5 Products For Black Men To Eliminate Razor Bumps

Razor bumps —also known as ingrown hairs, or, if referring to them by their technical medical title, pseudofolliculitis barbae—occur following a shave, once the individual hairs begin growing back. Thus, for men, these bumps typically appear on the face and neck. Symptoms include “small red or dark bumps around hair follicles, in addition to red and inflamed skin in the surrounding area.”

While men of all races and ethnicities can suffer from razor bumps, a majority of those afflicted with this unsightly skin condition happen to be black men. In fact, previous reports have claimed that black men actually make up an estimated 80% of the male population grappling with this issue.


Razor Bumps: The Medical Explanation


According to an article by Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon, razor bumps “can occur in any area that hair is temporarily removed by shaving, waxing, or tweezing. These painful bumps and pustules occur when hairs curl back into the skin, causing your body to perceive them as ‘foreign’ (like a splinter) and produces an inflammatory response. This inflammation can cause bumps, pus, discoloration and keloidal scars.”

In other words, the bumps form when a strand of hair becomes trapped underneath the skin, causing skin inflammation around the follicle. This results in the appearance of unattractive, swollen, bumpy blemishes.

Though not a life-or-death medical condition, if razor bumps are not cared for properly, the potential for scarring increases. The reason why black men happen to be more susceptible to this condition is due to their natural hair texture, which tends to be more curly and coarse. Curlier textures are more likely to organically curl back toward the skin.


How Does One Get Rid of Razor Bumps? Try These 5 Solutions


Fortunately, men can naturally avoid getting razor bumps by either growing a beard or by only shaving only a few days each week. But, for guys who prefer to have a clean-shaven look 24/7, sans the bumps, here are five product brands that have been proven to help reduce the appearance of pesky ingrown hairs:


1. The Bevel Shave System


(Image: Bevel skincare)


The Bevel Shave System is an innovative product line that helps prevent bumps and reduce skin irritation, for men with coarse or curly hair. It is a comprehensive, three-step solution, which includes its signature double-edge Safety Razor.

This line was created by Tristan Walker, the tech entrepreneur behind Walker & Company, which produces health and beauty products designed for people of color. Since launching Walker & Company in 2013, Walker has raised more than $33 million from investors and received celebrity endorsements from Nas, John Legend, and Magic Johnson.

The Bevel Shave system can be purchased at the Walker & Company, Amazon, and Target.com.


2. Treasured Locks


(Image: www.treasuredlocks.com)


Treasured Locks is a beauty and health cosmetic line that specializes in high-quality, all-natural products, for people with naturally kinky or curly hair. Tywana Smith launched the company with her husband Brian in 2000, after she grew tired of struggling to find the beauty products that catered to African American hair and skin care.

The Treasured Locks’ men’s care line offers several products that treat and prevent razor bumps and ingrown hair, including Black Opal Anti-Bump Cleanser, Black Opal Anti-Bump Shave Gel, and the Black Opal Anti-Bump Treatment serum.

Shaving products range from $6.50 to $19.99.


3. Frederick Benjamin Grooming


3 simple steps to smooth, bump-free skin! Upgrade your shave with the new @fredbgrooming Shaving Regimen, clinically proven to eliminate and prevent razor bumps in as little as two weeks! Available now at shop.frederickbenjamin.com (link in bio) #frederickbenjamin

A post shared by Frederick Benjamin Grooming (@fredbgrooming) on


After spending more than a decade working for cosmetic giants Revlon and L’Oreal, Michael James created his own line of men’s grooming products called Frederick Benjamin Grooming. Specifically geared towards black and Latino men, James says he was inspired to launch the line after noticing that most shaving products were not suited for eliminating razor bumps and ingrown hairs for men of color. After conducting more extensive research, James developed Frederick Benjamin Grooming to specifically meets the needs of multicultural men.

Frederick Benjamin Grooming utilizes a combination of natural oils and ingredients, such as aloe vera and witch hazel, in their products, which helps to protect, prevent, and even reduce the painful, unattractive skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs.

The three-step shaving regiment includes:

  1. Easy Primer Pre-Shave Oil
  2. Hydro-Glaze Cooling Aloe Shave Gel
  3. Bump Clear Post-Shave Lotion

Frederick Benjamin shaving products are available online and in select retailers and barbershops in New York City, the D.C.-metro area, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Austin.


4. The Art of Shaving


A post shared by The Art of Shaving (@theartofshaving) on


The Art of Shaving Power Brush was specifically designed to aid men that suffer from razor bumps and ingrown hairs. By cleansing and exfoliating the skin before a shave, the device promises to reduce the occurrence of razor bumps by up to 69% in just one month. It also releases up to 85% of hair trapped underneath the skin, when used in combination with The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Gel, over the course of three months.

The Art of Shaving Power Brush and Pre-Shave Gel can be purchased as a set for $60 at www.TheArtOfShaving.com.


5. Wahl


razor bumps(Image: www.WAHL.com)


Recognizing the unique needs of African American men, Wahl expanded its men’s grooming line to include products that cater to the grooming needs of black men.

“African American men have unique hair care needs that require specialized products,” said Steven Yde, director of marketing for Wahl, in a statement. “These tools were designed to help guys find products that work with them and allow for customization of their grooming routine.”

The tools are designed to prevent ingrown hairs include:

  1. T-Pro Trimmer ($24.99)
  2. Bump-Free Rechargeable Foil Shaver ($59.99)
  3. Ultra Close Cut Pro Clipper ($34.99)

For more information, visit www.wahlgrooming.com.

Four Proven Ways Entrepreneurs Can Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance

work-life balance

In today’s society, it seems many entrepreneurs feel it has become tougher to balance their work-life—but why? It could be many things, pressure to complete projects and meet deadlines can have you pulling all-nighters in front of your computer or perhaps taking out your phone while you have dinner with family. In the past, if someone wanted to get work done on the weekends or work late, they would either have to stay in the office until they got their tasks done, or drag themselves into the office on the weekend.

With the endless amounts of technology that you gorge yourself in, it seems impossible to escape from work and focus on your well-being. Fortunately, I am here to save you from the endless amounts of emails and pdf documents that your smartphone is berating you with even as you read this.

Creating a healthy work-life balance can take time, but it’s worthwhile knowing you can reserve time just for work and time to enjoy being alone and with friends and family.


SmartApps (Image: iStock.com/Ridofranz)




1. Put Down the Phone


You heard me, put down the phone and step away! By having your smartphone on all the time, you aren’t giving yourself the necessary time to turn “off.” The endless notifications you look at during the day only increases your stress levels. According to The Telegraph, the Future Work Centre reported that constant access to email is associated with higher levels of stress. There comes a point in the day where you need to step away from the constant notifications your phone is sounding off and focus on things that matter most to you—whether it’s your dog, recreational activities, a television show, or your family, you need time to de-stress from work and focus on something that brings you joy.

Start today by following the rule of “no phones at the dinner table” and enjoy some precious time with your loved ones.



#WellnessWednesday (Image: iStock.com/PeopleImages)




2. Exercise and Meditate


Whether it’s running out in the open, playing a game of basketball, or doing yoga, find an activity to burn off some steam. Work can be a very stressful environment, so it’s important for you to find time to implement exercise into your day. According to the American Psychological Association and the Stress in America survey report, 37% of adults report exercising less than once a week or not at all. Furthermore, only 17% of adult’s report exercising daily. Many people associate their lack of exercise due to the levels of stress they face, yet 43% of adults who exercise to manage stress levels say they have skipped exercising in the past month due to stress levels. With that being said, 53% of adults say they feel better about themselves after they exercise.

Yoga, for example, is a great way to keep your stress levels down. It gives a place to relieve yourself of the work environment and lets you have an hour to yourself to think, de-stress, and rejuvenate. You’ll notice quickly how scheduling one hour of exercise every day will bring a tremendous change to your mind and body, thus making you a more mindful business owner.



Image/Credit: svetikd




3. Don’t Shut Yourself In


Do you often find yourself coming up with excuses to stay in when you’re stressed, rather than go out and socialize? Although it’s important to have down time and create time for yourself, it isn’t healthy to be alone and locked inside your home or apartment every night. Make time throughout the week to go out and experience something fun—whether it’s a concert, a movie or just going out to dinner. Your business is like a child and it’s understandable that you want to take care of it and be available as often as possible, but it’s not a living, breathing being, you can (and should) walk away at the end of the work day and go out and enjoy yourself or spend time with people you love.


(Image: iStock)




4. Don’t Burn Yourself Out


This is way easier said than done, right? Although a strong work ethic is important, you need to keep realistic expectations for yourself so you don’t burn out and fizzle. You want your work to showcase your abilities, so if you take on too much work at once the quality of your work might decrease. Another important aspect of not burning yourself out is to not working extremely late into the night. It’s OK if you have one or two late nights a month, because life is full of unexpected events, but it’s important not to constantly play catch-up with your work. While in the office, it’s imperative you stay focused and on task so you don’t constantly have to bring work home. By staying on task, you can keep your work life at work and your personal life separate.


At the end of the day, the work and personal life should never constantly intermix. At times, it will be necessary to make sacrifices for work, but it’s extremely important for your health to maintain a healthy work-life balance. These four tips will help you start your path to a more balanced life, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try other techniques that will make you happier and less stressed. Every entrepreneur is different in their own way, that’s why you should start by identifying what’s bogging you down and create a game plan to correct it so that you can enjoy life a little more.



Task Force Reverses Decision on PSA Guidelines

statin therapy

In a reverse move certain to cause some confusion, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released revised PSA guidelines.

The task force, which recommended against routine PSA screening in 2012, now says men ages 55 to 69 should decide individually with their doctors whether and when to undergo the testing. It continues to recommend against prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, testing for men age 70 and older, saying potential risks outweigh any rewards of routine screening for this age group.

The 2012 recommendation was based on evidence that PSA screening resulted in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment that could leave men with urinary incontinence and sexual impotence. (Note about 70 percent of men with elevated PSA do not have prostate cancer when they are biopsied.) In addition, many PSA-detected cancers grow so slowly that some men are likely to die from something else instead.

“We were very concerned in 2012 that many, many men were being treated for prostate cancer,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and chair of the task force.

But new research, some of which suggests a small net benefit from screening, led the USPSTF to adjust its recommendation. “The new evidence allowed us to say that we think now the benefits do outweigh the harms,” Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said. “There is probably a small benefit overall to screening. The right decision is not a one-size-fits-all decision. The right decision isn’t screening all men, it’s making all men aware of the benefits and harms, and then allowing each man to make the best decision for himself. Now we can recommend that men have a conversation with their doctors about whether screening is right for them.”

PSA tests can detect prostate tumors at their most treatable stage, and several studies have reinforced not only the benefits of the tests, but also ways to lessen screening harms, including unnecessary biopsies and treatments.

One study in particular, the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, found PSA testing cuts the chances of developing advanced prostate cancer by about 30 percent and the risk of dying from the disease by about 20 percent.

Some doctors are praising the USPSTF’s change of heart. “I view this as a victory for PSA screening for prostate cancer,” William Catalona, M.D., a professor of urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told NPR. “PSA screening saves lives. And having the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force discourage PSA screening has sort of created a whole generation of family practitioners and internists who feel that PSA screening is a bad thing to do for patients. If this were to continue, we would lose all these gains in reducing the prostate cancer death rate.”

Otis Brawley, M.D. the American Cancer Society’s chief medical officer, agrees with the USPSTF’s revised guidelines, though for different reasons than Dr. Catalona.

“Prostate screening has been a contentious issue ever since the prostate specific antigen test became available some 30 years ago,” Dr. Brawley wrote today in a CNN commentary. “PSA has been shown to have a high false-positive rate and a high false-negative rate—literally missing as many prostate cancers as it finds.”

But, he told NPR, “I really do think that there is a pendulum in a lot of things that we do in medicine. And the pendulum here may be getting to the right place where we realize there are harms and there are benefits, and individuals need to weigh these harms and benefits and tailor a decision that’s right for them.”

The recommendation does not specify how often men might want to have their PSA levels screened. It is directed at men with average risk and those at increased risk of prostate cancer, such as black men, who are about two times as likely to succumb to prostate cancer as the general population, or men with a strong family history of the disease. But Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said further study is needed to figure out whether to screen these high-risk men more aggressively than those in the general population.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types among men in the U.S., with nearly 13 percent being diagnosed with it over the course of their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute. Roughly 180,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year; at least 26,000 die annually from the disease.


This post originally appeared on BlackHealthMatters.com.

The Issue of Race Finally Explodes on ‘The Bachelorette’

Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay

In a clip that immediately started making news last week, The Bachelorette broke down in tears and said something black women all across the country could agree with: “you have no idea what it’s like being in this position.”

bachelorette Rachel Lindsay The Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay (Image: ABC)


If you’re not familiar with the world of first-impression roses, two-on-one dates, and fantasy suites, let me give you some background. Rachel Lindsay, a Dallas attorney, is the first black bachelorette in the 13-season history of the ABC series.

Before landing this historic gig, she was one of the final three women—and a fan favorite—on the previous season of The Bachelor with Nick Viall. The next season’s lead is usually picked from one of the previous runners-up, and the black contestants don’t usually get very far. After 21 seasons, we’re still waiting for the first black bachelor.

There are a number of think pieces about The Bachelor franchise, its lack of diversity, and its fraught relationship with race. And there are a lot of watchful eyes looking to see if Lindsay, and the most-diverse bunch of suitors ever, can change that.

You can count my two eyes among that bunch. I’ve been following both shows (and, yes, I’m ashamed to admit, Bachelor in Paradise—which had its own racially tinged scandal last week) for the last three years.

Like the rest of Bachelor Nation, I became a fast fan of Lindsay’s. I particularly appreciated how open she and Viall were, breaking the taboo in their conversations about race. I loved that on her hometown date she took him to a black church. And I wished all of America was watching when her family gently but firmly pushed back after Viall said he was colorblind with a reminder that though that may be true, the world is not, and that if he were to end up with their daughter he’d need to learn how to face that.

So for me it was a matter of when, not if, race would come up this season. And it didn’t take long. Just four weeks in, Lindsay was forced to acknowledge the pressure that comes with being the first black, or the only black, when there was a confrontation between two of her suitors and afterward the white man described the black man as “aggressive.”

I think her tears resonated with black women everywhere, who have often had to temper their emotions as they navigate the realities of constantly feeling judged as examples of their entire race and gender. How Lindsay ultimately deals is still to be seen—or, quite literally, to be continued—but it’s a conversation we’ll be having long after the final rose.






Gene Therapy May Kill Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma

Genetically using a person’s own immune cells to target cancer appears to virtually kill multiple myeloma, a blood cancer being diagnosed more frequently, according to an early trial from China.

The therapy, called CAR T-cell therapy, caused 33 of 35 patients with recurring multiple myeloma to enter full remission or have a significant reduction in their disease within two months.

In a second study, developed by the National Cancer Institute, nearly two dozen patients responded well to the treatment.

Experts at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, where the results were announced last week, say though both studies were small, this is a first for multiple myeloma.

The results are “impressive,” said Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “These are patients who have had prior treatment and had their disease return, and 100 percent of the patients are reported to have had some form of meaningful response to these cells that were administered.”

For the new therapy, custom-designed for each patient, doctors collect the patient’s T-cells—one of the immune system’s main cell types—and genetically reprogram them to attack abnormal multiple myeloma cells.

The process is like a GPS, said lead researcher Wanhong Zhao, M.D., associate director of hematology at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China. Immune cells are steered to cancer cells, making them assassins that never miss their target.

“The theory is [altered T-cells] should attack the tumor and continue to grow to become a long-term monitoring and treatment system,” Dr. Lichtenfeld said.

The technology represents the next step forward in immunotherapy for cancer, said Michael Sabel, M.D., chief of surgical oncology at the University of Michigan. “Immunotherapy is now really providing hope to a lot of patients with cancers that were not really responding to our standard chemotherapies.”

Historically, such therapies tend to be very expensive, Dr. Lichtenfeld said, and experts don’t see CAR-T breaking that cycle, should it receive approval. But it’s still early and much more research will be needed before that step.

The Chinese research team plans to continue the study with 100 patients at four hospitals in China. And a similar clinical trial will take place in the U.S. by 2018.

Multiple myeloma affects plasma cells, which make antibodies to fight infection. More than 30,000 cases occur each year in this country, with more than 115,000 worldwide. It’s the second-fastest growing cancer for men and the third for women, rising 2 percent to 3 percent per year, according to the NCI. Between 60,000 and 70,000 Americans have the blood cancer now, and only about 50 percent of them live five years after diagnosis.


This piece originally appeared on BlackHealthMatters.com.

Check Your Risk for Diabetes


Diabetes doesn’t discriminate. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new public education campaign targeting the 86 million American adults with what’s known as prediabetes.

More than one in three adults in the United States has prediabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with full-blown diabetes.

“Awareness is crucial in the effort to stop type 2 diabetes,” said David Marrero, director of the Diabetes Translation Research Center at Indiana University School of Medicine, when the campaign kicked off.

To learn your risk, take this short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org.

“This is a very simple and quick tool that will allow people to see if they are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes,” said Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, M.D., an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. “If they are at higher risk, this will hopefully prompt them to seek medical attention sooner.”

Most people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Left untreated, up to 30 percent of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years, according to the CDC. “One of the problems with prediabetes and diabetes is that people sometimes don’t feel sick until it’s too late,” Dr. Vouyiouklis Kellis said.

Simple lifestyle changes—diet and exercise—can prevent diabetes.

“Losing 5 percent to 7 percent of body weight can significantly reduce your risk, as well as making lifestyle changes, which include portion control, reducing foods with refined sugars and exercising regularly,” Dr. Vouyiouklis Kellis said. “Exercising just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can also help reduce this risk.”

The CDC, the American Diabetes Association and the American Medical Association (AMA) joined forces to launch the campaign because prediabetes is considered one of the biggest public health crises in this country.

Knowing you have prediabetes is just the first step in preventing type 2 diabetes, AMA President-Elect Andrew Gurman, M.D., said in a CDC news release. “As soon as someone discovers they may be at risk of prediabetes, they should talk with their physician about further testing to confirm their diagnosis and discuss the necessary lifestyle changes needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes,” he said.

About 29 million people in the U.S.—more than 9 percent of the population—have diabetes, mostly type 2, according to the CDC, placing the disease at epidemic levels. And African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and we are at increased risk of developing complications of the disease, including amputations, heart disease and kidney failure.

Rethink That Daily Soda

One can of sugary soda every day can heighten significantly a person’s risk of developing prediabetes, a new study finds.

(Image: Max Pixel)

A person who drinks a can of sugar-sweetened beverage a day has a 46 percent increased risk of developing prediabetes, said senior researcher Nicola McKeown, a scientist with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Regular sugar intake can batter a person’s body on a cellular level, according to McKeown. Cells need insulin, a hormone that breaks down sugar into energy. But too much sugar in the diet can overexpose the cells to insulin.

“This constant spike in blood glucose over time leads to the cells not becoming able to properly respond, and that’s the beginning of insulin resistance,” McKeown said.

Once insulin resistance starts, blood sugar levels rise and damage every major system in the body. Prediabetes, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, means a person has elevated blood sugar but has not entered full-blown type 2 diabetes. The condition is reversible if a person cuts back on sugar.

The study’s results show limiting sugary drinks is “a modifiable dietary factor that could have an impact on that progression from prediabetes to diabetes,” McKeown said.

For the study, McKeown and her colleagues analyzed 14 years of data on nearly 1,700 middle-aged adults who participated in the Framingham Heart Study, a federally funded program that has monitored multiple generations for lifestyle and clinical characteristics that contribute to heart disease. Participants did not have diabetes or prediabetes at the beginning of the study, and they self-reported consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Those who drank the highest amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages—on average, six 12-ounce servings a week—had a 46 percent higher risk of prediabetes.

But the American Beverage Association suggests that sugar in beverages isn’t the only risk factor for prediabetes. “Credible health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic note that the risk factors for prediabetes include factors such as weight, inactivity, race and family history,” the group said in a statement.

Authors of the new study noted prediabetes risk dropped when they included factors such as other dietary sources of sugar and the amount of body fat participants had. But it didn’t fall that much, still adding up to about 27 percent.

The study was observational, and as such, it doesn’t show a direct cause-and-effect link between sugary drinks and prediabetes. But experts say the association between the two makes sense. Keep in mind that a 20-ounce of bottle of regular soda may contain up to 18 teaspoons of sugar.

Earlier studies have linked diet sodas to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but this study didn’t find a connection.

“Incorporating diet soda while they are weaning themselves off the habit wouldn’t have any long-term negative health effects,” McKeown said. “But eventually the majority of a person’s fluids should come from water.”


This article originally appeared on BlackHealthMatters.com.

Music Business Couple Puts Musical Soul Food Fest on the Map

Rejoice Musical Soul Food Radio Network CEO Mike Chandler has been working in every aspect of radio for over 30 years. His wife, April Washington Chandler, launched her career as a marketing manager for major record labels such as Warner Bros. and Sony Music in the 1990s. This dynamic duo has pooled their resources to put the state of Virginia’s Hampton Roads region on the map as a family-friendly vacation mecca for gospel music lovers through their second annual Musical Soul Food Festival, which takes place this Saturday, June 24, at Chesapeake City Park in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Mike & April Chandler, founders of Musical Soul Food Fest. Mike and April Chandler of Musical Soul Food Festival. (Image: Courtesy of Brand X Media.)



Music, Games, and Great Food


Last year, over 12,000 people participated in the daylong games, contests, and enjoyed the fresh seafood and barbecue from various food vendors. The other big draw is the music. A seven-hour, soulful music concert kicks off at 2:00 PM with gospel stars such as Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Dorinda Clark Cole, Bryan Andrew Wilson, Jekalyn Carr, Melvin Williams of The Williams Brothers, Kurt Carr, VaShawn Mitchell, Earl Bynum, Jermaine Dolly, Dottie Peoples, Zion’s Joy, Chrystal Rucker, Earnest Pugh, Damon Little, Troy Sneed, Lucinda Moore, TaMyya J, Ruth La’Ontra and The Virginia Aires, among others. Dr. Bobby Jones of BET’s “Bobby Jones Gospel” fame will host.

Mike Chandler, Dr. Bobby Jones, and April Chandler at 2016 Music Soul Food Fest. (Image: Courtesy of Brand X Media).


Musical Soul Fest is a culmination of the years of work the Chandlers invested into the music industry. “What a lot of people don’t know is that Mike is a skilled engineer who can build a radio station from the ground up but you wouldn’t know it because he’s so humble and approachable,” says April.

NASA Training by Day, Radio DJ by Night


Chandler’s career began in 1979 when he was an engineering student at Florida State University where he also had his own WFSU TV show, “Black Expressions.” At the time, NASA was under fire to employ more black engineers so they went to FSU in pursuit of gifted students with strong math or science skills.

“I always loved math and science,” he says. After his morning college classes, he spent his afternoons getting his NASA training and finished his evenings by hosting an evening R&B radio show on KRT 1350 AM, a country station, in Cocoa Beach. “We were playing Barry White and Al Green,” he laughs. “I know it made those country music lovers throw up.”

Singer Earl Bynum performs at the 2016 Musical Soul Food Fest and will return for this year’s event. (Image: Courtesy of Brand X Media).


Chandler stayed with NASA until the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986 when the agency laid off 1,100 employees. He moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked the afternoon drive at an R&B station and the night shift at an ABC TV affiliate before he met the late Bishop Levi E. Willis. “He had a vision of developing a national gospel radio network,” Chandler says of Willis. “When he learned that I had engineering experience, he asked if I could help him build his network so he moved me to Norfolk. When I got there he had eight stations and when I left in 1996 he had 72.”

A lively crowd shot from the 2016 Musical Soul Food Fest. (Image: Courtesy of Brand X Media).


Chandler then made a ransom of money in the cell phone industry before buying the Rejoice Musical Soul Food Radio Network, which boasts 38 affiliates, in 2006. The Virginia Beach, Virginia-based network is one of the leading 24/7 hubs for gospel music airplay and it has built a stellar reputation for its quality faith-based and inspirational programming. It also syndicates nearly a dozen radio shows, including comedian Jonathan Slocumb’s forthcoming weekday and weekend radio programs.

Taking the Church Convention to the Next Level


The idea for Musical Soul Food Fest developed in 2011. “I was sitting on the sofa one day talking to Mike,” recalls April Chandler who owns HBK Media, a marketing firm. “Every summer, there are several big church conventions that people attend and it’s nothing but church all day. I thought it would be nice to have something for families to come together, reverence God and fellowship outside of the four walls of the church.”

Dr. Bobby Jones watches as legendary gospel singer Dottie Peoples belts out a song at 2016 Musical Soul Food Fest. (Image: Courtesy of Brand X Media).


It took five years to pull the festival together but eventually everything gelled. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store signed on as a title sponsor and one by one, top recording artists began to sign on to perform at the inaugural event in June 2016. “It was a huge success,” says Damon Little, a veteran recording artist best known for the song, “I Won’t Be Defeated,” a Billboard No. 2  hit. “I was surprised myself. I came just because I’m friends with Mike and April. I didn’t have high expectations for the crowd size because it was the first year but I was pleasantly surprised. There were people as far as my eyes could see and we had a good ole time.”

The Chandlers expect to duplicate last year’s success and build upon it for the years to come. “This is such a beautiful area of the country with the beaches and nature,” says April. “It’s the perfect place to bring your family to relax, have fun, and to enjoy some good gospel music.”



High-Fashion Brand Unapologetically Appropriates #BlackLivesMatter


The #BlackLivesMatter movement began in 2012 in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin and has since become a rallying cry heard around the world. While many celebrities, brands, and companies have shown support for BLM, many have criticized the exploitation of the movement for profit.

For instance, in April, Pepsi was denounced for co-opting imagery from Black Lives Matter protests and trivializing the severity of police brutality in an ad starring Kendall Jenner. Meanwhile, tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have been accused of taking advantage of the killings of black people and BLM protests as branding opportunities.

This week, Port 1961, a high-fashion brand based in Canada, has found itself in the same predicament. Pieces from the clothing line’s Spring 2018 collection have been the subject of criticism following the brand’s fashion show in Milan on June 16. Photos from the show dispaly black models walking down the runway sporting sweaters that read, “Every Color Matters” and “Only Love Matters.”

(Image: Instagram/ports1961menswear)


Another sweater co-opted the iconic fist often used as a symbol of black empowerment. Unsurprisingly, this sparked a firestorm of outrage from Black Twitter, which blasted the “Every Color Matters” sweater as an ode to the notorious “All Lives Matter” movement. Others denounced the luxury label for shamelessly profiting off of a movement that it is clearly disconnected to.


Another Twitter user slammed that the fashion house for adding “insult to murder” in light of the recent acquittal of the cop who killed Philando Castile in front of his family during a traffic stop.



Meanwhile, another person tweeted that the Canadian fashion house should educate themselves about American history and race relations.



Still, in spite of the backlash, Ports 1961 responded with a statement defending the controversial collection.

“We think that Fashion reflects the world around us. In a time of challenge, fear and disillusion, it is the creative person’s role to try to deliver a message of love and hope. For the past several seasons, Milan Vukmirovic has been exploring the urgency of love and the importance of fraternity, unity and solidarity. It wasn’t our intention to offend anyone but on the contrary this collection is, in its own way, a message of solidarity towards all the people who are suffering from discrimination, violence, and bullying acts,” said the brand in a statement sent to Refinery29.


It appears that Ports 1961 does not see any harm in commodifying BLM into a marketing ploy. Rather than helping to progress the movement, disconnected brands do more harm than good by turning #BlackLivesMatter into a marketing opportunity. Commodifying this fight for justice with insensitive merchandise does not help the cause. Rather, it becomes a distraction and hurts the legitimacy of the fight for justice.




Nurse Alice Breaks Down the Medicine: Bey and Jay-Z’s Twins Still Hospitalized

Beyonce and Jay-Z are new parents to twins


More than a week after reportedly being born on June 12th, Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s twins remain at UCLA Medical Center. They are still receiving care after reportedly being born before their due date.

We have yet to hear confirmation about how far along the babies were when they were born. Medically, we prefer babies be delivered as close to “full term” (37-40 weeks) as possible. This gives a baby more time to grow and develop. During pregnancy, a baby depends on its mother for important body functions. After birth, if a baby’s organs aren’t fully functioning, it’s common they are hospitalized for additional support.

Why the Twins Are Hospitalized


According to TMZ, the twins are being treated for a “minor condition” and are “under the lights,” which suggests that the babies are being treated for a common condition known as jaundice. Jaundice is a yellow tint to a newborn’s skin and the white part of their eyes. It is a sign that there’s too much bilirubin in their blood.

What Does That Really Mean?


It’s likely that because the twins were born prematurely their liver and body system functions may be having some difficulties. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that’s made as the liver breaks down old red blood cells. It’s then eliminated from the body through urine and stool. When the body is unable to do so, bilirubin levels rise, leading to a condition known as “hyperbilirubinemia.” This causes jaundice. But it’s not just the skin discoloration that’s problematic. A high bilirubin level can be dangerous, leading to brain damage and other serious problems.

Isn’t Jaundice Normal in All Newborns?


In most cases, newborns have what’s called “physiologic jaundice.” It occurs because their organs aren’t yet able to get rid of excess bilirubin very well. This type of jaundice usually appears about 24 hours after birth. It gets worse until the third or fourth day, and then it goes away in about a week.

(Image: Flickr)


In the case of the Carter twins, their jaundice is likely more significant because they were born prematurely and are still being hospitalized well beyond the third or fourth day. This suggests they are requiring more extensive therapy. Based on typical treatment plans for newborns with jaundice, the twins are likely undergoing phototherapy and planned feedings. Phototherapy is a special light that the skin absorbs which changes the bilirubin so that the body can more easily get rid of it. Also, because premature babies typically aren’t eating or drinking very much, there are probably receiving planned feedings and intravenous (IV) fluids. These therapies provide necessary nutrition and also help them to pee and poop out the excess bilirubin.

Could It Be Something Else?


Although I hope it’s not the case here, other rare causes of jaundice in newborns include infection, a problem with the baby’s digestive system, or a problem with the mom’s and baby’s blood types. And the fact that the twins are premature puts them at risk for other medical conditions which can complicate their hospital stay. But it’s too early to tell; nor do we have confirmation of any other medical concerns. Like most Bey and Jay-Z fans—myself included—we are hoping for the best and look forward to their speedy recovery.