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5 mins read

Sisterhood & Strategy: A Black Grad’s Guide to Conquering Corporate America

Is your phenomenal daughter, niece, or mentee graduating soon?

As they gear up to take on the exciting, and sometimes intimidating, world of corporate America, you might be wondering how to best support them. Here’s where “The Rules of Engagement: A Sistah’s Guide To Navigating Corporate America,”  by Amber Wynn comes in.

This powerful guide equips young Black women with the knowledge and strategies they need to survive and thrive in this new environment.

What inspired you to write this guide for young Black women entering corporate America?

I wanted them to enter the workforce better prepared than we were. As Black women, we excel. We work hard and see results. But in corporate America, very little of our success comes solely from working hard.

There are two sets of rules, and I wanted our young Black women to walk through the door understanding that and prepared for this cut-throat environment that they weren’t taught about in college. I saw so many young women in tears, stressed out, frustrated, angry, and lost at what they should do to navigate the terrain.

I wanted them to know, first, that there’s nothing wrong with them, and second, if they decide to stay in corporate America, there are things they need to know and do to make it in that environment.

Many young adults entering the workforce feel overwhelmed. What are some key tips for staying focused and motivated in those early career years?

Having a plan helps. A lot of the overwhelm comes from outside sources trying to define them.

If they go in knowing what to expect and how to respond to the gaslighting, the double standards, and the lack of support, they can alleviate some of that stress and overwhelm.

I wanted our young women to enter the workforce equipped, not flounder like I did.

What strategies do you recommend for young Black women to cultivate and maintain confidence in their abilities and contributions?

There’s an entire section on this in the book because our young Black women mustn’t allow others to make them feel less than others. If they aren’t grounded, centered, and supported, it will happen.

That’s why building a strong network of sistahs in the workforce is important. Your network will lift you up, and remind you that you are brilliant, that you have value, and that your contributions are important.

But it’s also important to maintain relationships with friends and family outside the workplace. They are your anchors, your constant reminders of who you are because they’ve known your true character long before you entered the workforce. They will remind you of who you are. That’s important because it’s easy to define your worth by your job. We don’t want that. Our young women are more than a title.

If they go in with a plan, and strategies in place, and build up a solid network, I believe they’ll fare far better than previous generations.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book, and what impact do you envision it having on young Black women entering the workforce? 

My generation was conditioned to get a good education, and then get a good job.

There’s so much in between those two goalposts that is not spoken. I want readers to read the stories of brilliant Black professional women who have walked the same path and share their wisdom about work, life, and what’s really important. I want them to know that they always have choices. Our young women can choose which path is best for them with the right guidance.

We’re all different and have different goals. But with the right information, we can make choices that reduce the pain and struggle that often comes with working in a culture that doesn’t value all we have to bring as Black women. I hope to lend some of my wisdom to the next generation so that they are powerfully positioned for success in the workforce.

I want our young women to turn to this guide for information, resources, support, and a healthy dose of Sistah Gurl Love whenever they need it.


3 mins read

Crowns and Commerce: A Look at “Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa”

For centuries, the narrative of African leadership has been dominated by male figures. But the book, Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa by Nwando Achebe, shatters this limited view.

This groundbreaking work sheds light on the rich history of women’s power and influence across the continent.

Imagine a continent where women weren’t just wives and mothers, but rulers, wielding political clout and economic power. “Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa” brings these remarkable women to life. It delves into the lives of queens who governed their nations, wielding influence not just within their palaces, but across vast territories. We encounter merchant queens who controlled trade routes and amassed vast wealth, their business acumen shaping the economies of their societies.

The book’s brilliance lies in its focus on African sources and perspectives. Achebe challenges the notion that female leadership in Africa is a recent phenomenon. She reveals a long-standing tradition of women wielding power in diverse ways, from the spiritual to the political. This challenges stereotypical portrayals of African women and offers a more complete picture of the continent’s history.

“Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa” isn’t just about the past. It serves as a powerful inspiration for the present. By showcasing the achievements of these historical figures, Achebe demonstrates the vast potential of African women. It’s a message that resonates with anyone who aspires to leadership, regardless of gender.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in a more nuanced understanding of African history. It’s a compelling narrative that dismantles stereotypes and celebrates the achievements of extraordinary women. It’s a reminder that throughout history, African women have been architects of their communities, wielding influence and shaping destinies. They are queens, not just in title, but in their spirit and actions.

So, pick up a copy, embark on this journey through Africa’s rich past, and be inspired by the legacy of these remarkable women.

Join the Conversation!

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2 mins read

The Eight Seconds Project Captures Black Excellence in Rodeo

For too long, the image of the cowboy has been a singular one – a white man on a horse, conquering the American West.

But photographer Ivan McClellan’s Eight Seconds Project shatters that stereotype, replacing it with a powerful narrative of resilience and skill: the story of the Black cowboy.

Eight Seconds Project
Ivan McClellan

McClellan’s journey began in 2015 at an unexpected stop – an all-Black rodeo in Oklahoma. Witnessing the Black cowboy culture firsthand ignited a passion within him. Over the years, the Eight Seconds Project has transformed into a stunning visual testament to the enduring legacy of Black cowboys.

Eight Seconds Project

Through his lens, McClellan captures the grit, grace, and unwavering spirit of these men and women. We see them not just riding bulls for eight seconds (the defining moment of a rodeo competition) but also training their horses, tending to their ranches, and living a life deeply connected to the land.

The Eight Seconds Project isn’t just about showcasing exceptional photography; it’s about rewriting the narrative of the Wild West. McClellan’s work has garnered the attention of well known Western brands like Stetson and Wrangler, helping to spread awareness and appreciation for Black cowboys on a national scale.

Eight Seconds Project

The Eight Seconds Project is a powerful reminder that the American West was, and continues to be, shaped by people of color. It’s a call to action to celebrate the richness of our heritage and redefine the cowboys we see on screen and in history books.

Eight Seconds Project

Pre-orders for the photobook, “Eight Seconds: Black Rodeo Culture,” featuring photographs by Ivan McClellan, are now open. The item is set to be released on April 30, 2024.

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5 mins read

Black Owned Luxury Hotel, Jnane Tamsna Hosting Writers Retreat in Morocco for Black Authors

Jnane Tamsna is the only Black woman-owned luxury hotel resort located in the lush date palm forest of Marrakech, Morocco.

In partnership with Parea Books, Jnane Tamsna is launching the Philoxenia retreats, an Immersive Literature & Writing Retreat for four esteemed authors in a series of generative creative writing workshops that explore themes of self-expansion, societal revolution, cultural presence, and embodiment.

Jnane Tamsna

The workshops ( January 6th to 11th 2023) will be complemented by cultural activities, including private tours of the city’s majestic medina and sojourns to secret gardens within the city’s walls.

This will be a space to discover, create, reflect, and develop relationships with people across borders, cultures, and backgrounds.


Cleyvis Natera

Cleyvis Natera is an essayist, short fiction writer, critic and novelist. Her debut novel Neruda on the Park was an anticipated book of 2022 by TIME, the Today Show, Good Morning America’s Zibby Owens, ELLE. Upon publication, Neruda on the Park was selected as a May 2022 New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Camille T. Dungy
Camille T. Dungy is an author, poet and scholar. Author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award. Her debut collection of personal essays is Guidebook to Relative Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dungy is currently a Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and received his MFA from Syracuse University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Literary Hub, the Paris Review. He is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.
Tanaïs is the author of In Sensorium: Notes for My People, a finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize, and the critically acclaimed novel Bright Lines, which was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize. TANAÏS is based in New York City.


Meryanne Loum-Martin is the owner of Jnane Tamsna. We caught up with her to find out more about this exciting cultural experience.
Jnane Tamsna
Meryanne Loum-Martin

Why is this retreat important to you?

In a world where so many deserve to be seen but still are not, in a corporate space where to reach the same level, we are expected to stand out: we need our voice.

Curated by our mind, customized by our uniqueness, and enriched by our experience, our voice is our personal tool for change,  growth, and impact.

With our Philoxenia retreats, we want to learn from prominent storytellers and writers of color.

Jnane Tamsna is a space in which energy, style, and architecture have “ de facto” been a catalyst for transformative experiences. It favors a remarkable connection between people.

It is important for me to bring this efficient and educational tool to the immense construction site which is diversity, inclusion, and equity.

How can people support this event?

There are 3 ways:

  1. Individuals can book the retreat.
  2. Corporations can send employees. The unique bond of this shared experience will impact the conversation back in the office.
  3. Donations to The Global Diversity Foundation will pay for their airfare and a small stipend of up to 10 young writers. Most of them coming from HBCUs. Jnane Tamsna will offer them room and board.

Please contact for more information.


1 min read

5 Ways To Maximize Your Money with Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is an award-winning teacher of financial education and is quickly becoming America’s favorite, personal financial educator.

The Budgetnista

In this interview, we discuss what business skills have helped her build multiple multi-million dollar businesses. We also discuss her new book, “Get Good with Money”, and what it means to be “financially whole.” Tiffany also shared the first five steps to achieving financial wholeness.


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Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

Is Black Buying Power a Myth or Reality?

Dr. Jared A. Ball is a father and husband. After that, he is a Professor of Communication Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.

In his book, The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power, Dr.Ball proposes amongst other things that Black America does not have an annual $1+ trillion that is somehow being spent frivolously rather than harnessed to the betterment of the Black community.

The book also proposes that “buying power,” as a concept is “entirely misunderstood and has been for so long that it continues to confound and inhibit conversations about the Black economic condition and what might be done about it.”

black buying power

In this interview, we discuss:

1) The origin of the term and concept of “buying power”.

2) The definition of actual economic strength and how it is created.

3) Which comes first, economic power or political power.

4) Ideas on how the Black community can gain political power.

and more.

Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

The Racial Wealth Gap, Political Power vs Economic Power, and Reparations with Mehrsa Baradaran

Mehrsa Baradaran is the author of the best selling book, “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap”.

This book has become required reading for those who want to get a better understanding of how Black communities have been shut out of the banking system and how wealth creation in the Black community has been stagnated.

In this interview, we discuss the series of events that led to the racial wealth gap and how the gap can be closed.

We also discuss Black banks and their past and present role in creating Black wealth.

Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel!


Tony O. Lawson

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8 mins read

Why Octavia Butler’s Novels Are So Relevant Today

It’s campaign season in the US, and a charismatic dark horse is running with the slogan ‘make America great again’. According to his opponent, he’s a demagogue; a rabble-rouser; a hypocrite. When his supporters form mobs and burn people to death, he condemns their violence “in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear”.

He accuses, without grounds, whole groups of people of being rapists and drug dealers. How much of this rhetoric he actually believes and how much he spouts “just because he knows the value of dividing in order to conquer and to rule” is at once debatable, and increasingly beside the point, as he strives to return the country to a “simpler” bygone era that never actually existed.

octavia butler
Art by Makeba Rainey (@justkeebs)

You might think he sounds familiar – but the character in question is Texas Senator Andrew Steele Jarret, the fictional presidential candidate who storms to victory in a dystopian science-fiction novel titled Parable of the Talents. Written by Octavia E Butler, it was published in 1998, two decades before the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

Like much of her writing, Butler’s book was a warning about where the US and humanity in general might be heading. In some respects, we’ve beaten her to it: a sequel to 1993’s Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents is set in what is still the future, 2032. While its vision is extreme, there is plenty that feels within the bounds of possibility: resources are increasingly scarce, the planet is boiling, religious fundamentalism is rife, the middle classes live in walled-off enclaves. The novel’s protagonist, a black woman like the author herself, fears that Jarret’s authoritarianism will only worsen matters.
octavia butler

Fourteen years after her early death, Butler’s reputation is soaring. Her predictions about the direction that US politics would take, and the slogan that would help speed it there, are certainly uncanny. But that wasn’t all she foresaw. She challenged traditional gender identity, telling a story about a pregnant man in Bloodchild and envisaging shape-shifting, sex-changing characters in Wild Seed. Her interest in hybridity and the adaptation of the human race, which she explored in her Xenogenesis trilogy, anticipated non-fiction works by the likes of Yuval Noah Harari. Concerns about topics including climate change and the pharmaceutical industry resonate even more powerfully now than when she wove them into her work.

octavia butler

And of course, by virtue of her gender and ethnicity, she was striving to smash genre assumptions about writers – and readers – so ingrained that in 1987, her publisher still insisted on putting two white women on the jacket of her novel Dawn, whose main character is black. She also helped reshape fantasy and sci-fi, bringing to them naturalism as well as characters like herself. And when she won the prestigious MacArthur ‘genius’ grant in 1995, it was a first for any science-fiction writer.

Octavia Estelle Butler was born on 22 June 1947. Her father, a shoeshiner, died when she was very young, and she was raised by her mother, a maid, in Pasadena, California. As an only child, Butler began entertaining herself by telling stories when she was just four. Later, tall for her age and painfully shy, growing up in an era of segregation and conformity, that same storytelling urge became an escape route. She read, too, hungrily and in spite of her dyslexia. Her mother – who herself had been allowed only a scant few years of schooling – took her to get a library card, and would bring back cast-off books from the homes she cleaned.

An alternate future

Through fiction, Butler learnt to imagine an alternate future to the drab-seeming life that was envisioned for her: wife, mother, secretary. “I fantasised living impossible, but interesting lives – magical lives in which I could fly like Superman, communicate with animals, control people’s minds”, she wrote in 1999. She was 12 when she discovered science fiction, the genre that would draw her most powerfully as a writer. “It appealed to me more, even, than fantasy because it required more thought, more research into things that fascinated me,” she explained. Even as a young girl, those sources of fascination ranged from botany and palaeontology to astronomy. She wasn’t a particularly good student, she said, but she was “an avid one”.

After high school, Butler went on to graduate from Pasadena City College with an Associates of Arts degree in 1968. Throughout the 1970s, she honed her craft as a writer, finding, through a class with the Screen Writers’ Guild Open Door Program, a mentor in sci-fi veteran Harlan Ellison, and then selling her first story while attending the Clarion Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop. Supporting herself variously as a dishwasher, telemarketer and inspector at a crisp factory, she would wake at 2am to write. After five years of rejection slips, she sold her first novel, Patternmasterin 1975, and when it was published the following year, critics praised its well-built plot and refreshingly progressive heroine. It imagines a distant future in which humanity has evolved into three distinct genetic groups, the dominant one telepathic, and introduces themes of hierarchy and community that would come to define her work. It also spawned a series, with two more books, Mind of My Mind and Survivor, following before the decade’s end.

With the $1,750 advance that Survivor earnt her, Butler took a trip east to Maryland, the setting for a novel she wanted to write about a young black woman who travels back in time to the Deep South of 19th-Century America. Having lived her entire life on the West Coast, she travelled by cross-country bus, and it was during a three-hour wait at a bus station that she wrote the first and last chapters of what would become Kindred. It was published in 1979 and remains her best-known book.

The 1980s would bring a string of awards, including two Hugos, the science-fiction awards first established in 1953. They also saw the publication of her Xenogenesis trilogy, which was spurred by talk of ‘winnable nuclear war’ during the arms race, and probes the idea that humanity’s hierarchical nature is a fatal flaw.The books also respond to debates about human genetic engineering and captive breeding programs for endangered species.


Read the rest at BBC Culture

3 mins read

10 Toni Morrison Quotes That Show Why She Was A Literary Genius

Toni Morrison, the literary GIANT, who manipulated the English language to illustrate and punctuate our humanity as Black people, children of the Sun, has joined our ancestors.

She was a force to reckon with on this side, she will be indomitable in the other. Thank you for Sula, for Milkman, for Pecola, for Baby Suggs, for Beloved. May we never let your work be in vain. Walk in light.

Here are just a few of our favorite Toni Morrison quotes:

Toni Morrison Quotes

“If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

“Now he knew why he loved her so. Without ever leaving the ground, she could fly.”

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

Credit: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

toni morrison quotes
Credit: The Guardian

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’”

toni morrison quotes
Credit: Glamour

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

“Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?”

“if you can only be tall because somebody’s on their knees, you have a serious problem.”

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photo by Bettman/Corbis



-Tony O. Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

3 mins read

11 Year Old Boy Lands Book Deal About Crocheting After His Creations Go Viral

In July, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based KWiL Publishing will publish Hello, Crochet Friends! Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy by a debut author: 11-year-old Jonah Larson. This is proof that while writing a viral article can lead to a book deal, but so can being the subject of one. That’s exactly what happened after a January 2019 La Crosse Tribune article about Larson’s crochet skills went viral, breaking traffic records at the newspaper’s website.

The article detailed how Larson, who was adopted from Ethiopia, taught himself to crochet at age five by watching YouTube videos, and now creates blankets, table runners and mittens which he sells as part of his business, Jonah’s Hands. According to National Public Radio, “Jonah regularly donates some of his goods and money to the Ethiopian orphanage from which he was adopted as an infant.” The young crochet enthusiast also maintains a popular Instagram account, which currently has over 119,000 followers, where he’s crocheted with Senator Tammy Baldwin, among others. Larson also has over 19,000 followers on YouTube. Response to the initial article led to media coverage on “Good Morning America” and other national outlets; the crochet wunderkind was so inundated with requests he had to turn down “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

The book, which will be co-authored by the crochet prodigy’s mother, Jennifer Larson, with photos by Erin Harris, will mark the debut of KWiL Publishing’s Rock Star Kids imprint, a “collection of picture book autobiographies that include extensive, engaging back matter and are authored by kids who are doing incredible things with their lives.”

According to KWiL Publishing Founder and President/Publisher Abby Nies Janowiec, the deal came about quickly after she heard about Jonah’s crocheting talents through social media. “I contacted Jonah’s mother, Jennifer, on Saturday, February 9th,” Janowiec said in an interview. “At that time, she had also been contacted by several much larger publishing houses. She accepted my offer to submit a book proposal, and by the following Tuesday we had signed an agreement to publish Hello, Crochet Friends! Jennifer shared with me her desire to work with a publisher in Wisconsin, and we had a very similar vision for the book.”

The book will cover everything from the act of crocheting to its impact on the broader community. The publisher’s website detailing the contents reads in part, “Jonah welcomes readers into his process, sharing everything from his preferred crocheting atmosphere―end of sofa, lights dimmed, close to his mom―to his favorite stitches and yarns. How can Jonah crochet so quickly? He writes, ‘It’s like breathing to me.’”


Source: Forbes