Black Business Secrets

During these dire economic times when the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 9.8 percent, you can be sure that that figure is at least double in the African-American community. And after the Democrats took what President Obama referred to as a “shellacking” on Election Day, they appear prepared to capitulate to the Republican demand that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy be extended.

If you’re presently out of work, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the supposedly stimulating effect of that windfall for the rich to trickle down to you in the form of a job. Instead, may I suggest perusing a copy of Black Business Secrets: 500 Tips, Strategies, and Resources for the African-American Entrepreneur.

This invaluable how-to tome designed with ambitious self-starters in mind was written by Dante Lee, a bona fide success story in his own right. He is the CEO of Diversity City Media, the umbrella organization for a number of marquee Internet sites including BlackNews.com, BlackPR.com, HBCUconnect.com and BlackHistory.com. Lee founded the company in 2000 while still in college, and it has mushroomed over the course of the past decade into the largest network of premier African-American Web properties.

In Black Business Secrets, the author shares a cornucopia of practical advice based on his experiences about what’s involved in getting a profitable money-making operation off the ground. But Dante doesn’t rely only on his own anecdotal evidence here, for he also conducted informative tête-à-têtes with such sepia captains of industry as chocolate chip cookie magnate Famous Amos, BET Network founder Bob Johnson, Reallionaire author Farrah Gray and reigning wunderkind Ephren Taylor, who is the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company.

Among the hundreds of tips revealed and elaborated upon in the text are morsels of wisdom ranging from “Learn to Have Thick Skin” to “Don’t Wait for the Phone to Ring” to “Learn to Speak Like Obama” to “Never Check Email in the Morning.” Although much of what’s printed on these pages might be easier read than done, Lee certainly has a knack for serving up a delectable winning recipe in easy-to-follow, step-by-step fashion.

A plausible primer for financial success for any aspiring entrepreneur armed with a viable business idea and the requisite amalgam of guts, determination and common sense to make their dream a reality.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

Author Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her work as Chicago bureau chief of the New York Times in 1994, making her the first Black woman in U.S. history to win the coveted award for individual reporting. Her book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, relies on the author’s storytelling skills as she relays the decades-long migration of three Black Americans and their families from the South to points north and west.

It took Wilkerson over a decade to write and research the book, which draws on archival materials and over 1,200 interviews. As a result, the lives of Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling and Robert Foster are told in great detail as readers follow them from their humble beginnings in the South to their new fates in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, respectively.

“Some six million black Americans left the South for all points North and West during the decades of the Great Migration, which lasted, statistically, from World War I to the 1970’s,” said Wilkerson in a prepared statement. “Vast as it was, however, the Great Migration is not purely about the numbers but about the lasting effects of so many people uprooting themselves and transporting their culture from an isolated region of the country to the big cities of the North and West.”

Inspired by the footnotes of Richard Wright’s autobiography Black Boy, The Warmth of Other Suns attempts to explain “what the sun means to us, what it gives to us and what it takes to defy the gravitational pull of your own solar system and take off for another far away.”

Final word: Creative writing with a journalist’s touch.

Available now. For more information visit randomhouse.com.

Healthy Holly- Exercising is Fun

Maryland Sen. Catherine Pugh, Dist.-40, has based her career on serving her constituents in Baltimore City. Her dedication to the city and surrounding areas includes work to improve local children’s health. Her newest book, Healthy Holly- Exercising is Fun follows a spirited young girl and her family as the walk, jump rope and bike their way to fitness. The illustrations by Andre Forde feature the brown-eyed, caramel-hued protagonist amid colorful urban and suburban backdrops, while Pugh provides space at the end of the 21-page book for children to list their own favorite exercises.

Final word: A fun celebration of good health for kids and caregivers.
 

Available now. For more information visit catherinepugh.com.

 

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO