Majoring in her History
Oct15

Majoring in her History

  ColorBlind: What led you to pursue Africana Studies in college? Dana Prater: I didn’t know about Africana studies courses until about 2 ½ years ago. I was a pre-physical therapy major and I had completed all my prerequisites. I was a full time student and I chose to take a few Africana Studies courses. Eventually I just ended up realizing how much I loved it and how much physical therapy really wasn’t working for me. I decided to make it [African Studies] with a concentration in cultural studies and [the arts]my major. CB: What are some things you learned from your classes? DP: I learned a lot about the culture and the slave experience in my classes. In my first Africana Studies class, we focused on the Gullah people in the Carolinas. I learned that the people who lived on that island really retained their African roots and language. I’ve been able to study about Brazil, the West Indie Caribbeans, the American south and also the urban history right here in Detroit. We’ve also talked about the continent of Africa. It’s a big place, so even in one space in one part you can have people who speak many languages and dialects and practice different religions. I found learning about the psychology of African Americans to be interesting as well. CB: How has taking classes in Africana studies helped you in your personal life as an African-American woman? What has it shown you about yourself? DP: First, it’s shown me that people of African descent have so many backgrounds and so many stories and are from all over the world. What really struck me was that sometimes being a Black person living in America, I think we have a skewed view like we’re the only people and sometimes we don’t know or think about how the slave trade didn’t just affect us. Black people who came here were really like the smallest percentage and most people of African descent went to Brazil and the Caribbean islands. That just really opened my eyes. CB: What was an inspiring/interesting thing you’ve learned in Africana studies? DP: I learned interesting things in my Afro-Latino class. Everything was so new to me. It was interesting and deep. Also, the most rewarding thing is being a graduate now and still feeling like I have so much to learn. I have so much more to explore. That’s the best thing about Africana Studies, I still get excited about it. CB: How has your study of Africana studies influenced your relationships with your peers? DP: Growing up in public schools, you don’t really learn a...

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Something we need more of when it comes to women’s rights
Oct09

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Something we need more of when it comes to women’s rights

The way some African American men view African American women is disrespectful. Vulgar language. Physical violence. Blatant disrespect. Do I approve of it? Definitely not. Am I mad about it? YES. African-American men, listen up to one of your own: Just because some women willingly degrade themselves in videos, you should not consciously decide to degrade all black women. As far back as I can remember, I have always placed a high value on women of all races and will continue to for the rest of my life. So, I wonder: “Why don’t other black men do the same?” But, allow me to explain: Women work as hard as or harder than many men, but yet still have endured many obstacles that men have not. For example, women’s suffrage in the past, and currently the right to have wages/salary comparable to that of their male counterparts. To push the wage cap idea further, the graph shows the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, by sex, race, and ethnicity in the United States in 2009. In 2009, the median income of full-time, year-round (FTYR) workers was $47,127 for men, as opposed to being $36,278 for women. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.77. The female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.77 means that, in the year 2009, female FTYR workers earned 23% less than male FTYR workers.[1] By Stephan...

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Fabulous Fall Fashion: New Season, New You
Oct09

Fabulous Fall Fashion: New Season, New You

It is often said that the start of September is the January of the fashion world. Why? Because it’s fall and this season excites fashionistas around the world. Flip flops and shorts are replaced with pumps and sandals; the air has an intoxicating fresh-out-the-box scent of a new pair of boots, and the colors on the leaves aren’t just the only seasonal changes that occur. Tis’ the season for fashion weeks all around the world to showcase the upcoming looks of the spring season. Yes, you read correctly, spring season. While we are still salivating over blazers and cropped pants, the fashion industry is already producing springtime masterpieces. So what are the trends of this season? And how can you incorporate them into your wardrobe? This season there are 3 words that need to be memorized: edgy, tailored, and chic, or in other words “edgy tailored chic”, with a hint of masculine to compliment your feminine. Let’s face it ladies, we all have those days where we just want to be one of the guys. Menswear inspired looks have existed for decades, but this season it is being embraced more than ever. Tuxedo jackets, cropped pants, fedoras, ties, loafers, and suspenders, just to name a few, are just a couple of pieces that will change your look from girlie to boyish. The key word in pulling off this trend is inspired you want to create a look that takes inspiration from men’s apparel but with your own added feminine touch. Military is another gender bending look. The tailored, structured designs of a military jacket along with the strategic placement of the buttons have rocked the runways of Burberry and Victoria Beckham. Decorative fabrics, yes the kind that typically grace the curtains or tablecloths of your grandmother are hotter than ever this fall. Who knew that lace detailing would make such a powerful comeback? The fabrics of brocade, jacquard, baroque, and velvet have solidified themselves as nothing but class and elegance. An age old look that is historically timeless and now is featured in stores the world over. Another oldie but goodie is peplum. Peplum has made a strong return between last season and this one. Even though, it never really went out of style, it is now finally being worn on women of all ages and sizes and it is featured in everything from dresses and skirts to blouses and blazers. But what exactly is peplum? The word peplum is derived from the Greek word peplos (meaning shawl). Popular in the 20th century both in the 1940’s and 1980’s, peplum is defined as a flared ruffle attached to the...

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Editor’s Pick their favorite spots in the D.
Oct08

Editor’s Pick their favorite spots in the D.

Every city has its favorite pastimes, right? Well, there are plenty in the Motor City, and you’ll find that it’s much more to Detroit than catching a Tiger’s Game in downtown or going down to the River Front. Those are great activities too, but we at ColorBlind would like you to experience a few hot spots that we frequent from time to time. Avalon International Breads The ColorBlind Magazine team loves sweets (and founder Leah Johnson loves bread as well). That explains why Avalon International Breads is a place she frequents, especially in the fall and winter. Avalon is home to delicious hot chocolate, brownies, and sea-salt chocolate chip cookies. It’s rustic, yet cozy atmosphere draws major crowds, especially during breakfast and lunch. Avalon is frequented by families, “Old-Faithful Detroiters”, college students, executives, and local business owners.Avalon proves that bread and baked goods attracts people. No wonder this business is thriving in Midtown Detroit. www.avalonbreads.net The Inn on Ferry Street Whoever said you can’t take a great vacation right within the city you live in is dead wrong. When there are great places to stay like the Inn on Ferry Street, one does not need to travel far to have a superior travel experience. The Inn makes you feel like you’re right at home and its Victorian style living quarters are a mixture of comfort and sophistication. The Inn is also right within the historic district of Midtown Detroit and is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to check out all of the exciting things that downtown has to offer. The Detroit Institute of Arts and Charles H Wright Museum of African American History are literally five minutes away from the Inn, and just about every other tourist attraction is just a mile away. Just staying one weekend isn’t enough to take in all that the Inn has to offer. The ColorBlind team recommends staying a few extra days or plan to return soon! www.innonferrystreet.com Eastern Market The Eastern Market owns Saturday mornings in the Motor City. Thousands of people from all walks of life travel to the heart of downtown Detroit to shop for locally produced goods, fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and just about every product you can think of. A special highlight of the shopping district is the “Taste of Eastern Market,” which is a cooking demonstration series where chefs prepare homemade recipes for customers to try. Bring a pencil and fork because this is something that you don’t want to miss! Not only is the shopping experience great, but the friendly, outgoing atmosphere of the market is an experience in itself. www.detroiteasternmarket.com 1917 American...

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Making Female Engineers the Majority, not the Minority
Oct04

Making Female Engineers the Majority, not the Minority

Black. Woman. Engineer. When those three words are said together, people are really caught off guard. Why are we so awestruck when we meet someone who fits the bill? Could it be because most black women engineers are not only incredibly brilliant, but also quite attractive? OK, that’s enough boasting about my colleagues. But really, why is it that we find black women engineers so fascinating? This discussion leads me to look at the engineering pipeline. It is quite clear that the United States has a pipeline problem. Research shows that there simply are not enough students in the United States pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). More specifically, there is a dearth of women and minorities entering the STEM pipeline. Here is the issue. The shortage of minorities in STEM careers is not solely a problem for minorities to deal with. If we, as a society, fail to adequately educate and prepare ALL of our students, then the ENTIRE American society will suffer. According to the recent census data, today’s ethnic minority groups will be tomorrow’s majority by the year 2050. Now let’s focus on the engineering field. Currently, minorities receive only 4-5% of the engineering degrees awarded each year. Consider what that number might become if the education systems continue to fail and today’s minorities become the majority. It is quite daunting. Now consider this: regardless of race, girls often lose interest in engineering around the age of 12. Let us now assume this average 12 year-old girl is black and in a poor school system. I surely would be surprised to see her 10 years later as an engineer. But the great thing is there are many women who have not only earned engineering degrees, but have other great achievements, even against all odds. But, how do we help them defeat the odds? I believe that the key to improving the United States engineering pipeline and increasing engineering degrees earned by women and minorities rests in how we educate our students and how we expose them to various fields. The ways in which we expose our young men to engineering apparently are not the ways we should engage our young women. The methods must be different. We have to show our women while they are young the many opportunities they can have as an engineer. While every young girl is not destined to become an engineer, we cannot continue to allow society and the media to tell our daughters they must settle for to be administrative assistants, medical assistants and cosmetologists. These are very respectable jobs, but that is not all that’s out there for...

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Destination Italia!
Oct03

Destination Italia!

ColorBlind: What year did you travel to Italy and how long were you there? Arlinda Myslimaj: I traveled to Padua, Italy during the summer of 2009 from beginning of May to the end of June. CB: How did you become interested in the study abroad program? AM: I remember being a freshman and hearing about the potential opportunities of studying in Italy with the college of business at U of M-Dearborn but I had never thought I would be able to live in a different country on my own, and taking classes for that matter. I took two courses while I was there; a Marketing course and an Organizational Behavior class. You had to be junior status to register for these courses which allowed me enough time to decide if I wanted to take the courses in Italy instead. I lived with my parents throughout my college career and traveling abroad was an opportunity to test myself to see if I could actually survive on my own. (I did actually make it alive!). CB: Why would you recommend study abroad for other students? AM: I would recommend studying abroad to everyone, especially while you’re still in school.We get too comfortable living in our daily routine that we forget sometimes that there’s actually a different world out there to experience. For me, during the trip I met a lot of different students from many different countries. They were there studying abroad as well, which allowed me to learn their perspectives on business topics. The experience I had in Italy opened many doors for me, considering the fact that many business firms today are or planning on becoming a global company. Once I listed the program on my resume, most of the interviews I had with business firms focused on the study abroad and they were interested in learning more. It was a great way to start off talking about my accomplishments. CB: What’s your best memory while being there? AM: My best memory would have to be the food and trips we took every weekend. We visited the main cities like Milan, Venice, Rome, Bologna, Verona, Vincenza, and Sottomarina. At each city we would visit the main attractions and learn about its history. I definitely miss the “easy going” lifestyle that they have. Every day was an experience, from learning how to send a postcard and buying bus tickets to learning how to make “Pasta alla carbonara” from my Italian friends. CB: What tips would you give to those considering study abroad programs? AM: If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it. I spent two months and learned a...

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ColorBlind Picks Fall 2012
Oct03

ColorBlind Picks Fall 2012

Here are some of the albums that Colorblind was rocking out to over the summer. Also listed are a few albums that we are looking forward to hearing this fall. Enjoy! Usher, ALBUM: LOOKING FOR MYSELF, RELEASED JUNE 12TH Usher spawned a number of hits with his last album Raymond vs Raymond and made “OMG” an official part of the everyday language, all while reclaiming his wild bachelor status.  Now, he’s back to claim his status as one of the hottest R&B male artists in the game with his sixth album, Looking for Myself. No one could have predicted the various risks Usher took with this album. Nobody could have forecasted quirky doo-wop grooves and electrified soul from the same man who got the world crunk with the simplistic phrase “Yeah.” The first single, “Climax” may have thrown some off guard with its taboo title, but if you know anything about Usher, you know that beyond his sexual appeal, he has a lot to offer. “Climax” is a minimalistic, electro-soul tune that has Mr. Raymond stretching out his falsetto range as he laments a love lost. Then there were the catchy club bangers like “Scream,” “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and “Lemme See.” Just a point of advice: don’t expect to grab some headphones at work and listen to the album. The music will have you itching to bust a move. ERIC BENET , ALBUM: THE ONE, RELEASED JUNE 5TH There are a lot of perceptions about soul crooner Eric Benet and unfortunately, a lot of them have to do with his personal life. But, one thing that can’t be said about him is that he cannot sing and does not put out quality work. Benet’s last few albums  bleed soulful R&B, include tender accounts of the ups and downs of love, and are etched with a sexy falsetto voice that can melt hearts. Benet’s latest album, The One already had many anticipating its superb quality ever since the first single dropped. And they were right. ColorBlind predicts “Real Love” being one of the top wedding songs of 2012. Appearances on the album include Shaggy, his daughter India Benet(who also appeared briefly on his last album) and hip hop heavyweight Lil Wayne. FRANK OCEAN, ALBUM: CHANNEL ORANGE, RELEASED JULY 17TH Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated albums this year, Frank Ocean’s eclectic smash debut Channel Orange was something of legend for a while.  He rode the mixtape circuit for a minute and had fans dying for him to release an album, but we finally got something this summer. One thing to note about Ocean: venturing into his music is like...

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Charity Ward: Detroit’s own soul songstress
Oct01

Charity Ward: Detroit’s own soul songstress

Photos Courtesy of Charityward.com     With only a guitar in her hand, singer/songwriter Charity Ward creates urban folk melodies while belting out a love song to her true passion: music. At her live performances, the crowd feels every song. They rock back and forth in a smooth motion, and sing along with Ward, especially every time she performs her debut single “Sounds Like Love.” The song could easily be about the joyous feeling of falling head over heels for the first time, but the metaphorical phrases translate into something much more personal. “I wanted to dive into the fact that there is so much art and beauty around us, but a lot of times it’s often overlooked because of what’s commercially popular or we aren’t tuned into our muses,” Ward said during a phone interview. “And from there, the song became my thesis statement about how I feel about music.” “Sounds like Love” is a perfect example of Ward’s soulful, acoustic musical style and her colorful songwriting ability. Ward is one of many up-and-coming artists trying to make a name for herself in the music industry. Yet, what separates the 21-year-old Detroit native from other artists is that she does not set boundaries when it comes to her art. She prefers to think of it as “genre-less.” “I say genre-less for the sake of being globally relatable and being able to relate to every different sound. My music is jazz, soul, neo-soul, country, folk, and I don’t want to pick one genre, I want to be all inclusive about the abundance of different influences of music that are present. “ It was Ward’s diverse musical upbringing that inspired this “genre-less” musical mentality she possesses. She grew up listening to spirituals, gospel, jazz, and soul music, all of which echoed from the walls of the Ward household. Stevie Wonder is one artist in particular that she listened to as a child and whose music still plays in her house every Sunday. Ward gets very excited when discussing the Motown legend, who she says instilled in her a love for music and is responsible for her being the type of creator she is. “I idolize Stevie Wonder,” Ward said, eagerly.” No one can put a genre on him; his music is for everybody. It’s like soul music for the masses.” We can all thank Mr. Wonder for Ward’s eclectic style, but the musical training she received was also instrumental in her musical career. She studied piano as a child, but began playing guitar when her mom encouraged her to pick up another instrument. Ward’s teacher, folk guitarist Joel Palmer saw...

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Tanya Allen: Persevering Despite Setbacks
Oct01

Tanya Allen: Persevering Despite Setbacks

Thomas Edison once said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Detroit entrepreneur and businesswoman Tanya Allen knows firsthand the power of that statement. In the 1980s, Allen came up with the idea of putting wings on female maxi pads. However, when she shared the idea with her friends, they laughed at her, so she decided against moving forward with her concept. Little did she know that her idea would one day become the internationally known female product, Always. “That taught me a very valuable lesson, which is, when God gives you an idea, if you don’t use it, He will give it to someone else,” said Allen. Upon learning that the product she thought of was now in grocery stores around the country, the first thing Allen did was repent and told God that if He gave her one more idea, she would not let it go to waste. And the idea and name for her business came to her instantly. Allen is the President and Owner of ForeverFresh, which is a line of disposable undergarments for both men and women. The line features bikinis and briefs and contains a built-in incontinent pad “pocket” to be used when extra absorbency is needed. The product can be used for a number of purposes, including during times of minor incontinence, menstruation, vaginal infections, and it comes in handy for exercise and traveling. Allen worked hard to develop her product. Still, there were many obstacles along the way. She had to start and stop her business twice.The first time she started ForeverFresh, the product was in 200 K-Mart stores. The buyer ordered 90 percent petite and small sizes of the undergarments, but since the average customer wears a large or extra large, Allen was not able to sell the product. So, she went back to the drawing board and devised another plan. The second time she restarted her business, she targeted the medical industry, and landed a glove contract with a major hospital. But, she was not able to compete on the level of other major companies when they found out she was selling the same products they were. Once again, Allen had to devise another way to market her product, but in each instance, she learned a valuable lesson. “The first time I started the business, I learned that you have to know your customer’s customer,” Allen said. “And the second time I went into the hospitals, I learned that you have to focus on your core competence. I was trying to sell all these other things before I could get my primary product off the...

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Latisha Johnson: Drive To Succeed
Oct01

Latisha Johnson: Drive To Succeed

Working sixteen-hour days are what helped entrepreneur Latisha Johnson of Detroit, start her business Prestige Meetings and Events in 2010. But for Johnson, working sixteen hours to build a business she loves was never a burden. “I was determined to do this,” Johnson said. “I started the business because of the number of corporations in the Detroit area, so I wanted to establish a name locally and then branch out.” Her business is a premier full service meeting and event planning organization that provides a one-stop shop for their clients (prestigemeetingsevents.com). The company offers complete event planning, on-site management and specialty linen and furniture rental. Johnson, 36, wholeheartedly believes her degree in finance from U of M- Dearborn is what helped jumpstart her company so quickly. She didn’t hesitate and decided to leave her job as a sales marketing manager at the Marriott Hotel in the Renaissance Center. “You’re always nervous taking on a new endeavor…but I hate feeling stagnant, there’s an internal drive no matter what I’m doing, I have to be passionate about it.” She now puts her all into her company. Johnson enjoys giving her customers insight and enlightening them on things they can do to be better negotiators. “I’ve realized my greatest passion for the business is in negotiating hotel contracts,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy doing that but I won’t tell you what you need to hear to sign on the dotted line.” This year, Johnson plans to hire a fulltime event planner for her company and since some of her clients are out of state, she wants to reach out to other organizations that are based throughout the country. Johnson’s drive to expand coupled with her work ethic will no doubt help her reach her goal of being a millionaire by age 40. “I lost my stepfather last year, “ said Johnson. “I now realize that I got my work ethic from him. We had a newspaper route and he made sure that I flicked my wrist just right to make sure the paper landed perfectly,” she related while demonstrating her wrist flicking technique. Johnson advises aspiring entrepreneurs to ask for the assistance of others who own a business and to remain focused. “I’ve said all my life, being an African American woman, anything that has been done I can do it. What makes me any different?” http://prestigemeetingsevents.com/   By Leah...

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