Importing African Art to Cultivate Black-Affirming Aesthetics

18 mins read

Tanaiia Hall is the co-founder of B1 Art Imports, a Black-owned business that imports high-quality African art from multiple countries on the Continent.

In this interview, she discusses her passion for showcasing the beauty of the African diaspora through art, her commitment to sourcing authentic and unique pieces, and the significance of Black-affirming aesthetics.

African Art
Tanaiia Hall

How did your love for art and the African diaspora inspire you to create B1 Art?

Growing up, my mother’s diverse creative interests, including sewing, clay sculpting, modeling, hairstyling, and cooking, nurtured my talent and deepened my passion for the arts.

In 2021, I made a decision to dive into the world of art collecting, with a focus on Black art. As fate would have it, my partner and I met a Black art collector who was interested in adding more African art to his collection and we collectively thought about where, of all the countries we had visited, we might focus our efforts on importing art.

The essence of the African diaspora, its vibrant colors, powerful imagery, and universal energy, resonates with people from all walks of life. Personally, having traveled across North America, Africa, and various diasporic communities, I’ve encountered individuals who resemble me. These experiences deepened my sense of connection but also taught me that not everyone shares the same perspective. My appreciation for my Black heritage began at home and has grown as I delve into our history and accomplishments.

Both sides of my family were part of the “Great Migration,” relocating from the South to the North and West. Reflecting on their resilience in establishing successful businesses from scratch in Los Angeles County and West Oakland fills me with immense pride. It reinforces my respect for all Black individuals who have overcome the legacy of slavery and displacement.

I’ve observed commonalities in our hair, food, music, and expressions across different Black communities, fostering a sense of connection and shared understanding. As I’ve matured, I’ve become even more committed to prioritizing “us” in how I shape my life, do business, and spend my money. Contributing to the wealth of fellow Black individuals brings me immeasurable joy.

What is the significance of having Black-affirming aesthetics in the home?

To me, having Black-affirming aesthetics in the home is a must, if you are Black. I suspect that some people are on autopilot and don’t realize how certain things in their homes may be draining their energy and that is easy to do. 

There are so many things that decorated the collective family houses that I fondly remember from my childhood that I associate with “being Black”. When talking to others and comparing notes about the décor they had growing up that we also had feels comforting for some reason.  These things were probably not made by black people and were not worth much but by virtue of being in a lot of Black homes, they became part of the shared experience. 

Recently,  I saw on a program on YouTube, the host said that he sits in the dark in an all-Black room to recharge his energy and that was profound to me.  From being suspended in the dark in utero to sleeping in the dark at night, all Black has always been supportive of our well-being.  After hearing that and seeing some home décor shows featuring Black people with themes of Black-affirming aesthetics, I set an intention to make sure that my space was not by accident and that it was a celebration of and invitation to my ancestors. 

Life can be emotionally challenging outside of your doors so, I am a firm believer in your home being a sanctuary, safe and comfortable.  I saw a documentary about a Black art collector whose home is basically a gallery of Black art. He said that every Black person should own a piece of Black art.  I did not think about that before but, when he said that, I agreed with it. There are a lot of people who have homes that depict images of and things made by others and of people who hate them yet, they are confused about why the energy in their home is “challenging” and unsupportive. 

Whether you make it yourself, buy Black art from Etsy or Ross, or own a Bisa Butler or Ernie Barnes, we have to be conscious of how much of ourselves may not be in what we purchase to style our home and why depictions of our highest selves, ancestors and cultural memories and traditions must be splashed throughout the place that we rest and are the most vulnerable and creative.

What do you look for in a piece of art when deciding whether to acquire it for B1 Art?

Many items I see when traveling and in touristy areas seem mass-produced, lack uniqueness, and, potentially, are not even made in that country.  On the last trips I went on, without the idea of purchasing art to sell in mind, I could not find art that I thought depicted the beauty and artistry of the people in that country.  

If I can see the person creating it in front of me, whether painting or carving the wood, the better.  Everyone’s eye is different but when something makes me gasp or makes me stop to look at it and touch it, we are on the right track.  If I walk away but can’t get it out of my mind, it’s the one.  Fun fact: I left a huge, canvas painting in Cuba that was one of the only pieces of art that I saw that I wanted and I regret it every time I think about it. 

I want to see something unique about it even if you have other vendors selling something that is very similar.  What is eye-catching about the way that this person’s hands interpreted what a man on a horse should look and feel like?  Weight, texture, and unique detail all come together to leave an impression.  What I see being imported and sold locally tends to look like pieces from the same countries from vendor to vendor. 

That is understandable as the most accessible items that require the lowest overhead are typically what people become accustomed to but for B1, we do not feel limited to only get those items that can fit in a suitcase or that people may already be familiar with.  I like to find things that will create a “one of a kind” experience for the buyer.  

How do you choose the artists and artworks that you feature in your collection?

Our first pieces and most of the art come from Sierra Leone.  I have not been there yet but, my partner has spent a lot of time there and was in the process of building a home and staying there so, he already knew the beauty of the art there and the people who would become part of our fabulous team. 

We work with artists whose work embodies that “Je ne se quoi” craftsmanship that reminds me of the sturdiness, comfort, and authenticity of my nostalgic black experience growing up even if the details of the art pieces themselves were very different.  Most importantly, their art shows their familiarity, love, and the complexity of whatever they are depicting.  Creating art is a spiritual experience for any artists that I have spoken with or observed whose art I also appreciate. 

I think that energy and connection is what calls me.  We have bold statement pieces, anywhere from items that could practically be used as a load-bearing wall in your house to subtle pieces that you can stare at for hours but not realize you are doing it.  Once again, I choose pieces that I can’t take my eyes off of and that I also have probably never laid my eyes on before. 

We also now work with artists in Guinea and Nigeria.  The wooden statues from Guinea are similar to the ones in Sierra Leone but a collector will easily see the differences in their approaches, use of wood, and the ways their takes on what they are recreating subtly differ.  I had not seen a Nigerian bronze piece prior to buying our first pieces.  The craftsmanship is stunning and, although they may be a dime a dozen in Nigeria, I was today years old when I first laid eyes on one in person amid all of my travels.  

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own art collection?

I think that it depends on what the goal is and from my experience there usually is not a “goal” you just start buying what you like or don’t buy anything because you think that there is a “right way” to do it.  If you don’t know your style then search for Black art images on Pinterest, Etsy, and Google “Black art galleries”. As you look for those things, more of them will show up in your feed. 

I love seeing homes that are decorated in Black, African diasporic aesthetic in other publications and now there are so many YouTube shows popping up featuring people with homes decorated in this way.  I studied fashion design once upon a time and one of the many things I learned was to scour the internet (and magazines) for inspiration for designs so, there is no need to try to recreate the wheel and to think that you have to conceive of your own theme and taste without feeling like it has to make sense to others or follow a prescribed script.

It is worth considering at the beginning of your journey whether you want to collect art just based on what you like and what fits your space and/or if you want to collect art that you like but that you also consider as an investment.  In other words, do you want to target pieces that you think you could sell for more than you paid for it at some point in time in the future or pass on to your loved ones in an estate plan to increase their net worth? I think that those are two different lanes and approaches, but they can and typically do coexist. I bought what I liked prior to 2021 and now, I also collect with the intention of them being investments and a way to generate and maintain generational wealth while also enjoying it now. 

Therefore, I am mindful of wanting pieces that are unique and beautiful to me and that I want to be passed down for many generations to come but that also may be sold, if necessary or as a strategic financial move.  At the end of the day, I think that it should “call” you.  If you walk away from it or leave it in your Etsy shopping cart but can’t get it out of your mind, that might be a piece that you need in your collection.  If you have a home with a minimalistic aesthetic or maximalist, I am certain that we have a piece that would fit.  

Also, your tastes can evolve as you grow.  Be prepared for and create space for things that worked in one space or when you were at a certain place in life to no longer fit in a new space or with evolved tastes.  That does not have to be a tragedy or disappointment but, instead, can be an opportunity to have an art swap, sale or to have seasonal rotations and to have some things in time out for a while as you bring in other items.

What can we expect to see from B1 Art in the future? 

As I mentioned we just received our first shipment of bronze sculptures from Benin, Nigeria so, we will be beefing up the inventory for that collection.

We are working out a deal with the artist to be able to provide steady business for him and to assemble a team there so that we can continue to practice cooperative economics with the many local business owners from our buyer/operations manager to the artist to the crate builder, transporter, lumber sellers, national authenticity certifier, shipping agent contractor that we work with to make sure we deliver pieces to our customers and that the pipeline of people involved in the process continues to benefit.

We have also been seeing art pieces for sale and in people’s collections that are in bad shape.  We have been tempted to get into the search and rescue business by acquiring those pieces and restoring them to their glory. So, you may see some select pieces acquired from other people’s collections and not the artist directly, in the future.

by Tony O. Lawson

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The Triple A Act: Diverse Fund Managers’ Opportunity to Add Trillions to GDP

11 mins read

The American Asset Allocator (Triple A) Act is an innovative piece of legislation aimed at transforming the financial sector by addressing the absence of diversity among key decision-makers in American capital allocation.

Byron Wilson, the visionary behind this groundbreaking act, has put forward this transformative proposal to ensure that capital opportunities reflect the diverse fabric of the nation.

In this interview, he discusses the driving forces and goals behind the Triple A Act, the strategies for promoting equitable distribution of assets, and the potentially far-reaching effects on cultivating diversity and inclusion in the financial industry and beyond.

triple a act
Byron Wilson


What motivated you to propose the American Asset Allocator Act?

There are $82 trillion in assets under management across private equity, venture capital, and so forth. Women and people of color gatekeep 1.4% of said capital. The American Asset Allocator Act, “The Triple A Act”, will make sure that the gatekeepers to American capital will look like all Americans. 

Whenever I went to interviews within the financial services sector, I seldom saw mirrors on myself who were gatekeepers. The gatekeepers were overwhelmingly white men. I then concluded that there is a supply and demand imbalance. After all, minority enrolment at US universities is 43.4%. Women earn more degrees than men. The supply side of talent comes from universities, but this is not reflected in the workplace as one moves up the economic pyramid. I then began to ask, why? Is this by design? The answer is yes. 

As time went on, I began to realize that many problems manifest themselves as healthcare problems, education problems or prison industrial complex problems, etc. But these are just symptoms of problems. They are not the root causes of problems. By way of example, Professor James Foreman at Yale pointed out that not too long ago a mill that employed many people just outside Atlanta was closed and the jobs were shipped overseas.

Within a few weeks, an extension to the local prison was built. The root cause of people being incarcerated is access to capital. Capital outflows and crime inflows. The biggest predictor as to what a child will score on the SAT is what his parents earn. Again, this goes to access to capital. Many policymakers and so forth are quick to focus on the symptoms of problems. In so doing, this has not solved many problems. The Triple A Act deals with the root causes of problems. This is what motivated me to propose the Triple A Act.

What are the key objectives that you hope to achieve through this legislation?

The Triple A Act aims to increase the representation of people of color and women in listed companies, privately owned companies, and small medium enterprises, aligning their ownership with the demographics of the United States. By diversifying the gatekeepers to capital, the act intends to ensure that those who control access to financial resources reflect the country’s population. Additionally, the Triple A Act seeks to generate 20 million jobs and contribute over $5 trillion to the GDP.

These figures may appear optimistic, but it’s important to note that according to Citigroup, racism has cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion over the past two decades.

Furthermore, the act addresses valuation bias, as highlighted by a Case Western study, which demonstrates that company valuations, all else being equal, vary based on race and gender. This bias can have significant implications, with higher-valued companies having greater resources to hire employees and offer competitive wages. Moreover, the owners of these higher-valued companies are more likely to have a higher net worth.

Lastly, the Triple A Act aims to increase the circulation of the black dollar from its current level of one round to approximately 20 rounds.

What measures are in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Triple A Act on the allocation of assets to minority and majority asset management firms?

Some of the impacts of the Triple A Act would be the significant increase in minority-owned listed companies. This would mean that company ownership of the S&P500 and so forth will mirror, to a large degree, the diversity in the US. Also, this legislation is expected to add $5 trillion to GDP. It is also expected to create 20 million jobs and so forth.

One way to evaluate the impact is to have a before and after picture of the Triple A Act and hold constant other intervening variables that may impact job creation, company listing, etc to pinpoint the impact of the Triple A Act over time. Over time, we could see the amount of added GDP due to the Triple A Act.

Looking ahead, what do you hope to achieve through this legislation in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion within the financial industry, and what steps do you believe will be necessary to sustain progress in this area?

The primary effects are job creation, diversity of listed companies, diversity of privately held large-sized companies, diversity of mid-sized companies, and small medium enterprises.

The secondary impacts may include the shrinking of the prison industrial complex. As I mentioned earlier, there is a correlation between excess to capital and crime. The Triple A Act may also impact test scores, healthcare outcomes, etc because when we sort out excess to capital, these other socio-economic indicators will move in a positive direction. 

The Triple A Act will diversify the gatekeepers to capital. When we diversify the gatekeepers to capital, we will diversify the recipients of capital. 

Another one of the concomitant consequences is that it will promote diversity not just within financial services, but within other industries too. Just imagine that a Black woman founded Airbnb which at one point was worth circa $ 100 billion. Airbnb will require a lot of service providers especially when it acquires other businesses.

It will require law firms to provide legal due diligence for said transaction; it will require an investment bank to execute the transaction; it will require an accounting firm such as PwC to provide accounting due diligence and it may require a consulting firm such as McKinsey to provide strategic due diligence. This female CEO of Airbnb can turn to all her service providers and demand that they have more diversity at the associate, VP, and partner levels. These firms will respond because fees charged to Airbnb feed into these service providers’ revenues. 

One of the reasons that I chose the legislative route is because laws stay laws regards of sentiment. When George Floyd was killed many people were upset, but the racial wealth gap has widened since his death. Many of the corporate promises that were made have not been fulfilled with regard to access to capital. Our rights as citizens should not be contingent on the whims of other citizens because this puts one set of citizens at the mercy of another set of citizens. The law is what we need to focus on because the law could stay in place for decades if not centuries. Attitudes tend to change in much shorter time span. 

We need to be desperately organized to take advantage of these opportunities when they come. We have to be alive to the notion that there are many who would work to steadfastly undermine the Triple A Act once it is passed. They will point to corruption at a minority asset management firm to suggest that this is why “these people” should not have access to capital. So, we need to remain vigilant. 

Martin Luther King once said that the “economic problem is probably the most serious problem confronting the negro community.” Thus, the Triple A Act will redress economic problems within the black community as well as other communities. Economic power supplants political power. There are many people who seem not to understand what Martin Luther King was talking about when he talked about power.

So, I will end with his quote on power. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

by Tony O. Lawson

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Delta Sigma Theta Businesses You Should Know About

9 mins read

On April 11, 2021, the Southern Africa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was chartered by 18 dynamic, global visionaries becoming the first alumnae chapter of DST to be chartered in the southern region on the continent of Africa!

Since that time, the chapter has been spearheading many initiatives that not only further the ideals and five thrusts of our organization but also further positively impact the 22 countries in Southern Africa that we serve.

Under the leadership of our chapter president, Soror Sherida Stevens, SAAC services 17 countries including South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Comoros, Mozambique, Malawi, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Mauritius, and Madagascar.

BTW, shout out to the West Africa Alumnae Chapter who chartered less than a week after SAAC!

Delta Sigma Theta
Southern Africa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Given SHOPPE BLACK’s commitment to supporting Black entrepreneurship globally, it was a no-brainer when our chapter’s 1st VP, Soror La Chenna Cromer reached out about a potential collab with Southern Africa Alumnae. Of course, we said YES!

While we received hundreds of responses to our call to action, we’ve narrowed this list down to a handful of soror-owned businesses in the Eastern Region. No worries if you didn’t make the cut, many more of these profiles, features, and initiatives are to come, not only for our sorors who own businesses but also for entrepreneurs representing other members of the Divine 9, globally.

Want to learn more about the amazing work that the Southern Africa Alumnae chapter of DST is doing on the African continent? Follow us on IG: @dstsouthernafrica.

Let the dollar circulate, especially if it’s giving crimson and cream. Oo-Ooopppppp!


Shantrelle, Co-Founder, SHOPPE BLACK


And proud member of SAAC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated




Luxurius Wellniss 

Delta Sigma Theta

Founded by Soror Felicia Stokes, Luxurious Wellniss is a mission-driven wellness company that serves women and men of color whose needs have not been prioritized in the wellness sector. They promote and sell beauty and wellness brands primarily created for and by women and people of color. In addition to buying their products online, you can book a facial at their brick-and-mortar Skin Lab located in Orange, New Jersey.


Busy & Baked

Soror Kassandra Scales, baking is a love language. However, like many of us with a million and one responsibilities, time is a luxury that she prefers to spend doing things that she loves. That’s why she founded BUSY & BAKED, a virtual culinary class that teaches you the art of baking. One of the best aspects of her yummy company is that you can sign up for a class with family, sorors, or friends!

Crescendo Foods

Delta Sigma Theta

The first of its kind in Ghana, Crescendo Foods is a shared food-focused coworking space. We provide valuable mentorship to food businesses, flexible access to a commercial kitchen and event space celebrating food culture.
Offering high quality equipment in a commercial kitchen space, technical assistance, co-working space, and community under one roof. Founded by Soror/Dr. Wanida Lewis, an ex-pat who is now based in Accra, Ghana.


Global Glam Kapemono

Soror Kerry Scott is the originator behind Global Glam’s signature Kapemono – the combination of vibrant African-printed cape and kimono garments. The reversible kapemonos can be worn for a variety of occasions, adding a bit of culture and pizzazz to any wardrobe.

Aurora Tights

It’s no secret that the clothing industry has notoriously not been colorblind when it comes to nude apparel. This is especially disappointing for moms with daughters in dance school. Inspired by the Aurora Lights, that’s why Soror Imani Rickerby and her co-founders, Jasmine Snead and Sydney Parker founded Aurora Tights to meet the needs of melanated athletes and dancers. Each with their own story to tell, moms and kids don’t have to search anymore for apparel that makes them feel SEEN.


The Sitota Collection

Brooklyn-born, South Africa-based Soror Yvette D. Gayle wears many hats. In addition to her recognition as a global media maven, and co-owning one of the largest creative agencies in Africa that she founded with her husband, in addition to serving as one of SAAC’s 19 charter members, she still finds time to make small batch, hand made luxury soaps and candles.

Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

Soror and Mamapreneur Celena Gill taught her three sons valuable and lucrative skills to earn extra money for toys and video games. Their allowance turned salaries led to the founding of Freres Branchiaux Candle Co. Her sons Collin, Ryan, and Austin have been providing aromatherapy in interior spaces everywhere. You can shop by fragrance or mood!

Grayspace Interiors

Grayspace Interiors is an award-winning residential and commercial interior design firm based in Philadelphia, PA. Founded by Soror Rasheeda Gray, Grayspace has completed over 100+ residential and commercial interior design projects. While Grayspace is East Coast based, they offer virtual design services for clients in other regions as well.


Scuba Center & Outdoor Rec

Soror Beverly Lyles (hey prophyte…Alpha Chapter SP 1977) founded Scuba Center & Outdoor Rec center with her husband Fred Lyles, Sr. Fueled by his passion for diving, and with over 50+ years of scuba experience, their business does more than provide training and certifications in diving, you can also join them for one of many international diving excursions and buy their wet suit apparel and equipment.



Like many of us, I’ve increasingly understood the importance of self-care as an act of resistance and the importance of healing not only for ourselves but within our families and bloodlines. After directing and producing IN OUR MOTHERS’ GARDENS (you can watch it on Netflix thanks to Ava DuVernay and ARRAY), I further understood the importance of helping our community to heal generational wounds by deeply connecting with our ancestors and sacred cultural heritage.

To that end, I founded the ATRS BOOK CLUB and will be opening BEAUCOUP HOODOO bookstore and botanica this Summer! For the past few years, BEAUCOUP HOODOO has served as a safe, multi-generational community where Black folks can learn more about African sacred traditions.

Our work has been committed to demystifying African spirituality and celebrating the cosmology, history and aesthetics of African Traditional Religions across the Diaspora. Sign up for one of our ATRS 101 courses today!

MAIN PHOTO CREDIT: Soror Jacklyn Noiel featuring Soror-owned brand ICON

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Fake Drake: Exploring the Legal Risks of Using AI to Create Music

8 mins read

Every day, we are discovering the mind-blowing power of creating content using artificial intelligence (AI). Though exciting to many, there are risks associated with what we create and how we go about doing so using this groundbreaking technology. It is well-known that the law has often lagged behind the development of technology.

In many instances, we have to look to laws drafted decades before much of the technology we use today was created. Thus, the use of AI has spawned many unprecedented legal questions that we just don’t have clear answers to right now.

For example, last week, a creator by the name of Ghostwriter977 (Ghostwriter), set the internet ablaze when they released an allegedly AI-generated song entitled, “Heart on my Sleeve.” The song features vocals that sounded extremely similar to that of Toronto-born superstars, Drake and The Weeknd.

The song was released on many major streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, and TikTok. The song reached over 15 million plays before it was taken down in response to complaints from the artists’ publishing company, Universal Music Group (UMG). 


UMG argued the song was in violation of copyright law, however, it is unclear if this is actually true. Copyright ownership allows you the exclusive right to use and profit from creative works such as art, books, and music.

The United States Copyright Office only allows a copyright to attach to a creative work if there is human authorship. In this case, there is an argument that the content was generated by artificial intelligence, not by a human.

However, the question remains whether a compilation of the artists’ music was used to generate the sound-alike voices in the song, which may allow copyright ownership to attach.

Additionally, though the end product, the song recording itself, may have been generated by artificial intelligence, it was still prompted and potentially written by a human. And in that case, the lyrics of the song themselves, if originally developed by Ghostwriter, may actually belong to them.

There are some defenses to copyright infringement, such as fair use, which permits the unauthorized use of copyrighted material for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, education, scholarship, or research. Ultimately, copyright issues of this novel nature are very subjective and would be determined in court. 

Name, Image, and Likeness 

The argument could be made that Ghostwriter violated the right of publicity of Drake and The Weeknd by creating a song featuring voices that sound like theirs without their permission. The right of publicity grants you a right to profit from your name, image, and likeness, including your voice.

However, there is a clear distinction between using a person’s actual voice versus a voice that only sounds like the person’s voice. The First Amendment allows one to imitate the sound of another even when they specifically intend to do so – think cover artists.

However, there may be an exception to this rule when the imitation is connected with the intent to sell a product. See Midler v. Ford, 849 F.2d 460, 463 (9th Cir. 1988).

If so, there may be a showing of a violation of a right of that person’s publicity. In Midler, the Ford Motor Company used a Bette Midler sound-alike to sing one of her songs to sell cars. In the case of “Heart on my Sleeve,” it is not clear if anything was actually sold in connection with the song.

We’d also have to know how much the Ghostwriter tried to connect the song to Drake and The Weeknd and whether Ghostwriter received or attempted to receive any compensation in exchange for the song via the streaming platforms. Without more information, it is difficult to say there is a publicity right violation in this instance. 

Consumer Protection 

Although a less sexy topic, “Heart on my Sleeve” may also violate consumer protection laws. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state governments enforce laws that protect the public from deceptive or unfair business practices.

One may argue that the Ghostwriter used deceptive or unfair business practices to stream and popularize a song that misled consumers by using vocals that mimic Drake and The Weeknd.

We would likely have to determine the lengths the Ghostwriter took to connect the song to the artists; like if the artists were listed in the credits and if their imagery was used in the cover art on streaming platforms. The developer of the underlying AI technology that facilitated the creation of the song could also be liable under consumer protection laws.

The FTC may come after you if you make, sell, or use a tool that is effectively designed to deceive – even if that’s not its intended or sole purpose. The FTC warns developers of AI technology to consider how their products could be used to deceive consumers and mitigate the risks where possible.

However, this may be a stretch since it does not appear that consumers were actually led to consume anything other than listening and sharing the song.

As you can see, the law is not very clear when it comes to the issue of using AI-generated content that mimics a real person. These types of analyses are extremely fact-specific and require a full investigation to determine what laws are implicated, what types of damages should be attached, and ultimately who should be held liable.

There have been many lawsuits filed to address some of these unclear issues and we will be sure to update you when we have more answers. 

— Contributed by Ashley Cloud

Ashley Cloud is the founder of The Cloud Law Firm, servicing creative entrepreneurs in all 50 states. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok for more information.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Ashley N. Cloud and The Cloud Law Firm PLLC do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

10 Ways to Find and Buy a Business

6 mins read

If you’re looking to buy a business, there are many ways to go about it. From traditional methods like working with a broker or using online marketplaces to more creative approaches like networking and contacting owners directly, there are countless ways to find and purchase a business that suits your needs.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular and effective ways to buy a business.

1. Work with a Business Broker

One of the most traditional ways to buy a business is to work with a business broker. These professionals specialize in helping buyers find businesses that fit their needs, as well as assisting with negotiations and due diligence. Business brokers typically charge a commission based on the sale price of the business, so be sure to factor this into your budget.

2. Use Online Marketplaces

Another popular option for buying a business is to use online marketplaces such as BizBuySell,, or LoopNet. These websites allow you to search for businesses for sale in your area or industry, and often provide helpful information such as financials, photos, and contact information for the seller. Some marketplaces may also offer financing options or other resources to help you through the buying process.

3. Attend Industry Conferences and Networking Events

If you’re looking to buy a business in a specific industry, attending conferences and networking events can be a great way to connect with owners and learn about businesses that may be for sale. This approach requires more legwork and may take longer to yield results, but can be a valuable way to build relationships and find hidden gems that may not be listed on online marketplaces.

4. Contact Business Owners Directly

If you have a specific business in mind that you’d like to buy, consider reaching out to the owner directly. This approach can be effective if the business is not actively for sale, but the owner may be willing to consider an offer if presented with the right terms. Keep in mind that this approach may require more finesse and negotiation skills, as well as a willingness to build trust and rapport with the owner.

5. Consider Franchising

Franchising can be an attractive option for those looking to buy a business, as it provides a proven business model and support from the franchisor. Franchise opportunities are typically listed on the franchisor’s website or through brokers who specialize in franchising. Keep in mind that buying a franchise often requires a significant investment and ongoing fees, so be sure to thoroughly research and consider your options before making a decision.

6. Look for Distressed Businesses

Another option for buying a business is to look for distressed businesses that may be struggling financially or facing other challenges. These businesses may be available at a discount, but may also require significant effort to turn around. Distressed businesses can be found through brokers, online marketplaces, or by networking with industry insiders.

7. Consider a Partnership or Joint Venture

If you’re not ready to buy a business outright, consider a partnership or joint venture with an existing business owner. This approach allows you to share resources and risk, while also providing an opportunity to learn from an experienced business owner. Be sure to have a clear agreement in place to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

8. Use a Search Fund

A search fund is a type of investment fund that raises money from investors to search for and acquire a business. The fund is typically run by a team of entrepreneurs who have experience in the industry and are looking for a business to acquire. Investors receive a share of the profits when the business is sold or goes public. Search funds can be a good option for those who have a strong network and experience in a specific industry.

9. Consider Financing Options

Regardless of how you decide to buy a business, it’s important to consider financing options to fund the purchase. Traditional financing options such as SBA loans or bank loans may be available, as well as alternative financing options such as crowdfunding or seller financing. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider how the financing will impact your cash flow and overall financial stability.

10. Conduct Due Diligence

Once you’ve identified a business that you’re interested in buying, it’s important to conduct due diligence to ensure that the business is a good investment. This process typically involves reviewing financial records, legal documents, and other relevant information to assess the business’s health and potential risks. Working with a business broker or experienced advisor can be helpful in navigating this process and identifying potential issues.

There are many ways to buy a business, and the best approach will depend on your specific goals, industry, and resources. With careful planning and a strategic approach, buying a business can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey’s Rise to Success: Insights from Master Blender Victoria Eady Butler

8 mins read

Victoria Eady Butler, an award-winning whiskey master blender and the great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, is an instrumental figure behind Uncle Nearest, Inc., the fastest-growing whiskey brand in U.S. history.

Initially joining the team as the VP of Administration in March 2019, she was later appointed as the distillery’s Master Blender, combining her family legacy with her passion for blending.

Victoria Eady Butler

In this interview, she shares her career experiences and insights into the whiskey industry, including the success and growth of Uncle Nearest. She also touches on the industry’s evolving trends and challenges and gives a sneak peek into exciting new initiatives and products in the pipeline for the brand.

Victoria Eady Butler

What is it like to be a direct descendant of Nathan “Nearest” Green, and how has his legacy influenced your work with Uncle Nearest Whiskey?

It is the most rewarding experience imaginable. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and still in awe of the rich legacy that my great-great grandfather carved out; especially given that when he started distilling, he was not a free man. In spite of the challenges that surely came with being enslaved, Nearest Green was a creative man who crafted some of the best whiskey around.

I am extremely proud of my heritage and grateful to continue what he started. My work wouldn’t even be possible had it not been for my great-great-grandfather who laid the cornerstone for everything I do regarding blending. The whiskey is a byproduct of who we are. Nearest Green not only made whiskey, but made history.

Can you share any insights or lessons you’ve learned from your work as a master blender, and how this has influenced your perspective on the whiskey industry?

Coming into spirits, I knew very little about the industry, so I started reading and learning all I could from my team members, my whiskey family, and others in the industry. If the spirits industry is something you really have an interest in and a passion for, I think you just have to go for it.

Fawn Weaver didn’t know a thing about making whiskey. She was not in the industry prior to Uncle Nearest. She enjoyed a glass of whiskey, but she didn’t know anything about distilling, and look at where our brand is today. You have to be committed, dedicated, eager to learn, and put everything you hold dear into it. You’ve got to surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable, patient, and in my case, those who are very kind.

My team members embraced me knowing that I didn’t come from the spirits industry. They’ve shown me so much grace and patience. I have learned so much from them. The biggest thing is setting aside your fear of failure and going for it.

In 2022, Uncle Nearest achieved sales exceeding $100 million, and the company is projected to double its revenue by the end of 2023. What do you think has been the key factor in Uncle Nearest’s success and rapid growth over the past year?

Everything we do starts at the top with our CEO, Fawn Weaver. She is the most creative, strategic and innovative person I’ve ever worked alongside. Even with an accelerated pace, everything we have done has been well-planned. When it’s executed, it’s done with excellence or not at all.

What are some of your favorite whiskey cocktails or pairings, and why?

How I drink Uncle Nearest depends on the atmosphere. I love a neat pour while enjoying a good cigar. I also enjoy drinking a well-balanced Uncle Nearest cocktail with the company of family and friends. My favorite cocktail of late is a Classic Daiquiri made with Uncle Nearest 1884.

Can you share with us a memorable experience or achievement from your career in the whiskey industry that you are particularly proud of?

It was very exciting to go into the lab for the very first time and face 31 or 36 samples of whiskey for me to decide which ones would go into the blending process. It was very exciting then –– and it still is! The nerves are gone, but the excitement is there every time I blend.

Being named Master Blender of the Year four times over was also a tremendous honor. Every award, accolade, and honor we receive furthers Nearest Green’s legacy. We are grateful for each one.

How do you see the whiskey industry evolving in the coming years, and what do you think will be the biggest trends or challenges?

I think everyone in the industry should take note that more females are now drinking whiskey and bourbon. Our team has never targeted a particular demographic, but we have taken note of the upward tick in female consumers. I also hope to see more people of color in positions that are visible like master distiller, master blender- people in decision-making roles. I’d like to see more women in those positions as well. We’re already seeing a shift and it’s beautiful!

Can you tell us about any new products or initiatives that Uncle Nearest has in the works, and how you plan to build on your recent success?

There are several exciting things happening with the brand right now, including our CEO Fawn’s Thank You Tour. This year she is spending 4 months visiting our military bases thanking our troops for both their service and their unwavering support of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey.

We also just hosted the first Spirits on the Rise Summit, an event presented by the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative. It was a day and a half of emerging brands networking, learning, and presenting to top investors, bankers, distributors, and more. This is the first event of its kind, and we are really proud of the work our initiative continues to do.

Lastly, our Straight Rye is continuing to roll out throughout the United States, and I have really enjoyed adding that to my tastings when I go from city to city. The excitement around the rye is palpable, and we know it will help us continue to add to our long list of top awards.

by Tony O. Lawson

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Black Women in Food: Bringing Diversity to the Table

7 mins read

The Black Women in Food Initiative by Dine Diaspora is a movement that seeks to bring visibility and support to Black women in the food and beverage industry.

Co-Founded by Nina Duro, the initiative has gained traction in recent years, as more and more people recognize the importance of promoting equity and diversity in the culinary world.

In this interview, we caught up with Nina to learn more about her journey, and the impact of the Black Women in Food Initiative.

black women in food
Nina Duro

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in promoting African diaspora food culture?

My gateway to the food industry came out of my social impact work. As I worked on social development issues with people around the world, one thing was always clear – that food is a connector.  African diaspora food was always accessible to me, however, it wasn’t for many people around me, so I sought to focus on the cuisines that were central to my own journey and share that with others through working with chefs, entrepreneurs, and so many others at the forefront of shaping Black food stories globally.  

What inspired you to start Dine Diaspora, and what are the goals of the platform?

The inspiration to start Dine Diaspora started with one dinner.  The dinner centered the stories of a Black chef using food to lead attendees on an adventure and it was a hit.  After that, my co-founder and I were hooked. We began to create more opportunities that would enable more people to engage and learn about African diaspora food and culture. This has evolved over time as we broadened our services to impact different areas of the food system.  

Black Women in Food

How do you work with culinary creatives and brands to promote African diaspora food culture in new and existing markets?

I work with chefs, bloggers, and diverse food entrepreneurs across the food system on brand partnership opportunities and also produce events and experiences that enable them to advance their careers. From cookbook launches to social media campaigns, our team is able to collaborate with talented creatives from the African diaspora to tell fascinating stories of heritage, innovation, and culture through food. 

Our recent work on the Recipes for Peace campaign for the World Food Program USA used food as a mechanism for calling on diaspora groups to take action on hunger.  Projects like these keep me energized to use food to catalyze change in places where the conversation already exists or bring new ideas where it does not. 

Black Women in Food

Can you tell us about the Black Women in Food Awards?

The Black Women in Food Awards started as a way to celebrate the exceptional contributions of Black women in the global food system. Each year, we ask the public for nominations and have talented judges select winners who are announced in March during Women’s History Month.

Black Women in Food

This is the 6th year of the Awards with 186 total women honored since the inception of the awards. We invite winners to be part of a community to support one another in growing within their respective fields in the food industry.  

Black Women in Food

Can you tell us about the upcoming Black Women in Food Summit?

The inaugural  Black Women in Food Summit will gather Black women across the food industry along with other stakeholders that invest in their personal and professional growth.  This event will bring women chefs, caterers, farmers, activists, journalists, consumer packaged goods creators, non-profit professionals, and so many more across the different areas of the food industry together to connect and build relationships to strengthen their work and impact. It’s time to break the silos within the food and beverage industry and bring Black women together so that they can support one another to grow and contribute to a more equitable food system. 

Why do you think it’s important to specifically focus on supporting black women in the food and beverage industry?

Black women face racism and sexism in the food industry that affects their professional growth and well-being. While this is a reality, it must change and by focusing on Black women’s needs, we are providing opportunities for the women at the forefront of the work to thrive with each other’s support.  Through recognition, access to capital, and a strong network, we believe Black women will be able to advance their work and be seen, credited, and compensated fairly. 

What future plans do you have for Dine Diaspora and the Black Women in Food initiative?

Access to capital is a key issue we continue to hear from Black women in the food and beverage industry. It’s also the issue I am eagerly working to address. We are building a fund to support Black women-owned restaurants and consumer packaged goods creators. 

This year we will provide grants to these women through support from Uber Eats which will be announced in the summer.  In addition, we plan to start a platform where these women can regularly communicate and strengthen their connections virtually.  

by Tony O. Lawson



Saturday, April 22nd at 11:00am

Eaton DC – 1201 K Street Northwest Washington, DC


Daryl Carter on Building a $4 Billion Real Estate Investment Firm

1 min read

Daryl Carter is the founder and CEO of Avanath Capital Management, a real estate investment firm that specializes in acquiring multi-family apartment communities across the United States.

With almost $4 billion dollars worth of properties acquired in 15 states since its establishment in 2008, Avanath Capital Management is one of the largest Black owned real estate investment firms in the country and the largest Black owned affordable housing investment firm.

daryl carter
7 Dekalb (Brooklyn) 251 units | Acquired January 2023

Notable purchases include a high-rise in New York for $101 million, two properties in California for $132 million, and a recent acquisition in Chicago for $119 million, which is one of the largest deals in the city’s history.

daryl carter
Lincoln Park Plaza (Chicago) – 256 units | Acquired March 2023

In this interview, Daryl shares:

  • His thoughts on the current state of the affordable housing industry and future predictions.
  • His strategy for attracting institutional investors.
  • How affordable housing investors can position themselves for success in this economic climate.
  • Commercial real estate markets he is interested in.
  • Personal characteristics that entrepreneurs need to have.
  • The importance of including Black owned businesses in his ecosystem.

by Tony O. Lawson

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Couple Acquires Beloved Black Owned Restaurant in Philadelphia

3 mins read

A beloved Black owned restaurant in Philadelphia, Booker’s Restaurant & Bar, has been acquired by Tracey Syphax and his wife Cheri Syphax. The couple, who respectively hold the positions of CEO and COO at Phax Entertainment Group, LLC, now own the neighborhood bistro that was established in 2017.

“As a 28-year serial entrepreneur and entrepreneurial instructor, I recognize great models and Saba Tedla has built a great model of excellent service, great food in a warm and inviting atmosphere that has made Bookers a staple go-to restaurant in the heart of West Philly,” Tracey Syphax says. “Our purchase of Bookers now opens endless possibilities for this well-known corridor. We are excited to become a member of this thriving up-and-coming neighborhood.”

“Tracey and I are excited to take over a restaurant with such a great reputation and following,” Cheri Syphax says. “I have patronized Saba since Aksum, and it is a surreal, full circle moment to own an establishment that made my transition to Philly feel like home. We will keep the menu items our regulars have come to know and love, while listening to their needs and desires for something new. We will also create dishes and cocktails that will tickle and delight their palate and look forward to serving them with the same quality and excellence they have come to expect.”

Black Owned Restaurant in Philadelphia

The mission of Booker’s Restaurant & Bar is to provide an “excellent product with exemplary service,” and the spirit of excellence is rooted in its name, inspired by Booker Wright, an African American waiter in Greenwood, Mississippi, who owned his own “Blacks only” restaurant in the 1960s. Mr. Wright was a successful entrepreneur who spoke openly about racism, which ultimately led to his tragic demise. The legacy of Mr. Wright’s excellence, tenacity, authenticity, and perseverance lives on today at Booker’s Restaurant & Bar.

Tracey and Cheri Syphax’s entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond their business success to their love story. They first connected on a dating site, and soon discovered their mutual passion for entrepreneurship. As their relationship grew, they supported each other in both personal and business endeavors.

For their wedding celebration, the couple decided to host a brunch at the Akwaaba mansion, a Black owned Bed & Breakfast located in West Philly.

by Tony O. Lawson

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Black Founder Raised Six Figures on a Black-Owned Equity Crowdfunding Platform

2 mins read

Mitch Gilbert is the Co-founder & CEO of Oya, a femtech apparel brand that uses innovative fabrics and sweat absorption technology to provide performance wear engineered for feminine health and comfort. She has successfully raised $1.3 million to date for her Los Angeles-based company.

Notably, over $100,000 of that funding was raised on Seed at The Table, a Black-owned equity crowdfunding platform.

We caught up with Mitch to gain her insights on navigating the fundraising landscape as a Black founder.

In this interview, Mitch shares:

  • Her experience fundraising for her company.
  • What inspired her decision to raise capital on Seed At the Table.
  • How Seed At the Table supported her campaign beyond just providing a platform for fundraising.
  • Some of the biggest challenges she faced during the crowdfunding process, and how she overcame them.
  • The steps she took to prepare for her crowdfunding campaign.
  • Her advice for other founders who are considering equity crowdfunding as a way to raise capital.


True to its commitment to access, Seed is considering opening up an investment round to the community to allow investment participation in its growth journey. This is a unique opportunity that is typically only afforded to institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.

Click here to be considered for investment in Seed at the Table and support socially responsible business!


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