Single Black Mothers You Are Capable Of Helping Black Boys Evolve Into Black Men, I Did

I am a black man not a nigger

Some of our greatest moments begin in despair and end in joy. This is my truth about becoming a mother. I was a 21-year-old college student, still attempting to find my way in the world when I became pregnant with my son. I had no idea how to care for a baby, I was still mastering caring for myself. I had plans, I had goals, and a baby wasn’t a part of any of them, but there I was pregnant, afraid, and embarrassed.

Honestly, my fear connected to motherhood wasn’t about being a single mother. My mother and many of the other amazing women in my family are and were great mothers who happen to be single. Some were divorced, some widows, and some found themselves in the baby mama category courtesy of bad decisions, just as I had. I had witnessed their strength, and I knew I had the potential to be a great mother despite what daddy decided to do. I knew that I had to make adjustments because I refused to be one of those girls who had a baby and passed it off to their mother while they resumed their regular life. The real fear came months later when I found out I was having a son. I felt as though I could navigate my way through motherhood with a daughter. I could teach her about womanhood (even though I wasn’t a woman yet) and life from a female perspective with ease. I had heard all the “It takes a man to raise a boy into a man” sayings and, honestly, I believed it.

Boys need male energy, they need examples and role models that look like them. That being said, I couldn’t see myself “giving” my son to his father to raise. Still, I questioned what I could offer a boy regarding manhood. I had nothing and I felt my son’s father also had nothing because he lacked many of the characteristics of a “real man” and was more young and dumb than I was, if that was possible. I was no more confident in him raising our son to be a man than I was about me doing so, but I did know that I would give our son the roots he needed to grow and the wings he’d need to soar. I also knew that I would love him with every ounce of my heart and make sure he was cultured and educated, which is precisely what I have been doing for the past 20 years.

Through the struggles of living in public housing and receiving state assistance, I raised my son, Zay, to be intelligent, God/fearing, respectful and strong. I, too, leveled up and became a better person. I became a better woman because my son deserved to experience the magic of a Black woman. Sometimes we lose sight of what our children really need from an emotional standpoint while trying to provide. Children aren’t born with an understanding of material things, we introduce that to them. Children are born craving love and that’s free sis.

I also encourage single mothers to avoid making motherhood about the absent parent. No sis, you are not the mother and the father, you are a damn good mother, period. Oh and, if co-parenting is possible, give it a try because your child needs daddy too. Yes, I have issues with my children’s father even now, but I have never allowed any of those issues to deny him the privilege of being an active part of their lives. Clearly, their daddy wasn’t the man for me, but my children love and respect their father and Zay has learned many lessons from him.

I made it a habit to always be very open and honest with Zay about life. I knew that as a Black man he needed the truth about the world. I found ways to address his questions about his body and the changes he was experiencing. We dealt with masturbation and sex head-on despite my discomfort. I emphasized the importance of using his discretion wisely when having sex and building relationships. I wanted him to know that he didn’t have to conquer every woman he encountered and that sex could prove to be deadly, plus God forbid he get stuck for life with some random he made a mistake with.

I emphasized the importance of knowledge, control, and respect of self because many men have deficiencies in these areas and their activities reflect it. My son had a front row seat to the toxic show of immaturity between his parents, and I needed to assure he was clear that the acts and attitudes he witnessed were wrong. I attempted to undo the effects of our bad behavior by dissecting situations in a manner that stressed the avoidance of certain things and amplified the importance of others:

  1. Making himself his top priority.
  2. Never disrespecting a woman with his words or actions.
  3. Always exercising self-control.
  4. Removing anyone or any situation from his life that doesn’t serve him well.
  5. Nurturing every meaningful relationship he has.

Two years ago, I was flooded with emotion when I dropped Zay off at college. I was so proud that he had graduated with honors and without incident (except getting caught kissing when he was supposed to be in class). I felt like a winner. Despite every hardship, we made it. That baby that my college professor soothed in her office so that I could complete my final is now a junior in college himself, excelling academically at Georgia State University. Not bad for a Black boy raised by a single black mom.

Single mothers, stay encouraged and do the work, sis. It will be hard and it damn sure won’t be perfect, but It will be worth it. Give your sons love and education. Namely, tell them the truth about who they and how to navigate this world and develop a healthy sense of manhood. Below are six of those truths, I’d encourage you to share with your son.

  1. The world has enough niggers. You are a Black man; you were created with purpose, and it is vital that you consider that purpose in all that you do.
  2. You are strong. Life may not always be kind and your strength will be tested but know that your light is brilliantly shining. Always understand the fall doesn’t make you weak and getting back up makes you stronger.
  3. Your greatest assets are wisdom and knowledge. Every black man should be guided by the wisdom and knowledge not just of his own understanding but of those who came before him and those around him. That wisdom and knowledge are never to be dumbed down because it is a part of your gift to the world.
  4. Your voice is vital. There are so many that need to hear your voice. There are so many that need to be fueled by your strength. Most of all, the foundation you lay will empower the next generation of strong, proud Black men.
  5. Your most reliable ally is the Black woman. Always love and respect the Black woman as you do yourself. Hold her in the highest regard, protect her and she will do the same for you.
  6. Align yourself with other Black men. Never allow social or economic differences to separate you from your brother. You are a much mightier force together. Don’t just be your brother’s keeper, see yourself in your brothers.



Black Residents and Businesses Could Benefit Greatly from JPMorgan Chase’s New $125 Million Investment

Black consumers and entrepreneurs are intended to be big recipients of a $ 125 million investment by JPMorgan Chase to enhance the financial health of underserved communities.
The new five-year global commitment by the nation’s largest bank will assist those individuals in multiple U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Boston, and Oakland—to name a few.

Through collaboration with community groups, the investment also could advance the development of products and services to make banking available to more people. The bank will identify, evaluate, and help expand fintech solutions, and financial coaching programs to help people improve their personal finances.

A JPMorgan Chase spokesperson says black residents—including small business owners—are a key target group for the investment. And many of the targeted areas will be black communities.

The goal: Help people boost their savings, reduce debt, build credit, and reach short-term and long-term financial goals, whether it’s used for such purposes as college financing or getting a home.

JPMorgan Chase is investing in programs such as Compass Working Capital. The $ 500,000 commitment is to help public housing residents in Boston reduce debt in addition to building savings and improving their credit scores. More than 50% of the people that Compass serves are black—and the vast majority of them are women. The bank added 30% of its new branches which will be in low- and middle-income communities.

Chase’s investment runs through 2023 and amounts to roughly $ 25 million annually on average. The bank’s strategy is to conduct research and test what works for each segment of the population in each area before scaling it up to reach more people. The bank’s exact annual spend will depend on that.

The new philanthropic investment is part of the bank’s efforts to drive economic opportunity in cities globally.

“When we create opportunities that make prosperity possible for more people, we become stronger as a country,” said Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Consumer Banking at Chase.

“Our firm is being intentional in our approach by bringing together our people, our products and branches, our digital tools, and our community investments so we can serve everyone, including those who need it most.”

The new services are needed to help improve the financial state of many Americans. Over 1 billion adults across the world struggle with managing their financial lives, according to the World Bank’s Findex. In the U.S., new research from JPMorgan Chase and Morning Consult found that:

  • More than 1 in 5 Americans are not saving on a monthly basis.
  • 52% of Americans do not have enough money saved or on hand for a $ 500 emergency.

That aligns with findings from the JPMorgan Chase Institute that most households do not have sufficient liquid assets to weather 90% of income and expense fluctuations.

JPMorgan Chase says the $ 125 million investment will help tackle these issues for underserved communities—including low-income women, immigrants, people of color and the aging—by supporting the creation, testing, and enhancement of innovative fintech tools that address their unique financial needs.

In addition, it will support the development and expansion of proven financial coaching and just-in-time resources that can help people weather unexpected emergencies and meet their long-term financial goals—from building credit to buying a home.

“Good financial health is a key component of creating economic opportunity for residents,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director at National League of Cities.

“JPMorgan Chase’s leadership and investments to help new Americans improve their financial lives ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their economic potential, live their dreams, and contribute their part in making America better.”

“Helping more communities access the tools that they need to manage their financial lives and meet their goals is a critical component of ensuring that more people benefit from economic growth,” said Colleen Briggs, head of Community Innovation at JPMorgan Chase. “Through this effort, we will test and scale promising financial solutions to support the prosperity of households and communities around the world.”

The post Black Residents and Businesses Could Benefit Greatly from JPMorgan Chase’s New $ 125 Million Investment appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Abortion Bans Are a Health Crisis. For Black Women, They Mean Devastation

As President Trump promised during the 2016 campaign, he would make overturning Roe v. Wade—the landmark court case giving women the constitutional right to have an abortion—part of his mission. Six states thus far, have passed or are trying to pass draconian laws banning abortions. Abortion ban is bad for all women and a crisis for black women.

It’s well-established that there is inequity in healthcare. “The sexual and reproductive health of African American women has been compromised due to multiple experiences of racism, including discriminatory healthcare practices from slavery through the post-Civil Rights era,” writes researchers in the report Racism, African American Women, and Their Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Review of Historical and Contemporary Evidence and Implications for Health Equity.

Those discriminatory practices exist today. Black women, many with limited resources, often have unequal access to quality healthcare. For example, the above study found that black women often are subjected to unnecessary hysterectomies. Infant mortality, pregnancy complications, and access to vital prenatal care are all issues affecting black women’s reproductive health.

And it doesn’t matter if you are a rich and famous black woman as we discovered when Serena Williams opened up about her life-threatening pregnancy complications. In fact, black woman’s reproductive health status is at such a red alert that Sen. Kamala Harris introduced legislation to address the black maternal mortality crisis.

What the anti-choice advocates conveniently leave out of their hateful, misogynistic narrative is that the same facilities that provide abortions are also safe havens for women to receive prenatal care, sexual education, and pregnancy care. These facilities are particularly crucial to low-income black women and those in rural areas.

Yet, the states with high populations of black women—and some with the worst records on black women’s healthcare—are the ones pushing hardest for abortion bans: Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia. As a result, many of these states are closing facilities that not only provide abortions but other critical women’s health services. Currently, only one abortion clinic remains in Missouri; three in Alabama; and one in Mississippi.

Missouri, Alabama, Ohio are ranked among the worst states for black infant mortality rates in the aforementioned study. From that report, “Mississippi has the largest proportion of babies born with low birth weight among Black women as well as all women (16.1% and 11.5%,  respectively). The states with the next largest proportions of babies born with low birth weight to Black women are Louisiana, West Virginia, Colorado, and Alabama.”

What is the impetus to place women’s reproductive freedom back 50 years? Anti-choicers cite their religious beliefs as justification—bestowing personhood onto fetuses.

But perhaps the underlying reasons are even more sinister. America is becoming browner. With the influx of immigrants from Latin America, and more people open to the idea of interracial relationships, millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations ever.

It stands to reason that the powers that be, the network of old white boys, are panicking over the darkened hue of the American populace; and over the demands for economic and political diversity and equity. And there is power in numbers. Force more white women to have white babies and make America white again…perhaps?

Of course, that is speculation. What isn’t: Abortion bans do not stop women from having abortions. These bans only make it more dangerous and expensive for women to terminate pregnancies. These bans shut down healthcare facilities that provide reproductive services and support that extends far beyond abortions. These bans, while detrimental to all women, will be devastating to the well-being of black women, as we still struggle to gain equal footing in a world that is so quick to hate us.

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Abortion Bans Are a Health Crisis. For Black Women, They Mean Devastation appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Trump wants his border barrier to be painted black with spikes. He has other ideas, too.

Pointed tops. Fewer gates. Resistance to climbing. The president’s frequently changing design requests have frustrated Homeland Security officials and military engineers.

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Get the Real Wendy Williams Experience at Black Enterprise Event

Mother, media mogul, fashion designer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, performer, and best-selling author, Wendy Williams will be a featured speaker at BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s conference for entrepreneurs, FWD.

During her session at FWD, ‘Wendy Williams: More Than Just Talk,’ moderated by BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s Chief Branding Officer of Women of Power, Caroline Clarke—the Queen of All Media will talk about her entrepreneurial journey. The session is your perfect chance to “Ask Wendy.”

Decades of Media Success

Wendy is best known for her long-running Daytime Emmy nominated talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Recently extended through 2020, the show has been nominated for multiple daytime Emmy awards, has memorabilia in the Smithsonian Museum, and broadcasts in 53 countries.

Taped live in New York City, the show reflects Wendy’s entertaining personality and distinctive sense of humor. The focus on entertainment and pop culture exemplifies Wendy’s passion for those topics, and the show’s signature segments include “Hot Topics” with Wendy’s take on the juiciest celebrity headlines; “Trendy at Wendy,” showcasing the hottest brands; and “Ask Wendy,” where Wendy offers real advice to audience members.

The show also includes a diverse mix of interviews with celebrity guests from television, film, music, and sports. In 2015, both Wendy and the show earned Daytime Emmy nominations for “Best Talk Show Host” and “Best Entertainment Talk Show.”

Prior to achieving success in daytime television, Wendy built a devoted fan base throughout a successful 23-year career in radio, with “The Wendy Williams Experience,” a top-rated daily radio show. Syndicated nationally, it aired on WBLS in New York and was listened to by an audience of more than 12 million. One of the most popular personalities in radio, Wendy was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November of 2009 – one of only a handful of women with that honor.

Wendy Williams: Entrepreneur

Expanding her media footprint, Wendy and her husband Kevin launched the non-fiction television programming company, Wendy Williams Productions (WWP) in 2013. Recent projects include the Lifetime original movie Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B and Death by Gossip with Wendy Williams, which premiered on Investigation Discovery.

With TV, Broadway and film to her name, Wendy is a seasoned performer — both as herself and in character. Her television credits include appearances on NBC’s 30 Rock as herself, competing on Season 12 of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, hosting Game Show Network’s original series Love Triangle, and appearing as a featured guest on ABC’s One Life to Live and Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. Wendy also appeared in the major motion picture Think Like a Man, Think Like A Man Too, and took center stage as Mama Morton in the Tony-winning revival of the musical Chicago.

In the spring of 2014, Wendy released her seventh book and first romance novel, Hold Me in Contempt (Harper Collins; $ 14.99). The book became a New York Times Best-Seller the day of its release and sales continue to thrive among her fans.

In recent years, Wendy has also added fashion designer to her resume, becoming a number one selling brand with HSN through her Wendy Williams collection.

Register Now for FWD





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‘Black Mirror’ drops super creepy Season 5 trailer


It’s here, peopleBlack Mirror has burst back onto the scene with a suitably creepy trailer for its fifth Season.

Featuring appearances from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Anthony Mackie, the 90-second video includes plenty of familiar Black Mirror tropes: smartphones aplenty, creepy little robots, and basically a whole lot of people looking generally miserable and disturbed with how their lives have turned out.

We can’t wait!

Black Mirror Season 5 drops on Netflix June 5. Read more…

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Lori Chennault, Georgia-Pacific Executive, Offers 5 Ways to Successfully Navigate a Corporate Career as a Black Woman

As the VP – IT, Consumer Products Group at Georgia-Pacific Group, Lori Chennault is an example of a black woman who found her way through the often-turbulent corporate career waters. At the 2019 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, Chennault shared her views on how black women can not only navigate corporate careers but how they can achieve success.

During the “An Honest Conversation About Gender in the Workplace,” a session sponsored by Georgia-Pacific and Koch Industries, Chennault, a wife of 22 years and mother of two children, offered these tips:

  • “There will be times when I have to ask for help to manage the priorities. And that is OK.”
  • “We spend so much energy on things we can’t control, and we lose sight on things we can control.”
  • “As you navigate, take time to look in the mirror and laugh at yourself. That’s the best thing—personal feedback, as well as seeking feedback.”
  • “Take time to stop and say, ‘What happened today? Were those good decisions? Did I get off-course?’ And if you get off-course, it’s OK. I haven’t met one perfect person yet.”
  • “Stop seeking titles. Take some risks and be passionate about learning to grow. When you step out there to take risks, do it with what’s in your toolbox. Find things that play to your strengths.”

Watch the entire video of the session below:

The post Lori Chennault, Georgia-Pacific Executive, Offers 5 Ways to Successfully Navigate a Corporate Career as a Black Woman appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


10 Black Documentaries Not to Miss in 2019

There are several cutting-edge and groundbreaking documentaries that will likely be released this year focusing on black leaders, controversial figures, and issues of importance to the black community. Take a look at the video to get a sneak peek of 10 black documentaries you will want to keep on your radar when they debut in the upcoming months.



The post 10 Black Documentaries Not to Miss in 2019 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Sidney Bechet

Among the great pantheon of New Orleans Jazz artists, Sidney Bechet is rightfully near the top of that group of legends. The saxophonist was born May 14, 1897, and according to some, brought forth the concept of the soloist in his genre.

Bechet was largely a self-taught child prodigy who picked up the clarinet at the age of six. By the time he was a teenager, Bechet was a professional musician playing in several New Orleans bands. His playing style was described as improvisational and bold, often standing out among the ensemble sets of the bands.

After a stint with bandleader King Oliver’s group, Bechet moved to New York to join composer Will Marion Cook’s Syncopated Orchestra. It was with the Orchestra that Bechet toured Europe and discovered the straight saxophone, and instrument he remained with for the duration of his professional career. As noted by experts, Bechet was able to bring his bold, innovative style of playing the clarinet to the saxophone.

While in Europe, Bechet spent about a year in jail after a gunfight broke out between him and some other musicians. In his autobiography “Treat It Gentle.” Bechet wrote that he accidentally shot a woman but was trying to shoot a man who insulted him and his playing. After his release from a Paris jail, Bechet was deported and relocated to Berlin, Germany.

Bechet returned to the states in the ‘30s and found work playing and performing but success on the record charts proved to be elusive for him while his past collaborators such as Armstrong and Duke Ellington were becoming superstars. In the ‘40s, Bechet returned to Europe and settled in France were he found fame as a hit-making musician.

Armstrong is credited by most historians for bringing forth the concept of the jazz soloist, but some experts contend that Bechet pioneered the concept in a recording studio mere months before Satchmo did so.

Bechet passed from lung cancer on his birthday in 1959 at the age of 62.



PHOTO: Library of Congress/Public Domain


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Four Black Single Mothers Blessed With Pre-Owned Cars At a Maryland Church [VIDEO]

Beyond making history as the first African American Lamborghini and McLaren dealer in the United States, Thomas Moorehead, President and CEO of Sterling Motorcars, is also establishing a legacy of giving back to the communities he serves. Recently, the Sterling Motor Cars Community C.A.R.E program surprised four single-parent moms with cars during church services held on Sunday, April 28, at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Sterling Motorcars is a longtime member of the BE 100s, Black Enterprise’s listing of the largest black-owned businesses, and was named Auto Dealer of the Year back in 2007.

According to a statement, each of the unsuspecting mothers was gifted with a vehicle at the 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, and 6:30 p.m. services, making them the first recipients of the Sterling Motorcars’ Community C.A.R.E. Program. The community-based initiative, which stands for “commitment, assurance, reliability, and excellence,” targets school, local organizations, and faith-based organizations.

Photo credit: First Baptist Church of Glenarden

Pastor K. Jenkins Sr. of First Baptist Church of Glenarden said the moms were selected based on their economic hardships and faithfulness to the church. “We have identified four single parents based on their financial needs, having young children, and being active members of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden,” he said in the statement. “Our recipients are faithfully involved in our ministries and are single parents who recognize that their lives are bigger than themselves. They give generously by serving outside of themselves by helping other people.”

Sterling Motorcars

(Photo credit: First Baptist Church of Glenarden)

Although they were not named in the statement, each of the parents was described as follows:

  • Parent One: Husband passed leaving her to raise eight children, ages 8-15
  • Parent Two: Involved in an automobile accident with uninsured motorists where her car was totaled. This parent volunteers with FBCG’s Special Needs Ministry and has a 15-year-old child.
  • Parent Three: Uses public transportation and has two children ages 7 and 9. Despite various hardships in her life, she continues to serve in the Kids World Ministry and the Children Bible Study Ministry for the last five years.
  • Parent Four: Volunteers their time working with the dance ministry youth ages 13-18.  They have a 9-year-old son, who is also actively involved in the church.
Mother's Day

(Photo credit: First Baptist Church of Glenarden)

Watch Marilyn Lacy, a widowed mother of eight, react after being surprised with a vehicle in the video below.

The post Four Black Single Mothers Blessed With Pre-Owned Cars At a Maryland Church [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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5 Life Insurance Wealth-Building Strategies for Black Families

Unfortunately, most people think of death when they think about life insurance. And few want to think or talk about dying. As you may know, designated beneficiaries receive a financial benefit at the time of a person’s death. However, there are several benefits of life insurance to leverage while alive. Here is a look at a few life insurance wealth-building strategies that black families can use.

First, while there are numerous types of life insurance options available, they fall into the categories of term insurance, permanent insurance, or a hybrid:

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the most economical because it provides coverage for a temporary time, like 10 years, 15 years, etc. Unfortunately, less than 1% of term insurance policies pay out. This is because people usually outlive the time frame of the plan.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent insurance provides coverage for a person’s entire life. Permanent life insurance policies build cash value. Cash value is a portion of the premiums paid that accumulates in a savings account. Over time, the accumulated cash earns interest and, in cases of mutual insurance companies (owned by its policyholders), dividends.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life is a hybrid of term and permanent life insurance plans. Universal life or UL is a term life insurance plan that can protect the insured for their entire life. If this type of policy is not designed correctly, it can become a big waste of money. If the plan is designed and managed properly, it can be an economical way to have permanent life insurance coverage.

5  Life Insurance Wealth-Building Strategies

Financial experts in the insurance industry share a few wealth building strategies of life insurance to enjoy while alive, as well as for legacy wealth.

Build a Bank of You

Permanent insurance policies have a forced savings mechanism. This accumulation of cash, called Cash Value, is like building your own bank and can be used for numerous things.

“Instead of borrowing money from a bank,” explains Kerry Peabody, CLU, CLTC of Clark Insurance, “the policy owner can take a loan against the cash value for numerous things, like supplemental retirement income, college funding, business startup, etc.”

Benefit While You’re Alive

The most valuable asset a person has is their health and ability to earn money to save, spend, invest and give. However, if diagnosed with a terminal illness, medical expenses can wipe out a person’s savings or inhibit their ability to build wealth while they are alive.

“Some life insurance providers offer an accelerated death benefit rider, which is a provision that allows the policyowner to receive a portion of the death benefit if they were to become terminally ill,” says Yogesh Shetty of Live Well & Earn Insurance. “If diagnosed with a terminal illness, you could cash out a portion of your life insurance to pay off medical expenses.”

[RELATED: Multiple Ways Life Insurance Can Build Wealth for Blacks and Community]

Forced Future Savings

If funds are tight, but life insurance coverage is needed and a seamless way to save money is desired, this type of term life insurance can be an excellent tool for wealth building.

“Return of Premium Term Life Insurance Policy is a great way to build wealth,” says Sa El, co-founder of Simply Insurance. “If the person outlives the term, the Return of Premium Life Insurance Policy will return all the premiums paid into the policy. It is like having protection with cash back.”

Create Trust Babies

Whether people have substantial or modest incomes, life insurance is a way to create trust babies and legacy wealth. A trust is a fund that consists of assets held by a designated trustee for the beneficiaries. The trust owner dictates how the assets will be disbursed to the beneficiary, from the grave, through the trustee.

“Once the Trust is established, the trust owner can designate the beneficiary, the disbursement terms, and the trustee.” El further explains, “A person gets 30 times their annual earned income of life insurance. For example, $ 50,000 income per year would equal to a $ 1.5 million term life insurance policy. They then establish the trust fund as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy and then designates the beneficiary of the trust. This strategy can change the financial landscape of a family and put them in a financially stable position.”

Use Cash Value as Collateral

Whether there is a need for capital for a business startup or business renovations, many minority business owners are having trouble getting approved for small business loans.

“Permanent life insurance policy cash values can be used as collateral for bank loans,” shares Adam Doran, a financial advisor at Prevail Innovative Wealth Strategies. “Even if the bank does not offer, ask if this option can be considered.”

Life insurance is not only a financial benefit to the family upon death; it can be a tool to enhance an investment portfolio and financial plan. Consult with a registered financial adviser or licensed insurance agent for tax and eligibility requirements.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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While the World Welcomes Meghan’s Royal Baby: Here Are 6 More Royal Black Women Around the World

It’s a boy! Meghan Markle has delivered a baby boy, according to several news reports. Markle, whose official title is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex since her marriage to Prince Harry, has been a daily topic in media and among royal family watchers.

According to CNN “the baby will be seventh in line to the British throne behind Prince Charles, Prince William, and his three children and Prince Harry.”

Markle is the product of a white father and black mother—a social worker who lives in the mostly African American L.A. suburb of View Park-Windsor Hills (incidentally, one of the wealthiest black suburbs in the country).

It’s been a constant source of buzz—the first woman of color to become part of the British royal family. Yet, there are other black women royalnistas around the globe:


Princess Angela of Liechtenstein

black royalty

Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein and Princess Angela of Liechtenstein (Pinterest)

Princess Angela (born Angela Gisela Brown) was a standout graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York and worked as a fashion director for Adrienne Vittadini, before marrying Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein in January 2000. This Afro-Panamanian beauty also started her own line, A. Brown, which she headed for three years. The couple wed at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York, after reportedly meeting a few years earlier at a reception in the city. The princess wore a white dress which she designed and the same Kinsky royal-jeweled tiara that Princess Tatjana of Liechtenstein wore when she married Philipp von Lattorff in June 1999.



Baroness Cecile de Massy of Monaco

black royalty

Baroness Cecile de Massy of Monaco and Christian Louis Baron de Massy (Facebook)

de Massy is married to Christian Louis Baron de Massy who is Prince Rainier of Monaco’s nephew. The fashionable beauty of Caribbean descent is a prominent fixture among the who’s who of Monaco’s social scene and is also involved in philanthropy, serving as president of Ladies Lunch Monte-Carlo, a charitable organization in Monaco.


Princess Sikhanyiso of Swaziland

black royalty


The first of 30 children of King Mswati III of Swaziland, this princess is more than a pretty face, speaking out to raise awareness on issues such as AIDS and poverty that affect her country. With interests in the arts, this 30-year-old studied drama at the University of Biola in California and was featured in publications as one of the top hottest young royals.



Princess Keisha Omilana of Nigeria

black royalty


A former model, spokesperson, and actress, Omilana adds brains to beauty as a businesswoman. The Inglewood, California, native started Wonderful Brand, a multifaceted business incorporating fashion, television, and web, with her husband, Kunle, a Nigerian prince. Known as the “Pantene Girl,” Omilana is cited as the first African American woman to be featured in three consecutive commercials.


Countess Mary Von Habsburg of Austria


black royalty

Ferdinand Leopold Joseph Count von Habsburg and Countess Mary Von Habsburg (Pinterest)

Habsburg, a native of Sudan, is the wife of Ferdinand Leopold Joseph Count von Habsburg of Austria. The couple wed in August 1999, hosting their ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, and have three children, all born in Nairobi. Their marriage was seen as controversial among the public and in royal circles, because of her class as a commoner and her ethnic background; but the head of the Habsburg royal family, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, reportedly declared all Habsburg marriages “equal.”


Queen Sylvia Nagginda of Buganda (Uganda)

black royalty



Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Uganda, this regal woman married King Kabaka Mutebi II in 1999, after a career working in various U.S. sectors including public relations, international nonprofits, and healthcare and human services. A graduate of New York University and New York Institute of Technology, the queen also advocates for public service, having worked as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, and has worked as a consultant to bring resources to Uganda’s entrepreneurs and the business community.

—Editors’ Note: This article has been updated from its original publish date of April 28, 2011

The post While the World Welcomes Meghan’s Royal Baby: Here Are 6 More Royal Black Women Around the World appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Respeck On Her Name: Black Woman Lawyer Blasts Media Over Solely Giving Kim Kardashian Credit For Freeing 17 Inmates

Kim Kardashian West out and about in Paris

Source: / WENN

The lawyer who Kim Kardashian worked alongside to spearhead the release of 17 prisoners is speaking out and asking for the media to give credit where it’s due.

For the last year, Kim Kardashian has received increasing attention for her role in criminal justice reform, but Houston based attorney Brittany K. Barnett of the Buried Alive Project, made sure to make it clear that she’s been advocating for this work for years, along with her partner MiAngel Cody.

Barnett posted a lengthy Facebook message on Tuesday after 17 men were released from life in federal prison over drug charges.

“The first and last time I will speak on it. Seriously, because the negativity from today is misdemeanor s*** and we still have lives to save. MiAngel Cody and I have BEEN doing this work for FREE,” she wrote.

“Ask any of our dozens of clients who are now free living their best lives. Both of us left six figure salary jobs and wiped out our own savings accounts to fund our work. We attempted to get grants from these large foundations shelling out MILLIONS of dollars to other organizations but would not look our way because they so-called don’t fund “direct services”. Our hands were full picking locks to human cages, we didn’t have time to participate in glorified begging from the nonprofit industrial complex only to be turned down.

But Barnett made it clear that she does not blame Kim for the media coverage, being that her name is destined to cause attention.

She also stated that Kim stepped in as a financial contributor after her and her partner were refused by different foundations.

“Kim has always been very clear in her role. It’s the media that spins it around – not Kim. We do not care how the media is portraying it – that’s what the media does. Who cares,” Barnett wrote. “We need Kim’s support and the support of anyone else who wants to join this fight. We love that she is using her platform to raise awareness. We ain’t trying to be famous, we trying to get our people free. Period.”

You can read Barnett’s full Facebook post here.



Black Folks In D.C. Are Fighting Back Against Gentrification With #Moechella


Gentrifiers have been trying to whitewash Black communities all over the country for decades now. However, one store in Washington, D.C., has unwittingly caused an uprising and now residents in the nation’s capital are fighting back in the best way ever. The Save Chocolate City Protest took place at the historic northwest Washington intersection of 14th and U streets Tuesday night and reportedly had more than 3,000 people in attendance.

Dubbed Moechella — a name that combined the Coachella music festival with “Moe,” a pronoun for a friend exclusively used in D.C. — the gathering invited people to demonstrate against gentrifiers who have been fighting the city’s native go-go music. D.C.’s paling population was most recently exemplified by a tone-deaf white man who wondered aloud on live TV why Howard University couldn’t just relocate to make room for other people who look like him.

Situations like that united Black D.C. Tuesday night for Moechella.

In case you missed it, a Metro PCS store in the historically Black Shaw neighborhood has been playing go-go music without any complaint for nearly a quarter of a century. But that all changed in March when T-Mobile, Metro PCS’ parent company, ordered an end to the musical tradition.

An online petition to keep the store playing its go-go-music was nearing its goal of 10,000 signatures.

That complaint silenced the music for several days. The hashtag #Don’tMuteDC went viral and there were protests with some local lawmakers joining. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau, who represents Shaw, wrote a letter to T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs outlining the city’s history and go-go’s place in it, the Post said. Mayor Muriel Bowser added her voice to the protest.

By April 10, T-Mobile yielded to the increasing pressure and authorized the Metro PCS store to turn the music back on, the Washington Post reported.

John Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile U.S., tweeted his support for the longstanding tradition to continue.

Go-go music, typically described as funky percussion-based instrumentation, is many times compared to a junkyard band (in fact, one of the top go-go groups is called Junk Yard Band). Protesters feared that the muting of the speakers outside the mobile phone store was just a first step in a larger attack on their culture.

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Black America Web


Georgia mayor facing calls to resign over alleged comment on black job candidate

The mayor of a predominantly white city in Georgia is facing calls to resign after she allegedly said residents weren’t “ready” to have a black city administrator, a report said. Mayor Theresa Kenerly allegedly made the comment to a member of Hoschton’s city council during a closed-door session on March 4 and later repeated them…
News | New York Post


Ultimate Buy Black Mother’s Day 2019 Gift Guide

Buy Black Mother’s Day 2019 Gift Guide

This Sunday marks Mother’s Day 2019. Not only do we honor the beautiful women who gave us life—but we honor the figures in our lives who nurtured us; be they mentors, teachers, godmothers, aunts, or anyone who stepped into the role and has looked out for our well-being with unrivaled strength and wisdom. Mothers of color in particular often go that extra mile, making whatever sacrifices they need to ensure that their young charges not only survive but thrive. What better way to honor the mothers in your life, and also help support some mompreneurs, than by shopping for Mama from this comprehensive Mother’s Day gift guide. Simply click on the category or image to pull up a list of each black-owned business collection.


black mother's day gift guide



black mother's day gift guide


black mother's day gift guide


black mother's day gift guide



black mother's day gift guide

(Image: That Melanin Life/Etsy)







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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Trevor Noah Roasts ‘Game of Thrones’ for Starbucks Coffee Gaffe and Having ‘Three Black People’ on the Show

Comedy Central

On Monday night, The Daily Show weighed in on the controversy that brought nerds everywhere to their feet.

Yes, I’m talking about that Starbucks coffee cup that found its way into Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones.

“Last week, people complained that the episode was so dark they couldn’t see anything,” host Trevor Noah explained. “This week, people are complaining that they saw too much.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Diana Ross Had A ‘Flying While Black’ Moment

Diana Ross had a not-so-pleasant experience at the airport over the weekend. The legendary singer revealed in a series of tweets Sunday that she felt “violated” by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer while she was flying out of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Ross, who performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Saturday, said the experience was so bad that it made her “want to cry.”

In another tweet, the 75-year-old icon wrote, “on one hand I’m treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like s—t.”

A TSA spokesperson released a statement in response to the incident, saying they have reviewed surveillance footage of Ross’ pat-down search and found that the agents involved “followed all protocols,” reports Entertainment Tonight.

“TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. TSA is aware of concerns presented by Diana Ross about her screening experience at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport this morning. Initial review of CCTV indicates that the officers involved with Ms. Ross’s screening correctly followed all protocols, however, TSA will continue to investigate the matter further. We encourage Ms. Ross to reach out to TSA so we can further explain our procedures, designed to protect travelers from a persistent threat.”

Ross is one of several famed black women who has called out the TSA in recent years. In December 2016, political commentator and media personality Angela Rye shared a video on Twitter of TSA giving her a pat-down. Rye, who appeared to get emotional in the video, said she was humiliated by the procedure. Likewise, Solange Knowles tweeted back in 2012 about enduring a TSA hair search through her curly mane. The “Don’t Touch My Hair” singer quipped that the search was an example of “Discrim-FRO-nation.”

TSA Hair Bias

Earlier this year, a report by ProPublica revealed that many black women who have been subjected to hair pat-downs have felt singled out. A survey conducted in March by the publication found that a majority of travelers who’ve experienced hair searches were women of color. Many described the searches as intrusive and disrespectful.

Some TSA agents, however, insist that they’re not racially-profiling women of color for additional security searches. Rather, the TSA full-body machines may be biased against black women’s hair textures and styles. “With black females, the scanner alarms more because they have thicker hair; many times they have braids or dreadlocks,” an unnamed TSA officer who works at a Texas airport told ProPublica. “Maybe, down the line, they will be redesigning the technology, so it can tell apart what’s a real threat and what is not. But, for now, we officers have to do what the machine can’t.”

TSA said in a statement that they are “reviewing additional options for the screening of hair.”

The post Diana Ross Had A ‘Flying While Black’ Moment appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know

Choosing to become a freelance writer and turning your writing talents into a profitable career are two very different stories. You can possess excellent grammar and spelling skills, but if you can’t build a profitable business around your talents, your freelance writing dreams are likely to be nothing more than a mirage. Understanding how to turn your writing yearnings into a revenue-focused business is essential for long-term success as a freelance writer. If this is the year you transition from being a wannabe writer to a writing business owner, remember the following five critical business development truths every freelance writer ought to know.

Evaluate the ROI of Your Writing Clients

Walking away from low-ROI, high-demand freelance writing clients is OK. Not every writing relationship offers a significant return-on-investment for your writing business. Learn early on in your writing career how to evaluate the ROI of your clients. Are they helping you grow your portfolio with a byline in a respected publication? Are they paying you enough to meet your revenue-per-hour goals? Do they request multiple revisions on each project, thereby driving down your revenue-per-hour rate? The sooner you learn how to evaluate the ROI of your writing clients, the sooner you’ll build a revenue-positive writing business you can be proud of.


Combine a Niche Specialty with a Format Specialty

Chances are good you have already heard the advice to choose a niche to specialize in. However, did you know that choosing a writing format can also help increase revenues for your freelance writing business? Not only should you specialize in an industry, but you should also consider concentrating on one or two types of content. Offer white papers and case studies for the digital marketing sector. Create blog posts for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startups. Also, build a reputation as a sales letter copywriter for the affiliate marketing sector. Once you learn the power of combining a business niche with a content format, you’ll kick yourself for not discovering this exceptional career-development hack sooner.

Network Strategically

Your network has a significant influence on lead generation opportunities for your writing business. Find niche-specific forums via a tool like and offer helpful insights your target clients can use. Build a knowledge-based reputation within your industry, and you’ll soon have to start turning away clients for your freelance writing business.

Consistent Education Upgrades Equals Business Development Mastery

Continuing your education as a freelance writer is essential if you want to enjoy a long and profitable career as an on-demand wordsmith. Immerse yourself in new industries. Learn new writing formats. Study business sectors experiencing rapid growth. Pay attention to which startup sectors are attracting investment capital. Continually increasing your knowledge base makes good business sense. Not only will you be able to attract more clients to your writing business, but you’ll also build a reputation as an expert who can be depended upon to craft compelling content. Developing a deep knowledge base also helps you to transition your writing business and improve client quality while increasing your writing rates at the same time.

Control Your Clients

How much you charge, how you’re paid, and the revisions you offer are within your control. Professional writers don’t allow clients to tell them what a blog post will cost or how many revisions will be required in an article. Writing is a business, and you’re a business owner. You can’t tell the supermarket manager how much you’re willing to pay for your groceries. Don’t allow clients to tell you how much they’re willing to pay for your writing services. Know how much you charge for your writing services and only work with clients who respect your professionalism and honor your business practices.

Remember these five critical truths for freelance writers, and you’ll improve your odds of building a thriving and profitable writing business. Choosing to be a freelance writer is a decision not to be taken lightly. The sooner you start treating your writing career like a business, the sooner you’ll start living your freelance writing dreams.

The post 5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


For The First Time Ever, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA And Miss America Are All Black Women!

Celebrities Visit Hallmark's "Home & Family"

Source: Paul Archuleta / Getty

Last night, North Carolina’s Chelsie Kryst made history when she was announced as Miss USA. Not only was she the latest Black woman to wear the crown, she helped pull off a historic trifecta.

For the first time ever, three Black women are currently wearing crowns as the 2019 Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America.

Kryst joined pageant winners 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin (pictured) and recently crowned 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris.

Kryst is a civil litigation attorney who received her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University. During the pageant, fans of Kryst noticed that she wore her natural hair and unlike prior contests, she joined Garris in bypassing the need to straighten their hair in favor of their natural look.

Garris spoke to Refinery21 about her decision saying, “There were a few naysayers saying, ‘You look better with straight hair,’ or ‘You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair. As Miss Connecticut Teen USA, there are girls who would look at me in awe because they’ve always had the image of straight hair in pageants. Being able to spread the message of diversity, being yourself, and being confident in your curly, natural hair is something that I’m really looking forward to with my new national title.”

The closest Black women had to completing the trifecta before last night was in 2012 when Black women simultaneously wore crowns as Miss Teen USA and Miss USA.

Congrats ladies!

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Life & Style – Black America Web


[Video] Meet The Black Race Car Drivers, Pit Members, and Executives at NASCAR

Coming to you live from the Daytona 500, BLACK ENTERPRISE spent time with NASCAR, learning how the car racing organization is diversifying. In the video, check out interviews with race car driver Bubba Wallace; the first black woman member of a pit crew; and other black people who are making waves in NASCAR. (Video by Ed Stokes).




The post [Video] Meet The Black Race Car Drivers, Pit Members, and Executives at NASCAR appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Black and White Was the Go-To Color Combination for Red Carpets This Week

Is there anything more classic than a black-and-white ensemble? The two colors (or lack thereof, for all the artsy folks out there) go to together like peanut butter and jelly. But unlike this basic writer’s favorite sandwich combo, black and white done right is anything but boring — Paris Fashion …

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Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade & Other Celebs Donate To Funeral For Black Gay Teen Who Committed Suicide

2017 CFDA Fashion Awards - Arrivals

Source: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

Gabrielle Union, her husband Dwyane Wade and other celebs have donated to the family of Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old who recently killed himself after being bullied for being gay.

According to TMZ, sources told them that the couple along with Lena Waithe, Ludacris and Janelle Monae, helped donate to Shelby’s mother, Camika Shelby, who put her son to rest in a beautiful ceremony on Saturday (April 27). The family also raised over $ 40,000 from a separate GoFundMe campaign.


Last month, Nigel sadly made headlines when he took his life after battling depression and being bullied for his sexual orientation by students at Huntsville High School. Apparently, Nigel came out two years ago.

The Alabama teen’s mother told ABC News that her son was a “a vibrant, outgoing and fun-loving child who would do anything he could to make others smile.”

“Nigel was a sweetheart. He loved everybody, he would help anybody. He was an angel,” Shelby said. “I just wish people could’ve seen how special he was while he was still here.”

Camika also shared that her son was seeking counseling and was close to being medicated for his mental health issues. But he still struggled with the fact that he was gay.

“I wish he could have been fully accepted while he was here because it was hard for him. He struggled,” she said.

“He used to ask me sometimes ‘Mama, why couldn’t I just be normal?’ And I’m like, ‘Baby, you are normal. Who you choose to love has nothing to do with the person that you are.’”

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I would give anything for just one more hug

A post shared by ~NigelShelby (@lovelynigel) on


“I’m truly blessed that I got to spend 15 years with this child, but it also makes me so sad to know that he’s no longer with me. He was my motivation to keep going. He always kept me lifted up, so to not have that anymore is heartbreaking,” she said.

Even with a loving and accepting parent, Nigel still took his life, which is why it’s so incredibly important that as a community we hold up and love our Black LGBT children. Every single last one of us.

A2016 report released by the Center for American Progress found that Black LGBTQ folks experience higher rates of homelessness during youth than their peers;  have higher rates of unemployment or underemployment; and face overall lower rates of pay and higher rates of poverty.

Another report conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that nearly half of Black/African-American LGBTQ students felt unsafe due to their sexual orientation; over a third felt unsafe because of their gender expression and nearly 40 percent of Black/ African-American students were more likely to experience in-school discipline.

So it’s clear that our children need us now more than ever. All Black lives matter.

Rest in power Nigel.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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Entertainment – Black America Web


The Tribeca Film Festival Celebrates ‘In Living Color,’ A Pioneer of Black Sketch Comedy

The Tribeca Film Festival celebrated the 25th anniversary of In Living Color, a pioneering comedy sketch show created by filmmaker Keenen Ivory Wayans in the 90s. The show, which spoofed celebrities, politicians, and cultural moments from 1990 – 1994 on Fox, featured stars like Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and Damon Wayans.

On April 27, original members of the cast, including Ivory Wayans, his younger siblings Kim and Shawn Wayans, David Alan Grier, and Tommy Davidson, reunited for a panel conversation at the festival following an episode screening of the original show. When discussing the intent of the cutting-edge show, Keenen said “the intent was to include everybody. Everybody is going to laugh. It was all inclusive so we offended everyone…We wanted everybody to go, ‘Man that’s messed up, but that is funny as hell.’”

On the red carpet, Davidson said the Emmy Award-winning show helped paved the way for many of today’s popular sitcoms and comedies featuring black actors. “We’re in everything from sitcoms from Black-ish to Atlanta to every standup comic,” he told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “We’re a part of everything that’s happening because we’re a good nucleus that started the whole ball rolling.”

It also helped launch the careers of some of the biggest stars in comedy. “In Living Color was my comedy college,” Shawn Wayans told BE. “That’s where I learned everything from acting to writing to producing. Everything I know today was taught on that show.” Likewise, Kim Wayans said, “it was my first really big thing. In Living Color was my introduction to the world.”

At the time, they had no idea the show would become their launching pad to stardom and a staple in pop culture. “We were young. We were just kids ourselves so we weren’t really thinking big picture. Maybe Keenen thought about [the] big picture,” said Kim. “We were creating and just laughing. It was the time of our lives. We weren’t thinking much ahead of that,” added Shawn.

Nevertheless, Davidson says he cherishes the early days of the comedy hit, revealing that his most memorable moments on set happened during “our first season before we knew we were famous when we were doing it just for laughs and to pay our bills. That was the most magical time,” he said. “It gave us our blueprint. We created our own blueprint the first season and that just grew from there.”

The post The Tribeca Film Festival Celebrates ‘In Living Color,’ A Pioneer of Black Sketch Comedy appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


From Sorrow to Strategy: 7 Black Women Who’ve Turned Their Agony Into Activism

Lora King is keeping the legacy of her father, the late Rodney King, alive almost three decades after he survived a notorious police beating that triggered L.A. Riots.

Back in 1991, four white LAPD officers were charged with tasering and viciously beating Rodney King with their batons and boots during a police stop. Despite video evidence of the attack, an all-white jury acquitted the cops, sparking public outrage, the onset of rioting, and a nationwide call to end police violence against the African American community.

Now, at 35 years old, Lora King launched a scholarship program to honor her father, who passed away in 2012, and uplift other black dads, according to The L.A. Times.  The goal of her “I am a King” scholarship is to encourage black fathers to play a more active role in their children’s lives by sponsoring special events for dads and their kids. The program will provide grants on a rolling basis that will fund a range of events, from a family dinner to a trip to Disneyland. In addition, in 2016 she launched the Rodney King Foundation to advance social justice and human rights causes.

Lora King

Lora D. King, daughter of Rodney King (

King is part of a long list of black women who have used the tragedy of a loved one victimized by racialized violence as motivation to affect change. Some of the most notable women are the “Mothers of the Movement,” who joined forces to advocate for police, criminal justice, and gun reform following the deaths of their unarmed African American children by law enforcement or gun violence.

Here are six other black women who’ve turned their agony into activism by pushing for institutional and structural change, fighting for social justice, and raising awareness around the disproportionate rates of violence against black Americans.

Lucy McBath

Lucy McBath

U.S. Rep Lucy McBath (Wikimedia)

In 2012, Lucy McBath’s 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed by a white man at a Florida gas station over an argument about loud music. When the killer invoked Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law as a defense, McBath asserted herself onto the frontlines of the fight for gun control and justice. She retired from a 30-year career with Delta Airlines to become the national spokesperson for both Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Eventually, McBath’s son’s killer was sentenced to life in prison, but that did not stop her activism around gun reform. In 2018, she launched a successful campaign for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Now, as a U.S. representative, McBath has co-sponsored gun control legislation that would require universal background checks for those seeking to purchase armed weapons.

Sybrina Fulton

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin (

Since Sybrina Fulton’s son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by white vigilante George Zimmerman in Florida, Fulton has been working to expand voting rights in the state and has become one of the most visible members of the “Mothers of the Movement.” She also helped found the Trayvon Martin Foundation, an organization that seeks to find solutions for youth, help parents who have been victimized by senseless violence, provide scholarships to inner-city youth, and strengthen a positive self-image within the community.

Gwen Carr

Mothers of the Movement

Gwen Carr (

Gwen Carr said that the death of her son, Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being placed in a police chokehold, was her political awakening. In an editorial published on NBC News’ Think column in October, Carr talked about how the tragedy has encouraged her to become more civically engaged.

Me, I don’t like to write. So instead, I go up to Albany, and I get in the faces of our politicians. I try to emphasize what I want from our government, and what I need elected officials to do. For instance, I went to Albany with a group of other New York mothers in 2015, and got Governor Cuomo to sign an executive order that allowed a special prosecutor from the state attorney general’s office to investigate all police killings of unarmed people for a year. (He’s since extended it.) And what this does is that, when these senseless killings take place, the cases are taken it out of the hands of the local district attorney and put in the hands of the state attorney general

Lesley McSpadden

Lesley McSpadden

Michael Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden on stage at the St. Louis Peace Fest the day before burying her son. (Photo: Brett Myers/Youth Radio via Flickr)

The shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 sparked nationwide protests and fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. A grand jury chose not to indict the white officer who fatally shot Brown while his hands were in the air. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, however, has taken up the cause, running for a seat in the 2019 Ferguson city council. Although she did not win that race, McSpadden revealed that she is open to running again in 2020.

“I did this because we were all devastated over what we saw almost five years ago,” McSpadden told CNN last month. “I was personally devastated because that’s my son. My children witnessed the devastation.” She added, “After watching Ferguson over these years, I’ve looked for progress and I haven’t seen anything. My candidacy is the first step of building towards justice for my son and building towards a part of his legacy to make sure that my son did not die in vain.”

Tiffany Crutcher

black women

Tiffany Crutcher (

The death of Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while his hands were in the air, shook the nation in 2016. The incident occurred when Crutcher’s SUV broke down in the middle of the road. But, instead of receiving car assistance, he was met by several police officers who drew their weapons and typecasted him as a “bad dude.” Video footage shows the officers walked closely behind Crutcher while his hands were up. He then stood beside his car moments before he was tasered and a white female officer opened fire and killed him, arguing that Crutcher failed to adhere to police commands and was reaching inside of the driver side window for a weapon. Crutcher’s attorneys, however, insist that his car window was rolled up.

Following his tragic death, his sister, Tiffany, quit her job as a healthcare provider and became a full-time political activist. In addition to working as a field organizer for Doug Jones’ senatorial campaign in Alabama, she has been involved in several judicial races in the state. “The death of my twin brother forced me to get involved [in politics],” she said, according to The Root. She also launched a national Campaign Against Bad Cops, which seeks to abolish the immunity that protects government officials from being sued for discriminatory actions performed within their official capacity. Furthermore, she and her family are fighting to lower the legal standard an officer has to meet so that they can be more easily indicted for biased killings.

Geneva Reed-Veal

Geneva Reed-Veal

Geneva Reed-Veal (

Geneva Reed-Veal loss her daughter, Sandra Bland, in 2015 in an unexplained hanging death inside of a Texas jail cell, following an unlawful traffic stop. Since then, Reed-Veal has used her voice to speak out against police brutality and state-sponsored abuse by law enforcement. She, along with the eight other “Mothers of the Movement,” also delivered a powerful speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention where she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

The post From Sorrow to Strategy: 7 Black Women Who’ve Turned Their Agony Into Activism appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Next 3 Marvel Movies We Want to See: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,’ ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Black Panther 2’

Next 3 Marvel Movies We Want to See: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home,' 'Black Widow,' 'Black Panther 2'

No spoilers here, but Avengers: Endgame is definitely living up to expectations that it would define a generation of movies. Whether that's solely Marvel's 10-year series of superhero adventures or, more broadly, the most recent epoch of ambitious blockbusters, we're happy to raise the question with an eye to the future.

Indeed, what can Marvel do to top Avengers: Endgame? In brief, the focus will remain on individual characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We've…

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Fandango Movie News


New ‘Men in Black: International’ Trailer Turns it Up As It Goes; Here’s Everything We Know

New ‘Men in Black: International’ Trailer Turns it Up As It Goes; Here’s Everything We Know

Seven years later, Sony wants you to remember the Men in Black franchise and how much fun the first three movies were, but also that you would like to see the series branch off with all new characters in foreign locations. With Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones retired from this cinematic universe after the original trilogy, Men in Black: International transports the sci-fi action across the pond to London and introduces some new but familiar partners.

The latest trailer for the Men in Black…

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Fandango Movie News


Kyler Murray, a Black Man, Was the Number One NFL Draft Pick. Trump Congratulated the Number Two Pick Instead

Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was the first overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, but on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump decided to congratulate the number two pick instead.

Former University of Oklahoma quarterback Murray, who is black, was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and reportedly offered a $ 35 million contact. He’s also an accomplished baseball player, and was ninth in the 2018 MLB draft.

However, on Twitter the President congratulated Nick Bosa, the second pick, who was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers.

“Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft,” Trump tweeted. “You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best. Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Bosa, who is white, has been criticized for releasing a number of tweets some have seen as racially charged. The tweets, which have since been deleted, describe Black Panther as the “worst Marvel movie”; describe Beyonce’s music as “trash,” and call former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick a “clown.” He was also criticized for “liking” many Instagram posts with racist and homophobic slurs.

Bosa has also previously expressed his support for Trump, tweeting that Reagan and Trump were “Goats,” meaning the “greatest of all time.”

After being drafted, Bosa apologized for his social media posts, telling reporters, “I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case. I think me being here (San Francisco) is even better for me as a person, because I don’t think there’s anywhere, any city, that you could really be in that would help you grow as much as this one will,” according to

Murray has also come under fire for writing prejudiced tweets. After the player won the Heisman Trophy, several tweets from 2012 emerged in which he used homophobic slurs. He apologized, writing, “I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.”

Many football fans and Twitter users called out the President for praising Bosa over Murray.

“You do realize that another player went #1 overall in the draft, right ahead of Bosa, right?” tweeted user Ed Krassenstein.

A user with the handle @rocodeedee tweeted at Trump, “FYI: The first pick in the NFL draft, Kyler Murray, is the only player drafted in the first round of two major sports (MLB). I think that deserves a congratulatory message, but we all know why he won’t get it from you!”

Some users argued that Trump’s tweet was an indication of racism. User @ALiberalCatLady tweeted, “Congratulating the first white draft pick, and nothing to say about the first pick overall.

Sports – TIME


Snapchat Gets Its First Black C-Suite Executive

Snap, the company that makes Snapchat, just named Kenny Mitchell as its new chief marketing officer. From the looks of Snap’s C-suite roster, it seems Mitchell is the company’s first African American corporate officer. Snap does have African American representation on its board—McAfee CEO Christopher Young joined its board in October 2016.

Previously, Mitchell was the vice president of brand content and engagement for McDonald’s USA. He also was the head of consumer engagement at Gatorade. While at Gatorade he led the effort to introduce Snapchat vertical video and augmented reality tools as part of the company’s consumer marketing strategy.

Some of the memorable Gatorade campaigns he was involved with include Gatorade’s Dunk AR Lens for the Super Bowl—an award-winning ad; and the Serena Williams Snap Ad game, another award-winner.

He has held other executive positions at NASCAR and Dew Tour, a division of NBC Sports Group.

He will report directly to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. In a press release, Spiegel commented on Mitchell’s hiring;

“Kenny’s consumer marketing expertise and his deep understanding of our products will be a great combination for Snap. Throughout his career, Kenny has demonstrated his ability to successfully execute innovative, global marketing campaigns, many of which have leveraged our own vertical video and augmented reality products. He’s a natural fit to join our team and lead marketing as we continue driving the positive momentum we have in the business.”

“Snap is a great company with strong values, an inspired vision and innovative products that are empowering its global community,” Mitchell said in a press release.

“I look forward to helping Evan and Snap continue to tell their story to people around the world, and working with my new colleagues as we define the future of the camera and self-expression.”

Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

In 2017, the Snap CEO was accused of insensitive remarks in a lawsuit filed by a former employee. The lawsuit alleged Speigel said about the Snapchat app, “This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain. Mr. Spiegel would not entertain any further discussion on the matter.”

Snap called the allegations “ridiculous,” and the accuser a “disgruntled employee,” at the time.


The post Snapchat Gets Its First Black C-Suite Executive appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Jussie Smollett Takes Part in TV’s First Gay, Black Wedding in His Last Empire Episode of the Season

EmpireRaise your glass to the newlyweds Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Kai (Toby Onwumere)!
Wednesday’s episode of Empire featured some pretty spectacular nuptials, which started with a…

E! Online (US) – TV News


Little Known Black History Fact: Monrovia, Liberia

Liberia is home to the second-established Black American settlement in Africa, Monrovia, the nation’s capital city. It was founded on April 25, 1822 by the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization that cleared a path for Black Americans to return to the nation of their birth, but their motives were not always benevolent.

ACS members arrived at the site of Monrovia in 1821. The city was first known as Christopolis, but was changed to Monrovia to honor then President James Monroe. Natives in the region saw the ACS and its Black American settlers as invaders, thus igniting clashes between the two groups.

The early days of Monrovia saw an influx of settlers, known as Americo-Liberians, who came to the city and country between 1822 and 1848. Much of the landscape in Monrovia mirrored the Southern United States, as expected. The country gained its independence from America in 1847 and elected its first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the following year.

Liberia has undergone several regime changes since and in 1980, a military coup led by Samuel Doe of the Liberian Army rocked the nation. After Doe was deposed and killed in 1990, the country fell into despair and was ruled by dictator Charles Taylor, who was deposed himself in 2003. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female African head of state as Liberian president from 2006 to 2018. Now the country is ruled by former professional soccer player George Weah.



Black America Web


Over $2 Million Raised for Black Churches Burned Down in Louisiana

The three historically black churches that were burned down earlier this month in Louisiana are finally getting the help they desperately need.

The Seventh District Baptist Association, a 149-year-old nonprofit religious organization, partnered with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches, other faith organizations, and the community to raise funds to support the sanctuaries. The organization, which is led by President Freddie Jack and consists of approximately 60 Baptist churches from seven parishes in Southwest Louisiana, launched a GoFundMe campaign on April 10. However, nothing was really happening until New York magazine and HuffPost writer Yahsar Ali challenged his social media followers to donate $ 1,000 to the campaign, sparking a worldwide outpouring of support. More than 37,000 people from across the country and over 40 countries and territories around the world donated to the campaign in just seven days. Ali announced that the campaign raised $ 2 million in a tweet on April 18. More than $ 2.1 million had been raised by April 22.

The donations received are earmarked specifically for the Seventh District’s impacted member churches: St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

According to an update on the GoFundMe page, charges have been filed against the man accused of burning the three African American churches. Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old white man and son of a St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s deputy, was arrested and charged with two counts of simple arson, one count of aggravated arson, and three counts hate crimes. His attorney entered a not guilty plea.

The St. Landry Parish District Attorney is prosecuting the case. The DA filed a motion asking that the suspect’s bail be denied, stating that Matthews is “an imminent danger” and should be kept behind bars until his trial.

The post Over $ 2 Million Raised for Black Churches Burned Down in Louisiana appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


PayPal Exec, Peggy Alford, Poised to Become First Black Woman to Sit on Facebook’s Board

Peggy Alford, the senior vice president, core markets at PayPal—has been tapped to serve on Facebook’s board of directors—and is in position to become the first black woman to sit on its board.

Alford has the backing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In a released statement the Facebook founder said, “Peggy is one of those rare people who’s an expert across many different areas — from business management to finance operations to product development. I know she will have great ideas that help us address both the opportunities and challenges facing our company.”

She has been with PayPal since 2019 and also was the chief financial officer and head of operations for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—a philanthropic organization founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse Priscilla Chan.

A Silicon Valley veteran, Alford has also held executive positions at eBay and She hails from a family of six children. Her mother has a doctorate’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Alford has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from the University of Dayton in Ohio where she ran track and cross country. Focused on her career for much of her life, she had her first child at 41 and her second when she was 45. In an interview posted on PayPal’s website she spoke about work-life balance, “Balance can be extremely difficult for working mothers trying to find that happy medium of continuing to advance their careers and doing what they feel they need to do at home. Often women will opt out or feel like they can’t seek out that next big opportunity because it may take away from their responsibilities at home.”

“What excites me about the opportunity to join Facebook’s board is the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as the company builds new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.”

Alford will still have to be voted to the board during the next Facebook shareholders’ meeting. Typically, nominees, particularly ones supported by a company’s CEO are appointed to the board so her position as a board member is likely.

Upon her official appointment, Alford would be the second African American on Facebook’s board. Last year, retired American Express CEO Ken Chenault joined the social media company’s board. Zuckerberg said at the time that he has been trying to recruit Chenault “for years.”

Alford is on the Black Enterprise 2018 Registry of Corporate Directors for her role as a member of the board of The Macerich Co., a real estate investment trust.



The post PayPal Exec, Peggy Alford, Poised to Become First Black Woman to Sit on Facebook’s Board appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


After Donations For Notre Dame, Black Churches Burned In Louisiana Receive Over $1M In Aid To Rebuild

High Angle View Of Pews By Aisle At Church

Source: Mongkol Nitirojsakul / EyeEm / Getty

After social media called out the blatant hypocrisy over Americans throwing their support and wallets behind the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a spike in donations received for three historically Black churches affected by a sting of fires has dramatically increased.

The GoFundMe page which was first launched on April 10 by the Seventh District Baptist Association, has seen a total of over $ 1.3 million in contributions, nearing its $ 1.8 million goal.

“The host of this campaign is the Seventh District Baptist Association, a 149 year old non-profit religious organization,” the host organization wrote on the crowdfunding page. The association is made up of over 60 Baptist churches across Louisiana.

“We are working with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected.”

The number is a drastic change from the $ 150,000 in donations it received prior to the Notre Dame fire, and was mostly due to the efforts of Black and brown social media users who pushed for financial support. Their voices raised in unison made it obvious that there was a disconnect over the emotion displayed for Notre Dame’s Cathedral in relation to what happened on U.S. soil.

Prominent figures such as Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Valerie Jarrett also shared the link for the page and or made donations, prompting more people to join in the effort.

The funds will help to rebuild three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish which were burned down over the course of 10 days: St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26, Greater Union Baptist Church on April 2 and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4. Officials have arrested Holden Matthews, 21, in connection with the fires. Matthews, a white man, is also the son of the deputy sheriff, and faces arson and hate crime charges in the case.




Beyoncé Claims Music’s Most Influential Stage for Black Culture in Netflix’s Homecoming

Music festivals have evolved a lot since the 1960s, but their archetypal crowds have stayed pretty much the same: drunk or high young people in sandals, fringe and the occasional culturally appropriative feathered headpiece. From Woodstock to Warped Tour to Electric Daisy, these audiences have also remained overwhelmingly—if by no means exclusively—white. Whether it’s due to exorbitant ticket prices, a culture of exclusion or both, the fact that artists of color have dominated these events since Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at Monterey Pop in 1967 hasn’t done all that much to alter the demographics.

Enter Beyoncé, an artistic, dynamic and insanely popular performer whose designation as the first black woman ever to headline Coachella kind of erases the fact that her presence honored the festival, not the other way around. Fans everywhere (myself included) canceled their Saturday-night plans and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the first of her two sets, last April, via live stream. Even for pop’s reigning perfectionist, it was a tour de force—a victory lap that featured guest appearances by Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z, sister Solange and former bandmates in Destiny’s Child and, more importantly, a tribute to HBCUs that packed the sky-high bleachers behind Beyoncé with black musicians, singers and dancers executing their parts with choreographed precision. If she couldn’t change the makeup of the audience on that field in Southern California, the woman behind Lemonade could at least construct a towering spectacle of black excellence.

It was such a complete, telegenic performance that when Netflix announced Homecoming—the just-released film of the event known to history as “Beychella”—it was hard to imagine how Beyoncé could improve upon what so many of us had already seen. But overdelivering is her trademark, so it’s not too shocking that her latest audiovisual release (which coincides with a surprise 40-track live album) serves a powerful purpose beyond commemorating a career highlight. Along with cinematically shot renditions of hits from “Say My Name” to “Crazy in Love” to “Formation,” Homecoming recontextualizes the show in a way that claims the most influential live music event in North America for black culture.

Like Lemonade, the film fills much of the space between songs with the words of women and men Beyoncé admires. This time around, many of those luminaries (Toni Morrison, W.E.B. DuBois, Marian Wright Edelman) are HBCU alums. The yellow and pink sorority hoodies she and her backup performers wear aren’t just an aesthetic; Beyoncé explains in a voiceover, that she has always wished she’d attended one of these institutions. “My college was Destiny’s Child,” she says. So instead of sharing space in the classroom with her generation of black intellectuals, she has ended up bringing generations’ worth of black intellectual history to audiences around the world—including the sea of white kids at Coachella.

That history is defined by struggle, which happens to be the other great theme of Homecoming. Sweaty rehearsal footage is a convention of music docs, but here Beyoncé (who co-directed the movie with Ed Burke) gives them purpose. She recounts the troubled pregnancy that yielded her twins and the months-long process of recovering for Coachella. Her “***Flawless” catchphrase “I woke up like this” has always something of a joke; in Homecoming, the song immediately follows Beyoncé’s confession that her postnatal regime included an extremely restricted diet that she’d never put herself through again. “What people don’t see is the sacrifice,” she says. No one wants to hear a person of her net worth complain about going without, but she’s not really doing that. In shots of hard workouts and tough-love pep talks, she’s providing evidence of how hard she—and her collaborators—worked to pull off such a seamless show. Excellence can be a team effort. And it’s exhausting.

Though it may not be as virtuosic or challenging or artistically important as Lemonade or her 2013 visual album Beyoncé, even in seemingly straightforward performance footage, Homecoming uses the concert film format to give Beychella fresh context. Unlike in the live stream, viewers don’t have to sit through a Post Malone set that’s gone on too long to get to the main event. Shots in black-and-white and the blurry, desaturated colors of home videos offset the otherwise crisp color cinematography, creating the impression that these images are already a part of history.

Most powerful of all are the ample clips of the Coachella crowd. In Beyoncé’s rendering, the traditional music festival demographics are inverted. Black concertgoers, particularly women, are almost always at the center of the frame—shouting with delight, crying with joy and singing along to every word. “I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they look to feel like they’re on that stage—killing it,” she recounts in the film. Judging by the ecstatic audience response, she really did make a long overdue first feel as comfortable as coming home.

Entertainment – TIME


7 Black Women Share What No One Told Them About Motherhood

First time mothers can all agree, there were things they were told and other things they simply had to learn. For Black Maternity Health Week (April 11-17), we spoke to seven Black mothers who opened up about their experience with motherhood.

Jasmine Ramnarine, 30, Vlogger 

Source: Jasmine Ramnarine / Jasmine Ramnarine

Once you deliver your baby, your body and mood can completely change. Your hormones do a complete 180. My legs and feet became extremely swollen to the point it hurt to walk. I also still looked and felt 10 months pregnant after birth. It took about a week and half for all the swelling to go down.

My tummy took several months to return to its normal complexion and shrink down. My postpartum stage was so much worse than actually carrying my child. I suffered from postpartum depression for several weeks constantly crying, blaming myself for everything and worrying about my baby.

But with the help from my husband and family I was able to get back to feeling like myself again. Becoming a mother is a huge adjustment for your mind, body and spirit but I am so proud to be a mother to my daughters, I wouldn’t change my experiences for anything in the world!

Ty Alexander, 42, Best Selling Author/ Founder Of Destination Heal

Source: Ty Alexander / Ty Alexander

No one tells you how bad it hurts for obviously reasons. After 24 years, I think about how if I were educated about childbirth back then it wouldn’t have been so painful. I wouldn’t have declined that big needle in my spine. My doctor saw a 19-year-old kid, not a woman giving birth. So I wasn’t given options. I think generations behind me who are blessed with the Internet have an abundance of information. Research how you’d like your child birthing experience to be. It will make all the difference.

And lastly, you are a mom forever. It doesn’t stop at 18. This is a precious human being that you’re responsible for. Know that as humans we fail. You will fail your child. But all know that the love you give is what they will remember (and need) the most.

Christina Brown, Speaker & Digital Marketing Consultant

Source: Rae Faith Photography / Rae Faith Photography

Until I became pregnant, it didn’t occur to me that pregnancy is the ultimate 9-month preparation course for motherhood. The moment your child takes over your body, you are no longer living for just you. Every single decision you make from the food you eat, to the mood you’re in, has an effect on the child. And once the baby is born, those same decisions affect your baby

Chevonne Tingle, 38, Motivational Speaker 

Source: Chevonne Tingle / Chevonne Tingle

I had my first child at 19, a baby boy. I didn’t know much then about pregnancy and birth but I’ve learned so much in 19 years. I learned about the benefits of having a Lotus birth which is where you leave your child placenta and umbilical cord attached and allow it to naturally separate from the baby. I’ve also learned that standing while giving birth is the best and most natural position to be in. If you lying down, you’re going against gravity.

Ravelle Worthington, 32, Founder of Mommy Brain

Source: Aleah Clark / Aleah Clark

I was 27 when I became pregnant with our first child and while I had done the usual research on pregnancy and delivery, it never really occurred to me that I could question what my doctor was telling me during our check-ups. My son ended up being delivered at 34-weeks by emergency c-section when the ultrasound tech noticed what looked like a blockage in the umbilical cord. It all happened so fast.\

One moment my doctor was telling me I would need to have surgery right then and the next I was in a wheelchair being taken to the operating room. After delivery and further inspection of the cord, it turned out to be a gelatinous section and not a blockage after all, but we were erring on the side of caution.
Two kids and two c-sections later (the last one was planned at 39 weeks because my kids are 14 months apart and my new doctor — we had since moved out-of-state — didn’t want to risk a uterine rupture). Now, I’m currently pregnant with my third. What I’ve learned between these pregnancies is how to advocate for myself and that you do have choices.
This time around I’ve decided to try for a vaginal birth after c-section. I was already going to be at the hospital, so if I ended up needing another c-section I would be in the right place. Then I thought about it and realized I had options. I knew there were several doctors at Cedars who allowed for a VBA2C, so I asked for her list of recommendations and set up meetings with the ones I thought would be the best fit.

I now have a doctor who is on board with me trying (I’ll be monitored the whole time) and I’ve hired a doula to be there with my husband and I through the process. It’s so important to have a supportive team on hand.

Arielle Ryan, 26, co-host of The MillenniHER Podcast

Source: Olive Nwosu / Olive Nwosu

One thing I discovered as a new mother, one of twins at that, is how to really be conscious of the signs for postpartum depression and how to navigate through it. Being depressed for up to a year after giving birth was hard and being a young mother with very few friends that were mothers as well, I felt alone. I was moody, agitated, would have episodes of non-stop crying, panic attacks and found myself using other forms of soothing tactics to relieve the pain.\

If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have waited over a year to seek professional help, or see a physician for a diagnosis. I would have trusted that my friends and family would have supported me in my struggle as opposed to assuming that they’d pass judgment.

Destiny Rodriguez, Forever 21 aka … 30

Source: Destiny Rodriguez / Destiny Rodriguez

Have a baby for you and nobody else. Not to fix anything, and not to make someone happy, nope. Won’t work. Having a child is a lifelong, bittersweet commitment. Make sure that’s the core/ foundation. Mental health is so important. So many people may say things like “Forget about you, it’s not about you, you can’t have a life “ etc… but please remember, it’s definitely about you. You can not give your child the best and you are not mentally at your best. Make time for you, buy yourself things, go out, do regular errands without kids or just be alone with yourself. Just because you have a kid, your life shouldn’t stop.

Black Maternal Health week (April 11-17), founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.


Life & Style – Black America Web


Gabrielle Union Honors ‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

On Saturday night, the newly launched Black Design Collective (which aims to remove inequality in the fashion industry with resources such as mentorship and an e-commerce platform) officially set its plans in motion with a fete that presented its first scholarship and honored costume designer Ruth E. Carter for her work on “Black Panther.”
Among those who flocked to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles to help founders Angela Dean, Kevan Hall and TJ Walker celebrate the Carter’s breadth of work (which includes more than 50 films in a 30-year timespan) were actresses Loretta Devine, Gabrielle Union, Malinda Williams, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, models Roshumba Williams and Beverly Johnson, celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart, as well as designer Tina Knowles-Lawson.
Taking the stage in a sparkling magenta suit by African-American designer Christopher John Rogers, Union, who worked with Carter on the TV series “Being Mary Jane,” noted, “Every fitting I’ve ever had with Ruth was in her home. She welcomes us in. She makes us feel protected. She literally gives us wings so we can all fly. Who really is doing that? She made Mary Jane a fashion icon. That wasn’t me, Mary Jane would have been in some basketball

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First Ever Image Of A Black Hole

In a historic first, astronomers captured the image of a black hole, which is located at the heart of a distant galaxy. The black hole, which measures 40 billion kilometers across, and three million times the size of the Earth, was found in a galaxy called Messier 87, located more than 53 million light-years from Earth. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the sun. Black holes are extreme cos
RTT – Top Story


Democratic Presidential Contenders Seek the Black Vote | The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: -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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‘Rise of Skywalker’ Set to Be Most Diverse Star Wars Casting Ever. Here Is A Roster of Black Star Wars Characters

The Episode IX trailer for the latest Star Wars movie was just released. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be the space series’ most diverse casting since the first movie premiered in 1977. People of color including leading man John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, and the return of Billy Dee Williams in the iconic role of Lando Calrissian, are front and center in the latest episode.

And while there was controversy over the casting of John Boyega, a black British actor as a Stormtrooper in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, there have been iconic black actors and characters throughout the Star Wars universe. Here are seven of the best known.

Black Characters Star Wars Characters

Mace Windu

Played by: Samuel L. Jackson

Film: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999


black star wars characters

(Image: Facebook)


2. Lando Calrissian

Played by: Billy Dee Williams

Films: The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi


black star wars characters

(Image: Facebook)


3. Maz Kanata

Played by: Lupita Nyong’o

Film: The Force Awakens


black star wars characters

(Image: Facebook)



4. Voice of Darth Vader

Played by: James Earl Jones

Films: Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi


black star wars characters

(Image: iStock/tihomir_todorov)



5. Jabba the Hutt’s Twi’lek slave dancer Oola

Played by:  Femi Taylor

Film: Return of the Jedi



black star wars characters

(Image: Facebook)



6. Finn 

Played by: John Boyega

Film: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi 


black star wars characters

(Image: Wikimedia)


7. Rachel

Played by:  Crystal Clarke

Film: The Force Awakens



black star wars characters

(Image: Instagram)


Check out the trailer to Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker:





Editors’ Note: This article has been updated from its original publish date in 2017. 

The post ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Set to Be Most Diverse Star Wars Casting Ever. Here Is A Roster of Black Star Wars Characters appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


‘Seeing the unseeable’: Scientists reveal first photo of black hole

Using a global network of telescopes to see “the unseeable,” an international scientific team on Wednesday announced a milestone in astrophysics – the first-ever photo of a black hole – in an achievement that validated a pillar of science put forward by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

Reuters: Science News

BEST DEAL UPDATE: – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business

How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business

How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business

In “Doing The Work,” a four-part series from HG contributor Tiffany Lashai Curtis, four Black women who work in different industries tell us their stories. During Black Women’s History Month, we hope this series uplifts and amplifies the work of Black women in spaces where they are underrepresented or rendered invisible.

Coffee has solidified its role in many of our lives. In fact, a 2018 study commissioned by the National Coffee Association found that Americans are enjoying more coffee on a daily basis now than in previous years. An entire culture exists around coffee, whether you’re quietly preparing and drinking coffee at home as a small act of self-care, meeting up with a friend at a local coffee joint, or showing your face at Starbucks so much that the baristas know your daily order by heart.

And while a steaming cup of instant Folgers at home is fine (and cost-effective), sometimes the lure of a $ 5 oat milk latte is enough to make us head over to a café. While national coffee chains are convenient, independently owned coffee businesses can offer a more unique experience.

I had one such experience at Bushwick Grind, a Black-owned, full-service café located in Brooklyn, New York. I was looking for somewhere to try my first iced dirty chai on my last day in East Williamsburg. Not only did I end up having a bomb French Toast Benedict and latte, I ended up chatting with the cafe’s co-owner, Kymme Williams-Davis, who owns the establishment with her husband, Raymond Davis.

We ended up talking briefly about her experiences as a Black woman in the coffee industry, and by the time our conversation ended, I felt like I had just spoken with a long-time friend. I began considering how we never really see or even think of Black people when we envision coffee culture. I knew Kymme’s story needed to be told.

For the second profile in this series, I spoke with Kymme about the highs and lows of co-owning a cafe, and the work she is doing to transform the relationship between Black people and coffee. Get into our conversation below.

Photograph of Kymme Williams-Davis and Raymond Davis in front of Bushwick Grind
Courtesy of Kymme Williams-Davis

HelloGiggles (HG): You’re a coffee brewer who is trained in “third-wave coffee.” How long have you been a coffee brewer, and can you explain what “third-wave” means for folks who may be coffee novices?

Kymme Williams-Davis (KWD):  So, first-wave coffee references a time when people (in the U.S.) mostly got their coffee from grocery stores, flea markets…the big box names were Folgers, etc. Second-wave is what really made coffee popular in the U.S. with stores like Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks making coffee a social activity. Third-wave refers to smaller independent cafes like mine who purchase coffee from sustainable sources—usually directly from farmers (direct trade) or a coalition/collective of farmers (fair trade), which ensures that the people who grow, harvest, and process green coffee get a fair wage.

HG: You’re also a café owner. How long have you been running your own business, and what do you feel Bushwick Grind offers that mainstream coffee shops don’t?

KWD: Yes, my husband Raymond Davis and I are the proud owners.  We started three years ago as a coffee shop but we have evolved into a full café in that we have a full kitchen offering healthy breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Nowadays, great food and beverage is “table stakes”—anyone can offer that. Our market differentiator is our service delivery; it is of utmost importance that we get to know our guests. We say that we don’t have customers, we have guests—guests who just happen to have to pay before leaving.  

When guests pay, they are not just paying for their food, they are paying for our time. Even if that is just a warm smile or full ‘counter therapy.’ Also, we are one of the few shops in the area offering healthier food options with organic, farm-to-table ingredients. Our vendors (we like to consider them partners) are mostly farmers or distributors of farmers.  So our produce purchases are actually helping the New York farmers in a small way. Last, we are very community-oriented. We try our best and do our part to donate time and resources locally when we can. As we grow, we hope to do more and/or start a nonprofit arm of the business to help support our community children.

HG: Coffee culture has rarely been associated with Black people. Between the cost of specialty coffee and the overwhelming whiteness of many coffee establishments, sipping and learning about coffee can be inaccessible to us. How do you think your work as a coffee professional has helped to shift the way Black people relate to coffee?

KWD: That is a very true statement. I had two sisters of color tell me, inside our shop, “This place isn’t for ‘us.’” They didn’t realize my husband and I were the owners. We are in Bushwick, which is historically a Brooklyn community of Black and brown people, but 80% of our guests are not people of color. Now that we have a full kitchen, we are seeing an increase in people of color clientele, but still not so much for the coffee. In terms of cost, coffee is a very manual process, whereby a farmer is picking a fruit from a tree to get to the seed, then process it—which is a “process” in itself. This is done in most countries with people of color, and speciality coffee shops help ensure those people are given a fair wage for the work they do.

I think if more people of color truly understood the supply chain of coffee, they would feel more attached to it and would feel more aligned with the culture—even the “Americanized” version of it.

HG: Why does it matter that we have Black women in the coffee brewing industry and Black women-owned cafés?

KWD:  I think, like in every industry, diversity is important. Exclusion is absence and creates a void. Black women’s talents and experiences in coffee can help fill voids, as well as lend to the advancement of the industry. Black Girl Magic is impactful.

HG: What highs and lows have you experienced as a Black woman working with coffee? 

KWD: Opening this shop with my husband has been the joy of my life. The highs, hands down, include the community we have built. Our guests truly give us life.  We have met and engaged with people from all over the world, people  local to Brooklyn, and people traveling or working in the area. Their stories, conversations, and vibes fuel each of us. Everyone on the team, except our newest team member, has been with us since the day we opened three years ago, so they are family.

The lows, without a doubt, are the costs to run this business. With workers’ comp insurance, licensing fees, professional services fees, N.Y.C. rate utilities, private sanitation, etc. and the rising lease cost, it is so expensive to operate a retail store. Revenue does not equal profit if you cannot decrease expenses. We have to hustle seriously hard and find creative ways to generate multiple revenue streams for the business to be profitable, like catering services, hosting events, pop-up concessions, etc.

HG: How would you like to see more Black women flourish in the coffee industry?

KWD: When we started our research about five years ago, we listed about 15 coffee roasters who we wanted to interview as a potential source to buy our coffee from. So many said we were the first people to do that. Anyway, in visiting the big popular roasters to the smaller ones, we discovered there were little to no people of color in the back of the house.  Black women should know that there is an extensive career path in the profession and science of coffee. There are positions as coffee trainers, equipment repair persons, salespersons, Q-Graders, buyers, etc. But I almost NEVER see Black women [in this industry], and if there are one or two, they are typically not American Black women—they are from a coffee-producing country and likely grew up with coffee their entire lives.

There are two very well known sistas in the U.S. with national notoriety and respect in the coffee industry; they are at every Coffee Fest and SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) and BGA (Barista Guild of America) event and other noteworthy coffee event. They are always making a case for more women of color to join this industry.  

HG: Why is it important that Black people have spaces that feel like home—even when we’re doing something as mundane as drinking coffee?

KWD: Our core values are written on an easel right near the door when you walk in the shop. It has been there since the day we opened, so our team as well as our guests are reminded of our purpose for the day. In short, it says that we strive to make our guests leave a little better than how they came. That is what is important about us having spaces. When we walk into a room, we add to the energy and vibe of that space. When we leave, we take some of that energy and vibe with us. If you are sitting in a space for five minutes or two hours, you must feel welcomed, at home, and comfortable to be yourself.

HG: What’s next for you and coffee?

KWD: We have invested in advanced paid training for one of our baristas who is a woman of color. She is a few course hours away from earning a highly recognized coffee industry certification. She will be one of the very few baristas on the east coast who is certified. This will ‘socially legitimize’ our shop as one that is serious about speciality coffee practices. The vision is to have the Bushwick Grind team out at latte art competitions and coffee festivals and cuppings.  My husband and I will focus on running the business, and our team will grow in their skill, talents, and knowledge, which will help elevate our brand. In short, we are contributing to more Black women working and being respected in the industry.

Kymme Williams-Davis at Bushwick Grind
Courtesy of Kymme Williams-Davis

HG: Who is another Black woman in this industry that we should know about?

KWD: The two women I referred to earlier, one is Michelle Jonson, known as the Chocolate Barista. I have been following her for a few years now. Her work focuses on the promotion of racial diversity and inclusion in the specialty coffee industry. In fact, there is a huge, if not the biggest, coffee event this week in Boston hosted by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) that I will be attending. She partnered with big-name sponsors to host a mixer for the limited people of color at this event so they will not feel isolated and excluded. She does a ton for the advancement in coffee industry; she is def Google worthy.  

The post How this café owner is creating space for Black women in the coffee business appeared first on HelloGiggles.



Son Of Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested In Fires Of Historically Black Churches In Louisiana

A suspect is in custody after a string of recent fires that plagued historically black churches in Louisiana.

Holden Matthews, 21, the son of a St. Landry Parish Deputy has been charged with three counts of arson of a religious building in Louisiana.

Despite rumors, Matthews’ father did not turn his son in.

“I’m very proud of the investigative effort that has lead to this arrest. I’m prayerful that we can close this horrific chapter and begin to heal. I’m especially uplifted by the Christian Community right now. God bless us one and all,” Congressman Clay Higgins said in a statement to local affiliate KATC.

“I am so proud of the team work that has returned a sense of security to this community by determining a cause for these fires and putting the person responsible for them behind bars,” State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said. “I, and all of the investigators involved in this, have been emotionally committed to this case, not only because of the significance of these churches, but also the threat of additional fires. This outcome goes to show what happens when well-oiled public safety partnerships pay dividends. I can never give total condolences to these church communities for the losses of their places of worship. However, I hope this begins to help their healing.”

The first fire occurred on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church located in Port Barre. The second took place on April 2 at Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas. The third fire occurred two days later at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.


Black America Web


Black Entrepreneurs Are Leveling Up with TD Jakes

On April 6, we soared to new heights with TD Jakes in Atlanta, Georgia, as we kicked off the first installation of the SOAR Empowerment series hosted by Nationwide. Over 700 entrepreneurs, business men and women, and leaders convened at the Georgia World Congress Center to receive wealth building resources.

After remarks from BLACK ENTERPRISE president and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. and Lu Yarbrough, associate vice president, Enterprise Diverse Marketing; TD Jakes opened the morning with a powerful message on the importance of building healthy relationships and breaking gravitational pulls that hold people back.

His message resonated with the aspiring, emerging, and established entrepreneurs and professionals in the room who were looking for an uplifting word as they prepared to soar.

The event continued with remarks from Karmetria Burton, general manager of Supplier Diversity for Delta Airlines, who encouraged attendees to understand their unique value proposition as they do business. Lamar Tyler, BE Modern Man and founder of Traffic, Sakes, and Profit and TSP Live, shared how to be intentional about your passion, purpose, and profit to monetize a business idea.

Here are five questions Tyler says you should ask yourself before you start a business:

  1. Can you do this without a cheerleader?
  2. Will I invest what’s required?
  3. Will I keep going when it gets tough?
  4. Is my WHY big enough?
  5. Are you ready to soar?

Koreyelle DuBose, founder of WERK PRAY SLAY dropped massive gems during her presentation on maximizing your earning power.

Health is wealth

Eli Lily challenged event-goers to prioritize their health with a relevant conversation about diabetes prevention. Dr. Rovenia Brock followed up with an informative presentation on how to create a personalized nutrition plan.

The afternoon continued with a riveting talk given by Dr. Dennis Kimbro on what it takes to “Think and Grow Rich.”  “I’m really into wealth, not income…big difference.”

JP Morgan Chase also gave a special presentation on their program Advancing Black Pathways. And as the number one employer of Morehouse graduates — they are committed to hiring 4,000 black graduates over the next five years.

Make your money work for you

Ash “Cash” Exantus, founder and chief financial educator shared how to build a financial freedom fund to set oneself up to win. “If you are exchanging time for money, you are wasting it,” he told the audience.

Charreah K. Jackson followed up with an engaging presentation on how to negotiate your way to the top.

Dr. Michele ‘Fit Doc’ Reed gave a final presentation on how to develop and maintain a fitness lifestyle by being mentally fit and physically strong.

If you’re interested in soaring to new heights, we’ll be taking flight in multiple cities so stay tuned for more updates!

The post Black Entrepreneurs Are Leveling Up with TD Jakes appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


We may be just days away from seeing a black hole for the first time ever

first black hole photo

For how much astronomers know about black holes — it’s a lot, trust me — it’s a bit of a shock that mankind has never actually seen one. Everything science knows about black holes is based on inference rather than actually witnessing one with our own eyes (electronic or otherwise), but that may be about to change.

The Event Horizon Telescope project plans to reveal the first-ever images of a black hole, and the international group of researchers working on the project have something very big to show the world this week. We may be just days away from seeing a black hole for the first time ever.

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Outfit Formula: Swish Black Leggings

These combinations are for those who enjoy wearing black leggings in a dressier way. So no sneakers, hoodies, sweatshirts, or oversized pullovers. Body-con black Ponte pants work as well as leggings. Leggings that are thick, substantial and opaque work best. Leggings and Ponte pants are often a favourite bottom for curvier body types because they stretch and comfortably fit over curves on the thighs, bottom and hips, while being sufficiently structured at the waist.

1. Hard Edge and Flowing Drape

I like the juxtaposition of the hard-edged moto leggings and soft drapey tunic. The high-low hemline creates interesting and flattering diagonal lines. The ankle baring shooties are a trendy touch. They break up the black on the leg line yet elongate because the leggings and shoes are the same colour. The high-contrast top is lively and vibrant, but feel free to wear any colour up top in a solid or pattern.

Eloquii Miracle Flawless Moto Legging

2. Arty and Asymmetrical

Combine an asymmetrical black dress with black leggings and add strappy sandals, Mary Janes, or ankle strap pumps. Here, the cold shoulders break up the expanse of black, as do the two-toned strappy pumps and metal necklace. These subtle details make the outfit more warm weather friendly, and interesting since the textures of the dress and leggings are similar and therefore quite flat. Snakeskin and leopard shoes would be fab too.

Planet Peekaboo Dress

3. Trendy and High Contrast

Combine black leggings with a black top and trendy oversized and longer blazer that you can close in a neutral or non-neutral. If wearing a fitted blazer that’s open in front is more your thing, wear a top that is a similar length to the blazer. The daring and very bold neon boots are an acquired taste, so feel free to swap them out with a colour that’s more to your taste. Personally, I think they make the look. I like the slits in the front of the leggings too.

Zara Faux Leather Leggings

4. Modern Classic

Combine black leggings or Ponte pants with a white shirt or blouse and finish off the look with black loafers and a cocoon coat or cardigan that’s a lot longer than the top. I love the tonal effect of the top and topper, but feel free to make them different colours and high contrasting. No need to stick to white, and by all means throw in a pattern.

Pilcro High Rise Denim Legging



UK soap opera will feature first black family in 59 years

LONDON — The long-running British TV soap “Coronation Street” is welcoming its first black family in its 59-year history. The soap opera is set to introduce the Baileys, a family with two sons. It will explore themes of racism and homophobia in sport, with a story line featuring one of the sons, a soccer player,…
Entertainment | New York Post


Rachel Weisz and David Harbour Join Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’; Here’s Everything We Know

Rachel Weisz and David Harbour Join Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’; Here's Everything We Know

Fans have been begging Marvel for a Black Widow movie for almost a decade, and now the dream is finally coming alive. The presumably eponymously named Black Widow will feature Scarlett Johansson in the title role, a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff, whom she's portrayed already in eight installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including this year's Avengers: Endgame. 

Joining Johansson on screen for the solo superhero movie are an exciting ensemble of varied talents….

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Black Was the Color of Choice Among the Best-Dressed Celebrities This Week

Is there any other color (or lack of color, for the art nerds) in fashion more iconic than black? It has this wonderful way of being either the safest bet or the boldest move, depending on the vibe you’re going for.  And this week, celebrities have made it clear that just because the calendar …

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In astrophysics milestone, first photo of black hole expected

Scientists are expected to unveil on Wednesday the first-ever photograph of a black hole, a breakthrough in astrophysics providing insight into celestial monsters with gravitational fields so intense no matter or light can escape.

Reuters: Science News

BEST DEAL UPDATE: – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

The Week in Movie News: First ‘Joker’ Teaser Trailer, ‘Suicide Squad’ and ’Black Widow’ Casting and More

The Week in Movie News: First ‘Joker’ Teaser Trailer, ‘Suicide Squad’ and ’Black Widow’ Casting and More

Need a quick recap of the past week in movie news? Here are the highlights:



Rachel Weisz and David Harbour to co-star in Black Widow: Marvel’s Black Widow is getting ready to start filming this summer by filling out its supporting cast with prestige players and rising stars. This week we learned Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and Hellboy’s David Harbour will join Scarlett Johansson for the solo superhero prequel. Learn everything we know so far…

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How this sex educator is helping Black women embrace pleasure and heal from trauma

How this sex educator is helping Black women embrace pleasure and heal from trauma

How this sex educator is helping Black women embrace pleasure and heal from trauma

In “Doing The Work,” a four-part series from HG contributor Tiffany Lashai Curtis, four Black women who work in different industries tell us their stories. During Black Women’s History Month, we hope this series uplifts and amplifies the work of Black women in spaces where they are underrepresented or rendered invisible.

The sex and wellness industry has expanded in recent years as more and more conversations take place highlighting women’s pleasure and undoing sex-negative messages. But as in other industries, the work of Black women in the realm of sex and wellness isn’t always highlighted or celebrated.

Historically, Black women have had a tumultuous relationship with sexual pleasure. As we continue to reclaim our bodies and our sexuality, we are still forced to navigate centuries-old stereotypes of either being hypersexualized deviants (the “jezebel”) or homely figures devoid of sex lives (the “mammy”).

So when it comes to our sexual health and pleasure, the conversation extends beyond trying a new sex toy or exploring a kink. It’s about healing and finding bodily autonomy as Black women and their bodies continue to be disproportionately subjected to violence and scrutiny.

That’s why the work of Black woman sex educators, therapists, and wellness practitioners is so important, and Jimanekia Eborn is a Black woman sex educator, trauma specialist, and podcaster who is out here doing the work to help Black women and femmes achieve sexual liberation. One example of this is Eborn’s recent collaboration with The KinkKit, a sexual wellness and education company founded by Candice Smith, on a pleasure-positive healing kit for survivors of sexual assault.

Jimanekia Eborn
Mark Dektor

For the first profile in this series, I spoke with Eborn about her work around pleasure and trauma, as well as the importance of Black women in the sex education and wellness space. Read our conversation below.

HelloGiggles (HG): You’ve been doing work around mental health for the last 10 years. What moved you to begin incorporating sex ed and sexual trauma support into your work?

Jimanekia Eborn (JE): Funny you ask that. I actually started focusing on sexual trauma pretty early on. After I was assaulted during my third year of college and [my experience was] dismissed, the first thing I did was become a rape crisis counselor and open an online vintage clothing store. I am a Gemini with a Cancer Stellium—when I say that, it suddenly makes sense to folks. I was drawn to helping and supporting survivors, which for me just felt natural and easy.

As for the combination of sex ed and trauma, working in the intensity of mental health was a lot. I wanted to work in a space that was ever evolving and never boring. I told my mom one day, ‘I think I wanna work in sex.’ Her response was ‘Oh, hell.’ I don’t know about you,, but when I tell my momma stuff, it is official for me. When I started really exploring sexual education, I realized that not a lot of people were talking about trauma… So many of us are connected to trauma and need to deal with the trauma to get to the pleasure aspect. So when I realized that most weren’t, I started to [explore that]. I found my niche in sex ed doing something that I truly loved and was really good at: supporting survivors.

HG: How has your identity impacted your work in the sex education and wellness space?

JE: I have many identities that I think have been helpful in many ways. I’m queer and polyamorous. A lot of people in sex ed are as well, or just understand these identities, so that has been cool—although there is only one [identity] that is visible. Being a Black woman is interesting in any space. I still feel like I have to fight and break doors down. I’m constantly calling people out. As for being queer and polyamorous, those aren’t things you have to fight for as much in these particular spaces. But the more I evolve in the field, the more comfortable I am; I’ve become louder when calling people out and holding them accountable.

Jimanekia Eborn
Mark Dektor

HG: Whose voices do you think are centered the most in the sex education and wellness space? Whose stories need to be amplified?

JE: I mean, any voice without melanin is centered. I will be honest; sex ed is no different from any other field. There are levels to this game, and at the top is white men, down to white women, then the rest of [us]. As long as I grew up hearing about sex ed, it was never from the voice or work of those who had melanin within their skin. I will say that within the last two years, things have been changing quickly and aggressively, and it’s somewhat beautiful. Sadly, the voices that need to be amplified are having to show up and show out to get their voices heard—which are POC folks, trans folks, and folks with disabilities. But we are tired of being pushed to the side. So we are amplifying each other and calling others out. We are quick to back each other because other folks have not.

HG: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. What are some ways that the sex and wellness industry can better support survivors of sexual assault, especially those who are people of color?

JE: That is easy. The same thing that I tell anyone that asks how they can support survivors: Listen to them and ask them what they need! It is so exhausting constantly reminding people that they do not know better than the survivor. Ask them what they need versus telling them what they need. Listen to hear them, do not listen to respond. It is not helpful to either party.

HG: How can sex ed curriculums do better at addressing topics like consent and sexual trauma?

JE: I am still wrestling with the fear that people have about talking about consent and sexual trauma. Like, do they think if they do not talk about it, it will stop or go away? These are things that we are all affected by. We all have known someone that has had their consent [violated] or has had some sexual trauma. The only way that we can evolve to safer spaces is to actually talk about them. Be honest about what is going on in the world. I think we need to start talking to kids pretty young. If we give them the tools while they’re young, I believe it can help them to better navigate the world.

Jimanekia Eborn, Trauma Queen podcast
Art by Zoie Loves

HG: Your podcast Trauma Queen aims to normalize talking about assault and healing. Season 3 of Trauma Queen is specifically focused on the experiences of Black femmes. Why is it important that Black femmes be given the opportunity to tell their own experiences of surviving and healing from trauma of all kinds?

JE: For me, Black femmes are everything. We carry the world on our shoulders and no one gives a damn about us. Honestly, Black femmes raise themselves, their kids, their partners, and other people, and other people’s damn kids. Yet we are constantly overlooked and thrown under the bus. I wanted to recognize different types of femmes as well; that was really important to me. Because there is no one way that a Black femme looks. I wanted someone to hear a story that resonated within them, that they could say, “Chile, me too.” I also really and truly believe that there is so much healing in storytelling, which is something that is very important and strong in Black culture in general.  I also think this season was healthy for me to spend time emerged in the energy of Black femmes. I am so thankful.

HG: Black women have historically never held autonomy over their own bodies or sexuality. How can pleasure positive experiences help us to collectively heal and reclaim our bodies?

JE: Sadly, this is so real! There is something about being told that you matter. We as Black women do not get told that outside of from other women. And even then, there are some women who do not support others. That is a whole ‘nother conversation. But having pleasure positive experiences strengthens us. And teaches and reminds us that we are so much more than what others have pushed upon us or attempted to force us to believe. There is strength in numbers; there is strength within beautiful and positive experiences. I have been and will continue to say, this is our year! This is not temporary; this is the START of the breakdown because as Black women, we are tired and taking what is already ours back.

Jimanekia Eborn
Mark Dektor

HG: Why is having Black women as practitioners and experts in the sex education and wellness space essential?

JE: Black women to me are traditionally natural healers. It is just embedded within us and passed down through us. We have a way of reading you down and also picking you up in the same breath. Making you feel seen and supported, knowing that we mean business. We are a force to be reckoned with and I honestly think it makes people nervous and keeps them on their toes. I believe that is why we are also held back, because we are truly walking beings of magic. Black women are also not just focused on themselves as some others may be—we are about uplifting and doing things together, unlike others.

HG: Black women are chronically underrepresented, undervalued, and under-recognized across many industries. What’s one thing you want people to know about the work of Black women in the sex ed and wellness industry?

JE: Whew chile, one thing? We have been doing this work in our own communities and homes for years. Why are you so afraid to share the space, and give us our roses now?  GIVE US OUR ROSES WHEN WE ARE STILL HERE!

The post How this sex educator is helping Black women embrace pleasure and heal from trauma appeared first on HelloGiggles.



McDonald’s Celebrates Black Excellence Through New ‘Black & Positively Golden ‘Campaign

McDonald’s USA rolled out its largest campaign in 16 years targeting African American consumers on Friday. The new campaign, titled “Black & Positively Golden,” aims to uplift black communities and inspire excellence through education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. It also replaces the McDonald’s 365Black platform, which began in 2003.

The campaign launched in partnership with YWCA USA at a community event held at Leimert Park in Los Angeles. The event began with a panel of black corporate executives that discussed the messaging behind “Black & Positively Golden,” how it celebrates black excellence, and highlights stories of truth, power, and pride. The kickoff also featured the unveiling of a mural created by L.A.-based artist Enkone, an appearance by Insecure actress Yvonne Orji, and a live performance by multi-platinum recording artist Normani.

Beyond the launch event, McDonald’s has commenced a yearlong commitment to support the YWCA USA’s Women’s Empowerment 360 Program—an initiative designed to empower female entrepreneurs of color. The global food chain’s financial support will provide approximately 5,000 aspiring businesswomen around the country with an education curriculum and other tools needed for success.

According to Lizette Williams, Head of Cultural Engagement & Experiences, McDonald’s USA, the fast-food chain has been a pillar in communities of color by providing jobs, franchise opportunities, and scholarship funding. “The African American consumer, for McDonald’s, is critically important,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “We’re a brand that’s accessible for everyone, but we’ve been there in the black community for 50 years. We’ve supported the black community through our work with HBCU scholarships,” in addition to supporting organizations like the YWCA and NAACP. “It continues to be at the very fabric of what the corporation and brand represent.”

Nicole Enearu, a franchisee who currently owns/operates a total of 18 McDonald’s restaurants with her family, told BE that the campaign “is really about shining a light on the positive things that are happening in the African American community and demonstrating McDonald’s ongoing commitment to our community.”

Enearu is just one of 300 African American McDonald’s franchisees in the U.S. who will help bring the campaign to life by providing economic opportunities to the neighborhoods they serve. “We maintain a commitment to our neighbors through various parts of our business—including scholarship partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, generational wealth-building with franchisee training and partnering with minority suppliers,” she said in a statement.

Terrence Burrell, the vice president and creative director of Burrell Communications Group, the firm that helped create the “Black & Positively Golden” campaign, says he hopes it will ultimately drown out negative news surrounding the black community. “We want that to be the narrative versus what we’re getting from the BBQ Beckys of the world and all of those moments that seem to go viral.”

In conjunction with the YWCA launch event, McDonald’s debuted the campaign with a 60-second television spot during the 50th NAACP Image Awards. “Black & Positively Golden” will also be featured in black-oriented media outlets and events throughout the year. Furthermore, McDonald’s says it will continue to provide scholarships for students attending HBCUs through its partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

“More than a campaign, we want to create a movement around positivity in black America,” said Williams.

Watch the “Black & Positively Golden” spot below.

The post McDonald’s Celebrates Black Excellence Through New ‘Black & Positively Golden ‘Campaign appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Black Women Can’t Wait 106 Years for Equal Pay

Today is National Equal Pay Day and it is only right to address the fact that black women work twice as hard as their counterparts, if not harder, yet still earn less. According to research conducted by the Institute for Women’s Research Policy, if trends in the pay gap persist like they have over the last 30 years, black women will have to continue to work hard until 2124 just to receive equal pay.

We spoke with Teresa C. Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, about closing the pay gap and how women can persevere as they work toward receiving equal pay.

What does closing the pay gap mean for women beyond the dollar signs?

The pay gap is really about how we value women. And in this country, we have continually under-valued women. Particularly women of color and particularly black women. So for us, and as a black woman, this is how we place value on who we are and what we bring into our society.

It’s not “just” about the dollars and cents.

Although, it is about the dollars and cents because if you can pay your bills, put some money in the bank, and transfer that wealth to the next generation then that’s critical and that helps to build what our society could look like. If we can start making sure that our women are paid for their worth in our society, it will show and reflect their value. And help them uphold a level of self-confidence they will carry into other aspects of their lives.

How can women be more involved in being a part of the change they want to see?

There is so much going on in life that feels completely overwhelming. And we often ask ourselves, ‘what can any one person do?’ and ‘what can I do because this feels like so much?’

Whether you’re registered to vote; whether you’re able to talk to your manager or supervisor; how you’re able to ask a question; or whether you’re able to mentor somebody, we want women to walk out of this room today knowing that there is something that they can do. And if everyone does something that adds up to a whole lot of things and that’s how we create the momentum for change.

What advice do you have for women as they fight to close the pay gap?

There are a couple of things that we have to come to terms with when we recognize that we’re going to be about making change happen:

  1. It does not happen overnight.
  2. We do not get to be tired. We have a responsibility to those shoulders that we stand on and those generations that come behind us. We have to step in, fight wholeheartedly, and do it with full honesty and integrity to who we are. And, we have to hold other people accountable.
  3. We have to engage with people one on one. We can’t just stand outside and scream at the air—we actually have to start talking with people.

When I think about this fight for pay equity, it is about at this moment in time us finally placing value on women of color. At this moment in time, it is about holding those [people in high places] accountable. This moment in time, it’s about opening the doors so that others can come in behind us and come in strong.


The post Black Women Can’t Wait 106 Years for Equal Pay appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chicago’s First Black Woman Mayor, Lori Lightfoot

A black woman makes political history again: On Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot became Chicago’s first black woman mayor.

Lightfoot achieves another milestone as the first openly gay mayor of a large city. The Chicago mayoral race was closely watched around the country. There were two black women in the race—Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle—in a political battle that at times became contentious.

Yet, Lightfoot emerged the victor. In a statement to the press, DNC Chair Tom Perez commented on Lightfoot’s win:

“This historic win reaffirms that our diversity is our greatest strength, and that our elected leaders should reflect the diversity of the communities they represent. I look forward to working with Mayor-elect Lightfoot as she fights to build a brighter future for all. The people of Chicago will be well served with her leadership.”

Those outside the gritty world of Chicago politics may not be too familiar with the Mayor-elect. Here are five things you may not have known about Lori Lightfoot.

She grew up in Ohio from humble beginnings.

In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot mentioned that her parents migrated from the South to Ohio. Her father was from a sharecropper family. When she was a girl, her father contracted pneumonia that turned into spinal meningitis. Her father spent time in a coma. The doctors told her mother not to bother to “waste money on medicine,” because her father would not recover. He did, although he became deaf from meningitis.

She is an attorney.

Lightfoot earned a law degree from the University of Chicago for which she received a scholarship to attend. She worked as a federal prosecutor and served in several high-profile civil positions, including chair of the Police Accountability Task Force, and president of the Chicago Police Board. Before running for mayor, she left her position as a law partner at Mayer Brown.

She is married.

The 56-year-old lives in the Northwest side of Chicago with her spouse, Amy Eshleman. They have a 10-year-old daughter.

Chicago police reform is a priority on her agenda.

Lightfoot was part of a task force that looked into police misconduct after the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald at the hands of white policeman Jason Van Dyke. According to her website, her plans for police reform include: Ensuring full and swift compliance with the consent decree; implementing civilian oversight of police; improving police training and accountability; and reducing police misconduct.

She said that the way the Jussie Smollett case was handled, raises “serious questions.”

During a debate with Preckwinkle, Lightfoot said that the dropping of all charges against Smollet merited a “fulsome explanation.” She also expressed concern over State Attorney Kim Foxx’s decision to seal the records on the Smollett case.




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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Kristaps Porzingis reportedly called black woman ‘my slave’ as he beat, raped her

Former Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis allegedly called a black woman a “slave” and a “b—h” as he beat and raped her, according to a report. The 7-foot-3 athlete, who is white, is accused of referring to the woman as “my b—h” and “my slave,” adding that he owned her, during the alleged Feb. 7, 2018,…
Sports | New York Post


Outfit Formula: Black Dress Over Black Pants

When a dress is worn over pants, it becomes a tunic. The combination is an acquired taste, and one I personally like to wear. In this case, the bottoms are NOT leggings. They’re cropped flares or straights, full-length bootcuts, skinnies or cigarette pants. 

These combinations are black, but feel free to wear any colour palette. The column of colour is dark, dramatic and streamlining. Note that the dresses are straight or gently A-line, which adds structure and polish to the outfits. Pick a bag and topper that works with the outfit to complete the look.

1. Bootcut Elegance

Combine a shirtdress with a pair of full-length bootcuts and add pointy-toe shoes. I’d have preferred to see metallic, white or red boots here, but black works well. The shirtdress is fairly fitted, which adds structure and polish to the outfit. Bless those perfect pant lengths.

Violeta Denim Shirt Dress

2. ‘90s Ethereal Layers

Combine a fluid wrap dress with cigarette pants that are split up the front. Add flat sandals, and Bob’s your uncle. The V-neck, slits on the hems of the pants, and the sandals break up the expanse of the black by showcasing some skin.

Zara Double Breasted Shirt Dress

3. Arty and Architectural

Combine an architectural dress with cropped cigarette pants or skinnies, and finish off the look with loafers, flats, oxfords, shooties, pumps, mules or sandals. The tapered pants offset the volume of the bottom half of the dress. I’d have liked to see metallic, white, snakeskin, leopard or tan footwear here instead of black.

COS Asymmetric Tie Dress

4. Long and Streamlined

Combine a straight midi shirtdress with cropped straights or cropped flares, and finish off the look with oxfords, mules, sandals, pumps, loafers or flats. It’s a good idea to leave some of the bottom buttons unfastened so that you can stride more easily. Although this shirtdress is not a button-through style, it’s fairly roomy and slippery, which makes the combination more comfortable to walk in than you expect. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

COS Printed Mid-Length Dress

I wear my version of this outfit formula regularly in warm weather. My version breaks up the black with red, pink and white. I combine a black embroidered dress with black cropped flared pants, and finish off the look with white loafers and bag, or pink ballet flats and red bag. White pearls and red specs too. I add a denim jacket for the chill. The exact items I use to create the outfits are in the collection below.

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6 Black women freelancers share what it takes to protect their mental health in the gig economy

6 Black women freelancers share what it takes to protect their mental health in the gig economy

6 Black women freelancers share what it takes to protect their mental health in the gig economy

In “I Rise,” a series from HelloGiggles, Black women writers examine Black women’s mental health from every angle—from what it takes to access treatment, to the exchange of trauma across generations. We hope this series arms women with information and power, and opens up more space for this important conversation to take place.

It’s no secret that we live in a gig economy and that more industries have started to rely on freelancers heavily, if not entirely, to keep organizations afloat. According to the Freelancing in America 2018 study, 56.7 million Americans are freelancers, and 64% of freelance work is being done online.

Freelancers are afforded a certain level of control over their schedules and projects, certainly more than traditional employees. But with that also comes instability, since freelancers are treated as independent contractors without the same protections as salaried employees. In fact, freelancers frequently struggle to secure affordable health care and enough work to make a decent living, and many have to follow up repeatedly with clients to be paid on time, if at all.

The uncertainty that comes with living the freelance life can be stressful at best and negatively impact your mental health at worst, even more so if you’re a marginalized writer. Black women and femme freelance writers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to culture, but so often get tapped merely to comment on or react to instances of trauma and oppression. In addition to having to perform that kind of emotional labor, Black women and femme freelance writers never see the same rates of pay as their white counterparts.

To help Black freelancers lay the groundwork for better emotional and mental health, HelloGiggles spoke to six Black women writers about how freelancing has impacted their mental health and self-care, what it’s like to tell their most difficult stories, and how the media industry can be more supportive. 

“I’m thinking of finding other work because of the way working as a freelancer has affected me. Working as a writer has made me more anxious, and I’m annoyingly glued to my phone and computer. I’ve been having trouble being present and connected to my surroundings. 

[For self-care,] sometimes I don’t write a single word for days. It feels like I’m being lazy, but I know that’s necessary for me. I don’t like when the days and stories run together; I try to approach each one with a fresh mind, new ideas, and details. I also do small things, like wake up and immediately shower, instead of sitting on my phone for 30 minutes. It helps.

I would like for us to be paid more. I also would like for everyone to be given more freedom. Sometimes stories are cyclical and contrived, because editors know they’ll get clicks or because they don’t know what kinds of pieces are really important to Black audiences. It’s not right.”

Brooklyn White, freelance writer and artist

“[Freelancing is] exhausting. I’ve been moving nonstop and think about work all times of the day. Basically, my work-life balance is non-existent.

I need to be more proactive about [my mental health]. But I’m afraid if I stop to think of myself, I’ll miss out on work.

My most difficult stories relate to the fears I have about raising Black children in the midwest. They aren’t hypothetical concepts, like many of the other topics I cover. They are everyday struggles.

I don’t want to be a ‘go-to’ for stories exclusively during ‘Black times’ of the year. I’m a multi-dynamic individual with a wide range of views. My Black identity is just one of many aspects of what I can cover.”

— Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez, health care journalist and content strategist

“Freelancing has had a massive impact on my mental health. The fluctuation of it, the constant hustling—this can all be detrimental to my mental health. As such, it’s taught me to make tending to my mental health much more of a priority than it would be if I had a ‘traditional’ job.

Radical self-care and tending to my mental health looks like many things. Day to day, it means staying on top of my to-do lists for tasks, tracking my budgeting/spending/invoicing daily, and limiting my social media time. I tend to do best with having set rules regarding my social media at the beginning and end of the day (I try not to take my phone off airplane mode for the first hour I’m awake, and get off social media by 10 p.m. to give me time for my nighttime routine). But self-care also means prioritizing time to take care of my body: stretching, drinking water, doing non-work/hustle-related things that get me reconnected back to myself after a long week.

I’ve recently begun talking more about my chronic pain, and I still find it challenging to intellectualize what I’m experiencing and my relationship to it because, well, I’m still sorting through it all. I want to honor the space that I need to sit with things for myself first before sharing them with the world, and I try not to let myself get too caught up in that pressure [to write about my personal life].

Above all else, I want us to be paid what we are worth from the jump. Too many Black women and femme writers expend so much energy to be paid, and most of the time, we end up getting a fraction of what white writers in our fields [receive]. I provide a lot of labor in my work as a freelance writer and sex educator, and many people will only count a fraction of that work as ‘billable.’ But that needs to change. I want Black women and femme writers to have their rates respected, and be paid what we deserve from the beginning instead of having to fight so hard for it.”

Cameron Glover, freelance writer, podcaster, and sex educator

“Being a freelance writer is rewarding because I get to write from a place of passion as opposed to being shoved a topic/beat and expected to write well about something I couldn’t care less about or have no connection to. I get to craft something that’s near and dear to my heart and share it with the world. However, digital spaces are increasingly click-centered, so the pressure to pull millions of hits can be draining. It can be defeating to not meet a click goal or see/hear ANY response to something you poured yourself into. This has caused me a bit of anxiety and I’ve procrastinated with some of my work, fearing not being able to do a good job. And isn’t that wild? A good job is now defined by the tap of a finger, not the depth, breadth, vulnerability, research necessary to the craft.

Lately I’m starting my days free of internet, social media, or contact with anyone outside of my house. I used to check my emails and social media as soon as I woke up at 6:30 a.m. As a Black woman, that learned lack of boundaries to try to be all things to all people made me feel as though I was always treading water, just about to drown. Now, I’m practicing waking up with a prayer, a scripture, my journal, and some tea. I value what I do, but I’m not a brain surgeon. No one will die if I don’t respond to emails before 10 a.m. Letting my ego take her rest has been the most radical form of self-care. It frees me to be grateful, calm, and increasingly creative.

I felt compelled to write about getting fired from a job that just wasn’t right for me. We talk about vulnerability and authenticity a lot these days, but only a handful of us are really willing to be honest about the less-than-ideal slices of our lives. I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. Again, my ego popped up, terrified of taking that kind of hit. But in actuality, it was the most satisfying thing. It highlighted the uselessness of shame and gifted me the opportunity to build community with incredible people. It got a great dialogue going about what it means to follow the path that’s meant for you instead of trying to fold and mold yourself into a box that makes everyone else comfortable with you.

Black women’s experiences are varied, our expertise and interests are vast. It’s crazy to me that we must keep reminding the world of this. We embody a spectrum that too few care to call to the table. They want the monolith that gets clicks and sells papers and makes for edgy headlines and neat little obligation-filling-yet-ineffective diversity campaigns. I’m interested and invested in our invitation to actual conversations and not just the commodification of our ideas and creative expression.”

Ashley Hobbs, freelance writer, director, and creative producer

“I was a freelancer for two years. In the 24-hour news cycle, it was a constant churn and burn of competing headlines and chasing late payments. I had to take time off indefinitely.

During my hiatus, I discovered yoga and wellness. I got certified as a teacher and use my Instagram as my creative outlet.

As a freelance writer, it often felt like the only way to get greenlit was to share a really deeply racialized trauma story. This was often tied to a current event, so it was like always reopening a fresh wound.

It is my hope that Black women will be able to write about whatever they want and all of our stories will be heard. Equal treatment can only come from sharing more of our stories unrelated to trauma or to at least offer more agency in the stories we choose to share.”

Jagger Blaec, freelance writer and yoga instructor

“Being a freelancer is unstable, particularly financially. This impacts my mental health because if my pitch isn’t picked up, I don’t get paid, therefore I cannot seek out the care that I need around my mental health.

I don’t tend to my mental health enough. I put my job and getting paid first, and if I have the time and resources, then I will practice self-care and tend to my mental health. Though I can write about and acknowledge how necessary it is to our communities, it is difficult for me to put into practice, mostly due to lack of stability as a freelancer.

One of the most difficult stories to tell was one I wrote about my relationship with my mother, who is white, and the labor that I have to perform to educate her as her Black daughter. I was fearful of this story painting her in a negative light, and how I could tell it without feeling like I was exposing all of her faults, while still being honest to myself and telling my truth.

I want to see us holding editor positions, creative director, editor-in-chief, etc., not just freelance positions. Publications are quick to ask for our stories, but never want us holding the positions of power. They want our labor and creativity to get them revenue, but will never pay us what we deserve. I want to see us at every level in the journalism industry.”

Dominique Norman, freelance writer, fashion activist, higher education professional

The post 6 Black women freelancers share what it takes to protect their mental health in the gig economy appeared first on HelloGiggles.



Award-winning Filmmaker Tells the Stories of Black Businesses Through a Historic Lens

Oftentimes, when mainstream business success stories are told, the African American experience is overlooked despite the fact that black folks have been building businesses—as well institutions and communities—for decades in the face of racism, legal segregation, and systemic oppression. However, in a new film, award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson is shedding light on the historic achievements of African American entrepreneurs and the economic and societal impact that black businesses have made over the last century.

Nelson’s new documentary, Boss: The Black Experience in Business, chronicles the plight of black entrepreneurs since the end of slavery. It tells the untold story of African American entrepreneurship while highlighting legendary business leaders like Madam C.J. Walker and Motown legend Berry Gordy, as well as modern-day icons like Richelieu Dennis of SheaMoisture, billionaire Robert F. Smith, and venture capital investor Arlan Hamilton.

“African Americans have always been entrepreneurial. And wealth generation has always been connected to our empowerment,” wrote Nelson in a tweet promoting the film, which premieres on April 23 on PBS.

Nelson’s last documentary, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, sparked a national conversation on social media about the legacy of HBCU’s following its premiered in 2017. “These schools have provided the foundation of black intellectual thought for 160 years,” Nelson told BLACK ENTERPRISE in 2017. “I’ve spent a career documenting key leaders and events in African American history but make no mistake, there would be no civil rights movement without HBCUs.”

Stanley Nelson - black business

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wikimedia Commons)

Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolutiona film that chronicles the rise and fall of the revolutionary Black Panther Party—also had a major cultural impact in 2015 and earned him an Emmy Award.

In 2000, he and his wife, award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith, founded Firelight Media to address the deficit of films made by and about people of color. The organization has since produced over 25 hours of primetime programming for public television and received several major broadcast awards, including the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Nelson, a three-time Primetime Emmy Award-winner, was also honored with the National Humanities Medal by President Barak Obama in 2013.

Boss: The Black Experience in Business is a Firelight Films production for THIRTEEN Productions L.L.C., in association with The HistoryMakers. It premieres Tuesday, April 23 on PBS at 7 pm CT/8pm ET. Watch the trailer below.

The post Award-winning Filmmaker Tells the Stories of Black Businesses Through a Historic Lens appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Black Female Executive Is a Mighty Force at Toyota: Her Story

BLACK ENTERPRISE recently revealed the upper ranks of female leadership at the nation’s largest public and private companies with the release of the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America list. One of the standouts found on this exclusive roster is Sandra Phillips Rogers, who manages an expansive portfolio at Toyota North America as group vice president, general counsel, chief legal officer, corporate secretary, and chief diversity officer.

Holding degrees in journalism and law, respectively, from the University of Texas at Austin, this brilliant legal eagle joined Toyota in 2012 after holding a series of high-powered positions at prestigious law firms and major corporations. Considered one of the company’s most valuable senior managers, she is routinely called upon to handle complex issues, ranging from global transactions and corporate inclusion to cybersecurity and intellectual property.

One of the cover subjects of our January-March Women of Power issue, Phillips Rogers shared with BE, among other details, her professional ascension and tips she gives mentees on achieving success in corporate America. The following are edited excerpts from that interview:

Throughout your career, you’ve repeatedly shifted from major corporations to high-powered law firms. Which environment did you find most rewarding?

Well, I think both have their advantages but working in a company gets you closer to the business, and that’s ultimately why my career has taken me to Toyota. When you realize as a lawyer that you have the ability to help shape the business strategy through your legal advice and then also as an executive understanding more about what some of the corporate priorities are and how you can help them achieve it, that synergy really is very exciting to me. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is when you work for a company, you’re a part of a much larger organization. I really like that. The opportunity to be a chief diversity officer, work on various community activities and be a part of how the company is going to, in the case of Toyota, transform into a mobility company, that’s all very, very exciting and satisfying. Of course, there’s the great people and great products that Toyota makes. So that’s also very, very attractive to me.



At Toyota, you serve not only as the chief legal officer but also oversee diversity. How did that dynamic evolve?

I’ll start by saying that I have been a champion of diversity and inclusion for many, many years under my legal umbrella. In 1999, I was a part of the first diversity committee at the law firm I was employed [with] at the time. It’s been a progression and a passion of mine…and frankly, an obligation I feel to help bring more diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. So when the opportunity to become the chief diversity officer presented itself, it was a natural fit for me because I’ve spent so many years moving diversity and inclusion forward in the legal profession, also within my legal team at Toyota and other organizations that I’ve been a part of. Now, it’s very exciting to do it for the entire company. It’s something I take quite seriously but it is a very big honor for me.

In terms of your legal career, what were the cases in which you were most proud?

As I look over my career, the things that I’m most proud of are issues where there was a lot at stake, a broad impact for my client in terms of not just the legal strategy but the business strategy. It was necessary to coordinate a large team to all work together, be on the same page, and have a common strategy. It wasn’t always easy bringing various interests together, but I’m most proud of that teamwork, of how we all came together to help try to solve a very important issue for the business, customers and various stakeholders in the community. That’s what really excites me: A big hairy problem which brings together people as a team and you help solve it.

As a woman professional, how did you navigate challenges to eventually reach your current senior-level position?

For me, it’s always been important to understand the challenge, and then apply what you know in the context of the culture of the company. I’ve worked in a lot of different organizations. One approach might work in one organization but might not work in another. I’ve always viewed a challenge as an opportunity to show and demonstrate my leadership and commitment to the organization. What was always fundamental is to find out where the landmines and pitfalls were because sometimes those can derail your activities before you even get going. I think the other piece is where diplomacy and respect for people come into play. Savviness, emotional intelligence. I think these are all things that have served me very well over my career. Sometimes folks want to just go boldly into the challenge. You have to step back and understand the environment, the culture, the people, and then you have to plan a strategy that takes all of that into consideration.

Who have been your mentors and how have they helped you decide on the career path you took?

The mentors I’ve had have fallen into five buckets. One would be a person who I would call your subject matter expert. They kind of show you the ropes and help you develop your chops in a particular area of expertise. The second is the navigator, someone who helps you see around corners, tells you where you may want to go for opportunity or what to avoid because it could potentially stifle your progress.

Of course, the sponsor is very, very important. These are individuals in my career who have been my bosses or other senior people of influence who can speak on my behalf and help connect me with opportunities. The other group of mentor is the personal mentor. These are my friends and people who know me well. Some are outside the organization; some are inside. They’re the ones who can tell me, “You know, Sandra. Run your presentation by me and I’ll tell you if I think that’s the right approach.” Maybe they can tell you about how to present yourself, whether it’s a dress or how you express yourself. The last group of mentors is what I call peer to peer. That’s mainly women of color I meet at conferences to just exchange stories and ideas.

So what’s your mentorship approach and what advice do you give your mentees?

First of all, I try to build a relationship to establish mutual trust so that they know that it’s safe to talk to me, open up and really get to the core of what it is that’s either troubling them or the dreams that they have. We can figure out how we can navigate to help get them there. But it’s really about seeing an opportunity to help move someone who’s already in a great place to an even better one. I try to give them the benefit of my experiences…what’s worked for me, what hasn’t worked for me. Then, I try to figure out where they are in their organization and help them navigate some of the politics and things they need to think about.

But I want to give them some practical tools to put in their kit so that they can go back and say, “OK. I need to approach my business presentations this way.” Or, “I need to make sure I make relationships with these people.” Or, “I need to make sure that I am going to volunteer so that I can develop power.” One of the things that has just been a very important part of my career development is building power outside of the organization. If you become a leader in your community or profession that can spill over into the workplace. People find out about you, and they say, “Oh, Sandra’s leading this great effort with United Way.” Sometimes, your bosses may see you in a very limited way but then they see you differently. My counsel: Build your power within but also outside of the organization.

Define your leadership style and how it evolved?

I always start with who I am as a person. I always start with being authentic, which I find helps enable the other aspects of being a good leader. Someone’s who’s trustworthy, someone that you can rely on. If you’re seen as being authentic, whether that means a strong leader, whether it means being courageous, whether it means being vulnerable, that’s really how you build your brand as a leader. The other important piece is external to you. It’s the people that you have on your team and how you empower them to succeed. I think the other part of it is just being what I call more of a servant leader, someone who models behavior and can inspire others to follow. Those are the best leaders because when times get tough, profits are down and you’re doing more with less, your ability to help move your team beyond that is going to be based on whether you’re seen as being a part of the solution, getting down with the team at the grassroots level and help do the work to bring the situation back around.

Vital to career ascension, especially for African American women, is being heard in various corporate settings. How did you develop your voice?

One of the things that is key is for everyone to know executives in a company are looking for people to help them solve problems or come up with the next great idea. If that’s the case, your voice is really the only way that that is going to happen. A lot of people will be paralyzed feeling that their voice isn’t important, no one will listen to me or I’ll say something wrong. Most senior executives are looking for ideas. Clearly, all of the ideas are not going to hit gold but you have to realize that your voice must be at that table in order to create this new pathway for business. When you realize that you’re needed, that gives you more confidence to speak up and articulate whatever it is that you feel is going to help the company succeed. It’s about confidence and not being afraid to fail. I think that that really stymies a lot of opportunity, coming from women and women of color. You just have to realize that your voice matters.



The post Black Female Executive Is a Mighty Force at Toyota: Her Story appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Sony Pictures Picks Up ‘Hair Love’ Film About Black Father Doing Daughter’s Hair

Mom and Daughter in a Home

Source: RichLegg / Getty

After raising money for two years, retired NFL player Matthew Cherry’s short-film Hair Love has been picked up by Sony Pictures, Deadline reports. The animated short film shows a black father who is learning how to do his daughter’s head of thick curls for the first time.

Cherry’s Kickstarter fundraising goal for the film was set at $ 75,000 and he went well over his goal, raising $ 284,058.

“In the past year, it has been very clear that audiences have been yearning to see fresh stories that are universal and culturally authentic,” Sony Animation President Kristine Belson said. “Hair Love is a wonderful father-daughter story and we are proud to nurture talented young filmmakers like Matthew who are breaking new ground.”

Cherry, who also executive-produced Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, is happy to see his film come into fruition to help increase representation of African-American characters in animated films.

“It was important to get this story out there and we are so grateful to Sony Pictures Animation for their generous support in helping us make that happen,” Cherry said. “They have championed it from its early stages and we cannot wait to share the project with the world.”

Hair Love will be released later this year. There will also be an accompanying children’s book that will be released May 14th and is available for pre-order.



Turkey’s Black Sea coast: food to drive for

A cinematic landscape of monasteries, mountains and lakes offers a delicious slice of Anatolian life and makes for a superb culinary road trip

It was the talk of a traditional sweetshop that did it. In the Black Sea port city of Sinop, where boats have names like Masallah and Seref Kaptan, I had just finished a plate of mantı, large, soft dumplings topped with melted butter, chopped walnuts and thick, silky yoghurt. As I floated happily on a carb cloud, the waiter handed me a marzipan-style sweet (“a gift, you are our guest”) crowned with half a walnut. It was the handiwork of master confectioner Mehmet Gürbüz, whose shop, Sekerci Mehmet Gürbüz, run by his son, stands opposite the dumpling purveyor, Ornek Mantı. Mehmet himself, I was told, looks after his original wood-panelled shop in a small town called Boyabat, an hour inland.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian


Black Nutritionist Dr. Rovenia Brock Breaks Down Why Health Is Wealth

You’ve probably heard it time and time again that health is wealth—and it’s true. But have you heard it from a black nutritionist? Dr. Rovenia Brock, widely known as “America’s Nutrition Coach” and author of Lose Your Final 15, wants you to live a more nutritionally balanced lifestyle so that you can eat your way to wellness.

With more than three decades of experience in helping people transform their lives and looks, Dr. Ro has helped over a half-million Americans lose more than 5 million pounds and served on the medical advisory board for the Dr. Oz Show for seven seasons. Moreover, she is passionate about helping the black community get in shape.

Like with any lifestyle change, it’s important to start with the facts. And for Dr. Ro, it begins with the harsh health realities that plague the black community. “The fact is that we as a community across the board disproportionately suffer from lifestyle diseases like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancer. Lifestyle plays a crucial role in why this is.”

When you think about your everyday lifestyle, the time you spend on the go, and the time you don’t have—a good question to ask yourself is what does that mean for your eating habits? If you are someone who can’t find the time to meal prep or make the best food decisions you could benefit from partnering with a nutritionist. Dr. Ro recommends starting with a Google search for black nutritionists because a wellness app can only get you so far.

Partner with a nutritionist

“This person should be credentialed. They need to have at least a bachelor’s of science because nutrition is a science and not an art. At the very least they should have a B.S. in nutrition, community nutrition, or dietetics,” says Dr. Ro.

Once you find a nutritionist who is a good fit for you there is work that you need to do.

“Your nutritionist can create a plan for you based on your personal needs. A lot of people try to do this on an app when tracking their daily nutritional needs. But that’s as pretty far as the app can go. The human expert will know how your needs fit into your lifestyle. And they can adjust that plan according to your real life desired goal. From there it’s really about support, accountability, and honoring commitment within the process,” Dr. Ro advises.

As a coach, she works with clients to help them set and meet their health and wellness goals even when people have a hard time committing to the process.

“As someone who has been doing this for over 30 years, I understand that these are real people with real challenges and problems that spill over into what they eat; where they eat; and when and how they eat it. And when that happens those things can dominate the person’s plan and often breaks the person’s plan. My job as your coach is to help you connect to those challenges and to give you alternatives that will work for you and not against you.”

Sounds like a lot of us, right?

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

If you want to commit to the decision to live differently and lose weight Dr. Ro encourages you to know your “why” and do it for yourself.

“You have to figure out what your why is. That gives me information on some of the things that they struggle with and insight on whether or not what they have done in the past has worked for them—and why it maybe didn’t work for them.” She adds, “If you’re doing it for someone other than yourself it’s never going to work. It has to be your reason for doing it. You’re never going to achieve permanent results if you’re doing it for someone else.”

Lastly, Dr. Ro says that you have to set realistic goals.

“The reason why my book is called Lose Your Final 15 is because you’ll be losing your weight 15 pounds at a time no matter your number. When you have a specific goal you can map out a specific strategy to achieve that goal. You need to have a specific plan. That’s how you measure your progress and stay on track.”

If you are looking to jump-start your nutrition journey today, Dr. Ro has these four simple tips.

Get started today

  • Eat one more colorful vegetable and fruit than you did yesterday
  • Drink one more glass of water than you did yesterday
  • Leave food on the plate – Busy people eat out a lot. If you eat out three times a day you can save up to 500 calories when you do that. If you eat out an average of three times a week you stand a good chance of gaining an extra 45 to 60 pounds a year depending on how often, what, and how much you eat.
  • Cut your portions in half. Eat half of what you ate yesterday and you’ll notice a big difference.


Want to hear more from Dr. Ro? Meet her in Atlanta at the SOAR Empowerment Series on April 6. Get your ticket today!

The post Black Nutritionist Dr. Rovenia Brock Breaks Down Why Health Is Wealth appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Voter Suppression Tactics Prove Many Fear the Power of the Black Vote in 2020

A voice that cannot be ignored is the one that goes to the polls and casts a ballot. For generations now, the white majority has put into place mechanisms to suppress the black vote. Some of these laws are just now being repealed—for instance, in Florida, felons have been given back the right to vote.

Georgia also has barriers in place to suppress the black vote. Many polling places in black communities were shut down prematurely or suffered from voting machines that broke down or weren’t working.

What Do The Numbers Say?

Despite these voter suppression efforts, according to Bold Blue Campaigns, a polling and campaign strategy company in Georgia, there was a significant increase in black turnout for the midterm elections.

Whites historically have shown up in the largest numbers of any group voting. Across the board, there was a higher turnout of voters for the 2018 midterm elections: 2.3 million black 18-to 29-year-olds voted; up from 1.6 million in 2014. Georgia, a significant swing state in the upcoming 2020 elections, saw a 63% increase of black voters, which just slightly outpaced the white voter increase of 56%.

Still, white voters were still the majority at the polls. Just think about it for a moment. If black voters cast ballots at the same percentage as white voters in 2020, what kind of power could the black vote wield?

Georgia, Florida, and Texas are Battleground States in 2020

2020 is going to be a crucial year for voting. The strength of the black community comes from the number of registered voters that utilize the power to vote. This was evident in places such as Georgia where some were so afraid of the black community coming out to vote, that they brazenly closed polling locations and made it as difficult to vote as possible.

States including Georgia, Florida, and Texas can turn blue, but this requires not just registering to vote but actually showing up and casting a ballot. Change doesn’t happen unless votes are cast, and power is never surrendered without a struggle.

2020 is not that far off, it is vital that community leaders unite and create not only opportunities to register more voters, but to assist in getting everyone that wants to vote to the polls to cast that all important vote. Staying ahead of the game is the only way to gain on the political playing field.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Voter Suppression Tactics Prove Many Fear the Power of the Black Vote in 2020 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


What Black Investors Need to Know about Opportunity Zones

Black investors have historically invested in land to build wealth. Real estate is generally seen as a solid investment because property values typically rise over time. Property can be passed from one generation to another; used to diversify an investment portfolio; and is considered less risky than the stock market. Now, there is a new option for blacks to become investors and receive tax breaks with a new real estate asset class: Opportunity Zones.

Opportunity Zones are low-income areas the U.S. Treasury classifies as “qualified opportunity zones.” Investors can make these asset investments through Qualified Opportunity Funds.

The investments are geared to accelerate economic development in almost 9,000 designated areas in America and Puerto Rico, says tax attorney Steve Moskowitz, a founding member of the San Francisco-based tax law firm Moskowitz L.L.P.

Opportunity Zones were added as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They allow investors to defer tax on any capital gains until 2026 and avoid a capital gains tax on the sale of an Opportunity Zone. Those funds are then invested in property and businesses located or operated within the designated QO Zones.

What Exactly are Opportunity Zones?

According to the Economic Innovation Group, the 2017 tax provision provides “a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.” African American Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) played an integral part in including the zones in the tax law.

The ante is high as there is a massive amount of capital gains that could be invested in Opportunity Zones. Based on estimates that U.S. households and corporations possess over $ 6 trillion in unrealized capital gains, some officials contend that the program has great potential to trigger an influential change in distressed communities.

Even if a portion of that amount of money was committed, it could possibly mean billions of dollars for poor areas across the country. That is because the program is specifically designed to increase economic opportunity by incentivizing new development in low-income urban and rural areas, says Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA).

opportunity zones

Leslie A. Anderson, executive director, NJRA

The NJRA is a multimillion-dollar independent financing New Jersey authority created to transform urban communities through direct investment and technical support.

In New Jersey, where the NJRA is based, many of these designated neighborhoods are predominantly black and have suffered from systemic inequality, Anderson says.

How Low-Income Communities Could Benefit

Anderson says Opportunity Zones give residents in these communities a chance to benefit in several important ways. First, the program can create new development with the potential to generate increased employment opportunities, more affordable housing, improved property values, and more comprehensive and higher quality services.

Unfortunately, without incentives, Anderson says investors often see low-income areas as too high-risk, making it very difficult for needed projects to attract the capital necessary to move forward.

“Opportunity Zones offer investors an incentive to invest in projects that can help to redevelop and transform these neighborhoods,” explains Anderson.

Yet, concerns remain from community advocates who feel the program could create gentrification pitfalls in some neighborhoods populated by low-income residents and minority groups.

For instance, these advocates foresee rising prices for housing or other new real estate development in targeted Opportunity Zones forcing current residents to leave those areas.

Anderson says she understands those concerns as does New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. She says that New Jersey created an inclusive process that intentionally engages the communities that have been designated as Opportunity Zones.

The governor’s office is holding a series of community forums to educate residents and local businesses, answer questions, understand community needs, and address concerns.

Additionally, the NJRA will meet with local mayors to advise them on leveraging Opportunity Zones to generate projects that directly impact the people who need them most.

Anderson says the NJRA has used its financial resources to leverage nearly $ 4 billion in new investments, helping to redevelop some of New Jersey’s most economically challenged neighborhoods.

“We are also working to ensure that community-based organizations and existing businesses are full participants in the local implementation of the program and can partake in development opportunities.”

Another issue the NJRA is addressing is one of investors mainly focusing on larger cities to the detriment of smaller urban areas.

“We are making a major strategic push to help investors understand the value and importance at looking at all of the designated zones in the 75 municipalities in the state of New Jersey,” Anderson says.

The NJRA, in partnership with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), recently launched a website that serves as an online mapping tool and a comprehensive resource for residents, local governments, and potential businesses and investors.

Information for Black Investors and Taxpayers

Black investors looking at Opportunity Zones may do well to ponder these questions:

How does one become an Opportunity Zone investor?

Is there a minimum amount of income or capital gain from the sale of stock or other assets they must have to become such an investor?

In order to invest in an Opportunity Zone, Anderson says an investor must create a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund, which is any investment vehicle organized as a corporation or partnership with the specific purpose of investing in Opportunity Zone assets.

The fund must hold at least 90% of its assets in the qualifying Opportunity Zones property.

Any tax-paying individual or entity can create an Opportunity Fund, through a self-certification process, which is an IRS form submitted with the taxpayer’s federal income tax return for the taxable year.

Anderson says it is important for black investors to know that they can pool their resources and form a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund, something the NJRA can assist with.

If you are interested in how such an investment may impact your portfolio and taxes, contact a tax attorney and also get more information here.

The post What Black Investors Need to Know about Opportunity Zones appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise


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Meet the Black Pilot Teaching Kids How To Fly

The fear of flying (aviophobia) keeps many people from experiencing traveling. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.5% of the U.S. population has a fear of flying and 25% have flight anxiety.

Raymond Smith, founder of R.E.P. (Redefining, Empowering, and Preparing) U NYC, a non-profit agency that provides free educational programming for underprivileged youth in the New York area, was one of those people until an unpredictable career move forced him to step out of his comfort zone and into an aircraft as an in-flight crew member for a major airline, and ultimately overcome his fear of flying. It also sparked his interest to get into the cockpit and learn how to fly.

“After getting over my fear of flying and seeing pilots at work, I thought to myself ‘I can do this!’” Smith said. “I asked some of the pilots what should my first steps to becoming a pilot be. They said go on a discovery flight and get used to being in a small airplane. I went on two discovery flights and the first time I was scared sh*tless. But through it all, I started the process of looking for flight schools to start training,”

black pilot

Ambition can help you overcome fear

Months later, Smith dedicated 105 hours in the Poconos, at Moyer Aviation, where he received his pilot’s certificate also known as a private pilot license.

His inspiration was to teach black and brown kids how to fly and overcome any fear of flying.

“Once I started flight school, I knew that once I got my instructors license that I was going to take kids on flights and teach lessons at some point. But the actual idea of a full-fledged flight program came from one of my fraternity brothers who said my idea was bigger than I originally imagined it. He heard about all the hurdles of flight school and how expensive it is and because of my passion I should be the one to start something to make it easier for kids who don’t have any type of access to this,” said Smith.

Ever since that conversation, he has been able to take 10 kids to new heights, and now Smith is fundraising in efforts to expand his programming.

“We are currently fundraising to buy an aircraft to offset our operating expenses to ensure that our flight program will remain free for kids. We are also selling sponsorship packages for organizations to sponsor flying hours for the youth.”

The commitment to take kids to new heights 

Through social media marketing efforts, Smith has been able to garner support nationwide as the importance of creating unique opportunities for black and brown kids resonates with many.

“People in our communities often only go on a commercial flight a hand full of times. And very few think they can fly an airplane in their lifetime. Recreational flying is fun and it offers a different option than public transportation or driving. Flying on a bright sunny day is a euphoric feeling everyone should experience,” says Smith.

In addition to flying, Smith plans to continue to programming through R.E.P. U NYC and encourages black men to give back.


“Take time out of your day to show children the way. Often times we get caught up in lecturing about our experiences and pitfalls to avoid. As the age old adage goes ‘I’d rather see a sermon, than hear one any day’.”

The post Meet the Black Pilot Teaching Kids How To Fly appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


20 Must-Listen to Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Podcasting is a big business and one that is expected to keep growing. According to Podcast Insights, there are currently over 660,000 podcasts and over 28 million episodes as of last month. Convince&Convert states podcast listening by women has increased 14% in one year. Yet, podcasting remains a genre mostly used and created by white people. In fact, The Columbia Journalism Review asked recently, “Why are #PodcastsSoWhite?” Even major podcast platforms including Spotify and Google are holding competitions in an effort to increase podcast diversity. There is anecdotal evidence, though, that more black people–and black women in particular–are turning to podcasting as a way to amplify their voices. With that in mind, here is a round-up of 20 podcasts by black women that are sure to inspire, spark joy, and give you a few giggles.

20 Must-Listen to Black Women Podcasts for 2019

1. Affirm 

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This biweekly mental health podcast is for women of color who seek wholeness through affirming their worth and placing value on their mental health.

2. Balanced Black Girl

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This self-care podcast hosted by Lestraundra Alfred is known for providing a dose of real-life wellness for women of color. She often has guests on who have candid discussions surrounding healthy lifestyle and happiness.

3. Black Girl Podcast

Having met at radio station Hot 97, hosts Scottie Beam, Gia Peppers, Sapphira, Bex, and Alysha P come together for giggle-worthy conversation on the topics of sisterhood, pop culture, love, dreams, and growth.

4. Black Women About Business

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This entrepreneurial podcast, hosted by Demarra Gardner, MA, LPC, CAC, is fairly new to the scene, beginning in November of 2018. All episodes are under 20 minutes in length and deliver information to support black females to “intersect business, leadership, and wellness.”

5. Clever Girls Know

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosted by Bola Sokunbi, this podcast is a platform for financial education that assists women to get out of debt, save, and build their wealth. If you’re looking to improve, maintain or build upon your wealth, this one is for you.

6. Courtney Sanders Show 

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

On The Courtney Sanders Show (formally known as The Think and Grow Chick Podcast), host Courtney dives into entrepreneurship, finances, spirituality, and personal growth topics that are sure to kick you in the butt to chase your goals.

7. Gettin’ Grown

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosts Keia and Jade are two happy and whole 30-somethings figuring their adult lives out. On a weekly basis, they discuss all things regarding black women self-care and pet peeves sure to give the listening audience a chuckle.

8. Halfway Bougie

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

In this podcast, hosts Perri Furbert and Courtney Roberts promise to keep it “halfway bougie and all the way real.” Touching on all things pop culture, the two Millennials mix personal stories with real world problems, sparking reflection, and lots of head nods.

9. Happy Black Woman Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

If you’re an ambitious black woman who wants to have her cake and eat it too, this is the podcast for you. Host Rosetta Thurman empowers women to have it all in this personal development podcast through interviews with powerful black women who’ve created lives of happiness and freedom for themselves.

10. H.E.R. Space: Uplifting Conversations for The Black Woman

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The H.E.R. in H.E.R space stands for healing, empowerment and resilience. In this podcast hosts Terri Lomax and Dr. Dominique Broussard are the catalysts for meaningful conversations, discussing everything from “fibroids to fake friends.”

11. Introverted Black Girl Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast touches on society biases and pop culture in a relatable way. The host of the Introverted Black Girl Podcast, who is set to reveal her identity this Spring, shares stories of her day-to-day experiences as a black introverted girl in a world that seems to be rigged for extroverts.

12. Jesus & Jollof

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosted by Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Oriji, this lifestyle podcast is a random mix of talk on life happenings, success, food, and all things the hosts love. In a nutshell, it’s two Nigerian goddesses chatting it up for listener entertainment.

13. Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This inspirational podcast’s aim is to assist listeners to “awaken, discover, and connect” to the world around them. Oprah has personally chosen the audio of interviews she has conducted with some of the world’s top movers and shakers in an effort to guide all who listen to be the best version of themselves.

14. Rants & Randomness

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Luvvie Ajayi is known for being a NYT best-selling author and blogger at, but she prefers to call herself a side-eye sorceress and professional troublemaker. In this hilarious podcast Luvvie rants about society and all things pop culture. Her Jan 7 episode entitled “Do Better: Social Media Etiquette” is a must-listen for all.

15. She’s Got Drive

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast, hosted by Shirley McAlpine (business consultant and executive coach) asks black women what empowers them. McAlpine strives to dive deeply into the source of guests’ success, finding how they overcame obstacles and pulling out tools and strategies that listeners can apply.

16. Side Hustle Pro

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This entrepreneurship podcast hosted by Nicaila Matthews Okome shines the spotlight on black females who have scaled their side hustles to profitable, established businesses in an effort to assist listeners to learn actionable strategies they can apply in the infancy stages of their business.

17. Spiritpreneur School: Spiritual Business for Entrepreneurs

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The host of this podcast, Abiola Abrams, is an empowerment superstar and author whose mission is to assist heart-based entrepreneurs succeed. She touches on all things law-of-attraction and healing to build soul-fulfilled, thriving businesses.

18. The Broomstick Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The Broomstick Podcast hosted by Natalie Edwards shares all things weddings and marriages for women of color. If you’re getting married soon, or feel the time is near, this is a great listen to get you prepped for your walk down the aisle.

19. The Glow Up Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast hosted by Lené Hypolite is the success antidote for women. The Glow Up Podcast shares stories and takeaways to assist listeners to glow up in their career, finances and personal life.

20. Therapy for Black Girls

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

As a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, provides a weekly share session on all things mental health and personal development. Dr. Bradford touches on the latest mental health news and trends, as well as provides practical tips and answers listener questions.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post 20 Must-Listen to Black Women Podcasts for 2019 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


The Black Woman Who Turned Trap Music Into A Museum

When T.I.’s manager and business partner Douglas Peterson first contacted music video producer Antwanette McLaughlin to present her with an idea for a pop-up experience, she had no clue what he was talking about. His plan was to convert an abandoned shack on the west side of Atlanta into “Escape the Trap,” a combination maze, cryptic codes, brain teasers, and riddles that visitors would have to decode in a 30-minute time frame.

McLaughlin remembers that conference call being mass confusion: A bunch of men on a speakerphone trying to scream out different ideas all at once. She took on the project despite still not knowing what the outcome would be. “The conversation was nurtured because I didn’t get it,” McLaughlin told BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“We ended up meeting. It took about a week or two for us to flush out the concept for me to understand it and see it. I couldn’t see it in my brain at first then finally as we kept talking, I could see it.”

trap music

Antwanette McLaughlin

Trap Music Museum

McLaughlin is the creative director and founder of her own boutique production company, The Spice Group, which curated the Trap Music Museum. She, along with a team of 30-50 people, re-purposed an old warehouse in The Bluff, a crime-ridden, low-income community on Atlanta’s west side, into three-dimensional, interactive installations that bring the eerie-sounding hip-hop subgenre and its grim subject matter popularized by T.I., Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Migos, Pusha T, and Rick Ross to life.

Opened in October 2018, the Trap Music Museum is now one of Atlanta’s high volume, cutting-edge tourist attractions. The Trap Music Museum’s interior starts with a mock corner store that transitions into a living room decorated with plastic-covered furniture adorned with  framed child portraits of some of the subgenre’s more popular acts. The main area includes a large foam snowman, a pink big-bodied Chevrolet Caprice Classic, banners etched with codes of the streets, mugshots, oil paintings of rappers, and mini-shrines dedicated to the rappers. The Trap Music Museum was fully assembled and designed in two months. There are plans to turn the destination into a traveling exhibition across the U.S.


Motel 21

McLaughlin was also the chief creative strategist behind the Motel 21 activation to promote Grammy-nominated chart topper 21 Savage’s sophomore album I Am>I Was. She, and a crew of 50-75 people, (11 on her core team who are all women) took a week to turn a seedy motel in Decatur, Georgia, into a series of pop-up rooms that graphically depict and capture I Am>I Was track listing.

Bringing 21 Savage’s vision to life came from McLaughlin sitting in on many of the “Bank Account” rapper’s recording sessions. She paid close attention to his body language along with the vibe and the energy in the room. For McLaughlin, her creative process always starts by giving the artists her full undivided attention.

“I catch what I can catch like a reporter and make notes; then go back to their team and ask if they like it or not,” the Clark Atlanta University alumna said. “Every client is different. A lot of artists are reserved, and they don’t speak unless it’s time to be spoken to or they don’t say anything if everything is right. They will speak if they have a specific thing that they want to share. Some artists have something to say the whole way through. If they were all the same, it wouldn’t be fun.”

trap music

Motel 21, an interactive pop up in Decatur, Georgia.

Breathing Life Into A Vision

The Spice Group specializes in music video production, short-form visual content and commercial photography. For the last nine years, the detail-oriented businesswoman has been able to oversee video concepts for T.I., Meek Mill, Young Thug, Migos, Lil’ Uzi Vert, Dej Loaf, Big K.R.I.T., 2 Chainz, Future, and T-Pain. Despite her highly sought-after vision, McLaughlin was seeking to produce more ambitious projects. Her goal, she says, was to produce and curate festivals, concerts, and live events.

Now, because music is primarily accessed and consumed via streaming platforms and social media, McLaughlin believes activations such as the Trap Music Museum and Motel 21 are great vehicles for popular acts to connect with younger audiences.

“Young people don’t connect unless they can see it or touch it,” she said. “They’re not going to go the long route of Googling, researching, and reading articles. They want to look at a picture, touch it, talk about it, or insert themselves into it. You touch millions of people that way per se rather than having something uploaded online.”

Peterson remembers McLaughlin’s temperament to execute the vision. “[Antwanette’s] a genius,” he said. “In our eyes, it was a lot of arguing, fussing, and fighting, but at the end of the day, it was for the culture. When it was all said and done, we all created something that we could all be proud of. It’s something everybody will enjoy. It’s dope.”

Trap Music Museum

The Trap Music Museum and Escape Room in Atlanta

McLaughlin cut her teeth in entertainment as a professional dancer and choreographer. The former dance talent spent time in Los Angeles, performing with Jagged Edge, Ying Yang Twins, Outkast, Nelly, Fat Joe and Jennifer Lopez. She originally set her sights on Broadway, but says the theatre community wanted a token black girl who could sing, dance and act. Dance was McLaughlin’s passion, but she also noticed the lack of women of color in executive roles in theatre.

The creative made the conscious decision to quit dancing to become a music executive. Too often, she would overhear artists, managers, and label executives at rehearsals chatting about the artists’ performances, set designs, and tour schedules. McLaughlin felt the suits’ observations always missed the mark. “All of them were saying the wrong stuff,” she recalls.

“Every time I would hear them, I knew how to fix every problem. I knew my voice was bigger, and my voice couldn’t be heard just being a dancer all the time.” By the time McLaughlin pivoted deeper into the music business, she was living in Las Vegas, working with Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, and Mariah Carey. While at Interscope Records, she handled artist development for Keri Hilson, Mario, and Rich Boy. Following her stint as creative director and executive assistant to Grammy-winning singer/songwriter The-Dream, she started The Spice Group in 2010.

Managing a successful business always poses new challenges to McLaughlin. She emphasizes how good she is at articulating details to her staff, though, she says it gets on their nerves. She uses numerous pictures, collages, boards, and descriptions to illustrate her plans. If McLaughlin coaches someone, she considers herself “a good teacher.”

Trap Music

Antwanette McLaughlin inside the Trap Music Museum (Photo Credit: The Yes Life)

“I know exactly what I want,” the organized boss said. “When it’s not done right, I’m very adamant about showing you. I teach and explain very well. I do that as much as I can until we get busy. Because when it gets busy, there’s no time to talk.”

She continues, “When we’re not busy, I’m always feeding information. If I see anything wrong, I point out that’s not right. If you put it in your head to get it right the first time, then you’ll be fine.”

McLaughlin is proud to be a black, female business owner exposing audiences to art and museum culture. She’s aware that trap music’s graphic, vulgar subject matter may be a problem to some critics, but says trap music’s lyrical content may be what will encourage people to appreciate a new form of high-brow art.

“There are all kinds of stuff is in the world that I don’t necessarily agree with but it’s interesting,” McLaughlin said. “You learn something from it. We’re getting people to come see art. People come in here who have never been to an art show. That’s beauty. If you don’t bring anything to the community, then they won’t know that they can do something else outside of the community. That’s what we do: take a seed and make it blossom.”

The post The Black Woman Who Turned Trap Music Into A Museum appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Meet the Black Woman Promoted by Elon Musk to Lead Diversity at Tesla

Executives leading the charge in diversity and inclusion are leaning more towards the practice of belonging to create more inclusive work environments. Felicia Mayo, vice president of HR & head of diversity at Tesla is one of those leaders. Her journey as a human resources professional spans over two decades with executive HR roles at PwC, Oracle, and Juniper Networks. After working 19 years in Silicon Valley, she was sought out by Tesla and promoted by its founder Elon Musk to lead their HR and diversity initiatives.

It was a simple as a phone call from someone in her network who knew she could add to and elevate the way Tesla handles business when it comes to belonging.

Business Leader Versus Diversity Leader

After getting an inside look into the company and the interviewing process, Mayo decided she wanted to engage in diversity and inclusion holistically by looking at the total business of Tesla and being able to see where she could leverage her tools which include, but aren’t limited to, HR technology, operations, compensation benefits, business strategy, and talent acquisitions.

“Once you see diversity as an add-on or a program, you fail. And that definitely is something that I’ve always tried to stay clear of them, making sure that I am seeing not just seen as this diversity and belonging or inclusive leader that I’m seen as a business leader,” said Mayo.

“Coming in as a business leader versus just as a diversity leader allowed me to have different connections with different leaders as well as it allowed me to really grow my career here at Tesla really quickly. I could be leveraged in many different ways,” says Mayo.

It was just after a year and a half at the company that Musk promoted her from senior HR director and head of diversity and inclusion to VP of the role where she reports directly and works closely with Musk and vice president Kevin Kassekert.

“Allowing Tesla employees, regardless of their demographic, to feel like they belonged to the staff, is the mission of the company, and the strategy of the future of the company is monument. And ultimately means allowing them to bring their whole selves to work every day and feeling like they belong in the workforce.”

Bringing Her ‘Whole Self’ to Work and Confronting Tesla’s Racism Allegations

As a person of color, in some tech spaces, feeling like you belong is a challenge, however, adding the automotive industry to the mix can make things more complex. That is why Mayo practices showing up to work as her authentic self to set the standard.

“I am who I am. I am Felicia. And that does not change when I walked through the door. So when you see me outside of Tesla, I am Felicia. It is refreshing to be able to work within a workforce and a company where belonging is about bringing my whole self to work.”

Despite reports that suggest a number of past black employees faced racism and discrimination at Tesla, Mayo says people within their workforce belong to the mission of contributing to the future of the world; and Tesla takes training its workforce from the top down seriously.

“I’ve even volunteered to dress in my performance wear and have worked in the factory as well as in our delivery locations just to be able to experience and see what is really occurring,” says Mayo who enforces a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.

“Diversity and inclusion is the need to sit down and have those conversations and we’ve had those conversations internally,” she adds.

In addition to being a champion for change, she is invested in creating a pipeline for young people into the tech automotive industry. The Tesla START program gives students at community colleges 12 weeks of technical automotive hands-on experience and the opportunity to be hired by the company.

“It is a way to have a pipeline of individuals regardless of background, regardless of what you know, or your trade. We want to make sure we offer up opportunities to all different types of pipelines to be able to come here to Tesla,” says Mayo.

Mayo’s Advice: Remain Open to New Possibilities

Beyond her daily responsibilities, Mayo believes wellness in the workplace is just as important as belonging and says it starts with self. In fact, meditation is what keeps her firmly rooted.

“I have to be balanced to make just and fair decisions every day. It’s really meditation; being grounded with my friends; staying grounded with my team here; my family most importantly; and being able to share some of the unfiltered fun times with them, and really going hard in those areas that keeps me on my game.”

Mayo’s advice for others to stay on top of their game is to remain open to new possibilities.

“Never be so firm on the plans that you have for yourself. I would’ve never said ‘I’m going to be an executive leader in Silicon Valley.’ I didn’t even know to dream that big. So I just went with where my journey was taking me and it was uncomfortable sometimes. So I also learned to be okay with being uncomfortable because typically if you’re uncomfortable that means that you’re moving in the right direction.”


The post Meet the Black Woman Promoted by Elon Musk to Lead Diversity at Tesla appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Said She Doesn’t Have The Range To Speak On The Plight Of Black Americans And Her Remark On Reparations Proves It

2019 SXSW Conference And Festival - Day 3

Source: Gary Miller / Getty

Reader Submission by Ebony Moore

Just the other day I found myself grinning at my android screen as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) stated her place in speaking for Black Americans. To paraphrase, she basically stated that as a Puerto Rican, her ancestry is comprised of European (Spaniard), Indigenous (Taino) and, African (the most litty ingredient) blood. She went on to explain how she is both made up of those racial components but is not singularly one of those things at the same time. I let out a sigh of relief at her admission. She had established and maintained her lane by admitting that she doesn’t have the range to speak for the plight of African Americans. My feelings of “you get me” that the Freshman, Democratic representative sparked would soon come crashing down, however.

As I waited for my trolley to arrive to carry me from work, I grew antsy and did what every millennial accustomed to over-consumption and social anxiety does in nerve wracking situations, I decided to take my thumb for a walk through the mean streets of Twitter. Once there, I stumbled upon the often problematic and always hotep posts of Tariq Nasheed. He had shared a video of AOC and captioned, “What in the hell is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about”. My eyebrow rose. He went on to lament, “When reparations for Foundational Black Americans come up, these people start engaging in deflective, incoherent babble”. I shook my head like Alfred Woodard when she was Wanda in Holiday Heart.

While sitting as a guest at South by Southwest (SXSW), AOC fielded questions from Briahna Gray, a seasoned and highly credentialed editor for The Intercept. AOC was asked, “What is the political cost of saying you’re going to throw your hat in with a program like reparations, how much do you think those considerations should be made?” I smiled. Surely the young woman who constantly touts her Bronx lineage, Puerto Rican heritage, socialist rhetoric and much-needed trillion dollar Green New Deal would agree that the descendants of men and women who built this country without pay, deserve to be made whole. Not only was I wrong, she had me out here looking stupid as she stumbled over and completely bombed her answer.

“ Well, you know it’s a good question, I think that one of the things that we’ve seen here from early polling, actually, is that I think that we should distance ourselves and start getting away from this idea that that we should only care about ourselves,” she started. “Because when we really do start to assert and believe and understand and see how how our destinies are tied, it doesn’t, you kind of get away from this idea that only people of you know people of color care about other people of color, and only white people care about other white people, and so on. There are a lot of systems that we have to dismantle, but it also it does get into this interesting area of where we are as a country, about identity. Because, like, what does it mean to be black, who is black and who isn’t, especially as our country becomes more biracial and multiracial. Same with being Latino, same thing it brings up all these questions like passing, and you know, things like that. But I do think it is important that we have to have substantive conversations about race beyond, like, what is racist and what is not, and if someone says something racist does that make them racist, like, we need to get away from talking well, not that we have to get away from talking about racism, it’s important that we talk about racism but because we talked about racism so much, we actually are not talking about race itself. And we aren’t educating ourselves about our own history to come to the conclusion that I think we need to come to.”

Why does it seem like every time you go public with your love of someone they let you down? That’s a whole other article, by the way. If your face is twisted up like you just heard some mean battle rap bars then –samsies! What the hell does that even mean? How does demanding reparations equate to African Americans only caring about themselves?

After watching this clip, I could not help but think back to Ocasio-Cortez’s admittance that she is not Black and, therefore, not qualified to speak for Black people. I pondered over the connection between her being a certain percentage African but not African American. For me, it became clear that AOC is not sold (pun intended) on reparations due to the fact that those who are not directly descendants from slaves in the Unites States, but still minorities and embattled, would not reap benefits from such a measure, namely Puerto Ricans like herself. In other words, African Americans are trying to put a little too much dip on our chip and she’s not with it. Should we then remain with her?




America’s Black Billionaires: The Richest African Americans in 2019

Earlier this month, Forbes published its annual World’s Billionaires list, which ranks the richest people around the world based on the wealth they’ve accumulated using stock prices and exchange rates as of February 2019. By no surprise, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was named no. 1 due to his staggering $ 131 billion net worth. However, out of the 607 Americans featured on the list, just four were black. Here’s a list of the handful of African American billionaires.

David Steward

black billionaires

World Wide Technology Founder and Chairman David Steward

With a net worth of $ 3 billion, David Steward ranks as no. 745 on Forbes’ list of global billionaires. In 1990, Steward invested $ 250,000 that he earned from two auditing ventures to launch World Wide Technology (WWT), an IT provider that offers hardware and software products and services to large public and private customers in various sectors. Its clients include Citi, Verizon, and the U.S. government. Last year, WWT earned $ 11.2 billion in sales and was ranked as no. 1 on the BE100sBLACK ENTERPRISE’s annual list of top black-owned companies in the nation. The 67-year-old business tycoon also graced the cover of BLACK ENTERPRISE in June 2001.

Steward, the chairman and majority owner of WWT, grew up during segregation in a poor neighborhood in Missouri. His father worked as a mechanic, janitor, and trash collector to provide for him and his seven siblings.  


Oprah Winfrey

black billionaires

Oprah Winfrey (

The “Queen of All Media” has accumulated a massive net worth of $ 2.5 billion, according to Forbes, thanks in large part to her partnership with Weight Watchers. Back in 2015, Oprah Winfrey bought a 10% stake and became an ambassador for the company. By June 2018, her stake was estimated at $ 427 million. Winfrey also generates revenue through several business endeavors, including ownership of the cable network OWN, Harpo Films, a multi-year content partnership deal with Apple, and her iconic talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show.


Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity founder, chairman, and CEO Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners. His company was recognized as the top private equity firm on the BE100s last year, generating $ 14 billion in capital. And, with a $ 5 billion net worth, he is currently the richest black person in the country.

Heralded as a private equity titan and Wall Street wiz, Smith started his early life out as a computer geek working in STEM before earning a degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University. He also attended Columbia Business School and ended up serving as co-chief of the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs. Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000, which focuses on investing in technology companies.

In 2013, BE named the firm BE100s Financial Services Company of the Year and Smith as one of the Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street. Smith made a shrewd move in acquiring Sunquest Information Systems Inc., for a relative bargain price of $ 327 million–$ 200 million in equity and $ 127 million in debt.

In a recent transaction, a Vista Equity-acquired company, Marketo, was sold to Adobe for $ 4.7 billion.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan net worth

Michael Jordan (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Although considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan only made about $ 90 million during his stellar career in the NBA. However, thanks to lucrative endorsements, like his lifetime deal with Nike, and big investments, like his purchase of the Charlotte Hornets, he has amassed a $ 1.9 billion net worth.



The post America’s Black Billionaires: The Richest African Americans in 2019 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise


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Doctors Need To Talk Through Treatment Options Better For Black Men With Prostate Cancer

African-American men have the highest risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer as well as dying from it compared to any other ethnic group in the U.S. This trend has remained unchanged for over four decades.

Although research has focused on identifying the biological differences that may lead to this difference, there’s growing evidence that distinct racial and ethnic disparities in prostate cancer treatment, and the quality of medical care in African-American men, contribute to this disparity.

African-American men are less likely to receive more aggressive treatments than their counterparts. And, if and when they do receive those treatments, they receive them later than their counterparts. For example, access to early effective survivorship treatments such as androgen deprivation therapies remains a challenge in African-American patients.

Our multidisciplinary research program in cancer population science at the University of Virginia has been examining reasons for poor prostate cancer outcomes, especially in African-American patients. Recent, as yet unpublished research from our group highlights several issues related to medication challenges in elderly prostate cancer survivors. We found there is a clear link between improved use of these treatments and reduced mortality. In addition, both access and use of these life-saving treatments remains low among African-American survivors.

A history of gaps

African-American prostate cancer patients face unique challenges in the treatment decision-making process. These include lower rates of understanding of treatment options, less time and interaction with medical care professionals and, often, poorer quality of medical care. Those challenges particularly affect both their access and compliance to medications, and, in turn, outcomes in these patients.

For example, a 69-year-old African American man whom we interviewed for our research, Mr. Tyler (name changed), along with his wife, Mrs. Tyler, sat in an exam room while his doctor told him he had stage 4 prostate cancer. Stage 4 cancer is cancer that has spread from its original site to distant organs and, in prostate cancer, even the bone.

Mr. Tyler was shocked. He had not noticed any health issues besides getting up in the middle of the night to urinate and some hip pain. He thought that was normal as men age. When he went to the clinic, he thought he had arthritis in his hip and would be prescribed pain medications for that. He could not imagine hearing that he had cancer.

He had not been to see a health care provider in about 12 years. He was always so busy at work and did not really feel comfortable going to a health care provider, having heard stories from family members and friends that other African-Americans are not treated well at the hospital.

The doctor gave Mr. Tyler a few options such as surgery, radiation and androgen deprivation therapy, considering his age, ethnicity, comorbidities and other related factors. But Mr. Tyler and his wife did not know what treatment options to seriously consider.

The health care provider gave a recommendation, but his wife was unsure. They were confused and anxious about making such a big and complex decision. The couple relied on information they received from speaking to friends, church members and relatives and ultimately made a decision, but it was not easy. And, it was not free from some regrets. Ultimately they chose to receive the radiation treatment and start the androgen deprivation treatment, which Mr. Tyler stopped because of discomfort. Mr. Tyler unfortunately died shortly after he discontinued treatment.

Treatment decision process improvements may be paramount

This scenario of confusion and anxiety is not so uncommon. Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis, and making decisions about treatment can be overwhelming.

Studies have suggested that patients with cancer feel more comfortable expressing their concerns with their health care provider when there is a trusting and supportive relationship developed along with adequate time for treatment discussion. This in turn leads to more comfortable treatment decisions, which often works to improve patient outcomes.

Prostate cancer treatment in particular often brings harsh side effects that severely affect a man’s quality of life. These side effects include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, muscle loss, hair loss and urinary issues such as incontinence. These may be short term, but they can last for years.

The matter is complicated because many of these harsh side effects stem from androgen deprivation therapies, which can improve survival. Because of the complicated nature of assessing the risk of side effects with the potential benefit of survival, the use of androgen deprivation therapies should carefully be considered by the patient and his doctor.

Research has shown that these treatment-related decisions are very different in African-American prostate cancer patients compared to white patients and those residing in urban and rural communities. Therefore, there is a need to study treatment decision-making in both settings to formulate effective educational interventions.

Aids that can help

In one of our recent studies, we found that decision aids may help. Decision aids are electronic or paper tools involving a set of questions and information related to treatments. They are used to assist patients and caregivers in making informed decisions about the types of treatments and procedures, or both, that are more suitable for their particular case.

Decision aids are effective in a shared decision-making process, in which the doctor or nurse navigator sits down with a patient and walks through the process. There is active participation between the patient, caregiver and health care provider.

Decision aids can help patients apply specific health information while actively participating in health-related decision-making. Primarily, decision aids that have been applied to prostate cancer have been focused on knowledge or treatment options only, which patients often complete themselves. These types of decision aids are quite limited and do not allow patients the time and true engagement with health care providers to really understand their disease and the options that are available, and ultimately become satisfied with that decision.

Decision aids are most effective when they are tailored to the individual patient, rather than being generic. For example, researchers have developed an individualized decision support system, which represents a new approach to breast cancer prevention care.

In our study that developed an interactive decision aid for treatment decisions among advanced prostate cancer patients, we found that not only did the decision aid enhance patients’ and their caregivers’ understanding of the options that they had for treatment, but it also built more trust and engagementbetween the patient and the health care provider, which is valuable. The study also revealed that by using the decision aid, patients were more concerned with the quality of their life after treatment than extending the number of years of life.

Developing decision support systems for prostate cancer is paramount as we move towards an era of precision medicine treatments, such as proton therapies, which are used only after decision support system plans are in place for the prostate cancer survivor.

Often, the conversations between health care providers and the patient are focused around the quantity of life. The patients in our study said they felt empowered enough through the use of the decision aid to discuss quality of life, and how that was a critical aspect within their conversations.

There is much work to do to provide optimal health care to patients with cancer, including African-Americans with cancer. Tailored decision aids that focus on the priorities of the patient and their caregivers and that promote trusting relationships with health care providers is key to helping patients feel satisfied with their health care decisions and have less regret.


Life & Style – Black America Web


Hair Wars: Hollywood Actresses Want Black Hairstylists

Model Olivia Anakwe sparked and discussion on Instagram about on set hair styling; venting that hair stylists at shoots generally are clueless when it comes to working with Black hair/natural hair.

Anakwe expressed her frustration with “texture discrimination” in Hollywood after she was booked to wear cornrows during a Paris Fashion Week show but there wasn’t a hairstylist backstage with knowledge of styling textured hair, Vice reported.

Several black actors, including “Insecure’s” Natasha Rothwell, Gabrielle Union, and Yvette Nicole Brown, shared their own experiences and noted how they often bring their own hair and makeup supplies to set because stylists aren’t prepared for black actors.

“Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair,” wrote Anakwe.  Peep her lengthy IG post below.

View this post on Instagram

This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

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Putting their tresses in the hands of untrained hair stylists could lead to permanent hair damage, as Union pointed out.

“The pressure to just be happy they picked you & you got a job, don’t ask for the SAME things every other actor/model gets on GP,” she wrote on Twitter. “Listen, if u stay quiet, u WILL have bald spots, hair damage, look NUTS (tho they will tell u its cuuuuuuuuute).”



But using your own stylist often isn’t permitted on unionized projects and Gabby stressed that point, writing on Twitter, “getting [stylists that can do black hair] in [the union] has NEVER been easy or smooth.”

“What alot [sic] of non-industry folks don’t realize is that u can’t just use [your] normal hairstylists/barbers/makeup artists on a union job (most jobs are union) Those artists HAVE to be IN THE UNION & getting them in has NEVER been easy or smooth. Ever. Like never,” she shared.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who played Black Manta in “Aquaman,” shared how she has been “ignored” and “forgotten” by hairstylists and how “too often [hair stylists] begin to ‘figure it out’ the second we sit in the chair.”

Actress De’Adre Aziza summed up the convo with a tweet noting that a “[Hair stylists are] out there, Hollywood simply had to care enough to hire them.”

PHOTO: PR Photos




Entertainment – Black America Web


Was Babe Ruth Black?

Suspicions that Babe Ruth was a person of color have been swamping around for decades. Born George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. in 1895, Ruth began his professional career in 1914 as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox before becoming a celebrated slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees and, arguably, the greatest player of all-time. However, at a time when having even “one-drop” of black blood could get a brother hung, Ruth was taunted for his wide nose and full lips, while many questioned his heritage. He vehemently denied the rumors, but his frequent carousing in Harlem with black elites and athletes during the 1920s, as well as his liking for black women, didn’t help. Plus, to make matters worse, he was said to have supported racial integration in the Major League Baseball years before Jackie Robinson officially broke the color barrier in 1947.

Back in 2014, Ruth’s adopted daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, told The New York Times that “The Sultan of Swat” was “blackballed” from becoming an MLB manager after his retirement because it was feared that he would recruit players of color. “Daddy would have had blacks on his team,” said Stevens, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 102.

In addition to suppositions that persisted about his race, Ruth was viciously attacked and reportedly called the N-word by opposing team members. According to legendary sportswriter Fred Lieb, Ty Cobb infamously refused to share a cabin with Ruth at a Georgia hunting lodge, saying “I’ve never bedded down with a n—– and I’m not going to start now.”

Why Race Matters

Although Ruth’s lineage will likely never be determined, journalist and syndicated columnist Clarence Page said the questions around his race are important.

“So, should we care whether Babe Ruth was black? Yes, for several reasons,” he wrote for The Chicago Tribune in 2001.


“One is historical accuracy. I don’t know how baseball fans, who normally obsess over the most tedious little tidbit of information about their sports heroes, suddenly would want to look the other way when probing Babe Ruth’s ancestry.”


He continued, “Second, the question of Ruth’s race does remind us of how far we have come with race in this country and how far we have to go. Sure, race is an uncomfortable topic these days. That’s sort of why we should talk about it, isn’t it?”


“Were Babe black, he would have had obvious reasons for hiding it back then. Jackie Robinson did not break baseball’s color line until the late 1940s. But what about now? Would Ruth still hide his race? Or would he brag about it? Or would he regard his race the way Tiger Woods does, as just one of several racial ancestries he claims?”

Regardless of whether Ruth has a black ancestor or not, he identified as a white man and benefited from its privilege throughout his life, much like late Broadway icon Carol Channing, who intentionally “passed” as white during her career to avoided being typecasted into certain roles. She later revealed that she was part black and that her paternal grandmother was African American in her 2002 autobiography Just Lucky I Guess” She died earlier this year at the age of 97.

The post Was Babe Ruth Black? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


A Black Man’s View: 5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace

#MeToo, #TimesUp, and terminations of high-profile executives accused of sexual misconduct has spurned a conversation among some men asking, “How can we promote gender equity in the workplace?” Here are five ways we as men can make work environments safer and more inclusive for everyone. These tips can help a man be a better ally in the workplace.

5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace

Don’t ask her out

At work we interact with many different people. We may have similar interests with some women — get along and become friends. As we socialize, feelings may grow and you could start viewing her romantically. Full stop. Most women do not come to work to get a date. This is not the bar. Don’t ask for her number. She is not there to be objectified. Keep it professional.

Do not talk over her

Many times in a meeting, a man will take over the conversation and interrupt a woman when she is speaking. Whether intentional or not, this is a malicious act which sends a message that her contributions are not important and hold little value. We need to stop doing this. Let her talk and finish her thought. You can wait.

Do not gaslight

A woman’s experience in the workplace will always be different than ours. From subtle microaggressions to blatant harassment, her existence in a business environment is full of challenges we cannot imagine. This is why it is important for men to believe our female coworkers when they say they have been victims of abuse. Believe her when she says someone has been harassing her. Do not downplay it and tell her it is something she imagined. In doing so, you create a distrustful work environment by not encouraging other women to come forward.

No foul language

One of the best things a man can do when he hears misogynistic and sexist remarks from other men is to push back. Gently, but firmly, tell them those type of comments are not OK. It creates a hostile work environment, which helps no one. We need to let our fellow male coworkers know this is not acceptable, nor is the workplace the setting for that kind of language.

Hire more women

In my time in IT, there has always been an overwhelmingly male environment. I would always wonder why aren’t their more women working in technology? The simple answer is because we are not hiring them. Evia, a virtual event solutions company conducted a poll and found that women hold only 20% of tech jobs. In order for us to make the work environment more balanced and different points of view found, we as men need to hire more women.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post A Black Man’s View: 5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Black Men Skin Care Brand Challenges The “For All Skin Types” Beauty Claim

Faced with a constant challenge of finding solutions created specifically for men of color, Patrick Boateng II and Blake Rascoe created Ceylon, a skin care brand developed to help men of color adopt an effective skincare routine.

With help from their advisor Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant, Boateng and Rascoe created Ceylon as an exclusive product for men of color because research shows they are disproportionately affected by skin concerns such as acne scarring, eczema, razor bumps, and hyper-pigmentation.

“The biggest change that we’d like to see in the industry is an end to the lie that the product is for all skin types,” said Boateng. “There are specific skin concerns that disproportionately affect people of color and it is disingenuous for companies to imply that a skincare product that hasn’t been developed with skin of color in mind can, in fact, be a safe and effective product for people like us. For us, it’s important to have safe, effective, and well-researched products that help deal with these issues without the risks that many common products on the market carry.”

Built From the Ground-Up With People of Color in Mind.

Typically, targeting people of color is an afterthought for mainstream beauty brands. So when it comes to marketing and product development the founders leveraged their personal experiences and concentrated their efforts on education and accessibility.

“Together, we thought about how to create products that we would have liked to have when we wanted to take care of our skin. We knew that if we created the answer for us, it could be the answer for many others,” said Boateng. For Boateng it was when living abroad that he experienced daily breakouts and routine acne scarring. Despite trying hundreds of products, nothing seemed to help clear up his skin. For Blake it started in high school, when as a three-sport athlete, a rigorous schedule and constant sweating made it difficult to keep his skin clear. At the time, Blake began using an over-the-counter skin care product recommended by his dermatologist to help combat acne which also ended up bleaching his skin, leaving him with a pale, washed-out complexion.

Black Men Skin Care Brand

Beyond selling skincare products directly to consumers online, the trailblazing duo is also creating a community platform for men of color that fosters improved health and wellness outcomes.

“The most overlooked factors that can negatively affect our skin health include poor nutrition, lack of sleep, daily stress, exposure to air and water pollution, and inadequate personal care practices,” said Boateng. These are the same issues that can actually affect our overall health. So it’s important to note that our dermatological health and overall health are linked. Our ultimate goal is to start a conversation around overall health and wellness. We believe that starts with looking in the mirror.”

The post Black Men Skin Care Brand Challenges The “For All Skin Types” Beauty Claim appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Michael B. Jordan Says He Went to Therapy After Filming “Black Panther” | SuperSoul Sunday | OWN


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Watch Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke Discuss ‘Us’ and ‘Black Panther’

Watch Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke Discuss 'Us' and 'Black Panther'

Jordan Peele's Us officially arrives in theaters on March 22 (grab your tickets now here at Fandango), but before that happens, the horror film will have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on Friday, March 8. In honor of its first screening, Fandango sat down for an exclusive conversation with two of the film's stars — Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke — to discuss their experience working on Us, as well as how it compares to working together on…

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Black Arkansas senator and mother slams ‘stand your ground’ bill

In a debate over Arkansas’ stand your ground laws, state senator Stephanie Flowers gave a passionate speech defending the lives of black children. – RSS Channel


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Tichina Arnold Gets Dragged For Insinuating That Black Folks Shouldn’t Turn Their Backs On Black Men Like R. Kelly

2016 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Day 2

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

Another day, another one of our favorite “aunties” having a hard time holding famous Black men like R. Kelly accountable.

Last time it was Taraji P. Henson and Erykah Badu and now it’s Tichina Arnold’s turn to get dragged.

See on Thursday morning, the “Martin” actress got some serious side-eye for suggesting that it’s important for Black people to uphold one another up, regardless of their guilt or actions.

“*Its disturbing to watch black ppl pounce on other black ppl when they are already down..guilty or not, but when it comes to holding others races accountable for their horrific actions, I hear crickets,” the actress and singer wrote on Twitter.

“Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Operate through love & compassion.”

While she never mentioned the Pied Piper by name, it can be assumed given all the media coverage he’s received lately along with his 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving three minors, that the actress is talking about him.

Whatever the case, this way of thinking is what’s truly “disturbing.” Miss me with this love, intention and honestly when you have none for his victims and their families. Most importantly, it’s hard to forgive and want healing for men who refuse to admit their guilt and continue to act a damn fool in public.

Honestly, it’s heartbreaking to continue to watch Black folks, especially Black women, continue to push this narrative that holding a Black man that harms Black women and girls accountable is somehow anti-Black. It’s manipulative, harmful and counterproductive.

So is this idea that until we persecute white men like Harvey Weinstein or institutions like the Catholic Church first (which has already been done), we shouldn’t focus so much on the predators within our community.

This exact thinking, this protect “Black men by any means of necessary” mantra, is what continues to perpetuate rape culture in Black America and helps cover and protect predators. It also send the message to Black women and girls that their lives and bodies don’t matter, especially if their abusers are Black men.

Enough is enough!

Thankfully, I’m alone on this one. Black Twitter clapped back and had some choice words for Ms. Pam.

Entertainment – Black America Web


Black Excellence! Georgia Student Jordan Nixon Accepted Into 39 Colleges and Awarded $1.6 Million in Scholarships

Jordan Nixon, a 17-year-old high school senior at Douglas County High, has been accepted into 39 colleges and awarded $ 1.6 million in scholarships.

That’s impressive!

via People:

“The crazy thing is, I’m still waiting on decision letters, but I was not expecting that at all,” Nixon told the CBS 46.

Nixon’s acceptances are the highest number any student at Douglas County High has ever received, the outlet reported.

“We’re so happy for her because she does put in a lot of due diligence into applying for these schools,” Nixon’s parents Angelia and Arthur Nixon told CBS 46.

Her parents also described her as independent, well-rounded and an active participant in a plethora of extracurricular activities, CBS 46 reported.

“I am one of the captains of the varsity cheer team at Douglass County, I’m in Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, and I also participate in DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America),” the soon-to-be college student said.

Nixon explained she applied to about 50 schools, but is still surprised every time she reads a congratulations letter.

“It’s shocking, each and every time, you’re taken aback every time you open one,” Nixon told CBS 46.

As for how Nixon was able to rack up that many acceptances, she says “I don’t study all the time, but I definitely do study, I think my secret is to just give it my all.”

Nixon also spoke to Fox 5 Atlantathis link opens in a new tab, explaining that she hopes her story inspires others.

“I wanted to challenge myself,” Nixon told the outlet. “That was the most important thing for me, just to show others anything is possible and that anyone can accomplish it too.”

Nixon has yet to decide on a college, but has until May 1 to do so.

Congrats, Jordan!

The post Black Excellence! Georgia Student Jordan Nixon Accepted Into 39 Colleges and Awarded $ 1.6 Million in Scholarships appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

lovebscott – celebrity news


7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram in 2019

Based on Bank of America’s research, millennials are more financially savvy than we give them credit. They are actively seeking ways to experience FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). As more mature adults continue to connect on Facebook, millennials are leaving this social platform and gravitating to other social networks, like Instagram.

Instagram is not just selfies and food pics. This social network is also a great place to access practical and fun tips about personal finance, credit, and investing. Since 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35, businesses are using this platform to connect with millennial spenders, savers, and investors.

Even financial experts are using Instagram as financial influencers to educate followers about economic empowerment. Here are a few financial experts that are changing the IG financial literacy game for millennials.

7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram in 2019

Ash Exantus: @IAMAshCash

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Instagram @iamashcash

Ash Exantus, aka Ash Cash “The Financial Motivator,” is the author of numerous books, including The Wake Up Call: Financial Inspiration Learned from 4:44 + A Step by Step Guide on How to Implement Each Financial Principle and Making Sense of Kanye (West): A Spiritual Guide to Financial Freedom, Peace, Love, and Happiness. Exantus’s energy combined with his financial expertise excites everyone who listens to his personal finance and credit strategies.

“I blend psychology and personal finance with music, pop culture and relevant news to help people manage their money better in order to live the life that they want.” shares Exantus.

If you are in need of some serious money motivation, check out Exantus’s personal finance, credit, and mindset posts on Instagram at @IAmAshCash.

Anthony Copeman: @SharesTV

Black Millennial Financial Experts


Anthony Copeman, a certified financial education instructor and founder of Financial Lituation, is the creator of $ hares TV. $ hares is an animated series dedicated to helping millennials make money work for them. The animated lessons are not only informative, but they are also funny and entertaining. $ hares TV uses original music and gives different money tips via weekly episodes on Instagram. Each episode shares money tips based on the characters’ individual storyline and experience.

“I believe that our mindset is the primary currency for building wealth and money is second,” explains Copeman. “Through my animated series, I help viewers start the journey toward financial freedom through mindset, movement, money, and maintenance.”

If you love animated television shows and movies just as much as I do, you will love learning about money with Copeman’s animated series on Instagram at @SharesTV.

Choncé Maddox Rhea: @MyDebtEpiphany

Black Millennial Financial Experts


Choncé Maddox Rhea, a certified financial education instructor (CFEI) and personal finance coach, has overcome many financial challenges. Rhea shares helpful tips to help ambitious millennials regain control of their money and live a life with more possibilities and fewer financial limitations. She uses her experience of paying off over $ 40,000 of debt to help people break through doubts and setbacks to restore financial confidence.

“I believe that we were meant to do more than just work and pay bills until we roll over and die. The real challenge is choosing your values and intentions for your future wisely,” explains Rhea. “Then, regaining control over your money so you can use it as a tool to create the life you truly want.”

For information, advice, and resources about improving your money mindset and managing your finances better, check out Rhea’s posts on Instagram at @MyDebtEpiphany.

Courtney Richardson: @TheIvyInvestor

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Instagram @TheIvyInvestor

Courtney Richardson, the founder of The Ivy Investor, is an attorney and former stockbroker and investment adviser. Through “The Ivy Investor,” Courtney provides resources for women seeking to learn about the investment world in ways that are easy to understand. Her unique and engaging style of breaking down the stock market, retirement, and college savings encourages everyone to take action.

“I have fun giving Wall Street advice in simple terms,” says Richardson.

For easy to understand investment advice for women, check out Richardson’s posts on Instagram at @TheIvyInvestor.

Kevin L Matthews II: @BuildingBread

Black Millennial Financial Experts


Kevin L. Matthews II, a former financial adviser, is the author of Starting Point: How to Create Wealth that Lasts. Matthews has helped individuals and couples plan for their retirement in addition to managing more than $ 140 million in assets during his career as a financial adviser. Matthews, named one of the 2017 Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors by Investopedia, shares why he launched Building Bread® …

“My goal is to inspire millennials to set, simplify, and achieve any financial goal.”

If you are ready to take your finances to the next level, check out Matthew’s helpful investment and financial planning tips on Instagram at @BuildingBread.

Tela Holcomb: @TelaHolcomb

Black Millennial Financial Experts


Tela Holcomb teaches how to “Trade Your 9 to 5®” by trading on the stock market. Holcomb, a six-figure stocks and options trader, believes that “anyone can learn the stock market when it’s put in plain English.” She uses her knowledge, experience, and every encounter with people whose lives she has touched to show how anyone can do what she has done.

Holcomb shares, “I’m not a stockbroker. I’m simply an ambitious mom and wife who will stop at nothing to build a legacy of wealth for my family without hustling so much that I never get to spend time with the people who matter most to me.”

To learn more about how to “Trade Your 9 to 5®” through stock market trading, check out Holcomb’s posts on Instagram at @TelaHolcomb.

Eric Patrick: @Black_Market_Exchange

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Facebook

Known as the Hip-Hop Stock Doc, Eric Patrick is the founder and chief investment educator of Black Market Exchange L.L.C. Patrick uses hip-hop and urban media to make investing fun and easy to understand.

“Whether I explain that choosing a broker is like choosing a music streaming service; or elaborate on how a company’s IPO (initial public offering) is like Lil Wayne dropping another Dedication or No Ceilings mixtape,” explains Patrick, “your boy has got you covered so you can understand the stock market and can start investing with confidence.”

For stock and investment tips with a hip-hop twist, check out Patrick’s posts on Instagram at @Black_Market_Exchange.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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15 Black Artists Who Died Too Young

Whitney Houston. Prince. Michael Jackson. These are some of the recent musical superstars who seemed to have passed just too soon. And the latest performer to meet an untimely demise was a new, emerging star–Janice Freeman. A contestant on the TV singing competition show, The Voice, Freeman was a fan favorite who was said to have “stunned” the shows judges with her amazing vocal talent. Sadly, Freeman died from a blood clot as a result of a severe case of pneumonia. She was only 33-years-old.

So much black musical talent has been lost at young ages. It’s easy to muse over what these superstars could have gone on to achieve in their already stellar careers, had the universe extended them more time.

Here is a list of other black artists who were gone too soon (name and age at the time of death are listed).

15 Black Artists Who Died Too Young

1. Aaliyah Haughton, 22

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Just 22-years-old at the time of her death, Aaliyah was just hitting her stride as a singer and actress. Redefining the look and sound of R&B in the early ’90s, she was a platinum-selling performer admired and loved by her fans. Tragedy struck the evening of Aug. 25, 2001, when Aaliyah’s plane crashed in the Bahamas as she and her entourage attempted to return to the States following a video shoot.

2. Christopher ‘The Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace, 24

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Wallace would become one of hip-hop’s most respected and successful rappers. The marquee artists of Sean Combs’ label Bad Boy Records, Wallace would go on to release dozens of hit records, memorable guest verses, and sell millions of albums. Tragically, he was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. He left behind two children and a lasting music legacy.

3. Tammi Terrell, 24

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Already a solo singer for the Motown label, Terrell’s popularity grew once she paired with label mate Marvin Gaye. The two sang notable duets including, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” It was during this time Terrell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Despite eight surgeries, the young singer’s health continued to deteriorate and she passed away on March 16, 1970, just a month shy of her 25th birthday.

4. Tupac Shakur, 25

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


A gifted lyricist and outspoken figure, Shakur ruffled more than a few feathers in his time but it was his brutally honest approach to his craft that drew fans. He was also a budding actor with an impressive résumé and was the face of West Coast rap in the ’90s. Tragically, the young star was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas and he died from his injuries days after, on Sept. 13, 1996.

5. Otis Redding, 26

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


A struggling soul singer in the early ’60s, Redding made his mark on the musical landscape with “These Arms of Mine” in 1962. The biggest record of his career, however, was the timeless classic “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Unfortunately, Redding would not live to see how consequential his signature song became as it was released a month after his death in a plane crash on Dec. 10, 1967.

6. Jimi Hendrix, 27

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


A talented musician, singer, and songwriter; Hendrix revolutionized the use of the electric guitar with a distorted amp sound—breathing new life into rock music. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, he rose to fame in Europe before gaining accolades in the United States. After a night of partying, Hendrix was found dead in the London apartment of his girlfriend on Sept. 18, 1970.

7. Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, 30

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


As one-third of the platinum-selling girl group TLC, Lopes made a name for herself as the trio’s outspoken, quirky member. TLC amassed a catalog of hits embraced by millions of fans. Eventually leaving the group to strike out on a solo career, Lopes’ life was cut short when she was involved in a fatal car accident on April 25, 2002, in Honduras.

8. Minnie Riperton, 31

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Riperton was noted for her unique five-and-a-half octave vocal range. Her talent was on full display with her iconic 1975 single, “Loving You.” The classically-trained singer went on to release other successful songs. However, in August 1976, she announced that she had breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy. Although she was only given six months to live at the time of her diagnosis, she continued to record and tour and became s spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. She lost her fight against breast cancer on July 12, 1979. Her talented legacy lives on in her daughter, actress and comedian Maya Rudolph.

9. Donny Hathaway, 33

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


A talented singer and composer, Hathaway made a name for himself in the late ’60s as a songwriter creating hit records for other artists. But by the end of that decade he was signed on as a recording artist in his own right and made waves as a singer, most notable for his duets with Roberta Flack, “Where is the Love?” and “The Closer I Get to You.” Despite his success, Hathaway battled depression that led to an apparent suicide; investigators say he leaped from a 15th-floor room in a New York City hotel, on Jan. 13, 1979.

10. Sam Cooke, 33


Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Often referred to as ‘The King of Soul,” Cooke helped popularize soul music and paved the way for many legendary vocalists. With over two dozen top 40 hits in his catalog, Cooke was also one of the first African American musical artists to become an entrepreneur. He founded his own record and publishing company. Despite his trailblazing accomplishments, Cooke died under controversial circumstances when he was fatally shot by a motel manager who alleged that he had attacked her on Dec 11, 1964.

11. Dorothy Dandridge, 42

Black Actresses Who Made History


Dandridge was a performer from a young age alongside her sister as part of a child act, The Wonder Children (later, The Dandridge Sisters). She sang at small venues on what was then known as the ‘chit’lin circuit.’ As an adult, Dandridge added acting to her talent repertoire and became the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for her role in the movie Carmen Jones. She continued to act and sing until her death from either an accidental drug overdose or an embolism on Sept. 8, 1965.

12. Marvin Gaye, 44

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


A Motown legend, Gaye racked up an impressive musical catalog of timeless records that ranged from political commentary to love ballads. He fought drug addiction and depression throughout his life. His personal demons came to a head when he and his father got into an altercation on April 1, 1984, that led to the singer’s death from a fatal gunshot wound. Gaye died just one day shy of his 45th birthday.

13. Billie Holiday, 44

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


Born Eleanor Fagan, Holiday was a celebrated jazz singer who shifted the musical landscape of her genre in the 1940s and earned critical acclaim as a result. However, her long-term drug and alcohol addictions caught up with her and her health began to fail in her later years. On May 31, 1959, Holiday was checked into the hospital due to complications from liver and heart disease. She passed away on July 17, 1959.

14. Nat King Cole, 45

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


An accomplished jazz pianist with a smooth baritone voice, Cole made history as the first African American to host a TV variety show, The Nat King Cole Show. Still, it was his music accented by a warm personality and melodic voice that resonated most with his fans. The avid cigarette smoker died from lung cancer on Feb. 15, 1965.

15. Frankie Lymon, 25

Black Artists Who Died Too Young


His high-pitched notes were immediately recognizable. Lymon was the lead singer for the group The Teenagers, which had its heyday in the late ’50s and ’60s. One of the first black singing groups to have crossover appeal, The Teenagers had a blended sound of American rock and roll and soulful R&B. Lymon died from a heroin overdose on Feb. 27, 1968.

Editor’s Note: Originally published in 2011; updated March 2019 

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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Kamala Harris Addresses Criticism, Black Girl Magic, And More at Women of Power Summit

In a room packed with nearly 1,500 black women, Sen. Kamala Harris took the stage at the 2019 Women of Power Summit, opening up about her multicultural upbringing, run for president, and black girl magic during a fireside chat with media personality Star Jones. The Democratic senator walked out with a wide radiant smile and was greeted by a warm and excited audience as Shanice’s 1991 hit “I Love Your your Smile” befittingly played in the background.

Harris was one of several high profile speakers that headlined the BLACK ENTERPRISE Women of Power Summit, an annual three-day leadership conference designed for professional women of color. Others included Stacey Abrams, Valerie Jarret, Dallas Maverick CEO Cynt Marshall, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, and Chaka Khan, who was honored at the summit’s legacy awards gala.

During her session, which took place Friday morning at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Harris described herself as a “joyful warrior” and talked about her plan to reform the country should she win the White House next year. The underlying tone of her message was optimistic, yet realistic about the harsh realities the country faces. The two-term senator also kept it real about what it means to be a black woman.

Here are nine sistergirl moments Harris shared at the conference.

Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris and Star Jones at the Women of Power Summit (Black Enterprise)

An Ode To Howard University

Harris, who launched her presidential campaign on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, credited her success to two things: her family and education at Howard University.

“You’re in an environment that … tells you that you can be great and you will be given the resources and the expectation to achieve that, and the only thing standing in the way of your success will be you,” she said of her alma mater. “It teaches you as a young black woman or man that you don’t have to be limited by other people’s perceptions of who you are, that you come from great people, [and] stand on shoulders of those who came before us.”

The Power of Sisterhood

The California official talked about the support she gets as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and recently seeing so many of her sorors during her visit to Howard University last week. That prompted the sorors in the room to erupt with skee-wees and raise their pinkies high.

“There is great power that comes with the sisterhood,” said Harris. “The word support undervalues the significance of it, but it is the thing that keeps you going. I would not have been able to accomplish what I have in my career and in my life without my actual sister and my chosen sisters. There is no way I’d be where I am today.”

Defying Expectation

Like many black women, Harris has been underrated and her competence has been questioned. “There have been moments where throughout my career people underestimated my ability to get something done,” she said.

Harris, who became the first black woman to serve as Attorney General in California and the second black woman to be elected as a U.S. Senator, added that people have also doubted her ability to win an elected office. “I’ve had the setback of attempting to run for office that nobody thought that we could win and all that comes with that.”

However, she used negative perceptions of herself as a source of motivation. “Good, underestimate me. I can work with that,” she said with defiance.

“Kamala Was POPO”

When asked about the criticism she has received about her record as a prosecutor in California, Harris said, “it’s a matter of mischaracterizing the purpose and the goal and the role.”

The former Attorney General was also candid about the scrutiny she faced from her family when she first decided to become a prosecutor. “My family looked at me like I was crazy,” she admitted. “With some of them, I had to defend the decision like one would a thesis.”

Nevertheless, she says she purposely ran for the position so she could reform the system from the inside. “I said ‘there has to be a role for us in the inside of the room where the decisions are made.’” For example, she pointed to the reentry program she created in 2004 as a District Attorney to help young men arrested for drug sales. Through the initiative, first-time non-violent offenders could have their records cleared if they obtained a GED, steady employment, took parenting classes, and passed drug tests.

Despite her intentions, Harris says she expects people to continue to slam her record. “People are going to say, ‘Kamala was popo,’” she laughed. “Somebody gotta be popo because there are some victims, and we do need to advocate for the victims,” added Jones — a former prosecutor, herself.

Being Misunderstood as a Black Woman

Harris knows firsthand how it feels to be misunderstood. A lot needs to be done so the world can understand “who black women are and understand the breadth and depth of who we are,” she said. She added, “there are so many who are unclear about it because they have not chosen to inform themselves.” However, to overcome the stigmas and stereotypes attached to black womanhood, Harris encouraged black women to not let other people’s expectation define them.

Black Girl Magic

When asked when she first recognized her own ‘Black Girl Magic,’ Harris said she feels it most when it’s reflected in other black women around her.

“When I see you, I feel it,” Harris told Jones. “When we see it in each other, I think that that’s when we see it. It’s not about one as an individual; it’s about us as a collective.”

Jones followed up asking Harris who would she use her ‘Black Girl Magic’ to make disappear. After a long pause, Harris finally answered, saying she would use it to eradicate poverty.

‘Isms’ Are Real

Black women know best the impact that “isms” have on disenfranchised communities. They are a constant and dreadful reminder of the systemic obstacles they face every single day. However, for far too long, society has tried to hide and downplay these institutionalized barriers.

“If Charlottesville didn’t make it clear, if the Tree of Life Synagogue [massacre] didn’t make it clear, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, [and] tra