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Meet The First Black Women Entrepreneurs To Own A Whiskey Brand In California

History has been made by Sheila Jackson and Natasha McCrea. They are reportedly the first Black women entrepreneurs to own a whiskey brand in the state of California. The founders’ vision stemmed from a 2020 conversation held over dinner when they bonded through a shared interest in whiskey. It was then that they came to an understanding they could make their mark in the industry by entering into business together. “…Many women love whiskey but we are never included in the conversation,” McCrea said during an interview with Canvas Rebel. “We talked about how whiskey sales were on the rise and how we had both thought about starting a whiskey brand. In that moment we decided we should be the women who disrupt an entire industry.” In 2022, Jackson McCrea was launched. Both founders bring together past career experiences in separate fields. Jackson helms a production company uplifting Black woman and leads “The Good CEO” podcast, speaking with “bold, unapologetic CEOs.” “My entire...

Jul 12, 2024

Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah Makes History As The First Black Woman To Graduate From Its Neurosurgery Program

This Black doctor just made history at Johns Hopkins University! In June 2024, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah achieved a historic feat, becoming the first Black woman to graduate from Johns Hopkins University’s neurosurgery program. She took to social media to announce the news, however, it was a close friend who noted that Dr. Abu-Bonsrah had quite literally also made history, Because Of Them We Can reports. “Congratulations to my dear friend, and the first Black woman to graduate from the neurosurgery program at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah!,” wrote the woman called Anna, whose username is @itsafronomics. Congratulations to my dear friend, and the first Black woman to graduate from the neurosurgery program at John’s Hopkins, Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah ( @BonsrahNancy )! #medtwitter pic.twitter.com/gdu6x7pF9i — Anna (@itsafronomics) June 28, 2024 According to Dr. Abu-Bonsrah,  becoming a neurosurgery doctor was a 12-year journey. She also noted that it felt “surreal” that she’d completed the...

Jul 12, 2024

Thasunda Brown Duckett Shares The Importance Of Empowering The Next Generation Of Black Women Executives

Overcoming barriers is one thing, but creating opportunities for others to do the same is another. After nearly two decades of working as an executive at JPMorgan Chase, Thasunda Brown Duckett became the president and CEO of TIAA, which works to close gaps in retirement and provide equitable opportunities for investment. At the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF) Business Summit during the ESSENCE Festival Of Culture presented by Coca-Cola, Duckett spoke about how the impact she’s making extends past the financial retirement services company and how her serving as a Black woman CEO can provide inspiration for young Black women. When it comes to the imposter syndrome that those who look like her often face entering corporate spaces, Duckett shared guidance with AFROTECH™ for how future Black executives can navigate such challenges. “When you think about imposter syndrome, which we all have at certain points in our life, I think the most important thing is as you’re going through life,...

Jul 12, 2024

Black Woman Entrepreneur Left Her Six-Figure Corporate Finance Job To Open A Bakery That Reportedly Earned $1M In Revenue In 2023

April Anderson left a comfortable job to bet on herself. According to The Detroit News, the entrepreneur exited a corporate finance role that paid her six figures to pursue entrepreneurship and become a baker. Since age 9, Anderson envisioned this career path, making treats for her family, ILITCH Companies News Hub mentioned. “I have always loved doing things with my hands. I think that’s why I love working with doughs like yeast rolls, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. I am a hands-on learner,” she told Food & Wine in 2019. Anderson launched Good Cakes and Bakes, alongside Michelle Anderson, her spouse and co-owner, in 2013 in Detroit, MI. Their joint efforts earned the shop national recognition for its organic desserts and baked goods. By July 2023, they launched a second store in Detroit, MI. “We are thrilled to expand our presence [in] Detroit,” said Anderson at the time, per ILITCH Companies News Hub. “Columbia Street is a great opportunity to expose visitors and locals to our...

Jul 12, 2024

Snoop Dogg To Open Cannabis Shop Near LAX, One Of The Busiest Airports In The World

Snoop Dogg is bringing a new cannabis shop to Los Angeles, CA. The rapper, born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. in Long Beach, CA, is preparing his latest venture. According to Benzinga, he is poised to open a cannabis store between the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the busiest airports in the world with 75 million visitors annually, and SoFi Stadium. LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world, with 75 million visitors annually, per L.A. Business First. The shop has been named S.W.E.D, which stands for “Smoke Weed Every Day.” Snoop Dogg confirmed the store’s launch on X, formerly known as Twitter. The grand opening is set for July 14 at 3 p.m. at 5494 W Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045. Snoop Dogg and Death Row Records are expected to be in attendance. “SWED. My store grand opening this Sunday 7/14 here in LA. Ima pop out n c yall there,” Snoop Dogg wrote on X. The dispensary plans to showcase Snoop Dogg’s legacy with memorabilia like the wooden Death Row...

Jul 12, 2024

How Newark Venture Partners’ Vaughn Crowe Is Driving Innovation In New Jersey Through Venture Capital Dollars

Betting on himself took Newark, NJ, native Vaughn Crowe from initially wanting to be more involved in finance as a career to being a managing partner of a VC firm. During his time working at philanthropist Ray Chambers’ family office, Wesray Social Investments, Crowe was a founding limited partner in Newark Venture Partners (NVP) — founded by Audible’s Don Katz — on behalf of the family office. At AFROTECH™ Executive Newark, Crowe recalled investing in NVP as he had a desire to be an entrepreneur. “ When the opportunity presented itself to go and run a fund and run a firm that I had backed as an investor, it was a natural transition for me doing what I was doing inside of a single-family office to becoming a fiduciary of a number of different investors and having responsibility for catalyzing next-generation software businesses and backing extraordinary founders,” Crowe shared in an interview with AFROTECH™. NVP focuses on health tech, industrial, and fintech with plans to build “a...

Jul 12, 2024

These Black Founders Are Changing The Culture's Mindset Around Vegan Cuisine With Not 1 But 2 Restaurants In New Jersey

In November 2023, Brick City Vegan became Montclair, New Jersey’s only 100% plant-based vegan restaurant. Today, its culinary commitment is rooted in changing the culture’s mindset about eating plant-based foods. Brick City Vegan founders Adenah Bayoh and chef Emeka Onugha provide an array of dishes, such as made-from-scratch biscuits and plant-based burgers, that are not only better for its diners but for the planet overall, KGET.com reports. “I made the choice to become a vegan due to some health issues that I found myself dealing with,” Bayoh recalled in an interview with Blavity. “The food I loved growing up suddenly started making me sick, so I knew I had to listen to my body. It hasn’t always been easy because I’m a big foodie! I absolutely love good-tasting, satisfying food, and for a long time, people believed that being vegan meant we only eat lettuce, fruits, and veggies. Brick City Vegan is here to show the world that a plant-based diet can be just as tasty and fulfilling...

Jul 12, 2024

How Coco Gauff Is Maintaining Her Growing Net Worth While Enjoying The Fruits Of Her Labor Thanks To Financial Advice From Her Father

Black Girl Magic is real, and Coco Gauff is evidence of this phenomenon. Born in 2004, Cori Dionne “Coco” Gauff is an American tennis player who comes from an athletic family. According to PEOPLE, her parents, Corey and Candi, were on the road to becoming professional athletes as well. Gauff’s dad, Corey, played college basketball at Georgia State University, while Candi was an accomplished track and field star at Florida State University. Though the two don’t take full credit for Gauff’s athletic prowess, they acknowledge that their own experiences as athletes provided a solid foundation for understanding the dedication and discipline required to perform at a high level. Their support and guidance have been instrumental in creating the atmosphere for her to succeed. “I think it helps parents when they have played as high as college or even pro,” Gauff’s father told The New York Times in 2019. “You better understand the process and so you don’t get too jittery about it. You don’t...

Jul 11, 2024

AFROTECH™ Executive: How Harnessing AI Could Potentially Future-Proof The Workplace

In June 2024, AFROTECH™ Executive Newark engaged attendees on several of today’s hot topics in tech and business including AI. Helming the discussion “How Harnessing AI Could Potentially Future-Proof The Workplace” at the Newark, NJ, event were Sam Caucci, founder and CEO of 1Huddle; Michele Alcazar, vice president of workforce transformation strategy at Prudential Financial; and Daniel Adeyanju, director of partnerships at The Knowledge House. During the panel, Caucci shared a Gallup report, which estimated that 70% of skills and the tasks that make up work will change over the next decade. While there is set to be an increase in reskilling, Caucci believes that AI could not only help organizations improve skills mapping but also improve low rates of employee engagement. “I think the opportunity we have in this moment when I think about the opportunity for AI is, how do we tackle these really big community labor workforce opportunities that organizations have always struggled with?...

Jul 11, 2024

Small Business Owners Can Now Apply To This Program That’s Offering $20K Grants

Hello Alice is continuing its commitment to serving underserved entrepreneurs. In partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Hello Alice has officially launched the next round of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company’s (BGE) Energizing Small Business grant program. The initiative offers $20,000 grants to central Maryland businesses to help them succeed and thrive, according to the Hello Alice website. No stranger to empowering local small businesses, the BGE Energizing Small Business grant deployed more than $2.5 million in grants to 129 small businesses in central Maryland in 2023. “When small businesses thrive, they become powerful economic engines, creating even more opportunities in their communities and we are so pleased to celebrate today’s grant recipients,” said BGE President and CEO Carim Khouzami in the 2023 grant announcement. “Since 2019, BGE has granted over $13 million to small businesses throughout Central Maryland. This is in addition to other small...

Jul 11, 2024

After Investing In Over 85 Companies, Serena Williams Continues To Bet On Herself By Founding Vegan Makeup Brand WYN BEAUTY

When Serena Williams sets her mind on a vision, it transforms into greatness. Before the tennis champion’s retirement in 2022, she launched Serena Ventures in 2014. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, Williams founded her VC firm after learning of the alarmingly low amount of venture capital that goes to women founders, with Black and brown founders receiving even less funds. “I learned that less than 2% of all VC money went to women,” Williams shared via TikTok. “And when I first heard that, I actually thought it was a misquote. I thought, ‘Well, they can’t be real.’ Like, we’re talking about trillions of dollars, and what do you mean less than 2% of that goes to women?…I learned that when I first started investing, I learned that actually was true and that was something that was happening. And so I knew right then and there that one day I wanted to raise a fund or raise money and invest in women.” Under Williams’ mission, the breakdown of Serena Ventures’ investments is 79%...

Jul 11, 2024

After Working In The Entertainment Industry For Over 30 Years, Meagan Good Reveals Tyler Perry Was The First Person To Properly Compensate Her

Despite being an industry veteran, Meagan Good reveals she was finally paid her worth on her latest film. While promoting “Divorce in the Black,” she spoke candidly about her experience with the film’s director, writer, and producer, Tyler Perry . She described him as an “angel” during an interview on NBC’s “Today With Hoda & Jenna.” On the show, Good confirmed that Perry was the first to compensate her properly for her role despite her working as an actress for “over 30 years.” “I actually cried because what I love about Tyler is not only is he an angel, not only is he a genius, not only is he unapologetic as a leader, but he also makes you feel valued and seen and appreciated, and he goes out of his way to do that,” Good explained to hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. “I think about how people pay it forward, and I don’t know if anyone paid it forward to him, but he most certainly pays it forward to everyone else.” While Perry willingly paid Good accordingly, the actress...

Jul 11, 2024

The Stats Are In: Here Are The Top 10 Ranked HBCUs Of 2024

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been the bedrock of Black communities since the founding of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, which is credited as the nation’s first HBCU. Since then, hundreds more HBCUs have been founded with the intent of serving Black students during times of deep segregation and racism. Although the world has become more progressive since then, the need for these institutions has proven to be vital community pillars — not just for Black students but for the world. With notable alums like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Kamala Harris, Toni Morrison, Stacey Abrams, and Thurgood Marshall from various HBCUs, these institutions produce noteworthy people who impact the world across different industries. Every year, the U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the nation’s top colleges and universities. The publication also ranks HBCUs according to a specific methodology that uses “quantitative and qualitative measures that education experts...

Jul 11, 2024

Hipgnosis, Holder Of Select Tracks From Artists Like 50 Cent And Eric Bellinger, Has Been Sold To Blackstone For $1.6B

The music catalog company holding the hits of artists like 50 Cent, Eric Bellinger, John Coltrane, and a host of others has officially been sold. Hipgnosis, which is described as having “a collection of proven hit Songs of cultural importance by some of the most talented and important Songwriters globally,” per its website, has sold its assets to Blackstone for $1.6 billion. Additionally, its leader, Merck Mercuriadis, who was once responsible for managing Beyoncé, has also stepped down from the company, The New York Times reports. The Hipgnosis Songs Fund is an “investment trust” currently listed on the London Stock Exchange in the U.K. and owns the rights of “tens of thousands of songs,” per the outlet. During a meeting on Monday, July 8, 2024, a board for the company voted to accept an offer from Blackstone, worth $1.6 billion, to purchase its assets. Already, Blackstone had taken majority control of the company’s “investment adviser” side of the business through a $1 billion...

Jul 10, 2024

Melinda French Gates Awards Allyson Felix Her Own $20M Grant-Making Fund To Disperse To Black Maternal Health Organizations

Allyson Felix has received a grant from Melinda French Gates. Felix, who retired from the world of Olympic track and field in 2022, has a passion for the well-being of pregnant women. For example, her footwear brand Saysh gives expectant mothers a free pair of shoes since their feet change sizes throughout pregnancy, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. “As we thoughtfully create our products, we think about all the ways that we can better support women through our maternity returns policy, offering women shoes once their feet changed sizes due to pregnancy, and just trying to push the industry in that direction,” she told AFROTECH™ at the time. In June 2022, Felix partnered with Pampers to champion maternal health for Black mothers. Pampers committed $250,000 to the cause and provided $100,000 to the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC) to help Black mothers receive quality care and to reduce maternal mortality rates. Felix is, once again, teaming up with Pampers during the 2024...

Jul 10, 2024