By Mike Orie of
For quite some time, day parties and brunches have gathered hundreds of young Black millennials in cities such as Atlanta, New York, Houston and DC. With large Black populations, college graduates and a strong presence of Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO’s) this community was only natural to happen. But while these cities have developed a strong Black community, other cities like Los Angeles have struggled to create something similar. “CAN LA Kick It” is Mike “Orie” Mosley’s answer to this problem.

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Texas Court Rules in Favor of Hair Braider Isis Brantley

This natural hair movement has taken off so rapidly that we forget how it even got started. As bloggers take the spotlight, accompanying us through our personal hair care lessons together, we can now stop briefly to appreciate one of the pioneers of this movement. Isis Brantley was one of the first women to notice the need of spreading the art of braiding from one woman to another. Not only did she live for this, she fought for this.

And now she is celebrating a major victory as last week a federal judge declared that the set of laws that were preventing Brantley and other braiders from teaching students to braid for a living, were in fact unconstitutional.  This has been a long-fought battle for Brantley, who in 1979, Brantley opened up the first natural hair salon in Texas. In the late 70’s natural hair had a different image, a different message. In my interview with Brantley she shared that “The word ‘natural’ was a negative word, so I helped people to challenge their jobs and change their perception and began teaching hundreds of people how to braid, twist and loc hair and potentially make it their business.”  In 1995, the state came to her storefront to disclose it was illegal to braid in Texas for profit.  Brantley recounted how in 1997 “seven law enforcement officers barged into my building and handcuffed me to go to jail for braiding without a cosmetology license. I got out of jail, got a lawyer and in 2007 they grandfathered me in as a licensed braider.” 

Read On!>>>

Prince Rocks a Fro... Again!

When I got a message from a reader today on FaceBook asking my opinion on 'Prince finally going natural...', my first thought was- 'but homeboy had a fro on his first album cover though!' Thanks to my dad, I grew up on a heavy dose of Teddy Pendergrass, Cameo, Maze, Sade, Earth, Wind & Fire, P-Funk, Rufus, Confunction, Teena Marie, and of course Prince... to name a few.  So yeah... all I can say is, 'Welcome home, Prince. Welcome home.'

first album cover swag... circa 1978

2012 swag... today on 'The View'! #NotMadAtIt

He was on the show to promote his upcoming Chicago shows that will support Rebuild the Dream, a program to restore jobs and economic opportunity. 
 QuestLove's reaction-
What's your reaction?! What do you think?! 

Who's catching a performance while he's in Chicago?!
Which artists make up the soundtrack of your childhood?

CurlyNikki Does NYC- UPDATE

Due to the enormous response and large space, we've opened thangs up! 

The people demanded it!

If you've RSVP'ed (emailed [email protected] with the number of folks attending with you), then you're in and we'll see you on Thursday!

Can't wait to meet you all!


If so ever there was a time to rush to your inbox and RSVP for some ish, this is it. 

This is not a drill. 

Space is super duper limited... like 300 people limited... and yes, Tracee Ellis Ross, the Queen herself, will be in the building! Oh, and of course entry is FREE! I hope to see you there as we celebrate the SoftSheen Carson Optimum Salon HairCare Miracle Oil Line!

Oprah's Natural Hair on 'O Magazine' Cover!

For the first time ever, Oprah's appearing on the cover of O without blow-drying or straightening her hair. She says that wearing her hair naturally—as she often does on weekends and on vacation—makes her feel unencumbered. But there was a time when she wanted to just cut it all off. "I wanted to wear it close-cropped a la Camille Cosby but her husband Bill convinced me otherwise. 'Don’t do it,' he said. 'You’ve got the wrong head shape and you’ll disappoint yourself.' I took his advice," she says. Although, never one to shy away from a style update, Winfrey is a firm believer that changing your hairstyle can change what we see and feel is possible. "I even notice a change in my dogs when they get their summer cuts: they’re friskier and livelier, feeling more themselves once the weight of the hair is released."

After all the makeovers she’s done in
O magazine and on TV, Oprah stands firm that the only makeovers that are maintained and sustained are "those in which something inside the receiver clicks, aligning with that which is being received. The only way to real transformation is through the mind."

Don't miss
O's September 2012 makeover issue, on newsstands August 7th.

 CN Says:
*In my Oprah voice*  LOOOOOVE IT!

I also like, 'the only way to a real transformation transition, is through the mind'. #BOOM

What do y'all think?!

A Day with Future Olympian Jason Richardson

Saw him on a US Olympics ad yesterday and just had to re-post! Enjoy!

 Original post 11/11/12

Select brands, writers, and influencers were invited out to Los Angeles this week to meet Jason Richardson and to participate in a mini-training session and private dinner event. Fancy, huh?! My reporter in the field, intern and good friend, Jonathan, made the trek, schmoozed and snapped pics. Here's his report--

So I pretty much have been singing ‘California Love’ since I got off the plane and don’t plan on stopping until I land back in St. Louis…*insert random Nelly reference here*. But moving on. When I was told that I’d be meeting up with Jason Richardson, a future Olympian, my first thought was, “Ummmm….who?” That’s kind of unfortunate though, and an occurrence that probably happens all too often. People often get caught up in the glitz and glam of sports and Hollywood and we tend to pay attention to the squeakiest hinges *hands bottle of oil to Nicki, Drake, and Wayne,* and not the hardest working. Enter Jason Richardson.

Now, I was the kind of kid in high school that the jocks made fun of, so I was already in the mind set of “here we go,” lol, but those days are behind me, and Jason was real cool and down to earth. When we got to the track to see the work out, Jason was busy hitting the hurdles, talking to his coach, and watching footage of himself and other world record holders. What impressed me about the whole situation was the number of people that were there at this training session.

It might not look like a lot, but there were coaches, physical trainers, people to run the cameras, people to run the computers, only thing that was missing was somebody to wipe the sweat off of the boy’s forehead. But it got me to thinking about everything that goes into being a professional athlete, and that moment when you cross the finish line, that moment when you hold the trophy over your head or put that medal around your neck, it’s only a moment – a big one, but one that’s part of such a larger picture. As sports fans, we often forget about the ‘professional’ part of being a professional athlete, but that’s what should get you to the spotlight right? Well it should be, and that’s why ‘Jai Rich’ is one of those that you’ll probably be hearing a lot about. London 2012, anybody?

Jason with Claire of The Fashion Bomb. Somebody tell me he doesn’t look like Jaiden Smith with locs.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, Jason has been growing out his locs for about 6 years now. I asked him if he ever felt like they slowed him down. He said whenever he races, he never wears them down, and if he throws them back in a quick herringbone, he can hardly tell they’re there. Any other style, he said, would just be an “occupational hazard,” HA! Maybe I should start growing my hair out…this might be the summer for light skinned brothas with locs!

The view from dinner--

The man of the hour, Jason Richardson!

Angel Laws of

Cara Donatto and Bevy Smith

Broadway to TV, Now Back to Me!

The homie Janet Hubert is putting on what is set to be the biggest one woman show of the year and needs our support, so make sure you get your tickets!

By the bye, she took her locs down and is preparing a video to share her regimen now that she's back to rocking her beloved bush. Stay tuned!

Later Gators,

Alicia Keys 'Big Chopped'!

Since it seems that hair trims and cuts are the subject of the day, shall we take a moment to admire Alicia Keys' big chop? According to Necole Bitchie she chopped just in time for her track release, 'New Day', and tweeted the pic below along with the message-

“Look what I done did!!;-))) its an ‪#aknewday‬ in EVERY way!!!! ))

Whatcha think?!

CN Says:
I'm in LOVE!  *puts on stalker shoes*

***Edited To Add***

I originally titled this post, 'Alicia Keys Big Chopped!'  I hadn't thought twice about the word use until I read the following comment on FB-

 "THIS is NOT considered a BIG CHOP! Alicia is of mixed races. She has ALWAYS been natural. This will contribute to the uneducated (@natural hair) who THINK when they. Do BIG CHOP their hair will look like this & be THIS texture. NIKKI PLEASE CHANGE TITLE!! It should say great hair cut or something. She looks great!"

While I don't agree with the statement as a whole (really though?), we've most certainly defined 'Big Chop' as the cutting off of one's processed hair.  Assuming Alicia was natural, the phrase 'Big Chop' in the way we normally use it may be inappropriate, but seriously, y'all, this was a 'Big Chop' indeed. Homegirl cut off hella hair!  

This reminds me of another debate in the natural hair community... I've often posted stories from 'long term transitioners' that cut after 2 or 3 years. And boy, when they refer to their 'cut' as a 'Big Chop', folks go HAM.  There's a sentiment that if you're left to rock and style more than 3 inches of hair, you're not in the club.   In my humble opinion, if you had what most consider long hair (there's a damn debate about what that consitutes too, lol!), I feel that that cutting 'hella' is still a 'Big Chop'... it's a personal thing.  And we won't know if Alicia considers her cut a 'Big Chop' until we talk to her!

I understand the controversy, so for that, I'll add some some quotes to the title, but that's as far as I'll go because cutting your hair is cutting your hair, no matter your race, creed, or curl texture. #thatisall

Beyonce's Enormous Braided Bun & Baby Blue Ivy!

King B's braided bun... RIDIC, but that baby though! OMG! The cheeks! 


You know, Michelle O won't take my calls.  Maybe B will... yeah... *puts on stalker shoes*

Black hair in Brazil: A Revolution in the Making

by Marques of BlackWomenOfBrazil

Gone are days when kinky/curly hair was synonymous with mistreated and laborious hair. Nowadays in Brazil, kinky/curly hair is increasingly associated with self-assertion, self-esteem, behavior and femininity.

Mirella Santos

Globalization and democratization of the media has greatly increased the speed of information. This is not just a fad, but trends and intervals increasingly shorter. A black woman can explore all this democratization of fashion, mixing with curly hair with braids, weaves, straight and permanent afros.

Erica Barbosa

The dancing rhythm of the Disco Era was a turning point for the black woman, with her naturally curly hair, ethnic ornaments and bell-bottom pants. The lacquer was a product often used to maintain the volume. It originated from a change of behavior in a changing society.

The revival of culture and the appreciation of black people has come along with their aesthetic, and one of the most relevant in this respect is the hair. In the not too distant past, the kinky/curly tresses were seen as a fragile part of black men and women, so much so that the shaving of the hair during the era of slavery was common. For the slaves, however, this act was tantamount to mutilation, since the hair was a hallmark of their identity. And talking about kinky/curly hair is certainly going through the social, cultural and political aspect of the history of black people worldwide. It was with these references that the hairdresser Luciana Maia, author of Força negra - a luta pela autoestima de um povo (Black Power - The Struggle for the Self-Esteem of a People) held a showcase in Taboão da Serra, São Paulo, with the region's youth, and presented a retrospective of hairstyles permeated by the musical rhythms of each era. The idea of a hairdresser (this article features young people from Sierra Taboão) was to show that, regardless of prevailing fashion, kinky/curly hair can adapt to any style. Just use creativity and good taste! “It was like remembering the good times when we liked the “Bailes Black”(1). The ritual was never the same, we were in our style, we had our clothes and shoes, and the hairstyles represented everything that was hot,” says Luciana.

Hair stylist Luciana Maia, author of Força negra - a luta pela autoestima de um povo

In the era of the 70s that Luciana speaks, it is important to remember that black Brazilians were in a struggle for their very acceptance in a country that their African slave ancestors had built. The dominant ideology in Brazil was to strive to be white or as close to white as possible. African features (hair, dark skin, thick lips, etc) were not considered "acceptable" and if one could not "fix" these features, they should try to marry with a white or lighter-skinned partner so that their offspring were not also "cursed". In the second half of the 20th century, it was still common for black Brazilians to be told something to the affect of "we don't do THAT type of hair here" when going to salons in search of hair care. Because of the shame that accompanied having "that" type of hair, it was common for black men to shave their heads extremely close rather than facing certain discrimination because of having "cabelo ruim (bad hair)". Because of these dominant ideals in Brazil, the global visibility of black American entertainers was extremely important in the development of black pride in Brazil. 

When international black singers began to have success in Brazil, the "bailes black" began to spring up everywhere and there were several event organizers that helped to disseminate, besides the music, the aesthetics of black people. Everybody waited anxiously for the great dances of the event organizers known as Chic Show, held once a month with the presence of black Brazilian artists like Jorge Ben Jor, Sandra de Sá, Tim Maia, Djavan, Bebeto and Claudio Zolli, while the big screen played videoclips of international stars like the Jackson Five, Michael Jackson, Jimmy “Bo” Horne, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Johnny Rivers ...“I am very proud to tell my daughters that I was part of this story,” emphasizes the hairdresser (2).

Elinelma Rosa da Silva

Besides the style known in Brazil as “Black Power (afro)”, women wear different types of braids. The diversity allows black women to create classic hairstyles that can be used in any environment and occasion, showing elegance and creativity.

Cássia da Silva

The Black Power movement was a watershed moment in relation to the appreciation of black culture and, consequently, its fashion and aesthetics, which combined the concept of beauty to a political and social struggle. The dances served as meeting places, where the language and expressions, born in salons, began to gain ground in the consumer society. “Those were hard times, in spite of  blacks starting to show their identity, Brazilian society was not used to that kind of behavior. It was very common for police officers to ram their hands into our hair thinking they could find drugs,” recalls Durval. In this era, Brazilian elites were very concerned with the idea that black Brazilians would begin to adapt the posture, attitude and revolutionary spirit of their black American counterparts. Brazilian Soul singer Tony Tornado (who had visited the US in the 1960s and recorded music with a strong James Brown influence) remembers being at parties where the police would often interrupt the festivities because there were no white people present!

But over time, the "black power (afro)" hair style was becoming a trend and it began to be copied by the white population that searched the salons specializing in black hair in search of the afro permanente (3), all so that they could have curly or fluffy hair. “Today things are different, everything is very mixed, before it was only at the dances and black salons where we felt strengthened. The media did not show the great black icons, we had no references, and what brought us together and dictated our fashion were the parties.”

Kinky/Curly in every way!

With the appreciation of black beauty and its natural texture, kinky/curly tresses were taking the streets and today are displayed in everyday life in different ways by men and women, thanks to a series of products specially designed for this type of hair and even more adapted to the Brazilian population. It was not always so. “Before the 1970s, we had no option to treat our hair, unless straightening and in a extremely primitive way. We used products that had caustic soda as an ingredient and this caused burns. The professionals didn’t have too many techniques. I remember a friend made a pick out of a bicycle rim! I liked the idea so much that I decided to make one for myself, and this is how I entered the world of black power (afro),” says Durval, a hair stylist that has specialized in black hair for 30 years.

With the achievements of blacks in society, the aesthetic industry has evolved and there are now many options for black hair like creams to make the hair more manageable whether curly or straight. Now, the black woman especially has options! “A woman executive can safely wear an afro on a daily basis, adjusting the look with a plethora of available accessories, in addition to buns and various other styles that, besides letting her be stylish and trendy, shows a genuine attitude and self-appreciation”, says Luciana Maia.

Mara Campos

The Mohawk hairstyle was widely used in the ‘70s, representing a time of Rock n’ Roll rebellion combined with the Samba. Thus was born the mixture of the Samba-Rock. The style has become fashionable again.

"Today it’s common for my clients to come to the salon to recover their natural locks. Many are opting for extensions in an attempt to rehabilitate their hair and stop straightening."

Victoria Regina

The accessories were the big thing of the hippie era. The lack of commitment to society ran contrary to the personalized hairstyles. Long hair, usually parted in the middle, were often used for generating peace and love, and adorned with banners and hangers, whose symbols of flowers and butterflies represented respect for nature.

“The use of chemicals is just one of the options, not a necessity as it was thought of in the past. With a lot of research, I developed a line of products in accordance with the needs of kinky/curly hair.”

Fabio Santos, Cauan Almeida, Ismael nascimento, Marcos Leonardo and Ricardo Xeba

Hair, Roots and Culture

And it was in the early 90s that American products invaded the shelves of the Brazilian market, bringing the promise of perfect straightening. The demand for these products was huge. Until then, the afro permanente was the great outlet for many women who complained about the work needed to take care of kinky/curly hair. Many opted for miraculous formulas to 'work something out with their hair.' But even with imported products, hair loss and permanent damage to the scalp often happened because of the inadequacy of the products being used for the hair texture of black Brazilians. Even so, when one visits large Brazilians cities where there are large concentrations of African descendants, the number of ethnic salons sprouting up is impressive quite. Thus, whether you happen to be in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo or Brasília, it's nice to know that you can find places that know how to take care of "that" kind of hair. 

1. "Bailes Black" or Black Dances are parties or dances that cater to a specifically black Brazilian audience where black style, fashion and music are the dominant aesthetic.
2. For more on the importance of music and dance in the development of a black pride in Brazil, see this article on singer Negra Li
3. Somewhat reminiscent of the Jheri Curl hairstyle

Based on an article by Claudia Canto in Raça Brasil magazine

Brazilian Rapper Nega Gizza on Black Hair & Identity

by Marques Travae of Black Women of Brazil

Nega Gizza, the Hip Hop moniker of Gisele Gomes de Souza, is a rapper from Rio de Janeiro. The child of a maid, at seven years old, she sold beer and pop with her siblings in downtown Rio. She dropped out of school in the 7th grade and while she dreamed of becoming a journalist, she identified with Hip Hop. After her brother was killed by the police, famed rapper/social activist MV Bill adopted her as his “sister” and she began contributing background vocals to his songs in his band. In 2001, she won a Prêmio Hutúz award, the most recognized award for Rap music in all of Latin America, in the category of “Best Rap Demo”. In 2002, she released the CD Na Humilde. With her strong vocals and lyrical content, she showed that women could hold their own in a genre dominated by men and blazed paths and opened opportunities for a new generation of female MCs.

In her video for the song "Prostituta", she denounced the cruel realities of women who work as prostitutes and has also spoken out about complex issues like sexual violence, abortion, child abuse and the position of the church in regards to these issues. Along with MV Bill and cultural/Hip Hop producer/author Celso Athayde, she is also the co-founder of the organization CUFA (Central Única das Favelas), an NGO that promotes education and cultural production in poor neighborhoods of Brazil using primarily Hip Hop and sports. Through this organization, young people learn to produce videos and documentaries and participate in workshops that focus on aspects of culture.

In this short essay, Gizza approaches an issue that is a constant issue amongst black Brazilian women in regards to self-esteem and racial identity: hair. Gizza’s piece speaks volumes to the question of hair texture as a prevalent issue in the lives and experiences of the vast majority of black Brazilian men, relating her own history and memories as a snapshot of the Afro-Brazilian experience. Read on!

Kinky/curly hair yes, hard hair no!

by Nega Gizza
March 16, 2012

When I was little, I was called “moreninha (little brown girl)” by my playmates in the neighborhood. I didn’t like this because I knew I was negra (black), or preta (black) as some prefer. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t become enraged about it because at that moment I didn’t even know the reason for being black and much less arguments that I could use to “defend” myself. when they called me moreninha, marrom bombom (brown candy) or cor de chocolate (chocolate-colored)*. Basically, I didn’t think of it as something bad, it was just the way my girlfriends, many of them also black, thought of so that they didn’t offend me, after all, being called and recognized as black could be seen as offensive.

I come from a family marked by miscegenation, the same thing that characterizes the Brazilian people. In my mother's family, my grandfather was Portuguese and my grandmother was of Indian descent, my father has family in (the state of) Bahia that were descendants of slaves. But for me what matters most is what I see when I look in the mirror. I assume that it was to understand and know more about my race and history as a black person, when I was a teenager, I read books, saw movies and listened to music. All of this information made me a wiser woman in relation to my blackness.

Today I realize that the question of blackness is tied to many factors. Among these factors are our physical traits and also, why not, this thing of black hair. Speaking of hair always generates adverse discussions, because Brazilian mixing has given us people with very diverse faces and features, the black and the white, the Indian and the white, the Portuguese and the black, that have mixed race children who have light or dark skin but that are born with cabelos crepos (kinky/curly hair).

Today it has become the style, there are a lot of people who adopted a hair style that stands up or "Black Power" (afro). I also recognize that many from this new generation have been taken by the tide of “black is beautiful”, without even knowing why they adopted such a stance. Even so, I think it's valid. Recognizing beauty in the hair that previously people only straightened is a great victory.

I've always been proud to be able to have resistant hair strong and why not say it’s different, I can cut, color, braid, stretch, leave it natural and create a great visual mixture, but I am very disturbed to learn that today, at a time in which we proceed to the evolution of recognition of our racial identity, there are still those who try to strike down the power of black people's knowledge, and try to define our hair as duro (hard), giving our hair every kind of negative connotation possible.

In my childhood, prejudice was much more veiled and the oppression was so great that some black girls looked in the mirror and saw themselves as straight-haired white girls. As in the film “Precious”, in which the character Claireece suffers from her condition of being black, poor and obese.

Currently I realize that the discussion has grown with ideas that speak of kinky/curly hair in a positive way, like the book Cabelo Ruim (Bad Hair)? by the journalist Neusa Baptista Pinto, that tells the story of three girls learning to recognize themselves as beautiful and how the Projeto Pixaim (Nappy Project) of the CUFA Matogrosso institution values ​​the kinky/curly hair of men and women. I consider it essential to have references to make kinky/curly hair go beyond style and become a tool to change the self-esteem of the black Brazilian, so it is important to disseminate works that speak to and bring the issue to collaborate. While this is going on, I’m humming along and changing like a chameleon, “my head of hair is thus, kinky/curly hair, it is nappy.”

* - For a brief introduction into Brazilian color and racial terminology and classification, see the article Racial classification and terminology in Brazil

Michelle Obama Goes Curly?!

The tweet that made me lose it--!/i/connect

now let it marinate.

Photoshopped... yes, sadly, but I can stare at it all day long. Hell, I might even print it and pin it up.

Also, whoever is responsible for this... *raises hand* me next!

The Twitterverse is buzzing with the following sentiment- 'it's gorgeous but America ain't ready.'

What say you?

Student Barred Because of her Hair & Clothes

by Marques Travae of Black Women of Brazil

As you might have noticed by now, the topic of hair in Brazil continues to be a hot topic that sparks debate and controversy; especially if it is dealing with black women's hair. If you've followed the posts on my blog, you will remember that we covered the controversy involving two songs deemed racist because of their lyrics depicting black women and black women's hair in derogatory manners. We have also seen an intern at a Brazilian university become the target of verbal assault on the job because of her hair. We have also published various articles detailing the struggles of black Brazilian women in accepting their natural hair textures, be they curly, kinky, wavy or somewhere between. This case is no different. But also, as in the case of the intern who was assaulted at the job, I sought the opinion of a Brazilian friend in regards to this case. This friend is a hairdresser in the city of São Paulo. After reading the story and seeing the photos, she told me that, in her opinion, the girl has every right to wear her hair any way she sees fit and shouldn't be barred from anywhere, but that her hair was badly done. What do you think? Check out the story and photos.

Student is barred because of her hair and clothes; accuses school of racism

The secretary of state of the northeastern state of Maranhão is investigating an alleged crime of racism against a 19-year old woman. Ana Carolina Bastos, a student of the Unidade Integrada Estado do Pará, on the outskirts of the capital city of São Luís, reported that she was barred from class by the director of the school on the first day of class.

According to Bastos, on February 23rd, the director, Socorro Bohatem, stopped her at the entrance of the school and told her that she was dressed in an "inadequate" way. Following an objection by Ana Carolina, who defended herself by saying that another young, (white) girl, wore a more low-cut dress than hers and was not barred, to which the director explained that she could not get into school because of the "black power" hairstyle. According to the student, the director was astonished by her choice of hairstyle, asked why she wore her hair “in that way” and told her leave the building. "The other student wore a top and a very low-cut dress. It was my style that didn’t please her. It was a case of racism. Later I found out that this was not the first time something like this happened”, said the student.

The local media get details about the incident from Ana Carolina Bastos

The student who continues to attend classes at the school where the incident occurred, filed a complaint with the police and now intends to enter a complaint against the director in the State Public Ministry of the State (MPE). The teacher also continued performing her duties as normal.

In an official statement, the government replied that it "will hear the parties involved and take appropriate action." On Friday of last week, dozens of students and members of the Movimento Negro held a protest carrying banners and signs against the action of the director in front of the school. To the students, the director said that she had not behaved in a racist manner. The local press tried to talk to the teacher, but the Secretary of Education reported that she could not give interviews in order to preserve the investigation process.

Racism is a crime

The young Ana Carolina is part of a group that plays African-oriented music in São Luís. Her dream is to be a sociologist so that she can fight for minorities in the capital city of Maranhão. "When I was barred, my sister cried and I was horrified. A lot of people were looking at me. It was a massacre. I wasn’t start anything. I go to school to be someone in life”, said the student. "I have a black identity and I will not change it,” she added.

Ana Carolina (in black top) with her sister

This is the second episode involving actions of racism in Maranhão in less than a year. In July, the rectory of the Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA) opened an administrative procedure to investigate a complaint that a teacher, José Cloves Verde Saraiva, had humiliated a student enrolled in the Chemical Engineering course, Nuhu Ayuba. So far, the investigation has not been completed.
Participants of public rally

According to Claudicea Durans of the group Raça e Classe do Maranhão (Race and Class of Maranhão):

"black men and women have experienced situations of humiliation and racial slurs on a daily basis in different public spaces and these acts are often expressed in different ways: racist jokes, police beatings, moral and physical aggressions, that often go unreported because of the embarrassment, humiliation, sadness and frustration that its causes the people that denounce them", but, Durans continues, "they must be reported in order to serve as examples and may in fact be punished because racism, according to Brazilian law, is a non-bailable and imprescriptible crime."

Education without racism

“Racism has different facets. The use of negative stereotypes and ridicule of physical characteristics and traits is another aspect of racism, which is in our analysis, at the same time silent, cruel and violent, it acts to deny the black identity, destroys cultural, historical, and physical values of this population, destroying their self-esteem.

Claudicea Durans

"The fact that this discriminatory attitude occurred in school leads us to reflect that this situation is common in the school environment and that the school has historically been an instrument of reproduction of dominant ideologies, and racism, one more element to ensure the oppression and exploitation of blacks."

More articles by Marques on CurlyNikki--
Brazilian Woman Takes Story of Racism to Press
Hair and the Politics of Good Appearance in Brazil

Viola Davis Rocks the Red Carpet

Body. Face. Hair.

Does it get any better?

She rocked owned that carpet... and did it with unrivaled class and grace. #Gratitude

Japanese B-Girls Celebrate Black Culture

by Alona of HairPolitik

When a friend sent me a clip of these self-described Japanese b-girls celebrating all things young, black and Hip Hop, I was truly blown away by just how far Hip-Hop’s reach is. I for one think it’s a positive thing, but wanted to get your opinions. With phrases like, “Black people look so great and stylish,” I can’t help but be flattered. But then there’s the “When we wear it, it looks vulgar but not with Black people” remark that leaves a question mark on my face. They even tan!

I do find it really interesting that Hina became interested in Black culture after her hair took on a “frizzier” texture. Perhaps there’s more that binds us than just Hip Hop music? What’s interesting is that it took me seeing these Japanese b-girls embrace our style to start thinking about who they are outside of the images I see of them marketed on our airwaves. I’m delighted to see the diverse sizes, hairstyles and clothes the Japanese people rock and I want to know more! One thing's for sure, I’m feeling those braids Hina! Get it!

What do you all think? Is Hip Hop’s influence helping promote positive Black beauty overseas more than it hurts?

Weigh in!

Hair Relaxers and Fibroids?- An Update from Dr. Wise

Hola Chicas,

I managed to catch up with Dr. Wise, the lead author on the "Hair Relaxer Use and Risk of Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women" paper. She was impressed at our analysis of the study (see below) and wanted to remind the community that they were only able to raise the hypothesis of an association. She also brought to light that contrary to what Fox reported, their study did not report anything on the relation between hair relaxer use and age at puberty... that was an entirely different study. If you're interested in reading the paper for yourself, leave your email in the comments below and I'll shoot it over to you!


Katiera shared the following link on my Facebook wall--
A revealing Boston University shows hair relaxers can cause fibroids in the uterus, giving “having unhealthy hair” a whole new meaning.

If relaxers can be so damaging, why would women still use them? For starters, many women wonder if there is another hair-straightening alternative.

Some women say choosing not to wear a relaxer could be the same as choosing not to work or not to advance in a certain industry.


I agree with those of you that mentioned that correlation is not the same as causality, and agree with Sophie when she said that it's at least worth a closer look.

According to the study, of the Black women that were diagnosed with having uterine fibroids, a disproportionate amount of those women have used relaxers, a fact that raises the hypothesis that relaxer use may be correlated with increased risk of fibroid development. One factor that complicates this hypothesis is that while black women are more likely to develop uterine fibrosis, black women in general are also more likely to use relaxers. The investigators attempted to control for this, along with many other factors in the study. For instance, if it was the case that they only had one binary measure of relaxer use (use/non-use), then those results would be fairly thin. However, according to the abstract, they analyzed relaxer use, frequency of use, duration of use, and frequency of scalp burns. So the study suggests that use, in general, is correlated with fibroid development; the more you use it, the more frequently you use it, the longer you have used it, and the more often your scalp is burned during use, the more likely you are to develop uterine fibroids. This alone is disturbing.

I'd love to speak with the investigators... if it turns out after more research that there is a causal relationship between relaxer use and fibroid development then we could have a family conversation about whether or not we should change our behavior (refusing to use or demanding better or safer products, etc). No matter what, we certainly shouldn't demonize Black women for relaxer use...this is a health issue that we should be able to discuss freely and safely here. It's a family health issue like any other. Like, if momma develops diabetes, we don't get together and argue and yell at her about all the good soul food meals she’s cooked (queue Mekhi Phifer and Nia Long), instead, we develop a strategy about how to best move forward and save our family. We're all in this together and must, as a community work to keep ourselves healthy. We can't make a choice about our genes, nor escape our Blackness, but we can, in an open forum such as this, figure out how best to use the information that we have to make healthy, informed decisions, whether it's the food we eat, the things we say to each other, how we feel about ourselves, or the products we put on our body.

*My friend and intern Jon tracked down the article and after reading it, Hubby rendered his opinion-

Strengths of the Study-

  • Careful sample selection and panel study format (these are the same people being followed for a period of time and reporting relaxer use prior to fibroid development)
  • Many control variables, the most important of which are time-varying (controlled for throughout the duration of the study)
  • Relaxer use is disaggregated into 4 categories, 3 of which are independently confirmed.
  • Significance levels are consistent and strong
  • Correlation is not causation, BUT, the authors test the causal mechanism directly. They’re not just attacking relaxed black women, but rather have a logic as to why they think relaxers are causing fibroids. The authors believe, but cannot prove, that relaxers contain Phthalates. They can’t prove it because, like our dietary supplements, manufacturers who make relaxers are not subject to regulation by the FDA and don’t have to report what’s inside of these products. It has been demonstrated elsewhere, though not conclusively, that phthalates are associated with uterine fibroid development. However, they have a strong suspicion because, most of these products report having ‘fragrance’ in them and we know that 100% of fragrance contains phthalates. In short, the authors think that these phthalates are introduced into the body when the chemicals burn the scalp. One of the ‘relaxer’ variables, measures the number of burns experienced by users and it turns out more burns are associated with a higher likelihood of fibroids.
  • More Black women use relaxers than not, BUT, the authors test a sub-group of women who have been relaxing for ten years or more. Among these women (fried, dyed and laid to the side types), those who relax more often per year (7 or more times) develop uterine fibroids more often.
Limitations of the study-
  • Some people dropped out of the study… approximately 3000 people were lost during the course of the 10 year study.
  • There was no distinction made for the type of relaxer used. But, many Black women also didn't know what type of relaxer they were using anyway, so this was probably adequately controlled for through randomization.
  • Black women with higher levels of European ancestry relax less. As a result, technically, the study can not distinguish the effect of being African from that of relaxing more. So, it may be the case that Black women are getting fibroids more often because they’re Black, not because they relax.
  • This is only one study... there is no larger body of work to compare it to.

Hubby asks, why were so many people willing to either accept or dismiss the study without further information? Whether it's true or not, would it make you feel a certain way?

Janet Hubert's Open Letter to Wendy Williams

Our favorite natural homegirl Janet Hubert, recently went in on Ms. Williams and her sudden show of support and love when Whitney passed, wondering where all that compassion was when the Queen was alive. Remembering that fateful interview and Wendy's relentless mudslinging, Janet felt compelled to take to the keyboard after witnessing the daytime star break down in tears on her show following the announcement of Whitney's death. Janet told me, 'it was just something I needed to say... enough is enough!'

Dear Wendy,

This past weekend was a very difficult time for so many of us.

Though I never knew Whitney Houston, I felt a profound sense of loss and sadness. On Sunday morning I took my dog for a walk in the park across the street and still could not shake the sadness I felt. I wondered if what I was feeling was perhaps related to losing my mother and brother this past year, but then I thought no, it was something else.

I watched the funeral service with the rest of the world, and cried time and time again with each story that was told. I felt like I knew more about this amazing woman than ever before. We all watched her as a little girl, center stage, singing like a bird, she was destined for superstardom. To watch her center stage full circle in death was a feeling no mother should ever have to feel. I applaud Ms. Warwick, the pastor, and all others who formed a police line of love and protection around her that was impenetrable only to those who really knew her. We, the public accepted their decision to keep it private, but they allowed us to witness her Home Going ceremony, I don’t know if I could have been so gracious. WE felt like we knew her and we knew nothing about her except what we read and hear from people like you and other media outlets. I listened to her interview with you and was compelled to say out loud. “Go on Whitney tell her like it is,” when you pried into her life back then. I had my son in the same year as Ms. Houston; we did Ebony Magazine that same year, she introducing her baby girl and me my son. I am trying to be dignified, but here goes.

The Internet has become somewhat like the 10 commandments, and this is why… whatever is posted or commented on… is forever written in stone. Neither I nor anybody can stop anyone from making up stories, reviews, lies etc, cutting and pasting whatever they decide to put together like a bad buffet breakfast.

I have had some horrible meals shoved down my throat on the web that I had no parts of.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth from a recent cut and paste meal from your beloved TMZ (THE MUDSLINGING ZONE). I believe you said once “If you heard it on TMZ then it must be true,” really Wendy?

The Internet is indeed the information highway, but it can also be “a Forum of Hate.”

You said that morning with tears in your eyes, that you would not discuss Whitney any further, but you crucified her the whole time she was alive, as you do so many people on your show. I want to ask you why? What do you get out of this besides money?

How do you sleep at night knowing that you are one of the biggest bullies in the world disguised as HOT TOPICS? Celebrities are not topics we are people, just like everyone else, we hurt and we hear and we bleed real blood, not fake blood, just as you do.

How do we as parents teach our children to honor each other, treat each other with kindness when all they see are images of people like you who condone and promote meanness, rude reality TV stars, and your opinion as you berate world renowned people like Janet Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and others you slam on a daily basis.

I keep asking myself why no one is saying anything about this. What the hell are they afraid of? Where are my sisters out there who feel as I do?

Well Wendy, I try to teach my son to stand up, shout, and scream when there is injustice. Yeah yeah, I know, I have been screaming for years and will continue to do so as long as there are images that depict black women as neck shaking, over bearing women who can’t get along.

A sister, a mother, a daughter, a star, left this world way too early; she was loved by the world. The world mourned, I don’t think that we needed you to try and take down another brilliant sister on that following Monday morning. (Your rude comments about Janet Jackson)

You started right back up without hesitation or pause… you need to stop Wendy. We need to stop, and the world needs to stop. I need to stop as well. There will be no more quotes from me to be misquoted. We need to join together, wrap our arms around our children, everybody’s children. Remember you have a child who will suffer every slingshot and arrow that gets thrown back at you Wendy; our public lives greatly affect our children.

I know I am going to suffer some arrows for writing this letter to you, I know you are loved by many, but remember this Wendy; they love you when you are up and they love to take you down. You will not always be up, you will not always be on the A list and attend all the parties. Ride the wave sister girl, but make sure you know how to swim when the ride is over. Artists are survivors, we work hard to build our crafts and careers and I ask that you simply remember that in the future.

I’m just sayin’ it like l mean it too.

Janet Hubert

Wendy breaks down--

What do you think of the letter? Are you a Wendy Williams fan?

Click HERE for my interview with Janet Hubert.

A Spoof Gone Way Too Far: Blackface is NEVER Ok

by Antoinette of A Curl's Best Friend

I can't. I just can't. I almost don't want to even share this damn video because I don't want to increase their hits. But please feel free to go to their youtube channel and express your thoughts and feelings. I know I did. Leave comments and write messages. Is this supposed to mirror and/or point out flaws within the "Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls" phenomenon? Is this supposed to be some sort of indication that reverse racism exists and that those videos are as offensive as this one? Or did some fool with a camera really believe this was somehow clever and witty? I'm going to have to believe that whoever did this wasn't that stupid and unaware of themselves. Whatever it is, it's repulsive, repugnant, reckless and straight up wack. Makes me want to get on my Marcus Garvey/Pan Africanism tip and bounce. Wait till Shanti wakes up and sees this.SMH. In the words of Charlie Murphy, these kids are "habitual line steppers".

Seriously, how do we combat things like this? What are some concrete, actual steps we can take?

Shanti Mayers and Antoinette Henry are best friends whose friendship took root in Philadelphia 10 years ago. Now as adults, Antoinette lives in Brooklyn New York pursuing her dreams in theater while Shanti still resides in Philadelphia raising her one- year old daughter. The creation of their blog “A Curl’s Best Friend” is representative of the creators and their love for natural hair, their appreciation of beauty and talent, their need for self -expression and their admiration for the many faces and voices of womanhood. Keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!

A Fatty By Any Means Necessary


by Shanti of A Curls BF

I was sitting here this morning puttering around the house listening to NPR's special called "The Hidden World of Girls" produced by "The Kitchen Sisters". It was a fabulous collection of stories about the experiences, struggles and "inner worlds" of young women from around the world. The last story introduced a growing trend amongst women in Jamaica. Some Jamaican women have resulted to taking "chicken pills" to alter their hips, thighs and buttocks to make them more full. These "chicken pills" are growth pills that are used to make chickens mature more quickly than nature's timeline. An explanation of as to why this phenomena emerged is explained by a Jamaican man interviewed for NPR's story,
"Most males, they love to see women with big bottoms. The whole idea of Coca-Cola bottle shape" Carol says. " 'I don't want a meager woman,' that's how the men would speak. ... They're figuring if you look meager, you look poor, in the sense that you're not being taken care of."

"If you have no meat on your bones, the society can't see your wealth, your progress, your being..."
The risks associated with the consumption of these chicken pills is great due to the cancer causing cumulative toxic agent arsenic which is present in the pills. The story went on to describe that the pills are among other body altering substances that are used widely and illegally in the Caribbean. Skin bleaching is also a widely used product.


The very end of the story ended with this statement from another interviewee, this time a woman,
"At the end of the day," says Stanley-Niaah, "women do these beauty practices not to diminish themselves, but to somehow assert themselves."
Many thoughts ran through my head after listening to the program. I am no feminist but immediately I wanted to blame men for our distorted attempts to please and be accepted, then of course my thoughts turned to the white man for twisting the sense out of the black race then I just had to face reality. We as women, specifically Western women have got too much freakin' time on our hands. We have it far too easy. The fact that we are willing to risk our lives for a fat ass in comparison to our fellow women folk in Egypt and Yemen who at this very moment are risking their lives as human shields against army tanks so that they may have a say in the direction and leadership of their country speaks volumes. The fact that we are willing to risk our lives and our children's lives by obsessing over hair texture and applying toxins dutifully every six weeks and shelling out thousands of dollars because of it in comparison to Liberian women who risked their lives and successfully ended a civil war through unity and persistence due to their dedication to the important things in their life such as peace and the safety of their future generations speaks volumes about our values as Western women. We exalt, strive and find a false sense of "assertion"in our sexuality when we are so much more than tits, ass, thighs, good hair, bad hair, natural hair, permed hair, divas, eye candy, single or married. I say that wholeheartedly but I struggle when I try to imagine what more we can be? What ideals, movements, principals are we willing to look past ourselves and die for? Don't we want our baby girls to beam with pride that their mothers lived, breathed and stood high due to more than Louboutin heels and fat asses? Sweet baby Jesus, I know I do...

Left to right Yemen journalist Tawkkul Karman, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee. All are Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Let's inspire one another! Comment and share what you strive to stand for as a woman.

Shanti Mayers and Antoinette Henry are best friends whose friendship took root in Philadelphia 10 years ago. Now as adults, Antoinette lives in Brooklyn New York pursuing her dreams in theater while Shanti still resides in Philadelphia raising her one- year old daughter. The creation of their blog “A Curl’s Best Friend” is representative of the creators and their love for natural hair, their appreciation of beauty and talent, their need for self -expression and their admiration for the many faces and voices of womanhood. Keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!

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