The Chi Cast
By Mwabi Kaira

Chicago was known for deep dish pizza, the greatness of Michael Jordan as a Bulls player and the once upon a time genius of Kanye West until gun violence took over as its focal point. Some have suggested that the National Guard and The United Nations step in to help gun violence in the city. Two Chicago natives have had enough of hearing about the ills of their beloved hometown and have done something about it.

Emmy award winner Lena Waithe co-wrote the new Showtime series The Chi, and Grammy/Emmy and Oscar-winning rapper Common executive produced it to show a different narrative. Lena got the inspiration for the show after watching yet another news report about gun violence in the city. The Chi follows four working-class families on the South Side of Chicago as they face their highs and lows. Crime constantly threatens to destroy their worlds.

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Lena Waithe
Despite Chicago’s issues Lena knows it as the place that molded her and has fond memories of her childhood. The Chi is not autobiographical for Lena and humanity is at its core. She explains, 
“My mission is to show that these young black men are not born with a gun in their hand. These are kids who come out with all the promise and hope that any other kid does. I wanted to humanize them and show that their lives are valid. But I don’t paint us in a perfect light at all. My hope is that I can show us in an honest way. That’s it. Not bad. Not perfect. Just accurate."
Common
Common has been painting Chicago’s diversity in music for decades and knows that seeing it on the screen will have a different impact. He says, 
"We need to understand that Black people are human beings who love, cry and get angry and love their families and love God. We get scared to talk to girls at times. To be able to tell a story that is very specific to Chicago and the universal struggle of Black life is important to me."
The Chi’s first episode aired on Sunday night and we were introduced to a working class mother, grieving parents, an aspiring chef, a sneaker-loving teen father and a wide-eyed pre-teen with puppy love on his brain while navigating the mean streets of Chicago. Although The Chi is not the first show based in Chicago, it is one that is closest in hitting the mark about the black experience.

Cast of The Chi
Even though the premiere episode of The Chi aired at the same time as The Golden Globes, 1.68 million viewers tuned in and gave Showtime its best premiere since Billions. The Chi is off to a great start and looks amazingly promising. Tune in to The Chi at 10 PM on Sundays on Showtime.

Is The Chi on your radar?

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 http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

Lupita Nyong'o
By Kanisha Parks

Seeing celebrities on screen with natural hair is important for our culture because it normalizes natural beauty, proving that we are (and always have been) enough. In recent years, celebrities embracing and showcasing their natural hair has become increasingly popular, shattering the societal stigma that natural hair is “unruly.” Now more than ever, children, women, and men are boldly emerging with their natural hair front and center at home, out in public, and in the workplace.
In other words, natural hair is a big deal, not a trend, and these celebs are not playing. Check out some of our favs!

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Yara Shahidi & the cast of Grown-ish
By Mwabi Kaira

Fans of the Johnson family on ABC’s hit show Black-ish now have Grown-ish to fall in love with. The oldest of the Johnson clan, Zoey played by Yara Shahidi, is off to college and a spin off is born just like Denise Huxtable of the Cosby Show. Denise went to Hillman, a fictional HBCU school in A Different World and Zoey goes the Higher Learning route (shout out to Malik, Deja and Fudge) and goes to California University of Liberal Arts where she is in the minority.

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Yara Shahidi
I was excited to watch Grown-ish. I haven’t been a college student in decades and seeing what life for college millennials was like intrigued me. My son is on his way to college so there’s that too. College for me was at Freaknik’s heyday and although racism and microaggressions were part and parcel of it, folks still hid behind their white sheets and mostly smiled in your face and hated you for your melanin otherwise. It’s a new day and if Grown-ish was going to give me an insight to this new world then I was here for it.

Grown-ish follows Zoey as she navigates her new surroundings. She quickly finds her crew; Nomi the Jewish-American bisexual, Jazlyn and Skylar the track star twins from the hood played by singers Chloe and Halle who are signed to Beyonce and also sing the show’s theme song, Aaron the woke bae, Luca the dread loc’ed free spirit, and Vivek the first generation Indian trying to be the next Drake but doubles as a drug dealer pushing pills on campus because his engineering degree will take too long to get and he needs money now. Millennials through and through.

Chloe & Halle 
Much like Black-ish, Grown-ish tackles issues head on with laughter infused here and there. The twins are carrying their race on their shoulders just like the black superstar female athletes that came before them and they don’t want to disappoint their neighborhood by being failures. Nomi can’t come out to her parents because she doesn’t want to be their bisexual Jewish daughter. Vivek has deep issues with his father that none of his friends can understand; he calls his father a bum because he has been a cab driver all these years and lacks the ambition his son feels he should have. Vivek is that immigrant who is born and grows up in America and wants everything American forgetting the sacrifices made by his parents for him to have this life.

Trevor Jackson & Yara Shahidi
Other than dealing with her father not adjusting to her being gone, Zoey has the ideal family life. It’s her time management, friendship and deciphering come-ons from woke bae skills that are lacking. Does she have to go to every social event she is ‘invited’ to and does she have to follow woke bae around like a lost puppy hoping he will declare his love for her? Can she learn to be a better friend to her roomate? And will the accessible drugs and alcohol lead to her downfall? Grown-ish will answer all these questions as the season progresses and I can’t wait to see it play out.

Grown-ish airs on Wednesday nights at 8 PM on Freeform. 

Are you watching Grown-ish?
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 http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

The Beauty Of Jon Stewart

Don’t correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a single bandage dress on The Daily Show, and the show ran through the entirety of the 2000s. What other late-night show can say it never saw Herve Leger as a repeat guest in effigy? What is it about The Daily Show that prompts its celebrity guests to dress down when they’d otherwise sex it up a little?

At its heart, it’s a show about how the news does its business, but The Daily Show has played the celebrity-casting-couch-after-hours game, too, back when it was just finding its political footing in the early years of the Bush administration. As the show gained cred, rep, glitz, and other monosyllabic industry terms meaning “ratings,” it also got to have on with more frequency the people it wanted—political movers and media shakers—and not (as in the case of 2002) the entire available cast of an Austin Powers movie spread throughout the week’s programming. But back in those early, fumbling, scriptless interviews, there was a candor, a freshness, and a corresponding beauty aesthetic that guests—especially women—seemed to cannily and handily channel. They dressed with the kind of abandon you feel when you’re dancing like no one’s watching—maybe because no one was actually watching.

Consider Cameron Diaz promoting Gangs of New York. Her full face of makeup suggests she’s just come from the studio, but her hasty half-ponybun says she drove herself here, windows down, music loud. She’s wearing a nebulously cowl-necked black sweater and green army pants with a little stomach flashing on the walk to the couch (yes, back when that horrid quasi-purple couch was buttressed against Jon’s desk in a feng shui approximation of a tightly arranged dorm room). Sartorially, conversationally, stylistically, and grammatically, it’s clear that Jay Leno’s showroom this is not.

Consider even Kate Bosworth for Beyond the Sea. It’s a tense, terse interview and doesn’t flow as well the next day’s guest (that’s Kevin Spacey, also promoting Beyond the Sea—The Daily Show still in the thralls of ensemble guest casting), but she’s lovely, doll-faced, windswept, and wearing the boots of an equestrian-champion dominatrix and the pearl strands of her grandmother. Her hair is a flaxen mullet of fly-aways and wisps, and it doesn’t seem to matter. She looks great.

And then there’s Natalie Portman promoting V for Vendetta in 2003, where she went full-on Johnny Depp in a gorgeous short-swept back cut, flushed cheeks, velour blazer, decent-sized pendant, and a graphic t-shirt whose message would no doubt be vaguely political if only we could actually read it. It’s an effusively happy, androgynous moment (well, as andro as you can get when your features are as delicate as Portman’s), and it’s a significant departure from her style on other late-night talk shows. Promoting the same movie on The Late Show with David Letterman, she wears a tomato-red spaghetti-strap dress. The same goes for Cameron Diaz, who in the same year of her casual, girl-next-door Daily Show appearance, donned this little number for Leno’s show. Clearly, it’s not just individual style or trends of the time that prompt the more casual, come-as-you-are approach to The Daily Show—it’s something else.

It’s possible that the stars want to play to a more irreverent, younger audience. It’s possible that the comparatively smaller viewing audience at home makes it seem less worth going through a fresh round of hair and makeup. No matter what else plays into it, credit has to be given to Jon Stewart himself. His interview style is playful but never ribald, never getting into the ogling territory of the bigger hosts. He speaks the same way to Angelina Jolie as he does to Sarah Vowell—never breaking the dramatic irony the audience teeters on. We know that one of these women is a staggeringly beautiful actress/activist and one is a brainy, witty author, but Jon never plays either of these epithets for a laugh, preferring to make jokes out of the material that arises from conversation and not from the guests themselves. Maybe because it’s a comedy show and everyone’s fair game, but no one’s treated as the more “serious” person. And when your beauty isn’t the thing on display, there’s no reason to get all dressed up. The message is: Whatever you’ve got will work. It’s a show that’s all about dismantling façade and pulling back political window-dressing. From that lead, the celebrity style followed with guests dressing down, speaking plainly, and looking relatable in a way we hadn’t seen elsewhere on television.

Which is hardly to mention the beauty of Jon himself. There’s the largely invariable fluffy haircut—like a nesting doll, a mini bowl cut at his forehead that gave way to growing waves of bowl cuts, each one cradling in a larger one behind it. It’s a thing of wondrous consistency. For all the times he’s had Jon Hamm on the show, Jon Stewart hasn’t seemed to reconsider his own coif—and it is a coif. (Most men have hair. Most women have 'tresses.' Almost no one has a mane. Trump has cotton candy. Jon has a coif.) It’s a thing of beauty, longer and grayer now than ever. His suiting’s gone through a gauntlet of its own—first the boxy Canali days, then the svelte Ferragamos before finally settling cozily into Giorgio Armani. And does anyone else remember that dreamy, narrow green tie circa 2008? I get a tingle down my spine thinking about those green-tied days. God, I’m going to miss him.

And yes, The Daily Show will go on, and I’m sure it will still continue to be conversationally both diplomatic and challenging. That’s thanks to Stewart—he’s made The Daily Show a refuge for the beautiful and famous who are tired of talking about how beautiful and famous they are. A place to wear something that won’t be analyzed the next day by E! or reproduced as a triptych on Instagram. A place to plug your charity or movie without sounding like a puppet or an ass. In a show about the absurdity of what makes news newsworthy, Jon’s cut his famous guests the slack to dress and act unfamous for a few minutes—and that’s great TV.

—Trace Barnhill

Photos courtesy of Comedy Central.

Go behind the scenes with the makeup artists of Amazon Prime's Transparent.

The post The Beauty Of Jon Stewart appeared first on Into The Gloss.

Sunny Hostin, Legal Analyst, CNN

"I sort of fell into my job by happenstance. I was a journalism major in college, went to law school, and became a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. I loved it and was with the Department of Justice for years. Then I got pregnant and moved back to New York, which is my hometown, so I was taking care of my son and also working as an attorney at a law firm. It was during that time that I started giving these work-life balance speeches. It was hilarious because I don’t actually have work-life balance—I didn’t then, and I don’t now. Something generally is sacrificed because I am either traveling, at the studio, or on the computer prepping for a story—so something suffers. I have managed somehow to have kids that are healthy and happy, but you know, I was at the studio this morning and brought my little girl with me. She was sitting in the studio, which is probably not the most fun thing for her, but we were able to have time together. I think work-life balance is a little bit illusive, but I was trying my best and giving those speeches at the same time.

So when I was speaking at a conference one time, a producer came up to me and told me I should do television. I didn’t know she was a producer, so I was like, 'Yeah, from your lips to God’s ears!' No one is going to pluck me from obscurity to be on TV, and she was like, 'No, I think you’ve been plucked!' She was a producer for Nancy Grace. I was literally on television two weeks later. I can say that it felt just as natural as anything I’ve ever done. I wasn’t nervous. I just felt at home. A couple of appearances later, I got a call from Fox News. I was with Fox for a year, and then I signed with CNN the next year, and I’ve been there for seven years. I have been on Steve Harvey, The Meredith Vieira Show, I've worked with Wendy Williams…I can’t complain.

MAKEUP
I have a glam squad, as most on-air people do. I think CNN has some of the best makeup artists, quite frankly. I have three folks I go to all the time. Mitch Ely is an incredible makeup artist who comes from theater, so his makeup is very dramatic. Then there is Claudia Pedala who is also an incredible artist—her makeup is less dramatic. Yoko Fumoto did my makeup this morning. She has a very light touch, so depending on what I am doing, I can go to each person for something different. When I want the drama and I am going to be on The View, I’ll go to Mitch. If I’m going to be doing prime time TV in the evening, then I generally go to Claudia. And if I am going to do something a little lighter, I go to Yoko. Today I was doing a lifestyle piece about being a mom and women’s issues. The whole club-drama look doesn’t work for that...although it is probably my favorite look.

I’ve learned to really love the process doing my makeup. The most important thing is concealer. As a reporter, my hours are really fluid, so if there is a big story—like at Ferguson, I was up for 16 hours a day for a week or so—I’m not really sleeping. For me, it shows right around my eyes immediately. I have a Ben Nye Neutralizer and Concealer that I use. It’s for people who are trying to cover tattoos. You’d think you can’t use it under your eyes, but it’s incredible. It’s like using White-Out on mistakes. It’s my go-to thing if I have had a really long day, and I have to go out to an event or host a gala or something. My eyebrows are very thin, so I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. Without it, my eyebrows suck. I don’t know why. They’re just not right. I go to the best eyebrow person in the city—her name is Angela Enu, and she is at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa now, right of Fifth Avenue. People travel from all over the place to see Angela.

I also love this MAC Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone for my skin just because when you’re under the lights at the studio, you get shiny. I don’t like a lot of powder, so I like a good mattifying primer. L'Oréal has a good one, too, called Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base.When you’re on the air all day for 16 hours, then you need something like that. If I’m in a pinch, then I use Shiseido Pureness Matifying Stick. Once you put your makeup on and you know you’re going to have a long day, you use this Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. I used to anchor ABC News from 10pm to 6am. I didn’t sleep, so that's what I used.

When I'm on air, I like my foundation to have a lot of coverage, so I use MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC45. It’s fantastic. But if I am going out at night with my hubby, I use MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark. Even if you’re brown like I am, bronzer only makes you look better—I use Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer from Estée Lauder in Medium. It is the best bronzer. I do wear blush—not everyone does. I have Nars Blush in Orgasm. I think everybody looks good with that. For darker skin like mine, I like the shade Mata Hari, believe it or not. It looks neon, but it’s not.

Another thing I do on the air is wear eyeshadow. If not, I just use NYX Super Fat Eye Marker in Carbon Black—it’s a good, cheap liner! It’s basically a Sharpie. So that goes between my lashes. I actually have eyelash extensions that I need to get redone. I started getting them two years ago. If you’re going to be on air every single day, falsies are too much. I hate the heavy look of it, so they were doing the individuals, but that takes a long time. If I have to be in Ferguson, Missouri, in 4 hours, I can't chance it. You can’t wear mascara with eyelash extensions, but I do take a mascara spoolie through water to take off eyeshadow powder that falls on them. At night my ritual is Careprost, and it’s basically generic Latisse. I have tons of it. It’s only about $13, and you apply it with the brush.

When I am out on the field, I have to do my own makeup out of a small kit that Mitch put together for me. I keep it in my car because I have had times where I’ve had to pull over to get on Skype from my iPad for breaking news. Recently, I had to be on air at noon and have makeup and hair ready. I was like, 'Um, I’m in my car…it’s 11am.' I pulled over and did my makeup a little bit. My car routine to get camera ready starts with the a mattifyer, my crazy Ben Nye concealer under my eyes and on my lids, and Urban Decay Naked Basics Eyeshadow Palette to do what I call my 3D eye—I do Venus in the corner and go pretty far out, then I take Faint and go from the outer edge of my eyelid to my eyebrow. I use Crave on the outside corners because that looks really good on camera.

Then there's blush, and I do my lips. I start with the nude pencil and try to fill it in all over. I have every nude. My lips are so pink! My mom is Puerto Rican and Jewish, and I think that’s part of it. My dad is African American and Native American. I’ve tried these Inglot Lipliner FM...one came close to a good nude. If I don’t do nude, then I do red. I love Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in 8 Iconic Red. When you put that red lip on, you’re done for the day. I use Bite Beauty's Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Fraise, too.

HAIR
My hair is really easy. I used to wear it very curly on air, but they prefer a smoother look on television. I just flat iron it and do big barrel curls. I have Ellin Lavar Natural Control Hair Spray, which not many people know about, but it is absolutely amazing. She was Whitney Houston’s hair stylist. She won an Emmy for all the wigs she did for Cinderella. She has an amazing line that a lot of TV people use. You can literally put it on and curl it out at the end of the day. I also use her Textures Satin Soft Conditioning Rinse and the Optimoist Shampoo. Really, it's great.

SKINCARE
I also like Alcone. They’re great. They have the best makeup removers called Make-Off that are also really gentle. I don’t know what they use, but it will take TV makeup off. I also have a Clarisonic that I can’t live without—that’s my first step in the morning just with water to wake up a bit. At night, I use it with Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser because it’s gentle. Sometimes I use Clean & Clear Night Relaxing Deep Cleaning Face Wash but no other soap. I learned about Clean & Clear from a dermatologist maybe 10 years ago. She told me that salicylic acid is what you get in all these fancy treatment. She was like, 'Just go right to CVS, get this, and use it every day.' The blue one is good for sensitive skin, and it’s amazing.

I do a lot of other scrubs, too. I love the Microdermabrasion White Aluminum Oxide Crystals for my face, and then I use the Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Crème Brûlée. Then, I use La Mer's Moisturizing Gel Cream around my eyes and alternate with the Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream at night. I love Skinceuticals' C E Ferulic—it's a serum, but I use it as my moisturizer. My face gets so oily, so I don’t like to use a lot of stuff.

BODY
I love this Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or. It gives you a little bit of shimmer. I’m not one that wears a lot of sleeveless tops or dresses. If I’m doing Meredith or The View then I can, but if I am doing CNN and talking about death and destruction, I can’t. I have worn this oil on CNN though. It’s expensive but so worth it. When you look pasty you have to throw it on.

My husband is a sports doctor—an orthopedic surgeon. Whenever he sees my shoes, he is like, 'How are you wearing these heels? You’re going to have all of these problems!' So I do Arnicare Gel on my feet. It’s a magic thing. It's from Boiron, which has a lot of homeopathic remedies that I use. I made a little kit of their stuff that I keep around.

I’m often up late at night because I’m an insomniac, So I'll buy things like Heel Tastic Intensive Heel Therapy from infomercials. Or the PedEgg! Who doesn't have a PedEgg these days? I don't let nail salons do anything on me but a polish change. I also have the Aromatherapy Insomnia Relief Scent Inhaler by Earth Solutions. You put it under your nose and breathe it in.  I swear that it puts me to sleep. My husband thinks it’s ridiculous, but I think it is true.

My other big thing I am obsessed with is my teeth. I use Crest 3D White Whitestrips and Opalescence Go. It’s fantastic. It's 10 percent hydrogen peroxide, but it doesn’t make your teeth that sensitive. I love Rembrandt toothpastes and my Philips Sonicare. Then I also keep these Choward's Violet Mints around. They're for smokers, but they’re fantastic when you’re on-air and you’re all up on people. I use the EO Hand Sanitizers, too. It smells so nice, but it’s just hand sanitizer. When you’re shaking hands you don’t want to give them anything—and I’m shaking hands all day."

—as told to ITG

Sunny Hostin photographed by Tom Newton on April 3, 2015. For more women in news, check out Rachel Crane's The Face, The Professional with Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, and a joint Top Shelf with Arianna Huffington and her daughter, Christina.

The post Sunny Hostin, Legal Analyst, CNN appeared first on Into The Gloss.