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Yelp

Waves of panic rippled through the business community after Yelp announced a new consumer alert tag that allows users to flag any business as racist.

What could go wrong?

Yelp announced Wednesday that it was taking a "stand against racism" by placing a warning tag on any business that receives multiple consumer comments accusing even one employee of a racist act.

"Today, we're announcing a new consumer alert to stand against racism," the company tweeted. "In the last few months, we've seen that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions."

The complaints can consist of "racist language or symbols" that bring attention to "racist conduct" committed by any single employee or multiple employees of a business.

The racism consumer alert tag is a white exclamation point on a red background.

Yelp will place the tag on any business accused of racism -- even if that business is owned by a minority who employs non-minorities.

The page will be locked and consumers will be unable to leave a comment - negative or positive - until Yelp concludes its "investigation" into the complaints.

Any business hit with a racism alert tag is sure to attract press attention. Yelp will facilitate the further destruction of that business by linking to any press article that covers the alleged racist act.

Twitter reacted to the announcement on Wednesday.

"I'm concerned about declaring a business racist from on-high...," tweeted one user. "What if a Yelp employee has a bias or grudge?"

Another user wrote, "Yelp. Another entity I will block and ban. Its a useless app anyways."

And a third user tweeted: "and here i was thinking your service couldn't get any worse."

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Screengrab: YouTube

The "woke" cancel culture has come for the Black chef on the box of Cream of Wheat porridge mix.

B&G Foods, which owns Cream of Wheat, announced it will remove the iconic image of the Black chef from its packaging because the image of a Black chef is "racially insensitive".

The company became the latest "woke" corporation to drop a popular Black brand logo that they claim was stigmatized as a "racial stereotype" after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

B&G Foods issued a statement explaining its decision.

"For years, the image of an African-American chef appeared on our Cream of Wheat packaging. While research indicates the image may be based upon an actual Chicago chef named Frank White, it reminds some consumers of earlier depictions they find offensive."

But some Blacks accuse corporations of intentionally using the civil unrest in the U.S. to remove the iconic images of Black people from their packaging.

Soon there will be no more iconic Black images left in advertising. And some Black activists believe that's by design.

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

NeNe Leakes is closing the doors of her Swagg clothing boutique in Georgia. Sources say the doors were closed even before the coronavirus pandemic in February.

According to reports NeNe's Swagg boutique in Duluth, GA is covered with 'Going Out of Business' sale signs.

Previously, your auntie told you that several Real Housewives of Atlanta cast members submitted applications for PPP paycheck protection loans that were denied.

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NeNe may have been one of the cast members. Business has not been good for the mom-of-two who shut down her first Swagg boutique in Buckhead, an affluent neighborhood north of Atlanta, two years ago.

The 52-year-old Sagittarius lost her lucrative Real Housewives of Atlanta job, along with her million-dollar salary for alleged insubordination on the set.

NeNe still has Swagg shops in Miami and Oxon Hill, Maryland and she continues to offer online shopping.

The first Swagg Boutique opened in Buckhead in 2016.

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Getty Images, Hearst

Oprah Winfrey's O magazine will cease monthly printing after 20 years. The news comes amid reports that Hearst Magazines' president quit amid sexual abuse allegations.

According to Business of Fashion, the staff of Oprah's magazine were informed of the decision on Friday, July 24.

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Hearst magazines

The magazine was a joint venture between Oprah, 66, Harpo, Inc. and Hearst Magazines, and is known for its Oprah-centered content, the book of the month club and the annual Oprah's Favorite Things gift guide.

The magazine's readership -- mostly white women -- speculate that the magazine folded due to allegations of sexual misconduct against Troy Young, who resigned as president of Hearst magazines.

The announcement of Young's resignation came a day after the New York Times reported the 52-year-old's "bullying or harassing" behavior which include making indecent remarks to female employees.

In one case, he reportedly sent unsolicited p0rnography to an editor. Young, who was named editor in 2018, sent a note to staffers saying he was "sorry" for the comments he made and he never realized how offensive they were.

"I am sorry and I'm committed to the work I need to do here," he said in his note, which was published by the New York Times.

Hearst president and CEO Steven R. Swartz said the magazine isn't going away completely. It will become "digital-centric" with more emphasis on the O magazine website run by a smaller staff.

"This is a natural next step for the brand, which has grown to an online audience of 8 million, extending its voice and vision with video and social content," a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. "We will continue to invest in this platform as the brand grows and evolves into one that is more digitally centric."

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Nick Cannon was abruptly fired from ViacomCBS after meeting with top executives to discuss his anti-Semitic rant last week.

ViacomCBS is the parent company of Nickelodeon and the producers of his show Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out.

The "Masked Singer" host found himself in hot water after he stated white people are the "true savages" due to their lack of melanin in their skin.

The job termination ends his hosting duties on Wild 'N Out and The Masked Singer and takes a huge chunk out of his bank account.

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The outspoken comedian made the remarks during a recent episode of his YouTube show Cannon's Class, when he stated that white people are "a little less" than darker-skinned people.

He claimed white people were savages because they originated from hostile territories, far from the equator where they received less sun exposure.

"The people that don't have (melanin) are a little less," Cannon said, claiming, "When they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus... The sun then started to deteriorate them, so then they're acting out of fear, they're acting out of low self-esteem, they're acting out of a deficiency."

He added: "So, therefore, the only way that they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape, kill in order to survive. So then, these people that didn't have what we have - and when I say we, I speak of the melanated people - they had to be savages... They're acting as animals so they're the ones that are actually closer to animals. They're the ones that are actually the true savages."

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Following the public backlash, ViacomCBS execs met with Cannon in private to discuss his future with the corporation.

Disappointed by his lack of remorse or an apology, ViacomCBS announced it had parted ways with Cannon on Tuesday, July 14.

"ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement. "We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon's Class' on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

"While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him."

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Mariah Carey's ex-husband responded to the controversy in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The father-of-three took "full responsibility" for the controversial remarks he made on his YouTube show.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric. We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding," he wrote. "The Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles."

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"In today's conversation about anti-racism and social justice, I think we all - including myself - must continue educating one another and embrace uncomfortable conversations - it’s the only way we ALL get better."

He concluded: "Until then, I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility because My intentions are only to show that as a beautiful human species we have way more commonalities than differences, So let’s embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!"

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Richelieu Dennis has stepped down as CEO of Essence Communications after former and current female staffers wrote a lengthy essay on Medium.com detailing years of sexual harassment against female staffers.

The scathing essay, titled "The Truth About Essence" was published on Sunday with the byline, Black Female Anonymous, according to Page Six.

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The authors demanded the resignation of Essence's board members whom they accuse of contributing to the toxic environment at Essence:

"We demand the immediate resignation of Chief Executive Officer Richelieu Dennis, Essence Ventures board member and former Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks, Chief Operating Officer Joy Collins Profet, and Chief Content Officer Moana Luu."

The essay described the workplace environment under CEOs Dennis and Ebanks as a "surface-level commitment to Black women" and that Dennis is "driven by greed and a debaucherous sexual appetite".

They accused Dennis of "a history of sleeping with women on the Sundial staff, (the parent company of Shea Moisture he sold to Unilever in 2017) and for the women who don't seemingly consent, he openly sexually harasses them at private company events."

On Monday, Essence Communications released a statement denouncing the allegations as baseless.

However, on Tuesday, Essence Communications released another statement saying Dennis will be stepping down as CEO.

"Out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to transparency, ESSENCE is in the process of hiring law firms and other independent external experts to assess and review the company's policies and practices and conduct comprehensive employee interviews," the statement reads.

Dennis, who founded Shea Moisture products, purchased the iconic Essence magazine from TIME magazine in 2018.

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The line queued down the block outside one Atlanta barbershop on the first official day of Georgia's reopening.

Friday, April 24, was the first phase of Gov. Brian Kemp's plan to reopen Georgia. On Monday, Kemp announced that local establishments could reopen for business following a one month lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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Graphic: WSB-TV

Customers waited in line after 7 a.m. outside Peachtree Battle Barber Shop in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood.

Matt Maddox was one of the customers waiting in line to get his hair cut amid the fear and uncertainty.

"I certainly don't want to spread it to anyone so I've got a mask, but I'm not really concerned," Maddox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "If you're cutting hair or you're a waiter, you haven't been working, so it helps get the economy started again."

At Studio 151 in Dallas, Georgia, the first appointment was at 6:20 a.m., according to the salon's owner.

Stephen Richardson's salon in Dallas, Ga, started losing business the week of March 10, according to the AJC.com. By March 26, he was ordered to shut his doors because he wasn't an essential business.

"I went from 100% to zero," Richardson told the AJC. He said he had to comply with a 14-page list of safety guidelines issued by the state. He added some of his own to keep his customers safe.

"We have our very own concerns, but we need our clients," he said. His protocols include one client at a time and temperature checks at the door.

By noon Friday, Richardson and another stylist were seeing a steady stream of clients.

"People are pretty much getting in and out," Richardson said. "I give the clients credit. Every client that has shown up has had a mask."

Barber shops and hair salons were grateful to do brisk business after a month of no revenue. But Some businesses were so devastated by the coronavirus lockdown that they will never recover.

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is facing heavy criticism over his decision to reopen the state for business on Friday, April 24.

While many in the business community applauded the governor for his courage, others in the Black community expressed contempt toward Kemp for putting Black lives at risk.

Prominent Black business owners in Atlanta say they won't reopen their establishments until they get the green light from the CDC.

Rap producer and DJ Jermaine Dupri called Kemp's decision "reckless and unilateral".

And the city's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is also encouraging people to use "common sense" and continue to stay at home.

But rapper/entrepreneur 2 Chainz is appreciative of Gov. Kemp’s efforts to jumpstart the local economy.

The rapper and his business partner Mychel "Snoop" Dillard (pictured above) are reopening their Atlanta restaurants for sit-down service.

Both restaurants, Escobar and Tapas, are serving dine-in meals starting Monday, according to Snoop, who tells TMZ they're making public safety a top priority.

The co-owners are mindful of the fears expressed by many in the community, but they have a plan to keep folks safe from COVID-19.

In a recent interview, Snoop, who manages both restaurants, said the lack of business forced her to lay off 80% of her staff.

"I have seen a significant decrease in revenue by 80 percent and my income has been reduced to zero dollars," she told The Atlanta Voice magazine.

With dine-in service resumed, Snoop says they're planning to bring back 65% of restaurant staff -- 80 people -- and the hope is to have everyone back at work eventually.

According to TMZ, 2 Chainz and Snoop donated hundreds of meals to medical workers on the frontlines, and they plan to give more free meals to workers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

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Shaquille O'Neal was positioned to be the face of Papa John's Pizza after the company spent $50 million to scrub founder Joe Schnatter's face from pizza boxes and delivery vans.

But now it seems O'Neal may get the pink slip for missing too many shareholder's meetings.

O'Neal is pictured with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at the grand opening of his Papa John's franchise store in Atlanta in August 2019.

Last year, O'Neal reportedly approached then-CEO Steve Ritchie and activist investor Jeff Smith and told them, "I would like to be involved, if I can be on the board and if I can purchase a couple franchises.”

Papa John's signed O'Neal to a lucrative partnership last year that included nine franchises and a seat on the board.

O'Neal, who is in high demand as a product endorser, apparently took the money and ran -- at least that's what he's being accused of by an advisory firm.

Institutional Shareholder Services, a corporate advisory firm, is encouraging Papa John's to kick O'Neal off the board for missing 75% of shareholder meetings.

ISS wants the board members to vote to remove O'Neal at its April 23 shareholder's meeting.

In its SEC filing, Papa John's revealed every member attended at least 75% of meetings "except for Shaquille O'Neal," who was unable to attend board meetings due to prior business commitments.

O'Neal also has sponsorship and endorsement deals with Ring, Steady, Forto Coffee Shots, Carnival Cruises, Icy Hot, Krispy Kreme, and National General Insurance, as well as a sports analyst gig with TNT.

Photo by OGUT/Star Max/GC Images

Rihanna's Savage X Fenty lingerie company has been accused of "deceptive marketing". Customers accuse the company of signing customers up to a monthly subscription service "without clearly" disclosing all the terms and conditions.

A complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the California District Attorney's office for Santa Cruz County by non-profit watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA), WENN.com reports.

Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images

The group alleged Savage X Fenty has been trying to dupe customers by promoting discounts that can only be used once they sign up for the $49.95-a-month VIP subscription.

"It deceptively promotes discounts and product prices that are only available to consumers who are bound to the company's membership program without clearly and conspicuously disclosing this fact in its marketing materials," TINA stated in its complaint.

The watchdog group discovered that when customers use the Savage x Fenty online shop, the VIP membership is automatically added when a customer adds something to the shopping basket.

However, the monthly recurring fee isn't included in the total amount. Shoppers are only made aware of the fee in the site's small print during the checkout process.

Customers have to know to remove the monthly membership from their carts so they can see the normal price of items.

"By default, the company enrolls consumers into a negative option offer known as the Xtra VIP Membership without clearly and conspicuously disclosing all the material terms and conditions, such as needing to take affirmative action every month to avoid recurring monthly charges," the complaint continued.

Emma Tully, a spokesperson for Savage x Fenty, responded via email to CNN business:

"These accusations are false and based on misconceptions of our business. We are proud of our flexible membership program because it allows us to offer unparalleled quality and value to our customers.

"We believe strongly in transparency, which is why we provide multiple disclosures of membership terms throughout the shopping experience, within advertisements, and through our ambassador engagement policies."

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Ayesha Curry, wife of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, lost the lease on her trendy restaurant in Houston after one-and-a-half years in operation.

The 30-year-old Food Network host opened the "grill obsessed" International Smoke restaurant in Houston's upscale CityCentre in 2018.

The restaurant closed last week after the lease on the 6,000-square-foot space was abruptly canceled over failure to pay back rent.

Regulars were surprised to see the restaurant shuttered last week, but Ayesha's name caused many Houstonians to shun the place.

Photo by Bay Area News via Getty Images

"This is absolutely the worst place to go," wrote one reviewer. "Her husband ripped our hearts out and now she has the guts to open up a place here? I would never set foot in this place even if it was the last place on earth."

According to a press release, International Smoke is a collaboration between Curry and chef Michael Mina, who operates restaurants in South Florida and the West Coast.

"Curry and Mina believe food is the heart of community, and International Smoke spices up any city it calls home," according to the company website.

Curry and Mina also co-own 5 restaurants in locations including San Francisco, Aventura (Miami), and San Diego.

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Byron Allen expanded his media holdings by purchasing 11 more television stations for $290 million, according to Variety.com.

The deal with Atlanta-based USA Television brings the 58-year-old's investments this year in small- and mid-sized market TV stations to $455 million, according to Variety.

Byron Allen's rags-to-riches story is inspiring. He started out as a comedian when he was 14, and made his debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when he was 18.

Unlike most comedians who retire broke or burned out on drugs, the former stand-up comic became a television producer, philanthropist, and the founder of his own production company, Entertainment Studios.

Allen rustled feathers in Hollywood when he filed a $20 million racial discrimination lawsuit against cable giants Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable in 2015.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in June 2019.

The billionaire, who was born under the Taurus zodiac sign, acquired the television assets of The Weather Channel for approximately $300 million in March 2018.

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In 2019, Allen announced the launch of THE WEATHER CHANNEL ESPANOL. Also in 2019, he partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire Fox Sports Networks, which The Walt Disney Company was forced to sell as a condition of its purchasing 21st Century Fox.

Allen and his wife, TV producer Jennifer Lucas share three children.

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The rumors that Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner was coming out with his own line of makeup are true. The 66-year-old father-of-6 announced his new line of M.A.C. lipstick called Finally Free, which launches on April 7.

According to M.A.C.'s website, Jenner's new M·A·C Lipstick, "Finally Free, champions All Ages, All Races and All Sexes. 100% of the selling price goes to the M·A·C AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative, to further its work in support of transgender communities."

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Rap mogul Jay Z isn't giving up on his flop Tidal music app. Atlanta's own rap tycoon T.I. has joined the long list of artist owners of the failing Tidal music app.

T.I. signed a distribution deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation for his upcoming album, Dime Trap, on his independent Grand Hustle Recordings label.

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