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- 07/11/18--06:54: _Here's What Happene...
- 07/11/18--06:55: _Meet Amber Wagner: ...
- 07/11/18--07:04: _Your Purpose is to ...
- 07/12/18--08:00: _Nape Hair Giving Yo...
- 07/12/18--08:50: _True Story: The Bes...
- 07/12/18--10:13: _Gabrielle Union Had...
- 07/13/18--05:28: _16-Year-Old Devian ...
- 07/13/18--07:09: _A True No Man's Lan...
- 07/13/18--07:56: _The Blow-Up on Twit...
- 07/13/18--13:50: _Nikki's on Dr. OZ T...
- 07/16/18--07:44: _Find Out If You Won...
- 07/16/18--07:59: _This Filmmaker Requ...
- 07/16/18--08:15: _ How Long Will Wome...
- 07/17/18--06:32: _True Story: The One...
- 07/17/18--07:44: _6 SPF Must-Haves Th...
- 07/17/18--09:03: _Tell It Tuesday: Na...
- 07/18/18--09:20: _Lusaka July, Zambia...
- 07/18/18--09:21: _BET’s Docu-Series V...
- 07/18/18--09:22: _Facing a Challenge?...
- 07/19/18--04:52: _True Story: My Moth...
- 07/19/18--05:14: _Is Letting Your Man...
- 07/19/18--05:44: _ The Real Reason It...
- 07/20/18--07:27: _This Refinery 29 Mi...
- 07/20/18--07:48: _Anyone Buying a Lau...
- 07/20/18--07:50: _Starve the Negativi...
- 07/11/18--07:04: Your Purpose is to do THIS, Before You do Anything Else: #BeHerNow
- 07/12/18--08:00: Nape Hair Giving You the Blues? Here's How to Strengthen & Grow It!
- 07/12/18--08:50: True Story: The Best Sex I Ever Had Was an Unintentional Hook-Up
- 07/13/18--05:28: 16-Year-Old Devian White is a Naturally Glam Georgia Peach
- 07/16/18--07:44: Find Out If You Won a 'Blessed' Key Chain by WriteNowFaithDesigns!
- 07/17/18--06:32: True Story: The One Time I Disobeyed My Mom She Kicked Me Out
- 07/17/18--07:44: 6 SPF Must-Haves That Ensure Your Black Won't Crack This Summer
- 07/17/18--09:03: Tell It Tuesday: Naomi Campbell & the Secret to Staying Lit
- 07/18/18--09:21: BET’s Docu-Series VIXEN Explores the Rise & Fall of the Video Model
- 07/19/18--05:14: Is Letting Your Man Style Your Hair the Ultimate Sign of Love?
- 07/20/18--07:50: Starve the Negativity by Focusing on Your Perfection: #BeHerNow
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.”
|Amber Wagner aka Jstlbby|
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!
PS: Language advisory
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.
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
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.DESPITE HOW BAD IM HURT FIRST THING I DO IS DRAW NEAR TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER!! In any & every good bad or in between i KNOW FOR A FACT HE WILL MAKE IT ALRIGHT!! Sometimes i even think tht when he sees me straying away he will allow something to happen jst to bring me bck to him & for tht I’m thankful in knwing tht THIS TOO SHALL PASS🙏🏾 (not lookin for a pity party jst lettin y’all knw we ALL have probs. & not alone)
|Follow Amber on IG!|
|Quote Deepak Chopra|
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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!
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?
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?
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.
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.
|Photos de femmes samburu|
|Beyonce via Neal Farinah IG|
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.
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:
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|
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.
|Dr. Jen Caudle, Nikki, Dr. OZ & Guest|
|Photo via Dr. Jen Caudle's IG Page|
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|Sens Dessus Dessous Cast|
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.
|Matamba (right) on set|
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.
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...
“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|
|Beyonce in 'If I Were a Boy' video|
“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.
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.
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:
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.
"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!
|Cleo Clementine & Natasha Van Der Moss|
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.
Singer Cleo Clementine aka 'the ice queen' shows us how to rock faux fur in July!
|Guest with model Fred Jacksons|
Cassey Malaika |
Cassey is truly the Queen of Hearts!
Maps Maponyane& Mr. Mulenga II|
Royal to a T.
|Mukuni Mulundika (center) and these two beauties did not come to play!|
Boity is the true definition of a Queen!
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?
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|
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.
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|
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!
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
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.
|Dan & Wendy|
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?
|Pat McGrath & Kylie Jenner|
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.
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.
"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."
|Ms. Lauryn Hill Courtesy Photo via TheMiamiTimes|
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.
|Lauryn Hill performs at Festival Pier, July 13, 2018 in Philly|
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.
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