By Melissa Repko, CNBC
Target said it will hire more Black-owned companies, launch a program to identify and support promising minority entrepreneurs and add products from more than 500 Black-owned brands to its shelves or website.
Altogether, the discounter said Wednesday, it will spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025.
“We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses, but there’s more we can do to spark change across the retail industry, support the Black community and ensure Black guests feel welcomed and represented when they shop at Target,” chief growth officer Christina Hennington said in a news release.
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and protests across the country have ratcheted up pressure on corporate leaders to advance racial equity and do more than simply cut a check — or risk losing business. The uneven death toll of the coronavirus pandemic and financial toll of the recession also spotlighted the country’s sharp racial disparities with health care and economic opportunity.
Floyd was killed in Target’s hometown of Minneapolis, now the site of the murder trial for the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck. One Target store, located near the site of Floyd’s death, had to be completely rebuilt and some of its other stores were damaged during rioting.
Companies have spoken out about diversity and inclusion as consumers pay attention and some direct their dollars toward businesses that align with their values. Generation Z — the group of teens and early 20-somethings who are aging into shopping and establishing relationships with brands — care more about social justice compared with former generations, according to an annual survey of teens by Piper Sandler released Wednesday. Teens surveyed by the firm ranked racial equity as their most important political and social issue, followed by the environment and Black Lives Matter.
Over the past year, major retailers like Nike, Walmart and Ulta Beauty have rolled out their own pledges, such as devoting more shelf space to Black-owned products, evaluating how they hire and promote employees, featuring more Black people in their ads and reducing the number of police or security in stores to prevent racial profiling. A growing number of retailers, including Macy’s, Sephora and Gap, have signed on to the 15 Percent Pledge, which aims to make Black-owned products on store shelves proportional to the country’s Black population.
Among Target’s changes, the retailer said it will more actively seek out advertising firms, suppliers, construction companies and other kinds of businesses that are Black-owned. It said it will create a program called Forward Founders for early-stage start-ups led by Black entrepreneurs to help them develop, test and scale products to sell at mass retailers like Target. It will be modeled off of Target Accelerators, a program for start-ups that the retailer uses to foster up-and-coming brands and ultimately, to sell fresh and exclusive products that attract customers and help it differentiate from competitors.
In some categories, such as beauty, Target said it already has 50 Black-owned and Black-founded brands — but would like to add more for other kinds of merchandise.
Click here to read the full article on CNBC.
MAKEDA EASTER, Los Angeles Times
Getty and the city of Los Angeles are expected to announce Tuesday the launch of the African American Historic Places Project, a three-year initiative to identify and preserve landmarks that represent Black heritage across L.A.
Led by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Office of Historic Resources within L.A.’s Department of City Planning, the project will address a disparity in local landmark designations: Only about 3% are connected to African American heritage. The goal of the project is to more accurately reflect the history of the city.
The Office of Historic Resources knows that its landmark designation programs do not yet reflect “the diversity and richness of the African American experience in Los Angeles,” said Ken Bernstein, principal city planner and manager of the office. “There’s much work to be done to rectify that disparity and ensure that the heritage of African Americans in Los Angeles is fully woven into our historic designation, and recognition of historic places in Los Angeles.”
The project is a continuation of a nearly 20-year partnership between the Getty Conservation Institute and the city on local heritage projects.
In 2005, a city-matched grant of $2.5 million from the GCI launched a program to identify and map places of social importance, including historic districts, bridges, parks and streetscapes.
Data from surveys conducted between 2010 and 2017 led to the creation of HistoricPlacesLA, a digital portal designed to inventory, map and contextualize the city’s cultural heritage sites. In 2018, the Office of Historic Resources developed a model to guide preservation work in Black communities, using themes including civil rights, religion and spirituality and visual arts.
Click here to read the full article on Los Angeles Times.
By Katie Campione, People
Venus Williams is once again lending her voice to the movement for gender equality.
The five-time Wimbledon champion penned a moving essay for British Vogue on Monday about using her platform to advocate for equal pay.
In 2007, Williams became the first woman to receive equal prize money to her male counterparts. While men and women now get equal prize money at the majors and combined events, Williams said there is still a long way to go in the sport and across all industries to make sure women are valued in their fields.
“There is still a mindset that women’s tennis isn’t as valuable as men’s,” she wrote. As four-time Olympic gold medalist, Williams said “we must not allow [that mindset] to dictate society’s progress.”
“I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport,” Williams wrote. “The lack of equality and equal opportunities in tennis is a symptom of the obstacles women face around the world.”
The tennis player added that, in the United States, women made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019. Inspired by that “shocking” statistic, Williams said she is initiating a campaign called #PrivilegeTax.
Ahead of Equal Pay Day on March 24, customers at participating brands can donate 19 cents at checkout to benefit the Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles organization. Brands partnering with Williams for the campaign include Nordstrom, Tracy Anderson, Tom Brady’s TB12, Carbon38, Credo Beauty and Happy Viking.
Click here to read the full article on People.
By LISA WEHRSTEDT, Express UK
After her amazing performance as LaKeisha on the Starz show Power, LaLa Anthony has now landed a major new role alongside Power producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, on an upcoming drama. Inspired by true events, Black Mafia Family will tell the story of two brothers from 1980’s Detroit who started one of the most influential crime family in the country.
LaLa Anthony will plat Markaisha Taylor, the wife to flamboyant drug dealer and head of the family Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory.
She is also best friend to her husband’s brother and fellow boss Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, which will make for some interesting dynamics as family loyalty is called into question.
The brothers’ vision is to take their business beyond the drug trade and into the world of hip-hop to become global icons.
Meanwhile, Markaisha has her own plan to harness Terry’s seriousness and sense of purpose to make herself rich.
As the two grow closer and ultimately intimate, their relationship will mean the demise of Markaisha’s marriage as well as Terry’s reputation on the streets.
Snoop Dogg has also joined the cast as Pastor Swift, the Flenory family’s spiritual advisor.
His character description reads: “He’s a man of The Word, with the aura of an ex-con.”
“The Pastor believes in the power of the Lord, and does his best to keep Meech and Terry in good graces.”
He will eventually make his way into the family and become a close confidant, although “Meech and Terry’s father resents all the attention the Pastor showers over the Flenory’s family, but no one can deny all the good the Pastor does for them.”
Joining the show is also Serayah, who will play Demetrius’s girlfriend, Lori Walker.
She is a smart, driven, yet naive college athlete who fell for Meech’s bad boy charm when the couple was younger.
After having a daughter with him, Lori is now more mature and clear-eyed.
Her world centres more around her daughter, and she expects less out of Meech, which makes him want her more.
Click here to read the full article on Express UK.
By Angelique Jackson, Variety
With her critically acclaimed performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Viola Davis is primed to become the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history.
Though Davis’ name (and her rousing acceptance speeches) has become synonymous with the very notion of awards season, the celebrated actor is quick to point out the reality that this record is one that should’ve been set long ago.
“For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business,” she says. “If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that’s a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color.”
Davis currently shares the record for the most nominated Black actress in the history of the Academy Awards, tied with close friend Octavia Spencer with three nods apiece. Both women have a supporting actress trophy at home (Davis won in 2017 for “Fences,” while Spencer won in 2012 for “The Help”).
The only other Black actress with multiple Oscar nods is Whoopi Goldberg, who has been recognized twice, nominated for best actress in 1986 for “The Color Purple” and winning the best supporting actress prize in 1991 for “Ghost.” The late Cicely Tyson earned an Oscar nod in 1972 for “Sounder” and an honorary Oscar in 2018.
Of the awards season maelstrom, Davis says, “I have to make it mean something. I do. If I just saw it as a moment for me to sort of puff up my own ego, I think that that would last for 10 seconds or less. It’s a platform. It’s another microphone. It’s another opportunity to open my mouth and speak a really fundamental truth about Hollywood and this business, and, really, America.”
Of course, this year’s ceremonies will inevitably be different, as they unfold amid the ongoing pandemic. There are logistical questions about what sort of hybrid virtual and in person broadcasts might take shape, but Davis is hopeful that the award season landscape will change in a more significant way.
“It’s always great to have the escapism of friendly competition, but at the end of the day, there are a lot deeper issues going on than whether we’re going to have the Oscars, or the Golden Globes, or the SAG Awards in person or virtually,” she says. “My fantasy is that people, that artists, understand that there is no separation with what we do, and what’s going on in the world. I’m actually really excited to see how that takes shape — how people speak their truths, even in their acceptance speeches, how they deal with getting golden statues and what they do with their power now.”
Click here to read the full article on Variety.
By Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter
The host kept his jokes to a minimum while introducing a very different version of music’s biggest night amid the pandemic era of awards shows.
Trevor Noah kicked off a very intimate Grammy Awards show on Sunday, using his opening monologue to tour viewers around the CBS telecast’s COVID-safe, indoor-outdoor set.
Opening the night outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Noah explained that the nominees were seated in a tented limited audience outside the venue, while the artists would be taking the stage for the night’s performances inside the nearly empty convention center. While he quipped about hot-button topics like COVID-19, the U.S. Capitol insurrection and the royals, his opener was intended to set-up the different-seeming and yet hopeful night.
“Tonight’s about bringing us all together as only music can. I mean — music and vaccines,” said the Daily Show host in an introduction fit for the pandemic-era of awards shows.
Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. My name is Trevor Noah and I’ll be your host tonight as we celebrate the last 10 years of music that got us through the last 10 years of coronavirus. I know it’s been one year, but it feels like 10.
As you can see, this year, people, we have made the decision to socially distance from the Staples Center, but we’re still broadcasting to you from the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This is not a Zoom background, alright? This is real. My uncle isn’t going to walk behind me naked even though I told him I was having an important meeting. That’s not going to happen tonight.
Tonight, we’re going to celebrate some of the fantastic music that has touched our lives and saved our souls over this unprecedented year. And as you can see, we are outside. Meaning, we get to enjoy the great Los Angeles air — which I know maybe as dangerous as COVID, but we’re willing to take the risk.
Tonight is going to be the biggest outdoor event this year besides the storming of the Capitol. Because, you see, right here in this elegant, open-air tent, we will be presenting the most prestigious, sought-after, peer-voted trophies in music, giving out shiny new Grammy awards live throughout the evening. But we have to do it quickly because tomorrow this tent is reserved for an outdoor wedding in Malibu and I do not want to lose my security deposit.
Click here to read Trevor Noah’s full monologue transcript on The Hollywood Reporter
You can count Beyoncé as one of the 17 million people who tuned in to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s highly anticipated sit-down with Oprah Winfrey last Sunday, as now, the superstar is showing her support for the Duchess of Sussex.
But rather than post a comment on social media following the bombshell interview, Beyoncé took to her personal website to share her sweet message.
“Thank you Meghan for your courage and leadership,” wrote Beyoncé alongside an image of the two meeting for the first time at the U.K. premiere of The Lion King. “We are all strengthened and inspired by you.”
During the two-hour interview, Meghan revealed how adjusting to royal life took a toll on her mental health. In one of the televised special’s most heartbreaking moments, the Duchess of Sussex revealed that there was a point where she had considered suicide and turned to her husband, Harry, for support.
“I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it—then I would do it,” said Meghan to Winfrey during the interview. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Beyoncé isn’t the only high-profile figure to speak out in support of Meghan in recent days. Tennis icon Serena Williams, the duchess’s dear friend, also shared a moving message praising her friend’s bravery in speaking her truth.
Click here to read the full article on Harper Bazaar
It’s almost time to watch Oprah Winfrey‘s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special promises to be an intimate, wide-ranging conversation with the couple in their first televised sit-down since their engagement, airing on Sunday, March 7.
“There is no subject that’s off limits,” Oprah said in the trailer for the upcoming special, released on Sunday, which previewed some of the topics, from their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family, to their marriage, to how they’ve handled life under intense public pressure.
When and what time is Oprah With Meghan and Harry: The 90-minute interview airs on CBS on Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT.
How to watch without cable: The interview will air on CBS, but if you need a way to stream, there are a number of services where you can do so. You can watch CBS on Paramount+ — currently called CBS All Access, but will have relaunched by the time of the special — which costs as little as $5 per month. You can sign up for CBS All Access now, and be all set for Sunday.
Alternatively, several live TV streaming services offer CBS, including Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, AT&T TV Now and YouTube TV. Usually, most of these services have specials offering free trials for first-time subscribers.
Where can I see the trailer for Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan? Right here! Watch below for a first look.
Read the full article at ET Online.
“Our skin color should not be a criteria, only talent should matter,” ballerina Chloé Lopes Gomes told NBC News”
By Adela Suliman for NBC News
Other dancers, including in the United States, have voiced their support for Lopes Gomes, saying that it is high time for the ballet world to address racism and bigotry.
She said that in rehearsals at Berlin’s prestigious Staatsballett, which she joined in 2018, she was told her mistakes stood out because she is Black. In another incident, she said she was mocked when offered a white-colored veil for a show.
For some performances of “Swan Lake” she also said she was made to wear white makeup, despite the school formally dropping this requirement for people of color in the 2018-19 season. Though she acknowledged this was a “tradition” of the show, it was one she deemed outdated.
“Asking not only a Black person but a ballerina to color their skin to look whiter, I don’t think it’s right — I felt very humiliated and very alone,” she told NBC News.
“The harassment kept going, I was very depressed,” she added. During time-off for an injury in 2019, she said the combination of the injury and harassment led to her being prescribed antidepressant drugs. Almost a year after she returned to work, she learned her contract, which is scheduled to end in July, would not be renewed.
Lopes Gomes, whose father is from Cape Verde and mother is French and Algerian, said she made complaints to the company before learning that her contract would not be extended. She added that she felt compelled to go public with her experiences in order to improve the situation for future generations of Black dancers.
This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.
According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.
As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.
Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.
Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.
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
When Vashaad Randolph posted a heartfelt personal ad on Facebook, he was looking for a partner. What he got was a post that went viral and introduced him to the country.
People are intrigued by his straightforward approach and personality. Fans can participate in an interactive segment with him when he is featured on the “Love Rants: Meet Your Match” show hosted by Stacii Jae Johnson. He will be a featured guest on the interactive show on September 23, 2020.
“Like thousands of others, we heard about Vashaad’s story and we knew he’d make a great guest,” explains Alexander Riesenkampff, the chief executive officer of GetVokl, a livestreaming platform. “We look forward to having him on, so he can share his thoughts, ideas, hopes, and get some great matchmaking advice.”
Randolph’s post was shared thousands of times, and it was even covered by several news outlets. In it, he shared that he was a single dad of a great three-year-old, and that he was looking to find someone who would be a great match. He is seeking someone who would make a great friend and wife. He moved to Columbus, Ohio, last December and has been trying to find dates. The pandemic hasn’t made it easy on him, which has further prompted him to take his search online.
As a “girl dad,” Randolph let his personality shine through in his post. He’s a loving and caring father, he has high standards for the woman he wants to settle down with, and he’s looking for someone who is also up to the task of being a business partner and stepmother. As a member of the Army National Guard, he is also an entrepreneur, owning a business making custom neon signs. His post did net him a few virtual dates, but he’s still on the search for the right woman.
“I think that everyone should be honest and open with what they are looking for in a life partner,” explains Randolph. “I’ve learned a lot through this experience, I’ve shared a lot, and so far it’s been a positive thing. I look forward to being featured on Stacii Jae’s show.”
The show he’s referring to, “Love Rants: Meet Your Match,” continues to grow in popularity as so many people are single and stuck at home. They are turning to virtual ways to help make a match, and even hold virtual dates. Every week, singles can tune into the show, where they can participate in live virtual matchmaking and relationship discussions.
Stacii Jae Johnson is an interactive podcaster, author, dating/relationship expert, matchmaker and women’s empowerment advocate and the go-to-girl for all things single who has one of the most popular podcasts in the Connection Zone, which is broadcast from the GetVokl network, allowing her to livestream it across multiple platforms at one time. The network allows podcasters to have an interactive experience with their fans. Her show focuses on matchmaking for black singles. Those who tune in can fill out a short matchmaking form, and then her Matching Machine uses her methods of finding the best possible matches. She uses her platform to help people make a match. She will be trying to help Randolph make the perfect match on her show.
“I met Vashaad only through learning about his story. It touched my heart. His level of vulnerability and transparency was a breath of fresh air,” says Johnson. “I’m excited to help him find the perfect match and to discuss his approach.”
To access “Love Rants: Meet Your Match,” visit the site at: https://getvokl.com/channel/stacii-jae.
GetVokl is an app that allows people to livestream across multiple platforms at one time. It’s free to use and ideal for podcasters, coaches, teachers, bloggers, reporters, or others who want their livestream to reach people on multiple platforms. It’s quick to set up and easy to use, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. GetVokl also features VCoin, which helps podcasters earn more money by letting people give tips or donations as the livestreaming takes place. To learn more about GetVokl or to download the app, visit the site: https://getvokl.com/. To learn more about how VCoin works, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qroHqQY0IjY&feature=youtu.be.
GetVokl is a free livestreaming community platform built for podcasters, livestreamers, and hosts to unleash the potential of their audiences through interactive live shows that inspire and create vibrant communities. GetVokl allows a livestream to be broadcast over multiple social media platforms at one time. Join or create your live video community.
To learn more about GetVokl, please visit https://about.getvokl.com.