Articles on this Page
- 09/20/17--08:12: _Can Brand Ambassado...
- 09/20/17--08:16: _7 Women Giving Us #...
- 09/21/17--07:24: _How to Install Mini...
- 09/21/17--10:43: _Dangers of Relaxing...
- 09/21/17--12:05: _Newest CoverGirls I...
- 09/22/17--06:07: _How to Use Hair Grease
- 09/22/17--06:48: _How I Respond To Ru...
- 09/22/17--07:02: _What It Means To Be...
- 09/25/17--07:00: _Lifeless Hair No Mo...
- 09/25/17--08:49: _Learning To #TakeAK...
- 09/25/17--11:00: _Let's Talk About Se...
- 09/26/17--07:00: _How Your Hair Ties ...
- 09/26/17--08:00: _What Would You Do I...
- 09/26/17--09:00: _Is ‘From Natural To...
- 09/26/17--09:56: _My 5 Day Grape Detox
- 09/27/17--05:47: _How to Find the Bes...
- 09/27/17--07:57: _I Failed.
- 09/27/17--08:18: _Is It Ever Too Late...
- 09/28/17--04:52: _Did You Say, DIY Br...
- 09/28/17--05:49: _#SayHerName: Why Ke...
- 09/20/17--08:16: 7 Women Giving Us #ActivismGoals
- 09/21/17--07:24: How to Install Mini Twists
- Invest the time. The first thing to know about how to install mini twists is that this is a time-consuming process. Depending on how much hair you are working with, you could be installing them for hours. Yes, hours. The upside is that once you get them in, they will be pretty low maintenance for the next 2-4 weeks.
- Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. While you can put mini twists in and then just wait for two weeks to wash and reinstall them, you can also choose to water wash or co-wash them as needed during the two-week period. You should also moisturize your hair regardless of what style it is in and mini twists are no exception to the rule.
- Don’t leave twists in for too long. While this is a great low manipulation style, you don’t want to leave them in for too long without taking them down. The first reason is because your hair will need a good wash. The second reason is while this look offers minimal damage to edges, it can still present some if worn too long. Give your hair a break every now and then it makes sure everything stays in check.
- Make sure any stray hairs are secured inside the twist when installing the look. Any loose hairs run the risk of breaking off.
- Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner when installing twists. This will ensure your hair stays hydrated and healthy during the two weeks you have the look in, as well as making it easier to get a sleek look without flyaways.
- 09/21/17--10:43: Dangers of Relaxing Your Hair
- 09/22/17--06:07: How to Use Hair Grease
- 09/22/17--06:48: How I Respond To Rude Comments About My Daughter's African Name
- 09/22/17--07:02: What It Means To Be A Black Female Introvert
- 09/25/17--07:00: Lifeless Hair No More! Zara Shows The Secret To Maximum Volume
- 09/25/17--08:49: Learning To #TakeAKnee From A Brave High School Student
- 09/25/17--11:00: Let's Talk About Sex, Baby!
- There are about 40,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year
- Even though black people only make up 13% of the population, 45% of ALL of those 40,000 new diagnoses belong to us
- 1 in 880 White women will get HIV in their lifetime
- 1 in 48 Black women will get HIV in their lifetime
- 48% of all new HIV infections in 2015 among heterosexual people of any race were in….*drum roll please* black women
- 09/26/17--07:00: How Your Hair Ties to Your Self-esteem
- 09/26/17--09:00: Is ‘From Natural To Relaxed' A Growing Trend?
- 09/26/17--09:56: My 5 Day Grape Detox
- 09/27/17--05:47: How to Find the Best Nude Lipstick
- 09/27/17--07:57: I Failed.
- 09/27/17--08:18: Is It Ever Too Late To Heal The Relationship With Your Mom?
- 09/28/17--04:52: Did You Say, DIY Braidless Crochet Hairstyle?
Companies turn to said personalities for various reasons—they’re more relatable than most celebrities, they’re accessible, they post frequently, and they can more actively communicate with the target audience. But let’s face it: social media is already full of false representation. Couple that with compensation, and you have a recipe for skepticism, distrust, and the loss of credibility.
“Marketing is a business enterprise and people should be able to make money from their business. However, your success has a lot to do with the quality of product you produce, and in this case, it’s information. If you can’t find a business model that will pay you and preserve the integrity of your product, you don’t have a business...or you’ll have a short-lived business.”
“I’ve been compensated very well thus far, but I’ve also left a lot of money on the table. In 10 years I’ve never endorsed a hair care brand though I’ve been approached countless times. These are specific and contextual decisions that the business owner has to make for themselves, but in my case, my business model has been consumer focused, and the integrity of the information has always been the priority.”
|Tamika D. Mallory speaking at the Women's March on Washington|
|Tamika D. Mallory|
Chances are, you've seen Tamika D. Mallory, the outspoken champion for social justice who helped organize the Women's March on Washington, attended by over 300,000 here, and sparked duplicate marches across the globe. The 36 yr old New York native has been applauded as an advocate for civil rights issues, equal rights for women, health care, gun violence, and police misconduct. Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama called her “a leader of tomorrow” and she was selected to serve on the transition committee of New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio.
|Dr. Moya Bailey|
|Monica Raye Simpson|
For many women, choosing to embrace your natural hair is a journey of self-acceptance long overdue. For those still using relaxers from time to time, this information may make you rethink that decision.
According to a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology, there are several reasons to consider skipping the relaxer. The report states, “Hair relaxers can cause burns and lesions in the scalp, facilitating entry of hair relaxer constituents into the body. The main ingredient of “lye” relaxers is sodium hydroxide; no-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate, and “thio” relaxers contain thioglycolic acid salts. No-lye relaxers are advertised to cause fewer scalp lesions and burns than lye relaxers, but there is little evidence to support this claim. Products may also contain hormonally active compounds, such as phthalates, which are not required to be listed separately as ingredients and are often reported under the term “fragrances” or “perfume”. Not only do these products damage the scalp, the harmful chemicals in the relaxers can actually make their way into your blood stream and affect your health. Anything you put on your skin has the potential to be absorbed much deeper than that the layer of epidermis. The Center for Disease Control has already published a list of chemicals to avoid because they increase the risk of certain cancers. Many hair products, including relaxers, are not as closely regulated by the FDA, so manufacturers could still be using several potential harmful ingredients in their products. A study published in Carcinogenesis, a leading cancer research publication, reported a higher increase of breast cancer in for women using hair dyes and relaxers. While studies are still being performed to examine how these products affect a woman’s health, many have chosen to avoid the risk altogether and embrace their natural hair.
Aside from the dangers of the chemicals found in relaxers, they also have a tendency to dry out hair which can result in damage such as breakage. It can also have an effect on your natural curl pattern leading to a loss of definition after it wears off. From the medical concerns to the hair health issues, there are plenty of reasons to consider skipping your next relaxer treatment.
|Issa Rae & Ayesha Curry|
|Singer/Actress Janelle Monae|
|Actress/Singer/Rapper Queen Latifah|
|Model-preneure Tyra Banks|
|Model/Actress Eva Marcille|
|America's Next Top Model Krista White|
|Model Lana Ogilvie|
|Model Sheila Johnson|
Grease is usually a combination of petroleum (cleaned up sludge from the earth) and mineral oil (even cleaner, liquefied sludge from the earth). Petroleum-based products come from the same Earth that we pollute every day with factory run off, pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, etc. Questions about the safety of mineral oil and petroleum in cosmetic products come from concern that they may not be clean enough after coming from such a dirty place. The petroleum and mineral oil used in medicinal creams (Neosporin, for example) gets cleaned much more thoroughly than the stuff used in hair products.
That being said, it’s important to remember that hair is dead – meaning it’s not connected to your blood supply after it emerges from the hair follicle. If you’re concerned about the safety of petroleum-based products, start by not using any on your lips. Most lip balms and glosses are petroleum-based and you end up swallowing the majority of what you put on. That’s much worse than putting petroleum on your (dead) hair!
There are a few great benefits of using hair grease that make it worth trying. It is a sealant which makes it ideal for treating frizz. It’s also good for getting a light hold minus the crunch factor of hairsprays. When looking for a way to get sleek edges in your latest style, hair grease might be just the trick you are looking for. Regardless of the reason you use hair grease, it is best to pay attention to the health of your hair and know what it needs to stay looking its best. No two heads of curls are the same so try it out for yourself before you make a final verdict on hair grease.
You should use whatever works to keep your hair from breaking and help you achieve the styles you like. While some curlies will swear off hair grease because of the petroleum part and the fact that it isn’t an all-natural based product, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its uses. If grease makes your hair look and feel good, you should use it, but keep a few things in mind:
Be Careful with Build UpBe careful about the grease you choose, especially if you have fine hair. It’s not just the ingredients that matter, it’s the recipe too. You’ll know the grease is too heavy if you have to work to create volume/fullness on your finished style. Anything that leads to more manipulation should be avoided. Fine hair also doesn’t do well when you put a lot of weight on the strands. If you notice your hair breaking even when you know it’s moisturized (e.g. within 24 hours of a fresh wash), it could be the extra weight from the grease.
Shampoo FrequentlyYou need to shampoo your hair once a week (more if you work out). The best long term routine includes washing with a gentle shampoo once a week. Momma did have some things right back in the day. The routine was shampoo, condition, water, grease, repeat. Grease attracts more dirt than other products and it can easily build up and clog the cuticle layer. Clogged cuticles prevent the hair from reaching its optimal moisture level which will make it more breakage prone than ever. Make sure you don’t apply the grease to your scalp since it will only make this problem worse.
It Does Not MoisturizeThe other big thing to know about how to use hair grease is that it has no moisturizing properties whatsoever. If you are going to use it, make sure you apply water to your hair first to avoid it making your strands dry. Using it as a sealant with water can create a better retention of the natural moisture your hair needs to stay healthy. You need to make sure you are hydrating your hair after every use of hair grease to replenish any lost moisture.
The decision to use hair grease is ultimately up to you based on your personal needs and individual hair. It is worth noting that serums were created to give us a better alternative to grease. Although grease works very well as a sealant, it’s heavier than other products and it attracts more dirt. If you have very fine hair or acne prone skin, you should choose a silicone serum instead.
Cover photo: Derbycitynaturals.com
And when we do, she lets out an exasperated sigh and says, “Why’d you give that child that name?”
“Excuse me?” I say, not sure if I heard her correctly.
“Why’d you give her a name that she’d be lucky if she can pronounce, let alone spell?”
I put the phone down and start taking off my earrings. Had this woman lost her mind? Of all the rude comments! And to think that she was representing someone’s business. I’m a second away from reaching into the phone to grab her neck when I remind myself that I knew this would happen. In fact, I almost didn’t give my daughter her name because of people like that receptionist.
“You can’t name her that!” said just about everyone when I told them the name I had chosen for my unborn child. Others would just start singing, ‘Mama Say Mama Sa Mama Coosa’ from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.’” They said it reminded them of that song. At one point, I stopped telling people because I didn’t want to hear it anymore.
What they failed to see was that I loved the name from the moment I first heard it. Ever fall in love with a sound? For some it’s the sweet cackle of a baby’s giggle, for me it was the rhythm of this name. Like music to my ears. The fact that it was African made it even better. Not just because my husband is African, but because I wanted a name that my child could live in to, a name that whenever spoken would create images of gold lit skies, and blackness, like the continent itself.
Yet, it’s funny how I still had doubts.
“Do you have a name?” asked the doctor who delivered my daughter as she placed her on top of me, still wet and slippery like a fish freshly out of the water. I was tired. Exhausted from a natural birth that had me laboring for 24 hours. Finally, I told her the short version because in that moment, I was no longer sure. Would I dare give her a name with 11 letters and five syllables? Would she be able to get a job? What if she was a gentle soul incapable of handling the teasing and insults that might come her way? Heck, what if she didn’t like it?!
“Okay,” said the doctor, letting the name roll off of her tongue. “What’s the long version?” I spit it out. Every. Last. Syllable. There. Say what you want. “Girl, you betta give that child all that name!”
We both laughed and in that moment I knew that I couldn’t go halfway. Why? To make it easy? To please other people? I’d been doing that my whole life and where had it gotten me? If I couldn’t stand for the name I wanted to give my child when would I ever stand for anything? This name was for both my child and me.
I think about the receptionist on the other end of the phone. Right now she represents all the ignorance and prejudice that will likely be a part of my daughter’s future.
How would I want her or anyone for that matter to respond?
Patience? Tried that.
Maybe I’d meet fire with fire.
I pick up the phone, and this time it is my tone that has changed. “Listen, Ma’am, I’m sorry if this name isn’t convenient for you, but you’re a receptionist not the name police. Mind your business.”
This is Kamryn, a student who has committed herself to#TakeAKnee before her games in protest of racial injustice. According to her mom: "Though ostracized and publicly shamed by her teammates, my daughter will continue to#TakeAKnee. Hate and cultural insensitivity are taught at home and now the White House! I will admit as her mother, it's very hard to hear how mean and hateful her teammates are. Refusing to touch her hand, disengaging while on the court and publicly standing away from her as she kneels. I've even been told by the school staff that parents have made 'inappropriate gestures' toward her in the stands. Through it all my kid SMILES while my heart breaks, because I thought the world would be better for her!
That’s right honey, our people. I know a lot of us see or hear about HIV and automatically think what we’ve been conditioned to think – that’s something that ‘those’ people get? Well who are “those people?” I hope the answer you came up with is “our brothers, sisters, our sons, daughters, our cousins, our best friends, our fathers, our mothers.” I hope the answer you came up with is US. People like me, and if you’re reading this….people like you. If it’s not personal for you yet, here are some stats that resonate with me the most:
And you should! Cause your health should be more important to you than his comfort. Period. And he should want to protect you just as much as you want to protect yourself. And if he doesn't...
As a future pharmacist I feel strongly about bringing all of my beautiful women of color together to protect our health. In our world, sometimes we feel helpless. Sometimes we feel like everything is out of our control. But making sure you’re not another damned statistic is something we can all do together. In a world where not much gets done for our community, this is something we can very easily do for ourselves.
Women have had their bodies policed since the beginning of time. As with many things in life, women of color, in particular, have felt the overwhelming pressures of this policing on everything from skin tone and hair texture to body shape. More and more researchers, professors, and thinkers are coming together in a quest to understand the complexities women of color face in terms of their self-image and how society affects self-confidence. While racial identity is a complex matter, and everyone has their own unique experiences, there are certain societal expectations on female beauty which are so ingrained in the media that they affect women of all ages in a myriad of ways.
Dr. Cheryl Thompson, a professor at the University of Toronto, in her paper titled Black Women and Identity: What's Hair Got to Do With It?, takes a look at the complicated relationship between white beauty standards and black hair. Dr. Thompson discusses how there are several factors which have lead black hair to where it is today. She goes into detail regarding how many women of color feel inundated with white standards of beauty, such as straight hair, and a lack of media representation. This inundation and lack of representation leads to unhealthy beauty standards which encourage black women from an early age to go the route of chemical relaxers, wigs and tight styles in an attempt to cover up or suppress the parts of them which do not line up with the idealized standard of white beauty. She notes how in her research speaking with professionals, a lot of damage is seen to natural hair in this quest to achieve a beauty standard other than the one present simply because it is undervalued by mainstream society. She closes out her well-researched paper by saying, “Hair alteration should be viewed as unequivocally damaging to an individual (and collective) physical, psychological and cultural well-being, or it will continue to be predicated on the belief that nappy, kinky, Afro hair is wrong, and long, straight, (i.e. White and Asian) hair is right.” While it is mentioned in the paper that one woman should never feel shamed by another woman about what she chooses to do with her hair, whether natural or relaxed, the text also covers the often-overlooked issue that many women choose not to embrace their natural hair because they falsely believe it is ugly, unworthy, and undesirable.
The relationship between self-esteem and hair is a close one for many women. Hair in the black community is deeply rooted in identity. Many women claim that they have more self-confidence after going natural. In fact, a study was performed in which black women were shown pictures of beauty standards to evaluate attractiveness, and the results solidified that owning your identity was the key to self-esteem. The study, published in Journal of Applied Social Psychology reports, “The results suggest that explicit beauty standards engage a comparison process and, in the case of Black respondents with high self-esteem or with high African self-consciousness, result in self-evaluations that are significantly higher than the attractiveness attributed to White standards of beauty.” This study strongly suggests that those with a more firmly rooted black integrity are more confident in their own beauty. With more and more women choosing to go natural and embracing their own natural beauty standards outside of what media says is attractive, women are experiencing higher levels of self-confidence. While no woman should be made to feel ashamed or inferior because of how she chooses to wear her hair, there is no denying there is a deep connection in self-esteem, black identity, and hair.
“It was horrible,” Vivian says of hearing the news. “Stuff like he had no fingers or toes, his entire cardiovascular system was undeveloped; things that you never want to hear as a mother.” Indeed. As a mom, it’s hard to imagine being told such horrific news. But it also begs the question, why didn’t she abort since it’s legal in cases where doctors can predict these types of issues?
In fact, there was a couple in Australia that aborted a pregnancy at 28 weeks when they discovered their baby would have a deformed left hand–though most would consider that an extreme reaction. Sometimes, the pressure comes from doctors who discourage parents from bringing kids into the world when they know ahead of time the massive challenges the future holds.
For Vivian, it was simple. “By the time I got the diagnosis I was in my second trimester and he was already moving. So I knew I couldn’t do it.”
Constant prayer and strong family support got Vivian through the pregnancy.
What happened next was a miracle.
“Once my son was born it was nothing like what the doctors said,” says Vivian. “He does have some issues. Like he has no opposition in his thumbs, he was born very small, his skull was flat–it’s gotten a lot better–and he sometimes has some random things that don’t necessarily go together, but still, it’s not what they said.”
Clearly, the fact that he is going on 12-years-old when they only predicted he’d live a week is a testament to something Vivian learned from her mom, “doctors are not always right.”
It was this knowing that she would rely on again when pressure mounted to get him plastic surgery. “One doctor really wanted to start plastic surgery and I felt that he was too young. Let’s watch to see how things develop.” Once she received a second opinion from another doctor who agreed, she felt convinced that her motherly instinct was right once again, and let her son be.
Today, Jordan does everything for himself, even if it takes him a little longer. She says her parenting style is often compared to the mom of singer Ray Charles: “After I see you can do it one time I’m not going to help you again because I know you can do it.”
Vivian has been homeschooling Jordan since kindergarten, but plans to transition him to a regular school now that he’s in the 6th grade. A few years ago, she had him tested to make sure he was mentally up to par. While his mental process is a little different, he’s fine. “Jordan’s doctors are some of the best in the country and they are amazed at his progress,” Vivian says. And while things may not be nearly as dire as the doctors predicted, Vivian’s life is far from a walk in the park. Has she ever regretted her decision to have her son?
“Not at all,” she explains, “He’s very much a loved child wherever he goes. He’s touched so many people in the past 11 years. It’s really amazing.”
Given how things worked out for Vivian, one might think that she would discourage moms-to-be from listening to doctors, but not so.
“I always urge mothers to do what’s best for them because many children are born with horrible diseases and doctors sometimes are right about what they see. So I don’t want to give any false hope that every case is going to be like mine. I just happen to know that doctors aren’t always right.”
Vivian also urges mothers to do their own research and trust their instincts.
This article first appeared on Mommynoire.com
For me, it was very hard being natural. I had very, very thick, very porous hair. It wouldn’t hold moisture. All the little cute hairstyles I would see other naturals do on YouTube, I would try it and it would look nothing like theirs. It would look so horrible. I was over it!
I have been openly judged by complete strangers. My family and friends support my decision because they saw how much I struggled. With me being a YouTuber, a lot of naturals left very long, nasty comments under my video. One lady even went as far to say that all of my hair was going to fall out! I just ignore them because they don't know my story.
Along with regular intermittent fasting, I actually fast or detox several times a year.
It's a great reset button for me spiritually, mentally and aesthetically, of course-- I love seeing the bloat and extra poochage melt away. It also gives me hella energy and motivates me to stay off wheat. It's that time of year again and the thought of another Master Cleanse with that gross salt water cleanse disgusted me... I'm in no mood for smoothies or juicing (the incessant chopping and all that damn blender cleaning), and bone broth fasts are time consuming and expensive. As I considered my options, I reached for another handful of seeded concord grapes and thought... how 'bout a grape cleanse?! Ha! I Googled 'grape detox' and of course it's a thing (everything's a thing... banana diets too, lol) and was actually made popular by the creator of Caudalie, a skin care brand I started using like 2 weeks ago (love their anti-aging serum). Crazy. So, today is day 1. It's about noon here in D. C. and I plan to have Whole Foods on 14th deliver me every organic grape in the building. I'll check back in with updates. I hope to go about 5 days-- grapes, water, rooibos tea. Wine is grapes, too, so, that may still be happening as well. We'll see.
Your other self,
Know Your ToneKnowing your natural skin tone is the key to finding the best nude lipstick. While everyone is unique and you may have slight leanings on the scale within the category, most people fall under one of the three main groups of fair, medium, and dark. For example, within the group of medium, it can range from golden to caramel with shades of olive in between. So, take your time determining your skin tone.
Pay Attention to LipsThe skin tone is important to make sure you don’t end up looking too washed out by the color, but the natural color of your lips also matters. If your lips naturally have more than one tone, the key is to work with the more dominant tone and include lip liner in your look. For instance, trying out a gentler pink toned nude to match with the center of the lips paired with a darker liner is a good choice.
Find the BalanceThe whole point of nude lips is that it should look natural and as close to your natural lips as possible, but still look like you have something on your lips. You don’t want it to look like you aren’t wearing anything at all, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be too stark. Make sure you try several shades of nudes in your skin tone to find the option that works best for you before committing to one look as your nude go-to. You should also keep in mind that a nude lip can be several variations. You can wear a darker nude lip for a more striking contrast or a lighter nude lip for a more natural look. The key is to always pay attention to both your skin tone and the pigment of your lips to find the right range of shades.
I decided against the Whole Foods delivery and got dressed, loaded Max up and walked the mile to Yes! Organic Market. I hate going to the grocery store ('cause humans) and have everything delivered now, but Yes! Market doesn't deliver and they're the only store in the area with a ridiculous variety of organic grapes. Plus the walk is scenic and I could get some much needed steps in. I grossly underestimated the temperature, though. It was hot as hell, no shade all the way but when I finally got there, I had my pick of the best, like 7 varieties. I bought 4 crates, loaded them in the stroller and proceeded to walk back home, which was up hill the entire way apparently... I had no idea we lived at the peak of a slope until I had to push that heavy Mima stroller + 18 pound Max + my ass up a hill for a mile. I never leave home without my Bose headphones (keeps dudes from trying to talk at me), but I had to take them off because of the profuse sweating and my hair is still blown out... so I was annoyed, hot and hungry by the time I got home. Before I even got Max out the stroller, I was rinsing grapes off and stuffing them in my face. I probably ate 2 bunches. They were so good and the water content of them coupled with the chewing action (unlike other fasts I've done) totally took care of my hunger pangs. Two hours go by and Gia's home from school and we're doing math homework at the table. I raised up from my chair a little to sneak poot, but immediately realized that it wouldn't end well, so I aborted. You know that feeling. And then I remembered what grape juice does to me on an empty stomach. I googled the side effects of the grape detox and of course diarrhea was way high up there (in defense of the grape diet, you're supposed to start much slower than I did). I cannot with unpredictable gastrointestinal distress. I might as well do the master cleanse with that terrible salt water flush! So by 7 last night I was sitting on the patio outside our local El Salvadorian restaurant enjoying a glass of Pinot Gri, reading Be As You Are, waiting on my steak that I ordered to go. This is my third failed detox since having Max, maybe I ain't about that life anymore. It's cool though, yesterday counted as an 'I went extra hard on my intermittent fasting' day.
Your other self,
“Tell me what you want from the house when I go.”
“Go where?” Bree said to her mom.
“You know, when I die.”
“Die? What’s wrong?? Are you sick???” Bree panicked.
“No. I just want to be prepared.”
This was weird.
“I can’t, ma, just write down whatever you think I’d like.”
“I don’t know what you’d like because I don’t know you like that.”
Was she serious?
“All the times I’ve tried to get to know you over the years and all you’ve ever done is shut me down. You only came to visit me once in 25 years and that was when I got married, and I had to beg you and pay for your plane ticket. And then there’s the grandchild that you completely forgot about. Now you wanna act like it’s my fault?”
“So it’s my fault?” Bree’s mom said. “Do you remember how you left?”
Whoa. She was bringing that up? They had never spoken about the way she left home. How she had just graduated from high school and had her heart set on becoming a singer- her mother wanted her to go to college. As a compromise, Bree applied to schools with music programs out-of-state, but her mother had her own plans and changed the applications to local colleges in Mississippi where they lived. Bree realized then that the only way she was going to be able to live her own life was by leaving. So one day she bounced, leaving nothing but a note saying that she was heading to New York and would call her when she got settled.
They did eventually talk, but the relationship never recovered.
Her mom turned cold, and Bree came to accept it as the price she had to pay for her independence. Thinking about it today, she can only imagine what she put her mother through. But the truth is, she did what she had to do, and though she never became a big singer, she did get married, became a mom, and lived life her way. Her mom, on the other hand, was still standing in the same spot 25 years later, as salty, and hurt, as the day Bree left. So really who won? There was no need to argue over who was right.
“I’m sorry about the way I left,” Bree apologized.
After a brief silence.
“Okay. Let’s move on,” her mom replied.
Bree's giddiness about mending the relationship with her mom came bursting through the phone as she relayed her story. I met her not long after she made the move to NYC, and over the years, I could see that there was something missing. A mother’s love is like a warm coat in the winter so you know when someone leaves home without it. Maybe this was the start of something new? I couldn't help thinking that 25 years is a long time to be mad. So many beautiful memories they never had. So much pain. I think about what happens when we feel wronged by someone, and how it only hurts us, even if we’re right. My mom used to ask me, “Do you want to be dead right?” when I would walk out in the middle of traffic as soon as the light turned green. As if being right was a protective shield against the pain of getting hit by a car. I think about some of the people that I may owe an apology to and I hope they’re not waiting on it. I hope they’ll talk to me about it or find a way to move on. At the end of the day, we’re all responsible for our own happiness.
We know it seems like an oxymoron. But it's true.
Facebook commenter Susan Willis Updegraff writes, “Watched an update on the Natalee Holloway murder. The lengths to which her father has gone to find her remains is extraordinary and so tragic. All we can do is never go to Aruba for any reason. They don't deserve any benefits from U.S. tourists.”
Carole Ann Pigman, who describes Holloway as a “beautiful” young lady with such a “promising life,” pleas to dismiss her usual pastime of Sunday afternoon football to pray for the family of the 'smart, young woman who only traveled to the island to celebrate the beginning of a Pre-med education.'
But Crystal Constance Bey makes another point. She says, “They can investigate a missing person in another country but won't investigate all the missing black women here in America.”
It makes me wonder if Kenneka Jenkins – the 19-year-old woman who attended a party at the Crowne Plaza in Chicago just a few weeks ago, and whose lifeless body was found in the hotel’s freezer – family would receive the same level of attention.
Brittney Chardae brilliantly tweets:
I perform the same search on Facebook and visit the major media pages. There, against my better judgment, I click on the comments and subject myself to pure vitriol.
Jennifer Russell Peters attacks Jenkins' mom's parenting skills. “What a loving caring mom. First, she lets her daughter leave the house at 1130 and has no clue she's missing and now she's turning her daughter's funeral into a circus.”
“Mama looking for a payout?” adds Rori DeLaurentis, “[Jenkins] was drunk and walked into a freezer and passed out. It was her own fault! Tell Mama to get a job and stop causing commotion. It's annoying.”
The responses continue with freezer and Ringling Brothers jokes, dead horse memes and unnecessarily lame attempts to minimize and dismiss Jenkins.
The blatant lack of sympathy and pure disrespect for a black body and her family is appalling. It’s also rather interesting, read contradictory and hypocritical, how those who are the most vocal in victim-blaming and parent-shaming simply refuse to acknowledge the glaring similarities in both cases.
Like Holloway, Jenkins was celebrating a milestone, too: a friend’s birthday. They both partied with friends outside of home, and disappeared. The friends can’t exactly account for the missing women’s whereabouts after a certain point. The chronology of Holloway’s final hours is also sketchy. Rumors continuously interfere with the facts of her case and both cases seem to involve some level of foul play.
But the stark contrasts are that one victim is white while the other one is black, the public views one superior to the other and what’s considered untimely and tragic for Holloway is inevitable and deserving for Jenkins. It only reminds us that race often does influence law enforcement’s decisions, equality and justice for all is a myth, and to non-people of color, black girl magic is more dust than glitter.
Given the current racial climate, perhaps the infamous Facebook Live video showing Jenkins’ friends and a glimpse of Jenkins inside of their hotel room didn’t help any of the participants. It was hard for an empathetic viewer to watch and there seemed to be no real purpose for the footage. Unless it actually was recorded as a clue or some sort of alibi. There’s a bit of profanity, obvious underage drinking and some blunt-passing. It’s totally unfair but people judge us, even us.
Still by no means does it give anyone permission to deem a young black woman’s life as disposable. Her background or current lifestyle or image isn’t a valuation of her worth nor is it a definite indicator of a bleak future. I grew up in a rural community where most youth bypass college for the real world. When I was 18, I attended a nightclub that served alcoholic beverages, and I arrived home at 4 a.m. the morning after my birthday and I cursed and drank the night before too. The elders in my family didn’t know where I went and unless they read this piece, they still won’t know. But I still received a degree from a well-renowned university and within four years. The fact that Holloway partied hours before her death doesn’t preclude her potential but Jenkins is punished partly because four million viewers can easily witness part of her evening and mainly because she’s black. Never mind that Jenkins’ potential to become a doctor or nurse could’ve grown to easily surpass Holloway’s. We’ll never know that because neither is here to prove it.
But one's story continues to live on over a decade later while the other is killed in two weeks. Jenkins and all of our magical young black women deserve the same respect and recognition as Natalee Holloway and all of the young white women whose lives are unexpectedly cut short. This is why we mustn’t allow Kenneka Jenkins’ name to be tarnished and dismissed by those who feel any mention of it is a waste of precious breath. It’s up to us to be her vested community that continues to scream her name until she and her family receives due justice.