All Articles Tagged "African American women"
We’ve all heard and seen shining examples of the age-old adage, “black don’t crack.”
Thanks to good genes, lots of ultraviolet ray-shielding melanin, natural oils and some say the grace of God — many black folk enjoy a youthful appearance way past the age others start to experience winkles, age spots and sagging skin.
Well, that notion was part of Allure’s first-ever anti-aging survey in the April 2013 issue, and the results show that most African Americans do indeed celebrate their age-defying looks.
The monthly publication polled 2,000 women and men on the modern perception of aging attitudes and behaviors. The survey yielded interesting insights about sex (it gets better as you get older), the ideal age (everyone wants to be 31) and going gray (we’re not fans), to name a few. And when it comes to which ethnicity thinks they age the best? African Americans have that in the bag.
Get the exact results and more on BlackVoices.com.
We’ve known that Toni Braxton has been dealing with a host of health problems and last Thursday, she let everyone know she was hospitalized as a result of her fight with Lupus.
No one was aware but as big Toni fans tend to always reach out to her on social media asking about her health, she tweeted:
“Hey guys, I’m in the hospital for health issues related to Lupus & Blood clots, I will be home soon…Thanks for all the love&support! Xoxo”
A spokesperson did confirm the hospitalization but didn’t offer too many details. Thankfully, Toni tweeted again on Saturday (when there’s nothing else to do in the hospital, it might be better to play on the phone – don’t judge her) saying:
“Going home today! I have a nurse coming to the house for a couple days, maybe I can sneak out & see Diezel’s 1st play ‘A Mid Summers Dream’.”
Slow your roll, Mama Toni, and get better. If you’ve ever seen her family’s show Braxton Family Values, you’ve probably seen how Lupus tends to really slow Toni down and she’s often confined to serious bed rest. Hopefully, she’ll follow her doctor’s orders and allow her nurse to help her.
Feel better, Toni, and we continue to wish you the best on your recovery.
While there’s a plethora of products geared to the millions of women who get pregnant every year, there’s a surprisingly low number of items created with a holistic approach. Latham Thomas founded Mama Glow to fill that void. A holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creativity, Thomas released a new book last month, also called Mama Glow, on pregnancy and wellness.
Alicia Keys, Tonya Lewis Lee, Veronica Webb, Rebecca Walker, and Karyn Parsons have all endorsed the book, which includes tips to help reduce stress, covers birth plans, labor coaches, and midwives, has recipes for homemade pampering treats like coffee sugar scrub, and even includes a postpartum wellness plan. Maybe the Duchess of Cambridge could use a copy?
We talked to Thomas about how every pregnant woman can get her Mama Glow on.
Madame Noire: What made you want to launch Mama Glow?
Latham Thomas: Mama Glow is a movement born out of necessity. I saw a gap in hip holistic lifestyle and pregnancy market and I wanted to put the “hot mama glow” back into women’s health. I wanted to offer women a safe haven to explore nutrition, yoga, and birth doula services all under one roof, and create a platform for maternal advocacy while doing so. Mama Glow was born. I was pregnant with my son and wanted to provide services that I thought should have been readily available to me during that precious time.
MN: How did you fund the startup?
LT: I started Mama Glow with my own money. I don’t wait for anything. I am a single mother and know a lot of moms probably feel daunted by finding the resources to fund their dreams. But the truth is when you really commit to that mission, the connections, resources, money, and angels come in to help facilitate your goals. Keep the faith; God is my business partner.
MN: What were some of the obstacles you faced with starting Mama Glow?
LT: My biggest challenge is time management, still. I want to do it all and there are a mere 24 hours in a day. I have support luckily.
MN: Tell us about the book?
LT: Mama Glow is a comprehensive go-to guide for a balanced lifestyle that will have you looking and feeling your most radiant for the next nine months and beyond. It’s divided into sections — In the Kitchen, On The Mat, and In Your Life — that address food, movement, and self-care practices to get your glow on.
MN: Do you feel African-American moms are overlooked as a market?
LT: I think we collectively have not claimed our health as a priority. Statistically black women suffer disproportionately from cancers [like] breast and ovarian, diabetes, heart disease, [and] obesity. The market caters to what people decide is of relevance. If we don’t spend our money on health-related products and services they won’t be directly marketed towards us.
MN: What do you think are some of the major concerns for African-American moms?
LT: I think health concerns are a risk for our community and what I typically see across the board are fibroid tumors, which I address in Mama Glow. I offer a cleanse program to get your body baby-ready. This is something we need to think about. Stress and poor diet are major factors for reproductive challenges.
MN: Any new developments for Mama Glow?
LT: We have a new partnership with Morgan Stanley so will be launching two exciting new iterations of our Mama Glow initiatives — The Mama Glow Icon Gala and The Mama Glow Film Festival — for 2013. I will launch a consumer products division and develop some TV opportunities.
MN: What is your favorite thing about being an African-American mom?
LT: I am born of a legacy of strong women. We all are. I love being Fulano’s mama. When my son climbs into bed to cuddle in the middle of the night, I’m reminded that even though he’s 4 foot 6” tall, he is still a little boy and will always be my little angel.
And for more on the topic of maternal health and pregnancy, check out a recent story Madame Noire Business published here.
When I first saw the remake of the Karate Kid with Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, and Taraji P. Henson, I was surprised a bit at the plot. Henson, playing Smith’s mother, is an African-American executive whose new job takes her and her son from Detroit to Beijing, China. There is no denying it — China is a major business hub. I wondered, “Are there many black women working in China?” Yes, I later discovered.
Stephanie Hunt, president and founder of etiquette and protocol firm Swan Noir, recently returned from a stay in Shanghai. Hunt, who plans to move there in the fall of 2013, went to pave the way for her future move to the booming city. “I thought about the business aspect in 2011. There was so much buzz about China. I had been to Beijing, in 2007 for a 10-day tourist trip. It was then that I decided to… attempt to bring Swan Noir there and expand,” she explains. “I want to bring this training to Chinese who travel abroad and Americans and Europeans to China.” Eventually, Hunt wants to expand to other Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Nanjing, and Guangzhou. What she discovered were nuances that will help her along the way to establishing a foothold in the Land of the Dragon.
Business is Not Just Business: Understanding the Chinese Way
These days the Chinese are all about business. But there is an art to doing a deal in the country. They like the personal touch. “China is so complex, I did not want to use traditional American muscle and business tactics. I wanted to learn and experience China first,” Hunt tells us. “The nuances and the details that it takes to interact and do business with the Chinese is enormous. There are superstitions, auspicious colors and numbers, protocol with rank and title, business card etiquette, and so on.” Sabrina Lamb agrees. Lamb is the CEO of the nonprofit World Of Money, a New York City-based nonprofit whose mission is to empower youth with a sound financial foundation. Lamb is planning on bringing a delegation there in August 2013, touring Shanghai, Beijing and Xi-en, during which time she wants to forge business contacts for the nonprofit. She looks to make the visit an annual affair. “Learn cultural modes, such as, in general the Chinese are very shy. Americans tend to gaze in the eyes of others; while we may take their averted eyes as ignoring us or being rude, when in China the opposite is true. Often Chinese will smile once they know that you wish to connect with them,” says Lamb.
Patience Is a Virtue
The Chinese don´t make business decisions rashly. You have to prove yourself time and time again. “I was surprised to discover how much time it could take to actually reach a plateau,” observes Hunt. “I was networking with some Americans and Europeans that have lived in Shanghai for seven years, and nine years, respectively. They are still gaining trust with clients after years of pitching and proving themselves. The return on investment is worth it but it could take years.”
You must also be prepared to connect with potential clients personally. “You have to have patience and be prepared to be confused most of the time. Contracts are different, business is different, the thinking process is different, everything is different,” Hunt points out. “Relationship building is a must. If you are not good at networking and relationship building at home, you will have a really hard time in Asia. Meet people, and host people, drink, eat, karaoke, buffets, drink, talk, exchange ideas, more drinking, more karaoke, etc…”
It’s a select group of college students who can claim the title of a Rhodes Scholar. This year, a record three African-American female students were just chosen for the honor.
Joy A. Buolamwini, Rhiana E. Gunn-Wright, and Nina M. Yancy will be off to study at the UK’s Oxford University next year. The three women beat out 1,700 other American students who sought the scholarship.
The Rhodes Scholarships are considered by many to be the most prestigious awards given to U.S. college students. It was created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a fortune in colonial Africa. “Each year, 32 Americans are named Rhodes Scholars. The scholarships provide funds for two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University in Britain,” writes The Journal of Blacks in Education (JBHE).
Rhodes Scholars are also picked from 14 other destinations around the world for a total of about 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide annually. Among the famous Rhodes Scholars are United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Apprentice winner, entrepreneur Randal Pinkett; and former President Bill Clinton.
While their numbers are few, there have been other black Rhodes Scholars, such as Alain LeRoy Locke. He was awarded a scholarship in 1907 and went on to become a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance. “It is generally believed that at the time of the award the Rhodes committee did not know that Locke was Black until after he had been chosen,” reports JBHE. The next African-American Rhodes Scholar wasn’t selected until 1962, when John Edgar Wideman, now an author and professor at Brown University, was chosen. Other African-American Rhodes Scholars include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School; Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore and now dean of the law school at Howard University; and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. The first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar was selected in 1978, Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The new awardees are already off to a great start. Buolamwini, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and computer science major, is currently working at the Carter Center in Atlanta. She has founded or co-founded three businesses. At Oxford, she wants to obtain a degree in African studies. Yale University graduate Gunn-Wright holds a Bachelor’s degree in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She has been working at Women’s Policy Research and plans a Master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford. Unlike the other two, Yancy is a still in school. She is senior at Harvard University where she majors in social studies. She has interned at CNN, the Center for American Political Studies and in the British House of Commons. She is also a member of the Harvard Ballet Company. Yancy plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in global health science as a Rhodes Scholar.
True fashion forward ladies know that style inspiration can come from just about anywhere – other fashionistas, magazines, store mannequins and even YouTube. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a new natural hairstyle or weave, or if you’re looking for a way to revitalize your wardrobe or tips on thrifting, you can find everything you’re looking for and more on YouTube. One visit to a fashionista’s YouTube channel for a style demo often leads to clicks on other videos and inspiration. Before you know it, you’ve stepped your entire style game up a notch in a few hours, and people stop you on the street to compliment you or to ask “where’d you get that?”
Impeccable style is contagious, and a good fashionista makes style accessible. While there are many women doing their thing on YouTube, here are seven of the best hair and fashion vloggers on YouTube (in no particular order). Is your favorite YouTube fashionista on the list? Check out our list to find out and click on the names to follow the women to their YouTube videos. Feel free to recommend your own favorites below.
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Every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are tons of stories about products whose proceeds are donated to breast cancer research and celebratory photos showing women and men who’ve successfully completed another run for charity. What we don’t hear about are the companies who are on the ground directly impacting the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors.
The BFFL company, founded by oncologist Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, was created to improve a breast cancer patient’s post-op experience and to help them prepare for the recovery process. BFFL’s signature product is the Breast BFFLBag, which Dr. Thompson launched after years of contemplation and six months of work. She describes it as the “ultimate insider’s guide to what a patient would need, but might forget to pack when going to the hospital for breast cancer treatment.”
The average Madame Noire reader, or any African-American woman under the age of 45, has a higher risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than any other cultural demographic. On this final day of October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — we talked with Dr. Thompson for insight into why risk factors for African-American women are so high and to find out more about the inspiration behind the Breast BFFLBag.
Madame Noire: Both you and your mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. How did you mother’s struggle with breast cancer change the course of your career and inspire you to launch the BFFL Co?
Elizabeth Thompson: I had prophylactic mastectomies, a risk reduction surgery because of my serious family history of breast cancer. My great grandmother had bilateral breast cancer, my grandmother, and my mother all developed breast cancer. I was truly petrified of being next. As a doctor, I understood my risk and had been under intense surveillance. After a biopsy in 2002, I had enough. I wanted to have a fourth child and then I resolved to take action to reduce my own risk.
My mother developed breast cancer during my last year of medical school. She waited until after I had submitted my “match” list before telling me of her diagnosis because she did not want to influence my decision as to where I would train. Her struggle with breast cancer truly drove me to become a radiation oncologist and help others in their battle against cancer.
MN: Did you launch BFFL after your risk reduction surgery?
ET: I underwent a relatively new procedure when I had my risk reduction surgery. It was a direct to implant procedure whereby, I could preserve my nipples and emerge from surgery with reconstructed breasts. After my surgery, my reconstructive surgeon asked me to work for him part-time and take care of women after they underwent the same procedure. I was patient #50, by the time I left the practice we had published a landmark paper on the procedure and I had helped with almost 500 patients. That’s where I created the “tip sheet” and made the first BFFLBags.
When women would come to the office, their family and friends would ask me, “What can I do for her?” At first I would hand them a typed list, then the patients and family would ask me to “make it for them.” So, I would buy all of the contents and put it together in my basement. My husband had enough with that and encouraged me to make the BFFLBags for all women facing breast cancer.
MN: Is there a reason that African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than their white counterparts?
ET: No. It’s not more likely to be diagnosed, but rather more likely to be detected and diagnosed at a later stage. We know that survival rates are better when cancers are diagnosed at an early stage.
MN: Why are African-American women at risk of being diagnosed with a more aggressive form of breast cancer?
ET: Biologics and access to care. We are still looking for a clear biologic explanation for the fact that a small number of African-American women are presenting with “triple negative” very aggressive breast cancer. Secondly, the issues of lack of access to care and delayed diagnosis are issues that must be addressed. We know that diagnosis at a later stage of disease (bigger tumors which may have spread) will lead to higher mortality.
One bright note is that community health centers that have nurse navigators—these are nurses that are employed to teach the community about having appropriate screening, looking for “red flags” – will promote earlier access to care and early detection, and if a cancer is diagnosed, higher compliance rates with therapy and women diagnosed with breast cancer have better outcomes. We should be pushing for these nurse navigators at all health centers.
How does Wet Seal Inc. plan to strengthen its brand image? Boston.com reports some former employees believe it’s doing so by ridding itself of its African American employees in management. Three former employees of Wet Seal are filing a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the clothing store, claiming they were fired because they didn’t fit Wet Seal’s “brand image.”
The three plaintiffs, Nicole Cogdell, Kai Hawkins and Myriam Saint-Hilaire all reside in Delaware County, PA. While Cogdell and Hawkins held store manager positions, Saint-Hilaire was an assistant store manager.
The three claim they were fired for bogus reasons with the clear basic underlying message that it was because they were black.
‘‘They perceived that they would reach white markets better if they had more white managers,’’ Brad Seligman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said in an interview. ‘‘You have explicit directions from the very top of the company to terminate African-American managers.’’
The three assert that Wet Seal Inc. began the discriminatory practices against African American employees in both Wet Seal and Arden B in 2008. The say that the top executives were directly responsible for targeting African American employees for termination as well as denying them pay and promotion.
The plaintiffs hope to be rehired and paid for pay lost, benefits, compensatory and punitive damages. In response to the allegations, Wet Seal maintains that it is a model of diversity and is prepared to defend its image.
More on Madame Noire Business!
- Behind The Click: Tara Roberts, Co-Founder of GirlTank
- Entrepreneur Spotlight: Wedding Photographer Amber Knowles on Building Her Studio
- How CARA B Naturally’s Founders Launched A Natural Skin & Hair Care Company For Ethnic Children
- Entrepreneur Spotlight: Meet The Women Behind The Groupon of Black Hair, The Fly Cut
- Do Black Designers Skip Over Black Models to Gain White Customers?
- How She Made It: Alia Jones-Harvey, Producer of A Streetcar Named Desire
Black women have a long and proud history of advancing the cause of education in America. Their groundbreaking accomplishments – particularly in higher education –inspire, encourage, and challenge not only black women, but people of every race, age, gender, and economic background to pursue their dreams. From the first black female PhD graduates to the first black female presidents of prestigious universities, the 7 women on this list are game changers in the world of education and beyond.
Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
In 1921, when Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, she became the first black person in America to earn a doctorate in economics, and only the second black female to earn a doctorate in any area. Following graduation, Alexander enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and helped found the National Bar Association. In 1927, she was the first black woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Adding to this impressive list, Alexander was the first black woman to pass the bar exam, and when she went to work for her husband’s law firm, Alexander became the first black woman to practice law in Pennsylvania. In 1948, President Harry Truman appointed her to his Committee on Civil Rights, where she coauthored the Commission’s report, “To Secure These Rights,” which laid the foundation for Truman’s civil rights policy.
MEET Taja Lindley, the founder of the organization, Colored Girls Hustle. At 27 years old, Lindley is not just the founder of her own organization, but a well-rounded Brooklyn-bred African-American female who practices as a visual artist, performer, full-spectrum doula and as a reproductive justice activist. Combining her many passions and talents into one, Lindley uses Colored Girls Hustle as her own ultimate “hustle,” emphasizing talent and the arts to celebrate the beauty and art of women of color.
MN: You just recently co-hosted an event, along with HelloBeautiful, where you launched your inaugural handmade accessories line, Luminary Sol, for Colored Girls Hustle. What brought on this collaboration?
TL: Kelly Thomas, the founder of HelloBeautiful, is a good friend and fellow entrepreneurial artist who I respect and adore. We decided to support one another and publicize our venture through a collaborative event called the “Beautiful Hustle” Sip and See Extravaganza. The event featured a fashion show, trunk sale, and live percussion, and a dance party followed. It was a success! So many of our friends and supporters came out to buy products, network and brought positive energy and feedback to share with us. The launch event was so much fun and we decided to host monthly “Beautiful Hustle” parties this summer.
MN: Tell us more about your organization, Colored Girls Hustle, and what type of service you focus on.
TL: Colored Girls Hustle is my hustle: it’s a space where I share my art and creativity to honor, celebrate and adorn the bodies and lives of women and girls, especially in communities of color. I focus on three main expressive elements:
Adornment: a daily meditation, adornment is a practice of decorating and praising our bodies. Colored Girls Hustle produces handmade accessories to inspire women and girls to admire and revere themselves.
Workshops: in groups large and small, Colored Girls Hustle facilitates creative arts workshops and trainings for youth and adults that cover topics of body exploration, health and wellness, and self-image. Colored Girls Hustle also offers Self-Love Parties: intimate, sex-positive gatherings where participants work on a creative project that will celebrate/honor/adorn their bodies and affirm their sexual expression.
One-on-One Creative Exploration Sessions: Colored Girls Hustle works with women and girls one-on-one to explore their own creative arts practice. Engaging in these sessions help women and girls discover their artistic interests and talents, or can help them navigate healing and transformation.