YGB – Ryan Powell Photography

I sit back and watch people a lot. I have been watching the genius of photographer Ryan Powell for a year now. I see the pictures he posts on FB and Tumblr and they literally take my breath away. I sometimes doubt the kid’s genius and think that he is posting other professional’s work. He is just too damn good! And too damn young! I see a bright, bright future ahead of him. Keep up the hard work!

He is amazing right? To view more of Ryan’s spectacular work and book a shoot follow his Tumblr

friedgoldzero.tumblr.com

99 Problems: Hair Care Q&A

 

We get a lot of emails from very disgruntled, urgently desperate readers. If you are one of them don’t feel bad. I remember when I started my journey on having  healthy hair and I wrote Curly Nikki. It was along the lines of “My hair is so dry, I don’t know what to do. How do I get it to look like yours? Please help me as fast as you can. Thank you and have a nice day”. Swear to God, I di that. She never responded to my stalkin’ ass but now I understand that she has bigger fish to fry like accepting NAACP awards. (GO GIRL!!!!)
Anyway, because we do have some time on our hands, I figured we could do some published Q&A to hopefully help others that are experiencing the same things.

1. Q: Hey! I attend a university in a predominantly white city in CA. I went natural 2 years ago. It’s still a challenge to wear my hair in its naturally big state. 95% of the time I wear my hair in a bun bc I don’t know how to do any other styles with my hair! What’s been an even bigger challenge is having the urge to flat iron my hair when it comes to my job. I want to know if you or other women have a fear of standing out bc of their hair & how to deal w/ this as women of color. Thanks!

I had this same fear when I started wearing my natural, unadulterated curls out. I was coming off of the flat iron dependency. Many people were not used to seeing my natural curls. Shoot, I wasn’t even used to seeing them. I had not fully mastered my hair care. Some days I was really proud of my curls while other days my curls were dry, frizzy, uncontrollable tufts. But regardless of what my hair was doing, I was scheduled to work. I was terrified of what others would think.  I experienced some negative comments here and there but I wanted to learn to love my hair and I knew in my heart that the illusions and conditioning of hating my kinky hair were not based on reality. 
I say STOP straightening your hair and focus on straightening your mind. Mind over matter. Allow yourself to be afraid walking into work with your natural hair but walk into work with your natural hair anyway! The more you manage your natural hair and stay away from the flat iron, the sooner you will learn how to care for and style it and in return the more confident you will become. Soon you wont be concerned with what others think and you will be surprised by how many people will actually like it!

 

2Can u give me some methods to loosen up my curls? They’re so tight & it makes me look like a child.

Well, aside from chemically altering your hair, you are going to have to go the traditional route of 1. Waiting until your hair grows a bit longer so that it can be stretched 2. Try braid outs, twist outs and bantu knots. On the first day of a “braid or twist out” your hair may be tightly coiled but if you maintain them well enough by re-twisting and using only a little bit of water (think a spritz or two from a spray bottle or a small handful of H2O in your palm), you can have looser, fuller curls by the 2nd to 3rd day. Please research “how to stretch natural hair” on Youtube.

3. Q:Before you throw tomatoes at me and yell newbie just know that all I ask for is help. I have 3b hair (3c hair in the very back of my head and 2b hair on my bangs due to my reckless straightening ways in middle school). Im 16 and I feel like my hair can NEVER be healthy or dead nor look decent. I cannot put my self toward the CG no-poo method (let alone do I understand it), and I tend to be lazy when it comes to my curly hair routine. Ive used the Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair Moisture Renewal conditioner followed up by a normal shampoo(non- curly hair based and also by Pantene) and recently I have used the Aussie Moist Condition, which may I say I HATE. Anyways lets get to the dirt. For I don’t even know how long, Ive had extremely dead dry fine curly hair. Ive been to the salon with about 3-5 inches of visible dead hair waiting to be chopped off. I also deal with a lot of hair loss, I can latterly finger comb my hair when its dry and a clump of hair will easily fall out. My dilemma is how do I get my fine limp easily damageable hair to be healthy strong and moisturized. I would tell you my porosity level but when I did it 1/4 of the strand floated to the top, some to the middle and the rest to the bottom. Wanna throw those tomatoes yet? I don’t know what to do and as much as I hate to say it, because of my current hair conditions, I hate my curly hair, but all I seek for is hope. So curlies will you help?

First and foremost relax darling. Everything is gonna be alright. I am going to do my best to address some keys points. First and foremost – It does not pay to be a “lazy” curly girl. In the beginning of your journey towards healthy hair you must be diligent and conscientous. Once you get used to your hairs needs, you can surely fall back a bit.
From the pictures you gave, your hair looks very similar in texture to Antoinette’s hair so you should take a cue from her regimen and products. It seems that all of the products you are using are laden with chemicals. You should probably go a more natural, simple route in terms of ingredients. Here are the recommended products that you should begin to put into your hair rotation.
1. Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner
2. Curls “Cashmere Curls Jelly” or Curls “Goddess Curls Gelle”
3. ALOE VERA JUICE (make sure it is juice and not gel)
You can use these products in the order they are listed. You can consider air drying or diffusing your hair. Antoinette struggles with limp curls and uses an afro pick at the roots of her hair to add volume.
Check out this awesome link HERE to learn more about fine haired hair care.
Hoped this helps!
If you have any advice or recommendations for these curious, concerned cur lies share in the comments below! 

Where is Antoinette?

antoinette henry, singing, jazz, around the way curls

photo Frank Stewart

 

Where in the world was Waldo?! I know… I have been missing in action for about 2.5-3 months. SMH. Thank God that Shanti has been holding me down. I have to admit missed blogging. I missed ‘talking’ to y’all. Our instagram banter wasn’t enough of a fix. Anyway, I’ve been away all for good reasons.

grand night for singing antoinette henry

Notice we are all the same complexion. Ha!

First and foremost, I am currently on a hiatus from the hustle and bustle of NYC. I am living in sunny Fort Myers Florida and performing at Florida Repertory Theater, in Rodgers and Htammertsien’s, A Grand Night For Singing. It’s beautiful here. The air is fresh, the sun is shining, the sky is clear and temperature averages 75 degrees. I’m LOVING it. I picked the best time to get away from that cold and depressing NYC weather.

The show is sweet and filled with classic music theater tunes that can warm any heart. There is a lot of dancing, scene changes, lucsious fives part harmonies and timeless music. It feels really great to be back on stage and telling the story.

Secondly, in November, I was added to the cast of Sistas Off-Broadway (of which I am on leave from while in Florida) and therefore joined Actors Equity/’The Union”. Praise God! Heath insurance! 401k! Grown up ish! AMEN!

christian mcbride, antoinette henry, lewis nash, renne rosness

And lastly, I took a leave of absence from my job and recorded my own record at the very place I was once a server, alongside A Musical Dream Team… with Christian McBride (James Brown, Diane Reeves, Sting, McCoy Tyner, Celine Dion) doubling as both producer and bassist, Lewis Nash all over the drums, Renee Rosnes on all kinds of keys, Adam Rogers killing us softly on guitar and guest vocalist Michael Mwenso swinging low like the sweetest of chariots. (Who do I think I am? ha!)

This is something I never in a million years thought I would ever do and I was scared to death. I used to go to the studio with our friend Jazmine Sullivan all the time. I watched the process and was glad I did music theater. I watched her spend 10-15 hours finding the right track, writing the lyrics, laying down the hook, laying down the back ground vocal…etc. It was grueling. But this process was very different.

  Jazz musicians work differently then any other musician. I have studied music theater and choral music mostly so I am used to a lot of rehearsal in which we set dynamics, phrasing, breaths, musical lines, etc. They are then to be repeated every night while still somehow keeping them fresh, alive and entertaining. But jazz folks do not rehearse nearly as much as theater people, they practice. These are two very different things. They spend hours practicing, perfecting their sound and their technique and then come together and create something on the spot and organic. Jazz is improvisation. It’s a conversation to be had in the moment. To quote Michael Mwenso, “It’s a spiritual thing” but terrifying at the same time.

So, with Shanti by my side, with my nerves almost getting the best of me, I let it all hang out. I made mistakes. I forgot lyrics. I even counted wrong a couple of times but I did it. I was completely out of my comfort zone and completely awestruck and intimidated by the band filled with grammy winners and nominees but eventually I settled and just sang with my whole heart.

Now, I’m listening back, taking notes, feeling vindicated and content, while soaking in a bath tub that covers BOTH my knees and breasts in sunny Florida. It’s interesting what happens to you when you step out on faith. God is good and all the time….

I look forward to sharing the record with you soon!

Amazing Women Who Aren’t Beyonce

Maaaan listen, I love Beyonce. I do. I love her in a sick twisted way. I am well aware of it. She is amazing. She makes me feel hmmm how do I say it…..? Like shit? Small? Lazy? Dumpy? Gay? Inspired? Bald headed? Poor? Like I can do anything if I put my mind to it? Like I too have a wild sex demon inside of me? Like I need a better camera? Like I too am honored to be a mother to an awesome, wild daughter? Like women rule the world and got damn it I am a woman and she makes me so proud I get a lump in my throat sometimes? Ummmm yeeeaah kind of like all of dat.

 I have stumbled upon some really fucking amazing women that deserve recognition and swell me with pride and inspiration similar to Beyonce (but without the sick, twisted associations).  I hope they do the same for you.

Warsan Shire 

At 25, this young Kenya- born Somalian (East Africa Stand Up!) is the current Young Poet Laureate of London. She is an amazing poet and is responsible for this poem that is me. She is a deep, remarkable woman whose words, insight and mission should be seen by all. Here is a taste of the flavor she is putting down from a poem called

“Backwards”

He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life,

that’s how we bring Dad back.

I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole.

We grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear,

your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums.

I can make us loved, just say the word.

Give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,

I can write the poem and make it disappear.

Step Dad spits liquor back into glass,

Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,

maybe she keeps the baby.

Maybe we’re okay kid?

I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love,

you won’t be able to see beyond it.

 To Read More Click Here

Shayla Cox

I had stumbled upon Shayla via Tumblr and I have been a big fan of hers for a while. She is a jewelry designer of a brand which is her name sake Shayla Cox. She is amazing because she is completely invested in herself and her art. I respect her because her jewelry, branding and marketing is completely on point. It is a direct reflection of her values and her vision. She is not compromising herself for anyone. To understand the dicipline, dedication and fearlessness required to achieve such seamless branding, is inspiring. I love to see that. I see you girl! Tear shit up!

Melina Motsoukas

Melina is responsible for Rihanna’s epic, award winning music video “We Found Love”  as well the majority of videos from Beyonce’s “B’day” album and most recently “Pretty Hurts” from Beyonce. If you look her up on Wikipedia, you will find a VERY long and impressive list of music videos of which she is responsible for directing. She is a master of bright colors, textures and stylization. She is a woman with vision. When we admire the Rihannas, and Beyonces of the world, I think it is important to take notice of the minds and talent behind the artists. The people that know how to capture and create the perfection we assume stars naturally have.  Melina is a cinematic beast. For all the young film makers, videographers and photographers, watch her, follow her and be inspired.

Lianne La Havas

Are you fucking kidding me? I love. her. I have watched quietly as this young lady slowly begins to swell soon to blow up. She’s beautiful and her work is beautiful. This video is beautiful. Watch and become a fan.

Ameena Matthews

Ameena Matthews used to be a gang member. Her father was powerful gang leader. She knows the intricate webs of emotional, financial and sociopolitical issues that pull at hearts of those involved in gang/drug affected communities.  She is no longer a gang member nonetheless she lives, eats and breathes the lifestyle in a ongoing effort to pull the people of her Chicago community away from the trivialities and deadly consequences of living the fast life.  She literally stands and begs compromise before guns are pulled as a violence interrupter.  She is power and purpose manifest. To learn more about Ameena Matthews check out this amazing documentary focused on her and other heroes  called

“The Interrupters”

It’s nice to watch King Bey but these aforementioned women are a nice reality check. They are wonderful sources for varied talents, purposes and grinds.

I know I Missed Many. ..

Who Are Some Amazing Women That You Look Up To (that are not Beyonce)?

“Dear White People” Coming to A Theater Near You

I can’t wait for this to come out! When the hell is it going to come out???!!! Real rap,  I have never attended an “all white” college so I can not completely relate to the nuances that the movie is trying to portray. All I know is that we need a new, refreshing, CURRENT black perspective similar to many of Spike Lee’s masterpieces. 

Dear White People Concept Trailer from Justin Simien on Vimeo.

To learn more about the new, satirical movie “Dear White People” written and directed by Justin Simien who found his inspiration for the film due to the fact that, “We’re definitely not a post-racial society”

Click HERE

Can you identify with the subject matter of black identity in college? What are some issues that you face daily? Share!!

Natural Hair Blog Directory

http://naturalhairblogdirectory.com

Are you new to the natural hair world and feel a bit overwhelmed?

Well, we were just made aware that a new directory has been created to help neophytes as well as seasoned veterans to search and find natural hair blogs that fit your needs.
If you are a blogger, you can also include yourself in the directory to gain more traffic and hits.

Excellent idea, spread the word.

“Richard Sherman, Thugs and Black Humanity” Via Olivia A.Cole

“Today I’m wondering what it takes for a black man to be regarded as human in America.

Today Richard Sherman is being lambasted for his animated post-game interview in which he dared to express emotion outside of the cubic centimeter men of color are allotted. A cornerback in one of the most physically demanding sports in the country—after a game in which bodies were injured and crushed; after a game that required players to be helped off the field—wins a critical game and has a microphone stuck in his face. He says what he says, and suddenly the nation is clutching its pearls, tutting and making pretend-concerned remarks about sportsmanship and graciousness. Today, Tom Brady criticizes Richard Sherman for his lack of “graciousness.” Today, Richard Sherman is being called a thug, and I’m wondering what that word really means.

Does it mean foul-mouthed? After all, Tom Brady was never called a thug. Not when he got in the ref’s face when losing to the Panthers and dropped the F-bomb on national television just two months ago. What about Richie Incognito, when he called Jonathan Martin the n-word on his voicemail? That’s a foul word, isn’t it? I didn’t hear Incognito referred to as a thug either. Or does “thug” mean violent? I’m not sure. Because, despite his animation, Sherman didn’t use a single curse word. He didn’t threaten anyone’s safety or injure anyone.

The truth is, I only ever hear “thug” applied to black people. And not just adult men. A black toddler made news recently when Omaha police posted a video on their website of the child cursing and holding up his middle finger. The child was described as a thug by Omaha police, who insisted they only shared the video to show “the cycle of thuggery.” The video was posted without the knowledge or consent of the child’s mother.

Another example comes to mind. A teenager walking home from the store after buying Skittles and tea, who was then stalked and murdered by a wannabe cop. A murderer whose main line of defense was that the victim “looked like a thug.” A seventeen-year old boy with his hood up—it was raining—looked like a “thug,” and so his life was ended.

So I’m wondering what “thug” really means.”

To Read More Click HERE

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