As the world works on itself, black culture continues to grow
“I’m back on the block with this / wait let me clear this up / I’m back to the blocks you get when your block gets it” – Beanie Sigel
It’s hot outside. Prices are on the rise. Beyoncé has a new album and a summer hit. And companies still apologize for racism and anti-black bias.
Welcome to August 2022, the last month of a summer when the winds of change have swirled violently, but so much remains the same.
For many black Americans, change is not reaching the areas it needs fast enough. Look no further than Airbnb, which this week had to apologize for hosts who have promoted properties as former slave quarters. Or take Sesame Square, who had to issue two statements last month after a costumed actor snubbed young black girls. Meanwhile, pandemic-related mental health issues continue to disproportionately affect black and brown people, a new CVS Health-Harris Poll found.
Yet we pursue, celebrate and elevate our culture as the world works for change.
The Black on the block event, a pop-up market and festival centered on black businesses, is one example. Co-founders and sisters Char and Lanie Edwards launched it in Los Angeles in 2021 after being the only black sellers in most markets. This year, they teamed up with National Football League wide receiver Stefon Diggs to host the event in Washington, D.C. (Watch For(bes) The Culture, Rashaad Lambert interviews them here.)
And, as you’ll see below, black entrepreneurs continue to make headlines to raise capital and net worth.
It’s only fitting that we pay tribute to two black trailblazers who died in the past week – basketball player and Hall of Fame coach Bill Russell and actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura in “Star Trek”. (Martin Luther King Jr. was a Nichols fan). All were agents of change who not only moved culture forward, but society as well.
PS I’m in Las Vegas this week at the National Association of Black Journalists conference. Catch you all soon!
Black On The Block and Stefon Diggs are teaming up to create a single marketplace for black-owned businesses. On July 17, the newly renovated Franklin Park located between K and 14th St. in Washington DC transformed into an immersive market filled with black-owned vendors for the city’s first-ever “Black on the Block” event.
Paragon embedded integration platform raises $13 million to become the bridge between software applications. Los Angeles-based startup Paragon recently raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Inspired Capital, with participation from other investors. The company was co-founded by CEO Brandon Foo (right) and CTO Ishmael Samuel (left) in August 2019 to make it easier for software makers to integrate their product with other software. Foo and Samuel are the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 winners.
Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to have mental health issues. Here’s what employers and communities can do. Forty percent of Hispanic Americans and 29% of Black Americans rated their mental health as poor, according to a July CVS Health-Harris Poll survey, compared with 22% of respondents who identified as white. The data illustrates how black and Hispanic Americans have borne the brunt of the mental health crisis that has arisen in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
WATCH | Meet the woman who helped build Kardashian’s billion-dollar business empire. Emma Grede is the CEO of Good American, the inclusive fashion brand she launched with Khloe Kardashian in 2016. She is the only black newcomer to the Forbes 2022 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, with a value net of $360 million. Raised in east London by a single mother, Grede started a paper road at 12 and saved her pennies to buy fashion magazines. She founded the marketing agency ITB Worldwide in 2008 and is the first black woman to invest in the popular ABC series Shark Tank.
“We know the answer to a broken arm is to go to the hospital, to go to the doctor, to go to emergency care. It’s important for us to know that when we don’t feel well mentally, it’s just as important for us to seek care.”
—Tracy J. Edmonds Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Former Director of Diversity at Anthem Inc.
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