Is Social Media Affecting Our Mental Health?

You don’t really think about it as you’re scrolling through Instagram or Snapchat, but most of the time you’re subconsciously comparing yourself to the girl with 500 likes on her latest selfie without realizing the damage that is actually being done. The saying, “comparison is the thief of all joy” has never been more true in the case of social media sites. Before social media became as popular as it is, it was common to see a girl (or guy) and get a little jealous over what they had and wish it was yours. But in today’s world it’s a completely different deal when you’re constantly fixating on someone’s page; every picture, every Twitter post and Snapchat update, because you may want the life that this person claims to live. Continue reading Is Social Media Affecting Our Mental Health?

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Black History Month: Black Women In The Advancement Of Black Lives And Culture

American history is rooted in a culture that dehumanizes people of color. Throughout history, African-Americans have had to fight for their rights. From slavery to MLK, and now black lives matter; movements have been essential in the progress of equality for African-American lives. Today, in 2016, we are still fighting for human rights and so the question arises: why are we still fighting?
If you look at ladies such as Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Nina Simone, Rosa Parks or Ella Baker and compare them to others such as Laverne Cox, Amandla Stenberg, Bree Newsome, Michelle Alexander, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors you will notice that although times have changed, our desire for freedom has not. As Ella Baker once said, “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killings of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”
Black woman have played a prominent role in the advancement of black lives and culture. For instance Nina Simone, a civil rights singer, created music that addressed the Birmingham bombing, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. Dorothy Height, the former president of the National Council of Negro Women, was an activist for black women, demanding that there be an increase in opportunities. We can not forget Rosa Parks, who refused to offer her seat to a white passenger on the bus thus leading a reform in segregation through the organization of boycotts. There was also Mary McLeod Bethune who was the president of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Colored Women. She served as the advisor of minority affairs for President Roosevelt, started the National Council of Negro Women and was the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration to help the youth find job opportunities, especially black young adults. Lastly, Ella Baker who organized the Young Negroes Cooperative League in NYC, was the national director of the NAACP, and was a part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

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Peaceful protest in Downtown Cleveland for Tamir Rice

Currently, black woman are still pushing for black lives. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors have started a movement in the black community called Black Lives Matter. Laverne Cox has become an advocate for black transgender lives; her document Free Cece, has addressed issues within the black and Trans community. Amandla Stenberg has become a very important voice for the black youth. She is a black feminist, who also happens to be an actor from Hunger Games, calls out culture appropriation and discontinues Eurocentric beauty standards. Stenberg has even asked, “As culture shifts and racial tensions are tested through the vehicle of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is important to question: Do female black lives matter too?” Bree Newsome is another courageous lady; she climbed up a pole to remove the confederate flag before being arrested. Newsome has shed light on the racist culture associated with the confederate flag and why we should not stop until it is removed permanently. Michelle Alexander shed light  on the cruelties and harsh realities of the justice system and how it has impacted the African-American community. Her book, the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, explores how the government disproportionately and wrongfully treats black men.

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Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors

A huge difference between the civil rights movement and black lives matter movement is social media. We live in an era where our phones are constantly in our hands; thus we hold the power of media at our fingertips. Black lives matter was started by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. This movement is meant to fight against violence towards the African-American community. Likewise, the civil rights movement was meant to end segregation and discrimination towards black individuals.

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images found using #MelaninMonday on twitterBLM 1

Thankfully the help of social media, has allowed us to expand the ways in which we fight for our rights. Recordings of violent acts spread like wild fire; just like black encouragement and self-love takes over social media. Hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGirlMagic, #blackout, #MelaninGirls, and #MelaninMonday flood the internet. If you were to type any of these hashtags and search them on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or any other social media platform then you will find images, words of encouragement or injustice within the black community. “Black Twitter” has become a way for the black community to band together online and form unity to speak out against any injustices that we face. This current movement is fighting for freedom and to end mental segregation. As Nina Simone once said, “’Free’ is just a feeling. It’s just a feeling. It’s like how do you tell somebody how it feels to be in love.” Therefore, we will not stop fighting until we feel free.

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Set Your Own #RelationshipGoals

Everyone has seen pictures on social media of couples hiking, riding bikes, working out together, hugging and kissing each other, and the list can go on and on. Most of the time those pictures have the caption “#relationshipgoals.”

A lot of individuals and couples strive to meet these relationship goals they see across social media. I say, make you own #relationship goals!

Each relationship is different. What works for one couple may not work for your relationship. You have to find what interests you and your significant other and just do it!

Maybe traveling isn’t your favorite activity to do, but maybe you are very creative and artsy. Instead of trying to travel the globe because you saw that was someone on Facebook’s relationship goal, why not have a cute and cozy arts and craft night at home with your partner.

Relationship goals don’t have to be huge, elaborate, and/or expensive. A walk in the park, a nice night indoors making cookies, or even a Netflix movie marathon can be a relationship goal you set.

The only relationship goals that should be standard across the board is finding someone who can make you happy, treat you fairly, and love you unconditionally.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t have the same relationship goals as other couples. I know I do, but majority of the goals should be based on your own likes and interests.

You should be able to have fun in your relationship and be able to communicate with one another about any and everything.

You may not know how to create your own #relationshipgoals. These simple steps to help you out:

1) Make a list of traits/activities that are important to you or fun to do when in a relationship
2) Make sure your goals are reachable
3) Ask your significant other to help you set goals for your relationship
4) Don’t set too many goals, so you won’t get overwhelmed
5) Celebrate when you meet your goals!

What are some of your #relationshipgoals? Know that your goals can change over time and that’s not a bad thing!

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A Black & Sexy Summer

Black folks and our representation in media has taken an interesting turn throughout the 2000’s. In the 80’s and 90’s black and brown folks were speckled across big and little screens like a neutral toned rainbow. With shows and movies like A Different World, Martin, Living Single, The Best Man, and Crooklyn the everyday experiences of being a black person in America were pretty well illustrated, not to mention we were killing it in other media arenas including music and print magazines (because be honest Vibe hasn’t been the same since 03’ and the 90’s-early 2000’s provided us with the quintessential rap and R & B collabo’s).

(photo credit:http://f0.bcbits.com/img/0001638393_10.jpg)

But than came the mid 2000s when black and brown folks became scarce in TV line-ups, and our favorite minority actors and actresses were deduced to being the token friend in the means of “diversity”. Needless to say, the lack of black stories has not gone unnoticed. Many years and think pieces later, there has been a rise in black directors and actresses taking things into their own hands by creating venues for media content featuring black voices, one of those being the crew behind YouTube TV channel, Black & Sexy TV. Dennis Dortche, Jeanine Daniels, Numa Perrier, and Brian Ali-Harding have come together over the past 3 years to tell the comedic, romantic, intelligent, inspiring, and sometimes unfortunate everyday stories of black twenty-something’s, and it makes for brilliant television. I live for Black & Sexy TV because it peels back the stereotypes of blackness and in turn provides real life stories that I can directly see my friends and myself in. Black & Sexy TV provides me with great narratives, awesome music, eclectic aesthetic, and surprisingly a host of amazing hair crushes. In celebration of the  July 4th season premiers of two of my favorite shows on the channel, “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend,” I wanted to share some of my favorite naturalistas of Black & Sexy TV.

Ashley Blaine Featherson
Whitney (Ashley Blaine Featherson)

Hello Cupid is probably one of the best shows on Black & Sexy TV. The cinematography, editing, and styling are amazing for such a noble production company. While falling in love with the show, I also fell in love with leading lady Ashley Blaine Featherson, also known as Whitney. On “Hello Cupid”, Whitney is the queen of effortless chic. She can usually be seen rocking a sleek puff or twist out. She makes a little go along way with her hair and it constantly makes me jealous. One of my favorite styles from her is featured in the double date episode (which was sponsored by Kinky Curly products) where she has a high bun accentuated with added in Marley hair.

Jeanine Daniels/Deon
Deon (Jeanine Daniels)

You ain’t never seen a Caesar cut rocked by a lady so fly until you have seen Deon of “That Guy”(except maybe Erykah Badu, but she’s THE Erykah Badu…she’s in a league of her own). Jeanine Daniels plays Deon, a fun loving, attitude having, big earring wearing girly tom-boy who is the third musketeer to leading men Mike and Judah. Mike and Judah are the guys your mother warned you about, but Deon attempts to keep them humble. She keeps her hair closely cut and neatly edged up, and occasionally accentuates her features with flashy earrings or simple make-up. I love the fact that she can make a low cut so versatile and feminine.

Chick (Numa Perier)
Chick (Numa Perrier)

“The Couple” features the cutely dysfunctional nameless couple, Chick and Dude. Of the 8 Black & Sexy TV shows, “The Couple” has been the most tangibly successful as it is currently being developed into a series for HBO. Chick, played by actress/director/co-creator of Black & Sexy TV, Numa Perrier, is another Black & Sexy girl who does a lot with a little. Her hair is often worn in a twist out, parted on one side, or pinned back. It’s very grown up, but also very care free and fun. Chick is most notable for her ability to make a simple hairstyle look formal as seen in the premier episode of “The Couple” and the Valentine’s Day episode.

Nia (Shawanna Davis)
Nia (Shawanna Davis)

Shawanna Davis is Nia in “That Guy,” Deon’s best friend and the mother of Judah’s child. Up until recently she was referenced more than we actually saw her in the show, but now she is getting her own spin off this Fall. Nia is a fashionable, conscientious, and sassy single mother who goes between protective styles and allowing her natural hair to fly free. My favorite style from her so far has been her long brown highlighted Marley Braids, which she usually wears down or in a bun. Check out BeBeautifulLA.Tumblr.com, Shawanna’s beautifully curated blog.

Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)
Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)

 Robin is the other leading lady in “Hello Cupid” and a total opposite of Ashley Blaine Featherson’s character, Whitney.  Robin is a vegetarian, yoga aficionado, who probably serves on Solange’s e-board for the Coalition of Carefree Black Girls. Her tresses are usually worn in a simple curly fro, and occasionally pushed back with a headband. Her golden blond hair color makes her stick out in a crowd and compliments her skin tone beautifully. Her most memorable look is her picked out fro at a 70’s party in the most recent episode of “Hello Cupid.”

You can watch all the Black & Sexy TV series on YouTube here. Don’t forget to check out the recently premiered episodes of “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend” that premiered on July 4th.

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