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).


The First Black Woman to be Crowned Miss Universe Great Britain Speaks Out

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, a dark-skinned beauty with dreadlocks, became the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Great Britain in the pageant’s 66-year history on Saturday. As a result, the 25-year-old will go on to represent the United Kingdom at the international 2018 Miss Universe competition later this year.

Originally from Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean, Rogers never aspired to be a beauty queen. Instead, she played competitive sports, dreamed of becoming an Olympic heptathlete, and competed in the Commonwealth Games twice. However, a knee injury deterred her from the Olympics. That’s when she decided to pursue pageantry while simultaneously studying for the bar exam—which she recently passed—in order to become a barrister.

“My dream kind of reinvented itself and it shifted into pageantry because in pageantry you have the same reach,” she told BBC News. “Miss Universe Great Britain was the pageant equivalent of becoming an Olympic athlete for Great Britain.”

Ironically, Rogers says preparing for the Miss Universe Great Britain competition was more challenging than training for a sports match. “They’re very similar, but being in a pageant you have to undergo a kind of surgical examination of yourself, your ambitions, things that people don’t do until they’re very, very old.” She added, “most of the preparation for the Commonwealth Games is done on the track…but in pageantry, the mind is the focal point, and the mind is, I think, the hardest muscle to master.”

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers


Following her historic win, she received an outpouring of support from around the world via social media, which she admitted “kind of startled” her. “Although I’ve been preparing for this pageant for a long time, I’ve just been preparing as Dee-Ann,” she said. “Now that I’ve won the pageant, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve not only won the pageant as Dee-Ann, but as a black woman.” Nevertheless, she described the win as “a great achievement.”

Prior to her win, the University of Birmingham graduate told Pageants News that she believes she is the first woman to compete in Miss Universe Great Britain with dreadlocks. “To my knowledge, I am the first dreadlocked woman to walk across a Miss Universe Great Britain stage and that is absolutely most exciting to me,” she said. However, she also admitted that she was questioned on whether or not she’d consider straightening her hair for the competition. She refused. “I felt that it was very important for me to represent my cultural identity and to represent myself truly on this platform. This is a part of who I am. If you’re going to take one part of me, you’re going to take all of me.”

Should she win the Miss Universe pageant in December, Kentish-Rogers would join this list of women of color who earned the crown.

The post The First Black Woman to be Crowned Miss Universe Great Britain Speaks Out appeared first on Black Enterprise.

New Inspirational Online Series Unpacks the Journey of Creatives of Color

Creatives looking for some inspiration? This show may be for you. Corey Emanuel Omnimedia recently launched its first online docu-portrait series, Lend Me Your Lens, a show that unpacks the journey of successful creatives of color, highlighting artists, authors, designers, influencers, and musicians. During each episode, these creatives dive into their journeys by sharing inspirations and the tangible steps they’ve taken to transform their passions into a purpose-driven lifestyle.

“This project was really a labor of love that derived from my dissertation research,” said creator and producer, Corey Emanuel. “I set out to assess the positive and negative effects of black entertainment and entertainers on black culture. Eventually, I had this ‘aha moment.’ I could create an online platform for shared stories of self-efficacy, therefore, contributing to the discourse surrounding black mental health. I wanted to ignite positive emotions, behaviors, and attitudes toward one’s creative endeavors. I wanted to create what I felt was missing from the unscripted genre of entertainment and make it accessible across the globe.”

Emanuel became inspired by the content that would eventually become this project while studying Media Psychology in graduate school. The new school form of psychology helped to provide an understanding of what happens when people interact with media as producers, distributors, and consumers. According to Emanuel, black millennials watch almost 33 hours per week of television and 48% of them are watching it on PCs and smartphones.

Emanuel sought to understand more about how black millennials perceived the content they were consuming and through that journey, Lend Me Your Lens was born. Inspired by his own creative journey, he designed a series to target a Black audience seeking to take their own creative endeavors to the next level.

The first episode highlights Jennia Fredrique, a multihyphenate, a term currently used to describe career-oriented individuals who excel at multiple endeavors. During this episode, Emanuel chats with Fredrique, who discusses transcending from being an actress to a working writer and director, while maintaining her work-life balance as a wife and mother.


Lend Me Your Lens (Image: Corey Emanuel Omnimedia)

Tune in to Lend Me Your Lens every Thursday and catch the new episode here.

The post New Inspirational Online Series Unpacks the Journey of Creatives of Color appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Cultivating a Community for Creative Millennials of Color

Leaving no stone unturned in the realm of content creation, conversation facilitation, and event curation, Driven Society has become part of the creative professional scene in New York City by its focus on live events targeted to millennials of color.

The organization has partnered with major brands including WeWork, JBL, Hennessy, Belaire Rose, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, New York Latino Film Festival, and more, The platform’s CEO and co-founder Travis Weeks sits at the helm of the ship with co-founders Natalia Saavedra, Zuhaib Kokab, and Darren Bowen. I spoke with Weeks about the mission behind Driven Society, its various arms of business and the importance of amplifying up-and-coming talent.

“The goal of Driven Society is to cultivate a community of creatives that push the culture forward and build success for millennials and post-millennials. We envision a world where business, philosophy, and art converge to provide equal opportunity for success regardless of background or privilege. We want to lead, nurture, and support the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and leaders in creating cultural change and professional success.”

Driven Society’s goal aligns with the outlook of millennial Americans. According to Forbes, millennials start their first business around the age of 27. Surveys suggest over 62% of millennials have considered starting their own business. Seventy-two percent feel that startups and entrepreneurs are necessary for economic improvement through job creation and innovation (yet 77% are holding back because they view business startups as too risky).


(Photo Courtesy of Driven Society)

“We enjoy always keeping our eyes and ears open to whoever isn’t afraid to voice their opinions and those looking to implement change and/or impact their communities. Whenever we see that, we make it a point keep track of those individuals and look for ways to build relationships. Once you spot one and surround yourself with a rising cultural leader, it becomes easier to keep track and come across them.”

The group uses a multi-pillar approach to foster the game changers of the culture. Live events, interactive marketplace, and strategic partnerships. The live events serve as platforms for the sharing of knowledge and best practices. The interactive marketplace is where products can be showcased and sold as a result of the knowledge and best practices learned through the live event series. The strategic partnerships help amplify both the live events and the marketplace by putting up-and-coming creatives in the same room with representatives from major brands.


(Photo Courtesy of Driven Society)

“Our community of creative entrepreneurs exists to inspire, energize, and nurture ideas in support of a thriving generation of young people. We envision a world where business, philosophy, and art converge to provide equal opportunity for success regardless of background or privilege. Working with brands that value the multicultural perspective is a big part of it and brands that want to expose our community to something of substance. Since we’re a part of this community, it’s easy for us to identify our peers who are also pushing culture in their own way and giving them the platform to grow.”

Driven Society’s latest event, titled SoundByte, is the organization’s effort to stay on top of innovative life programming. The bi-monthly series addresses the growing convergence of tech, music, and culture as millennials of color seek to obtain the information needed to take ownership of their billion-dollar influence on pop cultural industries

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‘The Hate U Give’ Author Angie Thomas Talks About Upcoming Film and Using Love to Combat Hate

Angie Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give, became an instant success, topping The New York Times best-seller list and earning multiple literary awards shortly after its release in February 2017. The book addresses the ills of modern day racism and police brutality as seen through the lens of a 16-year-old black girl named Starr Carter. Throughout the story, Starr grapples with living in two vastly different worlds: the low-income community of color where she grew up and the predominantly white prep school she attends. Her life, however, takes a tragic turn when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend—an unarmed young, black man—at the hands of white police officers.

Although fictional, The Hate U Give depicts the brutal reality of racial profiling and discrimination that people of color face. It’s also reflective of the constant exposure that young people have to the killings of black and brown bodies by police in real-time via social media, like Philando Castile, whose death was live-streamed on Facebook, and Eric Garner, who was recorded on a mobile phone taking his last breaths as police choked him to death.


Photo Credit:

Censoring Literature

While Thomas has been applauded for tackling controversial themes in The Hate U Give, some critics argue that the social context is divisive and inappropriate for young adults. In fact, police in Charleston, South Carolina, have made a concerted effort to ban the book from a summer reading program for students at Wando High School. According to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Tri-County Lodge #3, one of the largest police unions in the country, both The Hate U Give and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely depict police officers in a negative light. FOP lodge president John Blackmon even went as far as to describe the books as “an indoctrination of distrust of police.”

“Whether it be through social media, whether it be through text message, whether it be phone calls, we’ve received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list,” said Blackmon to local news channel News 2. “Freshmen, they’re at the age where their interactions with law enforcement have been very minimal. They’re not driving yet, they haven’t been stopped for speeding, they don’t have these type of interactions.”


He added, “There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me.”

Written In Love

However, in an interview with Black Enterprise, Thomas said the basis of the book was written out of love and to inspire people to become more compassionate toward each other. “There’s so much love in this. And I hope that they walk away feeling that,” she said at the 2018 Essence Festival.

Thomas also talked about her excitement for the release of the book’s film adaption, which stars Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games), Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Algee Smith (Detroit), Russell Hornsby, Common, and Issa Rae.

“I think the movie, in a lot of ways, will be cathartic, especially for people who are dealing with this every single day. I think this is an experience that will heal in a lot of ways. And it’s going to open more eyes,” said Thomas. “I think they’re going to walk away feeling even more empowered and inspired. And if, nothing else, I hope they feel seen.”

The Hate U Give

Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas, Regina Hall, and Amandla Stenberg at the 2018 Essence Festival Courtesy of Allied Integrated Marketing. Photo credit: Ryan Theriot)

Thomas also acknowledged that the strong social context may be triggering for some audiences, especially those who have been directly affected by police brutality or are fighting against it. “I’m never going to tell a person to go beyond their own emotional boundaries or what they feel like they can or cannot handle. But I would say, give it a shot, because if nothing else, I hope you walk away from this inspired.” She added, “You have people in the [Black Lives Matter] movement who’ve read the book, who were like ‘I wasn’t sure if I should read this book because I didn’t know if it was going to trigger me.’ But then they read it and they were like, ‘this is what I needed.’”

Ultimately, she says she hopes that both the book and the movie “create more empathy” and makes a lasting impression particularly on young women of color.

“I hope that the young black girls who go into the theater or pick up my book see themselves in it and see just how amazing they are in a world that so often tells them that they’re not enough. I hope that the movie and this book shows them that they are perfect just the way they are.”


The Hate U Give

Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas, Regina Hall, and Amandla Stenberg, and George Tillman at the Ford activation at the 2018 Essence Festival (Photo credit: Ryan Theriot)

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Yvonne Orji and Luvvie Ajayi Launched a Hilarious New Podcast

A new podcast has graced our presence featuring author Luvvie Ajayi and actress/comedian Yvonne Orji, who both proudly represent their Nigerian culture. According to the logline, the women are discussing everything they love, their life stories, and whatever else comes to mind in a fun and entertaining way.

The name? Jesus and Jollof, two things that the ladies say they can’t do without. “We need Jesus in our life,” says Orji, and “Jollof rice is a necessity,” proclaims Ajayi.  According to their site, alternative options jokingly included, 2 Goat Queens, a play on Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s 2 Dope Queens.

The first episode is comedically titled, “The Five Nigerian Love Languages,” which highlights the way Nigerians communicate and show affection, but before they get into the details, Ajayi and Orji introduce themselves and explain how they met and became friends, and how the podcast came to fruition.

“We have Elaine Welteroth to thank,” said Orji. “We were at a party. We were at Bozoma Saint John’s house, it was her birthday and she was being a great host, [pouring everyone tea]. Here goes Elaine, ‘Boz do you have Matcha?‘ Me and Luvvie just went full tirade Nigerian on her.”

Sitting with a mix of extreme shock and foresight meets vision, “Elaine was like, you guys are ridiculous! The very next day she had a poll on Instagram and she was like, who thinks Yvonne and Luvvie should do a podcast? I think 3,000 people responded. 97% said yes,” said the hilarious duo.

After explaining their relationship, the ladies go deep into what they call, the Five Nigerian Love Languages, which are nothing like Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts. Without giving it all away, based on the duo’s personalities, you can imagine what these love languages consist of.

To listen in full, check out their new podcast here.

The post Yvonne Orji and Luvvie Ajayi Launched a Hilarious New Podcast appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Muslim Stylist Hullema Reddick Finds Success In Haircare Business

According to a Pew Research Center estimate, Muslims comprise over 23% of the global population, but the haircare industry struggles to represent Muslim women. Haircare is for everyone; whether or not Muslim women choose to show their hair in public. Hullema Reddick, color stylist and owner of HStylez Hair studio in Philadelphia, is Muslim and wears a hijab which places her in a unique situation of acceptance—by both the beauty industry and her Muslim faith family. Known as “The Covered Colorist” Reddick has already grossed over $100,000 in sales in 2018 and continues to be a champion for Muslim women in the beauty industry.


The obvious lack of representation of Muslim women in the beauty industry has provided Reddick with an interesting perspective on being Muslim while also being a stylist. “It has enlightened me to the prejudices within the industry, and secondly it’s made me realize that women [Muslim and non-Muslim] are looking for meaningful and relatable inspiration,” says Reddick.


For Reddick, being able to provide relatable inspiration oftentimes comes with backlash from those in the Muslim community because of her chosen profession. Some view it as a contradiction to her religious belief.


“I am always confused about. I have yet to see where in Islam it says that we cannot beautify ourselves or be the source of the beautification process. Contrary to popular belief, it is one of the teachings of Islam that a woman should beautify herself, and look beautiful for her husband.”


To some, being fully covered from head to toe and being a stylist is considered taboo or unheard of. But as a small woman-owned business, Reddick does not allow the beauty industry to ostracize her, nor does she let those within her own community with an opposing view keep her from growing.


“I refuse to compromise my belief system just to fit in,” says Reddick. “I have had to make a stand that my talent speaks for itself and my appearance does not define me or my expertise.” Constantly evolving in her craft and enhancing her skills, Reddick finds new ways to create new looks. “I pride myself on giving a vibe you can’t find anywhere else. I pride myself in knowing that I am an artist.”


With a growing business and a focus on changing the perspective that Muslim women have no place in the beauty industry, Reddick has some very straightforward advice for young Muslim women interested in a similar career path.


“Remain firm in your belief and don’t compromise. Allow your creativity to open doors for you, and know with an unwavering sincerity that what’s for you is for you. What’s meant for you will not pass you. In addition, do not allow what people say discourage you. Not everyone is going to like what you’re doing, but keep in mind, you’re doing this for you not everyone else. Let what people can’t appreciate about you be that thing that makes you go harder.”

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A Therapist’s Advice for Dealing With ‘Founders’ Depression’

As a psychotherapist and owner of a private counseling practice, Asha Tarry has counseled adults, children, and families for 18 years. With a passion for helping people of color, we caught up with Tarry to get some insight into how business owners can deal with depression—the dark side of entrepreneurship that people rarely talk about.

According to a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, 32% or more of entrepreneurs struggle with depression. What do you believe makes entrepreneurs even more vulnerable to mental health challenges?

Entrepreneurs are more vulnerable to mental health challenges because of the overwhelming time and resources they invest in businesses that don’t pay off initially as fast as we’d like and as much as we require to live. Some people are isolated and don’t have professional networks that they can go to for business advice or mentorship. This is due to how much everyone is working and competing to stay on top, while others are simply not available or interested in offering support for other entrepreneurs. Many of us risk our own healthy lifestyle habits such as adequate sleep and proper diet for the necessity of making money and getting exposure.

There’s a term called ‘Founders’ Depression,’ which applies to the roller coaster of emotions and pressures entrepreneurs face trying to grow a business.” Do you think there’s a way to avoid founder’s depression?

If every entrepreneur when they filed their L.L.C. were linked to an adviser, I believe that would at least minimize the stressors and some of the costs associated with making so many mishaps in the business right from the start. If there were incentives for more seasoned business owners to audit or advise newer business owners on developing effective structural systems, hiring staff, IP protection, marketing, budgeting and scaling a business I truly believe a lot fewer businesses would go into debt, owners would lose less of their stakes, and more companies would profit longer.


Asha Tarry

What tips can you share for entrepreneurs dealing with Founders’ Depression?

Don’t wait until it’s too late in your business to seek counsel. Seek your local small business administration’s resources for what you need. Advance your knowledge every chance you get including outside your specialty area, that way you can have a better chance at sustaining a viable entity in a competitive free enterprising society.

Depression doesn’t discriminate but unfortunately, the stigma around mental health struggles is real especially in the black community. If you are a family member or friend of an entrepreneur, what are the signs and symptoms of depression should you look for?

Look for signs that reflect disconnections; such as avoiding any pleasurable activities, persistent irritability, isolation, not taking care of oneself—from not showering to not eating properly, to not taking care of important things like paying bills or taking care of their health.

How should someone approach a friend if they believe they are suffering from depression?

Friends and family should avoid using diagnostic terms when they express concern. If you’re not a therapist or a doctor, don’t use clinical terms to describe what you see. Say it plain. If they appear frustrated a lot, say that. If they don’t have any desire to have fun anymore, you can point that out or just ask when they last enjoyed something outside of their work. Speaking from your own perspective and not from one that is authoritative or presumptuous can be easier to engage than someone who comes across as all-knowing or as a fixer.

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Beyonce and Balmain Launch Beychella-Inspired Apparel to Benefit Black Students

Beyoncé fans will be able to relive the Beychella experience thanks to a new capsule collection inspired by the wardrobe that Queen Bey wore during her epic performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The superstar singer teamed up with French luxury fashion house Balmain to create a six-piece collection that includes hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with her initials in Greek letters and other sorority-style graphics. They will come in pink, yellow, and black.

Back in April, Beyoncé became the first African American woman to headline Coachella and delivered an unapologetically black performance that paid tribute to HBCUs and black Greek fraternities and sororities, in addition to Malcolm X, Nina Simone, and African queen Nefertiti. The prices for the new Beyoncé x Balmain collection, however, will be too steep for the average college student. T-shirts are expected to cost about $290.95, while sweatshirts will run around $1,785.22. As an alternative, fans have the option to shop online for Beyoncé‘s “Homecoming” collection, which offers fraternity and sorority-styled gear at more affordable prices.

Beyonce vegan app

Beyoncé at Coachella (Image: Instagram)

According to Vogue, the 36-year-old entertainer and Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, developed the idea to launch an apparel line while Rousteing’s team was designing the looks Beyoncé wore at Coachella. It took months to craft each custom-made costume, which included a Nefertiti-inspired cape and headpiece along with several logos that referenced black Greek college culture.

“I can say today, with absolute confidence, that collaborating with Beyoncé on her Coachella concerts is destined to be one of the most important and treasured memories of my career,” said Rousteing in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “She’s a goddess, blessed with an incredibly beautiful voice and a moral vision to match … Her level of obsessive perfectionism matches mine, so we loved poring over everything — literally everything — together; making sure that we agreed on every tiny, teeny detail of the two enormous collections that we created together for her, her family, and her 200-plus dancers and band members.”

All proceeds from the Beyoncé x Balmain collection benefit the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to help students of color attend college. Rousteing said the UNCF was selected in response to their “need to repay an obvious debt for the inspiration we received from the signature spirit and legacy of America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).”

The capsule will be released Friday, July 13, at the Balmain flagship store in Paris and online on Saturday, July 14.

The post Beyonce and Balmain Launch Beychella-Inspired Apparel to Benefit Black Students appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Feds Reopen the Emmett Till Murder Case Citing ‘New Information’

The U.S. Department of Justice is reopening the murder case of Emmett Till 63 years after the 14-year-old African American teen was brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Federal officials announced Thursday that it launched an investigation into the case based on “new information” that it received about Till’s 1955 kidnapping, torture, and murder.

News that the DOJ was reopening Till’s case was first reported by the Associated Press after the Justice Department sent a report to Congress in March under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016, a bill authorized by President Barack Obama that grants feds with the ability to investigate unsolved civil rights murders before 1970.

While details about the new developments have not been disclosed, new revelations about Till’s death were published in the 2017 book The Blood of Emmett Till by historian Timothy B. Tyson.

Till was a native of Chicago visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, when he was accused of making sexual advances toward Carolyn Donham, 21, at a grocery store. Her then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother J.W. Milam were charged with killing Till but were acquitted by an all-white jury. Bryant and Milam later admitted to a reporter the next year that they beat and shot the teen before dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. They were not retried due to double jeopardy laws.

Donham, who was known as Carolyn Bryant at the time, also admitted that she fabricated the story about Till in The Blood of Emmett Till. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the book quotes her as saying. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and will turn 84 this month.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush, a Democratic congressman who urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case last year, released a statement Thursday applauding the announcement.

I am glad to see the federal government following through on this request. This case is not only critically important for the role it played in sparking the Civil Rights movement, but so that Emmett and his family receive the justice that is owed to them. It is vital that everyone — both victims and perpetrators — knows that heinous crimes of this nature will never go unpunished.

He added, Even today, the crime that he was a victim of, lynching, is still not illegal under federal law. 

Although justice was never served, Till’s vicious killing was a pivotal catalyst in the launch of the civil rights movement. Till’s cousin told USA TODAY that her family is “extremely pleased” the DOJ has reopened the investigation into his death. “We want the process to work and we want justice to prevail for Emmett. This cannot just be forgotten.”

The post Feds Reopen the Emmett Till Murder Case Citing ‘New Information’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Dire Consequences for Blacks, Others Groups Expected with Supreme Court Pick

Of all of President Donald Trump’s demagoguery against free speech, the press, religious rights, due process, and women’s control over their bodies, no decision carries such far-reaching and lasting consequences for women, people of color, and other groups, over generations than his Supreme Court pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“This Supreme Court nomination is the most consequential to be taken up in decades. Since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement from the court, Justice (Anthony) Kennedy has been a critical swing vote on some of the most important civil rights issues to come before the court. This nomination stands to change the balance on the court for generations to come,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

On a press conference call on Tuesday, Clarke said it was time for Senate Democrats to carry out their constitutional duty of fully and properly vetting Kavanaugh’s records. Trump, throughout his campaign for president, has publicly stated that he’d like to see Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortions nationwide, overturned. Last October, during the last presidential debate, he was asked his opinion on the issue.

“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what’s going to be—that will happen,” Trump said at the debate. “And that’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”

So far, the president has been able to get Neil Gorsuch, a conservative, on the Supreme Court bench. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, whose votes helped swing decisions to the left on issues like abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights, Trump now has a pathway to select a second conservative justice onto the Supreme Court. This means civil rights cases will be some of the most monumental cases that will be brought before the Supreme Court for years to come, Clarke said.

If there is any doubt about what kind of long-lasting damage Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court bench could do to black and brown people’s civil and human rights, one need not look past Gorsuch’s record since being on the bench for only 11 weeks. The court struck down a law that treated LGBTQ couples differently on their children’s birth certificates. The court refused a challenge to the Department of Veteran Affairs’ system for evaluating disability claims. A challenge to California’s law limiting who can carry a concealed firearm in public was declined by the court. All of which Gorsuch dissented on, according to USA Today.

Kavanaugh, 53, has a dangerous track record of protecting the privileges of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working people, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. When asked about what his personal opinion on abortion was during his 2006 confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit Court, Kavanaugh declined to answer, saying: “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to give a personal view on that case.”

On Abortion Rights: While the Appeals court in Washington allowed a detained undocumented immigrant minor to seek an abortion last fall, Kavanaugh, who dissented said the majority who voted “yes” had “badly erred” and created a new right for undocumented immigrant minors in custody to “immediate abortion on demand” according to the Washington Post.

Religion: A part of the Obamacare Act required insurers to cover contraception, but some employers objected on religious grounds. To avoid paying a fine, “employers can bypass the requirement by submitting a form to their insurers, which then cover the workers’ contraception at no expense to the employers.” Forcing employers to submit the form violated their religious liberty, Kavanaugh wrote, siding with religious organizations who contended that “even submitting the form made them complicit in providing contraception.”

Consumer Rights: Consumer advocacy groups are worried about Brett Kavanaugh, especially because of the history that he has with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arguing that the financial regulatory entity’s mere existence was unconstitutional. In 2014, CFPB alleged that mortgage company PHH Corp. had “harmed consumers through a mortgage insurance kickback scheme that started as early as 1995.” A year later, the company was ordered to pay $109 million in fines. PHH sued to have the fines vacated, and Kavanaugh was on a three-judge panel that ruled in favor of the company, taking issue with CFPB’s organizational set up.

Second Amendment/Gun Rights: In a 2011 case in which the DC Circuit court “upheld a ban that applied to semiautomatic rifles in the District of Columbia” Kavanaugh, who dissented from a majority opinion wrote that the Supreme Court had previously “held that handguns—the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic—are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens.”

Voting Rights: When South Carolina first tried to implement its now passed Voter ID law that required voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot in the 2012 elections, Kavanaugh was one of three panel judges who ruled to block its enforcement. The court, however, ruled that the state may put the law in effect in the future “to allow time to educate voters about the requirement.”

“At first blush, one might have thought South Carolina had enacted a very strict photo ID law,” wrote Kavanaugh. “Much of the initial rhetoric surrounding the law suggested as much. But that rhetoric was based on a misunderstanding of how the law would work.” The law, as construed by South Carolina officials, “does not have the effects that some expected and some feared,” the judge wrote.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who was on the press call on Tuesday said Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was moving too fast. Before Kavanaugh’s records are examined, Senate Democrats need to ensure that the “McConnell Rule” which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put in place and used to derail former president Barack Obama’s pick to the court a couple of years ago be applied at this go, he said.

“Not only are we very much concerned that we may now have a right-wing jurist given his record. We’re also concerned that the process itself is going through and no one is raising the fact that when Barrack Obama as president had nominated Garland, McConnell went ahead and very directly and openly changed the rules and they are allowing them to change the rules back,” said Sharpton. “Democrats are to stall and really wait until after the election because this is a premise that was set by McConnell and others in the last election, nomination process with Judge Garland.”

“The McConnell Rule” states that Supreme Court Justices will not be considered in an election year with McConnell saying, “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

“We are calling on every Democrat to not leap with Kavanaugh. We are calling on them to bring the argument to the American people before we get to his credentials or anything else. The process itself is being politicized, which is opposite of what the court is supposed to do,” Al Sharpton said.

Since the court was established in 1789, there have been 153 nominations to the US Supreme Court, 30 of which were unsuccessful in their first try, and Clarke said Senate Democrats need to ensure Trump’s pick wait till the November elections are over.

“The Senate should not rubber-stamp the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. It’s time for them to carry out their constitutional duty of fully and properly vetting him (Judge Kavanaugh),” she said.

The post Dire Consequences for Blacks, Others Groups Expected with Supreme Court Pick appeared first on Black Enterprise.