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).


NYPD Officer Who Used Deadly Chokehold on Eric Garner Fired

Five years after Eric Garner’s death, the New York City police officer who placed him in an illegal chokehold during an arrest as Garner repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe,” has been fired. The announcement was made Monday by NYPD commissioner James O’Neill.

During a press conference, O’Neill said that he agreed with a police department disciplinary judge’s decision that officer Daniel Pantaleo should no longer serve on the police force. Garner was arrested in 2014 for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island. Pantaleo, however, used a deadly chokehold on Garner, which the administrative judge found triggered an asthma attack that ultimately led to his death. The incident was captured on a widely viewed cellphone video that showed Garner saying, “I can’t breathe,” 11 times.

His last words became a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter movement and galvanized protests around the world.

“It’s an extremely difficult decision,” O’Neill said, according to ABC News. “If I was still a cop, I’d probably be mad at me… [but] it’s my responsibility as police commissioner to look out for the city.” He added that it could have been him in Pantaleo’s position during his 34-year stint as a beat cop.

Following Garner’s death, Pantaleo, a  35-year-old white cop, was placed on desk duty and collected an annual salary of more than $97,000. Because of his dismissal, he will lose some benefits but not his pension.

In response to the announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton said that “we are relieved but we are not celebratory. There is nothing to celebrate.” He added that “today Daniel Pantaleo lost his job, but five years ago, Eric Garner lost his life.”

Nike is Grooming a New Generation of Sneaker Loyalists With Kid Subscription Box

The retail industry is changing fast. Malls are shutting down across the country and brick-and-mortars are continuously closing up shop. At this point, companies can either get mad and blame Amazon or employ new strategies to target a younger demographic of digitally-native consumers and online shoppers. That’s what Nike is doing, and it’s brilliant. Through its new sneaker subscription for kids, the footwear giant is building a direct-to-consumer connection with a new generation of customers, some of whom are not even old enough to tire their own shoes.

On Monday, Nike unveiled the Nike Adventure Club subscription plan, which is aimed at children from two to 10 years old, reports CNN. The plan gives parents three different tier options for their kids. They can sign up for four pairs of sneakers a year for $20 a month, six pairs for $30 a month, or 12 pairs for $50 a month. They will also have the option to choose from a selection of about 100 sneakers.

In addition to saving parents time and dreaded trips to the shoe store, children will get a kick out of the fun, kid-friendly boxes, which are decorated with animation that can be colored-in and filled with games and activities. Nike’s subscription box will also include a sizing chart to help parents measure their children’s feet.

On top of being a convenient and consistent revenue generator, the subscription service gives Nike the opportunity to establish brand loyalty with a (very) young market. According to Forbes, subscription services have grown by more than 100% each year from 2013 to 2018, ballooning into a billion-dollar business and one of the fastest-growing consumer trends. Subscriptions have also changed the way people shop for everything from clothing to meals to razors. But, for Generation Z, who grew up with on-demand TV and next-day delivery, subscription services are the norm. So it makes sense for Nike to target this base by tapping into the subscription market.

“Solving the need for parents with kids aged 2-10 years means that we are going to start building relationships through kids,” the scheme’s manager for Nike, Dave Cobban, said, reports Reuters.

Lastly, the Nike Adventure Club gives the sneaker company the ability to capitalize on the U.S. kids’ $10 billion shoe market. “In providing footwear, we’re always trying to answer, ‘What do kids want?’” Nike Adventure Club’s director of product experience and retention, Dominique Shortell, said in a press release. “But an equally important question is, ‘What kind of experience are we providing for their parents?’ We want to make shopping for footwear as convenient as possible for them.”

If all goes well, don’t be surprised if Nike rolls out a sneaker club for adults.

Why Black Entrepreneurs Should Add Toronto to Their Bucket List

Have you been to Toronto yet? If you’re looking for a vibrant city that applauds itself on having diversity as its strength, you have to visit Canada and see what Toronto has in store. Toronto has been recognized as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, boasting over 200 ethnic groups with over 140 languages spoken. It’s now the fourth-largest city in the world and continues to attract people who are seeking a community where they can fit in while standing out. Black entrepreneurs and professionals will find a rich, welcoming culture that will expose you to life beyond the space you currently occupy.

The captivating city scene provides a perfect way to unwind after a long day of work or relaxation. Whether you’re in Toronto for business, pleasure, or have a long layover, here are some things you can do to see why Toronto is ranked at the top of the list for diversity.


Great Canadian Food Tour

One way to get a world-class crash course on a city’s diversity is by exploring a variety of cultures through the food. Food is where cultures typically connect. Local entrepreneur Jusep Sim curated the Chopsticks + Forks Great Canadian Food Tour to expose travelers from around the world to the most authentic cuisines in the city.

In less than three hours, you can get a taste of the best bites in Toronto while getting a tour of Kensington Market. This neighborhood is known as one of the most eclectic and diverse spots in the city, representing over 25 countries and captivating street art. It’s the perfect way to get a glimpse of the entire city in one neighborhood.

Enjoy these multi-cultural bites while learning fascinating historical facts and stories:

  • Ojibwe-inspired taco from Pow Wow Café
  • Peameal bacon sandwich from Bacon Nation
  • Montreal-style bagel from Nü Bagel
  • Butter tart from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky
  • Nanaimo Bar from Moonbean Coffee Company

Are you hungry yet? Head on over to Chopsticks + Forks to learn more, because a trip to Toronto isn’t complete without diving into the different flavors available at the family-owned businesses in Kensington Market.

CN Tower

If you’re looking for a breathtaking view to spark creativity and new ideas in your business or career, then check out the Canadian National (CN) Tower. It’s one of the top-rated attractions of Toronto. The CN Tower, which held the record for being the tallest freestanding tower for 32 years, is a great way to see the city at an elevated level.

If you’re meeting with clients or seeking exclusive dining, the 360 Restaurant at the top of the tower provides an unforgettable food experience and a revolving view of Toronto. For all travel adventurers who want to walk on the “wild side,” the CN Tower provides the “edge walk” experience which gives visitors the ability to walk along the edge while the wind is blowing all around you. Now you can truly experience what it’s like to have no barriers in life!

Are you coming directly from Toronto Pearson International Airport? Take a short trip (less than 30 minutes) to CN Tower. It’s conveniently located by other city attractions, so you’ll be inches away from the best pictures your camera can take by the popular Canada sign. This location also puts you steps away from the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Steam Whistle Brewery, Rogers Centre, and The Rec Room–Eats & Entertainment.

Hotel X Toronto by Library Hotel Collection

While you’re in Toronto, you’ll experience a different side of life when you escape to Hotel X Toronto by Library Hotel Collection, one of the newest hot spots for celebrities and booming business professionals. The hotel has been recognized as “the city’s first resort-style hotel” by Toronto Star. Hotel X offers amenities that provide the perfect level of comfort, creativity, and luxury for you and your family.

What’s fascinating about this hotel is that it was intentionally created with different personalities in mind. The hotel offers a variety of activities to help you schmooze with others while providing intimate spots throughout the hotel for relaxation. This spacious gem boasts four indoor tennis courts, a tech-savvy workout gym, and various studios for spin class and hot yoga–plus unrivaled sports and wellness facilities. You can experience all this while enjoying the most exquisite views from the rooftop Falcon SkyBar and taking advantage of the array of books that can be found all around.

Toronto is a special place that moves to a beat that can’t be matched by any other city in North America. Most importantly, its cultural diversity attracts people all over the world who can find a place for them in the city–no matter who they are and where they come from.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

Cardi B Publicist Patientce Foster Shares What It Takes To Succeed In Entertainment

Cardi B has made it clear that she doesn’t need more press–-and it’s in large part due to her amazing publicity team at The Cream Agency, headed by Patientce Foster.

Foster plays multiple roles for Cardi, which includes being her independent publicist. She shared, “We work very closely with Ashley Kalmanowitz, our label publicist, who has done an amazing, consistent job in bringing an immense amount of press opportunities to the table. I am also head of her brand partnerships, and day-to-day operations. [Cardi] has honestly allowed me to be a part of almost every conversation pertaining to her career, including creative, her music, her vision, her ambitions.”

Behind the Scenes of Celebrity Publicity

While onlookers get to appreciate the beautiful glossy images, energetic performances, and humorous interviews Cardi B dishes, each of these requires lots of preparation. Foster shared that the most challenging part of the job is having to work under a constant pressure that never seems to let up. You must make yourself available for everyone else while still trying to be emotionally available for yourself.

“It’s easy to lose yourself and your mind while trying to keep up with the demands and obligations of the job,” she says with a laugh.


The industry has its perks too. Foster loves being able to work with kind-hearted people with brilliant minds and genuine souls. Noting, “The best part of my job is having a voice, being able to be vocal about what we’re doing, where we’re going, how to evolve and remain consistent.”

Getting into the Industry

Foster recommends that anyone interested in pursuing this career look to build in every direction that could align with their end goal.

“Don’t be so specific in your direction that you turn down opportunities that will help you to build a Rolodex or increase your experiences. Place yourself in rooms that will help you to build contacts. Place yourself at tables that will open your ears to conversation and educate you. Become so well-versed in the industry so that when your time does come you’re equipped with education, contacts, and networks. Those elements are essentially what the person/brand hiring you wants–your reach and your experience.”

Rubbing Shoulders with Celebrities

Rubbing shoulders with celebs is a dream for many, but there are unspoken rules. Foster advises that your approach and intent are everything. “Some people want to rub a shoulder for a photo opp, rub a shoulder to be able to post on social media and caption the moment as if they are acquainted with the celeb and use the visual for their own leverage. My pet peeve would be how the approach is made. Complimenting a celeb, asking them to possibly look at their art, listen to their music or [ask] for a photo is always OK, but how it’s done is what bothers me. The sense of false entitlement is what bothers me.”

Patientce Foster’s Journey to Becoming Cardi B’s Publicist

While Foster cannot forget her Southern roots being born in Charlotte, North Carolina, she credits her upbringing to Wilmington, Delaware, where she moved at the tender age of 7.

“The city of Wilmington has played a major role in my development as a person and as a professional. The fact that Delaware is the second-smallest state, makes Wilmington even smaller. There’s no radio station, sports team, little to no representation. We are often overlooked. It takes a certain consistency, determination, and tenacity to be visible, to be seen, to be recognized. It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re counted out, or always coming in last. Wilmington lent me a fearless mind, a tough skin, and a confidence I wouldn’t have been able to get from anywhere else.”

Leaving her job at Hertz to start a full-service salon is what led her to Cardi. Foster’s pivots may seem haphazard to some, but she had a clear vision.

“I left Hertz to open a full-service salon in 2013, Vixated. Vixated was able to fuel my ambitions and my journey to being a publicist by allowing me freedom, time, and funds to travel and take unpaid opportunities to build my resume and experience. It was in my second year of business (2015) that I was introduced to Cardi by a friend at the time, and now my partner. She needed hair and beauty services and my Wilmington salon location provided that. God made it so that we met again a month later during a Fashion Week PR internship, and it was then that I was hired. I went from working in Hertz, to building a business that paved the way to a career in publicity.”

On top of being a ‘small town girl’ who took a leap of faith to start her own business, Foster is also a single mother. This responsibility helped to mold her in a massive way,

“Being a single mother is a responsibility like no other. You can’t go out and a build a team to assist you, or ask just anyone to help you, or expect anyone to love and care for your child the way you do. That baby is yours, and yours only, your responsibility and forever obligation. Nothing is about you anymore, everything is about your baby. Every decision you make is for that baby. Every goal you make and plan you execute has one end goal, that baby, and the baby’s future.

“That mindset has become the fuel that burns my fire, it has become the motivation and intent behind every decision I make. It has made me a more aware woman, a more direct woman, a more assertive woman. There’s no time for question, doubt, or error. I have become a more decisive woman. I have to go get what I want, and ask for what I want, and make what I want happen–not for me anymore, but for the future, and well-being of my child.”

Millennials Changing the Game

Foster, a Millennial herself, does not buy into the dialog that Millennials are lazy and entitled.

“I believe that we are in a new era of new approach. How the generation before us achieved success, and the paths they took has changed. Times have changed.

“I believe that this generation is innovative, fearless, doesn’t hear the word ‘no’ [and] will make something out of nothing. This generation has been revolutionary. We have single-handedly changed the world as they once knew it. This generation has changed the digital age, how we listen to music, how we purchase items, how we socialize, how we look for and obtain jobs. This generation has given the power to individuals in becoming whatever they want to be.

The Cream Agency

Foster is so grateful in what she has been able to accomplish. “[I’m] so humbled to be a part of one of the greatest, most consistent teams in the game. My contributions, my work, and my results have allowed me to build one of the fastest-growing PR and creative marketing/branding boutique agencies in the business. The Cream Agency has only begun to make its mark. The impression we make will be one that will last to the end of time. I’m standing on that!”

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 



New Reality Show Mines Family Albums for Black History

Marcus Garvey once said that “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” If you’re scratching your head wondering who Marcus Garvey is, then you’re in need of a black history lesson, and you might start by watching the PBS debut of Family Pictures USA on PBS Aug. 12 and 13.

The brainchild of filmmaker and artist Thomas Allen Harris, Family Pictures USA is the latest outgrowth of an award-winning body of work from this director who has always been driven by a desire to bring the largely hidden and neglected history of black people in America into the light.

An entirely new type of reality show, this new television series reconstructs the histories of resilient communities such as Detroit and Durham, North Carolina, through the memories of longtime residents and the treasured family photographs they share.

Black History Narratives 

The result is a compelling and educational show that highlights not only individual family stories, but the weaving together of those stories over the course of generations into the history of a larger community, a city, its economy, its culture, and its hopes. The show stands apart for its simple elegance and narratives that, unlike most reality shows, don’t feel contrived.

When the descendants of Frank Wall, a second-generation Duke University janitor who bequeathed $100 to the school for use in the advancement of black men, share their photos and memories alongside the descendants of George Washington Duke, the white tobacco industrialist for whom Duke University is named, the history of those families, the city of Durham, and its most famous institutions, takes on a whole new meaning.

black history

(Family Pictures USA/Flickr)

Centered on pictures of people who are long dead, the storytelling of their descendants is very much alive, honest, and intimate and Family Pictures USA’s approach to mining these stories also stands apart for its inclusiveness. Says Harris, simply, “You can’t tell American history without including African American history.”

While Harris, who teaches film and African American History at Yale, is always motivated in part by a desire to educate, he admits to being surprised by how much he learns in doing the show. “The stories of black business people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps that you never heard about or had an image for were pretty amazing. The series helped me understand how towns were formed and how they developed and how people of means and employers shaped culture and people’s lives.”

Breaking Down Stereotypes in Country’s Current Political Tone 

Harris, who stepped out from behind the camera to host the series, says it has been the most financially ambitious project he’s directed to date. Leveraging the success of his 2014 award-winning documentary, Through the Lens, Darkly, he and his partners raised $2.3 million largely through grants from the Ford Foundation and others. PBS, which is eager to compete more dynamically with other networks, invested about $250,000. A small network of high net worth African American businesspeople also contributed. In order to complete the series, Harris is still looking to close a $125,000 gap.

Harris, a Harvard graduate who began his career in public television, first produced award-winning shows in his native New York for WNET. He says that even 30 years later, raising money for new film projects remains a challenge.

black history

Thomas Allen Harris (Family Pictures USA)

“Artists are used to networking with other artists, but I don’t know if we’re used to networking with people who think radically differently than we do, who may be business or finance people,” he says. No matter what your background is, to successfully finance a project, Harris adds, “You have to be able to tolerate rejection without any kind of resentment. Persistence and finding those sweet spots of commonality are key.”

Family Pictures USA certainly offers those sweet spots. Especially given the tone of the country as the 2020 election nears; Harris says he hopes the show will help break down the stereotypes and other barriers that divide us, and that through the show’s all-inclusive spectrum of photos, we will come to see ourselves in each other more and lean more into our commonalities.

As he says in a promo, “Once you see our history through family pictures, you’ll never see this country the same way again.”

More articles by Caroline Clarke: 

  • This Woman May Have Been the First Black Woman Manager in the Fortune 500







The Story of Emmett Till’s Mother is Coming to ABC, Thanks to Jay-Z and Will Smith

Following a five-year delay, the story of Emmett Till’s horrific murder told through the eyes of his mother will come to life. On Monday, ABC announced that Mamie Till-Mobley will be the focus of the first season of Women of the Movement, a new anthology series that chronicles the civil rights movement “as told by the women behind it,” according to reports by Vulture. The series will be executive produced by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will Smith.

The first eight-episode season is loosely based on the book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by author Devery S. Anderson. It will center on Mamie Till, who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son after he was brutally murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. He was then kidnapped, beaten, shot in the head, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River by white men at just 14 years old. During his funeral, Till’s mother insisted on an open-casket so that the world could see the severity of his attack through images of his mutilated body. Although Till’s killers were acquitted by an all-white jury, his murder was a key catalyst in the launch of the civil rights movement.

Carter and Smith initially pitched the story of Mamie Till-Mobley to HBO as a six-hour miniseries years ago, but the project was stalled at the network. Once it left HBO, the producers modified the pitch to focus on multiple women who played a pivotal role in the fight for equality during the civil rights era. According to Deadline, Rosa Parks will be the subject of the second season in the anthology series.

This won’t be the first time that Carter and Smith have teamed up. The megastars previously partnered to produce the Fela Kuti-inspired Broadway musical Fela! as well as the 2014 film remake of Annie.

Janelle Monae Marries Art, Food, and Tech to Imagine ‘A Beautiful Future’

True to her calling card as one chosen to liberate the oppressed, singer/actor/activist Janelle Monae is back at it again (as if she ever stopped). Her aim? To empower women and those who identify as such via art, music, mentorship, and education. In partnership with Belvedere Vodka, Monae hosted ‘A Beautiful Future’ dinner—a sensory bouquet immersing guests in music, art, dance, and tech at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art on the eve of her Lollapalooza performance.

“This collaboration is a convergence of our shared beliefs: optimism and the power of ‘the we, not me’ to bridge divides,” said Rodney Williams, president of Belvedere Vodka. It was the next level up from the Hidden Figures starlet’s Fem the Future grassroots organization and similarly-named series of brunches previously hosted in Berlin, London, and New York.

Janelle Monae

(Image courtesy of Belvedere)

“I think it’s important whenever you work with brands that they understand your vision,” says Monae, who in addition to playing an abolitionist master teacher in Harriet Tubman’s life story, was also recently announced to replace Julia Roberts as the headlining character in the psychological thriller, Homecoming. “When Belvedere heard that I wanted to highlight voices and put more opportunities in the hands of women they said, ‘How can we help?’”

Janelle Monae

(Image courtesy of Getty)

Aside from debuting a metallic collage-designed, limited edition bottle of Belvedere’s super-premium vodka—inspired by Monae—the event zeroed in on art, food, and the celebration of four individuals from Chicago whose work aligns with the theme of diversity, inclusion, self-expression, and “access to explore one’s passions freely,” explained Monae.

Janelle Monae

(Image courtesy of Belvedere)

The honorees included sexual assault activist Scheherazade Tillet, co-founder and executive director of A Long Walk Homea nonprofit that uses art and film to raise awareness and end violence against girls and women; Nikki Roberson, fundraising director and community outreach liaison for Kicks 4 the City; LaForce Baker, founder and CEO of Moon Meals; and celebrated visual artist and architect, Amanda Williams.

“She believes in positivity and elevating other’s voices and these are ideas that as a brand we can champion and get behind,” said Carlos Zepeda, VP of Belvedere Vodka US.

Baker, the founder of Moon Meals, is one of those voices. Currently, his product is sold in 188 grocers across Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa and he projects it will be available in over 1,000 stores, including Whole Foods, CVS, and Walgreens by the end of 2020.

Moon Meals, he says, builds upon Monae and Belvedere’s Beautiful Future motif in three ways: by increasing access to quality meals on the South and West sides of Chicago, where food deserts are prevalent; by generating revenue for economically depressed neighborhoods; and by hiring and servicing women of color. “Our products empower our customers, which are predominately women, by giving them the nutrition they love, on the go, and without much sacrifice.”

The dinner was served at a stunning 90-foot-long table, attended by 80-plus cultural tastemakers, social justice influencers, and key Chicago business stakeholders with rousing music from DJ Rae Chardonnay. It featured five courses by Jason Hammel, chef of Marisol, a restaurant at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Janelle Monae

Technology also took a center seat at the table. Running down the center for the full length of the table was an LED display monitor pumping messages of encouragement and inspiration. The first course of the five-course dinner included a plate with brightly lit headphones playing a special message from Monae’s alter ago, Cindy Mayweather, an android from the year 2719.

“Tech is a powerful tool. But I want to make sure that the bias is not there. That’s been a big concern of mine,” says Monae, who stresses that as technologies like artificial intelligence or voice and facial recognition are developed further, Silicon Valley should bring women and diverse voices to the table on the front end.

“Because when we’re not in the room and there is only one type of person in the room making these decisions, I think that it won’t be a beautiful future.”

Son of Suge Knight Aims to Become Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate Agent

Suge Jacob Knight, the son of Death Row Records co-founder, Marion “Suge” Knight is attempting to make a name for himself in the real estate industry. In the new show, Love & Listings that recently premiered on VH1, the 23-year-old is paving a new lane for himself in the real estate industry with hopes of closing on multimillion-dollar homes under the guidance of Tai Savet, a long-time real estate professional, who owns the extremely reputable firm, Agents of LA.

Although he still has a strong love for music, Knight struggles to break out of his father’s shadows by creating a stream of revenue that he feels will clean up his name and make him reputable. When asked why he chose real estate during a deleted scene he stated, “because I want the business respect of people. I need to know that people know that I can handle business on my own.”

There is one caveat. Although Knight is working under one of the biggest agents in L.A. he has yet to secure his real estate license and it seems that a lot of that is fueled by his unresolved relationship with his father.

During the premiere episode, Knight set down with a long-time friend and fellow real estate agent, Taylor Schwartz who encouraged him to study but he was extremely distracted by the thought of his father returning to his life after a three-year hiatus. Marion “Suge” Knight was sentenced to 28 years in state prison in 2018 after a hit-and-run that left one man dead and another severely injured.

Based on the stream of previews for future episodes, it has yet to be revealed if Knight will make it as an agent but, during the season, we will watch as he attacks his new endeavor.

Love & Listings airs Monday at 10 p.m. on VH1.




Judge Orders Katy Perry To Pay Gospel Rapper $2.78 Million for Copyright Infringement

Katy Perry’s 2013 hit “Dark Horse” earned her a Grammy nomination and the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for four weeks. Now, however, the chart-topping single is costing the pop star millions. A federal court jury ruled on Aug. 1 that “Dark Horse” illegally copied a 2009 Christian rap song called “Joyful Noise.” As a result, Perry, her team, and record label must pay gospel rapper Marcus “Flame” Gray more than $2.78 million, reports The New York Times.

The gospel rapper filed a $20 million lawsuit back in 2014, arguing that Perry took his song’s opening chords and electrifying beat. Attorneys for Gray said “Dark Horse” earned $41 million in revenue and that Gray should get a cut of that since the songs’ beats were identical in length, rhythm, and pitch. His lawsuit was met with multiple court challenges before it finally went to trial in Los Angeles in July, where Gray faced off against Perry’s top-notch attorneys and the music-industry heavyweights who wrote her song. Perry’s team and she, herself, testified during the trial, asserting they never heard of Gray or “Joyful Noise” and that the similarities between the two songs are “commonplace.” (Other musicologists agree.)

Nevertheless, the court found Perry, co-writer Sarah Hudson, the song’s producers, and Capitol Records liable for copyright infringement due to the single’s similarities, The Associated Press reported.

“We weren’t here seeking to punish anyone,” said Gray’s attorney, Michael A. Kahn. “Our clients came here seeking justice, and they feel they received justice from a jury of their peers.”

The jury determined that Gray is owed 22.5% of the profits from “Dark Horse,” amounting to nearly $2.8 million. Perry will have to cough up a little over $550,000, while Capitol Records is responsible for paying $1.2 million. The remaining balance will be paid by Perry’s various producers and collaborators on the song.

Following the ruling, Gray’s lawyer released a statement praising the verdict. “Our clients filed this lawsuit five years ago seeking justice and fair compensation for the unauthorized taking of their valuable creation. It has been a long and arduous path to this day, but they are quite pleased to have received the justice they sought.”

Meanwhile, Perry’s attorney, Christine Lepera, said they will vigorously fight the decision, saying, “The writers of ‘Dark Horse’ consider this a travesty of justice.”

“Dark Horse”

“Joyful Noise”

How Important Is SEO For Internet Marketing?

Have you anytime thought about an outlet that does not have signage onto it? You can be more or less sure that nobody would ever know about the existence of such an outlet even if it stocks and sells some of the best quality products and services. On the other hand, if you have an outlet that has colorful signage and hoarding and other such attractive things, a number of customers or visitors would walk into it, at least for curiosity sake. The first example is about a website that does not have the right SEO campaign supporting it. You can be reasonably sure that such websites will die a slow death because of the lack of traffic, footfalls, and visitors. Hence, there is no denying the fact that even if you are a small or medium-sized outlet in Oklahoma and surrounding areas, you can be sure that search engine optimization continues to play a big and positive role.

 Why Is SEO Important In Digital Marketing

 SEO is a time-tested and proven process whereby it is easy for information seekers to easily find a website. It makes it easy for search engines to crawl and makes it easier for them to be categorized properly. When you have thousands of companies, you need a search engine optimization tools and techniques to help find the right website located in the right place, selling the right products or services. It is therefore quite obvious that SEO continues to be an integral part of any digital marketing strategy in OKC. It is considered to be a complete and holistic approach for driving more traffic to your business using the various online platforms. To make this possible, it is important that your website ranks quite high in the search engine result page or SERP.

 SEO Helps In Online Advertising

 There is no doubt that for any online business advertising is of paramount importance. However, the conventional brick and mortar forms of advertising in electronic and print media may not have the desired impact. Quality digital marketing efforts are those that result in increased traffic to a website. Additionally, visitors to various websites must also have reasons to spend time in it rather than just visiting and moving out. To make this possible a good SEO campaign accompanied by other digital marketing techniques is certainly vital, to say the least.

 How Does It Work On The Ground?

 At the end of the day, we have to understand that search engines are not human beings. They are software solutions that have been programmed to crawl to the contents of various web pages. Search engines are therefore fully text-driven. Additionally, they also complete a number of other activities that could help with the right search results. These include crawling storing and scanning or even indexing. They also help in measuring pertinence and recover data and information whenever needed. They also help in suggesting the next course of action.

 Finally, we need to understand that there is nothing significantly different between digital marketing and SEO in Oklahoma City. Both are designed and developed to execute the same functions and need the use of the same skills.

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