Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Women Entrepreneurs

In the celebration of Black History Month and me opening my new business ( ) , I want to dedicate this post to some women who came before me and decided to do it for themselves. 

Annie Turnbo Malone:
Whenever people think of black women entrepreneurs in history, the go to person is Madam C.J. Walker, who many believed single handedly started the black hair industry.   What if I told you there was someone who came before her?  Four years before Madam C.J Walker, Malone launched her hair care business made for African-American women.  During the early part of the 20th century, Annie ran hair care products and cosmetics like a boss.  Decades before Carol’s Daughters, Malone had the hair product game on lock. 

Annie Malone is the definition of overcoming.  Inspite of being a sickly child and not completing high school, she had the entrepreneur spirit.  It was during this time that black women were getting away from cornrows because of its connection to slavery.  They were turning to soaps, bacon grease, heavy oil, butter and other methods to straighten their hair.  In some cases, these methods were actually damaging to the hair.  Working with her aunt who was an herbal doctor, she developed a solution to straighten hair safely or as safely as you could get in the early 1900s. 

Along with her product The Great Wonderful Hair Grower, she opened a beauty school in St. Louis that trained other women to be hair stylists and employed women to sell her products door-to-door.  At some point Madam C.J. Walker worked for Annie and then decided to do her own thing.  I’m not saying there was tension between these two ladies but I can only imagine the side eyes that were probably exchanged between them. 

For more information on this incredible woman, go to

Sarah E. Goode:

IKEA might be the go-to place for convenient furniture, but Sarah E. Goode was making furniture for small spaces centuries before the Swedish.  Sarah was the first African-American to receive a U.S patent.  Goode was born into slavery and moved to Chicago, IL after the Civil War. 

With her husband, Archibald Goode, a carpenter, she owned a furniture store.  Many of her customers were working class black people living in small, cramped apartments.  To help with their situation, Sarah invented a “folding bed” that could be put up when not in use and also be used for storage.  Not much is known about Sarah outside of her invention.  Nonetheless, she is worthy of a mention for an accomplishment that has had an effect on how furniture is made today.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley:
First Lady Michelle Obama is known as one of the most fashionable First Ladies ever.  It’s nothing to catch her in a designer dress by the world’s most acclaimed designers.  Before Michelle was gracing the State of the Union Address in Prada, the designer to wear was Keckley.  Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave, would go on to be a dressmaker and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s wife).

After being born into slavery, impregnated by her owner, and being married for a short time, Elizabeth learned the art of dressmaking.  Her dresses were so popular with her clients that they offered her a loan to buy her freedom.  Elizabeth dresses stood out from the dresses of the time and she was an expert with fit.  She would eventually become the dressmaker for the political elite including Mary Todd Lincoln.  She would become very close with Mary Lincoln even being there for her when Lincoln was assassinated. 

Unfortunately, due to her tell-all memoir (Apparently, she was the TMZ of her generation)Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.

she would lose her friendship with Mary and also her high-end clientele.   Even though she was offered a faculty position at Ohio’s Wiberforce University teaching sewing, she would have to discontinue because of her health.  She died in May of 1907 impoverished.  Her story was revived in 2013 in the book

It is an honor to follow in their entrepreneurial foot steps.  Today I open my Etsy shop, Ebony's Kitchen Spa selling homemade body butters and body scrubs.  From today to the end of February you can get my Body Whip for $9.50 and Body Scrub for $8.50.  Do not miss this store opening sale!

As always thank you for supporting this blog as well as my new business venture.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Yo Beyonce, Fowl Move for Stealing Ledisi's Moment

If you watched the Grammy's last night, you know that Beyoncé was the main attraction.  And in true star power fashion she was saved for the end.  My main problem with that is it shouldn't have been her on the stage but Ledisi.

Here's why:

Ledisi played the late great Mahalia Jackson in the highly esteemed, Academy Award nominated Selma.  Even though she was only in the movie for a few minutes she did an extraordinary job of conveying the emotions of the Civil Rights Movement through her rendition of "Precious Lord".  She even sings the song for the soundtrack. And she was going to be at the Grammy's.  So you can understand my befuddlement when it was announced that Beyoncé was going to be performing the song.

At first I was annoyed with the Grammy's for asking her to sing the song.  I thought it was a power move and because Beyoncé was the bigger name, the producers of the Grammy's thought she was the better pick.  However, when I learned that she [Beyoncé] approached John Legend to sing the song I. WAS. DONE.  Not only was I done with Beyoncé but I was done with John Legend and Common for agreeing to it.  John Legend's reply was he couldn't say no to Beyoncé?  Did they even have the courtesy to phone Ledisi and say "Hey girl, Bey asked us to do the song. So no disrespect but we going with Bey."  Still not cool, but it's better than nothing.  Ledisi didn't even know why she was snubbed. I'm calling fowl on the play on Beyoncé, John Legend, and Common.

The delusional Beyhive wants to say we are hating on Beyoncé and not giving her props.  This is not about hate.  It's not even about if she did a good job or not.  This is about doing the right thing.  As far as I know, Beyoncé has no connection to the movie.  She's not a financial backer, actress, or sang on the soundtrack.  It's the equivalent of Christina Aguilera singing And I Am Telling You from Dream Girls but you got Jennifer Hudson sitting in the audience waiting to belt it out.  It's ludicrous. 

I wrote a post questioning Beyoncé's claim of  being a feminist.  Rarely do I feel bad about things I post, but I felt a certain way about that one.  I felt like I was questioning something I shouldn't.  Some could still make the argument that I don't but I now stand by that post.  Correct me if I'm wrong but a huge part of feminism is women supporting each other.  When Beyoncé allowed Taylor Swift to finish her acceptance speech at the VMA's during her win because Kanye stage jacked her, we applauded her because it was a noble moment.  Why couldn't she let Ledisi, who has only been able to perform at BET and Soul Train Awards, have this moment? No shade, no tea but Ledisi needed this moment more than Beyoncé.

If Ledisi could have had that moment to blow on stage, can you imagine what that could have done for her?  We complain all the time about how these award shows do not give black people their fair due.  Kanye almost had a Kanye moment when it appeared he was going to interrupt Beck, who won Best Album of the Year, to tell us that Beyoncé should have won.  But the one opportunity we had for a dark skin, poised, and beautiful woman to grace the Grammy stage and instead it's given to an artist who's biggest hit this year could have been written by a 13 year old? (I jams out to 7/11 but let's not act like your lil' cousin couldn't have produced that) Nope... not here for it. 

Common and John Legend share the blame as well.  There was a time when both of these artists were considered Neo-Soul and not necessarily mainstream.  This would have been a good time to allow a fellow Neo-Soul artist to be on the come up.  The fact they chose a lack-luster introduction from Beyoncé instead is very disappointing. 

I know I have spent the last 7 paragraphs going in on this catastrophe but let me praise Ledisi on how she handled it.  When asked on the Red Carpet about the snub, she honestly answered that she was disappointed but said that she was excited to be in the movie and happy for the publicity that the movie is getting.  You go girl!! I love a person that can be classy and graceful after being done all the way wrong.  I'm going to be honest, I haven't listened to much of Ledisi but she has gained a new fan because of her character. 

What did you think of the infamous snub?  Comment below.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fresh Off the Boat is HILARIOUS

Tonight was the premiere of Fresh Off the Boat.  It’s about a family that moves from D.C. to Orlando, Florida in 1995 so the dad, Lousis Huang (Randal Park) can open a steak house.  But what makes this show stand out from other family sitcoms is that it’s an all Asian cast.  Check me if I’m wrong but I think that is a TV first.  I’m pretty sure most people were worried about how this family was going to be portrayed.  Well, no worries… it was hilarious!!!

First, off let me just give a huge shout out to Hudson Yang, who plays the oldest and most gansta, hip hop listening little boy ever, Eddie Huang.  Eddie cracks me up.  His idols are Shaq, Snoop Dog, and Biggie Smalls.  He has no fear and you can’t tell him that he ain’t the baddest dude on da block (sorry, had to get hood for a minute).  He actually reminds me of this Filipino guy I went to high school with.  He wore more South Pole and short sets than any black dude I knew.  Another thing I loved about this kid was his acting.  He was so natural.  He wasn’t corny like those new-age Disney show kids.   The boys that play his little brothers are just as talented: Ian Chen and Forrest Wheeler. 

The show is superb because it doesn’t spend 30 minutes making fun of Asians.  Being Asian is not the punch line.  They have real dialogue.  Anybody who has been 12 before can relate to Eddie and his mom, Jessica (Constance Wu).  For example, in the first episode, Eddie no longer wants take Asian food for his lunch because the kids make fun of the way it smells.  He tells his mom that he wants “white people food” so the kids will stop teasing him.  At first his mom plays hardball and tells him to suck it up.  Then, like a mom, she gives in to him, takes him shopping for white people food better known as the staple food of the 90’s, Lunchables. 

Jessica and Eddie are the best mom and son duo
Who can’t relate to being 12 and not wanting to stand out?  I remember back-to-school shopping and wanting Crayola crayons because that’s what the cool kids had.  My mom, on the hand, wanted to purchase Rose Art crayons because they were cheaper.   Not only did the cool kids not use Rose Art crayons, they were basically crappy.   Like Eddie, I would pout and whine until she finally gave in and bought the Crayola.  I look forward to seeing the two of them grow together.

Living in such a sensitive society, I was surprised there wasn’t any outrage about the show.  I do want to make the point that the show is based off the real life of Eddie Huang, restauranteur, chef, food personality, and former lawyer.  So these aren’t just a whole bunch of white writers in a room coming up with these storylines.  Yet and still, I just knew there was going to be rants on social media about how racist this show is.  After tonight’s premiere, I hope not to see any think-pieces dragging the show through the dirt.  If there is, I will petition to get the author of the think-piece banned from the internet.  Take your negativity somewhere else and let me enjoy the show.

I’m excited for this show and can’t wait for next week’s episode.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend watching it on ABC Go or wherever it’s streamed.  It will have you laughing from the first line to the last.  Can I also say a big thank you to the Universe for giving us such good TV in the last year: Empire, Black-ish, How to Get Away with Murder, and Broad City.  For the first time in a long time, I have a regular TV schedule that I can be proud of.