Thursday, December 30, 2010

A History of Bad Boy Fails

LOL, I found this hilarious article on BVX called "Don't Sign With Diddy: A History of Bad Boy Fails" and I had to share parts of it with you all:

1. Craig Mack

Years Signed: 1994-1995, 2005

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Before Craig Mack was completely obscure, he had been reduced to a punchline. After the release of his gold debut album, 'Project: Funk Da World,' the only time you'd hear his name was when rappers were comparing something's ugliness to his face. Harsh. The beginning of the end of Mack's rap career came with the 'Flava in Ya Ear' remix, on which Mack was outshined by every one featured on the song (except for Rampage Da Last Boyscout).

Prior to the remix's release, Mack had a hit single with the original and was destined for stardom. But after the remix dropped, everyone forgot about Mack, thanks to a fellow named Biggie Smalls and a dancing Puff Daddy Diddy. Where's Craig Mack these days? We don't know, and sadly we doubt you care.

2. Total

Years Signed:

Fail Rating:
4 out of 5 Diddys

People often question the singing ability of artists like Rihanna and Cassie, but there's been a long history of R&B divas with suspect talent. Back in '95, Sean Combs introduced the trio Total and the next phase of the hip-hop/R&B movement he helped usher in with Mary J. Blige. There was Kima, the skinny, screechy one; Keisha, the sexy one with the short cut who could kinda sing; and then Pam, the tall one everyone thought was a lesbian.

Their debut single, 'Can't You See,' featuring Notorious B.I.G. was a huge urban radio hit, and the Jersey girls released a platinum self-titled debut album and were subsequently christened "The Bad Girls of R&B." Their follow-up album 'Kima, Keisha and Pam,' went gold, but then they dropped an underwhelming single, 'Sittin' Home.' And, in true Bad Boy fashion, Diddy dropped them and forgot about any of their previous successes...

8. Fuzz Bubble

Years Signed:

Fail Rating:
5 out of 5 Diddys

Remember when Diddy said he signed a rock band? We don't either...

13. Cassie

Years Signed:

Fail Rating:
1 out of 5 Diddys

Like anybody else would sign Cassie because of her "talent." She got over because of her looks and has been Diddy's side chick for years (dispute that if you really want to). Listen, when the most significant thing in your music career has nothing to do with music, you're doing okay. Who cares if she doesn't release another song? Obviously she doesn't. The picture says it best: "What the hell am I doing here?"

To read the list in its hilarious entirety, click here. I recommend it! Jay Electronica, I'm not mad at you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Straight British Couple Seeks "Gay" Partnership

 Because Gay people want to get married, but straight people don't. 

Straight from the "WTH" file, this story from MSNBC:

"Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle are in love and want to tie the knot — but they don't want to get married. The 26-year-old Londoners think they should be allowed to have a civil partnership, a form of legal union available in Britain only to same-sex couples. Gay rights activists are backing the couple's bid in an attempt to legalize gay marriage.

"We want to secure official status for our relationship in a way that supports the call for complete equality and is free of the negative, sexist connotations of marriage," Freeman said according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"We are taking this stand against discrimination and in support of legal equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation," he said.

Doyle and Freeman were refused a permit Tuesday from their local town hall, setting up a likely appeal.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who accompanied Doyle and Freeman at the Islington registry office, said "denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership is heterophobic."

Marriage and civil partnership are virtually identical in law, and activists think both should be open to all couples.

Britain introduced civil partnerships in 2005."

Um, what is "heterophobic"? Is it something like "heteronormative"?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blog Repost: 'Tis The Season for The Prosperity Gospel

Dear FAR Readers:

I'm suffering through what I'll describe as the Bubonic Plague of 2010. So while I recover, please enjoy this repost. And pray for me!

Bible Bling! The famous trio of gifts for baby Jesus.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I know I did with my amazing hubby. I'm also enjoying some time off of work, too, so I'm feeling extra happy.
I'm not feeling so happy about this CNN story called "Passions over 'prosperity gospel':Was Jesus wealthy?". Below is an excerpt:

"Each Christmas, Christians tell stories about the poor baby Jesus born in a lowly manger because there was no room in the inn.

But the Rev. C. Thomas Anderson, senior pastor of the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, preaches a version of the Christmas story that says baby Jesus wasn't so poor after all.
Anderson says Jesus couldn't have been poor because he received lucrative gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says.
"Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson. "Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation."
Many Christians see Jesus as the poor, itinerant preacher who had "no place to lay his head." But as Christians gather around the globe this year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, another group of Christians are insisting that Jesus' beginnings weren't so humble.
They say that Jesus was never poor -- and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts."

I'm not sure why CNN chose to run this story on Christmas itself, since it highlights yet another divisive controversy within Christianity while simultaneously shining light on crass materialism as opposed to our Lord. I should expect no more from a secular outlet, though, so let's examine some of the claims made. First, regarding the gifts, I don't see how the expensive presents given by the Wisemen reveal much of anything about the recipients' wealth. Instead, the Magi's gifts show Jesus' royalty. They gave costly gifts to the Prince of Peace (for one explanation on the gifts, click here).

Second, whether Jesus' garments were expensive or not can be debated, but I believe the real significance of the soldiers gambling over it is the fulfillment of prophesy. Psalms 22:18 says: "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." The entire 22nd chapter of Psalms foretells Jesus' suffering, and this verse specifically deals with the Roman soldiers making bets to collect the robe off the back of "The King of the Jews."

Third, I can't find a single passage of Scripture stating Joseph and Mary were rich. We know Joseph was a carpenter, but little else. Interestingly, we are told in Luke 2:24 that the new parents, while presenting the newborn Jesus in the temple according to Mosaic Law, made a sacrifice of "a pair of doves or two young pigeons". The significance? This gift was an acceptable sacrifice for those who DID NOT have money! Observant Jews of means would have given a costlier gift of a lamb.

Fourth, I find the comparison of a donkey and a Caddy silly. While a starving person would kill their donkey for the meat, a poor person might not. Again, the Scriptures don't list Jesus' parents' finances, but I believe the fact they rode on a donkey showed they weren't loaded. Rich folks would probably ride on camels (and I won't compare them to Maybachs). In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus says about Himself that He had no place to lay His head. Does this mean He was homeless? I don't know, but all through the Gospel, Jesus was about His Father's business, showing little concern to physical comforts, let alone amassing wealth.

Jesus did assure His followers that God would meet their needs, though, so we know God will have our backs. Let me make this clear: Being wealthy is not a sin, and I don't have anything against having money. It is the LOVE of money that is wrong. Why? Because God is jealous, and we cannot serve two masters. This is why I find the Prosperity Gospel so poisonous. It spends so much time pushing what believers can receive from God, it neglects God! Whether it's money, love, happiness or health, Christians should never let the things of this world and our desires for them cause us to stray from our objective to serve God.

I often hear people who follow the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel or the Word of Faith Movement talk about being "favored" by God or receiving His "favor." They use these terms to describe receiving a blessing, many times material. I was listening to a radio program last week which was dedicated to the Christmas story. These verses from Luke 1 were read:

26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Twice in these verses we read the angel of the Lord refer to Mary as having favor with God. Indeed, being chosen to be the mother of Jesus was a true blessing. But think of all Mary would experience. The 29th verse showed her being very troubled about receiving God's favor and she had reason to be. Pregnant and engaged? Enough to be stoned. Even after the Incarnation, Mary seemed to be worried or perplexed a lot (Luke 2:19, 48-51). She wondered if her Son had lost his marbles (Mark 3:21), and who knows what she thought about him referring to His followers as His family as opposed to her (Mark 3:33-35). And because of her favor from God, Mary also watched as the Son she once held in her arms was hung on a cross and brutally murdered (John 19).

Mary's experience of receiving favor from God is in sharp contrast to what Prosperity Preachers push to the masses. When I read the Bible, those who received God's favor were not just blessed, but also challenged and many times, suffered much. Because to be favored means to not just receive, but to give, since the Lord is actually setting that person apart to be used in His service. What better blessing can one have then to be used by God? Like Mary, all who are called to serve the Lord should say "yes" and magnify Him (Luke 2), being thankful to receive such favor, with all it may entail.
Note: This post originally appeared on December 28, 2009.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fashion: Do My Ears Deceive Me?

Nope, they don't, since earrings are a cool and cute way to bring sparkle to your wardrobe, especially during the holiday season. Check out these styles:

You won't be singing the blues with a pair of these Rachel Stewart Billie Holiday earrings. If you're not feeling jazzy, you can check out the ribbons in the sky with Stevie, or moonwalk with Michael by clicking here.

No moody blues here, just serenity now with these Natures Handmade Jewelry originals. Beautiful  and intricate, I added spice to an all black outfit with pretty blue. Check out more by clicking here.

Bling and brass with these heavy metal hoops from Mandee. They might be tough, but I can tell you they're not on your ears- this pair is surprisingly lightweight. Click here.

Tied up in a neat little bow- Just as bows are reappearing on dresses, shoes, and hair accessories, you can also make a statement with little studs of all colors by stopping in at Mandee. 

Prefer a more classic look? Nothing like diamonds and pearls for a timeless finish to any outfit. I got these from Wal-Mart.

Have a cute pair of earrings you want to show off? Email me at

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Truly Thankful

I received a letter from my friend David which captured a typical day in his and his family's lives- and showed a true spirit of thankfulness. I asked if I could share it and he said yes, so here goes:

"...The year 2010 has been one of incredible change! So much has happened. So much has transpired that forced us well beyond our comfort zone. But we are the stronger and wiser for it. 

I'll tell you right now, our kids are nuts. Sapphira has absolutely no fear, and Benaiah is a maniac. Their antics devour the lion's share of each day's activity. But in it, there is something beautiful. I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I wanted today. Though what exactly I hoped to accomplish remains in question. I tried to read a book, study a poem, and analyze a championship game chess game. Instead I spent time with my kids. (More like they forcefully invaded my space and comandeered the chess set!) I chaffed inwardly over the loss "productivity" but somehow knew I was thinking foolishly. At the end of my life, I'll not remember a line from a poem, the theme of a novel, nor the decisive move in a chess game, but the times I spent with my wife and children will be with me forever.

Love is miraculous like that. It's a good life, no? For all the antics and difficulties life so readily offers, we have love, and love is enough...."

I cannot say it better myself. Happy Thanksgiving.                

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Facebook

Must be a commandment Moses forgot to jot down. Or Jesus missed mentioning in the Beatitudes. From the New York Post:

"Thou shalt not commit adultery. And thou also shalt not use Facebook.

That's the edict from a New Jersey pastor who feels the two often go together.

The Rev. Cedric Miller said 20 couples among the 1,100 members of his Living Word Christian Fellowship Church have run into marital trouble over the last six months after a spouse connected with an ex-flame over Facebook.

Because of the problems, he is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions. He had previously asked married congregants to share their login information with their spouses and now plans to suggest that they give up Facebook altogether.

"I've been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half," he said. "What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great."

Miller is married and has a Facebook account that he uses to keep in touch with six children, but he will heed his own advice and cancel his account this weekend.

On Sunday, he plans to "strongly suggest" that all married people to stop using Facebook, lest they endanger their marriage.

"The advice will go to the entire church," he said. "They'll hear what I'm asking of my church leadership. I won't mandate it for the entire congregation, but I hope people will follow my advice."

Miller said he has spoken from the pulpit before about the dangers of Facebook, asking married couples to give each other their passwords to the site.

"Some did. Others got scared and deleted their accounts right away. And some felt it was none of my business and continued on," he said.

Miller said he has gotten a mostly positive response so far among the leaders subject to his edict, which was first reported by the Asbury Park Press."

Um, question to the Rev: do you think adultery just became popular with the invention of social networking? Because if Moses was chiseling it was a sin into stone thousands of years ago, I'm going to go with "no."

Read more:

Marriage? It's Gone The Way Of The VCR

Is this happy family obsolete?

Not surprisingly, but definitely disturbing, four in ten Americans say marriage, that timeless institution is now obsolete. From MSNBC:

"As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren't needed to have a family.

A study by the Pew Research Center highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together.

About 29 percent of children under 18 now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married, a fivefold increase from 1960, according to the Pew report being released Thursday. About 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated and 14 percent have parents who were never married.Within those two groups, a sizable chunk — 6 percent — have parents who are live-in couples who opted to raise kids together without getting married.

According to the Pew survey, 39 percent of Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete. And that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over.

In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete.

When asked what constitutes a family, the vast majority of Americans agree that a married couple, with or without children, fits that description. But four of five surveyed pointed also to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three out of five people said a same-sex couple with children is a family.

"Marriage is still very important in this country, but it doesn't dominate family life like it used to," said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University. "Now there are several ways to have a successful family life, and more people accept them."...

"The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found."

To read the entire story, click here. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fall for These Fashions!

I've decided to go ahead and do a Fashion post since my "Be My Guest" Fashion Contributor Ameerah has been too busy to...contribute. :-(

But she has been awesome with picking out hair accessories for me, so I'm not upset, he he. So first up:

Get Your Head Right!

 Here Ameerah models a pretty yellow scarf that can be worn all year round. Although we typically drape scarves around our necks or shoulders to keep warm, there's no reason we can't wrap them dramatically around our heads, a la Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

Here I contemplate which headband I'll wear next while wearing this double strand floral print one. It has an expandable back, so it'll stretch to fit girls with even the thickest of hair, like me, lol. By the way, Ameerah picked this out!

 I am a hat girl, so this time of year is especially fun for me since I can pull out my collection. Here, my sister Joscelyne (yeah, we both have the same glasses, lol) wears an army green wool cap with visor. It has been popular the past couple of seasons thanks to the trend in military inspired gear.

Naomi's horizon is bright... and so is her richly patterned headband. A simple ponytail is transformed into a harmonious hair do with the right accessory.

 Go Billie Holliday classic- with a funky 80's spin all updated for the new millennium. Here I wear a purple flower with a clip that can also double as a pin for jackets for a Carrie Bradshaw-look.

 Chammine shows how Men's style can easily be tailored for the Ladies with this cute, flipped brim fedora. A mix of red, pink, baby blue and purple softens the light brown.

Tre chic! Ameerah wears a pretty pink beret to add splash to a gray and black ensemble. Don't be afraid to add a dash of color to accent an outfit.

Like a warm cozy sweater- for your head! Kathy pairs a wool brimmed cap similar to Joscelyne's in style with a fuzzy green scarf and tan insulated coat. Her hat works to pull the earth tones of her whole outfit- down to her earrings- together nicely.

 Practical and fashionable- here the scarf works to hold back Cat's thick long curls so she can focus on her art. Where Ameerah's scarf screams for attention, Cat's sheer black number subtlety draws attention by matching the sheen and color of her blouse.

Feeling daring? Or just really cold??? Lol. Take a chance on an eskimo-style hat like Amber's. For all my animal-loving readers, remember, faux fur is a safe alternative.

Yajaira shows off perhaps THE biggest fashion statement this year- the bow. The bow has made a reappearance on shoes, socks, dresses, skirts, shirts, and even jewelry. So of course it would make sense this simple look- both girlish and lady-like, would be all the rage as hair clips and on headbands.

Have a picture you want to submit showcasing your head-of-the-class style? Email me at!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Be My Guest: "Kanye's Conceit" by Rising Pheonix

 Kanye wages an epic battle... with his mouth.

Earlier today on Twitter I posted a link to an MSNBC story on how Kanye West canceled his scheduled Black Friday performance on the "Today Show":

"The hip-hop star announced the news in a tweet posted Friday morning. "I'm not performing on the Today Show for obvious reasons," he wrote.

On Thursday, TODAY aired an interview with West that focused on his comments about former President George W. Bush's reaction after Hurricane Katrina.

West took offense to how the interview was handled. TODAY maintains he was treated no differently than any other guest."

My friend Cat, also known as the Rising Pheonix, who I profiled here, wrote this great response. Too great for just a combox, so I'm posting it here:

"Here are my thoughts on the link you posted on Twitter with the Kanye Interview. I just HAD to let you know what I thought. ♥This just reinforces my dislike of the way Kanye carries himself. His attitude and his immediate annoyance when it comes to little things is what gets him into trouble.  

...1. Don't act on impulse, and people will actually ask you about... what you're doing, not what you've done.

 2. Don't get upset over trivial things. 

He, of all people, knows that life is bigger than that.The fact that he canceled his concert with the TODAY show is ridiculous. Just shows he should have done research on the interview protocol BEFORE HAND so he could either know what would happen (concerning clips) OR cancel the interview.

P.S. In the interview he says, "I did not know the power of my words" referring to when he called Bush a racist on air during Hurricane Katrina. Um... excuse me... Kanye? How could you not know the power of your words when you're a rapper?"

Considering West's new media trainer has just quit, it looks like it would be best for Kanye to quickly realize the power of his words.

Five Anglican Bishops "Defect" to Rome

From TIME:

When Pope Benedict XVI made his historic visit to the U.K. back in September, the images and message were all about peace, reconciliation and understanding between churches and faiths. His meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on Sept. 17 was particularly seen as part of the long healing process between the Anglican church and the Vatican. Fast-forward seven weeks, and that process seems to have shuddered to a halt. On Nov. 8, five Church of England bishops announced that they have "defected" and will convert to Catholicism — sparking talk of the biggest crisis to hit the church since 1534, when Henry VIII needed to swap wives without the Vatican's consent and broke away from Rome.

Both the Pope and the Archbishop have been well aware of this simmering split for some time, but chose not to publicly highlight it during the papal visit, which was already being marred by demonstrations over Benedict's attitude to homosexuals and women — two of the very issues that have led to this latest fracture.

Indeed, the Pope had virtually ensured there would be defections by clergy who are steadfastly opposed to the ordination of women bishops, gay priests and gay marriage when, almost a year ago, he made it clear he was ready to offer a deal to allow disaffected Anglicans to convert to Catholicism without being forced to abandon all their traditions. The move was immediately branded as "poaching," with Williams expressing his "concerns" over the way it was handled and the lack of consultation.

But is this the start of an irreparable schism within the church, with large numbers of clergy and worshippers taking up the pope's offer — described by one bishop as an offer they couldn't refuse? Or is it a minor crack that will see only a few hard-line traditionalists breaking away, and perhaps allowing the rest to carry on in a more unified way?

The Archbishop appeared relatively relaxed over the affair when he issued a short, simple statement on Monday noting his "regret" at the bishops' decision. "We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the church," he added. "And I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labors in the Church of England over so many years."

But one of the bishops, John Broadhurst, told the Times of London he believes there will be significant further defections amongst the clergy and perhaps thousands of ordinary churchgoers. "There are lots of people interested," he said. "Some are actively looking at it. A lot of people are saying they will wait and see how it develops." Although it's a tough decision, he said, considering how Rome is not offering to replace the homes or salaries of any defectors, "I suspect thousands, not hundreds, of laity will go."

In the statement announcing their defection, the bishops declare that they feel recent developments in the church are incompatible with traditional Anglicanism. They argue, for example, that Jesus only chose men as his disciples so women should not become bishops. Campaigners such as Women and the Church (WATCH), however, point out that the church has regularly adapted its stance on controversial issues. Spokeswoman Rev Rosie Harper told the BBC: "That has been the story of the church. We worked out eventually that it wasn't God's will we should have slaves, and worked out we shouldn't be racist."

According to Church of England figures, there are 12,894 parishes in the U.K., of which 802 have refused to accept women celebrating holy communion and 966 refuse to accept a woman as a vicar. Two of the men taking up the pope's offer are so-called "flying bishops", so named because they were given the job of looking after those parishes that would not accept the ordination of women.

Read more:,8599,2030566,00.html#ixzz15NcADUHA

Blended Beauty For This Mixed Chick

So, it's been eight months since I took a hit of creamy crack. I'll admit, I had forgotten in the 9 years of relaxing just how thick and wavy my natural hair is. I've been reminded by all that dark (my sis says it's 1B in the world of weave; I have no clue) new growth sprouting out all over my head. In order to properly handle the two textured hair (that's actually not accurate as my hair has always been multi-textured), I stocked up on a number of conditioning and moisturizing products.

Here is a review of the ones I've tried and a rating from 1 to 5 of my experience using it. I'll say this- my experience is just that- MY experience. I have hair that I believe ranges from 3C to 4A, and to top it off, my hair's curl is less coily and more wavy but VERY thick. So please don't take this to mean this product review will work for everyone. Also note my hair is still transitioning out, and when I first tried some of these products I had less natural hair.

With that said, on to the products!:

  • Miss Jessie's Curly Meringue: I decided to try this even though I read a lot of negative reviews about it online. And I love it! I like it because it works on both my relaxed ends and my thick new growth, without being sticky, greasy or heavy. It actually sets my hair, whether I've rolled, scrunched or twisted it.
Positives: Great for transitioning. Thick without weighing down my locks. Definite hold without the messy problems of gel.
Negatives: Expensive. This was probably the priciest of all the products I ordered. But to me, it was worth it. Also,be careful not to use too much, or the product will just sit on your hair or even flake when it dries. Also, you'll still want to use some type of leave-in or oil sheen for daily use to keep your hair shiny, soft and conditioned.
Bottom Line: Get it. I give it a 4. Use it with Miss Jessie's Buttercreme and Miss Jessie's Super Sweetback Treatment. I recommend all three.

  • Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner: If Miss Jessie's gets trashed online, then this has been rolled into the dump! I still decided to try it anyway. It left my hair very soft and conditioned. So soft actually, I was shocked. I wound up lending it to my mother, who is multiracial and has hair that ranges from maybe 2C to 3C and very thick. I never got it back! I also used it on my half Irish nephew, who has hair that's about a 2A-2C and not only did it leave it perfectly coiffed that day, but for the next few days.
Positives: Really does leave hair soft, even on a variety of textures. No heavy scent, so it's good for women, men and kids.
Negatives: You're going to be spending money here, too. Also, while it conditions all types of hair, it didn't provide much control for me. It DID keep my mother's curls in line, and as stated above, left my nephews hair immaculate, which is saying a lot since he's 9 and tends to destroy any sign of neatness through play.
Bottom Line: Depends on what you're looking for and your hair type. I give it a 2.5 for me, but a 5 for my nephew, Nate.

  • Blended Beauty Curl Cleansing Conditioner: Let me just say it flat. I would NOT have lasted too long in this natural journey without using this product. About 3 months in, I tried it, along with a wide tooth comb while washing/conditioning my hair in the shower and realized I could actually DO MY OWN HAIR, lol. This eventually became my co-wash of choice because it removed build up without stripping my hair. And also, my hair stopped falling out (really).

Positives: Leaves hair soft, manageable and clean. Conditions well. Helps prevent breakage. Affordable.
Negatives: You'll have to order this online, as, like most great products, it's not sold in stores.
Bottom Line: Get it. I give it a 4.5. Use with Blended Beauty Curly Frizz Pudding for leave-in softness daily with some hold.

  • Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter: Such a lovely product, it smells great, conditions and maintains my two strand twist outs from first twist to touch ups. It left my hair noticeably shiny, too. My mom kept commenting on how healthy my hair looked when I used it.
Positives:One of the more affordable products, a small container lasted about a month since I only had to use a small amount to achieve my desired style. Keeps frizzies at bay.
Negatives: Another online one. And it took a while to actually get to me. Be careful not to use too much or you will have quite noticeable flakes.
Bottom Line: Get it. This is one of my favs and I'll most likely use it again as I pretty much wear my hair in two strand twist outs all the time now. I give it a 4.

  • EcoStyler Krystal Gel. Okay, I'm NOT a big fan of gel, period. Many of them have alcohol, leaves my hair hard, crunchy, sticky or flaky. But- there are times when I have run out of time and I got just tie a scarf on my head and go. Although, some times, I do, lol. For emergency moments, I would recommend EcoStyler.
Positives:I was floored when I put this on my hair and it seemed to magically wave up in seconds like I was Genuwine circa 1997. Even my kinkiest sections turned to shiny little coils, while other parts of my hair became ringlets. Also, while my hair did become firm, it did not crunch. It's available at most drugstores and is super cheap (like $2.99).
Negatives: Unlike the other products above, this is NOT a conditioner but a curl activating gel. While it's not chock full of alcohol, it definitely does not leave my hair soft the next day like leave-in conditioners. I'll also point out the obvious: gel is not cold winter friendly. It's cold, wet and living in the Northeast, is not a state I'd want my head to be in when I step out the house in the morning to go to work. It's now really relegated to slicking down "baby" hairs on quickly adding shine when I put one side of my poof up. Wet and wear, while fine in August is so a no-go for me now. Head colds aren't worth it.
Bottom Line: You spend more for a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks. Get it. I give it a 3.5 overall and 4.5 in the category of gels. Even if it doesn't work for your hair, it will probably work for someone you know, so I doubt you'd regret the buy. Also try their Olive Oil gel.

  • Pantene Relaxed & Natural Leave-In Conditioner. This smells YUMMY!!! So yummy my two year old niece Sophia got into it and rubbed it not just on her hair but on her arms, legs and face, lol. Creamy and thick, it actually worked on both parts of my transitioning hair.
Positives:Great for daily use (although if I were relaxing now, I probably would use it twice a week on account of the thickness of the product), it leaves hair shiny and soft. I like to apply this product right after washing my hair while it's still damp because it makes it even easier to comb through. It also can be used on different types of hair. My niece Sophia has hair in the 2c-3a range and is very soft and the Pantene left her hair neat for over a day (which sounds like a small amount of time, but being that she usually wrecks her hair within 30 minutes, that is saying a lot). It also works well for twist and braid outs.
Negatives: While it conditions, don't expect much for definition (at least I didn't get much, but Sophia did). A quick fix to that, though is use this product and then the EcoStyler- you'll end up with both.
Bottom Line: While you're at Walgreens for the EcoStyler, get this, too. Not too pricey, easily available, and really smells salon-nice. I give it a 3.5.

I'll stop my review here, but I'll do another one soon (hopefully, lol). I do want you all to check out yours truly over at Pretty Natural Divas, where I was featured on Saturday along with a group of other natural beauties. Check it out here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Father Sues School District Over Reading About Slavery

Sigh. I guess people will sue over anything, these days. From Black America Web:

"The father of a black student has sued a Detroit-area school district claiming that his daughter was racially harassed by a fifth-grade teacher's reading aloud from a book about slavery.

The suit claims Jala Petree's teacher at Margaret Black Elementary School in Sterling Heights read excerpts from Julius Lester's "From Slave Ship to Freedom Road" that contain racial epithets and racist characterizations, The Macomb Daily reported.

The suit against Warren Consolidated Schools was filed Nov. 3 in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens, according to court records. It was filed by Jala's father, Jamey Petree, and seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

District spokesman Bob Freehan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the district hasn't been served with the suit but plans a vigorous defense. He said the excerpts were read last school year during a unit to prepare students for Black History Month.

The reading was from supplemental material provided by a textbook company, Freehan said, and following the reading students were involved in what he called a "positive" discussion about the excerpts.

The lawsuit claims the reading has "affected the conditions of learning duties and the advantages of her further education, and seriously affected her mental and emotional well-being, past, present and future."

Lawyer Scott E. Combs, who is representing the family, told The Detroit News that letters and calls to the district failed to remedy the family's concerns over the literature and the parents eventually pulled the child from the district.

"I tried long and hard to get answers and an explanation from the school," he said.

Freehan, however, said the school has given the family and its lawyer detailed responses. He said family didn't inquire about the lesson until April, more than three months after the lesson was presented."

I did a quick Google search and found this information on the Scholastic site about the book:

"An innovative picture book for older children, this unique collaboration addresses the history of slavery, while demanding the attention and interaction of readers of all races. Julius Lester, whose To Be a Slave was a Newbery Honor Book, uses eloquent text to interpret 24 of Rod Brown's magnificent paintings — part of a series of 36 that the artist created over seven years. Together, images and words reenact the 250-year journey from the first slave ships taking Africans forcibly from their homes, to the Civil War and emancipation. Aching with emotion — occasionally hope, but predominantly pain, fear, and anger — Brown's paintings depict such difficult truths as whippings and lynchings, the bodies of Africans floating near slave ships in the ocean, an angry slave tending white children, attempted escapes, and eventually, the final, joyful road to freedom . . . and a new uncertainty..."

I found this quote from the author, Julius Lester:

"I was born in 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. When I was two my family and I moved to Kansas. As a teenager, I lived in Nashville, Tennessee, spending most of my summers at my grandmother's farm in Arkansas. Growing up, I wanted to be a musician. I was not a good writer and I never dreamed I'd become an award-winning author....

With the advice of my publisher, I started writing children's books. My first book for children was To Be a Slave. My interest in slavery was personal because three of my great-grandparents had been slaves. The need to know more about my individual past led me to begin studying slavery, and once I did, my interest grew and I became intrigued by the challenge of trying to imagine what it was like to have been a slave. I wanted to communicate to others that those we call slaves were really human beings, human beings pretty much like us..."

Okay, so using this argument, schools should throwout "Huck Finn", "Roots", "Queen", "The Bluest Eye", "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Native Son", "Beloved", "Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman", "The Color Purple", "The Invisible Man"... I'll stop here, but I think reasonable readers will get the point. This lawsuit is garbage and really speaks to the greed of this father rather than racism.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Twenty Questions: November 10th

1.) Are you happy Conan is back?

2.) Are you surprised he beat the pants off Leno opening night?

3.)Do you know rich Americans charitable donations have dropped by more than a third in the last 2 years- exactly when these groups need the money the most?

4.) From divorce to dating: do you think it's too soon for Christina Aguilera to be out with a new man?

5.) So... we're NOT getting out of Afghanistan next year after all, huh?

6.) Do you already have Christmas decorations up? Really? Not Advent, but Christmas?

7.) Do you know some 12,000 American Muslims will be making a pilgrimage to Mecca in a few days?

8.) Ah, last time I checked, people need to be 18 in order to get permanently inked. Unless of course Mom or Dad says it's alright. So who do you think okayed Miley's chest tat? Billy Ray or Ma?

9.) If you won 11 million dollars, would you give most of it away to good causes and family?

10.) Kind of makes you rethink question number three, huh?

11.) Even though President Obama has repeatedly reached out to the Muslim community worldwide, can you believe he's being met with protests in Indonesia for being a hoax?

Poor Mike Myers. I bet he totally didn't that storm coming.

12.) Kanyeezy "apologized" to former President Bush on the "Today Show" for that whole "not caring about Black people" incident five years ago. How do you think Bush responded?

13.) Um, maybe I should take number 12 back? According to a Tweeting Kanye, "Matt Lauer" forced his answers.

14.) So is that an apology or not? *confused*

15.) Is Kinect racist?

16.) Do you think this White Vermont barber was being racist by refusing to cut a Black man's hair?

17.) Is it just me, but isn't it telling about today's society that HuffPo's new "Divorce" section gets more favorable feedback then their "Religion" section?

 A very icky "Situation"- pushing Mike Sorrentino's abs to the "I Carly" crowd.

18.) Is it kind of gross Nickelodeon airs a commercial featuring the abs of "Jersey Shore" cast member "The Situation" during the kid friendly hours after school? I think the ad, to send a text to some number to get sexy pictures sent to your phone, is icky. And especially pathetic that Viacom wants to suck in the kiddies straight to MTV.

19.) Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended, doesn't seem abysmally dark out at like 5PM now?

20.) Kanye, Bush, Kanye, Matt, Kanye... Since Taylor Swift is at the top of the charts for the second week in a row, do you think she's having the last laugh?

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