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Teyonna Lanez is a brand strategist and producer with a love for doing the inner and outer work -- mindset shifting and marketing. The Atlanta native is passionate about social media storytelling and sharing positive affirmations to help people maintain inner peace despite external chaos. Connect with on Instagram @TeyonnaLanez or on her site TeyonnaLanez.com.
Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.
But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.
To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.
Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.
What is Systemic Racism?
A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.
Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution
In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.
To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:
The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.
These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.
We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.
Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.
In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.
The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.
Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.
Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.
To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.
Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits
The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.
To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.
We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.
The Long View
For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.
Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.
In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.
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Although all of our hair journeys are different, I always find it interesting when folks say that the winter season is the most brutal when it comes to their hair. For me, it's probably right about now because, between the heat, the shrinkage and, when I do swim, the chemicals in the water — it's a challenge, making sure that my hair doesn't dry out, as I strive to handle it with care on the days when it wants to act like a matted mess.
Can you totally relate to where I'm coming from? If so, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the summertime haircare tips that have held me down over the past several years. 12 hacks that are easy, affordable and can definitely help you to keep your inches straight through Labor Day and beyond.
1. Get a Cute Swim Cap
Y'all see that straight up bullshishery that the Tokyo Olympics have been pulling on us? I don't just mean the runners; I mean them banning swim caps for Afro-textured hair. Yeah, I knew that when they put a ban on protesting beforehand that we were in for a ride. Anyway, if a part of what makes you hesitant to swim more often is you want to protect your hair from the salt and/or chlorine that's in the water, I definitely recommend getting yourself a swim cap. If the other thing you're worried about is how crazy you might look in one, these days, there really are cute designs available (so much better than what a lot of us grew up with). Etsy is one place that has some. Just go to the site and put "swim caps for Black women" in the search field.
2. Or Wet Your Hair Before You Swim
On the other hand, if you don't mind getting your hair wet but you still don't want the water to damage your hair (because saltwater and the chemicals in swimming pools can both be pretty drying), a cool hack is to wet your hair beforehand.
Since our hair is a lot like a sponge, if it's already absorbed water, that makes it harder for ocean or swimming pool water to penetrate it. The more you know. The more you freakin' know.
3. Give Yourself a Hot Oil Treatment
While it might seem odd to hear me talk about applying anything hot to your hair when it's already hot as hell outdoors, you really can't go wrong with treating your tresses to a hot oil treatment during this time of the year; especially if you battle with dandruff, dry scalp or a lot of frizz (which can happen when your hair lacks moisture or it's time for your ends to be trimmed). The combination of the heat from the oil along with the nutrients from the oil of your choice (coconut, grapeseed, argan, sweet almond, avocado, rosehip and apricot kernel oil are all great options) will help to stimulate blood flow to your scalp which will help to strengthen your hair's follicles over time.
Your best bet would be to put one-fourth of the oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Put your hair into 4-8 sections and apply the oil to your scalp and hair. Massage your scalp for about 10 minutes. Then allow the oil to continue to penetrate for 30 minutes. If you then shampoo and rinse thoroughly, you will notice a real difference; especially after following this next tip.
4. Put Some Jamaican Black Castor Oil into Your Shampoo or Conditioner
With the summer heat being as brutal as it is, you definitely need to make sure that your hair keeps moisture in it on the regular. One way to do that is to add some Jamaican Black Castor Oil to either your shampoo or your conditioner. Since the properties in the oil help to strengthen the cuticles of your hair, strengthen your hair's follicles and reduce breakage, as well as add quite a bit of moisture to your locks, putting a tablespoon of it into your shampoo can replace any moisture that your hair might lose during the shampooing process and adding it to your conditioner can make your hair that much softer after rinsing the shampoo out. Tropical Isle Living has some XX dark oil (which basically just means that it's extra detoxifying) that I've been using for a while now. I can definitely see a difference when it comes to how my scalp and hair feel.
5. Use Honey and Sour Cream to Reduce Shrinkage
If experiencing a lot of shrinkage is the main thing that has you concerned, something that can help to reduce that is lactic acid. Guess what it's found in — honey and sour cream! Straight up, if you make a hair mask that has both of these ingredients in it, not only can it give your hair a moisture boost (because honey is a natural humectant and sour cream is made up of 20 percent fat), it can also help to elongate your hair's natural curl texture too.
Just mix a half cup of sour cream with two teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon of sweet almond or grapeseed oil. Apply the mask to clean damp hair. Let it sit for 25-45 minutes and rinse out thoroughly, first with warm water and then with cool water (to seal your hair's cuticles). If you decide to go with a wash 'n go, you should notice that your hair has a bit more length to it, just from the mask alone.
6. DIY a Moisturizing Spritz
If, outta nowhere, your hair feels dry or your scalp needs a little bit of relief, nothing is more refreshing than pulling a handy spritz bottle out of your purse. What's even better is one that you made yourself! A moisturizing hair spritz that consists of rosewater (it'll restore the pH balance to your hair); Aloe vera juice (it smooths your cuticles and reduces frizz); raw honey and/or vegetable glycerin (they're both humectants which means they pull moisture from the air); chamomile oil (it soothes your scalp), and 5-7 drops of lavender oil (it contains strong antimicrobial properties to fight bacteria and moisturizing properties to soften your hair) will pamper your hair from dusk until dawn — and vice versa.
7. Ease Up on the Edge Control
I know y'all like those super sleek edges yet I'm gonna be honest with you — even if you go with a brand that doesn't contain any alcohol (or you make some of your own), sometimes the oil from the control combined with the extra sweating that you typically do can cause the perfect storm when it comes to breakouts. Plus, wanting to lay your edges all of the time can put a lot of pressure on your already fragile temples which can result in breakage. So, as much as it might pain you, try and ease up on edge control for the summer. Wrap your hair up in a scarf or rock a straw hat instead. You'll still be cute and trust me, your edges will be oh so very grateful.
8. Chill Out on Permanent Dyes Too
I'm gonna be honest with y'all. The only permanent (boxed) dye that has not read my hair for filth by causing all kinds of breakage issues is Revlon's Colorsilk Luminista. I think it's mostly because it is ammonia-free. And shoot, even with it, I still have to be mad intentional about keeping my hair moisturized because it makes it a little drier than I would like. Bottom line, if you still want to maintain the strength and integrity of your tresses so that you'll have some extra inches to brag about come the fall and winter seasons, it really is best to leave permanent dyes alone. One, because a lot of them do contain ammonia which is super drying and damaging and two, the heat is going to try and zap whatever moisture you do have. Please try not to help it do that. This is a great time of the year to play with some hair color wax. The hues are vibrant. And because the wax is super temporary, you don't have to worry about experiencing any breakage. You can literally sport a different color each day without any of the dry brittle drama. Excellent.
9. Make Some SPF Spray for Your Hair
Something that a lot of us — and by "us", I mean Black folks — don't think about is protecting our hair from the damage that UV rays can oftentimes cause. While there are sprays that you can find at your local drugstore, another route that you can take is to make some of your own. It's really not that hard (or expensive) to do. And if you add an ingredient like zinc oxide to your spray, you can be sure that you're in good shape because that is a natural product that reflects the rays for the sun so that your hair isn't penetrated with constant heat.
All you need to do is fill up a spray bottle with some distilled water. Then add a tablespoon of the zinc oxide along with a teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, argan and avocado are all really good) and 5-7 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake the bottle and then lightly spray your hair before heading out. It's a great way to protect your hair and enjoy a favorite scent at the same time.
10. Baby Those Ends
Your ends are the oldest parts of your hair. This means that they need the most TLC if you truly want to retain length. You need to deep condition your hair every wash day. You need to seal your ends on that day too. Heat needs to be used minimally and you definitely need to apply a thermal heat protectant (cream will give you the most penetrating coverage) before blow drying and using a flat iron. As much as you can "tuck your ends in" so that they don't get exposed to outdoor elements, the better. Sleeping with a humidifier at night can give them some extra moisture while you sleep. Naturally stretching your hair out at night by braided or twisting your hair and then applying a mixture of coconut milk (it's loaded with vitamins B, C and E as well as fatty acids) and jojoba oil (it's filled with antioxidants) to your ends can reduce the chances of them splitting.
Y'all, it really can't be said enough that a lot of us don't get the inches that we want — not because our hair isn't growing but because we aren't retaining length because we're not taking good care of our ends. This summer, please make sure that you do.
11. Leave the Shears Alone
While it's always a good idea to trim fairy knots and split ends away, try and leave your hair alone as much as possible during this time of the year. Between protective styles like braids and twists, turbans, scarves and straw hats, there's no need to have your hair all out all of the time. Tuck in those ends that I just talked about and try and let your hair grow through September. If you do, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you have to show for it by the time you need to pull your sweaters out.
12. Have Fun with It
Knotless braids. Twist outs. Top knots. Butterfly locs. Passion twists. These are just some of the natural looks that are big-time trends this summer season. And the moral to the story with this final point is — try one. Then try another. Then make something up! So long as you are doing the routine maintenance that your hair requires, there is nothing wrong with getting super creative and having an absolute ball with your hair. After all, our textures make that oh so easy to do!
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Because I write so much about sex, there are never a lack of random questions that pop into my mind. One that I was wondering semi-recently is if there's a particular time of the day when men and women are hornier than others. Chile, when you decide to go digging for information, you'll be amazed what you'll find.
So, let's get into it. While horniness can come and go at any time of the day or night, you might be surprised to know that there is a (very) specific time when a lot of us want it more than usual. Read the article. Process it. Hop in the comments. More than anything, test the theory out. Because I don't know about you, but to me, sex is always good — having it when I'm especially horny, though, definitely takes everything up several notches, though.
What Does It Mean to Be “Horny”, Anyway?
OK. We're all big girls here, so of course, I know that you have a general idea of what it means to be horny — it's when you have a desire for some sort of sexual interaction. However, when I checked out The Cut's article entitled, "What Kind of Horny Are You?", interestingly enough, it addressed different types of horniness (including the kind of horny that simply wants a mild level of gratification and the kind of horny that's related to being overstimulated by things like caffeine or even anxiety). So, I decided to do a bit more digging on the topic.
From an overall health standpoint, all kinds of things can make us, well, horny. Eating certain foods. Smelling certain scents. Ovulation time in our cycle (yes, we were designed to want sex more when it's most probable that we will get pregnant). Seeing someone who turns us on. Alcohol. Weed. Pregnancy (due to our hormones shifting all over the place). A high libido (this happens for some people naturally; for others, it's due to things like exercise or a higher level of testosterone). Sometimes an argument can make you horny because of the adrenaline rush that comes from it (umm, make-up sex, anyone?). Even having to pee (because urine puts pressure on your bladder which can, in turn, put pressure on your genital region) can trigger feelings of horniness (a lot of women are huge fans of having sex when they feel like they've got to urinate; they say it intensifies the sensation of their orgasms).
Although there are a few other causes, for the most part, these 10 are the main reasons why you can go from being cool to suddenly wanting to get you some — quick, fast and in a hurry.
The reason why I thought it was important to share all of this is because, as you can clearly see, horniness doesn't "just happen". For the most part, there is always some sort of catalyst. And the reason why that is a relevant point is because, although I'm about to share with you the time of day when we find ourselves wanting to experience some sort of sexual stimuli the most, it's clear that other things can help to influence that desire too.
Whew. With all of that out of the way, just when are we the most interested in being sexually aroused? Good question.
When Are Women and Men Horniest? Why Does It Matter?
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the site that mentioned that a good time of the day for couples to engage in sexual activity is right around 3 p.m. Why? Well, apparently that is when our cortisol levels are elevated (which gives us more energy) and a man's estrogen levels are at their peak (which makes them want to bond with us more). It's kind of a trip how this all plays out because the online sex store Lovehoney once conducted a study (one that consisted of 2,300 individuals) which revealed that, while 3 p.m. may be a fair compromise, women actually prefer to have sex at — not sure where the exactness came from — 11:21 p.m. Yep. Most of us are apparently night owls on the copulation tip.
Why is that exactly? A lot of us are less stressed at night than during the daytime. Many of us feel willing to have sex when we're cuddled up with our partner. Some of us feel less self-conscious about our bodies when it's dark. Some of us wake up with too much on our minds in the morning to even really think about having morning sex.
Understood. Still, this is where it gets kinda interesting (if not straight-up challenging). When it comes to when men are their horniest, guess what time of day that is (also, it's pretty specific)? 7:54 a.m. Why? The main reason is because men experience a natural surge of testosterone in the early morning hours (which is the main reason why a lot of them also experience morning wood), so if you've got a partner who is constantly nudging you in the wee hours of the morning, there is literally something (internally within him) to that.
So, just what does all of this mean? That if he's not down at 11:21 p.m. or you're not interested at 7:54 a.m. that you're both gonna miss out on some really great sex? Well, let me first share something else that came up in the survey. While 11 p.m. is preferred, our peak horny window is between 11 p.m.-2 a.m. while a man's is somewhere between 6 a.m.-9 a.m. which leaves a little bit of wiggle room, right? Still, with 70 percent of the people who participated in the survey vouching for the fact that ending up with a partner who isn't on the same "horniness page" can make having sex when they really, really want to a challenge, I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips on how to get in sexual sync, even if it can't be when your bodies naturally would most prefer each other to be.
How Do You Get in Sync with Him When It Comes to Arousal?
So, what if the reality is that you and your partner couldn't be on more different sex timetables? What is the workaround?
Go to bed together at the same time. This particular point especially applies if you are married or living with your partner. You know, I recently read that currently 1 in 4 couples are sleeping in separate beds and that it tends to affect the entire household (USA Today did an article on it; you can read it here). No time to get all super deep into that now. What I will say is if you and your partner are intentional about going to bed together, at least 2-3 times a week, at the same time, that makes it easier to pillow talk, cuddle up and maybe get a little nookie in during the midnight hour. Right around the time when a lot of us apparently like "it" most. #wink
Give some morning sex a shot. Whenever a married couple comes to me and says that they are in a sex slump, something that I will oftentimes recommend is that they engage in sex, every day, for a month straight (check out "Married Folks: Ever Wonder If Your Sex Life Is 'Normal'?"). While sometimes they are skeptical at first (and I'm gonna be real, more times than not, the eye rolls come from the wife), about 90 percent of them are on cloud nine after trying it.
This is the same way that I feel about morning sex. Even if the thought of waking up at 6 a.m., just for that, seems far less appealing than catching a few extra zzz's, morning sex can help to make you feel closer to your partner, to get and keep you calmer and make it easier to focus throughout the day. So again, even if late at night is your preference, it can never hurt to try that time of the day that a lot of men are all hype about. If you stay open — no pun intended — you could end up liking it a heck of a lot more than you initially thought that you would/could.
Remember that there's more than one way to skin an, umm, cat. OK. Let's go back to the 11:21 p.m. and 7:54 a.m. thing. Even if you and/or yours are not in the mood for an all-out romp session, if one of you is horny around that time, who said that some manual stimulation, oral sex or a quickie can't be on the menu? I don't know about y'all but when I'm horny (and was having sex), mostly what I want is a release of some sort. Yes, intercourse is bomb yet if I can get one off, some kind of way, I'm still usually pretty good. Don't even act like I'm alone in that, chile.
Be flexible on the weekends. Staying up late at night or getting up early in the morning might not be quite as feasible on the weekdays as it is on the weekends. Even if you've got an action-packed one planned or kids running all throughout the house, setting aside an hour for you and yours to try 11 p.m. or 7 a.m. will probably be less stressful than when you've got work, school, etc. on your schedule. Let the kids watch TV and have a bowl of cereal. They can wait until you're…done.
Don't overthink it all. More than anything, this article was simply providing you with some food for thought. If after reading the times provided, you find yourself giving major pushback because that is definitely not you and/or your partner's personal experience, it's all good. One of the first rules of sex is to do what works best for you and yours, right? Bottom line, there's no need to put any pressure on yourself. Just make sure to pay attention to your urges and do what you can to get them met. Because being horny is fine — so long as something can be "done about it" as soon as possible. Feel me? (I figured you would.) #wink
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This article is in partnership with Staples.
As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.
Well, here's where Staples comes in. Sis, this is not just the spot to drop in and grab a few replacement cartridges for your printer or a pack of paper when you're in a jam. With August being National Black Business Month, you'll definitely want to check out the slew of resources and perks Staples offers.
Staples' professionals can literally serve as the team behind your team. Their tailor-made services and selection of products offered in-store will help you adapt to any issues life might throw at you, and they literally have everything you need to bring your small business dreams to life!
Here are 5 must-haves that Staples provides for your business that you just won't be able to live without. These small business solutions ensure you'll remain a leader and can always be where the money resides:
1. Connections with communities.
Business owners are as strong as their tribes, and Staples can help you connect with the people where you work and live via their Community Business Directory. It provides access to Staples' extensive customer base and the potential to be featured in store and via community emails (which, by the way, reach an average of 15,000 readers). Listings in the directory are also linked from Staples Connect, so you'll get the exposure you need as a small business owner. You can register your business for free at StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business/Register.
They also offer a Local Chamber Program where, as a member, you'll have access to their resources and exclusive savings of 20% off your in-store print and marketing services, as well as 10% off your in-store purchases of regularly priced items. For information on enrolling, contact your local chamber leadership.
2. Valuable tips and advice just for entrepreneurs.
The Staples' Resource Center offers content on how-tos including marketing strategy, taxes, and finances, entrepreneurship advice, and more. It's a hub that benefits entrepreneurs by giving them the insider knowledge for continuing to work at their best and the tools needed to do so.
Find out everything from how to optimize your online shop (to make the experience better for customers to stay on the site and buy more) to profiles on successful businesses to inspire your own glow up. Visit StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business for the jewels!
3. A one-stop shop for office and tech necessities.
Beyond the impressive array of top quality office supplies, technology, and equipment offered at competitive prices―from paper, ink, and toner, to computers, printers, and electronics, to ergonomic furniture, facilities maintenance, and health and safety supplies. You can't beat deals on everyday staples, like shipping boxes, premium shipping supplies
(key word: premium), and 50-pack, 3-ply face masks. And the deals on top tech, especially for those constant video calls, online correspondences, and web meetings, are indeed not-to-miss, with hot items like the iPostal digital mailbox services, the Logi H800 wireless headset, and the Logi C922 Pro webcam.
4. Shipping made more than easy.
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5. Marketing, marketing, marketing!
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Growing up, Eunique Jones Gibson didn't have to look far for positive imagery that reflected who she was and where she came from. At a young age, Eunique's parents wasted no time instilling the importance of self-love and embracing the richness of Black culture. From her father's afrocentric, Cross Colours-based style to seeing herself through the lens of Lena James, Jada Pinkett's confident persona on A Different World, Eunique's surroundings began to paint a colorful portrait of the world's true representation could form. She points out, "That was my entryway into really embracing the culture and understanding the power of who we are and being critical of false narratives." It's no wonder that her work in representation through entertainment and media no less found her.
Early out in her career, the power to influence through advertisement served as a compass to direct her career pursuits, "When people used to ask me what I wanted to do that, I always said I wanted to influence decisions in 30 seconds or less. Because that's what commercials do." But for Eunique, the power to influence doesn't stop after the commercial ends, true impact transcends fleeting attention spans and viral moments that evaporate within the vapor of a swipe or click.
Photo by: Eunique Jones Gibson and Ashleigh Bing
The creative-entrepreneur proved this to be true, most noticeably through her Because of Them We Can campaign and instant-classic game, Culture Tags. In creating her Became of Them We Came campaign in 2013, Eunique recognized that Black History Month was in need of revitalization, "I wanted to refresh it, make it youthful, engaging, and inspiring. I saw the opportunity to do that through photographs and eventually to evolve it from that point." As the campaign grew in online popularity and potency, it garnered the attention of prominent figures like Oprah Winfrey to Kerry Washington, "I thought it was going to be a 28-day campaign, but I also realized that in order to be true to what I was trying to prove — which was that we need to reimage Black History, I had to lead by example."
The example that Eunique continues to set is one that's rooted in her mission to celebrate culture and community through the highest form of resistance: Black Joy. Her new game, Culture Tags, has served as an instrument for joy as many have looked for a delightful escape in the midst of quarantine. Restoring play and festivity back into our households, Culture Tags continues to find new life as outside reopens, guaranteeing to be the life of any cookouts and rooftop parties the game makes an appearance at, "As Black people, we've gone through and continue to go through so much as a community that oftentimes joy is all we have to look forward to. It's up to us to preserve it, protect it, and create the space for it."
xoNecole: Your project “Because Of Them We Can,” garnered viral success with the images that you shared of young Black children portraying notable Black figures. You mentioned once that you “wanted to refresh Black History,” could you tell us about that mission to refresh/reimagine Black History and how that’s evolved today?
Eunique Jones Gibson: When I started the campaign in 2013, I didn't see a captivating push that made Black History interesting and exciting and something that wasn't just black and white photos. Black History was relegated to the narrative that in order to make history or be a figure or a person who could be acknowledged in Black History, it was a typical lineup of individuals that we learned about in school but it didn't expand beyond those individuals. It also typically ended up revolving around individuals who, when we talk about Black History Month, were older or people who were deceased and we know that Black History is constantly being made. It's always taking place, it's taking place right now as I'm talking to you.
I wanted to do something that would make it interesting to learn about figures throughout history that paved that way by refreshing those images and allowing folks to see them through the eyes of a child. Because then, you become a little more interested in the story and the individual beyond your bias or what you may think based on what you've heard or haven't heard.
Photo by: Eunique Jones Gibson and Ashleigh Bing
Because of all the success that you did receive from that campaign, was there anything that surprised you about the feedback you received or the response in general from your community?
I think at the time what really surprised me was the fact that people wanted it to continue beyond Black History Month. It was almost as if it became my responsibility to keep it going. I had started something bigger than what I had initially thought it was. I thought it was going to be a 28-day campaign, but I also realized that in order to be true to what I was trying to prove, which was that we need to reimagine Black History, I had to lead by example. I don't think I expected it when I launched it and I certainly didn't expect to be eight years later to still be building upon that foundation.
Your game, Culture Tags, is one of the hottest new games for us. What inspired the creation of Culture Tags?
We are a big entertainment family; we love game nights and it really just dawned on me at some point that we needed more games! We needed more options that were rooted in our culture. Not games that we can play because we understand the rules and because they're fun, but games we can play because they bring back the nostalgia and excitement because we know that it was made with us in mind.
The inspiration behind Culture Tags is that same inspiration behind all of my work: it's to celebrate culture and community and to make sure we are represented. I started to think about it back in 2018. One day, I was online and saw a really long abbreviation or acronym and all these people were commenting, "Why do I know what this means?" I was definitely in that same group where I was like, "Yo, this is wild, I know what this says!" I've tried to train my mind to see the opportunities beyond what's on the surface, I immediately said, this is a game!
Courtesy of: Eunique Jones Gibson
Your agency, Culture Brands, has recently been tapped to become Hyundai’s African American agency of record. Why do you think it’s important for big brands to tap firms and agencies that are actually of the culture, especially when it comes to portraying our images in advertisement?
Because we exist. We live it, we eat it, we breathe it. It isn't something that we have to study, it's something that we innately know. In order for brands to portray an authentic representation of their customer base when they are targeting Black folks, they should have experts at the table who can present an authentic story and picture. You can't do that when you are not of the culture.
There are certain things that you will miss, certain things that you will overlook, and that will never enter the conversation because you don't have that first-hand knowledge. You have to bring in people who eat, sleep, and breathe it — and people who can respect it. It's one thing to create culturally relevant content but the content also has to be responsible; it can't be exploitative.
Someone who is of the culture should know how to ensure that we are represented without allowing a brand to co-op the culture or present themselves as a culture vulture. There has to be people at the table with a voice to guide in that direction. A lot of times you have people who are in the room but are not at the table or people who are at the table but don't have a voice, or if they have a voice, no one is listening. We have to make sure that when brands invite multicultural or African-American companies to the table, that they are ready to listen and learn and to implicate the learnings and expertise that these agencies are offering.
"It's one thing to create culturally relevant content but the content also has to be responsible; it can't be exploitative. Someone who is of the culture should know how to ensure that we are represented without allowing a brand to co-op the culture or present themselves as a culture vulture."
I was listening to your interview on Luuvie’s IG Live and one of the things that really resonated was when you shared, “You’ve got to trust your vision. People steal ideas all day, but you can not steal a vision.” In your eyes, what is the difference between an idea and a vision?
Ideas come and go, and oftentimes they are inspired by a need. They are inspired by the environment and things that are happening around us but I think that the difference between an idea and a vision is that a vision makes the idea scaleable. A vision makes the idea sustainable; and gives [the vision] value and validates it beyond that moment. And it gives you direction. It helps to guide the direction that you move in. Oftentimes your ideas may change, but they should back into your vision.
Beyond that, I also don't think it's a good idea to fall in love with your ideas. I think you can execute them and like them, but you should not fall in love with them. You should commit yourself to whatever your anticipated goal is: fall in love with the goal, not with the idea that might get you there because that idea can shift, but if you commit to the goal, you might see that there are multiple ways to get there. Which is why you have to anchor yourself in the vision.
"A lot of times you have people who are in the room but are not at the table or people who are at the table but don't have a voice, or if they have a voice, no one is listening."
Something that many creatives may experience along their journey is analysis paralysis in not really knowing where to start with their ideas. What advice would you give to someone who may be sitting on an idea or hesitant to take a leap into their dreams?
I always say, "Date your dreams." A lot of times you can look at an idea as a dream or something that you want to execute or explore and I think you have to date it and spend time with it. You have to obsess over it, analyze it from different angles, poke holes in it. What's good about this, what's bad about it? What makes sense, what makes this crazy? You date it.
I also think you have to be willing to bet on yourself. After you've gone through that process, if you've come out on the other side, you've got to be willing to fail. If you're not willing to fail, then you will never try. If you're willing to fail, then you can take the risk to move forward with the idea understanding that if you failed, you really just learned.
Photo by: Eunique Jones Gibson and Ashleigh Bing
"Mistakes happen for us to patch the holes, to ensure that our baskets stay full once the blessings start coming in."
What’s something that felt like a mistake in the moment, but turned out to be a pivotal lesson for you along your journey?
I've had multiple moments like that. My mentor tells me, sometimes the thing that feels horrible that we lament over because they happened to us, really happened for us. He likened it to medicine that tastes horrible but at the end of the day, it does us some good. I think it can only do us good if we maintain the perspective that it's all an opportunity to learn and improve and not make the same mistakes that we made before because we are more informed this time.
Failure has been a consistent part of my process and they have been big and small, and costly - whether it's cost me money or peace of mind, they are not inexpensive! But I have learned from each one of them to ensure that I do not make the same mistake again. Mistakes happen for us to patch the holes, to endure that our baskets stay full once the blessings start coming in.
For more of Eunique, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Eunique Jones Gibson
Karrueche Tran, I like her. She minds her business, she makes smart business moves. She has integrity, and most importantly, she loves herself enough to leave situations that no longer serve her. Tran popped on the scene roughly a decade ago as the girlfriend of Chris Brown. They had a whirlwind romance, filled with just as many highs as lows. Eventually, Karrueche ended the relationship after she found out Brown had a daughter on the way, and she moved on to pursue her passions within the entertainment industry.
This led to acting, where she's starred as Vivian Johnson-Garrett in the web series The Bay, and Virginia Loc on the TNT series Claws.
But it is her latest money move that solidified her place in the career pivot hall of fame, because sis is coming off of her first Emmy win!
The Emmy was for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Daytime Fiction Program, for her performance as Vivian Johnson-Garrett in Popstar! TV's The Bay. Her win is a mega milestone for the Emmys, as Tran (who is Black and Vietnamese) is the first lead actress of AAPI descent to take home the trophy for either Daytime or Primetime Emmys.
And sis, this is a flex!
Her latest win makes this Tran's fourth Emmy win for The Bay. She won three prior trophies as a producer on the digital series, which won in the Outstanding Digital Daytime Drama Series category in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
She began her speech with speechless shock saying:
"I can't even talk. I'm so thankful and so blessed and so grateful. Thank you to the Academy and to the other nominees."
She went on to thank her friends and family, 'who have always supported me,' adding that she had to thank The Bay family, "who have believed in me from day one in me when nobody did at all. I just won an Emmy. Oh my God. Thank you so much!" she added. When asked what storyline she was most proud of this year, she said she was proud to "shine a light" on the Black Lives Matter protests.
The Bay is a soap opera, set in the posh seaside town of Bay City, where the privileged residents are entangled in one scandal, betrayal or love affair after the other.
Karrueche later took to Instagram to bask in her win.
"Y'all.. I.. really don't even know where to begin… lol when I got nominated I was soooo surprised and grateful but was like nah there's no way I'm gonna actually win.. the nom was more than enough.. but God had a different plan for me.. I'm still in shock!"
"The icing on the cake was finding out I'm the first AAPI lead actress Emmy winner in both Daytime Emmys and Primetime.. excuse me WHATTT??! I fucking made Emmys history.. that is HUGE and makes me extremely emotional.. to be a representation of a community that is so often overlooked and under appreciated brings me to tears.. WOW I am on such a high that I know will last for a long time."
Watch the clip of her discussing the show with co-stars below:
Congratulations on such a historic win!
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Featured image by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images for BET
"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."