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Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Entrepreneurship

Römaina Tiendrebeogo believes that: “Representation Matters.”

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Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

How did you come up with the name Cay Cay’s World?

I must admit, I was really overthinking when I was looking for a name for my cartoons. I realized this is an attempt to give people a glimpse of her(my daughters) world and others. Also did I need something that the children could remember.  A lot of people refer to her as ”Cay Cay” (pronounced: SySy). It was only logical for me at that time to give it the name Cay Cay’s World.

After seeing everything come together, getting a feel for what I want my characters to represent. I decided to change the name to ’Akwaaba Adwoa & Friends’. Akwaaba means ”Welcome” in the Ghanaian Twi dialect, by the Akan tribe of Ghana. Adwoa is a name that is given to females born on a Monday in Ghana.

My daughter was born on a Monday and this felt closer to home than her first name. My daughter’s name is Cayra (pronounced Sy-ih-rah) Anaiah Sage.

Cay Cay

Cay Cay

Where does Cay Cay come from?

Adwoa (Cay Cay) is a Ghanaian girl, both parents are from Ghana. The idea stems from my daughter.

 

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

 

You decided to tell a story based on 8 characters, why those 8 and why not more or less?

The reason why I chose to tell a story about these 8 characters is because in order to make this work to it’s best ability, I needed to start with what I know. I lived in the Netherlands for a majority of my life and was mostly surrounded by people from Suriname, Curacao, Ghana and Nigeria.

Besides, my mother is married to a Nigerian for 26 years now and my siblings are half Nigerian. I also felt it was important to choose from different parts of Africa and choose the countries I had been learning about prior to ’Akwaaba Adwoa & Friends’. These 8 will not only be a representation of themselves but also a voice for thei countries around their own individual countries.

 

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

 

“Representation matters!”

There are 52 countries in Africa why not tell a story of Africa in general?

You see, the beauty of Africa is that the differences somehow unite us. I would not do Africa or people from the Diaspora justice by generalizing everything and everybody. I made sure I chose countries that different countries in Africa can relate to.

As these characters grow they explore and learn about their neighboring countries. Africa is a continent that stands for strength, power, survival, wealth, traditions, beauty and much more. Now tell me what Justice would I do it and it’s descendants by generalizing Africa.

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

What are the storylines going to be about?

My stories are going to incorporate Nursery Rhymes in English, Dutch and most importantly the language from each characters’ country. They will not always be together in one episode. Everybody is going to be in the spotlight seperately.

We will also be learning some words from their own dialects. My intentions are not only to bring black excellence into our households but to also spark conversations between parents and kids. We usually leave our country, reside abroad and leave behind our childhood memories. It is okay to adapt, but even greater to instill a piece of themselves in their upbringing.

 

“It is time for children of color to grow up and have representations of themselves”

Romaïna

Romaïna the creator of Cay Cay and friends

Why do you think it is important to make colored animations for kids?

Whenever I watch a kids channel I can usually count the amount of colored kids on one hand. The majority of TV characters is Caucasian and you would maybe see 2 or 3 colored children. Representation matters! As a kid I would see some toy commercials advertising extensions to add to your hair. This was not even avaiblable in my hair texture/color!

You will subconsciously develop a low self esteem. I started to believe that I was not that special enough to shown on TV. It is time for children of color to grow up and have representations of themselves, to know that they are a part of beauty standards, because that’s not for anyone to decide but them. Representation matters!

 

“I believe this will make a change Worldwide.

 

How long will one episode be?

One episode will be about 12 minutes. The audience I am targetting are toddlers and it is advised for them to have about an hour screen time a day. 12 minutes is enough for kids  to pick up on certain things and to give parents inspiration on how to incorporate what they have seen in a for examples with games.

 

 

Akin, from Nigeria! He says Bawoni: meaning: How are you

Akin, from Nigeria! He says Bawoni: meaning: How are you

Do you feel like making animations will make a change in Dutch society or more in African?

I believe this will make a change Worldwide. In the Dutch society it will most definitly make make an impact on children of color.

They will become more aware of themselves and most importantly they will be more confident! Living in The Netherlands can make you as a North-African, think that you are nothing but trouble. A country where blacks are being confronted with mockery of their whole being just to honor a country’s tradition that stands for oppression.

Our kids need to see and know that they too are an important part of society.

 

Cay Cay inspired by Römaina's daughter

Cay Cay inspired by Römaina’s daughter

What do you think the stereotype of black people is in Holland?

Haven’t we heard enough? It is either lazy, loud or uneducated just to name a few. My goal is not about changing what the caucasian think or say about us. My goal is to make sure that whatever they do, think or say that we will not it our reality.

 What do you think about an online magazine such as melaninwonder.com, is it needed?

First of all I commend you for creating such a platform. Of course it is needed. There can never be too much representation! I will be starting a crowdfunding soon and your magazine has already given me the opportunity to put myself out there. Thank you for sharing the same goal as I do.

 

 

Entrepreneurship

Why I speak their names

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 I don’t know sh&^%t

My life as an entrepreneur started around thirteen years ago. A know-it-all 29-year-old young woman. Mother of three children. Two biological and one bonus. I had this very idealistic idea and nobody could tell me otherwise. Well, after falling flat on my face a couple of times and many sleepless nights, disappointments and heartaches came the realization that maybe I didn’t know it all at all……in fact that maybe I don’t know sh&^%t.

This was a tough pill to swallow

What I came to realize is that entrepreneurship is one of the most spiritual journeys you will ever be on. There is nowhere to hide, nobody to blame. You have to self-reflect on a regular, be open to change your way….basically stepping out of your own way.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Grief the people you lose along the way. Be accountable for your failures so you can transform them into success. All this and much more but the most important part is being clear about your why! Cause let me tell you guys something, there will be many many moments that you will declare yourself to be crazy for continuing.

In all honesty, to be an entrepreneur you got to have a bit of crazy in you. I know that’s right! (In Sawaeetie’s voice)

What will sustain you through the moments when you are frustrated, disappointed, or have to cry yourself to sleep is your purpose. It may sound like a cliche but it’s my testimony.

My purpose was to be part of a movement, built companies to provide opportunities for ourselves so we can create them for our children. In July 2010 I wrote a poem explaining my Why. At the time we were a group of black women, mothers working together in realizing our dreams.

It is because of you today WE RISE!!!!

I dedicated this poem to my children and the women I was working with at the time. I would like to share it with you. It’s called We speak your names.

We speak your names Tariq, Iyanla, Hakim, Glenn, Roli, Dwayne, Omar, Jaden, Musa, Angelina, Hadjia, Euson, Iluminee, Uriel, Khadian, Lakisha, Kimani, Melanta, Rayla, Donna, Gillion, Brandon, and all the other ones.
We realize that we stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us, as we are making way for the ones coming after us. We take our own responsibility so that you can stand upon our shoulders.
It is for you that today we day we refuse to remain in the victim role and to be content with a marginal existence.
It is for you who are growing up in these beautiful neighborhoods that we say; enough is enough.
Enough with the labels of disadvantaged.
It is for you that today, now (!) we stand up and act together to move forward.
Because our dream for you is that you have freedom of choice. That your zip code doesn’t determine your study advice. 
In ten or twenty years there must be a business network consisting of successful companies in various industries where you can have internships, get jobs, and/or subsequent take over companies.
It is because of you today WE RISE!!!!

Fast forward to 2021 and look at all the amazing black-owned business networks.

Baba Kwabena told me in my early twenties that a self-respecting community should own the three E’s: Education, Economics & Enforcement.

WE may still have a long road ahead of us but we are slowly but surely on our way. For the new entrepreneurs make sure you are clear of your why. Your purpose. Trust me there will be moments on your journey that it’s the only thing you have to hold on to. Hold on to it and keep on RISING. Our children need you. Speak their names and a new reality for them into existence.

Ashé

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Entrepreneurship

Aaron West, extremely passionate about inspiring change in others

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Can you introduce yourself?

So, my full name is Aaron West, I am 31, Black and proud and I was born and mostly raised in Shreveport, Louisiana by my mom and grandparents. My mom moved my twin brother, little sister and I from Shreveport to Houston when I was 15 after she graduated from college and I’ve been here ever since. I would say I had a pseudo-rural upbringing in Shreveport because it was a slower city compared to Houston.

I say this not to imply we lived on a farm and milked cows but basically Shreveport as a city was far behind what Houston was in terms of modern black culture like fashion, music etc. Upon arriving to Houston I really started to think I was living on BET because everything and everyone was so cool and fashion forward lol. My brother, sister and I played most sports growing up to stay busy and I think that is probably where I grew to love Fitness.

What are you passionate about?

I am extremely, extremely, extremely, passionate about inspiring change in others. I would say I simply love to see people change their bodies or achieve their fitness goals, because I’m a personal trainer, but it’s so much deeper than that. For me it’s all about helping others understand what can be done with a little effort. Nothing and no one can make me feel as I do in the moment that someone who I talked to previously about where I see them going with their body remembers that conversation while presently living in that body we talked about in the past.

I own a personal training studio where I conduct one-on-one sessions with clients and sure we talk about fitness but it is not uncommon for us to also talk about other life goals, in-fact we probably talk about more life coaching type things than anything else, I really just enjoy helping people reach their full potential in every facet of life.

 

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

 

What is your profession?

My profession is complex but if I had to label it I would say I am an entrepreneur because I create things. Currently I am operating as personal trainer in my personal training studio but I have goals of becoming a motivational speaker and I also plan to start a few non-profits and other business outside of fitness.

How long have you owned ur fitness business?

By the grace of God my business has been open for almost 3 years. I started Almost PerFit Fitness after graduating from University of Houston and having a hard time finding what I considered a “real job”. I was still working for a local gym as a personal trainer and as a very broke post-college grad I figured that there was no better time to start a business than at the bottom, that way me and Almost PerFit Fitness( the business) literally would grow together.

With no real business plan I simply started training clients on the side in parks for less than what they would pay at the gym but was able to pocket more than what the gym was paying me. As business grew I decided to rent a space add some fitness equipment “wollah” i was in business on your own.

 

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

 

How do make sure your clients eat healthy?

I usually cannot really control how my clients eat so once I design the meal plan best tailored to their needs I focus on making sure they understand how eating wrong can impact their fitness goals. I’ve found that the more they understand the better their food decisions would be. I weigh my clients in weekly to track progress towards or away from their goal and then make adjustments.

Why start your own business?

I would now presently answer this question with “why not?” but honestly I never considered working for myself until I realized that I was worth more than what someone was willing to pay me to do a job I could create on my own. It is actually something I heard “Master P” of No Limit records say about his decision to start independent. I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everyone but it is definitely worth a shot if you are passionate about adding value to someone’s life with a service or product.

 

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years I see myself in the fitness industry. I actually plan to remain in the industry for the rest of my life but as a trainer to trainers as opposed to simply a trainer. I would like to have a larger platform to help more people in various ways.

Do you have other hobbies or crazy habits?

Aside from working out I really enjoy photography. I actually do most of my own photography for promotional flyers, social media marketing etc with a Nikon D330. I’m a self professed student to the craft and I’m also actively learning more about editing software. Me and my girlfriend are learning a few actually to help with our couples YouTube channel.

I have one habit that I think is pretty crazy, I am constantly stretching my body trying to get comfortable from multiple weekly workouts. I’ll be in bed literally popping and stretching until I finally fall asleep. It’s actually pretty common in the bodybuilding world and I wouldn’t say it’s painful but at every opportunity I feel the need to stretch my muscles/joints out I am probably going to stop everything I’m doing and do it, it’s weird but it feels so necessary. Other than that I’m just a guy .*lol*

Check out his Instagram for more about his business and some stunning pictures!

 

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

 

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Culture

Angel Rich the Melanin Wonder named to be “The next Steve Jobs” by Forbes!!

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Angel Rich “The Next Steve Jobs”

 

Angel Rich, from Washington, DC, has developed a very innovative app called Credit Stacker that teaches students about personal finance, credit management skills, and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. The app is so popular that 200,000 people (and growing) downloaded it to their smartphones and tablets within just two weeks of its launch.

 

Melanin Wonder Angel was raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Hampton University. She also studied at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Way to represent her Melanin self!

She briefly worked as a global market research analyst for Prudential, where she conducted over 70 financial behavior modification studies.

She says that during her time there, she helped the company generate more than $6 billion in revenue. She resigned, however in 2013, to start her own company, The Wealth Factory.

Remarkably, the app has been named the “best financial literacy product in the country” by the Office of Michelle Obama, the “best learning game in the country” by the Department of Education, and the “best solution in the world for reducing poverty” by JP Morgan Chase. It has won first place in several business competitions including the Industrial Bank Small Business Regional Competition and the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. Angel has won more than $50,000 in business grants with her efforts.

Her company’s Credit Stacker app is available in four languages and in 40 countries and is rapidly approaching 1 million downloads.

Although the app is free for users to download, the revenue model is to generate money on the back-end from advertisers in addition to existing contracts. She also has a partnership with the D.C. Dept of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.

In time, other major financial companies like NASDAQ, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Wells Fargo, and more will likely want to get on board as well

 

Download the Credit Stacker app from the iTunes App store here, visit:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creditstacker/id1130346776

Download the Credit Stacker app from the Google Play app store now, visit:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.capital.creditstacker

Follow Melanin Wonder Angel Rich on Facebook and visit www.facebook.com/wealthylifers

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