by Tiffani Greenaway of MyMommyVents.com
Christian rapper Lacrae’s website describes him as “remaining true to his beliefs,” and an “artist that redefines mainstream popular culture.”

The Grammy and BET Hip Hop award winner shared his beliefs in a tweet on the 4th of July, sparking backlash from some fans.
Fans accused the rapper of making “everything a race issue” and “alienating the body of Christ.”
Continue!>>>


by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

If you didn’t get a chance to see this beautiful piece of artwork on Google’s front page on Monday, you missed out on a seriously rewarding and thought-provoking visual experience.

Continue!>>>

Barack Obama Gives Afro-Cubans Hope


by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

Obama didn’t just go to Cuba to make history—he went there to make a difference.
And that’s just what he’s doing: it’s the first time a sitting president has visited the country in almost ninety years, but Barack Obama isn’t just any president. He’s the first black President—a point isn’t lost on Afro-Cubans in particular, who hope his visit marks the beginning of a new era regarding relations between the United States and Cuba and vast improvements in the quality of life for all Cuban citizens.

Continue!>>>

Kylie Jenner Challenge: Why I Hate The Internet As A Woman Of Color




It always seems like the dumbest sh*t pops up on your instagram feed when you're minding your own business, like honestly.

Read On!>>>

A New Hair Social Order


by Dori Phelps

So, first of all I want to state some givens. I’ve been black all my life. I don’t know what it is like to be anything else. My life experience consists of the fact that I have never been skinny: never very large but svelte is not a category I would fit in. Nor have I ever been reserved or without opinion; my personality bubbles into every situation. And I’ve never met a stranger.

However, I am in American culture, the other; too dark, too big and too loud. Basically, I am taking up too much room, heard too much and seen as well. That thought experiment can be parked for now. I mention that only to say I am not stranger to otherness. For to add to that, I have short hair and wear it naturally.

Read On!>>>

Black Beauty on White Skin


 by Antoinette of AroundTheWayCurls

I’m no model and I don’t pretend to be but I have a pair of soup coolers on me that love a good lipstick so when the The Lip Bar asked me to model for their campaign I was all the way down. To think, I was once one of those girls that was too scared to rock a lip. I feared they would draw too much attention, throw my face off balance or even worse… make my lips look bigger. Gasp. So, growing up I would apply some clear blistex and call it day. I was intimidated by my very own mouth. My mouth! WTF! How wack? How sick? How cowardly of me… If I only knew then what I know now… cause these lips right here? They’re magic. You betta ask somebody.

Read On!>>>

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!>>>

The View from Ferguson (edited w/ more pics)

now with more pics...

#IfYouWasntKnowin #WeOutHere #DontShoot

Ish has taken a serious turn for the surreal in my neighborhood. The national media is posted up right next to stores and restaurants I’ve patronized all of my life. And after Obama spoke on it, what’s really left to say? The fact of the matter is, we don’t have facts. And although we still have more questions than answers, I do know that:

(1) Rioting is bad
(2) Rioting brought the attention of the national media to Ferguson, Missouri. #Duality
Fun fact- Ferguson is a predominately Black suburb of St. Louis.  A city that is well documented for being one of the most segregated in America. 
(3) It’s amateur hour for the St. Louis County Police- they need more training and better leadership
(4) They got the message tho- the police presence was conspicuously absent today (we won't know if this will subsist until night-fall)
(5) Given what we think we know, it’s abundantly clear that there needs to be a strong justification for the violence used against Michael Brown. I’m quite skeptical that one exists.
(6) This is bigger than Ferguson, MO. This is about defending our civil rights.

I continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, for my city and for Black boys and men everywhere. I look forward to the ‘open and transparent judicial process’. #Accountability

Peep the view from my neighborhood, at the corner of West Florissant and Ground Zero.


Click for more pics!>>>

Congress Demands U.S. Army Grooming Standards to Change



On Tuesday, March 27th, 2014 we published an article titled Are the Proposed Army Changes Discriminatory to Women With Natural Hair?. This post outlined the new regulations the U.S. Army's AR 670-1 created on natural hair. 

Lupita Nyong'o- "There is no shame in Black beauty."



On Thursday night, the stunning actress was honored at Essence’s 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in Hollywood, where she delivered a powerful speech on her quest to accept the skin she was born in. Like most young children growing up, her perception of beauty came from what she saw celebrated on her television screen, and it wasn’t until she saw a model that looked like her, walking the runways that she began to embrace her beauty. She also revealed that she spent years praying that she would wake up a lighter complexion, but she learned over time that beauty is so much more than the external. Beauty is compassion for yourself, and those around you. You can’t just consume it, it’s something you have to be.

Read On!>>>

"In Nigeria, Queens of Africa steal a march on Barbie"


via Angela Ukomadu and Tim Cocks of Yahoo.com

LAGOS (Reuters) - With a booming economy in Nigeria and more black children than anywhere else in the world, Taofick Okoya was dismayed some years ago when he couldn't find a black doll for his niece.

Read On!>>>

Hospital Advises Straightening Children's Hair?


The natural hair community is getting stronger by the day here in the U.S., but that isn't the case for the rest of the world. In Brazil, the home of the Brazilian Blow Out treatment that uses formaldehyde to straighten tight curls and coils, the pressure to straighten begins very young.

Much like the stories that comes from those in the natural hair community today, who remember long, painful hours of having their hair straightened before they even stepped into an elementary school, women with tight curls in Brazil are encouraged to straighten their hair as well as that of their daughters. And, that encouragement doesn't just come from the media and culture -- it has also been supported by medical professionals in hospitals.

Read On>>>

Race and Natural Hair- "You’re mixed so you don’t really know the struggle.”



About a year ago, I wrote an article about how much I disliked being mixed because of my hair. These last few months, I realized that I didn’t embrace the natural hair life because of others and not me. I liked my curls and had already transitioned not knowing it. I still didn’t accept the fact that my curls were acceptable. In my mind, straight hair was the ideal. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to take care of my hair yet but the main reason I thought this was because of negative comments. Comments such as…”You should relax your hair again.”, “Your hair looks messy all the time.”, and the last and most important one was…”You need to stop trying to look black”. They always ended up going back to that one.

Continue Reading>>>

pics via Slate.com


So, my sister Shana posted a link on Facebook to this Slate.com article: White Women, Black Hairstyles. My initial reaction?

Read On>>>

Tiana Parker
This morning I shared the heartbreaking story of 7-year-old Tiana Parker. She was sent home from Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa, Oklahoma because her hair was deemed inappropriate and distracting. According to the school's policy, 'hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable'.  KOKI, reported that Tiana's father, Terrence Parker, pulled her out of classes and enrolled her in a new school stating, 'it hurt my feelings to the core'.   

Mr. Parker spoke with CurlyNikki.com reporter Marisol Correa, today to share their experience and how Tiana's adjusting to her new school.  

Girl Sent Home Because ‘Dreadlocks’ and ‘Afros’ Are Too Distracting



Sorry for all the negativity this week, y'all.  But now this is happening-

Read On>>>

Afro Puffs, Politics and Privilege


by Erica Thurman of EricaThurman.com
 "So what? You wear your hair natural. Now, add darker skin to that. Add a different physique. How much harder do you think things would be for you? You’ve been acting like there is an equal playing field even among people who occupy the same category of oppression. The fact is that you’re a skinny, light skinned Black girl with curly hair and that buys you lots of passes in your everyday life."
 I felt like he had slapped me. My friend wasn’t done yet. He continued, “What you’ve been doing is speaking on behalf of a group that you don’t belong to. You don’t know the experiences of darker skinned, heavier Black women because you are shielded by the politics of beauty.”

Resistant to my friend’s claim, I pushed. I explained that as a Black female, my looks don’t conform to standard notions of beauty. I further stated that being Black in America didn’t buy much in the way of social or political access. My friend responded by telling me that I was literally looking at this issue as if it were just Black and/or white and that I was ignoring the “degrees” of acceptance based on skin tone and physical appearance. Essentially, he was telling me that I was blinded by my own privilege.

Read More>>>

Access Denied

 
By Andrea Dawn

This past weekend I had an unsettling experience that I’m trying to make sense of. I thought that sharing the story and hearing your feedback might help me put it in perspective.

I was having a great time shopping in an urban neighborhood known for its hip, bohemian shops, vintage clothing stores, indie cafes and culturally diverse restaurants. I had already made a few purchases along the way when I came across a store that caught my eye. As I entered the store, a woman approached me.

Woman: (Caucasian, grey haired, unsmiling): “Can I help you find anything?”

Me: (Black, rocking a beautiful fresh twist out, smiling): “No, I just want to take a look. Is this a vintage store?”

Woman: “No it’s not…and the store is closed right now.”

It was mid-afternoon, the door to the store was wide open, and merchandise was on display on the sidewalk. The store didn’t look closed. But because there were no other customers inside, I decided it was possible the store was temporarily “closed” for lunch or a coffee break. I decided to give the woman the benefit of the doubt. I left the store, but with a very uneasy feeling.

About an hour later I returned to the store. Again, the door was wide open and merchandise lined the sidewalk. This time I could see 3 or 4 customers in the store, along with the woman I had spoken to earlier. I began to walk inside the store. 

Me, to the woman: "So it looks like you’re open now."

Woman, stepping into the doorway to prevent me from entering: “No, we're still closed." 

Me: “Really? But I see customers inside." 

Woman: "We only let in people if they know what they want to buy. If you don't know what you want, you can't come in."

By this time the customers in the store were standing around, listening to the conversation. 

Me: “Well, I’m looking for some yoga equipment. Do you have any?” 

Woman: "No, we don't have anything yoga."

By this time I had run out of patience. I was no longer smiling. 

Me: "I don't know what's going on, but I have a right to shop here. If you have a problem with that, you can call the police. But I am coming into this store." 

The woman stared at me for a moment then slowly moved aside to let me in. Of course by this time I had no intention of buying anything. I just wanted to prove a point to her: that she couldn’t prevent me from shopping at the store. If I had called the police (and I would have), the law would be firmly on my side.

As I browsed, one of the customers who had overheard the conversation, a White woman, silently gave me an affirming nod and a thumbs-up. Another female customer, also White, made eye contact with me, smiled and whispered: "She can be really rude sometimes." A boy about 15 or 16, also White, smiled shyly at me and said, “How’s it going?”

I stayed in the store just long enough to make my point, and then I left. During the time I was in the store the woman did not speak to me or offer to assist me. I’m not a mind reader, and recently I’ve been trying hard not make assumptions about what people may be thinking or feeling. I can’t say for sure that this incident was racially motivated, but of course that’s the first thought that came to my mind. I’ve never encountered a situation like this before. It was completely unexpected and completely humiliating. I felt like I had been transported into a scene from Driving Miss Daisy or The Help.

I also couldn’t help but think about the other customers in the store. Although they did offer some passive support after I entered the store, none of them spoke up while the woman was trying to deny me access. I wondered, if I had witnessed an encounter like that, would I have spoken up? I like to think that I would have.

Needless to say, I’ve filed a complaint with a local consumer protection agency. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what lessons I can take from this experience. One thing I did learn for sure: it feels really good to stand up for yourself in the face of unreasonableness and ignorance.

Has anyone ever tried to deny you access to a store or public facility? If you had been in this situation, how would you have handled it?

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!

Rene Syler Speaks...

The Birther Movement: Was Obama Trumped?
by Rene Syler of Good Enough Mother

Oh man I really hate politics. I guess a more accurate description would be that I hate politicians. Why? Because in all my travels, I have yet to find one that hasn’t shaken hands with the devil to get where they are. But while the ones already in office say some off-the-wall stuff, it’s the antics of those trying to get there that are truly reprehensible. Enter Donald Trump.

The bombastic billionaire must be feeling invincible these days. First there was that ‘racist’ interview on a New York radio station recognized as out of touch by anyone who’s spent any time on any floor other than the penthouse. But Trump didn’t stop there; he continued to push this notion, embraced by a few on the fringe that President Obama was not born in this country and therefore his presidency is invalid, the so-called Birther Movement. Finally, as you doubtless know, in an effort to quell the cacophony, President Obama and the White House yesterday released his long form birth certificate, which of course, The Donald took full credit for prompting.



Wow. There are so many things wrong with this situation I’m not really even sure where to start. But at first blush there are at least three that we can talk about.

TRUMP: I would imagine he’s sporting an arm sling today after all that back patting he did yesterday. Proud of himself? Why? Because the White house produced a hard copy of something that according to reports had been available online for years? Why on earth are we going to trust him in matters of national security when he can’t execute a simple Google search or find a hair color that occurs in nature?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Why? Why, why, why would he stoop to the level of chatter coming from a man most famous for boardroom hyperbole? The President did a good job last summer when he dismissed much of the chatter coming from the cable channels calling it a distraction from the real issues facing the country. But why now? Why didn’t he just continue on the way he had been, rising above it instead of engaging?

THE MEDIA: This is the final piece of this effed up, soup sandwich. I’m not talking about the cablers, who have endless hours of airtime to fill with endless speculation and conspiracy theories. No it was the over-the air broadcasters that moved the ball down the field. From behind the podium at the White House briefing room, President Obama scolded the press corps, pointing out that, had he held a press conference talking about national security no one would have broken into regular programming. The reason that’s a big deal is because they would have to cut into commercial time, and that’s how the networks make money. No, it would have to be something REALLY big to do that. A national security briefing, covering the clear and present dangers that exist around the world, bah, who cares? But producing the birth certificate, the result of a story kept alive because of rantings by a megalomaniac, among others? STAND BY! We’re live in 3, 2 1..

Why does this bother me enough to write about it? Because President Obama should not have had to do it. I know there will be those of you who want to believe we live in a colorblind society; I want to believe that too. But the fact is issues of race in this country cast a long shadow, whether you’re the first African American president of the United States, a network news anchor or any other professional or working class stiff.

Black is black, and that means having to lead a life of calculated concessions with other people’s comfort in mind. It means having to think twice about how you’re dressed when you go into a high end store on Madison Avenue, only to realize it ultimately won’t matter; store security will follow you so closely they’ll trip over your Gucci shoes and the Prada bag slung over your shoulder. It means having to watch your tone when you lose your temper, lest you be accused of being an Angry Black Woman. It means learning to smile politely when people say things like, “ You talk like you’re white.” or “ You sure are pretty for a black girl.” Yes, I have heard them both.

So there he was, President Obama, leader of the free world, standing behind the podium being forced to show his “papers” because a bombastic gadfly made enough noise to induce lemming-like behavior among the immediate gratification crowd. Pitiful. Shameful. Wrong. There’s much more to say and the issues go so much deeper than can be addressed here. But I’m weary and worn down by it all, perhaps a bit like our president, who was forced to make another in his own series of calculated concessions. Somehow I doubt it will be his last.

But what do you think? Should President Obama have had to respond to a small but vociferous crowd about this issue? Do you think this will settle the issue once and for all? And what do you think it will take to make real progress on race in this country.

A gentle reminder; this is another hot issue. I ask that people respect one another’s opinions so that we can have intelligent debate and possibly even learn something.

Weigh in!

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