I laughed. I cried. I laughed even more. Kim Coles’ Must See Show!

A couple weekends a go, I had the absolute pleasure of checking out Kim Coles’ one woman show titled “Oh But Wait…There’s More!”. I’ve heard of this solo journey into theatre, and truthfully was not at all sure what to expect, but my Nana and I buckled ourselves into the front row of an intimate Oakland theater and settled in for the journey…

The next 90 minutes were filled with a truly authentic, but mostly hilarious glimpse at Miss Kim’s entire life. Aided by visuals projected onto a screen, we enjoyed these amazing anecdotes from throughout her childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

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Now before you start thinking this is some sort of stuffy allegory about life, please let me stop you:

This is Kim Coles: homegirl is FUNNY as all hell

No serious, there were points in during the show where I was laughing so hard that tears were spilling out of my eyes. I IRL LOL’ed like 8 times. Maybe more. Case in point:

  • Kim’s recreation of a “motivational speech” by her Puerto Rican Girl Scout troop leader slayed me.
  • Her recounting of her days doing plus size fashion shows at churches had me on the flo’.
  • The extreme measures she had to take when nature called while Bill Cosby was on the phone giving her life advice…I can’t. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
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    The truly beautiful part of the show, was this underlying theme of growth and discovering one’s truly authentic self. As a 28 year old woman just trying to figure it out , I was completely in awe of and inspired by the lessons learned by Kim herself and then shared with the audience during the show.

    When “Oh But Wait…There’s More! comes through to your tow, please make SURE you get yourself to the theater to see this awesome production by this fabulously talented lady. Next time it comes through The Bay Area, I’ll be there front row and ready once again!!!

    Connect with Kim and make sure you don’t miss a show!!

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Website

    Upcoming shows include:

    March 28 – Newport News, Va
    April 25 & 26 – NCCU in Durham, NC

Beyonce’s Hair Cut and Why it Matters for Naturals

So as you may have heard—because when ish like this happens it damn near shuts down social media for like a week— Beyonce got a new haircut!

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I’m usually pretty hands-off when it comes to celebs and their various styles, but this one reeled me right on in and here’s why….

Awhile back, someone asked me what I thought the largest barrier was for women going natural. Without flinching, my response:

“They’re afraid of short hair.”

When I was first considering going natural back in 2008, one of the main reasons I was nervous was because I didn’t want to have short hair and look like a dude. Put simply, my hair was my physical representation of my own femininity.

Fast forward almost five years:  I have clearly gotten over this fear of the crop.  However, I still hear it constantly in various forms from women all over the world:

  • “I want to transition for 2-3 years because I want to have some length.”
  • “You cut 10″ off your hair?  I would have cried to lose all that work.
  • “Do you still feel like a woman?” – a male fried of mine
  • “Long hair don’t care!  I’m going for BSL!”

Whether women of color are natural or not, there exists this obsession with length.  But where does this come from? Is it sort of a “the grass is always greener” idea, that we want what we can’t have?  News flash: your hair will never tumble in silken golden billows from a tower like Rapunzel.  But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about getting kidnapped and forced to do manual labor with your own hair!  Or is it because we’ve been drilled with this idea that our hair, especially when it’s long, defines us as women and is what makes us feminine.

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Celebrities and the media have huge amounts of power when it comes to creating these idealistic images of women and how they should look, act, and dress.  So for the woman who has never, and I mean never, once appeared in the public spotlight without extensions or a weave is a pretty big deal.  The fact that Beyonce wearing her own hair, her own SHORT hair,  I believe has the ability to encourage and empower women of color to break away from this preoccupation with length.

Texture aside, I think this is a pretty powerful statement of embracing one’s own natural beauty!  Go ‘head, Bey!

 

 

 

The Life Inspired: words of wisdom from Will Smith

At my school, all 8th graders are required to give a 5 minute speech to graduate from middle school. A recent Facebook survey to the homies revealed that my friends gave talks ranging from the holocaust to synchronized swimming to Winnie the Pool to the Titantic to Vans to why sports stars are over paid.

Me? Well, naturally I gave mine on Will Smith and his illustrious career, which at that point in time had just been crowned with the jewel of Independence Day. I ended the speech with line that has since become a punch line in my family: “who knows where this talented individual will go next? Only time WILL tell.” Get it? GET IT!??? GeT iT!?!?!?!?! ahahhahaaha.

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Well that was over 15 years ago and time has since shown us that Will Smith not only has staying power as an actor, but as an individual with character, values and strength. I wanted to share this video of him that has clipped together some of his most inspiring, encouraging and motivating quotes on achieving your dreams, striving to DO GOOD in the world, beliefs, fears and making choices.

What I appreciate most is that the video brings together a handful of different segments, but he never contradicts himself and has a beautiful way of reiterating his most poignant points, showing that he knows truly who he is and what he believes. I have a feeling that that is why he has been able to achieve the success that he has.

I received this video from Paul C. Brunson with a statement that said “This Video WILL change your life”. After watching it and letting it all sink in, I really believe that it might….

Out of the closet with SCANDAL!

For two years I have watched my Twitter and Facebook feeds jam up with #allscandaleverything each and every Thursday. For the longest time I ignored it: I don’t have a TV and my Hulu queue was already to quota with my faves (Parks and Rec, Modern Family, Madmen and Homeland). But then, finally, after a particularly compelling flurry of Facebook posts I finally decided to bite the bullet and check this whole Scandal thing out.

At first I thought it sucked. I didn’t care for the story lines and thought the acting was super mediocre, but I found myself fascinated by the fact that Olivia Pope is based on a real-life character.

But out of sheer curiosity I continued to watch and the next thing you know: Huck is torturing people, Livvy and Fitz are doing things that more suited to Cinemax after dark, Harrison is getting cuter by the nano second and the Lindsay/Quinn can’t stop won’t stop being defiant about Defiance and she’s REALLY stirring the pot.

It took me two weeks to catch up to the current episodes and now I find myself anxiously anticipating Thursdays so I can get my Scandal fix. Because of the seriously aggressive way I dropped into the show, it became pretty consuming there for a second, I have emerged with a lot of thoughts and insights on the show, it’s characters, plots and production! Here are my top 5:

The DIVERSITY!

Riddle me this, where else on TV do you see a gay Chief of Staff with a black baby, a Jewish [ex-] US Attorney with sassy asian sidekick/gofor and a ginger [ex-] girlfriend, a black Senator and President Pro Tempe, a female VEEP, and powerful, passionate, makesyouwannasmokeacigarettesfter interracial love affair? The producers of the show did an awesome job of stirring the pot of that which is traditionally superduper white, male and wasp-y. There are no “tokens”, just a delightful cross section of people representing society.

The Music

I mean, having a soundtrack that brings back some of the BEST soul and funk is amazing. My favorite? The last episode where Olivia and Fitz find themselves in—what WAS that??? A room filled with Internet servers? On any other show it would have been scored by some cheesy instrumental track, but on Scandal? Stevie Wonder’s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You” made this a truly memorable scene!

Olivia’s Winter White

If you’ve ever watched madmen then you know that the show is absolutely laden with symbology in everything from the props to the [excellent] costumes. I think that the costume designers of Scandal have worked some very similar magic into Olivia’s clothing as well. You’ll notice that she is always wearing not pure white, but winter white, off-white or cream. For someone who talks so much about wearing a “White Hat” as a good guy, her consistent choice of a non pure white to me shows an impurity of her character, which we have seen, exists. As good as her intentions are and as true her love is…she is still an election-rigging homewrecker.

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Huck.

I mean i find him to easily be the most fascinating character on the show. For as twisted and completely SHADY as this dude keeps on turning out to be, he is certainly the most loyal and, in a weird sense, moral character on the show. He truly is a gladiator in …… flannel and jeans.

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Where do we go from here???

Although the second season has yet to finish, the major plot lines have now come to a head. Something BIG has gotta happen to set the scene for an equally scandalous third season. Sure we could go back to watching them be “fixers” but the undercurrent that ties all the players together is Defiance. My $$$ is on the season finale being absolutely cray and bring a WHOLE new twist in! Hold on to your butts…and see you on Twitter :)

I know I’m gonna catch shade for this…BUT, Hushpuppy disappointed me.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a hot minute, but after the whole Gabby Douglas fall out, I’ve been nervous.

However, I’ve decided to say f%^& it and hit publish. This still makes me upset.

The issue at hand here is the delightfully adorable young actress name Quvenzhané Wallis, best known for her role as Hushpuppy in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.

Now although I thought the film was just AIGHT (a whole other story), personally I was in love with the fact that she was rocking her natural hair throughout the film. It always makes me smile to see a little one with her natural curls. And on the big screen? Even better.

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So, people loved the film. So much so that the Academy even loved the film and now Beasts is getting a whole lot of critical acclaim for its amateur actors and first-time directing. Awesome.

NOW HERE IS WHERE MY PROBLEM BEGINS.

Once all of the premiers and accolades and debuts started, Lil Miss Quvenzhané started showing up on the red carpet with the straightest of straight hair. Yes, she is the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Yes this is a massive deal, just like Gabby Douglas winning Gold. BUT I honestly take great issue with the mentality that in order for a girl to look “presentable”, “formal”, and “award-winning” she has to straighten her hair.

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It’s the same thing that happens with girls who have dance recitals, walk as flower girls in weddings, go to Easter service: the common tendency is to straighten their hair.

The message this sends is “for something special, your natural hair is not good enough. Straight hair is better.” It’s a lifelong lesson that sticks.

I know because I’ve been there.

For so many of my formal events, I wanted—expected—to have long, flowing hair because that’s what I learned and thought was glamourous and beautiful. The one time I went with curls, my junior year prom, I cried because I felt so un-glamourous.

I simply wish that Miss Wallis and her family/agents had thought about the message that her hair straightening may have sent to the young black girls of the world who are watching history happen.

Was it to separate her from the image of a “Beast of the Southern Wild” or to create an image of a polished young actress on the cusp? Either way, it doesn’t put natural hair in a positive and affirmative light. It would have been great to have her strut the red carpet with a bounce in her step and curl in her hair. Or with a flat-twist updo. Or a braid out. Or to choose some sort of natural style to send a message to our YOUNG girls, just like Viola Davis did last year, that natural hair is beautiful, glam, and Oscar-worthy.

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For the record, I did think her acting was phenomenal considering it was her first time on screen and her nomination is very much deserved. It’s truly an impressive accomplishment and to that I say congratulations.

The point is: moms, grandmother’s, aunties, cousins, please think about this and resist the temptation to straighten a young girl’s hair for a special occasion. There are so many beautiful natural styles that are formal and beyond!

What do you think about Quvenzhané’s transformation from the big screen to the red carpet?

I’m at a hair crossroads. Again. [Always?]

At the end of the last year, I found a picture of yours truly in Essence.com’s slideshow of the Top 50 Natural Hair Styles of 2012 and I was all “Gosh! Really!?!?! Me?! And Lola?? Awesome.”

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But of course, the whole thing sent me into a fit of uncertainty. That style is now sooooooo 2012. It’s now 2013! And I need a style that is sooooooo 2013, right? I’m mainly kidding about that. I love this cut, but you know me—I #cantstopwontstop changing it up!

I just have no idea what my next style should be.

Should I keep with the same style and grow out the top more?

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Or grow it long again?

Or maybe even go even shorter than I ever have before?

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Please, let me know your thoughts…I’m very much open to suggestions over here.

SuhWEET! Janelle Monae is the new face of Cover Girl

Well THIS is an awesome turn for the day! I’ve been a big fan of Janelle ever since she came onto the scene and love her style and creativity. Seem’s like just yesterday I was watching her braid fall at a street festival in San Francisco and now she’s all growed up and a COVERGIRL! She’s got such a strong signature look, so I really can’t wait to see what the editorial stuff looks like when it comes out! I’m already loving the bold red lip she’s rocking in those videos!

Adventures in New Orleans: ESSENCE MUSIC FEST!

I’m fresh off a plane from a few days in The Big Easy for the annual Essence Music Festival and all the fun that comes with that.  This was my first Essence Fest, heck it was my first time in New Orleans and before headed out, I was hella excited, but also hecka nervous about whether or not Lola would survive the heat and humidity.

After my first day down there I discovered something beautiful: IT WASN’T THAT BAD!  The key was water water and more water!  This went for both my body and my hair.  I always had my trusty pink Kleen Kanteen in hand filled with cool water to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated. For Lola, I’m a firm believer that the best hydration also comes from water (not conditioners or moisturizers).  So I made a point of co-washing and styling my hair daily.  Because it was so hot, it was kind of nice to leave the hotel with a wet head and it would be dry in a matter of hours.

I traveled down there with my trusty Ouidad travel kit, but then nabbed a couple MIZANI products from the CurlyNikki meet up.  I have never used MIZANI before, but was pleasantly surprised! After a couple trial runs that left white residue in my hair, I figured out to apply the MIZANI Moisture Stretch on soaking wet hair then following up with a thin glaze of the MIZANI Curl Set!  I’m a fan, I hope to try more of the True Textures line in the future.

My MIZANI styled curls

I spent my days checking out the various Beauty Suites and Parties doing interviews and street style natural hair photography for NaturallyCurly and got a TON of awesome coverage that you should totally check out!  Here are some of the highlights:

Be sure to check out all my pieces over on NC.com, but here’s a few pictures for ya right now!

 

Making The Most Of Your Products! (even the ones you hated)

In almost every natural’s journey, there is a time when she or he goes through a massive shopping spree of products. Trying out a whole smorgasbord of conditioners (deep, leave-in, and rinse-out), oils, butters, souffles, pomades and poos can leave you with an empty wallet and *only* a hand full of products that actually WORK like you want them to.

The fact of the matter is that not all products you try will WORK for you. Which is fine, no one and no product is perfect. The issue is finding something productive to do with all of the half-full fallen soldiers from the Battle of Product Junkyism. You don’t want to just let them sit there and collect them dust— you paid good money for them after all!

Here’s a round up of helpful suggestions for repurposing those products that DIDN’T make the cut for your coils:

 

  • SHAMPOO: Rather than soaping your scalp, lather up a loofah with your shampoo and use it as a BODY WASH.  I personally don’t think I’ve bought a new body wash in months because of all the shampoos that Lola didn’t end up liking.
  • Continue reading

Oh no, Willow!!!!! Anti-Afro Talk + Stripper Poles!?!?

Stumbled across this video yesterday in which Willow Smith discusses how her least favorite hairstyle was an afro:

Get More: MTV Shows

Hard to comb!?!?! Crazy!!?! Waking up super early!!?!?

You know what that sounds like to me? A novice natural falling into the usual traps, getting frustrated, and throwing in the towel too early. Can’t say I blame her for trying on her own, seeing as she’s still a tween and all and this whole natural thing CAN be tricky to get.  Even she said she needed some help with it. But she also has access to some of the best stylists out there. Uh, not to mention the internet!

Let’s back up and do a little refresher of the ol’ Wash’n'Go Success Plan before we go the way of Willow and find ourselves on tv denouncing afros.

  • COMBING: Do it on wet hair with lots of slippery conditioner to make the teeth glide through
  • WAKING UP: Well, never try anything new in the morning if you’ve gotta be somewhere.  That’s just a one-way ticket back to Relaxerlandia.  Try to wash and style at night.  Then use braids to stretch your wet hair while you sleep so you can still work with damp and not-dried hair in the morning.
  • WHILE YOU SLEEP: Do so on a non-cotton pillow.  It seriously makes all the difference in the world in terms of retaining moisture and not getting tangles while you get your zzz’s.

Afro’s rock.  That’s all there is to it.  But it’s all in the maintenance and care you put into it. Admittedly, part of the reason this makes me a bit bummed out is that just last year Willow’s hit single “Whip My Hair” became the #naturalhair anthem inciting women around the world to whip their twists, braids, locs, and of course—their afros back and forth.

And while we’re on the topic of Willow Smith needing some assistance and supervision.  Gosh, I was particularly disturbed to see this little nugget over on NecoleBitchie: Miss Smith tweeted a pic of herself on a stripper pole saying “Vegas Chick….”

 

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She’s ELEVEN!!!!  And just on the tails of the birth of the newest power-couple bebe, this was just a testament that they just grow up so so fast…especially in the limelight.  Moral of the story: slow it down Willow.  Just slow it down.  (and come get your kid, Will and Jada!!!)  Maybe I’m just the type that holds on a little too long to the way they were, considering that Lindsay Lohan’s Parent Trap can still bring a tear to my eye.  So right now, I’m just going to end on remembering a scene from the good old days…

 

Ahhhhh….much better.

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