26 Year-Old GM Engineer Mukhtar Onifade Starts Fashion Line Celebrating African Culture (VIDEO)

Detroit-based engineer and fashion designer Muktar Onifade (photo via atlantablackstar.com)

article by Ricky Riley via atlantablackstar.com

Detroit-based engineer Muktar Onifade is using his skills working as an engineer to create a fashion line that celebrates West African culture.

The 26-year-old native Nigerian and General Motors calibration specialist said he was inspired to launch his line, VIZUVLGVDS (Visual Gods), after going to a fashion show featuring beautiful African styles. “To be Black now, you have to be fearless really,” Onifade says in a Thursday, Feb. 9 NBC Black profile. “There has to be this certain level of self-belief in what you can accomplish.”

Onifade saw an opportunity to make a line that could be worn anywhere and any time outside of special occasions and events. To put his plan into action, he took his first paycheck from working at GM and brought a sewing machine.

Since 2015, his VIZUVLGVDS line has featured two collections that showcase his meticulous engineering talents and his African cultural heritage.

To read more, go to: Engineer Uses First Paycheck to Start Fashion Line Celebrating African Culture – Atlanta Black Star

Starbucks to Hire 10,000 Refugees Worldwide in Latest Expression of ‘Conscious Capitalism’

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

article by Barbara Thau via forbes.com

For Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, caramel macchiatos and pumpkin spice lattes are as integral to the coffee-chain’s brand as its college tuition reimbursement and veterans hiring programs.

Now Schultz is once again flexing Starbucks’ “conscious capitalism” muscles with a plan to hire 10,000 refugees at its restaurants worldwide, he said in a letter to employees on Jan. 29 that’s posted on Starbucks’s website.

The move is a swift, direct response to Donald Trump’s executive order to effectively ban people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. (including Somalia and Sudan), including refugees fleeing wars.  As Schultz sees it, Starbucks’ new pledge is designed to ring an alarm bell with a vigor that the moment calls for.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” he said in the letter. “These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.”

Starbucks is hashing together a plan to hire 10,000 of the world’s 65 million refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries where it operates stores, starting with the U.S. market.

Under Schultz’s direction, Starbucks has long viewed business and what’s been called ethical retailing, or conscious capitalism, as related paths. And Schultz has carved a distinct niche as a social-activist CEO, of sorts.  He has repeatedly pointed to his upbringing in a low-income family in the Bayview Housing projects in Brooklyn New York as informing his philanthropic outlook.

It’s one that’s reflected in Starbucks’ policies, such as its pioneering move in 1988 to offer health insurance for part time workers, to backing causes from high unemployment to countering racism.

To read more, go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/barbarathau/2017/01/30/starbucks-to-hire-10000-refugees-in-latest-expression-of-conscious-capitalism/#5610d9cb622c

Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Muslim Ban

article by Brandee Sanders via newsone.com

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York put a temporary ban on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Saturday that was put in place to prevent Syrian refugees and travelers from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.  According to the Huffington Post, Donnelly declared that the ban “violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

From the Huffington Post:

The American Civil Liberties Union, immigrants’ rights groups and refugee relief organizations had filed the action in federal court Saturday morning on behalf of two Iraqi nationals who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, asking for a declaration that the order is unconstitutional and requesting an injunction to prevent its implementation against other travelers who may be equally harmed.

“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioners and others similarly situated violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York wrote in her order.

The legal action named Trump in his official capacity as president, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and other high-ranking officials. Although temporary and subject to appeal, it represents the first major constitutional setback faced by the new administration.

ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt says that the ruling will protect people from other countries who have permission to be in the U.S. “This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil,” he told the Huffington Post.

To read more, go to: Brooklyn Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Muslim Ban | News One

Serena Williams Triumphs over Sister Venus to Win Record 23rd Major Title at Australian Open

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Serena Williams lifts her trophy after defeating her sister Venus Williams in their women’s singles final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 28, 2017. (Mark R. Cristino / EPA)

article via chicagotribune.com

Serena Williams held up a Grand Slam winner’s trophy for the 23rd time, celebrating her unrivalled place in history, and received a congratulatory letter and a pair of custom-made shoes from Michael Jordan, the name most synonymous with No. 23.

Venus Williams got to watch from close range again, and shed tears more of joy than regret after being beaten in a major final for the seventh time by her record-breaking younger sister.

Serena won the all-Williams final, the ninth in Grand Slam history and the second in Australia, 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday.  With her record seventh Australian Open title, Serena moved ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era.

When Serena sat on the court, holding both arms up to celebrate on Saturday, Venus walked over to her sister’s side of the net for a hug.  “This was a tough one,” Serena said. “I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person — she’s my inspiration.  There’s no way I would be at 23 without her — there’s no way I would be at one without her. Thank you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player I can be and inspiring me to work hard.”

Asked if it felt awkward to be on the receiving end of so many losses to her sister, the 36-year-old Venus didn’t flinch.  “No, because I guess I’ve been here before,” she said. “I really enjoy seeing the name Williams on the trophy. This is a beautiful thing.”

Venus won the last of her seven majors in 2008 at Wimbledon. She didn’t make the second week of a major for a few years as she came to terms with an energy-sapping illness after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011. And she only made it back to the semifinals last year at Wimbledon.

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PBS and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Team Up for 6-Hour Documentary Series “Africa’s Great Civilizations”

PBS

(Image via ShadowAndAct.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to ShadowAndAct.com, during the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter tour, PBS unveiled that it has teamed up with African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for a 3-part/6-hour documentary series titled “Africa’s Great Civilizations” which premieres on February 27, promising to bring “little-known yet epic stories to life, detailing African kingdoms and cultures.”

The official summary is as follows: “Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provides a new look from an African perspective at African history, traversing the dawn of mankind to the dawn of the 20th century. The series is a breathtaking and personal journey through history that includes evidence of the earliest human culture and art, arguably the world’s greatest ever civilizations and kingdoms, and some of the world’s earliest writing. Gates travels throughout the vast continent of Africa to discover the true majesty of its greatest civilizations and kingdoms.”

The series will air over 3 nights, Monday-Wednesday, February 27-March 1, from 9-11 p.m. ET each airing.  To see the trailer, click below:

 

Astronaut Jeanette Epps to be NASA’s 1st African-American Crew Member on International Space Station

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps (photo via mashable.com)

article by Miriam Kramer via mashable.com

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps is set to become the first African-American crewmember on the International Space Station when she flies to space next year, the space agency announced Wednesday.

Epps’ months-long trip should begin in 2018, and it will mark the first time she has traveled to orbit, following in the footsteps of the women who inspired her to become an astronaut.  “It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters’ grades and he said, ‘You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,'” Epps said in a NASA video interview.

“And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, ‘Wow, that would be so cool.'”   While other African-American astronauts have flown to the Space Station for brief stays during the outpost’s construction, Epps will be the first African-American crewmember to live and work on the station for an extended period of time.

Robert Curbeam, Stephanie Wilson, Joan Higginbotham, Al Drew, Leland Melvin and Robert Satcher, along with their space shuttle crewmates, helped to complete the space station during its first 11 years,” space historian Robert Pearlman, who runs the website collectSPACE.com, told Mashable.

Melvin actually encouraged Epps to apply to become an astronaut when the space agency put out a call for their 2009 class, Epps said. And that encouragement paid off. Epps was selected as one of 14 astronaut candidates in NASA’s 2009 class. NASA received 3,500 astronaut applications that year. Her astronaut selection wasn’t the first time she worked with the space agency, however. Epps was a NASA fellow while at the University of Maryland for graduate school in aerospace engineering and then worked in a lab at Ford Motor Company for more than two years, according to the space agency.

From there, Epps’ path to becoming an astronaut takes a decidedly atypical turn. Most astronauts come to the Astronaut Corps either through training in science or as a military officer, but after Ford, Epps spent more than seven years at the Central Intelligence Agency as a technical intelligence officer.”I did a lot of scientific stuff, but I also did a lot of operational stuff,” Epps said. “We worked in non-proliferation issues, which was great. It’s reverse engineering at its best.” Epps also volunteered to go to Iraq with the CIA for four months to help search for weapons of mass destruction.

To read full article, go to: NASA’s first African-American Space Station crewmember is your new role model

African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Full Scholarships for Education of Chibok Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram last week, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria. Speaking at the presidential villa in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, Buhari addressed the girls and their families saying ‘we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfil our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home’. (AFP/Philip OJISUA)

article by Mfonobong Nsehe via forbes.com

American billionaire Robert Smith has offered to sponsor the education of 24 girls from the Chibok community, including the 21 girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity in October this year.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Nigeria’s President, announced this on Tuesday during a media briefing with journalists at the State House in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. Shehu said that the girls will be admitted through negotiation at the prestigious American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, with the American billionaire footing the entire bill of the girls’ tuition, accommodation, feeding and other related expenses.

It costs anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 a year to educate a student at the school which is owned by wealthy frontline Nigerian politician and businessman Atiku Abubakar. Smith has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free,’’ Shehu added.

Shehu revealed that the Nigerian government is treating the recently released 21 Chibok girls as adoptees of the Federal Government. “But there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls,’’ he added.

To read more: African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Scholarship To Chibok Girls