CEEM Inspires Economic Empowerment at L.A. County Fair
by Barbara Smith
The LA County Fair is celebrating decades of pop culture and nowhere will it be more in evidence than this weekend with the CEEM Takeover Weekend, an event that promises 3 days packed with African-American community and history through entertainment, art and culture. With the Fair’s 2019 theme of Pop Culture, the Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM) has teamed with the LA County Fair to recognize and celebrate the unique and remarkable contributions of the African-American community in terms of art, film, fashion, sports, and music.
“Nowhere in America do we have a representative share of business revenue,” says CEEM founder Reggie Webb. “Changing this paradigm is essential to improving our economic health and increasing the number of our families that are middle class. CEEM is here to change that by uniting our community around our market potential and providing support to Black-owned business and individuals that allow them to operate successful enterprises while committing to operate in line with shared core values that create a community ethic driving greater prosperity.”
This year’s lineup includes positive hip-hop artist Ray Wimley and Los Angeles based Brunch 2 Bomb; singer, songwriter Candace Boyd; social media superstar Rujohn featuring King Bach & Friends; pop soul musician Major; and gospel artists Karen Wiggins and Rubi Greens. But CEEM’s reach and mission goes far beyond musical entertainment. Sponsored by McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden campaign, a movement to uplift communities and inspire excellence through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship, CEEM’s takeover weekend will showcase historic exhibits, expert panels led by African-American entrepreneurs, a student-led pop culture art exhibit, an interactive Kids Zone, delicious soul food from a variety of Black-owned businesses and an inspirational Gospel Sunday. Says Kyle Webb, CEEM’s CEO and son of entrepreneurial visionary Reggie Webb, the event “offers the community a fun and interactive experience that will celebrate our rich pop culture heritage, offer a path forward by seeking creative ways to disrupt the culture, shine a light on our experiences, and further CEEM’s mission to build wealth within our community.”
Webb brings passion and commitment to this positive cultural and economic movement. The Morehouse graduate spent his early years in Claremont under the expert tutelage of father Reggie Webb, a pioneer in black enterprise, who purchased his first two McDonald’s franchises in Pomona in 1985 with wife Rene, an accountant who ran the back office. At that time, Black McDonald’s franchisees did not have sufficient access to the corporation and thus did not achieve proportionate success. The elder Webb worked with others to strike a deal with the McDonald’s corporation resulting in equal access to opportunities for growth and development and consequent success for these Black-owned businesses. The younger Webb, along with his two siblings, Kiana and Karim, drew on their parents’ commitment to increasing business opportunities for families in Black communities, particularly the Inland Empire. Determined to carry on the family legacy of empowering their communities to increase business opportunities and wealth, Webb has sought avenues to reach out and support others interested in starting and growing businesses. Having earned an MBA from USC, he entered the family business and currently serves as CFO for Webb Family Enterprises which operates multiple McDonald’s franchises and Webb Family Investments. He spends much of his time working with youth in organizations such as Bright Prospect, a Pomona-based college access group that sees young people to and through college, and other organizations and boards that help bridge the gap to access and opportunity to young potential entrepreneurs and business owners in the Black community.
CEEM is a membership cooperative dedicated to increasing wealth, prosperity and educational outcomes for the African American community through mentorship, education and training. Membership is open to all residents of California who are willing to make contributions to promote wealth of African Americans. Members are committed to reaching out and supporting others in starting and growing businesses in the creative and unstoppable paradigm shift the elder Webb began. “We want to change the dynamic so that we own the things we buy,” according to son Kyle. Among CEEM’s stated core values are unity, leadership, advocacy, integrity, and success. This is for people who are willing to more than just talk, adds CEEM founder Webb. “It is for those who are willing to take an active part in making the dream of economic prosperity a reality.”
These are the concepts the Webb organization hopes will be the takeaway for participants of the Takeover. For more information visit the CEEM website at https://ceem-ie.com/lacf.
Tickets to the CEEM Takeover Weekend are available online at LACF.com/buy-tickets.