Brown, Hillmon lead No. 24 Michigan women past Irish 76-66

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Hailey Brown scored 18 points, Naz Hillmon had a double-double and No. 24 Michigan used two short runs in the fourth quarter to hold off Notre Dame 76-66 on Thursday night.

Leading 54-51 entering the fourth, the Wolverines (2-0) had an early 7-0 surge to put the lead at eight and scored six straight, capped by a Akienreh Johnson 3-pointer, to lead by 11 with four minutes to play.

Notre Dame (1-2) made just 2 of its last 12 shots.

Hillmon, coming off a career-high 35 points, scored 20 points but was just 4-of-10 shooting after going 27 of 37 in the first two games. She was 12 of 13 from the foul line with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Leigha Brown added 14 points and Johnson had 12.

Maddy Westbeld led the Irish with 18 points. Anaya Peoples added 13 and Dara Mabrey 12.

Michigan avenged a 76-72 home loss last season when the Wolverines were ranked 21st and the Irish were unranked.


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Fashion designer Jason Brown emerges as musician Firefly

Jason Brown, also known as Firefly, is taking his performance to the national stage. 44N Productions

Jason Brown is a chameleon with a spiritual core.

The Penobscot jeweler and designer operates the Bangor fashion studio Decontie & Brown with his wife, Donna Decontie-Brown. For more than two decades, they have designed and created haute couture clothes, accessories and jewelry that draw inspiration from their Penobscot heritage and sit firmly at the center of contemporary culture. Their work represents the duality of their world – rooted in tradition but fully modern.

Music is in the mix now, as well. Brown has created a performance persona known as Firefly, a stage name that he uses to present traditional drum-and-vocal music that looks and sounds modern with the heavy influence of Prince and pop culture in general. He will make his national debut as Firefly at 4 p.m. Monday, when the Kennedy Center’s new online series, “Arts Across America,” spotlights artists of color from Maine. In addition to Firefly, who will open the prerecorded program, the Kennedy Center also will feature the spoken-word artist Atiim Chenzira and poet Maya Williams. The Kennedy Center will present the performances on Facebook Live, YouTube and through its website.

Firefly emerged from the pandemic.

“COVID in a weird sort of way forced this all to happen, forced me down this path. Up until this point, everything had been 120 percent Decontie & Brown,” he said. “That is not to say Decontie & Brown has gone away. It hasn’t. But I am super creative, and I don’t like to stay in a box. Creativity is the gift of my creator.”

As a design studio, Decontie & Brown made its living on the road. The couple traveled to art and fashion shows across the country to promote and sell their lapidary and textile designs inspired by their tribal heritage. When the pandemic shut things down, they hunkered down at home in Bangor. With no markets or runway shows to attend, the couple began creating their own content and hosting live events on social media in their home to keep the work of Decontie & Brown relevant and fresh in people’s minds.

They had fun doing it, and upped the production values. Soon enough, they had a studio with lights and lasers. The content evolved, and Firefly was hatched. Music, which had been in the background of Brown’s life, became front and center. He took what had been a hobby and turned it into a mission. He sees music as part of his natural pathway through life.

“Going forward, I think Firefly is going to be a huge part of my creative life. It feels like a culmination of everything leading up to this point. The jewelry led to fashion, the fashion led to runway shows, which led me to feel compelled to create our own runway music,” he said.

As Firefly, he performs traditional hand drum, shaker and vocal songs, along with modern compositions. His stage presence involves colorful

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Oregon State women’s basketball picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12, Taylor Jones, Aleah Goodman, Kennedy Brown all-conference picks

Oregon State is picked to finish fifth in Pac-12 women’s basketball this season, as voted by the media and coaches in separate preseason polls.

The Beavers also have three players on the 15-player all-conference team in post Taylor Jones, guard Aleah Goodman and forward Kennedy Brown.

Oregon State had 174 points and one of the 21 first-place votes in the media poll. The Beavers were picked to finish behind Stanford, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA. Stanford had 19 first place votes, while Arizona had one.

In the coaches’ poll, OSU had 83 points, five points behind fourth-place UCLA. Stanford had 10 of the 12 first-place votes, with Arizona gaining the other two.

The last time Oregon State was picked to finish fifth was 2016-17, when the Beavers won their third consecutive Pac-12 title.

Goodman, a senior guard, is among the school’s greatest three-point shooters. Last season Goodman averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 assists a game.

Jones and Brown are coming off successful freshmen campaigns. The 6-4 Jones landed on the conference all-freshman team after averaging 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Jones set an OSU record for blocked shots.

Brown, who had her season cut short after 23 games with a knee injury, averaged 6.3 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.

–Nick Daschel | [email protected] | @nickdaschel

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A $20-million gift will help Brown admit more veterans

Brown University has announced that it is one step closer to its goal of doubling the number of U.S. military veterans enrolled as undergraduates by 2024 with a multimillion-dollar gift from 1st Lt. Joseph P. Healey, an Army veteran who served in the Medical Service Corps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Half of Healey’s $20-million gift will create a permanent endowment for the Elaine and Joseph Healey Scholarship for Veterans. The remaining $10 million will honor Healey’s mother by funding a scholarship for students in Brown’s Resumed Undergraduate Education program — an initiative that admits qualified prospective students who take an indirect route to college because of family, financial, military-service, health issues or other compelling reasons.  

Joseph P. Healey

Healey — cofounder of HealthCor, an investment management firm — came from humble roots. He was raised by a single mother in Warwick, and at one point, his mother, Tonia, lost her job. The family went on welfare. 

Looking for a means to improve their circumstances, Tonia applied to Brown. For four years, she rode a RIPTA bus between Warwick and Providence to gain the education that would let her start a career in psychiatric nursing to support her family. 

“I saw the power in what Brown was able to offer to my mom, who showed me what it means to be a fighter and a survivor,” Healey said.

Six years later, as he approached high school graduation, Healey was determined to follow in his mother’s footsteps and earn a college degree. But the cost of tuition was still an obstacle. 

“Coming from a single-parent family, finances were tough, even with financial aid packages,” Healey said. “Thankfully, I applied for — and was awarded — an Army ROTC four-year scholarship.”   

Healey attended Boston University before serving in the Medical Service Corps and remembers that “those years taught me invaluable lessons about discipline, honor, service and camaraderie that remain with me every day.”

Healy made the gift to Brown out of appreciation for the educational opportunities his family was given, and in recognition of the pivotal impact that those college educations made on their collective futures. 

“A Brown degree is a ticket that opens doors for the rest of your life,” Healey said. “My hope is that this gift will open the doors of higher education to student veterans and students exploring education later in life, who didn’t think a Brown education was even possible. … I want to give someone else the chance that I had.”

Brown University’s president, Christina H. Paxson, said: “This generous gift from Joe Healey and his family marks a major step toward fulfilling our promise.” 

Paxson and the university community pledged to admit veterans through a need-blind process and provide full financial support during their years of undergraduate education, beginning with the class of 2024. To date, the university has raised $11.3 million of its $25-million goal to fund the endowment.  

The announcement can be found

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Black Girl Ventures and Experian North America Team Up to Support Black and Brown Women Founders’ Financial Education and Empowerment

Experian North America to provide visibility, entrepreneurial education, and funding to the BGV community

Black Girl Ventures (BGV) and Experian North America today announced their new partnership to increase awareness and support of Black and Brown woman-identifying founders with businesses related to credit, financial wellness and wealth building.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Shelly Bell, Founder & CEO of Black Girl Ventures (Photo: Business Wire)

The partnership with BGV is part of Experian’s United for Financial Health initiative, which aims to empower and protect vulnerable consumers to improve their financial health through education and action. Experian North America will provide education, training and sponsored content to the BGV Community to assist them with knowledge and best practices related to financial literacy and wealth management for their businesses.

“We’re excited to launch this partnership with Experian North America to address the systemic inequities in access to credit, financial literacy and wealth building in Black and Brown communities,” said Shelly Bell, Founder & CEO of Black Girl Ventures. “Black and Brown women founders will play a key role in the economic recovery and Experian’s support will help position our community for financial empowerment and success.”

“At Experian, we are committed to helping Black and Brown women entrepreneurs and their small businesses with their financial health,” said Wil Lewis, chief diversity, inclusion and belonging officer for Experian North America. “Small businesses are pivotal to the success of our communities and ultimately our economy as a whole. We want to do our part to ensure that small businesses and their founders have the education, tools and services they need to thrive.”

The BGV and Experian North America partnership will deliver content dedicated to providing credit, financial wellness, and wealth building tips for entrepreneurs. Key topics will include how credit works, how to recover after problem debt, and how to use credit to boost incomes and build businesses. BGV will also launch a weekly podcast “From Hustling to Handling, How to Stay in Business” hosted by Shelly Bell and sponsored by Experian North America. The podcast will feature stories from successful entrepreneurs to give insights on how to sustain one’s energy and grow business acumen.

The partnership will contribute to BGV’s ongoing work to identify, disrupt, and direct flows of financial and social capital into the hands of Black and Brown women founders. As Black and Brown communities continue to reel from the impacts of COVID-19, providing access to entrepreneurial training and financial education is more important now than ever.

Investing in communities is a key pillar of Experian North America’s Corporate Responsibility program. Initiatives like United for Financial Health is one example of how the company is committed to investing time, resources and partnerships to create a better tomorrow by helping millions gain access to essential everyday services, facilitating inclusion and diversity, and managing Experian North America’s environmental footprint responsibly.

About Black Girl Ventures

Black Girl Ventures is a nonprofit organization that creates access to community,

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Black and brown women around Connecticut celebrate the significance of Kamala Harris’s historic win

Women of color across Connecticut are rejoicing Saturday in the historic election of Kamala Harris, a Black and South Asian woman and daughter of immigrants, as the first female vice president of the United States.

The meaning of the watershed moment behind Joe Biden’s presidential victory was still sinking in for 44-year-old Janee Woods Weber minutes after Pennsylvania, and the election, was called for the Democratic ticket. But the activist from West Hartford said her heart was full knowing Harris was poised to become the highest-ranking woman of color in U.S. history.

“Elevating Sen. Kamala Harris, to me, feels like the fulfillment of the promise of our democracy,” said Woods Weber, president of PoliticaCT and co-chair of the state committee for Connecticut’s Working Families Party. “This is what so many of us have been working for for such a long time.

“And it’s not the end of the journey,” she said. “This is only the beginning.”

Da’Sharia Gaynor, a freshman at Capital Preparatory Magnet School, was deeply engaged in election talk when her virtual class was supposed to end at half past noon Friday. Her teacher said the 40 students could stay on if they wanted and 33 did, talking for another 15 minutes about the race and a Biden-Harris win that seemed inevitable.

“I’ve been waiting since the last election” for a woman in the White House, the 13-year-old said after logging off. “I thought we were gonna get (Hillary) Clinton but we didn’t. I wanted a woman regardless, but now that she is of my color, it feels even better.”

Da’Sharia, who is Black, still doesn’t think the country would allow a female president. But she hopes four years under Biden and Harris will change that.

“A lot of people don’t think that women have the power to be the president,” she said. “I do.”

Da’Sharia’s grandmother, former Hartford city council member rJo Winch, she was looking forward to celebrating the victory when her community can come together in person again, without the threat of the coronavirus.

“I’m really, really happy for her and I’m really excited for the voters in the United States who have finally accepted that women can be in that place of real leadership,” Winch, 66, said.

Elizabeth Horton Sheff, another former city council in Hartford and an education activist, said it’s critical for young people to see female leaders reach new heights in government, whatever their race.

“That’s a role model for little girls everywhere, and I am excited by that,” she said.

Brittney Yancy, an assistant professor of the humanities at Goodwin College, spent the week glued to her phone.

She’s part of a number of circles of Black women and all of them were watching the race with bated breath — the academics, the activists, and especially her fellow members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the historically Black sorority that counts Harris among its sisters.

Her election as vice president tells Yancy that her country now recognizes the political power of

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How Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown and other Black women changed the course of the 2020 election

As the 2020 presidential election comes down to the wire, it’s clear that Black women continue to be the Democratic Party’s most powerful voting group.

a close up of a person wearing a costume: Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams waits to speak at a Democratic canvass kickoff as she campaigns for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at Bruce Trent Park on October 24, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams waits to speak at a Democratic canvass kickoff as she campaigns for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at Bruce Trent Park on October 24, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Not only did 91% of Black women vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden according to NBC News exit poll results, but Black women have also been on the front lines of this year’s election, working to ensure that all eligible voters have their voices heard at the polls.


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In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of the state in 2018, has been on the ground to ensure that voter suppression does not dictate the outcome of this year’s election. Two years ago, she lost the gubernatorial race by less than 55,000 votes to Georgia’s now-governor Republican Brian Kemp amid reports of voter suppression in the state. Between 2010 and 2018, it’s reported that Kemp, who served as Georgia’s secretary of state during that time, purged upwards of 1.4 million voters from the rolls, with many voter registrations being cancelled because a person did not vote in the previous election. Additionally, in 2018, 53,000 people had their registrations moved to “pending” because of the state’s “exact match” law, which requires handwritten voter registrations to be identical to an individual’s personal documents, The Atlantic reported. Of those 53,000, more than 80% of those registrations belonged to Black voters.

Stacey Abrams looking at the camera: Representative Stacey Abrams speaks onstage at the National Town Hall on the second day of the 48th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on September 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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Representative Stacey Abrams speaks onstage at the National Town Hall on the second day of the 48th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on September 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

In a 2019 Vogue profile titled, “Can Stacey Abrams Save American Democracy?” Abrams told the magazine that after her 2018 loss she “sat shiva for 10 days” and then she “started plotting.”

Part of that plotting consisted of her starting a voting rights organization called Fair Fight, which continued and expanded the work of the New Georgia Project she started at the end of 2013 that focused exclusively on increasing voter registration. This time, with Fair Fight, Abrams and her team focused on increasing voter participation, as well as education about elections and voter rights.

As a result of these efforts, it’s estimated that more than 800,000 new people have registered to vote in Georgia since 2018, with Abrams telling NPR that 45% of these new voters are under the age of 30 and 49% are people of color. In addition, Abrams tells NPR that she and her team were able to get rid of the “exact match” policy before the 2020 election.

Similar to Abrams, LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund which works to increase voter registration and turnout and expand voting rights policies, used an election loss to fuel her desire to create change. In 1998, Brown ran

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Bobbi Brown launches new beauty brand

Bobbi Brown holding a sign posing for the camera

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Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown has launched a new beauty brand – four years after leaving her eponymous brand.

The 63-year-old professional makeup artist has started a new venture, Jones Road, which she has described as the “makeup equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife”.

In a message posted to the brand’s website, she said: “Four years ago, after I left Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, one of those questions [I asked myself] was: Why can’t I find makeup products that are both clean and high-performance – that don’t sacrifice one for the other? Jones Road was born from a search for something that didn’t yet exist. Because it didn’t exist, I had to create it. What I wanted was the makeup equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife: easy, cool, multi-purpose products that could be used to nail any look, whether it be no-makeup makeup or something with more drama.”

Bobbi feels most herself doing simple makeup routines, rather than the glam she was used to with her previous company.

Speaking to Women’s Wear Daily, she explained of her preference for “simple” looks nowadays: “When I was promoting my books as part of the brand, I had stylists and PR people and cars and drivers. When I promoted a book after [I left Bobbi Brown Cosmetics], I’d get a blowout from one of those places, and show up in the studio in jeans and sneakers – and me doing my own makeup by the way – and I felt, ‘Wow, this is who I really am.’ I really liked being my simple, normal self.”

Bobbi feels things are completely “different” today than when she set up her previous brand.

Speaking about her new brand, she said: “I created my original brand in the ’90s. Things are different today. Women shop differently; there is a new definition of what beauty is. Imperfect is beautiful.”

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Makeup Mogul Bobbi Brown Launches New Beauty Venture Jones Road

“I don’t remember when I wasn’t aware of who Bobbi Brown was,” says Mickey Drexler, former CEO of J.Crew and the Gap and a current strategic partner at clothing brand Alex Mill. “I didn’t even know her and I knew who she was because her name lends itself to who she is: it’s not a fancy cosmetic company name, it’s Bobbi Brown.” That sense of relatability is at the core of the makeup mogul’s personal appeal and her business credo. Even so, Brown herself hasn’t been the person behind the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics brand since 2016, when she left

Estée Lauder.

She had worked there for over two decades after selling the company her brand in 1995 in a reported $74.5 million deal. After waiting out a four-year non-compete agreement, she’s starting a new beauty venture.

With her skin-toned lipsticks and shimmer brick bronzers, Brown has long touted a minimal, fresh-faced look that is also her own. While her new line has a similar aesthetic, it cannot come out under her own name. When she left Lauder, she relinquished the rights to use her name for another cosmetics brand. Instead, she’s calling it Jones Road, which she came up with while navigating around the Hamptons with Waze. “It’s the ultimate no-makeup makeup,” says Brown, 63. “You look better but not like you’re wearing anything.”

When Brown first entered the collective beauty consciousness, she was, for many reasons, an anomaly. A precursor to other successful makeup artist-founded lines—François Nars created Nars Cosmetics in 1994, and Laura Mercier started her namesake label in 1996—the Bobbi Brown brand had a natural aesthetic that ran counter to the theatrical, over-the-top stylings of, for example, M.A.C, which was gaining popularity at the time. Brown’s focus on a wide range of skin tones was also novel at the time. These days, however, makeup artist-backed lines are no longer an unusual concept (Kardashian go-to Mario Dedivanovic is a recent launch), nor is the idea of skin-tone inclusivity: Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty offers an extensive shade range. While beauty lines once relied on the department store for success, that traditional route has been upended by a direct-to-consumer approach. In 2015, Kylie Jenner released her signature lip kits online, announcing the launch on her social-media channels. Her first run of 15,000 units each sold out immediately, and, the following year, she upped the quantity to 500,000 each, which sold out in under ten minutes.

Brown making up a model at the Ford Models “Face of the 80s” fashion show


Bobbi Brown’s Personal Archives

Brown has evolved to meet the demands of this new marketplace. Jones Road, which she and her husband, Steven Plofker, self-funded for just under $2 million, a fraction of what most brands spend, will forgo the makeup counter in favor of a direct-to-consumer model. The company currently has five full-time employees. “We didn’t want to be squeezed by retailers for margins,” says Brown. “We simply want to bring a quality, accessibly priced product to market

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Black-Owned Beauty Brand Directory UK Launched By Brown Beauty Talk

The Black Lives Matter movement has put a magnifying glass on our actions and the changes we can make to promote inclusivity in our everyday lives, and that includes what brands we support financially. To that end, inclusive beauty platform Brown Beauty Talk launched a brand new beauty directory dedicated to Black-owned businesses in the UK. I spoke to their founder, Ronke Adeyemi, to find out more about how the directory came to be and to ask which brands she thinks should be on every beauty lover’s radar.

“The directory is a one-stop document that puts the spotlight on Black-owned businesses,” Adeyemi tells me over the phone, explaining that she and her team wanted to create an accessible hub for brands in the UK (as these kinds of lists typically lean very U.S.-heavy, she says). The directory covers the whole beauty spectrum, with nail polishes, skincare products, make up, hair care tools, and even candles and scent diffusers included.

Beyond serving costumers, Brown Beauty Talks’ directory has been beneficial to the businesses featured in it, too. “It’s provided the opportunity for the brands to network and share resources,” says Adeyemi. Plus, the businesses can proudly celebrate being Black-owned “without fear of being stigmatised,” she says, explaining that there’s historically been an assumption that Black-owned businesses only cater to Black people. But, as Adeyemi points out: “a Black-owned candle business, is for everyone! Not just Black people!” And the same goes for other products on the list.

With so many great brands on the Brown Beauty Talk directory, it’s hard to know where to begin. With that in mind, I asked Adeyemi to share her favourites and give us a little info on what makes each one so special.

Equi Botanics

“A brand created to treat and nourish afro hair – especially 4c texture. I totally live for their Baobab Moisturising Sulphate Free Cleanser, which leaves my hair highly moisturised.”

Shop Equi Botanics


“The ethos of this brand is to enhance you inside and out. I am currently trying out their Mood Architect supplement, which helps to pep me up when I am feeling down.”

Shop Superfoodlx

Fairfield Gardens

“This brand creates great lip balms that keep your lips nice and smooth. Plus, the products are very price-friendly.”

Shop Fairfield Gardens

Freya + Bailey

“The winner of the inaugural ARCLight Initiative [which supports Black-owned brands], their products are natural, 100% vegan, and botanical-based powered by science. I love the Glo’up! Face Cleanser with Oat Silk. Plus, they are affordable too.”

Shop Freya + Bailey

The Glowcery

“Incredible lip products such as a lip scrub and a lip balm. Also, I love the packaging which is vibrant and slick.”

Shop The Glowcery

Okiki Skincare

“Love this mother and daughter brand. They have a wide range of products but I love their candles and body washes.”

Shop Okiki Skincare


“Another brand with a great catalogue, but I am particularly fond of their body butters.”

Shop Shimirose

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