My Black is Beautiful

I appreciate myself everyday

What does that entail?

Taking care of myself wholly

Spiritually

Physically

Mentally

Financially

No one can do it better than you

Your Black is Beautiful

Better believe it!

Caribguhl

Villagetalk

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African Beauty standards

African Beauty standards

Edits Elba by David Simon Times 100
Challe Brownes blog
Samuel Jackson
Avionne Mark Ms. Trinidad & Tobago 2012 Ms. Universe
Bachelor Montano Hot 97.1
As Africans it has been difficult finding and especially seeing consistent, positive images of Africans in any form of media.

Black Madonna & Child Pinterest

If images are shown they are usually watered down to have a feature somewhat representative but never an authentic African. Usually very Eurocentric rather than Afrocentric.

Adapting to the Eurocentric

Secondly, the positive images of African women and men are downplayed, instead more negative images of gangsters, prostitutes, drug dealers and loud obnoxious people and let’s not forget the buffoons, who are typically cast via media, even within our own circles they have become acceptable as a norm unfortunately.

Beautiful African woman in turban

Christi African Man

The reasons it has become a norm is simple. It was made acceptable and attractive in all the entertainment venues as easy way to to make quick money, and lots of it. Comedy, TV Sitcoms , and even theatre has now become acceptable broadly by everyone.

Lorenzo Knight African Woman

The stereotypes are so powerful the regular man on the street is convinced everyone african represents one or the other of the negative caricature I mentioned earlier.

Blackish

Our communities are represented as violent and not good places to raise children or families. Homes are undervalued and businesses come only to take the money we spend, but they do not reinvest due to real estate value and “ghetto” looking areas.

Black Wall Street

Our beauty standards are the same as any other community but no one wants us to magnify and raise ourselves up. When we try, we are systematically dragged back into place. This is evident every day by the shameful acts of violence against us daily by some law enforcement and even regular people on the street who would usually wear hoods and masks to do their dirty deeds, but have now become more brazen in their acts by calling the police on African persons perceived to be in an environ not “normal” for African persons like a park, the beach playing volleyball, a college campus, OR imagine this…in front of a building waiting for an Uber.

Beaching while black

What does all of this has to do with beauty? Well think about it. Most non Africans display themselves or depict themselves in media as angelic, beautiful, serene, soft spoken, articulate , business like etc. and they are oftentimes treated as how they are depicted, whether or not it’s who they actually are. This is very deceptive marketing.

Blacks and whites see racism very differently CNN.com

But no matter how an African person is cast , he nor she cannot escape the stereotypes. Not on the job, not in media, and certainly not in real life.

Raquel Gates

So where do we go from here? We collectively have to refuse those roles which continue to stereotype us. Demand more Africans in magazines and in modeling by spending our dollars responsibly. I say we because it has to begin with us. We can’t expect anyone to do it for us. Look at us 400-500 years later. Be honest…what has changed? Where is our infrastructure? Where are our financial institution, our schools and our organizations?

African American history

Everyone else has theirs. We do not. Everyone else seems to function well within their own sets of rules and norms but as soon as we try to do the same we get reverse racism thrown as a wrench at us.

Affirmative Action

We get the Bible thrown at us, and we get embroiled in political shenanigans which has nothing to do with us because nothing politicians do benefits Afro communities.

Is religion used as an opium to the people or as useful means of domination for politicians? - Agnostic.com

We can only change our outlook, including our images and beauty standard by looking within ourselves.

We have to love ourselves and each other.

VillageTalk BY Caribguhl

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ConnectionS

ConnectionS

If you’ve ever lived in a village or hamlet styled community, you will immediately understand the importance of connectionS.

ConnectionS bring us together and reflects our humanity. ConnectionS demands importance of elders, children, leadership, love, and respect in the continuity of life.

Everything is cyclical so without the connectionS we are not able to perpetuate generationally the ConnectionS which bring us together and reflects our humanity. ConnectionS demands importance of elders, children, leadership, love, and respect in the continuity of life, traditions, norms, rules, laws and values.

ConnectionS creates a well balanced, intuitive and grounded community which can then flourish because they are all actively invested in their community and themselves.

Living in bigger cities our connectionS become strained, saturated and unfortunately in far too many cases, non-existent.

We begin to lose value for morality, culture and life. We observe suffering and treat it as normal. Homelessness, distress and destitution are a regular observance in our own families, community, on trains, buses and subways daily. We have become callous and only move to satiate our conscience during holidays, with acts of goodwill. But on normal days we pass the needy without a wink of an eye. We’ve lost our innate sense of connection.

My cousin VB’s contribution:
“what I will say is that back in the day community had it’s negative as well.. too rigid, people weren’t always free to speak their mind’s, perverted people went unnoticed because people trusted ‘pillars of society’ folk with their children…. So there is good and bad in old and modern society…”. Well said and valuable feedback VB. Thank you.

My Aunt Joy Herbert Headley’s contribution:

“ Boom!!!. Excellent. Connections also create accountability which is why our children are not being taught this directly or indirectly. More and more as we are living in gated communities or new housing developments, etc. where people come from all walks of life and generations who haven’t grown up together or lived in the the same neighbourhood for a long duration of time, we are losing our connectivity. It’s a silent epidemic.” Yes indeed Aunt Joy it’s a balance as we can clearly see. Thanks Aunty.

My cousin Donna Sylvester contribution: “Agreed!
and you know what?
As far as ethnic groups we have over the years … Migrated as individuals.
Chineese, Indians they move as groups and that has made it worse for us. It makes us more vulnerable and disconnected from our traditions … As a group we have done the most assimilation to other cultures.” Such wisdom. We have to hold on to our history and culture no matter what. But how do we maintain the connectionS in light of all the obstacles?

My friend Lincoln Roland:

“It’s fact! not much to add as I’ll start babbling but definitely there have been many generational re adjustments that has contributed to this worldwide form disconnect, gradually spiraling itself as far back in the earlier years, when everyone and section was seeking rights and with that in the atmosphere, an infectious over view of things that was observed as ” A MUST DO, SHOULD DO or SAY” has become the ” IF I WANT TO BECAUSE OF CHOiCE I DON’T HAVE TO” also too because there’s much more of what is known as wickedness about and misinterpretations galore incorporated with a dose of lazy; babbling too long.” Not babbling my friend but valid and valuable insight.

We have to balance between the old and the new while still ensuring safety of the next generation and acknowledge the negative impacts around us, not being oblivious. Allowing ourselves to maturate, enrich ourselves financially but keep our values regardless. Teach our children good morals by example and by whom we allow them to associate. Finally, we are a result of our ancestors. Why forget them? Why not embrace them? Learn from their good and bad and move forward with positive energy.

Let’s have an Ubuntu life…I am because we are.

Crystal Simmons

There is only one me

There’s only one me

I seem to reflect on this one thought ever so often.

The first reason being, it is a fact.

There’s only one me.

Secondly, the earlier in life we begin to understand, internalize and more importantly accept this fact, so much more fall into place for us and our authenticity allows us to have peace and many things suddenly make more sense. For one, you accept all of your imperfections and you relate and communicate as you view you view yourself, as a diamond, genuine and priceless. Secondly, how others view you does not fluster you because you are you to yourself and that’s uncompromising and refreshing.

Thirdly, there is a tremendous amount of power and freedom harnessed in acceptance of oneself as you are.

Fourthly, but not the last, those around you appreciate you more because you’ve accepted yourself, are comfortable within that framework of who you are and that makes you a more enjoyable and loveable person.

After that one, genuine, authentic you…there won’t be another. The mold can only be cut once so enjoy every moment you can so you can laugh and smile at yourself with others and at the memories each day. Not the end of your days.

Our Hair and Nail dilemma

credit to Desenho Afro Tumbler882ec09d889ac7894a5b72cd5a993b82

Industry

Just imagine my dissatisfaction at the fact that “almost” an entire industry is geared towards making money by sacrificing our nails and hair.

I started braiding my own hair maybe fifteen years ago, prior to that I would go to personal stylists who were exceptional but costly. I started learning how to do my own braided extensions and crochet braids. It was a journey because along the way I observed so much and was so dismayed about the industry trends concerning natural hair.

Community Initiatives Needed

Many black women own salons but many are refusing to bring their salon up to standard and keep the quality on par with competitors in other communities.  Plus everyone else who own services for the black woman,  wants our money, exploits the community and do not provide any services to rival the money we spend.

Asian businesses only resell hair and products, and they sell you anything. The don’t care if it is good for our hair or not. There is no education, just stock. Another prevelant and disturbing issue is blatant disrespect for women of color by the asian business owners, and refusal to empower the community they service with employment. More recently I’ve seen these businesses are in fact hiring women of color into their businesses. Kudos to them but it seems the employment is usually as a store clerk, very rarely positions in management, financials, etc. but it’s a start.  Let’s see some improvement please.

hair-products

I would like to see a vast improvement of this is the Asian beauty salons.   100% of their staff are generally Asians and most are freshly immigrated, barely any English and loads of back talking to customers in another language. As significant as we are to business owners financially, then customer service should be radically improved as well as employment to re-circulate in our own communities.

Personal Experiences

I’ve had to cease going to one salon in Brooklyn and more recently another here in Queens, NY due to substandard conditions, poor communication, hygiene and here’s the kicker, the stylist refusal to stop drilling my nails. I saw a marked weakening of my nails and inquired,  but was told it had something to do with my nails. So I decided to do a little experiment, as I’m primed to doing whenever hogwash is thrown my way, you see? So I went maybe six months or nine without salons. I removed all nail polish, filed my own nails and did clear only. Of course my nails restored to their original strength and beauty. Foolish me, wanting to have the glitz and fancy, went back again and behold my nails started weakening again. I brought it to the owner’s attention and again they refused to stop using drills.

Dangerous Tools

s-l1000

Drills increase productivity and profit. They can work faster and therefore turn over more customers and ultimately make more money bottom line. No one but the health department can enforce this madness.  I won’t get into the negative effects of the nail drying techniques using the acrylics and gel.  Consistent and long-term use of these ultraviolet light may not contradict our original intent, which is to take care of ourselves, look our best but these methods of application and drying may not be the most holistic.  I’ve attached a  link to research and educate on the dangers of the gel method and perhaps other alternatives to get beautiful nails  Potential dangers to Gel polish

But ladies just think about your nails and how much money you are pouring into having acrylics, gels and tips. Is it worth it? Try it for 30 60 days and free yourself of the financial burden of keeping your own nails beautiful – except under the surface your nails are a hot mess.

We just want to be naturally  beautiful

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Our hair is an entirely different story.  The industry has to improve overall. These businesses if they are going to operate in our community have to be vested there as well. Only you can impact on this issue ladies.  Want change and better yet empower your community more.  Start by ensuring  your local businesses are hiring local girls, banking in your community and supporting community endeavors. You will see their true colors soon enough.  We can be beautiful without compromising our natural selves, while empowering our communities,  by ensuring some basic rules are established and followed.

Crystal

I am a Beautiful Black Woman

Image

I am a beautiful black woman

Reading two specific articles online yesterday had me wrought with sadness and ambivalence.  Reading Black Women,Sexual Assault and the Art of Resistance I felt very divided and could not articulate a response to the blog.  The author herself Brooke Axtell I believe wrote a balanced article, but the follow up comments were disparaging.  The article’s intent were to present facts pertaining to Black Women, Sexual Assault and the Art of Resistance, but the commentaries were biased, political, racist, and one sided with the exception of one comment.

To further add insult to injury, I read another article Why Black Women are Less Physically Attractive than other Women, but Black Men are rated better looking than other Men? which totally made me sadder than sad.  The word is despondent. The article was totally destructive and malicious!!  This article was eventually pulled from the site but was originally written by Satoshi Kanazawa in the Scientific Fundamentalist Psychology Today.

On Mr. Kanazawa’s page there is the following quote:

“If the truth offends people, it is our job as scientists to offend them.  Wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen.

“If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem.  If what I say offends you, it is your problem.”

Prepare to be offended. 

What Mr. Kanazawa says is indeed offensive,  and I agree it is my problem.  However, what he said is also very illogical and lacks total credible scientific evidence.  This man has taken it upon himself to make an assessment of black women vs. other women, which is remarkable.  If he does not find black women to be attractive I think that is personal, but his blatant inaccuracies are off base, illogical and wrong.  I hope he is prepared to be offended.

As he can see from my picture I am a beautiful black woman, and I come from a lineage of beautiful black women.  As a race of people, and I am not talking about the black race, we are all beautiful.  Mr. Kanazawa’s assessment of black women shows his lack of vision, insight, intelligence and perception of people generally.  He must suffer from tunnel vision and should be prepared himself to be offended, because while he  may not be alone in his skewed belief and thinking.  I know this to be a total falsehood.

Crystal Simmons