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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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    Serena Williams
    By Brenda Alexander

    Serena Williams is #Goals...in every way. She’s fit physically, strong mentally, a pioneer in an industry that never saw it for black women and she comes off as an overall kind human being - which is hard to come by in life. Adding the titles of wife and mother have brought out a new side of Serena that fans were never privy to. She’s become more confident, not that she ever lacked in that department, at least not when it comes to the game of tennis. But, there’s a new layer of confidence to her now. She speaks her mind and shares her experiences to be an example for others, and it’s working. Just this week alone, she’s made headlines for everything from sports, to parenting and being a bomb woman. Here are 5 reasons why Serena is killing it.

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    1. Not Easily Broken

    Who knew that a fitness jumpsuit would be considered “too much of a distraction?” Apparently, the male powers that be who run the French Open. Nevermind the fact that the late, great Flo-Jo wore one legged catsuits in her day and remained on top of her game. After wearing a NIKE bodycon catsuit during a match, Serena was told that they’d be banned at future games. I guess a black woman’s curves is overwhelming to the eye. Adding insult to injury, it was revealed later that Serena wore the custom designed one-piece for circulatory support after having surgery to remove multiple blood clots following a C-section. But like a boss, Serena remained unfazed, showing up on the first day of the U.S. Open rocking a custom-designed black tutu, a collaboration between Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh and Nike, with those thighs and all of their amazing thickness out for the world to see. She showed up, showed out and of course added another win to her multitude of wins.

    2. TIME Magazine Slay

    Those biceps and toned stomach are on full display as the tennis great graces the cover of TIME Magazine. But, what’s most impressive is her ability to be honest and vulnerable about her experience as a known legend in the sport she’s dominated for her entire career and how her ability has been affected since becoming a mom. Despite losing a recent match, she expressed her intense desire to get back on the court just 5 months after a life-altering birthing experience to inspire other working moms. "I dedicated that to all the moms out there who've been through a lot," she said during the interview. "Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months. If I can do it, you guys can do it too." Ever the determined one with a winning mindset, she refuses to allow one loss to define her. "I'm not done yet,” she said. “My story doesn't end here.”

    3. Non-conforming to Traditional Ideas of Motherhood
    At a press conference surrounding the U.S. Open, Serena explained why she and husband Alexis Ohanian aren’t planning a party for their daughter who is set to turn 1 this weekend. “Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays,” said Williams. “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.” While many would cave into what the world feels one should do for their child, she stands true to her roots and beliefs. She also shys away from gender roles when it comes to parenting, enlists the help of her mother with caring for her daughter (using a nanny as a last resort), and takes baby Olympia with her when she travels. I’m jealous the baby has more passport stamps and IG travel photo opps than me. Go Serena for giving Olympia a head start on becoming well-cultured!

    4. She Stays Grounded Through Her Family
    We all know that her father coached her to become the G.O.A.T. that she is and she makes it a point to to keep her family close to her. She posted several video montages as part of her partnership with NIKE this week, giving viewers a look into her journey to greatness. In one of the videos, her father is seen training her with the goal of her one day competing at the U.S. Open. Instilling those seeds in his daughter manifested into 72 career singles titles, 23 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles. Despite her success, she documents her close familial ties almost daily with photos and videos of her parents and sister.

    5. She’s a Champion for Gun Control
    Serena with sister Yetunde Price
    In a new interview with People, Serena spoke openly about the release of her sister’s murderer and how her death continues to affect her. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me. But also … the Bible talks about forgiveness.” The Williams sisters opened the Yetunde Price Resource Center in 2016, a center whose mission in-part “honors the life and legacy of its namesake by supporting individuals, families, and children in Southern Los Angeles affected by trauma.”

    Can't wait to see what's next!

    Share what you love about Serena!
    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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    @naturalhaircolor
    By Janell Hickman

    Color is having a moment this summer.
    Whether tame or wild, all of your faves are switching up their looks—and we can barely keep up! But while it’s always fun to try a new look, the summer season can be notoriously hard on your hair—think sun, salt and chlorine—especially after your strands have undergone a strenuous chemical process like going blonde. To help manage it all, we caught up with a few A-list stylists whose clientele lists include everyone from Amanda Seales to Jennifer Hudson to give us the tea on how to maintain our color well into fall (and maybe even longer!)

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    @moemelanin
    By Winnie Gaturu

    Standard school supplies are often plain and boring. The ones that are a bit more vibrant tend to be way above the normal price list. In addition, most of these supplies do not have themes that resonate with black kids. However, there’s an increase in the number of black-owned companies that target their own communities even in the school supplies sector. Moe Melanin LLC is one of these companies.

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    Started in 2016, Moe Melanin LLC is an online store that sells school supplies intended to motivate and empower kids in the black community. I’m sure you’re wondering how simple school supplies can do all that! Well, their products have images of black people drawn on them both young and old, all being fabulous as they carry out their day-to-day activities. Since kids will definitely use the supplies everyday while in school or homeschool, they’ll be constantly reminded that they are beautiful and they can be successful in life.

    Moe Melanin LLC was started by a young black married couple residing in Monroe, Louisiana. (That’s one stereotype broken right there!) The pair, Terrence Price and Constance Price saw the need to empower black kids through what they use most, school supplies! At the time, both were students at the University of Lousiana Monroe. They operate the company from their home with each item being made by hand.



    Perhaps their most outstanding product is the notebook. One glimpse of them and you'll be hooked. The covers show colorful images of black men and women in different professions. There are doctors, teachers, nurses, business people, astronauts, students and many more. The people on the covers also don different hairstyles that are common amongst black people, like afros and braids. The main aim of doing this is to make black kids aware that they have many more career options available to them. That they don’t have to limit themselves to the typical careers in sports and music. Not that sports and music are bad, but there are many more options to explore. It is also great when kids see people that look like them on the covers of these notebooks.



    Moe Melanin LLC has been experiencing a steady growth rate since they began. They receive close to 1,000 orders per month. The numbers keep increasing as more people learn about their wonderful products. The vibrant and colorful nature of their products cannot be ignored. Their customers are extremely happy with what Moe Melanin has to offer. Here’s a supper hilarious review from @supa_cent.

    One of the greatest challenges the founders have encountered is meeting the rising demand. However, they’re hell-bent on ensuring that they don’t disappoint their customers. Although Moe Melanin LLC is a small company, it has a great future and is already touching the lives of many. Hopefully, their products will make many more black kids smile and encourage them to diversify their career options. This might one day lead to a higher presence of black people in all types of careers.

    Will you be buying Moe Melanin's school supplies for your kids?
     https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DnsMSFjLFNw/We9aV3iBeiI/AAAAAAAADII/F9HbMPX6PfYe6aCJqc-eDi3Wgmu41YE4wCLcBGAs/s1600/Winnie%2BG..jpg
    Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her.

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    Evelyn Lozada
    By Brenda Alexander

    I knew the moment Evelyn Lozada signed on to be an official cast member of Basketball Wives again that the “work” she claimed she put in to “fix her life” with Iyanla was shot to shit. After all, why would you retreat from having your own show that depicted your life as a mom, businesswoman and future wife back to an environment that once involved you belittling your castmates and throwing a wine bottle at a coworker? After the last episode of the franchise in which she made fun of her castmate’s race with a stereotypical name, I was proven right.

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    CeCe Guitierrez
    On Sunday night’s show, viewers watched as Evelyn referred to CeCe Gutierrez as “Lee Lee.” Gutierrez, who is of Asian descent, was perplexed. When another cast member told her she said it to compare her to “the nail shop girl,” it was clear that the comment was racist. For a person who apparently live tweets during every episode of the show, Evelyn was mute until she posted a statement partnered with a video apology for her remarks.

     The apology came too little too late. Fans had already issued a petition to get her kicked off the show. This isn’t the first. After Season 4 featured Evelyn bullying her castmates both verbally and physically- i.e. hitting someone with a clutch upside her head and lunging across the table of that said person amongst other things that happened in previous seasons - fans called for cancellation of the show. An apology wasn’t thought of until the unfortunate domestic violence incident that Evelyn experienced at the hands of her ex-husband. Afterwards, Evelyn went on a campaign of transformation. She left Basketball Wives after Season 5, where she largely cried the entire season and was shown in therapy trying to piece her life back together. She appeared on Fix My Life twice, pre and post the domestic violence incident, where she expressed remorse for her behavior and the desire to change her mean girl ways. Soon enough, she moved to LA and OWN began to document the “new” Evelyn with Living Lozada: a working mom, engaged to a new man (they have since broken up) who was rebuilding her brand and empire. The show was cancelled after two seasons and she headed back to VH1, resurfacing her old ways.

    Jackie Christie
    The argument between Evelyn and CeCe is not isolated. Last season, she fought weekly with Jackie Christie after inserting herself into family drama with Jackie and her eldest daughter. Despite Jackie’s pleas for her to stay out of their business, she continued, leading to an almost physical brawl between the two after Jackie retaliated and made disparaging remarks about Evelyn’s daughter.

    In previous seasons, Evelyn has always operated within conflict with another. She taunted former castmate Suzie Ketcham after their friendship deteriorated and did the same to Jennifer Williams and Royce Reed. The ever evolving rift between she and Tami Roman was clear from the beginning, with Evelyn never being interested in Tami being apart of their “inner circle” as she viewed her as classless with no fashion sense. So vein. The issue however, is that Evelyn seeks out what she perceives as weaker antagonists. But, once someone hits back slightly harder, she plays victim. And boy she loves to cry.

    Take the recent drama with she and Tami as an example. After Tami expressed her true feelings about what she believed to have gone on in Evelyn’s marriage, Evelyn went on a PR campaign to label Tami as a victim shamer. She posted old photos from her injuries, interview clips post the fallout, testimonials from other domestic abuse survivors and so on. Could Tami have refrained from using that situation as a weapon? Yes. But, she failed to acknowledge the years of attacks she threw Tami’s way in regards to her appearance and what she viewed as “ghetto” behavior. And unfortunately, all is fair in love and war.

    For Evelyn to even resort to such a low blow with CeCe is unfathomable considering her reaction to Tami’s jab. CeCe didn’t say anything near as damaging to even provoke such an attack. Furthermore, Evelyn has been doing work to raise funds and awareness to those affected during the hurricane in Puerto Rico as she herself is a person of color. So, she should know better.

    But none of this surprises me. It’s been brewing for some time and shows that she only lived life in a positive light as an attempt to do damage control for the mess she played a huge part in creating. It was never real but instead a farce. She resorted to her true self once she no longer had the cushion of an athlete’s income and sold her soul for ratings and an extension of the 5 minutes of fame she desperately attempted to hide from after the failure of her marriage and ensuing criticism that came as a result. You Evelyn, never changed. And you’re too old to continue the shits. You have children, a daughter specifically, who watches your every move and is subjected to whatever judgement targeted at her as a direct result of your antics. Give it up.

    Can a mean girl change?
    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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    NickyBNatural
    Okay, ya'll, our girl NickyBNatural went all in and tried this DIY Rhassoul clay mask and the results are just amazing! Now what is Rhassoul clay and what can it do for you? Check out the video! And drop us a comment 😊.

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    By Veronica Wells

    From the time I was born until around middle school, my parents had a huge waterbed. I loved this bed. It was temperature controlled so it was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you’ve ever slept in a waterbed, you know that they cradle you. We loved our parents’ waterbed so much that they bought me and my sister twin size ones for our rooms. And then one day, the waterbed, my parents’ waterbed was going.

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    My parents drained the water from it, broke down the wooden frame and headboard that came with it. It was a change I wasn’t ready for and when I asked my mom why they decided to get rid of their waterbed, she said,
    “It was time. You know that’s the same bed your dad had when he was single. So you already know what was happening on that bed. We should have gotten a new one as soon as we got married.”
     No doubt. In their case, the marriage bed had been defiled.

    After over a decade of marriage, I’m sure there was no residual…anything left on that mattress; still the idea that the bed my father shared with other women would be the one he started his marriage with is—symbolically…off. Still, they made it work.

    Fast forward to earlier this week.

    My fiancé and I are moving into our first apartment together. And after waking up and getting dressed for work, he asks, “Did your ex ever sleep in this bed?”

    My intuition is spot on. I just be knowing. I assumed he was going to ask me this question years ago. But here it was now. I always knew I would tell him the truth, mostly because there was nothing to tell.

    “Yeah he did. But we didn’t do anything.”

    When I tell y’all nothing. I mean nothing. He slept on top of the covers, I slept underneath them, with my comforter balled up in between us. I had goals I was trying to reach and he was kind enough to accommodate. Nothing happened.

    “I think we should get a new bed.”

    My fiancé knows the story of my mom and dad and he brought up the similarities. But me abstaining and my dad…not…were two entirely different scenarios. And while he tried to draw a parallel I had to let him know it was a different situation, entirely. He knows that. I reminded him of that.

    Still, he said he wanted a new bed.

    I was just about to turn up, ask him if he thought I was lying, tell him how much I spent on the bed (I did do that, actually), go in. But I chilled. After all, I’d had that mattress since 2011. It was time for a new one. But I told him that since it was his idea to get a new bed, that he should be the one to pay for it…at least half of it.

    He argued a fresh start should come with a fresh bed, and that didn’t have anything to do with who might have slept in the bed before him…So he says...But honestly, I can’t be mad at that.

    But the whole thing made me think about the concept of things, particularly things that may have been involved with past relationships. Is it possible to take the loaded meanings out of them? When is our preoccupation with symbolism and the past obsessive versus reasonable?

    *********

    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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    Berry Smith
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Let's face it. Will Smith is a clown. Always has been. If you were a fan of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air you'll love him as King of The Gram. He makes us laugh while poking fun at himself and his family, reminding his 21.4 million instagram followers not to take life so seriously. He also drops a few gems of wisdom along the way too. Check out 5 of his greatest IG moments!

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    1. No One is Safe
    A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on
    We all clown on family, so it's just fun to see Will is just like us, going IN on his Cousin Ricky! Seriously tho, were the shorts too much?

    2. He Knows His Way Around an App
    When Will posted this photo of him and Halle Berry 'together' for her birthday all we could say was let's just hope she never grows a goattee and he never grows long hair! 

    3. He Overshares
    A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on
    Will Smith turns even the most mundane moments into an IG party! In this viral video he's clearly infringing upon the family's quiet time, but what does he care? Jada was so embarrassed by the way she looked in the vid that she clapped back, posting this sexy selfie that would also go viral. They need to stop, lol.

    3. He's Vulnerable

    Even uber stars like Will Smith get scared when confronted with who they could be...nice that he would let us in on his not-so-stellar moments. Kinda makes ya wonder what Mandela would have shared...but sometimes it's just in the lesson.

    5. He Passes it On
    Perhaps Will learned something from his encounter with Mandela that allowed him to pass that wisdom down to Willow. When you get scared, just do it. Whatever IT is. Now go and be somebody!

    What do you enjoy about Will Smith?
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  ErickkaSySavane.com

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    Chazzzisawesome
    If you've ever had an inflamed scalp you know it can feel like a bunch of tiny little ants having a field day on your head! Sadly, scratching only makes it worse. Well, the good news is you don't have to ignore it. Vlogger Chazzzisawesome lives up to her name with this easy DIY tutorial that will have your scalp feeling good as new! If you like it please subscribe, comment and share it with a friend!




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    Photo Swizzbeatz IG
    By Mwabi Kaira

    What rapper and producer Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) thought was an appreciation post to his wife Alicia Keys and a message to men, turned left with a quickness last week. 

    Swizz posted,
    “Attention all MEN. You shouldn’t be jealous or upset if you have a Queen that’s successful, smarter or better than you! What you should do is thank the most high or step your game up! I can’t stand when I see brothers jealous of the lady they’re with. That ish is very weak. #Realtalk Ladies keep doing you.” 
    Swizz & Alicia in Egypt
    I read it as I was scrolling my timeline and gave a nod in agreement and also loved the picture accompanying the caption. Swizz and Alicia are in an Egyptian desert looking royal with pyramids in the background.

    Before long, the post and caption had made the Shaderoom and the comments were on fire. Some chastised Swizz for only showing appreciation to Alicia and not the other mothers of his children. And then everyone dug up how he left his ex-wife Mashonda for Alicia and that Alicia was a homewrecker. Swizz and Alicia have been married since 2010 and have two kids. Yes, it was a messy situation and Mashonda did feel betrayed back when she appeared on Love & Hip Hop in 2011. To be fair, it was a fresh situation and she was still dealing with it as anyone would. It’s been 7 years and Mashonda and Alicia are now friends. Swizz and Mashonda successfully co-parent. Mashonda frequently goes on family vacations with her son, Swizz, Alicia and their children. They have clearly moved on and are living their best lives. Why then are we still stuck in their 2010 lives if they are not?

    Mashonda, Alicia & Swizz
    Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston haven’t been married since 2005 and have both been married and divorced to different people since then and yet people still get upset at their situation. We’re still stuck in 2005 when they’re not. And it's not only celebrities. How are we still mad at our homegirl’s man for something he did in college when they’ve been married for 17 years and have two whole kids? Why do we continually stay mad at situations that don’t concern us? Some might argue that these people should leave us out of their business in the first place if they don’t want us in it and that is true to an extent. However, our only job is to be listening ears for the ones we love as they vent. We have to find a way to not hold on to their venting sessions and mean mug and roll our eyes at the people they are venting about after they’ve moved on and are in love again. It’s not healthy for one and it does nothing for our mental state. How do we look still mad when they're happy?

    We have to learn to give the grace we want to receive. We live in a culture that promotes groupthink and the fear of missing out even when it comes to popular opinions. Having an unpopular opinion or not caring about pop culture events can make you feel like the odd one out, but it is very necessary. I feel most alive and in touch with my senses when I go against the grain. It makes me feel like I’m using my brain and not just going with the flow. I have seen people get so worked up arguing about celebrities and it saddens me to no end that they have that much passion for people who don’t know their names. Literally, shooting another human being because you disagree with who they think should play Aretha Franklin in her biopic should never be a way of life. I’ll be honest, I see things online about celebrities that I disagree with and want to have entire discussions about with my friends, but I have learned to just exhale and move on to the next thing that can actually bring value to my life. I’m a silver lining kind of girl and I know that before long whatever everyone is talking about will come full circle and there will be a lesson in it. I know, it’s so Pollyanna of me but it has served me well and kept me from unnecessary messiness. Let people live, give them the grace they deserve, and leave their business to them.

    Do you think we stay too much in other people's business?
    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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    Aretha Franklin
    By Brenda Alexander

    We have all heard, or watched, the multi-day memorial plus 8-hour funeral in celebration of our beloved Aretha Franklin. Her life and legacy goes far beyond music. As Rolling Stone put it, “Aretha’s voice sang across decades of change and turmoil for black America.” Her mission outside of music to fight for the advancement of our people will be forever cherished and integrated in history books beyond her vocal catalogue. The musical tributes and eulogies were for the books, but analyzing it from a conscious standpoint, you’ll come to realize just how monumental her death is. As a pioneer in the fight for black freedom and equality, Aretha was no ordinary entertainer. Here are the ways in which Re-Re’s passing brings our ancestry full circle.

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    Her memorial date (August 28) was the anniversary of three key moments in history: 
    1. I Have A Dream
    Probably the most studied and recited speech of all time, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous and legendary “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. The speech is known as the defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement but what’s even more interesting is that the leader of one of the most pivotal movements of our history had close ties to the greatest vocalists to cross generations. R-E-S-P-E-C-T was released in 1967 and classified as the anthem of the civil rights movement. King and the SCLC awarded her with her own day, “Aretha Franklin Day,” which was approved by the city’s mayor, for her efforts during the movement. Ironically, King was killed in Aretha’s hometown of Memphis, TN. She honored him with a rendition of Precious Lord, Take and at his funeral and claimed that the time she traveled with him during the voting rights campaign changed her life.

    2. Obama Accepts the Presidential Nomination in 2008 for the Democratic Party
    Our President Barack Obama said that she "rocked the world of anyone who had the pleasure of hearing her voice" in a letter that was read during her funeral. He would know, as he requested her performance during his inauguration in January 2009 and witnessed the magic of all that is Aretha Franklin. How ironic that on the anniversary of his democratic acceptance speech for presidency, one of her memorials was held.

    3. Emmett Till's Lynching
    The story of Emmett Till will be shared from generation to generation and is known as the incident that triggered the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, a movement that Aretha lent her finances and time to support. Till was 14 at the time of his lynching. With the Queen reportedly having two sons by the age of 16, I’m sure his murder resonated with her from a maternal standpoint and made her want to be involved in creating real change.

    Not your average hearse

    The ivory, two-door 1940 Cadillac LaSalle that transported Ms. Franklin’s body to and from the memorial and funeral also transported her beloved father, the legendary pastor and civil rights figure, Rev. C.L. Franklin, during his services in 1984. That same hearse carried musical icon David Ruffin of the Temptations in 2005, whom Franklin crossed paths with during her work with the movement.

    Resting Place
    Her services were held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the same place where Rosa Parks’ public memorial was. With her close ties to important moments in our history, it was only fitting. Interestingly enough, Aretha was raised and loved her life in Detroit, the motor city and home of Motown Records, the birthplace of chart topping black soul and pop music. Ironically, Aretha never recorded as a Motown artist. She did however perform at the 20th Anniversary Special for Motown. To solidify the world’s love for her even more, over 100 pink Cadillac’s filled the streets outside of her funeral as an homage to her song “Freeway of Love” where she sings about cruising in a pink Cadillac. Not bad for a woman who would stay loyal to the motor city until she passed.

    Notable Attendees
    Aretha Franklin’s funeral was reminiscent of the guest list of Oprah’s Legend Ball, just with men. I remember watching that ball in my tweens and was so moved by the black elite in entertainment, education and politics and yearning to make that type of impact. Obviously, Aretha did. Because when you attract former Presidents, Civil Rights leaders, evangelists and beyond - you know you did the damn thing. Everyone including Bill Clinton, Maxine Waters, Cicely Tyson, Stevie Wonder, The Clark Sisters and throwing in the youngins Jennifer Hudson (whom Ms. Franklin personally requested to play her in her biopic) and Fantasia. Anyone watching better had been in front of their TV sets in their Sunday's best with a handkerchief across their knee and a church fan because Re-Re deserved such!

    Do you feel our legendary Aretha had a proper home going?
    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 Ta-Ning Connai

    First, I'd like to give my sincere condolences and a heartfelt prayer for all the rappers and rap critics that got slaughtered by Eminem on his unexpected sneak attack album, Kamikaze, on August 31:


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    May you Rest In Peace and know better never to cross that crazy boy ever again. May many of you always be remembered for being lyrically murdered for being lyrically wack. May the Lord forgive you other fools for not keeping Em’s name out ya mouth. In closing, may others learn from your mistakes and may your humiliation end soon. Oh and may you have enough sense to not try and diss him back. Amen.

    Slim Shady is back for his spot as one of the G.O.A.T in Hip Hop and he’s throwing shade, being petty and spilling tea like no one else can. Never a fan of subliminal suggestions, he went on a name-dropping shooting spree, making sure every single bit of venom he spewed stung each enemy individually...Charlamagne tha God, Joe Budden, Migos and many other casualties got blown to smithereens by the white boy with the mad skills. For anyone who thought the 45-year-old rapper was too old for this, the career some thought was practically dead has officially been resurrected!

    A lot had been said about Marshall Mathers. Some question whether he would be as successful if he were just another black rapper; some say he’s just another white person stealing from black culture; more than a few say he’s crazy, twisted, dark and demented and the positive accolades are equivalent to brilliance no doubt. But I happen to think, above all else, that the musical icon is incredibly courageous.

    Hip Hop is a genre of music mainly dedicated to an exaggerated claim of greatness. And while Eminem doesn't shy away from giving himself praise, he’s most known for being honest enough to air his dirty laundry COMPLETELY out in his lyrics, saying the kind of things only therapists are trusted to hear...dysfunctional upbringing, disdain for his moms, a near overdose, OCD, bad breakups and more…he’s got a ton of baggage just like many of us, only he doesn't keep his behind closed doors.

    Not Afraid, the single from Eminem’s 2010 album Recovery, touches on the bravest thing yet...his serious bout with drug addiction and his desire to be completely free:

    “And I just can't keep living this way

    So starting today

    I'm breaking out of this cage

    I'm standing up, I'mma face my demons

    I'm manning up, I'mma hold my ground

    I've had enough, now I'm so fed up

    Time to put my life back together right now”

    Eminem has been sober for 10 long years! Now that’s what I call true courage indeed.

    Joshua and Caleb from the Bible weren’t famous rappers, but they were some pretty bold dudes nonetheless (Numbers 13-14)...God had promised a pricey piece of land to Moses and his entire crew. The only problem was that the people already living there wasn't trying to hear all that. So, an unavoidable fight was about to go down. Moses was like, “I’m sending some of y’all to go peep out the land, come back and tell me what's up. But don't be scared and y’all better not forget to bring me some of that big fruit they got!”

    So all these men from Moses camp are sweating by what they see. They go back to Moses like a bunch of punks, “That place fly as it could be! But the people are huge, man, they'll eat us alive, we’re like grasshoppers to them, we won’t survive!”

    They literally started crying and carrying on, it was an absolute crying shame. But Joshua and Caleb broke out from the crowd and made a very bold claim. “We can take them fools, we got what it takes as long as God has our back. He already said He’ll give us the land, so why y’all buggin’ out like that?”

    You're not gonna believe what happened next, God was oh so pissed! He said, “Except for Caleb and Josh, y’all gonna die here in the wilderness!” It ended up being 40 more years before the Promise Land came to pass, but Joshua and Caleb led a new generation; their courage was built to last (Joshua 1-24).

    Whether it's something you need to move forward with or perhaps you just need to walk away, the boldness to do it doesn't quite come until some kind of faith move is made. It may be work, it may be school or it may be relational stuff; whatever it is, it all can change with a little bit of guts.

    Maybe Em’s audacity to start a hip hop rivalry didn’t hit ‘til he penned the first note. And maybe Joshua and Caleb were still scared ‘til they stood up in front of those folks. God didn't give you a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind and the only way fear will run away is if you kick it in the behind! So come on, go pick up that phone or drive to that certain place, ‘cause like I said, courage will come if you just step out in faith!

    When have you stepped out on faith and things worked out better than you could have imagined?
    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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    Via Aevin Gugas IG

    By Erickka Sy Savané

    We love Guinness World Record holder for biggest afro Aevin Dugas. She was one of our Naturally Glam picks and the CurlyNikki community showed her beaucoup love! But not everyone was feeling the love recently when she shared her views about straightening kids' hair for 'special occasions.' Who knows, maybe it was the "Ya welcome" at the end of the tweet, but some folks were hot as fish grease!

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    Not so thrilled commenters:
    • corseiHow about girls do what they want with their hair?! All they need to know is they are beautiful and special natural or whatever way they want their hair. Do what you want for you. But not for anyone else
    • mskendra1913Maybe it’s less about looking “special” and more about looking different than you normally wear your hair. The opposite is also true....For example: many women put more curls in their hair for special occasion. I try to LET PEOPLE LIVE and fix their child’s hair or their own hair how they please.
    Still others agreed:
    • teachingclassThis is exactly why I didn't straighten it for my wedding. Straight hair is not necessarily for special occasions, but for random days where rain is not in the forecast 😂
    • blessed_brandi73I made this mistake with my daughter and now she refuses to wear her hair in it's natural state. I'm a witness this is a huge MISTAKE!
    • ms_twisted_n_turnedI had the same thought and conversation with my daughter when I returned to natural. I apologized for making her think that her hair should be straight for special occasions.
    • naturallykrichSo glad you said this. I was graduating from 8th grade and wanted my hair to look “special” so I had it relaxed. Continued this for 20 years. Been back to natural for 4 years now. My natural hair is so much more special 💜
    Aevin was quick to send out another tweet to try to clear up any misinterpretations:

    I don't know if errrrrbody heard her though. Personally, I am in total agreement. It's not about whether you have the right to do what you want to with your kid's hair. Of course, you do. But don't shoot the messenger, it's about the actual message in this case. I recall last summer going to a funeral Down South and the family made a point of getting the granddaughter of the deceased hair straightened for the occasion. She was about 5 years old and I remember thinking, "Oh brother, they seriously feel that straight hair is the way to honor the dead?" As if her grandad was in the coffin saying, 'boy, your hair sure looks proper!' It is the wrong message. Do straight hair when and because you want to do, but don't do it to your kids for weddings, funerals, graduations, ribbon cuttings, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, candle-lightings and so on and think that they won't associate straight with special or straight with better. Then we're right back where we started pre-natural hair movement.

    But, hey, that's just us. How do you feel?

    Does straightening hair for 'special occasions' send the wrong message to kids or are we making something out of nothing?
     
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  ErickkaSySavane.com

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    Photo: Geoffrey Owens IG
    By Brenda Alexander

    Erykah Badu said it best when she sang, “Work ain’t honest but it pays the bills.” In the context of her song, she was referencing selling drugs, but those lyrics can apply to every walk of life as we’ve all found ourselves in work spaces that weren’t at the top of our vision board or what others perceived we should be doing. That’s what sparked the recent outpouring of love for former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens, whom an ignorant fan tried to blast for earning a decent living when a photo she took of him working at Trader Joe's went viral. 

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    The culprit later did an interview with none other than FOX News and said she “felt bad for him” and that he looked “unhappy.” Oh girl, not only are you rude, but you made assumptions.


    But alas, the internet saved the day. This could have easily turned into a national roast session where he was degraded for his cashier gig but thanks to so many who have been through the struggle themselves, a new movement was started in honor of him and all blue collar workers.

    Many, in and out of the entertainment industry, came to his defense with the following posts, even dedicating Labor Day to him:


    But ever the humble one, Geoffrey responded with the following on his IG:
    He also appeared on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts this morning to talk about how overwhelming the support has been...
    “I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short because so shortly after that, the responses, my wife and I started to read these responses from like literally all over the world of support and so, fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long.”
    He says he's more of a celebrity now than before this happened, but he hopes there's a greater lesson that can be learned.
    "This business of being the Cosby guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe's will pass. What I hope doesn't pass is this rethinking of what it means to work, the honor and dignity of the working person. I hope we can re-evaluate this idea that some jobs are better than others. It's not true. Some jobs pay better. It may have better benefits, it might look better on a resume, but it's not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable."
    He also stated that while a lot of attention has been thrown his say, his work situation hasn't changed. But still he says,
    "Don't feel sorry for me. I've had a great life. A great career. I've had a career that most actors would die for. I'm doing fine."
    A salute to social media for turning a negative into a positive and pushing Geoffrey further into the limelight for good reason. I’m sure this will open new doors and a resurgence that’s well-deserved! And to all those in the plight of dream chasing, stay the course and continue to put in the work! Your time is coming!

     Do you find dignity in work, even if it's not your ideal job?
    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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    Photo: xoNecole
    By Kandice Guice

    Just in case you missed the memo, deep conditioners can often be the curl savior your hair desperately needs. You might be surprised by the results you receive by simply incorporating the right products into your weekly wash regimen. Sometimes, knowing where to start is half of the battle. That's why I'm showcasing 5 deep conditioners that will help curly girls solve all of their curl woes. Here goes:

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    Swizz Beatz, wife Alicia Keys, Ex-wife Mashonda & Kids
    By Mwabi Kaira

    No one sets out thinking they will raise their kids by co-parenting, but life happens. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Sheree Zampino have been the faces of the co-parenting and blended family for over 2 decades now. More celebrity couples have joined the ranks including Neyo, wife Crystal Smith and mother of his two oldest children Monyetta Shaw, Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys and ex-wife Mashonda, Martin Lawrence, ex-wife Pat Smith and new husband Emmitt Smith and second ex-wife Shamicka Lawrence to name a few. What these couples have shown us is that co-parenting can be done and doesn’t have to be as difficult as we are sometimes shown.

    I watched a video in dismay of a mother refusing to allow the father of their child from taking their child because she wanted to put the child in the car seat. When he said he could put the child in without her assistance she said he couldn’t take the kid. He had visitation and had to make a video showing it as proof. My name is not Iyanla but I could tell from this 5-minute video that this whole exchange had nothing to do with the car seat or the child, but everything to do with unresolved issues between these two parents. The misconception about co-parenting is that it comes easy. It does not. It has to be worked at. There are feelings of disappointment, betrayal, and failure that have to be worked through. Couples that are able to work through these feelings while still keeping their kids first are couples that are successful at co-parenting. Issues arise and grow and cannot be repaired when parents can’t put their feelings aside. If there is anger and resentment then it shows up by not allowing interaction with the children and being very petty about it as evidenced by the car seat couple. Children suffer the most when it is so unnecessary, they did not ask to be here and all they asked for was to be loved.

    Statistics show that one in three Americans is now some form of step-parent, stepchild, step sibling or other member of a blended family. This is our new reality. Psychology Today lists some do’s and don’ts for co-parenting. Do’s include open dialogue with the co-parent and being on the same team as far as rules and behavioral guidelines. Kids will always look for loopholes and try to play parents against each other whether they are together or not so parents have to have that united front to combat that. The biggest don’ts from Psychology Today are not speaking negatively about the other parent to the child and not allowing your child to get away with things just because of guilt.
    Will Smith, wife Jada, Ex-wife Sharee, her former husband and the Kids
    I have been co-parenting for 8 years now and my biggest lesson has been staying true to myself. Will and Jada put a face on something I’ve always known I’d do if ever put in that position. I didn’t allow my core to change because of circumstance. My sons have been my biggest priority since the day they were born and I did not allow divorce to change that. I always made sure to do my part regardless of what was coming from the other side when feelings were still being sorted out. Because we live in different states, I send text messages of grades, calls from teachers, videos of plays on the football field, when they get drivers licences, first jobs, and any and every milestone of importance to their father. I involve him in discipline decisions. We have made sure that we are on the same page on our decision making. Our sons are 17 and almost 19 now and we are nowhere done with parenting, we will be their parents for as long as we are alive. We will just move into this new stage of parenting with them; there’s college, adulthood, relationships, and grandbabies in our future and we will have to navigate these new waters as co-parents.

    Both Mashonda Tifrere (ex-wife of Swizz Beatz) and Monyetta Shaw have upcoming books on co-parenting releasing this Fall. Mashonda’s book is called Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family with a foreword from Alicia Keys and will be released on October 2nd. Monyetta Shaw’s book is called Keep It Classy: Co-Parenting Strategies for Unstoppable Moms and Devoted Dads with a foreword by Neyo and will be released this Fall. So you see, co-parenting is very possible if you have willing parties.

    Do you co-parent? Did your parents co-parent?

    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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    Bobby Brown
    By Brenda Alexander

    From the moment the promo for The Bobby Brown Story dropped that opened with the original Bad Boy of R&B snorting a line of cocaine (seriously BET, y’all couldn’t think of anything else) and featured his classic pelvic thrusting performances, I knew we would get his raw unfiltered truth. We’ve anticipated a biopic for years. He hasn’t had the best reputation with unfairly catching the slack for the dismantling of New Edition, and the deaths of Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina. But he’s stayed strong, cleaned himself up after years of addiction, and has reinvented himself as an artist, family and businessman.

    Nevertheless, the first of a two-part TV movie didn’t disappoint. I scanned twitter for reactions; and, of course twitter’s commentary surpassed any recap. Here are the top moments that had Twitter losing it:

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    Hoes In Different Area Codes
    Bobby had women...and babies...in damn near every city. That’s an exaggeration, but he got around. There were threesomes on movie sets and sex after concerts. When he sang humpin’ around he was clearly speaking of personal experience. And where were the condoms?! Obviously absent as by 16, he had his eldest son and two more over a short time frame- one of whom was conceived during his engagement to Whitney. His brother and manager Tommy, tried his best to keep things in line, even going as far as keeping in touch with the mothers of Bobby’s children and sending gifts as if they were from Bobby for birthdays when Bobby forgot. Oh Bobby.



    Let Bobby tell it, Ms. Jackson was Nasty
    Apparently, Twitter didn’t read his memoir because this caught them off guard. According to Bobby, he and Janet Damita Jo Jackson had a rendezvous, one that included secret hotel sex since Janet was engaged to a DeBarge at the time. His family and friends knew while Janet kept Bobby as a side piece, leaving Bobby to believe she was embarrassed of not just his bad boy image but also his darker complexion. He did a pop up at Janet’s house while her future husband was home and Janet did not take that well, but she arranged for them to hook up elsewhere. Bobby wanted more. The book details a time where he actually kicks her out of a hotel room. That was left out of the movie. Either way, BET has a knack for marketing because the first commercial after that scene featured Janet Jackson accepting an award at the upcoming Black Girl’s Rock Ceremony. Oh, the shade of it all. I’m expecting a lawsuit from the Jackson clan disputing this relationship, and Twitter had the same line of thinking.




    He Who Findeth A Good Wife
    Bobby and Whitney on their wedding day (Photo: Twitter)
    As someone put it on Twitter, Whitney had the best PR Manager of the 80s and early 90s because they kept her image clean with bleach. Whitney was a trip and her and Bobby together were magnetic from the start. One thing for sure, she played no games about her Bobby and unlike Janet, wanted to be open about their relationship from the start. When one of his baby mamas stormed into his dressing room to find him with Whitney and use their kids as a pawn to run Whitney away, Whitney replied with a petty but calm, “You two are blessed with beautiful children.” When she found out the same girl was pregnant, at the same time as she was, she demanded Bobby get a DNA test. He asked why and she hit him with a “Mutha...why wouldn’t she lie.” They balanced each other out but also enabled each other’s flaws. Not to mention, the World was constantly in their business, much to Bobby’s dismay and portrayed him as not being good enough. And when their addictions climaxed, there’s only so much to hold on to.



    The Mysterious Case of Robyn Crawford
    L to R: Tommy Brown, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Robyn Crawford (from Twitter)
    We’ll probably never know what went down between Robyn and Whitney and at this point, it doesn’t matter. What we do know is they were close and she was a constant presence in Whitney’s life during their friendship, one that Bobby wasn’t here for. In her depiction in this movie, Robyn was like a fixture, always around but rarely speaking. She spoke instead through body language and facial expression - both of which showed disgust and somewhat of a jealous demeanor towards Bobby, and he felt it all. During one scene where Bobby confesses to getting another woman pregnant while engaged to Whitney, Robyn sits idle smiling. In their wedding scene during their vows, she’s visibly agitated. In a final blow, she and Bobby have words after she digs her hands in a plate of food Bobby cooked for he and his wife (that was foul). He kicks her out of their home, leaving Robyn to give Whitney an ultimatum (or imply such). If you ask Twitter, Robyn has all the tea but unlike everyone else who has shared their experience with Whitney publicly, she’s kept silent. Either Robyn is that loyal to Whitney or she was paid a hefty settlement and signed a gag order to keep quiet.







    Thanks to Twitter for the commentary and digging up old photos. Part II of The Bobby Brown Story airs tonight at 9 on BET. Will you be watching?

    *****
    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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    Pero Like
    With the popularity of DNA testing everyone wants to know more about where they come from, even Afro Latinos who are known to have a pretty varied relationship to their African roots. Many are just discovering what it means to be African in a culture where it's not widely celebrated. Here 4 Afro Latinos get tested with varied results and reactions. 




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    Tyler Perry on  goodmorningamerica.com
    Tyler Perry is a well-known writer, director, filmmaker, and actor. However, we're just getting to know Tyler Perry the activist. Find out why he's seeking justice in this cold case of two Florida men who disappeared a decade ago.

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    Bobby Brown with wife Alicia Etheredge-Brown (Source: Essence Magazine)
    By Brenda Alexander

    If you haven’t watched the second part of the Bobby Brown Story on BET, get your tissues ready, because 80% of the film was nothing but sadness.

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    Somebody died literally every 10 minutes. In between the deaths of close loved ones, he struggled hard to kick his addictions, even suffering a stroke and apparent overdose. Bobby had 9 damn lives okay. But, God had a plan for his life and after all he’s endured, he’s still standing, stronger and wiser with another chance to “get it right.”

    For most, it was easy to go along with the negative portrayal of him. Not that the media created that narrative of him based upon nothing - his choices and actions aided heavily. But, being in the public eye, there’s little room for redemption and the world watches and picks apart your every move as you journey through life’s ups and downs, making it more complex to stay on track. With as much money and access as he had, that helped none. Reading his memoir, Every Little Step, a few years back, and watching his life on film, I’m amazed at how he’s been able to transform for the better.

    I’ve grown to love and appreciate Brown’s ability to be honest and unafraid despite people’s judgments. Throughout his trails, he could have easily averted blame elsewhere: his upbringing, witnessing horrific deaths, being taken advantage of by record labels and management, the drug and alcohol use. But, he didn’t. He made it known that his life would be lived on his accord and in due time, he’d progress into the man intended.

    The greatest hit he took, was Whitney’s downfall. Little-to-no-one saw it fit for them to be together, especially spectators, and Whitney’s family and friendship circle. They unfairly blame him for all things bad that occurred in her life, even after Whitney (and her brother) revealed that she took drugs on her own merit. But, it’s been easier for them to place fault elsewhere than to accept the truth and that they also could have enabled her during tough times. During their marriage, Bobby stayed loyal in the sense that he never spoke out against Whitney’s circle despite the troubling treatment he received. It wasn’t until years after their divorce, that he slowly began to tell his side. Even then, people felt the audacity of him sharing HIS story. But it didn’t stop there.

    Whitney & Bobby
    There’s something purely disheartening about the supposed lengths they went to in showing their disgust for him. The film shared how they treated him like a stranger off the street at Whitney’s funeral, having security ask him and his “entourage” (his children), to move from the family pews several times. They’ve disrespected him dozens of times in the media despite him never uttering one bad word about them. And to add insult to injury, they tried to keep him out of Bobbi Kristina’s medical decision planning when she was left in a coma after her accidental drowning in 2015. I love Nippy like the rest of the world (actually more), but we can’t continue on with the “Bobby did this” shenanigans.

    Still, Bobby has taken everything in stride and the fact that he’s been able to overcome such unimaginable hurdles is one to be celebrated. While watching the second half of the movie, my mom said something to the effect of, “It’s a shame he had to go through all of that to get to this point of peace.” I view things a little differently. On one hand, it is sad. Losing 6 close relatives within 6 years of one another, two being a woman you loved and your child, and in similar fashion, is devastating. Years of destruction to your body with substances and witnessing two close friends murdered in front of you is traumatizing too. But, there’s something to be said about what going through that type of pain and making it onto the other side does to you. At this point, I’m sure that there’s nothing that can happen now that he’s ill-prepared for. He had an innate will to get and stay clean, and thankfully, had people in his life, including his new wife and children, to help him through.


    Bobby and new wife Alicia with their children (Source: IG)
    The Bobby Brown Story is not one of pure happiness. But the ending segways into new beginnings. Everyone’s past plays a part into the essence of who they become, and I like the “new” Bobby. He’s able to appreciate his life and blessings now due to the amount of mistakes and losses he’s come in contact with. We watched his wife Alicia help him rebuild his career, sober, and maintain stability independently of NE and outside of Whitney (whom we saw were codependent together). He turned tragedy into triumph by building a safe house for domestic violence victims after the loss of his daughter, and God has blessed him with two additional baby girls. Plus, his culinary business is booming!
    Bobby Brown Foods
    People can be mad all they want. Everybody deserves a second chance. I’m happy and proud that he is taking his in stride and using his life as a cautionary tale but also showing what the possibilities are when used correctly. Go Bobby!

    Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?
    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 Veronica Wells

    The lore of Black men feeling unhealthy and irrational attachments to their barbers is not reserved only for them. Black women have our own struggles separating from beauticians and stylists who have been doing our hair for some time. I’ve seen women tolerate bad attitudes, ugly styling, stagnant hair growth and even damage for the sake of loyalty…or fear.

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    There are millions of Black women who leave the salon unhappy with what they see in the mirror. But they don’t say anything because they don’t want to offend the stylist. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Black hair stylists are artists and they’re sensitive about their sh*t. And they don’t generally do a good job of hiding this sensitivity.

    So we stay. I’m convinced this conditioning comes from sitting through painful braiding and combing sessions, enduring burnt ears and overly bumped ends. The thought that you would question your mother’s hair choices, practices or end result was out of the question. After all, you weren’t paying her. At the end of the day, she was doing you a favor.

    Sadly, when we start paying for these same services as adults, the attitude that prevented us from getting popped in the head as children, is the same thing that keeps us silent in the beauty shop.

    Through seemingly incessant food breaks, loud-talking in our ear and unexplained price hikes or hidden charges, we stay.

    Still, there might come a time when you have to distance yourself to the woman who’s tended to your head. Whether you found someone who’s closer to you, charges less for the same service, or just has a better demeanor, you’re confident about your decision to bounce...until you get a phone call asking when you’re going to schedule your next appointment, or you happen to run into her on the street. Then all of a sudden, the decision you’ve made for your hair, your wallet, your time and general well-being makes you feel guilty or disloyal.

    And just like we can feel our stylists’ sensitivity about their work, I’m sure they can feel our guilt. Some of them even attempt to prey on it...even when they haven’t done anything to deserve your loyalty.

    Earlier this week, my sister reached out to several stylists to see if they could braid her hair for an upcoming trip. She was comparing prices, location, skillsets. Finally, she narrowed it down to two women. After some more comparisons, she chose one over the other. She’d been in communication with both women, asking questions, getting quotes etc. After she made her decision, she let the other one know that she decided to go another route. In fact, she even explained, via DM, that she made the decision to choose the other young lady because she was closer to her. But she told her that she would be getting braids sometime in the fall and she would reach out to her during that time.

    Sadly, the woman responded saying, “But I am local though… In the future, please don’t waste my time.”

    My sister replied, “How was your time wasted?”

    According to Instagram, the woman saw the message and decided to ignore it. It could have been because she was petty or it could have been because she realized there was no way to answer that question. When you provide services to others, you have to be in the business of answering questions about your services. My sister and I are both entrepreneurs, answering questions for people who ultimately don’t buy, is a part of the game. But if you take the time to speak to people politely, you’ll be surprised at the folk who come back around. What’s truly sad is that my sister was willing to work with her in the future--maybe because she felt some guilt around choosing someone else. I’m sure it was also because she really liked her work. But with that attitude, there’s no question that she’ll never work with her in the future.

    Do you feel disloyal or guilty choosing one stylist over another?
    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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