Black Accessory Designers Alliance (BADA) presented the creations of accessory designers of color at recent New York Fashion Week Pop Up Soirée

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On Tuesday September 12, 2017, Black Accessory Designers Alliance™ (BADA) presented the creations of accessory designers of color at their semi-annual New York Fashion Week Pop Up Soirée.

The event, a celebration of talented, yet undiscovered artisans, took place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Unarthodox at 547 West 27 Street, Suite 300 in West Chelsea. Wilbur Pack, Jr., the co-founder of BADA, was among the designers showcasing the newest styles of his bag line SK WiLBUR. He says, “We are very proud to generate this opportunity for designers, like me, who would not normally be able to afford the cost of showing for New York Fashion Week. With BADA, we are able to pool our monies to reach the shared goal of shining a spotlight on each individual and our community as a whole.”

Ursallie Smith, the interior design dynamo behind Rococo Design Interiors and the mastermind behind Pillow Throw and Tuck™ decorative pillows, presented her home accessories line for the fourth time with BADA. “It’s gratifying to be a part of BADA sharing my aesthetic with a broad spectrum of people,” Smith admits. Velvet Lattimore, the owner of Vedazzling Accessories Boutique in DUMBO, Brooklyn and co-founder of BADA presented some of the special, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted accessory pieces that she’s collected as a retailer and champion of unsung designers. She says, “There is so much under-the-radar talent out here. With BADA and Vedazzling Accessories, I am able to introduce their work to the buying public and press, too.”

Joining BADA for NY Fashion Week for the first time was FULABA, a contemporary jewelry line of earrings and bracelets. Handcrafted and beautifully rendered in both silver and gold, these wearable works of art invoke the majesty of African queens. Haby Barry, the brand’s founder, is a Guinean American of Fulani descent who wants to share the traditions, nobility, and grace of her ancestors with the world. She is also empowering the people of Guinea by using her entrepreneurial endeavors to build economic opportunities for them. To shop her line, please visit www.fulaba.com.

Shavon Dorsey, the designer and CEO of her eponymous shoe brand, is ready to take her seat at the table with other shoe design sheroes like Charlotte Olympia, Tory Burch, and Tabitha Simmons. After years of gazing longingly at the shoe candy gracing the pages of magazines like Vogue and W, Shavon made the fearless move to create footwear that is easy on the pocketbooks of fashionistas like her and her girlfriends. Sandals, wedges, and pumps in bright, bold colors comprise the premier collection. Five head-turning styles that so deftly combine style with comfort are currently available for purchase on www.blueclosetboutique.com.

Sheryl Jones began her career in fine jewelry in 1999, after working for a decade in the entertainment industry as a film and television publicist and later as Vice President of Communications at MTV: Music Television. “I have always been passionate about fine gemstones’ transformative power and beauty,” she explains, “and dreamed of one day bringing music’s similar vitality to a fine jewelry collection of my own.” After working as an apprentice with one of Belgium’s finest diamond manufacturers, she struck out on her own with Sheryl Jones Designs in New York City’s Diamond District. Now this gem genius who has been dubbed “The Black Queen of Diamonds” is blazing her own trail as the only black woman operating her own brand of bling in The District. To check out some of her ogle-worthy pieces, visit www.sheryljonesjewels.com.

Tremaine Coates, the heartbeat of T’Da Couture, is a self taught bag and belt designer who picked up a needle and thread one day after work just a few short years ago and stitched up his first pristine leather bag. Now he’s weaving his innate talent into entrepreneurial gold with a collection of structured bags that are functional and beautifully rendered in luxurious leathers.The leather belts, in colors like cobalt and red, have a polished gold buckle featuring the company’s logo. They are perfect for both men and women. To place an order from the collection, please email tdacouturellc@gmail.com.

André Pierre’s passion for design was ignited at an early age when his maternal grandmother taught him his first stitch on fabric swatches. With determination and a focus on his studies at the New York Interior Design School and Atlanta Metropolitan Technical College, André soon became a sought after set decorator with over 75 Hollywood films to his credit including The Hunger Games series, Selma, and Baby Driver. André’s work can also be seen on the OWN cable series Greenleaf and several commercials for Samsung. Twelve years ago, this interior design dynamo established A Pierre Design, LLC decorating dozens of model homes and creating sought after home accessories. To see more about André, please visit his
website www.apierredesign.com.

ABOUT BADA
Black Accessory Designers Alliance, established in 2015, addresses a crippling divide in the fashion industry caused by a lack of meaningful opportunities for minority designers. We seek to elevate and increase the visibility of accessory businesses owned by designers of color by increasing opportunities for them to network with industry leaders and others. Our five main initiatives are:

The Bi-Annual New York Fashion Week Pop-Up Soiree
During NY Fashion Week, we present the work of emerging and established accessory designers of color and invite fashion industry leaders, traditional press, bloggers, and the public to become acquainted with them and their designs. The event and participating designers have been featured in respected publications, both online and print.

Panel Discussions and Networking Mixers
We host panel discussions and mixers throughout the year featuring up-and-coming designers and trailblazers who promote community development,collaboration,and cultivate networking opportunities. Handbag designer Monica Botkier, vintage style guru Jonathan Bodrick, celebrity wardrobe stylist Wouri Vice, and many others who are well-regarded in fashion have participated.

Internships and Mentoring
Because of the importance of demonstrating to young designers the viability of their art as a career, we offer internships to NYC-area high school and college students. We have fostered relationships with the High School of Fashion Industries, Harvey Milk School, Harlem School of the Arts, and Henry Street Settlement.

The Database of Accessory Designers of Color
As members of the community we serve, we often hear from potential consumers that they don’t know how to find products by designers of color. We are creating an online directory of designers in all accessory disciplines—including bags, contemporary jewelry, and millinery—that will be featured on our website www.badaunite.org.

The Store & E-Commerce Site
Items created by participating designers are sold at Vedazzling Accessories Boutique and on www.vedazzlingaccessories.com.

Black History Month Spotlight: How Eric Wise Turned His Love of Kicks & Culture Into a Career at Adidas

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Like many people who work at powerful athletic companies, Eric Wise fell in love with sneakers at an early age.

“I remember my first pair of Jordans and different Adidas product — they were status pieces,” said Wise, who joined Adidas in 2016 and is now global senior director of product for Originals. “They were social currency back then, without social media.”

Wise, now a father of four, grew up in Reading, Pa., a city with one of the highest crime rates in the state. As he tells it: “When you grow up in the inner city, unfortunately there are tons of examples of what not to do, and you grow through that. You can either do the bad stuff or have an angle around it with sports, art, music or fashion.”

For Wise, it was sports. He eventually earned a spot on the football team at Fairfield University in Connecticut. After college, with a business degree in hand, he entered the finance world in Boston, calling it “a painful experience selling mutual funds. I quickly decided it wasn’t for me.”

It’s little wonder, then, that Wise found his way back to his true passion: sneaker culture.

Here’s how it happened — and how he continues to rise through the ranks.

What made you want to pursue a career in the athletic industry? How did you break in?

“I went back to Reading in 2004, and there was a store called Sneaker Villa, which had a couple of [locations] at the time. It was family-owned, and it had all the big footwear and apparel accounts. They were a big deal and they were selling the culture — sneakers, sports and hip-hop were all clashing together. It was cool to see that marriage. I knew the owner and started working in the warehouse. They got to the point where they were looking to expand into Philadelphia. They asked if I wanted to run one of the stores or be a buyer. So I actually ended up being the first person that wasn’t a family member that could spend their money.”

Looking back on your career, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

“I’m most proud of being able to be an example to other African-Americans and minorities that may not know that these jobs exist in the industry — that there are these opportunities in the footwear business and sportswear. I didn’t know [that] growing up. I didn’t really travel out of my state until I was 18. I never got on a plane until I was in college. All these things were foreign to me. How would you know? There are tons of kids across the country in that same boat. So being able to be an example and show people that there are these opportunities in this industry, in something that you love, grew up with and is part of our culture, is something I’m proud of.”

As a minority, what has been the biggest obstacle you faced in your career?

“The lack of diversity within this industry is something that is very visible. That’s what you see. That ends up becoming an obstacle. Is there enough mentoring from people who can show you the path to go? Can you get educated on how best to navigate corporate America? In general, if you don’t have a lot of people of color in those high positions to look to as an example, to show you the way to go, or have those people to talk to, it’s harder to get into those larger positions.”

Sneakers have a diverse consumer base. Why doesn’t that diversity translate at the higher levels in greater numbers at these companies?

“I’m assuming everybody wants to have a more diverse company regardless of what industry you are in. Whether people are recruiting in the right places and things like that, I don’t know.”

So what specific steps should footwear firms take to make their ranks more diverse?

“It goes back to when you recruit — where do you cast your net? That is super-important. If you’re a company, you should look at where there’s consumption. If there is a large amount of consumption by this consumer base in certain places, that’s a good place to start. Focus on where that is. Going to where the consumer that really buys your product lives and is a brand advocate is the easiest place to start to get that pipeline going.”

Continue onto FootWearNews to read the complete article.

Tyra Banks Will Open Supermodel-Themed Amusement Park, ‘ModelLand’

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Get ready to “smize”…

OG supermodel Tyra Banks recently announced that later this year she will be expanding her modeling brand with a new project called ModelLand — and it’s not at all what you think. Unless you thought it was a theme park, in that case, you were right on the money!

“I’ve always been insanely inspired by attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios and have wanted to bring that spirit of adventure and storytelling to the world of modeling,” Tyra shared with Variety. “But not the exclusive modeling industry. I’m talking about modeling for the masses.”

The 45-year-old recently announced on Instagram that she has been working on a fantasy version of the modeling world for the past 10 years and that she’s extremely excited to share it with the world.

“My dream for you will soon be a reality. #ModelLand. A place where everyone can be a model,” she posted on Instagram. “A place where all beauty is celebrated. I can’t wait for you to Step Into Your Light. Head over to Model-Land.com to sign up for more information. Link in bio. #ModelLand @modelland.”

The first-of-its-kind experiential attraction is set to be open late 2019 housed in Macerich’s Santa Monica Place, the iconic multi-level 21,000 sq. ft. open-air shopping, dining and entertainment destination just blocks from the beach in Santa Monica.

For the complete article, continue on to BET.

Brian Flores Ready To Join Dolphins’ All-Black Leadership Team

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Not sure if the NFL has ever had a minority head coach from Brownsville, Brooklyn, but New England Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores will fit that mold when he assumes the head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins.

Flores is a living example that the American Dream is still very much alive.

Once highly-touted defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Detroit Lions after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, Flores was awarded the defensive play-calling responsibilities in addition to his job as linebackers coach. He had huge shoes to fill.

On Sunday, Flores, the son of immigrant parents from Honduras, had the kind of slam dunk final interview that a hunch could never satisfy.

“You don’t get to be defensive signal caller under Bill Belichick unless you know your stuff,” NFL sideline announcer Tracy Wolfson said in a flattering appraisal of Flores’ efforts during the Patriots’ 41-28 thrashing of the LA Chargers in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game.

The Patriots defense stifled the No. 6 scoring offense in the league behind a variety of blitz packages and defensive alignments. Now Flores and the Patriots will look to suppress the Chiefs offense, who finished No. 1 in the league in 2018.

Dolphins owner Steve Ross and general manager Chris Grier have seen enough. They intend to offer their vacant head coaching position to Brooklyn native.

Despite the owners’ whitewashing of the NFL head coaching ranks, the Dolphins seem to be on a progressive plane of their own. Miami would be the only NFL team to have a black/Hispanic coach, black general manager and assistant GM. Grier will remain the GM next season and Miami just hired former Buffalo Bills scout Marvin Allen to assist him.

For the complete article, continue on to The Shadow League.

Increasing African-American homeownership is important to economic progress

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Cerrita-Battles-Wells-Fargo

By:  Cerita Battles, SVP, head of Retail Diverse Segments, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and the progress that has been made to achieve racial equality in this country. This also is an important time to recognize work that still needs to be done to achieve that equality.

One area is homeownership, where African Americans lag behind all other ethnic groups when it comes to owning a home.

People from rapidly growing diverse communities represent the majority of growth among potential first-time homebuyers. According to the 2010 Census Bureau, of the 14 million new households expected by 2024, 75 percent of those will be diverse. For many Americans and particularly African Americans, homeownership is an integral component of the American dream, and a way to build security and wealth for families.

However, the African-American homeownership rate does not align with the significant desire to own a home. The current homeownership rate for African Americans, about 42 percent, is the lowest among all ethnic minorities.  As one of the nation’s leading lenders with a team of mortgage professionals dedicated to helping customers achieve the dream of homeownership, Wells Fargo stepped up its efforts to positively impact African-American homeownership. During Black History Month in 2017, the company announced a 10-year commitment to help increase African-American homeownership that includes: $60 billion in purchase lending to create at least 250,000 homeowners; a focus on increasing the diversity of its sales team including African-American Home Mortgage Consultants; and dedicating $15 million toward homebuyer education and counseling initiatives. To achieve this important work, Wells Fargo is proud to have the support of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the NAACP and the National Urban League.

It has been two years since we made that announcement. We continue to make progress on that commitment, helping more customers become educated about and prepared for the homebuying process and guiding and supporting them as they travel the journey to become homeowners.

Our commitment to increase African-American homeownership is part of Wells Fargo’s overall Advancing Homeownershipsm effort, which brings together people, partners and resources to create new opportunities for long-term, successful homeownership.  In addition to the African-American lending commitment, this effort includes programs like Neighborhood LIFT®, which helps low- to moderate-income families achieve homeownership with homebuyer education and down payment assistance. Since, LIFT programs have helped to create nearly 20,000 homeowners.

Even though we are making progress with our African-American lending commitment, we realize there is still much work to be done to raise the homeownership rate of this segment of the population. Like many Americans, African Americans desire to own homes, but are often challenged by industry barriers like affordability and lack of inventory. And even though we have seen improvements in the economy, underemployment and unemployment are factors in the inability to own a home.

In addition, there are misconceptions about homeownership and lack of knowledge about the process that create perceived barriers to owning a home. One of the most-believed myths is that is takes a 20 percent down payment in order to qualify for a loan. That’s not true. Many lenders, including Wells Fargo, offer financing options with a low down payment.  Another myth is that borrowers need perfect credit.  It’s important for aspiring homeowners to speak with a lender to separate the myths from the facts when it comes to purchasing a home. Homebuyer education and counseling are key in helping aspiring homeowners avoid myths, and create more confidence and knowledge when it comes to pursuing homeownership. That’s why investing in education is such a critical part of the African-American homeownership commitment.

Wells Fargo views homeownership as a pathway to financial success for our customers, a source of stability in communities and a key driver of our economy.  We want to help people find the place they will call home – the place where their lives will happen, where they will create memories, spend time with friends or raise their families.  We are dedicated to helping those who want to achieve homeownership, and our African-American commitment is one way we are working to do it.

For more information on home mortgage, visit WellsFargo.com.

What Black History Month Means To Me

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Gail Ricketts On Semi

As a company, ON Semiconductor celebrates differences and promotes an inclusive environment by valuing the contributions of all employees and the communities in which we serve. Part of this celebration is recognizing and honoring the cultural histories and backgrounds of our employees.

This February, we asked Gail Ricketts, CISA, CRISC, Certified CISA & CRISC Trainer, MBA, a key member of our information security and risk staff, to tell us about her life, career and what Black History Month means to her.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Gail Ricketts (G.R.): Black History Month, also referred to as African-American History Month, is about heritage. My personal view of Black History Month is through the lens of my heritage, which comes from Suriname, South America, and the Caribbean Island of Jamaica.

What was your introduction in early life to black history in America?

G.R.: Although most Americans know little, there is rich and diverse black history woven into the fabric of America. My family provided me with a tremendous education about our history. They made me aware of the impact that black Americans had on American society.

Who are some of the people your family taught you about growing up?

G.R.: Inventors like Jan Matzeliger, whose invention the shoe making machine, patented in 1883, could make anywhere from 150 to 700 pairs of shoes per day. Garrett Morgan ,who invented the traffic signal, patented in 1923, and the gas mask, patented in 1914. Mathematicians and Scientists the likes of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan, whose lives portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures  who wrote the mathematical calculations that went in to making John Glenn the first American man into space in 1962. To people like Fannie Lou Hamas, a Civil Rights Activist, Marian Wright Edelman, and a Children Rights Activist to John Lewis a Congressman from the state of Georgia.

While these names are not well known, they have changed America in beneficial, influential and productive ways. I believe that it is my responsibility to share my knowledge and experiences to enlighten those that I can in a positive manner of the contributions black Americans have made to this great nation.

How did your heritage and family background influence your education and career path?

G.R.: My family used these lessons to instill the importance of pursuing education and knowledge. I wanted to be a teacher but found that my interest in technology was stronger. I changed my major, accounting, to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and graduated in 2002 with a specialization in networking from the University of Phoenix.

I obtained two professional certifications: one as an information systems auditor (CISA) in 2004 and one in information systems risk (CRISC) in 2010 from ISACA.org, for which I am certified by ISACA to teach both. So twice a year, for the last 13 years, I have the honor and pleasure of combining my two passions: teaching and technology.

I went back to school, Arizona State University, where I obtained an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 2011. Before coming to ON Semiconductor, I consulted with Fortune 500 companies, e.g., Ford Motor Company, GM, TASER, MGM Grand to name a few.

How are you working to share your knowledge in the community?

G.R.: I teach via Junior Achievement of Arizona through the relationship between ON Semiconductor and Balsz Elementary School. I also sit on the board of the Cybersecurity Council of AZ as a Co-chair as well as on the board for The Alliance of Technology and Women as the treasurer.

I am working with Arizona State University to bring an artificial intelligence camp for under privilege girls to the West Campus for a three-week, all expenses paid experience, where the students will participate on enhancing artificial intelligence. We have already received a $50K grant, a promise of another $25K, and I am currently looking to secure the last $25K to make this endeavor a reality.

How This 24-Year-Old Former NYSE Equity Trader Made History

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At 22 years old, Lauren Simmons shattered the glass ceiling by being the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities. Affectionately dubbed as the “Lone Woman On Wall Street”, Simmons was also the second African-American woman in history to sport the prestigious badge.

Graduating Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, Simmons originally aspired to go into genetic counseling. She made a decision to put that on hold. What had not changed, however, was her passion to move to New York City, where networking led her to meet Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities. Beyond her many qualifications, it was ultimately Simmons’ confidence that led Rosenblatt to take her under his wing as an Equity Trader.

“Being a trader, you make decisions within microseconds,” Simmons said on meeting Rosenblatt, “So I think for him, even for me, the choice of coming onto the trading floor made sense immediately.”

The job wasn’t completely hers; she still had to pass the Series 19 exam, which is a requirement for all floor brokers to earn their badge. This test has a pass rate of 20% in a class of 10. After studying the book cover to cover for a month straight. Lauren Simmons made history. Since her story broke Lauren Simmons has been featured in various media outlets and currently, she has a movie on her journey to Wall Street starring Kiersey Clemons.

I spoke to Simmons about her journey to Wall Street, favorite moments on the trading floor and what the financial service industries can do to increase diversity and inclusion.

Dominique Fluker: Share your career journey. What inspired you to become an Equity Trader on Wall Street?

Lauren Simmons: My journey was the power of networking. I moved to New York with a genetics degree knew I wanted to do something completely different and networked like crazy. I had many people tell me no or that I didn’t have any direction because I was making the switch from genetics to statistics. And although I didn’t know what that role looked like. I was serious about it involving numbers. Ultimately becoming an equity trader was something that chose me. A job was offered to me, and I said yes. And as simple as that decision was most people often don’t say yes to roles that they once did not have training or schooling in.

Fluker: At 22 years old, you became the youngest, only full-time female employee and second-ever African-American woman working as a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. Share your process on how you broke the black ceiling.

Simmons: I never looked at my gender/race/age as a factor. At 22 I became the youngest trader (the media caught on after I had turned 23) or even imagined that I would be making history. I just wanted to do well in the role that I was given. My first month I studied for series 19 for a month straight. Didn’t talk to anyone. Originally the exam was something that anyone could pass. From what I was told you went into a room and they gave you the answers, but after the exchange went public and the exam was administered through FINRA it was a real exam. Many of the advice I was given was to just skim through the headlines of the chapters, and I would be just fine. Considering the fail rate was 80% I studied the book cover to cover. And I passed. Making history I didn’t find out till months later when I signed my name into the book, and an NYSE archivist went in front of the room with the audience and my family and informed the crowd I was the second African American women. And that moment was amazing to share with my family. And also bittersweet that in 225 I was the second African American. Amazing but eerie that things like this are still being accomplished in 2017 or 2000 anything.

Fluker: What did you love most about statistics and working on the New York Stock Exchange?

Simmons: Statistics is a universal language and through my college education of genetics and even using statistics in high school when I was going through the architectural engineering program I fell in love with numbers. Being able to interpret data to relay that information to clients was an exciting process.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Under Armour hires former Harley-Davidson exec to serve as chief culture officer

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In the wake of a promise to revamp its corporate culture, Under Armour said Wednesday that it has hired a Harley-Davidson Inc. veteran in an executive role as chief people and culture officer.

Tchernavia Rocker, who worked at Harley-Davidson for 22 years, will lead human resources and direct a culture strategy. She will report to founder and CEO Kevin Plankand start next month.

Under Armour’s previous head of human resources, Kerry D. Chandler, left the brand in November to take on a similar role at Endeavor, a Beverly Hills-based talent agency focused on sports, entertainment and fashion.

“Tchernavia brings deep industry experience in building best in class HR operations while developing strong workplace culture rooted in brand, values and transparency,” Plank said in an announcement. “We truly have the best team on the planet driving our business, and our investment in their careers is a top priority.”

Rocker spent more than 18 years in leadership roles at Harley-Davidson, most recently as vice president and chief human resources officer. Before that, she worked in human resources and operations roles at Goodyear Dunlop North America Tire Inc.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel and footwear maker has said it is working to transform its culture amid scrutiny of the #MeToo movement.

Continue onto the Baltimore-Sun to read the complete article.

The Breakthrough: How Jackie Robinson Proved He Belonged

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Fifty years ago, over fourteen games in May, Jackie Robinson erased any doubt that he belonged in the majors, clearing the path for other black players.

In the middle of the cool, drizzly afternoon of Sunday, May 25, 1947, as the Brooklyn Dodgers led the Philadelphia Phillies 4–3 in the eighth inning, Jackie Robinson ground his spikes into the rain-softened dirt of the batter’s box at Ebbets Field, turned to face Phillies reliever Tommy Hughes and waited for Hughes’s 3-and-1 cripple.

Forty days had passed since Robinson donned a Dodgers uniform and became the first black man in this century to play in the majors, going 0 for 3 in his debut at Ebbets on April 15. In recent games the 28-year-old rookie had begun to evince signs of settling down and playing the crisp, commanding brand of ball that Branch Rickey, the Dodgers’ president, had predicted of him. “You haven’t seen the real Robinson yet,” Rickey had been telling writers all spring. “Just wait.”

Through his first 30 big league games, played in six National League cities, the rookie had alternately struggled and soared, at times performing brilliantly at first base (a position new to him that year) but often pressing at the plate. Of course, Robinson had also been the target of racial epithets and flying cleats, of hate letters and death threats, of pitchers throwing at his head and legs, and catchers spitting on his shoes. In the midst of all this bristling animus, there was a circuslike quality to Dodgers games, with Robinson on display like a freak; with large crowds, including many blacks, lustily cheering even his dinkiest pop-ups; and with the daily papers singling him out as the “black meteor,” the “sepia speedster,” the “stellar Negro,” the “muscular Negro,” the “lithe Negro” and “dusky Robbie.”

“More eyes were on Jackie than on any rookie who ever played,” recalls Rex Barney, a Brooklyn reliever that year. It was a wonder, as he endured the mounting pressure of his first weeks in the bigs, that Robinson could perform at all. Yet perform he did, putting together a 14-game hitting streak in the first 2 1/2 weeks of May. By May 25, with the first extended road trip behind him and the novelty of his presence on the wane, Robinson was sensing what he later called a “new confidence” in his game. As he took the field that day against the Phillies—who, led by their Southern-born manager, Ben Chapman, had lacerated him with taunts of “nigger” and “black boy” from the dugout during their first series in April—Robinson had begun to feel, as he would put it, “some of the old power returning.”

In the fourth inning, with the Dodgers down 2–0 and their shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, on first, Robinson lashed a single to right center off Phillies starter Dick Mauney. Moments later Reese and Robinson raced home when Dodgers centerfielder Pistol Pete Reiser crashed a double off the left-centerfield wall. Two innings after that, with Reese again on first and Hughes now pitching, Robinson reached for a fastball and lined a single to left. Reese later scored when Hughes balked him home from third.

Having been at the center of the rallies that gave Brooklyn that tenuous one-run lead in the eighth, Robinson now dug in against Hughes and worked the count to 3 and 1. Hughes delivered a fastball high in the strike zone, fat as a melon, and Robinson turned all his 195 pounds into it, striking the ball harder than he had struck one all spring. Dick Young, the Dodgers’ beat reporter for the New York Daily News, mixed jazz with golf in search of a simile to describe the blast, rhapsodizing that the ball left home plate “like something out of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. It started on a low line, took off suddenly like a golf drive and zoomed far back into the lower leftfield deck.”

The Dodgers won 5–3, and contemporary accounts viewed the game as Robinson’s breakthrough in that young season, fulfilling Rickey’s prophesy that when the real Robinson at last arrived, he would be worth all the waiting. No one on that afternoon in May appeared more relieved than Burt Shotton, the Dodgers’ manager. “He has finally become relaxed and is playing the kind of ball that earned him his major league chance,” Shotton said. “Until today we just couldn’t get him to take a normal cut at the cripples they were getting him out on. Time after time we gave him signals to hit the 3-and-1 pitch, but very often he didn’t even swing. Guess he had too much on his mind.”

Despite all he had on his mind, despite all he had endured during the early days of that long season, it had grown clear by mid-May that Robinson, even a struggling Robinson, was in the Brooklyn lineup to stay. “The guy just had too much talent,” says Reese, “and too much guts.” Indeed, Robinson had won over teammates and opponents alike during his 14-game hitting streak, which was all the more impressive because it was a direct response to a horrible slump that would have finished lesser men in his situation.

Continue onto Sports Illustrated to read the complete article.

How 1 Woman Strategically Used Her Talents to Go From ‘Top Model’ to Top Entrepreneur

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Talk about a career change: Dominique Reighard-Brooks started on “America’s Next Top Model.” Today, she co-owns E.E. Ward, the oldest black-owned business in America.

Dominique Reighard-Brooks is a mover, in every sense of the word.

She is presently the co-owner of award-winning moving company E.E. Ward, which is also America’s oldest black-owned business. But her career began with a lengthy run on the popular reality show competition “America’s Next Top Model,” and soared when she graced the pages of publications like Ebony and Seventeen. Then, she signed on at E.E. Ward in 2014, working alongside her husband, Brian.

To the outside observer, it may appear as though Reighard-Brooks performed a professional 180. “It’s not the sexiest business,” she freely admits. But she finds plenty of crossover between modeling and moving.

“Being a self-starter, whether in the entertainment world or working in the logistics industry, means you’ve got to be willing to take action,” she explains. When you’re a model, singer and actress, you need to learn about marketing, self-promotion and persistence — all of which comes in handy when you’re running a company.

And in Reighard-Brooks’ case, when you’re trying to “enhance and re-energize the family business,” as she puts it, knowing a few secrets from the entertainment industry is helpful. After all, even a 138-year-old company needs to cultivate a fresh appearance on social media. Under her direction, E.E. Ward maintains an active — some might even say surprisingly glamorous, for a moving company — presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

In the years since Reighard-Brooks made her career change and joined E.E. Ward, the company has racked up a number of new awards for quality service, and she recently oversaw its first expansion outside of its home state of Ohio.

From Top Model to Top Entrepreneur

Reighard-Brooks was born and raised in the Columbus area by a family full of entrepreneurs, from her mother to her grandparents. At age 24, she found fame as a contestant on the 2008 cycle of “America’s Next Top Model.” Though she did not win the season — she placed fourth overall — her participation was a springboard into a busy modeling and performing career. In addition to appearing in popular magazines, she modeled for fragrance J’Adore and served as the face of Brooklyn beauty brand Carol’s Daughter.

[Related: Growing Carol’s Daughter in a Brooklyn Kitchen]

She relished those opportunities, but they frequently took her abroad, and she missed her husband and children while on shoots. So she contemplated a career change that would keep her closer to home. “I wanted to explore, evolve, and use other gifts and talents that were lying dormant,” she says. So, “I made a list of everything — every skill set, every relationship I’d developed over the years in entertainment, all of that.”

That personal assessment led her to team up with her husband, who had owned E.E. Ward since 2001 after buying it from his godfather, a member of the Ward family. Not everyone, of course, gets to choose such a relatively easy path into entrepreneurship. But Reighard-Brooks believed her experience would be an asset to the family business. “In my life, I’ve been a model, a singer, a writer, a video producer, a photo editor, a writer.” she says. “And I use all of those experiences in running the business.”

Reighard-Brooks helms a bustling operation. She manages a 50-person team — 70 strong when they hire part-time work during their busiest times — spread between its Columbus, Ohio headquarters and its Grove City, Ohio hub. Under her leadership, the company expanded outside Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina. She declined to disclose revenue figures, but says the company handles several thousand moves and deliveries each year, for both residential and commercial clients.

In addition, Reighard-Brooks is responsible for all of the content E.E. Ward produces — from social media posts and marketing campaigns to the development of its video content. A striking figure with long brunette hair, she frequently appears on E.E.Ward’s Instagram feed as the face of the company.

And in yet another unusual move for a moving company, she has also tapped into her fashion experience to launch a clothing division called 1881 Apparel. Launched last year as an offshoot of E.E. Ward, the venture “pays homage to the Ward family legacy.” The company, which sells tees and sweaters, is in its earliest stages, but Reighard-Brooks believes it has the potential to elevate the E.E. Ward brand.

Creating a Ripple Effect

When she joined E.E. Ward, Reighard-Brooks says she was wanted to cultivate the company’s unique position in history as the longest-lasting black business. She has directed the company’s ongoing involvement in philanthropic endeavors, such as its Laps for Learning fundraiser at the local YMCA. It emphasizes pool safety and has provided 393 lessons for low-income children to date.

 

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Black chefs break the glass ceiling in the culinary world

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The culinary business world is as cut throat as any other. It’s also known as an industry that hasn’t always allowed for much diversity in management and ownership at its higher echelon.

However, it appears that African-Americans are finally breaking barriers, starring in many kitchens around the nation and serving up fine delicacies and treats that have those of all races and backgrounds coming back for second-helpings.

“Memphis is a foodie town with a minority-majority makeup … thoughtful discussions about equity in the food industry are at the forefront here and folks care about presentation, which is at the heart of the issue,” said Cynthia Daniels, the founder of Memphis Black Restaurant Week. “I’ve also seen the difficulty that Black-owned restaurants experience with not having big marketing budgets to advertise for new business.”

That’s why she founded Memphis Black Restaurant Week and has advised other cities to do the same.

“It’s a celebration that advocates for Black chefs, brings more awareness around their food and beverage traditions, generates new income, and moves the needle in terms of inclusivity in the culinary world,” said Daniels.

That inclusion and enthusiasm appears to have caught on.

“I am truly optimistic for the future with the culinary industry because while there are still a lot of areas in which to grow, we are slowly chipping away the stereotype of what African-American chefs have to offer,” said award-winning executive chef and QVC food stylist Kristol Bryant. “We are diversified in our skills, talents and cuisines. African American chefs are no longer just soul-food or southern cuisine chefs, we are so much more. Through education and exploration, we can finally break into areas that we never knew were there. Being seen on television is great for us but being a legitimate authority in culinary in the corporate, private and entertainment sectors is the next step.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Insight News.

Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII

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Gladys Knight, the “Empress of Soul” and an Atlanta native, will sing the national anthem preceding Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 in the city’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” Knight said in a statement released by the NFL. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform ‘Inspire Change,’ and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”

Inspire Change, according to the league, is designed to showcase the community work being done by players, owners and the league.

Knight has won seven Grammy awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with No. 1 singles “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” and her 11 No. 1 R&B singles, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Continue on to Washington Post to read the complete article.

Taraji P. Henson to be honoured with star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame

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Taraji P. Henson will be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

The Oscar-nominated American actress and singer, 48, is known for starring in films including The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Date Night and the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid.

Henson, who also has an extensive career in television, will be honoured in the category of motion pictures with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk Of Fame, said: “Taraji P Henson is a powerful woman and a powerful actress.  She is an entertainer that fans cannot take their eyes off of due to her great acting ability.

“We welcome her bright star on our Walk Of Fame.”

Boyz In The Hood director John Singleton and rapper Mary J Blige will speak at the ceremony, which is due to take place on January 28.

Washington DC-born Henson began her Hollywood career working as an extra in television shows before getting her big break in the 2001 comedy-drama film Baby Boy, starring alongside Tyrese Gibson.

In 2008 she starred opposite Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, playing the mother of a disabled child.

Henson was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the role. Last year she voiced a character in Disney’s animated film Ralph Breaks The Internet and will appear in comedy What Men Want in February.

Continue onto The Independent to read the complete article.

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