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How a Wave of Negative Reviews Against This Black-Owned Business Actually Backfired

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  • Honey Pot, a black-owned business, was hit with negative reviews after a recently released Target ad featured its founder expressing hopes that her success would pave the way for other black girls
  • Some were offended that Beatrice Dixon only addressed black girls in the ad and even accused the company of being racist.
  • Many expressed their outrage at the negative review-writers and pledged their support to the brand. The ordeal ended up bringing an increase in sales to the company.  
  • Founder Beatrice Dixon said her products are meant for all women but also stood by her support expressed in the ad.

Ad Spurs Negative Reviews

The Honey Pot, a business run by a black woman, faced a slew of negative reviews following a Target commercial featuring its founder, but the verbal attacks actually resulted in increased sales and widespread support of the brand. 

Beatrice Dixon founded Honey Pot, a plant-based feminine care line, after her own personal wellness struggles. In early February, Target released an ad featuring Dixon under the title “Founders We Believe In.” The commercial switches between the Honey Pot owner walking along Target aisles and talking to the camera about the obstacles she faced in starting her company.

“The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so the next black girl that comes up with a great idea — she can have a better opportunity,” Dixon says at the end of the ad. “That means a lot to me.” 

Earlier this week, a surge of negative reviews flooded the Honey Pot’s profile on Trustpilot, a consumer review website. 

“Black girls are empowered using this product… I guess whites girls aren’t. I’ll be letting Target know about this racist company,” one review said. 

“I saw the commercial where the founder of the company stated that it’s to empower black women- not ALL women, only black women… it made me feel that the company is not only racist but small minded and not worth purchasing,” another said. 

Credit: Trustpilot

Dixon addressed the backlash in interviews with several news outlets. She said her products are for all women, as the company markets. In fact, the tagline on the line’s home page is “Made by Humans with Vaginas, for Humans with Vaginas.” 

“That comment wasn’t about us being a Black-owned business and only selling to Black customers. I think we’re human and race shouldn’t even be a conversation, but it is because of the society we live in,” Dixon told ESSENCE. “We understand the responsibility as a Black-owned business that we have to be successful because if we’re not, we’re not doing anything for the culture to move it forward so that [race] isn’t a topic.”

The founder said that while she wasn’t necessarily surprised by the negative backlash, she also didn’t have expectations. She stood by her message in the ad. 

“This was not Honey Pot’s commercial, it was Target’s commercial. It was shot during Black History Month and for Women’s History Month,” Dixon said to the magazine. “They chose that particular clip for a reason. I’m here for that story and that’s why I said it.” 

In a statement, Target said they are proud to work with Dixon and Honey Pot. 

“We’re aware of some negative comments about the campaign, which aren’t in line with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from guests who love and have been inspired by Bea’s story,” Target said. 

Support Pours in for Honey Pot

As Internet users caught wind of the negative reviews coming in for Honey Pot, many expressed their outrage. 

“Racist White people are literally leaving racist ass reviews under #HoneyPot products on Target’s website because they are mad that it is a company ran by a Black woman,” one Twitter user said. “People are fucking THREATENED by Black women’s success.”

Some called attention to the negative comments on Trustpilot and urged others to leave their own positive reviews for the company. 

Many heeded the call and visited Trustpilot to praise Dixon and her feminine care line. 

“Love her product!” one person wrote. “Also, her message is very empowering to me and other girls. She proves once you have a vision and believe in yourself you can do anything. Ignore the reviews from bitter, evil, white trash below. They don’t speak up when minority women are being abused and trashed but they speak up to bash on minority women when they uplift themselves.”

“This is amazing. So glad to see more options available for all consumers. The haters were just jealous they weren’t invited to be the center of attention for once,” another review said. 

By March 2, Honey Pot’s Trustpilot profile was so flooded with submissions that the website temporarily suspended new reviews from coming in. 

“The Honey Pot’s profile page on Trustpilot has been temporarily suspended while Trustpilot’s Content Integrity team investigates an unusual influx of reviews, some of which violate Trustpilot’s guidelines,” the site wrote. “The page will be reinstated after investigation of the reviews.”

The drama turned out to be a good thing for Dixon and her company. She told Buzzfeed that after the wave of negative comments hit the Trustpilot page earlier in the week, Honey Pot’s sales were up 40% to 50% higher than what they would be on a typical day. 

See what others are saying: (NBC) (ESSENCE) (HuffPost)

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Lincoln College to Close for Good After COVID and Ransomware Attack Ruin Finances

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Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.


One of the Only Historically Black Colleges in the Midwest Goes Down

After 157 years of educating mostly Black students in Illinois, Lincoln College will close its doors for good on Friday.

The college made the announcement last month, citing financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a ransomware attack in December.

Enrollment dropped during the pandemic and the administration had to make costly investments in technology and campus safety measures, according to a statement from the school.

A shrinking endowment put additional pressure on the college’s budget.

The ransomware attack, which the college has said originated from Iran, thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data. Systems for recruitment, retention, and fundraising were completely inoperable at a time when the administration needed them most.

In March, the college paid the ransom, which it has said amounted to less than $100,000. But according to Lincoln’s statement, subsequent projections showed enrollment shortfalls so significant the college would need a transformational donation or partnership to make it beyond the present semester.

The college put out a request for $50 million in a last-ditch effort to save itself, but no one came forward to provide it.

A GoFundMe aiming to raise $20 million for the college only collected $2,452 as of Tuesday.

Students and Employees Give a Bittersweet Goodbye

“The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense,” David Gerlach, the college’s president, said in a statement.

Lincoln counts nearly 1,000 enrolled students, and those who did not graduate this spring will leave the institution without degrees.

Gerlach has said that 22 colleges have worked with Lincoln to accept the remaining students, including their credits, tuition prices, and residency requirements.

“I was shocked and saddened by that news because of me being a freshman, so now I have to find someplace for me to go,” one student told WMBD News after the closure was announced.

When a group of students confronted Gerlach at his office about the closure, he responded with an emotional speech.

“I have been fighting hard to save this place,” he said. “But resources are resources. We’ve done everything we possibly could.”

On April 30, alumni were invited back to the campus to revisit the highlights of their college years before the institution closed.

On Saturday, the college held its final graduation ceremony, where over 200 students accepted their diplomas and Quentin Brackenridge performed the Lincoln Alma Mater.

Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Herald Review) (CNN)

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U.S. Tops One Million Coronavirus Deaths, WHO Estimates 15 Million Worldwide

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India’s real COVID death toll stands at about 4.7 million, ten times higher than official data, the WHO estimated.


One Million Dead

The United States officially surpassed one million coronavirus deaths Wednesday, 26 months after the first death was reported in late February of 2020.

Experts believe that figure is likely an undercount, since there are around 200,000 excess deaths, though some of those may not be COVID-related.

The figure is the equivalent of the population of San Jose, the tenth-largest city in the U.S., vanishing in just over two years. To put the magnitude in visual perspective, NECN published a graphic illustrating what one million deaths looks like.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the White House predicted between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die from the coronavirus in a best-case scenario.

By February 2021, over half a million Americans had died of COVID.

The coronavirus has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.

The pandemic’s effects go beyond its death toll. Around a quarter of a million children have lost a caregiver to the virus, including about 200,000 who lost one or both parents. Every COVID-related death leaves an estimated nine people grieving.

The virus has hit certain industries harder than others, with food and agriculture, warehouse operations and manufacturing, and transportation and construction seeing especially high death rates.

People’s mental health has also been affected, with a study in January of five Western countries including the U.S. finding that 13% of people reported symptoms of PTSD attributable to actual or potential contact with the virus.

Fifteen Million Dead

On Thursday, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 15 million people have died from the pandemic worldwide, a dramatic revision from the 5.4 million previously reported in official statistics.

Between January 2020 and the end of last year, the WHO estimated that between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died either due to the coronavirus directly or because of factors somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, such as cancer patients who were unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of COVID patients.

Based on that range, scientists arrived at an approximate total of 14.9 million.

The new estimate shows a 13% increase in deaths than is usually expected for a two-year period.

“This may seem like just a bean-counting exercise, but having these WHO numbers is so critical to understanding how we should combat future pandemics and continue to respond to this one,” Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious diseases specialist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not linked to the WHO research, told the Associated Press.

Most of the deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

According to the WHO, India counts the most deaths by far with 4.7 million, ten times its official number.

See what others are saying: (NBC) (U.S. News and World Report) (Scientific American)

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Official Says Missing Alabama Convict and Corrections Officer Had a “Special Relationship”

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Authorities have also said they now believe the officer willfully helped the inmate escape.


New Information on Missing Inmate & Officer

Authorities in Alabama revealed Tuesday that Assistant Director of Corrections for Lauderdale County Vicky White, who is accused of helping a murder suspect Casey Cole White escape from jail, had a “special relationship” with the inmate.

“Investigators received information from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center over the weekend that there was a special relationship between Director White and inmate Casey White,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement. “That relationship has now been confirmed through our investigation by independent sources and means.”

Officials have previously said that the two are not related, despite their shared surname.

Singleton elaborated on the nature of the relationship while speaking to CNN later on Tuesday. He said it took place “outside of her normal work hours” and added that although it did not include “physical contact,” he still characterized it as “a relationship of a different nature.”

“We were told Casey White got special privileges and was treated differently while in the facility than the other inmates,” Singleton said.

Also on Tuesday, the Marshals Service issued a statement confirming that authorities believe Officer White had helped Mr. White escape. The authorities described her as a “wanted fugitive” and offered a $5,000 reward for any information on her whereabouts. Earlier this week, the Marshals Service also offered a $10,000 reward for any information that could lead to Mr. White’s capture.

Singleton echoed the belief that Officer White’s actions were intentional while speaking to Good Morning America Wednesday.

“I think all of our employees and myself included were really hoping that she did not participate in this willingly. But all indications are that she absolutely did,” he said. “We’re very disappointed in that because we had the utmost trust in her as an employee and as an assistant director of corrections.”

Mysterious Escape

Vicky White and Casey White were last seen leaving the Lauderdale County jail just after 9:30 a.m. Friday. The officer told other employees that she was taking the inmate to a mental health evaluation at a courthouse just down the road, and that she would be going to a medical appointment after because she was not feeling well.

Officials later said her actions violated an official policy that required two sworn deputies to transport people with murder charges. In 2020, Mr. White was charged with two counts of capital murder in connection to a fatal stabbing he confessed to and was awaiting his trial in Lauderdale County.

Mr. White was also serving time for what officials said was a “crime spree” in 2015 which included home invasion, carjacking, and a police chase. He had also previously tried to escape from jail, police said.

It wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. on Friday that a jail employee reported to higher-ups that he was not able to reach Officer White on her phone and that Mr. White had never been returned to his cell.

During a press conference that same night, Singleton told reporters that there had never even been a scheduled mental health evaluation. At another briefing Monday, he announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for Vicky on a charge of “permitting or facilitating an escape in the first degree.”

At the time, Singleton said it was unclear “whether she did that willingly or was coerced or threatened” but added, “we know for sure she did participate.” 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (ABC News) (NPR)

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