SHOPPE BLACK

20 Young African Influencers in the Diaspora

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It goes without saying but i’ll say it anyway – Continental African’s get our shine on wherever we go. In almost every industry, the bylines of the world’s emerging leaders are looking like a young continental African “Who’s Who”. Here’s a look at a group of young African influencers who deserve kudos and a slow clap for their accomplishments. We see you and we’re excited about what’s to come. It is never an easy process to become an influencer in any form. Social media influencers have become very popular in recent times and the goal of many young people. The secret could be that Social media influencers buy Instagram likes at Buzzoid.

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Young African Influencers in the Diaspora

Rahiel Tesfamariam is a native of Eritrea who was raised in Washington D.C. She is a social activist, public theologian, writer and international speaker. She is the brains behind #NotOneDime a nationwide economic boycott launched in the aftermath of the Ferguson non-indictment decision. Rahiel is also the founder and publisher of Urban Cusp, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness.

Young African Influencers

Chef Rougui Dia, “The African Queen of Parisian Cuisine” was born in Paris to Senegalese parents. While serving as Executive Chef at Le 144, a restaurant affiliated with Paris’ posh art deco venue and restaurant, Petrossian, Dia became one of the most respected female chefs in France. She later presided over the kitchen at Le Vraymonde, an upscale restaurant located in Paris’ Buddha-Bar Hotel.

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Abiola Oke left the Bronx as a youngster to attend high school in Nigeria. Coming back to the States to finish high school, he did a quick stint at Howard University. Needless to say, the Mecca left an undeniable Pan-africanist mark on his consciousness and would help to influence his future career. He graduated from City College and worked for a top corporate finance firm until leaving the industry to step into the role as CEO of OKAYAFRICA. OKAYAFRICA is a media company that presents African culture to the world in a unique way, while empowering progressive artists. Abiola’s goal is to provide a platform for African artists to express their art and share it in a way that is authentic and far-reaching.

Young African Influencers

Angelica Nwandu is a Sundance Screenwriter Fellow and the creator of The Shade Room, the first blog to publish directly to Instagram. She was recently named one of Forbes 30 under 30. Since its start in early 2014, The Shade Room has grown into a lucrative enterprise. The site currently has four million followers and reportedly pulls in hundreds of thousands of followers each month.

Young African Influencers

Adewale “Wally” Adeyemoa is a Nigerian-American who grew up in Southern California. In December 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him as his Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs. In a statement released by the White House, President Obama remarked, “I will be calling on Wally’s intellect, judgment and dedication as we sustain America’s global economic leadership, which reinforces our national security, and as we work with allies and partners around the world to create jobs and opportunity for all our people.”

Young African Influencers

Luvvie Ajayi was born in Nigeria and moved to the U.S. when she was nine. She is the creator of Awesomely Luvvie, a popular entertainment and humor blog that covers everything pop culture. Last year, she was named a 2015 Black Innovator by XFINITY Comcast. With over a decade of experience, you could say that she’s an O.G. in the blogging game. Her first book, titled, I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual, was released in September and quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

Young African Influencers

In January 2015, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Mamadou Samba to serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of African Affairs. Originally from Dakar, Mamadou is passionate about addressing the challenges faced by African immigrants in the District and nationwide. He has played a significant role in securing grants for African nonprofit organizations and highlighting issues impacting African-born residents in the United States.

Young African Influencers

Nina Oduro grew up in Ghana and moved to Virginia at the age of seven, She is the founder of AfricanDevJobs.com, an online platform that connects organizations and professionals who are focused on Africa’s growth and development. Her company offers employment opportunities and career advancement resources. Nina is also the co-founder of Dine Diaspora, a lifestyle and events company that creates dynamic experiences around food, culture, and heritage.

Young African Influencers

A native of Rwanda, Jackson Mvunganyi is a Radio host and new media reporter at Voice of America. In 2007 VOA’s launched a youth-oriented talk show, Upront Africa. It became the first cross continental radio show reaching millions of students and young professionals around Africa and beyond. His more than 17,000 Twitter followers include President Obama.

Young African Influencers

Zim Ugochukwu is the Founder & CEO of Travel Noire, a digital platform that has become one of the most popular resources for Black travelers. She was recently listed on Forbes 2016 ’30 Under 30’ list as of the brightest young entrepreneurs. Thanks to Zim, it is now obvious to those that didn’t know – Black people love to get their travel on!

Young African Influencers

Rediate Tekeste is a first generation Ethiopian-American and founder of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship (EDF). This Los Angeles-based fellowship program connects young Ethiopians in the diaspora with their home country and provides them with the opportunity to be part of the country’s development through practical work experience.

young african influencers

Samuel Bazawule, known by the stage name Blitz the Ambassador, is a Ghanaian-American hip-hop artist, composer, producer and visual artist based in Brooklyn. He was recently named TED Fellow, Blitz combines the political boldness of Public Enemy, and the groove sense of Fela Kuti. His label, Embassy MVMT, is proving that Hip Hop fans are tired of the same old radio playlists and are hungry for music that is more creative and thoughtful.

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Mariéme Jamme is a Senegalese-born businesswoman based in the U.K. Her company, Spotone Global Solutions helps technology companies develop business in new markets such as Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Mariéme is also an international speaker and co-founder of Africa Gathering, the first global platform bringing together entrepreneurs and others to share ideas about development in Africa. She was named by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders for 2013.

Young African Influencers

Ugandan fashion model, Aamito Lagum, — a former Top Model winner, is more recently known for the controversy caused by racist comments about her lips that were posted on MAC cosmetics Instagram page. Aamito boldly took to the internet in defense of her beauty, and the beauty of other women with similar features. This prompted campaigns like #PrettyLipsPeriod (created by Dr. Yaba Blay and Thembisa Mshaka) where Black women around the world unapologetically celebrate their full lips.

young african influencers

Yinka Ilori is a U.K based designer. He is passionately against the unnecessary waste he has seen in European and West African consumer cultures. His craft and vision is collecting discarded furniture, and re-upholstering and designing into something new. Yinka is inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that surrounded him as child.

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Folasade Adeoso is a New York-based, Nigerian-born, model and digital artist. She’s the chief editor and writer behind the lifestyle blog, LoveFola and the owner of the online boutique, “1953 | THE COLLECTIONS”. Folasade is known for her digital collages, which mix archival and contemporary images into Dalí-esque visions.

young african influencers

Chef Djibril Bodian is a second-generation baker of Senegalese origin. Last year he won first prize in the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris, a.k.a. The Best Baguette in Paris Competition. Chef Djibril also won the top prize five years ago. This prestigious award allowed him to be the only baguette supplier to French President Holland at the Elysées Palace. The fame and publicity didn’t hurt his pockets either. He can be found creating baked goodness at ‘Grenier à Pain’ in Montmartre.

young african influencers

Heben Nigatu was born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. when she was five. The Columbia grad is a senior editor at Buzzfeed and co-host of “Another Round”, Buzzfeed’s most successful podcast. Heben was recently ranked #17 on Forbe’s 30 Under 30 in media. The podcast, (an iTunes’ podcast top 100) gets hundreds of thousands of listeners a month and touches on topics that range from race and politics to pop culture and favorite alcoholic drinks.

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Bouba Dola was born in Kinshasa, Congo. His family moved to the Netherlands when he was a child. He studied at HKU in Utrecht and has been working throughout the Netherlands, specifically between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. He focuses his creative energy on the infusion of digital art – drawings, music and videos. His collaboration with young Black Dutch hip hop artists has helped to jump start many of their careers. His sound is reminiscent of the Los Angeles music of Flying Lotus but with elements of ancient Kikongo vibrations and patterns. Currently, Bouba is working on his first cinematic work.

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Saran Kaba Jones is a clean water advocate and social entrepreneur from Liberia. She is the founder of Face Africa, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that provides access to clean drinking water in Liberia’s rural communities, where running water and sewage infrastructure is often scarce. Face Africa was launched in 2009, and has provided clean water to thousands of rural Liberians. Saran was named by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders for 2013.

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Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

Envisioning Blackness In American Graphic Design: Preface

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Envisioning Blackness in American Graphic Design is an essay written by Maurice Woods. The goal was to identify, from Black culture, an aesthetic in design that is easily recognized as arising from the uniqueness of the Black experience. The pretense is in support of increasing the value of diversity in design.

Envisioning Blackness in American Graphic Design: Preface

Defining a Black aesthetic in graphic design is a challenging task for anyone wishing to see it evolved and used. Development relies on many factors that exist outside the scope of literal interpretation (Kente cloth, red, black and green, African masks, etc.) and more towards the values of social, political, and economic life.

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I believe for there to be a Black aesthetic in graphic design, there must be a collective consciousness of Black identity in America as well as healthy individual identities.

Currently, many Black people do not put emphasis on the role design can play in advancing and extending the level of business practice or self image–Black folk have to become participants productively engaged in upholding Black identity in the face of American culture.

Secondly, Blacks must be able to identify some of the historical contributions of Blacks in art. Understanding the viewpoints associated with Black culture are a start; however, it takes much more than this. Establishing a Black presence in design is inseparable from knowing Black history and culture.

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Within this essay lie grounded principles of the Black aesthetic that can be used to describe an aesthetic in graphic design that is entirely unique and overwhelmingly progressive.

Just as entertainers have deployed creative new forms of expression within their prospective fields, so does the Black designer, should he or she take the initiative to design with the responsibility of advancing the images of Black existence.

This does not mean ignoring one’s duty to communicate objectively the goals of clients, but to engage in work that presents issues that enlighten the majority.

Personally, I chose to write about the Black aesthetic in graphic design because I was frustrated going to book stores only to read or buy books that celebrate the work of others. While I found the aesthetics of others interesting, I was always interested in what aesthetic collectively upholds notions of Blackness.

As a practitioner within the discipline of graphic design, I have always embraced my heritage and wanted to use my talents for empowering others. Graphic design has giving me the vehicle to communicate to a wide range of audiences and provide messages that support, not exploit Black people.

Black aesthetics in graphic design provides a critical language in describing Black thoughts and experiences that sometimes cannot be effectively communicated except through graphic representation. Overall, the purpose of a defined aesthetic to me would be to create work, as Edmund B.

Gather said, that “…introduces a body of material to a race-conscious public in order to force the public to recognize its existence and its quality.”  For me, using a deployable Black aesthetic means drawing from my own individualistic perspectives to produce work that contributes to the progression of racial pride for black throughout the world.

– Contributed by Maurice Woods

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Maurice Woods is the Executive Director/Founder of the Inneract Project (IP). He previously worked as a designer at the world’s largest independent design consultancy, Pentagram Design. He designed extensive identity, retail, exhibit and interactive programs for clients such as Nike, Greyhound, Symantec, Priceline.com, and Google. He currently works as a Experience Design lead at Yahoo.

 

We hope you enjoyed this Essay’s preface. The introduction and other chapters are on the way!

Growing and Maintaining Black Wealth: Estate Planning

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This is the first installment in our series around the topic of “Growing and Maintaining Black wealth through sound legal strategies and problem solving.” Let’s begin with a discussion about Estate Planning.

Estate Planning

In October of 2015, retired NBA player Lamar Odom suffered several strokes and kidney failure at the young age of thirty-five, leaving many people shocked and shaken by the fact that someone so young and presumably healthy could possibly die.

Of course, given his position in the Kardashian realm, many were also enthralled by the latest drama in America’s most famous (for now) family. Yet, if we unpack that drama and look at it plain and simple, Lamar’s circumstances should be a lesson for us all.

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At the age of 35, Lamar was in the final stage of divorce and a father of two minor children from a previous relationship when he experienced a life-altering medical event.

Those are the mind-numbing facts: 35 years old, estranged wife, father of two minor children—and a very uncertain future. While his medical crisis was extraordinary, the other key circumstances in Lamar’s life were not.

Amidst all of the sensational discussions surrounding Lamar’s unfortunate situation, there was little, if any discussion around whether or not he had legal documents appointing someone to handle his affairs, i.e. step into his shoes to make his medical and financial decisions.

Presumably he did not, because his estranged wife put a halt to their divorce, and under the authority of California law as his wife, became his decision-maker.

Thankfully, Lamar’s health has improved and he is still with us. However, imagine if someone in the exact same situation as Lamar passed away leaving an estranged wife, two minor children, and no legal documents to dictate what happens with whatever assets they have and how their affairs are settled.

Now ask yourself, if something happened to you today, who would step in? Who could legally step into your shoes? You may not know the answer to the last question. And you probably do not even like the question.

So, let’s consider this question instead: if you had the rare opportunity to become a secret agent on some James Bond-type mission but you had to pick a family member or friend to assume your identity and continue living your life until you came back, who would that person be?

Who is most likely to have your life intact when you come back? Who would be your agent? The person you would choose to be your agent and who the law chooses could and likely would vary greatly when you do not have the legal documents in place to effectuate your choices.

The solution is simple. Go to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney and create an estate plan.* If you don’t know who to use then you might want to check out someone like this new york estate attorney. However, there are loads that you could use. Many, in fact, most of us avoid estate planning. We think we do not have an “estate” or that lawyers are too expensive. We believe our loved ones will “take care of everything” because we trust them. We think we are too young. Most importantly, it is very unpleasant and scary to think about a time when we cannot take care of ourselves or when we die. If you have any questions about preparing your estate it is worth speaking to an estate planning lawyer as they might have the information needed to put your mind to rest and help you plan for the future.

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So, consider the fact that you have a unique opportunity to put the law on your side. This power is especially important during a time when many of us have considerable doubts and questions about the laws of our nation and our states when it comes to issues such as policing, voting, and clean water—to say the least.

You have the power to create a plan and make decisions about how you are cared for in a time of need or transition. You have the power to create a plan for optimizing your assets for their use while you are living and when you pass away.

Take advantage of this opportunity! ??The first step is developing a basic understanding of estate planning, which is the purpose of this series of articles.

What is estate planning? Estate planning is making a plan in advance for what happens to you and your assets when you cannot take care of them yourself and for when you die. You get to make the decisions on the who, what, when, and how of your affairs rather than that determination being made by the law. A basic estate plan includes a will, a financial power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a healthcare directive (a “living will”).

Growing and maintaining Black wealth

What is an estate? Many people believe they do not have an “estate.” We all have an estate. An estate is everything you own from your collection of baseball cards or Chanel purses to your cash, retirement accounts, life insurance and vehicles. When it comes to real estate, find out more information through companies such as PFC Property Management, especially if you are looking to work in this particular industry. There’s a lot to learn, but it is quite interesting. I’m sure you’d rather know more now, than know nothing at all. Even if the cash value of your what you own is small, you have an estate.

What is a will? A will is a document that states your final wishes. In a will you appoint someone to settle your affairs: an executor. You state who gets your property, what property they get, and how much of it. You can even state when they get your property.

You can nominate guardians for your minor children. The court ultimately decides who the guardians will be, but a will provides very useful information in that determination. You can even provide instructions on paying your debts and on your funeral.

Signing Last Will and Testament

In most states, the property of someone dying without a will, leaving behind an estranged spouse and children from a previous relationship, would have to be divided between the estranged spouse and children. For most people, this scenario is not ideal, it’s a nightmare.

On the other hand, you could have circumstances that are not complex at all. Perhaps you are a single person with no children. Without a will, in most states, the person(s) eligible to manage your estate would be your parents. Does that work for you? If you do not have parents, the law looks to your siblings. Again, does that work for you? If you don’t have parents or siblings, then who?

A will is a critical document that can save relationships and money. It can also be a foundational element in your legacy. So, it is important to have a will and for it to be designed with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

What is a power of attorney? There are two types of power of attorney documents: financial power of attorney (also known as durable power of attorney) and health care power of attorney. Both allow you to appoint someone as your attorney-in-fact which means they can make the same actions you can make.

The types of activities the person operating under your power of attorney can do vary from speaking to financial institutions about your accounts, signing legal documents, such as contracts and deeds, to speaking with healthcare providers, including your doctor.

The power of attorney document can be very powerful, especially if you use a fill-in- the-blank type of document, instead of one tailored to your needs. If you use one that’s fill-in-the-blank, you could be unintentionally giving someone the ability to abuse the role you have given them.

In a customized power of attorney, you can set the conditions under which the attorney-in-fact can act, as well as limit the types of things they can do. For example, you can have a limited power of attorney for real estate that allows the attorney-in-fact to take actions related to a specific piece of property during a specific time or transaction.

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Having either power of attorney, and preferably both, can give you peace of mind that the person you trust most will be able to help you when you are unable to take care of yourself.

If you are incapacitated and do not have power of attorney documents, it is extremely difficult and costly for someone to be able to help you.

The absence of power of attorney documents could even lead to litigation and destruction of relationships. Consider the scenarios discussed under the description of the will when thinking about what would happen.

Also, keep in mind, a power of attorney document does not replace a will. Many people mistakenly believe that the instructions in their power of attorney or in their loved one’s power of attorney carry over after a person dies. The power stops at death.

What is a living will? A living will is also known as an advanced directive and it is a document in which you give the medical personnel instructions for your end-of-life medical care. It comes into to play when your death is certain and gives instructions on things such as palliative care (easing pain and suffering), extraordinary measures, and nourishment.

The decisions you have to make in a living will are very difficult to think about but imagine if your spouse, child, or parent had to make those decisions for you. Having a living will is also a key part of your estate plan.

Estate Planning

How do I get started on my estate plan? The first step is to find an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Many people believe they can do their estate planning themselves and want to do so to save money. Imagine your profession is a hair stylist, a bank manager, or a professional athlete.

You are very good at what you do. Your car needs new brakes and they are expensive. You can probably go on YouTube to find a video with instructions for putting new brakes on your car. Let’s say that technically you can put new brakes on your car and save a good deal of money.

Is this the best choice? Alternatively, you could save money by taking the car to the detail shop where you get your car cleaned and let the owner put brakes on your car. He takes good care of your car and he can save you money. Is he the best choice, though?

If your well being or the well being of those you love depended on it, are you or the detail shop guy the right choice for putting brakes on your car? Can you be reasonably sure that the condition of your car will be safe and it will not lose monetary value after you or the detail shop guy repair it?

Your life and your assets deserve the same level of consideration and you deserve to have a comprehensive estate plan done by an attorney who focuses on estate planning.

Estate Planning

Attorneys charge by the hour or offer a flat fee for estate planning. A typical plan costs on average $600-$800 for a single person and around $1,000 for a couple. The costs depend on your circumstances. Many attorneys require a retainer.

A retainer is money delivered in advance to the attorney and held in trust for the client. They take the fees earned from that retainer. Many people balk at the request for a retainer. However, you should consider the retainer as incentive to you fulfilling your role in this process.

It is not uncommon for someone to start the process and then not complete it because they still have the fears around estate planning or simply do not prioritize it.

In the next articles we will discuss the financial components of your estate planning including life insurance, retirement accounts, and real and personal property. Stay tuned!

– Contributed by Mavis Gragg

Mavis Gragg is an attorney at the Gragg Law Firm, PLLC in Durham, North Carolina where she specializes in estate planning and estate administration. She is very passionate about maintaining and growing Black wealth through sound legal strategies and problem solving. When she is not being a justice girl, she can be found at an art gallery, trotting the globe, or on the dance floor.

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Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

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Here’s our list of 30 Black Owned Businesses in Chicago, aka “The Windy City”. We love the architecture. We also love the fact that this city is FULL of all types of amazing businesses.

Black Owned businesses in Chicago

 

FOOD

Mikkey Halsted, DJ Toure and Rico Nance, are the owners of Mikkey’s Retro Grill. This “healthy fast food” spot opened late February and is located in Hyde Park. It offers a variety of options, including gluten free, salmon, turkey and veggie burgers. They also stay open until 4am everyday except Friday!

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Justice of the Pies  is a bakery specializes in sweet and savory pies. Its founder, Maya-Camille Broussard created this business in memory of her late father, a criminal defense attorney with a passion for baking.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

For 30 years, Original Soul has offered a one-of-a-kind culinary experience for vegans and health aficionados throughout the Chicago area.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Uncle Remus is a successful family-owned and operated business that has survived 50 years in the Chicagoland area.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Norman’s Bistro was founded by Norman Bolden. His restaurant offers a wine bar and serves “American Creole cuisine with a Brazilian flair.”

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

ZBerry Frozen Yogurt & Treats is a self-serve soft serve frozen yogurt and sorbet bar. During winter months, they offer flavored hot chocolates, including a non-dairy vegan option and hot apple cider!

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

 

HAIR SALONS/BARBER SHOPS

Hyde Park Hair Salon is owned by  Ishmael Coyeand and is home to Zariff, the “First Barber of the United States” (FBOTUS). This barber shop has been dubbed “President Barack Obama’s official barbershop for over 20 years.”

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

 

Christian Fields Style Bar is the premier natural hair salon, specializing in Locs, Loc starts and maintenance. 

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Chris-Tia Donaldson is the founder of  Thank God It’s Natural, a complete line of products made with natural and organic ingredients for ethnic hair and skin.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Ken Burkeen is the Founder of Huetiful Salon. They focus on healthy hair treatments for wavy, curly, and kinky-curly hair that is natural, relaxed or transitioning. Locations are also in Dallas and Atlanta.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

DANCE STUDIOS

MADD Rhythms Dance Company is a family-owned tap dance school and company composed of young, versatile tap dancers from all over Chicago. It was founded by Bril Barrett and Martin Dumas III.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

 

Red Clay Dance Company is a professional touring company that creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance which fuses traditional West African movement with contemporary dance forms. Vershawn Ward, choreographer, performer, and dance scholar, is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Black Ensemble Theater – Founded in 1976 by the phenomenal actress, producer, and playwright Jackie Taylor. The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater is to eradicate racism and its damaging effects upon our society through the utilization of theater arts.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

EVENT SPACES

The Grand Ballroom Chicago is a gracefully designed masterpiece that dates back to 1923.  Once known as Cinderella’s Ballroom the architectural design is majestic with whimsical details evocative of a fairytale evening.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

The Silver Room is owned by Eric Williams. This space houses a tasteful collection of eclectic jewelry, fashion, art and music.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Room 43, located in the heart of the historic Bronzeville and North Kenwood area, is a classy rental venue perfect for wedding receptions, birthday parties, galas and fundraisers.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

ARTISTS

Dawoud Bey is a photographer and educator renowned for his large-scale color portraits of adolescents and other often marginalized subjects. His works are included in the permanent collections of numerous museums, both in the United States and abroad, including the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Kerry James Marshall is known for large-scale paintings, sculptures, and other objects that take African-American life and history as their subject matter. His work often deals with the effects of the Civil Rights movement on domestic life.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Amanda Williams is an artist/architect who uses her work to explore themes of personal freedom and identity. Best known for her colorful abstract paintings, she is also an accomplished photographer and installation artist.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Hebru Brantley draws influence from an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean-Michel Basquiat, KAWS and Keith Haring.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Theaster Gates paid $1 for a dilapidated bank that closed in the 1980s. With the help of The Rebuild Foundation, (which he founded), he transformed the space into an art center that will host site-specific commissions, exhibitions and a media archive.

Black Owned Businesses in Chicago

Faheem Majeed transforms materials such as particle board, scrap metal and wood, and discarded signs and billboard remnants, breathing new life into these often overlooked and devalued materials.

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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Vista Equity Partners was founded in 2000 by Robert F. Smith, one of the newest(and few) Black billionaires on the Forbes list. Vista Equity Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investing in software and technology-enabled businesses.

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Burrell Communications Group L.L.C. is one of the largest multi-cultural marketing firms in the world. It was founded in 1971 by Tom Burrell, “the first Black man in Chicago advertising” and author of “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority.”

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FIS group is an employee owned investment manager. Tina Byles Williams is the founder, chief executive and chief investment officer of FIS Group. She is widely regarded as a trailblazer in the investment management business, particularly in identifying and investing in investment management firms that are minority and women-owned. 

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Mitchell Titus  is the largest minority-controlled accounting firm in the United States. They provide assurance, advisory and tax services to Fortune 1000 organizations, financial service firms, non-profit organizations, real estate entities, government and public sector entities and middle market companies.

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Miro Development, LLC is founded by Michael Altheimer. It is a full service real estate development company that specializes in construction, creating lucrative investment strategies and property management. Miro also offers concierge services, which include residential home cleaning, as well as dry cleaning pick-up and delivery.

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HOSPITALITY

Welcome Inn Manor is one of Chicago’s highest rated B&B’s. Built in 1893, this Queen Anne historic home is 12 minutes away from the center of Chicago’s Downtown Loop. It is owned owned and operated by Mell Monroe, the official innkeeper, and his wife of 15 years, Angela Higginbotham.

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The Chicago South Loop Hotel is owned by Jimmy White, Louis Dodd and Dr. Floyd Mix. It is located in the heart of the historic Bronzeville District and South Loop Area, and moments away from all of the downtown excitement.

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There you have it, 30 Black owned businesses in Chicago! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to get more great content as soon as it’s available!

-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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Using Public Relations to Promote Your Business

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Using public relations to promote your business can help ensure its success. It’s important to promote your business using the right tools and resources. Over half of a million businesses are created every year. What sets yours apart from the others? How will you effectively reach your audience? Do you know who your audience is? Hiring a publicist to develop a robust PR plan can help you achieve the overall goal you have in mind.

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What steps will a publicist take to facilitate great results for my business?

Your publicist will be your guide throughout the journey of starting and growing your business. He or she will have an in-depth conversation with you to learn about your business. You both will discuss short and long term goals, tone of messaging, target audience, target media, strategies and tactics to use, timelines, measurements to determine success, and more.

The publicist, for example, PR agencies philippines that you select should be able to do more than just write content to promote your business. They should be able to pull together all of the necessary tools of public relations to promote your business. As your guide, that person will consult with you about how to leverage social media to obtain results. Not all social media sites are created equal. Knowing which one(s) to use for your business will enhance your brand identity.

public relations to promote your business

Together, you and your publicist will decide what type of content to write, how often, and where it will be published. Should your publicist interview customers for success stories? Do you have a product line that requires detailed explanation in a bylined article? Is a press release recommended for certain announcements? Your publicist will be your content and lead generator. The content he/she creates will generate leads for your business, positioning your brand in the forefront of the industry it’s in.

public relations to promote your business

Managing media inquiries and crisis communication will also be incorporated into your PR plan. As the saying goes, “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” Anticipating a crisis and planning how to manage the aftermath will ensure that you’re best prepared to handle what may come your way. The crisis in Flint, Michigan, was forecasted and warned by Governor Rick Snyder’s communication director, Ari Adler.

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Reported by the Detroit Free Press, Adler sent an article to the governor’s office titled “Who wants to drink Flint’s water?” It focused on the impact the water quality had on residents and Adler stated, “This is a public relations crisis — because of a real or perceived problem is irrelevant — waiting to explode nationally.” Unfortunately, Adler was right. What’s even more unfortunate is that his PR advice fell on deaf ears.

public relations to promote your business

Why should I hire a publicist? I can do the work myself.

If you’re asking yourself this question, it’s important to consider your strengths. You wouldn’t ask your plumber to decorate your home. He or she may be great at unclogging your drains; however, that’s their strength. Ask yourself, “What is mine?” The ability to create compelling content isn’t a strong suit of many. It’s a skill honed year after year, draft after draft and publication after publication. Your publicist will know how to tell your story. He or she should have experience writing for different industries and has learned how to use words to pull people in. It’s an innate trait—one many business leaders have recognized, incorporating content marketing into their business strategies.

public relations to promote your business

How do I find a qualified publicist?

Inquire with other entrepreneurs you may know—word of mouth references are some of the best. Also, search the Upwork website for candidates. Copyright laws may prohibit a publicist from publishing work they’ve done for other companies, so don’t be alarmed if their work isn’t posted. Candidates should be able to provide you with links of publications they’ve done and can email you PDF’s of writing samples. Ask for references and check their LinkedIn profile. Get to know your future publicist as you two will likely develop a long withstanding professional relationship. It should be a good fit for the both of you.

Hopefully this serves as a helpful guide in using public relations to promote your business and strengthen your brand.

Contributed by Danielle Tyler – Publicist and Communications Professional

Contact Danielle for more information about creating a PR plan for your business.

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Art for Life: How One Family of Tap Dancers and a Community of Artist-Activists are Fighting For Flint

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Like so many of you, we’ve been highly concerned and grossly disturbed by the negligent tragedy that can aptly be described as environmental racism or genocide, that has struck the residents of Flint, Michigan. I’ve maintained a rather familial relationship to the community there through several of its natives – namely my friends Frances, Ali and Cherisse Bradley and their extended family and friends. So naturally, when I learned about the human rights violation that is their “water crisis” I felt the need to do something, say something. I had the opportunity to both facilitate a skype conversation with Frances for The Future Project and wanted to speak with Ali a little  more in depth about what’s happening and how people thousands of miles away can support the cause. Because let’s be honest, Flint can and is easily any of our communities – areas highly populated by people of African descent inflicted by the many -isms of the America that doesn’t always love us. Yet, somehow, someway, we find a way to carry on.


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SB: I’ve been a huge fan of the Bradley clan ever since Frances came into my life. Tell us a little bit about your family’s background and why you all are such a staple in the greater Flint community.

AB: Thank you Shantrelle! My father Alfred Bruce Bradley is the nucleus in our family. He has been serving the community of Flint for over 35 years. Like most black families in Michigan, my father’s family moved from Alabama and Louisiana to work for General Motors. He grew up with the desire to pursue his passion in visual and performing arts. He also became a father at the early age of 19 to Cherisse Bradley, giving him clarity on his purpose in life and responsibility as a man.

While going to school in the south at Alabama State during the late 60’s and early 70’s, his consciousness for equality and justice for Black people was at the forefront of his mind. Once he graduated he moved back to Flint and began working with the Urban League of Flint. He became really pro-active in the community through programming that would help employ Black men.

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SB: So how did he then you all, get so heavily involved in tapping?

AB: Around that time he began getting so involved with community programming, he also got connected with McCree Theater (an all black community based theater company). This is around the time he also met my mother Sherry Taylor and got married. Eventually he went down to work in New Orleans, LA with Vernell Johnson in “One Mo’ Time” and toured a few cities with this show. I was born around this time and my mother would take us to visit him on the road from time to time. Apparently, Walter Payton (a New Orleans legendary musician and father to Nicholas Payton) used to baby sit me. When this show had a sit down in Toronto, Canada, my father finally decided it was time for him to learn how to tap dance. He was 32 at this time and Frances was just born. My father continued to travel and ended up in New York for a little while working in the off Broadway show “Staggerlee”. He eventually decided to come off the road to be home with his family and make a difference in the community.

After teaching, directing, and working with multiple art based organizations and the Flint board of education for 13 years, he took a position in the European tour of Black and Blue working with legends like Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, Lloyd Story, Dianne Walker, and Henry LeTang.

I was only 13-years old when I took over all of his tap classes at Creative Expressions Dance Studio and continued to teach after he returned back to Flint. He was so eager to share all of the information that he learned while on tour with Black and Blue, that he decided to organize a tap festival called Tapology. This was a crucial turning point in the trajectory of his activism in Flint. This program has brought in world class musicians, tap dancers, and educators to share knowledge, train youth, and expose the whole community of Flint to the great art forms of jazz and tap.

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Tapology is one of the only leading black tap festivals in the world. My father has committed his entire life to providing quality training and education to disadvantaged youth in Flint, Michigan. Some of our students have gone on to work professionally in the entertainment business appearing on shows like Showtime at the Apollo, So You Think You Can Dance, broadway shows like Billy Elliot, Scottsboro Boys, STOMP, and Shuffle Along. Tapology is a model program and is supported by the Flint Cultural Center, and the Ruth and Charles Mott Foundation.

SB: When did you first become aware that there was something wrong with the water?

AB: When I first heard about the switch in 2014, I did not want to believe it. I knew it was not going to be a good idea. Everyone knows in the city of Flint that the Flint River is not the kind of water you would go skinny dipping in or even drink from. General Motors has been dumping toxic waste in that water for years. What people were hoping for, was that the government had their best interest at heart by treating the water. However, this was not the case. It wasn’t until months later folks started complaining about the water and discovered that there were contaminants in the water. After meetings with the water department and the city council, they tried to tell the people that the water is still safe to drink and that they had nothing to worry about. However, the people of Flint are resilient and started organizing and meeting on their own to fight this issue. Once Marc Edwards, the science professor at Virginia Tech and his students took it upon themselves to do water testing and investigations, the truth started coming to light that the water is not right.

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SB: Describe how your day to day life and that of your family has been impacted by the water crisis?

AB: My life has clearly been affected on a psychological level. Flint has been struggling on so many levels and it was really starting to feel very oppressive to accept what is going on in my city. As a teacher who works with youth in buildings that have signs that read “Drink At Your Own Risk” it’s very distracting and difficult to ignore. To see the physical stress on people who have to go to a neighbor or family member whose home may not be effected to take a shower, bathe, cook, and wash their clothes is a reality that I have only heard of and seen in third world countries. I have also learned that two of my baby cousins who are not even 2-years old are at level 6 of lead poisoning. One is looking like they may have autism. They have lost hair, breaking out in rashes, and their immune systems are compromised. Knowing that the damage of lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage, upsets me because there are ways to overcome these obstacles. However, you have to have money to afford the treatments, eat the proper food and nutrition, and therapies. Those who are effected the most are very poor and don’t have many options. This is the demographic of people that we serve as an organization. Which makes feel like we are going to have to give more love and hope to a generation of children who were set up fail and rebuild their confidence and faith that they too can overcome this.

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SB: What’s happening in Flint has been described as a crisis, which is such a gross misnomer. It’s clear that this is an example a human rights violation and some can go so far to say as genocide. What are the long term health implications for you all who have been in direct contact with this contaminated water for long periods of time?

AB: According to research some of the long term heath implication are memory loss, brain fog, auto immune disorder, hair loss, hypertension, rashes, and legionnaires disease has been found in the water leading to ten deaths. Lead contaminated water is a danger to pregnant women. I have a friend who believes that she had a miscarriage from drinking the water. I have read this and heard these horrific stories from other women who are traumatized.

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SB: Racism rears it’s ugly head in so many ways. While many of us have been focused on state sanctioned violence and murders by police, there are so many other issues like environmental racism that go unnoticed. Flint is one of hundreds of communities where Black and Brown people have been violated. What strategies are Flint residents employing to demand justice and to ensure that this is adequately dealt with?

AB: Protesting, marches, social media by sharing their water woes and making their videos go viral, petitions to have the governor arrested. The Flint Democracy Defense League along with the Concerned Pastors for Social Action of Michigan have been some of the lead organizations pushing for justice. I also learned that there are a group of lawyers who have been reaching out to residents to build a case. I am also aware that Erin Brokovich has join the legal team in the Flint water class action law suit. So you can rest assured that the people are not going to stop until justice is served.

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SB: Last Sunday night’s benefit, #JusticeForFlint was both well attended and raised a lot of money and awareness. It was great seeing the efforts of Ryan Cooglar, Ava Duvernay, Jesse Williams, Stevie Wonder and others. What was the general reaction to the benefit? What other celebrities are using their names to bring awareness to what’s happening?

Justice for Flint

AB: Overall it seems like there general response to the benefit in Flint from the community was something that the community needed. To know that people around the world are standing with them in this fight to justice. I personally feel like whatever it takes! Other celebrities who have responded to what has happened are Beyonce, Big Sean, Game, P Diddy, Russell Simmons, Michael Keaton, Michael Moore, Cher, and the list is pretty long……it is a beautiful thing to know that humanity isn’t completely dead. I believe that as artists our mission is to serve humanity at its core and if there is an opportunity for us to use our art to bring justice to society is whatever way we can then that is a step in the right direction.

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SB: Tell us about what you all have planned for the upcoming Harlem For Flint fundraiser and Community Foundation of Greater Flint that the funds raised will benefit.

AB: The Harlem For Flint fundraiser is an artist response towards helping to raise $25,000 that will go to the Dr. Gail Ganakas Fund through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for art, education and enrichment programming for disadvantage youth. As a mother of a child who suffered brain trauma at 6 months old due to a fall, and watched her advance and overcome obstacles of speech, physical and mental delays through the intervention of music, dance, and art therapy, I know it is crucial to find ways to secure funds that will aid the children who have been compromised by lead poisoning with irreversible effects that they may have to deal with for the rest of their lives. There will be a whole generation of children who will be disadvantaged, who may end up with severe behavior problems that will lead them towards criminal behavior that will ultimately keep them in an oppressive and vicious cycle of mass incarceration.

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This is a state of emergency and we have to act now. Access to quality education, art and culture in Flint is very limited. It breaks my heart to know that my middle school and high school are now closed – many of which had amazing art and humanity programs and some of the best teachers in the company. Dr. Gail Ganakas was my middle school principal and she was very crucial to the art, culture, and educational programs in making sure quality and excellence was the standard for all children. There is a downsizing of Flint that makes me very sad and motivated to fight to maintain the integrity of Flint. These funds will go directly to programs that use art or social change and help build the creativity, possibilities of success and victory in the future of our youth.

Thanks to the generosity of  contributing artists such as Danny Simmons, Shani Peters, Cannon Hersey, the fundraiser will also include a silent auction. Live performances by musicians like the grammy winner Ben Williams, Greg Osby, Otis Brown III, Samora Pinderhughes, the Last Poets, the Tapology Youth Tap Ensemble, and the list goes on…who will be pouring out their hearts in honor of our brothers and sisters in Flint who are suffering and terrorized by Gov. Snyder and his administration. We will jam out, raise the vibration and money to help protect our own. DJ, music, dancing, art activities for the kids, and we’ll also be live streaming the democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that will be happening in Flint.

SB: Lastly, I vividly recall how helpless friends felt across the nation during the aftermath of Katrina. There are so many people who are concerned but not sure how to go about supporting the cause. What are some direct ways that people can contribute to supporting those in the most need, both immediately and long term?
People can definitely contribute by reaching out to churches and organization such as the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and The Flint Democracy Defense League about where they can send bottles of water. If you are a plumber and or have a company and want to lend a hand to help install proper water filters for sinks, showers, and or systems in peoples homes it is necessary and immediate. They can always check with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and see what other efforts are being made to secure funds for the long term. If you are a resource or organization who want to help do not hesitate to reach out and do something. Everything helps and count towards healing the community as a whole.

brinae my city

 

Black Owned Businesses in Paris You Should Know

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We’re back at it with another guide to shopping Black in the Diaspora. This time, we’re highlighting Black owned businesses in Paris.  Let’s show some love to our brothers and sisters in the “City of Light”.

Black Owned Businesses in Paris

Café Dapper by Chef Loïc Dablé  is located a stone’s throw from Champs Elysées. The restaurant Café Dapper Loïc Dablé is set in Dapper Museum, a place dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and its diasporas. black owned businesses in paris

FASHION

Natasha Baco

black owned businesses in paris

Sakina M’sa

black owned businesses in paris

Adama Paris

black owned businesses in paris

BaZara’pagne

black owned businesses in paris

Nefer 

black owned businesses in parisHOME DECOR

Myriam Maxo tells a story through fabrics with abstract patterns and wax that provide a touch of fantasy with contemporary design.

black owned businesses in paris

TRAVEL

Visiter L’Afrique or “Visiting Africa” ​​is an interactive digital platform dedicated to tourism and culture on the African continent.

BOOKSTORE

Présence Africaine is a pan-African quarterly cultural, political, and literary magazine, founded by Seneglese-born Alioune Diop in 1947.

black owned businesses in paris

 

 ART

Alexis Peskine is a Parisian resident who is renowned for his work on race and identity issues in France.

black owned businesses in paris

 


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Adenah Bayoh Escaped Civil War and Built a $225M Real Estate Portfolio

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When Adenah Bayoh was eight years old, civil war in Liberia forced her into a refugee camp. She immigrated to the U.S. when she was thirteen. By the time she was twenty-seven, she was one of the youngest IHOP franchise owners in the country. Her location soon became one of the most profitable in the Northeast.

Adenah has since received numerous awards and has been named one of the top 50 business women in New Jersey and one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100. In 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York named Adenah to its Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Council. We recently had a chat with her about her amazing journey. This is what she had to say:

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SB: What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your experience in a refugee camp?

AB: I learned that becoming a victim in difficult circumstances is a choice and that it was not going to be my choice. Escaping the war motivated me. I wanted to find opportunities and move forward instead of looking back.

I learned that even in the toughest situations there were always options and resources I could tap if I was willing to work hard enough. When we were in the refugee camp, my cousin and I would cross back into Liberia to get fruits and vegetables and then sell them in the camp in Sierra Leone. I was always hungry for opportunities.

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SB: You were very close to your grandmother. How did she shape the person you are today?

AB: My grandmother would always say, “you have to wake up before everyone else and do more than everyone else,” and that wasn’t just an inspirational quote. She really lived that way. My grandmother played a big part in raising me when we lived in Liberia because my parents were working in America to pay for our schooling.

My grandmother is an amazing woman. She owned over 100 acres of farmland, she owned restaurants, and she was involved in real estate. She was highly respected and growing up, she really helped to shape my entrepreneurial drive. When I was six, she told me that I had a skill for business and had me working in her restaurant. I’m really thankful to her for helping me to realize my own potential and giving me a space to learn at a young age.

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SB: What sparked your interest in real estate?

AB: Well, I knew it was a possible venture because as I mentioned, my grandmother owned a lot of real estate in Liberia. I chose to get involved because I knew it would be a solid investment.

In college at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I served as an Residents Assistant in the dorms and after I graduated and got my first renter, I realized that I was doing a lot of the same kind of work, except I was the benefactor.

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SB: Community development is a passion of yours. In what ways do use your businesses benefit the communities where they are located?

AB: After immigrating to the U.S., I lived in Newark and saw firsthand how this community was often overlooked by businesses and investors. The negative perceptions about crime and the lower-income population didn’t inspire a lot of businesses to invest and those that did invest didn’t bring the kind of quality goods and services that are offered in other communities.

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My goal was to bring high quality services to Newark and other urban markets and to ensure that my real estate development projects and other ventures bring value, generate opportunities, and serve as a catalyst for more economic development. I also make it a priority to utilize and support minority and local businesses and to invest in the people in these communities. I believed that when communities such as these get better the world gets better.
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SB: Why is it important for you to expand your business interests to West Africa? What are you planning for West Africa?

AB: I have a yearning to help rebuild my home country of Liberia. I’m currently working to start a nonprofit called “Hope Well” there. It will be a mobile clinic that can provide medical care, screenings, and important supplies to the villages in the country’s interior.

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SB: This summer, you will open your first fine dining establishment, Cornbread. What should we know about Cornbread?

AB: I’m really proud to announce that Cornbread will be my own signature line of fast casual, farm-to-table, soul food restaurants. Also, the support of sustainable and organic farming practices will be central to Cornbread’s goal of serving high-quality soul food.

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We’ll be sourcing our meat, fish, and produce from over 120 small-production, family-owned farms throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region and we excited to cultivate a true “farm to soul” experience. The first location will open in Maplewood, New Jersey.

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SB: Based on what you have learned so far, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in any industry?

AB: I would tell them to be present and stay in the moment because you never know when you will need to draw on your various experiences. Don’t allow your circumstances turn you into a victim and keep a positive attitude. When I arrived in America, I was severely behind in academics, but I didn’t let that intimidate me. It seemed like there were endless possibilities in this country, so I pushed to be the best.

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There’s no substitute for hard work, but when you’re motivated and driven, nothing or no one can stop you. Additionally, don’t be deterred by “No.” I was turned down by seven banks before I was able to secure a loan for my first IHOP. However, those seven “No’s” prepared me for my “Yes”. By the time I got to the 8th bank I had addressed every possible issue, concern, or question so there was no way I could be denied.

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Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

Needed: Howard Alumni Feedback for a Survey on HBCU Retention

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As everyone may or may not know, we the founders of ShoppeBlack, are both Howard Alum. In fact, we’re also members of the same incoming class (HU c/o 2000). Oftentimes, we discuss so much that goes on at Howard and how the institution made such a huge impact on our lives. As graduates of HBCUs, we oftentimes feel very heartfelt sentiment about our days on the yard but don’t always give back in the ways that we should. Maybe we’re still scorned by those long registration lines or attitudinal employer in the A-building. Whatever the reason, that shouldn’t stop us from ensuring that our institutions have the capacity to lead 21st century education and provide the opportunity for to prepare thousands of young minds to serve as our world’s next leaders.

That said, we’d like to invite you to participate in a study being conducted by a dear friend, fellow HBCU alumnus, Sakinah Rahman. The survey is a continuation of her research started during her time as an MBA student at UPENN’s Wharton School of Business in 2013 examining the academic niche and student retention strategies employed at select colleges and universities.

Thanks for your feedback and please share! Our voices, after all, do make a difference.

-Shantrelle + Tony

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HOWARD ALUMNI SURVEY

A university has no greater ambassador than its alumni. This study is to hear what attracted and helped retain Howard alumni as undergraduates understanding that the attraction as well as retention policies employed inform Howard’s value proposition. I chose the survey method of study to interject the voice of alumni into the conversation surrounding student retention strategies and academic brand.

Who better to communicate to prospective families, donors, and legislatures the value of a Howard education than the woman or man the University trained. The survey questions regarding the Howard college experience is:

  • to gain insight into the University’s graduation rates (current four-year rate is 42%*)
  • promote a profile of HBCUs and HBCU students different from media and policy reports
  • provide the quantitative and qualitative data to compare to the strategies utilized at other institutions in development of a best practice case study

With a new President and the University’s upcoming sesquicentennial anniversary in 2017, this is an exciting time to examine Howard’s value proposition. I want to make your voice heard!

The goal is 100 responses. I’d also love if you’d share the survey link on Facebook, Twitter, and email to your friends, sorority sisters, frat brothers and acquaintances not connected to social media!

*Source: US News & World Report. Howard’s six-year graduation rate is 60%, on par with the U.S. national average.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F9YRPBR

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About Sakinah Rahman: 

With 17 years of public finance experience, including ten years of commercial and investment banking experience and most recently as a nonprofit executive, Sakinah recently created S3 Rock Research, LLC, a market research firm specializing in survey design and analysis for data-based strategies. Ms. Rahman authored Spelman College: A Case Study of Student Retention Strategies, which was published in Opportunities and Challenges at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in 2014. For the past two years, Sakinah has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Sakinah earned a B.S. in Finance from Morgan State University and a M.B.A from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Questions or more feedback? Contact Sakinah directly at sakinah_rahman@hotmail.com.

Morgan State Student Government Association ca. 1990s.
Sakinah and fellow Morgan State Student Government Association members ca. 1990s.

 

Love Jones vs. Love and Basketball: Black & Sexy TV hosts the G.O.A.T. Debates

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So, we all know that Love Jones is the best Black Love story our generation has ever seen right? The same can be said for Coming to America vs. Boomerang. Boomerang was great but better than Coming to America? In the words of Lisa in that epic closing scene – “Nahhhhhh.” Well, some would beg to differ. That’s why, to wrap up the biggest and Blackest Black History Month in history, the incredible team at Black&Sexy.TV will be hosting the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Times) Debate on February 28, 6pm Pacific Time. That’s 9pm for us on the East Coast and about 2am/02:00 for all of you Brits. For more info go to battleofthegoats.com.

We’ll be tuning in with popcorn and mini-creme brulée cheesecakes in hand. But to get the fight jump-started a little early, Bae and I weighed in with our own little pre-debate debate.

Best 2000s Love Story

Love Jones vs. Love and Basketball

Shantrelle: Love Jones, duh!

Tony: Love & Basketball.

Best Comedy Of All Time or At Least Starring Eddie Murphy?

Coming to America vs. Boomerang

Shantrelle: Coming to America.

Tony: Coming to America.

Best 70s Musical

Car Wash vs. The Wiz

Shantrelle: While I can quote Car Wash line for line…I’d have to say The Wiz. I don’t know if this is a fair question though, cause I doubt you’ve even seen Car Wash. Have you?

Tony: I haven’t seen either one.

Shantrelle: How did I guess? Your Black American movie experience clearly starts with the 90’s…

Tony: 80’s actually. I watched Shaft in Africa. I think we actually owned that one.

Shantrelle: LMFAO. Of course y’all did.

Best Vampire Film

Blade vs. Blackula

Shantrelle: Blackula!

Tony: Blade.

Best Superhero Flick

I’m Gonna Get You Sucka vs. Pootie Tang vs. Meteor Man

Shantrelle: I’m Gonna Get You Sucka.

Tony: Ahhhhh. I’m Gonna Get You Sucka.

Kung Fu Flicks

Last Dragon vs. Black Belt Jones

Shantrelle: Last Dragon…but Black Belt Jones…Jim Kelly’s fro, come through!

Tony: Last Dragon

Best Blaxploitation

Superfly vs. Shaft

Shantrelle: Superfly!

Tony: Shaft

Best Miniseries

Roots vs. Shaka Zulu

Shantrelle: Shaaaaka! Shaaaka! Why do you think I’m marrying you? Shaka was my first television crush. LOL. Just kidding. Have you even seen Roots?

Tony: Smh. Yes, i’ve seen Roots. Shaka Zulu.