Black Lives Matter Licensing movement expands team as “industry is ready to take action”

The Black Lives Matter Licensing movement has welcomed two new members to the team amid a period of rapid growth reflective, the group has suggested, of an industry ‘determined to implement meaningful change’.

Kim Saxelby (pictured right), senior design manager, Universal Brand Development Group, has joined the movement to help build a strong framework for the group’s licensing programme as it continues to gather pace, while Shontae Savage (pictured left), founder of the consulting company Savvy Synergies LLC will lead the group’s licensing initiative in the United States.

The addition of the two industry executives not only bolsters an expanding team but brings the Black Lives Matter Licensing movement into the US market for the first time.

Savage boasts around 20 years’ experience in the brand licensing industry, representing global sports and entertainment brands such as NFL, CBS, CBS Films, Showtime, and DC Comics. Her company, Savvy Synergies LLC focuses on filling the void for licensed products for African American IP, leveraging her expertise in the industry to help Black IP expand into new product categories and markets.

“Being an African American, I am personally aware of the unmet needs of the African-American consumer and fanbase of Black IP,” said Savage. “I have focused my efforts to create cultural-focused licensing programs around Black IP and fulfilling the pinned-up consumer demands of historically over-looked Black IP 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.”

Saxelby, added: “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.”

Both Saxelby and Savage now join a team that earlier this year welcomed Simta Sawhney, category director at ViacomCBS Consumer Products UK, Hannah Miles, managing director of Fashion UK, and Ravina Mehta, graphic designer at BB Designs.

Black Lives Matter UK’s Christina Jordean has been “thrilled” by the level of support the movement has been shown by the licensing industry to date.

“We are very happy that Kim and Shontae have joined us,” she said. “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.

“With Shontae leading us from New York, we can now take this much needed support of this global movement in the heart of the African American communities and help tackle social injustices for African American communities.”

Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter Licensing movement’s Saphia Maxamed believes it is clear ‘that the industry is ready to take action.’

“I have to say, I have been amazed throughout this journey,” she said. “To me, change has already happened and it is up to us on what we do moving forward. What is clear, is 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 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.

“If you really think about it, this is 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. This is why this key
addition to the team, and the work we are doing, is significant.

I am pleased that together we can build and really work with black communities on initiatives that would make changes in people’s lives. Both Kim and Shontae brings a wealth of licensing experience and personal passion for making positive change.”