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Abiola Abrams

“Know your worth and own your mission”

NOVEMBER 2015

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Photographer: Amina Touray Photography Models (from left to right): Tyrone Emanuel Smith, Ray Duran, Alex Cottrell, Quintin Mims, and Jason L. Stover


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EDITOR’S

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Co-Owner/Editor In Chief

Shawn Stuldivant Co-Owner

Barry Stuldivant Issue Design/Layout Shawn Stuldivant

Writers (this issue) Amelia Moore Snigdaa Sethuram

Photographer Contributor Amina Touray

On the Cover: Abiola Abrams

Hello Bronze Beauties! I absolutely love how Bronze Magazine has been touching and inspiring individuals over the years. This month we celebrate 5 years as an online/digital/print-on-demand platform in which women of color can be empowered. In celebration of this amazing milestone, we will be sharing with you our special anniversary issue, which will launch in a few weeks. As for this issue, I am so honored to have Self-Love Coach, Advice Columnist, TV Personality, and Transformational Speaker Abiola Abrams as our cover star. Her interview with our awesome entertainment/lifestyle editor, Amelia Moore is definitely a must-read. Abiola really breaks it down ladies, in terms of living a positive life filled with self-love and self-worth. Abiola’s philosophy speaks directly to our own mission and vison at Bronze. I truly hope that this issue inspires you, and that you pass it on to inspire another. After all, that’s what it’s all about right? Paying it forward. Until next time…stay beautiful!

Shawn Shawn Stuldivant Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Search for Bronze Magazine or Bronze Mag Apps.


NOVEMBER 2015 CONTENTS FEATURES

10 Yolanda Snipes

The Christian media personality talks about how she brings others to their purpose.

Sandra Sprott & Janice Deul Abiola Abrams:

Co-collaborators on Little Black Hair Book, a lifestyle In a candid interview, our cover star book on black hair, written from a European perspective. reveals how to know your worth and own your mission in life.

14 Brown So Beautiful Men The national campaign movement for women of color spotlights black men.

21 In the Media

Highlights from the Circle of Sisters Expo.

BEAUTY

12 Holiday Beauty

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Q: Have you ever questioned your faith, or put it to the test? A: I have never questioned my faith, but I have questioned my decisions, whether wrong or right, if they reflected my faith. I have questioned my wrong choices and whether they reflected my faith in God. I have made some wrong choices in life that were not becoming of a Woman of Faith, but because of His Grace and Mercy, I had the opportunity to grow in my Faith. Q: What inspired you to start His Heart Network? A: My Executive Director, Wayne Ferrell and I had our own blog talk show, EZ Dropping with Yolanda and Wayne. We began to meet individuals that wanted their own shows, and began our own network, which currently has 10 shows active, but has been that platform for 13 since last year. We have been inspired to give voice to many people that needed that extra push and organization to believe in them. Because of the concept 100 Seeds for 100 Fields, there hasn’t been any revenue generated from the Network, as we seek to bless with the work of our hands. We are working various avenues to begin video streaming of our shows to expand our audience and reach.

Walking by Faith By Snigdaa Sethuram Dr. Yolanda “Cookie” Snipes, an ardent Christian who walks the path of service and love, has devoted her life to promoting faith and empowerment. She fully believes that all the challenges she has faced in this life are simply the gift of God’s perfect plan for everyone; she has no regrets, and she wants to help her community realize that feeling as well. From a young age, she knew she wanted to be “in full time ministry,” and now, through Touching the Heart of Purpose ministry, she reaches out to those around her, bringing people to her purpose. She took the pledge of 100 Seeds for 100 Fields, promising her time and efforts to various organizations and programs toward the greater good. Snipes believes that forging relationships between mentors, partners, students, and children alike is the future of our world. Be sure to follow Snipes’ successful outreach program!

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Q: How well were your Blog Talk Shows received in comparison to what you thought would be the outcome of creating them? A: Our shows have been well received and have led to two international nominations as finalists with Prayze Factor People Choice Awards headed by Dr. Teresa Jordan, as Radio Programmer of the Year. Our shows cover amazing topics from health to marriage by various ministers and life coaches. We have been well received in Atlanta, Georgia, along with correspondences from around the world, to our various hosts along with invitations to events. continued on next page>>


Q: How do students receive the business and government leaders who come in to mentor them? A: The students are very excited. Last year, Fulton County Chairman John Eaves visited Love T. Nolan Elementary and spoke with our students. Within a week later, the students saw him on the news receiving President Barack Obama from Air Force One along with the Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reeves. This was truly an experience for them to see the reality of community leaders impacting our nation from our very own community. Q: What is your stage production centered on? What is your experience with directing? A: The Stage Production is based on the book, Free, by Lisa Dixon. It’s about her life from one of the main gang leaders in Minnesota to spending 4 years behind bars and becoming a minister on fire for God. www.areyoutrulyfree.com Q: How do you manage your time with all these various projects? A: I have a network of professionals that seem to have similar purposes in life. We are a small group, but very supportive and fill in the gaps for each other. Q: Do you have any prospects right now of fulfilling your dream of producing the Creation story in Ethiopia? Why specifically Ethiopia? What connection do you have to that setting? A: This story is taking a life of its own, and in all honesty, God is giving me insight on the plans. This story will be written to provide restoration to Black Women. It began with the creation story, and evolved even to present day. It’s almost like the elephant in the room. We need to place our Black women back on their thrones of esteem. Black women have been raped, assaulted and mistreated for years based on the war between her and the enemy. It’s time for honor and respect to be given back to our women, mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters. We are the only race in which honor and love to our women has not been paid. Ethiopia is one of the richest environments in the world, and to see the beauty of the black woman arising as Eve will cause the world to stand on their feet. I am building working relationships with professionals from the area. Q: Other than your faith, what is your inspiration for taking on all your projects? A: My inspiration is to give back to our community. There were teachers that came into my life as I grew up in a challenging environment. I considered these teachers as my “Stepping Stones”. They assisted me in my escape of life’s challenges, to an environment in which education and its possibilities would provide me the opportunity to be successful. This is my 18th year in education and my career has been empowering and encouraging our children no matter their environment. My goal is to provide the same encouragement on an international platform. I post daily to social media and have met people from all over the world. I have had individuals write to me from different faiths, but expressed the message across barriers. Q: What has been your most valuable moment this year? A: Waking up to a post of appreciation from a woman that covered the Dove Awards for His Heart Network. This wasn't just any woman, but someone that lost so much to breast cancer last month. She posted how much she was blessed by the opportunity. I was left in tears to know God would trust me this much to assist in the purpose of others. His Heart Network has no exchange of money in any form because it's not about profits, but about fulfilling the purpose in others from different walks of life and in different levels of their faith. I'm so humbled that God would trust me this much in His Kingdom.

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Holiday Beauty

Temptu Foundation (Chestnut)

Inglot Pigment (color #84)

Wet n Wild, Fergie shimmer palette (Hollywood Blvd)

Illamasqua Lipgloss (Hermetic)

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lor # 6 MAC Co rown) B e (Palett

Viseart palette (01 Neutral Matte) Inglot Eyeliner (color #77)

NYX Gel (Brunette)

Ellis faas-E301

Photographer- Amina Touray Model- Jhaza Tanner MUA- Irma Vasquez Hair Stylist- Meka Shaw-Washinton


men

Q&A

Brown So Beautiful is a community that celebrates the inner and outer beauty of women of color. This time, it’s the men’s turn to be celebrated! On the following pages, meet six progressive men who share their philosophies on life and success... all the things that make them Brown So Beautiful Men!

Photo Credits: Photographer: Amina Touray Photography Models (from left to right): Tyrone Emanuel Smith, Ray Duran, Alex Cottrell, Quintin Mims, and Jason L. Stover 14  |  BRONZEMAGONLINE.COM NOVEMBER 2015    


Tyrone Emanuel Smith Profession: Artist Quote to live by: “Show love always // work hard, never give up, have faith, show love, be a blessing to others and you will succeed.” What is the most profound thing throughout the course of your life that made you successful, or the person you are today ? Growing up as a child I battled obesity. I was picked on, teased, and tormented. I had no confidence in myself and was extremely shy. When I decided to turn my life around at the age of 16, I went from 240lbs to 150lbs and people starting treating me differently. Even though I lost weight, I was still the same shy person with no confidence. Soon, I came to realize the minute you love yourself, the second you live your truth, will be the first day you truly live. I want to share with the world: Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. Have faith and as I always say. Show love always.

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Ray Duran Profession: Police officer, and model/actor Quote to live by: I always strive to be better than I was yesterday, and to never let one day go without being Happy! What is the most profound thing throughout the course of your life that made you successful or/ the person you are today ? The most profound thing for me was realizing that life is lived on the inside first. We are born with the tools for success & all it takes is unwavering faith & belief in yourself.

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Alex Cottrell Profession: Actor/model Quote to live by: “Nothing is awkward unless you make it awkward.” What is the most profound thing throughout the course of your life that made you successful or/ the person you are today ? Well, 3 months ago I left Arkansas. I left my family. I left my friends. I left everything. In essence, I gave up a safe and comfortable life in pursuit of the life I want. Coming here to Los Angeles has given me powerful insight on life itself. It has helped me mature during my ascension into adulthood. I am actually now able to understand what my parents and generations before them went through to take care of the next. To put food on the table, to put clothes on my back, to put a roof over my head. It takes tremendous sacrafice and perseverance in order to reach success. My grandparents did it for my parents. My parents did it for me. I’m doing it for my children and future generations beyond that. I’m just lucky I had the mindset to move and start building my life when I was 19. I have no family here. I have no friends. Truth is, I have no home...but what I do have is God. And through him all things are possible. So don’t settle for less, you have to go big or go home. You will inevitably struggle hard, but never let your faith waiver because you never know when you’re about to reach your breakthrough. Success is in my grasp and I am excited for the world to see what God has planned for me. Tell Denzel I’m coming for him.

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Quintin Mims I was born in Chicago, the tenth child of eleven. My father worked very hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. My mother showed so much love and patience, and could cook like nobody’s business. She stayed on top of things too, like, we had to take home remedies to keep from getting sick. You can imagine with eleven kids, if one gets sick, it could get everyone sick. My mother taught me to do something right the first time so I wouldn’t have to do it again. For example, if it was my turn to wash dishes and she found one dirty dish, I would have to wash all of them again. Katie Mims, my MOTHER, is no longer with us. What she left with us and everyone who had the opportunity to be touched by her hand and prayers, will remain with us until it’s our time to go home. As for my passion for story telling and artistic expression, I was influenced by Sydney Poitier- the way he spoke and walked in the movies of his that I’ve seen. Whatever it is that you think about day and night, that is what you should be doing.

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Jason L Stover Profession: Actor Quote to live by: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” -Maya Angelou What is the most profound thing throughout the course of your life that made you successful or/ the person you are today ? The moment I chose to live for me, and not to appease everyone else. I had to ask myself what makes me happy? What do you like? What do you want? The reality of it is, you’ll never be able to satisfy everyone. I had to find the power within, to put me first and not feel guilty about it.

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Lamin Touray Profession: Electrician Quote to live by: “Focus on what matters, ignore the rest.” What is the most profound thing throughout the course of your life that made you successful or/ the person you are today ? I changed my life the day I started to live for myself. I use to be wanting to please everyone, which has it’s good and bad. But after a while, I realized that some people will love you, and some people won’t. It doesn’t matter what you do, people are always going to have an opinion. So the best thing you can do is to love and accept yourself, and you will attract the right people into your life.

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In the Media: Circle of Sisters Expo 2015 Our Beauty/Fashion Editor, Tanthony RaeShawn, was out and about at the Circle of Sisters Expo last month in October. Check out all the fabulous celebs she ran into: upper left: Naturi Naughton (Starz “Power”); upper left bottom: singing group SWV, upper right: FOX 5 News Reporter Lisa Evers and press room crew, bottom row from left: Donnie Simpson, Kathy Sledge (Sister Sledge), Kim Kimble, and Bobby Brown (New Edition).

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Abiola Abrams: Positive Vibes, Positive Life

By Amelia “Ameliaismore Moore

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It’s not often that you come across women who understand the duality of their existence. Understanding that it's a man 's world and that as a woman you have a calling to help the existence of man; that calling includes all of us. To these women I give the title, "WO-man" (Whoa-man), because with almost everything they do you will say, "WHOA!" Our November cover star, Self-Love Coach, Advice Columnist, TV Personality, and Transformational Speaker Abiola Abrams is that very woman. Her motto in life is, "Know your worth and own your mission.” Imagine if everyone could find the power to do that, for not only themselves, but also for others. Well, Bronze Magazine had an opportunity to do exactly that with this wonderful woman, as well as gain insight on how to live life with positive vibes. BM: What percentage of women ages 18-35 do you feel truly understand your statement to "Know your wealth and own your mission?" AA: WOW! That is a really good question. It's hard to put a number on that, and the reason why that is, because every single one of us knows our worth in different areas of our lives and at different times. There are some sisters that go to work who got it together. They know what they are worth, and how to speak up in a meeting; they know how to do all of that. However, in their relationships, they don't own themselves or vice versa. So the way I like to put it is, how we do anything is how we do everything. What we should strive for is an alignment, where you reset your default settings to self-love. Regardless of the setting, at work, at home, with your friends, etc., you are able to know your worth. One of the ways that I advise women when they ask, "What should I do in this situation?" One of the things I teach them is how to be in tune with their intuition by asking themselves one question: What is the most self-loving choice I can make right now? That question gives you a different place to start in order to answer the questions you have with yourself. Instead of fearing what to decide, you empower yourself with focusing on loving yourself. BM: Looking at how you advise people to give themselves self-love and self-worth, does that change based on the setting? Do you give yourself the same self-love at work as you do at home? Are they interchangeable, or should you set two separate standards? AA: Integrity means having one set of standards, and one way that we believe and feel about ourselves. However, each and every one of us can have integrity and walk in our truth, yet have different ways to express the various sides of ourselves. An example of that is, the way I talk to my mother is probably different than the way I talk with my friends or my co-workers. Despite the difference, each example is all me, and I'm being authentic and real in every situation. You can come from a place of authenticity, without it meaning you have to be exactly the same in every situation. A fully expressed woman has many different sides to herself. The key is always to come from a place of truth and authenticity, regardless of the situation. Sometimes when dealing with family, that most authentic and self-loving decision can be something positive for the whole family, whereas that same focus may not be the truth or best self-loving decision for work. The majority of women I tend to coach, I call them Spiritpreneurs- my business bombshells who are women that have created something for themselves. They have given birth to a company or an offering in themselves. Whereas, if you work for someone else, just understand that the values you are adding just by the nature of them hiring you, they need to be getting more out of you than what they are paying you. That is just the nature of the business exchange. The focus in that situation is not what they want, but what is best for you. BM: Very true, understanding the perimeters but never changing the definition of self. In coaching do you find there is a different value system for men? How can women understand that value system if it is different, to help women interact with men better? AA: Interesting. I only coach women, I don’t coach men. Part of the reason is due to the manner in which men approach business is different. I wouldn’t say it’s a different value system, but I would say that there is a difference in which they value themselves. For example, studies show very clearly that when we as women have an idea in business we are more tentative. When offered a promotion, we tend to approach it from a mind-set of uncertainty. We ask ourselves if we are worthy of the promotion. We tend to say, “I don’t have enough,” or “I am not enough,” whereas with men, they assume that they are worthy and figure it out later. That, by nature, is just the different way they walk in their skin. I live in NYC, and when men sit down on the train they take up room. The same is in the boardroom and corporations. They are not afraid to physically take up room (even from a value point of view). Women tend to tip toe instead of being like men and own our space and own our voice. BM: You mention that naysayers and non-visionary people are not the right client for you to coach. Why is vision so important? AA: I say that vision is everything. I work with big vision women. The reason is, your vision, the way that you see your life, the way that you see yourself, having a bigger vision for yourself, will define the way in which your life will unfold. It doesn’t mean that you need to see the whole thing. Martin Luther King said you don’t need to see the whole staircase, just know that there is another step in front of you. Being able to have the mind-set, the frame of mind that there is something more for you, is huge. I tell women a lot to talk with the people that believe in themselves. Many times women will tell me they spoke with someone in their family who doesn’t believe in them, but I will ask them, do these people even believe in themselves? Because often times we will ask people to believe in us who don’t even believe in themselves. We may love them, but if they don’t even believe in themselves, how are they going to believe in you? Continued on next page>>

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BM: I understand that. I like to say it’s like someone who is wearing rose colored glasses. The person they are talking to doesn’t have on the same shade of glasses and won’t see the same colors as they do, even though you are looking at the same thing. You often call yourself, "The mid-wife for your inspired life." How did you come up with that title? AA: That title came about because my great, great grandmother in Guyana was a mid-wife and a woman's fertility healer. So I say that, her purpose was to help women give birth to their babies, and my purpose is to help women give birth to themselves. So we are doing the same thing, just in a different realm and in a different way of expression. So that is where that came from. I want to go back to the rose colored glasses. In my book,"The Scared Bombshell Handbook of Self Love," I talk about learning not to see things through victim colored glasses. We as women tend to get caught in the cycle of victimhood and blame. A big part of being a big vision woman is taking responsibility for yourself and your life. There are things that may have happened to you that you cannot control, but you can control where you are right this minute, and you can control the choices that you make. The key thing to remember is, while you have breath, you have choice. The power is to shift your focus from everything that is wrong, to everything that is right. Let the vision of what you want to be and who you are all the while being grateful for where you are, enable you to fulfill your vision. BM: You had a great sentence that defined your being. You said, "My beat is self-worth and self-esteem via healing feminine powers, self-love of your mind, body and soul.” It's interesting to hear that statement because we echo that passion here at Bronze Magazine for our readers who we call our Bronze Bombers. Female empowerment is the new trend and buzz word. Why do you think women at this time have decided that it's time to take control? AA: I think it’s not a new trend, but rather something that has been a long time in the making. I think it started long before you and I were born. I think things have come to a place where things have come to a critical mass. We cannot continue in the world and expect to evolve when we are leaving 50% of the population behind. We are coming to a place where all of the displaced people, all of the formerly oppressed people, not just women, but people of color, people of different orientations are feeling more comfortable to step up to the plate and say, "This is who I am!" Stepping into that with no apologies and claiming it. I feel that is something that is very powerful. The ability to stand in ourselves, stand in our truth. My example is that my grandmother was born in 1880. I can't even imagine what her life was like, yet she set the ground and paved the way for me to have my life. I believe that is true for the women that came before us. Whether it was Sojourner Truth ripping off her shirt and proclaiming, “Ain't I a woman? To women in our modern times. Each one of us is a brick in that building. Each one of us is adding to it. Now it's coming to a critical mass, where right now it's reached a head and we are not going to fall back anymore. Instead, we are going to claim our full majesty. That means the whole picture and definition of woman. The ones that choose to stay home and raise their babies, to the women who are in the workplace, to the women who choose to have their own companies. The power is knowing that we have choice. Not letting others define us anymore and making those decisions that are ours to make for ourselves. BM: Perfect transition to my next question. There are so many negative examples of women of color with what I like to term "Ratchet TV.” What do you say to those women, and do you feel they are answering their calling? AA: I cannot speak for anyone else. My dad is a preacher. I consider my work to be my ministry. A big piece of that is learning how to come from a place of non-judgement. I say learning, because I am a work in progress like anybody else. So I can’t condemn those women, although I do when I am watching it with my friends, but I’m not going to sit here and be holier than thou. I watch those shows. It’s my biggest guilty pleasure (Laughs). So I cannot participate in it, while simultaneously condemning them. Do the things that I see often disgust me? Yes. Do the things that I see make me ask why? Yes. I think the issue is when they do what they do and they look like me, does the next person who sees me think I’m like them? Does my heart break with some of the things I see? Yes. Regardless of all of that, I am a participant in it by just watching it. Here’s the truth: I started out in entertainment. One of the things I learned as I was pitching shows was that we lie as human beings when it comes to things we want to see on TV. We say that we want uplifting programming, but you vote with what you watch. We don’t watch the things that we claim that we want. So that is what we want to see. So we can’t condemn them unless we are willing to take responsibility ourselves for being participants in it. BM: As someone who looks at the glass half full in a world that sees the glass most of the time half empty, how do you handle the haters who don’t understand you and your joy for life, and why you always have a smile on your face? AA: It’s funny because I do get asked that question a lot by positive women. When I first started my podcasts in 2005, and my first web TV show in 2007 - 2008, and my first book 2008-2009, people were writing things on social forums. They would write, “Who is this bitch, and why is this bitch so happy?” They were not used to seeing a positive, happy black woman. Fast forward to 2015, and there are beautiful, brilliant black women like you, where it’s not just a handful of women who are representing us, in the us that we are, you know, the fullness, the positivity, the love, the wanting the best all of those things, but there is a gaining again of a critical mass. So my answer has shifted to how to deal with the haters. Back in the days around 2008, when my book came out, and people had something negative to say, I would track them down online and respond to them, arguing with them online. That’s ridiculous, arguing with people on the internet. Now, I come from a place of choice. I get to choose who is in my world. I’m a beacon of light. I am the sun. The sun does not bow to ask who is angry that the sun is shining. No! That’s is your problem. You go into the shade if you don’t like it. You go into the shade, because I’m just going to be me, by being the brightest that I can be of myself. If there are any haters, just ignore them. They don’t even exist in your sphere. The solution is to just block them. Continued on next page>>

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BM: What do you say to women that are facing the challenge of haters? What would be the mantra that you could give them so that they have a starting point to deal with the hate? AA: When you live long enough, you will see that some of the people that are hating on you today are the same people that will come up to you tomorrow and ask, how can I do what you do? How do I get what you have? How do I arrive where you are at? That's when you realize it's not really hate, it's just that they don't know. You can just show by your example. If I can give one sentence of advice I would say, "Stop playing small." Don't shrink yourself to fit in with others. Don't dumb yourself down. Don't be less of who you are to be with others. Don't do it! Be you! You will find that you will then be aligned with the people that are the same. Those people that aren't, will be somewhere else. BM: What is the main message you would hope that people would come away with as the ultimate lesson from your Bombshell handbook and how does that differ from the business handbook? AA: Let me start with the definition of what a sacred bombshell is. A "Sacred Bombshell" is a woman who loves, honors, and cherishes herself in mind, body, and spirit. So I’ve reclaimed that word "bombshell," which used to be a sexualized term for a woman, and so I reclaimed it to mean a woman who is "bomb-shelling" her own life. In the handbook, I reveal 11 self-worth ideas, concepts, secrets with assignments about awakening and using your feminine energy to fall in love with yourself and your feminine power. The other book, "The Sacred Bombshell Business Bible," is for women who want to create their own thing. Like what you are doing with Bronze Magazine. That book is about unblocking our business blessings. Learning how to get rid of the things that sabotage you when it comes to you wanting to find your voice. Learning how to turn your self-love into self-launch. The Sacred Bombshell handbook is an inner game book and the business bible is an outer game book. BM: You have been an Essence columnist for a while, as a woman of color, what do you feel should be our essence of life? AA: I love that! The essence of a woman is not fitting into a mold. For us, as women of color, to not walk the path of the women that came before us, but rather create our own pathway, learning from them and their journey. For each and every one of us not being afraid to take the road less traveled. To have the courage to create the life that we want to create. Being fearless, and having the courage to walk the path that you dare. BM: You have a set of affirmation cards. Was that created as an extension of your brand? AA: I would say that every single thing that I create, because I have a meditation album as well, and another line of affirmation cards coming out as well, is specifically with the purpose of empowering women. I created them because they are things that I was seeking and wished that they existed. I am very big on affirmation cards. I would buy a lot of them, but I didn’t see any that reflected me, my beauty or my power. So I created the African Goddess Affirmation cards specifically because I wanted to create a deck of cards that had different shades of black women from the darkest to the lightest, the different textures of our hair- from wavy, to kinky, to coiled, as well as a reflection of the different Goddesses of the African Diaspora. Each card has a coaching lesson on it as well.

BM: The journey to completion many times is long and arduous. Can you give us a little insight on your own personal journey? When did you recognize that you had arrived? AA: For a long time I had the concept that I would be happy ultimately or eventually. So I thought for example, when this is right, or I had enough money in the bank, or when I had the right man, etc., I had all this in my head, when things were the picture of that I wanted my life to be, that is when I would be happy. I realized that the journey is the destination. Meaning that when I think of having arrived, I don’t think of it from a success point of view, I think of it from a happiness point of view. For me, making it is being joyful. Learning how to do that within the moment from where we are right now. My message for women is to stop delaying your happiness. A lot of us do that. We are only promised right now, so find your gratitude and happiness right now. BM: To switch topics, sex is a topic of everyone’s discussion nowadays. You did a documentary called Afrodite Superstar. What prompted you to do that documentary? AA: When I did that project, it was around the height of the Video Vixen era. There was a moment where in between Niki Minaj and Lil Kim, the only black women you would see in a hip hop context, or even in an African American beauty context, were the video vixens. I wanted to create a dialogue around our sensuality and our sexuality that comes from a place of power. In many ways, that is what my Essence column is about. It’s about us coming from an empowered place. I feel the conversation of sexuality was and still is very much around extremes such as, either it’s bad, don’t do it, or this person is a whore or a slut, or be a virgin or whatever, but I felt like it was a very limited conversation. I knew that for me and my friends, and the women I knew in my life, that sex was much more nuanced than just those limiting ideals. So that is why I created that project. I’m very proud of it. Continued on next page>>

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BM: Most women claim men as their weakness. So what do you say to women today who find men as their weakness instead of their strength? AA: This is such a juicy question. I have heard it a lot in many different forms. One of the biggest questions I get in my Essence column is, why can't I leave? We talk about the strong black women all the time. But I say it's a myth. We are human beings first. We love, and we believe, we cry and we hurt and we have feelings, but a lot of times we don't allow ourselves to have those moments. Many times, the only time we allow ourselves to be soft and vulnerable is in our relationships. We need to learn how to communicate better. Also, we need to learn how to love ourselves in our relationships, while still being soft and vulnerable. Once we learn our own self-worth, we enable ourselves to love. Learn to re-parent ourselves, and give ourselves what we maybe didn’t get from our parents, so that you can have better relationships. Another factor is, many times women believe any man is better than no man. No! Learning how to know our worth, and not necessarily be locked in to the idea of who you think you should be with is best. Instead, focus on someone who is loving, kind and has all of the traits that you need emotionally, rather than just focusing on a surface level. BM: Focusing on the dating life, does courting still exist? Or is the mind-set of slam, bam, thank you Ma’am the norm nowadays? AA: I feel like it’s all going to balance itself out. There is a lot of talk about millenials and the hook-up culture. But, I feel at the end of the day we are all human, and it’s going to balance itself out. At the end of the day you are still going to want and need to be loved. That is the one thing we all have in common. I don’t care how tough your exterior is, or who you are, and what your experiences are, we want to be loved. If someone is hooking up with a lot of different people, they need to begin to realize that you can’t treat yourself so callously. If you had diamonds in your pocket, would you give them out on every date to everyone you had dinner with? No! So don’t treat yourself that way. Treat yourself from that point of view, and you will attract people who want to treat you from that point of view as well. BM: Online dating has become huge, almost another form of the courting culture. You consult for Match.com. What advice can you give to women who want to date online? AA: In my opinion, if you are single and don’t want to be single, and you are not dating online, then you are cheating yourself. It’s ridiculous that people still have a stigma about online dating, that all you are going to meet are creeps online. Online is no different than real life. In life you are going to meet some creeps and some great guys as well. There is also going to be a mix of everything in between. So what I would say is, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in a way that feels safe for you. Also, don’t come from a place of desperation. If you are doing a DWD (dating while desperate) (laughter), you will attract all of the wrong people. Because the men, and the women, who are predators, can smell desperation. The same dating rules apply to dating online as they do regularly. It’s important to be smart about it. A lot of the dangers happen when people sleep with people they just met. Why would you do that? That says to me that is someone who is lacking in self-worth. Value yourself and be smart about it. My girls and I have the girlfriend safety code. If one of my girlfriends are going to meet up with someone they met online, they will text me all the information. Safety! Be smart. Also, there are apps that will tell you if your date is married, just by putting their name in your phone. I’m not saying to be paranoid, I’m just saying, be smart. BM: What are the most important do’s and don’ts when searching for Mr. Right, and does he really exist? AA: I would say that Mr. Right exists for each of us, but not Mr. Perfect. We all grew up watching fairy tales and thinking that someone perfect has to come to us. Here is the thing, we are not perfect. Being able to take someone for who they are, and love them for who they are is important. It begins with not expecting perfection. I would say, in order to be happy when it comes to relationships, one should focus more on the inner stuff rather than the superficial stuff. It doesn’t mean that you are going to let the superficial stuff go, because at the end of the day you have to be attracted to someone. You have to feel that energy when you are with them. But focusing only on these 20 points that you have on your list just might cheat you. A lot of times we set ourselves up to stay single because we are afraid of being in a relationship.You might have intimacy issues if you are creating a mindset that someone has to be all of these things. Make sure that whatever you have on your list, you are all of those things first. Make sure you are everything you are looking for, otherwise it’s not going to work. Figure out what you want and be clear about it.

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Profile for Bronze Magazine

Nov 2015 issue  

This month's issue features Self-Love Coach, Advice Columnist, TV Personality, and Transformational Speaker Abiola Abrams, whose candid inte...

Nov 2015 issue  

This month's issue features Self-Love Coach, Advice Columnist, TV Personality, and Transformational Speaker Abiola Abrams, whose candid inte...