‘Black Panther’ Star Michael B. Jordan Teams Up With Brisk Iced Tea to Empower Urban Creatives

Brisk, a billion-dollar iced tea beverage brand owned by PepsiCo, announced the launch of the Creators Class program in partnership with Michael B. Jordan to provide emerging artists in urban areas with the opportunity to collaborate with and be mentored by industry leaders. Young creatives selected to participate in the initiative will gain real-world experience and exposure by working with established members in the film industry, visual arts, and writing to develop a special project. As a partner with Brisk, Jordan, who stars in Marvel’s groundbreaking Black Panther film, will give three lucky creators an apprenticeship with his production company.

“Brisk encourages the same boldness and creativity that I strive for in my work and with my production company, Outlier Society,” said Jordan in a statement. “That’s why I’m honored to be a part of the Creators Class and offer up-and-coming hustlers the opportunity to work on this special Outlier Society project.”

To promote the Creators Class program, Jordan directed, produced, and starred in an online video that spotlights a street artist’s hard work and creative hustle. In the ad, the 31-year-old actor prepares for his role in Black Panther while the artist simultaneously paints a mural of the Black Panther superhero. Brisk also celebrated the launch of Creators Class by hosting an exclusive Black Panther event in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Melanie Watts, director of Marketing at Brisk, said the drink giant partnered with Marvel Studios and invited some of the talent behind Black Panther to join the Creators Class to “empower aspiring creators in the urban arts by providing real opportunities, mentorship, and game-changing industry exposure.”

The marketing campaign also serves to attract millennials and Gen Zers, consumers that Pepsi has struggled to reach. There’s a chance that the effort will connect with Gen Zers based on a popular film that defies negative perceptions of women and people of color and speaks to the generation’s hunger for success—two factors that cause-driven Gen Z finds important. “These generations tend to embrace creative efforts and innovation while shunning traditional views of gender roles and racial stereotypes, which appears to align with the Creators Class program and spirit of the Black Panther movie,” states MarketingDive.com.

Interested participants can apply to the Creators Class by visiting www.briskcreatorsclass.com up until March 2.

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From Blog to Film: This Woman is Telling the Story of Successful Black Women Entrepreneurs

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an increasing number of black women blazing trails in social change and entrepreneurship. In fact, a 2017 Nielsen report shows that black women are not only the fastest growing group of female entrepreneurs, but they’re also increasingly influencing the economy, media, and politics. So, who are these new age pioneers unapologetically breaking barriers? What propelled them to turn their obstacles into opportunities and passions into profit? Well, meet Renae Bluitt, the founder of Crush Media and creator and executive producer behind the film: She Did That, a cinematic project, featuring the story behind New York Times best-selling author, Luvvie Ajayi; the founder of Carols Daughter, Lisa Price; Tonya Rapley, a millennial entrepreneur and financial educator; and Melissa Butler, founder of the beauty startup The Lip Bar. To bring the project to light, Bluitt has partnered with General Motors, the world’s third-largest automaker.

On what inspired the film.

Believe it or not, the idea for the film derived from her award-winning blog ‘In Her Shoes.’ “I’ve been creating content centered around black women entrepreneurs on In Her Shoes for nine years now, said Bluitt. On a personal level, I was ready for a new challenge. It was time to dig deeper and explore a different medium to elevate the conversation. Capturing these women on film, in their homes, in their workspaces, and having people close to them weigh in on their stories is so much more impactful.”

On the biggest lesson Bluitt wants viewers to take away from the film:

 She Did That was created to inspire our peers and offer jewels of wisdom for the next generation of change agents—but anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit will be able to see themselves in the women on screen. I want the men in our community—and everyone, for that matter—to be inspired and see what’s possible when you’re committed to excellence. The path to personal success looks different for everyone. Your journey won’t look like anyone else’s, but the beauty of your story is what makes you, you. It’s your special sauce and no one can duplicate that.
On the importance of receiving support from General Motors. 
My grandfather worked on the assembly line for General Motors back in the 70s while building his business and my dad did the same until he also became an entrepreneur in the 80s. As a little brown girl growing up in Indiana, I learned so much about the importance of working hard and having a strong work ethic, no matter what position you’re in. These men took pride in their jobs and built their personal brands long before becoming their own bosses. I carry this lesson with me every single day so when the opportunity to partner with General Motors was presented, it was truly a no-brainer for me.
Watch the trailer below:

SHE DID THAT (TRAILER) from Renae Bluitt on Vimeo

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Africa’s First Female President Wins $5 Million Leadership Prize

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been awarded Africa’s most prestigious leadership prize. The former Liberian president was awarded the $5 million Mo Ibrahim Prize in recognition of her leadership in office after serving two terms from 2006 through 2017.

Sirleaf, who was the first ever African female head of state, is the first woman to win the award and the fifth recipient of the prize since it was launched in 2006.

The Ibrahim Prize aims to distinguish leaders who, during their time in office, have developed their countries, strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, and advanced sustainable development, according to the Prize’s website. To qualify, African heads of state have to have left office in the last three calendar years, must have been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.

In its citation, the Prize Committee praised Sirleaf’s exceptional and transformative leadership, in the face of unprecedented and renewed challenges, to lead Liberia’s recovery following many years of devastating civil war.

“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institutions,” Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, said.

Johnson’s journey has been pitted with ups and downs.

In 1985, Sirleaf left her job at Citibank in Kenya and returned to Liberia to run as Vice President under Jackson Doe. She was placed under house arrest in August of the same year and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for speeches the government said incited people to rebel against the state. She was later released, and removed from the presidential ticket. Sirleaf was arrested again in November after the attempted assasination of the sitting president, Samuel Doe. She was released in July of 1986, and secretly fled the country to the United States later that year.

Sirleaf won the 2005 national elections and was sworn into office in January 2006. She was successfully reelected for a second term, serving from 2012 through 2017. Throughout that period, Liberia was the only country out of 54 to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, moving the country up 10 places in the Index’s overall ranking during this period.

“Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her 12 years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build,” Salim said.

Johnson will be paid the $5 million prize over 10 years and $200,000 for the rest of her life.

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This weekend, on Our World with Black Enterprise we talk to Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co who shares his secrets to successful leadership. Then, we profile Shashicka Tyre-Hill, the founder of Miracle Home Care out of Georgia. She explains the importance of senior care in today’s world. Also, Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture discusses the journey it took to get Washington’s newest museum built. And finally, we check in on Johnny Nunez, who went from paparazzi to celebrity photographer. He’s clicking his way to the top.


On this edition of Women of Power TV, we talk with Stacey Abrams, who is on the verge of making history by becoming the first African American woman elected governor of Georgia. She tells us why she’s running. Then, we chat with celebrity publicist and author Terrie Williams, who is motivating women to power forward in mind, body, and spirit. Also a highlight on Joi Gordon, the CEO of Dress for Success. She explains the new opportunities her organization gives to women getting back into the workforce. And finally, a lesson in skin care with Seven Brown, the founder of Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic.

View the full listing of where and when to watch each show in your area.

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Florida School Shooting Suspect Reported To Be White Nationalist

The alleged Florida gunman accused of killing 17 people at a high school Wednesday afternoon in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, wasn’t just reportedly suffering from mental illness—he’s also a white nationalist.


The Man Behind the Gun

Nikolas Cruz, 19, created chaos and frenzy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when he pulled a fire alarm and then opened fire into a flood of panicked teens. News reports reveal that Cruz suffered from depression and had been expelled from the school last year after getting into a fight. The suspect had also posted disturbing comments on social media using derogatory slurs directed at blacks and Muslims as well as expressing desires to become a “professional school shooter.”

Still, despite his alarming obsession with firearms and murder, he had unrestricted access to guns. On the day of the shooting rampage, he was armed with an AR-15 and several magazines.

President Donald Trump responded to the mass shooting Thursday morning in a tweet calling Cruz “mentally disturbed” and urging Americans to contact authorities about people who pose a threat of danger. Trump echoed that sentiment during a press conference where he vowed to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” However, by framing the mass shooting as merely a mental health issue, the president has failed to acknowledge two overarching factors in this tragedy: lax gun laws and the resurgence of white nationalist violence in America.


The Rise of White Hate Groups

Cruz was more than just a troubled teen. According to ABC News, he’s a member of a white supremacist group called the Republic of Florida, a self-described “white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics” and aiming to create a “white ethnostate.” In 2017, Florida residents complained about the group’s growing presence in fear that it would lead to violence. “I really feel like they’re not any different from a terrorist group in the Middle East or anywhere else—or even just like a gang,” said Jay Godin, a Tallahassee resident, to ABC News affiliate WTXL.

Jordan Jereb, the leader of the Republic of Florida, confirmed that Cruz had participated in the group’s armed combat training, but denied that the organization had any dealings in the massacre. “He acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did,” said Jereb.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, listed the Republic of Florida as part of its “Hatewatch” in 2015. Although there is no clear motive behind Cruz’s massacre, it’s worth noting that the group’s resurgence coincides with the rise of the Alt-Right, a notorious movement that includes white supremacists and Trump loyalists. Over the last four years, 43 people have died at the hands of white supremacists while dozens more have been injured. Trump, however, has yet to denounce the acts of violence committed by the Alt-Right. Instead, he called the white nationalists who participated in a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in August “very fine people.”



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A Heart for Fashion: What Black Women Need to Know about Heart Disease

It’s fashion week here in New York City and last week the American Heart Association painted the town red for their Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection fashion show presented by Macys. Thousands of people gathered at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown to raise awareness about Heart Disease. Actress Lynn Whitfield and Zuri Hall, E News correspondent, were among some of the stunning women to take the runway in red designer dresses at the star- studderaising; but they made it clear that it was not about them. For them it was about raising awareness about the disease that kills more women than all of the cancers combined. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams who is the 20th United States Surgeon General and Cardiologist Dr. Nakela Cook, chief of staff at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute were also in attendance to raise awareness and stated that black women need to pay attention to the silent killer because of the different risk factors associated with them.

Actor Lynn Whitfield walks the runway during the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2018 presented by Macy’s at Hammerstein Ballroom on Feb. 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for AHA)

The event couldn’t come at a better time as it is both Fashion Week and Heart Awareness Month. In fact, 1 in 3 women will be impacted by heart disease and every 80 seconds a woman passes away from heart-related complications. That is why at this year’s Women of Power Summit we are partnering with the AHA to help women go red and get fit with fitness expert Uti Middleton who will be teaching women new ways to prioritize their heart health.

Listen to your heart

For Whitfield, being in the room was about honoring her late grandmother and charging women to take responsibility for their heart health. “My grandmother in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had a heart attack when she was 55-years-old putting on a corset. She was an amazing woman but was not as conscious as she should have been about heart health.”

Hall was excited to be in the room and raise awareness as a black women who has family and friends who have struggled with their health and says that women don’t have to wait until something is wrong to go to the doctors.

“I felt a weird murmur a few months ago and I went to the doctors and I talked about it and he recommended me to a specialist. I was in the clear but I did that and that was necessary for me to know that I was fine, thank God. But, the unfortunate truth is that some people may go and find out that everything is not fine but at least you know and you can do something about it,” said Hall.

Listening to your body and staying on top of your heart health is key, especially for black women.

“One of the things that is really unique about women is that often we don’t recognize when there are problems with our hearts. So I would say that it’s important to not only to pay attention to prevention and make those small changes and making the changes in your diet but to pay attention to when things aren’t quite right…and recognize those signs and symptoms and seek out medical care,” said Dr. Cook.

Interestingly enough, Whitfield comes from a family of physicians and she says that while her family was more focused on medicine she is more focused on taking responsibility over her health for the best outcomes.

Hall also takes her heart health extremely seriously as a black woman who knows that she is at risk.  “African American women are the group least likely to name heart disease or a stroke as a concern. For women, the truth is, it is. And, as an African American woman I think that that’s something that we should know,” said Hall.

Put yourself first

A huge part of taking care of your heart is to take good care of yourself which means that you have to put yourself first.

“Women tend to take care of their children, homes, and community before they take care of themselves and we want them to understand that you can’t take care of the community if you don’t take care of yourself,” said Surgeon General Adams.

Some of the ways that Whitfield practices self-care is by putting herself first, eating right and exercising. “You know what I’m finding out? I’m finding out that I really don’t do as well at everything else if I don’t pay attention to those areas, you know? She also has modified her diet to be about 30% raw and she has taken on a holistic approach to living.  “I have nice program of fitness and a trainer who is a mature woman who is really helping me to integrate it in a way that I can really keep up with it and I also try to keep my psyche and my spiritual life going in the right direction,” says Whitfield.

Hall also has incorporated more exercise into her daily routine and cut back on junk foods which she says wasn’t easy and schedules time to be by herself.

TV personality Zuri Hall walks the runway during the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2018 presented by Macy’s at Hammerstein Ballroom on Feb.8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for AHA) ***

“I’ve learned in the last few years that it’s the most important thing because you cannot pour from an empty cup and I had nothing left to give and I was ready to burn out and I realized that if you can’t even enjoy the fruits of your labor then what is the point in the labor? So, I carve out time for myself the same way that I carve out time for my friends for brunch, or for my business meeting, or for an office meeting with my boss. And the same way that it’s from 2pm-3:15pm… If someone hits me up and says ‘let’s get drinks at five…I say, ‘I can’t I’m busy.’” said Hall.

Little steps toward heart healthiness will take you a long way. Surgeon General Adams says that just 22 minutes of exercise every day which adds up to be two and a half hours of exercise a week can make a big difference in your heart health. Avoiding or decreasing your intake of tobacco, scheduling regular appointments with your physician and limiting the amount of junk food you intake can result in a healthier lifestyle.

Life goes on

In raising awareness about heart disease for women Whitfield, Hall, Surgeon General Hall and Dr. Cook have all been transformed by their work. And, they encourage all women to listen to their hearts, learn their heart health numbers and take preventive measures to ensure their health.

“This work has changed my life in a number or ways; as a father of a young girl who is at risk for heart disease, as a son of a mother who has heart disease, as a brother as a sister who’s at risk for heart disease it’s very personal to me. So I’ve been changed by knowing that we are at risk and I’ve also been changed by know that we can do something about it,” said Surgeon General Adams.

Whitfield want women to know that, “Your health is the quality of your life and since we are vessels and in those vessels we carry our purposes. Without health it is very difficult to manifest that which we’re destined to have.”

If you want to take better care of your heart health and learn ways to prevent heart disease, join us and the American Heart Association at the Women of Power Summit.

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President Trump Proposes Budget, Infrastructure Plan to Democrats’ Rebuke

Democrats in Congress have issued strong reactions to President Donald Trump’s $200 billion infrastructure plans and proposed $4 trillion budget released on Monday.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called the president’s budget proposal and infrastructure plans a “double dose of bad policy.”

The proposed plan will offer up to $200 billion in federal funding over 10 years to repair roads, build bridges, airports, seaports, energy projects, and water systems. If the numbers aren’t adding up, it’s because states, local governments, and private investors will shoulder much of the financial obligations in the president’s plan.



Critics say leaving key decisions of what needs to be built or repaired, like the water pipes in Flint, Michigan, will leave states and under-served communities in a difficult place since private investors are most likely to fund projects that will pay financial dividends.

“There is bipartisan agreement on the need to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and put Americans back to work, and President Trump was elected upon a promise to work with Democrats to do just that,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle, who represents Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district.

“The president claims that his plan invests $1.5 trillion. In reality, the proposal includes only $200 billion in federal investment after robbing other critical investments, and leaves toll-paying families and state and local governments—already hurt by the Trump Tax Scam—to pick up the tab,” said Boyle, who is a part of the 35-member Blue Collar Caucus.

“Meanwhile, the proposal lets private investors dictate which projects receive funding, and doesn’t say a word about Buy America purchasing requirements. This is not the ‘big league’ bipartisan infrastructure we were promised,” he said.

Gupta said the president’s plans would “leave behind too many American communities and those most in need” and that Congress should ignore the “unacceptable proposals” and craft new legislation.

“His budget would deny critical health care to those most in need simply to bankroll his wall through border communities, while his infrastructure scam would reward the rich and special interests at the expense of low-income communities and communities of color,” Gupta said.

The president also requested $23 billion for border security, including $18 billion for his border wall and money for more detention beds for detained immigrants.

In order to avoid a government shutdown, President Trump suggested in a tweet that a bipartisan immigration deal he labeled a “bill of love” will give young undocumented immigrants a path to legally stay in the United States and grant him the funds to build his wall.



He has also requested $25 billion to go toward border security, a skills-based visa program to replace the diversity lottery system, and an end to “chain migration,” in return for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants, including up to 800,000 DACA recipients. But Democrats have balked at some of these demands, and the two parties don’t appear to be close to an agreement.

Democrats, however have proposed an alternative infrastructure plan to President Trump’s.

Last week, House Democrats unveiled “A Better Deal to Rebuild America” plan, an alternative to the GOP’s, which includes $1 trillion in direct federal investment that would generate 16 million new jobs.

“In addition, the infrastructure plan will invest in American iron and steel to support good-paying jobs, and ensure opportunities for small business owners,” Boyle said.

He said the plan is “another broken promise and missed opportunity for bipartisan problem-solving by the president.”

The proposed $4 trillion-plus budget for the 2019 fiscal year projects a $1 trillion federal deficit with big spending increases for the Pentagon. There would, however, be massive spending cuts from the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other agencies. 

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Black Panther’s Costume Designer On Being Inspired by Ancient African Tribes

Marvel’s Black Panther movie is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2018. But beyond a star-studded lineup of incredible black talents such as Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Lupita Nyong’o, the film also includes an action-packed storyline equipped with a variety of jaw-dropping costumes. So we caught up with Ruth E. Carter, the Academy Award-nominated designer behind the film to talk about how the ancient tribes of Africa inspired her designs of the superhero costumes.

Carter is no stranger to recreating representations of blacks in films—she’s also the creative mastermind behind some of the most iconic black films in history—School DazeMalcolm XAmistadDo the Right Thing, Roots (2016) and Selma, to name a few. Below she shares her design process and inspiration behind the film’s costumes.

Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter

Ruth E. Carter on working with the film production team and planning for the design process. 

Marvel Studios gave me a blueprint. They had a lot of plans for the costumes, whether it was visual effects, special effects, or photo doubles. So they told me the elements the costume needed to have. From rich saturated colors and beautiful prints to textures—these things were rooted in African culture.

So we researched all of these wonderful different ancient tribes from the continent of Africa such as the Xhosa, Zula, Himba, and Maasai, and learned about their secrets and the reason behind doing things a certain way. For instance, when The Himba Tribe used this beautiful red clay that they put all over their bodies (including, jewelry hands, and hair) it was for the desert dwellers to have moisturizer. It also made your skin and hair really soft. It even had Shea butter—it was also so colorful and intense. It could even be bottled and sold today as a moisturizer.

On the other hand, the Maasai Tribe was known for all of this beautiful beadwork—so we wanted to direct the costumes towards that look. The stacked rings are a very prominent visual jewelry and were worn by ancient African tribes—that was also part of the framework that Marvel said we would like to have. I hired a jewelry designer who does African-inspired jewelry. She created rings, and necklaces—featuring a hand-tooled element that really pulled the looks together. We also pulled inspiration for the costumes from the draped robe attire that you often see in the Nigerian culture.


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Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Talks Misconceptions and Plans for 2018

As co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors is a modern-day revolutionary igniting change and turning messages into movements about law enforcement accountability and race in America. But beyond activist and co-founder of BLM, she’s a Fulbright Scholar, performance artist, an author of When they Call You A Terrorist, an instant New York Times Best Seller. Four years after the start of the movement, we caught up with Cullors to clear up BLM misconceptions and plans to expand. 

Let’s take it back to when you and your cofounders (Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza) first started the Black Lives Matter Movement, what were your intentions? 

The intention for Black Lives Matter had everything to do with wanting to challenge the idea that black people couldn’t fight for themselves and couldn’t be at the forefront for challenging anti-black racism. The beginning of BLM was really about developing a new set of skills and new leaders to challenge white supremacy and the way that it shapes everything that we do.

Over the years, what have you been most surprised to learn about yourself as well as the movement?

I’ve been most surprised to learn how vulnerable we are to right-wing attack and that our movement would be labeled a terrorist organization. I was most surprised that I would be labeled a terrorist and the people I loved would be labeled terrorist.

What have been the points of your journey that you’ve felt that BLM was most successful?

I think we’ve been successful at shifting culture and building out narratives that center black people at the margins. BLM is innovative and constantly challenging the ways we collectively understand blackness. There has been a deeper commitment to learning about issues that the black community faces and a realization from a lot of people that if we fight for black lives then ultimately, when black people get free, we all get free.

What are two common misconceptions people have about the BLM movement? 

Misconception No. 1 is that BLM is just the name of a movement and that movement only exists in America. BLM is also a global organization with over 40 chapters in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Our network understands that anti-black racism is global and the work of undoing white supremacy should be happening around the world.

Misconception No. 2 is that it BLM is leaderless. We believe BLM is leaderful and all movements have many leaders, our movement doesn’t believe in a single charismatic leader.

What events, initiatives, and plans do you have for BLM in 2018? What types of conversations should we be having more of?

We should be having conversations on what it looks like to build the black economy and what it looks like to develop black communities from the ground up. We’re in a long-haul fight given this administration and its consistent fight against us; white supremacy isn’t just here in the United States, it is a global phenomenon and we must challenge it as such.

In 2018, our chapters will continue to do the work that they do on the ground—fighting the local government, calling for new laws, and fighting against police brutality. As a global network, our work for the next year is building our own infrastructure. We’ve spent the last four years resisting and fighting back in reaction to black deaths and this next year is taking a deeper dive into what the next decade of this fight looks like.

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6 Black Fashion Labels to Know, Celebrate, and Support

At the start of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Beyoncé released a new Valentine’s Day-themed collection of merchandise on her website. The 10-piece capsule includes phone cases, hoodies, T-shirts, and undergarments inspired by her hit songs. The pieces, which range from $30 to $60, make the perfect gifts for a significant other, especially if you’re planning to “Buy Black” for bae for the holiday.

But even if you’re not celebrating Valentine’s Day, there’s always a reason to support the fashion designers who strive to overcome notorious racial barriers within the industry. Here’s a mix of black fashion designers to get to know, celebrate, and support—from legends like Dapper Dan to the up-and-coming talent making a splash.


6 Black Fashion Labels to Know:

For Luxury: Laquan Smith

(Image: Beyonce wearing LaQuan Smith | Photo Credit: Instagram/LaQuan_Smith)


At just 29 years old, designer LaQuan Smith is making waves in the fashion industry. The native New Yorker is responsible for the sleek, body-hugging dress that Beyoncé wore as she presented Colin Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award at Sports Illustrated’s Person of the Year Awards in December. Smith’s signature sexy, show-stopping pieces have also been flaunted by fashion trailblazers such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian West.


For Woke Folk: Pyer Moss

A post shared by Whitney Bauck (@unwrinkling) on

Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of the Pyer Moss label, is renowned for using fashion as a fierce weapon of force to address and combat social injustice. Back in Fall 2015, the Haitian-American designer kicked off a presentation at NYFW with a 15-minute video about police brutality and black empowerment. The Pyer Moss’ Spring 2016 Menswear Collection infused video, street art, and fashion to spotlight the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jean-Raymond also delivered a powerful message on Saturday during a NYFW presentation inspired by the black cowboys of the 19th century. The collection featured Western-style jackets and shirts and a piece bearing the Pan-African flag. In the backdrop, a live gospel choir led by multi-platinum musician Raphael Saadiq sung uplifting songs like Kendrick Lamar’s politically-charged anthem “Alright.”


For a Custom Fit: Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan

(Image: Instagram/DapperDanHarlem)

Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day pioneered luxury hip-hop fashion in the 80s and 90s by remixing high-end brands into urban streetwear. However, after closing shop 25 years ago, the legendary designer opened a new store in Harlem this year similar to the famous Dapper Dan Boutique that closed in 1992— but this time with a Gucci twist. Rather than recreating luxury brands into urban streetwear without authorization, now Gucci provides Dan with fabrics, prints, and patches to design customized bespoke pieces. In addition to made-to-order garments, the Harlem couturier has limited-edition ready-to-wear items and accessories available for purchase.


For Street Style: Lyfestyle

(Image: Instagram/LyfestyleNYC)

Born in Brooklyn, Lyfestyle captures the essence of New York City urban art, style, and flavor. The brand was birthed from the imaginations of four friends who loved the lavish fashion on Fifth Avenue but were limited to shopping on a SoHo budget. That inspired the group to launch their own apparel line in 2010, which uniquely bears the brand’s signature logo upside down. Lyfestyle co-founder Kamau Harper says the stylized logo is a creative expression of individuality that always appears right side up when viewed by the person wearing the clothes.

The streetwear is making waves and growing in popularity largely thanks to hip-hop heavyweights like Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and Diddy, who have been seen wearing the brand.


For Ready-To-Wear: Colour by Nandi Madida

A post shared by nandi_madida (@nandi_madida) on

Hailing all the way from South Africa, Nandi Madida presented a beautiful Autumn/Winter 2018 collection at NYFW on Saturday showcasing her line Colour in collaboration with designer Josh Patron. Models ripped the runway in bright and bold fabrics and patterns that extruded the elegance and sophistication of an African queen. The designer and international media personality launched Colour clothing line in 2016.


For the Culture: Abdju Wear

Abdju Wear

Abdju Wear founder Bobby West

Abdju Wear is a new clothing line that sports high-end clothes and sneakers at affordable prices. The brand offers everything from polo-style shirts to hightop sneakers in traditional Pan-African flag colors. The designer, Bobby West, aspires to become a staple in black fashion the same way that Ralph Lauren has become one of the most iconic brands in the country.

“We are taking the hood out of the community one shoe at a time,” said West in a statement. “Abdju Wear is dedicated to building the African American community with a product that will transform the hoods back into a community. The starter of Abdju Wear have been volunteering in the black community for over 17 years. We have created a product that will stimulate the community with small business opportunities. We are bringing pride back into the marketplace with the red, black, and green.”




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