By Kanisha Parks

Whoever said that Valentine’s Day is just for couples should really have several seats! While Valentine’s Day has an interesting history rooted in romantic ideals, it isn’t meant to be celebrated by couples alone, but to show love to the important people in your life. You remember giving Valentine’s Day cards to all of your classmates as a kid, right? That tradition is still continuing now, so why is that when we grow up, we think we need a “boo” in order to participate? Girl, before you prepare to stay in and rock yourself to sleep while watching romantic comedies in your PJ’s, here are a few ways you can actually enjoy Valentine’s Day, even in your singlehood!

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1. Do something special for your family!

In my family, we’ve always done something for each other on Valentine’s Day. I have four sisters and even though we are all grown, we still give each other gifts on V-Day! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to make what seems like a romance-driven holiday about family, but you’d be surprised how good it feels to just show love to the ones that are close to you on this day. Plus, if you have children, giving them something on Valentine’s Day is another way of reinforcing the fact that they don’t have to look for love because they already have it from you!

Anybody can pick up a card and some chocolates from WalMart and throw a generic “I love you” on top. Instead, try to go out of your way to do something extra special, like baking when you never cook, or planning a fun family activity when you typically stay in. You’d be surprised how good it makes you feel to do something special for someone else.

2. Go out with your friends!
Chances are you aren’t the only one of your friends who’s single and sis, there’s no way you’re about to be out here third wheelin’ it on Valentine’s Day. So make it a Galentine’s Day! Link up with some of your other single friends and instead of having a group pity party, be thankful that even though you’re single, you’re not alone. You can do a gift exchange, Secret-Santa style, so that everyone gets something, regardless of whether they’re in a relationship or not.

Even if your friends aren’t single, you can still plan to have a good time if they’re up for it. If you can’t get together during the week, there’s always the weekend (and Black Panther comes out Friday, so you definitely have at least one thing to look forward to!)


3. Treat yo’self!

Valentine’s Day really is just about love, and first and foremost you must love yourself! There is absolutely nothing wrong with making this day all about you—maybe a spa day or cheating on that diet you’ve been so dedicated to lately. You work hard and you deserve a break! So what if you don’t have a significant other? You are significant enough as you are and what better time than Valentine’s Day for you to show yourself the love and appreciation that you deserve?! Now sis, you don’t have to break the bank, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun. Make a list of all of the things you love about yourself and why! Have a mini stay-cation and spend a day exploring your town. Drop some bath bombs and take a long, luxurious bath. Take a spin class! Binge watch your favorite show that you keep missing because you work so hard. Or unplug for a while and stay off your phone for a few hours. Girl, eat some ice cream (or gelato). Go get your hair done and maybe even do something different with your style this time! Do a little shopping and take advantage of those Valentine’s Day deals! In other words, you don’t need anybody else in order to celebrate and love yourself.

So stop thinking that Valentine’s Day is just for couples because it’s not! You are the one who makes Valentine’s Day what it is (or isn’t).

What are your plans this Valentine's Day?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected]
 (Photo: Beyonce.com)
By Kanisha Parks

Since the beginning of the month, I’ve been seeing a clip from The Rundown with Robin Thede where she says, “Happy Black History Month . . . or as we call it, Month!” on BET. Quite naturally, I know it was a joke but as most jokes go, it seems to be surrounded by a bit of truth and caused me to ask myself, “Do black people actually celebrate Black History Month?”

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Growing up, Black History Month was always important to me and personally, I looked forward to it because it felt like the only part of history that was truly interesting and that I could understand. This was the one time of the year when I was immersed in the knowledge and understanding of influential people who actually looked like me after enduring entire curriculums centered around well, mostly white people.

Zora Neale Hurston
Even when taking American Literature my sophomore year in college, only two African-Americans were included in the “canon” of writers who made a mark on American history: Fredrick Douglass and Phillis Wheatley. As a result, I made it my business to take African-American Literature the next semester. Every day I was surrounded by my peers and able to discuss my thoughts on important African-American writers such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, W.E.B Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, and many more.

Each year after that, I participated in the National African American Read-In at my university and felt honored to uphold their memories. These writers, these words, still live with me today and I am grateful for the memories I have from those few months and the opportunity to study them at a time in my life when I was still learning about myself. The experience forever changed the way I look at the world. But as a working adult, I had to learn to continue to honor these historical Black figures and others—and not for the sake of my participation grade or because a paper was due.

Janet Collins
When asked if and how they celebrate Black History Month, viral sisters Dani and Dannah shared: “We start off by learning what makes us unique as African Americans and who were some of our pioneers that history books don’t teach us about. Like Janet Collins, she was a ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. We participate in plays and black history programs at our school and church too! Learning about our history is just as important as learning about world history to us! Happy Black History Month!”

Popular Hair & Beauty Blogger, Romance aka @heycurlie, says that she enjoys going to the library with her son and picking up books and learning more about the exceptional contributions made by African Americans. “It’s a great bonding experience to teach my son about his history.”


happycurlhappygirl 
Natural Hair YouTuber @happycurlhappygirl says she celebrates Black History year-round and during February, she participates in special activities and programs with her daughter at school and church to “highlight and celebrate the history and culture of Black people.”


When I spoke to writer Erickka Sy Savané she acknowledged that she struggled with Black History Month this year. “Given all the blatant racism going on in this country every day I started feeling insulted by Black History Month. Kinda like the government is saying, 'Here’s your month to celebrate yourselves and after that you can go sit down.' But then I realized, it's not about them, it's about us and if we don't take a moment to pat ourselves, our ancestors and each other on the back, not only could history repeat itself, we could lose that pride...that magic.” 

There’s no right or wrong way to “do” Black History Month as long as you take some time out to appreciate the strides Black people have made. The accomplishments of Black writers, entertainers, scientists, athletes, historians, engineers, activists and entrepreneurs are truly endless. Given our history in this country, we have a lot to be thankful for and proud of.

Do you celebrate Black History Month?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected] 
Black Panther Cast
By Kanisha Parks

Black Panthercomes out next weekend and it’s already broken Fandango’s advance ticket sales record, becoming their #1 selling superhero of all time. Needless to say, we’ve been waiting for this movie long before its official trailer dropped back in October 2017 but now the anticipation is through the roof. My entire family and I have our tickets and outfits ready. #IssaCelebration. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Reviews are in for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and they are easily the best for a Marvel Studios project to date, with almost everyone left in awe not only of the movie’s ambition, but its success in achieving that ambition on the big screen. As of Tuesday morning, the film has a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.”

The fact that this movie is called Black Panther is reason enough to raise intrigue, but there are several other reasons it's a huge deal for the world, but specifically, the black community.


Chaswick Boseman & Michael B. Jordan
1. For Us, By Us. Directed by Ryan Coogler, (who also directed Creed and Fruitvale Station), Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther alongside fellow heavy-hitters Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. “Black Panther marks the first time that a major studio has greenlit a black superhero movie with an African-American director and a primarily black cast” (Variety).
Our representation in this film is present throughout: from the title to the director and actors. Even though it technically wasn’t made just for black people, we’re definitely laying claims and will likely constitute the greatest support for the film’s sales.
On whether or not a white director could’ve done Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman told Variety, “Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not. It wouldn’t be nuanced in the same way because they wouldn’t have the same conflict. They don’t have the African-American conflict that exists: Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have an ancestry that is very hard to trace.”

Chadwick Boseman
2. It’s Been a Long Time Comin.’ We’ve had black roles in other superhero movies: Will Smith in “Suicide Squad,” and Halle Berry as “Catwoman,” and do we even have to talk about Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four? Other attempts at black superheroes as leads include Meteor Man, Blankman, Steel, Spawn, and most notably, Blade. In fact, Wesley Snipes even wanted to play Black Panther back in the early ‘90s but the vision was remarkably different—focused on cultural diversity instead of centered around black power—and never came to fruition. The time is now.
“We've been waiting to see ourselves onscreen, flying through the air and running across buildings and dodging laserblasts from bearded colonialists our entire lives. The future is Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman, T'Challa, Black Panther. The future is here on February 16th” (Tre Johnson, Rolling Stone).
When asked why this is a good moment in history for this movie to be made, Chadwick Boseman responded, “Everybody is excited about the opportunity to do something that we should have already done. People are excited about seeing new stuff, but I think they're extra excited about seeing stuff they should have seen already” (CNET).

Dunai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o & Florence Kasumba
3. Strong. Black. Women. Yes, Black Panther is the lead character, but he doesn’t shine alone: he is surrounded by strong black women, which is truly a positive for black women and girls alike.
Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, an undercover spy for the fictitious African nation Wakanda in the film, says, “The man’s power does not diminish because the woman is assuming hers (power). So, just because I have power it does not mean that I threaten the man’s position.” Always an advocate for women and girls asserting themselves, Nyong’o adds: “Little girls watching it will perhaps, they won’t be so afraid of their power. We have four women in this film that are powerful in very different ways and that is really exciting to have that be the thing that our young ones are watching” (Hindustan Times).
With the current culture of how women are being treated in America, it’s important for women, especially black women, to be appropriately represented in the media. I’m glad that we have the opportunity to see ourselves represented on-screen as we truly are: beautiful, bold, brave, powerful women.

And I’m even gladder that we finally have our iconic superhero movie, created from start to finish with us in mind. It’s about time.
Why are you excited to see Black Panther?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected] 
ElleforLexxi
By Kanisha Parks

We always talk about the versatility of natural hair but wigs—now that’s versatility! I mean there is literally a wig in every style, color, texture, and length you can imagine! We even have box braid wigs, ya’ll. Not only that, but wigs can be purchased with synthetic or human hair, and in a variety of types: lace fronts, hand tied, monofilaments, half wigs, custom wigs, etc. There are also beautiful wigs with natural textures by brands like HerGivenHair and KinkyCurlyYaki.

Many women choose wigs as their protective style of choice, and some women wear them on a daily basis. Even besides the proven benefits of protective styling, there are several reasons why wigs are a go-to. Here's 8!

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1. Length retention! For many naturals who choose to wear wigs, this is the reason. The length retention from wearing wigs is incredible! There’s definitely something to be said about leaving your hair alone and letting it grow. Since wigs are such a low manipulation style, you’re eliminating obstacles that keep you from retaining length, such as breakage, dryness, tangles, and split ends. YouTuber ElleforLexxi shares that her natural hair has grown a lot from wearing wigs. Check out her hair’s progress towards the end of the video:



2. You can still have complete access to your hair. Unlike other long term protective styles such as box braids or sew-ins, wigs give you complete access to your hair/scalp. You can take your wig off when you get home and let it breathe! You can still wash and condition your hair each week and/or oil your scalp with no problems. By keeping your hair clean and moisturized underneath your wig, you can maintain and promote thickness in your hair while rocking your wig.

3. They’re a great way to “test the water.” Like I said, wigs can come in any style you want, so when you’re considering cutting or coloring your hair, sometimes it’s better to just try a wig out first, especially if you tend to be either indecisive or impulsive. Plus, when it comes to natural hair, coloring is a big deal and can have potentially cumbersome consequences if not done correctly. The right wig might have you change your mind. You’ll be able to maintain the health of your hair while still being able to switch up your look whenever you feel like it.

4. They’ll give you time to bounce back. If you’re suffering from any type of hair damage or have recently had a setback in your journey, or hair loss due to chemotherapy, stress or genetics, wigs are a great option to give your hair a much needed break and help it properly recover, as they require minimum manipulation. What’s important is that you baby your hair and scalp and maintain a healthy hair regimen underneath your wigs.

5. The convenience! I don’t know about you but for me, there’s nothing better than not having to do your hair all the time! Plus, it’s good to know that you’ll have a great hair day instead of not always being able to predict how your hairstyle will turn out. Elise of TwinGodesses is a proud wig wearer and says it’s all about convenience: “There’s a huge misconception that’s been going around in the natural hair community that Naturals who choose to wear protective styles like wigs don’t necessarily like our hair or maybe it’s our texture or our length and that’s not true. The reason I don’t wear my hair out that often is really because I’m just lazy!”


6. It can cure texture envy. Many of us have been there before, wishing you had someone else’s hair? Well sis, you gotta work with what the good Lord gave you but it’s nice to know that with wigs, you can test drive any texture you want! The options are endless and it’s fun to branch out and experiment with different types of wigs.

Cosplayer Mica Burton
7. Cosplay! For women who love to costume play, the right wig can definitely take your costume to the next level. It’s fun to be expressive in this way without having to damage your real hair in the process.

8. Because I feel like it! You obviously don’t need a reason to wear wigs! It’s your hair and you are entitled to wear it how you want to, without being concerned about what anyone else thinks.

Also, important to note, if you choose to wear wigs for any reason make sure to properly care for your scalp!

Do you love to wig it? Tell us why!

Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected] 
Dr. Adeline N. via IG
By Kanisha Parks

Dr. Adeline N., a Resident Physician at the Corpus Christi Bay Area Dermatology Program in South Texas, is the creator of @brownskinderm, an Instagram account focused on providing vital information about how to properly care for and treat skin of color. Brown Skin Derm is a top resource for skin of color, literally jam-packed with information about brown skin—including topics such as identifying and maintaining your skin type, product suggestions, addressing skin concerns like acne, skin lightening/brightening, rosacea, psoriasis, lupus, and much more!

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Dr. Adeline started Brown Skin Derm to shift the narrative from just caring about what makeup we put on our skin to also understanding it in order to better care for it. She says,
 "Our communities have lots of unaddressed skin and hair conditions coupled with the lack of access to medical expertise related to their dermatologic needs. It is my hope that this platform will educate the public and help them better articulate their skin issues to their physicians and more importantly, equip them to seek the proper professional care from dermatologists.”
She also aims to shed light on skin stereotypes and misconceptions in the black community, such as the impression that non-Caucasian people are immune to skin cancer and the detrimental effects of skin bleaching. For example, many people are often shocked to learn that the death of iconic musician Bob Marley was actually due to an aggressive form of melanoma: acral lentiginous melanoma, to be specific. What was dismissed as a soccer injury under his toenail turned out to be a skin cancer that caused the death of an extremely talented musician at the young age of just 36. His story serves as a reminder of the importance of the need for both medical providers and the public to be educated about skin cancer and skin of color.

Dr. Adeline shares, 
“Like many people in our community, I had grown up erroneously believing darker skin conferred immunity to skin cancers, thereby making the need for sunscreen pointless. Unfortunately, this uninformed perception is not only limited to darker skinned patients but also some physicians who share the same inaccurate beliefs.
I also remember as a child growing up in West Africa, witnessing the pervasive culture of skin bleaching to address legitimate disorders of hyperpigmentation but also as an affirmative rejection of darker skin in favor of a much lighter and cosmetically appealing skin tone. My college experience was a true melting pot of cultures. Interacting with my friends there from other cultural backgrounds such as West Indians, Jamaicans, Asians, and more, I learned the culture of skin bleaching was not unique to my experience as an African but theirs as well. Having knowledge of the harmful chemicals being utilized in these bleaching creams today and their side effects, I felt I needed to do more to bring awareness to these and other skin issues."
As a dermatologist in training, I have more knowledge than the general public of the dermatologic issues affecting the average person. It became increasingly hard to ignore some these misconceptions about skin care or the approach to treating skin conditions in our community. In reflecting on past experiences addressing my own dermatologic issues, I had to be honest in that I delayed seeking professional help and had a do-it-yourself mentality for most of my skin concerns very much to my own detriment.”
Dr. Adeline hopes to change these and other fallacious attitudes regarding skin health in people of color, starting with implementing basic habits like wearing sunscreen daily, removing makeup at night, cleaning your makeup brushes, keeping your hands off of your face, and making sure to seek professional help for specific skin concerns. Your skin is of utmost importance and it’s your responsibility to learn how properly maintain it.
Dr. Adeline N.
Stay tuned for future skin-related posts featuring her expert advice and in the meantime, follow @brownskinderm on Instagram!

How much time do you spend on caring for your skin?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected]