Homeschooled 8-Year-Old Starts a Baking Business After Mother Teaches Him the Basics of Entrepreneurship

untitled-1-minAfter 8-year-old Jalen Bailey expressed a desire to buy his mother a house, Sharhonda Mahan took the proper channels to get her son’s bakery business running.

In July, the Fresno, California residents applied for the necessary licenses and signed the legal documents to make Jalen’s Bakery a reality.

Within a week, young Jalen was making, selling and shipping off his baked masterpieces to lucky customers.

Jalen’s popularity grew instantly, and local media outlets wanted to share his inspiring story.

Mahan spoke to Atlanta Black Star about how Jalen started his own company before the age of 10 and how homeschooling affected his drive in life.

Around 2014, 6-year-old Jalen was baking on his own and baked his first peanut butter cookie without the help of his mother.

“I look at cooking as one of those things — like a basic thing for me,” Mahan told ABS. “I taught him to read when he was very young, to clean up and cook … Those were essential things he would need to know … I tried to make sure everything was fun — especially the things I knew he would need when he was older.”

Read more here.

Detroit Engineer Develops Coding Program to Teach Teens Tech Skills in a Gutted Out School Bus

2016-09-04_1910_001-minIn recent years, Detroit’s fledgling school system and constant infighting between teachers and governmental officials has dominated national headlines.

That infighting and bitterness came to a head in May when teachers staged a sickout.

The protest addressed the uninhabitable classroom conditions — mold, inoperable restrooms, and broken air conditioner/heating units — that contributed to health issues.

It also brought the school system’s inability to pay teachers’ salaries to the forefront of the news cycle.

Atlanta Black Star reported earlier this year that lawmakers passed a $715 million education reform plan in March to bail out Detroit Public Schools’ $515 million operating debt.

It appears that the city of Detroit is in constant instability.

However, one man sees the light before the dawn and has grown tired of the political circus.

Amazon engineer and Detroit native Thomas Phillips hopes to provide an alternative — a positive educational environment — with his Aspire Tech Bus project.

Read more here.

Self-Made 26-Year-Old Tech Entrepreneur Creates Multi-Million Dollar Telecommunications Company

At only 26-years-old, Freddie Figgers is the CEO of a $2.2 million Florida telecommunications company.

According to a 2014 study by Insight Research Corp, telecommunications services revenue worldwide will grow from $2.1 trillion in 2014 to $2.4 trillion in 2019.

This great news means there is money to be made in this industry. However, African-Americans are not the ones making it.

Figgers Communication hopes to change that.

In addition to being a successful business mogul, Figgers is an inventor, patent holder for four inventions and a software designer who strives for perfection.

The 26-year-old even achieved all of this without finishing college.

This real-life Tony Stark (Marvel’s Iron Man) spoke to Atlanta Black Star about his tremendous foray into the tech industry and how he plans to inspire others.

How a Young Talented Artist Turned Social Media Success into a Booming Business

2016-08-20_1223-minMiami, Florida-based artist Yashiva Robinson has become a viral sensation by creating art depicting Black music icons such as Tupac Shakur and Erykah Badu.

Since kindergarten, the 26-year-old painter has been drawing and creating masterpieces in various mediums.

Now, the artist, tattooist, singer, beautician and model has turned her online success into a thriving business.

Robinson, commonly known as Sheeeves, has acquired more than 17,000 Instagram followers and a booming Tumblr blog because of these various talents.

While many strive to turn their passion for art into a money-making venture, Robinson has done so in spite of detractors.

The artist extraordinaire spoke to Atlanta Black Star about her consciousness, emerging business and her life.

Read the interview here.

Chemotherapy Didn’t Stop This Driven Young Woman from Becoming Youngest Graduate at St. John’s University, Launch Non-Profit

2016-06-29_2022-minThe lives of disabled students can be difficult and stressful, because balancing treatment and education is no easy task. In some cases, schools are unaccommodating and peers can be mean-spirited.

Nyla Smith, a 20-year-old motivational speaker and advocate for disabled students, has taken the lessons she has learned from battling severe depression, anxiety disorder, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease to help others in need.

The Dallas, Texas, native spoke to Atlanta Black Star about her incredible journey and her non-profit, The Hustle Hard Campaign, in an exclusive interview.

 

Everything is Competence Porn and That is Good

The reviews for Ridley Scott’s The Martian has been summed up as “competence porn” by many critics because it shows an intelligent person “science the sh*t” out of a bad situation. It seems like the 2009 coined term, competence porn, has a bad reputation when it shouldn’t. Every inch and cranny of our media consumption shows competent geniuses solving problems other average Joes’ could not. The same way competence is good for drama, incompetence is great for comedy e.g Veep or Silicon Valley. Every comic book film, Christopher Nolan picture, Shondaland TV show, and so many others revolve around the best and the brightest because intelligence is equivalent to magic to us.

Competence porn is a self congratulatory celebration of a writer or creator’s own intelligence. Watching extremely talented people do their jobs well is not dramatic. However, it is dramatic if you perceive everyone around you to be dumb and incompetent. Then you will have to use your expertise to save, con, take down, or conquer the idiots.

And I love it.

The Martian does this by making the planet Mars look like the idiot in the room.

According to Slate writer Sharan Shetty ” ‘competence porn’ is a truly excellent phrase for an old phenomenon; the frisson of watching smart people tackle tasks with freaky aptitude dates as far back as Robinson Crusoe. Liam Neeson, in movies like Taken and The Grey, is the James Deen of competence porn.”

We live in a world where everyone in our films and on our TV screens, digital devices and so on is Sherlock Holmes. They can look at a problem and figure it out in a mere few minutes. What makes this trope exhausting is not that everyone to 2009’s Star Trek to BBC’s Sherlock and beyond is a expert in their respective field; it is that the main characters are white.

Diversity will and has made this trope more interesting. For example, if the 2014 film Whiplash starred an black drummer from the inner city, the film would be drastically different than the one we have. The film is amazing as is but we have seen this before. One film that comes to mind is Black Swan.

We are already seeing this change on TV. Think about it. Annalise Keating portrayed by Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder is extremely competent at being a lawyer. Every case is solve in a matter of 45 minutes and she never loses. The fact that a black woman is shown to be the most competent on a TV show is impressive to me as an avid TV watcher when TV is flooded with extremely competent white characters. This can be said about Algernon Edwards from The Knick, Alex Parrish from Quantico, Olivia Pope from Scandal, Beaumont Rosewood from Rosewood, John Luther from Luther, Mary Jane Paul from Being Mary Jane and even Cookie Lyons from Empire who manages to save everyone on the show.

The best example of this competence porn featuring a POC is MR. Robot. Our main character Elliot is of mixed race and he manages to bring the down the entire global financial system all from a computer. It is a brilliant show and it is refreshing because it doesn’t focus on a typical white hacker/ programmer.

I mean if I was white, I would wonder: Are there any competent people of color? The oversaturation gets boring. It is like eating steak everyday of your life. The first few are delicious but sooner or later you will want chicken, fish, pork, etc.

New and different competent faces shakes up a trope that has been around since The Odyssey.

So yes The Martian is competence porn and that is not a problem. Hopefully, Idris Elba, Priyanka Chopra or Angela Bassett gets an opportunity to be competent in a similar film. That is all I am saying.

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6 Black Actresses Besides Halle Berry Who Could Play X-Men’s Storm

Written By Ricky Riley

The casting of X-Men’s Storm has been controversial from the very start. For over a decade, the African storm goddess has been played by Halle Berry to the displeasure of fans. During this year’s San Diego Comic Con, it was revealed that Berry wanted to do a solo Storm film, but fans were not as enthusiastic as she was. Around the time of the casting of the first X-Men film, Angela Bassett was rumored to have turned down the role, making way for Berry.

Issues of skin tone were the main problem. Debates over whether Storm is a light-skinned or dark-skinned woman have overshadowed the real issues — like is Storm important to the franchise or is Berry talented enough? The answer to these questions may well be no, but there are other Black actresses who could pull off the character if given a chance:

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Naomie Harris

Harris has been in genre films since the beginning of her career. She has become famous for her roles as Selena from 28 Days Later (2005), Calypso from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and most recently she was Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall (2012) and the upcoming Spectre (2015). Harris manages to be strong and beautiful at the same time — a feature Storm possesses.

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5 Actors Who Would Be a Perfect Fit to Play Miles Morales in the Upcoming Spider-Man Film

Written By Ricky Riley

Earlier this year, Marvel Studios and Sony reached a deal that would allow Marvel to produce a Spider-Man film. This newfound hope sent the Internet into a frenzy with the idea that Peter Parker would be set aside for the first Black and Hispanic Spider-Man Miles Morales. Marvel cast young actor Tom Holland in the role of Peter Parker, continuing a long line of white Spider-Men; even though there have been many people — male, female, Black and Hispanic — who have taken up the mantle. If there is a Miles Morales Spider-Man film, here are some actors who should portray him.

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Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino 

Actor and rapper Donald Glover is the only person on the list who has portrayed Miles Morales to date. In the current Disney XD animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Glover was Morales during the Spider-verse event fighting alongside Peter Parker to bring down an inter-dimensional threat. He gained a cult following as Troy Barnes in the show Community (2009-14), which is his most famous acting role to date. Glover has the acting chops and comedic range for the role.  He will be in the upcoming Ridley Scott film The Martian (2015).