Ulta’s “Love Your Hair Campaign” Product Reviews

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My Turn! As you know Ulta is having their in-store and online, “Love Your Hair Event” all month long. Shanti and I were gifted with some products to review and as much as we hate trying new products this wasn’t so bad.

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K-Pak is a product line that is starting to get a lot of attention and for good reason. I was first introduced to this line at the Best in Black Beauty Essence Event. This intense hydrator is essentially a deep conditioner stocked with amino acids that offers immediate hydration in only 5 minutes. It leaves your hair soft, detangled, hydrated and manageable and only for $4.99. Child, you can’t be that price. Mucho bang for your buck. However, please note that this product contains silicones which are highly effective at smoothing and taming frizz but can also create product build up. So, be sure to monitor your build up and cleanse regularly if you use this product in excess.

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 Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner ended up being a winner in the end but I was skeptical. Ouidad’s claim is that it ” instantly defines and hydrates curls while keeping frizz at bay… (it) creates a “moisture foundation” by infusing hair with vital conditioning proteins. Prickly pear extract draws in moisture from the air and seals it in for superior hydration while antioxidant green tea and vitamin B5 help protect and promote shine. Arnica extract lends a smoothing touch—sealing the cuticle for frizz-free results.” 

I was initially turned off by this product because it didn’t detangle my hair well or have much slip when I applied it. I added  quarter size amount to my wet hair and began to let it air dry. About 10 minutes later I examine my strands and the product was so lightweight, I couldn’t tell if my hair was actually being hydrated or not. So, I added another quarter size amount to my hair and still it felt like nothing was applied. I couldn’t see or feel the product in my hair. When I scrunched my strands together to mold them into the ‘perfect curl’ there was no white film… no product residue on my hands… nothing. It was strange. 

So, I mentally prepared myself for a horrible hair day and got my top knot supplies ready. About 30 minutes later I looked at my hair and to my surprise, I loved the way my hair looked. My curls were incredibly happy, weightless and full of movement, body and bounce. I wasn’t mad at all.  Frizz free? No. Not really. But I don’t like frizz free hair anyway so me no care.

Overall, I like this conditioner because it doesn’t create a lot of build up and it allows my natural curl to be a little more wild and free. With that said, I would definitely recommend it to curlies looking for a weightless leave-in who have looser, fine curls like mine. This is that, ‘hair blowing in the wind’ leave-in.

*Side note*  

I just dyed my hair ombre blonde and feel like I need something  with a little more slip for the time being because my bleached strands are a bit stiff and ratchet. I’ll continue to use this product again once my hair health is restored.

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Now you already know I couldn’t resist trying out a product called Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play. This is essentially hair spray. It’s not much different from any other hair spray I’ve used besides the fact that it comes in this fun packaging. It has a lot of hold and a lot of power so if you like movement, I would use a very small amount. I flipped my hair to the opposite side in which I part it, sprayed the roots a little, fluffed and enjoyed some added body. Boom. It’s that simple. Not much to review here. It did it’s job the way I expected it to do. I do want to try their volume and texturizing powder though.  

The Results

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Natural Light

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Natural Light

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Natural Light

 
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Natural Light

 
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Artificial Light. No Flash

   
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Artificial Light. No Flash 

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To Check out more Hair Products for Ulta’s Month of May “Love Your Hair Campaign”, go to www.ulta.com/loveyourhair to see what hair products are available on sale!

Senegalese Twist Crown Up Do

senegalese twist   This video is a simple updo for senegalese twists. All you need to complete this style are bobby pins.

Keep in mind you want to hydrate your real hair while they are in the twists. The easiest way to do that is to create a hydrating mist and spray your hair both at night and in the morning.

DYI Hydrating Mist Recipe:

2-TBSP Leave-In Conditioner

1 TBSP Coconut Oil

1 TBSP Aloe Vera Juice

Remainder Water

Shake Well and Spray

*Disclaimer*

If you follow us on instagram you’ll know that while I loved my twists, they unfortunately, were not for me. My hair was far too thin and fine for them. I left the twists in for about a month and after, I did I experience a lot of breakage due to the weight of the hair and the amount of updos I wore for work. They didn’t feel too tight but at times, they felt too heavy. There was just too much pulling at my roots. Oddly enough however, the hair that was not being ripped from my scalp was pretty happy and healthy. LOL.  This told me that the  moisturizing mist worked but the weight of the twists did not. So, I still recommend them as a protective style just not for women with fine or damaged hair. You must have that real good healthy stuff to rock these. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I tried and my hard headed/big headed self will probably try again and complain about being bald when I take them out.

Whateva. At the end of the day it’s just hair. Right?

Aphrodite Xo, Thank You

I’m three years late but your video finally got to me. Shanti didn’t even put me on. I blame it on her. I hope this post reaches you and that you know you we are grateful for your support. Your post is right on time. I needed to hear that in order to get that old thing back. Back to editing I go.

Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards

As you know Shanti and I were nominated for Best Up and Coming Blog for the Essence Black Beauty Awards.  It was incredibly dope to be honored and even dope-r to get to spend some time together, dance, drank and party it up in NYC. Here are some photos from the event. Keep in mind we are sharing these because we tried to stunt on um.

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Pose for the camera. Flick. Flick.

   
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The gym has been good to me. Sidenote* Peep how I am wearing ‘nude’ shoes but they are really light pink. Melanin, why have you forsaken me?

 
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She was probably the swaggiest jawn in the building. It’s just in her. She’s ice cold.

 
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With our boo Naptural85/Whitney. Words can not express how we love love. She even marched with Antoinette in the Justice for Freddie Grey rallies the next day. #shawtywannaride

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“Antoinette your breasts are as big as my head.”- Shanti “Shanti, your head is as small as my breasts.” – Antoinette

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“Shanti, will you take my picture?”- Antoinette “Stand up straight, cross your legs and chest up.”- Shanti

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Luster’s Pink Moisturizer is apparently still around and thriving. No shade but shade. #sorrynotsorry

Thank you Essence for the recognition and thank you ladies for helping us get there. Muah

   

The Curl Whisperer of Duafe Salon

duafe outside The natural hair salon Duafe in Philadelphia  has been blessing heads for over 20 years now. Celebrities such as Jill Scott, Beyonce, Tye Tribett, Floetry and Janet Jackson (just to name a few) have been enjoying the twists, locs, color and intricate braids created by Duafe’s owner Syretta and her team of stylists. I have been connected to Duafe and Syretta since I was thirteen years old. After first getting my hair braided in Syretta’s mother’s house in West Philly when she was just a young, single stylist, I  have continued to  follow her career. Upon every visit, I see evidence of her growth as an artist and entrepreneur. Her salon changed from being a small attic dwelling to being in an expansive, warehouse chic building. Her clientele ranges from multimillion dollar artists, powerful politicians to regular folk, men and women, black and white. Every time I sit down in a chair at Duafe, fragrant scents, intimate conversations, laughter and tender hands knead my spirit into a softened space of comfort and care. duafe insde Syretta has been watching with smirking eyes as this “natural hair revolution” has blown up. Two strand twists, bantu knots, kinks, curls and fros are nothing new to her. In many ways, the population is finally catching up to her wealth of knowledge, finally her skills and that of her staff may really begin to fulfill the potential that has been building for years. She is ready to be of service.

remmyDuafe’s “Curl Specialist”, Rimmy

Syretta has found her salon’s curl whisperer. 28 year old Rimmy a native of Ohio has come east to Philadelphia to follow her passion for hair care. I met Rimmy recently and immediately I knew she was to be trusted and she knew what she was doing. After meeting her, I wanted to showcase her skills, I wanted to spread the word about Duafe to all the timid, first time big choppers, overwhelmed transitioners and curly haired women frustrated with salons that ruin curls with hot blow outs, lop sided, short cuts and the inability to lead and inform about healthy hair care practices.  

I found Rimmy’s muse in one of my best friends – Tsehaitu. She has been perm free for seven years but she has yet to really get into the groove of knowing and caring for her curls and kinks. She has been persuaded by the myth that you can really have the best of both worlds. You can have straight hair one week, curly hair the next and healthy hair all around. Her hair was misshapen, dry and in need of some TLC. I brought her to Duafe and Rimmy for a transformation. Here is her transformation.

 

Tsehaitu’s Hair Before 

tse front tse side tse back Tsehaitu maintains a very simple regimen of Jojoba oil and water on her hair daily. She sets it at night with 5 chunky twists and fluffs in the morning. She is not a slave to definition by any means. She actually prefers less definition. For the past 3 months she has been going to a hair salon (off and on) and getting her hair straightened. She was assured by a hair stylists that her hair can stand heat, it won’t be damaged and that with a steady trim every 6 weeks she was doing her hair some good. Rimmy looked at her hair and said “WRONG!”. Remmy explained that,  “There is no in between with straight and curly. You either commit to having healthy curls or maintaining straight hair. If you want to go between straight and curly, your going to end up HAVING to wear it straight because your curls can NOT withstand the damage of heat. Eventually your curls will retreat into stringy, porous, life-less strands.” This was the case with Tsehaitu’s hair. She had heat damage. Her natural curl pattern remains unknown to her even seven years after she has stopped perming her hair. 

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“If your hair is wet and your curl does not spring back after pulling it, if  it doesn’t have any elasticity to it, your hair is heat damaged.”

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Rimmy’s Solution

Rimmy asked what were Tsehaitu’s hair goals. Tsehaitu said she wanted manageable hair that would grow.  Rimmy was completely honest with Tsehaitu explaining that heat damage is similar to a perm in that your hair is forever altered. There is no going back. The only two options were big chopping or transitioning. The only way to healthy, happy, thriving curls was to stay away from heat. 

Tsehaitu did not want to big chop, so they agreed that the journey would be a slow and steady one. Every 6 weeks Tsehaitu agreed to come to get her damaged ends clipped by Remmy as the healthy, unaltered curls grew in from the roots. The beginning of Tsehaitu’s healthy hair journey was getting her hair shaped. 

Shaping to Rimmy is the most important aspect of healthy curls ( second to product). In her opinion,  it doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful curls if your shape is wrong. With a bad shape, you are doing your styling potential no justice.

Rimmy dubbed the common shape of Tsehaitu’s hair – The Sting Ray. “Long on the sides with a long tail in the back”. If you look closely, you will see that the “tail” in the back is an illusion to length and does not really provide an honest representation of length. The tail had to go. Tsehaitu took a deep breath and let it go.

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thin ends“See through” ends that needed to go.

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After Cut

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Rimmy’s Styling

Due to the fact that Tsehaitu’s curl pattern is damaged, she is going to have to continue to create the illusion of a curl pattern and definition. Rimmy applied Duafe’s product for moisture and shine and began doing a variation of a two strand twist. The hair is two strand twisted down it’s length and then tucked into itself to create a loop. She then put Tsehaitu under the dryer for a short time.

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The Results After Shaping and Styling

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If you are in the Tri-state area and you are looking for a natural hair salon, check out Duafe Holistic Hair Care in Philadelphia. Check out all of their styling in braids, locs and curly hair care. Book an appointment and tell them ATWC sent you!

Dua-fe.com or call (267) 297-7636

@locsbyduafe

@rimmysparkles

How I Got My Skin Clean, Clear and Under Control

Before and After

Before and After

Real rap I had some serious red/dark spots on my cheeks and jawline due to acne. I was also subjecting my skin to too much sun exposure and popping my deep under-the-skin pimples thinking I knew what I was doing. It was once so bad that I wouldn’t leave the house without foundation because of the discoloration. When you first met me, I wore makeup to the gym. SMH. But now, me no care! So, if you are suffering from acne and scaring I can help. See below:

Natural Remedies

Exfoliate- Exfoliate your skin… gently. Exfoliating lifts the dead skin from the surface of the skin which reduces clogging and reveals the younger layer of skin. Exfoliating is great but you don’t want to do it too much or too hard because it will dry your skin out.

I recommend gentle exfoliating gloves of scrubs. You can make them or buy them. See our Avocado Pit Body Scrub Recipe here.  Exfoliate once a week for dry skin and twice for oily skin. After, you must replenish your skin with a good moisturizer but we will get to that later. Keep in mind that if you exfoliate too often you may dry your skin out. Your skin will then create additional sebum and cause more breakouts so start off exfoliating slowly and gauge it from there.

Vitamin E- Vitamin is an antioxidant (slows cells damage) that occurs naturally in food and can be used both topically and internally. It not only promotes healthy skin but it also beefs up your immune system. Vitamin E attacks free radicals throughout the body and can prevent some of the damage they  may cause. It’s all about preventative care.

Water- We all know this. Water is essential in the functioning of our bodies but did you know that water is the primary way in which we moisture our skin? It also a great substitute for your favorite expensive night cream by preventing wrinkles, psoriasis, ecezema and other skin conditions. Cold water in particular, when applied topically does wonders for the skin. It reduces redness, puffiness and closes your pores which prevent them from getting clogged. Rule of thumb… Wash with warm water. Finish with cold.

Sleep- When Nas said, “I never sleep cause sleep is the cuzzin of death” he was trippin. Beauty rest is not just a phrase. Sleep is so important when it comes to the health and appearance of your skin. Without adequate sleep your skin looses it’s luster. It becomes dull, sags and even bags. Your body repairs and heals itself while you sleep. If you disrupt that healing process it WILL show. So ladies, put your phones away. Turn Netflix off and get your 8 hours. 

Purchased Products

(In order of application)

philosophy clear days ahead

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Face Wash- “This acne treatment cleanser deeply cleanses and helps lessen acne-causing bacteria, while salicylic acid effectively reduces breakouts. It efficiently clears skin without irritation, leaving skin feeling completely clean and comfortably balanced.”- Sephora

I couldn’t have said it myself. The salicylic acid deep cleans and for the most part illuminates my deep set pimples. Salicylic acid does however leave you more susceptible to sun damage so make sure you use sunblock with this product. For that reason alone I use this at night and wash with regular soap and water in the mornings.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 12.20.14 AMPhilosophy’s Miracle Worker(found at Sephora) is product that really helped me in getting rid of my dark spots. It won’t happen over night but it definitely aides and speeds the process. This basically helps fade the spots by removing the dead skin/epidermis from your face. Much like exfoliating, but it also speeds the cell production process. New skin forms, revealing new bright beautiful skin. Seriously it works.

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Ole Hendrisken Vitamin C Serum-  is formulated with a proprietary five-source vitamin C complex to support natural collagen production, brighten, and minimize fine lines, this must-have serum defends from environmental aggressors and free radical damage, leaving skin healthy and protected. It is enriched with green tea extract and sodium hyaluronate to nurture and nourish. This lightweight and oil-free formula quickly absorbs into skin while the iconic uplifting citrus scent pampers your skin and your senses. -Sephora

This product definitely has helped brighten my complexion and made my skin look more awake. I think it is a good investment to make. After all, it’s about being proactive.

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Sunscreen- YOU MUST WEAR SUNSCREEN! I can’t say it enough. It drives me crazy when folks don’t. The ozone layer is depleting y’all. Yes, a good sun kissed glow is nice but at what cost? Skin cancer? Wrinkles? Sunburn? Just put some damn sunscreen on. You also must realize that if you already have brown spots and pigmentation from acne scaring they will only get darker if they come into direct contact with the sun. So, if you don’t wear sunblock you will be doing all this good work in vein.

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Moisturize- I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion in the Summer and Nivea Skin Creme in the Winter as a moisturizer. They can be found at any drug store. It’s important that after all your cleansing you moisturize and hydrate your skin. Cetaphil is very mild and is recommended for any skin type. Nivea is thick and may clog your pores if you have oily skin. I was very skeptical about Nivea because of how thick the product felt but it has kept my winter skin hydrated all day without clogging my pores.

Find Your Regimen and Stick to It- At the end of the day it is important that you are constant. There are plenty of nights when I don’t feel like washing my makeup off but I know that my skin will suffer from it in the long run. It only takes 15 minutes to take care of yourself. Why not do it? Above is one of my nightly regimens.

antoinette henry, around the way curls, clear skin

Makeup Free!

YGB – Singer Kriss Mincey Shares Her Artistic Journey

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If you live in Philadelphia and love live music then you must be familiar with the bar and restaurant “Time”. If you are familiar with “Time” on Tuesdays then you have probably been graced by Kriss Mincey who performs faithfully every Tuesday night. I first saw Kriss last summer and was completely blown away by her rendition of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You”. Aside from being stupidly talented, she seems incorruptibly innocent and good natured. Her social media focuses on self-help, self-awareness and the metaphysics behind “the power of now”. Talented, beautiful, positive yet slightly guarded she is an incredible artist to follow. Here is an interview with the amazing Kriss Mincey.

1. Tell us about yourself. Where were you raised? Where did you study? Where do you currently reside?

I am Kriss, a singer new to Philadelphia by way of Baltimore. At the moment, I’m living in West Philly.

My parents are both retired Navy Veterans so I moved a bit. I always had my home in the North West part of the city to come home to. I still do. Same house and same neighbors from when I was small. I spent time in Richmond and Hampton, Virginia, and Aberdeen, MD where where I’d attend the Aberdeen Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School. At the University of Maryland College Park I studied public relations, gender and communication, African-American Studies, particularly focused in gender relations and literature produced during the Harlem Renaissance.

2.Have you always wanted to perform? When did you realize that your heart belonged to the stage? 

I’ve always performed, now that I think of it. My mom was instrumental in exposing me to theatre and dance, practically from birth. The first show I ever saw on Broadway was “The Magic School Bus”.

When my parents split, a lot  of my energy channeled itself into writing and public speaking. It was yet another stage, and the podium became my theater, my dance. It wasn’t until high school that I danced again, and even then, I was convinced I would have to give it up for something “more serious”, once I started college. But the Universe has its way of bringing us back to the beginning again, back to the purpose we were designed for. Thats when I found music. Better yet, that’s when it found me. Fall semester 2008, I sang on stage by myself for the first time. “JukeJoint” was an open mic event held on campus every first Thursday. It was the first of the year and more than 200 students were there. I sang Phyllis Hyman’s rendition of “Betch By Golly Wow”, and the crowd raved. From that night on, up until the day I graduated, I was the girl who sang at the “JukeJoint”.

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3. You were a contestant on American Idol. What did you learn about the machine of mass media at that time? Most importantly, what did you learn about yourself?

American Idol was cool. My time on the show was probably the first time I learned the importance of being present; that is being mindful of the moment at hand. The media coverage around the show was like a different reality of a parallel universe where I was watching myself. Freaky stuff. Remembering where I was in the present moment made it less confusing and easier to cope. If you ever hear about public figures having anxiety or depression, the truth is they’re a lot more like us than we realize. The same sort of dual-reality effect that Idol had for me, other people deal with on a much larger scale. 

The more exposure you gain, the more important it is to be  mindful of the moment. We all get overwhelmed sometimes by what’s around us, remorseful of past mistakes. You find your calm in the present. So just be right here, right now. The only reality is now.

4. You recently hosted a three part series – Unleash the Best which was an all encompassing focus on the physical, mental and emotional grind of being an artist and entrepreneur in the Philadelphia area. From your experience, do you think Philadelphia is a city which supports and encourages it’s entertainers?

Unleash the Beast (UTB) was a great opportunity for me to become more embedded in the Philadelphia community. When I first moved to Philly last spring, I sought out people whom I admired, people I identified as cultural influencers, and asked to interview them. In these interviews, I found a common thread of commentary: “there’s so much talent in Philly, but it’s broken up…it doesn’t have a brand, a voice, a movement, because everyone is competing against each other.” What some local artists had identified as a Philly flaw was in fact a cultural trope that extended far beyond city boarders. American culture teaches us to define success by dominance. The need to compete, to be “better than” just to feel good enough. It’s no wonder everyone is stressed and aggressive, not to mention lonely and isolated. UtB allowed me to create a safe space where Philly artists, entrepreneurs and investors could support each other without the fear of vulnerability. In short, I’ve learned that Philly absolutely supports Philly when we create the space for it.

    5. What is the hardest part about being an artreprenuer? Honestly, I think the hardest part of being an Artrepreneur is being the engineer of your own thoughts. It’s an awesome gift, and at the same time, a huge responsibility to yourself to make the things you want real. It’s scary to think anyone could have that much power. But we do. We become who we are  when we embrace that fact. And that’s what being an Artrepreneur is really all about.

  6. I hate to even speak this possibility into existence because Lord knows your gift and warm spirit deserve to be shared with the masses but do you have a plan B if music does not work out? Is plan B even a possibility?

  The art always works out so long as we submit to it. Music has served as a vehicle for me to occupy new spaces. UTB has been proof of that. I’m a singer who talks, teaches and creates, and aspires to do all the above on a grander scale. So really, it’s not a question of whether music will work out for me, so much so as it is a question of how it’ll work through me. The sweetest problem of it all is deciding what to get my hands into next.

  7. Who is your musical idol?

  One of my musical idols is Nina Simone. My mom named me Simone as my middle name to honor her. I watched an interview she did with BBC World’s “Hardtalk” and I fell in love. She was so…human and passionate, and I said to myself “God, that woman.” I understood why my mother adored her for so many of the same reasons I adored my mother. It’s in her girth of spirit, her audacity and her refusal to be sanitized in the interpretation of her ideas. I very much look forward to growing into myself and into my art in this way.

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8. When you envision success in your life what do you see? Success looks like me traveling with the babies I’ll have, all across the world on trains, with polaroids and dinners with my friends all of whom are everyday superheroes. But what it feels like is: Calm. Air. Water. Warmth. It feels like contentment. Ironically, its the very thing I’m fighting against to be “Successful”. And it makes me think, even as I write this response, how did we become so obsessed with the idea of success, and when did it become something so different from happiness?”

9. What do you feel are the responsibilities of the young, gifted and black?

The responsibility of the young, gifted and black are the same as any other human being – to stay human. To live in your purpose, whatever that is, is the closest you can ever be to God. Don’t trade that just to satisfy an agenda or set of expectations. Your first obligation is always to your heart.

10.What are you currently working on? Where can people find you? I’m excited to be releasing new music this season. “Otherwise” is my first single with Bold New Breed Records.

Website : Krissmincey.com

Instagram: @Krissmincey

Twitter: @Krissmincey