Dorothy Dandridge : A Star on the Rise

Dorothy Dandridge was a woman of magnificent beauty and extraordinary talent, who dreamed of one day reaching the upper echelon of Hollywood as an dramatic actress. In 1954, that dream came true when she was cast as the lead in Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, the first all-black musical filmed in Technicolor. Not only was the movie a success, but Dorothy received acclaim for her portrayal of Carmen Jones, becoming Hollywood’s first African American dramatic female movie star. She was also the first African American woman to grace the cover of Life magazine.
On February 12, 1954 Dorothy received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, making her the first African American actress to receive such an honor. On March 30, 1955 Dorothy attended the 27th Annual Academy Awards with her sister Vivian. The night was a historic one for many reasons. Dorothy was not only the first African American woman nominated for Best Actress, but also the first African American actress to present an award.

Though she did not win the Oscar, Dorothy captivated the hearts of the country, and symbolized the hopes and dreams of African Americans everywhere. With the tremendous success of Carmen Jones, one would assume Dorothy Dandridge would remain one the top actresses in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Hollywood was too focused on her skin color instead of her talent. Three years pasted before Dorothy starred in another film. In 1957, she appeared apart of an ensemble cast in the movie Island in the Sun. She starred in other movies including The Decks Ran Red (1958), Tamango (1958), Porgy and Bess (1959) and Malaga (1960), but none received the acclaim and garnered the popularity of Carmen Jones.
As Diahann Carroll said, “Dorothy Dandridge should be the most successful movie star in the world, but she was a black woman at the wrong time.” She captivated the world with her beauty, and amazed audiences everywhere with her undeniable talent . Most importantly she inspired and blazed the trail for generations of actors and entertainers. Though her influence doesn’t end there. It’s broad enough to reach just about any and everyone including me. Dorothy dared to dream big, and accomplished what seemed virtually impossible during the 1950s. Her dreams our now our realities, and I am forever grateful.



M. Williams is a guest contributor and curator behind the @DandridgeLove Blog.

Williams has always had a great love and admiration for Dorothy. When she realized that so many in this generation didn’t know who she was, or the rich legacy she left behind. She started an Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr in hopes of increasing awareness about her life and legacy. Williams’s goal has always been to uplift the legacy of Dorothy Dandridge, by acknowledging her triumphs as well as her trials. Dorothy has opened the door for so many women especially of color. Williams believes it is our duty to celebrate her because not only did Dandridge break down countless barriers but she has inspired others to do the same. M. Williams hopes in time Dorothy’s legacy will not only be more widely known, but truly appreciated.

Inside Computech Web: Founder Tchee Kum shares his vision of success as a business owner & leading IT professional (Interview)

Tch1Nana ‘Tchee’ Kum is a Senior level Technology strategist and architect residing in the Northern Virginia area. He is also the owner and founder of Computech Web. Mr. Kum is an active member of the esteemed Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Inc. and Phi Sigma Pi national honors fraternity. Mr. Kum demonstrates these organizations principles of service, through his consistent engagement in activities geared towards uplifting his community. We had the pleasure of speaking to this Street Intellectual and dove into a few key factors to his success as a business owner and leading industry professional. Here’s what he had to say:

Can you tell us a little bit about Computech Web and why you decided to start this business?

Ever since I was 7 years old, I have always loved computers. It all began in 1994 when I first set my eyes on a Packard Bell Legend 18CD, running Windows 3.11. There was something exceptionally heart-rending about this piece of hardware that sparked my interest. As my curiosity began to grow, I developed a profound interest in starting my own IT company in the future, in efforts to contribute to our world’s technological advancement. At age 12, after pondering on the idea for some time, the name Computech came to mind, and it was at that time I decided to name my first IT company “Computech.”

During my college career at Radford University, I worked under the Freelance alias “Computech Industries” to provide technical support to campus students, as well as the neighboring communities surrounding the New River Valley. Upon graduation in 2009, I made the decision to centralize my core focus within the realm of web development; thus Computech Web, LLC was born.

Since its inception, Computech Web, LLC has specialized in website design & development, graphic design, application development, and hosting services. Living up to our motto “Your business, our passion,” we consistently deliver creative, scalable solutions that reflect the personality, needs, and vision of our clients.

What are a few of your current life and business goals?

I have always maintained a single life-goal, which has served as the true testament to the success I’ve been blessed to receive in life. By pursuing this goal, I always have a guarantee that everything in my life will fall into place.

The life-goal I speak of is one that many are familiar with. It is an important instruction that is presented to us in the book of Proverbs, which reads: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”(Proverbs 3:5). I believe that by continually seeking wisdom through The Bible in efforts to live my life in accordance with The Word, I will be able to maintain a profound relationship with my LORD and savior Jesus Christ. By putting my trust in Him and allowing Him to guide my every step, I can always guarantee that His will for me in this world will always be met; therefore enabling me to reach a state of contentment with any event that occurs in my life.

How do you balance working full time and managing Computech Web?

Contrary to popular belief, working full time and managing a startup company (no matter the size of the company) is not a simple task. In all honesty, it has actually been one of my greatest challenges. However, throughout the course of the years I have been able to develop some key time management strategies that have equipped me with the tools necessary to balance both hats.

One of the basic secrets to time management that has helped bailed me out multiple times is “prioritization”. No matter how daunting the work load one might have, I believe in order for a person to truly know how much effort is involved in completing multiple tasks, they must write out each task on paper and prioritize them in order of importance. After prioritizing your load, you may come to find that some of your tasks can be accomplished concurrently; thus, giving you back extra time to devote to other tasks.

How has owning your own business helped you grow as a person and professional?

Owning my own business has stimulated my thirst for knowledge by continually encouraging me to stay abreast of past/current/future technology trends. In turn, it’s has helped me to evolve into the technology strategist I am today.

As computers continue to revolutionize our world. What are some key things consumers should take note of?

Consumers should keep in mind that Technology has already reached more heights then we could ever imagine. The only question that technology will always impose on society is whether or not our world is ready to receive it. We often tend to forget that we as consumers have complete control over how fast technology will grow. I always say that there is a time and place for everything, just as Apple Inc.’ s time was in the 21st century opposed to the 20th century. When the time is right, and we are ready to accept new technology into our natural realm of existence, it will surely present itself.

As a young IT professional has there been any challenges that you have encountered while working in your industry? If so, how do you deal with these challenges?

I believe a unique challenge that many IT professionals face is rapid growth of technology. Due to this growth we are constantly required to stay on top of leading technology trends. However, my thirst for knowledge and my continual curiosity within this realm has helped me to stay on top of the latest and greatest; thus reducing the challenge.

What’s your Street Intell?

We must keep in mind that there is more than enough time in a given day to make a positive impact. It’s not a lack of time one often suffers from, but a lack of desire. As long as you maintain your drive, coupled with a great sense of humility, you can achieve your ultimate goal of success.


Tchee’s favorite quote: Success is the best revenge.”
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Sankofa’s Bookcase

I read the mis-education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson ( written in 1933) and at the conclusion of it, decided I want to be not just an educator, but a re-educator. Read on to find out why and please share your own thoughts.

The experiences and achievements, or lack thereof, of African American students have been studied and researched extensively, to little or no avail. Most modern discussions involving their plight totally disregard the failure of the education system to “present authentic Negro History in schools… and distortions of the facts concerning [it]. (Woodson 5) In The Miseducation of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson argues his own theory on the underlying issue African American students are facing.

Woodson begins by asserting that the Negro race is only studied as a problem. Thus, the notion of inferiority is rooted early in a child. This in turn can leave a child hopeless. Resultantly, many young African Americans have resorted to lives of crime. Having no real knowledge of the contributions their ancestors have made in America, they have no positive foundation, no self-assurance.
Even after obtaining an education in America, a black man is only equipped to live the life of an Americanized or Europeanized white man with little to no regard with the progression of his own people. This is the goal of the system.

Woodson focuses on the “educated negroes” and their assimilations. He believes the majority of them reach a point of haughtiness with no sympathy for the turmoil their people undergo daily. He blames the system also, for this callousness.Furthermore, Woodson contends that many educators believe that education is merely the imparting of information when indeed, “real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better” (Woodson 28). However, because the education of Negro children are in the hands of the same power who once enslaved and segregated their ancestors, this has led to a loss of vision for black people. They have no real aspirations. Instead, they become subservient, accepting their inferior status.

Also, in the economic world, the miseducation has effected African Americans mostly, in that there is no real trust amongst them. They have been taught that black people cannot handle business affairs appropriately. Some, due to envy, are afraid of another African American advancing or prospering more than themselves and being recognized accordingly, so they refuse to offer support. There is also the refusal of African americans to work under someone of their own race because the notion has been taught and engraved in them that their whole race is good for nothing, thus one should not be in subjection to the either. This keeps the race as a whole on a lower level.

Another issue the African American race faces that Woodson explores is the desire of the majority to be leaders, rather than servants. He emphasizes a need for humility amongst the race, using the words, “whosoever is greatest among you, let him be your servant” (Woodson 69). He also promotes for higher strivings for the race in the political world saying they should become figures amongst it and not tools used by it. One must resolve to try to give the world something, rather than take all that he/she can from it. He reasons that those who do not learn to do for themselves rely on other for their welfare, and that contributes to the situation African Americans are in today. ​

Woodson believed that if you teach Negro children that he or she and their people have accomplished as much good as any other race, he or she will aspire to equality and justice without any regard to race. In order to gain confidence in himself and his race, he or she should approach his or her past scientifically and eventually be able to give his or her own story to the world. He emphasized the importance of education teaching a person to learn to think for himself. He believed this to be the only true way to elevate the African American race.

First he contends that the Negro man or woman should become angry with themselves. It will do him no good to point all blame to his oppressors. The oppressor’s very goal is to make the Negro man and woman forget that they were once a slave who was blatantly oppressed. Instead, they justify the past oppression they have inflicted upon African Americans.


This book proved to be an eye opening insight into the current situation in our schools today, although written some 80 years ago. It effectively showed that the lack of attention given to authentic African American history in America weakens the confidence built in students of color who grow up with no real knowledge of their contribution to history, or place in the present. In agreement with Woodson’s theory on reform, until African American culture and history is promoted in the school systems, and a real connection is made between their past and current state, African American students will continue to not push themselves as much as they should or hold themselves to a higher standard.

Most appreciative is Woodson’s call to actions. He tells of the need to thoroughly examine the fundamentals of education, religion, literature, and philosophy as they have been expounded to African Americans. Having done this, with a full understanding, the Negro man and woman must approach such information with vision and “exercise foresight rather than hindsight” (Woodson 95).

There needs to be a more holistic approach taken to education if there is to ever come about true reform. Woodson also effectively explains that African American children are experiencing an oppression that is both systemized and structured, and that will not undue itself. Yet, they are not taught or equipped to make a better lives for themselves, thus the miseducation of the Negro. Everyone should read this book, especially those directly involved in the education of Negro children.

Sankofa Byrd

Meet this week’s featured business owner: 9 year old CEO of Brett’s Trove

brett's trove

This week’s featured business owner is 9 year-old entrepreneur, Brett Burch. In between playing and school Brett runs an online boutique that displays his artistic abilities on mugs, ties and other accessories. He first started his boutique back in 2011 when he was coming home with tons of artwork from school. His family initially began putting Brett’s art on the refrigerator, taping some to his bedroom wall, framing them, and stuffing the rest in drawers.

brett 2

After having so much art than they knew what to do with they decided to use and feature his original pieces on t-shirts, buttons, posters, doggie shirts, mugs and ties. All proceeds of Brett Trove’s boutique go directly towards his college fund. He also donates a portion to the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship which provides selected DC students a full scholarship to attend George Washington University in Washington, DC.

It is truly inspiring to see what an impact this young man is having in his community. He has been featured in numerous publications including the kids post section of the Washington Post. We are overjoyed to see the passion for enterprise blossoming in this young man as he continues to encourage other kids to thrive and succeed. Brett has been all over the DC metro area and New York showcasing his creativity. He was even a featured vendor at the 2013 DC Fashion week. The Brett’s Trove designer tie collection was featured in the H Street Festival Fashion Show on September 21, 2013, and Brett’s Trove made its DC Fashion Week debut at Dirty Martini during the 2013 Fashion Industry Networking Party. Mr. Ean Williams, the executive director of DC Fashion Week said that “out of 19 DC Fashion Weeks, Brett is the youngest vendor/designer to participate in DC Fashion Week”. Make sure you support Brett by purchasing something from his boutique and follow this young prince’s progress by liking his page on facebook.

Photo Credit: Saab Photography Studio

We Salute Sheila Stewart!

Well known and highly respected Radio/Media Personality, Sheila Stewart died in an Atlanta car crash on Thursday. We are deeply touched by this news. Not only was Sheila one of the leading radio and media personalities in the DC metro area, she was a key facilitator in the growth of Street Intell as a recognized media brand. She held open that door and allowed us to walk through.

Growing up as a DMV native, it has been customary to hear Sheila’s beautiful voice on the Tom Joyner radio show updating us on community news. She was a decorated and award winning media personality, author, mentor and the Director of News and Community Affairs at the Radio One studio.zz2

She leaves behind a long remarkable legacy of dedication and service; spanning over 20 years. Shelia was a persistent figure in the community. She organized countless charitable benefits and always uplifted and promoted the idea of service and giving back. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority we see how that commitment to “serving all mankind” shined through everything she was involved in. Shelia was a beautiful spirit filled with bountiful joy and inspiration. We honor her spirit and legacy by acknowledging all of her accomplishments and all that she has done for the DC metro community and beyond. Rest in paradise to the “Queen of the Community”, Shelia Stewart.

Beauty and the Business: Street Intell sits down w/ @KarensBeautiful (Karen Tappin)

We ran into the lovely Karen Tappin a few weeks back at Naturals Night out DC  and were fortunate to get an interview with this vibrant Natural gem. She shared a bit about her journey and provided some kind words of advice for up and coming entrepreneurs. Check out her interview below.


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Feed your need for Fashion w/ Claire [Video]

When It comes to fashion we love and all things Claire. We are simply fiends for her fashion finds, style trends and more.

We were graced with Claire’s presence a few months back but at Cocktails with Claire DC check out this cute little Cocktails with Claire {Closet Edition}