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In The Rearview Mirror: Top Black Auto Trailblazers From Last Decade (2010-19)



Earl Lucas - Photo Credit

Car Designer Earl Lucas’ 2018 Lincoln Navigator (photo credit: LE)

*While most of us are familiar with Elon Musk, the lead driver behind the all-electric luxury car company, known as Tesla, many of us would be hard-pressed to identify blacks in the automotive industry who also played key roles in blazing new trails over the past decade.

As the new year has turned the corner, has identified the top black automotive trendsetters and pioneers, who were either given the keys (or keyfobs) or literally took the keys (or keyfobs) to make their mark in history, during the years of 2010 to 2019.

Earl Lucas

After successfully reviving the 2010 Ford Taurus and spending several years overseas, Lucas returned to the states with another bang in 2018, with the all-new Lincoln Navigator.

For close to two decades, Lincoln had been hanging on with the ailing and extremely dated Navigator, as the Cadillac Escalade literally dominated the segment. Lucas pulled out all of his creative juices, adding his artistic magic to reimagine the bold and fresh-looking SUV, making it a hit for the brand. In fact, many critics believes Lucas’ Navigator out-Cadillac the Escalade.

As a result of consumers shift from cars to SUVs, crossovers and trucks, over the past decade, the Navigator has become the new standard of luxury for all SUVs. In order to reclaim its title, General Motors is currently retooling their moneymaker, the Escalade, which is expected to make its world premiere in February. The average Navigator these days are flying off the lots with a  transaction price that exceeds $90,000.

Lucas is one of two high ranking black car designers for the automaker. His hot-selling SUV is helping Ford Motor Company to stash away the much-needed cash so that they can invest in the electric and self-driving car movement. Lucas’ design has also aided in reestablishing the Lincoln division as a luxury brand once again. The 2018 Navigator was named as one of the 15 most important cars of the decade by the automotive enthusiasts magazine Motor Trend.

Andre Hudson and his game-changing 2011 Hyundai Sonata (photo credit: Hyundai)

Andre Hudson

In 2010, Hyundai’s Andre Hudson broke out of the box, putting the Korean company, who was known for its value pricing and uneventful designs on the map. With its fluidic design theme, Hudson’s hot-selling Sonata became a game-changing vehicle for the brand, as well as the automotive industry. Hudson, the Korean brand’s first black car designer, created a stylish coupe-like, four-door sedan, that accounted for 40 percent of the brand’s sales, during its peak. The success of the Sonata, as well as its pint-sized sibling, the Elantra, which was also designed by Hudson, generated so much cash for the company, they were able to launch Genesis, an all-new luxury brand, to compete with the likes of Lexus and BMW.

With the introduction of Genesis, Hudson’s gift earned him an opportunity to serve as the lead designer of the brand’s Bentley-like flagship vehicle, the G90, before expanding his wings elsewhere.

Today, the creative genius joins an elite group, as one of a handful of blacks in the world, to head an automotive design studio. In his current position, Hudson is proudly leading his design team to create electrifying, no pun intended, all-electric vehicles for a start-up company.

Coincidentally, since Hudson’s departure from the Korean automaker, many automotive critics believe Hyundai has made missteps, with the Sonata in terms of its exterior styling. Still today a number of design studios have copied the styling cues from Hudson’s sexy looking, award-winning 2011 Sonata. Like with Lucas’ Navigator, its no surprise the 2011 Sonata was just named one of the top 15 most important cars of last decade by Motor Trend magazine.

Thomas Moorehead

The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) have fought for decades, making sure that black folks and others of color got their fair share of new car dealerships, being that this group accounts for approximately 8 percent of new vehicle sales and represents 12 percent of the U.S. population. Despite the stats, black dealers own less than  3 percent of today’s new car dealerships.

Thomas Moorehead, who has been  a new car dealer since 1985, is a member of what has become this dwindling tight-knit group of black dealers. While a number of black dealers faded away, during the Great Recession, Morehead managed to weather the rough roads, holding on to his automotive enterprise, while keeping his eyes on the prize. In fact, in 2014, Thomas Moorehead cracked the automotive dealership doors wide open. He joined an elite ultra-luxury club, becoming Rolls Royce’s first and only black dealer. And in 2016, the barrier breaker made history again, driving into the super exotic sports car market, as the first and only black dealer to acquire Lamborghini and McLaren franchises.

Unlike with today’s Cadillacs, Mercedes-Benzs and Jaguars, with Moorehead’s latest three high-end franchises, you won’t find the invoice cost, the cost the dealer paid, on of any of his models online. You’ve got to have some serious loot to afford to purchase and/or lease one of his high-end brands. Successful businessmen like Moorehead have found one of the surest means to create generational wealth is to have access to own a new car dealership.

To continue reading the entire list of this past decade’s automotive trailblazers, click here.


Jeff Fortson hosts Auto Trends with, a weekly radio program, which airs on SiriusXM and in select radio markets throughout the U. S.

Fortson’s program is the only syndicated urban radio show airing throughout the U.S. and Canada (as well as the only weekly automotive program airing on SiriusXM). Fortson’s show format includes one-on-one engaging conversation with many of today’s multicultural automotive influencers and pioneers. Unlike the typical car program, Fortson’s conversations can extend beyond the traditional car talk.

For airtimes, visit his website,

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Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)




Pastor Cal - Calvin Roberson

eur mafs poster

*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.

If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.

The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.

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eur CalvinRoberson_MAFS_S6

Pastor Calvin Roberson (Pastor Cal) is one of the experts matching couples on “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.

“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”

As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”

Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.

“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”

EUR MAFS-S11-Couples_Woodrow-Amani

Woody and Amani in current season (11) of “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”

The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.

“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”

MAFS Houston Flyer

Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.

While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”

And how does the church feel about the show?

“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”

Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.

If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.

For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.


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Nigerian Bread Seller Lands Modeling Contract After Photobombing Rapper’s Shoot



Olajumoke Orisaguna

*27-year-old former bread seller Olajumoke Orisaguna captured the world’s attention a few years ago when a photo of her carrying a massive bag of bread loafs ontop of her head went viral.

She was discovered on the streets of the city of Lagos by international photographer Ty Bello, who was shooting with English rapper Tinie Tempah. Unintentionally, Orisaguna came out in one of the images.

Days later, Bello shared pictures from that shoot on his social media but with interest of finding out who the bread seller was in the photo.

“WHO IS SHE? Everyone has been asking if this lady is a model… She definitely SHOULD be a model… I’ll find a way to track her down somehow. You guys can also help,“ the photographer captioned the post.

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As PEOPLE notes, from that moment on, her life changed forever. In less than a year, Orisaguna managed to sign contracts with recognized agencies. Earlier this year, she wrapped up her tour of South Africa and she also launched a vlog and reality show.

“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” she told CNN. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success.”

In March, she celebrated the one year anniversary of her discovery. In an exclusive interview with Pulse in January, Orisaguna spoke about the people who have been influential in her rise to fame. During the interview, she thanked Azuka Ogujuiba of ThisDay Newspaper, as she was instrumental in Olajumoke’s success story.

Orisaguna, who left her two children and husband to sell bread, is now being offered by a bank to pay for her kid’s education through college.

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‘Origin of Everything’ on PBS Sparks Interest with Controversial & Everyday Topics (EUR Exclusive!)




Origin of Everything

*“Origin of Everything,” available on, has been exploring topics since 2017 that run the gamut. The show jumps into a variety of subjects by investigating daily life like the words we use, pop culture, and why we are hooked on technology.

The show does not shy away from controversial topics such as slavery, race and ethnicity, and mass incarceration of African Americans.

Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., the host and lead writer of “Origin of Everything,” told the EUR in a recent interview that the series is about making people think beyond the restrictive ways we have been taught to view history.

“It’s a show about our collective story and how we are envisioning history,” Dr. Bainbridge said. ”How do we think about history that includes all of us and just not the figures and facts that we were taught in school. So, it’s a show about under told and underrepresented history. We’re trying to make history feel very present to the people who watch it.”

She continued, “One of the reasons to watch it is if you’re curious about how did we get to our current moment? How do small things such as why do we eat popcorn at the movies or what is the origin of ethnicity and how do these things still impact the way we think about the world?”

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EUR PBS Danielle Bainbridge

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge, host of “Origin of Everything,” available on (Courtesy of PBS)

Deftly equipped to talk about controversial topics, Dr. Bainbridge holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English & Theatre Arts. She is also a faculty member at Northwestern University in Theatre and African American Studies

In early 2017, when she was a graduate student, she was contacted by PBS about working on the show and thought it was a joke.

“When they first reached out to me, I thought it was a hoax,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I was thinking how would they even know who I am because I was a graduate student? But I think they found me through a since defunct janky website that I had set up. They reached out to me, I auditioned, did a screen test, and a writing sample and after that I was hired to help develop the show.”

Viewers are encouraged to be interactive with the series because it is digital. With instant commentary from the audience, the show knows immediately what viewers think, which for the most part is positive. However, when it delves into controversial subject matters things can get sticky.

“I would say overall people are pretty positive about the series because most of the folks who watch it are longtime watchers who tune in every week for episodes,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “The only exception is if we cover more sensitive topics like, race, gender, or sexuality we will get some pushback. I think that’s just the cost of doing business with open discourse.”

One of the most controversial shows was about the transatlantic slave trade.

“We did one episode on why Europeans enslaved Africans and that was probably our most viewed episode as well as our most critiqued one,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I think often times if you view yourself as pretty well versed in history from what you learn in school and then you learn something that goes in the opposite direction it can be jarring or for some people upsetting. We think of it as our value or service to our audience to present accurate history or history that doesn’t get told that often so that people can be informed with the whole picture.”

She added that she has an answer for those who point out that Africans sold slaves to Europeans.

“Slavery was not invented with West Africans and Europeans,” Dr. Bainbridge continued. “Some form of enslavement – whether through war, becoming a prisoner of war, or through different systems – goes back to ancient societies from around the world. So, it is not distinct to West Africa or Europe or any other region of the world.”

Dr. Bainbridge added, “But the difference with this particular moment in slavery was that it intersected with capitalism in a way that was very different with slavery that preceded it. People were taken into the system and their children inherited their status as a slave and that is where the differences started to emerge. We have to think about these things as distinct only because the system that existed with chattel slavery was so radically different than the slavery that existed around the world beforehand.”

With the ongoing protests against police brutality, “Origin of Everything” has also tackled the racist beginnings of United States law. Dr. Bainbridge breaks down the discriminatory history by looking at colonialism, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and mass incarceration.

“I decided to write this episode about legal discrimination, and I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind,” she said. “As I started doing the research it was overwhelming. I started to find (material) that just dealt with legal discrimination about black people in this country from its origin to now. I thought it was something that people needed to know.”

“I was never taught in any history class that I took through high school any of the information from that episode. I was taught that things are fair and that a lot of the blame was placed inadvertently or inherently on black communities, impoverished communities, or communities that struggle. When I saw that in some ways the law was stacked against black people and certain other populations, I thought that was important to bring to light. In this moment, people are looking for reliable sources and this could add to the conversation.”

New episodes of “Origin of Everything” are available on and the PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube Channel. Join the conversation by visiting Twitter-@PBSOrigin and Instagram-@pbsoriginofeverything.

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