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Atlanta entrepreneurs Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker appear to have closed their new restaurant before it even opened.

A loyal reader emailed a photo that shows the RHOA cast members took down that gigantic "Blaze" sign over their shuttered steak & seafood restaurant in Southwest Atlanta.

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If you recall, Kandi and Todd announced the opening of their newest establishment in the Camp Creek Marketplace last month. They also placed a "NOW HIRING" sign in the window.

But, according to my spy, the big Blaze sign came down days ago and there is no indication that the restaurant will be opening its doors anytime soon.

The new restaurant was inspired by their infant daughter, Blaze Tucker, who was delivered via surrogate on Nov. 22, 2019.

The couple already own and operate three "Old Lady Gang" soul food restaurants around the metro Atlanta area.

My spy noted that Blaze steakhouse may have been in conflict with Blaze Pizzeria restaurant chain in Atlanta.

But a quick search of Atlanta businesses turns up other "Blaze" establishments, such as Blaze strip club, the Atlanta Blaze men's lacrosse team, Blaze radio, and Blaze Sports America, among others.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Another explanation is that the funding for Kandi and Todd's new restaurant fell through. They managed to secure funding for Blaze restaurant through the government's PPP coronavirus stimulus relief package.

According to Screenrant.com, the couple received between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP funds set aside for struggling small businesses amid the pandemic.

The loans were approved on April 29 and the funds were disbursed through TruFund Financial Services, despite the fact that Kandi allegedly has a net worth of around $30 million.

According to Screenrant.com, Kandi and Todd shouldn't have been entitled to the PPP loans in the first place since they pass themselves off as a wealthy couple.

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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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UPN Network

Netflix has acquired 7 Black television sitcoms, and will begin airing the sitcoms beginning this weekend.

According to The Wrap, Netflix raided UPN Network's library and acquired the rights to popular Black sitcoms, Moesha, Sister, Sister, The Game, Girlfriends, The Parkers, Half & Half and One on One.

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UPN Network

Moesha, starring Countess Vaughn, left, and Brandy Norwood, will begin airing on Netflix this Saturday. The first three seasons of The Game, which ran for nine seasons total, will debut on August 15.

Popular '90s sitcom, Sister Sister, starring twins Tia and Tamera, will debut September 1. Girlfriends, which stars Tracee Ellis Ross, and ran for 9 seasons, will debut on Netflix on Sept. 11.

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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."

Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

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."

Judy Eddy/WENN.com

"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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Rich Polk/Getty Images

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 grandson of the real "Aunt Jemima" Anna Short Harrington is speaking out about Quaker Oats Company's plan to "erase" his grandmother from the brand.

"This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history, sir," Larnell Evans Sr. told Patch.com.

"The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side -- white people. This company profits off images of our slavery. And their answer is to erase my great-grandmother's history. A black female... It hurts."

Evans said his grandmother took the place of the original "Aunt Jemima" character, enslaved woman Nancy Green who debuted the first "Aunt Jemima" at the Chicago's World Fair in 1893.

Harrington replaced Green when she died in 1923.

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The erasure of Black characters from brand packaging continues. The B&G Foods company said Wednesday it will "review" its Cream of Wheat packaging to ensure the brand did not contribute to "systemic racism."

The Cream of Wheat packaging features a logo of a Black chef. B&G foods made the announcement on Wednesday.

"B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE:BGS) today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging. We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism. B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind."

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The decision follows on the heels of Quaker Oats company's plan to retire Aunt Jemima, and Mars, Inc said it will retire the Black character on Uncle Ben's rice packaging.

Also on Wednesday, Conagra Brands food company said Mrs. Butterworth's pancake syrup packaging is "under review".

"We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth’s," said Communications Manager Dan Skinner.

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Quaker Co., Mars, Inc.

Uncle Ben's rice will no longer bear the likeness of a Black rice farmer on its packages, Mars, Inc. announced Wednesday.

The news comes after the Quaker Oats Company, which is owned by PepsiCo, decided to retire the Aunt Jemima logo from its packaging due to the company's long history of racial stereotypes.

Mars, Inc. said the change was long overdue "to put an end to racial bias and injustices." The company added it will look at "all possibilities" to replace the familiar logo on it's rice products.

Mars did not indicate if the "Uncle Ben" name would remain on the packaging.

"As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that one way we can do this is by evolving the Uncle Ben's brand, including its visual brand identity,' spokeswoman Caroline Sherman said in a statement.

Earlier, the Quaker Company announced it would retire the famous Black character who graced bottles of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup for over a century.

"We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough," said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America.

The new Aunt Jemima syrup bottles and pancake mix packages will debut in stores in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company said. The name change will be announced soon.

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Police shut down one of rapper 2 Chainz's Atlanta, Georgia restaurants on Monday, May 25, because it was packed with customers celebrating Memorial Day.

Police officers shut down Escobar Restaurant & Tapas on Monday night after noting too many patrons partying in the establishment.

Customers ignored all social distancing rules put in place by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Prince Williams/Wireimage

According to a police report obtained by TMZ, the cops "noticed that the location was rather loud, busy, and occupied to be operating as a restaurant at that time of night", and after speaking to Mychel "Snoop" Dillard, the restaurant's manager (pictured), the place was shut down for "violating executive orders regarding protocol issued due to COVID-19".

Escobar officials promoted the fun on Instagram prior to the police visit, posting video footage of people dancing, smoking hookahs, and ordering bottle service with no face masks.

The news comes a month after 2 Chainz and his business partner Snoop decided against re-opening the dining area at their Atlanta businesses after their friend, Mayor Keisha, pleaded with them not to reopen.

2 Chainz and Snoop wanted to take advantage of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's relaxed coronavirus restrictions to kick-start the economy after a weeks-long shutdown, against the advice of Mayor Keisha and many medical experts.

The rapper eventually re-opened the restaurant in early May because they were losing revenue.

Source: WENN.com

Photo by Linka A Odom/Getty Images

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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Photo: Instagram.com

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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Prominent Atlanta business owner Ryan Wilson slammed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for reopening the state on Friday, April 24.

The CEO and co-founder of Atlanta's thriving private membership club, The Gathering Spot, made a public PSA informing Gov. Kemp that the renown club will keep it's doors closed, despite Kemp's removal of the shelter-in-place order.

Like many other prominent business owners, mostly Democrats, Ryan expressed his "great concern" with the early opening of the state, saying regardless of what Kemp states, he will not put his staff or members in harm's way, while Georgia is still working to "flatten the Covid-19 curve."

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Photo: Instagram.com

Wilson, pictured at right with entrepreneur Killer Mike, states, "This is a complete failure of leadership. I don't understand the decision. We're not opening despite the order. We could technically open on April 27, but we're not going to because it's not safe to do so. The worst thing that could happen is we open our space up and someone gets sick or dies as a result of coming into contact with someone here. We just simply are not at the point where the data suggests that it’s a responsible move to make."

Wilson is calling on other local businesses to join him, by remaining closed, as well as urging citizens to stay at home.

He is also asking patrons to continue to support their small local businesses the best way they can throughout this troubling time. In the past 4-weeks of Georgia's closure, The Gathering Spot has donated over $16,000 in grants for small local businesses. They will continue to raise funding with their "We All We Got" fund, to continue to provide resources to local businesses in need.
 

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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.

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President Donald Trump is doubling down on his recommendation that all government employees return to work within 2 weeks.

15 states are under lockdown and half of the country is under self-quarantine to curb the spread of the virus that causes mild flu-like symptoms in most healthy people.

"We have to get back to work," Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday.

"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," Trump added. "I gave it two weeks... We lose thousands of people a year to flu and we don't turn the country off."

Easter falls on Sunday, April 12 this year.

"We'll assess at that time and we'll give it some more time if we need a little more time, but we need to open this country up. We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought."

Earlier, Trump tweeted:

"Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!"

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The White House is encouraging lawmakers to pass a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that will include checks ranging from $1,200 to $4,500 for individuals and small business owners who are impacted financially by the virus.

The Senate is set to vote on the bill on Tuesday afternoon after voting no on Monday.

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Byron Allen is furious over a U.S. Supreme Court decision in his discrimination lawsuit against cable TV giant Comcast.

The billionaire TV mogul criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday that dismissed a lower court's ruling that had allowed him to move forward with his case.

Allen accused Comcast of discriminating against him because he is Black, saying Comcast discriminates against minority-owned programming.

Allen argued that Comcast refused to license his TV channels Cats.tv and Pets.tv because he is Black.

But the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Allen failed to prove Comcast would have licensed his channels if he was not Black.

Photo: WENN/Avalon

"This is a vey bad day for our country," Allen told Yahoo Finance in a statement on Monday.

"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has rendered a ruling that is harmful to the civil rights of millions of Americans."

Allen added: "We will continue our fight by going to Congress and the presidential candidates to revise the statute to overcome this decision by the United States Supreme Court, which significantly diminishes our civil rights."

In a separate statement, Comcast said it was pleased with the Supreme Court's decision.

"We are proud of our record on diversity and will not rest on this record. We will continue to look for ways to add even more innovative and diverse programming that appeals to our diverse viewership and continue our diversity and inclusion efforts across the company."