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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

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    Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. at Florida International University spearhead a clean-up on South Beach in Miami after partying all day.

    Members of a historic Black Greek Letter Organization is getting noticed for their work of cleaning up during their Spring Break trip.

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    While on Spring Break during Miami, the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at Florida International University spearheaded a volunteer effort to clean up after a day of partying on South Beach . 22-year-old Jourdan Triana and his frat brothers, after a day of partying noticed mess on the beach and started cleaning it up. What started with about 15 brothers, eventually led to other volunteers and taking notice.

    “It doesn’t take much to pick up after yourself after partying,” said Triana, who is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in a interview with the Miami Herald.“You can have fun and also do the right thing.”

    The effort of these men eventually led to a few dozen volunteers to help clean up.

    Releasing a statement Monday, the city’s administration thanked the fraternity for the nice gesture:

    “The city of Miami Beach is grateful to Florida International University’s Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for leading the beach clean up effort after a day filled with Spring Break activities. We hope all visitors follow suit by keeping Miami Beach clean when visiting our beautiful beaches.”


    Kudos to these men (and my frat brothers) on doing great work!
    **********************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    8 Black girls were reported missing over a week ago, and little seems to have been done about it.

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    On Saturday, March 12th, twitter user @BlackMarvelGirl sent out a series of tweets highlighting the Black girls missing that have gotten little coverage and have yet to spark much of a national outrage.

    "It takes 3.2 secs to retweet and help find these 8 BLACK GIRLS reported missing in Washington, D.C. during the past three days."

    The 8 girls were reported missing in Washington D.C. over the previous 72 hours before the tweet. The young girls range between the ages of 13-16. They are listed as following:
    15-year-old Dayana White, was last seen in the 100 Block of Ivanhoe Street, Southwest on Friday, March 3, 2017.

    16-year-old Talisha Coles, was last seen on the 1000 Block of Maryland Avenue, Northeast on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

    15-year-old Morgan Richardson, was last seen on the 1900 Block of Massachusetts Ave, S.E. on Monday, March 6, 2017.

    13-year-old Yahshaiyah Enoch, was last seen on the 5000 Block of Kimi Gray Court, S.E. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

    13-year-old Taylor Innis, was last seen on the 4700 Block of 5th Street, N.W. on Friday, March 10, 2017.

    15-year-old Jacqueline Lassey, was last seen on the 1200 Block of Morse Street, N.E. on Friday, March 10, 2017.

    13-year-old Aniya McNeil, was last seen on the 1100 Block of New Jersey Ave, N.W. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

    15-year-old Dashann Trikia Wallace, was last seen on the 200 Block of I Street, S.E. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.


    According to D.C. Police, more than 10 Black and Latinx girls have gone missing over the past week. With the exception of a few media outlets like Essence, Teen Vogue, The Grio and The Root, this issue has been mostly ignored by mainstream media. This issue is being called Missing White Woman Syndrome, and refers to consistent outrage of missing white women, while blatantly ignoring the same scenarios for women of color.

    The report, highlighted by Syracuse University's NewHouse School of Public Communications defines it as the following: "The tendency for news media to confer importance and urgency upon the disappearance of some girls and women but not others."

    In 2014, News One reported that their were currently 64,000 Black women missing in the United States. The number refers to the number of Black women who have gone missing in America over the Black decade.

    If it weren't for the series of tweets above by @MarvelBlackGirl, these Black girls may have gone largely ignored. But it is up to us to share their stories.

    What can we do to help spread the word? What do you think is going on that causes so many Black women to go missing unnoticed?
    ********************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Pictured, Saada Ahmed, Co-founder of Everyday Ppl

    In 2012, Saada Ahmed, co-founded the popular brunch Everyday Ppl. Since it's launch in New York, the popular brunch/day party has traveled across the country to cities like DC, Philly, LA, Chicago, Miami and several others.

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    The popular day party has grown tremendously, amassing nearly 50K followers on Instagram. But most importantly, it has sparked a trend of day parties across the country. "We started off in 2012, me, Roble and Moma. just creating a space for our friends to hang out during the day. Network....I did it for fun. I didn't have any incentive like to make money or anything," says Ahmed.

    But as more success comes, often comes challenges.

    In a recent interview with Revolt TV, Ahmed shares challenges of overcoming social anxiety, doubt and fears and she gains more success.

    "I have a lot of social anxiety. Anxiety in general. It's been a learning process on how to handle people, and like realizing what's genuine and what's not. Having really good people around me, like my cousin, she's kinda like my mentor. She checks me," says Ahmed.

    "I've shown up each time and I've seen that I'm capable, but sometimes you just get insecure," she continues. "Sometimes you don't wanna get out of bed, and you don't wanna write an email. And you don't want people to be upset with you cause you didn't write that email on time."


    Watch Ahmed's interview below.



    What challenges have you had with overcoming anxiety? What have you done to overcome it?
    ****************************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Written by Olivia Harvey of Diary of A Maverick

    Here's the winning combination to growing a long and thick afro.

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    'Olivia, why are you writing this blog? There is already so much information on YouTube.' Over the past month, I've discussed with a few of my curl friends, hair care, growth and damage. I realized that they didn't know the fundamental points that every natural must know in order to grow that desired long and thick afro. So ladies and gents this is for you.

    Growing hair is a dynamic balance between length retention and stimulating hair growth from the scalp. In order to retain length you must prevent breakage from the ends of your strands. This post is going to easily guide you through these important principles.

    Hair growth is a cycle. So no, not all of your hair stands are always growing. Hair has pre-rest phase called catagen which lasts around 2 weeks. And a rest/ shedding phase called telogen, which last around 4 months. Many of you are probably thinking, 'if that's true, surely I should have gone through points where I was bald then?' Your strands go through this cycle at different points in time, so the majority of your strands are currently in their growing phase (anagen), which lasts between 4 and 7 years.

    The average speed of hair growth is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch per month. So if your hair grows at its maximum rate and you somehow miraculously manage to retain all of this length (no hair breakage), you can grow 3 to 6 inches per year.

    Encouraging hair growth

    1) Scalp Massage- Something that I have added to my hair regimen only very recently and have already seen the benefits. Massaging the scalp stimulates blood flow to your hair follicles. You can simply massage the scalp with your fingers alone, or you can also use oils, you also have the option of heating these oils first and then massaging them into the scalp.

    2)Shampoo- Now I know that some naturals are dead set on co-washing (using solely conditioner or a product called co-wash). However, cleaning the scalp is important (getting rid of product build up which can stifle hair growth). However I do agree that a sulfate shampoo depleted afro hair of its moisture. Around two years ago I traded my weekly sulfate shampoo for a sulfate-free shampoo and never looked back. I remember my friends commenting that my hair looked shinier and my stands felt significantly softer. However, I still use a sulfate shampoo after I remove a protective style (e.g. box braids) or when I notice a significant build up of products in my hair and I want that extra deep clean.

    3)Vitamins- A vitamin deficiency could be the reason that your hair is not growing. My advice? Go to your General Practitioner and get checked out. I have suffered with iron deficiency multiple types and when my iron is low, I notice I do not get any hair growth. If your results come back clear, but you notice that your hair is not growing, try taking a multivitamin. I suggest Holland and Barrett; where you can buy vitamins and minerals to your hearts content.

    4) Food- 'You are what you eat.' Extremely cliché, but extremely true. Having a balanced diet will certainly help with hair growth. Make sure you are getting enough portions of fruits and vegetables. There are also foods that are linked with hair growth such as pulses, nuts and salmon.

    5) Water- Your body needs water! Dehydration is not the way forward if you're trying to grow that thick and long fro. Your circulatory system needs water- we need blood flow to those hair follicles. It's going to help and just think if it doesn't help your hair, your skin will probably become flawless and you'll probably eat less food (we often mistake hunger for thirst), so you may tone up a bit too. Basically it's a win-win situation!

    Retaining that length

    1) Don't neglect your grandparents!- This is at the top of the list when it comes to maintaining that length. You ends are the most fragile part of your hair strands, because they're the oldest part of your hair strands. Just think of them as the grandparents of your hair strands, you need to treat them with respect if you want to get anywhere in life. So concentrate that product there, for example, every other day lovingly apply some shea butter or caster oil to those ends.

    2) MOISTURISE! LOC- Liquid Oil Cream. This is basically the natural ABC to retaining length. It's self- explanatory! Apply your liquid for example spritz your hair with water. Apply oil to you strands. Why not start with a start with a scalp massage, move along your strands, then make your don't neglect your ends? Then finish by applying a leave in conditioner of curling cream. This method usually leaves me hair fully moisturised for 3 days (this may vary for you depending on your hair porosity, thickness and what products you are using).

    3) Trims- So you've probably heard conflicting messages regarding this one. My advice? If you've never trimmed your ends begin today, or if you don't trust yourself, find yourself a trusted professional. Then observe your ends on a regular basis, when you see split ends trim again. See how much time it takes split ends to appear and then trim your hair using this time boundary. (I've can count the amount of trims I've had in my life, I need to take this advise too).

    4) Let go of that heat damage!- Sometimes in life we have to let go of things. For a natural who wants to maintain that length, heat damage should be at the top of the list. I've suffered with heat damage around twice since going natural and trying to make it blend with the rest of my afro strands is a massive challenge. Cut that heat damage off! It's not cute! And it's just further damaging your hair. Just let go!

    5) Deep condition- I try to deep condition on a weekly basis. I'm not fortunate enough to have a hooded dryer. However deep conditioning with heat will give the best results. Buy a deep conditioner- there has been a lot of hype of the Shea Moisture deep conditioners and I must say they're worth the hype and the price. But any deep conditioner will do!

    6) Protective styling- So we've already talked about not neglecting those ends. As well as moisturising your ends on a regular basis, you should also try to protect those ends often if you want to retain your length. Protective styling can be achieved with you own hair e.g. twists, buns or can be achieved with hair that did not grow out of your scalp (real or synthetic) e.g. box braids, marley twists, wigs, weaves.

    Have you tried any of this? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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    Google announced that it is developing a college campus at its Mountain View campus to specifically train more historically black college/university graduates.

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    The inaugural program is expected to launch this summer with Howard University, known as the "Mecca" of HBCU's. It will take in approximately 25-30 rising juniors and seniors at Howard currently majoring in computer science. The program is expected to last approximately 12 weeks and will be taught by Google senior executives and Howard faculty members.

    "Howard West will continue Howard's tradition of providing historically unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a 21st century twist: Literal real estate at the center of the digital economy," Bonita Stewart, Google's vice president of global partnerships, said in a statement.

    This new program will take place at existing Google offices. Google's goal is to open Howard West to other HBCU grads by 2018.

    Last year, Howard graduated 18 students in computer science, according to SF Chronicle. Google claims that neither Howard is being paid or vice versa in the development of this program.

    A 2015 report showed that Blacks only make up approximately 5% of the tech industry. It also showed that Google staff only represents 1% Blacks, Facebook 1%, Apple 6% and HP leading the charge at 15%. And while the current U.S. census shows Blacks at approximately 13% of the U.S. population, there's still more work to be done. But this new initiative between Google and HBCU's could be a great start.

    What are your thoughts on this new campus created by Google? How can we increase the amount of Black coders?
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    by Mary Wolff

    We all want healthy, beautiful curls. One of the best ways to make sure hair stays this way is by protecting it from harmful ingredients in the products you use every day. One of the biggest offenders is added fragrances in shampoo. When looking for an easy way to help make hair healthier, avoiding fragrances in shampoos is a pretty quick fix. Still need some convincing? Here are a few reasons you should be avoiding fragrances in shampoos.

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    1. The fragrances added to shampoos are often artificial, meaning they are created using chemicals in a lab. For example, there are fragrances made to smell like lavender and they don’t actually have any trace of lavender in the formula. Some of these “fragrances” can have literally thousands of chemical ingredients just to create the desired smell.

    2. Artificial fragrances penetrate beyond the surface of skin and the skin on the scalp in particular. These chemicals are only supposed to be used topically, but studies have shown that many penetrate that barrier in large amounts. When you consider the fact that up to 60% of what you put on your skin actually penetrates beyond the skin surface according to Pour le Monde, you have to wonder what that does to your body and where that buildup of toxins ends up. To read more about the way skin absorbs fragrance, check out this article.

    3. Added fragrances that are artificial are often harmful. While natural fragrances are unlikely to cause any damage, chemical fragrances may have a negative impact on health. There are some suggestions that a buildup of artificial chemicals in the body can create the right environment for cancer. While there is still research to confirm or deny this, why take that risk? There are a few already confirmed results about the dangers of added fragrances which can be found in this Huffington Post article.

    It is important to remember that many fragrances are listed by the EPA as harmful and the fragrance industry is known to find loopholes that make it possible to continue using them even with the harmful health effects. You should also note that cancer is caused by several factors combined and not just the use of chemicals. This unique relationship is why it is hard to say a chemical definitely causes cancer in most cases, but there are many chemicals that are known to cause cancer when used in high concentrations, regardless of any outside influences that also contribute to cancer, such as stress, poor diet, or lack of exercise.  For a more detailed explanation of this concept, read this helpful article from Physicians For Social Responsibility.

    4. Some people experience irritation or excessive dryness when using shampoos with added fragrance. The scalp is a sensitive part of the body and bombarding it with chemicals can only lead to trouble and discomfort.

    So, what does this mean for buying your next bottle of shampoo? You should check your labels! When choosing a shampoo, there are many options that are fragrance-free to make it even easier. These products will not be completely without scent in most cases, but the scent will be natural instead of chemical. You should also check to see if a fragrance is in the top five. If  a fragrance is listed in the first five ingredients, you may want to skip that one. If a product has an ingredient listing of fragrance, parfum, or perfume, skip it because that is most likely synthetic fragrance instead of naturally occurring fragrance.

    When it comes to taking care of yourself, it is important to know about the ingredients in your hair care products. Knowing the why and how of protecting yourself from harmful additives is easy!

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    11-year-old Matthew Smith to become the youngest conductor in the world of a 75-piece orchestra.

    This 11-year-old boy hopes to make history as the youngest conductor of a 75-piece orchestra.

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    U.K. born Matthew Smith is a music prodigy who will become the youngest conductor to ever lead an orchestra of this size. And while Smith has only been practicing for a few weeks, he's already a Grade 5 standard violinist. He also plays the guitar, drums, viola and piano.

    On April 2nd, Matthew Smith will make his debut at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, where he will conduct the city's orchestra, performing Johann Staruss' operetta Die Fledermaus. If successful, he will break the previous record of 14-year-old boy who previously directed a Venezuelan youth orchestra.

    Smith first drew inspiration for the idea after watching a video of a 7-year-old conducting a 9-minute video piece. “I’d seen a video of a young child conducting the nine-minute piece and really wanted to give it a go. I managed to conduct the whole thing a few weeks later," he told the London Economic.

    "At first I was nervous, but you just get used to doing it, but the thing is, you just have to keep counting the beats."

    Smith appears pretty confident that he'll be successful. “I have been practicing a lot and can now conduct the whole piece from memory and I’m really excited to put my skills to the test and conduct a real orchestra.”

    What are your thoughts after watching the video of 11-year-old Matthew Smith?
    ************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    by Mary Wolff
    Spring is a season of new beginnings and your style should reflect it. It is also a time of year when your dating life may be back in full swing thanks to the weather finally warming up. If you are looking for a new ‘do to step up your game on date night, here are the 10 best spring date hair styles for natural hair.

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    1. Crown Braid
    This is a fun and flirty look perfect for date night. Easy to create, it is a protective style that shows off the beauty of your natural hair. This look is perfect for any type of date, but especially outdoor dates where you might not want your hair blowing in your face. Here is a quick tutorial on creating this stylish option.



    2. Boho Inspired
    The Boho style is a playful one that plays up texture by letting curls hang loosely at the bottom with a half up, half down look. It is a great way to show off those curls on date night! This look is perfect for a traditional movie and dinner date or anything the night has in store. Here are two variations on this style to guide you.



    3. Twisted Tuck N Pin 
    When you need a look that is date ready, this look is stylish and easy. It works well with hair already in braids and lets you mix up your style from daytime to nighttime quickly to help you get out the door on time and looking flawless. Since this is a protective style, it is good for outdoor dates like a picnic in the park. Here is how to achieve this fun, flirty style.



    4. Vintage Updo
    Perfect for elegant dinners and dates requiring a fancy tone, this look is feminine and fierce in equal measure. It gives your look a lot of volume and is easy to create. Here is my favorite vintage look.


    5. Curly Bangs and Faux Bun 
    Bringing the best of your texture to the forefront, this look lets you show off your texture in a fun, playful style. This youthful, flirty style is perfect for any type of date and works well with any look you are trying to pull together. Here is how to create this look for yourself.



    6. T-shirt Halo Curls 
    This look might take a little bit more time, but the results are the perfect mix of romantic and playful. The style doesn’t require the use of heat or a lot of products. It is easy to do and you get voluminous body and curls with a dramatic edge. This look is perfect for those nights when you want to turn up the heat and let your curls do the talking. Here is how to get this look.



    7. Braid Out 
    Another look that lets you leave your hair down to show off your curls, this style is modern and sleek. It is another overnight look so plan ahead if you want to rock this style on your next date. Find out more here.


    8. Twisted Heart
    For a romantic look that is flattering to many face shapes, this look is a timeless choice. The often rainy weather of spring is a great time to wear a more protective style and this one easily goes from day to night without adjusting. Here’s how to achieve this sweet and flirty look.


    9. Twisted FroHawk 
    When you want an edgy style to show off your sassy side, this look is a no-brainer. It says you are a woman comfortable with being in control. This style works with just about every texture and is perfect for any type of adventure you have in mind for date night. Achieve the look with this tutorial below.



    10. Twist Side 
    This look lets your texture take center stage while still giving you a way to keep hair pulled out of your face. It is similar to a simple ponytail, but it is date night ready with a sleek appeal. It is both youthful and sophisticated in equal measure. Get the look here.



    Date night in the spring can offer a lot of versatility in the styles available for curlies. Turn heads all season with these stylish options!


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    Photo courtesy of Afro State of Mind

    by Mary Wolff

    If you have type 4 hair, you know the importance of proper hair care. This hair type is known for being fragile in terms of breakage and needs a considerable amount of TLC to stay strong, beautiful, and healthy. When it comes to styling type 4 hair, there are a few great methods and tips that have been tried and tested by the curly community. Here are a few of my favorites for styling type 4 hair!

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    1. Battle Moisture Loss
    With type 4 hair, your curls are prone to moisture loss at a faster rate than your fellow curlies with type 2 or 3 hair. When trying to style your hair, it will be much easier to get your desired look if your strands are properly moisturized. Curly girls should use a daily moisturizer, and in some cases twice a day, to make sure their strands are protected from moisture robbing elements. A lot of curlies think heavy moisturizers mean heavier hydration, but there are a lot of options that are lighter and won’t weigh your curls down while still packing a hydrating punch. A few of my favorites are ApHogee Curlific! Moisture Rich Leave-In when I want something light and Soultanicals Fluff-A-Licious Curl Nutricious for something a little on the heavier side. Need help deciding which products to try for your hair type?  This article talks about every need for type 4 hair. 

    2. Combat Curl Shrinkage 
    Shrinkage is another common concern for type 4 hair and it can quickly ruin your styling efforts. When it comes to combating this pesky enemy, you can choose a few options like banding which stretches your hair out to avoid losing any length or blow drying at the roots to maximize volume while expanding the follicles with heat. There are even products aimed at helping you fight the battle of shrinkage. Check out Organic Root Stimulator Curls Unleashed Curl Defining Crème which helps to stimulate hair at the roots to combat shrinkage.

    3. Wash and Go For the Win! 
    When it comes to styling type 4 hair, the wash and go is still a great option. With your hair type and texture, you most likely have the type of hair that looks great without trying anything too involved or fancy. This is why the wash and go method is a great thing to master for type 4 hair. Here are a few great videos to help you get the hang of things.

    4. Avoid the Rut 
    Just because the wash and go can be a curly girl’s go-to doesn’t mean you should let yourself get in a style rut! Your hair is just as versatile as the other curly types and there are a ton of cute styles to experiment with. This video below shows a few of my favorite styles that are trendy and easy to do.

    Share your thoughts after trying these tips!


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    The documentary City of Joy about the first class of women students at a leadership in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will be shown at the 41st Annual Atlanta Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Access Atlanta.
    Written by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com

    "Masterpiece.""Brilliant!""A must see."

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    Most of the year's best movies got their start at film festivals. Before becoming an Oscar winner, Moonlight took top honors at film festivals around the country--and now, films for and by women will take their turn.

    The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is the place for women to premiere the next blockbuster. Over the course of 10 days, over 100 films, many directed by, featuring, and starring women of color, will be shown at Atlanta's oldest celebration of cinema. “This year, we’re very proud to say that over half of our programming is directed by women,” said ATLFF’s marketing director Cameron McAllister.

    For the last four decades, the Academy Award qualifying festival has been showcasing new independent, international, animated, documentary, and short films to audiences. Out of the 60,000 submissions from around the world, many of this year's top picks have Black women at the helm. "Nearly 40 percent of the films are directed by people of color,” says McAllister. “That’s something we’re really proud of, especially with Atlanta being such a diverse city.”

    One of the most gripping is Waiting for B, the story of a group of die hard fans who camp outside in the streets near Brazil's San Paola arena awaiting for the chance to be closer to Beyonce--two months in advance.
    Screenshot from the documentary Waiting For B 
    The Festival's week-long Creative Conference features more than 40 panels designed to inspire the next generation of filmmakers--teaching them everything about the biz, from screenwriting to producing to funding and distribution. This means more films telling our stories will be hitting the big screen.

    With 85% of the ATLFF's programming created by women, there's something for everyone. Catch the films and festival events at Atlanta's Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, the Plaza, and 7 Stages, along with other sites around the city. The Atlanta Film Festival kicked off on March 24, 2017 and continues through April 2, 2017. You can purchase tickets at atlantafilmfestival.com.
    *******************************************
    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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    Thinking of launching your own boutique? Or perhaps you already have one and need some help rebranding? There's a one-stop shop for that, and it's called The Brand Box.

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    The Brand Box is an all-exclusive branding package that meets businesses where they're at. The package includes web and logo design, print branding, the ultimate business check list, and 60-days of hands on support.

    In 2012, CEO Adrienne D. Hill saw an opportunity to give other rising boutiques affordable marketing and branding resources. In mid-2013 she launched Brand My Boutique, and saw immediate success from hundreds of boutiques across the nation.

    Her company sees themselves as experts—no matter where you are on the journey—whether you have an existing brand, researching and ready to execute, nervous about stepping out on faith, or simply have no idea about the first place to start.

    Hill calls Brand My Boutique the "Siri of Business and Branding."



    Since launching the company five years ago, she's worked with hundreds of brands across 40 + countries, including April McCrae of VH1's Sorority Sisters,The Six Figure Chick and several others.

    "We have realized that our most successful clients have been consistent with their branding—utilizing a multitude of our products to construct and maintain their brand presence in-store, online, and during the unpacking experience," said Hill in a statement issues to CurlyNikki.com. She continues, "We also understand that no matter how dope your branding is, if you don't build a solid foundation, IT WILL FAIL. We've seen this happen too much over the years, and we have the power to change that. Through educational components and supplemental branding packages that makes sense, that is what we intend to do!"
    Pictured, Adrienne Hill, creator of The Brand Box
    The Brand Box is currently available for $2,499. You can purchase it here.


    What are your thoughts on The Brand Box? Share in the comments section.
    *******************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    The Dance Theatre of Harlem is showcasing the power of diversity through a new short film that highlights Black ballet dancers.

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    High Above is a short film that takes us through the death of a Black girls grandmother, ultimately inspiring her to want to dance. The short piece reminds us of just how much the power of representation has on our youth. Grammy-award winning artist India Arie provides the soundtrack for the music, which also happens to be her lead single.

    The 4-minute piece is a promotional piece for Dance Theatre of Harlem's spring engagement at New York City Center which takes place from April 19-22nd.



    Watch it below and share your thoughts in the comment section.
    *****************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Pictured, Vitiligo model, Carlene AJ

    Last week, poet Khloe Dosh took to Instagram to highlight the struggles of living with Vitiligo in a 60-second video.

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    Dosh starts off with a very powerful quote. "Ignorance is bliss. That's how the saying goes. Right?" She continues. "But what is blissful about a society treating your skin as if it will bite?"

    Her video highlights the power in recognizing women of all shades who struggle with confidence of feeling beautiful, with a particular emphasis on women with vitiligo.

    Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition that causes the skin to lose color, with patches of lighter skin appearing. It occurs when pigment-producing cells die, or stop functioning. Nearly 1% of the world's population are affected by vitiligo.

    Models such as Winnie Harlow have used their platforms to speak up against the condition and how it has, and still impacts their life. Harlow also shared the video, which was originally shared on Dosh's Instagram page with the message below:

    "I get so many people reaching out saying "people covering their pimples, vitiligo freckles etc. they need to be more confident like you". But why shame someone for what makes them happy? But IT'S NOT just about "Vitiligo"!!!!!!!!!! We live in a time of social media, where everyone with a keyboard thinks they have the right to a negative opinion or to judge each other when really the best use of our platforms are empathy, understanding & support. We all have insecurities, and we are different and yet so much alike."

    Watch the clip below and share your thoughts in the comments section.
    ▶️PRESS PLAY WITH SOUND ▶️ 🗣TAG SOMEONE WITH VITILIGO model @carlene_AJ ❌POEM BY @khloedosh ❌MODEL IS AWARE OF HOW BEAUTIFUL SHE IS NATURALLY . THIS VIDEO WAS MEANT TO INFORM AND ALSO SHOW HOW I COVER ANY MARKS ETC INCASE OF A PHOTOSHOOT OR A DAY WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO LOOK DIFFERENT ❌🤔 ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ Let me clear up a few things for you guys who believe whatever you see or hear on social media . 1. EVERYONE DOES NOT SUPPORT EACH OTHER . Some of the worst critics are the ones giving testimonies 2. I AM MYSELF . 3. Any inspiration I've ever had , or used has been credited and always will . You can find me in comments praising work of fellow artists , liking pictures etc . 4. I DO NOT RESEARCH OR BRAINSTORM any of the words in my videos . I went to school for journalism and writing and it's always been my passion . I decided to incorporate it into my videos after realizing the amount of people I can help . 5. Every word said in my videos are from the top of my head , and the bottom of my heart . ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ ❌❌❌MAKEUP DETAILS ❌❌❌ @lagirlcosmetics peach corrector, pro concealer in "Fawn " and foundation in "toast " @hudabeauty liquid matte lippie in "showgirl" @blackradiance contour palette "medium to dark " @forever21 matte eyeshadow palette ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ Don't let social media get to your head . There's a bigger picture . Credit should always be given where it is due however inspiration comes from all over the world , as it should . NOONE "came up " with it and more should do it . @makeupforblackwomen @makeupformelaningirls @fakeupfix @fakeuproom @cocoaswatches
     A post shared by K H L O E D O S H (@khloedosh) on
    **********************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Written by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com

    She went to work, like any other morning. Grabbed her coffee, meticulously applied her makeup, and started her day. She was strong, capable, ready to take over the world. And then, it happened.

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    When Maxine Waters and Alicia Ryan started their morning, they had no idea that a regular workday would soon turn into a powerful hashtag. Last night, #BlackWomenAtWork went viral.

    During a segment on the morning's episode of Fox & Friends, a clip of Waters giving a passionate speech was shown to Bill O'Reilly--who made ugly remarks about the congresswoman's hair. “I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig," he said.

    Later in the day, reporter April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks posed a question about Russia to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who responded by asking her not to shake her head at him.
    "April, hold on, it seems like you're hell-bent on trying to make that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," he said. "I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again," he added.

    Ms. Ryan is the same reporter, who when asking Donald Trump if he planned to speak with the Congressional Black Caucus was asked, "Do you want to set up a meeting? Are they friends of yours?"

    “Today, we were told a Black woman's hair matters more than her voice, and our choices are under the control of others, tweeted activist Brittany Packnett. “This happens to Black women everyday at work. Share your Maxine and April moments, so people don't think this is rare."


    Twitter exploded as black women shared their experiences in the workplace.


    Stories about being seen as "intimidating," not taken seriously, and comments about hair were shared as #BlackWomenAtWork became the number one trending topic.


    I'm 5 feet tall. 90 pounds. Former cheerleader. Told I was intimidating and off-putting by colleague on third day. #BlackWomenAtWork
    — Ms. M (@ToriJoi) March 28, 2017

    Packett acknowledged that both incidents were unacceptable--but that they happen almost every day. “I’m surrounded everyday by brilliant, confident, incredible black professional women who get demeaned despite their prowess. Today, I was over it,” she told The Huffington Post. “I have deep and abiding respect for Congresswoman Waters and Ms. Ryan who are both trailblazers in their fields. They are to be respected, just like every other black woman who rises each day to contribute to this society in ways that are all-too-often taken for granted.”

    Thousands of women told their stories, spurred on by Congresswoman Waters' tweet that reminded us all of the strength and tenacity of Black women even in the face of adversity. “I am a strong Black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I'm not going anywhere. #BlackWomenAtWork.”


    Have you been marginalized at work? Share your story in the comments.
    ***********************************
    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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    by Mary Wolff

    The journey to embracing your natural hair can be a challenging road to travel. If you are thinking of turning back or are convinced relaxed hair is better than natural hair, there are a few negatives to relaxed hair that you need to know. These negatives to relaxed hair might just help you make a more informed decision for the health of your curls.
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    1. Weaker Strands
    If you regularly relax your naturally curly hair, you are adding a lot of damaging chemicals or heat to your hair. From relaxer creams to flat irons to kill your curls, all of this adds up to weaker strands. One of the biggest negatives to relaxed hair is how vulnerable your strands will become to breakage. The chemicals and the heat are known to naturally wear down the keratin and proteins in hair over time so it will be weaker and more prone to breakage.

    2. Dryness and Damage Galore 
    Similar to the above negative, dryness and damage are a big part of relaxed hair. The chemicals in relaxers are killing your curls, and your strands will still go through the stages of damage. One of the biggest damages is dryness. The harsh chemicals, as well as heat if that is your method of choice for straightening hair, zaps hair of its natural moisture. While you can replenish some of hair’s natural moisture with the right products, you are unlikely to be able to properly replace all of the moisture lost.

    3. Harder to Achieve Length 
    Hair that is damaged may take longer to grow since the hair isn’t healthy enough to generate new growth as easily as hair that is properly nourished. Relaxed hair has lost elasticity and therefore is more susceptible to breakage, the natural enemy of hair growth. Generally speaking, relaxed hair is more likely to be unhealthy thanks to all the chemicals, heat, and stress put on strands.

    When it comes down to it, the decision to embrace your natural hair without relaxers is a personal choice every curly must make for themselves. Find the right choice for you with these insights about relaxed hair!

    Share your experiences with transitioning back in the comment section!

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    Ballou High School in Southwest Washington D.C. had the second lowest graduation rate in the D.C. Public Schools system. 57%, only second to Anacostia High School who had a rate of 42%. To make matters worse, last school year, only 3% of Ballou students met reading standards on standardized exams, according to Washington Post. But that didn't stop the Class of 2017 for setting a very ambitious goal.

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    All 190 seniors of the 2017 graduating class at Ballou High School have applied to college this year—a first for one of the city's lowest performing schools.

    "There are some schools and communities where college is an automatic next step. There is no celebration," said Yetunde Reeves, Ballou's principal in an interview with Washington Post. "Our kids don't get that same message. We are trying to create and environment where going to college is what Ballou does as well."

    Located in one of the poorest wards in Washington D.C., every single one of Ballou's 930 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Nevertheless, that didn't stop these students, who all had a goal to attend college.

    Some schools they have applied for include: University of District of Columbia, Tennessee State University and North Carolina A&T State University.

    Ballou was first made popular by the book, "A Hope In The Unseen," a 1998 release that tells the story of Ron Suskind, who overcomes the troubling neighborhood and school with one-goal—to go to college. Suskind would go on to attend Ivy-League institution, Brown University as a first-generation college student.

    And just like Suskind, many other students at Ballou have similar ambitions. 18-year-old Randy Sims has applied to atleast 14 colleges, including Penn State and Virginia State, both schools he's been accepted to. 18-year-old Ayanna Rouse has also applied to just as many schools. This fall, she'll be attending Radford University in Virginia. They both—like Suskind—will be the first in their family to go to college.

    The students set this ambitious goal last spring, and they achieved it.
    Pictured, Jamada Porter, college and career coordinator at Ballou High School in Washington D.C. (Photo: Bill O' Learly/Washington Post
    Less than two years ago, Jamanda Porter joined Ballou's administration staff as a college and career coordinator. The school attributes much of its success to hear. The school is only one of three in the district with a full-time staff member in this position. “We are meeting our students where they are, but we are pushing them to higher expectations,” Porter said.

    And it's working. “Now they have choice. That is the beauty of this entire thing — you get to pick,” says Assistant Principal Straughter. “I am excited about seeing what the acceptance rate is going to be.”

    Congratulations to the Class of 2017 at Ballou High School on becoming the first class to achieve 100% of its students to apply to college.

    Watch the video below and share your thoughts. What will it take to help more lower-income schools reach this goal?

    **************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    by Mary Wolff
    If you have curly hair, you know it is a science to figure out what works best for your hair. You know the importance of keeping hair properly moisturized to lock in hydration, but what about the moisture found in the air naturally? If you have ever wondered how your hair is dry with moisture in the air, read on to find out. This type of moisture isn’t as helpful with hydration as you might hope.

    Continue Reading
    Understanding Humidity
    In the curly hair community, we talk a lot about humidity. It can take a good hair day and ruin it in a matter of minutes. Humid air is air with higher hydrogen molecules present than the air itself. For example, when you hear someone say the humidity is 100% it means the air can’t hold more water molecules because the capacity for hydrogen molecules is at capacity. Remember, the hotter the air, the more water it holds. That is why it is usually so hot before it starts raining.

    How it Affects Hair 
    You know dry air is bad for your hair. Well, moisture loaded air is just as bad. Human hair is sensitive to hydrogen molecules in the air even though you already have smaller amounts of these molecules in your hair. When air is humid and full of hydrogen, the hydrogen molecules from the air will actually form between the existing hydrogen and protein bonds in your strands. These extra water molecules are too much for your hair to absorb and they attach themselves to the keratin bonds, essentially causing hair to swell up which leads to raised cuticles. The raised cuticles bring on the frizz all curlies know all too well.

    Here are a few tips to beat this curly hair foe:
    • Know what to expect! It is always good to know the weather so you can prepare your emotions and your hair for the day ahead. NaturallyCurly's Frizz Forecast is a great tool that uses dew points and humidity levels to tell you what kind of hair to expect.  
    • Pack for the weather. I don’t mean an umbrella, although that is always good to have on hand. On days when the weather might play devil’s advocate with your curls, throw your favorite moisturizer, a silk scarf, and a few hair ties in your bag. With these essentials, you will always be ready! 
    • Adjust your style throughout the day. If you find the weather is wreaking havoc on your curls, there is nothing wrong with changing things up to better protect your curls.
    What challenges have you had with dry hair? Share your thoughts on these tips in the comment section!

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    Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman's life. There are so many changes to look forward to as your body prepares you for motherhood. As the weeks go by and a brand new life grows inside of you, so does your hair.

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    Thanks to a surge in pregnancy hormones, many women notice thicker, shinier strands in those nine months.

    According to The American Pregnancy Association, 90% of our hair usually grows at a normal rate, while the other 10% rests. After the resting stage, about 100 strands are shed daily through brushing and manipulation--but during pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen and androgen lengthen the growing phase, making hair thicker and more lustrous. "The hair basically stays on the head longer because there's a delay in the normal shedding process," says Dr. Jodie Silleri, a Cosmetic Physician and General Practitioner at enRich Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center. "The hormones tend to extend the resting phase of the hair cycle."

    However, the bouncy curls you enjoy during your pregnancy may disappear soon after you welcome your bundle of joy. About 6 to 9 months after you deliver and your hormone levels return to normal, many of the thicker hairs will shed. “Our newly acquired mane starts falling out, and it can be shocking how much volume and luster we lose,” hair loss expert Maria Halasz tells Essence magazine. Some moms may even experience a condition called telogen effluvium, where the entire scalp sheds, causing hair to come out in handfuls. Talk about snatching edges!

    "I have to clean out the drain halfway through a shower because so much is coming out,” says new mom Kara Faulkner-Lee. "Then I have to sweep the floor after I blow-dry because there’s hair everywhere—it’s that bad.” Although your strands may be shedding now, the good news is, it's not permanent. Within a year, your locks (and edges) will be back to normal. “In most cases, post pregnancy alopecia is self-resolving over time,” says Halasz.

    Until your hormones even out, Vitamin E oil, castor oil, and fenugreek--which is also good for breastfeeding moms--can help restore your hair's thickness. “Things will go back to normal, eventually,” says Caroline Ruggiero, a hair specialist and co-owner of Capilia Truly You, a hair-loss treatment clinic in Mississauga, Ontario. “But if the hair growth—or loss—is significant or really bothering you..., you don’t have to just live with it.”
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    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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    Pictured: Morgan Park Mustangs win 2017 Class 3A State Championship in boys basketball.

    On March 18th, Morgan Park High School—located on the Southside of Chicago—won the Class 3A state championship in boys basketball. But the kids still haven't received their rings.

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    School administrators from Morgan Park are reporting that they don't expect to have the money necessary to buy rings for nearly 30 players. "We don't have any money left from our basketball funds for the rings," said Berger, Mustangs' athletic director to DNA Info.

    This isn't the Morgan Park Mustangs first basketball title. They also won in 2013 and 2014. Chicago Public Schools previously helped pay for the rings, but because of severe budget cuts, it didn't happen this year.

    The Athletics director posted a note on Twitter, requesting support and donations to help the students get their rings. It reads:
    Dear Morgan Park Basketball Fans, Parents, and Community Members.
    On March 18, 2017 the Morgan Park Boys Basketball Team won their 3rd State Championship in the last 5 years by beating Fenwick in overtime. In the past, Chicago Public Schools and Morgan Park High School would help in the purchase of State Championship rings for the team and coaches. However, in the severe budget crisis times we are living in no financial help is available form these sources this year in helping with the purchase of rings for the team and coaches.
    We are looking to the Morgan Park Basketball Community for monetary donations so we can make this State Championship just as special for this team as it was for the first two teams. If you are interested in making a donation please call, come in, or email.Michael BergerAthletic DirectorMorgan Park High School1744 W. Prior AveChicago, IL, 60643 
     
    ***************************************
    Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    Breast cancer researcher Dr. Joy McDaniel in the laboratory at Huntsville's HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. McDaniel's work may lead to a new targeted therapy for deadly triple negative breast cancer. (HudsonAlpha photo)
    Written by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com

    Dr. Joy McDaniel was pursuing her PhD when her she lost her best friend. At just 24 years old, breast cancer took her life--making Dr. McDaniel's research "personal."

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    Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, and the rates are rising. A 2015 report from the American Cancer Society reported that not only are more Black women are being diagnosed, we're being diagnosed much later.

    We're also more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form that does not have the three most common receptors for treatment drugs (estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), making it harder to treat.

    “One out of every three breast cancer diagnoses in African American women is triple negative,” Dr. McDaniel told AL.com.

    While the statistics may look bleak, her research has led to a breakthrough that may save millions.

    Metastasis happens when cancer cells develop throughout the body, reproducing and growing. Dr. McDaniel and her team studied the process, learning how to treat and possibly even stop triple negative breast cancer from spreading.

    “What we found was that therapies that target STAT3 could prevent metastasis in triple negative breast cancer,” she said. “We were able to identify the same binding pattern in actual triple negative breast cancer patients.”

    This key discovery could lead to developing therapies for treatment, helping Black women who have been diagnosed. The Spelman grad and her team are one step closer to finding the cure--and it's work Dr. McDaniel will continue in her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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