Sexual Compatibility, Marriage and the Black Church


By Devon Mac

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

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Tell It Tuesday: Eminem Drops Surprise Album & Proves that Hip Hop Beef & Transparency is Still Hot

By Ta-Ning Connai

First, I'd like to give my sincere condolences and a heartfelt prayer for all the rappers and rap critics that got slaughtered by Eminem on his unexpected sneak attack album, Kamikaze, on August 31:


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Tell It Tuesday: Why Critics of BlacKKKlansman Need to Chill

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter 
By Ta-Ning Connai 

Spike Lee has done it again! He’s made a movie that has pissed some people off. The man who garnered iconic status for his thought-provoking, in your face, knock you upside your head black conscious projects back in the early 80s to late 90s has not deviated from his brand of cinematic flavor, all of which has always made him a source of irritation for the Hollywood film industry.

Well, now Lee is back with his film BlacKKKlansman (produced by Jordan Peele), but this time around, it’s quite a few black folk that are irritated and extremely bothered by what they feel is a way too gentle approach to his signature storytelling. From Do The Right Thing, to Malcolm X to School Daze and more, you could always expect to leave “A Spike Lee Joint” fired up and ready to justifiably slap a white jerk in the face, but instead be inspired to “fight the powers that be” without lifting one little finger. BlackKKKlansman didn't do that for a good amount of black critics, including some really disappointed black fans. Yet, white film critics, and both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals are all giving it a thumbs up. What's that about?

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Tell It Tuesday: Naturi Naughton & the Art of the Comeback

Naturi Naughton 
By Ta-ning Connai
Naturi Naughton is the epitome of a saying that I love: Your setback is a set up for your comeback. ‘Cause no one can play Tasha from the hit show Power like the middle girl from 3LW! I honestly didn't think she would ever rebound from the drama around her 2000’s girl group. However, slowly but surely she took the world by storm, reaching stardom after many years of obscurity.

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Tell It Tuesday: What Slim Thug Gets Wrong About Ciara Leveling Up

Slim Thug & The Wilson's 
By Ta-ning Connai

We haven't heard from Slim Thug since he spit rhymes on Beyonce's “Check On It” way back in 2006. And based on the rapper’s recent backlash he’s incurred, he’s probably wishing we weren't hearing from him now.

During a radio interview last week, the Houston native was asked if he thought a girl could date a good guy after having dated bad boys for a while. And that's when he decided, for no reason at all, to drag Ciara and her husband ‘cross the living room floor! He basically said that Ciara had a thing for street dudes and since she ended up with Russell Wilson, it must be all about the dough. He called Wilson corny, a square, lame and not cool...meanwhile, he just bought a pair of Russell's Nike shoes! Yo Slim, you had the nerve to tell the world you’re an undercover fan? But the worst part was when Slim said Ciara ain't changed and can’t adapt to a good man 😲.

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Tell It Tuesday: Hey Charlamagne, It's Still Rape, Even If You Marry Your Victim

Charlamagne & wife 
By Ta-ning Connai 

Charlamagne tha God has become widely known as the brash and in your face host of the syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club. While notorious for rubbing many of his on-air guests the wrong way (like when Birdman said, “Put some RESPECK on my name!”), it's some disturbing information from a few years back that now has everybody up in arms.

A 2015 audio podcast has recently resurfaced where Charlamagne gives a chilling account of how he had sex with a woman after spiking her drink with Spanish Fly. He indecisively teeters back and forth about whether she was incoherent at the time and that's when my jaw literally hit the floor. 

Tell It Tuesday: Jay, Bey & the POWER OF FORGIVENESS


Jay & Bey
By - Ta-ning Connai

Whenever your doubters have you down for the count, here’s a list of things to do to show them you're still on top…
1. Shut down the Louvre in Paris
2. Rattle out some lyrics hot enough to burn down the Amazon Rainforest
3. Make sure you get it all on film

Simple right? Well, Jay and Bey sure make it seem that way. The famed museum was the backdrop for The Carters’ video for Apesh*t, the first single from their sneak attack album called Everything Is Love (dropped June 16).

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Tell It Tuesday: For Those Who Feel Like There's No Justice, Remember This

Tupac Shakur
By Ta-ning Connai

June 16 was Tupac Shakur’s birthday. And if he was still alive today, he would have been 47 years old. Often hailed as the greatest rapper of all time, he was Passion Manifested! Whether spitting prose like a modern Gil Scott-Heron, making gangsterish threats to a dope beat or dropping knowledge like the late Malcolm X...when he spoke, the brother made time stand still. And even while performing on the silver screen, he made the fictitious seem soooooo real. Like when Bishop killed poor Raheem and then went after Q in Juice...chiiiiile, I was so scurred, I wanted to jump off that ledge myself! The rapper turned actor deserved an Oscar for that piece and there was more great work to come.

Sadly, the thug life Tupac portrayed so well didn't end when the director said, “Cut!” The same passion that fueled his gifts fueled his anger too, ‘til one day he reached the point of no return.

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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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Tell It Tuesday: How Football Led Kaepernick to a Higher Calling


Photo illustration by Cristiana Couceiro. Source photograph of Colin Kaepernick: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/ Getty Images.

By Ta-ning Connai

There’s nothing like a man on a mission, especially a man who didn’t set out to be on one. Colin Kaepernick was getting busy on the turf when the call to activism came knocking. His stand against racial injustice came by way of a kneel and the rest, my friend, is history. 

Tell It Tuesday: Homeless to Harvard Teen Knows Real Success


Richard Jenkins
By Ta-ning Connai 

Sometimes the road to success is littered with disaster. For 18-year old Richard Jenkins, homelessness and lots of humiliation tried to obstruct his path. Yet, while living in a shelter surrounded by hopelessness and despair, he reached for books as his way of escape. As word spread at school regarding his obsession with reading, bullies taunted him relentlessly and called him “Harvard” as a joke. But his enemies had NO IDEA they were actually prophesying his future ‘cause baby boy can now officially say, “Whaddup Harvard University! I'm on my way and my scholarship is PAID IN FULL!” My my my, look who got the last laugh on his way to real success!

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Tell It Tuesday: Meghan Markle's #BlackGirlMagic is a Reminder of This


By Ta-ning Connai

Black Girl Magic is a big gigantic rainbow! And if Meghan Markle were a part of my 90’s inner city camp crew called Unlimited Flavors, she probably could've squeezed right in between me (they named me Nutty Coconut) and this girl we called Vanilla Almond Swirl! We were celebrating our black girl magic way back before the hashtag, loving what brought us together while embracing the ways we all stood apart.

Who knew decades later we’d be witness to an average sistah just like us plucked from obscurity and thrusted into royalty! Racists tried to deem the newly crowned Duchess unworthy right from the start, but Prince Harry was like, “Not today Satan!” and he shut that nonsense down!

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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Tell It Tuesday: The Lesson in Jada Pinkett Smith's 'Red Table Talk'

L-R: Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Jada Pinkett Smith & Willow Smith 
By Ta-ning Connai

Jada Pinkett Smith is the realest! She's the perfect mix of class and sass, and will go gangsta on any fool who thinks she won't! She’s the reigning queen of killer abs and balances work and fam like nobody's business. All of which is why she'll always be my #WomanCrushWednesday every day of the week!

Red Table Talk aired May 7th on Facebook Watch, giving us a sneak peek into the real life connections between Jada, her daughter Willow and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Tell It Tuesday: What Wendy Williams' Dis of The Clark Sisters Can Teach Us

Wendy Williams
By Ta-ning Connai 

The clapback of the week comes from a community highly encouraged to turn the other cheek. But it was Wendy Williams’ cheek that turned when church folk went psycho after hearing she dissed beloved gospel legends, The Clark Sisters.

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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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Tell It Tuesday: Mary J. Blige Shows Us How Our Brokenness Can Make Us Better


Mary J. Blige in April's Ebony magazine
 By Ta-ning Connai

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 bear. 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!

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Tell It Tuesday: Black Panther Scene Stealer Proves It's Never Too Late

Dorothy Steel Courtesy of Cindy Butler, left photo courtesy of Matt Kennedy  
By Ta-ning Connai

Dorothy Steel is a scene stealer and she's got a growing fan base to prove it. The 92-year-old actress had all eyes on her during her appearance as the merchant tribal elder in Black Panther, and she can hardly step outdoors without requests for selfies or her autograph. One would assume Ms. Steel was a seasoned vet, but she's only been acting for 4 short years! At 88, she embarked on an entirely new career when most people her age are settled into retirement. It was her participation in a play at a senior center in Georgia that sparked a love for the arts that she didn't know she had. So she came out of retirement (worked for decades for the IRS), got herself an agent, and the rest is silver screen history! God certainly has a way of reconnecting us with our dreams. Whether it's months or years, there's one thing for sure...it's never too late, but we might have to wait....

Tell It Tuesday: Will Smith's Got a New Song. But an Old One Changed My Life


Will Smith via IG
By Ta-ning Connai

Will Smith is an O.G. when it comes to success, but his stratospheric rise on Instagram is brand spankin’ new. His mix of life lessons and family fun have us all loving the newly revealed side of a man we only get to know via interviews and the silver screen. And the video he posted on St. Patrick’s Day ought to remind us that he can still serve up a catchy tune no matter how many decades have gone by. His new song Freak Accident will probably be the anthem for all the “ooops, I had one too many drinks” for many years to come, but my favorite will always be the one about the haven of beachy sands.

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Tell It Tuesday: Pride Will Bring You Low, But Being Humble Takes You Higher

Kenan Thompson as LeVar Ball on SNL
By Ta-ning Connai

Egotist. Sexist. Obnoxious. Who knew that LaVar Ball and Trump had so much in common?! There's a Twitter War going on between them and they've both achieved buffoonery status being portrayed on Saturday Night Live. Kenan Thompson brought the house down yet again recently taking his parodied version of the Ball family mascot to TNT’s Inside The NBA. Even Thompson couldn't refrain from rolling on the floor with laughter, but in real life, prideful arrogance just ain't funny.

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