Serena Williams, Mark Cuban Invest in Black-Owned Maternal Healthcare Startup

Mahmee, a maternal healthcare startup, recently closed a $3 million round led by Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital. Other investors include Mark Cuban, Serena Williams for Serena Ventures and Pipeline Angels, among others.

The platform allows physicians and specialists to use the Mahmee to share care plans and stay on the same page about mom and baby’s care options. New and expecting parents get a personalized dashboard for linking mom and baby’s health records and tracking health over time so that Mahmee care managers can provide ongoing support and education.

“In the maternity healthcare process, on the surface, there are generally three or four people involved: the mother, the baby, and each of their physicians. What we don’t see are the many other people helping them: nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, nutritionists, therapists, doulas, home health aides, social workers, and more,” said Melissa Hanna, CEO and co-founder of Mahmee in a statement.

“And this industry is lacking the IT infrastructure needed to connect these professionals from different organizations to each other and to follow and monitor patients across practices and health systems. This missing element creates gaps in care. Mahmee is the glue that connects the care ecosystem and closes the gaps.”

“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams stated in a recent press release. “Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies. Mahmee’s data-driven approach is the right solution to one of the most significant problems in the system: that of fragmented care.”

The investment has a personal connection for Williams. She had a near-fatal experience delivering her first child, which she recounted in-depth in an interview with Vogue. Her revelations helped shed light on the sub-par maternal healthcare black women often receive, and the high black infant mortality rates.

Previous investors included Cross Culture Ventures, Acumen America, The Helm, Bumble Fund, and several others.

[WATCH] As Trump Doubles Down on Racist Rhetoric, Joy Reid Breaks Down Toxic Politics – The Black Enterprise Interview

On her weekend MSNBC show, AM Joy, Joy Reid delivers political insight with surgical precision. She speaks quickly—it seems at times her words are syncing with the rapid-fire pistons of her thought process. Reid has a new book out, The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story and its release is timely.

President Trump recently fired off a series of tweets presumably targeting newly-elected, non-white members of Congress: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan.), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts.). In a tweetstorm, Trump advised the four, known in the media as “The Squad,” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” He also unleashed a barrage of attacks, accusing the representatives of engaging in “disgusting language,” and called them “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”

American politics have become grotesque. And many wonder if America can ever recover from the toxic climate. Reid addresses that very question and much more about the current state of politics in this exclusive interview with Black Enterprise..

Joy Reid

On why so many white people identify with and vote for Trump, Reid says she has researched the reasons. “The reasons that people voted for Trump,’” she says, are because “if they had economic anxiety…they relate that economic anxiety to people of color” and that many feel the economic problems they may be experiencing are “the fault of immigrants.”

[RELATED: DEMOCRATIC DEBATES: WHERE EACH CANDIDATE STANDS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTER ISSUES]

Yet, ironically, it is the most economically secure in the country who make up a large portion of Trump’s base, says Reid. “Donald Trump had the most affluent voters among all the Republican nominees for president; there were 17 of them. His were the richest. The people who voted for Trump either believe they were going to get things they liked as Republicans: low taxes, deregulation—they had an authoritarian mindset toward the country,” she says.

“They felt that white men should be on top politically and culturally. They had anxiety about race and about demographic and racial change. They worried the country is becoming browner and blacker and that the country’s moving away from them. And if you combine that with also a religious anxiety that non-Christians are gaining place in the country, those are the reasons people voted for Trump.”

[RELATED: WILL KAMALA CONTINUE TO ELEVATE THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE?]

Reid says the shift in cultural power balance is particularly unsettling for those who have held power since the dawn of America. “They’re the most desirous of having the country go back to the time when particularly white Christian men were on top culturally because remember, they run the country. Donald Trump and his party run the country, but they don’t run the culture. The culture is very brown and black.”

Reid also shares her analysis on the Democratic debates; on whether Trump will accept defeat or refuse to leave office should he lose in 2020; and more. Watch the entire interview below.

Ava DuVernay, Zendaya Discuss the Importance of Black People Telling Their Stories

Recently, at the Dream in Black invite-only brunch hosted by AT&T during the 25th Annual Essence Festival, Ava DuVernay shared her thoughts on why it’s important for her to create and tell Black stories.

“I like to deal with new words, like ‘diversity’ I don’t use anymore, ‘inclusion’ I was on last year, now I’m on ‘belonging.’ We don’t want just a seat at the table, we want to run the tables as well. We also have to keep pushing forward,” said Duvernay.

DuVernay is known for her extraordinary work as a director of the hit film, “When They See Us,” which tells the story of the “Exonerated Five”, formerly known as the “Central Park Five.”

Also in attendance was actress Zendaya, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nischelle Turner, and AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan, as well as other AT&T executives, who sat down to have a candid conversation about the Dream in Black mindset, and why it’s important for people to boldly follow their passion and share it with the world.

“Trying our best in many different ways and many different forms, as an actress I have to do my part to tell different stories especially from my viewpoint as a black woman and I think that’s so special and this is what each of us has the power to do in our creative field,” said Zendaya.

“It can’t always be a dream, it has to be a reality and sometimes it has to start that way, but being here amongst people who are making literal dreams a reality and people I look up to and people I can watch every single day turn what we see in our heads to real things is incredible and a little bit of a dream, ” the actress continued. “When you live in this world of being able to be surrounded by people with visions and ideas and also that want to support you and help you, I think it’s incredible and will only allow us to continue to do beautiful things.”

The Euphoria star also personally met with ESSENCE Girls United, which is a program that provides young African American girls with the opportunity to succeed in lifestyle, career, education, and community. Essence launched the initiative to inspire young African American women to become the leaders of the future in core pillars that include leadership and self-love.

ava duvernay

Zendaya and Girls United (Image: Travis Ellison)

AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan expressed his sentiments on the significance of making sure brands are an extension of the consumer. “There’s an expectation from employees and customers that you speak out on what your values are about as a company,” said Donovan. “People want to see themselves in that company or brand. I think that ensures that you’ll be successful in doing the right thing. You can’t be false; you have to be genuine. There’s nothing like being at Essence Festival. There aren’t a lot of places where you can have this type of learning experience and human experience.”

Rap Competition Offering $1,000 Prize to Boost Financial Literacy of Young African Americans

Do you have rap lyrics strong enough to inspire others to invest in stocks and win a cool grand? Find out by entering Stock Market Tracks, a new investing-themed rap competition geared to boost the financial literacy of young African Americans to expand knowledge about the finance world and Wall Street.

A fantasy finance and mobile investing app designed to educate the next generation of investors, Invstr is offering the contest that includes a $1,000 cash first prize for best song.

The goal is to spark individuals—especially younger African Americans—to enhance their investment knowledge in an artistic way.

[RELATED: 12 GREAT APPS TO SAVE MORE MONEY AND JUMP-START YOUR FINANCIAL FREEDOM]

Though some progress has been made in recent years, the event comes as African Americans under 40 are investing in the stock market at lower rates than their white peers.

The data showed the investment patterns for blacks in other age groups were also less than for whites. Another survey revealed that only 23% of American millennials aged 18 to 37 report that the stock market is the best place to put the money they won’t need for 10 years or more.

Invstr is teaming up on the competition with STEAM 16, a New York City-based youth group started by Ron Livingston. The group intends to educate youth in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) fields by using rap music.

Livingston informed Black Enterprise that the competition will boost the number of young African Americans investing in the stock market by familiarizing them with the concepts surrounding the market in a language that they already speak: hip-hop and rap.

“Once they can speak the language of the stock market, it will become less intimidating and easier to participate in.”

He elaborated why investing in the stock market is important in encouraging wealth-building in the black community. Livingston noted African Americans with as little as $1 can begin investing now and grow that dollar from one to two relatively quickly.

He added that unlike real estate, which is an investment that can take a lifetime to mature, a savvy stock market investor can see returns almost instantaneously. For instance, he says, if an investor were to have put $1,000 into Amazon stock 10 years ago, that investment would now be worth around $26,000.

[RELATED: THE INVESTING HABITS OF WEALTHY BLACK PEOPLE]

“If minority communities had access to better investment tools and resources, they would be able to put money back into their communities more effectively,” Livingston says. “Prominent rappers are investing in startups and launching their own businesses and the Invstr and STEAM 16 partnership builds on this momentum so minority groups can also successfully manage their money.”

Competition entrants must create a 1-minute song using investing terms, such as “diversification,” “cryptocurrency,” “bulls,” and “bears.”

Submissions will be posted onto the @StockMarketMusic Instagram account, where anyone can vote on the best video. Interested participants can go here to submit their video and get more contest details. The submission deadline for applications is Sept. 6 and winners will be announced Oct.1.

 

Iconic Black Newspaper, ‘Chicago Defender,’ Says Bye to Print After More Than A Century

There was a time when the Chicago Defender was one of the largest newspapers in the world. At its height, it was also nationally recognized as the most influential black newspaper in the country. Today, however, the century-old paper is ending one era and embracing what’s ahead.

Officials at the Chicago Defender recently announced that it is ceasing its print operations and will move to a digital-only format. The legendary newspaper has been a premier news outlet in the African American community since its launch in 1905 by founder John Sengstacke Abbott. From reporting on the anti-lynching legislation to coverage of the first black president of the United States, the Chicago Defender has been on the front lines covering topics that matter most to its community.

Chicago Defender

Photo Credit: J.D. Smith at ceounlimitedfirm.com

Leaders at the paper said it needs to evolve in order to cater to the needs of a new generation. As a result of the digital revolution, Chicago Defender believes that moving toward a web-focused strategy will help them better serve their audience.

“We understand that to some of our loyal readers, this rite of passage is a painful one. However, we are committed to preserving the legacy of the Chicago Defender and are excited to be making this bold step to ensure its vitality for the next 100 years,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media, which owns the paper, in a statement. “We remain committed to being an iconic news organization, but we must double-down in the areas where we are seeing growth. Ceasing print operations allows us to do that. And readers of the Defender are now all over the city, reaching them online is a win-win for all of us.”

Center: Rev. Jesse Jackson (Photo Credit: J.D. Smith at ceounlimitedfirm.com)

On July 10, the Defender printed its’ last commemorative final print edition and shared it with a group of influential leaders in Chicago during a press event. Notable speakers and attendees included public relations pioneer Midge Kimberly, president and CEO of Partnership Radio Abraham “Abe” Thompson, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, who shared stories about the paper’s origins and his time as a writer with the publication.

Longtime ‘Chicago Defender’ reader Midge Kimberly (Photo Credit: J.D. Smith at ceounlimitedfirm.com)

As a longtime reader, Kimberly says she has witnessed the evolution of the Chicago Defender since the 1980s and shared sentiments about the impact of this transition to digital-only. “The media landscape has shifted rapidly. I’ve been reading the Chicago Defender for decades and was always excited to pick up my copy of the newspaper. But I know the next generation has embraced news in a different way and I hope the Defender gets the support and direction they need to implement a robust strategy.”

She added that she hopes new readers will be just as impacted by the outlet’s coverage. “I want the next generation to experience the feelings of community, support, and empowerment that I felt when I read the paper.”

 

Black Doctor Removed from American Airlines Flight Due to ‘Inappropriate’ Outfit

American Airlines issued a public statement Tuesday apologizing to a 37-year-old physician from Houston, who was removed from an aircraft by flight attendants who thought her outfit was inappropriate. Dr. Tisha Rowe, who identifies as African American and Caribbean American, says the incident happened on June 30 after she boarded a flight from Jamaica to Miami wearing a sleeveless romper with her 8-year-old son. Before the flight departed, she says she was approached by a female flight attendant who asked her to step off the plane. Once off the plane, Rowe says the attendant asked her if she had a jacket to cover herself. When she said she didn’t, she was told that she would only be readmitted if she agreed to wrap herself in a blanket.

Humiliated, Rowe told BuzzFeed News that she only complied with the attendant so that she wouldn’t have to forfeit her seat on the plane. “I felt powerless,” she said. “There was nothing I could do in that moment other than give up my money and my seat to defend my position that I was completely appropriate.”

Rowe shared the story on Twitter along with a photo of the tropical printed romper she wore to the airport.

The family medicine physician also voiced her frustration on Facebook, arguing that she was targeted due to racist stigmas against black women’s bodies.

“We are policed for being black. Our bodies are over sexualized as women and we must adjust to make everyone around us comfortable. I’ve seen white women with much shorter shorts board a plane without a blink of an eye. I guess if it’s a ‘nice ass’ vs. a Serena Booty it’s O.K,” read a now-deleted post on Rowe’s Facebook page.

After she and her son finally walked back to their seats, she said that her son felt ashamed and was moved to tears. He even went as far as to cover his head underneath a blanket and pleaded with her to be compliant. “‘Mommy, follow the rules,’ ” he told her, reports The Washington Post. “I’m trying to explain to an 8-year-old — Mommy did not break the rules.”

When the flight landed Rowe says that she noticed another female passenger who was wearing shorts that were shorter than hers but who apparently faced no issue boarding the plane. “The difference between that woman and me is she was about a size 2, thin,” Rowe told The Washington Post. “It’s hard to understand if you are not a double minority” — both black and a woman — “how it’s not pulling a card.”

In response, American Airlines issued the following statement:

“We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred. We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel. We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”

Bob Johnson, BET Founder, Praises Trump, Says Democrats Have Moved “Too Far Left”

In an interview with CNBC, America’s first black billionaire and the founder of BET, Robert L. Johnson weighed in what he sees as problems with the Democratic Party.

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” he said an interview on the network. “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

In the interview, Bob Johnson described himself as a “long-time centrist and Democrat,” who supported Hilary Clinton in 2016. He also urged people after Trump’s election to give the new president “a shot” and “the benefit of the doubt.”

Johnson also said that the economy was currently “doing great” and that he gives President Trump “a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans.”

Currently, Johnson is the founder and chairman of The RLJ Cos., a portfolio of companies with holdings in several industries, including the RLJ McLarty Landers Holdings L.L.C., the highest-earning black-owned auto company with revenues of $1.8 million and ranked No.1 on the 2019 BE Auto 40 list of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses, Black Enterprise‘s annual “BE100s” list.

In 2000, he sold Black Entertainment Television, a company he launched in 1979, for $3 billion to media giant Viacom, which made him the nation’s first black billionaire. Under Johnson’s ownership, BET became the first black-owned company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Since selling BET, he has invested in other business ventures. He showed his proficiency as a serial entrepreneur when he paid $300 million in 2003 to acquire the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats expansion team. The transaction was huge as it made Johnson the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team.

Johnson’s deal shattered ownership barriers when it came to a black businessman operating in that realm, though at the time, the NBA had a player base that was roughly 80% black. He sold most of his shares of the team to Michael Jordan in 2010.

Last year, Johnson said he was racially profiled at a 5-star luxury hotel in West Palm Beach.

Jaden Smith Creates Free Vegan Food Truck and Serves Los Angeles Homeless

We all know eating healthy comes at an exponential price but, what happens when you’re homeless and your basic food needs being met aren’t even an option? Jaden Smith wants to change that. He recently rolled out the I Love You Restaurant food truck to make vegan food accessible and free. His first stop, ‘Skid Row’ in downtown Los Angeles.

Smith added a quick post to his Instagram account stating, “@ILoveYouRestaurant Is A Movement That Is All About Giving People What They Deserve, Healthy, Vegan Food For Free. Today We Launched Our First One Day Food Truck Pop-Up in Downtown LA. Keep A Look Out Because This Is The First Of Many #JADENinc”

Folks chimed in all over the community wanting to help support the movement. @avantgardevegan wrote, “Thanks for this! I’d happily come and cook there if you need me,” with requests to volunteer coming from all across the United States.

Jaden Smith

I Love You Restaurant (Image: Instagram)

 

The meals included full vegan bowls with Smith’s signature JUST water, a product of his JUST goods company, which has quickly become a fan favorite amongst the boxed water community. Smith made it clear that his efforts will be recurring as he will host several pop-ups with no intention to monetize at this moment.

 

This isn’t Smith’s first philanthropic effort when it comes to giving back to the community. Earlier this year, Smith decided to take the Flint water crisis head-on by deploying a mobile water filtration system known as “The Water Box” that reduces lead and other potential contaminants to the Flint, Michigan, community. The 21-year-old’s JUST goods company collaborated with the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church to design and engineer the system.

 

JUST is a group of prominent celebs, influencers, and change-makers who have come together to drive social and environmental impact through business. They are a group that rethinks the way they source, deliver, and consume everyday items. They combine for-profit energy and non-profit motives with the goal of offering products with an impact that are affordable. Smith’s parent’s Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith are also a part of the JUST community.

 

AfroFuture Fest Organizers Change Decision to Charge White People More for Tickets

The AfroFuture Fest Detroit-based music festival came under scrutiny when its organizers announced that it would charge $10 tickets to people of color and $20 and up to ‘non-POC’ people. The ticket prices have since been changed to reflect one price for all.

One of the event’s organizers, Francesca Lamarre, said that the initial pricing structure was put in place “to ensure people of color have a chance to experience joy and pleasure within the same spaces as their white counterparts” and to allow “white people to show themselves as allies and use their wealth and privilege to increase equity, joy, and pleasure for black life in Detroit,” according to reporting by Detroit Metro Times.

The group received backlash. One rapper who was scheduled to perform, Tiny Jag, pulled out of the concert because of the race-based pricing.

“I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial,” she said to Detroit Metro Times.

Additionally, Eventbrite, the website from which people could purchase tickets for AfroFuture, threatened to take down the event’s ticket page.

In a statement to CNN, Eventbrite outlined its policy to not “permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity.”

“In this case, we have notified the creator of the event about this violation and requested that they alter their event accordingly,” the statement continued. “We have offered them the opportunity to do this on their own accord; should they not wish to comply we will unpublish the event completely from our site.”

Race-based pricing came to light last year after Nigerian chef Tunde Wey, said he had given white people the option to pay $12 or $30 at his New Orleans lunch spot, Saartj. At the time Wey said the pricing model was to highlight the gap in racial and wealth disparity in America. He said the higher cost paid by white people would be redistributed to people of color and called the move a “social experiment.”

The reviews site Yelp currently reports Saartj as closed.

But, the question remains—is race-based pricing constitutional? Tiffany Ellis, a Detroit-based civil rights lawyer told The New York Times, that such a pricing structure as AfroFuture was offering could result in lawsuits.

“We have constitutional rights as an individual, and the 14th Amendment provides that we cannot be discriminated against because all people are created equal,” she told NYT, although she said that private businesses have a little more leeway in choosing whom to do business with.

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why White People Think Racism Is Over

“Are we now in a post-racial America?” This is perhaps the number two question asked since President Obama has taken office.Ever since Barack and Michelle Obama were sworn into office and moved into the White House, white America has banished the thought that “the racial deck is stacked.” With many white people believing that because Obama was president, any black man can, the belief is that racism as a whole is over.

One black American’s success isn’t proof that racial barriers no longer exist, but in the spirit of the argument, here 10 reasons as to why possible some white people think that racism is over.

Reasons Why White People Think Racism Is Over

White People Say They Understood ’12 Years A Slave’

reasons why white people think racism is over

(vimeo)

When Steve McQueen’s visually stunning film hit theaters, critics argued that their understanding of the history of slavery allowed for racism to be in the past for today’s life and times.

 

Eminem and Macklemore Became Blockbuster Hip-Hop Stars

reasons why white people think racism is over

(Wikimedia)

A collective reason why many white people believe racism is over stems from the multi-platinum and award winning success of Eminem and Macklemore. There is a host of next-gen rap fans who believe the culture stems from Eminem, which actually proves that racism is more entrenched than what is advertised.

 

Michael Jordan And Dr. Dre Are Billionaires

reason why white people think racism is over

In a study done by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, most white people believe that one black person’s success merits the end of racism. With celebrities such as Dr. Dre and Michael Jordan recently joining the Billionaire Boys Club, it’s apparent that white people believe that the playing field has been leveled for all of the black race.

 

Eve Married A Billionaire

reasons why white people think racism is over

(Instagram)

If Eve can marry that Gumball Rally 3000 guy then surely we are all created equal. Not to mention Serena.

 

Lupita Nyong’o Won An Oscar

reason why white people think racism is over

(Instagram)

 

Hollywood is notorious for making people believe that all is right in the world after a big win. Such is the case for actress Lupita Nyong’o. One Huffington Post commenter even went so far that her 2014 Oscar win means that the playing field for powerful roles is leveled now.

Anybody Can Say The N-Word

Sure, Don Lemon may have had an awkward debate about the N-word, but that hasn’t stopped white people from saying the word however they want, (remember, Micheal Richards’ of “Seinfeld” TV fame, who went on an n-word rant back in 2012)?

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America Had A Black President

obama foundation, obama presidential center

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

 

Some white people suggest that if Barack Obama could become president, so could any black man. The thought that systemic racial discrimination no longer exists in America and that black men and women are sitting next to success sounds a bit far-fetched when you look at the news.

 

Hip-Hop Is Global Pop

Jay Z

(Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

Like most black musical art forms, hip-hop is just the latest in becoming a global phenomenon. As the culture started by the black and brown communities is now personified by white, you can hear the chants of “Everything is Equal,” off in the distance.

Interracial Dating Is Accepted

reasons why white people think racism is over

(iStock/bernardbodo)

The faces of America’s future has gone multiracial as whites are merging their DNA with “the other” to create a new breed of offspring. If you remember what National Geographic concluded with its previous magazine cover, then you should know that most white Americans are more inviting to Jamal and Tamia becoming their in-laws.

 

Miley Cyrus And Justin Bieber Adopted Black Culture Successfully

reasons why white people think racism is over

(wikimedia)

 

The twerker and the thug have indoctrinated themselves deep within black culture. While they are accepted amidst their respective controversies, the duo are still afforded the successes that come with their skin tone. If they are accepted by both white and black, isn’t that the dream Martin Luther fought for?


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