Black Hair Is Called ‘Ghetto’ Until Proved Fashionable

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/beauty/black-hair-cultural-appropriation-fashionable/ along with the image used.

For me, the Black crown has always represented rejection, assimilation, self-expression and, finally, acceptance. God bless my mama, but she made sure my tresses were dressed in plaits or invarious ponytails while I wasgrowing up. Even now, I rock cornrows underneath my blond, wavy bundles. My coils have never really known freedom.

Now, my mama never directly told me that my strands needed to be tamed, but she ensured that they were “presentable” at all times. Every weekend, after washing and blow-drying myhair, she’d heat up the hot comb to sizzle my kinky texture into submission.

The Black mane continues to be a sensitive subject. Whether they’ve been touched by unwanted hands or spurned by employers, schools, or strangers, our hair follicles are tired. The exhaustion goes beyond society’s rebuffing—it’s about the double standard of our hairstyles being accepted when they’re worn on non-Black heads yet frowned upon when they adorn our own.

Black hair is not and will never be “just hair.” It’s wrapped up in our identity. That’s why when non-Black people sport their locks in ways that are widely considered to be derived from Black culture, many of us get offended. Some people may see the act as a form of flattery, but there’s nothing flattering about this extreme imitation, absent of any of the systemic discrimination that Black women face. The cultural significance of our strands disappears when others wear our looks as a style statement or trend. It should not be unexpected that Black people have some feelings over non-Black people donning our hairstyles for fashion. For those ready to argue that it’s no big deal or that we should be happy to see our ethnic ‘dos embraced by the masses, be aware that the way we rock our locks is about more than beautiful self-expression, but a manifestation of cultural identity.

With the natural hair movement continuing to impact society,it’s as though Black women are finally getting the chance to love our natural tresses fully for exactly what they are without backlash. In the U.S., hair discrimination bans are being enacted to protect those of us with Afros, braids and locs—hairstyles that have constantly been deemed unprofessional or unsightly by critics. Those who harbor racist beliefs often claim the styles are distracting, messy or unclean.

But perhaps the biggest argument against Black hair appropriation and for the freedom to wear our hair the way we want goes back to the fact that we’ve had to survive centuries of oppression—slavery, Jim Crow, redlining and so much more. And we did so in the looks passed down from our ancestors, from those who were enslaved and forced to toil on plantations, and from those who followed thereafter. Our ability to endure speaks to the resiliency of Blackness. And for as long as these hairstyles shall live, it’s only right that they stay on the heads of Black people.

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Misty Copeland Talks About What It Takes To Be One Of The Most Badass Ballerinas In The World

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/beauty/misty-copeland-ballerina-diversity-beauty/ along with the image used.

Conforming to European standards of beauty has mentally inhibited Black women for centuries. Whether it was television, magazines, or billboards, the people that were considered beautiful looked nothing like us. We’re finally at a point where the definition of beauty is becoming more inclusive – but we’re definitely not where we need to be. 

Misty Copeland, the first Black Principal Ballerina to be appointed at The American Ballet Theatre, shared some of her thoughts on ESSENCE’s The Color Files podcast. We were reminded not only of how far we’ve come, but how long of a journey we have to go before everyone truly feels represented.

As a young girl, Misty loved the skin she was in. Her mother always instilled in her that being Black was a beautiful gift to be celebrated. However, a part of her still felt like she needed to fit in with others.

“Even before I danced, I feel like [my hair] was just something that I never felt like it was beautiful, you know? It’s like I wanted to have my hair straight. I wanted to have bangs like the other white girls around me.”

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#Repost @iamkerenlouise ・・・ #mistycopeland @greggdelmanphoto #pureawesomeness #bodyonloanfromgod #incrediblefitness #blackballerinasrock

A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on May 19, 2019 at 2:01pm PDT

Now, curls fully flourishing (as you can see in The Color Files’ video episode), Misty has fully embraced her Black Girl Magic and is elated to be able to represent for us in an industry that is still predominantly White. Of course, breaking the mold comes with its own struggles.

“You know, I put in almost 15 years before I was promoted. And I didn’t have this recognition for the first decade of my career. And, if anything, being black will hurt you.” 

Misty is the first-ever African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre – and she wants it to be clear that her success is due to working hard, maybe even harder than some of her peers, just to get the recognition she deserves.

“I think that for people that just see the success it seems like, you know, “Oh well you’re the one black girl and you’re being seen so of course they’re going to promote you,” and it’s like, “No, honey, it was not that way.’”

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@nisian 📸

A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on Jul 19, 2019 at 8:30am PDT

On her off-days, Misty takes the time to mentor young Black and Brown dancers. She takes pride in being able to contribute to the diversification of ballet.

“I mentor a lot of young dancers and especially brown dancers and that’s kind of what I do, whether it’s having one of my little mentees over and us chatting or cooking together, that’s kind of just my life.”

Check out the full episode and video, featuring Misty Copeland, on The Color Files below.

The post Misty Copeland Talks About What It Takes To Be One Of The Most Badass Ballerinas In The World appeared first on Essence.

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Yung Miami Announces The Birth Of Her Daughter, Summer Miami

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/articles/yung-miami-announces-the-birth-of-her-daughter-summer-miami/ along with the image used.

The weather may have cooled down, but Yung Miami (real name Caresha Brownlee) is totally in love with Summer.

Summer, as in adorable her newborn daughter! The rapper just announced that she and her boyfriend, producer Southside, finally welcomed their baby girl with a sweet Instagram post. The photo shows their bundle of joy asleep in her bassinet with Dad laying in a bed close by. Brownlee shared just how “happy & blessed,” this moment made her feel.

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Summer Miami 💕 So happy & blessed. 🥰😍🥺

A post shared by Caresha ..💗💋 (@yungmiami305) on Oct 18, 2019 at 11:19am PDT

The next photo in the series shows baby Summer sleeping peacefully in a light pink tutu, tiny angel wings and custom diaper – only the best for a diva in training!

Yung Miami already has a son named Jai. Back in June, she decided to let the world in on the closely guarded secret that she was expecting her second child via a clip from the upcoming City Girls documentary. “I’ve been going back and forth to share this moment with my fans,” Yung Miami shared of her pregnancy. “But on MY TERMS! I want this journey to be nothing but positive going forward…”

Congratulations to the parents on their precious new arrival!

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Why The ‘Basketball Wives’ Colorism Conversation Was A Miss

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/beauty/op-ed-the-basketball-wives-colorism-conversation-was-a-miss/ along with the image used.

It seems like we’ve been talking about colorism quite often lately. It’s so deeply ingrained in our culture around the world that it’s a conversation we’ll likely never stop having. But there are ways to have constructive and forward-moving conversations about it and that often takes a certain level of understanding and self-awareness.

On part two of Wednesday night’s Basketball Wives reunion, the conversation surprisingly made a stark turn into the realm of colorism when castmate Ogom “OG” Chijindu said that she was being treated unfairly by the rest of the cast because she’s a dark-skinned woman. Other castmates, including the show’s executive producer Shaunie O’Neal, had described OG as aggressive and angry. And before the reunion began, castmate Evelyn Lozada requested that OG be prohibited from sitting on set with the other ladies, giving the producers an ultimatum that eventually led them to asking OG to sit in a private set isolated from the rest of the cast.

Ogom “OG” Chijindu (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

So it’s understandable that OG felt like she wasn’t being treated with the same respect as everyone else, especially when looking at the set, one couch held the fairer women of the cast, and across the stage was another couch with Jennifer Williams, Kristen Scott, and Jackie Christie—the darker women of the cast. Whether or not OG is correct in her assessment of why she’s being treated that way isn’t what’s important here. And we’re not even saying that her claim is true.

Colorism, like racism, is tricky in the sense that you can be guilty of participating in it unintentionally. OG’s feelings are valid whether it was the intent of the women to treat her differently because of her skin color. And that’s where the issue lies. The last five minutes of the episode were an aside where Shaunie proceeded to address OG’s accusation with reunion host Marc Lamont Hill. But only the two of them were present.

And while Shaunie explained that she was sorry that OG felt that way, she excluded OG’s perspective from the conversation by not having her there. So it was a fair-skinned woman having a conversation about colorism with no other voices involved (Marc was mostly there to ask questions like a neutral moderator, he didn’t challenge her).

It’s important that when these uncomfortable, yet crucial conversations come up, that we tackle them with a mindfulness that we can’t take on others’ experiences, and we can unintentionally and unconsciously hurt each other as a result of being bombarded with these ideals from childhood.

I feel uncomfortable including my feelings when I write about colorism because I’m a fair-skinned Black woman, and I’m well aware that I’ve been afforded certain privileges from the rest of the world as a result. Having healthy conversations that foster understanding of each other takes listening, but we can’t do that if we exclude necessary participants from the discussion.

I hope Shaunie has a true heart to heart with OG to get an understanding of why she feels the way she does. I also hope going forward that if she wants to address something as complex and controversial as colorism, she purposefully includes perspectives that will challenge her own so that everyone can walk away from the conversation having learned something from her sister.

The post Why The ‘Basketball Wives’ Colorism Conversation Was A Miss appeared first on Essence.

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Professional Matchmakers Asked Black Men About Their Dating Pet Peeves

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/love/relationships/professional-matchmakers-asked-black-men-about-their-dating-pet-peeves/ along with the image used.

It’s amazing to see how men and women view relationships so differently. As relationship experts and certified matchmakers, we get so many questions from women about what men really think and why they behave certain ways. Life would be so much easier if we could just implant a chip and download their thoughts, but unfortunately, we can’t. Therefore, decided to go at it a different way. Every now and then, we have to see things from the other side. Why not tap into the minds of men and get an understanding of how they think?

We anonymous surveyed 5 men of various ages and backgrounds about their chief dating complaints. Our hope is to see if there is any validity in what turns men on and off in a relationship. If we’re honest, let’s see if it’s applicable to us. If you feel offputting behaviors apply to you, there’s an opportunity for you to course-correct and turn that negative into a positive. Get ready ladies, because these men were raw and honest.

Here’s what they had to say:

Don’t change once we become exclusive. 

Cropped shot of a man and woman compassionately holding hands at a table

“The dating period is a time for evaluation. It’s a chance for us to get to know each other and decide whether or not we want to take the relationship to another level.  If you were okay with me hanging out with my boys periodically, enjoyed physical fitness and cooking meals, and kept yourself well-primped throughout the dating period, don’t change those things once we become exclusive. Continue to do the things that made me want to elevate our relationship in the first place.” – Executive, 44

Having expectations you don’t meet yourself.

“I get discouraged a lot when I hear women say what they are looking for, but not truly meaning it. You want a business owner, you want a go-getter – but get upset when he is working to go get it! You want someone who is financially stable, but your spending habits are terrible. Know that if you want a business owner, you may have to bring dinner to the office because true business owners work late hours. The buck stops with them. They don’t have time to do 3 dinner dates a week, because they are trying to build an empire. If you want someone financially stable, understand he may have a budget that doesn’t include expensive shoes and bags. ‘Quick money screams, real wealth whispers.”’ Are you ok with having more money, but not looking like it? Understand that all relationships evolve and people do their best to make time and changes for the ones they love. However, really understand the things that you’re looking for. Success in any form can’t come without sacrifice. ” – Entrepreneur, 40

Having parameters around sex – especially if you want it, too! 

“Sex should not be a reward in a relationship. Not saying that if you’re not in the mood it isn’t valid (it is!) However, if it’s a simple argument or misunderstanding that you know is not a deal-breaker, don’t lay on the other side of the bed or in the other room when you know sex has nothing to do with the issue. Let’s have sex and then roll over or go to the other room.  Then at least we both can rest and tackle the issue in a clear mind.” – Healthcare professional, 49

Letting social media control your expectations.

“I hate the constant need to be seen and trying to live up to celebrity relationships instead of building one. I understand that everyone wants to be noticed, but I feel as though women have taken that to another level with social media being their biggest influences. From the outfits they wear to the way they dance and let everyone see what should be only seen in intimate settings.” – 31, program coordinator.

Dependency without support

“I believe my biggest complaint would be dependency [displayed by women I’ve dated]. Traditionally, men assume the role of the provider. Although this isn’t an issue, it becomes one when I become a sole provider in a relationship only for purposes of living up to expectations of social media. This includes lavish vacations, expensive dinners and other things they like to post for the world to enjoy.  That in and of itself is not a problem. However, if it’s expected for us to live this lifestyle, plan to support me and see how you can help so we can feel like we’ve arrived together.”

Well ladies, there you have it! We’ve heard what their complaints are. Can you honestly relate to any of these? Feel free to share your comments and then let’s see what the women have to say next. We will conclude this series with our advice to help spread more love and better communication so we can better meet each other’s needs and expectations. Here’s to LOVE!

 Fisher Gilmore Matchmaking is an exclusive agency of “heart hunters” led by The Matchmaking DUO™ (Kelli Fisher & Tana Gilmore). They provide matchmaking services personally designed to accommodate busy, successful professionals who are seeking long-term love. They pride themselves on giving their clients a lot of what they want, and even more of what they need. For more advice from them visit their site or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

The post Professional Matchmakers Asked Black Men About Their Dating Pet Peeves appeared first on Essence.

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‘Euphoria’ Head Makeup Artist Shares Her Glitter Tips

This was originally posted on https://www.allure.com/story/euphoria-makeup-artist-glitter-makeup-tips along with the image used.

Euphoria’s head makeup artist Doniella Davy shared glitter tips she kept in mind for Zendaya’s character Rue for her winter formal look in the finale episode of the HBO TV show. She detailed the differences between using glitter gels and pressed glitters and the staying power of each one.

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Kash Doll Visits ESSENCE Right Before Her Highly-Anticipated Album Drops

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/videos/kash-doll-interview/ along with the image used.

Kash Doll, the buxom rapper reigning from Detroit, Michigan, has had a long-running buzz in the music industry. Before there was a Rico Nasty or Meg Thee Stallion, Kash Doll was putting out music that would only continue to get taken down because of a nasty business deal.

For many artists, that would be the death of their career but for Kash Doll, it was motivation to go harder. “The feeling of finally releasing my first album, I have to say…I don’t even know how I feel right now,” the Detroit diva told ESSENCE. “I can’t believe it. I feel like I’m living a dream.”

Last year, Kash Doll went on to sign with Republic Records which is home to artists like Drake, Post Malone, Ariana Grande and more of today’s chart-topping performers.

“I can put out music without worrying about anything.” – Kash Doll

Photo: Breana Nichelle

With a fresh new deal, the Kash Doll released songs like “Ice Me Out,” “Mobbin,” and was featured on tracks with Big Sean, Iggy Azalea, and Dreezy. “Moving to my situation with Republic was a relief,” she said. “I feel free and happy. I can finally be me. I can be an artist again. I can put out music without worrying about anything.”

Photo: Breana Nichelle

Today, Kash Doll’s album “Stacked” is out to the public with features from Lil’ Wayne, Trey Songz, Summer Walker, and more heavy-hitting music mavens. Referencing her project as her “baby,” Kash Doll’s success is fitting considering her consistent and ultimately good music. Her easy flowing rap cadence is inspired by “real life” and her luxe fashion aesthetic crowns her the queen of Detroit.

“I learned that when I talk in my music, I don’t talk to one person. I’m talking to an audience.” – Kash Doll

Photo: Breana Nichelle

ESSENCE got a chance to talk to Kash Doll and this is what happened when she visited the Black Girl Magic HQ.

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These Killer Statement Boots Deserve a Spot In Your Closet

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/fashion/statement-over-the-knee-boots-fall/ along with the image used.

Quick — What’s your go to boot when it’s time to show out?

Did you hesitate at all? Is your boot collection in dire need of a breath of fresh air?

We’re here to help.

While there’s something to be said for basic, everyday boots, I’d like to make a case for the statement piece.

What it lacks in practicality it more than makes up for in personality, and what’s better than adding a little boost to your look?

If you need a boot that that’s a no brainer when it comes to making a statement, shop below!

The post These Killer Statement Boots Deserve a Spot In Your Closet appeared first on Essence.

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Frank Ocean Debuts First Queer Club Night At Secret Location

This was originally posted on https://www.essence.com/celebrity/frank-ocean-queer-club-prep/ along with the image used.

Frank Ocean’s creative brand Blonded hosted its first queer night club, PrEP+, on Thursday night in New York City.

PrEP+, named after the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis, is the first in a series of club nights dedicated to creating a safe space for people to meet and dance, according to a press release. The invite-only party was allegedly held at the techno club Basement in Queens.

No video or photos were allowed, Brooklyn Vegan reports. Other alleged house rules included mandatory consent, zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and “the dance floor is for dancing.”

Ocean also played some of his new music at the party, before French techno DJs Justice appeared as the surprise headliners.

Last night at his new queer club night, PrEP+, Frank Ocean previewed what appears to be new music. pic.twitter.com/njhUANmEFF

— Pigeons & Planes (@PigsAndPlans) October 18, 2019

frank ocean played at least two new songs last night at PrEP+ pic.twitter.com/RHxp2KEEjK

— hannah (@iIovetonaenae) October 18, 2019

The series has been described as “an homage to what could have been of the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug PrEP—which can be taken daily to prevent HIV/AIDs for those who are not infected, but are at high risk—had been invented in that era.”

Although many praised the idea of a new queer-friendly event in New York, others on Twitter questioned the optics and naming of it.

This is a weird flex. It imagines *universal* access to PrEP at an “exclusive” party?It imagines the club scene in the 80s MADE BY ppl living with HIV as if…if would have been better without them?And what good is PrEP access to ppl who were homeless, jobless? https://t.co/GmZJK2XB7N

— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) October 18, 2019

Some thoughts (including the thoughts of some much wiser queers) on Frank Ocean’s PrEP+: pic.twitter.com/AkEaA0Nbyu

— Ξvan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) October 18, 2019

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Lucy Liu Cut Her Hair Into a Short, Chin-Length Bob — See Photo

This was originally posted on https://www.allure.com/story/lucy-liu-short-bob-haircut-photo along with the image used.

Lucy Liu debuted a short bob haircut on the red carpet on October 17. The blunt cut was achieved by Liu’s right-hand hairstylist, Marco Santini, and marks one of the very few times the actress has had hair shorter than shoulder-length.

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