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Cindy Grigg’s ‘Sistahood’ Show Turns One!

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.

Follow the Sistahood Show on Facebook

See Cindy’s detailed feature here

Powerful Ebooks for Today’s Entrepreneur

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

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How To Break The Generational Curse of Poverty in 5 steps

“Change starts with us”. It’s a small phrase, but holds so much power when it comes to many facets of life. It’s even more powerful when we speak of breaking generational curses. But what are these ‘curses’ that we speak of? Do they refer to some type of “hoodoo voodoo” handed down upon us because of some long forgotten evil done by our ancestors? Is it something taboo? According to The Gospel Coalition, a “generational curse describes the cumulative effect on a person of things that their ancestors did, believed, or practiced in the past, and a consequence of an ancestor’s actions, beliefs, and sins being passed down.” An example of a generational curse is divorce”. This may all be true, but for our purposes here, let’s focus on actions and beliefs.

We see it over and over in every day life. The constant negative patterns in families that seem almost inescapable. They seem to imprison some or all members of the same blood line from the day they were conceived until the day they die. Drug addiction, failed marriages and relationships, abuse, mental illness and poverty are some of the major evils that have contaminated the lives of the families around us. For some of us, these are evident within our own families. Many might argue that poverty itself can cause a domino effect to most of the other social ills, so therein lies our focus.

Although slavery was abolished decades ago, in many black communities the effects of poverty are still very much evident. It is time to unlearn some of the negative beliefs and actions that may have become a part of us before we perpetuate them to the next generation. The steps below are not 100% failsafe, but they are certainly approved to set the pace for healing and renewal.

A. WITH THE HELP OF AN ELDER IN YOUR FAMILY, DRAW A GENOGRAM.
An example of a financial genogram

genogram (pronounced: jen-uh-gram) is a graphic representation of a family tree that displays detailed data on relationships among individuals. In the example shown above, the illustration focuses on the habits of each person in your family tree.

Here are some questions you may ask:

  • Were there any wealthy people in our family?
  • Were there any persons who were in continuous debt?
  • Who in our family got a divorce?
  • Who had several children they couldn’t take care of financially?
  • What type of jobs did everyone end up settling for?
  • Was there any history of a family feud/enmity in our family?

Once you have a list of questions, start by filling out the answers you know. There is not a right or wrong way to do this, so choose a method that makes the most sense for you. Once you’ve written down the information you already know, call your relatives to ask for answers to the remaining questions.

It isn’t necessary to speak with everyone on the tree, but talk to as many people as possible so you can better understand who they are and their behavior patterns. The more information you have, the more you’ll understand trends and generational curses that have impacted you.

2. TALK WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.

This may be one of the toughest things to do, but without communication, there can be no healing! There are some secrets so hidden within families that they’re inevitably taken to the grave, and the struggle continues. The only way to start the healing process is to lay the cards out on the table. Though the cards may be bitter, our children deserve to know what they may need to work on and what habits they need to unlearn. The keys to breaking generational curses reside in Truth. Without truth, there can be no change.

3. SEEK SUPPORT.

If there are secrets and habits within your family that need immediate attention, seek help! There has always been a stigma within the black community when it comes to counselling, but a counselor can help you process your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way and help you identify generational curses manifesting in your family. Thankfully, there are professionals available to fit every person, budget, and schedule. If you are religious, you can seek the help of a pastor. The right pastor can incorporate what is both divine and practical and organize an effective intervention for your family. Many of the answers we need are one consultation away, but fear of judgment has crippled many. It is this very fear that can end up keeping us in the same downward spiral throughout generations. If you find it impossible to overcome this fear of one on one counseling, there are many qualified online counselors to choose from.

4. EDUCATE.

Education can come in the form of periodical family meetings, talks over dinner or you can take the next step and talk to your children specifically about finances. If you are not sure that you are equipped enough to educate them, there are many online resources that can help you. We took the time to highlight a few exceptional publications that you can take advantage of:

These insightful and age appropriate finance books are just a few of the many volumes written by Dr. Boyce D. Watkins. He is is an American author, economist, political analyst, and social commentator. During his academic career, Boyce Watkins was a visiting scholar with the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School Of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

As an adult, if you are excited to start this learning journey yourself, there are many audio books and paper backs to choose from. We recommend these for starters:

5. CELEBRATE!

The final step we recommend is that you celebrate! Celebrate those wins, no matter how small. As you transition away from the generational curse of poverty, do one small thing to celebrate your victory. You have now positioned yourself to break financial barriers within your own lineage. May your name be written in history as the one who broke the mold, and led your bloodline to generational wealth!

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SCAMMED by the Blessing Loom

With the world plunging into economic crises due to Covid-19 and mandatory lock-downs, it isn’t a surprise that fraudulent economics is rearing its ugly head everywhere. The most common being “the blessing loom”. It goes by other names such as:

  • Blessing Bank
  • Infinity Loom
  • Snowflake Blessing
  • Giving Circle

How it started

This pyramid scheme first surfaced in 2016 when Derek Loom, an American citizen roped in ‘blessed investors’ via social media. He was arrested in 2019, but by that time, he had already made at least 10 Million USD and authorities couldn’t press any real charges against him, as per various media reports. The scam easily and quickly reverberated through the four corners of the earth, via the worldwide platform, Facebook.

How it works

Persons are usually recruited by invitation only. With a small investment of let’s say $100, through some digital payment service like Paypal or Venmo, you can spread the wealth, and see a huge return on the money (your ‘entry fee’). The only catch is that you have to recruit other ‘investors.’ They, in turn will invite others and the goal is for everyone to end up making loads of cash. It’s evident on social media right now, that persons are posting their invites directly in groups and on their facebook walls with captions such as “inbox me” or “find out how!”

How you lose

This sounds like heaven! Right? Unfortunately, in most cases, it ends up being hell for most unsuspecting hopefuls. The trouble with the scheme is its reliance on recruiting others in order to keep the ship afloat. Once people stop participating, the money ship sinks. This will leave lots of disappointed people to lose the cash they initially invested.

The idea of the blessing loom is similar to that of a ponzi scheme. According to invesopedia, A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme generates returns for early investors by acquiring new investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers. They sound pretty much identical!

Derek Loom, who started the blessing loom in 2016

Tenesha’s Story

Tenesha W. 27, from Brooklyn NY was employed as a pre-school teacher before covid-19 struck the USA in January 2020. The pre-school soon closed its doors indefinitely and she was forced to apply for unemployment benefits. Being a single mother, having 3 children aged 5 -13, with no income and no assistance caused Tenesha to go into depression. Soon, she was offered a rope in the dark. A friend of hers contacted her and asked her to invest $100 to join the loom. Her friend explained how it worked and she was on board. I mean, how hard could it be to find two people, right? That she did. Once Tenesha received her $800 ‘hand’, things started looking up for her. She decided to try another group. She made another $800 and then another. This was way more than she had bargained for! Things were definitely turning around for her.

One day, she saw a post on social media that offered way more than just $800. This time, you could invest $625 and gain $5000. This seemed like some kind of miracle. Tenesha was quick to message the poster and join his group. Her early gains were being depleted and she needed a quick fix so that she could at least pay something on her rent and stock up on some much needed groceries. She could only dream about getting her hair and nails done again. Once she joined, she embarked on her mission of recruiting the required investors. She invited the friend that recruited her in the first place, but she wasn’t interested as the stakes were a bit high for her. Instead, she was met with- “Girl, why didn’t you stick with the $100 groups!?” Tenesha was puzzled since her friend was so confident when recruiting her. This seemed like a sure thing, so why not up the stakes a bit? She continued her recruiting mission and finally secured her people.

Everyone was finally in! Her recruits also had the job of recruiting their own people so she just sat tight for a bit until it was her turn to receive her blessings. Days passed, weeks passed, and she sent countless messages to her group chat asking why it was taking so long for her payout? Was anyone else getting paid? She was always met with the same response. ” The money is coming, everyone has to wait their turn.” By this time, two months had passed, and her ‘winnings’ from previous ‘blessings’ were already gone. “Count this one as a loss, sis” her friend advised. This statement came much to Tenesha’s surprise because she had been so sure the plan was all fail-safe. “Why didn’t you tell me this sh#t wasn’t sucker proof? I need my $500 back!” By this time, the group had grown stagnant, and most members were either leaving the whatsapp group or had stopped responding altogether.

Tenesha made a formal complaint to the NYC police department in the hopes of getting back the $625 she had invested. However, her case was difficult to bring to a close and she basically got no where. Although these schemes are illegal in NYC, it is difficult to prove that the funds are taken/stolen rather than ‘gifted.’

More on how the loom works

CBS 19 provided these tips on how to avoid social media scams:

  • Stay alert to pyramid schemes. Pyramid schemes promise quick profits for recruiting others. Scammers prey on the desire to make a lot of money with very little effort. But remember, pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States and Canada.
  • Be skeptical: Before you accept any offer on social media, do your research. Just because something appears to be fun and was shared by a friend, doesn’t mean there isn’t an inherent risk. Many of these offers include extravagent promises that aren’t kept.
  • Monitor Friend Requests. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Also be wary of a second friend request from someone you are already connected with; the second profile may be an imposter trying to access your data and your friends list.
  • Ask questions and research the offer before joining any business venture. What appears to be a legitimate investment could still be a pyramid scheme. Check business ratings and reviews on BBB.org and other search engines before agreeing to work with or invest in any company or individual.

According to the office of the NY Attorney General, people invest in pyramid schemes for various reasons. These include:

Those who participate out of greed;

Those who are misled into thinking that they are joining an “investment club” or a “gift program”;

And those who believe that the products or services are legitimate.

One Way to actually Build Wealth

The major problem with these schemes is that you’re basically promising something you can’t guarantee. BWM recommends doing your research and joining a proper ‘box hand’ or ‘sou sou’ instead. According to Essence Magazine, A sou-sou (also spelled sou sou, su-su or susu) is an informal rotating savings club, where a group of people get together and contribute an equal amount of money into a fund weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The total pool, also known as a hand, is then paid to one member of the club on a previously agreed-on schedule. The pool rotates until all members have received their share.- Sounds Legit.

Related: More on sou-sous

There are actually sou-sou apps. See more here or explore them on Google Play.

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Young Entrepreneurs set the pace for a Black- Owned Amazon.

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, AUGUST 10, 2020

Ashley and Lucan, both 27, have been best friends since high school where they met 15 years ago. They’re both entrepreneurs from the UK who discovered that they shared a common problem;- finding products made for people of the African diaspora. BWM agrees that this task may sometimes prove difficult, because while we do have a variety of boutiques and stores that specifically carry these items, it can sometimes be inconvenient when you can’t make a ‘one stop shop’ for all your afro-centric needs.

A few years ago when Lucan moved into his new house, his love for his roots caused him to have an interest in finding Afro-Caribbean decor to give his sanctuary that feeling of ‘home’. This was not as easy as he thought it would be and he decided to inquire of his mom, whose house was beautifully decorated with such items. When his mother couldn’t help him find a retailer, his frustration led him to search online, and upon having no luck he made a pact with his long- time friend Ashley, to create their own. Ebonyx was conceptualized and established in 2019 and it features black owned everything!

What is ‘Ebonyx’?

“Ebonyx (a blend of Ebony and Onyx, and a reference to black vernacular, ebonics) is a marketplace for items that are Afrocentric in nature or inspired by Afrocentrism. Our view and purpose in promoting Afrocentrism is to further inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration for everyone regardless of their culture or background.”

BWM visited the Ebonyx online superstore and found a selection of skin care items, decorative trinkets, clothing and more that were quite unique. We were especially impressed with their afro-centric art. This is a great platform for our artists to market their pieces! Here are some added bonuses we found on the site:

Attractive Features

  • They offer a risk free sales strategy. Opening your shop on Ebonyx costs $0. They make a 15% commission only after the sale of your items. You heard right. They don’t make money until you make money.
  • They partner with individual brands to bring you unique African fashion, hair care products, artistic pieces and more.
  • We were quite impressed with their referral program. Share your link, your friend buys, and you enjoy 10% discount on your purchase!
  • They give back. Ebonyx supports a charity called “The Deworm the World Initiative“. Every sale of 25 pounds, a donation is made to this charity.

More about the charity

To combat worm infection, regular treatment with a simple pill is universally recognized as a safe and effective solution. The Deworm the World Initiative supports school-based deworming: treatment delivered through existing education infrastructure, administered by teachers with support from the health system. This approach is highly cost-effective, well accepted by communities, and efficiently targets the population group at greatest risk for infection: children.


The Ebonyx Dream

As with all entrepreneurs there have been setbacks for Ashley and Lucan. The biggest one yet has been access to funding. Without investment it is difficult for startups to scale. The phrase, ‘it takes money to make money’ sums this up pretty well. Without investment, black owned initiatives like Ebonyx will have a difficult time expanding internationally. Think about Amazon.- It was founded in the garage of Jeff Bezos‘ rented home in Bellevue, Washington. Bezos’ parents invested almost $250,000 during the startup phase. It’s no secret that Amazon is now one of the world’s largest and most successful companies, with a market value of $1.14 trillion!

What advice do these black business owners have for you? Ashley and Lucan believe that business boils down to two things: People and numbers. You need to understand your customer and what get’s them shopping. “However, that is useless unless you have your numbers in check. You need to know everything numbers wise, including accounting, marketing spend, statistics, operational numbers etc.”

These young black innovators have our full support. The greatest benefit of having a black owned Amazon is that our hard-earned dollars will be re-invested within our own communities.


“If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.”

 Askhari Johnson Hodari, Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Check out their range of afro-centric items on Instagram and Pinterest

Related: Black Businesses will not survive without the support of black people

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How to get a High Paying Job in Tech

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JULY 02, 2020

Top paying tech positions are going unfilled due to lack of skilled tech workers. Now is a great time to:

  • Learn to code,
  • Get a job in tech,
  • Learn to create apps,
  • Own the Tech you create.

According to Glassdoor, you don’t need to be technical to land a job at one of the top tech companies, but for those who develop their technical skills, the rewards can be vast! As an added bonus, there are a wealth of free online courses available today.

Their latest report breaks down the highest paying tech jobs in the industry, based on an average salary. Here are the top 10:

10. Information Security Engineer: $131,300

9. DevOps Engineer: $137,400

8. Enterprise Architect: $144,400

7. Technical Program Manager: $145,000

6. Software Architect: $145,400

5. Applications Architect: $149,000

4. Infrastructure Architect: $153,000

3. Software Development Manager: $153,300

2. Data Warehouse Architect: $154,800

  1. Software Engineering Manager: $163,500

How do I start?

Lean to code for free! There are free courses available for beginners and intermediates that can kick start your new career.

Some of these programs, like Scratch, allow the student to program their own interactive stories, games and animations and share their creations with the world. Scratch is designed specifically for ages 8-16, but it is generally used by people of all ages.

Get your children started with a great interactive learning experience on their journey to coding. Codecademy is an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Python, Java, Go, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, C++, Swift, and Sass, as well as markup languages HTML and CSS. All the courses on Codecademy are free. The free course catalog features hundreds of hours of content that help learners develop skills in their desired programming language. However, CodeCademy offers a “pro” option that allows tailored lessons and tutorials for the user as well as live tutoring.

Check out some other interactive learning platforms:

Is coding hard to learn?

According to Paul Larkin of Career Karma, the simple answer is “No.” “Coding is not hard to learn. Much like learning any other skill, it will require time and persistence. How hard it is to learn will depend on the programming language itself and what kind of software you’d like to make.

If you love the idea of having a great income while doing something fun and interactive, a job in Tech may just be right for you! You may just have the next big idea sitting in the corners of your brain. Start the ball rolling by learning to code.

How long will it take to learn?

According to Joshua Weinstein of Career Karma, The following table sums up the duration, however, “Generally, it takes about 3 to 6 months to learn the basics of coding. You can learn coding faster or slower depending on your pace.

LEARNING METHODTIME TO LEARN CODING
Self-Study6 – 12 months
College Degree4+ years
Coding Bootcamp3 – 6 months
Summary of time it takes to learn coding according to learning method

If you have no interest in Tech, learning to code is still a great choice!

  • It will make you more self sufficient: No need to wait around for technical assistance when you need it.
  • It will teach you how to think. Heather Stenger, Senior Director of Communications at American Wood Council states: “Coding forced me to start out with a plan, identify potential trouble areas, and troubleshoot, troubleshoot, troubleshoot.”
  • It will improve your collaboration and communication skills. Many tech courses require collaboration as Projects are rarely created in a vaccum.
  • It can take your present career to new heights! Coding can open a whole new world of options for you, and your new skills will mostly like prove very valuable to your employer.
  • If you’re thinking about starting a new company, having technical knowledge can make your startup more feasible, and can be the factor that gets you that launch!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to break barriers, and learning to code may just be one way for you to attain financial freedom.

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Slavery helped to generate ‘The Absent Black Father’

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JUNE 10, 2020

Let’s focus on our black kings. The head of the household, defenders of their bloodlines. Our black men aren’t failing their families because they want to. They are failing because they weren’t taught how to be men. Sounds harsh? Well, let’s think about this. How many single mothers do you know? The cycle has been in existence for years, and even though we may try many ways to escape the reality, it dates back to slavery.

As a baby needs time and guidance in order to learn how to walk, so does a people who were ripped of every social freedom known to man.

What would life have been like for a family torn apart and sold to multiple slave owners? According to Heather Andrea Williams of University of North Carolina, https://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/, Both slaves and slave owners referred to these relationships between men and women as “abroad marriages.” A father might live several miles away on a distant plantation and walk, usually on Wednesday nights and Saturday evenings to see his family as his obligation to provide labor for an owner took precedence over his personal needs. Does this sound familiar in any way?


Many of our ancestors watched their families torn apart as children, and got accustomed to a visit from their daddy every now and then. Belonging to another human being while trying to maintain a household is a different level of sorrow. Each mother who was left with the task of raising our black men tried their best, but the anger was already there. Festering through our bloodlines, this dark stain of involuntary absenteeism and lack of healthy family dynamics rears its ugly head in all of our communities. Our men are perpetuating these social ills and our women, unfortunately, have accepted them as normal.

How do we change? Of course, there are many examples of healthy black nuclear families and single moms and dads who raise healthy, well-rounded children. So here is the answer. Lead by example. This is our only hope. If we want to see change, we must become that change. As a baby learns to walk, through patience and guidance, we must show our children what it means to have a healthy family bond.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Author Unknown

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Why Caribbean Parents don’t say “I Love you.”

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JUNE 10, 2020

If you grew up in a Caribbean household, you probably can identify with this topic of interest. I grew up on a tiny Caribbean Island called Antigua, and my father was a huge disciplinarian. Being a police sergeant in the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, meant that he was exposed to the realities of many social ills on a daily basis. This also meant that when it came to his children, he always feared the worst. My mother was submissive within the marriage, so there really was no recourse for me as a child. My father’s way of raising myself and three other siblings was not up for debate. We were well taken care of, provided for in the best way possible, but we always lacked one thing. Genuine affection.

Why do Caribbean parents find it so hard to be affectionate? According to sociology research, parents in collectivist societies may be more restrained in the communication of close relatedness, but demonstrate their love for children through self-sacrifice and meeting children’s needs (Lim and Lim, 2004Rothbaum and Trommsdorff, 2007Clayton, 2014).

Change starts with us

What is a collectivist society?

According to study.com, Collectivism in cultural terms refers to a culture that privileges family and community over individuals. For example, children in collectivist societies are likely to take care of elderly parents if they fall ill and will change their own plans in the event of a family emergency.

I can only speak from what I’ve observed, and it appears that the Caribbean has a widely collectivist culture. In collectivist cultures, your group identity is very important: rather than thinking of yourself simply as an individual unit, you find that the group you’re a part of is very important. Things like decision making often happen within a family, and younger members look to and respect the advice of elders.

Think about it for a minute. How many times were your thoughts and emotions brushed aside as a child? ‘Speaking up’ was never an option, and your opinions were often taken as being ‘rude.’ Let’s contrast this with individualistic societies, such as those found within the suburban and wealthy U.S. demographic.

“Telling my children I love them isn’t a habit. It is my constant reminder to them that they are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Toni Morrison

Individualism

An individualistic culture is quite the opposite to that of collectivism.There is a noticeable difference when it comes to communication and general ‘openness.’ Giving children the freedom to be heard changes the way they see themselves. Of course, this can cause incidences of abuse of privilege on the part of the child, so a balance must be maintained when it comes to authority. Children who are raised in individualistic societies tend to be treated as such. Individuals. They are often shown more affection, as their parents display a higher level of communication with them. This openness deepens the bond between parent and child, and it’s not ‘weird’ or uncomfortable to hug every now and then, and say… “I love you.”

How do we change?

The question is, do we need to change a part of us that has been with us for centuries? Or should we just continue to show love through our actions?

I am the mother of a 12 year old boy and despite the cultural norms and my upbringing, I am raising my son within an individualistic family dynamic. There is no discomfort when it comes to our displays of affection and it gives me joy when he randomly kisses my cheek. As a bonus, I take pride in the fact that I am preparing him for a future where he is unafraid to express love toward his mate and his children, all while taking on the serious responsibilities of manhood. This is how we break a cycle. Change starts with us.

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