Michele Harrington is an educated, beautiful and Black woman captivating the minds of influential people. As a serial entrepreneur who co-founded VIOLA in 2011 with her husband and former NBA player Al Harrington, Michele embodies consistency with an informative approach.
VIOLA is one of the nation’s largest Black owned premium cannabis brands where Michele focus centered on brand partnerships, multicultural marketing and philanthropy.
Since her arrival as the new Head of Strategic Partnerships and becoming a participating investor at Foria, Michele continues to break down barriers in all communities with CBD wellness product Foria.
Without Michele, Black women wouldn’t take on what is perceived as the impossible in fields dominated by men who have the leverage to promote lucrative products.
Who can do it like this Black Queen in Women’s History Month?
The successful mogul spoke with us about how Foria took her by a funny surprise since leaving the medical field in Indiana.
“At the time… I didn’t know much about CBD because we had started our business in THC. So…I wasn’t very familiar about the non psycho-reactive side of marijuana. He (Al Harrington) brought it home and was like let’s use this and I asked him questions about it he didn’t know. Upon further investigation on my end I realized wow this is all organic,” Michele said. “The testimonies on Foria will have you wanting to use it. The testimonies are out of this world. The feedback that we get on the product is crazy.”
Michele explained Foria’s health and wellness while debunking the myths of CBD deriving from a “high” assumption common in mainstream media.
“By law you’re only allowed to have 0.3 percent THC in your CBD products and some of that THC after extensive testing goes undetected. So…it’s not going to get you high you’re just going to pretty much get the pain relieving and the medicinal benefits from the plant without the high.”
Less than 26 states legalized Marijuana and the health conditions of women in prison or public revealed why CBD should be at their disposal. Michele believes all women should be supplied for the right purpose along with getting Foria in the NBA and WNBA for athletes.
“I honestly believe that women everywhere need to be able to have access to CBD products. Rather they’re in jail or not…it being illegal federally…some states aren’t legalized. Jail in general will not let you have Marijuana in it. I think as we become more educated you know like even in the NBA… the NBPA has a partnership with our CBD line. I think that’s just the first step into changing this narrative the more education we have. The biggest step is getting the NBA to approve it and then it kind of trickles down from there.”
Women deal with multiple issues and Michele saw the vision Foria provided that was vital for necessary change.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of Foria is because so many women are living in a perpetual cycle of chronic pain. They don’t know these products exist and I consider menstrual cramps chronic pains because think about it. They’re once a month, every month… for a long time. I mean 80 percent of people who menstruate have menstrual cramps and if you add in 10 percent of the population having vaginismus, endometriosis…fibroids. It doesn’t have to be this way and with Foria it bridges that gap and gives that pain relief to address all these issues. Statically In 2014, there were more than 20 FDA approved drugs for men sexual wellness and their sexual challenges and none for women. But we’re the ones who reach orgasm 20 to 50 percent less than men do. I think that Foria is closing a pleasure gap and with wellness, with intimacy and with relief.”
During Al Harrington’s NBA career, he wasn’t a smoker and there’s been a long debate about the use of cannabis to help with athletes stress or injuries. One product on Foriawellness.com is believed by Michele to shift the sports world where drug-use policies could be re-evaluated.
“We just launched a Relief Salve and I think it’s going to change the game for athletes. We have a relief salve which is used topical and when you use it through the epidermis, when you use it through the skin…it relieves the pain on sight. So if you are working out, playing basketball, playing tennis or whatever your sport is, you can use it topically and get the relief without any side effects…which is huge. I’m married to an athlete who’s had numerous surgeries and I think it’s huge for our community. It’s huge for the industry to have that topical relief on sight without having to have a cortisone shot.”
This power couple defines Black owned excellence and with a product like Foria, many people will be at ease to calm their daily stress life. Michele’s savvy marketing expertise is a way of life and the greatest education anyone can ever receive is from a Black woman.