Meet Donna McLeod; First Jamaican-Born to Serve in Georgia Legislature

On January 14, 2019, the new Georgia General Assembly was sworn in and history was made. On the floor standing there in a beautiful soft blue suit with her right hand raised was Donna McLeod, the first Jamaican-born person to serve in the Georgia legislature. McLeod became a US citizen in 2012, but her desire to effect change in government came well before that.

Inspired by then-Senator Barack Obama’s run in 2008, McLeod began her political activism by volunteering for Obama’s campaign. A staunch proponent of government for the people by the people, McLeod set out to educate others on local, county, state and federal government processes. McLeod was a grassroot organizer and worked hard to register new voters.

A Jamaican ‘Girl Guide’

Growing up in Jamaica McLeod was a “Girl Guide” (equivalent to a Girl Scout). She was also an accomplished track runner and the fastest girl in her school. Interestingly enough, she was on the high school break-dancing team as well.

McLeod’s no-nonsense approach is something not commonly seen in the Georgia Assembly. She is looking to make Georgia government the people’s government. McLeod saw a need and she jumped in to fill it. Others need to step up as McLeod puts it “The United States of America relies on the people for its success, so in order to have a more perfect union we must all participate.”

When asked what drew her to the Democratic Party, McLeod talked about the issues the party stood for; education, healthcare, civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights. All of these issues resonate with her core values.  McLeod’s enthusiasm for education and literacy speaks at the heart of those values and motivations. She also co-founded a nonprofit organization that teaches civics responsibility, civic engagement, and life coaching skills.

Emergence into Politics

McLeod’s journey into political office was not an easy one. Her first campaign for the Georgia State House of Representatives of District 105 was lost by 222 votes. The republican stronghold in Gwinnett County at the time had gerrymandered the district in an effort to keep it in Republican control. However, McLeod’s second run for the District 105 seat found her victorious with a 4000-vote margin. In spite of Republicans best efforts, demographic and social change is something they are not able to overcome. As a result, Gwinnett County will likely continue to trend blue in the future.

McLeod received her committee appointments; with a degree in chemical engineering, it was fitting for her to be placed on the Science and Technology Committee as well as Human Relations and Aging. Her other committee assignments included Interstate Cooperation and Code Revision. We are excited to see McLeod make her mark on Georgia politics.

The Battle for Blue in Georgia

It will be an uphill battle for McLeod in a House that is still Republican-led. As a potential battleground state, all eyes are on Georgia. The battle has begun to turn Georgia blue; yet, it is worth noting that fellow Democrats in Florida have yet to accomplish this after almost 20 years of effort. Gwinnett County is the site of the next battle. With victories such as McLeod’s emboldening the Gwinnett Democratic Party to put forth a more concerted effort for offices, ranging from municipal elections all the way up to the Governor. The Democrats are taking this opportunity to make their voices heard in all levels of Georgia politics.

Looking ahead, McLeod expects to use her time in the state legislature to learn the ins and outs of drafting legislation and creating a more open and transparent government for the people of Georgia. She has said in years ahead she may consider running for statewide office or even for Congress. McLeod is one of the best examples of the American Dream and her story is a testimonial to women everywhere to stand up for what you believe in and do something!


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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A New Force In Politics: Black Women As Game Changers and Shot Callers

Kamala Harris has officially announced that she will run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. True to form for such aspirants, she recently launched a book tour to promote her new memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, to tell her story to the electorate. Having made history as California’s first black female U.S. senator and attorney general, she represents the smart, charismatic, and progressive politician who can build an election-winning coalition. Along with the other two African Americans in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Tim Scott, she recently lead the passage of a bill making lynching a hate crime as well as pushed for legislation requiring that an ethnic minority and a woman gain consideration whenever there’s a vacancy for the top position at one of the Federal Reserve’s 12 banks.

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The wave of black women elected to office in the last election cycle demonstrates the ongoing evolution of political diversity, power, and leadership that will be felt for generations. Here are some of the national and statewide officeholders who are fearless and relentless in reshaping our world today and tomorrow:

Stacey Abrams: Historymaker 

In her historic bid to become governor of Georgia, Stacey Yvonne Abrams electrified not only multitudes of voters of the Peach State but supporters nationwide. As the first black female gubernatorial nominee of a major party—and the most Googled politician of 2018—the former Georgia House Democratic leader projected a progressive message of economic and educational opportunity for all, inspiring women, African Americans, labor and the LGBT community—core components of her coalition. Her barrier-shattering run in “The New, New South,” however, did not smash practices emblematic of the region’s past: voter suppression and race-baiting.

Stacey Abrams

(Instagram)

So as Georgia’s tightest gubernatorial race in more than 50 years came to a close, Abrams confirmed that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp had enough votes to be certified to occupy the statehouse but refused to concede the race. She asserted in her speech to supporters: “To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling…Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.”

For the courageous Abrams, who will speak at the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, that race was the introduction of a new powerful voice on the national stage. Many pundits said she was symbolic of “The Year of the Woman.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.): Keeping The Financial Industry In Check

With Democrats taking control of the House, Waters now holds one of the most powerful seats in Congress: chair of the Financial Services Committee. Presiding over the body that oversees the banking industry, Waters has vowed to not let financial institutions “run amok” and plunge the nation into a new crisis. Another guarantee: She will use her elevated congressional clout to turn up the heat on President Trump.

Maxine Waters

Rep. Maxine Waters (Image: Flickr)

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.): Leading The Conscience of Congress

Roughly a decade ago, Bass was a California assembly member who became the first-ever African American woman to rise to speaker of any state legislature. Today, she has become a national power player with her recent advancement to the helm of the Congressional Black Caucus, known for decades as “the Conscience of The Congress.” With a more diverse 116th Congress, Bass leads the CBC at its most populous and powerful: 55 members of the House and Senate who represent more than 82 million Americans, or 25.3% of the total U.S. population, and about 17 million African Americans, or 41% of the nation’s African American population. Moreover, the CBC will gain even more leverage during tight legislative votes and assume leadership positions as the group comprises roughly a quarter of the House Democratic Caucus. It has already flexed its muscles on issues such as the government shutdown and Rep. Steve King’s removal from committee assignments for his full embrace of white supremacy.

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Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas): Overseeing The Innovation Agenda

Representing the Lone Star State—home to Space Center Houston—Johnson became the first African American and the first woman to chair the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. As such, she runs the body that oversees non-defense federal scientific R&D and has jurisdiction over agencies that include NASA, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and Office of Science and Technology Policy. Among major focal areas: Cybersecurity related to the U.S. electric grid and the Trump White House’s “mandate to ignore” climate science.

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Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.): A Fresh View on Healthcare Policy

As the youngest African American woman to ever serve in the House, this nurse with two master’s degrees from John Hopkins University may help find the right prescription for healthcare policy, among other issues. As a policymaker in the Obama administration, she served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the activation of the Affordable Care Act—better known as “Obamacare,” which continues to be under attack by the GOP. Among the new wave of political outsiders, Underwood, who never held office, scored an upset victory over four-term Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren during the midterms to win her congressional seat representing Illinois’ 14th District. Gaining donors outside the state, the political newbie also outraised her opponent in campaign funds: $4 million to $2 million.

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Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL)

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.): Beating The Establishment

Former Boston City Council Member Ayanna Pressley, 44, became the first African American congresswoman from the state of Massachusetts. The persistent Pressley set her path to victory by building grassroots support to beat the local and national political establishment. During the Democratic primary, she defeated 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano, who gained backing from some of America’s most celebrated black politicians, a group that included civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Massachusetts first African American governor, Deval Patrick.

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Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.): Learning New Political Lessons

The 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, 45, emerged victorious in her campaign to become the first African American woman to represent a congressional district in Connecticut. To achieve that goal, she had to defeat Republican Manny Santos in one of the state’s most hotly-contested midterm battles. The former high school teacher and administrator has a new, appropriate assignment as a freshman: membership on the House Education and Labor Committee.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

The first Somali and one of two Muslim women elected to Congress, Omar, 37, now assumes the Minnesota congressional seat previously occupied by Rep. Keith Ellison, the former deputy Democratic National Committee Chair who is now the state’s Attorney General. Already engaged in political battles over her tweets critical of Sen. Lindsey Graham and the nation of Israel, Omar has not received a unanimous welcome as the freshman legislator joins the highly-coveted House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.)

In 2012, her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in a horrific act of gun violence. When her son’s killer invoked Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law as a defense, McBath took to the frontlines in her passionate fight for gun control and justice. After retiring from a 30-year career with Delta Airlines, she became the national spokesperson for both Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. That activism led to her congressional run for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Emerging victorious, she became its first Democratic representative since Newt Gingrich won the seat in 1993. A Virginia State University graduate who served as an intern for the nation’s first elected black governor, Virginia’s L. Douglas Wilder, McBath is now making her own history through her co-sponsorship of gun control legislation requiring universal background checks. To ensure passage, McBath maintained in a CNN interview that she is willing to “reach across the aisle.”

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(Instagram)

State Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.)

Beyond congressional milestones, there have been a number of African American woman who broke new ground in statewide races. In the Empire State, for example, James, became the first black woman to assume the role of attorney general—a potential pathway to the governor’s mansion. But before her next political pursuit, the former public advocate for New York City has vowed to use her post to investigate President Trump’s past real estate dealings to uncover any possible shady activities.

Letitia James

Letitia James circa 2013 (Wikimedia Commons)

New York State Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Another milestone was heralded in the New York State Senate. With Democrats gaining control of the New York State Senate —the third time in more than 80 years—Stewart-Cousins was unanimously chosen to lead that powerful body. As such, the Yonkers Democrat became the first African American women to lead that chamber of the state legislature. It wasn’t the first time that she made history though: Stewart-Cousins was selected the first black women minority leader six years ago. Pundits say that her ascension to the state legislative leadership, which includes the Governor and Assembly Speaker, will “break three men in a room.”

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This May Be The Best Skin Treatment for People of Color With Dark Marks

Melanin is a beautiful gift from God that gives people of color added protection from UV rays, skin cancer, and signs of aging. Not to mention, it also glistens in the sun with a magical glow. However, on the flip side, those with pigmented skin are prone to hyperpigmentation — a skin condition that causes dark marks and acne scars when excessive melanin is produced. It can be triggered by anything from a rash, scratch, pimple, or inflammation. To make matters worse, this unsightly ailment can take anywhere from three months to two years to get rid of.

African Americans are most susceptible to hyperpigmentation because their melanin-rich skin tends to be more reactive than other people of color. Fortunately, there’s a treatment that can reduce the appearance of dark spots called dermalinfusion. According to Cheryl M. Medina, a physician assistant specializing in aesthetics, this treatment works wonders for those with brown skin. The New York-born Filipina has been working in skin care and practicing dermatology for seven years at Skin Deep Clinics, where she specializes in treating darker skin tones with a focus on acne, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and anti-aging. She also serves a range of influencers and rising stars, like fashion designer LaQuan Smith and DJ Natasha Diggs, at the Queens-based clinic.

In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Medina breaks down a popular dermalinfusion treatment as well as common myths about skincare.

dermalinfusion

Cheryl M. Medina, PA-C

BE: How does the Dermalinfusion treatment work?

One of the most popular and effective dermalinfusion treatments is called “The Silk Peel.”  It’s a wonderful treatment that gets great results in treating acne, dark spots, acne scarring, and anti-aging. Similar to a microdermabrasion treatment, it breaks down the top layer of dead skin revealing newer skin and encouraging new skin cells to the surface, which gives you a nice glow and even skin texture.

As it is abrading your top layer, it forms a hyperbaric chamber with the skin allowing it to suction whatever can be manipulated out of your pore. So all the bacteria that is trapped in your skin gets eliminated and collected in a collection jar. After the treatment, you get to see all the wonderful things that was pulled out of your face.

Not only does it exfoliate and cleanse the skin, it also nourishes the skin.  It is a wet microdermabrasion meaning, it delivers a solution back into the skin through the pores whilst they are engaged. Depending on what your skin is presenting, we are able to deliver back into the dermis nourishment and treatment in the form of hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, a brightening solution, as well as salicylic acid that helps prevent acne.

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Nothing makes us happier than seeing our patients shine in their new skin! After months of failed attempts, our patient decided to give Skin Deep Clinics a try! With just 4 months of treatment, she has controlled her oil production, reduced her breakout dramatically and the skin has calmed down! Not to mention this beautiful bright glow and even tone! Long gone are the days of dull, acneic skin and it will only get better from here! #Cheers #ToBeautifulSkin . . . #DarkerSkinTone #DarkSpots #Acne #Pimple #SkinCare #BeautifulSkin #HealthySkin #Health #Wealth #HealthIsWealth #NYC #Queens #SkinDeepClinics #InstaGood #InstaMood #InstaLove

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Common Skincare Myths

BE: Can you debunk a few skincare myths that you’ve heard?

MYTH: Greasy foods make me break out.

FACT: Sebaceous glands produce sebum or oil to coat our skin for protection and pH optimization.  Greasy foods do not trigger these glands to produce more oil. In fact, it is the behavior whilst eating greasy foods that can add oil to the skin. For example, touching your face with greasy hands after eating greasy foods adds oil to the face and can lead to a breakout by clogging your pores. Be mindful of touching your face whilst eating and of the grease dribble on your chin when you take a bite!  Sugar actually does ignite those sebaceous glands to produce more oil.  So, what you should be mindful of is your sugar intake.

MYTH: I can use my body soap to wash my face in the shower.  It cleanses all the same.

FACT: Soaps that foam have a foaming agent called a detergent. That’s right. The same agent you use to wash your clothes with.  Detergents are drying agents so using foamy soaps will dry out your skin!  That’s why after you wash your face it feels tight and super dry or “clean.” In doing so, you have stripped what’s called the natural acid mantle barrier, a light layer of oil meant to keep your skin at its proper pH level in order for it to function optimally, and throughout the day, you will notice that your skin will produce a lot more oil. It does so in order to compensate for the loss of oil that you stripped away with the foamy wash. Milky cream wash or gel wash is best!

MYTH: Black don’t crack. I don’t need sunscreen!

FACT: Although it is true, darker skin tones do age better; it is due to the oil that we produce that keeps our skin moist and supple so that our skin does not degrade as quickly. But sunscreen is used primarily to avoid skin cancer as well as aging. Darker skin tones are not invincible to skin cancer. It is imperative that you protect your skin from the UVA and UVB rays especially these days with our ozone layer depleting.

As far as aging, darker skin tones are susceptible to hyperpigmentation, dark spots, or age spots. Using an SPF 30-55 daily will prevent these spots from appearing or getting darker. Also, try putting sunscreen on the back of your hands daily as well. Your hands show age quickly due to its overexposure to the UV light.

Treat Your Skin Right

BE: What should people of color do on a daily basis to maintain healthy, clear skin?

It is important to have a proper skincare regimen, starting with a milky or gel-non foaming facial cleanser. You should cleanse your face daily and add a light moisturizer with a broad spectrum (that protects against UVA and UVB rays) SPF between 30-55 that contain antioxidants to nourish the skin.

The most important part of a skincare routine is being a member of exfoliation nation! You must exfoliate regularly. I tell patients, in the beginning, to start natural with a simple sugar and honey scrub that they can make at home with 1/4 cup sugar + 1-2 tbspns of honey. Mix into a puddy and scrub your face for 60sec.  Wash off and apply nourishment to this skin in the form of a moisturizer with antioxidants. This should be done at night, three times per week. Then later to challenge the skin, you can start using chemicals like glycolic acid or retinol to exfoliate the skin.

Exfoliating allows your pores to breath, encourages new skin growth, gives your skin a healthy glow, and also prevents bacteria or acne to grow. Diet also plays a major role in skin health!  You should eat foods that are high in antioxidants like deep greens, acai berries, pomegranate, etc. However, the most important part of your diet is drinking tons of water. Water helps your skin and body rids itself of toxins! Three water bottles a day should be your daily goal at the very least.

BE: What type of products do you recommend for people who suffer from hyper-pigmentation?

When dealing with hyperpigmentation, the process is twofold:

First, you must work out the skin. Meaning, you have to exfoliate regularly. Dark spots are a form of scar tissue.  You can lighten it by exfoliating the dead skin off and encouraging new skin to come to the surface.  Remember after you exfoliate you must, must, must wear sunscreen to protect the new skin from the sun’s damage.  Otherwise, the dark spot will only get darker!

The second part is actually treating the hyperpigmentation with a topical. Products that contain hydroquinone 4%, bearberry, licorice, citric acid and kojic acid help to brighten or lighten the skin.  At Skin Deep Clinics, we offer Skin Tone Pads that contain kojic acid, bearberry and hydroquinone to brighten the skin.  They are easy to use and breed wonderful, safe results.

 

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Raise a Glass! Harlem Haberdashery Owners Launch New Craft Spirits

The family behind Harlem Haberdashery, the legendary New York City boutique known for its custom designs and hip-hop collaborations, is helping you toast to the new year. In collaboration with AstraLuna Brands, they have launched HH Bespoke Spirits, starting with small-batch gin, vodka, and rum. The craft spirits are in beautifully designed bottles, of course.

“We customized out spirits to what our customers wanted,” says Harlem Haberdashery co-owner, Sharlene Wood. Take a look at the video for an in-depth view into the creation of Harlem-crafted spirits.

 

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Black Enterprise Founder: ‘We Owe An Apology to Martin Luther King, Jr.’

Decades after his death, the legacy and contributions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the sacrifices he made to bring justice to African Americans and to challenge America to live up to its ideals, are being celebrated more than ever before. It’s fair to say that we have done justice to King’s memory. But the truth is America has not done justice to his dream. In fact, I, and the rest of King’s generation, now between the ages of 70 and 85, owe King an apology.

Due to our lack of leadership and accountability, and despite the conspicuous success of a minority of African Americans, we have failed to do what it takes to lead our people to the promised land of freedom, equality, and the full measure of the American dream.

Two months after the assassination of Dr. King, Earl G. Graves Sr. escorts Mrs. Coretta Scott King on June 8th, 1968 to the funeral of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

King’s dream was about equal opportunity and economic justice for all black Americans, not just an exceptional few. After making progress toward those goals into the late ’80s, we somehow lost our desire to pursue King’s agenda. Ultimately, we simply stopped fighting, as if we no longer believed that what King died for was worth continuing to sacrifice and fight for. And for that, Dr. King, I am sorry. You left us with an example and a challenge to make a better world for our children. And we’ve failed you.

The evidence shows that our failure is as complete as it is indisputable. Nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, American education remains largely segregated by race, with black children bearing the brunt of failing public schools. We’re failing King in economic justice. Today, the wealth gap between African Americans and white Americans is wider than ever, and black businesses remain largely excluded from economic power centers–from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

The quality of life for African Americans in our urban centers has hardly improved, and in many cases, has worsened, since many urban areas were destroyed by riots in the aftermath of King’s assassination. Sadly, in nearly every area, from healthcare outcomes to high school drop-out rates to entire generations of African Americans trapped in our prison system, the world we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren is no better than the one we inherited.

I was assigned by Sen. Robert Kennedy to assist Coretta Scott King with getting her slain husband’s body from Memphis to Atlanta. I know intimately the ultimate sacrifice that King made–based on the promise of future generations–so that we would have the opportunities that we enjoy today. It’s a promise we have failed to keep.

Our fight for freedom and justice is not over. We have not won. Memorials aside, my generation owes an apology to King for having dropped the baton, for not taking the torch he lit and running with it. Now, it is up to our children and grandchildren to continue the fight to ensure that King’s dream is deferred no longer, and that all African Americans, not just a select, privileged, or fortunate few, reach the promised land of freedom, equality, justice, and opportunity.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published in 2012. 

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Goodr Creates Free, Pop-Up Grocery Store for MLK Day

Goodr, a company that previously won the BLACK ENTERPRISE Tech Connext Pitch Competition is continuing to make a footprint in the community. The startup recently partnered with the Atlanta Hawks for a special volunteer service project as part of the Hawks court dedication at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation & Aquatic Center, just in time for MLK day.

Approximately 100 Atlanta seniors were invited to partake in a signature Goodr “Pop-Up Grocery” event, where delicious surplus food from multiple Atlanta grocery partners was available for free.

MLK Day

Goodr and the Atlanta Hawks Partner to feed Atlanta Seniors for MLK Day (Image: Kat Goduco Photography)

“In the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to service, the Hawks are proud to partner with Goodr to provide a pop-up grocery store for seniors at the MLK Recreation and Aquatic Center,” said Andrea Carter, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility & Inclusion. “This added element to our MLK court dedication allows us to serve not only the youth who play on the court, but seniors who often times need additional assistance when living on a fixed income.”

Goodr is a sustainable food surplus management platform that leverages technology to reduce food waste and combat hunger. They have produced a variety of events to distribute surplus food to needy Atlanta locals in creative and uplifting ways, but the “pop-up grocery store” seems to be a fan favorite.

“It’s an honor to be able to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through the service acts that Goodr performs each and every day,” Jasmine Crowe, CEO, and founder of Goodr told BE. “To be able to partner with the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm is a dream come true for a startup from Atlanta,”

Every product is free to the guests and they range from fresh produce to prepared deli foods to fresh-baked bread. Everything is picked up that day from local vendors and partner stores and brought directly to the event. Each attendee gets their pick regarding what items they want to go home with.

MLK Day

Goodr and Atlanta Hawks for MLK Day (Image: Kat Goduco Photography)

The Hawks have been dedicated to the community as well. Off the court, the organization has built a culture of inclusion, diversity, and innovation, all with a touch of southern hospitality. Their goal is to build bridges through basketball, whether by constructing and refurbishing courts in Atlanta neighborhoods, providing scholarships to our basketball camps, or participating in unique partnership events like this one with Goodr.

The post Goodr Creates Free, Pop-Up Grocery Store for MLK Day appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Amber Rose is Securing the Bag, Earning $2 Million A Year Off Instagram Alone

Amber Rose, the 35-year-old stripper-turned-model, claims that she nets about $2 million from posting on Instagram. Born Amber Levonchuck, the bi-racial beauty boasts 18.8 million followers on Instagram, where she frequently flaunts beauty, fashion, and diet products. And it turns out that these sponsored posts are helping her rake in major coins.

During an interview on The Red Pill podcast, host Van Lathan asked Rose how much she earns on the social media site. “Probably like $2 million a year, just off Instagram,” she said. “There’s girls that make more than $2 million a year, I make $2 million on Instagram a year.” Rose explained that she generates revenue through “all of her endorsement deals,” which have included companies like online retailer Fashion Nova and controversial weight loss products like BoomBod and Flat Tummy tea.

In response, Lathan joked that “a ni–a went to college and bought into that bulls–t, and Amber’s making $2 million off Instagram. Wow!”

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#ad Keeping my tummy tight and toned year round with my @flattummyco shakes. I’m not playing when I say these are my go-to and there’s a reason. No bloat, no heavy feeling and they get results!! They’ve also got a sale happening today!

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Rose also opened up in the interview about her tough upbringing in Philadelphia, revealing that she initially started selling drugs as a means of survival before she began stripping as a teen.

“I usually don’t tell people this, but I tried selling crack in my neighborhood,” Rose confessed. “They said I was gonna get robbed, I was a girl and I was too pretty, and it wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “So what I did, I would bag it up for them, I would weigh it and bag up the crack rocks for them. And they would throw me some money.”

According to BankRate.com, Rose has amassed a $12 million net worth throughout her career as an author, media personality, music artist, and a former model signed with Ford Models. She also launched her own emoji app that reportedly earned $4 million in 2016. She gained her claim to fame as a video vixen and by dating Kanye West from 2008 to 2010.

In 2016, Rose appeared on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and became the ambassador for the SlutWalk, an annual women’s empowerment march to combat rape culture. That same year, she has teamed up with Zoobe, a character voice-messaging app that creates 3D characters.

Watch Rose’s interview on The Red Pill below. Her remarks about her Instagram endorsements start around the 1:20:00 mark.



The post Amber Rose is Securing the Bag, Earning $2 Million A Year Off Instagram Alone appeared first on Black Enterprise.

UPDATE: Kentucky Airport To Be Renamed After Muhammad Ali

This article was updated on January 17, 2019.

The Louisville International Airport in Kentucky will be renamed after its hometown hero Muhammed Ali. Just a day before the legendary boxer would have turned 77 years old, the Regional Airport Authority board voted on Wednesday to name the airport Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in honor of his legacy, reports the Louisville Courier Journal.

The announcement comes almost two and a half years after Robert Holmes III, an educator from Louisville, launched a grassroots campaign in an effort to rename the airport. Despite receiving an overwhelming number of signatures petitioning for the name change, the idea was initially rejected by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.  However, the mayor sang a different tune Wednesday, stating:

“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” reported the local publication. “Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people. It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ’s legacy,” Fischer continued. “And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step.”

Changes involving Ali’s name and brand at the airport will be part of the airport’s $100 million renovation project. to renovate and are slated for completion later this year.

 


This article originally published on October 20, 2017.

 

Muhammad Ali

(Image; Muhammad Ali 1966 via Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

Earlier this month, Black Enterprise reported on the more than yearlong, uphill battle a Kentucky-based educator, Robert Holmes III, has faced in hopes of honoring Muhammad Ali in Louisville, the city where “The People’s Champ” was born and raised. Back in June 2016, Holmes launched the Global Friends of Muhammad Ali, a grassroots effort that is committed to renaming the Louisville International Airport to “Muhammad Ali International Airport.” The group started a petition on Change.org, calling on Ali fans to support an initiative that would pay tribute to the legendary boxer. After being shared on MPowerChange.org, it collected over 14,000 signatures.

 

Despite receiving an overwhelming number of signatures and even support from members of the Ali family, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s spokesperson Chris Poynter told BLACK ENTERPRISE that “there is no active committee looking at the matter of renaming the airport.” He added that the power to change the name lies within the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, which “will ultimately make any decision to rename the airport.” The Louisville Regional Airport Authority, however, also confirmed that it “has no current plans to change the name of Louisville International Airport (SDF).”

In addition, Fischer’s office reached out to BE emphasizing that the city has already paid homage to their hometown hero in a variety of other ways. “Louisville has several major Ali memorials already, including the Muhammad Ali Center (a major institution) and a prominent street named after The Champ. By focusing only on the airport, you leave the impression that the Champ’s hometown isn’t honoring his legacy, which is the furthest from the truth,” said Poynter.

Holmes, however, dismissed the mayor’s response as “a great attempt at a political spin to dodge the question. It’s obvious that Louisville has done things to honor its greatest citizen, but that’s not the [issue].” Holmes added that other cities, like New Orleans, have renamed their airports after superstar natives. “If they can name their airport after Louis Armstrong, who’s a jazz musician, certainly Louisville should be able to coalesce around the idea of renaming the airport.”

According to Holmes, the opposition to rename the airport boils down to the fact that Ali was an outspoken black man who voiced opposition to racism and war.

“I feel that there is a racial component to it and I think that’s one of the reasons why people don’t want to touch it,” he says. “Because he was a very brash, young man in very turbulent times during the 60’s and the early 70’s. He spoke his mind and he stood his ground and he stood up for what he believed in. He stood up against social injustice and racial disparities not only all over the world, but he also spoke about the racial disparities right here in his hometown.” Holmes continued, “There were segments of the white community that did not celebrate Muhammad Ali and you still have that today.”

Although Mayor Fischer’s office told BE that the airport authority will make the ultimate decision to rename the airport, Holmes pointed out that the mayor maintains power to appoint “several members of the board.”

“If he wanted to make that decision, to say that I want to rename this airport in honor of Muhammad Ali, I don’t believe it is that hard,” said Holmes.

 

 

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Rep. Steve King Advocates White Nationalism and Needs a Black History Lesson

Congressman Steve King’s racist, white nationalist philosophy and false assertion that other ethnic groups or as he refers to it, “subgroups,”  have not contributed more to civilization is ridiculous.

Congressman King, did you know:

  • It was a black man by the name of Benjamin Banneker who mapped out the streets of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. actually where your office is located.
  • Crispus Attucks, an African American man was the first man killed in the Boston Massacre, becoming the first casualty of the American Revolution.
  • Charles Richard Drew was an African American physician who developed the blood banks that saved many lives during World War II and even today. People of all races who get blood transfusions every day can thank a black man named Dr. Charles Drew.
  • A black man named Lewis Latimer invented the filament to the light bulb which gave the world long-lasting electric lighting methods that made it possible for the lights in your office to stay on for more than the 15 minutes that Thomas Edison reached.

By the way Congressman Steve King, we are not a “subgroup.” There is only one race, and that is the human race. Therefore, all racism is a total disgrace. Let’s not forget that Jesus Christ was a dark skin Jew, who was oppressed and crucified by the Roman government.

 


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

 

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MLK Historic Sites Closed Due to the Shutdown; Black America Suffers Its Impact

Today would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 90th birthday. On this day, many flock to the Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was a pastor, and to King’s home—both of which are part of a national park in Atlanta honoring the late civil rights leader. However, both are closed today, due to the government shutdown. “’Because of a lapse in federal appropriations, this National Park facility is closed for the safety of visitors and park resources,’ said several signs on the landmarks run by the National Park Service,” reported the Philadelphia Tribune.

Bernice King, MLK’s youngest child, was reportedly upset about the closing.

“I feel a little bit of sadness because our main partner in this area, in this district, is the National Park Service … and they are not here with us today. I didn’t expect to cry over this,” she said according to the Philadelphia Tribune.

The current shutdown just made the dubious distinction of being the longest in the country’s history with the President and Democratic leaders at an impasse over funding for President Trump’s vision of a new wall on the southern border, a structure he says will curtail illegal immigration.

In addition to the closing of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, other national parks including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, remain shuttered as the shutdown enters its fourth week.

The shutdown is wreaking disastrous economic havoc for families of federal workers who have not received paychecks since it commenced. Black Americans, in particular, are feeling the enormous impact. In an essay for The Root, Jason Johnson writes:

Endemic discrimination in the private sector forces many African Americans to pursue middle-class dreams through working for the federal government. African Americans make up 18 percent of federal employees, and 21 percent of SES (Senior Executive Service) positions compared to being only 8 percent of executive board members across all fortune 500 companies in America.

 

This is especially the case in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia area) where the bulk of employment is either directly or indirectly associated with the federal government. Everyone here knows all too well that Republican dog whistles about “lazy” federal employees have always been a proxy attack on black Americans in the same way the border wall is a symbolic attack on Latinos.

The Guardian reports that the shutdown is destabilizing the predominantly black Washington DC suburbs and Prince George’s County in Maryland. Those areas have among the highest numbers of middle-class blacks due to the numbers that work for the government.

From The Guardian:

“Around here people’s families work for the government, generationally,” said Kenneth Graves, a federal employee currently on furlough who grew up in Prince George’s.

 

“My mom works for the government. My dad worked for the government,” Graves said. “That’s what we always heard growing up – get a good government job.”

 

Graves, who is black, said he can probably sustain about another month of the shutdown before he depletes the last of his savings. A furloughed Federal Aviation Administration employee, Graves is currently looking for part-time work in hospitality to keep some income coming in, and stay occupied.

 

“We’re all just sitting at home or looking for a part-time position,” Graves said. “It’s really challenging.”

Black furloughed workers are trying to come up with ways to stay financially afloat. In Oxon Hill, Maryland, two sisters—both public sector employees have started selling cheesecakes as a way to bring in much-needed income, reports WJLA:

Two Maryland sisters who are both furloughed from their government jobs have launched a business selling cheesecakes to help pay the bills.

 

Nikki Howard, with the FDA, and sister Jaqi Wright, with DOJ, never imagined the government shutdown would lead them to start a business.

 

Each have husbands they say can’t work due to disabilities, and with bills such as college tuition for Nikki’s daughter piling up, they say they had to do something.

 

“It’s either cry or get up and do something, so we decided to get up and do something,” Nikki said.

Furloughed workers are scrambling to make ends meet. They are turning to food banks, launching GoFundMe campaigns, and some are even forced to ration their medication because they can’t afford the co-payments.

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