Tuesday, January 31, 2012

HairSpiration: Skai Jackson

One of my girls' new fave shows is Jessie on Disney Chanel. I spotted one of the cutest naturals, Skai Jackson, in a lush twistout and a loose pony tail twistouts. ADORABLE! I'm really hoping that I'll see more young girls in fab natural styles like this on TV.
By the way, her character is Zuri Ross. Jackson is 9, from NYC, and she's been acting since 2007, according to her Wikipedia page.

Check her out in action. #teamnatural

Monday, January 30, 2012

Viola Davis Looks Magnificent in Marchesa

Actress Viola Davis wowed the red carpet at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in L.A. over the weekend.

She looks DIVINE in this Marchesa gown. The white and gold accents beautifully accent her complexion. I love everything about this look! By the way, she snagged the SAG Best Actress award for her role in The Help. The Help co-star Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Acress.

Could an Oscar be not far away?

How to Shop For Less At Discount Retailers -- 3 Tips to Save Big

I was talking to a group of women the other day about discount shopping, and let me just say that there is a science to it.

Most people fall into two camps:

Camp A: You'll a label "whore" who pays full price, and you don't want to schlep around store-to-store for a deal.

Camp B: You aren't a slave to labels, like the option of paying a discount, and you'll search hell or high water to find a deal.

I fall into Camp B. In fact, unless I absolutely need something, rarely will I pay full price for something at a major retailer.

Here's how to score savings:

1. Shop discount stores like Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Loehmann's. First, you have to look through the racks. This step alone stops most people, but if you are willing to look, you can score major deals --- many times, the same things that are in department stores.
These stores sell Michael Kors, Guess, Calvin Klein and other brands -- many times, current season wares at at least a 20% discount. Officially, TJ Maxx/Marshalls say their goods are 60% discounted, and that's true in many cases. You can typically find current, this/last season deals for a good price -- if you are willing to comb the racks!

2. Don't wait -- buy! If you see a Calvin Klein Trench coat for $39.99 at Ross, snag it.  When you come back, it most likely will be gone. Better to buy and return than to not buy at all. Merchandise at discount stores moves fast -- what's on the rack today may not be there tomorrow.

Go early, and often (find out which days their deliveries come in) to snag the best deals. Since turnover is so frequent,  there are often markdowns on top of the discounted price. In fact, I always head to the clearance racks first at Ross.

And don't be afraid to ask for more of a discount if an item is worn or damaged. Not sure what their "official" policy is, but I believe that all returned items are marked down. I saw a dress with a whole in it. I'm not seamstress, but I knew I could quickly repair it with a needle and thread.

I asked a cashier if I could get an additional discount.  It was late, she seemed tired and she said "no." The next morning, I picked up the same dress for $14.99, asked a different cashier, and got a 10% discount. SCORE!

Lesson 1: Ask a manager.
Lesson 2: Be strategic, and nice never hurts! Try not to ask for discounts at the end of the day, when staff is tired. You may be able to get a discount if there are lines.

Another good deal: A few weeks ago, I picked up a pair of black patent leather platform pumps by Guess. They were $13.99, but had a few scuff marks. I asked the manager if they could do an additional markdown (10% is standard) but she gave me 25% and they were final returns.

Some Marshalls stores even have layaway. Also, find out which stores you like best, because not all of them are the same in terms of merchandise, product selection or store layout.

3. Frequent online shopping clubs. I haven't bought from online shopping clubs, many people love them. You have to be a member, and clubs like HauteLook.com and Gilt.com offer steep discounts on top brands. Score high-end brands like Prada, Fendi, or other not-so-well known brands. I've seen some pretty good deals. Most sites say shipping takes about 10 days. If you're willing to wait, I say go for it!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Funky Braid Out Pin Up On Natural Hair

I saw this vid on CurlyNikki.com today. I think it's a quick, easy natural style that looks funky and fly!

@LuvBeInNatural uses Cantu Shea Butter for her braid out. I have so-so results with it in my hair, but I love how her hair is uber defined. Cantu costs $5 at Wal Mart, so maybe I'll give it another try. My main problem with my twists and braid outs is that they don't last long enough. I have to redo them every night, which I think is too much manipulation.

I may post a YT vid about my results.

How do you get your braidouts to last? Will you try this style?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nicki Minaj Disses Natural Hair -- Again!

Why am I not surprised by this?

Rapper Nicki Minaj disses natural hair -- for the second time!

This time, Nicki throws more shade in her song, "Stupid H--"

"Them nappy headed hoes but my kitchen good."

This isn't the first time Nicki has put down naturals.  On a single on her first album, "Did It on "Em," Nick raps:

"These little nappy headed hoes need a perminator."

Natural Hair Shade Never Stops
Sometimes, I get so tired of  blogging about natural hair put downs. The stories get old, real quick. Even more so when it's from your own. I'm not surprised, though, just disappointed.

I mean, really. If I published a blog on every time someone said something stupid about natural hair, I'd have an endless supply of material. From Don Imus's famous "Nappy Headed Hoes" comment to the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team in 2007, to actor Isaiah Mustafa stating his preference for his girlfriend and children to have "good" hair, to talk show host Wendy Williams and actress Brandy saying that her child would have "good" hair on national TV, I'm so done.

I halfheartedly expect it from someone like Don Imus, but then I have to ask: Do I expect more from a woman who is rumored to have an oversized, surgically enhanced butt? Wait, she wants the ass of a Black woman, but not the hair of a Black woman?

Ironic, huh?

Why I'm So Disappointed
Nicki is in awesome position. She's the top selling female rapper. It's been years since we've seen a rapper of her stature, not since the 90s when rappers like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Lil' Kim ranked at the top of the charts.

But you wouldn't know it by Nicki's Stupid H-- lyrics, with "Bi--- and H-- throughout the song. Downright insulting.

With her so-called Pink Barbie fans, flamboyant outfits and even her largess of brightly colored wigs, she influences a lot of young girls. Her voice has power, her words have weight. I expect more from her.

She's a rapper.

I get it.

She's supposed to be controversial, cutting edge.

But why at our expense?

Why You Won't See Lots of These Stories on HairNista.Com
I'm going to be careful not to hype up all of the natural hair negativity. By writing about it constantly, we give it life. That doesn't mean you won't see some stories about the topic on HairNista.com.

We'll report it, but not emphasize it.

I don't want to report ratchetness.

Yes, it exists. And probably always will.

But we'll fight it by uplifting what others put down.

By being proud of what others go disparage.

By wearing, with no apologies, our kinky, coily, curly natural hair.

What do you think about Nikki's comments? Are we too sensitive about natural hair put downs or are we rightly justified?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thrift Store Haul: How To Look Fierce For Under $30

Hey HairNistas,

This is my first YT fashion vid.

My 10-year old daughter shot it, which, I think she did a good job for her first time shooting a YT vid. See the old TVs we were waiting to move into the garage on my dining room floor?

The cutest part of all is my dog, Teddy, making a cameo apperance. He wants to be a YouTube star!

Let me know what you think. Not so sure I'm feeling this one, (gotta get used to seeing and hearing myself on camera) but there will be others. I plan for this to be a regular feature, showcasing my style. I promise the next one will have better lighting (though I just might add another cameo of Teddy into the vid) LOL and a HairNista YT channel is in the works.

Do you like the vid? What are your suggestions for improvement? Please view, rate and comment on my video.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Trend: Bright Suits

In a fashion move that's eerily reminiscent of the bright color trend circa 1990s, bright colored suits are back again.

Umm... been there, done that. Tracy Ellis Ross rocks it here in this modified silk-like suit. This is doable, and it's something I'd wear, though perhaps a nude or leopard shoe or bag. Too much red for me.

Neon colors? Hell, no!

Why I Hate Black, Blue and Gray Suits
Not a big fan of black suits, gray and navy suits. They're so, so blah. I know they may be requirements in certain industries, but those colors are so devoid of color and leave me feeling so lifeless.

I need color in my life. When I do wear a suit -- I'm more of a dress girl -- I have to either wear a bright top, accessories or something that make me feel like I'm not going to a funeral.

Would you wear a bright color suit? Or is just too much?

New Black Hair Documentary: In Our Heads About Our Hair

Source: In Our Heads About Our Hair trailer

The fascination with Black hair continues, this time with filmmaker's Hemamset Angaza's documentary, "In Our Heads About Our Hair."

According to an article in Coco and Creme, the film is a humorous and candid documentary that delves into how hair is tied into self esteem and promotes acceptance of all styles. While I'll go on the record and say that more -- not less -- information about our natural hair is needed, I'd like to see the issue examined a bit further.

What About Us?
What's missing is a natural hair documentary from a Black woman's perspective. After all, when it comes to Black hair, who knows it better than Black women? Not saying that men don't have their issues -- they do -- but a woman's crown is her glory and it's a burden that we largely bear.

I know men are inextricably tied to our hair; I get that. One of my top HairNista posts that still gets the most traffic months later is about a husband threatening to leave his wife over her natural hair. Blogs about natural hair and dating -- rather, if natural hair will turn off or turn on men --will be controversial, guaranteed.

Why "Good Hair" Was A Good Start, But More Is Needed
Chris Rock's "Good Hair" a few years ago featured Black women like actresses Meagan Good and Nia Long, but it was still written, I felt, from a man's perspective. It was a good first shot, but it barely scratched the surface. Rock's Good Hair was lighthearted and a good first start, but our hair care practices extend far beyond $1,500 weaves.

I'd love to see a more historical perspective about Black hair -- there is a reason why we act the way we do when it comes to hair -- that needs to be explored to fully understand our hair struggles.And so many women are going natural that it's a topic that needs to be explored as well.

There are so many cultural "land mines" when it comes to Black hair; only now are we just starting to understand how we are affected by our hair, the systemic dislike of it that has been historically passed down for generations, and how to love our kinks, curls and coils.

In Our Heads About Our Hair will be shown at the New Voices In Black Cinema Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in February. No word on other dates in other cities.

What would you like to see in a black hair documentary? Are you a fan or not a fan of hair documentaries like Good Hair?

Monday, January 23, 2012

HairCandy: BlkGirlsRock.Tumblr.com

You ever have days when you need some HairSpiration?

Your hair just won't, can't, act right. Nothing works. You don't know if you should chop it all off, flat iron it, slick it back, wash and go it or bun it (you only have so much time to get ready). Everything but perm it!

When I get like that (and today was one of those days) I like to go to my go-to site -- blkgirlsrock.tumblr.com. I'm sure I'll find lots of drool worthy photos that will snap me out of my hair funk and leave my *kinda* inspired to try new styles.

From luscious dreads and amazing fros to bad a** twistouts and everything in between, this site offers a bevy of styles for the natural woman.

Take a look at this hair candy. Feeling inspired? Yup, I thought so!

Stunning! Braidout?

I love swooped over, funky hair!

Don't know who she is, but can I tell you that I LOVE her hair?


Elegant loced updo and beautiful colors on her rich skin tone.

Don't have locs, but this style sure makes me want to.

Carefree curls.

Photos: All found on BlkGirlsRock.Tumblr.com

"Good" Hair on National TV

A few weeks ago, I wrote about "good" hair and how we need to redefine it.

No sooner than that blog came out, now we have to deal with this sort of foolishness about "good hair" by talk show host Wendy Williams and singer/actress Brandy.

Wendy: "If you have a baby with him, the baby will have good hair."

Brandy: "Yes."

Full disclosure: I didn't see the show last week, but the comments were widely reported on blogs, including KisforKinky.com. I haven't heard anything from Wendy or Brandy's camps that the comments were inaccurate.


Really, Wendy and Brandy?


Why Black Folks Know Exactly What "Good" Hair Means

If there's one thing that's tied to being Black in America, it's the term "good" hair. Sure, black people in other areas of the world deal with it too, but I'd say that we are particularly obsessed with it stateside.

Folks gauge their infants' baby hair to see if it will be "good."

I've heard of others giving their 2 and 3 year old daughters perms, presumably, to achieve "good" hair.
Women even make decided to have children based on if the man has "good" hair -- doesn't matter if he's good Daddy material, but he got that good hair!

If you are Black and in the U.S., you likely know what the word means -- either you were teased for not having it or were told you were prettier because you had it. I'm sure white folks in Wendy's audience and around the country were like, "Huh?" Unless they live around people of color, they had no freaking idea what they were talking about.

A Damn Shame

Wendy is too old for that mess. I like her, but  I have yet to see her real hair -- though she has said she's got long, "good" hair underneath her stable of wigs. And Brandy? Maybe I'm wrong, but perhaps I can't expect more from woman who, like Wendy, her hair is weaved/braided up on the regular. Brandy and Wendy's real hair could be down to their ankles, but you'd never know it. I don't EVA remember Brandy wearing "her" hair out -- even when she was a young teenager.

Why, oh, why, are our damn insecurities about our hair served on a platter on national TV for the whole damn world to see and pick apart. I'm no psychologist, but this is why everyone and their Momma goes hard on Black women -- because we do it publicly for all to see! White women have insecurities about their hair, too.

But I don't see them on TV talking about that ish!

Get Rid of or Redefine "Good" Hair?

Folks have buried the N-word. Can we please bury the term "good" hair as it relates to hair texture, density and curl pattern? Or at least do it like the N-word and redefine it to mean healthy hair? Yeah, I know that the natural hair community likes to say that good hair is healthy hair.

But it's clear that most of the world outside of hair blogs, YouTube vids and hair forums don't feel that way.

What do you think?

Was it wrong for Wendy and Brandy to discuss "good" hair on national TV? Do you even care?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why You Need to See Red Tails THIS Weekend!

And now a break from your regularly scheduled hair and fashion programming ...

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with hair or fashion, but everything to do with supporting Black cinema.

Seriously, go, no, RUN and see Red Tails this weekend!

Just came back from seeing it while on date night with the hubs. And can I say that we LOVED it! I walked in the theatre hoping -- no praying-- that it would be packed. And it was! We walked in right as it started and could barely find a seat-- a good thing.The theatre was diverse -- 50/50. We showed up and showed out, ya'll.

Felt proud to represent in a good way.

Vote With Your Movie DollarsYou know how we hate it when folks appoint us as the spokesperson for the Black race? Well, we speak loudly, HairNistas, when it comes to what we support with our film dollars. Hollywood takes what sells and copies the hell out of it.

Nothing against Tyler Perry, but this is why he has 20 billion Madea-type movies -- because audiences go to see them and they are clear moneymakers. It also works the reverse: If Hollywood greenlights a "black" film of certain genre that does poorly, you won't see too many other movies like it.

Bravery in Battle
Stories like Red Tails, which tell the story of the first all-African American aerial combat in WWII that integrated the military, often don't make it off the production floor. Red Tails almost didn't. Star Wars' director George Lucas undertook the project nearly 20 years ago, bankrolling the production and distribution of the movie for nearly $60 million because no one in Hollywood would touch it.

It's a tough sell in Hollywood. Critics have largely panned the movie.

Black comedies, gangsta flicks and the like get the Hollywood green light all day long. Lord knows I've wasted enough money on flicks that don't uplift us. But make a flick that actually teaches something? Not even a white man in Hollywood can get it on the movie screen.

Let's prove Hollywood wrong.

This weekend, instead of buying a $40 jar of curling creme or a $20 bottle of shampoo, spend that money and support Red Tails. Attendance during a movie's first week is absolutely critical.

Why You Need Not To Buy Hair Care Products This Weekend and Go See Red Tails
If war/historical movies aren't your thing, hell, go see it just to see the man candy -- Terence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parks, rapper Method Man and a cast of other handsome, but largely unknown, actors.

That curling creme will be around to purchase next weekend. If Red Tails doesn't do good its first weekend, many other movies like it, won't. 

Are you going to see Red Tails this weekend?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

HairSpiration: Love It!

Got this from a friend of a friend on Facebook. Stunning!

Bloggers Go Hard on Baby Blue Ivy Carter

I usually don't deal with issues of colorism on this blog ...

Hell, our hair "issues" are enough, don't you think?

One issue at a time. Inextricably, though, hair and skin issues are usually tied together, especially when it comes to Black folks or people of color. Was reading an article in Essence yesterday that gave me pause.

Apparently, folks are going in online on what Blue Ivy Carter -- the uber famous offspring of Jay Z and Bey -- will look like. Apparently, one too many have said they don't want the baby to look like Jay. Essence columnist Demetria Lucas asked bluntly, "Do we as a collective really believe Black is beautiful?"


Are We Obsessed About Denying Our African Features?

Lucas' column came after Colorlines wrote this piece, "On Baby Blue Carter and the Alleged Ugliness of Blackness."


Writer Akiba Solomon posted just a bit of the vitriol that she said she'd seen on blogs about baby Blue:

"hopefully she gets most of her looks from her mother’s side.”
“thats gonna be one ugly nigga baby with big ass lips and a dirty ass weave.”
“i just hope beyonce genetics dont get over powered by camel genes.”
“I had a dog named Blue! Poor kid—all of the talent and money in the world won’t do her much good if she looks like Jay-Z.”
“I had no idea that that ‘adorable’ and ‘Jay Z’s nose, eyes and lips’ could have been used in the same sentence. I wish them the best of luck though!! <3 <3”
“i NEED pictures cause that baby don’t sound “adorable” She got all the ugly traits of Jay-Z..not to be mean or rude & talk about a kid or nun but that baby sound ugly.”

Well, damn!

Solomon wrote: "walking among stunted souls who traffic in the idea that the full lips, large eyes, broad nose and dark brown skin of a Jay-Z is inherently ugly.” And, sorry, but as a woman with skin the color of chocolate, I definitely don't call Jay "dark brown." My skin is dark brown, not his.

Yet, the online comments above are what some of us really feel, deep down inside, those feelings that we really don't want to admit. As bad as it sounds, we still hear these these kinds of statements -- and worse -- every day.

Just ask any kid on the playground. We are all cumbaya on hair blogs, but real talk: Kids today are still teased and bullied for "nappy" hear and dark skin, so I'm not surprised one bit. It's clear that we still have a lot of self love work to do, when folks call a baby the N-word with big a** lips.

The Power Baby of Hip Hop

Still, everybody and their Momma want to see what Baby Blue looks like. You can expect this from any offspring birthed from the power couple of hip hop or any celebrity baby. But especially this baby.

Folks trashed Beyonce online, said she wasn't pregnant, had a surrogate, you name it. I've even seen purported apps that promised to combine pics of Jay and Bey and tell you what their child would like like. Seriously? This is the reason why a $1.3 million wing was built at the NYC hospital where Baby Blue was born. Really, can you blame Jay and Beyonce?

Even I'm curious to see Blue when she's revealed. But not for the comments above. Sure, I've heard plenty of folks say they wonder if the Baby will look like Jay, and they left it at that. Is that statement inherently colorist?

Maybe, but not necessarily. Many, like me, just want to know what the baby looks like. Just as we'd want to know what any baby of  celebrities or royalty -- and I do think Baby Blue is hip hop royalty -- would look like.

So it is with this child.

What's Really Behind it?

Essence took it a step further. Lucas wrote:

 "If some of us are very honest, we’ll acknowledge that there are only certain “Black” physical features that we as a collective find attractive. Curves? A blessing and curse. Full lips? Eh… depends on how full. Broad nose? On women, not at all. On men? Some get a pass, but not Jay-Z. Kinky hair? Not so much. There’s a reason most Black women “prefer” perms and even a lot of natural girls spend an inordinate amount of time and product trying to reconfigure their coils into curls."

Based on Colorlines' comments, I have to agree a bit: Some clearly hope the baby will take after Bey's more "creole" (Beyonce's reported definition of her family genealogy, not mine) features and, as some have also said, her "lighter" skin. 

But, just because a person is Black doesn't mean they're attractive. Unattractive people come in all races.

I think Jay has mad swag. And if Beyonce likes it, I love it. She's married to him --  not me or any other woman -- so only her opinion counts. Every woman should be with that man who treats her like a queen. I believe that Beyonce has found that with Jay.


I don't necessarily find him the most attractive man in the world (though his full lips look exquisite), but my opinion doesn't count. Who cares what I think? But I love me some Idris Elba, Lance Gross and Djimon Hounsou, with their rich, chocolate skin and features that are clearly, without a doubt, African.


I just wish we'd cut Baby Blue some slack.

When Blue is finally revealed, folks are really going to go in. If she looks like Jay, Lord help her. You think the bloggers went in before? One can just imagine what they'll say then. And that's hard for anyone to read because she's just an innocent child. Kids should be off limits on blogs, but clearly most folks don't think that way.

Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What do you think? Do you think people are obsessed with Baby Blue Carter? Is it wrong that we want to know what she looks like? Do you think people are focusing too much on skin color, African features? Do you think we are overreacting?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Designer Tracy Reese Expands Her Labels

Good news for fashion designer Tracy Reese!

Just shy of a month before Fashion Week, WWD reports that Reese will expand her clothing labels, Tracy Reese and Plenty and Frock! Those brands will be rebranded under the name T.R. Designs, with CEO Karen Castellano at the helm. Reese's website will also be revamped to become more interactive.

Reese is a Detroit homegirl, so you just know I had to report this.

Good luck, Tracy! 313 stand up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birthday Wishes To FLOTUS Michelle Obama!

We love how FLOTUS isn't afraid to wear bright colors that show off her amazing arms -- and her brilliant skin tone!

Happy 48th Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama!

Mrs. Obama represents everything HairNistas stand for ... strength, confidence, beauty, elegance, brains, sexiness, style, femininity and so much more! We love that she is President Obama's "rock."

We admire what FLOTUS represents -- her activism to get children more healthy, her dedication to Malia and Sasha and her love for family.  We are ga ga over her sense of style. And yes, we covet her sculpted arms!

Best birthday wishes, FLOTUS!

We love this modern bob. We hear that she's natural, but no matter the style, FLOTUS rocks it!

Stunning --again!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Woman Gets MLK Weaved Onto Her Head

Ummm.. I didn't exactly think there was a correlation between hair and Dr. Martin Luther King on this day of national observance, but apparently, this woman did.

She got an image of Dr. King weaved onto the back of her head, as seen on MediaTakeOut.com.

I had to look hard, but you can make out the image... kinda.

There are so many ways I could go with this, but do you think this is what Dr. King meant by "climbed the mountain top?" I don't even want to think of what Dr. King might think of this were he alive. And how much did she pay for this? Who has the time for this?

I think it's utter ratchedness, but if this is what it takes for HER to remember Dr. King, do you boo!

Not the look I'm going for, but as my grandmother would say, "If you like it, I love it!"

What do you think about this look? Good or bad?

Shops At Target

Seriously, can we love Target any more?

Target is launching a mini boutique-type concept with handpicked speciality items, called The Shops at Target.

Source: YouTube

The items will be local, giving small retailers the opportunity to sell their wares at a chic, mass retailer. And, yes, these will be retailers off the beaten path -- outside of NYC and LA. The boutique goods launch in May, both in-store and online (though probably a much smaller selection online).

Among the stores featured will be: The Candy Store in San Francisco, beauty chain Cos Bar, Polka Dog Bakery in Boston, Privet House home decor store in Connecticut, and The Webster clothing store in Miami Beach.

The shops will switch out every six weeks, items offered will be apart of limited collections.

Target is good at what they do, and many other retailers should be taking notes. This only adds to their "what's at Target?" persona. The retailer recently announced that it will sell a limited collection of dresses, scarves and handbags for First Lady Michelle Obama designer Jason Wu in February.

Late last year it famously launched its Mossimo for Target collection. And, in big news but with few details, Target announced it will sell Apple iPhones, iPads and other products as part of a trial offering, rolling out 25 stores at a time. No word on when.

We can only wait to see what's next at Target.

Are you a Target fan? What brand do you want to see there?

HairSpiration: Natural Kids

I love this kid. Is she posing or what? Uber cute!

Source: BlkGirlsRock.Tumblr

Hit or Miss? Golden Globes

Black glitterattis sizzled on the red carpet during the 2012 Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.

Actors Octavia Spencer, Idris Elba and Morgan Freeman took home honors -- setting the stage for hopeful Oscar wins later. Ya know we showed up and showed out! It was all glam and glitz, with Black Hollywood's style game on point, of course.

Here are the hits and misses. Photos by Getty Images.

The queen of hip hop soul sizzled in this beaded Michael Kors gown. Love it!

"The Help" actress Octavia Spencer sizles in this demure, yet fashionable number by Tadashi Shoji. It's got just enough elegance and sass, while not over-the-top.

The Help actress Viola Davis is a smash hit with this one shoulder, Grecan-inspired Emilio Pucci bordeaux gown. Uber sexy, with the revealing shoulder and the thigh-high split.

Love actress Paula Patton, but I'm not a fan of this fishtail dress by Monique Lhuillier. I love the design of it, but the color ... not so much. A different color, maybe?

Amber Riley sizzles in this red gown by Badgley Mischka. Very haute, and richly compliments her skin tone.

Idris Elba is stunning and dashing as ever in this black tux. I love the rhinestone tennis shoes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

ATL YouTubers Profiled on AJC.Com

Shout out to my natural Atlanta vloggers! They got some AJC love today, in this story from AccessAtlanta on AJC.com, about how Atlanta is the #1 city for traffic on natural hair YouTube sites.
Hooray! Their success is our collective success. I sometimes don't think of "Atlanta" as a natural city, but there are naturals everywhere, as well as natural salons. I'm just glad that folks -- outside of us in the natural commnity -- have finally noticed.

When Maeling Tapp made her first YouTube video a few years ago, she was nervous. Would anyone watch? Would everyone wonder why she felt the need to share the journey of her transition from chemically processed hair to hair in its natural state? Would anyone care?

Hair and fashion blogger Alexis Felder, 27, photographs a hairstyle for her latest entry. The Atlantan started posting videos in 2008 and now has more than 1.6 million views.

Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com Hair and fashion blogger Alexis Felder, 27, photographs a hairstyle for her latest entry. The Atlantan started posting videos in 2008 and now has more than 1.6 million views.

Maeling Tapp documented her experience goingnaturalinvideoblogs.I wanted to be able to encourage someone else on her journey,shesays.

Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.comMaeling Tapp documented her experience "going natural" in video blogs. "I wanted to be able to encourage someone else on her journey," she says.

As it turns out "going natural" --a term that has come to describe the decision and process of many African-American women to stop chemically processing their textured hair-- proved to be a hot topic among the myriad beauty tips offered online. Today Tapp, of Buckhead, leads the pack of mor than a dozen Atlanta area video bloggers who have styled their way to online stardom.

"I didn't knwo the proper way to care for my hair, said Tapp, 25, a doctoral candidate at Georgia Tech studying material science and engineering, who boasts more than 6 million views as Natural Chica on her YouTube channel.

When she backslid on her first try at going natural, friends pointed her to online natural hair gurus for product information, styling techniques and support.

"That motivated me,"Tapp said. "I wanted to be able to encourage someone else on her journey."

According to data from YouTube, Atlanta is the No. 1 city nationally for viewers showing search interest in natural hair. And it is home to more than a dozen video bloggers who garner more than 10 million cumulative views for their videos.

"They're attracting viewers from across the state, the U.S. and all over the world," YouTube spokeswoman Jessica Mason said.

Candace Anderson made two previous attempts at going natural but failed. It wasn't until she found Tapp's step-by-step tutorials for turning the curls, coils and kinks characteristic of Afro-textured hair into wearable, easy-to-create styles that Anderson stuck with it.

"I loved the way she explained the process," said Anderson, 37, of Midtown, about one of Tapp's videos on two-strand twisting, a method of styling hair that creates a free-flowing, yet controlled, style. "It is refreshing to know there is an abundance of resources out there for natural sisters like me."

Like Tapp, most of the YouTube video bloggers are not hair stylists by trade. They are women who made the decision to document their hair ups and downs in the hopes of helping others. Along the way, many of them have found lucrative side careers. Tapp says the money she receives as a YouTube partner, along with the advertising on her blog, helped her buy a new car.

Alexis Felder, aka Lexi With the Curls, has spun off in an entirely new direction as an event planner. Felder, 27, of Atlanta, started making YouTube videos in 2008 because she couldn't find any help managing her super-thick hair texture. She decided to film herself testing the new products her mother would send. “It was just something fun,"said Felder, who works in digital marketing.
"I wasn't afraid to post a video [of a style] that may have failed," she said.

Though she says her blog is more active than her YouTube channel, Felder’s videos have more than 1.6 million total views, making her a standout among Atlanta-based video bloggers.

In 2009, she began organizing beauty, style and fashion events for natural hair bloggers and their followers.

A recent event attracted more than 500 attendees. Her events have become successful ventures that, along with the ads and sponsored posts on her blog, have given her a healthy side income, but Felder, who is frequently recognized by fans, most enjoys the idea that she is helping others.

"It makes me feel like I'm doing something that people like," Felder said. "People are relying on YouTube much more than they did back in the day. Everybody wants to be do-it-yourself, and YouTube helps with that."

Though relatively late to the game, Kiki Stephens, 36, of Conyers, found success on YouTube as half of Mahogany Knots. Stephens went natural 12 years ago, and her then co-worker and friend, Sarrah Riley, 34, of Decatur, came to her for advice. They shared tips with each other for years before realizing they could share them with the world.

"I thought YouTube was for people who wanted to dance and sing until Sarrah forwarded a video of someone doing hair," Stephens said. Soon after, in fall of 2009, Stephens, a home-based corporate trainer and mother of three, turned a camera on herself.

"I just put it out there," Stephens said. She wasn't afraid to talk about products that didn't work, but she mostly stuck to showing viewers how to create the hairstyles she dreamed up at night. With more than 1 million total views, Stephens also managed to attract a different demographic than some of her fellow video bloggers,” women in the 34 to 49 set, like Rhonda McKnight, 45, of Stockbridge, who were just starting to go natural and were seeking style advice.

"I get encouragement. I get excited. I get great ideas," said McKnight, an author of women's fiction. "When I see [the video bloggers], I see the natural beauty that is myself and my sisters the way God intended us to look."

Atlanta's natural hair gurus on YouTube

 Maeling Tapp, Natural Chica (NikkiMae2003)

 Alexis Felder, Lexi With the Curls

 Kiki Stephens and Sarrah Riley, Mahogany Knots

HairSpiration: Solange Knowles

Earlier, I posted what I felt was a unflattering pic of Solange.

This is a pic of her via BlkGirlsRock.Tumblr that I just love.


It's ... so cosmopolitan, so sexy. Now, THIS is the Solange that we've all come to know (friend in my head, right?) and love for her spunk, creativity and uniqueness. This picture is sooooo different than the earlier pic.

She seems so comfortable in her skin. Isn't that what we all want?

What do you think of this pic of Solange?

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Good" Hair

No, this is not THAT type of blog.

This has nothing to do with our hair's texture, straightness, thickness or curl pattern; it has everything to do with how we feel about our hair style.

I'm talking about "good" hair -- you know, those days when you KNOW you're hair is on point. Can't nobody tell you nothin' about your hair. That fro is laying just right. Your twist out is bangin'! Your curls are hella defined. The hair Gods have looked down and blessed you!

This is my definition of "good" hair -- not how straight, fine or curly your hair texture is.

Good hair day (twist and curl on damp hair with glycerine, Dax and cupacau butter, and put in an updo)
Can't tell me NOTHIN!

You Better WORK! Work badge picture, but this is the best twist out I've had EVER!
(Twist and curl on previously flat ironed, damp hair with glycerine and Dax.)  HOLLA! Weird smile, but love the hair!

"Bad" Hair
Now, "bad" hair, in my book, are those bad hair days. You look the mirror and go, "REALLY!" Your wash and go is ... meh! You got hella shrinkage -- and you don't like it! Your twist out is looking a frizzed out HOT mess!

Your fro is shaped like sideshow Bob. Your usual hair tools, go-to products and your hair are just not cooperating. Can't do nothing right with your hair to save your life and you don't have that hair swag. Good and bad hair days are highly subjective, we can be super picky, and those are the days when it feels good to get a compliment.

But let's keep it real: There are days that you look in the mirror and wanna throw a wig or hat on top of it. Rain, fog or humidity = higher probability of bad hair day. My hair has to be put up, or it's going to be a frizzy mess. 

I'm OK with some frizz. But all over? Girl, BYE!

Here are some of my bad hair days:
WTH was I thinking? So NOT the business. I have no idea how I got this style, but I never want to see it again!

A FAILED twist and curl + rain. Shrinkage like a mug!

Let's redefine the terms "good" and "bad" hair, to mean less about our individual hair's texture, density and curl pattern and more about our hair style or good and bad hair days. A style can be changed -- our texture can't, without heat and chemicals, of course.

And let's keep chasing those "good" hair days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rio Fashion Week

Source: AP

Saw this look on display at Rio Fashion Week. Love it!

Love the bright color, love the leather and the style. Can't you see yourself wearing this? I can!

Love it or Hate it? Solange Rocks a Fro

The hair chameleon that is Solange has emerged!

She's now rocking a fro in this magazine shoot, but I don't know if I'm feeling it. It looks .... too ... fake? Can't quite put my finger on it. I know that Solange is the queen of natural wigs, but this choice (I think it's a wig)? Not so much. I had to stare extra hard, because it didn't even look like her.

For once, I just want to see Solange's natural hair.What does it look like? She wears wigs -- most of the time they're very, very cute -- but I can't even begin to tell you what the hair from her scalp looks like. I love how she changes her look up, but this look?

Meh. The wig is just bad and the jacket? Girl, bye! It's even worse. Looks like some of those 80s rejects I see during my thrift store jaunts. The color is awful -- and cheap looking.

The good news: Solange is a new auntie to Blue Ivy Carter and she has just signed to Next Model Management. Go Solange!

What do you think of Solange's look? Can there be a such thing as wearing wigs too much?

HairTroversy: What's The Worst Thing Someone Has Said About Your Natural Hair?

 If you read natural hair blogs like Hairnista, Curly Nikki or BGLHOnline or peruse the many natural hair Tumblr photo sites, you'd swear that everybody just loves natural hair, right?

No, Boo Boo, everybody ain't in love with our kinks, curls and coils. Some people downright hate them, and they are quick to tell you that they don't support our natural journey!

Inspired by Char Jay's hilarious YouTube vid, Sh*t Natural Girls Say to Relaxed Girls, what's the worst thing you've ever heard said about natural hair?

Are the Jokes On Us?
I admit, I cringe whenever I hear Martin talk about Pam's "beady beads" or her "kitchen." Funny as hell in the 90s and I will admit it's still funny now -- though I think I"m more "naturally" aware of the sting the term can cause. Like anything else, though, many times it depends on who is saying the term.

Maybe it's a natural hair insult when you were a kid -- back then, "nappy" was a fighting word. Yeah, I know many naturals today embrace the word now, but it was not the business back then. Are there certain natural hair insults that we need to rethink or are we too sensitive?

Is there a Naturals' Pass?
Many times, we get offended based on who lobs the insult. I know I've seen plenty of eyebrow raising things on forums. Most of the time, it's "packaged" differently, by typing of hair, as in type 1, 2 and 3 hair is somehow better.

Hair typing still gets the side eye from me, but oh, well. That doesn't mean that naturals can't, and won't, insult fellow naturals. However, I think the sting doesn't hurt as much? It's wrong, but it's almost like it's a bit more acceptable when from your own.

But a relaxed girl? Sorry, she can't say nothing, as we saw in Char Jay's hilarious YouTube vid, Sh*t Relaxed Girls Say to Natural Girls."

 What's the best way to respond when your natural hair is insulted?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Online Natural Hair Spoof

Online video spoofs are all the rage ... from Awkward Black Girl about the adventures of an awkward Black girl's work and social foibles to the funny as hell, yet socio-political with heavy doses of satire and comedy, Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls and the to-die for Black & Sexy TV about a guy's celibate adventures.

So you knew it was only a matter of time before naturals joined in, as I saw on CurlyNikki.com. Check out this vid from @CharJay, Sh*t Relaxed Girls Say to Natural Girls.

I think I about died when she said,"Oh, you don't wanna wear a hat! Well, how about a comb, because you need to do something with that head!"

Can you say H-I-L-A-R! That's what makes these online parodies so damn funny. There are bits of "truth" in all of them, because you know naturals have heard all of the lines mentioned in this vid before:

"What you put in your hair to make it so curly?"
"Is that a texturizer?"
"My husband would leave me if I went natural. He love my straight hair."
"Girl, you look like you came straight out of the 70s with that afro."
"India Arie"
"What is the name of that wig?"
"Who you trying to look like, Erykah Badu?"
"I know you are going to straighten your hair for the interview!"

Gather a few naturals in a room and I can bet we've heard variations of all of these lines, from well-meaning friends worried that we'll never date, marry or find a man because of our natural hair,  to your well intentioned, but hair struck, tell it like it T-I-S grandmother, to people clowning on your natural hair (yes, it happens).

We are so extra and I love it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am in love with infinity scarves.

Their uses are endless - scarves, shrugs, hooded wraps. The only thing stopping you is your imagination. Wrap it two or three times around your neck, depending upon the length and texture of the scarf. Loop it up, twist it up for flavor. Play with color and texture for unique looks.

Add a distressed leather jacket, leggings and leather riding boots for a chic, fashionable look when you're shopping or on-the-go.

Check out this vid from JoeyEricGlamSquad for some creative ways to wear you infinity scarf!

Willow Smith Wears a Pink and White Wig

There's one thing you can bet on: 11-year-old entertainer Willow Smith is going to make the news. And whatever the famous child singer wears, sings or talks about will definitely be the buzz.

This time, it's her hair. Willow's hair choices are constantly debated on blogs: Is she too grown for this hairstyle, that hairstyle? Why is Jada letting her her hair like THAT? And on and on... I've even seen grown adults debate why Willow wore pants that made her to appear to have... how can I say this appropriately? .. the appearance of  camel toes. Folks are looking WAY too hard at an underage child!

That's where it's gone too far. This is a child, and this is a grown folks' convo. No stranger to criticism, Willow was photographed recently wearing a pik and white wig. I don't know if she was channeling Nicki Minaj or if it was just a joke, but blogs are hot about the topic.

Overall, what is the age limit that you can begin wearing hair that's not your own - wig, track, clip-on, extensions? Or does it depend on the hair accessory?

What do you think? Is Willow Smith too young to wear a wig or is it just a spoof?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Congrats Beyonce and Jay-Z!

I never thought I'd post much about Beyonce on this blog, but the birth of Beyonce and Jay-Z's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, over the weekend is awesome news. There's just something about a mother having a daughter that makes you think about everything... the lessons you want to teach your daughter, what kind of role model you'll be, and maybe, things like hair and fashion, and what lessons you'll teach.

I think Beyonce will be a great mom. And this has got to be one of the most famous -- and most gossiped -- celeb baby births. Beyonce's been pregnant 20 billion times. Then, folks said she was pregnant, wasn't pregnant, a surrogate was having it.  Though, news reports today reported that Beyonce had an earlier miscarriage.

The rumors got to be unbelievable at one point. Everything about this pregnancy was shrouded in secrecy, including the child's birth, (reportedly, an entire floor of a NYC hospital was rented out for $1.3 million and the staff had to surrender their cell phones). No word yet on the baby's weight. 

As mothers, children look up to us first -- especially our girl children.  They learn how to be a woman from us -- how to style their hair, wear their clothing, put on their makeup, all of that girlie stuff. And while our children will take what we give them and make it their own, I'm a total believer that we set the foundation for them.

If you have children or one day hope to have them, what are the lessons you hope they'll learn from you? Will your "lessons" have to do with natural hair?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Love it or Hate It?

I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate girls and blond hair. Something about it just looks OFF to me.

Many times, it's not the hair, but our skin tones. The blond color, depending upon your complexion, does nothing for most of our rich hues. There are always exceptions, of course.

There are only a few celebs who I think can really rock blond. Beyonce comes to mind and, while Mary J. Blige always, always rocks blond, I am not a big fan of it on her most of the time and never have been.

My opposition is mainly because it looks all wrong -- not because of any supposed cultural sensitivity. Black hair comes in many different colors -- from sandy brown to blond to red. My problem is this: Most of the time, the color we see on Black girls is that messy, shiny looking platinum blond weave/wig hair that looks doll hair.

So not a good look.

Natural and Blond?

I see a good amount of girls rocking blond-dipped locks. Still, many naturals prefer to steer far away from it because it's extra drying -- the extreme color strips more moisture from our naturally darkly-hued hair than other colors.

Honey blond? Usually that works well, but again, it's all about the application. A little bit works wonders. Blond highlights are one thing; a whole head might be something else  (I've even thought about blond highlights in the front of my hair).

But, never say never, because these chocolate girls are working their blond. And guess what? I love it.

This pic is absolutely gorgeous. I love the depth of the color. It absolutely works with her copper-colored skin tone, and it's spot on. I think this model would look totally different with her natural black/dark brown hair.


And this model is working platinum blond in her TWA. The shirt goes perfectly with her hair and the contrast of the platinum blond and her cocoa colored complexion is AMAZING! Can I tell you I love it!

Source, via lecoil.tumblr.com

What about you? Would you go blond? Are you a fan or do you hate it? If you went blond, what color would you choose?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

HairTroversy: Hair Extensions on Children

Zahara, the adopted daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, gets no hair love.

Jolie was criticized by a black stylist, DaRico Johnson, when she put braided extensions in Zahara's hair.

Now, my general rule is that kids (especially little ones) are off limits for bad criticism online and on blogs; no one should have their child subjected to that mess, especially when it's about their bodies or, in this case, their hair!

This is what Johnson was quoted as saying:

If Angelina wants Zahara to be in touch with her roots and have her hair braided then she can do that with the child’s own hair and she doesn’t need to add extensions."

She is far too young for that and Angelina is creating insecurity in the little girl that what she has is not good enough. Growing up with siblings who have long flowing hair, Zahara may grow to feel that her own natural hair is not pretty enough, and that without the fake hair she is not beautiful. She should be made to embrace who she is.”

*blank stare*


Johnson is looking for his 15 minutes of fame, and I guess he just got it. He couldn't be more wrong: Her hair is age appropriate -- she doesn't have weave to her ass. It's just extensions, and I've seen this look with extensions and without extensions on countless Black girls -- including my own, when they were Zahara's age.

What's the problem? If anything, he could argue that you have to be careful putting extensions in her hair, because her hair appears to be fine and the weight of the extensions could break her natural hair off. If he'd made that argument, that would be OK. I never put extensions in my daughters' hair for that reason, when they were Zahara's age.

Why Black Folks Have A Problem with Zahara's Hair

As long as Zahara still wears her God given hair, I don't see a problem with some extensions occasionally. I get his point about the "long flowing hair" but I think he's overreacting.

But, let me say this for the record: Black folks have a problem with Zahara's hair, and the fact that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (or whomever they choose to hire as a stylist) are white and they're  maintaining it. As my grandfather would say, they can't win for losing.

When pictures of Zahara's hair showed up online, Black people were the first one to dog Angelina Jolie out, criticizing her hair skills. Called her hair a dry, crunchy mess, and called Angelina and Brad out for adopting an African girl and not knowing how to maintain her hair. Folks still gave them the side eye when Angelina and Brad said they use Carol's Daughter products on Zahara's hair.

Are We Unfair?

Lemme be real for a minute, boo boo.

I've seen plenty of little Black girls with eaten up, jacked up edges and napes from bad perms, ratty fake ponytails and raggedy extensions that were not age appropriate, and horribly broken off hair right here in these United States. And I'm assuming their Momma and Daddy were Black, so what's the point?

Just because you're Black doesn't mean you're an expert in hair care. Brad and Angelina are White and they have different hair. Give them a damn break! I'm sure that none of the Black people who criticized Zahara for dry hair, ever had dry hair a day in their lives.

Zahara's a kid. No child's hair will be camera ready or perfect on every occassion. Black folks in general can be very judgmental when it comes to kids and their hair. I'm not saying your kid will go out all the time looking a hot mess, but kids play, get dirty, roll around in the dirt. Every strand on their head won't be perfectly in place at all times -- far from it.

I wish folks would put down the shea butter, coconut oil and YouTube tutorials for a minute and remember that for many of us, learning our natural hair was a process. Most of us hadn't seen our natural tresses since we were girls or at least pre-teens. And so we weren't experts out the gate. We had to relearn our hair care and hair rituals  -- shampooing, conditioning, moisturizing, maintenance.

Hell, some of us are still learning.

*raises hand*

The Real Problem

Why would we expect anything different from Angelina and Brad? Is it because they're white and they should be experts on black hair care since they chose to adoopt? If anything, folks really want to say: "This Black child should not be with these adopted parents."

That's what the real argument is really about, right? Can't win for losing. If Angelina goes and cuts off all of Zahara's hair, I'm sure folks would have something to say about that, too. Maybe Angelina and Brad are the parents of the year. Don't know and don't care.

But, please cut Zahara -- and her parents -- some slack (pun intended).

What do you think about hair extensions on children?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

HairSpiration: We Love It!

I love this! This child's afro puffs are just ... puffalicious!


What an awesome examples of a natural mom and daughter!

David Beckham Launches Bodywear for H&M

Continuning its successful tradition of marrying haute fashion designers with its chic, fashionable brand, Swiss retailer H&M in February will launch its latest retail partnership with soccer star David Beckham.

Beckham's "Bodywear" collection will drop in February, and will include men's briefs, boxers, vests, T-shirts, PJs, and long johns. If you want to grab it, the line will be available online (hurray!) and at the chain's 1,800 stores.

Bodywear will emphasize fit, comfort and style, but that doesn't mean that women can't snag a vest -- or two! This marks the latest in a string of buzzworthy partnerships for H&M -- Versace, Madonna and Stella McCartney fashions have lined the hip retailers' racks.

I don't usually cover men's fashion, but this development is interesting.

Beckham will join his wife, who also has an uber successful clothing line, as he makes his fashion mark. I can't think of a better person to launch an underwear line -- besides soccer, Beckham used to be an underwear model for Emporio Armani. And, yes, the 36-year-old will model his own  line!

David Beckham modeling his Bodywear line for H&M

And, let's face it, women want their men to be fashionable and most of the time, we have to be the ones to do it! They will wear underwear with holes in them until they fall off! Just like women love a good pair of underwear, so should men. Look good under your clothes, feel better about your clothes, no?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shauntele: Classic Femme with a Twist

I'm a sucker for strong feminine lines when it comes to fashion.

There's something utterly beautiful about what I call classic femme -- daring, yet darling at the same time.

Well, that's what I thought when I saw a young fashion designer, Shauntele, featured in a recent issue of Jet magazine. I instantly fell in love with her designs: Very feminine, yet very contemporary and edgy at the same time.  I could definitely rock this; her clothing is sexy, yet demure, while classic and definitely apropos for women of all ages. Her client list includes Ivanka Trump.

Shauntele -Outskirts of Paris, $550

Shauntele - Jane Shawl Dress $250

Young, black and talented.

What do you think of Shauntele?