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How Fatherhood Shaped Martellus Bennett’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Green Bay Packers’s tight end player wanted his daughter and other children to see characters that look like them in books. So, he made them himself.

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BY Emily Canal - 17 Jun 2017
Martellus Bennett/ Hey AJ Imagination Lounge Pop Up
Martellus Bennett plays with daughter Austin Jett Rose Bennett during the Hey AJ Imagination Lounge Pop Up on June 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Many people know Martellus Bennett as the football player who helped the New England Patriots win against the Atlanta Falcons in the 2017 Super Bowl. But Bennett, who now plays for the Green Bay Packers, says his first job is being a father and a husband.

When he's not on the field or with his family, the Packers player is focusing on his creative entrepreneurial efforts. In 2016, he published the first book in his children's series, Hey A.J., It's Saturday, made a mixtape called "I'm Not a Rapper, But Some of My Friends Are," created a digital series with his daughter called Cartoons & Cereal, and a short film called Zoovie . He even released an action figure named Skydiver McGuire. And he's not slowing down anytime soon.

Bennett plans to publish his latest book in the A.J. series, Hey A.J., It's Bedtime, later this year along with a complimentary app and an A.J.-themed mini series, all based on his young daughter Austyn Jett Rose Bennett. What's more, he also aims to publish Towel Boy, a young adult comic book, this year and another children's book called Eli Wonders The Kung-Fu Astronaut in 2018.

"All the stories now that I'm writing are really for my daughter," Bennett says. "My ultimate goal is to live forever, but the only way to live forever is to create and you always want to be there for your kid."

Bennett says he originally created the series to show black and minority characters going on adventures and doing everyday things--because he saw a lack of that in the world. Bennett wanted his daughter and other children to see characters that look like them in books.

But Bennett's goals reach beyond that; he also wants to set an example for adults. Bennett started his own publishing company and insists on maintaining ownership of his content. "The black community doesn't really have ownership in much of what we do," Bennett says. "As a black creator and athlete, the books and content has to be even better than what's on the market just to compete."

What's also impressive is that Bennett fully funds his projects, which means he doesn't have the pressure of selling a million books. But that wasn't his main objective; he says it's more about building a whole catalog of content that people can grow with. Another dream of his is to become the biggest distributor for minority authors and help them expand their businesses.

"You can own stuff and not always have to be a worker bee," Bennett says.