Going Natural and What it Really Means To Me

My fellow CT comrades have shared their opinions and perspectives about their natural experience, but I realized that I had yet to share mine. If you don’t know, I am still transitioning, seven months in and still going. I am just entering the difficult phase of transitioning- the hair shedding, the dryness, the making hairstyles up out of your a$$ phase. Over the course of six years, I’ve tried transitioning twice before this and I hope that the phrase, third time is the charm, is indeed true.

The first time I transitioned was in college. As many college transitioners will tell you, I transitioned because I couldn’t find a decent stylist to do my hair and I was broke. Back then, blogs weren’t as popular as they are now and the YouTube videos weren’t in abundance. The second time was still in college, but due to me getting permanent color, the inevitable damage occurred, so I went down the transition road again. By this time, the natural hair community and more information began to have a presence online and forums like Nappturality and Fotki and sites such as Curly Nikki clued me in a bit on the basic stuff. I held on for a while until an event came around and that creamy crack got the best of me.

Fast forward a few years and with the help and support of all my natural friends, the endless amount of information online, I got this thing in the bag. My transition has been, as expected, met with opposition. I still catch my mother, who insisted that even though she pressed her hair back in the ‘70s she wasn’t “natural,” throwing up side-eyes on the low when I walk pass her time to time. While my grandmother is more understanding surprisingly than my mother, she sometimes ask when I plan to get it straightened again.  

Sometimes I hear others refer to this as a “trend,” thinking that ultimately we all will revert back to relaxers at some point. Truth be told, I never said I am completely giving up the relaxer forever, who knows, one day I might do a Jill Scott and throw it back in. The point is, those in our community shouldn’t look at this with cynicism and skepticism.  There is something autonomous, powerful and sometimes rebellious in embracing something that for centuries has been looked at as unattractive, inferior and unworthy by most cultures, including our own. When I see women walking down the street with the afros, twist-outs and locs, there is apart of me that feels, (without being too cheesy), proud. With that being said, why put us down because we want to know what our natural hair textures feel and look like without being manipulated by Motions and Affirm. Hair in general has always been that common thread for black women when it comes to camaraderie and fellowship. It’s probably the most frequent topic that brings strangers together. Yet, there’s apart of me that feels that with natural hair, there aren’t as many secrets withheld for fear of being less exclusive. I see that women in the natural hair community are more supportive and forthcoming, willing to share their tips, tricks and products to use. I suppose that is because natural hair is like DNA, no one can get an exact copy. No one can go into the beauty supply store and buy my exact hair texture, and to me, that is the beauty of natural hair.

What are your transitioning stories? Are you thinking about going natural? What is holding you back? Also, are there any women reading this who are relaxed? What are your thoughts?

Thank God I Dodged A Bullet

FYI, no, I wasn’t in a recent shoot-out. While watching the new video to Beyonce’s, ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ track, aside from her Ebony Fashion Fair-esque walk at the end and her flawless skin, a few lines from the song stood out to me:

“Thank God you blew it, Thank God I dodged a bullet, I’m so over you, so baby good looking out.”

I could relate, I’m sure others can relate to Bey on this too. Dating someone who is not pulling their own weight in the relationship or not practicing Teddy P’s 50/50 love formula is never good. I have had my experiences in relationships, in which I had been dating someone for a while and throwing a blind eye to the red-flags or their lack of participation in the relationship. In cases such as this, because you love them or think you “love them,” you allow yourself to put those red flags to the side. Not to mention if you think this person is “the one” while they are not proving themselves to be that indeed “special one.” You will set yourself up for a lot of disappointment and wasted time.

'Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Gooooo'

However, there comes a point, usually that final straw, when everything becomes clear and the realization hits you. You start saying to yourself, “I can do better,” or “I don’t deserve this.” The power and liberation that comes along with letting someone go who’s expiration was long overdue is tremendous. Yet, I don’t want to completely bash “the exes,” because some of the people who turn out not to be “the one” do have some purpose in our lives. The teach us valuable lessons and in the process, we learn what we like and what we don’t like when it comes to picking mates in the future. So with that being said, they aren’t completely made up of douchebag material, just not for us. Furthermore, it’s not until we meet someone better or see that “something old” in person or via social networking, that we indeed think to ourselves, “What the hell was I thinking??!?!” “Damn I’m so off that,” “Thank God they blew it and THANK GOD I dodged that bullet.”

 Can anyone co-sign????

Played-Out!!

 

FYI, played out has been “played out” since Curtis Blow said it in Christmas Rap back in the ‘80s, but it serves my purpose here. Lately, there have been trends going on that have quite frankly gotten numerous side-eyes from me in the past few months. Why you ask? I’m quite tired of them, I’ve either seem or heard about it too many times. Cue Jay-Z’s “I’m Off That”

  1. Colorism- It is sad that practices and beliefs that originated centuries ago still resonate with our people in 2011. Granted, some of us have preferences, but are we still going around still judging folks and refusing to associate with and date people based on the hue of their skin?
  2. Overworked-Sex Appeal– Sex appeal is one of those things that should come naturally, but if you’re overdoing it (*cough, Trey Songz) then it’s not so attractive. You need more people.
  3. Amber Rose– Yes, she’s a beautiful woman with the make-up and bleached caesar and I’d kill to have her body on call whenever I’m traveling to the beach, but I’m quite tired of home girl and her laying it low and spreading it wide, literally. It seems as soon as we go a week without Amber Rose related gossip/news, she finds someway to make herself blog-relevant again.Chile, go sit down.
  4. African-Themed Fashion Collections– It seems as though if you compile khaki, African-landscape, elephants, zebras and cheetahs and some made-up “tribal-looking” textile and not to mention ‘exotic’ looking models, you have yourself an African-themed collection. It has become quite boring, unoriginal and quite honestly a bit offensive that the only thing ‘fashionable’ that comes out of Africa are the animals and the jungle landscape.
  5. Mediocre Jobs after College– Let’s see, you go to school for 13-14 years being conditioned to believe that college is the key to success and a stress free life. You believe it and take the loans in order to get the degree only to graduate with a less-than pleasing job struggling to make ends meet. All the while Sierra, the C average class clown, is student loan free, now making $25 an hour right out of high school.
  6. Moscato- Ever since Drake said, “Lobster, steak and a glass of Moscato,” black folks who were never on wine have been running in droves to the sto’ for this sweet libation. Never mind the fact that it is a dessert wine, people drink it with whatever and whenever. So much so that it has become the ‘40’ of the new millennium. Broaden your horizons if you haven’t already, its more wine out there!
  7. Black-Female Bashing– Sigh….I don’t have the energy to sit here and give my thorough two cents on the issue. We saw the Psychology Today “study”, we heard the countless remarks from black entertainers and athletes, the YouTube videos and we read the comment sections of our favorite blogs daily. ENOUGH ALREADY! If you don’t consider us desirable, datable, attractive and/or wife-material, that’s just YOUR opinion. Don’t put us down to justify why we don’t want you you date outside your race or don’t associate with us.

So CT readers, what have you become ‘off’ of? What other things or people have become played out?

Practice What You Preach

 

“You say there’s a lesson that you wanna teach, well here I am baby, practice what you preach”

I hope you read that lyric with Barry White’s baritone’s voice playing in your head. Today’s topic is universal; all over the board. It can be applied to relationships, religion, friendships, marriages, finances, etc., etc., you name it, it can be applied anywhere, even to what Barry was referencing…sex. I once was at a place in my life (last month) where I needed advice on pretty much everything. I wanted to get opinions and feedback from others to ensure that I was making the proper decisions. While most of the advice was good, I found it problematic that the advice that I was given was not being practiced by the same people who had done the “preaching” and honestly, I have found myself as well on the not practicing what you preaching end.  Generally speaking, it is always easier to give advice than actually follow the advice you give. That is because you are the outside person looking in on the situation, so you can give advice without any biases. Yet, once you find yourself smack dab in a similar situation, you forget about all that Dr. Philing you had been doing.  You begin to make adjustments here and there and give exceptions to the rules. You forget that you dated a level 10 chick on the fugly scale, but you clowning your boy on the women he dates. You take to Twitter and Facebook to drop Think Exist quotes knowledge on your statuses/tweets, yet you don’t take the message of those quotes you post and apply it to your own life. Or you talk about starting anew, yet you stage an offering to get real offerings..**side-eye**

What’s worse is once you realize this person is great at giving advice, but just not great at following it, you begin to question their advice, feedback, words, etc., from that point onward. You listen, but you take it with a grain of salt and in the worse case, you become a cynic.  You become that cynic because this is a person that you probably have trusted, believed and revered. You looked to this person for advice, yet if they say one thing and do the opposite, it’s hypocritical and we all know that hypocrisy is never respected. I close this post by saying that some advice is good, but your own thoughts should never be put on the back burner for someone else’s- unless you intend on jumping off a bridge. Only you know what’s completely best for you and your life, “ya dig?” If you have found yourself in a place where someone loved to give you advice, but wasn’t following their own advice, what do you do? How do you handle these folks?

Black Fatherhood: Revered or Expected?

With Father’s Day right around the corner, some of us are rushing to find the perfect gift(s). Like Mother’s Day, we celebrate and honor the other half that created us, but when the smoke clears, then what? The reality is, not many in the black community will be that enthused for the Sunday holiday. Many of us have grown up fatherless, or our fathers may have been around, but did not play a pivotal role in our lives. Without question, parenting in the black community needs to improve-period, on both sides, but black fathers need to step up to the plate and be better providers and nurturers for their children’s sake. While I can say that my mother did an EXCELLENT job raising my sister and I alone, there were many times in which I wished my father was around for the advice I needed. For the men who are reading this, and grew up in a home void of a father, I’m sure you all feel the same way, more so than me. As children, we need are parents more than ever, but it is not until you get to adult life that you realize that a portion of your life may have been affected by their absence or lack of involvement. This post isn’t to bash black fathers, there are great fathers out there (GRANDPA IKE!), who take care of their children and are there for them. However, just because they are an anomaly, doesn’t mean we should put them on a higher pedestal. So we commend Dwayne Wade and Barack Obama for showcasing black fatherhood in a positive light. Their efforts are not going unnoticed, and they are making strides to improve the public’s perception of black fathers.  Yet, shouldn’t we be at a place where fatherhood is not an option, but an expected requirement?

I related so much to an episode of Braxton Family Values, I had to post. If you’re a product of separated/divorced parents, you know all about the “family gatherings”:

What were your experiences with your father? How do you honor your dad on Father’s Day?

When It Comes To Being Sexy, Should There Be A Limit??

 

"I'mma Kill 'Em Tonight Girl!!"

 

First I must say, like beauty, sex appeal is subjective. What I would deem sexy could be viewed as conservative or unattractive to someone else; everyone has their own interpretation of what is sexy. In Hollywood, celebrities are constantly pushing the envelope with their fashion to become relevant or to stay relevant. In a world in which you have 15 minutes to make your stardom known in order to last, it’s understandable. Yet, in the real world, there is a fine line between being sexy and just plain ole trashy. For example, yesterday, while looking at club pictures online, I stumbled upon a picture of SEVERAL, everyday women wearing textured tights as bottoms. Now, before you question, “what’s the harm in that?” keep in mind that their butts were exposed. No, their tops were not covering their butts, if so I wouldn’t have seen a huge problem with their ensembles. HOWEVER, there were exposed underwear, butt cheeks and all.  I couldn’t help but wonder about others who had visited the site and saw the pictures. Were their mouths on the floor as mine was when I saw the photo? I am sure someone who is reading this can relate to me on this issue. Seeing the scantily clad girl walking around in the club or any social function, thinking she looks good because she’s getting lots of male attention, but little does she know it is for all the wrong reasons.

Whatever happened to leaving something to the imagination? Judging by the lack of comments on the photo, have we become too desensitized to provocative clothing? Have these women, and the men who like this style of dress, made it harder for women who don’t feel they should have to wear swimsuits out to the club in order to get attention. Furthermore, have they made it harder for women in general to get respect at the club? I personally have always been a firm believer in the idea that tight and short does not automatically mean “sexy,” but what do you guys think?

Urban Beach Week, Bike Week, FreakNik and the “Young Black Folk Event” Syndrome

If you haven’t already been made aware of the events that occurred Memorial Day weekend, “Urban Beach Week” brought thousands of young people down to sunny South Beach Miami for the hip-hop festivities. By Tuesday morning, what most of us heard from many media outlets was only the chaos and tragedy that ensued from the weekend. One person killed and four others injured by the bullets of police officers and hip-hop artist, Sean Kingston severely injured from a jet-ski accident, which left him fighting for his life. SouthBeach residents are now calling city leaders to replace “Urban Beach Week” with a less rowdy themed event, such as a “Jazz and Blues Festival.” Ironically, “Urban Beach Week” is technically not a Miami promoted event, through word of mouth and tradition, people just flock to the area.  Let’s look at the following quotes:

“There isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens and property,” activist Herb Sosa wrote in an open letter to the Miami Beach City Commission. “Make the difficult, but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach.”  

And another one:

“I think we need to take back the city for the residents,” said the President and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just not right that people live in fear.”
Source  

Doesn’t this all sound familiar??? It’s what I like to call, “the young black folk event syndrome.” To clarify this, it is when an event that attracts young African-Americans is held and the heightened suspicions from the public and police leads to tension amongst the attendees, public and police. We have seen it at any and every event that attracts large groups of young African-Americans. FreakNik anyone??? Let’s face it though, at any event that attracts young people, white or black, there will be some rowdiness and there are always a FEW bad apples in the bunch. This is always the case at many events that young African-Americans attend, and the reality is, unlike the events that attract majority white attendees, the bad apples and their actions are what make the news and ultimately affects future events geared towards us in the future.

Now I can’t end this post and say this only has to do with race, because it doesn’t. It also deals with age and class as well, because it is these events that make many city officials reluctant to hold other events that attract large groups of African-Americans in general, which is why so many of our ‘elders’ show concerns  and animosity too. Ever heard them say, “this why black folks can’t have nothing”?

I also can’t end this post and not once say that all these events are holy-sanctified and there aren’t any hot messes and side-eye attractions either, because I’d be lying. SEE ABOVE PIC. In fact, you couldn’t catch me at any urban beach week, bike week, etc., etc., First, I don’t have the money it’s not in the budget and secondly, women are too often sexually objectified and/or objectify themselves and I wouldn’t want to have a Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.,”  “who you calling a bitch??!?!” moment walking down Ocean Drive.

Nevertheless, I can understand SOME of the reasons why the South Beach residents are upset and want to do away with the event that’s not really an organized event, but as far as their complaints about the trash, noise, and traffic-isn’t that expected at any large event? I think so. Should the event goers be blamed for that? I believe that is the problem though, Miami city officials should make Urban Beach Week an actual event and provide more organization, more accommodations and structure and not just throw in police when commotion erupts.

Let’s discuss! Are events centered around young African-Americans getting too much of a bad rap? Are the police to blame? Why?

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: