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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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    xojane.com
    By Kelly-X

    While studying abroad, I quickly became friends with one of my neighbors on my floor, Thomas. Thomas is Dutch and spent most of his early adult life in St. Croix, an island in the Caribbean that has a lot of melanin — in other words, he grew up around black folks. Thomas also has a son who is close in age to me. We immediately clicked with one another, and I’m just a weirdo who always seem to gravitate to and get along well with older people.

    Looking back, I see that Thomas and I were destined to grow close. During the first conversation I had with Thomas, not even 15 minutes of meeting him, he looked at me and said: “Thank you for being confident enough to wear your natural hair.”

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    Amber Wagner aka Jstlbby
    By Kira Sparkles

    Y’all, I am in love with Amber Wagner. When I say that name, it might not ring a bell, but I guarantee you’ve seen her videos before on her Instagram as she’s more famously known as Just Living Baby (@jstlbby). This 26 year old, Los-Angeles based homegirl stands out and is impossible to ignore. Whether it’s because of her flamboyantly fantastic sunglasses, her super long nails or a colorful collection of weaves and wigs on deck, she’s out here encouraging us to live our best lives while reminding us how blessed we are. Even without all of her accessories, Amber commands our attention. Still don’t know who I’m talking about (or just a little curious)? I rounded up some of my favorite videos from her IG to get you just as on board as I am!

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    PS: Language advisory 

    A post shared by Amber Wagner (@jstlbby) on
    You’re right, girl. Trouble don’t last always. I just needed the reminder. At the end of the day, attitude is everything. Or maybe it’s whatever’s in that lollipop.

    A post shared by Amber Wagner (@jstlbby) on
    Seeing a big girl getting her entire life unapologetically is exactly what we need. Body shaming is hella real, but Amber is still out here not giving two solid f*cks what anybody thinks about her, all while laughing, smiling and enjoying the day while telling us to do the same thing. The clouds are out, but it’s always a good day to have a good day!

    This was a video that got autotuned into the hottest track of 2018. This is my shit. #trappinpositivity2018

    A post shared by Amber Wagner (@jstlbby) on
    Instead of talking to the hand, Amber’s letting her hand do the talking. Listen, between those acrylics and her punctuated movements flavoring up my entire day, I’m handed my entire life.

    This one really hurts to watch. But in a sea of perfection on Instagram, seeing someone who comes from a genuine place is refreshing. Despite whatever she’s going through, Amber keeps it real no matter what. Hearing her talk about her struggles, we can definitely all relate to this one in some form. But the most refreshing thing of all is how she can spin something negative back into something positive.

    Follow Amber on IG! 
    **********

    What do you love about Amber? 
    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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    Quote Deepak Chopra 
    By Nikki Walton

    I listened to a talk a while ago by Mooji that really stuck with me. He said to imagine you’re at the symphony, listening to a beautiful piece of music. If you were asked to hone in on just the violins, you could, in spite of the other instruments. At first it would take a little effort to bring the violins into focus, but then, with just a little attention, you could keep them in the foreground of the orchestra. To hear the violins, you wouldn’t have to silence the cellos or the clarinets. You wouldn’t even have to tell the rude people sitting next to you to shut up, you’d just have to place your attention, your awareness on the violins. Simple.

    Your purpose in every moment is to find and listen to the ‘violins,’ aka the Silence, that’s always available even when the cellos, clarinets, and rude audience members (thoughts, feelings and circumstances) are raging. This Silence is always present... IT is Presence.

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    I still have a ‘formal ‘meditation practice, but in the last few years, my life has become meditation. At first I could only find the silence while I was seated with my eyes closed. Gradually, the Silence grew louder and became a permanent fixture in every moment (it always was... it just became so consciously). I’m always aware of this Silence, now, even during the most heated debates, or when I’m on the phone with the cops because our whole car just got stolen (my life last week... we got it back too!!!), or when my thoughts are racing... IT’s always there, waiting to be re-cognized. And it’s not just Silence. IT’s a quiet that feels like love, peace, joy... happy for no reason. It’s like a hella solid, felt-faith where you just know that everything is always, already alright.

    My purpose in every moment is to find and listen to the violins, then I do the stuff. #BeHerNow

    Can you hear the violins?

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    Discovering Natural 
    Just like our edges, the nape area can have a lot of breakage, but also a lot of growth. These tips for strengthening and growing nape hair from Discovering Natural are so practical that even a child can follow them!

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    Do you find it hard to grow nape hair?


    DiscoveringNatural


    Social Media:
    Twitter: @sawahtwit
    Snapchat: @discovernatural

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    By Tiffy Kink

    Before we get started, I need you to understand who I am. I like meeting people online, but I don’t like hook-ups. I don’t like the idea of random sex. I’m very boring when it comes to dating to be honest and like things, like my sex life, to be organized. Which is why the best sex I ever had (so far) threw me for a loop.

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    The Back Story
    It was with a guy I met on tinder. I know... I KNOW. We were talking for months before I felt comfortable enough to invite him out for an impromptu movie night. The vibe didn’t start feeling weird until after we bought the tickets. We had a little over an hour to kill before we could go in to the theater so we decided to wait it out at a neighboring fast-food. Before we got there, he turned to me and said, “stay here” like I was some kind of dog waiting for a command, and walked away going around the corner. Perplexed and annoyed, I wondered, “Where the hell did he go?” “And who does he think he’s talking to?”

    He came back and I told him I didn’t appreciate being told to wait, to which he explained that he had to use the bathroom and didn’t think it would be a good idea to follow him. I immediately understood when we got to the fast-food place and it was crowded as was expected on a Saturday night. From there, the night picked up as we talked about one of my favorite topics: Technology. I found that he was easy to talk to and there wasn’t any weird awkward pauses in our conversations.

    As we were watching the movie, he started holding my hand. Confused, I asked if something was wrong and if he always did that with women he took on dates. He simply said “No,” not sensing concern, and went back to watching the movie. I didn’t pull away. I just let him hold my hand. After the movie, we talked for a while then went home. When we talked again later that night, I asked him when he was free to see another movie.

    We saw tons of movies together. I really enjoyed spending time with him and practically talked everyday on the phone. He soon grew tired of only seeing me outside and invited me to his house on several occasions. I was nervous but after what had to be the fifth invitation, I obliged. Only doing so if he agreed to my rules: No touching, no kissing. He thought it was ridiculous but agreed to comply. I didn’t want him to think I was going there to have sex with him.

    The Hook-Up (Explicit details ahead...)
    I had never thought before to pack condoms with me but did so this time. I couldn’t deny that I was growing more and more attracted to him as time went by, but I wasn’t ready to have sex with him yet. My “No Game” was strong and I didn’t think anything would happen since we were probably going to chill in his living room. To my dismay however, his sister was in the living room, which meant we would be in his room. Alone.

    He put on a movie, and at first I started reserving myself again, sitting at the edge of his bed, looking straight at the TV and not at him. I reluctantly started to cuddle with him. Cuddling soon turned into kissing which somehow turned into foreplay, with him sucking on one of my breasts, which I initiated by pulling it out of my bra, which in hindsight was a terrible mistake as having my boobs touched by a guy I’m attracted to is one of my weaknesses. His hand made its way down my jeans to my p*ssy, which was already soaking wet. Instead of giving him the chance to even try to get them open, I unbuttoned my jeans and took them off, throwing them on the floor. He got up on all fours and went in between my legs, facing me, eyeing my panties, before pulling them down over my hips, down to my ankles, then completely off.

    As he was about to go down on me, I thought about my past encounters of receiving cunnilingus for a few moments. My most recent moment before then, was not that great. It felt like he was using his teeth to graze and suck my clit. When I asked him if that was the case, he defensively asked me if I had ever had a guy go down on me. I didn’t bother to correct him. That thought immediately left my head once this guy’s tongue made the magical connection to my clit. It felt like nothing I had ever felt before. I looked up for a second to see what he was doing and found that he was making eye contact with me, all the while not missing a beat, flicking his tongue on my clit and palming and squeezing one of my breasts. I let my head drop back on the bed and looked up at the sealing, moaning, reaching my hands down and running my fingers through his dreads. An aesthetic quality I didn’t think I liked on him but grew accustomed to.

    When he stopped going down on me, he got up but not before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. I sat up and stood at the edge of the bed looking up at him. Though he was shorter than me, he suddenly looked so much taller. He bent down and gave me a long passionate kiss.

    As he stood back up, I looked at his shorts and the erection that was desperately trying to get out. I freed it by tugging on the waistband of his shorts, taking his boxers with it, and pulling them down to his ankles which he stepped out of. I didn’t realize he was so girthy. I suddenly felt intimated. I looked up at him making eye contact, then at his d*ck, and then I took him into my mouth.

    After going down on him, I got the pouch of condoms from my bag on the floor. I took one out and handed it to him. He let out a “Humph” with a smirkish smile before putting it on, grabbing my legs and pulling me to the edge of the bed. I had no idea he was so strong.

    Suddenly my legs were in the air and he was on top of me, smiling before sliding his d*ck inside me.  I loved every minute of it. The thrusting was fast, deep, and hard. A tempo I couldn’t keep up with, but thoroughly enjoyed. He stood back up still pounding into me, looking at my feet before taking one of my big toes into mouth, sucking on it. I could feel the sensation somehow traveling to my clit. We kept going like that for a couple more moments before we both grew tired, and he came. We went at it a couple more times, him giving me my orgasms through clitoral stimulation.

    After that, I thought he was going to make up some strange reason why I had to leave his house. Instead, he laid down and pulled me close to him. We cuddled and restarted the movie that was now watching us for what had to have been at least two hours. We went on to have much more sex down the road. As boyfriend and girlfriend.

    My Takeaways
    I would like to believe that this person came into my life at a time when I needed him. It had been years after my harassment and I didn’t have the greatest first sexual experience. Though I knew I was deserving of love, intimacy, and great sex, he solidified those things by going with the flow and following my lead. He made me feel so comfortable and wanted. He genuinely cared about my consent and always asked before doing something we hadn’t previously discussed.

    He paid attention to my body in ways the other two guys I had been with hadn’t. He was very open-minded and even comfortable with me introducing sex toys into our playtime. He introduced me to the intimacy I had heard existed outside of sex. Though we are no longer together, he taught me that what I thought I deserved was what I was entitled to and it is something that has stuck with me forever.

    What has your greatest sexual experience or relationship taught you?
    Tiffy kink is a New York based Sex Blogger whose goal is to spread sex positivity and break down barriers for the sexually deprived and repressed through her blog posts and sex toy reviews where she not only talks about her interactions with sex and masturbation, but she also introduces her readers to body-safe sex toys and advice. If you like what you’ve read and would like to see more, visit her blog Aquakink.com Follow her on Twitter @Theaquakink

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    Getty images
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    You would think that marrying a beautiful brown-skinned TV and film star like Gabrielle Union would be enough to show Dwayne Wade's sons that darker-skinned women are beautiful. Think again.


    In a recent interview with Refinery29, the Gabs revealed a very important conversation that she had with NBA star Dwayne Wade's 3 boys, and nephew, about colorism. In a nutshell, she asked them to show her who the hottest girls in their school were on instagram, and they all came back with...wait for it...light-skinned, curly-haired, big butt and boob girls. 


    Collective sigh.

    It took me back to an article I wrote called 'What Are We Teaching Our Boys About Black Beauty' when rapper Kodak Black went off the rails talking about not liking dark-skinned women or his own dark skin. I interviewed a friend who has two sons, 8 and 13 year’s old, about whether or not she's reinforcing black beauty, and she said,
    “My husband and I have never focused on skin color, but we talk to our sons a lot about valuing what’s in a person’s heart, not what she looks like on the outside.” 
    Pump the breaks...while it's commendable to reinforce the beauty in one's heart...we can't ignore colorism.

    When Gabby recognized a glaring red light when these young black boys only saw the beauty of light skin, she stepped in and began pulling up dark-skinned beauties on instagram, including actress Ryan Destiny, star of Lee Daniel's 'Star.' Gabby says, 

    “They’re like, ‘Oh, she bad!’ 'But do you know how many Ryan Destinies there are?' I pull up every Black model, women from all over the world, and they’re beautiful. But they don’t see the beauty unless it comes from an actress or a supermodel or a video vixen. They have to have somebody else tell them that a chocolate woman is attractive for them to believe it.”
    Ryan Destiny 
    Bingo!

    Black boys do have to have someone tell them that chocolate women are beautiful for them to believe it. It's the same with our girls. We have to go that extra mile because we've been shown time and again that society isn't set up for people are darker hues...But it's not impossible. I'm encouraged by men like Kofi Siriboe and his rumored relationship with model Duckie. Dude is smitten like a kitten!

    Model Duckie and Kofi Siriboe

    President Barack and Michelle Obama

    Then there's our favorite First couple Barack and Michelle...

    Now did they grow up in a household where black beauty was reinforced in the home? For Kofi, who grew up with a strong Ghanaian mom, perhaps. For Barack, who grew up with his white mom and then white grandparents, it's unlikely. But it can't hurt, and can only help. 

    I've seen the difference it makes with my own young daughters to proactively show them photos of beautiful brown and dark-skinned women (women who look like them) on TV, instagram, and in real life. Now they point out beautiful black women to me before I can even say anything. We have to educate them on how to see black beauty. Admittedly, my own education has come largely from instagram where dark-skin beauties are in abundance. See them and you know they're in a league all their own....you know, maybe we don't have these conversations with our young black boys because we think that there's nothing we can do to combat colorism and this seemingly automatic turn towards lighter-skin women. This country is old and this has been going on a long time. But hopefully, what Gabrielle Union did with her step-sons, and what many of us parents are doing with our own younguns, will show that it's possible to reshape this colorism conversation. After all, look what we did with hair. 

    Do you proactively affirm dark-skin beauty?
    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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    Devian White
    By Mwabi Kaira

    Look at most young girls and they are busy mimicking the looks and actions of older women they see on social media. Everyone looks like the next girl; same hair, same make up, same clothes, and that's why it’s so refreshing to see 16-year-old Georgia Peach, Devian White, so comfortable in her own skin!

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    How long have you been natural? Have you ever felt any pressure to perm your hair?
    I have been natural most of my life. My hair was damaged from a perm that took a long time to grow out. Perming my hair wasn’t my decision and it’s something I never wanted because I’ve always loved my natural curly hair. I feel great being able to embrace mine and encourage women to embrace theirs too.

    Where do you get your confidence?
    Knowing that I’m not like everyone else is already a confidence booster. I’m never afraid of who’s looking or worried about sticking out from the crowd; I’m 100% comfortable with my puffball everywhere I go. My family and friends encourage me to continue wearing my natural hair and love that uniqueness about me. I never pay attention to any negative comments about my hair, it makes me love it even more.

    Who is your hair inspiration?
    My hair inspiration is Lauren Lewis. She isn’t afraid to show the world the beauty she possesses as a black woman. Her hair is beautiful, big, curly, and free. She inspires so many men and women to embrace their natural beauty.



    What products have you found that work for your hair?
    I use shampoo and conditioner by OGX, curl tamer by Curls, and moisturizer by Shea Moisture.

    Tell me about Silky Skin Custard and how you got to work with them?
    Silky Skin Custard is a black-owned business with handmade skincare products. My mom is a good friend of the owner and I was given the opportunity to participate in a video shoot to promote the business.

    Silky Skin Custard

    Any advice for teen girls thinking about wearing their hair natural?
    To any girl who is thinking about transitioning, it’s definitely something worth a try. It’s the healthiest route that you can take for your hair and it can help you become more comfortable with your natural beauty. It’s important to be aware of how beautiful you are and not be afraid to show it!


    What are your plans after High School?
    I’m weighing two options after I graduate high school: Attending Savannah College of Art and Design for a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Or, studying architecture abroad in a European country that also offers English study programs.


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    Photos de femmes samburu
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Many women dream of what it would be like to live in a society with no men, free of patriarchy and all that comes with it...these women actually did it. Umoja is an all-female village in Kenya, founded by a woman named Rebecca Lolosoli, some 25 years ago. It consists of nearly 50 women who no longer want to suffer abuse. The place is doing so well that it's inspired neighboring villages to start their own women-only communities. Once you see how they live, you may want to do the same or at least purchase a one-way ticket to Kenya!

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    Could you live in a village with no men?

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    Beyonce via Neal Farinah IG
    By Veronica Wells

    I’ll never forget my homeroom teacher Mr. Litz and the thoughts he shared one day about Black hair. In addition to home room, Mr. Litz, a White man, was also my middle school art teacher. And during his explanation of how he recreates Black hair, he told us, his predominately Black class, that Black people’s hair was inherently thin and weak.

    I remember us, the Black kids, looking around at each other like, “Ain’t this some sh*t.” But none of us said anything to address his ignorance.

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    But I would learn that White men like my art teacher weren’t the only ones who carried false notions about Black folks and our hair. When I introduced my cousin to two friends, she immediately asked me whether they were Black. They were visibly Black, so I laughed before saying, “Yeah.” She repeated herself, “Are both of their parents Black?” I said “Yeah and their grandparents too.” Surprised, she paused for a moment before saying, “I just thought they were mixed with something because I’ve never seen a Black person’s hair that long.”

    Throughout my life, I would hear Black folk make these type of comments. One friend just knew that a mutual college acquaintance was going to have a son who had “good hair” because her husband was White. I’d heard these myths of people who talked about “good hair” but to hear it from someone in my age group was startling. After all, we were in the midst of the “Natural Hair Movement.” Sisters everywhere were growing out or hacking off their relaxed ends in favor of their natural kinks and curls.

    In all honesty, even the Natural Hair Movement wasn’t without its flaws. The mainstream, commercialized and widely accepted representatives were often women with light skin and 3C curls. Hair that bounced instead of hair that fluffed. I can’t tell you the number of women I heard openly coveting that type of hair, scouring the hair care aisles looking for thee product that would magically change their genetics and hair texture.

    Gradually though, I started to see women getting the message, accepting themselves and their hair, learning what they could do with their tighter coils, their thicker locs. I saw more and more tutorials on how to style—and more importantly how to moisturize 4C hair.

    Glimmers of hope.

    But every once in a while, despite our culture’s slow movement toward self-love and complete acceptance, there are moments when I realize we’re still holding on to old, negative beliefs about our hair and its possibilities.

    When Beyoncé’s hair stylist Neal Farinah posted this image saying that she rocked her natural hair at the On The Run II stop in Rome…or in his own words: 
    nealfarinahSAY WHAT😉. NATURAL CURLY HAIR 🐝OTRII ROME

    Twitter blew up with folks who doubted the possibility, vehemently.















    Personally, I believe it’s hers. Only because Tina Knowles Lawson, Beyoncé’s mother, has a similar texture and quite a bit of length— in her sixties. And months ago, she shared this image of her daughter’s natural hair.

    Beyonce via Tina Lawson 's IG
    This isn’t about convincing anyone. It’s about the stereotypes and negative beliefs we’re still holding on to when it comes to Black hair.

    Just the other day, I heard a Black person wonder aloud, “Why did God give us hair like this?”

    If we’re still asking questions like that, I think we can acknowledge that there is still a way to go. Still, to her credit, the woman who asked this question does wear her hair natural--even if she’s not entirely convinced of its beauty.

    And for all the ignorance and mainstream messaging we’ve received over the years, I’ve noticed that Black women are making more strides to embrace natural textures. The other day, my fiancé and I were at an Afrobeat party and there were plenty of women who wore their hair or natural hair textured wigs/weaves to the club no less. Plenty of Black women have been wearing their hair naturally for a while now. But seeing these type of styles in the club, where so many women are trying to look and feel their sexiness, sends a message that we’re not all the way there yet but we’re certainly on our way.

    Do you feel we still hold a lot of negative beliefs about our hair?
    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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    Dr. Jen Caudle, Nikki, Dr. OZ & Guest
    Wonder what stress and anxiety can do to your hair?

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    Photo via Dr. Jen Caudle's IG Page
    Watch Dr. OZ today to hear Nikki and Dr. Jen Caudle talk about how stress and anxiety can contribute to hair loss...they've got solutions, ya'll!


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    WriteNowFaithDesigns
    We asked you to tell us why you're blessed and you. did. that. Find out if you won a key chain by WriteNowFaithDesigns!

    1) Sady
    2) lorieluv
    3) nylse
    4) Natural MiMi
    5) Joyce Shulman
    6) Sahara Abrams 
    7) Megan M. 

    Congrats Winners! 
    You have 1 week to send your address with 'WriteNowFaithDesigns Winner' in the subject line in an email to nikki@curlynikki.com! 


    Stephan & Kanisha 
    WriteNowFaithDesigns was started the summer of 2018 by Christian brother and sister duo Kanisha Parks (who happens to be one of our esteemed CurlyNikki writers!) and her 16-year-old brother Stephan. They began designing custom handmade Christian License plates, key chains and cute decals/stickers as a simple and effortless way that people can carry a little bit of Jesus with them wherever they go! Visit their site to see more gift-friendly designs!

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    Sens Dessus Dessous Cast 
    By Ta-ning Connai

    Matamba Kombila is not your average filmmaker. While most directors have the primary focus of creating stories to engage their audience, she takes it a step further with goals to impact her cast through a hair challenge aimed to build true self-esteem. Who in the world does something like that?

    Matamba did that.

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    Matamba (right) on set
    With a melting heart for society's outcasts, Matamba was compelled to do a film that showed the everyday life of young deaf individuals in her home country of Gabon (Africa). Being void of the sense of hearing sadly places them on the outskirts of society and they are forced to navigate life mostly amongst themselves, with the feeling of rejection constantly surrounding them.

    Through her short film series, Sens Dessus Dessous (Upside Down), Matamba tells a story which reveals that the hearing impaired are no different that anyone else and that they should be seen and regarded with the dignity and respect they deserve, as well as have access to better education, quality job training and employment equality. It is her hope that doors of unity will be opened, that the bridge of isolation will be closed and that the stigma placed on such differences will one day be erased.

    Matamba incorporated some interesting regulations into her project that, in and of itself, is a pretty bold story that also needs to be told. All of her talent was required to either wear their hair natural or they had to wear headwraps that reflected the beauty and richness of African culture. Now that's all good, a beautiful thing indeed, but you know how we black women are about our hair! So, demanding we let go of the styles we believe fit us the most, especially on film where we will be seen by tons of people, could be a problem in the making. But Matamba approached her talented crew with such amazing grace and some really amazing things happened...


    See, many women in the region have been struggling with issues of natural hair. No different than here in the good ol’ USA, the “supposed” superiority of western culture had its evil way and the brainwashing tactics intended to redefine the beauty standards from colonization still exist today. Euro-influenced styles and textures are deemed as best, and weaves, wigs and relaxer kits saturate the market. No stranger to the ups and downs of her own hair struggle- as a child, Matamba was proud to don a short trimmed fro and the occasional braids, but as a teen she switched over to perms and color that eventually made her hair fall out- now she wants to encourage young women to overcome the temptation to conform to standards that cause them to permanently abandon and develop disdain for their own unique beauty.

    Knowing that her target audience (teens and tweens) are a very captive audience, she vowed to only represent natural hair in her film series. But while actors are accustomed to making drastic changes in appearance for a role, she was actually working with a lot of students. So she kindly schooled them on the dangers of hair processing and long term possibilities of hair loss. More importantly, she pointed them to the true beauty that lay beneath their relaxers, wigs and weaves. Sister Matamba was preaching the truth!


    Didn't take much else for her crew to give real hair a try and they actually loved how they looked! And those who were hesitant to change on the spot, were pleased with the regalness the headwraps brought about. For most, au naturale became a permanent way of life and that's only the beginning! Hopefully, her film will do the same to change the way we look at natural hair.

    To keep up with Matamba's project, follow her IG!website & Indiegogo campaign!

    What do you think about Matamba's choice to feature natural hair in her film?
    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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     Queen Naija 
    By Mwabi Kaira

    I heard a song called Medicine by Queen Naija on the radio the other day and immediately thought, “Oh, we’re still doing this.” Each generation hopes that the one behind it gets all that we got wrong right. I really enjoy watching young girls being so sure of themselves these days and I foolishly thought that they had found the formula and were done taking mess from men but the song confirmed that they are out here still discovering that not all men do right and will treat you like an option and not a priority if you let them. In the song, Queen Naija laments about her man ignoring her lately, seeing calls from “just friends” and him coming in at 6 in the morning. She is frustrated because she has been faithful and says she knows what she has to do and turns the tables and gives him a taste of his own medicine...

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    She sings:
    “How would you like it if I do the things you do
    Put you on do not disturb and entertain these dudes
    I’ma ride him crazy and you’ll never have a clue
    Give another guy everything that belongs to you
    I’ma call up Brian, I’ma FaceTime Ryan
    I’ma text Lorenzo and I’ma leave you cryin’
    Don’t get it twisted I can play this game too
    How would you like it if I did the same to you, same to you yeah?”
    Ciara in 'Like a Boy' video
    This sentiment has been repeated over and over by frustrated women in songs. Ciara wished she could sometimes act like a boy and run the street, keep a straight face while lying, keep an airtight alibi and be out till 4 in the morning on her 2006 song Like A Boy.

    Beyonce in 'If I Were a Boy' video
    Beyonce continued that sentiment in 2008 with If I Were Boy and sang about drinking beers with the guys, chasing after girls, kicking it with who they wanted and never getting confronted for it cause the guys would stick up for him. The message is clear; women are frustrated by men not caring about hurting them and some men just don’t have the capacity to be accountable for the wrong they do. Women feel like showing men their actions by repeating them are they only way to make them pay.


    It’s a fact that most men can’t handle being mis-treated once the tables are turned. The gender status quo has set it up this way. Very few people call men out for their messed up behavior towards women and are instead celebrated for reckless behavior. As I listened to Queen Naija’s song I wondered why we keep wishing, willing and waiting for the these men to do right all the while allowing the behavior that brings us to this point. Why can’t we instead call men out on their foolishness and refuse to put up with it? When will we know our worth? Can we stop wishing for scenario’s of giving them a taste of their own medicine or changing genders for the day and just stand in our power and say, 'Move on, Sir, we are not doing this over here?' Because it’s not about wishing we were a boy it’s about accepting that we’re queens.

    Are you frustrated with songs that mis the mark? Share some.
    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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    By Onicia Muller

    “Get out of my house! You think you grown?! 

    After seven long years of high school (it’s a Dutch/Caribbean island thing), I had less than a month before leaving for college. I could practically smell the jet fuel and salted peanuts! However, what was supposed to be a summer of fun parties and sappy goodbyes became known as the summer my mom kicked me out.

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    My older sister was visiting for the first time since leaving about three-ish years earlier. We were excited, we were grown-ish, and we were ready to have the best summer ever. Because my sister’s birthday fell after school let out, she never got to treat her classmates. It didn’t help that we were also often away on holiday so she couldn’t even invite her friends over. Our parents weren’t down for swapping birthdays (yup, I even offered to trade dates with her) or celebrate a month early. This year was going to be different because she and her friends were not tied to the school holiday calendar or parents with ridiculous curfews. As a soon-to-be 21-year-old, she was ready to celebrate in style: clubbing with the girls!

    Her demands were simple: a banging dress, a cute squad, a jumpin’ club, and wheels. Anything with four tires and a running engine would do. Since she’d spent the past year saving up cash, she didn’t need our parents' help or permission -- or so we thought.

    I was eighteen; old enough to go clubbing, but not old enough to stay out without my mother’s permission. My sister needed -- not just wanted -- me to go with her because she didn’t have a drivers’ license.

    Roadblock. Our mom, the devout church lady, was not having it. Clubbing was for whores and she didn’t think I was responsible enough for a rental. No biggie, we would just ask our dad. What good is divorce if you can’t pit your parents against each other? I mean, no one likes to play bad cop.

    As expected, my dad said “yes.” Technically, he said “I don’t see why not. I’m down if your mom is down.” The half consent was good enough for us! We rushed over to the car rental and secured our wheels for the weekend. Worst case scenario, we ask for forgiveness after our parents finished squabbling with each other.

    Saturday night arrived and we got ready for an epic night out. We planned to leave while our mom was away doing church lady things.

    My sister wasn’t surprised or disappointed when I choose not to actually enter the club; I was the good girl, the obedient child, the one focused on books instead of boys. The club wasn’t my scene. I just wanted to gift my sister a perfect birthday by being her chauffeur. Once she and her friends hopped out the minivan, I found some free parking and went straight to sleep.

    As agreed, at two in the morning, I pulled up to the club’s entrance where my sister and her friends were waiting. We dropped everyone home and made it back to our mom’s house around five thirty. We arrived together. We left together. No one got sloppy drunk or into any fights. My sister also got some awesome photos. All in all, it seemed like a successful night to me.

    “Get out of my house! You think you grown?! Well, then go live with Roberto or whoever you got that ride from!” my mother screamed.

    Record break. Our mom was livid. Talk about super awkward because our younger sister and her friend who was sleeping over had to sit through the entire tongue lashing.

    It was time to enact plan B. When we were able to get a word in, we told her that we had permission from our dad to rent the car and go. Monkeywrench: our dad totally did a 180 and told our mom that he did not and left us hanging. We were expecting them to squabble it out while we caught up on sleep.

    My sister was expecting me to beg for forgiveness while she searched for somewhere to stay, because it was unlikely that I would actually leave the house. Plot twist. I called my mom’s bluff, told my sister to pack her ish, and we peeled out with the minivan. This was was actually a dramatically triumphant moment for me. Teenage me could be described as “servile” or “obedient to a fault.” However, I was done after eighteen years of “try harder, do better.” I was broken. I knew we weren’t in the wrong. I didn’t even go inside the nightclub and I made everyone wear their seatbelt.

    I -- the child who only got spanked once; who was on the honor roll and had perfect attendance several times -- was being kicked out for one night of partying. I mean, sure full permission would have been ideal, but we had at least one adult co-sign the night’s events. I was eighteen!

    With 14 days before my student flight to the Netherlands was set to take off, my sister and I spent the rest of her ‘baller vacation’ money on a hotel. We didn’t tell our mom where we were. I don’t even know why we allowed our dad and his treacherous butt to visit us, but we did.

    Two days before my flight, I scheduled a meeting with my mom. I’d spent the last twelve days praying and reflecting -- yes, I really was that child. The meeting was civilized, no cursing but also no real resolution. We didn't speak for about three months after moving to Europe. It took about six months of semi-regular calls for us to re-establish our roles and boundaries. The calls were informal family therapy sessions.

    My lesson? No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Just because someone seems like an authority figure doesn’t mean you should obey them blindly. When you believe in something, you must stick to your guns no matter the consequences.

    Over all, my mom kicking me out after one night of clubbing was the best thing to happen to me because it taught me to stand up for myself. My mom is actually very good at raising younger children. However, young adults require more autonomy; you have to accept that it's okay for people to have different lifestyle preferences. The problem with my mom is that she wanted us to make zero mistakes, she's learning that we can do things differently and not be wrong.

    About 6-12 months after the incident, our relationship improved because we don’t obey out of fear; we communicate, negotiate, and -- most importantly -- agree to disagree. We repeated the cycle when my sisters and I got married and had kids. My mom is a trooper and very willing to grow. When we hit a rough patch I don't dispare because I'm confident we can come to a positive resolution.

    Do you have a smooth transition into adulthood with your mom?
    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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    By Kandice Guice

    Contrary to popular belief, SPF products are a vital summer essential for melanin folks too.

    Although darker skin tones are less susceptible to sunburn, they are still at risk of damaging skin effects without the proper protection. These effects include dryness, skin irritation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Such exposure may also result in more serious effects like skin cancer. Incorporating beauty products and sunscreen into your regular routine drastically lowers the risk of skin damage from excessive sun exposure. Here's a rundown of my SPF product bible for summer:

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    Naomi Campbell
    By Ta-ning Connai

    All Hail the Queen...the queen of beauty and fashion that is. Naomi Campbell got crowned Fashion Icon at the CFDA Awards recently and no model deserves it more. Over 30 years in a youth-obsessed biz, now that's the real definition of longevity! And though she makes it look effortless, her journey was not easy. 

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    Naomi werked it all day EVERY DAY. She's got over 500 magazine covers, including the first black woman on the cover of Time Magazine...she’s worked with greats like Versace, Burberry, Valentino and Chanel, but it doesn't mean she hasn’t been affected by racism nonetheless. 

    In the 90’s, the highly coveted beauty was one of six models who collectively inspired the phrase we all now know as “Supermodel.” However, she never got the major endorsement deals or pay rates that her white counterparts did. 


    Now, that could possibly be due to her highly publicized ‘tude,’ as she didn't exactly exhibit “model" behavior behind the scenes. And while she may have mastered the runway with her signature strut, for many, working with her was no walk in the park. She was notorious for showing up late, having major tantrums, and doing heavy drugs. But party girl antics never stopped 90’s supermodel Kate Moss from being tolerated and enabled; hence the reason most of us think Naomi's limitations were mainly about race.

    Ms. Campbell has made a lot of positive changes since her glory days though. She removed herself from the spotlight for a while, got sober and even reached back to help director Lee Daniels and designer Marc Jacobs to get sober too. And while in anger management (a requirement for hitting folks with cell phones!), she took the initiative to realize her issues, which is the only way these programs actually work.

    Fashion for Relief is a charity founded by Naomi and it has helped raise over 6 million dollars for various causes. She also joined forces with famed modeling agent Bethann Hardison and model-turned-mogul, Iman, in the fight for diversity, which has proven to be an effective team for demanding more color in the game. Just last year alone, a bit over 35% of the models working New York Fashion Week were black, which is huge considering that “white only" catwalks are constantly the norm. And just this February, history was made as Anok Yai became the second black woman to open Prada’s show in over 20 years. You know who was #1? NAOMI CAMPBELL! And Anok graciously praised her for paving the way! 

    Even with Naomi having a dark and checkered past, her legacy is filled with inspiration. Yeah and so what, her light got dim, but once again she is LIT.

    A woman from the Bible with the same name and a different past had a similar situation...And even through a very difficult time in her life, her light could still be seen...

    Naomi was too through when she lost everything...the family biz, property, husband AND sons (Ruth Ch. 1-4). With nothing left and nothing she could possibly do, Naomi could no longer even bear the sound of her own name. She demanded to be called Mara instead; but Mara means bitter and bitter ain't sweet, which means she was in a funk so deep and dark a cloud couldn't compete! Yet there must've been some kind of inner glow going on because her daughter-in-law, Ruth (who lost everything too), suddenly declared allegiance to Naomi's God and vowed to never leave her side. 

    So, wait a minute...You mean to tell me that we can be at the end of our rope, too through to cope, completely out of hope, and God can STILL use our dim and seemingly snuffed fire to ignite flameless souls? According to Matthew 5:16, the answer is an astounding YES! 
    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
    Naomi's wisdom hooked Ruth up to the T! When the fly guy came chasing, she schooled Ruth on how to do things right. In the end, Ruth got her man without having to get got, Naomi got her land back AND a grandbaby that was part of lineage of Jesus Christ! Naomi had a moment of darkness, but Ruth saw she was still LIT!

    When we're at our best, we have no doubt that we are the radiant, blazing, beams of sunshine we were oh so destined to be. But sometimes we're gonna feel like a tiny matchstick drenched by a tall, gigantic bucket of water. Thankfully, our light is not predicated on our good deeds, our wondrous circumstances or the right timing in our lives. Now if you acting a fool and you're way off track, your light needs a major inspection! But to those who walk the walk (not just talk the talk) your light ain't going nowhere! And just like with Naomi, somewhere there's a Ruth being inspired by your shine! 

    Who's been the biggest inspiration in your life?
    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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    Cleo Clementine & Natasha Van Der Moss
    By Mwabi Kaira

    Every socialite and fashionista looks forward to that one event each year where they can don their finest fashions and be seen. In America, fashion enthusiasts wait for the annual Met Gala, where the most famous faces from the realms of fashion, film, music and art come together to raise money for the Met's Costume Institute and celebrate the grand opening of its latest exhibition. We wait to see pictures of arrivals and become fashion analysts, picking out our favorite looks. In Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, the event of the year where we do the same is Lusaka July.

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    The event is a spin-off of the glamorous Durban July where socialites indulge in fashion, luxury and style. The 3rd annual Lusaka July event was successfully held this past weekend at Lusaka Polo Club. Over the years, the event has grown to become a “must attend” for A-Listers, socialites and corporates in the region, with its unique combination of fashion, entertainment and a live polo match! The theme this year was Colony of Wealth, designed to encourage attendees to express the richness and diversity of African fashion and imagine themselves as royalty through their outfits.

    Mission accomplished.

    Cleo Clementine
    Singer Cleo Clementine aka 'the ice queen' shows us how to rock faux fur in July! 

    leclosetboutique
    Stripe a chord with this dress by leclosetboutiqueis and hat by @anitaferreiradesigns


    Guest with model Fred Jacksons 
    This is how you step into a gala.

    Cassey Malaika 
    Cassey is truly the Queen of Hearts!

    Maps Maponyane& Mr. Mulenga II
    Royal to a T.

    This dress is a winner coming and going! 

    Vigilante Jones
    Mukuni Mulundika (center) and these two beauties did not come to play!

    Boitumelo Thulo

    Boity is the true definition of a Queen!


    Bombshellgrenade 
    Rapper Bombshellgrenade blew up the spot with this one!

    Natasha Van Der Moss

    Natasha shows us how to strike a serious pose!
    *********

    What do you think about the fashions from the Gala? Do you have a favorite look?

    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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    Rapper Nelly with video model in his Tip Drill music video
    By Brenda Alexander 

    After watching BET’s 30-minute digital docu-series “VIXEN," I was left wondering: was video modeling a legitimate starting point for Hollywood hopefuls that could spearhead a dream career? And did the supposed tell-all 'Confessions of a Video Vixen' by Karrine Steffans change the narrative and perception of video models to hoes?


    The series aired in three parts and exposed the rise and fall of the video modeling world. It opens by detailing how curvier girls of black and brown shades were ushered in as rappers’ leading ladies during hip hop’s heyday of multi-million dollar productions to accompany and promote their music to the masses. Where singers could rely on their voices and choreography, record executives honed in on exotic features and hour glass frames to make their sells. The marketing plan was to showcase the opulence of the rags to riches - with male viewers envious of their favorite rapper’s arm candy and female viewers desiring to be the leading ladies of the wealthy. What execs didn’t anticipate was just how famous these leading ladies would become.

    Models would bounce from video to video, often making just as much or even more than the rap stars. Why? Because, they were the main attraction. Rita Acosta boasted that she was paid as much as $10,000 per video. Imagine, three videos for a year at that rate and that equates to the average starting salary of a full-time job. Models were treated like gold on set with their own trailers, wardrobe stylists and more.

    Former Video Model Melyssa Ford covers KING Magazine
    With the addition of urban hip hop magazines like KING and Maxim, the same models became the cover girls thanks to a surplus of requests from readers. One journalist during that time commented on combing through thousands of letters with fans asking, “Who was the main girl in Jay Z’s video? We want to see her.”

    If you think about it, this was no different than a white actress or model on the cover of Cosmopolitan where they were given multi-page spreads and interviews to give readers and fans an opportunity to get to know them better. This led to models becoming brands, selling calendars and merchandise and even hosting gigs.

    However, things began to change when Internet streaming availability impacted money from record sales. Video budgets were cut from millions to low thousands, leaving record companies unable to afford movie-like theatrics and the actors that came with it. Southern rap was beginning to boom where strip culture was thriving and as Melyssa Ford put it,
    “Casting directors realized they could get a regular girl from the strip club who aesthetically looked just like me, for a lot less money who was willing to do a lot more for the job and to become famous...even wearing close to nothing or nothing at all.”
    Even former backup dancer Shane Johnson explained in an interview this past Spring that she hung up her dancing shoes after the emergence of video models, specifically strippers with Shane saying,
    “The South had something to say during Hip Hop’s peak in the late 90s and early 2000s, and we weren’t down for that so I let it go.” 
    Video models were phased out and vixens were born. BET helped none with the creation of late night music videos rivaling soft porn showcased in UNCUT and the fallout from Nelly’s Tip Drill visual.

    According to many of the earlier pioneers who turned a video cameo into other opportunities, there was always a certain level of misogyny in the lyrics and of course they’d get hit on, but they insist the artist and co were respectful and only did what was allowed to do. Melyssa Ford proclaims, “I was the QUEEN of no. I have a man to go home to and I’m here to do a job.” But, Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine "Superhead" Steffans changed that perception for not just the women, but also gave rappers who were once deemed respectful a gateway to being pigs.

    Karrine Stephans 
    We all know what the book detailed and even to this day, professionals involved in the industry are still pissed. Models were all typecasts as being “industry hoes” who were eager to sleep with rappers as their claim to fame. Not that these women didn’t exist prior, there will always be some willing to do whatever to get to where they desire. But, the book didn't help and instead marginalized the culture as a whole and it did not separate Karrine’s story from the rest. It was widely assumed that all video models were the same.

    Like many, I do not agree with Karrine Steffans seemingly exploiting herself and her lovers involved for profit. She knew what she was doing when she made the choice to release the book and continues to document her life in the same way for public consumption. Just recently she called out ‘Power’ star Rotimi on instagram over an alleged miscarriage. With the exception of maybe three people interviewed, she’s largely viewed as a sell out who put a negative connotation on an entire career. But there’s two things that cannot be denied as it relates to her:
    If she were a man, the backlash wouldn’t have existed. Her being a black woman counted against her with black women shaming her and black men publicly denouncing her.
    There’s no difference in Karrine Steffans turning her alleged sexcapades with wealthy rappers and the lifestyle it afforded her into a book and empire than Kris Jenner spearheading Kim Kardashian and co’s careers from Kim’s sextape - anyone who thinks otherwise lacks sense.
    Amber Rose Annual SlutWalk
    The final part of the documentary exploring Confessions of a Video Vixen brings to light the idea that the book could have been ahead of its time. We are in a time now where the black sexual feminist movement is on full display. With Amber Rose’s Annual SlutWalk using one’s sexuality and free choices as power and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements where women, black and white, are speaking out against their alleged abusers, maybe Karrine would have been celebrated versus looked down upon. And, as a result, the association with video modeling, or being a Vixen, would not have been affected.

    Regardless, I think it’s an interesting discussion. Because, prior to the book, although there were some videos who pushed the envelope with the clothing and dancing featured, women were not grouped together as all being one in the same. In fact, many of our favorite celebs started out as video models and were able to jumpstart their acting careers and more, think Claudia Jordan with her success in radio, and even some of our favorite men like Omari Hardwick who is now known most as Ghost on Power. Videos are not as common now, but the outcome could have been different had the world not assumed that every video model’s story coincided with Karrines. Not to mention that it was later discovered many of the recollections in her book were exaggerated and some flat out lies. It was unfair and unfortunate. However, what the documentary did succeed at showing was the many success stories of those who chose to go beyond being eye candy. Because as we know, physical beauty fades.

    Watch it right here!

    What do you think about the docu-series' exploration of video modeling? 
    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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    Smile. Breathe. Relax your shoulders. Silently give thanks for and send love to whatever it is you’re currently growing through. It’s only happening to remind you of your true Self, of your inner Power, of your ‘I Am.’

    At any one time you may think you’re desiring a resolution to a conflict, a new car, a new home, a new relationship, but at the root of all of these little desires is your primal need to remember, know and BE what you really are. IT puts you through certain experiences to bring you Home!
    #Remember #MakeTheMainThingTheMainThing #SeekYeFirstTheKingdom

    Your job is to keep turning to your ‘I Am,’ the loving awareness, the inner Presence, and feeling that all is well. That’s actually the automatic response to turning within and sensing the silence of Presence— IT feels good, IT feels like general well-being, perfection— even when circumstances suggest otherwise. IT’s a felt sign, the first sign, that your blessing is HERE, even though you can’t see it yet.

    When everything works out, as it always does, your #faith in Presence will be stronger. This is not blind-faith, this is felt-faith. Joel Goldsmith likened it to being in a pool, unable to swim and declaring, ‘I have faith!’ while having on water wings and rocking an inner tube of course you KNOW you’re not gonna drown. That’s the kind of faith I’m talking about. Cultivate, that. Be that. So you can finally be HER! #BeHerNow

    I love you all so much and intend that you can appreciate whatever is challenging you right now. It’s truly all okay, everything is great. Feel IT and walk in IT knowing that you’ve already won. It’s done.

    P.S. **the real blessing is freedom from circumstances.

    The freedom to know you’re okay, no matter what. And when you truly know that all is ‘okay,’ circumstances start reflecting back to you that way. Take your power back. -Nikki Walton 

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    By Shanice-J-Douglas

    It has been about 10 years since the relationship that I once had with my mother transitioned into the crumbled shell that it is today. Today, the status of this non-relationship is not a bother to me, and I know that many people wouldn't understand that.

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    Dan & Wendy
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Before this video I'd seen Wendy and Dan in passing. Every now and then they'd pop up on the side of my computer screen in a sponsored video, smiling like they'd just cashed a check. I even wondered if they were a real couple. Now I know. Dan Hennessey & Wendy Joseph are indeed a real couple who have been together for over 10 years (now engaged), with tons of youtube followers who tag along to see their escapades in places like Paris, Costa Rica or even the kitchen as the two chef it up. Wendy has also been known to post videos on her hair routine, which brings me to this video in which Dan attempts to get all up in her voluminous tresses to style her hair in a bun. I could count the number of times a man who wasn't a hair stylist has done my hair. One. My husband. So it made me wonder, is letting your man in your hair the ultimate sign of closeness?

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    It's interesting because letting my husband do my hair took a lot of courage. I'd been stumbling around extremely unhappy with longer natural hair, two-strand twisting like my life depended on it, feeling kinda trapped in my own craziness when he suggested cutting it. Finally, I decided okay, and shocked myself when we decided the barber would be him, an amateur who had NEVER cut anyone's hair before. But at the end of the day, I couldn't imagine anyone else cutting it. After all, I had a checkered past with trusting hair dressers too and once jumped out of a stylists' chair with only one side of my hair cut. In the end, I let him do it, and it's been that way for a few years now. Sometimes he has a misstep, but we work it out. However, I don't think this is the norm. There was a story recently here on CurlyNikki where a young black woman who was friends with an old white man asked him to do her hair when she was sick and one of the commentors said that she doesn't let anyone who isn't a hair dresser touch her hair. It makes sense. Culturally, when we grow up, we're taught to take pride in our hair. So for many, that means no one touches it who isn't licensed, a close girlfriend or family member. Some women will let a man get the poonany, but touch her hair, let alone style it...nah bruh. Some won't even let you see their real hair, it gets deep. 

    But, I don't know. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Couples these days share so much of themselves for viewers. The McClure's who just revealed that the dad we've known is not the twins' biological father, and forget about everything we see on the Housewives or Love & Hip Hop or any of the reality shows. It's all stunts and sensationalism so letting a man style your tresses starts looking like child's play. Even still, I do think that it says something about how close you're willing to let your man get. It may not mean ever lasting love, ish happens to the best couples, but it's a pretty good sign of things to come. I wish this couple success in their future marriage and their video below is pretty fun! 

    Has a man you were dating ever styled your hair?

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    Pat McGrath & Kylie Jenner
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Chances are, a lot of you have never heard the name Pat McGrath, the British-born makeup artist born to a single mother of Jamaican decent, who grew up loving makeup and got her start in the 80's with designers John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Since then, she's worked just about every major fashion show in every major market, with every major photographer for every major magazine before starting her own makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, in 2015, following her mom's advice. Today, her line is sold at PatMcGrathLabs.com, Sephora.com and its stores, and will be expanding to even more stores and will soon include merch and apparel with the 60 million dollar investment deal she just secured with a New York-based investment firm. Everything said, her company has just been valued at 1 billion dollars.

    Now what do we know about Kylie? 

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    Perhaps a better question would be, what don't we know about Kylie, so famous that we don't have to say her last name. We know more than we probably care to know. The youngest daughter in the infamous Kardashian-Jenner klan, whose dad is former Olympian Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, has been making headlines since she was a teen. First by dating an older rapper by the name of Tyga who was a neighbor and father to Blac China's son, then by getting lip injections, and who knows what other plastic surgery, to showing almost as much skin on instagram as her older sister Kim, a tactic that has rewarded her with 111 million followers, to recently having a baby with rapper Travis Scott, to perhaps her biggest achievement to date, her estimated 900 million dollar cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, for which she earned a recent Forbes magazine cover. A few highlights from the company include selling more than $630 million worth of makeup since it was founded in 2016 and selling 19 million worth of makeup in a limited edition 'drop' in 24 hours. Mama owns 100 percent of the company, now estimated at 900 million. 

    Now a lot has been written online in the past few days about Pat's makeup company being worth more than Kylie's (900 million vs. 1 billion) and while that's great for us black women, and even for those who aren't crazy about the Kardashian/Jenner's, let's be real for a minute, both ladies are doing phenomenal. It's bigger than the extra 100 million. What we would be remiss to acknowledge about Pat's current reign as queen of makeup empires is the fact that she's done it without ever appearing half-naked or exploiting her private life in any way.

    Pat McGrath 
    Kylie Jenner
    Pat has become a billion-dollar woman, like Oprah, by focusing on what she loves to do. Makeup. The product. No plastic surgery that we know of. No butt implants. No famous boyfriends. Sex tapes. Cute kids. Just makeup. Makeup. And more makeup. It's a lesson to young girls, and also women who have come to believe that it's more about what you can exploit than your creativity. Pat proves that it is possible to succeed beyond your wildest dreams if you put in the work. Just work your ass off (not just werk your ass), and see what can happen! 

    In a press release about the merger Pat said, 
    "It has always been my dream to create an iconic beauty brand that goes beyond the usual limitations, that lives outside the parameters of what is expected. I am thrilled to be working with the unique and expert team at Eurazeo Brands."
    And we are thrilled for you! Continued success to Pat and to all of us simple, hard-working folk everywhere! 

    What inspires you most about Pat's success?
    Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife and mom, based in Jersey, City. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.comMadamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram orErickkaSySavane.com

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    Riqua Hailes
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Some of us want to know where things come from. We want to know our genealogy, where our meat comes from down to the products we put on our body, which is why DIY videos are so important. If you do it yourself, there's no question about its authenticity. Some of us are curious about where hair extensions come from, but funny enough, there's not a lot of info. out there because the business is shadier than Donald Trump's taxes. Enter Refinery 29's gem of a mini-doc that gets out into these hair extension streets, traveling to multiple countries, to uncover the truth about human hair trafficking.  Now proceed with caution becuz once you know you can't not know. (Insert evil laugh) 


    Does it matter to you where hair extensions and wigs comes from?

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    Ms. Lauryn Hill Courtesy Photo via TheMiamiTimes
    By Veronica Wells 

    I was in fifth grade when Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation was released. I don’t think I could overstate what that album meant to me. It changed the game for me (I would learn later, so many other young, Black women.)

    A year later, during a family reunion—where we ended up in Vegas— I saw that Lauryn Hill was performing there, the day after we would have already left. I stood there on the strip, staring at that illuminated marquee, somehow knowing that I was missing something magical, some once in a lifetime event. As you know, Lauryn Hill is still performing her classic album. But if I wanted to hear what I fell in love with, the best chance of that would have been in 1999.

    Continue
    Lauryn Hill performs at Festival Pier, July 13, 2018 in Philly
    This past week, Ms. Hill performed in Toronto for one of the dates for her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Tour. According to HipHopDx, Hill showed up over an hour late and performed for only 45 minutes. Several concertgoers claimed that she spent most the time rushing her band members and rushing through 10 songs before ending the set with a rendition of Drake’s “Nice For What,” which samples her single “Ex-Factor.”

    Fans, disappointed by the set, hopped on Twitter to share their grievances.



    As a fan of Lauryn’s music, who will always regard The Miseducation as genius work, I have one thing to say to these people who bought tickets to this show, arrived to the venue on time, waited for an hour and sat through a terrible set. It’s the same thing my momma used to say to me after I defied her repeated warnings. “Maybe now you’ll learn.”

    It would be different if this was the first time Lauryn had pulled something like this. But this has been her modus operandi for years now. In fact, showing up only an hour late, is an improvement. After one particular bad showing, Hill offered an explanation for her tardiness.
    “I don't show up late to shows because I don’t care. And I have nothing but Love and respect for my fans. The challenge is aligning my energy with the time, taking something that isn’t easily classified or contained, and trying to make it available for others.”
    This was just an excerpt from her explanation written in 2016.
    If y’all still buying tickets to her shows after that, it’s on you. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” And Lauryn not only showed us, then she told y’all she’s not going to be on time.

    For the people who are still buying tickets, expecting anything else…I have no choice but to assume you enjoy being gaslit.

    Going to a Lauryn Hill concert with expectations of professionalism and general decency is like dating a man who said he wasn’t ready for a relationship, expecting to get a ring. It’s like marrying T.I. and expecting fidelity. Hanging out with Snoop Dogg and expecting sobriety. Conversing with Kanye West and expecting him to honor the ancestors.

    In the words of Drake, “You knew what it was when you signed up.”

    At this point, I’m convinced folks are purchasing Lauryn Hill tickets just so they can complain about how terrible the show was. Or maybe they’re doing it as some form of community service, given Hill’s infamous tax issues. If that’s the case, then, perhaps, the disappointment is easier to take on the chin. But at the end of the day, you have no one to blame but yourself if you leave a Lauryn Hill concert pissed and she leaves paid.

    Do you think it's time people going to Lauryn Hill concerts stop complaining?
    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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    There’s a perfection in you that has gone largely ignored. The result of your overlooking this inherent dopeness has manifested as the easily bothered, generally unhappy, and insecure person you’ve grown to know and (fake) love. It’s the reason you feel ‘stuck.’

    To reverse this and take your life out of ‘neutral...' to finally become who you were born to be, to finally begin to love yourself unconditionally, you must take your attention away from all that you are not. You have to learn to ignore and starve your negative and limiting self concepts by focusing fully on your present perfection. It’s HERE, NOW and is felt in your body as an unbroken and effortless quiet-joy... a sense of peace, stillness, and uncaused happiness. Keep placing your attention there, feeling That, even when you’re simultaneously noticing doubt thoughts and uncomfortable feelings of insecurity. Keep dwelling in your wholeness. In your natural security. In your Divinity. Let IT live in you. Let that Joy be you, so you can be HER. #BeHerNow

    To Do: In every moment, find the current of Joy and flow with that. It’s always there. Make it your number one priority to feel that innate well-being and then, carry on. Like, don’t do shit until you’re connected with That and watch how life unfolds! #IAmLovingAwareness #IAmLove
    -Nikki Walton