Black excellence


Every season is yacht season!

Sheila Ruffin is the owner of a new boutique travel agency, Soca Caribbean Yacht Charters (SCYC), Black Enterprise reports.

The Hampton University and Howard Law School graduate first thought of the idea to open a yacht charter company after landing a job on the island of St. Thomas. While practicing law, she decided she wanted to get into the travel business. “I googled yacht agencies that were one-stop-shops, but I couldn’t find any. This gave me an idea of what I could do. Plus, I couldn’t find any people of color within the industry. Therefore, I set out to start my own company,” Ruffin said. 

The yacht charter company partners with other yacht companies in the Bahamas, Grenada, St. Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, St. Vincent and St. Martin to provide immersive yacht experiences complete with private chefs and captains. “We offer a door to dock-to-door service. The minute you step out of your home, there is a luxury car waiting to take you to the airport. Once you arrive in your Caribbean destination, we provide transfers to the dock where you board your yacht. After your trip, we also provide all services in reverse,” said Ruffin. 

Ruffin grew up on the eastern shore of Virginia, gaining her love for boats from her grandfather. While not originally apart of her plans, this new venture seems almost like fate. She hopes that her place in the yachting industry can encourage other young people of color to experience luxury yachting.

“To be the anchor between the yacht industry and millenials and people of color is amazing. It’s not easy. I’m entering into space where Black women aren’t normally present. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Ruffin. 

According to Black Enterprise, in 2018, African Americans contributed $63 billion to the U.S. travel and tourism industry. Now it’s time to put some of those dollars back into the pockets of one of our own. 


Source : Black Enterprise

This is a cup a tea we’re happy to sip on. Vanessa Braxton, founder of Black Momma Brand which sells vodkas and teas, is taking steps to list her business on the New York Stock Exchange, Black Enterprise reports. 

The New York native started Black Momma Vodka in 2013. In 2016, she opened a manufacturing facility, becoming the first African American woman distiller, master blender, and operator of a nationally distributed vodka in the country. She eventually transitioned to making teas, then flavored agaves, and eventually opened several storefronts, becoming the owner of one of the only Black-owned tea and beverage manufacturing facilities. 

Now she’s headed to the New York Stock Exchange. Braxton plans to take advantage of a provision in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012. The JOBS Act helped small businesses secure funding by lessening many of the securities regulations that made it harder for them to receive equal funding as corporations. The legislation also enacted the CROWDFUND ACT, making it possible for companies to use crowdfunding to issue securities.

Braxton started a WeFunder account that garnered over $2.1 million from nearly 3,000 funders, securing the money necessary to take the next steps to listing the Black Momma Tea and Cafe Brand. She also already has over 33,000 customers and has earned $2.9 million in sales. 

Braxton plans to open distribution centers in several states. Her storefront in Wheatley Heights, NY will serve as the company’s headquarters and training facility for the almost 300 franchisees interested in partnering with what Braxton calls, “The Starbucks of Tea.” Black Momma’s Tea Cafes plan to serve tea, beverages and other pastries along with desserts infused with Black Momma Vodka. Her goal is to have 500 Black Momma Tea & Cafe locations over the next 5 years. 

Congratulations Vanessa! We can’t wait to invest in this thriving business!


Credit Black Enterprise

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, becomes a receipient of the first “Belle van Zuylenring” award

The award is a honorary prize set by the ILFU International Literature Festival. 

She was given this honour because they believe she has a unique way, in which she knows how to represent and question the world of today and its ingrained thinking patterns.

She also delivered the Belle van Zuylen Lecture and had a conversation moment with Nancy Jouwe a dutch author and public speaker.

This past Saturday, media mogul Oprah Winfrey surprised attendees at the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon with a major donation that will help minority students in the North Carolina area attend college. 

The event, which was held in Charlotte, North Carolina and put on by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), honored women who are making a positive difference in the community and who are helping to keep the late Maya Angelou’s legacy alive. 

When Winfrey, who served as the keynote speaker for the luncheon, found out that UNCF had raised $1.15 million at the event for local deserving students to attend college, she announced that she would match the donation and help bring the total amount raised to $2.3 million. 

“I believe in the power of education,” The Charlotte Observer reports Winfrey telling the audience. “There is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”

In 2007, Winfrey opened her leadership academy for young girls in South Africa and told the crowd that three of her girls had graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. She continued by recalling a conversation she had with the late Angelou where she told her that she believed her academy in South Africa would be her greatest legacy. 

“You have no idea what your legacy is going to be because your legacy will be every life you touch,” Winfrey said Angelou told her. 

Winfrey then challenged the crowd to think about their own legacy by understanding that “your legacy is how you treat everybody.”

Next year, Winfrey will return to Charlotte to campaign for healthier living as part of her “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus” tour. The wellness event is scheduled to hit the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on January 18, 2020. 


About 4 years ago, I sat down and asked myself why I was so unlucky in love and ending up with all the Mr wrongs instead of ending up with my Mr. Right? I thought hard for days and that was when I realized there was only one constant in all my years of terrible dating choices. ME.
I woke up one day and said, “If I didn’t work on ‘ME,’ I would never end up with a good man and be a ‘WE’.
For all those years that I had been ‘just being myself’, it always led me down a path to nowhere. Then one day I decided to become the very best ME by learning everything I could about myself and the love department. And everything changed, including the sentence that not only changed my life, but can change yours too.

“Don’t Be Yourself, Be Your BEST Self”
So, if you want to learn about how you can be your best self, then keep reading.
Do you consider yourself the exact same person today that you were a year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
If you are being truthful, there’s no doubt that you understand that as a human being you are constantly changing. Think about what you were like at your happiest time of your life. Maybe you were in love or were on a great vacation. Think about the way you felt inside.

The way you looked at the world.
Now, do the same thing and think about what you were like during one of the lowest point in your life. Maybe you were just dumped by someone or just got fired from your job. Think about the way you felt inside. The way you looked at the world. The fact is that our life experiences are constantly changing us and on any given day we are gathering up more fuel to fill fire that is our “self.”

The problem with the concept of being yourself is that at any given time our sense of self is different. It is ever changing, which means when someone offers up the advice to just be yourself is that it fails to take into account where you are in your life at any given moment. Let me ask you these two questions: Are you the best you that you can be?” and “Are there areas in your life you can improve on today that will help you tomorrow?” If the answers to both of these questions is “NO” then I ask you, “Should you just go on being yourself or try to make improvements?”

The key to happiness and success in life isn’t about staying in one place (aka BEING); it’s about striving for personal growth and improvement. It’s about continually putting yourself in a position to learn and stretch into positive change. When you understand that, there is little you can’t accomplish in life.

Did you know that being yourself can actually keep you from meeting the love of your life? Imagine for a moment there is a very shy woman named Temi. She is someone who doesn’t like to engage other people very much either in social situations or work settings. Now she is at a party surrounded by attractive, single men. Any one of those men could be the man of her dreams.Since Temi is a shy person, she is being herself and standing in the corner. Nobody comes and talks to her and she leaves the party meeting not one single man.

So because she is being herself and standing in a corner do you think Temi is putting herself in a good position to find that special someone? Of course not.

When you or anyone else enter a situation like a cool party you want to be the very best person “you” can be. You want to show the people in that room the very best of you. Show them that you are a special, confident, authentic person. And for Temi, and people like her, this will take effort.

Let’s take another example where there’s a guy named Damola. Damola is unhappy. The reasons are simple, he’s pushing 40, extremely unhealthy, lives at home with Mom, and spends 10-hours a day watching tv. He wants to find a woman and even does some online dating, but has not had much luck. You need to know that change does not happen over night, but day-by-day those little changes add up!

What do you think Damola’s prospects are at finding true love? Not so good. But if one day he took steps to become the very best Damola he could be, what do you think could happen for him?

If I were Damola’s friend, I would help him to work to improve at least one aspect of his life. It sounds cliché, but it is about being the best person he can be one day at a time.

Maybe he starts working out to get healthy and in shape. Then he makes the goal to go on one date a month. Finally, he makes the big step to look for his own apartment. It may take time, but once he makes the decision to be the best person he can be, happiness and change are soon to follow.

If you are ready to make the positive changes in your life and begin the work it takes to become the very best “you,” that you can be, then I ask you what is one thing you’re willing to do today that get’s you one step closer.

You are a special person who deserves the very best out of love and life and in order to make the changes to achieve that it starts with one decision, a decision to break away from the conventional thoughts about who you are and start thinking about who you want to be. Once you do that there will be nothing you won’t be able to achieve.
To our happiness. Cheers.

Source: Guardian