WHAT IS ‘BLACK GOES FIRST’
Black Goes First is about chess. But off the board, it stands for more. It’s about examining why systems are the way they are, and how they got that way.
It’s about understanding that they’re not set in stone—we have the power to change them, if we can soften our minds and hearts to new ideas. We have the power to make things more fair and equitable. To foster inclusion and representation. To show new generations that their education, development, and success matter. Just like the rules of chess have changed over centuries, it is our job to update our own rules and regulations to reflect the values we care about. Because it’s not just a rule on the board. It’s a reflection of how we play the game.
Our project kicks off with an autographed chessboard auction to raise funds for our non-profit partner, but we have plans to bring our rule change to life in bigger ways over the course of the next year—and spread our message with the help of Wu Tang Clan’s RZA and GZA. You can help our cause too, simply by sharing our website and Instagram with your networks. Every little bit helps.
We made a special board with our rule change engraved front and center. But in reality, our board is just like any other. The game stays the same—it’s just a change of perspective. We hope you play ‘Black Goes First’ on any board you play on. And we hope you spread the message of this idea, and help us change the game of chess forever.
OUR NON-PROFIT PARTNER
THE 64 BLOCK MISSION
64blocks.org is a non-profit based in Silicon Valley, serving the greater Bay Area. Born from a desire to create business ownership for young Americans who have been traditionally pushed away from actualized entrepreneurship, 64 Blocks combines life strategies from chess and Hip-hop business to help young people build start-up companies.
Hip-Hop entrepreneurship is its own lane of business at this point.
What started as a fun hobby by kids taking control of their artistic voice became a multi-billion dollar industry. With Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Nas, and Cardi B, we have been watching aspirational teens become the moguls of the future through Hip-Hop. It is inherently business-minded. They did that by taking risks and creating a plan to make their vision for the future happen. At 64 Blocks we will guide that drive into the tech space.
-— ADISA BANJOKO, 64 BLOCKS FOUNDER, AUTHOR & CURATOR
What They Do
64 Blocks teaches marginalized teens and young adults the strategic value of chess and pairs that with business fundamentals used by Silicon Valley thought leaders and Hip-Hop moguls. Their programs serve young people between the ages of 15-25; some are incarcerated, most are economically disadvantaged. The non-profit hosts celebrity chess tournaments and panels to help young people understand the power they have in choosing their future.
Their goal is to get 64 funded start-up companies made in 20 years. David Frazee, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and CEO of www.demystifyingsiliconvalley.com, is a board member and mentor in the 64 Blocks program.
Their chess curriculum is fortified with the works of RZA, Bruce Lee, chess Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade, Shonda Rhimes, and business icon Sheryl Sandberg.
The end result is a program that equips young people with the tools to build their own start-up companies and develop the building blocks to cultivate earning and saving potential for generations to come.