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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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    Instagram: @hermela

    by Mary Wolff

    More than a few naturals have been accused of being product junkies. Whether you just love the anticipation of trying new hair care products, or you are addicted to applying your favorites a little heavy handed, knowing the right amount of product to use is essential for several reasons. If you are going through products too quickly, spending more than you budgeted, or your hair feels heavy and unhealthy, the amount of product you use may be the culprit. While you may be using too much, there’s also a chance you are using too little on other product types so it’s best to know the general rules of thumb for product amounts. Have you ever stopped and wondered, how much product should I be using? If so, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used products and how much is enough to get the job done.

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    So How Much Product Should I Be Using?

    There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at how much product is best for your hair. The first thing is that the product type is the key to knowing how much to use. For example, you wouldn’t use the same amount of hair conditioner in the shower as you would with a thick moisture mask, right? Well, hopefully you wouldn’t! Another factor to consider is the length of your hair. If you have shorter hair, err on the side of less is more whereas longer hair will obviously need more than short hair. The thickness of the hair also plays a role here. It’s important to remember that the following suggestions for how much product to use are just suggestions, not hard and fast rules, since everyone’s hair is different.

    Product Types and How Much to Use

    Mousse

    4 whole eggs at the most to avoid the crunchiness

    Serums

    2 grains of rice for thinner hair
    A quarter (yes, the coin, not a quarter of the bottle, product fiends!) for thicker hair

    Dry Shampoo

    One burst for every 4 inches of hair. Apply only at roots!

    Hairspray

    Apply in a windshield motion with a continuous spray. If once over doesn’t achieve your desired hold, make another sweep in the same motion.

    Pomade

    1-2 dimes, depending on your texture and length

    Hair Gel

    1 nickel for medium textures
    1 silver dollar for thicker textures

    Oils

    1-2 grains of rice for thinner hair
    A nickel for thicker hair.

    Blow Dry Cream

    1 blueberry for thinner hair
    1 grape for thicker hair

    Thermal Protectant Spray

    Spritz all over from midshaft to ends only 1-2 times with a sweeping motion

    Hair Mask

    1 clementine

    Shampoo

    1 dime for thinner hair
    1 quarter for medium texture
    1 silver dollar for thicker hair

    Conditioner

    1 quarter for thin to medium hair
    1 golf ball for medium to thick hair

    Source: Cosmo

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    You’ve asked and it shall be received! Back in 2016, Aaliyah fans petitioned M.A.C. Cosmetics to create an inspired collection on her behalf. This campaign spearheaded immediately after M.A.C. announced its Selena-inspired collection was coming soon.

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    The petition read, “We want M.A.C. to be the first brand to reintroduce Aaliyah’s legacy to the world in a format that it has never been given before. Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Haughton says that Aaliyah was a big fan of M.A.C.” He also goes on to say, that he “approves of the idea for a limited edition collection by M.A.C for her.”

    After years of tweeting #AaliyahforMAC, yesterday fans were ecstatic to learn M.A.C. announced the late icon’s inspired beauty collection, set for summer 2018 release. After only 6 hours of the post debuting on Instagram, it was viewed by almost 300,000 people.

    This one in a million songstress’ campaign was also supported by Aaliyah LLC, and her close friend Missy Elliott. Fans and beauty lovers all around are looking forward to seeing the collection. The campaign mentioned they hoped to see “eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipliners, lip glosses, contour & highlight, beauty powder, false lashes, eyebrow pencils.”


    Will you be trying the Aaliyah collection? Share your thoughts below.
    *****************************
    Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.

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    By Sharee Silerio

    Gwen Jimmere was 30 days away from her divorce being final when she was laid off from her job. She had to pay the bulk of the attorney fees in the separation, leaving the Detroit, Michigan mom with $32 in her bank account. Her son Caiden was two-years-old.

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    When she was pregnant with Caiden, she started creating her own hair products, sparked by Chris Rock’s film “Good Hair”. It was specifically the scene where a soda can placed in relaxer breaks down. She instantly decided that she would stop using hair relaxers, so she went to the store to find alternate products that worked, but couldn’t find any.

    Five months later, she emerged from her kitchen with products that worked, and a process that cut her hair routine down to 30 minutes.

    After being laid off, instead of searching for another job, Jimmere decided to start selling the handmade hair products, currently known as Naturalicious.

    She turned her basement into a production studio, where she mixed, bottled, packaged and shipped every order herself. Next, she approached a Whole Foods that was opening near her about carrying her items in their store, with the attitude that the worse that they could say was no.

    They accepted her offer, and four years later, Naturalicious is sold in 2,500 locations worldwide, select Whole Food stores, and ships over 3,000 orders a month!

    She perfected the “Hello Gorgeous Hair Care System”, which does the work of 13 products in three simple steps. It is the only sulfate, paraben, mineral oil, petroleum, gluten and cruelty-free line of products.

    As the CEO and Founder of Naturalicious, she made history as the first African-American woman to hold a patent for a natural hair care product.

    Jimmere is a winner of the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition, was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women; and in 2016, was a Root 100 Award honoree as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in the U.S.


    She turned a difficult moment of her life into a series of blessings and sweet moments. Caiden, who is now six, even works with her as CCO (Chief Candy Curator), and hand picks and packs a piece of candy for each customer’s order.

    Jimmere donates her company’s bestselling beauty products to organizations focused on helping women in transition, and partners with the nonprofit organization, Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), to offer jobs to men and women with special needs at the Naturalicious production studio.

    The hair-care entrepreneur is showing us all what it looks like to rise above life’s challenges and help others to rise above theirs. May Jimmere continue to do great things, make history and inspire the world!
    For more details about Gwen Jimmere, visit GwenJimmere.com. For more details about her company Naturalicious, visit Naturalicious.net.

    Have you used the Naturalicious system? What do you think about Gwen Jimmere’s story?
    **********************************
    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: @foreverflawlyss

    by Mary Wolff

    As a curly, you know the importance of the right products. When you find a product that works for your hair, you cling to it above all others since it most likely took some trial and error to get to that magical place in your hair care product search. When it comes to hairsprays, finding the right one can make you feel like you need a science degree. It doesn’t have to feel that way with our list of the 5 best hairsprays for natural hair!

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    1. Nexxus Frizz Defy Finishing Mist

    This is one of best hairsprays for natural hair because it’s loaded up with all the good stuff hair needs in a hairspray. It fights humidity with a light hold that won’t weigh down your curls. With argan oil and coconut extracts, it doesn’t dry hair out and actually leaves it more moisturized than before! It claims to be able to reduce frizz by an impressive 87% by creating a barrier. The reviews don’t lie on this one and lots of curlies love it! Find it here.

    2. Pureology Colour Stylist Strengthening Control Zero Dulling Hairspray

    If you have colored hair, you need a hairspray that is formulated with that in mind. This is one of the best hairsprays for naturals that like color since it is formulated without water. Water can make your color fade faster so this is a blessing. This spray provides a medium hold. Find it here.

    3. DevaCurl Flexible-Hold Hair Spray

    This lightweight formula gives a light to medium hold without crunchiness. For hair that is touchabley soft and scented with soothing lavender, this hairspray is a gentle yet effective way to get great hold. It also gives all day conditioning for your curls to stay hydrated! Find it here.

    4. Ouidad Curl Last Flexible-Hold Hairspray

    When looking for a hairspray that will add a glossy finish to your curls without being too heavy, this is the one. It has light reflecting properties to create a glossy sheen while sunflower oil helps to lock in moisture all day and fight frizz. Find it here.

    5. Alex Anthony Curl System Touchable Hairspray

    For a hair spray that offers touchable hold while moisturizing, this formula has you covered. This fast-drying spray uses peptides to keep hair hydrated and prevent flyaways while giving you lasting hold for your style. Check it out here.

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    After completely shattering the box offices opening weekend, Girls Trip continue to raise the bar, exceeding any expectations set for the film. To date, the film starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith and the hilarious Tiffany Haddish, has exceeded over $114 million in revenue. Not bad for a film with a $19 million budget.

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    As popular as the film has been, it leaves many fans asking a very important question. Will a sequel to the film ever happen? During a recent interview with Variety, film producer Will Packer (Stomp The Yard, Girls Trip, Straight Outta Compton) has a candid conversation about Girls Trip.

    He speaks about why he felt the film was such an important story. "Girls Trip is a story that I knew. I had been to the actual [Essence] Festival multiple years; I knew it very well. I knew that there was a movie against that backdrop. You had all these women that would take this annual pilgrimage, almost, to go and enjoy each other and have fun and behave in a way that had nothing to do with how people were perceiving them, or how men would judge them. It was about these women just being authentically and organically themselves. That’s what we need. I’ve seen this movie before with white men. I’ve seen versions of this movie with white women. But we haven’t seen it with women of color. And so as a producer, part of my job is to find those types of opportunities, and to create content in spaces and with themes that we haven’t seen."

    Will Packer, producer of Girls Trip, Stomp The Yard, Straight Outta Compton, Think Like A Man
    ROB LATOUR/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

    But during the interview, he answered the question we've all been waiting for.

    Packer discussed the possibility of a sequel. "We’re definitely talking about it. The only thing harder than opening a studio comedy today is opening a studio comedy sequel. [Laughs.] That’s the next challenge. I love our team. If anybody can do it, we can do it. It’s still a little early — the movie is still in theaters — but it’s something we’ve all thought about."

    Read the full interview here.

    What do you think about the possibility of a sequel? What was your favorite moment from Girls Trip?
    ******************************
    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: Quinta Brunson's Facebook

    by Alma Hill

    Meme queen Quinta Brunson (aka Quinta B) has been making moves for years as a social media influencer. Her viral videos quickly catapulted her career as a black female comedian, which was a rare occurrence at the time. Now, she’s one of the most recognizable faces on the net and was just named one of the Top 15 Rising Crossover Stars in Hollywood by the Hollywood Reporter.

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    Now 27 years old, and a seasoned face in the world of digital media, Quita B has moved on up to the big leagues having just inked a contract with ICM Partners, a full-service talent and literary agency based in New York. This move comes at a very interesting time for the rising star, as the landscape of media distribution evolves as we speak. This generation is the first to consume the majority of their content through digital on demand services than any other age group. Our obsession with platforms like Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu are changing the way movies and television are crafted and creates new avenues for the stars that fill in these gaps.

    Quinta B only has a four film and television credits, according to IMDB.com. Despite this, her reputation as a comedic actress has been marked by her almost endless roster of online content, including Buzzfeed videos, Youtube Red Films, and a web series for go90. Besides acting in several of these projects, she has also written and produced a few of them, putting her in the upper echelon of content creators on the market right now.

    Quinta herself seems to be excited about the move, and what this new step has in store for her career. Earlier this month she tweeted “Your girl is officially signed at ICM.”

    The fans are clearly excited to bear witness to this young superstars growth. They responded the only way that would be appropriate: a slew of Quinta memes.

    GIF EMBED CODES


    via GIPHY


    via GIPHY

    What do you think of this move in Quinta's career? What do you hope to see for this Buzzfeed breakout star?
    ***********************
    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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  • 08/28/17--10:28: Tips To Pump Up Your Roots
  • Instagram: @mztarabelle

    by Mary Wolff
    Your roots are an important part of your hair and can make or break your style. Even if the rest of your look is on point, flat roots can quickly take things from sizzle to fizzle. If things are looking a little flat, here are a few tips to pump up your roots.

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    1. Blow dry at the roots.
    When you blow dry, you should hold the strands up towards the ceiling and blow dry at the roots. This will help the hair to dry straight up more at the root level which is essentially what gives roots a boost. You also shouldn’t use high heat, this will dry out the cuticles near the root so stick with low to medium heat at most.

    2. Don’t condition at the roots.

    This is one of the best tips to pump up your roots because too many people incorrectly care for their hair in general. When you condition your roots, you are actually causing them to be flatter. Many people worry if they don’t moisturize them properly, their roots will be dry and limp, but the natural oils your scalp produces should be enough to care for this area of your hair. When you add more product on top of that, you weigh hair down with extra products it doesn’t need.

    3. Switch to lighter products.

    Aside from the products you use in the shower, the styling products you use could be the reason your roots are a little flatter than usual. If you are using heavy products like pomades and thick creams, your roots will naturally be less lifted. Consider switching to a lighter option like a milk or a mist that allows your roots to stand tall. A few good options are Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper Beach Mist, EDEN BodyWorks Citrus Fusion Refresher Spray, and SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Texture Spray because they are all lightweight while sill offering moisture and styling help your curls might need.

    4. Don’t apply styling products to the roots.

    The same way conditioning and shampooing your roots can make them weighed down, you shouldn’t apply styling products to your roots. It is always best to apply products past the root down to mid-shaft, or full end depending on your dryness, instead of root to end.  

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    Pictured: Teyana Taylor left at 2017 VMA's, Janet Jackson right at 1995 VMA's

    By Sharee Silerio

    If you watched yesterday’s 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, then you know that Teyana Taylor did NOT come to play!

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    In her normal slay fashion, she ran the red carpet in a black and white ensemble that paid homage to Janet Jackson.

    Taylor wore a white crop top, black pants and short bob, almost identical to the outfit Janet Jackson wore at the 1995 MTV VMAs.



    Jackson and Taylor are not only twinning with their outfits. In 1995, Janet Jackson won the VMA for Best Choreography in a Video for her “Scream” video with her brother Michael Jackson. Taylor won the same award this year, for her choreography and dancing in Kanye West’s video “Fade”.

    It’s clear that Janet Jackson is Teyana Taylor’s inspiration, but more than that, she’s following in her footsteps of greatness!

    Did you tune in to the VMAs last night? If so, what was your favorite moment? Did you notice that Teyana was paying homage to Janet Jackson?
    *************************
    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: Mike Orie/Curly Nikki

    Over the weekend, CurlyNikki.com was live from Afropunk Fest. While this year featured one of the most impressive lineups to date, there was something else that stole the show at the Brooklyn festival. The fashion!

    Check out some of our favorite images from Afropunk below. All photos by Mike Orie for CurlyNikki.com

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    What's your favorite image from above? Have you been to Afropunk before?
    *************************************
    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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    Image: @darknslay

    Loving your natural hair is a learning experience.

    Your entire life you are exposed to images of hair that shape and transform your perspective of the person you see when you look in the mirror.
    That person – you should be happy with her.
    You should love her fully, from her crown to her heels.
    But sometimes it is hard to do so.
    Because a voice in your head constantly reminds you that your hair does not look like the girl on TV. Your curls will never be as defined. As loose. As beautiful.

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    With the expansion of media, especially social media, where companies – like Shea Moisture and Carol's Daughter - can now reach a broader audience, compromises are being made out of respect for marketing strategies. For brands like this, losing focus on its core consumers has now resulted in an emotional gamble as members in the natural hair community have had to reevaluate staples in their hair care regimen.

    Texture discrimination, or the unjustified exclusion of certain hair types from the forefront of branding, encompasses a myriad of questions concerning natural hair. It is rooted in a fusion of issues, such as colorism, racism, self-comparison, and media-induced insecurities. Although there are layers to be peeled back when taking a stance on how the media reinforces the exclusion of particular hair types, it is always up to us as a community to stick together.

    Division Within Our Community

    In June, a woman by the name of Tiffany Buttafly posted this message on facebook, which has since been deleted, accompanied by a picture of two lighter skinned girls with long, defined, voluminous, curly locks:


    More black women are creating platforms through which they can share their own natural hair journey while also being constantly exposed to the journey of others. Given this, we are now more aware of all hair types – not just our own. And we can now put two and two together between hair types that are more socially accepted and how this discrimination is reflected through media, thus resulting in feelings of exclusion harbored by women who are not being represented at all.

    Anytime a system of classification is used to recognize and understand the difference between various hair types, self-comparison will always lurk within our community. Not only do we classify hair types, but we associate a level of struggle, and sometimes Blackness, with them. The closer someone is to type 4 hair, the more struggle they face with their hair while the farther away someone is to this hair type, the less struggle they face. So why are women who struggle less being chosen to speak for the women who struggle the most? Especially when women with kinkier hair textures were the pioneers of the natural hair movement in more ways than none.

    This is a gist of what Buttafly was attempting to convey in her message, however, the message was lost in her anger. She instead reinforced a divide between herself and the sisters that aren’t dark enough, aren’t kinky enough, aren’t Black, or African, enough. Buttafly’s message is a clear indication of the internalized prejudices we sometimes enact against ourselves, but deflect as problems created by other people, because the media has made it difficult to pinpoint where our insecurities come from.

    We should always remain alert as to where we stand on the line. We must remind ourselves that we walk the line together.

    Loving Ourselves So We Can Love Each Other

    The way we address texture discrimination through our platforms should be intentional instead of accusatory. A YouTube based organization called LAMBB, or Look At My Black Beauty, is a good example of how we can use our platforms “for black girls to commune and feel safe away from a society that constantly condemns us.” Earlier this month, LAMBB published a documentary on texture discrimination in which they showcase women with a variety of kinky hair types who share their thoughts on issues like: the over-representation of racially ambiguous women within marketing; the comparison of Blue Ivy’s hair to that of North West; the effectiveness of products that are usually advertised for looser hair types; and the importance of hair typing.



    This documentary is one of the few videos to discuss texture discrimination without condemning other women for their apparent or perceived privileges. It sheds light on the nuances intertwined across black women’s individual hair journeys and how good hair is a socially constructed ideal that should be replaced with the concept of healthy hair.

    Taking Steps Toward Conscious Discourse

    How we talk to and about one another on natural hair sets the stage for how future generations will engage with other women and men on hair, how they will come to love their hair. The marketing industry will continue to use our insecurities as a basis for its commercials, billboards, and magazines. When companies like Shea Moisture choose to exclude us from the forefront for the sake of money (expansion), we must come together - not divide ourselves - and use our voice.

    Below are a few steps we can take to approach the topic of texture discrimination from a stance of love rather than a stance of anger, hate, or envy. These steps will allow us to dig deeper into our understanding of natural hair and what it means to the ENTIRE black community without overshadowing the truths of prejudices or privileges many black women face.

    Always come from a place of love. Love for ourselves and love for our sisters, regardless of how easy or hard we think their natural hair journey has been.
    Do your best to avoid making assumptions. Obviously that are some things about natural hair that cannot be denied, like the level of challenge many of us will face in finding a regimen that brings our hair to life. Still, learning to love our hair is more emotional than it is physical; how that process plays out for one woman will never be equal in difficulty for another.
    Ask questions. No matter how much you think you know about another person's hair, you will never be them - so how can you actually know? Inquire about another woman’s hair journey, or struggle, before you assume that because her hair is kinkier, she must have been teased growing up. Or because her hair is looser, she must have been praised in her home.
    Put yourself at the center of your argument. Believe it or not, not every black woman feels the same as you do on texture discrimination while others will have no stance on the topic at all. So in some cases, saying “I” instead of “we” holds you accountable for how YOU feel rather than how you think WE all feel.
    Remember why you started your natural hair journey. Your journey is YOUR journey - never forget that.

    What you see on social media, in magazines, on television, is a compelling distortion of reality. Real life experiences cannot be replicated in true form. Social media has become both a way for black women to find each other as well as for companies to find more consumers. Yes, the brands that have served us since the early 1900’s are expected to remain loyal to its core buyers. But no, this does not mean that they always will.

    It is up to us as a community to use our resources, whether it be money, YouTube, Instagram, or education to make our voices louder than the brands who seem to hide our truths. And in the process of doing so, we cannot let their misrepresentation of us drive us apart.

    Have you experienced texture discrimination? Share in the comments?
    ***********************************
    Ariel is a writer, lover, and certified personal trainer. With a passion for helping others improve their quality of life, she uses her knowledge and writing to connect with other women (and men) looking to change their lives. If you're in need of inspiration on love, strength, or confidence, check out her blog, The Freewoman Diaries or her YouTube Channel here. For personal training inquiries or life advice, send her an email: freewomandiaries AT gmail DOT com.

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    Having any affiliation to white supremacy and neo-Nazism can cost one their job, with one of the best examples being the rioters in the Charlottesville rally, where many demonstrators were let go from their jobs after being identified on social media.

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    Such is the case with Bart Alsbrook, a Colbert, Oklahoma interim police chief who resigned after local TV station KXII-TV revealed he was connected to two neo-Nazi websites. Alsbrook quit his post after only finishing his first week on the job. The town had been dealing with turnover issues, as Alsbrook was the its third police chief in less than a year.

    KXII realized Alsbrook was linked to websites selling white supremacist-themed music and memorabilia, ISD Records and NS88 Videos. The former is a record company which boasts artists such as The Klansmen and albums such as “Hitler was Right.” The sites were taken down hours after KXII made an inquiry.

    Southern Law Poverty Center tracks extremist groups and both sites were included on its Hate Map. The center also confirmed that Alsbrooks was the USA Texas Coordinator for neo-Nazi skinhead group Blood & Honour. Alsbrook has denied having any connection to either of the websites and claimed that “vindictive skinheads he’d met at heavy metal concerts” were the reason why he was linked to the racist platforms.

    “Someone has been using my name for years on the internet in regards to racist topics,” Alsbrook told Tulsa World. “It’s not me, rather someone who has hijacked my name due to my combativeness and rejection to white power skinheads who were always coming to the heavy metal shows, starting fights and messing up our scene.”

    Source: HuffPo

    What do you think about Alsbrook’s statement? Do you believe he is associated with neo-Nazi groups? What do you think about the hate groups affecting someone’s job in general? Let’s discuss in the comments!
    *******************************
    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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    By Sharee Silerio

    Lifetime is bringing the movie “Secret Santa” (working title), starring “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” alumna Tatyana Ali, Jasmine Guy, Kim Fields, Mindy Sterling (“Austin Powers”), Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”) and Brendan Fehr (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) to television screens this winter.

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    The two-hour original movie is currently shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah, and looks like it’s going to be a Christmas-Grinch-Love story.

    Per Deadline, the film’s logline is:

    “Christmas is Hillary Nash’s (Ali) least favorite time of year. As the Senior Financial Analyst at the upscale Hudson Valley Outdoor Mall, she has to be the annual Christmas Grinch and cancel the leases of under-performing stores by the end of the year. One afternoon, her 8-year-old niece Molly, asks the mall Santa to help find a boyfriend for her beloved aunt. Unbeknownst to Molly, and Hillary, the mall Santa is just a substitute filling in and is actually Ryan McCue (Fehr), a lawyer-turned-artist who is decorating the mall for Christmas and trying to find his way after quitting his job and losing his fiancée. As Hillary and Ryan begin to fall for each other, they each don’t realize the other’s true identity: Hillary who is tasked with closing a failing gift wrap shop run by Ryan’s Aunt Patty and Ryan who is too ashamed to tell Hillary that he is the acting mall Santa.”

    “Secret Santa” is produced by Jeff Schenck (“Sniper: Special Ops”) of Aro Entertainment and Hybrid’s Brian Nolan (“Christmas in Palm Springs”). Markus Hill (“Broadcasting Christmas”) is associate producer.

    It’s crazy that the holiday season is just around the corner. Hopefully this film will be one of many to get us in the holiday spirit!

    Can you believe that this year is almost over? What do you think about the film’s description? Are you going to look out for it on Lifetime?
    **********************************
    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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    Captain Deshauna Barber, U.S. Army, photo courtesy of Vogue

    In 2014, Army Regulation 670-1 mandated that soldiers were banned from wearing most natural hairstyles—including “twists, dreadlocks, Afros and braids”-- along with hijabs, religious beards, and turbans while in service.

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    But in January of 2017, after receiving numerous complaints that the ban was discriminatory from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the military to review its policies. The United States Army revised their regulations, allowing cornrows, braids and locs to be worn. The Army’s new rules state that each loc “will be of uniform dimension; have a diameter no greater than a half-inch; and present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance.”

    Because of this new change, more servicewomen are feeling comfortable rocking their hair in its true natural form. The new mandated rule inspired this series of photos below from Vogue.

    “When I first came into the military, people would always say, ‘What’s the problem? Why can’t you just straighten your hair?’” says Army Captain Deshauna Barber, in an interview with Vogue, who, like her peers, has wrestled with regulations that were diametrically at odds with her springy, breakage-prone coils. “

    The recent change in regulations has given me more options,” Lieutenant Colonel Junel Jeffrey says. “It also says a lot about how the Army feels about inclusion. I feel like now it’s okay to be me.”

    “Hair is a complicated thing for women of color,” says Barber, who still remembers struggling with the discomfort of wearing wigs under her helmet. “The new regulations show they did the research; there’s an understanding and appreciation of just how diverse our backgrounds are.”

    Captain Faren Campbell, U.S. Army, photo courtesy of Vogue
    “We understood there was no need to differentiate between locks, cornrows or twists as long as they all met the same dimension,” said Sergeant. Major Anthony J. Moore, the uniform policy branch sergeant major at the Army’s office of the deputy chief of staff for personnel. “Females have been asking for a while, especially females of African-American descent, to be able to wear dreadlocks and locks because it’s easier to maintain that hairstyle.”

    “When you first cut off your hair, it’s like, ‘Oh, man, I’m stuck!’” says Campbell, who wears her natural hair at a fourth of an inch from her head, the shortest possible length for women in the Army. “But then you embrace it, because there’s nothing to hide behind anymore. I’d say the shorter my hair is, the happier I am.”

    First Lieutenant Whennah Andrews, Army National Guard, photo courtesy of Vogue
    “We wanted to dispel the myth surrounding them, this idea that the style is somehow unhygienic,” says Andrews, who submitted the clip to the uniform advisory board at the Pentagon last year. “We literally put the hair under a microscope to show that’s not the case, to show that locks can belong in any place of business and certainly in the military.”

    Lieutenant Junior Grade Arabia Littlejohn, U.S. Navy, photo courtesy of Vogue
    “I know that as a woman of color, I have to lead from the front and be a model for other black junior officers,” says Littlejohn. “It’s a responsibility that’s on my shoulders, but I’m grateful for it.”

    Major Tennille Woods Scott, U.S. Army, photo courtesy of Vogue
    “It’s refreshing to see women up and down the ranks embracing their natural hair,” says Scott. “I think my mom would be pleasantly surprised.”

    The Army now allows Muslim women to wear hijabs and male soldiers to wear beards and turbans, as long as it’s a religious requirement.

    All images courtesy of Vogue.

    What do you think these military servicewomen and their experience rocking their natural hair?
    **************************
    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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    David Lee/Netflix

    By Sharee Silerio

    Entertainment Weekly released an exclusive first-look of the second season of “Marvel’s Luke Cage”, showing Misty Knight’s (Simone Missick) fan-requested bionic arm.

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    Take a peek here:



    Now Misty officially matches her comic-book character, and has this upgrade to – spoiler alert! – replace the one that the Hand member villain Bakuto (Ramón Rodríguez) cut off in “Marvel’s The Defenders”.

    At the end of the first season of the series, Misty was recovering in a hospital owned by Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and watched over by Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick).

    Fans are excited to see what Misty will be able to do with her new, high-tech limb. In the comics, it was designed by Tony Stark and Stark Industries after she lost her arm in a bombing. It gave her superhuman strength, the ability to control robots and other powers.

    It looks like they’re going to pick up where they left off. She’ll no doubt be a force to reckon with, right by Luke’s side.

    The second season of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” returns to Netflix in 2018.

    Did you watch the first season of “Luke Cage”? What do you think about Misty’s new arm?
    *****************************
    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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    After much criticism on social media, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church has opened its 16,800-seat Houston mega church as a shelter to those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey.

    Controversy began on Sunday evening when a post circulated on Twitter after Joel Osteen began tweeting Bible verses and words of encouragement rather than opening up the church as a shelter.

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    While some churchgoers and Houston residents responded with pics of the church being flooded, others continued to argue that the church was in fact not flooded and safe to house residents.



    The church's representative issued a statement with the Houston Chronicle.

    "It's not our unwillingness, it's just practicality. It's been a safety issue for us," Iloff said. "Lakewood Church has a heart for this city."

    Lakewood Church officially opened its doors at noon on Tuesday. "Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood's doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter," Osteen tweeted Tuesday at 11:12 a.m.









    You can find out more about Lakewood Church's Hurricane Harvey relief program here.

    We're glad to see that the megachurch has opened its doors as a shelter in Houston. Was it too late? Does it matter? Weigh in the comments.
    *********************
    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 Alma Hill

    “Passing” is a controversial concept in Black American Culture. We all know someone who is light enough, or has fair enough features to “pass” as white. Often times, these fair skinned family members are complete anomalies in their families. Take Quincy Jones’ daughters for example. Kidada Jones, while she is lighter in skin tone is visibly a black woman. Her younger sister however, Rasheeda, is a more public figure in today's entertainment world and most people don’t know she’s black.

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    Now the conflict surrounding the choice that those who can “pass” for white have to make, has made it’s way to the independent movie circuit. Across the Tracks is a film about two sisters growing up in Georgia in the 1960’s in the midst of segregation. When the school systems become integrated, the youngest sister who is fair skinned, decides to pass for white so that she can go to the school on the other side of the tracks. This decision causes a deep rift between the siblings which lasts all the way into their adult lives.

    The trailer is riveting, with stellar performances by the two young actresses that tackle issues like colorism, institutionalized racism, and black identity in the south with critically acclaimed performances. The film, which can be seen here for $2, has received awards at more than 25 different international film festivals including the the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem, the international Chelsea Film Festival, and Africa Movie Academy Awards. The actresses who play the sisters as adults were recognized for their performances at the Chelsea Film Festival as well.

    The director, Mike Cooke, said “At the time of filming in 2014, we wanted to show the complex nuances of race and identity in the eyes of a young black girl, growing up in the late 60s. It was always meant to be presented in a way that left the viewer asking their own questions. What would you do if you were in the same scenario as Ella? The years have progressed, our politics in turmoil, I think our message has really stayed the course. I'd like to present a mirror to the viewer and give them some abstract thinking exercises.”


    Across The Tracks Official Trailer from Mike Cooke on Vimeo.

    What do you think of the film? Give it a watch, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below
    **************************
    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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    Grammy-Award winning artist and Houston, Texas native is using her platform to help victims affected by Hurricane Harvey. The singer issued an exclusive statement with the Houston Chron about her plans.

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    "My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help," she said.

    "I am working closely with my team at BeyGOOD as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John's in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can."

    A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on


    Tuesday evening, the singer's lifelong pastor, Rudy Rasmus spoke with ET about her additional plans:

    "She's starting out with a significant donation, and that donation is getting us to launch out into some areas that help us more effectively impact the communities that have been the most affected," Rasmus tells ET's Kevin Frazier via FaceTime. "She has, over the years, been very generous to our cause, and we continue to work together. She has been a huge benefactor to our efforts here in Houston, Texas."

    "She has one huge platform, and information can go out to places that really need to know what's going on in her hometown," he explains. "She has always availed not only her platform, her voice, but also resources -- tangible resources -- to help those most in need in Houston and around."

    For more information on how to help Hurricane Harvey victims, click here.

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    by Alma Hill

    What was the last teenage melodrama you watched on TV? Was it this last, very disappointing season of Pretty Little Liars? Are you a Riverdale fan? Or maybe you relive your younger years with the socialites of the Gossip Girl world. Ever notice anything? Or rather, do you ever notice that you…. well.. don’t notice something?

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    Recently, screenwriter, producer, and actress, Issa Rae, was asked by The New Yorker to pitch her fantasy television series. Her answer: Black Gossip Girl. The hilarious sales pitch had us in tears, and praying for this show and it's absolutely epic dream cast (featuring Little Richie and a miscellaneous “ho character”) to be a reality sooner than later.

    Her title suggestions: Ladera Heights 90041, Windsor Hills 90043, or Potomac Maryland 20854.

    It’s been almost twenty years since predominantly black casts were a regular staple on network television. Even back then, there weren’t many sitcoms that focused on the experience of black teens. Moesha starring Brandy Norwood is the most legitimate example of a show that really had a cast and storyline based around being a black teen in modern society but even that show ended in 2001. Everybody Hates Chris closed up shop in 2009, and any honorable mentions, like Smart Guy, Sister Sister, and Family Matters were long gone before the current generation of teenagers was even potty trained.

    Plenty of people are ready for some new, more diverse faces in television. Issa Rae, creator of Insecure, is definitely one of those people. Her HBO Series was just renewed for a third season proving to Hollywood that there is a market for black stories, and that people actually care about these narratives.



    It’s time for more young black teens to be on the silver screen. If you could pitch a show focused on a group of black teenagers, what would it look like? What would you call it?

    Pitch us your shows in the comments below!
    ********************
    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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    By Monica Williams

    Late last year, the talented 20-year actress and musician Zendaya, recently launched Zendaya: The App. Inside the app, she gives fans an exclusive pass into her life and style, along with advocacy support and beauty secrets.

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    Inside the app, this natural beauty shares the makeup move she’s mastered: “Every time I hit the red carpet it doesn’t look like I'm wearing a lot of makeup, but trust and believe honey, it's caked! Highlighter mixed with a creamy foundation. But, I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to get to this point. You can look at my old red carpet pics and you’ll definitely see there was a learning curve. Here I am back in 2012."

    Some of her staple makeup products are listed below:

    CoverGirl Katy Kat Pearl Shadow and Highlighter, $8.99

    Queen Collection CC Cream, $8.79


    Zendaya also credits facial masks for red carpet preparation. She stated, "Sheet masks! I actually have a bunch of them." Paying attention to her skin needs, she's able to choose from masks that offer hydration, skin firming or pore tightening. "The one I use on a particular day just depends on how my skin is feeling. If my skin is trippin' and I have a few zits, I'll use one that fights acne. If my skin is dry, I'll use a hydrating mask. If my skin is super oily, I'll skip the hydrating one. I just go to Sephora and buy a whole bunch and switch them up." The convenient masks are also available at your local drug store for purchase.

    Some of her favorites masks are below:


    Yes To Tomatoes Acne Fighting Paper Mask, $2.52

    Egg Cream Pore Tightening Mask, $6.00


    Have you tried any of these facial masks? Share your beauty secrets below.
    *******************************
    Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.

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    Tennis can be a thrilling sport in and of itself, so when an upset happens… it’s peak excitement! People love rooting for the underdog in general, so upsets are popular in any competition.

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    Meet Naomi Osaka. Osaka is a 19-year-old 6th seed (No. 45) Haitian-Japanese tennis player. Recently, Osaka’s life changed in a moment after she pulled a huge upset and defeated reigning U.S. Open champion Angelique Kerber. And this happened in the first round with Osaka as a wild card.

    Not only did she win, but she blew Kerber out of the water: 6-3, 6-1. Game, set, match!

    No one saw this coming:



    This win is Osaka’s first against a top 10 player in her career. Plus, she now holds a 6-1 career record in Grand Slam first round matches. Superstar!

    Unsurprisingly, Osaka really looks up to Serena Williams. And Williams is out here giving her props. “I have seen her play. She’s really young and really aggressive. She’s a really good, talented player. Very dangerous,” Williams said of Osaka, who recorded a 125 mph serve at the 2016 U.S. Open, which is something only eight other women have done. Osaka is winning all around!

    Given her young age, Osaka is definitely someone to watch! I think we got another tennis star on our hands!

    Source: USA Today

    What do you think of Osaka’s surprise win? Do you think she has the potential to reach Williams sisters level?
    ********************************
    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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