Meet The Black Woman Who Created Patti Labelle’s Pies, She’s An HBCU Grad

Patti Labelle did not create her infamous pies that are sold at Walmart. Kinna Thomas, a proud HBCU graduate of Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, created the pies. That’s right! Kinna is the mastermind behind the beloved Patti Labelle Sweet Potato Pie which has become a viral sensation and a bestseller in Walmart stores nationwide for more than 8 years now.

Up until 2020, Kinna held various positions at Walmart including Senior Buying Manager and Merchandising Director and her job was to ensure top-notch bakery products reach over 4,500 store locations.

She honed her leadership skills and embraced the values of collaboration and confidence while in college, she told HBCU Pulse. Kinna furthered her education with two Master’s degrees from Webster University. Her education laid the foundation for her remarkable career trajectory.

Starting out as a buyer of fine jewelry, her focus on quality and customer satisfaction smoothly transitioned into the food industry. She has since garnered several prestigious awards, including the Buyer of the Year for Walmart Stores, Inc., and has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets.

Reflecting on her partnership with Patti LaBelle, Kinna highlights the rapid development from idea to reality. Despite the unexpected cultural phenomenon, she remains focused on delivering quality products that resonate with customers.

“I’m not worried about who knows my name. I am concerned about having my team of people deliver great quality foods and brands relevant to the customer experience at the best value possible. The only recognition that matters to me is helping the customer. The rest of that stuff will take care of itself,” Kinna said.

Kinna aims to inspire others through speaking engagements and business conferences, sharing her experiences and insights. Her focus remains on purpose-driven opportunities that contribute to business growth and development.

After working at Walmart, she went on to work at Target for almost three years as a Senior Executive of Merchandising but is now working as the Vice President of Merchandising Operations and Business Development at CVS Health.

Be sure to follow Kinna Thomas on Instagram @TheRealKinna


Husband And Wife, Both Doctors, Open Black-Owned Dual Practice Specializing In Sleep Medicine And Obesity Management

In a groundbreaking move, Drs. Christopher and Dafina Allen, a trailblazing African American husband and wife duo, are making history in Saginaw, Michigan. These two accomplished doctors are not only bringing their individual medical practices under one roof, but are also breaking barriers as they unite their expertise as a married couple.Dr. Christopher is the proud owner of Quality Sleep and Neurology, and his wife, Dr. Dafina is the visionary owner of Wise Weight Management, are set to redefine healthcare dynamics in the city of Saginaw. Their decision to establish a joint practice transcends the traditional medical landscape, showcasing the strength of unity and shared goals within the realm of marriage and professional collaboration.

“As a husband and wife team, our journey is a testament to the power of partnership and shared passion for healthcare excellence,” stated Dr. Christopher Allen. “By combining our practices, we not only aim to provide exceptional medical services, but also to inspire aspiring healthcare professionals, particularly within minority communities.”

Dr. Dafina Allen echoed the sentiment, expressing, “Representation matters. We want our story to inspire young individuals, showing them that diversity in healthcare is not just possible but essential. Our joint venture is a celebration of love, commitment, and the impact we can collectively make on the communities we serve.”

The Allens’ decision to merge their practices is a bold step towards fostering inclusivity and representation in the medical field. Their collaboration not only brings together expertise in neurology and weight management, but also serves as inspirational examples for aspiring black professionals considering careers in medicine.

Together, they are dedicated to making a lasting impact on healthcare and inspiring the next generation of diverse medical professionals.

To learn more about Dr. Dafina’s company, visit or follow her brand on Instagram @WiseWeightManagement

To learn more about Dr. Chris’ company, follow his brand on Instagram @SleepDrChris

Or visit their location in-person at 2172 Hemmeter Rd, Saginaw, MI 48609.

For media inquiries, please contact Dr. Christopher J. Allen at 989-714-5860 or Maddison Godi (Media Manager) at 989-385-1188.


First And Only Black Female Licensed Master Plumber Now Runs Her Own Contracting Company

Adrienne Bennett, a true pioneer in the plumbing industry, made history at the age of 30 when she became the first black female master plumber and contractor in the United States. She also became the first African-American female plumbing inspector and certified medical gas inspector and installer. Now, over three decades later, she is the Founder and CEO of her very own Detroit-based contracting company, Benkari LLC, and she continues to make waves in the male-dominated field.

Bennett, along with her son A.K. Bennett, founded Benkari in 2008, venturing into commercial plumbing and water conservation.

“I’ve been a journeyman plumber, a master plumber, project manager, plumbing inspector, and code enforcement officer for the city of Detroit for a decade. There was no place left to go but become an independent contractor,” she told CNN. “It was the final frontier.”

Growing up, Bennett has always been interested in math and science. She wanted to study mechanical engineering in college, but a discriminating incident led her to abandon her college aspirations.

A chance encounter at a 1976 election rally for Jimmy Carter changed her life’s trajectory after she was offered a spot in a federally-sponsored apprenticeship program. She faced challenges and bullying in a male-dominated field but emerged as the first woman in the state to complete the apprenticeship program successfully.

Eventually, after accumulating 4,000 hours of experience, Bennett took the master plumber exam, making history as the first black female master plumber in Michigan and the entire United States. Even the state’s labor department recognized her achievement with a letter commending her “unblemished record.”

In 1995, Bennett faced another hurdle when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, prompting her to take a break. But when she returned, she launched Benkari, contributing to Detroit’s revitalization with notable contracts like the Little Caesars Arena and the Anthony Wayne Housing Development.

Now in her 60s, Bennett continues to navigate the male-dominated industry with her own company. As a survivor and industry leader, she also plays a role in shaping the next generation of skilled tradespeople by serving on the advisory board for Lawrence Tech.

Learn more about the company via its official website


Black Woman Pioneers Patented Design For Eco-Friendly Paper Plates With Built-In Cup Holder

Lisa Renee Bell, a trailblazing African-American female entrepreneur from Washington, DC, is the mastermind behind Bell Bowls, a line of disposable eco-friendly paper plates with a built-in cup holder. Designed and patented under her visionary leadership, her unique products represent a paradigm shift in the food storage industry, specifically when it comes to paper plates and sustainability.

Bell Bowls is not just another food container; it’s a game-changer. Engineered to hold both food and a lightweight cold beverage in one hand, it allows the other hand to remain free to savor every bite. This innovative and ingenious design underscores Lisa’s understanding of modern-day convenience and the evolving needs of consumers.

Notably, Lisa self-financed every stage of Bell Bowls’ journey — from development and manufacturing to its importation from China to the USA. Her unwavering commitment to the product’s ingenuity and her entrepreneurial spirit have been the driving forces behind her product’s inception and successful journey to the marketplace.

Bell Bowls’ launch has been strategically orchestrated to align with Bell’s vision of attracting big-box retail distribution companies. Her ambition is clear: to position her brand as an indomitable force within the US market and then set sights on global expansion. With the correct partnerships, her design is poised to disrupt the $20 billion US paper plates and cups market and make substantial waves in the expansive $100 billion global market.

For consumers eager to experience the unparalleled convenience and future of food containers and paper plates, Lisa’s product line is currently available for purchase on Amazon and can also be ordered at

For press inquiries, partnerships, or more information, please contact 202-744-6502 or


Two Sisters Make History, From Food Truck To Restaurant In Under 15 Months

Food enthusiasts Jo Neishia Johnson and Kiara Simons, the founders of Two Sisters And a Deviled Crab, the latest Black-owned culinary sensation in Jacksonville, Florida, have proudly gone from having a food truck to now owning a restaurant in under 15 months. Even more, they’ve just celebrated their two-year anniversary in business. To commemorate this milestone, the restaurant offered complimentary champagne during brunch, provided photo opportunities, adorned the venue with celebratory decor, and unveiled new merchandise for sale.

Remarkably, within just 15 months, their passion for crafting delectable dishes led them to open a full-fledged restaurant in Orange Park Mall. What is the deviled crab you may ask? The sisters are originally from Tampa and the deviled crab is a staple in the community. As they moved to Jacksonville in their adult years, the two sisters decided to bring the taste they grew up with to their new city. From countless recipes, they were able to capture the nostalgic taste and the rest is history.

Jo Neishia expresses her gratitude to the community, stating, “I am humbly grateful for all of the people who continuously support Two Sisters and A Deviled Crab. Because of you, we are celebrating two successful years of being too bougie, in business! In this second year, we are placing a major focus on growth.” Her sister Kiara Simons adds “These first two years have by far exceeded our wildest dreams for our company. However, because of our rapid growth, we are now confidently planning to expand to our second location by 2025 and want to have a total of 5 locations within our first 5 years. I want to sincerely thank all of our current and future customers for their support.”

Notably, Two Sisters And a Deviled Crab has already captured the attention of online audiences, with local influencers visiting to showcase and celebrate the restaurant’s eclectic cuisine. The buzz surrounding the establishment is a testament to its unique offerings and commitment to delivering a memorable dining experience. The journey from a food truck to a bustling restaurant within 15 months is a testament to the dedication and passion of the Two Sisters And a Deviled Crab team. As the team looks ahead to the future, expansion plans are in full swing, with the anticipation of opening a second location by 2025.

Learn more about their restaurant at

Also, be sure to follow their brand on Instagram @2sisters_jax

For press inquiries or media interviews, please email


Black Entrepreneur’s Deli In New York City To Make $1.2M In Sales, Opens 2nd Location

Meet Joshua Dat, the Guyanese owner of Datz Deli in Queens which offers a unique twist on classic New York deli favorites, Dat’s Caribbean-inspired creations. Within just a year, Dat turned a $70,000 investment from his savings into a culinary sensation with nearly $1.2 million in sales and the opening of a second location.

“I wanted to be different,” Joshua said in an interview with CNBC. “I wanted to give people something new to try.”

The star of Datz Deli’s menu is the DatMacPatty — a unique combination of Jamaican Beef Patty, Mac and Cheese, and a choice of flavorful toppings. They also serve other patty options such as oxtail, beef curry, jerk chicken, and side dishes ranging from fried plantains to jalapeno poppers and spinach. For dessert, Dat serves up fried Oreos with caramel or chocolate drizzle.

Their innovative menu quickly gained popularity, going viral on social media. Datz Deli has become a social media sensation, with over 86,000 Instagram followers and hundreds of TikTok videos showing off its unique offerings.

The family-run business, with Dat employing his parents, siblings, uncle, nephew, and a few close friends, is not just a hit online but also a financial success.

“We’ve always been hard-working people,” he says. “It’s all just such a humbling experience and such a blessing. I’m so grateful for everything happening.”

Learn more about the store via its official website

Be sure to follow them on Instagram @DatzDeli190

Also, you can support the business by visiting its locations at 190-01 Hollis Avenue, Queens, NY 11423, or 69 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002.


Black Mom Quits 6-Figure Corporate Job, Now Makes $105K A Month As A YouTuber

Jasmine McCall, an African American mom from Atlanta, Georgia, made a bold move when she left her corporate job to pursue her passion on YouTube. Now, she’s earning over $105,000 monthly as a content creator. What’s more, she only had to work 2 hours a day!

In 2021, Jasmine worked as a resource manager at Amazon, earning $124,000 annually, while also dabbling in a side hustle creating content about personal finance. She once posted a YouTube video revealing how she boosted her credit score from 495 to 820 by fixing errors on her credit report, she told CNBC.

Jasmine said she initially posted videos only to earn a little extra income for childcare. Surprisingly, that video went viral, and six months later, she quit her Amazon job to focus on her side hustle. Her husband, Jay, later joined her after leaving his software engineering job.

Now, the power couple rakes in over $100,000 per month, mostly from digital products and YouTube ads. The best part is that McCall’s work schedule takes only 2 hours daily. After her morning self-care routine and quality time with her husband and 2-year-old son, she starts to work.

Throughout the week, she made her agendas clear, too. Mondays and Tuesdays are YouTube content days, while Wednesdays and Thursdays are for partnership content and strategy sessions with brands, and Fridays are dedicated to publicity and press.

Jasmine makes sure to wrap up work by 1pm. The rest of the day, she spends time with her family, sometimes even with a “no phones” rule. She is grateful for being able to work from home while watching her son grow up, thanks to their trustworthy nanny. Her success has not only blessed her family but has allowed her parents to retire early.

“Walking away from the stability of a 9-to-5 job can be scary when you don’t know what’s on the other side. But choosing this life has been a bigger blessing than we ever could have imagined,” she said.

Be sure to follow Jasmine on her Instagram @IAmJazzyMac


Founder Releases Landmark Report Revealing Secrets Of Black-Owned Service-Based Business Success

Speak Your Way To Cash®, founded by sales strategist and attorney, Ashley N. Kirkwood, has published an unprecedented report unpacking the inner workings of successful Black-owned service-based companies. Based on a survey of over 120 entrepreneurs, “The State of Black Service-Based Businesses” report unveils game-changing data and strategies for exponentially growing service businesses. Speak Your Way To Cash® hosted a free summit in February 2024 to unveil the full report and give entrepreneurs resources to scale using the findings!

One major finding highlighted is the need to target larger corporate clients, with data showing that only 17% of respondents have sold services priced at $10,000 or higher. Furthermore, 87% reported catering mainly to small businesses (with less than two employees), evidencing a gap in securing more stable, corporate clients.

“There is clear data showing that entrepreneurs who focused on larger corporate clients had more profitable and resilient businesses,” said Ashley. “One strategic directive this report issues is selling higher-priced, value-driven offers to mid-sized and enterprise customers.”

Another major revelation indicates that nearly a third of the most successful respondents had invested over $30,000 in business coaching. Additionally, over 85% of entrepreneurs who leveraged coaching saw tangible benefits and positive ROI. This busts myths about coaching ineffectiveness, highlighting its instrumental role in scaling companies.

The report also found that business owners valued expertise above all else when selecting coaches and advisors – prioritizing experience and niche knowledge over metrics like testimonials. “This indicates a market still hungry for qualified experts versus casual advisors who make bold claims about their programs without substantial expertise to back it up,” said Ashley. “For coaches looking to differentiate themselves, establishing undisputed authority is key.”

Other strategic insights include:

• Alarming legal vulnerabilities, with only 32% having secured federally registered trademarks to protect intellectual property. This showcases gaps in safeguarding unique business assets.

• Overdependence on social media marketing versus high-yield tactics like paid advertising, evidencing potential for expanded digital strategies.

• The need to graduate beyond service-based businesses’ current clientele of individuals and small companies. Data shows the most profitable entrepreneurs focus on larger corporate customers.

“This report lays out a clear roadmap for creating resilient, prosperous service businesses,” Kirkwood remarked. “It translates raw data into tactical advice for breaking through new barriers.”

As founder of Speak Your Way To Cash® and author of the book Speak Your Way to Cash®: How to Start at the Top of the Speaking Market, Ashley has empowered countless service-based entrepreneurs to land lucrative contracts with leading corporations and universities.

Through the company’s coaching programs, educational platforms like their podcast and Facebook group, and Ashley’s own journey scaling a multi-million dollar service business, Speak Your Way to Cash® has become the go-to resource for selling high-ticket offers to enterprise clients. Their trademarked methodology has helped clients across industries ink partnerships, sign licensing agreements, and win 5-6 figure deals with renowned global brands. After already guiding hundreds of six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs, the company has bold plans to assist 1,000 more businesses in securing milestone corporate contracts in 2024.

Founded by Ashley Kirkwood, Speak Your Way To Cash® is on a mission to help entrepreneurs land lucrative corporate contracts. Learn more about her coaching programs, educational platforms, and game-changing methodologies by connecting with her brand on social media:

Facebook group: Speak Your Way To Cash® Facebook Group
Facebook page: @SpeakYourWayToCash
Instagram: @SpeakYourWayToCash
Podcast: The Speak Your Way To Cash® Podcast

Download the full “The State of Black Service-Based Businesses” report for free at

These unprecedented findings are essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur.


She Is Currently The Only Black Woman Who Is The President Of An NFL Team

Sandra Douglass Morgan is the newly appointed President of the Las Vegas Raiders, making history as the first Black woman to hold this position in the NFL. Morgan brings a wealth of experience and passion to the position, marking a significant milestone in a league where diversity in leadership has often been a challenge.

Morgan, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, has had significant experience in Nevada’s gaming industry, making her a natural fit for the Raiders’ president position. She might not be a familiar name in NFL circles, but she was well-known for serving as the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board from 2019 to 2021, breaking both gender and color barriers in the process, according to Defender Network.

Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Juris Doctor from UNLV’s Boyd Law School. Her diverse career includes roles as a litigation attorney at MGM Resorts International, city attorney in North Las Vegas, and director of external affairs at AT&T Services Inc.

Beyond her connections to the gaming industry, Morgan has ties to the NFL through her roles on the Las Vegas Super Bowl host committee and the board of directors of Allegiant Travel Co., the parent company of Allegiant Air, which holds naming rights for the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium.

Moreover, Morgan is married to Don Morgan, a former NFL receiver. She is also actively involved in organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

While making history as the first Black woman to lead an NFL team, she follows a legacy of breaking barriers at the Raiders, who had the first Black coach in the NFL’s modern era in 1989 and the first female NFL CEO, Amy Trask, in 1997.

Morgan’s appointment was announced internally, replacing Dan Ventrelle, who left amid claims of a hostile workplace. She takes on the role at a challenging time for the Raiders, following the resignations of multiple presidents and front-office executives. Despite that, she expressed her excitement about joining the team during this pivotal moment in its history.

“I am thrilled to join you as we embark on one of the most exciting times in the history of our organization,” Morgan said.

Be sure to follow Morgan on Instagram @SDMRaiders1


Founder Empowers Black-Owned Businesses To Hire Through Innovative Bartering Platform

Nicole Murphy is creating a sustainable future for Black-owned businesses beyond financial constraints with Barter Black®. With over 3.12 million businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs making up a vibrant part of the economy, yet less than 5% reaching the status of employer firms compared to a little over 80% of white-owned businesses, the need for a shift from financial to human capital becomes clear. This discrepancy highlights not just an economic divide but a pressing call for a community-centric approach to fostering sustainable growth in Black-owned businesses.

Barter Black® rises to this challenge, showcasing that the key to longevity for Black businesses lies not in monetary influxes but in a dedicated community’s power to uplift one another. “Money alone won’t secure our businesses’ future,” asserts Murphy. “It’s about leveraging our collective human capital through a community committed to mutual growth. This is how we can truly start to rebuild Black Wall Street for the modern age, utilizing technology as our foundation.”

The platform’s mission directly addresses the triad of challenges most commonly faced by Black entrepreneurs: funding, hiring, and building a supportive community. By creating an ecosystem where businesses barter services and expertise, Barter Black® provides a practical pathway for overcoming these hurdles, enabling businesses to scale and thrive. Barter Black® cultivates this ecosystem through a variety of initiatives, including speed networking events, power hour sessions, monthly grant meetups, and a weekly podcast that showcases a diverse array of business owners. These efforts are more than just events; they are the building blocks of a robust support network, essential for the growth and sustainability of Black-owned businesses.

“Imagine a world where Black-owned businesses and business ideas aren’t hindered by lack of funds or the challenges of hiring,” Murphy invites. “Through Barter Black®, we’re not just imagining it; we’re building it. By prioritizing human capital over financial capital, we’re paving the way for a new era of Black entrepreneurship.”

This initiative transcends being a mere platform; it’s a movement dedicated to revolutionizing the Black business landscape. It’s a community of digital course creators, accountants, marketers, and more, all united under the mission to make Black-owned businesses more sustainable and independent.

Join us in this transformative journey at and engage with us on social media @ibarterblack

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