Meet The Founder Behind Maryland’s First Pre-Approved Black-Owned 5-County Federal Credit Union

Meet Troy Smith, the Founder and CEO of G1 Investment LLC and the United States Economic Rights Coalition (USERC), who is working with seven other African Americans to launch the proposed C3 Federal Credit Union, which will be Maryland’s first-ever Black-owned 5-county Federal Credit Union. His group began meeting in March of last year to develop an FCU to serve their communities’ underrepresented African American and Hispanic residents.

Troy and his team are working hard to raise $10 million in donated capital. Their goal is to convince 100,000 people to donate just $100. They are based in Charles County and Prince George’s County, Maryland, and have worked throughout the year on the NCUA Proof of Concept submission, which requires the organizers to rigorously research all the legal characteristics of chartering a federal credit union, specifically focusing on their Purpose and Core Values, Field of Membership, Subscribers, and Capital Funding Plan. NCUA reviews and scores each Critical Element in the Proof of Concept using a 100-point scale, providing a score of up to 25 points for each element.

For groups meeting the minimum score of 80, the NCUA will send a formal invitation to submit a full charter application. Proposed C3 Federal Credit Union has received that formal invitation. Meet the leader of a group of volunteers who worked all 2023 to submit a Proof of Concept application to the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) to establish a black-owned five-county community development Federal Credit Union Charter. The National Credit Union Association (NCUA) issued a historic Pre-Approval letter to Proposed C3 Federal Credit Union on January 28, 2024.

For the first time in Maryland history, the NCUA has preliminarily agreed to consider these five counties in Maryland as one community — Charles, Prince George’s, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Anne Arundel—just under 2 million potential members. Federal Credit Unions (FCU) differ from banks in that their depositors equally own them, and they are geographically restrictive. FCUs must identify a Field of Membership (FOM) based on a common bond. The common bond can be occupational, associational, or community-based. Community chartered FCUs can have a field of membership (FOM) that consists of a single political jurisdiction or multiple contiguous political jurisdictions so long as the population is 2.5 million or less.

“The Federal Credit Union system is the most powerful financial institutional framework available in our country because it puts power in the hands of the people who make the deposits. Whereas a bank, especially large US banks, take deposits from the general body of people and funnel loans into the hands of their preferred account holders, leaving African American and Hispanic businesses and individuals chronically underfunded and voiceless,” says Troy.

Phase 2 of the chartering process includes preparing a business plan, developing a proforma, surveying the proposed field of membership (FOM), and raising capital.

C3’s mission is to financially strengthen the Maryland community by providing financial literacy workshops, entrepreneurship training, and investment educational seminars while ensuring access to responsible credit, savings, and business services in an environment filled with hospitality and compassion.

C3 will work to educate youth and adults on the purpose and importance of savings and investing and on understanding how to handle capital responsibly. The proposed federal credit union will support the local business community by providing business services, education, and loan products to keep the business community at the cutting edge of information and technology and well-leveraged to compete in an ever-aggressive competitive economy.

The following steps for this initiative are for the proposed federal credit union to survey the field of membership and begin raising the capital needed to bring this vision to life. If you live in any of the following counties (Charles, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, St. Mary’s), please complete the survey, as they need at least 384 surveys completed to qualify.

C3 seeks $10 million in donated capital to launch the proposed federal credit union. To donate, please visit:

To watch the DocuSeries created please visit the following links:

• Official Trailer:
• Full Episode:

Troy adds, “It is time to re-experience the power of intentional collaboration and show society that significant and impactful things can happen when people come together and demonstrate their strength.”

For press inquiries, contact Proposed C3 Federal Credit Union at


First Black-Owned Cosmetology School In New Jersey To Partner With Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD Foundation

Jana’s Cosmetology Academy, the first ever Black-owned cosmetology school in the entire state of New Jersey, is celebrating having been selected to receive funding from global icon Beyonce’s BeyGOOD Foundation. The academy will receive essential financial support for cosmetology students and professional hair stylists within the beauty industry.

BeyGOOD, the philanthropic initiative founded by Beyoncé, recently announced the launch of the Cécred x BeyGOOD Fund and through an annual allocation of $500,000, will offer scholarships and salon business grants in five parts of the country known for their vibrant and diverse community of hair stylists. The chosen cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and the exciting addition of New Jersey.

For individuals interested in pursuing a career in cosmetology and making their mark in the beauty industry, Jana’s Cosmetology Academy is now accepting applications. To take the first step towards your dream career, text “BEYXJCA” to 856-733-JCA1 to receive an exclusive application link and start your journey today.

Atiya Johnson, Founder and CEO of the academy, comments, “Join us in celebrating this incredible opportunity to support the next generation of talented cosmetology professionals. Together, we can make a meaningful impact in the beauty industry and empower individuals to succeed in their passion for hair styling and cosmetology.”

About BeyGOOD
BeyGOOD is a global initiative founded by Beyoncé that focuses on making a positive impact in the areas of education, health, and social justice. Through various programs and partnerships, BeyGOOD strives to empower individuals and communities to reach their full potential. Learn more at

About Jana’s Cosmetology Academy:
Jana’s Cosmetology Academy is a leading cosmetology school dedicated to providing high-quality education and training to aspiring cosmetologists and hair stylists. With a commitment to excellence and innovation, Jana’s Cosmetology Academy prepares students for successful careers in the beauty industry. To learn more about this exciting partnership and how you can get involved, please visit or visit in person at 1397 Blackwood-Clementon Road, Clementon, NJ 08021.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact: Devon K. Hall, Director of Community Affairs,, 856-733-JCA1.


Black Family’s Premium BBQ Sauce Debuts In Ace Hardware Stores Across 5 States, Now In 100+ Retail Locations

Meet Andre, Mona, and AJ Cooper, the father, mother, and son who are the owners of Legacy Gold BBQ, a Black-owned brand that is now a household name in Northeast Florida and beyond. Their products, which are formulated based on unique Southern recipes and are available in four variations, are now available in Ace Hardware stores across five states – Florida, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Their sauce is free of MSG, free of high fructose corn syrup, and made with gluten-free ingredients.

The Cooper family decided to create the brand because they wanted to fulfill the dream and honor the legacy of Andre’s father, Bob, who was a renowned BBQ Pitmaster. Since their launch in mid-2022, their sales have exploded across the Southeast Region of the United States and beyond.

Bob and Liz Cooper were the proprietors of several BBQ restaurants in Jacksonville, Florida beginning in 1965. Their quality smoked meats and signature sauce soon became the focal point of family, community, social, and church gatherings across the city. While serving as a baker on commercial oil tankers, Bob developed the tasty southern recipe, and after retiring as a merchant marine he parlayed his culinary skills into a string of family-owned businesses serving the finest of BBQ fare. “My father was acclaimed for his friendly and engaging personality and his skills serving open-pit, hickory wood-fired BBQ, slathered with this sweet, tangy, and smoky sauce,” states Andre.

As his businesses thrived, he was approached with a proposal to offer his premium line of sauces in retail stores, but as a busy entrepreneur and patriarch of a large family – he passed on the offer. Later, upon reconsideration of such a great opportunity – the offer to do so was no longer available.

He continues, “Because of this closed door, I was armed with an insatiable desire to help extend my dad’s legacy of offering exceptional customer service and premium BBQ products to the public, so the most natural means of accomplishing this was to share his unique recipes with the world. Our retail partnerships with Ace Hardware stores in Florida, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, have been the fulfillment of a dream come true and we believe it rightly honors my dad’s legacy.”

Bob passed away in 2007, but in January 2023, the first batches of Legacy Gold BBQ sauce were bottled and now many retail partnerships are forming to offer this treasured recipe to the masses just as he had always dreamed!

Currently, the products are available online at and in more than 100 retail locations across the U.S.

Follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram.


Africa’s Richest Man Makes History, Opens $19.5 Billion Oil Refinery In Nigeria

Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest man on the continent of Africa, is hitting the jackpot with a new oil refinery in Nigeria. His net worth, a whopping $19.6 billion, is set to climb even higher, thanks to this project. Dangote, the founder of Dangote Group, officially kicked off the venture in mid-January.

Situated in the coastal city of Lekki, near Lagos, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery aims to make Nigeria self-sufficient in fuel. This is a big deal, considering oil makes up nearly 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and 60 percent of government revenue, according to Dangote himself on The David Rubenstein Show in 2020.

The refinery, after facing some delays, finally started production earlier this month. Nigeria, despite its heavy reliance on oil, has been importing most of its fuel due to a shortage of refineries. Dangote’s refinery plans to change that narrative, eyeing a production capacity of up to 650,000 barrels a day in the future.

While this sounds like a game-changer, Rafiq Raji from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program remains skeptical. He told Business Insider that expecting the refinery to hit 100,000 barrels a day initially would be a stretch. Full capacity might not be on the horizon until 2027, with Raji noting suboptimal yields at the current stage of completion. According to him, “they’d make more money by simply selling the crude.”

Be sure to follow Aliko Dangote on Instagram @Aliko_DangoteGCON


Founder Of Black-Owned Cosmetics Brand Collabs With Miss Black USA To Sponsor Scholarship Program

Dr. Satasha Stephen, Founder and CEO of SOROR By Satasha Stephen, a Black-owned all-natural makeup and skincare collection created for all skin types, tones, and hues, is celebrating having her brand as the official cosmetic sponsor for the 2024 Miss Black USA pageant. Based in St. Paul,  Minnesota, this is the second year that her company has partnered with the organization to sponsor a $1,000 scholarship giveaway.

The SOROR “Shades of Excellence” $1,000 Scholarship is a collaboration with the Miss Black USA organization. The brand exemplifies diversity, self-expression, and confidence through its inclusive makeup for all skin types, tones, and hues. “This made our brand a natural fit for a collaboration with the Miss Black USA organization,” said Stephen.

The name SOROR means sister. Dr. Stephen says that she named this makeup and skincare line after her relationship with her sister Penny, as they bonded over their love of makeup during their mother’s bout with cancer. Her collection expertly carves out the makeup and skincare needs of individuals with a diversity of skin types and tones while creating products that are also health-conscious with their paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly formula. The health-conscious nature of the product was especially important to Stephen when thinking about the creation of the SOROR makeup and skincare collection.

Her brand, the first makeup and skincare collection under Stephen Beauty and Cosmetics, leverages and relies on the integrity of its carefully vegan-formulated products. The collection offers affordable, inclusive makeup and skincare products that offer a solution to the challenges many women of color face finding makeup that matches their skin tone and works with their skin type. It was created for all skin types, tones, and hues to accentuate one’s natural beauty and to provide a natural skincare routine.

The brand’s dedication to supporting self-care, self-empowerment, diversity, self-expression, confidence, and excellence is evident not only in their thoughtful wide range of products that are health-conscious, environmentally conscious, and paraben-free that can be blended to create natural fresh looks, elegant and glamorous styles, but also evident in their sponsorships.

While this is the first scholarship endeavor for the brand, Dr. Stephen hopes that this is the first of other scholarship opportunities her company will offer in support of young Black women who have displayed excellence by making a positive impact or difference at their local or campus community. The Spring 2024 recipient of the Shades of Excellence Scholarship Giveaway was announced on February 16, 2024.

For more information about the scholarship, visit the brand’s official website at

Be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @SatashaStephen

For press inquiries, contact Dr. Satasha Stephen or 512-554-4384/


Black Female Psychologist Uses QR Codes To Launch Interactive Coaching System For Personal And Professional Development

In a groundbreaking move, Dr. Staci L. Parker introduces the InTouch Holistic Interactive Coaching System Workbook, setting a new standard in transformational and professional development coaching. Central to this innovative approach is the integration of Interactive QR Codes, offering an unparalleled and immersive coaching experience for users. Breaking barriers of time and cost, Dr. Parker leverages technology and a unique QR code system to offer affordable, intimate, and self-paced coaching in the areas of Introspective, Relationship, Career & Professional Coaching, and Spiritual Exploration.

A Revolution in Transformation Coaching

Dr. Parker, a seasoned organizational development psychologist, has redirected her expertise to provide global accessibility to transformation coaching for anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Dr. Parker’s innovative coaching system integrates coaching methods, psychological theories, personality assessments, and career guidance into a single workbook. Her pioneering coaching system combines proven psychological methodologies with technology, and the spotlight is on the Interactive QR Codes embedded throughout the workbook.

What sets this coaching approach apart from others is the QR Code system that enables readers to scan and receive personalized messages that replicate the intimacy of in-person coaching. Through her innovative coaching system, Dr. Parker created an immersive and interactive coaching experience that mimics the sessions clients would share with her in person.

Personal Connection

The workbook includes holistic healing practices, unique career and professional development exercises, original lo-fi inspirational music, personality and emotional intelligence assessments with results, and coloring pages for color therapy. Readers can even schedule a live talk with Dr. Parker as one of many features inside the workbook – at no charge. There are also insightful and inspirational messages throughout the workbook like, The Rain Dance Story so readers can get to know her on a personal level.

Special Offer

The InTouch Holistic Interactive Coaching System Workbook is available on Amazon for $88. However, readers of this press release can enjoy a 50% discount by clicking on this Workbook Discount link.

To learn more, visit the InTouch Holistic website or click the About the Workbook link. Individuals can also purchase the Workbook Journal Companion at a 50% discount with an exclusive QR Code inside the Interactive Workbook. The journal is part of the individual’s extended reflection exercises from the Interactive Workbook; however, they are designed to be used together or separately.

Dr. Staci L. Parker is a distinguished graduate of Walden University with honor distinctions from the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. She has authored and published a combination of books and articles on various subjects and provided coaching and consulting services through her recently retired practice of 12 years. Currently, an Advanced Doctoral Advisor for a renowned university, Dr. Parker continues to offer her experience of over 20 years to providing transformational coaching services; however, she says: “The Interactive Coaching Systems Workbook is my greatest work because it’s available to those who need it most.”

For media inquiries, review copies, or interviews, please contact or 813-418-2925.


This Black Woman-Owned Whiskey Brand Has A Valuation Of Almost $1 Billion

Meet Fawn Weaver, the 48-year-old CEO and Founder of Uncle Nearest, a Black woman-owned premium whiskey brand that has been making waves in the spirits industry since its launch in 2017. Since then, she has led the brand to become the top-selling Black-owned spirits globally and one of the fastest-growing American whiskey companies, now valued at more than $900 million.Breaking away from the usual trend of white male-led whiskey companies, Uncle Nearest stands out. Weaver recently achieved a significant milestone with the success of a capital raise for its French subsidiary, bringing the total capital raised to $220 million and valuing the company at an impressive $900 million.

The brand, named in honor of the first-known African American master distiller, Nearest Green, has expanded its reach to over 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants across 50 U.S. states and 12 countries. The distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., and a newly acquired property in Cognac, France, are part of the brand’s global presence.

Weaver attributes the company’s remarkable growth to her unique investment approach. Instead of relying on traditional venture capital or private equity firms, she secured funding from a diverse group of individual accredited investors. This strategy, she believes, aligns with her long-term vision of cementing the legacy of Nearest Green alongside other whiskey greats.

“Now, I am in these rooms that people talk about. But in the beginning, when I was looking for capital, I wasn’t in these rooms. What happened is I went out, and I was networking everywhere and pounding the pavement at grocery stores, liquor tastings, trade shows, and golf clubs,” Weaver told Fortune.

With a cohort of 170 investors, including notable figures like Craig Leipold and Steve Mosko, Weaver is determined to retain control of Uncle Nearest. She remains focused on expanding into other spirit spaces, including cognac and tequila. Her ultimate goal is to ensure Uncle Nearest remains a beacon of diversity and innovation in the spirits industry.

“It’s to become the acquirer and to make sure that in my lifetime, we continue to exist as the first spirit conglomerate that was not founded or led by a white male,” she said.

Learn more about the brand via its official website

Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @UncleNearest


A Black Man Is The CEO Of Denver International Airport, The 2nd Largest Airport In The World

Meet Phillip A. Washington, who serves as the CEO of Denver International Airport (DEN), the second largest airport in the world at 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 km2). He was appointed in 2021 and reconfirmed in 2023 and is leading the charge at what is also the world’s third busiest airport, handling millions of passengers every year.

Washington’s vision for DEN, called Vision 100, aims to prepare the airport for a whopping 100 million passengers by 2030, a 30% increase, according to Fly Denver. Managing a $10 billion Capital Improvement Program, he has led significant changes, including retrofitting the airport, planning a massive rental car facility, and initiating environmental efforts like plugging oil wells and installing more solar panels.

Before Denver, Washington made waves as the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD). In LA, he managed a balanced budget of $8.5 billion and oversaw major capital projects. His leadership led to the successful passing of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax supporting 40 major projects and creating jobs.

Washington’s achievements extend beyond transportation. Inducted into the American Public Transportation Association Hall of Fame and nominated for the position of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator by President Biden, he’s recognized for his exceptional contributions.

Washington, a 24-year U.S. Army veteran, holds a B.A. in Business and an M.A. in Management.

His impressive journey includes leading the Host Transportation Committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention and receiving honors like the Defense Superior Service Medal. Washington’s commitment to excellence, safety, and innovation continues to shape the future of transportation.

Be sure to follow Denver International Airport on Instagram @DENAirport


Black Massage Therapist Celebrates 16 Years Of Helping 1,000’s Of People Improve Mental And Physical Well-Being

Meet Cherron Lampkins, the founder and CEO of The Wellness Lab, one of the fastest Black-owned wellness studios in the Washington, DC area. She is a former HBCU collegiate athlete at Shaw University, and she is now celebrating 16 years as a License Massage Therapist (LMT) who has served thousands of customers.

Cherron refers to herself as a “recovered teen mom” who has battled self-esteem and mental health issues. However, she was inspired by her late grandparents late grandparents to advocate for the mental and physical benefits of massage therapy, while continuing to improve her own well-being.

She comments, “Massage therapy serves as a crucial necessity in the Black community, offering not just relaxation but a holistic approach to health. While many in the Black community remain distracted by material things we can touch or show, recognizing massage therapy as more than a luxury underscores the importance of self-care and resilience within a community often contending with unique challenges. In a context where historical disparities and systemic stressors persist, regularly getting massages aids in stress reduction, promotes mental well-being, and addresses physical ailments.”

In a world where the pace of life seems to quicken each day, Cherron underscores the vital role of massage therapy in promoting overall well-being. As a seasoned professional with over 16 years of experience, she emphasizes that massage is not just a pampering treat but an essential practice for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional balance.

Her approach to massage therapy extends beyond relaxation, positioning it as a proactive measure to manage stress, alleviate chronic pain, and enhance the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Through a combination of expert touch and personalized coaching, she guides clients toward a holistic understanding of self-care, emphasizing its crucial role in the modern, demanding lifestyle.

Her curated massage and self-care retreats serve as havens for relaxation, promoting both physical and mental rejuvenation for those seeking a respite from the demands of everyday life.

Individuals are invited to reconsider their perspective on massage therapy, recognizing it as a cornerstone of preventive healthcare. In Cherron’s view, regular massage is not an indulgence but a strategic investment in one’s health and quality of life.

For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information, please contact or 202-642-6503.

Cherron Lampkins Wellness, LLC’s platform is dedicated to providing expert massage therapy, corporate partnerships, and quality self-care coaching. With a commitment to promoting health and well-being, she strives to make massage therapy and self-care services accessible and recognized as a necessity for individuals seeking a balanced and fulfilling life. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn


Founder Of Black-Owned Tea Bar In Charlotte Opens Second Location

Sherry Waters, the founder behind the beloved Black-owned tea haven, The Pauline Tea-Bar & Apothecary, unveils its second location in Charlotte, North Carolina. This expansion promises more of what made the first spot a community favorite – organic herbal teas, delicious baked goods, and a serene atmosphere.

Named after her grandmother, Pauline’s first opened its doors in Charlotte’s Camp Greene neighborhood back in 2019. Sherry wanted to create a haven where people could connect and foster a sense of community. With its soothing teas, delightful baked treats, comfy seating, and overall tranquil atmosphere, Pauline’s has become a go-to spot for relaxation and camaraderie.

Following the success of the first location, Sherry decided to expand, announcing the second spot in November 2023. The expansion was made possible with the support of LISC Charlotte through the Fifth Third Bank Empowering Black Futures Initiative. This initiative aims to boost businesses and organizations in the area, providing more opportunities on Charlotte’s west side.

The new spot, Thrive Hub, is set to operate from a charmingly renovated yellow house at 1017 Beatties Ford Road. Sherry shared with Queen City Nerve that her vision for the expansion focuses on emphasizing community gatherings and highlighting the history of Black-owned teahouses.

To mark the grand opening, Waters has curated a weekend lineup packed with activities that showcase the space’s full potential. Expect a soulful saxophonist, chair meditation, a dash of history, tea tasting, and more. The second location promises to be more than just a place for tea – it’s a haven for community and connection.

Learn more about the tea bar via its official website at

Be sure to follow them on Instagram @ThePaulineTeaBar

Also, you can support the business by visiting its two locations at 2326 Arty Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28208, and 1017 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216