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2 mins read

He Built The Largest Black Owned McDonald’s Franchise. He’s Now Suing Them for Racist Policies and Discrimination

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in an Ohio court, accused McDonald’s of “racial discrimination and retaliation” against the man who built the largest Black owned McDonald’s franchise.

Herb Washington, a former Oakland Athletics player and longtime McDonald’s franchisee, is suing the fast-food chain for alleged racial discrimination.

Black Owned McDonald’s
Herb Washington (Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay)

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Ohio, the star athlete — who previously owned 27 McDonald’s in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, making him the largest black-owned franchise in the country — accused the company of “racial discrimination and retaliation against him as a Black franchisee.”

“In his four decades in the McDonald’s system, Mr. Washington has suffered deplorable treatment as compared with White franchisees,” said the complaint, filed in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division.

Washington, 69, said in lawsuit that he now owns only 14 McDonald’s in the country and claimed the company forced him to sell several of his stores, including seven that were sold to White owners over the past three years.

Black Owned McDonald’s

According to Washington’s lawsuit, the fast-food chain also “purposefully steered” the retired MLB star towards stores in “distressed, predominantly Black neighborhoods,” where he experienced a significant loss in profit.

Washington’s lawsuit also claimed that while there were 377 Black franchisees in the McDonald’s system back in 1998, there are now only 186 — despite the company allegedly increasing its number of stores from 15,086 to 38,999 during that time period.

“These numbers are not a coincidence; they are the result of McDonald’s intentionally racist policies and practices toward Black franchisees,” the lawsuit read.

According to the Washington Post, Washington said in a Zoom press conference on Tuesday, “McDonald’s has targeted me for extinction.” He reportedly added, “It took every ounce of me to succeed against the incredible and unfair odds that McDonald’s forced on me,.”

7 mins read

The 2% Solution: How a Black Billionaire Plans to advance Economic Justice for Black Americans.

Robert F. Smith, the private equity billionaire who is the nation’s richest Black person, said on Thursday that large corporations should use 2% of their annual net income for the next decade to empower minority communities. Smith made the comments after circulating a plan among CEOs that first calls on big banks to capitalize the financial institutions that service Black-owned businesses and minority-run entrepreneurial ventures.

In a keynote address he gave at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, Smith, 57, said Black and minority communities have been abandoned by large banks and are starved of the capital needed to build businesses and local institutions. Smith argued that pumping in what he described as “reparative” capital and investing directly in financial architecture would be a fast way to advance economic justice for Black Americans.

“Nowhere is structural racism more apparent than in corporate America,” Smith said. “If you think about structural racism and access to capital, 70% of African American communities don’t even have a branch, bank of any type.”

In recent days, Smith, whose net worth is estimated to be $5 billion, has been sharing a concrete plan with the nation’s business leaders that argues that an investment equal to 2% of net income over the next decade would be a small step toward restoring equity and mobility in America. He has implied that America’s big corporations should feel compelled to support such a plan given the exclusionary practices of many industries over several decades. Smith made the case that the average American household charitably donates 2% of its income annually and is asking corporate America to do the same.

During the pandemic, Smith discovered the structural racism in banking firsthand as he tried to help Black businesses and banks that serve Black communities obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans. Smith found that Black-owned businesses faced numerous structural obstacles and as a result had trouble accessing the emergency financing being provided by the federal government through the banking sector.

The balance sheets of the nation’s 4,700 banks are made up of $20.3 trillion of assets, but only 21 of those banks are Black-owned or led, and they have total assets of just $5 billion, less than 1% of America’s commercial banking assets. Blacks make up 13% of the population of the United States.

In his talk on Thursday, Smith pointed out that the net income of the ten largest U.S. banks over the last ten years was $968 billion. He figured just 2% of that would amount to $19.4 billion, which could be used to fund the core Tier 1 capital of community development banks and minority depository institutions that primarily service Black communities. Smith was also open to the idea that the capital could be donated in a tax-advantaged way to a nonprofit entity that could provide the core bank capital.

Smith thinks the federal government could supercharge the effort by leveraging up the provided capital with the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility the Federal Reserve established to support consumer and business credit during the pandemic.

“The deprivation of capital is one of the areas that creates a major problem to the enablement of the African American community,” Smith told the more than 200 top philanthropists who attended the 9th annual Forbes philanthropy summit, which this year was held on Zoom. “The first thing to do is put capital into those branch banks to lend to these small businesses to actually create an opportunity set . . . drive it into these small businesses, which employs 60%-plus of African Americans.”

In a way, Smith is proposing a private sector solution to reparations, the idea that the federal government pay financial compensation to Black Americans who are the descendants of slaves. Smith believes Black communities have experienced systemic inequality and exclusion in corporate sectors beyond finance, including healthcare, telecommunications and technology. The net income of the biggest U.S. companies in just those sectors was $1.3 trillion combined over the last decade and 2% of those profits, or some $25 billion, could be used to do things like strengthen healthcare infrastructure in minority communities, equalize broadband access, fund STEM education at historically Black colleges and digitize minority small businesses.

Through his plan, Smith envisions the nation’s banking sector could, over the next ten years, provide billions of dollars of capital to Black-owned banks and community development banks, with some of the funds used to digitize these lenders. His plan calls for the telecom and tech sectors to provide money to help prepare 180,000 students at America’s historically Black colleges for the jobs of the future, and to digitize one million minority small businesses.

Smith, who has an engineering degree from Cornell University, is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, the nation’s biggest private equity firm specializing in software transactions. Part of Vista’s stunning success has been built on Smith’s detailed and secret playbook for running software companies, which has helped Vista achieve some of the private equity industry’s best financial returns.

Now, Smith believes his playbook for economic justice could not only ensure Black Americans have better access to opportunity, but also increase the nation’s economic activity by more than $1 trillion annually.

“I think that will show Americans there is hope, there is an opportunity for the American dream to now be revitalized,” Smith said on Thursday. “And frankly, to give us all confidence that we can actually make this a better country and a better place to live.”


Source: FORBES

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8 mins read

These Brands Are Still Tapping Into Nostalgia for Slavery, Whether You Realize It or Not

Some of the most egregious examples using a cultural stereotype as a mascot are the ones rooted in nostalgia for slavery. A few examples are the mascots representing the Aunt Jemima, Cream of Wheat, and Uncle Ben brands that all emerged between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act.

Aunt Jemima

brands and slavery

Aunt Jemima dates back to 1889, making it the oldest of these brands with problematic mascots. According to, the character was first portrayed in 1890 by Nancy Green, described by the brand as “a storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” (It doesn’t mention that she was born a slave in Kentucky in 1834.)

Aunt Jemima was later portrayed by another woman, Anna Robinson. Her backstory is unclear, but the brand notes that after traveling the country to promote Aunt Jemima starting in 1933, Robinson “is able to make enough money to provide for her children and buy a 22-room house, where she rents rooms to boarders.”

Other women followed. Actress Aylene Lewis was the last, portraying Aunt Jemima at a branded restaurant within Disneyland from 1957 to 1964, where she “[served] pancakes and [posed] for photos with guests.”

blog post from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture explains that stereotypes about African Americans grew after the 1857 Supreme Court decision in the case of Dred Scott v. John Sandford, in which Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that people of African descent were not U.S. citizens and had no right to sue in federal court.

According to the post, this legal precedent spurred caricatures of African Americans in popular culture, including the Mammy stereotype of the nurturing African American housekeeper, with which Aunt Jemima is now synonymous. It was first popularized in minstrel shows after the Civil War—in fact, Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, author of the book Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, wrote that Aunt Jemima hails from a song in a minstrel show that one of the brand’s founding partners saw in 1889.

Quaker Oats, which has owned Aunt Jemima since 1926, did not respond to interview requests.

Mrs. Butterworth’s

Another that potentially falls under this umbrella is syrup brand Mrs. Butterworth’s, which was founded by CPG giant Unilever in 1961 and more recently came under the purview of packaged foods company Conagra. In an email, Dan Skinner, manager of brand communications, said, “We have never discussed Mrs. Butterworth’s race, religion or ethnicity, other than to say that she is ‘motherly’ and known the world over for her delicious syrup.”

She has, however, been compared to the Mammy stereotype—and actress Butterfly McQueen, who played the maid Prissy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, was reportedly the model for the original bottle. (Skinner said Conagra has nothing in its records that verifies McQueen’s role.)

Cream of Wheat

brands and slavery

Just a few years after Aunt Jemima, a hot cereal brand called Cream of Wheat started using a similar image.

Holding company B&G Foods, which has owned Cream of Wheat since 2007, says the brand dates back to 1893. B&G and Cream of Wheat do not offer any information about the man on their boxes, although his image appears in a number of ads in a slideshow dubbed “Our Favorite Memories.”

In a blog post, Kirsten Delegard, co-director of the Mapping Prejudice Project at the University of Minnesota, said Cream of Wheat founder Emery Mapes designed the packaging with a former slave he called “Rastus” after the characters depicted in the Uncle Remus books of African American folk tales, first published in 1880.

According to a December 2000 essay by David Pilgrim, professor of sociology at Ferris State University, Mapes, a former printer, found the image of a black chef among his old printing blocks. This logo was used until the 1920s, when Mapes paid a Chicago waiter $5 to pose as the new chef.

“The image of this unknown man has appeared, with only slight modifications, on Cream of Wheat boxes for almost 90 years,” Pilgrim wrote.

B&G Foods did not respond to interview requests.

The Cream of Wheat chef is arguably the most enduring example of the Uncle Tom stereotype in marketing. The pervasive caricature hails from the 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as The Smithsonian writes: “The stereotype of Uncle Tom is innately submissive, obedient and in constant desire of white approval.”

In his essay, Pilgrim writes that the Tom caricature, like Mammy, was born in antebellum America in defense of slavery.

“How could slavery be wrong, argued its proponents, if black servants, males (Toms) and females (Mammies), were contented and loyal?” Pilgrim wrote.

And it’s this imagery—in which Pilgrim notes “the toothy, well-dressed black chef happily serves breakfast to a nation”—that Cream of Wheat has used for 127 years.

Uncle Ben

brands and slavery

According to Uncle Ben’s, the name “Uncle Ben” was adopted in 1946. That’s four years after Forrest Mars—son of Frank Mars, founder of the food conglomerate that bears their name—acquired the rights to an easy-to-cook rice initially called Converted Brand Rice.

“Who is Uncle Ben? Actually, he was two people!” according to the brand’s website. “The name comes from a black Texan farmer—known as Uncle Ben—who grew rice so well, people compared Converted Brand Rice to his standard of excellence. The proud and dignified gentleman on our boxes, who has come to personify the brand, was a beloved Chicago chef and waiter named Frank Brown.”

In his paper, Racial Etiquette: The Racial Customs and Rules of Racial Behaviour in Jim Crow America, Ronald L. F. Davis, a professor at California State University, Northridge, noted that black men were called “Boy,” “Uncle,” and “Old Man” to denote inferiority during the Jim Crow era, a period of segregation and discrimination following the Civil War that lasted roughly until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Beyond the brand name, the New York Times said the depiction of Uncle Ben with a bow tie was “evocative of servants and Pullman porters,” the African-American men—many of them former slaves—who served white passengers on railroad sleeping cars from the 1860s to the 1960s.

Sara Schulte, external communications manager for Uncle Ben’s parent company Mars Food North America, declined Adweek’s request for an interview.

Source: Ad Week

2 mins read

Black Owned Gaming Lounge Received Racist Note. ‘CLOSE SHOP! WE DON’T SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESS OWNERS’

A Black owned gaming lounge in Indiana that has yet to open claimed they are being harassed after they received a racist note telling them to shut down their business.

“Close shop! We don’t support black business owners!” reads the sheet of paper business partners Tony Jones and Sami Ali said was shoved through a mail slot in the door of their new gaming lounge in Indianapolis.

“It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt us at all, the way it affects us, it motivates us to reach out and do what we had been doing to bring people together,” Jones told WTHR.

“I made a police report to document that people are doing hate crimes towards our business,” Ali told the local news station. “Thank god it was just a note. No broken windows or anything.”

Jones and Ali wanted to open up the gaming lounge so that gamers can meet and play games with another in the community. Jones told WXIN that they never would have thought they would feel discriminated against in the community.

“Because gamers don’t get out much,” Jones said. “We want this to be a place where they can get out and socialize. We can find out what we have in common instead of what separates us.”

Other businesses and neighbors have rallied around Jones and Ali, to show that their community does not stand for intolerance.

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6 mins read

Racism Tied to Worse Asthma Symptoms for Black youth

African-American children and young adults with a hard-to-treat type of asthma may have a more difficult time keeping symptoms in check when they have experienced racial discrimination, a recent study suggests.

Photo Credit: NPR

Researchers asked 576 black youth in the U.S. with asthma whether they had been hassled, made to feel inferior or prevented from doing something because of their race, ethnicity, color or language in situations at school, in medical settings or at restaurants and stores. Roughly half of them reported experiencing some form of discrimination at some point in their lives.

When they had not experienced these forms of discrimination, the children and young adults were almost twice as likely to have well-controlled asthma than when they had, researchers report in the journal PLoS One.

“Discrimination is a form of stress, and thus, its effect on asthma may be all or mostly due to stress,” said study co-author Dr. Luisa Borrell, a public health and health policy researcher at the City University of New York.

“Racial or ethnic discrimination experiences could affect our response to medications by changing our airway tissues and mucous production,” Borrell said by email.

The link between symptom control and discrimination was even more pronounced for a subset of participants who had high levels of an immune-system signaling molecule known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in their blood. It is a protein that’s involved in inflammation and elevated in asthma patients who don’t respond well to standard medications.

Still, even among the participants with high TNF-alpha levels, the youth who didn’t experience discrimination were almost three times more likely to have well-controlled asthma symptoms than their peers who did experience racism.

To assess symptom control, researchers tested how participants responded to albuterol, an inhaled bronchodilator that is used as a rescue therapy to open inflamed airways when people have an asthma attack. People who have frequent attacks may also be prescribed corticosteroids to control their symptoms.

“In asthma that is well controlled, you would expect a low response to albuterol since the patient is not having a lot of symptoms and their airways are not inflamed,” said co-senior study author Dr. Neeta Thakur of the University of California, San Francisco.

“But in people who are not prescribed control medications, or are under-dosed, you might see a higher response,” Thakur said in a statement.

When researchers did lung function tests before and after giving participants albuterol, they found people who experienced discrimination had a bigger response to albuterol than those who didn’t.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that discrimination directly worsens asthma symptoms.

Another limitation is the possibility that factors such as segregated neighborhoods, exposure to indoor or outdoor air pollution, violence in the community or other social and economic disadvantages might at least partially explain the connection between discrimination and asthma symptoms found in the study, the authors note.

“Race, ethnicity and social class are important proxies for unmeasured factors that influence health outcomes,” said Dr. Avni Joshi of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

Selected characteristics of participants with asthma according to self-reported racial/ethnic discrimination in SAGE II (2006–2014).

“A child who is in a poor housing situation, is more likely to come from a less educated family, which in turn are likely to be low income with incomplete or poor health coverage and access to care,” Joshi, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “It is in these families that the stress levels are likely high due to insecurities for food, money and perceived or actual discrimination in all spheres of life.”

Controlling stress, however, might help keep asthma symptoms in check, said Dr. Elizabeth Matsui of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

“The details of how stress leads to inflammation are not clear, but links between stress and inflammation have been shown repeatedly, and asthma is a disease characterized by inflammation in the lungs,” Matsui, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “We know that stress is broadly a risk factor for worse asthma, so stress management to reduce stress is appropriate.”



SOURCE:(Reuters Health) and PLoS One, online June 13, 2017.

17 mins read

Zakiyyah Myers, Co-Founder of Innclusive, offers an Alternative to Airbnb

Innclusive could be described as the online version of The Negro Motorist Green Book. The “Green Book” was a guide intended to help Black travelers avoid discrimination during the period of racial segregation.  It listed businesses that would accept Black customers and even provided a service that made lodging reservations for clients.


Fast forward to 2016. In addition to facing racism offline, travelers are now encountering it online as well. We no longer have The Green Book but we do have Innclusive. Innclusive is building a space where you can “Travel with respect, dignity, and love, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

I recently spoke to their Co-Founder, Zakiyyah Meyers, and this is what she had to say:

SB: So, who is Zakiyyah and how did you become involved with the creation of Innclusive?

ZM: Zakiyyah is this awesome woman…(Laughs) Nah, just kidding! I’ve worked in government for about 21 years and now, I’m retired…

SB: Wait, what? Retired? You should have seen my face when you said that.



ZM: (Laughs) Yes! I’m retired. No one ever believes that, but it’s true. You should see the responses I get face-to-face. People are like, “Uhh, aren’t you like 20 years old?” I just made some great financial decisions early on that have put me in a position where I no longer have to work.

SB: Wow, that’s great. My bad, you kinda threw me off a bit with that but go on…

ZM: So, my plan after retirement was to travel the world. While I was doing that, my friend Rohan was discriminated against on Airbnb. After it happened, he called me and we talked about it.


Rohan Gilkes – Founder of Innclusive

He said he was going to write about it and I encouraged him to do so, telling him I’d post about it in all of the travel groups that I’m a member of. Rohan’s post about his experience went viral. I kept sending him comments from people in my travel groups who were reacting to it and expressing similar experiences. We collectively thought it a shame of how often this happens and how we keep patronizing a company that obviously doesn’t care about minorities.



At that point, we decided to do something about it. At first, I was somewhat skeptical but Rohan asked, “If not us, then who?” That really resounded with me and so I said, let’s make it happen. Enough of the hashtags, enough complaining….BOOM! Innclusive was born.

SB: Nice. Be the change you want to see, right?
ZM: YES! Absolutely.

SB: That’s great. So what would you say differentiates Innclusive from Airbnb?


ZM: A few things. One, we really are welcoming of all people from race, religions and backgrounds. Well, minus the bigots and racists. We prefer they stay far away since all money ain’t good money.  We are for everyone that’s open and all about fairness, love, peace, and respect. It’s obvious that Airbnb is welcoming of racists and bigots and they don’t do much to kick them off the site once they identify themselves. We will be kicking racists off once they show their true colors.


Second, we’re implementing several tech tools that will make it very difficult to discriminate against someone. For example, I want to book with Tony and stay in his spare bedroom. Once you accept my offer, you see my profile picture. You won’t see the picture until after you accept. You may see the pic and you say “Wait a minute, she has on a wig, I don’t like wigs. I prefer dreads. I’m canceling this reservation.”


You have the right to do that. It’s your home and you may not want fake hair in your house. However, once you cancel, no one else can book for those dates. So, you have the right as a homeowner to say “Nah”, but I have the right as a business owner to say, “Cool, now you have just screwed yourself because you can’t book anyone else for those dates.”


SB: “Congratulations, you played yourself”. You should include a DJ Khaled meme.

ZM: Right (Laughs) That’s about to be a pop up. LOL! People are gonna say,  “Wait, this company is a little too Black.”



SB:Right! (Laughs) So Innclusive isn’t just for Black people but for for all who have experienced some sort of discrimination?

ZM: Absolutely. We’re for the people who have felt marginalized for one reason or another. Muslims, Latino’s, Trans, or handicapped. We’re open and welcoming. We just want travelers to know that they can get around and be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as a human being.



SB: Have you received any messages or responses from non-Black people who have been discriminated against?

ZM: Oh, definitely! We’ve had several people reach out because they were discriminated against because of their weight. There was a white lady who expressed gratitude for the platform because she could never get a booking accepted with her Black husband in the profile picture. At first she didn’t understand why no one was accepting her requests. She changed her picture and then started getting accepted left and right.

Different people from all different walks of life reach out to us just wanting to tell us their story and thank us for what we are doing.

SB: So, this is one of those situations where there’s more to your business than just making money. You’re actually making a difference and making the world a better place.


ZM: Yes. That’s been my motto since I was a child. It just so happens that now I can make money from being a decent person. Do you know how great that feels? It feels so good.

SB: Would you say Innclusive is a form of social entrepreneurship?

ZM: I would. Down the line you’ll see aspects of that. Eventually, we plan to be more than a home sharing network. We plan to be a social network that goes out into various communities around the world creating social change.

SB: What parts of the world have most of the responses come from in terms of people wanting to be a host?


ZM: Honestly, there are so many I couldn’t even begin to name them all. When we first put up our site and started accepting hosts, our very first home added was from Vietnam. Isn’t that crazy? We literally have homes in most countries right now. At one point, we had almost 30 back to back bookings from Italy. We had no idea how that happened, but later found out that someone out there ran an article about us. We actually had to google translate the article once we located it. (Laughs)

SB: So, I’ve signed up for updates and I have friends and family that have done the same. How many other people do you have waiting for the updates now and how many people do you have waiting to host?
ZM: Right now, we have a couple of thousand ready to host and want a few more thousand before we launch, just because we want people to be able to go into the site and say, “Ok, there’s a host everywhere I’m trying to go.” So, right now we’re pushing hard for hosts to come on board.13627006_273172329707405_6678560449215088237_n
They can go to our website and add their bedroom, spare room, office, or whole house. We recently had a sailboat added to our site. You can literally go onto the boat, sleep on it, take it out, and it comes with all kinds of other water amenities. You could host the back seat of your classic Chevy.
There might be someone out there with a fantasy of sleeping in the back seat of a Chevy in Compton (Laughs). No, I’m kidding. It’s whatever space you have that you want to rent out.The beautiful part is that it’s a win-win for everyone because it’s a stream of income and also builds your network.
SB: What areas would you like to see more hosts coming from?

ZM: We have several events coming up, including Afropunk London, so we would like more homes in London. We’re looking at huge events like Carnival in Trinidad and focusing on those cities because of the large amount of travelers that will be there and need a place to stay.

SB: What security measures will you have in place to ensure the safety of guests as well as the hosts and their property?

ZM: There will be insurance on every stay – protecting home, owner, and traveler. Identity checks will also be done

SB: Cool. When is the official launch and how much longer do we all have to wait for this awesomeness to go down?

ZM: We are really focused on getting hosts right now so that travelers get the best experience when they log in and look for a place. We’ll be launching in September officially.

SB: Ok, great! So, its apparent that you travel a lot. Where are your favorite places and why?

ZM: That’s a really hard question. I’ve been to over 40 countries.942597_10207383434877343_2562438672050573097_n

SB: Has this travel been for business, personal, or a mix of both?

ZM: The first 25 countries were business in the beginning, but I found personal time to do things. The last 15 or so have been personal and will be personal from now on. My favorite continent is Africa, without a doubt. I truly love Zimbabwe and Namibia. I would say those two really stand out to me. I also love Thailand and Barbados. My next trip to Africa will be to Nigeria.

SB: I’m biased, but I think you need to make that happen.

ZM:  I have to go. I did DNA testing and that’s where my ancestors are from. I feel this calling to just hurry up and get there and meet my relatives.

SB: You should! They are there waiting for you. Innclusive was initially called Noirebnb, why the name change?

ZM: It was a sheer coincidence that Noirbnb and my company, Noirebnb came up with the same concept. We didn’t even know they existed until we put something out officially on Twitter. That same day, they put out an official announcement also and sent us an email saying we should work together.
Their company started 3 weeks before ours, but they didn’t do anything with it until our company came on the scene and they learned of it. While in the midst of talks with them and coming to terms on what we were going to do, they trademarked our name. That hurt. We are all here trying to come up for the community. There’s room for everyone to eat.

SB: I hear you. So, you’re a mother, entrepreneur, and a world traveler. How do you balance running a company and all of your other responsibilities?

ZM: Firstly, I have a great support network. I have a great team at Innclusive. Our team of about seven people are amazing. On my team, no one feels the weight of the world on them because we’re all pulling our weight and make sure that when someone has to go down, for whatever reason, you know we’re stepping up and helping out.

Secondly, I have a community of support for my children: aunts, uncles, and cousins. Thirdly, I’m in a great position financially to hire nannies to help me with the children. As a single mom, I have no problem saying, “I need help”.

Da kiddies!

I can’t be with my children all the time I don’t think that’s the best mothers are the ones that are always home and never leave. I need my mental breaks I need to travel. I need t give them a break from me and I need a break from them and I make sure I do that for my mental health and theirs.

SB: What advice would you have for other entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs?

ZM: Start! Don’t just continue dreaming about it, make it happen. Even if it’s little stuff every day. When an opportunity presents itself, like #AirbnbWhileBlack did to me, take advantage. People often come across potential opportunities but get lost in them. They get caught up in the emotions caused by the problem instead of coming up with a solution for it.