Georgia Was a Big Win for Democrats. Black Women Did the Groundwork.

RIVERDALE, Ga. — Decades before Joseph R. Biden Jr. flipped Georgia for the Democrats, Felicia Davis was a one-stop political organizing dynamo in Clayton County, canvassing for issues rather than candidates, for her community rather than a political party.

The boom of her voice and the clarity of her convictions command respect. In her operation, even the teenagers are paid $15 an hour to knock on doors and distribute literature. Almost everyone is diligent: She is not someone to disappoint.

“I am unapologetically Black,” Ms. Davis said. “My agenda is Black. My community is Black. My county is Black. So what I do is Black. And for 20 years, we’ve been trying to tell people what was possible.”

When Georgia turned blue for Mr. Biden this year after record voter turnout, it validated the political vision and advocacy of a group of Black women who have led a decades-long organizing effort to transform the state’s electorate. Democrats celebrated their work registering new voters, canvassing and engaging in long-term political outreach. The achievement seemed to confirm mantras that have become commonplace in liberal politics, like “trust Black women” and “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party.”

But the same women tell a more complicated story about their relationship with elected Democrats, national campaign officials and prominent political groups. For years, they said, their political vision was demeaned and distrusted. Donors and campaigns balked at the idea that Georgia was a battleground state worth investing in and that the organizers had picked up on demographic and political changes in their home state that others had missed.

Now, with Georgia at the center of the political universe ahead of two pivotal Senate runoff elections in January, the organizers are asking Democrats: Will you embrace our approach now?

“We weren’t surprised that Georgia turned blue, because we’ve been working on it for over 15 years,” said Deborah Scott, the founder of Georgia Stand Up. When she started the group in 2004, she said, it was hard to persuade philanthropy groups and political foundations that focus on grass-roots organizing to consider Georgia.

“It’s been an uphill battle,” Ms. Davis said. “Because here, we’re not just women, we’re Southern women. And we’re not just Southern women, we’re Southern Black women.”

The most famous member of the club is Stacey Abrams, the former state lawmaker and candidate for governor who founded a voter registration group called the New Georgia Project. But there are many others — like Ms. Davis and Helen Butler, who was mentored by the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, the late civil rights leader — who have spent years working to turn out voters in Georgia.

No single group delivered the state to Mr. Biden or can take credit for turnout there. In a presidential race decided by a razor-thin margin in Georgia, every piece mattered: increased turnout among young voters; outreach to Black, Latino and Asian-American communities; and a rejection of President Trump by some college-educated white voters who typically vote Republican.

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Barack Obama: Donald Trump’s ‘stereotypical macho style’ appealed to some Black voters

President Obama is attributing the success President Trump had winning over Black rappers and Black voters in the election in part to the allure of the Republican’s “tough” guy image and “stereotypical macho style.”

Mr. Obama said men of all races are susceptible to that sort of figure, and said pop culture has glorified the values of “wealth, power, frankly, greed and not thinking about other people because you’re so ruthless that you’re just looking out for yourself.”

“If there are some in the hip-hop community who are constantly rapping about bling and depicting women in a certain way, and then they hear Donald Trump basically delivering the same version of it, they might say, ‘Yeah, that guy, that’s what I want. That’s what I want to be,’ ” Mr. Obama said on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.” “All of which is to say the Black community, like every community, is complicated.”

Mr. Trump outperformed recent Republican presidential contenders among Black voters, while presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden failed to repeat the success Mr. Obama had in winning over 90% of the Black vote.

Mr. Obama said he learned during his two terms in the White House that the country and voters are far more complicated than the media make them out to be and urged progressive Democrats to spend more time talking to people in their communities.

“Those of us who are progressive, who think, for example, that women should be treated with respect and dignity, or wealth isn’t the measure of worth, we should have a more equitable society, we can’t take for granted any group,” he said. “We can’t generalize and just assume, well, we got Black folks in our pockets. or we’ve got Hispanics locked up. And for that matter, we shouldn’t assume that we can’t win White men.”

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Thirteen Lune Is the One-Stop-Shop For Your Favorite Black Beauty Brands

As the founder of her beauty brand, Nyakio Greico—who founded Nyakio™️ Beauty—knows a thing or two about underrepresentation. Black beauty founders rarely get shelf space in popular retailers or are sometimes relegated to spaces often overlooked or ignored by shoppers. So Greico and Patrick Herning (founder and CEO of e-commerce platform 11 Honoré) came up with a solution: Thirteen Lune, an online destination created to encourage the discovery of brands owned by Black and Brown beauty founders.

Upon arrival on the site, the brand’s mission stares you in the face: “Beyond Skin, Beyond Beauty, Beyond Barriers— Beauty products transcend race, gender identity, and age via the world’s first fully inclusive beauty platform.” Products are divided into three categories—skin, body, and hair and fall under three pillars:

  • Products made by Black and Brown founders that cater to all skin tones
  • Products that treat Black and Brown skin but are not exactly Black-owned
  • “Ally brands” that have made a conscious effort to be inclusive in their offerings and beyond

“I love being a beauty founder and am committed to helping other Black and Brown beauty founders realize success,” Greico says in a statement. “Over the last 18 years, I have faced challenges as well as gained valuable experiences that allow me to give these founders the support they deserve and on a bigger stage. There is so much talent that is not being recognized at the level that it needs to be. This is an opportunity to elevate these founders and to address the much bigger issue of alleviating systemic racism by building generational wealth in our communities. Change won’t happen unless we work in tandem to achieve this goal.”

To start, Thirteen Lune launches with 13 brands: Afro Pick, Beija Flor Naturals, Buttah Skin, Bomba Curls, Charlotte Mensah, Dehiya Beauty, Gilded Body, HyperSkin, Lauren Napier Beauty, Liha Beauty, Marie Hunter Beauty, Skot Beaute, and The Established. When you’re not shopping, you can peruse the site’s blog section titled Shop Talk, where there are accompanying stories and interviews on the founders and brands housed on the site.

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Little Black Book Of Health, Beauty And Wellness Practitioners

Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, one’s health and wellbeing feels more important than ever before. And while it is hard to travel to find winter sun or to visit a leading health practitioner on the other side of the world, sometimes the tweaks are as simple as a good night’s sleep, an inviting new yoga mat, or a restorative plant-based meal.

Heaven Skincare

Deborah Mitchell, the founder of Heaven Skincare, has launched a series of new vegan products. The brand’s new plant-based range contains a patented ingredient found in British nettles that works much in the same ways as the bee venom product on which Mitchell built her brand’s reputation. All the packaging in the range is recyclable and the bamboo lids were chosen based on the plant’s sustainability.

Fable Yoga

U.K-based yoga brand Fable has launched its first eco-friendly yoga mat collection alongside a new range of smaller mats for commuters. Created and tested by yogis, for yogis, all of their mats have been crafted using natural tree rubber and vegan PU. Created by a yoga practitioner, every detail has been considered to ensure the very best in performance. The mats are wider and longer than is standard, providing extra space to practice, and their non-slip technology ensures you won’t slip and slide. Add to that, the mats are biodegradable so won’t sit in a landfill when you’re eventually ready for a new one.

LYMA Laser

Lyma founder Lucy Goff has spoken at length about what makes her product unique, and it comes down to the fact that it has a 500-milliwatt laser inside, which is far more intense than other at-home lasers on the market. That targeted power paired with how the controlled dispersion causes beams of light to shoot straight into the skin up to eight millimeters deep, make this a powerful wellness tool. And unlike many competing beauty treatments, such as micro-needling, the laser doesn’t work off of a stress-damage response. Instead, the Lyma laser stimulates the skin to produce collagen, which generates new skin cells (along with other by-products like elastin). The impact? Transformative results combating wrinkles, pigmentation and scars.

London Serenity

Taking place the comfort of your own home, London Serenity offers a range of mobile beauty treatments and high-end fitness classes across London. A couple-owned business, the brand is trusted by leading luxury hotels, including, The Four Seasons, The Connaught, Claridges, The Ned and Shangri-La. Bid farewell to the aches and pains of working from home with a full-body massage, or feel glamorous again with any number of well-executed treatments, including blow dries, manicures and pedicures. And beyond beauty, London Serenity has recently launched a programme of fitness classes, taught either in person or over Zoom.

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Black women, Latinas get less than 1% of venture funds

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Kathryn Finney created a pipeline into the tech world to help Black and Latinx women founders become successful.

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Black women and Latinas are raising more venture capital funding than ever before, tapping into Silicon Valley’s wealth-generating machine amid the nation’s racial reckoning, but funding parity is still a pipedream for women of color, according to a new research report from digitalundivided.

“We have seen the number increase but not enough,” said Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided, a nonprofit that supports female entrepreneurs of color named for civil rights pioneer Diane Nash. 

Black women-founded companies raised about $700 million in funding from 2018-2019, a significant increase from the previous two-year period yet still account for 0.27% of the $276.7 billion in venture capital investment, the ProjectDiane report found.

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Latina-founded companies raised $1.03 billion in the same time period, accounting for 0.37% of total venture capital investment during those two years.

Combined, Black women and Latinas make up less than 1% of all venture capital investment. 

ProjectDiane is a biennial demographic study that tracks public funding announcements for Black women and Latina entrepreneurs. It comes as COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on minority-owned businesses. Earlier this year, digitalundivided reported that 82% of Black women founders experienced a pandemic-fueled loss of revenue.

Most Black women and Latina entrepreneurs don’t raise any venture capital at all.

A meeting at the nonprofit digitalundivided in 2019. Black women and Latinas are raising more venture capital funding than ever before, tapping into Silicon Valley’s wealth-generating machine amid the nation’s racial reckoning, but funding parity is still a pipedream for women of color, according to a new ProjectDiane research report from digitalundivided. (Photo: Savannah Brock, for USA TODAY)

For decades, funders have underestimated and overlooked Black women and Latinas. Research shows that black women are among the least likely to get checks cut by venture capitalists. So few raise venture money that the percentage is, statistically speaking, nearly zero.

The majority of entrepreneurs who land venture capital funding are white men, much like the financiers who hand it out. Venture capitalists tend to place their bets on people who’ve already succeeded or who remind them of the people who have.

Black women and Latinas face significant roadblocks in Silicon Valley – insular networks, negative stereotypes and overlapping discrimination based on gender and race. 

The first ProjectDiane report in 2016 found that just 12 start-ups led by Black women raised more than $1 million in funding. Two years later, nearly triple the number of black women founders – 34 – had crossed that threshold. The latest report found those ranks had grown to 93 Black women and 90 Latinas.

ProjectDiane draws from a database of about 600 Black women and Latina founders. 

The progress is frustratingly slow for those trying to reverse entrenched patterns of exclusion, but Maillian says “for

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Naval Academy midshipman reaches a milestone for Black women

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Midshipman Sydney Barber had her doubts about applying for the top student leadership position at the U.S. Naval Academy. A Black woman had never held the post in the 44 years women have been able to attend the 175-year-old institution.

A Black academy alumna of another generation saw her potential. Navy Capt. Tasya Lacy, class of 1997, pressed Barber to apply. Next semester, Barber will become the first Black woman to be the academy’s brigade commander.

The brigade commander represents about 4,400 midshipmen — future Navy and Marine Corps officers — before the academy’s commandant. It’s a top leadership position that enables a midshipman to lead peers in achieving the goals of the brigade. The commander has a staff and helps academy officials keep a pulse on the needs of the brigade. Barber compares it to a student government president at a civilian university.

“This was never something that I dreamed of,” Barber said, adding of Lacy: “She had no doubt in her mind that I was the right person for the job, and hearing her say that and being so confident in that, that really helped me to be more confident in myself.”

Barber, who was selected for the position a few weeks ago, has achieved the milestone at a time of continuing national discussions about social and racial injustice — a debate that she says helped inspire her to step up.

“It’s definitely been a challenge and it’s definitely taken a lot of courage to … make this step, especially in this time of social disharmony, but these times bring a heavier calling, I feel,” said Barber, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering major from Lake Forest, Illinois.

Lacy remembers having doubts about applying for positions like brigade commander when she was a midshipman. Now an active-duty Navy captain, she said she learned “not to self-eliminate.”

“Those were the words that I used when I talked to her, and I did tell her to reach for the stars and not to sell herself short,” said Lacy, who is now legislative director for the Office of the Chief of Navy Reserve.

Barber, who aspires to be commissioned as a Marine Corps ground officer, will be the 16th woman to be brigade commander at the academy. The first, Juliane Gallina, held the position in 1991.

Similar ground was broken at the U.S. Military Academy in New York in 2017, when Simone Askew became the first Black female first captain, the highest position in the cadet chain of command at West Point.

Women were first allowed into the nation’s service academies in 1976. That’s also when Janie Mines became the first Black woman to enter the Naval Academy, graduating four years later in 1980. While the number of women at the academy has been rising, it’s still currently about 72% male and 28% female.

In a social media post, Mines wrote that Barber’s selection “brought me to tears. This young woman, Midshipman Sydney Barber, will be the first Black

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Thirteen Lune Is the New Beauty Site Putting Black- and Brown-Owned Brands Front and Center

Thirteen Lune, the new site that curates products from Black and Brown-owned beauty brands, feels so necessary in this moment that you might suspect it had been fast-tracked over the past months, as the pandemic dealt a harsh blow to Black businesses and America faced a racial reckoning. But the idea for the shopping platform actually started a year and a half ago, when co-founders Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning met for the first time. “We talked about various ways that we could collaborate and work together to really expand on this concept of inclusivity,” Grieco told Vogue over the phone from Los Angeles. “We saw how there is still so much work to be done within this industry.”

Grieco has been working in the beauty industry for 18 years. After leaving her job at Creative Artists Agency, where she discovered her deep love for beauty working with actresses on sets, she founded Nyakio Beauty in 2002, inspired by her Kenyan roots. “My grandmother taught me my first beauty secret, using Kenyan coffee beans and sugar cane rods that she grew on her farm as exfoliants, at eight years old. It really stuck with me,” Grieco remembers of her first visit to Kenya. When she approached her twenties, Greico realized that “Africa was always very underrepresented within premium beauty. So I decided to leave my job and bottle my grandmother’s coffee scrubs.”

Nyakio Grieco

Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

Patrick Herning

Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

Partnering with Herning (the co-founder of size-inclusive retailer 11 Honoré), Grieco is continuing her mission of making the beauty space even more inclusive of underrepresented cultures through Thirteen Lune. In a nod to its name—inspired by the fact that 13 is an honored number in Kenyan culture, and that there are 13 moons in an astrological moon cycle—the site launches today with a total of 13 stand-out brands, all owned by people of color. Buttah Skin, for example, was founded by model Dorion Renaud, who was inspired by the power of raw, organic shea butter. Bomba Curls is a nourishing natural hair-care brand based around generational Dominican beauty secrets. UK-based Liha Beauty combines Yoruba tradition with English aromatherapy for its hero moisturizing Idan oil. Grieco and her team were deep in the vetting process when protests—and resultant consumer activism—began this summer. “I went through a lot of those Black and POC-owned beauty brand lists that were going around this summer, buying the products and then seeing how they work on my skin and hair and on my daughter as well,” Greico says. When it came to reaching out to her chosen brands, Grieco was mostly met with resounding yesses. When she explained her mission to center minority-owned brands rather than leaving consumers to comb through major retailer sites, she often heard exclamations like, “Finally, something like this exists!”

A preview of Thirteen Lune

Photo: Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

After its initial launch, Thirteen Lune will be expanding its list of brand offerings. Grieco also hopes to

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How Black women worked to secure Joe Biden’s election as president

One hundred years after passage of the 19th Amendment, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris honored Black American women who “so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”

Kamala Harris delivers address to nation as vice president-elect

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About 90% of Black women voted for President-elect Joe Biden over Donald Trump, making them Democrats’ most loyal bloc. For the past five presidential cycles, they have shown up to the polls at higher rates than any other group.

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This year, experts say their nationwide voter mobilization efforts led to the historic turnout that secured Biden’s victory and that of the first Black, female vice president in the nation’s history.

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But being the “backbone” of American democracy, an identity activists say is rooted in a history of racial oppression and gendered disenfranchisement, comes at a cost.

“It is a tremendous, magnanimous burden to bear,” said Black Voters Matter Fund co-founder LaTosha Brown. “There is a major price to pay there. While we are strong in the world — and I consider myself powerful — I have felt this culture doesn’t give me the grace or space to be weak, to be delicate.”



Kamala Harris looking at the camera: Harris is also the first Black and South Asian American to be elected vice president.


© Provided by USA TODAY
Harris is also the first Black and South Asian American to be elected vice president.

Black women have been the spearhead of social justice movements throughout American history. Although largely ignored in history books until the late 20th century, Black women were a driving force in the abolitionist movement in the mid 1800s.

Then, they led the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965, helping to abolish tactics of voter suppression that targeted Black Americans.

Since the 1940s, after Recy Taylor spoke out against the white men who kidnapped and sexually assaulted her, Black women have also led the charge in addressing sexual violence, paving the way for the #MeToo movement.

“The biggest barriers in this country are rooted in racism and sexism,” Brown said. “Black women sit at the intersection of that.”

As America’s most consistent voters carried on this legacy of organizing to a record number of Black American voters this election, leaders in the movement reflect upon a history of gender and racial oppression, attributing much of their success as activists and organizers to the strength and resilience borne from that shared lineage.

“Black women are acting at the intersection of so many different types of injustices that particularly affect them and their children,” said Alaina Morgan, an African diaspora historian at the University of Southern California.

“We never had the opportunity to be anything else but forward thinking survivors,” Brown said. “If we were not, we could die, our families could die, our children could die. Part of the culture of how we show up in the world is in response to our history.”

Brown, who sings soul music and is releasing her first album, Songs of the

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How Black women organized voters to secure Joe Biden’s victory

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Vice president-elect Kamala Harris delivers remarks to the nation after her and her running mate Joe Biden secure enough votes to win the White House.

USA TODAY

Black women have been the spearhead of social justice movements throughout American history.

One hundred years after passage of the 19th Amendment, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris paid homage to Black American women who “so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”

About 90% of Black women voted for President-elect Joe Biden over Donald Trump, making them Democrats’ most loyal bloc. For the past five presidential cycles, they have shown up to the polls at higher rates than any other group.

This year, experts say their nationwide voter mobilization efforts led to the historic turnout that secured Biden’s victory and that of the first Black, female vice president in the nation’s history.

But being the “backbone” of American democracy, an identity activists say is rooted in a history of racial oppression and gendered disenfranchisement, comes at a cost.

“It is a tremendous, magnanimous burden to bear,” said Black Voters Matter Fund co-founder LaTosha Brown. “There is a major price to pay there. While we are strong in the world — and I consider myself powerful — I have felt this culture doesn’t give me the grace or space to be weak, to be delicate.”

Harris is also the first Black and South Asian American to be elected vice president. (Photo: Getty)

Black women have been the spearhead of social justice movements throughout American history. Although largely ignored in history books until the late 20th century, Black women were a driving force in the abolitionist movement in the mid 1800s.

Then, they led the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965, helping to abolish tactics of voter suppression that targeted Black Americans.

Since the 1940s, after Recy Taylor spoke out against the white men who kidnapped and sexually assaulted her, Black women have also led the charge in addressing sexual violence, paving the way for the #MeToo movement.

“The biggest barriers in this country are rooted in racism and sexism,” Brown said. “Black women sit at the intersection of that.”

As America’s most consistent voters carried on this legacy of organizing to a record number of Black American voters this election, leaders in the movement reflect upon a history of gender and racial oppression, attributing much of their success as activists and organizers to the strength and resilience borne from that shared lineage.

“Black women are acting at the intersection of so many different types of injustices that particularly affect them and their children,” said Alaina Morgan, an African diaspora historian at the University of Southern California.

“We never had the opportunity to be anything else but forward thinking survivors,” Brown said. “If we were not, we could die, our families could die, our children could die. Part of the culture of how we show up in the world is in response to our history.”

Brown, who sings soul music

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Twilight’s Renesmee, Mackenzie Foy, Stuns While Promoting New Movie ‘Black Beauty’

Mackenzie Foy is kicking off promo for her new movie, Black Beauty, and one of her first stops was at Hallmark’s Home & Family this week.

The 20-year-old actress, who you remember as Renesmee Cullen in the Twilight franchise, is starring in the new adaption of the classic novel and just made its debut on Disney+ this month.

Speaking to D23 recently, Mackenzie revealed the project was very surreal to her.

“You never think, ‘I’m going to ride Black Beauty on the beach.’ That was a really, really surreal moment for me,” she shared, and added that the moments that will stick with her are the ones “where a horse just trusts you enough that they bond and hook on to you, moments like that—they’re just so unique and so beautiful and personal, it’s just everything.”

Mackenzie just recently adopted a horse named Don.

“He’s adorable. I’ve had him for a couple months now and I basically spend all my time with him,” she says.

The Disney+ adaption of Black Beauty, based on Anna Sewell’s iconic novel, is set in present day and is out now.

Find out who voiced Black Beauty here!

This was the last time Mackenzie reunited with her Twilight mom, Kristen Stewart.

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