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New Orleans

3 mins read

BEAUCOUP HOODOO FEST 2023: A Celebration of African Traditional Religions

The 2nd Annual BEAUCOUP HOODOO FEST, a four-day festival celebrating and exploring African Traditional Religions (ATRs), officially started today in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The festival was founded and produced by our co-founder, Shantrelle P. Lewis, a Lucumi Sango Priest from New Orleans.


BEAUCOUP HOODOO FEST features a variety of events and activities, including workshops on topics such as Hoodoo, Ifa, Lukumi, and other ATRs; panel discussions with leading scholars and practitioners; film screenings; live performances; and vendor booths selling books, spiritual supplies, and other goods.


The festival is an open and inviting space for everyone, regardless of their background, who wants to learn more about ATRs. It is a place where people can feel safe and supported as they explore their spirituality and connect with their ancestors.

Highlights of the 2nd Annual BEAUCOUP HOODOO FEST include:

  • Keynote addresses by: Tatianna Tarot and Tricia Hersey of THE NAP MINISTRY!
  • Film screenings
  • Workshops on a variety of topics
  • Live performances by musicians, dancers, and artists
  • Panel discussions with leading scholars and practitioners
  • Vendor booths selling books, spiritual supplies, and other goods
  • Special recognition of Dr. Marta Moreno Vega in celebration of the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking film, When the Spirits Dance Mambo.

Ticket options:

Virtual Pass:  Can’t make it to New Orleans this year? No worries! Join the Virtual Experience online! You’ll have access to TOP TIER WORKSHOPS facilitated by ATRS elders, scholars, and priests. The PLUS PASS will give you access to two keynotes featuring Tatianna Tarot and Tricia Hersey, founder of the Nap Ministry.

In addition, the Virtual Experience includes a special 20th Anniversary Screening of WHEN THE SPIRITS DANCE MAMBO, directed by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega. As well as a special screening of DAUGHTER OF THE SEA starring Princess Nokia, directed by Alexis Garcia.

Day Pass: Created to make the festival accessible for folks in the local community and others who can’t attend the entire festival. This pass gives you access to workshops PLUS the film festival on Saturday, October 7th.

2-Day Pass: This pass grants you is designed, especially for folks in the Local community. Includes access to the Opening Ceremony, Workshops, and Vendors on Saturday PLUS the film festival. Also includes Brunch, BHF Second Line, the Closing Keynote featuring Tricia Hersey bka The Nap Ministry, and the Garden Party on Sunday, Oct. 8th.


4 mins read

The Significance of Black Collectors in the Art World

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the art world, the contributions of Black collectors are becoming increasingly recognized and celebrated.

These individuals are not only avid appreciators of art but also champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in an industry that has often been exclusive. Their significance extends far beyond the boundaries of a gallery or auction house, as Black collectors are reshaping the narrative around ownership and representation.

Gia Hamilton, the CEO of the New Orleans African American Museum, aptly encapsulates the essence of this transformation when she states, “Black collectors play a pivotal role in the art world by affirming our presence and influence, not just as spectators, but as custodians of our own history and culture.  It is a vital role, one that creates upward mobility for artists, opens doors for greater opportunities, and works to close the wealth gap among contemporary Black artists.”

Hamilton has been building a collection for 15 years and plans to host a  dinner for collectors at the museum.

black collectors
Gia Hamilton

At the heart of the matter lies the importance of ownership. Black collectors are reclaiming their stake in the art world, asserting their presence, and rewriting the rules of engagement.

Here, we list the reasons why their role is vital and how it is impacting the art world.

Reclaiming Narratives

Black collectors are actively engaged in the process of reclaiming and preserving their cultural narratives through art. By acquiring works that reflect their heritage, they are rewriting the dominant narratives that have traditionally sidelined Black voices. This not only empowers artists of African descent but also reshapes the dialogue around art history.

Fostering Inclusivity

The presence of Black collectors in the art world sends a powerful message of inclusivity. Their patronage encourages artists from diverse backgrounds to create and share their work, knowing that it will find a place in the collections of those who value their contributions. This, in turn, amplifies underrepresented voices.

Challenging Stereotypes

Black collectors are not limited to a single style or genre. Their collections often span a wide range of artistic expressions, challenging stereotypes about what constitutes “Black art.” In doing so, they redefine the boundaries of what is possible and inspire artists to explore new horizons.

Economic Empowerment

Beyond their artistic contributions, Black collectors are also driving economic empowerment within their communities. By investing in art, they support artists, galleries, and institutions that are vital to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities.

Cultural Preservation

Black collectors are custodians of their heritage. Through their acquisitions, they are preserving the legacy of African-American culture and history for future generations. These collections become educational tools, museums in themselves, allowing people to connect with and understand the richness of the Black experience.

Dismantling Barriers

The presence of Black collectors challenges systemic barriers that have historically excluded people of color from meaningful participation in the art world. Their prominence disrupts the status quo and paves the way for increased diversity and representation at all levels of the industry.

Inspiring Future Generations

Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of Black collectors’ influence is their ability to inspire future generations. When young aspiring collectors see people who look like them actively participating in the art world, it opens doors and provides role models to aspire to.

by Tony O. Lawson

1 min read

Black Spaces Matter: A Conversation with Gia Hamilton, CEO of the New Orleans African American Museum

Gia Hamilton is the CEO of the New Orleans African American Museum (NOAAM), a cultural institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the rich history, culture, and contributions of African Americans in New Orleans and beyond.

gia hamilton
Gia Hamilton, CEO of the New Orleans African American Museum

The museum’s mission is to educate the public about the African American experience through exhibitions, programs, events, and community engagement initiatives. NOAAM focuses on telling the stories of African American individuals and communities, highlighting their achievements, struggles, and contributions throughout history.

Gia hamilton
New Orleans African American Museum

In this interview, Gia discusses her journey to becoming CEO and her passion for preserving Black culture and history.

She delves into the challenges of funding for Black-owned institutions and the strategies her museum has employed, including building a strong business infrastructure and securing multi-year investments.

She also highlights the significance of preserving Black spaces and creating a welcoming environment for diverse visitors. Gia also discusses upcoming projects, such as exploring the pre-colonial history of New Orleans, uncovering stories of Black ownership, and renovating the museum’s campus.


3 mins read

Resilia, Software Provider For Nonprofits, Raises $35 Million

After nearly a decade of advising nonprofits and grantmakers of all sizes, Sevetri Wilson set her sights on using technology to transform the nonprofit sector.

In 2016, she launched Resilia, a software solution that enables nonprofits to increase capacity and funders to go beyond their grant allocations with technical assistance, coaching, and capacity-building support.

Resilia has over 15,000 nonprofit users and enterprise customers including Oxfam America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Goldman Sachs’s One Million Black Women Initiative, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the United States Tennis Association Foundation, and The Boston Foundation.

The company has experienced over 300% annual revenue growth while growing net revenue retention by greater than 150%.

On Thursday, the New Orleans and NYC-based company announced that it has closed $35M in a history-making series B round to further help nonprofits increase their day-to-day capacity and funders scale impact through resources that extend beyond just a monetary grant.

The round was co-led by Panoramic Ventures and Framework Venture Partners. Returning investors include Mucker Capital, Callais Capital, Cultivation Capital, Engage Ventures, SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, Kimble Ventures, The Jump Fund, and Fearless Fund. New investors include Goldman Sachs Asset Management Fund, Chloe Capital, Gaingels, Mana Ventures, and others.

The latest funding will be used to scale Resilia’s technology platform and expand access to the sector by bringing more North American organizations into its ecosystem—and comes at a time when 86% of U.S. grantmakers provide capacity-building support to nonprofits through investments in areas such as leadership development, fundraising, evaluation and learning, communications, technology, collaboration, or DE&I.

Further, capacity-building assistance “beyond the grant” [such as Resilia’s platform] is a key pathway for funders seeking to support equity and justice efforts, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

“Our goal at Resilia has always been to provide nonprofits with access—something our team has worked tirelessly to do,” said Wilson in a recent press release. “This latest investment gets us closer to realizing our vision of democratizing philanthropy by reallocating power over its decision-making and resources as well as providing more seats at the table.”

While Black and Latina women founders received less than 1% of VC funding combined in 2021, Resilia’s latest capital raise marks another historic feat: it is the largest raise ever for a solo Black female-founded tech company, and also marks the largest VC raise of a female founder in the state of Louisiana.

Resilia first made history when it closed an $8M Series A in 2020, the highest venture capital raise by a woman-founded tech company in the state of Louisiana.

With close to $50M in venture capital to date, Resilia’s latest funding round marks the largest raise ever for a solo Black woman-founded tech company.

-Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

Teen Entrepreneur Creates a Product to Help Facilitate Safer Traffic Stops

David Price is the 19 year old creator of The Safety Pouch, a tool to help facilitate interactions between civilians and police.

The fluorescent orange pouch holds vehicle documents and identification in one place and clips on to the exterior window to minimize the amount of movement within the vehicle and keeping hands visible at all times.

David, a sophomore at Loyola University in New Orleans, created The Safety Pouch during his Freshman year. We caught up with David to find out more about his business.

David Price, creator of The Safety Pouch | Photo credit: DOUG MacCASH

What inspired you to create The Safety Pouch.

The biggest thing that inspired me to create The Safety Pouch was having “The Talk” with my parents when I first started driving. I knew I had to develop some kind of product that would help facilitate safer traffic stop interactions between Black drivers and law-enforcement. That’s when I came up with the concept.

What are the biggest advantages and biggest challenges you feel you might have as a teen entrepreneur?

The most significant advantage I have is that more people are willing to help support me. It is also easier for me to network with people because many people tend to want to mentor younger people since we are more malleable.

The biggest downside is that some people often do not take teen entrepreneurs seriously. I am forced to have to prove myself and how much I know at times.

Photo credit: DOUG MacCASH

What are your future goals as an entrepreneur?

My biggest goal is to continue to innovate and grow my business with the focus of making the world a safer place.

What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?

Network Network Network! Always connect with as many people as you can. You never know what opportunities can emerge from those connections or who those people could be connected to. Always take advantage of making connections and partnerships with people or companies.

Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

2020 Essence Fest postponed amid Louisiana Coronavirus concerns

The 2020 Essence Festival is being postponed and moved “closer to the fall” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Louisiana, organizers announced Friday on their website.

It’s the latest festival change in the New Orleans area as COVID-19 cases in the state swelled to 2,746 with 119 deaths, with the highest concentration in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

2020 Essence Fest

Essence Communications Inc., the festival’s parent company, said the decision was made to move the five-day multifaceted event from its original July 1-5 schedule “based on developments over the past couple of weeks, including updates from our city and health partners.”

Previously announced talent, which includes headliners Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars, will remain on the lineup for the postponed dates, and tickets sold for the originally scheduled performances will still be honored on the new dates.

New dates for the festival will be announced “shortly.”

The 26th edition of the Essence Fest is set to include two extra days of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary year of Essence magazine, along with the annual three-night evening concert series in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tens of thousands of attendees fill the Morial Convention Center for free daytime activities that include panel discussions and product presentations.

Essence Fest organizers previously said they intended to move forward with the July 1-5 timeframe, but also said they were already looking to identify and secure alternate dates.



2 mins read

Delta Sigma Theta donates 17,000 Meals To New Orleans Disaster Relief

The Delta Sigma Theta sorority donated 17,000 meals to disaster relief efforts in New Orleans after it was forced to cut their biennial national convention short this weekend due to ongoing Tropical Storm Barry.

delta sigma theta
Source: New Orleans Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Facebook

According to The Washington Post, nearly 16,000 people were expected to attend the convention this weekend. But the sorority decided to end the convention ahead of schedule after the storm caused heavy flooding across the Gulf Coast and prompted tens of thousands of homes to lose power.

delta sigma theta
Credit: David Grunfeld –

But Beverly E. Smith, the national president and CEO of the sorority, told the newspaper that members of the sorority were “delighted” to donate food intended for their luncheon to recovery efforts.

“There was inordinate amounts of food that would have been wasted,” she told The Post.

The sorority donated the food to the Second Harvest Food Bank, which will distribute the meals to people affected by the storm in New Orleans and areas nearby.

“To have all these meals ahead of time is really a godsend,” Jay Vise, the communications director for the food bank, told the paper.

delta sigma theta
Latiya White, left, Gina Murray and Gina Holmes, members of Delta Sigma Theta from Atlantic City, N.J., stand in the French Quarter (Washington Post)

Vise added that he feels the food donated – which ranges from macaroni and cheese, chicken, chocolate cake and potatoes au gratin – could also help cheer up victims who have been hit hard by the storms and have limited resources to prepare their own meals.

According to CNN, the storm made landfall in Louisiana on Saturday. At the time, Barry had been categorized as a Category 1 hurricane. However, the storm has since weakened and is currently being labelled a tropical storm.

Source: The Hill

Also read: Oo-oop! Why I’m So Glad I Pledged Alpha Chapter, DST

1 min read

We Dat’s Grew from a Food Truck to Multiple Locations and an NBA Partnership

Three years ago, We Dat’s founder, Greg Tillery started We Dat Food truck and began selling wings from the truck, outside nightclubs and by a car wash.

We Dat’s founder, Greg Tillery

Today, that food truck has grown into We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp and has two locations. Greg also has his own seasoning line and has just signed a partnership with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

He says he was inspired to start a food truck after watching “Food Truck Wars” on Food Network. After struggling initially, he eventually started to build a following online and offline.


we dat's
Greg with Gerald Bridges, Corporate Partnerships Exec for New Orleans Saints and Pelicans


He credits fellow New Orleans native, Supa Cent with bringing his business a lot of attention via an online shout out.

While the specific details of the deal are unclear, we can imagine it involves selling food to sports fans in New Orleans.

Contact info: 

1407 Canal St. New Orleans, LA  (504) 252-4927 and  4500 Old Gentilly Rd. New Orleans, LA (504) 605-995

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

3 mins read

12 Black Entrepreneurs Fighting Gentrification in New Orleans

Black entrepreneurs and business owners are getting pushed out of New Orleans as gentrification brings an influx of affluent white newcomers to the city and real estate becomes more expensive. Businesses owned by people of color have shuttered in historically Black neighborhoods including Treme, St. Roch, and Gentilly.


Although 40 percent of the city’s businesses are Black-owned, they receive only 2 percent of business, said Trace Allen, neighborhood program manager at Propeller, a 501c3 nonprofit, business incubator, and coworking space that addresses economic disparity and racial justice in New Orleans.

To combat gentrification on South Broad Street, Propeller launched South Broad Business Initiative (SBBI), a free five-month program that provides technical support, co-working space, and mentorship to entrepreneurs of color.

“When a brick and mortar succeeds, there are long-lasting positive effects,” said Catherine Gans, marketing and communications manager at Propeller. “Longterm, looking at the (SBBI) program, we hope to provide our businesses with the opportunity to become neighborhood anchors.”

Below, find a list of SBBI-supported businesses bringing “equitable economic development to their neighborhood.”

Black Entrepreneurs fighting gentrification in New Orleans

A Priority One (209 S. Broad Street) is a local family-owned and operated rental car company providing low rates for daily and weekly rentals since 2001.

black entrepreneurs
James Washington Sr. & James Washington Jr. (Credit: Propeller)

NOLA Organic Spa (213 S. Broad Street)

Mackie One Construction (4014 Erato Street)

Emerald Services (4134 Washington Avenue) is a financial services company that provides tax preparation, bookkeeeping, and credit repair to individuals, as well as small businesses.

black entrepreneurs
Ty Davis (Credit: Propeller)

We Bleed Ink Tattoo Shop (4140 Washington Avenue)  is a premier tattoo and piercing studio with a focus on high quality, custom artwork and impeccable customer service.

Trevone Sansom (Credit: Propeller)

The Godbarber Beauty Salon (219 S. Broad Street)

Daiquiri Lounge (4201 Washington Avenue)

Umoja Visions  (4101 Washington Ave ) manufactures and sells a comprehensive hair care treatment system for men, women, and children with excessively curly hair.

Beverly D. Smith (Credit: Propeller)

Chef D’z Café (424 S. Broad Street) is a full service restaurant and catering company.

Chef Donald Smith (Credit: Propeller)

Custom Optical (3137 Benefit Street)

All-Pro Maintenance (2915 Perdido Street)

The Lipstiq Lady Cosmetics provides high-quality, non-toxic, vibrant hair and skin care products.

Tara Simmons (Credit: Propeller)


Business owners of color can apply for the SBBI program here.

Source: Curbed New Orleans

3 mins read

Black Owned Restaurants in New Orleans

New Orleans is known for everything from the food and music to the rich history and cultural traditions. Because of this we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on some black owned restaurants in New Orleans.

Black Owned Restaurants in New Orleans

Dooky Chase Restaurant opened its doors for business in 1941. Here, legendary Creole chef Leah Chase serves down-home staples in a vibrant, art-filled space.

Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe is a no-frills joint for soul-food breakfasts & lunches plus a buffet option & dinners some nights.

The Praline Connection is a plain-&-simple restaurant serving down-home Southern dishes & signature pralines for dessert.

Neyow’s is an informal establishment supplying Creole & other Southern-inspired dishes & cocktails.

Ray’s On The Ave is a Creole Soul Food Restaurant and Music Venue. Close to downtown in the historic Treme Neighborhood.

Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken, and Waffles is the place where you can enjoy the quintessential food experience that exemplifies New Orleans Creole Cuisine.

Sassafras Creole Kitchen serves an array of traditional Cajun-Creole dishes in a convivial atmosphere.

14 Parishes is a family-run Central City joint that dishes up homeland classics like beef patties and jerk chicken paired with sides like sweet plantains and cornbread.

Black Owned Restaurants in New Orleans

Willie Mae’s is a family-owned spot since 1957, famous for fried chicken & other soul food in a humble setting.

Loretta’s Authentic Pralines has been in business for over 35 years. Its a corner sweets shop making local treats like pralines, pies, cookies & king cake.

Meal from the Heart Cafe is a major tourist destination. Their signature is on the entire menu, but their crab cakes and gumbo are renown.

Compère Lapin is a sophisticated eatery serving Caribbean- and European-accented takes on New Orleans flavors.

Cafe Sbisa , established in 1899, is the third oldest fine-dining establishment in the French Quarter. They are proud to offer the highest quality French-Creole cuisine in a welcoming, historical setting.

Pressed Cafe is a sandwich shop, selling panini style sandwiches with soups and salads.

Sweet Soul-food is a vegan restaurant that offers delectable dishes at budget-friendly prices.

Cafe Abyssinia is a vegetarian platters & other traditional Ethiopian dishes offered in a cozy, colorful eatery.


– Oluremi Lawson