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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Jackson at CES for Sleek announcement

Between announcements of new 3D televisions, tablet PCs, and do-it-all smartphones, one of the standout media announcements at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show was a new brand of headphones, called Sleek by 50 Cent.

Sleek was one of a handful of high performance, celebrity headphones introduced last week that took social media and the blogs by storm.

See: Sound Advice: 5 Celebrity Headphone Lines

Sleek will retail at $350 and has Kleer technology, which claims to provide nearly flawless wireless audio that is supposedly superior to Bluetooth audio. The battery life of these professional grade headphones can last 15-20 hours from a single charge using an iPhone cable.

Entertainer/entrepreneur and Black Enterprise cover subject Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the product’s namesake and a top investor in Sleek Audio, visited CES last week to unveil his newest financial and creative endeavor and to explain why he believes Sleek outperforms the competition.

Sleek by 50 Cent

“I went through a process before I met with Jason and Mark Krywko, sitting with different companies that were developing products and I had to sort through them to figure out who would be able to develop the best product for me to present to the public,” says Jackson. “They presented something that didn’t actually exist in the marketplace.”

Jackson chose Sleek Audio, because of their 30-plus year history making hearing aids and custom fitted, in-ear headphones for athletes. He decided not to create bass heavy headphones because he wanted a product that would have mass appeal. Nevertheless, the headphones are equipped with a bass boost button for listeners who want to amp up the sound.

“50 has been a part of the design process since day one,” says Jason Krywko, chief operating officer of Sleek Audio. “For over eight months he has been in the lab. We have been working nonstop designing. Everything from how he wanted it to sound… to the actual look, and the type of carbon fiber, where the aluminum was, where the plastics were. Everything was completely done by him.”

I spoke with Jackson at CES, and he broke down his business reasons for choosing Sleek Audio. Watch the video below for more of his insights.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.