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ROCK MY SOUL A Look At Blacks And Self Esteem Photo Courtesy: Italian Vouge


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UNHAPPY TO BE NAPPY By: Silver Moore Last November, Ellisa Oyewo wrote the article, Black Hair: What Are You Teaching Children? for Coco & Crème Magazine. In this article she told the story of a conversation she heard between a mom and her daughter.

streets with you walking around with all these kinks in your head! Just all out in the open. We’re going to have to nickname you Lil Nappy!” stated the young “’Oohh Child! Nappy, nappy, mother, yanking her child’s head in a too-tight ponynappy! We have to get you a tail… As soon as her mother perm! I can’t believe I have was finished with her rant, you out here on these the young girl began to touch her hair over and over again as if she was trying to hide it from the world. She put down the doll and asked, “What’s wrong with my hair?’” Now this isn’t a permed hair versus natural hair debate at all. But I want to raise the question, “Why is nappy an insult?” and

more importantly, “Why do we not recognize how this pervasive idea that nappy=bad, and often times, that nappy=Black, has an effect on Black self-image?”

doesn’t like women with natural hair because he prefers a woman’s hair to be done.

Recently one of Rihanna's Twitter followers wrote in reference to During the sixties phrases like RiRi’s hair on her latest album "Black is Beautiful" and "Happy to cover Man Down: be Nappy" began to emerge as a Acting out of her good girl gone way to promote a positive body bad persona, Rihanna had a reimage for Blacks. But it is clear sponse for NinyaBella’s question. that the positivity associated with And based on her response, it the word nappy isn’t overwhelm- was clear the she was upset by ingly presented, though in some the comment. smaller circles it is. On her blog, NinyaBella comWe can all recall Don Imus’ remented on Rihanna’s reply being marks toward the Rutgers girls’ sure to let the public know that basketball team when he called she was not at all being racist them nappy headed hoes. Or when making her comments. But when Method Man stated he what caught my eye the most in looking over her blog post was a comment on the post from a Black woman, Minty.

You have to understand that what nappy means to you doesn't mean the same to others. To many, it means ugly, overly coarse and dam-


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So it’s through hard work that we keep Black girls looking “decent”? In reading this comment I wonder if the writer recognized all the things she had internalized about herself as being a Black woman. Webster defines decent with words such as, good taste, respectable, worthy and adequate. So I’m sure that it’s safe to assume that if someone’s hair is not decent then it is in poor taste, unrespectable, and makes that person unworthy and inadewould blow up on you. I'd quate. I’m sure Minty isn’t the simply ignore it. Rihanna, as only Black woman who associates a celebrity, should have done nappy hair as being indecent. And I’m sure she isn’t the only Black that too. It's very unprofes- woman who believes she must work hard to make her hair desional of her to react like cent. But the unfortunate reality that. Even if what you said of this is that women like Minty may have offended her. And have internalized that as Black women, at their natural stage, she definitely should not before the perm or the hot comb, have blamed it on her race. are less than decent.

aged. If it were me, I would be very offended by your words. But I don't think I

Not all African Americans have "nappy" hair. I'm African American and work hard to keep my hair looking decent so what Rihanna replied with does not help her case.

How do you think the negative association with nappy, and nappy’s association with being Black, effects the selfimage of Blacks?

Your Black Love: Are All Black Men Insecure? Courtesy of Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.com Rap star LL Cool J recently made an interesting comment about black men. The rapper seems to think that black men are insecure and that this plays a role in the way relationships work out with women. “As a black male I see a lot of insecurity amongst our men, because we feel like we gotta dog women and make ourselves look better,’ he said. ”And I say that not to try to judge everybody and make our guys upset, it’s the reality of what we’re seeing. It’s become tough on women. Somewhere along the line, a lot of insecure men started really coming down on women in a harsh way.”

many African American homes, combined with the challenges of unemployment, poor education and mas incarceration, many men may not feel the confidence necessary to become adequate husbands and fathers.

At the same time, I’ve seen some women who use male insecurity as the one-size-fits-all excuse to explain why no man is willing to spend more than two seconds with them. ”They can’t handle a strong black woman, that’s why they all run away from me,” I’ve heard repeated on a few occasions. But deep down, there are times when I wonder if that particular woman realizes that men stay away from her because she’s just a Personally, I’m not sure if LL has any data to back up his assertions, jerk. Of course this doesn’t apply to all women, but the insecurity but that doesn’t mean there isn’t paradox is not gender-specific. some truth to it. One could say that not having the father in so


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Effortless Fashion By: Amy Brown Greetings, everyone! After my extended hiatus, I am finally back with a new perspective for all of my fellow fashionistas and fashionistos out there. During my time away, I've come across a pressing issue amongst men and women within our age demographic. Although it has been around for ages, the obligation to impress others via materialism has grown tremendously. Though, I am far from an expert on this particular subject, I to have fallen victim to this epidemic and have acquired enough knowledge to pass along to those who seem to struggle with this issue. When it comes to the world of fashion, I've found that there is a deeper foundation than just garments, shoes and accessories. Each piece that has ever been created holds a story and is meant for YOU the indulgent to look absolutely fabulous. The lavish lifestyles that are presented through various medium very well exist, however, let's be honest, at this point and time not all of us are able to obtain and sustain the lifestyle I'm sure all of us want to lead at some point in time. There is no reason for any of us to continuously produce and present a facade for our peers when we are clearly unable to keep up. This is where breaking free and embracing individualism comes in.

Over the past months, I've broken down and humbled myself in ways I never thought I could. I've cut out a massive amount of spending and decided to work with whatever I had in my wardrobe. I've mixed and matched pieces, old and new, and have created style savvy looks from thrift pieces and even pieces owned by my close friends and family. Instead of worrying about labels and luxury, I concentrated on developing and honing a style of my very own that is suitable for me at this time in my life. So, with this being said, consider this an invitation to do the same. Of course a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, Tom Ford sunglasses, and Yves Saint Laurent bag would be fabulous additions to your wardrobe. Even a few pieces from our favorite retailers such as Urban Outfitters and American Apparel would be nice as well. However, living beyond our means is something that is NOT a habit we as young people cannot afford to keep up nor develop. Use that OPI nail polish, Minx nails and designer accessories as reward for accomplishing goals rather than tools to attract a crowd you honestly can't keep up with. After all, those who are truly interested in you and what you have to offer will appreciate and admire your sense of effortless style.

Minx Snow Cheetah Nails

Urban Outfitters Lip Post Earrings

OPI Quarter of A CentCherry Nail Polish


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Facing the Pain By: Tiffany Love, Too Fit To Quit Health and Fitness

“Although we may have had a long period of silence, maybe even denial, when we have been unable to speak openly and honestly about the crisis in how we see ourselves and others and how we are seen, we black folks know that our collective wounded self -esteem has not been healed. We know that we are in pain. And it is only through facing the pain that we will be able to make it go away.” The quote written above is an excerpt from Rock My Soul, a book by bell hooks. It talks about elevating the self esteem of a hurting people—black people. It’s obvious that African Americans were not widely accepted after slavery ended. We were seen as inferior to white people. And what a

powerful and negative word that is. Inferior means “of or

characteristics of low rank or importance; of low quality.” Could you imagine being treated like an animal? Being looked down upon everyday. White people telling you that you’re not worthy. That they are better than you. No wonder we are in such pain. Unfortunately, though, instead of addressing this pain, we carry it around with us everyday. Have you ever eaten a whole day’s worth of calories in one sitting without even realizing it? You mindlessly eat and you’re not sure why and you don’t how to stop? Guilty. Did you know that this binging goes much deeper than food? “Not wanting to look at something painful is at the very foundation of compulsive eating” (LeBlanc). The other day I was thinking to myself that it’s easier to eat… or not eat, than to think. And it’s so true. It’s so much easier to pick up a bag of cookies when you’re depressed than to address the problem at hand. So, let’s


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Facing the Pain cont. By: Tiffany Love, Too Fit To Quit Health and Fitness challenge ourselves to run towards the problem instead of away from it. Now, don’t freak out on me yet. We’re going to take baby steps to healing this psychological and emotional pain you are experiencing: 1. Forgive. Before doing anything, forgive whomever is

hurting you. Whether you need to forgive a family member, a significant other, a friend, or yourself. Forgive. Address the problem and let it go. 2. Become more aware. By this, I mean to thoughtfully exam-

ine your thoughts prior to, during, and after you eat. Ask yourself a few questions, such as, “Are you hungry? How are you feeling right now?” On days when I would stare into the pantry looking for something to eat, I would ask myself, “What are you searching for?” Are you really hungry or are you searching to fulfill a void within your life? Be a conscious eater. Eat on purpose. 3. Slow down while you eat. If you’re going to eat, enjoy it!

Don’t rush through your meal, leaving you feeling unsatisfied and maybe even falsely hungry. Take time to chew and enjoy your food. It will prevent overeating and promote enjoyment of your food.

4. Get uncomfortable. I don’t know about you, but this is

probably the most difficult step for me. But, it’s so rewarding once you take that leap of faith. Talk to people about the problems you are having with them. Address them and be honest. Don’t hold it in anymore. And once you open it, the burdens on your back will slowly melt away and the desire to eat compulsively will leave with it. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that you are healing. These are just a few tips for how to overcome overeating, though there is so much more to be learned and to be done. This is only a start, and I know it’s going to be hard. If you are struggling with compulsive eating and need support, feel free to message me, Tif Tiff Tiffany for encouragement and advice. Also, be sure to check out this book: You Can’t Quit til You Know What’s Eating You by Donna LeBlanc. Now, to end with a quote:

“Edibles, no matter how many or how scrumptious, succulent, sweet, and sublime, can tranquilize us only temporarily. However, it is possible to discover the real cause of our appetite and then put together our own foodless recipe for lasting gratification.” Don’t give up. There’s hope for a day with NO binges!

strUt Magazine- Rock My Soul Issue  

Based on the book Rock My Soul by bell hook, this issue of strUt Magazine, looks at Blacks and self esteem,

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