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First Black-Owned Urgent Care Center opens in Chicago

Premier Health Urgent Care, the only urgent care facility in the Southside’s Hyde Park neighborhood, and the only Black-owned urgent care possibly in the city of Chicago has opened for business.

Black-Owned Urgent Care
Pictured above from (L to R): Dr. Mike McGee; Germaine Henderson, APN; Renita White, PA-C; Jennifer Kirk, AP; Dr. Airron Richardson and Dr. Reuben Rutland. (Chicago Crusader)

With a commitment to providing affordable, convenient community care a portion of profits from the center will be donated to the Project Outreach and Prevention (POP) organization, which aims to prevent youth violence in surrounding neighborhoods by providing resources, services and education to assist teens in making better life-long choices.

Premier’s founders include board certified emergency medicine physicians Airron Richardson, MD, MBA, FACEP and Michael A. McGee, MD, MPH, FACEP and board-certified trauma surgeon and United States Navy veteran Reuben C. Rutland MD, MBA. The facility was launched in partnership with Dr. Gregory Primus, former Chicago Bears wide receiver and the first African American trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago.

“We are happy to open an urgent care in Hyde Park because the community needs it. I see so many urban professionals who either delay or go without care because of time constraints. No one has 8 hours to wait in the emergency department for a minor illness or the flexibility to wait 3 weeks because their primary care doctor is booked solid. We are here to help fill that gap,” says Dr. Rutland. “We are not in competition with the doctors’ offices or the emergency department. We are a supplement to them both, to help relieve the stress on those two facilities.”

The center, located at 1301 E. 47th Street Building #2 Chicago, IL, will care for people of all ages, providing urgent care, occupational health, basic wellness and prevention services. Walk-in treatment is available for various conditions including: abrasions (scrapes), abscesses (boils), bites (dog or human), broken bones (fractures), minor burns, colds, coughs, conjunctivitis (“pink eye”), contusions (bruises), cuts (lacerations) that may require stitches, dislocations, ear infections, eye and ear injuries, hand injuries, foreign object and splinter removal, foot injuries, influenza (the flu), ingrown toenails, joint injuries (sprains), muscle injuries (strains), minor nosebleeds, rashes (ringworm, poison ivy, etc.), sexually transmitted diseases, sinus infections, sore and strep throat, stings (insects and bees) and UTI’s (urinary tract infections).

The office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and offers multiple exam and procedure rooms to give patients quick and easy access to care they can count on. Once a patient is seen, they are typically treated in less than an hour, making Premier’s walk-in clinic an ideal provider of the immediate care when it’s needed the most. Premier accepts many major types of insurance and offers services at a fraction of the cost of hospital-affiliated urgent care or emergency rooms.

To learn more about Premier Health Urgent Care and its services visit their website. 


Source: Chicago Defender


The Ultimate List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens

Black owned farms make up less than 2 percent of all farms in the United States.

According to a recent report, Black farmers lost 80 percent of their farmland from 1910 to 2007, often because they lacked access to loans or insurance needed to sustain their businesses.

The report mentions the “long and well-documented history of discrimination against Black farmers by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).”

It goes on to state that “The unequal administration of government farm support programs, crucial to protecting farmers from an inherently risky enterprise, has had a profound impact on rural communities of color.”

It is clear that that Black farmers need help now more than ever. We also need fresh produce they provide. Here is a list of Black owned farms and food gardens that you can support.

Black Owned Farms


black owned farms
Darden Bridgeforth & Sons Farms/ Credit: News Courier

Darden Bridgeforth & Sons (Tanner, AL)

Bain Home Garden (Rehoboth, AL)

Binford Farms (Athens, AL)

Datus Henry Industries (Birmingham, AL )

Fountain Heights Farms (Birmingham, AL)

Hawkins Homestead Farm (Kinsey, AL)


MillBrook Urban Farms

Millbrook Urban Farms (Phoenix, AZ )

Patagonia Flower Farms (Patagonia, AZ)

Project Rootz Farm (Phoenix, AZ)


black owned farms
Will Scott of Scott Family Farms/ Credit: AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka

African American Farmers of California demo farm (Fresno, CA)

Farms to Grow, Inc. (Oakland, CA)

Corky’s Nuts (Northern CA)

Scott Family Farms (Fresno, CA)

Rancho de Rodney (Fresno, CA)


Root Life (New Haven, CT)

The DMV Area (DC, MD, VA)

black owned farms
Soilful City/Facebook


Good Sense Farm

Good Sense Farm (Washington, DC)

Three Part Harmony (Washington, DC)

Soilful City (Washington, DC)

Sylvanaqua Farms (Washington, DC/Norfolk, VA)


Cherry Hill Urban Garden

Cherry Hill Urban Garden (Cherry Hill, MD)

Deep Roots Farm (Brandywine, MD)

Dodo Farms (Brookeville, MD) 

Four Mother’s Farm (Princess Anne, MD)

Jenny’s Market (Friendship, MD)

The Bladensburg Farm (Riverdale, MD)

Tha Flower Factory  (Baltimore, MD)



Haynie Farms (Reedville, VA)

Berrily Urban (Northern VA)

Botanical Bites Provisions (Fredericksburg, VA)

Boyd Farms (Nathalie VA)

Broadrock Community Garden (Richmond, VA)

Browntown Farms (Warfield, VA)

Brunswick Agriculture and Cultural Model Homesteading & Equestrian Center (Warfield , VA)

Carter Family Farm (Unionville, VA)

Cusheeba Earth: A Soil Culture Farm (Onley, VA)

Fitrah Farms (Central VA)

Go Greens Farms (Suffolk, VA)

Haynie Farm (Reedville, VA)

Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest (Birdsnest, VA)

Mor-Cannabis (Scottsburg, VA)

Vanguard Ranch (Gordonsville, VA)

Verde Hemp Farms (Surry County, VA)


Griffin Organic Poultry

Harvest Blessing Garden (Jacksonville, FL)

Fisher Farms (Jonesville, FL)

Griffin Organic Poultry (Harthorne, FL)

Infinite Zion Roots Farms (Apopka, FL)

Ital Life Farm (Tampa, FL)

Marlow Farms (Kissimmee, FL)

Seed Mail Seed (West Palm Beach, FL)

Smarter By Nature LLC  (Tallahassee, FL)


black owned farms
The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm /Facebook

Swanson Family Farm (Hampton, GA)

Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network (Atlanta, GA)

The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (Royston, GA)

Semente Farm (Lithonia, GA)

Patchwork City Farms (Atlanta, GA)

Local Lands (Dublin, GA)

Miller City Farm (Fairburn, GA)

Nature’s Candy Farm (Atlanta, GA)

Noble Honey Company (Atlanta, GA)

Restoration Estates Farms (Haddock, GA)

Semente Farm (Lithonia, GA)

Tea Brew Farm (Central Georgia)

The Green Toad Hemp Farm (Metter, GA)

Truly Living Well (Atlanta, GA)


AM Lewis Farms (Matteson, IL )

Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Living (Pembroke Township, IL)

Chi City Foods ( Chicago, IL)

Dusable City Ancestral Winery & Vineyards and Dusable City Botanical Farms

Roots & Vine Produce and Cafe (Chicago, IL)

Salem Hemp Kings (Salem, IL)

Urban Growers Collective (Chicago, IL)

Your Bountiful Harvest (Chicago, IL)


The Russellville Urban Gardening Project (Russellville KY)

Barbour Farm (Canmer, KY)

Ballew Estates (Madison Co, Kentucky)

Cleav’s Family Market Farm (Bonnieville, KY)

Slak Market Farm (Lexington, KY)


black owned farms
Harper Armstrong, owner of Armstrong Farms/ Facebook

Armstrong Farms (Bastrop, LA)

Cryer’s Family Produce (Mount Hermon, LA)

Grow Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Laketilly Acres (New Orleans, LA)

Mama Isis Farm & Market (Baton Rouge, LA)

Oko Vue Produce Co (New Orleans, LA)

Provost Farm (Iberia Parish, LA)


Agric Organics Urban Farming (Springfield, MA)

Urban Farming Institute of Boston (Mattapan, MA)


Annabessacook Farm (Winthrop, Maine)


D-TownFarm (Detroit, MI)


Earcine (Cine`) Evans, founder of Francis Flowers & Herbs Farm

34th Street Wholistic Gardens & Education Center (Gulfport, MS )

Francis Flowers & Herbs Farm(Pickens, MS)

John H. Moody Farm (Soso, MS)

Morris Farms (Mound Bayou, MS)

RD & S Farm (Brandon, MS)

Field Masters Produce (Tylerton, MS)

Foot Print Farms (Jackson, MS)


black owned farm
Will Witherspoon, CEO of Shire Gate Farm

Shire Gate Farm (Owensville, MO)

New Hampshire

New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery (Winchester, NH)

New Jersey

Free Haven Farms (Lawnside, NJ)

Hawk Mountain Earth Center (Newark, NJ )

Hyah Heights (Newark, NJ )

Jerzey Buzz (Newark, NJ )

Morris Gbolo’s World Crop Farms (Vineland, NJ)

Ward’s Farm (Salem, NJ)

New York

Karen Washington, Co-Owner of Rise & Root Farm./ Twitter

Rise & Root Farm (Chester, NY)

East New York Farms (Brooklyn, NY)

Brooklyn Rescue Mission Urban Harvest (Brooklyn, NY)

Soul Fire Farm (Petersburg, NY)

North Carolina

black owned farms
Mother’s Finest Urban Farms

Mother’s Finest Urban Farms (Winston Salem, NC)

Abanitu Farm (Roxboro, NC)

Fourtee Acres (Enfield, NC)

First Fruits Farm (Louisburg, NC)

Yellow Mountain Garden (Franklin, NC)

Pine Knot Farms (Hillsborough, NC)

Savage Farms (Durham, NC)

Green Heffa Farms (Liberty, NC)

black owned farms
Green Heffa Farms


Rid-All Green Partnership (Cleveland, OH)


Mudbone Grown (Portland, OR)

Rainshadow Organics (Sisters, OR)


The Philadelphia Urban Creators /Facebook

Mill Creek Farm (Philadelphia, PA)

The Philadelphia Urban Creators (Philadelphia, PA)

South Carolina

Fresh Future Farms/ Adam Chandler Photography

Fresh Future Farm (North Charleston, SC)

Gullah Farmers Cooperative (St. Helena Island, SC)

Gullah Farmers

Morning Glory Homestead Farm (St. Helena Island, SC) 

Rare Variety Farms (Columbia, SC)

SCF Organic Farms (Sumter, SC)


We Over Me Farm (Dallas, TX)

Jacobs’ Family Farms (Dallas, TX)

Bonton Farms (Dallas, TX)

Berkshire Farms Winery (Wilmer, TX )

Caney Creek Ranch (Oakwood, TX )

Fresh Life Organics (Houston, TX)

Lee Lover’s Clover Honey (Houston,TX)

Lettuce Live Urban Farm (Missouri City, TX)

Long Walk Spring Farm (New Boston, TX)

Uncommon Bees (Jasper, TX)


Clemmons Family Farm

Clemmons Family Farm (Charlotteville, VT)

Strafford Creamery (Strafford, VT)

Washington State

black owned farms
Clean Greens Farms/ Camille Dohrn

Sky Island Farm (Humptulips, WA)

Clean Greens (Seattle, WA)


Mwanaka Fresh Farm Foods (London)



-Tony O. Lawson

Special thanks to Ark Republic, who’s  Black Farmers Index was used to update portions of this list!

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(Feature Image: Adam Chandler Photography)


Black Owned Juice Bars You Should Know

The $2.2 billion a year Juice bar industry is growing due to an increased focus on healthier consumption of fruits and vegetables and recent changes in dietary habits.

Support these Black owned Juice bars that are promoting healthy living. Many are offering takeout and delivery.

Black Owned Juice Bars

iGet Juiced (Snellville, GA)

Local Green (Atlanta, GA)

Sage Juice Bar & Cafe (Duluth, GA)

Turning Natural (D.C. & MD locations)

Just Picd Juices (Norfolk, VA)

Juices For Life (Bronx, NY)

Fusion Smoothie and Juice Bar (Summerville, SC)

The Juice Kitchen  (Milwaukee, WI)

Stripp’d Juice (Philadelphia, PA)

Khepra’s Raw Food Juice Bar (Washington, D.C.)

Juiceheads (Atlanta, GA)

Malamiah Juice Bar  (Grand Rapids, MI)

Joy’s Health Sanctuary (London, UK)


-Tony O. Lawson

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Pastor Blends Faith and Farms to end Food Insecurity in Black Churches

Several years ago, Rev. Heber Brown III decided he needed to do more than pray. The now 38-year-old pastor at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, noticed more members of his congregation were suffering from diet-related illnesses.

In Baltimore City, one in three residents is obese and 12 percent has Type 2 diabetes — two conditions that disproportionately affect black Americans.

Additionally, 34 percent of black residents in Baltimore live in food deserts (compared to 8 percent of white residents) and don’t have regular access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods.

So Brown turned to seeds, in addition to scripture, and started a garden on a 1,500-square-foot plot of land in front of the church. Today, that garden grows everything from summer squash to kale, and yields 1,100 pounds of produce — all to feed the community that meets weekly to worship.

“It was amazing,” said Brown, who, in addition to starting the garden, partnered with black farmers in the area to bring pop-up markets to the church after Sunday service.

Rev. Heber Brown III and Aleya Fraser, co-founder of Black Dirt Farm, hold up produce from the farm.

“We saw attendance bump up in our worship, we saw a great energy … and it went so [well] here, that I wondered what would happen if we could spread it through other churches and create a network of churches that do the same thing.”

In 2015, Brown launched The Black Church Food Security Network — a grassroots initiative that empowers black churches to establish a sustainable food system to combat the systemic injustices and disparities that plague black Americans, who, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are sicker and poorer than non-black Americans.

The network currently operates at more than 10 congregations in Baltimore, most of which are located in the city’s “food priority areas.” There are also participating churches and farms in D.C., Virginia and North Carolina — and the list is growing.

“We have people contacting us from all over — different religions, different parts of the city. The phone is always ringing, the emails are always coming in from churches saying, ‘Hey, we want in,’” said Brown, who added that he also receives interest from people of different races.

“They see it as important, they recognize that farmers markets are great, but there are gaps that farmers markets are not filling, and African American farmers, in particular, have unique struggles.”

His goal is to meet a need on both ends of the spectrum by supplying under-served communities with the food they need, while moving and marketing the food produced.

Merging faith and food may seem unconventional to some, but Brown said every time he talks about connecting churches with agriculture, he gets “ready amens and strong head nods.”

Church members tending to the Black Food Security Network garden at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church.

“It just makes sense,” said Brown, who finds inspiration for his work from visionaries such as Fannie Lou Hamer, who founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1967, and Vernon Johns.

“Spirituality and agriculture have a deep relationship that is outlined in sacred scripture and that is practiced in weekly gatherings in worship spaces, and so I have no problem getting people to buy into this vision.”

These days, Brown does less digging and harvesting and focuses more on connecting communities with farmers and matching volunteers with various church gardens. He also helps churches figure out how to make use of the space they already own — classrooms, kitchens and land — most of which are only utilized once a week.

“And I think that’s a gross waste of resources,” Brown said.

“If your Monday through Saturday approach can include agriculture initiatives — farming or gardening or supporting a local farmer — that’s a big-time plus.”

It’s also an empowering and sustainable model when it comes to fighting hunger. Too often, food insecure communities receive charity, which is great in emergency situations, but is not a long-term fix.

“And I think solutions for the long haul have to spring from those who are most directly affected by the issue,” Brown said.

“Food is always going to be a priority for our communities. And churches and faith-based organizations, I got a strong hunch, will always be here.”

Brown sees The Black Church Food Security Network “going far into the future,” one community at a time. He dreams of a day when churches across the country have markets where “people can come and praise and worship and sing and get a good chunk of the groceries they need for their household at the same time.”

And for those outside of the black church who want to help, Brown said supporting, not leading, is the most productive strategy.

“If you come in with the mentality that I cannot be fully free until everybody is fully free, it makes for better partners,” he said.

“And if we are strategic in being courageous subversives for each other, then I think the world that our children will inherit will be better than the one that we’re in right now.”


Source: WTOP 


These Entrepreneurs Open The First Breast Cancer Boutique in the D.C. Area

Cherry Blossom Intimates offers intimate-wear for breast cancer survivors and women who seek proper bra fit in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It is the region’s first medical custom prosthetics and lingerie store of its kind.

Jasmine Jones, chief operating officer for Cherry Blossom Intimates and former Miss D.C. USA 2016, said this store “would not only help women with breast cancer, but females all over.”

Breast Cancer
Jasmine Jones and Dr. Regina Hampton

“I lost my grandmother to breast cancer my sophomore year in college,” Jones said. “I remember her having to go and shop for prosthetic pieces that didn’t properly fit and only came in one color while store employees stuffed her behind a curtain to try them on.”

“It got to the point where after a while, my grandmother just stopped wearing them all together…They didn’t fit or make her feel beautiful. I wanted to do something to change that. Something that would allow all women going through this same journey to be able to do it with dignity and comfort and that’s what Cherry Blossom Intimates is all about.”

Dr. Regina Hampton and Jasmine Jones champion breast cancer. (Photo credit: Cherry Blossom Intimates)

To better accommodate women of all ethnic backgrounds, the breast care store will offer each client chest wall graphs, in order to mimic natural breast for prosthetics, nude nipple coverings in an array of skin tones and varied bra sizes from AA to size Q.

In addition to the items available for breast cancer survivors, the store will also provide other high quality styled bras, lingerie and shapeware for everyday women, that Jones says “will for the first time, allow girlfriends with or without breast cancer to laugh and shop together.”

“When Dr. Regina Hampton, the originator of Cherry Blossom Intimates and one of the founders of Southeast D.C.’s Breast Care for Washington came up with this vision, I was completely on board,” Jones said. “What a wonderful way to bring women together. What’s more, is that Regina took so much pride in her work from just understanding the female body to how important it is to feel beautiful.”

Hampton, a Howard University alumna, with more than 10 years in practice and one of the few breast care surgeons in Prince George’s County, said starting this next venture, was “a dream come true.”

“In places like Europe, beautiful undergarments are worn daily, just for the purpose of making the woman feel her most beautiful. In the United States however, lingerie is often worn to make somebody else feel good… it’s time to change that.”

“Women should be able to feel empowered every day by what they have on, from outer garments to lingerie—and breast cancer survivors are no exception,” Hampton continued. “I mean at our store we have shapeware, push up bras, wireless bras, lace and everything in between.”

Those who attend the weeklong celebration can look forward to complimentary teas, desserts, finger foods, musical guests, rose gold and champagne pink accents, plush dressing rooms, pink moss walls and a special section for young girls, coming of age.

Breast Cancer Boutique

“This store is for everybody” Hampton said. “While preparing for our breast cancer survivors and our every day women, we also thought to remember our girls. Pubescence is such a special time for young girls and so we wanted to provide a special line of training bras as well.”

“Being able to help other people is so important and it makes you feel so good,” Hampton continued. “I just want to show women that they are all beautiful no matter the package and make them believe it. I am so excited for Cherry Blossom Intimates.”

The facility plans to have medical in-house billing for all types of insurance for all their  products and will also provide an alternative to those without appropriate coverage.

Cherry Blossom Intimates is  located at 9201 Woodmore Center Drive Suite 426 Glenarden, Md.


Source: AFRO


Daughters of the Diaspora is teaching young Black women about Reproductive Health

When Shanaye Jeffers was in fourth grade, she often skipped touch football and double-dutch jump rope at recess to read a book on puberty. In fifth grade, she jumped at the chance to do a school project on childbirth.

By the time Jeffers got her period in sixth grade, she was already well-versed in reproductive health. She knew that women are most fertile when they’re ovulating. That wearing tight, synthetic clothing can increase the risk of a yeast infection. That it’s important to wash private parts but not with heavily scented products.

And she also knew her dedication to understanding reproductive health was unusual.

Daughters of the Diaspora

Most girls don’t know about the inner workings of their bodies, sexual-health experts say — especially black teenage girls, who often face stigma against asking questions at home and are poorly served by sex-education school curriculums tailored for a white majority.

“Sex ed is not serving young black women really at all,” said Jeffers, now a 28-year-old obstetrics and gynecology resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

She’s trying to change that. As Philadelphia site director for Daughters of the Diaspora, a nonprofit founded in 2012 to teach black teenage girls about reproductive health and self-esteem, Jeffers is working to give other girls the same knowledge and passion to take charge of their health that she had as a child.

The information is often hard to come by, Jeffers said. If girls ask family members about sex or development, they’ll likely be accused of “trying to be grown.” Many parents fear discussing sex is the first step toward having it. For immigrant families from Africa, there can be additional stigma around the topic of HIV, which is widespread among young women there and causes more than half a million deaths on the continent each year.

In U.S. schools, black students are more likely to receive abstinence-only education than white students, according to a Washington University study. And even when they receive a comprehensive curriculum, it is rarely tailored to their lives and culture, experts say.

DAUGHTERS OF THE DIASPORA Shanaye Jeffers (center, front) with girls at a Philadelphia summit held by Daughters of the Diaspora.

The problem is not just about satisfying girls’ curiosity. Studies show that receiving comprehensive sex ed can delay the initiation of sex, increase contraceptive use, and reduce teenage pregnancies.

Though birth rates for black teens have dropped significantly in recent decades, they are still more than twice as likely as white girls to become pregnant. They have a higher risk of facing sexual violence and contracting a sexually transmitted disease, especially in Philadelphia, where rates of transmission are three to five times higher than the national average.

“I really want to break the cycle,” Jeffers said.

Daughters of the Diaspora (DoD) recruits medical students to lead groups of three to five teenage girls, typically from West or Southwest Philadelphia, in lessons on female anatomy, contraception, and goal-setting over a three-month period. The teens are recruited through local schools and community connections.

Though the curriculum is heavy on medical information — describing how different hormones interact with the brain, ovaries and uterus — it’s meant to be relatable. A SEPTA map is used as an analogy for the endocrine system. Quotes from Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston are scattered throughout.

The medical students, as young black women themselves, act as role models, often sharing their own experiences in the hopes of boosting girls’ self-esteem and helping them envision new futures.

“We try to get these young ladies to see themselves in a way they probably haven’t before,” Jeffers said. “As agents of their own health.”

Not just a Philly problem

Joy Cooper can still remember sitting in a health class at Philadelphia High School for Girls, listening to her middle-aged, male volleyball coach recite textbook passages on contraception to an all-female class.

Students were too uncomfortable to answer questions, let alone ask any, said Cooper, a co-founder of DoD and now a 34-year-old ob-gyn in Oakland, Calif. “I realized who’s delivering the information makes a difference,” she said.

More than a decade later, 18-year-old Fatme Chaloub had a similar experience. A 2017 graduate of Girls’ High, she said her sex-ed class was also taught by a middle-aged white man. The class had good information, but “if an older person is talking to me, I feel uncomfortable,” Chaloub said. The DoD curriculum, taught by women just a few years older than she, “was more relatable.”
Nenna Nwazota (left) and Joy Cooper are co-founders of Daughters of the Diaspora.

But this isn’t a Girls’ High problem. Or even a Philadelphia problem. Across the nation, research shows, black girls are poorly served by sex ed, if they’re getting any at all.

In Pennsylvania, schools are required only to provide education on HIV and AIDS, with a focus on abstinence. The Philadelphia School District provides teachers with additional information on contraception and dating violence, but it does not require any specific curriculum. What students learn can vary greatly depending on the teacher.

At Horace Furness High School in South Philadelphia, health and physical education teacher Colleen Hanna supplements the district-provided textbook with song lyrics that discuss sexual stereotypes of women. She is working to include more information on gender identity and sexual violence, too, but it’s a slow process. While the district provides guidance, “a lot of the research comes down to me,” Hanna said.

Though it isn’t the case in Philadelphia, research shows that, nationally, black students are more likely to receive abstinence-only education because they are often in poorer school districts that rely on federal funding. “Schools with few resources can hardly afford to turn away these offers of outside help,” a report in the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy states.

But abstinence-only curriculums can reinforce harmful stereotypes of black people, said Tracie Gilbert, an independent sex educator with a doctorate in human sexuality education from Widener University. “The narrative is that, without restriction, black girls will be the most amoral sexual beings of society,” she said. Rather than teaching them to make informed decisions about their sex lives, many curriculums suggest they must be abstinent to avoid harming themselves or others.

Even more expansive curriculums, though — often created by white educators and based on research of white subjects — can be tone-deaf for students of color, said Laura McGuire, a certified sexuality educator and founder of the National Center for Equity & Agency. They often tell students to use birth control, but “there might not be easy access to any of those things,” she said. Similarly, telling someone to delay pregnancy because it will help her get to college ignores students who don’t plan to take that path.

Some early, but slow, progress

Daughters of the Diaspora tries to supplement the shortcomings of school-based sex ed by creating a cycle of education within the black community. The idea is to make learning fun and show that it’s not confined to a classroom, Cooper said. The goal is that girls who participate in the curriculum will pass on that knowledge to their friends.

“How we educate people [in schools] is about the majority,” she said. “So when you’re in the minority, it’s left up to people in your community to try to make things better.”

About 40 girls in Philadelphia have gone through the curriculum in the last two years, Cooper said, and there are smaller chapters in New York, Oakland, and Apam, Ghana. Some of the students have started spreading the message.

Chaloub, from Southwest Philly, gave her cousin and her best friend recaps after every DoD class. She’d recount for them the different ways someone can contract an STD, the difference between bacterial and viral infections, and how to treat them.

Fatme Chaloub completed the Daughters of the Diaspora curriculum as a student.

Efforts similar to DoD are underway around the country, with organizations such as In Our Own Voice and Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN) pushing for more culturally inclusive sex ed.

“There’s a recognition that the way it’s always worked hasn’t worked well,” said Mariotta Gary-Smith, co-founder of WOCSHN. “These communities are going to continue to find ways to make sure their voices are heard.”

But it’s unclear whether educational efforts will impact the larger health disparities faced by black women in America. Research shows that even highly educated and high-income black people experience higher rates of hypertension, preterm birth, and other negative health outcomes compared with their white peers.

Education is only one piece in addressing this systemic issue, Jeffers said. “I can only hope this program makes women feel more inclined to seek help if there’s something abnormal or off in the future.”


Source: Philadelphia Inquirer


New Black Owned Urgent Care Is Ready to Serve the Community

According to a recent report by the Urgent Care Association of America, the Urgent Care industry is valued at $18 billion and is growing.

Black Owned Urgent Care in Brooklyn

This is a great opportunity for medical professionals/ entrepreneurs to provide much needed healthcare alternatives to the community while building a healthcare business.

Two medical professional who plan to do so are Dr. Tamara Moise and certified Physician Assistant, Wadson Fils, co founders of Big Apple Urgent Care, one of the few Black owned urgent care centers in the country and the first in Brooklyn.

The fully renovated medical center features six exam rooms, state-of-the-art equipment including an on-site x-ray, and a team of multilingual healthcare professionals fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish. Facilities such as this have the ability to appear all over the world and medical equipment is needed to help patients when they come in, somewhere like Bosshard Medical in Sydney, Australia does their best to help patients who are in need of medical equipment to use within home care.

What inspired you to start Big Apple Urgent Care?

I am an emergency room doctor who has worked in multiple ERs in underserved communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn, and my co-founder, Wadson Fils, is a physician assistant who has worked in some of the busiest emergency rooms in New York City.

Dr. Tamara Moise DO

While the work was rewarding, we found that many of the ER patients were there for non-emergency issues. When you’re in a community with limited availability to healthcare providers, you often have no choice but to go to the ER.

Wadson Fils, PA-C

I realized that providing community-focused, personalized care to areas as diverse as East Flatbush is sorely needed. I am the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and I understand that having a doctor who looks like you and understands your culture makes the experience more comfortable.

We’re also seeing more and more research that shows that having greater diversity in healthcare leads to better health outcomes in communities of color.

How do you ensure your organization is keeping up with the continual advances in medical technology?

We are committed to innovation because it improves health outcomes. We are active members of the Urgent Care Association (UCA), and we attend UCA workshops, which covers current trends in medicine and details how to maintain a modern facility. Additionally, Wadson is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and regularly attends their workshops, which are also focused on new innovations and the latest medical research.

What do you attribute the rapid growth of the Urgent care industry to?

Around the country, there have been a number of recent hospital closures. In New York City, 16 hospitals have closed since 2003 — 4 in Brooklyn alone. Additionally, in many communities, there is a shortage of primary care providers.

In East Flatbush, where we are located, people who need care have limited options given the ever-decreasing number of emergency rooms and primary care doctors who have to deal with less and less capacity to accommodate patients in a timely manner.

These dynamics are contributing to the growth of the urgent care industry. Moreover, corporate interests are recognizing these trends as business opportunities, which is why an increasing number of these new centers are corporate owned. We pride ourselves on being an independent physician and clinician-owned facility where the interests of the patients and the community come first.

What do you feel will be your keys to success as a business?

Our motto is “Be Heard. Be Helped. Be Healthy.” and we make sure that we adhere to this philosophy at every step of the patient’s experience with us. We know for many patients, visiting the doctor can be a stressful experience, and that many leave feeling their concerns weren’t fully acknowledged.

It is our goal that every patient that comes in is treated with care and respect in the midst of what can be overwhelming circumstances. I’m confident that a commitment to simply listening to people’s needs and making sure they understand that they’ve been heard will prove to be a successful business model.

In East Flatbush, we see ourselves as a neighbor to the community and the greater Brooklyn area with our focus specifically on the needs of residents. Our staff of medical professionals are multilingual—fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish—and, along with our state-of-the-art facility, are equipped to handle all kinds of medical needs such as employment physicals, minor illness and injury, immunizations, x-rays, lab work, and more.

We are a fully accredited urgent care facility and we’re here to meet this community’s needs. We’re open 7 days a week and most holidays for appointments and walk-ins and are here for patients who have an urgent medical need and can’t get an appointment to see their primary care doctor. We also accept multiple insurance plans, and we offer affordable healthcare services for those who are uninsured.

How do you both compliment each other business-wise?

We have a similar mindset and values. We believe that the best way to succeed as an urgent care facility is to connect with the community. If you fail to connect with patients in a meaningful and personalized way you won’t get far.

Wadson and I both understand the cultural nuances and dynamics of the community that we serve, which allows us to establish that connection early on.

We both come from a West Indian background that reflects the residents of East Flatbush and neighboring communities. We also share a commitment to addressing the persistent health disparities that exist in communities of color, not just through treatment but also through education.

When a patient comes in, we remind them that healthcare starts in the home, and we advise them on how they can lead a healthier lifestyle. We also hold a variety of wellness services and health fairs that are open to the community.

Our patients are hardworking. Many of them work 2 and 3 jobs, and they often leave their neighborhood to go to a doctor in Manhattan because of the condition of some of the medical facilities in their own community.

Our center is a brand new, fully renovated facility with state-of-the-art medical equipment because we want our patients to feel like they’re being treated in a medical facility in SoHo. We don’t think that patients should have to leave their neighborhood to receive high-quality care in a clean, thoughtfully maintained center.

Where do you see the business 5 years from now?

In 5 years, we expect that we will still be serving the East Flatbush community as a state-of-the-art health center. We would also like to open 2 to 3 more facilities in underserved areas around New York City.


-Tony O. Lawson

Visit Big Apple Urgent Care at 3805 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203 (between 38th and 39th Streets)

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‘White People Food’ Is Creating An Unattainable Picture Of Health

Tanisha Gordon doesn’t see what white people love so much about cottage cheese. Or salads, especially when they’re topped with fussy ingredients like candied almonds, pickled carrots or Brussels slaw.

Gordon is a 37-year-old employee at an IT company in the Washington, D.C. area, and until recently, her diet was deeply saturated with fast food ? McDonald’s, Taco Bell, you name it. When her doctor diagnosed her last year with pre-diabetes and prescribed her a CPAP machine to help her sleep through the night, she began working with a nutritionist to clean up her diet. But the lifestyle change she sought would require more than cutting out Chicken McNuggets. Cutting out foods like this can be very hard. One way to enjoy foods like this is to cook them yourself and use a healthier method of cooking. One way that is healthy is air frying. Visit to find out more about the benefits.

As a black woman, Gordon battled the perception that most of today’s healthy food is “white people food.”

“Alot of the time, when you go to restaurants now, they have these extravagant salads with all these different ingredients in it, like little walnuts and pickled onions ? like the stuff Panera sells,” Gordon told HuffPost. “For me personally, that’s like a white person’s food. A lot of the mainstream stuff that’s advertised comes across as being for white people.”

Today’s Goop-lacquered definition of healthy eating has made it de rigueur to guzzle $9 bottles of cold-pressed kale juice or chug hydrogen-infused water. In this micro-bubble of fastidiousness, a healthy diet means more than consuming your daily dose of fruits and veggies. It means eating pudding made of chia seeds (yes, the same ones used to make Chia Pets) and sprinkling your açai bowl with goji berries, even if you have no idea what either of those things are.

There’s nothing wrong with being nutritionally ambitious, but we’ve cultivated a health food culture that’s unattainable for the multitudes who can neither afford nor identify with it.

“You’ve got the dominant culture in the USA being white culture,” black restaurateur Dr. Baruch Ben-Yehudah told HuffPost. “And that white culture has taken the power to define all things good as white, and all things white as good. So that definition of healthy eating is not an accurate depiction of eating healthy.”

Over the course of a year, Gordon shed 60 pounds and outgrew the need for a CPAP machine simply by making some changes to her diet. But food isn’t always the biggest obstacle to a healthy lifestyle. Cultural barriers can be just as powerful.

“For a person who needs to re-train their mind and think differently about healthy eating, that’s always gonna be their struggle; getting past, ‘This plate of food is for a white person,’” Gordon said.

Healthy food has historically been less accessible to black Americans in a number of ways. So, does eating healthy have to be equated with eating like white people? According to a new generation of chefs, nutritionists, academics and patients, the answer is no. Some foods found in America are giant and extravagantly unhealthy, but this may attract younger travellers to visit the country and try all these mouth-watering foods. Many au pairs visit the country every year and if you are interested in becoming an au pair visit Cultural Care Au Pair today!

Charmaine Jones, a Washington D.C.-based dietician who is black, penned a short paper earlier this year called “Do I Have To Eat Like White People?” that shared the dietary struggles of her clients, whom she describes as primarily low-income African-Americans on D.C. Medicaid.

The majority of her clients seek nutrition strategies to treat obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol, a set of challenges that are particularly prevalent in the black community. Gordon was one of her clients.

Jones describes “white people food” as salads, fruits, yogurts, cottage cheeses and lean meats ? the standard low-fat, heart-healthy foods promoted by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Every five years, a 14-member advisory board writes those guidelines, which dictate what the average American should eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The current board has only two black members. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services didn’t respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.


African-Americans are at a much higher risk for a number of genetic predispositions and health issues, many of which are strongly influenced by diet. The numbers speak volumes.

  • Black Americans face a significantly higher risk of diabetes than white Americans, particularly for Type 2 diabetes: The prevalence is 1.4-fold to 2.3-fold higher in African-Americans.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in African-Americans in the United States is among the highest in the world. That high blood pressure is often attributed to higher rates of obesity and diabetes in the black community, as well as a gene that potentially makes African-Americans more salt sensitive.
  • African-American adults are nearly 1.5 times as likely to be obese as white adults. While approximately 32.6 percent of whites are obese, the rate for African-Americans stands at 47.8 percent.

Jones’ clients say they didn’t find it easy to get help in the black community.

“I found it difficult to find a black nutritionist. [Jones] was the only one I found when I was looking,” Gordon said. “Part of the reason I picked [Jones] was because she had similarities to me. I felt as if she would understand my body type more and she would understand the culture I come from more.”

“Even after I met her, I asked her what made her become a nutritionist, and she said, growing up, she’d never seen a black person be a nutritionist. So that was something we definitely related on and ultimately why I picked her.”

That’s not to say the black community isn’t without its proponents for healthy eating. Former first lady Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s Move” campaign in 2010 to address the problem that one-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese. She sought to break down cultural and socioeconomic divides by cultivating partnerships with big business and championing sweeping legal changes that would affect both the rich and poor.

But Obama often met resistance, finding that food is an everyday comfort that many Americans aren’t willing to compromise on.

EMPICS ENTERTAINMENT – Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks on behalf of Let’s Move in London.

Jones says she runs into this problem with many of her clients.

“It’s very frustrating,” she told HuffPost. “My clients feel pressure that they have to change the way they eat. They have to start incorporating foods that are not common to them. So any time that happens, there’s a resistance against the pressure.”

Natalie Webb, another registered dietician and nutritionist in the D.C. area who is also black, told HuffPost that her clients share that same frustration.

“My clients absolutely associate healthy eating with eating like white folk,” Webb said. “I think it stems from what people see in marketing and what they associate healthful eating with, and it often doesn’t include foods they’re familiar with.”

“When you change folks’ food ? especially people of color ? it’s like you’re asking them to change who they are,” Webb said. “That’s why it’s so important as a dietician to start where folks are and introduce foods that are going to be familiar but maybe in a little different way.”

Psyche Williams-Forson, associate professor and chair of American Studies at the University of Maryland, powerfully described how people react to interventions in their diet.

“When you go into a person’s culture and you say, ‘You can’t eat this,’ or ‘You can’t do that,’ it’s just like going into your house and moving your furniture. You’re going to feel violated, you’re going to feel invaded. It makes people feel like their cultural sustainability has been compromised.”

“I try to encourage people to remember that food is part of the constellation of material objects that we deal with every day. And every time you have a material possession that’s been taken away from you, you’re going to be very protective.”

Few, if any, cuisines are more firmly attached to African-American culture than soul food, which took on an especially political meaning in the 1960s.

Williams-Forson explained that when writer Amiri Baraka coined the term soul food in the ’60s, he was very specifically responding to a criticism that the African-American community didn’t have its own culture. “Baraka chronicled a number of foods that at the time were heavily eaten by people in the South, everything from ham to sweet potato pie and sweet tea,” she said. “The actual label of soul food became a political term.”

Cultural historian Jessica B. Harris has echoed that argument, writing that in the 1960s, “soul food was as much an affirmation as a diet. Eating neckbones and chitterlings, turnip greens and fried chicken became a political statement for many.”

In short, soul food was more about blackness than it was about a specific list of ingredients,” author Adrian Miller wrote for the website First We Feast.

Ben-Yehudah adds even more context: “Soul food is an experience in culture, it’s an experience in connecting with not only the people around you today, but connecting with the souls and the spirits of those that came before us that had created an identity for the food we were consuming,” he told HuffPost. “It not only provided nourishment but also allowed us to have a good experience. The soul food was a comfort food. It comforted us in times of difficulty.”


“The thing that bothers me about eating healthy is that in the media, people appropriate different ways of eating to different people,” Bright told HuffPost. “And so I don’t necessarily feel like black people eat as unhealthily as people would assume that we do. If you think about Italian food, which I love, it’s just as fatty [as soul food], but it doesn’t have that same reputation.”

She points out that the origins of Southern food took root at a time when it was necessary to cook with less-than-ideal ingredients.

“Some people think all black people eat is chicken and collard greens, and that’s not necessarily true. However, out of utility and necessity, we ate a lot of that down South back in the day because that’s all that was available. It’s not like we didn’t know what carrots or Brussels sprouts were.”

“Stereotyping is extremely frustrating. We all have to find an approach to food that still respects and honors our culture. We can still respect our ancestors for how they had to eat out of utility. Now, I have a lot more choices than they did. I shop at Whole Foods, I can go to Trader Joe’s.”

It’s especially evident that these diet stereotypes don’t always apply when talking to someone like Novella Bridges.

Bridges is a 45-year-old nuclear chemist who lives in the D.C. area. She started seeing Jones in 2017 to treat high blood pressure that suddenly arose after both of her parents passed away. Unlike many of Jones’ clients, Bridge pays out of pocket for the nutritionist’s services. But more significantly, she has been eating healthfully her whole life.

“I was raised by a nurse,” Bridges told HuffPost. “I didn’t have to make a lot of changes once I started seeing [Jones]. I was used to eating the food pyramid, so I was raised in such a way that we all were real big on fruits and vegetables. Most people from the inner city or from my culture didn’t eat a lot of those vegetables, but we did.”

Bridges sees herself as being from a distinctly different cultural cross-section than most of Jones’ clients, and she doesn’t feel closely connected to her roots through the foods she eats.

“I would never qualify what I eat as being from one culture or the other,” Bridges said. “No matter who you are, you need to eat fruits and vegetables every day. The bottom line is, we’ve gone to a processed way of eating, and African-Americans have claimed that as their type of food. [African-Americans] want to dismiss healthy eating as being for white people because it’d require a change. The truth is, when people are asked to change, change is difficult.”

“It has more to do with class than race,” she added.

Indeed, money is an inevitable issue when it comes to healthy eating.

Larry Perkins is a 40-year-old married father of two and a Walmart employee. His doctor sent him to Jones last year because he had been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. He made the suggested dietary changes with aplomb, but not without increased financial strain as he attempted to provide healthy meals to his family.

“The most frustrating thing about being on a diet is not having the money to purchase the stuff that you need,” Perkins told HuffPost. “It’s hard to pay for it.”

“A lot of the healthier meals are not marketed toward us. When you go to Sweetgreen or Chopt, their menu is not geared toward low-income families. I can’t take my family there to eat healthy without breaking the bank.”

“I think it’s more of a class issue than a race issue, because in all actuality, you’ve got low-income people, black and white, trying to eat healthy, and the prices really aren’t geared toward any of us,” Perkins said. “We all want to eat healthy, but they just don’t market their menu for us.”

Jones, too, cites socioeconomic factors as one of the primary roadblocks preventing her clients from transitioning to a healthier diet, in part because her clients do the majority of their shopping in food deserts, which lack access to affordable, healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. In the United States, many low-income black neighborhoods can be considered food deserts.

Based on the United States Census Bureau’s Income and Poverty in the United States report from 2016, the average black household made $39,490, while the average white household made $61,858. While only 11 percent of white Americans lived below the poverty level, 22 percent of the black American population did.

There are, however, those who warn against using the term “food desert” as a blanket assessment of a community. Forson-Williams explains: “Every community has a means of sustaining itself culinarily. Not every community may have a supermarket, but supermarkets are not panaceas.”

Jones has to find innovative ways to help her clients make healthy choices when the options are sparse. “Most of my clients live in economically disadvantaged areas, and I have to become creative and learn what’s in those stores to direct my clients how to eat healthy from those places.”

Though Jones teaches her clients how to make healthier soul food at home, finding healthy restaurants that serve soul food is another issue entirely. HuffPost talked to two black restaurateurs who run vegan soul food restaurants, chef Gregory Brown and Ben-Yehudah, about their experiences.

white people
BARBARA HADDOCK TAYLOR/THE BALTIMORE SUN/TNS VIA GETTY IMAGES – Gregory Brown holds a plate from his restaurant in Baltimore on Aug. 26, 2016.

Brown is co-owner of Land of Kush, a vegan soul food restaurant that opened in downtown Baltimore in January 2011. His restaurant specializes in dishes like vegan BBQ rib tips, smoked collard greens, vegan mac and cheese, candied yams, vegan drumsticks, smoothies and fresh-pressed juices. He created his restaurant to provide patrons with a healthier version of soul food, which he says is inherently unhealthy. “It’s heavy, greasy, animal-product based … in its original form, it was really just scraps. Not the healthiest things. Black people just kind of made it taste good to make it palatable. That just became the cultural regularity.”

Ben-Yehudah is the owner of several restaurants, including vegan soul food restaurant Everlasting Life in the Capital Heights area outside of D.C. He agrees that soul food has been in need of a healthy makeover.

“Soul food is always greasier, it’s always saltier, and it’s always sweeter,” Ben-Yehudah said. “So those three elements that we don’t need more of in our diet are definitely found it more abundance in today’s soul food diet. I call it the Standard Black American diet, and it has created many of the health challenges that we have today because it’s void of nutrition, it’s full of toxins and it’s addictive.”

But now Brown sees a change in pop culture that’s influencing the black community to make some healthy changes.

“Just in the past three years or so, you just see an influx of popularity of veganism in pop culture. You see celebrities and athletes eating a plant-based diet. You hear about [NBA player] Kyrie Irving, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, you hear about a lot of different celebrities going vegan, so it makes people more willing to try it if they hear about their favorite celebrities doing it.”

But when Brown first opened his vegan soul food restaurant seven years ago, he saw some resistance from the black community.

“There’s always resistance,” Brown said, “because people are stuck with their culture, their background, their traditions. It’s a part of their living. It’s difficult to break people away from that, so people show a little resistance.”

Brown’s solution to changing customers’ mindsets is meeting them where they are and finding a path toward healthy eating that lies somewhere in the middle.

“That’s the basis of our restaurant: Meet people where they are,” Brown said. “Black people like barbecue and they like collard greens, they like yams. Let’s offer that to them but at the same time, let’s put quinoa on the menu, and let’s also have some fresh fruit smoothies. That’s how we integrate it into people’s mindset. What do you like to eat? Let me tell you how I can make that vegan.”

“What we want to provide is the full transition,” Ben-Yehudah echoed. “We want to meet the person who’s accustomed to the fried fast food, meet them there and be able to provide them a transition point so they can engage the vegan, healthier food lifestyle.”

And that healthier food lifestyle doesn’t have to look white.

“African-Americans might say, ‘I don’t want to eat like white people,’ said Ben-Yehuda. “However, at the end of the day, it’s not eating like white people, it’s actually eating the way we used to eat before we were brought to this country.”

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as white people food,” Williams-Forson said. “But I think there are foods that have been assigned to black people, and there are foods that have been more in line with white communities. And I think soul food is largely what gets short-handed as black people food, and things like veganism and vegetarianism get short-handed as white people food. Quite frankly, African-American people have been eating white people’s food since we arrived on this continent. But a lot of folks don’t know that because the food we tend to get associated with is almost always soul food.”

And though redefining one’s diet always comes with challenges, for Bright, the journey to a healthier lifestyle turned out to be much more personal than cultural.

“We can learn how to make the foods that we love in a [healthier] way and be comfortable with that. It’s not an insult to Grandma and Mommy and how they used to make these things,” said Bright, whose mother died of colon cancer and whose grandmother had heart issues.

“I want to honor them by learning how to do this whole thing a little bit better. A different diet could have maybe kept them here a little while longer. It’s important to me: I feel like if I can learn how to do this a little better, I’m still honoring them, and I think they’d be proud of me in the process. I think that’s the kind of shift we have to make collectively.”

By Kristen Aiken for Huffington Post


GrpFit is using Technology to Promote Health and Fitness in the Black Community

GrpFit is a fitness app created to address health issues in the Black community.

Since we’re all about health and wellness, we decided to find out more about the company. We spoke to co-founder Rich Bailey and this is what he had to say.

Grpfit co-founders: Chris Ketant and Rich Bailey

What inspired you to create Grpfit?

It’s no secret that certain health issues such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension are more prevalent in the Black community. But, some of the statistics are baffling. According to studies, 76% of our community is either overweight or obese and 43% of us have hypertension.

And then, when it comes to causes of deaths, heart disease and stroke are #1 and #3, respectively. A lot of these health issues can be alleviated by living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because of that, we decided to create GrpFit with the mission of making the Black community a more fit and healthier one.

The Black community has many health issues that need to be addressed. How does GrpFit provide a solution? 

GrpFit is a safe and encouraging platform for people of all fitness levels to share their fitness journeys, learn and motivate each other. Users of the app can share photos and videos, get sample workouts and read health and fitness related articles.

Our most powerful aspect of GrpFit is the ability to connect with other people who you can relate too. An underrated part of any fitness journey is the accountability and motivation you receive when you have a great support system and community behind you. We are providing a platform for people seek those type of connections.

We also have a ton of other features and services that are currently being developed and will be released in the near future. Stay tuned!

What has been the most gratifying and the most challenging thing you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur thus far?

The most gratifying thing is the opportunity to serve as an inspiration to others. Becoming an entrepreneur/tech startup founder is no easy feat, so showing other people that it can be done is so fulfilling.

The most challenging thing I’ve experienced is being able balancing the pressure to succeed with taking your time to figure out what’s right for your company and brand. The pressure to succeed can often lead to making quick decisions that aren’t fully thought through. Every decision you will make should tie back to your vision/brand and what’s best for your users.

Tell us about your 21 day fitness challenge.

The 21-Day Challenge was something we did back in January and February of this year with 21Ninety and Gym Hooky. Its purpose was to provide women the tools and resources to create lifestyle changing habits as it relates to health and fitness.

We provided the members with community support, weekly Q&A sessions, daily challenges and guides that helped them create goals, choose better foods and pick and perform exercises.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

In 5 years, GrpFit will be the one-stop-shop for everything related to Black Health and Fitness. We want to be atop of everyone’s mind when it comes exercising, advice, fitness communities and a source of information. Ultimately, we want GrpFit to be synonymous with Black Health and Fitness.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Nothing is too hard to accomplish. If you don’t have the necessary skills to embark on your entrepreneurial journey, then take the time to educate yourself and surround yourself with others who complement your skills. Also, be prepared to learn along the way and always keep an open mind to changing things at a drop of a dime. The latter is crucial because what you think may be a great idea may not be what people want.


GrpFit is currently available on iOS and Android


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)


Black Owned Nutritional Supplements Company Vows To Help Black Communities Live Healthier

Naturade is a manufacturer and marketer of nutritional supplements.  The company was originally founded in 1926, and was acquired by Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis in 2012.

nutritional supplements
Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis

The duo first meet in college at Duke University and later reconnected after attending business school. They made the move to California together and began spreading healthy ideas across the area.

Growing up on the east coast both Kareem and Claude believed that everyone on the west coast, and California in particular were extremely healthy and fit.

They were shocked to see first hand the rate of childhood obesity in the Los Angeles area. They decided to help reduce that number. This is where their journey to spread health and wellness began.

They started a healthy vending company in LA. and were responsible for getting junk food banned in LA schools. They even convinced the whole the state of California to ban junk foods.

nutritional supplements

The pair put the first healthy vending machine in LA and acquired the contract for all of the public schools in Los Angeles.

While banning junk foods in schools across LA is a large accomplishment the men were unsatisfied. They wanted a larger platform to help African Americans prevent common illnesses that plague the community.Both Kareem and Claude’s families and many African Americans across the country suffer from hypertension and diabetes, illnesses that can be prevented or managed largely based on diet.

This passion lead them to develop a business plan to prevent illnesses like diabetes. Their plan involved the purchase of Naturade.

Once Kareem and Claude purchased Naturade, their efforts to educate the African American community on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle began in earnest.

They were introduced to people who shared similar viewpoints, including John Lewis. Kareem and Claude paired up with John Lewis to create VeganSmart, a plant based protein powder.

John Lewis, Vegan Smart

The pair has made strides to spread health and wellness among the African American community, as well as americans across the country.

Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis plan to continue sharing their passion for living healthy plant-based lifestyles with the African American community.


Learn more about Naturade on their website.