Published Articles

Saks' first diversity/inclusion VP is a Memphis original

Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue has named Memphian Lori Spicer Robertson as its first vice president of diversity and inclusion. Robertson will be responsible for creating and leading strategic initiatives that foster a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion. Robertson plans to spend time listening to employees, customers and partners before taking on the task of creating a strategy that aligns with the overall business goals and an action plan. The mainstream fashion industry has been w

Alice Marie Johnson focused on the ‘forgotten’ after presidential pardon

Former Memphis resident Alice Marie Johnson said she was “overwhelmed” by President Donald Trump granting her a full pardon. “It was a great burden lifted off my shoulders,” said Johnson during an interview via email with The New Tri-State Defender about the pardon granted on Aug. 28. “It reminded me that we have a lot of work to do for people who have paid their debt to society. Many people who have served their time are not fully free. “This is why we need to do more work on probation and p

Local push on to make Memphis area count in the Census

With a Sept. 30 deadline looming, local officials are making an all-out push to get as many households as possible to complete 2020 Census forms. The City of Memphis has jumped into the effort big time to make sure communities of color, which traditionally have been undercounted, are accounted for as accurately as possible. The Census Bureau also is aiding in the effort by having Census takers visit homes that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. For a city, whose African-American popul

Lifestyle pharmacist teaches women how to be fit, fabulous & fulfilled

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there are major healthcare disparities among minorities and that African Americans have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, which has caused growing cases in the community. According to Jeffrey Sterling, MD, MPH, FACEP, there are several interesting reasons for overrepresentation of COVID-19 in African Americans including: Fortunately, there are African American healthcare professionals who are striving to educate our community abo

Akbari rises up, again, at 2020 Democratic Convention

From former first lady Michelle Obama’s compelling speech to the heartwarming stories from everyday people, the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) has been a trending topic on social media this week. The DNC, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years by the United States Democratic Party and administered by the Democratic National Committee. During the DNC, the committee and the Party officially nominat

Harris as VP choice rings like a winner for many

Local elected Democratic officials weighed in on presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s choice of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) as his running mate, expressing excitement at the choice and expectation that she can help carry the party to victory in November. Biden made the announcement Tuesday (Aug. 11) and the two appeared together as presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the first time Wednesday (Aug. 12). He earlier had promised to name a woman as his

Black male entrepreneurs are making moves in Memphis

According to , being “ready to be my own boss” was the primary reason African-American survey respondents started their businesses (thirty-four percent ) followed by a “desire to pursue my own passion” (twenty-nine percent). These black male entrepreneurs are certainly pursuing their passions while being their own bosses: Anthony Latiker, Sr., owner of Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge, and Dwayne Chaffen and Rick Askew, owners of Memphis Grindhouse Coffee. After driving trucks for over 15 years, Memp

Starting and managing a nonprofit organization during a pandemic

Starting and managing a nonprofit organization can be a challenge. Imagine doing all of this during a pandemic when donors are not in a position to provide financial resources. According to Memphis has over 13,000 However, for smaller, grassroots organizations and startups, it can be difficult to go through the process of attaining, maintaining a 501(c)3 status along with fundraising and compliance. Myron Mays, founder of, has the expertise and the passion to help nonprofit organ

COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the event planning industry: cancel, postpone, or virtual

The event planning season was set to begin in May with memorable experiences like weddings, graduations, concerts and music festivals. But, due to COVID-19 many event planners are having to find new ways to engage audiences with new options for event experiences. Two notable event planning and coordinating companies, Cynthia Daniels & Co. and LEO Events have great reputations for planning notable and memorable events. They both share how they are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19

Communication Is Key: The Importance of Black Communications Professionals During a Crisis – Black Millennials 4 Flint

As the saying goes, “when you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,” especially in times of uncertainty. As a communications professional, it is important for me to always be prepared in the event of a crisis and to help my clients effectively communicate to their audiences. In a time like the COVID-19 pandemic, a pandemic where African Americans are disproportionately affected according to the CDC, it is significantly important to have a black communications professional [or someone who kno

Credit counseling for emerging & enterprising entrepreneurs

Cash may be king, but credit also plays a major role in your finances especially when you are an emerging or enterprising entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurs still have to live their lives and having a bad credit score can impact your personal life and your business,” said Molly Polatty, program manager for, Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center. The Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center (GMFEC) is a grant-funded Shelby County Trustee program and a partnership with the RISE Foundation.

Entrepreneurial events to attend during Black History Month

New and existing entrepreneurs should always be learning and networking to achieve and meet sales goals. In recognition of Black History month, we want to highlight the following education and networking opportunities in Memphis. Black History is the perfect month to generate black dollars and below are a few events that are focused on entrepreneurship during Black History Month: After this workshop, you will know the differences between conventional bank loans and SBA loans and have a better

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art: 100 Years in the Making

Opened to the public as the Brooks Memorial Art Gallery on May 26, 1916, the Brooks Museum of Art celebrates 100 years. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the Brooks Museum houses the oldest and largest collection of world art in Tennessee and is among the largest museums of its kind in the country. This is a major accomplishment for a museum in the South considering the fact that there are plenty of notable museums in the northern, western, and eastern regions of the United States. Today, the Muse

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