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

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    The Made in America Festival line-up was announced earlier today, and news broke that both Jay Z and J Cole would headline the festival.

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    Made in America, now in its 6th year, will return to Philadelphia on September 2nd and 3rd. In addition to Jay Z and J Cole, the lineup also includes the likes of Migos, Solange, Run The Jewels, Sampa, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and several others. Pre-sale tickets are available now via Tidal.

    Check out the full line up below and order your presale tickets here.



    ************************
    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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    Photo Credit: Hair by Chantellen 

    Written by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com

    Remember sitting next to the stove, waiting for the sizzling hot comb to glide through your hair?

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    Or holding your ear down at the beauty parlor, excited about showing off your curls at Easter service

    The press and curl of your childhood is back-- with less damage.

    The silk press is an upgrade to the process you grew up with. Instead of using grease to get a sleek, straight style, the silk press uses a flat iron and a light oil serum to give hair its bounce and sheen.

    After a clarifying shampoo and hydrating conditioner, hair gets infused with even more moisture through a steam treatment and deep condition. After your locks are blown out, titanium or ceramic flat irons are used to "silken" natural hair.

    Because hair is hydrated, there's less damage to your natural curl pattern. "If you have moisture in the hair, you don't have to work as hard to straighten it," says Atlanta stylist Chantelle Nunes-Norman, whose salon specializes in the silk press. Less heat is needed to give you a straight look.

    Less damaging than a traditional press and curl, a silk press leaves hair looking shiny and soft, with lots of movement.

    Have you had a silk press before? Would you try one?
    ***********************
    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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    Pictured, Erin Mitchell. Chicago-based art educator and visual artist. Photo by @michiojames

    Have you ever to just enjoy your Black Life without always entertaining or debunking a political debate about what value it has or doesn’t have? I’d like you to meet Erin Mitchell, the amazing artist behind the new, captivating, and aptly titled visual art collection The Black Joy Series.

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    She wants to help you do just that. This ongoing portraiture series is a breath of fresh air in a time when Black folks are inundated with images of Black death and Black tragedy. Mitchell responds to the myriad crises facing Black America both simply and radically. The Black Joy Series is an unwavering and blissfully defiant love letter to Black women everywhere. While her style is striking and abstract, Mitchell turns her gaze towards moments and gestures that feel uncannily familiar, allowing the pieces a rich sense of intimacy. The lifeblood of this series is Blackness, colorfully rendered and reflected back at us in unimaginably refreshing ways.

    Mitchell isn’t only a visionary on the canvas, she is also a fashionista in her everyday life. She is just as bold with her hair color as she is with her paint pallets. In the interview below, we’ll also get a glimpse into her experience as one of Afro Punk’s most jaw-dropping attendees last year. I had the great fortune of sitting down with her over the weekend at her studio, where she was unwinding from a long week of teaching and preparing for installation to go up later that evening. See how this young woman gets it right.

    Nate Olison: Hey Erin, really glad that we got a chance to sit down and have this talk. Can you tell us about the new series you’ve been producing for us?

    Erin Mitchell: The current collection that I’m putting together is called the Black Joy Series, and it’s pretty much just a collection of images of predominantly women of color, and people of color sharing joy, love, happy images, positive images, things hopefully make you smile, colors that brighten your day. Kind of just the direction I’m in just focus on positivity and just unity in that manner.

    Black Joy Series 2016, by Erin Mitchell

    NO: When did you start making art?

    EM: I’ve been making things since I was little, very little. It might not have been paintings for sure, but it was something. It was like, I decided I wanted to paint a
    suitcase once. Because my dad was a carpenter (he didn’t go to school for it) but he pretty much redid our whole basement and stuff. So he’s good with building and teaching himself how to do things. I think I got that from him. So I was always tinkering around with different things from the basement where he did his thing. Since he was always making his stuff I was like, I wanna fiddle around with some stuff too! So I’d always be making random things. Somehow it transformed into visual arts and me working on canvases and making these prints. He draws well too, so I definitely think I just get all my creative juices and all this talent from him.

    NO: Have you always known Black was beautiful?

    EM: I grew up in a house where I always thought that I was beautiful. I mean, I had my insecurities, of course. But I felt loved and I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to. My mom was always very supportive. My parents were so supportive of anything I was doing or direction I was going in, and I went to a predominantly white elementary school. Episcopalian private school. Even in that setting I had a strong sense of myself, knowing how to go forward and do what you do. I mean, even though the situation that you’re in isn’t what you’re used to. Take what you have and don’t give them a reason to think that you’re part of some stereotype or something that they know of. I would say that the women in my family are really strong too. There’s never been a sense of doubt. Because these women are aggressive and it’s just like “kinda don’t fuck with us” type of women. We do our thing. So I’ve always had these women to look up to. My aunts, my grandmother, my mom. So I’m blessed in this sense, where I’ve never been questioned to think that I’m not something that’s worth gendering at. That I’m not a beauty in my sense and everything that I do.

    NO: I love the candidness of the gestures in the work. I think it’s important for us to celebrate Black joy in this time, and I don’t know if a lot of people are doing that.

    EM: It’s nothing to blame for, it’s just that everyone’s thinking it’s the end of the world is the first thing. Everyone’s wildin’ out right now. So we need to stick to that happiness though, so that’s the only thing that’s really gonna pull us through this.

    NO: So, what do you hope that people will get out of your art?

    EM: If they smile, that’s one thing for sure. I would like them to smile, and not that they need to know who these women are, but just to be like “I see part of myself in her” because all of their skin tones are different colors so you make of it what you want. Whether she’s light-skinned, dark-skinned, whatever. But I’m hoping that there’s something in there, just like I get a sense of her. There’s something of me I see in that. Whether it’s how her hair is, or maybe her pose or her facial expression, something that intrigues you makes you want to get to know these people, even though they’re nobody, but share in this moment that’s happening.

    NO: Is every single piece based on an actual person?

    EM: Some parts are yes, and others are based on these women that inspire me. Women mainly, some of them I don’t even know, but their style inspires me and I want to immortalize that in a sense. To keep it close.
    Black Joy Series 2016, by Erin Mitchell

    NO: I’m glad you mentioned style too, so last year you were kind of a big deal on the internet!

    EM: When I tell you, I had no idea. [My friend] Lauren was like Erin you have to come to this! There’s so many beautiful people, you have to be there. So I was like, okay. I’m going next year. Went there. What?! It was AMAAAAAAAZING! My goal was to be on one of those top style blogs. Because I’d seen them, and I just wanna see if I can get on one of them… little did I know. I’m still just like, what? That happened? That was really cool!

    NO: What inspired that particular outfit?

    EM: A lot of my outfits just seem to come together, really. I collect pieces of clothing that I’m drawn to as far as color of course, color and pattern. I like to mix and match patterns. There might be something I see and I have no idea what is gonna come of this, but this is just too good to leave here, this is now a part of me. And I know I will be able to rock this in some type of sense. I like thrifting a lot too, because I feel like thrifting you’re gonna find something that wouldn’t be on the rack anywhere else. I’m all for originality. I guess I didn’t even need to say that, right? I had been thinking Afro Punk… I gotta come correct, right? I gotta come out and show out. I had some decisions to make that morning, because I had something else in mind. I was like you know what? I just wanna be this ray of sunshine. Because I had already turned my hair yellow, I was so feeling the yellow, so I was just like I’m gonna be this beam of light.

    NO: Is there a correlation to between your sense of style and your artistic aesthetic?

    EM: Well I guess as far as my style, I’m definitely out of the box, so when it comes to my work I don’t use regular skin tones for the people that I depict. They are green, purple, pink whatever. But they’re people of color. So that’s what it is. You don’t need—it’s an unconventional type thing. It’s out of the box, it’s out of the ordinary but you understand it and you feel it, and you feel like you can relate to it. So it doesn’t matter exactly, it’s just thinking that there’s more than one type of beauty. So how I dress, clearly I don’t dress as a regular, down the street type of look. But it’s still something I want to be seen as something beautiful that’s a work in itself, that I put work into. I enjoy people coming up to me and telling me “you look awesome” “your style is so dope!” “What do you do?” “Who are you?” It makes me feel good because I know at one point, I didn’t look like this. And I didn’t wear my hair like this or anything like that but I still had these ideas inside me. And there’s things that have evolved into what I present myself as and what I create. And I’ve become very proud of it. And I’m happy that this is coming out more because again, in Alabama you can’t walk around with blue hair! People aren’t even accepting of the fact that you have an afro.

    NO: Woww, really?!

    EM: I have a friend who worked at a bank and of course she was just getting the ugliest looks because she had a fro. But it’s the mentality. It’s not as accepting as in other parts of the country. So being able to come here to a bigger city with a more open mentality and being able to express myself exactly how I’ve been wanting to is good. I still like going back home and showing my blue hair.I get compliments though, they might look at me really crazy though. These old school white folks they look at me like “eh…” but you still looking and you looking because you know that this is something you don’t always see, but it’s something that you should see.
    Black Joy Series 2016, by Erin Mitchell

    NO: Yeah, sure.

    EM: I know before I graduated one of my teachers pulled me aside and asked me about my hair. She did. She was like so your hair, I don’t want that to deter you from getting jobs because you wear your hair in different colors. I don’t want that to affect you getting work. And I was like, “it won’t.” I don’t even know why we’re sitting here having this conversation.
    We’re artists. And we’re art teachers. I think the kids should see different things. Not everyone is just—a white teacher. Because that’s all they really see in school because it’s not many Black, of color people in the school system. So they need to see something different. They need to see me. I’m in a predominantly Black school and they still never seen anyone with their hair like this, or how I dress, or how I talk. But we out here! And you need to know that there’s more than your radius. A lot of my students don’t really leave their neighborhood. Or they stay within their block for whatever reason. But to bring someone in that don’t look like what they’re used to, and teach them different things. But still, you can relate to me because I look like you even though I have blue hair.

    NO: Especially because there’s a lot of doubt in art anyway, right?

    EM: It’s already not the most stable thing you can do. It’s already been defunded and all types of stuff. And “nobody cares” about art as far as it seems. But little did you know this is what you need. This is what’s worth living for.

    NO: Thanks so much Erin, so where can people go to buy your prints? Where can we access these beautiful pieces of artwork?
    Black Joy Series 2016, by Erin Mitchell

    EM: My work can be accessed at Erinleannworks.com. You can see images there, and also if you’re interested in purchasing any prints, you can send me a quick cute message and I’ll happily reply.

    NO: Awesome, so what’s next on the horizon after Black Joy?

    EM: Well I don’t see it ending, I just see it evolving. I can’t wait for the day when I have this whole collection from start to—at least a year from today. That’s what I’m excited for.

    You can check out more of Erin's work here. Let us know what you think in the comments. 
    ************************
    Nate Olison is a writer, educator, and performer living in Chicago Illinois. In addition to freelance writing, he also works as a youth development specialist and interfaith poetry instructor. He utilizes storytelling in every role to generate creative empathy, which shapes both his pedagogy and his worldview. Find more from him at nateolison.com

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    John and Darlene Mullins will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary in August. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

    Darlene Mullins began her journey on Tennessee State University back in 1962. A grandmother of four, she's always taught her children to finish their goals.

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    But for Darlene, love got in the way, she said in an interview with TSU Newsroom. This August, she'll celebrate her 54th wedding anniversary.

    “I came to TSU because I ran track. I wanted to go to the 1964 Olympics,” Darlene said. “Wilma Rudolph was my idol and I was on my way. I get to TSU and meet the great coach (Ed) Temple, but we bumped heads, because I had to make a choice between his track team or Mr. John Mullins.”

    And while its taken Mullins some time, this Saturday, May 6th, the 72-year-old grandmother will get her dream come true and graduate from Tennessee State University.

    “Something kept nagging at me,” she said in the interview. “I always told my children to make sure they finish what they started and I kind of felt it was time to live up to my own advice.”

    Not one to not finish her goals, Mullins and her husband moved back to Nashville in July 2013, allowing her the opportunity to pursue her degree in interdisciplinary studies. Sometimes she took as many as 20 credit hours per semester.

    Before leaving TSU, Mullins had accumulated 25 credit hours, which allowed her to graduate in four years. She will graduate as a member of three honors societies, and summa cum laude.

    “My graduation from college, for me, confirms that I completed what I started more than 50 years ago,” Darlene said. “I am happy.”

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

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    By Sharee Silerio

    This past weekend, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was added to the list of black, unarmed women, children and men killed by police. Over the last several years, countless hashtags memorializing them have dominated social media discussions, blog posts, opinion pieces and social justice campaigns.

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    In the limited television series Two Sides of the Truth, Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis hopes to shed light on four high-profile police shooting cases. Executive produced by Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions and Lemuel Plummer of L. Plummer Media, the show will air on the TV One network.

    According to TV One, the purpose of the show is to “get people to look twice; to question what they’re sure they know; to entertain the idea that while they might be right, that doesn’t mean the other perspective isn’t also right.”

    Davis, who will also narrate the series, indicates that the cases deserve more than sensationalist headlines.

    “Every other week we hear about these horrific incidences and many of them go unsolved and unresolved. We hope that this show can take those headlines and humanize them," she said in a press release.

    Tennon hopes that the show offers an opportunity for viewers to examine the details of the incidents from both sides and draw their own balanced opinions.

    “We want to give an unbiased approach to digging into what really happened on those fateful days and in doing so, hopefully shed some light and bring some awareness to such an important issue,” he said.

    TV One adds that the series will “take viewers on a can’t-look-away, thought-provoking, and emotional journey that will resonate with them the next time they see an unjust shooting. Because of Two Sides of the Truth, viewers across the country may think twice before drawing conclusions.”

    It looks like a series worth watching, since sadly, new cases are being added to the list. As America is busy analyzing new cases, hopefully the show will offer a paradigm for viewing old cases and interpreting new ones.

    True crime enthusiasts will have to wait and see, since a premiere date hasn’t been released yet. Stay tuned to TV One for more details about the show.

    What are your thoughts on this show idea? Will Davis make a good narrator? 
    ************************
    Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/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.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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    Photo courtesy of Lifetime

    By Sharee Silerio

    After telling the life stories of music megastars Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Aaliyah (which most fans hated), next on Lifetime’s list is a film based on a best-selling book about global icon Michael Jackson.

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    The movie, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, is based on the book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, written by the King of Pop’s trusted bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard.

    Told through their eyes, the book “dismantles the tabloid myths once and for all to give Michael Jackson back his humanity” and its purpose is to “show the world who Michael Jackson truly was”.

    The world’s number one Michael Jackson tribute artist Navi will star as the beloved singer, songwriter, dancer and performer.

    Lifetime says that the movie will “reveal firsthand the devotion Michael Jackson had to his children, and the hidden drama that took place during the last two years of his life.”

    A preview of the film was recently released, highlighting the movie’s take on Jackson’s personal struggles and quest for normalcy.

    The world premiere of Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland is on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th at 8/7c.

    Hopefully the fourth time around is a charm, and this is their best music biopic yet. Based on their track record, this could go either way. Hopefully, the book provided a framework for authentic, believable storytelling. Let’s be hopeful.

    What do you think of the preview? Does it look like it will do Michael Jackson justice? Will you be tuning in?
    ***************
    Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/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.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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    Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com

    This past weekend, the 2017 National Rifle Association Annual Meetings and Exhibits took place here in Atlanta, Georgia. The four-day event commenced on April 27, expected an attendance of 80,000+ “patriots” and featured a speech given by Donald Trump. Since Trump took office, however, gun sales have slowed to pre-Obama levels but have seen a surge among minorities who are believed to have anti-gun views.

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    In particular, sales have risen among African American women and many of these women are also joining pro-gun groups. Once such group is National African American Gun Association (NAAG), a national network for all African American firearm owners, gun clubs and outdoor enthusiasts founded by Morehouse College alumni and Atlanta native Philip Smith in 2015. I sat down with Mr. Smith to discuss NAAG, firearm ownership among Blacks and the organization’s response to the NRA’s recent Atlanta convention.

    “One thing I noticed—which was the initial catalyst to starting the organization—was that there were not a lot of Blacks involved in shooting or at the range,“ said Smith. “The few that I did see were kind of off in the corner, looking kind of nervous and not fully integrated into the rest of the group. They were there but they weren’t there. I felt the need to change that, because if I could have fun then, I knew my people could have fun.”

    Smith, who originally hails from Northern California’s Bay Area, admitted that his views on gun ownership changed once he discovered Southern gun culture.

    “Regardless of color, fathers passed down guns to their children,” Smith noted. “At family gatherings, the go and shoot. They hunt together. Black or white. The Southern culture is very different.” Spurred by his eye-opening introduction to firearms, Smith researched African American gun associations, saw a hole in the cultural landscape and got to work creating NAAG.

    Smith’s vision was a politically neutral association which would attract a Black audience interested in fully embracing their Second Amendment rights and learning proper firearms safety. When he launched the organization in honor of Black History Month on February 28, 2015, Smith expected an overall response of 300 members total but was surprised to see that number surpassed that within the first five weeks of the launch. Today, the organization boasts a membership of just under 20,000 with members from every state.

    “We’re seeing steady growth. We’re 60% African American women—which surprised me.” NAAG’s November 2016 newsletter cited that the organization received 1000 new members over the Thanksgiving holiday alone.

    According to a 2014 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 54% of Blacks say gun ownership does more to protect people than endanger personal safety, nearly double the 29% who said the same in December 2012. Smith attributes this shift in African American views to an awakening of sorts.

    “There’s a lot of folks in our community who are really seeing the light. Guns don’t make people bad. It is people and their choices who make the act of wielding a gun a bad thing. Getting a gun is not a political statement. It’s neither a democratic nor a republican statement; it’s a personal statement. It’s saying that I want to protect myself, my family and my kids. ”

    Smith also understands that this transition in African American view on firearms comes after a very long and complicated history in America—a history that Smith has made sure to point out on the NAAG website. That experience includes the existence of the Black Codes of 1865 and 1866, a series of laws meant to restrict and prohibit Blacks’ rights and freedoms including those to vote, bear arms, gather in groups and learn to read and write.

    “The American Black experience has been so very different from any other ethnic group. We were not even allowed to have guns. Compare that to what’s happening now in the last 40 years or so. Look at Jim Crow, the deep South especially, and even communities outside the South that were affected by not being able to protect themselves. If you can’t protect yourself then really you’re going to potentially be a victim because everyone knows that you can’t fight. Anyone can walk into your community and set up pornographic stores and liquor stores on every corner because they know you don’t have any ability to say anything and that’s what’s happened.”

    Smith made clear that the NRA’s failure to properly acknowledge or recognize this history with African Americans (among other culturally sensitive issues) is what makes groups like his more attractive to Black firearm enthusiasts.

    “We’re going to talk about Trayvon Martin. We’re going to talk about Alton Sterling. We’re going to talk about the Dallas shootings. And we’re going to have it from our perspective. We want to change the social narrative to the point where when someone says “black” and “gun,” it’s not an automatic negative or urbanized slant. Instead we want the response to be ‘he or she must belong to NAAG.’ We want exposure of our organization to different folks to turn back the brainwashing that has taken place in greater society and with Blacks regarding Black gun ownership.”

    Smith further noted that the politically neutral nature of NAAG also does more to attract Blacks from all different perspectives and walks of life. The group touts members who are republican, democrat, gay, straight, conservative and liberal. It also prides itself on having discussions including varied views in lieu of a monolithic thought. Smith believes that this sort of open discourse results in a better thought process and conversation in which positions must be backed up with fact, not just emotion. The organization abides by the notion of “agreeing to disagree but not to disconnect.”

    “In my opinion, we’ve never had a Black voice in firearms, a voice that we bring to the table unapologetically from a Black perspective.” This voice, according to Smith, agrees not to demonize police officers but insists that any police officers in the wrong be held accountable, moved out of law enforcement forever and be placed in jail—a sentiment largely absent from groups like the NRA. Still, NAAG’s differing and uniquely African American views don’t prevent them from associating with the NRA.

    “Our whole management team went to the convention the first night and went to the dinner on Sunday night. We interact with any organization that can potentially help us. Does it mean we are in step with every thought process at the NRA or the Gun Owners of America or the Jewish Defense League? No. But we’re certainly going to sit down at the table if something can be forged to benefit us.”

    Smith views the current president’s Second Amendment stance as being beneficial overall to Black firearm ownership, particularly the pending concealed carry reciprocity law which Smith feels will pass.

    “For law-abiding gun owners in the Black community, I believe the expanded access to guns are a good thing. But there are some pitfalls with that because there is still the danger of those guns falling into the hands of crooks and criminals, so I believe there may be some hiccups potentially. But as a community, we have to police ourselves and do our due diligence in making sure that doesn’t happen. I think overall the present legal scheme of having access to more guns will be a positive thing for the Black community.”

    As far as tragic occurrences with legal gun owners such as the murder of Philando Castile, Smith has a very specific opinion on how the Black community should respond.

    “The worst thing we can do as Black folks is feel that we are discounted citizens without the full rights of the Second Amendment because some rogue cops are out there shooting Blacks. If that’s the case then we need to put legal pressure on those communities and those courtrooms where those cops exist. We should also collectively put financial pressure on those communities through boycotting. When things like that happen, if they’re shooting us, we’re not the problem; they’re the problem. So let’s go after them.”
    Have you considered getting your gun license? Would you join an organization like NAAG?
    *******************************
    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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    Written by Ariel Hollie

    Self-Love.

    A constant topic of discussion.
    Its meaning, still a blur as you spend countless hours scrolling on your phone.

    Double tap. Double tap.

    “Her hair is so pretty,” you think.
    “Her body is perfect!” you applaud.

    Yet, when you look in the mirror - you find it hard to return the compliment. Why is that?

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    No really.

    Ask yourself why!

    According to Andrea Lewis, the most important question to ask yourself when you’re feeling like you’re not good enough is, “Why?”. You may be familiar with Lewis for her role as Hazel in Degrassi: The Next Generation. Or you may know her as writer, creator, and producer of the hit web series, ‘Black Actress’.

    I had the opportunity to interview Lewis and hear her thoughts on self-love. I wanted to find out more about her #SelfLoveSaturday videos published on her YouTube channel, in which she discusses topics like feeling rejected or feeling lost.

    When asked about what prompted her to start making such videos, Lewis shared that there was a time when she was working on a play and the producer, a beautiful woman, had a lot of negative talk about herself. Lewis described the producer as sticking “out like a sore thumb”. She found it strange to hear someone talk about themselves in this manner - she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

    So in a way, when Lewis made her first video on self-love, it was indirectly about this producer. “People like to live in this place of negativity, rather than fixing themselves.” Lewis felt that there was a solution for all the things this producer saw wrong with herself. Which speaks volumes for how she deals with issues she may see in herself.

    Lewis describes herself as a self-motivator. She is obsessed with fixing things about herself. At the time of starting to make videos on self love, Lewis says that she was “past the point of negative talk”. She realized that “if you don’t like something about yourself, you can fix it”. In many of her videos, Lewis opens up to her viewers about mental setbacks she experiences and how she is working through them.

    Her candid nature in front of the camera is ALMOST ALARMING. In one of her videos, When You Feel Lost, Lewis opens up about not knowing if what she is doing is getting her anywhere. She describes feeling as though she is “always coming up with a strategy… always re-planning… always coming up with something, some turn, some twist, some trap-door, some other route”. Elaborating on this feeling, she questions “Am I doing anything right? Am I getting anywhere at all? Or am I just paddling in a circle?”

    Some of us may be able to relate to Andrea Lewis. Being in a state of flux where you’re not sure if the trajectory of your life is a destined path. Or, if you are fulfilling a greater purpose.

    Lewis’ comfortability with filming herself in a headspace that is not ideal requires confidence. Most people are afraid of putting themselves out there. Too afraid to let the world in on their imperfections. Which is why Lewis advises any viewer who wants to create similar content but may lack the confidence, to do it only when you ARE confident. “I do these videos for me. I don’t do them for anyone else,” Lewis states.

    She actually enjoys creating this type of content because it allows her to get “something off [her] chest.” It stems from a place of helping herself - not in a selfish way - through creating art. “We make art because we need to do it,” Lewis explains, “it’s a release for ourselves… I’m okay to be vulnerable on camera because it’s for me.”

    When asked what advice she would give to readers who may be struggling to pursue their passions because they believe that they are not good enough, Lewis shared an exercise she finds very helpful:

    On paper, write down all your fears, your doubts, what you’re afraid of, your negative thoughts.
    Number each one.
    On another piece of paper, go from number to number and write out solutions.
    “As you read it out loud, you’ll feel like a friend is telling you this.”
    “If you’re friend is telling you this, then you are going to give them all of the advice in the world on how to do this.”
    “Sometimes hearing it said out loud will make you question why you have such silly thoughts.”

    Throughout the interview, it became clear that Lewis was an action-oriented type of person. For every question I threw at her concerning self-doubt, she had a solution. As she states, “There is not one negative thing that’s honest, that is permanent.”

    Self-love, for Andrea Lewis, is a daily process. “You have to do it daily because you have a lot of things working against you daily that are not about self love.” According to Lewis, self-love is “feeling what you feel in the moment, but then figuring out how you fix this?”

    Lewis is definitely a self-motivator and has a lot of wisdom she shares with viewers on her channel. She also recently directed a documentary on self-love consisting of 3 parts: “Finding Magic” “Finding Joy” & “Finding Trust”. I suggest you go to her website and check it out.


    The next time you do scroll down your news feed and give strangers more credit than you give yourself, it’s important to ask yourself “why” you think of yourself as less than.

    Learning to love yourself means taking responsibility for the way you perceive your beauty, your body, your hair and reminding yourself that you are your own person.

    In that sense, no one can take your uniqueness away.

    Self-love is, essentially, spending less time focusing on what you don’t like about yourself and dedicating more time to becoming who you want to be.

    Put your phone away.
    Look in the mirror.

    What ways do you practice self-love on a daily basis? Share in the comments?
    ******************************
    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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    Former President (I know, still hurts to say) Barack Obama announced a $2 million donation to create more summer jobs for youth in Chicago.

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    "One of the things that we will be starting this year is Michelle and I, personally, are going to donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community, so that right away young people can get to work, and we can start providing opportunities to all of them," Obama said.

    The news was announced Wednesday, while Obama discussed plans for the new Obama Presidential Center and library being developed in the Jackson Park area on the Southside of Chicago.

    Obama expects the project to take about 4 years to build, but he expects the programming to start this year.

    “We don’t want to wait for a building,” he said. “One of the things that we will be starting this year is Michelle and I personally are going to donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community, so that right away, young people can get to work and we can start providing opportunities to all of them.”

    Obama also touched on the perception of Chicago in the media.

    “As somebody who has not been right here in Chicago over the last couple years, whenever I visit, I tell people, Chicago’s never looked more beautiful. It has, it has never sparkled more,” Obama said. “And yet, if you ask a lot of people outside of Chicago about Chicago, what’s the first thing they talk about? They talk about the violence.”

    Obama's new center is expected to create 1,4000 to 1,500 jobs during construction and 200 to 300 permanent jobs.

    Listen to Obama's speech and take a first look at the new center below.





    What are your thoughts on Barack and Michelle's donation and new center? How do you think this will change/evolve the city of Chicago?
    ******************************
    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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    Photo Credit

    Written by Nikki Igbo of NikIgbo.com

    On Tuesday, the CDC reported that Blacks as a group are living longer with their death rate declining by 25 percent from 1999 to 2015. Life expectancy for Blacks, however, is still four years less than it is for Whites.

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    Factors contributing to improvements in causes of death include a dramatic drop in HIV deaths among 18-49 year olds during the period between 1999 and 2015 and complete closure of the racial death rate gap from heart disease and other causes of death among Blacks who are 65+. Other positive contributing factors include overall improvement of health in the Black population, early health interventions, and earlier diagnosis and treatment of those diseases which lead to death among African Americans.

    Despite improvements to African American overall death rate, Blacks in their 20s, 30s and 40s are still more likely to die from health issues usually associated with older Whites. Those health issues include obesity, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.

    According to StateofObesity.org, African American adults are nearly 1.5 times as likely to be obese compared with White adults and from 1999 to 2012, 35.1 percent of African American children ages 2 to 19 were overweight, compared with 28.5 percent of White children.

    The American Heart Association reports that the prevalence of high blood pressure in African-Americans is the highest in the world and tends to develop earlier in life. The organization also notes that African Americans are more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites.

    Death rates as a result of homicides did not change for Blacks for the years included in the CDC study. And Blacks are still 7-9 more times likely to die from HIV. Social issues contributing to Black death rates include poverty, lower education attainment, lower home ownership rates and higher rates of unemployment as compared to Whites.

    However, all of these risks can be improved upon with a combination of lifestyle changes and community cooperation. CDC experts indicate that prevention measures such as tobacco cessation, healthy eating, regular exercise, disease screenings and using medication as directed by medical professionals are personal steps one can take. Focusing on diet quality by snacking wisely, watching portions on carb-heavy foods such as pasta and rice, and limiting red meat in favor of chicken or fish makes a difference. Incorporating vegetables into each meal and drinking water is also important.

    Controlling blood pressure means checking blood pressure regularly, reducing salt intake and finding the right medication to address specific needs. Diabetes is also treatable and preventable through regular exercise which strengthens the cardiovascular system and burns extra calories. Just 30 minutes of walking each day can make a world of difference. As for addressing and preventing HIV, safer sex practices and getting tested is integral.

    On a community level, it is recommended that both public health agencies and relevant community organizations stay the course with programs that have proved successful in promoting healthier outcomes. Partnerships with educational, business, housing and transportation are also integral to helping Black citizens obtain and retain access to those services that can improve health for all ages.

    Are you surprised by these results? Share your reaction in the comments
    *********************************
    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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    You'd think Gabourey Sidibe had it all--going from relatively unknown to roles on Empire, FX's American Horror Story, and Hulu's Difficult People--but the Oscar nominee opens up about her battle with depression and an eating disorder in her new book, This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.

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    Before her gripping debut in 2009's Precious, Gabby struggled with an overwhelming sadness that she couldn't explain, even to her mother.

    “I couldn’t tell her that I couldn’t stop crying and that I hated everything about myself," she told The Grio. "Whenever I did try to open up, my mom seemed unconcerned. When I was sad about something, she told me to ‘get a thicker skin.’ When I was upset, she told me to ‘stop nitpicking.’ My mom has always had faith that things would be okay, but saying ‘tomorrow will be a better day’ wasn’t enough for me.”

    In college, she suffered from panic attacks and stopped eating to quiet her restless thoughts.



    “Often, when I was too sad to stop crying, I drank a glass of water and ate a slice of bread, and then I threw it up,” Sidibe writes. “After I did, I wasn’t as sad anymore; I finally relaxed. So I never ate anything, until I wanted to throw up — and only when I did could I distract myself from whatever thought was swirling around my head.”

    Within our community, the stigma surrounding mental health stops many of us from getting the help we need--but the movie star sought professional help to get through her depression and suicidal thoughts.

    “I found a doctor and told her everything that was wrong with me. I’d never run down the entire list before, but as I heard myself, I could sense that dealing with this on my own was definitely no longer an option,” she writes in her book. Sidibe still manages her mental health with therapy. “I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy; it’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology,” she told PEOPLE. “When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist. I see a therapist anyway. We all should see a therapist."

    Have you ever struggled with depression? What are your thoughts on her new book?
    *****************************************
    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at mymommyvents.com.

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    By Sharee Silerio

    Growing up, my dark, melanin-rich skin stood out in a predominately white community. With it came “burnt” jokes from other black kids, “ugly” comments from white kids and low self-esteem.

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    So in 2013, when Dark Girls premiered on OWN, I was excited to watch other women tell their stories; women who, like me, suffered because of the way they were born.

    The controversial film explored the prejudice and struggle of being a dark-skinned girl or woman in a world where lighter skin represents beauty.

    I identified with many of the women who spoke their truth, and over the last two years, I have done a lot of soul searching and forgiving to heal and learn how to love myself regardless of what other people say or think about me.

    This is the focus of Dark Girls 2: Deep, Dark and Perfect, which focuses on the journey to healing.

    D. Channsin Berry, who co-directed the first film and Light Girls with actor Bill Duke, is directing and producing the follow-up documentary.

    According to officialdarkgirls2.com, Berry says that the sequel will feature everyday women, historians and other professionals who offer their recommended procedures for moving past the pain.
    “I’m concentrating more on the triumphs and the beauty on dark and light skin women and girls,” he says on the website. “There will be still some stories of pain and heartache, because many women and young girls are still dealing with lack of self-esteem issues because of colorism.”

    For him, the big question is: how can women and girls get to a place of healing and become their higher selves so they can make better life decisions?

    Berry wants audiences to be able to focus on the present and not the past, express their pain out loud and make the decision to “let it go through forgiveness.” He describes Dark Girls 2 as emotional, funny, educational and truthful.

    “Our plan is to give way to more deep-rooted conversations, which could lead to healing and acceptance for women and men,” he says.

    A premiere date for the film has not been announced, nor has a trailer been released. If you want to be the first to know when the trailer is released, and want to keep up with the project, go to the Dark Girls 2 Facebook page or website.

    What did you think about Dark Girls or Light Girls? Are you going to watch Dark Girls 2?
    ****************************************
    Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/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.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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    Photo Credit

    by Mary Wolff

    With more and more consumers being watchful of the chemicals and additives in their self-care products, it is no wonder shampoo bars touting natural ingredients have taken the world of beauty by storm. For us curly girls, shampoo bars are a complicated subject. Let’s take a closer look at shampoo bars vs. liquid to see which one fairs better for curlies. When looking at shampoo bars vs. liquid shampoo, a helpful pros and cons list couldn’t hurt!

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    Pros 
    • They are easy to travel with making them great for trips or everyday use. In fact, some curlies recommend keeping a conditioner bar with you on the go to tame flyaways around the hairline throughout the day. 
    • Some users say that their shampoo in bar form seems to last longer than liquid. This may be because you use less to get the clean you need whereas you may use more with liquid shampoo because it just doesn’t seem like enough in your palm. 
    • They are free of detergent based ingredients found in most liquid shampoos. In fact, most shampoo bars use natural oils as the base so you get a deeply moisturizing cleansing experience. 
    • Bar soaps with natural ingredients will be gentler on skin. With most shampoo bars touting natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals, your scalp will get a nice break from harmful things like sulfates that rob the scalp of natural moisture. 
    Cons
    • They expire faster than liquid shampoo in most cases. For example, most bars have a suggested expiration date that is sometimes only a few months, while your liquid shampoo may have a much longer shelf life. 
    • They can feel a little awkward if you are used to liquid. Rubbing a bar on your head is a very different experience than your hands being filled with liquid shampoo. Some curly users have also reported more tangles and this might be caused by the friction of rubbing bar soap into their strands. 
    • They have a different pH level than liquid shampoo. The pH in bar soap has to be a certain level in order for the bar to remain a solid instead of a softer texture. This affects curly hair because curly hair tends to be more sensitive to higher pH levels and it will cause hair nightmares like dryness and frizz. 
    • Soap scum is also a concern. If you are living somewhere with hard tap water, the soap will most likely take on a soap scum that will take up residence in your hair and scalp. You will need a clarifying shampoo more often, or an apple cider vinegar rinse with every use, if this is the case then you run the risk of drying out your stands. 
    As with any choice in how to care for your curls, it is a matter of preference and what works for you. To read more about how bar soaps are made and other important info about this hair care option, check out this article.


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    Michaela Coel is the “IT” girl of the moment and it looks like we have more of her to enjoy! Per Variety, filming has wrapped on the modern-day musical “Been So Long” in London and it stars the BAFTA-winning actress. The film will be introduced to buyers at Cannes Film Market via London-based sales company Film Constellation.

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    Film Constellation’s founder and CEO Fabien Westerhoff describes the project as a “refreshing new musical, exploring desire and ambition from a female perspective.” Been So Long is the sophomore feature from director Tinge Krishnan, a fellow BAFTA film award winner.

    Been So Long is a modern day romance set in Camden, a borough in London. Coel portrays a dedicated single mother who, on an unusual night on the town, is charmed by a handsome yet troubled stranger (Arinzé Kene). The film was developed by Greenacre Film and the BFI, which also co-financed the film with Film4, and is based on an original play by Che Walker and actor Arthur Darvill. It is produced by Nadine Marsh-Edwards and Amanda Jenks for Greenacre while Lizzie Francke (BFI) and Eva Yates (Film 4) serve as executive producers.

    Coel’s British stardom is certainly crossing over on the other side of the pond into American audiences with her hit Netflix (E4 in the U.K.) series Chewing Gum, which she created, writes and stars in. She won a BAFTA Television Award in April for best female performance in a comedy program for the show. Been So Long is her first lead role in a movie! It follows her supporting role in the sci-fi sequel Monsters: Dark Continent.

    The film’s soundtrack will feature original tracks composed by Christopher Nicholas Bangs, influenced by the backdrop of London’s historic music scene, ranging from Caribbean Soca and soul jazz, to punk and acid house.

    “‘Been So Long’s’ blend of talent and distinctive British sound makes for an exciting take on the musical genre and what makes London so unique,” noted Westerhoff.

    This film looks fascinating and I’m sure Coel -- a woman of many talents -- will dominate the screen!

    Source:Variety

    What do you think of Michaela Coel's new role outside of Chewing Gum? Will you tune 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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    Written by Alma Hill

    The newest binge craze on Netflix is the politically incorrect, (or maybe hyper-correct, who knows anymore), Dear White People. Based off of the 2014 movie that you pretended to see, the transformation of this plot from the big screen to the small one, not only suits this concept, it improves it, which is rare for this type of transition.

    Admittedly, at the time of this write-up, I am only halfway through the series, but considering the fact that I started this morning, and have been sneaking the show in 10 minute spurts during my shift at work, and the fact that I don’t even binge watch my cat, should give you a clue as to how enticing this series is.

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    Like any show that takes aim at race relations, Dear White People has its cringeworthy moments. It contributes significantly to the death of the word “woke” (R.I.P Woke, 2015-2016), and does lean heavily on stereotypes and character tropes to get the story across. Despite these tidbits, you soon realize that these caricatures are essential to the telling of a really important story, that most people in our country are too scared to broach otherwise.

    There are a few hard truths that are confronted in Dear White People that make it essential watching for EVERYONE. Yes. EVERYONE. Black, White, Woke, Sheeple, and everyone who falls between the cracks should watch this series like yesterday. It’s earned a coveted 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is so rare, even Will Smith can’t claim that. (His highest is Men In Black, which got a 92%)

    Without offering spoilers, it touches on issues that we ALL face, and puts our behaviors under a microscope, exposing us not only to the flaws of prejudice, but it also makes us reflect on the fact that we commit against ourselves.

    What it means to be black is the central theme of the show which makes it worth watching for other races too. The variety of personalities in the primarily black cast is refreshing and relatable to a MORE diverse range of realistic black "personas", so to speak. That’s what makes it so tragic, and raw as you watch these characters struggle with their blackness. What is black enough? What does that mean? And how are you perceived, not only by white people but also, within your own community? The casting of racially ambiguous Logan Browning in the lead role as Sam White, a young woman who is biracial (not Rashida Jones biracial, Tracee Ellis Ross biracial) was a brilliant choice, and a very very relevant one.

    It also exposes the transgressions of liberal white people too, and their self-perception of their own innocence in their roles when it comes to perpetuating racism. The casual use of the N-word is a pivotal point in Ep 5. Watching this episode will force your best Becky to really understand a- how flimsy her arguments are when rapping THAT Ludacris album and b-understand the context of the use of the word, casual or not.

    The show goes deep in this particular episode, with one of the supporting characters, Reggie, finding his life in the hands of an over eager campus security officer who inexplicably brought a gun to a break up a campus party. The layers of interpretation overlap in a way that makes the watcher consider “What would I have done?”

    There’s the “innocent” white friend who doesn’t like to be “censored” for using the N-word who feels guilt at the escalation, which was really caused by his refusal to apologize or back down, despite Reggie being uncomfortable. There’s the party of on-lookers who whipped out their cell phones, hashtags at the ready, their empathy extending only as far as their iPhone screens.

    Then there’s Reggie. A proud black man, intelligent, with an agenda to right the wrongs of the past armed library of James Baldwin, who found himself stripped bare, humiliated and scared, staring down the barrel of a gun, his life on trial for all to see. His crime? Not providing his ID, when asked initially.

    How many of us could have been Reggie? How many of us are the non-black friend who wants to “freely” rap, without the weight of racism being thrown in your face. (Note: If we can’t avoid it everyday, you and Lil Wayne can chill for 4 min and 27 sec) How many of us want to throw up a camera and project our sympathy without really caring in a meaningful sense?

    Episode 5 broke me. My breath trembled with Sam and Joelle, and I wondered about the future of my own two children. There are no safe spaces for black men, and episode 5 puts this hard truth front and center. If non-compliance, a crime as simple as not feeling the need to prove I’m exactly who I say I am, is worthy of death, then what is a Black life really worth? Is it worth a student ID? Is it worthy a drinking game partner? Is it even worth consideration?

    The answers to these questions seem obvious on paper, but as Reggie states in a later episode “there’s nothing self-evident about it.”

    It took me a few episodes to get into my stride with this one, but I’m telling, you, it’s worth checking out.

    I, for one, am not getting shit done at the office on Monday.

    What are your thoughts on the series? What was your reaction after watching Episode 5?
    ***********************************
    Alma Hill is a freelance journalist, actress, and mother living in Orlando, FL. A frequent contributor to online and print media publications, she believes that the words from our mouths will change the world. Born in Charlotte, NC, she's a millennial with an old soul who appreciates a good meme as much as a Miles Davis album. Brave souls can follow her on Twitter @_mynameissoul, but you have been warned.  

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  • 05/08/17--08:42: Try This DIY Curl Definer

  • by Mary Wolff

    The DIY trend has really picked up in recent years. While it has always been a staple of the curly hair community, there are more recipes than ever covering all areas of hair care. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for a quick DIY curl definer.

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    Coconut Definer Recipe
    This option is great because it uses coconut oil and aloe vera to add moisture while the glycerin helps achieve the definition. The mixture will last for a few weeks which is also a bonus for busy curlies!

    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
    • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
    • 1 cup glycerin
    • Funnel 
    • Container
    To get started, combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 3-5 minutes on medium heat setting. Carefully remove the bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Transfer it to a sealed container such as a spray bottle. Apply to hair as usual. If it becomes solid over the next few weeks, you can heat in the microwave or in a pot of warm water as needed.

    Organic Definer Recipe 
    This one uses all natural ingredients to give you definition and hold without worrying about damaging chemicals. Flaxseed is great for giving hair moisture without the hardness of other definers. Aloe vera will naturally help with hold.

    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup flaxseed oil
    • 1/4 cup aloe vera juice
    • 1 cup water
    • 4-8 drops favorite essential oil
    • Spray bottle 
    • Funnel for easy pouring
    Combine flaxseed oil, aloe vera juice, and water in a medium saucepan. You want to bring it to a boil. Once you reach a boil, add your essential oil. You can use any oil, but lavender is a good choice because it will act as a preservative to keep the solution viable longer. Remove from heat while stirring to evenly blend everything together. Pour into a spray bottle using the funnel. Use once cool.

    Mix N Match Recipe
    I call this a mix and match recipe because you can use any of your favorite styling gels for this one. Styling gels are known to give you some hold and moisture, but on their own, they may not give the definition you need. When you combine the other ingredients in this recipe with your styling gel, you get better definition.

    Ingredients
    • 1 1/4 cups of your favorite gel
    • 3 ounces natural unrefined shea butter
    • 1 tbsp castor oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp honey

    For this one, you will be using heat again. In a medium saucepan or in a microwave-safe container, warm your shea butter. You want it to be soft enough to stir with the other ingredients, but not completely melted. Aim for slightly lumpy, not liquid. Remove from heat and add the gel, castor oil, and honey. Whisk until all elements are evenly combined. For best results, apply to damp hair.

    Whether you are out of product or just enjoy making your own concoctions every now and then, these recipes let you create a DIY curl definer your curls will love!

    Let us know what you think!

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  • 05/08/17--08:46: 4 New Growth Styling Tips

  • by Mary Wolff

    No matter where you are in your natural hair journey, you have probably heard about or experienced new growth. New growth is just what it sounds like. It is new hair that has grown in with your existing, older hair which is either relaxed or permed. When transitioning to natural hair, new growth can be difficult to navigate because you essentially have two different textures on your head now. Here are a few of my favorite new growth styling tips to help make this part of the journey a little less bumpy.

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    1. Condition and Moisturize
    This is one of the best new growth styling tips because it is so essential to your hair. If you keep that new growth healthy from the start, it will be much easier to style it. I like to use coconut oil on my new growth because it gives it deep moisture without weighing it down the way some store-bought products might. Remember, new growth is fragile so you want to make sure it is moisturized with a formula that is gentle. You can even use baby and children’s products on your new growth. Whatever you use, make sure it is lightweight and gentle. One of my favorites is Mixed Chicks Leave-In conditioner because it is light and smells great!

    2. Find Styles for New Growth 
    Obviously, protective styling is great for when you are trying to protect hair, but what about the new growth? New growth hair tends to be a different texture and length than what is already grown out on your head so you need to find styles that are new growth-friendly. The goal is to find styles that let you blend the two textures together or hide the new growth. Here are a few great examples of styling new growth styles.

    3. Don’t Overdo Protective Styles
    I get it, dealing with two different textures might be a real nuisance and it is certainly easier to put it into a protective style once it is long enough to do so, but be careful. New growth is very fragile for most curlies, especially along the line where the old and new hair meet, so protective hairstyles should be used only for short times. You want to let that beautiful new hair hang loose and free in all its glory to help avoid breakage or strain.

    4. Stay Away from Heat 
    Some curly girls will make the mistake of treating their new growth the same as their permed hair and this is such a mistake! One of the best new growth styling tips is to style it as little as possible, especially with heat or harsh relaxers. New growth needs to be nurtured and allowed to take on its natural curl pattern, as well as natural texture, so don’t straighten it out.

    There are many ways to go about dealing with the tricky area of new growth. The most important thing is to embrace this part of your hair journey and enjoy the excitement of seeing your new hair take shape.


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    by Mary Wolff

    Summer is a time of sun and fun! For curlies, it is also a time of hair worries and woes. The humidity in the summer can really take a toll on your curls and leave you with frizzy, dried out hair. But don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to beat the heat! Here are a few of my favorite tips for dealing with humidity.

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    1. Moisturize Double Time 
    One of the best tips for dealing with humidity is to step up your moisturizing game. If you are already moisturizing once a day, that’s good, but summer is something else. You may need to moisturize more than once a day, depending on your hair and the humidity level where you live. A good tip is to moisturize in the morning and at night before bed if your hair seems extra dry and frizzy.

    2. Apply Products to Wet Hair 
    You can apply products to dry hair, but it is so much better to apply them to wet strands. Hair is more receptive to products when wet so you will get the full benefit of your favorite leave-in instead of half the power. It also helps that the moisture of wet hair will be locked in better by the product. Hair doesn’t need to be soaking wet, but it should still be slightly more than damp for the best benefits.

    3. No Wash and Go 
    Lots of curlies wash and go in the morning. If you are worrying about that summertime frizz, this is a no-no. When it is humid out, your slightly damp hair will soak up morning dew and by lunch time when the day heats up, you are in frizz city. It is much better to wash your hair at night instead of the morning during the hotter months. You can wrap your hair in a silk scarf overnight for a gentle way to sleep or even style hair into braids that you take out in the morning for flowing volume.

    4. Wrap it Up 
    When all else fails and the frizz has taken over, hair wraps can be miracle workers. A colorful, stylish wrap can save you the time of styling your hair while also protecting it from more damage. This is one of my favorite tips for dealing with humidity because you have a ton of options style wise. No matter what your outfit is, there is a scarf or hair wrap to complete your look while fighting the frizzies.

    5. Let It Go 
    This one is hard for a lot of curlies, but at some point, you may need to simply let it go. There is too much fun stuff to do when the weather finally warms up and you don’t want to waste it worrying about your hair. You should take care of your hair and give some extra TLC, but you shouldn’t let it get in the way of your fun! If all else fails, embrace the fizz and rock it with confidence.

    Warmer weather lets us enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. These tips should help my fellow curly girls have a summer of more fun and less frizzies!

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    She took her crown and waved at the crowd, but not everyone at the University of Texas was cheering for Rachael Malonson.

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    While the bi-racial beauty queen took home Kappa Alpha Psi's Miss Black University of Texas title, social media is questioning her blackness, saying the journalism major is too light skinned to wear the crown.


    @avuitton_@afrolatinababe@ID_NUPEs@RachaelMalonson@WhatUpDoeDoe@Emma_mattie@nyleswashington@Davidallen_3 she's clearly the lightest, damn near white looking "blackwoman"& she won over the others. quit playing dumb guys. it looks sketchy
    — chocolate drop 🍫✨ (@_ColeWorldShwty) May 3, 2017

    Malonson, whose mother is white and father is black, said it's an issue she's dealt with her whole life. “I wasn’t sure if I would even place in the pageant because I wasn’t sure they would think I was ‘Black enough,’ ” she told USA Today College.



    The UT senior says she joined the competition to “gain a deeper inner confidence” before graduation. “For me, I’ve always had to battle ‘I’m not black enough.’ But to not just place, but win the title is truly rewarding,” she said in a Dallas Morning News interview.

    The 22 year old, who is also vice president of UT’s National Association of Black Journalists, was surprised at the backlash she received. “I didn’t realize that, even after I received the title, I would still have to explain myself, that there was still ignorant people out there who are asking me to prove myself,” she told Fox News. “Just because I have straight hair and olive skin tone doesn’t mean I’m not Black."

    Malonson's brother voiced his thoughts on Facebook, saying, "It sickens me that members of our Black community would attack their own because she is biracial (black). Our father is Black and hateful comments that question her race discredit our father and other Black fathers and mothers who have biracial (black) children."

    He urged the community to "unite and uplift each other. The only way our Black community can become stronger is if we support and love one another rather than tear each other down."

    Kappa Alpha Psi's Iota Delta chapter defended their decision to crown Malonson. In a press release, the chapter stated, "The Miss Black University of Texas Scholarship Pageant was established in 1982 with a singular goal in mind--to support and uplift African-American women...In its 35 year existence, women from all across the color spectrum have won the scholarship pageant."

    "Rachael is a perfect embodiment of the ideals and precepts of the Miss Black University of Texas Scholarship Pageant," the chapter continued. "On the basis of her scholastic promise, community involvement, and professional demeanor, it is with great pride and absolute conviction that the Iota Delta Chapter stands with and supports their 2017 Miss Black University of Texas, Rachael Malonson."
    Are people overreacting? Should Malonson have won Miss Black University of Texas?
    *****************************
    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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    George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    by Mary Wolff

    Sometimes, your curls might need a little help getting in shape. Maybe you want to experiment with a different curl pattern or shape. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set and forget it with overnight curlers! However, finding the right curlers can be a pain, literally. So many curlers are uncomfortable to sleep with. Here are a few of the best curlers for a great night's sleep.

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    1. Sleep In Curlers 
    Made to flatten as you sleep without losing the hold of the curl, these are one of the most comfortable options for a good night of sleep while getting beautiful. They even come with a comb to help you unravel your beautiful style in the morning. You can check them out here.

    2. Curlformers
    This is one of the best curlers for great night’s sleep. It comes in a variety of options that let you create the pattern you want. They are also available based on hair length to help you get the best option for your needs. They are made of soft material that you simply twist into hair so they are comfortable for sleeping. Find a wide selection of them right here.

    3. Goody Mosaic Satin Pillow Rollers 
    These are soft and made of silk. They are made to work with all hair types. While they don’t give you a specific curl pattern the way Curlformers does, they are made with a material that won’t leave your hair with friction. They are great for adding a little extra body more so than a new pattern or curl shape. Find them here.

    4. Wrap Snap & Go! Comfort Hair Rollers
    Pins can be a hassle when sleeping with rollers. They help secure the curler in place for the night, but they can be a pain. With this set of rollers, you get hold without the pin! They are designed to snap into place and they are soft enough to sleep in without worry. Find them here.

    When it comes to using curlers at night, you want options that get the job done without causing pain. With these products, find the right mix of softness and hold for the best of both worlds!

    Let us know what you think of these options in the comments. 

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