Idris Elba & fiance Sabrina Dahowre
By Ta-Ning Connai

Last week the black community was delivered some devastating news…

Idris Elba...Gone Too Soon

NO HE'S NOT DEAD, he's off the market, but you'd think he kicked the bucket based on the sudden hysteria connected to his name. How can one man’s public proposal make one woman so happy while simultaneously shattering the matrimonial hopes and dreams of black women across the globe? And why so many predictions for a negative outcome? Do we REALLY need to go there, hoping he cheats on his fiance? And why all the insults towards her? What in the world did she ever do to us? I'm just wondering how this will affect his box offices sales,‘cause you know us sistahs will put on a petty protest and make the brotha wanna repent for trespassing against us.

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We've all had our fantasy crushes get crushed once or twice in our lives. For me, Michael Jackson was a tough one. I mean, after all, I was in the 8th grade when I had to face that the King of Pop was never coming to my house to get my mom's permission to take me out. I took it pretty hard. But I'm sure I don't have to explain why I'm glad it didn't work out.

The grass is always greener on the other side, but keep this important point in mind...God created ALL the grass and He gave us all enough water to take care of our own yard. And way beyond every yard sits a house where we have NO IDEA what goes on inside. So let's be careful not to mourn the “absence" of people that were never meant to be ours because relational goals can still be achieved without them.

So, is all this sorrow truly about the guy that The Wire made famous or does the displaced resentment go way, way deeper than that?

There’s a downside to the never before access we have to the Hollywood elite and their private lives. Due to social media, entertainment news and reality TV, the compulsion to live vicariously through the lives of our favorite stars has reached an all time high and is completely out of whack. The once distinct line between fantasy and reality has unfortunately become more blurred. Nothing wrong with the imagination as a tool to inspire, but feeling dangled by a thread in front of heavily edited dreams only causes people grave disappointment and major distractions.

It's not fair for the media to bombard us with these lavish lifestyles and ritzy relationships without equally providing us with the how-to’s for our own lives. But hey it's not their job, but I can tell you whose job it most definitely is…

GOD’S.

No time to feel down and out, pumped and dumped when you're reminded of the very reason you were born. In Genesis 2:18, God reminds us that women were created to be man's helper. We come from the lineage of Eve, the original wife and mother of all mankind (we got it from our mama!). And although she is most known for the regretted bite heard around the world, Eve was DEFINITELY much more than that.

Wives are endowed with an innate ability to positively change the course of destiny for their husbands and their household. And it was the devil that perverted Eve’s calling to do just that; by twisting God's words and mixing them with his own. She was intrigued by that stupid ol’ serpent's claim that eating the fruit (um, who said it was an apple???) would give her more wisdom. MORE wisdom, which means she didn't recognize what she already had! Sounds like she thought the grass was greener on the other side too!

Oh, if we all would just realize the value of what we have to offer, we wouldn't let a few celebrity weddings sway us from the faith it takes to wait for the best man God has in mind. So get on the fast track to walking in wisdom and power because…

whether you desire to be
happily married
or remain single and free
this world can't make it without you
and that's a reality!

 Do you get bummed when your crushes find love?
TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day got the "call" to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of BK), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

Actress Keesha Sharp & Husband Brad Sharp via IG
By Erickka Sy Savané

You may have seen beautiful, Brooklyn-born actress Keesha Sharp lighting up your television screen on shows like 'Are We There Yet,' 'American Crime Story,' and currently 'Lethal Weapon,' since early 2000. But you may not know that when she's not doing her acting thang, she's spending time with her Boo thang doing this!

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Keesha and Brad cover 'I"m Lost Without You' one of my all-time favorites originally recorded by BeBe and CeCe Winans 

These two seriously have fun covering 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'


Keesha & Brad cover 'Send Out a Prayer' 

The two have been married since 1994
And have a son named Soloman
For more on this cute couple follow Keesha and Brad's IG! Download Brad's music via Apple Music, and watch Keesha on 'Lethal Weapon' every Tuesday night on Fox!

Do you take time to do the things you love?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  ErickkaSySavane.com



By Lauren R.D. Fox

A few Saturdays ago, New York City found itself with a mild temperature and the Sun gleaming upon it. So, I took that as an opportunity to go to my aqua cycling class. While I journeyed there, I scrolled on Instagram to see what people were up to on The Internets.

As I scrolled the million and one posts about drunk brunches and #LazySaturdays, I saw Ciara posted a 58-second clip from a 50-minute sermon Pastor John Gray orated. The main quote from the sermon that ruffled my and many other women’s feathers was: “Too many women want to be married but you’re walking in the spirit of “girlfriend.” On cue, I rolled my eyes as one thought zoomed back and forth in my mind: “What the f---k does that mean?”

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In an interview with journalist Jacque Reid, Pastor Gray explained that the thesis of his sermon was about women gaining validation from themselves and God, not men. “The premise is that you carry yourself with a level of integrity and with a level of strength and with a level of grace that says, ‘I actually don’t need to be found, to be validated,” he explained.
“A woman who is confident in who she is, she’s connected to God, she’s connected to her source so she doesn’t need validation from a man, she’s got it from God.”
And although I understood his explanation, again, I silently asked in my mind: What the f—k does that mean?

I asked that question because his response to Reid, in my opinion, is problematic. However, I understood his sermon’s intention because I was raised in a Christian household. However, what happens to the women who: A) weren’t raised in the Christian Church B) are agnostic, atheists, demisexual, homosexual, trans or C) identify as Christian but choose to dismantle the ideology of what it means to be a wife? Will we never be married because we don’t fit the iconic Proverbs 31 mold?

Growing up, my Guyanese mother (and other female family members) often related my disobedience, lack of enthusiastically waking up early or not cleaning something immediately to not satisfying a future imaginary husband who I could care less about. With their constant suggestions piling up, my future husband seemed like he had relentless needs and would be extremely annoying. I often questioned my mother and aunts about this: if I am performing wifely duties at such a perfect and high rate what will my husband be doing? To me, he sounded lazy, unwilling and non-committal to making any house a home.

My inquisitive reasoning about this imaginary husband grew when I began to attend Missionettes (think Girl Scouts learning evangelical lessons). My teachers would teach me and other girls about what they thought was the right way to carry yourself as a woman and what was appropriate dating behavior. My childhood friend Tiffany attended these classes with me and we would often debate our teachers about these topics to the point of us asking if the boys in the church were receiving the same advice and/or lessons.

Our teachers couldn’t give us an answer.

When I asked millennial women what they thought about the suffocating relationship advice or guidance they’ve received, they told me that it's usually based on fiction, pressure, and lack of boundaries. Author and journalist Megan Braden-Perry told me advice is no longer needed when a woman reaches a certain age because she’ll know that no two men are the same so it’s better to trust your intuition than navigate dating with rigid circumstantial advice.

Married Health professional Crystal Anderson said the best advice she received was from people who simply shared their personal experiences instead of shoving their ideals onto her. Though she has had friends who’ve experienced the opposite, she believes this issue is rooted in lack of boundaries.

Two marketing interns who recently graduated college shared that they were over being told to be “the best version of themselves” on first dates because that usually meant to be extremely polished and aligned with their date's wants and needs.

Truth be told, what is void in the dating/self-help world for women is the lesson of free will, a topic that doesn’t focus on looks, education, religion or sexual orientation but rather on choices.

Free will is about behaving without heavily relying on the beliefs of fate and destiny. Instead of thinking that a Higher Power will manifest circumstances the way you believe they should, you use your own power to get what you want or what you think you deserve. It's not socializing a gender of people to constantly consult with their families, pastors, prayer partner, astrologer, tarot reader, life coach and therapist about how to make an exclusive, committed, healthy and functioning relationship happen.

It’s not about unnerving dating apps or unavailable men who may make women feel like a relationship is a pot of gold to be found after they go through the maze of murky emotional lows. It doesn't mean you're not ready to be in a relationship just because the object of your affection is not coming at you with lightning-bolt speed to make you his person. And it doesn’t mean that you didn’t do enough spiritual work to attain such a blessing or that your vagina doesn’t have the right tightness, taste or smell.

When we became romantically involved, my boyfriend told me he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with anyone. As much as I felt butterflies for him and loved soaking up the insatiable sex he provided I wasn’t about to play the “Lauren Isn’t Enough” game that I played too many times to admit. I used the opportunity to get to know other men who may have been more aligned with what I wanted. Though, I never received the opportunity to find out if magic could happen with the latter because my boyfriend changed his mind and asked if we can commit to each other and not anyone else. And although our relationship is reminiscent of our favorite Aaliyah song, “Hot Like Fire,” I know my boyfriend (or myself) may change our minds with time; leading us more in love or out of it. But one thing is for certain, those free will choices will probably never have anything to do with how many times I’ve been to church or cooked for him, the moments I hate myself or how many times I find myself curving my back and perching my ass on the dance floor.

Do you use prayer as your main source to finding and maintaining a relationship?
Lauren R.D. Fox is a Guyanese-American pop culture/beauty editor and writer who has an undying love for soca fetes, poulorri, New Orleans and deep conditioners. After graduating from SUNY Geneseo with a dual concentration in American and Black Studies, she became a journalist and social media manager. Lauren has previously written for MadameNoire, Mayvenn Hair, Wetpaint, Enstarz, Her Agenda, Zora Magazine and B.Couleur Magazine. Follow her at @LOLOTHEFOX.


Jay-Z on CNN with Van Jones
By Ta-ning Connai

If Beyonce can get cheated on, what kind of hope is left for us mere mortals? I mean, her name probably stands for Sexy Singing Goddess of Music and Dance! Yet all that amazing mix of talent, beauty and love didn't stop Jay-Z from committing the devastating act that he openly addressed in this past weekend’s interview with CNN’s Van Jones. I am HIGHLY impressed by the remorse he expressed and his determination to repair the marriage he nearly destroyed. And as much as I'd like to keep having an attitude with him, I have no choice but to finally let it go. Whew, I feel lighter already!

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Jay-Z sits with Van Jones

Are men natural born cheaters? Is the implication true that, "Men will be men, boys will be boys?" The worst defense I ever heard was, "We can't help it, we were born that way." Oh please don't even get me started...Ooops, too late... BORN that way??? So you're telling me that men were, instead of being created to be the Patriarch and head of the family, to honor his wife and be a godly example to his children, were actually created to DESTROY their family with their insatiable sex drive and inability to have control over their animalistic instincts to do whatever they want, so their wives can lose all sense of themselves after all they've sacrificed isn't enough?!!! (Whoa. Ok Ta-ning, take a deep breath). Yeah right, blame it on God, like cheating is part of His magnificent design, so that men bare no accountability for their willful indiscretions. Um no. That's just an excuse for anyone not willing to let God change their heart and renew their minds to His way of engaging in (and maintaining) meaningful, committed relationships.

 It can be done.

I used to know a girl who dated married men for sport. And each time her dreams of "Happily Ever After" never came true (men rarely leave their wives for the side chick), she fully embraced the notion that ALL men are dogs. So one day she goes on a tangent about, you guessed it, all men are dogs. My first evil thought was , "Well, just because you slept with MOST of them doesn't mean you know ALL of them." I know, that's so wrong. So instead, I took the kinder approach and said, "I know it seems like they're all bad, but you just have to meet the ones that don't cheat. " Well, if I knew she was gonna chew me up, spit me out and call me every name including naive, gullible, blind and ridiculous, I would have shut that whole convo down with what I REALLY wanted to say. But I held back because I knew she was bitter from being emotionally battered.

She went on to support her distorted belief with statistics based on all the men she's ever dated, ever been friends with or ever heard about. And even though that pretty much covered the entire planet, I went on to tell her that, although nobody's perfect, there are some men who honor God enough not to intentionally break a woman's heart. It's about finding a man that has accountability and practices discipline; one that doesn't succumb to every impulse he has, especially if it's wrong. The look on her face was one of bewilderment, because I'd rather doubt if she'd ever heard that before. All I hope is that she believed me because I was telling her the absolute truth. All men don't cheat and the ones that do can change too.

So, is the commandment "Thou shall not commit adultery" easier said than done? You bet. In fact, if the attempt to refrain is within one's own strength, it just may be impossible. And with the power of seduction less avoidable these days thanks to technology, the media and butt implants, it can seem downright hopeless to expect your relationship to survive without the stain of infidelity. But here's the good news. God does not command anything He won't help support. He never intended for us to go it alone. His word says that, "...with men it's impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Philippians 4:13). He says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Mark 10:27).

So whether you've been shattered by your father's betrayal against your mother or the reckless wanders of your first true love...there's hope. God can redeem the time and heal your broken heart. He can replace all that was lost and give you reason to trust again. And for the men doing damage, there's even hope for you too. Monogamy is not a punishment, it's a gift. So take that person created just for you and treat them like the prized possession that they are, let God show you how. And when you do, you'll get treated the same and then some. As they say, what goes around comes around!

 Are men natural born cheaters? Can men who cheat change?
TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day got the "call" to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of BK), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!
Photo of Swizz Beatz & Alicia King via CBS This Morning 
By Erickka Sy Savané

Let's face it, we all put our best face forward when it comes to how we present our relationships to the public. When it comes to celebs, that may be even more true because they're under the microscope. We watch their every move, and sometimes lose it when they break up. Mary J. and Kendu, Jessie Williams and Aryn Drake Lee, Mariah and Nick Cannon, anyone? So one question we might ask is how do some celeb couples make it work? Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys spoke to Gayle King in their first interview together on CBS This Morning (this morning). With lots of laughs and goo-goo eyes, we were able to get a sense of how they keep their light shining!
1) They never raise their voices at each other. 
After 8 years together the couple revealed they've never had a heated argument! So how do they approach sensitive topics? According to what they told Gayle, they communicate by saying, "I wanna talk to you about something." (Worth a try, right?)

2) Swizz is not intimidated by Alicia's power. 
"You know, a lot of men are scared of powerful women. Right? And so I know she's powerful, and she's been powerful way before – before she even got here she was powerful," Beatz said to Gayle. (Right on, bro!)


3) Making music is a family affair.
One key that seems to keep this family strong is music. Son Egypt, when only 5 years old, made headlines when he created a beat for one of rapper Kendrick Lamar's albums. Beatz said. "It was epic….I don't even have a track on Kendrick's album. I was jealous." (When your mom has won 14 Grammy's and your dad is a world-renowned music producer, it kinda comes with the territory!)

4) Healthy competition? 
When Gayle asked if the two share healthy competition Alicia answered, "You know, I would say no, because I feel that one of the things that really works about us is we're very different. Even his style of music is different from my style of music….We complement each other as opposed to kind of ever in each other's way….We don't rock like that."

5) Swizz is brutally honest. 
So how do they make beautiful music in and out of the studio? "Swizz is brutally honest," laughs Alicia. "Sometimes I have to ask him, '"Babe, could you, like, be a little sweeter with the way you gave that to me?" 

6) Alicia roots for him! 
"I was so excited," Keys said of learning he wanted to attend Harvard. "I've been so invested in this journey with him….For the first time – I'll never forget. We were literally in this room when he got the letter of acceptance. And it was, like, such a moment, because it was so powerful. Like, this dream that he had to do this. By the way, in order to do that, there's a lot that's required to even be accepted. He can't just be like, 'hey, I'm coming in.'" (Swizz was rejected from Harvard a few times before being accepted and eventually, earned a business degree!)

7) Swizz wants more kids. 
When asked if a daughter is in their future, both laugh, with Swizz acknowledging that he'd very much like a daughter, and Alicia admitting that while "it would be a blessing" she's not ready. Nonetheless, they have two sons, Egypt 8, and Genesis who is 3. 

What are your keys to a healthy relationship?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  ErickkaSySavane.com