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 (Facebook.com/dene.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 (Twitter.com/SybrinaFulton)

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 (Twitter.com/GwenCarrEric)

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 (Twitter.com/TiffanyCrutcher)

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 (Facebook.com/geneva.reedveal.3)

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.

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A professor and his students turned an observatory into a giant R2-D2, and it’s amazing

r2-d2 observatory

People who study science day in and day out usually have some fondness for science fiction, and Professor Hubert Zitt is no exception. Zitt, who lectures at Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern, happens to be a huge fan of Star Trek and Star Wars, and when he looked at the Zweibrücken Observatory he clearly saw what it resembled.

The dull, grey observatory served an important purpose for scientists, but it was also a bit drab looking. So, with the help of painter Klaus Ruffing and some of Zitt’s own students, the tall dome got an extreme makeover and now it sports some serious Star Wars flair.

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A professor and his students turned an observatory into a giant R2-D2, and it’s amazing originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 31 Mar 2019 at 15:56:24 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Moore From L.A.: How Hollywood Turned the Apple Stage Into a Red Carpet

There was no actual red carpet, no flashbulb clicking press line. But Hollywood made its style known in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday, when Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and more took the stage to tout Apple’s new content strategy and streaming TV offerings.
Although Apple doesn’t have a specific dress code for its office or events, its late cofounder Steve Jobs is still the archetype of Silicon Valley fashion; his uniform of black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers still permeating the keynote stages of tech power nearly eight years after his death.
What was interesting on Monday was to see how Hollywood challenged that carefully dressed-down image, both on the Apple presentation stage and at the party the night before that had stars capturing candid snapshots and chatty social media posts that invited the public into the notoriously private, Norman Foster-designed Apple campus.
“In association with the misfits, rebels and troublemakers,” the opening film credits teased in the Steve Jobs Theater, setting the stage for the storytellers from down South who Apple is counting on to transform its hardware-based business model and help take it into a content-driven future.
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook wore his 2019 version of Jobs’ tech uniform: gray jeans,

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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.

[WATCH: THE TRAP MUSIC MUSEUM]


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.

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How Mister Rogers’ Life of Quiet Grace Turned Him Into an Unlikely Pop Culture Hero 16 Years After His Death

'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred RogersFred Rogers isn’t your typical pop culture icon.
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Beauty Entrepreneur turned $100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video]

Model and beauty entrepreneur Tatiana Elizabeth Price created skinBUTTR out of the comfort of her home. Coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t the only person dealing with skin issues, she leaped into action and turned her passion into a business. After investing $ 100 into a Shopify account, she created a product, posted it on the site, and started generating revenue. The skincare line has now grown to include multiple products that consist of toners, facial masks, cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers.

“I started skinBUTTR about four years ago,” said Price. “I figured these products might help other people as well, so I went to school for esthetics and I figured how I could make my products appeal to more people than just myself.”

SkinButtr

(Image: skinBUTTR)

What was once a hobby quickly became a fully-fledged business for the young entrepreneur. She now balances her business with her modeling career—she is currently signed to State Management—and her day-to-day activities as a beauty influencer.

“As easy as it looks, it’s not that simple being an influencer,” said Price. “You have to conform to deadlines, make sure that your content is consistent, and make sure that your audience is actually relating to your content, all while making sure that you are staying true to who you are.”

Watch the full episode of Price’s inspiring journey and witness what one of her days consists of as she takes over the MGM properties with three other notable influencers: food stylist and blogger Megan Hysaw; model and actor Keith Carlos; and model, rapper, and actor Don Benjamin.

 


The Takeover is a web series that gives you a bird’s eye view into the life of four influencers and the BLACK ENTERPRISE team as they take over the MGM properties exploring all the amazing attractions that the resort has to offer. This series is powered by MGM Resorts. 

The post Beauty Entrepreneur turned $ 100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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North Carolina man’s runny nose turned out to be a brain fluid leak

brain fluid leak

A runny nose is usually a sign that you have a cold coming on, but for one North Carolina man, that cold never actually arrived. His sniffles persisted for over a year, with doctors diagnosing him with a variety of possible ailments. As it turned out, none of the suggested causes were actually correct.

With such long-running symptoms, the man, Greg Phillpotts, assumed he had developed some unusually severe allergies. During the days, his nose would run, and at night, he developed a nasty cough due to what he thought was mucus running down this throat. After a visit to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, he learned that it wasn’t snot at all, but brain fluid leaking out of his skull.

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North Carolina man’s runny nose turned out to be a brain fluid leak originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 16 Nov 2018 at 23:07:20 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Beauty Entrepreneur turned $100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video]

Model and beauty entrepreneur Tatiana Elizabeth Price created skinBUTTR out of the comfort of her home. Coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t the only person dealing with skin issues, she leaped into action and turned her passion into a business. After investing $ 100 into a Shopify account, she created a product, posted it on the site, and started generating revenue. The skincare line has now grown to include multiple products that consist of toners, facial masks, cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers.

“I started skinBUTTR about four years ago,” said Price. “I figured these products might help other people as well, so I went to school for esthetics and I figured how I could make my products appeal to more people than just myself.”

SkinButtr

(Image: skinBUTTR)

What was once a hobby quickly became a fully-fledged business for the young entrepreneur. She now balances her business with her modeling career—she is currently signed to State Management—and her day-to-day activities as a beauty influencer.

“As easy as it looks, it’s not that simple being an influencer,” said Price. “You have to conform to deadlines, make sure that your content is consistent, and make sure that your audience is actually relating to your content, all while making sure that you are staying true to who you are.”

Watch the full episode of Price’s inspiring journey and witness what one of her days consists of as she takes over the MGM properties with three other notable influencers: food stylist and blogger Megan Hysaw; model and actor Keith Carlos; and model, rapper, and actor Don Benjamin.

 


The Takeover is a web series that gives you a bird’s eye view into the life of four influencers and the BLACK ENTERPRISE team as they take over the MGM properties exploring all the amazing attractions that the resort has to offer. This series is powered by MGM Resorts. 

The post Beauty Entrepreneur turned $ 100 into a Fully-Fledged Business [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Burger King’s new green bun Halloween sandwich follows black bun special that turned poop green

This Burger King bun may be the stuff of nightmares for more than one reason.

The fast food giant is launching a green-bun sandwich for Halloween that the company claims has been scientifically proven to cause nightmares. Hopefully the forest-hued bread won’t also haunt customers the way Burger…

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