The Pursuit of Inches

Hair weave I spent the early years of my career as a social worker. I did everything from working at an alternative school to doing family reunification therapy for children who were formerly wards of the state. Though I no longer practice social work my passion has always been for youth and more specifically young women. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interact with young women in a multitude of arenas and one of the trends that I find so disturbing is the need to feel pretty or even beautiful based on having weaved hair. Now let me pause in this moment and acknowledge that black women have a long history of issues over “good” or “bad” hair, so I will not use this forum to beat that horse- what I’m talking about now has more to do with the accessibility of weaving hair and the pervasive need for “inches”- which refers to the length of said weaving hair. I was recently talking to a beautiful young woman, around 15 years old who did not feel pretty because she was wearing her natural hair. She went on to say that she had been asking her mother for more hair as she currently only had 24 inches and wanted 28. I reminded myself to fix my face during this conversation because I remember a time when black women though not ashamed of wearing weaves spent a lot of money to ensure that their hair looked as natural as possible- now the focus is on installations and the longer the hair the better. This way down to the nether regions hair has jokingly been referred to as stripper hair as longer lengths are de rigueur for those who drop down and get their eagle on.

I find myself completely at a loss for this affinity for stripper-like hair and the endless pursuit of “inches”. The pervasive issue of the pursuit of some young black woman seeking to be more mainstream in their appearance, while their white counterparts are doing everything they can to look like US. The Brazilian butt lift is an ode to the oft revered black woman’s bottom and lip injections? Well that clearly is deference to our succulent lips.

There is a responsibility for leaders, mentors and key influencers to let young girls know that they are more than enough, and the pursuit of inches has nothing to do with the beauty that is within.

Mourning Maya

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photo source
There have been many personalities to “pass on” but never have I felt a loss as deep as when I opened my email to discover that Maya Angelou was no longer of this earth. No more newly knitted words crafted from the woman who exclaimed
” Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. / I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size… ” *
giving pride to this and all black girls with too many too’s to ever be considered beautiful- too fat, too loud, too black, too ugly… But yet in spite of all my “too’s” my milkshake can still bring the boys to my yard, because Dr. Angelou told me so.

She also gave us haughty permission to swivel our hips to the beat of an unheard of ancestral drum all the while celebrating the very essence of womanhood.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Baby!! Still I Rise gives new meaning to diamond life.

Maya Angelou’s greatness will forever live through her poetry, her boldness and her life that was clearly lived out loud. She has many legacies which is ultimately the greatest testimony to a life well lived but for me, her break down of what it means to be truly phenomenal, beyond societies expectations, outside the realm of normal standards of beauty has always put a little more starch in my backbone… A bit more arch in my step and given me the ability to revel in the fact that I am indeed phenomenal…

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,


That’s me.

*

*Excerpted poetry from Maya Angelou “Still I Rise” and Phenomenal Woman

Desiree Rogers lands new gig as CEO of Johnson Publishing


Desiree Rogers, the former White House social secretary has landed on her feet just fine as CEO of the Johnson Publishing Company. As CEO, Rogers will be accountable for the day to day operations of the company. Johnson publishing is the powerhouse behind longtime African-American favorite magazines Ebony and Jet. I personally think this a huge win for all involved. I am looking forward to seeing the changes that will happen particularly at Jet, as I have long thought the magazine was due for an overhaul.

photo source

The Sweeter the Juice

by Lisa

I know many people who feel very strongly about white or red wines. I am a certified wine snob (at least in my mind) and as such, my preference runs to GOOD wine, versus a particular type of libation. In spite of my openness to either red, or white, I do tend to prefer sweeter wines.

One of my dear friends just introduced me to Muscadine, a wine that can be found in North Carolina, or your local wine store.

Here’s a review:

“Duplin’s famous red muscadine wine smells of sugar, berries and dry clay, while not overly complex, the sugar and alcohol are balanced well on the nose. In the mouth the wine has good weight and an intense flavor of Cherry Kool-aid with a heavy amount of sugar, without being syrupy. The fruit flavors of this wine are strong but do seem slightly artificial. This wine is a crowd pleaser, and would be well received by anyone who is a fan of sweet or muscadine wines. This wine has just enough tannins to balance the sugar and make it easy drinking. This muscadine wine is also a solid value at its price point.”

source

 
Enjoy!!


Mary J Blige The Queen of Hip Hop Soul and MUCH More

by Lisa

We all know and love Mary J Blige as the queen of hip hop soul, but what you may not have been aware of is that Queen Mary is also head of her own non-profit Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now Inc (FFAWN). The focus of this organization is to empower, uplift and encourage women to reach their full potential. “Through scholarships, grants, and programs that foster strong self-esteem, career development, and personal growth, FFAWN is intended to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to achieve success”.

Today MJB plans to unveil her new partnership with Carols Daughter and her FFAWN organization. After the show, stay tuned on how to save big on some of your favorite Carol’s Daughter products!

photo courtesy of Carol’s Daughter

Glam Libation Thursday- Take Flight


Glam Libation Thursday- Take Flight
by Lisa

Are you interested in sampling a wide variety of wines? Then a wine flight is the ultimate way to experience a range of varietals or wines from a specific region. Wine flights offer a range wines and can include anywhere from 4 to 50 wines for sampling.

You can find a wine tasting/flight at many restaurants, vineyards, or tasting bars, and a good flight should include some educational component.

Restaurant flights usually offer 3 wines to sample to accompany your appetizer, main entrée, and then conclude with a dessert wine.

Here’s   a sample wine tasting menu.

Bon Appétit!


Preparing for the First Lady Exhibition (video)

Earlier this week I reported that Michelle Obama donated her iconic inauguration gown to the Smithsonian, here’s a behind the scenes look at the preparation for the exhibit. ( thanks Jessica!) If you have plans to be in the DC area- check it out!

National Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institution
14th Street and Constitution Avenue

Washington, DC


Spring Wine Festivals in MD

by Lisa

Spring has almost sprung- and if you didn’t get the memo, you will need to set your clock forward by an hour on Saturday, March 13th. With the increase in temperature comes sandals, sundresses, and one of my favorite spring activities- wine festivals! The Maryland area boasts close to 40 different wineries, and the majority of them will be represented during one of the largest and premier wine festivals- Wine in the Woods which kicks off May 15-16, 2010 in the Symphony Woods in Columbia, MD

Wine festivals provide the perfect opportunity to sample a variety of wines, from a number of different vineyards, and as the temperatures begin to soar, consider gathering up your friends, and make an outing out of it!

Here is the schedule for upcoming Wine Festivals in Maryland so mark your calendars:
Maryland Wine Festivals


First Lady Gives Inauguration Gown to Smithsonian

by Lisa
First Lady Michelle Obama donated her inauguration gown to the Smithsonian during a traditional ceremony which includes the donation of ‘debut” dresses to the museum.

The iconic Jason Wu design will be showcased in a new gallery called “First Lady Debut” along with inaugural gowns worn by other First Ladies.

The Divine Mrs. O said of her dress “When I look at my gown — which I, in fact, have not seen since the day that I took it off — memories of that moment truly come rushing back. I remember that it was freezing cold in Washington. I know we all remember that. Yet, despite the frigid temperatures, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the Mall. Nothing was going to stop them from being part of history”.

source


Icons in Black History

by Lisa
Well, Black history month is drawing to a close, and I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to many of the icons (both past and present!) in fashion, beauty, and fabulousness who have undoubtedly played a key role in many of the trends we see today.

There’s no rhyme, nor reason, to my choices, they’re just a few people that I absolutely adore, and who have had a tremendous influence on the GF.

Iman
Beverly Johnson
Diana Ross- Lady Sings the Blues
Diana Ross- Mahogany
Vanessa Williams
Dorothy Dandridge
Chaka Kahn
Josephine Baker
Cicely Tyson
Naomi Sims
Tyra Banks
Halle Berry
Beyonce Knowles
Kerry Washington

all photos courtesy of Google


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