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Issue 01, 2015

Let's Talk & LifeStyle

Sharon Simpson Beauty on Her Own Terms

Black Fashion Redefined Celebrating African Fashion

Hair Hypocrisy

SHERRY DIXON Kicking Up a Storm at

in Film, Military and the Workplace

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✦ Reinventing Your Style ✦ Taking control of your Career ✦ Putting Family First February 2015

Let's Talk Natural Hair

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48 Trend

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Contents TressTalk 4 Naturalistas: We Hear You! Career & Work 7 Natural Hair is a Career Killer 8 Embracing a Natural Lifestyle Cost Me My Job 10 Breaking the Mould With Keli Fulton 12 The Hypocrisy of Patriotism and Natural Hair in the Miitary 14 Natural Girl Spotlight 16 Chaning the Face of the Metropolitan Plice Service Business 18 The Ultimate Fight Back! 22 Getting to the Root of Business 24 Loc'sing for Business Success & Wealth History & Economics 28 Naturalnomics: The Journey of Education and Enterprise to Empowerment 29 Three Things We Can Learn About Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker 30 When Fashion & Faith Collide 32 Bringing Back the Regal to Politics 36 The Natural Rise & Revolution of the "Fro" TanTalk 38 And Still I Rise... The Politicatisation of Natural Hair Style 40 Bold, Bald & Beautilicious!! 42 Step Up, Stand Out & Shine 43 Free at Last 44 Sherry Dixon Talks Ageless Beauty at Any Age!

Solange Knowles

Fashion Sherry Dixon 48 Trend Alert 52 UK Fashion Redefined 85 Raw Food is Not Just for Celebrities 54 Celebrating Style With Lace 86 Overworked and Overcooked: Diary of a Raw Food Rebel! Celebrity 87 Sleep: Nature's Best-Kept Secret for 56 Natural Holllywood Beauty, Health and Well-Being 58 Why is Solange Knowles the New 88 The Top Retreats in the World Spokeswoman for Natural Hair 91 Let's Talk Home Spa 60 Why Chris Rock Sucked With (His 92 Ulitmate Spa Break - Agape Wonder! Movie) "Good Hair" 94 Nine Ways Domestic Abuse Affects 61 The Leading Women of Nollywood Your Health 96 Raising Awareness of Fibroids Beauty 97 Reading Corner 64 Should Woman Spend More Money Than They Can Afford on "Beautiful" Hair? 70 Beware the Price of Commercial Beauty 71 Confessions of a Jamaican Black Castor Oil Addict 72 Cocoa Butter, Head Wraps & Fame: Why India Arie is Still Not Her Hair 74 The Power of Cocoa Butter 75 I am More Than My Hair 76 Alopecia Straight Talk Health 79 Laughing Your Way to Greater Health and Vitality 82 You Are What You Eat: Daring to Live Organic 84 Five Simple Tips to Manage Sugar Cravings


Message from the Editor at Large

Is The Natural Hair Debate Dividing Black Women?

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here appears to be an ever widening divide amongst black women who choose to wear their hair as nature intended, and those who decide to chemically alter it. So why do the naturalists accuse the relaxers of conforming to a “socially acceptable” look and failing to embrace their natural beauty? Whereas the chemical users are of the opinion, why shouldn't they have the choice to alter their hair the way they want? This debate is gaining momentum as more people jump on the natural v relaxed hair bandwagon and judge others based on how they wear their hair. Many women have explored both natural and relaxed hair and have reported good and bad experiences with the two. Celebrities are seen to endorse relaxed hair and regarded as beautiful or idols to young girls growing up, this leads to girls experimenting as they get older by sporting chemically treated hair in a bid to “fit in” before they gain confidence and go back to their roots regardless of what anyone thinks. Some girls with relaxed hair believe they are looked down on by the women who adhere to a natural look and are met with the judgement that they are not being true to themselves. The naturals think they have to fight for their right to embrace their curls, sometimes becoming arrogant in the process. So, who is right or wrong? Both and neither. The bottom line is, issues regarding confidence, bullying, social conformity, equality and diversity should be treated and remain as separate issues to be addressed and tackled away from how an individual wears their hair. If a woman, black or otherwise is confident, not pressured by social demands and treated with the respect she deserves

Issue 01, 2015

Let's Talk & LifeStyle

Sharon Simpson BEAUTY ON HER OWN TERMS

Black Fashion Redefined Celebrating African Fashion

HAIR HYPOCRISY IN FILM, MILITARY AND THE WORKPLACE

SHERRY DIXON Kicking Up a Storm at

60

✦ Reinventing Your Style ✦ Taking control of your Career ✦ Putting Family First January 2015

Let's Talk Natural Hair

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Issue no 1, February 2015 Cover: Teyonah Parris

"It is time for women everywhere to listen up, end the debate" and chooses to wear her hair in the way she prefers, be it wild or tamed, then ultimately it is her choice and she should not be judged by this. In a professional setting, the majority of workplaces require that that an employee is clean, tidy, presentable and maintains a professional look. This does not mean becoming something you are not. Hair can be maintained and tidy regardless of colour, texture, curly or straight, natural or not.

Magazine information Frequency: Quarterly Issue Date: First Week of the Month Cover price: £ FREE Readers: Women: 90% Men: 10% Media Type: Internet The team Managing Editor: Sonia Brown Designer: Katarina Lindevall Contributors: Angela Small Anita Bevan Ron Short Lisa Newton Bro. Andrew Muhammad Advertising: Edwin

It is time for women everywhere to listen up, end the debate, forget who might be right or wrong, respect all women, whoever they are and however they wear their hair. Stick together ladies. Women should not be defined by their hair, but who they are as a person. Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary? We should all unleash our inner child and be who we are meant to be. Follow me @soniatalks

Sonia Brown Managing Editor

The views and opinions expressed by contributors to Let's Talk Natural Hair & Lifestyle may not represent the views and opinions of the publishers and we cannot accept responsibility for the claims, goods or services of advertisers. No part of this magazine can be reproduced or copied in any way withouth written consent form Let's Talk Natural Hair & Lifestyle.

February 2015

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TressTALK

Naturalistas:

We Hear You! Never has "natural" hair raised such debate in the Black political and corporate community. From the issue of "tactile fascination" to the "mythic authenticity" of black women. Has the debate become too banal and simplistic in its apparent use for defining black women in the 21st Century? NBWN talks to naturalistas Valley Fontaine and Aaisha Knight about all things natural hair.

Valley Fontaine What are the motivators for women returning to natural hair?

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have heard a range of reasons from hair breakage to concerns about the effects of chemical on their general health and wellbeing. I think many women are also seduced by the videos on YouTube of the women who have gone natural talking of having 'found themselves'. They are also drawn in by the versatility of natural hair. It was once believed that natural hair was limiting and difficult. Women are now seeing that this is not the case and many hairstyles can be done with short, medium and long hair. On the negative side, some believe because they have seen others grow extra-long hair they can too. Or they are seduced by someone else’s curl pattern thinking their hair will produce the same, which may not be the case. Advice to women looking to take on the natural look Don't do it because you think you hair will look like someone who you've seen in a picture or in a video. Do it because it's what you want to do. Don't think going natural will be the end of all if any hair issues you may have. Natural hair like relaxed hair is prone to breakage especially if treated like a bit of fabric. Return to your natural hair if you believe that you will love your hair whatever it look like. You will probably find that unlike when you hair was relaxed you have to plan ahead with your natural hair. Jumping

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About Valley Fontaine is an award winning producer and BBC Broadcast Journalist. You can hear her daily either reading the news or reporting or producing on BBC London 94.9, where she had worked for the last 14 years, during which time she had also been a radio presenter, TV reporter, video journalist and web editor. Prior to the BBC she worked as both a presenter and news reader at Choice FM, and other media outlets. More recently she is making her mark as a hair journalist, and editor of the hair blog on www.valleyfontaine. com where she specialises in providing key information and tips for those who like to also wear weaves, wigs and hair extensions, in a bid to stop them from damaging their natural hair.

increasingly wearing their hair in up dos. A style that can be worn equally to a wedding to work or at the supermarket.

Most naturals hate hair wash day, because it can be a long process especially if you tend to finger comb and detangle by hand. Natural hair also takes a long time to dry if you don't use heat.

Do you feel that the debate about women who choose natural over relaxed hair take the moral high ground and judge women who buy weaves and straighten their hair thus causing greater division?

Expect lots of attention, being natural although it's becoming increasingly popular, it is still relatively rare so get ready for the compliments.

Although many may be reluctant to admit it in person, I have read many comments from people I term 'born again' naturals who sadly believe that hair maketh the woman. To them if a woman is in a weave or wears a relaxer she knows not who she is and she is not proud of her race. This argument is so simplistic I find it boring.

Most interesting trends in natural hair at the moment? A host of young women starting natural hair related businesses from product development to hosting dynamic hair seminars. In terms of styles many women are turning away from trying to rock their natural curls in a wash and go which is where you shingle wet hair with holding get to enhance your natural hair pattern. Although pretty this style is a knot magnet, and many women are fed up with the detangling effort needed to manage this style and instead

But this is not to ignore there could clearly be a potential self-esteem problem if a black woman actually dislikes natural hair. But then if we look at the anti-frizz campaign we shouldn't be surprised. Mainstream dislikes frizzy hair. To me natural afro hair is frizzy by nature. The most common reason I've come across for women who may not want to wear natural hair is that they don't like the condition of their hair because they

are suffering thinning, breakage and very stunted growth. What impact does wearing natural hair have on women in the workplace? I can only speak for myself, and I have had nothing but compliments. Since I've gone natural two of my colleagues have also joined me and from what they say they too have had a very positive experience. However I can speak of a friend who has ambitions to work on screen, who believes that her own hair is not suitable and therefore she wears a long weave. Finally, I believe the natural hair debate will continue because it's so interesting. There is so much happening in the hair industry right now. From business to the political connotations of our hair decisions. Whether you are natural or not it is hard not to celebrate that black women in increasing number are celebrating their hair and the wonderful array of options available to us in terms of style choices, and that includes the ability to also have the choice to wear weaves, wigs and extension a subject of which I am in the final stages of writing my first book about. February 2015

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â–ź

into bed without plaiting, twisting or covering your hair could result in hard to comb hair in the morning.


extensions and elaborate updos/buns with their new thick Afro growth or even Afro Kinky Curly extensions that match coarse hair types exactly. At Dream Tresses we get a lot of enquires from potential customers looking for extensions that resemble Afro hair blowdried (kinky straight) or their own natural curls (kinky curly, afro deep curl) which of course we cater to. Do you feel that the debate about women who choose natural over relaxed hair take the moral high ground and judge women who buy weaves and straighten their hair thus causing greater division? I think that “natural Nazis” do exist, however, in recent years the passion is not as strong as it used to be since natural hair is so prevalent these days. It’s not so much of a moral high-ground anymore; it is more of a personal choice. Even fully natural hair women have covered their textures with virgin Brazilian and Peruvian hair so one could argue that while they are “natural” some may still be cheating by wearing silkier hair types on a daily basis.

Aaisha Knights Having recently left one of the big four accountancy firms Aaisha Knights has decided to follow her passion which is all things hair! Catering to university undergraduates and professional young women who are on the pulse of hair and beauty trends; her clients want their hair to look fabulous as well as realistic. Aaisha launched Dream Tresses, a luxury hair extensions brand that provides exact colour and texture matching. What are the motivators for women returning to natural hair? My clients have said that they want to learn what their natural textures looks and feels like as many of them had relaxers put in their hair from a very young age. Also there are many role models now within the natural hair community that have beautiful and varied textures of long hair. The internet and YouTube gives people the opportunity to create their own celebrities and people to aspire to thus allowing this once “niche” community to grow. It is not odd to have natural afro hair 6

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anymore which I think is a good thing. For me personally, I have decided to transition to natural Afro hair because chemical relaxers would eventfully make my hair thin and lifeless – my natural hair texture has more bounce and body to it even when straightened with ceramic plates, so I prefer that look. Also I will admit, naturally curly hair is fun to play with! Advice to women looking to take on the natural look Think of what would be suitable for your personal “look”. Though some women are confident enough to cut their hair down via the “big chop” route, not everyone is that brave. You could transition to natural instead using single plait hair extensions (now popular again thanks to Beyonce and Solange) or protective style via a weave install or wig. This way you can grow your natural hair out over the course of a year or more and trim the chemically relaxed ends away over time, a few inches every few months.

What impact does wearing natural hair have on women in the workplace? It depends on the workplace. The Public sector is probably more forgiving, but unfortunately in the private/corporate sector a black woman wearing her hair the way God made it is still sometimes seen as “radical” and trying to make a “statement”. I think that time and natural hair becoming the norm rather than the exception will rectify this school of thought. At the same time we as women from African and Caribbean backgrounds must take the stand and feel comfortable to wear our hair the way it was designed. As long as our hair is neat and presentable there should not be an issue. I believe the natural hair debate will continue/stop because…...

Most interesting trends in natural hair at the moment?

I believe that whatever your background may be, you will always want to do something different to your hair! As human beings we are always evolving and changing so we need to concentrate on enjoying the life we live rather than commenting on somebody else’s. Everybody has an opinion so just “do you”!

At the moment women are experimenting with faux dreadlocks

For more information about Dream Tresses visit www.dreamtresses.net


Career&Work

Natural Hair Is A

Career Killer!

Has your natural hair ever ruined your chances of securing a job? This was the topic being discussed at a recent panel entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & the Work Place - A Dialogue” at Georgia State University.

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round one hundred women met to discuss the fact that their skills, talent and intelligence could and would be overlooked as people judge based on the hairstyle they choose to wear. Most of the time this issue is attributed to black women who wear their hair naturally in the workplace. There is a growing debate that corporate Britain and America are not keen on natural hair and prefer their executives to wear a weave or a straight perm. Opinions on this subject are divided depending on who you are and whether you choose to maintain natural hair or not. For every opinion, there is a conflicting one.

Natural hair contributes to unemployment

It has been documented that natural hair has contributed to lack of employment or inability to get past interview stage. For whatever reason an employer decides that “your hair” cannot do the job. On the other hand, you may not have been right for the job itself or they interviewed a candidate who could do it better.

view natural hair akin to extreme hairstyles, such as a Mohawk or bright colours. How something natural can be compared this way is puzzling but sadly its true.

Natural hair does not affect work performance

No one has the right to judge an individual’s work performance based on their hair, it would never work! Imagine hiring a conventionally acceptable person, based on looks alone, regardless of that person’s ability to do the job. Organisations would be failing everywhere.

The choice of the individual

How someone chooses to wear their hair is no one’s business but their own. It is not right to be forced in to paying out extra money, damaging your hair to please someone else or hiding part of yourself for the sake of a job, if you had to do this to even get your foot in

the door of an organisation, then they are not a company who deserve your skills anyway.

Discrimination

No one in the world should ever be discriminated against because of the way they look. These kind of subjects open up a can of worms, and while the management may genuinely be concerned about the way the company is being perceived professionally, it also begs the question, are these just small minded people who are discriminating against another race completely? Apart from a few misguided opinions, the general consensus across the internet seems to be that (just like you wouldn’t put on a crumpled suit) in the corporate world, as long as your hair is neat, tidy , clean and pulled back off your face if the job requires it, it doesn’t matter whether your hair is natural or not.

Natural hair is not professional enough

One of the biggest problems with natural hair in the workplace seems to be that it just doesn’t fit the ideals of a professionalism on a corporate level. The view that a woman with natural curly hair is seen as “homely” or “wild” is not correct or by any means right, but one that a few people in this field share.

Natural hair is considered “extreme”

This opinion can be put down to ignorance and just plain lack of understanding but some workplaces February 2015

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Career&Work

Embracing a Natural Lifestyle

Cost Me My Job... Hello. My name is Melanie Stuart. I am forty-four years old and until June of 2013, I worked continuously at a university for twenty-three years. I am (and was) very proud of that fact, especially in this day and age when many people ride a merry-go-round of employment. I was happy at my place of work. Naturally there were ups and downs over the years, but I felt secure, *Name and picture changed for and the money was satisfactory. purpose of this article.

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our years ago, my working life at the university changed dramatically when I decided to grow Locs and embrace African fashion. My employment came to a dramatic and unceremonious end.

applying for. That is when I decided to go to evening classes and get myself up to the standard required to obtain one of the positions I sought. I spent four years studying and working and gained a Bachelor of Science Degree (with Honours) in Business Management.

So how did this happen? Let’s briefly review my situation at the university, and what factors led up to my being judged “redundant”. It is important to note that the official terminology used was “voluntary redundancy”, despite not being so, and I was obliged to sign a settlement agreement in order to receive my “redundancy package” before leaving the university.

Thus equipped with my new qualification, and a sense of enhanced self -confidence, I applied again for various positions within the organisation. This time I was successful. I had finally obtained a management position. It had taken thirteen years but now I had put my foot upon the first rung of the corporate ladder!

I joined the team in the late 1980s; I was one of a few women in our department and the only woman of colour. I was employed as an administrator. Initially I was quite happy with my position but as the years passed I had aspirations to progress further. Unfortunately I was never shortlisted, even though I constantly applied for internal positions. I did however see my peers, who had joined the team after me, move up the corporate ladder. Typically they were mainly men, but a few white women as well. In an attempt to gain some insight I spoke to my line manager. I was informed that despite my experience of nine years, I still had no real relevant qualifications for the positions I was 8

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I was responsible for managing a staffteam of ten people, and running my own department. I was now mingling with Registrars, Deans and Senior Executive Officers. Life was good, and I continued to work at a reasonable pace; I built my reputation as a highly skilled and respected manager, reliably delivered positive results, and formed solid partnerships within the University. Those reading this may not know what it is like to work in a university, but initially it was the “Old Boys” networking environment. Over the years I noticed an increase in the diversity of staff coming through the door, and I formed a tight relationship with another black female named Brenda, who was on the same management level as I was. She worked in another department, but we formed

a solid bond and supported each other over the years. The dress code for my department was a smart look; I was appropriately and practically “suited and booted” for most of those years; my hair was relaxed and occasionally I would put a weave in. I always looked good and this was an intrinsic part of my reputation.


In 2010 I was promoted a Senior Executive position, and at the same time I approaching my 40th birthday. This was big milestone and I decided to try locs my hair. Initially I wore a wig until my hair was a suitable length, then I shed the wig and went to work with my natural hair. Occasionally I would drop an African print into my attire. My peers and the staff I managed loved the change; they continuously complimented me on my new image.

to was a

One bright sunny day, six months into my new position, the Registrar came into my office and asked me if I was free for lunch the next day. Of course I was! Quite naively I thought this lunch came with the new position. However, after all the small talk at the lunch, I left there with five very clear messages.

• My new image made some people

uncomfortable; they felt intimidated and inept around me – especially at meetings. • I needed to assert my authority more with my staff. • They were transferring a black lady whom they perceived as a troublemaker to my department and at the first sign of trouble I was to implement a Performance Management Plan. • I should not challenge him or the other managers in public. • I should follow the lead of my colleague, Brenda, and observe how she challenges people. I was left with a parting comment on how nice she looked! When I got home and shared my experience with my family and friends. A few of my friends made a joke saying, “I was the department House Nigger”. We laughed and joked about this but it always stayed with me. I also started to really observe Brenda as advised. I began to notice our differences and similarities beyond our skin colour. Brenda was married to a Caucasian and very happy; she wore wigs and always dressed smartly. She was very articulate and a lot more subtle than I tended to be. As time went on I let go of the divide-and-conquer advice

To be honest it took me a while to get over the way I was treated.

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I had received from the Registrar and continued to carry out my role to the best of my ability.Two years later, Brenda handed in her three month notice, saying she needed a new challenge, and I receive another lunch request from the registrar. Aware of his previous tactics, this time I was apprehensive. The message I received at this lunch shocked me, changed my world and shook my self-confidence. I was told, “I can help you to leave”. I was confused and asked, “Why would I want to leave?” I was then told the following:

• I am not happy at work and look as

though I am going through depression.

• My appearance has not changed and

this is not the right public image for the universities management structure! • I ask too many questions! • I should have sacked the troublemaker, by now; there had been ample opportunities to manage this. • I clearly don’t share the same values as them. • I could take advantage of this “opportunity” to go and do something I am more interested in. He then got up, left the money for the lunch on the table, and left me to think about his proposal. Within a week of this conversation I was offered a redundancy package, I reviewed this and discussed the finer details with the union and I was advised

to ask for more money, this request was granted on two conditions;

I must leave the university by the end of the month, and • I must sign a settlement agreement. So June the 27th 2013 was my last day of employment in the college after 23 years. It all happened so quickly that I hardly had time to prepare and say goodbye to my peers and staff-team. People were still phoning me up to six months later, asking me what had happened. To add more salt to the wound, Brenda did not leave as expected; she was given my position, and has since sacked the “troublemaker” in my old department. As far as I am aware she is still employed with the University and no longer “seeking a new challenge”. To be honest it took me a while to get over the way I was treated. Now, in retrospect, I have a sense of relief and freedom to be me, Melanie! I’m a natural, proud, black woman, who is now out of the system. I wear my locs with pride and love rocking my African garments when the mood strikes me. I now spend my time (self-employed) empowering other woman to be true to themselves and their identity. Through every adversity we gain strength; there are no barriers to ourw success, merely hurdles; they teach us how to jump and land firmly with a sense of pride, accomplishment and personal satisfaction. February 2015

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Career&Work

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As far as a hairstyle, I advise women to think about their lifestyle.

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Breaking the Mould With Keli Fulton 10

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With many women in front of the camera breaking the mould and going natural; Let’s Talk caught up with Keli Fulton, NBCs renowned Anchor and Reporter, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic to get her views on her decision to get the “big chop!”

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was born at 10:37pm on Friday, March 30, 1979. At the time my mother went into labor, my father was watching an LA Lakers game on television. I guess you could say I was born to be a part of sports. Ha! For me, there were two big reasons for my decision to go natural. I was tired of suffering through chemical burns from relaxers every month; and after “hair-gate 2012” involving Gabby Douglas at the Olympics, it got me thinking about black women and hair and what a big deal we make about it. Paying hundreds of dollars every month to get it fried, died and laid to the side in an effort to look “presentable”. I think that’s especially true when you’re in the public eye. So, I made the decision to present my hair to the world the way nature intended it to be presented. In a way, I feel like it’s my duty to show the world, you can be accepted just as you are and still be successful. I was a bit nervous about making the transition, but in the end, I believe in order for others to accept me as I am, I have to accept myself as I am. For women thinking about making the switch, I advise them to research, research, research! I’m still constantly seeking advice on natural hair care through articles and talking to stylists. As far as a hairstyle, I advise women to think about their lifestyle. From the time I did the “big chop” (in October 2012), until about a month ago, I was growing my hair out. However, due to significant heat damage, I had to cut it very short again. However, I have found this shorter hairstyle works much better for my busy life! I need to have a low maintenance hairstyle that is beautiful and not too distracting. So no “twist outs”. While I love twist outs, they can be distracting for viewers and at the end of the day, I want to make sure they get the information I’m trying to give them. It’s hard for me to say whether black women in the work place who are natural are judged differently because I work in a very liberal medium. I personally haven’t had nor have I seen any discrimination within my profession. However, there were a few viewers in Florida, where I first went natural, who didn’t understand my decision and didn’t like my hair (and told me so!). While that may not happen to most people in the corporate world as far as consumers are concerned, I can see how it could happen in the office. However, as I said earlier, if you accept your hair and yourself, others have no choice but to do the same. Having said that, there is a difference between corporate guidelines and discrimination. As I mentioned, when my hair was longer, I didn’t wear “twist-outs” or “braid-outs”. While I loved those styles, they just didn’t translate to television (unless you’re doing entertainment reporting). I would gather they don’t translate well in corporate settings either. For other

cultures, that would be the equivalent of having very long curly hair. After a while, all people see is hair! We want people to see us, but when we’re at work, hearing us is just as, if not more, important. So, my advice for women who are or are thinking about going natural in the corporate world (whether their hair is out or they have locs) is to learn to love the “roll, pin, and tuck”. As with everything, there are pros and cons to making the decision to wear your hair natural. The biggest con of course is that people may not “get it”, but I say, unless they plan to take on the pain and burden that keeping a relaxed hair style can sometimes be, then their opinions of you are not your business. As for the pros, well, they’re endless!

Keli Fulton is a television veteran with more than 12 years of experience. She joined Comcast SportsNet after three years with WPTV-TV (NBC) and WFLX-TV (FOX) in West Palm Beach, Fla., where she served as a news and traffic anchor. Prior to that, she was a sports anchor and reporter for WDSU-TV (NBC) in New Orleans from 2007 to 2011. Before her tenure in New Orleans, Fulton was a sports reporter and anchor in Little Rock, Ark., at KARK-TV (NBC) and Jackson, Tenn., at WBBJ-TV (ABC), for more than three combined years. She began her television career as a reporter covering high school sports for Cal-Hi Sports in Northern California. In addition to her main role Fulton contributes to the network’s other news, analysis and entertainment programming. February January 2015

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Career&Work

The Hypocrisy of Patriotism and Natural Hair in the Military Controversial grooming regulations in the US army have been circulating for months, but more recently, many military women have untied in disgust at the draconian policies introduced surrounding their natural hair.

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n March 31st updated guidelines were rolled out prohibiting women to wear their natural African - American hair in twists or with no more than two small braids. For the majority of AfricanAmerican women serving their country, this leaves them in a catch .22 situation in maintaining a professional appearance while on duty and leaves them with little

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option besides chemically altering their natural hair or wearing a wig. While these determined women have no argument with the fact they need to create a strongly professional persona while serving in the military, regulation AR6701 contains what they believe to be racially biased


policies in which there is little place for ethnic hair and cultural sensitivity.

naturally, if it is not braided, twisted or chemically relaxed, this rule is impossible not to break)

Sargent Jasmine Jacobs, who usually wears her hair in two neat twists was horrified at the obvious lack of consideration for diversity in the regulation. When Jasmine approached her superior regarding the stated regulations, she was told any women found not conforming to the policies regarding this matter would receive a non-judicial punishment for breaking the rules. She felt so offended that she organised a White House petition against it. Although a massive 17,500 people added their signature to the petition it still fell short of the 100,000 needed for the White House to act or respond in relation to the issue.

So how does a woman who chooses to serve her country in a professional manner adhere and conform to policies regarding the grooming of her hair if her natural ethnic hair does not allow her to do so? Should the regulations be changed to accommodate women of different races or should she go out and chemically alter her hair in order to do her job? Without a doubt, the women involved are being put in a tough position and are rightly campaigning for the rules to be changed to include a different approach to a diverse range of female officers serving in the army.

So what’s the big deal? The policies state that female hair should not be worn in: • Multiple braids (More than 2) - Two or less must be small - 1/4 of an inch in diameter (It would be impossible for a women with thick/kinky or curly hair to contain all of their hair in one or two 1/4 of an inch braids) • Twists - (A popular choice for African-American women who want to keep hair neat and out of the way) • Bulk - Bulk of hair must not exceed more than 2 inches “fro” m scalp(African-American hair grows up and out

With breakthroughs been made around the world in all industries regarding professional looking, natural hair and women being empowered and encouraged to be themselves, the US Army seems outdated and ignorant in comparison to the long overdue changes being made in society. How long before this stance is placed on Black women across the world. The opinion these hard working women have, is not that they be allowed to bend the rules or be treated any differently to anyone else, just that the army will widen the margins to make it possible for culturally diverse women to perform their job, in a professional way, without punishment or resorting to damaging chemical treatments to alter the way their natural hair grows out of their head.

February 2015

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Career&Work

Natural

Girl

Spotlight In this edition we talk to twentysomething graduate Rhianne “RhiRhi” Robinson who is rocking her independent style with confidence, coolness and courage. She epitomizes the saying “girls just want to have fun!” but don’t be fooled, this girl is honing a fierce determination for greater career success and personal fulfillment.

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hianne is clear that she does not believe in checking boxes or going with the status quo. “I’m always willing to try new things and looking for new experiences. I love to laugh, debate politics and read. My life hasn’t been the traditional set up for success but I’m a firm believer that you get back what you put in and while I’m not where I want to be, I am appreciative of my journey.”

What’s your motivation for staying natural and how many years have you been rocking this look? I’ve been natural for two and a half years. My motivation to keep my hair in its natural state is identity. I had lost my way in life and didn’t really know who I was. Letting go of relaxers and perms was a way to reconnect with myself and who I wanted to be. When I first took out my braids I did all the ‘wrong’ things but because my desire to learn was so deep I read books and

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blogs, watched YouTube and experimented until I knew what worked for me,

So what is your regime for keeping your hair in red carpet condition?

TLC! My hair (and scalp) always let me know when they are unhappy. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the time but the rewards are always clear when I take the time to do a protein treatment or deep condition once a week. Steaming has made a massive difference to my hair. There is a strange conception in the natural hair community that what works for one (on YouTube for example) will work for everyone. The reality however is that our hair is as different as our faces. Learn to love your hair type and don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t look like someone else’s.


How do people in the workplace react to your look?

I currently work in the pharmacy sector which is very customer facing. Although there is a lot of debate about natural hair discrimination it has not stopped me wearing a different hairstyle every few days because my patients love it. They always ask what is going to be next and are always surprised by it. What I appreciate most about my natural hair is changing perceptions. Whether it is that afro hair doesn’t grow or Black people have straight hair, I love rocking the boat.

Your advice to anyone scared to rock natural in the workplace?

To be honest when I went natural I found that being different works! Think positive. You get recognized and you stand out. For me that isn’t just about hair, it’s about attitude, approach and work ethic. If you are going to make that transition, I would advise that we must not fear the unknown, embrace it! You were born with it so why not try it out for a while. Natural hair is so diverse there isn’t anything you can’t do with it. And always remember

its hair, it’ll grow back. I also want to break another myth. Natural hair is manageable if you know how. People often say to me ‘I don’t know how you do it’, but natural hair takes the same maintenance that relaxed or weaved hair does. It’s all about what you know.

What are some of the challenges young girls are facing around going natural, body image, technology and making their mark in the business and corporate world?

There is this perception that there is no place for me because of my size; my shape; my hair; my looks; my knowledge; my education or my background. And in some instances that may be true but that isn’t a reason to give up. Make a place for yourself. In your current situation be a forward thinker, get educated, read, practice whatever skill you have and your gift will make room for you. My mantra for life is that God has got this but I have to do my part. Don’t apologise for where you are in life, but if you are not happy, move. No one reached their goals by standing still. February 2015

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Career&Work

Changing the Face of the Metropolitan Police Service Detective Sergeant Janet Hills has been a police officer in the Metropolitan Police Service for over two decades; where the majority of her career was spent working at Brixton Police station.

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ills is currently serving her second tenure as full time Chair of the Met BPA. The Met has over 3,000 officers as well as members of police staff “fro” m the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community (BAME). In her capacity as leader of the association she has

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the key responsibility of representing the interests of its members and also the wider communities to ensure race equality for all. BAMEs within the MPS have always been under represented within the organisation so the current MPS recruitment campaign is trying to redress this imbalance; so that the Met better looks, sounds and feels like London. The introduction of the London Residency criteria demonstrates that the Met are committed to ensuring that its officers reflect the communities that they serve. “Recruitment is one of the MetBPAs key aims and part of my role is to assist in the recruitment, retention and progression of people “fro” m our communities” explains Hills. “I attend recruitment fairs at schools and colleges; I talk to potential candidates and go to countless meetings

with HR to ensure that guidelines, policies and processes do not act as barriers to our diverse communities. It is important that our organisation gets it right “fro” m the start.” “But on a personal level, the question I get asked the most is “what is it really like to be a black police officer?” Hills acknowledges it would be unrealistic to state that the organisation does not have its challenges or issues with BAME staff which are often played out in the full glare of the media. But the mission of the MetBPA is to ensure that all members of staff can work in an organisation that nurtures, rewards and progresses talent irrespective of race and gender (to name a few). “The members of the MetBPA and I offer the organisation a view “fro” m the


personal experiences of our communities and an understanding of the internal processes that impact negatively on BAME staff and our community” says Hills. “It is important that members of the MPS demonstrate fair use of police powers both internally and externally, which is why effective community engagement is so important in building bridges between the London community and the MPS. I’m passionate about my role and I love being a police officer.”

it’s quite the opposite. For black women in the policing it’s not usually a problem but the perception for black male officers is slightly different. I remember back in the mid-nineties, a male officer having baby locs and this was seen as somehow threatening to his colleagues. In fact it was only about six months ago a young PCSO came in our office to make an enquiry about joining when he mentioned that he’d been told that if he wanted to join as a police

What is the biggest misconception about women in the MPS?

However, there is still a perception that we’re not strong enough mentally and physically to cope with the role of being a police officer.

What kind of reaction do you get “fro” m the general public when they see you with locs? I didn’t start growing my locs until I was a seasoned detective so I never had them whilst I was in uniform. So it’s fair to say that because I don’t wear a uniform I don’t really notice any adverse reactions “fro” m the public or colleagues; in fact

There are a number of benefits to the Community Ambassador Programme. it’s good to have people in our community who can be a beacon of information that help to sign post individuals both young and old to a career in the MPS. The programme is also there to create an effective working and social relationship with the police. The nine principals of policing set out by Sir Robert Peel are based upon ‘policing by consent’ of our fellow citizens. In order to do this the police service needs to be reflective of the communities they serve. I believe that the Community Ambassador Programme will assist us in reaching that goal whilst strengthening the relationship with our communities.

It’s great to note that we have women in senior, strategic roles in operational and territorial parts of the organisation across the pipeline. Although progress has been made like other sectors, we still have a long way to go.

Culturally, women are still considered the primary carers in a two parent family and that we’re not able to commit to doing overtime. The question always seems to be directed at woman by her supervisor as to whether she can stay late even though it is more likely that our male colleague will have children to care for.

Programme assist the MPS in attracting recruits from London’s Diverse Communities?

“But on a personal level, the question I get asked the most is “what is it really like to be a black police officer?” officer he would have to cut his locs. Cleary that isn’t the case but the black officer who made the comment obviously believes that to progress in the organisation this would need to happen. I am pleased to say that I am never singled out as a police officer for wearing locs and I’m usually mistaken for a solicitor or social worker. How will the Community Ambassador

It is clear that Hills is passionate about helping to achieve greater equality both internally and externally through her role as Chair of the Met BPA. Nevertheless it is interesting to note that she is the first female Chair in the history of the MetBPA who celebrate its 20th Anniversary in September. “It’s a great feeling to build on the work done by those who have gone before me and the inspiration these role models have given me” concludes Hill. “Times are changing and with the right mix of resources and strategies I hope to better support our members, colleagues and our communities to achieve greater parity. But more importantly I want other women to become the Chair of the MetBPA.” For more information about the work of the MetBPA visit www.metbpa.org.uk February 2015

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Business

The Ultimate Fight Back! Photographers spend their life making people look good but what happens when you are challenged with an illness that threatens your core beliefs about beauty and you have to build yourself up from scratch? Let’s Talk gets up close and personal with Sharon Simpson; who shares the emotional trials and tribulations she experienced on her journey to inner peace and finally being able to photograph from the heart. Can you explain how you contracted Discoid Lupus and how it affected your personal and professional life? Lupus is an auto-immune disease for which there is no known cure. Systemic Lupus affects the whole system, Discoid affects the skin. The dermatologist who diagnosed me couldn’t tell me how I contracted the disease, but it was suggested that giving birth to my first son triggered the condition. It’s also in my family. I have my own ideas about how I developed it. I’ve had the condition for more than 20 years, before that I’d never had a skin problem, not teenage spots, nothing. The only time I had an issue with my skin was around 11 years old when I broke out in a rash. It completely devastated me, destroyed my confidence and even overshadowed me becoming a mum. I became a bit of a recluse only letting very close friends and family see me. I only left the house for the essentials like: taking the kids to school, buying groceries and visiting relatives because people would stare and children would literally cling to their mother’s arms in fear. I put aside my dream of becoming a professional photographer, my skin was so hideous I couldn’t imagine who would want to work with me. There were times I felt so low I wondered how I would 18

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get through. I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life through this illness, that children love you unconditionally, it doesn’t matter what you look like.

What lessons did you learn about your perception of your own beauty? For years I thought I was disgusting, it was painful to look at myself in the mirror because at its worst, my face was covered in lesions. I didn’t recognise myself. I’d had self-esteem issues before I developed Discoid Lupus, it felt as though the universe was taunting me…now you’ve got a real reason to hate yourself, what you going do about that? My family life was the only stability I had, my thoughts were so negative, the only joy in my life was my boys and I wanted to teach them to love and accept themselves. How was I going to do that given how I related to myself? I’ve found the most powerful way children learn is by how we behave, and what they see, rarely do they listen to what we say. Telling them to love and have respect for themselves would be ineffective. I felt compelled to transform my relationship with myself. I sought out and found personal development, a whole group of people dedicated to helping others feel great about themselves. It was an eye opening revelation. My family was the catalyst, I took their cue and thought if they loved me so much, then I must be worth loving even though I looked like a monster. I began to find out about myself as a whole being, not just my skin. Slowly I turned things around, I got out of the house, braved the stares and comments to retrain as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Coach and Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner. I gained February 2015

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My identity was still consumed by how I looked. For several years the main topic of my conversation was my skin. a BSc in Integrative Counselling. I put myself to use for others, I felt that my experience could help other people, essentially I took the focus off myself and my woes to make a difference for another. My identity was still consumed by how I looked. For several years the main topic of my conversation was my skin, either apologising for how awful it looked, blaming it for holding me back or seeking a cure to make it disappear. I know I keep mentioning my children and husband, it’s because I believe they saved me, their love provided the impetus I needed to change my beliefs, challenge my perception of my identity and see myself as more than just bad skin. I now know I’m beautiful, it’s taken years of hard work, introspection, anger, tears, daring myself to move beyond my self imposed boundaries and most importantly to not care about what people thought about me and how I looked. Beauty to me is represented in the strength of a person’s character, how she interacts with herself and her peers. It’s in the confidence she develops when facing life’s tests and challenges. Beauty is her willingness to step beyond her comfort zone, it’s being of service to others. I believe beauty is when a woman celebrates herself, wherever she is, whatever she looks like, whatever she has achieved.

In her own words

My greatest achievement is creating a loving, whole family, who genuinely love each other. I love aesthetically pleasing things: art, clothes, objects and believe that creative expression is a saviour to negativity and boredom. I’m a contradiction, an optimist who sometimes sees the darker side of life

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What impact did it have on you for setting up your business? Once I got off the sofa and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I got out into the world. I had new qualifications behind me. I worked for two years voluntarily at the West Indian Cultural Centre in London, then later set up a coaching practice, ironically working with women who had confidence and self-esteem issues. I did that for several years, but there was still a little underlying fear of meeting new people, so most of my clients were referrals. I never thought I would pick up a camera, but once again the caveat of showing my children not telling arose and I realised that I was being incongruent encouraging them to follow their dreams. I attended photographic art nude classes and instantaneously fell in love. I had come full circle. I knew that I wanted to pursue my dream again.

Why boudoir and glamourous portrait photography? Because women love to look and feel beautiful and having something tangible like a stunning wall portrait is a way of showing her that she is gorgeous. Remember showing works better than telling. It is a confidence, life affirming boost of her femininity, a celebration of who she is. Where I am

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in my life is reflected in my work. It’s about loving yourself as you are. I love what I do.

How has your illness affected your attitude towards beauty? I’d say my work is focused on having a woman realise her beauty is in her character first, her looks second. Generally we associate beauty with flawless skin, youth, shape and size, but if you have a horrible personality no matter how good looking you are you’ll always seem ugly. I think we have been successfully fed a terrific lie. It is that real beauty exists far off in the distance; to be attained, slimmed into, sucked out of, injected, filled, and consumed. Then we’ll always believe that the next lotion, potion or concoction will deliver us what we think we don’t already have. Look into the eyes of your children when they tell you they love you, that’s beauty. Remember when your friend goes out of her way to help you because she cares, beauty exists there. When your man kisses you tenderly and says he’s so blessed to have you in his life, to me that’s beautiful. It is everywhere: in art, words, music, people, food, we often just fail to notice it.

but holds onto the ideal that people are essentially good.

thoughts, they don’t serve you and you can change them.

My mission is to have women wake up to their power and beauty, because it exists now. So my three tips to achieve a healthy body image are:-

3. This one will be a stretch for many women, but it has helped me. Stand naked in front of a full length mirror, study your body, stand your ground, you will feel like running. Genuinely acknowledge and accept that your body has carried you through your life to where you are now. Thank it, it’s the only one you’ll ever have.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s a waste of your energy. 2. Don’t believe your negative


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Business

Getting to the Root of Business Since launching ROOT2TiP in 2011 with a loan from the Princes Trust in 2011, Sal Baxter has been providing natural hair solutions to the everyday issues people face with their hair. The business supplies 100% Natural Hair growth oils for alopecia and dry scalp issues (a black woman’s nemesis!)

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n addition to running her business she is a formulator, hairducation expert and published writer and more recently is hosting the first natural haircare event in Milan, Italy Going natural is not simply about having the “big chop” but understanding what is going to work for you during the transition stage. No matter what texture type of hair you have Sal believes there are three key steps you need to take when you have stopped the relaxer and want to transition back to your natural state.

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Accept the change - mentally. It’s a big step when you no longer relax your hair and the largest part of that change needs to happen in the mind- your hair will be different! Accept that.

2

Learn how to detangle without combs: Your new hair texture does not marry well with relaxed hair, take your time and detangle with a product like our Honey-rain Juice, it releases knots and matted strands like no other product. Take your time and use your fingers only to avoid breakage.

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If you do not want to Big Chop (cut off the relaxed hair straight-away) embrace a healthy protective style so your hair grows out, you can then trim away the relaxed hair gradually as you get used to the new hair and the length. Invest in an Afro wig to get used to the new look!

It’s interesting to note that when designing your hair maintenance routine don’t forget that you have to really take care of your natural hair during the winter season. Sal offers the following advice to maintain hydration, avoid shedding and breakage:Our hair needs thermal protection just like our bodies in the cold season so I have created the “sandwich moisture” method. This consists of a layering method of moisturising your hair which is a fool-proof way to keep hair very healthy in the cold snap. Start taking steps to prevent breakage in the hair by maintaining internal and external moisture and protein. Internally it’s important to make sure that we drink enough water and eat regular protein sources and externally do the same. Hydrate your hair and do a protein deep treatment 1-2 times a month. 22

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Pay attention to your scalp FIRST- it should not be an afterthought! Oil it regularly with our scalp oils. Sal recommends the Grow-it-long serum and the ROOT Energizer which nourish the hair whilst stimulating growth at the follicle root level. During the transition journey it’s important to listen to your hair, it tells you what it wants. “It does not matter if you have fine hair, thick hair soft or coarse hair, you will need to ensure you give your hair the right balance of all three elements to have the hair you desire” says Sal. “Oil, water and protein are vital and the type of products you might use or how much of it is the only thing that varies.” For more information visit: www.root2tip.com


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Business

Loc'sing for Business Success Wealth

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Angela Small is the founder and director of Conscious Vibes E-Magazine, a groundbreaking magazine raising the profile of sophisticated dreadlocs, natural hair, career & business and a natural lifestyle. Angela recently elevated the profile of natural hair by hosting a spectacular natural hair and lifestyle expo in London in April 2014.

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s well as being the editor at Large of Conscious Vibes, Angela is currently self-employed working as an Image Consultant and a Therapist, specialising in addiction, troubled families, survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. She finds that her one to one work and the running of the magazine gives her an even balance in life. “Having spent the past fifteen years working with people whose personality, identity has been crushed I see the birth of Conscious Vibes as a platform to empower and initiate change” says Angela. “The wearing of natural hair and locs comes with negative connotations so the birth of the expo and the magazine offers a totally different spin, showing that it’s all about the state of mind and how we choose to be in the here and now. Angela is a true believer that our body and face is a mask, and true beauty comes from within. She empowers her clients and readers to change the mask by looking within and embracing their true self.

What are the motivators for women returning to natural hair? Many women are returning to natural hair for a variety of reasons, one, it’s not healthy to keep applying relaxers on the hair. If you look at the ingredients in relaxers, one of them is sodium hydroxide, a chemical found in bleach and other household cleaning supplies; if you scratch your scalp before treatment you can wind up with second or third degree burns. I personally chose to stop relaxing my hair, mainly because I used to play netball as an adult for approximately 10 years. Unfortunately, I perspired a lot in my hair, so by the end of the game the back of my hair would be soaking wet. The relaxer 24

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and the water from my hair then started fighting over the years. I tried to take some control back, by blow-drying it and adding a variety of different oils to it to maintain that smooth look. However, the harder I tried the more my hair started to break. Not until I got a bald patch at the back of my hair did I wake up and stop relaxing my hair. The next stage of my hair evolution was the wearing of weaves and wigs. But with the weave, (about 12 years ago) you still had to relax the front of your hair, so that your hair line blended in with the weave. This weakend my hairline and in addition, the sewing and pulling on my natural hair added tension to the roots and led to breakage and extreme dryness. As for the wigs, again playing netball, my hair got wetter and wetter under the wig. At times I felt like dashing it off and throwing it to the side. Going natural was and is the best solution for me. A lot of women, state “they can go swimming without worrying about their hair” and “its lighter of the purse string”s.

Advice to women looking to take on the natural look To maintain natural hair takes time and patience, but it’s time well spent with yourself. Get to know your hair type, form a relationship with your tresses; experiment with different products to find out what works for you. Conscious Vibes magazine offers you advice on hair maintenance and useful products for the different hair types.

Most interesting trends in natural hair at the moment? As women are cutting out the relaxers (the big chop) and opting for a natural look they're now starting to rock a Teeny


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Weenie Afro, which is now known as a TWA. Some men refer to a TWA as a really sexy hairstyle because women are not hiding behind their hair. My male cousin stated "there, is something really appealing about not having all of that hair covering the face, it brings out all of the natural beauty". There are lots of different ways that women rock their TWA: they can colour it, accessorize it with a flower, create 360 waves by gelling and tying it down with a durag, implementing a part on one side, or comb and finger coil it daily. The wearing of locs has changed significantly, over the past 20 years, before we used to have, what was known as Rastafarian Locs or "Dreadlocs". First, I would like to say that the term 'dread' needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary because the word ‘dread’ is associated fear. There is nothing to fear about us so let’s just use the word locs. So yes, we have the original Rastafarian locs which many men and women still wear, but mainly covered by a hat or scarf for religious reasons. However, there is a steady increase of women locsing their hair and going to what's now known as locticians and getting their hair retwisted at the roots then styled. I fit into this category, and people will refer to us as fashion or groomed locs wearers. In addition, we have a new emerging locs style mainly referred to as micro locs, this is the locking of smaller strands of hair, looking very fine, and sometimes not detectable as locs for those not really in tune with the diversity of natural hair. People who have micro locs, generally wear it loose and it takes on average about 3 days to start the process. This form of locking is often referred to as Sister Locs, but only locticians certified under the Sister Locs trademark can provide Sister Locs.

Do you feel the debate about women who choose natural over relaxed hair take the moral high ground and judge women who buy weaves and straighten their hair and cause greater division? No, I do not believe that women with natural hair take the moral high ground. I think that there is a combination of women with natural hair and those 26

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Why are you doing that to yourself don't you know that it's going to impact on your career? with processed hair that tend to make unhelpful judgements, about each other. This only creates another division within our culture. I am aware that some of us (natural hair wearers) view people with processed hair as having an identity crisis, the long silky look is not how most of us were born. Therefore we may question the motives behind this growing trend. However, from working on the magazine and carrying out workshops on hair, I am increasingly being presented with other reasons that women may choose to wear processed hair, alopecia or hair loss related illnesses can impact on women's decisions to wear their hair this way. Nevertheless, these women are a minority in regards to the majority of women who choose to wear process hair. I remembered when I first started to locs my hair about 12 years ago, my friends and family members still rocking their processed hair, would call me and give me a little talking to. They would question “why are you doing that to yourself don't you know that it's going to impact on your career”? “People are going to look at you differently”. I was also told “your hair would smell” and “people associate locs with tramps”! If I wasn't a strong person and determined to follow my mind, I would be living their life. I personally don't believe that black peoples hair is meant to be combed, because, the only time our hair really grows beyond a certain length is when we leave it alone. It might be locsed, under weave or wig, whatever the hair choice, when left untouched it grows. My partner had a very simple way to describe the uniqueness of our hair. If you were to line up a Caucasian person, Asian person and an African person, then put a blindfold on, touched everybody's hair; the most individual hair type would be the African persons, in its natural state. As its texture is distinctively different to the other races.

What impact does wearing natural hair

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have on women in the workplace?

Having completed research in the beginning of 2013 on this same subject, two of the key points that came out of the findings was

1

Natural hair is more acceptable

2

Those working in the corporate

in the voluntary and public sector as we (natural hair wearers) represent the client group, therefore we tick the box in regards to equal opportunities and diversity, as well as being able to engage the clients/public. However, there is a glass ceiling as to how far one can go within organisations with natural hair, middle management seems to be the consensus. world for example politics and banking would not consider making the shift from fear of being passed over for promotion, or being physically moved to an area in the in the company which does not impact on the public seeing them. Having left the public sector and now working for myself, I am beginning to wonder if the business sector is replicating the corporate world in regards to image? When I look on the Internet, business owners banners and advertisements aimed at attracting women into businesses, I am pleasantly surprised to see how diverse the adverts are in regards to race. Sadly, none of the images of the black women represent me. They either have relaxed hair, wearing a weave or a wig. I feel people need to be more conscious of the subliminal images that are being sent out in regards to business. A lot of women are leaving the corporate world and starting their own business and choosing a natural hair lifestyle with the new freedom of running their own empire. The natural hair movement is on the rise and the debate will most definitely continue, I estimate that within five years, 30% of women with processed hair will be rocking their natural hair. February 2015

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History&Economics

Naturalnomics:

The Journey of Education and Enterprise to Empowerment

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he politics of black hair is so deep and meaningful that this short article won’t do it justice – but in a nutshell – the way a black woman wears her hair is making a ‘statement’ to the world – (whether she likes it or not).

Socialisation

In this Eurocentric world, we are bombarded (consciously and subconsciously) with images of straight, white ‘silky’ hair being the ‘norm’ and the preference. To step out of line with this ‘preference’ makes you stand out. Beyonces sister (Solange) had massive coverage – just because she took her weave off and when Naomi Campbell wore an afro wig on the Graham Norton show, it was front page news! The move towards more ‘natural’ hairstyles often comes about through 28

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"

“Going natural” is such a momentous decision, it can even warrant an ‘announcement’ on facebook! Black hair isn’t like any other ‘type’ of hair. Any other group of women on the planet would just quietly let their hair grow out and carry on. But with afro-Caribbean hair – it’s different. It warrants a special mention. But why?

Seeing our hair as something to be “fixed” has enabled a multi-billion dollar industry to flourish.

PHOTO: Glenford Nunez

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either hair loss (we’ve seen Naomi’s bad alopecia) or just eventually many women get sick and tired of the constant ‘battle’ with their hair (that was Solanges reason on the Oprah show) – she just wanted to ‘be herself’. What Lupita has shown us (in 2014 voted most beautiful person in the world by Peoples magazine) is that to ‘be yourself’ and to step into your own beauty is the way forward.

The internet has been an amazing resource for black women who can (probably for the first time in their lives) access good hair care tips in places like www.BlackHairInformation.com or the Long Hair forum. Having relaxed my own hair for over 20 years, two years ago - I stopped and during this time I’ve had to research and learn how to manage my own hair.

There’s different ‘hair types’ (mine fits into the type 4b-4c). I’ve learned to give it plenty of water (something I used to avoid before), put oil on the ends and to give it a treatment every 6-8 weeks. I’ve seen hair growth results that I’ve never seen in my life! Black hair isn’t ‘difficult’ but comparing ‘type 1’ (straight) hair with ‘type 4’ (curly) hair is the problem. Seeing our hair as something to be “fixed” has enabled a multi-billion dollar industry to flourish enriching other groups (Koreans and Asians). But, it’s changing as black women start to realise that their own God-given hair is good enough. As more of us change our mind set and stop hiding our hair and start ‘going natural’ and announcing it proudly we’ll see a huge difference to our self-esteem and to our finances!


3 Things We Can Learn About Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them” ~Madam C.J Walker

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alker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, inventor and businesswoman was born Sarah Breedlove to former slave parents in Louisiana in 1867. Sarah became the first American woman to find success and self-made millions by creating a business specialising in African-American hair products in 1906. After becoming an orphan at just seven years old, Sarah met and married her first husband at age fourteen and was widowed at twenty with a small daughter. Life was tough but Sarah refused to accept what life threw at her and found work as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a day, she used the money to send her daughter to school and attend night school herself. It was around this time that Sarah met her second husband Charles .J. Walker, an advertiser, who later helped promote her business.

Lisa Newton is an awardwinning entrepreneur and an Ambassador for Enterprising Women. She holds an MSc in Investment Management and a first class honours degree in Accounting with Marketing. She is the Finance Director and sits on the board for various UK companies in a range of industries - including events management, software, property, accountancy, hair and beauty and energy. Lisa speaks at events and holds workshops and master classes. Lisa manages www. BlackHairDoesGrow.com – a site dedicated to putting good hair products (for black hair) into the hands of savvy consumers whilst leveling the playing field so that home-based entrepreneurs are given the platform and opportunity to showcase their products. In her spare time Lisa enjoys salsa dancing, travelling, learning and speaking languages (Spanish and French), writing and cosmic ordering.

In the 1890’s Sarah had developed a scalp ailment and started losing her hair, leading her to experiment and combine homemade and store bought products, she eventually found a solution and her hair started to grow back. On the back of this, and after changing her name to Madam C.J Walker, Sarah began to advertise and sell her products and give demonstrations on their use. In 1908 Sarah opened a factory and beauty school and continued to travel the country educating and inspiring women to buy and sell haircare products, giving them the chance to become successful too. Sarah died fairly young at just 51 years old from hypertension in 1919. At this time she was the sole owner of her hair care business valued at over $1 million, she left this to her daughter along with various charities. There are many lessons to be learnt from a woman who, against all odds grabbed life with both hands and refused to let go, seizing opportunities opening doors and inspiring female entrepreneurs in a male dominated era. Find your niche & don’t let your past hold you back “I am not ashamed of my past, I am not

ashamed of my humble beginnings” ~ Madam C.J Walker Sarah found a solution to a problem she herself encountered, and used it to help many women at a time where hair products were not readily available or known. She built on this to educate and help those same women begin to sell hair products too, creating independence and an income of their own, regardless of their background. Work hard “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard” ~ Madam C.J Walker The only person whom Madam C.J Walker owed her success to was herself, she experimented, created, educated and sold her business tirelessly. When she hit $10 dollars a day, Sarah’s husband told her this was sufficient and she should stop, she refused and continued to grow her venture and create more employment for the women of her race. Persevere “Perseverance is my motto” ~ Madam C.J Walker Despite her tough start in life and all of the odds stacked against her as a female entrepreneur in the 1800’s, Madam C.J Walker persevered and never gave up helping herself, her business and the other women who wanted to make it too. February 2015

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History&Economics

When Fashion and Faith Collide:

The True Price of Beauty for Indian Brazilian Women

&

T

he £65 million hair business is booming. Wigs, hair extensions, weaves and all manner of “artificial” hair are bought, applied and used by women as a necessity rather than luxury every

single day, but do these women ever stop to consider where this readymade hair actually comes from? Many women opt for real, virgin hair over synthetic as this can be heat styled, straightened, curled, washed, coloured, cut and treated just the same as their own hair, on the flip side, the exploitation of the women and girls who supply this hair is a hefty price to pay for an easy, readymade mane.

The dark price of beauty

The journey of this hair from a temple in India to a high end salon in London, is an unethical one. A sacred Indian tradition has been manipulated as hair becomes ever increasingly popular, resulting in a fashion and faith collision. Thousands of Indian women and children line the streets to offer up their hair to god, in the hope their prayers will be answered. Women and confused, crying children as young as two years 30

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old have their heads unceremoniously shaved, one after another, with no idea where their hair will end up, in a process called tonsuring. In the poorest parts of India, children are tricked into having their head shaved in exchange for toys or food and more devastatingly, women have been forcibly pinned down while their hair is stolen. From here the hair is sold to a dealer where more Indian women will

wash it and sort it in to lengths, before it is shipped further west. The hair is sold on, gathering value and changing hands to another factory where the hair is stripped of its natural pigment and coloured again; to better match the hair of the people who buy it. The hair is again sorted in to lengths, with the longer more valuable hair being sold for up to £2000 pounds per head, A shocking reality considering the


women who supplied it were not paid a penny. The women of Brazil do not sacrifice their hair to god as the Indian population do, but the fundamental act of exploitation is the same. The manipulation of women who offer their hair as a thing of beauty that the women of the West take for granted, is often supplied by poverty stricken women who cannot afford to eat,

in exchange for a ridiculously small payment. Hair is the only valuable asset they have. Brazilian women, by their very culture, treasure their hair and wear it as a badge of femininity meaning demand is far higher than supply from this country. It costs the consumer a lot of money to buy what they think is virgin Brazilian hair, when in fact it is often Indian hair, softened and packaged differently and carrying bigger price tag.

Hair extensions have been highly publicised, glorified in the media and worn by celebrities as standard for a few years now and hairpieces have been worn by women in the afro Caribbean communities for over three decades. Lines are blurred, its hard to see the real faces behind the shiny bright salon lights and some women don’t know or care where their hair comes from. But the fact remains the same. The real price of “beauty� is truly shocking. February 2015

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History&Economics

Bringing Back the Regal to Politics Aptly described as sassy and bold by the Evening standard, Dawn Butler former MP for Brent South, political consultant, broadcaster, motivational speaker and self-proclaimed “modern chick” was born in Forest Gate to Jamaican Immigrant parents. Boasting an impressive CV Dawn has made her mark on London and beyond over the last 20 years, becoming only the third black woman to be elected as an MP after Diana Abbot and Oona King. Dawn also made history as the first black female MP to become a Government Minister and therefore the first black woman to speak from the dispatch box in the House of Commons.

D

escribing herself as “the voice of youth” Dawn is well able to back her claim after serving as minister for young citizens youth engagement and brings a powerful perspective to the role of honorary vice president of the British Youth Council.

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Dawn is a passionate campaigner for young people and among her many elegant speeches runs a recurring theme; young people should not be labelled. In 2009 Dawn launched Bernie’s list, an initiative to assist in the election of black and Asian individuals, shortly followed by extensive work for the

youth parliament and the youth capital/ opportunity funds in Brent South. In November 2007 our very own queen of Brent South took part in the ultimate career highlight as she was chosen to second the queens speech, succeeding in captivating listeners as well as the


"

I am going to go back to politics and one of my aims is to be the first black politician with locs! February 2015

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Dawn on the set of hugely successful chat show

members of parliament and showing herself to be warm, witty, down to earth and instantly recognisable with her red tint and tales of a bright orange power suit. Dawn won Female MP of the Year at the Women in Public Life Awards and continues to promote herself as an advocate for national race and equality. So, what’s next for this funny, warm hearted, inspirational woman with the red hair? Read on as we discuss life, locs and loyalism with the lady herself....

What have you been up to since leaving frontline politics? I spent almost a year looking after my sick father. Every day at hospital highlighted to me just how important our National Health Service (NHS) is. It was sad to witness the deterioration in parts of the service due to Government cuts. 34

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But on a positive side, I have been designing and delivering learning and development courses for businesses and organisations. And of course I've been visiting and talking to young people in schools. That is still one of my favourite things to do.

Lessons learnt? Oh there are so many lessons learnt. I suppose one of the main lessons was the understanding on my part that I cannot do everything and I should accept the help offered by others. I think my quest for perfection makes me a bit of a control freak. There have been so many people who have helped me on this journey back to frontline politics. It has not been an easy road to travel but I am grateful for all the help and warm words. I have to remember there are lifelong lessons. Recently, I met a lady who reminded me of one of my sayings at a

training course, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail!” Now what I need is the votes!

New Look, New You, New What? New..... erm.... whats new? Good question, new determination! I know what it means to be down and almost out and I know the strength it takes to get back up and fight your corner and fight for what you believe in.

Why is (feminism and) natural hair seen as such a complex and politicised act? It is about impressions. Some people say you can only succeed in a white dominated world if you imitate the “flowing hair” and look. The thing is this, you have to have a high level of emotional intelligence. I believe that the love of self and the confidence and


approach in attitude will elevate a person (irrespective of their hair style). I have had natural hair for probably over 20 years but with my busy lifestyle it was always easier to have extensions. Now my hair is completely natural and I love it! It is one of the best things I have done. It is actually so liberating. In terms of feminism, this means different things to different people. My first reaction for people who think it is bad is for people to just get over it! Feminism to me is about equality, it's about the rights of women to have their say and have it heard. I still attend meetings where I make a suggestion and it is ignored and then a man makes the same statement, the room responds “what a good idea.� It is one of the most annoying things to happen. As what do you say, oh I said that first? I now normally say

something like, thank you John for reiterating my point and in addition.....

As a role model, what do you feel your image says to the world? Role model, thank you, I'm honoured. I suppose my image says that I am not afraid to be who I am, I am a Christian, I have natural locs and I am comfortable in my own skin. If you don't accept and love who you are, how can you expect others to do the same? So what next for Dawn‌ She is firmly looking forward to returning to frontline politics after being chosen by the Brent Central branch of the Labour Party to stand as their candidate for the planned general election in 2015.

Source: brackenworld.blogspot.com

February 2015

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History&Economics

& fro

Natural Rise

of the

B

elieve it or not, the afro is not a new fashion fad but has been around forever. Affectionately known as the “fro” it has formed an integral part of Black culture. The natural afro was around from ancient Egypt; throughout the distressing slavery years when wearers were stripped of their identity and used braids to hide their crowning glory.

1960s-70s But, this important part of Black heritage was too big to be stifled and in the late 1960’s the afro” slammed back in to existence with a bang as a growing number of determined “naturals” fought to reclaim their lost identity “fro” m the mainstream. Most famously, when Blacks in the West began to politically mobilise and vocalise their oppression, this famously led to the formation of the Black Power Movement in the 1970’s. The humble ““fro” was used as a statement of pride and power; the prouder the naturals, the bigger the afro. Malcolm X famously referred to blacks straightening their hair as "a step towards self-degradation." Despite the many mixed emotions often surrounding it, this hairstyle has always been iconic, especially during this era where the style reflected the cultural pulse of the African-American community. This did have a knock on affect across the globe. 36

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" Revolution "

The

Although the style was rejected by many of the elder community, the “fro” was a firm favourite in celebrity culture and its ever increasing popularity and the power of the times meant that it connected with the masses. Perhaps the most well-known and famous era of the “fro” to most is the rise of Angela Davis as the original poster political activist. She was one of the leading female members of the Black Panther Party and wore her “fro” with pride (to the fury of J Edgar Hoover) to emphasise the freedom of expression that “black is beautiful!”

It was not only on the political front that the “fro” was having a massive impact. In the music industry leading Motown groups and stars such as Jimi Hendrix, the Supremes, Diana Ross and the Jackson 5 continued to promote natural hair. But who could ever forget Pam Grier’s bad ass hairdo in the hugely popular Blaxploitation movies; where her hairstyle commanded just as much focus as the addictive Jackie Brown exploits.

1980s We’ve all been there with the Jeri Curl

(remember those stained pillowcases) so the 1980’s was not the best decade for the “fro” as the Curl reigned supreme. Not only that, with innovation Black women were able to move away from the temporary results of the “hot comb” designed by Madam C J Walker to the convenient hair straightener application (which could be applied at home and the results lasted longer) to the wider availability of weaves and braids for the masses. Conservative blacks who were never keen on the popular “fro” were reverting back to the perm and wigs but it took a few die hard naturals who refused to lose

the afro, that kept the style as a focus of political identity; linguistic and cultural engagement.

1990s All hail the “fro”.

The afro was on the rise again in the


1990’s and popular mainstream artists such as Spice girl Mel B and Whitney Houston led the way and embraced this much loved natural hairstyle although, there was some controversy surrounding the years to come. Black women have been bombarded with messages from the media that says that their natural hair is not acceptable in professional corporate and business environments. But with greater awareness and education the concept that European beauty is the benchmark for beauty is finally eroding and losing its stronghold on the Black woman’s perception of her beauty, identity and self-esteem. Yes, large numbers of Black women and young girls continue to chemically alter their hair whether to achieve a Westernised standard of “beauty” or for ease of maintenance the “fro” is more

than just a fashion statement. Thankfully, better education around hair maintenance means that Black women no longer see their hair as a problem because the suppliers and manufactures sure don’t. In the USA alone, the industry is worth up to fifteen billion dollars per year with black women making up thirty per cent of the annual spend according to market research company Mintel.

2000s By the turn of the millennium and over

the last decade or so, this famous “do” has been grabbed with wild abandon and turned to once again in the most beautiful and uninhibited way. Spotted all over the red carpet; accepted and admired by the advocates of standard Western beauty; looked on with envy by women of the straight hair persuasion and made gorgeous by

the women who refuse to tame their luscious locks. Millions of natural hair beauties look up to celebrities all over the red carpet and the music scene like chameleon Rhianna with her fiery red “fro”; Solange Knowles with her refusal to obey anyone else’s standards and the original queen of the afro India Arie. Thankfully, it’s not just the music industry that is leading the way. Fashion Weeks and catwalks all over the world are rejoicing in the explosion of something new, edgy and liberating as women, famous or not hold on to their roots and laugh back in the face of conformity. Finally after years of controversy, scrutiny and strong opinions, there is only one conclusion for this well-known hairstyle. The afro is here to stay!

February 2015

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And Still I Rise…….. The Politicatisation of Natural Hair by Bro. Andrew Muhammad

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ManTalk

O

nce upon a time all over the planet the Ancients carved their gods as having thick lips and curly hair and they built institutions that defined their reality. They appreciated the delicate relationship between their bodies and the body of Mother Earth. So pure and sacred are the thoughts of our Mother, the Earth, that her hair (plants) grows long and fragrant. The sweet grasses around the world represent the Earth’s hair. The hair is the physical manifestation of our thoughts and the extension of us. Hair is culture, power and tradition; it links us to our people and heritage. We as Africans have been fastidious about our hair since before recorded time. Some of the oldest inscriptions on the walls of Kemet (Egypt), Sudan, Cush and Nubia are covered with the adornments of our beautiful hair. We have been combing, weaving, braiding and perfuming our hair not just for fashion but also for spiritual rituals. The ancient gods were identified based on the various hairstyles and combs used. The hair was seen as the crown of human thought and expression.

"

The hair is the physical manifestation of our thoughts and the extension of us.

"

Hair was such a fundamental part of African everyday living that whole rituals of family life were based around hair care. Not anyone was allowed to touch and comb your hair; it was believed that if a person was as an enemy by touching your hair they could pass negative energy into your mind and heart via your scalp. Hence during slavery it was recorded that once the so-called African slaves were captured it was standard procedure to shave the head. This was seen as a necessary act in breaking the African spirit. Their descendants were then taught that natural nappy or curly hair was bad ‘nigga’ hair and something to be ashamed of. During the early 60’s and 70’s with the rise of Black Consciousness in the Western Diaspora, we saw the simultaneous reemergence and rise of the Afro and dreadlocks. The hair manifested a political change of mind and awareness. We connected our thoughts back to a more natural existence and time. With the assassination of our political and spiritual leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bob Marley, Fred Hampton and many others this movement was laid to rest. It seemed as if the political revolution was over and with that the raw natural hair effect moved into a new paradigm. January 2015

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Style

&

Bold, Bald

Beautilicious!!

In business I get to meet some of the most interesting and dynamic women both in a weave and natural, so when writing this column I thought who could I write about who has embraced their natural, authentic self and walked their journey with true integrity. Why none than my super bold, bald and beautilicious BFF!

I

remember meeting Dionne when I first set up my network when she was a marketing manager for a leading newspaper. Just starting out all I had was enthusiasm and a passion to make my business work but I needed to spread the word. From the first day we met (she had a teeny weeny afro then) to today I am proud to say that this woman has supported me on this amazing journey of entrepreneurship. Over 15 years later, when we talk and I am feeling flat she reminds me to be happy (or more often shames me into remembering how fortunate I am) and be grateful. I have watched her use her talents to produce some of the most creative and organised events in the industry and when she said she was becoming a coach; It made perfect sense. This woman is a natural enabler and one innovative thought leader. There is no doubt that she is bringing huge transformations in the lives of people she is working with in her business. Keep spreading your super bold, bald and beautilicious natural light!

Spotlight I think one of the first things people think when they meet me is, ‘Wow, she’s got no hair!!’ Second thought is, ‘She looks so feminine’. Which is often the opposite of what people think that woman with so little hair would look like! Although my hairstyle actually came about by accident I wouldn’t change it for the world. For years my hairstyles were getting shorter and shorter, but it was when one of the medications I was taking (low dose Chemotherapy, which I was taking to treat my Rheumatoid 40

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Arthritis) caused my, then blond hair, to fall out in patches. Blond hair with black scalp showing through was not a good look, so I went straight to the hairdressers to cut it off, down to the scalp. I liked it so much that for nearly nine years I’ve kept the look! So, how does it feel living in a world that is seemingly obsessed with hair? I understand it’s not for everyone, but for me I love the freedom of it; I don’t own a brush or comb, every day I literally just wash and go and have my husband cut my hair every two weeks. What’s not to love!

Don’t get me wrong, when I was in my teens I did have the wild weave (think Tina Turner) or the plaits halfway down my back, the Silk Nails and the thick drawn in eyebrows, hard to imagine now. I remember the level (and cost) of maintaining that look. As the years passed I just got more comfortable and confident being ME, not having hair, or perfectly manicured nails (all the time), the eyelashes, and all the other things people often use to hide behind. So, I know that I am not my hair, I’m just ME. Bold, Bald and Beautilicious!!


Keep spreading your super bold, bald and beautilicious natural light!

"

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Style

Step Up Stand Out Shine

&

Since Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks made public their battles with alopecia in recent years, resulting from a lifetime worth of twisting, pulling, braiding and weaving, in the name of fashion, things are gradually changing. In recent year’s natural hair has taken the catwalk by its short and curlies, paving the way for the new generation of beauties to embrace their natural hair and take the fashion world by storm.

R

ecently the natural hair buzz has made an incredible impact on the beauty industry and beyond as women everywhere fight off the restraints that previously bound them in a blur of chemicals and coiffuring. Not just limited to black women, natural hair on the catwalk has taken off across the board. A fashion many

more “normal” women can relate to and achieve on a day to day basis. Beautiful models rocking natural hair increasingly started to appear on the catwalks around 2012 and look like they are here to stay. Here are some of the best looks to take you from autumn to winter 2014 and on in to the New Year.

The Mohawk

Think short, edgy and Rhianna-esque. This effortlessly cool hairstyle can be achieved, even with naturally curly hair. Team with denim, T-shirts and chunky boots for a slightly rock chic look and a style that will take you beyond 2015.

Wonderful and Wild

An easy look to replicate, the focus of this look is natural boho chic with natural flowing hair and curls. Reminiscent of a sixties beat, show off your natural hair with big lashes and minimal make up just like Julia Sarr Jamois, and don’t forget the colourful accessories.

The Buzz

A more uniform style, this looks shows off a short and sexy natural buzz cut which screams powerful women. Pair with a warm and cosy red military coat, a dog tooth scarf, chunky accessories and spiky heeled boots for a perfect Winter look; a la Grace Bo.

Elegant

Great for a Christmas party or two, find a simple but dramatic long statement dress in a bold colour; Look for Lupita Nyong’o images at the Golden globe Awards! Pull your hair back in to a rough chignon or bun, this hairstyle does not need to be too sleek or smooth to look beautiful and well put together.

Photo: siliconvikings.org

W 42

hatever your style, don’t be scared to proudly show off your natural hair, whatever the length. If you have the confidence, you will turn heads.

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As the gorgeous black upcoming models on the catwalk this year show, you don’t have to follow the crowd to look breath-taking.


Style

Free At Last!!!!! Constantly feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day to spend all your time at the hairdressers? Are you tired of having dry, chemically treated brittle hair? By Liselle Lovell

N

ow ladies there is no need to be apprehensive about leaving relaxers alone. The grass is truly greener on the other side and going natural is no longer seen as a chore. There is no need to wait at hairdressers for hours to have simply flawless hair for an occasion. You can rock an afro like the iconic Foxy Brown, Indie Arie and Jill Scott. Firstly we must not forget to achieve healthy hair it is important to have a balanced diet, regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, satisfying work and good relationships. Here are the top three reasons to go natural.

Stronger Hair

Yes you can have stronger and longer hair if you go natural. Rapid hair growth does rely on genetics, diet and environment but don't despair. Afro hair is 100% stronger in its natural state compared to chemically treated hair. The most important thing is to be patient as stressing over it can hinder the growth process.

L

iselle is a freelance writer who has over five years’ experience writing and editing for online and print media. She has a BA Hons in Media and Communications. Her expertise’s are Health, Beauty, Fashion and Entertainment. A consistently dependable team player, who thrives in a high-pressure environment, enjoys the challenges of meeting deadlines, and is comfortable researching, writing and editing on a wide range of topics using social media.

Less Expense

Relaxing hair can make you feel as if you need to apply for a Wonga bank loan. The cost of products and treatments all add up. Having natural hair and investing in good quality products can really save you money. The beauty about having natural hair is that you can achieve the results you want by doing it on your own at home. There are so many literature and social media such as You Tube educating women on how to look after their hair.

Travelling

If you decide to travel around the world in 80 days there will be no need to worry about sustaining your silky relaxed locks. No more checking the mirror to see how much new growth has grown. Those days are gone when you decide to go natural. There are many versatile protective hairstyles such as braids, bantu knots, twists, wash& go with ease while you travel. So really there is no excuse. At first it can be a daunting process to go natural but once you make that decision you will have no regrets. Embrace your natural beauty because you are worth it!!!!!

www.polishedandcurled.com

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Style

Sherry Dixon Talks

Ageless Beauty at any Age!

T

here was a time when hitting 60 was a time to pull out the twin set and polyester flannels and start learning how to play bridge. But with the likes of Vanessa Williams, Oprah and Tina Turner continuing to push boundaries and break taboos about how we define retirement many of us are looking forward to our golden years with greater excitement and passion. Let’s Talk speaks to PR guru; makeup artist extraordinaire and empowerment coach Sherry Dixon to find out what it takes to achieve ageless beauty whilst juggling a busy career and family commitments.

Roots with a photoshoot about Locs and he told me to come to him and get my hair twisted. After twisting for a while the back became locs and I had to make a decision to comb it or keep it and I knew it was the right thing to do. It grew so long, almost to my bottom, and I was so proud of them. I walked through the most prestigious doors with those locks and nobody could say a thing. I wanted to show other black women that YOU define you. Roll forward 10 years and the locks became so heavy. I was now turning 60 and felt it was time to take them off. I was starting to feel like mutton dressed up as lamb if I let them down. A celebrity hairdresser from Atlanta called Derek Jae (from Housewives of Atlanta series) cut them for me and coloured my hair a soft brown. I cried when they came off. I suppose those locs were like one of my children – they carried me through good and indifferent times. But now I love the bald head look – it makes me feel younger.

Hi Sherry, you have had quite an acclaimed career in the beauty and fashion industry. Can you share some of your career highlights with our readers?

I seriously love fashion and when I was Editor I had to commission the fashion stories. Now I get a chance to wear the clothes that designers are making me. I am a

Oh it has to be meeting and interviewing the greats like Nelson Mandela, Dr. Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vanzant, Pam Grier, Nia Long, Jasmine Guy, Luther Vandross and Barry White. I never in my lifetime would have envisaged that I would be sitting in a room, chatting and laughing with these people. Also going to Downing Street to meet Tony Blair and Cherie Blair and lately speaking in the House of Lords for the African Diaspora. I have seen two of the wonders of the world and when I get too old to rush around from meeting to meeting, venue to venue I will have these wonderful memories to reflect on and smile! And may I say it all started with Beauty. Moving from PR to being a Beauty Expert has taken me through these doors. The point here being that we must never say never. We must use what we have to get to where we want to go. Interviewing a few people about beauty tips, doing makeup for Luther Vandross for an album cover gave me the interview with him which was circulated around the world. Never say never.

What made you switch from sistalocs to bald?

First I must say that I never intended to locs up at the age of 50. I had cut off my hair because it was breaking badly in the middle and at the temples. I think that was due to the stress of work. I went to the Barbers and took it all off to a level 1. Shortly thereafter I was helping Morris 44

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Your fashion style has been evolving of late can you explain this new transition.


"

Both my Aunty Shirley and Grandmother Irene believed that if you believe that you are “somebody special� that you will be that.

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Style size 16 and know what I like and what I want. It took years to get that right and to be honest I have never been afraid of showing off my bosom. I have been blessed with them so why not. But most of all I like to celebrate the African and Caribbean designers whom many people are not aware of albeit they are donning the catwalks in the UK, USA, France and Africa. These designers get me, they get my shape and design for my curves and they know that I celebrate colour!!!!

I know genes plays a big part in beauty, but what “must do” tips would you share to ensure that we take care of our skin? Cleanse, tone and moisturize. Those three things are the basic. Then once a week, perhaps on a Sunday, use a mask to extract excess oil or impregnate the skin with moisture. Every single person should use a cleanser – I don’t understand when people say “oh I just use water! Would you wash your dirt dishes with just water? How do you get the dirt and grime off of your face? If you are unsure of what products to buy, go safe and get products for sensitive skin. And even if you don’t understand what your skin type is, testing can help.

After cleansing, leave your skin without moisture for a few minutes. If your skin screams for moisture, then it’s either

dry or dehydrated. If its shiny then it’s oily and if one area is shiny and the rest dry, then its combination skin. So a clay type mask gets rid of excess oil and a moisture mask impregnates the skin with moisture. It’s like taking a vitamin booster. Even though we eat well, there are certain vitamins missing from our basic diet, so we got to top up. That’s what a mask is about and I truly recommend using one. Finally, drink lots of water to hydrate the body in and out. It’s as simple as that.

What lessons did you learn from your mother about looking after yourself?

My grandmother really taught me the lessons in life until I was 11 years old and then my Aunty Shirley. My mother died when I was very young so she did not have much of an influence. Both my Aunty Shirley and Grandmother Irene believed that if you believe that you are “somebody special” that you will be that. They both believed that a woman’s grace is in how she carries herself and how she speaks and eats says a lot about her nature. So I was taught these things at a very young age. My grandmother was always beautifying herself and I remember watching her putting on her Ponds Cream and adding lipstick before we 46

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went to the market. She was a seamstress and could knock up a dress in a heartbeat so I was always dressed to impress. And the same can be said when I came to England at 10 yrs old to live with Aunty Shirley. She was a fashion and beauty guru so I learnt about body creams, perfumes and layering of fragrances from her. She took me to the hairdressers from a very young age and I was there at the launch of Splinters, the very first black hairdressers in the West End (London). So beauty and fashion has always been in my family, albeit they were academics and studying was also paramount.

As you age gracefully who inspires you and why?

Three women - Pam Grier, Tina Turner and Oprah. I love that these women are confident with their beauty and where they are at in life. They have spoken about their flaws and issues and I have met two out of three of them. They are humble yet confident and assertive. I believe I am in the place now. I know what I like, what I want to do, say what I mean and mean what I say and most of all I do what I really want to do. I jumped out of a hot air balloon at 50yrs; walked over the Bridge in Victoria Falls at 54; rode on the back of motorbike at 56yrs but most of all I have travelled most of the world. It’s about claiming and doing what makes you feel happy at whatever age you are.

How important is a positive mental attitude and outlook to our beauty routine?

It’s like brushing your teeth. You just have to do it and not make it an ad hoc experience. Occasionally we all slip up after a hard partying night and will go to bed with makeup but on a daily basis that must never be the case. I listen to Hay House Radio when I am in the bathroom because they share positive affirmations. Giving myself that personal time is important to get grounded because I am always multi-tasking and really don’t have much ME time. So my beauty regime and listening to positive messages are all part of impregnating back the goodness at the end of the day.

Beauty brands you live by?

I like it when makeup brands collaborate with celebrities. One of the reasons is because such collections usually have products and colours that are different to what the brand holds regularly, and the other reason is these collections have really amazing limited edition packaging. Being a serial makeup hoarder, I love

About Sherry Sherry Dixon is previous Editor of Pride and SHE Caribbean magazines. Currently a multi award winning Motivational Speaker specialising in confidence building. She has travelled the world with her workshops and aspiring talks. Sherry is also CEO of the motivational website (www.womenonthecrossroads.com). Connect @sherryadixon to add limited edition products to my already big hoard. I can’t name a particular brand because I am someone who is quite experimenting when it comes to makeup products. But when it comes to skincare, I have my guard up. If I buy it, the product has to have natural ingredients and from a reputable brand, has to have great

reviews. But recently I have been using natural products like African Black soap to cleanse and coconut oil for moisturizing and its working.

Getting older means…..

Accepting that I am who I am; that I have a free bus pass and I love being at peace with myself. February 2015

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Fashion

Trend

Alert 6 Reasons Why the African Fashion Industry is Making Fashionista’s Stand Up and Take Notice. African inspired fashion is not new concept. Western designer brands have used African textiles, colours and prints for a long time in an effort to make their collections stand out. An explosion of colour, bold prints and tribal jewellery was seen on the catwalk recently at London Fashion Week in preparation for Spring/Summer 2015, while avid fashionista’s everywhere eagerly await the next big thing to hit the shops. 48

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Source: www.designboom.com

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lsewhere, there is a new fashion explosion going on. A growing generation of up and coming African fashion designers have been slowly paving their way on to the scene using a mixture of global fashion shows, celebrity exposure and social media to showcase their designs to the world. True African designs have quickly become the attire to be seen in and mainstream celebrities are wholeheartedly embracing the African version of couture . After decades of well known designers dominating the fashion scene and using African inspired themes to get noticed, the African economy has been steadily


Serge Mouangue

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ringing together the highly desirable WAFRICA designs which mix traditional Japanese Kimonos with African prints. Serge, who was born

growing with the industry undergoing significant developments in recent years. African natives have begun to put their mark on the fashion world, building their empire and gaining a big following and a larger web presence. New and diverse trends are being created and gaining momentum in the fashion and showbiz worlds. From London Fashion Week to the catwalks of New York and Paris, colourful, bright and beautiful African

in Africa was hit with inspiration after going to live in Japan. The designs are a breath of fresh air in the fashion world and surprisingly pleasing to the eye.

fashions have taken the runway by storm, making fashionista’s all over the world stand up and take notice of what’s on offer. In the city of Lagos, Africa’s so called “Big Apple” film and fashion industries are thriving.

have all been spotted modelling and supporting African fashion pieces. As well as the more established African designers, there are some new designers clambering their way up the ranks at breakneck speed.

There is a new buzz happening in celebrity circles as stars such as Beyonce and Solange Knowles, Kourtney Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari, Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Genevieve Nnaji and Shingai Shoniwa

Listen up Fashionista’s and take a look at these African fashion designers for inspiration and the latest designs to see you through the next season. Along with some old favourites are some up and coming designers to keep a close eye on. February 2015

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Fashion

Duro Olowu

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uro is a seasoned designer having been around since 2004 and is known within the industry as “The father of everything prints”. Duro combines vintage prints, sharp cuts and bright colours and has attracted high profile customers such as the first lady Michelle Obama and actress Uma Thurman.

Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel by Lisa)

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ith Lisa Folawiyo at the helm, Jewel by Lisa is a firm celebrity favourite in the fashion world. Lisa showcased her ornate embellished traditional Ankara (West African) fabrics on runways all over the world and continues to shine with her range of unique accessories and her tailored but feminine fit.

Source: www.vibevixen.com

Fashionista’s; T

o stay bang on trend come Spring/Summer 2015 don’t forget to get your hands on the latest bold, colourful prints and tribal accessories to brighten up your summer and give a subtle nod to African fashion.

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Source: www.vogue.co.uk


Mataano

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win sisters Ayaan and Idyl created fashion label Mataano (which means twins in Somalian) to provide multicultural fashion to women all over the world. The lines they create are ready to wear elegance and comfort. The ultimate queen of daytime TV Oprah Winfrey invited the twins on her show via skype as part of a show called “Young millionaire moguls” attracting the media’s attention and throwing the twins in to the lime light.

Source: silknoise.com

Folake Folarin-Coker (Tiffany Amber) Folake Folarin-Coker was born in Lagos and is described as “Revolutionising the Nigerian fashion industry” a description she fully lives up to. Folake was the first African based fashion designer to showcase her work at New York fashion week for two consecutive seasons. Tiffany Amber Mixes timeless feminine fashion with luxurious African fabrics for the modern African woman.

Source: Mahlet Afework in own design

Mahlet Afework (MAFI) Ethopian born Mahlet Afework started her career at 16 as a singer and model, she founded her fashion label MAFI at 18 years old and her latest collection is described as streetwise, edgy and sassy. Mahlets designs are down to earth and include ready to wear urban sportswear for “real women”. February 2015

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Fashion

UK Fashion Redefined

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outh London based Gisella Couture has been serving celebrities and locals alike for over two decades. Run by mother and daughter, these vibrant, handmade, couture pieces have graced catwalks, red carpets and magazine spreads around the world with their distinctive cuts and elegant fabrics. Without a doubt, you will be turning heads in these outfits.

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Fashion

Celebrating

Style with

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LACE

he London Africa Cultural Event (LACE) took London by storm where it was showcasing emerging African inspired designers and artists. London provides a global platform for raising awareness and promoting brands for designers who need more exposure once they leave the workshop. Embrace these globetrotting styles from Africa, USA and UK.

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Natural Hollywood - Black Women on the Big Screen With more black female actresses rocking the natural look on the red carpet than ever before, has Hollywood finally embraced natural beauty or is it too little too late? 56

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★ ★

Celebrity

Viola Davis


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ith award winning films like the help bursting on to the big screen recently, it is hard to decipher whether these type of films are an accurate portrayal of the era and past reality they represent, or whether black women are cast in to these roles because of the ignorant opinions still held today. A feeling that many in the black community have is that black actresses seem to be held back and stuck with parts that promote a “stereotypical” view, of their race, such as loud, unattractive, ghetto like diva’s, although it is plainly obvious that this does happen, the reality can also be quite different when stars such as Viola Davis, the gorgeous Aissa Maiga and the wonderfully natural Teyonah Parris, proudly walk in to award shows displaying beautiful, timeless natural hair, right after acting out killer roles. Any actress is required to have her look completely transformed if the role demands it and every actress deserves a shot at playing a character, regardless of the colour of her skin or the naturalness of her hair. Sadly, not everyone has the same opinion, as a small percentage of narrow minded individuals try to voice their beliefs that straight hair is better, and for a long time, black women who dared to bare their natural look were perceived as servants or larger than life mother figures in the majority of films.

One look at the stars mentioned above blows this theory firmly out of the water and proves that natural black actresses can

Teyonah Parris "Black actresses seem to be held back and stuck with parts that promote a “stereotypical” view, of their race"

smash a role on par with their white counterparts. Whoopi Goldberg, among others, is one of the most famous black actresses, comediennes and talk show hosts of her time, having sported a variety of natural hairstyles over the years and refusing to conform to the Hollywood film industry standard.

Aissa Maiga

Typing “natural black actresses” in to Google images and looking at the results proves that although the film industry still has some way to go in changing the attitude towards black women on the big screen, things are changing and improving all the time, that these women are there, and black women who are proud of their natural beauty and hair are finally getting a chance to shine at last. It is a tragedy that as women become more liberated, they are simultaneously held back and constrained by the limits of what Hollywood portrays and what people perceive as beauty today. February 2015

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Celebrity

Solange Knowles

Why Is The New Spokeswoman For Natural Hair? Solange Knowles, Singer, model, fashionista and younger sister of Beyonce burst on to the scene in 2001 after several attempts over the years to emulate her older sisters success. Since then she appears to be the new spokeswoman advocating natural hair, but is she a willing face of the natural hair movement? Why did she give up wearing weaves? And after her recent spat with Jay Z in a hotel lift, is she a credible role model? 58

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"I'm actually really trying to navigate my feelings on the entire hair issue and its tough doing that publicly," ~ Solange Knowles

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"

mpulsively cutting off all of her hair in 2009 and highlighting a natural look, transformed Solange and catapulted her out of the identikit celebrity culture and in to a league of her own. If the speculation that Solange gave up wearing a weave in the effort to distance herself from being compared to Beyonce are true, then it worked, and she began to create and shape her own unique identity on the celebrity circuit. This, and her role as spokeswoman for the black beauty company Carol’s daughter, prompted black women everywhere to elect Solange as their new role model, a role Solange vehemently fought against, as shown in her recent Twitter rant where she states she “has never painted herself as a team natural vice president” among other things and adding that she “dont want to talk about no damn hair.....no mo” Shortly after, Solange terminated her involvement with Carol’s daughter. It could be argued that due to her sometimes fiery personality when it comes to matters of the hair, and the silent footage which emerged of Solange arguing and trying to attack her brother in law Jay- Z (who remained passive), in a Hotel lift while Beyonce looked on, that Solange should not be cast in the role that millions of young women model themselves on and look up to. An argument Solange herself would possibly agree with as shown in her seemingly strong opinions on women not following the crowd, just being themselves and following their own path in life - And she is right. If anything about Solange is going to be glorified, followed, passed on or talked about it should be the fact that she is her own woman who does her own thing in her own time and wears her hair the way she wants. Something we could all learn from.

I'm actually really trying to navigate my feelings on the entire hair issue.

"

"I was constantly fighting for the right message to be heard. The message that the way we wear our hair is a personal choice, there's no right or wrong way." ~ Solange Knowles

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Celebrity

Why Chris Rock Sucked With (His movie) “Good Hair” According to Chris Rock, he decided to front a documentary style film, exploring and following black women on their quest to gain “good hair”; after his small daughter asked him; “Daddy, Why don’t I have good hair?”

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n an industry and time where many people’s lives and every move are captured and televised for entertainment purposes, Chris has come under fire for publicising something not everyone wants to talk about. This movie was more of a revelation and mild entertainment for some white people who never knew about or understood “black hair”, violently veering to an outrage to the black women who feel they have been made a laughing stock. With tongue firmly placed in cheek, Chris visits salons in New York and even India to gain more knowledge about where the hair is sourced, what products are used, such as the so called creamy crack, and find out why women strive for a different look , asking himself questions like “Do black women spend countless hours and hundreds of dollars in hair salons to make their hair straighter and silkier because they want to look white? Chris seemed to have his mind made up throughout the movie but the answer to this question is a resounding No. There are many ways in which Chris Rock could have explored the issue of the hair industry more thoroughly, including;

Being realistic & respecting serious issues

Although Chris’ natural funny bone shines through in this movie, parts of the film like his visit to India where women

sacrifice their hair so it can be sold in the west without even knowing why, could have been taken more seriously. With the right attitude, this film could have sensitively highlighted the serious issues hiding behind the hair market.

Addressing and exploring the natural hair route

Chris does raise a few ideas within the movie, but does not fully investigate why women use hair relaxers, weaves and extensions. The title of the movie is good hair, but the fact that in reality, for every woman who sports a relaxer, there is another one who rocks her perfectly gorgeous natural hair, is nowhere to be seen. There was a complete lack of balance in the film, almost suggesting that every black woman goes out of her way to alter her hair beyond recognition.

Concluding that women of all races and ethnicities change their hair

90 percent of the film is focused on the way women in the black community change their hair and how much money they spend on it. In fact, millions of pounds each year are spent by women, of all races cutting, colouring, relaxing or having weaves put in to their hair. Black women are just as diverse and varied as every other woman. Everything considered, and as funny as Chris is, he could have done better, exploring and focusing on the real issues at hand. 60

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Celebrity

The Leading Women of Nollywood When we think blockbuster actresses, you could probably name a number of women off the top of your head if someone asked; Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore and Charlize Theron to name a few but, if you look past the Hollywood hall of fame and head on in to the glamorous world of Nollywood there are some seriously sexy, successful ladies rising to the top. Here is a run-down of the big, bold and beautiful leading women of Nollywood.

Stella Jamasus

Patience Ozokwor

Rita Dominic

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tella Jamasus, actress and opera singer was born in Nigeria in 1977 and studied Theatre Arts at the University of Lagos. Stella has appeared in over 50 movies since her dĂŠbut film Abused in 1992. Despite a rocky personal life Stella continues to shine like a true star and was nominated for best leading actress at the African Academy Awards in 2009.

atience Ozokwor was born in Nigeria in 1958 and is otherwise affectionately known as Mother Africa to those in the movie industry, due to her motherly acting roles to many prominent actors in Nollywood. Although she was already being recognised, Patience shot to fame with the movie Authority in 1998 and has since graced many movie sets with her big personality and presence.

ita was born in Nigeria in 1975 and left the University of Port Harcourt in 1999 with a BA (Honours) Degree in Theatre Arts. Rita has played roles in over 100 Nollywood productions and went on to win best actress in a leading role at the Africa Academy Awards in 2012. Born in Nigeria, Rita is a member of the Royal Waturuuocha family of Aboh Mbaise. February 2015

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Celebrity

Kate Henshaw

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ominating brains as well as beauty Kate Henshaw is one of the most popular Nollywood actresses, having made over 50 films she is known for her elegance and grace both on and off the big screen. Kate, who was born in 1971 was not always destined to be an actress and studied Medical Laboratory science, proceeding to work at the Bauch State General Hospital. In 1993, Kate kicked off her career after auditioning for a part in When the Sun Sets and in 2008 won the African Movie Academy award for her role in Stronger than Pain.

Ini Edu

Genevieve Nnaji

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he youngest on our list of stars, Ini began her acting career in 2000 and has appeared in more than 50 movies over the last 15 years. As well as her acting success Ini is well known for her charity work and was appointed as the United Nations Habitat Youth Envoy, also making a name for herself as a judge for the Miss Black Africa UK Pageant in 2013.

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enevieve was born in 1979 and is a Nigerian singer and actress. She appeared on television as a child in the popular soap opera called Ripples, she starred in her first film Most Wanted in 1998 aged 19 and won the African movie Academy award in 2005 for best actress in a leading role, going on to play over 80 film roles. Genevieve was blessed with the honour of becoming a member of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2011, for her contribution to Nollywood by the Nigerian government.


Joke Silva Jacobs

Chioma Chukwuka

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ne half of a famous Nollywood couple, Joke Silva was born in Lagos in 1961 and eventually moved to England and studied drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Joke Silva has appeared in numerous television series and films since and is married to Nollywood actor Olu Jacobs. Joke Silva received best actress for a leading role at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2006 and best supporting actress in 2008.

hioma was born in 1980 in Nigeria. She attended the Lagos State University and studied banking and finance. Her acting career began with her participation in the movie The Handkerchief in the year 2000 and has since had a role in over 80 Nollywood movies. In 2007 Chioma received Best Actress in a lead role at the African Movie Academy awards for her part in Sins of the Flesh.

Omotola Jalade

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ost popular actress on the list, Omotola Jalade, actress, singer, former model and philanthropist was born in 1978. After making her dÊbut in Nollywood in 1995 Omotala has since appeared in more than 300 films, sold millions of copies and launched a music career. Omotala has been applauded for her humanitarian efforts and was mentioned in Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. Among Omotala’s impressive achievements are a number of high profile awards.

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Beauty

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Should Women Spend More Money Than They Can Afford on

“Beautiful” Hair? The argument that Black women spend money they can barely afford in the effort to become “beautiful” in a westernised society, is widely reported across the internet, articles and blogs. It is apparent (like women from every ethnic background) that black women spend thousands to achieve “good hair”.

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lobally, the Black hair care market is valued at $684 million (£427 million), estimated to rise to approximately $760 million (£475 million) by 2017. Though representing somewhat of a niche market, behind these figures is a huge demand for ethnic products to suit the unique hair and beauty needs of this minority, particularly in the UK. So, what is good hair? Why do black women want it? And are they really overspending to try and fit in with a shallow perception of what beauty really is? The subjects at hand are almost guaranteed to cultivate controversy in a world with so many mixed opinions and emphasis placed on appearance. First off, a lot of women all over the world from all races, religions and statuses do spend a lot of money for appearances sake. It can also be stated with confidence that very few women, regardless of their hair type are actually happy with the natural hair they were born with. From Kim Kardashian, Britany Spears, J-LO, Cheryl Cole and Mel B the desire for all things false is not only the domain of Black women. Let’s keep it real, the buck doesn’t stop at hair though, many women dislike their body shape, skin colour, eye colour, shoe size and pretty much anything else you can think of. Let’s not even go into the drama surrounding butt implants. However, the sad truth is, however confident a women appears to the outside world, she will always be in awe of someone else who is smarter, more beautiful, with a better body, bust size, nose, chin, hair, etc...etc. But, in today’s ever disposable culture, why should she be happy with what she has? February 2015

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Beauty

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...Because changing your appearance doesn’t change the person within. In the 70’s and 80’s women mostly used wigs, hair extensions, make up and glamorous clothes for performances, movies and the stage. Think Bette Wright, Aretha Franklin and Jackie Brown. If a woman used a wig or hairpiece she more often than not passed it off as her own. The world has changed and society has gradually become more accepting of the diverse. If you want to wear a purple wig one day and blonde extensions the next, people rarely bat an eyelid. Take a look at women like Lil Kim, Nikki Minaji and Beyonce - chameleon celebrities look different every week, striving to stand out from the crowd in their industry. So why is it, in this world full of acceptance for all things different are black women still labelled with trying to fit in to a so called ethnic beauty hierarchy? Or, maybe it’s just perceived that way.

still judged for it. Many people classify “good hair” as straighter and lighter than natural African-American hair and some see the process of altering hair in this way as a woman turning her back on her race in an effort to look white but, millions of black women proudly show off their natural curls and kinky hair because they love it. Does this mean the former is less committed to her own culture? It shouldn’t. In an ideal world, every human being would love themselves and others for the person they are, regardless of hair, skin colour, race, looks or body shape but alas, life is just not like that. Respect the fact that people change their appearance for their own reasons and because they

Changing your appearance doesn’t change the person within

"

Come on now. Does every black woman who straightens her hair or wear a weave want to be white? Does every white woman who perms her thin, straight hair want to be black? Is any woman who chooses to wear a sari (because she loves the beautiful colours and textures) accused of wanting to be Indian? Let’s keep it real. We live in a world where cultures, diversity and harmony is actively encouraged, advocated and fought hard for every single day, so why are black women still living under the scrutiny of being judged for who they want to be and how they want to look? Keep it real Sista. Hair is a multibillion dollar industry and relies on women feeling dissatisfied with their image and conforming to the messages and myths of the advertising professionals that beauty comes from spending thousands of dollars to look and feel different if you want to feel beautiful, successful and validated. It is every woman’s individual choice to look how she wants to look, spending as much of her own money as she likes to do it and don’t feel sad that she is

can. Black women in particular are often judged and accused of spending money and time wanting to appear “white” but it’s just not true. A February 2015

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The bottom line is ladies, that if you want straight hair or a bright pink weave with orange spots, you love your natural curves or you want to blow all your hard earned cash on a wig for every day of the week; do it because you want to do it. So let’s hear from the girls. “Good hair” is what you want it to be. Women let’s stick together, blow out the haters and encourage and enjoy the self-esteem of other women around us instead of criticizing them for what they do or don’t do. If we stick to this mantra, then maybe every woman would be just that little bit more confident and stay true to themselves without hiding behind the lie of “Good Hair!”

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"

woman is not scrutinised for spending too much money on clothes or make-up, or bringing a different coloured handbag to work every day, so, in a time where changing your hair, weave or wig is as easy as changing your handbag there is no reason why she should be berated for doing the same with her hair.

In an ideal world, every human being would love themselves and others for the person they are

"


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Beauty

Beware the Price of Commercial Beauty We are under more pressure than ever before to look our best at all times. It seems as if we are becoming trapped under a facade of blush, eyeliner, lipstick and mascara. Not only can we start to feel as if we are mere caricatures of ourselves, but there are a number of chemicals in most modern forms of makeup that can actually cause very real damage to us over time. Of course, the manufacturers themselves will hardly make this common knowledge. So, let's take a look at some of the hidden monsters that lurk within 21st century beauty.

Parabens

This word is hardly recognised by most of us and yet parabens are used in countless products; facial cleansers and beauty creams being two of the most common. While parabens are said to possess preservative properties, they are also found to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Artificial Colours

Of course, what good would clear lipstick, blush or mascara do? Unfortunately, synthetic colours are a massive skin irritant, they are carcinogenic (known to cause some forms of cancer) and they have even been linked to ADHD in children. If you note the phrases “FD&C” or “D&C” within the ingredients, your product contains these substances.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This can be found in many types of mascara, blush and lipstick. It has been known for some time that SLS irritates the skin and the eyes, but the real concern is the possibility for it to combine with other chemicals and form a carcinogenic compound. Furthermore, sodium lauryl sulfate has been linked to respiratory and even kidney damage.

Formaldehyde

Are you surprised to know that you may be placing a component of embalming fluid on your face every morning? As odd as this sounds, it is likely true. Formaldehyde is a preservative that is known to increase the shelf life of some beauty products while preventing bacterial growth. It is also carcinogenic and linked to several form of cancers. It is commonly found in many facial products and more specifically, in eye shadow.

Propylene Glycol

If you read the back of nearly any beauty product, propylene glycol will likely be spotted. It is classified as a “skin conditioning agent”. Ironically, this substance is also extremely irritating to some and may even lead to a breakout in hives in those who are sensitive. These conditions can occur even if there is less than 2% of the substance found.

Petrolatum

Even the name sounds a bit frightening. Petrolatum can be found in lipstick and while it is intended to provide a barrier against moisture, it is also known to cause cancer. Substances within petrolatum can also cause lip irritation as well as allergies.

Of course, it is nearly impossible to avoid all of these chemicals. Still, it is as equally beneficial to read the back of the ingredients carefully. Simply because these substances may occur at the bottom of the list does not necessarily mean that they cannot present a significant risk. Knowing which ones to avoid is essential in maintain your health; both inside and out.

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Confessions of a Jamaican Black Castor Oil Addict

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amaican Black Castor oil has been all the rage for the past few years, but unlike other products, it seems that JBCO is here to stay; relaxed or natural, manes thrive off it. Many people turn to this 'miracle oil' to aid in hair growth but few are actually aware of the reason why. Jamaican Black Castor oil originates from the sunny tropical island where they roast the beans for much longer than traditional clear castor oil which creates ash. The ash created from this process

tends to be more alkaline (higher) in pH. This higher pH helps to clarify the scalp and remove anything that may be clogging the pores which will then open the cuticles. This is the reason many report an increase in thickness of the hair.

also acts as a humectant, so it attracts and locks moisture into the hair shaft. As it is a purely natural oil it is also safe to use on eyebrows and eyelashes to thicken their volume.

In turn this increases the blood flow to the scalp supplying nutrition to the hair follicles from the vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids properties in the oil.

Don’t forget, castor oil used as part of a regime can put your hair back on the path to healthy hair. The oil is a fertiliser so should preferably be used on the scalp although some use as a sealent to retain moisture.

Some users will experience itching and what appears like dandruff, but this is just the result of rapid cell turnover. It

To learn more about Jamaican Black Castor oil and other natural products visit www.manedivas.co.uk


Beauty

Cocoa Butter, Head Wraps & Fame; Why India Arie Is Still Not Her Hair

"

India. Arie has again hit the headlines in her attempt to stick up for someone

"

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India.Arie, queen of the soothing song Cocoa Butter and her trademark head wraps, brought out another song back in 2006 which inspired many black women to be themselves in a time when natural hair was still a fiercely controversial subject; The song is called “I am not my hair� and in a time when weaves and hair extensions ruled, put matters of the hair, compared to real life issues, firmly in perspective. Sending out a message of acceptance and self confidence to the women caught up in the politics of the good/bad hair debate.


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f India.Arie should be labelled with anything, it is her determination to be herself and not conform to what others expect, highlighted by her song lyrics where she details her battles with her hair demons from age of thirteen, until she finally gained the confidence to shove two fingers up at the “bad hair” brigade, a battle perhaps many women can identify with. Known for seeing the good in women and helping them realise their beauty from the inside, fast forward to 2014 and India.Arie has again hit the headlines in her attempt to stick up for someone caught up in the natural hair debate. A two year old little girl by the name of Blue Ivy. Yes. A child. Blue Ivy, daughter of the king and queen of RnB, Beyonce and Jay Z has recently been thrust further in to the limelight because of her natural hair. Beyonce, a lover of relaxed hair herself, has come under fire for choosing to let her daughters hair grow the very way nature intended. Legions of fans and otherwise have responded in a mixture of ways, but the most common feeling is, how can a child or her parents be berated for the way her natural hair looks?

Denying ANY PERSON their humanity, is a GAME we should ALL stop playing. WHY? Because it’s the kind of PERSON YOU WANT TO BE. Why NOT be a person who is loving towards human kind as a whole AND people as individuals? WHY NOT be a person protects the hearts of children? I think! all these people making negative comments would feel the SAME WAY if Blue Ivy’s hair were TOO DONE. If she had a relaxer, of Hair pulled too tight at the edges. Being gentle with a child’s hair is simply appropriate – this goes the same for ALL children. Come ya’ll Lol We ARE better than this” Once again, India.Arie has managed to shrug off the human obsession with looks and speak the words from a thousand hearts.

India.Arie obviously felt exactly the same way as shown in her open letter after she learnt that people were signing a petition to shame Beyonce into chemically altering her small daughters hair.

India wrote; “My thoughts on (Blue Ivy’s) Hair Why does ANYone get the idea that its ok to make fun of a child? In public no less? This celebrity culture that hypnotizes people into thinking a person is LITERALLY NOT REAL because you see them on television is a spell the watcher HIM or HER SELF MUST BREAK. Blue Ivy — is a CHILD. and ANYONE thinking to themselves right now: “But she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth so what does it matter what I say”

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Beauty

The Power of Cocoa Butter What comes to mind when you hear the term “cocoa butter”? You may think of a tasty treat to be found on a tropical island or a decadent slice of chocolate. In fact, cocoa butter may be the single and most powerful substance to give your skin that healthy glow which will dazzle women and act as an aphrodisiac to men. So, why has this seemingly magical compound featured so prominently in modern times? Are its effects only a myth or can you expect to experience some truly magical improvements when using this proverbial nectar of the gods? Let's take a closer look.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants have been proven to prevent or slow down every condition from aging to cancer. Basically, our skin is constantly bombarded with substances which are known as free radicals. In simplest terms, these radicals can cause cells to either die or mutate. Free radicals are actually one of the primary causes of skin cancer in countless women throughout the world. Cocoa butter contains a wide variety of antioxidants. As these can be directly absorbed through your skin, think of cocoa butter as a “force field” against the damaging rays of the sun and the chemicals that abound in your everyday life. Youth is indeed more than skin deep!

Stretch Marks? No Worries!

Cocoa butter is also known to help drastically reduce the presence of stretch marks. This is due to its ability to add

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moisture (and thus flexibility) to the skin. So, pregnant women have been using this tried-and-true remedy for centuries. In fact, most common anti-stretch mark creams are likely to contain substantial amounts of cocoa butter within their list of other ingredients.

Common Irritants

It has been observed that cocoa butter is excellent at reducing the frequency and impact of common skin conditions. These can include dry skin, psoriasis and eczema. Of course, this is due to the chemical properties contained within as well as the previously mentioned antioxidants. Thankfully, very few will have any allergic reaction to cocoa butter. So, you can rest assured in the fact that if you are particularly sensitive to other creams, it is likely that cocoa butter may very well be your saving grace.

Instinct Alone

One of the lesser-known facts is that cocoa butter is said to attract members of the opposite sex. This is likely caused by a healthier skin that will emit natural hormones known. So, you can even say that cocoa butter is slightly more effective than even the most expensive of perfumes! As science advances, we are becoming aware of even more of the benefits that nature's skin elixir can offer. In its purest form, cocoa butter is cheap to purchase and can be found at numerous health food stores, beauty centres and even in supaermarkets. These are a handful of the reasons why countless women are opting to use cocoa butter as a viable and healthy replacement to many of the chemical options which have saturated the marketplace in recent times.


Beauty

I Am More Than My Hair Marilyn Devonish is blazing a career in the personal development sector having avoided a false start in accountancy. But when it comes to style matters, she describes her style as practical, no nonsense, let’s not mess about, consider the options and then make a decision and give it a go kind of girl.

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he decision to have locs came after many years of thought and deliberation. The catalyst came when I got ill and as a result of that illness went bald. At that point I had nothing to lose so I made the decision not to worry about the perception and go for it. After all, I had nothing to lose because the ability to comb, tong, and curl my hair had already been taken away. I also however recognised the potential permanency of the situation, yet, as with many things in life, if I realised further down that line that it was not for me, it was always possible to literally cut my losses (well in this case locs) and move on. At the time I made the decision I was not thinking in terms of hair politics. There might have been some self-esteem issues in amongst it all however that was more related to the stigma of losing my hair and the embarrassment over having to do ‘comb over’s’ in my late 20’s rather than choosing locs as a way to increase my self-esteem or black pride. I simply wanted a bit of hair and I knew that the hair I had wasn’t strong enough to support a weave, and I didn’t want to resort to wearing a wig. The fear of a gust of wind blowing the thing off my head and all that! Nowadays my hair is kind of a statement, particularly when people realise that it is real and not extensions. I have to be very honest and say that I did not set out to blaze a trail for natural hair, but after I had mine done a relative who is a lawyer now sports the same hairstyle and that was really going against the grain considering that they spend a fair bit of time in the Caribbean. People stop me in shops and restaurants to pay a compliment, to ask if it’s my real hair, and touch my hair, and I am more than delighted to be able to demystify some of the stereotypes and taboos which surround locs. I often laugh and say that I should do a little speaking tour because people of all races including black, always have lots of questions about my hair and how I grow it and maintain it. I am more than my hair because I know that although it was hard losing my hair in the beginning, I survived without it. I realised that much as I identified with and fussed over my hair before I went bald, that it was not my identity. If it were, like Sampson, I would have perished. I love my hair, all three feet of it, and I also know that who I am as a human being remains

intact regardless; and that took a dose of personal development which is the reason why I am now such a big fan of it. For further information about Marilyn’s work visit: www.tranceformationstm.com

Day Job: Corporate Trainer, Management Consultant, and Prince2 Project Manager. She is also a Certified Trainer of NLP, Time Line Therapy, and Hypnosis. A Certified PhotoReading Instructor, Soul Plan Reader, and Life and Executive Coach. Side Job: Freelance Magazine Writer, Keynote Speaker, and Workshop Facilitator February 2015

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Beauty

Alopecia Straight Talk It was reported at the autopsy of Micheal Jackson that he had lost all his hair and the likes of Serena Williams and Alexandra Burke are all reported to have suffered from alopecia in the past. But more recently, the international press have been keeping a relentless eye on the extensively receded hairline and bald patch (around the front of the beautiful head) of supermodel Naomi Campbell.

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lopecia is a medical term that signifies hair loss somewhere on the body. While society generally associates this condition with men, women can also suffer from this condition. In fact, it is estimated that in regards to the total amount of individuals with this condition, up to forty per cent are female. While the types can vary, the most common form is what is known as androgenetic alopecia. This is another term for female pattern baldness. While this is a rather accepted trait in regards to men, there is a certain stigma attached with women sufferers. While some may view alopecia in women as nothing more than a “skin-deep” condition, the truth of the matter is that alopecia can cause a great deal of stress and shame. In turn, this could actually lead to physically negative effects brought on by such stress.

Who it Affects Androgenetic alopecia can affect women of all ages, although there are certain risk factors that appear to increase the likelihood of it developing over time. One type is called alopecia areata and this is signified by patches of hair suddenly falling out. This is thought to be caused by an autoimmune response and in most cases, the hair will regrow in a matter of months. However, female pattern baldness has been associated with a few difficult lifestyle events such as: • Giving birth • Hypertension (high blood pressure) • Stress 76

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• A recent traumatic event such as a death or divorce • Diabetes • A lack of exercise and those who are overweight.

A Case Study Judy was a successful working mother. She had recently taken charge of her own entrepreneurial company and found that she was at the office more than home. Her diet suffered and she

was not receiving an adequate amount of sleep. This occurred alongside a recently messy separation “fro” m her husband of seventeen years. Soon after the separation was finalised, she noticed that after she showered, a large number of hairs were found in the drain. When she combed, she likewise observed that her hair seemed to be falling out in clumps. The hair that remained was thinner and it became damaged more easily. Upon closer examination, she noted


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While thinning hair can be frustrating, remember this will not change the essence of who you are.

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other causes could be excessive use of glue, insects in the hair and poor sterilization processes. The relaxing processes can also lead to central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia which is a form of pattern baldness that begins at the crown of the head. There is no getting away from the fact that if you are wearing anything artificial – weaves, extensions or braids then it’s going to cause damage over time.

that her scalp on the crown of her head was much more visible than in the past. She went to her general practitioner and in turn, he recommended that she see an alopecia specialist. After suggesting several lifestyle changes such as enrolling in a local fitness programme and reducing her levels of perceived stress, he prescribed topical cortizone injections near the site of hair loss. When this failed to work, she began shampooing with a chemical known as finasteride (commonly known as Minoxidil). Due to the fact that she caught this condition early enough and actively sought out treatment, the overall loss was limited and after a year, much of the hair that had fallen out had regrown. Other women are not so lucky. With the unprecedented rise of women “fro” m across the world wearing extensions and weaves, there has been a rise in reports of traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is the term used to describe damage caused by excessive pulling on the natural hair follicle by the weight of the weave attached to it. Black hair typically has a tighter curl pattern which makes it more fragile than other ethnic groups. It is prone to breakage due to the wear and tear of the cuticle layers. Naomi Campbell is probably one of the most high profile sufferers of this disease but it seems unlikely that she did not follow a maintenance routine; 78

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As our case study showed, there are other factors at play including androgentic alopecia (hereditary hair loss); Low Ferritin (iron storage) and Vitamin D deficiency; telogen effluvium (IUDs and birth control medication cause a hormonal imbalance); auto-immune conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal cystitis, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, and lupus; medication; trichorrhexis Nodosa which is the over processing of the hair due to hair colour, relaxers, perms, highlights. But it’s not all doom, here are some strategies to avoid alopecia. One of the best ways to help prevent alopecia is to only use natural shampoos and conditioners. Likewise, hair dryers can further damage already brittle hair; minimise their use whenever possible. Natural shampoos should instead be used and those

which contain biotin and silica have been shown to strengthen existing follicles. Try not to rub the hair too harshly when drying it and unless absolutely necessary, hair dyeing should not be practiced (chemicals within synthetic dyes can also harm the roots). As we have seen earlier, lifestyle habits are thought to directly impact the instances of alopecia in women. Perhaps more importantly, avoid becoming too stressed whenever possible. While this is easier said than done, it is instead better to find coping mechanism such as exercise, meditation or yoga. Finally, do not wait and assume that the alopecia will suddenly reverse itself. Although this can occur under some circumstances, putting off a consultation can lead to further hair loss that will be more difficult to treat. Finally, never forget that hair loss is extremely common in women. While thinning hair can be frustrating, remember this will not change the essence of who you are. Don’t fall into the trap that beauty is only judged on what they look like on the outside. Recognise that those who are important in your life will love you for who you are as opposed to your hairstyle. Above all, remember that you are never alone in your struggles with alopecia and with a bit of insight, you can beat alopecia before it has the chance to beat you!


Health

Laughing Your Way to Greater Health and Vitality with Donna Spence

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good sense of humour and a positive attitude are two of the best medicines when life throws us that occasional “curve ball� or two. In this sense, I am talking about belly-quaking and rib-splitting laughter that feels as if you entire body has just come alive. You feel warm all over and as we all know that laughter is an attractive quality, you may very well attract that perceptive brother sitting not very far away. We sit down and talk to UK Comedian Donna Spence on the undeniable importance of laughter and how to laugh your way to greater health and vitality How important is an optimistic outlook in regards to your health? I believe that if you treat your body right, it will thank you by looking after your health. I have never wanted to be skinny, but I love being healthy. Let's think about this in another way. If you don't take care to look after your car, one day it will simply break down (often at the worst possible moment). The same is absolutely true for our bodies. We are aware that too much fruit and sugar does us no good, but we never hear the same warnings for vegetables. My health has become the focal point of my life; I try to eat, sleep and breathe health on a daily basis. With an increasingly busy lifestyle, what advice would you give women to help them overcome stress? Be kind to your mind. In turn, it will be kind to you. Pray, meditate, allow for organisation and be patient. Get a good February 2015

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About Donna Donna Spence is an award-winning comedian with numerous accolades behind her career. These include: • Best Female Actor (Newcomer) 2000 • The Black Entertainment Comedy Awards (BECA) • Best Female Comedian (2011) • The Hidden Creative Economy Awards (HiCreC) In addition, Donna created and produced her own series of standup shows. These included Late Nite Laughter at the Streatham Odeon Cinema (2005-2007). She additionally produced her very own version of Funny-n-Stilettoes all-female touring comedy show which featured American sensations such as Queen Aishah and Vanessa Fraction. In another project entitled A Few Good Men Hosted by One Woman, Donna featured comedian Jean-Paul from Trinidad. Donna has also opened for numerous events and gatherings such as: • Performing for singers Dwelle and Jauguer at Subterania London (2009) • Opening for Millie Jackson at the O2 in Brixton (2011) • Opening The Compare for the Jaki Graham Walk of Fame; Birmingham (2012) • Opening for Jaki Graham on Tour (2013) • Recently hosting the 1st Official London Fashion Week Plus-Sized Show (2013) Donna has also enjoyed the spotlight in front of the camera with such movies as Chronicle of Melvin the Player (2010) and through her role as Moneypenny in the film Mangoes are Forever (The Alchemist Festival, 2013). And if that’s not enough she is a plussize model, actress and health advocate. 80

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I am now preparing to launch my YouTube show called Happy Health

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my 18 fibroids and any temptation suddenly vanishes!

night of sleep. In fact, two hours of solid sleep is better than seven hours of broken sleep laden with worries and anxieties. At the start of your day, stay away from processed foods. Give your body the fuel that it needs with a slice of lemon and a glass of warm water. Just like a clogged drain, if your mind is cluttered, it will always be chasing goals and never actually catch up. What do you think is the biggest misconception about living a natural lifestyle? Most believe that living organically costs too much money, is too inconvenient and takes up too much of their time. However, these are the very same people who will buy a designer handbag or expensive Giro bike equipment on a shoestring budget. It's all about priorities; they place importance on these things but neglect their own health. What is the most welcome trend in healthy lifestyles? I believe these are losing weight, looking and feeling good, enjoying amazing amounts of energy and higher levels of mental clarity. It is no surprise that these people will tend to get chatted up more!

How do you link humour and healthy living? What tips would you give readers?

Are you having fun in your life?I make healthy living fun. When I go shopping, I try to see how many dark, leafy-green vegetables I can name and buy. As I would have already read up on foods such as kale or spinach, I would think about how many grams of iron I am receiving. Then, I'll take a look at something really sweet and think about the massive amounts of processed sugar. When I see a food that contains 14 or 22 grams and remember that women are only supposed to consume 20 grams a day, I appreciate my healthy lifestyle even more. Then, I remember

My biggest piece of advice to your readers is that you don't have to be ILL! I feel that in the United Kingdom, we have a tendency to develop a mindset which says “Oh well...I'm getting to that age...” What age? People are living well into their 90s and even into their 100s. One of the oldest men alive is Bernardo Lapallo. At a ripe young age of 113, he has never been sick, eats only raw foods and still gives public appearances. What's our excuse? Keep smiling and keep trying! Maintain that focus and let's get healthy together! What are you up to now? I am now preparing to launch my YouTube show called “Happy Health”. This will deal with the modern alternative lifestyle, age-old remedies and our ability to avoid doctors at most times. While I love doctors and believe that they are needed, we still can make our own choices. I wish the world to know and embrace this beautiful fact.

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I believe that if you treat your body right, it will thank you by looking after your health.

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Health

You Are What You Eat: Daring to Live Organic

When was the last time that you tasted a farm-grown tomato as opposed to one picked off of the supermarket shelf? Does your breakfast consist of fresh orange juice and freerange eggs or do you make it a point to hit the local fish and chips shop? If we take the statement that we are what we eat seriously, imagine what our bodies look like on the inside (not to mention what chemicals and preservatives can do to the OUTSIDE)! Our livers are packed with foreign substances, preservatives and even heavy metals. The MSG in many processed foods actually makes us even hungrier; contributing to weight gain. In fact, industries employ artificial flavourings and colourings that are direct byproducts of coal and oil plants. If you do not wish to become part of an environmental disaster, keep on reading.

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Keeping it Simple

Organic foods contain everything we need and literally nothing that we do not. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals while their taste is simply unbeatable. While it can be argued that processed foods are necessary to feed the more then seven billion people upon this planet, it are these same processing methods that are leading millions to an early grave each year. Organic foods contain no harmful chemicals that would otherwise accumulate in our bodies over time. Still, we need to dispel of a few myths. The first one stems from the fact that many feel organic foods are more expensive than their processed counterparts. This is untrue; it is the companies themselves who raise the price tags. Picking and choosing your food or shopping online is a great way to control a tight budget. Secondly, some believe that processed foods contain “more” of the nutrients that we need. This was a marketing gimmick by the food companies; words such as “enriched”, “enhanced” and “whole-grain” dupe us into thinking that we are being done a favour. Again, this is simply false. Why put anything into your body that you do not need? As with most things in life, simple is your saviour.

Do-It-Yourself Health

If you are like most of us, the chances are high that you do not live on a farm. Perhaps you cannot find a local organic shop. Does this mean you are doomed to cake your insides with chemical sludge? Surely not, for there are a host of means which are at your disposal. Hang a few flower pots on your balcony and create your own herbs. Grow plants inside of your apartment that are easily manageable such as tomatoes, strawberries and mint. Read the back of EVERY label (yes, this

includes beauty products as well) to make certain that you know what you are buying.

Not Just What's On the Inside

Much of what we hear in regards to the dangers of processed foods is in reference to the witch's brew of chemicals within the ingredients. However, what are we NOT being told? Let's remember that we are only seeing what is the result of the end product; not the processes themselves. Leading sources including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) readily admit that 30% of pesticides and 60% of weed combatants are known to cause cancer. It is important to note that the EPA and other organisations throughout the world are heavily influenced by lobbying groups and big businesses. So, it is safe to say that they are only admitting to the bare minimum. In other words, these figures may very well be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It is funny how THESE are never mentioned within the list of ingredients!

The Youth of Today

One of the greatest motivating factors for women to change to organic products is due to the health of their children. Did you know that some substances can stunt a child's growth? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have already been tentatively linked to a host of developmental conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and monosodium glutamate is thought to be one of the major causes of childhood obesity (a worldwide epidemic). Unfortunately, many of the effects of these processing techniques are not yet fully understood. The dangers to our children may be even more serious than we can imagine. Why jeopardise their future for our own convenience?

Bad Medicine

Organics are grown through the impeccable power of nature alone. Thus, there are no “trap doors” which can compromise our health. One of the lesser-known pitfalls in regards to processed foods is the fact that antibiotics are contained in animal feed. When the animals ingest these chemicals, traces of such substances can be found in both milk and meat. In turn, we actually absorb some of these antibiotics. Not only are they not fit for human consumption, but many scientists are beginning to feel that our resistance to certain diseases could be compromised over time. This is simply not the case with organic foods.

Water Wealth

A final factor to keep in mind is the water supply of the planet. In the future, water may very well be the most powerful commodity on the face of the earth. Processed foods are treated with countless chemicals. These are destined to drain through the soil into the water table; possibly rendering large aquifers undrinkable. Organic foods only use pure water. So, we are giving the very same substance back to nature that it has so generously provided us. This completes the water cycle and ensures that our children and grandchildren will never find themselves within the “desert” of humanity. The more organic foods we purchase, the more such farms will be in demand. Over time, this can loosen the strangle hold that big business has had over the industry for decades. As we are becoming more aware of the long-term health risks that processed foods pose, thousands of us are choosing the healthier choice which nature first intended. So drive fast past that fast food restaurant and bin that bag of battered crisps. Your body and health will thank you for it! February 2015

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Health

5Sugar Cravings Simple Tips to Manage

Eliminate Artificial Sweeteners

Although artificial sweeteners are calorie-free, a Yale study has shown that certain sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose can actually increase your sugar cravings. Consuming these zero-calorie sweeteners reduces the brain’s dopamine levels, leaving the body feeling an intense craving for sugar, which will increase brain dopamine. Avoid this vicious cycle altogether and stay away from artificial sweeteners.

Sleep a Minimum of 8 Hours a Night

by Mandy King

Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are closely linked to hunger. Ghrelin triggers the hunger sensation while leptin causes feelings of satiation. With prolonged sleep deprivation, leptin production decreases and ghrelin production increases, causing the body to feel hungry and therefore increasing the likelihood of reaching for the sweets.

Sweeten With Cinnamon

There’s no denying that we’re programmed to like the sweet taste of food but there are natural ingredients that can be added to recipes to provide a hint of sweetness, without the sugar. A great one for coffee, baking or breakfast smoothies is cinnamon. Not only does cinnamon add flavour to your food but just 1/2 teaspoon daily helps lower your blood sugar levels, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Start by implementing a few or all of the above and see a sweeter side to life.

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t's now widely accepted that sugar is responsible for more than just cavities! Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer have all been attributed in some way to sugar intake. This is definitely reason for alarm. Not only do many of the packaged foods we eat contain large amounts of sugar, but studies have shown sugar to have similar addictive qualities to that of opiate drugs. Regardless of your intentions to quit sugar, willpower might not be enough. Here are five top tips to manage cravings and get off of sugar.

Eat a High Protein Breakfast

Starting the day off with a large dose of protein (15-20g) helps you maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day. Sugar cravings are much easier to avoid if you do not let your blood sugar spike too high and then dip too low. Eggs or a smoothie with protein powder are great options.

Snack on Healthy Fats

Fats help you feel full, reducing the likelihood you will reach for the sweets. Not all fats, however, are created equal. A good fat source is coconut oil, as it’s a medium chain triglyceride that the body uses right away for energy, rather than storing it as fat. A simple tablespoon or two of coconut oil will leave you feeling full and energized. If the thought of it on its own doesn’t make you salivate, use it in your baking! 84

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Health

Benefit 1: Weight Loss

Raw Food Is Not Just For Celebrities; 5 Health Benefits Of Taking Up a Raw Food Lifestyle

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raw food intake in addition to their current diet, which is beneficial and a great start without the complications of jumping head first in to the unknown.

If you find the prospect of living on a completely raw diet overwhelming, you don’t have to go the whole shebang to gain the much needed health benefits from this way of life. Some raw food fans incorporate a 50 percent or more

This lifestyle change works on the basis that the consumer will eat uncooked and unprocessed fruits and vegetables along with nuts, seeds, grains and beans. Uncooked food being any of the above that hasn’t been heated to a temperature of 116°F or above, as this is said to destroy the enzymes, vitamins and minerals the human body needs to maintain good health.

nless you live on another planet, the chances are you have heard of the raw food diet. Far from being just another celebrity fad to sell books or the latest weight loss program, the raw food lifestyle actually has health benefits for us mere mortals too.

A delicious smoothie recipe

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great way to introduce raw food to your existing diet initially is by making smoothies for breakfast, which are a quick and easy way to enjoy many of the raw fruits available. A delicious smoothie to get you started is a Strawberry and Grape Recipe; Enjoy! 1 cup whole strawberries 1 cup red grapes 1 pear 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green) 1 whole carrot 1/2 cup water if needed

Studies have shown that by following a raw food way of life most people generally consume half the calories they would on a cooked or traditional diet. Because of the amount of fruit and vegetables involved in this diet, it is also likely that you won’t consume as much fat as your cooked food eating counterparts, and if you do, it will be the healthy unsaturated kind. It is also known that beans, vegetables and fruit take longer to digest, leaving you fuller for longer.

Benefit 2: Higher Energy Following a lifestyle change such as this, even in part, is guaranteed to leave you feeling full of energy, giving you a serious boost. With none of the afternoon slump associated with cooked, stodgy food and more of the vitality and energy that comes with eating the kind of food you body is crying out for.

Benefit 3: Better Sleep

As well as providing the energy you need to function during the day, eating a largely raw diet of fruit and vegetables promotes better sleep patterns, making sure you wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised the following morning.

Benefit 4: Clearer Skin

Due to the detoxing properties present in a healthy food diet, along with drinking plenty of water to flush out your system, you will notice clearer, healthier and younger looking skin in no time.

Benefit 5: Overall health

Long term, eating a diet rich in raw nutritious food can lower the chances or reduce the symptoms of many ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. Many of these illnesses can be made worse by the unhealthy, processed food we pack in to our bodies.

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Health

The raw food diet, like any diet is a great way to get key nutrients and vitamins.

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Overworked and Overcooked Diary of a Raw Food Rebel! Photo: freefoodphotos.com

Everywhere you turn you are bombarded with an influx of healthy diets. You should eat this! They scream, but don’t go anywhere near that they demand. Its overwhelming. The raw food diet, like any diet is a great way to get key nutrients and vitamins in to your body but, what do you do when you are overworked, overcooked and more frazzled than that piece of bacon left over from the Atkins diet?

Stop worrying! It’s important not to add more stress to an already busy life feeling guilty about your eating habits and every morsel that passes your lips. A lot of people gravitate to the next fad diet faster than Homer Simpson leaving a salad bar, ending up in a whirlwind of all you can eat steak, cabbage soup, a sniff of Cayenne pepper and enough pulverised raw food to break your teeth on. We all need to eat, couple that with a “breakthrough” diet and bang! An advertisers dream. The fact is; every human being needs a balanced diet to function properly, it’s boring, mundane, and true. Take the raw food diet, forget soaking a mystery bean for a week in the hope it doesn’t get 86

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stuck in your throat once the time comes to “enjoy” it, grab some of your favourite fruit and throw it in the blender, it’s quick, easy and you know it tastes good. Find pleasure in your food. I am not suggesting you find so much pleasure in chocolate cake that you eat it nonstop for a week and then wonder why you put on a stone but, take the elements from the different diets out there, take what you enjoy, balance it and do what’s right for your body. No one knows it better than you. If you only have time for a takeaway pizza on Monday; Have something healthier on Tuesday, if your body is groaning after a packet of biscuits; Eat two next time, if you pile your plate and don’t eat it all; Cook less food, if you don’t like apples; Eat bananas! There is always an alternative.

Lose the guilt surrounding food. If you want something, enjoy it. The effects on your body don’t change just because you feel bad about it. Emotional turmoil and a bad relationship with food is the most direct path to the biscuit tin and, let’s face it, we all love a guilty pleasure when no one is looking. Take the onus off food and don’t live to eat. Try to balance yourself. Have that delicious bowl of ice cream, but eat it after a healthy meal. Eat those chips, but have a smoothie for pudding. There is no point nibbling on a raw carrot for a week if you are utterly miserable, you will crack, for heaven’s sake - Add it to a tasty stir fry and enjoy it! Mix up your diet, do what is right for you and lose the guilt, fear and fads.


Health

Sleep: Nature's Best-Kept Secret for Beauty, Health and Well-Being Everybody sleeps. Besides a few single-celled bacterium, every organism on this planet needs a bit of daily rest to rejuvenate their minds and bodies. Of course, most of us associate a good night of sleep with feelings of relaxation and mental clarity. However, the true power and benefits of sleep reach far beyond our mental state. While this can be a bit complicated if we delve into the science of this mysterious “down time”, there are nonetheless a few very physical and physiological benefits that we simply can't overlook. So, why is it so important for us to garner between six and eight hours of sleep every night? Let's break this question down into the areas of beauty, physical health and mental well-being. More Than Skin Deep

The restorative properties of sleep have always been associated with attractiveness (think of the term “beauty sleep”). In fact, this is much more than a myth. Sleep has numerous important functions that most of us have hardly realised. For example, did you know that our bodies will replenish the moisture which our skin loses during the day? Sleep also helps to moderate levels of a hormone known as cortisol. This is one of the primary chemicals within our bodies that is responsible for fat stores around the waist. So, more sleep will directly equate to greater chances of weight loss. Finally, those pesky bags underneath the eyes can be drastically reduced and as our faces will generally relax, those hated wrinkles can be wiped away (at least for the time being).

A Strong Defence is a Great Offence

It has been shown that without adequate amounts of rest, our bodies are more susceptible to a host of physical illnesses. So, we can think of sleep as the time when the batteries of our immune system will effectively recharge. Without this “down time”, we will eventually be affected by one illness or another. Think about it...whose who are under constant stress and are lacking in sleep are the very same who are likely to come down with a cold, the flu or simply feel “under the weather”.

Giving Our Minds a Break

Ultimately, our physical health is determined by our mental condition. Although the other two benefits cannot be denied, perhaps the single

and greatest advantage that sleep provides us is the fact that we can remain sane. Yes, you read that last statement correctly! Without sleep, we will eventually begin to confuse fantasy with reality. While this is obviously an extreme case, even one night of bad sleep will absolutely affect your performance the following morning. As we all know, a well-rested individual can approach the world with a proactive and effective stance. So, sleep is the one partner that we simply cannot live without. As we are under more stress within our lives than ever before, obtaining those six or seven hours of kip every night is absolutely critical in helping us maintain a productive and wellbalanced life.

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Health Editor's Choice

Top Retreats in the

The

World

It is no secret that in one way or another, we are all victims of stress. Thankfully, there are great ways to counteract these effects while pampering ourselves at some of the most relaxing spas and retreats in the world. Let's take a look at the editor's top picks of properties which will provide rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. The United Kingdom When you are travelling close to home, Chewton Glen in New Forest is not to be missed. Located within what many consider to be one of the finest guest houses within the United Kingdom, this spa is situated on an impressive 130 acres of land that is certain to delight the senses. While you can visit for a single day, Chewton Glen also offers retreats that are ideal for detoxification and a true mind-body balance. Nutritionists will prepare healthy meals and their attention to detail is unsurpassed. www.chewtonglen.com

The Caribbean What better way to compliment the cerulean blue waters and the white sands of this paradise than with a second-to-none spa experience? While not only a retreat, the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman boasts one of the best spas known to man (and woman). Known simply as “Silver Rain�, this retreat captures luxury and elegance within a truly magnificent platform. The mantra here is to cater to both the body and spirit; offering a holistic approach that is truly unforgettable. Besides one-onone attention by experts, you will be allured by a sheer beauty combined with fragrances, relaxing music and the stunning Caribbean climate. www.ritzcarlton.com 88

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Africa Africa plays host to some undeniably worldclass spas and amongst the numerous choices, La Mamounia Spa in Marrakesh, Morocco is a top pick. This structure will offer no less than twenty-seven thousand

square feet of scintillating lights and an alluring ambiance. A minimalist approach centres upon personalised attention and their nine treatment rooms will provide you with an unparallelled sense of privacy. Be

certain to experience specific Moroccan specialties including black soap and argan oil facials.

you with more than 80 different treatment options. This is a great location if you are searching for a bit of spiritual harmony alongside traditional and western therapies. Perhaps the most interesting aspect

of this location is that they appreciate that no two individuals are ever alike; they will base your treatment around your discrete needs.

www.mamounia.com

India Ananda Spa ranks number one within Google search rankings, and for good reason. This hidden gem is tucked away in the majestic Himalaya mountains. Ananda Spa embraces Ayurvedic traditions and will provide

www.anandaspa.com February 2015

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Health Brazil The Island Experience is intended to provide you with both relaxation and physical excitement; ideal if you are looking to cleanse your system and are not the type who enjoys the sedentary lifestyle. The Island Experience provides you with expert nutritionists who will cater to your lifestyle needs in a healthy manner while offering massages, spa treatments, facials and yoga classes. However, these are all balanced with stimulating activities such as snorkeling, hiking and kayaking in the sea. As they also offer extensive exhibits of local art and culture, you will emerge feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and with a greater appreciation of the Brazilian verve for life. www.theislandexperience.com

Europe Malta is considered to be one of the must-visit locations in all of Europe and one look at the Apollo Day Spa within the Corinthia St. Georges Bay Hotel will cement this fact within your mind. Once again, Apollo espouses the notion of the

mind and body as one. Facilities include a gym, jacuzzi, sauna and a whirlpool. Of course, personalised treatments are a must and if you are in a bit of a rush, their express neck and back rub will eliminate months of tension. If you are travelling

with a significant other, be sure to check out their couples' massage room plan for a joint experience that words alone can never describe.

These are but five of the numerous retreats and spas which are available if you find yourself abroad. Indeed, all of these

choices represent the very pinnacle of luxury and bespoke relaxation. Perfect if you are alone or with a friend or lover,

there is simply no better way to punctuate your travels than through the expert services that these locations will offer.

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www.corinthia.com


Health

Let’s Talk Home Spa Most of us are in denial about the level of stress, anxiety and often depression we are experiencing; so it’s no wonder with financial challenges we have to think of creative ways to relax without breaking the bank.

W

Anti-ageing hand soak

e all know beauty treatments don’t come cheap and we all need to feel pampered now and again; but we often overlook this luxury because of other priorities. Don’t worry, if your finances are low and you and your bank balance both need a boost forget expensive spas, your kitchen cupboard holds all the ingredients to keep you looking gorgeous and feeling sane! Check out our “good enough to eat” home spa treatments and pamper your whole body straight from your kitchen.

1 large carrot 1/2 a cup of cranberry juice 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Grate or purée the carrot and mix with the cranberry juice. Add olive oil. Warm in the microwave for 20 seconds. Soak hands for 10-15 minutes. Cranberry and carrot contain antioxidants for younger looking skin and the olive oil will work on softening your hands.

Feet

If your tootsies need some TLC, whip up these quick and easy recipes and give your feet a treat.

Face

Brown sugar, milk and vanilla face scrub The delicate skin on your face goes through a lot and deserves some TLC. Use this luxurious face scrub a few times a week to slough off all that dirt and make up for squeaky clean, smooth skin. » 2 parts milk » 1 part brown sugar » A couple of drops of vanilla essence This recipe is so simple, just mix all the ingredients together, apply to the tips of your fingers and gently rub your face in a circular motion.

Body

Whipped Coconut Body Butter This gorgeous smelling recipe will make your skin feel silky smooth for next to nothing and takes just a few minutes to make. » 1 cup of solid coconut oil » Your favourite essential oil (optional) Put the solid coconut oil in a mixing bowl with a few drops of essential oil if and whisk using an electric or

Peppermint foot scrub

hand mixer. Mix on high speed for 6-7 minutes or until the coconut has taken on light and airy consistency. Spoon the mixture in to a jar and keep covered at room temperature. Use this body butter straight out of the shower for soft and fragrant skin. Put this mixture in to a pretty jar and it will also make a lovely low cost present for family and friends.

Hands

Nail strengthening soak If your nails break at every opportunity, try this nail soak to naturally strengthen them. » 2 beaten egg yolks » 1/4 cup of milk » 1 tablespoon of honey Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and soak your nails for 10-15 minutes. The extra protein and calcium will toughen up your nails

» 1/4 cup of olive oil » 6 drops of peppermint essential oil » 4 tablespoons of brown sugar Combine all ingredients in a small tub or jar and use the mixture to gently scrub your feet. The sugar will soften any hard skin and the peppermint will get rid of odour, leaving your feet feeling refreshed.

Peppermint foot moisturiser

» 1/4 cup of coconut oil » A few drops of Tea-tree or peppermint oil Use this mixture after using the scrub above. Combine the ingredients. Apply to your feet and massage in. Pop on a pair of socks, get cosy and relax as the coconut oil soaks in to your skin, making it feel soft as the peppermint/ tea-tree refreshes and removes odours. As you can see a perfect pamper day doesn’t need to cost the earth, these all natural recipes are good for you and the environment. So, invite the girls round, raid the kitchen cupboard and mix up some delicious body treats. February 2015

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Health

Ultimate Spa Break

-AGAPE Wonder! Agape Cottage is a little piece of heaven created just for you to retreat to from all the pressures in your life. You will be cocooned and lavished with nourishment, healing, nurturing and love. There are so few places where you can go to receive a deep understanding of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs with a very gentle one to one approach.

E

verything has been beautifully and thoughtfully designed for your comfort and wellbeing. You will experience a unique therapeutic environment set in its own private wooded area. Agape Cottage is luxuriously decorated and equipped 92

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with everything you need…including the comfort of a roaring log fire! When darkness falls…you can sit in the hot tub surrounded by candles, twinkle lights, the sound of nature and soothing music whilst reflecting on your day. Agape is truly a scared space to come

and nourish your body, heal your heart and nurture your soul. It is really important in these manic times we live in to be a human being and not a human doing. Here are some tips for you. Nourishing your body… with live


vibrant homemade juices because the vast majority of all common diseases will improve or potentially be ‘cured’ by juicing because it removes the toxins from your body. Which enables your cells to thrive in an unpolluted environment. Juicing builds your immune system which guards against disease and premature ageing. At least ten minutes light exercise daily – walking in nature is exhilarating and fresh air is good for you. Healing your heart…is deeply important so that you can live your life free. Love, understanding and acceptance is defiantly the way forward for your heart. However those deeper wounds need spiritual tenderness. Nurturing your soul…by creating your own special place where you can close your eyes, sit in stillness and silence and enter into your inner room with centring prayer. Divine love connects when you sit in silence and let God companion you and guide you to your ultimate destiny. February 2015

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Health

9

Ways Domestic Abuse Affects Your Health

When Tina Turner belted out those powerhouse words “What’s Love Got to do with it?” the whole world stood up and took notice. Her harrowing biopic gave voice to the countless terrified and brutalized; often voiceless victims of domestic abuse around the world.

"

If only I wouldn't have bothered them when they was so upset

"

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L

et’s be clear about this. Domestic abuse is an illness; a cancer that can affect your health in many different ways. Domestic abuse is no respecter of culture, religion, race, socio economics, class, demographic or age. It is a menace to the women forced to endure abuse on the estates, in the suburbs or the glitzy world of Hollywood. But it is the harrowing effects domestic abuse has on your health. In fact, some of the symptoms may surprise you. To appreciate the true impact that domestic violence can shatter lives, we will examine ten of the most profound impacts that it can have upon your health and well-being. 1. Physical Damage We should first cover the most serious issue; that of your physical health. Women who are regularly abused will obviously show signs of physical trauma. These can range from suspicious bruises to broken bones and permanent damage. However, these practices are much more than skin deep. 2. Psychological Impacts In some ways, the mental results of domestic abuse are much more profound. Psychological effects can include severe depression and in some cases, even suicide. This is one of the primary reasons why women who have undergone this type of violence will often need intensive therapy in order to address the situation. Make no mistake therapy can last for years or even a life time. 3. The Inability to Build Future Relationships One of the long-lasting effects that can result is the inability for the victim to seek out, develop and embrace positive, intimate relationships. This can stem from guilt, feelings of low self-esteem

and the false belief that they do not “deserve” anything better than a negative situation. In fact, these thoughts are often reinforced by the abusive partner in question with such statements as “You're worthless” and “You can't get anyone better than me.” Over time, these lies become a self-fulfilling prophecy and these beliefs become entrenched and unfortunately a destructive reality. 4. A Destructive Cycle On the other side of this dangerous coin, victims can also seek out that which they are used to. In other words, they could find themselves falling back into similar situations in the future. We can look at this as just as negative of a cycle as it is for an alcoholic to return to the bottle. Even if they know it is wrong, they often feel that there is little choice. 5. Shame Another danger that is associated with many forms of domestic and sexual abuse is the tendency for the victim to feel as if they had done something wrong. This can be seen in such statements as: “If only I wouldn't have bothered them when they was so upset” “It is not their fault; they are just under a lot of stress” Each of these statements take away the power from the victim and inevitably, they is less likely to come forward and discuss their situation. 6. Detachment There are many instances when the victim will become emotionally detached from themselves and those who truly care about them. They often lose friends force them to become emotionally more dependent upon the abuser. 7. Substance Abuse It seems that the term “abuse” often likes

company. Many victims who are abused will turn to alcohol, drugs or other substances to dull their physical and emotional pain. This can further destroy self-esteem while leading to dangerous, illegal and sometimes deadly habits. 8. Physical Self Image Another less-known impact is that victims will also feel less physically attractive. They may look in the mirror and find their very own image unrecognisable. In turn, they will oftentimes believe that no one else would ever be with them let alone love them. Similar to the self-limiting thoughts described earlier, this will only serve to reinforce the feeling of being “trapped” in their situation. 9. A Deadly Silence Above all, the most threatening situation to the health of any victim is their insistence on staying silent. This is the gravest factor of all, for it is frequently the case that their plight will remain unknown. Many victims literally suffer in silence and in many cases, the domestic abuse will last for years on end; affecting not only the victim but the children as well.

Additional Help United Kingdom www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline. org.uk USA www.thehotline.org Caribbean www.hotpeachpages.net/camerica/ caribbean1.html#Jamaica India www.sawnet.org/orgns/violence.php February 2015

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Health

Raising Awareness

of Fibroids

I

t is no great secret that there are several conditions which women alone have to endure. From child birth to migraines (much more likely to affect a woman), these medical issues are anything but pleasant. Another example of this are growths known as fibroids. What are fibroids, why do we need to have them examined, what modern treatment options are available and most importantly, what steps can we take to put a well-being strategy in place? Let's take a more in-depth look at the answers to these questions. Fibroids Defined

Also known as uterus myomas, fibroids are non-cancerous tumours (normally) which grow inside and around the womb of a woman. These can vary in size and as their name hints, they are made up of fibrous tissues. Normally, they will present no symptoms and it is quite common that they will simply go away on their own. In fact, some women will only discover that they are present during what would have otherwise been an average gynecological examination. Of course, part of this discovery will depend upon how long they have been present and their size. They can be as small as a pea or as large (as painful as it sounds) as the size of a melon.

When Should You Have Them Examined?

In a small number of cases, women can experience symptoms that are generally related to the presence of larger fibroids. These can include: • Painful periods • Lower back or abdominal pain • Pain during intercourse • Constipation or frequent urination All of these should be looked at by a general practitioner. While these issues are likely to be more of a nuisance than anything else, we should also recognise that there are rare instances when fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy. Also, infertility can be another result. If any of these symptoms arise, it is always a good idea to have them checked out as soon as possible.

Modern Treatments

Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options available if fibroids become a problem. In some cases, surgery could be required; particularly if they are extremely large. This 96

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will usually involve the use of arthroscopic surgery and the procedure is normally quite quick and painless. In only a tiny portion of cases, a hysterectomy may be in order (the entire removal of the uterus). However, recent advancements have led to the use of oral medications. Some of the most common substances prescribed can include: • Vitamin B12 • Iron supplements • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen • Birth control pills A doctor may also choose to administer prescription medication such as Progestin or Danazol. In all of these cases, we should remember that oral medications will normally be able to treat the majority of fibroid cases with complete success.

How You Can Combat Fibroids

While the exact causes of fibroids are unknown, it is though that they are related to levels of oestrogen. Also, there are several lifestyle changes that can reduce their severity and even prevent them altogether. You should especially consider these options if you are a female over fifty years of age. Many of these changes will revolve around your diet. As we have seen earlier, supplements such as vitamin B12 and iron are recommended. These can also be found in many foods such as dark, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and meats. If you are already anaemic, these dietary changes are a great idea to boost your levels of energy as well. Over-the-counter supplements are also another good idea, as your body will be receiving extra nutrients that you may otherwise not be enjoying. Also, many women have found that decreasing their intake of so-called “white” foods (cookies, pasta and breads) is worthwhile, as the levels of oestrogen will change and oestrogen is thought to play a role in fibroid development. Eating soy and flax seeds will also help to naturally lower the levels of this hormone. Finally, herbs such as black cohosh and chasteberry have all been shown to balance oestrogen without the use of prescription medications. Additionally, it has been shown that fibroids tend to be present in overweight women. So, your healthy lifestyle changes should focus on getting the proper amount of exercise. As more scientific evidence is being uncovered, it is very likely that this factor will become more important. If you are like most women, your fibroids will most likely cause no problems. Still, you have a number of treatment options should you experience discomfort. Thanks to modern medical technology, it has never been easier to combat these tiny (and sometimes not-so-tiny) nuisances.


ReadingCorner

"Crowning Glory" In her new book ‘Crowning Glory’ which the author admits is for the “Culturally Intelligent” Val Tomlin casts a spotlight on Afrotextured hair as a playful metaphor to explore black cultural life in modern Britain.

I

felt compelled to write this book because it’s the kind of book I would have loved to read when I was growing up. Today, there are women up and down the country, again celebrating ‘natural afro hair’. They are showing how to lovingly groom Afrotextured hair writing blogs, hosting ‘meet ups’, workshops and making instructional You Tube videos. This book builds on their inspiring work taking the themes of authenticity, pride and self-respect to the next level. Its goes beyond what might appear to be an obsessive focus on our external appearance and gives us a chance to focus our internal world. A book like this would have been a valuable guide to me giving information about who I am so I could debunk those nagging myths about my looks, sophistication and intelligence. Born and raised in London I constantly tittered on the edge of two parallel universes. In my Caribbean world I experienced cultural freedom yet in my British world I felt constraint by a kind of cultural conformity. I wished my formal education had included

rich stories about my own cultural experience instead I had to search this out for myself. Fortunately, the 70’s marked an earlier period of global cultural and social change. Millions of people were struggling for the freedom to assert their cultural identity. A wave of countercultural movements sprung up everywhere. Women demanded equal rights, former colonies fought for independence while black South Africans and Americans struggled long and hard for their human rights. I had new heroes like the smart, eloquent, Professor Angela Davis often seen as the “good girl, gone bad”. She helped me appreciate the cultural and political symbolism of the Afro and soon I saw the world through a fresh pair of eyes. My straighten hair hanging in loose textures, felt uncomfortable. For years I had disrespected my hair that naturally grew upwards and away from my scalp. Soon my grooming habits shifted from using a hot comb to using an afro pick. My large curly Afro now had attitude a symbol of my African pride. I stopped feeling ashamed of showing off my own

unique beauty, able to feel attractive and sophisticated wearing a ‘natural’. Since then our hairstyling practices have constantly changed from kinky to straight, from black to blonde, from braids to locs. Are these changes simply fashion statements showing off our hair’s versatility. Or, is there still an ongoing struggle with the idea that afro-textured hair still needs to be tamed, controlled and kept in its place? Crowning Glory is not simply a story about how we style our hair but a story that channels down to our roots to uncover the tension held in every strand of our hair. With the exception of skin colour, there is no physical attribute that is as culturally, socially or politically charged as afro-textured hair. It also makes the complex subject of cultural identity more accessible and gives us a chance to which serves to feed our soul. Connecting to our rich culture stops us from exhibiting dysfunctional behaviours. Anyone who sees this trend ‘natural afro hair’ as simply an expression of ‘style and fashion’ will find this book is an eye-opener.

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Unleash

"

the time Now is of ore out to get m ess by sin your bu gether to g in work business r u o on y st! bucket li

"

BROWN - SONIA

MBE

Your Entrepreneurial Spirit I’M LOOKING TO WORK WITH:› Micro or solopreneurs › Home workers › First time or aspiring business owners

› Stagnant business owners › Employed looking to become self employed

g your about unleashin us o ri se re a u yo If purpose, entrepreneurial inute free 30 m rown.co.uk for a ab ni so @ llo he l siness goals emai explore your bu to r) fe of d ite m (li call for 2015.

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› Are you hosting an event? › Are you aiming at improving the social, economic and physical wellbeing of young people and families? › Are you offering services that impact health, spiritual wellbeing or relationships?

Inpiring and empowering women to network online Please post your offerings on www.sistatalk.co.uk to raech a wider audience.

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Do you like what you see?

THEN SO WILL YOUR CUSTOMERS!

Advertise with us! Next issue June 2015 Issue 01, 2015

Let's Talk & LifeStyle

Sharon Simpson BEAUTY ON HER OWN TERMS

Black Fashion Redefined Celebrating African Fashion

HAIR HYPOCRISY

SHERRY DIXON Kicking Up a Storm at

IN FILM, MILITARY AND THE WORKPLACE

60

✦ Reinventing Your Style ✦ Taking control of your Career ✦ Putting Family First January 2015

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Let's Talk Natural Hair  

Let’s Talk Natural Hair and Lifestyle is a quarterly online magazine aimed at showcasing, promoting and highlight the best in natural hair,...

Let's Talk Natural Hair  

Let’s Talk Natural Hair and Lifestyle is a quarterly online magazine aimed at showcasing, promoting and highlight the best in natural hair,...

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