True Story: I Witnessed a Murder in Amsterdam


By Erickka Sy Savané

His eyes meet mine. They are the coldest, darkest eyes I have ever seen, and this I can tell from all the way across the street. What a life this person must have lived to have eyes that could damn near kill you. I force myself to look away. As does my friend Vanessa who is feeling, I’m sure, the exact same way. It is impossible to see what we see and not be affected. In silence, we turn our heads in front of us, pick up our pace and carry on to the club that is our destination. We don’t speak the entire way. There is this knowing that to even talk about it before we are somewhere safe is in some way putting ourselves in jeopardy. It is best to pretend that everything is fine. But when the doors to the club shut behind us we exhale for the first time in at least ten solid blocks.
“What the hell was that?” I ask.
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think we’re safe?”
“I don’t know,” says Vanessa.

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If Suicide Seems Like Your Only Hope, Try This Instead...

Anthony Bourdain
By Ta-ning Connai

I watched Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on a barely working television when I was living in a rinky dink hotel. It was a depressing period in my life and there was hardly anything that could cheer me up. By stumbling through the channels one day, I was instantly captivated by the professional chef’s people-loving skills as he effortlessly adapted to every culture he explored. From Koreatown to places I can’t pronounce, Anthony Bourdain seemed to love life, as delicious dishes and traveling the world were the vehicles he used to show it. Oddly enough, this interesting show about food was a vehicle God used to show me great possibilities beyond my surrounding circumstances. Although I knew in my heart things would change, Parts Unknown gave me a picture of what change could look like. I was encouraged by Bourdain’s struggles and the tremendous loss he had overcome and his “second time around” gave me the hope to hang on and wait for mine.

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True Story: I Married a Weed Head.



By Angela Perry

Let me start by saying that I didn’t know that I was marrying a weed head. Well, I kinda did. I found out that he was a closeted daily weed smoker after we’d already been dating a year. I was already in love with him so it wasn’t a reason for me not to get married. One day, he confessed that he’d been smoking weed every day since before we met and didn’t tell me because he didn’t think that I’d be cool with it. Damn straight, an occasional smoker myself, I wouldn’t have signed up to be with a heavy smoker. My father, who I never lived with and barely had a relationship with, had substance abuse issues so men struggling with drug issues was not my thing. I even went to a narcotics anonymous meeting once with a friend years ago and they warned me of the danger of falling for a man I could save. Classic, co-dependent, child of a substance abuser shit.

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Kofi Siriboe Normalizes Mental Health Discussion in New Mini-Doc

Kofi Siriboe
By Mwabi Kaira

Despite reports of the rising number of mental health case issues and of people committing suicide- the CDC just released a report yesterday stating that suicide rates have increased by 25% - 30% across the United States and just this week both handbag designer Kate Spade and Emmy-award-winning TV host and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain killed themselves- discussing mental is a taboo topic, especially in the black community. Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe, or SiriBae as he is affectionately called, is seeking to change that. 

True Story: I Was Stalked & Harassed by a Man After Three Dates: Part 2


By Tiffy Kink

Part 1 of this story

When my sister and I got home, my mother immediately sensed that something was very wrong. She could see it in our faces. Who would tell it first, my sister or me? As I was about to say it, my sister said it first, I further explained. The look of slight fear came across my mother’s face. Then anger. Not for me, but for the person who dare to put her and her child’s life in danger. We agreed on a course of action that included going to the police station to file a police report.

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True Story: I Was Stalked & Harassed by a Man After Three Dates: Part 1


By Tiffy Kink

In spring of 2013, my sophomore year in college, I met a guy on an app. I had only met up with one guy before him out of the many different guys that hit me up wanting to take me out. While I don’t necessarily allow one experience to generalize another, I will say that the guy I met before was okay and we even ended up in a relationship for a while. It ended abruptly, however, when he transitioned into a new religion and I rejected his invitation to join in said religion. And marriage. I was 19 at the time.

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24 Shades of Business: A Coloring Book for the Black Entrepreneur's Soul


Book illustration by Shakira Rivers

By Michelby Coco-Whitehead

As a single 30-something with no children, I sometimes feel like I’m in my second childhood. I still watch cartoons and collect baby dolls that exude black girl magic with absolutely no shame. But coloring has never excited me as a kid, and it didn’t appeal to me in adulthood when my cousin mentioned her coloring book for women. I thought to myself: I ain’t THAT bored! But according to Psychology Today, there is power in coloring. Researchers say that coloring can be used to aid with therapy and as an intervention to relieve stress and anxiety. Taking this into consideration, I can now see why coloring books are the new wave. When I found the one created by Latoya Nicole, I was ecstatic.

North Carolina mover and shaker Latoya is a mental health professional, entrepreneur, and the brains behind 24 Shades of Business: An Adult Coloring Book, which features images of beautiful, boss women who are bloggers, doctors, makeup artists, teachers, yoga instructors, etc. It also contains mazes and motivational quotes. Recently, Latoya chatted with us about the inspiration behind her coloring book and why they're great therapy for black women, especially entrepreneurs!

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Dear Black Women, We Can’t Pray Mental Illness Away


By: Lenora Houseworth

What words come to mind when you think self-care? Bubble baths, facial masks and meditation apps? If you haven’t already noticed, the self-care revolution has become big business--and with good reason. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from stress and depression, with Black women uniquely impacted by race-related daily stress. It took me many years and my own mental breakdown before I understood that self-care is more than lighting candles on #SelfCareSunday. It also took me being 30+ and a depression diagnosis in my 20's to realize prayer does not cure mental dysfunction and distress. For many black women, church is and always has been the only power source for mental and emotional maintenance.

And it’s killing us.

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How Coming Close to Death Changed These Moms


Stacie J. & her girls/ Sheryl Roberts and her son
By Erickka Sy Savané

Written a few years back, this article about two moms who were forced to pay more attention to their mental health is just what the doctor ordered for Mental Health Month! Please read and take a moment to reflect on whether you're taking care of yourself as you should.

Sheryl Roberts was driving home late one evening when she fell asleep at the wheel. No she wasn’t drunk. But she was tired. So tired, in fact, that she was supposed to be on vacation. The first one in years. But she postponed it because when you’re a commercial actress and you book a mega job, you take it. Especially, when you need the money. So despite the fact that she crashed into a parked car and had a huge laceration on her forehead, she refused to go to the hospital.

“All I could think about was my job, and I still went the next morning even though my head was the size of Shrek,” says Sheryl.

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Self-Improvement: A Sign of Self-Love or Self-Hate?

Photo of Cardi B via GQ
By Kerika Fields Nalty 

We all want to be better versions of ourselves. We want to grow, change, evolve and we definitely should. Listen, a serious juice cleanse never hurt anybody. And a diet does indeed do a body good. But at what point does this pass into obsession? Things like constantly dieting/fasting, spending money you don't have on expensive cosmetics, wigs and/or weaves, obsessing about your looks, beating yourself up over your choices and comparing yourself to others are all red flags that you just might be over-doing the whole self-improvement thing. Be clear about the why’s behind your desire for drastic changes.

Recently, IT girl Cardi B was interviewed in GQ magazine and talked candidly and comically about having botched bootie injections.

You Become a Master of Your Life When You Value What You Give Your Attention to: #BeHerNow




-Nikki Walton

The moment you notice you’re worrying or overthinking: STOP 

When Obsessing Over Doing "the right thing" Can Lead to Major F*ck Ups


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.

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Do You Find it Hard to Speak Up for Yourself?



By Veronica Wells  

I think I got my first perm at about five years old. For most children, it’s not exactly the age of rebellion. Instead, it was the age of conditioning and obedience. I was conditioned to sit still and quiet for as long as possible so I could get the best results. And I was a Black child with a Black mother, so obedience was essential for survival.

The idea of speaking up in the chair only became an option when the burning became unbearable.

I don’t know about the rest of y’all but I have a suspicion that our hesitancy to speak up in the salon chairs stems, at least partially, from those early experiences of being taught to be still, to be quiet, to not complain until you felt like you were in real, physical, irreversible danger.

I was reminded of all of those hours I spent in salons, kitchens, and garages converted into beauty shops when I stumbled upon this tweet.

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How to Not Suffer in Silence


By Tiffy Kink

As a black woman, I think that black people are some of the strongest human beings to ever exist on planet earth. However, we can sometimes be too prideful in ourselves, to the point where we are willing to suffer in silence. We have a tendency to let fear and shame invade our minds and silence us. This forces us to believe that we are the only ones going through whatever we are going through. While I believe that experiences are unique to the individual, I don’t believe that one individual is the only individual to have gone through a particular experience. At least that’s not always the case. And even when it is, there are some ways to help you feel like you’re not alone. Here are 9.

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Therapist Vladimire Calixte Discusses The Horrors of "Gaslighting" In Relationships

Vladimire Calixte
By Michelby Coco Whitehead

When I was in high school, I didn’t see the hype about the Lifetime channel. Every Saturday afternoon the women in my family would be glued to the television watching what I thought was a bunch of cliché’ drama between a female protagonist and her insane male love interest. At 16-years-old, I thought it was depressing to watch, but now in my 30s I see such storylines are important to depict because women actually fall in love with toxic mates.

But the gag is when you’re being gaslighted you can’t always recognize the brainwashing that is taking place, so the relationship drags on longer than it should. As a result, one’s life becomes as a chaotic as the movies I used to loathe on Saturdays…

What is gaslighting you ask? I recently had the opportunity to chat with award-winning therapist Vladamire Calixte about the term as it relates to romantic and paternal relationships. Check it out!

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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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The Cure for Wanting Everyone to Like You


By Erickka Sy Savané

Not long ago, I was having a moment about an article I wrote that was pissing a lot of women off. Not everyone, but enough that I started to let it get to me. Being a writer today is interesting because you do your best to convey a message that you believe in, and the truth is, not everyone is going to like it. No matter how well-intended. And the worst part isn't that folks disagree, opinions make the world go round, it's when people start calling you names and making threats. I learned this when I had to block someone on twitter about something I said about Serena, who I do adore by the way. At one point, I was close to clicking the delete button on the story altogether when something told me to pause and ask myself what’s really going on?

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With 2 Daytime Emmy Noms, Here's Another Reason to Watch Hit Youtube Series 'Giants'

James Bland & Vanessa Baden Kelly via giantstheseries IG
By Sharee Silerio

Have you ever watched a show that depicted your life story so accurately that you thought it was about you? No? Me either. But there is a web series on YouTube that comes very close, and it’s called “Giants.”

The hit series is executive produced by Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), and its two leads – actor James Bland and actress Vanessa Baden Kelly – were nominated for Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT: 5 WAYS TO PUT SELF-LOVE INTO ACTION

By Tracye Warfield

If you asked ten women to describe self-love, I’m sure you’d get ten different answers. And, I absolutely hope that you get ten different answers because we’re all different. Hello! The term “self-love” has been thrown around a lot lately. It’s popular. It’s trending. It’s got it’s own hashtag and everything. #SelfLove is hot! But what does it really mean? What does it look like in the real world?

If you look at social media feeds, self love could be anything from daily “I am beautiful. I am AWESOME!” affirmations, to buying yourself the latest pair of Jimmy Choos, to adoring your voluptuous body, to setting time aside for just you, cuddled by a warm fire, jammies on, sipping a glass of wine. So which is it?

Tell It Tues: Let Go of the Past & Don't Look Back



By Ta-Ning Connai

We all have a past. Some are tainted by shattered dreams, lost love or unbearable regrets. Others have enough scandal, dirt and drama to beat EMPIRE in the ratings. Fortunately for me, I'm just glad I didn't catch a case like Cookie or be left for dead like Lucious, 'cause that could've been me with my formerly crazy self! Whatever the case, the past can be haunting, with a grip that can cripple us and keep us from forging ahead.

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