Do DNA Kits Really Hold African American Ancestry Keys?

Do DNA Kits Really Hold African American Ancestry Keys?

By Taylor Durham

  • Euro-centric companies are scrambling to add people from Africa to their reference panels

  • In 2017, DTC genetic testing market raked in $90M in sales

CBx Vibe:DNA” Kendrick Lamar

Companies like 23andMe and Ancestry have made a profitable model out of exploiting our natural curiosities, whether it’s tracing our lineage back to Africa or taking a greater investment in our personal health. The DTC (direct-to-consumer) genetic testing market raked in $90 million in sales in 2017, and that same market is poised to triple in size headed into the next decade.

Why This Matters: The thought of being able to purchase a DNA kit may have seemed far fetched 30 years ago, but now you can purchase one from Amazon (AMZN -0.29%) for less than $70. It’s fascinating that there’s been an uptick in minorities, especially African Americans, looking to the test as a way of researching their roots. These heavily Euro-centric companies are scrambling to add people from Africa to their reference panels, the groups of people whose DNA is used to establish baseline ethnicities, to tap further into the estimated $1.3 trillion in black spending power.

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Dollar General Quenching Food Deserts Thirst

Dollar General Quenching Food Deserts Thirst

By CultureBanx Team

  • Dollar General is targeting food deserts for their next growth opportunity

  • In 2107, the median income for an African American household was $39,490

CBx Vibe:Much Better” Reese LAFLARE

Discount retailer Dollar General (DG -3.73%) has strong ambitions to win over more low-end consumers by adding a broader mix of food to its stores. The company sees targeting food deserts, areas not served by supermarkets or nearby grocers as its next great growth opportunity.

Why This Matters: Dollar General relies heavily on low-income shoppers, so attempting to fill this food desert void in many communities could prove to be very profitable for the company’s 15, 227 stores. Their average shopper comes from a household that earns $40,000 or less per year. In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing the median income for an African American household was $39,490, putting them right in the Dollar General consumer sweet spot.

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Atlanta’s Federal Reserve President Urges Caution Over Economic Uncertainty

Atlanta’s Federal Reserve President Urges Caution Over Economic Uncertainty

By CultureBanx Team

  • Raphael Bostic wants interest rates raised to a “neutral” level

  • The current Fed rate sits in a range between 2% and 2.25%

CBx Vibe:ATM” J. Cole

As a member of the Federal Reserve’s policy making committee, Raphael Bostic continues to believe interest rates should be raised to a “neutral” level that neither stimulates nor hinders the economy. Many economists think the Federal Reserve will continue with its stated intention to hike interest rates again for the fourth time this year.

Why This Matters: In previous statements Bostic has commented that the Fed should hold off on a widely expected rate increase. Now, he’s signaling policy makers should indeed raise that nation’s benchmark interest rate. Currently rates sit in a range between 2% and 2.25% and policy makers estimate a neutral level to be anywhere from 2.5% to 3.5%.

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Microsoft Wants Bias Facial Recognition Technology Regulated

Microsoft Wants Bias Facial Recognition Technology Regulated

By CultureBanx Team

  • Microsoft wants governments to legislate discriminatory facial recognition technology

  • Facial recognition systems have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women

CBx Vibe:Woke” Yung Bans

Microsoft (MSFT -4.00%) is asking governments around the world to regulate the use of facial recognition technology. They want to ensure the technology which has higher error rates for African Americans, does not invade personal privacy or become a tool for discrimination or surveillance.

Why This Matters: The potential for abuse of facial recognition technology could lead to incidents of racial profiling. Research shows commercial artificial intelligence systems tend to have higher error rates for women and black people. Some facial recognition systems would only confuse light-skin men 0.8% of the time and would have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women. A glitch like this could lead to bias among minorities and immigrants.

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Diddy’s Charter School Initiative Preps for More Capital

Diddy’s Charter School Initiative Preps for More Capital

By CultureBanx Team

  • Sean “Diddy” Combs expands his partnership with Capital Prep charter schools

  • Capital Prep Bronx will open in September 2019

CBx Vibe:It’s All About the Benjamins” Diddy

Harlem born music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs expanded his partnership with Capital Prep charter schools, a network to help underserved communities with a $1 million pledge to increase their educational reach. With this latest financial contribution the school has been approved to expand to a third location in the Bronx.

Why This Matters: Capital Prep already has locations in Harlem and Bridgeport, CT. They’re aiming to open more campuses so they can provide more than 2,100 students with access to a higher affirming education. The Bronx charter school location will initially open to 160 students in the 6th and 7th grade. Additionally, the school will grow to serve 650 students from sixth to eleventh grade during an initial five-year term.

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Ivory Coast Cocoa Retaining its Commodities Crown

Ivory Coast Cocoa Retaining its Commodities Crown

By CultureBanx Team

  • Cocoa is on track for a record harvest of 2.2 million tons

  • Ivory Coast and Ghana grow about 60% of the world’s cocoa

CBx Vibe:Left Da Bank” Zaytoven

Ivory Coast is on track for a record cocoa harvest this season of 2.2 million tons. Prices for the highly sought after commodity are set thousands of miles away in New York and London where they see favorable weather and new plantations as the main catalysts pushing the crop over the top.

Why This Matters: Considering cocoa ended 2017 down 11%, after extending a 33% slump from 2016, this upcoming season is shaping up to be quite impressive. At last week’s settlement of $2,170 per ton in New York, cocoa had returned 15% to investors who had bought at the end of 2017 and have held onto the commodity ever since.

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L'Oréal’s Ugly Beauty Mark: Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Ensues

L'Oréal’s Ugly Beauty Mark: Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Ensues

By CultureBanx Team

  • L’Oréal Ex-VP Amanda Johnson’s claims her firing was racially motivated

  • In October, L’Oréal reported $7.34B in revenue for Q3

CBx Vibe:Bad Intentions” Trip Carter

Former L’Oréal (OR.PA -0.24%) digital marketing vice president Amanda Johnson claims she was fired for speaking up about a racially toxic working environment at the company’s executive levels. In a 40-page complaint Johnson described "sex-fueled" parties on European business trips and a boss watching porn on his phone.

Why This Matters: Johnson worked for two years on the Matrix and Biolage brands, and was showcased as an example of diversity by L'Oréal globally. With a decade of experience in digital advertising strategies she ascended rapidly through the company’s ranks.

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Goldman Sachs Takes Another Hit Due to Ex-Hip Hop Banker

Goldman Sachs Takes Another Hit Due to Ex-Hip Hop Banker

By CultureBanx Team

  • Morgan Stanley & Bank of America downgrade Goldman Sachs on 1MDB Scandal

  • Tim Leissner plead guilty and agreed to forfeit $43.7M

CBx Vibe:Come Down is Real” Belly

Kimora Lee’s Simmons husband Tim Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs (GS -2.13%) partner in Asia who has plead guilty and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million, is still weighing on the bank as more firms downgrade its stock. Other Wall Street banks are worried about the lingering fallout from Leissner’s 1MDB scandal on Goldman’s bottom line.

Why This Matters: The come down is going to be very real for Goldman as the 1MDB issue is likely to play out for years to come. After three years of having an overweight/outperform rating, Morgan Stanley (MS -0.27%) downgraded the company to equal/neutral and slashed its stock price target by 22%. This is now the second lowest of the 29 analysts surveyed by FactSet. Additionally Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC +1.28%) downgraded Goldman to neutral from buy and slashed the price target to $225 a share from $280.

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Stuck in the Trap: Is Black Homeownership Declining?

Stuck in the Trap: Is Black Homeownership Declining?

By Tracey Goins

  • The national rate of black homeowners is at 41%

  • African Americans are at risk to have all median wealth extinguished by 2053

With nearly $200 billion lost in wealth and equity since the Great Recession, African Americans are at risk to have all median wealth extinguished by 2053. In order to change this trajectory, it is important to understand what factors contributed to the wealth disparity among black people. There has been thirty years of progress in homeownership seemingly wiped away by the foreclosure crisis, leaving this community the least likely to acquire real estate.

Why This Matters: Significant losses experienced by African American is primarily attributed to the type of mortgage products they had access to. Essentially, this caused higher foreclosure rates because they were disproportionately targeted for subprime mortgages during the housing boom, which by design were associated with less than favorable lending terms. When you couple that with limited savings, it increased the risk of inevitable home loss. There was less regulatory protection of unfair housing policies which was not uncommon in historically underserved communities.

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