Survey of Women of Color Finds Majority Prefer Natural Hair and Customized Formulas

A new report shows an overwhelming majority of women of color surveyed prefer to wear their hair natural. 70 percent of the 1,200 women in the COCOTIQUE Subscriber Survey said they prefer to wear their hair natural, which was defined as curly, coily, kinky or fro. 11 percent prefer relaxed or protective styles. 6 percent prefer to straighten their hair with heat, and 2 percent prefer locs.

COCOTIQUE, a deluxe beauty box subscription service for women of color and HairRx Advanced Hair Care, dedicated to fulfilling the hair care customization wishes and shopping preferences of women, collaborated to prepare the 2018 Women of Color Hair Care Report.

84 percent of respondents think it’s important to be able to customize their hair care products. 98 percent feel it’s important that their hair care products be paraben free, sulfate free and safe for chemically treated hair.

“Customization is a strong trend in hair care, especially among women of color,” says Dana Hill, Founder and CEO, COCOTIQUE. “Women of color have a wide range of textures and it’s difficult to determine which product works best for a particular texture. It’s important for companies to embrace and celebrate this uniqueness. Companies like HairRx, that offer options for customers to find products for their specific hair types and concerns, will win in the marketplace.”

At, customers answer a short series of questions focused on their unique hair care goals, scent and lather preferences.

Other report findings include:

  • 90 percent prefer luxurious lather to light lather in shampoo.
  • When it comes to scent, 39 percent prefer coconut, 22 percent love lavender, 16 percent enjoy jasmine, 12 percent like citrus and 10 percent would choose vanilla.

“Respondents indicate a variety of preferences, which is why HairRx provides 165 formulations, each designed to address specific hair care goals,” says Ellen Langas, Co-CEO of ProfilePro LLC, parent company of HairRx. “We invite customer feedback and utilize survey results like to provide the ultimate customization experience.”

At, customers answer a short series of questions focused on their unique hair care goals, scent and lather preferences. Individual profiles are instantly matched to the ideal shampoos and conditioners. HairRx also offers an assortment of styling and finishing formulas. All HairRx formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, and safe for chemically treated hair.

The HairRx concept was inspired by ProfilePro LLC co-founders Joe Segel, who is the founder of QVC, and Jodi Dery, owner of award-winning salons in Florida. Dery and Segel collaborated with an elite group of highly skilled cosmetic chemists in Italy known for developing hair care formulas for the world’s most prestigious brands. The formulas were then previewed by more than 3,000 hair stylists, tested and refined.

Restauranteur Leah Abraham Shares her Recipe of Success of Hiring Locally and Giving Back

The second Quick Chat video in the three-part series Hidden Talent, sponsored by Walmart, highlights Restaurant Owner Leah Abraham as she shares how hiring locally in Harlem has helped her business grow from humble roots to an in-demand hotspot.

Through her dedication to her community and the desire to contribute to Harlem’s transformation into the bustling city it is today, Leah shares the methodology behind operating a successful restaurant, bakery and catering business, Settepani; which she regards as a true extension of her family. By hiring locally and empowering her staff to be leaders, Leah has raised the bar on how African-American women are shaping the future in business while giving back to their communities.

In the Business Sanctuary, Leah takes you through the journey of building a successful brand in the heart of Harlem, what that means to the community and how it’s helped her bottom line.

Register & Watch: 

Black Women in Media Conference Returns This Month

Black Women In Media (BWIM), the renowned platform created for and by women of color in media and entertainment, has announced BETHer as a media sponsor for the 3rd Annual BWIM Awards & Conference. The empowering two-day event will take place on Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 29th in New York City. Other sponsors include Microsoft one of the leading brands in digital and tech and Miss Jessie’s catering to Black women since 2004.

BETHER (formerly CENTRIC), is the premier network for African-American and specifically African-American woman audiences. Since inception, the network brand has successfully served its target audience with solid programming – becoming one of the leading destinations for the latest African-American entertainment and news for women of color. News of the partnership with BWIM brings great excitement to both parties involved. This partnership also presents a great opportunity to support an organization also seeking to empower and uplift people of color.

In two weeks, the 2018 BWIM Awards & Conference will kick off with a day-long conference following the highly anticipated awards ceremony the next day that celebrates and honors notable Black women making great professional strides within the media industry.

Additional honorees have been announced for the awards. Newly added honorees include Amber Payne, Executive Producer at Teen Vogue & THEM; Lori Stokes, Co-Host of Fox 5’s Good Day New York; Lauren Wesley Wilson, Founder of ColorComm; Flo Anthony, Award-Winning Journalist & Author; Dulcé Sloan, Comedian & Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Crystal McCrary, Author, Filmmaker & Producer, and Codie Elaine Oliver, Co-Creator & Director of OWN Network’s Black Love docu-series. BET’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Jeanine Liburd and BET’s SVP & BETHER’s Head of Sales Michele Thornton Ghee also will be honored on Thursday, March 29th.

Guests will experience two encouraging, inspiring and uplifting days filled with Black Girl Magic at the 2018 BWIM Awards & Ceremony. CEO & Founder Judith Jacques and team are beyond excited to bring the event back to New York City for a third year in a row!

A limited amount of tickets are still available to purchase by visiting Use code: BWIMFriend for 20% off.

National Council of Churches Announces April 4th A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on National Mall

Today, the National Council of Churches (NCC) announced plans to hold a rally to end racism on the National Mall on April 4. The A.C.T. to End Racism Rally is the starting point of a multi-year effort, launched by NCC, to remove racism from the nation’s social fabric and bring the country together.

In remembrance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired and challenged America to confront and put an end to racism, the rally will take place on the day the nation marks 50 years since his assassination. “We have for too long lived under the scourge of racism in our society. To begin the process of healing our nation, we as Christians must join with people of all faiths in holding ourselves accountable for our complicity, and commit to righting the wrongs,” said Jim Winkler, president of NCC.

NCC and its coalition of over 50 partners recognize that the faith community and those of moral conscience have a specific responsibility to address and eliminate racism, but also unique gifts that enable them to do so. “As we look at our society today, it is painfully evident that the soul of our nation needs healing. We must not only pray, but take concrete action to realize and achieve racial and social justice, and we cannot possibly put an end to racism unless we commit to change at all levels — including within the faith community,” said  Bishop W. Darin Moore, chair of the Governing Board for NCC.

“Christian churches, present in every town and community across the country, are both part of the problem and the solution. NCC and our partners are committed to addressing the systemic evil that many Christians and church institutions have yet to fully acknowledge,” said Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director of the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative for NCC.

Buses will bring rally-goers from across the country for the three-day event that will see thousands convene on the National Mall. Special guests at the rally include Grammy Award-winning artist Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, DeRay Mckesson, Y‘Anna Crawley, Grammy Award-winning artist Rev. Julian DeShazier (J.Kwest), Dr. Jennifer Harvey, Dr. Jim Wallis, Lou Gossett, Jr., Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Dr. Raphael Warnock, Naeem Baig, and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Additional names will be announced in the coming weeks.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • April 3: 6:00 p.m. ET: Orthodox Christian Bridegroom Service of Holy Tuesday;
    8:00 p.m. ET: Then and Now: An Ecumenical Gathering to End Racism
  • April 4: Silent March (starting near the MLK Jr. Memorial), Interfaith Service, and A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on the National Mall, 7:00 a.m.3:30 p.m. ET
  • April 5: National Day of Advocacy & Action

SOP Association Applauds Committee Passage of H.R. 5236

The ESOP Association applauds Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) for their roles yesterday in introducing and supporting H.R. 5236, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018. The bill, which was introduced today and approved unanimously by the House Small Business Committee, seeks to redress longstanding inequities in how the Small Business Administration (SBA) administers its loans with respect to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

“The SBA was authorized to loan to ESOPs in 1979,” said Rep. Velazquez. “Unfortunately, this tool has been rarely used, due to a lack of understanding of the business structure and cumbersome transition requirements.”

Rep. Chabot, the Committee Chair, bolstered H.R. 5236 by adding a chair’s amendment, and also urged other committee members to support the bill.

“H.R. 5236 provides important reforms to how the SBA treats employee owned businesses,” he said during the Committee meeting. “From updating reporting statistics to capturing accurate data, to codifying ownership transition plans, H.R. 5236 will provide clarity to small businesses that truly need it.”

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Velazquez thanked Rep. Chabot for his support. She also pointed out that she had worked very closely with the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on supporting employee ownership.

“The support of Rep. Velazquez, Rep. Chabot, and Sen. Gillibrand underscores that ESOPs and employee ownership merit and continue to receive support that is bipartisan and bicameral,” said ESOP Association President J. Michael Keeling. “As Rep. Velazquez noted in her remarks, Baby Boomers own a vast number of businesses in this country, and as those owners prepare to retire, their companies may face uncertain futures. No businesses should shutter, and no employees should lose their jobs, when becoming employee owned is a perfectly sound, well researched, well regarded business option. This bill will make it easier for businesses to pursue that alternative, with help from the SBA.”

Creme of Nature Launches New Moisture Replenishing Product Line Called Pure Honey

Nearly a decade after becoming the first multicultural brand to offer styling products formulated with Argan Oil, top-selling hair care brand Creme of Nature introduces Pure Honey, a full collection of eight sweet new products for all hair textures. The new Pure Honey collection – with its creamy, lush formula and aromatic fragrance – includes shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, leave-in conditioner, detangler, setting lotion, twisting cream and edge control gel. Formulated with vitamins and mineral-rich honey to help keep moisture in and breakage out while also softening and smoothing hair, Creme of Nature’s new Pure Honey line will leave hair feeling hydrated while looking shinier and healthier. The new products will be available in Walmart, Sally Beauty and local beauty supply stores.

“At Creme of Nature, we understand that the first line of defense against dry hair is a powerful natural moisturizer. The humectant properties of Honey made it the perfect choice,” said Teneya Gholston, Director of Marketing for Creme of Nature. “We created our new Pure Honey line to put moisture back into the hair starting with the cleanse and condition steps and throughout all of the styling stages. This new line gives our brand fans the best natural ingredients – pure honey, shea butter and coconut oil – for maximum hydration without the heaviness of sulfates or mineral oils.”

The essential element to healthy, curly hair textures is moisture, and every woman is searching for those miracle moisture products. This new collection targets dry and dehydrated hair with nature’s nectar, honey, which is a natural humectant that helps hair attract and retain essential moisture. Honey is also a natural emollient, meaning that it softens and smoothes, which naturally makes it a great conditioner and moisturizer. For the Pure Honey collection, Creme of Nature pairs natural honey with creamy certified natural shea butter to seal in the moisture and rich coconut oil to seal the hair cuticle.

This new line has been formulated without harsh ingredients and contains the highest quality natural ingredients resulting in a luscious natural scent. Creme of Nature Pure Honey hair care and styling products, made with pure honey, creamy certified natural shea butter and rich coconut oil, include:

  • Moisturizing Dry Defense Shampoo ($5.79; 12 oz.) – cleanses, restores moisture, detangles and softens hair while providing shine.
  • Moisturizing Dry Defense Conditioner ($5.79; 12 oz.) – locks in moisture, smoothes and softens hair, while controlling frizz and detangling hair.
  • Moisture Replenish & Strength Hair Mask ($6.99; 11.5 oz.) – a strengthening moisturizer that tames and controls frizz.
  • Break Up Breakage Leave-In Conditioner ($6.79; 8 oz.) – a creamy spray that moisturizes dry hair and protects against breakage. Use Break Up Breakage Leave-In Conditioner with Moisture Replenish & Strength Hair Mask to treat breakage and damage.
  • Knot Away Leave-In Detangler ($5.79; 8 oz.) – melts away knots, helps repair split ends and restores moisture. After cleansing and conditioning hair with Moisturizing Dry Defense Shampoo and Moisturizing Dry Defense Conditioner, apply Knot Away Leave-In Detangler to improve hair manageability.
  • Texturizing Curl Setting Lotion ($5.79; 12 oz.) – versatile texturizing setting lotion ready-to-use on wet or dry hair, which helps you achieve several styles including braid outs, twist outs, a rod/wet set and straight styles. Provides lasting firm hold without the hard crunchy feel, for a silky smooth, glossy set.
  • Moisture Whip Twisting Cream ($6.99; 11.5 oz.) – defines, add shine and elongates curls while providing long-lasting hold. Use Moisture Whip Twisting Cream with Knot Away Leave-In Detangler to achieve styles including twist outs, braid outs and bantu knots.
  • Moisture Infusion Edge Control ($4.99; 2.25 oz.) – brilliant and healthy shine with 24-hour hold and control. This product helps lay your edges for natural styles like a crown braid or smooth, sleek styles including updos, buns and ponytails.

For more than four decades, Creme of Nature has created a variety of remarkable hair products to help women achieve their best hair. Creme of Nature is the first multicultural brand to offer hair care and styling products with Argan Oil with its Creme of Nature with Argan Oil from Morocco product line of more than 25 hair care and styling units that provide intense conditioning and nourishment. The popular hair care brand offers a selection of shampoos, conditioners, relaxers and styling aids enriched with natural ingredients, like Argan Oil, Argan Butter, Pure Honey, Coconut Milk and Shea Butter, for all hair types and styles. Creme of Nature has the best hair care products for great style and healthy hair.

The American Black Film Festival and Laugh Out Loud Network are Looking for Talent

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and Laugh Out Loud, the comedy brand and multi-platform network created by Kevin Hart and global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), announced a new partnership for a filmmaker fellowship showcasing exciting new comedic creative voices.  The ABFF and Laugh Out Loud have been taking submissions for comedic narrative film ideas and scripts that are 5-10 minutes in length and feature diverse casts or have a broad appeal to multicultural audiences, with the top three films to receive a production budget and premiere slot at ABFF.

The “ABFF and Laugh Out Loud Filmmaker Fellowship” began accepting submissions on March 1, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. PST, ending tomorrow on March 15, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. PST. ABFF has a rich history of unique programs designed to identify and showcase talent, including directors, writers and other content creators.

“We’re excited about this fellowship program and partnership with Kevin Hart and Lionsgate’s Laugh Out Loud network. We believe that it will unveil some really talented new writer/directors with authentic and keen comedic sensibility,” stated Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO.

“We’re thrilled to partner with ABFF in an official capacity,” said Jeff Clanagan, President of Laugh Out Loud. “With their legacy of supporting talent in front of and behind the camera and our mission to make big bets on undiscovered comedic voices, the filmmaker fellowship will continue those initiatives to give a platform to the next generation of diverse, comedic stories.”

After submissions close, a panel will select 20 semi-finalists based on a variety of criteria including creativity, comedic integrity, narrative ability, directing, budget restraints, and target demographic. Judges will then narrow down the list to 10 finalists who will be invited to pitch their submissions to a jury consisting of ABFF and Laugh Out Loud representatives. Ultimately, the judges will select three potential winners who will receive an opportunity to have their project produced by Laugh Out Loud, using a fund of up to $20,000 for each filmmaker, and will then premiere their film at the 22nd annual American Black Film Festival in Miami on June 13-17.

Only the first 200 submissions received within the entry period will be accepted to the competition. For complete submission details and to review all eligibility requirements for the ABFF and Laugh Out Loud Filmmaker Fellowship go to:

3 Presidents Who Shaped Our Food System and the Role of African Americans in It

Many of our past presidents were farmers or ranchers at some point in their lives, but a handful of them significantly changed how we grow our food and eat it. We can’t examine that history, however, without also acknowledging the legacy of slavery. Let’s consider how three presidents shaped our food system—and how their interventions impacted African Americans.

1. George Washington: Agricultural innovation and slave-dependent farming

Post-presidency, Washington grew a variety of crops on his8000-acre Mount Vernon estate. Washington was an early proponent of composting for soil health and phased out tobacco (Virginia’s main crop then) for a diversified seven-crop rotation system including wheat, corn and legumes.

However, this work was only made possible by slaves. A slave-owner since age 11, when he inherited ten slaves from his father, Washington bought and sold black people throughout his life, reportedly treating them severely and separating family members  through sale. At the time of his death 317 slaves maintained his estate.

The devastating legacy of racial injustice at Mount Vernon is still with us, but it’s gradually being undone. Quakers purchased some of that land before the Civil War expressly to prove that farming could be profitable without slavery. Today, the site is occupied by the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Agriculture, whose work includes a mobile market delivering fresh, affordable produce to food-insecure neighborhoods in the Washington, DC area.

2. Thomas Jefferson: Crop experimentation and a legacy of slave-centered agriculture

On his Monticello estate, Jefferson experimented with 330 varieties of 89 species of vegetables and herbs and 170 varieties of the fruits. His trials often resulted in failure, leading neighbors to call him “the worst farmer in Virginia.” However, Jefferson shared seeds and soil health-building techniques, promoting commercial market gardening and spreading new crops that expanded the nation’s food traditions and palate.

Jefferson’s legacy, perhaps even more than Washington’s, is marred by his views on race and complicity in slavery. Jefferson embodied the inherent social contradictions at the birth of this nation that we have yet to resolve, by denouncing the institution of slavery while profiting from it. He owned some 600 slaves, employed brutal overseers, and fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings through a relationship that, by definition, couldn’t have been consensual. His goal of “improving” slavery as a step towards ending it was misguided, as it was used as an argument for its perpetuation

3. Abraham Lincoln: The USDA and the land-grant college system

Before his presidency, Lincoln advocated for technological advances and education for farmers. In office, he created the US Department of Agriculture (USDA, which he called “The People’s Department”) and signed the Morrill Land Grant College Act, which facilitated the transfer of public land to each of the states to establish colleges of agriculture and the mechanical arts.

Lincoln fought a war over slavery, issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and sent the 13th Amendment prohibiting slavery to the states for ratification before his death in 1865. But it would be another quarter century before freed slaves in the former Confederate states would get the benefit of a land-grant education Lincoln envisioned. A second Morrill Act in 1890 required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion for its land-grant colleges, or else to designate a separate institution for students of color.

Black Couple Launch Disruptive Health Tech Company

The black community suffers from many health complications and are often on the patient end of the health care industry. Very rarely do we hear stories of black innovators in the health tech space.

Meet Jamie and Jilea Hemmings who are married tech entrepreneurs who launched a disruptive new platform called Best Tyme (, the easiest way for physicians and medical sales reps to coordinate meetings.

A sleek work-hack for life-science professionals, the app allows clinicians to set preferences for when and how sales reps meet with them, and sales reps to structure their day by zip-code with an automatic calendar, meals and even routing function!

The app is available on iPad, Android, iOS and web. Free trial downloads are also available on the Apple & Google App stores. Once the trial is complete there is a monthly subscription for the representatives.

To date the couple has raised over $200,000 in VC funding to grow their team and launch a revolutionary product.

“We are thrilled to launch Best Tyme to the market,” said Jilea, Best Tyme’s CEO and Co-founder. “BestTyme is going to revolutionize how doctors and medical sales representatives schedule appointments and at the same time show the potential of black innovators in the space.”

Modern medicine coexists with, and informs, pharmaceutical research and development efforts. However, as any practicing clinician knows, workday time is precious and even more precious is a doctor’s attention.

Most physicians prefer to critically evaluate novel pharmaceutical products and that is best done when meetings with sales reps are concise, convenient and on-point.
The BestTyme app is poised to help doctors take control of when and how they interact with medical sales reps and advance high-quality communication between the two disciplines.
The BestTyme app is designed for physicians.

With the BestTyme app, office staff can refer all sales reps to a central source where physicians have set food preferences and available appointment times. This is a simple yet powerful way to coordinate pharmaceutical sales visits and lunches and take control of a busy practice while staying up-to-date on the latest advances.

As an added bonus, our data shows this simple trick can reduce clinic administrative staff time by up to 10 hours per week.
“My administrative staff absolutely LOVE BestTyme! Any time new reps call, my staff refers them to BestTyme so that they can schedule appointments directly with me,” one [Chicago area] clinician said.
The BestTyme app is also designed for sales reps.

With the BestTyme app sales reps can enter the zip code they want to target and instantly generate a full schedule for the day. The app adds GPS routing and food order functions and even lets you update physicians as you go!

This is a simple yet powerful way for reps to optimize face-time with clinicians. Not only can they minimize friction with office staff, they can address each client’s preferences for time and setting to make for higher-quality interactions.

This app saves time for busy sales reps. One Fort Lauderdale rep said: “In less than 30 minutes, I scheduled five new appointments. The best part: I didn’t even make one call!”

Best Tyme was founded by life-science professionals

BestTyme was founded by four experts with a combined four decades of experience in pharmaceutical sales and front-line medicine. The app was created with the goal of reducing friction in the clinic for all parties.

The company’s mission is to use technology to enhance effective communication of critical advances between two rapidly-advancing disciplines with a high-impact on patient care.

Jamie and Jilea are pharmaceutical representatives with 25 years of combined experience in the trenches who wanted to make their face-time with clinicians more meaningful and hassle-free. As Jamie says, “Best Tyme improves operational efficiency ten-fold.”

Dr. Anisio and Alexandra are a physician/administrator team with 20 years of combined experience on front-line care who wanted to stay informed on pharmaceutical advances, without losing critical efficiency in task-switching from patient care to scheduling.

Alexandra said, “Best Tyme has saved our practice hours a week in scheduling rep visits. While we loved interacting and learning from the sales representatives before Best Tyme, the planning took far too long.”

Entrepreneur and Tax Expert Meisa Bonelli Shares Four Important Questions Women and Minority Business Owners Should Ask Financial Professionals

Millennial Tax Founder Meisa Bonelli sees incredible opportunity for women and black-owned businesses to become an even greater force in today’s economy — provided these business owners have the best, most qualified professionals in their corner.

“Women and black-owned businesses face a pair of major deficits: lack of capital access and an absence of experienced, savvy financial professionals,” explains Bonelli. “No matter how great the concept, any business needs both factors in place to succeed.”

Economic uncertainty affects women at a higher rate than men, and women who own their own businesses are not exempt. Women have a tougher time saving for retirement, and women and minorities are frequently a blind spot for high-powered financial professionals.

On the other hand, women-owned businesses generate over $1.6 trillion annually, a number that’s continuing to grow. Bonelli believes that growth curve could be even sharper if owners know the right questions to ask their current (or prospective) financial professionals. In a feature report on, she suggests the following questions to get a healthy and productive conversation started:

How many women or black-owned businesses does the financial professional work with regularly?

Unique obstacles require a unique, hands-on understanding that can only be achieved through experience. The right financial professional will have demonstrated experience working with women and black-owned enterprises, as well as being proactive and protective of clients’ livelihoods.

What’s the income range of the financial professional’s clients?

The income range of a financial professional’s client base is a proxy for their skill and experience. Business owners with elite ambitions should select a professional who routinely consults with high net worth clients and profitable, growing enterprises.

Among the financial professional’s women-owned business clients, how many are caregivers, single mothers or divorcees?

Women are more likely to be raising children alone or serving as primary caregiver for a disabled or ill loved one. They’re also more adversely affected financially following a divorce. Women-owned businesses therefore benefit from a financial professional who understands the demands on their time and energy reserves.

How often does the financial professional help prepare documents related to loans and other capital-raising efforts?

For black-owned enterprises, the value of the business, its long-term potential and its need for capital to reach that potential can be difficult to communicate to investors and loan officers. Expertly prepared documents can help bridge the gap. Therefore, it’s important that a financial professional have ample experience in the nuances of document preparation for black-owned businesses.