Gabrielle Union: A Journey to Fulfillment

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Gabrielle Union seen at ULTA event wearing a long red dress

By Jovane Marie

Gabrielle Union found her way into the mainstream and straight to our hearts at the start of the new millennium with her breakout performance as the leader of the East Compton Clovers in Bring It On.

In the nearly two decades since then, the actress’ life has evolved to encompass a multitude of additional roles across a personal and professional spectrum—outspoken activist, best-selling author, fashion-forward designer, dedicated wife and, most importantly, doting mother.

Actress to Activist

Union’s influence emanates far beyond her on-screen portrayals. Proudly raised by her parents to have a world perspective, she supports a multitude of causes, from racial justice to ending violence against women, voting rights to eradicating poverty, and diversity to health initiatives.

Her tenacity in standing up and speaking her mind was cultivated through education and life experiences, both positive and negative. As a young black girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, Union admits she wanted nothing more than to completely assimilate, letting racially tinged jokes and perspectives roll off her shoulders to avoid being seen as “other.”

Exposure to African-American studies while attending UCLA had a huge influence on Union’s mindset, highlighting the importance of calling out injustice and oppression and opening her perspective to a treasure trove of change-makers.

“Learning about those brilliant Black activists and authors encouraged me to have pride in myself and in my voice,” she said. “I realized that assimilation can be a path to becoming invisible and complacent. I’d rather be ‘other.’”

With the strength of those lessons at her back, and following a sexual assault that threatened to marginalize her even further, she began speaking her mind fearlessly and unapologetically, raising awareness about the issues that mattered to her—a characteristic that has endured in her day-to-day life.

“My goal is to use my platform to provide a sense of connectedness

Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design
Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design

for those who suffer in silence,” said the activist, who was appointed to former President Obama’s National Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women in 2010. “It’s been a journey and an evolving consciousness—not an easy process, but definitely worthwhile.”

She’s a Boss

As she’s solidified her place in the film and television industry, the America’s Got Talent judge has lent her efforts to establishing and growing her commercial empire, calling upon her down-to-earth persona and relatable personal brand to connect with fans and consumers.

In 2004, she became a brand ambassador for Neutrogena, a successful partnership that lasted for more than a decade.

In 2012, she partnered with Napa Valley-based winery JaM Cellars to develop a full-bodied Chardonnay cheekily named Vanilla Puddin.

In 2014, she became the first celebrity ambassador—and creative advisor—for nail beauty company SensatioNail.

And in 2017, her entrepreneurial spirit erupted with both the launch of Flawless by Gabrielle Union—a hair care line created specifically with black women in mind—and the announcement of her partnership with major consumer fashion brand New York & Company, where she serves as the face of the brand’s 7th Avenue Design Studio and launched an acclaimed namesake collection.

The Flawless brand was born through Union’s experiences with trying to care for her natural hair while working in the industry. More often than not, she lamented, the stylists on set would have no idea how to manage her textured mane, leading to damage and dismay.

When the opportunity came along to create a line of products that catered specifically to her hair care needs, she jumped at the chance, working with a team, including former Macadamia Beauty CEO Vince Davis, to produce a range of catered shampoos, conditioners, repair masks, oil treatments, edge control, and more. A common thread throughout the brand’s offering is the use of a group of key ingredients proven to promote healthy hair, including argan, marula, macadamia, coconut, and avocado oils, as well as pea protein.

“My goal with our Flawless products is to help women with textured hair create ever-changing looks without compromising the health of their favorite accessory—their hair,” Union said of the collection, which is sold online, in JCPenney Salons and at ULTA. “I just want them to have great hair days. Period.”

Union’s collaboration with New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design Studio materialized to the star’s admitted surprise—she never expected to be courted by the popular retail chain to serve as a brand ambassador. Operating as a sub-brand and inspired by her character on series Being Mary Jane, the line features chic dresses, modern suiting, and versatile separates that “embody the career woman who needs easy, effortless, styles that are polished and on trend.”

Kaavi James Collection; Caption: Kaavia James Union Wade and Gabrielle Union visit New York & Company Store in Burbank, CA, to launch Kaavi James Collection on May 09, 2019. PHOTO BY JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR NEW YORK & COMPANY
Kaavi James Collection; Caption: Kaavia James Union Wade and Gabrielle Union visit New York & Company Store in Burbank, CA, to launch Kaavi James Collection on May 09, 2019. PHOTO BY JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR NEW YORK & COMPANY

“Mary Jane’s style reflects power, leadership, and risk taking,” she explained. “She wears classic styles, but with a twist, which is why I think she’d definitely shop at New York & Company.”

Beyond her ambassadorship, which features Union modeling fashions on the company’s website, in print and digital advertisements, and on social media, the actress has ventured into a “whole new game” with the launch of her namesake collection, featuring a wide range of fashionable choices, all reminiscent of the style icon’s eclectic taste.

“I wanted to offer on-trend fashions at affordable prices that flatter all body types—that’s the bottom line,” said Union, who was given free rein to design whatever she chooses and prides herself on being fully hands-on with the creative process.

Two years into her venture, the designer recently pulled from a new source of inspiration to drive her latest launch—five-month-old daughter Kaavia James Union Wade. The adorable all-inclusive capsule collection, entitled Kaavi James by Gabrielle Union, features an array of stylish dresses, T-shirts, jumpers, and onesies (many of them unisex!) in sizes 0–24 months, all within a $15–$45 range. In addition to serving as fashion muse, Kaavia (whose parents recently trademarked her name for future projects) serves major face in the campaign’s advertisements, posing alongside her mom with her hilarious signature “Shady Baby” expression.

Family First

When it comes to priorities, the multi-hyphenate talent makes it clear—nothing is more important than her family. Just check her social media (which is plastered with their faces). She married NBA star Dwayne Wade in 2014, in the process becoming stepmother to his three boys, Zaire, Zion, and Xavier.

After struggling with infertility due to a form of endometriosis, the couple turned to surrogacy, welcoming Kaavia in November 2018.

The new mother has been open and honest about her fertility struggles, believing there is healing in the knowledge that many couples face similar challenges as they try to conceive.

Union’s life today may seem like a fairytale, but it has required blood, sweat, tears, self-love, introspection, and a dogged determination to succeed to transform her life from then to now.

A Pre-Destined Path

Union embarked on her acting journey in the mid-90s, performing in a guest role capacity or as a supporting character for a number of popular sitcoms, including Family Matters, Moesha, 7th Heaven, and Sister, Sister.

Interestingly enough, she hadn’t grown up with stars in her eyes, dreaming Hollywood dreams. The driving force behind her foray into the acting world, she admits, was money to help pay for college.

“You want to know when I became serious about being an actress?

Gabrielle Union interacts with fans during America’s Got Talent auditions. TRAE PATTON/NBC
Gabrielle Union interacts with fans during America’s Got Talent auditions. TRAE PATTON/NBC

When I made money! It really wasn’t for the love of it, in the beginning,” said the star, who graduated from UCLA with a BA in Sociology. “My plan back then was to eventually go to law school, but pretty quickly, I realized I could make a living doing this. So, I recalibrated—and never looked back.”

She hit a double whammy in 2000, appearing in Love & Basketball (as superficial high school mean girl Shawnee Easton) and co-starring with Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On (as captain of the East Compton Clovers, Isis), both of which were extremely popular and have since become cult classics.

Her role in Bring It On held a great significance for Union—she credits it as one of the biggest boosts of her career—as it not only addressed the real issue of appropriation but also served as a catalyst for her to be conscious of the roles and narratives she agreed to portray on screen.

“It’s interesting, because I had wanted a part in another cheerleading movie that came out around the same time, but they didn’t pursue Black women for any of the roles. I couldn’t even get an audition,” she revealed. “In this movie, the very premise was about cultural appropriation and how the hard work of African Americans has been repackaged with blond hair and blue eyes. The social justice of it appealed to me.”

The role directly led to her casting in the ground-breaking medical drama City of Angels, which held the distinction as network television’s first medical drama with a predominantly African-American cast. The show, which ran for two seasons on CBS, featured a who’s who of eventual Black Hollywood royalty, including Blair Underwood, Viola Davis, Maya Rudolph, and Vivica A. Fox.

It was her portrayal of successful TV news anchor Mary Jane Paul on

Union discusses television series on The Talk on the CBS Television Network. MONTY BRINTON/CBS ©2017 CBS BROADCASTING, INC.
Union discusses television series on The Talk on the CBS Television Network. MONTY BRINTON/CBS ©2017 CBS BROADCASTING, INC.

BET network’s Being Mary Jane, however, that truly solidified Union’s superstar status and staying power. The award-winning series, which ran from 2013 to spring 2019 over the course of four seasons, followed the personal and professional life happenings of the broadcast journalist as she searches for “the puzzle pieces that she, and society, insist are missing from her life as a single Black woman.”

The show was an absolute homerun for BET (debuting as its highest-rated show and quickly becoming the network’s signature series) and was praised across the board for its complex characters, captivating storylines, and willingness to tackle powerful issues. African-American women across the world hailed the series as they saw themselves and their families reflected on a weekly basis.

For Union, participation in the project was a labor of love and her greatest creative decision, offering an opportunity for her to take a role she cared about, while playing an imperfect, complicated, messy character.

“I didn’t want to play a perfect character that was a fully wholesome role model who had all the right answers,” she said. “I’d never been challenged like this—I could be required to show a bunch of different colors within one scene. In many ways, we shared similar struggles and triumphs, loves and losses, and especially the penchant for epic reads. This role was one of the most gratifying of my life.”

Producing for the Future

Building on years of experience in front of the camera, in 2014 Union added to her repertoire by stepping behind the camera to produce, starting with the Lifetime original film With This Ring. In the years since, she has served as an executive producer on a number of projects, including last year’s Breaking In (for which she was awarded Breakthrough Producer of the Year at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards) and Spectrum Originals first major original series LA’s Finest (a Bad Boys spin-off co-starring Jessica Alba).

She also launched her own production company, I’ll Have Another (named as a nod to her best-selling book, We’re Going to Need More Wine), signing a first look deal with Sony Pictures TV last year to develop broadcast, cable, and digital projects.

It is a responsibility Union doesn’t take lightly, as she realizes that she is one of but a handful of Black women who head their own production companies.

“As I’ve taken on new projects, I’ve become more aware of the lack of diversity behind the camera,” she noted. “It’s been proven that real inclusion actually makes dollars and cents, and Hollywood is starting to change, but we still need to increase the diversity of directors, executive producers and studio heads.”

The Road Ahead

With her family by her side, her career expanding, her businesses and partnerships blossoming, and her voice for social justice reverberating, Union is living life unapologetically and striving daily to reach her full potential.

“I’m just trying to think limitlessly and not put a cap on my dreams,” she said. “When you’re open like that, the world will take you all sorts of places you could have never imagined.”

It’s obvious that for this multi-tasking mama, the best is yet to come.

Angela Bassett Wins Golden Globe for ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ as First Actor to Earn Major Award for Marvel Movie
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Angela Bassett in sparkling silver dress talking on stage

Angela Bassett won the Golden Globe award Tuesday for her performance as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” making the 64-year-old the first actor ever to win a major individual acting award for a movie based on Marvel Comics.

The evening marked Bassett’s second win (and second nomination) at the Globes; she took home the trophy for best actress in a musical or comedy for 1993’s Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

“I got to find my words. I’m so nervous. My heart is just beating,” Bassett began, taking the stage to accept the award. “The late Tony Morrison said that your life is already a miracle of chance just waiting for you to order its destiny. But in order for that destiny to manifest, I think that it requires courage to have faith. It requires patience, as we just heard. And it requires a true sense of yourself. It’s not easy because the past is circuitous and it has many unexpected detours, but, by the grace of God, I stand here. I stand here grateful.”

Bassett took the space to thank her husband, fellow actor Courtney B. Vance, her family and her Marvel collaborators, “Wakanda Forever” director Ryan Coogler, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito. Bassett also acknowledged the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer in 2020. Boseman’s death casts a shadow over the plot of “Wakanda Forever.”

“We embarked on this journey together with love. We mourned, we loved, we healed. We were surrounded each and every day by the light and the spirit of Chadwick Boseman,” Bassett said. “We have joy in knowing that with this historic ‘Black Panther’ series, it is a part of his legacy that he helped to lead us. We showed the world what Black unity, leadership and love looks like, behind and in front of the camera. To the Marvel fans, thank you for embracing these characters and showing us so much love.”

Backstage, Bassett was characteristically composed as she was asked if she had any hesitation about attending the show given the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s recent controversary over the lack of Black members in the press organization.

“The HFPA has made strides,” Bassett said. “They know what needs to be done.”

Prior to Bassett’s win for “Wakanda Forever,” only four actors, and no women, had even been nominated for a Golden Globe for acting in a superhero movie: Nominees Ryan Reynolds for 2016’s “Deadpool” (actor in musical/comedy) and Jack Nicholson for 1989’s “Batman” (actor in musical/comedy), as well as winners Joaquin Phoenix for 2019’s “Joker” (actor in drama) and Heath Ledger for 2008’s “The Dark Knight” (supporting actor). Phoenix and Ledger, who both played variations on the DC Comics villain the Joker, were the major winners in their respective years across awards season, taking home the SAG Awards and the Oscars as well (Ledger’s wins were posthumous).

This isn’t the first time Bassett has earned a top award for playing Queen Ramonda, however: She was also part of the group of actors from 2018’s “Black Panther” who won best ensemble at the SAG Awards.

Photo Credit: NBC via Getty Images

Read the complete article on Variety.

20 Latina Business Influencers to Follow Today
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collage of latina influencers

Originally posted on Hispanic Executive

There are countless Latina influencers out there who have cultivated passionate followings on social media, but it takes a special type of influencer to build both a brand and a business.

And here at Hispanic Executive, we love nothing better than celebrating entrepreneurship.

Meet the Latina business influencers who are transforming their communities—and the world itself.

 

 

 

Retail

1. Ada V. Rojas, CEO and Founder, Vecina Couture

Ada V. Rojas is a mission-driven entrepreneur: all of her business efforts have reflected her desire to celebrate her Dominican American heritage and uplift other ambitious women. Her latest endeavor is Vecina Couture, a luxury loungewear line that’s been spotlighted by Oprah DailyEssenceRefinery29, and other top outlets.

2. Paola Alberdi, Founder and Creative Director, Blank Itinerary

Paola Alberdi knows fashion. She’s worked with the likes of Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Coach, and Dolce & Gabbana, not to mention lifestyle and beauty brands like Sephora and Givenchy Beauty.

Today, the Mexican American serves as founder and creative director of Blank Itinerary, a bilingual fashion and lifestyle platform that’s earned Alberdi recognition from ForbesVogue México, and Harper’s Bazaar.

3. Julie Sariñana, Founder, Color Dept.

Julie Sariñana created clean nail care company Color Dept. to be a one-stop shop for nail art aficionados “who love to be different.” All Color Dept. products feature bold, vibrant colors and are made with wheat, potato, manioc, and corn rather than chemicals and plastics.

In addition to her work with Color Dept., Sariñana runs a popular fashion blog called Sincerely Jules.

4. Julissa Prado, Founder and CEO, Rizos Curls

Afro-Mexican Julissa Prado spent years fighting her curly hair. She was never happy with how it looked, and she never found any hair products that helped.

In the years since then, she’s not only embraced her hair but created a clean, high-quality line of products designed for all curl types. Prado and Rizos Curls have been featured in People en EspañolPopSugar, and Forbes.

5. Cyndi Ramirez, Founder and CEO, Chillhouse

A serial entrepreneur with a background in fashion, marketing, lifestyle branding, and hospitality, Cyndi Ramirez has been featured by Refinery29Martha Stewart Magazine, theSkimm, and Hispanic Executive.

Her latest venture, Chillhouse, is a “multi-point retail concept” that has revolutionized the spa world. Chillhouse offers a wellness-focused self-care experience that includes a workspace, nail art studio, and massage boutique—a true getaway for those in need of deep relaxation.

5. Camila Coelho, CEO and Founder, Camila Coelho Collection

Beauty and fashion influencer Camila Coelho has not one but two businesses: her eponymous clean clothing line Camila Coelho Collection and a clean beauty brand called Elaluz. Her entrepreneurial spirit has earned her features in both Elle and Forbes.

The Brazilian American is also passionate about destigmatizing neurological disorders—she’s been battling epilepsy since the age of nine.

6. Irma Martinez, Founder and Creative Director, Trendy Inc.

A true icon in the fashion world, Ima Martinez has worked with celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Ricky Martin, Shakira, and Enrique Iglesias, to name but a few. Her company, Trendy Inc., specializes in lifestyle services for the production and entertainment industries. Martinez also offers advisory and coaching services as well as courses on the business of personal shopping and styling.

Read more about her career in Hispanic ExecutivePeople en Español, the Miami New Times, and Poder magazine.

Consulting

1. Eva Hughes, Founder and CEO, Adira Consulting

Eva Hughes was a huge name in the luxury and media spaces—she served as editor-in-chief of VogueMéxico y Latinoamérica and as CEO of Condé Nast México y Latinoamérica—before she struck out on her own in January 2018. Her company, Adira Consulting, offers brand strategy advice to clients that primarily come from the luxury sector. She also offers group and individual coaching services.

As noted in her Hispanic Executive feature, Adira is Hebrew for “strong, noble, powerful.”

2. Victoria Jenn Rodriguez, Founder, Dare to Leap Academy

Victoria Jenn Rodriguez is a business coach and serial entrepreneur who left her high-powered career in the corporate world to start a company of her own.

Her newest business is called the Dare to Leap Academy: it’s an online learning platform where Rodriguez teaches other women how to leave corporate America behind to follow their passions—without giving up their financial stability. Learn more about her in her Hispanic Executive story.

Fitness and Health

1. Michelle Lewin, Founder, One0One

Venezuelan American Michelle Lewin is one of the biggest names in the fitness world: she is a model, bodybuilder, and cover star for magazines like OxygenPlayboy, and Muscle & Fitness Hers.

Lewin is also an entrepreneur. She sells health supplements, clothing, and gym accessories and equipment through her website and has her own personal training app.

Continue on to Hispanic Executive to view the full list.

1st Filipina American to Win Miss USA
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Miss USA 2022 Winner R’Bonney Gabriel Stands with her crown on - presented to her on stage at the MIss USA Contest

Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel made history this week as the first Filipina American to be crowned Miss USA. She also designed her own dress to honor…

Gabriel, a 28-year-old fashion designer from San Antonio, Texas, will go on to represent the U.S. next year at the Miss Universe pageant. Gabriel said she designed her dress to pay tribute to her heritage and parents.

“My mom is from Beaumont, Texas, and my father is from the Philippines,”  Gabriel wrote in an Instagram post. “They got married in Manila, Philippines. I hand-painted the same flower design from my mother’s wedding dress onto my sleeves and tied in a traditional Maria Clara Filipina collar shape. I have immense gratitude for the [opportunities] my parents provided me and wanted to express my love to them through this.”

 

Read the full article on NBC Los Angeles Web Site

Zendaya Makes Emmy History Once Again as Youngest Producing Nominee for ‘Euphoria’
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Zendaya poses with head looking over shoulders smiling

By , Rolling Stone

Zendaya made history in 2020 when she became the youngest woman — and only the second Black woman (after Viola Davis) — to win in the lead drama actress category at the age of 24. Now, with the 2022 Emmy nods out, Zendaya, has made history yet again as the youngest producer to be nominated for an award after Euphoria’s Outstanding Drama Series nod. Zendaya serves as both a star and executive producer on the series.

The general drama series nod comes as she received three other nominations for her role as Rue Bennett in the HBO drama. She was, once again, nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series and also received two nods for Outstanding Original Music for both “Elliot’s Song” with Dominic Fike, and”I’m Tired” with Labrinth.

In the Lead Actress category, she faces off against Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, Ozark‘s Laura Linney, Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey, and Morning Show‘s Reese Witherspoon.

Meanwhile, Euphoria is nominated for the Outstanding Drama Series category against Better Call Saul, Ozark, Severance, Squid Game, Stranger Things, Succession, and Yellowjackets. (Squid Game is the first non-English-language series to be nominated for the prize.)

The list of “firsts” doesn’t end there for the Oakland-born star. With her nominations, she’s also the first Black woman (and only second Black person) to receive both songwriting and acting nods in the same year.

More history could be made next year by Zendaya as she revealed in a recent interview with Vogue Italia that not only does she want to direct, but she “probably” will direct a future episode of Euphoria. “I was supposed to direct Episode 6 [of Season 2], but then I had to act in it,” she said in the interview. “I didn’t have enough time, so, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to this time around. I wanted to have enough time to do it the right way, so next season probably.”

Click here to read the full article on the Rolling Stone.

Simone Biles Makes History as the Youngest to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
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Joe Biden putting the Presidential Medal of Freedom award on Simone Biles

By Njera Perkins, Pop Sugar

Simone Biles continues to break records and make history. On July 7, the 25-year-old Olympian, along with 16 other honorees, received the esteemed Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor — making her the youngest person to ever do so, according to President Joe Biden.

Beyond being a world-renowned gymnast, Biles was honored as a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault,” the White House previously announced.

“Today, [Biles] adds to her medal count of 32 — I don’t know if you’re going to find room,” President Biden joked during his remarks at the White House. Biden then praised Biles for her ability “to turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” During the award ceremony, Biles wore a bright smile and black tweed blazer dress as Biden placed her medal around her neck, and her fiancé, Jonathan Owens, was there to cheer her on from the front row.

Biles was honored alongside other recipients like Megan Rapinoe and Denzel Washington, though the latter wasn’t present for the ceremony due to a positive COVID test, CNN reported. The actor will be awarded his medal at a later date.

Over the years, Biles has shattered glass ceilings in the sports world and become the most decorated gymnast in world championship history. Now, her latest accomplishment only solidifies that she’s a true trailblazer. Ahead, check out more photos of her receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

Rihanna is now worth $1.4 billion–making her America’s youngest self made billionaire woman
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Rihanna on the cover of Professional Woman's Magazine. Rihanna attends a Fenty event in February 2020 in an orange turtle neck. she is now america's youngest female self made billionaire.

By Megan Sauer, CNBC

The youngest self-made billionaire woman in the U.S. didn’t grow up in a Manhattan high rise or the Hollywood Hills. Instead, Rihanna amassed her fortune from her own music and entrepreneurial ventures.

Recently, the 34-year-old singer and Fenty Beauty CEO graced Forbes’ annual list of America’s richest self-made women for the third year in a row. She ranked 21st overall, and is the list’s only billionaire under age 40. Some of Rihanna’s $1.4 billion net worth is from her successful music career. Most of it is from her three retail companies: Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin and Savage X Fenty.

In March, Bloomberg reported Savage X Fenty lingerie was working with advisors on an IPO that could potentially be valued at $3 billion. Rihanna owns 30% of that company. She also owns half of Fenty Beauty, which generated $550 million in revenue in 2020. The other half of the company is owned by French luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH.

The numbers are impressive, but Rihanna has said that her focus isn’t on valuations and accolades. In 2019, she told The New York Times’ T Magazine that because she never planned on making a fortune, reaching financial milestones was “not going to stop me from working.”

The nine-time Grammy Award winner also said she wants to give that money away to causes that matter, anyway. “My money is not for me; it’s always the thought that I can help someone else,” she said. “The world can really make you believe that the wrong things are priority, and it makes you really miss the core of life, what it means to be alive.”

In 2012, Rihanna started a philanthropy fund, the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF). It aims to “support and fund groundbreaking education and climate resilience initiatives,” according to its website.

One of its first initiatives, which launched a year after the foundation began, raised $60 million for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS through sales from the singer’s lipstick line with MAC Cosmetics. And in January, CLF paired up with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s #SmartSmall initiative to donate a combined $15 million to 18 different climate justice groups.

That money is meant for organizations “focused on and led by women, youth, Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQIA+ communities” in the U.S. and Caribbean, according to CLF’s website.

“At the [CLF], much of the work is rooted in the understanding that climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change,” Rihanna said in a January statement.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Former TV News Producer Showcases Latin Culture With New Series ‘Gordita Chronicles’
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Former TV News Producer Showcases Latin Culture With New Series ‘ Gordita Chronicles '

By Elizabeth Chavolla, NBC Los Angeles

Working in the newsroom helped her become a better series writer, said Claudia Forestieri, creator of the new comedy “Gordita Chronicles.”

“By day I was a full time journalist and by night an aspiring series writer,” Forestieri told Telemundo 52, as she recalled the years she worked as a reporter, an assignment editor, and a news produce for various Telemundo stations.

“Telemundo helped me become a TV writer. When we do news, you have to pitch stories every day, and if your story didn’t get picked, you can’t sit and cry about it, you have to keep pitching ideas, know how to meet a deadline, and able to summarize a story quickly, so news prepared me well to be a TV series writer,” said Forestieri.

I wanted to showcase the life of the immigrant that is never shown, the fun side, the happy side, the positive side, and show the wonderful things about the Latin culture and how our culture and the American culture can come together and create a beautiful community.

And even though she loved being a journalist, her heart’s desire was becoming a writer for a television series, and nine years later, after years of sacrifice, tears, sleepless nights, and being almost 3,000 miles away from her family, the Dominican immigrant created a series that has received support from HBO Max and the actresses and executive producers, Eva Longoria and Zoe Saldaña.

IT WASN’T EASY
“I started from scratch. I didn’t have any contacts; I didn’t know anyone in this industry. I sacrificed a lot, I missed many weddings, vacations, but in the end my family understood.

Forestieri, who left Miami at age 35, said arriving to the West Coast with a mission forced her to prepare for the challenge she was about to face. “I had to fall in love with the journey. I had to learn to be a better writer, take classes.”

THE SERIES “GORDITA CHRONICLES”
After having been accepted into several writing programs, in 2018 Forestieri did her first screenwriting job, and in 2019 she collaborated on the Netflix series Selena.

Then in 2021, Right during the pandemic, HBO Max announced they had chosen the series “Gordita Chronicles”, and that Zoe Saldaña and Eva Longoria would become the executive producers of this project.

Inspired by the life of Forestieri, the protagonist of “Gordita Chronicles”, Carlota, “Cucú” Castilli (Olivia Goncalvez), is a 12-year-old girl who, along with her parents and older sister, left the Dominican Republic to pursue the American Dream in 1985 after her father, an airline marketing executive, got transferred to Miami.

The series shows how young Cucú faces the challenges of being an immigrant in a new world, showing her courage, humor, mischief, as well as the importance of her culture and family.

“I wanted to write a script that was personal. I was an immigrant girl, I wanted a better life, I had to learn a new language, a new lifestyle in a new country, and make new friends,” said Forestieri.

“I wanted to reflect the life of the immigrant that is never shown, the fun side, the happy side, the positive side, and show the wonderful things about the Latin culture and how our culture and the American culture can come together and create a beautiful community,” she added.

The writer added that most immigrants who arrive to a new country “want a better life, they want the country to be better” and that is precisely what the series will show.

Click here to read the full article on NBC Los Angeles.

Tracee Ellis Ross Partners With Non Profit To Support Black Women-Owned Businesses
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Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of Professional WOMAN'S Magazine

By Angela Johnson, The Root

She’s already crushing the beauty game with her PATTERN line of hair care products and accessories. Now actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross is teaming up with the non-profit Buy From A Black Woman (BFABW) and H&M USA to inspire and support other Black women business owners. According to a June 13 press release, H&M will partner with Buy From A Black Woman for the second year in a row to shine a light on Black women-owned businesses. And this time, Ross will serve as the non-profit’s ambassador.

In a June 10 sit-down with Buy From a Black Woman founder Nikki Porcher at H&M’s LA showroom, Ross shared her advice on achieving success with other young Black female entrepreneurs. “I am proud to help support Buy From a Black Woman and the incredible network of business owners they’ve brought together,” Ross said. “Black women and their contributions are often overlooked, which is why it’s crucial for us to come together to build, strengthen and create our own opportunities for success.”

Buy From A Black Woman launched in 2016 with a mission of providing Black women with all of the tools they need for success, including educational programming, an online directory and funding. In the second year of their partnership, H&M USA plans to donate $250,000 to BFABW and provide sponsorship for the Buy From a Black Woman Inspire Tour, which will place products from Black women-owned businesses on shelves in select H&M stores across the country.

BFABW founder Nikki Porcher says she believes Ross is one of the best advocates for the cause of supporting businesses owned by Black women. “It’s hard to describe in words what it means to have Tracee Ellis Ross as an ambassador for Buy From A Black Woman. This year we are celebrating and showing the world that Black Women are living examples. I couldn’t think of a better example to help us spread our message of just how important it is to buy from and support Black Women Business Owners better than Ms. Ross. We are truly honored to work with her and to continue our partnership with H&M,” she said.

Click here to read the full article on The Root.

Jennifer Hudson Becomes an EGOT at the 2022 Tony Awards as She Wins for A Strange Loop
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Jennifer Hudson on the red carpet in a black off the shoulder gown

By Jen Juneau, People

Jennifer Hudson has officially achieved EGOT status! The actress and singer clinched her first-ever Tony Award on Sunday evening, when A Strange Loop won best musical. (Hudson, 40, serves as a producer on the show.) It was the final trophy she needed to complete the EGOT quartet of having won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Hudson won her first of the big four awards, an Oscar, for her role in 2007’s Dreamgirls. She is a two-time Grammy winner, having nabbed her first one for her 2009 self-titled album. The American Idol alum went on to score a Daytime Emmy last year, for the animated short Baba Yaga, which she co-produced and lent her voice to.

Hudson previously joked when asked about her plans to achieve EGOT status, “I should get two more dogs.”

“I got a dog and named it Oscar, and then I won my Oscar. And then I got a dog and named it Grammy, and then I won my Grammy,” she said at the time. “So I think I should get some dogs and name them Emmy and Tony — and it’ll give me good luck, and I’ll win. [They’re] like my good luck charms.”

Presented by the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing, the annual Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre (as the Tonys are officially known) recognize the highest honor in U.S. theater — the equivalent of TV’s Emmys, music’s Grammys or the film industry’s Oscars. It’s a necessary award in achieving EGOT, the grand slam of show business.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Who Is Johnny Depp’s Latina Lawyer, Camille Vasquez?
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Camille Vasquez wearing all white in a courtroom

By Yamily Habib, Be Latina

Forget Amber Heard or the trial circus that the legal battle between the actress and movie icon Johnny Depp has become. The real star is Camille Vasquez, Depp’s lawyer who has gone viral on social media, inspiring thousands of Latinas around the world.

As USA Today explained, Vasquez, 37, is one of Depp’s nine lawyers in his $100 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Heard. Today, she is almost as big a social media phenomenon as the two protagonists in one of the most widely followed lawsuits in recent years.

Born in San Francisco to Cuban and Colombian parents, Camille Vasquez graduated in 2006 from the University of Southern California and in 2010 from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, the BBC explained.

For the past four years, she has been an associate at Brown Rudnick, the high-profile law firm hired by Johnny Depp to represent him in his $50 million defamation case against Heard. Vasquez is one of nine lawyers at the firm involved in the trial.

She specializes in litigation and arbitration, focusing on representing plaintiffs in defamation cases, and in 2021, she was named one of Best Lawyer magazine’s “One to Watch” lawyers.

She previously assisted Depp in claims against his former lawyer Jake Bloom and his former business manager Joel Mandel.

Today, the hashtag #camillevasquez has more than 980 million impressions on TikTok. A video of her quick objections to Heard’s lead attorney Elaine Bredehoft had nearly 30 million views.

The two-minute TikTok video of her courtroom interruptions with the caption “where did this woman get her degree?” coincided with a 1,820% increase in Google searches for Southwestern Law School, Vasquez’s alma mater, research from the higher education website Erudera shows.

Similarly, thousands of Latina law students have been inspired by Camille Vasquez to continue fighting for their dreams.

“Had to meet Camille Vasquez and tell her what an inspiration she is to so many Latinas!” gushed Carol Dagny (@caritodagny) on TikTok. To which Andrea (@b.andrea111) replied: “As a Latina entering my final year of law school, no one has gotten me as excited to join the field like she has!”

Click here to read the full article on Be Latina.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fairs Schedule for 2023
    January 26, 2023 - November 1, 2023
  2. NAWBO Leadership Academy–Winter 2023
    February 6, 2023 - February 7, 2023
  3. 2023 NAWBO Leadership Academy
    February 6, 2023 - February 7, 2023
  4. From Day One: Houston 2023
    February 8, 2023
  5. National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates (NAAAS) Conference
    February 16, 2023 - February 18, 2023