I've been thinking a lot lately about stress. First it was singer Brandy who recently collapsed on a plane due to the stress of traveling and working incessantly, says her publicist, and not long ago it was modelpreneur Tyra Banks who confessed that while she was at the height of her career, she was also exhausted and sad. Just today I saw a video that's been making the social media rounds of former ‘In The House’ actress Maia Campbell turning down LL Cool J’s request to get her help. It’s no secret that the once stunningly beautiful actress is addicted to drugs and in the footage she’s running a mile a minute. I couldn't help but wonder what will make her stop.

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And then I turn the question towards me.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been running. Running from food stamps, a father who was never there, bills, weight, myself.

I only stop when I hit a wall. Like when I finally had to take care of my fibroids. Or when I was so stressed that I couldn’t pee. I’d sit on the toilet for hours waiting for a stream that would never come. It took walking around with a catheter strapped to my leg for a week, and eventually running to another city to shake it off.

Even when I had my babies I didn’t stop.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” people would say. But they were clueless about my life. When the baby sleeps is when the work begins. One time, just a week after giving birth I broke down on the way to Target. Mental and physical fatigue set in and I couldn’t remember what was so important that I needed to get in my car and battle horrific LA traffic. Before I knew it, I pulled over to the side of the road and cried till I ached. Maybe it was just hormones, but I cried like that earlier today and I haven’t had a baby in 5 years.

Lately, I’ve been crashing into my husband and my kids. I’m either dismissive, not present, or just plain mean.

My husband shared a poem he discovered online with me this morning and I was so far away. Thinking about work that needed to get done, bills I needed to pay. It almost felt silly to think that I could stop and listen to poetry. But I didn't say that, I half-listened with a blank look on my face, prompting him to scream, “After 12 years of marriage you still can’t tell me that your mind is somewhere else?!”

No. ‘Cuz I’m going to try to handle everything with as little disruption as possible, so I can get to the next thing. It’s not that I don’t care. I absolutely care. That’s why I run. It’s how I show my love. If I run fast enough all our problems will disappear.

Sometimes I envy my friend who just shuts down. She’s the only Black woman I’ve ever known to just stop getting out of bed for weeks. I never understood how she could do that because if I’m not moving I’m dead.

This running didn’t start with me. It was my mom and her mom before that. My mom doesn’t sleep at night because her mind is running like a motor that never stops. She’s taken three sleep studies in the past three months and doctors don’t know what’s wrong. I do. It’s called Black Woman Syndrome and it's been in our DNA since enslavement. I know this because the only time I slowed down was in Africa. Don’t believe that lie that it’s so hard there because it’s not. There was plenty of help. Help for your kids, help to cook and clean, help for your help. It’s in America that a Black woman has to work till her back and spirit is broken. And for what? To be told that she’s a b-tch who wants to spend her life alone? Listen Sherlock, work is all a Black woman knows, and if she let it all go, if she truly depended on someone else and it didn’t work out the joke would be on her and then she might die. I don’t like being this way. I wish I could change, just trick my DNA into thinking I’m a white woman because they don’t have to do sh-t. They get to whine and be soft and vulnerable because the world doesn’t depend on them like they do us.

So I run. And I’m not sure what will make me stop.

This evening my daughter was looking at me with this weird look while I was plowing through the dishes.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked her.

“I’m just watching you, seeing what you’re doing,” she said.

I pushed pause to think about it for a minute...I’m doing the same thing I do every day, and I get faster and faster, I swear I can wash a whole sink full of dishes in two seconds. I saw her life flash in front of me, but the difference was she wasn't washing dishes she was taking a long walk in the park, smelling the roses. In that moment I realized that this is some straight bullsh-t’ and I sat my ass down.

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

I flew into St. Louis, MO yesterday to spend some time with the fam here in Ferguson.  Boogie had already been here for 2 weeks, so Max and I decided to join her for the next 2 weeks!  Moments after disembarking, I headed straight to Shi Salon.  I had Brittany remove my faux locs over the weekend (*tears*... I miss them already!), and after a henna treatment and some TLC, I wanted Marie to sharpen up this bob situation.  She met me at the salon despite it being her day off! 

I immediately facetimed Dr. Daddy so he could see and he smiled and said, 'you cut it anyway!'  He likes it longer.  

A little below my chin, not jaw bone length again... that was my compromise!

My Marie Simone of Shi Salon! If you're in and around STL or anywhere else in the world (she travels, hontey), she will slay your cut. Perfection.  Very professional, very inspiring, very funny! Love her!  Her team of future slay artists are amazing too-- thanks Gio and Alyssa! xoxo

I've got two whole kids, y'all!

Got my Boogie back!!!!!!  This was her, doing her, in the Schnucks in Ferguson! LOL!

starting the day slow with these two!
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

By Sharee Silerio

Months after winning an Oscar for Best Picture for “Moonlight”, award-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins has revealed his next project.

His follow-up film is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk” for Annapurna Pictures.

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Jenkins wrote the screenplay in 2013, with support from the Baldwin estate, around the same time he created the script for “Moonlight”.

The novel is a tale of love and injustice, and Amazon summarizes it this way:

“Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.”

An American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and social critic, James Baldwin was an insightful, iconic writer whose words and stories spoke intimately and powerfully about racial and social issues, most notably the black experience in America.

Jenkins will direct the film, which is his first feature since “Moonlight”.

According to the “LA Times”, filming will begin this October.

“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day," Jenkins said in a statement, per the “LA Times”. “To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”

Have you read James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk”? Are you looking forward to watching Barry Jenkins’ adaptation on film?
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Marjani Beauty Company is one you should know. They are a one stop shop online “beauty destination for melanin women by melanin women."

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No more searching for hues that match your skin tone in today’s mass beauty market. Their company does the homework for you! To insure every product is melanin approved, they are tested by their own beauty panel. Each brand shares their passion for enhancing melanin beauty and provides quality, safe, on trend products.
(L to R: Kimberly Smith, Founder & CEO; Heather Jennings, Brand Strategy; Kimberly Harvey, COO) 

The Ivy League trained attorney, founder and CEO Kimberly Smith always had a passion for fashion and beauty. She states this is what Marjani Beauty is all about: “We aim to not just be a retailer, but a community where shopping becomes a memorable experience. Bringing international beauty and cosmetic products to the local consumer, and using this platform to empower women of color, across nationalities, age, hair textures, shades to embrace and claim their beauty.”

What I love the most about their site is the capability to shop by hue: Fair, Golden Honey, Caramel, Bronze and Mahogany. Also, you can find everything from Makeup, Nail Polish, and Lashes, along with Skincare, Haircare and Bodycare products. You can utilize their Buy It and Try It™ Foundation Match Program where you receive a FREE matching sample along with your purchase. If the products are not the perfect shade, it may be return (unopened) within 14 days to receive a full refund. Lastly, their mission and vision for the company highlights and celebrates diversity amongst women of color.

Have you heard of or ordered from Marjani Beauty? Share your thoughts!
Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.

By Sharee Silerio

I look forward to “Queen Sugar” every week, especially its wisdom, authenticity and relatable depictions of work, relationships, romance, family, hurt and healing.

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In this episode, like many of the others, Charley and Ralph Angel butt heads – this time over Micah accidentally pushing Blue – but we also get to see them make up, in their shortest conflict so far.

What’s refreshing in the fourth episode, titled “My Soul’s High Song”; is the real, raw love Hollywood and Aunt Vi have for each other. We also get to see Charley’s business savvy in action, while Nova contemplates her next career move.

Once again, “Queen Sugar” surprises, encourages, teaches and keeps us wanting more.

Here is this week’s “Reel Noire” recap, on the sweet lessons that stood out in Wednesday night’s episode:

1. Working is just as important as relaxing. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do for the sake of doing. Take care of yourself and rest, so you can live life fully.

Hollywood completes his “honey-do” list when he asks Violet if anything else needs to be done. She’s tells him that he’s completed all of the tasks and should sit on the couch, watch television, grab a beer and wait for her to get home from work so they can do the things couples do. It is clear that this will be difficult for him, based on the look on his face, but it’s his only option.

2. To be a boss, you must have a vision, and you need to know your business inside and out.

Charley and Remy are at the sugar mill with the black farmers collective, and Charley is offering an update on construction plans, equipment and expectations for performance. During the conversation, it’s clear that she has done her research as she’s speaking the farmer’s language with the technical terms she uses along with her descriptions of what’s going to happen. Her presentation was impressive, and a farmer or two even signed contracts to commit to using the Queen Sugar mill for harvest.

3. Don’t forget to see the beauty beyond the world’s brokenness. In the fight for racial justice, dignity, equality, and truth, always make room to acknowledge the good that exists. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the negative, so make sure you allow yourself to see the positive.

Nova has a new editor at the newspaper, and he wants her to find more positive stories so viewers don’t go elsewhere for good news. She tells him that she does some of the most in depth social and criminal justice reporting in the area, and he says that she does great work, but he wants her to “cast her net a little wider” and help them balance the coverage. She responds by saying that it’s difficult to find the good things because “a lot is broken” in New Orleans. He says that not everything is broken, and he wants her to profile success stories, because they’re currently only writing about “problems, not solutions.” She tries to go in a different direction by interviewing an official from the local District Attorney’s office, but hits a dead end when the interviewee doesn’t trust her motives and halts the interview.

4. Become one with the people you want to lead. Don’t forget who you really are – human.

Charley is looking for a new place for her and Micah to live, preferably one that will remind them of home. After her and Remy’s tour of a luxurious spot, they go to the High Yellow for lunch, where they discuss the property. Remy starts with how living in the home, which is near the Landrys, will impact the farmers’ perception of her, and the implications of “black success” looking or not looking like “white success”. Remy tells her that if she wants to lead the black farmers and gain their trust and respect, then she should live and invest in the neighborhood where the mill is located, especially since her purpose for the mill is to uplift the community.

5. You’re never too old to dream!

Aunt Vi and Hollywood are getting ready for bed when Hollywood says that he enjoyed helping on the farm and that he’s going to look for another job. She tells him that he’s just restless and shouldn’t rush into anything. He adds that he likes working and Vi says that she does too.

Auntie then dropped some gems, saying, “They got us thinking that we supposed to work until we die. Then if we don’t, we the problem. Well that ain’t my American Dream. Is that yours?” Hollywood replies in the negative then tells her that his dream is going to sleep and waking up beside her each day, and nothing else matters.

She says that other things do matter, so he tells her, “What, and you don’t think you’re wasting your time at the High Yellow? I see the look on your face when you’re running around. That ain’t a look of love.” She says it’s the “look of determination” and that she worked her butt off for the promotion. Hollywood says that he always sees her most happy when she’s working in her own kitchen, then asks her what her dream looks like.

Aunt Vi responds, “I guess, it looks like me making people happy with my food, my pies. I guess it’s me, having my own business,” with a puzzled expression. He says, “You saying that like it can’t happen. Look, let me figure out what to do next. But I want you to figure out the same thing. We ain’t too old to get ours, baby. We ain’t.”

Did you watch the fourth episode of “Queen Sugar”? What moments do you remember?
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.