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/


Meet The Black Woman Who Owns Three Chick-Fil-A Restaurants In 3 Different States

Meet Sereena Quick, who has made history by becoming the first Black woman to own a Chick-fil-A in three different states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The 39-year-old entrepreneur most recently opened her Chick-fil-A restaurant in her hometown in Philadelphia.

“It really is astounding just this accomplishment to really inspire and motivate the people in our community,” Quick said, according to AfroTech. “The young Black boys and girls in our community, who are going to one day look at me — or even at this opportunity — and say, ‘I too can do this.'”

Growing up in the public housing community of Raymond Rosen Homes and raised in a single-parent home, Quick faced many challenges. But she did not let it stop her. She graduated college and started a career as a juvenile probation officer in Philadelphia.

Her career took a turn when she moved to California and connected with Jon Hooper, the owner/operator of Chick-fil-A, Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont, California. Inspired by this mentorship, Quick decided to transition into the restaurant industry. She later returned to Philadelphia, where she continued to learn from experienced operators like Stanley Webber and Chris Walsh.

In just three years, Quick went from being the Executive Director at Chick-fil-A Malvern in Pennsylvania to becoming the proud owner of her Chick-fil-A restaurant in the state.

The new store on City Ave, owned and operated by Quick, is set to create over 100 jobs, contributing positively to the local community. Quick, who grew up in North Philadelphia, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to give back to the city and empower future leaders.

“I am passionate about creating long-term positive change in my community and look forward to this new chapter in the place where I was born and raised,” she said.

Be sure to follow Sereena Quick on her Instagram @SrnQuick


HBCU Grad Turned Global Marketing Executive Receives Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award

Tangela Parker, an award-winning African American global marketing executive, joined an elite group of female C-Suite leaders when President Joe Biden awarded her the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual awards honor a select few who “exhibit outstanding character, work ethic, and dedication to their communities.”

Recipients of the award must have completed a minimum of 4,000 hours of volunteer service. The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor in the President’s Volunteer Service Award program.

Parker was honored with the award based on her 24-year marketing and public affairs career at leading Fortune 500 companies, where she has supported underserved communities and developed programming to improve their quality of life.

“I am passionate about investing in underserved communities and equipping others to rise above poverty,” added Parker, recognized as one of the nation’s top marketing experts and motivational speakers. “I am also incredibly fortunate to love my work and the communities we serve.”

Tangela Parker is a native of Brandon, Mississippi, and resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science/pre-law from Alcorn State University and also graduated from the Executive Leadership program at Harvard Business School.

For press inquiries, contact 678-653-4536 or


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


Black Mom And 21-Year-Old Daughter, Owners Of Virtual Assistance Firm Celebrate 6 Years In Business

It has been six years already and 21-year-old Essynce Moore and her mom, Dr. Starr Barrett, the dynamic duo behind the fastest-growing Black-owned virtual assistance firm called The Very Essynce of Virtual Assistants LLC, are still revolutionizing the industry. With a strong commitment to entrepreneurship and passing on invaluable life skills, Starr is empowering her daughter to thrive in every aspect of life.

Their company offers personalized assistant and virtual office administration services encompassing secretarial tasks, marketing support, and bookkeeping, all at highly competitive rates. What sets them apart is their executive team comprising minority women dedicated to delivering exceptional value, unparalleled customer service, and exceeding client expectations. Their clientele are small/medium businesses, non-profits, and high-profile clients.

Essynce serves as the VP of Youth Development, inspiring and guiding fellow young entrepreneurs with invaluable advice, confidence-building strategies, and a blueprint for launching their ventures. She believes that representation matters, and peers benefit immensely from learning from someone who mirrors their own journey.

In today’s fast-evolving business landscape, the demand for global connectivity and efficiency is unprecedented. Their company is not just a luxury but a necessity, relieving businesses and entrepreneurs of the burdensome tasks associated with managing a global clientele. By outsourcing administrative responsibilities, clients can focus on strategic growth and innovation, truly working “on” their businesses rather than “in” them.

“We are driven by a passion to deliver top-tier services that instill pride in our customers. We believe in bringing our business vision to life through action, emotion, and care,” says Dr. Starr.

Furthermore, their company provides opportunities for individuals, especially single parents and those juggling multiple responsibilities, to achieve flexibility while working from home.

To learn more about The Very Essynce of Virtual Assistants or to utilize their services, call 888-377-9623 (ESSYNCE) or visit their website at

Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook (@EssynceEmpire) and Instagram (@EssynceVirtualAssistants).

The Very Essynce of Virtual Assistants is the epitome of solutions for both business and personal lifestyle needs. Their vision is to master the art of administrative services, creating a masterpiece of diligence. Operating from their fully equipped office with assistants available 24/7, their services range from travel arrangements and calendar updates to bookkeeping and marketing support.

For press inquiries, contact or 888-377-9623 (ESSYNCE)