Spotify Looking For New Female Podcasters of Color

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If you’re a woman of color with an interesting point of view and looking to plunge into the world of podcasting, Spotify wants to hear from you!

According to a recent study, only 22% of podcasts are hosted by women — and an even smaller percentage hosted by women of color. Seeing this as an open opportunity to introduce the world to more female podcasters of color, Spotify unveils Sound Up Bootcamp.

During this weeklong intensive program, which takes place in New York City, ten hand-selected attendees will learn about the art of podcast creation, from initial ideation to editing, producing, and marketing from experts in the field. On the final day, attendees will have the chance to pitch their podcast ideas to a panel of experts and professionals. The top three pitches will have the pilot process funded, up to $10,000. All expenses for the week will be paid by Spotify.

If you’re worried about not having prior experience in podcasting, don’t as programming will be targeted towards first-time and amateur podcasters!

The event will take place at Spotify’s New York City offices from June 25-29, 2018. All applications are due by 11:59pm EST on April 10, 2018.

Good luck!

South Carolina Teen Joins Hierarchy of Stephen King By Winning Prestigious Writing Award

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A South Carolina teen has joined a prestigious group of writers by being awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

17-year-old Malachi Jones who currently attends the Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, describes his reaction to winning the award as a “loud silence.”

“I felt like a siren was going off inside my head, but I was speechless,” Malachi says in a Charleston Chronicle article. “I had been submitting work to Scholastic since 7th grade, so it is insane to me to think an audience outside my family and peers wants to read and appreciate my work.”

According to The Post and Courier, Malachi Jones, who is headed to Columbia University this fall, joins the ranks of legendary writers such as Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King as a winner of the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

However, what sets Malachi apart from his legendary counterparts is the experiences he shares in his writing.

The article states, “Jones’s award-winning work—a collection of lyric essays and free-verse poems—revolves around his experience as a black teenager struggling with and finally coming to terms with his identity.”

In a poem titled, ‘Pantoum For My Mother,’ the teen writes, ‘Stripped of my blackness, / uprooted by judgement. / I was never dark enough for you / or for the ones who called me whitewashed.’

“It’s about the questions and judgment he endures from both his white and black peers for not fitting the stereotypical ‘formula of a black male.’”

In a statement released by the Alliance for Young Writers & Artists, it is said that this year’s works of art and writing submissions broke records.

“Within the Awards’ 29 categories—which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design—a record-breaking 346,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level this year.”

The award won by Malachi Jones includes a scholarship of $10,000.

African American Tech “Mompreneur” Launches Cryptocurrency $Guap to Grow Black-Owned Businesses

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Technology veteran, visionnaire, and mompreneur Tavonia Evans has launched the very first ICO (Initial Coin Offering) for $Guap, a coin aimed at recycling wealth within the Black community. $Guap is a groundbreaking offer that breaks into the world of cryptocurrency with an ambitious mission to reward African-American consumers for supporting businesses that support them.

Traditionally, African-Americans account for a large chunk of spending power especially in regards to retail spending. However the spending that is often seen from African-Americans fails to support them locally in their community efforts, educationally, politically, and economically. African-Americans suffer greatly due to gentrification and often lose their economic value as quickly as it is gained. Additionally, it is often more affordable to spend with bigger brands who outcompete the local small business person, yet African-American women are one of the fastest growing markets of small business owners. $Guap believes it has the answer to circulating money back into this micro-economy and rewarding people for doing so.

$Guap is a ERC20 token built on Ethereum Blockchain Technology, which utilizes Smart Contracts to perform various tasks such as issuing “rewards” which is in the plan for $Guap. With $Guap, every token spent will be distributed throughout a system that will fund new businesses, HBCUs, and philanthropic efforts that adopt the coin. Merchants a part of the “$Guap Market”, pledge to pass on savings while benefiting from gaining access to loyal customers. Consumers will also be able to rate businesses and suggest methods for improvement anonymously to merchants to help maintain quality of service all through a proprietary portal.

Founder Tavonia Evans, has worked in Technology for almost 20 years and her greatest concern has been the barrier between African Americans and ability to support startup growth and initiative. She believes this is directly tied to the relationship between African-Americans and black economics and feels that cryptocurrency is the gamechanger.

Tavonia Evans is a mother of 8, a New York native and Georgia resident (for well over 20 years). She has worked in the technology field for two decades as a startup owner, developer, patent owner, and consultant to Government and several Fortune 500 companies. She has assembled an experienced team of African-American technology, finance, and investment experts with decades of experience. She can be contacted at tevans@guapcoin.com for all media related enquiries. $Guap can be found at www.guapcoin.com on the web or by the hashtag #getguap on social media.

 

 

Vanity Fair Features Twenty-Six Successful Entrepreneurs and Women of Color

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Twenty-six women of color and successful entrepreneurs were recently featured in Vanity Fair’s imprint, Hive. Each of the women had raised at least $1 million in outside capital for businesses ranging from a la carte legal services to a cosmetics company.

Vanity Fair writer, Margot Lee Shetterly, was proud to see so many black business women gathered together in a single room, but still remained “acutely aware of the reasons that it’s still only one room.”

For her business to make it out of the ideation phase, a woman of color must “envision herself being the person creating the product or service that is in the world,” said Jessica O. Matthews, founder/CEO of the renewable-energy start-up Uncharted Play.

Whereas the majority of Silicon Valley companies are almost expected to fail right away, “black women must guard against even the hint of failure with every arrow in the quiver, lest naysayers see a shortcoming as evidence that blacks or women are categorically unsuited for the business,” said Shetterly.

For black women in the cutthroat tech and business worlds, it’s clear that pressure has made diamonds. For twenty years now, “black women have become the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs” and now own 60% of all black business. With more women and women of color at the top of industry-leading corporations, the opportunity increases to find “someone to identify with—someone to root for and aspire to be,” according to Marla Blow, founder/CEO of credit card venture, FS Card.

That opportunity is vital to increasing representation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields of education and business. The 26 entrepreneurs in Vanity Fair’s article intend to be just the beginning.

Jay-Z To Premiere Trayvon Martin Docu-Series At Tribeca Film Festival

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The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival is where Jay-Z will unveil his executive produced docu-series, ‘Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.’

The six-part series, which is based on the book ‘Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,’ written by Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, provides a “definitive look at one of the most talked-about, controversial events of the last decade.” It will also highlight the powerful and prominent Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing issue of police brutality.

Jay-Z, who has been incredibly supportive of the Martin family since the tragic loss of Trayvon Martin in 2012, excutive produced the docu-series alongside Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Chachi Senior, Michael Gasparro, Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason, and Nick Sandow.

 

“We want to make sure that we stand and support and we never forget [that] Trayvon serves as a beacon of light to the people out here, so you guys never have to go through the pain and hurt that these guys went through,” Jay says during the 2018 Peace Walk & Peace Talk rally. “His name will sit alongside some of the greats whom lost their life to push our culture forward—the Martin Luther Kings, the Ghandis; that’s the intention that we set, that his name serves as a beacon of light and hope, and pushes us into a better direction.”

‘Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story’ will make its debut at New York City’s 2018 Tribeca Film Festival between the dates of April 19-28.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhd-9IpEIJY?rel=0]

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Ashanti Is The Latest To Join The #MeToo Movement By Sharing Her Story Of Sexual Harrasment With Music Producer

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The #MeToo movement continues to give people the courage to speak out about their run in’s with sexual assault, especially in the entertainment industry. R&B artist, Ashanti is one of the most recent black female celebrities to share her story of sexual misconduct and discrimination.

The “Rain On Me” singer whose hits we can’t stop singing our lungs out until this day talked about it all during her interview on SiriusXM’s “Conversation with Maria Menunos,”. Ashanti revealed that she was sexually harassed by a male producer who would not listen to her music unless they were sexually involved.

“I’ve come across a situation where there was a certain producer that, you know, he had his little crush or whatever, but it wasn’t anything new, you know,” Ashanti said. “And once I said ‘no,’ all of a sudden the track became $45k.”

“It’s funny because he said something like, ‘Well just take a shower with me and let me do this,” she continued, as she explained the producer apologized when one of her “big brothers” walked into the room.

“The way that apology came in, I actually got three records for free,” Ashanti said. “And I got two of them mixed and mastered for free also.”

The songstress was thankful for having someone there who would look out for her. Who knows what would have happened if nobody was there to step in.

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“I’m blessed because I have that,” she said, as she reflected on her experience. “It happens it does and it’s unfortunate.”

 

Beauty Gurus’ Top Picks for SPF Moisturizers

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Spring is officially here, which means more daylight hours and warmer weather (if you’re lucky). If you’ve been neglecting your skin through the cold, winter months, it’s the perfect time to refresh your routine with some essential skin protection based on the recommendations of some of my favorite beauty vloggers.

SPF sunscreens and moisturizers should be worn all year round (yes, even when it’s cloudy, even when you’re inside). As if helping to prevent skin cancer wasn’t enough, SPFs slow the development of premature wrinkles. And if your skin already suffers from acne, discoloration, or scarring, an SPF is absolutely necessary.

But not all SPFs are created equal. There are two types of sunscreens: mineral and chemical. Mineral sunscreens have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These tend to be creamier and can leave a translucent white residue on the skin, making you look ashy or pale. Chemical sunscreens usually contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. They come in gel formulas and have a clear application on the skin, though they do need to be reapplied more often.

Here are the SPFs beauty gurus are raving about.

Jackie AinaCoverFX Clear Cover

coverfx clear cover spf moisturizer

CoverFx’s Clear Cover took home the Essence Best in Black Beauty award last year and is the YouTube star’s “favorite formula on the market”. This broad-spectrum SPF 30 acts somewhat like a blurring primer. It smoothes skin, hides pores, and fills lines.

“My skin feels ready to take on the world. My skin feels ready to clapback at anyone who says otherwise,” said Jackie of the chemical sunscreen.

Alissa AshleyOle Henriksen Truth Revealed Vitamin C Super Creme SPF 15

ole henriksen spf moisturizer

Henriksen’s skincare products are beloved by many a beauty YouTuber (the Banana Bright Eye Creme!) for their skin brightening properties. This moisturizer also comes with a clean, citrus scent.

For Alissa, Truth Revealed is a stable part of her routine. “This thing is amazing. It is so bomb,” she said.

Nikki and Evelyn of Naturally CurlyMurad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30

murad spf moisturizer

At $65, neither Nikki or Evelyn wanted to like Murad’s gel SPF, but they couldn’t resist the primer-like finish. Developed by Dr. Murad, the moisturizer is also an anti-aging treatment good for all skin types.

“My face is 100% not greasy,” said host, Evelyn. While Nikki compared it to what “Beyoncé must feel like.”

Samantha JanePaula’s Choice Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30

Paulas choice spf moisturizer

This lightweight, mineral sunscreen comes highly recommended for those with oily skin by vlogger, Samantha Jane, due to its mattifying properties.

“It’s one of my favorite daily creams,” Samantha said. “I 100% plan to repurchase this.”

How I Used The Keto Diet to Deal with the Symptoms of PCOS

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Since being diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder characterized by cyst-growing ovaries that affects one in every 10 women), I have experienced just about every symptom associated with the health problem: irregular periods, pervasive acne, weight gain especially in the midsection, depression, hirsutism (aka facial hair) and hair loss on my scalp.

Researchers are unsure what causes it, but it may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for PCOS, so those afflicted with it spend their lives trying to mitigate its symptoms. For me, it has been a balance between regular exercise and a diet nicknamed “keto,” that’s been found to aid hormone regulation in women suffering from PCOS.

The Ketogenic diet, more commonly referred to as “keto,” were initially praised for their weight loss benefits—even for those not diagnosed with PCOS. Despite keto’s reliance on a high protein, high fat, and low-carb intake, it has been shown to burn more energy and store less fat than a traditional diet.

Keto and PCOS

A keto diet puts the body in a state of “ketosis,” working from the inside out. With its emphasis on low- to no carb intake, the body ultimately won’t store as many carbs in fat cells; instead, it burns the other foods you eat for energy (this state of being is referred to as ketosis). Ketosis helps manage how hard the pancreas has to work (decided by how many carbs, of the potato or sugar kind, you put into your body) and how much insulin is released into your blood.

Keto diets lessen the symptoms of PCOS by reducing insulin spikes, which in turn reduce acne, inflammation, and testosterone in women with. Duke University and State University of New York have proven that keto diets can improve mental clarity, as well as skin, hair, nails; curb food cravings; increase energy levels; lower cholesterol; and reduce the risk of heart disease.

What to Eat

A healthy keto diet cuts carbs down to 20 – 30 grams a day (this is ideal for lowering insulin levels). Remember: the fewer carbs you’re taking in, the faster you’ll enter ketosis and the longer you can remain in it. So, stay away from refined carbs (breads, rice, cereal), sugars (table sugar, honey, maple syrup) starchy foods (beans and potatoes), and almost all fruits (avocados and some berries are allowed in small servings).

Ketogenic Meal Site, ruled.me, recommends a diet consisting of “70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.” Their list of good foods for your keto menu include: meats, leafy greens, above ground vegetables (sorry, no sweet potatoes), high-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, avocados, berries, sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit, and fats like coconut oil.

Tips to Remember

    • Beware hidden carbs! These can pop up in places like smoothies (fruit sugars), specialty coffee drinks (milk and sugar), salad dressings, and sauces. When in doubt, check the label.
    • Drink lots of water. It’s best to have a gallon a day.
    • Don’t fret the fat. If you haven’t noticed, the ketogenic diet is 70% fats. They are your main source of energy. Good fats can be found in red meat, butter, eggs, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and salmon.
    • All protein is not good protein. A lot of bad stuff hides in some proteins. Whey protein, for example, can take you out of ketosis as fast as a bowl of cereal. If you’re the type who drinks protein shakes, refrain from whey protein powders. Drink milk? Try switching to almond milk.
    • Keep away from “bad snacks.” Did you know there are quite a few high-carb nuts? These include chestnuts, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts.

Tennessee Fines Dozens of Natural Hairstylists Nearly $100k For Unlicensed Hair Braiders

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In black culture, hair braiding is historical. It has always been a traditional part of our upbringing, especially in the black household. We use hair braiding as not only a way to protect and grow our natural hair, but also as a form of creativity.

“I never did any other job but hair braiding my whole life,” says licensed hairstylist Fatou Diouf. “I cannot recall a time when I did not know how.”

Fatou Diouf is a natural hairstylist who has been fined $16,000 by the state of Tennessee for employing unlicensed hair braiders. According to Forbes, after examining meeting minutes and disciplinary actions for the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, the Institute for Justice identified dozens of braiders and over 30 natural hair shops, who were fined almost $100,000 since 2009 for simply braiding without a government license, none of which were triggered by any health or sanitation violations.

The board would generally issue a $1,000 “civil penalty” for every instance of “performing natural hair care services for clients without a license”.

Fatou has joined the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center to testify in favor of bill HB 1809 and SB 2233, which would rule out the need for a state license for natural hair stylists.

Currently in the state of Tennessee, braiders must complete at least 300 hours of coursework, which is only offered by 3 schools and can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for tuition.

Lisa Bonét Opens Up About Life, Love, and Being Biracial

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Eighties style icon and The Cosby Show actress, Lisa Bonét, is finally speaking up about what life’s been like (now that she’s turned 50) since becoming the “it girl” three decades ago.

In an interview with PorterEdit, Bonét reveals the turmoil she experienced as a mixed-race woman at a time when interracial dating was still frowned upon by both cultures.

“The world wasn’t ready for what I represented, the merging of these two races,” said Bonét. “I didn’t always feel welcome – in my mom’s family, in my school. So I sheltered myself by always withholding a bit, because I didn’t always feel safe. Try not to internalize the disdain and hate that was projected onto me.”

And though her role as Denise Huxtable firmly placed her in the spotlight, Bonét admits she had early misgivings about celebrity, as well as the struggle to find work.

“I always had one foot in and one foot out of the business, so that’s part of it. But also, it’s slim pickings out there! There aren’t endless opportunities for women of color, you’ve probably noticed.”

“Acting is how I’ve forged my way, but I don’t think it’s my passion,” Bonét said of her goals in entertainment industry. “Maybe directing. I write also…I have ideas. There’s a movie, a children’s TV show, and a documentary short. I feel that I have the soul of an artist, but I don’t know yet which medium.”

What Bonét is sure of, however, is her relationship with 38-year-old Justice League actor, Jason Mamoa. The gorgeous couple have been together since 2005, but decided to officially marry last year.

She describes the start of their relationship like something out of a movie: “In that moment, love came and it came big, and he did not run as I think a lot of men do. He basically picked me up and threw me over his shoulder, caveman style!”

“Jason embodies a rare form of masculinity in this day and age – he’s a leader, he’s generous. Just in terms of charisma, physique, the right use of power, responsibility, work ethic, you can go down the line.”

The couple have two children together, Lola Iolani and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha, along with 29-year-old Zoë Kravitz from Bonét’s previous marriage to musician, Lenny Kravitz.

Gabrielle Union Finds Happiness in Writing Her Book and Weekly Oil Treatments

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Gabrielle Union is living her best life.

Being Mary Jane, Union’s hit BET drama, will end after its fourth season (she won’t be gone from TV long, since she’s been announced as the star of a new Bad Boys TV series). Union has also debuted a modern and chic clothing line inspired by the wardrobe of Mary Jane with New York & Company.

“I’m super-influenced by street style and Instagram,” Gabrielle said in an interview with Good Housekeeping. “For my New York & Company line, I gather inspiration from around the world and try to put a little practicality in there; I’m all about materials that are breathable and flattering and still allow you to eat!”

Adding to her long career list, the Bring It On icon released a book in 2017 that soon became a New York Times bestseller, titled We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True. The book is a “a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.” She also received a nomination for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, was named a Best Book of the Year by The Root, and was chosen by Emma Straub as a Best New Celebrity Memoir.

Lena Dunham, in her Lenny Letter, described it as “a book of essays as raw and honest as anyone has ever produced.”

“Writing my book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, was therapeutic,” said Gabby, “whether I was talking about sexual assault, failed marriages, or finding joy in being my authentic self. Acknowledging you’re in pain is the first step, and then seeking help. The online community is full of people going through the exact same thing you are.”

The actress, entrepreneur, and activist admits it’s important to find time for self care.

“Once a week, I give myself a full hair spa day with the Hair Repair Masque and Oil Treatment from my beauty brand, Flawless. Between washes, I use the Edge Control Gel daily,” Gabrielle said of her hair products, available at Ulta.

And, still, she makes time to take care of others. This week, with her husband Dwayne Wade, she donated $200,000 to March For Our Lives.

“I feel a responsibility to be a decent human being to everyone and accountable for my actions,” said Union. “I want to leave every room I enter brighter than how I found it.”

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Black Unemployment Rates Down And No One Is Talking About It

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According to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Labor, there has been a decrease in the unemployment rate for African Americans for the month of February. The black unemployment rate as a whole has fallen from January’s spike of 7.7% to February’s decline of 6.9%.

The unemployment rate for black men, ages 20 and older, has fallen from 7.5% to 5.9%. The same goes for black women, ages 20 and older, who’s unemployement rate has also fallen from 6.6% to 6.2%. For black teens, ages 16 to 19 years old, unemployment rose from 24.3% to 27.2%. The number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged for the fifth straight month at 6.7 million (4.1%).

Last month, the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs, with job gains occuring in construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, and mining. Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month, according to the report.

While employment is rising in the manufacturing and construction industries, President Donald Trump’s announcement to impose stiff tariffs (25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports), could “put hard-earned economic progress at risk,” according to Center For American Progress economist, Michael Madowitz.

“Today’s employment report shows strong job growth, although the economy is unlikely to be on autopilot much longer. Large tax cuts have yet to create—and are unlikely to create—the kind of long-term, sustainable wage growth that Trump and Congressional Republican leaders promised. Rather, companies are buying back their own shares at a record pace, funneling the lion’s share of the tax cut windfall back to corporate executives and wealthy investors.

Other recent moves from the Trump administration threaten to put hard-earned economic progress at risk. A trade war, sponsored by the president, could very well create significant domestic job losses among the exact communities Trump pledged to help. And on the heels of massive corporate tax cuts, Congress is now proposing another enormous giveaway to Wall Street in the form of financial deregulation. The so-called Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act would deregulate 25 of the largest 38 banks; undermine protections for homeowners and homebuyers; increase the chances that the United States faces another financial crisis and recession; and pose a serious threat to the labor market. At this point in time, when bank profits and lending are at all-time highs, deregulation should be the last thing on the minds of policymakers. Instead, they ought to strengthen financial regulations to weather the next economic downturn.

The longest expansion in modern history has been fairly uneventful the last few years, but given this administration’s actions, we may be about to find out how robust our economy truly when faced with highly questionable policy choices.”

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