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Women's History Month

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Omaha Embraces Sisterhood With Its First Black Woman-Owned Barbershop

Women’s History Month may have concluded, but Black Girl Magic is still alive and well. Shannon Jackson made history in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha, NE by opening Heavi Hitters – the first Black fully woman-owned and operated barbershop . “We’re all different ethnicities, and we’re all women,” said Alia Jackson, a cosmetologist and professional makeup artist. “It’s given our clients, a different perspective of life, being in a male-dominated world,” hairstylist Ayanna Carfield said. According to local news outlet , KETV 7, the full-service barbershop has seen consistent growth since opening in 2019. Because of that rapid growth, Heavi Hitters ran out of space, which led to their move to their current spot-on Maple Street in the Benson community. Jackson and her team of cosmetologists are making sure that their space is inclusive for all no matter their background. This level of inclusivity is seen even in the type of services that Heavi Hitters offers. Heavi Hitters is not your...

Josh Rodgers

Apr 11, 2022

VP Of Marketing Sunni Hickman Talks Progress & The History Of Women In The Harlem Globetrotters

You may think that the Harlem Globetrotters are a “joke” team — a team that turns the sport of basketball into a Broadway show, with funny spins and clownish faces and a treat for young children who may be too small to experience the full fury of an NBA game. But you could not be more wrong. In fact, if players like LeBron James, the late Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan can command millions — and billions — of dollars in salaries and endorsements, it’s because the Harlem Globetrotters laid the groundwork to make it so. In 1926, basketball — like the rest of the United States — was segregated, and Black players were not allowed to join the NBA. From that terrible time in American history, though, came basketball teams like the Black Fives and what was then known as the Savoy Big Five. Born on the South Side of Chicago, Tommy Brookins — according to WTTW — led a series of players to walk off from the Savoy Big Five in the midst of a dispute in 1928. They then formed a team of their...

How Angelica Nwandu Took 300 Followers And Built It Into The Powerhouse Platform We Call The Shade Room

Building an empire is no easy feat, but for Angelica Nwandu, there was no other option. After hitting a bit of a storm in her early adult years, Nwandu found herself flunking both the LSAT and GMAT exams while some of her peers went on to the next step of graduate school. At the time, she simply did not have the funds needed to afford the classes to prep for the exam. However, this did not stop her. On the heels of quitting a pretty stable accounting firm job, Nwandu chose to follow her dreams of becoming a screenwriter, a passion she first discovered as a kid. Little did she know, taking one leap of faith would soon propel her into a vision that was greater than what she had for herself. During its initial launch, The Shade Room (TSR) had around 300 followers. To date, they now have over 25 million followers who are affectionately known as “Roommates.” It is now one of the most popular accounts on the I nstagram platform. Nwandu joined AfroTech in an exclusive interview to discuss...

Shanique Yates

Mar 1, 2022

Hanifa's Anifa Mvuemba Looks For New Ways to Use Tech in Fashion and Shares Advice For Emerging Designers

Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba staged one of the most groundbreaking runway shows last Spring. Picture it: curve-hugging dresses, waist-cinching tops, and floor-sweeping pants sashaying down an invisible catwalk — but make it 3D. Mvuemba’s futuristic and captivating showcase of the Pink Label Congo collection for her Hanifa brand aired on Instagram and put her on the fashion industry’s radar. Since, Mvuemba’s stunning, sophisticated designs have been worn by stars like Zendaya and Beyoncé, and on fashion magazine covers, including InStyle. Though she hasn’t quite caught up with all the attention she’s received from her first big moment in the fashion spotlight, she’s vigorously working to outdo herself. “There are still so many things lingering from last year,” she says. “My team and I are just starting to breathe again. I’m always challenging myself to elevate my brand and to be a step ahead.” AfroTech caught up with Mvuemba to discuss tech in fashion, advice for emerging...

Niki McGloster

Mar 31, 2021

CEO of Lobos 1707 Dia Simms is Building a 'Bigger Table' For a More Inclusive Spirits Industry

Every move corporate powerhouse Dia Simms makes is to create more opportunities for minorities and women. “Representation is sorely lacking, and I really believe it’s important that we make sure we repeat that over and over again — and change it. ” The former DeLeón executive was recently named the CEO of Lobos 1707, a luxe tequila and mezcal brand founded by Diego Osorio and backed by basketball star LeBron James. Simms’ inspiration for her journey began in East Elmhurst, Queens, where she had a front-row seat to Salt-N-Pepa who danced in a neighboring backyard. Witnessing this female duo grow into a global phenomenon subconsciously impacted her to see the power in culture and the almighty buying power of the Black community. Since then, Simms has served as the first president of Combs Enterprises and one of the few Black women to navigate the spirits world as an executive. So, how can Black women have a seat at the table? Simms suggests that “we build a bigger table.” Editorial...

Niki McGloster

Mar 23, 2021

Black Women Artists Rewina Beshue and Lalese Stamps Are Featured in Vans' Digital Museum

Vans isn’t just skating through Women’s History Month with performative actions — the brand is providing resources to women-identifying creators. This month, instead of spending its allocated budget on traditional ads, Vans dedicated those resources to creatives — including mixed-media artist Rewina Beshue and ceramicist Lalese Stamp — to actually create inspiring works for a digital museum. The online exhibit showcases drawings, sculptures, music videos, custom shoes, digital animations, and more. “I’m drawn to projects that uplift and shine a light on topics that are important to Black women taking up space in the art world,” said Beshue. “I love using my art and my platform to promote representation and inclusivity. Growing up, there wasn’t much Black representation in the art world, or at least I wasn’t exposed to it. It was hard to find. It’s really important that we use our platforms to promote representation of creative women in the mainstream world.” “I’ve always worn Vans,”...

Niki McGloster

Mar 22, 2021

Founder Desiree Noisette Makes Herstory As Florida's First Black Woman Winemaker

Florida woman Desiree Noisette founded her wine brand Mermosa four years ago, and today she’s recognized for making history as the state’s first-ever Black woman winemaker, Click Orlando reports. According to the outlet, it was Noisette’s family’s own love story that inspired her to create her own wine company. “Mermosa is inspired by our family’s first mermaid. Her name was Celestine Noisette,” she recalled of a story that goes back to the late 1700s when Celestine met and married a white Frenchman named Phillipe in Haiti. “Then shortly after they moved to Charleston, South Carolina. And when they moved to Charleston, Phillipe, unfortunately, had to protect his family from being sold into the slave trade because his wife was black and his children were mixed.” Phillipe reportedly wrote a fake bill of sale to purchase his wife and children, but the state of South Carolina denied his petition. Nonetheless, Phillipe continued his efforts to save his family and even wrote in his will...

Njera Perkins

Mar 22, 2021

6 Black Women-Owned Spirits Brands to Support This Month and Beyond

The days of men being the face of the spirits industry are behind us as women are being ushered to the forefront and making their mark along the way. Black women specifically have found a way to become trailblazers in this space as they’re not only the owners behind some of today’s most popular spirits brands, they’ve also managed to build successful businesses based on powerful origin stories. As we celebrate Women’s History Month this year, we’re also honoring the Black women who are becoming leaders across the spirits industry and breaking barriers with their brands. Check out the below spirit brands and the powerful Black women owners behind them: AVEC Drinks Courtesy of AVEC Drinks AVEC Drinks was founded by Bronx native Dee Charlemagne and U.K. native Alex Doman and successfully launched on the market in June 2020 amid the pandemic. Within its first four months, AVEC managed to bring in roughly $100,000 in revenue, selling through its first batch of 40,000 cans. AVEC is...

Njera Perkins

Mar 19, 2021

For Black Girls CODE Founder Kimberly Bryant, Making History Means Teaching 1M Girls How to Code by 2040

Black Girls CODE founder Kimberly Bryant started her ambitious organization as a basement experiment and quickly transformed it into a global movement to usher more Black women into the tech space. According to Capitol Technology University, Bryant garnered an interest in math and science as a young girl — fields that are known to be dominated by Asian and white men. Her organization’s website also shared that she often felt culturally isolated as she sometimes found herself to be the only Black woman or Black person among her college classmates. Despite this, she maintained her interests and followed a career path that would merge her passion with a grand mission to change the face of tech. NBC News reported that throughout her biotech engineering career and journey climbing the ranks at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, Bryant longed to see a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and...

Njera Perkins

Mar 18, 2021

7 Black Women Founders Behind the Brands That Move Us

The mass call to support Black-owned businesses has seen a tremendous response from the public over the last year. This large spotlight has both attempted to boost American consumers’ morale and recognize how important Black entrepreneurs are to the economy. Above all, it’s not just important that we show our support to these businesses through the power of the internet, it’s also crucial that we amplify the Black founders — especially the Black women — behind these brands. According to the 2019 State Of Women Owned Businesses Report, it found that Black women-owned businesses earned an average revenue of $24,000 per firm vs. women-owned businesses overall that pulled in $142,900 — pointing out that the disparity gap between Black women-owned businesses and all women-owned businesses’ average revenue is the largest out of any minority. Many Black women founders have established successful brands because of their moving origin stories and impactful brand missions. It is now our job...

Njera Perkins

Mar 16, 2021

Meet Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, the First Black Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Engineering At Howard University

Aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson-Jackson utilized her life-long career as a trailblazer to break barriers in STEM. It is through her life’s work that she’s been able to open doors for young Black women pursuing paths across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while also advocating for more diversity. Ericsson-Jackson was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963. As a child she developed a love for STEM watching Apollo missions and participating in science fairs that would dictate her educational and career choices later down the line. At age 15, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to live with her grandparents and attended the Cambridge School of Weston. From there, Ericsson-Jackson was accepted into the UNITE (now MITE—Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Science) program that set her up to pursue a B.A. degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Face2Face Africa reports. She continued her...

Njera Perkins

Mar 15, 2021

Here Are 5 Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings in STEM

Although Black women have contributed to STEM in more ways than a little bit, they are still grossly underrepresented in the field. In 2016, Black women reportedly only made up a mere 2.9 percent of students earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM. Today those numbers have increased thanks to pioneers like Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson whose stories were brought to light in the hit film, “Hidden Figures.” Here are five women who also shattered glass ceilings and accomplished anything they put their minds to in STEM. Dr. Patricia Bath As the first Black doctor to land a medical patent for the laserphaco probe, a device uses to treat cataract patients, Dr. Bath became the first Black woman to complete an ophthalmology residency in the U.S. She was also the first to document that Black people suffered blindness at alarming rates compared to other racial groups. Soon, the late Dr. Bath could become the first Black woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall...

Shanique Yates

Mar 12, 2021

How Sirius XM Radio Host Swaggy Sie Used Tech and Broadcasting to Build Her Brand

In light of Women’s History Month, it’s important we uplift and amplify women in media who are acting as today’s leaders of innovation and change. For Sirius XM radio host Sienna Garraway — better known as Swaggy Sie — she’s used her expertise as a media personality and content creator to propel herself into being a tastemaker for our culture. With the help of both technology and her skills in broadcasting, she’s been able to build a successful brand around herself. Swaggy Sie — a native of Brooklyn, NY — got her start in the media world as a college student interning at Sirius XM under entities such as Shade 45, Ed Lover, Sway Calloway and more. “Those entities really molded me into a person that could understand radio – the background of it, the programming side, and really gave me my foundation of media and broadcasting at such a young age,” she tells AfroTech.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Swaggy Sie (@swaggysie) “One of my first mentors DJ S Whit was very...

Njera Perkins

Mar 11, 2021

Megan Thee Stallion, Fashion Nova to Give $1M in Grants, Scholarships & Donations Through Women Empowerment Initiative

Megan Thee Stallion is partnering with Fashion Nova to help women get paid all month long. According to PR Newswire, “Women On Top” focuses on women empowerment through the donation of funds that will help support female-focused charities and organizations, education, women-owned businesses, and other inspirational women doing great things. Fashion Nova Cares will highlight the various entrepreneurs, organizations, and women who are preselected to receive $25,000 or more for a grand total of $1,000,000. “At Fashion Nova, women empowerment and ongoing advocacy for diversity and inclusion have always been part of our guiding principles,” said Richard Saghian , founder and CEO of Fashion Nova in the news release. “We believe the world will be a better place when all women are provided the opportunity to maximize their potential. This program was created to give women greater advantage as they pursue their passions.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by

Shanique Yates

Mar 9, 2021

31 Black Women in the Tech Sector Who Deserve Their Flowers

In honor of International Women’s Day, we here at AfroTech thought it was only fitting to recognize the work of 31 Black women in tech. Too often, Black women’s accomplishments, especially in the technology field, are overlooked or overshadowed. We encourage you not only to check out these women’s profiles and businesses but also to help shine a light on other Black women in tech this month and throughout the rest of the year.   Check out the list of 31 Black women in the tech sector below: Asmau Ahmed, CEO of Plum Perfect, an app that helps women find beauty products in line with their skin tone Sheena Allen, Founder and CEO of CapWay, which works to service the underbanked Shellye Archambeau, Current Board member of numerous tech companies, former President of, and CEO of MetricStream Angela Benton, Founder and CEO of Streamlytics, which helps make transparent what users are consuming on streaming services Jean Brownhill, Founder and CEO of Sweeten, which helps to...


Mar 8, 2021