1. Mainstream acknowledgment of African beauty matters. Here’s How:


     I grew up in a lower-middle class neighborhood in DC and went to the closest school within walking distance in the late 70s and early 80s,

    All was cool as a child of African immigrants for me until the day in 5th grade that my mom came to school wearing her big, colorful, African “garrah” (a full-gown like dashiki) to drop off my lunch. It meant that my classmates (all black American) would then know I was from Africa and I knew that couldn’t be good.

    Surely enough, shortly after, the kids, who were never taught of the great Kings and Queens and Dynasties that came out of Africa, started to tease me. What they knew of Africa, they saw on TV and mainstream media and it was nothing but jungles, and safari and starving children with bloated bellies. *ugh* 

    It was not a place they liked, would be proud of or would be happy to know that it is where their ancestors came from. As far as they knew, they were lucky to have been born in America, to have intermixed with Indians and slave masters and saved from having to have pitch dark skin and kinky hair. 

    You’d hear kids regularly exclaim, “I have Indian in me” to justify why their hair was silky or had less kink, and why they had more soft curls. It was a badge of pride and honor to be a little less African — to have “Good” hair.

    I was never equipped with the confidence neither witty comeback to knock those kids who teased me back down to earth and reality. I was never given the tools to be prideful so I would just take it. *sigh*

    Meanwhile, at home and in the large Sierra Leonean, African community where my parents socialized in, they too looked down upon African Americans - the lost children of the continent - the “Fambuls” (a derogatory word for African Americans in the pigeon English Krio)

    You see, the mainstream media had a way of making African Americans look less appealing too. The images that would filter to Africa and all over the world were not positive. They were depicted as lazy, shiftless, criminals, welfare moms and of having low morals and class, and of not valuing education or school. 

    At home, I would spend time defending my African American friends from all the negative things I’d hear about them among Africans.

    When my family later moved to a suburb of DC, I had to endure teasing there as well on the school bus.

    Of the darker skinned kids who looked more like the Image of Africans on TV - coarse hair, dark skin, large lips and big nose, they’d get it even worse. 

    And there too most of the ribbing was coming from Black American kids.

    So alas, today when I turned on my computer and got the news that the gorgeous, cocoa-skinned, short haired stunningly beautiful AFRICAN actress Lupita Nyong’o was named People  magazine’s "Most Beautiful" in its annual  "50 Most Beautiful" edition, I smiled deeply.

    And while we shouldn’t need mainstream press to validate the beauty in the spectrum of human beings, unfortunately we do. It is still very much influential. 

    What and who people see in movies, magazines, TV shows and fashion runways celebrated and elevated DO matter and seep into audiences psyche and helps manipulate their own perceptions of beauty.

    Ordinarily, one can say, so what, there are bigger problems in the world. None of this matters.

    Tell that to the little African-looking kids on the playgrounds getting teased on the daily. 

    It matters.

    So a hardy *fist bump* to all the cocoa colored kinky hair girl on the playground and a *nay nay nee boo boo* to all the unknowingly self-hating kids on the playground who told her she looked African, her skin was too black, her nose was too big, hair to nappy and to go back to Africa!

  2. Naturally, we dyed our eggs like Africa !


  3. Is this how you do Diversity in TV show casting & booking?


    I was catching up on one of my favorite new shows on E! network, "The Fabulist" starring Kristin Cavallari, former reality TV star of MTV's "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" and fashion maven and blogger Orly Shani as hosts. 

    The premise of the show is each week, the hosts and a rotating duo of guests booked by the  show producers go over trending fashion, drinks, hair and other things and decide whether it is fab or not; and in the end add one item to the fabuList.

    After two episodes, I noticed a pattern in booking that looked to be more deliberate than coincidental by the time I finished screening all 4 of the episodes of the weekly series that air on Mondays on E! network.

    With two White female hosts, show creators may have deliberately elected to mix up who gets booked so the panel doesn’t look too monolithic and they get a variety in perspectives while making their diverse audiences feel comfortable about seeing themselves, in a way, represented.

    I enjoyed the input of each week’s guest tremendously and thought they all looked fab and deserving to sit on the couch dishing their perspectives and thoughts on the various trends. They each had chemistry.

    It works!

    Personally, I love my local Fox news anchor cast bc it is a blend of women and men from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Their banter in between news stories and guests is authentic and real. I get various viewpoints. All female panel shows like The View or all male panel shows such as they have on sports networks are boring and lack the flavor if mixed up.

    But all that said, if this pattern continues, does this mean there will never be a Hispanic, Asian or Black male or Hispanic, Asian or White woman join the hosts?

    I’m sure E will mix it up later, but if deliberate, I wonder if casting this way ideal for appealing to broader audiences and dually shielding off the type of criticism that scripted shows like Silicon Valley, Girls on HBO, Seinfeld, Friends, Sex in the City and all others have gotten in the past.

    I guess feedback from social media and focus groups will decide.


  4. newshour:

    "Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude.”

    -Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez has died at age 87


  5. #Live.Laugh.Live and Be Kind. my mantra this #HolyThursday

  6. Wake up. Live your authentic life and Don’t let other people dump their insecurities on you or stop you from doing what makes you feel comfortable & from making moves to move your life in the upward direction. And whatever you do, Don’t ever apologize for being you. #Words #Wisdom

  7. Reminder to take a step back and come again. #words #wisdom

  8. #TrueStory #sundayhumor

  9. Roadblocks exist but they can be temporary. Don’t give up and Find a way! #BlerdGirl quotes #rp by @chinadoll6985 Have a great Sunday!

  10. What keeps #StartUps, #Entrepreneurs, esp women, from going BIG is not fear of failure but fear of success.

    With it comes pressure, added expectation and anxiety. Also, if a person has never seen people around her close circle of family and friends be successful, she may be unable to imagine herself rising past them.

    She may think to herself, “who am I to exalt so highly? I am but a poor girl from …”

    Or perhaps, she is too humble and anticipates that life may change too much if she is successful or that people may envy her success and pull away. She also sees how high levels of success changes the successful person. Some get corrupted. Others become too vain. Many forget where they came from and don’t look back and give back or pull up others climbing to the top.

    And those who are there at the top have so many more people relying on them and all of a sudden it no longer becomes fun anymore and becomes an obligation or duty. And more like an everyday job.

    No thank you.

    It may be comforting to be “just comfortable” and to remain in the land of average or the land of “everyday people.”

    There is safety and security there.

    Entrepreneurs who step out on faith and leave the security of a constant paycheck behind cannot afford to cling to what is “safe.”

    They have to dig deep and find the strength to go after every opportunity and not pass by any open door that could possibly lead to success out of fear.

    Walk thru it, my dear.

    (at Dreamland)