By Erickka Sy Savané

It was supposed to be a quick trim before an event. My husband had been cutting my hair for the past few years and was largely responsible for my hard fought independence from hair. Obviously, I still had hair, but I'm talking about my freedom from twisting, curling, ironing, and curl defining. I’d finally embraced a pick out, which I love for its easy manageability. Pick, pat and go. Some days I don't even do that, I just wake up, mold it around with my hands, and I'm out. That said, I was now suddenly thrust back into the lion’s den when my hubby/barber accidentally cut a plug out of my hair.

“Oh sh*t,” he said, as the clippers grazed my neck so close I thought I saw blood. “I forgot to put the guide on."

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Oh shit, times 100. I thought. I have two choices. Grab him by the neck and end it all right here, or take a deep breath. I chose the later, and walked to the bathroom mirror to take a look.

Okay. It was bad. As bad as I thought, minus the blood. Now what?

I’m taken back to my past relationship with hair. The way I always prided myself on it being perfect. How I wouldn't go on the front porch to check the mail until every strand was in place. How I wouldn't trust anyone in my hair, including my mother, once I was old enough to do it myself. How I would beat it into submission with chemicals, heat, bleach, whatever I could use to make it do what I needed it to do. It took years, and everything shy of professional help, to get me to this place where hair isn't the center of my life.

But at the same time though, I love the shit out of my haircuts! My husband and I have fun. He's not a professional barber, and has never cut anybody's hair outside of mine, but he always comes up with the goods. It's because of him that I cut my hair like this in the first place (he was tired of seeing me spend every waking moment of my time on hair), and it's because of these cuts that I've learned that it's just hair. If he goes in a little too deep around the ear one day, no problem, it grows back in a few days. Granted, a little extra snips around the ear is nothing compared to this deep gash, but how do you know where you are if not for a situation like this?

“Just do whatever you need to do,” I say to my husband, drowning out his apologies.

When he finishes cutting, I feel the breeze on the back of my neck and check it out in the mirror. l don't recognize the woman staring back at me. She looks badasssss. Honestly, I'm happy to know that I can still look edgy. You start popping out a few kids, flip-flopping on your weight, catching a few grey strands and start to wonder if edge is just that thing you stay away from at the Grand Canyon.

With little time to waste, I slap some oil on my scalp, get dressed, and head to my event.


Looking back, I can honestly say that this hair mishap was the best thing to ever happen to me because I had fun. More fun than I've ever had with a cut. It was bold, courageous for the Winter time, and it taught me not to take things so seriously. I now understand why women who have shaved their heads say that every woman should try it at least once. Imagine all the free time. Who knows, if my hubby forgets to put the guide on the clippers again I will try that next...

Have you ever had a hair mishap turn into a blessing?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife and mom, based in Jersey, City. Her work has appeared in Essence.com,Ebony.comMadamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram orErickkaSySavane.com
Zara
Hey Ladies,
Wanna know how to get kinky hair into a sleek and LAID bun, no extensions? Hair vlogger Zara has got you with this stress-free approach to the sleek bun, which takes a lot less time/energy than your typical, "super sleek" bun. Check out the video for a closer look and master this classic style that never goes out of style!




By Erickka Sy Savané

2018 is here and once again we are faced with that question: Do I set another New Year’s Resolution?

You know it’s hard putting on the same pair of jeans year-after-year because the ones you really want to wear are too damn small. Finally, you start looking at those big jeans saying, they’re not so bad. You just gotta know how to rock them. Then you forget all about those other jeans. Until, that something or someone comes along, reminding you that it’s never too late.

This is for all those who believe that the best is yet to come, and that this new year is an opportunity to let go of the past and come out of the gate swinging!
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ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. Be open. Be fearless. Be ready to switch up your game plan if it’s not working. Resistance will always be there ready to stop you, but this year is about going all the way. Now, in case you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be fearless, surely you were fearless at least once in your life. Think back to that time and remember what it felt like to slay that dragon. Did you walk into the boss’s office and demand a raise? Did you drop that dude that was bringing you nothing but drama? Whatever the case, let your rock-star-alter-ego save the day. Hey, it worked for the Queen B. Honestly, Beyonce is cool, but we all know Sash is the real star!


EAT FOODS THAT GIVE YOU ENERGY. And that ain't Snickers! Or soda. Or chips. You can’t slay no dragons if you don’t have the energy to raise your sword. Stock up on bananas, which are full of sugar, but also full of energy, spinach which helps with digestion, curbs overeating, prevents constipation, combats colds and will have your skin looking shiny like a brand new penny, and honey, which was used by ancient Olympic athletes, along with figs, to enhance performance. Blend these super ingredients into a power shake and watch yourself go!


Make EXERCISE a priority. No one is saying go out and run a marathon, but most of us can step it up in the workout department. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk whenever possible, and dance! In addition to helping tone the body, research has shown that dancing reduces tension and stress, boosts creativity, improves posture and balance, wards off illnesses, fights depression, and raises confidence. Not to mention it’s fun. Whether out at a club or in the comfort of your home, turn on Pandora Radio- ‘Bollywood Workout’ channel is sick!- and you will be dropping it like it’s hot in no time.


GET YOUR SEX ON! Studies have found that sex can lower blood pressure, reduce heart attack risk, give you increased energy, and relieve stress. That may be all you need to meet your goals this year! But if you find that the only time you get hot is when you see an Idris Elba photo, have no fear BADAM is here. A little known fact is that almonds boost sex drive, so this sweet Indian drink made of almond milk with a touch of Saffron and Cardamom is sure to get your temperature rising. Those in the know swear by it, but they may be too busy having sex to share the news.



CLEAN HOUSE! A de-cluttered home leads to a de-cluttered mind, which clears the way for creativity to flow, increased energy and an overall fresher outlook on life. But don’t just clean your house, LITERALLY CLEAN HOUSE. Get rid of toxic people too. Studies show that toxic people bring you down and often discourage you from achieving your goals. By letting these people go, you’re actually making room for those who are positive and will support you.


WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS. First, be clear about what you want to achieve because it’s hard to get what you don’t know you want. Once you know, write it down, and here’s one damn good reason:
According to a study conducted in 1979 by the Harvard MBA program, graduate students were asked if they had set clear, written goals for their future and made plans to accomplish them? The result, only three percent had written goals and plans, 13 percent had goals that weren’t written down, and 84 percent had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was enough to make your toes curl. The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals. The three percent who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined. Need you hear more?


HAVE FUN! Yes, reaching goals, reclaiming your hotness, catching fire, sometimes even getting out of bed can take every ounce of energy you have, but it’s not going to kill you, so be easy about it. Have fun. Reward yourself for things done right, forgive yourself for falling off track, and always keep going. YOU GOT THIS!!!

How do you plan to catch fire this year?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife and mom, based in Jersey, City. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.comMadamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com


John Boyega
By Elena Karimi

Have you guys noticed the buzz surrounding Star Wars, The Last Jedi lately? Apparently, some Star Wars fans have become skeptical about the new kind of diversity in Star Wars. They may not be many, but they have made sufficient noise. On the 15th of December 2017, The Wire ran an article stating that Star Wars: The Last Jedi Will Bother Some People. The sentiment has been repeated in the media and some people have been bothered greatly. Unfortunately, the best aspect of Star Wars, diversity, is ironically being used against it.

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Star Wars has always been one of my favorite franchises due to the diverse life introduced from the beginning. It caught my attention and retained it. By diversity, I don’t mean humans, I mean all the types of diversity that can be mixed together to make things exciting. Women, men, young, old, different skin colors, different sexual orientations, and different origins, etc. A black man from Kenya is not representation for all black men, because he could never adequately represent a black man from the Bahamas or Surinam, for example. Star Wars’ diversity has been exemplary – creature wise - Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt and his crew of creatures, Yoda the wise and the smart adorable BB-8. In The Last Jedi, the Lanais, Thala-sirens, Fathiers and the Vulptices were introduced. All these creatures and droids have been referred to as amazing, fantastic creatures. But, as soon as John Boyega removed that trooper helmet and showed his black mutt, it became a humongous issue.

John Boyega
The whistles and drums were out to announce danger and gloom, the end of the great wars. According to the doomsayers and cynics, diversity was literally killing a billion-dollar business although most objective studies have found that diversity is good for business. Note: I have not even got to mentioning the insidious Darth and the sinister Snoke and all his minions.

Most things that happen around me remind me of Kenya so it is no surprise that the Star Wars buzz reminds me of tourists coming to Kenya. I grew up hearing how resilient we Kenyans were. Brave, industrious and entrepreneurial. Generous and hospitable. Good tempered and fun loving, making lemonade from all lemons left behind by the travelers, the occupiers, the democracy vendors, the religion traders and the civilization experts. At 18, I started working at a Tourist Agency in Nairobi and most tourists were in Kenya shortly, sometimes, for less than a month. In addition to the feedback form, I would ask every tourist that came through our travel agency about their experiences with the Kenyan people. Mostly, all I heard was high praise for the animals. The geography and geology since both the Equator and the Rift Valley run through the country. The exceptional flamingoes, the incredibly blue waters and the white sands of the Indian ocean etc.

It took me four years to understand that the Kenyan people were invisible in most tourists’ eyes. Except when they did something wrong, something negative. How dare they interrupt the reverie? They were robbers, hence Nairobery. They were poor, hence aid. They were promiscuous and sexually irresponsible, hence HIV and AIDS. Corrupt, therefore, they deserved the corrupt government. Ignorant and un-strategic, therefore electing the wrong leaders. Loose morals, therefore prostitution. Violent, hence unrest during and after every election. You name it, the Kenyan people were it, just not the positive stuff though. Well, except the Maasais who were beautiful! Almost comparable to the lions and leopards. I am digressing.

Lupita Nyong'o
My point is, Maz is a Maasai. [Spoiler Alert]. In a costume, an attire, a mask and in The Last Jedi, she is shoved into an extraterrestrial glass bowl. Her brief appearance makes it easier to miss her. This is how Maz can be so fantastic, adored and Finn, well, not. I am a Maz and Lupita fan, don’t get me wrong! Of the over 20 human characters in Last Jedi, there are only four persons that qualify to be pushed into the diversity needle-eye: Finn, Rose, Paige and Maz. When Lupita joined the Star Wars franchise, I barely knew she was there. The silence was deafening, except on her Instagram and Twitter. No trolls, no complaints, no drama, no indignation and no tantrums. Maybe because her face and skin were hidden behind Maz Kanata, The Good Diversity is the invisible diversity. “It’s there, you just don’t see it.”

Thankfully, as of 30th December, the Last Jedi has raked in almost 1 million dollars, making it one of the highest grossing earners of 2017. Diversity may, after all, have saved Star Wars. I am very excited by Benicio Del Toro’s presence in the Last Jedi and hopefully, the rebels or the empire will keep him. All my wet dreams start and end with Benicio’s presence. Oh, sorry, I mean Idris Elba. Anywhere, anytime.

Have you seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi? 

About Elena Karimi: I am an immigrant to Sweden, originally from Kenya. I came to Stockholm to study and stayed after finding work and love. Having siblings and friends in Kenya and East Africa, keeps my eyes almost always turned towards Africa. Being a black woman, belonging to the minority in Europe, keeps my spirit, survival instincts and prayers focused on the dark skinned population of the world. 
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Rocks By Sekou Black & Blue Bracelet
Happy New Year Ladies,

New year, new you, new Rocks By Sekou to lace your wrist! We asked, what are you leaving in 2017, and you had the best answers! We know you're going to kill it this year, and beyond. Soooooooooo, without further ado, the winners are........

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Rocks By Sekou Black & Blue Bracelet

I am leaving my channel one in 2017. 2017 was a huge year for us. I faced several fears head on and came out on the other side stronger. We moved from an apartment and bought a house while I was oh so very pregnant. We welcomed a beautiful baby girl a month early and I survived those first weeks. I returned to work as a working mama. And I entered into those huge life changes anxious (anticipation mixed with dread). I wanted to have a playbook for all of those changes. I wanted to know what was next and what I should expect. That isn’t life. Next year I’m entering into 2018 with anticipation claiming what is already mine.

I'm leaving behind obesity, insecurities, lack of drive and motivation. I'm leaving behind excuses and allowing others to steal my joy. I wish I could say I'm leaving behind depression and anxiety, but it's not that simple because mental health issues cannot be wished away. However, I will leave behind being silent and will use every opportunity I can to speak up and encourage others in the African American community to talk about and educate ourselves when it comes to mental health.

I am leaving behind frustration, gossip, bitterness, and negativity. I am also leaving behind those who try to steal my joy. 2017 was a tough year...dealing with school, petty co-workers, petty and selfish family members. In 2018, I will re-learn me. I will focus more on self; building up my self-confidence, driving out doubt, diving head first into the word of GOD, exercise and becoming more patient with myself and others. In 2017, I learned many things such as being careful who I speak to. I thought having a close friend at work was great. She and I had been friends for over 2 years and could tell each other anything. Until one day, I got called into my boss's office and it was revealed my so-called close friend had put my name in a situation I was not a part of. She had intentionally said I was the one who had spoken to her about the situation but in reality SHE was the one who came to me. She turned the whole situation around to make me out to be the 'bad' employee while all along it was her. Needless to say, I no longer converse with her unless it has to deal with work. I am usually a social butterfly but this situation has taught me a valuable lesson. I know and feel in my heart 2018 will be an AWESOME year as long as I stay close to GOD as I re-learn myself.

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Please email [email protected] with your full name and address using Rocks By Sekou Winner in the subject line. Sekou will contact you via email if you need further help sizing your bracelet, otherwise, see the sizing guide below and include it within your email. Enjoy your bracelet, and everyone else stay tuned for our next giveaway!
SIZING
  • Small – 6 inches
  • Medium – 7 inches
  • Large – 8 inches
  • Extra large – 9 inches
Not sure? Just measure your wrist with a flexible tape measure right below your wrist bone. Or you can print and use this paper ruler. After that, add an inch for fit. So, if your wrist is exactly 6 inches, you’ll need a size medium.

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