Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Curly Girls Christmas Wish list

I hope that you get all the gifts you've been looking for under your Christmas tree -- especially those for your natural hair.

What's on your Christmas wishlist? Here's a peek at mine.

1. Hair steamer (this is a big one, since I have used a plastic bag, damp towel and microwave in the past).

2. Fingercomber unit - for those days when yo' hair just won't act right. For $39-79, you can't beat it for bad hair days.

3. A twist out from a professional at a national hair salon. Because after years of doing the twist out thing myself, it's time for a professional to twist up this ish.

Support "Pelo Malo" at a theatre near you

The acknowledgement that natural hair is beautiful isn't just a battle being waged in these here United States - it's also a battle being fought around the world. The issue of natural hair and how it so often intersects with race, class and gender is the subject of "Pelo Malo" (bad hair).

The  movie profiles a nine-year-old Venezuelan boy's efforts to straighten his curly hair for school pictures. The movie is now being shown in:

  • Santa Fe, Argentina
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • San Diego
  • Miami
  • Houston
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Rome, Italy
  • Torino, Italy
  • Vancouver, Canada

It's more than just about curly hair.

It's an important story that needs to be told -- this time by Venezuelan director Mariana Rondón,  through the eyes of a 9-year-old boy as he seeks to loosen his curls to look more like his idol, Justin Bieber. The boy's father is Black and his mother, who is light skinned, isn't having it and worries that he may be gay.

Yes, the movie is about more than just hair straightening; it's about what is deemed beautiful or socially acceptable -- and how those intertwine with many other issues.

Blacks in the U.S. aren't the only ones fighting the curly hair "fight."

It's an international issue -- and the struggle is real, especially among our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and Latin America, who may not have access to the same products or support that we do in the U.S.

The movie has already won several awards, including a top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival, as it seeks to expose racism, colorism and hair prejudice among Venezuelans.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The natural hair struggle is real

I have been reading too many natural hair blogs.

Crushing on too many natural curls.

Sipping the natural "Kool-Aid."

Because I was speechless during a recent conversation with women who aren't natural, in their 40s, about natural hair.

I was shocked and saddened. We still have a long, long way to go, folks.

These were some of the comments I heard:

"It's primitive. They need to go back to Africa with that hair."

 "Natural hair isn't for everybody."

"Some of us need a perm."

"It's cute ... but."

"Natural hair styles do not work in corporate America." "They want straight hair."

"Why they gotta have twists? It just doesn't look right."

"I am not taking anybody with me with their hair looking like ... that."

"Dreads look nasty to me, like there's something in their hair, like it's not washed."

"YOU can wear natural hair because your hair is softer, but everybody can't."

"I know everybody is going natural, but I'm sticking with the creamy crack."

"I won't let my kids wear natural hair to an interview."


Just stop!!! It got to be too much. I felt like the natural hair ambassador, trying to defend it and rebuke those statements. I felt the weight of the natural hair community on my shoulder, for a brief minute.What are we telling ourselves about US? I thought maybe it was generational, regional even.

Then I let it go because you know what? NOTHING will ever convince women dead set against kinks and coils that it's OK.  Nothing will ever make them think that hair that is not silky straight is pretty. That it's not corporate, despite the many styles and ways we can wear our hair that will look professional and polished in any board room.

Natural hair is OUR issue -- not White America's.It's a mental battle -- and that's where I exited stage left. We have come full circle - from bad ass, bodacious fros to relaxed hair and back to natural. Natural hair is a choice or a preference -- and everybody ain't ready.

What I won't do, though, is after all we've been through in the will anyone make me believe that what grows out of my head is less than.

It just made me realize that, despite the bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers, natural hair is growing, but it's still not the norm for some. 

Loving this jacket!

I love the jacket as a dress look, worn by Adrienne Baillon of The Real and by Rihanna, that's really a throwback from the 90s jacket dresses (remember those)?

Wonder if I can recreate at a thrift store? Either way, Adrienne's jacket is $33 here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Naomi Campbell for Madame Figaro

Supermodel Naomi Campbell is one of those beautiful women who could wear a paper bag and it would look good.

Look and swoon.

Celeb looks

I am totally feeling these looks by Tia Mowry and Kloe Kardashian.

Tia went ultra sexy glam at the premiere of Selma, wearing a Stone Cold Fox tuxedo dress with a thigh high split. I love the look and feel of the tuxedo dress -- a bit masculine but glammed up. Love it! Celeb fashion done right!

Tia Mowry in a tuxedo dress

I'm also feeling this look by Khloe Kardashian. I love unexpected fashion pairings - leather and denim, sequins and jeans, (you get the idea). So I'm really loving how Khloe paired leather (a fave of mine) with a tied plaid shirt. Totally different take on this look.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Naptural85 said ...

If there's one post that I think every person with natural hair needs to read and let soak in, it is this one by naptural85.

Years after many of us have let go the creamy crack and replaced it with curly puddings, oils and potions, this is still one issue that many naturals struggle with. The natural hair "struggle" is real for every single one of us - whether you are a newbie or a veteran.

In many ways, it's a good thing for natural hair care manufacturers; cause we'll buy every production, potion and cream out there. But not so good for our self esteem: I can guarantee you that as women, we want the opposite of the hair that's on our head, and someone else's curls always looks better than our own.

But we want CurlyNikki's hair. Or My Natural Sistas. Or Strawberry Curls.

Or, insert your favorite blogger's name here.

Maybe we're wired that way -- to appreciate others' hair while not exactly "liking" our own and wishing we had someone else's. Maybe it's the fault of hair blogs, YouTube and Instagram. One thing's for sure tho, as naptural85 said, natural hair acceptace is a mofo.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn make Burberry history

It's damn near 2015, but that doesn't mean that many haute couture brands feature Black folks for their campaigns -- even though they count plenty of Black customers as their customer base (that's a blog for another day).

Iconic brand Burberry is featuring supermodels Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn for their Spring 2015 campaign-- reportedly, the first time the brand has used Black models for their campaigns It is progress, no doubt, but it should have happened a LONG time ago.

They couldn't have picked a better duo: Campbell made history on the covers of Vogue and Elle and runway modeling for top brands; Dunn made history modeling for Prada after no Black models in more than a decade.

See the spread below:

RIP Miss Jessie's Titi Branch

Sad news in the natural hair community: Titi Branch, co-founder of popular and pioneering natural hair care line Miss Jessie's, died of an apparent suicide on Dec. 4, according to media reports.

It's important to point out that NV Magazine posted an obituary for Branch on their Facebook page on Sunday, Dec. 14 and while media outlets have confirmed her death, there has been no independent verification that her death was a suicide.

Branch is credited with creating Miss Jessie's curly pudding, helping to cement the hair care product in the minds of legions of natural hair care years before hair care products that catered to natural hair were available on the shelves of major retailers such as Target and Walmart.

What started out as a small natural hair start up soon expanded to an empire: Miss Jessie's was one of the first natural products available at mass retailers and its success is credited with helping the natural hair care movement explode.

It is one of a handful of sudden deaths in the natural hair community in recent months. Karyn Washington, 22, ounder of the forbrowngirls.com and the Red Lip Project, which encouraged dark skinned Black women to rock red lipsticks, died of a suicide in April. Another popular blogger, Domineque Banks, 27, died of lupus in April 2014. l

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rhianna wears a blazer on the red carpet - and that's it

Fashion icon that she is, Rihanna stunned wore nothing but a black blazer on the red carpet at the 2014 British Fashion Awards in London recently.

Leave it to Rihanna to stunt on 'em -- and she did THAT! Wearing just a blazer was a bold -- and risky -- move. But if anybody can pull it off, she can.

The velvet tuxedo lapel blazer was a bit oversized (sleeves slightly baggy) and showed off near navel bearing cleavage (and her breast bone tats). Ri Ri wore nothing underneath the buttoned blazer except for stockings and heels.

Naturally, the buttoned blazer revealed a thigh split -- and it looked as if it had been strategically taped so as to not reveal too much. She paired the Stella McCartney blazer with a sparkly choker necklace by Giuseppe Zannoti.

Might the bigger, oversized blazers of the 90s be making a comeback? Hmmmm....

2015 Color of the Year

Can I get a drumroll, please?

The Pantone Color of the Year is ..... marsala! I had barely gotten over the vibrant radiant orchid (my personal pick from 2014 ) when the new color was selected last week.

The earthy, deep reddish brown will be a good color scheme; expect to see it soon in everything from fashions and home decor to beauty (nail polish and makeup) and accessories.

Pantone describes it as "naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls."

I don't know about that, but I know that it is meaty -- some might even say the color reminds them of a chunk of raw red meat.

It almost reminds me of the reddish brown almost burgundy color popular in the 70s. Might be time to hit up the thrift store, as this color is clearly back in style. 

Here are a few other good ideas from the New York Post on how you can incorporate the color into your wardrobe.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lisa Price talks Carol's Daughter sale to L'Oreal

By Tenisha Mercer

Lisa Price talks to Madame Noire about what led Carol's Daughter to file bankruptcy and the sale to L'Oreal USA ... in her own words.

View video here

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lenny Kravitz's blanket coat

I love Lenny Kravitz and all, but this blanket coat? BOY, BYE!

Kravitz's slumber coat made the Internet rounds recently and, after a cold weather snap across much of the nation, it's got me feeling some kind of way.

I am perplexed. I know it's NYC and all, but ....

Seems like all he needs now is a pillow and a nap. I get functional fashion, but this it is even a bit much for me. A dude rocks a duvet in public and tries to pass it off as a fashion statement--  compete with shades and a slouchy hat.

So did he just literally roll out of bed, roll the cover up and off he went?

I'm just asking. Because I just CANNOT.

Look. I love Lenny's rocker look, but this look is making me feel (yawn) ... sleepy.

Would you rock this? 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

About that 'struggle' tail and Devante's foolishness at the 2014 Soul Train Music Awards

By Tenisha Mercer

As a teenager in the 90s who bumped Jodeci on my stereo (remember those?) on the regular, I could not wait to see the Jodeci reunion on the Soul Train Music Awards. I was ready to get my 90s life. I was watching. And then this right here happened ...

I turned my head to the side: What is that sticking out of his head? Is that a hair pouf?

'Struggle' tail??

Lawd. First, where and the hell has Devante been? He was my favorite, and I had the biggest crush on him. And why, Lawd, why, did he have to return rocking this side mop of a curlytail on his 40+year old head?

I just CANNOT. 


Really, I can't figure out what I am mad about most  -- the alleged lip synced performance from the best-selling R&B group in the 90s or that Devante thought it was cool for this side bob of a ponytail (that face tat don't help, Devante) to ever see the light of day; I think the pony wins.

Bless his heart.

I need to see the stylist who approved this ish. Fire they ass.  Because I really can't figure out who thought this side S-curly ponytail --  held together with a ponytail holder that's bigger than the ponytail itself -- would EVA be a good idea.

And a slicked down ponytail at that? We all remember from the 90s that Devante had fine hair, but for real? Was he trying to prove something here -- cause a whole lot of chicks (we all rocked perms in the 90s) are wishing that their hair could lay down so straight, like this, right now, today, with that fresh touch up look. And you know I'm not kidding.

Really, I could not focus on them performing, "Wanna Freak You," and a compilation of their hits with this ponytail foolishness. Somewhere, I think this is K-Ci and JoJo's payback for some failed reunion concert Devante didn't attend. Or maybe it was that horrible display of drunkenness and the impromptu concert at a Subway back in 2010. Or maybe it's because he didn't appear in KC and Jo -Jo's reality show a few years back.

And what about Dalvin? Good bruhs don't let their bruhs go out like this.  I just sat there and shook my head. My 90s moment was down the drain, because folks didn't talk about the performance (mostly) but about Devante's hair.

Brown gel kit  

Did the stylist slick this down with some Ampro brown gel, a bristle brush, some water and a scarf or a doo rag to lay them edges down? Cause you just don't get these types of side ponies without a little bit of work, you see.

Somebody, somewhere, took enough time to tame that unibrow of Devante's, I see, with arched and groomed manbrows. I demand to know who gave the green light that let this three inches of ponytail laid to the side, slide. Who would ever think that, the same ponytail, afro puff, curly puff, curly pouf, struggletail, whatever you want to call it, that a two-year old girl wears, would EVER look good on a grown ass man?

I'm sure Don Cornelius, rest his soul, is ready to climb out of the grave and SNATCH this struggletail right out of Devante's head. Black Twitter is straight CLOWNING this hairstyle; the memes have just begun.

Is this the new ponytail over, AKA comb over, with just three inches of hair?

Here's a word of advice: Don't, just don't do this. Ever again. Please. Or Black Twitter is coming for you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

On vacay in the Bahamas

Spent almost a week luxuriating on a cruise in the Bahamas for my 40th birthday. And I had not one natural hair worry in the world. I had my hair pressed about a  month ago and was too damn lazy to do anything to it. Plus it rained in Nassau, and I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

So I wore a fedora and a top knot. And that was that!

On the cruise deck

A fedora solves most hair anything

Jamaican graffiti

Nassau was lovely, just rainy and "cold" by Bahamian standards

At the beach in Freeport 

Fashions at American Music Awards

Remember when the American Music Awards were .... about music, and not just who was on top of the charts and which crazy antics could be pulled off in the span of a few televised hours? I certainly do and, despite my general disdain for music shows of most kinds (blame my age), here's one of my favorite parts - what celebs wore, and my fave looks:

Garcelle Beauvais slays
Like Nikki's toned down look

I love the simple, minimal look on Tracee Ellis Ross.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This is how you get married and slay the game

By Tenisha Mercer

We all know Solange IS a fashion icon. But she wed her longtime boyfriend Alan Ferguson over the weekend and killed the wedding game. 

From her amazing fro and caped winter white wedding dress with gold cuffs, to Mama Tina in her figure-flatting long white dress, to her entire wedding party decked out in white, to Blue froed out like her auntie ... fans myself. I just can't take it no mo'. Heart be still. Too much fierceness.

She's married now, and happy wishes to the couple! 

Here are the pics. Drool and swoon.

Kilt it

Say nothing else

Love. the. jumpsuit.

Blue froed out

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blue wears an updo

By Tenisha Mercer

Jay Z and Blue Ivy stepped out with adorable Blue wearing her hair in a cute topknot.

She looks adorable with her hair up or free curls.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are you pressured to straighten your natural hair?

By Tenisha Mercer

Most naturals have heard it constantly:

"When are you going to straighten it?"
"I bet it will be so long when you straighten it."
"How long are you going to wear it like 'that'?"
"How does it look straightened?"

This article on ForHarriet.com asks the question many naturals hear way too often.

Have you felt pressured to straighten your natural hair?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Don't you just love this?

I love this vintage-y picture with these little girls rocking their natural hair, cute little kid dresses (read: not grown woman attire disguised for little girls) and the saddle shoes and bobby socks. I just love that we are, fingers crossed, finally at a point where little girls can grow up to love and appreciate the natural hair that comes from their heads.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bey launches partnership with Topshop

Beyonce has left those God awful short baby bangs where they lay and is partnering with U.K-based Topshop on a new clothing line. It's an active wear line that will include clothing, footwear, active wear and sports accessories.

No surprise on the active wear. Who knew you'd ever wear heels with what are basically sweatpants?  Or that sneakers would actually be you know, stylish? The Bey deal will be a partnership, not a collabo, according to My Coloures.

Bey partnered with H&M last year. But this is the first time that she's doing a larger partnership, other than her mom Tina Knowles' House of Dereon line.

I can't wait to see what Bey will come up with. Topshop is a trendy street retailer whose clothing I adore. No word on when the line will drop.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The hiatus is ova!

So ... it's been quite a few weeks since I've posted.

Took a vacay, celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary, chilled out on the beach.

But I miss my HairNistas. So back to writing about amazing natural hair, k?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lace up heels for fall

By Tenisha Mercer

Unless you've been stuck under the proverbial fashion rock, you've no doubt noticed the stunning comeback of lace up heels this fall. I LOVE THEM -- and they're indeed a throwback from a decade or so ago.

They look great with distressed denim jeans, pencil skirts and just about every look in between.

Here are a few of my faves to rock them for fall.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Which pink are you?

By Tenisha Mercer

It's an absolute myth to think that Black women can't wear pink lipstick. We can -- and should. It just depends on what shade of pink and the undertones. Fuschia colors look great on most dark complexions; ashy pinks are usually no-nos.

Check out this vid by lizlizlive. What kind of pink are you? I'm a MAC Girl About Town kind of pink.

Nubian Skin is now LIVE

By Tenisha Mercer

We told you about Nubian Skin's upcoming launch of nude skin toned lingerie for brown girls.

The site is now LIVE, and it includes bras, panties and hosiery. I love this site not only for the products, but because if features Black/Brown lingerie models in ways I don't think I've ever seen.

Seems like a weird statement to make in 2014, but you usually only see the obligatory one or two Black/Brown lingerie models, and this site is filled with them.

Go forth and purchase at this website.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tracee Ellis Ross in Duro Olowu for Blackish

By Tenisha Mercer

Blackish, an ABC sitcom featuring Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, is my new fave TV show.
The comedy is hilarious and totally relatable -- hey, no one ever said all Black TV families should be Good Times or even The Cosby Show, because this is neither.

I like the show because it deals with race in a 21st century kinda way. No, not the Pharrell Williams' 'new Black way," but front and center -- in a totally relatable and comical way on a very serious topic.

No, it's not race relations 101, but a big dose of humor is added in -- not too much,  just enough sarcasm to make if side stitches funny. I've never seen topics like this -- such as Anthony Anderson's character's dismay over being promoted the head of the "urban division," and his worries that his suburban lifestyle has made his kids too "soft," when his son demands to be called Andy instead of Andre and asks to have a bar mitzvah and be renamed a Jewish name, Shalom.

The show's last Wednesday premiere landed the #2 spot on Wednesday night prime time TV -- not a bad showing at all, quite good, actually for a debut; still waiting to see what tonight's numbers bring, but ABC commercials peg it as the #1 new-rated TV show. 

Ross, pictured here wearing this gorge print dress from Nigerian designer Duro Olowu and shoes by Christian Louboutin, made a number of press apperances, looking fab at each. I love Tracee's sense of style and fashion - classic and feminine while keeping it classy.

Tracee wearing Duro Olowu and Christian Louboutin

Tracee wearing Reed Krakoff and Louboutin
Tracee wearing another Doro Oluwo at The View

Tracee wearing a RAOUL dress and Kurt Geiger shoes