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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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    Kareem Johnson
    By Brenda Alexander

    Recently, I highlighted BET’s digital doc-series VIXEN and the backlash Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video received, which featured the infamous credit card swipe down a bountiful model’s backside. The producer of the video, Kareem Johnson, not only shared the article on his Instagram page; but, agreed to an interview to talk about his 24-year career in and outside of the “Tip Drill” mayhem. With a resume as impressive as his- the Bronx-raised producer has worked with everyone from the legendary Notorious B.I.G., Erykah Badu and current phenom Cardi  B. (to name a few)- we're glad he did.

    Continue
    Kareem with Lil' Jon
    How did you get your start?
    My father was a gaffer who was in charge of set lighting and he took me under his wing. He was legendary. He did both Roots: the Miniseries and Kojak. That’s how far back my bloodline runs so it was natural career choice for me. With my dad as my teacher, I learned everything from lighting to dealing with casting and crew. As my skills diversified, he suggested that I become a producer.

    Was producing music videos always the dream?
    I’ve always loved hip hop and the art of music videos. I was a Coordinator with Young Brothers and Sisters (YSB), who produced educational videos for youth. They wanted to do music videos and I took the lead. At one point, I started producing Latin music videos and it lead me to my first big break- a video I did with Royal Flush featuring Noreaga. It premiered on Rap City. Things took off from there.

    How fast did things progress?
    There weren’t many producers on the East Coast so that was an advantage. Directors had a roster of who they preferred to work with. Because I had a wide range of skills, I was a top choice. Work was consistent. I was doing 2-3 videos a week.

    What are some of the visuals you produced?
    I've worked with them all: Dave Hollister, Lil’ Jon (“Get Low”), Ruff Ryder’s (Ryde or Die”), Mos Def (“Miss Fat Booty”), Erykah Badu (“Window Seat”), Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Snoop Dogg.

    Kareem with Erykah Badu
    VIXEN exposed budget cuts affecting casting. Did that affect your job as a producer? 
    The industry is about adapting and that’s what I did. I was able to tap into my creative side when money was tighter. Sometimes it was a conversation with the director to turn down the concept. I understood why lead talent quit because the pay cuts were drastic. When they said no, we looked elsewhere. That’s where around the way girls, bar girls and strippers were introduced.

    Is that how the concept of “Tip Drill” came to be?
    “Tip Drill” was a collaborative effort between Nelly and the director. We only had a two day turnaround to get it done. I knew a casting director in ATL (Carolyn Brown), gave her the vision and deadline. She was friends with a Falcon’s player’s wife and we shot the video at their home. She handled everything for me.

    Tip Drill
    Take me back to the credit card swipe. Was that planned and what was the expected outcome?
    Let me say that first, this whole setup was not a foreign concept: a house party in ATL with rappers, ballers and girls in bikinis. It was a popular theme at the time on camera and in real life. The scene in question was not planned, but it wasn’t rejected either. It was embraced and we moved on to the next shot. I remember walking towards them when they were setting that scene up - they were in position and that happened. The set went crazy. It ended up as the most popular video on BET Uncut. We were celebrating our success until the Spelman debacle.

    Do you regret that scene or agree with the backlash? How do you explain that to your daughter?
    If the girls weren’t in the video, this wouldn’t be a conversation. They were willing participants. That’s the part that was missed. The model never requested the scene to be edited. If Nelly has to be held accountable, so does the model. Responsibility needs to be shared. Spelman’s uproar was unrelated and jeopardized a worthy donor drive. I have a daughter and she is 18. She’s never seen the video. If she does, we will discuss it and have conversations about choices, because we all have them.

    Did the video affect your career?
    It opened doors for me because it created such a buzz. Artists wanted to be associated with it in any way. So it was more of an, “Oh, we won’t do anything similar to “Tip Drill” but we can do something else.”

    Did it impact the way you approached future projects? The only thing that drives me away from a video is if the budget doesn’t support the concept, or if I don’t like the artist or song. I go into a project aware of what’s at stake. At the time I did “Tip Drill” I was interested in building my reel; whereas now, I’m concerned with the quality and people involved.

    Kareem Johnson

    How have you stayed relevant? And have you done anything besides videos?I worked with Tyler Perry for two years, which gave me flexibility. I was able to leave, shoot a video and resume my full-time gig. I also know a lot of record label heads because we came up together, so they keep me busy.

    I prefer to be a master of one than a jack of all trades. I am strong in music video production and continue to hone that craft. Work is booming and in the past two years alone, I’ve worked with Remy Ma, DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj and more. My goal now is to be as great a mentor as my father. He birthed a lot of technicians in this business and that’s why I am so big on giving back. When he passed two years ago, I received calls from almost everyone. The show ATL dedicated a slate to him on the set for his work. That’s the type of legacy I want to leave behind.

    Carl Johnson, Kareem’s father with James Brown

    You can keep up with Kareem on Instagram.


    *********

    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 Onicia Muller

    In celebration of completing our freshman year, we’d decided to gather at a cohort’s apartment to watch one of the final World Cup matches.

    The weeks leading up to that fateful day were epic. I’d figured out how to save costs on books so I could splurge during Spring Break. Florida was magical: we got T-shirts with custom airbrushing, ate some delicious BBQ, and had an authentic African American salon experience. My stylist argued with her baby daddy on the phone while doing my hair. Amazing! My leave out blended seamlessly with the highlighted wefts. Those feathered layers, ooh child, I was living!

    It was time to remove my tracks soon after returning to the Netherlands. It hurt to toss the wefts because they were mostly in good condition. While searching YouTube for some hair inspiration from Tyra Banks, I discovered a video teaching how to make an invisible, non-bulky ponytail using a single track and a bobby pin. The tutorial was a true life hack. In less than 5 minutes, I’d recreated the look and found a new use for my old weave. By the time World Cup party day arrived, I’d done the style a few times: high, low, and to the side.

    Mmm, I don’t feel so well. My headband was probably causing my headache. I was really into the preppy look. However, despite having tried several sizes and types, I could never last more than three hours. I chucked the accessory into my purse and soldiered on.

    We piled into Roberto’s flat. To my disappointment, he didn’t have food on deck, only booze. My friend Rebecca (who was the only other black/Caribbean female), encouraged them to order food. “Just stay until the food arrives.”

    Could it just be gas? I hadn’t really eaten because I’d spent most of the day running around trying to get the cohort to film their goodbye messages for the exchange student. I secretly undid my pants button. A few moments later I unzipped my pants and lowered it. My belly was free, but I still felt ill.

    Was anyone else feeling this heat? A year in a cold country might have made me unable to withstand warm weather. Also, the apartment was pretty packed. I removed my vest and undid a few shirt buttons. Rebecca gave me a ‘is you okay?’ look. I shook my head as my eyes rolled in their sockets.

    I rubbed my temples. Maybe my ponytail is too tight. Brilliant idea! I dug my fingers into the top of my hair trying to loosen the hairspray. No relief. I needed to shift the hair tie down. Dang it! The bobby pin obstructed me. The only way to get any relief was to remove the pin and weave so I could get to the base braid and hair tie.


    No! Don’t do it. Don’t you dare remove your weave in front of these white people! I couldn’t if I wanted to. This task could not be done on the sly while sitting on the couch. I had to go to the bathroom. I resisted the idea for a few moments. The pain pushed me to the restroom. This is a simple hairstyle. I don’t have to go out there bald. I can do a looser version.

    I returned to the couch where Rebecca was saving my seat. Dammit! Where was that food? I’m dying out here!

    I managed to put down a few bits. AAAARG! I still felt like crap. “Should I go home?” Rebecca pleaded with me to stay because it wasn’t even 8 pm and she didn’t want to be alone. “Fine, but if I stay, I gotta get comfortable.” Without elaborating further, I dashed off to the restroom with my purse.

    I returned sans bra and ponytail. Rebecca was wide-eyed and speechless. Before I could give her an ‘it is what it is’ look, Amy shouted “Oh my god! I thought that was your real hair!” And with an entire room of white people from varying countries watching me, I waved my weave and said “Nope. I’m not feeling well. It’s after 5 pm. It was time to let my hair down.”

    On my third trip to the restroom, I realized that I’d gotten my period. I’d already taken out my weave and was not about to puke, have cramps, or explosive diarrhea in front of these people. So, I called a cab and went home!

    Have you had an embarrassing hair experience?
    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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    Beyoncé
    By Mwabi Kaira

    Fashionistas and avid fashion magazine readers look forward to Vogue’s September issue as much as they look forward to Fashion Week and The Met Gala. The Vogue September issue is such a big deal that R.J Cutler made a documentary about it in 2009 and made it a part of pop culture. September is the end of the summer and also the beginning of the school year. Seasons are about to change and Fall fashions and trends are about to be revealed. Publications also track and publish the number of ad pages as a signal of how well they’re doing; a magazine with a lot of advertisements is assumed to be financially thriving. Much thought is given to the September issue. Planning goes as far back as six to eight months and the covergirl is a very critical decision. This year, word is music icon Beyoncé is the covergirl and she’s been given full unprecedented control over the cover and inside feature by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

    Given the time it takes to prepare for the issue and Beyoncé currently being on a world tour, one has to assume that Bey has been working on this for months. Two sources who are familiar with the agreement between Vogue and Beyoncé but aren’t authorized to speak to the press let it slip that the publication is contractually obligated to give Beyoncé full control over the cover, the photos of her inside the magazine, and captions, which she has written herself and are in long-form. Beyoncé is also rumored to have hired the first black photographer to shoot a cover in the publication’s 126-year history. 

    Tyler Mitchell
    He’s 23 year-old Tyler Mitchell, from Atlanta, now living in Brooklyn, a photographer and filmmaker who got his start making skate videos and taking pictures of music, fashion, and youth culture in ATL and NYC. He received his B.F.A in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has already shot for Teen Vogue, i-D Magazine, Dazed, Vogue US, Office Magazine, Candy Magazine and The FADER. Most notably, Mitchell photographed iconic school shooting survivors for the #NeverAgain project on young gun control advocates for Teen Vogue. Mitchell self-published a Cuban photography book called El Paquete in 2015 and was featured in the New York Times’ “Up Next” series. His advertising clients have included Mercedes Benz, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Converse, Nike and Ray-Ban.

    Mitchell’s work is rooted in the black community and his photography reflects it. 

    Photo via Tyler's IG
    “I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way. There is an honest gaze to my photos,” Mitchell told the Times. When This Generation asked him to define his work, Mitchell told them, "My only description would be that it is about the black experience and humanizing black people." He spoke to Dazed and dropped this gem, "My work attempts, on some level, to depict black men and black people first and foremost as not just 'things.' And I employ aesthetic beauty to do that. We have been 'thingified' in this country – bodily, sexually, emotionally and socially. The works try to break free of any notion of this 'thingification.' It tries to just breathe."

    Bey's Superbowl performance
    Pair Mitchell’s very impressive resume for a 23-year-old with his black pride and it is clear why Beyoncé used her power and influence to get him for this cover. Beyonce got the world talking when she performed Formation at the Superbowl while she and her backup dancers dressed like black panthers, and she’s been vocal about the mistreatment of black people in her music and has been a participant behind the scenes in the Black Lives Matter movement. The cover is rumored to be Anna Wintour’s last September issue, and in the past she’s used only a small group of the same photographers who lacked diversity. Hopefully this will be the start of a new era.

     Will you be copping the September issue of Vogue this fall?
    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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    Photo courtesy of Sabrina Nelson
    By Sabrina Nelson 

    I was 21 when I got breast implants in 2002. My boyfriend at the time suggested I get them and even offered to pay for them if I lost 10 pounds and I was only 110 pounds at the time. He was 10 years older than me and had implanted an ideal image of what I should look like in my head. This was the Pamela Anderson/ Carmen Electra era when extremely skinny with large breasts were in. I was a 34aa. Yes smaller than an A cup. I was also waitressing in Las Vegas so small breasts were not attractive for the typical cocktail waitress. I went to a popular doctor in town, the only doctor I consulted with, and decided on him to do my procedure. Electing to have surgery was extremely scary and I didn’t realize it until I lying on the operating bed about to go in for surgery. Up until then the excitement overcame the fear.

    Continue

    Photo courtesy of Sabrina
    The surgery went as expected. The Doctor went as large as he could given my size. It came out a C cup. My boobs were at my chin in exaggeration, but I was told they would eventually drop. I loved them. My self-confidence grew. Shirts fit better. I felt sexy, womanly. I do remember my friends and family looking at me in shock that they were so big, but only few said anything. Eventually they dropped.

    I went in for a second surgery because one of my breasts developed scar tissue so it was quite hard, which is common. Our bodies naturally create it as a barrier to anything foreign in our bodies to protect us from it. It happens with any and all implants. 10 years had gone by and the implants became a part of me. It was as if they were my own natural breasts. I still loved them. It wasn’t till about 3 years ago when odd things started to happen. Or so I noticed.

    I started to have severe allergies that were uncontrollable with medication. I saw many allergy specialists, tried many options such as immunotherapy etc, however, nothing helped. Then I noticed extremely dry irritated eyes and temporary vision loss in one eye. Followed by mood swings of depression and anxiety. These were all common symptoms of society so I dealt with them.

    A year after the initial symptoms, I started having swelling of my glands under my chin and in my jaw. At times they would swell to the size of a golf ball and would be very painful and sore. It became a weekly swelling then daily. I saw an ENT and they did an MRI thinking it was salivary stones, but nothing showed up but inflammation. I was lost. I had no idea what was going on with my body. I was so scared. My ENT suggested I see a rheumatologist suggesting in may be immune related such as Sjogrens disease. By now I'm googling everything, symptoms of every disease scaring myself even more.

    My Rheumatologist ran several tests. My ANA titer came back positive, which meant a possible autoimmune disease. But everything else was negative. I was dumbfounded. By now more symptoms came. My energy level was so low, I would wake up some mornings and my wrists were so stiff, I was constantly fatigued. I became sensitive to light and sound, and was suffering from extreme brain fog. My memory was shot, I couldn’t have a simple conversation without forgetting simple words or completely losing my train of thought. I was spaced out and found myself completely confused doing simple tasks that I had done routinely. I felt so out of touch with reality that it scared me sometimes. People around me started noticing this and my spaced out demeanor. I started to confine myself to my home and preferred being alone all the time as that was where I was most comfortable. I started to recluse myself because I didn’t feel like myself and I didn’t know if I would ever get myself back.

    I saw a psychologist who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and started me on medication that made me feel worse. I also had low vitamin D levels and was iron deficient, which I never had before.

    Then A friend at work told me about her friend that just had her implants removed because she was feeling mysteriously sick for years. At first I brushed it off because I thought no that couldn't be it. But then I started researching and came across BII (Breast Implant Illness) and this BII group. I see all these women with the similar symptoms and it opened up my eyes. This group was at 10k women and growing. I spoke with several women on the site and they were so supportive and helpful. I rushed to a plastic surgeon I found on the BII website and a few more I found just with a standard online search. I couldn’t get my implants out soon enough and within a month I had my explant on march 28, 2017. My dad cared for me during and after the surgery and was extremely supportive and helpful.

    I felt relieved, though I didn't really care how I felt afterward I just wanted those unnatural toxic things out of me. Since the surgery, it took a lot of time for me to feel good again. I did detoxes, parasite cleanses, heavy metal cleanses, among other things. The implants did a lot of irreversible damage to my body so I had to be and will always have to be at my healthiest. Having something foreign in your body constantly battles with your immune system because our bodies are naturally and constantly fighting a battle with them because it looks at it as something it wants to push out of our body. Having implants irreversibly compromised my immune system.

    Today, most my symptoms are gone. I no longer have problems with my eyes. My moods are stable, light and sound no longer bother me. My brain feels more clear. I still have some gland swelling but not as bad as before. I had implants for 10+ years so it will take time for my body to be at 100% but I have no regrets and I feel healthier without them.

    Photo courtesy of Sabrina 
    I am back to a 34aa which yes is smaller than a A cup. But I am happy with being 100% myself. It actually has boosted my confidence knowing that I could take them out and maybe not have the best looking breasts, but they are mine and this is me. I'm not going to lie it was hard being intimate with men at first but if they don’t like it then that's fine because my health is way more important. I was single when I had them removed and was so worried about trying to find someone who would accept the scars and the shape because they look ok for what they have been through, but not great. I have definitely learned that being me is what is going to have to be and I love and accept that. Its ok to be yourself because that's all you truly have. 

    Photo courtesy of Sabrina 

    ***********
    Also....
    I would say to those with implants, be aware of your body. Symptoms can mimic other illnesses. They can be very mild too. Many women of the BII group had symptoms I didn’t experience and vice versa. If you go to a doctor or plastic surgeon they will tell you that implants are safe and you have nothing to worry about. Plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry. I have yet to meet a doctor that has told me other wise. But just speaking to the many women I have met that have gone through this it is a real thing. As of today, I wouldn’t change my decision for anything!

    Thanks Sabrina for sharing your story & follow her on IG!
    What are your thoughts?

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    Photo courtesy of Starz
    By Mwabi Kaira

    I was late to the Power party. Everyone was singing its praises Season 1 and I just wasn’t feeling it.  I finally got past the first episode and binge watched the entire season. It was hard for me to understand how everyone was so clueless with what was going on when it was right in their faces but I rocked with it and got on the bandwagon. Tasha and Kesha are my girls, Ghost is fine but makes bad decisions, Angela does the most, Dre went from 0 to 100 with too much confidence for my liking, Tommy is a hot head, Canaan is a snake, and Tariq makes me and every Mama on this earth’s blood boil. Raina’s death last season was a shocker and very unexpected.

    Continue

    Photo courtesy of Starz
    It left us all very sad and ready to put hands on Tariq. All she wanted to do was protect her twin brother from his foolishness and instead got caught in the crossfire. Tasha has lost her child and Naturi Naughton is doing some incredible acting as a grieving mother. Grief is something that cannot be explained, it can only be felt. We see Tasha crying in Raina’s room, having trouble getting out of bed, trouble sleeping and taking pills, and even attending a support group for grieving parents. Naturi spoke to Forbes about Season 5 and dealing with Raina’s death and said,

    Photo courtesy of Starz
    “Now Tasha has to focus on being a mother in a way that it scares her. She's not only losing her husband but her children. Instead of running away from that pain, I had to run toward it to bring emotion to the character.”
    Naturi was five months old with her first child while filming and she had to pull from a new place. She explains,
    "It was beyond emotional for me. What's good is that you pull from what's real and what's vulnerable inside of you and you try to inject that life into the character. I don't compartmentalize. I use those emotions and anger and sadness and pain.
    Courtesy of Starz
    Ghost on the other hand dives into work and becomes the face of a campaign to get funds for a building to be named in Raina’s honor. While Tasha allows herself to grieve the loss of her daughter, Ghost acts like it didn’t happen and moves forward. By not dealing with his daughter’s death head on, it starts to deal with him. He thinks he sees Raina while he is giving a speech and he starts hitting the bottle more than usual. He and Tasha were already on thin ice before Raina’s death and their relationship has fallen to pieces even more post death. Ghost doesn’t want to give Tasha room to grieve and wants her to make appearances for Raina’s building. He snaps at everyone and resorts to toddler tantrums when things don’t go his way. Things eventually come to a head and Ghost ends up at the altar in Church. Hopefully this is where he will deal with his grief and the life choices that have brought him here.

    Photo courtesy of Starz
    And then there’s Tariq. Help us all. I don’t know if it's possible to watch the screen when Tariq is on it and not want to yell or throw something at him. Tariq is the cause of his twin sister’s death and barely acts sorry about it. He’s not losing sleep over it and is playing video games while his family is falling apart. We don’t see this boy shed one tear for his sister. Tasha and Ghost decide to celebrate Tariq’s birthday to bring back some normal to the St.Patrick household. Tasha has been ordering the same two cakes from the same bakery for years and they know her order by heart. She orders the wrong cake with Raina’s name on it. The scene is necessary because it shows how grief can have you absent-minded and should not be the elephant in the room, but discussed head on. There are 5 stages of grief; denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We are watching Ghost and Tasha tackle these stages, hopefully Tariq tackles a stage or two as well before the season ends.

    How do you deal with grief?
    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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    Fun fact: When that little voice isn’t focused on something productive, like reading this passage, it starts reading you. It’s hella critical and the primary source of your angst and confidence issues. Listen to it the next time you’re idly scrolling IG. Notice how it compares, how it judges and berates...how it’s most attracted to the tea spilling posts and negativity. Notice how when you’re in traffic it chimes in to complain or offer advice on what you should’ve said when your colleague came for you yesterday and what you need to say if she comes for you today. Notice how 99% of the time it’s reminiscing about or regretting the past or projecting into the future (it is actually the only reality the past and future has Now). It never rests... well, it does, when you’re asleep, if it lets you fall asleep.

    Continue

    This inner voice, the one you hear right now in your head, reading these words, is a central part of your existence and will be with you— like your breath, and heart beat— until the day you die. Your job isn’t to get rid of it, make it more positive, or judge yourself when you notice its inherent negativity—because all of that is just more of your inner voice, trying to manipulate itself! Your job is to just start noticing it more and more. Objectively hear its commentary... stand back and listen to the constant narration it provides. The more you witness it, the more you notice the silence it’s born of. And as the silence grows louder, the more the voice is eclipsed by this inner peace, God’s voice, which was always there, simultaneously Present with the noisy inner voice.

    Give this silence your attention, and as you do, notice the quiet-joy your body feels. This is Presence. You only feel fear and notice negative thoughts when you have forgotten Presence. See this. When you have Presence, you have peace and that peace becomes the added things.

    This is true Self-Love, real abundance, and genuine gratitude. #BeHerNow

    P.S. The inner voice/thoughts will still arise in the light of Presence, but now it’ll be about as powerful or as noticeable as ‘the moon in daylight’. -Mooji

    Stay woke,
    Nik

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    Photo via Anayotothe
    By Anayotothe

    I had the pleasure of living in Rome for 3 months this year as an au pair for an Italian family. It is one of the best life experiences I’ve had (having an awesome family as hosts definitely helped!), and if you’re young, fresh out of high school or college, and looking to travel and experience another culture in the most authentic way possible, I encourage you to look into becoming an au pair. During my time in Rome, I made a bunch of friends who were au pairs from all over the world. We were all young, broke (an au pair’s wage is seriously laughable, which is why we don’t do it for the money), and just wanting to have fun and frolic around this exciting ancient city. Thus, we were all incredibly thrifty and loved sharing new, cheap things to do in Rome with each other. Thankfully, Rome is a city where it’s greatest sights are seen outside and on foot. Besides the typical tourist destinations, these are some of my favorite things to do in Rome on a budget.


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    Efik Zara 
    Some of us completely suck at taking selfies...don't know where to look into the camera, no idea where the best lighting is...if you've ever wondered how to take the perfect selfie, vlogger Zara's got the perfect tutorial for you!

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    Do you know how to take the perfect selfie? 


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    Sanaa Lathan 
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    If you've ever wondered what it might look like to see all your black girl hair issues on film- can't leave the house without your hair whipped, growing up with white dolls as the standard of beauty, spending yo' last dime to get yo' hair did- uhhhh, the Nappily Ever After movie starring Sanaa Lathan, premiering on Netflix September 21st, is just what the therapist ordered! But since we have a little time before then, check out the smokin' hot trailer...

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    Nappily Ever After, a film adapted from a book by the same name by Trisha R. Thomas, is about Violet Jones who is living her best life- a great corporate j.o.b., a handsome doctor boyfriend who she desperately wants to marry, and hair that can stop traffic- but things start falling apart when she has a mishap at the beauty salon. (Sound familiar) Violet begins her hair journey from there, starting with a big chop, and then figuring out who she is and what she wants from life without her gorgeous safety net.

    OOOOOOH, I'm looking forward to this one ya'll! It doesn't seem to have a lot of twist and turns, but sometimes all we really need is a straight-forward story that speaks to us. Without further ado, here's the official movie trailer!


    If you're feigning for a little more, see how Sanaa transformed into Violet...


    And can anyone forget Sanaa's big chop reveal last year? Here it is in case you missed it!

    A post shared by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

    Be sure to check out the book if you haven't read it!

    Author Trisha R. Thomas (right)

    Am I the only dork excited to see this movie?
    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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    By Veronica Wells 

    My friend of nearly twenty years was visiting me this past weekend. So naturally, we were reminiscing over our middle and high school years. As she was describing how our classmates’ lives had turned out, she said, “Remember when the worse thing we thought a man could do in a relationship was cheat on us?”

    I responded, “Yeah girl. There were only two things. Cheating or hitting us.” 

    I consider myself to have had a pretty good education about the things men do. With my own family history, honest relatives and a general distrust of most people, I thought I was prepared to avoid all the foolishness out there. I knew to bounce if a man made a habit of cheating on me or put his hands on me just once.

    But what we didn’t know was that there was so much more that men could do, the things they would do, the things we would allow because we didn’t know better.

    My friend has a helper complex. I call it her gift and her curse. She overextends herself for people--and more often than not they’ve been men she was in a relationship with. Men who did not reciprocate and disappeared once they’d gotten everything they came for.

    I was in a years-long on-again, off-again elevated situationship where I was afraid to express any grievance because I knew it would result in a months-long, or year-long disappearance. I’d hear words like “I love you” or “I need you.” But whenever I asked for consistency or accountability, the response was the same, “You’re not my girlfriend.” Not to say that the treatment would have been any better if I’d been bestowed such a title.

    We hadn’t been warned about men who had experienced so much emotional trauma that, despite their words and even some of their best intentions, they would never be able to show up for us.

    We didn’t know anything about men who secretly and not-so-secretly hated women but kept them around for sex, status, or free therapy.

    It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I came to the realization that there were levels to the way a woman could find herself disrespected in a relationship. And because it wasn’t as blatant as him hitting her or stepping out, so many of us failed to recognize that we were being played.

    I think most of us eventually find our way. Still, for the sake of future generations, here are a few things we can do or say to prevent the young ladies who will come after us from suffering.

    Share your stories honestly
    I can say that I never had to deal with men who were controlling or physically abusive because there was a family history of that. And instead of shielding me from it, my grandmother, mother and aunts kept it real when I asked questions. My mother, if we were watching movies involving romantic situations, would always point out signs that pointed to abuse-- from small things like wanting to know where you were every minute of the day, to being overly possessive, to trying to dictate what a woman could and couldn’t wear.

    Tell young men to be impeccable with their word
    I was delighted to hear my mom tell my younger, male cousin that the best thing he could do in a relationship was be a man of his word. Don’t over-commit, don’t lie to temporarily save her feelings, don’t express feelings that aren’t true in order to get something and don’t say things that don’t match your actions.

    Tell young women that they can’t save them 
    So many women stay in relationships thinking that if they do or say the right thing, they’ll be able to get the man to live better, be better, or be better for her. Women are conditioned to be nurturers, to soothe, comfort. But there are times when that investment is not reciprocated. And most significant character and personality changes have to come from that individual. Young girls need to learn, “Don’t save him. He don’t want to be saved.”

    What are some other ways we can prepare young women to navigate dating and avoid toxic relationships?
    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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    Beyoncé photo by Tyler Mitchell
    By Ta-ning Connai

    Leave it to Beyoncé to do the unexpected for her historical September Vogue cover and editorial! Sasha Fierce has left the building and we are privy to see a more down to earth version of the 36-year-old superstar.

    The Queen B’s concept was to strip away the glam...barely there makeup, without a care hair and a few designer threads. To accompany the raw beauty captured in the pics, taken by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, the first African American to shoot a Vogue cover, Beyoncé gives what I find to be one of the most breathtaking interviews of her career. She laid down her superpowers and put her heart on the line by sharing with us some things that we never knew. So, if you’re not a member of The Beehive yet, you may become her biggest fan after hearing what she had to say...

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    1. She’s not immune to insecurity.
    The girl with the perfect curves has had bouts with insecurity. Bey talks about the time she got sucked into society's expectations of how fast a woman should lose her baby fat. No sooner than Blu Ivy had entered the world, her ambitious mama was scheduling a tour so she could lose the weight while getting ready. Thankfully, when she had the twins, her mindset was entirely different, and she’s at peace with her post-pregnancy self. She's says, “To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be."

    Photo by Tyler Mitchell
    2. She can’t stop, won’t stop.
    Don’t think that because Beyonce is arguably the world's biggest star that she’s ready to Netflix and chill. She explains, “I’m not alive unless I am creating something. I’m not happy if I’m not creating, if I’m not dreaming, if I’m not creating a dream and making it into something real. I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching, and learning.” 

    3. She takes nothing for granted.
    The 22-time Grammy winner definitely has a conscientious soul. She admits she wouldn't be here today if it weren’t for artists like Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and more. Determined to hold those same doors open for this new generation of artists, she believes that more diversity behind the scenes means more variety in what we see. “It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.”

    4. Her family dysfunction goes wayyyyy….wayyyy back.
    “I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful," Beyoncé says of learning that her ancestry consist of a slave owner that eventually married his slave. She prays that she will be able to break the generational curses in her family so that her kids will have "less complicated lives." 

    5. She’s been “to hell and back.”
    You would never expect Beyoncé to call her journey “to hell and back.” Yeah, she spilled the tea on Lemonade, but we still couldn't see her human side. But Bey keeps it all the way real when she explains her pain in simple words. “I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable. Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”

    Forever Love: Jay-Z und Beyonce KnowlesFoto: Getty Images For Parkwood Entert, Kevin Mazur. All rights reserved.
    6. One of the most memorable moments of her career happened in Berlin
    For the On the Run II tour, Bey and Jay-Z performed at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, site of the 1936 Olympics where Jessie Owens broke racial barriers by winning four gold medals. 90 years later, The Carters performed to a multiracial crowd in what Bey calls one of her most memorable moments. “When Jay and I sang our final song, we saw everyone smiling, holding hands, kissing, and full of love. To see such human growth and connection—I live for those moments.” 

    Bey & her twins
    7. She's like the rest of us when it comes to her kids. 
    Beyonce has idealistic desires for her children, no different than you or I. She wants them to be seen and heard and to be whoever they want. She also wants to instill in her son Sir, qualities that often get overlooked. She shared, “I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys."

    What do you think of her interview? Any new converts to the hive?
    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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    Slim Thug & The Wilson's 
    By Ta-ning Connai

    We haven't heard from Slim Thug since he spit rhymes on Beyonce's “Check On It” way back in 2006. And based on the rapper’s recent backlash he’s incurred, he’s probably wishing we weren't hearing from him now.

    During a radio interview last week, the Houston native was asked if he thought a girl could date a good guy after having dated bad boys for a while. And that's when he decided, for no reason at all, to drag Ciara and her husband ‘cross the living room floor! He basically said that Ciara had a thing for street dudes and since she ended up with Russell Wilson, it must be all about the dough. He called Wilson corny, a square, lame and not cool...meanwhile, he just bought a pair of Russell's Nike shoes! Yo Slim, you had the nerve to tell the world you’re an undercover fan? But the worst part was when Slim said Ciara ain't changed and can’t adapt to a good man 😲.

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    Now, first of all, why is it ALWAYS the broke guys worried about rich guys and their money? Have you ever noticed that you never hear true ballers ever trippin’ off stuff like that? And who wouldn't change after being burnt out by a purple drankin,’ percocet poppin,’ FIVE baby mama havin,’ sleeping with other men’s wives kinda dude like Future??? It's not fair to haul words like square at guys that treat women right, but reserve cool and swag for guys that are a bunch of ratchet jerks. I don't know about you, but I’m all the way done glamorizing it’s “about that life." It’s a mighty good time we redefine what a REAL TRUE MAN looks like.

    Slim Thug did apologize, IF you can even call it that. All he did was shift the blame, as if the editing was the cause for his effect. He attempted to drastically rephrase his words, with the “what I was trying to say was…” bit, but believe it or not, go listen for yourself, he ended up saying the SAME thing.

    It's amazing how many people will deny Ciara’s growth and remain silent about her ex’s decline. When will we accept, some people wanna change? And since Future did not...Ciara leveled up!

    There was this one lady looking for a change. (John 4:4-42) Samaritans were the most despised people in the land and since she also had too many exes and a live-in at the crib, she rarely showed her face in the morning. But what do you do when you're dying of thirst and the well is in the middle of town? You do like she did, go on the down low, and pray no one comes around. So that was her plan this one afternoon, expecting everybody to be at work. But there was Jesus, just chillin’ in the cut, but she kept doin’ what she came to do. He yells out, “Hey ma, gimme a drink,” and she had to do a double take. She goes, “What are you doing talking to me, don't you know that's against the rules?” She was surprised He even looked in her eyes, ‘cause no one ever did that; most Jews won't even dare take that route, just to avoid the people that they hate.

    Now I know it sounds like Jesus was playing Big Boss, getting this lady to serve him and what not. But what He was actually doing was showing and proving that she was valued and deserved His attention. This woman had been shamed and overlooked to the point she couldn't hardly come outside, but Jesus was like, “I see you girl, so come on, you ain't gotta hide.”

    Jesus kept on chatting it up with this lady by the well, and as time went by He said some things as if He knew her. He knew she desperately wanted to change, but she felt she already blew it, and then He revealed He was the Son of God and she was like, “OMG, I KNEW IT!” Just being in His presence and feeling so loved by the way He sought her out, she shook off her past and ran real fast to tell errbody the Messiah was in town! Many people's lives changed by the testimony that she spoke and this once disgraced woman became the first female Evangelist the world has ever known!

    Let's stop shaming the goodie-two-shoes, especially the ones that came late on that train. People are not born into who they'll become, it takes change to end up that way. So listen up sis, I'm talking to you, don't let anybody tell you who you can be. No matter what you did or what you didn't do, God can help you change if you really want to.

    Do you think it's fair to say that people don't change? Aren't we supposed to #levelup?
    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 Yara Shahidi via IG
    By Kanisha Parks

    There are countless choices of moisturizers vying for our attention, which makes choosing the right moisturizer a daunting task. Are lotions and creams the same thing? Which one is appropriate for your skin type? Keep reading to discover the essentials of a bomb moisturizer and what to consider when shopping for one.

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    So how does a moisturizer work and why do you need it?

    Water originates in the deeper layers of our skin and moves towards the surface of the skin to hydrate cells in the top layer of skin. It is eventually lost to evaporation. To prevent this loss of water, the outermost layer of our skin, the epidermis — has the ability to produce a protective barrier made up of different components that maintain the adequate hydration of skin. Hydrating our skin is key to sustaining its elasticity, preventing infection, avoiding dehydration and chemical damage, and promoting natural shedding of dead skin.

    When our skin is damaged, its repair is dependent upon preventing loss of moisture from the skin. The role of a moisturizer is to reduce water loss by restoring the barrier and increasing hydration in skin with ingredients that are the same or similar to natural components that our skin produces. These ingredients fall under three categories: occlusive, humectant, or emollient ingredients.

    Occlusive ingredients form a physical barrier on the topmost layer of the skin, preventing water loss or evaporation. Humectants attract water into skin cells by drawing moisture from the deeper layers of the skin and rarely from the environment. It makes the skin resistant to drying conditions. Emollients improve the skin’s softness by lubricating and filling in the spaces between rough or dry skin cells, resulting in smooth skin.

    Moisturizing lotions contain 65-85% water and are great for oily skin. Creams contain less water and more oils which are great for normal skin. Ointments are oil-based with minimum amount or no water; they are great for dry skin and locking in moisture.

    Now that you understand the makeup of moisturizers, here are Dermatologist Dr. Adeline N.'s (BrownSkinDerm) recommendations of the top five ingredients to look for in an effective moisturizer:


    Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 
    A key must-have ingredient in moisturizers, hyaluronic acid has a high water binding capacity and holds up to 1,000 times its weight in skin. Unfortunately our skin’s HA decreases with age but may be replenished with HA-containing moisturizers such as in Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Water Gel, which is one of the best HA moisturizers on the shelf. It promotes good skin turgor, makes skin look plump and youthful.



    Glycerin
    A powerful humectant that attracts moisture from the environment and from the deeper layers of the skin to the outermost layer. It also helps keep the skin from losing moisture through evaporation.


    Petrolatum
    A very effective occlusive ingredient widely used in many moisturizers.
    It forms a barrier on the outermost layer of your skin to lock in moisture and is great to use after warm showers to trap moist steam. It can feel greasy and uncomfortable when applied during the day; however, Aquafor’s Advanced Ointment Body Spray is a lightweight, non-greasy formula that allows the skin to lock in hydration.



    Ceramides
    Vital standout ingredients naturally found in all layers of the skin to help retain moisture and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier. Ceramides in skin decline with old age, resulting in dry skin. Great for patients with excema or sensitive, dry skin.

    Cerave is famous for including ceramides in their products and their Cerave Moisturizing Cream is widely loved by dermatologists. It keeps your skin soft and moisturized all day long without making it oily or greasy. I personally have been using Cerave’s moisturizing cream and cleansers for several months now and have noticed a significant increase in my skin’s elasticity and moisture retention. Not to mention my acne is finally under control!


    Alpha Hydroxy Acids
    Comprises of both glycolic & lactic acid that serve not one but two vital skin functions. As humectants, they hydrate skin by drawing moisture from the environment into skin and as exfoliants strip away dead skin to reveal more smooth, brighter and an even complexion. AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion is a great lactic acid-based moisturizer suitable for the entire body, especially acne prone skin.
    L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Dual Overnight Moisturizer with 4% Glycolic acid and CANE + AUSTIN Facial Moisture Cream 10% Glycolic Acid are very effective hydrating products that also help with acne, hyperpigmentation & rejuvenating skin.

    Don’t sleep on the importance of having a proper moisturizer in your skin routine. It will prevent wrinkles and aging skin, keeping your skin looking healthy and youthful no matter the season.

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

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    Ray J & mom Sonja Norwood
    By Mwabi Kaira 

    I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to “our” reality shows; mothers of grown black men stay in their business. First there was Mama Jones on Love and Hip Hop New York, who stayed in Jim Jones and Chrissy’s relationship in the first season back in 2011. She didn’t like not being her son’s number one priority after Chrissy came along, and it doesn’t seem that things have gotten any better since the three of them went on to appear on Marriage Boot Camp. Then there’s Scrappy’s Mama, Momma Dee, on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, who proudly proclaims to be the Queen of Scrappy’s castle in the Atlanta franchise and doesn’t want anyone knocking her off her throne. Not to be outdone, we now have Sonja Norwood, mom to Ray J, and her sidekick Brandy on Love and Hip Hop Hollywood, all up in his business.

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    The bond between mothers and sons is very strong and special. Our natural inclination as mothers is to hold them close forever but we can’t. We have to let them go and change our parenting dynamic once they grow up. When I got divorced 8 years ago, I made a conscious decision to not make my sons my little husbands. They wanted to hang out with me when they saw me at home alone, but I pushed them out to live their lives. I didn’t want us to be so codependent on each other and not know what to do when girlfriends enter the picture.

    Photo via Princess Love IG
    Which brings us to Ray-J, a 37-year-old husband and new father, and Mama Sonja is still right there in the mix. Princess, Ray-J’s wife posts a meme to social media after Ray-J posted some questionable content to his social media disrespecting his pregnant wife. Mama Sonja lets herself in her son’s house and doesn’t admonish him for his poor behavior and disrespect to his wife. Instead, she wants her son to handle his wife so she can stop ruining the “family image” and brand. If that wasn’t enough, Sonja and Brandy both confront Princess at the couple’s gender reveal party.

    Both women must have forgotten the super confidence that comes with being pregnant because Princess lets them have it. Sonja insists on a public apology from Princess and she tells her mother-in-law that she should be demanding that her son apologize to his wife. At one point, Sonja tells Princess to never forget that Ray-J is HER son proving that the reins aren’t going to be loosened anytime soon. The most disturbing part about watching the scene is Ray-J and his father doing very little to stop the ladies from going back and forth. The entire thing could have been over with just one word from either one of them.

    Our jobs as mothers never end whether our sons are 27, 37, or 67. We have to understand that there is a difference between mothering young children and adult children. When our sons leave our homes, we have to trust that we’ve done our jobs and let them come to us when they need us. Being a part of all their decisions as adults and still steering the ship only cripples them. There is no reason to be in the middle of our children’s romantic relationships unless they’re in danger. What the Norwood’s are missing is that in this age of social media, authenticity is key. Being authentic automatically builds and protects the brand. Since the birth of Melody, Ray-J and Princess’s daughter, fans love them even more for sharing their new parenting journey. That’s authenticity at its best and their brand is thriving because of it. No one wants controlled perfection, that was left in the 90’s and 2000’s. Someone let Sonja know. Maybe then she’ll butt out.

    Should Moms butt out of their son's relationship business unless asked?
    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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    "The idea is to simply identify what you are feeling, and then watch that feeling to see what happens. Remarkably, all feelings have inner peace at their root. So when you quietly observe any feeling, you will soon arrive at inner peace.

    If you’re experiencing a very strong emotion, then you will be overtaken by it. You only need to wait until it quiets down a bit and then innocently watch it until it finally dissolves into that quiet, always-available inner peace. If you are negative, don’t try to change what you are feeling. Let your inner peace do that for you. You just need to watch the negative feeling without trying to do anything, and miraculously, your inner peace will shine through.”

    - Frank Kinslow, “Eufeeling”

    I saw a talk where Eckhart Tolle recommends you say, ‘well of course I feel this way!’ whenever a ‘negative’ emotion shows up. Then, instead of resistance, there’s an allowing, a welcoming. Resist your knee jerk reaction to resist, avoid, or judge the ‘negative’ energy. Don’t even label it ‘negative.’ Just look... observe this neutral, intense energy like you’re watching a movie about someone else. Watch that energy move without giving it a story of why it’s there or why it shouldn’t be there, because it is! In that moment, it couldn’t be any other way. So accept that energy movement the way you accept your joy. This acceptance is the healing. This acceptance is the miracle you’ve been hoping for. Finally feel your emotions to #behernow
    -Nikki Walton

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  • 08/09/18--06:39: The Problem with Career Envy

  • By Kaila Kea

    For many women of color, working hard is nothing new. Balancing love, life, and career is natural to you. In fact, you don’t know how to walk away from a challenge without giving it your all. Although this sense of determination can serve us well, it can also drive us toward career envy.

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    Discovering Natural
    Hi Naturals, 

    With the weather being so hot and people taking vacations and needing their hair to not turn from a defined twistout to an Afro in the humid weather, doing styles like crochet twists and braids is an excellent alternative! However, many people feel like they cannot wash their hair while in these styles. I feel that it is crucial to do so. “Out of a healthy scalp, comes healthy hair”... right?

    Here's a video I did showing how I wash my crochet braids after returning from a week-long cruise filled with swimming in chlorine and salt water. Hope it's helpful! -Discovering Natural

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    Do you find it challenging to wash your braids during the summer?

    DiscoveringNatural


    Social Media:
    Natural Hair YouTube: http://youtube.com/DiscoveringNatural
    Twitter: @sawahtwit
    Snapchat: @discovernatural

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    By Erickka Sy Savané

    When news reporter Dana Whyte of Michigan recently took to her twitter account to profess that she had worn her her natural hair on-camera for the first time, ending an internal struggle that had plagued her since the beginning of her career, I thought, "Whoa, baby, we still got work to do!"

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     Dana's Tweet

    So let me say that I was a bit surprised that someone with Dana's loose texture waves was struggling to show them. I mean, when it comes to rocking our natural hair at work, the tendency is to think of afro hair in its more kinky varieties. The fact that this woman struggled with showing her natural waves on TV is a testament that we still have a long way to go. We still have bought into this idea that one drop of kink makes our hair unprofessional and therefore unsuitable for the workplace. So we  hide our authentic selves in exchange for a look we feel can pass the workplace paper bag test.

    Add caption
    And it's kinda interesting when you look at these two photos of Dana because there's not a huge difference in the natural (left) and straightened (right) hairstyles. It makes you wonder, is this idea of no kink at work only in our heads? 

    Well, not so fast....

    Louisville, KY high school ban
    In Louisville, Kentucky, just last year, a high school banned natural hairstyles that it deemed distracting. While ponytails- a more European style- was just fine.


    Pretoria, high school girls via Ebony.com

    There were also the young girls in Pretoria, South Africa who in 2016 had to fight their school to change a long-standing dress code that banned cornrows, braids, locs that are more than a centimeter in diameter, and afros that weren't pushed back or tied up. Many students recall being told that they need to "fix"their hair.




    And let's not forget the on-again-off-again ban on natural hair in the military. 

    So it's no wonder some black women are more than a little squeamish about showing any sign of kink. However, things are changing and natural hair is popping up in places where it hasn't been before... 

    Tweet via Blavity
    I mean, check out news commentator Angela Rye who can now be seen in cornrows, depending on the day...

    Simone Sanders 
    And political analyst Simone Sanders who is taking no prisoners with her bombass fade.

    The truth is, there will always be people against our hair. But it doesn't mean that we can't be our authentic selves, that we can't push the boundaries of what is 'acceptable' at work, school, or the local bar. Kudos to Dana and women of color everywhere who are coming out of the woodwork, proudly showing their kinks, no matter how loose or tight, because it's the only way that our hair will be 'normalized.'

    Do you think that natural hair is becoming more acceptable at work?

    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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    By Kira Sparkles

    After being sick for nearly a week, with no appetite and unable to stomach anything except for a little water, I woke up feeling like an entirely new woman, like I was never sick in the first damn place. I felt radiant and amazing and my mood was sky high! It’s going to sound crazy, but I owe this to a fizzy, fermented tea called Kombucha. It sounds like some white, hippie bullshit but let me wax poetic and make you care for a second.

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    Kombucha is absolutely amazing because first of all, it’s packed with probiotics. You’ve no doubt heard about probiotics because that’s what’s in yogurt (Activia, anyone?). Probiotics are the bacteria that’s good for you, but specifically, good for your gut. We neglect our gut and when that happens it can lead to diarrhea or even IBS. However, making kombucha a regular part of your diet helps fend off against that. But that’s not all! It’s been known to boost your immunity, help digestion and give you a boost of vitamin B, antioxidants and folic acid. Now, I’m not claiming kombucha is some kind of magic cure all, but after being at death’s door for nearly a week, then drinking it for 3 days to find myself feeling refreshed and filled with energy, maybe there’s something to it. After all, it’s nothing new. This drink was traced back to 220 B.C. in China. It’s made from tea, water, sugar and a SCOBY! (That stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It forms as a mushroom-like layer that sits at the top and gives all those benefits.

    Kombucha Scoby
    How does it taste?
    Now I know what you’re thinking, “Kira, that’s cool and all but that sounds like a science project.” I get it. It sounds weird, but I will say if you like ANY kind of alcohol, it ALSO goes through a similar process as kombucha….But I’m not going to lie, the first time I tried kombucha, I didn’t like it. Sometimes kombucha can be too tart or almost have a slight vinegar taste. The only reason I was willing to give it a second try was because the brand I bought from had multiple flavors and there was a sale. In saying all of that and after much trial and error, I would recommend to anyone trying it for the first time to buy a flavor from Synergy called ‘Divine Grape’. It tastes like a less sweet grape soda and is by far my favorite. I also really like Synergy’s ‘Multi Green.’ It’s sweet, mellow and a little nutty. At its best, drinking kombucha is like having a less sweet soda - and could replace soda for you!

    Where can you find it?

    With its growing popularity, the formulas and flavors have only gotten better. You might even be able to find a local business that makes kombucha. In my town, there’s a place that has apple cinnamon kombucha that tastes absolutely incredible. If you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, you could try making it yourself, but if you do that be careful. I’m 100% here for the DIY life, but make sure to follow any recipe you find carefully and sanitize everything you use to avoid bad bacteria. Otherwise, you can find kombucha just about anywhere. Even Walmart is carrying kombucha now. It usually costs two or three bucks per bottle at most. Really, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    To everyone who’s brave enough after this article to try it, sound off! To those of you who are kombucha veterans, testify! Cheers, and here’s to your health!
    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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    Photo Getty Images
    By Victoria Uwumarogie

    Gabrielle Union has spoken unabashedly about her fertility issues, including her attempts to conceive using IVF, the multiple miscarriages she’s had, and not giving up completely on having children with husband Dwyane Wade. During a conversation at the 2018 #BlogHer Conference this week, the 45-year-old revealed that she found out after years of trying and some terrible menstrual cycles, that she has a condition called adenomyosis that could be having an impact on her fertility.


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