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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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    Shay via @ShayGlam00
    By Joce Blake

    Coco Chanel said, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life."

    Muva was speaking the truth because a hair cut provides liberation and freedom for so many women. It is especially hard for women of color to choose to embrace that freedom because our culture romanticizes long, thick hair. The moment you tell your mom, aunt, or play cousin that you plan to cut your hair, they will act as if someone died. For decades, it has been instilled in us that our hair represents our crowns. This means cutting your hair signifies being stripped of your glory. Well, that is over and done because it's a new year, and we have the right to decide what our crowns bespeak. From rocking 4c kinky hair to donning a buzz cut, the choice is yours.


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    Photo via Fabrice Moneiro
    By Nikki Igbo

    A Southern Poverty Law Center report based on a national study conducted in 2017 has revealed a sad truth about how American slavery is taught and learned. Plain and simply, American kids don’t know much about it and teachers are ill-equipped to provide students with information on the key concepts surrounding slavery. How bad is the problem? Only 8% of high school seniors know that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War. 68% of high school seniors don’t know that it took a constitutional amendment to end slavery. America’s youth don't know that white supremacy sustained and protected slavery. The vast majority of textbooks present a sanitized, downright nostalgic version of the institution. Slavery was not just a fragment of American history; it was the foundation.

    To misunderstand the realities and impact of slavery, and the way it was protected, all but assures the nation’s failure to solve deep-seated issues of racism, wealth disparity and social inequality. The classroom, however, is not the only place kids of all ages can learn about American slavery. And learning about slavery does not have to be an exercise in emotional self-torture. Here are four ways to learn about slavery in American history and feel empowered and inspired while doing so.

    Madam C. J. Walker
    1. Do a Black History Month Deep Dive. For the past 11 years, I have picked an industry (such as technology, filmmaking and hair care ) or a particular interest (such as music, politics and the arts) and challenged myself to learn the life story of a minimum of 28 figures in African-American history (past and present) who have made an impact in each category. Each February, I am consistently awed by how many more figures there really are in each field—particularly those who persevered in their calling despite their status as slaves and second class citizens. The internet, like no other time in history, has made discovering the truth about the indelible spirit of our ancestors extraordinarily accessible. When learned in concert with the horrors of slavery and the seemingly insurmountable laws and statutes that were established to protect slavery, the stories of those figures are all the more inspiring and truly heroic. (Hint: there’s no need to wait until February.)

    2. Have Lunch with a Grandparent…and Listen. There is a Tswana proverb that says, “the Young Bird does not crow until he hears the old ones.” While it is likely that your grandparent (or a grandparent you happen to know) was not a slave, their shorter generational distance from the institution is likely to reveal a great deal. The best part about hearing history from an elder seated across the table from you is the ability to ask questions and receive nuanced answers.


    3. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
    There’s a reason why tickets to this 2016 addition to the Smithsonian Institution are so hard to come by; this museum is EVERYTHING. Established by an Act of Congress in 2003, and curated over decades, this jewel of an African-American historical treasury contains more than 36,000 artifacts and an almost overwhelming amount of knowledge dating back to the 15th century. When I visited, I expected to cry, and I did. But I was also filled with an astounding sense of pride. What African-Americans have endured—and all that we have created in spite of it—has boosted my sense of self in ways I would have never imagined before.

    4. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. History books aren’t the only sources of history on American Slavery. All throughout U.S. history, there have been African-American writers who have given both biographical and fictionalized accounts of the truth of slavery and its legacy. Yes, the stories can be raw. But while history books give an often dispassionate account of the way of things, these African-American tales reveal depths of emotion and establishes a connection to the past and its implications in a unique and powerful way. Here is a list of authors to start with.

    Birth of a Nation
    5. Watch the Story Unfold on Screen.
    Along with outstanding books, many excellent films have been made to articulate the terrors, oddities, and realizations of the American slave trade. All of the films on this list are available to rent and/or stream in the comfort of your own home. Pop popcorn. Keep both your favorite beverage and a box of tissues nearby. Watch with a friend or two. Don't be afraid to pause to discuss as the story progresses.


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

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    CurlyGaisha
    Struggle no more with what to do with an old twist out because CurlyGaisha has 3 super easy hairstyles that will give it new life! There's only one catch, if you like, please share, comment and/or subscribe to her channel! 



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    Taneica of Tea with Taneica 
    It's Friday so you already know that Taneica of Tea With Taneica has got your 5 minutes of Fashion Fodder!  Tune in as she gives us the best & worst looks from the red carpet this week. And if you like, please comment, share and subscribe to her channel!

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    Dorothy 'Serenity' Hall
    By Roseann V. Warren

    Returning to some level of normalcy after incarceration is difficult, especially when the system is designed to perpetuate a disadvantaged state of living. Dorothy Hall, an Augusta, Georgia-based author, dispelled the stigma of being prescribed to poverty and crime when she discovered her calling to write and assist others in getting their stories heard.

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    Incarceration and the Black community became abundantly clear to me as I began to attend book and motivational networking events hosted by people of color. The more I saw people on platform stages sharing their struggles and personal redemptions, the more I realized just how embedded incarceration is within the Black American experience.

    African Americans represent only 13% of the U.S. population, yet make up 38% of the 2.2 million incarcerated in America, making it no surprise that repercussions of incarceration would seep into other areas of public life.

    While in prison, Hall would write her mother long letters, and during one of their phone calls, her mother questioned whether Hall had actually written the letters herself. “I write from the heart and would pour my feelings into my letters, especially when writing to my mom. She urged me to write books,” remembers Hall.

    Some might fall prey to hopelessness and become embittered, but for Hall, she spent her free time reading urban literature, as these stories mirrored the life she led before being incarcerated. The works of Wahida Clark, an author and publisher who has appeared on New York Times and Essence best-sellers lists with her Thug Love fiction, interested her. Just like Hall, Wahida Clark began her publishing career – within prison walls.

    From the 1970s to the mid-80s, U.S. incarceration rates were at 300 people per 100,000. It is now over 700 people per 100,000, with government administrations averting attention to a ‘War on Drugs,’ focusing more on punishment than rehabilitation, and establishing the profitable prison industrial complex, leaving many like Hall to languish in long sentences for non-violent crimes.

    “If we do something wrong like a drug crime, don’t give us a life sentence for selling drugs. Don’t think that we can’t come back and change our lives for the better. I don’t think they should count us out like that,” says Hall reflecting on how the system confines rather than gives them a chance to reform. The difficulty in finding a work, much less rent a home in their own names is impossible for felons.

    Hall began to write her first novel about a young girl from the South who lives in poverty where crime is a form of survival and unrequited love leads to destruction. Once the novel was finished, Hall sent queries to various publishers including Wahida Clark. “Wahida emailed me back and asked me to send the manuscript,” Hall says.
    “After a few months, she wrote back and said I was accepted. I was so excited. It didn’t feel real. Being incarcerated, the door has been closed on you and everybody outside has forgotten you. To get something good in your life, that you did, and it not be illegally done... In that moment, I felt liberated.”
    A year after her release, Hall published her debut novel, Feenin’ under the pseudonym Sereniti Hall in 2010. Describing the themes in her books, Hall says, “I try to show the detriment of it all in my stories. Young girls get hooked up with these older men like it’s all glamorous until hearts get broken. Whether it be drugs or promiscuity, they take that baggage over into a good relationship later. I try to incorporate that stuff into my novels." Writing the sequel, Still Feenin’ in 2013 through Wahida Clark’s publishing, Hall started to connect with other incarcerated writers and launched her own publishing company, 7 Figure Publications. She has published two additional books and represents a roster of authors.

    A friend of her sister’s, who is incarcerated, told an inmate about Hall and her publishing company. That inmate so happened to be Falicia Blakely, a woman serving a life sentence for multiple murders. Her story was recently adapted into the TV One movie 'When Love Kills,' starring Niatia ‘Lil Mama’ Kirkland and Lance Gross. Blakely contacted Hall for assistance in getting her full story out, as the production company that produced the film barely consulted Blakely. “We had a lot of similarities, not in terms of murder, but when it came to looking for love in the wrong places, and what comes with being with older men. It’s a story a lot of young African American women fall into,” Hall explains of why she agreed to the task. Last September, Hall penned and published, A Treacherous Hustle: Hitting a Lick for the Love of a Pimp, the real Falicia Blakely story. The hope is to reach more people with the intent to help save young women’s lives.

    As a publisher, Hall’s main objective when looking for authors is to find ‘a good story’. “I communicate with my authors instead of shutting down their dreams,” she laments. “With my first novel, I thought my editor hated my book. The bashing she gave me – that’s what I called it – was the best thing that happened to me. It taught me how to be better in storytelling and to pay better attention to my writing. The author/editor relationship is really important.”

    Ten years out of prison, Dorothy Hall’s hustle is an empowering one. From hustling on the streets, she now resides with her husband and three daughters, manages a hotel, runs her own successful publishing company, and serves as a life coach to her authors. “I like to keep a close bond with my authors. Their people on the outside have counted them out. I try to encourage them. It doesn’t matter if they’ve got one year or a life sentence, they still have a life to live.” Dorothy Hall is a true testament to turning one's life around, living a dream, and helping others to achieve the same success!

    For more on Dorothy 'Serenity' Hall and her authors visit:
    http://www.serenitihall.com/
    http://7figurepublications.com/
    Have you read any books by formerly incarcerated or incarcerated women?
    Roseann V. Warren is the founder and editorial director of MuphoricSounds.com, and a developmental book editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She proudly calls herself a Prince head, and believes Hersey's chocolate is a crime. Follow her on: Twitter | InstagramFacebook |RoseannWarren.com

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    Basara Arab women
    By Emily Cotton

    For years we have been made to believe that Kinky African natural hair cannot grow which is a well-known myth that has been proven wrong over and over again as women adopt healthy hair practices. From a general standpoint, the key to length is just figuring out how our hair works and what to do to preserve our tresses as it grows.

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    By Erickka Sy Savané

    50 million people have vitiligo, the skin disorder where the body loses its melanin. That's 1% of the population- 2.5 million in the United States. Fortunately, because of models like Winnie Harlow and Covergirl's Amy Deanna, many of us are becoming much more aware of it. For Vitiligo Queen, who began losing pigment at age 5, vitiligo has become a surprising blessing. Just listening to her speak about it will have you giving thanks for some of the less obvious blessings in your life!





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    The Breakfast Club: Charlamagne and Chadwick Boseman
    By Mwabi Kaira

    My father is from Zambia and my mother is from Malawi. My late paternal Uncle was our family historian and wrote out our family tree back to 5 generations based on oral tradition before his death. I’ve always known my history because of this and I have never questioned where I’m from. In 1998 my best friend Jackie was pregnant with my Godson and she decided to give her son a new last name because she and his father did not want to pass their slave names down to him. She told me I was so lucky to know where I am from because they didn’t. That conversation made me appreciate my Uncle and gave me a different viewpoint on ancestry. Ancestry is not something people who grow up in Africa think about and it is something we learn the importance of living in America.

    DNA tests weren’t as popular in 1998 as they are now. If they were I’m sure Jackie would have gladly taken one and given my Godson a family name from the results she found. As DNA tests from AncestryDNA and 23andMe have gained popularity I have watched and delighted in seeing my African-American friends receive their results. As the years have gone by, I have been giving these tests a major African side-eye. There are 54 countries in Africa and most of the results that come back from these ancestry tests trace ancestry back to five, maybe ten countries usually in West Africa. I’m no historian, but I do know that although 54 countries didn’t exist during the slave trade, Africa had empires that date back to before the 1500s. I’m from Sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland made up my region in the early 1900s. It wasn’t until we gained independence from our colonizers, the British, that we named the regions Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Each region of Africa has its own similar history.

    Ships set sail from Western Africa during the slave trade but slaves came from all over Africa and from as far as down as Sub Saharan Africa. Most Africans can look at African-Americans and instinctively know which part of the continent they come from based on their looks. We recognize our tribe. I stopped giving too much weight to ancestry tests until recently when I heard actor Chadwick Boseman while on a promo tour for Black Panther discuss his ancestry results on The Breakfast Club. He explained how he had taken an African ancestry test that told him not only the country your roots are traced back to, but the ethnic group as well. My ears perked right up and I researched this beautiful thing.

    Chadwick Boseman
    African Ancestry is black-owned and was founded in 2003 by Dr. Rick Kittles and Gina Paige. It has the industry’s largest and most comprehensive database of over 30,000 indigenous African samples compared to competitors who only have 621. While some competitors results will give you a percentage of the region of Africa found in your DNA, African Ancestry will determine the specific countries you are from and the specific ethnic groups of your origin with a level of detail, accuracy and confidence. 

    The test is pricier than the competitor’s price (under $100) at $299 but it is important to note that a simple cheek swab from one test will reveal your maternal roots from the past 500 - 2,000 years. One result is the same for your siblings, maternal aunts and uncles, maternal cousins, children and your daughter’s children should you choose the MatriClan test. There’s a PatriClan test and Family Celebration option available as well that similarly give results for your entire family. One person can take the test for the whole family but the whole family can chip in on the cost.

    Twitter user @ChicNSmart deserves her experience best with her tweet:
    "The moment @AfricanAncestry reveals the tribe, so beautiful! Like snatching the family legacy back from the slave owner and those tears you shed when you find out, you finally know where home is =)"
    Visit African Ancestry to see if this is the piece of the puzzle that has been missing from your history that will bring you much needed peace of mind.

    Would you use African Ancestry for your DNA test?
    Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

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    Photo via xonecole.com
    By Keisha Marie

    "So you just gon' leave your hair and your husband in 2017?!"
    I couldn't help but to burst out laughing as I looked back at my big sister's face on my phone screen. It showed a hilarious mixture of shock and amusement as we had an impromptu FaceTime sesh' that December day. I had just posted a not-so mysterious Snap on my Facebook page. All you could see in the photo frame was a pile of freshly cut hair in a sink and bold words that read, "So, I did a thing…"

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    Sisters Heather (left) & Antoinette (right)
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Domestic violence is so prevelent in our society yet it's so rarely discussed. Even this story I knew about, but was waiting to share during domestic violence month- though it's months away- when people are more receptive. Then Rhianna had to clap back at Snapchat for being dumb enough to ask if she should be slapped by former boyfriend Chris Brown. They lost their mind, and nearly a billion dollars, and it’s still not enough. Black women get abused 35% higher than white women, and though we make up only 13 percent of U.S. women, we comprise half of all female victims of homicide. The majority are killed by boyfriends or former husbands. No, it's not okay to abuse us or promote it on your platform. So there's a good reason to talk about domestic violence in all its many forms. Author, public speaker, and mom, Antoinette White has been outspoken about how domestic violence has impacted her and her family's life for over 15 years with the hope that people will be able to read the signs when a loved one is being abused, and know what to do about it.

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    It was over 20 years ago that Antoinette's younger sister Heather began dating her high school sweetheart. He was charming and became the ‘dad’ to a special needs son she had by another man while they were on a ‘break.’ They would also have a daughter together. He was such a good father to both kids that her sister gave her son his name.

    In fact, her family all knew Heather's boyfriend and his family; and no one could deny that he loved her, so as a result, there were signs that they missed that she was being physically abused. Or better yet, that it was as serious as it was. Antionette shares,
    “Once I was staying at her house and found them fighting in another room. When I tried to jump in to help, she stopped me and said, ‘I got this.’ So I thought she had it. We knew how to defend ourselves from my mom teaching us, and he was a scrawny guy. There was also the fact that he would sometimes call me up, whining about how Heather had bitten a plug out of his leg.”
    But there was a darker sign that Antoinette missed as well...

    One time, Heather’s boyfriend called and told Antoinette's boyfriend at the time that if Heather ever tried to leave him he would kill her and himself too.
    “Knowing him as well as we all did, we thought that he was just talking out the side of his neck. We never thought he’d do it. Looking back, we also didn’t take seriously enough that his mother had been killed in front of him by her boyfriend when he was a child.”
    It would prove to be a critical mistake, because on the heels of Heather’s life coming together- she had just bought a new car, received a promotion at work, and made the decision to leave her boyfriend- he took her into their bedroom, along with their one-year-old daughter, and the special needs son who was now three, and killed both Heather and himself with a gun shot to the head.

    Antoinette was devastated. It wasn’t until the funeral that a Cousin revealed that Heather’s boyfriend had held a gun to Heather’s head just a few months prior. Heather’s response to him? “You’d better kill me.”

    “I was angry and blamed myself because had I known, I would have told her to run. But she never told me,” says Antoinette, who knows now that victims hide their bruises, and often isolate themselves, which Heather did. And though she can't go back in time to help her sister, Antoinette is using her voice to show others that there are ways to help a loved one you suspect is being abused.
    “First, don’t judge them or try to force them to leave. Let them know that you are concerned for their safety and there are places that can help when they’re ready. Offer them the domestic violence hotline number- 800 799 SAFE (7233)- so they can plan a safe way to leave.

    Second, make sure they know that it’s imperative that they don’t let their partner know they are planning to leave. Statistics prove that 50-75% of domestic violence homicides happen at the point of separation or after the victim has already left.”
    Antoinette with her niece Quinn (Heather's daughter)
    For more information on Antoinette White, or to attend one of her empowerment conferences, visit here! 

    Have you ever struggled with how to help someone you suspect was being domestically abused? 
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

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    Will Smith via IG
    By Ta-ning Connai

    Will Smith is an O.G. when it comes to success, but his stratospheric rise on Instagram is brand spankin’ new. His mix of life lessons and family fun have us all loving the newly revealed side of a man we only get to know via interviews and the silver screen. And the video he posted on St. Patrick’s Day ought to remind us that he can still serve up a catchy tune no matter how many decades have gone by. His new song Freak Accident will probably be the anthem for all the “ooops, I had one too many drinks” for many years to come, but my favorite will always be the one about the haven of beachy sands.

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    Will Smith's 'Miami'
    Back in the 90's, Miami was getting major buzz as the "go to destination" for fun in the sun. It was Will Smith's rap about the island-like paradise that made it that much more all the rave. You couldn't turn on the TV or radio without hearing about Miami this, Miami that. The most popular place amongst retirees was quickly being added to the bucket list of young folks too, including me.

    I was in LA selling my hand-dyed dresses at the local flea markets when it seemed at one point that every sale ended with, "Oh my God, these would do so well in Miami!” So, I finally gave in to what I thought was a sign and dragged my mom with me to see the hot spot live and in living color!

    Miami quickly became the most horrible time of my life. Don't tell me it's sunny ALL YEAR LONG while I'm just in time for thunderstorms! My fresh press and a luggage full of sandals caught me some frizz and a bad cold, but no one wanting my dresses was the worst part of all. Yet day after day, we kept plugging away, even after getting doors slammed in our face.

    My "leap of faith" wasn't turning out like I had imagined. I was starting to feel stupid and through tears I would say, "Why am I here? Is this some sort of test?”

    Waiting to get to that "God turned it all around" moment, we just kept getting deeper in the hole. I just kept saying, "Mom, God's going to turn this around, watch and see." Well, when your own mother doesn't believe you, you're in really big trouble!

    One night she comes out of a store yelling that someone wanted some dresses and we could pick up a check for $800 the next morning. I started yelling too, "Thank Ya Jesus!” I excitedly got out the car to thank my first official Miami buyer...Wait, hold up. I don't know if my mother was blinded by the lights or what, but it turned out to be a sex shop. Uh, not exactly what I had in mind. But hey, money is money, so let's just take the money and run. Right? And that was the plan for the morning and we were sticking to it.

    I woke up depressed. I knew I was about to make a desperate move. In the parking lot of the sex shop, I said my final prayer,
    "Lord, if this isn't the blessing you have for me, give me the strength to pass the test."
    Suddenly,
    "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it," popped in my head (Proverbs 10:22).
    My LA digs 
    I literally trembled while asking for my dresses back. "I'm a Christian and, although I don't want to judge you, I don't want my clothing line represented this way; I have a different vision," I told the owner who was  stunned to silence and I guess my mother was too because she didn't speak to me all the way back to the motel. It was the hardest decision ever and I sobbed the entire night.

    Days later, there we were, stuck in Miami on New Year’s Eve. I wanted to find a church so I could ring in the New Year urging God to save me from the end of my rope. We found one two minutes before midnight! 

    Whew, what a relief.

    During the altar call, the pastor waves for me to come up. He told me that God was proud of me because I passed His test! He said that in 21 days God would give me a sign that what I’d been hoping for was about to begin. You know I held on to that prophecy like white on rice because I totally believed it!

    By most accounts, my Miami trip was an absolute disaster. By its end, I wanted to kill Will Smith! Weeks went by and things got worse, even when I got back home. Then one day, I finally found a special fabric I had been struggling to find for years. I stopped in my tracks and scrambled for a calendar...it was almost exactly 21 days from the prophecy made by the pastor in Florida! And that was the day that my clothing company Churchgirl by Ta-ning was officially born.

    My LA Showroom
    Within a few short months my line was in major department stores, worn by Beyonce, Halle and more, and in three short years I reached over 3 million dollars in sales. Miami was only a test!

    God used Will Smith's song, a place far from home, and a much needed sale, to teach me to walk by faith. Through adversity, God's intention is to teach us not to lower the level our dreams, to stop lowering the perception we have for ourselves, to stop underestimating the value of what we have to offer. So please don’t settle, it's only a test. Sometimes ya gotta say no to get to God's best!

    Have you ever had a no that turned out to be a big fat YES?
    TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who got the "call" to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to present Christianity in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of Brooklyn), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

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    Left photo of Angela King by Mark Seliger via GoMag.com
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    At a time when we're bombarded by stories that speak of division and hate, this one about Angela King, a Neo-Nazi woman who was sent to prison for a high profile hate crime and ended up being transformed by her friendship with black women, is one that will remind us that there's always hope, even for the most hardened criminals. Here are some highlights taken from the story that appeared on Gomag.com.

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    ALL excerpts taken from Corinne Werder's story on Gomag.com

    King’s tattoos inspired by racist norse mythology/Courtesy of Angela King
    It was 1998. King, who had been in neo-Nazi and racist skinhead groups since she was in high school, found herself sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for her involvement in a robbery and beating of a Jewish store owner.
    Locked up and defiant, she was confronted by a Jamaican woman one day while she was outside smoking. The woman asked her a question she never expected to hear.

    “Do you know how to play cribbage?”

    Startled but intrigued, King sat down with a group of Black women who taught her how to play the game. And from then on, all the racist and homophobic comments her parents had drilled into her as a child in rural Florida, all the negative beliefs that had poisoned her mind for years, began to melt away. She was shown compassion and love from women whom she knew she didn’t deserve it from — and to whom she wouldn’t have given the same respect before entering prison. It completely disarmed her. 
    “From that experience, everything that I expected, all my preconceived ideas of what was going to happen and the opinions I had already formed of other women, were absolutely inaccurate and did not come true.”
    Angela with the Jamaica women she befriended in prison via Daily Mail/Courtesy Angela King
    King is quick not to credit the prison system for her rebirth; she says that it was the Black women with whom she was incarcerated and the process of being held accountable for her actions that sparked a vital change. King is still friends with many of the women she met behind bars. 
    “I credit them with changing and saving my life. And with teaching what real friendship is and what it means to love someone unconditionally.”
    Not only did her time in prison release her from the mental prison of bigotry, it gave her the freedom she needed to look inward at her sexuality and come out of the closet. 
    “I lived a life with very limited thought, very little room for anything other than yes or no, black or white, there is no in-between. Then all of a sudden, the world was in color and everything was full, every conversation, every friendship, every decision meant something completely different than it would have before. I felt like I was reborn.”
    The first woman King fell in love with hated her. She was a Black woman, and she knew exactly why King was incarcerated. While passing King in the hallway, she muttered under her breath something along the lines of, “How does someone even end up like you?” and King decided to turn around and respond to her.

    They began a friendship that slowly evolved into something more. When they got past their hatred for one another, they were able to see how much they had in common, and they built a strong connection through that. It was a love that King had never allowed herself to explore before. As she stripped herself of all the shame around being a lesbian, she finally allowed herself to really experience loving another woman for the first time. The two women are still friends today. King often tells her, “Thanks for hating me, but then thanks for loving me, because you changed everything.”

    At the same time, King is aware of her advantages as a white person.
    “I’m somewhat marginalized because I’m a member of the LGBTQ community, but any time, I could hide it if I had to. A person of color can’t come home and hang up the color of their skin one day and suddenly be treated like a white American. I do have hope, but at the same time there has to be reconciliation."
    King speaking on National Organization for Women (NOW) panel /Courtesy of Angela King via GoMag.com
    One of the reasons King speaks so publicly about her violent past is because she wants to help others transform their lives. She began the work of healing communities and doing outreach while on parole by sharing her story with criminal justice students at a local community college. She didn’t start off with an intention to help reformed violent extremists. At first, King was horrified when her probation officer asked her to share her story. But she wanted to be different, so she took a risk and began publicly speaking about her violent past in hopes to heal herself and others. She worked alone in outreach for a decade.

    Then, in 2011, King attended a conference in Dublin with other former violent far-right extremists. Together, they started Life After Hate.“We made a commitment to come home and work together to move forward,” King says. They worked rapidly, and in just three months, established a nonprofit.

    The group went on to win an Emmy for producing a PSA that featured a former white supremacist who once beat up a homeless gay boy. Years later, after the skinhead changed his life, he met the boy he had beaten and made amends. The spot demonstrates that “there is still time to make the right decisions and stop hurting other people and hurting ourselves.” (The PSA led to Life After Hate winning its first federal grant under the Obama administration. Unfortunately, before they received the $400,000, the Trump administration rescinded the grant. Fundraising is still making up for the loss.)

    But there’s one person she can’t reach — her childhood self. If she had the power to go back in time and drop some of her hard-won wisdom on the little girl that went down a dark, violent and hateful path before seeing the light, “I would tell that poor girl to love herself and that it’s okay to be who she is.”

    To read the full story go to Gomag.com
    For more about Angela's work visit: lifeafterhate.org.


    Share your thoughts on this article!
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.com, Ebony.com,Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

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    Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union & Bianca Lawson
    By Kanisha Parks

    We’ve all heard the famous phrase, “Black Don’t Crack,” and if you look to celebrities such as Angela Bassett (59), Gabrielle Union (45), and even Bianca Lawson who just turned 39 but could easily claim 20, it’s easy to see how this myth has gained momentum. However, all of these women have their own skincare maintenance routines and aren’t relying on being black to keep them youthful and fine (although it does help!) 

    People with skin of color have a thicker and more compact dermis (inner layer of skin) that makes facial lines less noticeable, and the concentration of melanin in darker skin types does offer some protection from accelerated aging from sun exposure. Consequently, visible signs of aging tend to be delayed at least a decade when compared to Caucasian skin.

    Still, we are not immune to issues related to the loss of skin elasticity, dark under eye cycles, uneven skin tone, scarring, and other dermatologic woes like extrinsic aging, which is influenced by environmental exposures and health and lifestyle habits such as sun exposure, tobacco use, diet, and exercise.

    Remarkably, up to 80% of skin’s aging is due to premature aging of skin resulting from the sun’s harmful ultra violet radiation. This often manifests as fine lines and wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, and textural roughness.

    Yes, skin of color does age, so it is important to implement anti-aging skin care tips now in order to keep it from well, “cracking.”

    Dermatologist Dr. Adeline N. says,
    “A common skincare regret I encounter in patients is not having an anti-aging approach to skin care sooner. While aging is a complex and rather inevitable process of natural human evolution influenced by environmental, genetic, and ethnic factors, we have just as much influence over how we shape the outcome of these processes as we do our appearance in the mirror.”
    As we age, all of these factors become more evident in our skin, but good skin care goes a long way in slowing down these processes in ways that allows us to age more gracefully by following Dr. Adeline N.'s steps below:

    1. Always Use Sun Protection. 
    Yes, the melanin in darker skin does provide some measure of photo protection but it’s still not enough. Sunscreen is the most important product you can use on your skin every day and should be at the top of your list of skin care essentials. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen of 15-30 SPF in any weather.

    Product Recommendations:
    ExtraShade Daily Defense Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 30)
    Cerave’s Ultra Light Moisturizing Lotion (SPF 30)
    Neova DNA Damage Control Silc Sheer 2.O UV Clear Broad-Spectrum (SPF 43)

    2. Use a moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid.
     
    This is one of the most powerful and hydrating skin ingredients, as it absorbs up to 1000 times its weight in water, drawing and keeping moisture in the skin. This intensely hydrating ingredient is also used in fillers to soften fine lines, increase skin firmness, and induce smoother skin. It’s a must, especially for dry skin. 

    Product Recommendations:
    Cerave Moisturizing Cream
    Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
    Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion with Hyaluronic acid
    The Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

    3. Include a Vitamin C Antioxidant. 
    Whether in serums or creams, a Vitamin C antioxidant provides protection against the effects of damaging free radicals in the skin and also boosts collagen formation, which is essential to preserving and maintaining a youthful appearance. It can also reduce sun damage and is therefore a great addition to sunscreen. It’s a powerful skin brightening agent that is effective at evening out skin tone and texture.


    Product Recommendations: 
    Skinceutical Vitamin C E Ferulic
    The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F 


    4. Nightly application of topical Retinol/Retinoids. 
    Retinoids/retinols are vitamin A derivatives that promote cell turnover. They exfoliate and stimulate collagen production, preventing clogged pores and pesky breakouts in addition to reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.

    Product Recommendations: 
    Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive ACream
    SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream 
    SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex 0.5
    PCA Skin Retinol Renewal 

    5. Routine exfoliation. 
    This is an essential part of your Skin Care routine which will allow your skin to absorb all the other great ingredients mentioned above. A great exfoliate removes dead skin cells for a better, healthier glow. As you age, the cellular renewal of the epidermis—the outermost surface layer—slows down and skin becomes more prone to discoloration and dullness. To combat these visible changes, you can also use an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) product in your skincare regimen two or three times a week. An alpha hydroxy acid helps prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, minimize pores, and even out skin texture and tone.

    Product Recommendations: 
    SheaMoisture African Black Soap Facial Wash and Scrub
    HA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
    GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD® Clearing Treatment Mini 


    6. Yearly Dermatology Consults: 
    There is an avalanche of product and information online, which can be overwhelming. Your dermatologist can give you advice unique to your skin care needs as well as address specific cosmetic needs involving procedures such as laser therapy, botox, fillers, peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning and more. Also, everyone including those with skin of color should get a yearly skin exam for moles and other skin cancers. Although sun induced skin cancers are less common in people of color, they have poorer outcomes especially if diagnosed late.

    Dr. Adeline N. 

    Do you have an anti-aging skin care regimine?

    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at kanishaparks@gmail.com

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  • 03/21/18--08:26: Live As Her #BeHerNow
  • Nikki Walton
    Type ‘YES’ if you’re ready to live as HER!

    Tension is misalignment and resistance. It’s manipulating and forcing outcomes. It’s going against the current. It’s lack. It’s the struggle. It’s human.

    Relaxation is #GodsPlan. It’s alignment with who you really are. It is abundance, freedom...the journey and the destination. It’s letting ‘what is’ be, so ‘the more’ can come. It’s how you feel when everything is going right, when you’re on vacay, or when you’re snuggled up in bed with Bae on a Saturday afternoon. It’s how you feel when you know who you are.

    Use this as your check-in throughout the day tomorrow. If you’re tense and agitated, you’re blocking the flow. But the minute you relax, the second you become aware of and release any tension, you’re back ‘on.’ You’re back to being ‘HER.’ You’re back to receiving HER blessings. It’s that simple.

    Now, notice the weight of the phone in your hands. Become aware of the room you’re in— the sights and sounds. Feel the body breathing. Feel the breath deepen. Now, RELAX your shoulders. Feel your jaw relax and your face smile. Sit or stand up taller. Stay here. This is how SHE feels. This is HER— peacefully joyful, present, relaxed and ready for it all! #BeHerNow


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    Photo of Wishbone with his models via vogue.com
    By Lauren Valenti

    Inside the labyrinth of corridors at MoMA PS1 on a recent Sunday night in New York City, there is human hair, cast in supernatural shapes and ceiling-bound heights, at every turn.

    With one hour to go before Hair Wars’s showtime—at 6:05 p.m. sharp (to ensure punctuality, no exceptions!)—stylists are putting last-minute touches on their painstakingly detailed creations. Every nuance counts; this is, after all, the free-form traveling showcase that has, for three decades and counting, fought to put fantasy hair design on the beauty map.

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    James Bland & Vanessa Baden Kelly via giantstheseries IG
    By Sharee Silerio

    Have you ever watched a show that depicted your life story so accurately that you thought it was about you? No? Me either. But there is a web series on YouTube that comes very close, and it’s called “Giants.”

    The hit series is executive produced by Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), and its two leads – actor James Bland and actress Vanessa Baden Kelly– were nominated for Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series.

    Created by Bland, who plays Malachi, the show – which is on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel – is “a coming of adulthood drama series that follows the lives of three black millennials, each battling their own inner giants as they approach age thirty.”

    Kelly, who has appeared in many of our favorite childhood shows on Nickelodeon, from “Keenan and Kel,” to “Gullah Gullah Island” and “My Brother and Me,” plays Journee and writes for the series.

    On Instagram, both Bland and Kelly share their excitement about the news:

    Via Vanessa's IG

    photo via James IG
    If you haven’t watched the series, you must! It’s authentic, exhilarating, and accurately depicts the struggle to find one’s way in life, love and self. From mental illness to survival, sexual identity, relationships, careers, dreams, obstacles and the beauty of life in the midst of such pain, it leaves no door locked. Check out the series trailer below:


    It literally feels like you’re watching someone’s diary unfold before your eyes. The first season of “Giants,” which premiered in 2017, has over 800,000 views and counting. The current and second season premiered last month, with new episodes available to stream every Wednesday.

    Watch the first season on YouTube now, then catch up on season two here. This is a series you don’t want to miss. Congratulations to James and Vanessa on this amazing accomplishment, and best wishes!


    Are you keeping up with 'Giants?' Let us know your thoughts!

    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MblxtY6vhN4/WabW_0OC8RI/AAAAAAAA-zU/OdaRoqTAo4YRgGmDf1F00tiUxqzqYinMACLcBGAs/s1600/Sharee%2BSilerio.jpg
    Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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    Zazie Beetz via Photo: PG / Splash News
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Okay, first, let me say that there is no perfect way to deal with stress. The way you deal is the way you deal and as long as you're not hurting anyone, more power to you! However, we can all learn a thing or two by hearing how others deal. And let's face it, black women talking about our mental health is relatively new. So when I read 'Atlanta' breakout actress Zazie Beetz chatting about the refreshing way that she deals with anxiety in this month's Glamour mag, my ears perked all the way up! 

    Zazie says, 
    "I used to wait tables at a place that was exhausting. I'd work 10 or 11 hours at a time and felt like I couldn't keep up. During a particularly busy shift, I was reprimanded for something I'd done wrong. I left feeling so depleted that I completely lost my shit in the bathroom. The entire time there, I kept thinking, I could leave now and never come back." 
    Danny Glover & Zazie Beetz 

    One could assume that life would be all grits and gravy now that Zazie is on a hit television show, however, that's not exactly the case...she also says, 
    "Sometimes, on set, I have that same feeling: I could just walk away; this is too much. I'll get so overwhelmed that I find a corner to cry in for five minutes. Then I stand up, brush my tears away, tell myself, "You worked hard to get here," and get back to it. What I've learned is that bailing would mean giving in to anxiety, fear, and the myth that those things have any right to dictate my life. I remind myself that, though there was a time anxiety might have stopped me, today is not that day. And so by checking in with myself, minute by minute, I push myself through. I recognize the achievement. Maybe I didn't clean my apartment, but I made it through work. And that's enough."
    Good to know she's not letting stress hold her back. After all, she's set to star in 'Deadpool 2' alongside Ryan Reynolds, and Steven Soderbergh's 'High Flying Bird.' And we suspect, this is only the beginning! 'Atlanta' returns to FX on March 1st.  

    How do you deal with stress? Will you be watching the new season of 'Atlanta?'
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on TwitterInstagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

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    Claire Ateku
    Naturally Glam is back again with Claire Ateku! Serial Networker, model, and youtube personality, Claire is from Kenya, but currently lives in Los Angeles. Natural for close to 10 years, find out how this queen stays serving looks and glowing skin from here all the way back to the Continent!

    Continue

    What products do you use on your hair?
    I'm always changing my regimen. I've been traveling & just moved to the west coast (dry air) from the east coast (super humid) so I'm currently figuring out what my hair needs to thrive in this new environment. One of my favorites is "Eden Body Works Leave-In Conditioner" though.

    What do you do and why do you love it?
    I work in communications and I love it because I am a master communicator. I'm always learning and usually working with fun people.



    What do you do for fun?
    Network, read, & write.

    How do you stay healthy?
    Working out 3x a week, hanging out with positive people, cooking more and eating out less.

    How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
    It's definitely helped me love myself more. I used to get perms even when it burned, sit through it a little bit longer so the chemical would really work. Now, I'm so happy with my hair in its natural state, and its helped me encourage others to see the beauty in their natural textures.


    What's been the best part of your natural hair journey?
    The best part has been the successful twist outs and also the connections I've made with other naturalistas.

    Did you have any positive hair role models growing up?
    Erykah Badu.

    Do you have a hair crush?

    Too many to name, but currently @NickyBNatural, @NaturallyTemi & @KaiceAlea


     Do you let people touch your hair?
    I don't mind, as long as they ask first.

    Have you had any negative experiences with natural hair?
    Walking into a salon and the hair stylist being shady/outwardly upset that my hair is so thick and kinkier than she expected and that I "should have told her that over the phone." Also, nightmare trims by stylists that don't typically work with natural hair but claim to know what they're doing.


    What's the best hair advice you give to other women?

    Learn what YOUR hair wants/needs and BE PATIENT!

    Keep up with Claire:
    @therealateku on instagram/twitter & subscribe to my youtube channel


    ******************
    To submit be featured in Naturally Glam email: naturallyglam@curlynikki.com
    And answer these questions
    1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
    2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
    3) What do you do and why do you love it?
    4) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
    5) Has having natural hair contributed to you meeting your life goals? If so, how?
    6) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

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    C&D Journey
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    We talk a lot on this site about the benefits of embracing our natural hair, but the truth is, many women, even within the natural hair community, still wear weaves either to switch it up or as a protective style. Vlogger Sierra Baynes, 20, from Georgia, is a reminder to all, better yet, a WARNING to weave responsibly. We thank this beauty for being brave enough to share all the mistakes made, as well as the lessons learned, from her experience. In this case, her hair loss, was definitely our gain. Peep her video, drop a comment and please share!

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    Roxanne Shante via Getty Images
    By Mwabi Kaira

    Before Cardi B, Nikki Minaj, Remy Ma, Lil Kim, Eve, Foxy Brown, Queen Latifah, Salt & Pepper and every female rapper you can think of, there was Roxanne Shanté. 14-year-old Lolita Shanté Gooden released her debut single Roxanne Speaks Out in 1984 and became rap’s first female star. She released Roxanne Roxanne and The Real Roxanne and both albums hit the Billboard chart. The Queensbridge native had a gift for freestyling and her battles became epic both in the street and on wax; the Roxanne Wars were a yearlong saga that followed Roxanne and her rivals. Roxanne didn’t care who she battled and she commanded respect and made male rappers take notice.

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    Chanté Adams
    Over 30 years later, Pharrell Williams and Forest Whitaker have taken notice and co-produced the Netflix biopic Roxanne Roxanne. Roxanne Shanté was approached while she was DJing a party in 2016 by two women who had been looking for her so they could produce a movie based on her life as a Hip-Hop pioneer. The biopic stars newcomer Chanté Adams who won the 2017 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Performance for her debut performance. Nia Long plays Roxanne’s mother and Mahershala Ali plays the older drug dealer who Roxanne Shanté eventually gets into a relationship with.
    Chante Adams & Mahershala Ali
    Not much has been known about Roxanne Shanté’s life and the film depicts her family life and her mistreatment by managers and other men in the music industry. She was unable to release an album for five years but emerged from these experiences stronger and wiser. “Everyone goes through heartache, and it’s okay to cry and break down, but you’ve just got to get yourself together,” Ms. Shanté, now 48, says. She runs a nonprofit organization for troubled teenagers called Mind Over Matter in Newark, NJ.

    Roxanne & Nia Long
    The 2015 success of Straight Outta Compton and 2017’s The New Edition Story have made it possible for Roxanne Roxanne and it is overdue. It is of the utmost importance that our history is told and doesn’t die with just a small percentage of the world knowing it. Women had a hand at making hip hop a worldwide phenomenon and we get to see it through Roxanne Shanté’s story.


    Roxanne Roxanne begins streaming Friday March 23 on Netflix! Will you be watching???
    Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

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