[Issue 047] The pickup truck MLK wants you to buy 😶


Happy Tuesday!

And Happy Black History Month! The 28 days of 2018 reserved for teachers in America to share revisionist history of the three black figures who made it into textbooks!

Sarcasm aside, Black history—which is always relevant—is particularly relevant for this week's ABL because on February 1st Ken Chenault stepped down after 17 years as the CEO of American Express.

In a country with a 13% black population, we now have only 3 black CEOs in the Fortune 500: Roger Ferguson at TIAA, Kenneth Frazier at Merck & Co. and Marvin Ellison at J.C. Penney Co. 

Number of black CEOs of Fortune 500 (Bloomberg)

-- Image Source: Bloomberg -- 

The first black CEO of a Fortune 500 company was Franklin Raines, who led Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2004.

And get this: Ursula Burns, who retired as CEO of Xerox in 2016, was the ONLY black woman y'all.

The shit's depressing. 

Research has shown that it's not for lack of ambition

Last year Fortune published an article, The Black Ceiling: Why African-American Women Aren’t Making It to the Top in Corporate America, that hit home for me and many other black women I know who have also spent their careers as an "only."

But the research, which is drawn from a large group of survey respondents Catalyst has tracked for years, also shows that black women often grow demoralized in the workplace. They report environments that they feel continually overlook their credentials, diminish their accomplishments, and pile on cultural slights—about their hair, appearance, even their parenting skills. And they often have fraught relationships with white women, who tend to take the lead on issues of women and diversity. “This is what we call an ‘emotional tax,’” says Dnika J. Travis, an executive and researcher at the Catalyst Research Center for Corporate Practice. “The burden of being on guard all the time affects our lives in really negative ways.”

While I certainly don't have the solution for the situation we now find ourselves in, the good news is that (according to these beautiful babies) black excellence is at all time high...


Watch the video for some joy! [LINK]


First a Smile.png
Twitter MLK Dodge Ram commercial

I don't do sports, so by default I've been boycotting the NFL my whole life. But on Monday I woke up to Onion-like headlines about MLK selling the American people a pick-up truck. 

During Black history month.

I just can't. 

Fortunately, someone "fixed" the ad: What Martin Luther King Actually Thought About Car Commercials

The Headlines.png

The C.E.O. Who Called Trump a Racist (and Sold a Lot of Spice Mix). Not only is my partners' aunt a huge fan of this spice company, but I now live down the street from one of the stores. So, naturally, I was excited when I came across this piece. It's this week's must-read, for sure! (And, yes, their emails are really that good!) // NEW YORKER

Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built. A group of Silicon Valley technologists plans to call attention to the dangers of tech, including working on an ad campaign aimed at 55,000 public schools. // NYTIMES

Improving Workplace Culture, One Review at a Time. How Glassdoor is using transparency to "upend corporate power dynamics." // NEW YORKER

The Follower Factory. Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market. // NYTIMES

A follow-up piece... 
Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts. Federal and state authorities are investigating the sellers of artificial followers and other fraudulent social media engagement. // NYTIMES

And a read...
Twitter has been ignoring its fake account problem for years
. "Buying followers is a practice that is almost as old as Twitter itself. So why hasn’t anything been done about it until recently? Money." // CJR

Live footage of me sippin.. I mean, reading the receipts in that last article.

Live footage of me sippin.. I mean, reading the receipts in that last article.

Nikita T. Mitchell