LA EVENTS: Sip @ Post & Beam

Last month, along with the Sickly Cat Network, the Black Is family launched its first happy hour event called Sip: A New After Work Experience, held at Post & Beam restaurant in Baldwin Hills. It was a huge success and this month we are ready to do it again!

Join us this Thursday evening for drinks and great food crafted by Top Chef master, Govind Armstrong and sit back and relax with friends and colleagues. Take a chance and enter our Sip trivia raffle to win a pair of tickets to see August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and dinner at Post & Beam. This month, Sip is hosted by the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals group. Be sure to purchase a pair of tickets to their “To the Nines” awards event and receive a complimentary membership to the Los Angeles Urban League!

Event details for Sip are as follows:

Thursday, April 25, 2013
@ 5 pm*
Post & Beam
3767 Santa Rosalia Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90008*Happy hour specials end at 8 pm


See you there!


Photos courtesy of William Utley Photography

Marketing in the Mobile Era

Within the last decade, the marketing industry has seen the power of direct marketing shift from print, to TV, to online advertising. Currently, we are seeing another major direction shift in marketing. This directional shift is called the mobile boom. Business Insider reports that in 2011, the number of smart phones sold exceeded the numbers of PCs sold. With this trend continuing (and accelerating) in 2012, many brands and advertisers are targeting consumers via their mobile devices.

In the past decade, retail stores experienced a sharp shift in consumer purchasing from brick and mortar to online. This shift resulted in retailers across the nation closing stores, laying off workers and focusing their attention online to maximize profits.

Now another shift is happening. Consumers are accessing the internet via their mobile devices in large and growing numbers. This is important because online marketers were once limited to reaching their market when they were in front of their computer – usually at home or in the office. This resulted in large blackout times where advertisers could not reach their consumers. With mobile marketing, advertisers can reach their potential customers at any time and in any place.

The question now is, as a business, what are you doing to make sure that you are part of this mobile boom?

Producers now have a few ways to capitalize off of this shift.

The first step is to build mobile optimized pages for online storefronts. This will help increase revenue by improving the consumer experience. The easier it is for consumers to navigate mobile sites, the higher the conversions. Not only will poorly designed interfaces increase bounce rates, they can also damage a brand. According to David Nachum, Associate Product Manager at Google, 61% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing from their phone. He goes on to say that last year, Google “began to limit ad serving on high-end mobile devices if they pointed to landing pages with Flash-heavy content.”

What this means for businesses is that if your site is not properly optimized for mobile, Google and other search engines will be less likely to point consumers there from organic search. With mobile search growing at an accelerating rate, an oversight like this may lead to obsolescence.

The next step would be to partner up with a direct carrier billing platform company like Mobile Messenger. With the mobile boom comes a new form of payment capabilities that that merchants can use to increase ROI by driving more sales. According to mopay, a payment solutions provider to online merchants, “Direct carrier billing will be a catalyst for innovation and change within the mobile payments industry in 2012.”

The mobile boom is happening right now. Businesses will need to redesign their online face to remain relevant in this mobile world.

About Erdolo:
Erdolo Eromo moved to South Los Angeles from Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia at the age of eight. A natural athlete, he played football for powerhouses Crenshaw High School and UCLA. He went on to earn his Executive MBA from Pepperdine University in 2011. Climbing up the corporate ladder in 6 years, Erdolo is one of the youngest senior executives in the mobile industry. He now serves as Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Services at Mobile Messenger (MM), the largest off deck mobile aggregator in the United States. He is responsible for identifying opportunities and designing strategies for sales growth. By many, Erdolo is considered to be an expert in identifying trends in the mobile commerce space as well as finding new opportunities in which the mobile phone can be used as a billing platform.

Webwatch 2012

More than 40 million new websites hit the Internet this year and with so much information available, it’s difficult to decipher what to check out and what to pass by. Luckily, Mr. Lehman and I have done the hard work for you and have a few suggestions for sites to keep an eye on in this year to come.

Garth Trinidad Sound|Adventures of an Anomaly: Garth Trinidad is a Los Angeles legend for a myriad of reasons, but is best known by Angelenos for being at the helm of the best radio LA has to offer as the DJ for KCRW’s Chocolate City, Monday – Friday from 8 – 10 pm on FM 89.9. In his 16 years as a DJ, Garth has befriended some of music’s most notable artists (check his KCRW archives for in-studio guests) and as such, his website, Garth Trinidad Sound is packed with information most of us wish we had direct access to. From Monday to Thursday Garth posts his musings on music and culture, free music downloads, articles and events he’s been made privy to and shares the information with the good people of Los Angeles – and anywhere else you may be when you tap in. In lieu of a copy of his personal contacts this will do, as visiting Garth’s world will leave you steps ahead of the rest in terms of where the good music, good culture and good vibes in LA live and thrive. While in his world, pay a visit to the Moja Moja project he curates as well. Moja Moja takes what Garth does with Chocolate City to a multimedia level and provides a platform for listeners to discover urban and international alternative music and culture.

New Culture Society: Are you certain you know all that the West Coast has to offer? Do you feel like you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s next to come? If not, then you should visit (and subscribe) to New Culture Society. This group of young LA residents has pooled their interests and resources to put together a funky, happening website that highlights what’s current and next to come on the Best Coast regarding cinema, literature, fashion and music. Individually, the staff showcases an impressive resume so collectively, it’s a home run. Black Is friend, Merc80 is a part of the team and put us on to this new project and we look forward to seeing what’s coming up with NCS in 2012.

KimmayTube (YouTube): There are TONS of websites dedicated to natural hair – TONS. Everybody has some of the same information, some of it conflicting, and for anybody thinking about transitioning to natural hair or maintaining it, the entire process can be convoluted if you search the web for information. Enter KimmayTube, a YouTube channel that clarifies it all. Watching KimmayTube is like watching a good television station dedicated to natural hair. It’s awesome – and it helps that our host, Kim Love, knows what she’s talking about. Her own hair is a testament to the versatility of natural hair and debunks all myths that Black hair is difficult to manage and unable to grow to great lengths. Visit KimmayTube for tips on growing and maintaining natural hair, learn tips on how to determine what products work best for your hair, and watch tutorials for everything from washing and detangling to various styling techniques. While there, visit her site, Luv Naturals to purchase many of the products Kim uses in her videos.

Issa Rae: The woman behind The MisAdventures of Awkward Black Girl has more in store for those of you looking for programming online. Visit her personal website and get familiar with her other two shows, The F Word and my personal favorite, Dorm Diaries for more hilarious webisodes to mix up your weekly programming. The first season of MisAdventures wraps up on January 12th and we are anxiously awaiting what season two has to offer.

Moovmnt: Mr. Lehman, the editor-at-large here at Black Is has the most discriminating ear when it comes to music and shuns most American radio for streaming what he considers great music from global resources online. As such, he is constantly looking for sites that will introduce him to music he hasn’t before. Enter Moovmnt, a site that’s primary focus is to introduce its visitors to great music – period. Go here to learn about independent artists and producers that you won’t hear much about via mainstream media outlets.

Spotify: The trouble with the internet is that there is much opportunity for one site to outdo another. Though there is room for everybody to do their thing, sometime a site just stands apart and that’s where Spotify comes in. Sorry, Pandora, but Spotify changes the game in free music streaming by allowing consumers to truly customize their listening experience. On Spotify you can listen to an entire album of an artist before deciding to purchase, or listen to an artists’ complete catalog. You can also create playlists of your favorite songs for free. Spotify was founded in Sweden and headquartered in the UK so the amount of world music available is pretty vast.

BHCP: Yes, BHCP stands for Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. With the renovation of our mall almost complete and the surrounding area deep in the throes of gentrification, the mall website is a hub for what’s going on in our community. Check the BHCP Redevelopment site for community events, free concerts, business openings, and status updates on construction to know what’s happening in our neighborhood. All of this transition is happening for us, so let’s support it!

Sickly Cat: Our brother site remain relevant in 2012. Sickly Cat continues to be the premier site for unadulterated infotainment. Check this site daily for only the most interesting findings in world news and strong opinion pieces. What makes this site unique are the variety of contributors and therefore, opinions about everyday issues. It’s worth it to jump into the conversation and give feedback in the comment section – most likely, you’ll receive a reply from the author themselves. Expect this site to explode with news and commentary during the 2012 presidential campaign and election.

Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood: Based in Atlanta, GA Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood is a real, in-your-face, adult podcast discussing a variety of social issues. From relationships to parenting, the host Mr. Moody pulls no punches with his commentary and the show will inform you while keeping you in stitches. What we love most about this site is Mr. Moody is a husband and father and much of his commentary comes from his experience in those roles. He’s definitely about keep the Black family unit tight and we can’t help but love that. Again, this is for adults only as Moody isn’t editing his thoughts. Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, sit back and listen to a new show on a Thursday night. Guaranteed you will be back for more. You can also subscribe via iTunes and check out past episodes you have missed.



Black Is Podcasts on iTunes!

Folks, we are happy to announce that you can now download your favorite 10 Minute Break podcasts on iTunes! Visit the Sickly Cat iTunes page and find your favorite Black Is convos and share them with family and friends!

Stay tuned in for more to come!


If you caught the first two installments of Merc’s interview with Miss Jack Davey, catch the final one here. This time he gets Miss Davey to open up about everybody;s favorite subject: sex. Also, read his Letter to M. Night Shyamalan. Merc has some strong opinions about his latest film, The Last Airbender.

The crew of is back at us with another podcast, The Weekly Round Up, where they discuss and give their opinions on this past week’s newsworthy stories. Sounds like is going to be a regular podcast, so stay tuned for more!

BLACKis ONLINE: Sickly Cat

Bookmark this site immediately. was brought to my attention by John Byrd and Dr. Wayne Byrd, two brothers I attended both junior high school and church with.  The site offers plenty of good information, but what I love most are the podcasts they offer in the Lifestyle section.

Chris and I listened to “Top Ten Things Men Say is not Cheating” , and it sparked laughs and good convo. Check it out, chime in, and move on to Part II.

Furthermore, let us know whether you agree or disagree with the men and women of Sickly Cat? What qualifies as cheating? What doesn’t?