Securing Online Payment Gateways

If you are like me, you take technology as it comes and you just make adjustments accordingly. I have made the jump from 8 track tapes to cassette tapes to CDs to live-streaming, all in just the past 40 years. I took shorthand in high school and learned to type on a typewriter—I used Wite Out correction fluid and those thin, plastic correction tabs to fix my errors—and this was cutting edge stuff back in the day. I now live in a time where people walk around with small computers in their hands all day and communication with someone half a planet away is possible within seconds. As technology constantly changes, we must adapt and even plan ahead, to ensure these “undiscovered roads” don’t take us down the wrong path. I mean, initially, when we first starting using the Internet, there were all types of potential threats many of us did not anticipate. New threats await us as our use of computers and hand held devices rule the day. To protect yourself, and your information on the internet, it is important to understand the newest technological advancements and how they affect our lives.

With online purchases becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world, the threat of hacking is very real. When you send your information out into the vast internet, whether it be your driver’s license number, your bank account number, or other personal material, the fact remains that it is susceptible to crooks—crooks who know how to hack information you thought was protected. What safeguards do we have when making online purchases or filling out personal forms on websites? Thankfully, revolutionary advancements in shielding sensitive details are protecting you, even if you aren’t aware they’re there.

Take, for example, encryption. Encryption takes an algorithm to transform plain text, like your credit card number, and convert it into a non-readable format called cipher text. To decipher the encrypted information, the party receiving the material must have the algorithm and an encryption key to return it to its original plain text. Built in encryption systems protect the millions of people from sensitive data breaches.

The drawback with encryption is that data can be breached on either end. The security of the data relies on the strength of the encryption. Encryption is also time consuming and somewhat expensive. The trouble is, you just never know how strong the encryption data is at your bank, your local store, or your kid’s school, so your information may be vulnerable to attack, even when you believe it has been safeguarded.

Since encryption has its detractors, tokenization has become a welcome alternative to protection of personal details. Tokenization works differently from encryption, even though they are widely mentioned together. Tokenization requires taking the sensitive data and replacing it with a token, or placeholder. This token is randomly generated and is swapped for the plain text and then it is stored in an offsite database. Essentially, the tokenization process is taking data and turning it into random, meaningless information so that if it is somehow compromised, it cannot be deciphered by criminals looking for raw data. With encryption, if they break the code, they have the desired information. Unlike encryption, tokenization does not use an algorithm to make its replacement token. Instead, data is stored in a secured token vault which stores the link between the actual data and the token. The great part about tokenization is there is no key to change the tokens back to real data, so information is safer in the long run. Tokens can be set up to reflect the actual number, or at least a portion of it, which is why your bank may ask for the last four digits of your social security number or account number. The actual numbers are saved offsite, but the token number might reflect a portion of the real data. So, say you are online and purchasing something from a company from which you have previously purchased something—your data should be saved. In this case, the token is submitted to the token vault when you request to use the card and the index retrieves the real data for use in the authorization process. The company receiving the data feels no lag time—they are given the real data immediately, yet the “switch” was made in the cloud token vault.

Tokenization is now widely used by vendors because the real data is kept off site. With encryption, it is still within their database, even if it is encrypted. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council holds merchants to compliance standards to ensure clients’ information is protected. Both encryption and tokenization are accepted under these standards, but the encryption method leaves the merchant more at risk of a breach than tokenization does.

Some key vendors use tokenization for payment, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. These big three are looking to standardize tokenization in the payment industry’s sector. Their push for tokenization stated this new standard would “help provide the payments community with a consistent, secure and interoperable environment to make digital payments” according to The Motley Fool, an online source. As a matter of fact, MasterCard has teamed with has teamed with Synchrony Financial and Citi Retail Services to use tokenization in their transactions, making it the first payments network to do so. Through MasterCard’s Digital Enablement Services, or MDES, MasterCard can offer tokenization services that can ensure purchases can be made from any internet connected device while also delivering the safety customers expect. Not only does this new technology give consumers the opportunity to make their selections online, revolutionizing the way we shop, but it also alleviates the lingering worry that your credit card information will be stolen online. Since there are more ways to purchase items, including through phone apps, ecommerce, and reoccurring payments, having the information stored in an off-site token vault makes the transactions even safer than ever before.

Consumers today can rest assured their information is protected to its fullest extent when tokenization is used. It’s the wave of the cyber-future, making online purchasing the most practical and convenient way to shop.

Difference Between Your General Dentist And An Orthodontist

Your dentist keeps your mouth clean and your teeth shiny, but what can you do about dental abnormalities like crooked teeth? Seeing a qualified orthodontist may be the answer for you!

An orthodontist is a specialist who focuses on the straightening of teeth and can treat problems pertaining to the upper and lower jaws, gums, and facial muscles. While many people see an orthodontist for purely aesthetic purposes, it is important to know that there are sound medical reasons to straightening your teeth. First of all, crooked teeth can impede your ability to properly bite, chew and even speak! Additionally, crowded or crooked teeth can cause jaw pain, uneven tooth wear and difficulties with oral hygiene, like flossing. To accurately assess your need for orthodontic work, the doctor will work in conjunction with your regular dentist. Once a need for orthodontia has been determined, it is then a matter of selecting the best method to properly align the teeth. Orthodontists have many different options to help you achieve your desired result and make your teeth functional for a lifetime.

So is there a real difference between your general dentist and an orthodontist? While both are dental professionals, they have different specialties, much like your family doctor is different from a foot doctor. After acquiring a doctor of dentistry degree, an orthodontist must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training. Orthodontists invest this additional time into learning how to treat misaligned teeth as well as other dental and orthodontic procedures. They can also treat abnormalities of the jaw, with the assistance of medical prosthetic equipment. The most common procedure that orthodontists perform is the straightening of teeth, generally through various types of braces. For an orthodontist to know how to reposition your teeth, they study the movement of teeth. At times, teeth may require spacers, usually either rubber bands or thin, metal pieces placed to separate or at times, join teeth that are either too close or too far apart. Braces can be used to fix overbites, under bites, cross bites, and open bites. After a patient is finished wearing braces, they usually graduate to a plastic retainer to ensure teeth do not shift back into their original places after the braces are removed. While many people believe that the retainer step is a nuisance or unnecessary, it is a key element is maintaining the straightened smile. In extreme cases, a patient may need the assistance of headgear, which can be worn just at night or all the time, depending upon the doctor’s recommendation. The use of headgear is not as prevalent as it once was, possibly due to the fact it is cumbersome for the patient.

Many orthodontic professionals will not start working on children until all of their baby teeth have fallen out. Orthodontics can also be challenging if an adult patient does not have all of his or her teeth, or a patient’s mouth is too crowded to start the process. You may need to have additional dental services before your orthodontia can begin, like dental implants to replace missing teeth or the extraction of wisdom teeth to reduce overcrowding. Your orthodontist will discuss the necessary options and answer any questions you may have. He or she will also discuss your medical history and any pre-existing conditions that may impede your progress. Once the treatment plan is finalized, the braces and a retainer will be used to align the teeth.

The first step in developing your orthodontic treatment is to have the doctor take x-rays of your teeth and gums and take impressions of your teeth. The orthodontist can view the mouth from every angle to put together the best course of action. The overall process to straighten the teeth is not a quick one; it can take months and in some instances, years before the teeth have moved into proper alignment. An orthodontist will see a patient every few weeks to determine the patient’s progress and to adjust the treatment as needed. Sometimes this is as easy as tightening braces and sometimes it is as complicated as taking an entirely new approach.

Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces is an important element in your treatment. Brushing twice a day or preferably, after each meal is of vital importance. Any trapped food left in between your braces or in the brackets can turn into decalcification spots—little white spots on your teeth where the brackets once were. Alignment can be delayed if your teeth and gums are not kept clean, resulting in a longer treatment plan. Flossing is paramount as well and some orthodontists may have you use a fluoride rinse to protect your teeth.

Your orthodontist will keep you apprised of your progression and make adjustments along the way. He or she may have you close gaps by wearing tight rubber bands in your mouth or may surprise you with the news that your teeth have aligned much faster than anticipated. When the braces are removed, you will find yourself licking your teeth and you may want to eat foods that you couldn’t eat while wearing traditional braces. The orthodontist will take another impression of your teeth to compare the before and after. You will probably examine your teeth often in the mirror; it’s hard to picture how great they look while you are wearing braces for so long! Your orthodontist will also give you your retainer with explicit instructions on how to wear it and care for it. Retainers are expensive to replace, so don’t let your dog get it and don’t drop it down the sink and most importantly, remember to wear it! By skipping the retainer step of the orthodontia process, you may find your teeth shifting back into their previous places and you may have to endure braces again to get them to straighten!

Choosing to have your teeth aligned may be a purely aesthetic choice or it may be a medical one. Whichever it is, you will want to follow the instructions of your orthodontist to ensure you achieve a picture-perfect smile.

Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance

Millions of Americans deal every day with some type of hearing loss. Although this this product is tiny, is can be expensive, therefore requiring information to correctly preserve its function and situation. Millions of Americans still depend on these gadgets that are little to create a difference in their own life.

Within the years, some key improvements have been created by hearing products. In reality, it is often noted time, the unit have been created to be smaller and more successful over that the digital hearing-aid was stated in in the 1950s and the littlest one to-day can create outcomes that are huge. To the device, directional microphones were put in the starting in their design to enable the wearer to concentrate on one-on-one conversation as well as the capacity to converse in places. As you can suppose, these versions weren’t as helpful as suppliers and those to day discontinued their production till about the 1990s where engineering actually took a flip for the better.

Hearing-aid technologies provide a range of possibilities, meeting the requirements of variety of folks, today. Some are more complicated or more costly than the others, but these digital or gadgets nonetheless need the assist of an experienced audiologist to select the correct item and proper-fitting. The price of the gadget can surpass $5 and can commence below $2,000. Combined with the installation comes good care, which may help keep it operating precisely and extend the life span of the hearing-aid. They’re an expense for particular.

As an expense, care makes your funds go quite a distance. Understanding repair, clear and the way to store your hearing aids in Oklahoma City will keep it working as it absolutely was meant to and might avoid the need for recurring repairs over time. First, in regards to the shell, the the top of hearing aid ought to be stored clear. Aids typically have particles from oil or dirt in the grooves. Using an absence of treatment, possibly are functioning precisely or perhaps not fitting precisely. Chemical and water cleaners needs to be avoided in your hearing aid. Tissue or a moist fabric needs to be watchfully utilized to wipe down the hearing aid. Many kits contain a brush that will be of good use for earwax buildup. The microphone is acutely fragile also it’s essential never to poke the port. During cleansing, the microphone should constantly be facing the ground as well as the brush that is provided ought to be used. Wax buildup could be prevented by daily cleansing together with the brush .

In the event you have any queries or need further help on the appropriate cleansing techniques, it’s recommended that you simply ask your audiologist. They are the specialists in this area and will gladly evaluate these procedures along with one to ensure effective hearing aid performance. As it pertains to moisture, a hearing aid can lengthen their life and drying container or a support package will assist keep dampness from building-up inside the hearing aids. Be certain before putting them in a great spot so that you can help them as long as they possibly can to consider the batteries from the hearing-aid. This, also, will extend battery life. Signs of batteries are scratchy sounds output, distortion, improved suggestions, intermittence or odd and uncommon sounds like static. As some batteries might only last a week or two proper battery treatment demands program everyday or weekly screening. It’s recommended that a spare battery that ought to also be stored in a great location is usually carried by a person using a hearing aid.

Although batteries nowadays are made to last considerably longer lengthier than in the immediate past, drying is advised with all the use of possibly a forced-air blower (no, maybe not a blow dryer) or a can of compressed-air such as the kinds employed to clear a key pad. Moisture can occur from even sweat or rain. Climatic circumstances and your activity level are a couple of the most frequent identified variables impacting dampness buildup. People with people who sweat or high ranges of bodily physical exercise are susceptible to moisture problems as it pertains with their hearing devices. Likewise, residing in locations of large humidity can also irritate its performance. Whether from external or internal sources, moisture ought to be averted as most useful you are able to. Some aids will stand as much as moisture than the others. Consult your audiologist to determine whether they advise drying containers or particular dry help kits and also discuss your particular lifestyle together. Your audiologist can assist you pick the correct aid that’ll support your present lifestyle in the event that you are a bodily individual and danger more perspiration than the others. This, subsequently, will assist you get the most from the hearing aid.

Many folks are interested in the common whole life of a hearing system. Their longevity depends on the sort of help in addition to good care they’ve gotten. Problem fixing care and methods can aid prolong the life span of course, of the gadget. For the most portion, the hearing aids of today’s are excessively trustworthy, long-lasting and powerful. Things might go incorrect, but it is possible to save time plus money in the end by avoiding pricey and serious repairs, when you care for them properly. Information on appropriate treatment is a potent device in this circumstance. Not only are hearing aids heading to boost the standard of life, however they’re worth the additional treatment which they require.


Healthy Eating In Oklahoma City

Restaurants Offer Healthy Alternatives

More and more Oklahoma restaurants are offering healthy alternatives to “Oklahoma comfort food“. As people become more health conscious in this day and age, they are becoming more picky about what they put into their bodies. We traveled to Oklahoma City this past month and ventured out on a foodie excursion to experience the local dishes first hand. I was not disappointed at all, plenty of “stick to your ribs” items on the menus and friendly faces serving. There was a highlight to our trip though that I wanted to share in this post. We found a gem, a place that took as much pride in their food as the Sooners do in their football team.

The Healthy Hearth

healthy hearth chefWe had asked some locals for a hole in the wall gem where we could eat healthy and enjoy Oklahoma cuisine at the same time. The Healthy Heart showed up on our radar and it did not disappoint. In addition to their healthy lunch options, they also had a desert menu to die for. I am not a fan of super sweet desserts, and I am not a fan of processed sugars in general, so I was hesitant to order any dessert. When I spoke to the Chef he said that they only used natural sweeteners in their desserts and stayed clear of anything that rots out the teeth. It was interesting to talk further about the menu because even the sauces were limited on sugars, which is a difficult thing to pull off. The Chef went on to say that with rotten teeth and cavities how can anyone enjoy their meals? I agreed, and I was pleased to taste such an amazing meal without all the sugar. I didn’t finish my dinner and want to rush home to brush my teeth, there just wasn’t that over abundance of sugar in any of the items I enjoyed. The Chef joked that if we ate dessert over at the Dairy Queen down the street that we might have to find an excellent orthodontist in the Oklahoma City metro area to straighten us out like a rotten set of teeth (haha). We laughed at his humor, our teeth were straight and our stomachs were full.

We Will Return

Next time we are out in Oklahoma City we will definitely be returning to indulge in the great food and company. Chef also suggested that we visit Shawnee Oklahoma for  bite to eat at a local caffe where they serve a healthy brunch for a fair price. He suggested that we try the roasted veal bone broth, but again joked that there is  a new orthodontist in Shawnee, Oklahoma if we needed to get a tooth repaired from biting into a bone. I hope he was kidding (haha).


Slow-Ticketing Savvy: Jay Z’s ‘4:44’ Tour Becomes Highest-Grossing Solo Tour

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter’s 4:44 album has gotten a lot of buzz since it debuted this past summer, with themes of black economic empowerment, celebrity family feuds, infidelity, and social injustice becoming hot topics of discussion among fans and critics. (The album even inspired a financial fitness book by Ash “Cash” Exantus, a 2017 pick for BE Modern Man and financial literacy advocate who has created quite a buzz of his own.)

The momentum for 4:44 hasn’t stopped. According to reports, despite slow ticket sales, it was the highest-grossing solo tour, raking in more than $48 million in November and December for the 32-show tour.

Last year, Jay Z used a “slow ticketing model,” according to Billboard, “blocking out bots and scalpers that instantly buy up tickets by pricing premium tickets higher and closer to their actual value.” Lower-priced $6 tickets were being sold on sites like StubHub for less desirable seats. The result: When aggressive pricing is applied to front-row seats, VIP experiences, and platinum tickets, ticket resellers are faced with a major challenge because those tickets are closer to the actual market value—a major win for Jay Z and Live Nation in terms of capturing more revenue and creating little opportunity for brokers to hike up ticket prices for the best seats.

Some saw the low-priced tickets as a sign of soft interest in the tour but the rapper, along with Live Nation, has proven skeptics wrong with the latest gross earnings. Billboard also reports that average gross for the 4:44 Tour’s completed shows is up 21% over his 2013 Magna Carter Tour. Platinum-selling artists including Radiohead, the Weeknd, One Direction, and U2 have all presented sellout shows using the slow-ticketing model.

Jay Z’s use of the model comes as yet another major boss move the hip-hop mogul has made in the past year, having just cut another 10-year Live Nation deal that mostly covers his tour business and has reportedly shifted away from the full 360 model initially brokered. He also joined the likes of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Berry Gordy when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (with recorded congrats from former President Obama himself). And 2018 began with wins: The $810-million music industry leader was honored this month with four NAACP Image Award nominations, including one for “Entertainer of the Year,” and another for “Outstanding Album” for 4:44.

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Shaq Becomes ‘Chief Fun Officer’ of Carnival Cruise Line

He’s larger than life—literally and figuratively—and he’s now added a new, fun job title to his already very diverse and accomplished résumé. Shaquille O’Neal, an NBA Hall of Famer, sworn-in police officer, entrepreneur, and TNT commentator, will be joining Carnival Cruise Line as their newly appointed Chief Fun Officer or “CFO.”

The leisure travel company used a humorous video that features Shaq and Carnival President Christine Duffy in the cruise line’s newest brand campaign, “Choose Fun,” which launched last week. Shaq will be featured on video content and social media, taking viewers on a 30-second tour of Carnival Vista and using his charisma to showcase Carnival’s attractions and experiences, including on the SkyRide, at the Havana pool, Cloud 9 Spa, Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint—and on the basketball court.

“We are very excited to have Shaq as part of the Carnival team! He will serve as a great partner ensuring everyone knows all about our one-of-a-kind brand of fun,” Duffy said in a news release. “We’re confident that his embodiment of our brand values will inspire America to Choose Fun and discover the authentic, participatory and social atmosphere that Carnival offers.”

“In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to choose fun, especially when everyone is busy with work, family, and life in general,” Shaq said in a statement. “So, I’m honored to be appointed the Chief Fun Officer at Carnival—a company that lives and breathes fun.”

Carnival Cruise Line, one of Black Enterprise’s “50 Best Companies for Diversity” in 2016, has a fleet of 25 ships that caters to 5 million guests a year, according to the company, and in spring 2018 the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon will debut as the 26th ship in the fleet.

Check out Shaq in his first video as Chief Fun Officer:


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Tiffany Haddish’s Viral Groupon Story Leads to Super Bowl Ad Gig

Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish has been a poster child of Black Girl Magic and the ultimate glow up lately. She recently released her New York Times best-selling book, The Last Black Unicorn, and now her hilarious online antics have led to a deal with Groupon. She will serve as the new spokesperson for a series of Groupon campaigns, including the brand’s first Super Bowl commercial in seven years. The 30-second ad from O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul will air during the fourth quarter of the Big Game on Feb. 4, according to Deadline.

The comic has raved about the site to her celebrity co-stars and friends, and during a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live! interview, she talked about taking a Hollywood A-list couple on a Groupon-bought swamp tour experience while filming Girls Trip in Louisiana.

“Nobody knows Groupon like I know Groupon,” Haddish told Deadline. “I’ve been speaking out for them for years. In fact, I should have already been their spokesperson. I’ve invested lots of money into buying Groupon deals, and it’s about time I got an even bigger return on my investment than just saving money at my favorite local businesses.”

“We’re thrilled to have one of the hottest names in entertainment as our new spokesperson,” Groupon Chief Marketing Officer Vinayak Hegde told Deadline. “Tiffany’s award-winning talent and well-known passion for our brand make her the perfect choice to serve as the face of Groupon.”

The company added that the comedian ranks in the top 1% of most frequent Groupon purchasers.

Haddish, whose tell-it-like-it-is candor landed her a spot hosting Saturday Night Live last November, making her the first black female comedian to land the gig. She also won an NAACP Image Award for best supporting actress in a movie for Girls Trip, which brought in more than $113 million at the domestic box office—the first black-led, directed and produced film to do so.

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Inspired by MLK, John Lewis Continues to Look for “Good Trouble”

John Lewis is always looking for “good trouble.”  At 77, the Atlanta congressman who has served in the House for 30 years remains one of the fiercest lions in the fight for racial justice and equality. He rallies scores of fellow legislators for a sit-in on gun violence, leads an impromptu march of 1,000 comic book fans during the super-popular San Diego Comic-Con to promote civil rights awareness, or continues to speak out on issues – most recently, Donald Trump’s recent derogatory remarks regarding Haiti, El Salvador and Africa and the administration’s denial of protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

His life-long activism inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., the slain civil rights leader the nation is honoring today, Lewis’ focus, among other concerns, has been fighting the divisive messaging and policies of the Trump White House.  Lewis said of the president’s latest invective during his Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week”: ” I think he is a racist. We have to stand up. We have to speak up and not try to sweep it under the rug,”  In fact, he will not vote on federal funding necessary to avert a government shutdown by week’s end “until we have a deal on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).” Moreover, he will be among Democrats boycotting the Jan. 30 State of the Union address.

For more than a half century of tackling such battles, the resolve of this Troy, Alabama native and son of sharecroppers continues to be driven by the example of MLK’s unwavering nonviolent activism. He shares a long, rich history with the iconic civil rights leader: ” I remember when I was 17, writing a letter to Dr. King. I wanted to enter a particular college, and they wouldn’t let black people attend. So Dr. King wrote me back and sent me a round trip Greyhound bus ticket, inviting me to come to Montgomery, Alabama to meet with him.”  During that meeting, the life of “The Boy From Troy ” –  as King called him – was changed forever.

At the age of 23, Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization that engaged students to participate in sit-ins, freedom rides and other activities during the Civil Rights Movement, was the youngest architect and keynote speaker of the historic 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his powerful, nation-changing  I Have A Dream speech.  A year later, President Lyndon Johnson would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, putting an end to legal segregation of public institutions and accommodations.

The young, unyielding organizer was also among those who led more than 600 peaceful, orderly demonstrators across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965 in a protest for voting rights in one of the bastions of Jim Crow. As such, he was wounded in a brutal attack from Alabama state troopers that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”  The efforts of King, along with Lewis, civil rights leaders and protesters, proved critical in passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ensured the protection of the franchise for all Americans.


Lewis, who received the Earl G. Graves Sr. Vanguard Award at the inaugural BLACK ENTERPRISE Black Men Xcel Summit last September, spoke with BE’s Editor-In-Chief Derek T. Dingle about continuing the fight in today’s environment.

You’ve always been at the forefront of fighting for the advancement of the disenfranchised. How do you view activism in today’s political climate?

We cannot deny the fact that we’ve come a distance. We have made some unbelievable progress. I tell you that despite of all of the progress that we’ve made, the scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded into American society. What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia [at the white supremacist rally last summer] made me want to cry because they want to take us back. We’ve come too far, and we cannot go back.

You talked about Charlottesville and the rise of white nationalists and Neo-Nazis. What can be down to address this activity?

When we see white nationalists put down people of color and salute like Hitler, we have to do something. I say to young people, when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have an obligation to say something, to do something, to speak up and speak out. We must educate all of our young people, and it doesn’t matter if they’re black or white, Latino, Asian American or native American. I think it will be the young people that get us there. They will lead us through the 21st Century.

So you find that more young people are taking a stand? 

These young people have been reading their literature, the history, and watching the film footage of what happened years ago. They don’t want to go through that, and they’re determined that they will stand up, speak up and speak out and try to make our country and society better for the generation yet unborn.

.You’ve developed the graphic novel series, March. Tell us why you decided to share your life and the history of the Civil Rights Movement using this platform.

In 1958, I read a comic book called Martin Luther king Jr. and the Montgomery Story. It was 16 pages, cover to cover. It sold for 10 cents. Dr. King helped edit this book. It told the story of Montgomery, of people walking more than 381 days rather than ride segregated buses. That little book inspired me. I remember much earlier in my life, when I was 15, I went down to the public library in the little town of Troy, Alabama, trying to get a library card, and the librarian said, “The library’s for whites only and not for coloreds.” So I never went back to that library until 1998. By that time, I was in Congress and I’m there for a book signing of my first book, Walking With The Wind.

It’s important for our young people, our children, to be able to read the stories, the tales of what happened and how it happened. They, too, can be inspired to stand up and get in good trouble.

Do you see the groundswell of activism translating into politics and the emergence of a new generation of leaders? How will it impact the 2018 mid-term elections?

I think we are going to see more young people, especially more young women, organizing, mobilizing, running for office at the local level, state level and federal level. We will see young men and women coming together with the necessary sources to combat forces in 2018 and Congress is going to look different – not just the House but also the Senate.

In the past, black business pioneers like A.G. Gaston and H.J. Russell played a role in the Civil Rights Movement. For example, they were responsible for bailing out protesters after they were arrested in marches and sit-ins. I like to gain your perspective on the role for black entrepreneurs today.

You’re so right that another generation of black business leaders played a role. It was not just the big ones like A. G. Gaston in Birmingham, Alabama, some realtor or some contractor but even the mom and pops, beauty shop owners, barber shop owners helped bail people out of jail, feed people in small towns and rural communities in Atlanta, Nashville and Montgomery. We have advanced so much further. People pooling resources can use the resources to make more than just a down payment on getting us where we need to go. When the movie Selma came out, a large number of minority businesspeople raised money to make tickets available for young people and students to learn from that, And supporting organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the NAACP, is so important. It is a must. There’s a role for the African American business community to play.

What will it take to galvanize people to vote? is there a message that will get more people fired up to go to the polls?

I truly believe the message must be very simple. We got to convince people that the vote is precious, that it is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society and we got to use it, If we don’t use it, we’re going to lose it because there are forces that want to take us much further back. We commemorate and celebrate the march from Selma to Montgomery, the March on Washington but we got to do more than celebrate.


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Trump’s Racially-Charged Remarks Part of Presidential Hall of Shame

Vile. Racist. Unpresidential. From the Haitian government and African Union to Mexico and the European Union, officials have shared their fury and anguish in protesting Donald Trump’s derogatory, profane and racially-charged comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations. At home, civil rights leaders, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and a number of other representatives condemned the statement while most politicians were noticeably mute.

His comments were made just days before the celebration of the national holiday that commemorates the contributions of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. to equality, racial healing and advancement to our society.

This latest outburst is a continuation of Trump’s use of incendiary rhetoric, which started with the “Birther” campaign to discredit the presidency of Barack Obama by promoting the false claim that Obama had been born in Kenya and was not a U.S. citizen. Appealing to his growing angry white constituency on the political front, he intensified his sweeping and outlandish statements to denounce Mexico immigrants, characterize African Americans and Latinos in inner cities as “living in Hell,” back supremacist agitators and decry black professional athletes who took a knee against racial injustice. Moreover, The New York Times recently reported that at another closed-door meeting with advisers in June, he asserted that Haitians “all have AIDS” and that Nigerians who visit the U.S. “would never want to go back to their huts” in Africa.

Trump’s diatribes do not represent moments of unconscious bias or instances of being “racially ignorant and racially uninformed” as Isaac Newton Farris, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nephew told CNN. He engages in this pattern to move forward his policy agenda whether its the Muslim travel ban or repeal of TPS (temporary protected status) as well as directly communicate with his base of diehard supporters – and not with a dog whistle but surround sound.

Years ago, I read a fascinating book, Nixon’s Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton, which took a incisive look at how presidential symbolism and rhetoric – on the campaign trail and in the White House – have been used for political gain at, in many cases, the expense of civil rights. I had our researchers identify other examples related to the modern presidency and conduct unbecoming on race, Consider it our presidential Hall of Shame.

Here’s our snapshot:

Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961): The year before the Supreme Court’s historic 1954 decision on Brown v. the Board of Education declaring school segregation unconstitutional, he told Chief Justice Earl Warren at a White House Dinner he understood why white Southerners wanted to make sure “their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big black buck.” Citing it as his most distasteful act as president, Eisenhower reluctantly sent federal troops to protect the “Little Rock Nine,” the first black students to desegregate an Arkansas high school.

Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969): Although he worked with Rev. Martin Luther king, Jr. and other civil rights leaders to gain passage of two of the 20th Century’s most, historic and groundbreaking pieces of legislation – the Civil rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Johnson was notorious for using the N-Word in White House conversations and to describe prior civil rights bills. According to historians, he lacked decorum even when he made historic appointments such as naming civil rights legend Thurgood Marshall as a justice on the Supreme Court: “When I appoint a n***er to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a n***er.”

Richard Nixon (1969-1974): Known as one of the chief architects of the “Southern Strategy,” the GOP electoral strategy in the 1960s to boost conservative white political support in the South through racially divisive tactics, he often made offensive statements about African Americans and other ethnic groups. As revealed in released White House tapes, Nixon shared his views of African American advancement in 1973, dismissing the outlook from his Secretary of State: “I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years. I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred.”  in another statement, he said blacks were incapable of running Jamaica: “They won’t be able to for a hundred years, and maybe not for a thousand…do you know, maybe one black country that’s well run.” And his Chief Domestic Advisor John Ehrlichman admitted in a 1994 interview that the administration’s drug offensive was targeted at “the antiwar left and blacks…We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to either be against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.”

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): He continually used racially-coded language and imagery throughout his political career to bolster his base and push forward his domestic agenda. For years, he attacked government-financed public assistance programs for the poor. He openly disparaged recipients of such aid by creating the myth of the fraudulent “welfare queen” and a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In fact, he launched his 1980 presidential bid outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi, site of the much-publicized 1964 murder of three civil rights workers — one black, two white — advocating for “States’ Rights,”  a platform  used by Southern “Dixiecrat” pols to validate eight decades of discriminatory Jim Crow laws.

George H. W. Bush (1989-1993): In his 1988 campaign against Democratic frontrunner Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the Bush campaign ran a series of ads focused on Willie Horton, a black convict who committed violent felonies after being released through that state’s weekend furlough program. Masterminded by campaign manager Lee Atwater, the television spots, which included an image of Horton’s “scouring, angry face” with details on his crimes and another depicting inmates going through a revolving door at a prison that emphasized a menacing black convict, inspired fear-filled white voters to go the polls. Civil rights ads cited the ads as being “racist” at the time.

There are, of course, other examples of past presidential policies and actions that have devastated African Americans such as Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill that inevitably led to mass incarceration of multitudes of African Americans and George W. Bush’s tepid response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Gulf Coast states in 2005.

As the Trump administration continues to unfold its agenda, we will continue to review its place in history, it meaning for people of color – and uncover other moments of shame.

— Additional reporting by Lisa Fraser, Roland Michel, Delicia Paisley-Smith and Tiamari Whitted

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Black Political, Civil Rights Leaders Rebuke Trump’s ‘Vulgar, Racist’ Remarks on Haiti, Africa

Black political and civic leaders are condemning Donald Trump’s “vulgar, racist remarks” after he questioned Thursday why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway. Trump made the disparaging comments in discarding a bipartisan immigration deal that would include, among other measures, protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

The comments come as the nation begins the celebration of the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and ignited a series of responses, ranging from the fact that Trump is racist to the fact that he lacks presidential timbre.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) issued a statement, providing one of the strongest rebukes of the president’s latest outrageous comments: “President Trump’s comments are yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views. It also reinforces the concerns that we hear every day, that the president’s slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again. His Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.”

He added: “All of the reservations we have had about negotiating with him on immigration are well-founded. President Trump is clearly more concerned with ending the future flow of immigrants from Africa and the African diaspora than providing relief to Dreamers who came here through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that we can negotiate in good faith with a person who holds such vile and reprehensible beliefs.”

Today, civil rights leaders including the National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, will hold a press conference to offer their views on “Trump’s disturbing comments and call for a return to principle-driven negotiations of the Dream Act.”

In a statement from the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization staunchly denounced Trump’s “continuous lowbrow, callous, and unfiltered racism” as being damaging to “the United States’ position as a moral leader throughout the world.”  “As our nation fights to move forward, our president falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia. His decision to use profanity to describe African, Central American and Caribbean countries is not only a low mark for this president, it is a low point for our nation.”


“It is clear that the president wants to return America to its ugly past of white supremacy where immigration laws as well as all laws of society only favored individuals from European nations and European ancestry…As we head into 49th NAACP Image Awards being held on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Holiday for the first time to honor his legacy, we realize that the Bull Connor of our day is none other than the president of our nation,” the NAACP stated further, making reference to Birmingham, Alabama’s Commissioner of Public Safety in the 1960s, who was the ardent enforcer of Jim Crow laws and among the most vicious opponents of the Civil Rights Movement.

In news reports, The White House did not deny his statement but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that embrace “those who can contribute to our society.”

In November, the Trump administration announced that it was giving nearly 60,000 Haitians with provisional legal residency in the United States 18 months to leave and would not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that has allowed them to remain in this country for more than seven years.

Social media has been flooded with backlash over the president’s comments:




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Black Artist Remixes Racially Insensitive H&M Ad

Amid the public backlash against H&M, a black artist and entrepreneur has transformed a racially offensive ad found on the retailer’s website into a message of empowerment.

H&M has been swamped in a firestorm of scrutiny since it released an ad featuring a black child modeling a green hooded sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Social media users vowed to stop shopping at the retail giant while others blasted marketing executives for approving the image despite the ugly history of using “monkey” as an ethnic slur against black people.

A number of celebrities, including Questlove and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy host Karamo Brown, also criticized the ad, while Grammy Award-winning singer Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye took his outrage a step further by ending his partnership with the company. The Canadian singer starred in and curated H&M’s Spring Icons Selected by The Weeknd campaign early last year and created an 18-piece collection for the brand in the fall.

In response, H&M issued an apology and removed the ad from its website. “We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”

The hoodie, however, is still on sale in the U.K.

Insulted by the ad, Chris Classic, a songwriter, recording artist, and BE Modern Man, recreated the image with a hand-drawn crown covering the words on the hoodie and the model’s head “to symbolize being self-made,” he told Black Enterprise. He also wrote the word “shame” on the image using the H&M logo. “As a father, I was appalled. I’m aware of how finite the internet can be. I didn’t want that young man to get older and see his photo used to highlight racism without also seeing a different version of himself, who he really is.”

Classic also took a shot at Swedish business magnate Carl Stefan Erling Persson, the chairman and heir to the H&M empire, which was founded by his father, Erling Persson, in the 1940s. “I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesn’t erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him,” Classic wrote on an Instagram post.

I made this because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M. I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him. #mysavoirfaire

A post shared by Chris Classic (@mrchrisclassic) on

Classic’s remix has since been shared by Lebron James and actress Niecy Nash.

Shortly after expressing disappointment in H&M, political commentator Angela Rye criticized Adidas for featuring French soccer star Paul Pogba in a poster with the word “predator.”

“Do you understand that PREDATOR has a negative connotation particularly when we are talking about the perception of Black people in the world? This is irresponsible,” wrote Rye on Instagram on Monday.

And now @adidas…this is devastating. —>a lot of you are defending this ad by saying the soccer player pictured wears this line of cleats. Where’s the shoe? Do you understand that PREDATOR has a negative connotation particularly when we are talking about the perception of Black people in the world? This is irresponsible and NOT well thought out.

A post shared by Angela Rye (@angelarye) on

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Jack in the Box Teams Up With Snoop Dogg’s Cannabis Company for a Special Combo Meal

2018 is off to a great start for stoners in California, who can now enjoy the use of recreational marijuana—legally—thanks to a new state law that went into effect Monday. To top it off, cannabis enthusiasts will soon be able to satisfy their munchies with a weed-themed combination meal at Jack in the Box. Starting Jan. 18, the fast-food chain will offer the Merry Munchie Meal at select locations in Southern California for a limited time. The special combo box includes two tacos, five mini churros, three crispy chicken strips, a half serving of curly fries, a half serving of regular fries, and a small soft drink. Plus, it will only cost $4.20 (get it?).

Merry Jane, a marijuana-focused media outlet founded by Snoop Dogg in 2015, said the campaign celebrates the legalization of marijuana in California. Merry Jane COO Scott Chung added that the campaign with Jack in the Box “marries our brands’ voices.”

It’s also a smart business move for Jack in the Box, which has embraced cannabis culture for more than a decade. In 2013, the chain debuted “Munchie Meals,” a mashup of different food items, like a burger topped with curly fries and a spicy crispy chicken topped with onion rings, jalapeños, and nacho cheese sauce. In 2007, they released the “Jack in the Box Stoner” ad featuring a delusional young man who struggles to order tacos at a drive-thru during a late-night run.

“Jack’s Munchie Meals have been successful for us because of the authenticity of how we speak to our customers. This partnership is one more way for us to connect with them—whether you’re at a concert, up late playing video games or pulling an all-nighter,” Iwona Alter, CMO at Jack in the Box, said in a statement. “We are about welcoming all of our guests, no matter what they’re craving or why they’re craving it.”

The Merry Munchie Meals will be sold at three Jack in the Box locations in Snoop’s hometown, Long Beach, California, from Jan. 18–Jan. 25, 2018.

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Tidal Offers 12 Days of Free Music and Exclusive Content

Tidal is gifting music lovers a taste of its exclusive streaming content for 12 consecutive days, which started on Dec. 25.

Tidal, a subscription-based streaming serviced owned by Jay-Z and a variety of other high-profile music artists, announced Friday that those interested in the promotion won’t even need a credit card to sign up. With just an email address, they’ll be granted full access to the global music platform. For free.

“Heading into 2018, we’re looking forward to giving Tidal members more access and a high-quality soundtrack to everyday life,” said Tony Gervino, Tidal’s vice president of culture and content, in a statement. “We value what music and music culture means to people and trust this preview will give music fans a taste of the elevated music experience that Tidal is offering its customers.”

The new promotion will allow the company to attract more subscribers with a 12-day preview period to its Hi-Fi and Premium services, ending on Jan. 5, 2018. During this trial, Tidal will release new music videos, give away tickets, and roll out new content each day, including a new Rap Radar podcast interview with West Coast hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle. Potential members will also have access to Tidal’s full platform via mobile app, web player, and desktop app, according to the press release.

Since its re-launch in 2015, Tidal has provided subscribers with exclusive access to new albums, music videos, documentaries, artist-curated playlists, podcast interviews, intimate events, concerts, and listening parties. “In 2017 alone, Tidal has hosted nearly 40 livestreams, hosted more than 70 events, released 335 original videos and shared more than 40 exclusive tracks, albums and videos with members,” reads the statement.

On Wednesday, Tidal announced the launch of its first TV app for the Apple TV and Android TV devices, which will allow subscribers to watch Tidal content directly on their television.

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How to Protect the ‘Happy’ in Your Holidays

’Tis the season of Christmas trees on every corner and a flood of sentimental sensory overload designed to fill your head with visions of sugarplums (or the stocking-stuffers of your wildest dreams).

Yet, on any given day we awaken to unsettling, sometimes devastating, news: missile test-launches with their threats of mass destruction; murders of churchgoers, school children and music lovers; computer hacks that put your financial security and very identity at risk, even as you fret over how the latest news on healthcare insurance and tax reform might impact your ability to live your best life. This is not the stuff that “Joy to the World” is made of.

All the lights, tinsel, and merry-making in the world can’t put a shine on the dull ache that grows heavier with every miserable prompt from your newsfeed.

It’s enough to make you call foul-la-la-la-la as your peaceful, silent nights give way to anxious, sleepless nights.

“Disturbing things are going to happen in the world,” says psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor. “They always have, but we didn’t always know. Now, we have a president who likes to keep us off-balance and a news cycle that drives itself on negativity.

“Our brains are not equipped to absorb relentless chaos,” Taylor continues. “Stress on the brain can have a cumulative traumatic effect, leading to depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, and addiction.”

So, what’s a not-so-happy holiday seeker to do? ”You can’t control what happens in the world,” says Taylor, who is a self-care strategist, “but you can control the flow and quality of information you’re getting.”

Start by keeping track of BE’s ULTIMATE #BUYBLACK HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE and get a jump on next year’s shopping, which will make your shopping far less stressful and way more satisfying. But before you load up the shopping cart for others, Taylor suggests that you take a page from the personal finance gamebook, and give to yourself first. Here are her favorite gifts for the soul:


Put down your smartphone and think about how you really feel. You can’t get what you need if you don’t know what you need.


Seek more face-time, then smile. “Our parents had more clubs and Sunday dinners where you could sit around the table together and unpack stuff, or get face-to-face comfort,” says Taylor. “Even if you look into the faces of strangers as you walk down the street and smile, you’d be amazed at the positive responses, and the positive feelings you get from them.”


Know when you’ve had enough and tune out, without feeling any guilt or shame. “Not knowing about another murder is not ignorance,” says Taylor.


Treat yourself—with care. Go ahead and indulge, but in moderation. Have the ice cream sundae, not the whole gallon; get a massage, but don’t max out your credit card on a spa trip you can’t afford. There can be a fine line between self-soothing and self-medicating. Do what’s going to make you feel genuinely good in the moment, and the day after, and the week after that


“Be the change” can feel like a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as responding to a mean comment with a kind one, or to a selfish act with a generous one. If you want to change the conversation, just do it. Refuse to tear others down or share useless negative information. Or counter all the negativity you can’t control around you by making a positive change in yourself. Eating healthier, re-tooling your résumé, cleaning your junk drawer, even making your bed can give you a sense of control and accomplishment when you feel overwhelmed.


“We are accepting that the world is uncertain and unpredictable,” says Taylor, “but our bodies aren’t built to be always on edge, and we don’t have to accept that constant stressfulness and anxiety.” Especially when comfort and joy are available for free.

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