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!

Jephte and Shawniece
By Veronica Wells

I love me some “Married At First Sight.” While most of the couples on this Lifetime series eventually divorce, it’s fascinating to watch two strangers come together and unite in Holy Matrimony the day they meet each other. Each season, the show usually finds one Black couple to feature. Naturally, it’s the Black couple’s story I’m the most interested and invested in. But since the show’s inception, none of the Black couples have stayed together.

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This year, the Black folk are Jephte and Shawniece. The couples are matched by a panel of experts and are supposed to complement one another. But from the day Jephte and Shawniece met, I knew there were some drastic personality differences that would eventually cause some problems. Chief among them being Jephte’s cautious reserve, his hesitancy in opening up compared to Shawniece’s extroversion, affection and need to be affirmed and desired. Honestly, it is downright cringeworthy to watch. After one episode a couple of weeks ago, I questioned the reason Jephte decided to be a part of this process in the first place. I mean, if you have a problem with strangers, marrying one might not be the best strategy for your life.

But all of that is for context. We’re here today to speak about something entirely different. While the show is about love, marriage and the conflict that can arise within them, the discussion around Shawniece has been about appearance, specifically hair.

Shawniece is a cosmetologist working to eventually open up her own salon. And for the most part, on the show she wears her hair in an afro. On their wedding day she had it expertly slicked back into a bun. But in the days since, on their honeymoon, in their move back to Boston, it’s been in a fro.


In addition to the fro, she generally wears minimal makeup. I think she’s cute. Not to mention, with all of Jephte’s stuff-- causing her to cry because she feels rejected by him, her hair and makeup haven’t been at the forefront of my mind. But you know how it is with Black women and hair---especially when a Black woman appears on national television. All of a sudden she’s representing all of us. And if we don’t like it, we attempt to disassociate ourselves from the Black woman who can’t manage to take care of her hair. The response to her hair on Twitter has been everything from interesting to downright hurtful with women blaming Shawniece’s hair for the problems in her relationship.







I could go on but you get the gist. That last tweet is particularly important because on their wedding day, Shawniece’s mother told Jephte that she wanted him to get to know and love her real daughter, not the one dolled up for their wedding day but her daughter with her real face and real hair.

But apparently the people of the internet want something different. All of this discussion just reminds me of how far we still have to go when it comes to embracing our full, Black selves and our Black looks. I don’t think it’s any secret that, for all the progress Black women have made with our natural hair, there are still certain styles and textures that are acceptable and the rest are not. This discussion of Shawniece’s hair reminds me of the time when Solange was wearing her fro out and she had to tell strangers, fans, people who didn’t know her to stop suggesting she do a twist out because she didn’t like to wear her hair that way. It reminds me of Gabby Douglas and Black women telling her her edges weren’t slicked down properly. There’s a lot of micromanaging and focus placed on hair when it’s not the main story. It wasn’t for Gabby, Solange and it certainly isn’t for Shawniece.

Her husband keeps reminding her that she’s a stranger, that he doesn’t know her. He won’t speak about certain subjects, refuses to sleep in the same bed/room with her. She’s always the one initiating affection but it’s her hair that’s holding them back.

I can’t help but feeling like this is yet another example of women going out of their way to absolve men of guilt or fault in a relationship, no matter how they behave, and attribute the union’s failings solely to the woman.

The comments about her hair have been so prevalent that Shawniece eventually responded to them, in a series of very classy tweets.






Precisely. Not to mention based on tweets from both her and Jephte’s Twitter accounts, it seems like they stayed together, meaning she found someone who liked it.

Do you feel we unfairly criticize black women's hair in media?
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sZHiOoSdX6o/Wguz8GSzrAI/AAAAAAAADmg/SpIrPvnu97QTxmBGG8fJpoMviKVt52_kQCLcBGAs/s1600/V-Wells-headshot.jpg
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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]

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 Brittney M. Walker

We are both in college, on track to be the first in both of our families to graduate. We are both virgins. We are both diligent church-going Christians. We both loved each other, but I never admitted this while we were together. I wanted to wait until we were married to have sex. But it was too tempting, sleeping together in the same bed sometimes. We both had cars and this new found freedom as adults. No parents around to tell us no. We spent days and nights together. We knew we were going to be forever. First loves.

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Our first time having sex, wasn’t at all like the movies. It was a little awkward. We aren’t even sure if we are having sex. I’m not even sure if a quarter of his penis is in. Then he climaxes. He doesn’t know what happened. I’m not sure either.

A few weeks later, my period hasn’t come. We ditch school that day. He drives us out of the city to a place no one would recognize us, by the beach. We drop into the local drug store and purchase a pregnancy test. I go into the bathroom, pee on the stick. It is positive. I am pregnant. We are pregnant.

We sit on the beach, crying. Unsure of what we are going to do.

I don’t want to have a child, repeating the cycles that have plagued my family for decades. My mom had me at 20. Didn’t finish college at the time. My aunts have the same or similar stories. I am the eldest of the next generation. I can’t start us off like this. I have to graduate. My cult-like Christian school wouldn’t allow me to attend if I appeared pregnant and unmarried. I don’t want to raise another human. I am just a child, tasting adulthood for the first time. I just turned 20.

I convince him that we don’t want it. So I start to research abortions. But during that process, his position begins to change. Unable to hear his pleas, I soldier forward with my research, trying to abort it without going to the clinic. I read about natural herbs that induce miscarriages. I want to miscarry before it has a heartbeat. Eventually, though, I make an appointment with Planned Parenthood. Their office is located right in the hood, where a lot of their centers happen to be.

The night before the appointment, we stay together, discussing our future, crying a bit, having sex. We figured out how to have sex by now. The following morning looks like we feel, dreary. He drives to the center, being supportive, but also mentioning the option to keep it.

On the way there, I am afraid there’s a protest in front and people will shame me with their signs and jeers about aborting a baby. I just want to go to school and graduate. We arrive. There is no protest. The clinic is tucked away in an unassuming office complex. We park and go inside the building. The lobby feels sad. There are mostly women waiting there with a smattering of men. I get checked in, test positive for pregnancy, again. The woman proceeds to share information about my options, and I think somewhere during her spiel mentions that I can change my mind at any time.

I am eventually led over to the ultrasound station where the doctor or nurse, confirms the pregnancy. The woman says something like, “It looks like you’re about 12 or 13 weeks pregnant.” Her voice is neutral.

I am then led over to a waiting area and I sit beside another Black woman. She looks around my age. Maybe a bit older. We start to chat and she says she’s already got five kids. She doesn’t use birth control. She’s also allergic to latex. So, this is her third abortion. She’s quite light hearted and chipper. Just part of the routine I guess. Somehow she brightens me up. She’s a statistic too. It’s not so bad, I guess. There’s life after.

It’s my turn to go. A woman calls me into the next room. I am prepped with a gown and a bag or something for my belongings. The woman herding all of us women in the area is Black and looks like she could be my grandmother or someone from my family’s church. I can’t remember if I had imagined it or if it was real. Sometimes memory works this way. I pose some question about how she feels about working at Planned Parenthood and about abortions and things. Her answer is something along the lines of,“ I don’t judge anyone. That’s between you and God.”

I am lying on a table with a bright light overhead. There are maybe three or four people, including a white male doctor, in the room. The last time I was in this position was to get my wrist snapped back into place after I broke it as a kid after sneaking out of the house to roller skate with a girl in the apartment complex.

Someone starts rattling off some information about what drugs they’re getting ready to push through my veins and that they’re gonna suck the fetus out of my uterus with a giant vacuum. I remember my calm quickly changing to anxiety. I start to ask questions like, “What do you do with the baby afterwards?”

The doctor, hovering over me, turns abruptly and sternly. Staring sharply in my eyes, he says, “There is no baby. It is a fetus.”

I wake up in what looks like a death ward with lots women in gowns on gurneys, wildly bunched together like a bumper car ring. I hear sobs and quiet prayers in Spanish and cries for boyfriends and mates. A nurse comes over and says some stuff I don’t remember. I ask for my boyfriend. She says he can’t come back because there’s a bunch of undressed women in the space. Makes sense. I need to get out before the sadness settles.

When I am conscious enough, I am allowed to gather my things and exit. I see him there.

We cry.

Years later, after we break up and I finally admit to him that I was in fact in love with him when we were together, he opens up and says he was hurt by the whole ordeal and didn’t really want to have the abortion. He thought he really didn’t have a choice in the matter. He wanted to get married and thought we could work it out, college, a baby, my family’s dislike for him. He expressed his deep sorrow. He would text or call on Mother’s day for years, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. He’d remind me of how old our child would have been.

I was annoyed by it. I remember sitting on the couch with the next boyfriend when I received a text from him that read, “Do you regret having the abortion?”

“What the f*ck man!” is how I reacted internally. He wants me to feel bad for my choice. He wants me to wallow. I responded in probably some snide, dismissive way, holding my position and feeling no regret. Later, though, it dawned on me that he was probably in pain from this.

I hadn’t considered his experience much. In fact, I don’t think it really mattered more than my moral conflict with it all, at the time. After I broke up with the next boyfriend, I saw him. It was maybe five years after the abortion. He was going through a lot. We talked about the abortion. He was definitely challenged by the whole thing and in fact experienced some depression around it. Conceiving children wasn’t as easy the next time he tried with someone else.

In some ways, he felt like I was ungrateful and undeserving to have a healthy womb that could carry. It’s not so easy for some other women, he learned. I understood why he was so angry with me for a long time. I understood him feeling powerless. I had tunnel vision. I had a mission. Whether or not he could have made a compelling argument to keep it wouldn’t have mattered. My mind was made up. We weren’t having this child. I was not having a child.

I still don’t regret it. But I do think about it often. That doctor visit question comes up every time I change doctors or give blood or get an STD test: “Have you ever been pregnant? y/n.” I think about how it affected him so greatly. I think about how my life would be different. I also think about the shame around abortion I experienced initially.

After it’s done, some women, me, … and men, him, go through shit. They cry, some weep, some are angry, some are scared, some feel like God will punish them, some feel undeserving of a happy life or a child in the future. Sharing these feelings and these thoughts with others is complicated, kind of like saying you’re a conservative voter and you’re Black and like guns and are pro-choice and a feminist.

I eventually told my mom. He eventually told his. Then I told my little brother and sister. I told my boyfriends. I told some close friends. He did the same. His mother was sad. Fortunately, none of these people stoned me or even attempted to make me feel bad about it. If they did, I missed that message.

It’s almost 11 years later and I thought I was pregnant a few of weeks ago. My first thought was, “I can’t have a baby right now! I just got a new job.” Then I thought about this whole experience. Then I thought about my man. Then I calmed the f*ck down. I’m grown-er now and having a kid wouldn’t be so bad. In fact, it would be a delight. My mom has been anticipating her first grand-kid after all. When I got over my panic and finished woefully replanning my life, I embraced being a mom, especially with a man I love and match. In fact, my man and I started to get really excited about the idea and began gleefully talking about my pregnancy diet and a home birth.

But, my period was just a week late. We were disappointed that it came at all. We theorize the ancestors were testing out our attitudes. Anyway, abortion provided me with choices. I have been able to live life super poor because I don’t have to feed anyone else. I have had the opportunity to pursue career options without worrying about childcare. I have traveled the world and slept in hostels and gotten into cars with strangers, because no one is depending on my return.

But my choice also came with some serious consequences. I think if either of us felt safer to discuss our options and had the proper relationship and emotional tools, we probably would have dealt with it differently.

How you dealt with having an abortion?
Brittney M. Walker is a journalist based out of New York. She writes on social justice issues within the Black community, travel, business, and a few other topics. These days she’s focusing on holistic living through experiences and storytelling via her blog, Unapologetically Brittney M. Walker.