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).


How This Haitian-American Social Entrepreneur Turned Mourning Into Motivation

In case you didn’t know, the Centers for Disease Control reports African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States. So in honor of World HIV Day, we caught up with Yanatha Desouvre, a man on a mission to continue the legacy of Daniel Coulanges, Desouvre’s guitarist uncle and godfather who died in 1989 of HIV at age 28.



In 2016, Desouvre discovered lost footage of his uncle’s music. “My uncle Amos Coulanges, a world-renowned classical guitarist, told me there was a rare video featuring Daniel Coulange, his baby brother, performing at a University in Staten Island,” said Desouvre. “I was skeptical but the person who had the footage mailed it to him in France and my uncle shipped the VHS converted to DVD video to me in Miami.”

“I have a wonderful, noisy home full of little ones, however, when I popped in the video everything went quiet. The minute Uncle Daniel started playing he was speaking to me through his music and with every string he plucked I cried. Songs like “Killing Me Softly,” “Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don’t Leave Me),” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” tugged on my heart and soul.”


From Mourning to Motivation


What would you like people to take away from your uncle’s career and life?

My uncle had HIV in 1989, during that time it was a death sentence. This was also two years before Magic Johnson announced he was diagnosed with HIV, yet he’s still alive and thriving. So I would like people to #knowyourstatus—whether HIV positive or negative. If you’re HIV positive you can live a prosperous life with the tremendous drugs and resources that are available. If you are HIV negative, still check on your status with your annual physical exam.

My godfather had a short-lived musical career, but he lived a vibrant life. I would like anyone reading about Daniel Coulanges or hearing his music to pursue their dreams and share your talent with the world because you never know who you will inspire. You also never know when you will take your last breath.


What’s your vision for Daniel Coulanges’s work?

I’m doing an Indiegogo project to raise funds to master, produce, and manufacture the 18 music tracks I was able to extract from the video. The crowdfunding will fund the production and digital distribution for the project. With proceeds from the album sales, I plan to start virtual or brick and mortar Daniel Coulanges Center for Arts, Technology, and Business workshops to show artists (writers, painters, musicians, etc.) the business of art and understand how technology can enhance their art as well.


The Every Person’s Essential Guide to Preparing Vehicles for Winter

With the coldest season of the year drawing near, AAA expects to rescue more than 7 million American drivers this winter.

The nation’s largest motorist and leisure travel club projects that most of the problems will come from people facing dead battery, lock, and tire-related issues.


(Image: iStock/Kurhan)



Winter brings ice, snow, and frigid temperatures, elements which can put a tremendous burden on cars and trucks and jeopardize vehicle safety.

“You want to prepare ahead of the winter weather to avoid being stranded on the side of the road,” says AAA spokesperson Mariam Ali.

Though newer vehicles are equipped to help combat inclement weather, experts say motorists should now winterize vehicles to make sure they are in good operating order to handle the conditions.

Here are some car care tips from AAA that can be used to prepare vehicles for winter:


Ensure engine performance


Replace the air filter as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Get “check engine” lights investigated and quickly resolve drivability problems such as hard starting, rough idling, stalling, or reduced power. Winter weather will likely make these issues worse.


Make sure your battery and charging system is up to par


A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Have your battery and charging system checked for optimum performance–particularly if your battery is more than three years old. Also, clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections; wipe away dirt and oil deposits on the case; and make sure all hardware is secure. In many areas, AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.


Check your windshield wipers and washers


Wiper blades should completely clear rain or snow from your windshield with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. For the winter months, purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad winter blades to fight snow and ice buildup. In cold climates, be sure to fill the windshield washer reservoir with a cleaning solution that will not freeze when the temperatures drop.


Keep an eye on your coolant


Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. The level of antifreeze protection can be checked with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store. Also, check the condition of accessory drive belts and coolant hoses and clamps.


Inspect tires to ensure drivability on winter roads


Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing, and cupping. Tires with less than 4/32″ of tread will have reduced traction in wet and snowy conditions. Check tire pressure once a month before driving when tires are cold. In extreme climates, a set of winter snow tires or chains may be a wise investment.


Get a brake inspection


Have the brake system inspected by a certified technician as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Brake inspection is needed if a warning light is on, the fluid level is low, or you notice a brake pedal pulsation, steering pull, grinding sound, or other unusual noise when braking.


Inspect your lights


Visibility is extra important in the dark winter months. Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace any that are burned out. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses. Badly weathered plastic headlight lenses can be restored by professional services or using do-it-yourself kits available at auto parts stores.


Maintain the engine oil


For engine protection throughout the year, change the oil and oil filter at the intervals recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Always use an oil that meets the requirements of your vehicle’s manufacturer.


Check the transmission fluid


Make sure the transmission fluid is full, and top off as necessary. Many newer cars have sealed transmissions that do not require fluid level checks unless there is a leak.


Always keep an emergency kit handy


Carry one equipped for winter weather. The kit should include:

o   Flashlight with extra batteries

o   Jumper cables or jump pack

o   Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, duct tape, plastic zip ties)

o   Tarp, raincoat, and gloves to help stay clean/dry working at the roadside

o   Rags, paper towels, or pre-moistened wipes

o   Warning devices (flares, reflective triangles, or LED beacons)

o   First-aid kit

o   Drinking water

o   Ice scraper

o   Snow brush

o   Winter windshield washer solvent

o   Traction aids (sand, salt, non-clumping cat litter or traction mats)

o   Shovel

o   Warm gloves, clothes, hats, and blankets for all passengers in your car




Upcoming Member of the Royal Family, Meghan Markle, Was Also an Entrepreneur

Since the announcement of her engagement to British royal family member and unlikely heir to the throne—he’s sixth in line—Prince Harry, the microscope has been on Meghan Markle.

Every detail is being inspected about her life including her family life. She is the product of a white father and black mother—a social worker who lives in the mostly African American L.A. suburb of View Park-Windsor Hills (incidentally, one of the wealthiest black suburbs in the country).

(Meghan Markle. Image: Flickr/Genevieve)


In addition to her work as an actress, The Atlantic reports that Markle has been involved in several humanitarian efforts. She was a woman’s advocate at the United Nations and a global ambassador for World Vision.

Her Internet Entrepreneurial Endeavor


The soon-to-be royal was also an entrepreneur just like so many other millennials of color. She launched a lifestyle and wellness site; She recently shut the site down; however, using the internet archive site, The Wayback Machine, you can take a look at the content on the site to see what it was all about.

The site features fairly lightweight subject matter with articles such as “10 Reasons to Drink Kombucha,” “Chic New York Boutiques,” and “Tig Talks,”—which are interviews with influential people including Serena Williams.


(Image of Markle from her archived site)


But she gets serious, as well. In one post, “More Than an Other,” published March 2, 2016, she weighs in on being biracial:

What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day. ‘Well,’ I say, as I begin the verbal dance I know all too well. ‘I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ A mouthful, yes, but one that paints a pretty solid picture of who I am. But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’

To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating. When I was asked by ELLE to share my story, I’ll be honest, I was scared. It’s easy to talk about which make-up I prefer, my favourite scene I’ve filmed, the rigmarole of ‘a day in the life’ and how much green juice I consume before a requisite Pilates class. And while I have dipped my toes into this on, sharing small vignettes of my experiences as a biracial woman, today I am choosing to be braver, to go a bit deeper, and to share a much larger picture of that with you.

She goes on in the piece to discuss her mother being mistaken for her nanny in affluent areas of Los Angeles; a white dorm mate in school who assumed her parents weren’t together; and her difficulty getting acting jobs because, “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”

Markle sums up her feelings as, “Just as black and white, when mixed, make grey, in many ways that’s what it did to my self-identity: it created a murky area of who I was, a haze around how people connected with me. I was grey. And who wants to be this indifferent colour, devoid of depth and stuck in the middle?”

It seems that Markle actually did a lot of the writing herself, signing off posts as “MM.” In what ostensibly looks to be the site’s first-ever post, “Welcome to the Tig” she explains the purpose of the blog:

“Cheers to frolicking, and revelry, to badass ladies & gents who inspire change, to finding the beauty in the unexpected, to sharing ideas, supporting the silliness, eating delicious food, living a life of wanderlust, and taking it all in—with class, unrelenting splendor, and a sense of humor. Cheers to an inspired lifestyle.”

Forget her ethnicity for a second: Could Markle be the first internet entrepreneur and blogger to ever marry into the royal family?

OneUnited Bank and The Breakfast Club Raise $700,000 to Advocate for Social Justice

OneUnited Bank, (No. 2 on the 2017 BE BANKS list with $655 million in assets), recently joined forces with powerhouse 105.1 New York radio platform The Breakfast Club for their Change4Change Radiothon which raised more than $700,000 to support social justice initiatives and activists. The funds will benefit The Gathering for Justice, an organization founded by Harry Belafonte whose mission is to promote social justice, eliminate racial inequalities, and prevent child incarceration. The organization is also a sponsor of Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Campaign and The National Women’s March.

(Image: Instagram/cthagod)


Breakfast Club hosts Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee utilized texting for fundraising efforts, and celebrities called in to talk about social injustice and how important it is for everyone to do their part in being active in forging change. Music and Hollywood heavyweights including Diddy, Kevin Hart,, Ludacris, Cardi B, Eminem, and Nick Cannon donated to the cause, and thousands of listeners contributed as well.

“Raising money is hard. For some reason, when it comes to doing the right thing, a lot of people don’t step up,”, award-winning musician, entrepreneur, and activist told The Breakfast Club during a call from South Africa. “I’ll put in 20…20K.” His donation, according to the hosts, was an early spark to raise the bar for other celebrities to chip in generously.

During the radiothon, music mogul Diddy talked about the legacy and importance of the work of Harry Belafonte and the roadblocks today’s activists encounter in continuing social justice work. “We live in a time where we don’t have organizations that really have the infrastructure those guys had in the civil rights movement to be able to organize and galvanize to make change. … The only thing that is going to make change is money, to be honest—economic power,” Diddy told the show hosts. “Put me down for 100,000.”

Activists included Tamika Mallory lauded the efforts of the initiative and spoke out on how vital it is for communities to take active roles in making America greater.

“It’s truly an incredible feeling,” activist Mallory told The Breakfast Club. “If our people want us to continue to uplift our voices and tend to the most marginalized communities, we need to have the support whether it be $1 to $50,000. We need the support so that everyone has skin in the game.”

OneUnited Bank and its leadership, including power woman President and COO Teri Williams, have driven a social activism vehicle of their own, often encouraging the black community and its supporters to move their money into black-owned financial institutions (or #BankBlack) but also rev up efforts to support and partner in building black-owned businesses.

Panel session on black banks at BE’s 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit. Seated from left to right: Derek Dingle, SVP/Chief Content Officer, BLACK ENTERPRISE; Teri Williams, President and COO of OneUnited Bank; Sherifat Lawal Price, Assistant VP, Business Development and Marketing, Unity National Bank; and Ann D. Duplessis, SVP, Liberty Bank and Trust Co. (Image: File)


“It’s the threshold for a community to do business with ourselves,” Williams said at this year’s Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. She’s been vocal about the importance of black communities empowering themselves by thinking about social justice even in where they choose to bank. “Once you bank black, you don’t go back.”

Find out more information on the Change4Change initiative here. The Breakfast Club will take donations through Dec. 1.

Phylicia Rashad the Face of $25 Million Initiative to Diversify American History

Classic TV lovers know her as Dr. Huxtable’s smart and elegant wife Clair on The Cosby Show, and today’s generation might only recognize her as the classy but calculating matriarch Diana DuBois on Fox’s hit show Empire.


(Image: Wikimedia/The Heart Truth)


But she’s recently taken on a new role that is set to ensure that the contributions and advances of African Americans are never forgotten and that untold stories are finally given center stage in American history narratives.

Phylicia Rashad is the ambassador of the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF), a $25 million initiative launched by The National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the JPB Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

The multi-year national initiative establishes a grant fund for the protection and restoration of African American historical sites, including the Shockoe Bottom in Richmond and the Fort Huachuca Black Officers’ Club in Arizona, and to address funding gaps for site preservation. The fund will also help to tell once-hidden stories of history-making African Americans and enlighten youth on black history and landmark sites through a program called The National Trust’s Hands-On Preservation Experience. In addition, the fund will back research on the link between the impact of preserving historic sites and the resolution of urban problems that disproportionately affect communities of color.

“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a news release. “We believe that this fund will be transformative for our country, and we are committed to crafting a narrative that expands our view of history and, ultimately, begins to reconstruct our national identity, while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for our diverse historic places.”

Along with Rashad, academic, arts, government, and business leaders will be part of an advisory council for the fund. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, will serve as its chair.

“Without a thorough reckoning with the complex and difficult history of our country, especially when it comes to race, we will not be able to overcome intolerance, injustice, and inequality,” said Walker. “We have an opportunity with this Fund to broaden the American narrative to reflect our remarkably rich and diverse history.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress nearly 70 years ago, has decades of experience leading the preservation of African American historic sites and widening the tent for underrepresented communities in the professional field of preservation. In the past five years alone, the National Trust leveraged more than $10 million to preserve dozens of important African American sites.

Check out what Rashad has to say about the initiative and why diversifying the stories of American history is importance to her and her family:



[OPINION] Stop The Witch Hunt. Black Women Know Exactly Who ‘Becky With The Good Hair’ Is




This story was originally published May 4, 2016, by Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio, and was the winner of the 2017 New York Association of Black Journalists Award for Best Online Media Blog Commentary. [Below are excerpts.] 

Everyone is praising Beyoncé’s sixth studio album and accompanying hour-long visual film, Lemonade, which conveys themes of black womanhood, infidelity, and love. Although Queen Bey has explored these themes in previous records, she has never addressed these issues with this level of boldness and transparency. For instance, in the track “Sorry,” she calls out her husband’s mistress by name, singing “he better call Becky with the good hair.”

In turn, that line has led many to question if “Becky” is a real person. It has even sparked a massive witch hunt to find the alleged homewrecker. Many blogs report that Becky is fashion designer Rachel Roy since she posted a self-incriminating Instagram post that further fueled speculation that she had an affair with Jay-Z. However, other people suspect that Becky is Roc Nation artist Rita Ora or a woman named Cathy White, who mysteriously died soon after signing a deal with a major tabloid to expose her alleged affair with Sean Carter.

But hunting for Becky mutes the greater point and cultural implication that Beyoncé is making with this lyric. It also distracts us from the fact that black women already know Becky very well.

Who is Becky?


Black women are very familiar with “Becky with the good hair.” She makes us feel inferior and not good enough. Many black women marvel at her beauty, while others try to emulate it. Meanwhile, society esteems her as the ultimate object of desire, a prized trophy and a symbol of status to the man she marries.


Good Hair Don’t Care


Bey, however, does not call her husband’s mistress “Becky” to imply that he is sleeping with a white woman. Instead, she describes her as having “good hair,” which is a term used to describe someone of African descent with long, straight or naturally curly hair. Women with this type of hair are considered prettier than those with kinky hair, whereas those with kinks are often degraded as “nappy-headed.”

In essence, Beyoncé is describing a light-skinned or mixed-race woman with Eurocentric features to highlight two very important struggles many black women face: an inferiority complex with their blackness and the damaging effects of colorism.



Colorism is a form of discrimination that treats those with lighter, fairer skin with a higher regard and as more attractive than those with darker skin. Although many ethnicities experience some level of colorism within their communities, colorism for African Americans is tied to slavery.

Back then, lighter-skinned black folks were given the privilege to do housework and domestic tasks, while darker-skinned slaves were relegated to more grueling work in the fields. Lighter-skinned slaves were also given preferential treatment since they were often the children of white male slave owners.

Within the African American community, having lighter skin and Eurocentric features were highly valued because it increased their chance of survival and gave black people the opportunity to “pass” as white in order to avoid being enslaved.

In turn, the favor attached to lighter-skinned blacks resulted in the stigmatization of darker-skinned blacks that is still felt to this day. This stigma is constantly reinforced in media that demeans black women with dark skin, kinky hair, wide nostrils, thick lips and/or big butts. Just look at the underlying racist tone used when describing Serena Williams and Michelle Obama as “manly” or “ugly.” Let’s also not forget about the 2011 study published in Psychology Today originally titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?

Furthermore, magazines and countless media outlets have long been accused of lightening the skin of brown people in order to appeal to a broader audience.

Back in 1968, Black Panther Party leader Kathleen Cleaver explained the harmful effect colorism has had on black people when she told an interviewer:

“For so many years, we were told that only white people were beautiful–that only straight hair, light eyes, light skin was beautiful so Black women would try everything they could — straighten their hair, lighten their skin — to look as much like white women.”

Lemonade And The Legacy


In Lemonade, Beyoncé puts a modern-day twist on the legacy of colorism by addressing her husband’s mistress as “Becky with the good hair.” Within that one lyric, she is expressing the pain, humiliation, and struggle that black women feel in a society that praises European beauty standards and judges black girls by this norm.

This lyric also shows that her husband’s affair with a “Becky” is even more painful because it reinforces the notion that black women with Eurocentric features are superior. It’s one thing when society tells you you’re not white-looking enough to be beautiful, but it’s another thing when the love of your life says it.

Sweatin’ Out My Blow Out


As a brown girl with long brown hair, I personally feel plagued by both sides of colorism.

I got my first perm when I was 12 years old and I have been getting periodic relaxers to keep my hair straight ever since. I get regular wash n’ sets and blowouts to transform my thick hair into straight, soft tresses. Right now, my longest lock hangs down my back, landing on my bra strap. For me, this process (no matter how damaging it may be) makes my hair more manageable and requires less work on a day-to-day basis. However, because of my processed hair and reddish-brown skin, I’m frequently told I have “good hair” and I’m really “pretty for a black girl.”

On the other hand, I’ve also been made to feel as if I don’t measure up to the ideal standard of beauty. Like many brown girls, I’ve been told to stay out of the sun so that my skin doesn’t get any darker. I’ve also had people look into my dark brown eyes and pity that I did not inherit my mother’s light hazel eyes. That basically told me that although I am pretty, I would have been much prettier if I had a light eye-color that is more associated with whiteness.

Stop Searching, We Know Who Becky Is


We may never know for sure if Jay-Z stepped out on Beyoncé or who the real “Becky” is, but that’s beside the point here. Because black women are constantly compared to white beauty standards, skin-bleaching creams make millions of dollars each year, while some women even resort to permanently trading in Afrocentric features for smaller noses, thinner lips, and lighter skin. (Think Lil Kim.)

Lemonade is about the strength, struggle, and resilience of black women around the diaspora—so it makes sense that Bey would address our struggle with internalized self-hatred.

We don’t need a witch hunt to find Becky. She’s the standard of white femininity and beauty that tells black women that no matter our shade or hair texture, we will never be pretty enough or good enough because we will never be white.

 The New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) honored Black Enterprise’s very own Digital Editor, Selena Hill, with a prestigious award last week for this blog article. The annual media awards competition celebrates the best and brightest journalists in New York. “We aim to recognize exemplary coverage of people or issues in the African/African American Diaspora,” reads a statement posted on the NYABJ website.


Becky (Image: Black Enterprise Digital Editor Selena Hill at the 2017 NYABJ Media Awards)


Anthony Anderson ‘Gets Real’ About His Diabetes

Anthony Anderson Gt Real diabetes campaign

Just in time for National Diabetes Month, Black-ish star Anthony Anderson is sharing his story about being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 15 years ago in hopes that it will help others.


Anthony Anderson (Photo courtesy of Novo Nordisk)



Anderson is partnering with drug maker Novo Nordisk on the “Get Real” campaign, which aims to educate, motivate, and support those living with diabetes as they learn to manage their disease.

“For a long time following my diagnosis, I didn’t take type 2 diabetes as seriously as I should have, and I struggled to get my blood sugar under control,” the 47-year-old actor said in a press release.

“But, when my father passed away from diabetes complications, I reflected on what it was doing to me, and realized I had to change.”

Anderson opened up even more on the Get Real website about how his father’s death 10 years ago affected him: “That was really tough, especially knowing that if my dad had taken better care of himself, he might still be here.”

“My dad just didn’t know what happens when you don’t take control of your diabetes. That was a real wake-up call for me.”

“I didn’t want to just be a memory for my family, I wanted to be there. So, I vowed right then and there that things would be different, that I would get serious about managing my diabetes.”

Anderson is candid about how long it took him to change his lifestyle, particularly his diet, considering the Emmy nominee’s well-documented love of food. He also shares how resistant he was initially to taking some of the medications his physician suggested.

“My doctor just had to get real with me, and I’m glad she did. So, if you see me out there I’ll be asking people straight up: ‘Are you doing enough to manage your blood sugar? Are you being real with yourself? If not, now is the time.’”


Give Thanks For Coworkers and Clients With An Office Friendsgiving


Friendsgiving has been picking up steam over the last few years as an alternative way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it can also be a great way to show colleagues or clients your appreciation.

Friendsgiving Styling: Black Southern Belle; Photography: MercedeB Photography; Food: Hamby Catering; Florals: Lush Florals by Renee; Rentals: Gather Vintage Rentals


Throw an Office Friendsgiving with these tips from Michiel Perry, founder and editor-in-chief of Black Southern Belle:

Put Networking First


Use a serving bowl as a place for guests to drop their business cards. To encourage participation, feel free to raffle off a great bottle of winter wine.

Don’t Forget Branding


Looking to showcase a new product or your brand philosophy? Use simple place cards such as small office envelopes on paper clips. These envelopes can be a great place to give the name of dishes as well as some insight into what you are professionally thankful for to your clients this year.

Friendsgiving Styling: Black Southern Belle; Photography: MercedeB Photography; Food: Hamby Catering; Florals: Lush Florals by Renee; Rentals: Gather Vintage Rentals


Keep Friendsgiving Food Light


Since most of your clients and/or employees will be having Thanksgiving with their family, try to keep your menu light with simple dishes such as turkey caesar salad or charcuterie boards of your favorite pickled fall vegetables. And, of course, a fall-inspired cocktail is always a good start to a fun client Friendsgiving.

Get Some Help


When you are pulling together a last-minute party, don’t be afraid to get help from a local caterer. Nothing better than supporting a small business while creating a new addition to your networking list—and even better if you can use a company that your clients enjoy utilizing. If you don’t have time find a caterer, the deli section of your local gourmet store has excellent pre-made options.

Or, for an easy Office Friendsgiving, put together an after-lunch dessert and coffee display. Find a local bakery to order a pastry assortment. And create a mocktail station, with pumpkin coffee, sparkling cider, and cranberry juice. This is perfect for office colleagues who prefer to abstain and also helps avoid some dietary restrictions such as dairy and meat.

Friendsgiving Styling: Black Southern Belle; Photography: MercedeB Photography; Food: Hamby Catering; Florals: Lush Florals by Renee; Rentals: Gather Vintage Rentals


Add Festive Decor


Be sure to add a little decor to your office conference room to create a Friendsgiving that your clients will see as Instagram worthy. Grocery stores have small bundles of multi-colored pumpkins that make the perfect decorations. If you want to add even more flair, start by pulling some decor from your home such as candlesticks, champagne buckets, and various sets of drinkware.

Follow Up


An essential part of any client event is the follow-up. Be sure to send handwritten notes with a fall candy to your guests who attended to add another touchpoint for them to remember your company and the Friendsgiving.


The Perfect African American Road Trip

Holiday time means time to hit the road, something that isn’t a necessarily stressful thing for African Americans according to a new report.

For black America, the perfect road trip lasts for six hours, was one of the findings from research conducted by Chevrolet and Harris Poll. Many African Americans also said that they had fond memories of road trips taken with their families as children. In fact, 99% of African American parents said they enjoyed road trips.

(Image: iStock/FatCamera)


Some other interesting tidbits about African American road trip preferences:


  • 86% said their favorite way to pass time during car travel is by listening to music with their family.
  • 81% said talking was a good way to pass time.
  • 52% preferred watching or listening to a movie or TV show to pass time.

Almost all of the survey respondents said that spending time with family was their favorite part of a road trip. Next was exploring and stopping at attractions along the way, and many stated that just “unplugging from daily life” is what made road trips so fun.

African Americans also like to travel in style—those surveyed preferred conducting their road trips in an SUV—with many preferring a large SUV with three rows. Parents also emphasized the importance of in-vehicle technology such as infotainment systems and in-vehicle Wi-Fi—features becoming more commonplace in automobiles.

By the way, the survey also revealed that Moms are more stressed about keeping kids busy and entertained during a road trip than Dads. Maybe that’s because 75% of those surveyed said Dads did the driving; only 31% of Moms drive.

Parents also bring plenty of electronic toys. Families bring along an average of 6.6 devices on family road trips, (yes, we don’t know what .6 of a device is, either).




Cardi B Creates $4.5 Million in Media Value for Christian Louboutin

Talk about #BlackGirlMagic and the power of hip-hop culture. Cardi B, a popular reality TV star turned mega hit rapper, can add yet another accomplishment to her platinum-selling resume: boosting interest in the iconic shoe brand astronomically, almost overnight.

According to a recent Business of Fashion report, Belcalis “Cardi B” Almanzar has created an estimated $4.5 million media value this year for the brand after releasing the radio banger “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” and there’s been a massive 217% spike in web searches for Christian Louboutin shoes since summer.


(Image: Instagram/iamcardib)


The 25-year-old female lyricist raves about the “red-bottom” “bloody shoes” in the song, and, like it or not, it’s a song hard to escape, whether it was played during your favorite morning radio show or mimicked in your nephew’s latest Snapchat. Cardi B has taken the hit from the small nightclub stages to the MoMa to the Puerto Rican Day Parade and beyond. Black Hollywood heavyweights including Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba, and Kevin Hart have raved about the song and Cardi and music icon Janet Jackson set the crowd and social media ablaze when she added the song to her concert set.

The song has continued its momentum from summer into fall, winning the BET Hip Hop Award for Best Single of the Year last month and breaking a No. 1 Billboard chart record that Lauryn Hill had held since the late 1990s. Black Enterprise cover girl and Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John even blasted the song at AfroTech.

One celeb not so hip to the game is Christian Louboutin himself. He recently told The New York Times he’s “not a big rap person,” but said he’d be open to meeting the Trini-Dominican-American star someday.

As for a direct sales boost correlation, the verdict’s still out. However, Deloitte reports that 20.5% of millennials look to social media and more than 15% to the web to get informed about a high-end item before purchasing. Also, Nielsen reported that black women, in particular, spend more time watching live TV, listening to the radio, and using multimedia devices than the whole U.S. female population; they are trendsetters and contribute tremendously to pushing black buying power closer to a record $1.5 trillion; and they have “enjoyed steady growth in population, incomes, and educational attainment.”

Based on the stats, one can assume that if many power women of color hear “Bodak Yellow” enough times, they might actually be prompted to give that Louboutin pump at least a second look when splurging for the holidays—or get that good sister-girlfriend to pick them up a few sample-sale pairs to go under the tree.