CurlyNikki In Forbes

How to CUBA


Hola Chicas!

I don't usually share how I put these trips together because (1) there's no formula, and (2) I have a flare for the dramatic. But as this epicness comes to a close, I thought I'd do y'all a solid and provide you with a how-to manual of sorts.

Obviously there are other ways to get to and 'do' Cuba both legally and illegally (i.e. Mexico or Canada, groups, cruises), but I visited Cuba both legally and on my own terms.  I didn't get herded around in large groups, or have to pretend to be doing anything.  So if you're like me, do it like this.  

Afro Cubans: We Are Many



Hola chicas!

Yesterday we spent some time in old Havana with some new friends. I first learned of Gloria Rolando on Afro Cuba Web after some creative Google searching. I reached out on FB and received a response within 24 hours! She was interested in meeting me and sharing a bit about herself with the CN fam. She's a renowned filmmaker and documentarian who works to piece together Afro-Cuban history and produce positive images of black Cubans.

She maintains that Africans have made substantial contributions to Cuban culture and that she feels a responsibility to show that Afro-Cubans are more than 'rumba dancing and cigar smoking (which are well-worn stereotypes). Since Gloria and her family believe that there's not been an appreciation for the fullness of the African contribution to Cuban history,--

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The View from Havana



Got the last two internet cards in a 5 mile radius so I could share a few pics.  Love y'all, talk soon!










Unspoiled: Life Without Limits


 
As of now, we've been here for less than 24 hours and one experience sums up our whole entire situation --

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CurlyNikki in Cuba

http://www.curlynikki.com/search/label/CUBA

Hola Chicas,

Story time--

Continue!>>>

From Jerusalem to the West Bank: Humans Without Borders

Re-posting in light of recent events


Hola Chicas, 

So I hated to do it, but we spent the whole of Tuesday on one of those cattle drives tourist trips that require that you get on a bus, off a bus, on a bus, off a bus, listen to a story, eat at the pre-selected restaurant where your tour guide already made a kickback deal for you to eat crappy felafel, look at the same souvenir crap made out of plastic and wonder which relative gets which piece of crap... which of course is made in China. But the point is that when you're in Israel, you simply must visit a few major locations and this annoying ass tour allowed us to visit all of them in one day. So that's what we did...we saw Jerusalem and it was wonderful.  I hope that you decide to visit the Holy City one day as well.  When and if you do, remember that while you're looking at all of these beautiful ancient sights, the West Bank is actually behind you and it's full of Palestinians.  On Monday, we went to Jerusalem too, but then we kept going and actually crossed the infamous fortified wall into the West Bank and met real life Palestinians.

Read On!>>>

Israel. #TheOuttakes

WINNERS-

Congrats ladies! And thanks to everyone for participating! More giveaways to come! xoxo


Happier than a camel on Wednesday, tho...

Just touched down in the States! And while I'm currently dranking in all this good Boogie love, I thought I'd post a few pics that didn't make the previous posts.  Also,  HennaSooq and I kinda dropped the ball on the giveaway situation... there were supposed to be many more... and so there shall be :)  I'll be giving away more stuff this week, to include a second year long supply of Red Raj (!!!!),  3 henna gloss bars, 5 handmade shampoo bars and a Basics of Body Art Kit.  Stay tuned!

Oh yes, but today (along with the announcement of the previous winners), I'm giving away some Dead Sea Mud... direct from the Dead Sea!

#MissedASpot

More Pics and Deets!>>>

Meet Miss Israel-- Breakfast with Titi! (and a giveaway)


Meet Yityish "Titi" Aynaw, the first Ethiopian-born Jew to win the Miss Israel competition (2013).  After losing both of her parents at a young age, she and her brother moved to Israel from Ethiopia at 12. In Israel, she was raised by her grandmother, and upon finishing high school, served in the Israeli army where she was made an officer. In the same year that she was crowned the first Black, Miss Israel, she also started college! #BossTho

I had the honor of sitting down with her for breakfast on Friday.  She shared a little bit about everything and I thought I’d share it with you.


Read On>>>

The African Refugee Development Center in Israel and How You Can Help.

**giveaway, below!**

Oscar (spokesperson and asylum seeker from the Congo), Naomi (from USA), Sumia (translator and asylum seeker from Sudan), Solomon (director and asylum seeker from Eritrea) #YallTheRealMVPs

When I'm planning these international excursions, the first thing I do is search for and reach out to naturals in the area.  Other than a strong desire to turn up with #OurPeople, it's just damn smart to roll with folks that know how to navigate whatever new and strange city you might find yourself in. 

The second thing I do is find the real MVPs.  The people who, despite a lack of media attention and sufficient funds, choose to fight the good fight, providing resources and solutions for #OurPeople in the struggle.  #FergusonWorldWideTho

Read On!>>>

Tel Aviv Livin' (and a Giveaway!)

  
#TouchDown #Israel

So I think Einstein once said that, "we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."  This is why remembering to remember is so important! #LevelUp 
"If you think of your life, the world, as a mirror, as a reflection of your beliefs (and thoughts and attitudes), and you find yourself surrounded by angry, dramaful, ratchet-ass circumstances, then what needs the fixin'? If it's just a reflection, then isn't it you that needs an adjustment?
Stand in front of a mirror and frown, or better yet, serve your resting bitch face (used to be my go-to). If you decided that you wanted to see a smile in that mirror instead, you wouldn't try to change the face in the mirror (your reflection), you'd change the one on this side of the mirror. The world works the same way, we've just come to believe the opposite-- that circumstances dictate our mood. Lies. Garbage (with a french accent). Your mood, your beliefs dictate the circumstances. This is how I live my life and besides the tremendous peace it serves up all day, my circumstances, my reflection, the world around me is pretty dope too. Effortlessly so." --excerpt from my post, Why I'm So Damn Happy
So rather than worrying about or attempting to manipulate a situation that was clearly beyond our control (the owner of the bomb-ass penthouse cancelling our reservation just hours before our flight, rendering us homeless-ish), we chose to take control of the only thing we could-- our response to the situation.  And we chose happiness and enjoyed our long layover together in Newark.  And then, IT happened. #NeedNothing #ManifestErrything

Dr. Daddy checked his email and there sat a request for a professional reference.  This was not a rare occurrence-- he gets tons, but this one was special.  This request came from a student he hadn't heard from in years, who was not only from Israel, but still had many connects there.  And after a short email interchange and a long but smooth flight, we found ourselves in Tel Aviv having lunch with one of his friends who manages rental properties.  And now, we ain't homeless no mo'! 


the digs

Curly Cultural Mission: Israel (and a Giveaway!)


Hey hey,

For the last five years I've been working with women overseas to tell the stories of curlies around the world. Together we've raised the profile of several non-profit organizations and educated folks (myself included!) in the process. I've partied with Jamaican curlies living in Tokyo, have been welcomed into ethnic neighborhoods in Rio De Janeiro, walked with Lions in South Africa and survived a bomb threat** in India. 

**okay so my scary ass saw an unattended duffel bag and freaked out.

   
And even though these curls didn't make it to the moon (yet), they have made it to the promised land. 

Homeless-ish

 
#HurrDeetsBelow

 Hola Chicas!

I've been going so incredibly hard in the Lou-

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Mumbai #TheOuttakes


As the sun sets on our Indian adventure, I wanted to take a moment to thank you guys for coming along with me.  Your support, hilarious comments, engagement and prayers were felt and sincerely appreciated.  I also want to take a moment to thank the sponsors, Romwe and HennaSooq.  There aren't a lot of brands that support these types of initiatives (including some of your favorites) and these are two that put their money where their mouth is.  I hope you will support them.  So before we leave, check out what we left out--

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Real G's...

and the winner is... Saundra Irving! Congrats, chica! Email me your address to [email protected]

I Wasn't Ready #FromMumbaitoPakistan

The winners are!
 
Jackie W- $100 Romwe giftcard
 
Tieasha- Year's supply of Hennasooq's Red Raj
 
Congrats!  Email me your mailing address to [email protected] using what you won as the subject line! Thanks!
________________________
 
when you riding with a crew and you ready to go home, but they heading to another spot... #HelpMeSomebody

Since we didn't anticipate the decadence of our second spot, we ended up ringing in the New Year, alone,  from one of our big-ass windows. 

 Hubby says my silhouette looked like the scarecrow from the Wiz #ItDoesTho

We popped a complimentary bottle of champagne (which hubby was mixing with Hennessy for some reason-- not I tho, #BrownWillBringYouDown), listened to T.I. go in on "About the Money" #MissMeWitIt and let our eyeballs feast on the spectacle-- 5 independent firework shows, spotlights, candle-lit lanterns and hella people on the street. So instead of heading to the club (to be subjected to lame house music), we simply got fresh, and stepped just outside the hotel doors onto the waterfront to #GoUp with the locals. #AsRealAsItGets

#RosesForBoogie

I woke up on the first day of 2015 with a mission… to do absolutely nothing.  Not even blog... and I love y'all more than Kanye loves Kanye, so you know I was tired. We knew we had scheduled a brief street food tour with Reality Tours that evening, so the plan was to chill all day in our hotel-house, get a little culture and then turn-up that night with our new friend Nyasha.   She was coming down for drinks with an associate and then planned to hook up with us later that evening so we could hit these streets.  Oh, and because she lives 40 minutes away, we invited her to crash with us! #SleepOver #NoNewFriends #OneNewFriend

That WAS the plan.

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'Opulence, I has it'. The Trident Hotel in Mumbai


#Bollywoodin #LikeARockStar

I must apologize in advance for the ballerific nature of this post. I'm no stranger to the red carpet treatment and we've stayed in fabulous cribs in fabulous destinations but *insert Katt Williams voice* this sh*t right here... this is something else entirely.

I called ahead to the Trident, a 5 star hotel in Nariman Point, Mumbai, to alert them of our pending arrival from Bandra West. #ExpectUs

Now I ain't gonna lie, I told them I was kind of a big deal *bats eyelashes innocently* 


...and after what I assume was a brief Google search, they informed us that they were happy to provide complimentary accommodations.  I'm thinking they're going to give us a suite. Dope, right?

Little did I know...

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Called to Serve- Young, Black & Single in India


 
Yesterday, I shared the emotional story of how Nyasha and I connected.  Today, I want you to read the amazing stories she told me and hubby over dinner, about life as a single, natural, Black, Christian woman living and working in India! Enjoy!

Tell us your story- How did you get here? How long have you been in Mumbai?
Well, I have always had a desire to work and serve internationally. I had an amazing opportunity to study abroad in South Africa and Namibia during my undergrad years at NYU and since then I’ve felt my life mission was to work internationally with organizations, businesses, churches, individuals and cities to help them to be their best.

This March a friend at my church in New York told me about an organization in India that he was working with called Vision Rescue. They were based in Mumbai and focused on educating children in the slums, rescuing and restoring young woman/girls from sex trafficking and proving health care for those in need. I instantly became interested and found out that the NGO had volunteer opportunities. I felt that this could be my first open door into international work and so I asked my current employer (a New York based NGO and Church- The Legacy Center/Christ Tabernacle) if I could go on a short-term mission trip to India for six weeks. Well, they agreed and to show their support gave me a six week paid leave to come explore and serve in India! Who does that?? This for me was a sign that God was opening up the doors for me to pursue my dreams and purpose of serving overseas. Before I left for my trip I actually decided to give notice and move out of my beautiful apartment in Harlem. I had such a strong feeling and belief that once I got to India more doors would open for me to remain long term.

Read On!>>>

#Blessed

*UPDATE:*
Grandma is out of her second surgery and resting comfortably. #ThankYou #IStillHaventSleptTho


 Hola Chicas,

When I'm planning these international excursions, the first thing I do is search for and reach out to naturals in the area.  Other than a strong desire to turn up with #OurPeople, it's just damn smart to roll with folks that know how to navigate whatever new and strange city you might find yourself in.  That's one of the awesome things about holding a #TeamNatural card-- we're global and we ride for each other.  So yeah, I Googled and searched and hunted and could find nary a natural haired Black woman in all of Southern India!  Go figure. So I gave up, and wouldn't you know it, just when I decided we were on our own, I received an email from Nyasha!  She wanted to let me know that she lives in Mumbai and would make herself available if I needed any advice or wanted to connect.  You couldn't tell me nothing!  I called her immediately and was delighted to learn that not only was she just a few miles away from us, but that she was down for dranks... that night!  #IAmDelivert

And so we met at a fabulous hotel around 7:30pm and spent the next 5 hours gabbing away about everything-- her story, how she ended up in India, her experiences here as a Black woman, how we're both okay meeting up with strangers after one brief email, Ferguson, politics, religion... you name it.  And then my phone started blowing up.  I excused myself to take what was certainly an urgent call from Momma.  She wanted to let me know that Grandma was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

Read On>>>

Spectacle.

#HeyHeyHey #GreySweatsErryDay 
@ndvme on IG said- 'he's gonna take the selfie, but he's not happy about it.  Nobody made him take the pic!'

Traveling while Black, Rule #10- Be prepared to be a spectacle

Thankfully though, unlike some of our experiences in Greece, our Indian brethren appear to be serving up genuine curiosity... the same kind we have for them.   When we're kicking down the terrifying street-sidewalk-raceway, dodging rickshaws and entire four person families atop one, single, solitary speeding moped, people look.  Like, look-look.  And they don't look away when you lock eyes either, they just keep staring. And while it made me a bit uncomfortable at first, what I've found is that 99.9% of the time, if I smile, they smile back!  #Voila #Maaaagic. As 'small' as this world is, it's interesting to go to another country full of brown people and feel like an alien.  We're all curious about each other and nothing is more powerful than reaching out across the sometimes massive culture and language gaps to shake the hand of someone who is actually not so different than you after all.  #WeAreAllSpectacles

Case in point, yesterday at the Bandra Bandstand, hubby and I were minding ours, strolling and people watching... probably talking ish too, the usual.  The sun was being rude, so we decided to sit for a while and revel at the beauty of the beach-community bath-laundromat situationIt wasn't five minutes later that a group of smiling, Hindi-speaking gentleman approached us, shook our hands, and gestured for a photo, like this one--

Read On!>>>

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