A Man’s World… Or is it

What kind of world do we live in? Who established these social norms? Why has our culture manifested itself in the way that it has?

So many questions, so very little answers…

As a female in today’s society it’s not rare to get barked at by males, be  reduced to the color pants we’re wearing at the current moment, or even be thought of as sexual objects. Unfortunately this is a normality for so many.

Sure, some may argue that if females didn’t wear tight skirts or revealing blouses or the fact that they curled their hair and put on makeup, they wouldn’t get treated as they do. amber-rose-slutwalk-la-october-2015-bellanaija0003But…why does a woman’s attire and physical appearance represent her sexual standing? Too often today do women find themselves in a position that they couldn’t or shouldn’t have imagined that they’d be in. For these reasons, it’s people like Amber Rose that have started the “Slut Walk”, the no-shaming protest to end the rape culture and the dehumanization of women. If a woman is a bit more promiscuous than that of a nun, she’s every name in the book. The cruelty and slander is horrendous.

 

To make matters worse, our potential president-unfortunately, Donald Trump, has been interviewed, quoted, and filmed one to many times about his opinion on the female. Some of his many claims are that women are a distraction; their menstrual cycles, pregnancyy3hcusvl8wkq4l6f7xzgrdl72ejkfbmt4t8yenimkbvvk0ktmf0xjctabnaljim9, and emotional mindsets are far too chaotic, inconvenient and disturbing much less to be considered in any place of power or as president of the United States, referencing Hilary Clinton.

We know the setup, “what’s your name, what’s your sign, you got a man” etc. a timeless opener for males to entice a woman, but if theres a hint of sass given or an attitude underway we’re automatically the worst things walking this Earth. Sure, being dry or straight to the point  may not be the nicest thing to do, but if i’m simply just not interested or don’t want to be bothered why does that make me any less of a person. At a social event, a female was shot, SHOT, in her chest because she declined to give a man her phone number. Though she’s doing alright, it was such an unnecessary measure taken. It’s unclear of how nicely or rudely she may have declined his request, but why would that even be a factor? Why does a woman need to be a gentle lamb just to preserve her life in these types of occurrences???

It sort of reminds me of the senseless killings by the police officers. A man selling CD’s though thought to be suspicious or his activity even illegal, it doesn’t justify his death.He was shot several times at close range while being held down by other police officers.  If you’ve seen some of the comments of the videos that have gone viral you’d see some of thie ignorant nonsense people have posted. “If he wasn’t selling CD’s he wouldn’t have been shot, If he didn’t resist, if he didn’t talk back, if he didn’t stand there, if he didn’t blink, if he didn’t smile, if he wasn’t black….” so many hateful, blood-boiling statements that bring me back to the thought that no one deserves the treatment that society bestowes upon them. Whether it be a woman with tight fitting clothing that drank too much and thus gang raped or an innocent man hustling to feed his family shot and killed, there are no justifications for their resulting consequences.

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On a Saturday night out with the girls, all dolled up, men approach you and no matter how nice or rude you try to be it’s like they don’t get it. On a particular occasion, a man bumped into a young woman and was very touchy as he apologized, she requested that he not touch her, and he turned into another person aside from the one that was just trying to apologize so affectionately. “You must think you’re hot S***, you think you’re bad, well you’re not you ugly little b****, that’s why you…”, the slurs, profanity, and insults continued as he walked away. When these types of things happen it makes me wonder if it’s even safe to go out anymore. Who knows what could happen if a male approaches a female now of days.

Males are using whatever tactics they can just to save face and their pride. Chloroform cloths are being heavily used on women, along with date rape drugs- Rohypnol or Roofie, as well as tazers, guns, and other weapons. It wouldn’t be shocking to know that women actually feel some sense of obligation to comply with men and their requests no matter the circumstance just to maintain their safety. To no surprise, campus crimes have increased. A couple of girls walking back to their dorms from the library meeting with their study group, and a male thinks that’s the perfect time to take advantage of the situation. As women, we’re made to feel so small, helpless, weak, and insecure that we need to carry our purse pistols, a shank, mace…and not that that’s a bad idea at all, but why has society made us feel so fearful that we need to utilize these strategies just to make it back home safely?

Recently, well-known, socialite, Kim Kardashian was tied up with taped mouth and blindfold and robbed by two men dressed as police officers while in Paris for fashion week. Kanye West happened to be having a concert in the city that week and when he heard of the news he immediately canceled the show and went to be with her. People were outraged by the cancelation and took it out on Mrs. West herself.  People trolled, made accusations, and called Kim all sorts of names and legitimizing the reason she was robbed claiming that she shouldn’t have “all that money” anyway. Love, like, hate, or indifferent, no one should be made to feel so less than that anything they have can be taken rather it be physical objects or other things. This scenario isn’t too far off from what happens to women everyday.

download.jpegThis isn’t a rant for “men haters”, this isn’t a “women rule the world”-Beyonce combo, this isn’t to possey up and start a mob to start killing them off, this is to establish knowledge about what’s going on, in 2016 where a female can’t be too sure about her life’s state when a man approaches her. It’s all too surreal that our grandmothers were treated like queens when they were young. Given flowers, dated gentlemen who  thought they were lucky to have even have known the lady…times have definitely changed and not for better. As women, we definitely need to be aware of our surroundings, not caught up with capturing the “right light” while trying to take a selfie or other matters. It’s time to get serious. There are hotlines and helpful websites available. Talk to your mother, sister, grandmother, and other women. Talk to the men in your life too. Life is too precious and much to short to have it conflicted due to pride-hurt males.

Stay safe! Stay in the know!

-Domo.Dub

Beauty at a Cost

DIYs and YouTube tutorials have become the go-to guru for all things. From interior decorating, maintenance on vehicles, and beauty needs; there’s a video for everything. Speaking of beauty…sometimes we get so lost in the products and the names and the “skin care routines” that some of our favorite YouTubers utilize that we might do more harm than good.

Did you know, that you should never exfoliate dirty skin?! There are thousands of exfoliant products that are advertised to us, that tell us that we NEED to exfoliate regularly to keep the dead skin to a minimum, but… if you’re face isn’t clean then it makes zero sense to exfoliate. The granulates in the exfoliants actually press the dirt deeper into the skin, creating dark areas, black heads, and clogged pores. We think that we’re cleaning but we’re not. And clean doesn’t just mean splashed with water or lathered with bar soap… An exfoliant is not the same thing as a cleanser and should only be used once a week, give or take the type of skin you may have while cleansers should be used twice a day essentially. Skin types are very important to recognize. From oily, to dry to normal to a combination of the sorts, this recognition helps you to choose products that will work along with your skin rather than against.

Rgiphy-1ule of thumb, if you do nothing else… Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. Keys that lead to great, clear, firm, supple skin! #staywoke

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“Money doesn’t grow on trees”, we all know that, but pinching pennies could lead to bacteria and even fungus growing in your makeup products. Mascara only has a utilization life of about three months. As air and other matter seeps into the mascara container with each use, it makes it more susceptible for those growths and using the product after its expiration date can cause pink eye, a stye, or other problems. Not washing your makeup brushes is also a dead shot to bacteria build up. Foundation, concealer, bronzers, and other makeup generally only have a “safe” life of about six months to a year, after that it would be a good idea to replace those products.
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One YouTuber who’s caught my eye with her makeup handy tricks and tips is Michelle Phan. She’s gained populairty over the years allowing her to develop her own website, michellephan.com.While watching just a few of her vids, she’s shown me that you don’t need expensive products to make those makeup tutorials come to life. That’s right! Aside from E.L.F and NYX products being just a couple of the more affordable and quality brands,  some of your basic house hold items can be utilized for a lot of beauty tasks. For example, cleaning makeup brushes is a “major key” and sometimes getting that foundation out of those bristles is a stubborn job but a 2:1 ratio of Dawn dish soap and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a super fast and easy way to clean those brushes compared to purchasing a basic solution. Most DIY-Beet-Blush-and-Lip-.jpgmakeup products can be made right at home with just a few simple ingredients, petroleum jelly or moisturizer, eye shadow or other powder, and an essential oil. This combination of ingredients can be used for a few things like a lipstick or gloss, blush, amplified eye shadows, and even a high light or contour cream.

 

There may be tutorials and guidelines all over the web that you can look up, but there’s no law against cutting a few corners or saving a buck. Check out some DIY’s and get creative!!!

 

 

 

Women of Color Wednesday: Sydney Bowden

I met Sydney when we had Digital Video Production: Nonfiction together last Fall. Her spunk, poise, and confidence was very evident. She definitely stood out, and I instantly knewunnamed (2).jpg that I needed to get acquainted with her because she’s definitely going to be somebody and do amazing things (more than she already has!).

Sydney Bowden was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Or as Bowden says, “Motown…Home where the Pimps and Players are born.”

I laughed at that one. That’s one of Bowden’s many attributes. Smart, beautiful, and witty!

Bowden received her Bachelor of Arts in Film, Video, Media Studies with a minor in Fashion Merchandising and Design from Western Michigan University, class of 2016.

When she’s not jamming out to her favorite motivational songs “Grown Woman” by Beyoncé and “When Jesus Says Yes” by Michelle, she is working within Corporate America for a multi-billion-dollar property restoration company. Outside of that, she is the Founder and President of The Social B., L.L.C., a social entertainment production company.

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Bowden’s life mission is “to reinvent digital media by doing away with the negative connotations and stereotypes held within media. In doing so, I have developed the mission of my company to showcase the talents and hard work of young entrepreneurs, artists, and awesome everyday individuals while empowering them to become leaders within the communities they serve.”unnamed

I resonate with this message so much. From the inspiring words of Ava DuVernay, “if your dreams only include yourself, they’re not big enough.” I love how Bowden wants to showcase the talents and hard work of others and encourage them to be leaders in their communities. We need more people with life missions that include showcasing the best in others and their stories.

Bowden’s motivational words to other women of color are, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Failure is beautiful to endure and once you accept it and use it as motivation towards a successful future, you will begin to reap the benefits. Just remember to feed your faith, and your fears will starve to death.”

13103364_10208420681289985_5996945771446542839_nBowden’s greatest accomplishments thus far are graduating in four years at the age of 21 as the sole proprietor of her own business. “This is only the beginning towards a very bright, rewarding, and successful future,” she says.

Absolutely! I believe in the Law of Attraction. When you speak positivity into your life, you will have positive results and life experiences. So far, Bowden has been a living testimony of that!

Bowden encourages others to continue to visit The Social B. and please, please, please share our wonderful stories with your family and friends!

Be honest. Be humble. Be you. Everyone should aspire to live within those words, just as you do, Sydney. Keep shining! Continue to chase your dreams and encourage other women of color to be unstoppable.

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Monday Motivation: Identify Your Dream…How?

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By: Sydney B.

The Identify Your Dream Foundation is transforming tragedy into strategy as they aid our youth to overcome the loss of a parent.  It is the goal of the organization to empower children to continue dreaming, so that they will find the strength, hope, and power to heal!

“It’s needed! It’s a desperate need for kids to really express themselves in a healthy manner. Being able to process that grief as a kid is important,” says Deleah Samuel-Sharp, Executive Director of IDYD.

The foundation was founded by Deleah Samuel-Sharp, following the tragic loss of her brother, Dean who was violently killed, in 1996 in Pontiac, Michigan. At the time of his death, he was 22-years-old and a soon-to-be father. Deleah watched as her nephew grew up without having his father alive in his life, and developed the understanding that not only was there a void in her life, but in his as well as a fatherless child.

“We need to get to them. Statistics show that an early exposure to violence will create this cycle where the same people that were exposed to violence at an early age may soon become offenders as well.”

Identify Your Dream grants children, who have suffered a loss of their parents to violence, the opportunity to find their healthy outlet. The mentors of this organization work together with the children and their families of these children to ensure them that there are other kids who too have lost their parents as well.

The foundation offers in-home programs such as grief support, mentoring, community initiatives, and peace rallies. Their most widely known event is the Stomp Out Violence March held in Pontiac, MI. The march gives the opportunity for everyone within the community to stand together and march again all acts of violence tearing down their communities.

Looking into the future, the foundation is currently working on opening their very first building, which will serve as a hub for where most of their operations will take place. Foundation representatives are determined to ensure that Identify Your Dream becomes and serves as a beacon of hope for children, while steadily helping to increase mental health awareness.

For more information about Identify Your Dream, click here to visit their website.

As always… Be Honest. Be Humble. Be YOU!

Monday Motivation: Virtue – Girl With A Purpose

virtuelogoVirtue- Girl With A Purpose is changing Princesses into Queens. This non-profit organization has its focus on youth mentoring as it is their mission to encourage young ladies to become leaders of their community by targeting refinement, self-respect, and unity.

The organization makes it their business to help young women within the Metro Detroit area to make decisions to become great community and business leaders.

“We encourage our girls that anything is achievable despite what the media says as long as they are dedicated to fulfilling the goal,” says Lauren Gillon, Founder of Virtue- Girl with a Purpose.

laurenLauren Gillon, senior at Ferris State University, created this organization with the hopes of changing the lives of many young women. The Detroit native is currently studying to become a Medical Director with hopes of changing and creating health care policies. With Lauren’s burning passion for making a difference, the organization values success, etiquette, leadership, and sisterhood.

The organization is known for facilitating events such as community health workshops, conferences, sisterly group outings, soup kitchen and food bank outings, and their well-attended Virtue Summer Camp.

The group’s mentors consist of hand-selected women from some of the top universities and colleges throughout Michigan. All mentee’s are young women ranging between the ages of 10 and 14 years-old.

Within the next five, the organization plans to expand their efforts throughout other cities within Michigan promising to guide, mentor, and further society’s newest young Queen’s.

To become a mentor, all interested applicants will just need to submit an application and undergo an interview. For all interested mentee’s, all applicants must range between the ages of 10 and 14 years-old, be Metro Detroit Residents, and submit an application.

For more information about Virtue-Girls With A Purpose, click here to visit their website.

As always… Be Honest. Be Humble. Be YOU!

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Release your inhibitions

In today’s society of social media, selfies, big butts, and Brazilian bundles… chances are scrutiny is everywhere: at home, in the workplace, in clubs and organizations, and even when we’re just out and about. From our hairstyle of choice, to our selection of clothes, down to the God-given quality of our skin, we’re constantly under a magnifying glass by people we don’t even know.

We’re judged on how we talk, how we walk, our demeanor, our orientation, the length of our hair, the tone of our skin, the fullness of our lips, the bone in our hips, and even the ridges in our teeth.

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Because of these close examinations, it’s no wonder we take special care to make sure our hair is neat and tidy, our clothes match and have decent quality, and that we speak with articulation, but at some point we have to realize that enough is enough. Our life is our own and no one should be able to dictate how we should be our own person. From social media to that nosy co-worker to that hating  “friend”there’s always someone trying to dim our light, trying to downplay our highs and broadcast our lows. A promotion, big purchase, new car, closing on a house, acceptance letter, even a new hair color…those people will come around trying to tell you what you “shoulda, coulda, woulda” did and why you made the wrong choice and that they probably could’ve done it too. For some reason people will try to find a way to rain on your parade but it’s you, yourself, and I marching through this thing called life.

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This past Sunday’s church service delivered a great message- “Don’t allow others to trick you out of your blessings”. In short, if you like something, if you want something, if you have your heart set on something and you’re in route to get it…don’t allow someone to talk you out of it. Many will try to tell you what they would do if they were you but the simple, yet humorous fact is… they’re not you.

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If you want to rock a blue afro then shave it off the next week, do it. Do it because that’s what you want to do. WorldStarHipHop, TheShadeRoom, BallerAlert, MediaTakeOut, Tumblr, and many more have been the home for “embarrassing” memes of people getting called out. Whether it was a video that went viral for an obese woman wearing too small clothing, a man receiving a lace front, or someone inside of McDonalds cursing the cashier…sure it’s funny but why do we care? What does it matter that a man wants to feel confident and extend his locks. Who are we to judge a woman who may not be able to purchase a new wardrobe. It may be funny to watch and listen to but, who knows if the man had to really find the money to buy a meal and why shouldn’t he deserve to have it prepared in the way he desired. This viewpoint may be playing the devils advocate, but moral of the story, we’re all living our own life the way we know how, who knows what the other deals with on a daily basis while we pass such harsh judgement.

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If you’ve heard the catchy YouTube hit “She Ratchet”… then you’d recognize the meme included above, and for others…this just may be your mantra…constantly judging people while you’re not such hot stuff yourself. By all means if you want to come outside wearing red weave, green nails, and yellow teeth…go ahead; theoretically speaking (haha!) On the other hand why do we act and live life through others eyes. We might not buy a shirt that we like because someone we know has it or we might not go to the party on Saturday because the outfit we want to wear isn’t “good enough”. If we made decisions based on others opinions throughout life, we’d never find happiness. So many people have harshly judged men in the African American community for pressing or perming their hair. Sure, for some it may seem odd for a man to adjust his natural hair as it’s more accustomed to by women but, if a man chooses to jazz himself up, who is he hurting?

It all starts as fun and games-the teasing and poking fun at the “odd” ones, but what about those that feel conscious about some decisions for fear of what society may say. To some extent we’ve all done it. That second guessing yourself when it comes to a second helping of food, the decision to make a new purchase, or even to wear a bikini.

Who cares about him, her, he she, them, they…

do YOU!

“They don’t want us to eat…”

“They don’t want us to live…”

“They don’t want us to succeed…”

“They don’t want us to win! So, We’re going to win more!”

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Women of Color Wednesday: Domonique Freeman

Domonique Tiera Freeman…there’s so much I could say about this girl. I met Domo in high school, and I’ve always noticed this glamour and confidence about her that I strived to attain for myself. She is the ultimate go-getter. Plus, she’s a highly educated health advocate, which I think is strikingly impressive.fullsizerender

Freeman was born in Franklin, Tennessee and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. She currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science from Saginaw Valley State University, and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Health at Georgia State University. Freeman is a health advocate, a contracted health educator, and administrative assistant to the Director of Nursing at East Lake Arbor Nursing Home.

When asked what her life mission is, Freeman stated that it was to, “help individuals realize and live up to their full life potential. This includes improving their well-being and livelihood, helping them to see the importance of seeking and working to be in harmony with themselves, nature and others around them. I frequently talk about nutrition because it impacts all of this.”

Loving the positive vibes from this message. I think that it’s important for black women and all women of color in general to help bring out the potential in others, and help each other live fulfilling lives.

She continued, “I want people to know that in taking these fake, chemical and hormone-filled foods keep your vibrations down and alter your wellbeing. On a more professional note, I plan to help low income populations have access to healthier, safer foods and equal health care by changing and writing policies at the local, state and federal level.”

Not only does Freeman promote healthier lifestyle choices, but she also motivates others to use those choices as a guide for better self-care. She encourages other women of color to, “Love yourself. Get to know yourself, who you truly are. You are more than just a being in a body but you are a spirit with a soul that is here for a purpose. Ingest high nutrient img_0749foods that feed your soul and block anything that doesn’t come from the earth, that only helps to alter your state of wellbeing. You lose nothing valuable in letting go of what does not serve you. Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy and it’s even harder to get started after generations of wrong teachings but it starts by incorporating good habits into your life, adding high nutrient foods to your diet, and drinking lots of water!”

This is so, so important. We live in an age where food and cooking has become a chore and something that’s supposed to quick, fast, and cheap. We no longer care about where our food comes from, or what we put into our bodies. We’d rather get the $5 fill-up at KFC instead of preparing natural, hearty foods that are good for your body and overall wellbeing. You really are what you eat…which is why America is so obese. But that’s a whole other conversation. Fundamentally, I think these types of conversations need to be had more often, especially in black neighborhoods. It’s time that we start taking care of our bodies, and Freeman embodies that statement to the fullest. Take notes.

Additionally, Freeman encourages women of color to, “Teach your children the importance of a happy lifestyle. If you truly love your babies, you will work to break the attachments to toxic foods and beings. Learn to unlearn the wrong that has been passed from generation to generation, acknowledge ways that we cause our own sickness, and make changes in order to heal not only yourself but the generations of black beings to come.”

Freeman’s biggest accomplishments are being a CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholar, which gave her the chance to intern with minority children in the Detroit area, teaching them healthy habits that they will be able to pass on to their peers. Freeman has also taught workshops to adults and children in the Saginaw area on different health topics such as the dangers of sugar and the obesity epidemic in the United States.

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How amazing is that?! It’s ALL about the youth. Freeman passing on her message to children at such a young age is how you begin to change the current situation. Teach them young so that they can be the change for the next generation. Bravo.

Freeman says that she started out as an insecure, quiet, shy, awkward black girl. However, she explained that, “Through this journey to living a healthy life, I have learned who I am, what I have to offer the world, and gained a sense of security within myself and love and value for myself that I want all black women to have regardless of whatever they’ve been through in the past, whatever flaws they may have.”

I can relate to this. I still think I’m shy and quiet, and I am definitely awkward (lol); however, I, too, have learned who I am, what I want in life, and I am a 100% unapologetically carefree black woman and proud of it. Finding your true sense of self is when you can fully be confident throughout your life journey.

The soon to be Yogi and Holistic Wellness Practitioner is also a transitioning vegan, and helps people who are interested in transitioning to make that switch.img_1021

Freeman has a website coming soon that will consist of weekly health-related blogs, recipes, videos, and more. It will also be a way to book her for workshops, one-on-one training, and grocery store tours. So be on the lookout for DomoniqueTiera.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Domoookunn, and check her out on Facebook.

You’re an intelligent black queen, Domo! You encourage me to make healthier lifestyle choices, and you inspire me to be a part of this growing movement of self-care and self-love! Your unique talents, positive energy, and deep understanding of current issues that matter most to you will get you so far! Continue to do great things, pursue your dreams, and excel in your passions. Lastly, thank you for being an inspiration to me and other women of color!

Who runs the world

Feminist- /ˈfemənəst/- a person who supports feminism

Feminism- /feməˌnizəm/- the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men

There’s often negative talk about feminists and feminism as if it was the worst thing since World War II. “Stuck up women who feel entitled”…have been some of the nicer words to describe the category of people.

“Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be… a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

Why should we settle? We should we be content? Are we not allowed to want more than what we’re given? Why should a stay at home mom be all that we aspire? Is it so out of pocket for a woman to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or even want to run for president?

“We say to girls, you should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten The Man.”

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In 2016 women are still being paid less than that of a man… for the same job position. Not factoring in education or experience as it relates to the job, but simply for the plain fact that the candidate is a woman. If the job place wasn’t bad, what about social life? Women are expected to act like princesses, dress in frills, and speak with eloquence at all times all the while men can roll around in mud, compete in testosterone contests, and be absolutely obnoxious for the sake of just being a “man”. Men can be as careless, nonchalant, and promiscuous as they want, getting fist bumps and ego boosts while doing so. Women on the other hand have to be constantly aware at all times. Aware of their surroundings, aware of their clothing as they don’t reveal too much but just enough to still appeal and attract the male counterpart, friendly and bubbly so they won’t be looked at as a prude, sociable but not too much so that they won’t be called  loose… it’s just too much. Who made these rules? Why is this the staple?

“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about our sons’ girlfriends, but our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. But of course when the time is right we expect those girls to bring back the perfect man to be their husband.”

Why are women nearly disowned and shunned because they may have all male friends or even have a list of male partners they’ve been involved with? Why is it the norm for a man to rack up their numbers close to the hundreds? And it’s not about competition, it’s about equality and acceptance. Rather than trying to keep up with the man, why can’t we be equally accepted like the man is… in all realms and aspects.

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“A key that can open many locks is a master key but a lock that can be opened by many keys is useless”

There are so many elements, so many underlying factors, which brings us to the age old question…

Why does society accept men in a way they wouldn’t accept women… why can men do things freely, that women would be scorned upon… why can men do things women can’t do… why is there a double standard?

Sexually, socially, career-wise, family-orientation-wise, women are seemingly “stuck” peering up unto the glass ceiling.

How do we make a way for women? What can we do to make a difference? How do you feel about this topic? Are you a feminist? Do you support feminism?

 

#NOMAKEUP

Soulful, raspy, sensual, humble, curvaceous, stylish, humanitarian, mogul, actress, pianist, director, singer, and mother, are just some of the words used to describe the one and only, Alicia Keys.

She stole our hearts at the peak of the 2000’s with Fallin’ and kept leading us on with songs like Diary, You Don’t Know My Name, No One, and Girl on Fire. She’s taken a break, started a family, begun directing plays, began fighting for human rights, and somehow in between it all she still managed to make music. It seems that she has a new sound and a new outlook on life based on one of her newest singles, “In Common”. It’s a fresh take on a new love. The song talks about the joys, surprise and worry that someone could possibly love her and accept her for who she is.

One of her newest mantras is the no makeup movement. In the world of today, with no shortage of hip, butt, and lip injections, breast augmentations, skin bleaching, weaves, and makeup it’s no surprise that our girls are beginning to look like full blown women at such a young age. Makeup and the other assets is something women indulge in for various reasons, whether it be simple self-expression or possibly concealing a flaw they may not like, but as a young child turning on the television or even going to the store, seeing everyone dolled up, with extreme curves…I can only imagine going through puberty during this epidemic. Now more than ever, seeing these things could lead the youth to develop low self-esteem, absence of confidence among other things with no one to look up to. Thanks to Alicia Keys and many other women in the industry, we can finally find some inspiration for our girls instead of weeding out all the celebrities.

Alicia Keys published a piece in Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter and made several statements that really made me stop and think.

“Does it start somewhere in second grade after picture day when you wear your frizzy hair out ’cause your mama says it’s beautiful but all your “friends” laugh at you?”

Deny as we may, we’ve all had this feeling. Our outfit wasn’t the best, our shoes weren’t the newest, we might’ve been “late bloomers”, we may have had to wear braces, might’ve had acne, our voice may have been a bit funny sounding, our hair wasn’t the longest or straightest, and our skin wasn’t the smoothest or lightest-as society has taught us, or it might’ve just been a bad day and we forgot to care about how we look for others sake.

“You grab the brush and gel and pull your beautiful big hair back into the tightest ponytail you possibly can to contain your unique hair in a bun — hiding a piece of who you are in order to fit into a picture of what others seem to see as perfection.”

I can remember in elementary school seeing movies like Clueless or Bring it On, and even seeing celebrities like Aaliyah and Beyoncé and looking up to them, in a sense kind of wanting to be them, because they’re so beautiful and must live an awesome life. I can remember in high school, if you didn’t have the new Jordan’s, a pair of True Religions, a designer purse, the most “laid” sew in…. well, you know the rest. At such a young age it’s instilled in us, somehow, that we need to look like this, have this, do this, talk like this, walk like this, etc.

“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.”

I wish I could’ve included the entire article because it was so raw and real. The stigma that Alicia Keys along with many everyday women experience is real! There are many who like putting on a “face” simply because they like it and there are also those who really struggle with their inner happiness and acceptance. They’re not curvy enough so they have to get injections, their butts are a little flatter than some so why not pump it up, lips aren’t as full as her’s: Botox! The list goes on and on. One problem I’ve identified is that we can find 1,000 flaws, but can’t seem to recognize 10 beauties. Alicia Keys wrote a song, “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself”. The lyrics are inspiring: In the morning from the minute that I wake up , What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup, Who says I must conceal what I’m made of , Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem. After receiving so much flack at the recent VMA’s, Alicia Keys tweeted, “Y’all, choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”.  It seems as though people were confused. Alicia simply means that she no longer wants makeup to be her go-to when it comes to being beautiful. She doesn’t want to feel obligated to plaster it on before she leaves the house. She also doesn’t want to put anyone down if they do choose to indulge in it.

The key is self-worth, confidence, and acceptance. Be unashamed, proud, and unapologetic. If you like it wear it, if you want it get it, but if you’re not happy with yourself then you’ll never be able to accept you for you. TLC may have been the best to say it:

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow

You can fix your nose if he says so

You can buy all the make up

That M.A.C. can make

But if you can’t look inside you

Find out who am I too

Be in the position to make me feel

So damn unpretty

I’ll make you feel unpretty too

Let’s follow in Alicia Keys’ footsteps and set an example for others, including our youth.  Here’s a link to the full article. http://www.lennyletter.com/style/a410/alicia-keys-time-to-uncover/

 

#BlackGirlMagic

#WomenofColorWednesday

 

Women of Color Wednesday: Brittany Wright

When I hear the name Brittany Wright, three words instantly come to mind: driven, goal-oriented, motivated, confident, fearless, and bold.ae8923_1505148ae0aa4a0c9d8db23ac62a27c9

Okay, that was way more than three words, but three words just aren’t enough to describe all the Black Girl Magic this girl possesses.

Wright, a native of “the dirty mitten” was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. Upon graduating from the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy in 2011, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring of 2015. She is currently one semester away from completing her Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication with a prospected graduation date of December 16, 2016. She won’t stop there. A Ph.D. in African American Studies is on deck!

Not only is Wright an educated Black woman, but she is also multitalented. “I am so many things, and the majority of which I am not paid for monetarily,” she said. Professionally, Wright is a Media Associate at an international public relations agency where she currently services the clients Walmart and Tylenol. Additionally, Wright is a storyteller, aspiring freelance writer, aspiring blogger, and public speaker.

What’s even more impressive is Wright’s ability to be there for others. “I am a shoulder to cry on, someone who gives strategic advice, a voice for the voiceless and above all, my sister’s keeper.”

When asked what her life mission is, Wright said that it is simply to help others “whether that be to help people actualize their full potential, help people take their brands to the next level, or at work where I help our clients strategically reach their target. Another extension of this could be, by publicly living my truth in hopes that another brown girl, from my hometown perhaps, can see that there is more for her, that she, too, can achieve and reach her level of greatness. Or with my latest project, Bbad Bits: The Podcast Series, where I help elevate Black voices and conjure up possible solutions for Black issues. See the essence of it is still the same, it’s all about helping people. I’ve just found many ways to extend/work on that mission.”

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Yes, yes, YES! Selfless, noble, self-effacing. What every human being should be. I’m here for it.

Wright encourages other women of color to not be selfish with their talents. “There is another brown girl somewhere looking at you as the charter of territory in which they only dreamed of uncovering. Find a way to share your story and your talents, your battles and what eventually allowed for you to prevail.”

Exactly. All of us should be able to see ourselves. Visual identity and representation matters. People need to see themselves in all walks of life, not just their stereotypes. Wright is getting into a space that we hardly see: Black women succeeding in corporate America. It’s women like Brittany Wright that people need to be looking up to. Because of them, we can. I see you, Brittany. Because of you, I can!

She continued, “So often in the Black community there are those who find comfort and eliteness in being exclusive or having some knowledge that is exclusive. Now forgive me for being pro-Black, but they walk through life as if their ancestors passed down a book on how to utilize white privilege to its greatest potential. How to run businesses, how to get the most out of college and so on and so forth. There are a few of us who are passing down this information for free to those who are willing to listen, but there needs to be more of us doing that. We can’t reach a level of success and close the door behind us, but instead look back and reach out.”

Truth! That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Ava DuVernay: “If your dreams don’t include others, they’re not big enough. Include others in your dreams.” Why dream alone when you can dream with your community, with people who have similar aspirations, even with the world? Including others not only makes your dreams stronger, but it also makes them limitless.

11064273_10152709038286851_5864064407383275242_nWright also encourages other women of color to “just do!” She is a strong advocate of a small world that has so much power and meaning. “A lot of Black women and people in general count themselves out before even allowing the ‘approver’ to count them out. So what if you fail, so what if people aren’t rocking with it, so what! You will have to hit so many nos until you get to the yeses that will really turn the game around for you. Be proactive, make a plan and be meticulous by not wavering from that plan. Don’t let someone or something stop you from meeting your end goal. There are a many of people who don’t want to see you make it, but instead of taking that energy and turning it into how to prove them wrong, work on proving yourself right, because in that instance you’re all that matters!”

Preach it, sista. Count on your fingers how many times you’ve been told no, denied, try again next time, you almost had it, you’re not good enough… What number did you come up with? Now look where you are and how those nos has shaped you today. Being told no makes you better, makes you stronger. If everything came easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the process. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, the paths you’ve walked and the steps you’ve taken to reach your objective. Personally, I’d rather be strengthened by a struggle than unchanged by an easy breeze.

When asked what her greatest accomplishment is, she explained – like myself and many other people I know – that she struggled with this question quite a bit. “I even had to reach out to some of my girlfriends like, I’m stuck right now. Part of that is because I’m never content with what I have/am doing now, so I’m constantly looking towards what’s next, leaving no time to focus on the ‘successes’ and ‘accomplishments.’”

Raise your hand up high if you’re the type of person that’s never satisfied, always hungry for more, and always aiming to achieve greater! I know I’m never satisfied; I’m always aiming to do more and be more instead of appreciating what I have accomplished and been successful at. That mindset just comes from the fact that when you know that you were cut from a different cloth, you feel like you have to live up to those expectations of being unique and being the best.

She continued, “After some thought (help) though, I would have to say moving to Chicago, for multiple reasons. Before actually moving, everyone was petrified, but me, because only I could see the vision I had for myself. Prior to moving I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish here in Chicago and to my surprise, three years later I’ve blown past that list and have done things that my 19-year-old self would not have believed.FullSizeRender Also, prior to coming to Chicago is when I gave birth to bbadpr, which has served as a platform for me to inspire and create change. Bbadpr has opened me up to give workshops, speaking engagements, blogs, podcasts, freelance writing, career consulting, and more. I think for me, the biggest accomplishment was being unafraid and fearlessly conquering what I knew was meant for me.”

I can relate to this in so many ways. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you even if no one else agrees. You have to take control of your life, execute your plan, and seek to make the visions you have for yourself a reality even if no one else can see or believe them.

Through the good days, and the bad, Wright encourages herself to, “Dream into the unknown. Pray. Spend a lot of time alone, and in your thoughts. Understand who you are, what your purpose is and where you want to go. Help people, let people help you, and always remember to help yourself.”

If you’re feeling inspired and want to continue following her journey, check out Brittany Wright’s website, blog, and podcast!

Thank you, Brittany, for all that you do and all that you are. You embody everything that a Black woman should be. I’ve been looking up to you for years now. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration for Black women like me that want to make a change and motivate others to chase their dreams. Your brilliance, wisdom, and vision for yourself is going to take you so far. I can’t wait to see all of the astounding goals that you will continue to accomplish, and never stop being the voice and the representation that women of color need.

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The Year of Why Not. 

By Jillynn Reese

Last Friday, I was blessed to see my twenty-fourth birthday. While being super excited for year 24, I explained to all my family and friends just how different it feels. Recently graduating from Western Michigan University, I’ve been interning at ArtPrize.org in the communication department. This was a goal a year ago,  working in my field in all. I finally feel like an adult.


Ofcourse, I’ve been on my own for the past 5 years, but I was always a dependent student. I’ve come to the realization that, I call the shots in my life from here on out.  College was forced, my parents weren’t playing that. Since graduation I’ve been pondering on what’s next after this internship. So my Bestfriend and I are declaring year 24 as the #YearofWhyNot.
Since there is so much I want to accomplish by 25, there is no excuse for this ordinary life I live. I don’t want to be ordinary and neither should you. The year of “why not” is challenging us to step out our comfort zones and take charge of our life and the goals we will accomplish.


In a few months, I’ll be returning to Detroit to live with my parents. During this time, I will be investing in my brand. Developing my business and exposing my skills to the world. So far, I’ve started my personal blog (Click here to check that out), I’ve joined this awesome network of social bees :), I’ve joined the snapchat takeover challenge for this platform and I’ve started working on a business plan. So I’m on a roll. I encourage every millennial and recent graduate to take charge and invest in your passions.

Why should you be asking, why not? Simply because you are the only person who can stop you from experiencing your optimal life. Most times it’s usually money or fear that keeps us from living. This is where sacrafice comes into play, take those moments to self-improve.

Here is some advice I’ve recently received; monitor your time, are you allocating the proper time to your goals. If not, eliminate unnecessary task in your day. Also, have you taken advantage of each opportunity presented to you? If not, why?

Write it down.

Your only limit is you. Get out of your way! Stop allowing self-sabotage to keep you from your dream life. Make the promise to yourself to live optimally, and whatever that looks like for you will happen. You just have to move.

You’ve got this!

Being You!

“In a world full of Kardashians, be a Letty” or “In a world full of Kardashians, be Ayesha Curry” are two meme captions that perfectly describes the story behind this post. Be you. It’s just that simple. Don’t let society pick who you are going to be; be who and whatever makes you happy. If you are sincerely a Letty, an Ayesha Curry or even a Kardashian, be that and be the best you that you can be!

Continue reading Being You!

Get Edumacated

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It’s 7am, and first hour has just begun. Sleepy eyed and groggy with a bag full of books, we were probably dreading the rest of the day and counting down the days until graduation and also thinking how the Pythagorean theorem or the periodic table of elements was going to help us in our everyday life.

How many times have we promised ourselves we were just going to get a factory job to avoid the stress?

Who has ever joked with their friends about finding a “sugar mama” or “sugar daddy” to support their lifestyles?

First start. Preschool. Kindergarten. Elementary school. Middle school. High school and, not to mention, latchkey and day care.

Education is so important, and it would be a relentless job to stress the many reasons why.

So many people argue that school isn’t for everyone. And though, this much is true, considering the 300 million people in America, chances are there’s something for everyone.

According to Findlaw.com, compulsory education is the requirement of all children in the United States to be educated, at least until the reach of high school, then the child has the “choice” to continue on or not.

I went to a public school within my hometown. The school received an exemplary status from the city’s school board but I wasn’t too moved by it, I thought the teachings were pretty common and that we all knew the same kinds of things…but I was wrong.

Coming to college has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as well as an experience that has widely opened my eyes. Sitting in the student union one day, catching up on an assignment while I wait for my next class, I overhear a conversation. Someone asks what country the Olympics were being held in. The other said “the one with the blue and yellow flag”, “ooh, you mean Portuguese”. My face instantly drooped; I was dumbfounded.

Firstly, the 2016 Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their flag’s colors are blue, green, yellow, and white. Portuguese is NOT a country, but it is the language that the Brazil natives speak. Portugal is a country located in Europe, next to Spain, that colonized Brazil and… UGH. I could’ve gone on and on inside my brain. Social media has made it a game to post math problems relative to 5th grade learning that so many people have failed at answering. Some of the comments people post implore that their answer is right and that they know P.E.M.D.A.S and other math tools. Having conversations with people can be frustrating as well. They may try to include more complex words that they may have heard or possibly have read up on but they use it or pronounce it so incorrectly, its horrifying. “He had the odacitely (audacity) to ask me that”, but they know every word to Future’s new song, and can tell you how to “cook and move work” and go “OT” providing Young Dolph and Gucci Mane’s instructions.

Sure, others paid more attention in history class than others, but these things are common knowledge that I thought everyone had. Sort of like comma usage, proper grammar practice, the differences between to, too, and two-their, they’re, there- rather, whether… UGH there I go again…I could go on.

Some argue that college is a conspiracy and that they’d just prefer to become an entrepreneur and open their own business. While you don’t need a degree to do so, higher education provides classes, training, and networking opportunities for the fields of interest. How can one be a business owner with no known knowledge of a business plan or how to manage nonetheless keep track of gross and net income?

A four-year university is not the end all-be all like our families, teachers, or media has lead us to believe. There are shorter-term education options that can still give us a desirable outcome. Community colleges, trade/vocational schools, realty classes, culinary schools, CNA or other medical licensing, schools for beauty and barber… the list goes on and on.

Education is important. There are no ifs ands or buts. Education allows for learning, growth, new opportunities, networking, chances to earn better pay, flexible schedules and programs, online options, and great experiences are just some of the pros for seeking a higher education. Even if you don’t finish out, or seek a degree per se, but simply desire some new useful knowledge and skill sets, there’s something for everyone.

In the world of today, with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump running for president, the #blacklivesmatter movement, as well as the police brutality epidemic at large, why wouldn’t you want to #staywoke and educated?

What do you think? Is school worth the hassle? Should there be a law requiring everyone to receive education? Have you found yourself constantly correcting others?

B Educated!

Among other things,

B Honest B Humble B You!

-domo.dub

 

Women of Color Wednesday: Taylor Winter Wilson

ALWAYSSUMMERTaylor Winter Wilson is a force to be reckoned with. A young black women who is building her empire as we speak. Taylor is a student at Eastern Michigan University studying Media Relations and Journalism.

 

Tell us more about yourself and your future endeavors ?

I’m a 21 year old college student currently building my brand. I love to write, that has been my first love since I was a little girl, but as I’m growing into a young women I’m starting to fall in love with the beauty industry as well. Although I feel like it’s already saturited with 1 million hair companies I decided to become apart of it because it’s one of my passions. So many people come to me for advice on hair companies based off of me always having my hair done or my YouTube reviews, that I was like wow I’m putting so many people on when I can be doing this myself. I know a lot about hair so people already trust my judgement. I feel like they know I will sell quality products because my reviews are always so honest and straight to the point. Media wise I still would like to persue journalism by writing for a magazine and I recently became an intern for Galore Magazine which took me 6 months to get but not giving up and connections really helped me land this internship. With Bronze Beauties, I would love for it to remain a student organization at EMU, while expanding to MSU, Western, Wayne State, etc. Black womanhood & sisterhood is so important especially in college that I feel like every campus can benefit from it. Being in organizations, giving back to the community and building professional & personal relationships really helps your college experience become a more positive and memorable one. I hope to also learn more about makeup and become a makeup artist. I have began to take 1-on-1 courses and build relationships with people already in the beauty industry. So it may seem like I have a million and one things going on but I’m really focused on achieving any goal I set and dabbing into any and everything I’m interested in.

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What are you currently involved in?

I’m currently the Preisdent and 1 of 7 founders of a non-profit student organization “Bronze Beauties”. The purpose of this organization is to bring together minority women at my University and give back to the less fortunate and help better our community. We will be expanding to other Universities within the upcoming years. I’m also a member of the Public Relations Student Soceity of America and working on joining NAACP and Soceity of Professional Journalists.

What are some thing a you want to do to impact your community?

A few weeks ago I created this event I found on Pintrest called “Blessing Bags”, it’s really a popular thing that people do all over the country but no one locally has ever done it that I personally know. So my organization and I created bags with our own money filled with food & toiletries and went to Downtown Detroit to pass them out. It was a great feeling and I look forward to doing it again.image

 

Taylor’s Favs:

1.Youtuber- Aaliyah Jay, she’s so pretty and her makeup is always PERFECT
2.Make Up Product- NARS foundation has literally changed my life, great company for brown skin and black women in general
3. Candy- Chick-O-Stick* I haven’t eaten these in years but they’re so good
4. Music Artists/ Song- Beyonce goes without saying but lately I’ve fallen for Tory Lanez. Also I love PartyNextDoor, Bryson Tiller, Dom Kennedy, Nipsey Hussle, Ab-Soul, Drake, etc.

Taylor is really making an impact in her community while following her dreams! be sure to follow her on ig:taylorwinter as well as her org: bronze.beauties!

If you know of her another Women of Color Worthy of acknowledgement, let us know!

Women of Color Wednesday: Laurie Hernandez

Lauren (Laurie) Hernandez is the first US-born Latina to make Team USA for the Olympics since Tracee Talavera in 1984. Hernandez is on her way to the Olympics in #Rio2016, and is excited to be representing Puerto Rico and Hispanics everywhere. 3a4b04_746e3599a6734aad8ce298c294d8d30d.jpgHer floor routine truly embraces her roots, which is an infusion of Latin-inspired music and dance moves.

The second generation Purtero Rican was born in New Brunswick, NJ, on June 9, 2000.

The very sassy, “young Shakira” started gymnastics at the young age of 5 years old. Currently, she is one of the youngest American athletes to compete at this year’s Olympics. Wowing the judges at the Olympics trial, Hernandez scored first place in Beam, and second in All-Around.

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Her road to stardom was not easy. She had to take six months off in 2014 after a series of injuries, including a fractured wrist, torn patella ligament, and dislocated knee. However, she overcame her injuries and came back stronger than ever.

She will compete on the USA Gymnastics team alongside Simone Biles (19), Gabby Douglas (20), Ally Raisman (22), and Madison Kocian (19).

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I cannot wait for #Rio2016. I will be rooting for you, Laurie Hernandez. Stay sassy, and I know you are going to KILL IT!