Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020

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Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Texas News Station Hires All-Women, Black Anchors

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A local news station in Texas, has hired Black anchors who are all women

By B.E.T

Starting back on May 2, Jasmin Caldwell, Taheshah Moise and meteorologist Ashley Carter began hosting Texas Today. The weekday morning news show airs on KCEN, which is an NBC affiliate serving Temple, Waco, Killeen, and the surrounding areas.

Caldwell, who joined the station in 2017, told KCEN, “Growing up, I always saw all-white news anchors. I didn’t think that there would ever be Black newscasts. I knew there was always room for one, but I didn’t think that I would see three African Americans — male or female — permanently, all at one time. No way.”

Carter revealed how she heard the news that KCEN would hire Black women anchors, “Maybe about three weeks to a month after I decided to come here I got an email saying Jasmin is going to be joining Texas Today, which is going make the show you’re a part of all women.”

She continued, “It was pretty cool. I was like wow. It was just the icing on the cake. Not only be able to advance my career to where I wanted, but to be able to do it next to these two.”

Moise added, “I just think back to when I was a young girl and I used to watch the news with my parents and I never saw anyone who looked like me. If I did, they were outside reporting in the cold.”

Texas Today airs Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Click here to read the full article on B.E.T.

Black female-owned supplements brand builds on partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe

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Samia Gore, CEO and Founder of Body Complete Rx

By Cision PR Newswire

Body Complete Rx (BCRX), the first Black female-owned supplement company to break significant ground in the male-dominated, nutritional supplement industry, is proud to announce it will be launching its exclusive plant-based, vegan weight management supplements at The Vitamin Shoppe on August 1st. BCRX will introduce their TRIM line in over 700 retail locations nationwide, making them the first Black female-owned brand to launch in the retailer’s weight management category.

Founded by Samia Gore in 2017, BCRX is a self-funded wellness brand which has grossed over $10 million in sales in just under 4 years. Their natural, vegan supplements, which enjoy a celebrity following, provide a range of benefits based on customers’ specific needs, including weight management and improving energy, skin health, and nutrition. Products include vegan protein powders, supplements, a Vitamin C serum, collagen-boosting powder, women and men’s multivitamins, and superfood bars.

BCRX’s launch at The Vitamin Shoppe’s brick-and-mortar retail stores follows the brand’s recent rebranding and repackaging campaign, which included the launch of five new product lines of plant-based, vegan supplements, including TRIM, THRIVE, GLOW, NOURISH and PERFORM.

BCRX’s TRIM line, designed to empower customers to “power up and slim down,” features the brand’s best-selling weight management supplements. The plant-based, clinically proven supplements will help make customers’ weight loss goals achievable by curbing their cravings, revving up their metabolism, and supercharging their energy.

The TRIM line includes:

  • Boost Metabolism Drops ($50) – Adaptogenic metabolism boosting drops made with African mango and natural herbs like rhodiola, maca and astragalus.
  • Control Appetite Suppressant Capsules ($40) – All-natural appetite suppressant capsules.
  • Renew Energy Drops ($40) – Energy drops made with Riboflavin, Niacin and Vitamin B12.

BCRX’s partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe reflects the ever-growing position of the company within the wellness market.

“We are so excited to be launching at one of the top retailers of nutritional supplements in the country because it’s a true testament to the efficacy of our brand and products,” explains Samia Gore, founder and CEO of Body Complete Rx. “As the first and only Black female-owned brand in The Vitamin Shoppe’s weight management category, I am excited to make these wellness products more accessible to customers across the country and support their journey towards wellbeing.”

Click here to read the full article on Cision PR Newswire.

Black Women Influencers Were Being Left Out, so This Marketer Built an Agency for Them

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La Toya Shambo founded her influencer agency, Black Girl Digital, in 2016

By Emmy Liederman, Ad Week

LaToya Shambo was used to being the only Black woman in rooms that advocated for the same faces in marketing campaigns—the typical white, thin determinants of beauty and success. But it wasn’t until 2011, when she was hit by a vehicle while crossing the street and holding her newborn, that she decided to do something about it.

Surviving that accident, spending months in rehab and her entire maternity leave in a cast changed Shambo’s life forever. “During that process, there was a lot of self-reflection,” she said. “I decided that I had to give back to the culture.”

A lifelong singer, Shambo had briefly flirted with the idea of working in music before settling on marketing. Following that, she transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology, switched majors from music business to marketing and spent her spare time in the library sifting through career books. After landing on the radio ad sales page and snagging an internship at 106.7 Lite FM, Shambo decided what she really wanted to do was work in media planning and buying.

Shambo has made stops at companies including SpikeDDB, Complex and Condé Nast, with each new role deepening her understanding of how to package and sell media while building a sustainable business model. At Complex, she got to observe the publishing business and connect with Black female bloggers who struggled to monetize their platforms.

Then came the accident. A few months after it, Shambo stopped by the Complex office to sign some paperwork. Her boss asked her why she had a smile on her face given all she had endured, and Shambo replied that she had “figured it all out.” Her vision was to build her own Complex, which led Shambo to found Black Girl Digital in 2016.

The shop’s mission is to address the equity and wage discrepancies for Black and multicultural women in the marketing industry through meaningful action, such as the launch of its own app, iLinkr. The program is a tool for brands and agencies that are looking to book and manage talent of color.

“At the time, there were no ad networks specifically for Black female bloggers,” she said. “That birthed Black Girl Digital, which was originally designed as a service to the Black community from the perspective of bloggers. All my bloggers then became influencers, and Black Girl Digital is my contribution to the culture.”

Click here to read the full article on Ad Week.

Lizzo’s New Shapewear Brand Will Change the Industry Forever

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lizzo modeling her new shapewear collection with four other women

By SHelcy Joseph, Popsugar

In addition to her upcoming album and her new reality show, “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” on Amazon Prime, Lizzo has been working on a shapewear line called YITTY in partnership with activewear brand Fabletics. She teased the new venture in an Instagram post, writing, “I’m about to announce the biggest thing YET. Bigger than anything I’ve ever done. 3 years in the making. A Dream Come True. Stay tuned bitch. ❤️”

It makes sense that Lizzo, a longtime advocate for body positivity and destigmatizing being fat and healthy, would get in the business of empowering people to love themselves. She has championed a series of boundary-pushing looks that promote radical self-acceptance and new beauty standards. “I’m selling a mentality that ‘I can do what I want with my body, wear what I want and feel good while doing it,'” she told the New York Times in an interview, adding that her pieces will “give everyone the opportunity to speak for themselves when it comes to how their body should look and how they feel in their body.”

YITTY, named after the award-winning star’s childhood moniker, makes second-skin shapewear based on the principles of inner confidence, self-love, and effortless everyday wear. The inclusive brand is revolutionizing the concept of sizing, providing options for every single body type. Per an official statement, “Instead of thinking about size in this linear way, we’re thinking about it on a spectrum where everyone is included. Everyone’s size is just their size. It’s not high, it’s not low. It’s not big, it’s not small. It’s just your size.”

The brand will debut three distinct collection launches: Nearly Naked, Mesh Me, and Major Label — assortments of comfortable, curve-hugging shapewear; functional and fashionable mesh styles; and everyday lifestyle pieces that are “super soft, super bossy, and super YITTY,” respectively.

“I was tired of seeing this sad, restrictive shapewear that literally no-one wanted to wear,” Lizzo said in the YITTY press release. “I had an epiphany like, ‘who can actually do something about this?’ I decided to take on the challenge of allowing women to feel unapologetically good about themselves again.”

Click here to read the full article on Popsugar.

Black women start to talk about uterine fibroids, a condition many get but few speak about

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Uterine Fibroids patient Daye Covington after treatment

By , NBC News

When Daye Covington visited her doctor for a routine physical last year, she expressed concern about weight gain in her belly that she said made her look seven months pregnant. But she knew she wasn’t pregnant, and she had a healthy lifestyle. An MRI revealed that she had multiple uterine fibroids — noncancerous growths in the uterus — the size of cantaloupes.

“First, I was relieved to know that I was not pregnant because I was not trying to be pregnant,” she told NBC News, “and then I was scared because I didn’t know much about fibroids.”

Uterine fibroids are rarely discussed, despite being a common condition, particularly for Black women. Experts say that by age 35, about half of Black women have had them, and by age 50, 80 percent of Black women have them, compared to 70 percent of white women. Black women are also more likely to have higher fibroid growth than other racial groups. While most cases require no treatment, in some instances, they can cause weight gain, heavy periods, frequent urination or pelvic pain, and they may require surgery.

Now, some Black women, like Covington, who shared her experience on are speaking up about their struggles and are encouraging others to educate themselves about the condition, so they can identify the symptoms and seek treatment, if necessary. Former star of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Cynthia Bailey, 55, recently shared her experience with uterine fibroids with People, saying she endured heavy bleeding during periods, fatigue and an expanded belly, which led fans to assume she was pregnant. She also said her mental health took a toll.

 

31-year-old Daye Covington’s stomach is shown before and after her myomectomy.
31-year-old Daye Covington’s stomach is shown before and after her surgery to remove fibroids. Daye Covington

“It’s very hard to be in a good space mentally when you’re bleeding all the time and when you don’t have any energy, and you’re anemic,” she told the magazine.

While all women are at risk for developing uterine fibroids, Black women are disproportionately affected, with one study showing that Black women are three times more likely to develop them than white women and that Black women are more likely to need surgical treatment.

The reasons for this disparity, however, are less clear, said Eric Hardee, a physician and co-founder of Houston Fibroids and Texas Endovascular Associates. A family history of fibroids increases a woman’s risk. Obesity, diet and environmental factors may also play a role. Hair relaxers have also been linked to increased risk of uterine fibroid development.

Black women may also be less likely to seek help.

Cynthia Talla, 28, said despite her severe symptoms, she felt like she had to endure her pain alone. When she did seek help after dealing with fibroid symptoms as a teen, Talla said the medical professionals made her feel that Black women are able to bear the pain.

After Talla had surgery in 2020, she recalled telling her mother how good she was finally feeling.

“I remember crying, like, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t feel like this for years,’” she said. “So it’s very bad.”

Sara Harris, who serves on the board of the reproductive health organization Resilient Sisterhood Project, agreed.

“I do think there’s that superwoman phenomena, that Black women can do it all,” she said, “and speaking from my own personal experience, not wanting to ask for help because you know that you can take care of your own stuff, and you have to take care of everyone else around you at the same time.”

Harris added that many Black women also feel a taboo talking about these issues. Resilient Sisterhood Project offers support groups and virtual webinars with Black health experts to answer questions about topics on endometriosis, infertility and HPV, as well as training for universities and health care organizations about reproductive health and Black women’s needs in accessing health care.

Another issue with uterine fibroids, Harris said, is that they’re often misdiagnosed.

“Black women might be misdiagnosed for having an STI [sexually transmitted infection] or misdiagnosed for being pregnant or treated for preventing pregnancy, rather than looking at sort of what could be a deeper cause of the same symptoms that a Black woman is facing — like pelvic pain or prolonged menstrual bleeding,” Harris said.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Inflation Busting Recipes and Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tips

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Big Shake poses in chef's uniform smiling

One trip to the grocery store to do the week’s shopping, and it’s clear to see inflation in action. The price of just about every item has risen, some by a little and others by quite a bit. The final bill asks for a total above what a family is used to spending on groceries. Now is when families need to get serious about shopping smart and choosing recipes that will stretch their dollars further. The good news is that this can be done with a bit of effort, and people will still be eating well at every meal.

“Everyone is feeling the pinch of the higher prices at the grocery store and everywhere else,” explains Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, owner of Big Shake’s restaurants. “We have to take steps to keep the bill down and still be able to enjoy the food we eat. It can be done, and I’m happy to offer tips on how to make it happen.”

According to the latest Consumer Price Index Summary issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to a year ago, people pay around 7.4% more for groceries and 6.4% more for takeout food. While the cost of food has been steadily rising, this represents the most significant increase since July 1981. Prices are expected to continue to increase as gas prices continue to rise.

Here are some ways families can save money on food for the family:

  • Plan the meals ahead of time each week. Make a list of what meals will be made that week and a grocery list of the ingredients needed to make them. Before making the grocery list, take a look in the pantry and freezer to see what can be used to make meals that week.
  • Use the sales flyers to help determine the weekly meals purchasing things on sale. Watch for special deals on items that will be used that week or the next.
  • Stick to the grocery list when doing the shopping. It’s easy to be enticed by all the things at the store, but adding just a few of them to the cart will push the bill up past the budget.
  • Download an instant rebate app, such as ibotta, and watch for items that offer an instant rebate. The funds can be transferred to a Paypal account or added to a gift card. After shopping, upload the receipt to get instant savings.
  • Choose budget-friendly meals. Now is a good time to incorporate more plant-based meals in the weekly rotation because they are typically cheaper to make. Rather than opting for just Meatless Monday, include a second day that the family eats meatless each week, too.
  • When shopping, be sure to check generic brands. Compare the labels to ensure that the products are similar and the ingredients list passes the family standards, and if so, give them a try. Generic brands are often equal in taste but save money.
  • Reducing food waste is an excellent way to save money, and it’s better for the planet. Purchase produce at the farmer’s market, if possible, or buy what is on sale at the store. If it’s not being used right away, wash and freeze it for future use.
  • Save any dinner leftovers to eat in the next day or two, or freeze them to eat at another time. If there are leftovers each night, plan one night during the week that will be a meal of using up all the leftovers.
  • Consider shopping at a different store to try and save money on the weekly shopping. Doing a quick comparison of what store has the best prices in the area may save money each week.
  • If bringing the kids along to shop tends to push the bill up because they ask for items not on the grocery list, consider shopping alone or trying curbside pickup. A few items per week are added by the kids as impulse purchases will add up quickly.

“Even if you feel you can’t implement all of these tips, just adding in a few will help to save money on food each week,” added Davis. “We still need to eat, but there’s no reason why we can’t sit down and plan things out a bit so that we save during this period of high inflation.”

Here are some inflation-busting recipes for the family to try:

Black Bean Cilantro Soup with White Lime Cilantro Rice

Cost $8.72

Feeds family of 4

Black Beans 1lb $1.49

1 Lime .69 cents

Diced onion 1 whole yellow onion $1.29

1 Avocado Sliced $1.59

Green onion $.99

1 lb white rice $1.19

Cilantro $.49

Corn Tortilla Chips for dipping. $.99

Cabbage and Turkey Sausage with cornbread
Cabbage and Turkey Sausage with Cornbread

Cabbage & Turkey Sausage / with cornbread

Total Cost $6.43

2 Head of cabbage $2.46 a head

Butterball 13oz turkey sausage $2.72

Cornbread Mix complete $1.25

Mushroom Chicken & Rice with Peas/Carrots

Total cost $7.38

Chicken thighs 2.50lbs $3.96

1 can cream of mushroom soup $1.26

1 Lb white rice $1.38

1 Can of carrots and peas medley .78

 

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Total cost $7.14

1 Pound of linguine $1.48

Jar of marinara $1.78 for 24oz

Ground chuck $3.88 per pound

Big Shake’s offers Nashville hot chicken meal kits shipped to the home and comes with simple re-heat instructions. They also provide a variety of additional merchandise, including red dust fish fry, shrimp burgers, coffee mugs, popcorn, sweet cornbread mix, seasoning salts, bottled hot sauces, and more. It also offers an ultimate gift box to send to someone who loves hot chicken. It also offers a variety of clothing items, including sneakers, shirts, and backpacks. To get information about Big Shake’s franchise opportunities, visit the site: https://www.bigshakesfranchise.com.

Big Shake’s currently has four locations in Franklin, Tenn., Columbia, Tenn., Huntsville, Ala., and Madison, Ala. Additional locations in Nashville and Tuscaloosa are underway. Chef Big Shake became famous for his signature shrimp burgers featured on the hit show “Shark Tank.” His chain has sold hundreds of thousands of them. The restaurant has also become famous for its hot chicken plates, chicken sandwiches, hot chicken and waffles, hot chicken tacos, and more. It also features a variety of fish entrees, including whiting and catfish. Diners can choose their level of heat, ranging from “cry baby” to “executioner.”

To learn more about Chef Big Shake’s online store or place an order for national delivery, visit the site: https://shopbigshakes.com/. To learn more about Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish, visit the site: https://www.bigshakeshotchicken.com/.

About Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish

Big Shake’s was named after and founded by Shawn Davis, who worked his way from restaurant dishwasher to chef to entrepreneur. After being passed upon the reality business show “Shark Tank,” he received the funding he needed to take his business national. Today, his product line, which features The Classic Shrimp Burger, is available online, and he owns Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish restaurants. Davis has also been featured on such shows as “Man vs. Food,” “Food Paradise,” “Access Hollywood,” and QVC, among others. To learn more about the restaurant chain, visit the site: https://www.bigshakeshotchicken.com/.

Instagram adds credits to ensure more Black creators are cited for their work

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Black Creators Cameryn Boyd and Alexis Michelle Adjei came up with a way for Instagram to address "inequity in the creator ecosystem."

By Randi Richardson, NBC News

Instagram announced Monday that it will introduce a special tag for professional accounts and influencers that ensures they receive credit for their content, an attempt to address complaints that Black users are not credited for starting trends or are shut out from profiting from them.

The tag is available to business and creator accounts, and comes on the heels of nationwide discussions and content strikes by Black content creators who pushed out viral posts saying they do not receive credit for their work.

Alexis Michelle Adjei, a data analyst, and Cameryn Boyd, an engineer, envisioned and created the label with these disparities and Black creators in mind, particularly that creators make a living off producing social media content and that Black creators should share equally in that, too, they said.

Adjei said, “Black creators and addressing that inequity in the creator ecosystem” was top-of-mind when developing the new feature.

Twice as many white influencers are making upward of $100,000 a year as are Black ones who are making similar content to similarly sized audiences, according to a study published in December by MSL, a communications company, and The Influencer League, an educational organization. The report also found a 29 percent pay gap between white creators and all creators of color.

“We want to ensure that as Black creators’ content is being distributed as it already is, they are getting the proper attribution so that they have the opportunity to get all of those growth and monetization and career-starting opportunities like their contemporaries are,” said Boyd, a Spelman College graduate. “It’s really critical, as we’re moving towards this new age where creators are so important and creators are really able to use their craft to support themselves in their lives, that Black creators are getting the same opportunity, as they’re already creating the content.”

Adjei and Boyd joined Meta in August 2020 before landing on the idea the following February. They worked on it with colleague Alexandra Zaoui, building it out together and pitching it across different teams at Instagram’s parent company, Meta, until eventually getting their own team, which prepared the feature to launch this week under the pair’s leadership.

Adjei, a Stanford University graduate, said the need for a formal credit was apparent, and it just took the right set of eyes at Meta to see it.

“I think we were just so close to the need that we were able to see and we kind of had that same situation of like, why doesn’t this exist? And then we went the next step of like, let’s make it exist.”

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

You Can Now Shop Rihanna’s Entire Fenty Beauty Collection at Ulta

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Rihanna holding up an orange ulta shopping back while smiling at the camera in a brown coat

By Jennifer Chan, People

ICYMI, Rihanna is ready to expand. Expand her retail offerings for Fenty Beauty, that is. In a recent Instagram post, the singer posed with a hefty Ulta shopping bag, captioning the post, “bout to be in my Ulta bag! Dats right, I can finally confirm that @fentybeauty is officially joining the @ultabeauty fam! March 6th.”

We love to see it. Everyone knows how accessible shopping at Ulta is, which means the Fenty love is going to hit the masses in a major way, starting today. The big-box beauty retailer will carry the full range of glamorous goodies that have attracted plenty of famous fans (lest we forget that Mary J. Blige wore a face full of Fenty for her iconic Super Bowl LVI performance) since their inception. ICYMI, Rihanna is ready to expand. Expand her retail offerings for Fenty Beauty, that is. In a recent Instagram post, the singer posed with a hefty Ulta shopping bag, captioning the post, “bout to be in my Ulta bag! Dats right, I can finally confirm that @fentybeauty is officially joining the @ultabeauty fam! March 6th.”

We love to see it. Everyone knows how accessible shopping at Ulta is, which means the Fenty love is going to hit the masses in a major way, starting today. The big-box beauty retailer will carry the full range of glamorous goodies that have attracted plenty of famous fans (lest we forget that Mary J. Blige wore a face full of Fenty for her iconic Super Bowl LVI performance) since their inception.

“I created Fenty Beauty with a global vision in mind, and that vision transcends everything from our shade ranges and products to where and how people can shop the brand. I want everyone to truly be included and Ulta Beauty’s amazing community shares the same passion for beauty that I do,” Rihanna said in an official press release.

It’s this unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity that sets the brand apart in an overly saturated market filled with celebrity-backed lines; and if we had to guess, likely why every new product launch of hers is received with instantaneous praise from industry pros, celebrities, and real people everywhere.

Rihanna’s complexion products (namely her best-selling Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation) feel light as air on the skin, last for hours on end, and come in an impressive 50 gorgeous shades to reach her global audience; while her Gloss Bomb Luminizer is a bona fide hit on and off social media thanks to its indescribable shine and light-reflecting formula. Safe to say that pretty much everything RiRi touches turns to gold, which is why this bold move to offer her goods at Ulta is pure genius.

Click here to read the full article on People.

PAMELA CULPEPPER MAKES HISTORY AS FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO SIT ON PRADA’S BOARD

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pamela culpepper sitting in front of a bookcase wearing glasses

By Because Of Them We Can

She’s the first in the company’s 100+ year history!

Pamela Culpepper is making history as the first Black woman to sit on the board of Prada, Essence reports.

Culpepper is the co-founder of Have Her Back, a woman-owned culture consultancy that takes an authentic and holistic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. Their mission is equity for all, Culpepper previously leading Human Resources and D&I departments at leading companies across a variety of sectors.

Now, the DEI veteran is taking her talents to Prada, the company’s parent company, S.p.A., recently appointing Culpepper to the board. She makes history as the first Black woman to ever sit on the board of Prada since its founding more than a century ago. Culpepper was hired alongside Anna Maria Rugarli as one of two independent Non-Executive Directors.

Both women were chosen for their backgrounds in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), a strong focus for Prada’s next iteration. In her new role, Culpepper will be supporting the Board of Directors in their sustainability assessments and decisions as it pertains to Prada’s ESG strategy of people, environment and culture. Culpepper said joining Prada’s board just made sense given her expertise. She’s excited to help them navigate this new frontier.

“People who know me and know what Prada stands for, quickly see what connects us – status quo is simply not an option. I’m proud to be a part of that challenge. One of Prada’s principles is to go where the risk is. Prada has stepped out front to lead the industry in ESG. It would be easier to fast follow, but that would be counter to both of our instincts. Prada is at the intersection of authentically connecting their values and purpose with the needs and will of their key stakeholders. My role is to help strategically navigate that intersection,” said Culpepper.

Click here to read the full article on Because Of Them We Can.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Receive the President’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards

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Meghan Markle and Harry standing on veranda smiling with Prince William and Princess Kate in the foreground laughing

BY , Vanity Fair

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were recognized on Saturday for their distinguished public service and philanthropic contributions, accepting the President’s Award at the NAACP Image Awards.

The royal couple made an in-person appearance at the awards ceremony to accept the honor, which in the past has gone to notable Black public figures such as Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James, and Rihanna. Meghan and Harry were given the award in celebration of the work they’ve done over the last two years through their Archewell Foundation, including focusing on global vaccine equity, women’s equality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Duchess also brought her mother, Doria Ragland, to the awards show.

During their acceptance speech, Meghan said: “It’s inspiring to think about the legacy of the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed into law. Today, we can continue that legacy by re-establishing federal voting protections in our country and fulfilling the work of civil rights giants, like the late John Lewis. We are so deeply humbled to be here in the company of so many illustrious awardees.”

Harry then took a moment to speak on the situation in Ukraine. “Before I begin, we would like to acknowledge the people of Ukraine, who urgently need our continued support as a global community,” he said. “I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and this community for welcoming me so warmly. I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background from my incredible wife, yet our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to combat injustice and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to.”

Meghan added: “And I couldn’t be prouder that we’re doing this work together. We moved to California, my home state, shortly before the murder of George Floyd. For Black America, those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time, invoking centuries of our unhealed wounds. In the months that followed, as my husband and I spoke with the civil rights community, we committed ourselves and our organization, Archewell, to illuminating those who are advancing racial justice and progress.”

The couple also took the opportunity to announce that they have partnered with the NAACP on a brand new award, the NAACP Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award. This honor is meant to celebrate those leaders who are merging social justice with technology to advance civil and human rights. The inaugural award was presented by NAACP president Derrick Johnson to Dr. Safiya Noble, the cofounder of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and a well-respected author and scholar.

Harry said of the award’s first recipient: “Safiya’s work speaks to a new chapter in the movement for civil rights. This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right and to march for what is just. As this fight for justice still remains, it’s time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally and felt deeply.”

Meghan concluded, “We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us. Thank you so much for joining us in this work, and thank you again for this incredible honor. Truly.”

Click here to read the full article on Vanity Fair.

Gabrielle Union Wants Us to Love Black Women ‘As They Show Up’

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Gabrielle Union wearing beige in front of a cartoon background of brown squares

By , GLAMOUR

Gabrielle Union couldn’t have a more perfect name. The actor understands that the most important part of her job is not the glitz and glam (though she’s pretty incredible at that part too) but the power of unity. Throughout her career, she’s made it a point to uplift others—especially other Black women—through charity work, her production company I’ll Have Another, and her platform, which she uses to speak out against racism in the industry.

Union’s latest project is participating on panel of Black female founders hosted by Taraji P. Henson and Sally Beauty on February 22. The roundtable will feature not only the two celebrity brand owners, but the founders of smaller hair brands including The Doux, True + Pure Texture, and Mielle Organics. It may seem strange that these women who are technically competitors are coming together, but according to Union, at the end of the day, it’s bigger than selling shampoo and edge control.

“When I started my hair line, one of the first people to reach out was Taraji,” Union tells Glamour. “She was like, ‘Send me products. I’ll promote it.’ And always in the back of your mind, you’re like, But you have a hair line—are you sure?” But then Henson pointed out: Union had been one of the very first people to post Henson’s line when it launched. “That’s what we do because there’s enough space for all of us. And so we’re like, ‘Okay, how do we take what we do for each other, and expand that?’ And so, at Taraji’s behest, we created this roundtable of founders.

“You just wish that you could have done things sooner to make sure that everyone got included in these kinds of projects,” Union continues. “But what I love about how Taraji and I have always moved through Hollywood and the world, is this world is big enough for all of us to thrive. And sometimes when we put ourselves or we get put in little boxes, we can’t always see what the others are doing, or what they’ve demanded and gotten, or what worked, or why something didn’t work. And sharing those resources, sharing that information, being mentors—it just wasn’t always encouraged. But the way it’s always worked with us is we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. And if I have information, you have information. And if I have a platform, you have a platform. How can we expand that? And that’s what we’ve come up with with the founder’s roundtable.”

She continues, “It’s easy to support people as they’re winning an Oscar or winning the Super Bowl or whatever. It’s easier to be a fan and support them. But when people are at their darkest moment, who really shows up?” she asks. “And when it’s time for real solidarity, who really shows up? And, luckily we walk the walk, and that we talk. So hopefully it inspires more people to do the same.”

Ahead of the roundtable—streaming live on February 22 at 7 p.m. C.T.—we caught up with Union for a quick round of Glamour’s Big Beauty Questions. Read on for her beauty essentials, self-care secrets, and thoughts on toxic beauty standards.

Glamour: In addition to Taraji, you’re hosting the roundtable in partnership with Sally’s Beauty. Why is this partnership important to you?

Gabrielle Union: Well, they’re everywhere. That’s first and foremost. And they’re in all communities. There are times when I am in search of specific products, geared toward more melanated folks, and it’s impossible when I’m on the road to find products. But Sally’s is in pretty much every major community; they’re there and they’ve always been there. There’s a respect for their customers. And they truly do embrace diversity and inclusion. It shows in the way that their customers are not demonized or profiled just for screwing off a top, or going to feel the consistency of something, or smell something. That’s encouraged. That was the biggest deciding factor when we were looking for distribution partners.

What’s one beauty trend you are obsessed with right now?

Ooh, those magnetic lashes. Full disclosure, I didn’t get how it was going to stay on. I tried it and it worked. And if you’re like me, somebody who has a hard time putting on fake eyelashes, it’s a lot easier. I can’t remember the brand I use, but the ad popped up—and clearly that kind of stuff works, because my ass bought it! I’m also one of those people who doesn’t normally follow directions, but I followed the directions and it actually worked. Fancy that!

What is the best beauty advice either your mom or someone else in your life has given you?

Make sure to take your makeup off at the end of the night and wash your face. Because what it looks like the next day is that you’re making poor life choices. And of course that is not exactly the words that they used, but that has proven to be true.

Fill in the blank. I love my hair when…

I love my hair when the big, beautiful, luscious curls are just doing what they’re supposed to do on the first try. That’s when I probably love my hair most.

Since you do travel a lot, is there a city or a country that gives you the greatest beauty inspiration?

Oh, there’s so many. Probably the women in Paris, Parisian women of all races. I mean, it’s a different level. We went there this summer, and I just started following a bunch of these women on Instagram. And I go to one account, it leads you to five more, and it leads you to, “Well, if you like this, you’ll love these.” And now I’m just obsessed with these French beauty and fashion influencers. I’m all the way in.

Click here to read the full article on GLAMOUR.

Simone Biles Shares Close-Up of Her Dazzling Engagement Ring from Jonathan Owens

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Simone Biles and fiance holding hands with their new engagement ring (on the right) and the left photo is her fiance proposing to her on one knee

By Greta Bjornson, People

Simone Biles just showed off her spectacular new bling.

The Olympic gymnast, 24, got engaged to boyfriend Jonathan Owens, and celebrated the occasion with a sweet Instagram post Tuesday in which she revealed her stunning engagement ring.

Owens, 26, proposed to Biles with an oval shaped diamond set on a diamond pave band and designed by jewelry designer ZoFrost. Biles flashed her new ring in multiple photos, including a close-up shot that showed the ring on her hand as she clasped Owens’.

In her engagement photos, Biles wore a black minidress and black heeled sandals, while Owens wore a gray suit and black sneakers to get down on one knee.

She also included a video of the ring in her post. The short clip shows the gorgeous sparkler in even more detail as it glistens under a light against a black background.

“THE EASIEST YES,” Biles wrote in the caption of her post. “I can’t wait to spend forever & ever with you, you’re everything I dreamed of and more! let’s get married FIANCÉ 💍🥺🥲🤎 @jowens_3”

After proposing to Biles, Owens — who plays as a safety with the Houston Texans — also shared the same photos to his Instagram account, where he tagged ZoFrost and thanked him for the ring.

Biles also flaunted her beautiful ring on Instagram stories, showing her excitement as she FaceTimed with friends.

“Woke up this morning with a fiancée 💍❤️,” Owens posted on Instagram. “Appreciate my dawg @don_julio314 for helping me set everything up, she really had no clue what was coming 😂 @zofrost you went crazy on this one bro really made the night special 🙌🏽 📸: @medronn”

ZoFrost congratulated the couple on Instagram, where he shared the same clip of Biles’ ring and wrote, “Congratulations @jowens_3 and @simonebiles !! Thank you for letting me part of your big day!!!”

Click here to read the full article on People.

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