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).


Black Women: Mental Health Treatment is For Us Too

When it comes to mental health issues, black women are more likely to experience mental health-related issues due to lower income, poor health, multiple role strain, and the “double minority status” of race and gender according to a study conducted by psychologists who focused on the lack of support black women receive professionally.

More recently, the American Psychiatric Association recently published a study that revealed:

  • Only ⅓ of black Americans who need mental health care receive it
  • Physician-patient communication differs for African Americans and whites. Physicians were 23% more verbally dominant and engaged in 33% less patient-centered communication with African American patients than with white patients.
  • Lack of culturally competent counseling deters folks from seeking care

We know that’s a lot of hardcore facts. So, take a deep breath with us… Now that you have the facts, we want to be sure that you have the tools that you need to take the steps toward your healing or be a resource for another powerful woman.

Speaking of powerful women, we spoke with Dr. LaVerne Collins, interim vice president of Foundation and Professional Services for the National Board for Certified Counselors, about the real on black women and mental health as we prepare for the Women of Power self-care and self-preservation workshop where women can ask our panel of experts anything. Yes, anything!

Black Women Mental Health Facts

When it comes down to the facts and figures, Dr. Collins says that there are a number of reasons why black women aren’t seeking professional help for their stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Stigma, pricing, and mistrust of both diagnoses and treatments to list a few.

“There’s stigma that’s still prevalent in the black community. Even a basic mental health issue like stress or anxiety because we as a people have been taught to be strong and we’ve been taught to rely on the inner strength of our ancestors and spiritual sources—all of which are good—however when we don’t seek the professional care that we need those resources don’t give us the complete package of care.”

There is also significant stigma associated with the language that some people use that keeps women from pursuing help.

“We’ve heard people say things like, ‘you know she’s not all the way there…’ or ‘you know she’s a little touched…’ We have very unfortunate labels and judgmental statements that we’ve heard our ancestors use because they didn’t have an accurate understanding of mental health,” says Dr. Collins. And that language only keeps women in hiding to live with their pain.

While the stigmas are very real for a lot of women, Dr. Collins urges women to pay attention to abnormal feelings and triggers that may arise.

“Pay attention to anything that is atypical for you; anything that is causing an interruption to your daily life such as your work or social life; and pay attention the degree of interference that you are experiencing.”

On your journey to wellness, it is important to seek culturally competent and responsive mental health professionals as well as consult with your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that could be contributing to any changes in your mood or brain chemistry. Here’s Dr. Collins’ formula for finding the right fit for your needs.

Start your journey today

  • First, do the research to identify a board-certified counselor whose specialization is a fit for your needs
  • Secondly, prepare to speak to more than one counselor in the vetting process. You do not need to go with the services of the first counselor that you interview with or have a consultation
  • Look for a counselor who will give you a 15-minute consultation in person or by phone before you enter into an agreement with them.
  • Prepare yourself by taking notes of how you’re feeling so that you can tell your counselor what (i.e., if you’re having crying spells), your triggers are.

Remember that you are not alone

“Have confidants who you can share with that you trust and who will support you with their presence and their words,” adds Dr. Collins.

  • Know your limits. — Be able to set limits and don’t overload yourself. We live in an overload culture and it’s very easy to do more and take on more. Sometimes we find our significance in the amount of things that we do and we find ourselves wearing ourselves out
  • Take vacations or staycations. – Know how to step away and take a real vacation or staycation and do what reenergizes you and things that nourish your mind and body. If what you need is to be away from everyone, do that.
  • Watch what you eat. – Don’t give your taste buds over what your body really needs.
  • Maintain a regular cycle of 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Minimize or manage the amount of stress in your life—recognize what things are stressful to you and have a way to minimize them.

If you want to learn more about how you can protect your peace, join us at the Women of Power Summit in Vegas! Get your tickets here.



The post Black Women: Mental Health Treatment is For Us Too appeared first on Black Enterprise.

The Black Conservative Woman In The Running to Lead Michigan’s Republican Party

Later this month, the Michigan Republican party delegation will select a new chair. The high-profile seat is sought after by a black conservative Gina Barr. The position is currently held by Ron Weiser who is not running for re-election.

Barr has a successful track record with the Michigan GOP. She was hired by the Michigan GOP in 2014, and successfully led its field office in Detroit. Her innate ability to connect with diverse communities led to the implementation of a robust grassroots operation.

Barr’s leadership and tenacious field operations yielded material results for Rick Snyder to win a second term as governor by bolstering his performance in Detroit. Barr helped Snyder win 6.82% of the vote in the deep blue Democratic territory. This was not an easy task given the demographics of Detroit is not inclined to vote Republican. Detroit is comprised of 78.8% black, 9.9% white, and 7.6% Hispanic.

She continued to provide tangible results during the last presidential election. As the Regional Field Director in 2016, Barr’s outreach and engagement strategy resulted in Wayne County producing more than 15,000 votes for President Trump than Mitt Romney received in 2012.

The marginal increase in Wayne County votes proved itself to make a difference in the hotly contested 2016 presidential race in the swing state of Michigan. President Trump narrowly won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes by edging Hillary Clinton 47.6% to 47.3%, and only 11,812 votes separated the two based on the final vote tally.

Coming off the 2016 presidential election, Barr took her leadership and party-building talents to the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 2017, she was hired by the RNC to be the head of urban engagement. In 2018, she was also promoted to be head of women engagement and successfully led both initiatives.

Although Barr is highly qualified to run, winning the highest seat in the Michigan Republican party will not be easy. Her opponent is Laura Cox,  a two-term state representative in the 19th district of Michigan. Cox is part of a political family and the wife of former Michigan Attorney General, Mike Cox.

So, what is Barr’s path to victory? Each candidate has tirelessly courted Michigan GOP delegates ahead of the party’s state convention on February 23rd in Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 2,119 delegates will vote to elect the next chair and vice-chair. Barr is not conceding an inch, and she is actively campaigning to secure enough votes to win.

As demographics gradually change in many states and local municipalities across America, the GOP can no longer rely on traditionally red territories to stay the same way. Rather, the Republican party must grow organically by building relationships, promulgating inclusive policies, and crafting a compelling message that appeals to urban voters.

Steve KingThe ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post The Black Conservative Woman In The Running to Lead Michigan’s Republican Party appeared first on Black Enterprise.

The 18 Best Black Books of All Time for Black History Month

Black History Month is underway, and black people are getting all the feels that come with historical blackness. The month of February signifies a celebration of all things black. Together, we collectively acknowledge the African American experience—dating back to 1619 when the first enslaved African pressed his feet onto American soil. It is only right to pay homage to our ancestors’ malleability, black excellence, and those who have impacted our history as well as the culture. It is also a good time to soak up all the unknown stories and marvels of our heritage. Plenty is surfacing online via social media. However, black books are the ultimate source to immerse ourselves in the resilience and wonderment of blackness past and present.

18 Best Black Books for Black History Month 


1. Incidents in the Life Of A Slave Girl

This slave narrative by Harriet Ann Jacobs was originally published in 1861 just as the American Civil War began. Jacobs fictionalized her own story on the horrors of slave life as a young girl, specifically one having to deal with the sexual harassment projected by her slaveholder and the physical violence of his jealous wife.

Best Black Books

 Incidents in the Life Of A Slave Girl, Thayer & Eldridge

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2. The Marrow of Tradition

Charles W. Chesnutt was a prolific black writer who could very well pass for white but refused to. This historical text, published at the turn of the century, depicts the Wilmington Race Riots in 1898. It focuses on racial politics, violence, and blackface during Reconstruction, and sadly, echoes events happening today.

Best Black Books

The Marrow of Tradition, Haughton, Mifflin, and Company

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3.The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson, the creator of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” shares the story of being raised by a black mother, but also believing that he was as white as his school-age peers due to his biracial heritage. His loss of innocence comes as he is discriminated against by his teacher. Throughout the text, Johnson gives firsthand accounts and observations of occupying two racial spaces, fitting into neither, yet being forced to choose one.

Best Black Books

The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, Sherman, French & Co.

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4. Mules and Men

Zora Neale Hurston flexes her anthropology chops in this book that published in 1935. She gathers and documents cultural information from her native Florida, and New Orleans, and brings forth the beauty of common folk; their voice, their diction, their living, their way.

Best Black Books

Mules and Men, Harper Collins

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5. Invisible Man

This existential text told the story of a lone, nameless black man navigating a white world and, eventually, we find him so isolated from society to align and protect himself from the powers that be. It is an allegory for the entire black race, which is mistreated, objectified, commodified, and cast aside in such a way that it may as well be invisible.

Best Black Books

The Invisible Man, Random House

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6. Go Tell It On The Mountain

Christianity has close ties to the black American experience, and in many instances it is inextricable. Baldwin puts the beauty and the problematic on the page by way of a young man attempting to negotiate being black, religious, unloved, and possibly gay. Go Tell It On The Mountain is an exploration of identity and migration.

Best Black Books

Go Tell It On The Mountain, Knopf

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7. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

We are blessed to have this book in the world. Alex Haley documented X’s life-changing story for two years prior to his assassination. The book posthumously was published in 1965.

Best Black Books

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Ballantine Books

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8. Dopefiend

Long before the crack era of the 1980s, heroine wreaked havoc on black communities. Donald Goines, a brilliant writer of street literature captures the pain of addiction perfectly.

Best Black Books

Dopefiend, Holloway House

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9. Roots

Alex Haley’s family tree is the context for Roots. It tells the story of his matriarchal forefather’s journey from Africa, through the middle passage, and through chattel slavery and is carried on by his descendants. The text was integral to African Americans wanting to know their family roots, and sparking interest in genealogy.


Best Black Books

Roots, Doubleday

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10. For colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf

Ntozake Shange took the Black Arts movement by storm when her collection of choreopoems hit theaters. These monologues are rooted in black feminism and speak specifically to the intersectionality of race and sexism black women experience.

Best Black Books

For colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, Bantam Books

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11. Song of Solomon

This Nobel Prize-winning book traces the history of a black family and shows the nuance and complexity of black community rarely highlighted in mainstream literature—through Morrison’s remarkable storytelling and beautiful words.

Best Black Books

Song of Solomon, Alfred Knopf

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12. The Color Purple

If there has ever been a story told about black trauma, toxic masculinity, and survival, The Color Purple by Alice Walker will likely come up. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book made it to the big screen three years after its 1982 publishing date.

Best Black Books

The Color Purple, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

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13. How to Succeed in Business Without Being White: Straight Talk on Making It in America 

This list would be remiss without this text from BLACK ENTERPRISE founder and publisher Earl G. Graves Sr. His shoot-from-the-hip commentary on what it takes to be a great, black entrepreneur in a white world is just the prescription the black business world needs.

Best Black Books

How to Succeed in Business Without Being White: Straight Talk on Making It in America, Harper Collins

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14. The Coldest Winter Ever

The cold, harsh reality of drug culture bleeds off these pages. It effectively captures the allure of the game while serving its consequences as well.

Best Black Books

The Coldest Winter Ever, Simon & Schuster

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15. The New Jim Crow

Mass incarceration has long plagued the black community. While representing just 13% of the nation’s population, black people make up 40% of the prison population. Michelle Alexander links this disparity to the war on drugs created to militarize police and fracture black communities, but also exposes its lasting effect as well as its ongoing nature.

Best Black Books

The New Jim Crow, The New Press

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16. The Underground Railroad

If you ever thought the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad when growing up, don’t feel ashamed. Colson Whitehead puts that perspective in play in this Pulitzer Prize-winning, historical text. It is a refreshing fictional look at slavery.



Best Black Books

The Underground Railroad, Doubleday

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17. The World According To Fannie Davis

Numbers playing is a part of the black culture that is common, yet elusive. The life of a black woman numbers runner is written alongside the historical events and the backdrop of black Detroit.

Best Black Books

The World According To Fannie Davis, St. Martin’s Press

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18. Heavy: An American Memoir

This is the story of a life filled with contradictions, tragedy, and resilience.  Kiese Laymon lays out parts of his life in intricate detail, taking the reader through observations of a range violence committed against black folk and a range of violence committed by them as well. This memoir is a reckoning of the internal and external conflict with, in and around blackness.

Best Black Books

Heavy: An American Memoir, Simon & Schuster

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AT&T ‘Dream In Black’ Black Future Month Celebrates Black Creators

The AT&T “Dream In Black” Black Future Month launches by celebrating people who are making history now while shaping the new future. Black Future Month highlights inspiring black creators including Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, Reginae Carter, Terrence J, Phoebe Robinson, DeVon Franklin, Zendaya, Van Jones, Vic Mensa, Lena Waithe, Omari Hardwick, Jamil Smith, Angela Yee, Baron Davis, and a slew of others.

AT&T dream in black

Dream in Black (Image: AT&T)

“Black History Month, a time when we reflect on the leaders of the past who helped pave the way for black excellence today. It’s thanks to these great people throughout history that this generation has more potential to accomplish their dreams than ever before,” Queen Latifah said in a statement to Black Enterprise. “The black community is facing a new generation of infinite possibilities, if you can dream it, you can do it.”

Week-over-week, they will roll out their futurists and the display will culminate on the 28th with the last futurist being selected by you in a competition-style. The organization invites everyone to connect with AT&T this month by posting a photo/video sharing history in the making by using #DreamInBlack for a chance to be honored as the Dream in Black 28 Future Maker.

“At AT&T, we come to work every day to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why we’re so proud to join in the celebration of Black History Month. It recognizes an extraordinary legacy of helping others. Our Black Future Makers campaign honors the great trailblazers who inspired the next generation of leaders called ‘The Dream in Black 28,” stated John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications.

In addition to selecting key figures, other initiatives have been added to the celebration. The organization has also taken the liberty to highlight movie and television shows that African Americans should pay attention to as they are currently changing the scope of how we view ourselves on television. Shows include True Detective, black-ish, Empire, God Friended Me, American Soul, The Chi, Power, This is Us, 2 Dope Queens, and Greenleaf, to name a few.

Additionally, to help celebrate, AT&T has created the Exclusive Dream in Black gif pack and keyboard emojis that represent nothing less than black excellence. The gifs have already been released but, the emojis will be ready to hit our keyboards shortly.

“We also work hard to align our business practices with our values,” continued Donovan. “A good example is our Supplier Diversity program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Through this effort, we’ve spent more than $158 billion with minority, woman, service-disabled veteran and LGBT businesses.

And we’re proud to see our employees stepping up to lead AT&T Believes campaigns in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and elsewhere. These initiatives show our company’s spirit of service and commitment to a better future for everyone.”

AT&T continues to support organizations like Black Girls Code by supplying them with financial resources that allow young black girls to continue to create and innovate. Their latest check was a capital infusion of $350,000, which was used to increase access to technology and entrepreneurship skill-building opportunities for underserved and underrepresented youths.

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From Gucci’s Blackface Sweater to Beyoncé Sambo Coat: 5 More Times Fashion Met Racism

Fashion is art; and art, of course, can be controversial. But when does edgy fashion become overt racism? Fashion house Gucci ignited a firestorm recently by selling a black balaclava sweater that many say bears the racist emblem of the black Sambo caricature. And Prada recently faced backlash after selling monkey-faced keychains that many saw as a mocking blackface design.

Anger over blackface and racial mocking have become even more intense of late with revelations that several Virginia politicians have dressed in blackface in their pasts. Here are other missteps by brands or celebrities when a fashion statement went awry.

5 More Times When Fashion Met Racism 

H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” Ad


In Jan 2018, H&M releases an ad featuring a black child modeling a green hooded sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Social media users vowed to stop shopping at the retail giant while others blasted marketing executives for approving the image despite the ugly history of using “monkey” as an ethnic slur against black people. The retailer issued an apology and removed the ad from its website

Moschino Racially Profiles Black Customers

gucci blackface

A former employee at a Moschino boutique in West Hollywood, California, filed a lawsuit against the Italian luxury clothing company for racial discrimination. According to the employee, a store supervisor would call black clientele “Serena” and ordered employees to follow and watch them closely if they weren’t wearing diamonds or name brand clothing.

Moncler Jacket’s Penguin Face – Racist? 

Gucci blackface


Outerwear apparel-maker Moncler was scrutinized for a design on one of its coats that led many to liken it to a Sambo image. The company defended itself by saying the image was actually the face of its penguin character.


Gucci blackface


Port 1961, a high-fashion brand based in Canada, found itself in a public relations predicament when black models walking down the runway sporting sweaters that read, “Every Color Matters” and “Only Love Matters,” in one of the brand’s fashion shows.

Beyoncé Gets Side Eye for “Sambo Coat”

Gucci blackface


During All-Star Weekend in 2015, Beyoncé was spotted donning a Scooter LaForge trench coat, evoking some raised eyebrows. The coat, which retails for $320, features a custom-painted depiction of a smiling clown that some are describing as the often controversial, black-face character Sambo.

In Case You Missed It: 



—Editor’s Note: Selena Hill contributed to this report. 






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Grammys Decoded: The Money Behind Winning a Grammy

Many have wondered if artists get paid for performing at the Grammys or if they take home extra cash after winning an award. Black Enterprise did a little digging  to find the answers.

Turns out that the Beyonces and Rihannas of the world who cash in millions for their world tours don’t get paid a cent when they grace the esteemed ceremony. They don’t get a check for winning either; but we’re sure those golden trophies could auction off for a hefty dollar amount should they ever need the funds.

The live event is far from a loss though. Forbes reports that performers and producers see a “‘Grammy Bounce’ of at least 55% in concert ticket sales and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win.” David Banner told the source that his producer fee jumped from $50,000 to $100,000 after his work on Lil Wayne’s single “Lollipop.”

Co-producer Jim Jonsin, who also worked with Beyonce, told that the rewards were “life-changing.” “If I really wanted to, I could charge a good 20% to 30% more. I didn’t raise my prices, though,” he said of his Grammy win. Before winning a Grammy, producers on average charge $30,000 to $50,000 per track. If you’re fortunate enough to snag an award, though, Jonsin says that the starting figure is in the $75,000 area and super-producers like Timbaland and Pharrell can demand twice that.

Thanks to the high-profile night, stars benefit in mainstream visibility and in their pockets too. After winning his first Grammy, “Bruno Mars’ average nightly gross swelled from $130,000 to $202,000 (+55%).” Esperanza Spalding went from $20,000 to $32,000 (+60%) and Taylor Swift jumped from $125,000 to $600,000 (+380%).

And because it would be so tasteless for Hollywood to send its multi-millionaire guests home empty handed, celebrities leave the occasion with a gift bag worth more than some people’s salaries. As The Toronto Sun reports, “Gifts include Tiffany cat collars, Gibson guitars, trips to deserted islands, cashmere sweaters, teeth whitening products, jewelry, sunglasses and designer leather bags.” The very generous goodies in 2010 reportedly came to about $50,000 in value.

So, no, the consensus is that music’s superstars don’t walk away with a physical check in tow. The association to the Grammys, however, does fatten their wallets long after the special airs.

In Case You Missed It: 




-Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original publish date of January 29, 2018. 

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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Frank Robinson, MLB Hall Of Famer And Civil Rights Activist, Dead At 83

Civil Rights activist, and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, the iconic Frank Robinson passed away at 83 on Thursday.

According to MASN in Baltimore Robinson transitioned after battling bone cancer.

Post-Jackie Robinson, the African-American baseball experience can’t be told without Frank Robinson’s accomplishments.

Read full article at The Shadow League…

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The 6 Best Quotes From Stacey Abrams’ SOTU Rebuttal Speech

Last night’s most surprising note of conciliation among pundits had nothing to do with the State of the Union address. It came after Stacey Abrams’ SOTU rebuttal speech, the response to which was virtually unanimous: She did a great job.

It may have also been one of the best campaign launch speeches ever! The question remains: what is she campaigning for? Whatever it is — I’m in.

Abrams, the first black woman ever selected to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union, got extra points for excelling in one of politics’ most difficult and thankless jobs. No surprise there given women of color have changed the world inch-by-inch for generations by leveraging the hell out of exactly such unwelcome and underestimated roles.

While some pundits may have been enlightened by Abrams’s seamless performance, its unlikely that anyone who has ever seen her speak was the least bit surprised – whether they agree with her politics or not.

On her worst day – jet lagged, ill prepared, with both hands tied behind her back, and no teleprompter for 300 miles – Abrams is a far better orator than Donald Trump at his rehearsed best. Keep in mind that is pretty much what he offered last night.

As a lawyer, writer, and former Georgia House Minority Leader, Abrams, 45, is a gifted and experienced communicator, who has both drawn upon and honed these skills throughout her career – never more than in the last 18 months as she ran (from coast-to-coast) for Georgia governor.

While she didn’t prevail in that race, she managed to spin a technical loss into a moral and political victory that has her supporters eagerly anticipating her next run.

While Abrams’s specific ambitions yet to be articulated, her campaign may have just begun. Need evidence? How about her speech’s stated family values of “Faith, service, education, and responsibility.” Need more? Start with these most memorable quotes below. Campaign slogan, anyone?

The 6 Best Quotes From Stacey Abrams’s SOTU Rebuttal Speech


1.”Victory is not winning for our party; victory is winning for our country.”


2.”Our power and strength as Americans lives in our hard work and our belief in more.”


3.”Our most urgent work is to realize Americans’ dreams of today and tomorrow.”


4.”The foundation of our moral leadership around the globe is free and fair elections, where voters pick their leaders, not where politicians pick their voters.”


5.”Our progress has always been found in the refuge, in the basic instinct of the American experiment, to do right by our people.”


6.”Together, we are coming for America. For a better America.”

Abrams will be a featured speaker at this year’s Women of Power Summit. There is still time to register for the event being held at the Mirage, Las Vegas, February 28-March 3.

Steve KingThe ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.


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Tony Cornelius Opens Up About His Father’s Suicide and Keeping the ‘Soul Train’ Legacy Alive

Love, peace, and soul

“I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace, and soul!”

That was the signature line that Donald “Don” Cornelius recited when closing out Soul Train, a groundbreaking weekly broadcast that revolutionized television. For black folks in the ’70s, “love, peace, and soul” became a mantra that personified their hopes and dreams for true freedom, while the iconic musical showcase introduced a mainstream audience to the rhythm, creativity, and talent within the African American community. It also served as a vehicle for economic empowerment for Cornelius, the show’s creator, executive producer, and original host.

After serving in the Marines, working a variety of odd jobs, and getting a gig as a local radio host in Chicago, Cornelius launched Soul Train in Chicago in 1970. By 1971, the show moved to Los Angeles and became a nationally syndicated sensation that ran up until 2006. In addition to highlighting famed African American singers and local teenage dancers, Soul Train became a brand that spawned Soul Train Records in 1975, The Soul Train Music Awards, and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.

Tragically, Cornelius committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 75. Now, his son, Anthony “Tony” Cornelius, is helping to shed light on his father’s journey in creating one of the longest-running shows in TV history through a new series called American Soul. The 10-episode series, which premieres on BET Feb. 5, offers viewers who grew up watching Soul Train a captivating dose of nostalgia while introducing a new generation to a program that changed the course of black history.

Don’s Soul 

Soul Train

Actor Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius from BET’s “American Soul” (Photo: Daniel McFadden/BET)

“Little known fact: my father always wanted to do a Soul Train movie,” said Anthony, who serves as one of the executive producers on the series, to BLACK ENTERPRISE.

According to the show’s description, American Soul unfolds the trials and tribulations that his father encountered while creating Soul Train “against the backdrop of an unforgiving Hollywood in the 1970s.” It also chronicles the “rise and fall” that he took in his personal life.

The series opens with a chilling scene of Cornelius’ last moments on earth back on Feb. 1, 2012. That day changed Anthony’s life and outlook on mental illness. “I always thought suicide was for people who could not handle life—never even imagining that one day I would actually be talking about it…and experience someone in my family who committed suicide.”

The tragedy and a subsequent conversation he had with Stevie Wonder moved him to launch The Don Cornelius Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that works to identify and support programs that provide awareness, prevention, and support for those contemplating suicide along with offering support to those who have lost loved ones from suicide. “I spoke to him days after my father’s death and he gave me some inspiration to stand up and talk about it,” he recalled of his conversation with the legendary singer.

Anthony was also appointed last year to sit on the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where he advocates for mental health. According to the American Psychiatric Association, only one-third of black Americans who need mental healthcare receive it, while lack of culturally competent counseling deters African Americans from seeking care.

“Many times, a lot of black men don’t have anywhere to turn. We struggle with our feelings,” said Anthony. “Men, in general, we kind of hide our feelings.” He added, “a lot of black folks go to the church for their soothing of their mental capacity, which is fine, but many times it gets even more complicated. There are professionals out there who can diagnose the problem. It’s about education.”

American Soul

Kelly Price

Still of Kelly Price as Brianne Clarke from BET’s “American Soul” (Annette Brown/BET)

Grammy-nominated R&B singer Kelly Price says starring in American Soul is a full circle moment for her. After releasing her debut album in 1998, she made her television debut on Soul Train. At the time, her hit single, “Friend of Mine,” had charted as No. 1 on the U.S. R&B chart, however, her label was apprehensive to reveal her appearance due to her weight and dark complexion. “I had a No. 1 record in the country and nobody had seen what I looked like,” Price told BE. The first time everybody got a chance to see me was on Soul Train on a Saturday morning,” she says. “Don Cornelius was the first person to present me to the world on a national stage.”

She also received her first award as a songwriter at the 1999 Soul Train Music Awards. “Now, the first time that people will actually see me take on a chunky acting role will be a part of the telling of the Don Cornelius story.”

Sinqua Walls, who portrays Cornelius in American Soul, says he is carrying the Soul Train legacy “with a tremendous amount of pride.” Not only was Cornelius an iconic TV host, but he was also an entrepreneur and a visionary. “We always say, when you have a dream, follow it and don’t let anyone detract from it. And Don is a testament to that. Not only did he do it as a man creating a TV show, but he did it as a black man in 1970s trying to pitch a show that no one had ever done before to an audience that didn’t always want to see him. And he stayed steadfast in his dreams.”

Likewise, Anthony says bringing his father’s dream to fruition brings him peace. “My father’s legacy will continue to live on—it’s living right now.”

American Soul kicks off on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 P.M. ET on BET.

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DeVon Franklin On ‘The Truth About Men,’ Working With Steph Curry and More

In a time when toxic masculinity is at the center of national dialogue, award-winning film producer and New York Times best-selling author DeVon Franklin is shifting the conversation toward finding solutions through his new book, The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need to Know. The book, which will be released Feb. 5, takes a raw and compelling look at the struggles men wrestle with and offers a manual on how to change, love, resist temptation, and practice self-control.

The Truth About Men

Franklin says his book was inspired by a revelation he had as a teenager when he discovered that his father had cheated on his mother. “That really devastated me [and] rocked me to my core,” he told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “If my father cheated on my mother, then what does that say about me?… Does that mean the apple falls far from the tree or does it not?”

Franklin added that women in his family told him that 99% of all men cheat, which made him wonder why it was so hard for men to be faithful. “I wanted to write a book because there is so much going on in the world about men and men’s behavior,” said the motivational speaker. “I wanted to write a book about the solution.”

Franklin, who has been married to actress Meagan Good for nearly seven years, went on to admit that he, too, faces challenges. “My wife’s amazing. I love my wife, but that doesn’t mean that I have no struggles.” He continued, “The Truth About Men is identifying where we struggle as men and what can be done about it, and also giving women information along the way.” Ultimately, he says, the book is a call for men “to do better.”


In addition to his new book, Franklin is gearing up for the April 2019 release of his new film, Breakthrough, which is based on a true story about a 14-year-old boy who died in a freak accident but was then resurrected back to life by his mother’s prayers. Franklin said it only took him 24 hours to convince NBA champ, Steph Curry, to sign onto the project as an executive producer. “It’s the first film that he has put his name on and that he has helped bring to the world,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”

The film will be produced by his company Franklin Entertainment, a multimedia company that produces inspirational and commercial content. The company currently has a first-look film deal with 20th Century Fox.

Before launching his own production company, Franklin served as the former senior vice president of Columbia Pictures. During his nearly 10-year tenure at Columbia, he produced box-office hits like The Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid.

Diversity in Hollywood

As one of the few African American executive producers in Hollywood, Franklin spoke candidly about the lack of diversity in his industry. “The progress in Hollywood around diversity, specifically related to executives, is abysmal,” he told BE. However, he is trying to combat the issue as a newly elected member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), where he chairs the executive branch subcommittee on diversity.

“It is a systemic problem and Hollywood has yet to put a successful solution around it and I am committed to being a part of that solution because we need it.”

The Key To Success

The Seventh Day Adventist preacher credits his career success to the discipline he practices in his life. “I believe no discipline, no destiny,” he said. “Too often, when we want something, but we’re not willing to discipline ourselves to get it, we actually never achieve it.” He continued, “part of discipline is not just delaying gratification, it’s also about sacrifice.”

He added, “Discipline is critical, it’s necessary, and it’s difficult. That’s why very few do it because it requires going without…However, “in the long run, discipline will yield tremendous, powerful results.”

Watch BLACK ENTERPRISE’s interview with Franklin below.

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