Monday, March 29, 2010

Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans

Black Is the New Green authors Andrea Hoffman (left) and Len Burnett (right) with film director Lee Daniels at the DC launch of "Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans," on March 18, 2010.

There's a particular reason why the colors of my blog are black and green. I chose green, being the color of money, and black, representing the black community, to show that African Americans significantly contribute to causes we care about. And not just our money, but our time and talents as well. Within the black community, there is a growing segment that has been largely overlooked by marketers, major corporations and even non profit organizations: the affluent African American. This growing segment is the subject of the new book, "Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans." Published by Palgrave Macmillan, this book outlines the $87.3 billion in buying power that affluent African Americans possess. And in 2012, this massive buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion!

So why is this book important to share with you, my valued readers? I know that many of you are social entrepreneurs and non profit professionals who are continually seeking ways to obtain donations and new supporters. You've probably written grants and have even tried to get a celebrity to attend your fundraiser (which by the way, is not the first thing to do if you're trying to raise funds, but that's the subject of an upcoming post). My suggestion to you is to increase your individual donor base by targeting, you guessed it, the affluent African American.

The book's authors have a combined total of over 40 years of experience catering to this market segment. Len Burnett, Jr. is a pioneer in urban media, as one of the original team members of VIBE magazine, and as the co-founder of Vanguarde Media. He is currently co-CEO and group publisher of Uptown Media Group, which publishes Uptown Magazine. Andrea Hoffman is a former marketing specialist and trend forecaster. She's the founder and CEO of Diversity Affluence, a research, marketing communications and business development firm that helps brand marketers, the media and entrepreneurs understand and reach out to this segment, termed the "Royaltons."

In the book, readers are shown how to follow in the footsteps of brands like Gucci, Sony Electronics, and Aston Martin and become successful in marketing to a segment that can no longer be overlooked.

Together, they share valuable research, insights and strategies for this segment, who are defined as having a minimum annual salary of $75,000. You'll learn what they like, where to find them, what makes them brand loyal, and how to engage them. There's one tip they give when inviting this group to an event which is dead on. I remember I received an invitation for a fundraiser from an organization using their method, and I must say, I was impressed and made it a point to be there (and donate). For entrepreneurs, corporate brands, marketers, public relations professionals and companies, the book shares the top trends predicted for the affluent African American, eight essential components of an effective marketing plan, and advertising ideas, one of which is utilizing social media and blogs - and yours truly is mentioned!

To celebrate the launch of the book, many amazing guests from celebrities to high profile executives and business leaders gathered in New York and Washington, DC. On March 18th, I attended the DC book launch that was held at the Watergate home of business executive and philanthropist Mr. Reginald Van Lee, that provided an amazing view of the Potomac from his terrace, and guests were in the mood to celebrate. Attendees were treated to fabulous tastings from Spoonbread Catering while sipping Veuve Clique.

Co-author Len Burnett, Reginald Van Lee, Senior VP of Booz Allen Hamilton; and Clyde Williams, DNC Political Director. Mr. Lee serves on the boards of Evidence, A Dance Company and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Stacie Turner, Founder of An Extra-Ordinary Life Foundation with co-author Andrea Hoffman

Lobbyist Kevin Parker, public relations executive Carla Sims, and C. Brian Williams of Step Afrika

Tracey Otey Blunt of RLJ Companies; Carl Brooks, CEO of the Executive Leadership Council and Guest

Troy White of Whitehouse Marketing; Rick Wade, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Department of Commerce, Len Burnett and Guest

Also in attendance were entertainment executive Mignon Espy, Reta Lewis, model Keisha Omilana; Carolyn Stennett, Deputy Director/General Counsel for National Head Start Association; Shirley Marcus Allen, Partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners; Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet PLLC; Gallup CEO, Jim Clifton; and JoAnn Williams and Ivan Fitzgerald of the African Continuum Theatre Company.

For the New York launch held on March 16th at the Maritime Hotel, the event attracted actor Anthony Anderson, media personality Kimberly Richardson, former Motown Records President and founder of Kedar Entertainment, Kedar Massenburg; clarinetist Anthony McGill who performed with Yo-Yo Ma at the Obama Inauguration, fashion photographer Keith Major; Keisha Vaughn, Senior Director of Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion for Draftfcb; Diane Ashley, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for the Federal Reserve Board of New York; and Noel Hankin, Senior VP Multicultural Relations for Moet Hennessy USA.

Actor Anthony Anderson (second from right) and Guests

Kedar Massenburg, Founder and President of Kedar Entertainment (left) and Guests

Princess Keisha Omilana (right) and Guests

Ken Smaltz (center), TV personality Kimberly Richardson (right) and Guest

New York book launch Guests

Other guests caught sipping on the "Belvedere Sparkle" specialty cocktails included Antoinette Hamilton of L'Oreal; Alexis Clark, Events Editor for Town & Country Magazine; Emmy Award winning director and producer, Rudy Gaskins and his wife, voice coach, Joan Baker; VP of Brand Integration and Entertainment at UniWorld, Monique L. Nelson; Nicole Cokley of Bloomingdale's, Kathleen Vita of MCM, Felicia Daniels of Continental Airlines, Keke Cargill of Elizabeth Arden and many others. Red carpet interviews were conducted by model and actress Princess Keisha Omilana and the celebration was sponsored by Belvedere. Events were produced by Cookie Patten.

Guests of the events received a complimentary copy of the book, which includes a notable mention and statistics on affluent African Americans and philanthropy. Black is the New Green is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about this market.

The book is now available at all speciality book stores, including Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon.

Visit the website at
Photos by Margot Jordan

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cleveland Cavalier Darnell Jackson teams with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland to Issue “Mentoring Challenge”

Over 300 young men have applied to receive mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland. With no mentors to serve them, Cleveland Cavalier and former Big Brother Big Sister program participant Darnell Jackson is teaming up with BBBS and local Cleveland sponsors to issue a 100-day "Mentoring Challenge" to get 100 mentors and raise $100,000 to support and grow the 100 mentor/child matches.

Cleveland, OH (PRWEB) March 25, 2010 -- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland has partnered with Cleveland Cavaliers’ Forward Darnell Jackson to issue the Darnell Jackson Mentoring Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to recruit at least 100 mentors in 100 days.

The Darnell Jackson Mentoring Challenge stems from Darnell’s passion and commitment to developing at-risk youth in our community. Darnell suffered the tragedy of losing his father at a very young age. He credits mentors in his life who aided him on his path to success. Their positive message and encouragement helped direct Darnell to a positive place, make good decisions and ultimately supported him in his dream of becoming an NBA player. “I would never have made it to the NBA without my mentor” said Darnell. “Now, it’s time for me to give back.”

View Darnell's public service announcement below:

“This is personal for Darnell. He understands the need first hand. We have more than 300 boys on our waiting list and it’s critical to us to serve them,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland President & CEO Margaret Mitchell. “The facts are 87 percent of at risk boys that have a mentor graduate from high school, 70 percent of those who don’t end up troubled. This is a silent, but absolutely critical need that cannot be overlooked.”

Cleveland Clinic and Adcom Communications are sponsoring the Challenge. “The Cleveland Clinic certainly recognizes the vital importance of this cause. We are doing what we can to connect the good will of the men in our community with some very good kids that need them,” said Charles Modlin, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Modlin is a kidney transplant surgeon, urologist and founder and director of the Minority Men’s Health Center of Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological Institute and the Cleveland Clinic Center for Health Equity. Dr. Modlin has a rich history of being personally committed to mentoring.

“This Challenge not only serves the boys who we are attempting to get mentors, it serves the future of our entire community” said Joe Kubic, CEO of Adcom Communications, Inc. and a long-time mentor.

The Challenge begins March 8 and runs through June with recruitment events at major corporations, institutions and of course, at the Q on the concourse during up-coming Cavaliers games. The first stop is at the Cavs game on March 14.

BBBS will simultaneously run a campaign to raise $100,000 to support the new matches. The organization depends 100 percent on donations to conduct background checks, interviews, training, orientation and professional case management of ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships, key to successful mentoring. It takes $1,000 per year or $83.00 per month to youth on the right track.

You can also find out more about the challenge at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

'Luda On The Block' Visits 5 Cities for the 2010 Census

Ludacris Motivates Young African Americans to Spend 10 Minutes on 10 Questions

NEW YORK, NY (March 24, 2010) - Can the 2010 Census change the perception of African Americans (AA) who traditionally distrust Uncle Sam? A $300 million effort, the largest advertising campaign in U.S. government history, plans to do just that by enlisting the help of Grammy award winning recording artist, actor and entrepreneur, Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges who will explain the importance of taking 10 minutes to fill out 10 questions on the Census to young AAs to ensure that their communities receive part of a $400B allotment every year, of federal support. These dollars help maintain bridges, tunnels and public works, emergency services, schools, and job training using Census numbers that stand for 10 years!

Combining star power and credibility, Ludacris will use his voice to reinforce the importance of ‘being counted’ to his fans. “I look at our communities now and I see many empty lots, closed clinics, dilapidated schools and an overall breakdown of social services for the poor and elderly,” says Ludacris. “Today is a day for change. I plan to knock on doors in various neighborhoods around this country to try and dispel any myths about the Census. It’s important that we all stand up and be counted so we can help create potential financial opportunities for our dying communities.”

DraftFCB NY, the lead agency for the 2010 Census Communications Campaign, has enlisted Globalhue advertising agency (GH), along with production and digital marketer RC-CP, and Disturbing the Peace Records (DTP), to effectively reach the vast nationalities representing the black Diaspora; including the AA, African, Caribbean and Haitian audiences.

To create awareness and motivate this elusive, hard to count demographic who are young, single males (AA males tend to be the most undercounted in the AA community), indifferent females (single with children), the poor and underprivileged, people with criminal issues, and immigrants, this "Viral/Ludacris Webisode" campaign will run from March through April. The outreach includes radio broadcast media, a tour, and a national viral webisode campaign featuring Ludacris.

The 2010 Census ‘Luda on the Block’ radio and home visit tour is slated to hit 5 nationwide AA targeted destinations: (Dallas 3/19, New Orleans 3/23, NYC 4/5, Washington, DC 4/6 and Atlanta 4/9). It gives Ludacris fans an opportunity to log on to participating radio station websites and write how their neighborhoods could benefit from 2010 Census funding. Some fans will be given a chance to meet and discuss the 2010 Census with him in person.
Source and photo: Globalhue

In related Census news, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC) Announces the Census Poster and Social Media Competition for Youth and Young Adults:

Talented R&B/hip-hop artist/producer/singer and son of music icon Stevie Wonder, Mumtaz Ekow Morris, and music video director, Dennis Mckinley, will join representatives from community based organizations as judges for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC) Census Poster and Social Media Competition.

The National Coalition's UDC is sponsoring the competition in cities where they have Census activities on the ground working to decrease the undercount of the Black population, says executive director and CEO Melanie L. Campbell. Participating cities are: Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Gary, IN; Houston, TX; Jackson, MS; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; and New York, NY.

Campbell adds, "The competition provides an opportunity for parents, educators, service providers, clergy, and youth organizers to help young people understand the importance of the Census with a civic activity that is educational and fun."

Participants can use any talent to communicate the importance of the Census and encourage people to return their Census form. Poems, posters, paintings, spoken word, songs, YouTube videos, comedy skits, rap, and other artistic expression is eligible. Students and young adults have until April 16, 2010 to enter the competition and must live in one of the cities listed above.

Judges will select five local winners from each participating city including: elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate, and young adult categories. Local winners will receive a certificate of recognition and a $25 - $100 gift card and will be entered into the UDC Census Poster and Social Media Competition. Five national winners will be selected from the local winners. National prizes include a $1,000 scholarship, $500 gift card, laptops and a Nintendo WII Sport.

"I am eager to check out the creative ideas from talented young people," said McKinley. "I hope to see some captivating viral campaigns that will motivate young people to be civically engaged and persuade their parents to return their Census form," adds the director of Travis Porter's hit single "Go Shorty Go," voted the number one song in Atlanta two weeks in a row.

"I am honored to be a part of this campaign and assist in judging the entries," cites Mumtaz, whose debut single "Do It Well," featuring Snoop Dogg drops in April. "We all need to stand up and be counted in the 2010 Census and I look forward to reviewing the entries while helping to expose new talent."

The Unity Diaspora Coalition is an initiative of The National Coalition that brings together organizations representing Caribbean, Afro Latino, African, and African American communities. In addition to urging the Black population to mail in their completed census survey to decrease the under-count of the Black population, their goal is to demonstrate unity among Blacks of the Diaspora.

Content can be uploaded to or mailed to: The National Coalition UDC, 1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW 10th Floor - Suite #1000, Washington, DC 20036. Call for more information 202-659-4929. Source: JazzmynePR

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Gwen Beloti Collection: Emerging Designer Merges Fashion and Philanthropy

For as long as she can remember, Gwen Beloti has had a love for fashion. But when it came time for college, Gwen majored in psychology, ultimately receiving her master’s degree. A psychologist by profession, her love for fashion eventually led her to return to school to study fashion design. Today, the Gwen Beloti Collection designs fun, chic, and jaw-dropping statements for consumers and the fashionable elite.

As Gwen’s brand grows, so does her charitable efforts. She shares, “As an emerging designer, I am truly thankful that within the past 4 years, I’ve been granted many opportunities including being featured in various fashion showcases, contacted for editorial pulls, and have garnered steady interest in my garments from repeat and new purchasing customers…with that being said, I have decided to pay it forward.”

In 2009, Gwen launched the social action project, Fashionably Smart, Literally™ to encourage, promote and reward education in young women. Every year the Gwen Beloti Collection teams up with a high school of which a Fashionably Smart, Literally™ young lady will be selected. These are students that are experiencing hardships or challenges that would likely affect their academic performance be it financial, emotional, or learning challenges, yet they manage to overcome and graduate at the top percentile of their class.

This year the chosen school is Gwen's alma mater, James Madison High School in Brooklyn, NY. The young lady will have the opportunity to pick a look of choice from the current Gwen Beloti collection that will be custom fit as she can opt to remix the piece, in essence creating her own one-of a kind piece. This gift/reward is given in hopes that it will remind young ladies to enjoyably embrace their accomplishments over existing hardships.

In addition to the Fashionably Smart, Literally™ initiative, Gwen collaborates on various other charitable efforts as well. Partnering with fashion and hair stylist duo DannyCrys, they reach out to young women who are financially less fortunate and cannot afford prom expenses by donating a custom made prom dress chosen by DannyCrys to the lucky young lady. This young lady is given the opportunity to offer input on the design concept of her dress and it is hers to keep. The goal is to make their prom night a fun and memorable one. Gwen also supports Little Dresses for Africa, a non profit organization whose mission is to provide relief to children in Central Africa. She has donated to Little Dresses and plans to continue to lend a hand by donating a percentage of her Handy Clutch purse sales to the organization.

Learn more about the Gwen Beloti Collection and the Fashionably Smart, Literally™ initiative by visiting the website at and

Also, check out Gwen's collection of chic dresses and more on Smashing Darling, as she is donating 10% of all sales to Haiti relief efforts! View HERE.

Thank you Gwen for encouraging and rewarding our young ladies!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Spring!

To celebrate the arrival of spring, here's an update on the wonderful individuals I've previously profiled! Check out what they've been up to:

Kaneisha Northern, second from right, along with Clark Atlanta University Alumni Tekquiree Spencer, Kisha Celistan and Nichole Celistan volunteering at the Howl Away Hunger event at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on October 31, 2009.

In November of last year, I profiled Kaneisha Northern, founder of the Los Angeles based Grad Girls Network, a non profit organization that helps shape underprivileged teen girls into confident and productive high school graduates. Recently the organization hosted a network fundraiser mixer that featured local news personalities and the owner of the L.A. Sparks, providing words of encouragement for the young ladies. See the video below:

Keep up the great work Kaneisha! Visit the Grad Girls Network at

In July of last year, I profiled Charyn Harris, founder of Project MuszEd, a non profit organization that provides free and low cost music instruction, instruments and opportunities for lower income youth in Los Angeles. A former keyboardist for R&B legend Barry White, Harris along with her organization raises funds to send these youth to summer camp at the Berklee College of Music, her alma mater.

I am pleased to share that Charyn has been selected to be honored with the Pioneer Women Award by the city of Los Angeles for her significant contributions toward improving the status of women in the city. In addition to Project MuszEd, Charyn serves as the coordinator of music programs for A Place Called Home (APCH). She was instrumental in forming a partnership with APCH and the Berklee City Music Network, a national initiative providing inner city youth with access to music education and scholarship opportunities. Charyn shared, “The need for music education is critical, especially in under-served areas. These kids are just as bright as any and given the opportunity and guidance, have the potential to achieve far and beyond what is usually expected of them.” Congratulations Charyn! Visit the Project MuszEd website at

In the past I've highlighted the annual gala hosted by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, that provides financial assistance and mentoring to students of color to obtain a college education. has a feature on Della Britton Baeza, the President and CEO of the Foundation, that recently held its annual fundraising gala raising 1.8 million dollars. As the article states, learn more about business and black philanthropy from this seasoned African American executive, who knows how to merge social activism and corporate thinking in a harmonious and helpful way! Read it HERE.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrities Partner with CDC to Promote New Social Media Effort Against HIV

Celebrities Partnering with CDC to Promote “I Know,” a New Social Media Effort to Raise the Volume of Young African-American Voices in the Fight Against HIV

Launch event held at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA on March 4, 2010

Via Black PR Wire: On March 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new social media effort – called “i know” – to encourage young African-American adults ages 18-24 to talk openly and often about HIV. The effort was launched at an event on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, featuring singer-songwriter Jeremih, award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson, platinum-selling R&B artist Lyfe Jennings, author and Emmy award-winning AIDS advocate Marvelyn Brown, and CDC’s Dr. Donna Hubbard McCree, Booker Daniels, and Robert Bailey II.

“i know” features public service announcements starring actor Jamie Foxx and video messages from celebrities like Ludacris, and uses text messaging and some of the most popular social media – including Facebook and Twitter – to raise the volume of young African-American voices in the fight against HIV. The effort is part of the CDC's five-year $45 million Act Against AIDS campaign to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.

Pictured in the above photo: Jeremih, Marvelyn Brown, Booker Daniels, Jeff Johnson, Donna Hubbard McCree, and Lyfe Jennings.

To learn more about “i know,” visit

Monday, March 15, 2010

The BlackGivesBack Events Page is Here!

I am pleased to announce the BlackGivesBack events page, a listing of community events, fundraisers, charity galas and more in your community! If you are a non profit organization or volunteer/community group and you would like to have your event listed, send event details to blackgivesback [at] gmail [dot] com, and include "BGB Events" in the subject line:

Name of Event
Date, Time, Location
Price (if any)
A jpeg photo of the flyer invitation (optional)
A website link, contact email and/or phone number to purchase tickets or to RSVP

Note: For the listing of fundraising events, proceeds must benefit a 501c3 non profit organization. There is no cost to list events. So check out the events page HERE to learn more about the upcoming events below:

The Black Culinarian Alliance Hosts Cultural Awareness Salute & Black Tie Gala
Former NBA player John Starks will be the keynote speaker for the Black Culinarian Alliance's (BCA) upcoming Cultural Awareness Salute and Black Tie Gala on Saturday, April 10th, 2010 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Now in its 17th year, this event honors the achievements of people of color in the hospitality and culinary business, provides a space for industry networking and dialogue about the advancement of diversity, and gives culinary students from around the country the opportunity to cook alongside nationally renowned chefs. Visit for more information.

HNA Sports Foundation: "The Game of Giving Back"
The founder of Humanitarian Neighborhood Alliance, Inc., (HNA Sports) invites the Los Angeles, CA community to salute black leaders as living examples of success for youth from under-served communities at the Staples Center on Wednesday, April 7, 2010. They want every youth organization, celebrity and business in Los Angeles who supports the values of giving back to get involved. Seats are available for their Successful Teens International Leadership Salute, and tickets are good for the NBA game that follows. For more information, visit or

Be sure to bookmark the events page and visit often!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Opal: Celebrating A Decade of Excellence with the Northern Virginia Urban League

Northern Virginia Urban League Hosts Black Opal, A Fundraising Event to Support Scholarship and other Community Empowerment Programs

Young professionals from Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, DC region gathered on Saturday, March 6th for Black Opal: Celebrating Decade of Excellence, a fundraising gala and 10th anniversary celebration hosted by the Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network (YPN). Over 200 young professionals dressed in all black, semi-formal attire dined and danced at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Old Town Alexandria. The evening commenced at 8 pm with a VIP reception, and guests enjoyed music along with premium food and drinks from 9 pm to 2 am. Pictured in photo above: Lavern J. Chatman, President and CEO, Northern Virginia Urban League; Pamela Perkins, President, YPN; Karen James, Director of Social Programs, YPN; and The Honorable William D. Euille, mayor of Alexandria.

“Tonight was an incredible success,” said Pamela Perkins, current president of YPN. “We are excited that so many young professionals joined us for a great night, and I believe many have been inspired to become a part of our movement toward the social and economic empowerment of African Americans and other underserved populations in the community.”

During the evening, remarks were made by The Honorable William D. Euille, mayor of Alexandria, who praised YPN for its service to the Northern Virginia community and acknowledged the historic nature of the gathering at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, a building that African Americans were prohibited from entering for many years. Lavern J. Chatman, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, also congratulated YPN and reminded guests about the importance that this year holds for the Urban League organization.

In this photo taken on March 6, 2010 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, YPN founders return for Black Opal, YPN’s 10th anniversary gala and fundraiser. Left to right: Marvin Reese, Paula Fisher, Danyelle Taylor and Kevin Taylor.

“This year, YPN celebrates 10 years, the Northern Virginia Urban League celebrates 20 years and the National Urban League is celebrating 100 years of empowering communities across the country,” said Chatman. Chatman encouraged guests to learn more about the National Urban League movement, including its centennial activities and “I Am Empowered” campaign at

Providing concluding remarks for the evening, Perkins thanked past leaders for their work in establishing a strong foundation for YPN’s success. Several of the organization’s past leaders returned to celebrate, including former presidents Marvin Reese, Danyelle Taylor and Chasiti Dawson. Reese and Taylor co-founded YPN with Paula Fisher and Kevin Taylor, who also attended. The National Urban League Young Professionals was represented by former presidents Ryan Meyers and Karla Ballard, along with Lorie Rowe, current vice president of the eastern region.

Black Opal program partners included The Dale Consulting Group, Magnificence of YOU Studios, DJ CEO and Sourei Studio.

Visit the Northern Virginia Urban League at

Source: Northern Virginia Urban League/Photo

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

R&B Diva Chrisette Michele Celebrates Fabulous Women for Women's History Month

Chrisette Michele celebrates Women's History Month with Atlanta based organization, Sisters of Today and Tomorrow

Atlanta, GA -- Sisters of Today & Tomorrow (SOT) hosted “Celebrating Women of Color… One Young Lady at a Time” brunch and celebration on March 6, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The event marked their 6th Annual Women’s History Month Celebration and took place at Big Bethel Village, a senior living facility in affluent Southwest Atlanta, where women, young girls and senior women gathered in celebration of one another with words of encouragement, empowering messages, inspirational songs and dramatic performances. In the above photo, Chrisette is pictured with actresses Chloe Bailey and Halle Bailey.

From politics to music, radio, pageantry, acting and poetry, the speakers and performers were all phenomenal! Def Jam R&B recording artist Chrisette Michele was SOT's special guest, who excited the crowd of women and girls as she told the audience, “I stand before you as an entrepreneur.” Chrisette and her mother Linette Payne have created “Chrisette Michele LLC,” where they have put together their own tour and merchandising items, employing other women to help develop their businesses. “To all my entrepreneurs be encouraged. It’s a crazy world, however, everything that we do - when we follow our dreams is hard.” She also encouraged the elated audience to “keep your chin up, because often times we may speak to one another with our head down. Let them see you!” she shouted. “A potential investor, sponsor, business partner or boyfriend/husband, can’t see you if your head is down.”

SOT Member Kristen Britton, SOT Founder Carla Morrison and SOT Member Briteny Houston

The keynote address was presented by Dr. Evelyn Winn-Dixon, Mayor of the City of Riverdale, Georgia, who gave the attentive crowd an overview of her life as a post teenage mother who was on governmental assistance, to becoming a college graduate at the age of 35. She raised four children on her own, three of which have become successful in their respective fields, to now becoming the Mayor of Riverdale, Georgia. “When you learn who you are, life becomes easy,” said Mayor Winn-Dixon.

Featured speakers included Elle Duncan of Atlanta's V103 who spoke about distractions. Elle suggested that girls and women alike are too focused on the wrong things, i.e. boys, clothes, the car, how cute someone is. “Be inspired by each other,” Elle told the young ladies of SOT who she also had a private meeting with prior to the start of the program. “And when those distractions pop up, just know it’s the devil’s work.” Duncan also spoke directly to the parents, who are ultimately responsible for the girls in our community, suggesting them to “be mindful at the things you put in your child’s mind.”

Elle Duncan of Atlanta's V103 radio station served as a featured speaker.

Ronelle Keglar, Miss Black Georgia USA 2010, brought greetings from her platform of health and fitness. Actress Yakini Horn performed a dramatic poem, “Death of a Black Woman,” which described the life and times we live in and how women die from not taking care of their needs. SOT's Courtney Britton recited a poem “Black Woman” showcasing our positive attributes, and musical entertainment was provided by SOT’s sister singing duo Chloe & Halle Bailey, who performed “Beautiful Flower” by India Irie and “Fly Away,” an original piece written by the girls. The event was co-hosted by SOT members Briteny Houston & Kristen Britton. Visual artist Aarica Blackett drew a portrait of the program to be shown later in the month.

“This Women’s History Month Celebration was right on target,” stated Carla Morrison, Founder of Sisters of Today & Tomorrow. “It bridged the generational gap of young ladies, women and seniors.” SOT will continue to celebrate Women’s History Month every Saturday with a “Mommy & Me” series, culminating the celebration with a Mommy & Me ‘High Tea and Pampering Session’ with Carol’s Daughter Lenox in Atlanta.

The event was sponsored by Big Bethel Village, Chit Chat Communications, Carol’s Daughter, Debnam Group,, Miami Jo Photograph’s & Press Company, The Beautiful Restaurant and Mr. Everything Cafe.

For more information on SOT or Celebrating Women of Color, log onto: or call (404) 319-2130.

Monday, March 8, 2010

American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Listed Among NBC's TheGrio List of 100 African Americans Making History

ATLANTA – February 23, 2010 – Otis W. Brawley, M.D, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, the nation’s largest voluntary health organization, has been named as one of 100 African Americans making history and is listed alongside such names as media mogul Oprah Winfrey; artist and humanitarian Wyclef Jean; and supermodel and TV personality Tyra Banks. TheGrio, NBC’s African American news portal, compiled a list of “100 History Makers in the Making” in honor of Black history month. The full article is available HERE.

In the article, Dr. Brawley is noted as a leader in the field of cancer research, especially in the area of cancer disparities. His work in breast cancer and health disparities research is applauded, and his expertise and straight-talk celebrated by many of his colleagues. The article also states that he grew up in inner-city Detroit, witnessing firsthand the lack of healthcare his neighbors received, and the mistrust among African Americans of doctors. He states,"There were a lot of blacks who were suspicious of people in medicine...there was a lot of concern that people weren't being given the truth."

As the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Brawley champions efforts to decrease smoking, improve diet, detect cancer at the earliest stage, and provide the critical support cancer patients need. Further, as an acknowledged global leader in the field of health disparities research, Dr. Brawley is a key leader in the Society’s work to eliminate disparities in access to quality cancer care.

“The American Cancer Society is extremely proud of Dr. Brawley for making TheGrio’s list of 100 leading African Americans who are making history,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “We saw Dr. Brawley’s outstanding leadership qualities when we recruited him three years ago, and we are lucky to have him leading our fight to eliminate cancer disparities in all communities in order to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

Dr. Brawley is a member of the American College of Physicians, the National Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Clinical Research. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including in 2006 the U.S. Public Health Service Crisis Response Service Award, the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Commendation and the Key to St. Bernard Parish for his work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Brawley currently serves as chair of the National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel on the treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia, and as a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee.

According to, TheGrio “is the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories that appeal to them but are underrepresented in existing news outlets.” The creator of is David Wilson, a 28-year old African American journalist who was inspired to create the website after filming "Meeting David Wilson," a feature length documentary about the enduring legacy of slavery in today’s young black society.

In the film, Wilson travels to North Carolina to meet another David Wilson, a descendant of a white family who once owned his ancestors during slavery. This discovery leads to a momentous encounter between these two men of the same name but whose ancestors were on the opposite sides of freedom. Through DNA testing, David determines his African roots and returns to his native land. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination, MSNBC premiered the documentary that was hosted by Today correspondent Tiki Barber. The DVD is available on, but you can win a copy here!

To enter the "Meeting David Wilson" contest, answer the following question:

This man is the president and CEO of the Children's Aid Society. Named to the post in July, he is the youngest person and the first African-American appointed since the society was founded. Who is this African American leader?

Check to find the answer! Send me an email with your answer to blackgivesback[at]gmail[dot]com with "DVD Contest" in the subject line by Friday, March 12th.

Sources: Footsteps Group and MS&L Digital

Friday, March 5, 2010

Photo of the Day

Hip hop artist, actor and children's book author Common receives a $10,000 donation from the Ford Motor Company to support his foundation, the Common Ground Foundation at the NAACP Image Award Symposium last month in Los Angeles.

Pictured in photo: Vicangelo Bulluck, Executive Director of NAACP Hollywood Bureau, Image Awards Producer and Panel Moderator; Rhea M. William, Executive Director of Common Ground Foundation; Common, Pamela Alexander, Director of Community Development and Fund Operations, Ford Motor Company Fund; and Clayola Brown, Chair, NAACP Image Awards Committee.

The Foundation's website states that their focus is empowering youth in urban neighborhoods and providing life skills needed to achieve their dreams.

Visit the Foundation's website at to learn more about their programs and initiatives.

Have a great weekend!

Source and photo: ESPPR

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Celebrities Lift Their Voices and Stand "Shoulder to Shoulder" in Support of Autism

Shoulder to Shoulder Cast: Glynn Turman; Areva Martin, Esq., President & Co-Founder, Special Needs Network; Ashton Sanders, Omari Hardwick, Vanessa Williams and Ben Guillory, Producing Artistic Director, Robey Theatre Company

(Los Angeles, CA--March 1, 2010)--Over 300 community members, arts enthusiasts, families, elected officials and celebrity guests turned out on February 25th for the inaugural, sold-out “Shoulder to Shoulder: African Americans, the Arts and Autism” presented by Special Needs Network, Inc. (SNN), The Robey Theatre Company and Ebony Repertory Theatre at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. The evening was filled with inspirational theatrical and musical performances raising awareness around the Autism Spectrum disorder and celebrating the lives of African Americans who have played a significant role in shaping black history.

The evening began with a moving performance by 11-year-old musical savant Adam Mandela Walden from HBO's Autism The Musical, who graced the crowd with his musical genius through classical music. Spoken word artists Sabra Marie & Azure Antoinette delivered inspirational words of wisdom and warmed the audience up for an evening sure to never forget. Celebrity actors James Avery, Glynn Turman, Anna Maria Horsford, Omari Hardwick, Elliott Gould, Vanessa Williams, CCH Pounder and Honorary Event Co-Chair Danny Glover filled the stage to participate in the evening’s moving presentation directed and narrated by Ben Guillory.

The evening of theatrical readings celebrated African American heritage and the pursuit of human rights. The audience was moved to tears and laughs as the Actors presented a powerful, educational and inspirational performance. The highlight of the evening was heartfelt performances by Special Needs Network kids who proved that despite having autism they too could be accomplished actors and entertainers such as the cast. Soulful R&B artist, Elaine Gibbs closed the show with a powerful medley of “I’ll Be There,” “You Got a Friend” and “We are the World” moving everyone to their feet and joining hands to stand shoulder to shoulder.

James Avery, Ashton Sanders and CCH Pounder live on stage.

“Shoulder to Shoulder exceeded every expectation set by Special Needs Network and its Board of Directors. We are grateful to the many actors, community leaders, elected officials and parents who supported this event and who assisted SNN in its mission to raise awareness of autism and the need for persistent advocacy on behalf of special needs children and their families,” said Managing Partner, Martin & Martin, LLP and SNN Co-Founder and President, Areva D. Martin, Esq.

Ben Guillory, Producing Artistic Director, Robey Theatre Company; Areva Martin, and Honorary Event Co-Chair Danny Glover
According to the Center for Disease Control, autism now impacts one in every 91 children and one in every 58 boys. “An estimated 50 children are diagnosed with autism every day. Individuals diagnosed with autism are now estimated to be in the tens of millions. These alarming statistics highlight the need for events like this in terms of raising awareness of the need for additional funding and services for those families living in poor and low income communities,” says Martin, a legal analyst for the Dr. Phil Show, who was identified by Redbook Magazine as one of 10 women across the nation changing the face of autism and by Woman’s Day as one of its 50 Women on a Mission to Change the World.

Founded in 2005 to address the epidemic proportions in which children of color were being diagnosed with autism and other developmental disorders, SNN is the premier Los Angeles parent-led grass-roots nonprofit organization working specifically on issues of awareness, policy advocacy and support for families in underrepresented communities. The organization has served over 10,000 families since its inception and has received accolades from local, state and elected officials for its innovative service delivery model. SNN has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and other national publications.

Ben Guillory, Producing Artistic Director, Robey Theatre Company; Areva Martin; LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Bonnie Berry LaMon, Event Chair; and Wren T. Brown, Founder & Artistic Director, Ebony Repertory Theatre

Robey Theatre is a non-profit organization that takes its name from the pioneering Black actor and activist, Paul Robeson. Led by Producing Artistic Director, Ben Guillory, Robey's mission is to explore and develop relevant provocative, and innovative new plays written about the Black American experience, as well as to reinterpret established works.

The Ebony Repertory Theatre is the resident company and operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Under the leadership of Wren T. Brown, it is committed to bringing diverse, high-standard, professional performing arts to the Mid-City community, as well as the greater Los Angeles area.

Shoulder to Shoulder was generously sponsored by: Martin & Martin LLP, Disney, City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, KJLH Radio, Los Angeles Sparks, One Hope Wine, Ebony Repertory Theatre and the Robey Theatre Company. Todd Hawkins of The Todd Group orchestrated the event.

For more information about Special Needs Network, contact 213-389-7100 and visit To learn more about the founder of SNN, Areva Martin, visit For more information on The Todd Group, visit

Photo Credit: Debra Simmons

Steve Harvey Launching Mentoring Camps for Teens Nationwide

Comedian, best selling author and radio personality Steve Harvey was honored with a Trumpet Award for his humanitarian efforts last month at the Trumpet Awards gala in Atlanta.

Registration Kicks Off March 1st for Dallas; Harvey Raising Funds to Host Camps in Ten Cities

ATLANTA, GA (March 1, 2010) - Creating his first Father's Day Mentoring Weekend last year for 100 teenage boys, multi-faceted entertainer Steve Harvey is taking to his bike and pedaling to the limit to raise funds for mentoring camps in 10 cities nationwide for 2010. Kicking off registration on March 1st for the 2nd Annual Father's Day Mentoring Weekend in Dallas, Harvey is on his recumbent bike broadcasting live during his long-running radio show The Steve Harvey Morning Show, encouraging the show's 7 million listeners to raise funds supporting mentoring experiences in 10 cities.

Through The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men, Harvey is working to bring guidance to young men who are without fathers in their lives. "When you teach the principles of manhood, you will produce a better man; because a boy without a male role model is like an explorer without a map," says Harvey. Harvey is pedaling to raise $1 million, to host 1,000 boys and their guardians for 10 mentoring weekends throughout the year. Starting with Dallas for the 2nd Annual Father's Day Mentoring Weekend, from March 1st to March 31st students can register at to be among the 100 boys selected, with 50 spots going to Dallas-area students. Eligible participants must be legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States or Washington DC, between the ages of 13-18, from a single female head of household, and currently enrolled as a student in grades 8-11.

A program that brought together 100 boys ages 13-18 and their guardians to Harvey's Dallas ranch for a weekend of unforgettable experiences, Steve Harvey held the first Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in June 2009 to great success. Transforming his ranch into "Harvey Town" during Father's Day Weekend, Harvey hosted 100 boys from across the country for a 4-day, 3 night specially-designed range of activities, entertainment and special guests to help them prepare for their futures. After registration for Dallas closes March 31st, participants will be notified in May. A number of last year's participants will also return to serve as junior counselors in Dallas this year.

Expanding on his Mentoring Weekend after Father's Day in Dallas, Harvey aims to host Mentoring Weekends in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa, Washington DC, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Says Harvey, "That weekend in 2009 was a life-changer, and I am going to keep pedaling to make the Mentoring Weekend bigger and better this year to set up camps in 10 cities! How long can I keep going on this bike? Join me to find out! With your help, I will keep going as long as it takes to bring mentoring nationwide."

Listeners can tune into The Steve Harvey Morning Show's live broadcast in 65 markets, or watch Steve Harvey on his bike during his show's live webcast 6 AM - 10 AM EST on Eligible participants can visit starting March 1st, to sign up for the Steve Harvey Father's Day Mentoring Weekend in Dallas. For information and making donations, please visit

Photo Credit: Red Carpet Images

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photos of the Day

Ford's Freedom's Sisters Honorees pose at the Ford Freedom's Sisters Luncheon at The Beverly Hills Hotel, February 25, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.

After conducting a citywide search for exceptional women who live in the Southern California community, Ford Motor Company honored twenty women as Southern California Freedom's Sisters. The honorees exemplify dedication to social causes and humanitarian efforts, attributes which are celebrated by the Freedom's Sisters traveling exhibition.

The honorees are: Speaker Karen Bass, California State Assembly; Actress Holly Robinson Peete, HollyRod Foundation; Deputy City Mayor Miriam Scott Long; Entertainer Rev. Della Reese; News Anchor Pat Harvey, KCAL 9; Actress Loretta Devine; former LA County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke; Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, HIV/AIDS Activist; Community Activist “Sweet Alice” Harris; Denise Pines, Tavis Smiley Group; Publisher Natalie Cole, Our Weekly News; Sculptor & Painter Artis Lane; Community Activist Lillian Mobley; Captain d'Lisa Davies, LA Fire Department; Cynthia Davis, Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science; Community Activist LaWanda Hawkins, Justice For Murdered Children; Auto Advocate Glenda Gill; Rainbow PUSH Community Leader Charisse Bremond-Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade; Child Care Advocate Holly J. Mitchell; and Youth Advocate Angela B. Winston, Challengers Boys & Girls Club. The event was hosted by actress Taraji P. Henson and the keynote speaker was Myrlie Evers-Williams.

The interactive, multimedia Freedom's Sisters exhibition was launched in 2008 through funding from the Ford Motor Company Fund in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Freedom's Sisters honors 20 extraordinary African American women, from key 19th century historical figures to contemporary leaders, through their stories of courage, commitment and struggles on behalf of the rights of all Americans. The exhibition will travel to nine venues during its three year tour.

Actress and HIV/AIDS activist Sheryl Lee Ralph is surrounded by her family, husband Vincent Hughes, and her children Ivy-Victoria Ralph and Etienne Ralph at the 1st Annual D.I.V.A. awards on February 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
The D.I.V.A. (Divinely Inspired; Victoriously Anointed) Foundation was founded by Sheryl Lee Ralph to honor the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS. The website states that the foundation focuses on generating resources and coordinating activities to create awareness of and combat against HIV/AIDS. The Foundation utilizes music, entertainment, and the arts as a vehicle to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and funds, to educate people, and to help erase the stigma attached to this deadly disease.

One of the central themes of the Oscar nominated film "Precious" is the impact of HIV/AIDS, which gave Ralph the idea to host the D.I.V.A. awards. The event honored Oscar nominees Lee Daniels, Director of the film along with actress Mo'Nique. For more information and to view a video from the event, visit the website at

And congratulations to Director Lee Daniels and the cast and producers of "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" on their 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture. In photo: Producers Gary Magness and Sarah Siegel-Magness (who invested $12 million in the film), Director Lee Daniels, actresses Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton and producer Simone Sheffield. The 41st Annual NAACP Image Awards was held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Photos: Wireimage

100 Black Men of America, Inc. Recognized By NASDAQ Stock Market


In photo (L to R): Warren Woodberry Jr. (100 Black Men of Long Island); Hon. William B. Wise (100 Black Men of Long Island); Jerrid Douglas (President, 100 Black Men of New Jersey); David Wicks (NASDAQ V.P.); Phillip Andrews (President, 100 Black Men of Long Island)

[Atlanta, GA]– NASDAQ recently recognized the accomplishments of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and invited leaders of the international organization to ring the closing bell on February 26, 2010 in New York City. Jerrid Douglas, President of 100 Black Men of New Jersey; Phillip Andrews, President of 100 Black Men of Long Island; and other members from various founding chapters of the 100 were on hand for the symbolic ringing of the closing bell.

“I would like to thank NASDAQ for acknowledging the work of 100 Black Men of America, our 116 chapters, our 10,000 members worldwide and the 125,000 youth we mentor annually,” said Albert E. Doston, Jr., Chairman of the Board, 100 Black Men of America, Inc. “I would like to commend the many businesses, corporations and contributors who have enabled the 100 to impact lives globally and who recognize both the need and the value in mentoring young adults and future leaders.

The 100 remains committed to economic development through various programs including financial literacy initiatives aimed at families and youth. Our chapters have implemented successful financial literacy programs that educate and prepare families for homeownership,” added Dotson. “Additionally, our signature Dollars & $ense program provides young mentees with a curriculum that focuses on financial management, investment strategies and more.”

100 Black Men of America, Inc. will host their 24th Annual Conference on June 16-20, 2010 at the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For more information on the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. or to register for the upcoming conference, visit

About 100 Black Men of America, Inc.: 100 Black Men was founded as an organization in New York City in 1963. The national organization, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., began with nine chapters in 1986 as a national alliance of leading African American men of business, public affairs and government with a mission to improve the quality of life for African Americans, particularly African American youth. Today, under the direction of Albert E. Dotson, Jr., the organization has 116 chapters in the United States, England and the Caribbean. The 100 serves as an international coalition focused on creating educational opportunities, promoting economic empowerment, addressing health disparities and creating positive mentoring relationships.