There's just something about a coming together of black people with food. Photo: MartinAnd bottomless mimosas. Photo: GiphyBrunch. This sacred time between breakfast and lunch is more than a breaking of bread, it's a memorable experience week after week. Depending on your location, brunch events can range from a cozy function with a handful of people there to stuff their faces or it's a full blown affair complete with random appearances by the who's who of the city. If you're a black brunch-goer here are the characteristics of the atmosphere.1. A 2-for-1 Turn-UpPhoto: 4GifsMost brunches turn into day parties, therefore you don't have to move to a second location in search of a kickback. When the mimosas start flowing and the DJ lets loose with a trap mix during the last hour of the brunch, you remember you already paid to park, you have on your comfortable shoes and you might as well stay for another two hours. No one walks into brunch thinking, "I'm just going to stay for a few minutes." Lies.2. Casual ConversationsPhoto: Black & Sexy TVThere is never a shortage of good people and engaging conversations at brunch. A collection of topics like who was the finest actor in the New Edition biopic, Superbowl predictions (even during training camp), Snapchat's newest filters all the way to dissecting why white women voted for Donald Trump over Hillary, you can always count on smart and funny chat at brunch.Millennials get a bad rap for being anti-social because we're so glued to our phones and prefer text communication over face-to-face interactions. If you've stumbled upon a brunch with good vibes, you won't even think about pulling out your device unless it's to follow someone on Twitter or add them to your contacts. You're too busy having a good time to think about your phone.3. People WatchingPhoto: GiphyThe neat thing about brunch is that you can purchase tickets way in advance (most of the time they're free) or spontaneously show up the day of. For the random floaters perusing the crowd, just there for the food, it's a time to sit back and watch black folk interact. This demo of attendees likely just woke up because they went out the night before and are extremely hungover from their evening of drinking as if they had no liver. Brunch is a perfect time to sober up over an omelet, coffee, and entertaining people.4. The Dress Code Is Open To InterpretationPhoto: The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirCome as you are. Brunch fashion can range from red bottoms to Jordans. Depending on your objective for the afternoon (find a bae or networking), you can wear just about anything. The dress code isn't enforced; however, you want to at least wear your best (or least wrinkled).5. Meaningful ConnectionsPhoto: 4GifsRemember those casual conversations from #2 on this list? These talks can actually turn into something more. The person you're standing beside in the buffet line commiserating about why the servers haven't put out fresh bacon or why the grits are so runny, you may have met the plug you've needed for quite some time. Once the two of you hit it off, it's customary to exchange social media info right then and there or at least invite them to meet the other individuals in your party. Brunch is a chance meeting with lifelong contacts.6. Surprise GuestsPhoto: TumblrYou never know who is going to walk through the door. The above gif is a demonstration of how the entire room looks when someone notable enters the atmosphere. Sometimes this person is advertised along with the event or they're just like everyone else, looking for a good time. Once they come in, everyone reverts to #3 on this list.7. Bae Acquisition & RetrievalPhoto: A Different WorldBrunch is like a live production of soul swipe. Your next "situation-ship" could be seated at the table adjacent to yours. Someone probably had eyes on you from the moment you walked in the door. Stay up.8. Sophistiratchet HeadquartersPhoto: GiphyOne is never too bad or boujee to get down on the floor, drop it like it's hot or back that ass up in a public arena if the music is right. The turn up setting at a brunch is just right. Never too hood, never too uptight. 9. The DebatePhoto: ReactionGifRemember #2 on this list? The casual convos? Well, yeah, sometimes the chat gets to be way too heavy. You can always find that one loud table or section at the bar where you refuse to sit at, but love eavesdropping on their conversation because they always go there. This is the Kendrick vs. J. Cole section of the restaurant.10. A Time To Seal The DealPhoto: GiphyYour goal for the day was to dine and enjoy the good vibes, that is until the person you've been emailing for weeks finally walks in. From here, you know it's time to use your best elevator pitch, in the most subtle way. No one comes to brunch thinking of their business plan, but when opportunity and preparation align, one must seize the moment. Partnerships and potential business deals happen all the time at brunch. 11. ReconnectPhoto: GiphyNewly formed squads happen regularly at brunch. If you forgot to send a follow-up email from an introduction at the last brunch you attended, this is your second chance to reconnect with those new faces. For the frequent brunch-goers, you tend to see the same good people again and again. The handshakes turn into hugs.12. Show Your Friends A Good TimePhoto: Living SingleIf you have friends in town for the weekend, brunch is the best way to show them a good time. Whether it's a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, before they hit the road to go back home, you can never go wrong with brunch. This gets you off the hook from cooking if they're staying at your house. A wise man once said, "Tell your friends to get with my friends and we can be friends." Brunch is also a time to introduce your homies to your in-town squad. You never know who your friends know. 13. The Woke & WafflesPhoto: The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirSocial commentary over red velvet waffles. Every brunch is complete with the group that is one retweet away from organizing a popup march. We are in a time where black millennials are the driving force behind renewed Civil Rights efforts. The time is always opportune to discuss social reform and educate ourselves. Brunch isn't off-limits for woke chat.14. A Melting Pot Of MinistriesPhoto: GiphySometimes you roll to brunch alone. It happens that way especially if you're in a new city or your friends are being boring AF at the house and didn't want to go out with you. The neat thing about brunch is, you'll find a variety of groups to mix and mingle with. There's really no pressure to fit in. Black millennials are not monoliths and we can hold our own in any setting. When you're alone, you can choose from the woke table, the entrepreneur table, the tech table, all the way over to the free-spirited table. With an open mind, you'll find your ministry.15. A DAMN Good TimePhoto: GiphyYou can say what you want about black folks, just make sure you add "and they know how to have a good time." Brunch is like a black family reunion, especially when the DJ is on point and playing the right hits. It's a time to reflect, unwind and turn up. Each time you go to brunch, you always want to come back. Black brunch is a time when dope souls connect.What's your favorite part about brunch? Let us know below in comments.Loving Blavity's articles? Sign up for our daily...
It's almost a month into the new year, and 2017 has been off to a pretty good start. However, after the recent inauguration of y'all's new President, Donald Trump, us being in one accord is more necessary than ever. Even though our president is no longer black, our Lambo is still blue, and there are things we still are not gonna do. In light of us still being young, gifted, and black despite the circumstances, I've put together a list of 15 things black millennials should NEVER do (maybe I should have made this list before my girl Chrisette Michele decided to sing at the inauguration, but I'm going to be quiet cause sis already caught enough flack).1. Be pressed over what ain't yours.Photo: GiphyAlways pursue your dreams and fight for what you want. That's actually a quality that I admire in millennials. But if they never reply to your texts, they're just not that into you and you should let it go. Pressed is only cute on you with a curl, boo.2. Let your non-black friends say the n-word.Photo: GiphyLook, we all love our white friends. However, don't let them say the n-word. If you do let your white friends have a pass for the word, let them know they don't have a universal pass. I mean, you really should feel liable for what happens to them if they get too comfortable and say it around the wrong black people. 3. Get too wasted on bottomless mimosas at brunch.Photo: GiphyI've seen it happen before, and it's not pretty. We young black professionals love our brunch and our mimosas, but don't get lost in the sauce. We are Bad and Boujee, OK? Let's act accordingly.4. Let other generations clown us.Photo: GiphyOlder people have so many negative things to say about us, but the stats are on our side. Besides shall we bring up the '70s & 80s? Or perhaps Freaknik? Talk about wildin'.5. Be afraid to shoot your shot.Photo: GiphyYou miss every shot you don't take...and you might miss some that you do take, but at least you tried.6. Expect your white friends to season the same way you do.Photo: GiphyIt's honestly usually hit or miss, so just don't get your hopes up.7. Ask the question "how is Twitter free?"Photo: TwitterIt's no secret that Black Twitter is truly what makes Twitter fun. We create the trends, the jokes, and the language all for it to get milked and end up on a Forever 21 t-shirt. Rather than ask how is it free, ask why aren't we getting cut a check?8. Let your hair become a petting zoo.Photo: GiphySolange said it best, "Don't touch my hair."9. Let the culture vultures steal your shine.Photo: GiphyWe have been trendsetters for centuries, and somehow every time we create something, the mainstream media gets a hold of it and whitewashes it. Don't let that discourage your creativity. Keep being the bomb and reminding them who did it first.10. Be loud AND wrong.Photo: GiphyYou can be loud and right, even quiet and wrong, but loud and wrong is a no.11. Eat chicken tenders your whole life.Photo: GiphyDon't get so used to doing the same thing that you become stagnant. Be open to trying new things.12. Get lost in the sauce.Photo: Giphy"If you ain't got no sauce, then you're lost. But you can also get lost in the sauce." - Gucci Mane.13. Hate instead of studying.Photo: GiphyOne of the best pieces of advice I've received is to "stop hating, and start studying." If someone has something you want, instead of hating on them, study what they did to get it. Then, work 10 times harder.14. Put "carefree" into a box.Photo: GiphyPeople in the hood can be carefree black girls and boys too. Before you stick your nose up at them, remember that.15. Stop being the dope ass people that we are.Photo: GiphyEvery day I'm inspired by the beautiful black people of my generation. Everybody doesn't understand us nor do they always appreciate us, but keep being...
2016 humbled us all in the worst way.During the first week of January, there's usually an influx of social media posts of people claiming "new year, new me" or "this is my year!" Believe it or not, it has been very quiet for the bragging and boasting of the new year resolutions and trust me, we understand. However, we want to see our fellow brothers and sisters flourish! So here's a survival guide for you to be prepared for whatever 2017 may throw your way because you deserve to have a great year: Unleash your inner chiPhoto: GiphyChi is an anicent Chinese term that means energy. As millennials, we are constantly doing, moving and working to the point that we don't set time aside to look after ourselves. If you deal with anxiety, stress or overthinking, meditation may be the remedy you didn't know you needed! Meditation helps you become more compassionate, more creative, more focused and strengthens your memory. Trust me, I know you're skeptical. You're probably wondering how do you even get started? Do I have to sit criss-cross apple sauce like a child and hum mantras? Absolutely not. Meditation can be a different experience for everyone. Russell Simmons' book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple shares stories of people meditating in their stairwell at work, walking in the park or even riding silently in the car after a long day of work. It's all about silencing your mind and getting in touch with your inner self. Try one of these meditation apps and by the end of 2017, you'll be a natural.Stack that paperPhoto: GiphyLet's be honest, millennials love to have a good time. Many of us are fresh out of college with that first adult job, so why not enjoy ourselves? Yes to that dress that's been taunting me from the store window. Yes to boozy birthday brunches even if it's the third one this month. And of course, hell yes to that extra guacamole at Chipotle, because I deserve it! Yes, you do deserve it all and then some, but there comes a point when you have to say no. Many of us aren't buying houses or investing in stocks like our parents because we are drowning in student loan debt. Besides that, don't forget expenses such as rent, credit cards, car payments/transportation, health insurance, utilities, groceries and much more. It's exhausting! Although it seems like a nightmare, you can overcome it one step at a time. Try one of these 5 budgeting apps (Digit is a personal favorite) and save up for the life you deserve. I'm also trying the #BanishMyBalance challenge provided by Tonya at Myfabfinance.com to reach my 2017 financial goals. Trust me, all the bottomless mimosas and day parties will still be there when you're done.Education is key!Photo: GiphyYou did your four years of high school and then put in your time at undergrad. This was either for yourself or because your parents gave your an ultimatum. Some of you even went on to earn our master's degree or entered law or medical school (Anyone that survives law or medical school gets all the respect from me. Y'all are a different kind of species). You're burnt out! At this point, you never want to sit in another classroom until you're the parent side eyeing your child for talking too much at the parent teacher conferences. Thanks to technology, new information is being invented each and everyday. In order to "keep up with the Joneses," you have to keep learning. Thankfully, YouTube is a great source with hundreds of millions of "how-to" videos on literally anything you can think of, and it's still free! Sites like Skillshare.com have over 13,000 courses in various categories from culinary to design. Here's a list of more amazing places to learn new skills online. Knowledge is power!That's right, put in work...eat your salad, no dessert! Unfortunately, we've reached that age where all that fast food and alcohol consumption is starting to stick. That beer gut and those muffin tops won't disappear just because you click your heels three times and wish on a star. Exercising can increase your quality of life, improve stamina and decrease certain health risks such as high blood pressure or diabetes. It's easier than ever now to jump into the fitness life from the privacy of your home. Websites such as fitnessblender.com and befit.com offer free workouts for different levels and body types. Whether you want to do a 5-minute warm-up or a solid hour of HIIT, you can find it all. Along with exercising, dieting is a must. Doing 100 push-ups a day and rewarding yourself with a large bag of sweet spicy chili Doritos is counterproductive. Apps like MyFitnessPal serve as a calorie counter and a diet tracker for those that slowly want to cross over into the land of leafy greens. If you're looking for a hardcore, committed diet, give the paleo diet a chance. Trust me, you'll miss the carbs, but your year-round summer body will make it all worth it.Have those uncomfortable conversationsOne nightmare from 2016 that we will have to deal with in the new year is our new president and his Trumpettes. They're everywhere. On the train, passing us on campus, the doctor's office and especially at your job. You can try to ignore them, but they're not going anywhere. So should you A) speak to them or B) throw on your invisible cloak from the Hogwarts gift store. Option B sounds great, but we're going with A. Many Trumpettes aren't are as insane as their fearless leader and if you're somehow in the same office or class, you have something in common. Use these conversations as a learning experience. Have an open mind and hear them out, but be prepared with your knowledge to teach them a thing or two. Mic.com gave some great tips on surviving the holiday with Trump supporters that can be used year-round. Best of luck and know when to tap out! At the end of the day, no need to stress yourself over the ignorance of others.Create, create, createA lot of us get so caught up in the motion of our day-to-day routine that we begin to lose the magic that made us happy. Remember those hobbies you would do, not for money, but just because it made you happy and you had time? Hobbies such as writing, painting, dancing, sculpting, and designing? NEVER STOP! Creativity is the best way to express yourself. Now more than ever, the world needs our magic and if you don't believe so, just take a look at the Forbes 30 Under 30 list filled with black excellence. Join networks such as MiMConnect+, which is a digital community that offers a platform to communicate and collaborate with like-minded individuals in their Slack group. Plus if you're in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Atlanta, attend happy hours and ask your friends about any GroupMes that can serve as any interest to you.Find your tribeThe ironic part of social media is that is has made us more anti-social than ever before. Have you ever stepped foot into a party or a bar, and there will be a group of people at a table, but no one is talking? Everyone is hunched over starring at their phones, coming up for air when it's necessary. It's freaky as hell. When you live in big cities, it can be lonelier than ever. You get so used to doing things for yourself that you end up doing everything by yourself, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Going to dinner or the movies by yourself every once in a while is actually therapeutic. But what about those moment when you've had a horrible day at work and you wanted to clap your boss upside his head with your keyboard? Or your parents are bugging you because they're getting old and keep asking, "when are you going to give us some grandkids?" Or what about you finally thinking you found the one but you log on to social media and they're being a complete Twitter/Instagram honey? That's when your tribe comes in. There are a few friends that will be there for you whenever. If you need someone to work out with, a shoulder to cry on or someone that won't judge you for getting too drunk at the last Hennypalooza. These can be childhood friends, old college roommates, or co-workers that you actually do like. If you're too shy to go up and speak to someone first, like everything else, there's an app for that. Treat yo' selfTom Haverford and Donna Meagle said it best in one of the funniest sitcoms to hit NBC: TREAT YO SELF! Okay, I know some of y'all are like, "didn't she just tell us to budget our money?" Yes, I did and I meant it. This tip is for those that have been budgeting their whole lives or those that rush home after work every single day. Before you know it, your whole life is passing you by and you've never made it to that music festival, took a girls trip to a tropical island or had a weekend getaway with your bae. Sites like Groupon have daily deals on everything from restaurants to sporting events. Apps like Hopper will track flights for your from nearby airports so that you're always getting the best deal. Treating yourself doesn't equal throwing away your money, it simply means smell the roses while you can. Life is already hard, don't also making boring. If you have any survival tips for black millennials to make the most of their 2017, share in the comments below!Subscribe to our daily email below. ...
Photo: Team Switchit at switchitapp.comThe keys to success can be found in a multitude of things such as passion, drive, determination, intelligence, self-discipline and quick wit – just to name a few. Although these attributes can significantly contribute to your overall success, not having a viable personal network can inadvertently stagger future growth, both in your business and personal life. I know you’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, it’s true. Having a collective network of like-minded individuals with shared interest will dramatically improve your chances of success over time.So, how can I build my network? You have to get out there, meet new people, make meaningful connections and nurture the relationships you build. For some, meeting complete strangers and building relationships can be intimidating. Even the best have struggled at doing this.Here are seven tips to help you grow your personal network like a PRO. If you don’t feel comfortable with all the techniques, apply those that work best for you.Greet people with a firm handshake and a friendly smileMake sure your smile is the first thing a person sees when meeting you for the first time. Be loose, laugh, and above all – be yourself. Keep in mind, greetings differ by region and people. For example, some Europeans greet by kissing one or both cheeks. It’s a gesture of friendliness and companionship. Likewise, when greeting people of Chinese decent, it is proper to have the front of your card facing the person – hold your business card with both thumbs, towards the middle of your chest and bow while extending your card forward. Being knowledgeable of cultural norms will serve you well when meeting people from various areas or parts of the world.Don’t rushConversations should take form organically. It’s alright to nudge the narrative in the direction you would like it to go, but if you are too aggressive, you will come off disingenuous, and that’s not okay. Instead, make good eye contact, engage in the dialogue and show a concerted interest in both the person and discussion.Don’t stand too closeDon’t intrude on a person’s space by standing too close. It just comes off creepy. A good rule of thumb is to allow enough room between you and the person you’re talking to for another person to join in the conversation.Don’t over-talkWe all love to talk about ourselves, but let’s face it; sometimes we can overdo it. And when networking, this can be irritating. To get the conversation going, ask questions that have a purpose and show a genuine interest in the answers. What’s key is you want to find out what the other person specializes in and how your skills or services can potentially serve a need.Show goodwillIf you want to grow your network and make meaningful connections, be willing to help your contacts by providing your expertise to a request for help or answer to a question. Express this gesture of goodwill in a way that the person will not hesitate in reaching out to you in the future.Have your information readyThere will come a point in the conversation when you and the other person exchange contact information, so make sure you have professional business cards handy. Or if you use an app to exchange your information, make sure your information is up-to-date. Providing a means to stay connected is vital in growing your network.Follow-up with your contactsAfter exchanging your information and building your contacts, all your networking efforts will be in vain if you don’t keep in touch with your contacts. Send a "thank you" email the following day. People appreciate the positive feedback. Also, send your contacts Happy Birthday salutations, congrats when they receive a promotion, links to interesting articles – little things to keep you top of mind.The best interactions with people are the ones that happen again.Networking is about building relationships. The best interactions with people are the ones that happen again. Get in the practice of utilizing your calendar (system calendar, Google, Outlook) to schedule follow-ups with the contacts you are most interested in building a relationship. Over time, these simple techniques will significantly impact your network’s size and value, providing you strategic life partners with a vested interest in your success.Want more content like this? Sign up for our daily...
Photo: Andrew NellesIn today's climate, it has proven difficult for black millennials to find employment after graduation. Despite doing everything we were told to do (like graduating from college), becoming a part of the workforce can be a difficult mission. But one program aims to address those gaps.Georgetown University conducted a study and determined that "the U.S. could face a shortfall of more than 10 million workers with the postsecondary education and training needed to fill the jobs of the future." According to Georgetown University Professor Anthony P. Carnevale, "this means we will need to move a minimum of nearly 4 million African American and Hispanic students on to postsecondary success." The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has taken on the issue with a new grant program. It announced today that through their Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), 24 colleges and universities will receive five-year grants totaling $35.3 million for programs meant to improve their graduates employment outcomes.With help from the Lilly Endowment Inc., CPI helps certain historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly black institutions (PBIs) by implementing career readiness for the 54,000 enrolled students through specialized academic programs, industry partnerships, internships for students, specialty certifications, faculty development and more.“CPI will help ensure our graduates are prepared for and are hired into high-paying 21st-century jobs," said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO, "With strong CPI results, we will be able to make the case to others to invest in a new model – one that enables minority and low-income students by giving them the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the global marketplace.” Some of the schools participating include Tennessee State University, Clark Atlanta University, Dillard University and Morehouse College. For a full list of schools, you can check here.The work that the UNCF is doing with help from the Lily Endowment Inc. comes at a perfect time, as the future of America's job market is questionable for many. Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
Nielsen released a report full of data regarding black millennials today, and you should probably read it. It analyzes how we interact with technology, social media, television, the entertainment industry and unique spending habits.
TL:DR; We’re leading the cultural charge and using technology and representation to break barriers and create new opportunities.
Check out some of the major takeaways below:
African-American millennials are 14 percent of the total millennial population in the U.S. and 25% of the total black population
91% of black people own smartphones -- and we’re the second-largest multicultural group regarding smartphone ownership. Social networking sites are a major tool for interacting with our peers, staying in tune with news and entertainment and yes, even social justice. That being said, 55% of black millennials spend at least one hour per day on social networking sites, which is 6% higher than all millennials.
We watch about 12.5 more hour of tv per week than the overall number for millennials, coming in at nearly 33 hours (both live and recorded television). And when watching TV, we want to see celebrities who look like us and come from similar backgrounds.
Four of the top network TV shows among African-American millennials (Empire, Scandal, Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta 5 and How to Get Away With Murder) have black creators, co-creators or executive producers and black casts or leading characters.
Black women are leading the charge in education, holding 65% of bachelor’s degrees, 70% of master’s degrees and 64% of doctorate degrees awarded to black Americans.
And 70.9% of African-American recent high school graduates enrolled in college (compared to 67.3% of white recent high school graduates) according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Black millennials have $162 billion in buying power, and the black population in general had $1.2 trillion in 2015, projected to hit $1.4 trillion by 2020.
Black households with income less than $25k dropped from 43% to 37% between 2004 and 2014. In that same time period, the number of black households with $50-75k increased 18% (compared to 2% of total U.S.) and with $100k+ increased 95% (compared to 66% of total population).
And we’re purposeful with where we spend our money. More than half of African-Americans would pay extra for a product that is consistent with an image we want to convey, 38% expect the brands we buy from to support the social causes we care about, and 45% will share our opinions online after purchasing a product or service.
62% of African-Americans buy based on quality, 77% will stick to a brand we like and 66% will buy from a company we already trust, even if the price is higher. But we won’t ignore a good deal. 70% of African-Americans agree that store brands can be just as effective as name-brand products, so brands shouldn’t assume we’ll buy their product off of brand loyalty alone.
And black entrepreneurship is thriving, too. Businesses owned by black women make up 59% of all black businesses, a 67% increase since 2007.
Our power in the future
The election is coming up, and as seen in the 2012 election, African-Americans had the highest voter registration and turnout of any demographic in the U.S. This is why black voters are so important for candidates to address and listen to.
Overall, African-Americans are the most optimistic segment about the future. 49% believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction, but we also recognize and are vocal about the work that still needs to be done. We want housing, quality healthcare, childcare, college and healthy food — all of which we want to be affordable.
And this optimism and determination shows on a personal level too. 73% of black millennials have a goal to make it to the top of their profession, and 48% of black millennials strive for high social status.
Check out these stats and get even more info about how lit you really are in the full report, available here.
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Gaining employment opportunities when you're black in America is becoming increasingly difficult. Even for those with a college degree, it seems as though the student loan debt is bigger than the job pool. With more and more students graduating in debt and unemployed, there are systemic barriers that are partly to blame. In September, GenForward released a survey of young adults conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with the staggering numbers.
The survey shows 48 percent African Americans ages 18-30 have experienced discrimination either on the job or while looking for one. These stats compare to only 10 percent of white people who have reported similar instances. Being black seems to make it harder to advance economically as 54 percent of black survey respondents agree. The problem goes even deeper for black women with little to no allies in the workplace. And wage inequality is an even greater issue. The Economic Policy Institute reports black women's average hourly wages were 19 percent lower than white women in 2015.
25-year-old Qymana Botts spoke about her experience with the Associated Press saying, "When it came time for promotions and raises and things like that, I was told I need to fit into a more European kind of appearance."
Botts said of her 2010 experience, "They wanted me to straighten my hair, but I wasn't willing to do that."
This isn't just an issue for in America but also for those across the pond as well. In a review of racial equality in Great Britain, an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) study found that young black people have the worst job prospect in decades. There is a 49 percent rise in the number of black Britains who are unemployed and a two percent decrease in the number of unemployed whites.
"If you are Black or an ethnic minority in modern Britain, it can often still feel like you’re living in a different world, never mind being part of a one nation society", David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, shared with Mashable.
The systemic racism that creates barriers to employment and advancement have taken a toll on black millennials and as Hillary Clinton promises to change the gender wage gap, one wonders does that pertain to black women? And what does that mean for the rest of black America who are having difficulties finding employment? Will she change the employment gaps as well? As close as we are to the election, it seems as though we aren't close enough to a solution when it comes to this issue.
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2016 is already set up to be the year of the empowered black millennials. Many of them are engaged in the political process, with major attention spent on the #BlackLivesMatter movement as a result of police brutality, high rates of unemployment, the dire state of education in many states and other issues in the community.
The 2016 presidential candidates are being taken to task by black millennials and faced with tough questions and pushed to give action plans for the community. Several are running for office because they feel that they can make a bigger impact themselves with their ideas. By taking this route, they can make a big impact — and many currently are. Check out some of the young politicos making waves below!
City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Michael Tubbs — Stockton, CA
Stockton Councilman Michael Tubbs is one rising political star to keep an eye on this year. After winning his bid for the Stockton city council back in 2012 with backing from Oprah, he decided to make a Mayoral run this year. And if he wins, he will be the first black mayor of the city. The election will take place November 8th.
Chelsi P. Henry, Young Republican Rising Star
Chelsi was named by the RNC as a Rising Star back in 2014 and has been making waves ever since. Henry is a regular on Fox News and writes political op-eds for several publications, including Ebony.
D.J. Walters, DSCC Representative
Daryl Joy Walters, a graduate of Wiley College, is a rising star in Louisiana politics. She was once named likely to be "America's First Black Female President” by Essence magazine and is one of the youngest elected officials in Louisiana.
Jonathan Townsend, candidate for Oklahoma House District 73
Jonathan Townsend cites his passion for politics starting in elementary school in student council. He has a deep passion for North Tulsa, the community he is striving to represent in the state legislature. If elected, Townsend will be one of the youngest state legislators as well as the youngest black legislators. Townsend’s primary election will take place June 28th.
Georgia State Representative Park Cannon
Representative Park Cannon is a unique and accomplished individual. She is the youngest member of the state’s governing body, and in Georgia’s deep red legislature, she stands proudly as a young, gay black woman. Cannon’s presence is especially important now as the state legislature is debating and passing anti-gay legislation.
Which young black politicians inspire you? Let me know in the comments below!
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As a young and highly ambitious teenager, I had envisioned my early 20s to be a golden era. But it just didn't turn out that way. To be honest with you, that wasn't such a bad thing. Despite many hardships, I've learned so many things that have set the precedent for me to make the remainder of my twenties truly phenomenal.
Although some people are lucky enough to have mentors and role models to lead the way, I and many others haven't had much to rely on but instinct, intuition and in many cases, learning the hard way.
I really wish I had someone to help me navigate my circumstances, but even if they did, there's no manual for life and certain wisdom can only come by way of having certain experiences. Also, the issues that we face as black millennials are very unique. And as wise as some of our elders might be, many still won't be able to fully synthesize and understand our generational dilemmas.
With that being said, I'd like to share with you my top five lessons from my early 20s.
Lesson 1: Focus on living, not having it together
Being young, black and driven can definitely put you at somewhat of a disadvantage in both our society and community. Many of us are burdened with the dilemma of being our family's first college graduate, business owner, trying to get out of "the hood," having our own place, car, a good job and many other uphill battles.
I've personally been in all of these predicaments, and if I could do it all over, I would have focused much more on living and enjoying life rather than trying to have everything in order.
Crossing the bridge into my mid-20s, I'm finally allowing myself to have fun, wander and explore rather than just focused on my living situation, getting money, earning a degree and trying to have everything together.
One of my favorite pastimes is studying successful people, and I've noticed that rarely anyone has pulled their lives together while in their 20s. In most cases, it's not until their late 30s, 40s, 50s and sometimes even 60s when they had their major breakthroughs.
I say all this this to say, be patient with yourself and focus on living life to the fullest. I'm not saying slack and don't strive; I'm saying that things take time, and there's no point of driving yourself insane about something rarely anyone has done.
Lesson 2: Keep journals for reflection purposes
Maintaining a journal has often reminded me that I'm always growing, whether I can see it, feel it or not. A lot of people base their progress on their finances and material acquisitions, but when you think about it, personal growth is much more profound.
If you plan on doing something impactful with your time on Earth, personal development is paramount to both growth and sustainability.
Reading my journals over the years has allowed me to see how far I've come. My worst days now are still amazing in comparison to my worst days at 19 or 20.
Journaling has helped me become much more grateful, and more trusting of my growth process and my life's journey. It has also helped me to better realize that I've always been exactly where I needed to be.
Lesson 3: Always think five years ahead
In my teens and early 20s, I've made some super dumb mistakes I could have easily avoided had I thought about where I wanted to be five years from then.
I've learned over time that our current state of being is the result of the choices we've made today, yesterday, last year and sometimes years ago. It's so important to stay deliberate about the choices you make so that you ensure that you'll be where you want to be in the long run.
Lesson 4: Build and nurture meaningful relationships
I think this is probably the top advice I'd give to anyone. Building solid relationships is almost as important as breathing. As a matter of fact, the quality of every major area of your life depends on the quality of people you have around you.
Where I'm from initially hindered me with communication and relationships. Through many horrible experiences, I felt that I was better off doing things on my own. Unfortunately, not even my immediate family was reliable or supportive.
As I started expanding at school, with entrepreneurship and on social media, I eventually realized that no matter how talented or gifted I was, cosigns and support from the right people was crucial.
You'll only get but so far on your own — don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
Lesson 5: Use social media sparingly and wisely
Thanks to social media, this generation is leaving many footprints whether we've intended to or not. The mishaps of previous generations weren't as accessible or consumable.
Social media, although a huge blessing, can be a major curse if not used objectively. I've seen the best and worst of social media for myself. I've gained a lot as far as opportunity, but I've also felt the heat.
The key to social media is connecting with and attracting power players. Popularity means nothing at all if you're not being supported or propelled in a positive direction.
Also, there are much better things to do than be glued to your phone or computer. You could be writing books, articles, creating and planting seeds for your empowerment.
These tips helped me get through my early 20s, and hopefully they'll help you too. What advice helped you learn and grow? Let me know in the comments below!
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