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Black Women Doctors?? Oh Hell Yes!

Black Women Doctors

Dr. Tamika Cross, who is an OBGYN in Houston, posted on Facebook last weekend that a Delta flight attendant rejected her offer to help a sick patient and questioned whether she was really a doctor. Dr. Cross is young and black. Another doctor on board was allowed to help. He was older and white.  It seems that the world cannot believe that there is a such thing as black women doctors. I saw this story in my Face Book timeline over the weekend and it just added to my mental fatigue over the continuous racist assaults.  No, this hasn't happened to me personally, but it has still happened to me.  Racism affects every person of color.  We feel the pain like ripples in the water, wave after wave of injustice stemming from one person to us all.  This is why, I Hear That Girl! has committed to empowering our young girls and women.  We believe that by showing the diversity of possibilities in Black Women, showing the various perspectives, careers, and beings; the rest of the world will cease marginalizing who we are, what we do, and what we can be. “You can’t be what you can’t see.” - Dr. Joycelyn Elders Dr. Cross’ experience highlights a major problem in our society. Currently, only 2% of all physicians are black women. This sobering statistic has real-life implications for the health of our country. Women like Dr. Cross have persevered in medical fields in part by overcoming barriers linked to race and gender. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the first African-American Surgeon General, told me, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

South Africa’s Natural Hair Win

It's sad that in 2016, black women and girls are still having to fight for the right to wear their natural hair proudly.  This may sound like the makings of a ridiculously prejudicial story from some place in the United States, but the ridicule that many black women face in regards to their natural hair stretches across the globe.  It has been a long journey, but South Africa’s Pretoria Girls High students have prevailed in their fight to wear their natural hair.  View the video below to get the back story and celebrate in their success!  We will continue to take a stand for the empowerment of black women around the globe, because this case as the countless others happening daily, remind us that black women are devalued and are being taught to despise the essence of what makes us beautiful queens.

Meet American Girl’s Black Diva

American Girl has added a new Black Doll to it's line-up!  My mother, is a fan and owner of Addie.  Well, now, meet Melody Ellison!  She's a young black DIVA!  She's a songstress from Detroit! Released last week, the Melody Ellison American Girl Doll was created in the likeness of a 9-year-old Black girl growing up in Detroit during the Civil Rights and Motown era. Charles H. Right Museum of African-American History President Juanita Moore pointed out several reasons why the Motor City was the perfect choice as the hometown for American Girl’s newest little lady. According to the Detroit Free Press: “Detroit was progressive in that it had one of the nation's largest NAACP branches and it had the most black-owned businesses in the country along with a growing black middle class, but ‘there were still these significant issues around race and discrimination, even in Detroit, with all of that progressiveness that was happening here,’” Moore said.

Olympian Allyson Felix on Importance of Mentors

Olympian Allyson Felix

The 2016 Olympics are giving the world a healthy dose of #blackgirlmagic.  I am so excited to see so many beautiful women of color representing for this country.  They embody the essence of an american woman and most importantly,  a BLACK woman.  Track and field Olympian Allyson Felix is one of those beautiful women.  Watching her display of strength, grace, and skill in the relay race made me stick my chest out in pride as they clinched the gold and a new world record! These beautiful women are becoming role models for so many young black girls at home that can turn on their televisions and see someone that looks like them achieving greatness.  It's the feeling I had when I saw Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  Allyson Felix understands the responsibility that has been placed on her and her fellow Olympians.   “I think as a black female, our value seems to be so much less than our [male] counterpart so that’s always something that we’re aware of and you try to change [that] for the next generation” she said. “I think that it’s amazing that there are so many strong black athletes that are out there, like Serena Williams, who are doing such amazing things and breaking barriers and breaking people’s thoughts of what I should be. So for me, I definitely try to focus on a positive image and change for the next generation.”  

Serena Williams Gives Us Life With Her “I Rise” Video!!

Serena Williams

It's no secret that we here at IHTG! love and adore our sister, Serena Williams!  When she hits the court, I see an amazing representation of black women.  She exudes black femininity.  She is strong, beautiful, vulnerable, strategic, powerful, and persistent.  If that isn't a black woman, I don't know what is.  Yet, this damsel has proven that Black Girls really are magic, and REAL! There is no denying the impact the Williams Sisters, especially Serena, have made in the sport of tennis.  Little black girls don't even have to be questioned on their abilities or possibility to succeed in the sport as little Venus and Serena were just 20 years ago.  The BBC created an amazing video entitled "I Rise", starring Serena Williams, and it gave me such a sense of pride watching it.  Serena recites Mama Maya's (Maya Angelou) soul-stirring poem all while giving us views of her prowess, tenacity, and movement on the tennis court.  View the video below.  Share with other sisters and little girls.  This is a great reminder to love and be proud of who & what we are. Serena Williams gives us life with her "I Rise" video!  She is my SHEro!  

Southern University A&M Gives Their Spin of A Different World

Southern University Different World

There are so many videos and articles posted on Facebook.  It's kept me up to date and entertained more than television.  I love that I see stories I probably would never see on mainstream television either.  Such as: heroic cop stories, empathetic stories of hope for the helpless, enraging video of police brutality, hilarious comedy gold, and more.  Southern University has given me another that I must share with you. Recently, I was scrolling my timeline.   I came upon a video by Facebook friend and Southern University admissions representative, Ala'Torya Cranford.  The video is for their Freshman Orientation.  It's a rendition of the classic television sitcom, "A Different World".  A Different World inspired many a black child to aspire to attend an HBCU.  If I were a student preparing for college, this video would definitely make me add Southern University A&M to the top of my list!  Way to go, Southern!  We love this!  Check out the video below: Historically black colleges should be sacred to us. These institutions instill self-love, opportunity, and aspiration in all its students. These are ideals that sadly are not cultivated by communities outside of the black community. As a graduate of a predominately white institution, I recognize that there was a sense of "ceiling" placed on black students.  We were never told of the limitless possibilities.  This is why I have such a love for HBCU's.  There is nothing like being among your own, learning about yourself and your culture.

Simone Biles Gabrielle Douglas Make U.S. Gymnastics Team


Simone Biles and Gabrielle Douglas, have officially made the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team. The young women along with their teammates will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August for the Olympics to defend the team's gold medal from the London Games in 2012. Douglas is the reigning all-around champion. Her appearance on the team is pretty remarkable. After London, she took two years off in 2013 and 2014, and returned to win a silver medal at the world championships in 2015. She's the first reigning Olympic all-around champion to compete at the next Games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980. We'll be tuned in, will you be? Read more:

The Case of Symone Marshall & Why YOU Need to Know

Brace yourself.  I am about to tell you a story that is all too familiar.  However, it is one of many that we NEED to know.  We don't need to become desensitized to the commonality of our fallen sisters.  I demand acknowledgement of the failure to protect these women....OUR women. The 22-year-old was involved in a single-vehicle crash when she and a passenger were arrested. Weeks later, Marshall suffered a reported seizure and was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to the news station, Symone Marshall and a female friend were driving along Interstate 45 April 26, when they were involved in a single-vehicle crash. Police and paramedics arrived on the scene and say Marshall and the passenger were evaluated and that both women refused medical treatment.  Both women were arrested and issued misdemeanor and felony charges of cocaine possession. Marshall was also charged with providing a false identification, KHOU reports. The passenger posted bond and was released the next day, but Marshall was unable to secure the $5,000 needed to be released so she spent the next two weeks in custody.  Symone Marshall, told her sister that she wasn't feeling well, her head was hurting and she felt like blacking out, Honey Marshall told the news station. Honey Marshall said she called the jail demanding that her sister be taken to a hospital.  "They told me she's seen the doctor at the jail," Honey Marshall said. "I told them she needs to go to a real hospital."  On May 10, just weeks after being arrested, Symone Marshall suffered a seizure and, according to prison officials, was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.  Police have released little information regarding Marshall's death. An autopsy was conducted by the Harris County Medical Examiner, but results are pending. We give their privilege power because of their rules, their laws, their measurements of happiness. But see...what if we no longer needed that? Then their privilege would be worthless. The details of this tragedy are missing, but the blatant lack of regard for the health of this woman remains.  I find it impossible to believe that a white woman would have endured the same treatment or lack thereof.  Dylann Roof received much care and concern upon his "capture" after the senseless murder of 9 people in Charleston, SC.  He was even offered a meal on the way to lock-up.  You HAVE to see the obvious ludicrous preferential treatment in this and thousands of other cases.  This is what black people know well to be "WHITE PRIVILEGE".  White people get upset when we point this truth out.  They fear losing it.  We don't want to take it away from you white folks, you can keep it.  What we want you to do is ACKNOWLEDGE that you have it.  Then you can stop looking at us as if we're crazy every time we factually pinpoint an instance of white privilege.  That's all we want. Once minorities receive acknowledgement, I believe we can release the power of their privilege.  We give their privilege

Denzel & Pauletta Washington Raise $17M for Smithsonian

courtesy of The Rickey Smiley Show Oscar winner Denzel Washington used his influence, likability & talent recently to raise millions in a fundraising event held at his LA home. The multi award-winning actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist co-hosted the event with his wife, Pauletta, which set out to raise funds in support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). With some of the biggest names in Hollywood in attendance, the event raised an incredible $17 million toward the cause, which included a $10 million pledge from Shonda Rhimes. “There is such a historical significance to this project,’’ Washington told Variety. “It means so much for our community, our country and to future generations." According to the NMAAHC website, the museum "will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all." The total cost of the museum will amount to $540 million, and so far the US government has contributed half that amount. The remainder relies on private donations and events such as the one hosted by Denzel & Pauletta Washington. “In this climate where so much money is being raised for the Presidency and The White House, it is incredible to have the support we received,’’ said Pauletta Washington. “It’s good knowing that even with so much going on, people are committed to making sure that this museum is successful.’’ Big thanks to the Washington family! Your efforts will go on to help educate, honor and empower millions for years to come! The museum will open on September 24, 2016. Until then, you can check out their gallery, located on the second floor of the National Museum of American History, in Washington, DC. Read more

Women Empowerment Organizations Come Together for 2016 “Women Build”

First African American Female Licensed Nascar Driver, Tia Norfleet, has been confirmed to participate in Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity's "Women Build" taking place on April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th at 2338 Glebe Court, Lovejoy, Georgia 30228. Norfleet will be amongst other women empowerment organizations such as: The WNBA Atlanta Dream (The only all-female ownership group in Atlanta professional sports), Atlanta Women Realtors (A network of successful realtors, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business), 100 Female Entrepreneurs(A fundamental organization for millennial and emerging women in business),Single Wives Club (An organization that educates, empowers, and inspires single ladies to become better women before becoming wives) and many more. The "Women Build" is an annual project that empowers women to build homes and enable them to positively impact the lives of families by making home ownership a reality. Proudly Sponsored by African Pride, this four day build challenges all-women volunteer teams to come together to actively work to build a home for LaTonya Flugence and her family. To register and make a contribution, please visit Women possess all that is needed to create a dramatic change in our community. for Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity (SCHFH) "Women Build."  Each volunteer is asked for a contribution to help fund the builds supplies and materials. Volunteer dates will take place on April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th at 2338 Glebe Court, Lovejoy, Georgia 30228. To register and make a contribution, please visit Southern Crescent Habitat's "Women Build"  is a safe haven for women to practice and excel, no matter what their skill levels. The program nurtures, recruits and train women to build and maintain simple, decent, healthy and affordable homes in their community. This year's build is dedicated to LaTonya Flugence. Ms. Flugence is a working mother of two sons, Kavious, 20 years of age and Kyle, 17 years of age. She has volunteered at her local Habitat Restore and has successfully completed her sweat equity and is ready to move into her new home. "I am thankful for Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity and to the woman that are coming together to help build, support, and donate their time to invest in me," says Flugence. SCHFH believes that everyone deserves a decent place to live. The affiliate has created opportunities for hard working people to own an attractive and affordable home. To qualify they must have a stable job with a 2-year tenure, spend more than 1/3 of their monthly income on rental housing, meet income requirements and invest 300 hours in sweat equity (building homes) and home ownership (financial and home maintenance) education. Our organization has helped over 300 families in South Atlanta, and would like to invite you to be apart of our mission to double that by 2020. The "Women Build" volunteer dates are April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th and can accommodate 40 volunteers per day. We are only able to hold volunteer dates with volunteer donation or sponsorship commitment. If your organization would like to participate in the "Women Build", please register at and get social by following our Twitter/Facebook/Instagram pages @SCHabitatfh and hashtag #SCHWomenBuild and #BuildWithSCHabitat.

Teen’s Doodle Honors Her “Afrocentric Life” for Google

courtesy of Washington Post JUST LAST month, Akilah Johnson was “surprised and overwhelmed” when she learned that she was a national finalist in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest for grade-schoolers. Imagine how she feels now. Akilah, a sophomore at Eastern Senior High School in Northeast Washington, has just been named Google’s big winner in the national contest, topping the 53 state and territory champions, whose work had been culled from about 100,000 student entries. “It is really overwhelming,” Akilah tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, minutes after receiving the news Monday during a ceremony at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. “I was so excited, I started crying,” Akilah says. “I didn’t even look at anybody — I was just looking at the framed copy [of the Doodle] they gave me.” Akilah is the contest’s first winner from Washington, as D.C. was not eligible to enter the states-only competition in past years. (The Post’s Comic Riffs had joined the chorus of voices urging that the District be included.) This year’s contest theme was: “What makes me…me.” Akilah drew a box-braided Doodle titled “My Afrocentric Life,” using color pencils, black crayons and Sharpie markers. The Doodle includes symbols of black heritage and signs representing the Black Lives Matter movement. “Although it felt like forever making this picture, it only took me about two weeks,” Akilah told Comic Riffs last month. “I based this picture off my lifestyle and what has made into what I am today,” she stated as part of her entry, which today is featured on Google’s home page. “As a child, I attended Roots [Public Charter School] and Roots [Activity Learning Center], so I was raised in the ‘Afrocentric lifestyle,’ ” Akilah told The Post, referring to educational institutions in Northwest Washington that tout “culturally relevant curriculum” and the aim to serve “the specific needs of children of African heritage.” “One of my teachers from Roots, Baba Camera, is really what made me look at art in a different way,” Akilah said. “As I grew older, I had realized that the black people that came before us has made us into what we are today, so of course I has to include them in some way.” Another art teacher crucial to Akilah’s creative journey thus far is Zalika Perkins, who personally urged Akilah to enter Google’s contest. “She just went with it,” Perkins tells The Post of Akilah’s response. “I thought she would do a great job. She made deadline … and created a beautifully layered piece.” Perkins’s only concern: “I thought it was so culturally rich that I didn’t know if people would appreciate it.” Akilah’s composition reflects bright childhood themes on the left, then moves into more serious reflections on society. “Just as we read from left to right, my goal was to make the picture turn heads from the color to the meaning,” Akilah told Comic Riffs last month. “I have a book that I use that’s full [of] quotes, and the one I went by for this picture was: ‘Be the type of person that’s not only turns heads, but

President Obama to meet with Black Activists

courtesy of BuzzFeed News The White House told BuzzFeed News that President Obama will host a landmark meeting with activists from the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements on Thursday. Icons like Wade Henderson and John Lewis will meet with movement leaders like Brittany Packnett, Aislinn Pulley and DeRay Mckesson. President Obama will meet with two generations of civil rights leaders on Thursday afternoon, BuzzFeed News has learned. Obama will convene leaders from the two generations of civil rights activists in the Roosevelt Room. The attendees will attend the Black History Month reception with the the president and First Lady, the White House said. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will also be in attendance. “On Thursday afternoon, President Obama will meet with a group of civil rights leaders prior to the annual White House Black History Month reception to discuss a range of issues including the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and the president’s priorities during his final year in office,” a senior administration official told BuzzFeed News in an email. A White House official said Obama — a bridge between the generations of leaders — will preside over the conversation between the leaders and members of his administration. The meeting comes just nine days before the South Carolina Democratic primary, where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both jockeying for position with the high percentage of black voters. On Tuesday, Obama delivered some of his most expansive remarks on the election, saying he knew Clinton better than Sanders because she served as his secretary of state. It was the president’s victory there in 2008 that helped propel him to the nomination. Clinton herself on Tuesday met with civil rights leaders at the headquarters of the National Urban League, including Marc Morial and Al Sharpton. Afterwards, Clinton delivered remarks at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. She said ending racial inequality would be “the mission” of her presidency.

Male Lawmakers call Tampons a “Luxury Item”!!

This should put some fire behind you to be careful who you are voting for.  Women are and have been getting the shaft for many years.  It wasn't until recently in a BuzzFeed video with Barack Obama that I even realized there is a tax on tampons.  He stated how ridiculous the idea of taxing an essential item was.  He gets even more real by stating, it's probably due to the fact that a bunch of men made up the law.  Well, following that, feminist outcry was rampant and another panel convened to vote on it.  Want to know what they had to say?  Read more of the story below: Eight members of Utah's 11-member, all-male panel for the house revenue and taxation committee voted Wednesday against a bill that would make feminine hygiene products, incontinence pads, and children's diapers tax-free. Their logic, according to the Associated Press, was that "they want to make the tax system predictable" and "subjective variations on what is or is not exempt could do just the opposite." Sales tax is complicated and varies state by state, but it originated during the Great Depression as a way to generate income by taxing non-necessary items. What "non-necessary" means to lawmakers is highly variable and inconsistent, however. For example, North Dakota and Connecticut do not tax incontinence pads, but they tax tampons. In California, candy is exempt from a sales tax, as are incontinence creams and washes, but tampons are not. As women know all too well, personal hygiene products are not luxury items and should not be taxed as if they are. Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the subject in an interview with YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen. "I have to tell you — I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items," he said when Nilsen asked him why 40 states still tax feminine hygiene products.  "I suspect it's because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed," he said. Since activists in the U.S. began calling attention to the issue, some states, like California, are considering legislation to drop the tax on personal hygiene products. In Wisconsin, one lawmaker has even proposed offering feminine hygiene products for free in public buildings. After all, tampons are as necessary as toilet paper. Democratic Rep. Susan Duckworth, who submitted the bill, seems to know the battle she is up against. "A lot of times it can take two, three or four years, and we have to be persistent and consistent," she said.

3 Black Women Beaten By White Mob on Bus

A trio of Black female students at the State University of New York-Albany claims that they were assaulted and harassed on a city bus by a white mob over the weekend. The women allege that 10 to 12 white students in the group comprised of both men and women beat them while using racial slurs. The alleged assault took place on Saturday shortly after midnight as the women boarded the bus. According to a report from the Albany Times Union, the group swarmed on them immediately and one of the women says she was kicked by the men in the group after falling to the floor. The Times Union reports: The female students who said they were attacked left the bus at a campus bus stop, and two of them, with minor scrapes on their faces, went to Albany Medical Center to be evaluated. Albany police got a call at about 1:20 a.m. Saturday after the alleged assault, spokesman Officer Steve Smith said, and they responded to the UAlbany campus. “As far as any racial slurs that might have been said, certainly if a hate crime was committed, that’s something that the Albany police would take very seriously,” Smith said. News of the assault spread through the campus community and onto social media, attracting the attention of activist Deray Mckesson among others. A gathering was held Monday evening for the #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany rally, calling attention to the assault. The hashtag has gained some traction across social media networks as well. An investigation of the matter is ongoing.

Black Female Physicist Breaks Ground in Cancer Research

courtesy of AL.Com When Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green receives invitations to be a guest speaker for professional groups, schools and nonprofit organizations, she almost never turns them down. "Usually if there is an invitation to speak at a forum like that, I accept it because I feel like it's a responsibility," she said. "There are so few of us (black women in STEM fields) I don't feel like I have the luxury to say I'm too busy." By many measures, Green has been extremely busy. One of fewer than 100 black female physicists in the country, she recently won a $1.1 million grant to further develop her patent-pending technology for using laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer. A tomboy as a child, Green was crowned Homecoming Queen at Alabama A&M University (by a landslide vote), earned her master's and Ph.D degrees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is now is an assistant professor in the physics department at Tuskegee University. It's tempting to see Green for all the ways that she is unusual – not the least for winning a large grant at a relatively young age, and for being black and female in a field dominated by white men – but it's not something she said she thinks about in her day-to-day life. "It looks like I'm special, but I'm not. I'm no different from anybody else," she said. "When opportunity found me, I was prepared." Close to home Green's personal history with cancer fuels her drive to find a way to treat it. She grew up in St. Louis and – after the death of her mother and father – was raised by her aunt and uncle, General Lee Smith and his wife, Ora Lee. When Ora Lee was diagnosed with cancer, "She refused the treatment because she didn't want to experience the side effects," said Green. "It was heartbreaking, but I could appreciate she wanted to die on her own terms. "Three months later, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer." Green took time off from school to help him through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. "I saw first-hand how devastating it was, and I could understand why my aunt didn't want to go through that." She earned a bachelor's degree in physics with a concentration in fiberoptics, and then a full scholarship to UAB. She got the idea to use lasers to treat cancer without the side effects of chemo and radiation. A physicist's cancer treatment A few months ago, Green was awarded a $1.1 million grant to work on a technology that targets, images and treats cancer. I'm no different from anybody else. When opportunity found me, I was prepared. "I was completely overwhelmed with joy, with thanksgiving, humbled at the opportunity that a group of my peers thought that my work was worthy for such a grant," she said. "This is a huge door opening. It outlines a path to take this treatment to clinical trial." Green had spent seven years during her master's and doctoral programs at UAB, developing a way to target cancer cells – not the healthy cells around them. "I'm really

Obama’s Tiny Changes To Gun Policy Big Impact

courtesy of Huffington Post President Barack Obama on Tuesday gave an unusually emotional speech about gun violence. At least officially, the purpose was to introduce a series of new regulations and proposals. But Obama's remarks served another purpose, too. He was trying to make sure the crusade to curb gun violence continues beyond 2016 when he is no longer in the White House. The new initiative, which he unveiled in the East Room, consists primarily of executive orders. The most controversial of these seeks to address what’s become known as the “gun show loophole” -- the fact that private sales of firearms, the kind that frequently take place at gun shows, are not subject to the background checks that accompany sales through licensed gun dealers. The case for closing the loophole is real. As Obama noted, recent studies by researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggest strongly, though not conclusively, that background checks reduce gun violence. But Obama’s new regulations won’t actually close the gun show loophole. They will merely shrink it and, from the looks of things, they will not shrink it by much. Basically, the federal government will require background checks for sales by any person “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, even if that person is not a commercial seller. An example, as Greg Sargent explained at The Washington Post, could be somebody who rents a regular table at gun shows, has his or her own business cards, or processes credit card transactions. Nobody seems to think these tweaks will significantly reduce gun violence. The administration hasn’t even tried to quantify how many more background checks the new rules would require. Expectations for the other executive orders are similarly modest. And while Obama also called for more funding of mental health treatment and more staff for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which must enforce existing gun laws, those steps would require congressional action. “It won’t happen during this Congress. It won’t happen during my presidency.”President Barack Obama   To the president’s critics, the limited potential of the new gun rules make them (at best) an empty gesture or (at worst) a cynical ploy to rile up his liberal supporters. TheNational Rifle Association was quick to point out that better background checks probably wouldn’t have stopped the high-profile massacres that Obama and other supporters of gun legislation like to cite. Obama anticipated such arguments and spoke to those critics directly. He noted that background checks might have a bigger effect on other forms of gun violence, like individual homicides and suicides, and argued that even incremental progress is worthwhile if it saves a few lives. “Maybe we can try to stop one act of evil,” Obama said. But the most passionate part of Obama’s pitch on Tuesday was not about the new rules. It was about the problem they seek to address -- and what steps should come next. As he enters the final year of his presidency, and prepares to give next week’s State of the Union address while standing before a hostile Republican Congress, Obama knows that

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Anyone in Death of Sandra Bland

courtesy of The New York Times CHICAGO — Grand jurors in Texas declined on Monday to indict anyone in connection to the July death of a Chicago-area woman,Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell at the Waller County jail, one of the special prosecutors assigned to the case said. But Darrell Jordan, the special prosecutor, said that “the case is still open,” and that grand jurors would reconvene next month to discuss other aspects of it. Many activists have called for charges against Brian Encinia, the Texas state trooper who arrested Ms. Bland after a routine traffic stop in Prairie View, northwest of Houston, turned contentious. Mr. Jordan said Monday’s decision not to indict anyone related only to Ms. Bland’s death and to the conduct of the jail staff. “It’s all in the way you phrase it,” said Mr. Jordan, one of five special prosecutors in the case. “The case is not over. That’s what I’m stressing right now. The case is not over.” Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for the Bland family, said on Monday night that the family was frustrated with the grand jury process and disappointed that it had not received more information about the investigation. Mr. Lambert said the family first learned that there had been no indictment through news media reports. “We are unfortunately disappointed by the fact that our suspicions regarding this sham of a process have come to fruition,” said Mr. Lambert, who is based in Chicago. Mr. Lambert said he was unsure of what to make of Mr. Jordan’s statement that the grand jury would return to work in January. “We would like very much to know what in the heck they’re doing, who they’re targeting and if it has anything to do with Sandy and her circumstances,” Mr. Lambert said. Mr. Lambert is representing the Bland family in a wrongful-death lawsuit against state and local authorities. That case is scheduled for a jury trial in January 2017. Ms. Bland grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and she returned there after graduating from Prairie View, a historically black institution where she played in the marching band and was deeply involved in her sorority. In her final months, Ms. Bland had recorded videos online about racial issues and policing. Pastors and friends at her church in Lisle, Ill., said she had grown up attending services with her mother and siblings, and had volunteered there as an adult. On July 13, three days after her arrest, Ms. Bland was found hanging from a trash bag in her cell. The medical examiner in Waller County ruled Ms. Bland’s death a suicide, a finding that was met with suspicion by family members and activists.

Kennedy Center Honors Cicely Tyson’s 60 Year Acting Career

courtesy of Atlanta Black Star Cicely Tyson, along with singer/songwriter Carole King, filmmaker George Lucas, actress Rita Moreno, and conductor Seiji Ozawa, were honored last night at the Kennedy Center for their creative careers. In addition to the award, the 90-year-old actress is starring in The Gin Game, which is currently on Broadway. The production reunites her with long time colleague and friend, James Earl Jones. The two have been working with one another for 50-plus years on the stage. One of the first times they worked together was during the 1961 off-Broadway play, The Blacks. For 60 years, Tyson has wowed American audiences with her beauty and talent. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, and a Golden Globe for her role as Rebecca Morgan in 1972’s Sounder. Tyson also has 12 Emmy nominations under her belt and a Tony for the Broadway play, The Trip to Bountiful in 2013. In all, she has nearly a hundred acting credits in film, TV, and stage. As of late, her career has seen new light and more opportunities on shows like How to Get Away with Murder and House of Cards. “I’m turning around,” Tyson said. “Maybe the reason why I’ve been given this second time around is that it will allow me to be an actress.”

We Won’t Forget: Trial begins for officer accused of sexual abuse of black women

courtesy of MSNBC An Oklahoma City police officer accused of targeting black women for sexual abuse will be tried by an all-white jury. Daniel Holtzclaw is currently on trial for 36 charges of rape, sexual battery, and indecent exposure involving 13 women. Prosecutors have said that Holtzclaw targeted black women who he believed would not report the crimes. He now faces an all-white jury of eight men and four women. KOCO reporter Patricia Santos reported that three black men were eliminated from the jury. “Not only is this individual stopping women who fit a profile of members of our society who are confronted rightly or wrongly by police officers all the time,” assistant district attorney Gayland Gieger told Buzzfeed News’ Jessica Testa last year, “he identifies a vulnerable society that without exception except one have an attitude for, ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?” Prosecutors say that Holtzclaw, whose trial began Monday in Oklahoma City, was only caught be because he sexually assaulted a middle-aged black woman who did not have a criminal record and chose to report to the police. Holtzclaw has denied the charges. His family said in a statement last year that the case against the former college football player is “based on solicited testimony by the police department of felons, prostitutes and others who would have personal motives beyond the basic truth to fabricate their stories.” The defense has so far taken a similar tack. Hotzclaw’s opening statement said the alleged victims are “street smart like you can’t imagine,’” and said many were under the influence of drugs at the time of the alleged assaults, according to KFOR. On Nov. 4, for example, much of the questioning focused on the fact that an alleged victim said she had smoked marijuana on the day of the assaults. ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?” The investigation began in May 2014, according to the charging document. Holtzclaw is accused of pulling over women in areas police say are known for drug use. Some of the women were drug users or had engaged in sex work. After the initial complaint, investigators began contacting other women who had been stopped by Holtzclaw, and identified a pattern. According to a report filed by a detective in the case, Kim Davis, one of the victims was walking down the street when Holtzclaw stopped her and found her with a crack pipe. “He drove her home and followed her into her house,” the report says. There, the alleged victim said, Holtzclaw raped her orally and vaginally. Another alleged victim told investigators she was forced to expose her breasts after being stopped by Holtzclaw. According to another police report filed last year, she “had warrants for her arrest but he advised her to work with him and he could take care of her.” Holtzclaw showed up at the victim’s home a month later, entering without permission, only to find her boyfriend sleeping there.

Michelle Obama Launches College Resource Site

It is no secret that Michelle Obama can do no wrong and everything she touches turns to gold. Ok, maybe that isn’t true, but she has recently launched a new phsase of her initaiative to help encourage students to continue their education after high school. According to ABCNews: will be a place for students ages 14-19 to get information on such matters as signing up for the SAT and ACT exams, filling out federal financial aid forms and applying to college, aides said. Students will also be able to share stories about their goals, their progress and what’s inspiring them to go to college. This is a great move on the part of FLOTUS because it helps those that really need it, high school kids, but also aims to strengthen POTUS mission of returning the U.S. to first in the world in the number of college graduates by the year 2020. The United States is one of the largest industrial nations in the world, but the rising cost of college seems to be keeping people from attending these days. No one wants to end up $100,000 or more in student loan debt for an undergraduate degree we all know is the modern day equivalent of a high school diploma. Nevertheless, something must be done to bridge this gap between the importance of higher education and the rising cost of said education. FLOTUS seeks to help solve the issue instead of just complaining about student loans or the cost of college. The first lady made the announcement this past Monday at the White House, but enlisted a few celebrities to help her promote the initiative with her promo video released via Twitter. The great part about this effort is there are more than 20 media outlets, businesses and noprofit groups helping to make this great. Businesses such as Vine, Mashable, American Eagle Outfitters, Funny Or Die and the CW television network, AwesomenessTV and CollegeHumor are involved. There are all recognizable outlets by the targeted group, thus a good mesh and opportunity to help our young people achieve more… I still believe the black community believes in higher education as a way to obtain financial stability.

Dancing to Empower Youth

Sisters Alicia Graf Mack and Daisha Graf were born to move, as older sister Alicia puts it. NBCBLK interviewed the accomplished dancers on their dance styles, their training and D(n)A Arts Collective, the organization they started to teach and empower young dancers. Daisha describes herself as a commercial dancer who has worked with Beyoncé, Rihanna and other big names. Meanwhile,  Alicia says she is a concert dancer whose background includes work with prestigious institutions like Alvin Ailey and Dance Theater of Harlem. “Dancing is something that fueled me -- it fueled my spirit -- so even though it was very rigorous, I loved the challenge,” Alicia told NBCBLK. Though Dasia started dancing later than her sister, she naturally flowed into the movement. With each of them having so much talent, they say people often ask them if there’s any sibling rivalry. “No,” Dasia responds. “She’s a role model for me and still is." Alicia said that she learns a lot from her little sister, as well. She stressed the importance of having someone that she could relate to through dance, which is one reason why D(n)A Arts Collective is so important to the sisters. “I think that it’s extremely important to have a role model or an idea or an image of something that resonates within you and, for me, that was seeing... a dancer of color or a very tall ballerina because I’m unusually very tall for a ballet dancer… It gave me permission to say, I can do this.” Watch NBCBLK’s full interview with Alicia and Dasia here. 

I Hear That Girl! First Black Woman to Hold a Patent for a Natural Hair Product

courtesy of Black Enterprise In just two short years, Gwen Jimmere has taken her natural haircare product line from passion project to side hustle to the shelves of Whole Foods Markets throughout the U.S., Trinidad, Indonesia, and she’s currently working to distribute in South Africa. “NATURALICIOUS was truly started out of necessity, as was its acceleration, said Jimmere. I was laid off from my job just a month before my divorce was final. I had no money and suddenly no job. I had NATURALICIOUS as a side hustle at the time. I figured I could either cry about my situation, or I could make something happen because there was absolutely no plan B. During that time, I had a 2-year-old to feed, and all the same bills I had before I got divorced. Plus my mortgage was due in 15 days. The only income source I had as an option was to make NATURALICIOUS work.” On the heels of landing a patent for her natural haircare product designed for textured hair, Black Enterprise caught up with the trailblazer to learn about the patent process. What type of patent do you have?  There are different types of patents, including utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Mine is a utility patent and covers our Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment ,which is a product made from super moisturizing Rhassoul Clay that allows you to wash, condition, deep condition, and detangle, while doing the work of a leave-in conditioner all at one time. It’s a major time and money saver. It truly is incredible, and as you might imagine: it’s our best seller. This was something I created in my kitchen. I put a ton of time and work into perfecting the formula and I wanted to protect my creation. Describe the importance of patents in terms of marketing.  Prior to starting and running NATURALICIOUS, my professional background was in marketing and communications; I have no legal background. But I knew I had created something special; something very, very different from anything else that I had ever seen and heard about in the marketplace. I wanted to protect my invention from imitators because I knew I could be sitting on a gold mine. Also, I kept hearing Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank saying, “What do you have that’s proprietary about your business?” I wanted to ensure ownership, as well as a legacy for my company. What are the benefits of having a patent? Receiving this patent is very exciting and such a win not just for me, but for black entrepreneurs and for us as women literally owning (the legal rights to) our beauty. I can’t help but think about the timeliness of it all with such a large lens being on cultural appropriation right now, and others stealing what we create. I’ve been getting calls and e-mails from people saying “I had no clue you could get a patent on natural hair products!” Of course it’s deeper than simply applying for a hair product patent. There was a very stringent process in

Serena Williams Is That Much Closer to Making History

Serena Williams defeated her older sister, Venus, in three sets in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday. The final score was 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Serena, 33, will advance to the tournament's semifinals, where she will face Roberta Vinci of Italy. She is now just two victories away from becoming the first tennis player -- male or female -- to win all four major annual tennis tournaments in the same year since 1988, when Steffi Graf achieved the feat. Serena, the No. 1 women's player in the world and a three-time defending champion of the women's U.S. Open, won the game at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. The stadium was dotted with celebrities for the hugely anticipated match, including Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian and even Donald Trump. Serena was nearly perfect in the first set but started to get tight in the second, during which she committed three double faults, before closing it out during the third set. She is now 8-5 against her 35-year-old sister at the major tournaments. "It's a really great moment," Serena said after the game. "She's the toughest player I've ever played in my life and the best person I know, so it's going against your best friend and at the same time going against the greatest competitor for me in women's tennis." Tuesday's game was the 27th match between the two sisters over the course of their careers, and Serena now holds a 16-11 lead in those matches. The sisters first competed against one another professionally all the way back in 1998, at the Australian Open. Venus has not captured a grand slam title since 2008, when she beat her sister in the Wimbledon finals, 7-5, 6-4. She was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos Of Black Women Reclaiming Their Bodies

One student didn’t like the way society portrayed black women and chose to do something about it. “All the images that we see of women of color... we over-sexualize, fetishize and [eroticize] them,” Jo'Nella Queen Ellerbe, 22, said. “[We] don’t really have control of those images.” So Ellerbe decided to produce a photo project at Brown University with other students, Jacinta Lomba, 20, and Taylor Michael, 20, that aimed to show the beauty in black women’s bodies for a Women’s History Month exhibit. The photo project, titled "Eminence," included images of words and phrases written on the backs of 18 women, including herself, from across the African diaspora. Ellerbe, who is Afro-Latina, said the goal of putting the words on each woman's back was to replace society's negative perceptions of black women with messages of empowerment and control. “I just thought a lot about women’s backs and how I feel like women of color, especially black women, their backs hold both a burden and a lightness,” the Harlem native told The Huffington Post. "I think [it's] a release and a breath of air when we get to show ourselves the way we want to be seen.” Ellerbe and her team encouraged the participants to choose the words they wanted to display and asked them to select the photo they wanted to include in the exhibit. “I wanted to allow and provide the space for some of these black women to just exist publicly,” Ellerbe told HuffPost. She said it was liberating to "have this photo taken of just your body and what your body is. Just knowing that you’re in control of that one image of yourself.” The women, photographed by Michael, were all Brown students and had statements like “I’m angry and that’s okay” and “I am enough” written on their backs with paint. A few even wanted to have the phrases written in a different language as a nod to their heritage, like Ellerbe who had the phrase “Soy la Reina y nadir me puede guitar eso” sprawled across her back. The photo series ran in March and April of this year as a part of Brown's multicultural heritage program. "As a result of creating this gallery it made even more concrete for me the power, strength and beauty of black women,” Ellerbe said. "And reminded me why fighting oppression and healing is so important through art." Check out more photos from the exhibit here.

How Sheena Allen is Tackling Tech

courtesy of Atlanta Black Star A woman in a field dominated by men, Black in an industry that is overwhelmingly White, and a Mississippi native, Sheena Allen is not your average tech founder. But what really makes Sheena an exception is that when she launched her mobile app company, in 2010, she had no idea how to code. Five years later, her six apps have garnered over two million downloads. “You don’t have to be technical to build a successful tech company. I feel like I proved that,” says the 26 year-old. The pint-sized founder, with a southern accent sweet enough to disarm anyone within earshot, is building a tech empire around entertaining, user-friendly mobile apps that enhance the social media experience. “I didn’t do the traditional thing which is ‘if there’s a problem, how do I solve it?’ she explains. “It was more like, I had a problem.” Sheena  was still in her senior year at the University of Southern Mississippi when the idea for her first app struck her during a shopping trip at Walmart. “I told my roommate, ‘I wish there was an app could keep up with my money and my receipts.’” With zero knowledge of computer science or coding, Allen  set out to create a checkbook app that would help her manage expenses. She designed it in  Microsoft Word and scoured the web for a freelance developer who could bring her vision to life. “Being from the South, especially Mississippi, there are no coders running around campus or my  neighborhood,” she says. That first app, Instafunds, was downloaded about 50 times, not quite a runaway success, but she fell in love with the process. Within a few months, Allen began developing her second iOS app, Words on Pics, which reached five thousand downloads. “Not a lot,” she admits. But it was enough to make her reconsider becoming an IO psychologist. After graduation, she held off on graduate school and gave herself a year to see where this new-found passion would take her. After releasing her fourth app, Dubblen, her calling was clear. The cloning photo app reached #37 in its category on Apple iTunes store, and created such a buzz that fans demanded an Android version. “People were bombarding my e-mail and social media accounts,” says Allen. Within three months, half a million people had downloaded Dubblen for Android. That was the moment, she says, when everything clicked. “That’s the point when I knew that I had to get out of Mississippi, and I did.” After a pit stop in San Jose,  Allen relocated Austin, Texas, home to an emerging startup community and her mentor, venture capitalist Josh Kerr. She followed up Dubblen with PicSlit, her most popular app to date, a photo application that allows Instagram users to construct banners on their grid. It’s garnered some mild criticism for filling timelines with blown-out, indiscernible images,  but fans of the app, among them Trey Songz, Kevin Hart and K. Michelle, far outweigh detractors. Allen ultimately did learn to code, though she admits she’s “not the best” and still uses developers, preferring to focus on the business and creative end of her brand. She is currently creating two

Napa Wine Train Apologizes for Laughing While Black Incident

Members of the book group, sporting matching gray T-shirts and broad grins, boarded the Napa Valley Wine Train in high spirits Saturday.“The train is leaving the station! Choo choo!” member Lisa Johnson posted on her Facebook page, captioning a picture of five glasses of burgundy liquid clinking together. But not long into the trip train staff began asking them to quiet down. Before the journey was half over, they were escorted off the train, where police officers were waiting for them, according to the Associated Press. [Black women’s book club members kicked off wine train] “We didn’t do anything wrong and we still feel this is about race. We were singled out,” Johnson told local TV station KTVU. Wine train spokesman Sam Singer told the AP that staff had asked the book club members to either be quieter or get off the train. He said that people are asked to get off the train, which serves appetizers and drinks to passengers as they chug through California wine country, roughly once a month. “The book club clearly was fun-loving, boisterous and loud enough that it affected the experience of some of the passengers who were in the same car, who complained to staff,” he said. But on Tuesday, the Napa Valley Wine Train’s chief executive officer issued a full-throated apology for the company’s treatment of the members of Johnson’s Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club, saying the Wine Train was “100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue.” “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests,” Anthony “Tony” Giaccio said in a statement, which was sent to The Post. Giaccio said in his statement that he has spoken with Johnson and apologized for her group’s experience on the train. He also wrote a letter to the club, apologizing for the company’s “many mistakes and failures.” “We pride ourselves our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train,” the letter stated. “In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.” In the letter, Giaccio promised to make sure employees received more diversity and sensitivity training, and invited the club back on the train as his personal guests. The chief executive also noted that train employees were “insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers” and said the company “erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred.” “Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures,” he wrote. “You can apologize but you can’t take away the experience we had,” Johnson told the Bay Area News Group. “We were still marched down the aisle of the train car to waiting police officers. I’m still traumatized by the whole experience.” The apology came after the story of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge gained traction on social media, with many online using the hashtag#laughingwhileblack. One thing's for

Pay Up: Nuclear Contractor Discriminated Against Blacks, Women

AIKEN, S.C. –  The contractor who manages the Savannah River nuclear site in South Carolina must pay more than $235,000 to some female and black employees after the U.S. Department of Labor found the workers were underpaid. In a news release, the Labor Department said Savannah River Nuclear Solutions must pay $243,000 to 72 employees and review its labor policies. The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said from 2009 to 2010, the company paid 57 women less than their male counterparts in some engineering, technical and administrative positions. Their audit also found that 15 black employees were paid less than their white counterparts in certain operation specialist jobs. As a federal contractor, the management company is prohibited from discriminating in pay or other compensation on the basis of race or sex.


Three black women business owners have combined their smarts and social media savvy to bring Black businesses to the forefront using Periscope. Periscope is a new, live video sharing platform allowing users to share their life with the world. But for Adeea Rogers (Trendy Socialite), Christine St.Vil (Moms N Charge™) and Pamela Booker (Koils By Nature),the new platform is used for much more than just day-to-day life. The dynamic trio decided to start #BlackBizScope to help Black businesses be discovered and gain a new following via Periscope. If you’ve been living under a rock, Periscope allows its users to live broadcast on both Periscope and Twitter while the audience may ask questions, leave comments and “heart” (think Facebook likes) the broadcast. BlackBizScope has over 400 followers on the new streaming service and a group of 200 black business owners on Facebook. “The primary benefit is free (as of right now) advertising for their business. Black Biz Scope is a community that provides services that facilitate Black-Owned businesses (service and/or product driven) by providing a hub to market, target, identify, and expand their brand,” said St.Vil in an interview with The Huffington Post. St.Vil is the Founder, CEO of Moms ‘N Charge™. Rogers is the Founder of the International Natural Hair Meetup Day and Booker is the founder and CEO of popular natural hair brand Koils By Nature. The trio hosts a weekly broadcast every Friday from 10-11am EST and 6-8pm EST where their growing community logs into the featured business’ periscope profile and shares it with their followers. The idea is to create a larger platform and viewership for Black businesses, while also keeping more money circulating among black owned businesses. Tune into our #BlackBizScope kickoff at 9:45am EST w/ @KoilsByNature live from#NHAwards! — BlackBizScope (@blackbizscope) August 7, 2015 The profile is already proving to be a success with high engagement reported after each broadcast. Black Biz Scope publishes the analytics after each show and on average receive 200 live viewers and 8,800 hearts for each business broadcasted. “…although last Friday 2-3 businesses received well over 400 live viewers and over 20K hearts in 15 minutes). People are engaged because they see the value and support first-hand,” said St.Vil. If you are interested in joining the Black Biz Scope community, all you have to do is send your name, business name, product or service, time zone, Periscope handle and timezone to join Periscope is proving to be a viable resource for businesses looking to attract new audiences. Have you signed up yet?

5 Black Women in the month of July, Dead in Police Custody…Why?

courtesy of The Root It’s been a little over two weeks since Sandra Bland was discovered dead in her Texas jail cell from what authorities say was a suicide. In those 17 days since Bland’s controversial death, which has sparked social media fury and a plethora of unanswered questions, at least four more black women have died while in custody. Most of them were in jail for two days maximum. Most of them were being held on minor charges like shoplifting and were waiting to see a judge. Some of them suffered health issues. All of them should have been going home. All of them were fairly young, and all of them leave behind families and a community with questions, including, “What happened?” Here’s what we know about the five: 1. Sandra Bland Sandra BlandTWITTER Bland’s case is probably the most prominent, since not only was it the first incident to take place in July, but it is also the one with the murkiest details, garnering the most suspicion. The 28-year-old was pulled over by a Texas trooper on July 10, reportedly after failing to signal a lane change. The trooper, identified as Brian Encinia, is seen in dash-cam footage telling Bland that he would “light [her] up” if she did not step out of her vehicle. Bland was arrested on a charge of assaulting an officer after Encinia claimed that she kicked him. That alleged kick was not caught on the dash-cam footage because the pair were out of view. Bland was eventually booked at a Waller County, Texas, jail. Three days later, she was found hanging in her cell, according to police officials. Officials and a preliminary autopsy ruled the hanging a suicide, indicating no sign of struggle. However, friends and family have dismissed the notion, saying that Bland wouldn’t kill herself. Some have outright accused the police of foul play. There were even rumors circulating that Bland may have been dead in her mug shot, leading to death threats against officials, which prompted a new video to be released to show that Bland was “alive and well” when she arrived at the jail, according to police officials. Several questions remain about Bland’s death, and her family has ordered an independent autopsy in hopes of learning more. The Texas Rangers and the FBI are both involved in the case. 2. Kindra Chapman Kindra ChapmanYOUTUBE SCREENSHOT Chapman was just 18 and had been in an Alabama jail for less than two hours when she was found hanging from a bedsheet in her cell July 14, just one day after Bland was found dead. Officials also ruled her death a suicide. In this case, her family has concurred with the ruling. “We want the world to know what a wonderful soul she was. At the same time, we want the world to know that her death was a suicide. We have hired lawyers to investigate how this could have happened while she was in police custody,” the family said in a statement. Chapman was arrested after allegedly stealing a cellphone and was booked at about

Bobbi Kristina Brown Dead At 22

courtesy of Huffington Post Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, died Sunday, according to Entertainment Tonight. She was 22 years old. Brown was hospitalized on Jan. 31 after she was found unresponsive by her boyfriend Nick Gordon and her friend, Max Lomas, in a bathtub at the couple's home in Roswell, Georgia. Multiple outlets reported that Brown had been placed in a medically induced comaand was breathing with the help of a ventilator. Brown was then transported to Emory University Hospital's neurological department in Atlanta on Feb. 5, before being transferred again in March to Dekalb Medical's rehab facility in Atlanta. Things were looking more hopeful for the family in April, when a lawyer for Brown's father told the press in a statement that the 22-year-old had "opened her eyes," and went on to say "there has been improvement" in her condition. However, on June 24, Brown's aunt Pat Houston announced that Brown's "condition has continued to deteriorate" and Brown was moved to hospice care. Additionally, the statement went on to say that the Houston family thanks "everyone for their support and prayers. [Bobbi Kristina] is in God's hands now." Authorities are still investigating the circumstances that led the then-21-year-old to become unresponsive. Brown was the only child of Houston, who died on Feb. 11, 2012, and one of singer Bobby Brown's six children. In January 2014, Bobbi Kristina Brown announced via Twitter that she had married Nick Gordon, a close family friend. However, according to a statement released Feb. 3 by Bobby Brown's attorney, the couple never legally married. Shortly after Brown was admitted to hospice care, it was reported that a court-appointed representative for Brown filed a lawsuit against Gordon, claiming he physically and emotionally abused her. The suit also alleges that he stole more than $11,000 from Brown's account after she was found unresponsive in January. The lawsuit accuses Gordon of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment and conversion. On Monday, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office announced that an autopsy would be performed to determine Brown's cause of death, though they expect the amount of time that has passed since she was found unresponsive will likely "complicate" efforts to reconstruct events. "Interpretation of autopsy findings and other information will also be challenging," the medical examiner's office said in a statement. "However, an autopsy could be helpful to address questions which may arise about the cause of her unresponsiveness and eventual death."

Learn From The Best: Billion Dollar Business Owner Gives Tips

courtesy of Madame Noire Founder of Act1 Group, a multi-billion-dollar staffing firm, Janice Bryant Howroyd knows all about humble beginnings. Growing up in a segregated North Carolina and being one of 11 children, Howroyd had many odds against her. But one day she decided to take a leap and with only $900 in her pocket she left North Carolina in 1976. She turned less than $1,000 into a fortune. ACT1 Group helps others find employment in over 75 cities across the globe and Howroyd abides by four principles of success to keep her business thriving. On Wednesday, the history-maker sat down with TODAY’s special correspondent Jenna Bush Hager to dish on her success tips. Here’s how she did it, as told to TODAY: 1. Make sure you’re prepared. 2. Understand what the goal is. 3. Understand that all of those around, particularly family, are part of that success. 4. Always find a moment of gratitude and be grateful along the journey “You see the evolution in technology, you see the transparency that the world offers, but the fundamental things that we built the business from have stayed the same, and I really think that’s more the secret to the success,” said Howroyd. In the 1970s when the CEO launched her business, times were much different then they are now, with even more hurdles to jump. However, Howroyd also credits her relationship with her family as part of her success. They taught her to rise above the racial hatred she witnessed in the South. “I heard a lot of ‘no’s’ growing up but my parents didn’t allow that. Our parents were so nurturing, and the community was so nurturing that we worked more toward the potential and the possibility, than we did the threat, or the denial of opportunities,” said Howyord of her childhood whose words still ring true today. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. “It was harsh, it was ugly, and it should never have been that way. My mother used to always tell us, ‘In order to be outstanding, sometimes you’re just gonna have to stand out,’ so I grew from that root of really working forward, not being held back,” continued Howyord who also credits discipline to her success. Today, more and more women are starting their own businesses than ever before with nine million businesses being led by women. “Let’s be clear, the climate has changed, but it’s not sunny weather,” Howyord said. “Women still have a lot of need for change in how the world works.”   Get more of Howyord’s wisdom below.  

Sandra Bland is the latest black woman to die in police custody

There are more questions than answers surrounding the mysterious death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Chicago who died while in jail after being arrested during a traffic stop in Texas. The Waller County Sheriff's Office claims Bland, a vocal activist against police brutality, committed suicide. However, as previously reported, "The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life," longtime friend LaNitra Dean told WLS-TV. "Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually." Video footage of Bland's arrest has also called the sheriff's office's account into question. It shows two male officers using a great deal of force with Bland. "You slammed my head into the ground, do you not even care about that?" Bland says in the video, which was shot by a passerby. "I can't even hear." The questions surrounding Bland's arrest, imprisonment and death are leading many to add her name to a long list of black women who have had deadly confrontations with police. According to Kate Abbey-Lambertz at theHuffington Post, these are some of the women on that list: Tanisha Anderson was a 37-year-old woman struggling with mental illness who died after Cleveland police slammed her head into the pavement outside of her family's home in 2014. Miriam Carey was a 34-year-old dental hygienist who made a wrong turn near the White House and was fatally shot by federal law enforcement officers in 2013. Yvette Smith was a 47-year-old woman who was shot and killed by Texas police officers as she opened the door to her home for police in 2014. Natasha McKenna was 37 years old when she was restrained by Virginia police, shackled at the legs and shot with a stun gun four times earlier this year. She stopped breathing and died at a hospital several days later. Rekia Boyd was a 22-year-old woman living in Chicago when she was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Mya Hall was a 27-year-old transgender woman who was shot and killed by National Security Agency guards after crashing a car into a government facility. Shelly Frey was a 27-year-old mother of two who was shot by Wal-Mart security who accused her of shoplifting. Darnisha Harris was only a teenager when Louisiana law enforcement officials fired two shots into the car she was driving in 2012. Malissa Williams, 30, died after Cleveland police fired 137 times into the car that she was riding in with Timothy Russell. Alesia Thomas was 35 when she was kicked to death by a Los Angeles Police officer. Shantel Davis was 23 when she was shot and killed by plainclothes New York Police officers in Brooklyn in 2012. Shereese Francis, 29, had mental illness and died after NYPD officers arrived at her home to help her family transport her to a local hospital. Four officers pressed on her back to handcuff her, and lawyers for the family later sued, saying they suffocated Francis. Aiyana Stanley-Jones was only 7 when Detroit police officers barged into her family's home with their guns drawn, shooting her in the head. Tarika Wilson, 26, was

New York City Pays Eric Garner’s Family $5.9 Million

New York City has settled a claim with Eric Garner's family for $5.9 million in an effort by city officials to head off a full-blown lawsuit. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Monday announced the pre-litigation settlement in relation to the 43-year-old's chokehold death in NYPD custody last July. The move is a strategy by Stringer's office to save taxpayers the expense of a costly trial and provide closure to the victims' families, according to The New York Times. Earlier on Monday, several outlets reported that Garner's widow had previously rejected a $5 million settlement offer from the city. Garner's family was originally seeking $75 million in damages when they filed a notice of claim -- the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city -- last October. Garner's death sparked national outrage and a debate on the policing of black citizens after cellphone video captured by a bystander showed NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo placing Garner in a chokehold while other officers wrestled him to the ground. Garner's last words -- "I can't breathe!" -- became a rallying cry among civil rights activist demanding police accountability and changes to police use of force against unarmed civilians. Garner's death was later ruled a homicide. Stringer called the settlement "in the best interest of all parties." While noting the city has not admitted liability in Garner's death, Stringer said in a statement: "I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City.” The city's decision comes just days before it hit a deadline activating the lawsuit. A grand jury previously voted not to indict Pantaleo, though the Justice Department has an open inquiry into whether he violated Garner's civil rights. “We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation," Stringer said. "It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve."

Serena Williams and the Fear of a Dominant Black Woman

Serena Williams is shattering every record in tennis this year. Why isn’t she being paid like the women she is dominating in the process? Serena Williams is on the cusp of cementing herself as the best, most dominant athlete of her generation, regardless of gender. At the age of 33—ancient by the norms of tennis’s attritive nature—Williams is by far the top-ranked player on the WTA tour and bested 20th ranked Garbine Muguruza in straight sets to claim the 2015 Wimbledon title.That means she now holds all the Grand Slam titles in tennis and will enter the 2015 U.S. Open with a chance to complete both a calendar year Grand Slam and tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles in the open era.It’s an awe-inspiring accomplishment in the making, but one that will do little, if anything, to change the fact that Serena Williams’s legacy will be decided in the context of a society that has institutionally oppressed black women. This institutional oppression manifests itself across a broad spectrum of data. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that black women earn $100 less per week than white women. Black women have a median wealth of $100 compared to a median wealth of $45,400 for white women, according to the Center for Global Policy Solutions. A study by the Sentencing Project finds that black women have a 1 in 19 lifetime likelihood of imprisonment, while the same measure stands at 1 in 118 for white women. There’s even a gap in life expectancy between black and white women. The data we have all points to the conclusion that black women are institutionally oppressed and disadvantaged. And one would need only to glance at the history of bankrupt accusations and bullshit levied against Williams for proof of how that oppression and its associated stereotypes play out in media. There was the time tennis great Chris Evert wrote an open letter to a then-24-year-old Williams chiding her for a supposed lack of commitment while Williams was battling through injuries. “Despite quintupling Sharapova’s prize money and holding an 18-2 career record against her—including 17 consecutive wins head-to-head—Williams makes half of what her pseudo-rival manages in endorsements.” There was also the time another tennis great, John McEnroe, baselessly accused Williams of allowing her father, Richard Williams, to fix matches between her and her sister, Venus. Then there was the time Jason Whitlock (who is black, himself) wrote of his sexual attraction to Williams while comparing her to various animals, equating her to Paris Hilton, and repeatedly implying she was eating too much to ever topple the Grand Slam record she might tie this weekend. Whitlock was also one of many whocriticized Williams for busting out a crip walk after winning Olympic gold, the underlying accusation being that Williams had somehow disrespected a hallowed institution by performing a brief celebratory dance. There are plenty of other examples to cite, but you get the point: The mainstream depiction of Williams often hinges on depicting her as amoral, lazy, disrespectful, and animalistic. Clearly, this

“Is Racism Still A Thing?” – Perspective of a Black Teenager

It was a cold February morning when the existence of racism became evident to me. The day prior, seventeen year old Trayvon Martin had been shot and killed. Racism was always something we learned of in school however, I never experienced it first hand. Throughout my childhood racism appeared to me as a thing of the past. The killing of Trayvon Martin changed this and it was then that I began to realize that racism was still in existence. I became very curious about racism and began my own research. I learned of many modern-day cases of racial injustices such as the cases of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and many more. These were all cases that school failed to discuss. As an African American teenager in America it is important that you are knowledgeable of not only the past but the present. School teachers will not teach you of the dangers of being black in America. Few are blessed to have conscious parents who educate them and equip them to be the voices of our nation and race. For these reasons we must learn for ourselves. As a teenager I know that there are many distractions that keep us blind. Social media plays a big part in teenagers not spending time to become educated but rather to be entertained. Our elders who paved the way for us did not have distractions and that is the reason that they were able to create change. Leadership is another reason that those before us were able to create change. Teenagers today lack leadership. When things hit the fan, our elders had voices to fight back. An extensive list of voices like Bobby Seale, Maya Angelou, Marcus Garvey, and Tupac Shakur. Many of these leaders risked their lives to ensure racial equality. Their voices were captivating enough to spark change. Ironically these are not the leaders idolized by teenagers. As a result of this teenagers lack the knowledge of how to be a leader. There are a few of us who are equipped to be leaders however all the attention lies on those with “popularity”. As not only the future of this country but of this race we have fallen short of the ability to fight back. America's current state of racism mirrors Americas prior state of racism. History is beginning to repeat itself due to lack of knowledge of the past. Before becoming educated on racial injustices I viewed them as a thing of the past. Many teenagers are yet to become educated on these issues and because of it are shocked by America's current state of racism. I often hear statements like, “I didn't know things like that still happened!” Surprisingly many teenagers are blind to the fact that racism is still evident. Recent cases of racial injustices such as the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner have opened the eyes of many teenagers. It is sad that these deaths are what it takes for us to see. A great once said,

Let’s hope I win a Ford during Essence Fest!!

I'll be celebrating my birthday this week at Essence Fest!  I'm super excited because it will be my first time in New Orleans as well as the first time I attend Essence Festival.  Well, now Ford has decided to possibly make my weekend even more exciting!  Ford will give away a chance to win keys to a Ford vehicle of choice* to festival-goers who participate in the ride-and-drive event; participants can test drive some of the most stylish and fun-to-drive vehicles on the road today!  Now wouldn't this make for a great birthday gift?  Everything is aligned for me, I'm naming it and claiming it TODAY!  Now all I need is for you guys to keep the positive energy out there for me.  Can you do that for your girl?  Help a sista out! If you're coming to Essence Festival this weekend, you too have an opportunity to win.  Here are the deets: "Ford Motor Company shares in ESSENCE's commitment to the African American community on this widely celebrated weekend of fun and empowerment," said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford multicultural marketing. "This annual festival is something we look forward to, seeking new ways every year to engage and excite consumers. The ESSENCE Festival affords us the opportunity to demonstrate our Go Further brand promise and showcase Ford's latest vehicle lineup."   Festival-goers will have the opportunity to take a test drive in Ford's newest products at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and receive a $750** cash offer on a new Ford vehicle for opting-in to Ford communications. Vehicles available for test drives include the 2015 Edge, Focus hatchback, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Flex, Escape, F-150 and Explorer.   The all-new Ford GT will be front and center at the Ford display. The all-new supercar serves as the pinnacle product of the new Ford Performance group, setting new standards for Ford innovation in light-weighting, aerodynamics and EcoBoost® engine technology.     Keep your fingers crossed for me folks and send me well wishes via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook posts using hashtag  #IHTGFord36 Thanks in advance and if...I mean, when I win,  holla at ya girl if you see me on the street!!! :)

Jill Scott Provides $20,000 in Scholarships for Students

Hallmark's Mahogany brand today announced a partnership with Blues Babe, a registered 501(c)3 foundation spearheaded by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jill Scott. Through this partnership, Mahogany and the Blues Babe Foundation have established a national, merit-based scholarship for college students interested in pursuing a career in the writing arts. This collaboration unites Mahogany's commitment to a genuine, progressive and optimistic reflection of African-American culture with the Blues Babe Foundation's extensive work in initiatives supporting minority students pursuing a college education. "To be able to give inner-city students the opportunity to receive a scholarship and pursue a career in writing is phenomenal," said Ms. Scott. "My love and passion for writing is reflected in my music and my poetry and I am sincerely grateful that Mahogany decided to partner with the Blues Babe Foundation to help nurture young creative minds." Currently enrolled college students interested in applying for the scholarship may visit to submit qualifying information, a writing sample and an essay for consideration. Two winning applicants (as selected by representatives from Mahogany and the Blues Babe Foundation) will each receive a $10,000 scholarship. Both winners also will be invited to Hallmark's headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. for an all-expenses paid workshop with Mahogany's team of writers during the summer of 2016. This personalized workshop will help students hone their craft over a three-day period and fully immerse them in the day-to-day experience of a Mahogany writer. Mahogany and the Blues Babe Foundation also will team up to promote the importance of education and creative writing skills during sessions at this year's Camp Jill Scott, an annual summer enrichment camp for underserved middle school students in the North Philadelphia area. Mahogany writers will work directly with the campers, serving as positive role models and inspiring them to explore their creative writing abilities through guided activities. "Our greeting cards' messages are rooted in inspiration, positivity and cultural connection," said Tara Frank, Vice President – Multicultural Strategy, Hallmark Cards. "This partnership provides an avenue for us to put that message into action – nationally and locally – and we're excited to partner with Ms. Scott's Blues Babe Foundation to do so. We hope that our shared vision leads to rewarding and enriching opportunities for college-bound students." Applications for the Mahogany & Blues Babe Foundation Scholarship will be accepted through October 30, 2015. For more information and official rules, visit  


On Saturday, fashion designer Brett Johnson showcased his Pre-Fall 2015 outerwear collection at Neiman Marcus at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, GA. Throughout the day, various VIPs stopped in to view and purchase the Italian-made jackets, trench coats and bombers. Guests included Bob Johnson (Founder/Chairman, RLJ Companies), filmmaker Laura Gibreal, media mogul Chaka Zulu, WE tv star Evelyn Braxton, R.L (Singer/NEXT), publicist Angela Watts and more. The trunk show was a success. Brett Johnson Collection, an eponymous menswear line fabricated in Florence, Italy that debuted commercially just a year ago, is pleased to announce that it is opening new retail doors nationally and online this July 2015 for men's luxury outerwear and sportswear at Neiman Marcus online for the very first time. This young designer partnership with the iconic retailer will be accompanied by-invitation, trunk show tours across key markets and stores with Brett Johnson himself. Beginning in Washington, D.C. his capital home city, Neiman Marcus will host private clients, professional athletes and entertainers, Capitol Hill staffers and members of the DC lifestyle and destination press in store with the designer. "We are so excited that this is happening now. It allows us to scale our production and meet the needs of our very discerning clientele around the country. We actually sold out our outerwear inventory at Stanley Korshak boutique this spring in Dallas. We are pacing our brand's growth and enjoying unprecedented menswear sales online globally." For more information on the Brett Johnson Collection, visit Follow them at @BrettJohnsonCo.

Michelle Obama Will Be ‘Guest Editor’ Of More Magazine

WASHINGTON (AP) — She's a wife, mother and lawyer, an advocate for children and military families, and first lady of the United States. Now Michelle Obama has added a new gig: magazine editor. The first lady was "guest editor" of the July-August issue of the women's magazine, More. It was a first for both the White House and the magazine industry, said Lesley Jane Seymour, More's editor-in-chief. "There's never been a first lady who's ever guest-edited a magazine and certainly not a sitting first lady," Seymour told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. She said the edition focuses on Mrs. Obama's "point of view on the world and it's from her eyes." "Guest editor" wasn't just a fancy title, either. The first lady pitched ideas and wrote and approved copy for the 148-page issue, Seymour said. She "was reading every page and asking for changes up until the last minute," Seymour said. "She had to approve absolutely everything. She had to suggest various things, too." Staff handled stories about fashion and beauty. The theme of the issue is having "More Impact." Mrs. Obama said she welcomed the opportunity to share some of her White House experiences with like-minded readers. "What I want readers to understand is that impact comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. And hopefully through this issue, what people will see is that you can have impact as a military mom changing careers, or you can be a young person starting a business or you can be the first lady and start a whole initiative," Mrs. Obama said in a written statement released by More. The issue highlights the first lady's four priorities: helping children live healthier lives, supporting military families, encouraging young people to continue their education after high school and helping girls around the world attend and stay in school. Mrs. Obama wrote a brief review of "The Light of the World," a memoir that Obama friend Elizabeth Alexander wrote after her husband's sudden death three years ago. The first lady said the book "simply took my breath away." Alexander wrote and delivered a poem at President Barack Obama's first inauguration. The first lady's byline appears on a reflective piece about the reaction when she said her top priority is being "mom in chief" to daughters Malia and Sasha. She shares the music on her "chill-out" playlist, including songs by Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and the duo of Tony Bennett and Lada Gaga. And in a separate feature, Mrs. Obama reveals the stories behind some of her favorite photographs, including of her and her daughters walking along the Great Wall in China during a weeklong trip there last year and a photo of the Obama family outside their Chicago home "before our new life was about to kick off." Other photos show Malia sledding on the White House grounds during a 2009 snowstorm, using lunch trays borrowed from the White House mess, and the new president and first lady in a golf cart as they are driven from one inaugural ball to the next inside Washington's cavernous convention center


African-American women are equally, if not more, likely to experience infertility than white women, but often cope in silence and isolation. Researchers say a new study may be the first known to focus exclusively on African-American women and infertility. The majority of previous infertility studies have focused on affluent white couples seeking advanced medical interventions. “Infertile African-American women are indeed hidden from public view,” says Rosario Ceballo, professor of psychology and women’s studies at University of Michigan and lead author of the study in the journalPsychology of Women Quarterly. FEELINGS OF SHAME For the study, researchers interviewed 50 African-American women of different socioeconomic backgrounds about infertility and relationships with friends, relatives, and doctors. Their ages ranged from 21 to 52 and most were married. Many of the women had college degrees and worked full-time. At some point in their lives, the women met the medical definition for infertility, a condition in which a woman is unable to conceive after 12 or more months of regular, unprotected sex. The women spent from one to 19 years trying to become pregnant. In describing the difficulties of getting pregnant, 32 percent of the women discussed stereotyped beliefs that equated being a woman with motherhood. Some responses included: “Emotionally, I felt that I was not complete, because I had not had a child. I didn’t feel like I was a complete woman,” and “It (having no biological children) would label you as a failure.” Furthermore, infertility was infused with religious significance for some women. They believed God intended women to produce children, which further heightened their sense of shame. ‘NOT SOMETHING YOU SHARED’ Virtually all of the women dealt with infertility in silence and isolation, even when a friend or relative knew about the woman’s difficulty conceiving. Respondents thought infertility was not as emotionally painful for their husbands and partners, who were not interviewed for the study. Some women, especially those with secondary infertility, stayed silent about being unable to conceive because discussing it did not elicit sympathy or empathy. “Women may also reason that other people can neither change their infertility status nor understand what they were experiencing,” Ceballo says. The women may stay silent about their infertility because of cultural expectations about strong, self-reliant black women who can cope with adversity on their own and with notions about maintaining privacy in African-American communities, Ceballo says. In the interviews, for example, respondents said, “You don’t want people in your business” and “I never said anything to anyone else because in our culture…it was not something that you shared.” With their interactions with doctors and medical professionals, about 26 percent believed that encounters may have been influenced by gender, race, and/or class discrimination. These women talked about doctors who made assumptions about their sexual promiscuity and inability to pay for services or support a child. Highly educated women with high incomes were equally likely as low-income African-American women to report discrimination in medical settings. Also, the cost of fertility treatments was prohibitively high for most respondents. Overall, when black women could not conceive a child, it negatively affected their self-esteem.

Black Women, Police Brutality And Sexual Harassment

courtesy of Huffington Post There is a moment in the McKinney, Texas pool party video that’s both horrifying and absurd: when Cpl. Eric Casebolt manhandles, violently restrains, then sits on top of an unarmed, 15-year-old, bikini-clad black girl as she cries for her mother. The absurdity, of course, lies in how unnecessary and over-the-top Casebolt’s behavior is (earlier in the YouTube clip, he barrel rolls across a lawn for no reason in particular). But the horror emerges from the undertones of sexual violence in that instant. Casebolt pulls the girl by her hair, forces her face against the ground and presses his knee into her back -- all while she pleads for him to stop. Here's a grown man, forcing a young girl into submission against her will. The video acts as a prime example of the inherent reality of both physical and sexual harassment against black women and girls at the hands of cops. The scene is reminiscent of a video that went viral last year. The clip featured 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock being punched repeatedly by California Highway Patrolman Daniel Andrew. Equally as problematic as his brute force was the compromising and dehumanizing position the patrolman had her in. Andrew straddled Pinnock as he beat her, with her torso and bra exposed. Pinnock later reached a settlement in the case, with Andrew never charged, and his sexual harassment never acknowledged. You can view the video below. Online campaigns like #sayhername and #blackwomenslivesmatter have attempted to highlight the discrimination black women face from police. And yet, while awareness is growing, a meaningful discussion has yet to begin about the oft-present undercurrents of sexual harassment. It’s unsurprising, as there has been very little research about the connection between police brutality and sexual assault. According to the Cato Institute, over nine percent of the reported police misconduct in 2010 was sexual assault -- second only to the use of excessive force. Of that percentage, women of color are undoubtedly impacted. For example, stop-and-frisk, the controversial policy that's been overwhelmingly viewed as a form of racial profiling, has affected black women just as it has affected black men. In 2012, Harlem Heights resident Crystal Pope relayed to theGrio the deep embarrassment and confusion she felt while being frisked by cops who stopped her while searing for a rapist on the loose. “They patted around my waistline and butt. They were so aggressive,” Pope said. “It was all so intense and very upsetting." It's that same deep embarrassment that's painfully visible on the face of the teen girl in the McKinney video. Casebolt's behavior, as in all cases of police brutality, was not about protecting and serving. It was about dominance, ego, and authority, and when confronted with a young black girl it manifested itself through a sexual and physical aggression that was patently inappropriate -- but unsurprising. There are some who will say that it is a "reach" to accuse Casebolt of sexual assault. But in the case of a grown man physically dominating a 15-year-old girl, it's hard to see

Tech Pioneers: Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves

It was a pleasantly shocking moment that Dara Solomon and Fela Strickland-Smith will always remember. At Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Summit last month, the magazine awarded the sisters a Small Business Award as Family Business of the Year. The recognition is especially surprising because the sisters launched Satori Interactive in 2004 without any entrepreneurial experience, business advisers or employees. What they did have, though, was confidence, solid family support and successful careers in the male-dominated technology industry, where blacks and women are underrepresented. “In our hearts it was a stamp of confirmation that the sacrifices we made to get this far were worth it,” Smith says of the magazine’s recognition. In a 2013 U.S. Census report (pdf) based on 2011 figures, men represented about 75 percent of the workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. African Americans made up just 6 percent of that job sector. As for software development, whites held nearly 60 percent of those jobs, followed by Asians at about 30 percent. Smith, who graduated from Virginia Union University with a degree in math and computer science, worked for 15 years as a senior information technology professional, managing projects for top corporate companies. Her younger sister studied industrial engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State, later earning a master’s in human-computer interaction at the university. She worked for 18 years in the tech industry, making computer platforms more user-oriented and teaching those skills at the Art Institute of Atlanta. They bring their education, talents and passion to Satori, which provides a range of business-to-business technology services. Located in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, the company is uniquely adept at making computer applications user-friendly. Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship evolved from the sisters’ close relationship. Even though they worked for different companies, they would always consult with each other. Smith would often call her sister to talk about projects she was working on. And Solomon, who specializes in human factors in IT development, would ask if she considered the users. At one point they realized that those types of conversations were happening more and more often. “Fela, being the big sister that she is, said, ‘Hey, why don’t we start a company?’” Solomon recalls with a slight chuckle. “I said, you know, that’s probably a good idea.” Smith says that they have “very complementary skills” and that there were gaps in the technology industry where they could find a comfortable niche to grow their business. “Satori” is a Buddhist term that means a state of enlightenment. The sisters are not Buddhist, but they thought it expressed perfectly that “aha” moment that their clients experience. The company’s foundation is user research and understanding how people and technology interact. To that end, they organize focus groups to see how potential customers interact with their clients’ software or website.Tech “That’s when clients often experience aha moments,” Solomon explains. “They’ll say, ‘That’s why people are having trouble with our website.’” There was never a doubt that the sisters would choose careers in technology. Their father was an electrical engineer who encouraged

Mary Schmidt named new President of Spelman College

THE TENTH PRESIDENT of Spelman College is a prominent New York City arts leader who played a pivotal role in sustaining and advancing the Studio Museum in Harlem when the city was on a downturn. Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., has been named president-elect of Spelman, the Atlanta college established in 1881 and recognized today as a leader in the education of women of African descent. Dean emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU), Campbell was unanimously selected by the Spelman Board of Trustees after a competitive search that began in September 2014. She will officially assume the presidency on Aug. 1, after current president Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., steps down in July. The announcement was made Saturday, March 28. “[Campbell] is the right leader at the right time because her dynamic and innovative leadership has been demonstrated at every step along the way in her career,” said Rosalind Brewer, chair of the Spelman Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Sam’s Club in a statement. Campbell served as dean of the Tisch School of the Arts for more than 20 years. Prior to that she was the city’s cultural affairs commissioner. Appointed by Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1991, she also served as commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins, before joining NYU. Early in her career, Campbell was executive director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem from 1977 to 1987. Her NYU bio details her accomplishments at the Studio Museum: “Under her leadership the museum was transformed from a rented loft into the country’s first accredited Black fine arts museum with a permanent collection, major publications, exhibition and artists-in-residence programs. She personally curated a number of groundbreaking exhibitions and wrote catalogue essays for world-renowned artists such as Betye Saar, Sam Gilliam, and Melvin Edwards.” Under her leadership the [Studio Museum] was transformed from a rented loft into the country’s first accredited Black fine arts museum with a permanent collection, major publications, exhibition and artists-in-residence programs. Campbell’s track record at NYU’s Tisch School is just as impressive as her strides at the Studio Museum: “Under her leadership, the school experienced an increase in the minority student population of nearly 200% and faculty diversity increased almost tenfold. During that same period, Tisch experienced dramatic improvements in the average GPA and SAT scores of incoming freshman and in the retention rates of its continuing students. In the process, Tisch became one of the most selective schools at NYU.” After receiving a B.A. in English literature from Swarthmore College, Campbell earned an M.A. in art history from Syracuse University, where she also completed a Ph.D. in Humanities. She says she attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and her three sons graduated from HBCUs. Her oldest son is provost of Morehouse College and his wife is an alum of Spelman. Meanwhile, Campbell’s husband is president emeritus of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Her personal and professional backgrounds are readymade for her new post. But when Campbell retired from

ARTnews Publishes Special Report on Women in the Art World, Black Artists Respond

BORN IN PORTLAND, ORE., IN 1953, photographer Carrie Mae Weems has steadily built a critically acclaimed, internationally recognized practice. Weems uses photography and video to test and explore assumptions about race, gender, class and history. She is a trailblazer, who had few examples to turn to, model her career after or use as a measure for envisioning what she was capable of achieving in the field. “There have been wonderful changes for women artists in the past 40-some years, and I know these women now in a way that I didn’t when my career began. As a student I went to the library to find books on women photographers and found there were very few,” Weems writes in ARTnews. “Since then, there has been considerable improvement. However, although women artists are now being exhibited more, their work is still not valued to the extent of the male artists’. We are still a psychological and cultural distance away from recognizing and valuing them.” ARTnews magazine has devoted its June issue to a special report assessing the state of women in the art world—how women artists are faring in terms of solo museum exhibitions and representation in museum collections, gallery representation, press coverage and market valuation, and also measuring opportunities garnered by female curators and museum directors. The cover for the special issue features a collage painting byWangechi Mutu. Inside, there are several essays and an interview with feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, who published a 1971 essay titled “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” in ARTnews. The centerpiece of the coverage is “Taking Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, and Fixes,” an article by New York-based curator and writer Maura Reilley. Weems’s statement is part of an essay she penned in response to Reilly’s report. The magazine gathered responses from 17 women artists, seeking to gain insight from different generations of artists about their experiences and the statistics she reveals. Four African American women are included. Along with Weems and Mutu, Coco Fusco and Mickalene Thomas, also participated. Reilly begins her report by acknowledging remarkable progress and emphasizing the remaining challenges. “The institutional power structures that Nochlin argued made it ‘impossible for women to achieve artistic excellence, or success, on the same footing as men, no matter what the potency of their so-called talent, or genius,’ have been shifting,” Reilly writes. “But inequality persists. The common refrain that ‘women are treated equally in the art world now’ needs to be challenged. The existence of a few superstars…does not mean that women artists have achieved equality. Far from it.” “Inequality persists. The common refrain that ‘women are treated equally in the art world now’ needs to be challenged. The existence of a few superstars…does not mean that women artists have achieved equality. Far from it.” — Maura Reilly, ARTnews Her findings, some of which are noted below, are extraordinary—in some regards surprising, in others familiar, rarely reassuring.” In 2004, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened its new building, with a reinstallation of the permanent collection spanning the

Meet Eniola Aluko: FIFA Women’s World Cup

Each week, GLAMOUR is profiling an awesome woman in sport as part of their Say No to Sexism in Sport campaign. Today it's Chelsea Ladies footballer, Eniola Aluko, who will be playing for England in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, kicking off in Canada this weekend. Eniola was part of the Team GB women's football squad at the 2012 Olympics, and is also the first female footballer to appear as a pundit on the BBC's Match Of The Day. By Josie Ayre Firstly, how are you feeling about the World Cup? "I am very excited. I really believe we've got the talent as a team to do well: we want to win. Personally, I want to put in a good performance for the team - and score some goals!" How did you start your football career? "Playing football gave me confidence when I was growing up - it was a natural talent that I was born with, and I was encouraged by my parents to keep doing it. After playing in five-a-side teams, I went on to play for a junior girls team at Leafield Athletic in Birmingham, then when I was 14, I was scouted by the England program and once you're in the system you've just got to work your way up." What do you love about the game? "Football has given me everything, it's shaped me as a person. I've met people, like the Queen, that I never would have expected to meet. It's taught me to value hard work and understand what it takes to achieve your goals. I've also learnt the importance of disappointment. Thanks to football I have friends all over the world: it's a sport that brings people together, it transcends race, colour and religion." What progress has the sport made in terms of encouraging more women to participate? "We're certainly heading in the right direction - football is the fastest growing women's sport in England. The Football Association has done a really great job over the years of creating opportunities for women to get involved and have continued to encourage elite development. I think as we see the women's game on TV more and more, we will inspire a new generation of girls to play." Eniola playing for Chelsea LadiesThe FA via Getty Images Where do you hope to see women's football in five to ten years time? "I would expect the contracts to be better, commercial sponsors to be more comfortable with women's football, attendance at women's matches to be higher. I would hope to see young girls being more comfortable in saying that they want to pursue a career as a professional footballer. I think some of this is certainly happening now but I think it will be far more advanced in ten years time." Which female sports stars have inspired you in your career? "I'm a big fan of the Williams' sisters; I think they are incredible. As black women in sport they were - and still are - icons. I think it's important for strong, female role models to be out there

Venus Williams the Marshawn Lynch of tennis

Geesh!  Are you serious?  Even as a member of the media, I do NOT understand these fines.  Venus baby, take a note from Bro. Marshawn and stick it to them the real way...just show up!  It made him even more famous or should I say in-famous!  I get it, sometimes you just don't wanna talk.  What do you guys think?  Read the story below courtesy of NewsMax and give me your opinion: Venus Williams was fined $3,000 at the French Open after she snubbed the media by skipping a mandatory post-match news conference Monday after she lost to Sloane Stephens. Stephens defeat Williams, seeded No. 15, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the second day of competition at Roland Garros in Paris, according to Bloomberg Business. She became the first  American player to have beaten both Williams' sisters at any of the four Grand Slams since Lindsay Davenport in 2000, according to the Washington Post. Williams, 34, issued a statement after the match instead of appearing in front of media as required, reported USA Today. An official from the International Tennis Federation said a Grand Slam supervisors committee assessed the fine on Wednesday. "When you arrive at any tournament you hope you will have a chance to work your way into the event, but I didn't have that opportunity," Williams said after the Stephens match. "She just played better than me today." Stephens, daughter of former New England Patriots running back John Stephens, beat Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open, noted The Associated Press. USA Today columnist Chris Chase called Williams' actions to duck the media "bush league." "I'm not going to sit here and say skipping a presser is the most egregious thing a tennis player can do, but it's still bush league and a disappointment, especially coming from one of the game's great ambassadors and elder stateswomen," wrote Chase. "If a player isn't in the mood to talk, not much gets accomplished at those sit-downs with the press. … And it's okay to be mad after you lose a match and want to just leave the premises, particularly when you fought hard in a great first set, then collapsed in the second. All that being said, you can’t shirk your responsibilities with the media." Stephens said she was happy to get the victory and move on. "Obviously it's a tough first round of a Grand Slam," Stephens said in her post-game conference. "Going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. She's a great player and a great champion. I didn't know if she was going to blow me off the court."

First Black Female Astronaut, Mae Jemison, talks Fear and Inclusion

courtesy of Fast Company On paper, Mae Jemison’s accomplishments are so varied and groundbreaking, you would never stop to consider that she—like most all of us— isn’t completely fearless. Jemison studied chemical engineering at Stanford before going to medical school at Cornell. From there, she went into the Peace Corps as a medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia before becoming a general-practice physician in Los Angeles. An itch to keep exploring, something that Jemison admits has been with her since childhood, led her to NASA, where she became an astronaut and the first woman of color in the world to go into space, aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, for its STS-47 Spacelab-J mission in 1992. Among her more recent ventures, Jemison’s taught environmental science at Dartmouth, leads 100 Year Starship, an initiative to get humans to travel beyond our solar system within the next 100 years, started the Earth We Share science literacy project, serves as Bayer Corporation USA's national science literacy advocate, and is on the boards of Kimberly-Clark, Scholastic, and Valspar. Along the way, she’s learned a lot, from complex technical engineering to soft skills like patience. FEAR ISN'T ALWAYS A WEAKNESS According to Jemison, she’s learned it’s what you do with that fear that makes the difference. She suffered from a fear of heights, but once she got into the astronaut training program, Jemison says, "There was no way I was not going to get through because of my fear of heights." Instead, she relied on the strength of her ego to push forward. IT’S A WEAKNESS ONLY IF IT KEEPS YOU FROM DOING STUFF. "It’s a weakness only if it keeps you from doing stuff," Jemison explains, adding that derring-do is not necessarily a strength. She believes as you learn your strengths and work on weaknesses, the key is more an issue of balance than to focus on one in hopes the other will disappear. "You can rely on strength so much, you don’t build up your other capabilities," says Jemison. Having too much empathy can hold you back as much as not having any and not be able to read a room, she points out. As for herself, she always tries new things to see what she could do better, something as simple as switching which hand she uses to do something. "I do things with my left hand just to see if I can," she explains. The change in perspective is enough to shake things up a bit. "We are all tasked to balance and optimize ourselves," she underscores. CONFIDENCE BOOST OR BUST One of the results of this practice has been boosting confidence, according to Jemison. She has had her share of both supporters and detractors. The latter, from the time she was in kindergarten, included one teacher who learned she wanted to become a scientist and told her to pursue nursing instead. On the flip side, Jemison says other teachers were there to provide encouragement, or at least equality. One professor at Stanford chose lab partners and stressed that those who didn’t

Eagles Landing Dance Center Features Debbie Allen!

The Eagles Landing Dance Center (ELDC) recently announced plans to celebrate their 10 year anniversary with a host of creative arts events in 2015.  Founder Vanessa Gibson, has worked with talent of all facets, including LL Cool J, Tamia, NAS, Timbaland, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, and more.  Vanessa is known as one of the most acclaimed dancers and instructors in the country. Her dance resume includes stage tours, movies and now 10 years of success at her dance facility, which is located south of Atlanta. ELDC, services ages 3 through adulthood and focuses on ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and more to ensure its students gather the training needed to thrive in the world of dance. ELDC also offers many advancement opportunities for its students, one of which includes an upcoming summer intensive with the world-renowned Director & Choreographer Debbie Allen June 15-27 at the Dekalb School of the Arts. ELDC will also host a 10th Anniversary Spring Recital on Sunday, June 7th at the Henry County Performing Arts Center in McDonough, GA. As well as a 10th Year Celebration later this year.  Vanessa Gibson will continue using her passion and gifts to give back to the dance community at ELDC throughout its 10th year and beyond.

Michelle Obama speaks on racial obstacles for black women

Michelle Obama’s recent commencement speech at Tuskegee University, gave wider society a realistic glimpse into the lives of women of colour. She revealed that racial stereotypes still plague our progress and ultimately our own hopes and aspirations. We will only begin to tackle these stereotypes by highlighting and celebrating our high-achieving women of colour. By talking about her personal experiences around racial stereotyping, Obama highlighted a pervasive societal malaise, that the race of an individual comes above all else and not in a good way. How can we realise the full potential of all our citizens if we think that one section of the population is only good for twerking, finger snapping and single motherhood? These stereotypes relegate our future prime ministers, titans of business and healthcare professionals to dole queues, poor housing and a cycle of deprivation that robs the hardiest characters of their aspirations. When the US’s first lady is dubbed ‘Obama’s baby mama’ then the work in fostering respect on racial and gender lines has a long way to go. The US is far further ahead in celebrating role models of colour compared to the UK. It should be worrying to all of us that it was only in 2014 that we had the first black woman read the 10 O’clock news. Considering that black people have been in Britain since at least the 12th century, that’s a long while to wait to see a woman of colour deliver us the news. The very real judgements women of colour face often interrupt our daily lives reminding us that we do not feature widely in power structures and our life experiences are mainly invisible. This is problematic because when your talents present as a space scientist (Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE) or the former head of legal for the John Lewis group (Margaret Casely-Hayford) you don’t appreciate being mistaken for the cleaner on your first day of work. People grow to expect what they’re shown, when they don’t see women of colour in boardrooms, in leadership roles or even reading the news, they assume it can never happen. I’ve faced these judgements before. The comments such as: “oh, you speak really well” or, “were you born in Britain?’ And of course, the classic characterisation of the angry, black woman. The older you get, the more your self-confidence grows, so you learn to spot and ignore these daily digs. But the knowing what’s about you and what’s about someone else’s prejudices only comes with age, and how many young girls are put off before they realise this? Role models are vital to success. EY’s 2012 survey of 1000 working womenshowed that 75% of those questioned had few or no female role models in their organisation. This probably rings true outside of the workplace too. What can beauty look like for you if the standard is modelled on someone you will never be? What does success look like for you when you have no tangible reference points or examples to draw inspiration from? Michelle Obama’s speech, reminds us that the intersectional burden

Labor Movement Pushes, Yet Again, To Get More Black Women In Charge

Despite being highly effective organizers, black women are underrepresented in leadership positions, a new report finds. Union leaders say, as they have for decades, that things are changing.   Union leaders are scrambling to respond to a survey of black women in the labor movement, which showed that while the women represent one of the country’s most unionized demographics, they remain underrepresented in union leadership. Less than 3% of the respondents said they had held elected leadership positions, and nearly half said they felt there were structural barriers to their advancement. Only 27% said their union invests resources in organizing black women workers. That’s despite the relatively high unionization of black women, who come second only to black men in their membership of unions. BuzzFeed News The study, released last week by the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies, already has some of the country’s biggest unions pledging to do more to get black women represented in their leadership — a pledge that dates back decades. In 1995 the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest federation of trade unions, passed a resolution to increase the diversity of its leadership. Almost 20 years later, that work is yet to be completed, the report said, but unions say they are on the case. The United Steelworkers union now plans to have a coordinator in every local chapter for their women’s leadership program “Women of Steel,” and the Ohio chapter of the AFL-CIO plans to hire a staff member dedicated to the social issues the report shows to be especially important to women of color. Other members of the labor movement also said they’re evaluating their programs for specifically training black women organizers, with an eye to expansion. “The president of our union emailed the report to the entire executive board on Sunday,” said Roxanne Brown, assistant legislative director for the 1.2 million member United Steelworkers. “He touted it as important not just for women of color, but for the labor movement as a whole.” The IPS study said that while the benefits of union membership for black women are well-documented — they earn, on average, $4 an hour more than nonunion peers — the benefits of black women in union-building have received less attention. Thestudy surveyed 467 black women in the labor movement and noted that organizing women of color delivered election wins more reliably than any other demographic. “If unions and the labor movement are to have a future, that future will not be male, pale, and stale,” said Marc Bayard, one of the study’s authors and director of the Black Worker Initiative at IPS. The study was released in the wake of a series of protests that highlighted how two of the country’s most vibrant protest movements — the minimum-wage-focused Fight for 15 and anti-police-brutality Black Lives Matter — are moving closer together. Activists from each were present in numbers at protests organized by the other, first at a national day of minimum wage protests on April 15, and then in the rallies held in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody

Google Embeds Engineers at Black Schools

courtesy of Associated Press Howard University freshman Alanna Walton knew something was different about the professor teaching her introduction to computer science course. First, there was her name: Professor Sabrina. She was an African-American woman, kept office hours until 2 a.m. if that’s what it took to see everyone, and had an additional title: Google in Residence. “It was an awesome class,” said Alanna, who has already chosen her major at the Washington, D.C.-based university: computer science. In ongoing efforts to diversify Silicon Valley’s tech sector, Google is embedding engineers at a handful of historically black colleges and universities where they teach, mentor and advise on curriculum. Today, 35 percent of African-Americans receiving computer-science degrees come from those schools, but they don’t make their way to Silicon Valley’s top tech firms. Google is typical — about 1 percent of its technical staffers are black. Last year, a push by civil-rights advocate Jesse Jackson prompted several dozen tech firms to release workforce-diversity data, which showed under-representation of African-Americans, Latinos and women in the field. In response, businesses, universities and community leaders have launched initiatives aimed at diversifying their ranks, both ethnically and by gender. The Anita Borg Institute and the National Center for Women & Information Technology have partnered with companies to support female engineers. Facebook offers “Facebook University,” an internship for low-income minority college freshmen interested in computer science. Intel has committed $300 million over five years toward diversifying its workforce. Apple has a $50 million partnership with nonprofits to support women and minority computer-science majors. Google decided to go to the source, sending software engineers to teach at Howard, Hampton University in Hampton, Va., Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and Spelman and Morehouse colleges in Atlanta. They taught introductory courses, but they also trained students on everything from how to send a professional email to how to make it through a software-engineering job interview, which can involve a lot of time solving coding questions at a whiteboard. This summer, 30 of those students will be Google interns. And Howard University graduating senior Christopher Hocutt, 21, will be starting at the company full-time. Hocutt said the Google in Residence professors persuaded him to apply. Google software engineer Sabrina Williams, who took a semester away from her Mountain View, Calif., campus this year to mentor and teach at Howard, is thrilled to see her student becoming a colleague. “I’m inspired,” she said. “Change is slow. This is going to take time. But I think what’s interesting about this program is that it’s a different way of attacking the problem of lack of diversity in tech.”

Black Women Killed by Police Are Ignored

You know their names – Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice – because these African American men were unarmed and killed by “law enforcement” officers. Their names have been part of a litany invoked when police shootings are discussed. Their deaths have been part of the impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially because the police officers that killed these men (and a little boy) have paid no price for their murders. You are far less likely to know about Rekia Boyd, shot by an off-duty police officer in Chicago. While the officer who killed Boyd was acquitted, her killing sparked few protests, and little national attention. Kate Abbey-Lambertz of Huffington Post identified 15 women who were killed during police encounters when they were unarmed, including Tanisha Anderson (Cleveland), 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones (Detroit), and Yvette Smith (Bastrop, Texas). The killing of another woman, Miriam Carey, was especially egregious. Carey, a dental hygienist, drove her car into a security checkpoint near the White House. The Secret Service fired multiple shots at Carey, killing her and putting her 13-month-old daughter at risk. Meanwhile, a White man scaled the White House fence without a shot fired. Another made it into the White House residence without encountering a gun. A few people protested Carey’s death, but the protests fizzled. AlterNet and Clutch Magazine, online sources such as Huffington Post, reported on some of the unarmed Black women who were gunned down. Again, these killings were barely protested, and garnered no national attention. Little seems to have changed since Gloria Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott, and Barbara Smith wrote But Some of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks are Men. The book, written in 1993, addressed the invisibility of African American women. While the majority of the unarmed African Americans killed by police officers are men, about 20 percent of those killed are women. The publicized killings of African American men have happened all too frequently in the past 12 months. Each killing strikes our collective community like a body blow, especially when officers are poorly trained, have records of brutality, and are acquitted. When the roll of recent killings is called, women may be absent because there has been little publicity about assaults against women in the past year. Based on the record, however, we know such assaults are likely to have happened. Contemporary African American women are not the only ones who history has swallowed. Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten so many times, and so severely that she developed a blood clot and lost much of her sight in one eye. One kidney was injured and her entire body covered with welts and bruises. She never regained her health, yet when people call the roll of civil rights leaders and icons, her name is too often excluded. There is a historical precedent for the invisibility of African American women. Fannie Lou Hamer is but one of many women whose lives and sacrifices are often ignored. Public policy also ignores the plight of African American women. President

Roland Martin at Town Hall: “Baltimore…What Happens When You Leave Here?”

by Kyla Thompson Baltimore gained national attention again last night with TV One’s live taping of the “State of Emergency: Baltimore and Beyond A News One Now Town Hall Meeting”. Led by Roland Martin, the stage was filled with community members, students, activists, government officials, pastors, police officers, and victims of police brutality; all there to help answer the lingering question – What is next for Baltimore?   The two hour town hall meeting started with an optimistic tone and ended with a call to action from Roland Martin for everyone present to do their part, big or small, to bring about a change in the community.   The town hall meeting helped shed light on a few facts that were not necessarily shared on news over the last few weeks: Morgan State students picked up stranded youth during the riot on last Monday. There has been $7 million worth of civil suits paid out to citizens in Baltimore from the Baltimore Police Department. The Mayor of Baltimore has complete control of the Baltimore Police Department budget.   The panelists, including Carl Stokes, Baltimore Council member who recently mentioned parallels between the use of the word “thug” and “Negro”, Jeff Johnson, journalist and Baltimore resident, and Devin Allen, the photographer behind the Time Magazine cover, and 15 plus other individuals who spoke met a crowd that night that were willing to hear what they had to say, but tried to hold in their emotions that slowly bubbled over.   The town hall meeting had a couple of outbursts that were welcomed by the audience and led to four individuals being escorted out by police.   Roland Martin ended the evening, saying “…Folks want to come with emotion, folks want to talk, folks want to comment, folks want to preach, but the real action has to take place once they leave. So, the real challenge for everybody here is, what is it specifically that you are going to focus on?”   What do you think are the next steps for healing and change?   If you missed it last night, check out the streaming video here [link:].  

Playtex Sport Partners with Keke Palmer

Playtex® Sport® Partners with Multi-Talented Artist, Keke Palmer, To Empower Girls to Be Comfortable and Confident While Staying Active Brand Introduces New Playtex® Sport® Pads, Liners and Combo Packs with Sport Level Protection ™ Design to Comfortably Fit an Active Life PR Newswire SHELTON, Conn., April 29, 2015 SHELTON, Conn., April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Staying active is not only good for the body and mind, but, according to research from the Center for Disease Control, can also contribute to one's future success. Playtex® Sport® is partnering with Broadway, film and television actress Keke Palmer to encourage girls to find the fitness activity or sport that's right for them to positively impact not only their year ahead, but their futures. Palmer, a young woman who embodies self-confidence and a healthy, active lifestyle, will support the launch of New Playtex® Sport® Ultra-Thin Pads, Body Shape Panty Liners and Combo Packs, and encourage girls to feel comfortable and protected while staying active. "Staying active by participating in sports and fitness has given me the confidence I need on stage, on set and in the recording studio to perform my best at all times," said Palmer. "I'm thrilled to team up with Playtex® Sport® to help educate girls and show them that they can be comfortable and in control, even during the time when they may feel they are not." To kick-off the campaign, Playtex® Sport®, in partnership with popular high-intensity dance studio Body By Simone, is hosting girls in the NYC area to join Keke Palmer for a fitness class on April 29th to celebrate the variety of feminine care options Playtex® Sport® now offers and reward girls who are committed to physical fitness. New Playtex® Sport® Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings and Body Shape Panty Liners are made with Sport Level Protection™ and include a FlexFit™ design that twists and turns with the body. Innovative Qwik-Dry™ technology quickly pulls in fluid and wicks moisture away and OdorShield™ technology neutralizes odors before they start, allowing women to feel dry, fresh and confident. Additionally, the brand is also introducing Playtex® Sport® Combo Packs to the feminine care market for dual-form users to provide two kinds of protection together in one convenient package.  "The Playtex Sport brand recognized a prominent void in the feminine care space and is thrilled to introduce a solution with the launch of Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings, Body Shape Panty Liners and Combo Packs," said Marci Serbonich, Senior Brand Manager for Feminine Care Products at Energizer Personal Care.  "The introduction of Sport Level Protection for Pads and Liners now provides a wide range of options, so women can feel confident, comfortable and protected while engaging in sports and all forms of physical activity." New Playtex® Sport® Ultra-Thin Pads with Wings, Body Shape Panty Liners and Combo Packs are available at mass, grocery and drug retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price ranging from $1.49 - $6.99.  Playtex® Sport® Tampons and Playtex® Sport® Fresh Balance Tampons are available for a suggested retail price ranging from $3.99-$6.99. For more information visit or About

New York Teen Bullied For Her Dark Skin Wins $10,000 Scholarship

Nosa Akol, a 17-year-old South Sudanese student bullied for her dark skin, didn’t allow the negativity to stop her from making progressive moves in her community. Recognized for her volunteer efforts, Akol was awarded a $10,000 scholarship, gifted by the National 4-H council, NBC News reports. “People can be mean,” Akol said about the daily taunting she faced at school. They teased her for her complexion and called her “burnt toast,” she added. Although the bullying was difficult, Nosa said that the harassment helped change her perception of the world and how she treats others. “That time taught me to be careful with what I say to others,” she says, “and to be sensitive to people’s feelings.” Akol looked to her neighborhood to see how she could make a difference. The Binghamton High School student led a local nutrition program called “Taste the Rainbow” where she taught elementary school children about healthy eating habits.  The teen also developed a plan to fix the pot holes plaguing her community, Binghamton, NY,  and submitted them to city officials to rectify the issue. She called it the “Great Pothole Solution Project.” Out of 80 candidates nationwide, the National 4-H council, the nation’s largest positive youth development organization, selected Akol to become the 2015 4-H Youth in Action award recipient — a national honor and prestigious accolade, according to Binghamton Homepage. “I’m still trying to process everything that’s going on. I don’t think I’ve had the time yet to just sit down and actually go through my thoughts, so I’m excited for it, but I don’t think I’ve fully processed  everything just yet,” she told The Root. Akol gets $10,000 towards a college of her choosing. She plans to study agriculture and committing her life to empowering young women in developing countries such as South Sudan. “The education in Sudan is different and the war would’ve made my life the complete opposite to what it is now,”she said, according to NBC News. “Instead of just sitting back and waiting for someone to do something, it would be faster and more efficient if I did something.” “This triumphant day might have not come if Nosa had let the bullying get to her,” The Root said. ” It’s up to us if we want a better world for ourselves,” Akol pointed out. Akol will receive her award on April 23rd at the 6th Annual Legacy Awards in Washington D.C.

Senate to Pass Human Trafficking Law

The Senate looks to have come to a deal on a human trafficking bill that stalled over funding, which means a vote on Loretta Lynch for Attorney General could be just a couple of days away. The disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over the trafficking bill concerned a restriction in the bill that would have further expanded curbs on spending for abortions. (Dems were against the restriction.) “Those federal funds are already subject to abortion restrictions on government funding through the four decade-old Hyde Amendment, which is usually attached as a rider to spending bills and as a result, has to be approved annually,” notes The Wall Street Journal. Fines collected from those found guilty of trafficking will go to the Treasury Department for things like legal aid. And services for survivors will be provided through community health centers that received funding through a bill that passed last week. (You can watch this clip from The Daily Show to get the Jon Stewart take on that bit of legislation.) So now that that’s taken care of, we may finally get a vote on Lynch’s nomination, which President Obama made back in November. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it could be in the next day or two. Last week, Lynch supporters vowed to go on a hunger strike until she’s confirmed. “Fifty-one senators have publicly stated their support for Lynch, likely assuring her confirmation once McConnell brings it to the floor. Most Republicans, however, continue to oppose her — most of them citing her support for President Obama’s authority to take executive action on immigration,” says The Washington Post. There are likely to be amendments to the trafficking bill, but the Senate is under pressure to actually get things done. The 113th Congress (ending in December) was very nearly the least productive in history.

Hurricane Sandy Survivor Gets Accepted Into Seven Ivy League Schools

Almost three years ago, the northeast of the United States was hit by Hurricane Sandy leaving many displaced due to destroyed neighborhoods and property. Unfortunately for one high school teenager, Daria Rose, her family had to evacuate during the hurricane and their home was destroyed by a subsequent house fire. This experience paid off in the end for Rose, who wrote about her experience for her college admission essays and was accepted to 14 colleges for Fall 2015! Even better, seven of her acceptances were from Ivy League schools. (Rose didn’t apply to Columbia University.) On her hard work and success, Rose shared with ABC News: “It’s hard being a teenager and losing all these clothes and makeup and jewelry. We had to move form hotel to hotel. We stayed with my grandmother for a couple of months, then moved back to a hotel. After moving so much and meeting so many different people, I learned I can adapt and adjust to all these different situations and people.” Although the Sacred Heart High School senior’s family relocated repeatedly, she’s glad her only dilemma now is choosing a school to attend.

Deesha Dyer Named White House Social Secretary

Deesha Dyer has become the second Black women to be named White House Social Secretary. Dyer replaces Jeremy Bernard (the first male in that job in White House history), who recently announced his exit from the post and will officially step down on April 28. Prior to this, Desirée Rogers became the first African-American woman to hold the position when she was appointed by President Obama in 2008. Rogers went on to become CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, the publishers of Ebony and Jet.  A Philadelphia native, Dyer, 37, is actually a former hip-hop journalist who later became a White House intern when she was 31. As Social Secretary, Dyer will coordinate a gamut of social events from the annual Easter Egg Roll  to exclusive state dinners at the White House, reports Black America Web. Two years ago Dyer began working in the social office where Michelle Obama was impressed with “her passion, creativity, public-mindedness and relentless competence.” The First Lady continued: “Since then, whether helping flawlessly execute state dinners or going the extra mile to open the White House to people who never dreamed they would walk through these doors, Deesha has worked tirelessly to truly make the White House the ‘People’s House.’” Dyer said she is honored by the appointment. “I am constantly inspired by the openness, diversity, and traditions of this Administration,” she said. According to the White House, prior to entering government, Dyer was an assistant at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and a freelance journalist covering East Coast hip-hop culture. She also created a Philadelphia-based hip-hop AIDS program for young adults and was a CARE advocacy volunteer, reports USA Today. Dyer returned to college at age 29 and earned a degree from the Community College of Philadelphia.

Lexus Announces The 2nd Annual Verses and Flow Scholarship

Lexus Announces The 2nd Annual Verses And Flow Scholarship To Award 20 Students 5K A Piece For A 100K Grand Total PR Newswire LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2015 LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking its second year in existence, Lexus is proud to announce the 2015 Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship. Presented in partnership with ten of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, two students per institution will each be awarded a $5000 scholarship in recognition of their community leadership and academic excellence. The Lexus Verses and Flow scholarship is open to students at Howard University (Washington, DC), Xavier University (New Orleans, LA), LeMoyne-Owen College (Memphis, TN), Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA), Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA), Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), Grambling State University (Grambling, LA), Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, FL), Hampton University (Hampton, VA) and North Carolina A&T University (Greensboro, NC). To enter, students must complete an application, available at these campuses, and submit it along with a written or video essay detailing how they are taking a leadership role in their communities, the importance of community and the benefits of attending an HBCU. Qualifying students must be a sophomore, junior or senior at the start of the scholarship application period and provide a letter of recommendation from a member of their school's faculty as well as a leader in their community. "We are proud of all of the work that these renowned institutions are doing, giving students the necessary tools to not only succeed, once they leave, but thrive.   Our scholarship falls in line with our pursuit of potential initiative, is a passionate pledge to better the world and more specifically the lives of those poised to lead," states Brian Smith, Lexus Vice President of Marketing The scholarship coincides with the return of the NAACP Image Award-nominated variety show, "Lexus Verses and Flow" in its fifth season airing on TV One. Blending electrifying musical and soul-stirring spoken word performances, the variety show has featured mega-watt stars that include:  Jill Scott, Maxwell, K. Michelle, Estelle, Gary Clark Jr., Leela James, Anthony Hamilton, and Mali Music alongside the best up-and-coming poets including Rudy Francisco, Prentice Powell, Georgia Me, and M'Reid Green. The winners of the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship will be presented and recognized during special "Verses and Flow Day" festivities during which Verses and Flow will come to life on their campuses. For complete information about the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship and a list of the participating HBCUs please visit: About Lexus Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance.  With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers seven F SPORT models and one F performance model.  In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 234 dealers

Black Enterprise Announces 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America

The Executives Will Be Honored During the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit PR Newswire NEW YORK, March 2, 2015 NEW YORK, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Black Enterprise (BE) President & CEO Earl "Butch" Graves Jr. today announced the publication's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, as featured in the magazine's February 2015 cover story. The final roster was culled from thousands of potential candidates across numerous industries, including the finance, pharmaceutical, and retail sectors. The final 50 have authority over budgets totaling billions of dollars and control subsidiaries, divisions, or departments that affect the fiscal health and direction of their businesses. "Our editorial team developed this list to not only celebrate the black female business elite," said President and CEO of Black Enterprise Earl "Butch" Graves Jr. "but to demonstrate that it requires unparalleled expertise and resilience to break through barriers that female executives continue to face today." According to a 2014 Center for American Progress study, the percentage of women in top management positions and on corporate boards has stalled: Less than 9% of top managers are women, and women of color hold only 11.9% of managerial and professional posts with just 5.3% of African American women in those positions. Despite this wide gap within the executive suite, the 50 women identified by Black Enterprise are among a select group of corporate leaders who continue to raise and shatter the glass ceiling. The 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America: Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, EVP & Treasurer–Walmart Stores Inc. Lilicia Bailey, EVP & Chief People Officer–Belk Inc. Alicia Boler-Davis, SVP, Global Connected Customer Experience–General Motors Rosalind G. Brewer, President & CEO, Sam's Club–Walmart Stores Inc. Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO, Chase Auto Finance–JPMorgan Chase Glynis Bryan, CFO– Insight Enterprises Inc. Ursula M. Burns, Chairman & CEO–Xerox Corp. Ann-Marie Campbell, President, Southern Division–The Home Depot Inc. Pamela Carter, President, Distribution Business–Cummins Inc. Dedra N. Castle, EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer–Rite Aid Corp. Bernice Clark, SVP, Marketing Operations & Campaign Planning–Macy's Inc. Edith W. Cooper, EVP & Global Head of Human Capital Management–The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Laree R. Daniel, SVP & Chief Administrative Officer, Administrative Operations–Aflac Jerri DeVard, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer–The ADT Corp. Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO, Prudential Group Insurance–Prudential Financial Inc. Debbie Dyson, Corporate Vice President, Client Experience and Continuous Improvement–ADP L.L.C. Esi Eggleston Bracey, VP & General Manager, Global Cosmetics–Procter & Gamble Amy Ellis-Simon, Head of Global Corporate Access, Global Research–Bank of America Merrill Lynch Felicia J. Fields, Group Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services–Ford Motor Co. Tamara Franklin, EVP, Digital–Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. Mirian Graddick-Weir, EVP, Human Resources–Merck & Co. Marion K. Gross, SVP, Supply Chain Management, North America and U.S. Sustainability, McDonald's USA –McDonald's Corp. Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management & Managing Director & Senior Client Advisor– Morgan Stanley Lara Jordan James, VP, Brand Strategy–MassMutual Financial Group Melissa E. James, Global Head of Loan Products Group–Morgan Stanley Lisa Jeffries Caldwell, EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer–Reynolds American Inc. Myrtle Jones, SVP, Tax–Halliburton Suzan B. Kereere, SVP & GM, National Client Group, Global Merchant Services–American Express Co. Gale V. King, EVP & Chief Administrative Officer–Nationwide Insurance Co. Debra Lee, Chairman & CEO, BET Networks–Viacom Inc. Michelle

Black Women Film Network Announces 2015 Scholarship Recipients

BLACK WOMEN FILM NETWORK ANNOUNCES 2015 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS Awards presented at 'Untold Stories' Luncheon on March 6 during  Black Women Film Summit (ATLANTA) - March 2, 2015 - The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) announced its 2015 Scholarship Winners who will receive their awards at the "Untold Stories" Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 6 at 11:30 am as part of the Black Women Film Summit.  The 2015 recipients are: Dominique Boyd, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Dominique has a 3.66 GPA and is a screenwriter/director with a unique voice. Tawanna Easley, Atlanta Technical College.  Tawanna has a 3.81 GPA and has passed the Apple Certification exam. She is an editor and is working on a documentary about her eight year-old nephew who is training to be a fourth generation cowboy. Erica Lamberson, Spelman College. Erica has a 3.97 GPA and is a Computer Science major with a Studio Art minor.  She is interested in mobile app design. Her screenwriting professor says "her writing sings." (l-r) Dominique Boyd, Tawanna Easley, Erica Lamberson "These are extraordinary women who are going to go on to make an impact on the industry," said Deidre McDonald, BWFN scholarship committee. Fellow committee member Donna Lowry said, "Our scholarship recipients, like Jaunice Sills from REVOLT TV, have gone on to become key influencers in entertainment today."   To purchase tickets for the "Untold Stories Awards" luncheon visit   The Black Women Film Network was established in 1997 to prepare women to enter the film and television industries. Its mission is to connect, prepare and preserve. 2015 BLACK WOMEN FILM SUMMIT       SUMMIT SCHEDULE   Thursday, March 5 5:00PM - Registration: Camille Cosby Auditorium at Spelman College - 350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta, GA 30314 7:00PM - Opening Night Screening of CENTRIC's "Single Ladies" hosted by Stacii Jae and Lamman Rucker Friday, March 6 8:00AM - 12:00PM- Registration: Marriott Marquis Hotel 9:00AM - 10:00AM - Master Class presented by Charity Jordan (Selma)   11:00AM - 2:00PM - "Untold Stories Luncheon" - hosted by Jonathan Slocumb; Honoring Will Packer, Robi Reed, Lamman Rucker, Logan Browning, Shante Bacon, Tia Powell, Tomika DePriest, Georgia Production Partnership   3:00PM - 4:15PM - Conversations with the Master   4:30PM - 5:15PM - New Deal Panel 5:30PM - 6:15PM - REEL Sista Talk Saturday, March 7  8:00AM - 10:00AM - Registration: Camille Cosby Auditorium at Spelman College   9:30AM - 11:45PM - "The YBF" (Young, Black & Filming) - A panel featuring rising filmmakers and their triumphs and challenges as artists. | Spelman College 12:00PM - 2:00PM - "Black Women Book Festival Luncheon" - featuring NAACP Image Award-Winning author Pamela Samuels Young | Spelman College 12:00PM - 6:00PM - Multiple Film Screenings | Spelman College 7:00PM - 10:00PM - Closing Night Reception & 40th Anniversary Screening of MAHOGANY presented by Paramount Pictures| Performance by V. Bozeman - TIME Restaurant - 793 Juniper St NE, Atlanta GA 30308 About Black Women Film NetworkEstablished in 1997, the Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded to prepare black women to enter the film and television industries. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of these women through film and educational programs that empower and inform. A 501(c)3 non-profit, BWFN provides student scholarships, hosts screenings and workshops, and honors individuals who have excelled in this difficult industry.   REGISTER TODAY AT   Follow BWFN on Social Media    

Search for Missing Connecticut Woman

Vermont State Police are searching for a Connecticut woman who visited Sudbury a week ago and has not been seen or heard from since then.  State police said Denise L. Hart, 25, was last seen leaving a friend's house in the town on Jan. 25th.  Police said hart usually stays in constant contact with family members while visiting Vermont.  Hart has connections to Addison and Rutland counties as well as Hartford, Connecticut, police said. Police describe hart as a black woman with brown eyes who stands 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 115 pounds.  She also is known to have used the names "Chookie" and "Tiffany," state police said. A flyer on the Vermont Missing Persons Facebook page also shows that Hart has several tattoos, but police did not include in the news release where on Hart's body these tattoos are located. Police were alerted Saturday afternoon that Hart had not been seen or heard from since Jan. 25th. State police urge those with information about Hart's whereabouts to call 388-4919.

Single Mom Wins $188M From Powerball Lottery

One of three Powerball lottery winners was a 26 yr old single mom by the name of Marie Holmes.  Holmes' expressed to channel WECT 6 that she had recently quit her job to care for her four children.  She previously had worked at McDonalds and Walmart.  When asked what she would do with the money, Holmes' said that she would pay her tithes for church.  "First I'm going to pay my tithes because I wouldn't have none of it if it wasn't for God.". In addition to cutting a check for her church, she plans to also put money aside for her children's college tuition and buying a house.  "I'm thankful that I can bless my kids with something that I didn't have," she expressed.  "I'm going to set up accounts for my kids and when I figure out where we're going to live, I'm going to buy a house for me and my kids and then I'm going to make sure my family is good." Holmes' story is so inspiring and heartwarming because she stated that she was struggling up to this point.  "I have four kids, one boy and three girls.  I've been struggling since I had them, but I wouldn't trade nothing because they're a blessing.  I'm just thankful that I can actually do it for them without anyone's help, without anyone telling me that they did this or that.  I don't have to worry about the word 'struggle' anymore and neither do they."  

Obama on America’s racial divide: ‘We have made progress’

In an interview scheduled to air Monday, President Barack Obama said race issues spotlighted by recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men are “not going to be solved overnight,” but he added that it’s also important to recognize the progress the United States has made on civil rights.

Pass It On Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway

Do you know a family in need? Want to lighten the load for them this Thanksgiving? Submit a family in need to along with the reason why you feel they deserve a Thanksgiving Dinner. We are looking to bless two families this Thanksgiving. Rules: 1. Entry must nominate a family by entering the head of the family name and the reason why you feel they deserve a Thanksgiving Dinner. 2. Nominator cannot nominate themselves 3. To nominate a family Nominator must be 18 years of age. 4. Winners must be a legal resident of the United States. 5. One entry per person. (One person can nominate one family) Entry Deadline: November 21, 2014 at 6pm   REGISTER HERE    

Paulette Brown to take reins of American Bar Association

As one of the few African-Americans in her law school class, Paulette Brown noticed career counselors steering her and other black students toward legal service or public defender jobs assisting the poor, instead of more prestigious jobs in big law firms. But she refused to go down that path, eventually serving as in-house counsel for several Fortune 500 companies.

Where’s The Outrage? Oklahoma Rapist Cop Released!

Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw was released from jail Friday as he faces charges for allegedly sexually assaulting 7 different African American women while he was on duty. Among the claims against him are forcible rape, burglary, and felonious stalking.

Black Women Find a Growing Business Opportunity: Care for Their Hair

The Brown sisters’ is one small shop in a multibillion-dollar industry, centered on something that is both a point of pride and a political flash point for black women: their hair. But the Browns are among only a few hundred black owners of the roughly 10,000 stores that sell hair products like relaxers, curl creams, wigs and hair weaves to black women, not just in New York but across the country.