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Articles on this Page
- 04/09/18--07:28: _Tune in to Catch Me...
- 04/10/18--07:45: _Gabby Union Chats N...
- 04/10/18--08:11: _Michaela DePrince: ...
- 04/10/18--09:05: _Tell It Tuesday: Ma...
- 04/11/18--08:53: _Swimmie Caps Motiva...
- 04/11/18--08:55: _When Obsessing Over...
- 04/11/18--08:55: _You Become a Master...
- 04/12/18--07:47: _Top 10 African Trib...
- 04/12/18--07:48: _ The Confusion of T...
- 04/12/18--07:49: _6 Makeup Brands wit...
- 04/13/18--07:47: _Get Poppin' Curls J...
- 04/13/18--08:09: _Fighting Over a Man...
- 04/13/18--09:20: _Photography Duo Str...
- 04/16/18--05:57: _ ALL Little Girls ...
- 04/16/18--06:07: _Iyanla Teaches Hate...
- 04/16/18--06:07: _Forgiveness & Uncon...
- 04/17/18--07:16: _For Black Millennia...
- 04/17/18--07:18: _People Praise Virgi...
- 04/17/18--07:19: _Tell It Tuesday: Op...
- 04/18/18--04:43: _For Black Millennni...
- 04/18/18--04:43: _From the Boogie Dow...
- 04/18/18--04:45: _Keyshia Cole got me...
- 04/19/18--06:23: _ HOW-TO: THICKER HA...
- 04/19/18--06:30: _Steff Reed is a Roc...
- 04/19/18--06:39: _Teyana, Iman and a ...
- 04/09/18--07:28: Tune in to Catch Me on Dr. OZ Today!
- 04/11/18--08:53: Swimmie Caps Motivate Black & Brown Kids to Swim
- 04/12/18--07:47: Top 10 African Tribes Taken in the Atlantic Slave Trade
- 04/12/18--07:48: The Confusion of Tyler Perry’s Acrimony
- 04/12/18--07:49: 6 Makeup Brands with Diverse Foundation for Women of Color
- 04/13/18--08:09: Fighting Over a Man? You’ll Lose Every Time
- 04/16/18--05:57: ALL Little Girls Don’t Want Long Hair
- 04/17/18--07:18: People Praise Virgins But Only If They Fit A Certain Beauty Standard
- 04/18/18--04:45: Keyshia Cole got me Rethinking this Younger Bae Thing
- 04/19/18--06:23: HOW-TO: THICKER HAIR in 24 HOURS!!!
- 04/19/18--06:30: Steff Reed is a Rock Star & He's Naturally Glam!
- 04/19/18--06:39: Teyana, Iman and a Thing Called Chemistry
You gotta love Gabrielle Union. Mama has been working in the entertainment business as an A-list actress for 25 years, she looks better than when she first started (she's 45), and now she's adding a new fashion line and pilot with Jessica Alba into the mix. How does she do it? How does her life seem to get better and better? She has a secret to her latest success that she shared on yesterday's Today show with everybody's favorite Hoda and Kathie Lee! Drop us a line in the comment section if you think this is something that you could adopt- Enjoy!
Michaela DePrince is no ordinary 23-year-old young lady. She has established a name for herself in the ballet world through hard work and determination. She was even invited to perform alongside Beyonce in the Lemonade video shooting and Madonna is set to direct a biopic based on her life. Michaela's inspiration to become a ballerina was inspired by a magazine she found blowing in the wind. Its cover photo was a stunningly beautiful ballerina en pointe. She was just four at the time but she knew in her heart that one day, she would become a ballerina, just like the lady on the magazine.
Michaela was born in 1995, a time when there was a civil war in Sierra Leone, her home country. By the time she reached the age of three, her father was killed and her mother passed away soon after due to malnutrition. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Michaela's uncle abandoned her at an orphanage because she had vitiligo. It was believed that vitiligo was a curse of the devil. As a result, even the women who took care of the children at the orphanage continuously taunted her and called her the devil's child. All this happened when Michaela was only four years old. Her stay at the orphanage was short-lived since it was destroyed during a bomb attack. Michaela, together with others, fled to a refugee camp. This is where she got hold of the magazine with the ballerina.
Michaela's life took a turn for the better when Elaine and Charles DePrince adopted her and took her with them to their home in the United States. They noticed her love for ballet and enrolled her to a ballet class at the age of five. With their support, she worked hard to develop her skills, attending the Rock School for Dance education located in Philadelphia and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre. In 2011, she was one of the stars featured in the film 'First Position,' which followed six young dancers vying for a place in an elite ballet school or company. She also performed on Dancing with the Stars.
In 2013, Michaela DePrince and her mother, Elaine DePrince, wrote a memoir about her life, Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. It is Michaela's hope that she'll inspire children, especially children of color, and let them know that they can achieve their dreams despite the challenges they'll face along the way. In the film, 'First Position,' Michaela's mom recalls how she was often told by parents that black girls can't become ballerinas. As a matter of fact, Michaela was denied the chance to perform as Marie in The Nutcracker when she was eight years old, reason being, "America's not ready for a black ballerina." In addition, a year later, the teacher blatantly told her mother that it wasn't worth it to invest money in a black dancer. Despite all the stereotypes and racism, Michaela has still successfully made a name for herself in the ballet world.
Currently, she is part of the Dutch National Ballet where she works as a professional ballerina. Apart from dancing, she also loves reaching out to disadvantaged young people with whom she shares her message of hope, hard work and perseverance. Her aim is to encourage them to actively strive to achieve their dreams. Find out more about Michaela on her website or follow her via Instagram!
|Mary J. Blige in April's Ebony magazine|
No one masters the art of the comeback quite like Mary J. Blige. The woman who inspired the phrase Ghetto Fabulous has yet again risen from the ashes to live her best life ever in spite of the many burdens she's had to bare. Her most recent achievement is a soulful rendition of the 1976 Elton John classic, 'Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.' Released on April 6 as a single from John’s star-studded tribute album Revamp, you best believe the R&B songstress gives it everything she's got.
If we learn nothing more from the diva who has survived domestic violence, drug abuse, betrayal, disappointment and loss of every kind, we should at least learn this...brokenness can either break you OR it can make you better. And based on her continuous whirlwind of miraculous restoration, better she most certainly is!
Just shy of three weeks later, Sherlock Gnomes was released in theaters, and the world got to hear an animated character maintain her strength by shaking off the dust from an old shabby relationship that ended up not working out. Mary J was quick to point out during an interview that being the voice of the spiffy female gnome and singing the sassy, relationship clapback song helped her to, not only feel personally empowered, but to get past her broken heart. In other words, she was gradually going from being broken to being BETTER THAN BEFORE.
When God allows us to be broken (notice I said He allows it, He does not cause it), we are going through His painstaking process of being “broken in.” Usually when we hear that term, we have a tendency to automatically think "worn out,"“used up," or "no longer new." But if we were to shift our perspective to see things from God’s heavenly view, we'd realize it actually denotes the exact opposite...BETTER THAN BEFORE.
That buttery leather jacket you couldn't wait to bring home is made of the most luscious cowhide on the planet. You turn up in it every once in a while, but you really wasn't fully slayed until it was completely broken in.
That good old fashioned recliner chair, never felt reclineable right off the bat. You let the whole family and the big pet dog take it for a spin, until it was broken in. Now that chair has YOUR name on it and there's a price to pay for any butt that touches it from here on in.
I've even heard it said that a better grip on the football could more likely win the game if the football is broken in.
So, here's the good news my friend...You too can go from broken to broken in to BETTER THAN BEFORE.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." (Psalms 34:18)He’s the Master Craftsman with the power to heal us, transform us and make us brand new. He will take all your shattered pieces and create the MASTERPIECE He intended since the day you were born. Now that was a good day, but your tomorrows are even BETTER!
|Photos via Swimmie Caps IG|
Yolanda Flournah-Perkins is a mom on a mission. She is the brains behind the first swimming cap brand to feature images of black and brown kids in a bid to motivate them to take more interest in swimming. The thought initially came when her kids aged 4 and 6 wanted some swimming caps, and she took them to the local retail shop and bought two. Once they got home, the kids were excited to put their caps on, however, when her daughter Bella opened her swim cap, she wasn't pleased. She said it was ugly since it didn't have a picture of a black girl on it. Yolanda told her that she would purchase one for her online, but she couldn't find one featuring a black girl. After searching for two days, Yolanda realized that no such product existed in the market. That's when she did something about it and Swimmie Caps was born.
Swimmie Caps is a unique brand since it has images of black and brown kids printed on them. The images feature girls and boys with different hair textures and different skin tones. There's even one with an image captioned unapologetically dope! It's surprising to realize that no one had implemented an idea like this before. Representation is really important and just like Yolanda's daughter, there must be many kids who feel like swimming isn't for them simply because they don't see an image that looks like them on the swim caps.
|Yolanda Flournah-Perkins via IG|
Swimmie Caps also seeks to empower African American kids and get them to love and embrace their own natural hair. Most of the images they see on the brands available in the market today are of straight hair which isn't what African American hair looks like, especially when wet. Seeing a graphic or illustration that looks more like them on the swim cap is a great source of motivation. It makes the kids realize that they too can become swimmers and even pursue it competitively even in the Olympics and other water sports.
|They even have them for boys too! (photo via IG)|
By Devon Mac
There's this word that I've become newly acquainted with called repression. To say that I've become newly acquainted with repression is sort of misleading because most of my conscious and breathing moments on this earth, apart from early childhood, have been lived repressed. What I mean is that at 40 now, I've become a lot more conscious of what repression is and how it has manifested in my life.
The scary thing about repression is that you can actually have a great time while being blissfully ignorant of its presence in your life.
I grew up in the church and while it's common to hear people say that they did not enjoy their church-going experiences, I did. In fact, I had the time of my life as a teenager growing up in church, wouldn't trade my experience.
We were led by a youth minister who was radical in his approach, who boldly took on topics like sex and sexuality in ways that were mostly healthy and affirming. For example, one of the mantras that was driven into us was that sex was great and that on its face, nothing was shameful or bad about it. Sex was, in fact, beautiful because God created it. And those words and teachings were formative in my life. Little did I know though that that time was cultivating a life of sexual repression for me.
At home and among my family, I quickly learned that doing "the right thing" brought along wonderful benefits. If I got good grades, I was rewarded with cash from my dad. My dad bragged about me at work and wherever he went. With my mom, doing "the right thing" (or helping out around the house) kept things peaceful and harmonious, which, as an introvert, I loved. My extended family would buy me gifts and praise me whenever I did "the right things." And as a child, I wanted for nothing. For those reasons, I became the ultimate "good girl."
That said, this painfully shy Black girl from the southside of Chicago quickly learned that doing "the right thing" was the way to go in life. Church reinforced this model all the more. I was prized with recognition for taking the word of God seriously and investing in my relationship with God. I was popular at church and had friends who loved and cared for me. We all seemed to be having a blast growing up in that environment.
I'll never forget the weeks leading up to my departure from home and off to college. The women mentors of our church had rented out a space for a girl's sleepover. The time would be dedicated to crossing me and several of my peers, now seniors in high school, over into young adulthood.
Most memorable though, was how I felt when the ladies were imparting wisdom to us about college. It was my turn to share and I remember tears filling my eyes as I expressed how terrified I was of going the route of others who had gone away to college- those who essentially lost their damn minds (coming back home pregnant, dropping out of school, wildin’ out). A part of me vehemently didn't want that for myself and was scared to death of following that path. Yet a deep part of me was madly curious about that life and wanted it for myself.
Fast forward to present times, married (15+ years), children, a career, and yet facing my repression in ways that can no longer be avoided. I married an extraordinary man straight out of college, a loving, caring man. In a world where it is certainly not the norm to be one, he was a devout and faithful man. He was in many ways, ideal.
But all and all, he was my safe choice. Marrying him was me doing "the right thing."
The problem was that my husband married a fraud and an imposter. I was faking the "good girl" thing and didn't even know it. There were parts of me that I had repressed for so long, I didn't have the chance to discover who I was. And because I didn't know who I was, I played the roles that had become all too familiar- the girl who knew how to do everyone else's "right things."
I was presented with another choice for life partner. I avoided him like the plague and I treated him awfully. I wasn't aware at the time that my aversion to him was actually attraction. Yet, he still asked to marry me. I blew him off. Little did I know that the way I treated him was the manifestation of my sexual repression.
Consequently, today I am currently wading through the waters of trauma, the trauma that comes along with divorce and denying myself. In my desperate pursuit of others’ "right things," I compromised what was right for me. I f*cked up. I was so concerned about being "right" that I ended up being wrong for my husband and myself.
Some years later, my church friends and I all came together as adults to say farewell to the youth minister who was so formative in our lives. Upon his departure to another city, he imparted these words to me, "Live," he said.
The thing about life is you can't live a life you're scared to live. And you most certainly can't get to know yourself if you're scared of life.
Do I blame my family for teaching me how to behave appropriately? No. Do I blame the church? No. One thing I know for sure is that God is not at all concerned about me doing someone’s "right things." In fact, God is interested in what's best for me, and those can be two wildly different things.
No one is to blame here.
There is no universal "right thing." There's only what's right for you. And finding out what that is takes a good mix of Divine wisdom and knowing who the hell you are...all things I'm madly pursuing today.
Has wanting to do 'the right thing' caused issues in your life?
The moment you notice you’re worrying or overthinking: STOP
Notice that there are no thoughts down there, in your stomach.
Can you see that? The space in your head may be full of thoughts, but the space in your stomach is not. Stay there. Stay HER. #BeHerNow #BreatheEasy
By Erickka Sy Savané
With Black Panther/Wakanda fever forever cementing a place in our hearts, and the rise of African Americans getting their DNA tested, especially from AfricanAncestry.com, where they can trace your ancestry back to your African ethnic group, we're at a time when we want to know more about where we came from. So it's not surprising that when I stumbled across this video on youtube just a day after it was released, it already had 50,000 views and a plethora of positive comments from African Americans and Africans alike. So whether you've gotten your DNA tested or not, it's nice to have an idea that these ethnic groups exist, and that it's more than likely the blood of these tribes running through our veins. Enjoy and share your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, show the guy who put this video together some love too!
By Mwabi Kaira
When I saw the trailer for Tyler Perry’s Acrimony starring Taraji P. Henson, I didn’t immediately want to call up my girls and make a movie date. The trailer showed a woman scorned and out for revenge and that’s just not something that appeals to me. I’m one of those people who takes the Iyanla Vanzant Fix My Life approach to things like this. I prefer the ‘work on myself’ approach while sending the one who wronged me love and light believing that karma always works. But when I listened to Tyler Perry on the Essence Yes Girl podcast and he said there was a twist in the movie, and I saw some status updates saying that the movie wasn’t like the trailer, I decided to go and see it for myself.
The movie did have me wondering exactly how long a partner is supposed to support a dream and why dreamers can’t work regular jobs while they wait for their dream to happen. Melinda worked several jobs while Robert worked his dream at his workstation in the house. See, this is where I agreed with Melinda’s sisters because third shift jobs exist for a reason and I cannot imagine working multiple jobs while my husband doesn’t work. I’m not a dream killer, but I need you to hold up your financial obligation to the marriage while you work your dream for twenty years. Things eventually blow up when Robert doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain with Melinda’s family and his actions could lead them to lose their family business. Robert chooses his dream over the family and Melinda finally has enough and files for divorce.
Robert finds an ally in Diana (the girl he cheated on Melinda with in college) and before long his self-charging battery is bought for 75 million dollars. Robert shows up to Melinda’s job with a 10 million dollar check, some flowers and an apology. Melinda gets more money than she ever imagined and the keys to her mother’s house back. You would think this would be enough. But suddenly she is consumed with rage for everyone and starts lashing out. This made no sense at all to me. Robert has moved on with Diana and Melinda focuses her rage on her specifically because Diana is living the life Melinda worked for.
|Taraji & Lyriq|
As a woman of color, it can be a pain to find the right foundation. Many brands only carry a limited range of shades, and more often than not, you have to settle for an inaccurate, unflattering shade, or you’ll have to put in extra work to blend colors to achieve the right look. And who has time for that?
Thankfully, there are brands that are making efforts to offer more inclusive, diverse shade ranges to accommodate all skin tones. Next time you’re visiting your local pharmacy or Sephora, keep an eye out for these lovely brands!
|The Fenty Pro Filt'r Foundation via Cocoaswatches.com|
|Bobby Brown's Skin Foundation Sticks|
|Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup|
|Maybelline's Fit Me! Foundation Matte + Poreless|
|Wet N Wild's Photo Focus Foundation|
|L'Oreal's True Match Foundation|
Finding the right foundation can be hard but thankfully more and more makeup companies are making the effort to include shades for every face and for every budget. While Fenty and Rihanna may have really sparked the recent conversation on makeup diversity, other brands are embracing that conversation and will hopefully continue to strive toward more inclusion.
Hayden Stewart is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Zoetic.
My favorite hairstyle in the warmer months are wash n go's and a protein treatment helps snap my curls right into shape! Check out my video below and let me know your thoughts!
The internet is really no different than the rest of the world but what makes it so irresistible is the fact that the shenanigans from all four corners of the globe are collapsed into the palm of our hands.
This past week, the internet has been discussing a girlfriend who threatened an Instagram model, in her DMs, over the behavior of her boyfriend. The concept sounds crazy. So I’ll just show you.
As a result, this woman decided to send Tajea a message...
There were a couple of people who tried to give this girlfriend the benefit of the doubt by saying “it’ll be a problem” in reference to the trouble she was going to cause for her man. To that I say, nice try. The fact that she wrote to her like she was her mama, “If I have to speak to you again,” lets us know exactly what she was trying to accomplish with this infantile request.
The fact that she needed to make an appeal to a stranger instead of talking to her own boyfriend, lets us know everything we need to about the nature of their relationship. Her man doesn’t give a damn about her. And I don’t say this because he’s following another woman on IG. We can tell he doesn’t care about her feelings because he’s made this woman the background on his phone and laptop and speaks about her like they go way back.
She doesn’t say whether or not she’s spoken to him about it, instead she’d rather place the responsibility of correcting her boyfriend’s behavior on Tajea, when her only crime was posting on Instagram and being attractive. And if she had spoken to him about it, his refusal to comply to a reasonable request, one that would make her feel more secure, reflects poorly on their entire relationship.
If you’re wondering what Tajea did in this situation, she told BuzzFeed News, that she didn’t respond to the message.
"I didn't respond. I honestly just read it and blocked them both. There wasn't any reason to go back and forth. I have my own boyfriend, and at the end of the day, there's nothing I could do about him being oddly obsessed with me."
Very mature. I can’t say what I would have done in the situation. I might have had a few choice words for this girlfriend. But then again, from the looks of things she certainly doesn’t need to catch another L.
By now, I’m sure the girlfriend has stumbled upon Walton’s story and the response she issued to the media. And if so, she likely saw this advice.
"What I want women to take from this is that...
1) You're worth more than this.
2) The second you feel like you must attack another woman over a man, let him go."
|Photo via CreativeSoul Photography|
There's something about seeing the fresh face of innocence and joy in little kids that brings out the best in us. For some time, children of color were excluded from images that celebrate our innocence and beauty in media. It's been changing. We've been changing. The hashtag #blackgirlmagic helped. Black Panther helped by showing that no one can capture us like we can.
This little Princess is a work of art!
We can never have too much color. And she wears it so well.
|Photo by Makho|
It was my daughter’s 6th birthday and as a surprise I decided to get her hair braided. She never really asked for braids, but recently I thought that she might like to try something new, and when I casually ran the idea by her she said she’d like to try it. Now, my daughter has a short, thick afro. Honestly, the thought of having it cornrolled for a while so I wouldn’t have to fight with her everyday to ‘pick it more softly’ was as much for me as it was her.
Fast-forward to the big day. We’re sitting in the Senegalese braiding shop in my Jersey City hood.
First, I discovered that one of my good friends worked there. She’s Senegalese like them, so I was happy that she’d be able to convey my wishes to the woman who owns the shop and was braiding my daughter’s hair. Already, I tried to tell her that I didn’t want it too long because the hair she got looked like it belonged on Beyonce. She didn't seem to hear me. In addition, I asked my friend to ask her if she could do some zigzaps or something besides braiding it straight back.
“It’s too short!” snapped the owner. Then she told me that it would be $60 instead of the $30 I see plastered on a sign on the wall. I'm kinda pissed but my friend works there so I'm not going to haggle.
After about 30 mins. of sitting in the front with my older daughter while they did my daughter's hair in a back room, my friend called me. I got there to find her with about 3 rows of cornrolls left to braid along with tears the size of golf balls streaming down her face. She hadn’t been this upset since she lost her American girl doll.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“It’s. Too. Long. I. Don’t. Like. It,” she replied with her chest heaving up and down like she had just ran 20 laps.
Then the braider snapped at me, “When was the last time you got her hair braided?”
Her: Never? Why did you wait so long!
Me: Because her hair is beautiful the way it is so I didn’t feel the need to braid it.
Her: You shouldn’t have waited!
Me: I don’t understand, I know in Africa a lot of girls have short hair so what’s the problem?
Her: In Africa, where I’m from, we do little girl’s hair. And when they don’t want to sit and get their hair braided we tell them that people are going to think they are a boy, and then they sit.
I instantly feel for these little girls being manipulated into sitting to get their hair braided for fear that someone might think them a boy.
Me: Well, people think that they are boys sometimes and they're fine. If they can learn to love their hair as it is they will be fine in life.
She gave me and my friend an incredulous look. Then reconfirmed with her in their language that the father of these two girls was indeed African, as if he had married a clueless African American woman who was somehow ruining the children, stripping them of their African culture. Then she came out the side of her neck by asking me if I comb their hair every day.
“Yes, of course, I do,” I replied through gritted teeth.
She finished the job with my daughter still balling and nothing that I or her sister could do no matter how pretty we told her it looked.
At that point, I was happy to give the woman the full $60 and a $5 tip just to get out of there. My daughter cried all the way home.
Finally, I got her to calm down by convincing her that if she didn’t like it in the morning, we could take it out. The next day we were having her birthday party so I wanted her to be happy in front of her friends.
My friend from the shop called shortly after to see how my daughter was doing and to tell me that the braider felt sad that my daughter didn’t like her hair. For the first time, I was able to see what happened from the stylists’ perspective. No one wants to ruin a kid’s birthday, and they long for their clients to be happy. When I told my friend I was more than likely going to take it out she screamed, “Noooo, you spent your money! Give it 3 days. The hair will loosen up.”
The next morning my daughter woke up in a much better mood, though she said she slept with her head on her hand because it hurt so much.
“Do you like it better?” I asked.
“Do you want to keep it?”
“No. I just feel like it won’t come out and I’ll be stuck with it forever. I want to look like you and Makho," she said. (Makho is her big sister)
We took it out, and no sooner than the last strands of hair dropped to the floor she was back to her normal self, and smiling like somebody gave her ice cream. I was reminded of something a relative said once when my daughter’s were younger and she noticed that I wasn’t filling their heads with little ponytails that she felt would pull the hair to make it grow longer.
“All little girls want long hair, you know,” she said, as if I was somehow doing a disservice to my daughters by letting their hair be, free from the pulling, tugging, and manipulation.
I just looked at her then, and I’m smiling at my daughter now, because I’ve never seen a little girl so happy to have short hair.
|Iyanla Vanzant & Hazel E|
Although reality television is a guilty pleasure of mine, I avoid the Love & Hip Hop franchise. From fights - to love triangles - to social media scandals - to manufactured beefs for ratings and even going as far as bringing innocent children into the picture to be subjected to the shannigans, the show just does way too much for my liking. Its cast members seem to be the most exploited and then rewarded, going from season to season and jumping cities with pay increases and instagram endorsements. Aside from K. Michelle, Amina Buddafly and Cardi B who used the platform to successfully take their music to new heights, the rest continue to marvel in the madness. Never did I think that an example would be made out of one of the franchise’s stars after seasons of showing her ass. Instead of being reprimanded for throwing drinks on her fellow co-stars or simply acting a fool, Hazel E was instead given the axe after posting disparaging comments about her nemesis' skin color. Black twitter wasn’t having it, production felt it was too much of a PR nightmare to recover from, and her “career” has taken a hit. So what did the fallen reality star do when she had no luck elsewhere? Call Auntie Iyanla of course.
sexually violated as a child by two black women of darker skin tones than she and when she told her mother, she was informed to never speak of it again. Hazel internalized that experience and her sexual violation at the hands of darker skinned women manifested itself into the hateful words she spilled about her co-stars so many years later. That’s a lot to take in.
The exploitation she suffered in childhood from women entrusted to care for her, and her own mother silencing that is unfathomable. Hazel identifying darker skin tones with the women who abused her seemingly as the enemy speaks volumes. Bad behavior should never be excused but it was clear how deep Hazel’s wounds run. She’s been trained to be quiet about anything that’s deemed remotely uncomfortable for those around her. It’s only natural that as an adult, she acts chaotic.
|Iyanla & Hazel in the 'legacy room'|
They say, “Once you know better, you do better.” Behavior is a personal reflection of oneself. I hope that we can all take the Iyanla approach and correct ourselves so that as Iyanla would say, we show up in the world correct.
p.s. I can attest to this...lots of first hand experience... and what I know for sure is that you honestly won’t have true peace until you turn within and find it there... you won’t have true peace until you start being your true Self...and then everything changes!
Love you all!
|Real Estate Developer & Entrepreneur A. Donahue Baker|
There are people who do their jobs and there are those who are passionate about their work. Entrepreneur and real estate developer A. Donahue Baker has built an impressive real estate portfolio of over 400 residential units nationwide, and he’s passionate about providing minorities and Millennials with the strategies they need to build wealth.
According to the New Jersey native, there are only two options to build generational wealth: real estate or starting a business. Millennials- side hustlers that they are- are starting businesses at a rapid rate, but few want to be home owners due to a variety of perceived myths. In fact, 60% of Millennials choose to rent, according to Goldman Sachs.
Fortunately for us, A. Donahue took time out of his busy baller schedule to dispel some of the myths about home ownership, and provide us with the proper information we need to do it the right way!
How long have you been in real estate and why did you choose it?
What don't black Millennials know about real estate?
Black Millennials know about real estate but they lack the foundational knowledge to build generational wealth through real estate because of the trend to rent as opposed to owning. Renting is an expense that once paid by the renter that money is gone forever. Paying a mortgage is different. It’s like making a loan to your future self. It becomes a case of ease in the short term since it's easier for them to rent. However, renting is not always best for black Millennials from a long-term perspective because owning is one of the primary ways in which generational wealth is created and sustained in the black community.
What are the misconceptions we have today about owning a home?
Many people, Millennials included, think owning a home is an asset. It is not. Owning a home such as a duplex where you live in one side and rent out the other to a tenant that pays your mortgage is an asset. A home that takes money out of your pocket every month is a liability. Millennials need to look at homes and think ‘how can I re-engineer the process to get others to pay for the home and allow myself to build wealth?’ The answer to that question is seeking multi-family properties. I think people that live in urban areas like NYC or LA sometimes have given up hope of owning a home (much less multi-family homes) due to the high prices in those markets. I think those are false misconceptions. The prices may be high to the general public, but I show people how to purchase properties for pennies on the dollar in any market. Especially if you are an owner-occupant you have an advantage over professional investors like me. For example, famous breakfast club radio personality Angela Yee purchased a brownstone in Brooklyn, NY. For the price she paid for her brownstone she could have purchased a super sexy single-family house in New Jersey. The decision she made basically will make her a millionaire because she delayed the gratification of owning a sexy single-family house and purchased the multi-family brownstone. She rents out the apartments to tenants that will cover the cost of the mortgage, which will eventually deliver her a paid off brownstone all while she lives rent-free in one of the units. If this strategy can work in NYC it can work anywhere.
When should you buy a home?
I believe everyone's first home should be an FHA financed multi-family home like Angela Yee. If you are after generational wealth via real estate your own single family personal home should be made when you have achieved the passive income goal you desire to create. So it actually is best to wait to buy your own personal home after you have created a steady income stream. Many people don't understand why this is important. The reason why it is important is that it's easier to purchase a four family as your first purchase via a FHA loan, which is a loan anyone can get (taking into consideration they meet the program's guidelines) with 3.5% down payment, than getting an FHA loan after you already own a single family home. The degree of difficulty is steep.
What are some of the barriers in terms of being black and buying a home?
Really home buying is a mental sport. You have to be disciplined and able to delay gratification. Many people think of home buying as just picking a house they like in a neighborhood they like. Being black and buying a home is just like being white and buying a home. You have to be able to make the biggest investment of your life with a lot of forethought of the future. How does the investment affect my family, career, and net worth?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series where A. Donahue will talk about the best neighborhoods Black Millennials should buy, gentrification, how to spot a bargain and more! For more information visit A. Donahue’s website, www.adonahuebaker.com or follow him on twitter and Instagram.
|Cardi B via IG (left) & Oprah listening to Cardi B's album via instagram (right)|
When I first saw the Instagram post of Oprah showing some love for Cardi B’s album 'Invasion of Privacy,' my first thought was, “Dang, Oprah done officially went hood!” Then my second thought was, “Dang, Oprah is ALWAYS shining light, even in the most unexpected places.” Now, when I say unexpected, what I mean is this...It's no secret that Oprah has never been a fan of Hip Hop. Known for her stand against profanity, the N- word and materialistic overload, we’re led to believe that the genre's prominent message conflicts with her Super Soul Sunday philosophy. Has she changed her position? I ain't got a single clue, but one thing remains the same...No one is more moved by someone else's success than the former queen of daytime TV. No one is more thrilled by a person's rise to the top than the rags to riches phenom herself. And no one has a tradition of lifting others up quite like the lovely Miss O. She brightens up the room when she steps up in the place and we should all be inspired to do the same exact thing.
There's some dark places with darkened souls everywhere we turn. And when God said, “Let there be light,” He wasn't just talking to the sky, He was talking to us too! Matthew 5:14 says that we, “...are the light of the world,” which means that Oprah ain't the only one to bring some sparkle into the atmosphere.
I used to HATE elevators. And even though it's probably the shortest means of travel, just going from one floor to the next can feel like an eternity. To me, there is nothing more uncomfortable than being confined in a tight space with people who can't wait to get away from you. Nobody wants to talk, not even hello; and they make it real clear by staring up at the illuminated numbers as they slooooowly move from 2 to 3 to 4..., as if it's gonna magically make the ride go faster! They will play on their phone, twiddle their thumbs or hold their breath until they can fly like a bat out of hell as soon as the doors open. So, whenever you get on an elevator, expect to be completely ignored.
I often wondered what makes people so distant, so cold and so doggone rude. But then I realized that every single person has a story or a problem, and one of the few places where you can fake it is on an elevator. Someone may be fighting depression, or having family issues at home, or maybe their job makes them miserable, who really knows. Seeing the negative probabilities were endless, so I came up with a plan to offer some quick relief. Between the time an elevator opens and the time that it shuts, I figured a compliment would work well since they’re quick and everybody LOVES getting one. Sure, there was a fear of rejection, but what did I have to lose? I think I heard you say, “NOTHING,” and you're absolutely right!
One very serious business man giggled like a child when all I said was, “Cool sunglasses!” Another woman shared her coveted shopping spot with me when I asked her to, “Give me those fabulous shoes!” A young girl shrieked with laughter when I begged her to, “Trade purses with me!” I recall so many faces flushed with true appreciation and total surprise. Sometimes people would miss their floors or get hit by the doors just to hang a little while longer! When I'd go my separate way, my eyes would sometimes swell up with tears because I was beginning to realize the effect that the love of God can have on people, particularly strangers in strange places.
The Lord’s light within us can transform the most dark and dead-spirited environment into a place full of delight. Am I saying become an office building blabbermouth? No way! An elevator is just an example that you can be a light anywhere: at the stop sign, the grocery store, the parking lot; everyone can use a quick smile, a good laugh, a kind word. So, no more waiting to shine big time in a fancy place in some fancy way. You can shine big, right here and right now. There’s a dark place that really needs you, so go ‘head, be like Oprah, and get your shine on!
|Real Estate Developer & Entrepreneur A. Donahue Baker|
In part 1 of this 2-part series we spoke to real estate developer and entrepreneur A. Donahue Baker about some of the misconceptions that black Millennials have when it comes to building generational wealth through home ownership. Here, he'll talk about the best places to buy, gentrified neighborhoods, and how to spot a bargain. Get your pens ready to take notes!
Where do black buyers fit in in terms of gentrification? Should we be looking at areas that are gentrifying or in 'the hood?'
Black buyers should be looking to purchase anywhere they can spot value. In the hood or not it doesn't matter. There is a tenant for every property if it is well maintained. If you can spot value there is a significant opportunity to create wealth. For example, if I can consistently find properties 50% below market value I can create a million dollars of wealth in less than a year. Believe it or not, there are currently many markets where this is possible today. There are lots of areas that are experiencing job growth, population growth and have good school systems. These components provide an opportunity to create serious wealth. As Americans we all want opportunity. We all want our children to have good school systems one of the ways those good school systems are created is by taxing businesses and homeowners. That dynamic is always changing and the change creates an opportunity for those that are prepared and ready to take advantage. The white buyers are ready so should the black buyers.
How do we spot a bargain and how much money do we need to start thinking of buying?
In order to know you have a bargain, you have to know your local market. You can find out what the local market prices are by looking on the MLS- Multiple Listing Service. I would recommend focusing on properties you can purchase at least 20% below market. The price point at which that occurs is vastly different if you are located in New York City vs Euclid, Ohio. Home prices are geographically relative. However, if you are patient there are strategies that allow you to purchase properties for pennies on the dollar. Some of the strategies I have either used or helped others use include purchasing from local governments, tax sales, wholesalers, direct mail campaigns, auctions, probates, and many others. Most people think there is one way to purchase a home and that is by using a realtor. That is a good method sometimes, but it should not be your only method. Realtors are incentivized to sell you a home at the highest price possible. Your mission should be to find a home at the lowest price possible. Both objectives are in contrast.
Is buying a home the same as buying a condo? Is one better?
All of my home buying strategies and advice are based on the perspective of building generation wealth. The mindset of home buying should be asset buying. A condo could be considered an asset but the vast majority of them are not, because they do not cash flow positively or they cash flow at a considerably reduced level. This occurs because the monthly maintenance fee associated with condos is something arbitrary and are cash flow killers. In addition, when the market changes condos are the first to be hit adversely. I do not recommend condos. Condos can be sexy, but show me a person that has purchased a condo as a first purchase and I will show you a person that has lost out on a lot of potential capital gains from the real estate market.
If we have the money, should we be buying a 2nd place an renting it out?
Absolutely, buying a 2nd place should be an opportunity to increase your monthly income. When you get to the 3rd and 4th purchase you should begin to see your rental income match or exceed the active income you work really hard to earn. The point when your passive income exceeds your monthly expenses is the point in which you are effectively retired. At some point, it becomes more than a passive investment it becomes a business and you have to run it like a business by creating systems, hiring property managers, and constantly measuring the success and failures of those systems in place.
Can you offer any other advice or reasons that real estate is still a hot investment?
If your goal is to create generational wealth or retire early or supplement your current income, real estate should be right there with other alternatives like having a side hustle or starting a business. Real estate is the I.D.E.A.L. investment because it provides monthly INCOME. It provides tax benefits and DEDUCTIONS via DEPRECIATION. It allows you to build EQUITY instead of throwing hard earned money away on rent. Real estate APPRECIATES on average 5% a year. And real estate allows you to LEVERAGE such as the FHA program that allows you to purchase an owner-occupied property for as little as 3.5% down payment.
Read Part 1 of this series here. And for more information, visit A. Donahue’s website, www.adonahuebaker.com or follow him on twitter and Instagram.
Meet Waameeka AheVonderae, a New Yorker who moved to Dakar, Senegal. After realizing the Peace Corps application process wasn't for her, Waameeka took her living abroad plans into her own hands, found a job online and moved to Senegal. She is a testament to the power of pursuing your African continental interests and making them a reality.
|Niko Khale& Keyshia Cole|
I have never been interested in dating anyone younger than me. I’m talking two months younger and I’m disinterested. I’ve always preferred to date older, I’ll even go 15 years older. Recently, there has been a 29-year-old fella that’s been trying to get with your girl and I haven’t gone past flirting cause he’s 29. If we are calculating then he is only 10 years older than my son and the way my mind is set up, that’s all I’d think about if I ever agreed to his advances. Everyone has been telling me to get over it and get my cougar on but it’s just been one of those things I’ve refused to budge on until Keyshia Cole.
No one would have blamed Keyshia for retreating from love and erecting an even higher wall around her heart. Very few things hurt more than heartbreak especially when you go out of your comfort zone to let love in. It makes you wish you’d stayed within the confines of your safe wall and enjoyed the life you knew without being bamboozled. We’ve all been there, we swear off love and retreat back to our corners in fear of another love TKO. Eventually we soften our stance, it might take months or years but eventually someone comes along and makes us believe again.
|Niko Khale is Bae|
“Now the reason I’m posting The pepper to my salt @nikokhale is because he’s been such a sweetheart to me, and I know people have been very judgmental about our relationship but I gotta nurture what nurtures me.”That nurturing line got to me and I clicked on his profile. Niko Khale is a rapper and I took a listen to his music. He was actually rapping about meaningful things and not just repeating the same line a hundred times. I could see his appeal and I’m happy for Keyshia and her openness to this young man has me rethinking things.
Don’t get excited, I’m not saying I’ll say yes the next time the 29-year-old hits my line but I am leaving my comfort zone and will consider dating younger, I’m thinking 35. Cut me some slack, I’ve gotta start somewhere. There are younger men out here that have themselves together and know how to treat a woman. As long as he is not expecting me to be his Mama, can nurture me, and bring something to the table, I’m open.
In this video, I demonstrate how to use henna for thicker hair and a slew of other benefits! I was first introduced to henna almost a decade ago via CurlyNikki.com so really my journey has come full circle! I hope you enjoy my simple henna mixture and use it to reap the benefits of this powerful plant. If you give it a try, be sure to leave a comment!
There's something about a man that rocks a disheveled crown and a nappy beard that reeks of confidence. New York native and Bedstuy resident Steff Reed is one such man. See why this musician and educator whose hair idols are Lenny Kravitz & Jean Michel Basquiat is our Naturally Glam pick!
What hair products doyou use?
I use shea moisture shampoo and conditioner. Coconut oil, shea butter, scotch porter, as I am naturally, for my beard and hair.
How long have you rocked a beard and what do you use on it? I've always wanted to try grow my facial hair out, but felt pressure to fit in and rock clean cut styles. 2 years ago I decided to grow my beard & mustache out. It was one of the most liberating feelings ever. For maintenance I use shea butter and coconut oil.
What do you do ?
I am a full time Musician and Educator. When I'm not on the road performing or in the studio creating, I'm in the classroom teaching the next generation of artists how to embrace their inner rock star. My life is a constant learning and sharing of lessons that I learn while on the journey to manifesting my own dreams.
Do you feel there are enough male hair products on the market for you?
I think there are plenty of hair products on the market, but not enough education or lifestyle branding around hair care for men. I learn things from my community, I would like to see more content and conversations online.
How do you express yourself?
Self expression is very important to me. Throughout my life I've had to fight for my light. Fight for my dreams. Fight to be seen and heard. When I was in grade school I was often bullied and called weird, eccentric and made to believe that I wasn't enough. As an adult who answered the calling of being an artist and pursuing an artist lifestyle, society at large tells you on an everyday basis to fit in, conform and stay in your lane. I practice radical self expression as an act of liberation, self love and revolution.
Tell us about your passion, the hustle and what you strive for.
My passion is to uplift and encourage others to be themselves, live their dreams and not give up!! Music and education are skills and talents that I use to convey those messages. I strive to impact the world and save lives through my ministry of music.
What do you do for fun?
Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorite past times has been bike riding. I don't currently own a bike, but I do have an annual Citibike membership and ride bikes several times a day. Bike riding gives me an exhilarating feeling. A strong sense of freedom & nostalgia...It feels like flying.
Follow Steff on instagram and on youtube!
Teyana Taylor and her hubby Iman Shumpert are one of the cutest and sexiest couples I have seen in a long time. Her abs are on my summer wish list, and the Betty Boop inspired finger waves she’s been rocking lately compliment the heck out of her bone structure. In my mind, Teyana and I are gal pals, so I won't lust over her husband too much... but I will say he is equally desirable as good credit. Daughter Junie is living proof that these two are having the best mattress gymnastics you can imagine.
|Teyana & Iman|
Black Panther has been the highlight of 2018 for me and just about every Black person I know. I’ve seen the movie twice—with my regular bifocal vision and in 3-D. I’d go a third time if there was a significant other I could discuss all the layers and underlying messages with over dinner. But the way my love life is currently set up, that’s not happening right now! The men sliding in my DM’s are not on the level of thinking that critically. Either they have not seen Black Panther, or worse, they did see it and only think it’s a “good movie” …Tragic. Absolutely tragic.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking to discuss thermodynamics or even Russian affairs with my man. But there has got to be something more he can offer in conversation besides What did you do today? and Damn, you look good! I look at some couples and I wonder what the heck is the relationship like when they aren’t parenting, sexing or arguing? If it weren’t for those things, some couples would have no dialogue between them…Painfully tragic!
But there is hope for all of us girls who want a bond that is solid AND sexually satisfying. A friend of mine always says God sends what we need when we need it. In the meantime, we simply have to keep waking up and slaying in every other area of our lives — such as career, motherhood, and improving our communities however we see fit. Then just when we least expect it, BOOM! Here comes Common—fine, intelligent, and back on the market! If you’ve been feeling aggravated in your season of waiting, think about it like a quick weave versus a sew-in. Sure, the quick weave is a faster method to achieving the look you want, but the longevity and versatility of the sew-in is worth all the time you spend in the salon chair. In short, patience is still a virtue and someday, your prince will come if you can learn to appreciate the season of singleness that you’re currently in.
And just to be clear, before the Shumperts gave us a glimpse into their lives through reality TV, I was aware that they go through ups and downs like normal people. But after all the dust has settled, chemistry is still there. In my opinion, parenting and even wedding vows force people to stay together because “it’s the right thing to do.” At that point, you’re just going through the motions. Frankly, I’m not interested in doing anything for the sake of just doing it. I say show me chemistry, and I’ll show you a marriage that won’t be easy to break.