Zara 
Hi Guys,

Nigeria is very dry as the current season is “Harmattan.” Depending on the region it can last for what feels like 4-5 months. During this season, my skin and hair are extremely DRY so I’m showing you how I keep it soft and moisturized. Since it's ultra low porosity, I take certain steps during the week to re-moisturize but this method is effective for anyone! Keeping water, a low pH leave-in, and a sealant, constant, are the keys to success! I hope you enjoy!
Best Wishes,
Zara “EfikZara”

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I've received a few requests to write about the topic of femininity.  I often hesitated because, growing up, I wasn't taught to nurture my feminine energy.  In fact, I can't recall a single conversation with my mother on the topic, with the exception of the typical talk covering hygiene.

She was the oldest girl in a family of seven. Much of her girlhood was spent helping to raise her siblings.  To her, it was important to be hardworking and industrious.  Those qualities were passed on to me and I'm grateful for that.  But, on the flip side, I was almost completely ignorant when it came to being comfortable expressing my feminine nature.

As a child, I recall examples of extreme feminity on television. Most of them portrayed ultra-feminine as hyper-sexual or how they used their womanly qualities solely for the purpose of attracting a man.  Because I was focused on getting good grades without the distraction of dating, I made the decision to suppress my feminine qualities.  My teachers always praised me for being smart so I took full ownership of that and decided to make it my main attribute.

In the back of my mind, I was still enamored with the idea of fully embracing my feminine attributes. In 10th grade, I transferred from a predominately white school to one with more diversity.  Once there, I was introduced to a whole new world of black women who were fully aligned with their femininity.
These girls always had their hair and nails done, wore makeup and sported super cute outfits.  I was in awe of the amount of attention they placed on looking their best every day.  I observed them from the shadows and learned what I could about femininity from afar.

One thing was clear, everyone knew who they were even without knowing them personally.  We knew their names even though they probably didn't know ours.  They stood out and were like the celebrities of our school. Most of them dated older guys or boys that didn't attend our school so they weren't getting ready every day with the intention of finding a boyfriend. They did it for themselves because they placed a lot of pride in their appearance.

At first, I wondered why someone would put so much effort into their outward presentation. Because let's be honest, it takes a lot of work.  These girls had color-coordinated outfits and hair that was laid to the gods.  On the weekends, while I was fixated in front of the tv, they were probably spending hours at their hair stylist or nail shop.  I woke up in just enough time to get dressed before the bus arrived. They probably planned each look and allowed enough time in the mornings, to apply their signature makeup look.

After observing the life of the woman who invests in herself, I soon came to the realization that they enjoyed a unique life experience as a result of their effort.  I'm not necessarily saying that their lives were perfect. In fact, some of them got caught up with the wrong guy(s) and had their lives change for the worse.  But, I still saw enormous potential from those who applied their feminine energy in a calculated, thoughtful, and purposeful way.

Feminine energy attracts.

Women are attracted to other women who care for themselves. Men are attracted to these types of women as well.  I've experienced it first hand when I conducted my "being pretty" experiment.  There, I was granted access to the world of the woman who is fully aligned with her feminity....and it was fantastic!  If you think that putting in extra effort in your appearance is not worthwhile, you're sadly mistaken.

When most speak on the subject of feminity, it's often linked to attracting and seducing the man you want. But I think it goes deeper than that.  I believe that a woman who embraces her feminine side puts herself at an advantage.  Various social experiments have already "proven" that attractive people are the recipients of preferential treatment in our society.  Overwhelmingly, people respond positively to good-looking people.  As a result, they often earn more than their less attractive counterparts.  Just look at social media. Highly attractive people often have a slew of followers which means that the influencer is privy to higher paying brand partnerships.  Actors and models are some of the highest earners in our society.  It's even said that supermodel Gisel earns more than her husband who is one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.

Society is primed to reward and elevate attractive people.  This way of thinking is embedded into almost all of us.  A guy who wrote a book on the economic advantages of being beautiful said that beauty is scarce so most people value their interactions with attractive people. 

As someone who embraces and nurtures your feminity, you're tapping into the potential benefits that attractiveness brings.  Most of us suppress our feminity because of the attention it brings.  I'm guilty of that.  But, in doing so, are we allowing ourselves to a less than ideal version of our lives?

Beauty bias is real. The best part is that the benefits of being beautiful are accessible to every single one of us. You don't have to be born with flawless features in order to experience it.  By embracing your feminity, you enhance your personal attractiveness.  People are drawn to others who place importance on their appearance.   If you don't believe me, try this out for yourself.   Notice how much more attention you receive. There will be more glances from others. People will be friendlier and go out of their way to conversate with you.

Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.
More importantly!  A study found that personal beauty raises happiness.  Not only do attractive people earn more, they also tend to attract higher earning mates.  Women, in particular, seemed happier because they found joy from looking in the mirror.  Think about how many times you look in the mirror a day.  Now that I'm home all day, I'm in the mirror more often. And, when I'm not taking care of myself, I get a little depressed every time I see the condition I'm in.  But, when my skin is right and I've done my hair, I get a jolt of feel-good vibes every time I see my reflection.

I have total control over whether I feel amazing or embarrassed every time I look in the mirror. I'm also fully aware that if I look my best and feel good all the time, I ignite the law of attraction. Being more attractive has tangible benefits and if we don't try to take advantage of this, we're selling ourselves short.

But if you aren't used to presenting your best self to the world each day, the attention you'll receive may be a bit overwhelming.  When I did my attractiveness experiment, I was shocked by how different life was on the other side.  But, soon, I was fully accustomed and began to expect it.  When people stared at me, I no longer felt self-conscious. I have a friend who's naturally beautiful.  She places a lot of attention on presenting her best self.  When we are out in public, people are constantly staring at her and she barely notices. Why, because this is her reality.  It's so normal that she doesn't even realize it's happening.  Yet, she enjoys luxuries and experiences that most others don't and I'm certain that her appearance has a lot to do with it.

Ideally, it would be great if we presented our best selves to the world daily so we can take advantage of the compounding effect of being consistent.  All of the individual positive experiences that we receive as the result of the "beauty bias" would multiply.

I'm guilty of backsliding big time when it comes to my outward appearance. But, spring is around the corner and I'm ready to try this again.

 A while back I did this experiment where I got ready every day (head to toe) even though I had no plans to leave the house.  My husband would ask "where are you going?" And I'd answer, ''nowhere."  After about a week of this, I noticed something interesting.  Suddenly, he started wearing Polo shirts around the house instead of plain white tees.  This isn't something I asked or suggested he do, it was a result of him being around a woman who was more attractive.  He suddenly felt like he needed to step his game up.  If my experiment impacted a person who I've lived with for over a decade, imagine what it does for people you just met.

When the topic of femininity comes up, there are lots of rules spewed out about one should and should not do.  Some of those rules do have merit, but I realize that one size does not fit all.  That's why I'd like to share multiple examples of the various types of femininity so you can find inspiration that best fits you.  More to come.

Photo of Kourtney Dandridge via Benny Harlem's IG
By Erickka Sy Savané

Hey, we all show our love in different ways, for Benny Harlem that meant helping turn his wife's baby hairs into full-grown adults! Not only was the note he shared on his IG, along with this photo sweet, it was kinda shocking to see that baby hairs don't have to stay babies- I mean, look at that length!!!

Benny Harlem's IG
For those who follow Benny Harlem, the New York-bred, Los Angeles-based Dad, Hubby, Natural Hair enthusiast, and now, entrepreneur, seeing baby hair length for the Gods is not a surprise. After all, Benny broke the Guinness World Record for highest high top fade last year, and he, his wife and daughter Jaxyn are hair goals to half-a-million followers, and counting. 

Kourtney & daughter Jaxyn via Kourtney's IG
Benny & Daughter Jaxyn via Benny's IG
So how do they maintain that length? Benny told Paper magazine last year,
"I mean we have a regime. We wash our hair every week. We make our own shampoo and stuff like that, which consists of natural [ingredients like] coconuts and certain berries and things. I think it's really just what most people do to their hair. [But we also] take care of [our] bodies. I think a lot of it is positive self-image and great thinking. What we consume in our minds and our spirits has a lot to do with our hair as well. People might not believe it, but I really think that's the truth. Of course, take care of yourself, take care of your hair, wash your hair. Really, I'm not going to make up some elaborate thing. Other than the castor oil and coconut oil that we use, there's really no secret."
Well, obviously, there IS a secret, and he's sharing that now...Find out how to buy his hair care kit, which comes with a 3-month regimen, on his facebook page!  

Benny trended recently on youtube just walking into an elevator. We see you Benny!!!

Will you be trying Benny's hair care kit? If so, be sure to let us know how it works!
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
Yhá Mourhia Wright, Ashley Versher, and Katherine George
By Sharee Silerio

In a nation where opinion is often viewed as fact, now, more than ever, it’s important for people of color to tell their stories, from their perspectives, truths, and experiences. A popular show that is doing this and so much more is #Love My Roomie, a web series created by screenwriter, producer, and director Yhá Mourhia Wright.

A dramatic comedy, #LMR follows the lives of three millennial roommates – Giselle Carter (African-American), Yasmine Castillo (Afro-Latina) and U’Moriah Walters (African-American) after they lose their apartment in Harlem.



Wright says of why she created the series,
“Entertainment influences our culture. It influences how we treat each other. It influences implicit bias. It influences unconscious bias. It influences the ways we function in the workplace; how we are in the grocery store; all of these things. It's so important that we’re in charge of our narratives, that we are controlling what stories are being told. It’s about literally informing people of how complex, how beautiful, how diverse, how human we are. I feel like it's important for our humanity.”

Taking cues from the 90s and 2000s favorites Living Single and Girlfriends, Wright wrote and produced the dramedy’s first season, which premiered in December 2016, receiving over 35k views on Facebook and YouTube combined. The second season of #LMR explores how they – a songwriter, wannabe socialite and recently unemployed professional – find friendship, learn to cope in the midst of social and cultural expectations, and build lives that they love, all while discovering and rediscovering themselves.

Wright says,
“It’s about three black women who you don't really see on screen. They're all social outcasts. They’re late bloomers in their mid-to-late 20s and don't quite fit in. Call it a coming of age story – not for teens – but for women in their 20s, which is so often missed. It's like an entire decade gets skipped over.

I take situations that I know women of color have dealt with, that we talk about with each other and the things that we don't talk about, which to me, is even more interesting – how we can have best friends and there's certain things that they just don't know about us, because culturally, there are still some of us that struggle with being vulnerable in that way."
In a society that does its best to silence black women, it’s important that we uncover and confront the issues we face. The more we do this, the more courage we will have to love ourselves, exactly as we are. So if you’re looking for a web series that will make you think, laugh, cry, encourage you to heal, become your best self, and find love, then #LoveMyRoomie is the series for you! Check out the Season 2 official trailer.




The second season of #LoveMyRoomiedebuts on Saturday, March 3rd at the BRIC Ballroom in Brooklyn. Purchase your tickets here. Follow Yhá Mourhia Wright on Instagram and keep up with the series on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Have you seen Love My Roomie yet?

Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.