The big, red brick building down the road is where you get your groceries. You have to drive there, past the shiny chrome car dealership, turn left by the green gas station. The yellow fast-food place is your kids’ favorite. It’s in the same block as your grocery store. And that large brown building? That’s where you do your banking and keep your money.
But, as in the new book “The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America” by Emily Flitter (Atria/One Signal Publishers, October 2022), can you get that money out?
Some years ago, while covering her beat as a banking reporter for The New York Times, Flitter tried to follow a lead on a Black man who had been fired from his job at a major financial company. It turned out to be a weak lead, but along the way she met a lawyer who turned her toward a much bigger issue: racism in the financial industry.
Recent polls show that most Americans have no idea that a racial wealth gap exists in the United States. They know nothing about the Black/White gap in family wealth. Neither do they have a clue that Black families fared much worse than whites in the 2008 financial crisis, nor that Black families are struggling again in this post-Pandemic time.
The truth is, racism thrives in banking institutions where, Flitter says, white bank employees often profile Black customers as “suspicious,” even when those customers have a paper trail of proof for their own money.
Black borrowers are often given inferior service and more wrong information. Flitter also found instances where skin color determined interest rates. Bank customers who are Black aren’t always offered the valuable perks that white customers get. Similarly, insurance companies are not servicing Black homeowners the same as they do white homeowners.
Not even Black business owners escape racism within the financial industry. Not to mention the proportionately low number of Black employees in those institutions, or the sparse number of high-level leaders.
Clearly, says Flitter, “Corporate America has a long way to go.”Pick up your copy of “The White Wall,” hold it tight, and make room on your lap for your jaw. It may be dropping a lot while you’re reading this shocking book.
Or maybe not.
What’s in this book may not be much of a surprise to readers who live this reality every day. Flitter has some words for those readers, starting with this: What you’ve experienced is no anomaly.
She also has words for Wall Street and every large business in the nation, devoting an entire chapter to ideas on how to do better by making financial services more accessible for Black Americans. There’s good news in Flitter’s final words on the ideas she puts forth, and that’s a happy start. But, judging by the many, many stories she shares, readers absolutely could be forgiven for any lingering pessimism.
“The White Wall,” Flitter’s debut book, is a powerful narrative about the demoralizing and dehumanizing actions of an industry that has yet to do away with redlining and other policies of the Jim Crow era (1877-1964) of legally enforced racial segregation.
Yet, the book is easy to read – and, hopefully, put to use – even for the busiest executive. With an essential message that shouts to be heard, it has the potential to create new consciousness.
To paraphrase Flitter, America’s financial system has a long way to go.
Source: The Network Journal
Bennie Randall Jr (Founder & Owner) Vonoi Magazine with a focus on Global Entrepreneurship & Leaders around the world - www.VonoiMag.com
Ashley Little (Founder & Owner) - Creating Your Seat At The Table is a online and in print magazine. It was created with the Entrepreneur/ Authorpreneur/ Mompreneur in mind. It is important for us to create and build our own
tables this international magazine will highlight people who are doing great things throughout the world. https://www.ashleylittleenterprises.com/creatingyourseatatthetablemagazine
Dr Will Moreland (Founder & Owner) I-Dominate Magazine which focuses on The Speaking Industry - https://www.amazon.com/iDOMINATE-SPEAKERS-MAGAZINE-NOVEMBER-2022/dp/B0BLB9WKY2/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1669340176&refinements=p_27%3ADr.++Will+Moreland&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Dr.++Will+Moreland
Aziz Gueye Adetimirin (Founder & Owner) The Network Journal is a quarterly print and online business magazine for Black professionals and small business owners. TNJ is dedicated to educating and empowering its readers -https://tnj.com/
32-year-old Shymane Robinson, an esteemed African-American Attorney and the founder and CEO of True Lawyer, has launched a trademark law firm to help transform communities by helping small businesses gain ownership of their brand and leverage their assets with real estate.
Attorney Robinson is on a mission to help one billion visionary entrepreneurs own, protect, and grow businesses that impact the world through trademarks and leverage their assets with real estate.
According to the USPTO, intellectual property protections account for more than $8 trillion in economic activity. It’s imperative that small businesses have access to gain ownership of patents, trademarks, and copyrights allowing them to gain exclusive ownership and be compensated for their creative inventions and ideas helping to close the wealth gap.
True Lawyer, is the first law firm ever to offer a Trademark Guarantee. Attorney Robinson understands that lack of legal representation contributes to the wealth gap. She comments, "To close this wealth gap, we must focus on ownership. Ownership of businesses, intellectual property, and real property. In an effort to increase ownership and help transform communities by ensuring no brand is left behind, my company offers predictable rates so business owners can plan ahead. In addition, we guarantee that if we clear a trademark and it doesn’t register with the USPTO for any reason, our office will Trademark your next mark at no labor cost to you until you gain ownership of your brand." She is very confident in her Trademark service and is serious about helping business owners become OWNERS of their brands.
With almost five years under her belt as the leader of True Lawyer law firm, Shymane has grown a widely successful national law firm that focuses on transforming communities by helping small businesses gain ownership of their brand and leverage their assets with real estate.
In honor of Women’s Small Business month, True Lawyer law firm has made the official announcement to giveaway (3) free federal trademark applications; a value of over $1,500 each to help women-owned businesses protect their brand. One winner will be announced every Friday starting October 14, 2022.
Please follow True Lawyer's Instagram account @Truelawyer_ to receive more information about this Giveaway and Trademark Guarantee. *Restrictions apply
About the company
Founded by Shymane Robinson, True Lawyer is a Chicago-based trademark and copyright law firm serving clients nationwide. True Lawyer help transform communities by helping entrepreneurs to own, protect, and grow businesses that impact the world. In an age where Black Wealth is reported to be $0 by 2053, True Lawyer has established it self as the go-to outlet for predictable flat-rate legal services ensuring everyone has access to legal. Ownership is the keystone to shortening the wealth gap in the black community. True Lawyer is one of few law firms that offer flat rate services and make legal representation accessible to clients who do not have deep pockets or qualify for pro bono services. Learn more at TrueLawyer.com
About the founder
Shymane Robinson was raised in Chicago, IL. She is an accomplished attorney and real estate investor. She is passionate about helping clients create wealth through ownership of both intellectual and real property, as it’s the keystone to building wealth. As a real estate investor and small business owner Shymane understand the importance of owning real estate or starting a business as the first step to establishing wealth.
Tell me how you started BEDI.
Basically, it all started in the scrap yards of Quebec. I started looking for materials that already exist that could be used to make fashionable products. I really wanted to work with materials that have been discarded versus creating virgin stuff.
So our first collection was bags that are made out of recycled airline seats and seat belts that have been just discarded. From there, we moved on to working with materials that are made out of regenerated fish nets. We continued with the seat belts that are all upcycled in Canada.
:Vonoi Magazine: What was the hardest part of starting a business?
Finding materials and then reworking them into our designs. Finding materials in scrap yards, and then actually working them so that they look pleasing enough to be part of a fashion brand and the seat belts.
Last question. What is the purpose of using recycle materials? Why is that so important to you?
With everything going on in the world, climate change, it ties into our slogan, one day everything new will come from something old. I had a vegan brand for about 20 years that I left, because I wanted to come back to local production. That was called Matt & Nat. I wanted to come back to something that just came back to producing again in North America, and also working with materials that already exist versus creating new materials when the world doesn't need more of that.
Inder, I-N-D-E-R. Last name is Bedi, B-E-D-I. We are located in Montreal, Canada.
People can order online?
Of course, yeah. We ship all over the world.
Late last week, an attorney for Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, told The Associated Press that a letter was sent to Gap on Thursday (Sept. 15) to terminate the contract between the clothing chain and West’s company, Yeezy
Less than 48 hours since the announcement, rumors began to swirl about the mega mogul reportedly reaching out to smaller, black-owned footwear companies for potential partnerships to merge his clothing and shoe lines. This bold business move would bring more awareness to independent clothing brands while creating a bigger stake in the fashion industry for West.
“I think he came at us because we are vanguards of the culture,” says an anonymous business owner. “With all of his power, influence and wide reach, it’s the last thing that major corporations want. This is huge.”
In 2021, Bloomberg ranked him as the wealthiest Black American, pegging his net worth at $6 billion. Between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion of that net worth comes from West’s partnerships with Gap and Adidas, according to investment bank UBS. A potential partnership between West and smaller, Black-owned businesses would create a larger share of the fashion market for underrepresented corporations.
“If a deal of this proportion goes through and my company goes into partnership with Ye, there will be a tectonic shift,” says the unnamed source. “This shift takes the power away from our oppressors and puts it back into hands of the people who are the gatekeepers of popular culture.”
According to industry insiders, West is seeking mergers with all Black-owned footwear companies. Sources also say celebrities such as Dave Chappelle, Magic Johnson and former track and field athlete/ professional football player John Carlos (archived for his rebellious Black Power salute on the podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics) are among dignitaries who will reportedly bring their influence to this project.
Companies vying for impending ventures with West include Atlanta-based Nagast Footwear. Launched in 2015, Nagast became the first company to create an internationally successful sneaker line to commemorate the legacy of powerful Black leaders, such as Nat Turner and Marcus Garvey, among others.
Other black-owned businesses that could be included in possible ventures include the nation’s only Black woman-owned fulfillment center Everlasting Love Fulfillment, among many others.
“Kanye is 10, 20 years ahead of everybody,” says the source, “and he’s looking towards us.”
As The Woman King rolls into theaters today, both the film’s cast and its director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, are excitedly anticipating wide audience response to the action, drama, and majesty of the story centered on Dahomey’s Agojie warriors.
It’s a real-life legacy that most audiences frankly aren’t familiar with. The director says telling this hidden history, lost to most American audiences, peels back the curtain of mystery about where we came from and serves as a counter to the lessons we’ve been given on where our story began.
“It really started with this story I wanted to tell, which is about these incredible women that history knows nothing about. So much of what we learned about our history in America is that it began with enslavement, and that’s just not the truth,” Prince-Bythewood tells ESSENCE. “There’s an incredible continent – not that far away – that has incredible cultures. It’s where we came from. It’s where our ancestors came from. So I wanted to tell that story.”
The story of the Agojie’s fierce sisterhood and strong bond comes alive on screen, a translation of the close bond Prince-Bythewood and the cast formed with each other during preparation and filming this project.
“I feel that as the director, it’s my job to foster relationships that are then going to show up on screen,” she says. “So many of us have never had an opportunity to tell a story like this. The responsibility we felt, the connection that so many of these actors felt directly to our ancestors, the desire to get it right, we all shared that, and the work ethic.”
That work ethic saw the cast – and Prince-Bythewood, who joined in out of solidarity – completing intense physical training to get in shape to complete their own stunts and fight choreography for the film.
“That bonded everyone because it was so hard,” the director recalls. “They fed each other, pushed each other, they were competitive in the best way and pulled each other through, and it’s beautiful that that could show up onscreen. ”
“It really all started with Viola [Davis]. All of them wanted to tell this story, they wanted to play these incredible characters, but they wanted to play with Viola.”
Davis, the film’s lead who also co-produced the film through her production company JuVee, mentioned during ESSENCE’s roundtable discussion with the cast, she wasn’t entirely convinced that The Woman King would actually come to pass when the prospect of the film came along. For Prince-Bythewood, the fact that the film is actually hitting theaters today is nothing short of miraculous.
“Every time I watch the movie, the word ‘miracle’ pops into my head,” she says. “It is a miracle that this film is in existence, that it’s about to be put into the world. I’m just excited for others to see it because I know how it makes me feel.”
“I know if I had nothing to do with it how I would feel to finally be able to go into the theater and see a story like this and see myself reflected like this. It’s everything, and I’m just excited.”
Viewers on their way to the theaters this evening should also know to stick around after the initial set of credits. There is a brief, yet impactful mid-credit stinger that speaks calls back to the film’s end, yet also encompasses its message in a poignant manner. For Prince-Bythewood, it was an important addition that tied our past and our present together in a subtle way.
“As a filmmaker, you have a vision. I knew what this film was, but I also knew what it meant for me, as a Black woman. And that is about ‘Say Her Name,'” she reveals. “It’s about honoring the Black women who have been in the struggle, who have died nameless, and it ends with a specific name that embodies our struggle of being invisible, of being unprotected. So, it was a callout in honor of us.”
The Woman King is now in theaters.
The action film based on the lives of Agojie warriors starring Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis is the top-grossing film at the weekend box office. According to Forbes, The Woman King brought in at least $19 million domestically over the weekend following the premiere on Sept. 16. The film has a nearly all-Black cast and was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.
The Woman King also earned an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences and smashed Sony Pictures’ early predictions of $12 million for the opening weekend, earning $6.85 million on Friday (including $1.7 million from Thursday) and $7.15 million on Saturday. The film is expected to top $20 million after Sunday’s sales are tallied.
The Woman King recounts the tale of the Agojie, warriors who fought European colonizers for the Kingdom of Dahomey during the 19th century in West Africa, and Davis called the film, which is also being called “The Black Braveheart,” her “magnum opus.”
“This is my magnum opus,” said Davis on Twitter. “I’ve never had a role like this before, it’s been one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I can’t wait for you to experience #TheWomanKing, now playing exclusively in movie theaters.”
The film also seems to be resonating with audiences and received a 94 percent rating from Rotton Tomatoes with a 99 percent audience score. The film also received an A-plus rating from a CinemaScore poll.
CinemaScore shared the poll on Twitter with a caption congratulating Davis, the cast of The Woman King and Sony Pictures.
The script was written by Dana Stevens and based on a story by actress Maria Bello. The Woman King reportedly cost $50 million to produce and also stars Sheila Atim, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega and Thuso Mbedu.
Natural Hair Stylist Honors Her Late Mom With Product Line That Helps Women With Dry Hair and Scalp Issues
Meet Kenyatta Nicole, a specialist in natural hair care and styling, who has launched Nora's Haircare Collection, a unique product line designed to help women who struggle with various issues from dry scalp, split ends, dry hair, and even hair growth. She is also known and respected as an avid educator who shares valuable tips with her salon clients about at-home hair maintenance and aftercare.
As a child, Kenyatta always showed a passion for the beauty industry. She went on to earn a Master Cosmetology degree from Empire Beauty School in Kennesaw, Georgia, and decided to name her product line after her late mother, Nora, who herself was also an entrepreneur but sadly died in 2010. During the pandemic, she was inspired to launch the company as a supplementary idea to the salon that she already owns in the Atlanta area.
Her best-selling products include the Healthy Hair Growth Bundle Kit, Nora’s Extra Strength Hair Serum, Yes Moisture Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in Spray, Nora’s Restoring Shampoo, and more. All of the products were designed for women of all ages.
“My products mean so much to me because they are my way of helping women help themselves,” says Kenyatta. “I didn’t know what to name my product line at first, I prayed about it and suddenly came to me. This was the chance to honor my mother – the woman who created me. It was my way of sharing her with the world.”
So, what makes Nora different from the myriad of companies and products promising quick fixes and solutions to women’s crowns? The products are all made of natural ingredients that encourage hair growth help customers to achieve healthy hair at home and between salon visits. It is true that the hair care industry is saturated with products that promise to turn hair from drab too fab. Sadly, many of these products fail to deliver on those promises. Indeed, sorting through the hair care market can be frustrating and time-consuming.
The Kenyatta Nicole Store & Salon, located at 1810 Spring Road in Smyrna, Georgia, saves women the hassle of searching for professional products to help women with dry, flaky, itchy scalp, hair moisture, and hair growth. The Nora line features shampoo, conditioner, and a hair growth serum among other products, all of which have received rave reviews from customers and clients.
Inspiration for the store and Nora products came while Kenyatta was working in a salon before the pandemic. As she listened to her clients talk of their hair issues, she thought about how she could help them add moisture and grow their natural curls and tresses. When the pandemic hit and salons, like other businesses around the world shut down, Kenyatta turned her attention to creating her all-natural product line. It was the perfect way to merge her two loves – helping women achieve and maintain healthy hair and honoring her mother.
Additionally, she offers a hair quiz to help women discern their hair challenges. Upon completing the quiz, Kenyatta reaches out to each woman to suggest solutions to their hair challenges. Take the quiz here.
For more details and/or to purchase her products online, visit TheKNStore.com