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TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF MEN ADVANCING MINORITY BUSINESS SUBSCRIBE HERE CODE M CELEBRATES 10 MALE ACHIEVERS APRIL 2024 ISSUE SPRING CLEAN YOUR NUTRITION BIRTHING BLACK BABIES ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR Jessica Roach and Dorian Wingard, the founders of ROOTT, are changing the way Black families experience pregnancy and infant health through doula services and consultation. +




Jessica Roach and Dorian Wingard, the founders of ROOTT, are changing the way Black families

experience pregnancy and infant health through doula services and consultation.


Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!





Chris Surrey, the founder of PaintBox Labs, is changing the way Black people engage their business strategy and creating a purpose for himself at the same time.



CODE M was born to showcase and highlight Black people who are making a difference for their businesses, community, and their families. We are proud to celebrate these men this



The collaborative effort of co-parenting between separated parents is crucial for fostering the well-being and development of children.

month and we encourage you to do the same thing.



The growing trend of creating fake news is leading Americans to pick a false side, filled with lies and falsehoods so nobody wins in todays political climate.


Spring season creates an opportunity to refresh your goals and re-align your habits. Health nutrition is the key to developing the life you want for your year and overall existence.

8 APRIL 2024 / CODE M


There is something special that happens when grandparents and grandkids spend time together. Something beyond what parents have with their own kids.


The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), is helping minority businesses reach their full potential by bringing the best of all industries together in one place.


BV Mobile Apps is helping companies compete for customers by keepings costs low and the fun-factor high.


Spring brings out the best in us. It is a time for birth, growth and all things green. Here are a few expressions of how we see green working for you.


Blacks influence the latest trends of popular culture, fashion, and music more than any demographic. Reach them when you advertise with CODE M Magazine. With over 1.4 million viewers monthly, we have your audience.

Call 216-273-9400 to request a rate kit.



Bilal S. Akram


Brad J. Bowling


Alexandria Johnson Boone


David Christel


Anita G. Butler

Anthony Kirby-Lifestyles

Laron Harlem-Fashion

Paris Lampkins-Movers & Shakers


Stiff Arm Media MEDIA

Carole Anthony



Darrell Scott

Grace Roberts




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Scott TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF MEN Subscribe FREE online: Code M Magazine is published by CODE MEDIA GROUP, LLC © 2024 All Rights Reserved CODE M Magazine was created to be a guiding force in creating a dialogue for black men everywhere. Code M focuses on the conversations of advancement, mental health, career choices, the political landscape and relationships that define and shape the lives of black men everywhere. CEO AND CFO: BILAL AKRAM 216-695-0911 PRESIDENT: BRAD BOWLING 440-796-5763 ADVERTISING: KEVIN JONES 216-926-3999 #CODEMAGINTL



Dr. Martha Potts joined TSAL as awareness building manager in 2021 and leads operations of Racial Equity Institute Workshops. Dr. Potts left a career at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to pursue a doctorate in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University. Her research focus is human systems transformation.

Her passion is specific regarding how individuals, groups, organizations, communities and nations achieve positive growth and sustainable transformation in the midst of adversity.

Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!
by Paris Lampkins

She is currently interested in the use of Gestalt theory in identity expansion and transformation in Black communities (specifically, those in the 18-30 year range) and is working on a project entitled, Revolution As An Internal Job: The Power of Gestalt.

14 APRIL 2024 / CODE M


Harry Atwell, joined TSAL + the Reading Room on Juneteenth 2022 as Community Manager and resident caretaker. He is a native Clevelander who was born and raised in the Glenville community where the Reading Room is located. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the bookstore, its calendar of programs and events and is the proud caretaker of the space.

Harry looks forward to establishing the Reading Room as a steadfast community safe place; where people can purposefully come together and exchange ideas manifested through the impact of their individual experiences.


Tina Cargill joined TSAL in 2021 as Executive Administrator and was recently promoted to Special Assistant to the Founders in 2024. Ms. Tina keeps all wheels moving forward in her role as one of the operations managers, event planners and HR + Benefits Coordinator.

She is a native Cleveland East-sider that has many years of experience working administratively in several industries throughout the city. She is her happiest attending a TSAL event, hanging out somewhere comfortably in the background, cheering on whomever may currently have the mic in their hand!


Tristen Hall joined TSAL as an intern in 2022 and came on full time as a Senior Consultant for Digital Media & Storytelling in 2023 and supports TSAL consultant projects as and digital community engagement through social media and the website.

Tristen is currently a 4th year PhD candidate at Miami University where their research explores how the social networks of students of color impact their attitudes on community and coalition building. Tristen is originally from Cleveland, OH and is excited to connect with local organizations and partners. Tristen received a M.Ed. in Higher Education in 2019 and a B.A. in Psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2017.

CODE M / APRIL 2024 15


“A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” - Billy Graham

“Raising your child well is hard. But learning to let them go out into the world and prove that you did your job right is even tougher.” – J. Craine

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” - Franklin P. Jones

“Children learn more from what you are, than what you teach” - W.E.B. Du Bois

“A child doesn't belong to the father or mother; a child belongs to the ancestors” - African Porverb

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” – Hodding Carter, Jr.

“Anyone who’s a parent dreads that call in the middle of the night. I have four grown children and I still dread it.” – Tony Dungy

“A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“There's nothing more contagious than the laughter of young children; it doesn't even have to matter what they're laughing about.” - Criss Jami

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales” - Albert Einstein

Proverbs 22:6”Train up a child in the way he (she) should go, [a]And when he (she) is old he (she) will not depart from it.” NKJV

16 APRIL 2024 / CODE M
Tony Dungy


Chris Surrey, the founder of PaintBox Labs, is changing the way Black people engage their business strategy and creating a purpose for himself at the same time.


David has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men Coming Out: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Man You Were Born to Be.

ear is a tremendous thing. It blocks our plans, blocks our blessings. That’s why I don’t operate in fear. I operate in faith with everything I do. Plan, do the work, and have faith that everything will pan out and they’ve always worked out for me.”

Such has been the story arc for Chris Surrey, but it has taken several life-changing crossroads for him to integrate this understanding fully. What it has done is help him realize that to truly and fully live happiness, he had to be his catalyst because the world around him was only offering a box to fit within.

That box, though offering money, awards, and visibility in the advertising and marketing industry, was still steeped in tokenism. It also had a glass ceiling that couldn't be shattered for a Black man. Upon realizing that his heart and soul weren’t being fed,

Chris knew a change needed to be made. But to what and how?

Chris, the founder of and catalyst behind PaintBox Labs, a marketing consultancy and content creation agency, “how” turned out to be his first major crossroad. He found God and was baptized in 2003. He thought all good things were going to happen then. Well, just the opposite occurred, and he lost everything, and was stripped of everything. What he discovered is that he had to surrender to a source greater than himself that he couldn’t see. Quite a shakedown for his ego.

What replaced his arrogance and sense of “specialness” was compassion, kindness, and humility. To really bring that home, he traveled to Kenya to work on a project and was invited by a friend to visit a unique community called

18 APRIL 2024 / CODE M

Jericho, Nairobi. Down to his last $20 and feeling lost and adrift, Jericho, its people, and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals they lived by captivated him and they put to him with all certainty, “We want you to film our story.”

This wasn’t in Chris’ wheelhouse; art directing ad campaigns, writing TV commercials, yes. Directing a film? No. But they insisted. They needed a voice, and they knew that Chris was the person to do it. Asking “Why me?” they responded that they saw something in him something he didn’t see in himself.

Chris stayed at Jericho for forty days and in that time, he discovered his purpose. And, very importantly, he discovered that he had to make his way in the world by being his catalyst. The advertising industry wasn’t going to give him the opportunities he wanted and needed, so he had to take things into his own hands.

Thus, the documentary was filmed, and he launched a non-profit organization called Project54 Tour, which stands for the 53 countries of the African Union plus one for people of color throughout the world. The non-profit community aid program promotes cultural understanding, celebrates diversity, and fosters global health and harmony. The program also invests in health care, music, the arts, youth sports, and entertainment as a means to spur the design and implementation of programs that improve the lives of at-risk youth and young adults.

“The way I work, I want to give back. It keeps me humble. When I do business with people, I’m not moved by the money, I’m moved by the people involved. For instance, with my Diversity in Media program, I train young people in front of and behind the


camera so they can learn about the industry working with professionals. I created PaintBox Labs to truly be a laboratory to create intellectual properties and bring them to fruition. I want to create community connections that provide insight and understanding. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are the core of who I am.”

The reason this is fundamental to Chris’ purpose in life is that though he was highly sought-after in the advertising industry, his being Black created a blockade that he couldn’t get past. Essentially, he was locked out of his industry. Rightly so, it made him bitter and resentful. But then, the universe has an amazing way of helping us move forward in our lives.

In keeping with that, Chris launched PaintBox Labs in 2006, then co-founded a new tech AI platform and studio last year that has the very agencies and companies who shut him out back in the day now requesting his company’s creative consultancy services. Chris no longer feels himself to be the “odd man out.”

As he considers the crossroads in his life, Chris truly knows that people make a difference. “I’m always advocating for the underrepresented, to empower people, especially young people. I’ve come to learn what true joy is by living my purpose and giving back. It comes down to surrendering, trusting, and having faith. Have faith in yourself and have passion for what you love. Become rich in spirit. Look people in the eyes and let them see your spirit!” ●

CODE M / APRIL 2024 19
Chris Surrey with members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.


CODE M was born to showcase and highlight Black people who are making a difference for their businesses, community, and their families. We are proud to celebrate these men this month and we encourage you to do the same thing.

Michael Baston is the fifth president of Cuyahoga Community College (TriC), based in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a national thought leader on a role of community colleges in shaping educational success, supporting regional workforce reforms and developing executive leadership teams.

“Tri-C has always been an institution where people come here with intention,” Baston said.

“A lot of people may go to other places not knowing what they want to do, but when they come here they have a plan.”

With the average age of a student at Tri-C being 26, Baston makes a good point. Tri-C is a place where students can come and develop their skill set by taking courses that are

affordable that offer a wide range of degrees and certificates. Baston focuses on strengthening the college’s nearly 60-year mission of providing high-quality, affordable and accessible education services that help keep Cleveland’s talent in Cleveland.

The college offers courses in the trades like police and fire and rescue. The college offers two-year degrees for those looking for nursing and other degrees. And finally the college offers four-year degrees for those looking to earn and bachlors degree.

As a national guided pathways and equity Transfer initiative coach for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Baston is noted for his work with leadership teams at two and four-year colleges across the nation, helping them integrate student success initiatives to advance college completion and labor market entry success.

Among many other professional honors and activities, Baston is -co-chair of Jobs For the Future’s Policy Leadership Trust and a member of the AACC Board of Directors Executive Board, chairing its audit and finance committee. He received the National Council on Student Development’s Terry O’Bannon Gold Prize in 2015 and the NAACP Community Leadership Award in 2010.

“Students today are looking for a very focused path to success and opportunity. And because of that they know if they come to a place that is going to value them, and a place that is going to be affordable to them, that they can’t lose.” Baston said.

“Today students are electing to go to a community college by choice.” Baston continued, “There are scores and scores of high school students are getting college credits while they are in high school.” Baston said.

Tri-C is one of the largest colleges to offer the credit plus programs in the area.

“We are a professional development organization for the entirety of a career. You may get a degree in engineering, but have to come to Tri-C to get an additional certificate here because it is not offer anywhere else.” Baston said.

Baston went on to say that Tri-C offers online courses to anyone across the country that is interested in going to college. The college’s future is bright with Baston at the helm and he has become a welcomed star in the Cleveland community.

CODE M salutes Dr. Baston, along with the nine other achievers in our April Issue. Well Done! ●

[ START ] 20 APRIL 2024 / CODE M
CODE M / APRIL 2024 21
Men will often choose marriage or the single life because it creates a better foundation for success.

Nicholas E. Perry is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Presidents’ Council (PC), Northeast Ohio’s only economic development organization for black-owned enterprises. Guided by a board of corporate and entrepreneurial C-suite executives, the organization focuses on providing leadership, innovative ideas, and resources to accelerate the growth of black-owned businesses and thus contributing to the overall economic development in Northeast Ohio.

Prior to PC, Perry served as the Executive Director for Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation, a non-profit formed in 1988 to address the housing needs in the City of Cleveland’s Ward 3. His achievements included leading equity and debt underwriting of LIHTC units; increasing the annual operating budget by 172 percent; establishing two evolving regional coalitions: 1) The Southeast Merchants Coalition, which ensures cross-pollination of customers and shares resources, bolstering local businesses; and 2) The Cleveland Ten Point Coalition that provides wraparound services focused on reducing gun violence in the neighborhood.


Maximillian L. Hamilton is the CEO & Founder of Rogue Media Group, LLC (RMG), a U.S. Veteran Owned & Operated Company. RMG is the premier multicultural advertising, marketing and media agency that leverage the power of business data, virtual & live experiences, digital media, social media, original content, advertisement, and network affiliates to connect brands to an educated and affluent target audience.

The company is headquartered in New York City and has operations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Washington, DC. RMG maintains a prestigious roster of Fortune 2000 clients. Today, the list includes AARP, Creating Healthier Communities, Couples Resorts, Jamaica, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Diageo, NA, JPMorgan Chase & Company, John Hancock, FINRA, Legal & General, America, Lexus, Manulife, and Morgan Stanley, to mention a few.FINRA

Mr. Enrique Young is the founder and CEO of FEBA, Inc. Dba FEBA Security Services. The company has been in existence since November 2014 and provides armed and unarmed security guard, event staffing and live scan fingerprint background checks to federal, state and commercial clients. Mr. Young holds licenses in the states of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia and several other statewide security credentials. With its headquarters in Largo, Maryland, FEBA Security Services is certified as a Service Disable Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in the state of Maryland. To FEBA’s credit, the company was recognized by the Washington Post newspaper for contributing to the increase in job opportunities in Prince Georges County, Maryland and recognized as the Diversity Supplier of the year by the MGM National Harbor in 2023.

[ START ] 22 APRIL 2024 / CODE M

Dr. Marlon "Doc" Fuller is a distinguished philanthropist, inventor with 4 patents, entrepreneur, Doctor of Pharmacy, investor, and renowned speaker, balancing these roles while also being a devoted father of four. Together with his wife, Christina, he co-founded, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial literacy education to children aged 8 to 16 nationwide, positively impacting over 27,000 young lives. This fall, they will bring their financial literacy curriculum to schools nationwide utilizing edutainment to keep students engaged and incorporate his upcoming book, "The Canvas Inside".

Dr. Fuller's innovative spirit shines through his pioneering creations both within and outside of the financial literacy space. His multi-faceted approach to educating through eduTainment includes the world's first G-rated financial literacy album, "The Syllabus" (, the groundbreaking streaming financial literacy TV app, "JAR" (www.Jar.TV), and a first-ofits-kind financial literacy business and music festival for kids, "FinLit Fest" (

Michael J. Garner, MBA, was appointed New York City’s first Citywide Chief Business Diversity Officer by Mayor Eric Adams on February 16, 2023. Mr. Garner formerly served as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). His tenure at the MTA spanned 14 years from February 2009- through February 2023. He is a diversity champion, making it his personal and professional mission to create a more diverse business environment wherever he’s been.

By creating new programs, Mr. Garner and his teams have been responsible for more than $20 billion in payments to New York State/City Minority and Women-owned Businesses. In addition, since Mr. Garner’s arrival, the MTA has improved its hiring of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians by 20% across the MTA’s six different operating agencies.

Since his arrival at the MTA in 2009, Mr. Garner has designed the country’s leading MWDBE Business Development Program based on dollars paid.

As an entrepreneur, Lazar Favors contracted with his 1st African American spirit brand as a Michigan Marketing Manager from May, 2019 to February, 2022. During that time, he successfully grew the placement of this brand from 11 stores to over 4,000 retailers in the state of Michigan. Since then, he has become the Legacy Liaison for over 70 Black owned spirit brands across the U.S., including some internationally. Black Spirits Legacy, LLC is branding/ marketing management company that provides distribution opportunities and access to relationships that could provide capital or mentorship for Black owned spirit companies. Our goal is to increase Black representation in the spirits industry. We curate high quality signature experiences called, "A Taste of Black Spirits," which has expanded to 5 cities across the U.S.

[ START ] CODE M / APRIL 2024 25

Gregory Lockhart is a seasoned professional with a rich background in the television industry, boasting an impressive career spanning 38 years. Having dedicated his entire profession to local television news as a photojournalist and visual storyteller, Gregory garnered invaluable experience and expertise, making significant contributions to his various employers and the audiences who benefited from and enjoyed his work before retiring in September of 2020.

Transitioning from his dynamic career in television, Gregory redirected his passion and energy towards community service and leadership roles. Since 2003, he has been an integral part of the esteemed organization, 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, Inc., being recently elected Chairman. In this current role, Gregory brings a unique perspective having served as a member on various committees, on the board of directors, as a primary fundraiser, and in many other diverse areas within the organization. He has demonstrated unwavering commitment and dedication to uplifting and empowering the local community, particularly focusing on the advancement and development of African American youth and families.

Aaron Showtime Taylor, the man who served over a quarter of a century inside the California Dept of Correcctions and Rehabilitation, is a man on a mission. Since being released on Oct 16, 2020, he has worked as a Sports Broadcaster and Play by Play commentator for the Venice Basketball League, American Basketball Association; has had a guest appearance as the public address Announcer for the Golden State Warriors. He appeared on NBA Countdown with Maria Taylor, the Kelly Clarkson Show; he's hosted a TedX event - where he was also a presenter - was the intro/outro voice for the 42nd Sports Emmy Awards, has several short films with the Golden State Warriors YouTube channel Warriors Ground, and he also signed and films his podcast "Hard in the Paint" at the World Famous Coin Academy in Pasadena, CA.

He is also the Voice that begins track #4 on the iconic hiphop album "The Chronic" by Dr. Dre - The Day the Niggaz Took Over –.

Dr. Okey K. Enyia is the Founder & CEO of Enyia Strategies, a Washington DC-based health policy consulting firm. Most recently, he served as the Senior Policy Advisor at the Alliance for Health Policy where he oversaw the policy and content development for selected Alliance educational and other programmatic activities; provided subject matter expertise to major grant and sponsorship opportunities; and contributed to the Alliance’s health equity strategy and community/patient engagement initiatives.

Prior to that, he served as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Dr. Enyia recently earned a doctorate in public health (health policy concentration) from the George Washington University School of Public Health. His dissertation was the first-of-itskind study to examine the Affordable Care Act and its impact on access to care for Black men.

[ START ] 26 APRIL 2024 / CODE M 32 APRIL 2024 / CODE M


The growing trend of creating fake news is leading Americans to pick a false side, filled with lies and falsehoods so nobody wins in todays political climate. .

David has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men Coming Out: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Man You Were Born to Be.

This seems to be the new mantra permeating American culture from business to social engagement to politics. We’ve now hit a new high or low depending on your perspective in how we communicate in any arena. That includes the dissemination of “fake news” and “deep fake” images.

It used to be that fake news was merely the spreading of rumors, innuendo, and smear campaigns. But now, with our amazing tech capabilities, we can manipulate information on an unimaginable scale. Not only can we employ AI to write anything for us, we can massage pictures, audio, and film to the point that they’re virtually (pun intended) indistinguishable from the real deal. And what a deal it is when fame, power, control, authority, and wealth are at stake.

If you’re not well-versed in the fakery being used to great

28 APRIL 2024 / CODE M


effect these days, then you really are “behind the eight ball,” as the saying goes and it’s very important to come up to speed on this issue as we deal with our upcoming national election. As you take in the news, you’ll see more and more instances of fake news and deep fake images and videos being used in the unending propaganda and obfuscation battle being waged from all sides about a plethora of issues all geared to securing your vote and allegiance.

At the heart of fake news and deep fake is one need: control of the narrative in order to “win.” The outcome of winning can simply be about besting someone in an argument, to ruining their livelihood, to even getting them incarcerated. What seems most important is grabbing power and control, which automatically leads to having authority over others, shutting others out, and the possibility of greater wealth accumulation.

The most egregious distribution of fake news is found in American politics, which unavoidably has seeped into our journalism, news outlets, and social media and it’s spread wantonly and judiciously without regard for honesty, authenticity, ethics, morality, or consequences. All of it is agenda-driven and there are some powerful and wealthy individuals and groups behind much of it.

There are also small-time players out in the cyber world purposely seeking to create havoc with people’s beliefs, what they think they know, their sense of reality, and what they support. As well, there are criminals hacking systems and databases to steal information, money, and identities.

The effect all of this is having on the American public is the heightening of our distrust quotient, which is intensifying our stress, anxiety, and fear levels. Those three things in turn make us defensive, suspicious, judgmental, reaction-


ary, angry, hateful, vengeful, myopic, and paranoid. This quagmire puts us in an emotional bind wherein we’re forced into a survival mode mindset while conversely believing we’re a victim and need someone to come save us.

Unfortunately, the ones we’re wanting to save us are the ones manipulating the heck out of us all for their personal gain. Their marketing and rhetoric machine is well greased and pumping out a mountain of mis- and disinformation, confusing storylines, completely fictional or doctored reports sold as truth, and bizarre commentaries and rationalizations that are leaving our heads spinning. It’s to the point that we’re now suffering from a nationwide migraine.

The upshot is that determining the difference between what’s real and what’s fake is becoming increasingly difficult to do. Thankfully, there are people and agencies whose sole purpose is to sniff out fakery, debunk it, and inform the populace.

But on an individual basis, we first need to become more familiar with fake news and deep fake because the situation is only going to get worse as those who are deeply invested in hoodwinking people to further their ends keep upping the game. They’re going to continue using ongoing advancements in AI and tech abilities because getting their way, no matter what and how, is paramount.

Here are some definitions:

• Fake news: making up or manipulating information, publishing it as real, and building a false narrative around it.

• Deep fake: the replacing of objects or people in images, videos, and film in order to purposely misrepresent or mislead viewers. Both methods are used to manipulate America’s citizens to advance private agendas that include the attainment or maintaining of power, control, authority, and wealth. It’s also about preserving the status quo in terms of position, status, and privilege. This manipulation is amazingly sophis-

ticated and psychologically compelling. Its immersive effect on our psyche is such that people are buying into it even when it goes against their best interests, whitewashes or erases their history, and suppresses their civil rights. There are many reasons why people are doing this, but the underlying factor in all of it is fear.

Many people feel our country has gone so far off the rails in terms of outlandish behaviors and the whims of special interests legal/illegal and governmental that we’re spiraling out of control and in danger of losing our democracy, our way of life, and our freedoms. That is happening but it’s the people who are actually manipulating everyone and the system who are bringing that about.

What’s truly frightening about all of this is that the people employing fake news and deep fake believe that what they are doing is “the right thing to do” and that they have the right to use such methods to advance their cause(s). Why? Because they’re right and everyone else is wrong, their cause is just, and they’re doing God’s work. What they’re relying on is people not bothering to do their homework to ascertain whether something is true, partly true, or false.

CODE M / APRIL 2024 31
This political season will create more division among the left and right.

Let’s face it many people are too busy with trying to get through life every day that they aren’t interested in putting in the time and effort to research whether something is fake news or deep fake. They’d rather rely on a “trusted source,” someone who:

• believes the same as they do,

• doesn’t stray far from their narrow reality band,

• has the same values,

• looks like them,

• is from the same economic class,

• is a member of their religion,

• votes the same party line,

• will do whatever it takes to stay in charge,

• will clear out the undesirables, and

• will maintain the status quo.

Try to broaden the minds of these kinds of people and they’ll entrench more deeply into their beliefs, shout you down, gaslight and/or cancel you, and shame and vilify you in as public a forum as possible or worse. What we’re seeing is the bar of human civility being lowered further and further so that the coarsest communication and behavior imaginable is expressed.

Things like being considerate, honest, ethical, kind and compassion-

ate, listening and being present, authenticity, and solution -based public discourse are fast disappearing. What we’re seeing on a national scale is the “all’s fair in love and war” distain and arrogance instigated by an incredible lack of maturity, total self-interest, dogged stubbornness, unreasonable petulance, and purposeful ignorance.

Whatever happened to:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

The bottom line is that we cannot continue on this trajectory. Much has been said about being “woke,” but forget that. Instead, WAKE UP! We need to put ourselves back in the driver’s seat and do our homework to create the reality that lies deep within our hearts. We want a world that works, that is as stress free as possible, and that supports and encourages everyone to be the best they can be. We need to get ourselves back on track with honesty, authenticity, ethics, morality, and unconditional positive regard for everyone. Right now, we’re caught up in the lust for power, but as the adage states: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ●

CODE M / APRIL 2024 33
Fake news is so normal that Americans can no longer tell the difference between real news and fake news.


The collaborative effort of co-parenting between separated parents is crucial for fostering the well-being and development of children.

Chris A. Matthews is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Visit to learn more about his work with couples and families.

CODE M / APRIL 2024 35
[ LIFE ]

For Black fathers, navigating the dynamics of coparenting can present unique challenges due to societal stereotypes and historical contexts. Nevertheless, with dedication and a strategic approach, Black men can successfully co-parent with their child’s mother without encountering unnecessary drama.

Co-parenting, the collaborative effort between separated parents, plays a pivotal role in fostering the wellbeing and development of children. With only 30 percent of Black men currently being married in the US and 46 percent of Black men between the ages of 15-49 having fathered a child, as reported by the 2023 National Center for Health Statistics, it’s evident that coparenting is a prevalent reality for many.

Despite these statistics, several Black fathers have learned how to co-parent without drama. Figures like Will Smith, who co-parent with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino, and Mark Anthony, who maintains a respectful co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife Jennifer Lopez, exemplify the possibilities of harmonious co-parenting despite separation.

Additionally, individuals such as Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Hart showcase that maintaining a strong co-parenting relationship is feasible even when no longer with the mother of their children.

With dedication and a strategic approach, Black men can successfully co-parent with their children’s mothers without encountering unnecessary drama.

Let’s explore six essential strategies that Black fathers can adopt to cultivate healthy co-parenting relationships, drawing on evidencebased practices and real-world experiences.

Establishing Clear Boundaries

Clear boundaries serve as the foundation of a successful coparenting arrangement. Defining boundaries helps clarify each parent’s role, responsibilities, and expectations, thus reducing conflicts and misunderstandings. Black fathers can set boundaries by openly communicating their needs and preferences, respecting the autonomy of the co-parent, and delineating personal space and time.

Research published in the journal Parenting: Science and Practice (“The Association Between Co-parenting and Child Adjustment: A Meta-Analysis,” 2010) underscores the importance of well-defined boundaries in promoting children’s emotional adjustment and reducing behavioral problems. By maintaining clear boundaries, Black fathers demonstrate respect for themselves and their coparent, fostering a collaborative and harmonious co-parenting environment.

Prioritizing Effective Communication

Effective communication stands as the cornerstone for resolving conflicts, making decisions, and coordinating parenting efforts. Black fathers can enhance communication by actively listening to their co-parents, expressing thoughts and feelings assertively, and practicing empathy and understanding. Open and honest communication not only builds trust but also facilitates cooperation, laying the groundwork for successful co-parenting.

Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled “The Association between Co-parenting Behavior and Internalizing/ Externalizing Problems of Children and Adolescents: A Meta-Analysis” highlights the significance of positive communication between co-parents. This communication fosters an environment of understanding and collaboration, which is essential for navigating the complexities of co-parenting. Black fathers who prioritize communication contribute to fostering healthy co-parenting relationships, ensuring consistent support and care for their children.

Embracing Honesty and Trustworthiness

Honesty and trust form the bedrock of any co-parenting relationship. Black fathers can cultivate honesty by being transparent about their intentions, actions, and decisions. This includes being truthful about their romantic relationships and potential partners, and ensuring that the coparent is kept informed and up to date on any developments that may impact the co-parenting dynamic.

Additionally, trustworthiness is demonstrated through reliability, consistency, and accountability Upholding honesty and trustworthiness fosters mutual respect and cooperation with the co-parent, ultimately benefiting the children.

It’s essential for Black fathers to maintain an open dialogue with their co-parent about the people they will have their child around, ensuring that the co-parent receives accurate information directly from the father rather than through the child. This proactive approach not only builds trust but also promotes transparency and collaboration in coparenting relationships, creating a stable and supportive environment for the children.

Demonstrating Dependability

Dependability plays a crucial role in building trust and maintaining effective co-parenting relationships. Black fathers can demonstrate dependability by fulfilling their par-

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enting obligations, honoring agreements and commitments, and actively participating in their children’s lives. When co-parents can rely on each other to fulfill their responsibilities consistently, it reduces uncertainty and ambiguity, which are often sources of conflict and drama.

By being dependable, Black fathers create a sense of stability and predictability for their children, which is essential for their wellbeing and adjustment. Research consistently shows that children thrive in environments characterized by consistency and reliability, with parental reliability being strongly associated with positive child outcomes and psychological adjustment.

Black fathers who prioritize dependability not only fulfill their role as co-parents but also contribute to nurturing co-parenting environments where children can flourish emotionally and socially. Their consistent presence and active involvement provide reassurance to both the co-parent and the child, fostering trust and cooperation while minimizing the likelihood of unnecessary drama, tension, and conflict.

Embracing Flexibility

Flexibility is not only desirable but essential for navigating the complexities of co-parenting and adapting to the ever-changing circumstances that arise. Black fathers can demonstrate flexibility by adopting an open-minded approach, being accommodating, and showing a willingness to compromise when necessary.

One way flexibility can benefit co-parenting relationships is by allowing parents to adjust schedules to accommodate each other’s commitments and responsibilities. For example, if one parent unexpectedly has to work late, the other parent may need to adjust their plans to ensure that childcare arrangements are still met. By being flexible in such situations, co-parents can avoid conflicts and ensure that their child’s needs are prioritized.

Furthermore, flexibility enables co-parents to address unforeseen challenges that may arise, such as medical emergencies or lastminute changes in plans. For instance, if a child falls ill and needs to see a doctor, the co-parents may need to adjust their schedules to accompany the child to an appointment or take time off from work to care for them. Being flexible allows co-parents to respond effectively to such situations, minimizing stress, and ensuring that their child receives the care and support they need.

Flexibility promotes effective collaboration between co-parents in the best interests of their children. Co-parents may need to negotiate and compromise on various issues, such as parenting decisions, financial arrangements, or holiday schedules. By embracing flexibility, co-parents can work together to find mutually acceptable solutions, fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

Maintaining Clear Boundaries Around Sex

Navigating intimacy with the child’s mother can be a delicate and potentially complicated aspect of co-parenting relationships, especially for Black fathers. Failure to establish clear boundaries around intimacy can have detrimental effects on the co-parenting relationship and, ultimately, on the well-being of the children involved.

One significant way in which not managing intimacy properly can harm the co-parenting relationship is through blurred lines regarding sexual involvement. It’s crucial for Black fathers to draw a firm line when it comes to engaging in sexual activity with their co-parents, especially if they’re not in a romantic relationship with them. Continuing or initiating sexual relations with the co-parent can lead to confusion, mixed signals, and emotional entanglement, which can complicate the co-parenting dynamic and potentially harm the children involved. The parents’ decision to separate was made for a reason, and engaging in sexual activity can blur boundaries and reignite old emotions or create false hopes for reconciliation.

By maintaining clear boundaries around intimacy and refraining from engaging in sexual activity or leading the coparent, Black fathers uphold the integrity of their coparenting relationship and minimize potential conflicts. Prioritizing respect and clarity in interactions with the coparent regarding romantic or sexual relationships demonstrates a commitment to prioritizing the well-being of the children above all else.

This proactive approach not only fosters a healthier coparenting dynamic it also ensures that the children are shielded from unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil caused by unresolved conflicts between their parents.

Co-parenting as a Black father presents unique challenges, yet with commitment and strategic implementation, dramafree co-parenting is achievable. By adopting the six strategies outlined in this article establishing clear boundaries, prioritizing effective communication, embracing honesty and trustworthiness, demonstrating dependability, embracing flexibility, and maintaining clear boundaries around intimacy Black fathers can cultivate healthy co-parenting relationships and promote the well-being of their children.

Through evidence-based practices and real-life experiences, Black fathers can overcome obstacles and foster harmony in their co-parenting journey, thus having the baby mama without the drama. ●

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Jessica Roach and Dorian Wingard, the founders of ROOTT, are changing the way Black families experience pregnancy and infant health through doula services and consultation.

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The month of April is recognized in the United States as National Minority Health Month – a month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities.

Black Maternal Health Week takes place every year from April 11 –17. With the Black maternal and Infant mortality rate being double that of non-Blacks, CEO Jessica Roach, and COO Dorian Wingard took on the challenge to do something about it. They are the co-founders of the Columbus, Ohio -based ROOTT, Restoring Our Own Through Transformation.

ROOTT is a Black public health equity community-based organization dedicated to addressing Black family health and wellness by eliminating Black maternal and infant Mortality through Perinatal Support Services, research, education, and consulting. needs as Black women and women of color surrounding maternal and infant health through doula services and training, research, education, and consultation.

Doulas are trained to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to women during labor, birth, and in the immediate postpartum period. With the support of doulas, many women can forego epidurals, avoid cesarean births, and have less stressful births.

“We created ROOTT to transform the perinatal experience- before, during, and after- for Black families,” Roach said.

And the transformation needs to happen. Black mothers and babies die at 2-4 times the rate of non-Black counterparts. So, the need to consult Black families from pregnancy through the first year of life and beyond is real and critical to their success. The numbers for the

Black infant mortality rate are horrible.

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 2020

Age of Mother Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic white

30-34 years

Why is there a black maternal mortality rate?

The most straightforward answer is racism. The root causes of disproportionate pregnancy complications in Black women are driven by inequality, discrimination, and longstanding racism deeply rooted in the U.S. healthcare system. which can lead to chronic stress. Stress takes a toll on the body and can create physiological changes that affect HER and her unborn infant’s health. Systemic racism impacts every aspect of healthcare.

What is even more hard to believe, is that if the Black family simply chose a Black doctor to help monitor and care for them during their pregnancy, things would change.

Studies showed that under the care of white physicians, Black newborns experience 430 more fatalities per 100,000 births than white newborns. However, under the care of Black physicians, this “mortality penalty” (as the study termed it) for Black newborns was reduced by 58% (i.e., 257 fewer deaths per 100,000).

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The ROOTT team celebrating their success at the COSI Building.
Under 20 years 12.4 8.2 20-24 years 10.8 5.6 25-29 years 10.3 4.3
9.8 3.6

“Since we took in our first patient, ROOTT has not lost a mother or after birth,” Wingard said.

Can it be that simple? Can simply choosing the right caregiver mean the difference between living or dying for thousands of Black infants annually? The numbers do not lie, and the results are not manufactured. ROOTT understands the risk factors associated with poor outcomes, how to create a healthy pregnancy and birth for the entire family is making a world of change for those who utilize its services.

“We wanted to change the narrative that we are at a deficit. We know we are fully capable of having healthy, happy, and thriving families. ROOTTs model of engagement with our community has demonstrated this,” Roach said.

What is so special about ROOTT is they include the father in the process. For far too long, the father played an exceedingly small role in the process of having a baby. From the very beginning ROOTT works the father into the process so that his health and role is supported in producing a healthy pregnancy and family.. This makes the birthing experience incredible for any couple who comes to ROOTT for their services.

Typically, the father might accompany the expecting mom to an appointment or meeting about the delivery of her baby, but at ROOTT, taking both the father and the mother into consideration is the norm.

“We normalize the process of including the father in the birthing process.” Wingard continued, “When you include the father in the process, it creates a more meaningful experience for both the father and the mother, and the father becomes more connected with the baby post-delivery.”

In the Black community, this approach to managing a pregnancy is a huge win for the community. Black fathers have a false public perception that they are not involved in their children’s lives. Black fathers have always been criticized for their lack of presence in their children’s lives and ROOTT’s approach to fathers separates them from other systems that manage childbirth.

“I can tell you that even though I was not excluded from my daughter’s birth, I did not necessarily feel included,” Brian from Akron said. “When I heard that ROOTT has programs that involve both the father and mother, I got excited. We will seek

them out when my kids start to have families.” White ROOTT is a Columbus, Ohio-based company, their help extends across the country.

“We have the ability to and provide Telehealth support where the need is to help any family that wants it.” Roach continued, “We offer a 1 800 number (866-766-8875) for any family, no matter where they are in their pregnancy the opportunity to have support.”

ROOTT wants to make sure that everyone knows that the process of delivering a healthy baby starts at the point where you get the right consultation. Both Roach and Wingard made it noticeably clear, that no matter where an expecting mom is in the process, it is not too late to engage ROOTT.

The best possible scenario is always for an expecting mom to get the right advice as soon as possible. However, any family, no matter where they are in the process of having a baby, are encouraged to reach out and use their services.

With ROOTT having so much success the future looks bright for the organization. They have a plan to impact Black families

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Helping Black families is at the center of ROOTT’s success.

long after the delivery of the baby. They envision expanding their program across the country and including other services to help Black families thrive.

“We want a hospital that is all Black Healthcare providers from all areas of healthcare, that are solely dedicated to our needs,” Roach said. “We want to create an environment where we are supporting one another, that utilizes Black vendors and businesses. We want an environment that supports the safety and stabilization of Black Families.” Wingard went on to mention the work of Jeffrey Canada out of New York. He created an education system that put the child in the middle and created systems around the child. It deals with the gaps and shortfalls that Black children typically get in the average school environment.

ROOTT is doing the same thing. They have started to provide the same level of overall care that wraps around the family to create a better overall outcomes. This communitybased clinic philosophy will create a better life for everyone involved.

Black Maternal Health Week is a reminder that so many families experience pain, neglect, and loss during what should be one of the most joyous times of their lives. It is an urgent call for action. Black women in America are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.

With ROOTT at the helm, Black women, and Black families have a fighting chance at getting the proper care they need to have a successful delivery, a better life, and an overall better experience. With a better experience comes a more hopeful future. And that is really all that everyone deserves and should expect.

To learn more about ROOTT go to:

Top Photo: CEO Jessica Roach and CFO Dorian Wingard of ROOTT networking in Columbus, Ohio.
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Bottom Photo: ROOTT celebrates the birthing of twins using DOULA services.
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Spring season creates an opportunity to refresh your goals and re-align your habits. Health nutrition is the key to developing the life you want for your year and overall existence.

Garrett is the founder and owner of Garrett Waller, LLC, "A Fitness, Health, & Lifestyle Company." Garrett has his BS in Psychology and is a nationally certified personal trainer. He helps people find more freedom in their lives through a commitment to fitness and an active lifestyle.

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Spring heralds a time of renewal, and many people discover their eating habits have significantly diverged from the ideal. The cold months have a tendency to draw individuals toward comfort foods, often denser and more calorie-laden, seeking warmth against the chill and darkness and let’s not forget the holiday feasts! This drift in dietary habits, though understandable, necessitates a vital nutritional spring cleaning

As the first buds of spring make their appearance, it becomes evident that not only homes could benefit from a thorough spring cleaning. Nutrition habits too often require a significant overhaul to shed weight and bad eating habits accumulated during the cozy winter months. This guide provides three actionable steps to clean up one’s diet, focusing on the dynamic and structured approach of “Carb Cycling.”

Carb Cycling, a flexible method for managing carbohydrate intake, alternates between high-carb and low-carb days. Carbs, a type of

foods can fulfill cravings, nourish the body, and promote fat loss and steady energy levels.

Understanding and implementing smart Carb Cycling is crucial, not merely for dieting but as a strategic approach to enhance the body’s metabolic processes. Alternating between days of higher carb intake and days with limited carbs, Carb Cycling aids in reversing the negative effects of poor eating habits, promoting fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. This approach ensures the enjoyment of favorite foods in moderation, offering a sustainable rather than restrictive practice.

Furthermore, the upcoming rising temperatures underscore the importance of hydration. Adequate water intake is paramount for overall health, facilitating digestion, nutrient absorption, and detoxification. Staying hydrated can also manage hunger effectively, often mistaken for thirst.

The cornerstone of nutritional spring cleaning involves purging one’s pantry of processed foods that are rich in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories. Instead, opting for whole, nutrient-dense foods can fulfill cravings, nourish the body, and promote fat loss and steady energy levels

nutrient found in foods and drinks, are primarily made up of sugars, starches, and fibers, which the body converts into glucose to use as energy or stores for later use. As a dietary approach, Carb Cycling involves alternating between days of eating more carbs and days of eating fewer carbs, aiming to improve metabolism and fat loss without having to give up one’s favorite foods. a platform offering a transformative approach to weight loss and healthy eating through Carb Cycling provides users with a free step-by-step diet guide that includes a Carb Cycling calendar, meal plans, and a grocery shopping list for sustainable weight loss and nutritional education.

This strategy extends beyond mere weight loss, offering a comprehensive plan for enhancing overall health ideally suited for the dietary reboot that spring demands.

Carb Cycling accommodates various lifestyles and dietary preferences, promoting a balanced relationship with food where carbohydrates are thoughtfully integrated into the diet, aligning with the body’s needs and personal health objectives. This spring presents an opportune moment for a dietary refresh guided by Carb Cycling principles, leading to a healthier and more vibrant season.

The cornerstone of nutritional spring cleaning involves purging one’s pantry of processed foods that are rich in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories. Instead, opting for whole, nutrient-dense

According to research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, proper hydration is associated with improved weight loss outcomes. The study found that increasing water consumption can significantly enhance the effectiveness of a weight loss diet, supporting the article’s emphasis on the importance of drinking enough water for metabolic health and appetite control.

This spring, the commitment to eliminating processed foods, adopting Carb Cycling, and prioritizing hydration revitalizes both body and mind. But, as we all know, we can’t fix problems we aren’t aware of, so self-assessment is pivotal in devising a plan for improved nutrition.

Acknowledging the need for change marks the first step, inviting a thorough examination of one’s current eating patterns.

Maintaining a food diary in a journal or a free mobile app for at least a week can provide invaluable insights into one’s dietary habits, pinpointing times prone to unhealthy snacking, and identifying emotional or environmental triggers.

Importantly, achieving optimal health is rarely a solitary endeavor. Establishing a robust support system through

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family, friends, or an online community is vital. Sharing progress, challenges, and successes significantly boosts personal motivation and commitment.

Engaging with health newsletters, following nutrition experts on social media, and joining health-focused groups or forums helps keep individuals informed and motivated. Each step taken is a stride towards a healthier, more vibrant existence. Viewing nutrition as an ongoing journey rather than a finite goal lays the foundation for enduring change.

Starting a nutritional revitalization journey this spring is commendable, yet lasting success requires more than just initial zeal. plays an essential role, not just in commencing the Carb Cycling regimen but to ensure it is lasting. MyCarbCycle acts as both a guide and a support system helping people navigate through this rewarding nutritional journey and laying the groundwork for sustained wellness.

Now is the perfect time to contemplate and refresh nutritional habits to align with being outside and enjoying spring and sum-

mer activities. This season of renewal encourages a dietary cleanse to shed the burden of unhealthy choices and to reveal a healthier, more vibrant self. Evaluate eating patterns, eliminate processed foods, and embrace the balanced rhythm of Carb Cycling.

The journey to improved health is an ongoing process. Enriched by nutritional tools and a support program, committing to this path allows for the realization and maintenance of long-term and sustainable health goals. Let this spring be the start of a revitalized journey! ●

This program brought to you by Garrett Waller empowers individuals to unlock free access to a tailored suite of resources: a Carb Cycling calendar, comprehensive meal plans, and a grocery shopping list that simplifies healthy decision making. These tools are crucial for integrating Carb Cycling into daily life, offering a structured yet adaptable framework that evolves with dietary goals.

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The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), is helping minority businesses reach their full potential by bringing the best of all industries together in one place.

Turn on the news and you will probably hear about the next wave of the tech revolution. Whether that’s Microsoft’s latest advancements in artificial intelligence or Apple’s latest entry in the augmented reality space, the Apple Vision everyone is talking about what’s next for our economy and society.

Sadly, as has often been the case, members of the minority business community have traditionally been left out of these important conversations leading to a distinct lack of representation in today’s most innovative industries. Fortunately, organizations are looking to address this history of exclusion by ensuring these businesses are at the forefront of the next tech and economic revolution.

One of those organizations, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the longest-operating business growth engine for the broadest group of systematically excluded communities of color, is taking decisive action by bringing one of its signature events, the Minority Business Economic Forum, to Seattle this year.

Inspired by the World Economic Forum, NMSDC’s Forum brings together the top leaders of corporate America, high-performing MBEs, the government, and prominent academic leaders to recalibrate the minority business narrative to be an integral part of the American economy.

Why Seattle? As NMSDC CEO and President Ying McGuire shared in a recent press conference announcing the decision, “Greater Seattle’s blend of cutting-edge tech and green initiatives, led by giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and pioneers like Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy, creates an unparalleled ecosystem. This synergy exemplifies the ideal environment our Forum seeks to leverage for minority business enterprises (MBEs), offering them unparalleled opportunities to engage with and benefit from emerging technologies and the green economy.”

Furthermore, efforts to grow women and minority-owned businesses is a top priority of Seattle mayor and Minority Business Economic Forum co-chair, Bruce Harrell, who had this to say about the city’s effort to create a better business environment for business owners in Seattle:

“We are unapologetic in our efforts to advance a One Seattle vision for a city that is inclusive, equitable, and robust with opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes and industry sectors. From our Executive Order expanding contracting equity and access for women and minority business enterprises (WMBEs) to launching the Liberty Project to help WMBEs grow their revenues we are committed to fostering a business ecosystem that drives innovation, is home to emerging markets, and creates pathways for substantial economic growth for our WMBE communities. We are thrilled to be chosen as the next host city for the NMSDC Business Economic Forum.”

As these statements illustrate, Seattle is the ideal location for the critical discussions needed to ensure the US avoids making the mistakes of the past and ensures today's and tomorrow’s industries are inclusive of the rich diversity of our country’s minority business community.

Pivotal Moment for Black Businesses

It is vitally important we increase the profile of minorityowned businesses especially those from the Black community. According to NMSDC’s most recent Minority Businesses Economic Impact Report, NMSDC-certified Blackowned businesses only saw a 4.9% increase in total annual revenue from 2021 to 2022. This is compared to doubledigit increases for the other communities NMSDC certifies. Furthermore, when looking at Black women MBEs, the gap is even wider, with the overall share of NMSDC-certified women MBEs at 45% but only garnering 13% of total revenue by NMSC-certified MBEs.

This year’s Forum is a prime opportunity to reverse the trend by engaging in a community where Black entrepreneurs have often been left behind in highly valued industries like technology and energy industries that will be front and center at this year’s event.

Helping Black and Other Minority Businesses Be Next, Now

This year’s programming is focused on helping Black and other minority business leaders be the next individuals to

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take advantage of technological advances and economic changes needed to be the next, now. Planned topics for this year’s Forum include:

Navigating the Economic Horizon: Insights and Projections

Understanding future financial and economic trends from distinguished economic experts, who will analyze current data to predict upcoming economic shifts encompassing a wide range of topics, including monetary policy, fiscal strategies, economic resilience, and opportunities in the years ahead. Attendees will learn how to leverage economic forecasts in business planning and what fiscal policies can help create a more equitable business environment.

NextNow: New Energy. What is on the Horizon for MBEs?

An in-depth analysis of the evolving energy sector, outlining future trajectories, and highlighting strategies for MBEs to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities.

NextNow: AI-Driven Futures Transforming Workforce and Business

A pivotal discussion on AI’s role in reshaping business, it offers an opportunity to learn how AI drives innovation and growth, particularly for underserved businesses, and its impact on workforce dynamics, business models, and operational efficiency.

Government Investments: Capitalizing on Government Investments for Future Growth Demystifying the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act. Attendees will learn strategic approaches to accessing new government funds and understand how these government measures can support business growth and technological advancement.

Build or Scale a Multi-Billion Dollar Business

CEOs of billion-dollar companies delve into the essential strategies to take a business from inception to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. An engaging discussion on expansion, innovation, and transformative business growth.

Breaking Barriers: Capital Solutions and Investment Strategies for Pioneering Wealth Creation

Insights into the pivotal role capital plays in fostering wealth creation within communities of color and exploring ecosystem solutions aimed at facilitating seamless connections between capital and the MBE ecosystem.

Equity Honors: The Leaders Building a More Equitable Business Ecosystem

Also taking place during this year’s Forum is the third annual Equity Honors awards ceremony. The Equity Honors are presented to corporate chief officers who have been recognized by their peers as the true leaders at the vanguard of economic equity and minority business integration. They have taken bold action to break open old circles of influence and opportunity to usher in talent, perspectives, and expertise that have been ignored for too long.

Their vision is to create the conditions for minority businesses to fully realize their vast, untapped impact on the American economy and quality of life. They have dedicated their careers to upending the status quo and making the kinds of changes that transform everything and that will be essential as we look towards building a new economy that fully realizes the vast potential of our businesses from traditionally underrepresented communities.

Sparking the Next Wave of Change

In the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology, it’s imperative that we not only anticipate but actively include all voices in shaping the industries of tomorrow. The NMSDC Minority Business Economic Forum looks to accomplish this goal by serving as a true catalyst for economic innovation and progress.

The insightful discussions and strategic relationships built at the Forum will enable Black and other minority business leaders to seize the opportunities presented by today’s emerging technologies and shifting economic landscape. It is also a reminder that success knows no bounds, and with determination, strategic vision, and deliberate collaboration, every entrepreneur can aspire to the greatness needed to build the vibrant and more inclusive economy of the future. ●

Learn more about the Minority Business Economic Forum at

Minority business thrives when members come together for the same goals.

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There is something special that happens when grandparents and grandkids spend time together. Something beyond what parents have with their own kids.

Cy Borg is an artificial intelligence writer. Using Open A.I., Cy responds to various prompts with fully-qualified answers using the internet and technology.

Picture this: a quiet suburban household, perfectly organized with everything in its rightful place. Now, add a sprinkle of chaos, a dash of quirkiness, and two lively grandparents moving in. Voila! Welcome to the wild and wacky world of multi-generational living, where life is a never-ending sitcom episode.

Living with grandparents can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, with highs of laughter and lows of hearing the same story for the umpteenth time. But let’s face it, they bring an energy and zest for life that makes every day an adventure.

First and foremost, there’s the issue of space or the lack thereof. Suddenly, your once-cozy home feels more like a game of Tetris, as you try to squeeze another generation into the mix. Your once serene living room is now filled with antique furniture, porcelain figurines that demand fragile handling, and a collection of knick-knacks from the “good old days.” Good luck finding a place to sit without accidentally triggering an avalanche of memories!

Mealtime becomes a battleground of tastes and culinary traditions. Grandma insists on cooking everything from scratch, with secret family recipes that have been handed down for generations. But be prepared for moments of fear as you wonder whether the kitchen will survive Grandma’s adventurous experiments.

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s just say, if the smoke alarm isn’t going off at least once a week, you’re not living with grandparents.

But despite the occasional fire drill, living with grandparents brings undeniable perks. They are like walking encyclopedias of knowledge, except they don’t come with an index. Need advice on any subject? Just ask, and they’ll bombard you with anecdotes, life lessons, and opinions that were last relevant in the Stone Age. They’ll teach you about the importance of saving money, how to darn socks and the intricacies of knitting the perfect sweater (which you will probably never wear).

Grandparents also have a knack for embarrassing you in front of your friends. They love to bring out photo albums filled with pictures of you in questionable outfits from your teenage years. They’ll tell embarrassing stories about your childhood escapades, complete with sound effects and exaggerated gestures. Forget about maintaining an air of coolness; re stuck with a permanent red face.

Oh, and let’s not forget their impeccable fashion sense. Get ready for a parade of knee-high socks, floral patterns, and color combinations that would make a peacock blush. You’ll learn to appreciate their unique style or master the art of tactful redirection to the nearest fashion store.

Living with grandparents means adapting to a slower pace of life. Bedtime is early, and evenings are filled with episodes of classic TV shows. But don’t underestimate their ability to party like it’s 1959 when the occasion arises. They’ll dust off their dancing shoes, insisting on showing you the moves that were hip in their prime. Just make sure to move the furniture aside, because Grandma’s twist can take down a coffee table!

In the end, living with grandparents is an experience that will leave you with cherished memories and endless laughter. They remind us of the importance of family, and tradition, and appreciating the simple joys of life. So, embrace the chaos, savor the stories, and enjoy the privilege of having your own personal stand-up comedians and life coaches right under your roof.

Remember, in the grand adventure of life, having grandparents around is like having the ultimate cheat code a hilarious, heartwarming cheat code that comes with a side of questionable fashion choices. ●

There is a special bond that is built when grandparents spend time with their grandkids.

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BV Mobile Apps is helping companies compete for customers by keepings costs low and the fun-factor high.

For the young companies that want to create a competitive advantage must find different ways to match larger organizations. That often means playing at the same level. That level, for those that are digital, means creating an app that works on a mobile device.

Having a website that can be viewed a a mobile site is good, but having an app that can be downloaded and used on a mobile device creates a new way to interact with an audience that might not use the internet from a browser.

John O. Horton Jr, aka DJ Johnny O, is the President of the NerveDJs DJ Coalition, a coalition of over 9000+ DJs, Artists, Musicians, Producers and Label & Radio reps. Johnny O has been in the entertainment business for 46 years.

BV Mobile Apps was born to solve that problem.

BV Mobile Apps is a mobile app development/hosting company. We specialize in creating apps for the entertainment industry. BV was founded by Gerald Olivari and Marshall Lyons. We're based in Atlanta.

Marshall Lyons serves as Co-Founder of BV Mobile Apps, focusing primarily on business development and marketing opportunities within the entertainment industry. With 10+ years experience in Sales (Retail and Commercial), his skill



set is invaluable for a growing tech company. As a former on-air radio personality, he's aware of the challenges and opportunities facing many of those within the entertainment industry and develops strategies to put our clients in a position to win! Marshall earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Gerald Olivari – father, entrepreneur, radio host –has been the side-hustler's hero for more than a decade. As the former host of the long-standing Friday night radio show, The Remix on 89.3 FM WRFG, Gerald has focused on providing artists with a platform to play their music and introduce themselves to the city of Atlanta. As the co-owner of BV Mobile Apps, he has focused on providing affordable mobile apps to people in the entertainment industry.

Gerald Olivari was born in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from University of Michigan with a B.S. in Computer Engineering. While attending U of M, he was the President of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Black Greek Association. He won Leader of the Year awards from the University of Michigan and the NAACP.

Olivari has been involved with various charity organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hands on Atlanta, and various tutoring programs.

“We can create a mobile app for you that will be the ultimate one-stop shop for your audience,” Olivari said.

BV Mobile Apps offers solutions for:

• Audio and Video

• Blogs

• Social Networks

• Monetization

The game has changed, and BV is leading the way. The company has three different pricing plans that helps beginners up to professionals.

For those looking to learn more can contact the company can click on the link;

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Marshall Lyons Gerald Olivari



Spring brings out the best in us. It is a time for birth, growth and all things green. Here are a few expressions of how we see green working for you.

A wardrobe shopper, stylist, and accessories designer who specializes in dapper looks that truly appeal to the most discerning eye. mailto:,


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Jason Photo by DLYFEPHOTO




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