New ‘Harriet’ movie tells a different story about U.S. slavery

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Harriet Tubman played by actress in new Harriet movie

When director Kasi Lemmons started work on the first major movie about Harriet Tubman, the 19th century slave turned hero of the Underground Railway, she decided to focus less on the brutality of slavery and more on human stories.

“I really felt that I wanted to speak about a different kind of violence, which was family separation, which I hadn’t seen as much of but is very much the Harriet Tubman story and what she was motivated by,” said Lemmons. Lemmons co-wrote the screenplay for “Harriet,” which opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday.

“This image of her sisters being taken away, her brother having to leave his wife right after childbirth, her sister saying, ‘no, I can’t leave my children.’ The choices that people had to make and the fact that she was motivated to go back to rescue her family,” Lemmons added.

Tubman was born into slavery in the early 1800s in Maryland. As a young adult, she escaped slavery by running nearly 100 miles through forests and fields. She then risked her life several times to return to Maryland and lead dozens of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

The petite, 5-foot-tall Tubman is played by Cynthia Erivo, a London-born actress with Nigerian parents who won a Tony award in 2016 for her lead role in the Broadway revival of the musical “The Color Purple.”

The casting of a British actress to play a woman seen as an African-American icon has caused controversy in the United States, but Lemmons said she thought Tubman’s story “was big enough to share.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

From the Smithsonian to the Kitchen: African American Art is Transforming the Home Decor Business

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Collage of black art

Just a few decades ago, Black art was hard to come by in mainstream markets. Artists were largely only viewed at African American museums and at niche galleries.

In 1995, two young African American males in South Los Angeles set out to bridge the gap between Black art collectors and the everyday consumer. Shades of Color fuses Black art into its product line to celebrate one of America’s most influential cultures on household products including home décor, shower curtains, floor mats and kitchen aprons.

As of 2017, the home decor industry was worth $582 billion, and is projected to increase to $741 billion by 2023, according to PR Newswire. There has been an increase in home ownership which has tremendously impacted the home décor market, as stated on the Allied Market Research website.

While the home décor market is constantly expanding, there are still seldom companies that honor African American art on their products. Shades of Color’s partnership with African American artists is proving to be a solution that brings art into the homes of the consumers that truly appreciate it.

“We work with artists to mass produce their art on products which exponentially increases exposure to their craft,” says President, Adrian Woods. “Our artists are an extension of our family and are relatable from the girlfriends of Cidne Wallace to the strong Black fathers by Frank Morrison to the more contemporary styles of Larry Poncho Brown. Our goal is to highlight these artists and be a driving force in ethnic home décor.”

Black art is a reflection of American culture, and Shades of Color’s community is making that art more accessible. All types of consumers have essentially become art collectors without even knowing it. The company’s direct to consumer website features African American artists, a vast catalog of products and global conversations around culture and current affairs. With its ties to community involvement the company is also supporting its greater network. Schools, churches and community groups have earned well over $2 million through the company’s fifteen year fundraising program that is open to everyone.

What began in the mid-90’s as strictly a calendar company is now a leader in an ethnic niche market selling through mass retailers, organizations, main street gift shops and quaint Afrocentric stores across the country. The flagship calendar line preserves history and brings facts, accomplishments and current milestones to light in a time when typical classrooms across the country are still neglecting to include Black history. The entire product line is infused with positive aspirations and imagery that embody this very important aspect of Americana.

“It is touching to hear the reactions,” says Production Manager and Marketing Director, Janine Robinson. “Across social media followers comment on what it feels like to walk into their bathroom, for example, and see a reflection of themselves on a 70” x 70” panel that fills the room. It’s not rare to get several comments saying, ‘That’s me!’ Not only does the product fill the room literally, the art and statements fill and ignite the spirit too. That is the part that makes it all worth it.” #UpliftandInspire

About Shades of Color
Founded in 1995, Shades of Color, LLC is a small Black-owned business producing high quality calendars, stationery, kitchenware, home décor, bags and gifts. It licenses and commissions Black art from renowned African American artists. The company manufactures and distributes its own collections to a global audience. Learn more about their products at www.ShadesGifts.com. Learn more about their Home Décor Collection at www.shadescalendars.com/product-category/homedecor

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

Cheerleader Jumps Off Parade Float So She Can Save Choking Toddler in the Crowd

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Tyra Winters dressed in her cheerleader outfit speaking with a television crew

17-year-old Tyra Winters isn’t just renowned at her high school for being an excellent cheerleader—she is also now making national headlines for saving the life of a choking toddler last month.

Tyra and her teammates from Rockwall High School in Texas had been aboard a homecoming parade float, waving to the crowd when she saw a woman holding a toddler and crying for help.

The 2-year-old boy, who had been choking on a piece of candy, was quickly turning purple when Tyra spotted him from the float.

The boy’s mother, Nicole Hornback, says that she had tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her son, but since she never learned how to perform the technique properly, she failed to dislodge the candy.

“I just happened to look over to him and there was no noise, there was no coughing, there was no breathing,” Hornback told KTVT in the interview below. “And at that moment that’s when I tried to give him the Heimlich, and I’ve never taken a class. To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life.”

After Hornback started calling for help, Tyra jumped off of the float and ran to the distressed mother’s side. The senior then grabbed the toddler, turned him upside down, and dislodged the candy simply by giving him three firm slaps on the back.

Tyra says that she learned how to help choking children as a result of her mother working in the medical field—and Hornback could not be more grateful for the teen’s intervention.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

6 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves

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Professional Woman pictured holding her finger up doing the shhhh sign

At work, sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos with hindsight.

By Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Trouble is, you can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues. Doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.

You must know where the line is and be careful not to cross it, because once you share something, there is no going back.

More than a million people have been tested and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90 percent of top performers, to be exact). Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

Emotionally intelligent people are adept at reading others, and this ability shows them what they should and shouldn’t reveal about themselves at work. They know better than to reveal any of the following, because these things will send your career careening in the wrong direction.

  1. Your political beliefs. People’s political beliefs are too closely tied to their identities to be discussed without incident at work. Disagreeing with someone else’s views can quickly alter their otherwise strong perception of you. Confronting someone’s core values is one of the most insulting things you can do.

Granted, different people treat politics differently, but asserting your values can alienate some people as quickly as it intrigues others. Even bringing up a hot-button world event without asserting a strong opinion can lead to conflict. People build their lives around their ideals and beliefs, and giving them your two cents is risky. Be willing to listen to others without inputting anything on your end because all it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict. Political opinions are so deeply ingrained in people, that challenging their views is more likely to get you judged than to change their mind.

  1. That you think someone is incompetent. There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.
  1. How much money you make. Your parents may love to hear all about how much you’re pulling in each month, but in the workplace, this only breeds negativity. It’s impossible to allocate salaries with perfect fairness, and revealing yours gives your coworkers a direct measure of comparison. As soon as everyone knows how much you make, everything you do at work is considered against your income. It’s tempting to swap salary figures with a buddy out of curiosity, but the moment you do, you’ll never see each other the same way again.
  1. That you hate your job. The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person, who is not a team player. This brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
  1. How wild you used to be. Your past can say a lot about you. Just because you did something outlandish or stupid years ago doesn’t mean that people will believe you’ve developed impeccable judgment since then. Some behavior that might qualify as just another day in the typical fraternity (binge drinking, petty theft, drunk driving, abusing farm animals, and so on) shows everyone you work with that, when push comes to shove, you have poor judgment and don’t know where to draw the line. Many presidents have been elected in spite of their past indiscretions, but unless you have a team of handlers and PR types protecting and spinning your image, you should keep your unsavory past to yourself.
  1. That you’re job hunting. When I was a kid, I told my baseball coach I was quitting in two weeks. For the next two weeks, I found myself riding the bench. It got even worse after those two weeks when I decided to stay, and I became “the kid who doesn’t even want to be here.” I was crushed, but it was my own fault; I told him my decision before it was certain. The same thing happens when you tell people that you’re job hunting. Once you reveal that you’re planning to leave, you suddenly become a waste of everyone’s time. There’s also the chance that your hunt will be unsuccessful, so it’s best to wait until you’ve found a job before you tell anyone. Otherwise, you will end up riding the bench.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart®, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.

Want more money? Tips for creating a successful side hustle

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woman small business owner

Millions of Americans have a ‘side hustle’ to supplement their income. How does one supplement their income? Some are turning to ‘side hustles’ to get some extra cash while simultaneously pursuing their passions.

In an effort to boost their income level as well as pursue their passions, research shows millions of Americans are turning to “side hustles.”

A study of 2,000 full-time employees showed 27 percent of them turned their hobby into a side business, while 55 percent of them said they dreamed of finding a side hustle themselves.

The average income for these side hustles, according to the research commissioned by Vistaprint, was more than $14,000 annually post-tax.

“America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job,” Simon Braier, Vistaprint’s customer strategy and insights director, said.

Of the most common side businesses, beauty and wellness was a clear favorite, which includes professions like dieticians, personal trainers and hairdressers. Arts and entertainment was another popular choice, including being an artist, a DJ or a designer.

While a majority of people took on a side hustle to earn some extra cash, 41 percent did it to spend more time going something they enjoy.

“While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small,” Braier said. “Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

Most of the people surveyed said they work on their side hustle in between the hours of 5 p.m and 9 p.m., but nearly half of them work their side job on the weekends. Those polled said they typically work up to 16 hours a week, but 34 percent of them said they spend more than 20 hours on their side hustle.

Continue on to Fox Business News to read the complete article.

31 Stylish People at AfroPunk 2019 on What Punk Means To Them

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Women modeling AfroPunk look at festival

Afropunk recently marked its 15th year as an arts and music festival dedicated to showcasing black talent, initially within the punk subculture, but has since expanded its horizons to including black creativity at large.

Beyond the music lineups that are typically the pull to the festival, (this year’s performers included Tierra Whack, Junglepussy FKA Twigs, Death Grips, and more) Afropunk has solidified itself as a fashionepicenter. Much of the excitement and the build-up that surrounds the idea of attending Afropunk is being able to experience and observe that art of dressing.

Today, it’s really hard to define punk style as monolithically as it has been defined in the past (white male working-class rage), especially when it pertains to black folks and other people of color taking the aesthetic and building off of it based on their lived experiences. At Afropunk, you’ll see everything from interpretations of Afro-Futurism to Banjee Girls, Death Metal Mamas, awe-inspiring takes on gender-bending, and larger than life cosplay-esque ensembles. Among the overflow of afros, braids, neons, chainmail, kaftans, dashikis (the list actually goes on) is a sense of camaraderie, respect, and belonging– shared and recognized among festival-goers.

This year, the theme of the festival was “WE SEE YOU,” a declaration that Afropunk organizers say, “brings together Afropunk ideology and the people who support it, under the banner of acknowledgment, in resistance to those who strive to oppress.” What better way to be “seen” than the most obvious form of self-expression itself? Fashion, of course.

To say that festival-goers wreaked havoc on their wardrobes could be an understatement, but that, combined with the right treatment of an outfit is destined to be a win-win. And we witnessed lots of wins over the weekend, fashion home-runs to be exact!

Teen Vogue spoke to some of the best-dressed Afropunk attendees to learn what “punk” meant to them and of the many ways style can help you live your life as authentically as possible.

Continue on to Teen Vogue for the interview and more AfroPunk looks.

LL COOL J hosts his 15th Annual Jump & Ball Youth Camp

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LL Cool J posing the Jump Ball team

Over the weekend, LL COOL J returned to his hometown in Queens to host the closing ceremonies of the 15th Annual Jump & Ball Community Camp. LL was greeted by the more than 200 youth who participated in the month long camp and residents of the neighborhood where he grew up.

Launched in 2005 by LL COOL J, Jump & Ball is a free and fun-filled camp every Saturday & Sunday during the month of August for hundreds of kids from Southeast Queens.

The program was developed as an opportunity for the kids in the community to not only learn the game of basketball but also learn team building and leadership skills critical to life off the court.

LL has always been an avid philanthropist involved in numerous causes including literacy for kids as well as music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, LL’s charity “Jump & Ball” – which takes place every August in his hometown of Queens, New York – aims to give back to his local community by offering a five-week athletic and team building program dedicated to bringing wholesome fun to young people.

Guests enjoyed lie music courtesy of Rock the Bells, LL COOL J’s curated Sirius XM channel featuring classic hip hop, a special performance by the Harlem Globetrotters, free food, free back to school haircuts and more.

LL and youth at Jump and Ball

These Toni Morrison Books Topped Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List

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Toni Morrison with Barack Obama smiling and laughing together

Former President Barack Obama released his annual summer reading list and the late Toni Morrison featured prominently in his recommendations.

“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer, in case you’re looking for some suggestions,” he said in the Facebook Post.

“To start, you can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them.”

The Nobel laureate died Aug. 5 after a brief illness, her family announced.

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” her family said in a statement shared by USA Today. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life.”

After Morrison’s death, Obama shared a remembrance on social media. “Toni Morrison was a national treasure,” he wrote. “Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful — a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page.”

In 2012, he awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest honors the U.S. government presents to civilians.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Finally a black ‘Bachelor’? ABC’s president weighs in

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The Bachelor posted promoting the TV show

ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” reality shows continue to be ratings gold for the broadcast network. But critics say they don’t succeed when it comes to diversity.

Although attorney Rachel Lindsay became the first African American to lead either of these programs when she starred in the 13th season of “The Bachelorette” and soccer player Juan Pablo Galavis was “The Bachelor’s” first Latino lead when he starred in Season 18, there has never been a male African-American star of “The Bachelor” in its 23 seasons.

ABC president Karey Burke was asked about this controversy on Monday when she spoke to journalists at the network’s Television Critics Association press day in Beverly Hills.

“I can tell you, the conversations are ongoing about who the next Bachelor will be,” Burke replied. “I do think that the show has worked hard to increase diversity in casting. And, as that evolves, we’ll continue to see more diversity in the franchise.”

Later, Burke was also asked about the issues surrounding the recently completed chapter of “The Bachelorette.” That finale revealed that chosen suitor Jed Wyatt was already in a relationship when he began competing on the show.

Burke, who started her job at ABC in November, said that she’s still new to this process but that “I’ve been quite impressed by the production company [behind “The Bachelor”] and the show’s interest in continuing to improve and expand its vetting processes.”

“It’s an on-going journey,” she said. “Human behavior is mercurial and I think the show does as good a job as it can vetting contestants.”

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Biles caps 6th U.S. title with historic triple-double

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Simone Biles

Simone Biles won her sixth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, plus did a historic clean triple-double in floor exercise.

Biles, 22, did the triple-double in the preliminaries Friday in floor exercise, too, the first time a woman had ever completed the complex move of two flips with three twists in competition. But she put her hands down on the landing then, which frustrated her. She didn’t do that Sunday and was so happy with the move that she retweeted video of it during the competition.

“I didn’t want to be the last person to see it,” Biles said of checking her phone for the video, “so I went online to see what it looked like, so that me and [coach Laurent Landi] could watch it. But I was very pleased that I actually landed it this time in competition.”

Biles won the all-around title easily; her 118.500 was almost 5 full points ahead of second-place finisher Sunisa Lee at 113.550. Grace McCallum was third at 111.850. Biles has won 20 consecutive all-around titles dating back six years, including at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Sunday, Biles also won the titles in the vault (30.850), balance beam (29.650) and, of course, floor exercise (29.450), which she especially has elevated to must-see TV whenever she’s performing. And even in the event she calls her least favorite, uneven bars, she finished third (28.800).

Lee, a 16-year-old from Minnesota, won the bars with a score of 29.800 and was the only woman other than Biles to walk away with a gold medal from these championships. She acknowledged she watches all of Biles’ routines with a sense of awe.

Continue on to ESPN News to read the complete article.

Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88

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Toni Morrison recieves medal of freedom award

Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate in literature whose best-selling work explored black identity in America — and in particular the often crushing experience of black women — through luminous, incantatory prose resembling that of no other writer in English, died on Monday in the Bronx. She was 88.

Her death, at Montefiore Medical Center, was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. A spokeswoman said the cause was complications of pneumonia. Ms. Morrison lived in Grand View-on-Hudson, N.Y.

The first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1993, Ms. Morrison was the author of 11 novels as well as children’s books and essay collections. Among them were celebrated works like “Song of Solomon,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and “Beloved,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Ms. Morrison was one of the rare American authors whose books were both critical and commercial successes. Her novels appeared regularly on the New York Times best-seller list, were featured multiple times on Oprah Winfrey’s television book club and were the subject of myriad critical studies. A longtime faculty member at Princeton, Ms. Morrison lectured widely and was seen often on television.

Continue on to the New York Times to read the complete article.

Introducing the First Ever Black Woman-Owned Rideshare Service for Kids

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owner of kiddie commute and the vehicle

You don’t have to be a parent to know that parenting is a full-time job with barely any breaks in between; and ensuring your child is well attended to is an around the clock task, even when they aren’t in your presence.

Shan Cureton, a mother of three, understands this all too well. She is the founder of Kiddie Commute, a full-service transportation company for kids located in the greater San Diego area; and the only Black woman-owned transportation company in the state. It is also the only comprehensive service that serves the needs of parents and caregivers, offering safety and reliability.

Launched in 2017, Kiddie Commute was created purely out of need. “I am a busy working mother. At the time, I worked and went to school full time. My youngest son was in Kindergarten, I had another son in middle school, and a daughter in high school. It was challenging picking up my youngest son from class in the middle of the day when I had to work or be in class.” Cureton says she didn’t have family available to help her with school pick-ups. “Adding to that stress, my oldest two were taking Lyft.

I was a nervous wreck as I watched the ticker on the app pick up my most precious assets and drop them off at home. I couldn’t focus because let’s face it, they were strangers. I had no peace of mind and assurance that the driver was safe.” Cureton did some research online and discovered that it was illegal for Lyft to transport minors alone. “Some drivers would anyway, and some would cancel the ride when they found out it was a child they were picking up. I searched online for a company that could solve my problem, there wasn’t a local one, and that’s when the light bulb went on. Kiddie Commute was born.”

Being a woman of color, Shan was ready to take on the challenges of creating and launching the company. Any hardships or frustrations that would come were worth it. “With the business and entrepreneurship being dominated by males, it’s sometimes challenging for your voice to be heard. When you can get a word in edgewise you are seen as domineering or too boisterous. This is very disheartening as running a tech company requires a tenacious leader that’s not afraid to step out on the balcony.”

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

The Rock visits protesters in Hawaii who oppose massive telescope being built on sacred mountain summit

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Dwayne The Rock Johnson talks with protester in Hawaii

Protesters who are demonstrating against a massive telescope being built in Hawaii have a big supporter in Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson.

Johnson made an appearance at the site of the protests Wednesday and told people there that he stands with them as they fight to prevent the Thirty Meter Telescope from being built on an area considered to be a sacred ground by some Native Hawaiians.

“This is such a critical moment and a pivotal time,” Johnson told the protesters. “Because the world is watching.”

Wednesday marked the 10th day of protests that have involved demonstrators blocking the road to the summit of Mauna Kea, where the state’s Supreme Court has approved a $1.4 billion telescope to be built.

Johnson, who is not of Hawaiian descent, spent part of his youth living in the state.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim says he wants to work with the protesters to find a common ground and avoid the community become divided. He is working on behalf of Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

Continue on to New York Daily News to read the complete article.

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