Friday, November 30

Kill the gays: Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill up for debate

It’s truly shocking to me that while gay marriage is being legalized in countries like the US and France, Uganda is choosing to move in the other direction. You may have already heard about the bill being debated in Uganda. The media calls it the “Kill the Gays bill” and officially it’s called the “anti-homosexuality bill”, but whatever it’s called it is appalling and the thought that it may get passed is frightening.

With estimates that there are at least 500,000 gay people living in Uganda, activists there are said to be preparing in case they need to start evacuating suddenly. Only 4 months ago they were celebrating the success of Uganda’s first-ever pride parade, with almost 100 people in attendance.

There are a lot of factors involved in this story, including a history of European colonization and evangelism that is directly linked to Ugandan views on homosexuality. But to pass a bill that encourages violence against a group of people is inexcusable. All governments should have to protect their citizens and this bill does the opposite.

The purpose of the bill is to “prohibit and penalize homosexual behaviour”; homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda with current penalties that go up to 14 years in prison. The anti-homosexuality bill originally included death penalties for certain “offences”. It was first introduced 3 years ago and after international pressure from governments, NGOs, LGBT and human rights activists some revisions have been made, and now it is up for debate again. The revised bill has not been released so there is still a lot of speculation about whether or not the death penalty is still included.

The anti-homosexuality bill proposes the same punishment for sexually assaulting a minor as it does for parents or people in positions of authority who engage in same-sex relationships (in the original the punishment for either of these was death). There is also a lot of language about protecting children and youth from predators. By throwing pedophiles in with gays, they stigmatize homosexuality and it helps get the bill passed faster. Well, if you’ve been following Canadian politics this strategy should be familiar; it’s the same argument that REAL Women of Canada presented this week at hearings about a bill in Canada that would protect trans human rights.

I’ll be watching closely to see whether or not the international community will be able to prevent this bill from being passed. You can help by signing this online petition and, if you’re in New York there will be a peaceful protest at noon TODAY (Friday, November 30th) Uganda Mission at 336 East 45th Street.

Guest post by Eden Hagos

Wednesday, November 28

Profile of an Artist: Rick Gold of Design Company, The Stem Group

One thing that I want to do with this blog is to help shed light on other artists of various industries who have a dream and are choosing to chase it and that are passionate about the work that they do. Ryszard (Rick) Gold of design company, The Stem Group, is one of those people who you can tell is in love with what he does. I had the opportunity to connect with him and ask him a few questions about himself and his company. 

For artists who are looking to get into the design field and for those who are trying to figure out branding (web design, logos,etc.) for their own careers, I suggest you read on for great advice on this. Connect with Rick as well, he's a friendly guy!

Hi Rick, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for my readers. First off, tell us about the Stem Group.

The Stem Group allows me to combine all my personal skills and experience into a single outlet. Extensive creative and technical prowess, an insatiable quest to be at the leading edge of technological knowledge and the passion to education others allows me to make a living doing what I love. Customer service is my specialty, preferring to form long term professional relationships with my customers. 

The Stem Creative offers general graphic design services, like cards, logos and other marketing materials, and specializing in website design and development, including micro sites for small businesses and individuals. Video production services are offered to businesses and individuals as well.

The Stem Support offers service, support and training to users of Apple Computers for situations that are not covered under warranty. Physical damages to Apple devices such as glass replacements are handled as well. 

There's a difference between those who dream about doing what they love and those who actually do it. What motivated / inspired you to start your business?

The desire to be my own boss, not having to deal with the corporate ladder. The ability to do what I want and have the risk be my own is very attractive. The flexibility of owning my own business also allows me to spend time with my boys!

What notable projects or clients have you worked on?
Having worked a bit for you (Trey Anthony Studios) was a fantastic experience! My largest client to date has been the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors. Over the years I've designed three websites for them, many print ads, events videos (one of them helped win the CAGC the Mayors Excellence Award) and a year long recruitment video project that has near 5000 copies in circulation.
Working in a creative industry, how do you stay motivated and passionate about your work?
Being constantly creative is a challenge for sure! That is why I have my support side to keep things interesting. It's nice to be able to switch gears from Photoshop & Final Cut to troubleshooting a sticky Mac OS X issue or making a smashed iPad pristine again. I get the passion from my job from my clients reactions, knowing they love their website makes a long week of slogging through code completely worth it!

What tips/advice would you give to an emerging talent who wants to follow a similar career path as you?

Look ahead always.. be on the forefront of the cure and never let yourself fall behind it. Adapt to changes in the industry and never undersell yourself by charging penance for what you know is quality work; at the same time don't charge prices that keeps your services out of reach of the small and medium business that are most likely supporting your friends, family and community.

Since my blog caters to a lot of artists and emerging artists who are looking to get their name and brand out there, what would you say is the best advice for them in going about collaborating/hiring a design company to illustrate their brand through web design or other design work?

If a deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is; if the price has 5 digits for a website and logo, move on. Absolutely most important, do not ever agree to using a pre-designed template for any of your branding products, this is exactly what those $300 website deals are all about. It's important to stick out, and it's wise to invest a little money in a custom website, logo, cards, etc. And if you can, have the same team do all the work so you can have a consistent branding across all your marketing materials. Invest in the branding instead of the mahogany desk!

Best ways for readers to connect with you?

Connect with me on any of the below mediums. I'm most active on Facebook, check out my page and connect with me there!

Monday, November 26

MONDAY MOTIVATION: 4 tips to help you set and reach your goals

With November almost over, it’s getting to that time of year where people often find themselves wondering where the year went. Before we know it Christmas will be here and then we’ll be ringing in 2013! It might seem far away, but just remember how quickly the past 9 months have flown by and you’ll realize the same thing that I did. It’s time to start thinking about your 2013 resolutions.

I know, I know…some of you will tell me that you don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. There are usually 2 reasons that people give for not making NY resolutions. Either you don’t see the point of waiting until the new year to start on good habits OR because you never manage to keep them.

If you’re in the first group, kudos to you for being able to work on yourself throughout the year; that’s what we all should aspire to. This is exactly why I suggest everyone start thinking about your goals now.

Here are 4 tips that I find extremely helpful when setting and working towards my goals:

1.       Be specific. Don’t just say that you want to learn a new language. Your goal should include as many specifics as possible. What language do you want to learn? Is the goal to learn to speak, to read, to write or all of the above? And how long do you have to complete your goal. By setting a specific goal that is tied to a particular time, you make it easier to hold yourself accountable and to know when you’re veering off track.

2.       Set small steps to help you achieve a larger goal. Any large goal can be broken down into easier to handle parts that will increase your chances of following through. Many of us set goals to lose weight. But you need to go even further and decide how you are going to do that. You might choose to change your eating habits, to exercise more or to do both. Not only should you know how much weight you want to lose, and by when, but you should have daily goals for your nutrition and your exercise, and weekly or monthly weight loss goals. By breaking a big goal into small pieces it makes it less scary and also allows you to celebrate the smaller accomplishments as you work towards the final goal.

3.       Prioritize. Pick two or three important things to work on. You don’t have to (and probably can’t) change everything in your life all at once. If you set a long list of goals you risk becoming too overwhelmed to follow through on any of them. Instead, make a list of all of the things that you would like to work on and then rank them in the order of importance. Pick the most important ones to take on this year, and put the list somewhere safe. Once you've accomplished the first few goals, you can always go back to your list!

4.       Keep going. Just because the year is over doesn't mean you have to give up on the 2012 goals that you haven’t quite completed. Even if you didn't actually start on one, if it’s important to you and you've been wanting it for (at least) one year, it’s worth trying again.  Use the other 3 tips and you can be sure to accomplish it, along with any other goals that you make for 2013.

Have you accomplished your 2012 goals yet? Will you set any for next year? If so, please share them in the comments. I’d love to see what your goals are as I work on my own!

Friday, November 23

I Am Not My Hair: Jada Pinkett Smith Pens A Letter to Those Who Criticize Willow's Cropped Hair Cut

I just love the Smith family - their talent, ambition, work ethic, the love that they have for each other and I love that the kids are allowed to go through a phase of just figuring out who they are without tough restrictions from their parents. Jada's parenting style has been criticized numerous times in the past as she has chosen to not dictate how her children should dress and style their hair. I debated a few issues in regards to her parenting style not too long ago, but one thing that I refuse to argue is people taking offense to Willow's shaved head.

We should be celebrating Willow for her apparent non-attachment to her locks. Her fearlessness when it comes to hair is inspiring because not too many children never mind womyn are brave enough to rock a shaved head while putting their face completely on display. As womyn, especially black womyn, we hide behind our hair. The longer and fuller our hair, the more beautiful and feminine we feel. Remember being young and finding ways to wrap a towel or sheet over your hair so that the length was cascading over your shoulders like hair? We would wear it all day as kids, flipping it over our shoulders mimicking the way we see women with long hair on tv do.This attachment to long hair and ideals of feminine beauty has gone on for generations, so it is amazing to see such a young girl reject it.

Instead of criticizing her, we should be promoting her actions. Not just for her but for other young girls and womyn to see that as cliche as it may sound and India Arie sang it best, I am not my hair. There has to be an absolute freedom in looking in the mirror and the first thing that you see is face, not hair. With short, cropped hair you can't hide from yourself. That bravery is what I appreciate in Willow and all of you short, cropped and pixie haired beauties.

Check out the letter that Jada posted on Facebook in response to people's criticism of Willow:
A letter to a friend…

This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete.

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women,girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.

More to come. Another day.


Well said Jada and I applaud you for this! I'm taking notes for if I have a little girl in the future. I want her to feel beautiful and strong regardless of what her hair looks like and what society uses to measure her worth.

What are your thoughts on Jada's letter and Willow's short hair? Would you allow your kids to sport a cropped 'do or is that a decision that should be made when they get a bit older? Meet me in the comment section, would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Friday All!!

Thursday, November 22

Africa for Norway: Africans fundraising for dying children in Norway

I came across this interesting video yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you to get your reactions. It’s a video by Radi-Aid to encourage Africans to send their radiators to help people who are freezing to death in Norway. It’s a parody of “Do They Know it’s Christmas” by Band-Aid, a video made in 1984 by a collaboration of artists including Bono, Boy George, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, George Michael, Kool and the Gang and Sting. Even if you haven’t seen the video or didn’t know the history behind it, you’ve probably heard this song; it was the highest selling single in UK chart history until 1997!

At first, I thought the parody “Africa for Norway” was a bit mean spirited. After all, the purpose of the Band-Aid video was to raise money for famine relief during the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia; it raised millions of dollars for famine relief and inspired another song (We are the World written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie) which raised even more. So why would someone want to make fun of a song that was written with great intentions?

Well, after listening to the original and checking out a few comments online it became obvious that there are a few issues that people have with the Band-Aid song. The lyrics are very divisive (us versus them) with one controversial line that says “We'll, tonight, thank God, it's them instead of you.” And then there is the extremely inaccurate, yet commonly portrayed image of Africa that the song gives (“Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow”).

Africa for Norway calls out the stereotypes portrayed by the Band-Aid song and it does so in a funny and inoffensive way.

Here are both the original Do They Know it’s Christmas video and the Africa for Norway videoCheck out both videos and let me know what you think.

(Reposted due to trouble with links)

Monday, November 19


In 1993, Jay Z and his friend Damon Dash sold his record out of Dash's car.... and well the rest is history! Tyler Perry spent his life savings to make a musical that people did not attend!  He was homeless for a time and spent many months living in cheap motels and his car!   Finally in 1998, he was successful and never looked back! 

What Jay Z and Tyler Perry have in common is that they didn't give up and they also invested in their own dreams, spent their own money to make things happen!  By investing in their dreams both of these men have changed the face of the entertainment industry. Yet, by  having the support of the black community they also have changed the way in which urban culture is viewed by the mainstream!  The only way we can make changes is if we as artist choose to invest in our own projects, but also reach out to our various  communities  to support our projects.

I have invested thousands of dollars in my own productions and some have been very successful ventures and some have lost me money but I still kept/keep going, because I believe in my work, believe in my talent--Believe that I have something very important to offer this world!Lately,  I've been really impressed with the numerous innovative ways that artists are now choosing to invest in themselves and their work, and their dreams. 

My brother, Darren Anthony recently started his own indiegogo campaign to raise money to turn his successful play, Secrets of a Black boy,  into a short film entitled THE REC, with the hopes of eventually making it into a feature.  He is a few thousand dollars away from his dream and I would encourage you to support him!  We need to support artists who are changing the "game." To find out more about THE REC and to support Darren's work check out this video. 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting playwright Katori Hall, one of the few black womyn to have her play on Broadway. Hall shared with me that director Kenny Leon was instrumental in going to the community to raise 3.1 million dollars in order to bring her play to Broadway!! Wow! 

As I'm currently embarking on my own initiatives to raise money for my own production of 'da Kink in Atlanta, I was inspired by Kenny Leon's tenacity to raise such a great sum.  Suddenly, my own efforts to balance 'da Kink budget didn't seem so daunting and I realize I just have to raise the money, one dollar at a time!  

So,  trust me folks in the next few weeks I will be rolling out an initiative to get donors, investors, and supporters on board and yes I will probably be clearing out all my life savings once again to make my dream of bringing 'da Kink to Atlanta happen!  I believe money talks, money changes the game and money changes the way we are able to tell our stories!  I strongly urge you, if you want to see more diverse stories on stage, on television and in the media, it's time you put your money where your mouth is! Let your money talk! Invest in your artists! And also invest in yourself! If your dream is important to you spend your own money as well!

Please also remember to donate to Darren Anthony's production and help him actualize his dream! In the next few weeks I will be using my blog once per week to highlight various artists who need our community support to make their dreams come true! If you have an initiative please feel free to contact me and I will try my best to support it and help you spread the word!  Every penny counts, donate even just $5 and if you've got it, donate MORE!!! Let your money talk! 

Friday, November 16

Rough & Tough With Your Afro-Puffs? Solange is The Latest Victim of the TSA Afro Pat Down

What's she hiding in there??
Airport security has become extra tight these days, because even a womyn's afro is seen as a potential threat to national security! There have been several cases reported recently of TSA agents giving womyn's lush and textured hair a quick pat down to make sure nothing of threat is hiding in it.

Recently, Solange Knowles experienced this same treatment at the airport when TSA asked to check her hair while traveling. She later tweeted:

Discrim-FRO-nation. My hair is not a storage drawer. Although, guess I couuld hide a joint up in here. *Blames "Romnesia" (my wigs name).

I honestly can't believe that security has gotten to this point that even our hair is getting the frisk at the airport. There are a number of black womyn who are calling discrimination on this matter  as they believe that if they were of another race or had long / flowy hair then they would not be victim to this kind of treatment.
I think that TSA should be doing what they can to keep us all safe and protect us from potential harm but I wonder if this is necessary and it is quite humiliating to get your hair palmed through at the metal detectors in front of everyone.

What do you all think, is this just another form of airport profiling, this time aimed at black womyn and their hair or do you feel that everyone should be subject to a pat down if suspected / necessary? Has this happened to you at the airport?? Meet me in the comment section and let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14

Skin Lightening – an ongoing and international issue that just won’t go away

I can’t believe that it is the year 2012 and we are STILL talking about skin lightening. I always think that we have come so far and are living in a world where people have come to realize that no skin colour is better than any other. And then, I come across a story like this – it seems that in Senegal they are selling low-grade skin lighteners that are banned in other countries, without a worry about the many dangers and side effects.

Although this article is about Senegal, skin lightening is an issue all over the world including the Middle East, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

It is sad that people have such low self-esteem and devalue their own looks so much that they are willing not only to spend time and money to change their skin colour but that they are even willing to endure pain – whether it is risking chemical burns while bleaching their skin or sunburns while tanning it. And unfortunately, the problem is not an individual issue but a symptom of our societal issues around race and beauty.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing of all is that the article ends with a sentence that only serves to reinforce the racially prejudiced thinking that causes people to try and lighten their skin. The article quotes a dermatologist, the expert opinion in the piece, as saying "When women who use these creams stop, they look horrible. They actually start looking more black, all the side effects manifest at the same time, which they just can't accept."

It seems even in 2012 (and even in an article discussing the dangers of skin lightening) black is still interchangeable with horrible.

Check out the story here and let me know what you think in the comments.

Monday, November 12

MONDAY MOTIVATION: The Soundtrack of My Life - Creating a Playlist to Set the Tone For Your Day

I have a ritual that I do every morning to create positive energy, feed my soul and start my day off GREAT. I really believe that you need to be protective of your space, time and energy. And also that the way you wake up and the things that you do first thing sets the precedent for the day. I wake up and do things like meditate, exercise, walk my dog, listen to motivational videos from John Maxwell, etc. I also listen to music. I have a playlist of songs that speak to my soul and make me want to get up and dance, sing/ rap along and more importantly songs that set me in the right mood to tackle my day.

Here are a few songs from myself and my team that we listen to every morning to inspire us. Feel free to steal a few of these ideas to add to your own motivational playlists.

My picks:

Notorious BIG - "Juicy" I listen to this song every single morning to start me off right!

Jill Scott - "Golden" This woman's voice is like butter. You can find me humming how I'm living my life like it's golden throughout the day.

Eden Hagos' Picks:

Chamillionaire - "This is my world" Make the world yours and claim your space in it!

Travis McCoy ft. Bruno Mars - "Billionaire" Who doesn't want some of that Oprah money?

Safia Bartholomew's Picks:

Goapele - "Closer" Each day make moves to bring you closer to your dreams. Re-read your list of goals to remind you and keep you focused.

Kanye West - "Can't tell me nothing" Wait 'til I get my money right/ then you can't tell me nothing right/excuse me, is you saying something?  Love Kanye! 'Nuff said with that one.

Alright folks, we've shared our picks! What are some of your must-have songs to inspire and motivate you? Meet us in the comment section below and tell us what's on your list. I need more songs for my list!!


Friday, November 9

After 2 years Oprah releases a Favorite Things list

If you’re a true Oprah fan like me, you’ll be ecstatic to hear that after TWO YEARS of leaving us hanging Oprah has finally released another of her Favorite Things lists! I was so excited to take a look at the new list. I don’t know if you’re a fan of Oprah’s lists and recommendations, but I know that if it’s good enough for Oprah it is good enough for me to at least check out.

There have already been some negative reviews though, from people complaining that a lot of the items on the list are too expensive for an average person. 

Well, I’ve read the whole list and there are some pretty cool, inexpensive things on the list. There are definitely some things that are pricey (the television and e-bike for example) but I don’t see what the problem is. She’s rich. Of course some of her favourite things are expensive! And I’m sure there are many people out there who wouldn’t find an e-bike for under $1,500 too expensive.

But for those of us on a tighter budget, there are some great choices. Here are my top 3 picks, some of which I want to keep for myself, others that I think will make great gifts (the holidays are just around the corner).

 1. Corkcicle ($25) – a really cool way to keep wine cool and a great gift idea. It even comes in different colours!

2. Bougainvillea Bangles – these are regularly $39, but Oprah offers a coupon code to get them for $31! 

3. Classic Coffee & Tea by Yedi – this cute set of porcelain bowls are a perfect housewarming gift…if you can manage not to keep them for yourself!

Now I’m looking forward to seeing her surprise the audience on the Oprah’s Favorite Things special airing Sunday November 18th. I love a good surprise!

Check out the entire list here and be sure to look for the special coupon code that is available on some of the products! Let me know which products you love.

Wednesday, November 7

The Work Isn't Over Yet! President Obama Wins Second Term of Presidential Election

I have to say how happy I am that Obama has won a second term in office. Congrats Mr. President!! The United states would have been a very different place if Romney had gotten the title, and to that I am thankful. If he had won, I may have had to pack up my bags and moved back to Canada!

A huge portion of America breathed a collective sigh of relief when the news was announced last night. I do not know if there has ever been such a divide and mark of an important decision between rich and poor in previous elections. Many people celebrated the opportunity for forward movement while others were simply at awe that a black man had won not one but TWO terms as the President of the United States.

But before we all get caught in our victory bliss, we must remember that there is so much more that needs to be done and that America needs to demand from the president. His win is not the last span of the fight against the Other. This is a call to action for more Americans to remain just as charged as they were about getting him into office. I think that all of the grassroots style campaigning, celebrity endorsements and overall proactive action needs to continue for the next 4 years. Often times once a politician is elected, the country sits back as if their job is done and the President must take it from there. The reality is that although I believe Barack tried his absolute best to do what he could over the past 4 years, there are still plenty of issues that need to be addressed and millions of Americans who are suffering and go unnoticed. If everyone remains as charged up as we are now and stay engaged about policies, then beautiful change can be made.

Voting is not the final step in making your voice heard. I saw plenty of "I got Obama's back" tweets and status' throughout the election but let's hope that America continues to actively stand behind The President.

Here's to 4 more years!

What are some important issues that you feel Barack needs to address in his new term? Leave a comment below.

Monday, November 5

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Why BET's Black Girl's Rock and a Few (Less Than Kind) Twitter Comments Prove Celebrating You in All of Your Fab Glory is So Necessary

Photo: Clutch Magazine

Guest blog by: Safia Bartholomew

Black Girls Rock! Why do we rock? Because we are strong, resilient, beautiful, talented, intelligent, poised, funny and too many more reasons! Last night BET aired the annual awards show by DJ Beverly Bond, created to celebrate young black girls, build self-esteem and showcase positive and alternative images to the often stereotypical displays that we see of black women in the media. The concept of the show is fantastic and one that I believe that EVERYONE should get on board with. But of course, when peeping through my Twitter timeline while watching I saw quite a few comments bashing the importance of the show and debating whether or not it is necessary.

I have to say that I almost got out of character a couple of times when reading these comments and it left me absolutely shocked at the complete ignorance. But I digress...the main criticism that these folks had was that it's an unnecessary program because black girls are not the only ones who rock - what about Indian girls, Asians, Spanish, white and other ethnicities? My answer to that is we ALL rock. All of us brown girls, black girls, ivory skinned girls and so on ROCK.

This is reminiscent of arguments that roll around every February about the lack of importance of Black History Month. This should not even be a matter of debate as we are all amazing and beautiful in our own right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with shedding light on and building a platform to empower your own community. If mainstream media consistently did this (or even did it at all) then there wouldn't have to be separate shows. But, until then there will have to be a black show, a Spanish show, etc for each special channel and for each ethnicity. We all deserve to shine.

I would definitely tune into a show that celebrates women who are doing their thing of any ethnicity. It's not just about the color though - it's about the message, the sisterhood and the solidarity that matters. The shifting of perspective so that young girls and women are not just celebrated for their beauty (as we are in most cases) but for our smarts and our service in giving back and lifting others up as we rise higher.

To this, I think Janelle Monae hit it on the head in her acceptance speech when she said, "Embrace what makes you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable." We should all go out into this week with a feeling of love and acceptance of ourselves in all of our differences. Be the first to celebrate you when no one recognizes what makes you amazing! There will always be critics, haters, naysayers and so on who will tell you why you should sit down somewhere and be quiet but to this I say shine brighter, speak louder, dance harder. It may be difficult, but ignore the noise!

Take this chance to shine, leave a comment below telling us why YOU ROCK ! Would love to hear from you.

Happy Monday!!

- Safia

P.S. Check out this clip from the red carpet where some of our favorite famous black girls, Janelle Monae, Megan Goode, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, and more tell us why they rock:

Friday, November 2

Is Jada Pinkett Smith's Parenting Style Too Lax? She Discusses Her Parenting Approach in People Magazine

The parenting style of The Smiths have come into question numerous times in the past few years as their young children, Willow and Jaden, have recently risen to fame and have made their own way into the spotlight. Everything from who Jaden hangs out with to Willow's hair and clothing choices have been a topic of discussion. But, The Smiths (especially Jada) have been deaf ears to the critics and have stood by the way that they choose to raise their family.

In this week's People Magazine, Jada described that she takes less of an authoritarian approach. She states,
         On her Parenting style 
"I think that old school style of 'I'm your parent and I'm greater than you' doesn't    work.What I establish with my children is a partnership."
Like many of you, I'm sure, I wasn't raised with my parents having "discussions" with me. Their way was THE way, no room for discussions! My mother did not play! But, perhaps Jada's different approach to parenting is a great way to tap into your child's true character and help them feel more comfortable opening up to you in difficult situations?

Ideally this approach may work, but I'm going to have to disagree with Jada on this one. I don't think that parents come from a 'I'm greater than you' attitude but from a genuine belief that they have more wisdom because of more years of experience on this earth (and, maybe a little desire for dictatorship!). I think that having a solid parental foundation to give children direction can help make some of their adolescent years a bit more manageable into becoming positive and productive adults. While having a discussion is a great way to give your child the opportunity to express themselves, their say should absolutely not be the final say.

         On shielding her kids from gossip and rumors
“We can’t control what our kids learn anymore. We have to inform them and have real conversations … and [create] that foundation of them feeling assured in themselves.”
I actually agree with this point. It's important to have open discussions with your children about the realities of the world. Sometimes shielding your kids too much puts them at a greater disadvantage as they may not be prepared for difficulties and obstacles that are bound to arise.

I don't believe that here is one way to raise your kids. Motherhood is about trial and error - while praying for more triumphs along the way with less errors. So, I don't know if we can tell someone who is raising children that are happy, healthy, successful and positive people that their approach to parenting is wrong.

What do you all think? Is Jada's style of parenting too lax and in need of more boundaries or can the partnership approach to parenting work? Comment below! I'd love to hear from parents raising kids and singles as well!