Paris Holds the Largest Natural Hair Conference in the World


Recently, the Natural Hair Academy in Paris held one of the largest natural hair conferences in the world, boasting over thousands of natural beauties and vendors.

Black Enterprise was there to talk about how to feel comfortable in your own skin, but more importantly, what it takes to be unapologetically black. In addition to a representative from SheaMoisture, panelists included singer, actress, and co-host of the BET Africa TV show, BET A-List, Nandi Madida; acclaimed French pop-soul singer Imany; writer and “image activist” Michaela Angela Davis; and French-Senegalese journalist, award-winning filmmaker, and activist Rokhaya Diallo.

Writer and activist, Michaela Angela Davis, Representative from Shea Moisture, (name unlisted), French TV Host, Rokhaya Diallo, Tech Editor, Sequoia Blodgett, acclaimed French artist, Imany, Nandi Madida from BET Africa - (Image: Natural Hair Academy)Right to Left: Michaela Angela Davis, Representative from SheaMoisture, Rokhaya Diallo, Sequoia Blodgett, Imany, Nandi Madida (Image: Natural Hair Academy)


Even Farouk James was there, a child model who’s already achieved celebrity status and has even appeared on NBC’s Little Big Shots due to his luscious locks. James appeared with his beautiful signature curly mane in tow.


Farouk James pictured along side of other natural hair models Farouk James pictured along side of other natural hair models (Image: Isabelle Mo)


Brands like SheaMoisture, CURLS, Cantu Beauty, The Mane Choice, and Carolina-B also showed up and showed out by giving live hair demonstrations. The informative demos were all about how to best nourish and maintain curly textured hair.

When Nandi Madida was asked if she thought that natural hair was simply a trend, she had a few choice words, which really resonated with the audience. “Natural hair means everything. It means loving your skin—who you are, your self-esteem—and it is paramount. It is not a trend; it is who we are.”

Lately, there has been increased emphasis on the negative aspects of cultural appropriation, especially for the black community (note the necessity of Katy Perry’s recent apology to the black community). But, the natural hair movement seems to be one cultural phenomenon that the black community can take full ownership of and ultimately commodify.

Yet and still, one glaring problem still remains—access to capital. Most of the larger, well-known brands happen to be owned by stakeholders that, more than likely, could not tell you what a Bantu knot is. In order for the black community to take total ownership of the natural hair care movement at scale, things need to start at the investing level. Unfortunately, many black entrepreneurs still struggle with getting their foot in that particular door.

So, where does that leave us? We have to continue to fight and ensure that we partner with the right investors that understand and share the overall mission of these companies. This way, we can continue to provide products to the masses and properly service our communities.

In the meantime, let’s continue to support these efforts, where we can. To find out more details about the Natural Hair Academy conference, click here.



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At Last! Steve Harvey’s ‘Funderdome’ Debuts


Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey and acclaimed TV producer Mark Burnett have teamed up to turn entrepreneurs’ quest for funding into a new seed-funding competition reality series called Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.

Steve Harvey (Image: Instagram/Funderdomeabc)


On the show, which premiered Sunday on ABC, two aspiring inventors compete to win a large cash prize, which will be used to fund their ideas, products, or companies. In order to win, they pitch their product to a live studio audience, who determines which inventors should win the funding. But here’s the catch: Before revealing the results of the crowd’s majority, Harvey, the show’s host, gives the inventors the option to cash out for a smaller amount of money. “If an inventor cashes out, they forgo the opportunity to win the whole cash prize for that round—a good move if they lost the crowd vote—but a bad move if they would have won it,” reads a press release on the show.

A number of energetic investors with amazing products were featured on the series premiere. One of the promising inventors was Tanya Tibbs, a black entrepreneur from Georgia who used her dynamic personality to pitch The V-Smart Bar, a holistic feminine care soap.


Steve Harvey (Tanya Tibbs, creator of The V-Smart Bar Image: Twitter/FunderdomeABC)


Tanya competed for $10,000 against Misti and Grant Morningstar, a mother-and-son team that created a line of soaps made from olive oil and other vegan ingredients called Savage Soaps.

Other competitors included Craig Rabin, the creator of Airhook, a secure mount for smartphones and tablets that attaches to tray tables on airplanes. He went head-to-head with Grace L. Chang, the inventor of Soarigami, a divider that looks like a paper airplane and attaches to an armrest to extend personal space.

Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM. In addition to executive producing the show, Burnett is also the EP behind NBC’s The Voice, CBS’ Survivor, and ABC’s Shark Tank.

“Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on ABC.


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An Executive Chef Dishes Out the Secret to Success in the Culinary Business


With the rise of reality TV shows depicting the lives and careers of executive chefs, more African American men are showing an interest in the culinary arts.

I recently toured the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino in Maryland and stopped by the TAP Room Sports Bar, which offers Creole-inspired dishes deftly executed by Executive Chef Henry Dudley. Black Enterprise spoke with Chef Dudley about how he got started in the restaurant industry, and got his thoughts on the sudden rise in popularity of culinary arts’ careers.


Chef Henry Dudley at TAP Room, at the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino. (Image: Brian Armstead)


Black Enterprise: Chef Dudley, with more than 22 years of culinary experience under your belt, I will give you your props by calling you ‘chef,’ as the connotation is like a president; once a president, always a president. Tell us a little about your history, and how you came to be a chef.

Chef Henry Dudley: Well, I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, with a single mother who worked three and four jobs, so we could make it. So, I grew up somewhat independent. To help keep me out of trouble, every summer, my mom would send me to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to spend summers with my grandmother. She was my total inspiration growing up, from a culinary standpoint. I was seven-years-old eating gumbos, étouffée, and jambalaya, and my friends in the Bronx were eating pizzas and Italian ice. This gave me a different appreciation for good food while growing up.

I would have to say the culinary arts found me—I did not find it. I’m glad it found me, because it probably saved my life. I actually never wanted to be a chef—that wasn’t my goal. I went to college in Virginia [at an HBCU]; I’m a proud Virginia State University alumnus, class of 1995. When I graduated, I wanted to pursue a career in music. So, I bounced around a couple of record labels, and  I subsidized my income at night working at restaurants, because it was instinctive for me. Then, one day, a chef came to me and said, “Listen, I don’t know what you are doing with these other places—like the record company—but you need to be doing this.” From there, he helped me free up my schedule so that I could get a formal culinary education, which I did at the New York Restaurant School—a very prestigious school.


On Blazing His Own Path in the Kitchen


BE: When you think of African Americans in sports, I would think that you could equate creating a fine meal to running a perfectly executed game plan. How many African Americans have you come across in the ‘sport’ of the culinary arts over the course of your career?

Chef Dudley: Now, they’re quite a few, but I never had a real [role model] or reference point for a successful, black chef while I was coming up in the industry. I came through the field in the 1990s, and [back then], there weren’t too many. Most of the chefs that I came up under were white or Hispanic. There were not a lot of opportunities for blacks; we just were not getting them. I had to blaze my own path.

I remember when I was working for Houlihan’s, a casual dining restaurant. The corporate chef was in charge of changing menus and training people—things like that. One day, I told him, “I’m going to do that one day.” He gave me a ‘sure you will’ type of look. During the hard times, that once incident really kept me going.


Chef Dudley with staff. (Image: Brian Armstead)


BE: Here at MGM, you share top chef honors with several other renowned chefs, including Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopia-born chef raised in Sweden and executive chef at the restaurant Marcus. Have you had a chance to sit down with him to trade thoughts and ideas?

Chef Dudley: No, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with him, though I’ve met him here at MGM on several occasions. He has a chef/partner relationship with MGM, so he’s the executive chef and partner, as opposed to a functioning executive chef that’s on the premises every day, like myself. But, that is something I’d like to do in the near future. I think he has a great concept, but I’m here to make TAP Room the best and compete with everyone.


Grandma’s Creole Influence


BE: Well you are off to a great start, as the food you’ve prepared for me was outstanding. My first selection was Lily’s Creole Gumbo, which was made with a secret recipe from your grandmother—paired with MGM Stillwater Lager. Round two: The Philly, a shaved ribeye Philly Cheesesteak with stout braised onions, aged provolone, poblano peppers, and banana peppers—paired with a ‘Feed the Monkey’ Hefferveisen. Round three: ‘Disco Fries,’ which were topped with beef short ribs, short rib gravy, cheddar curds, a fried egg, and scallions—paired with ‘Old Rasputin’ chocolate stout.

Chef Dudley: It’s a party over french fries—that’s why we call them “Disco Fries!”


Disco Fries! (Image: Brian Armstead)


BE: A party, indeed— especially with the pairing with chocolate stout. Finally, I had the TAP Burger, paired with an IPA. Even though only one dish was distinctly Creole, you still get hints of Creole flavoring in all of the dishes I’ve tried, even the TAP Burger. Am I right or wrong?

Chef Dudley: You’re right. I think you hit the nail on the head, as that was my first influence. That [Creole] influence has made such a difference in my life, when coming through the channels of my experience as a chef. When I learned Creole cooking from my grandmother, I didn’t learn the same things I later learned in culinary school. I learned that discipline [at my grandmother’s] house. So, when you go through each of these dishes, there’s a little bit of soul [in each].

When they asked me to open TAP Room at MGM, I was asked if I wanted to open the best sports bar in the country. I did not want to do just ‘sports bar’ food; I wanted to do modern, elevated, comfort food. So, this was my approach to the menu: I wanted to give it my [own take] and edge, based on my experiences, but still deliver a great sports bar product.


Advice for Aspiring Chefs


BE: I do a lot of writing for the automotive industry, and I’ve noticed that a lot of people of color have difficulty getting into the technician side of this industry, because the tools, training, and education are so expensive. How expensive is it to go to a top culinary institute, and are you responsible for buying those thousand-dollar knives you see in fine catalogs and stores? Are you responsible for your own tools?

Chef Dudley: Culinary school is a lot more expensive now, than it was back when I was still training. [In my opinion], this is primarily because we have The Food Network’ generation—seems like everybody is a ‘foodie’ these days. More people are getting exposed to good food, and think they are chefs to some degree. I don’t knock that—I think it’s fun and exciting. But now, because of the increased focus on fine dining, culinary schools have become a lot more expensive. It used to be that you just had to show that you really wanted to be a chef go to a school, and they would offer you loans. But now, so many people are trying to get into schools, it’s become more about making a profit. With the high costs, minorities have a more difficult time becoming part of the process.


BE: So, there aren’t any ‘Strayer University’ type of programs, offering culinary education at lower costs?

Chef Dudley: There are those programs, but the big names in the business are looking for graduates from big-time culinary school programs. Since there are so many graduates from top schools now, the industry can really hand-pick those they want to work with them. It’s like CIA (Culinary Institute of America) is now the ‘Harvard’ of culinary schools. There are certain companies that won’t even look at you if you’re not a CIA graduate. As far as tools are concerned, when you go to a school, part of your tuition covers the tools you need.

As far as tools are concerned, when you go to a school, part of your tuition covers the tools you need. The thing is, when you begin working, you have to ‘unlearn’ all you may have learned for two years while in school. The executive chef you end up working for will expect you to do things his or her way. It’s a continuation of the education process.

I would push anyone that wants to have this career to get a formal education first, and, if you can, try to work in a restaurant—wash dishes, bus tables, or do something to see if this is the industry you want to be in. A lot of people look at the glitz and glamor, with TV as the extent of their exposure to this industry. I always say anyone on TV can make a great meal, if given three hours and a pantry full of food, but can they make 350 meals each day, and ensure that each course all tastes and looks the same? Can they manage a staff? Can they manage a restaurant’s finances? Can they properly order the food needed? Being a chef is a whole lot more than cooking, and that’s not what a lot of people understand.


Hostesses at the TAP Room. (Image: Brian Armstead)


The Business of Being a Chef


BE: Which brings me to my whole experience of walking through the door. I’m a big guy—I’m almost seven feet tall—so I love the two story ceilings. They really give the space an open feeling. After I was greeted by a hostess, I really got to see the extent of the bar space, and I caught a glimpse of the huge, multipanel televisions.I imagine this place becomes packed on big game nights. As the executive chef, are you also in charge of the marketing that draws people in, in addition to crafting the menu and cooking?

Chef Dudley: Yes. I share responsibility with the general manager—we are partners. My job is to not only make sure that the food great, but I also must use my marketing skills and name to draw people in. I’m responsible for making the menu, training the staff, and the culinary aspects of the restaurant. Additionally, I sell the atmosphere and develop programs, happy hours, and other different incentives that can appeal to a wide range of guests. If you look at this place, we have a lot of real estate. So, we host happy hours for professionals and for HBCU alumni. We also have ‘Tailgate Tuesdays’ on our huge patio and terrace.


(Image: Brian Armstead)


BE: For those not familiar with the property, the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino offers a few other chef-driven restaurants, like FISH by Jose Andres, Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse, the aforementioned Marcus. So, you get the ambiance, glitz, and glamour of the MGM Casino combined with top rated culinary experiences. Do you work with your local Chamber of Commerce or business bureaus to let others living in different cities know that, when traveling the Maryland Beltway, the MGM is an incredible option for vacation, gambling, or fine dining?

Chef Dudley: Yes we do. We are in constant contact with business bureaus, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as state and county tourism agencies, to let folks know this sparkling complex is here. We are in heavy contact with officials from our home base, here in Prince George’s County.

As you know, casinos can get a bad rep, and they are often accused of sucking the life out of a community. MGM has been totally involved in the community. Most of our hires live here in Prince George’s County, and we do a certain percentage of business with local vendors. It’s a social responsibility for MGM to come in and give back to the community, while also being profitable. I’m also working on doing things with local high schools and Stratford University to let people know that the culinary arts is a viable career option, and is greater than just something to resort to when you think can’t do anything else.





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NBA Star Caron Butler Talks Business, Basketball and Broadcasting [VIDEO]


Caron Butler

Caron Butler, the NBA star who’s winding down his professional playing days, is a man of many talents—and many business interests.

Caron Butler

Butler’s most recent NBA appearances have come from the sidelines, as he’s doing more play-by-play than playing. He’s had numerous guest commentating spots during this year’s NBA playoffs. And he recently signed with an agency to represent him for his broadcasting work.

One of our inaugural BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction, Butler is also a veteran when it comes to business. He made headlines in 2010 for buying six Burger King restaurant franchises. Not only was it a smart wealth-building move, but it marked coming full circle from his days mopping floors and making fries there as a teen.

These days he’s keeping himself busy with a portfolio of real estate investments. And even though he sold his equity stake in the Burger King franchises, he’s an investor in Fala Bar, a vegan fast food restaurant franchise, with two locations in Los Angeles.

Butler recently stopped by our office and spoke to Black Enterprise about making the career transition from professional athlete to sportscaster and businessman:

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Gold Medalist Simone Manuel Offers Advice on Swimming and Life


Simone Manuel

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Manuel is only 20-years-old. However, her history-making win at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games—where she became the first African American swimmer to win an individual Olympic Gold medal—has allowed her to become a voice of expertise when it comes to matters of swimming and, to some extent, life.


Simone Manuel, the first African American swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal. (Photo courtesy of USA Swimming Foundation)


The Stanford University student is currently part of the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” initiative that, since 2007, has helped five million U.S. children learn to swim with free or low-cost swim lessons. The USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” initiative partners with communities, learn-to-swim providers, and other national organizations to provide swimming lessons to children and families. Their goal is to reach one million children annually.

BLACK ENTERPRISE caught up with Manuel in a recent phone interview, where she discussed why she felt it necessary to participate in this initiative, as well as the importance of young people learning how to swim, aside from saving one’s life.


Insight From Simone Manuel


BLACK ENTERPRISE: Though an excellent skill to acquire, learning to swim can be a privilege for some, depending on where they live and what resources are available. However, you were able to learn how to swim by the time you turned age four. What can you say to parents and kids or teenagers about why swimming is a vital skill worth learning, especially at a young age?

Simone Manuel: I come from a very athletic family; my parents wanted their daughters to be engaged in sports.  It’s so vital to learn this sport; learning how to swim can save your life, and reduce the likelihood of you drowning by 88%. Swimming also allows kids to develop their social and communication skills and [teaches the value of] work hard and setting goals. I’ve learned a lot about myself and others [as a competitive swimmer]. Just being able to learn can make you a better swimmer, professional, or student.


BE: For even the most successful entrepreneur or professional, the potential for setbacks or failure will always be there. What advice do you have for readers on how to get back up to overcome challenges when things don’t go as planned?

SM: Remember the goal you had in the first place. You don’t always reach it the first time around, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. I’m a firm believer in believing in the process; failure is part of success—if you don’t fail, you won’t [ever] know what success[truly] is.


Simone Manuel. (Photo courtesy of USA Swimming Foundation)


BE: What keeps you grounded and focused?

SM: I feel like I was born to do the sport of swimming. However, when I was growing up, my parents would stress how swimming wasn’t all that defined me; it wasn’t the only thing that made me, me. My friends and school have helped to keep me grounded. I have other responsibilities, too. There are other components of my life that allow me to do more than just sit back and think about what I’ve done—I also think about what’s next.


BE: What’s the best advice you’ve received that you’d like to share with those in your age group?

SM: Always believe in your dreams, and protect that. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do or be something, because you can if you are willing to work hard and fight for what you want.



For more information about Make a Splash or to find swimming lessons near you,click here.

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Transforming Color Into Consciousness


Leslie Nesbitt

We sat and drank Moroccan tea in the center of her home, an ambiance that appeared as though it was majestically designed for royalty and regaling. I was surrounded by the influence of color, welcoming and expressive, from the collection of African masks on the wall to the chic 20-foot hand-painted multi-hued accent backdrop that rests behind the chaise lounge. The house had its own language, each room illuminated with combinations of patterns, textures, and metallic paints, providing a most conclusive charismatic draw. As I wandered through, I could not only appreciate its beauty, but also feel its rhythm, from wall to wall.

Leslie Nesbitt (Image: Rhythmic Walls)


From Community Development to Craft Designer

Leslie Nesbitt wasn’t always a crafty surface designer. Nor did she always dream of beautifying a person’s home by transforming their standard space into a stimulating sanctuary. In fact, her career began as a community development specialist in the Office of the Mayor in Washington, D.C. Her initial aspiration was to become a CEO for a national social justice nonprofit organization. However, with philanthropy at the forefront, helping others was something that she wanted to continue to do, but in a different form. After deciding to leave her position as a senior executive of a nationally recognized women’s organization, Nesbitt decided that it was time to dig deeper into the imagination of what truly made her soul sing—art and design.

She spoke with Black Enterprise Contributor, Rochelle Soetan, to discuss her work as a wall designer and as owner of Rhythmic Walls, Faux Finishing Design Studio and weighs in on the science of colors, spirituality, intuition, craft, and calling.

Black Enterprise: How do you see color through your lens?

Leslie Nesbitt: When I look out the window, I see an abundance of life. I see loads of color influences on birds, flowers, trees, clouds, all vivid, subtle, and in-between. All of God’s beauty is already there.

BE: What drew you into this business?

LN:  I’ve always loved color but didn’t understand its impact. When I started this business, it forced me to not only understand colors, but also the behavioral side of people, behind the colors. One of my first client’s was a woman just coming out of a nasty divorce. She wanted to transform her home, so in restyling her home, I used a color palette of about six or seven colors on the project. At the very end, she said to me, “You’ve changed the spirit of my home.” But even then, the purpose did not resonate with me.

(Image: Rhythmic Walls)


Not long after, more clients began to echo that same communication. The most eye-opening moment was when I realized that my clients generally come to me in some state of transition: whether they are purchasing a new home, wanting to update their existing home, receiving a promotion at work, encountering a divorce, or preparing for some kind of celebration. Nonetheless, transitions. What was most interesting was that when I initially entered their homes, I could feel the vibes—be they negative or positive—flowing from the walls. Negativity within a space has a retraction; it either pulls you one way or another. And it matters not where you are, when those colors meet you and wrap you, there is an emotional connection that takes place. The connection can be light or dark and the space ultimately defines what that feeling is going to be and/or the reaction from it.

BE: Would you say that the walls have their own rhythm, like music?

LN: Yes! Hence, Rhythmic Walls!

BE: How can a client use color to heighten their quality of life?

LN: Colors give us a certain state of mind, collectively, as well as individually because the psychology of color is very real. Color is very deliberate in our lives and is used very specifically to influence and direct us in many different ways. Often, we are not aware of how intertwined color is in everything we do, beyond what we put on our walls or adorn on our bodies.

When I’m working with clients to develop a color strategy for their space, I always keep in the forefront of my mind how they want their space to feel and how it will be used, because color has so much emotion within it. Certainly, color can be used to transform a nondescript space into one that evokes an atmosphere that has a very specific characteristic overtone. Colors can be used to awake memories, calm nerves, and increase or decrease appetite, and yes, make you spend money.

For example, when you look at marketing and commercial restaurants, you’ll notice that the use of color is very deliberate. Restaurants use color to create mood, movement, and stimulate appetite. Red tablecloths, for example, propel people to eat more. As well, the color blue is used to decrease the appetite for those watching their waistlines. If the surrounding colors within the restaurant are warm and inviting, like shades of green, they welcome and relax the guests to stay calm and extend their setting. Medical environments have begun to incorporate color palettes that are warmer and more energizing. Recent studies show these color palettes to be of aid with healing and easing anxiety.

Her Color Strategy

BE: How do clients decipher color schemes for their project?

LN: Some clients know exactly what they want while others have absolutely no clue. Color schemes can be inspired from something the client saw in a painting, while on vacation, driven by color trends, or a simple piece of furniture. My task is to gather that information and interpret it into a color strategy that enables the client’s story to be told visually, with impact and harmonious sensibility.

Personally, I do not believe in color trends and try to steer my clients away from them. Color placement is just as important as the color itself, like editing a paper! I chuckle when I see homeowners do what I like to call the “duck walk.” The “duck walk” is when you use, perhaps, three colors constantly, over and over in everything! And they are used, repeatedly, without the incorporation of any other complimentary color that is not one of the three. It drives me crazy! I begin all projects with an anchor or base color, which allows for all of the other colors to flow together. Some client’s spaces may have different colors on the walls, but they do not connect. The anchor color allows everything to flow in harmony with everything else in its environment, including the artwork, furniture, etc.

BE: What are some of your most challenging clients?

LN:  My most challenging client is the “color coward,” the person who’s ultimately afraid to transition from white to off-white. They are afraid. My goal in working with that client is to build their confidence and stretch their imagination. They aesthetically cannot visualize the project as a whole and that’s where I come in. I help them visualize the room. I transition them from color cowards to color commandos!

BE: Space is energy. People are energy. Colors are energy. How personal does this become for the client?

LN: For my clients who are new home buyers, I advise them to live in their space for a while, feel it, bond with it. Aside from the way they want their space to look, the ultimate question is always, “What do you want your space to feel like?”

Though I’ve designed my brand around the use of bold colors, every now and then, I’ll surprise a client and interject a pearl, white, or beige. But my steadfast mantra is “Life is too short for beige.” For me, color is a consciousness.

Upcoming Launch of New Line

Nesbitt’s extensive world travel to places like Ghana, London, Senegal, New Mexico, Spain, Marrakesh, Morocco, and throughout the United States, has undoubtedly enhanced her creativity as a surface designer. She visits Morocco several times a year, a place where she finds her spiritual whimsy. As well, she has recently initiated taking small groups there for inspiration and an unforgettable illuminating retreat experience.

She is enthused about the launch of her new stencil line, Rhythmic Walls Stencils, which will be culturally curated patterns that are sophisticated, modern, and traditional and can be applied on any surface.

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The 16 Best Black-Hosted, Smart, and Funny Podcasts of 2017


The podcast landscape is currently seeing an uptick in black-hosted and black-curated original podcasts—and we are all here for it.

As more black-hosted podcasts have been hitting the scene, from the ratings and reviews, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. So now is your chance to catch up on these smart and insightful, and at times, hilarious episodes.

If you haven’t yet given podcasts a try, chances are you’re missing out on some valuable information presented in an efficient and entertaining way. In recent years, this medium of information intake has taken off.

According to The Neiman Journalism Lab, podcasting has 57 million monthly U.S. listeners in 2017, up 23% year over year. And 85% of podcast listeners consume majority or entirety of an episode.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that podcasting continued to grow in both audience and programming in 2015. About one-third of Americans now say they have listened to a podcast, according to Pew’s State of the News Media 2016 report. Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. And between 2008 and 2016, the percentage of people who listened to a podcast has more than doubled. So what are you waiting for if you haven’t given this form of media a go yet?

From Larry Wilmore and Jenna Wortham to comedians like Phoebe Robinson and Desus Nice, and our very own Black Enterprise staffers, many of the current black-hosted podcasts offer valuable insight on everything from personal finance, pop culture, and tech trends to politics, race, wellness, and more.

Whether you’re looking for a serious hour of learning money tips, seeking perspectives on politics, or a lighthearted escape offering good laughs or lifestyle tips, these podcasts are well worth lending an ear and subscribing to.

Read on to enrich your life and elevate your podcast-listening game.



Personal Finance/Career:


1. Joblogues: Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland

(Image: Instagram/Joblogues)


For the young professional seeking job advice and financial empowerment, Joblogues could be your go-to podcast. Co-hosts Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland describe it as “candid, career conversations with young professionals around the globe.” According to their website, more than 20,000 multicultural women tune in monthly for career advice, inspiration, and lots of laughs.


2. The Ash Cash Show and Money Mondays with Ash Cash

Ash Cash (Image: Selena Hill and Ash Cash)


You can find your financial motivation with personal finance expert and TV/radio personality, Ash Cash. The Ash Cash Show is focused on personal finance with an aim to empower people to achieve financial freedom. Cash and crew speak to everyday people about everything from money and business to even changing the world and everything in between. The Money Mondays with Ash Cash podcast provides actionable tips on how to budget, invest, and save yourself from debt, whether you’re a seasoned workforce vet or college student.


3. Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired Podcast

Known as America’s voice on retirement, Chris Hogan tackles topics including how to find extra money for retirement, the ultimate 401(k) questions you should be asking, and how millennials can approach retirement planning. With each insightful episode, his aim is to help you create the retirement you have always dreamed of.


4. Two Black Guys with Good Credit: Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes

(Image: 2 Black Guys With Good Credit Podcast)


Hosts Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes “will educate, entertain, and inspire you to achieve your financial goals.” Both are financial experts—Forbes has a background in entrepreneurship while Lynda previously worked on Wall Street. The podcast is part of the Financially CLEAN network, launched in 2006 by Lynda because of his desire to pass on the knowledge he had gained over his career to the next generation.


Social Commentary/Culture:


5. Still Processing: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris

(Image: Instagram)


The New York Times‘ Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are both powerhouses when it comes to expertly dishing out thoughts from the black perspective. So naturally, their podcast, Still Processing, is one worth tuning into, especially when you want some intelligent journalistic insight on matters like black health, LeBron James, and the toxic racial climate in America.


6. Black On The Air: Larry Wilmore

(Image: wikimedia/Gage Skidmore)


The Emmy-award winning comedian is back on the air giving his sharp and pointed opinions on race and politics in America. For fans of The Nightly Show, this podcast is a refreshing respite to the missing black perspective on late night television after its untimely cancellation. From conversations like what it means to “sound black” and the current president’s lack of regard for the truth, Wilmore once again holds no reservations about his opinions.


7. 2 Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams

2 Dope Queens podcast hosts, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. (Image: Instagram)


If you haven’t heard about the Lenny Kravitz debate by now, we can only implore you to immediately download and listen to Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams hilariously debate back and forth about Lenny Kravitz’s hotness—a topic they call the greatest mystery of our generation. Beyond Lenny, these comedy queens dish out commentary and laughs every week about a range of random topics with guests like Gabrielle Union and Nicole Byer.


8. Snap Judgment: Glynn Washington

Since its launch in 2010, Snap Judgment has become a titan of the podcast platform and remains a popular mainstay. Host and Executive Producer Glynn Washington curates intriguing and engaging stories each week that are guaranteed to make listeners question, cry, laugh, and come away more informed and well-rounded. Their slogan, “storytelling with a beat,” is indicative of the podcast’s successful attempts to overlay music that fits and flows with each narrative, expertly pulling the listener in more.


9. Bodega Boys: Desus Nice and The Kid Mero

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero host the podcast, Bodega Boys. (Image: Instagram)


If you want to tune in with some laughs on all things pop culture for the week, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have you covered. From hilarious impersonations of Donald Trump using words like “lit” and “we out here” to a mashup of weekly pop culture references ranging from Rihanna to LeBron James and Whoopi Goldberg, these two Bronx comedians provide an unfiltered and funny take.




10. BE the Code: Sequoia Blodgett

podcastSequoia Blodgett hosts BE the Code. (Image: Niranjan Deshpande/Sequoia Blodgett)


Offering insight on all things tech, BE the Code is hosted by Sequoia BlodgettBlack Enterprise’s tech editor in Silicon Valley, and it is a must-listen for anyone looking to venture into the tech entrepreneurial space or looking to learn more about the tech world. It explores matters related to technology that are important to African Americans and those within the African diaspora, and is filled with winning strategies and game-changing advice from top innovators out of Silicon Valley, celebrities, and rising stars. We recommend checking out her interviews with Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups and Mike Brown, the former NFL player turned tech entrepreneur.



11. StarTalk Radio: Neil deGrasse Tyson

(Image: wikimedia/Bruce F Press)


Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist puts together a highly informative, clever show each week on StarTalk Radio, “where science, pop culture and comedy collide.” DeGrasse Tyson’s comedic co-hosts, including Chuck Nice, lend a hilarious bent to the podcast. And deGrasse Tyson doesn’t disappoint when it comes to guests. Big names like Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and journalists Baratunde Thurston and Fareed Zakaria have all shined their light and intelligence on listeners.




12. Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio: Selena Hill


Selena HillSelena Hill, Black Enterprise’s digital editor. (Image: file)


Let Your Voice Be Heard! is an energetic, award-winning weekly show founded, executive produced, and co-hosted by Black Enterprise’s digital editor, Selena Hill. LYVBH is committed to informing, educating, and empowering millennials on political and social issues via discussion and in-depth interviews with influential leaders. Past guests include Sen. Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former ACLU President Nadine Strossen, and Russell Simmons.

13. Intersection: Jamil Smith

Senior editor at The New Republic, Jamil Smith’s podcast is taking a clear look at identity politics in the U.S. Each episode delves into how race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another intersect. From activists and politicians to journalists and everyday folks, each episode is packed with plenty of worthy conversation starters.

Wellness/Mental Health


Therapy for Black Girls: Dr. Joy Harden


Psychologist Dr. Joy Harden. (Image:


This podcast stems from Dr. Harden’s namesake online space that is dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of black women and girls. Each week the Atlanta-based psychologist chats about “all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.” She shares practical tips and strategies to improve your mental health, and also discusses the latest news and trends in the field.


14. The Friend Zone: Dustin Ross, Francheska Medina of HeyFranHey & Assanté

The Friend Zone podcast. (Image: Instagram)


Think of this health and wellness podcast as your friend and confidant for all things related to mental hygiene, because, “who wants their mind to be musty?” Whether it’s a discussion on relationships, race, or being true to yourself, this insightful and funny podcast will get you through a long week or help you start a Monday right.



15.  The Combat Jack Show: Reggie Ossé

The Combat Jack Show calls itself the undisputed No. 1 hip-hop podcast. Hosted by Reggie Ossé, a former hip-hop music attorney, each episode features interviews with icons like Rza, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D who dish about their experiences, philosophies, and viewpoints in conversations that extend beyond music.


16. Afropop Worldwide: Georges Collinet

If you’re looking for a podcast that discusses music beyond the borders of North America, Afropop Worldwide is a good starting point. From the black music of Peru to Ghana’s regional pop and neo-traditional music, this podcast expertly curates stories of music from the African diaspora, adding in intriguing historical and cultural details.


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Showing Women of Color Ways to “Glow Up”


Photo cred: Christina Rice

With the launch of OMNoire, a health and wellness platform for women of color, serial entrepreneurs Christina Rice and Amber Forrester are showing women that self-care and success go hand in hand. “We officially launched OMNoire with the goal to encompass all things wellness that includes yoga, meditation, and spiritual growth, as well as special events throughout the year for a community of women who are dedicated to living well from the inside out,” says Rice. The pair met with Black Enterprise for a quick interview.


Black Enterprise: What was your motivation for creating an exclusive retreat focused on women of color?

There are not many [retreats] out there that focus on women of color. Also, we all have a supportive network who are excited to experience a one-of-a-kind retreat that is designed for women like them.

We want attendees to walk away inspired and empowered to live their very best lives, however, they define success for themselves. Whether it’s leaving that job or relationship that no longer serves them, taking the leap into entrepreneurship, or moving to a new country, conquering a fear, etc. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable so that you seek opportunities that will grow and stretch you into new dimensions.

BE: What can attendees expect?

Over the four-day weekend we have a mix of yoga and meditation sessions, inspiring brunch and dinner discussions with entrepreneurs, yoga instructors, fitness enthusiasts, and global travelers around topics that include: Power of Purpose, Creating a Life You Love Through Positive Affirmations, Living Life With Intention, and moreas well as exhilarating adventures around the island such as Grenada by land & sea, waterfall hikes, a beach bonfire party, snorkeling, and more.


We also brought on Necole Kane, founder of, as a partner, co-host, and speaker. If anyone has followed her journey, they will hear about her career, fitness, and overall life transformation. Another one of our supporting partners is Jet Black, a boutique travel firm that offers a variety of travel-related services to individuals, governments, and brands with a focus on encouraging tourism to countries in the African diaspora. We’re also announcing more speakers. Our first event is the “Glow-Up” Wellness Retreat taking place in Grenada, Oct. 5-9, 2017.




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Poll: The Millennial Palate Prefers Fast and Mobile Eats


When it comes to dining out, millennials prefer to satisfy their taste buds at quick and convenient eateries like Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, and Chick-fil-A, according to a new study from The Harris Poll.

(Image: iStock/Eva-Katalin)


Recently, The Harris Poll released its 29th annual EquiTrend Study, which “measures brands’ health over time,” reports The study analyzes solid brands in several industry sectors—including finance, media, travel, retail, restaurant, and tech—in relation to consumer feedback.

A press release breaks down the poll’s analysis of restaurant brand equity within the context of generational age groupings as follows:

 “According to Harris Poll’s research, when analyzing restaurant brand equity by generation, ‘Coffee and Quick Service Restaurant’ brand equity is nearly five points (+4.7) higher among millennials compared to baby boomers, while ‘Casual Dining and Chicken’ restaurants are each four points higher. Conversely, ‘Pizza’ (-8.0) and ‘Fast Casual Mexican’ (-7.6) restaurants see a marked gap among baby boomers, pushing the overall equity for these restaurant categories below average. Since brand equity tends to resist movement, the equity gains and declines among restaurant brands is significant.”

The findings come as many of those outlets have or continue to apply new strategies to offer millennials more convenience and serve them faster to boost market share with that generation.

“Restaurants continue to adapt to the millennial lifestyle, and advancements in ordering methods such as Starbucks’ mobile app and Chick-fil-A’s ‘Mom Valet’ are likely influencing millennials’ higher brand equity scores,” Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll, stated via a press release.

She added while the millennial dollar is powerful and attractive and many are clearly enjoying their rising disposable income, baby boomers already have the cash to spend on meals out and need to be courted.

Sinopoli went on to say that the “baby boomer versus millennial gap among pizza chains and Mexican restaurants may reflect boomers’ needs to eat healthier and the fact that they no longer have kid palates to please—and that signals opportunity for restaurants on the healthier end of the chain continuum to target them in their messaging and menu offerings.”

More than 100,000 consumers assessed 4,000 plus brands, including 90 restaurant brands across over 450 categories as part of the poll. The Index included three benchmarks—familiarity, quality, and purchase consideration—culminating in a “brand equity” rating for each brand.

Brands rated the highest are presented The Harris Poll EquiTrend “Brand of the Year” award for their particular segments.

The 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Restaurant Brands of the Year:


The full list can be viewed at

Jeffrey McKinney is a long-time freelance business writer and reporter, contributing to Black Enterprise magazine for several years on a broad range of business and financial topics.

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Nurse Alice: Get Healthy, Go Red Get Fit!

Are you ready to put some pep in your step?

The American Heart Association and Macy’s are! The two have teamed up for another year of Go Red Get Fit, an online fitness challenge for women, proven to motivate participants to make transformational lifestyle changes through its quarterly health and fitness challenges.  This spring from March to May, participants are challenged to “Pep Your Step for Good” by logging 10,000 steps a day, getting their cholesterol checked, talking with their healthcare providers about what the numbers mean and following the challenge to help lower and maintain healthy numbers.

Heart disease is the number one killer for all Americans, and stroke is also a leading cause of death. Every year, 1 in 3 women dies of heart disease and stroke – affecting African American and Hispanic women at greater rates. Understanding the risks and taking simple steps to address these preventable conditions is vital to changing the health narrative for women of color.

I bet you’re reluctantly saying to yourself, “Nurse Alice, you want me to be more active with the help of an online health campaign???”

YES!!! And here’s why….

The engagement of participants from online social media communities has been shown to be the social support needed to help others feel accountable for their health and to have fun. It provides a family oriented, sisterhood-like atmosphere that is easily accessible 24/7 365 and at the touch of button.  Participants share recipes, post videos and photos that celebrate goals and inspire one another. The daily engagement and positivity helps keep healthy living on your mind.

The quarterly health and fitness goals will be led by popular celebrity fitness trainers Scott Parker and fitness mentor Lisa Morales. Here’s their 1st quarter fitness challenge invite especially for you: [watch video]

And the party won’t stop after this. The fitness challenge will stay strong throughout the year with these challenges to look forward to:

  • Glisten Up and Get Lean” (July – September): Get 3 days of strength and resistance training exercises as part of your 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, 5 days per week) of exercise and eat healthy sources of protein like more lean meat and nuts, less red meat.
  • “It Takes Two to Tango” (October – December): Get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (30 minutes a day, 5 days per week) and focus on reading and understanding food labels.
  • “She Got Moves” (January – March): Select from any of the previous physical activity quarterly challenges, 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, 5 days per week), and make a weekly meal plan to keep meals healthy, balanced and well proportioned.

So what’s your why?  Why should you Go Red and Get Fit with this online fitness challenge?  Other than America’s favorite nurse thinks it’s a great idea, you probably want to live a happier and healthier life?  Or you want to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally? Or perhaps you want to live a long life to see your children graduate from school and get married?  Whatever your why is, you deserve a happier and healthier life. Life is why.


Nurse Alice is a nationally board-certified and award-winning cardiac clinical nurse specialist with nearly two decades of experience in cardiovascular health. She is a community health activist and freelance media health expert. She has appeared on various national radio and TV shows including Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Dr. Drew, News One with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner Morning Show and more. She is also the author of “Curb Your Cravings: 31 Foods to Fool Your Appetite.”

You can follow her at and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @AskNurseAlice

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