Monday, July 30

Rapex: useful or medieval?

While the device isn't new, this pic has been sweeping across social media recently and I want your two cents on the subject.

This is a device invented by Sonnette Ehlers, a medical technician working in South Africa.  The anti rape female condom, which is inserted by the woman like a tampon, has 'teeth' on the inside of the device that will get stuck on and any man who tries to rape her.  He would have to have it removed in an emergency room.

She recalled a rape victim telling her that she only wished that "she had teeth down there" which is what inspired the creation of the device.

Soon after Rape-Axe (Rapex) was created however, critics started to call the device 'barbaric' and archaic and even medieval.

I think that a man taking advantage of a womyn's freedom (especially in that manor) is archaic and medieval.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 27

Lil Mama looks like a 'Shocked Slave'??? REALLY???

Lil Mama recently uploaded a picture of her rocking her natural hair:

And the backlash that she received from fans was crazy.  One person even told her that she looked like "a shocked slave."

Here's an excerpt from her interview with the site backstage at the Global Fusion Festival in Philadelphia:
“I posted the picture of my hair and people were like ‘Omg you look like a shocked slave!’ I didn’t get one comment from a white person about my hair. All of them came from the sisters that had these bullsh** helmut weaves looking like a fake a** Nicki Minaj. They don’t know who they are. And the people they’re looking to for guidance don’t know who they are either, which sucks.”

I think that she's rocking that 'fro.  Her hair looks healthy and beautiful and besides who cares what she does with it....afterall it's HER HAIR!  I mean, are we so caught up in the media's sense of 'beauty' that we can't appreciate what other people find beautiful? I hate how easy society is to dismiss something that they may not understand. 

I know I have followers with natural hair, dreads, twa (teeny, weeny afros), curls, weave, braids, relaxed hair and more.  What are your thoughts about her hair?  (I'm still trying to figure out the 'shocked slave' rationale but I doubt I will ever figure it out!)

I would love to hear what you think about not only her picture, but your thoughts on natural hair....if you are a natural, what has your response been?  If you are not natural, what do you think about those who wear their hair naturally?  

Please be mindful and respectful as you comment...

Wednesday, July 25

Moving On Up: RIP Sherman Hemsley

I guess he finally moved on up to that big deluxe apartment in the sky.  I can't believe that Sherman Hemlsey passed away last night.  Sources say that he passed from natural causes which ultimately is the best way to go. 

He was best known for his roles as George Jefferson in both 'All In The Family' and it's spinoff 'The Jeffersons'.

Despite his on screen grumpy character, he was quite the humble man and quiet man in his personal life.  You often saw that side of him in interviews.

For many of us he was the first TV dad that we grew to adore; probably because he reminded us of our own  fathers.  He often blew his top, was often wrong but had endless love for his family. He always wanted the best for them and stopped at nothing until he achieved it.  He was

Here's a clip of one of my favorite Jeffersons moments: George dancing.  What's your favorite Sherman Hemsley memory?

Monday, July 23

On The Pulse Of Morning - By Maya Angelou

This poem was written for and presented to President Bill Clinton by Maya Angelou during his inauguration ceremony in 1993 and it's a beautiful piece.  It really touched me this morning and I had to share it with you with the hopes of encouraging you this morning.

I know it's a longer piece, but it's an excellent read. (And yes I've included a YouTube link at the bottom for those who don't want to read it....)

On The Pulse Of Morning
by: Dr. Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Friday, July 20

Would You Hide Your Hair To Keep Your Job?

Would you hide your hair to save your job?  That's a decision that a French flight attendant had to make.  Aboubakar Traoré, a Frenchman of Ivorian decent, was forced to hide his hair under a terrible toupee in order to remain employed.

Traoré was hired by Air France in 1999, and has been wearing dreads for quite a few years.  It's only recently that his hair has caused a stir claiming that his harm was 'harming the company's image' and that he would have to wear a wig or risk losing his job.  (This limitation was only placed on the men, because female flight attendants are permitted to wear braids and dreads.)

As a result, a petition was started to get the company to review and update it's policies to reflect the ethnic diversity of it's employees, and demonstrators have gathered and protested Air France's policies.

It's time to WAKE UP folks!  We're living in a time were more and more people are embracing their natural hair, however, certain hairstyles are still deemed 'unprofessional' by certain companies.  It's disheartening that we sometimes still have to fight for the basics.

I would love to hear your thoughts....would you ever consider altering your image to save your job?  Has anyone ever done that before?  What were the results of your change?  

Thursday, July 19

Would I Still Feel Beautiful With Short, Kinky Hair?

The truthful answer is.....I don't know.  I've always wanted to have my locks!  As a child I've always wanted to have beautiful long hair and I've finally achieved it with my locks. But I often wonder if I would be able to handle having short hair again.

I recently wrote an article for the Star that explores my thoughts on short kinky hair (the link is below).

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one.

Monday, July 16

TEDTalks - Touré Aalks About Dealing With Racial Slights

I love watching TEDTalks.  They can be so inspiring, uplifting, informative, name it!

If you've never heard about TEDTalks, they are a series of conferences delivered by people from round the world, on various subjects.  TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) was formed to dissect "ideas worth spreading."  It started in California, where the main conference is still held,  but now many major cities host their own TEDx Talks locally.  There's even a TEDWomen and TEDMED (that focusses on health and medicine.)

And for those who don't know, here's my TEDxToronto talk:

What I like about TedTalks is that you get a chance to hear from speakers who have wonderful ideas, and are very passionate about their platform.

I stumbled on this audition from Touré (writer and TV personality) for TED2013: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.  He was speaking on how to deal with racial slights.  (I'll let you watch the video below to fully grasp his concept)

We've all come across our share of racial slights in our lives and it's how we deal with them that dictates our character.

My favorite part of his audition was when he said: "Look for existence proof role models: people went before us, who succeeded. So you're not dealing with the entire race on your shoulders as you try to get through something."

Also, if you have a chance, go through some of the TED and TEDx talks that are available on YouTube.  I guarantee you'll find something you'll enjoy!

Who knows, maybe this will inspire some of you to speak at a TEDx event near you!

Friday, July 13

Happy Birthday Mr. Cosby

Bill Cosby turned 75 years old yesterday!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY COS!

His birthday got me thinking about his life and career.  What an amazing run he's had. Starting with Fat Albert and the Cosby kids..."Hey Hey Hey!"  

Fat Albert started as a comedy sketch that turned into a show that ran for 12 years.  Then he had The Cosby Show, A Different World and The Cosby Mysteries just to name a few. 

Bill Cosby has inspired us in so many ways over the years through his stand up comedy and his various TV shows.  How many of you remember how amazing Thursday nights used to be?  The Cosby Show A Different World back to back. 

They were the shows that shaped us; they gave us a positive reflection of ourselves on the TV screen.

And in a way I have to say thank you to him.  Because without him pioneering through the industry and opening the doors that he did, I may not have had the opportunities that I have had to open the doors that I've opened.

Take a moment today to Youtube some of his stand up or old TV shows.  A great laugh to start the weekend!

Dad is so great!  He brings me chocolate cake! (classic!)

Wednesday, July 11

Incredible Underwater Art

This is absolutely breath-taking.  Artist Jason de Caires Taylor is an underwater sculptor whose works are simply incredible.  I first saw his work on Facebook.  The beauty of strength and unity in this sculpture is incredible.  

The more I looked him up I realized that he has a plethora of underwater exhibits all over the world.  Think about how amazing it will be years from now to discover these works of art.  

These pieces are from his exibit in Grenada....a tribute to the many men and women who lost their lives en route to America to enter slavery.

His art is so unique in that it changes as the ocean changes.  Some of his art has even transformed into coral reefs, as the ocean adapts to the presence of the art.

Taylor created the world's first underwater sculpture park in 2006. Situated off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies and it is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic.  He creates the pieces underwater and 

It takes a man with great vision and tenacity to create and execute these should visit his website to see his other works.

Monday, July 9

Love Should Add Value To Your Life

Every magazine, TV show and social media site has been talking about Katie Holmes divorcing Tom Cruise.  Now I'm not a huge fan of either Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes, but I'm happy to see that she's finally decided to leave what appeared to be a toxic relationship.  

I recently clicked on a link (to be honest I can't remember where I saw it....probably on Facebook) where it showed pictures of Katie past and present and you can actually see the life sucked out of her when she hooked up with Tom Cruise.  You can see how unhappy she was in a lot of the pictures especially in the latter years of their relationship.  Even when she smiled it seemed unnatural and forced.  

I remember seeing an interview when they first started going out together and she said that being with Tom Cruise was a dream come true and that she had a crush on him growing up and it was surreal for her to be in a relationship with  him now.  And because of that I think that she put of with a lot of crap just to be his wife.  

It's sad to think that there are tons of people out there who stay with people they know they shouldn't be with just to 'save face.'  I guess the point of this blog post was to encourage somebody out there to find the courage to stand up  and be who they are not who someone else wants them to be.  Stop staying in that toxic relationship for the single fact that you don't want to be alone.  Or you think that you somehow deserve the way you are being treated.

The lesson to be learned is that the person that you're with needs to make you a better person.  They should never bring you down, demean you or purposely hurt you (emotionally/physically/spiritually/financially etc).  They should be able to bring out the best in you and allow you to shine and help you to grow past where ever they met you.  The should compliment you and complete you.  You two should partner together to tackle this thing called life together.

I truly wish Katie and Tom all the best with their new lives.  

Friday, July 6

Little Jamaican Girl Cuss Out Her Auntie

I think we all need a little laugh this morning.  I don't know about you, but this week felt really L-O-N-G (even though it was only a 4 day week).  I saw this for the first time a while back...but this little girl has me laughing all over again.

She's just telling her uncle (I think) about how her auntie was bothering her but her accent is so thick it's beyond adorable!  I just love little kids with strong accents from their homeland - it's just too cute.  

Even if you've seen it before, take a few moments and watch it again.  It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, July 4

Black Girl In Suburbia: Do You Fit In?

"Too Black to be White and to White to be Black:" a sentiment often felt by those of us that are not living the stereotypical 'Black' lifestyle.  

There is a new documentary that is being released this fall by Melissa Lowery called 'Black Girl In Suburbia" that explores what is means to be Black in a suburban community.  In a way you never fit in. The Black community looks down on you as if you have crossed the line and started acting like White people (whatever that means), and White community looks at you as if you are coming to destroy their precious neighbourhood with your loud rap music, teenage pregnancies and incessant violence.   It's like we are forever stuck trying to prove ourselves to somebody: be it our own people or the rest of society. 

But my question is: What is 'being Black' anyway?  Is Black the colour of my skin?  My identity?  My culture?  Is is my 'bling bling'? All of the above?  Do I lose my 'Blackness card' if I decided to create a better life for myself?

I know this song and dance all too well.  I have faced my share of said criticisms.  For example, I love to gather some of my close friends and family together to share a cup of high tea.  It is one of my favorite things to do. Of course I have friends that support me, but I've also had to deal with my share of "She tink she white now!" and "Oh she so bougie".  Sometimes I laugh it off as a joke, but why should I have to do that?  Why can't I enjoy the opportunities and resources that are available to ALL OF US!

I think that sometimes we limit ourselves to an imaginary box filled with limitations that we put on ourselves. 

So I would like to propose a challenge to all of you!  This month (and every month) find something that 'Black people don't do' ie: swimming, skating, sailing, golf etc and DO IT.  Don't let our beautiful rich skin colour be a hindrance on what we chose to experience in this lifetime. 

I am excited to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Discussion is the first step to change

Black Girl In Suburbia Trailer

Monday, July 2

I Am Me: Heartfelt Reminder To Be Yourself by Willow Smith

Willow Smith just dropped her newest video 'I Am Me."  It is an unapologetic proclamation to everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.  You can see and feel the passion oozing out of this video.  It's refreshing to see such truth in music nowadays.

To think that an 11 year old has to defend herself to the media telling them that "your validation is just not that important to me."  It's so heartfelt and is a 'much watch' and a 'must share' in my opinion.  We all need to remember that we need to just be ourselves and “be honest, cuz ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I think that more parents need to allow their kids to be who they are not who the parents want them to be!  Cheers to Will and Jada for allowing their daughter to express herself how she she feels fit.  

"I am me, I am me.  And that's all I can be"

Side Note: Willow Smith is Will Smith's mini me! haha  I can't get over how much she looks like her father.  I see a likkle glimpse of Jada in there, but that girl is all WILL! haha.  She even has some of his nuances and it's crazy to watch.