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    Pictured: Daniel Kaluuya starring in Jordan Peele's Get Out
    Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com

    Since its release on February 24, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut hit Get Out has been the must-see movie of the year. Early on, reviewers described the film as a “race-savvy satire” and a “fun bonafide fright flick.” Moviegoers, delighted with the film, returned to the theater for second and third screenings. And last week, the MTV Movie and TV Awards nominated the film for golden popcorn statues in seven different categories including “Best Actor” (Daniel Kaluuya), “Best Villain” (Allison Williams), “Best Comedic Performance” (Lil Rel Howery) and “Movie of the Year.” As for me, I fell asleep when I went to see it.

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    Now don’t get me wrong—this movie needed to be made. I don’t believe anyone could have done it better than the fabulously funny and insightful Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame. Yes, Peele did pen and direct a brilliant commentary on American race relations. Yes, Peele did expose how white liberalism often window dresses the same prejudice that is so proudly flaunted by your run-of-the-mill racist. And yes, Peele did manage to do all of these things while creating a modern movie starring a black protagonist and white villains that was not a slave narrative, did not take place in the ‘hood, and did not begin or end with a black guy dying. Kudos!

    Still, I fell asleep.

    When I went to watch the film a second time, I was happy to have not slept during the same scenes in my first viewing. Did I feel a certain level of guilt? Of course. With all the praise surrounding Get Out, I was scared that my response to the movie would get my black card revoked and deny me entrance into future black people meetings. But after careful consideration, I realized there was no other way that I could have reacted to the film because everything about it was so achingly familiar. Too familiar. I’m talking familiar to the point of boredom followed by deep, slack-jawed dozing.

    I was born and raised in Northern California, albeit a diverse region of the nation but still predominantly white. For the first eight years of my schooling, I was either the lone black spot in the classroom or one of a very modest few. Throughout junior high and high school, I shared advanced placement classes with mostly whites and Asians. At my college located in the heart of Orange County, I remember stopping another black student and stating, “Look, there are too few of us on this campus not to speak to each other. We are going to be friends, do you hear me?” Later on I spent a good portion of my young 20’s in Las Vegas where the following phrases from the majority white populace and my majority white co-workers were a daily occurrence:

    “Can I touch your hair? I heard it feels like hamburger meat.”

    “You are so well-spoken!”

    “Of course you know what it is like growing up poor because you’re black, am I wrong?”

    “Do your people get stretch marks?”

    “Seriously, black penises are just bigger, right?”

    “Nikki, you’re a registered democrat, I’m sure. What else would you be?”

    “Why don’t you get up and dance for us; I can tell by looking at you that you have some moves.”

    “You’re not married, but you have kids, don’t you?”

    Like Daniel Kaluuya’s character Chris, I recall all too well simply smiling and changing the subject, or smiling and laughing off the comment, or smiling and excusing myself from the conversation before my head exploded. I also recall trying to reconnect with any other nearby black person to commiserate but often being disappointed that this fellow brother or sister was also not to be trusted. I spent nearly 30 years of my life living Get Out, trying desperately not to be converted to a black person who existed as a passenger in her own body, forever locked in the sunken place that is the incredibly lonely black experience in a predominantly white world. That’s why I now happily reside in the great black mecca that is Metro Atlanta and will never again live in the west.

    To be sure, I am not anti-Get Out. In fact, I look forward to Jordan Peele’s upcoming projects because this type of social commentary is necessary. What upsets me is just how necessary it is. It upsets me that after all this time and history and emancipation and reconstruction and the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement and the first black president, this sort of movie is considered such a groundbreaking creation. At least 42 million Americans (according to the 2010 US Census) identify with Chris’ experience in Get Out on some level. Yet those who saw the movie were so darn overjoyed, and somewhat surprised, just to see the experience articulated in a major motion picture.

    There’s something not right about that.

    What about our experience is so difficult to grasp or believe? Why is this film being described (mostly by whites) as a satire? What madness is preventing our supposed white allies from recognizing our truth or at the very least admitting their contributions to the state of the American black experience? How many books, speeches, ballads, rap songs and movies do we have to write before a level of comprehension outside of the African-American community is reached? And how many more decades or centuries will that take?

    I don’t understand how this movie can be considered so cutting edge at this stage in American history, nor do I comprehend why such ignorance about the Black American experience persists to the point of so many of us finding such profound confirmation in a single film. I'm pretty tired of having to have this same “are you aware that America is still as racist as ever?” conversation. Nevertheless, I guess I have to accept this reality for now… and try my best to stay as woke as possible.
     What were your honest thoughts about Get Out? Share in the comments section?
    *************************************
    Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.

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    Photo Source: Youtube/Left to Right: Riana Anderson and Shawn C.T. Jones

    For the past week you’ve been feeling a little hopeless.
    Your sleep has been off.
    You either eat too much or eat too little.
    And to top it off, you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere with anyone.

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    These are common symptoms of depression that are usually unrecognizable to people who’ve never been diagnosed by a professional or are not well informed about mental health issues. “Even though research shows that [black people] are not diagnosed often, we tend to have problems that last longer and are more intense,” states clinical psychologist, Shawn C.T. Jones.

    In a series of mental health talks published on YouTube called, “Our Mental Health Minute”, Jones and fellow clinical psychologist, Riana Anderson, discuss various race-related social issues and mental health problems prevalent within the black community but rarely discussed - or even acknowledged. Some of the topics covered include: racial identity; racial socialization; coping; stress; and therapy.

    Anderson and Jones are both postdoctoral fellows at the University of Pennsylvania where they both work with Dr. Howard Stevenson in the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC). Individually, the psychologists focus on different areas in their research such as “cultural pride” (Anderson) and “using applied research to promote racial literacy” (Jones), however they share the goal of reducing the negative “impacts of race-related stress”.

    The purpose of the Our Mental Health Minute series is to increase mental health literacy within the black community while helping viewers understand how to recognize the signs of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Anderson and Jones explain each problem in one minute, keeping viewers engaged while not bogging them down with too much information in a single video.

    During their mental health minute on anxiety, Ria highlights significant statistics such as the fact that “anxiety is the most common psychological issue” and how “20 to 30 percent of all black adults actually experience it within their life.” In another video on therapy, Anderson and Jones share the different types of therapy available, such as therapy for kids, couples, individuals, or even families.

    Anderson and Jones list three goals for their channel:
    1) Reduce stigma about mental health in the Black community
    2) Provide resources in access, utilization, and quality of mental health care
    3) Increase mental health literacy (in a fun and relevant way!)

    The most important aspect of Riana and Shawn’s work is that they are building a platform through which they can educate viewers on problems they may personally be experiencing, but are not able to identify or define. Even more, they want viewers to become comfortable with the idea of talking to someone, like a therapist, about what they’re going through.

    Maybe you think that your feelings of hopelessness cannot be put into words.
    You feel as though your inability to sleep well will eventually fade.
    Your lack of appetite will soon enough subside.
    That may be true!
    But it never hurts to reach out to someone for support.
    Someone, somewhere always cares about you. Even if you don’t know them.
    You are not alone!


    Check out Riana and Shawn’s YouTube channel here.

    What challenges have you had with mental health? Why is mental health still a taboo thing in the Black community?
    **********************************
    Ariel is a 23-year old SoCal native, working professional, and Alumna of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and through her studies, acquired a passion for gaining knowledge that would improve the quality of her life and further allow her to interact with and touch people in a positive way. You can follow her own blog, The Freewoman Diaries, at www.thefreewomandiaries.com

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    Sad news, folks. Successful pop culture and stand-up comedian Charlie Murphy has passed away this morning after a leukemia battle, via TMZ and confirmed by his manager. He had been undergoing chemotherapy in a NYC hospital.

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    Arguably, Murphy’s most infamous comedic performances occurred when he co-starred on Chappelle's Show in some of Dave's most memorable skits ... including the nights Charlie partied with Rick James and Prince.

    Murphy also has writing credits, co-writing on some of his brother Eddie Murphy's projects, like Norbit and Vampire in Brooklyn. His most recent work included co-starring roles in Are We There Yet?, The Boondocks and Black Jesus.

    He also recently toured with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, George Lopez and D.L. Hughley on The Comedy Get Down.

    Charlie's wife, Tisha Taylor Murphy, died in 2009 from cervical cancer. They had 2 children, and he had another from a previous relationship.

    R.I.P. to one of the greats, Charlie Murphy. Let’s honor his unmatched contribution to comedy. Check out the famous ‘I’m Rick James” skit below:



    What was your favorite moment of Charlie Murphy's? Share in the comment section.
    ******************************
    Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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    Pictured: Cedric Anderson and his estranged wife, Karen Smith.
    Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com

    On Monday morning, I felt that same familiar twinge of horror mixed with sorrow as I received a news flash across my computer screen. Once again, someone took it upon themselves to shoot up another school.

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    This time, it was North Park Elementary in San Bernardino, a SoCal city still reeling from the 14 lives claimed during the 2015 mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center. Early reports indicated that two children had been wounded and two adults—one of which was the shooter—had died in a murder/suicide attempt. My heart ached for those innocent children somehow caught by the suspected mad man’s bullets and I sympathized for their parents thinking how worried and enraged I’d be if anything liked that happened to my son.

    And tucked in my mind, behind all that I felt, I hoped that the shooter was not black, brown or Muslim.

    The news continued to roll in. One of the children, an 8 year old, had succumb to his injuries while another 9-year-old boy was in stable condition. I cried for both families and called the shooter every type of cursed expletive I could conjure. The news mentioned the name of the suspect, one Cedric Anderson, and his intended target, one Karen Elaine Smith, and again I worried whether or not they were people of color (particularly black) or Muslim. I mourned for Ms. Smith’s family and friends, and for the far-reaching implications of her loss if she did happen to be black. I'd recently read an article on how having just one black teacher during the course of a black child’s elementary school years can significantly reduce that child’s probability of dropping out of school. News reports suggested that Anderson and Ms. Smith, newlyweds who had recently separated, had experienced a rocky, and possibly abusive, relationship.

    Their names suggested that they could be black but the chances of them being white were just as great. At the very least they could have been an interracial couple with the Smith being black and Anderson being white. I didn't even want to consider the reverse. Suddenly confirmation of the shooter’s race and religion was nearly as important as the health and well-being of the wounded 9 year old.

    I clung to the possibility of the shooter being white until photos of the couple confirmed that both Anderson and Smith were black. I was livid. I took to Facebook to express my anger and disgust. Every black person in America understands that the wages for their sins are much higher than those of a white person committing the same type of crime. Whereas a lone white perpetrator is singular in his activities, a victim of certain circumstances, and obviously plagued by some sort of mental disorder, a black, brown or Muslim perpetrator is always a fitting example of how otherness equates to criminality. And because of this, all people of color and Muslims will, in some way, shape or form suffer the consequences for the actions of one confirmed colored or Islamic idiot with a gun.

    Anderson was a black abuser of women, a black killer of an innocent child, a dangerous black man with a gun. In the mind of every blond, blue-eyed God-fearing, good Christian citizen from America’s heartland, he brought every colored criminal and/or terrorist character in every episode of CSI to life. He underscored the necessity for coverage of others behaving badly on the nightly news. He represented exactly why the country needed to be taken back and made great again—him, Muslims, Mexicans and disruptive, belligerent Asians on United Airline flights refusing to voluntarily give up their seats.

    Since 2012, Mother Jones, an independent news organization, has collected data on mass shootings in America between 1982 and 2017. Their study confirms that out of the 85 mass shootings that have occurred, 56% of them were committed by white perpetrators while 16% were committed by black perpetrators. A mere 8% and 7% were committed by Latino and Asian perpetrators respectively while Native American perps accounted for 3%. According to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive (a non–profit who studies gun violence in America), in mass shootings in which 3 or more were killed or injured since November 2014, less than 1% of these incidents were committed by Muslim perpetrators.

    But we all know that the actual, irrefutable facts never matter in these situations. It only takes one Omar Mateen in an Orlando nightclub, or one John Allen Muhammad sniping on a Maryland beltway, or one Colin Ferguson at the Merillon Avenue station in Long Island to justify stop and frisk laws, the wall, travel bans, police brutality and a Jeff Sessions at the helm of the U.S. Justice Department.

    I have absolutely no sympathy for Cedric Anderson. If he had fit the “most likely” prototype for American mass shooters, I’d still despise him but I wouldn’t have the additional worry of some conservative legislator being inspired to craft new “tough on crime” legislation which will undoubtedly make me, my family and scores of other people of color a target. But since Anderson belongs to the tribe of “those people,” I’d be terribly surprised if nothing legislatively reactive came of this incident. I guess we’ll all just have to stay tuned for what happens next.

    Sigh.
    Can anyone else relate to this feeling? Share in the comments section.
    *****************************
    Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.

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    Photo Credit: Hopper Stone

    Dillard University will be setting a spark at their 2017 Commencement ceremony as the Electric Lady herself, Janelle Monáe has been confirmed as the Commencement speaker!

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    The multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and CoverGirl spokesperson has recently made waves as an actor in Hollywood this past award season, double-dipping in Academy Award nominated Hidden Figures and big Academy Award winner Moonlight. She is also known for her activism, speaking out against police brutality, raising money for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, and recently launching Fem the Future to advance awareness, inclusion and opportunities for those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education. In January, after the most recent presidential election, she spoke and performed at the Women's March on Washington that drew a record-breaking crowd.

    Hidden Figures, in particular, inspired her advocacy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research and advancement. During the press tour for the award-winning film Monáe spoke with Teen Vogue and urged the importance of images on-screen noting, “I hope we see more girls from all backgrounds working in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] as a result of it being on-screen.”

    “Janelle Monáe’s significant accomplishments in music and particularly, film and STEM, both signature programs here at Dillard, along with her activism made her the ideal person to deliver a timely message to our graduates,” President Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D., said. “I believe this is her first commencement speech and we are very excited to see this day come.”

    Given her advocacy for STEM, the arts, and social justice, she is sure to reach every bit of the more than 160 undergraduates being honored at the ceremony with her words.

    Dillard’s 81st Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m.

    ********************************
    Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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    Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

    By Sharee Silerio

    Beloved comedian, actor, author, screenwriter and voice-over artist Charlie Murphy will be remembered as one of the greatest comics of the past two decades.

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    Murphy was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised by his mother, a telephone operator, and his stepdad. His father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian. He died when Charlie was a child.

    Charlie got into trouble as a teen and spent almost a year in jail. When he was released, he enlisted in the United States Navy and serviced for 6 years.

    Several years later, he married Tisha Taylor and they had two children. He has a total of three children, one from his first marriage. In 2008, Tisha, was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died the following year.

    The older brother of Eddie Murphy, Charlie’s 20-plus year career included stand-up comedy tours, dozens of films, TV shows and collaborations with some of the best funny-men-and-women of our time.

    His fame rose when he acted in and wrote for Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central, his wildly popular sketch being “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories”, where he shared his real-life interactions with celebrities like Prince. One episode included Charlie recounting a night out at a club with Rick James portrayed by Dave Chappelle, who coined the phrase “I’m Rick James, b**ch!”

    This recurring segment catapulted his career, making him an international star.

    I always looked forward to his belly-aching, memorable moments, including his unique, raspy voice; and real, honest jokes.

    Murphy’s film credits include Harlem Nights (his film debut), Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Our Family Wedding, King's Ransom, CB4, 2016’s Meet the Blacks; and collaborating with Eddie to write and star in the films Norbert and Vampire in Brooklyn.

    He was featured in television shows like Martin and was a voice actor for animated television series such as The Boondocks and Black Jesus. He will also be featured on the upcoming season of the Starz drama Power.

    Charlie worked with top Hollywood talent such as Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Eddie Murphy, Danny Aiello, Terrance Howard, Gabrielle Union, Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams, Rip Torn, Peter Falk, Redd Fox, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, Jamie Foxx, Samuel Jackson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

    Last year, Murphy took part in the ongoing 4.5-star rated Comedy Get Down Tour with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, and George Lopez.

    Charlie built his career by creating his own lane. He never allowed himself to get caught in the shadows of his brother’s accomplishments and fame, but used each opportunity he received to explore all of his gifts.

    Charlie was a storyteller, not afraid to take chances, and he stayed true to himself.

    His legacy of laughter in various forms – from film to television, animated shows and live on stage – demonstrates the power of embracing who you are and using it to fulfill your life’s purpose.

    Rest in peace to a comedy icon who will be missed.


    Share your favorite memory of Charlie Murphy in the comments section.
    *************************************

    Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from St. Louis University and a Master of Arts in Media Communications from Webster University. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama, sci-fi, and comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.comthen connect with her on Facebook, Instagramand Twitter.



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    Yara Shahidi is best known as actress Zoey on television show Black-ish.

    Yara Shahidi (Black-ish) has been a beacon of light for young girls to look up to, not only starring on a hit primetime TV show, but slaying the fashion game, speaking out for social justice and overall presenting herself to be an eloquent and sophisticated role model.

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    The 17-year-old superstar recently spoke with Seventeen Magazine about her skincare, embracing her natural hair on the red carpet, choosing her major and college applications. In the interview, she revealed a biggie: she has gotten accepted to every college she has applied for.

    Naturally, curiosity is piqued in terms of which colleges accepted her, but Shahidi confirmed that she is keeping that information “close to the belt” for now. She did state that she plans to make the final decision within the next month, so ears are peeled!

    While Shahidi has cemented herself as a role model for the masses through her various works -- and simply being her dope self -- it is especially important that she is a Black girl. Showcasing a positive image as a Black girl that not only does well in entertainment, but within her educational pursuits is significantly beautiful. I mean, come on, Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote her college recommendation for her! I’d call that a peak win.

    As for what to study throughout her college career, Shahidi desires to double major in African-American studies and sociology, which seems apt given her passionate speeches about social injustice, rife with Baldwin quotes. She stated, “[...] for me, as much as I want free time, I love to challenge myself. And so it really goes back to the point that I want to study as much as possible and [doing] a double major is the solution.” She noted that whether or not to choose a minor is still up for debate, as it could either be something in the arts or social-based.

    Whatever she decides to choose, the proverbial world is Shahidi’s oyster and I’m looking forward to whatever magic she creates in the future!

    Which college do you think Yara will attend?
    *************************
    Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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    Photo Credit: @iamawog

    Pretty pastel dresses, patent leather Mary Janes, and those frilly, ruffled socks. For many of us, Easter Sunday meant a new dress, new shoes, and new hair.

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    If you're celebrating Easter this year, you don't have to hunt for pretty styles for your little girl! We searched the web for the cutest styles for little ladies--so hop on over.

    Photo Credit: Beads, Braids and Beyond
    Beads, Braids, and Beyond shared this fancy updo with cornrows and twists. Check out her step by step instructions for creating this style at home here.

    A post shared by D'Asia & RyLei Kai (@iamawog) on

    You don't have to be a master braider--just a few rubber bands will help you to create this cute style. Be sure they're not too tight!



    If your little girl is a little older, try a curly style to make her feel more grown up this Spring.

    A post shared by Whitney Green (@hdbywhitney) on

    And when in doubt, just leave it out. Try a twist out and accessorize with a bow or headband to give her curls something special.
    Photo Source


    If you're celebrating, have a happy Easter!
    *******************************
    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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    Photo courtesy of Lebron James Family Foundation
    Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com
    Back in 2011, LeBron James launched the I Promise Initiative as a long-term commitment to the youth of Akron and to address the city’s high school dropout rate. Since that time, James has been involved in several activities to reiterate the importance of education to children including creating a four-year scholarship program with the University of Akron to which he pledged $42 million to finance tuition for 1,100 students.

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    In continuation of this initiative, the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) is partnering with Akron Public Schools (APS) to open the “I Promise School” that will specifically target youth who have been identified by third grade as being at-risk in reading and in need of additional scholastic mediation to ensure academic success.

    The school, which is slated to open its doors in the fall of 2018, has a proposed vision to create an innovative and supportive educational environment for students and their families by expanding upon APS curriculum with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiential, problem-based learning focus. Third and fourth grade classes will be the first grade levels offered followed by first and second grades in 2019 and finally first through eighth grades by 2020.

    “This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” said LeBron James. “We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”

    Just as LeBron James commits to helping students thrive in school, students who participate in the I Promise Initiative also make a personal pledge in support of their own success. According to the LJFF website, these students promise to attend school, complete their homework, listen attentively to instructors, be willing to ask questions and seek answers, and never give up. Students also promise to try their hardest, be helpful and respectful, lead healthy lifestyles, make good choices, have fun and complete school.
    What are your thoughts on LeBron James opening this school in his community? 
    ************************************
    Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.

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    It’s okay. We all worry a little too much sometimes. You’re not alone. You may worry about not having enough time to do everything in one day. Or you may worry that tomorrow won’t bring any less stress than today.

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    When you’re tired from a long day at work, it can be difficult to deal with your worries head on. All you want to do is sleep and forget about the day.

    But you must find a way to confront the stress in your life and minimize its control over your happiness and well-being.

    So what do you do when you feel hopeless? When you can’t seem to find the time to relax?

    Do you give up?

    OF COURSE NOT! Instead, you improvise.

    Here are three tips for how to deal with your mind-bogging worries head-on, in as little as 5 minutes:

    1. Note It and Throw It!

    Take a piece of paper, preferably a small sticky note if you have one. On that paper, quickly write down one of your stressful thoughts. Now that you’ve written it down - stare at it. After a couple seconds, crumble this paper up and throw it away. If you’re at home, throw it away in your trash bins outside. If you’re in the office, throw it in the farthest trash can away from your desk. Repeat this step until you have no more thoughts left to write down.

    By writing down your thoughts, you actualize them. You bring them to the forefront of your view. This is you meeting them head-on. Once you throw the piece of paper away, you are throwing your bad thoughts out and make room for happy thoughts. Healthy thoughts, like, “I can do all that I put my mind to.”

    2. Balance It Out.

    Balance exercises are a great way to shift your focus away from your mind and onto your body. There are so many varieties of balances exercises, you’re bound to find one that works for you! Let’s try a simple balance pose called, Bird Dog. This pose can work your abdominals and also strengthen your back. Here are the steps:

    Get down on all fours (both hands and knees).
    Ensure your spine is in a neutral position by leveling your neck and looking down at the floor.
    At your own pace, bring your left arm up and out from the floor - straight in front of you. Then take your right leg out slowly at the same time as straight as you can. Make sure your leg does not go higher than your buttock or back.
    Hold this pose for 3 seconds and then slowly bring your arm and leg back to starting position.
    Repeat on the other side, alternating sides until you feel relaxed or break a sweat.

    You may find this position a bit difficult at first. You may even fall over. But that’s the point! Pushing yourself to find balance in the midst of chaos. Creating your peace of mind. You are building mental strength as you must focus to maintain balance.

    3. Motivation is Key.

    Sometimes when you’re worried, you can feel alone. But you’re not alone! There’s always someone out there - even if they don’t know you - who is wishing you happiness and success.

    If you’re familiar with Eric Thomas, then you know his famous saying, “I can. I will. I must”. Thomas went from being homeless to a well-known motivational speaker with over 580,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, etthehiphoppreacher. Many people look up to and towards Thomas for support. He attributes his success to believing he can do anything he puts his mind to.

    Check out a popular video of his titled, OVERCOMING ANY OBSTACLE - I CAN, I WILL, I MUST (TGIM S7 E12). I guarantee you Thomas will make you and push you to think twice about giving up:

    In general, listening to motivational videos or even reading self-help books can make a big difference in the way you perceive your problems. And further, what you do about them.

    Although a strong sense of worry can feel overwhelming, it is important to understand that stress is apart of life. It’s even more important to have a plan for how you tackle your worries BEFORE you begin to feel hopeless.

    When you tell your co-worker about your problems, they’ll be there to listen, but they won’t be able to solve them for you. So now, when you get home from a long day of work, will you just sleep your problems away? Or will you be more proactive about the way you deal with them?

    If you chose the latter, then start with one of the tips above and continue to develop a plan for not succumbing to your worries, but overcoming them.

    Yes, your problems are real.

    And yes, you deserve a break.

    However, it’s mind over matter baby. And you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.

    What are you doing on a daily basis to practice worrying less?
    **********************************
    Ariel is a 23-year old SoCal native, working professional, and Alumna of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and through her studies, acquired a passion for gaining knowledge that would improve the quality of her life and further allow her to interact with and touch people in a positive way. You can follow her own blog, The Freewoman Diaries, at www.thefreewomandiaries.com


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    Photo Credit: Colored Gurl

    by Mary Wolff
    After winter ends, spring brings on some much-needed sunshine and warmth. While there is no denying the change of weather is welcomed by most people with open arms, spring can also bring some hair care concerns for us curlies. With all that sunshine and warmth comes humidity, rainstorms, and more than a few bad hair days packed with frizz. An easy way to combat this seasonal burden is with spring-friendly protective styles! Here are my top 5 protective styles for spring so you can survive this complicated time with ease.

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    1. Easy Flat Twist
    This look is easy to do for any hair texture. It is a sweet, feminine look perfect for spring. This is a low manipulation style that won’t add to damage or breakage.  The key to creating this look is to lock in the moisture to avoid frizz or damaging your strands. Here is a quick video of a version of this cute style.


    2. Two Braid 
    For this look, it will work with any length but is especially pretty with longer lengths. While this look is nothing new, it is certainly a pretty classic look that is ideal for springtime. It also helps to frame your face. Here is a quick tutorial on making this look work for you.

    3. Triple Braid Warrior Plait Updo
    This look is a beautiful variation on more traditional styles. It creates cornrows in three main sections on the crown for a sleek look with a long flowing ponytail for added style. Find out how to pull off this protective style right here.

    4. Bun Hawk Updo
    When you want a style that will save your strands from springtime dangers while also showing some attitude, this is the look for you. It takes the best of the bun and frohawk bringing them together for a modern take on the two. See for yourself with this quick tutorial.

    5. Elastic Cornrows
    For a style that is both protective and still allows you to leave some strands loose, this look is the right mix. This style is pretty and edgy without being harsh or overpowering the beauty of your texture. Here is a quick guide to try it out.
    Spring is the perfect time to try something new. With these protective styles, you can care for your curls while looking great!

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    Photo Source: YouTube

    by Mary Wolff

    Taking care of your curls is important. When your hair is given proper attention, it will be healthier and more beautiful from root to end. One of the most important areas of curly hair care is the matter of haircuts. If you have coily hair, you may have questions like, how often should I cut my coily hair? While everyone’s hair is different and you may have your own preferences, the texture of your hair is often a deciding factor in matters of hair care. So, let’s look at coily hair in terms of trimming.

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    How Often Should You Cut Coily Hair?
    Coily hair can go as long as every 8-12 weeks, but there is a catch. Before you start celebrating that you can go so long without a trim, there are a few things to keep in mind. While other hair types average a cutting cycle of around every 4-8 weeks, depending on the texture, coily hair can go a little bit longer. In order for you to achieve this longer than average hair trimming cycle, you have to give your coily hair the right care.  If your coils are in a protective style or being properly cared for, you can reach the 8 to 12-week mark without worry. If your curls are already damaged or having a few issues, you may benefit from doing trims more often than the 8-12 timeline. For example, coily hair tends to have a harder time distributing natural oils down the shaft of strands. This lack of oil can lead to dryness which will inevitably become split ends you will want to trim to keep that healthy appearance all curlies want.

    Coily hair is one of the more fragile curly types because it tends to be on the thinner side. The thinness obviously presents unique care routines to combat issues like dryness, breakage, and frizz.  Here are a few care tips to help you get healthy hair in between trims:

    • Hands off! I know lots of curlies that constantly touch their hair. Fight the urge! When you touch your hair, you are accidentally harming it. The more you handle your hair or touch it throughout the day, the more you weaken strands and possibly rob hair of moisture by disturbing oils. 
    • Use natural moisturizers. Shea butter, olive oil, and argan oil are great natural moisturizers that are rich enough to give coily hair a hydration boost. Coily hair needs regular moisturizing to stay free from dryness and frizz. 
    • Silk is your friend! Your hair is naturally more vulnerable to the damages caused by enemies such as friction and humidity. Combat this by wrapping hair in a silk scarf on humid days and sleeping on a silk pillowcase every night to avoid friction caused by other materials. 
    Trimming your coily hair is important to give it that fresh from the salon look while eliminating pesky split ends. The key to extending the time between trims is proper care!


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    Photo Source

    by Mary Wolff

    Tangles are a pain. They are annoying to get out, tug at your roots, and can even lead to breakage if not dealt with properly. Have you run out of your usual detangling solution and don’t have time to run to the store? No problem! There are a ton of DIY detangling sprays you can whip up in minutes in your own kitchen. Best of all, you will know exactly what’s in them without worrying about deciphering ingredient labels. Here are a few of my favorite DIY detangling sprays to help you work through tangles in minutes.
    Lavender and Rosemary DIY Detangler 
    This is one of my favorites because it smells great and gets the job done. The lavender scent is really good for relaxation and can even help promote restful sleep. Apple cider vinegar is also a great natural way to detangle and smooth hair.

    Ingredients 
    • 6–8 drops lavender essential oil
    • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
    • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1–1½ ounces purified or distilled water
    • 2-ounce spray bottle
    • A small funnel
    For this recipe, begin by combining the essential oils in the bottle. Replace the lid and make sure it’s tightly fastened to avoid a mess. Shake the bottle to evenly mix the oils. Add your apple cider vinegar and water to the bottle. Replace the lid and shake vigorously to thoroughly mix ingredients. Use daily or as needed. 

    Coconut Detangler
    While you may already know coconut oil is a great conditioning mask, coconut milk is great for detangling. It is a lot lighter than the oil so it won’t give your hair any heaviness leaving you to untangle without worry. This is one of my favorites because it uses both coconut oil and coconut milk so you get the benefits of both without weighing down hair.

    Ingredients 
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
    • 1 tablespoon argan oil
    • 10 drops essential oil of choice (optional)
    • Full fat coconut milk
    • Spray bottle
    • Small funnel
    To get started with this recipe, melt your coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil until it is a smooth liquid. Add your desired essential oil for fragrance as needed. Fill the spray bottle using the funnel. Fill the remainder of the bottle with the coconut milk. Replace cap and shake until combined. You can use this daily. If it settles too much and takes on a more solid form, you can melt it by placing the bottle in warm water. 

    Conditioner Detangler
    This one is for when you are in hurry and maybe you don’t have a lot available in your pantry. If you have a conditioner of pretty much any sort on hand, you can dilute it to make it an easy and effective spray on detangler. If you were to simply run the conditioner undiluted through your strands to detangle, you would probably end up with something that is too heavy and will weigh down your strands all day. 

    Ingredients
    • Conditioner
    • Water 
    • Spray bottle 
    • Funnel 
    For this easy fix, all you need to do is measure out how much conditioner you want to use and then add water with a 2 parts water to 1 part conditioner ratio. This will depend greatly on the size of your spray bottle obviously. You want to use warm water. It shouldn’t be boiling, but it should be warm to the touch. This will allow the conditioner to melt into the water for a thinner consistency. Add warm water and conditioner in a bowl. Stir until mixed and conditioner is diluted. Using the funnel, pour it into the bottle. Spray onto damp or dry hair as needed. 

    There are a ton of detangler recipes out there, but these are my go-to’s for a quick fix. They are easy and effective so you can work through those pesky tangles without worry!

    Let us know if these tips work for you.

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    Prince may not be blessing us with his earthly presence anymore, but one thing is for sure. He colored the world purple.

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    In the eerie way that time flies by, the one-year anniversary of The Purple One’s passing is coming up on April 21 and commemorative celebrations are taking place throughout the week. Kicking things off is the three-day celebration at the new rehabilitated Paisley Park featuring a series of panel discussions, tours and memorable performances.

    For those of us not in Minnesota to enjoy the firsthand celebrations, FM and Fuse TV will offer a series of content.

    “The Prince Effect,” premiering on FM, features interviews from DJ BenHaMeen, oral historian Zaheer Ali and vinyl enthusiast Tasha Digital. The half-hour special will also dive into Prince’s “unparalleled impact” on music along with his innovative way of thinking and fearlessness when it came to pushing the culture forward.

    Over at Fuse TV, the celebration dives right into his musical genius. Ahead of the “Prince Effect”, viewers will take a trip down memory lane with #WeMissYouPrince, a series highlighting a variety of iconic music videos from the legendary musician such as “Little Red Corvette”, “Diamonds and Pearls”, When Doves Cry” and the signature “Purple Rain.”

    Check out the exclusive first / teaser clip at EBONY.

    “The Prince Effect” premieres April 21 at 9:00 pm ET and #WeMissYouPrince airs Friday, April 21 from 8:30am-12:30pm on Fuse and 8:00-9:00pm on FM.

    Let us know what you think of these two clips. Do you plan on tuning in?
    ****************************

    Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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    How can we forget the major fail that was “Hidden Fences?” On that infamous day, Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager interviewed Pharrell Williams on the Golden Globes red carpet as he was promoting Hidden Figures. His original score for the film was nominated at the time. During an atmosphere where a good number of Black-lead films were frontrunners, Bush Hager made the worst mistake: she conflated two Hidden Figures and Fences, creating a non-existent mash-up of the two.

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    And thus, Hidden Fences was born. Naturally, Black Twitter was at the forefront of the comedic backlash, creating hilarious memes to uphold the strong “Black people are not a monolith” statement.

    The term was cemented into pop culture inspiring one writer/comedian, Jordan Temple who decided to take it one step further and penned his first play, Hidden Fences. Temple, who also writes for MTV’s social webseries Decoded, stated the following in an essay for Afropunk:

    “I wanted to reclaim that slip-up and felt like it was ripe for satire. As a kid, I watched some of the best black comedians and learned from the greats. Whether it was The Wayans with “Don’t Be A Menace To Society While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood” at the movies, “Chappelle’s Show” on TV, or my Grandmother saying “whitey” on the la-z-boy. I was born and raised in the projects in Queens, New York City, youngest of two, by a single mom, one project over from the infamous QueensBridge Housing projects. I’ve chipped my front tooth twice and clocked hours observing from my project window. I’m like the Nas of comedy.

    The premise of “Hidden Fences,” in my version, is that ‘Troy’ wants to be the first Black man to hit a baseball into space, and the “Hidden Figures” are gonna do the math to help get it there. The story loosely combines the two movies and uses a range of references from Black movies, music, and culture into one long-burning joke that has a bunch of jokes in between. The character I play, ‘Troy,’ is a garbage man who is down on his luck. He used to be one of the best space baseball players in his youth, but never got the opportunity to play on the Moon. His wife, Rosemary, works for NASA and she demoralizes him at every turn. His son, Cory, just got a space baseball scholarship, which is much to Troy’s dismay.”

    Check out the trailer for the Hidden Fences satirical play below!


    Hidden Fences is currently playing in Brooklyn. You can find more info about the play at its Facebook page.

    What are your thoughts on this satirical play? Will you see it when it comes to your city?
    ******************************
    Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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    Photo courtesy of Travel Noire Facebook page

    In late 2013, after losing her job as a full-time producer, Zim Ugochukwu took her savings of $17,000 and launched Travel Noire. She was on to something. Helping spearhead a movement of young Black travelers in the states.

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    But Zim isn't alone. Since launching Travel Noire, we've seen the launch of several Black traveling platforms, including Black & Abroad, Black Travelista and the growth of NoMadness Travel Tribe.

    Since launching over 5 years ago, Nomadness Travel Tribe, a travel company dubbed as the "1st New Age Urban Travel Movement," has developed a community of over 15,000 Black travelers.
    Photo Courtesy of Travel Noire: #TNExperiences in Zanzibar

    Many of them are discovering each other through platforms like Instagram. Nomadness Travel Tribe has garnered nearly 50,000 followers, while platform Travel Noire has gained well over 350,000.

    "The movement really started from answering a personal call," says Evita, founder of NoMadness Travel Tribe in a video with The Root. "I created Nomadness because of my addiction to travel. I wanted to create a community, so that was when I started the tribe," says Evita. "I started with 100 people."
    Photo courtesy of NoMadness Travel Tribe Facebook page
    But it's taken since 2010 for brands to finally take Black travelers serious. "I honestly feel that just now, a lot of marketers, other businesses, brands are starting to pay attention and see that we're not a fluke."

    Members of The Tribe launched phone trees on WhatsApp after missing out on a fair glitch from D.C. to Nairobi, priced just under $400. Nomadness Travel Tribe requires that each member has atleast one stamp on its passport before joining the community.

    “The tribe is really made of people who put travel as a priority in their entire lifestyle,” said Evita in an interview with The Daily Beast. " People who barter with their employers for more PTO and telecommuting options instead of salary increases, so they can work remotely from the beaches of Jamaica."
    A group of young Black travelers explore #TNExperiences by Travel Noire in Giza, Egypt
    "I wanted to create something for the quintessential mover-and-shaker, someone who desired to get out and explore the world beyond all conventionalities. I wanted people of color in Nepal. Bora Bora. Finland. Senegal. Turkey. Alaska. Bolivia," said Zim in an interview with Madame Noire.

    And while brands are just starting to notice Black travelers, there's no sign of them slowing down. Whether it's a $208 roundtrip glitch from Chicago to Abu Dhabi, or a cheap deal to Greece, young Black millennials are traveling, and the community has become stronger than ever.

    Watch The Root's video below on how these platforms are creating a new space for young Black travelers.

    Have you used one of these Black travel platforms? What have you noticed about traveling with a community of people who look like you?
    ***********************
    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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    This past Monday night, Miami State Senator Frank Artiles went to a members-only club in downtown Tallahassee with two of his colleagues, fellow Senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston. Senators Gibson and Thurston are black. Senator Artiles is not. While the three enjoyed cocktails, Senator Artiles took it upon himself to treat Senators Gibson and Thurston to a curse-laden rant in which he called Senator Gibson a “girl”, a “f***ing a**hole” and a “b***h.” The icing on the cake was when he referred to six other colleagues as the n-word—but apparently he meant no harm because he used the n-word that ends with “a” instead of the n-word that ends with “er.”

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    Artiles has since apologized for his foul tirade. He explained that he grew up in a diverse community where he and his neighbors shared “each other’s customs, cultures and vernacular.” In other words, he said the n-word back in the ‘hood so since he was with black folks and he was “down” then he had carte-blanche to use said word with them as well. And call the black woman a girl, an anus and a female dog too. To her face.

    “I realize that my position does not allow me the looseness of words or slang, regardless of how benign my intentions were,” he said. Sure. Every woman loves to be called a girl, an anus, and a female dog by a coworker because it is oh so very benign.

    First, I’m baffled by the ridiculously lax behavior and morals of today’s modern elected official. From President Trump on down, the status quo seems to be to do and say whatever is felt regardless of who it offends or why. This new norm in expression is supposed to fly in the face of political correctness and instead embrace the truth and reality of the world in which we live. It seems to me however, that such freedom of expression means we have ceased to live in a world of mutual respect or politeness or civility or common decency.

    I was quite bothered to see several folks on social media in favor of Artiles’ colorful language. They cited freedom of speech and the fact that the conversation was private as justification. But Frank Artiles, in his capacity as state senator, represents nearly 500,000 people of varying ages, races, backgrounds, religions, political leanings and perspectives. And as such a representative, he is held to a higher standard. He is supposed to stand for the very best of what America offers—a commitment to the kind of morals, ethics and careful consideration that is meant to unite and lead people to their best chance of attaining their own versions of the American dream. Cursing out his colleagues, calling them out of their names and then invoking a racial slur, whether in private or public, is not living up to that higher standard.

    Social media chatterers also claimed that Artiles should be free to use the n-word because black people use it amongst each other freely. I am so sick of hearing this stupid, ridiculous, asinine argument. For the kajillionth time, the n-word in every form and iteration is never going to be okay coming out of the mouth of a person who is not black. Period.

    For white people in particular, it will never be okay. Why? Because white people initially created it as a slur, as an indication of their racial superiority over black people, as confirmation of their higher status in society as white masters to black slaves/servants. The word was never intended by them to be anything else. They created the word to hurt and subjugate. Their ownership of the word will never ever be regarded as friendly or benign. They can thank themselves for that. As far as blacks reclaiming and using the word, anyone who is not black will never understand the emotional, compassionate, empathetic or commiserative nature behind our use of it with each other. Just like I will never understand what it is to be some drunken idiot of a state senator who cursed out his colleagues in an exclusive club in Tallahassee.

    Finally, what is with this incessant need for people who are not black to use this word? It is the most ridiculous thing for me to hear groups of non-black kids referring to each other as n-words. Besides wondering why the heck they do it, I can’t help but be baffled by first, an utter lack of creativity in coming up with their own friendly slur to throw around amongst themselves and second, by this ongoing mission to appropriate everything black. They seriously want our music, fashion, hairstyles, lips, backsides AND our painstakingly reclaimed racial epithets too? How is it that everything about us is cool except for actually being us?

    The Florida Democratic Party has called for Senator Artiles to resign. If he does, I’ll be surprised. The guy obviously can’t tell the difference between doing the right thing and causing a good portion of Florida (and perhaps the nation) to be utterly disgusted with him. But then again, he seems to be in good company on all government levels.

    *********************************
    Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.

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    by Mary Wolff

    You want your hair to be healthy and beautiful all the time. So, when spilt ends happen, it can be a real pain. Split ends make your hair look unhealthy and downright uncared for in a way no curly girl ever wants for their tresses. Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to stop split ends.

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    1. Regular Trims 
    The best tip on how to stop split ends is to simply trim away the dead hair at the bottom of your strands at the first sign of splitting. In addition to trimming because you find split ends, it is also a good idea to get regular trims every 8 weeks to maintain healthy curls.

    2. Moisturize End to Root 
    Split ends are caused by the hair shaft splitting into two instead of staying intact. Part of this is because of a lack of moisture to keep the bonds together. If you moisturize from root to tip, you might be neglecting the older and possibly dryer hair at the ends where split ends happen. Moisturize from end to root to make sure the driest and most vulnerable part of the hair shaft is given a chance for success.

    3. Trim Hair Dry, Not Wet 
    This might go against what usually happens in the salon, but wet cutting doesn’t let you see the split ends as well. If you dry cut instead, you can see the splits of the ends better so you only trim the unhealthy hair. This also helps you keep your length while helping your locks stay healthy and split-end free! Be sure to look for a salon that specializes in dry cutting curly hair. Check out NaturallyCurly's lists of salons.

    4. Don’t Neglect Protein 
    One of the best tips for how to stop split ends is to keep the hair healthy so it doesn’t split in the first place. With a protein treatment, you can fortify strands by ensuring the protein and keratin bonds in the hair shaft do not separate in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to take a 50/50 approach and equally balance your protein treatments and moisturizing treatments. Lucky for you, NaturallyCurly created an easy guide to understanding protein treatments.

    5. Stop Using Alcohol and Sulfates
    These chemicals are not only harsh and drying to your scalp, they can rob your ends of the moisture they need to fend off split ends. Make sure you check all of the ingredients on your hair care products to get rid of any harmful alcohol based or sulfate loaded products that might be doing your hair more damage than good.

    Split ends are a nuisance and need to go as soon as they show up. With these tips, keep your curls happy and healthy all the time!


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    Photo Source: Style Weekly

    by Mary Wolff

    For any curly girl embracing her natural hair, it is a journey. Some curlies choose the big chop method to jumpstart their hair journey. While the big chop can be intimidating for a lot of women who have never had short hair, it is also an easy way to take that first step and embrace the commitment of natural hair. This is a big step and lots of questions come up. Is it better to big chop or transition? Does hair grow faster after the big chop? Here are the answers to these two big questions that come up all the time.

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    Is It Better To Big Chop Or Transition? 
    There has been a lot of debate on this one, but it is really up to you. The big chop is more drastic than transitioning which can be either a good or bad thing, depending on how you see things. For example, the transitioning allows you to keep your length longer, but takes a long time to fully recover your healthy new hair. The big chop means your hair will become fully natural sooner, but requires being comfortable with short hair. It is really a matter of preference.

    Does Hair Grow Faster After The Big Chop?
    This question comes up a lot because there is a lot of confusion. Many people claim that hair grows faster when you big chop versus transition. Others say it doesn’t make any difference. While there is still some debate about it, hair that is freshly cut does not necessarily grow faster. Growth is born at the scalp level with the follicles. When you cut your hair, you cut the bottom of the strand, therefore, the two are not related. There are a few reasons why people might think hair grows faster after the big chop. Here are a few of the reasons.
    • Hair is healthier. When your hair is healthy, it is more likely to grow. 
    • Split ends make hair look shorter. However, hair that is freshly trimmed looks healthier and longer. When you big chop, you get rid of all the unhealthy hair, including those pesky split ends, and this in turn makes it seem like your hair is growing faster than it actually might be. 
    • Hair relaxes. When you first cut your hair, it may curl up and then relax back down after a few days. Many people confuse this relaxing of the hair as new growth. 
    At the end of the day, you have to go with the method you’re most comfortable with when embracing your natural hair. Whether you big chop or transition, the process takes time and seeing new growth can take even longer. Stay patient and persistent with your curls and you will eventually see results!


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    Photo Credit: Carrie Fay

    by Mary Wolff

    You put a lot of time and effort into your curls. But the only curls you care about more than your own are your little one’s! Caring for your children’s curls is essential to keeping their strands healthy and beautiful as they grow. Here are a few of my favorite tips for deep conditioning kid’s curls.

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    1. Start Young
    You should begin deep conditioning young curls around the age of 1-2 years old, according to Kesha Chisholm Phillips of Kids With Curlz. While there is no set time frame in terms of age, this is around the time when you may start to notice hair needing more moisture. You can start younger if the curls are really dense or dry. The younger you start, the healthier their hair will be, but this doesn’t mean you should be deep conditioning the curls of a newborn! Young babies rarely need deep conditioning because their strands are not exposed to the things that are drying such as sun, heat, swimming, or other hair drying activities older children partake in. So don't start too early.

    2. Use Heat
    Heat is a great way to deep condition young curls. Using a deep conditioner in the bath is fine, but heat should really be included in the routine. Heat opens up the cuticle to allow for better penetration into strands. According to naturalhairkids.com, a good idea is to warm up the conditioner to a safe level and then apply it to the hair for 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow it to soak in and penetrate strands. Heat caps are relatively inexpensive and can really offer deep conditioning benefits, even for young curlies. Remember that little ones have more sensitive scalps, so be sure to test the temperature of the heat cap before you put it on your child's head.

    3. Evaluate Hair 
    Knowing when to condition can either be based on a timed routine or can be evaluated based on the hair. If you over condition hair, you can actually do more harm than good for your child’s curls. It is best to pay attention to your child’s hair and figure out the best routine for conditioning. You also want to keep in mind that hair care needs will change from week to week. For example, if your child went swimming at a friend’s house over the weekend, it might be time for a deep conditioner, whereas if they weren’t exposed to chlorine or other drying elements that week, it may be fine to skip a week of deep conditioning.

    4. Use the Right Products
    There are a ton of products that are touted as safe for little ones, but that doesn’t mean they are the right ones for your child. Curly hair is different from other hair types and requires richer moisturizers to stay healthy. Your best bet is to choose products created specifically for curly hair, and gentle enough for children to use. A few of my favorites are Cantu Kids Leave in Conditioner and Shea Moisture Kids Nourish & Hydrating Hair Smoothie. They are rich in natural moisturizers that are perfect for curly hair.

    5. Stay Consistent 
    If you get your little ones in the habit of caring for their curls the right way, that is a habit that will stay with them for life. The better they know how to care for their natural hair, the more likely they are to embrace it as they grow up. Stay consistent on deep conditioning, along with the other elements of proper hair care, and they will love their curls as much as you do!

    Check out more information here  and here.


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