Last night was amazing! Thank you D.C. for coming out (in the snow ❄️ ) to my first #BeHerNow Workshop. Thank you for being open to the experience. Thank you for speaking your truth. Thank you for allowing me to speak mine. The energy in the room was absolutely powerful and I hope you’re loving and living from that presence today. I love you all and can’t wait to do it again!

Continue!>>>
More pics to come!

Thank you @photographybysimo for the 📸 and for your tireless work setting everything up! Invaluable.

Thanks @allisonfaxbeauty for the beat! You have a beautiful soul. Pics to come!!!!

By Brittney M. Walker

He raped me.
Well, I was under the influence. Plus, I was being extremely flirtatious.
But he was sober. Older. Much older. Married. Has three nearly grown kids.
I took off my panties in the back seat of the car, though.
It was an invitation. An invitation.
He's a man. Why would he refuse it?
But I wasn't myself. I was high. Higher than I've ever been.
He drugged me.
I asked for it.
He took pictures of my vagina.
He said I told him to.
I performed oral sex on him.
He said I demanded it.
I trusted him.

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I meet up with a friend who has been experimenting with cannabis infusion recipes for dinner parties. As I am gearing up to launch my business, we discuss creating an immersive experience around cannabis cooking. So, we schedule a date to chat and test out product.

My friend is a chef and owner of a high end catering service. His clients are those bougie white people that talk about art and fashion around long rectangular tables while scandalously slathering themselves with gossip about the host on the other side of the room.

We meet up at his house, where he imparts the first recipe - espresso with cannabis infused coconut oil. There's some nutmeg and other fun ingredients in there too. But before receiving my first sample, I share a marvelous prologue about how this would be my first time consuming cannabis this way and that I was basically a baby to the whole herb thing, despite being from Los Angeles. I smoked my first blunt as I was edging out of my 20s. Take it easy, is what I told him. I don't want to be high all day.

As I drank the infused coffee concoction, he shared another sample of his work, an infused goat cheese stuffed date. I didn't like it. Too rich.

Our plan is to meet at his house, then carpool to our destination city, four hours away. This trip is an exploratory journey to discuss business, ideas etc, etc.

About an hour into the journey, I feel something. He told me at the beginning I had about that amount of time before it kicked in.

Almost immediately after noticing the cannabis had activated in my system, I become very anxious. I start panicking, but only in my head. My imagination runs wild and the internal dialogue is erratic. I even become severely sad and scared that I'd be high for the rest of my life.

The day goes on. Most of it I don't remember. I am scheduled to see a relative during the day when we reach the destination city, but somehow it grew dark and I am still with my friend.

I remember going to a restaurant where we have a few mimosas. We sit close to each other. I am giggly. He says we kissed. But I am not attracted to him.

I remember getting to the car, his. I sit down in the front passenger seat and then climb to the back. I don't know why. I tear off my panties. He joins me in the back.

I remember a few distinct things back there: His dick is out. I suck it. I stop suddenly.

The next I remember, we arrive to my relative's house. I don't know how in my insobriety I am able to remember how to find her address and direct him there.

I can remember feeling a sense of relief and joy to see family. We all sit in the kitchen and talk and eat his infused scallops. I speak loudly, like a drunkard.

I pass out on the couch, tired from the day. He leaves.

The next morning, I wake before the sun comes up. I don't feel high, but I feel I have a terrible hang over. I don't want to move, afraid the feeling will come back. But I have to pee.

I am dizzy, frustrated, unable to see clearly. I fall twice. Hit my head and pass out in the bathroom. I somehow wake up before anyone could find me there. I manage to get back to my couch palate before sunrise.

I feel miserable. I feel like I was accidentally resurrected from the dead. My revival wasn't done properly. Whoever performed the ritual skipped a line in the spell.

My friend is my ride home. I don't really want to go with him, but I don't really know why. On the way back we stop, stroll on a harbor, sit and chat. He pulls out his phone and asks me if I remember what happened the day before. He shows me pictures of my bare ass in the air between two seats over a car’s center consul; there is my naked, unshaven vagina, my squinty eyes and sloppy smile. Unable to give a proper reaction, my stomach quietly knots inside of me. I feel exposed, violated, confused, wondering how this happened, why it had, if we had sex, if I was pregnant, if he wore protection.

He laughs as he swipes through the pictures, his head in my lap like a lover. I am uncomfortable with all of this. I don't want him. I never did. But he's my ride home.

After getting back to my rented Brooklyn bedroom within an eyesore of a dilapidated brownstone owned by an older woman, I sit silently, listlessly staring at the ceiling, out the window, at the blank wall, trying to understand or forget everything. He says we didn't have sex, but I asked for "the dick."

He says I am lucky I was with someone I could trust. He says I was in good hands.

--------

I confront him months later.

He never apologizes for his actions, says that it was a consensual stream of sexual events. His language convinces me he knows his actions were indeed an amalgamated violation. He speaks as if premeditated, a lawyer coached his words. He says sorry I feel violated, but is firm he did nothing wrong. He says he wasn't exactly sober either, as his 6'4", nearly 300 pound self had consumed two mimosas that day.

I share this story, in a more crass, matter of fact way with my audience in my blog. My story is nearly void of feelings and reflections, as if to simply tell a story. The reactions from young women were particularly disturbing, as most only laughed at my recount of events, somehow ignoring the rape that occurred. I thought maybe it was the way the story was told. But men, the few that did respond, however, showed concern, asking if I was okay, using the word rape, despite me never mentioning the word.

I, in fact, strayed from the term because using it seemed to violate the experiences so many other people have had. The penetration, the violent nature of it, the lifelong trauma. Besides, I don't want to be yet another statistic, dirtied by something like rape.

While I had not been beaten or even forced physically to do anything, I realized that in my insobriety I was taken advantage of, easily coaxed into acts that I wouldn't normally perform, except with a lover, someone who I had primed, grown with in some capacity. He was a friend. Social. Someone with whom I'd be doing business. I never shared any words that alluded to attraction. I had even invited him to dinner with a boyfriend and me once.

It was a guy friend of mine who used the word via text. It stood out like a scarlet letter on my tiny iPhone 5s screen "RAPE." The other words he sent didn't exist. I think someone else had implied the idea once. But he wrote it out plainly. I was forced to sit with this reality.

I had been raped.

Do you believe that most women tend to blame the victim?

Brittney M. Walker is a journalist based out of New York. She writes on social justice issues within the Black community, travel, business, and a few other topics. These days she’s focusing on holistic living through experiences and storytelling via her blog, Unapologetically Brittney M. Walker.

KeKe
Naturally Glam- the reboot- is back and we're putting you in the spotlight! Up this week is certified hairstylist and instructor Ikea- aka- KeKe! Styling for over 17 years, this DC woman who spent most of her childhood in Georgia, knows a thing or two about expressing her creativity through innovative hair styles. Check out some of her most creative looks and find out why being natural is a lifestyle!

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How long have you been natural?
Everything about my lifestyle has been natural for as long as I can remember. My mom was the headwrap Queen everywhere we lived so you can get an idea of what type of household I was raised in. She taught me to be a forward thinking, self-loving naturalista through her actions; not just her words. I can attribute much about my personality and style to her powerful influence. She never put chemicals in my hair. She let me try getting it pressed out once when I was about 9, but she burned my forehead so bad, that I never asked her to do it again, lol. It wasn't till I was 16 years old that I attempted to give straight hair another try. I had already been renting a booth for 2 years, in a local salon, as a braider. In addition to braiding though, I also had a chance to learn from the master stylists working around me. With their help, I figured I could make this "perm" thing work- despite all the horror stories I had heard. Long story short, my hair was "technically" healthy for all of 1 year. The additional "perm" year I endured was spent trying to save my poor over-processed lifeless hair. So after my high-school graduation, I decided to ditch the creamy crack and go-BACK natural. Our hair is SO much stronger in its natural state. In my humble opinion, altered hair is often weaker and much more fragile.

Hair styles by KeKe
What do you do and why do you love it?
My entire career has been about promoting healthy resilient hair for all ethnicities. My clientele includes men, women and children from all demographics. My specialties are textured hair and braiding, but I provide all other types of styling as well. I love to create unorthodox styles using my own specialized techniques, mixed media and rare colors.

Do you have any favorite black-owned products?
As for black-owned products, growing up, I favored the usual classic brands like Creme of Nature, Dudley's, and Luster's pink oil moisturizer...but since completing Trichology training (Trichology is the study of the conditions and diseases of the human hair and scalp), I've realized that healthy hair is about more than just using products simply because they are made by people that look like you. Now to clarify, supporting black-owned businesses is nothing new to me. My mother raised me around positive figures with pro-black dispositions, so I've been hip to the power of the Black dollar for quite some time. With that being said though, the brand that I prefer to use on myself, all my family members, and that I recommend to all my clientele is Monat. They provide all natural, anti-aging haircare product systems that rectify a wide range of hair and scalp issues, such as the many forms of alopecia, Psoriasis, eczema, thinning, shedding, split ends, curl management, etc. The list goes on and on. It's just really good for natural black hair textures, as well as other textures, which is why I became a market partner within the company. My Trichology instructor once described beauty supply store products as "band-aids," able to calm the symptoms of the true problems. These days, I've focused my attention more on finding the "cures." Nothing at all against any entrepreneurs killing it in the beauty industry right now, but the unprecedented results I've seen from Monat speak for themselves. I like to recommend Talia Waajid and Design Essentials products as well :-)

What's the best part about what you do?
I am a hair restoration specialist and I absolutely love what I do! There is no greater feeling than to share a client's progress with them. I live for time-lapse "reveal" days and being bombarded with questions about hair health. Many stylists aren't receptive to questions, and don't share brand or up-keep knowledge with clients from what I hear. I try my hardest everyday to be the opposite of that. I'm an open-book with my clients and anyone who'd like help achieving their optimal hair goals. 


Has having natural hair contributed to you meeting your life goals? 
Having natural hair has definitely contributed to me meeting my life goals so far ;-). I'm a walking billboard. My quirky, game-changing hair styles that are floating around on social media were first tested on myself. I couldn't attempt even a portion of the styles I’ve done without having the resilience of natural hair. Also, I love the look on the faces of other women of color, when they see the eclectic styles and colors I mash together. Many (if not all) tell me, they never would've imagined my styles on dark-skinned women. I WANT TO CHANGE THAT!

What's been the best part of your natural hair journey and what hair advice do you give other women?
The best part of my hair journey has been the experience and expertise I've gained over the years, that I can share with other people.

The most rewarding thing to me, about styling is, the creative freedom. Ideas are constantly blooming in my head and I feel really lucky to have the open-minded type of clientele to unleash them on. I love creating trends.

The best hair advice I can give to women is: please take care of your mind and your body. Stress is the #1 hair killer outside of dehydration. It short circuits the hair follicles, essentially frying them from the root- aka- the quickest way to hair loss. As for your body, drink Alkaline water. Alkaline water neutralizes acidity and inflammation within the body. 90% of what's happening to your hair is because of imbalances WITHIN the body.

THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to share my opinions!!!

Keep up with KeKe on her instagram @rebel_svage

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If you'd like to be featured in Naturally Glam- whether you live here or abroad- submit your photos to [email protected] and answer these questions!

1) Where are you from and how long have you been natural?
2) Do you have any fav black-owned products that you use?
3) What do you do and why do you love it?
5) If you have a business, are in school, have a blog, products you sell, a job in a field you'd like to talk about, have initiatives and organizations you'd like to highlight, advice to give, or family that you are proud of and want to share, please do.
6) How has having natural hair contributed to your life? Your self-esteem?
7) What's been the best part of your natural hair journey or your hair journey in general?

By Jashima Wadehra

My first experience of what I️ like to call “innocent, unintentional racism” was when I️ was 15 at my very first job. I️ lived in Arizona, and despite the excruciating heat and palm trees decorated with lights I️ was determined to invoke a little NYC Christmas spirit into my life. I️ decided my first job would be as an Elf on the Santa set at the mall. It was great, my boss let us work as much as we could, we snuck pretzels under the register, children screamed, vomited and snotted on me, and overworked and underpaid parents screamed at me but I️ loved it.

One day, during a busy Saturday evening, I️ stood in my red apron guiding the kids to Santa and placing them on his lap. As one child is up next, I️ hear him telling his mother that he knows that this is not the real Santa and that she’s lying. The mother, doe-eyed asked, “Well, honey why on earth do you think he’s not Santa,” and the sweet boy responds, “Because Santa don’t have brown elves!”

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I literally start laughing out loud, and had to contain myself given the other customers, but this poor woman was mortified and mouthing, “I’m so sorry.” I️ shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well I’ve never seen one either, we are a rare breed.”
It occurred to me that in every Hallmark movie and Christmas story I️ read in the last 20 years, I️ have never once seen a brown Santa, or brown or black elves. No color. While we make strides in integrating people of color into mainstream adolescent and adult media, we don’t nearly put enough emphasis on integration and influences for children.This little boy did not now any better. He did not think less of me, he had just never seen a brown elf! He probably never even saw a tan, white one either.

We always say that children don’t see color. The problem is they do when it comes to recognizing that no one looks like them in notable roles. When I was young shows like Barney and Cyberchase had fairly diverse casts, they encouraged the same things as religiously rooted pieces do, good manners, love, peace and giving. Even a show like Caillou featured a little boy with cancer, so if we integrate other life issues or help normalize certain occurrences, why don't we normalize color?

Given that holidays are religiously affiliated one could assume that if you don't practice said religion, you need not worry. I, however, believe these holidays are also a cultural statement and I intend on raising my kids with the knowledge that every role in life comes in color, naturally. If we teach our kids that all people are created equal and that there is no hierarchy then shouldn't we instill that in EVERY aspect of life? I was not offended by the lack of representation, but rather sad that there was such marginal change between my childhood exposure to color in media and this little boy’s several years later. My kids will celebrate Diwali, Christmas and anything else we see fit, but they’ll know people come in all shapes, sizes and colors. 


Do you find that kid's media is still lacking color representation?

Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com
Over time, I've collected bits and pieces of the routine beauty habits that create Karrueche's beautiful skin. For the most part, we've been surviving on scraps, but we are eating today girlies!  

Karrueche recently spilled the details to her entire regimen.  Because I'm such a creeper, I've already uncovered and written about some of what she does to create her glow.  But there were some new revelations in this article that I wasn't previously aware of.  

Let's discuss.
Thanks to an interview from The Cut, we know have full knowledge of the secrets to Karrueche's perfect skin.  I'm sure some of it is genetics, but this girl really puts in work. You can tell that healthy skin is something she's passionate about. These are the type of people that we can learn the most from.  I mean, just look at her skin.
A post shared by karrueche (@karrueche) on

The first secret that Karrueche reveals is that she's invested in a facial steamer.  She utilizes it to prep her skin prior to masking. This is absolutely brilliant because steaming before any facial treatment will only enhance the results.  When the pores are clear (post-steaming) the hydrating effects of a mask are amplified. Following the mask, she seals all the goodness in by closing her pores using ice cubes.  Here's the running list of celebrities who use ice-cubes in their regimen.

1. Naomi Campbell
2. Pharrell 
3. Jasmine Tookes
4. Karrueche Tran

That's just a few.  If you weren't digging my cold shower recommendation, an ice cube facial is probably the next best thing. 

She then goes on to name off a few of her favorite masks.  Turn out I was right when I guessed that her golden mask was Peter Thomas Roth's 24k Lifting/Firming Mask.  She says it herself in this interview.  Kae's other favorite masks include Glam Glow, Origins and LaMer.  Sounds like a pretty good line up if you ask me.

Beyond the intense masking regimen, we know that Karrueche is a big fan of saunas.  She relies on the sauna as a way to do a major detox on her skin.   She doesn't go into much detail in the interview, but we're already aware that this girl doesn't just sauna, she has a complete sauna-skin clearing routine

 One, not so healthy habit she has is obsessively picking at her skin.  For most of us, this is a death sentence.  Discoloration and acne scars will abound when we mess with our skin.  But, with the help of a steamer or sauna, removing gunk that lays beneath the surface becomes much easier.  That's probably how she's able to get away with it. 

If you're desperate to clear out white/black heads, laying below the surface of your skin, try this multi-step technique.  

The last thing I want to highlight from her interview is a reveal of her HOLY GRAIL skin product.  Although I prided myself in figuring out most of her ritual, I had no knowledge of the ONE ITEM that gets her the most compliments.

Karrueche once splurged on Chanel's Hydra Beauty Serum and has never looked back.  Apparently, this stuff is so good that she immediately restocks once it runs out.  It makes sense to always go back to the product that is guaranteed to generate comments. This item isn't cheap but seems to be pretty amazing.  All the reviews are glowing. If you want to give it a try, be prepared to invest over $100.00.  If you aren't ready just yet, consider trying the hero ingredient and see if you can get favorable results. One thing I noticed was that camellia seed oil was included.  This is the same oil that Gabrielle Union swears by.  I love Camellia seed but I haven't incorporated it into my skin care regimen. I'm definitely going to blend a drop or two into my favorite cream or serum and see what transpires.  Then adding Chanel's Hydra Serum to my splurge list.

One beauty secret that we're aware of, but wasn't mentioned in the article is the fact that Karrueche also indulges in various health tonics & juices that keep her skin glowing from the inside out.  She also goes into her favorite hair products.  But I won't spoil it, you can check out the full interview here