Two Female-Founded Companies Create App to Redefine Safety in the Black Community

Two Female-Founded Companies Create App to Redefine Safety in the Black Community

The United States is having a long-overdue conversation about racial disparity in the country, specifically about the systems that disadvantage black communities. From rampant over-policing of black neighborhoods to redlining that prevents black people from obtaining mortgages to become homeowners, there’s plenty to discuss and improve. Two female-founded safety companies are partnering together to start rectifying the injustices that black people face in the U.S. by redefining safety in the black community.

Two Female-Founded Companies Create App to Redefine Safety in the Black Community

Grooop and Blaq App are working together to develop a racially-aware tech app that can help black and brown citizens deescalate and escape life-threatening situations quickly and easily. Although 23% of startups fail because they have the wrong team, this collaboration between innovators and entrepreneurs has a promising future. The black female programmers and coders who developed Blaq App have the revolutionary vision to help black and brown people avoid danger before it happens while Grooop has the technology and notoriety to help the app gain success and widespread use.

Grooop is a social-safety iOS app that is used on university campuses across the United States to combat sexual assault. It’s known for redefining safety in a more positive, accessible, and non-invasive light. The company provides service contracts with corporations and universities that help improve safety within specific communities of people without invading their privacy. Through its partnership with Blaq App, Grooop aims to further redefine safety to include and support people of color and demonstrate how white-led companies can put in the necessary work as allies.

“A fundamental part of our work at Grooop is creating a community that both empowers and protects. We would be remiss not to acknowledge that our black brothers and sisters are living in a reality that does not empower or protect them. As we continue to learn and grow, we commit to participating in tangible allyship by working directly with members of the black community while also amplifying their voices,” said Nina Barnett, CEO of Grooop.

Blaq App was created to end the epidemic of violence against and kidnapping and racial profiling of black people. The creators of the app realized that Black Lives Matter and other social justice campaigns tend to do most of their work after a traumatic incident against a black person has occurred. With Blaq App, the creators wanted to equip the black community with a way to actively engage with one another in real-time when someone is profiled, endangered, or missing.

Two Female-Founded Companies Create App to Redefine Safety in the Black Community

I am honored to partner with a like-minded female-run tech company. Each of our companies was created with a sincere desire to protect and serve our communities. In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Maureen Martin, Founder of Blaq App

When a potential victim is in danger, they can activate the app manually or with a voice command. The app will then immediately notify their community of friends and family of the current threat to their life. As smartphones are a ubiquitous part of modern society, with them being people’s primary form of communication and four out of five consumers shopping on smartphones, this app has the potential to be an easily accessible lifeline for black people across the country. Through the app, a person’s community can listen in and watch the situation they’re in via a live video. GPS will then direct the community to the potential victim’s location to help find them and bring support or a legal representative. The app can also call 911 for the person in danger to get them immediate medical help. If necessary, the app can even notify local news media outlets that a racially-motivated incident has occurred.

Blaq App can also identify perpetrators and expose them to professional or public scrutiny in real-time. The photos and video the app provides can help find the offender’s social media connections as well, such as their employers on LinkedIn, so that they aren’t able to hide their offenses. This feature gives black people a defense against violence perpetrated by vigilantes and racially-motivated attacks. This identification also helps adjust the imbalanced justice system and lack of accountability of biased policing by potentially identifying law enforcement officials.

With over 61% of African-American adults agreeing that they are fascinated by new technology and 67,000 searches performed every second on Google alone, the founders of Blaq App believe that the app will easily find its market among the tech-savvy. Young African-American culture has also been shown in studies to be reflected in their use of digital media as a means of entrepreneurship and creation, further showing the potential for this app to be widely used in the black community.

The technology from Blaq App will be integrated with the technology and service contracts from Grooop to help identify and eliminate safety concerns related to racial injustice. Within the companies’ partnership, they will be able to utilize both technologies separately while having the ability to integrate them within the apps as well. The complete partnership integration between Grooop and Blaq App is scheduled to launch in mid-July.

To give black and brown citizens the guarantee that they can safely enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Blaq App is accepting donations to their crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $100,000. This amount will help them complete the app’s development, create an online store to stock and sell merchandise, and get one step closer to correcting the many racial injustices in this country.

Negris Lebrum "Black is" Tees Declares Black is Beautiful in 12 Languages

Negris Lebrum “Black is” Tees Declares Black is Beautiful in 12 Languages

.Although it may not seem that way to some, Black skin is indeed beautiful. It must be celebrated, honored, and revered every day. What better than a Black fashion label to help do just that! We’re happy to highlight Negris Lebrum, a Houston based fashion brand born from an inspirational love story that began during the 1940s, between a young beautiful French Creole woman and a handsome Black man whose love was forbidden by societal standards. The inspired collection is named for this muse, Ms. Negris Lebrum.

What started out as a small collection of 12 screen-printed t-shirts 11 yrs ago, has grown into a high-end fashion house; no surprise since Fashion Designer Travis Hamilton was inspired by this chic French woman. But today we’re highlighting Mr. Hamilton’s revisit of one of his very first t-shirts paying homage to Ms. Negris Lebrum, the “LE NOIR EST JOLI” tee. The French phrase translates to “Black is beautiful”, very apt in light of the current Black plight and struggle.

Negris Lebrum "Black is" Tees Declares Black is Beautiful in 12 Languages

While she was light enough to pass, Negris Lebrum chose to live her life as a proud Black woman. She fell in love with and married a darker-skinned man; in doing so, she was ostracized and forced out of her community for marrying him instead of passing for white. Hence the creation of the “LE NOIR EST JOLI” tee. In light of the recent movements, Mr. Hamilton went back in his archive and updated this “vintage” t-shirt with 12 languages instead of the original 5.  His “LE NOIR EST JOLI” message is now beautifully translated into English, French, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, Ibo, German, and Japanese; making it a global tee.

“I originally made these t-shirts as a tribute to this intriguing woman’s incredible story. Today, in the environment in which we are currently living, the messages of pride in one’s self from years ago communicate a loud message of the importance of inclusion,” says Travis Hamilton. “This message of inclusion & pride in one’s self & seeing others through nonexclusionary eyes is every bit as powerful today as it was back in ‘the day’.”

We see the world come together in support of Black lives. We see multiple countries condemn police brutality towards Black people. This shows the unified message on the Negris Lebrum “Black is Beautiful” tee is one that the world would proudly wear.

The newly released 12 language version of the t-shirt is available for $55.00 on the www.negrislebrum.com in Women’s and Men’s sizes. The super-soft, 100% combed cotton tees are available in black or charcoal gray.

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

Put Your Money Where the Movement Is: Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, people across the United States have started speaking out against police brutality in Black communities. The past few weeks have seen protests in every state in America and in at least 40 countries around the world, countless petitions to get justice for Black Americans who have been killed by the police, and crowdsourced lists of organizations to donate to. As the initial wave of protests subsides, many people have been wondering how they can continue to fight against racial disparities in this country.

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

In addition to keeping this necessary conversation going even as the media cycle focuses less on the protests, a great way to help ensure that Black communities receive the reparations they deserve is to support Black-owned and Black-operated businesses. Whether you physically go to businesses in your community or you support businesses across the country by shopping online, you can fight inequality in the long-term by putting your money where your mouth is and giving Black businesses your hard-earned cash. There are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S. and all it takes is a simple Google search to discover which of these are owned and run by Black entrepreneurs. To get you started, here is just a small list of some of our favorite Black-owned and Black-operated brands.

Castamira Swimwear

Castamira Swimwear - Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

Chantel Davis, a Jamaican-born model, founded this luxury swimwear brand in 2017 and hasn’t stopped her entrepreneurial efforts since. Davis wants Castamira to be a swimwear company for all women, regardless of their size, shape, or skin color. Before she founded the brand, Davis went to university and then signed with Wilhelmina Miami to work as a model for three years.

After seeing the same thin body type over and over again in the modeling industry, Davis was inspired to launch a swimwear brand that aimed to make all women feel comfortable, sexy, and confident in their own skin. Davis designs Castamira swimsuits so that they highlight the small of the back, support the bust, embrace curves, and elongate legs. Every inch of these swimsuits is catered to the female form so that any woman can have fun in the sun while feeling undeniably beautiful.

The Doux

The Doux Haircare

The Doux is a professional approach to curly hair that delivers real results without all of the hype. Maya Smith, a licensed cosmetologist, developed The Doux in a textured hair salon with extensive research and development and thousands of transitioned clients. Smith developed The Doux to treat any style of hair, whether it has natural curl definition or it’s been thermally straightened. With Smith’s innovative product, she’s squashed the battle between straight and curly and proved that any kind of natural is beautiful.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Shontay Lundy's Black Girl Sunscreen

Shontay Lundy created Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016 to help Black people protect their skin against harmful UV rays. Lundy formulated this sunscreen specifically for darker skin tones so that it doesn’t leave a white residue or cast after you apply it. Whether you love laying out on the beach or you’re among the 162 million people who make up the U.S. civilian labor force and spend your working hours out in the sun, you can use this sunscreen to protect your skin. It is also reef-friendly, as it is made with an all-natural formula free of harmful parabens and fragrances.

JustFab

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

JustFab is a fashion-subscription e-commerce site that provides members with a personal shopping experience and is part of TechStyle Fashion Group’s portfolio of brands, which also includes Savage X Fenty, Fabletics, and ShoeDazzle. Daria Burke helps ensure JustFab’s success as their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this position, Burke oversees all marketing functions and pilots JustFab’s global brand awareness and positioning.

Prior to joining JustFab in 2019, Burke led various fashion and retail advertising partnerships at Facebook and Instagram; was a founding team member of Rent the Runway, and served as Head of Beauty Strategy, Innovation, and Experience at CVS. Although Burke is early in her career at JustFab, she is sure to give the fashion brand a boost with her extensive expertise. Bet you didn’t know, JustFab was a Black-operated brand.

Mielle Haircare

Mielle Haircare

With a focus on health from the inside out, Mielle products have shaken up the hair care market since the company’s 2014 launch. Monique Rodriguez is the company’s founder and CEO and used her nine years of experience as a registered nurse to create a line of natural beauty products for all hair types. At an affordable price, you won’t need to pawn precious stones to get the cash you need to purchase Mielle products. You can easily find these natural products at major stores like Walmart or purchase them online to support Rodriguez and her business directly.

Glam Body

Danika Berry's Glam Body

Danika Berry created Glam Body in 2017 with the goal of making skin look and feel better with natural ingredients. Glam Body’s coffee scrubs are vegan and cruelty-free, containing jojoba oil, coconut oil, and coffee. This combination of ingredients helps fight stretch marks, cellulite, hyperpigmentation, eczema, dull skin, and aging effects.

French Deal

French Deal Mens Fashion

Steeven Kodjia started in a competition-winning dance crew at the O’Tentick dance company, a Parisian-based dance studio. While he performed at concerts and in music videos, he developed a strong interest in men’s fashion. After frequent trips to New York City to search for streetwear styles he couldn’t find elsewhere, he decided to start his own fashion label, French Deal.

French Deal is based on Parisian hip-hop looks and VOLUME 4, Steeven’s latest collection, aims to shine a positive light on Africa. With this collection, Steeven wants to challenge stereotypical beliefs to prove that Africa has an amazing fashion scene with a rich history and culture.

Glow by Daye

Glow by Daye Hair Tools

Glow by Daye is a brand that sells high-quality hair maintenance tools and products to help you meet your hair goals. Ranay Orton, a self-proclaimed lazy natural, wanted simple solutions to care for her hair and didn’t find them on the market. So, she created her own. Whether your hair goals are focused on length, moisture retention, or prolonging hairstyles, Orton’s products are designed to help you.

Rucker Roots

Rucker Roots Haircare

Sisters Ellen Rucker Sellers and Ione Rucker-Jamison launched Rucker Roots, a line of healthy products to help all hair types. Their products are derived from vegetable roots, such as ginger root, carrot root, and turnip root. You can shop the Rucker Roots collection for individual shampoos and conditioners or for multi-step systems to boost your hair’s health.

Whether you want to treat yourself to a piece of luxury fashion or you’re looking for affordable products to use in your daily life, you can support Black businesses. Use these companies as a starting point and remember to share your favorite brands with your friends and family. By creating a network of financial support for Black-operated businesses and recognizing the achievements of Black entrepreneurs, we can help Black communities thrive.

Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Black Momma Vodka Founder To Open Black Momma Tea & Cafe

There are few moments more inspiring to witness than that of a successful black businesswoman expanding her brand and pursuing her passions. Vanessa Braxton, founder, and owner of Black Momma Vodka is doing just that with the opening of a 4,600 square-foot Black Momma Tea & Cafe, bar, and office in Wheatley Heights, NY.

Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Braxton first launched her Black Momma vodka brand in 2013. Three years later, in 2016, she opened a manufacturing facility in Wyandanch. That same year saw her begin the production of teas and flavored agaves. Business continued to boom over the following years and she now boasts a grand total of 33,000 online and wholesale customers and has made $2.9 million in sales. The brick-and-mortar space in Wheatley Heights will serve as her company’s headquarters and training facility. With plans to open distribution centers in several states and almost 300 interested franchisees, Braxton needs all the space she can get.

Black Momma Vodka

Although Braxton considered many different locations for this central facility, officially named Black Momma Tea & Cafe, she chose Wheatley Heights because of its residents. According to census data, the population of this Long Island town is approximately 5,100 people, with over 60% of residents identifying as black and Latino.

“I have plenty of places I could go. But I wanted to take the opportunity for people who look like me to see what I’m doing for the community so that they can step up and do the same thing,” said Braxton.

A retired structural engineer, Braxton is certainly an inspiration for her community. Not only does she have more than 20 years of experience in construction and engineering, but she was the first African-American woman to build a Burger King in New York 22 years ago.

Black Momma Tea & Cafe

Her goal for Black Momma Tea & Cafe is to become the Starbucks of tea. Braxton wants her cafe to be the premier purveyor of tea, just as Starbucks is for coffee. As she is planning for each of her future cafes to have a liquor license, she hopes that they’ll also be able to serve something a little stronger than tea. Braxton’s vision includes her cafe serving craft beers from local businesses as well as her branded liquors.

Of course, no cafe would be complete without an offering of tasty treats and luckily she found it easy to come to an agreement with a local company who specializes in restaurant supply who were able to help her make her dream of offering food too a reality. Black Momma Tea & Cafe will have plenty of snacking options for customers-on-the-go, such as muffins and wraps. In an effort to diversify the diets of families, Braxton’s cafe will focus on vegan and organic products. This focus will be of great value to adults as well as children, who shouldn’t have more than 25 grams of sugar per day. The cafe’s healthy food options can help keep their sugar intake down.

While many of the products featured in Black Momma Tea & Cafe will be branded products, plenty of the food and drink items will come from other local businesses.

“I’m using a lot of small, minority, women and veteran-owned vendors, who never had the chance with larger places. It’s economic inclusion for everyone,” Braxton said.

To further help the community, the cafe in Wheatley Heights will have meeting rooms available to all. Braxton plans to offer free classes in these rooms by using partnerships with companies such as Microsoft.

Braxton certainly has the necessary financial backing for her enterprise, with over $2 million raised from nearly 3,000 investors on Wefunder, a San Francisco-based equity crowdfunding site. She is still waiting on the town’s approval to move forward with her plans. Once she has their permission, she plans to open her cafe early next year.

black owned cannabis related products

Black-Owned Cannabis Brands That Deserve Your Coins

When we consider certain legal statistics, it speaks leagues about how our criminal justice system works — or fails. One 2017 study found that women commit 51% of embezzlement crimes. This may be surprising to the average person, but those who prosecute these cases likely know it well. A statistic that has been historically ignored on all fronts, however, is the disproportionate rate at which black people are convicted and unequally prosecuted because of marijuana.

black owned cannabis related products

According to an analysis from the ACLU, black people are 3.73 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses, despite roughly equal usage rates. As it becomes decriminalized and completely legalized in more states, this conversation is very slowly moving towards reparations for the people and communities who have been unjustly and disproportionately affected by the criminalization of marijuana. Black lawmakers in New York State have even pushed to bar marijuana legalization unless the bill contains provisions for these reparations. Not only does this attention align with the 100-year tradition of state courts looking to evidence of legislative intent when construing state law, but it could help the large communities of people of color in the state, especially in New York City. Before the bill goes through, lawmakers want to ensure that it promotes community reinvestment and minority participation in the presently-booming cannabis industry. This would include job training programs and prioritizing licenses to people in black and Latinx communities who have been hit hardest by strict marijuana laws in the past.

black owned cannabis growers

photo from officialblackwallstreet.com

As the track record of those who’ve benefited from marijuana legalization in this country shows, these provisions are more than fair. Black people have owned and founded less than 5% of all cannabis businesses that have cropped up in the states where the drug is legal, while white people own 81% of the businesses. Estimates show that the market for medical marijuana alone in New York State is about $3.1 billion, but without any legal provisions the vast majority of the profits would likely end up in the pockets of wealthy white people in Manhattan high-rises who haven’t faced decades-long sentences for a non-violent marijuana charge. If recreational marijuana is ever legalized in the state, anyone who has had even minor charges for possessing a joint’s worth of weed — namely people of color police has historically targeted — wouldn’t be eligible to work in the legal cannabis industry. While lawmakers work to fight these policies that bar those who have been disproportionately punished for being involved in an illegal industry now being made legal, there are many fantastic cannabis businesses owned and operated by black people. Let’s dive into just a few of the many black-owned businesses in the cannabis industry that deserves your financial support.

CBD

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant. It is not psychoactive like THC, the part of the cannabis plant that’s responsible for creating the “high” effect of marijuana. Instead, CBD is used in oils and edibles to create a feeling of relaxation and calm. CBD can even be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating addictions and mental illness. Many different businesses and products use CBD nowadays, as it becomes further integrated into the wellness community. As its popularity is continuing to grow, there are now many different ways in which you can consume these products. There are that many to choose from that some people have to weigh up the pros and cons of bubbler vs bong so they have the best opportunity to reap the health and wellness benefits that cannabis can give to them.Undefined CBD beauty oil Undefined Beauty is a black-owned business specializing in CBD beauty oil. Its debut product is Indigo Rose Glow Elixir, a lightweight oil with a rose scent. Founder Dorian Morris is a beauty industry veteran who knows how expensive CBD products can be and fights against that with affordable pricing. As the company unveils more CBD-infused, cruelty-free, and vegan products, Morris sees them threading a message of social awareness while providing customers with accessible and relaxing options to indulge in CBD.

Dispensaries

With the legalization of recreational marijuana, dispensaries are popping up everywhere. About 17 million acres of forest land will be lost permanently to development and urbanization in the next five decades, but every other person seems to want to grow a forest of their own in modern greenhouses and grower’s rooms. While many white people have latched on to this trend, there are plenty of great black-owned dispensaries. SimplyPure Dispensary Located in Denver, Simply Pure was the first black woman-owned dispensary in the city. Wanda James and Scott Durrah opened the dispensary in 2010, serving vegan edibles, flowers, and operating a small-batch farm. Their farm even earned the title of Best Flavor Champion at Colorado’s 2018 The Grow Off Competition. People look towards dispensaries to source things like indica flower from in order to help relieve them of ailments associated with a condition they may have. Notable marijuana-loving celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Whoopi Goldberg, and Wiz Khalifa have also opened dispensaries as legalization has spread throughout the country. Dispensaries are ideal for those who have a medical need for marijuana to obtain a prescription for their condition. Those looking to do the same may want to Read more about it online.

Culinary Experiences, T-Shirts, And More

Any long-time marijuana enthusiast knows the joy of combining the recreational drug with some good eats. With the U.S. food and drink industry sitting at a value of nearly $7.99 billion, anyone with an eye for business could spot this opportunity to combine the two professionally. Entrepreneur Doug Cohen and chef Miguel Trinidad recognized this profitable pairing and started 99th Floor, a premier dining experience in which Trinidad prepares a five-course meal infused with cannabis. Much like wine is used to enhance a meal, Cohen advertises 99th Floor as a way to experience food in a completely new light. They’ve designed the overall meal as a progression of micro-dosing, with about 3 mg of cannabis per course. Trinidad’s incredible culinary skills have made the venture rather well-known and very tasty. cannabis-infused culinary meals For anyone who wants to support black entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry but maybe doesn’t enjoy the green themselves, head to Girls Who Canna. This e-commerce site is filled with goods, such as cards, t-shirts, pillows, mugs, and bags, that feature fun and innovative cannabis-themed designs. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your stoner bestie or you want a few things for yourself, you’ll know that you’re supporting black women in the cannabis industry. cannabis related products While the government and lawmakers get their bills in line, you can make a positive impact on black entrepreneurs by directing your hard-earned money towards their businesses. Even the smallest contribution makes a difference. You’ll benefit as well as you fly high on the knowledge that you gave much-needed support — and maybe on a little bit of cannabis too.