EARN YOUR MASTERS – Charlotte NC

Bringing Ideas to Life: A Creative and Economic Movement


By Kurtavia Burton

Charlotte, NC is well known for its sophistication, continuous expansion, and bringing change to the community. Such advancement is happening throughout the city, especially in the architecture, artistic, and economic industries.

Steve Stoute CEO of United Masters
photos courtesy of: starvingarts.org

A Dynamic Partnership

This past Saturday, Charlotte housed the very first Earn Your Masters pitch competition created and hosted by Steve Stoute, legendary music industry entrepreneur and CEO of United Masters, Ally Financial, and Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of Earn Your Leisure.

What started as an idea by Steve Stoute, a musical industry expert, several years ago, has grown into a movement and impactful partnership.

A first of its kind, Earn Your Masters is a platform created to combine artists and creatives, financial literacy, business, and community empowerment. Through this partnership, a new cultural experience is teaching individuals to dream big and tap into their greatness. Earn Your Masters provides artists and entrepreneurs with tools and resources for long-lasting success. With Steve Stoute’s experience and vision, Ally Financial education and services, and Earn Your Leisure’s business and culture expertise, the next generations of artists and creatives can and will thrive.

A Mission to Educate and Motivate

With already three years of success, Earn Your Masters platform continues to empower artists and creators, and bring financial and business awareness right to communities serving the underserved. These events are accessible for artists and creators, and communities, in hopes of decreasing the gap for marginalized communities and encouraging action.

Right: Rashad Bilal, Kurtavia Burton (Pride Magazine) and Troy Millings of Earn Your Leisure

In short, Earn Your Master is a triple threat cause. United by a shared vision, the Earn Your Masters mission is to assist artists and creators with knowledge and resources for a stronger foundation ultimately helping them to excel in the industry.

Steve Stoute believes Earn Your Masters encourages artists to know their value, earn, and keep their legacy, not doing themselves a disservice.

A Winning Pitch

Unlike any other competition, Earn Your Masters encourages individuals to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win $50,000 funding as well as support.

For the Charlotte competition, the panel of judges consisted of Steve Stoute, Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of Earn Your Leisure, Reggie Willis Chief Diversity Officer at Ally Financial, and musical artist Cordae. The idea is for potential artists and creators to receive monetary investment and support encouraging them to learn, earn, and build legacy.

Right: Reggie Willis Chief Diversity Officer at Ally Financial, Rapper Cordae

Through Earn Your Masters’ guidance, financial literacy, and impact, a new culture of creators arises. One that reshapes, equips, educates, and cultivates new experiences that last.

Earn Your Masters brings authenticity and diversity to the underserved through accessible events thus investing in the community and inspiring all involved to create, learn, and act.

Making More Than an Impact

The union of Earn Your Masters financial education with musical distribution for artists and creators with culture and business intelligence is birthing a new experience for artists and creators. By meeting the needs of the community, a significant influence is occurring through innovation and community engagement.

Artists and creators will navigate the industry better, unleashing their limitless potential as they learn, grow, and succeed.

Earn Your Masters exemplifies diversity and authenticity helping those along their journey. This isn’t the last the Queen City will see and hear from Earn Your Masters as Charlotte is a dual headquarters for Ally Financial and much more is in the works.

Erica Hughes, Senior Director of
Multicultural Marketing at Ally speaking with
Kurtavia Burton, Pride Magazine