Press Release

Mastercard and Jennifer Hudson partner to celebrate Black women business owners with strivers celebration and historic performance at Apollo Theater

August 3, 2021 | Purchase, NY

Event series to include sponsorship of the Respect premiere, special appearance by Jennifer Hudson at Strivers Celebration and intimate Apollo Theater performance

In honor of Black Business Month, Mastercard is announcing a series of celebratory events in partnership with Mastercard ambassador, Jennifer Hudson, to acknowledge and reinforce the impact of Black women entrepreneurs across the U.S. The celebration is anticipated to kick off with the premiere of the long-awaited Aretha Franklin feature film Respect and continue with a Strivers Celebration event, and special concert by Jennifer Hudson at the World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC.  

Respect Movie Premiere

Mastercard is providing a limited number of cardholders with special access to the red carpet premiere of Respect at the Regency Village Theater ahead of the film's global release on August 13th to underscore the impact of Black women in business and music. During the event, these select cardholders will be among the stars as they arrive at the historic venue before taking their seats as the first audience to view the film. Cardholders can visit here to purchase this one-of-a-kind experience while supply lasts, with 100% of sales benefiting Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color, to further support funding for Black women entrepreneurs.

Rolling out the Red Carpet for Strivers

Mastercard, Fearless Fund and Create & Cultivate will host a red carpet celebration to honor the entrepreneurs featured throughout the Strivers Initiative at the Apollo Theater on August 18th. During the event Jennifer Hudson will make a special appearance as Mastercard unveils the “Strivers Gallery” featuring portraits of the guests of honor and Fearless Strivers Grant Contest recipients. Chicago-based creator, Tyler Clark, will create the portraits of the honorees using her unique 3D hair technique.

"I'm excited to celebrate the Black-women owned business entrepreneurs that Mastercard's Strivers Initiative spotlights both at the event in their honor and at the intimate concert at the Apollo.  It's a dream come true to perform at the Apollo and an honor to celebrate with Ms. Franklin's music, who has been an inspiration to me my entire life,” Jennifer Hudson shared. “I continue to be in awe of Black female role models who serve as activists and advocates in their communities and I am thrilled, through my partnership with Mastercard, to shine a light on them."

Jennifer Hudson Live at the Apollo

Mastercard will present the “Jennifer Hudson Live at The Apollo” concert on August 19th, the first live audience performance at the Apollo Theater since March 2020. At this intimate gathering of Black women entrepreneurs and select cardholders, Ms. Hudson will perform classic Aretha Franklin hits featured in Respect as well as songs from her own catalogue. Limited tickets are available for purchase on here, with 100% of sales benefiting Fearless Fund.

“Black women continue to build businesses at a rate far greater than any other demographic, however in order to maintain and scale their business, they need access to the funding and tools they deserve,” said Cheryl Guerin, EVP Marketing and Communications in North America for Mastercard. “Mastercard remains committed to acknowledging the impact of Black women small business owners and delivering on their needs to ensure they continue to thrive and empower their communities. Together with Jennifer Hudson, we are proud to celebrate and elevate these women through our Strivers Initiative efforts.”

Supporting RESPECT Film

Mastercard is excited to team with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) on Respect, the long-awaited film starring Academy Award®-winner Jennifer Hudson, who was handpicked by Ms. Franklin to portray her on the big screen.  Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable story of Franklin’s journey to find her voice. Respect opens in-theatres nationwide on Friday, August 13th.

Continuing to Support Strivers with Mentorship and Resources

To further deliver on the needs of the community, Mastercard and Create & Cultivate will launch its third season of “Priceless Conversations: Strivers Edition with weekly episodes focused on business verticals across Beauty, Fashion, Wellness, and Food & Bev – featuring industry expert conversations and virtual shopping segments highlighting businesses to shop, share and support. Mastercard will also provide cardholders a unique collection of content and experiences curated by Black women-owned businesses on its platform. To discover these Priceless experiences and support these businesses go to

These efforts are grounded in Mastercard’s sustained efforts to build a more inclusive digital economy and previously announced half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities over the next five years. Through visitors can learn more about this initiative, as well as shop Black-women owned businesses and support their work.

Media Contacts

Sarah Ely
+1 (914) 249-6714 |
Margaret Williams
+1 (914) 249-2926 |

About Metro Golden Mayer

Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world's deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco, and digital distributors.  In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms, interactive ventures, and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.