Why Do Americans Call It Soccer Instead of Football? Blame England

In the World Cup, the U.S. and England aren’t traditionally rivals. But, off the field, a different type of rivalry has reigned for more than a century: what to call the world’s most popular sport.

To Americans, it’s soccer. To most of the rest of the world, (including England, the birthplace of the modern sport,) it’s football. But what most people don’t know is that the word “soccer” is not in fact an American invention. On the contrary, it was an import from England, and one that was commonly used there until relatively recently.

At least, that’s the argument made by Stefan Szymanski, a professor of sports economics at the University of Michigan. In a paper from 2014, Szymanski writes that “soccer” originated in late 19th century England, as a way of differentiating between variants of the game which at that time did not have a commonly agreed-upon set of rules.

In the early 1800s in England, football and rugby existed as different variations of the same game. But in 1863, the Football Association was formed to codify the rules of football so that aristocratic boys from different schools could play against one another. In 1871, the Rugby Football Union followed suit. The two sports officially became known as Rugby Football and Association Football. (Those new rules were slow to spread to America, where another version of the game was evolving — one that the rest of the world now knows as “American football,” and is played in the NFL.)

In England, Szymanski writes, aristocratic boys came up with the shortened terms “rugger” and “soccer” to differentiate between Rugby Football and Association Football. To support this argument, he cites a letter to The New York Times, published in 1905: “It was a fad at Oxford and Cambridge to use “er” at the end of many words, such as foot-er, sport-er, and as Association did not take an “er” easily, it was, and is, sometimes spoken of as Soccer.”

And the term, Szymanski says, was widely recognized in England through the first half of the twentieth century, according to data he crunched from books and newspapers. It became even more prevalent after the World War II — driven, he suggests, by the number of American soldiers in the country and the infatuation with American culture that came after the war.

But by the 1980s, Brits started to turn against the word. “The penetration of the game into American culture,” Szymanski writes, “has led to backlash against the use of the word in Britain, where it was once considered an innocuous alternative to the word ‘football.’”

With England now into the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990, fans are celebrating their nation’s success in the sport born in their country but long mastered by foreigners. On Twitter, that pride is manifesting itself, partially, in the age-old (since the 1980s at least) tradition of bashing the word soccer.

“It’s football not soccer,” one person tweeted, on the night of England’s successful victory over Sweden which propelled the team to the semi-finals. “The English created the game = football.”

The World Cup draws to a close this weekend, but the argument over the name of the sport it celebrates certainly won’t.

Sports – TIME

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How Washington Wound Up Screwing Over Native Americans

It took eight long years of war to establish the 13 American colonies as an independent nation. Whether the American experiment would flourish in its early years depended far more than we commonly recognize on the new republic’s ability to establish viable relationships with several powerful Indian confederacies west of the Allegheny Mountains that formed the great frontier. These polities stood directly in the path of American civilization’s inexorable march westward across the continent that the founding fathers understood to be the new nation’s destiny. 

The future of America, President George Washington believed deep in his bones, lay in the west, not in its transatlantic relationships. Diplomacy with the Indians probably occupied more of the first president’s time and energy than any other issue during his first term. Indian chiefs and their retinues were frequent dinner guests at the president’s residence. Washington assiduously respected Native American diplomatic protocol by engaging in gift exchange and smoking a long-stemmed pipe with his guests in a sacred commitment to speak truth in conference negotiations, and to honor pledges made.

As Colin G. Calloway makes clear in his provocative and deeply researched new book, The Indian World of George Washington, the task of negotiating these arrangements was exceedingly complicated. Many of these tribes had fought with the British during the Revolution. The Brits had ceded the enormous territory between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi River to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783), but the Indians were not about to relinquish vast swaths of their homelands to the victors just because London had thrown in the towel. The Indians west of the frontier had not suffered military defeat; nor did the Treaty of Paris reflect the realities of military strength beyond the Ohio River.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Americans are streaming more music than ever before

US music fans continue to increase their consumption of tunes. Fueled by a 45 percent rise in on-demand streams, the amount of music Americans either bought or streamed during the first half of 2018 increased by 18 percent over the same period a year earlier, a report out Friday revealed. During the six-month period, Drake’s…
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Meet The Central Americans That Washington DC Can’t Live Without

STR

INTIPUCA, El Salvador — In a little town in eastern El Salvador a statue has been built in honor of the first resident to make it to Washington D.C., way back in 1968. Since then, thousands have followed, both legally and illegally, forging a bond so close and so extensive that many of the folks here think what the North Americans call “the nation’s capital” could hardly function without workers from this sleepy, coastal town in El Salvador.

The streets are lined with houses in pristine condition, painted bright colors and built with remittances sent by workers in the United States, and long before El Salvador ditched its colón for the U.S. dollar in 2001, that was the common currency here.

While walking around town, residents commonly greet each other saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” rather than, “Hola, que tal?’ Many of the migrants who have returned, either by choice or deportation, are eager to speak the language that became familiar to their tongues during their years or even decades in D.C. and the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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While Americans focus on nuclear war, a larger threat looms

With all eyes on the United States and North Korea, experts warn that biological warfare could be more catastrophic than a nuclear attack.


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Americans’ wealth tops $100 trillion for first time ever

Americans are doing better than they have in a long time, with household wealth topping $ 100 trillion for the first time. The net worth of American households and nonprofits rose to $ 100.77 trillion from $ 99.74 trillion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. While the stock market was volatile in the first quarter,…
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Millions of Americans may be taking the wrong pills for heart disease

You might want to put down that aspirin. Millions of Americans are told to take that pill daily — or similar medications, such as statins or blood-pressure regulators — to help manage their cardiovascular disease and stroke risk. But a new Stanford study found that those medications may have been incorrectly prescribed all along. According…
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Americans largely won’t pay to win a video game — but Chinese gamers will

Cultural norms could have a large impact on how video game companies make money.
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Meghan Markle Has Brits Flying the Biracial Flag, But Will Americans Do The Same?

A lot has been made of the potential for Meghan Markle to disrupt the status quo for women, and black women, in particular.

No sooner did we learn her new title – the Duchess of Sussex – than she was playfully nicknamed the Duchess of Success. But success for whom, I wondered? Resulting in what?

Meghan Markle and the Larger Scale 

In the midst of #MeToo #TimesUp and the unapologetic return of feminism in full force, it felt oddly off kilter – all this fuss over a very traditional wedding hyped in fairytale talk of a “commoner” bride being elevated by marriage to a prince. So, like many, I was skeptical. What would Markle’s marriage into the royal family really mean on a larger scale, if anything? Wait and see, I thought. Well, yesterday, I did.

From the first glimpses of Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, riding toward St. George’s chapel together, there was nothing common about the bride or the way she showed up. At 36, a child of divorce who was previously married herself, I was struck by her composure and self containment, and I was transfixed by the whole affair.

Why was I suddenly so caught up? Not because it was lovely (although it really was) but because the surprises abounded, from the bride’s “something blue” being the soles of her Aquazurra shoes, to far more compelling notes that made this royal wedding something strikingly new.

I was moved by the image of Ragland, beautiful, solitary, and clearly emotional, over her daughter’s shoulder as she recited her vows. Who could resist the children, the pageantry, the Kingdom Choir, the brilliant young cellist? But what impacted me most in the midst of #BlackRoyalWedding was how the bride was consistently referred to as biracial – as if it was a normal, everyday thing. Except that it was not. At least, not before this wedding. And certainly not in this country, the good ol’ USA.

In America, You Have to Choose

Biracial was not an acceptable descriptor of choice when Barack Obama made history as the first black American president. Nor when Halle Berry was hailed for being the first black woman to win an Oscar for a lead actress role. Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mariah Carey, both of whose mothers – like Berry’s and Obama’s – are white, are also routinely referred to as black. In both cases, it wasn’t where they began when their celebrity status first hit. (At one time, being Samoan, was more Johnson’s public focal point.) But it’s how they’ve evolved. Because, in America, you have to choose.

Drake, Misty Copeland, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Colin Kaepernick, Jesse Williams, J. Cole, Jussie Smollet, Faith Evans, Sade, Bob Marley… the list of prominent celebrities who are biracial but identify as black is long. The list of biracial “commoners” is longer. Why must they self-select into one race and, in so doing, out of their other?

The reasons behind it are ancient and current, complicated and painful, as is everything in our country involving race. Which is why we avoid confronting those reasons – still – even in a year when it seems everything is being thrown on the table as the call-out culture revs.

Markle has never been confused about her identity. As she married a white prince on the most public day of her life, she rather boldly celebrated her innate blackness but she does not refer to herself as black, or white. Even as a child, she resisted the pressure to choose one of her races over the other, and she’s been crystal about the reasons why.

In a 2015 Elle magazine article, Markle recounted her first confrontation with having to check a racial box on a form in the seventh grade. Her teacher told her to check the Caucasian box. “Because that’s how you look, Meaghan,” she said. “I couldn’t bring myself to do that,” Markle wrote, recalling the sadness she knew her mother would feel if she did. Instead, she drew a small question mark then put down her pen, devastated.

When Markle told her father about it, his instructions were liberating: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.” And so she has, steadfastly refusing to be labelled as anything more limiting than what she is, a mixed race, or biracial, woman.

It seems so obvious. In an age of heightened sensibilities about micro-aggressions, in an era when #representationmatters and we have created new nomenclature for people to self-identify a full range of previously unacknowledged gender and sexual preferences, how ridiculous is it that we can’t get comfortable with people owning all that they are racially?

The sad truth is, particularly in American culture, where white and black have been at odds for so long, and where the dividing lines have in some ways deepened in recent years, nothing is as simple, as rational or right as it should be.

Perhaps that’s why yesterday’s royal wedding was the perfect platform for this moment. Because on such occasions, even the most cynical among us tend to get drawn into the shimmering beauty and hopefulness of it all. And because it didn’t take place on American soil.

Markle gave us a storybook wedding, but her handling of the details, shows her keen awareness of its larger impact. She knows that monarchies and their marriages are all about safeguarding the future of the lineage and this lineage will now be definitively multi-racial. She is doing her part to create room for her biracial children to have a different experience than she has.

Whatever else Markle has achieved in her life so far, it is no small feat that the massive worldwide press bowed to her will yesterday, embracing her multi-racial identity, and labeling it as precisely that.

Her newly royal status offered her the ability to compel that shift in a way that even her celebrity, frankly, never had, and she seized her giant moment on the world stage to make it happen. Perhaps Duchess of Success is already a fitting moniker, afterall.

 

 

 

 

 

The post Meghan Markle Has Brits Flying the Biracial Flag, But Will Americans Do The Same? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Trump Announces Release Of Three Americans Held In North Korea

In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced the release of three Americans that had been held in North Korean prison. Trump indicated that the three men will return to the U.S. on a flight with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong In.
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Three Americans freed by North Korea ahead of Trump-Kim summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea released three American prisoners and handed them over to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, clearing a major obstacle to an unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


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Americans told to toss romaine lettuce over E. coli fears

PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. health officials on Friday told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce they have in their kitchens and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in several states.
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7 Health Benefits of Cannabis for African Americans

Is cannabis really medicine? More than 20 states have legalized medicinal marijuana and three states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. Recently, Congress approved legislation that would allow veterans access to the herb for medicinal purposes. With more states making marijuana legal, and the amount of positive research coming out about the herb, we compiled a list of some of the many health benefits of cannabis for African Americans—although black people and black farmers, in particular, continue to be shut out of the money-making aspect of the cannabis business. 

7 Health Benefits of Cannabis for African Americans

1. Cannabis Can Kill Cancer Cells – A 2014 study published in the Molecular Cancer Therapies medical journal documented research conducted by scientists from St. George’s University of London. Lead researcher, Dr. Wai Lui, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, had this to say: “Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others,” the NIDA report said. “Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors.

2. Cannabis Relieves Arthritis Pain – Since 2001, the herb has been used in Canada as a treatment for arthritis. In fact, The Arthritis Society published the Medical Cannabis: A Guide to Access [PDF] in 2015. This guide educates patients on navigating the often-confusing landscape that is medicinal marijuana.

3. Cannabis Improves the Symptoms of LupusWhile there is no cure for lupus, research has shown that the herb can help decrease many of the symptoms associated with lupus, such as reducing chronic pain and swelling.

4. Cannabis Can Improve Your Lungs – Marijuana lovers rejoice! A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming a moderate amount of cannabis could actually help improve lung capacity. If you’re a heavy smoker these findings do not apply to you!

5. Cannabis Can Improve Menstrual Cramp Symptoms – Before Whoopi Goldberg announced her foray into the cannabis industry targeting women’s monthly cycles, TheWeedBlog.com produced an article listing five marijuana strains that would alleviate symptoms associated with “that time of the month. In fact, documentation from the early 19th century shows that cannabis was not only used to treat menstrual cramps but also reduce pain associated with giving birth.

“One of the biggest medical uses of cannabis in the 19th century was for the treatment of menstrual cramps and reduction of labor pain,” writes Jan Chaboya-Hembree of MedicalMarijuana.com.

6. Cannabis Can Improve Your Sleep –Studies as early as 1973 revealed that taking either THC or CBD (two components in marijuana) before heading to bed could improve a person’s sleep overall.

7. Cannabis Can Assist in Weight Loss – Thought weed only caused “the munchies?” Think again. Findings published in the American Journal of Medicine show how consuming cannabis can help you lose weight!

Editor’s Note: This story originally published on June 7, 2016

The post 7 Health Benefits of Cannabis for African Americans appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II

Described as one of the darkest times in U.S. history, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II. The prisoners only “crime” was their Japanese ancestry. In an exhibit at The International Center of Photography, the works of renowned photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and incarcerated photographer Toto Miyatake document the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent residents from their homes and their subsequent incarceration in internment camps.
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For Americans, understanding money eases old age anxiety

A new household economics study suggests that financially literate people are more capable of accumulating wealth and worrying less about life in old age.
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Americans Have Really Complicated Feelings About the Oscars This Year, According to a New Survey

When the 90th annual Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4, audiences will find out what the nearly 7,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences think about 2017 in film. But what do average Americans make of last year at the movies?

To find out, TIME ran a survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey. We asked respondents how they felt about many aspects of the Oscars and awards season in general, including the ways in which real-world issues and offscreen behavior should or should not influence which actors and films take home awards.

As it turns out, 65% of Americans watch two or fewer Best Picture nominees each year. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have strong opinions. See their responses below, and scroll down for an explanation of SurveyMonkey’s methodology and a complete breakdown of the results.

Americans are divided on Hollywood’s treatment of social issues

Over the past several months, Hollywood has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, and insiders have taken action with the formation of groups like Time’s Up. More than a third of Americans believe Hollywood decision-makers haven’t taken appropriate action in responding to allegations, while half say it’s still too soon to tell. More than four out of ten Americans think the industry has paid too much attention to social movements like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite, while 31% would argue that too little attention has been paid.

Seventy percent of Americans don’t think the presence of a social or political message makes a film any more deserving of an award. But more of those who do think such a statement increases awards-worthiness are female (21% versus 15% of males) and nonwhite (26% versus 14% of white respondents).

Less than half of Americans believe awards shows have gotten more inclusive

Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign took off in 2015 and 2016, in response to the lack of people of color among acting nominees, there has been increased scrutiny whenever nominations are announced and awards are won. Americans have mixed feelings about how much progress has been made on the diversity front, with 44% believing awards shows have become more inclusive over the past five years, 42% believing it’s remained about the same and 13% responding that awards have gotten less inclusive. Twice as many respondents who identified as nonwhite (18%) think it’s gotten less diverse, compared to white respondents (9%).

Americans are split on whether an actor’s behavior offscreen should impact awards’ prospects

Survey respondents were torn when it comes to the influence personal behavior should have on professional honors. Just over half (53%) believe behavior should be either “a great deal” or “somewhat” a part of awards criteria.

The survey also asked Americans to weigh in specifically on allegations of misconduct against The Disaster Artist director and star James Franco, who was accused of sexual misconduct days before voting closed for nominations (Franco, who denied the allegations, was not ultimately nominated), and The Darkest Hour actor Gary Oldman, whose ex-wife accused him of assault in 2001 and who has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments. The responses were split, with 47% saying the allegations should affect their chances of winning or being nominated and 51% saying they should not. When asked who should win Best Actor, Oldman won with 32% of responses.

The people have spoken, and they want Get Out to go all the way

When asked which of the nine Best Picture nominees should take home the golden statue, 18% chose Jordan Peele’s social thriller Get Out. This pick was slightly more popular with women (19%), adults between 18 and 29 (28%) and non-white Oscar watchers (29%). The Shape of Water came in a close second, with 16%, followed by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with 15%. Oldman and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) were the top picks for Lead Actor and Actress, but young adults favored Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya and The Shape of Water star Sally Hawkins.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey Audience survey was conducted February 13‐17, 2018 among a national sample of 1,875 adults, including 745 people likely to watch the Academy Awards this year. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. The full breakdown by demographics is available here.


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2 Americans, 2 Canadians abducted in Nigeria are freed, police say

A Nigerian police spokesman says two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped in north-central Kaduna state on Tuesday have been released.
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Americans more likely to blame Trump, Republicans if government shuts down: Poll

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds substantially greater Republican risk.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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‘The Americans’ Cast and Producers Brace for Emotional Final Season

Paige Jennings was destined to go into the family business, “The Americans” showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields told reporters Friday as cast members and producers of the beloved FX drama discussed plans for the show’s sixth and final season, which bows March 28. Weisberg and Fields said they have been planning for some time […]

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10 Americans killed in Costa Rica plane crash

The wreckage was on fire and no responded, officials said
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Study Shows New Year’s Money Resolutions Helps African Americans Reach Financial Goals

Is how much you want to save or invest on your New Year’s resolutions list? If not, it might be something to consider to build wealth and enhance your finances in the coming year.

Some 77% of Americans are very or somewhat likely to set financial goals in 2018, more than doubling the 34% who set specific financial goals in 2017, a new Lincoln Financial Group study shows. Plus, 83% of Americans who set a specific financial goal in 2017 feel better about their finances now than they did at the start the year.

The Radnor, Pennsylvania-based financial services company just released its Financial Focus: Goals and Reflections of Today’s Consumer report. The study revealed that simply making a New Year’s resolution on finances may bring about increased confidence in a consumer’s financial situation even if they don’t reach their goal. Sixty-nine percent of respondents who set a goal but did not achieve it report that they feel better about their finances versus 64% of those with no financial goal.

The findings are based on a national online survey of 2,500 Americans ages 18 and older in the United States. It included responses from 394 African Americans.

“Every journey begins with a first step and when it comes to our finances the first step is setting a goal,” said Regina Beatty, a private wealth strategist with Mosaic Wealth Consulting and a registered representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors, in a press release. “Regardless of your level of wealth, just making a financial resolution at the beginning of the year can inspire confidence and increase awareness of budgeting, saving, and planning for the future.”

Setting up financial resolutions can be easily done. They can include establishing a goal to save a certain amount in 2018, setting up or adding to an emergency savings fund, boosting contributions to retirement plans as well as examining investment performance and insurance needs. Beatty suggests talking with a financial adviser, who can help create a financial roadmap by setting realistic goals and helping savers stay on track during the year to help achieve their target.

As people get older, the likelihood of making resolutions drops. Eighty-four percent of millennials plan to make a New Year’s resolution in 2018, 71% of Gen Xers, 51% of baby boomers and 43% of Goldens. Plus, some 74% of Americans feel better about their finances than the beginning of 2017 and 84% expect their finances will improve next year.

When it comes to African American financial resolutions, Lincoln Financial provided some intriguing data:

  • Of African Americans who set a specific financial goal for 2017, 60% either reached that goal or exceeded it. Another 22% said they came very close to their goal.
  • Fifty-one percent of African Americans made New Year’s resolutions for 2017, while 49% did not.
  • When asked why they made New Year’s resolutions, 47% said they wanted to keep improving themselves, 45% like to set goals for themselves, and 41% wanted to feel healthy. Thirty percent reported it helped prioritize their future, 29% want to avoid future health problems and 28%  want to improve their financial situation.
  • Asked how well did they do with New Year’s resolutions last year, 61 reported they did very or somewhat well and 23% said they did just OK.
  • Seventy percent are very or somewhat likely to set resolutions for 2018.
  • Asked what category their resolutions would fall into for 2018, 33% reported exercise, diet, weight loss. The other top categories were happiness, relaxation, and spirituality; as well as finances, career improvement and education—each scoring 23%.

The post Study Shows New Year’s Money Resolutions Helps African Americans Reach Financial Goals appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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The 9 Best Financial Tips and Info for African Americans in 2017

Black Enterprise has offered financial information to the black community for nearly half a century. We’ve put a strong focus this year on the financial health and well-being of millennials; on funding startups; on building generational wealth, and many other money concerns of our community. Here are nine of our most-viewed articles that feature incredible accounts of financial achievement; provide an unflinching look at the state of black finances; or offer solid advice on how to create your own wealth for life.

 

$ 52 MILLION LOTTERY WINNER’S PLANS TO REBUILD HISTORIC BLACK COMMUNITY

After winning a $ 52 million lottery jackpot in 2010, Miguel Pilgram used his winnings to launch his own real estate company, The Pilgram Group, and invest in properties across South Florida. Now, the successful businessman is committed to reviving Sistrunk Boulevard, a notorious corridor in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Black Enteprise’s digital editor, Selena Hill, has the full story.

 

Miguel Pilgram (Image: Facebook)


 

BALTIMORE MAY SELL HOMES FOR $ 1 TO REVIVE NEGLECTED NEIGHBORHOODS

Baltimore advocates want to restore this program to curb the city’s blight epidemic and prevent more homes from becoming vacant. The program would also create construction jobs, they say. Find out the details.

 

(Image: Flickr/Eli Pousson)

 


 

MULTIPLE WAYS LIFE INSURANCE CAN BUILD WEALTH FOR BLACKS AND COMMUNITY

Veteran business and finance journalist Jeffrey McKinney investigates the myths and realities of using life insurance to make money. A must-read.

(Image: iStock/monkeybusinessimages)


WELLS FARGO COMMITS $ 60 BILLION TO INCREASE AFRICAN AMERICAN HOMEOWNERSHIP

The banking and financial services holding company seeks to lend $ 60 billion to qualified African American consumers for home purchases by 2027, as well as to increase the diversity of the Wells Fargo Home Lending sales team, with $ 15 million to support a variety of initiatives that promote financial education and counseling over the next 10 years.

Real Estate, first home, homebuyers

(Image: iStock)

 


10 OF THE MOST AFFLUENT AFRICAN AMERICAN SUBURBS IN THE NATION

There is a strong upward mobility trend among African Americans, with nearly 40% residing in the suburbs. 

 

(Image: iStock/FatCamera)

 


HERE ARE 4 SMART WAYS TO USE YOUR TAX REFUND

Black Enterprise contributor Ashley M. Fox provides ways to use your upcoming tax refund wisely.

 

(Image: iStock/NoDerog)


HOW YOU CAN GET YOUR PIECE OF THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PIE [VIDEO

The “Gentrification: How to Make Affordable Housing More Affordable,” panel took place at Fordham Law School on April 26. It touched on the current state of affordable housing in New York City, the impact of the proposed Trump funding cuts, and solutions. Watch the video and get great information.

(Image: iStock/artisteer)

 


 

THE STATE OF AMERICA’S WEALTHY BLACK PEOPLE

Black Enterprise money writer John Tucker breaks down the data and habits of America’s richest black folk.

 

(Image: iStock/PGGutenbergUKLtd)

 


MEET THE WOMEN WHO ARE FOCUSED ON FIXING CREDIT IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

This organization is composed of current and former black female legislators who are determined to provide programs and policies to address the social justice and economic empowerment issues faced in black communities.


 

STUDY: EVEN AFRICAN AMERICANS MAKING ALMOST SIX FIGURES FEEL FINANCIALLY INSECURE

A new study reveals that nearly half of African Americans with yearly household incomes between $ 35,000 and $ 150,000 feel financial worry. Here’s why.

couple, husband and wife, worried, stress, bills

(Image: iStock/FatCamera)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post The 9 Best Financial Tips and Info for African Americans in 2017 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Identity Theft Is Also A Problem for African Americans’ Business and Personal Finance

Since the rise of the internet, identity theft has been a growing problem in the United States, affecting both consumers and business owners alike. Business owners are more profitable for identity thieves, due to the potential to hack into larger credit lines, bank balances, and reserve accounts, along with the fact that less oversight of business accounts (compared to consumer accounts) means that it’s easier for hackers to open other commercial credit lines at a rapid pace. Here are some facts:
  • There’s now over 12 million victims of identity theft per year and at least 5% are African American
  • Nearly 35 million Americans have been a victim in some capacity
  • Nearly 10% of all U.S. households have been a victim in some capacity
  • 22% of identity theft victims have experienced multiple cases of identity theft
  • 29% of victims spend a month or more trying to resolve identity theft problems
  • Nearly 40% of victims report bouts of severe emotional distress as a result
  • Average loss per identity theft case is over $ 5,000
  • Total identity theft losses in 2014 were $ 26,350,000,000
  • Half of identity theft cases go unnoticed for at least 30 days
  • 1 out of 10 identity theft crimes go unnoticed or hidden for 2 or more years
Due to the well-known fact that most black businesses have lower sources of capital, assets, and general wealth/resources compared to their white counterparts, it’s vital that a black business owner do the best that they can to avoid becoming a victim of business or personal identity theft.

Hacking Procedures

As covered by the BBB, identity thieves can hack into your personal or business information through a variety of ways:
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit reports
  • Loan accounts
  • Fraudulent business filings
  • Social Security numbers
  • Tax Identification numbers
  • Credit Card accounts
  • Cell phone service
  • Internet account service
  • Pretending to be you or a major manager of your company to gain external data
Thieves will usually use stolen card numbers, bank accounts, etc., to immediately purchase items that they can resell for cash on the black market. These actions can obviously leave a business with a destroyed credit rating, loss of revenue, loss of business, potential cash-flow issues, and a variety of other problems.

Identity Management

Here are a variety of steps you can take to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft through either your personal or business related information:
  • Do not send any information to people you don’t know.
  • Keep all important business and personal documentation in a secure place.
  • Use anti-virus software, fraud management tools, and firewalls for all technologies, computers, and devices.
  • Review your business and personal credit reports often, with alerts notifying you of when there’s any type of change to your profiles or reports.
  • Sign up for identity theft insurance, which comes with monitoring services to notify you of suspicious activity
  • Sign up for online banking, set up various security alerts/controls and review all of your details daily within your bank accounts.
  • Make sure all of the alerts on your credit cards, credit line accounts, loan accounts, insurance accounts, investment accounts, and any other important accounts are set up to notify you of when there’s any changes, additions, updates, etc. Also, try to review said accounts on at least a bi-weekly basis.
  • Run a lien check, business record check, and other public information check against your personal and business profiles at least on a quarterly basis, or have some sort of credit monitoring program that monitors these activities.

If An Event Occurs

If you think you might be a victim, contact your identity theft insurance provider immediately to notify them. In addition, file a police report and place a fraud alert on all accounts. Also, make sure to contact all of your partners, bankers, creditors, accountants, attorneys, vendors, suppliers, etc., to notify them of the situation and begin making various arrangements for assistance or payment modifications. Perps are getting more creative in how they steal information and more efficient in how fast they sell off stolen purchased items. Billions a year are being lost along with destroyed identities and reputations. Manage your identity to the fullest and don’t let the perps win.

The post Identity Theft Is Also A Problem for African Americans’ Business and Personal Finance appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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7 in 10 Americans say sexual harassment is a very serious problem

Americans view sexual harassment far more seriously than they did two decades ago, a new CNN Poll Conducted by SSRS shows.


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Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and conservatives wanted.
Politics Headlines

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Cramer: GOP tax cuts good for the stock market — working Americans not so much

"I said on Friday that it may not be good for the workers, but boy is it good for the stock market," Jim Cramer says.
Economy

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New Guidelines Mean Millions More Americans Need to Lower Blood Pressure

Nearly half of Americans now have hypertension, the “silent killer.”

Health – Good Housekeeping

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Nearly half of Americans now have high blood pressure, based on new guidelines

Tens of millions more Americans now have high blood pressure. Almost half of all Americans — 46% — are now considered to be in the high blood pressure category based on new guidelines released Monday.


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Study: 11 Percent of African Americans Hope Lottery Wins Will Pay for Kids’ College

Research conducted by insurance company Mass Mutual reveals disturbing insight: Almost 11% of those surveyed about financing an education cited winning the lottery as a means of paying for their kids’ college.

 

 

 

(Image: iStock/ChrisGorgio)

According to learning website ThoughtCo., the chance of winning a Daily 4 or Pick 4 lottery game is 1/1000, or 0.01%. The probability of winning the common lottery game where six numbers are chosen at random is 1 out of 12,271,512.

“MassMutual’s College Planning & Saving Study—African American/Black Families” report offers other insight:

  • 82% of black parents and guardians agree that college is important.
  • 50% believe they will be able to afford college when it’s time to send their kids.
  • African American parents and guardians are the least likely among other ethnic groups to have their kids acquire a student loan.
  • Nearly half surveyed expect their children to receive scholarships.
  • 35% encourage their children to participate in work-study programs.
  • One-fourth surveyed say having their kids attend a community college then transfer to a four-year school is a way to keep college affordable.
  • Four in 10 black parents plan to use Pell Grants to help pay tuition.
  • More than one-third expect to use their own savings; two-thirds began saving when their child turned 10.

Student loan debt is a financial burden across all ethnicities. Recent data shows that the national student loan debt is increasing by $ 2,726.27 every second.

African American students are particularly at risk for financial turbulences due to school loans. Black Enterprise education editor Robin White Good reported that nearly half (49%) of all black student borrowers default on their student loans 12 years after entering college.

Mass Mutual offers three essential tips to pay for kids’ college education:

  1. Apply for scholarships. Look for some available through local community organizations, foundations, corporations, and nonprofit groups. Online tools to help you: FederalStudentAid and TuitionFundingSources.com.

 

  1. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Completing the form is the first step toward getting financial aid for college, including aid that doesn’t need to be paid back, such as federal grant money. It only takes 30 minutes to complete online and provides access to grants, loans, and work study programs. More information can be found on fafsa.ed.gov.

 

  1. Encourage monetary gifts (including 529 plan gift cards) from family members and friends to put toward college savings plans.

 

 

 

 

Money – Black Enterprise

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More than 103 million Americans will have high blood pressure under new guidelines

More than 103 million Americans will have high blood pressure under new guidelines by the American Heart Association.
ABC News: Health

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Italy’s Trump Makes a Stunning Comeback. Americans, Beware the Berlusconi Factor.

ROME—Americans may have a lot to learn from the fact that Italians have just welcomed Silvio Berlusconi, an 81-year-old cad tried for sex crimes and convicted of tax crimes, back to mainstream politics.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast Latest Articles

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Report: Gen Z, African Americans Buying Gifts Mostly for Themselves This Holiday

 

With the 2017 holiday shopping season approaching fast, the nation’s largest retail trade group is forecasting jolly sales for traditional retailers and online merchants.

(Image: iStock/Wavebreakmedia)

 

The National Retail Federation is anticipating sales for November and December at $ 678.75 billion to $ 682 billion, representing a gain of 3.6% to 4% from last year. The figures exclude sales from automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants.

African Americans More Likely to “Self-Gift”

 

The NRF also analyzes shopping trends from the previous year. If 2016 is any indicator, more African Americans and young people are splurging on themselves this holiday.

Some 2,040 consumers—including African Americans—were polled by the NSF to understand what influences their gifting decisions and their experiences shopping in 2016.

About 71% of consumers overall said they made at least one purchase to treat themselves over the holidays. But it’s particularly popular among younger, Gen Z shoppers (93%), and among African American consumers (84%) according to the data.

Other findings from last year’s shopping trends include:

  • African American consumers tend to start researching holiday gift ideas earlier in the season. Some 63% said they start researching holiday gifts as early as October, versus 54% of consumers overall. However, most shoppers still hold off on making purchases until November or December. Television also tends to be a more influential source of gift inspiration for black consumers during the holidays.
  • Self-gifting—anytime a consumer buys a gift for his or herself—during the holidays has become more popular the last two years. It can be everything from buying a new outfit for a holiday party to taking advantage of seasonal promotions to make a purchase a person has been holding off on.

This year’s shopping projection is even more cheerful for retailers without brick-and-mortar outlets. The forecast includes online and other non-store sales, which NRF projects to climb between 11% and 15%, totaling $ 137.7 billion to $ 142.6 billion.

Robust Consumer Confidence, Longer Shopping Season Boost Sales

 

“Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay stated. “Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”

An outlook from Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice is favorable as well. It expects holiday sales—seasonally adjusted and minus motor vehicles and gasoline—to reach $ 1.04 to $ 1.05 trillion between November and January, up 4% to 4.5 % from a year ago.

“Sentiment and spending indicators are firing on all cylinders, but the question is: How will retailers respond given the profound disruption across the industry?” Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte L.L.P. and U.S. Retail and Distribution sector leader,  stated. “The good news is retail is thriving, and it is the proliferation of new, niche retailers that is resulting in share constantly changing hands.”

Further, Deloitte predicts an 18% to 21% gain in e-commerce sales in 2017 versus 2016. E-commerce sales are expected to reach $ 111 to $ 114 billion during this year’s holiday season.

Retailers will get some help with Christmas arriving 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, one day more than last year. Christmas also falls on a Monday instead of Sunday, providing people an extra weekend day to wrap up their shopping.

Holiday Shopping Season Key Driver of Annual Sales for Retailers

 

The holiday shopping season is a big deal because consumer spending can make up as much as 30% of a retailer’s annual sales, regardless of the retailer’s size.

The NRF’s outlook is being fueled by some key economic indicators lining up.

“Consumers continue to do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy, and all the fundamentals are aligned for them to continue doing so during the holidays,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz stated. “The combination of job creation, improved wages, tame inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”

   

Money – Black Enterprise

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Half of Americans think this credit card practice should be illegal

When you’re out shopping through the holiday season and get to the register, keep in mind that sales associates are under enormous pressure to get you to sign up for a store credit card.

They may offer incentives like “20% off your first purchase” or “0% special financing for 12 months.”

RELATED: New tool offers credit card perks without debit card dangers

Warning: Do NOT sign up for these credit cards 

These offers can be very tempting to people who are on a tight budget — especially around the holidays — but they come at a steep cost once the grace period is over.

It’s all because of deferred interest, which money expert Clark Howard refers to as “hideous retroactive interest.”

Here’s an example: 

Bonnie goes to the register and her total comes to $ 1,000. The cashier asks if she’d like to open a store card to receive no interest financing for six months.

She gets approved for instant credit and is grateful for the extra time to pay for the items.

At the end of the six months, Bonnie has paid off all but $ 50 of the balance and plans to send in the last $ 50 the following month.

But to her surprise, she receives a $ 250 interest charge on her very next bill!

Clark: Beware of ‘hideous retroactive interest’ 

How could this happen? With a normal 0% credit card offer, interest only applies to the balance remaining after the special financing period is up.

However, retailers that offer special financing with deferred interest don’t work the same way.

If you miss a monthly payment or don’t repay your full balance within the 0% period, interest is applied retroactively to the original purchase amount.

That’s how Bonnie from our example was charged $ 250 in interest for a $ 50 balance. It’s like the 0% rate never existed!

According to WalletHub’s 2017 Deferred Interest Study, 61% of people think retroactive interest is unfair and 50% believe it should be illegal.

Here’s a look at the retailers that use deferred interest: 

Store cards charge up to 30% interest 

Deferred interest isn’t the only problem with store-only credit cards. They’re known for having regular interest rates much higher than general-purpose cards — some as high as 30%.

The average retail card APR (annual percentage rate) is 24.99%, according to a study from CreditCards.com. 

“Instant credit should be called instant debt,” Clark said. “When people take instant credit here, there and everywhere, they end up in debt not to their eyeballs — but above.”

Clark says you’re better off using the regular credit card that’s already in your wallet or just pay with cash!

Recap of Clark’s take:

  • One-store-only credit cards are inferior to general-purpose cards
  • Always pay your balance in full every month
  • Read the fine print to avoid deferred or retroactive interest

RELATED: Clark’s #1 secret to avoid overspending this holiday season


clark.com

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Insider Tips for African Americans Looking to Purchase a Home

Whether it’s finding a home in a neighborhood they like, affording the home they want, or obtaining financing, African American homebuyers have a more onerous time in the home-buying process than their white counterparts, according to a new report.

 

(Image: iStock/Feverpitched)

 

The Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017 revealed some startling discoveries when it comes to people with different backgrounds buying homes.

The Challenges for Black Home Buyers

 

African American and Hispanic homebuyers are roughly twice as likely to be rejected on a pre-approval loan application than whites. Black and Hispanic buyers have a much more difficult time navigating through all aspects of mortgage financing than any other group.

The overall Zillow survey for this year collected data from 13,125 key household decision-makers who self-identified in different consumer groups in recent months. One of those groups, buyers, included 2,965 respondents. Among the findings:

-Forty-three percent of Caucasian/white buyers are satisfied with the entire home-buying process and wouldn’t change a thing. That compared with 37% of African American/black buyers, 33% of Asian/Pacific Islander buyers, and 25% of Hispanic/Latino buyers.

-Eighty-four percent of African Americans and 86% of Hispanics apply for pre-approval home loans, versus 80% for white buyers. Though they try to gain a mortgage ahead of purchase time and be competitive buyers, the pre-approval denial rate for blacks is 6% and 5% for Hispanics. Only 3% of white buyers were not able to have their pre-approval applications approved.

-When it comes to applying for a conventional loan, African American are 2.6 times and Hispanic applicants are 2 times more likely than white applicants to be denied, according to Zillow’s latest analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Non-white buyers did a little better with FHA mortgage loans. African American are 1.8 times more likely and Hispanic applicants are 1.4 times more likely than white applicants to be turned down.

-The denial rates are potentially causing an overall drop in mortgage applications by African Americans and Hispanics. Though African Americans account for 12% of the adult U.S. population, they filed just 6% of all mortgage purchase applications in 2015. Hispanics consist of 16% of the adult population and filed 10% of the applications. In contrast, whites total 64% of the nation’s population and also filed 64% of mortgage purchase applications.

Home-buying Is a Path to Multigenerational Wealth

 

Skylar Olsen, a senior economist for Zillow, told Black Enterprise by email that there’s been a persistent gap between the homeownership rates of white and black people for more than 100 years. She says African Americans are less likely to own, and much of that is driven by pervasive gaps in other economic measures, like education and income.
Olsen added homebuying is a path to multigenerational wealth, so past discriminatory practices are still affecting homebuyers today. If your parents’ or grandparents’ generation didn’t have access to a mortgage or a neighborhood, then that will make it harder for you to buy a home today.

She says Zillow research shows that about 25% of first-time homebuyers rely on a gift from friends or family in order to make a down payment. “We find that that strategy isn’t available to lower-income Americans whose communities can’t afford to offer that kind of support.”

Another possible reason that can’t be ruled out is the role that discrimination plays in the disparity between white homeowners and homeowners of color.

In competitive markets, sellers could have multiple qualified buyers, and at the end of the day, they choose one. It’s a popular tip, in a bidding war, to send a photo of your family to help persuade sellers you’re the right buyer.

“If you don’t look like the seller, that personal connection could be harder to solidify,” Olsen says.

Here are some tips Olsen offered to first-time homebuyers—often people of color—to boost their chances of getting approved for a home mortgage:

Be realistic with your budget

 

Once you set it, stick to it: first-time homebuyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (32% vs 27%). Before you meet with a lender to determine how much mortgage you’ll be approved for, take a good look at your individual finances and spending preferences to determine the monthly payment range that you feel you can comfortably afford. Use Zillow’s mortgage calculator to help with the math.

Safeguard your credit

 

Poor credit is easily the most common reason why one might be denied a mortgage. Building your credit history—or recovering from a few mistakes—takes much longer than most realize. While little mistakes such as forgetting to pay your credit card on time here and there or raking up a bit too much debt on a card feel like they shouldn’t be a big deal, they are. Blemishes stay on your credit report for seven years.

Get your financing squared away early

 

Plan to meet a few lenders four to six months ahead of when you’re planning to buy to ensure you can make a competitive offer quickly when you find your dream home. Some 79% of buyers get pre-approved, meaning 79% get pre-approval from a lender before finding a home in which they are interested in placing an offer.

Avoid other “big changes”

 

Prospective homebuyers should think twice before making any big changes or large purchases. Mortgage lenders value a stable work history and changing jobs before or during the loan process can raise red flags from a qualification perspective. Major purchases and new lines of credit can also cause hurdles when qualifying for a home loan.

Find an agent with a winning track record.

 

Seventy-four percent of today’s buyers have an agent on their side. Take the time to find an agent who has expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses, and winning bidding wars.

Additionally, only 47% of millennial buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process. Use search tools, like Zillow’s Agent Finder, to choose an agent based on sales and listing activity, areas of expertise, and reputation.

Money – Black Enterprise

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How ISIS is trying to recruit young Americans

ABC News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Governor Andrew Cuomo: Puerto Ricans Being Treated As Second Class Americans | NBC News

NBC News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

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More than 80 million Americans have this deadly disease, and many don’t even know it

Obesity-related diseases are on the rise, including one destined to be the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020.
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Study: Even African Americans Making Almost Six Figures Feel Financially Insecure

A new study reveals that nearly half of African Americans with yearly household incomes between $ 35,000 and $ 150,000 feel financial worry. Forty-five percent of African Americans making incomes of $ 75,000 a year and up say they feel more financially insecure than Americans of other races in the same income bracket.

 

(Image: iStock/FatCamera)

 

The study was conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual). The data also showed that black people were more likely to say they had under-funded retirement savings. Forty-one percent are even concerned about making ends meet.

The majority of the survey respondents did not feel that they lacked money management skills, however 7 percent said they would be interested in receiving financial planning services from their employer.

 

Education to Combat Feeling Financially Insecure

 

“Across the board, African Americans are more likely to say they are unprepared for retirement and feel less financially secure but are more open to education and financial guidance,” said Evan Taylor, head of MassMutual’s African American Markets.

“The findings demonstrate a real need to reach more people, make financial education and guidance more readily available, and focus on financial wellness.”

Some other key takeaways from MassMutual’s study include:

  • Middle-income African Americans are more likely to report difficulty managing their households monthly finances
  • Debt, lack of income, and cost of living are the top African American financial concerns
  • Black Americans are less worried about the cost of healthcare compared to other groups
  • Negative outcomes from financial issues (including the inability to eat healthily, pay for a child’s education, or stress in a marriage or relationship) are reported more by middle-income African Americans

“The African American community is very open to education, information, and advice about financial matters from their employers, financial service firms, and financial professions,” said Taylor. “It’s an opportunity for financial service firms, financial advisers, and employers to make a difference.”

 

Money – Black Enterprise

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The Best New Way for African Americans to Invest In or Start a Business

Equity Crowdfunding - multicultural hands raised with dollars to invest

Professors, politicians, and prognosticators have—for years—implored the black community to “take all the money you spend on clothes, shoes, and hair, and put it into investing or starting a business.” Equity crowdfunding provides a new opportunity do so.

Many statements about black consumerism are based on a flawed premise. Black people are starting businesses. In fact, African Americans are more likely to start a business than any other community in the United States Black millennials are even more interested in entrepreneurship than past generations, and black women are the fastest growing group of U.S. business owners in the past 20 years.

As the U.S. rate of entrepreneurship has declined in the past 30 years, entrepreneurial activity in the African American community has increased. The problem is access to capital. Black entrepreneurs start businesses, but—often—do not have access to the capital necessary to market and grow those businesses over time.

Barriers to Business Investing

 

Prior to equity crowdfunding, most African Americans couldn’t invest in hot, new companies serving the market, such as MayvennYeKim, or Lonzo Ball’s Big Baller Brand, even if they wanted to; regulations prevented it. More importantly, most black entrepreneurs could not turn to friends or family to invest in their small businesses. Not anymore.

Equity Crowdfunding Money for Ideas (Funding an Idea. Image: Shutterstock)

 

Equity crowdfunding empowers anyone in the United States over 18 to invest in startups in amounts as small as $ 10. Prior to President Obama signing the JOBS Act into law, this privilege was restricted to wealthy accredited investors; about 10% of U.S. households. Risk comes with investing, but unleashing $ 1.2 trillion in black buying power to fund black businesses and real-estate endeavors is one of the greatest wealth building opportunities ever made available to the African American community.

African Americans have historically been frozen out of wealth building opportunities necessary to build generational wealth. Usually, when wealth building opportunities have been made available, it was only after other communities had access. This makes equity crowdfunding almost singularly unique in American history.

The community has found innovative ways to work around the problem in the past, with a mix of personal loans and informal business groups filling the void. One creative way is sou-sou organizations made popular by women in West Africa and the Caribbean.

Now, black investors and entrepreneurs have access from the beginning and can share in the economic gains made by startups growing and hiring. Moreover, black consumers—trendsetters—can use their dollars and influential platform to select which products, services, and solutions get funded from the beginning.

Jetpack CEO Fatima Dicko runs an equity crowdfunding campaign on Republic (Jetpack CEO Fatima Dicko. Image: Jetpack)

 

In an effort to better understand the opportunity, I have interviewed black founders running equity crowdfunding campaigns, including Jetpack CEO Fatima Dicko and WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu. I have also interviewed truCrowd Illinois CEO Florence Hardy, one of the only black, brown, or female executives running an equity crowdfunding platform.

The stories of these founders are inspiring and informative. However, more background is needed to fully understand the opportunity, risks, and outlook.

How Equity Crowdfunding Works

 

Entrepreneurs connect with an equity crowdfunding platform that agrees to host their campaign. Some platforms include; WeFunder, Bolstr, SeedInvest, Republic, and MicroVentures.

Those who want to fund their own businesses file an “offering statement” with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declaring their intent to raise money.

 

Bolstr Equity Crowdfunding Platform Homepage (Bolstr Equity Crowdfunding Platform Homepage. Image: Bolstr.com)

 

Investment minimums vary, some entrepreneurs take the “small dollar” approach, working to collect as many small investments as possible; as small as $ 10. Others, like WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu, prefer to set a higher minimum, say $ 500, to ensure investors make a real commitment.

In most cases, the following investment options are available for investors and entrepreneurs:

SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) 

The SAFE is a financial instrument that gives investors the right to obtain equity in a startup if/when that company sells shares at a future date. This usually happens when a startup raises money from an “institutional investor” that sets a value for the company. However, shares could also be sold if the company is acquired. The SAFE rewards investors (you) for investing early by allowing investors to purchase shares at a cheaper price by using a Valuation Cap and/or Discount Rate. More here.

Convertible Note

The Convertible Note is an unsecured loan. Similar to the SAFE, the ‘loan’ amount converts to equity at a future date. Although the loan is rarely repaid in cash, similar to traditional loans, the Convertible Note has an interest rate and maturation date. If the startup does not raise another round of funding, the loan amount is due on the maturation date. The interest on the loan accrues and can be paid in cash or added to the Note amount to be converted into equity. Similar to the SAFE, Convertible Notes use a Valuation Cap and/or Discount Rate to reward early investors. More here.

Stock

Some startups decide to offer stock at the seed stage. Stock offerings provide investors with shares of preferred stock based on a Pre-Money Valuation or Post-Money Valuation. Pre-Money Valuation sets a value for the company prior to investment. Post-Money Valuation sets a value for the company after the investment.

Debt / Revenue Agreement 

Some equity crowdfunding platforms offer more traditional loan options that provide startups with loans that are paid back based on terms in the Promissory Note. If the startup company has revenue, the loan may be paid back using revenue; often on a monthly or quarterly basis. If the company does not have revenue, the loan amount is due at the maturation date.

Perks

Perk Agreements were made popular on rewards-based crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. Very often, startups raising money via equity crowdfunding will offer products, discounts, or other perks in addition to equity in the company. Perk Agreements are offered in combination with other investment options presented here.

eREIT 

The JOBS Act also empowers non-accredited investors to invest in income-producing real estate opportunities without going through a broker. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have existed for years. eREITs and other new real estate investment products allow investors to invest as little as $ 500 in local/national real estate projects. More here.

The terms of these investment options are set by the entrepreneur running the campaign.
At the federal level, Regulation CF Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise up to $ 1M/year with 2,000 investors per campaign; 2,000 investors x $ 500 = $ 1M (Regulation D and A+ Crowdfunding have different standards for real estate and more mature companies, and/or accredited investors. Some states also allow entrepreneurs to raise a little more.

 

For Investors:

 

Equity crowdfunding increased the pool of eligible investors in the U.S. by at least 230 million people. Most equity crowdfunding campaigns are run when companies are young, during a company’s seed investment round. Investors in equity crowdfunding campaigns mostly fill the role of angel investors. They invest after the company has some traction, but while the startup is still young.

To get started, prospective investors (you) begin by setting up an account on an equity crowdfunding platform. After setting up an account, review the startups currently running campaigns. Pay close attention to the startup’s disclosures and offering terms.

Seed Investment Equity Crowdfunding (Image: Shutterstock)

 

For national campaigns, most investors making $ 100,000, may invest $ 2,200 across all securities offered under Regulation CF per year. If the investor’s annual income and net worth are at least $ 107,000, then an investor may invest the lesser of 10% of their annual income or 10% of their net worth.

Investors may invest up to $ 107,000 in any 12-month period using new equity crowdfunding rules. Some states have more progressive regulations allowing investors to put $ 5,000 into startups using equity crowdfunding.

All investments have risks, and while the potential economic upside of an early equity position in a hot startup is significant, investors can lose their investment. Equity crowdfunding isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a wealth-building opportunity. Debt and revenue sharing investment options, and some real estate opportunities can provide monthly income for investors. However, the biggest gains to be made will be seen in years, not months.

 

For Entrepreneurs

 

Jetpack CEO Fatima Dicko, who, to date, has raised $ 230K from over 700 investors on equity crowdfunding platform Republic, sums up the potential for startups using equity crowdfunding like this: “allowing people who would actually use the product to invest in our company.”

Converting fans and consumers into investors is the key for entrepreneurs interested in running equity crowdfunding campaigns. Entrepreneurs should first decide that equity crowdfunding is right for their business. Analyzing the investment options and the amount that may be raised is a good place to start. The amount to be raised must be declared at the beginning.

Startups running equity crowdfunding campaigns must disclose a significant amount of financial information. This is necessary for investors to make informed decisions. This information will be made publicly available on the crowdfunding platform during the life of the campaign.

After starting a campaign, creating content that compels fans and consumers to invest is critical. Startup founders and their teams will spend a significant amount of time creating marketing products, pitching stories to journalists, and answering questions from potential investors.

WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu ran an equity crowdfunding campaign on See Invest (WhoseYourLandlord CEO Ofo Ezeugwu. Image: WhoseYourLandlord)

 

Because so much time will be spent creating marketing products, many startup founders decide to run parallel fundraising campaigns using the traditional pool of accredited investors. If an equity crowdfunding campaign is going well, founders can point to the traction received when pitching angel investors, and, eventually, institutional venture capitalists.

Equity crowdfunding campaigns require a significant amount of time to launch and run. Entrepreneurs should do a cost/benefit analysis. If a campaign is not successful, entrepreneurs face a public failure that may impact the company in the future. However, for many black/brown entrepreneurs that lack other options, equity crowdfunding presents a significant new opportunity to fund a business.

Equity crowdfunding brings the positive impact of entrepreneurship, investing, and wealth creation closer to being realized at scale. PartPic, a black-owned business in Atlanta, used an equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest to jump-start a $ 1.5 million seed round of funding, grow the business, and was acquired by Amazon. 

Success like this requires effort—investors must analyze investment options and entrepreneurs must create compelling campaigns. The reward for that effort is, for the first time, mothers and fathers investing in a daughter’s business, influence on which products make it to market, and unleashing black buying power to build wealth.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana in Record-High Numbers: Poll

A new Gallup poll released earlier this month shows that a record-high percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, with 64 percent of those polled in favor of legalization.

This marks the highest level of public support since the proposal was first made nearly

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana in Record-High Numbers: Poll

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More than 50 years after JFK was killed, Americans may finally get classified Kennedy documents on Thursday


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In return to campaign trail, former President calls on Americans to reject ‘politics of fear’

Former President Barack Obama returned the campaign trail Thursday with a warning about the current state of politics in America.


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Trump will hurt Americans by doing away with Obamacare subsidies and make it harder to engage in bipartisan talks with Democrats, lawmakers say

U.S. President Donald Trump will hurt low-income Americans by doing away with Obamacare subsidies and make it harder for him to engage in bipartisan talks with Democrats as Congress edges toward a possible government shutdown, lawmakers said on Sunday.
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A new Alphabet spin-out aims to help low-income Americans get better health care

Cityblock has an ambitious strategy to work with underserved populations living in cities.
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How the Trump tax plan could benefit wealthy Americans

The president said the plan is "not good for people like me."
ABC News: Top Stories

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Protesters, beware: Americans adore the flag

Old Glory is almost certainly the most honored flag in the world. The late political scientist Samuel Huntington marveled at its place in our national life: We pledge allegiance to it. The national anthem celebrates it. An incredibly elaborate code stipulates how it’s displayed, handled and maintained. It even has its own holiday. “Since the…
Opinion | New York Post

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Here Are 8 Jobs Where African Americans Average Six-Figure Salaries

Comparably, a website that provides comprehensive information on compensation, salaries, and company culture, across all industries— recently came out with an eye-opening report that includes jobs for which African Americans average six-figure salaries.

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

 

For this report, Comparable focused on the tech sector. Comparable used its extensive database to analyze salary and compensation trends. In the report the company states: “The results come from the salary records of more than 30,000 workers at small, mid-size, and large public and private U.S. tech companies. The data was collected between March 2016 and August 2017…”

Here is the list of tech jobs where African Americans average $ 100,000 or more in annual salary:

Architect – $ 116,486

DevOps – $ 108,058

Director of Marketing – $ 128,160

Director of Product – $ 159,707

IT Manager – $ 100,320

Lead Engineer – $ 128,424

Product Manager – $ 116,016

Sales Engineer – $ 134,995

The report also reveals some unfortunate news. African Americans earn lower compensation than other ethnicities in the same position. For example, a white IT manager averages $ 108,982 and a Hispanic averages $ 104,703 in the same position. Asians command the highest salary across-the-board; an Asian IT manager averages $ 125,746.

The data is also broken down in the report by location and gender. Workers receive the highest salary and compensation in San Francisco with a few exceptions for some positions: developers and directors of product earn more in Seattle and sales engineers earn more in New York City.

Surprisingly, the study revealed two tech positions where women earn higher salaries than men: as developers at an average of $ 103,176 for women versus $ 102,360 for men; and as IT managers at an average of $ 113,029 versus $ 110,815 for men.

 

 

Career – Black Enterprise

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Nurse Alice: Study Suggests Some Diabetic African Americans May Never Get Diagnosed

One of the tests used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes and monitor blood sugar control is influenced by 60 genetic variants, an international team of scientists has discovered. One genetic variant in particular, found only in African Americans, significantly reduces the accuracy of the HbA1c blood test used to diagnose and monitor the condition. This means around 650,000 African Americans in the U.S. could have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes if tested with the HbA1c test alone.

(Image: iStock/MarkHatfield)

 

The results, published in PLOS Medicine suggest screening for the particular genetic variant alongside the diagnostic test, or using other diagnostic tests in populations with African ancestry in order to improve diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 100 million U.S. adults living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. There are 30.3 million Americans who have diabetes and another 84.1 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years.

According to the US Department Office of Minority Health, the prevalence rate of diabetes in African Americans is 13.4%. African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations.  

However, in an interesting scientific twist, the number of diabetic African Americans may actually be higher accompanied with a delayed diagnosis resulting in a longer undiagnosed period and subjecting them to states of untreated higher glycemia causing an increased risk for long-term diabetes complications.

In the largest study of its kind, an international team of more than 200 scientists investigated genetic variants thought to affect the blood test used to diagnose and monitor Type 2 diabetes, known as the glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1c test.

The team studied genetic variants in almost 160,000 people from European, African, East Asian, and South Asian ancestries who were not known to have Type 2 diabetes. Researchers discovered 60 genetic variants that influence the outcome of HbA1c tests.

One genetic variant in particular, in the G6PD gene, was found to significantly impact the results of the HbA1c test. The G6PD genetic variant is almost unique to people of African ancestry; around 11% of African Americans carry at least one copy of this variant.

The issue with the G6PD genetic variant is it artificially lowers the value of blood sugar in the HbA1c test, and can lead to under-diagnosis of people with Type 2 diabetes. Otherwise, the HbA1c test remains a suitable test for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes for the majority of people.

The HbA1c test measures the amount of glucose, or sugar that is carried by the red blood cells in the body, for the previous two to three months. The G6PD genetic variant shortens the three-month lifecycle of red blood cells. So in African Americans who have this variant, their red blood cells don’t live long enough to bind to the glucose in the blood. Therefore these people will have a lower level of HbA1c, which won’t show as a positive result for Type 2 diabetes.

Medicine is not a one size fits all. And studies like this are one step closer to precision medicine, which takes people’s genetics into account and improves diagnosis and monitoring for diseases such as diabetes. In the meantime, an option would be to genetically screen African Americans for the G6PD variant alongside the HbA1c test in order to accurately diagnose Type 2 diabetes, or use other diagnostic tests such as fasting glucose measurements.

 

Lifestyle – Black Enterprise

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Facebook says it reaches more Americans than are alive

Facebook claims its ads have the potential to reach more people than recent U.S. census data shows exist, and that’s troublesome for one analyst, who thinks third-party measurement services stand to benefit. Recently, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser was intrigued by a trade publication study in Australia that said Facebook was claiming to reach…
Tech | New York Post

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Americans are getting clobbered by their tax bills

If you still wonder why President Trump won the election last November, take a look at some stunning new data on taxes. Turns out that US households last year paid more, on average, in personal taxes (mostly federal, state and local income taxes) than for food and clothing combined, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show….
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State Department: At Least 16 Americans Affected In Cuba Embassy ‘Health Attack’ | NBC News

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Millions of Americans to gaze upon Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime eclipse

(Reuters) – Twilight will fall at midday on Monday, stars will glimmer and birds will roost in an eerie stillness as millions of Americans and visitors witness the first total solar eclipse to traverse the United States from coast to coast in 99 years.


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An astonishing change in how Americans think about government-run health care

More Americans think the government has an obligation to ensure health care coverage to all citizens, Vox reports.
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Science Says: Lightning is zapping fewer Americans, not more

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lightning — once one of nature’s biggest killers —is claiming far fewer lives in the United States, mostly because we’ve learned to get out of the way.
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The next GOP hurdle: Many Americans aren’t sure they even need tax reform

Republicans' plan to slash corporate taxes may not go down easily for those who say businesses should pay more.
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CUBA GETS U.S. PAYBACK Diplomats kicked out after Americans feel ‘symptoms’

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Canadians may pay more taxes than Americans, but here’s what they get for their money

The real difference isn't what citizens pay, it's what citizens get.
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RUSSIA RETURNS FIRE Putin to kick out 755 Americans from Embassy in retaliation to sanctions

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This Man Has Bet $100 Million That He Can Make Americans Love Soccer

Most people turn to driving for Uber or doing odd jobs for Task Rabbit as a side hustle. For billionaire Stephen M. Ross, it’s starting an international soccer tournament in the United States.

Launched in 2013, the International Champions Cup was based around his epiphany that American fans would pay top dollar “to see the best teams and players” in the world. In formatting this new tournament, Ross championed the idea of consolidating what used to be a series of one-off friendly matches into a month-long competition with a trophy. In recent years it has expanded beyond the U.S. to encompass multiple continents, with several matches in China and Singapore this year.

Ross, who owns the NFL’s Miami Dolphins but made his fortune through real estate and is worth $ 7.4 billion, first started kicking the idea around in 2011 while watching F.C. Barcelona play Mexican club Gaudalajara at the Dolphins’ stadium in Miami Gardens. The game attracted over 70,000 fans – at the time, the biggest soccer crowd in Florida’s history.

Getting the I.C.C. up and running wasn’t easy — it took time to build a rapport with the best teams, as well as a “significant up front investment,” according to his business partner Matt Higgins, a former New York Jets exec with whom he founded RSE Ventures – a collection of sports-related businesses.

By his own estimates, Ross has invested over $ 100 million into the I.C.C. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes, and we’ve lost a good deal of money,” he says. “But I really believe that in the long term, this is what America wants to see.”

This year’s edition is poised to make a large impact, boasting the best line up yet — including the world’s top teams: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Juventus. The 15 participating clubs have a combined market value of $ 8.7 billion, or an average of $ 580 million, according to industry experts Transfermarkt.

The tournament has seemingly caught on: The first nine matches played across the U.S. drew a total of 528,121 fans, with an average of 58,680 per game. With three games still left, this is already higher than last year’s comparable average of 57,081. Two attendance records have been broken so far this year, too, with 82,104 fans attending Barcelona’s 2-1 defeat of Juventus at MetLife Stadium last weekend, and 93,098 in attendance for Manchester City ‘s 4-1 victory over Real Madrid at the L.A. Coliseum earlier this week.

Brendan McDermid—ReutersReal Estate developer and sports entrepreneur Stephen Ross speaks during a news conference to announce the 2015 International Champions Cup North America in New York April 28, 2015.

The marquee matchup, dubbed the “El Clasico Miami,” is set for this Saturday. It will be the first-ever match in North America between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the first outside of Spain in over 30 years. It’s one of the most historic rivalries in sports and Ross has capitalized on that aspect by putting on a series of events leading up to it, including concerts, branded parties, team rallies, art activations and more. Tickets have gone for between $ 250 and $ 4,500.

He says the goal is to create a “super-bowl type of event” that will become an annual fixture due to its enormous impact on South Florida — “not only the excitement it generates, but also what it does for the economy.”

Ross admits that in terms of the I.C.C.’s overall profitability, “we haven’t turned the corner yet, but we expect to this year.” Even though it has taken five years to do so, he says that perhaps the biggest stress isn’t related to the cash, but instead related to the grass.

In order to meet the standards of the world’s best teams, the fields have to be in tip-top shape. “In a lot of places we had to go in and put sod on top of the turf just for that game,” he says. “That’s one of the really delicate parts of putting these together that people don’t really think about.”

As the chairman of global real estate firm Related Companies, which he founded in 1972 and now has over $ 50 billion in assets owned or still under development, Ross has also gained widespread recognition as the man behind America’s largest private real estate project in history – the $ 15 billion Hudson Yards mega-development in New York City.

Despite not being a full-time gig, the I.C.C. is certainly taking up more time, adding hours to his already cramped day. He wakes up at 6:30 every morning to make sure he has time to work out at the gym, and when not at a business dinner, likes to take his wife out for date night.

“My family knows that I’m nuts – I’ve been successful and they’re not worried about it,” he said with a chuckle. “I love what I’m doing, and when you love what you’re doing, you’re never working a day in your life.”


Sports – TIME

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Americans Are Terrified of Going Blind

What would you do if you lost your sight?

Lifestyle – Esquire

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At Least 17 Percent of Americans Now Oppose Mandatory Vaccination

How did we get here?

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Americans Are More Unhappy Than They’ve Been Since the Recession

The Trump effect?

Lifestyle – Esquire

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A New Study Shows Americans Can’t Even Agree on Their Produce

GMOs are controversial, apparently.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Fewer Americans Suffering From Dementia, Study Finds

Rates have dropped over last decade, and better education might be one reason why
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Poll: Americans Want Bold Action to Keep Health Care Costs Down

Suggestions include price controls on drugs and hospitals and doctors, importing drugs from other countries
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Younger Native Americans Face High Suicide Rate: Report

Experts say poverty may be the root of the problem, interventions are lacking
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Americans Want Online Access to Doctors, Health Records: Survey

But many are unaware of existing options, findings suggest
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Spinal Cord Injuries Drop Among Young, But Rise Among Older Americans

Falls are the major cause among the elderly, researchers say

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Many Americans Under 50 Living With Cold Sore Virus

American Academy of Dermatology offers advice for treating and preventing spread
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‘Bravetown’ Director Tells Why Latin Americans Can Relate To Theme Of Losing Family To War

Daniel Duran has made a name for himself directing music videos for some the world’s biggest Latin stars. Now, the 35-year-old Venezuelan-born director has combined his passion for music with a dramatic script for his first feature film, “Bravetown.”

Duran’s directorial debut focuses on 17-year-old New York City teen Josh Harvest (Lucas Till, “X-Men: First Class”), who is a troubled but talented DJ sent to spend time with his estranged father (Josh Duhamel) after an accidental drug overdose. As Josh arrives to deal with his own family problems, he begins to realize that residents of the small Army town in North Dakota are struggling to come to terms with losing many of their loved ones to war.

“Bravetown” also includes performances by Kherington Payne (“Fame”) and Oscar-nominated actress Laura Dern (“Wild”), as a clinically depressed mother unable to cope with the loss of her son.

Duran recently discussed the film with The Huffington Post via email. He opened up about how his relationship with his father connects him to the film, and how many Latin Americans can identify with the movie’s theme of losing loved ones to violence.

daniel duran
Director Daniel Duran (left) and actor Josh Duhamel on the set of “Bravetown.”

You were born and raised in Venezuela. How did you end up doing a film that deals with topics like the trauma of returning war veterans and how a town in middle America is dealing losing loved ones to war?

From the start, the theme was something I felt was very universal because it’s a story about a DJ that has these personal and family problems — problems that affect anyone in the world, from any nationality — and that was my main focus.

I think when you deal with conflicts concerning family, love, heartbreak, father-son relationships, they’re topics that anyone can identify with and that’s where I got hooked in this project. Plus, the movie is charged with music and I come from that world with my music video [background]. It was easy for me to understand Josh’s musical world and how he used music to deal with the whirlwind of emotions he was living. It is a movie that exists in a totally American world, but at the same time it touches upon very universal themes.

How did you feel personally connected to the story?

I feel I connected with the emotions. I also come from a family with separated parents, in which I didn’t have a relationship with my father. The difference is that Josh experienced that as a teenager, and for me it was imagining what that relationship would’ve been like. But unlike Josh, my relationship with my mother has always been spectacular and I never had the type of issues he had [with his mom.]

On the other hand, I felt I identified with Josh’s musical connection as a DJ because music has always been present in my life and in my creations. One of the things I’ve always liked is to talk to young people and I feel that his movie connects with teens, because despite it being a very mature story, it is seen from their point of view.

What kind of obstacles did you face while working on “Bravetown?”

This was my first film and it was a big cast. I think my first obstacle was how to face that challenge and the insecurity I had at one point about being able to succeed. Having English be my second language was also a big obstacle, to think that at some point I wasn’t going to be able to communicate exactly what I wanted. Thank God I had the proper words to be able to express what I wanted to the crew and cast, to be able to steer the wheel of this boat.

Back to the theme of losing loved ones to war and how you deal with that, there are plenty of people in Latin America who can relate to what it’s like to lose someone to violence.

Perhaps in Latin American countries we don’t lose soldiers, but we have a high percentage of deaths caused by crime. That’s a kind of war with which we’ve have to deal. I think that people from other countries will identify with “Bravetown,” because it’s that feeling of losing a loved one to violence that creates wounds that are difficult to heal. And how you face that loss, that is the important point of the movie.

What was it like working with Laura Dern, who recently was nominated for the Oscar for “Wild”?

Laura is a true lady and working with her was incredible — a delight. I learned a lot from her. For me it was an experience to create that character with her because it was written one way and when we sat down to talk, we gave it a different tone. That’s the magic that happens when you work with someone with her talent.

This was your first film, but what can we expect from you in the future?

I want to continue telling great stories and entertaining. Right now I’m focused on closing the chapter with “Bravetown,” but I am starting to read and write ideas. But I don’t know what’s coming yet.

And now that you are closing the chapter, how do you feel about your first film?

I feel very happy, excited and enthusiastic about people seeing my first project. I think it was an incredible project with an excellent cast. … I [also] had the opportunity to work with my director of photography Angel Berroeta — who has been with me since my music videos and with pride I can say he’s from Maracay, Venezuela — Salvadorian writer Oscar Torres, Argentine production designer Tomas Voth, Venezuelan composer Angelo Milli. You could say this was a movie made by Latinos for Americans, and that makes me very proud.

“Bravetown” will be in select theaters beginning on Friday, May 8.

CORRECTION: This article has been edited to correct the reference to Laura Dern, who has been nominated for Oscars twice, but has not won.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Americans’ Gut Bacteria Lack Diversity, Researchers Find

People living in less-developed Papua New Guinea have 50 more types of bacteria
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Number of Americans Taking Statins Keeps Rising: CDC

Even more should be taking them to cut risk of heart attack and stroke, cardiologist says
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Too Few Americans Undergo Dementia Screening

More than half of people with the condition never had a thinking/memory test, study found
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Almost 1 in 5 Americans Plagued by Constant Pain, Survey Suggests

Older people, women more likely to struggle on daily basis, researchers note
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Injuries, Violence Are Leading Causes of Death for Young Americans

CDC researcher calls for broader preventive measures
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New Blood Pressure Guidelines May Take Millions of Americans Off Meds

Study estimates impact of controversial changes that raised treatment threshold
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Alzheimer’s May Kill Far More Americans Than Thought

Researchers report that the toll from the incurable brain disease exceeds death certificate statistics
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‘The Americans,’ ‘COMRADES’ Recap: You’re Home Now

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 1 of FX’s “The Americans,” titled “Comrades.”

We all better get it together, because it feels like “The Americans” has found its rhythm and a fair share of drama. Directorate S might be exposed, Paige is getting a little nosy, and Beeman is way over his head.

Elizabeth convalesced up in the hills somewhere and along with her healing is a newfound, full on feeling for Philip. It’s physical and emotional — not only are they having good (I’m assuming) sex. They’re also agreeing on everything from business decisions, like refunding Stan his Hawaii vacation, to spy blunders, like using Henry in a pinch for a dead drop. Elizabeth seems more willing to compromise a bit, and Philip, as demonstrated in his lone mission with the Afghans, can be a badass, too.

On their first ‘date night’ mission to infiltrate a Lockheed Martin employee, Roy, they work with two old friends. They have a family and a real American life, just like the Jennings. It’s nice to see them as part of something bigger, until they walk into a hotel room and find their friends, along with their daughter, shot in the head. The Jennings gather up what they can to help complete that mission but this means that someone, somewhere knows they exist. And somewhere, Granny is probably on her way back into town.

Having her family threatened leaves Elizabeth vulnerable, like that deer in the headlights in the opening scene, and it’s even worse now that she’s fostered possibly real feelings for Philip. So, plot one and a half.

Plot two: Sanford has been murdered by the Colonel and although Agent Gaad can’t find the budget to investigate, he’s with Beeman in believing that something just isn’t right. We can only hope that Beeman’s sniffing around isn’t such a slow burn as it was last season. And now he has Nina to deal with. While he might have something real to work with when it comes to the Colonel, Nina has let him on a new arrival at the Rezidentura — Oleg, who rocks Rod Stewart as much as the party line. She and Arkady are primed to start feeding Stan some information.

What about Stan and Sandra? Unfortunately, not so in love as the Jennings. Meryl Streep makes an appearance through a cameo of The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He shows a bootleg version to Nina, wanting her to emote; instead she pouts and works him. He pays full ticket price at the movie theater with his wife for the same flick: she cries and tries to tap into his soul. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much “True Detective” and am projecting, but his Madonna/whore issues are starting to get to me.

Wig Count: 3+1 hat = 4

Nina’s Best Poorly Translated Idiom (Working Title) :

Lessons learned: Don’t open closed doors. Paige, in her newfound curiosity, walks in on her parents having sex. And though she was pleased by their welcome home smooch, this is more disturbing. If only because they turn it into a teaching moment about privacy and trust, just before Philips sneers “do we even know if this is the first time she’s checked on us?” It’s a strange balance between wanting to protect his daughter from ending up shot by strangers and trying to protect himself from his daughter.

“The Americans” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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Cellphones Better Than Sex, Most Americans Say

What’s more important than sex?

Turns out a whole bunch of things, according to an online poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

On a list of 10 things people can’t live without, sex came in near the bottom – behind food, cars, Internet access, cellphones and computers and just ahead of navigation systems, social networks and tablets.

Check out the numbers in this infographic from Statista:

Infographic: Mobile Phones Are More Important Than Sex | Statista

You’ll find more statistics at Statista.

On the other hand, some people refuse to choose one or the other. Multitasking is taking off in the bedroom, with one recent survey showing that 20 percent of young adults check their smartphones during sex. And over in the U.K., 62 percent of women and 48 percent of men admit to checking their phones while doing the deed.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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