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- 04/21/17--10:35: _Here's How To Stop ...
- 04/21/17--11:31: _Here's How Sidra Sm...
- 04/24/17--08:16: _Florida Teens #Blac...
- 04/24/17--09:22: _Should Conditioner ...
- 04/24/17--11:44: _The Detailed Histor...
- 04/24/17--17:28: _Shea Moisture Reall...
- 04/25/17--10:03: _CodeBlack, TV One a...
- 04/25/17--11:53: _Bridging The Gap: F...
- 04/26/17--07:28: _Beyonce Announces '...
- 04/26/17--08:01: _Serena Williams Res...
- 04/26/17--10:03: _Hair’itage the Play...
- 04/27/17--09:43: _5 Deliciously Healt...
- 04/27/17--10:23: _Celebrating Twenty ...
- 04/28/17--07:54: _LA 92: 25 Years Aft...
- 04/28/17--09:17: _Here's The Pros And...
- 04/28/17--14:13: _Black Buying Power ...
- 04/29/17--08:25: _Take A First Look A...
- 04/29/17--10:21: _LeBron James Recall...
- 05/01/17--08:51: _5 Tips on Detanglin...
- 05/01/17--09:35: _For The 8th Consecu...
- 04/21/17--10:35: Here's How To Stop Hair Shrinkage
- 04/24/17--08:16: Florida Teens #BlackLivesMatter Dress Goes Viral
- 04/24/17--09:22: Should Conditioner Be Used On Roots?
- 04/24/17--17:28: Shea Moisture Really Tried To Gentrify The Natural Hair Community
- 04/27/17--09:43: 5 Deliciously Healthy Foods To Satisfy Your Sugar Addiction
- 04/28/17--09:17: Here's The Pros And Cons Of Using Heat Caps
- Dry hair faster. A heat cap is a great way to dry your hair. It is like a blow dryer you wear on your head!
- Set your style. Heat caps can help you set your style. It is especially useful if you’re trying to lock in moisture and set your style at the same time.
- Cheaper than steamer. A heat cap is more affordable than a steamer. A heat cap can range from $20 to $40 while a steamer can cost anywhere from $60 to $120.
- Great for special treatments. A heat cap is perfect for hot oil treatments to seal strands, as well as doing deep conditioning masks. The heat will help open up the cuticle to allow a deeper penetration into strands.
- Helps with scalp circulation. Heat naturally encourages circulation in the body. When your scalp has proper circulation, it will be healthier in terms of hair growth and distribution of natural oils.
- Time. Using a heat cap isn’t a quick fix. It takes anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the model and your hair type. While they are fine for wearing during a deep conditioning treatment, this time frame might not work with your daily routine as a drying method.
- Potentially damaging to hair. There is no denying that heat can be drying and damaging to strands. With a heat cap, heat is applied directly to your strands which is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. Use the heat cap sparingly, no more than once a week. The key is to protect your strands against heat damage with deep conditioning!
- 04/28/17--14:13: Black Buying Power Is Now $1.3 Trillion Strong And Not To Be Ignored
- 04/29/17--08:25: Take A First Look At Season 2 Of 'Queen Sugar'
- 04/29/17--10:21: LeBron James Recalls Turning Down A $10 Million Reebok Deal At 18
- 05/01/17--08:51: 5 Tips on Detangling Hair After A Workout
|Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images|
For curlies, hair shrinkage is a fact of life. It happens to most of us at some point and there are a few ways to deal with it. While you can just embrace it as a part of your natural hair journey and roll with it as it comes, there are a few tried and true methods that can put an end to shrinkage. Here are a few must-know tips on how to stop hair shrinkage.
When you blow dry your hair at the roots, you are opening up the cuticle and letting the heat expand the cuticle. This will help with shrinkage by lifting up the roots, but make sure you don’t do it on high heat! Stick to medium heat to get anti-shrinkage powers without taking on frizz or damage to your hair.
Banding is a great way to combat shrinkage. This method requires you to section off hair in hair ties to extend the length. While this method is effective, you want to avoid damage to your strands at all costs so only use this method occasionally. You also want to use hair ties that won’t tug or pull. Never use rubber bands for this! Here is a helpful video about banding.
Pulling your curls up into a high bun while still slightly damp serves a few great purposes for a curly girl. It stretches hair to avoid shrinkage while giving you an easy way to air dry with little effort. Buns are also super easy and look cute on any texture! You want to make sure the bun is pulled tight enough to really give hair a good stretch.
With rollers, you can get a heat-free way to dry and stretch your strands at the same time. Make sure whatever brand you use, it is gentle enough not to cause strands damage, but will still give you a good stretch. One of my personal favorites is Curlformers because they are easy to use, gentle on curls, and give a good stretch. They even have different sizes for different hair lengths!
One of the best tips on how to stop hair shrinkage is to choose styles that will give you a little extra stretch as part of the look. With stretch styles, you get a beautiful style you can wear to protect your hair from damage and you get a way to stop the shrink. Talk about a win-win situation! Here are a few stretch styles.
Shrinkage is a part of life, but you can choose to let it get in the way of your hair journey or fight back. Make the most of your length with these tips to stop hair shrinkage!
You can find additional tips here.
Take one look at film and TV producer Sidra Smith, beautiful, bald, and oozing with confidence, and it’s hard to imagine her any other way. But had you seen her 15 years ago, you would have been meeting a much different Sidra. That Sidra had such an obsession with hair extensions that she drew up a will to legally ensure that when she died she’d be buried in a fresh weave. My, what a difference a few years make…
Sidra was around twelve years old when she put in her first hair weave. “I just remember being really obsessed with long hair and feeling that it made me prettier,” she says. “Plus, everyone in my Camden, New Jersey neighborhood was wearing extensions so it was the cool thing to do.”
That thing became a very important part of Sidra’s daily routine, as hours were spent flat ironing, brushing and making sure that her tracks weren't showing. Braids were easier to maintain, but took longer to do - sometimes up to two days depending on the style. She and her identical twin sister, actress Tasha Smith (‘Empire’ and Tyler Perry’s ‘For Better Or Worse’), got so good at doing each other’s hair that they developed a reputation in Camden, and eventually turned doing hair into a side hustle to make extra money.
“People would come to me for hair extensions and micro-braids. At one point, I had clients flying in from all over to get their hair done and I may have been 15! ” laughs Sidra.”
Things were going so well with hair that Sidra started cosmetology classes and even considered doing it professionally. It took moving to Los Angeles a few years later to realize that it wasn't for her.
“I loved doing hair and makeup, but the hair and makeup people on those sets in Hollywood were really good, and I realized I didn't love it like that,” she says.
What she did love was modeling. So when an opportunity arose, she moved to Europe and eventually landed in Italy where she started to get work. However, work was bittersweet there because the long hair that had made her feel so sexy and confident wasn’t appreciated in the same way as at home. Photographers even asked her to take her extensions out, leaving Sidra devastated.
"I'd been wearing hair extensions my whole life, and had no idea what else to do with my hair," explains Sidra.
Once back in the States, Sidra stepped back into the world of hair and keeping up her routine. But now interesting things were happening. For instance, after paying $1,500 to get micro braids done, the guy she was dating at the time didn’t like them and begged her to take them out. She had also started producing entertainment projects and noticed that she was spending more time than she wanted maintaining her hair.
As her 31st birthday approached, Sidra started to feel like she was wearing a costume and something had to give.
“I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize myself,” says Sidra. “So as a birthday gift, I decided I would reintroduce myself to myself, and that meant shaving my head.”
She called her best friend Feanna Smith ("Fee") that she met in cosmetology school who now owns her own salon.
“I was shocked when she told me what she wanted to do because I only knew her with hair, but I also knew that if anyone could pull it off, Sidra could,” says Fee.
On the eve of her 31st birthday, Sidra went to see Fee with butterflies in her stomach. After all, she had no clue what her head was shaped like. Once it was complete, Fee loved it! - “Sidra was beautiful before, but now you could see her natural beauty”- Sidra, on the other hand, was a little underwhelmed.
“The first thing I remember is my head feeling cold and sensitive,” she says. “It took me some days to get used to this woman with no hair. But once I did, I fell in love with her and this freedom from having to worry about my hair!”
Her life changed dramatically from having more time to meditate and take longer walks to discovering a confidence that she never knew she had, because as pretty as she felt with long hair, there was a lot to think about. Did people think the hair was real? Were her edges straight enough? Would her hair be done in enough time for her to go out?
The biggest change, however, wasn’t how she saw herself, but how others saw her.
“I got attention with weaves and I thought I was sexy, but the amount of attention I got bald was beyond anything I had ever experienced or imagined. And as I noticed it more, I began to feel more beautiful and confident. I know that a bald head isn't for everyone, but this idea that long hair gets you more attention, or more dates, is a myth."
How did her twin Tasha feel about her new look? “It looks so beautiful on her,” Tasha has stated on their joint Facebook fan page. “”Now me on the other hand...I wish I could be that free at times…BUT AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.”
Ask Sidra today if she will ever grow her hair back and she’ll tell you- “Never. I’m having so much fun being bald that I will be bald for life!”
This story originally appeared here on Essence. We are reposting it with permission from the author.
Sidra Smith is producer of 'Free Angela And All Political Prisoners,' an NAACP-Award winning documentary, as well as producer of the upcoming Angela Davis biopic, alongside Jeff Clanagan, Nina Yang Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker (Lionsgate).
|17-year-old Florida teens wears #BlackLivesMatter inspired prom dress. Photo credit: @_Milan23_ courtesy of The Grio.|
From elaborate hairstyles to ornate dresses, prom is a chance for teens to show off their one of a kind style.
Seventeen-year old Milan Bolden-Morris used her prom dress to show that she isn't just fashionable, she's socially conscious too.
The Palm Beach, FL senior wore a custom gown honoring the Black Lives matter movement, featuring black and white images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and others slain by police.
Posting on her Instagram page, the "all area"basketball star wrote, “Yes I’m black. Yes I’m 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that is bigger than me.”
Yes I'm black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me. #AllLivesMatter❤️ #BlackLivesMatter #MoveWithPurpose @oprah @steveharvey.tv @beyonce @chrisbrownofficial @badgalriri @tylerperry @kolyon @terrencetorrence @champagnepapi @liltunechi @bigsean @richforever @colinsmith23 @aliciakeys @kendricklamar @realcoleworld @kingjames
Florida based designer Terrance Torrance created Bolden-Morris' powerful dress over four days. "It was powerful," Torrance told Essence.com. "It was art. It was surreal. It spoke volumes."
The prom dress has gone viral, with the internet sharing its opinions on the statement making gown.
"It was powerful and a movement and I knew people would respond to it," said Torrance.
In the world of hair care, there seem to be contradicting statements regarding just about every aspect of your strands. One of the more debated elements of hair care is the matter of should conditioner be used on roots or avoided at all costs. Some say using conditioner on roots will lead to weighed down, flat hair that is extra oily. Others say not using conditioner on your roots will leave your strands dry, brittle, and thirsty for moisture. So, which one is right?
1.) As previously mentioned, if your scalp is naturally oilier, you may want to focus more on the ends than the roots. This will only lead to flat hair weighed down by an overabundance of oils.
2.) If you have thin or fine hair, you may want to skip the roots. Your hair is naturally more fragile and root conditioning may lead to hygral fatigue or other damage.
3.) The roots are the youngest hairs on your head. It makes sense to focus more on the ends of your hair instead of the roots. The ends are older and need more moisture than the roots for this reason alone. The ends also need more moisture than the roots because the oils produced at the scalp have a harder time traveling down to the ends.
Remember, your hair isn’t like everyone else’s hair. Find the method and timeline of care that works best for your strands!
On Monday, state offices in Mississippi and Alabama were closed in observation of Confederate Memorial Day. Mississippi’s governor has claimed April as Confederate Heritage Month. Last week, Ted Nugent, a man who referred to President Obama as a “chimpanzee” and a “subhuman mongrel” was a guest at the White House. Meanwhile in New Orleans, city workers no longer hindered by legal squabbling began the task of removing four Confederate monuments. Various news reports gave brief, if any, summaries behind the significance of each monument but I’m a big fan of sharing the dirt on exactly why these monuments should no longer stand.
The first of the memorials, the Battle of Liberty Place monument, was taken down at about 5:35am. The actual Battle of Liberty Place happened on September 14, 1874 when a group of several thousand men called the White League (predominantly made up of former Confederate soldiers hell-bent on maintaining white political power in Louisiana) attacked and fought the bi-racial Metropolitan police and state militia. For three days, the White League held the statehouse, armory and downtown New Orleans until Federal troops arrived and restored power to the elected government. The monument was raised in 1891 in support of this insurrection and in 1932 contained an inscription which noted that Northerners “recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.” No, these dudes don’t deserve a monument.
The other three monuments, which are said to be removed at some point later this week, were in recognition of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis. Robert E. Lee once wrote in a letter to his wife that slavery was a worse deal for whites than it was for blacks because it was a necessary burden to whites to teach blacks how to be civilized. “The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race… How long their subjugation may be necessary is known and ordered by a wise Merciful Providence,” wrote Lee. We don’t need a monument to this guy.
P.G.T. Beauregard played a huge role in creating the battle flag that is now synonymous with the Confederacy. Following the Civil War, though he did vigorously advocate for political equality for African Americans his seemingly enlightened stance is largely attributed to the fact that he wanted a larger number of supporters to oust Northern carpetbaggers and keep them from claiming power in Louisiana. However, to be clear, Beauregard—who was raised on a sugarcane plantation—was as racist as ever. He once said, “"seventy-five years hence, the traveler in this country will look in vain for traces of either an Indian, a negro, or a buffalo." We also do not need a monument to this guy.
Jefferson Davis, who would be elected as the president of the Confederacy, was a West Point Graduate as well as a U.S. Representative and Senator for Mississippi. He was a longstanding proponent of slavery in the southern states and was adamantly opposed to California joining the Union as a free state. Davis often spoke out on the inferiority of the black race and praised slavery for its moralistic values. In an 1850 speech given as the U.S. Senator for Mississippi, Davis said:
“ ... They see that the slaves in their present condition in the South are comfortable and happy; they see them advancing in intelligence; they see the kindest relations existing between them and their masters; they see them provided for in age and sickness, in infancy and in disability; they see them in useful employment, restrained from the vicious indulgences to which their inferior nature inclines them; they see our penitentiaries never filled, and our poor-houses usually empty. let them turn to the other hand, and they see the same race in a state of freedom in the North; but instead of the comfort and kindness they receive at the South, instead of being happy and useful, they are, with few exceptions, miserable, degraded, filling the penitentiaries and poor-houses, objects of scorn, excluded in some places from the schools, and deprived of many other privileges and benefits which attach to the white men among whom they live. And yet, they insist that elsewhere an institution which has proved beneficial to this race shall be abolished, that it may be substituted by a state of things which is fraught with so many evils to the race which they claim to be the object of the solicitude!”
We definitely don’t need to commemorate this guy either.
Even without possessing a detailed knowledge of the men behind these monuments to white supremacy, the fact that these various statues are meant to celebrate a time in history when African-Americans were abused, tortured, raped and murdered by law is a crushing blow to the collective black American psyche. Additionally, such memorials do nothing to cultivate or promote any sense of healing, reconciliation or movement toward the type of equality expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Instead, these various erected symbols throughout the South serve to remind and reiterate that black feelings, views, and lives in America matter about as much or less than they did during slavery.
Yes, they need to go. Every last battle flag, statue, monument, inscription and honorific in the name of the Confederacy needs to be gone for good. After all, the Confederacy lost and their ideas of what American society ought to be no longer have any moral standing or right in our world today.
Earlier today, Shea Moisture released a new ad and they completely missed the mark. They turned their backs on the core community that the brand was built on. Black women.
The one-minute advertisement featured three white women and a lighter-skinned woman of color. And while I'm all for diversity in advertisement, this is the part that really set it off for me. The tagline, "Embrace hair love in every form." Not only did the ad not feature any darker skinned Black women for the first 57 seconds of the ad, they tried to squeeze in their core audience in the last 3 seconds of the commercial.
The natural hair community was started because of women like Nikki who weren't allowed to "embrace" their natural hair based on societal standards of beauty, hair, culture, etc.
This erasure of culture in exchange for inclusivity is what has continuously happened with Black and Brown communities all across the country. It's the perfect example of gentrification. Inclusivity does not have to mean selling out. What this video does is reinforce White privilege, all while telling Black women and Black culture that their natural state simply isn't good enough. You know, beautiful women like this below. The audience which Shea Moisture recently posted a whole album of on their Facebook page, made the brand who it is today, and was completely abandoned.
But this isn't the first time people have had issues with the brand. There's been claims of a switch in their ingredients, something that many long time users have noticed, although the brand has denied it.
And not that I need to reiterate this anymore, but I'll end with this. You can't have it both ways. You can't promote to and pimp a culture at events like the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, setting up demos, and then the next day completely erase that same community after you've taken their money. If you're gonna sell out, just own it.
"The shit is disrespectful and Rich knows better. I don't think you have to apologize for trying to sell hair product to white people. However, I don't understand why inclusive campaigns aimed at white women necessarily exclude dark skinned Black women. #IDoUnderstandWhy #AndIDontLikeIt."
SheaMoisture is CANCELLED pic.twitter.com/T4Dru1JgAq— NANA JIBRIL 🌙🏳️🌈 (@girlswithtoys) April 24, 2017
Great news for Black filmmakers looking to breakout into the scene!
Codeblack Entertainment and TVOne are joining forces with Gentleman Jack Whiskey have launched its Real to Reel contest to support and highlight bold, new African American voices.
Participating filmmakers across the country will be competing for a chance to win $10,000 and a VIP trip to Miami Beach to screen their short film for an exclusive audience. Writer, producer and award-winning actor, Omari Hardwick will be collaborating with the effort.
“Real to Reel is a rare opportunity for new filmmakers to screen their work for industry insiders,” said Hardwick. “As a writer and actor who owns a production company, I am personally excited to collaborate with Gentleman Jack on such necessary recognition of Black talent behind the camera.”
The short film entries for the national competition can be submitted online and will be judged by a panel of industry experts. The films will be judged on the following criteria: screenwriting, production quality and entertainment value.
True to its initiative to highlight Black voices, Real to Reel will also feature a seven-city tour, with local film screening events showcasing the works of additional aspiring Black filmmakers. During these events, there will be a panel discussion around the selected films and attendees will also have an opportunity to vote for their favorite short film. The events will culminate with the winner of the showcase being recognized at the final local screening event.
Local screenings are set to be held in the following cities:
Saint Louis: April 27
Los Angeles: April 28
Chicago: May 11
New York City: May 20*
Atlanta: June 4*
Houston: June 8
Miami: TBA (Final)
*Denotes Omari Hardwick appearance.
(Dates may change)
“We are thrilled to team with Omari Hardwick, Codeblack Entertainment and TVOne to recognize the emerging talent in African American film,” noted Tracey Johnson, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Brown-Forman. “As filmmaking continues to evolve, Gentleman Jack is proud to celebrate the creativity, passion and inspiration behind the next big filmmaker in the African American community.”
There is a disconnect as wide as the Atlantic Ocean between African-Americans and Africans. By and large, we don’t understand each other. We don’t communicate with each other. We don’t accept each other as the long lost family that we are and that is a shame. In our failure to overcome misunderstandings between us, we are missing out on the opportunity to enhance and strengthen both our collective populations socially, culturally and economically.
As an African-American who was born and raised in Northern California in the shadow of the Black Panther Party—and who is married to a Nigerian immigrant—I want nothing more than for my sons to know and embrace both the African and African-America aspects of who they are. For me, those aspects are one and the same.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Moji Akinde, a Nigerian immigrant who is a meetings and logistics planner and holds the office of programming chair for the Nigerian American Professionals Association (NAPA) of Chicago. A few years back, Moji penned the article “It’s Time for Africans in America to Identify with African-Americans” and expressed the same desire for all members of the African diaspora to unite.
While speaking with Moji, I immediately felt a sense of sisterhood with her as she described the members of NAPA, a non-profit founded in 1998 made up of Nigerian Americans who actively build and leverage a network of professional resources to assist the Nigerian community in Chicago. We both recognized the similarities that exist between our groups because we understand that we come from the same source. Still, we do also recognize that time, circumstance and environment have converged to muddle and confuse our understandings of each other.
|Photo courtesy of NAPA Chicago. Bridging the Gap Brunch Discussion Between Africans & African Americans took place in March 2017.|
“Most of our members are what I call hybrids, in that we identify just as strongly with our American life as we do our Nigerian culture, and are constantly finding a way to balance that duality in our personal and professional lives,” Moji explained. In her capacity with NAPA, Moji curates and produces events to advance NAPA’s cause. One such annual event is Dine & Discuss: Bridging the Gap Between Africans vs. African-Americans.
“It is no secret that the relationship between African and African Americans, particularly in the U.S., is a complicated one, and with each day the world gets smaller via instant access to global news, the need to address our differences became pressing,” Moji said. “To most of the world, we are all Black until we speak and our dialects give us away. Because of this, anything that happens to one community, impacts the other. As such, NAPA decided there was no better way to discuss a sensitive topic than to have it on a full belly, at a metaphoric dining table like the family we ought to be.”
The first such event was held in 2015 in partnership with the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, an African-American organization dedicated to uplifting Chicago while fostering personal and professional development among its members. The third most recent Dine & Discuss took place this past March.
|Moji Akinde, a Nigerian immigrant who is a meetings and logistics planner and holds the office of programming chair for the Nigerian American Professionals Association (NAPA) of Chicago.|
I was reminded of my personal circumstances. When my husband first came to America, he suffered the most verbal abuse from African-Americans. Their favorite name to call him was “African booty scratcher.” Conversely, as his wife I constantly have to validate myself to Nigerian family members and demonstrate why I’m “worthy” to be married to him—how I’m not some composite “hood rat” with no home training.
NAPA’s March event was held in partnership with Global Strategists Association, an organization working to increase global engagement among Blacks.
|Photo courtesy of NAPA Chicago. Bridging the Gap Brunch Discussion Between Africans & African Americans took place in March 2017.|
Again, our lack of unification has larger implications. Coming together is about much more than sharing tips for caring for natural hair or trading fashion trends. We are talking about actually arriving at solutions for igniting a strong bond that can confront issues affecting our survival and livelihood both in America, throughout Africa and everywhere else in the world where Blacks live. And the movement toward those solutions are downright simple.
Moji expounded what was discussed at the most recent event, “It was apparent that neither community intentionally engaged nor dwelled in the spaces of the other. An active desegregation of both communities would be an ideal first step to take in knowing one another before working together. For example, simple activities like dining at African or soul food restaurants, attending one another's parties or social events, participating in professional associations and networking events.”
|Photo courtesy of NAPA Chicago. Bridging the Gap Brunch Discussion Between Africans & African Americans took place in March 2017.|
“Africans are indeed expected and ought to participate in the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Moji. And African-Americans should be equally invested in the issues of neo-colonialism, climate change, and groups such as Al-Shaabab and Boko Haram threatening African nations.
At the last Bridging the Gap event, there was one particular sticking point and that was the concept of African privilege.
“It is believed by some that Africans enjoy a certain level of privilege over African Americans, adding to the tension in our relationship. There are some who however refute this idea, stating that there is no such thing as African Privilege, and the successes Africans enjoy are simply a result of hard work.”
“Our expectations next year is to start conducting smaller boardroom style versions of these discussions, aimed at influencers in our respective communities, addressing ways some of the solutions listed above can be implemented. While there will always be a need to talk over our differences and grievances, it is equally important to note that progressive actions ensure that those conversations aren't in vain.”
Okay ladies, now let's get education.
Just one year after the release of her stunning visual album, Beyonce is helping women pay for college.
In celebration of Lemonade's anniversary, Queen Bey and her #BeyGood initiative will help to financially support #woke students “who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident" under her "Formation Scholars" program.
Incoming current, and graduate students at Berklee College of Music, Parson School of Design, and HBCUs, Howard University and Spelman College are eligible to apply directly at their institutions.
site, four scholarships will be awarded, one per college, to female students pursuing studies in the areas of creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies. The scholarship deadlines are listed individually on each school's website.
|Photo Credit: BPI/Icon Sport|
But at a time when she should be celebrating one of the happiest moments of her life, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is responding to racist comments.
"Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?" 70's tennis star Ilie Nastase said at a press conference last week.
Nastase, 70, has been provisionally banned from all International Tennis Federation events after being thrown out of a match between Romania and Great Britain for verbal abuse of the female players--a move Williams supports as the ITF investigates his comments about her child's appearance.
"I humbly thank the ITF for any consideration given to all the facts in this case. They will have my full support," she said on Instagram. Quoting Maya Angelou, she responded to Nastase.
"It disappoints me to know that we live in a society where people like Ile Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers," Williams wrote.
"I am not afraid unlike you. You see, I am no coward. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words...you may try to kill me with hatefulness, but still like air I will rise."
Williams is due this fall.
In an anti-black world, the natural hair movement is a rebellion against Western ideals, a self-love wave, or simply freedom for black women around the globe.
From kinks and coils deemed “inappropriate” in the workplace or school, to black men telling black women that straight hair looks better on them; choosing to wear the hair that you were born with is a personal, difficult and life-changing decision.
Each woman has her own natural hair story, and Hair’itage The Journey of Sistahs with Their Hair tells some of them through six characters, or “sistahs”, who have different styles and types of hair.
Written by award-winning Playwright Niccole Nero Gaines, the original play chronicles “the journeys and struggles that African-American women go through with their hair and how that affects their work, family and social lives.”
Gaines, who was raised between Queens, New York and Long Beach, California; started 4 Love Productions 10 years ago to bring quality live entertainment to her Long Island, New York community.
“I really wanted to bring more shows that were more reflective of our total experience, not just one dimensional shows that only show one side of the black experience,” Gaines told Curly Nikki.
Hair’itage is a collection of black women’s real experiences, shared during conversations with family and friends or those she heard in the hair salon she used to own.
|Award-winning Playwright Niccole Nero Gaines|
“I was inspired to write Hair’itage by all the stories I've heard over the years from family and friends; how their hair has impacted everything from how their families look at them, to their love lives, to their social lives and their self-esteem,” she said. “I just really wanted to open up a sounding board where women could see women they could relate to.”
The production, which has toured in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Maryland, is more than a “hair-love is self-love” speech, as it presents a historical context for why black women wear their hair the ways they do.
“I think it probably goes all the way back to slavery. You know when we came [to America] we had this different texture of hair. It may have been intimidation, and it may have just been ignorance of what our hair was,” she said. “So we were told to suppress how our natural hair looked; to tie it up, to cover it up. Once we were able to get perms or get it straightened we could make our hair look more like Europeans’.”
Relaxers, pressing combs and flat irons are some of the many tools black women have used to make their hair more acceptable in the places they live, work and play. In order to “fit in”, assimilate, or survive; black women often have to do what they need to do to “look the part”, or in other words, white.
Gaines said that her characters are based on people she knows, including herself. She has worn locs for over 20 years, so it’s only fitting that one of her favorite characters is the Loc Sistah.
“A couple of the characters and a few of the scenes are based on things I've been through,” Gaines said. “I hear the laughter and then afterwards I hear people talking about it and it's just amazing to me that so many women go through some of the same things. I guess that's why the show is so well received; because it's relatable. It opens up a mirror into the black woman's life.”
Audiences describe the play as “a very refreshing & realistic look into the world of black women and our hair”; “absolutely unlike anything you'd expect” and “a MUST SEE!!!”
From the beginning of the production, where slaves are brought to America, playgoers go on a journey, exploring the sistahs love-hate relationships with their hair, secret wishes and fears, jealousy and adoration, acceptance, rejection and so much more.
Overall, the play offers insight into the meaning of one’s hair, choices, beliefs and happiness.
“It [Hair’itage] means having self-awareness and pride in who you are,” she said. “Audiences should see it to be entertained and to have a better understanding; they should see it to be entertained; and to have a better understanding of how black women are perceived by how we wear our hair.”
The play is touring this year, with shows débuting next month.
It’s not easy.
Trying to make a change.
You’re realizing that your health is more important than anything. Yet, you find it hard to reach your goals..
Although you’ve been able to cut out the potato chips and the fast food, you still struggle with eating too much sugar.
You know that cutting added sugars from your diet will make all the difference.
But you are a creature of habit and bad habits are hard to break!
The truth is -
Confronting and overcoming your addiction to sugar is much like breaking down a stone wall with your bare hands. It won’t budge unless you have the proper tools.
If you’re serious about reducing the amount of added sugars in your diet, then these 5 foods can serve as the tools you need to get closer to your sugar consumption goals:
1. Sweet Potatoes
You can literally live off of sweet potatoes as they contain many of the nutrients you’d get from eating a variety of vegetables and fruits. This root vegetable is excellent for curbing your sugar cravings. Not only can one sweet potato fill you up, but it is also naturally sweet. Just bake a sweet potato in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Eat it straight out the oven or store it until the next day so that it’s even sweeter.
One date contains only 4.5 grams of sugar - all that you need to sweeten things up! You can simply add a few to your oatmeal or even bake them into your cakes, homemade granola bars, and cookies. The natural sweetness of these fruits is almost identical to sugar with a texture that is tender and smooth.
Some spices like ginger give your taste buds a zing while also providing a small hint of sweetness. If ginger is too strong for you, then you can try cinnamon, which can be used in almost any dish as it pairs well with both sweet and savory foods. You may find cinnamon to be a bit too much of a spice and if that’s the case, then try nutmeg. It’s very similar to cinnamon, but more subtle in its flavor.
Berries are basically the candy of fruit. Aside from your average strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, there are other berries that can also satisfy your sweet tooth. Like goji berries, mulberries, blackberries, and acai berries. All of these berries can be used in dishes to add a natural sweetness without skyrocketing your blood pressure.
You can pretty much take all the foods we’ve discussed up until now, throw them into a blender, add some almond or cashew milk with a little water and WAHLAH! Smoothies are probably the closest you can get to replicating an ice cream sundae with healthy ingredients. They’re easy to make, contain a blast of nutrients, and taste yummy through a straw!
Whenever your sweet tooth starts kickin’, it’s important you understand one thing - the most difficult part of cutting down on sugar is breaking the emotional ties you have to your favorite junk foods.
If you tend to emotional-eat on a daily basis, then foods like ice cream, cookies, and cakes may be the only solution you’ve found to fill a hole you feel within.
Yet, the best way to close this hole is to nurture and love your body. Sugar only teaches your body that when it’s feeling sad or hurt, there’s an immediate fix. Eat a Snickers. Drink a coke. Heat up those cinnamon rolls. Yum!
But your body is all you got at the end of the day. And your ability to wake up at 6 AM or go for a run at night depends on how you choose to fuel your body.
So make choices that will help you STAY ready and keep you STRONG!
Try keeping a food diary to measure your progress. Ask yourself questions like, “What did I eat for breakfast?” and “How did I feel in that moment?”
The more in tune you become with your body, the less you’ll have to worry about in the long run.
|Women gather in Atlanta for the 15th annual World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show. |
Photo courtesy of Black Hair Media.
From an early age, Taliah Waajid knew she was interested in hair.
At just 14 years old, she started her first hair care business, and in 1998, she opened her first salon. Back then, she says people would take her business cards like she "was giving them poison,"she told Madame Noire. In a time when natural hair wasn't as popular as it is today, “The Queen of Curly, Coily, Natural Hair Care” created a celebration--The World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show.
Now in its 20th year, the Atlanta event has grown to 250 exhibit booths and over 30,000 attendees. "When we did the first show, I think we had 25 vendors and 150 people came and every year it got larger and larger," the hair care pioneer says. "We now have thousands of people walking through our doors and feature over 200 vendors."
Waajid created the show to spread the word about natural hair care, but found that women wanted information on living healthier, too. "Millions of women all over the world struggle with managing their natural-textured hair, weight, health issues and self esteem, and are looking for answers and acceptance. That is why the health and wellness aspect of the show was added to the event," reads NaturalHairShow.org, the event website.
"The WNHH&BS provides positive encouragement and is a place of freedom from negativity for those who choose to embrace their natural hair and natural self. It is a welcoming place where women become more empowered. They come to celebrate, network, enjoy and learn to be the best self they can be—totally." The weekend's festivities have grown to include workshops in health, wellness, nutrition, finance and beauty.
Waajid says education is the driving force behind the expo. " It shows people that now you have made this decision to go natural, you can learn the products and make the best decision for yourself on what your hair needs and the different styling techniques," she said in an interview.
"I went from knocking on doors trying to teach people about natural hair, to now every time I turn around there is natural hair everywhere. I like to think I had a big part in that."
Waajid's legacy continues with the Curls, Kinks & Culture Music Festival
Douglass’ quote opens LA 92, a documentary film about the 25th anniversary of the Rodney King riots of 1992. It features rare footage and a raw, gripping view of King’s beating, the racially motivated murder of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins less than two weeks later, and the riots that destroyed Los Angeles neighborhoods.
In the film’s first few moments, Oscar-winning directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin set the tone and context for the next two-hours.
The documentary shifts to a visual rundown of the Watts riots of 1965, which provide a roadmap and example of what can and will happen when marginalized and dehumanized communities have had enough.
The film includes video footage of two events vital to the uprising – one, King’s beating from LAPD officers; and two, Harlins’ murder by a Korean store owner who thought she was stealing a bottle of orange juice, although Harlins had the money for the juice in her hand the whole time.
Du was sentenced to five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, a small fine, but no prison time.
In a press conference about Du’s verdict, U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, said, “The judge declared that [Harlins’] life was not valuable enough.”
Five months after Du’s trial, the LA-4 would testify to what they were thinking as they assaulted King.
“I was completely in fear for my life,” said Laurence Powell, one of the officers.
We’ve heard this many times before, unfortunately, regularly over the last several years – specifically in police accounts of the shooting deaths of unarmed Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice and countless other black men, women and children.
When the officers were found not guilty on April 29, 1992, the city erupted in protests, driver beatings, arson, looting and outrage.
In a televised address, Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’ first black mayor, shared his disagreement with the verdict.
“No, our eyes did not deceive us. We saw what we saw, and what we saw was a crime,” he said.
We saw what happened in 1965; in 1992; in 2013; in 2014; in 2015. As our society progresses, history is eerily, more closely, disturbingly, repeating itself.
Police shootings from Baltimore to Ferguson, Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities have sparked uprisings born of marginalization, disappointment and frustration.
“How many more Rodney Kings does it have to be? How many more Latasha Harlins does it have to be?” asked Charles Muhammad, Nation of Islam member, in scenes from a meeting at the First AME Church of Los Angeles.
When will #BlackLivesMatter in America? What will it take for black people to be seen as human, valuable, and worthy of respect, dignity and justice?
The documentary begs the question: When is it going to stop? When will video footage of these incidents make a difference and ensure police officers and others who wrongly kill and injure black people are punished for their crimes?
The film proves that America has a race problem, and that it has had a race problem that it is doing little to nothing about.
LA 92 is a poignant, authentic display of humanity, the power of anger and peace, and what it feels like to be deemed “less than human” in America. Everyone who cares about social justice needs to watch this film.
by Mary Wolff
We talk a lot about heat and how it affects our curls. While we know heat in the air can cause frizz, and over styling with heat leads to damage, what about the pros and cons of using heat caps? You have probably heard about heat caps already. If you are wondering if this is a method you should try for your curls, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of using heat caps.
A 2014 Nielsen report entitled “Powerful. Growing. Influential. The African-American Consumer” specifically noted that the African-American woman is “a trendsetter, social maven, head of household and business and community leader” and is “becoming more empowered with saving, spending and investments.” The African-American woman is also “progressive with her thoughts on health, entertainment and diversity in advertising.” Hence, Shea Moisture should have known better when they created that silly commercial—and other advertisers need to recognize that we are not to be ignored as a consumer block.
Yet, in 2013, out of the $69.3 billion companies spend on advertising across television, radio and print media, a mere $2.6 billion (or 2.6%) of that amount was spent on media focused on African-American audiences. This a huge misstep for anyone attempting to garner (and keep) the Black spending dollar because nearly 40% of us are more likely to purchase a product where African-Americans are included in the advertisement.
Any advertisers who have done the work of earning the trust of the Black consumer stands to make a huge mistake in abandoning their Black base for a wider, and perhaps Whiter, audience. According to the 2014 Nielsen study, it is those businesses who have maintained a Whites-only focus on consumers that need to embrace diversity in advertising particularly with the inclusion of messaging directed at African-Americans. African-Americans are still the largest racial minority group in the United States. Additionally, our influence of popular culture is so strong that 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics believe that Blacks drive American culture, which is why advertisements that include us also positively influence the buying habits of Whites and Hispanics.
Furthermore, when it comes to those products having anything to do with hair and beauty aids, Blacks purchase at a rate nine times higher than others. A whopping 81% of us believe that such products with advertising that includes us is indeed more relevant to us. Hence, when Shea Moisture ghosted us from their last ad, they appeared to have dismissed just how germane we are to their product identity AND they severely discounted the 80% of us Black women who regularly share with our friends how much we like a product.
Shea Moisture trotting out their new advertising strategy online verses print and television was also a huge faux pas. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the degree of Black involvement on social media, yet I believe most would be surprised to learn just how active we are on the web when it comes to buying goods and services. Seventy-eight percent of us own smartphones while 81% of us show support for a brand on social media and 76% of us are more likely to rate, review and share our brand experiences.
All the statistics I’ve shared thus far should serve as a clarion call to any brand who thinks it is okay to dismiss the importance of the Black consumer. For Black consumers in particular, it is also important for us to never underestimate our valuable contributions to the American marketplace. Our household incomes are increasing, as well as our business ownership with each generation that continues to pursue higher education. Plus, even for those of us in lower income brackets, we are amazingly resilient to market fluctuations and understand like no other segment of American society how to save and spend according to our personal needs. When we collectively decide that a brand or a product is not worth our time, we make a huge impact on that brand’s bottom line. We NEVER EVER have to tolerate mistreatment from any advertiser and we absolutely have the power not to.
Fans yearning to satisfy their #GimmeSugar cravings don’t have too much longer to wait because season two of Queen Sugar is near!
Last season, millions of viewers tuned in to the riveting debut show, making it the #1 new cable series for African-American women.
The critically-acclaimed drama from Academy award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey will return with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 21 at 10/9c on OWN.
Continuing the groundbreaking initiative established in the show's first season, series creator DuVernay has once again assembled an all-female directing team for season two including: Kat Candler, DeMane Davis, Cheryl Dunye, Aurora Guerrero and Amanda Marsalis, with additional names to be announced.
Viewers fell in love with the television masterpiece – a genuine, unique and aware depiction of black humanity.
After 13 fascinating episodes, which earned an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series and Television Show of the Year Awards from both ABFF and AAFCA, fans are ready to be taken further into the Bordelon’s minds, hearts and world.
If you haven’t watched the show yet, don’t fret! You can catch the first season on Hulu now. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be counting down the days until the summer!
A fresh teaser for the second season shows that the Bordelon family will have even more soul-searching, fear-confronting and decision-making to do.
In light of marriage troubles, new beginnings and interracial relationship struggles, what will Charley, Ralph Angel and Nova do? How will their lives and the lives of the people they love be affected?
They are all at turning points in their lives and it will be interesting to witness what destinies they choose.
Season two looks like it’s going to be amazing, so Wednesdays will be “don’t call, text or bother me” nights – unless it’s about Queen Sugar.
The Bordelons are back for a special two-night Season 2 premiere on June 20 and 21. Claim your destiny. pic.twitter.com/yvIpo5TeTI— Queen Sugar (@QueenSugarOWN) April 27, 2017
|LeBron James during the Ninth Pangos Dream Classic game against Mater Dei High School at the Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus on January 4, 2003. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.)|
When LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003, he would go on to become one of the very last basketball players to be drafted directly from high school. But back then, he was already sparking major attention long before he had even graduated.
In an interview on his own platform, Uninterrupted, James recalls a time with host Maverick Carter. He tells the story about how former Reebok-CEO, Paul Fireman wrote him a $10 million check to sign with Reebok and turn down future meetings with Nike and Adidas.
James would turn down the deal.
"Being a first-generational money-maker in a household is a scary thing," says James. "For an 18-year-old, I go from being, sitting in classrooms in May, graduating high school, to being a multi-millionaire a month later."
But it's the circumstances in which he turned down the deal that made this moment so powerful.
"Shit, we flew in—I flew in from Akron, Ohio, from the projects. Our rent is like $17 a month, and now I'm looking at a $10 million check."
"For some odd reason I started thinking...if he's willing to give me a $10 million check right now, what is it to say that Nike or Adidas is not willing to give me 20 or 30 upfront. Or to say that, maybe the upfront money is not even the biggest thing. Maybe let's start thinking about the backend."
"Never put all your eggs in one basket," said James. He would fly back the very next day to the projects in Akron, Ohio and go right back to school.
In 2015, James would go on to sign a lifetime deal with Nike. Multiple reports cite that the deal, over the course of LeBron's lifetime, would exceed well over $1 Billion, making it the largest deal ever by Nike. The deal could also potentially make LeBron James the richest athlete of all time.
Maybe LeBron was right about being patient? Watch the video below.
Exercise is a necessary evil. We all know hitting the gym on a regular basis has health benefits that make it worth the effort, but for some curlies it has one particular downside that can be a pain to deal with. Tangles are a fact of life for lots of curlies after an intense workout session. Don’t ruin your post-workout endorphin rush by worrying about your strands! Here are a few of my favorite tips for detangling hair after a workout.
When it comes to dealing with tangles at the gym, the same rules apply as when detangling at home. Use care and be gentle with your curls for the best results!
According to its website, "100% of the seniors from Urban Prep's Englewood, West and Bronzeville campuses have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities. Students from all three campuses, faculty,and parents celebrated the momentous occasion with an with a public event on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Seniors from the class of 2017 have been accepted to over 170 colleges and universities, and have amassed over $15 million in scholarships and grants to date including four prestigious Posse Scholarships."
Students have been accepted into a list of schools including, Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown, Johnson C. Smith University, Illinois State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Indiana University, North Carolina A&T, Xavier University of Louisiana and several others. You can view the full list of schools these young men have been accepted into here.
For the 8th consecutive year 100% of @UrbanPrep grads have been admitted to college. Watch them explain why #100PercentMatters& #WeBelieve. pic.twitter.com/FqXbwfaKNA— Urban Prep Academies (@UrbanPrep) April 29, 2017