Monday, April 29

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Are You Interesting?

What makes one person more interesting than another? Picture yourself in a room surrounded by different types of people, isn’t there always something that makes at least one person stand out to you and to seemingly everyone else in the room? They are not always the best looking or the most charismatic but something about that person keeps you captivated and wanting to be in their presence, wanting to hear what they have to say.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been in B-school, created by a really awesome, fun and inspiring womyn named Marie Forleo. If you haven’t heard about her, then I definitely suggest you look her up! While I am learning so much about how to take my brand and business to the next level, the thing that I really respect and appreciate about Marie is that she has found a way to be successful by being her own interesting self. She is not the typical business womyn or advisor that most people may think of (stiff, serious, etc) but she has found a way to use her fun and quirky personality to draw people in. I can relate to this, because when I was starting out I used to think that I had to look and act a certain way to be a successful artist. But, its only when I decided that all I can be is me and that I want to tell my unique story is when I truly started to become successful and people started to pay attention.

I was recently watching a video interview that she did on her YouTube Channel with a womyn named Sally Hogshead about learning how to tap into your own natural abilities in order to be your most interesting self. Whether you are trying to be successful at work, in building your own business or even if you want to meet new people, it’s important to figure out exactly what you have that will draw people in. What can people buy into about you that will keep them captivated? Maybe you are funny, or really passionate about a subject or kind and nurturing, these traits are your selling points so learn how to work them!

Check out the video below for the interview.

What do you think are your unique selling points? Take your shine in the comments section below. I would love to hear!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 26

Lauryn Hill Pens Letter to Fans: The Battle Between Business and Artistry

Lauryn Hill’s name has stayed in the news and blogs in recent years for everything but the music that we all loved and appreciated. Her recent tax troubles have gone public as she was set to face jail time for owing almost $1 million to the government. Everyone has harshly criticized her decisions. From the outside looking in, she was the womyn who could have anything that she wanted yet continually made poor decisions in her absence from music to her relationships. While I can’t speak on what is happening in her personal life, I do think that we all need to give Ms.Hill a break when it comes to the struggle between artistry and the music business.
No matter what type of artist you are – singer, painter, comedian, etc.- there is always going to be a battle between being true to your art and getting the payment and business respect that you deserve. Especially in the music business, people see these artists flashing their money and fancy homes so we believe that their life and decisions are easy but really sometimes they have to sacrifice their art and what they truly want to do in order to remain financially successful. There are some artists that are just not willing to do this, Lauryn Hill being one of them and anyone remember Dave Chappell running away from his multi-million dollar deal because it felt like too much of a departure from what he originally thought he wanted?
Lauryn recently posted to her Tumblr account, a letter to her fans to explain her issues with her taxes and her new deal with Sony. I think that she brought up a lot of interesting points that echo that struggle between artistry and capital. Check out what she had to say here:
It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.
I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce… free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.
It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.
The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).
Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.

Wednesday, April 24

On Shade & Colorism: P&G's My Black is Beautiful "Imagine a Future" Documentary"

Colorism and shadeism are such unfortunate realities of those of color. For years upon years the idea of being light skin is the right skin has been forced on us forcing many to internalize and others to project this same ideal on their own. Seven years ago beauty company, Procter & Gamble created the My Black is Beautiful initiative to celebrate the skin that we womyn of colour are in. Most recently, they joined the TriBeCa Film Festival, that's happening right now, to screen it's film Imagine a Future. The film aims to empower black womyn and tell our stories and conflicts with issues such as complexion, beauty, and self esteem.

While this story has been told multiple times before, I don't think that this is issue will get to old to share and discuss as it is a problem that is so prominent still in our communities. It's an important story to continually tell and to highlight the beauty of womyn of colour to remind those that doubt, that in all our many shades of glory that we are all beautiful.

The one thing that is interesting and can be noted about this all is that P&G is a global beauty brand that sells and advertises skin lightening products globally. I applaud the wonderful work that they are doing with My Black Is Beautiful and truly appreciate the messaging that they are trying to spread by telling these stories but I can't help but think that perhaps this messaging can get a bit diluted when this very same brand is part of the problem with pushing that light skin is the right skin mentality.

I would definitely still love to check out the film, which will air on BET July 5th and YouTube.

What are your thoughts, is the messaging that P&G is trying to give too conflicted based on their opposing interests or a positive effort by the beauty brand? Also, will you be watching the documentary?

Monday, April 22

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Cancer Survivor Wears Tattoos Over Breast as Badge of Honour

I saw a picture of this womyn, Kelly Davidson, in passing when just browsing pages on the Internet and immediately had to click to read more. She beat both breast and thyroid cancer and got a tattoo to celebrate her survival. One of the biggest thing that womyn battle with emotionally when going through breast cancer and having to have a mastectomy, is the feeling of losing the beauty and femininity that breast symbolizes. I love and respect Kelly's bravery and resilience as she has found a way to celebrate and truly appreciate  the body that she is in after going through such a difficult journey.

She said in an interview with Toronto Star, "It's my badge of honor and strength. It reminds me everyday of the battles I've overcome. I've won this war and hopefully I've beat it completely."

There is such a huge message in this for all of us in loving who we are and what we look like no matter the circumstance. We have the power to define our own beauty. Our bodies are meant to be celebrated for it's strength and appreciated for being the beautiful vehicle that takes us through our lives. A trip that many people have had cut too short. So why not love and celebrate who we are and what we look like today.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 19

Finding Time to Fit Fitness into Your Work Schedule

It's so hard to find time to work out right? Especially when changing into your gym clothes, working up a sweat and feeling the pain is the absolute last thing you want to do when you are being pulled in all directions in your life. We juggle so much between our work life (that for some of us does not always stay between the 9-5 hours), children, spouses or significant others, family and just any and everything that life throws at you to pay attention to.

The most common complaint from people is "I don't have / can't find the time to workout". Trust me, I know and it's hard. But there is time if you make getting healthy and feeling good a priority. I used to always have the same complaint where by the time late afternoon rolled around and it was time for me to get ready to workout I had every excuse and suddenly every plan and reason not to go. It becomes a battle between working out and going home to just relax after a long day. Or working out and hitting up a concert or show with my friends.

But although  I never thought of myself as a morning person previously, I've realized that for me waking up around 5 or 6 am to walk my dogs, do a bit of exercise and yoga is the best time for me to carve out some "me" time in the day and have found myself making less excuses not to. But everyone is different, some people find they are best able to commit to working out in the night or on their lunch break. Whatever the time, you just got to keep trying -trial and error- until you find what suits you the best.

What have you found helps to keep you committed to working out?

Wednesday, April 17

Dove's Real Beauty Sketch Campaign

Many of us womyn can point out about 100 of our "flaws" but as soon as someone asks us to pinpoint what makes us beautiful or amazing, we are a lot less forthcoming. It's a question that has been asked and we need to continually ask ourselves until we truly get it, " why can others see the beauty that we don't see in ourselves?".
I love this new Dove commercial that exemplifies this idea with a forensic sketcher and unsuspecting womyn who are asked to describe themselves in factual terms to create a self portrait and then strangers are asked to describe these womyn as well to compare the sketched outcomes side by side. In all cases, the strangers' sketches of the womyn turned out more beautiful than the ones described by the ones who the picture is of. We often focus on our own flaws while others tend to look at what makes us beautiful.
What do you all think, did Dove do a good job of showcasing our tendency to think we are less than we are?

Monday, April 15

MONDAY MOTIVATION: What Rick Ross' Lyric Controversy Can Teach Us About the Art of An Apology

Rapper, Rick Ross’ recent controversy with his lyrics that many felt promoted date rape and resulted in him being dropped from major endorsements such as Reebok was a definite indication that learning the art of an apology is a required skill that we must learn as we mature. While in many cases the hurt and damaged caused is far past a small apology, it is important none the less to show regret. Some people feel that apologizing makes them weak or that there is no point in saying it because the damage is already done. But, I think there is nothing wrong with being humble sometimes and expressing your regret for hurting someone else’s feelings.

There are a few steps that are important to follow in giving an apology:

Own up to your wrongs
Fess up and take responsibility for what you have done. In the rapper’s case, he first denied that his lyrics were hurtful or controversial. He placed blame on the media for creating a bigger hype around a situation that was small. His denial led to people feeling even more upset with him and disrespected by him.

Say I’m sorry urgently
Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Just simply say, “I’m sorry”. Your urgency will show others that you are serious and are considerate of our feelings

Take Action
Sometimes sorry isn’t enough and action needs to follow. In Ross’ case an apology was not enough, so now it is important for him to genuinely right his wrongs. Perhaps he can volunteer with organizations or take part in a cause dealing with womyn so that he can learn more about it and learn some sensitivity with the issue.

These are the first few steps but the major key in apologizing is to truly mean it.

What’s your apology style?

Friday, April 12

Loving My Zumba Fitness Classes!

Loving my zumba fitness classes! I started taking zumba classes recently because I wanted to try a new and fun way to get fit and I've been loving it ever since! In my efforts to reinvent myself and get to new levels emotionally, physically and mentally I've been trying new things and throwing myself into new experiences. I'm realizing that as simple as it may sound, the key to being more active and living a healthier lifestyle is to find ways to enjoy it instead of looking at it as something you "have" to do.

I’m really looking forward to attending my classes and want to sign up for more. Plus it’s a great way to meet new people! Maybe for you it’s about taking a hip hop class or channeling your inner ballerina, or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a runner. Join a runner’s club. Working out doesn’t all have to be about pumping iron and trainers. I’m learning and loving this new thought.

What activities do you enjoy doing? Finish your week off strong by signing up or starting a new fitness hobby!

Wednesday, April 10

A Few About To Be Released Films You Need To Know About

I've been seeing promos and trailers to quite a few movies recently that I can't wait to see. I'm really liking the direction that some of the films coming out this Spring and Summer - documentaries and indie flicks to big budget films and plenty of diversity.

Here are a few that I caught the trailers for and am already planning to go watch:

Free Angela & All Political Prisoners

I've always been interested in the story of strong black womyn, activist and political icon, Angela Davis. The story which will be told by Angela herself and those closest to the events gives this film an authenticity that I appreciate because often times in the movie world, someones story is recreated without their involvement which gives it the "Hollywood" spin instead of the grounded truth.


The life story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in the baseball big leagues, is a story of inspiration and resilience that is an important one to tell. It's a big budget film starring Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman and I'm just happy to see the story of a black legend played out on the big screen and to have his story told. There needs to be more of this for many other of our legends as well.

The Great Gatsby

The American dream and all that it represents was played out in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. I can't wait to see such great actors (Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire, etc) bring this story to life. I also love that Jay-Z will score the soundtrack for the movie with a track list including Beyonce, Andre 3000, Emilé Sande and so many more! Can't wait to watch and hear the soundtrack to this movie.

Will you be checking out these movies or any others?

Monday, April 8


April is Stress Awareness Month but I’m sure many of you are thinking that you don’t need a month to be aware of the overwhelming feeling of stress. Maybe your car broke down and the mechanics bill is not something you financially prepared for, or your child’s school has called to talk about his/her behavior, maybe you are dealing with an illness in the family or trying your best to balance your demanding work and home life while still trying to find some “me” time. There are so many causes of stress and the list can go on forever! But what’s important about this month and everyday is finding ways to cope with and manage your stress. I have many people in my family who have high blood pressure or have found stress manifesting in their life in some way through their health. As I grow older and am more aware of my health, I am determined to not have these same issues.

Personally, I’ve found that meditation has helped me manage my stress and hectic schedule. Mainly because it allows me to tap into my inner voice and gives me time to really listen to my thoughts and feelings so that I can get a clear perspective on whatever issue I am dealing with but also because it gives me that time to myself to just take care of and be kind to me. I really enjoy it and have noticed the difference as I have been practicing more consistently.

I’ve included a video above on how to include meditation into your life. It’s helped me so much!

Let me know what methods you’ve found that work to deal with stress. Or, if you practice meditation what benefits have you seen?

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 5

Did The Father Posting a Video of Beating His Daughters Go Too Far?

A video of a father beating his daughters for posting a video of themselves ‘twerking’ spread throughout the internet this week and had everyone talking and chiming in on the morality of the issue. Some people pegged him as the concerned father who was doing his best to keep his daughters in line and not fall into the pitfalls of degrading and exposing themselves on the internet. Others felt like his punishment was way too harsh and completely immoral to beat your children in such a way. An interesting argument that was brought up on this issue was of us teaching our daughters to stay away from and leave any man who placed hands on them but then many people condone a father beating their daughter in this same way. Many of us gotten some “licks” or been hit by either of our parents as children or teens and have grown into being upstanding individuals, but that doesn’t make it okay. I’m not going to argue about the ethics of hitting or not hitting your child, but the hypocrisy for me in this specific case is the father’s outrage in seeing his girls displaying themselves for the world to watch (justified) but then deciding to beat them for this while taping and then apparently posting it for all eyes to see. What is the lesson learned here?

What do you think about this video? Did the father take it too far?

Wednesday, April 3

Love Janelle Monae on the Cover of Essence Magazine

Janelle Monae looks beautiful on the cover of Essence magazine for May!  I really like Janelle's vibe because she just glows with positivity and confidence.
In the magazine, she discusses her wanting to remain unique with her black and white tuxedo style as well as her commitment to showing womyn and young womyn that you don't have to show skin to be beautiful or sexy. I love that she continues to stand up to redefining what a pop singer is and looks like. With beautiful natural hair, chocolate skin and a menswear style, she does not look like anyone in the industry. Sometimes as an artist, it can be very easy to get caught up in wanting to fit the mold of what is already successful. You feel like you don't want to veer to far from the line of what works. And since the entertainment industry is so focused on looks, everyone trying to make it may feel the need to look like what's "hot" out there (i.e Beyonce and Rihanna). Instead Monae focuses on showing the opposite of what is considered sexy yet remains successful. As she puts it, "showing my skin is not what makes me sexy."
I think Janelle is an important voice in the industry and I hope she continues to stick to her positive message. It's also refreshing to see a new face on the cover of our magazines because while it's great to have magazines that cater to and showcase brown skinned girls, these magazines often recycle the same few faces.
What do you think of Janelle's stance on not having to show skin to be sexy and sell records?

Monday, April 1

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Tick a Few Travel Destinations Off of Your Bucketlist

What places are on your travel bucketlist? I think it's important for us all to have a list of places that we dream of seeing and eventually get to live and experience that dream - whether it is within your city, state, province or worldwide, there are so many exciting and inspiring spots to check out.

As you read this post, I've gotten the opportunity to scratch Turks & Caicos off of my bucketlist with a celebration trip there for my dirty 40! I feel so blessed to be waking up to sunshine, feeling the sand slip between my toes and bathing in some of the bluest and clearest water I've seen. But, there are so many places that I want to explore each year!

Whether you travel with your family, significant other, your friends or even by yourself, travel is a luxury that I believe everyone should make a priority. If it seems too expensive for your budget right now, set aside a bit of money each month in a jar and cover it with pictures of all of the destinations you wish to see. Before you know it, I'm sure you can start ticking more than a few off of your list.

Here are just a few that are on my list and that I think would be great to check out:

New Orleans - the food, the music, the culture...and the FOOD is enough reason to check out this spot. This has been on my spot for awhile and I am hoping to take a trip there soon. The Essence music festival happens there every year and features an awesome lineup of artists of many genres as well as plenty of inspirational workshops.

South Africa - the rich culture, historical depth and beautiful back drop are all reasons why I want to explore from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Bora Bora - imagine waking up to crystal clear blue water surrounding you as your hotel is a small hut hovering over the water. This destination just seems too beautiful to miss. Definitely a must see for me!

What are some destinations that you would love to check out? Start planning your dream trip today!

Happy Monday!