Rachel Stewart Jewelry: A Celebration Of Bold, Unapologetic Blackness

Rachel Stewart JewelryWhen Rachel Stewart, CEO and Founder of Rachel Stewart Jewelry, lost her job years ago, she had to come up with a solution fast. That’s how the Rachel Stewart Jewelry line was born. Featured in JetEssence and on The Root’s “50 Greatest Ideas From 50 Black-Owned Businesses,” Rachel Stewart Jewelry has received positive feedback and attention from jewelry lovers everywhere. Ranging from earrings and rings to throw pillows and clocks with handbags on the way, there’s definitely something for everyone.

BlackDoctor.org recently caught up with Rachel Stewart to talk about the inspiration behind her jewelry line, her plans to take her company to the next level and what it’s like being her own boss.

BDO: Your jewelry is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, in a good way! Tell us what inspired the Rachel Stewart Jewelry line.

RS: When I started six years ago, there was no representation of African-American culture coming from major retailers and brands. I wanted to design a line of jewelry that reflected me and my sense of style.

BDO: Do you hand-make all the items yourself? Take us through the process, please!

RS: I design and produce everything from beginning to end. Each piece is laser cut to order and is completely original. I have no middleman.

Read the rest of my article at [BlackDoctor.org].

Mother Teaches 5-Year-Old Daughter Black History Lesson Through Dress Up

Ava Noelle as  Misty CopelandHow did your parents teach you about Black history? Freelance journalist Chauncia Boyd Rogers came up with a very creative way to introduce her five-year-old daughter, Ava Noelle to notable African-American women, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman, Phillis Wheatley, Loretta Lynch, Marie V. Brittan Brown, Ida B. Wells, and Oprah Winfrey.

The idea came to Rogers back in January when she saw a photo of Ava and herself at her church’s Black History Month program four years ago, which included dressing and acting as notable African Americans and then discussing each person. She then decided to recreate photos of remarkable Black women and have Ava model each historical figure.

“My daughter turned five last December, so I decided that she should learn about Black history. I had casually shared facts before, but I felt she needed a formal lesson,” Rogers explains. “Ava really loves playing dress-up and she has a vivid imagination, so I borrowed that from the church project. I knew that the fun and interactive element would engage Ava and help her retain the information.”

Deciding which women to depict was probably the biggest challenge, but Rogers ultimately wanted to focus on some of the lesser known women. “My main goal was to teach Ava about women from a variety of categories,” she says. “I didn’t want to saturate the lesson with entertainers and sports figures. I wanted Ava to know that Black women have had a great impact in law, education, medicine, activism, journalism, etc.”

Read the rest of my article at [EBONY.com].

Harmony Project Mentors Youth Through the Power Of Music

harmonyproject_caro_article-small_50154Did you know that children are most likely to engage in risky or violent behavior between 3-6 p.m.? Harmony Project, the largest nonprofit in Los Angeles, California works “to promote the healthy growth and development of children through the study, practice and performance of music,” according to its website.

Serving nearly 2,000 students in L.A., Harmony Project helps to keep kids safe during after-school hours. Furthermore, 97 percent of Harmony Project graduates go on to attend a 4-year college or university compared to their peers’ average, which is approximately 50 percent.

“Music gives children a voice, an identity and purpose,” says Harmony Project Associate Director Natalie Jackson. “When you are from a very poor and isolated neighborhood, there isn’t much that is solely yours. But, when you are given an instrument and encouraged to create – a beautiful process unfolds, and that is truly empowering.”

Unfortunately, many school districts are quick to cut the music programs whenever budget issues arise, but the statistics show that there’s value in keeping music in schools. According to the Arete Music Academy, children who take music lessons are more likely to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who don’t study music.

Read the rest of my article at [EBONY.com].

Nubian Founder Ade Hassan Redefines The Word “Nude” With New Lingerie Line

DSC_1416writingRarely does one size ever fit all, right? The same can be said for the color nude. For many women, having nude undergarments is an essential part of their wardrobe, but if you’re a woman of color, finding lingerie and hosiery that matches your skin tone can be somewhat of a daunting task.

Thankfully for us, Ade Hassan decided it was time to redefine what nude means and launched Nubian Skin last October. Headquartered in London, Nubian Skin is a collection of hosiery and lingerie specifically tailored for women of color. Their motto: “Empowering Women. Embracing Our Colour.”

There are four shades for women to choose from: “Café au Lait” – the lightest shade, “Caramel” – for medium-light complexions, “Cinnamon – for medium to dark complexions, and “Berry,” which is the darkest shade. What’s even better is that consumers can find their perfect match by aligning each shade with foundation colors from popular makeup brands, including MAC and Bobbi Brown. Pretty amazing, right? Furthermore, the bras, panties and hosiery are available in several styles and sizes range from 30B-36DD and S-XL, but due to popular demand, Ade is working on bringing larger sizes (more on that later!) in the near future.

BlackDoctor.org recently had the opportunity to speak with Ade Hassan about empowering women, how she was able to fill a major hole in the market, as well as her plans to bring Nubian Skin to a department store near you:

Read my full interview with Ade Hassan, the woman behind Nubian Skin at [BlackDoctor.org].

CEO Tamira Dunn Of DREAM Girls Mentoring Program, Inc. Helps ‘Uplift, Empower And Educate’ Teen Moms

tamira-dunn-e1426703174819As a society, we’re incredibly quick to judge teen mothers, especially African-American teen mothers, but the folks at the DREAM Girls Mentoring Program, Inc. are doing the exact opposite.

Founded back in 2008, Dedicated, Responsible, Educated, Aspiring and Motivated (DREAM) Girls is dedicated to “uplifting, empowering, educating” teen mothers between the ages of 12-20 through one-on-one mentoring along with workshops and special events.

It’s important to point out that although the Baltimore-based nonprofit provides assistance to teen mothers, it does not promote teen pregnancy in any way and actually works to prevent future pregnancies.

“Teen pregnancy is preventable, but I want people to know it’s not the end of the world,” says CEO and Founder Tamira Dunn. “Just because you are pregnant at a young age does not mean you can’t graduate from high school. It does not mean you cannot go to college and get a good job. It’s all about how you apply yourself so if you’re ambitious enough to keep going and not let your circumstances stop you, then you’ll be OK. Teen pregnancy will not be the death of you.”

Read the rest of my story at [BlackDoctor.org].

Thank God It’s Natural Founder Chris-Tia Donaldson Talks Empowering Black Women, Brand Building & New Target Partnership

christia-bioimage22Harvard graduate Chris-Tia Donaldson is in love with her hair – her God-given natural hair, but that wasn’t always the case. When the Detroit native landed her first job at a law firm, she began wearing wigs to disguise her real hair, in order to make her white colleagues feel more comfortable around her. If you can think back all the way to 2003, you’ll recall there were very few products that were being designed for Black women who had the desire to wear their hair in its natural state. What did Chris-Tia decide to do? She started doing research and 10 years later, she launched her own line of products called, Thank God It’s Natural, which was inspired by her 2009 self-published, best-selling book, “Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair.” And as of March 1, TGIN’s Moist Collection for Natural Hair is available is more than 250 Target stores nationwide – nearly a year in the making!

So, what makes TGIN stand out from all the other brands on the market today? Well, every product is created using natural and organic ingredients, contains zero parabens and phthalates and has never been tested on animals. But, TGIN is more than just shampoo, conditioner and styling aids. TGIN also sells handcrafted body soaps, body creams, lip balms, and t-shirts. But wait, there’s more! In the upcoming years, Chris-Tia plans on expanding her company to include healthy snacks, cookbooks, supplements and fitness apparel. Simply put, TGIN is not just a line of products. It’s a lifestyle.

BlackDoctor.org recently spoke with Chris-Tia Donaldson about her natural hair journey, her partnership with Target, as well as her plans to take TGIN to the next level:

Read my full interview with Chris-Tia Donalson at [BlackDoctor.org].

Furniture Designer Brian K. Ellison Hits Big with ‘Framework’

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When Chicago-native Brian K. Ellison made the decision to leave a 15-year career in real estate development to pursue his passion for architecture, woodworking and furniture building nine years ago, he never imagined it would end up landing him a spot on Spike TV’s hit show, Framework, but that’s exactly what happened.

“I received a call from a friend of mine out of the blue asking me if I’d be interested in speaking with a casting agency in California about a reality show for furniture makers and I [agreed to it],” Ellison says. “She sent in my information along with a video [and] two weeks after that, I was on a plane to L.A. It all happened really quickly.”

Framework premiered back in January and is the first-ever furniture design competition series. Hosted by Common, 13 of the nation’s best emerging furniture designers are forced to put their artistry and skills to the test for 10 weeks, competing for a $100,000 cash prize and the opportunity to have their work sold by a major manufacturer.

Read the rest of my article at [EBONY.com].