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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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    Kyrzayda Rodriguez
     By Ta-Ning Connai

    While watching American Idol one night back in 2009, I heard the most beautiful song; a song full of enough power to put the meaning of life and death in its proper perspective. 'Live Like You're Dying' was about waking up to the reality that life is short, tomorrow may never come and that it is of the utmost urgency to live everyday with unrestricted abandon, as if it were your last. And although I'd heard variations of that same message many times before, none seemed to have such an inspirational impact on me like that lyrical life lesson did. Nine years later, I can't say I have fully and consistently manifested that mantra in my life and I can't say that I've been an eyewitness to anyone else that embodied the entirety of those words either...until lifestyle and fashion blogger, Kyrzayda Rodriguez invited us on her incredible journey of living life while she was dying.

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    Kyrzayda IG
     In 2013, the Dominican diva entered the social media stratosphere. It wouldn't be long before her impeccable style, infectious personality and glowing spirit made her an instant influencer all around the world, garnering her close to half a million Instagram followers to date. Many of her fans cite her dazzling beauty and creativity as their initial draw, but were quick to often mention that her willingness to share her faith in Jesus with such ease and grace is what made their hearts soar and  keep them coming back.

    However, in October 2017, things would dramatically change. While the gram is often used to show one's best foot forward and to invite people into a controlled environment reeking with the illusion of glamorous perfection, Kyrzayda decided to share with her faithful supporters that she had not been feeling well, which led to her getting some tests done. In the days to follow, before the startling news had even had a chance to sink in, she revealed that she was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer and that the battle of a lifetime was about to begin.




    This beautiful platform I shared with each and one you guys has open so many opportunities for me. I have met so many wonderful people. I have grown into a businesswoman. Most importantly I proved to myself that with hard work anything is possible. I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me. I'm so humbled. Here is a little updated. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with stomach Cancer. I still don't know how to wrap my head around all this info. I know God will guide me but guys this has been the toughest challenge. I have learned so much this week ... that kindness is stronger than anything, than your past and your mistakes. Thank you IG family for your prayers. I'm doing ok for now, and I will start treatment very soon. This is a new journey for me, I don't want to fall into "why me" but find ways to overcome. My family & friends have been so supportive, I’m beyond bless! For now my IG friends remember to be kind to one another! #FUCKyoucancer
    A post shared by Kyrzayda Rodriguez (@kyrzayda_) on
    This monumental moment was the beginning of a journey Kyrzayda didn't plan, expect or choose, yet she embraced it with ferocious dignity and determination. The NY based blogger would suddenly become a beacon of hope and example of tremendous will, reaching far beyond her fashionista platform.

    It can be so utterly painful to watch someone battle a life-threatening disease, but in the case of Kyrzayda, it was more like beholding courage personified. Yes, she expressed sorrow when forced to shave her crowning glory, but it was her strength that shook us. When her body become frail, she spoke honestly about her hard time initially accepting the drastic change. But, then she lovingly schooled the world on the superficiality of outer beauty once she learned to love the real her lying deep beyond the flesh and bones. When she felt sick, she said so, while still uplifting her followers. And when she brought the chemo to an end because it wasn't going as planned, she asked for our support and understanding.

    But MY GOD MY GOD, this woman continued to take fierceness to a whole ‘nother level! She didn't hide in shame and she didn't give cancer an easy win. She fought the presence of defeat by continuing to work as much as she could, serving us 100% slay to the likes of which have never been seen before. Kyrzayda proved that true love can supersede time and space and that it can be felt even amongst strangers along the World Wide Web. Every post was filled with appreciation and gratefulness for her followers, her family and most importantly, God. She showed us that death can be met with peace and that a short life on earth can leave a long lasting legacy when lived with purpose and sacrifice. Kyrzayda sacrificed her privacy in order to show us how to do what we love NOW and to do it as a blessing for others and not just ourselves.

    Kyrzayda IG
    Ms. Rodriguez passed away on September 9th, and will be sorely missed by her family, friends, and so many of us. If there's anything to help through the pain, I hope it would be the sharing in her love for God and the joyful realization that this precious angel has been welcomed into Heaven and greeted by the words that we all hope to one day hear…
    "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” - Matthew 25:21
     Does Kyrzayda's journey inspire you to live a fuller life?

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    By Nikki Walton

    The joy is God appearing as you and your world. But you have to invite It in, so It can escort you out. If ‘you’ want to win, ‘you’ must go.

    Find the innate Joy that’s present to you now and now and now and now—stay with it, choose it over everything. Make it EXTRA primary. #BeHerNow #GodNotes

    Fun fact: God = Love ... and It’s a felt experience

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    Can you relate?

    Better yet, you ever lose your train of thought, and start feeling calm and peaceful, and then thoughts say, ‘I was worried about something... what was it again?’ and then you start trying to remember what had you so bothered?! In moments like that, catch yourself and find and choose the current of Joy. Instead of asking ‘why was I feeling worried?’ ask, ‘is there Joy here?’ #BeHerNow #SheAsksBetterQuestions

    p.s. Notice that vague sense of dread or worry the next time it comes up. If you really look at it, you’ll see just how familiar it is. When it comes to visit sometimes the mind says it’s because you have an exam coming up or an important meeting... other times the mind attributes it to not getting an email response back from someone ‘important’ or getting ‘the we need to talk’ text from your partner. No matter what label the mind sticks on it, notice that it’s the SAME. DAMN. FEELING. Different intensities, but always the same sensations. When you notice this, you’ve taken your power back. Then the game is staying woke enough to watch it come and go without being bothered. Let it go, and if you can’t do that, let it be!

    Do you find yourself being peaceful then try to force yourself back to worry?

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    Hey guys!

    As a mommy of two growing kiddos, and a #WholeLifeWellness advocate, I’d love for you to join me in supporting Beech-Nut and No Kid Hungry’s new campaign to end childhood hunger in the United States.

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    To kick off their new partnership, Beech-Nut and No Kid Hungry have created a video to shed light on food insecurity among children under the age of five. More than 13 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” households, which translates to roughly 1 in 6 children who are living with hunger. Beech-Nut will donate $75,000 to No Kid Hungry during the campaign. Additionally, for every video view, Beech-Nut will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry, up to $10,000!


    The video is powerful and emotionally stirring because it features real moms… real people… people just like you and me, that are struggling to provide whole, healthy food for their young children. You’ll gain perspective and a burning drive to help make ‘no kid hungry a reality in America.’ Please watch it now, and share across your social media platforms!



    About Beech-Nut
    Beech-Nut Nutrition is dedicated to conserving the goodness of nature and is one of America’s leading companies providing safe, nutritious food for babies. It sells a wide variety of products that are natural, organic, and GMO-free. Beech-Nut baby food has been producing baby food since 1931 and was recently awarded 2015 Product of the Year in the baby food category by the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation USA. Beech-Nut Nutrition is owned by the Hero Group, a private consumer goods conglomerate based in Lenzburg, Switzerland.
    Visit www.beechnut.com for more information.

    About No Kid Hungry
    No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty.

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    Photo BlackLove.com
    By Courtni Guevara

    I didn't want to wash my hair. No, that’s not accurate. I wanted to wash my hair, but I was scared. My scalp burned as if it were on fire. The water would soothe it, but it would also cause so much more of it to fall out all at once. There were already the warning signs – like when I had thought that I dropped my washcloth in the shower and was horrified to find that it was a large clump of hair.

    As it turned out, my fear didn’t matter; within two months I would be completely bald from head to toe.

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    By Kerika Fields Nalty

    When I turned forty-eight in March, someone asked me how old I was and I found myself faced with a conundrum: To lie, or not to lie?

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    On a good day, I can get away with saying forty-two. On a great day (in the right lighting with a pink lipstick and if I don’t talk too much) I can even erase a decade and declare myself thirty-eight- or at least I’d like to think so! But, just because I can, does it mean I should?

    Let’s face it, ladies; we live in an age-ist society. You know how it is: A business partner, a job prospect, a handsome stranger are all excited to meet you. But once you tell them your age, especially if that age is anywhere over forty-five, things change. It’s like a calm comes over the room as you wait for it: They either stammer or say, “Wow I would have never guessed. I thought you were much younger!” or worse, they say nothing at all.

    Regardless of the response, once a woman of a certain age reveals her true number, the spell is broken. People start doing the math in their heads. How old were you when you had your first kid? How come you don’t have any kids? The questions go on and on and people get distracted. Everything becomes about how old you are; it is no longer about just you.

    Some think the feminist movement got its momentum in the sixties when The Pill arrived on the scene. With birth control, women could decide whether they wanted to have a child, how many or with whom. But I suspect it was actually the popularity of hair dye that really gave women The Tool to an independent lifestyle. Women were able to reinvent themselves. Women who married young then found themselves in their mid-life, divorced, or simply bored, wanted to go back to work but wondered what they would do with all that gray hair. Hair dye made it possible for women to start over, to get jobs, to support themselves and make life choices accordingly. Because no matter what people like to say, society categorizes women by their age. In our country, especially, younger is just, well, better.

    So can you blame me if, once I turned forty, I started to lie about my age? Mainly it was because eight years ago, my vain, ignorant self could not even get my mouth to form the words f-f-forty. I literally had to practice saying it in front of a mirror. But now I’m facing fifty and I’m over it. It really is what it is.

    Now, when it comes to lying about my age, it’s just way too much work. I have to remember if I told you the truth or not. I have to remember the year I was supposed to be born. I have to remember not to make references to the 80’s. It’s exhausting AF. I’ve discovered the key to feeling and appearing youthful is to simply be truthful.

    As Coco Chanel put it:
    “The mere act of falseness is aging in itself. It announces your real age more than hides it. Nothing makes a woman look so old as trying desperately hard to look young.”
    So ever since my last birthday, I stopped lying about my age. That doesn’t mean I go around announcing it, especially since it really isn’t anybody’s business. And if some random person wants to assume I’m a tad younger than I actually am, I don’t go out of my way to correct them. I’ve also used the classic answer: “I’m too old for you to be asking my age.” Or, more to the point, I simply say, ”I’m over 21,” which means I’m legal. Which is really all you need to know.

    But to people that matter, people that I interact with long-term, I let it be known. I’m forty-eight and I am not here for your shenanigans. I’ve found it to be quite liberating. It saves a lot of time because if whoever has a problem with my age then whatever. Everybody can keep it moving.

    This is really, for me, what being truthful about my age is all about: Moving forward. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for anything else.

    Do you lie about your age?
    Kerika Fields Nalty is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer and the author of “He’s Gone…You’re Back! The Right Way to Get Over Mr. Wrong.” Follow her on Instagram @kerikafieldsnalty and at withyourbadself.com

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    Photo of Allegra Hill & Kimberly Durdin by Angela Hughes 
    By Ta-ning Connai

    America is a leader, but when it comes to leading maternal death rates in dozens of countries, including some third world nations, it's a label we might not want to claim. For black women it fares worst because we die during birth at a rate of 3-4 times that of white women. It's stats like these that provoked two women to take action to prevent more senseless fatalities.

    Kimberly Durdin and Allegra Hill are natural birth professionals and it’s been their desire for many years to extend their life-long work to women in predominantly black areas. I had the opportunity to chat with Kimberly to find out how these phenomenal women are changing the way black women birth.


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    Imagined as a birth, lactation and education space that could provide birthing support groups, lactation support, new mom and dad support groups, midwifery and montrice services, Kindred Space was officially opened in March 2018, funded predominately by crowdsourcing, smack dab in Inglewood, California, aka the hood.
     
    Kimberly says,
    “We chose a location at the intersection of La Tijera and Centinela because it is within the same community we wanted to serve. Los Angles has three special planning areas that have been identified as having the highest rates for infant and maternal death. We didn't know at the time of beginning Kindred Space that we were in one of these areas, although we now consider it kismet."
    In a short period of time, Kimberly and Allegra are making tremendous strides re-educating or as Kimberly puts it, "un-educating" African American mommies-to-be about the myths and lies surrounding pregnancy, the process of childbearing, and even breastfeeding. While giving birth is a huge moment in a woman's life, as Kimberly tells it, there's no real preparation out there.
    “Everything a woman learns about birth, she picked up from friends or family. And believe it or not, film and TV play a huge role in the falsehoods that fill our psyche. Women have been so riddled with fear in regards to enduring labor pains, but what's being taught at Kindred Space is that birth is nothing to fear; that it's beautiful and with our midwifery expertise, a peaceful birth can be achieved.” 
    Currently the staff at Kindred Space prepare and assist women for births at home while they are working on opening their own birthing center in South Central L.A. 

    Photo of Birthing People Foundation Training by Charisse Sims

    With its ethnically-inspired decor, the vibe at Kindred Space makes you feel right at home. It's the kind of place black women can let down their guard and be comfortable around others who look like them, which is extremely important. Kim says,
    "Here we allow women to be themselves. Often when POC walk into medical institutions they feel like they have to be on guard, or code switch in order not to be judged or subject to discrimination. It's tiring to do this and also indicates that they aren't completely comfortable with their care providers. It's abominable to imagine that POC also have to be on-guard when they are in labor, when they give birth, and when they are just learning about their new little ones."
    Ain't it the truth!That type of comfort is worth every penny, which brings us to the very important question of cost. As it stands, Kindred Space also offers postpartum support, breastfeeding classes, meditation, dance, emotional support, and their non-profit, The Birthing People Foundation, which trains and encourages more women of color to join the birthing movement. To Ms. Hill and Ms. Durdin's credit, some work is without pay. They take great pride in making women's needs the top priority. They never turn anyone away, and offer a sliding scale according to one's ability to pay. Currently, they're preparing the facility to be Medi-Cal compliant. Midwifery services are known to have a pretty hefty fee, and with Medi-Cal picking up most of the tab, low income candidates would be relieved.

    Photo of Birthing People Foundation Training by Charisse Sims

    That’s pretty amazing. So what does the future hold for Kindred Space? Kimberly’s plans are precise and clear.
    “We want to duplicate our successful blueprint and create more spaces in LA...to provide full and partial scholarships for birthworkers, educators and midwifery candidates...and to eventually dismantle society's trust in the western approach to birth so that women will choose the safest way to perform the greatest miracle on earth.”
    To learn more about Kindred Space, The Birthing People Foundation at its founders, check out their website kindredspacela.com and @kindredspacela on Instagram!

    ********
    What do you think about Kindred Space and the need for more education around black women's maternal health?
    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).

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    HFR x LeBron 16 sneaker (Photo courtesy of Armand Consulting PR/HFR)
    By Selena Hill 

    NBA superstar LeBron James debuted his latest Nike collaboration, revealing that they were inspired and designed by African American women.



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    By Veronica Wells

    If someone decided to conduct an experiment to determine the most-used word in my vocabulary, I would tell them to save their time and energy. I can answer that question myself. The word is n*gga. I can hear the disappointed groans from those of you who argue that we should’ve buried the word a few years ago. I’ve heard the arguments from folks like Oprah who remind us that n*gga was the last word Black men heard before they were lynched or murdered.

    I hear her. The history and pain of it is deep and not to be understated. But the provocative nature of the word just make it that much more alluring to me. Still, there are times when I wonder about its appropriateness.

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    And I’m not talking about in front of White people. (Because really, at the end of the day, there are two types of White people in this world: the ones who will say n*gga and the ones who never will.)

    When I talk about appropriateness I mean amongst ourselves, other Black people. I remember feeling a bit heartbroken when I saw that owners of a clothing store in Malawi decided to name their business “N*ggers.” I was taken aback by my fiancé’s cousin’s use of the word—mostly because he was born, raised and living in South Africa. I think of the word in the context of Black American history and struggle. And it’s odd that African people would want to adopt that narrative; not only because they hadn’t lived it, but because why adopt additional struggle? Then again, even those Africans who managed to avoid the Transatlantic Slave trade still know a thing or two about being treated like a n*gga, thanks to colonization.

    But I’m also conflicted about the use of n*gga when it comes to Black children. The other day, I stumbled across this tweet from a father, frustrated by his son’s antics.




    I immediately laughed at this tweet, thinking only of the humor of a little boy terrorizing his father into appreciation for his mother. But when I told my coworker-friends about the tweet, I wondered for the first time about his use of the word n*gga in reference to his son.

    In my mind, n*gga can be and is often a term of endearment when used amongst Black folk. It’s for us. I call it our birthright. The way we’ve taken something that was meant to oppress us and turned it into something to unite community is beautiful and certainly symbolic of what Black people have had to do in America.

    Still, I get the sense that children hearing the word at home from their parents and then being told that people of other races aren’t supposed to call them that might be confusing. This man called his son a n*gga on Twitter. And I presume he can’t read yet and doesn’t follow his father on the app. But in my search, I stumbled upon people who used the word to address or discuss young children and they were standing right there. And it didn’t feel right.

    I’m aware that kids are often more capable of processing complex concepts than we give them credit for. But admittedly, there’s something adult about it. I balk at even teenagers using it in public because I wonder if they really know what they’re saying. There’s a responsibility that comes with the use of the word.

    The tweet made me ask myself do I plan on calling my future child n*gga. And it’s a loaded one. It’s funny but I can’t see myself staring into the face of an infant saying, “I love you lil n*gga.” Even if I didn’t call my child that to her face, the thought that someone else would read something I wrote and in turn refer to her as a n*gga troubles me.

    What do you think? Is it wrong to call children n*gga?
    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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    Dorian Missick (Center)
    By Brenda Alexander

    The remarkable story of Brian Banks leaves you both angry and inspired. A high school football star, his future was interrupted when he was accused and convicted of raping a classmate. He spent 5 years in prison after copping a plea deal, afraid of a potential 41-year-to-life sentence. After being released, his accuser messaged him on Facebook, hoping to rekindle their relationship. Eager for justice, Banks eventually met her at his lawyer's office, where she confessed while being secretly recorded. With the help of the Innocence Project, he was exonerated and went on to play with the Atlanta Falcons.

    Now, his story is being brought to film and shows his transition from tragedy to triumph. Actor Dorian Missick stars as Banks’ Parole Officer, Mick Randolph, who abuses his authority spewed by his hatred of sex offenders. I spoke with Dorian about Banks’ life, his character and what he hopes audiences take away from the film.

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    Brian Banks
    How familiar were you with Brian Banks’ story before the movie?
    I’d heard of Brian but not the intricate details. Prior to the script and doing further research, I thought he was a college athlete on his way to the pros as opposed to being in high school when the unfortunate turn of events took place. The overall arc of his story was a learning experience.

    What was the audition process like?
    I knew the film was being made but didn’t actively pursue it. When the script was sent to my agent I found out about Officer Mick Randolph, auditioned, and by the end of the day, got the call.

    What did you do to prepare for this role? 
    I received all direction on my character from Brian, who was extremely involved. He hasn't had any contact with Randolph since being off parole. When I read the script, I immediately connected because I’ve experienced people like Randolph before: someone older, cocky and slightly jealous because he too played football. I liked the contrast of the two. It’s interesting - I came on late in the process because of a miscommunication between casting and Brian. They assumed Randolph was white and auditioned white actors for the role. When Brian found out, things changed.

    What did that casting assumption reveal to you?
    It said a lot about people’s perceptions of things - the assumption that people in positions of power are white. We’re conditioned to believe that. The dynamic between Brian and Randolph, who is black, isn’t new. Blacks are familiar with this character, even going back to the house negro in slavery. We know their motivations. In this scenario, Randolph has to please his boss and could be scrutinized at work if he’s considered being lenient on someone because they have the same skin color. So he doesn't make things easy for Randolf. There’s a freedom white parole officers have that black parole officers face different consequences for. From an actor’s perspective, that was interesting to pry into.

    You mentioned earlier you didn’t know all details of Brian’s case. When you discovered the full story, what impact did it have?
    It’s hard to think that someone’s word has the power to shape the trajectory of your life, especially in terms of a sexual relationship. That’s an intimate moment between two people and it was used against him. That’s scary. Men in my circles have been skeptical of rape allegations before. I’m not a general believer in thinking that women lie about assault because they already have scrutiny they come under when they do come forward with allegations. The notion of women fabricating such stories was difficult for me to fathom, but Brian put a face to that truth with his case.

    What made you want to participate in the film, and did it hold emotional weight?
    A lot of films now have important subject matter. This isn't a fad or a cool film- this will last. I jumped at the opportunity because I knew it would be done right. This role took a toll on me to a certain degree. I don’t live my life as black and white as Randolph. It was frustrating to play a guy who refused to bend. Having Brian on set and him re-living it was tough. The scenes that I was involved in were the worst parts of the story. Watching Brian’s reaction was difficult and he’d leave set because it was too much at times. 

    Brian Banks and his Mom
    What did you learn and what’s your anticipated reaction?
    Being around Brian everyday was most impactful. If there’s anyone who has a reason to be resentful, Brian is someone you’d give a pass because he’s had an unfair deck of cards. But, he leads with love, he’s not vindictive, he’s genuine. Experiencing his graciousness is something to relish.

    Audiences will love this movie because people enjoy stories with hope. This isn't a movie where you’ll walk out feeling like you hate the world.

    Do you think Brian’s story will spark change?
    I'm hopeful his story will affect things moving forward as far as the idea of being innocent until proven guilty. Although things initially were bad, I think it helps cases to come because we now have a reference point.

    The Brian Banks Story, starring Aldis Hodge as Brian Banks and Sherri Shepherd as Brian's mom, will premiere September 22nd at the Los Angeles Film Festival. You can catch Dorian in his upcoming projects: Jinn (released in November), and Tell Me A Story on CBS All Access.



    *******

    Were you familiar with Brian Bank's story?
     
    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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    GlamFun
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Okay, so I've done my share of fasting. The Master Cleanse aka the lemon cleanse (pure maple syrup, lemons and cayenne pepper) is a favorite. The first time I did it for 5 days I thought I was going to die. Now I do it for 10-14 days pretty easily. Mainly I do it to cleanse my body, lose weight and to get disciplined. Nothing clears the mind like not eating. But I have NEVER considered drinking nothing but water for 20 days. So when I saw this woman did just that I had to know why, how and what happened? Watch as this vlogger takes us through her journey and sums up what it ultimately did for her in the end. And let us know, would you try it?!

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    Photo via BlackWomenofBrazil
    By Marques Travae

    And once again, coming from the land of “we are all equal” in a “racial democracy.” The mother of a four-year-old black girl was asked by the girl’s school to change her daughter’s hairstyle so that her classmates would better accept her.

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    Comment below, if you’re in!

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    Remember though, powerful action is a by-product of true alignment. Find the way your Soul feels in your body and while rooted in that natural, peaceful-joy, take action. Start writing that book, launch that podcast, take that course... #justdoit. But do it in and from that peaceful state. Do it as HER. #BeHerNow

    Big announcement next week. Looking forward to sharing💓


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    The Deluxe Styling Head
    By Erickka Sy Savané
    When we told you about the Mattel Barbie Styling Head last month folks were trying to cop it like a Beyonce surprise album only it wasn't available everywhere. Well, now we know where you can find it!

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    Since that post my mom has been on it, stalking the Walmart.com website like only someone retired can do, and just last week they restocked. She just sent 3 my way, that I received yesterday, 2 for my daughters that will be put up for Christmas and 1 for her. Go figure! They cost $29.84 and will do free 2-day shipping on orders over $35. Now that you have the info, hurry because I suspect they will go fast! Here's one of mine below. It's even cuter in person and reminds me of my Cindy doll head when I was a kid. She was black and I loved the heck out of her. Good luck!

    The Deluxe Styling Head
    Will you be ordering one?

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    BACA
     By Ta-ning Connai

    By the time I got to my friend's church, it was already in session. You could hear a pin drop as I tried to quietly squeeze myself through the congregation while scrambling towards that one empty seat. And before my butt could even hit the pews, the pastor decides to integrate me into his already scheduled program..."Yeah fellas, look out for these light skin girls strolling into church with their big curly hair, batting their big blue eyes, wearing their fly fur coats and them high heel boots. Uh huh, the devil is just trying to tempt you, and you gotta be strong because ya know they ain't up to no good! Oh yes sir, you better watch yourself because all they gonna do is get you caught up! One look into they eyes and they gonna steal your heart and take you for everything you got! I'm telling you ladies you better get your life right, stop playing with God because he ain't playing with you!"

    I was stunned.

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    Did this fool just try to call me out and then straight LIE on me???!!! Little did he know I was 10 years abstinent and any dude rolling up on me was finna meet my boyfriend Jesus! Then we talking 7 years in ministry and the most sold out soldier for Christ he'd ever seen in his life. And even with knowing the truth about myself, I felt so publicly humiliated. Honestly, even if I was a prostitute, what pastor would do this to someone? Don't blame me just because I remind you of some high yella little girl that hurt your feelings in the 3rd grade! Needless to say, my friend KNEW not to ever invite me back.

    Unfortunately, falling victim to constant misconceptions doesn’t keep me from sometimes dishing it out. Yeah, I have the nerve to do it too, more times than I’d like to admit. Just recently, I saw a picture online that had me kicking myself after I read the article. It was a picture of some bikers with full on leather and spiked gear, wild manes and full beards. Their tattoos looked like the kind you get when you’re in prison. As a matter of fact, they looked like they just escaped from Death Row! So, what am I supposed to think when they’re 20 deep, mobbed up in a parking lot? I’ll tell you what I thought...
    Once they kill the guy they have hogtied in the garage, they’re gonna dump the body, go celebrate at the bar, get drunk, snatch some girls to dance with, break some glass and walk out without paying a dime. And who’s gonna stand in their way? NO ONE.
    That’s some imagination I have isn’t it? Well, it turned out they are a Christian organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse, that puts on events for young children traumatized by abuse. Imagine my surprise (and embarrassment). Their loving kindness is changing hearts for Christ by breaking the mold of tradition and that is an awesomely unique witnessing tool for the kingdom of God.
    ~ But the Lord said to Samuel (as he went to choose the next king), “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7 ~
    BACA doing outreach
    Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover because our initial impression of people isn't always the most accurate one. What we see is NOT always what we get because our eyes can play tricks on us. Especially now in this country when there's so much division and it's so easy to believe the worst about people. So how do we refrain from thinking we know what we think we know about people we don’t even know? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the things our eyes cannot see. In the midst of God's power, stereotypes are broken, judgments diminish and walls of condemnation start to fall. Eventually we will start to see the best in people and their limitless capabilities. We all deserve the benefit of the doubt, don’t we?

    Are you guilty of judging people you don't know?
    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).

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    Chris Brown, daughter & Nia Guzman
    By Brenda Alexander

    Children are expensive...this I know. But after recent reports of Chris Brown’s baby mama Nia Guzman gunning for more than $20k monthly in child support, I’m stuck with one question: Are mothers of children who have wealthy fathers taking advantage of child support? Because you can’t tell me that $20k a month is a requirement to provide your child a decent life.

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    I remember pondering this question as early as my pre-teen years, way before I even knew what child support entailed. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Kimora Lee Simmons because of her lavish lifestyle. When she and Russell divorced, I recall watching an entertainment news show that reported she received upwards of $40k per month in child support expenses alone. I was flabbergasted. Even then, I thought that was an obscene amount, and that was over a decade ago. It seems as time goes on, these payments are getting even more astronomical, specifically within the world of entertainers and the wealthy. Just recently, Nas and Kelis were in court over an alleged $50k a month.

    Why I’m left perplexed has less to do with the amount of child support awarded and more to do with whether the funds are monitored in how they are spent. And, even more so if the parent receiving the child support income or potential income are being held accountable for what they are equally contributing to raise this child.

    I understand that child support is determined from various angles: who has sole physical custody, the monthly income of parent ordered to pay, lifestyle accustomed to parent and child and basic necessity in terms of food, shelter, clothing, schooling and medical expenses. But both parents should be expected to contribute to the child - unless the parent is disabled mentally or physically and is unable to contribute in the same way. And Nia ain’t disabled in any way.

    In fact, she claims she needs more support from Chris, for their child, because she makes little money from her online clothing boutique, which is her only means of income. Additionally, her monthly housing rent far exceeds her personal income and from court documents, it appears as if she’s using the child support from Brown as a substitute for her and their child’s overall lifestyle. This is where my problem with child support lies in the celebrity sector.

    First, if she’s making minimum income from an online boutique she runs, the obvious thing to do would be to pick up a part-time (or full-time job) to compensate from what she’s lacking, considering that according to her, their child is in child care and also has a nanny, her mother who Brown pays - which means that while this child is in school, she can work. Second, the court documents explain that her rent is $3,000 a month for an apartment, which is a luxury she cannot afford on her own. It’s time to move sis. I’m sure you can find a nice 2-bedroom apartment in a suburb in LA for $1,200 a month. Or, you could move your mother in, who Chris pays $4,000 a month for childcare, and use that additional $4k you’re getting a month for a 3-bedroom home for the three of you. You’ll come out cheaper. But Nia doesn’t want to do any of what I suggested. She feels entitled to a certain lifestyle because she has a child by Chris Brown.

    There are some who feel that children who have celebrities as parents should be awarded certain things. Depending on the level of celebrity, the only thing I’d agree that a child should have additional would be security and private schooling, and maybe living within a certain area for additional protection. However, it should not be based solely off of one parent’s income. And considering there are millions of mothers who unfairly make a way daily without any support from their child’s father while they work, go to school and arrange childcare among other things, those examples should be taken into account regardless of celebrity when judges grant support. Conditions need to be set in stone for the mother (or whatever parent is receiving the support) to pull their weight.

    It’s unfortunate as children are innocent bystanders in these legal and often selfish battles for more money. Many would argue that what’s law is law and regardless of how astounding the number awarded is, whoever earns the most money should be responsible for paying, especially if they don’t have sole custody.

    Obviously, if a child spends the majority of the time with one parent, then more funds are being spent probably on a daily basis. Even still, that parent should work. And many of these celebrity baby mamas of rappers and athletes do very little outside of Instagram promotions for employment. A lot of them vie for the stay-at-home and travel as they wish - with money that’s set to be used for their children’s well-being.

    There needs to be a system in place to protect those distributing the funds from parents who opt out of work and providing to their full potential since the other parent is well-off. Child support is just that - support for the child.

    Do you think many celeb baby mamas exploit the kids to support their own lifestyle?
     
    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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    This FREE, 5-day challenge is a call to get un-stuck, and reclaim your power. It’s your manifesto. HER declaration! Everyday I share the importance of not ‘becoming in time’, but BEING the best version of yourself, now, living your best life, now, no matter what! And with this challenge, I will show you how and where to start.

    Continue!>>>
    Additionally, when you sign up, you’re automatically eligible for 1 of these 6 awesome prizes:

    One (1) winner and HER friend will join me (!!!!) on a silent, 4-day, 3-night retreat in the gorgeous hills of Northern California, on a private, gated estate! With airfare and rooms comped, you’ll be focused on deepening your heart-centered meditation practice with teachers who have been in the game for over 30 years. Check out Silentstay for more info!




    Four (4) winners will receive MUSE Brain Sensing Headbands! One of the biggest questions people have when they start a meditation practice is, ‘am I doing this right?’ MUSE takes the guess work out by translating your brain signals into the sounds of wind. When your mind is calm and settled, you hear calm and settled winds. When your mind is active, the winds will pick up and blow. So, so dope. ($199 value per Muse Headband)

    One (1) winner will receive a years supply of PLENTIFUL hair care products!!!! No matter how you style your hair, PLENTIFUL’s blend of avocado and aloe vera oils will promote abundant, healthy hair growth, and add to shine, softness, moisture, and manageability to every straight, wavy, curly, or coily strand of hair.

    Sign up NOW! We’ll get started on Monday! ❤️👑

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    Kelvin Pena
    By Kira Sparkles

    Let’s be real, social media’s a lot. Too often we’re bombarded with upsetting images and a doom and gloom view of what’s going on in the world around us. That’s why during these volatile times I try to find the lighter side of the internet by watching Kelvin Pena.

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    Around since the days of Vine, he’s been called the Dominican Snow White, The Deer Whisperer and even Brother Nature. He got his start by feeding a family of deer he calls the Deer Squad which includes a buck named Money and three does, Canela, Bambi and Lola. Sometimes the deer would take food from him, other times he would throw food their way with his now infamous “Everybody Eats” catch phrase. This was his content for a while, guys, literally, just feeding fruit to deer. It’s the purest thing you’ll see. In his growing fame (if 2.1 million instagram followers is any indication), he’s started a nonprofit called the "Everybody Eats Foundation” which also helped Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. His goal is to go to school and grow his platform to try and use it for the greater good. Still not convinced about this actual ball of human sunshine? Check out some of my favorite Kelvin videos to see if I can change your mind...

    Here’s Kelvin chillin’ with Money:


    Kelvin out here feeding EVERYBODY with the "Everybody Eats Foundation"

    Errrrbody Loves Brother Nature!

    It's Real Out Here...a trip to Walmart...
    Via Kelvin's IG
    Kelvin’s hung out with monkeys, the man got a baby goat, and recently he was seen in Hawaii swimming with sharks. Rumor has it he might be getting his own series. I personally hope it’s something Disney inspired where Kelvin and the Deer Squad go on magical adventures. Just me? Okay, I’ll stop. But seriously, have you been following Kelvin and the Deer Squad for a while? Did you fall in love after seeing these videos?

    Let me know some of your favorite Kelvin videos in the comments.
    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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    ItsHeyMorgan
    By Erickka Sy Savané

    Black women out here doing all kinds of interesting things. This woman went on a 20-day nothing but water fast, and vlogger and student It'sHeyMorgan challenged herself to drink a gallon of water a day when some folks can barely drink one glass. Find out what happens (we're guessing she had to pee a lot) and let us know if you'll try it...I mean, who knows, maybe a gallon a day keeps the doctor away!

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    Hamamat Montia
    By Winnie Gaturu

    Children are indeed a blessing. They have the ability to bring out a part of their parents that was previously hidden. They often challenge them to attain more than they already have. This was the case with Hamamat Montia. From Ghana, Hamamat is an entrepreneur, former model and beauty queen. One day, when her 3-year-old daughter Zuri came home from school and said she wanted blonde hair like Cinderella, she felt disturbed. This was the moment that sparked her current path as an entrepreneur.

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    Because of her daughters, Hamamat has made it her mission to spread awareness of African culture and traditions to the world, and become a role model that African girls can look up to. Many refer to her as the Global African Ambassador. In the process of becoming a role model, Hamamat African Beauty was born in 2017. It is a brand that offers handmade skincare products which are made from 100% natural ingredients. Her company is also the first online-based retailer to ship pure freshly made Shea butter directly from Ghana to the rest of the world. The techniques used to create these products have been passed on from generation to generation. The ancestors used these herbs and oils to take care of their hair, skin and overall health.

     Hamamat.com
    The two main products from Hamamat African Beauty are the Golden Shea Butter and the Safari Shea butter. The Golden Shea Butter has multiple benefits including soothing dry skin, eliminating wrinkles, relieving sunburn, healing wounds, alleviating skin allergies and treating eczema. The Safari Shea Butter contains high therapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties since it is mixed with traditional herbs. It is an effective natural ointment for treating muscle aches, swellings, and bruising, among other things. Judging by the reviews on the website, people using these products are happy with the results.


    Hamamat Montia
    The amount of dedication that Hamamat pours into ensuring the authenticity and quality of her products is to be admired. She grew up using handmade Shea Butter and knows firsthand the benefits, especially on the skin. Hamamat recently posted a video showing how to make Shea Butter from scratch. It is normally a family affair that's well-coordinated, involving lots of hard work.


    Hamamat has definitely succeeded in becoming a role model as she wanted. She is truly an inspiration to many and we can't leave out the fact that her skin is goals! As a result of her hard work, it is not a surprise that she was listed as one of the 100 most influential young Africans in 2018. Congratulations are in order. All we can say is, "Keep winning queen!"

    To see more of Hamamat, follow her IG where she shares videos about West African culture, and for more info on her products go to Hamamat.com

    Are you inspired by Hamamat?
     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.

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    Crystal of PuzzelFit
    By Erickka Sy Savané
    The summer may be just about over, but that doesn't mean we have to forget all about our abs. Whether we're going for a 6-pack or just looking to fit better into our clothes, trainer Crystal of PuzzelFit has a 10-minute ab workout designed to whip you into shape. Give it a try, especially the flutter kicks, and let us know how it works out!

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    By Devon Mac

    The Black church anchors much of my childhood and adolescence. It was my first experience of nurture and care outside of my family. Where mint candies were sweet gifts of love from older ladies in stockings and knee-length skirts. Where I nervously sang my first solo in the children's choir. Where I rocked white gloves and patent leather shoes on Easter. And as a teenager, where I fell into a range of crushes and formed life-long friendships. The church was also where I came to understand a love that was beyond what anyone on earth could ever give me. It is where my faith was formed. I also received my first formal education about sex in the church.

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    And the education I received was thorough. Our youth pastor couched the topic in his theological understanding: God created sex. Sex was wonderful. And sex was intended to be contained within the bounds of marriage. The latter principle is the essence of purity culture.

    So yes, I was indoctrinated into purity culture and I bought whole-heartedly into its values. I was taught that God wanted us to experience the wonderful gifts that sex offers in ways that were not damaging or hurtful.

    And so, when I married as a virgin, I was ready for that life.

    Several years into my marriage, however, I found myself devastated, disillusioned, confused, and frustrated when I still was not able to talk about my married sex life without referencing a deep pain.

    It takes the author of this particular blog postI Saved My Virginity For My Husband And Ended Up With Bad Sex, to accurately pin-point my overall experience. She and I shared a common marital issue (though slightly varied), down to the sexual imprisonment we both felt.

    It was in the reading of her story that I felt free enough to be angry as hell. And the first question I had was for the church that had become so formative in my understanding of life. And that question was why?

    Why, in all my church's courageous, bold, and truth-telling about sex, was the subject of sexual compatibility never mentioned?

    In my all-encompassing rage, I was compelled to go straight to the Church for an answer. Because I grew up with friends who eventually went into ministry as pastors, ministers, and faith leaders, I didn't have to look far.

    Here's what a few had to say (their answers have been edited for brevity):

    Pastor, male, married, 40 years old, Sacramento, CA
    I believe that on one hand compatibility is addressed but not in larger gatherings. This is usually because the church sees sex as permissible only in the marriage relationship as such those topics are reserved for marriage retreats and such.

    On the other hand, it's not discussed as much as needed, even in the marital gatherings, and this is due to the fact that sexual compatibility is not a high priority for highly religious people. Consequently, you get two people who never probe the deeper realities of marriage. It's a mindset that as long as God said it, then everything else can be figured out.

    Lastly, I think this topic is rarely discussed because of American culture in general and American church culture in particular. Both arenas are extremely uncomfortable with dealing with sexual truths, so sexuality is only discussed thru binary lenses. Should we or shouldn't we, gay or straight, right or wrong. To delve into compatibility means discussing preferences and experiences and for a prudish society, that is simply too much. All in all, I believe it is discussed but as little as humanly possible.
    Pastor, male, married, 37 years old, Chicago, IL
    I should say that I have heard the subject of compatibility discussed from the pulpit. Pastors like James Ford, Jr. in Chicago and Ed Young in Houston are two that quickly come to mind. That said, I would agree that, again in my experience, I have heard more on the parameters of sex than the issue of compatibility.

    Another pulpit assumption, that I know to be covered in our pre-marital counseling sessions, is that sexual gratification in marriage is an art to be learned and shared overtime between that couple. I remember in one of our pre-marital counseling sessions, the pastor encouraging me to ensure that my bride reached her most pleasurable climax every time we engaged. As a virgin, I had no idea how valuable that bit of advice would be. That would mean years of studying her, talking with her and following her clues. I don't think it a fair expectation that the pastor or church would have imposed that information on us. It was something I needed to learn.
    Pastor, female, single, 42 years old, Chicago, IL
    As an unmarried, chaste woman pastor I will speak in theological terms.
    Theologically speaking, the commitment of covenant is offered without condition. I preached a wedding sermon this weekend on mature love, a love that grows and matures over time through painful spaces of all types of incompatibility (John 15:9-17). The paradox of love is joy and pain living together. The greatest love we can ever offer is a love that lays itself down for another. A love that releases its desire to have its own way.
    While the responses provided helped to offer some solace, the last pastoral response resonated the most to me personally. Mature love is indeed joy and pain living together and I did that for 15 years of my life. In that time, I grew to appreciate love outside of sex. I experienced love without sexual compatibility, which has incredible value when it comes to spending a lifetime with a person because there will be seasons in a marriage where sex just cannot happen. For this reason, I hold no grudges against the Church and place no blame. However, married couples who are capable and able-bodied should be able to enjoy compatible sex together. It saddens me that I got married without learning that it can be a deal-breaker should the couple, after giving their all, never come to an agreement.

    Perhaps it was my fate to learn that lesson as a lived experience and not in the church. But moving forward, I believe that any church that is courageous enough to discuss sex, particularly purity culture, should be intentional about bringing balance to the discussion for the sake of preserving marriages.

    For more Devon Mac visit GoodBlackChurchGirl.com

    Do you think sexual compatibility in marriage should be discussed by the church?

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    Tracee Ellis Ross
    By Kanisha Parks

    I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that Fall is finally here! My skin has been through it this summer with this overwhelming Georgia heat. As the weather changes, it is always a good idea to examine your skincare regimen to make sure you're doing everything possible to keep your skin from aging prematurely. The time to act is now! So here are a few anti-aging skin hacks to jumpstart your skincare routine for the fall:

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    1. Use a Jade Facial Roller
    There are plenty of different facial massage tools and rollers on the market but the Jade roller is certainly one of the more popular (and affordable) ones. (On Amazon, most of them are $5-$25.) You’ve probably seen Jade rollers somewhere on Instagram by now—I was hooked when I saw Tracee Ellis Ross using one while getting her hair done, improving the look of her skin one jade-roll at a time.

    Jade rollers promise multiple benefits, including diminishing under-eye circles and puffiness and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—ultimately de-stressing the skin and improving its overall health. So get yourself one of the jade rollers asap, even just for the way it feels. Your future skin will thank you!

     2. Apply a Vitamin C Serum
    Wait, are you really still not using Vitamin C? An anti-aging skincare routine is really incomplete without it. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is needed for collagen production and helps prevent sun damage, hydrate the skin, fade brown spots and acne scars, reduce redness, and ultimately slow the aging process.

    Vitamin C Serums will give you brighter and firmer skin and also decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. There are plenty of them on the market, including Clinique’s Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C, which retails for around $27.

     

    3. Try a Gentler Cleanser  
    A lot of skincare routines are focused on exfoliating the skin in order to make sure you get rid of all the dirt, oil, and makeup. While that’s true and necessary, sometimes we focus way too much on exfoliating, or often use harsh cleansers in an effort to maintain clear skin. It’s more important to strike a balance between deep cleansing the skin and incorporating a gentle cleanser in the mix as well in order to keep the skin moisturized, supple, and calm.

    You really only need to exfoliate about 3 times a week and it is ideal to use it at night. In the morning, try to use a gentle cleanser just to refresh the skin, as it shouldn’t really be that dirty anyway if you cleansed it the night before. My daily cleanser of choice is CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin ($10.98). It’s almost like a cream cleanser and really gets the simple job done of preparing my skin for the day without drying it out. So make sure that you are not using only harsh or exfoliating cleansers in your routine.


    4. Don’t Forget the Aloe!
    The hype of aloe has died down somewhat since it was all over the web last year but this isn’t an ingredient to cast aside with all your other overly hyped up products. Aloe is an immensely hydrating and powerful agent for the skin. It promotes the overall health of your skin and will definitely help turn back the clock as our skin is constantly faced with the threat of aging because of the environment, stress, dirt, oil, makeup, and other components.

    Aloe vera rejuvenates the skin and with continued use overtime, you will find that your skin will become softer, have more elasticity, be less prone to acne and if you have dark marks or scars, they will begin to fade! I like to use Lily of the Desert’s 99% aloe vera gelly but there are others on the market that are just as beneficial!


    5. De-stress Weekly with Masks!
    When it’s all said and done, one of the best things you can do for your skin is relax. Many of us love masks but rarely find the time to fit them into our beauty regimen. Make time for some self-care and de-stress with a moisturizing mask, which you can find in any drugstore, TJ Maxx, Ross, or Marshall’s. All of my favorite masks are by Freeman Feeling Beautiful because they have such a wide variety at Ulta and unlike one-time use masks, they are super affordable and can last a long time. You work hard and your skin needs and deserves a break! Take some time to pamper your skin: it will only thank you for it later.

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

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    Quad Webb Lunceford and Dr. Gregory Lunceford
     By Brenda Alexander

    Their marriage started off rocky with them canceling the wedding just weeks before getting hitched only to turn around and jump the broom in a ceremony while guests watched with side-eyes at a later date. Being newlyweds on reality tv didn’t help. She took pride in being a stay at home wife while catering to her man only to fester into a real life version of Beyonce’s “Resentment." He worked to maintain the household and yearned to start a family while she strived to establish some financial independence. She claims he grew to be emotionally unstable, became a nagger and increasingly made a mockery of her pain. Not helping were outside chatter from viewers and castmates that Quad was never satisfied. It was speculated that she loved the lifestyle he provided more than him and dragged him along while she climbed social ladders. The final straw was Quad’s emotional revelation that Dr. G was caught in an extortion attempt after an apparent hotel affair.

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    After Dr. G made his media rounds this week telling his side of the story post Quad’s divorce filing, more was revealed. According to Dr. G, he and Quad were in a sexless marriage for more than half of their union with her sleeping in a separate bedroom beginning in their second year, refusing to have children with him, desperate to keep up with the Joneses and living lavishly off of her Bravo checks that he allowed her to keep to herself, and an overall disinterest in their marriage. All of which, led him to an ATL hotel to have a one-night stand that he swears he did not go through with. His alleged mistress tells a different story.



    The easy thing to do in an unhappy marriage would be to seek outside counsel and if that doesn’t work, then divorce. But, life is not that black and white.

    Affairs occur for different reasons: lack of connection and affection, two people growing apart, insecurity, revenge...In their case, it seemed to be a combination of all. I don’t condone cheating, but as I age I understand that situations lead people to do selfish things; and cheating is just that - selfish. But, I also am in tune with human behavior and when one feels like there is something lacking, they will seek it elsewhere and if what they are alleging of each other is true, what did they anticipate the outcome to be?

    I spoke to a few friends to get their opinion and they had this response.
    Male, been with partner for 3 years, age 26
    Cheating is against your vows. But, there is clearly a disconnect in the marriage. Leaving is easier said than done. There’s history with most relationships, in some cases a family unit is built, time has been invested and of course that fairytale ending that everyone refuses to acknowledge. It’s a selfish act but it happens to the strongest of couples. People have egos and are unwilling to bend, always placing blame on the other instead of getting to the root of the problem. In Quad and Dr. G’s case, there were a multitude of issues and at one point, they both gave up. From the outside looking in, as a man, I could see how it happened. His desire for children was non-negotiable and she used that against him. She felt unappreciated and grew bitter. Every relationship is different but the reasons people cheat have the same underlying causes. The only thing different is the effect. Some can work it out and other who were already fragile break down and are irreparable. I am for trying if it’s only one offense but it takes both parties. Relationships and marriages are difficult and until you’re in it, you don’t get the depth of just how hard they are. If not, like Mariah says - GTFO if you are not fulfilled.
    Another friend had a similar response but was not as forgiving.
    Female, single, has been cheated on and left, currently not interested in a relationship, age 27
    In my opinion, cheating is never understandable. A person should have the heart to break up or divorce the other if they are unhappy. In Quad and Dr. G’s case, they both wanted different things and neither wanted to compromise, yet neither of them took the step to legally separate to give each other appropriate space or file for divorce before the supposed scandal. Instead, the hotel rendezvous took place, causing deeper hurt. It was all avoidable. This is what cheating does - further damages a relationship, a bond and the other’s soul.
    The common theme is that cheating is selfish, no matter the circumstance. For me, it does not have to be a full-blown physical, or as Dr. G claims, almost physical situation. Entertaining another man or woman with misleading conversations or outings is cheating. Social media messaging and emoji eyes as comments can be cheating. It depends on your intent. It all leads to a dangerous road if you’re not careful. I understand how it happens, but it’s preventable. So before you find yourself in an extortion scheme like Dr. G, take the necessary steps to remove yourself from the relationship.

    Is cheating ever justified or just break up already? 
     
    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 Winnie Gaturu

    When entrepreneurs present their businesses and ideas to the sharks on Shark tank, they all wish for one thing, to get a much needed boost. Some end up getting what they wanted or better, while others walk away disappointed. However, there are a select few who turn down offers made to them by the sharks and walk away determined to make it on their own. Kelechi Anyadiegwu is one such individual.

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    Already recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30, Nigerian-American Anyadiegwu is the CEO and founder of Zuvaa. She was on a Shark tank episode that aired in January 2018 and asked for $460,000 for a 10% stake in her company. The exchange between the sharks and Anyadiegwu is nothing short of impressive. What impressed the sharks most was how she had turned an initial investment of $500 into more than $2 million in sales in less than two years. However, the sharks were reluctant to offer her a deal for such a small percentage of the company. In the end, Kevin O'Leary was the one who made her an offer, but there was a catch; it was to be a loan of $460,000 paid with 12% interest in exchange for 10% of Zuvaa. This deal didn't appeal to Anyadiegwu hence, she declined the offer.

    Sold by ÖFUURË on Zuvaa
    So what exactly is Zuvaa? Zuvaa is a fast growing online marketplace for global designs. The website connects talented designers with consumers globally. It is an excellent platform for people looking for a unique piece especially one associated with African culture. The marketplace brings together over 85 handpicked designers who are located in different countries across Africa. Once a customer places an order, the items are shipped from the designer or from Zuvaa's fulfillment center in Atlanta, Georgia to the customer. This makes it possible for anyone in any part of the world to purchase a unique African design dress or accessory.

    Just like the judges on shark tank, you'll immediately fall in love with Zuvaa's designs. They are exquisite, elegant and filled with color and prints. The site doesn't only deal with clothes. You can also find jewelry, head wraps, shoes, hats, handbags and more. All products on Zuvaa are characterized by the same outstanding qualities; vibrant colors, African culture and unique taste. Purchasing an item from the website will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. Each designer has their own way of creating their products thus creating a wide range of designs to choose from.


    After appearing on shark tank, the progress of Zuvaa is not clear. Some designers affiliated with it claim that they had not been paid their wages even after successfully delivering the products. However, the website is still up and the items on it look amazing. Hopefully, Kelechi Anyadiegwu will continue perfecting her ideas, her brand and her business to make it a massive success. All businesses experience setbacks along the way, what matters is how the problems are solved and a way forward is made.

    All in all, the idea behind Zuvaa is fantastic if implemented the right way. The designers are doing a fantastic job! In the meantime, you can head over to the Zuvaa.com and check out the breathtaking designs.

    What do you think about Zuvaa?
     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.

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    By Veronica Wells

    In a lot of ways, I grew up in the “I’ll take your man” era. The sentiment was in the music. Terry McMillan was writing about it in Waiting To Exhale (which I read probably a little too early), and most importantly they were in the warnings from elders. For better or worse, my grandmother was preoccupied with the concept of jealousy and we received more than our fair share of warnings about people who masqueraded as friends but were secretly jealous of some aspect of your life.

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    Following the lead of my grandmother, it was my mother who told me that if you have a man that’s good to you, you shouldn’t make a practice or habit of bragging about him to just anyone. And I remember she shared a story of her college roommate who outright told her, “If I like a guy, I don’t care if he’s in a relationship, I’ll just take him from her.” This woman’s admission shook my mother enough that she shared the story with her daughters, decades later. And I can’t lie it stuck with me.

    So imagine my utter horror when I heard two women having a discussion that violated the rules of my childhood.

    Woman 1: Girl, I know this might be a little inappropriate, but my man has the prettiest d*ck.
    Woman 2: Laughs.
    Woman 1: I’m serious. It’s beautiful. Literally perfect.

    It took everything in me not to drop my jaw. But there was no way I was going to tune out of this conversation.

    Woman 1: You know what, let me just show you.

    At this point, I’m convinced that woman 2 is going to object, call her homegirl crazy or insist that she’s taken things too far. But there was silence as she leaned in to her girlfriend’s phone waiting for the reveal.

    Woman 2: Girl, you’re right! It is perfect. That’s a gorgeous d*ck.

    I was looking around making sure I wasn’t the only one witnessing this. But I was. So there was no one to confirm my sense that this conversation was outta control, outta order, outta bounds. Since I heard it, I asked a couple of people if showing your partner’s genitalia to friends and family was normal. None of them thought it was. My fiancé said that he’d heard of men showing women they weren’t serious about to other men but once people were in a committed or serious relationship, those images were considered...private.

    The issue of whether or not you have permission to show someone’s genitals to friends and family is certainly a huge part of this discussion. I doubt this woman’s boyfriend knew he was being displayed in this way. And just because there are more than a few men who like to brag on their d*ck, it doesn’t necessarily give their partners the right to, especially with photographic evidence. Maybe I’m overthinking but I’m sure there are a few men who would consider that a violation.

    But in the weeks since I’d heard this conversation, I wondered if it was my own hang-ups that made this conversation so appalling to me. Had I been groomed to believe that female friendships would be characterized by envy and a desire to have what was “mine”? Should women be more upfront and honest about the good qualities of their man? And should they share said qualities with their friends?

    Personally, I can’t see myself talking about my man’s penis or sex game with damn near anyone. I just view certain things as sacred and, in a monogamous relationship, meant for two people. And in a world where so many relationships are performative, I doubt I’ll be doing too much sharing about personality traits either. But I think it’s interesting to examine the ways in which we’ve been led to believe that women--the people who serve as the greatest support systems in our lives--have been painted as malicious and conniving.

                                Do you brag about your man to your girlfriends?
    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.