behind TC Creatives: Branding & Design Studio to thank for that. The branding agency founded by women for women-led businesses and women-centric businesses, gave us major FUBU vibes and has been the leading force behind our increased social media presence.
Method Man Played Our Game
Thisis50.com, June Archer
Sooo...Method Man played our game. That’s right, Shaolin's finest...Johnny Blaze himself. The very inspiration to our 4 year journey of shady unpopular rap opinions...PLAYED OUR GAME! And it’s all thanks to our biggest champion, June Archer! June is a motivational teacher, author, entrepreneur, producer, and is using his platform to provide great opportunities for Udope. “June has shown us time and time again that he wants nothing more than to see us succeed,” expressed University of Dope co-creator Marian Andoh. This was made very clear back in 2020 when June surprised the Udope creators with a clip of him playing University of Dope with DJ DNice on Instagram live to a view of thousands. And the clips kept coming. Clips featuring some of the hip hop's greatest, playing our game. We’ve since been able to feature those clips in our youtube series, Celebrity Showdown and relive those moments over and over again. Big shout out to June for giving us a platform share out dope game with the world.
Pay It Forward
We’re amongst an expanding group of POC game creators that are building brand experiences uniquely for the culture. Our original series “We Got Game,” shines a light on Black/POC game creators navigating the highs and lows of building a successful brand. We couldn’t wrap up black history month without shouting out all the creators we’ve featured in last season’s episodes. Be sure to show some love, and support these creators as well.
About the author
Whitney Robinson is the Director of The Kickback for University of Dope. When she is not booking UDope events with major brands like Time Inc., she’s making wearable art with a crochet hook and yarn. She’s also a self proclaimed okra ambassador. “Put some respeck on okra’s name!”