The Natural Hair Movement Failed Me

"I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations" - India Arie

When I was in middle school, a boy I had a crush on said that I was cute, but that he didn’t date girls with “my kind of hair.” I was not sure what was wrong with “my kind of hair,” but presumably he meant the short kind. Although I never really understood what he meant, that comment really stuck with me, because I’ve hated my hair for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wished it were just a little bit longer. A tad bit fuller. And much, much thicker.


by Kanisha Parks

If you’re not too familiar with the term #InstaBaddie, aka Instagram Baddie, bka plain ‘ol baddie—let me spare you the Google search.

An Urban dictionary definition of “Instagram baddie” will yield, “another word for an Instagram whore” while the phrase “shes a baddie” suggests, “a girl [who’s] got good qualities, and is everything a guy wants.”

Since when can you tell a girl has “good qualities” from a picture, though?

Nonetheless, you could ask 100 other people and probably get 100 different definitions, but most people would probably agree: she’s gorgeous, has amazing brows, and gets a ton of likes.  While baddie is by no means a new term, YouTube tutorials that teach you how to look like one are definitely on the rise. I found at least 100 makeup tutorials for this very subject before I got tired of counting.

You might be thinking, “Well, what’s the difference between this and any other makeup tutorial?” I asked myself the same question, wondering how I could articulate my discomfort with the subject matter.

The answer is simple: other tutorials, though often inspired by celebrity makeup looks, aren’t usually geared towards teaching women and girls how to appeal to a type. An #InstaBaddie in truth is nothing more than an ideal that has been created through this social medium. And as ideals go, they aren’t really real. So what does a woman or a girl really gain from attempting to attain this ideal?
Furthermore, what effect do these videos have on viewers? Here are a few comments I pulled from one particular tutorial:


Seriously, No Shade: Azealia Banks Confirms Skin Lightening

by Tiffani Greenaway of

The woman known for throwing shade is a few shades lighter herself.

Possibly shamed so much by the public dragging she got from 14-year old Disney star Skai Jackson, Azealia Banks seems to be taking on a whole new identity altogether.

The originator of your favorite Twitter beefs confirmed that she's been bleaching her beautiful brown skin with Whitenicious, a controversial lightening cream.

IG @nappyese 

by Dr. Aziza Glass of

There is something about a melanin infused woman who walks into a room and has the nerve to have hair that defies gravity. This woman can’t become a wallflower even if she tried. This is #BlackGirlMagic in action.


Going Natural May NOT Be the Key to Helping Your Daughter Embrace Her Natural Hair

by Kirleen Neely PhD, LPC-S of 

In recent years natural hair moms have begun to unapologetically enter PTA meetings, playgrounds, and mommy groups rocking their curls. Many of them made a conscious decision to “go natural” as a way to teach their daughters self-acceptance and also help them learn how to navigate their kinky coils.

One significant off spring of their choice to “go natural” is for the first time in decades many little Black girls have grown up knowing that wearing their hair natural is an option. They have gone to weddings where the bride strolls down the aisle with kinky curls, had teachers who proudly rock a fierce twist out, and seen their moms do the big chop. Undoubtedly, in the last decade little girls have been exposed to a higher percentage of diverse hair images than in years prior.

Less Judgement, More Love

There's about three feet of snow on the ground and I see a woman who looks like she needs help. But I don't help her. Because awhile back I'd decided that this woman was mean and my assumptions wouldn't let me move.

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How Did You Find Your Voice?

When you want what everyone else wants, without discretion, you do what you see everyone else doing. When you believe that what you see, what's presented to you, is all there is, you try to choose a mold to squeeze into, even if it hurts, even if you can't breathe, even if you have to cut off parts of yourself to make it fit.

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You are Fully Capable of Pleasing Yourself.

I was old enough to feel like a woman but young enough to be shy about it. I used to sit in my bedroom in front of the mirror pretending someone was watching me. Usually that someone was my crush of the moment or someone I wished would notice me.

How I Lost 10 Pounds and Gained a Healthy Lifestyle

Liv writes:

Hello CurlyNikki community!  I wanted to share how I lost 10 pounds, maintained it for over a year, gained muscle, and trimmed my waist down simply by living a healthy lifestyle! With motivation, determination and discipline anything is possible!


Dear Nikki: "I can't find a man. Help!"

been doing life with him since 2001 #DrDaddy

Hola Chicas,

Yesterday someone wrote in asking me how I created success, found purpose and love, and things of that nature.  Specifically, she wanted advice on getting a man. A good one.  THE ONE.  Now, usually, I don't do this but uh, Imma go 'head and share the secret to finding love... 

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When 'I'm not ready' really means, 'I'm not worthy'

Do you know how it feels to want something so badly that you dread it?

I'm talking about pushing away the very thing you want most, the very life you want most. Because deep down you don't believe that you can have it. Because you've romanticized it and your expectations have gotten so high that you are afraid you'll mess it up. And what will you have to give up to get it? There's so much uncertainty, so many questions. It seems unattainable so you pretend you don't want it. You talk yourself out of it. You see it coming and you run. All of this is disguised in a common escape:

'I'm not ready.'

Sometimes what we say is 'I'm not ready' but what we whisper is 'I'm not worthy.'

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why can't we talk about sadness?

I think the sadness started with my first awareness that my mother was sick. It meant that everything safe and beautiful was also tragic and temporary. All of my life has been about coping with that.

Sadness lives underneath my skin. It sits in my stomach and my throat and right behind my eyes. It is one of my favorite things to write about, but I don't talk about it much because I find that most people aren't comfortable with the topic. We are all coping with something. I actually think it feels good to talk about it. Sadness is one of those intimate and inevitable things like sexuality. I mean, I don't care who you are, you get sad sometimes, but you might be shy about openly talking about it. I’m not. I think we should talk about it more. It's an important part of a vivid life.

Sadness is not the same thing as depression.

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Being Black and Curly in Los Angeles #Blacktresses

In the latest episode of my digital series, Get Your Life, the lead character finds herself at an audition with a number of other black women. Stuck in the waiting room together, due to a scheduling error, things get heated when they start bickering about everything from who’s being “extra black”, what is considered “attractive”, and of course, hair. Barbs are thrown and the catty convo culminates in a church sequence where the lead character poses the questions to her fellow blacktresses:
How many times have you wondered what wig will I give em today?! I give em kinky, will the think Kunta?! If I give em bone straight will they say, ‘Well, them edges is too laid to lead a revolution!’
In the episode, it’s hilarious and meant to be over the top, but the question it’s based on, is rooted in reality.  I had an audition the other day and the role was described as “Upscale, fit and over- achieving. Mean, never pulls any punches. Attractive, wealthy, sharp tongued.” When I read this, I immediately started putting a timetable together to straighten my hair. Then I caught myself and realized there was something more to explore. What in that description made me immediately feel like I needed to straighten my hair? I won’t front, it wasn’t about her being mean, or attractive. It was, ‘upscale and wealthy’ that took me there. In that moment I realized, dammit Amanda, you been brainwashed too!

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Appreciate Every Season of Your Life


Appreciate every single season of your life.  Whether the season is hard and you wish it would hurry up and pass, or the season is amazing and you're terrified that it will end.  No matter what it is, give yourself to it, and trust that you are experiencing exactly what you need when you need it. 

If you had to give a name to the season you are going through right now, what would it be?

Loving Yourself Naked

My youngest daughter always says, "Mommy move your hair so I can kiss your spots." What has been a source of insecurity for me is something my daughter loves unconditionally.

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Why I'm so Damn Happy! #LifeHack

Wanna know why I'm happier than you?

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Why I Don't Set Goals or Care About Them At All


I smile to myself when clients ask me about goal-setting.  I'm not the one for that.  At all.  I'm the free-spirited coach who will tell you to write your feelings and get to know them instead of focusing on goals. I  don't pretend to care about goals because they are not what drives me. When I realized this about myself, my mind completely opened up and I became more creative, more productive and definitely happier.

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Dark Skin vs. Light Skin: A Candid Conversation

Shannon T. Boodram writes:

I have wanted to have this convo for a long time. While I am older and this issue affects me less than it did in the past, I know for many it is still a VERY sore spot and I hoped that some candid convo may help with the healing. I am looking forward to reading the comments like you wouldn't believe...

Watch Now!>>>

When Your Default Emotion is Sadness

"Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack and get lack. Think abundance and you get abundance."  - Marianne Williamson

I can't get enough positive affirmation.  Can't get enough truth and stripped down honesty and inspiration. I'm never satisfied.  Always looking for growth and life lessons and proof of grace.  Because I have always been drawn to sad things and melancholy, anything emotional and heart-wrenching, so I instinctively seek to balance that out.  With meaning and enlightening ideas.  Faith and creativity.  This is the only way I know how to live and thrive.  I'm not always happy, but I'm always hopeful.

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Remembering Who You Are and What You Want

 by GG Renee of

In which I take my own advice and just start writing.

Because I know that I desperately need to shut my mind up and open up to my soul.  Here, in this space, I need to reconnect.  Getting back to the days when I would write blog posts that weren't planned, that weren't centered around a product launch or a series, but were necessary simply because the words needed to come out and be felt.  Sometimes my words are little warriors, and I send them out to look for signs of life when I'm fighting a battle.  Is anyone else out there fighting this battle, too?  Let's fight together.  This is what they whisper, in between the lines.
Read On!>>>

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