While #BlackGirlMagic may be trending on social platforms, we as Black women know that our magic has been around for centuries. Being recognized as a powerful Black woman in today's society is growing to become the norm in comparison to how far we've come, but we have so far to go. Women of color, specifically Black women, are running nearly half of all registered women-owned businesses and unfortunately, according to Forbes, less than 4% of Black women entrepreneurs make it to the million-dollar mark. These women below are changing the narrative.
With Women's History Month coming to a close, we cannot let the month go by without recognizing Black women entrepreneurs who are out here doing their thing, especially while Miss Rona is in town. From public speakers to world-renowned yoga instructors, check out this list below of xoNecole-approved badass Black women to watch this year:
Have you caught Yara Shahidi's IG TV series, "Unguided"? If you have, then you've met Maura Chanz and have already witnessed her creative genius. This Los Angeles-based rising creative initially took a leap of faith after graduating from Spelman College and jumping into the industry as the apprentice of Black Lightning creator Mara Brock Akil. Maura is also the owner of TRIBE, which is a community garnered specifically for women of color seeking fellowship amongst our sisters.
International speaker, creative brand strategist, world traveler - what doesn't this woman do? Alechia Reese, author of Eating Elephants: Winning Life One Bite At A Time, is a survivor of domestic violence and makes it her mission to connect dope women around the world with her passion for communication, entrepreneurship and leadership. Catch her on the move and speaking at widely recognized conferences and brands from BlogHER to Microsoft and moderating the Imara Retreat, an annual women's retreat in Africa to build and connect Black women.
Trinity Mouzon Wofford
When you're the brains and beauty behind a beauty brand, when do you have the time to be a columnist for Inc. and keep the aesthetic flowing perfectly on your Instagram feed? We don't know how, but Trinity does it. As the owner of Golde, Wofford has been recognized in INC Magazine's "2019 Female Founder 100" list and Forbes' "30 Under 30". Need we say more?
You may recognize her as YouTube sensation Supa Cent, but she's making headlines in the beauty world for the creation of The Crayon Case. Awarded at the BET Social Awards for Social Hustle, CEO Raynell Steward has been flexing her entrepreneurship brain by using her social presence to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Within one hour, Steward successfully sold $1.37M worth of beauty products in 2019. That's what we call a boss.
Sukie Jefferson is the lead operator and founder behind Sukie's Candle Co, exotically scented premium soy wax candles - made fresh to order and individually hand-poured. Jefferson's products have been recognized in GQ, Black Enterprise and Vogue UK, and should definitely be a Black woman brand to add to your household.
Remember those encouraging notifications you would get every morning from the Sprinkle of Jesus app? Yeah, that's Dana Chanel's doing, but she's been doing a whole lot more since then. After creating the number one Christian mobile app in the world, Dana has shifted her focus to developing generational wealth through family businesses with her latest venture, Jumping Jack Tax, a platform created by herself and husband Prince Donnell as a means to provide a virtual tax preparer. Aside from being relationship goals with her bae, Dana Chanel has truly embodied being a boss babe by creating a space for other women entrepreneurs and keeping true to your faith while building a business.
"If you walked away from a toxic, negative, abusive, one-sided, dead-end low vibrational relationship or friendship — you won." The words spoken by bestselling author of Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your PowerLalah Delia drops gems throughout her book about moving forward and being in-tune with yourself spiritually and mentally. Delia is also the founder of Vibrate Higher Daily, a vibrational based-living online community and mentoring program through women empowerment.
Jessica Jones & Wendy Lopez
These two women are bold, beautiful and Black registered dietician nutritionists, and Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez are on a mission to help women of color learn to eat intuitively through a "healthy plant-powered diet". By putting their health first by encouraging women to maintain healthy nutrition through their joint venture Food Heaven Made Easy, Jessica and Wendy have created an accessible community and multimedia platform for people who want to create culturally relevant plant-based meals, but aren't quite ready to take the full leap as of yet.
At just the age of 25, the former BuzzFeed social strategist is making a name for herself in the media industry with the launch of The Queen Sessions, a motivational content platform to uplift women of color with interviews, blog posts and more. Autumn Myers is also the digital media lead for Black-owned brand, America Hates US, where she served as the lead writer and touched upon topics of culture, entertainment and politics. Recently, The Queens Sessions released their own affirmation journal perfect during the quarantine to keep your dreams and visions manifested.
Mommy-to-be Leticia Hunt is the creator of FOREH, an accessories brand that uplifts Black culture with HBCU-inspired pieces and tactical vests. Inspired by her own experience as a military veteran, the Tuskegee University graduate also serves as a podcast host for 2 Shots & Talk, a children's book author, a stylist and creative director. She emulates her own mission that with the right balance, you can truly do it all.
Just in time for drop tops and summer sun, if Rona ever lets us out of our houses, Shontay Lundy has created the ultimate product for Black women. Black Girl Sunscreen is a product that every melanated queen should be carrying in her bag to protect our skin from harmful rays and avoiding that annoying while residue that other products that aren't made for us may leave. Finally, a skincare brand that caters exactly to our needs during the hot, unbearable summertime heat.
Codie Elaine Oliver
The importance of positive Black narratives in film and television cannot be stressed enough, and Texas-bred producer Codie Elaine Oliver has taken responsibility for showcasing Black love in an affirmative love on her show, Black Love which showed on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network, now available for streaming on Facebook Watch. Nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Director in a Television Movie, this film creative is one to watch as she navigates motherhood, Hollywood and developing content that creates the appropriate narrative for #BlackLoveMatters.
Featured image via Lalah Delia/Instagram
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Deanna Robinson, a health and wellness advocate and professional based in the Washington D.C. area has been helping Black and brown women reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. And with her brand of self-love and faith, she's redefining just what "fitness" means when it comes to women of all shapes and sizes.
There's definitely a need for women like Robinson, especially since recent research shows that between 47% and 55% of Black consumers' needs "are not being met" in the wellness space, and the U.S. fitness industry hit $32 billion last year and that it's important for Black women to see themselves prominently in the space.
As a health and wellness programming expert, licensed nutritionist, mom, wife, and former all-women's gym owner, Robinson has built up a body of experience that has culminated into doing something she loves via the FabBody Retreat, an experience for women ages 30-60 to be enriched via group activities, good food, and connection in the backdrop of tropical peace and tranquility.
This year's retreat was held in Grenada, with special guest and TV host icon Free Marie (BET's 106 & Park). Next year's event will be held in St. Maarten with plenty of opportunities to enjoy beach vibes, authentic and healthy dishes, and all the pleasures of being among other fabulous Black women seeking holistic wellness in paradise.
"My God-given purpose is to help serve, connect, and heal Black and Brown women," she said, taking her experiences serving corporate and individual clients via projects like the NFL's "Fuel Up To Play 60" initiative and the Nike Training Club live experience, to do just that.
xoNecole caught up with her to talk about why she chose the fitness industry, her success in launching and running the FabBody Factory, and how she's pivoted to use her skills to build impact on a larger scale in health and wellness.
xoNecole: What sparked your interest in a career in health and wellness?
Deanna Robinson: I have always been involved in sports, always been active in cheerleading, dance, [and] gymnastics. In my college career, I was a competitive cheerleader at the University of Maryland, College Park, and I've just always been passionate about physical activity, health, and fitness. I double-majored in kinesiology and public and community health, and it's always been a passion for me about others being well.
Out of college, I wanted to be a personal trainer, and I interviewed at a big-chain gym. I was really excited about getting this job, but when I had the interview, they informed me of what the split was—what the client paid, what I'd get as a personal trainer, and what the gym got. And I just thought it was a ridiculous split. I've always been into entrepreneurship as well, and doing things on my own terms, so I actually opened up my own gym in the community I grew up in called the FabBody Factory, an all-female gym in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
I was able to hire several trainers, offer group classes and personal training, and one of the things I was always a big proponent of is making sure that they got a better cut than they would get at larger chains.
xoN: Talk a bit more about that in terms of starting a gym, especially one that caters to women. What was the process and motivation?
DR: I have worked out in big-box gyms before and just never felt comfortable. It was always really uncomfortable working out in a huge gym where men would be gawking at you or try to get your number when you're trying to focus on yourself in that moment. So I always wanted the FabBody Factory would be a safe haven where we didn't have to worry about our titties flopping when we're doing jumping jacks, it was just for us by us, and we could just [be] comfortable making ourselves a priority.
I was almost talked out of doing something like that because people would say, "You're cutting off half of your potential clientele," but I never had an issue. Women flocked to the gym, and I'd sometimes have to split classes. I might have to do part one of a class at one time and a second another time. It was majorly successful. Ladies loved it. And on top of this being all-women, it was all Black and brown women.
Culturally, we get each other, so it was a big social thing for us, too. We were able to fellowship with each other and get fit at the same time.
xoN: Your brand includes the concept of a 'Fab Body.' What does that mean for you---and just wellness---in general, for Black and brown women?
DR: FabBody in itself is not a look at all. It's more of a mindset and a willingness to invest in your mental, spiritual, and physical self. In promoting the FabBody Retreat, I actually had someone DM me and ask me, "Do you have to have a 'Fab Body' to come on the retreat?" and my response to her was that you do have a 'Fab Body.' Everyone has a Fab Body. It's more of a state of being—a sound, healthy mind, body, and spirit. It's not about aesthetics at all but about overall improvement.
xoN: You decided to pivot from owning a gym, which you ran successfully for more than a decade, to your current role in health and wellness programming and launching the FabBody Retreat. How did this come about?
DR: My gym closed last year, and the reason was because of where I saw myself going and where I wanted to be in the next 10 years. A lot of my time at the gym was selling and getting people to register for classes, and it wasn't as lucrative and fulfilling for me as it had been in the beginning.
Now I'm doing more consulting work with larger companies. One of my passions is programming, and that is where I see my future going. I'm moving more toward passive income, coming from my being able to use the knowledge I have from years in this industry and putting together programming that can reach the masses versus individuals.
xoN: What can people expect from the FabBody Retreat next year, and how does this venture continue your love for advocating for health and wellness among Black and brown women?
DR: One of the things that really sets this event apart from so many other retreats is that I have married everything that is important to me: wellness, my faith, and my community. God is a huge part of all of the events we do, and all are interwoven with faith-filled, intentional activities, and I think that's what makes it different. On Sunday, we do a service on the beach, and we always have a guest speaker—someone you can relate to where you don't feel like you're being preached to. It's an awesome experience, unlike any retreat I've seen.
It's definitely rooted in faith, but at the same time, there's a balance. We'll get on a boat and have a cocktail with an umbrella in it, and then we'll go back to wellness. There's a healthy balance.
Find out more about Deanna Robinson via Instagram @deannarobinsonfit and more on the FabBody Retreat via the website.
Featured image courtesy