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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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    Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert
    By Ta-ning Connai

    Remember back in the days when Grandma used to say, “Don't go putting your business out in the streets”? Well, Grandma would be surprised to find that too much information has become WAY TOO MUCH information as the line between people’s personal and private lives have virtually been removed. This isn't just the case with regular folks, celebrities are doing it too. And in spite of having so much to lose and less to gain, they are handing us a VIP pass to stuff many of us neither want, need or deserve to know. The days of Hollywood mystique are gone and fans expect more transparency from the people they somehow have the power to make or break. But if a celebrity voluntarily spills their own beans, is it fair for them to shoot our opinions down?

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    Teyana Taylor is everything that's good about the hood. If LL would’ve saved his hit Round The Way Girl for 2018, Teyana would've been its poster child. She's got killer abs the world hasn't seen since Janet Jackson showed off hers and if the Spice Girls came back urban style, she’d make a better Sporty Spice than Mel B.

    The beautiful brown bombshell had us all googly-eyed with her appearance in Kanye's Fade. But I'll never forget when she went thug life on Rihanna in a Twitter beef. Last week, TT had yet another online war with words, but this time with a “not so famous" woman who had something to say about the reality star’s provocative reveal. In an interview on The Angie Martinez Show, Teyana exposed some bedroom secrets...that she and her hubby, Iman Shumpert, occasionally have sex with other women...TOGETHER. And while there were thousands of virtual high fives to pair with comments like, “live your life" and “do you boo," many people weren't feeling her choice to do OR to tell. One comment that stood out referred to the couple as her former relationship goals and now thinks of them as tasteless. Teyana told homegirl to take her opinion, shove it and to mind her B.I.Z.

    Is it fair game to get dragged on social media about stuff you should keep to yourself? Yes. All of us who have ever spent at least five minutes online knows full well that everything you say is under scrutiny and there are consequences to oversharing and millions of opportunities for you to regret all you put out there. So come on Teyana, don't get mad, maybe keep it to yourself next time?

    The comments that stuck out to me the most used the Bible to support open marriage and how it doesn't hurt anyone. But honestly, that is far from the truth and here's the reason why. God’s marriage blueprint was designed for two and all those stories about more were against His will. They were all recorded for history’s sake, NOT to suggest that God condoned it. God warned both King David and King Solomon about their reckless sex lives. They refused to stop, so sorrow and anguish consumed them both as a direct result.

    God promised Abraham a baby boy, in spite of his being over the hill (Genesis Ch.15-21). Sarah, his wife was even older than that and she laughed hysterically at the news. Instead of Abe believing the miracle was gonna come, He gave ear to his wife’s stupid suggestion. She thought God needed help or that perhaps He got things mixed up. So, she consented for Abe to hook up with her maid Hagar, the biggest mistake ever to be made.

    The day it happened, Hagar came out that room like she owned the place! Jealousy took hold of Sarah and month’s later, she had to watch her own husband with the former help and their newborn son just kickin’ it. But God kept His promise, in spite of the mess, and to Sarah Isaac was born. But the competition was on as both women warred over whose boy was considered the best. Sarah came up with an evil scheme to make her husband banish his own child and his baby mama from the land. So Abraham punked out and told them, “Y’all gotta go.” They did, never to be seen again. But you know all that fighting going on over in Israel right now? It's because of these two half brothers! God promised both of them a legacy and land, and their descendants have been feuding ever since.

    So, we can't really say our decisions affect no one else, because, good or bad, they most certainly do. Luckily our choices won't cause wars in far off countries, but they can certainly cause war against our mind, body and soul. Our bodies were designed for the deepest love and loyal commitment from the ONE person who has the key to unlock all the wonderful beauty and pleasure that can be released through sex, but only when experienced under God's covering of marriage. Of course we can do whatever we want, but we can’t stop the war we may get started.

    Is it fair for celebs to get mad at people for having an opinion when they put their business in the street?
    TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day 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 that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of BK), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

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    Robert Kelly
    By Brenda Alexander 

    The hood’s favorite Uncle Robert released a new 19 minute track yesterday titled, “I Admit It, I Did It” where he “addresses” his reputation as a pedophile. He also attempts to give some context into his flawed behavior and attraction towards underage girls, his obsession with sex and and the current “stagnant” status of his career. In the song, he goes on a tirade in disbelief about how he is now subjected to protests, blaming his alleged victims parents for bringing their underage daughters his way in an effort to get their music careers started, while denying any wrongdoing and gloats about being found innocent during his child molestation trial.

    Oh, he is feeling himself.

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    But, before I delve into why none of this matters, I want to address a more serious and unfortunate incident he references in the song, which is that according to him, he was molested until the age of 14.

    According to 1in6.org, research suggests that 75% or more of those who commit acts of sexual or physical abuse against others were themselves abused as children. Why? There are several contributing factors, but the main one being abuse is the normal condition of life for those who have experienced it. It is a familiarity from their own childhood that causes them to be abusive, or in many cases, continue the cycle of being abused in adult relationships.

    If R. Kelly were in fact molested, it’s sad. It also gives insight into the personal turmoil he has projected onto others and what appears to be an extreme and abnormal sexual nature. Outside of the few gospel songs he has performed, his catalogue of music screams sex….addict.

    I 100% believe the idea that “hurt people, hurt people. What I will not do however is excuse the almost three decades of abuse he needs to be held accountable for. More importantly, I refuse to let his team and his fans off the hook for allowing this to go on for longer than I have been alive, or any other enabler of such behavior outside of someone in the public eye. If R. Kelly were a garbage man who had family and friends aware of his sick ways, they too would be on my shit list.

    The audacity of him to try and gain sympathy by throwing in tidbits of his supposed treacherous childhood in the song - including his lack of education (or the fact that he dropped out of school) and his illiteracy. All of which has been long documented. So we should feel sorry for him? As Kandi Burruss would scream, THE LIES!


    At a certain point in ones adult life, they have a level of discernment. Meaning at any time Robert, who had the resources and access, could have easily continued his education and better yet, sought therapy for these issues. And despite the fact that there are continuous hanger-ons who benefit from his success and fail to confront his menacing ways, there have been others who have spoken out and had the moral compass to step to him correctly over the years, which was covered extensively throughout this secret documentary, but he ignored their advances.

    The question now is, where do we go from here? We have the #MuteRKelly movement that I assessed in a previous piece. But even still, the pied piper is selling out shows. No, we cannot erase the musical genius and legend that his fans and peers claim him as, but what we can do is change what is acceptable. From what this new song exudes, Robert feels that the minimal consequences brought upon him are unwarranted. And I don’t blame him for feeling that way.

    Has his record label dropped him, ever? No! The music industry as a whole has overlooked the alleged abuse. Aside from the few shows that have been cancelled and the response from streaming services, thousands of tickets were still sold prior and fans were outraged and voiced their pisstivity when refunds were given. Artists are still requesting productions and features and his inner circle remains mum and/or protective. Not to mention, his song blasted from the radio while I sat and enjoyed a refreshing fruit juice at an NYC coffee shop just this past weekend, which means his music is still in rotation spawning profits. So we are now shocked that a 50-something year old man who has been acquitted of multiple charges of slinging his tunes by way of any high school girl’s locker room since the early 90s is now singing boldly about his confusion in regards to why people who once praised him are now “turning on him.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is the face and voice of a narcissist. But, this monster was created. It’s been a collective project. But when a blind eye is turned for as long as it has been, what else is expected?

    If Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and any other sicko can be taken down, then protesting R. Kelly isn’t enough. Where’s the dream team legal crew that’s going to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what the world already knows? I mean, there’s a tape that shows it.

    Furthermore, when will my people get it together? Because despite the fact that R. Kelly is a disgrace of a human being, even after the court dates, sex tapes and explosive accounts were revealed from those who knew him most and witnessed such behaviors, one thing R. Kelly is truthful about is the fact that parents eager to have their beautiful daughters names in bright lights one day, practically handed their young and impressionable girls over to him on a silver platter.

    Are you finished with R. Kelly yet?
    Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

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    By Khadijha Alexander 

    In 2016, my seemingly normal 2-year-old son regressed and lost all speech. Within the same year, my aunt was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At first, I thought there was no commonality between these two occurrences. However, after embarking upon preliminary research in efforts to help my son I soon discovered there was a common thread between my son’s regression and my aunt’s brain tumor diagnosis.

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    In addition to doing research of my own, I also sought the help of physicians of various specialties. Yet, no one could provide a viable explanation for what had happened to my little boy. Nonetheless, I was advised to get him therapy as early as possible, in hopes of increasing the chances of a more favorable outcome for him in the future. A lot of forthcoming advice from the experts, yet there was no forthcoming answer to my WHY? I needed an answer because if I could figure out the ‘WHY’ then I could possibly figure out the ‘HOW’ to get my son healed and one hundred percent recovered.

    The conclusions based on my research was quite disturbing in my opinion. Repeatedly in article after article one word kept resurfacing as the possible cause for both my son’s and my aunt’s complications: TOXINS. According to numerous scientists, the combination of toxins and our genetics are creating a ‘perfect storm.’ We currently live in an incredibly toxic world and our children are bearing the brunt of it. This is evidenced by the staggering amount of various types of toxins present in cord blood.

    A newborn born today has over 200 toxic chemicals present in the cord blood. Mothers are unknowingly and certainly unintentionally, passing these toxins onto our babies. After birth, we continue to add to the toxic burdening of our kids by the synthetic and toxin containing products we allow into our homes. Then we wonder why we are experiencing a seemingly unexplainable Autism epidemic?

    Case in point, the average American woman applies over 300 different chemicals before 8 am. The types of chemicals the American regulating bodies allow in our products is pretty disgusting. Whilst other countries, such as Canada, Japan and most of Europe have banned over 1,000 ingredients for use in personal care products here in the U.S. the number stands at a paltry 8. I have also noted that products which are marketed for use by African American women are among the most toxic.

    So why are these ingredients so dangerous? These ingredients can mimic estrogen in the system leading to hormonal issues. There have also been links to toxins and other illnesses, for example; diabetes, infertility and thyroid issues. Do I have any takers? Some of the ingredients in hair care products are known neurotoxins. Likewise, toxins have been linked to the development of other types of cancers, as well as respiratory issues. Statistics related to the number of persons with respiratory complications (such as childhood asthma) are on the rise.

    So, what are some of the signs of body toxicity? Allergies, unexplained rashes, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and weight gain are just a few. Unfortunately, these symptoms have been normalized by many modern-day perspectives. How many babies do you know that have eczema, acid reflux or GERD? How many people do you know have asthma, diabetes, cancer or thyroid issues? Even though they are experiencing symptoms of body toxicity, when told their symptoms may be related to toxic chemicals in products they are using, sadly most people say, ‘Well I feel fine so I’m not going to stop using it because it makes my hair look good, makes me smell good, etc’.

    The problem may not be the chemicals in that one product but one needs to consider the bioaccumulation process which all humans are vulnerable to. Think of your body as a cup in which you are constantly placing toxin containing substances. Over time your body cannot use or release the toxins, then toxic waste is stored within and builds up. Consider for a moment, that each time you use your lotion or conditioner, a ‘toxin containing drip’ gets left behind in your body. When your cup (body) is full, that’s when disease manifest.

    Therefore, based on my toxin awakening the first priority was to adopt necessary measures to reduce my son’s toxic load. This included alternative measures aimed toward healing his gut issues and within a matter of months, my son began to improve. My son has since regained his speech and currently, he asks ‘what’ and ‘why’ types of questions. This is assuredly a huge improvement compared to when he regressed.

    Not only did I make changes to reduce my son’s toxic burden, but I did the same for myself. As a result of this, I began to have pain free menstrual cycles. A huge change for a woman that used to pop pills like crazy every month. More specifically, I attribute this positive change to the fact that I stopped introducing synthetic estrogen into my ‘cup’ via body fragrances. I certainly would not wish a similar journey to the one I have traversed on anyone. However, I often say that my son's challenges which might I add, he bravely overcame, has probably saved my life. Ever since my awakening regarding the link between toxins and how they contribute to illness, I am evermore diligent about the produce and products I allow into my home and around my boys. Unfortunately, my aunt passed away in January of 2017 but I am determined to honor her memory by teaching as many women as I can to check their products. Start reading the labels on your personal care and cleaning products before deciding to purchase them. Don't just read food labels. Weigh the possibility of becoming ill with what the toxin containing product promises to achieve without guarantee, then decide if it is worth the risk to our health. The onus is upon us as parents to take on the responsibility. In closing, my hope is that we all begin to police our products as if our lives depend on it, because the reality is the quality of our lives, without a doubt is dependent on how well we achieve this.

    What do you think about this article? Will it impact the type of products you buy?
    For more on Khadijha, visit her website TheOilyGeek

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    Desus & Mero
    By Kira Sparkles

    While going through my Facebook a few months back, I started to see clips of Desus and Mero on my wall. I didn’t know who they were, but they were hilarious and I loved their commentary on everything from the news, to internet videos, to black media. Desus and Mero covered it all and I immediately got drawn in.

    Then when I was looking for a new podcast to listen to, Desus and Mero came up again with their Podcast “Bodega Boys.” Now listen, when it comes to podcasts, I’m on a ton of them. Some are thought provoking, some are educational, but Bodega Boys is where I come to laugh my ass off and unwind. 

    But who are Desus and Mero?


    Desus & Mero phoro via GQ
    They’re from the Bronx, they’re buds and they’re here to tell you exactly how they feel - no holds barred. While most of their jokes have to do with being in NYC, you don’t have to be there to get the humor. Their delivery on everything and their ability to improvise is everything.

    When telling people about Bodega Boys, I always say, “This podcast is trash, but I love it.”

    And so does everyone else. Their success from Bodega Boys has brought with it a tour of live shows. They even had a show on Viceland up until very recently when Showtime offered them a glow-up offer they couldn’t refuse.

    Their special guests included Estelle, Terry Crews, Hannibal Burress and Tracee Ellis Ross to name a few.

    Interestingly enough, the thing that gets me the most about them is their ability to constantly check themselves. Whenever I hear about a show typically hosted by men, I have to brace myself against the inevitable misogyny, but Desus and Mero constantly call themselves out on being problematic in a funny way (To quote Desus, “God is working on all of us.”) Better than being called out? They correct themselves in a way that’s not forced while giving nods to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re growing and their brand is strong. Here’s a few of my favorites.



    Mero is Dominican. He won’t let you forget. When it comes to Dominican Independence Day though? Mero comes ready to celebrate, and so will you.


    There’s also the time that Mero almost caught Amanda Seales’ hands from an old Tweet.



    I’m always here for a good, strong read. Desus is usually the more contained part of the duo, but watching him pop off on DJ Envy makes me giggle. Sometimes, living through someone else getting deep in their feelings is therapeutic to the soul.



    And of course, it’s not Desus and Mero unless the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish gets brought up at least once per season.

    Desus and Mero’s Showtime show isn’t slated to play until next year, but until then, there’s plenty of content to catch up on and an ongoing podcast.

     Are you guys rocking with the brand as much as I am?
    Kira is a passionate, outspoken writer keeping it real for the people. She's a UF graduate with a soft spot for cats. Read more of her work at her blog KiraSparkles!

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    Issa Rae and Jay Ellis 
    By Brenda Alexander

    Fans are excited about the return of Insecure but we are split on how we feel about our beloved Lawrence being written off of the show. Last season ended with Issa and Lawrence having a final heart to heart about the demise of their relationship and brought some closure to both characters. With that in mind, the storytellers behind the scenes felt it was time to close that chapter in Issa’s life.

    After the trailer was released that featured an absent Lawrence, Issa explained why:

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    “We want to stay as true to life as possible. They had a great conversation at the end of season two and it was just about like, hey, she’s moving on, sometimes we have those conversations. You never see the exes again. And it’s okay! You gotta explore life without Lawrence.”
    Showrunner Prentice Penny added:
    “We were in the writers room and we were initially talking about, Okay, well what is he doing?… Well, he’s not in her life right now. It was hard to make stories around that. We just said, well, if he’s not around, he’s not around.”
    When Jay Ellis appeared on The Angie Martinez Show a few months ago and revealed that he had not yet filmed any scenes for the upcoming season, I thought he was bluffing, at most. At least, he would surely be called at some point and make his return. Because after all, we’ve grown invested in both Issa and Lawrence.


    But, the writers room had a different plan. And, after certain cast members started causing buzz outside of the show, I knew for sure the role of Lawrence would be reprised.

    With the news that Dominique Perry and co-star Sarunas Jackson went half on a baby in real life, I was praying the real plot twist would be Tasha’s pregnancy as a storyline with Lawrence as the baby-zaddy and Issa trying to navigate her new single life with that turn of events. So much for wishful thinking!

    Regardless of how hard it is for me to let go, I appreciate the show’s commitment of art imitating life. Because, the reality is when a relationship is over, unless there’s a baby or business in the middle, you move on. Add in the fact that Issa and Lawrence didn’t have an entangled life that included close mutual friends - there’s nowhere to go from there.

    It’s actually a good lesson to apply in your personal life. Often times, we hold ourselves back by refusing to let go of people and situations that no longer serve purpose. How many of us can attest to the breakup to makeup, cat and mouse Chase we play in the name of love? All the while, our destiny is right in front of us but we are too fearful to take what appears to be a risk.

    So while the #LawrenceHive may be a little salty about him missing in action, fans have a lot of fuckery to look forward to. Because, as we have witnessed before, Issa and her crew are a walking trainwreck, like most women in their late 20’s and early 30’s, despite what our social media pages lead our followers to believe.

    Will Issa and Daniel become a “thing” and give their mutual attraction a chance? I’d prefer to not see the same games played in the upcoming episodes as in the past. I’d instead rather Issa be 100% single and delve into an eat, pray love type of excursion.

    More importantly, what will become of Issa’s career? The past two seasons she’s been on a rollercoaster ride with her job, allowing her personal life to take precedence. You’re in your 30s now girl, it’s time to lay down a foundation.

    The trailer also hints that this season will delve more into the relationships and storylines Issa shares with her good girlfriends. This, I am here for. As I’ve learned as I’ve grown, sistafriends are probably the most important relationships a woman has throughout her life.

    Insecure’s Molly, Issa, Tiffany and Kelly (from left to right) 
    Our modern day Joan and Toni are forever up to mischief...together. Molly and Issa will continue to share dating mishaps with Issa more than likely as a friend with benefits to Daniel and Molly continuing on in her affair with Dro while claiming to set boundaries with him and hopefully move on altogether. Molly, it’s 2018. Who has time for a man who isn’t available 24-7?!

    Tiffany will remain the bourgeois housewife with a bundle of joy on the way. But, if there’s anything we can take from last year, her picture perfect life appears to have some blurry negatives in the print. I suspect that this season will expose the facade that Tiffany puts on isn’t all that it seems.

    And with my favorite Kelly, the down to earth friend and comic relief, she’ll keep the group centered and thrive the most both personally and professionally. I anticipate Kelly to be the breakout star this time around as she’s proven she can hold her own and shines when the camera is turned on her.

    In spite of my disappointment, along with every other Insecure stan about Lawrence getting the axe, I’m excited for what’s to come. I’m looking forward to the glow-up potential this season has in store for its central characters. Hopefully, they go from Insecure girls to confident women and end season 3 with a bang! And who knows, maybe he’ll make a resurgence in season 4!

    What are you looking forward to for season 3?
    Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

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    Poptail Mojito recipe 
    By Kira Sparkles

    I’m in love with Pinterest. I usually use it to look up cute clothes, recipes and occasional crafts that I know I’ll never make. But with the recipes, I found something cute and summery that stuck with me.

    Poptails, a combination of ‘popsicles’ and ‘cocktails.’ An alcoholic ice pop.

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    There were pages upon pages of recipes for turning everyone’s cocktail favorites into popsicles. Pina coladas, margaritas, the choices are endless. Since my roommate’s birthday just passed I asked if he had a preference and he suggested mojitos which happened to be my favorite too. So I decided to figure out, were these poptails really everything they were cracked up to be? Time to experiment…

    The ingredients 
    The recipe I found, it was from a British website, so let me just go ahead and convert this really quick for y’all.

    2 cups of water
    ½ cup of white sugar
    3 stalks and half the leaves of three mint sprigs
    Finely grated zest and juice of four limes
    A few reserved mint leaves
    3 oz white rum

    Heat your water until the sugar dissolves. Once it does, take it off the heat and add your mint, and your lime zest and juice.

    Now listen, I zested about two limes before my arm got tired and y’all I was TRYING. I put my elbow into it and barely any zest came off. I gave up after I zested two limes, but I added what I had and the juice of one decently sized lime. The mixture tasted fine. Really. Unless you want to make it super citrusy. It’s a matter of preference though.

    Anyway, let those flavors steep and your mixture cool before you strain it and get all that stuff out. Then pour in your white rum. Woop woop!

    Grab some popsicle molds and fill them not quite to the top. Top it with those mint leaves you saved, stick those bad boys in the freezer and have patience.


    The popsicle mold

    The popsicle molds I picked up were from Bed, Bath and Beyond for $4.99. It was the only thing I could find in store, but I’m sure there are more online. The straw feature turned out to be handy af though because as the pop started melting it just became a mojito, so everyone wins!

    BUT HOW’S IT TASTE?!
    Delicious! My only complaint was the consistency. It was a bit like frozen slush. It held together nicely but they don’t get rock hard because of the alcohol, so just be careful when you go for the first taste. I broke off a quarter of the pop in one bite.

    But do you get a buzz though?!
    Listen, I’m a terrible person to judge lit-ness by. I’m a lightweight. A cheap date. My friends laugh at me. But after one popsicle I felt toasty in a pleasant way. I’m sure two would make you feel REALLY nice, but if nothing else it’s good to get the party started.

    I would definitely do something like this again because it’s a fun novelty for the summer. There are millions of recipes to choose from so you’ll never get bored with flavors. Plus, you’ll look crafty and a little bourgie bringing these to your next get together. Save it for a small group of people you love. They’ll thank you later.

    Do you have a favorite poptail recipe?
    Kira is a passionate, outspoken writer keeping it real for the people. She's a UF graduate with a soft spot for cats. Read more of her work at her blog KiraSparkles!

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    Mya
    By Mwabi Kaira

    We were introduced to songbird Mýa in 1998 as a young 18-year-old when her platinum self-titled debut album hit the scene. She established herself as a triple threat with her beautiful voice, killer dance moves and acting chops. Over the years, we have seen Mýa on both the big and small screen in In Too Deep, Shall We Dance, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, Chicago and Dancing With The Stars where she came in second. Longevity is not easy to come by in this music business and Mya has managed to stay the course and release 9 studio albums, including her latest, T.K.O. (The Knock Out), in celebration of her 20th year in the industry.

    Speaking to Mýa is nothing short of delightful. She drops gems and you just want to write them down so you can revisit them later when you need to feel empowered. Here are 6 facts I learned about Mýa that you should know.

    Mya via her IG
    She is Still a Triple Threat 
    Mýa trained in jazz, tap (she trained with renowned hoofer Savion Glover), gymnastics and was a majorette. She was one of the Teen Summit dancers before she got signed and became a platinum recording artist. Mýa has acted in several projects including her latest, playing a single Mom in the 6-episode series, 5th Ward, on the Urban Movie Channel. She says, “My role on 5th Ward was very emotional and challenging since I am playing a single Mom, but I was ready for it.” Asking her to pick her favorite when it comes to singing, dancing and acting is like asking her to pick a favorite child. “I’ve been singing, dancing and acting for a long time and they will always be part of me. My favorite roles are ones where I can showcase all three.” 

    She is A Grammy Winner and Two-Time Nominee
    Mýa joined vocal powerhouses Christina Aguilera, Pink and rapper Lil Kim on the Missy Elliot female-empowerment song Lady Marmalade which won the grammy for pop collaboration with vocals in 2002. Mýa was previously nominated for a grammy in 1999 for her collab with Pras on Ghetto Superstar. She was nominated for a grammy for her independent 2017 album Smoove Jones, and says, “To still be recognized for my music by the Grammys was already amazing, but to be an independent artist and knowing how much work it takes to deliver this music, and running the ship the way I want and having my ideas and work recognized, was a very proud moment for me.”

    Photo Via Mya's IG

    Her Vegan Lifestyle Has Kept her looking Gorgeous
    Take a look at Mýa’s pictures from 1998 and compare them to her recent pictures and you’ll find no difference. She looks amazing. July marks her 5th year as a Vegan. “I had put on weight after a relationship and I needed something to jumpstart my weight loss, I needed a will power challenge. I was also experiencing inflammation and becoming vegan changed all of that for me,” Mýa says. Being vegan has seeped into all other parts of her life as well; she uses natural products for her body, hair, and face. She makes her own avocado hair and face masks and makes scrubs as well. She put me on to a simple scrub, “Just put some sea salt in coconut oil and you instantly have a scrub.” She stopped drinking soda and using alcohol products. Mýa created a Vegan guide that is available at her website for download and she puts on challenges that come with prizes. 

    Planet 9 is Not Just Her Record Label But Also Her Way Of Life
    After Mýa left her record label and before forming her record label Planet 9 and going independent, she went to a deep spiritual place. She explains, “I found a place that became my own world, my own universe where I refuse to be rushed, where I create what I want to create, where there are no unrealistic deadlines, where I won’t be on other people’s schedules on when to do things like have children. I do everything in my own time and only do what feels good to me. I escape to my own planet to not be bombarded with expectations.” She calls the place Planet 9 and named her label the same. I’m all for making personal planet 9’s for all of us.

    She Uses Social Media as a Way to Connect With Her Friends
    For Mýa, social media is a place to cultivate a positive space for her to engage with her friends and have good dialogue. She asks her friends what they like and don’t like and listens to their ideas and wants. “I asked my friends what they wanted from the new album and they told me good old R&B and to see me dance. I gave them both. They have picked the singles off the album as well,” she says.

    Album artwork
    She is Confidence Goals and Knows What She Brings To The Table
    On keeping up with the times, Mya says, “I feel no pressure to keep up, I am not a part of that system that concentrates on image. I’m not a new artist and I know what works for me.” She has been in the industry for two decades and sees the #MeToo movement as an aftermath and consequences of what’s been happening all over the world for a long time, but because Hollywood and entertainment is male-dominated, the spotlight shines more brightly on the industry. “It can be very uncomfortable, but it is a result of the system,” she says. 

    Official video for 'Damage' 
    Mýa just dropped a new video for her song Damage this week. You can keep up with Mýa at her website and her IG @myaplanet9

    *****

    What do you think about Mya's 20 years in music?
    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 athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com

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    Screenshot via Refinery 29 IG Video
    By Brenda Alexander

    “I need to find something for my hair to lay my edges down before this TV interview tomorrow. I cannot be on camera with fuzzy edges,” I say to my aunt, who looked at me in shock before she proceeded to preach about my edges and camera time being unrelated. She then scolded me about what I felt was a need to appear "presentable," considering I donned faux locs, a hairstyle that many consider the opposite of societal norms. And, I never opt to tame my edges any other time. Surely, in her eyes, that was contradictory. To her, not only was my intelligence enough to handle the interview, but I was beautiful regardless of how rough I thought my edges looked.

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    Even still, I felt edge control would help with my overall look….and make me more comfortable. So, I borrowed some of her gel and went on to slay the interview. I was even complimented on my hair by the talk show host who also praised my poise, knowledge of the topic, and over-all look. Unbeknownst to her just two hours before, I spent 20 minutes in a mirror manipulating my naturally coarse hair with gel, a toothbrush and silk scarf.

    All of this was confirmation of what I already knew but had a hard time explaining to my aunt the day prior…..that I have to be a chameleon of sorts in certain environments to be seen and heard. I’ve come to understand that this is the art of code switching.

    Code switching is defined as “the modifying of one's behavior, appearance, etc., to adapt to different sociocultural norms.” Although in this case, it was a combination of my appearance in conjunction with an expanded vocabulary and tone of voice, the further I go in my career, the more I am aware of that switch button. And after speaking to a few friends, they too were able to identify the times they were called to transform into a different version of themselves, and for various reasons.

    We often think that code switching is for professional reasons only. We have an interview voice, a way in which we speak or act when we are at work and more. But it’s more expansive than that now. Take a look at how we present ourselves on all of social media profiles. I bet you that most people’s IG timelines are a lot different than their LinkedIn or Facebook posts. IG may be filled with bikini shots featuring henny in a red cup; while your FB and LinkedIn display your professional and familial accomplishments. And as ridiculous as it might sound, it’s necessary. There’s a time and a place for everything.

    While our Caucasian friends don’t have to worry about how they are perceived in the same ways that we do, it’s imbedded in the black experience, a survival tool of sorts. We can’t be our free “black girl magic” selves to the tenth power laughing out loud, clapping our hands and rolling our necks at all times. I sometimes wish I could give a “yasssss girl” and a snap when my fellow sis kills a presentation at an-all staff meeting, but a collective clap with the rest of the team will do it justice. Wouldn’t it be nice to go off on a colleague in all capital letters with words bolded, italicized and underlined with some obscenities mixed in with a good gif or two when they send accusatory emails claiming you missed a deadline? But instead, you respond with the greatest professional black woman comeback via a “Per my previous email, the report was submitted in the time frame allotted. See email chain below” (that really irks them by the way).

    Daniel, an NYC Publicist, who is half-Asian and half-Jamaican, explains that he uses code switching to his advantage.
    “Being multi-racial and growing up in a predominantly white suburban community, I’ve been “code switching” my entire life. Now working in media and communications, I’ve learned it's a huge advantage in being able to relate and connect with anyone across any background. It works in our favor. It shows that we can adapt.”
    And Daniel is right. We are the most adaptable across social, political, educational and employee circles. And we’ve been doing it since birth!

    Kaneisha, a Programming Coordinator at Vice, agrees, saying:
    “We are taught to code switch in order to not be seen as a threat in the eyes of white people and other non-black people of color. After a while you become so accustomed to it, that it’s second nature. If you walk into a room where you are the majority, there’s an almost instant adjustment on your posture, voice and gestures. We have to go above and beyond to “fit in."
    What makes it all the more interesting is that other racial groups lack that skill, mainly because they haven’t had to apply it, but they should. Because if I have to hear one more “last night was fucking awesome” in a place of business from a non-black peer and no one deems that inappropriate, I’ll scream. And according to Dion, a Philadelphia Human Resources Manager, he’s over it too.
    “It’s all about playing the field, more of a finesse. And when you get what you want, then the ball is in your court and joke’s on them. But my Caucasian counterparts do not abide by the same practices. My black friends and I are annoyed by general lack of professionalism or respect in public places, regardless of your skin color. But we aren’t given a pass.”
    We aren’t complaining though, we actually joke about it. Just take this Refinery 29 video for example. So kudos to us for being able to thrive in all settings!


    How often do you 'code switch?'
    Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

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    Yhanni & tribe via IG
    By Sharon Pendana

    Yhanni Jamila Brown, founder of Mama Makers Collective, a movement of mother creators, has embraced the lush glory of her natural mane all her life, rocking it all from super long locs to a super low Caesar. These days she keeps it simple with her thriving tribe of five: husband, Bobby and their adorable children, the agile, kinetic Judah and the lionesses, twins Nāli and Echo, who just turned 1 years old. Happy Birthday! The cuteness quotient in their LA household is high. 

    With easy laughter that moves from deep belly to a quirky cackle, Yhanni shares her hair journey, her beautiful story of motherhood and her advocacy for creative, entrepreneurial moms.



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    Yhanni & son Judah via IG
    You were a loc-wearing, head-turning little girl in 1990’s Brooklyn, now you’re still turning heads as a mom in Los Angeles.
    My five-year-old has locs, and he told me not to cut his hair; he wants it to do what it does. And we haven’t cut it. So now HE is that little head-turning kid who’s booking jobs in modeling. He says “it’s my body; it’s my choice.” (laughs) These little woke children.

    Photo courtesy of Yhanni 
    After 20 years, why did you give up your locs?
    I felt so strongly that I wanted to release the energy that was caught in my hair and make way for the new–make way for Judah. When he was about a month or two old, I sat up all night and combed them out.


    Photo courtesy of Yhanni
    Was there ever a time when you felt uncertain about your hair?
    Though I love having my hair super short, that was the most difficult time. I didn’t realize how much my gender identity was attached to my hair until I cut it short. Not necessarily how do I appear feminine, but how do I make myself feel feminine? But my femininity is just within me.


    Do you have a hair crush?

    @jayhairbigga; she’s incredible. She has gorgeous dark skin; it's freakin amazing, and her fro is always ridiculous! If you have the audacity and the confidence to wear your hair natural and wear it huge, it’s not just a hairstyle, it’s a statement.


    What products do you use?

    Carol's Daughter. Hair Milk all the way! I can leave it in; it's great for my hair, and the scent is unmatched. I’ve had her products [family friend and founder, Lisa Price] in my hair since I can remember. My hair feels fed every time I use it, and I loved her Loc Butter when I had locs. If I don’t use Carol’s Daughter, I just use coconut and castor oils, and maybe some rosewater.  


    Do you take issue with people touching your hair?

    I do. Don’t pat me; I’m not a dog. It seems the bigger my hair gets; the more people think they can touch it and the only people that try are white people. I was at a party, and a friend said: “Your hair is just so amazing. I wanna put my hands in it.” Caught off guard, I let her touch my hair, and then her husband came up to me and tried to do the same thing. At that point, the shock had dissipated, and I said, “Oh no, we’re not going to do that.” It became a teaching moment.


    Photo via Yhanni's IG
    What’s been the best part of your natural hair journey?
    I’d have to say how empowering it’s been. At every stage, I’m learning something different. It’s so incredibly different having locs than it is to have your hair really short or out in a ‘fro.


    Did it bolster your self-esteem?

    When you have a huge ‘fro, how can your self-esteem not be super bomb? It is my unicorn, superpower that just grows freely. How could I not know I’m magic with all this incredibleness that shoots out of my head and stands straight up? That’s amazing! Clearly, Judah rocking his natural hair has that, and now it’s my job to make sure that the girls have it as well.


    Photo courtesy of Yhanni 
    Tell us about your miraculous daughters.
    Our girls, Echo and Nāli, are rare monoamniotic/monochorionic twins which occur one in 1000 identical twin pregnancies. They share an amniotic sac and one placenta, so the worry is that one twin will get more from the placenta than the other, and there's nothing you can do to prevent one twin from getting wrapped in the other’s cord, which is potentially detrimental. I moved into the hospital at 24 weeks and was connected to monitors that read their heartbeats 24/7 until their birth. It was so challenging after having had a home birth with Judah. There was a lot of having to assert myself, but it was good. Had my aromatherapy diffuser, set up my crystals. My girlfriends came to braid my hair; you never know what will keep you grounded and that was one of those things that did. The experience taught me how much power I have to stay elevated and keep my eyes on the prize, which was bringing home two healthy babies. Thankfully they were. They were delivered early at 34 weeks, and not tangled up at all – the doctors were amazed. While I waited for the girls to be able to come home, my sister Thandi gave me a blow-out, so I walk into the NICU after having had a C-section with this huge, blown-out Afro like "Mom’s here; what’s good?” Those hair moments are empowering.


    Founding Mama Makers must be empowering as well.

    Mama Makers Collective is my absolute passion project, my joy; total fulfillment comes full circle with the addition of Mama Makers in my life. When I had Judah, my chakras were open, and I had all that creative energy to release. I was also searching for a way to contribute to the household income. I’ve always made things, so I looked for a community of moms who were at the same stage to get some feedback and help, and I couldn’t find anyone. That’s when I realized we need this. Mama Makers Collective is about creating a community of creative mothers through curated events and markets. We are doing workshops that entice self-care. Mothers teach the classes, but all people who identify as women are welcome. I’m excited.


    The Browns: Photo courtesy of Yhanni
    What do you do to stay healthy?
    I make sure that what I’m cooking at home is healthy, and when eating outside of the home, it's in line with things that will sustain being able to nurse two babies and run after an active five-year-old. And I have a glass of red wine every night. A nice glass of wine with your lentils and your kale? Gotta do it!


    Yhanni's twins in an Aveeno Baby ad

    Follow Yhanni on instagram or visit her Mama Makers Collective website! 

    *********

    Are you a mom? How do you stay creative?
    Sharon Pendana is the creator of THE TROVE, author of Secret Washington DCand on a relentless quest to discover treasures, human and otherwise. Find her on InstagramMedium, Twitter or binging on Netflix and Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps.

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    By Veronica Wells 

    The following is a true story. There was a Black woman married to an Italian man. Although we never really know what’s going on in someone’s marriage, by all accounts, this was a happy one. The man wasn’t a model but he was kind to her, provided for her and her children, they were taking vacations together. Still, she recruited men from Craigslist for sex. She was very sneaky with it. She would meet them during her lunch hour, while both she and her husband were at work. And judging by the way she told the story and the way she executed her plan, her husband became nothing but a sweet sucker.

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    My fiancé, who knew the woman and had seen pictures of her sweet sucker husband, was traumatized by it. But the question is why was he so shook? The trope of a cheating spouse is nothing new. It’s been the conflict in several films, we’ve seen it play out in celebrity relationships, and it’s been the standard with some of our friendships and in our families. The only difference is, it’s generally the man who’s cheating.

    And something about the thought of a woman doing it was terrifying, something he couldn’t shake no matter how many years had passed, and how many men he’d seen cheat since that particular incident. Maybe it was the clandestine way she did it. The fact that she had a good man or it really could have boiled down to the fact that as a woman she simply wasn’t expected to cheat. After he told me the story, he asked if i was socialized or conditioned to believe that women cheating on men was somehow worse than men cheating on women.

    Like most women, having witnessed the aftermath of infidelity on a woman’s psyche, there is no distinction in my mind about the hurt cheating causes a person. With the exception of machismo and toxic masculinity not being able to accept something like this, the hurt is the same. A man and a woman who cheat are equally terrible in terms of the relationship.

    Still, I had to agree that I did think women cheating was worse because a woman cheating likely meant that her heart was no longer in it. The older you get, you realize that men can have sex with zero emotional attachment. He can love his wife and his family and still be out here sleeping with randoms. And there are women who can do that too. Still, if she’s stepping out on a marriage, I was conditioned and I still believe that there is a higher likelihood that she checked out emotionally a long time ago. So a woman cheating, while it might cause equal hurt and pain, likely signifies more in terms of the relationship being over. Not only because she was disconnected but also for the millions of examples we have of a woman returning to a cheating man, there are fewer public portrayals—realistic or fiction—of a man doing the same.

    And I think the reason for that is two-fold. One, I mentioned before about the male ego and the way we’ve conditioned men to believe a woman and her worth are ruined if she shares her vagina with more than one person. But also the fact that men are not socialized to believe women will do this. They don’t see cheating women return to their husbands, by in large, in the movies. When celebrity couples break up, the woman is rarely the guilty party if infidelity is involved. And if there’s a family history of women cheating, it will likely go with them to the grave. Mothers don’t warn their sons of this possibility from women. But little girls hear and witness the evils of men from puberty—if not before.

    Whether it’s because we don’t talk about it or because it doesn’t happen as often, when a man finds himself confronted with this reality, there’s very little programming telling him how to proceed. And the messaging that does exist out there is one that instructs men to leave women who they still love, women who may never do again simply because this is what society said is the proper punishment. I don’t have to tell y’all women rarely receive this message. We’ve seen women go back—for better or worse. There is the expectation that we’ll forgive and work it out and we can sit on the porch with kids and grandkids celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary, with few people privy about how we made it over.

    Love prevailing and love overcoming struggle and strife is beautiful. It would just be nice if we saw more men extend and display that type of forgiveness.

    Do you have examples of a relationship surviving when a woman cheats?
    Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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    Nova & Charley of Queen Sugar
    By Mwabi Kaira

    My parents gave me two sisters, one older and one younger. My oldest sister was three years older than me and my little sister is 18 months younger than me. As teens we pulled from the same dating pool in our small town. They say girls mature faster than boys and it was evident when we exchanged stories in our bedroom about our day and found out that the same boy would try and hit on all three of us. We had many laughs over it. We knew that if one of us liked someone they were immediately off limits. Boys don’t get this memo right away and are just happy to ask everyone for their number until they learn to become selective. Some boys grow into men and still don’t learn that lesson and everyone is fair game; mother, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, everyone.

    Which brings me to Queen Sugar.

    Charley & Remy 
    When Queen Sugar returned for Season 3 in late May I was excited. The Bordelon clan has become my Louisiana family and Blue has my entire heart. I was ready to get some very important answers about Blue’s paternity and figured much of the storyline would be that. I was not prepared to see Nova and Remy, her sister Charley’s ex, make eyes at each other. As soon as I saw it, I took to my Facebook and posted about this being a terrible idea. Some friends chimed in and said I was overreacting, some agreed with me and one said that you couldn’t help who you fell in love with. I rolled my eyes and wanted to comment back YES YOU CAN WHEN IT’S YOUR SISTER’S MAN but I didn’t and decided to see how the story played out.

    Nova & Remy
    Besides the obvious of not double dipping in one family, the Nova and Remy storyline gave me pause because we were introduced to Nova as the woke, natural, holistic, herbalist, journalist activist sista who puts fighting for the people and loving her family above all else. She doesn’t crumble and is the pillar for everyone around her. Yes, she was a mistress in Season 1 and many men and women have tried, but none have got her to settle for relationships that didn’t allow her to be herself fully. Charley was the wife and woman behind a NBA player before his infidelities broke their marriage down. Charley too, is a strong Bordelon woman whose business sense elevated her husband’s career beyond just being a face in the NBA. Remy is introduced to us as a friend of Ernest Bordelon, the family patriarch who worked with him on the family farm before his untimely death.

    Charley & Remy
    Remy takes a liking to Charley and they eventually date after Charley’s divorce. Remy is at family functions and is an integral part of Charley starting a historical business in Louisiana. This is why this storyline has us all scratching our heads and yelling the TV. Charley moved back home, Nova was there all along. As much as a family person Nova is, she and Remy must have crossed paths when he was working with her father. Why is Nova suddenly so appealing now that Remy and Charley have broken up? What Nova should have done at that first lingering glance from Remy was shut it down on sight. He’s off limits. Remy should have never even fixed his eyes to glance at Nova at all and I blame him for picking the wrong sister in the first place. Nova and Remy are better suited and have the same values but that was his bad for not shooting his shot before Charley got back in town.
    Nova & Remy 
    Nova does put up a fight because she knows she’s wrong but good ole Remy keeps pushing. 

    Sisters Nova and Charley

    What really gets me is the jeopardizing of a sisterhood that has just been mended. Season 1 was full of tension between Charley and Nova and they’ve finally reached the sweet sister spot. It is simply not worth it to tip the scales again. Nova could barely confess the kiss she shared with Remy to Charley because she knows she is wrong. We will see how this plays out but like my sisters and I knew back when we were teens, there are just too many men on the planet to date the same one. A man should not date his ex’s sister if they were in a relationship the family knew about. Same goes for a woman not dating brothers. Before y’all come for me, I’m not talking about a date where you’re still in the texting phase and meet up at Starbucks one good time. I’m talking about something that lasts longer than a few months. And since we are discussing who shouldn’t date, let’s add your friend’s exes too. Some men are just off limits. Leave them alone and go find the next one.

    Do you think it's okay for sisters to double dip when dating?
    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 athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com

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    50 and Floyd during happier times
    By Brenda Alexander

    Former BFF’s Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent’s beef doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon. They’ve been exposing each other’s skeletons on Instagram for weeks. So far, they’ve thrown shots at Floyd’s illiteracy, 50 as an absentee father, Floyd as a woman beater, 50’s a rat, neither of them having any street cred and they are both broke. And that's the PG-13 version.

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    50 posted a police statement of Floyd’s son account of witnessing alleged abuse against his mom at the hand of Floyd, via IG

    They fell out in 2012 over a money dispute and according to 50, Floyd acted brand new after being released from prison and no longer needed 50’s help. 

    Floyd alleges 50 is an informant via IG
    This is what happens when two vindictive spirits ”breakup.” You are the company you keep right? And, I’m quite sure that when they were bromancing it up, they trolled others as a duo. 50 is a petty Cancer and Mayweather is insecure. That’s a poisonous combo.

    None of their antics are surprising. This is how they operate. Did Floyd not expose his ex Ms. Jackson’s abortion to his millions of Facebook followers when she finally left him and found comfort in the arms of Nelly after years of alleged abuse. And 50 is worse than a bitter wife fighting for alimony and full custody of the kids in a nasty divorce. He goes to great lengths to destroy whomever he feels has wronged him. Vivica Fox, Ja- Rule and as recent as Papoose are just a few he’s taunted online.

    I get it gentlemen, a friendship ending is a horrible death, and it’s hard to mourn the loss of someone who is still alive. But you gotta move on my G’s, and not like this.

    As when any other relationship ends, you should take a step back and analyze why. Were there warning signs? Did this friend have major character flaws? How did they treat their other friends? There are normally tons of red flags.

    I recently experienced a breakup with a friendship, and the signs were always there. This individual didn’t have any other solid friendships outside of me. It wasn’t until after we parted ways that I analyzed the way in which they treated others, and the sole theme was that they always attached themselves to those who could benefit them. Our relationship was no different.

    It was a non-reciprocal relationship in which they got more from me than I got from them. I was met with many requests that I fulfilled and when I needed something, I got nothing. All of my other friends warned me that I was being used but I didn’t see it. I’m not one to take inventory of what I do for others, which is a blessings and a curse, so I ignored their pleas to either end the friendship or confront the “issue.” Furthermore, I’m not one to take things personally as quickly as others. “Oh, they are just going through a rough time,” I’d say. But deep down inside, I knew it was an imbalanced relationship.

    Oddly enough, this friend stopped speaking to me after they assumed I was upset over a professional favor I requested. Guilty conscious maybe? After reaching out to them on two separate occasions to try and have a conversation and come to a resolution, I gladly let them go.

    Considering the caliber of a friend I am, I’m always shocked when others aren’t the same. I helped this friend emotionally, financially, professionally and even as far as extending the same to their family - so it stung when things went south and I was easily dismissed as I was. But, as tempting as it was to air this person’s dirty laundry, I took the high road. After all, you teach people how to treat you and they only do what’s allowed.

    In a digital world, to refrain from social media wars, I use the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. You’re unfollowed, blocked, numbers are deleted, pictures are erased and whatever else is necessary for me to cleanse myself of you. Because, the moment I see something online that even appears to be directed towards me, it’s human nature to want to respond. I’d rather take the drastic steps necessary to disengage before allowing anything to fester and eventually explode. Nothing or no one should be worth my peace of mind or have me act out of character.

    More often than not, people react off of impulse. If I once considered someone a friend, what justice does it do if I lay all of their shit bare? What does that reveal about me? I’m more of a let go and let God type of chick. I’m not blocking any blessings to come my way by seeking to destroy someone else because the older I get and the more attention I pay to the way the universe works, it’s evident that karma handles people and situations in its own time.

    50 and Floyd - just stop. And if you read this, don’t come for me beloved. I’d rather you both win.

    Do you take your spats with friends public?
    Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

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    Officer Norman and kids in his Little Rock community
    By Ta-ning Connai 

    Officer Thomas Norman is clearly cut from a different cloth. Through his strategy for community policing (a mix of relatability, love, compassion and respect), he is changing the way many of us see law enforcement. He was doing good deeds behind the scenes in his hometown of Arkansas when rapper and community activist Killer Mike took notice. Mike took him on CNN as a prime example of what police can do to assist and engage (not taunt and terrorize) people of color. But it was west coast rapper, The Game and his son Harlem, who brought Tommy to rock star status in 2016. On the heels of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, The Game found it important to let people know that there was an officer out there making a tremendous effort to restore hope and mend the wounds that bad cops have caused. So he and his son created a GoFundMe page for people to support Norman’s outreach. From Hollywood celebrities to everyday folks, the blessings are STILL pouring in! Officer Norman’s IG page- which has over 1 million followers- has a fabulous reality show vibe; it's heartwarming, hilarious and keeps you coming back. Even the neighborhood regulars have a bunch of fans following their every move. But hey, don't take my word for it, just see it for yourself and I'm sure these Best Officer Norman Moments will make your heart just melt!

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    If Officer Norman's IG account had itself a leading lady, Lois would def be the one! Here she is in her "trying to play hard to get" mood, but brotha man ain’t havin’ none a that!



    Officer Norman Luh The Kids! He wanted to keep the Rolly Rolly goin’, but baby girl clearly did not, lol! 


    Little Amiyah is an Instagram favorite and obviously a favorite of Officer Norman's too! Check out how he does absolutely nothing to get her cute butt out the car!


    A post shared by Tommy Norman (@tnorman23) on
    Bruno Mars is in the building! Well, not really, but he did hook the kids up with sneaks from Foot Locker. And who was there to orchestrate AND celebrate? Officer Norman of course!


    So, while schools are trying to strip black history away from us, here’s a man sharing it live and direct! 


    A post shared by Tommy Norman (@tnorman23) on
    Serving up some positive affirmations for The Monday Mornin’ Bus Stop Chant! What a way for the kids to start their day!

    Other favs from Officer Norman's IG Page
    Davey (top left), Officer Norman and wife Rosayln (top right)
    Tina (bottom left), Aaron (bottom middle), Carol (bottom right)

    Officer Norman ain't new to this! He was named Officer of the Year in 2000.
    ************

    What do you think of the difference Officer Norman is making in his community? 
    TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day 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 that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of BK), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

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    Photo of Jare Ijalana by Bamuyiwa
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    By now many of you have seen the now viral photo of beautiful 5 year-old Nigerian girl, Jare Ijalana, recently anointed, 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.' To see her sweet, angelic face is to instantly fall in love. To see the wig and full-on makeup on a girl so young has many asking, is it too much though?

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    It's a valid question.

    The image has been causing quite a stir since it appeared online last week. If you've seen these "most beautiful girl in the world" posts, you know that they usually feature a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl from some part of the world. So to see a black girl is a first and cause to pause. To see such a beautiful black girl is another reason to stop clicking for a moment of silence, so it's no wonder the photo has gone viral. However, there are a few problematic issues with the photo that can't be ignored that go beyond being happy to see a black girl's beauty being celebrated on such a wide scale. And frankly, many of us celebrate black beauty everyday, and don't need a 'panel' of God knows who- someone white undoubtedly- telling us who is the most beautiful.

    That said, there's a real question about the use of a Beyonce wig on a 5 year-old, as well as the full-on makeup job. Images have power and an image like this sends the message that girls, black ones in particular, need enhancements when they don't. Even as adults, many of us are just now realizing that less is more, so celebrating images of children as IG models feels like a step back. Like we're putting a pressure on girls to be beautiful younger and younger, and where does it end? Meanwhile, boys get to be boys, climb trees, and get judged based on their actions. How about we start a most intelligent girl in the world post, and we pick many girls from all across the globe?

    It seems that Bamuyiwa, the photographer who took the photo of Jare, knows that her brand of child photography might not be for everyone because she posted this on her IG Page.
    J A R E @the_j3_sisters CHILDREN ARE A GIFT FROM HEAVEN. I’m pretty excited and elated about my new style of child portraiture . Before I thought of Photographing the @the_j3_sisters , I have had frivolous ideas of how I can make artsy portraits of kids And do away from the norm . The opportunity came and I had to take a bold step to express my ideas of how I want to take portraits of kids. I want to portray the interception between her childhood and adulthood so both stay timeless ! We continue to the next post TEAM Make up by Dammy of @iposhlooks Creative style direction @mofebamuyiwa Hair by @totalshopwigs Hair styled by @hairkarved Styled by @styledbyseun Assisted by @adebimpe_aj @ernest_chuxx @official_bigjosh #bmbstudio #bmbphotography #mofebamuyiwa #kids #kidsphotography #artsy #love #light #childphotographer #familyphotography
    A post shared by BMBSTUDIO (@mofebamuyiwa) on

    Her post drew those who both loved the photo and others who felt it didn't need the extras. In what could be seen as even more problematic is the photographers reasons behind showing Jare as a womanchild.

    Capturing the Art of innocence and the sides of JOMI in one body. J O M I of the @the_j3_sisters The elder sister of J A R E When I was a child I always wanted to wear my Mum’s shoes , cloths and do all she did as a woman . I wasn’t afraid of being that woman , though I wasn’t aware , nothing scared me of the cost it would take to be a woman . “I WAS FEARLESS AS A CHILD “ I’m sure every girl has gone through this stage and can totally relate . Meeting Jomi of the @the_j3_sisters Was more inspiring . Asides that she is bright and beautiful , she is very coordinated and every pose directed , she did better than I told her to do . She definitely has buttressed and given me more proof that every little girl dreams of being a woman . I guess was looking for a platform to showcase her inner woman !!! Photography is my little way of expressing my thoughts than in words and so I am not the best curator of my work .
    A post shared by BMBSTUDIO (@mofebamuyiwa) on

    It's starting to become too much to unpack here, and begins to border on creepy. Little girls don't need to live out fantasies of looking like an adult on camera for the world to see. Furthermore, it doesn't need to be exploited by a photographer, parent and makeup team.

    HOWEVER, if you're wondering what Jare looks like with less, see this beautiful photo of her and her sister Jomi taken by M12Photography. 
    Photo by M12Photography 
    The girls are beautiful and look like little girls. Neither are professional models, however, their mother recently started an IG page called The J3 Sisters where you can find a few more pics of Jare, her sis Jomi, 7, and Joba, 10.

    Photo of Jare, Joba and Jomi by M12Photography
    All girls are beauties and we wish them the best!


     What do you think? Is the photo of 'the most beautiful girl in the world' too much? Is it okay for little girls to wear wigs and makeup?

    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  

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    Adrienne Brandyburg
    By Onicia Muller


    Hollywood superstars like Viola Davis, Issa Rae, and Tracee Ellis Ross all rock natural styles on the red carpet. It seems that even more black women in entertainment are empowered to showcase natural hair in the media and their artistic performances. Chicago actress and comedienne, Adrienne Brandyburg is part of the new generation of entertainers who embrace their natural curls while making boss moves. Adrienne co-hosts B.A.P.S Comedy, a monthly variety show celebrating and empowering women of color that will turn 2 years old this September. Adrienne also co-hosts the Dude That's Not What I Meantpodcasts which attempts to clarify misconstrued events in pop culture, politics, sports, and just about anything that comes across their timeline. With so many poppin’ projects, Adrienne Brandyburg is a rising star in Chicago’s comedy scene, andour Naturally Glam pick!

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    Photo courtesy of Adrienne
    Tell us about yourself and your background.
    I always get flack for this question because I like to include the short time – ages 0 to 9 -- that  I lived on the south side of Chicago. Mostly I claim the north side, Rogers Park neighborhood as my stomping ground. I currently stay in the bougie River North neighborhood of Chicago. I identify as an empowered Black Woman.


    How long have you been natural? What inspired your current look?

    I've been natural for 10 years. My last perm was my sophomore year in college when the stylist informed me in order for her to color my hair I needed to perm my hair. Absolutely asinine move; my hair couldn't handle all the chemicals. Went through the transition process of going natural. What inspired my current look is deciding to venture back to longer tresses. I cut my hair a year ago wanting to change it up. I'm in love with my curl patterns. I try to do as little manipulation mostly due to laziness.


    What hair products or accessories do you use?
    Majority of the products I use are the ones that are on sale. Being natural AIN'T CHEAP. I love Cantu leave in conditioner with argan oil, Miss Jesse's Curly Pudding, Aunt Jackie’s products, Shea Moisture shampoos and deep conditioners, As I Am, TGIN -- I'm not loyal.


    Photo via Adrienne's IG
    How has having natural hair influenced your career as a black woman in entertainment? 
    Having natural hair has introduced me to new people who can relate to, or are inquisitive about, this lifestyle. It's influenced me to have more teachable moments as an actress and performer. I'm learning how to take control of my hair in situations where I usually might not have. When I'm acting, I find myself having to inquire what their intentions are for whatever hairstyle they decide for me and products they are using.


    How has being natural influenced your self-image? How did your family, friends, or romantic partners react? 

    My self-esteem has boosted immensely because of my decision to take full control of my hair and follicles, but it's exhausting. Reading ingredients, going on YouTube for hairstyles, looking at reviews -- it's a nonstop merry-go-round. I wouldn't have it any other way. My family fully supports my choice andI've influenced others to go natural. 


    What's been the best part of your natural hair journey?

    The best part of my natural hair journey is realizing everyone’s hair journey is their own to experience and embrace. I love being able to run into a stranger and talk about our journeys. I can go from sharing online to in real life andit doesn't feel unnatural. 


    To learn more about Adrienne’s upcoming standup shows, recent acting clips, and daily blogs visit AdrienneBrandyburg.comor follow her on Instagram (@adriennedennise) or Twitter (@adriennedennise)



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    Photo via Hollywood Life
    By Michelby Coco Whitehead

    Like many music lovers, I have been waiting not so patiently for real R&B to make a comeback. Last week my wish kind of came true; however, nobody told me it would come through the seemingly drunk in love nuptials of Faith Evans and Stevie J... Let us pray.

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    Faith in 'Missing You' video
    We were all rooting for Faith. My big sister Danielle ran to the store and brought a plastic-looking "Faith coat" after seeing Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You" video. She cried like a fool in love when she thought she lost it one weekend. We fans only wanted the best for Faith, much like we protested Mary's marriage to Kendu.

    True indeed, Faith has had her own questionable affairs, but this new union has thrown everyone for a loop. But we have to remember that celebrities are still people at the end of the day, and having lots of money and fame doesn't equate to the ability to make sound decisions all the time. In fact, the more outlandish their behavior, the more they remain relevant, which is why "Stebie" is a household name today, courtesy of his toxic love triangle with Joseline Hernandez and Mimi Faust on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

    Even though we're looking at Faith sideways for getting involved with him, we also need to look in the mirror. Haven't we all dated a guy whose reputation was Grade-A trash despite the petitions, cries, screenshots, prophetic dreams and shade-throwing of family and friends? Maybe you were blindsided and had no clue of his prior offenses in relationships. That was my dilemma once upon a time, but once I gathered receipts and stories from his family that he was indeed lazy, crazy, and overly entitled, I served him an eviction notice--literally!

    But there is another category of women who will blissfully walk into a situation knowing all the man's jacked up background and still try to turn a clown into a husband. Maybe you were desperate for love, money, or a place to stay and thought you could make it work for the greater good. Or maybe, you're the type who goes against the grain to prove that you can "fix" a man because you're "better" than his ex-girlfriends, only to discover that you're not qualified to play Iyanla 


    and that a leopard never changes his spots. Sooner or later you get a rude awakening when the dust settles, and the relationship dissolves.

    Finally, there are some of us who know we have a Stebie and are still with him, ignoring his red flags and painting a different version of him to the public so it matches our fantasy. For what, sis? If you fall into this category, you need to spend some time alone and with real friends who can help you figure out what void you're trying to fill by holding on to him the way my sister Danielle held on to that cheap and highly flammable jacket.

    And let's be clear about what a Stevie J. consists of. Your Stevie doesn't literally have to have beaucoup kids and make promises of turning strippers into the next one hit wonder. You know good and well what disrespect and manipulation looks like on television and in your own life. Real love awaits you, but you have to put on your "faith coat" until it shows up.

    So let's not go too hard on Faith Evans and her decision to become Mrs. Steven Jordan. Hopefully, she and Stevie can have a great marriage... but if it doesn't work out, we look forward to her writing some bomb songs about love and pain. You just never know how this will play out, but in any event, we'll be watching.

    Faith Evans featuring Stevie J.
    "A Minute"

    ********

    Have you dated a Stevie J.? 
    A woman of the bayou pimping my pen because I'm scared of a day job. You can find me somewhere telling stories like Nas and Terry McMillan on April Fool's day. Writing is life so follow me on IG @cococurator 

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    Charlamagne & wife 
    By Ta-ning Connai 

    Charlamagne tha God has become widely known as the brash and in your face host of the syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club. While notorious for rubbing many of his on-air guests the wrong way (like when Birdman said, “Put some RESPECK on my name!”), it's some disturbing information from a few years back that now has everybody up in arms.

    A 2015 audio podcast has recently resurfaced where Charlamagne gives a chilling account of how he had sex with a woman after spiking her drink with Spanish Fly. He indecisively teeters back and forth about whether she was incoherent at the time and that's when my jaw literally hit the floor. 

    He goes on to proudly state that, although he let his friends see her naked, he denied their pleas to have sex with her too. He said this all while laughing his head off, and the idiot asking the questions seemed to be having a good time too. Charlamagne then justifies that he and the woman had already had discussions about “eventually” hooking up, as if consent for the future is like a rain check from the past. Now I've officially heard it all!


    According to his account, she wakes up the next morning to ask, “What happened?” which means if she didn't know, she did not give consent. Upon learning what took place, she was relieved that it was Charlamagne, as opposed to all of his friends, she had sex with, BUT she kept having to ask him because she wasn't really sure. Now, when you mix Spanish Fly, a blackout, sex and no consent, RAPE is what you call it.

    Social media is fueling with outrage and petitions for Charlemagne's job are being formed. But here’s where the story gets twisted

    ...Because she ended up marrying this fool (oh yes she did), what does it now all mean? Some who initially said rape are now claiming that it's not. But when a man beats a woman (for example), calling it domestic violence isn't based on whether she presses charges or not, right? And if she ends up marrying him, like so many victims do, that doesn't mean the abuse never took place. See, the sad truth is that some women accept abuse all the time and some don't even realize it ever happened.

    Case in point, my friend realized her ex-boyfriend raped her 20 years after the fact. She said they had a bad relationship for years, but every time they broke up, they got back together again. One day she got the strength to leave for good and she never went back. Late one night, she heard him yelling at her window. She could tell he was drunk and figured he just needed a place to crash. She didn't hesitate to let him in, because, after all, she knew the guy. But when she left him on the couch and headed back to her room, he yells, “I heard what you did!”

    Turns out my friend had been having “relations” with a guy her ex kinda knew, but technically they weren't friends. So when she turned around to set him straight, he grabbed her by her neck. Because she suddenly feared for her life, she just flowed with what she knew was coming next.

    When I carefully asked her why she didn't know it was rape, she explained that her brain went into protective mode. She said she subconsciously reframed the rape in a way that she could live with; she told herself that since they had been on-again-off-again so many times before, maybe he thought they were on again. Or that maybe he thought it was all cool, since she didn't exactly fight him off. The excuses for her perpetrator were endless and the way she blamed herself was pretty sad. Plus, she'd never heard of a rapist being someone you know, so she was kind of confused about that too.

    Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” 

    We can reframe the things that happen to us all we want, but if we refuse to see things for what they really are, eventually they will come back to haunt us. My friend thought ignoring the rape was the best thing to do, yet every relationship she had after was doomed before the start. She had to mourn her past from a place of truth and only then was she free to heal. 

    Charlamagne’s wife is now his damage control as he tries to backpedal out the storm. But since he's the one that ran his big mouth, I'm not sure what he expects her to say. Maybe if they were to come completely clean and call what happened exactly what it was, maybe then we could all move on. At worst, Charlamagne may be a rapist; at best, a man who bad mouths his wife. But no matter the case, whichever is true, he’s got some changing to do!

    Do you think that rape isn't rape if you're dating the person? How about if they drug you?
    TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day 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 that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of BK), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

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    By Kira Sparkles

    Are your finances not exactly where they should be? That’s okay! You’re in good company. Only 30% of Americans have any kind of savings or investment plan and roughly the same number have an actual budget for their household which means a lot of us have some work to do. Am I where I want to be financially? Absolutely not. However, I’ve managed to sock away some money in a savings account and even raise my credit score (woop woop!). I’m realizing the path to fixing my finances is a journey just like anything else. People talk about hair journeys and fitness journeys, so let’s take a finance journey. I promise it doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, the first step is easy: awareness.

    In the digital age, a lot of us don’t carry cash, but we do carry cell phones that have amazing apps to help keep us focused on our goals. I wanted to share some of my personal favorites that I hope can help you too.

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    Mint
    Mint is my personal favorite because it gives a visual breakdown of where your money’s going through charts. It even shows if you spend more or less than the national average in food, clothing, etc. You can make a budget through Mint and it’ll tell you if you’re on task or going just a bit over. Mint’s also amazing for setting goals to go on vacation, or save up for a spa day, or whatever your heart desires. It’s even great at tracking your bills and making notes on when they’re due.




    Cleo
    Cleo is a newer app that works through your Facebook messenger. You can also make a budget through Cleo, but the difference is, she’s really insistent on keeping you up to date. You can receive notifications every day to see how your bank account is looking. If you’re thinking of buying something a little out of your budget, Cleo does the quick math to see if it’s feasible without breaking the bank.



    You Need A Budget
    One of my friends swears by this app. This one is much more simplified in goal setting and budget making. I like the charts that Mint provides, but if you’re more straight and to the point, YNAB is as straightforward as it gets. It boasts the claims that users saved $200 in the first month. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with this one.




    Pinterest
    Doesn’t seem like Pinterest would make the list for this, but listen. I love Pinterest. I know people typically use it as a recipe and craft go-to, but it’s excellent for financial resources too. The bulk of people writing articles on Pinterest are moms. If anyone can save your budget and your life? It’s a mother. There are so many tips and tricks that I’m confident you’ll find something that resonates with you.

    Every journey begins with the first step, and with these apps you’ll be set on the path to wealth. 


    Would you try these apps? What budgeting tips work best for you?
    Kira is a passionate, outspoken writer keeping it real for the people. She's a UF graduate with a soft spot for cats. Read more of her work at her blog KiraSparkles!

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    By Onicia Muller

    The birth and death of friendships are as mysterious and unpredictable as waves washing up on the shore. We can't predict when and what they’ll bring into our lives. We don't know what they’ll take or teach us when they leave. My would-be best friend struggled with low self-esteem, depression, and abandonment issues. After nearly a decade of knowing each, I chose to end the friendship. It felt horrible abandoning my friend at what seemed to be a low point in her life. Six months after our last conversation, I reconciled that we were both running on empty and didn’t have anything left to give. I finally forgave myself and my friend for letting our relationship die, and I learned some valuable things in the process. Here are 6 tips for ending friendships gracefully.


    1. Get clear on why

    Before officially putting friendships to rest, it is important to understand why the relationship is ending. This might be a solo journey for both the breaker and the broken. The why will determine whether there is hope for the future and how best to end the relationship.

    If you’re a person who finds yourself in a season of losing friends, take a moment to reflect. Are you in an emotionally needy place? Has your friend circle reached critical mass and is causing you to be neglectful? Figuring this out might be a solo journey because old friends don’t owe you an explanation for the breakup.

    2. Consider the future

    If you think you might want to reconnect or engage with someone in a different way a heart-to-heart might be helpful. Meanwhile, an Irish goodbye or ghosting might work well for those who you have outgrown but have no beef with. Quietly exiting is also best for familial or professional relationships. Try muting instead of unfriending on social media. This option allows you to reinter quietly should your feelings or situation change. Hitting the block button is fine on those who are ign’ant, hostile, or abusive.


    For you blockedsouls consider what re-entering someone’s life will look like before reaching out. Can you spend quality time with them? Are you prepared to apologize for any perceived wrongdoing and change your habits? We all have friends who aren’t in our daily life but are still dependable; don’t bug people just to sootheyour conscience.




    3. Stay firm

    Breaking up isn’t a one-and-done type of situation. If you’re a person who longs for peace, you might find yourself rekindling bad relationships. Once you’ve given your soon-to-be former friend a fair trial and sentencing, don’t debate it again. Writing the reason down in one concise sentence can keep you from wavering. Thinking about reconnecting? Set criteria and a check-in reminder to see if they’ve changed. Don’t torture yourself by constantly refreshing their social media profile or rehashing the details with other friends.



    4. Watch your words

    “Have friends and treat them well, but never tell themyour secrets. For when your friend becomes your foe, around the world your secret goes.”


    Losing a confidant can push you into becoming closer to someone else (#ReboundBFF). Desiring a mutual enemy of your former friend is natural. Watch out for people who spend the majority of their time addressing their haters or reveling in others’ failures. How they treat their enemies is how they will treat you. Form relationships based on positive interests. Keep it classy. Unless someone is a threat, no one needs to know why you broke up or join you in boycotting.


    5. There isn’t always a villain

    “Friendship is not social work; it's a different arrangement. It doesn't have to be equal or mutual.” - Dear Sugar (When Friendships End)


    Friendship isabout being charitable. However, it’s okay to leave the relationship if you find yourself feeling more as an emotional dumping ground. You can’t fill someone’s emotional bank when yours is empty. In some situations, you have to close one door (enabling through listening) for another door to open (getting real help versus wallowing). There doesn’t have to be a villain or major wrongdoing; it is okay to dump someone for being blah.



    6. Forgive & let go

    Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. Whether you are the forgiver or the forgiven, you have to know when to let go. Just because you’ve forgivena person does not mean they should have the same level of access to your life. In cases where someone hasn’t matured, you definitelydo not need to forgive them publicly; that’s just giving them another opportunity to waste your time.


    If you recognize that someone has ended your friendship, accept that you may not enter into their space again. Whether you’ve changed is irrelevant. Like a criminal who served their time, you must forgive yourself for past mistakes. Don’t make the mistake of badgering people into forgiving you. Start fresh by going where you are wanted.

    Do you have a hard time ending friendships?
    Onicia Muller is a Caribbean writer and comedian currently freezing her buns off in Chicago. A former crime reporter and children’s columnist, she's found her happy place writing about women in entertainment. If you're into oversharing, read her weekly humor column Just Being Funny in The Daily Herald’s Weekender. In June 2018, she received IGNITE Caribbean's 30 Under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leaders and Changemakers award for her work as a cultural influencer.

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    Nikki Walton

    Whenever you feel unpretty, "You must focus on the presence inside of you. Take a moment and sit still. Focus on feeling the life presence inside you. As you focus on the presence within, it will begin to reveal itself to you. It is a feeling of pure love and bliss, and it is perfection. That presence is the perfection of you. That presence is the real YOU. As you focus on that presence, as you feel love, and praise that presence, you will feel yourself fully, quite possibly for the first time in your life.

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    "Any time you look at yourself with critical eyes, switch your focus immediately to the presence within, and its perfection will reveal itself to you. As you do this, all imperfections that have manifested in your life will dissolve, because imperfections cannot exist in the light of this presence." - Rhonda Byrne
    "The absolute truth is that the 'I' is perfect and complete; the real 'I' is spiritual and can therefore never be less than perfect; it can never have any lack, limitation, or disease.” -Charles Haanel
    So, which ‘I’ are you identified with? The one who stares back at you in the mirror, or the One that is aware of (1) the mirror, (2) the body you call ‘me,’ standing before the mirror, (3) that body’s reflection, (4) the thoughts about the reflection, (5) the corresponding sensations, (6) the sink, (7) the hand soap, (8) the room, etc... You are this loving space, this faceless, formless Awareness that all of these things are happening in. Right now this global Awareness that you truly are, appears to be tangled up with the body you think you are. It’s not, tho. See this and be free. See this to #BeHerNow

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