They say that laughter is good for the soul, but it can also be a cure for some of our deepest pain. After the unexpected loss of her husband, Entrepreneur and Tech Founder, Tenisha Mercer’s journey exemplifies the power of laughter through the pain.
She is a leader in the tech space, managing digital marketing and branding, user experience and social media for Verizon, The Home Depot, Sears, NCR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Yellow Pages, and small businesses around the world.
In 2017, Tenisha created a popular Black culture social media outlet that focuses on politics, pop culture and comedy, Black Ass News.
She is widowed with three children in college and is originally from Detroit.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Someone who overcame a lot and had to learn how to love every inch of me.
What do you do for a living?
Tech is my 9 to whenever. I also own a few small businesses – a security company and I’m a digital marketing consultant.
What is the story behind your brand and podcast, Black Ass News?
Black Ass News officially got started in the summer of 2017, but it actually got stared before that. Originally, my late husband and I were going to do this as a couple. He was always the quiet comedian and I was always the one on social media making people laugh. I finally got him to agree to do it in the summer of 2016, but he became ill that fall and passed away of complications of diabetes in early 2017, before we could get the chance.
I was still grieving his death when I decided to name my brand, Black Ass News. It was a difficult time for me adjusting and the comedy posted daily on Facebook lifted my spirits and made me laugh at a time when I really did not have a lot to laugh about. I had a lot going on. I was a widow after 21 years of marriage, with a son in college and 2 daughters in high school at that time and was just trying to figure out everything after being very lost and confused after losing him after a short illness.
BAN was my homage to him. He’d want me to keep laughing. I had been a journalist for nearly 20 years, so BAN was like me creating my own community on my own terms on Facebook. It was my opportunity to finally have my own voice and unique brand of appropriately inappropriate humor for the world to see, along with pop culture, news, politics, and commentary, which fit my news background.
BAN saved me. Laughter saved me from a dark place, and I believe comedy is therapy. I got started totally by accident: Writing comedy and posting funny memes and videos that others created, with my take on them. I was just trying to make people laugh while they were at work. And I also wanted to get people to buy body wraps and health products I was selling at the time and I needed eyeballs on social media. It didn’t work. People told me they loved to see my posts to laugh, but they didn’t like the products I sold that much.
It got to the point that people didn’t want to buy the MLM products I sold, but they wanted me to make more jokes and keep them laughing. So that’s what I did.
I started a Facebook group, kept people laughing on my personal page, and the podcast. Books are planned this year, as well as more video content to expand the brand. I’m excited about what the future holds for BAN. All of this has grown organically, but it feels so natural to me — like this is what I’m supposed to do.
How do you think self-love plays a role in success?
It’s an important component. You don’t get what you think you don’t deserve. That begins with self-love.
Have you had any adversities that you’ve had to overcome to achieve the success you have now?
I grew up in Detroit, in a middle-class family. I saw what the area where I lived did to people — the positive and the negative. Detroit made me hustle harder. It made me want it more. My life in itself is a statistic. Born to a single teenage mother, in the hood. I wasn’t supposed to do any of the things that I set out to do. I believe I’ve always had a calling on my life — and I’m also stubborn as hell. I’ve never gone the easy route. was a journalist at 17 years old in a newsroom with very few people who looked like me. I was just doing what I wanted to do. Growing up where I did and how I did prepared me for everything and anything.
My early experiences fully prepared me for what I do now — as one of the few Black women in tech.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
My three kids are my best and brightest accomplishments. They are all in college — 22, 21 and 19. They inspire and motivate me to be a better me.
What inspires you to keep growing and going?
I’m always looking to grow and do more than what I think I can do. I’m always looking to stretch myself. Writing books scares the hell out of me. Videos scare the hell out of me, too. But scared money doesn’t make money! I never saw Black Ass News doing any of this. I was just trying to make myself laugh to get through a dark place. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Black Ass News. I started it purely out of enjoyment. But now I’m purposely guiding it to make it grow and reach more people while continuing the goal of making it a place for Black people to laugh, exhale, rest, learn, and love ourselves! We know who our audience is and that they’re hungry for the type of content we provide — information that makes them think, laugh, and keeps them informed and entertained.