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Meet the Black Woman Behind the Fastest-Growing Male Grooming Brand in the Country

CHICAGO DEFENDER — The modern man is becoming more aware of his hygiene, body image, and self-grooming! According to ongoing statistics, the market size of the male grooming industry is expected to hit $29 billion by 2024 up from $15.68 billion in 2012. Spearheading this evolution is Andrea Polk, an award-winning entrepreneur with a keen interest in enriching the appearance of men of color.

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Andrea Polk (Courtesy Photo)

By The Chicago Defender

The modern man is becoming more aware of his hygiene, body image, and self-grooming! According to ongoing statistics, the market size of the male grooming industry is expected to hit $29 billion by 2024 up from $15.68 billion in 2012. Spearheading this evolution is Andrea Polk, an award-winning entrepreneur with a keen interest in enriching the appearance of men of color.

Andrea’s story is as inspiring as it is captivating. It’s the story of how a determined woman is helping bring out the true potential of men of color through Solo Noir, an innovative male grooming brand. But how did the humble graduate from Tennessee State University (Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Master of Business Administration in E-Commerce and Logistics) rise to disrupt the cosmetics industry?

An Unexpected Eureka Moment

Let’s rewind to where it all began. The idea for Solo Noir took root on the soils of Tennessee State University. Andrea was required to design a business plan for a company in an untapped market. She saw a gap in the male grooming industry and sought to find a simple yet effective solution. Unknown to Andrea, the ensuing market research coupled with her inborn passion for natural health care would lead her to what is now a thriving and award-winning business idea.

Since the moment the idea of Solo Noir crossed her mind, Andrea has never looked back. This included taking a leap of faith by quitting a 9-5 corporate job to focus on her ambitions. With accolades such as “The 2014 Ariel Investment’s Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers in Chicago” and “The 2017 Best Consumer Product in Chicago” in her trophy cabinet, it’s hard to question her entrepreneurial spirit. Andrea is a woman who saw an opportunity in an unconventional industry, grabbed it tight, and ran with it – a true inspiration for young girls to speak out and own their ideas.

Shaking Up the Male Grooming Industry with Natural Ingredients

We’ve all heard the phrase “Black don’t crack!” Or better yet, seen it in some famous individuals such as Will Smith, Idris Elba and Pharrell Williams. Apparently, there is some truth to this cliché, thanks to the higher amount of melanin and collagen that protect men of color from UV rays. But it’s not all rose with no thorns. Men of color are also more susceptible to keloid scarring, uneven complexions, dry skin, dark spots, and hormonal effects.

Andrea seemed to hear the plight of the neglected man of color as she launched an innovative line of products, which addressed their skincare needs by using potent natural ingredients. Andrea believes that the best path is natural, a path free of unnecessary complications and harmful chemicals. Solo Noir products contain coconut oil, grape seed oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and aloe vera among other ingredients that are individually revered in the cosmetics and health industry.

So, who is the “Solo Noir” Man?

According to the brand’s slogan, Solo Noir is the definition of a man! He is confident, comfortable, and health-conscious – i.e., the embodiment of modern masculinity. With plans to expand and continue stirring things up in grooming industry, Solo Noir’s current roster includes a shaving and facial grooming kit (DAPPER-face /beard wash, REFINED-buff/cleanser, SMOOTH-face/beard moisturizer, SLEEK-shave cream, and BRAVE-aftershave/toner). Andrea and her team have also ventured in beard maintenance through their MUSE and BOLD beard oils. She promises to be on the lookout for more innovative ways to meet the needs of the modern man while sticking to her initial mission of prioritizing customer experience and using natural premium ingredients.

Learn more at https://solonoirformen.com

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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