GFDI Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:41:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Annual Print Issue Themed Empowerment Features Tabitha Brown and Amplifies Global Businesses Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:38:58 +0000 Annual Print Issue Themed Empowerment Features Tabitha Brown and Amplifies Global Businesses Read More »

The return of Cuisine Noir’s annual print issue delivers more than just your average food and drink stories.  Themed Empowerment Through Food, Drink and Travel, the hard copy of its digital sibling spotlights businesses and entrepreneurs from around the globe living through purpose and passion.  Actress, entrepreneur and vegan influencer Tabitha Brown shared her story as the issue’s cover star which chronicles her rise to success in the food world.


“I couldn’t be more excited about this year’s issue.  Each year, the goal is to grow and create a magazine that continues to show why it is so important that we find and share these stories from across the African Diaspora.  These stories go beyond someone starting a business, opening a restaurant or creating a food or drink product.  They are about how we are rooted in our journeys as Black people no matter where we are around the world and how our history is expressed through whatever we are doing,” says executive director and publisher Sheree Williams.


The search for the perfect stories begins early in the year and there is one person in particular who is not only a big supporter of Cuisine Noir but also has been dubbed the unofficial “global story scouter” for her ability to travel and find individuals and businesses that have an amazing journey that only Cuisine Noir can tell. “When I travel, I intentionally seek out to support people and communities, especially Black women who are positively impacting their communities and society as a whole through some form of social entrepreneurship. So, when I’m in another country, I look for social events, festivals, markets, etc., to learn and to connect,” says Virginia resident Tammy Freeman.  She continues, “It’s funny because sometimes, I don’t even speak the language. For example, when I met Lisbeth of Viche Canao in Medellin, Colombia, at an event for Afro-Colombian entrepreneurs. I didn’t know what anyone was saying. Everything was in Spanish, which I don’t speak. But the energy was there, the vibe was there [and I] felt such a sense of community.”


Freeman was also instrumental in introducing the magazine to Vava Coffee founded by Kenyan entrepreneur Vava Angwenyi.  Angwenyi just opened the first coffee shop and training center on the island of Lamu in Kenya and Freeman was there to witness the planning in action.  “I’m passionate about social entrepreneurship, I care deeply about justice and equity I ama global citizen for social good– so I’m always finding new and different ways to share amazing people doing amazing work and Cuisine Noir is a great publication to help share these stories.”


Contributors of Cuisine Noir are also instrumental to finding stories that should be amplified in Cuisine Noir.  From Michael and Kwini Reed in Los Angeles, Chef Kurt in Philadelphia, Dominique Charles in DC and Jackie Summers in New York, all of these powerful stories share passion, family and culture.


Williams says, “It takes about 2 – 3 months to truly bring it all together and when we are able to see the final product all of the long hours, multiple phones, writing and editing make it all work it.  I can’t imagine doing this without such an amazing and talented team.”


The current issue is available for purchase and in-home delivery for $5.99 + shipping.  It is also available for download via ISSUU for $5.99 as well.  GFDI has partnered with various locations around the country for in-store distribution.  To purchase or see partner locations, visit




You can support this podcast and the mission of The Global Food and Drink Initiative with a one-time or monthly contribution starting at just $5. Each donation will continue to unlock untold stories from around the globe and help us build more tables for diverse and inclusive storytelling.


                                                               DONATE NOW

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New Diaspora Food Stories Podcast Expands Black Food Stories Told Globally Tue, 30 Aug 2022 19:10:11 +0000 New Diaspora Food Stories Podcast Expands Black Food Stories Told Globally Read More »

The Global Food and Drink Initiative is proud to announce the newest member of its media family, the Diaspora Food Stories podcast. Launched on July 1, the innovative podcast will be the first of its kind for several reasons.


The podcast is an extension of the pioneering magazine Cuisine Noir that will celebrate 13 years this September of amplifying Black voices and stories in food, drink and travel.  Listeners of Diaspora Food Stories can look forward to conversations with some of today’s exceptional champions, entrepreneurs, trendsetters and influencers.


“We’re excited to extend stories from Cuisine Noir as well as share new ones that have never been told before from around the globe. Listen to a story has a different impact than reading it and that is what we listeners feel when they tune in,” shares V. Sheree Williams, executive director and publisher.


Williams will host Diaspora Food Stories episodes that will be released every other Wednesday and available on the podcast website as well as popular platforms such as Apple Podcast, Spotify and Amazon, where you listen to your favorite topics and personalities.


“Similar to how we were the first to amplify Black food stories when other magazines and newspapers were not with Cuisine Noir starting 13 years ago, we’ll be the first to do what other podcasts are not doing.  Before the end of the year, we’ll kick off our bi-lingual or non-English podcasts beginning in Spanish, French and Portuguese because, as people of African descent, our stories need to be told in as many languages across the African Diaspora as we can.  This will make us the first food podcast, perhaps the first podcast period to do something like this,” says Williams.


Diaspora Food Stories started with episode conversations with Melba Wilson of Melba’s Harlem in New York, chef and culinary instructor Kevin Mitchell, and an informative discussion about afro-futurism through food with Eat the Culture, a collective of Black and Brown bloggers and culinary influencers.


Future guests will include wine pioneer Iris Duplantier Rideau, award-winning journalist and Haitian culinary entrepreneur Lionel Moise and “Top Chef” contestant and Butterfunk founder chef Chris Scott.


“We’re so proud of the work we are doing here at The Global Food and Drink Initiative.  Our work is about telling untold stories authentically through a Black lens out loud and visibly preserving them for all, especially future generations to come because as Black people, our talents, commitment, creativity and accomplishments are simply beyond amazing.”


Listen to current episodes of Diaspora Food Stories at or where you listen to our favorite podcasts.



You can support this podcast and the mission of The Global Food and Drink Initiative with a one-time or monthly contribution starting at just $5. Each donation will continue to unlock untold stories from around the globe and help us build more tables for diverse and inclusive storytelling.

                                                               DONATE NOW

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The Global Food and Drink Initiative is Awarded 501c3 Tax-Exempt Status Sat, 02 Apr 2022 23:41:26 +0000 The Global Food and Drink Initiative is Awarded 501c3 Tax-Exempt Status Read More »

After more than ten months, The Global Food and Drink Initiative is excited to announce that it was awarded its 501c3 federal income tax exemption status in February 2022. The nonprofit, founded in 2020 notes this as a gamechanger as it looks to expand its work that started with the publishing of Cuisine Noir Magazine in 2009.


“As a former for-profit Black-owned media company, the cards just kept staking against us as advertisers were spending less with Black-owned media companies, putting the small outlets like us at risk of either shutting down or being very strategic in how we continued to move forward with our publications.  For us, it was becoming a media non-profit to be able to continue engaging advertisers and sponsors as well garner support from our readers.  This status really is a game-changer as we can also expand on our mission and our offerings.  I am very excited about our next chapter,” says V. Sheree Williams, executive director and publisher.


The Global Food and Drink Initiative’s effective date of exemption is August 10, 2020, when the organization was incorporated.  With its new status, all donations are tax-exempt to the fullest extent of the law.


Williams says now it is time to work on the next stages of building the nonprofit, which includes expanding the team, which now includes freelancers in different parts of the world and most importantly, expanding the work to continue to amplify Black voices in food, drink and travel.


“We are just getting started, and I am excited to slowly release projects that we have been planning while we were waiting on our status.  Now that we have it and the doors to so many opportunities for funding will open for us, we can continue impacting lives and be instrumental in bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to the food, drink and travel industries.”


To make a donation, click here.


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Cuisine Noir Magazine Returns to Print Under The Global Food and Drink Initiative Sat, 26 Mar 2022 22:15:45 +0000

Last September, The Global Food and Drink Initiative released a special edition of Cuisine Noir Magazine in print, the first one in over four years.


The issue features actress, food maven and author Tia Mowry-Hardrict on the cover with never before told stories of trials and triumphs from global business owners inside. “COVID-19 truly changed the world and how businesses operated.  We know that the impact on businesses by people of color were impacted even more because of the hardships they often faced around financial support as well as needed resources prior to. Our team put together an amazing issue with stories you won’t be able to read online or anywhere else.  They are truly empowering and inspirational,” says V. Sheree Williams, executive director for The Global Food and Drink Initiative and publisher of Cuisine Noir Magazine.


A peek inside the issue includes a look at how restaurants Breaking Bread in Baltimore and Lucille’s and Alfreda’s Soul food, both in Houston, pivoted to stay open during a time of uncertainty.  Readers will also read about how the pandemic shut down one of the most iconic festivals in the world, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.


Readers are also teased with new food and drink recipes and introduced to Black-owned businesses that launched products during the pandemic and are thriving today.


“This issue is so powerful in that we tried our best to touch as many places around the globe where our Black brothers and sisters are to tell their stories. I don’t think any other publication has done this which continues to make our work important and necessary,” says Williams.


Cuisine Noir’s special print issue is $5.99 and is available in hard copy for in-home delivery or for purchase and download via ISSUU for $5.99 as well. Issues are available while copies last.


To purchase, go to

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Welcome to the Launch of The Global Food and Drink Initiative Fri, 04 Dec 2020 13:59:02 +0000 The Global Food and Drink Initiative (GFDI) is a multimedia nonprofit that aims to “share, connect and preserve the history and culture of the African diaspora” by encouraging members of the communities global to have pride in who they are, their language, cuisine, traditions and heritage.


The organization will focus on three pillars:


  • Serving communities through authentic storytelling, inspiring them to make sure their own stories are told and passed down from generation to generation
  • Supporting Black small business owners in their pursuits of building legacy businesses and generational wealth in the food, drink and travel industries.
  • Leading diverse conversations and creating and facilitating diversity and inclusion opportunities in the food, drink and travel industries


GFDI was founded by executive director and publisher V. Sheree Williams after growing frustrations of being a Black-owned media company unable to grow without advertisers and sponsors’ support. This led to limitations in expanding the work and impact of stories told through the magazine Cuisine Noir she took over from founder Richard Pannell in 2008.


As the publisher and editor of the world’s only print and digital magazine that connects the African diaspora through food, drink and travel, she brings more than a decade of experience in the media industry, along with a strong background in marketing, public relations, photojournalism and diversity and inclusion consulting.


“Part of my struggle of being in this food media space is that advertisers lumped Black consumers into general market campaigns, not seeing the value that a niche publication like Cuisine Noir has to offer,” she said.  “2020 was especially a tough year with an unexpected pandemic and its impact on all businesses, whether big, medium or small.  In addition, we saw a racial reckoning that brought well-deserved attention to Black-owned businesses. However, when it comes to brands and advertisers supporting Black media outlets, nothing has changed. It is still a major issue of spending inequity that needs to be addressed with action.”


After months of brainstorming and thinking about how to move the needle forward during the most challenging time in the magazine’s history, Williams initially conceived the ideal to expand Cuisine Noir’s impact over the summer.  She created by The Global Food and Drink Initiative, which will essentially provide more support and opportunities for the work she and her global team are doing while serving and supporting communities of consumers and business owners.


In the works are curated video content, online engagements, printed products, and partnerships with incubators, publishers and industry leaders. “I am very excited about all we have planned.  This transition was unknowingly a long time in the making and one that feels right.”


Assisting in this endeavor is a trusted board of directors and advisors of professionals that Williams has worked with over the years. They are game-changers in their fields, fierce supporters of Cuisine Noir and all that GFDI stands for, and will lend their skills and expertise to the impact envisioned. More about them in our next blog post.


Meanwhile, stay tuned for the kick-off of our first reader campaign in February 2021 – one of the many ways Cuisine Noir readers and GFDI donors can support the work that Williams and her team are so passionate about doing that has been life-changing for so many over the last 11 years.

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