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7 Web Sites and Apps to Help You Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses

There are so many reasons why it is important to support black-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses represent just 7 percent of all small businesses in the U.S., but they create jobs and contribute to the economic strength of urban communities.

Many more people would like to support black-owned businesses by buying their products and services, but they often lack information on where exactly they are located. So, here are 7 web sites and apps that will help you find and support black-owned businesses across the globe:

#1 – iZania.com: a social networking site for Black entrepreneurs, professionals, and consumers. The site includes a business directory, networking forum, online marketplace, blogs and more.

#2 – WhereYouCameFrom.biz: a local business search app with up-to-date information on black owned businesses in the Atlanta area. The businesses are listed across categories and even ranked according to the number of referral counts received by peers.

#3 – WeBuyBlack.comthe largest online marketplace for black businesses and sellers. Black-owned vendors include clothing and accessories, jewelry, toys and games for children, health and beauty products, products for the home, and more.

#4 – Afroworld.org: is a web site of global black businesses and black professionals. Their slogan is “We Help Afroworld Professionals and Consumers Connect.” The site allows consumers to search for African American professionals and businesses by specialty or location, and compare quotes, reviews, and profiles on each Afroworld professional.

#5 – BlackBusinessNetwork.com: Produced by Tag Team Marketing, this site specializes in marketing the products and services of black-owned businesses to black consumers. Business owners from all over the world can sell their products and services through the online store, and consumers can shop for products they know are made from Black-owned companies.

#6 – PurchaseBlack.com: an online marketplace to find quality products from selected Black-owned businesses. They also have a mobile app that allows customers to search black-owned products and services.

#7 – 2MillionJobs.com: an online initiative that encourages people to spend $20 every week with local and/or online Black businesses. Their goal is to create two million jobs for black workers and eliminate unemployment for blacks by the year 2017.


Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Gets Her Very Own Barbie Doll

unnamed (2)Nationwide — Gabby Douglas has two gold Olympic medals to her name, multiple world championships, and now her very own look-a-like Barbie doll. She is currently training for the upcoming Olympics in Brazil, and toy maker, Mattel, decided to celebrate her success at the U.S. gymnastics team’s trials with a Barbie of her likeness.
She told People magazine, “I’m so excited. My older sister and I used to play with Barbies and create these dramatic fantasy stories, so it’s such a huge honor.” She also told reporters that she hopes that young girls will take away her number-one lesson, which is to “Stay true to yourself, and go after your dreams.”

“Be yourself and really embrace your inner beauty and your true talent,” she said. “Believe in yourself. Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something when you can.”

“Being honored as a Barbie Shero further motivates me to inspire girls by being the best I can be.”

When asked about her upcoming performance in Rio de Janeiro, she replied, “I’m just going to do the same thing I did in London. Focus, train really hard, [and] be consistent.”

Black Stars for Justice: Celebrity Response to Recent Police Killings Is Nothing New

By Ronda Racha Penrice, Urban News Service

Young people in Dr. King’s native Atlanta responded to the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile with consecutive nights of marches. Celebrities spotted in the protests included rapper T.I. and actress Zendaya Coleman.

Other stars have spoken up about these and similar incidents, mainly through social media. The New York Knicks’s Carmelo Anthony issued a one-page challenge in the July 9 New York Daily News for his “fellow athletes to step up and take charge.” He took an even higher-profile stance on July 13. “The urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high,” Anthony said, as he, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James opened the ESPYs, the Oscars of sports.

These pleas for social justice are not unique to today’s celebrities. Former collegiate athlete, singer and actor Paul Robeson became politically active in the 1930s. He paid a heavy price for such activism in the ’40s and ’50s, as he largely lost his livelihood. Robeson’s difficulties didn’t deter other performers. In Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement, author Emilie E. Raymond focuses on six celebrities — Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dick Gregory — who struggled for social change. Gregory was an early and leading critic of police brutality.

“He was the one that was in the South,” says the Virginia Commonwealth University professor. “He was arrested in Greenwood, Mississippi; Pine Bluff, Arkansas and in Birmingham and, in those places, he talked about the horrible conditions of the jails and how he was beaten by the police.”

Gil Scott-Heron blasted the police killings of popular Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Chicago and the more obscure Michael Harris on “No Knock” from his 1972 Free Will album. Langston Hughes’s 1949 poem, “Third Degree,” about a policeman coercing a confession, begins “Hit Me! Jab Me!/Make me say I did it.” Audre Lorde’s “Power” — a 1978 poem about the police killing of a 10-year-old boy and the cop’s subsequent acquittal — minces few words. “Today the 37 year old white man/with 13 years of police forcing/was set free,” it reads.

Hip-hop artists have long addressed police brutality and killings. “In the ’80s and ’90s, you had artists who were political or conscious,” says Bakari Kitwana, formerly an editor with The Source and author of Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. Although many cite N.W.A.’s aggressively-titled 1988 hit “F*** Tha Police” as the prime example of this activism, the West Coast group also stood alongside more politically grounded hip-hop artists such as Public Enemy (“Fight the Power,” 1989).

“[Young people] are finding out about some of these cases because of social media,” says Kitwana. “Hip hop was that communicator before social media.”

Hip-hop artists, even some unexpected ones, still get political about police misconduct. In her verse on rapper French Montana’s “New York Minute” (2010), Nicki Minaj cites the 2006 killing of Sean Bell, whom NYPD officers shot on his wedding day. Other artists, like relative newcomer Vic Mensa, opt to be more overtly political. His “16 Shots” focuses on a Chicago cop’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Mainstream artists perceived as anti-police have faced genuine backlash. Following Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance paying homage to the Black Panthers, a previously unknown group, Proud of the Blues, called a protest in New York that reportedly no one attended. Also, the Coalition for Police and Sheriffs (C.O.P.S.) staged a small demonstration when Beyoncé’s tour stopped in her native Houston. Opposition on social media, however, has been more pronounced. Jesse Williams’ passionate, anti-racism BET Awards speech, which also touched on police killings, sparked a petition to boot him from the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.

Potential backlash has not silenced some stars.

Compton rapper The Game used social media to report a secret meeting he organized with 100 black celebrities. Comedian Rickey Smiley hosted a more traditional town hall on July 12 — dubbed #StrategyForChange — at the House of Hope Church near Atlanta. Hundreds attended a passionate discussion that included rappers/singers 2 Chainz, Jeezy, David Banner, Lyfe Jennings and Tyrese, Dr. King’s daughter Bernice King, and his comrade Rev. C.T. Vivian.

Speaking out is deeply personal for Smiley. As a young man, the Birmingham native marched to protest white police officer George Sand’s killing of Benita Carter. Sand fatally shot Carter, a friend of Smiley’s mother, in her back as she sat in her car. Carter is one reason why Smiley sees risking his fame as an obligation.

“I can’t sit here and live off of folks, live off of my people, who listen to The Rickey Smiley Morning Show and watch Rickey Smiley For Real and come out and see me perform every weekend and not stand for them when they need something.”