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By Mwabi Kaira

In the ongoing conversation about skin hues and how uncomfortable the world seems to be with dark skin, Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o has fared well and seems to have come through pretty unscathed since emerging in the public eye back in 2013. Other than former NBA player Gilbert Arenas dumb remarks about Lupita only being cute with the lights off, Lupita is a media darling and well loved and accepted. She is a red carpet favorite and always makes the best dressed lists. She has been on the cover of multiple magazines including Vogue, Elle, Essence, In Style, Marie Claire, Glamour, and was even named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful while making the cover. She is the face of Lancome ads, and has dolls made in her likeness. Her poise and classiness are bar none and the fact that she has accomplished everything while celebrating her natural beauty make her the epitome of black girl magic.

Lupita will team with Simon & Schuster to write her debut children’s book “Sulwe."


The picture book is aimed at readers between the ages of 5 and 7. “Sulwe,” means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native tongue and is the story of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya. Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds, Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.

Lupita was not always the self-confident Goddess we know now and gave a speech about it in 2014 at an Essence Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The speech went viral and was a pivotal point for young girls who thought lightening their skin would make them feel more beautiful. She encouraged them by saying,
“I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also, get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.” 
 The speech going viral is where the idea of “Sulwe” was born explains Lupita,
“I felt really grateful that it had this impact and at that time it occurred to me that there was an audience that this was resonating with, but the age group that really needed to hear this wouldn’t necessarily hear the speech.”
Dark skin is not just an issue in predominantly African countries; South America, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea are all countries who sell skin lightening creams. The sad untrue belief is that lighter skin gives you a better life. Sulwe’s story will resonate with children from all over the world and teach them that self love and acceptance are the key. Children learn life lessons at an early age and books are a huge way in which they learn.

“Sulwe” will hit the shelves next January. Will you buy it?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at
Model Halima Aden 
By Erickka Sy Savané
My 8-year-old daughter is obsessed with Somalian model Halima Aden. Kinglimaa as she is known on instagram, made history as the first teen to wear a burkini during the Miss Teen Minnesota USA pageant in 2016, the first hijab-wearer to grace the cover of Allure magazine last summer, and she's walked for Yeezy and shot campaigns for Nike and American Eagle. All this, and she's not even 21. For my daughter, who considers herself Muslim like her dad, and went through a stage in Pre-K where she loved wearing a hijab scarf, Halima is the perfect role model. As a mom, I'm not mad at her being enamored by a young woman who is always tastefully covered- call me funny that way. But not so funny is that not all moms can see the value of someone like Halima. In fact, not so long ago in high school, this Muslim who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and raised in Minnesota, set off an alarm in the mother of her bff who made her stop being friends with Halima because she feared she'd recruit her into ISIS. Yes, this happened. How did Halima handle it? How does she handle racism period? Halima recently gave a speech at Glamour's Women Of The Year Summit where she shared just that...


Halima Aden 
Halima shares,
"At first I was like, 'You're kidding, right?' It made me want to cut myself off from everybody who doesn't share my race and culture. But my mother told me, "Sometimes people won't understand you. You have to show them who you are. And you'll have to understand their stories too." 
To understand someone else's story is empathy, and my mother taught me living a rich life requires radical empathy. I can practice radical empathy because the empathy I've received has overwhelmed the bigotry. From aid workers at the refugee camp, to teachers who helped me, to pageant officials who let me compete for Miss Minnesota USA wearing my hijab and burkini, and launch a modeling career. When you swap anger for empathy, you can begin to understand my friend's mom; she's seeing Muslims portrayed as terrorist on the news. Meanwhile, Muslims haven't found much of a voice in this country. 
I see the path forward. Show them who I am. Seek out people different from you. You might get hurt, but do it anyway. And if that girl and her mom are watching now, I hope they'll understand: The only radical thing about me is my empathy."
Bravo Sister!
Halima covers Allure
Halima with her 'Rock' aka Mom

Halima with model Winnie Harlow who she calls 'the sweetest person on earth'

All photos via Halima's IG!
How do you handle bigotry? 
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in,,, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or
Leah Vernon
By: Lenora Houseworth

Less than a decade ago, the face of Muslim women was that of an invisible onlooker in both fashion and beauty, with virtually no representation anywhere. Now, in the midst of a turbulent political climate, those days are officially in the past. With big retail brands and beauty companies forming partnerships pushing diversity, Muslim beauty gurus have become a viable and much-needed voice. These ladies are defining beauty on their terms while showcasing their faith like we’ve never seen before. Check out some of these gorgeous beauty bloggers and learn some of their tips and tricks!

The other day I was browsing a forum where one of the ladies wanted to share something that she noticed.  To help boost her immune system, and help fight a stubborn cold, she loaded up on her vitamin C intake.

Taking in all of that vitamin C was supposed to help her recover from her cold, but instead, it gave her incredible skin that she had to rave about.
Specifically, she noticed brighter skin that appeared smooth and poreless.  Her hypothesis was that these changes were brought about by her copious intake of vitamin C. Since she wasn't able to maintain her skin regimen while feeling sick, she believed the antioxidant intake make a huge impact on her skin.

Is she right?

We all know that using vitamin C infused serums could help brighten our skin. But what about taking it internally?

 Here's some information that sheds some light on the role of ingested vitamin C and the skin:

  • Both the dermis and the epidermis contain high levels of vitamin C.  The epidermis (outer most layer of the skin) has a higher vitamin C content.  
  • As we age, vitamin C levels on the skin will decline.  
  • Excessive sun exposure also depletes vitamin C stores. 
  • Taking vitamin C internally can help the skin combat photoaging (aging caused by the sun's rays).
  • Vitamin C deficiency results in a skin condition known as scurvy.
  • Scurvy is essentially the breaking down of collagen and results in skin issues, receding gums, changes in our hair and poor wound healing.
A study determined that higher intake of vitamin C resulted in the healthier, younger appearance of the skin.  This is the confirmation we need to support the woman's claim that increasing her vitamin C intake could have caused the transformation of her skin.  

Let's not forget how important the role of vitamin C plays in collagen formation. It basically helps increase the levels of Type I collagen in the skin.  It's used directly in the collagen-building process. So whenever new collagen is formed, our vitamin C levels deplete.  After helping to build collagen, vitamin C goes one step further to help protect it from attack by free-radicals. Basically, vitamin C preserves our bodies from breaking down. 

It appears that vitamin C is well received when placed topically on the skin so if you don't have a vitamin C serum, you need to get one, stat!  But we need to take it a step further and make sure we're eating a diet rich in vitamin C or supplementing at the very least.  For those us who are fans of collagen supplements, we need to take our vitamin C intake seriously.  

Let this woman's testimony be a source of inspiration for us to make vitamin C a priority.  Perhaps vitamin C can help take our skin to the next level. Not just during cold and flu season but all year round.  And if you need more motivation, let me remind you that vitamin C can also help you reach your healthy weight goals as well.  

Lately, I've been obsessed with finding the perfect pinkish-nude nail polish.  For the past few years, I've pretty much relied on my staple nail polish -- Essie's Sand Tropez.  I own several bottles and I believe everyone should have this color in their collection.

But lately, my eyes have been set on a different shade of nude.  Before we know it, spring will be here.  We must prepare now by finding out perfect pinky nude.

The shade you see in the picture above is of OPI's Tickle My Fance-y.  I love this shade because it's muted pink that works perfectly with brown skin.  It's a subtle, yet bold color that I absolutely must try.

Next on my list of potential shades to try is Essie's Princess Charming. As you can see, this polish looks great on pretty much any skin tone.  Plus, I love Essie's formula so this one is definitely a yes for me.
I'm not sure the name of the polish in this image but I have begun the search.  Currently, I've got my eye on Essie's Ladylike or Essie's Gel Couture in Touch Up (pictured below).

 According to the product description, Essie's Gel Couture can last up to 14 days.  No lamp required.  For this reason alone, I think I'll experiment with their gel couture line first before trying hues from others.

Now that I have my running list of potential pinky nudes, next I search for the perfect red polish and my list will be complete.  Once I have a roundup of my favorite red's, I'll be sure to share.

If you're still looking for the perfect neutral shade, make sure to check out this post.