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Courtesy of Cricket Wireless

Fostering Community And Connectivity With Cricket Wireless

We are watching Black history in the making.

Cricket Black History Now

This article is in partnership with Cricket Wireless.

It’s February, the annual 28-day time-honored tradition where we *officially* engage in celebrating Black History, remembering the sacrifices, and reveling in the innovations from the past. But we high key celebrate Black History 365, knowing we are exploring, evolving, and elevating, right here, right now. As we look at the present contributions by today’s pioneers (hello, first Black and South Asian-American Woman Vice President of the U.S.!), we are watching Black history in the making!


As with history, the modern pioneer hits a fair share of challenges, none more currently top of mind than the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it began, small Black businesses have been hit hardest, according to the Federal Reserve Bank, with ownership dropping by 41%, as compared to 22% of overall small businesses in the U.S. between February and April of 2020 alone.

Yet, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. Black-owned businesses are showing they can bring in big bank from venture capital funding, and broker deals with major brands. And it’s that access, coupled with connection and community, that’s been the major key to it all. Helping to lead the charge are three Black women entrepreneurs, for whom connection is essential for their businesses.

Cricket Wireless wants to spotlight Tai Beauchamp, Abena Boamah, and Andrea Lewis, who are each focused on inspiring, engaging, and creating change year-round. Read more on how they’re writing the next chapter of Black History now.

Tai Beauchamp

A publishing industry veteran, Tai Beauchamp has experience as an editor at top publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Seventeen—where she made history as the magazine's youngest and first African-American beauty and fitness director. In 2006, she launched her media company, Tai Life Media, LLC to holistically connect style and empowerment, and has since worked with consumer brands including P&G, Walmart, Estée Lauder, Christian Dior Cosmetics, and Time Inc.

Tai, on staying connected to her community:

“It’s Black History Month, so I’ve been (reflecting) about what it took for me to get here—but I’m also celebrating where I’m at today… This is our time! I get excited knowing I have amazing women in my corner—especially my two co-founders. Shout out to my partner Malaika who is on speed dial and (who) I speak to at least 8 times a day. We motivate each other, inspire each other, we’ve shared tears, laughs, and smiles, but most importantly we share in the desire to build businesses that mirror our purpose and passion.”

Abena Boamah

Abena Boamah is the Founder and CEO of Hanahana Beauty, a consciously clean, Black-owned skincare, beauty, and wellness brand. Her work has been recognized by Beyoncé and Vogue. She is driven by curating learning experiences focused on holistic wellness and showcasing stories of Black women globally through visual content creation. Abena has presented and partnered with brands/schools like Harvard University, Instagram, Nike, Apple, Glossier, and more.

Abena, on the importance of building online community:

“When I think about my journey of entrepreneurship, honestly, I’ve always been inspired by Black entrepreneurs from the beginning ‘til now. These creators (and) innovators… continue to inspire me to grow. At the end of the day, it's always (about) creating your own community and supporting the people within. Every entrepreneur should have a group chat or a person they feel comfortable sharing their wins, struggles, and reasons to smile.”

Andrea Lewis

Toronto-born Andrea Lewis has acted alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Diahann Carroll, Wesley Snipes, and Dr. Maya Angelou. Lewis spent six seasons as “Hazel” on the hit show Degrassi: The Next Generation, which ranked No. 1 in Canada and the U.S. The role in Degrassi landed her in the pages of Teen People, the New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly. Lewis started Jungle Wild Productions, where she created the hit web series, Black Actressand the fan-favorite relationship drama, Beyond Complicated. Both seasons can be watched at youtube.com/AndreaLewisChannel.

Andrea, on getting advice and inspiration:

“I get to make content, tell positive Black stories and connect with audiences for a living. I’m so fortunate for the community of like-minded artists and entrepreneurs that I have around me who answer my texts at 2 a.m., bounce ideas around with me, and give me the advice I need to help grow my business, support my community and continue to create.”

Whether it be receiving a text from a mentor to “keep going” or a brainstorming thread with one’s closest creative confidantes, it’s these interactions—revealing moments of joy, support, and deep connection—that are small yet powerful reminders that sometimes a simple smile goes a long way.

Cricket’s commitment to fostering connectivity allows Black pioneers and change-makers to not only make meaningful connections—but also impactful decisions—for their businesses now and in the future. These pivotal experiences, by way of our screens, will continue to ensure we elevate their stories, amplify their voices, and continue our legacy during Black History Month and beyond.

Featured image courtesy of Cricket Wireless

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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