Alicia Keys Out as BlackBerry Creative DirectorBy: Sean Patterson - January 2, 2014
At the end of January 2013, BlackBerry officially revealed its BlackBerry 10 OS and smartphones. The reveal was BlackBerry’s last-ditch effort for relevancy in the consumer smartphone market that had abandoned it in favor of iPhones and Androids.
We know now that BlackBerry 10 was a failure. BlackBerry ended up selling more BlackBerry 7 phones that BlackBerry 10 phones during its third quarter, in which it lost an impressive total of $4.4 billion, much of it a write-down of BlackBerry hardware.
Before everything came crashing down, though, BlackBerry was throwing its dwindling cash reserves at celebrities to help improve its brand recognition. To this end, the company declared at its BlackBerry 10 launch event that singer Alicia Keys would be its “Global Creative Director.”
That gig is now coming to an end, as the CBC has reported that Keys will leave her creative director position at BlackBerry on January 30 – one year to the day that she accepted the position. According to the report, Keys’ position at the company is no longer compatible with BlackBerry’s new focus on its mobile enterprise services.
Though the details of Keys’ position were a bit fuzzy, Keys was announced to have been in charge of the “Keep Moving Project,” which enlisted director Robert Rodriguez and author Neil Gaiman for some crowd-sourced projects. Gaiman’s project culminated in the odd “A Calendar of Tales” website, while Rodriguez eventually released the hilariously bad Two Scoops short film.
Though BlackBerry was criticized for giving Keys a corporate position for what many saw as an endorsement deal, BlackBerry had claimed that Keys actually served the company during her time as creative director. According to the CBC report, her accomplishments at BlackBerry include a scholarship program for women seeking to study science and technology.