Beyoncé to donate $2 million to students and small business owners during Renaissance tour

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Beyonce 2023 grammys acceptance speech

By Randi Richardson, today.com

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour is doubling as a philanthropic tour. Her charity foundation, BeyGood, announced on April 20 that it is donating $2 million to entrepreneurs and students while the most-Grammy-winning artist tours the country for her latest album “Renaissance.”

Half of the donation will go to entrepreneurs. The day before Beyoncé’s scheduled concert in a city, BeyGOOD will host luncheons for entrepreneurs who have the chance to win a grant from the 100 allocated for each networking event. BeyGOOD plans to support a thousand small businesses with a total donation of $1 million.

The foundation said it is prioritizing organizations that support or serve marginalized and under-resourced communities. Applications to apply for a spot are now open.

The other half of the funds will establish the Renaissance Scholarship Fund. BeyGood will give $1 million to colleges and universities in 10 cities across the country with each institution receiving $100,000. The institution will then select student recipients.

“We are keenly aware of the barriers to access, opportunity, and resources that disproportionately impact BIPOC communities,” McGregor said. “Our work is rooted in the belief that education, pathways for employment and support of entrepreneurship are vehicles that help drive sustainable outcomes.”

Beyoncé founded BeyGood in 2013 during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Since then, the charitable initiative has donated to educational efforts, disaster relief, food, water and housing security, mental health resources and career development in the US and abroad.

“I am hugely proud of the work we have done over a decade at BeyGOOD, here in the US and around the world,” Beyoncé said in a statemetn. “From scholarships to the water crisis in Burundi, to helping families during Hurricane Harvey in my hometown, Houston, it has been beyond fulfilling to be of service.

“Now, as a foundation, we will continue the work of engaging partners through innovative programs to impact even more people,” she continued.

Saundra B. Curry Honored As 2023 Women Of Influence Winner By Nashville Business Journal
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Saundra B. Curry headshot

Saundra B. Curry, co-founder and chief operating officer, BC Holdings of Tennessee, LLC, was recently honored as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2023 Women of Influence in the Entrepreneur of the Year category. The annual Women of Influence awards luncheon was held on April 25th at Nissan Stadium for a sold out crowd of nearly 400 attendees.

Curry was selected for this honor due to her commitment to financial education and creating the company’s innovative online platform, Destination: Financial Wellness (DFW). She has a proven track record impacting thousands of employees in federal government, higher education and corporations to improve their financial wellbeing and to build wealth. Curry also served in numerous leadership roles on nonprofit boards and committees throughout the years including Yancey Thigpen Foundation, Eddie George Visions with Infinite Possibilities Foundation, Chris Sanders Foundation, Sister for Sister Foundation, Oasis Center, Jump$tart Financial Literacy Coalition, Nashville Business Incubation Center, Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council and National Coalition of 100 Black Women among others.

Prior to founding BC Holdings of Tennessee, Curry spent two decades in the financial services industry to include serving as a licensed investment advisor. Her efforts led to being appointed the relationship manager for the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators where she developed financial wellness and awareness programs for individuals and business clients. Curry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an Executive MBA from Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as a Woman of Influence,” says Saundra B. Curry, co-founder, BC Holdings of Tennessee. “Our mission is to improve the financial wellbeing of others through education and empowerment to build intergenerational wealth. As one of the first African American investment advisors in Nashville, I do not accept this award alone. I honor the blood, sweat and tears of my female ancestors. Without them, there would be no me.”

“We’re incredibly proud of Saundra and her commitment to improving the lives of others through financial education,” says Sidney T. Curry, co-founder and CEO, BC Holdings of Tennessee. “Her daily essence catapults each of us to the highest professional achievement. Her leadership, vision and community involvement raise the bar in financial wellness. We congratulate Saundra on this well-deserved recognition.”

To learn about DFW and BC Holdings of Tennessee’s online workforce training, contact Apryll Adams at aadams@bcholdingsllc.com or 615-826-7861. Read more about Saundra here.

About BC Holdings of Tennessee, LLC

Founded in 2001, BC Holdings of Tennessee, LLC is a nationally certified MBE, SDVOSB and 8(a) firm providing full service financial educational and wellness for workforce training and development. The company educates and empowers employees to create pathways towards self-sufficiency and financial independence. Their proprietary online platform, Destination: Financial Wellness, earned national accreditation by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training. BC Holdings has partnered with more than 125 clients across federal government, higher education and corporations. Learn more at https://www.bcholdingsllc.com/.

‘The Color Purple’ Trailer: Fantasia Shines in Musical Remake by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg
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Fantasia

By Charna Flam, Jazz Tangcay, Angelique Jackson, Variety

Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have reunited to revive “The Color Purple” into a movie musical, directed by Blitz Bazawule.

After debuting footage for distributors at CinemaCon last month, Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for the new adaptation, which is set to premiere in North America on Dec. 25. The film will open internationally beginning Jan. 18, 2024.

The trailer features visually bold motifs as it takes audiences inside Celie’s headspace with “American Idol” winner Fantasia reprising her Broadway role, in her major motion picture debut. It also gives an insight into the sisterhood of the women at the heart of the story. Elevated by grandeur, the highlights are the musical clips and jaw-dropping production set against the backdrop of Mister’s Farm.

Starring alongside Fantasia are Danielle Brooks as Sofia, who earned a Tony nomination for the role in the 2016 Broadway revival, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as Mister, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Corey Hawkins as Harpo and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Mama.

The adaptation’s cast also features Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister, David Alan Grier as Reverend Avery, Ciara as Nettie, Deon Cole as Alfonso, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as Young Celie, Tamala J. Mann as First Lady and Stephen Hill as Buster, as well as Jon Batiste as Grady and Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie.

In one scene, Shug Avery shows Celie how to apply lipstick. During a virtual event launching the trailer, Winfrey revealed the line was improvised. “When she says, ‘Oh, living God.’ That was an ad-libbed line that comes out of that moment when you’re with your sister and you’re looking at her in lipstick for the first time and you’re happy for her,” she explained.

Winfrey was also asked about the need to retell “The Color Purple” story almost 40 years later. Winfrey, who serves as a producer on the film, alongside Spielberg, Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones, replied, “As long there is a need for self-discovery, self-empowerment, as long as there is a need for victory in someone’s life, as long as there is a need for people to know what it feels like to be loved up and to be made full and hold to somebody else’s love, there will be a need for ‘The Color Purple.’”

With the film’s Christmas day release, Winfrey and Bazawule hope the film’s message will bring healing. Winfrey recalled a recent conversation with Fantasia who said, “The movie changed her because it allowed her to forgive. She said, ‘People coming to this movie will be healed because I was healed.’”

Read more of this article on Variety.com

300+ Major U.S. Companies Voice Opposition to Anti-Equality Legislation
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skyscraper lit up at night in LGBT colors

Recently, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, announced that more than 300 major U.S. companies have spoken out against attacks on the LGBTQ+ community by signing on to HRC’s business statement on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

The list of signatories, which has grown by 50% since the beginning of 2022, presents a unified message that anti-equality legislation is also anti-business, underscoring that assaults on LGBTQ+ rights contradict U.S. public opinion and decades of progress in the workforce.

The business letter was launched in 2020. But now, just three months into the year, 2023 is already on track to be a record-setting year of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks at the hands of state legislators throughout the country, with most of them targeting transgender people, particularly transgender youth. So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 460 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

“The LGBTQ+ community is in a state of emergency, and silence is no longer an option. We’re grateful that more than 300 companies are standing up for their LGBTQ+ employees and customers against a backdrop of extremist attacks and disinformation. Together, these businesses are sending a message that being anti-LGBTQ+ is bad for business, and that they do not want their employees or customers to have to choose between living and working in a state where they can provide for their families or a state where they, or their LGBTQ+ children, can live without fear.

We encourage companies to continue working with leaders in their communities to stop anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, which does nothing but discourage a strong business climate.”  – Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

Business leaders consistently report that they have difficulty with recruitment, retention, and tourism in states that debate or pass legislation that excludes LGBTQ+ people from full participation in daily life. These policy fights negatively impact businesses operationally and financially, and needlessly put the safety and wellbeing of their team members and their families at risk.

So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 460 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 110 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, nine have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky and now West Virginia.
  • More than 25 bathroom ban bills filed,
  • More than 110 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.<>

Continue on to read the Business Statement posted on HRC.org.

The Stevie® Awards for Women in Business Presents the 6th Annual Women | Future Conference
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diverse group of women entrepreneurs facing sideways in a line

Hundreds of women professionals will gather virtually at the sixth annual Women|Future Conference from August 1-2, 2023.

The Women|Future Conference is a professional development, learning, and networking event that brings together a community of small business owners, executives, entrepreneurs, and women who are interested in starting a business. Attending the conference is free, but attendees must register in advance to access the virtual platform and sessions.

Women from cities across the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, and Europe attend the conference year after year to be inspired, build resilience, and share insights into changes that impact their industries, their careers, and their lives.

The 2023 conference agenda features two days of panels, workshops, and breakout sessions hosted by over 30 world-class speakers including CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and small business consultants from The Audacious Agency, MENTOR New York, Jennings Social Media & MarTech, and others. The agenda also boasts a handful of speakers from global organizations; Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President – Global Industry Marketing; SAP’s Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer; and the Founder and CEO of Fempire, the #1 global coaching brand for women business owners.

The Women|Future Conference sessions will be interactive, designed for attendees and speakers to share what’s working in their organizations, troubleshoot the challenges they collectively face, and make meaningful connections. Session topics include:

  • Entrepreneurship: Tips for new business owners to transition smoothly from employee to entrepreneur
  • Lessons in Branding: Marketing tools and techniques to create a strong brand, and how to remain consistent as the brand grows and trends change
  • Business Awards: How to write winning business award nominations and leverage those wins to build credibility and boost business reputation
  • Storytelling: Mastering the art of authentic business storytelling to create brand awareness and connect with a target audience
  • Small Business Funding: Insights on how to navigate the investment landscape for women and identify the right investors and business opportunities
  • Networking: Insights on how to build social capital and find a trustworthy network of mentors that lead to career success
  • Workplace Inclusivity: Candid conversations about the real challenges and strategies used by women to foster more inclusive work cultures, and issues affecting women’s inclusivity in the workplace

The Women|Future Conference Events Manager, Lindsey Brill, remarked on the evolution of the conference since the first event in 2018:

“Six years ago, the Women|Future Conference was created to complement the highly successful Stevie® Awards for Women in Business competition to give high-achieving, career-driven women a place to share ideas and network. The first two conferences before the pandemic were in-person.

We have since remained a virtual conference, as our attendees and speakers appreciate the flexibility of a virtual environment, the ability to tune in from anywhere in the world, and the on-demand features once the event is over.”

Below is a partial list of the 2023 Women|Future Conference sessions:

  • From Wages to Wealth: Making the Shift from Employee to Entrepreneur
  • Should I Enter the Stevie Awards? Learn How Leaders Leverage Awards to Boost their Business and build Credibility
  • Taking the Leap: How to Transfer Your Skills from One Role to the Next
  • Funding Female Futures: Navigating the Investment Landscape and Bootstrapping Success
  • Unveiling the Unspoken: Candid Conversation on Workplace Inclusivity Issues for Women in Business
  • From Idea to Empire – Lessons in Branding
  • The Must-Have Money-Marketing Marketing Tool…That Few Businesses Have but that Every Single One of Them Needs

To learn more about the Women|Future Conference speakers and view the full agenda, visit www.womenfutureconference.com.

Free Registration

In order to attend the conference and access the virtual event platform, all attendees must register in advance on the registration page.

For partnership, press, and media inquiries, contact Nina@stevieawards.com.

NMSDC: The Certification Every Minority-Owned Business Enterprise Needs
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two women business owners

According to national surveys, basic financial literacy in the United States is generally low, and federal surveys reveal gaps among racial groups and ethnicities. Financial literacy and access to capital don’t impact all businesses equally. Unsurprisingly, there are significant disparities across racial and socioeconomic segments. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration less than 10% of all federal contracts went to minority-owned businesses in fiscal year 2020.

If your company wants to connect with America’s top publicly-owned, privately-owned, foreign-owned corporations, and other large purchasing organizations, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)’s certification can be a real asset. The organization has an impressive list of corporate members that includes IBM, Microsoft, and Google. The council helps these companies connect with the more than 15,000 minority-owned suppliers in its database. Seventeen states and 25 cities also accept NMSDC certification for programs designed to help minorities win public-sector contracts.

Who is eligible: For-profit enterprises of any size that are in the United States and are owned, operated, and controlled by minority group members who are U.S. citizens.  For the purposes of NMSDC’s program, a minority group member is an individual who is a U.S. citizen with at least 25% Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, or Native American heritage. Documentation to support the claim is required. Additionally, at least 51% of the business or the company’s stock must be owned by such individuals, and the management and operations must also be controlled by such individuals.

How to apply: Start by contacting one of the NMSDC’s regional councils close to your business. Your council will provide you with a standardized application and request documents to support your minority status claim through a combination of government documentation. You will also need to sign an affidavit or declaration, provide current financial statements, submit tax returns, a bank signature card and more. Unlike most minority-owned certification programs, the organization will make a virtual office visit to your company to verify the information on your application.

The process of obtaining, coordinating, and submitting all the requirements can be time-consuming, however, the good news is that once you have completed the work for your initial certification, the subsequent renewals are typically much more streamlined.

Business Benefits of Certification

Access to capital and capacity building: Certification is a door opener and potentially give minority business enterprises (MBEs) an edge over non-certified MBEs with whom you are competing for contracts. The great news is that the largest U.S. corporations purchase more than $100 billion in products, services and solutions supplied by MBEs. NMSDC facilitates business connections between corporate members and MBEs through Check—Mate®, which sets the foundation for future partnering and business opportunities. Furthermore, NMSDC has created capital access opportunities for MBEs throughout the life cycle of its partnership with the Business Consortium Fund, the Growth Initiative Program, Corporate Plus® Membership Program, and Capital Managers’ Program.

Unique networking opportunities: Networking is key to the success of any minority business enterprise. By getting NMSDC certification, you’ll join a network of powerful, influential leaders who are eager to share their wisdom and expertise. MBEs have exposure to over 15,000 other MBEs, through the MBE2MBE Search Tool, to engage in business opportunities and the ability to form partnering relationships, strategic alliances or joint ventures for success. Most importantly, NMSDC holds the largest U.S. conference focused on minority business development, where MBEs connect with hundreds of prospective buyers, government agencies, and procurement professionals.

Stand out from competitors: MBEs have to deal with a lot of competition, and it can be tough to cut through the clutter and noise. A minority owned business certification provides unique opportunities as many corporations seek out diverse-owned businesses to spend their money. Once you are certified, spread the word on all your marketing vehicles, including your website, brochures, email newsletters, social media channels and anywhere else you can. NMSDC certification helps communicate your minority business status, not only to prospective clients but also to vendors and the broader business community. It communicates that diversity is a core value of your enterprise, making you a more attractive business partner through values alignment.

If you’re a minority business owner, don’t wait longer and pursue the certification that will unlock new opportunities to grow and scale your business. For more information, visit https://nmsdc.org.

Elena Reygadas, named world’s best female chef, cooks in rhythm with nature
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Elena Reygadas smiling with a green floral background

By Albinson Linares and Valeria León, Noticias Telemundo

Elena Reygadas’ days start early, which explains why she laughs remembering that everything was “dark” when she found out she’d been named best female chef in the world in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 awards.

“I did not expect it and it has been a very nice surprise; it is very exciting to obtain recognition like this. I want to share it with my entire team; there are many of us in the kitchen and it is always a collective act,” Reygadas, 46, said in an interview with Noticias Telemundo at Rosetta, her first and signature restaurant, which she opened in 2010 in an old mansion in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.

Over a decade later, the world-renowned restaurant is where Reygadas has dedicated herself to reconfiguring the vast culinary wealth of her country, menu by menu.

“The menu is based on the timeline and the ingredients that nature gives us. Right now, for example, we have a dish with Manila mango that only lasts a little while. We are also using a lot of muscatel plum, which is a moment and when it’s over, it’s over,” said Reygadas, who was named Latin America’s best female chef in the 2014 awards. “It makes us sad because we became very attached to the ingredients, but that also allows us to continue our creativity and move into a new moment.”

On Wednesday morning, before Rosetta opened to the public, the aromas of Mexican herbs and vegetables such as hoja santa, romeritos and avocados mingled with powerful hints of spices and, of course, chiles, which are at the heart of many of Reygadas’ signature dishes.

hearty bowl of Tomatillo soup
A dish at Rosetta has green tomatoes, eggplant, molasses and Ocosingo cheese.

When asked the secret of Rosetta’s success, she credits that emphasis on “biodiversity.”

“It’s a factor that also has its challenges, because sometimes people who visit us are already in love with a dish but, when they arrive, it is gone and they don’t like that,” Reygadas said. “So changing the menu to respect nature’s times is also a challenge at the diners’ level.”

Vegetables play a leading role in many of Reygadas’ signature dishes, such as beetroot tartare al pastor, smoked cheese tortelloni with hoja santa — a Mexican herb — and the famous kale with pistachio pipián, or mole sauce, and romeritos (wild herbs) tacos.

“I am convinced that the vegetable side of the kitchen and the ingredients of Mexico are wonderful; they are exceptional flavors and there are many to explore. That is why we are increasingly focusing more on the vegetable,” she said.

Read the complete article originally posted on Telemundo here.

Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Tina Turner Passes Away at 83 After Long Illness
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Tina Turner

The legendary singer died Wednesday, May 24 after a long illness at her home near Zurich in Switzerland, her publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed in a statement.

“Tina Turner, the “Queen of Rock’n Roll” has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” the statement read. “There will be a private funeral ceremony attended by close friends and family. Please respect the privacy of her family at this difficult time.”

Since 1994 the American-born singer had been living in Switzerland with her husband, German actor and music producer Erwin Bach, earning her Swiss citizenship in 2013. In recent years she battled a number of serious health problems, including a stroke, intestinal cancer and total kidney failure that required an organ transplant.

Boasting one of the longest careers in rock history, Turner scored Billboard Top 40 hits across four decades, earning her Grammys, a Kennedy Center Honor, and entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Most recently, Turner was the focal point of an HBO documentary on her life titled Tina.

Turner’s incendiary singing, glittery stage-wear and seemingly inexhaustible energy as the frontwoman for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue made her and her then-husband one of the most electrifying acts of the 1960s, serving up high octane covers of “Proud Mary,” “Come Together,” and “I Want to Take You Higher.”

Striking out on her own as a solo artist in the ’70s, Turner reinvented herself as a star of the MTV age, notching hits with “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “The Best,” and “Private Dancer” — becoming one of the highest-selling female artists on the planet in the process.

Turner’s early years were marred by her tumultuous marriage to musical partner Ike Turner, who subjected her to brutal acts of physical and psychological abuse. (He died in 2007.) Her survival and harrowing escape was dramatized in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It starring Angela Bassett.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939 in the town of Nutbush, Tennessee, Turner began singing in a Baptist church choir. Her childhood was not a happy one; at the age of 11 her mother left home in an effort to flee her abusive husband. Two years later, when Turner was a teen, her father married another woman and left the state, leaving Turner and her sisters in the care of her grandmother.

Turner would meet her future husband Ike in the late 1950s, when he was performing on the St. Louis club circuit with his band, Kings of Rhythm. He was 25 years old, and Turner was just 17.

“Ike wasn’t conventionally handsome,” she wrote in her 2018 memoir My Love Story. “Actually, he wasn’t handsome at all — and he certainly wasn’t my type. I was used to high school boys who were clean-cut, athletic, and dressed in denim, so Ike’s processed hair, diamond ring, and skinny body looked old to me, even though he was only 25. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘God, he’s ugly.'”

Tina became a member of the band, and after a relationship with the sax player, Raymond Hill — which resulted in the birth of her first son, Craig, in 1958 — her association with Ike took a romantic turn. Even when she became pregnant with his child, business was never far from his mind. After the band’s first studio recording with Tina netted Ike $25,000, he sensed an opportunity that had nothing to do with love. “My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his money-maker,” Tina later wrote. “He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.”

Around this time, Ike gave the future superstar her famous moniker — against her wishes. “Tina” was inspired by a character in a favorite television show. He also insisted she take his surname, implying both marriage and a certain degree of ownership. In fact, he even trademarked the name “Tina Turner.”

Read the complete article posted on People here.

What do Mario and Queen Latifah have in common? They just made it into U.S. history
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GILBERT CARRASQUILLO/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES

Queen Latifah, Super Mario, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Daddy Yankee and mariachi music are the latest additions to the U.S. National Recording Registry, which means a selection of their recordings have been dubbed “audio treasures worthy of preservation” by the Library of Congress.

“The Equalizer” star Queen Latifah made history as the first female rapper with a recording in the registry thanks to this year’s inclusion of her 1989 album “All Hail the Queen,” which includes the feminist anthem “Ladies First.”

“Her album showed rap could cross genres including reggae, hip-hop, house and jazz — while also opening opportunities for other female rappers,” the library said Wednesday.

The instantly recognizable “Super Mario Bros.” theme music — officially known as the “Ground Theme” — became the first music from a video game to enter the registry Wednesday when the library announced this year’s selections. The tune, written by young Nintendo composer Koji Kondo in 1985, appeared in dozens of iterations of the iconic video game and most recently in the box-office smash “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

Kondo, 61, told the Library of Congress that he had to be “very innovative and make full use of the musical and programming ingenuity” available to him at the time to record the motif because the amount of data he could use for music and sound effects was extremely small.

“I used all sorts of genres that matched what was happening on screen. We had jingles to encourage players to try again after getting a ‘game over,’ fanfares to congratulate them for reaching goals, and pieces that sped up when the time remaining grew short,” he said through an interpreter.

Additionally, Madonna’s breakthrough 1984 album “Like a Virgin,” Mariah Carey’s 1994 holiday classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and Daddy Yankee’s explosive reggaeton single “Gasolina” from 2010 are also among “the defining sounds of the nation’s history and culture,” the library said. “Gasolina,” the first reggaeton hit to be included in the registry, helped the Panama-rooted musical genre cross over from Latin radio to wider audiences and launched Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee onto the global stage. His single’s appeal was so great, the library said, that it “even moved some radio stations to switch formats from English to Spanish to tap into this revolution.”

Read more of the article originally posted on LA Times here.

Help Has Arrived: The Best Funding Resources for Women-Owned Business
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woman business owner studying financials at desk

Whether you’re looking to start a business for the first time or need additional funding for your current work, there are several places to turn to make sure your business is on the financial track to success.

Here are some of the best funding opportunities you should utilize today:

Become a Women-Owned Certified Business

Becoming an official certified woman-owned business is one of the greatest things you can do for your business. Not only will you have access to special scholarships and funding programs, but a certification could open the door to potential partnerships and contracts with big-name companies that can increase your revenue. Certifications also provide opportunities for networking, training, mentoring, counseling and many other resources that can help grow your business. You may even qualify for other business certifications (minority-owned, disability-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, etc.) that would grant you even more opportunities for growth and success. Look into organizations such as WBENC, NMSDC, NGLCC and Disability:IN to see if you qualify.

The 8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) program can be a valuable tool for experienced socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners, who have already been in business for at least two years or more, and are interested in expanding their footprint in the federal marketplace.

Certified firms in the 8(a) program can:

  • Efficiently compete and receive set-aside and sole-source contracts.
  • Receive one-on-one business development assistance for their nine-year term from dedicated business opportunity specialists focused on helping firms grow and accomplish their business objectives.
  • Pursue opportunities for mentorship from experienced and technically capable firms through the Small Business Administration (SBA) Mentor-Protégé program.
  • Connect with procurement and compliance experts who understand regulations in the context of business growth, finance and government contracting.
  • Pursue joint ventures with established businesses to increase capacity.
  • Qualify to receive federal surplus property on a priority basis.
  • Receive free training from SBA’s 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance program.

The 8(a) certification qualifies your business as eligible to compete for the program’s sole-source and competitive set-aside contracts. The government authorizes sole-source contracts to 8(a) participants for up to $7 million for acquisitions assigned manufacturing North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and $4.5 million for all other acquisitions.

The Women’s Business Center

Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are a part of a national network of entrepreneurship centers throughout the United States and its territories that are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. WBCs seek to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world. Run by the SBA, the WBC provides resources in business training, counseling, federal contracts and access to credit and capital. There are multiple offices in just about every state across the country. Visit sba.gov to find your local WBC.

Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contracting program

To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting program. This program is specifically designed to fund WOSBs that are surveyed as underrepresented.

There are a total of 759 businesses that fall under this category, and include industries such as:

  • Material specific production
  • Food specific production
  • Food specific farming
  • Energy specific production
  • Clothing specific production
  • Certain construction industries

If you are accepted into the WOSB Federal Contracting program, your business will be eligible to compete for the 5% of federal contracts that are set aside for these businesses. To learn more and to become certified, visit wosb.certify.sba.gov.

Grants.gov

One of the most important resources you can utilize for your business funding needs is Grants.gov. The website showcases hundreds of grants that are available for entrepreneurs and how you can apply for them. Each grant lists detailed instructions on their specific eligibility requirements, application process and funding amounts. You can also filter your search to look for grants specifically for women-owned businesses.

To search through this database, you must register for a Grants.gov Workspace account that will allow for you or other members of your team to begin filling out applications.

Non-Federal Grants

Federal resources aren’t the only way to receive grants. There are many corporations, programs and organizations that give out business grants of differing sizes every year specifically to support women-owned businesses.

Some of the grants you may want to consider include:

  • Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
  • Amber Grant
  • Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
  • The Women of Color Grant Program
  • The Halstead Grant

For a more comprehensive list of non-federal grants, visit GrantsforWomen.org.

Sources: Small Business Administration, Forbes, Grants.gov

Thanks To Help From Tabitha Brown, This Black-Owned Business’ Sales Went From $200 In A Week To Over $23K
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Tabitha Brown and husband wearing matching sweatshirts smiling

Ngozi Nwanji, AfroTech

The power of an influential social media platform has transformed this couple’s business.

Earlier in March, Tabitha Brown and her husband, Chance Brown, posted an episode of their YouTube series, “Fridays with Tab and Chance.” In the video, the two were wearing a sweater set from Brand Avenue — a marriage lifestyle apparel brand.

Within a short period of time, the Black-owned business’ revenue started booming.

Co-founded and launched in 2014 by Marc and Ima Carnelus, the two shared that prior to being featured on Brown’s channel their business had been struggling for six months. From March 3 to March 9, the brand only made around $200 for the week.

“We even considered shutting the business down altogether,” Marc openly shared in an Instagram post. “This is our main source of income and it’s been super tough.”

Ima added, “We have been praying in the midst of all that for a breakthrough, for a sign to keep going, a miracle. We’ve had people really rallying around us, supporting us, praying for us, helping us financially because we still got bills to pay. And God answered our prayers.”

A week after their flatline in sales, their business blew up overnight from the Browns’ video posting.

From March 10 to March 16, the entrepreneurs made over $23,000 — and the sales are still going up.

“This is the Tabitha effect,” Marc emphasized.

“I love this so much and it’s just another reason I can’t wait to bring back Very Good Mondays!!! So happy for you guys @brandaveclothing,” Tabitha Brown shared on Instagram. “Keep believing and keep trusting God, he got you!!!!”

Back in 2020, she started the Very Good Mondays series to feature and support small businesses.

The video that sparked Brand Avenue’s sales isn’t the first time Brown has shown love to Brand Avenue.

View Tabita Brown’s exclusive cover story in Professional WOMAN’s Magazine!

ALDI

Leidos

Alight

Alight
 

Robert Half