Tell It Tuesday: When All Else Fails, Climb the Statue of Liberty

Patricia Okoumou
By Ta-ning Connai

The Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July...what an ironic time and place to wage a protest against immigration laws, considering what both the monument and holiday stand for. It was the perfect place for Rise and Resist (a New York activist group) to oppose the Trump administration's asinine policy of inhumanely snatching innocent children from their parents.

And as disbelief swept across the globe and we saw children psychologically tortured and literally encaged, it was Patricia Okoumou, a member of Rise and Resist, who put her compassion to the test by making a statement of her own.

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Meet Lauren Simmons, the Only Full-Time Female Stockbroker on Wall St.

 Photo of Lauren Simmons: BBC video screenshot
By Adedamola Agboola

Lauren Simmons is the only full-time female employee currently working as a stockbroker on the floor of the New York Exchange. She is also one of a few women in history to occupy a trading role, and according to the BBC, she joins a short list of women who have signed their names in the book containing the constitution of the New York Stock Exchange alongside the likes of John D. Rockefeller.

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Meet the Powerhouse Exec Behind ESSENCE Music Festival’s Empowerment Experience

Gina Charbonnet via BlackEnterprise
By Mwabi Kaira

Within the minutes of talking to Gina Charbonnet, her love for New Orleans is apparent. Sure it’s home but her love goes beyond that; Gina is committed to showing the world New Orleans' rich culture, contributing to its economy, encouraging young people to create businesses and continuing the cultural traditions important to the city. Gina is an industry veteran and the woman behind GeChar Inc., the New Orleans booking agency, event marketing, and production company that provides turn key services for major events happening in the city, including the upcoming Essence Music Festival Empowerment Experience, which features conversations from influential leaders, artists and innovators ranging from media to politics. I caught up with Gina days before the festival, (July 5-8), to chat with her about how she makes the magic happen.

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Black Women Run the Entire Justice System in this Georgia Town. And it Just Gets Better.

These women hold the reins of power in the municipal criminal justice system of South Fulton, Georgia. Foreground, from left, LaDawn Jones, Lakesiya Cofield, Viveca Famber Powell, interim Police Chief Sheila Rogers. Background, from left, clerk Kerry Stephens, Chief Judge Tiffany Carter Sellers, clerk Ramona Howard, clerk Tiffany Kinslow
By Doug Criss

When LaDawn "LBJ" Jones walked into a meeting at work a couple of months ago, she was hit with a serious case of "black girl magic."

Jones, the city solicitor in South Fulton, Georgia, was meeting for the first time with the city's municipal court staff. As she entered the room, she realized she was looking at something she'd never before seen in her legal career. Everyone in the room looked like her.

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Black Women, Here's Why We Gotta Do More Yoga!

Kira getting her yoga on
By Kira Sparkles 

While reading this article about Chewing Gum actress Michaela Coel and her yoga practice, it cited that only two percent of Black Americans do yoga. TWO percent! That's a tragic number! Why shouldn't we be out here doing yoga? We're killing everything in the game and this is just another thing that should be on a very long list. Also, we need to challenge this idea of what a yogi looks like.

Yoga was born as a practice in India, but through commercialization and whitewashing, it's become synonymous with upper-class white women in yoga pants chanting Om. I get where that feels daunting and isolating. I know when I go to yoga classes, there are so few people of color in these spaces.

But why is yoga so important to our lives?

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The Miseducation of Azealia Banks: 5 Takeaways from her The Breakfast Club Interview.

Azealia Banks on the Breakfast Club
By Brenda Alexander

Azealia Banks has been hard for me to figure out. One minute, she's professing the most thought-provoking, incense lighting ceremony worthy opinions and the next, what’s uttered from her tongue makes you eager to refer her to the closest clinical psychiatrist for an immediate diagnosis and treatment- or hire a crisis management firm to reel her in a bit (Olivia Pope would do wonders). But she’s smart. With her intellect, she could stand with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on a panel discussing whatever is impacting black lives. But her Kanye-esque rants and adult tantrums have overpowered her talent and brilliance. I knew she was a rapper, but I had no idea she could SANG until a clip of her singing I’m Every Woman acapella made its rounds. Her gifts mixed with her lack of censorship have been counterproductive in terms of the success an artist of her stature could achieve. Aside from making headlines for whatever beefs she starts (Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj, T.I. & Tiny, and now Cardi B), there’s a layer underneath that’s full of potential. This was proven further with her most recent interview with The Breakfast Club.

Here are 5 revelations that have me rooting for her.

Meet the 18-Year-Old Artist That's Painting Black Women as Fairies

Artist Sumaiyah Jones via IG
By Winnie Gaturu

When you think about fairies, names like The Fairy Godmother or Tinkerbell instantly come to mind. They are part of most children's childhood and are often associated with magic, femininity and beauty. Perhaps the most outstanding thing about most fairies is the fact that they are white. This has been the case for decades. However, many artists are seeking to change this narrative by reimagining fairies to reflect diversity. Among them is 18-year-old Sumaiyah Jones, an artist that reimagines fairies as black women. It's hard not to fall in love with her work therefore it comes as no surprise that she has gained more than 70k followers on Instagram!

Iyanla Teaches Hateful Words Uttered are a Personal Reflection We Must Be Held Accountable To

Iyanla Vanzant & Hazel E
By Brenda Alexander

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.

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Fighting Over a Man? You’ll Lose Every Time


By Veronica Wells

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. 

Double Standards: Can We Stop Nailing Black Women to the Cross While Letting Black Men Run Free?

Fabolous & Emily B.
By Brenda Alexander

I’ve already expressed why I don’t stand with Mo’Nique in a previous piece. I even questioned why Tisha Campbell-Martin would ever re-consider a reboot of Martin after she alleged to be sexually harassed for years on the show by her co-star. Those sentiments remain true for me. However, the same way I can call out a woman who I feel isn’t standing in truth or whose actions I find questionable, is the same way I can change any radio station that plays a song by the “Pied Piper” and turn a channel when one of my favorite shows from childhood, The Cosby Show, appears on my screen. Unfortunately, not many others can do the same.

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Tune In: 10 Mental Health Podcasts For Black Women

Lauren Ash and Zakkiyyah Najeebah host Black Girl in Om
By Niesha Davis

For years, mental health issues have long been stigmatized in the Black community. And for Black women specifically, we have been taught to keep quiet about the pain, anxiety, and anguish that often eats at us on the daily. It’s only been in recent years that Black people as a whole have stepped out of the mental illness closet in an attempt to not let past demons keep control of us. The fact that there are so many more resources available to inform us definitely helps. Here is a list of 10 mental health podcasts that are helping to empower and uplift Black women as we navigate the murky waters of psychological struggles.

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Vitiligo Queen: "What I Thought Was a Curse is a Blessing to Me Now."


By Erickka Sy Savané

50 million people have vitiligo, the skin disorder where the body loses its melanin. That's 1% of the population- 2.5 million in the United States. Fortunately, because of models like Winnie Harlow and Covergirl's Amy Deanna, many of us are becoming much more aware of it. For Vitiligo Queen, who began losing pigment at age 5, vitiligo has become a surprising blessing. Just listening to her speak about it will have you giving thanks for some of the less obvious blessings in your life!

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 10 Leaves Us Craving More Substance

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Cast
By Brenda Alexander

It’s season 10 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the first where I haven’t seen weekly headlines or recaps. What started off as a raw and fascinating depiction of the elite black women of Atlanta has transformed into a show of forced story lines and soured friendships. Here’s what we are left with...

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7 Must-See Moments from the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon!


Tess Thompson, Lena Waithe, Tiffany Haddish, Danai Gurira
By Michelby Coco Whitehead

Have you ever taken a deep breath and thought to yourself, "God, I love being a Black Woman in 2018?!" From Amara La Negra to the women of Wakanda, and Ava DuVernay's highly anticipated A Wrinkle In Time film, being a sister is lit! And this year's Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards was no exception. Every year, celebrity influencers and tastemakers in the industry gather for a celebration of Queendom in film and entertainment.

This year's honorees included Issa Rae, Janelle Monae, and Yara Shahidi, just to name a few. With all this melanin in the room, there were quite a few magical moments to behold. In case you missed it, here is a rundown of what happens when you put a bunch of goddesses together!

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Obesity and Black Women: These Activists Get To The Root Of The Epidemic

Photo: Annabel Mehran
By Ebony F.

Obesity in America has reached epidemic levels, and according to a Special Report on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity a few years back, African-American women are at the helm of this alarming trend. Statistics show that four out of every five black women are overweight, and one out of four middle-aged black women are living with diabetes. We are facing a health crisis like never before. We know the data, but what’s the truth?

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Count On Me: Do You Have A Squad You Can Depend On?

Ciara, Serena, LaLa & Eva Longoria via Serena's IG
By Brenda Alexander

Remember that scene from the movie Waiting to Exhale where Robyn, Gloria, Bernie and Savannah were two steppin’ to Creep by TLC with their hair tossed, outfits on fleek, candles burning in the background and champagne glasses full? From the moment I watched that part of the film, I anticipated the day my girls and I would do the same. That scene and what came afterward had all of the ingredients of what friendship symbolized to me: a tablespoon of fun, a teaspoon of honest truth, an ounce of comroadeire and a cup full of love. Now, I was only 4 when the movie was released so why I was watching it with my mother in the first place has yet to be determined, but regardless, that scene has forever stuck out in my mind as the picture of friendship. It was probably the first image of black friendship I ever saw on television and with that example, I am eternally grateful because it set the tone and standard for what I dreamed my circle would be like.

Love My Roomie: A Web Series Giving Millennial Black Women a Voice

Yhá Mourhia Wright, Ashley Versher, and Katherine George
By Sharee Silerio

In a nation where opinion is often viewed as fact, now, more than ever, it’s important for people of color to tell their stories, from their perspectives, truths, and experiences. A popular show that is doing this and so much more is #Love My Roomie, a web series created by screenwriter, producer, and director Yhá Mourhia Wright.

A dramatic comedy, #LMR follows the lives of three millennial roommates – Giselle Carter (African-American), Yasmine Castillo (Afro-Latina) and U’Moriah Walters (African-American) after they lose their apartment in Harlem.

How Long Should A Man Wait For A Woman To Get Married?


By Vince Lake

A few years ago, I was a personal trainer in the New York tri-state area. As a personal trainer, you learn a lot about people. I heard all types of stories from my clients, but there’s one particular story I remember to this day about a couple I trained.

This couple lived in Harlem, but worked within the city. I would train her in the morning and her  fiance in the evening. They were engaged for two years and their daughter was five years old. They were in their late 20s to early 30s. She was a manager at a clinic and he was a physical therapist. Their fitness needs were different, she loved cardio workouts while he favored strength endurance training. They started training to have a healthier lifestyle and I admired this. They were a team, living the dream.

Does Saying No To Makeup Come With Age?


Model Naomi Campbell
By Erickka Sy Savane

There was a moment a few months ago when I was getting ready for an event, standing in the mirror with a tube of lipstick, wondering why I was about to paint my face. I’d done it a zillion times without question, but this time, I just felt silly. What I really wanted was to go completely as I am. Now, I don’t mean butt-naked, but naked-face. Is this what it means to get older? Still, I went ahead and did it, and when I got to the event and posed the question to a few friends they looked at me like I was smoking crack. Wanna clear a room? Start talking about age. My bad.

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Black Friday Fact: This Could Be Why Your Small Business Is Failing.

By Michelby Whitehead

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes expertise in your industry, patience, tough skin, and excellent time management skills to see the profits you desire. If you are putting these things into practice but still haven’t garnered desirable outcomes in your small business, I have a question for you. Do you support other women with small businesses?

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