Cindy was first featured in our Black Owned Business Blog on November 2nd, 2020 and we are proud to announce that this sister continues to persevere! On Sunday October 3rd 2021, The Sistahood show will celebrate 1 year of providing women with a safe and connected environment where they can engage with each other on gender specific issues and receive a wealth of advice. Cindy’s purpose to stay positive and accomplish each objective she’s set for herself in recent times is downright commendable.
What is the importance of ‘Sistahood” (Sisterhood)?’ A Sisterhood can create strong connections that last forever, whilst also bringing a sense of belonging to people who might feel isolated and alone. Having a sense of belonging is so important to all women and girls, and the acceptance from the group can help individuals show acceptance and growth within themselves.
Since its commencement, The Sistahood Show has received support from many viewers on its web-based media stage, Facebook. The show is aired from various locations around the island of Antigua, including restaurants and diners where the ambience is comfortable and welcoming for her guests. Some restaurants and diners she’s visited include Ana’s restaurant and art gallery, The Garden Grill, Ounces Restaurant, Country Vybz restaurant and more.
According to Cindy, “The Sisterhood Show is about elevating women from all walks of life”.
Many may have counted her out, but Cindy still has great plans for her talk show. Follow her on Social Media to keep updated with the latest news and upcoming events.
The way you feel about yourself… the energy you radiate unknowingly into the world is often overlooked as you focus heavily on the physical, but those around you can sense everything you feel about yourself through your posture, eye contact, tone and even through the way you smell. Are you powerful? Are you seductive? Are you a peaceful soul? A fragrance has a transformative quality that awakens specific emotions in all of us. This is why a young entrepreneur inspired by her own love for heavenly scents puts so much time and effort into creating aromas that are simply irresistible to the senses. Ravon Kelsick, 29, grew up on the Island of Antigua in the village of Cedar Grove, but was born in Bronx, NY where she now resides. Upon her frequent trips back to her childhood home, she recounts always being complimented on the scents she used. The compliments were always welcomed with a smile, but little did her admirers know that these potions were concocted by Ravon herself using a mixture of her own fragrance oils. The constant admiration led her to spend more time brainstorming new aromas and she soon created her very own brand, Heavenly Auras. She began with perfume oils which were each unique and in high demand. The success of this inaugural product led her to begin producing perfume sprays, glitter fragrance oils, mini perfume sprays, home scents, Reed Diffusers and soon, car fragrances joined the line.
“Heavenly Home” is Ravon’s new home and car fragrance line, and it has its own category of fragrances. There are scents like Toasted Marshmallow for the vanilla lover and Paradise Vibes to please the senses of those with a love for the islands. “Paradise vibes is very popular in Antigua…but can you be surprised? Why not smell the scent of paradise while actually living in it?” There are many more scents in tow for the Home line and she is currently still expanding.
When Ravon isn’t busy in the lab, she enjoys spending time with great company, reading and manifesting success for her business. A successful entrepreneur understands the power of manifestation and the ways it can positively transform a business if done correctly and regularly. She has mastered this because in the past, Ravon has had her share of doubt and obstacles that literally threatened to put an end to her business journey. One of her biggest obstacles was operating Heavenly Auras while residing in New York, but she was quick to point out that God blessed her with an amazing team consisting of herself, supportive friends and most importantly, a business partner and mother who believes in her dreams. Ravon’s mother, Verlyn Kelsick is the heart of Heavenly Auras. “I would probably be a millionaire if I had a dollar for everytime I said “I quit, I cant do this anymore” and there she was ready to pick up the puzzle pieces and help me put them back together.” Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor, and through the painful lessons she learnt, she took the time to offer some wealthy advice to business owners like herself; “never give up but at the same time make sure to keep upgrading. Don’t settle, but don’t rush. Products may not look as aesthetically pleasing at first, but trust the process. Once you’re putting in that work, ALWAYS trust the process!”
Ravon is a young black woman with a single mother, raised by a single Aunt in the USA. She was therefore taught what independence looked like at a young age. Independence was all she knew, but now it’s clear that there were many benefits to seeing someone you love face their obstacles, fight and succeed. “I now see the benefits of always having to be independent for it attracted genuine energy and a clan of people who want to see me win.”
One of her aspirations is for Heavenly Auras to become “everything scents” for Antigua. She’s on a mission to become a notable brand in the country she calls home and will eventually make her permanent home. Her mission is to someday add to that country’s greatness. Although Heavenly Auras and Heavenly Home are U.S. based brands, her service to Antigua is at the top of her list of priorities.
Heavenly Auras provides scents for all. The site features fragrances for the feminine, masculine and unisex. Her fragrances can be viewed on Facebook and Instagram and customers in the USA may visit the website to order directly on and Antiguan customers can fill out pre- order forms as well.
BWM asked Ravon to fill us in on some of Heavenly Auras most effective ingredients, but this entrepreneur knows how to keep the magic a secret! We are left to use our imagination as all we were offered was a general description of how her scents are created...in each fragrance you will find the confidence, strength and super magical aura that this strong black woman has within her!
Nefertum was the “god of perfume” who was originally thought of as a man with a pleasant blossom on his head. In ancient Egyptian history he was shown as a beautiful young man who had arisen from primal waters and had the delightful smell of blue lotus flower all around him.
While it is true that the impact of the global pandemic can be felt in the corporate society, the entertainment industry worldwide has suffered a severe blow. At one point, nightlife came to a complete stand still and there was neither a party nor event to attend. No gatherings. No socializing. On the island of Antigua, scores of patrons who had grown accustomed to feting and revelry were left disappointed as this years’ carnival celebrations were cancelled. Pre- covid, both expats and tourists alike visited the island religiously to celebrate its emancipation from slavery. Before the actual week of festivities, multiple fetes and parties are usually held during the season. This is the time when most of the island’s DJ’s and entertainers make their living. One such entertainer, Omari Anthony, aka “Versatile Virus” calls the island his home, and he’s eager to rock the city with his talents once again.
This was the first question that came to mind. Omari attended the St. Joseph’s Academy during his teen years. This all-boys, privately owned Catholic Diocesan school was founded on the island by The Christian Brothers in 1958, and has produced a few prominent officials on the island like businessman and parliamentarian Max Fernandez and Attorney and former Senator, Lenworth Johnson to name a few. During Omari’s tenure at the school, he excelled in the subject area of Information Technology. It was generally accepted that they all have monikers so with his classmate’s assistance, the moniker ‘virus’ stuck with him into his professional career. He also discovered his love for music while attending the school. He hosted a number of parties and school events with his friends and this further solidified his love for the craft. He officially began Deejaying in 2007 and since then he has been a part of several major events, many of which he was called back to do an encore performance. He highlighted working with Myst carnival, Project Sync and Wardadli Soulja’s as some of his most profound accomplishments.
His love for the artform supersedes all, but this DJ is not all about music. He is also a true sports fan. He once performed as a wicket keeper and prolific batsman for Antigua’s under 13/15/19 cricket team. Within his own community, he played for the Liberta sports club. Outside of the local sporting arena, he avidly follows the NFL and the NBA.
A love for music will always expose the creativity in someone who is truly passionate about the craft, and Omari has done just that. He loves to incorporate hidden messages which he coins ‘easter eggs’ in his productions. What exactly does this mean? I guess we will just have to find out! As much as he enjoys the art of deejaying, Omari aspires to find ways to integrate his deejaying, vocal talents and production abilities to develop a fully functional career all rolled into one. While we’re on the topic of Love, Omari credits much of the strength needed to endure the rolling tides of the entertainment industry to his loving fiancée and his management team, as well as his avid fans. They love what he does and keep him inspired with constant positivity. You can find this versatile DJ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He has also been featured on local radio airwaves and this, coupled with his live performances have aided tremendously in growing his visibility and engagement as an artist. He is confident that the marketing of his skill set would not have been possible without the tremendous support and engagement of Myst carnival, project sync, Sarah McMillan, together dubbed “Team contagious.”
This rising star has encountered his fair share of obstacles in both his personal circles and the industry itself. He cited Nepotism as one of the predominant ills in our society that affects him personally. The effects of the covid 19 pandemic have been the most recent struggle that threatens to dim his shine, but this young entertainer will not be discouraged. He has plans that once carried out with precision, we are confident that this DJ will rock the entertainment scene post covid like never before! He took the time to offer his colleagues some serious advice about the industry:
What’s Up Next?
Team Contagious and Young Luiy entertainment are the parent bodies under which Versatile Virus performs. Together, they’ve got a few treats in store for the entertainment world, as they’ve been working on a few live streamed events to bring the ‘noise’ back to the city. If you like to party and you need some relief from all the happenings around us, we have one suggestion. Don’t take your eyes off this DJ!
Many Caribbean customs were birthed from the teachings and inspiration of our African Ancestors. Anastasha Elliott, affectionately known as Ana, grew up observing her elders use the most eccentric Afro-Caribbean concoctions to cure everything from the common cold to the most troubling skin conditions. Her native island of St. Kitts is a part of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and is well known as the Sugar City of The Caribbean. The island earned its moniker because of its sugar cane plantations which were stationed throughout the island in the early 16th century. The island was formed by now dormant volcanoes, and is also known for its green monkeys and carnival festivities.
Ana enjoys being an island girl and often finds herself hiking through its tropical terrain and sailing the surrounding tranquil waters. She is also an avid reader, and this has been a significant aid in the research she constantly carries out in order to produce the most quality products in her organic hair, skin and nutrition line,Sugar Town Organics.
At the tender age of 12, this now 38 year old inspiring entrepreneur received some life changing news about her mother. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and as hard as this news was on the entire family, they all strengthened their resolve to provide healing through the very same natural remedies they had been using within the family for years. Sugar Town Organics was birthed once Ana realized the power that food had on regeneration, healing and empowerment. Call it an obsession if you may, but once you see real results such as those obtained when her mother was healed, you instantly want to help others see the truth behind the power of medicine, natures way.
The family – run business now comprises multiple brands, with products for baby and the entire family:
Yaphene : The core/starter line which comprises hair and body care products
Baba by Yaphene : A Baby Care Line
Marapa Luxury by Yaphene: A Skin Care Line
Flauriel Foods : The beverage, sauces, treats and vegan wine line of products.
I personally visited their online store at Sugar town Organics, and from the colorful packaging to the beautiful logos, I could tell that this brand is inherently Caribbean! I was especially impressed with the selection of skin care items including soaps that were displayed in a variety of ‘flavors’, to include frangipani/plumeria and silk cashmere. As I wandered through the pages, I noticed a few wines that caught my attention. My eyes landed on Breadfruit Wine! How innovative is that? Needless to say, I am intrigued and will be ordering soon!
Sugar Town organics operates within Caribbean borders but Ana is now in the process of extending her market reach internationally. Selected products from the line will be heading to the USA for retail in October, so for those of you who live stateside, look out for this product line in a store near you! The website will also be opened to receive U.S orders with shipping happening through Miami. The logistics are still a work in progress, but with the present pace of this dynamic innovator, it is evident that Sugar Town organics is set to become a worldwide brand.
Ana has experienced her fair share of obstacles as a black business owner, from financial difficulty to persons undermining her concepts, and even personal issues that threatened to derail her and question her own ability. Ana recalls a meeting at a national bank where her hopes were dashed and she was told by a banking official that her business could not work on an island. She could have conceded to fear and heeded this ill-advice, however she persisted. She credits her strong family support system for her tenacity. They have supported her in any way the could from assisting her in marketing campaigns to driving her to far-away pop up shops. She is grateful for an amazing network of women who saw her vision and helped to multiply her dream.
She shared some invaluable advice for other business owners like herself. She believes that there are many instances where we begin our entrepreneurial journeys at a disadvantage, however, if we are willing to do some honest and unbiased introspection, we will be better able to spot our shortcomings and improve. She also advised that it may be difficult to find assistance, but never give up! Help is out there if we just search for it. Finally, don’t be afraid to start small. “Take it step by step, we have a saying where I am from, ‘likkle likkle mek plenty ..”
I have just outlined some major positives about this black owned business, but wait! There’s more! Sugar Town Organics gives back! Once a year, Ana works with new startups by either mentoring or coaching. Her last mentee was Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, run by Dr. Kit Ford Davenport of Iowa. Ana is quite proud of what she has accomplished over the last year in aiding female survivors of domestic violence to earn a living, become empowered, and learn marketable skills that enable them to chart the way forward for themselves and their families. Giving back to your community while building your own brand may seem a daunting task, but it is with this ethos that we open our enterprise to universal blessings. With all she does, Ana still finds the time to educate her customers about the herbs around them and how they can be used. “It is a knowledge we seem to have lost in many ways and as an integral part of our culture as people of color it is important for us to rekindle this knowledge in each other.”
Ana’s Mission as CEO of Sugar Town Organics is to engender a love of our blackness in our people by crafting products that bring out the beauty of who they are, encouraging them to relearn love of self and all it entails from our kinky coily hair, to our beautiful melanin skin. She does this one product at a time, one customer at a time. With her business acumen, tenacity and support system, I am encouraged to believe that going forward her black owned business will not only survive, but thrive!
It all started with her own obsession with healthy skin. Ressa Valentine Benjamin loved the way her organic skin care routine kept her melanin skin glowing, and soon made the decision to stop keeping her skin care secrets to herself. Originally hailing from St. Johnson’s village in her beautiful island home of Antigua, Ressa boldly founded her own skin care line, “Definitely Reese,” with the hopes that she could help others achieve radiant skin.
Hyperpigmentation, acne, dry skin and eczema are some common skin conditions faced by people of color. There can be a misconception that we do not need to be as vigilant about our skin care routines as others because of the natural elasticity and melanin glow of our skin, but the opposite is true. According to Medical News Today, melanin-producing cells may be more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which may be more noticeable in dark skin than in light skin.
Ressa’s products contain natural ingredients which are perfect for people of color. Ground turmeric, cinnamon, coffee grounds, brown sugar, honey, and lemon along with her ‘secret ingredient’ are just some of nature’s gifts which she uses in her products. She highlights turmeric as a main ingredient used in her line. It’s no secret that this natural spice has amazing skin care benefits. Some of these include:
It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties; This means that it’s great for combating acne and other skin irritations.
It calms the skin and works wonders on fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
Another plus? It unveils a noticeably healthy glow!
Her turmeric and honey facial scrub was personally tested by me, and all I can say is, this entrepreneur takes the skin care business seriously!
Another main ingredient she utilizes is coffee. Yes! Coffee. Coffee grounds are actually a great source of several nutrients and antioxidants that benefit the skin tremendously.
Just like turmeric, coffee brings out your natural glow;
It reduces puffiness of the eyes;
It protects the skin against harsh sun rays;
and removes dead skin cells;
Coffee grounds are used in her Vanilla Latte Scrub. Needless to say, I will be trying this one next!
At “Definitely Reese,” you can also find other amazing products such as foot scrubs, lip scrubs, lip balms, lip glosses and eyelash/eyebrows serums. Check out her store on Facebook, and browse her selection of natural beauty and skin care products.
Her momentum is steady and growing, but entrepreneurship is not all ribbons and rainbows. This small business owner faces her fair share of obstacles including fluctuating customs duties. When endeavoring to make a profit, the taxes imposed at the island’s air or sea ports can be counter productive for small business owners. However, this inspiring entrepreneur presses on. Thankfully, her support system is dynamic and extremely loyal.
Although she is ‘taking things one day at a time’ and marketing her products locally, Ressa hopes to expand “Definitely Reese” both regionally and internationally. Once she continues producing these superior products, we are confident that there are no limits for this Antiguan entrepreneur!
He’s only 23 but has already had the pleasure of participating in a few musical events in his present twin -island home of Antigua & Barbuda, including the ever- popular Antigua Sailing week and “Wadadli Kingz, Just Got Started.” Christopher Howell grew up in the reggae-centric Caribbean island of Jamaica, where he earned the moniker ‘Young Luiy’ because of a small Louis Vuitton bag which he donned in primary school. The name stuck and he has grown to infuse his unique and authentic tastes into his music.
Chris got his introduction to the world of Hip Hop in his hometown of Jamaica, when his childhood friend, a hip hop artist himself, introduced him to the recording studio. He immediately felt at home. When placed in front of the mic, he imagined himself among the hip hop greats that he admired such as Lil Wayne and J Cole.
Young Luiy is confident that his love for music was fortified by the rich musical culture of Jamaica where he grew up. Jamaica has spawned a plethora of internationally renowned artists like Beenie Man, Chronix, Sean Paul and Koffee, to name a few. Reggae is the most widely known genre of music in Jamaica and it was popularized by the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers in the 1960s. Soon, the selection of genres expanded to include dancehall and dub.
With the introduction of sound systems, American music found its way into the households of the islanders. According to worldmusic.net, sound systems were an extremely significant development in Jamaican music, and helped to develop the Jamaican record industry. When radios finally became affordable to the majority of Jamaicans, there was a boom in the popularity of American R&B, but it did not stop there.
Did you know that Hip Hop has inherent ties with Jamaica and Reggae? Reggae was the most influential figure in the development of Hip Hop. Although Hip Hop wasn’t exactly discovered in Jamaica, The dubbing and toasting techniques used in reggae directly influenced America’s techniques of emceeing and scratching.
Rrrroots, rap, reggae!
And we don’t stop
It’s like that y’all, and then we’re ready to play
Grateful for his multi-cultural background, Young Luiy credits this quality for his ability to speak to and entertain both his American and Caribbean Audiences. His musical style is upbeat, raw and explicit in some cases. His tracks can all be found on his YouTube Channel, IamYoungLuiy. There’s no doubt that this artist is has an incredible ability to incorporate his native ‘twang’ into his Hip Hop verses. One of his latest singles, Bragginz/Benz, highlights this artist’s versatility. Listen Below, and be sure to subscribe!
His advice to upcoming artists
“Stay being you and true to whom you are, never let your worth be defined by the stereotypes of the world or what you see on social media. Being black and authentic is a great privilege which will bring forth great scrutiny and hate, but never let that hinder you from accomplishing the big dreams you are aiming for”.
Throughout history, black culture has been known to influence all genres of music. Having had such an influence on the very musical cultures of our oppressors, only to be targeted by those influenced, should only give you even more courage to stand with your own and cement your very will to exceed all expectations within the music industry. Young Luiy has taken this thought to heart as he sets his sights on future projects.
What’s Next for this island artist?
Growth. His hopes are to continue expanding his platform both regionally and internationally. He is also the father to a 2 year old son; his heir and driving force, Aahron Howell. Chris is on a mission to bring the international spotlight to Hip Hop and R&B music in the Caribbean. He is confident that one day, the world will acknowledge the hard work and dedication of talented artists in this corner of the world.
“We are so much more than just Dancehall, Reggae, and Soca. There is so much more here than beautiful vacation spots. It’s time the world knew that we have so much more to offer.”
If you are an entrepreneur, you are most likely constantly seeking resources to aid not only in education, but also tools to help you maximize your profits. In 2011, Google launched Google for Startups (formerly known as Google for Entrepreneurs). It consists of over 50 co-working spaces and accelerators in 125 countries, offering hands-on lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.
In August 2020, a new program will be launched. Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders is a 3 month-long digital accelerator program for high potential seed to series A Tech Startups based in the US.
The program is designed to bring the best of Google’s programs, products, people and tech to Black Founder communities across the USA. In addition to mentorship and tech support, the program will include deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition and leadership development for founders.
You need to get on this train now, as the program starts in August 2020. The first series of this program will comprise approximately 10-12 top US headquartered startups.
The format of the program will be as follows:
Three months with digital workshops, programming, and mentor ship taking place each week. Selected founders will outline the top tech challenges facing their startups, and will then be paired with experts to help solve these challenges. Startups will also receive deep mentor ship on technical challenges with an emphasis on data and machine learning, as well as connections to relevant teams across Google.
Who should apply?
Selected startups should have a minimum of 10+ employees, and both the founder and selected team members must be available to join all program elements of their series. All Startups should aim to leverage AI/ML tech in their product, service or operations and/or show interest in leveraging these in the future.
The program offers a wealth of benefits, to include
Equity -Free Support
Exclusive Invitations to Tech Boot camps hosted by Google
Personalized mentor ship & Tech support from Google experts
The opportunity to provide feedback to Google product teams
Here are some more of Google’s tools for Entrepreneurs you can check out:
The Accelerate with Google Academy is a 12-week program designed to help businesses like yours start marketing online, and then be great at it! As a participant, you’ll get all the tools and training you need to advertise on the web, including live help and private consultations with dedicated experts. The program is customized, so by the end of it, you’ll be ready to start meeting your businesses unique goals and making the most of the web.