Tarana Burke Announces #MeToo HBCU Tour For Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Posted on 48 2 m read

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and Tarana Burke is looking to continue the #MeToo conversation by going on a tour to several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country. Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, made the announcement on Instagram.

 

“I’m so excited to finally announce this!! This has been a vision of mine for many, many years,” Burke’s caption reads. “Every year during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) college campuses around the country turn their focus towards dealing with sexual violence but very little activity happens on HBCU campuses during SAAM even though we know it’s happening.”

 

Burke says that in 2018 she spoke at more than 70 schools and surprisingly only two of them were HBCUs. She’s looking to change that by teaming up with Yaba Blay to “bring this right to the yard and provide a space for HBCU students to talk, vent, strategize and heal.” Dr. Blay is the creator and producer of a number of online campaigns including #PrettyPeriod – a visual celebration of dark-skinned Black beauty – and #ProfessionalBlackGirl – a web series and digital community dedicated to celebrating everyday, ‘around-the-way’ #BlackGirlMagic.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvNIg-wgkXG/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_loading_state_control

 

“While we are working in service to survivors of sexual violence from all walks of life,  it’s always been about Black people, particularly Black women and girls. This tour is important because we know that Black women make up the majority of the student population at HBCUs,” Burke tells Blavity. “The college tour is an extension of our work to center marginalized communities in the movement to end sexual violence wherever it exists.”

 

According to the MeTooMvmt.org, each stop on the tour will include strategic convenings with campus leaders, a workshop for men and male-identifying individuals, and a fireside chat featuring special guests. The tour will be sponsored by The Root and Lifetime with free admission for the public.

H&M Partners With Environmental Media Association For Its Garment Collecting Initiative

By Posted on 58 2 m read

In an effort to bring awareness to and promote environmental change, H&M USA and Environmental Media Association (EMA) have partnered up in support of H&M’s Garment Collecting initiative.

Launching their clothing collecting initiative in 2013, H&M became the first fashion company to do so worldwide to ensure fewer garments end up in landfills. Through the program, the clothing retailer has been able to collect 163 million pounds of textiles globally. To help spread the word on the importance of promoting environmental progress, they’ve called on celebrities such as Malin Akerman, Constance Zimmer, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Karrueche Tran.

“The Environmental Media Association is proud to partner with H&M to support the Garment Collecting initiative and provide visibility on such an important program that aims to divert millions of pounds of textiles from landfills,” says Debbie Levin, CEO. “Helping people learn about alternatives for their unwanted textiles is an important and exciting step in creating a positive impact on our planet for a more sustainable future.”

If you want to become a part of the environmental change, H&M encourages you to drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they’re sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you’ll receive a discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRB-YwvNkJw&w=560&h=315]

Everyday Habits That Drain Our Energy

How long does it take to form a new habit? Science says 21 days. If these everyday habits apply to you, (which it most likely will), you have 21 days to get rid of it! Of course it’s not going to be as easy as it sounds, but let’s be on our way to getting there!

Here are 20 everyday habits that drain our energy.
  1. Taking things personal
  2. Holding on to the past
  3. Always checking social media
  4. Over-stressing (even in the smallest situation)
  5. Sleeping in late
  6. Not sleeping enough
  7. Procrastinating
  8. Fueling drama
  9. Having a poor diet
  10. Complaining all the time
  11. Doubt
  12. Overthinking
  13. Gossiping
  14. Not living in the moment
  15. Trying to please others
  16. Not taking a moment
  17. Not adjusting to a new work space
  18. Clutter or Disorganization
  19. Having a negative attitude
  20. Over- confidence

Ava DuVernay To Host ‘National Day of Racial Healing’ To Help Fight Inequality & Injustice

Using her platform to urge bold conversations surrounding discrimination and injustice, Ava DuVernay will be hosting this year’s National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday (Jan. 22) at 1 PM PT. This will be a live stream event, so it’s open to the public. If you are a person who cares to end racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society, you should consider joining the conversation.

The ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ director will host the event through her distribution, arts, and advocacy collective ARRAY. Other participants include Stacey Abrams, Laverne Cox, and David Oyelowo.

“The responsibility of fighting inequality and injustice is all of ours,” DuVernay tells Deadline. “But it’s particularly important that those of us with certain visibility and influence use our platforms to urge bold conversations. We can never give up on pushing this nation to live up to its promise.”

Founded in 2016 through a collaborative effort of more than 550 U.S. leaders, the National Day of Racial Healing, which is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, is an annual day to:

  • Reinforce and honor our common humanity, while celebrating the distinct differences that make our communities vibrant.
  • Acknowledge the deep racial divisions that exist in America and must be overcome and healed.
  • Commit to engaging people from all racial and ethnic groups in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another.

“There’s a lot of talking and tweeting these days,” DuVernay continued. “A lot of pontification about where we are as a country and how we arrived here. When Kellogg approached ARRAY about working together on furthering and deepening those conversations, I was all in.”

Again, this event will be live-streamed to the public on Tuesday (Jan. 22). To read more on the National Day of Racial Healing, click here.

Jada Pinkett Smith To Discuss ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ In Two-Part ‘Red Table Talk’ Special

By Posted on 152 1 m read

If you were tuned into Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ documentary last week, then you heard the jaw-dropping stories told by young women, their parents, and former employees, who have experienced or witnessed sexual, mental, and physical abuse at the hands of the self-proclaimed Pied Piper. It has sparked a much-needed conversation amongst the black community regarding not only mental health but the lack of concern and compassion for black girls who have fallen victim to abuse.

Jada Pinkett Smith is looking to continue that conversation with a very special two-part episode of her Facebook Watch series ‘Red Table Talk’, which will focus on the documentary. Jada, her daughter Willow, and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris will be joined by survivor Lisa Van Allen and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, Dr. Candice Norcott. The women will discuss the public’s reaction, warning signs of abuse we all should know, survivor stories, and different paths to healing.

The episodes will air Friday (Jan. 11) and Monday (Jan. 14). Each episode will be available on the ‘Red Table Talk’ show page at 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsd8lkgAqcf/

How Well Do You Know Body Language?: Take This Quiz

By Posted on 0 1 m read

5 Questions That Can Determine How Well You Know Body Language

Answers and scoring available below! Let me know how it goes!

  1. Body posture is a very good way to communicate _______. 
  • a. love.
  • b. disgust.
  • c. dominance.
  • d. attitudes.
  1. In order to distinguish a true (Duchenne) smile from a fake smile, you need to focus on the:
  • a. lips.
  • b. eyes.
  • c. eyebrows.
  • d. cheeks.
  1. It’s said that a genuine smile is almost impossible to produce on command. But what gives away a fake one:
  • a. The smile begins slowly and spreads across the rest of the face. 
  • b. The lack of crinkles around the eyes  
  • The person’s eyes close slightly
  • d. Eyebrows are raised 
  1. True or False 
  • The shape of your face is related to how attractive you are viewed by others.
  1. True or False
  • Being able to gaze into one another’s eyes is a good indicator of love.

Answers 

  1. (C) Posture is important in communicating dominance. 
  2. (B) A true smile (one of happiness) is distinguished because of narrowed eyes and the “crow’s feet” at the corners.
  3. (B) The lack of crinkles around the eyes.
  4. True 
  5. True 

Scoring

Give yourself 25 points for each correct answer. 

Body Language Extraordinaire (100)

Body Language Master (60-80)

Body Language Learner (0-40)

Here’s What Michelle Williams Had To Say To Those Who Say She Doesn’t ‘Look’ Depressed

By Posted on 64 2 m read

She’s beautiful, she’s newly engaged, she’s wealthy, and a member of the multi-platinum selling girl group Destiny’s Child. On the outside looking in, the average person would assume Michelle Williams has not one single care in the world. However, things aren’t always as they seem.

The R&B turned Gospel singer has been very open about her struggles with depression. In July 2018, Williams checked herself into a mental health facility, even admitting that she was suicidal during her prime years as a member of Destiny’s Child.

“I was suicidal, I was to that place where it got so dark and heavy,” she shared during a 2017 interview with The Talk.

Michelle Williams recently took to social media to reveal a statement that was made to her by someone saying, “you don’t look like you’ve been depressed to me!”

So, what does depression look like? If you ask me, it looks like all of us. In a previous post, I mentioned that sometimes I think we forget that celebrities are human too. We ALL go through the up and down emotions of life. Sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re sad, sometimes we’re strong, and sometimes we aren’t. Money and fame is not the medicine for any of it. Celebrities deal with real-life issues as well.

“You don’t look like you’ve been depressed to me!” Michelle Williams shared on Instagram. “I posted about this on Twitter a few weeks ago. That was a statement someone said to me. It almost made me feel guilty for doing the work to feel better, look better and BE BETTER!” She continued, “I began to wonder how long was I supposed to walk around looking like what I had been through. Now don’t get it twisted, I definitely looked and felt a mess but I made the decision to get it together!! I look at new pictures of me now vs 10 weeks ago and I truly thank God for bringing me this far. I hate to have this conversation again because my friends and family know that I’ve been here before. I just want to encourage someone to smile, get up, brush your teeth, comb your hair, shower, put some bronzer on, get a shape up, put some lotion on your ashy ankles, put something nice on.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BocXc0igbF9/?utm_source=ig_embed

Chance The Rapper Donates $1 Million To Mental Health Services In Chicago

By Posted on 157 2 m read

As the discussion surrounding mental health in the black community continues, it seems as though more celebrities are advocating and using their platform to bring awareness to not only making mental health care resources readily available to those in need but to also normalize the conversation and inspire others to get help.

During a summit for his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks, Chance the Rapper announced that he pledges to donate $1 million to mental health services in Chicago.

“With the help of SocialWorks, we want to change the way that mental health resources are being accessed by you,” he said.

SocialWorks has also announced a new initiative, My State of Mind, which aims to unify the broader mental health community and increase the access and visibility of services. As part of Chance’s pledge, six mental health initiatives will receive $100,000 grants.

If you keep up with Chance the Rapper, then you know he’s no stranger to giving back. In 2017, he donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools, describing the donation as a “call to action” to encourage other major Chicago companies to help the community. For the 2018 school year, SocialWorks and Chance teamed up with STATE Bags to donate 30,000 backpacks to children in Chicago. He along with STATE Bags founders Jacq and Scot Tatelman handed out backpacks filled with school supplies to local kids and their families.

“We admire the work we’ve seen by STATE and are proud to partner with them as we work towards enhancing education and conversation around funding formulas nationally,” Chance said.

To read more about SocialWorks, click here.

Gabourey Sidibe To Headline Body Positivity Event ‘theCURVYcon’ During NYFW

By Posted on 0 1 m read

Back for its fourth year during New York Fashion Week, theCURVYcon will be held from September 6th through the 8th and headlined by actress Gabourey Sidibe. For those who are unaware, theCURVYcon is a three-day event that brings plus size brands, fashionistas, shopaholics, bloggers and YouTubers into one space to celebrate body positivity with a lineup of panels and workshops.

The ‘Empire’ actress is set to give a keynote fireside chat at the convention, moderated by the event’s founders, Chαstity Garner Valentine and CeCe Olisa. Joining will also be WWE Superstar Nia Jax, alongside WWE and Total Divas stars Nikki and Brie Bella.

“TheCurvyCon’s goal is to uplift women in a way that will stick with them for the rest of the year,” Garner and Olisa told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Gabourey Sidibe and Nia Jax have conquered their spaces in spite of what the norms are for their industries, showing our attendees they did not let their size dictate their accomplishments. They have both dominated their industries and opened the door for other women and young girls to pursue their goals in these spaces. We are so proud to have these two forces to be a part of theCurvyCon.”

According to Nylon, convention-goers can even have the chance to strut their stuff on the runway. For the first time ever, TheCurvyCon is hosting an open casting call to be part of NYFW.

Taraji P. Henson Launches Mental Health Foundation in Honor of Her Father

By Posted on 69 2 m read

Taraji P. Henson is venturing into the mental health space.

In honor of her father, the Empire actress launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to help erase the shame about mental health in African-American communities.

Through the foundation, scholarships will be provided to African-American students who major in mental health. It will also offer mental health services to kids in urban school “and combat recidivism within the prison system, according to its website.

“I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues,” Henson told PEOPLE.

Henson’s father, Boris Lawrence Henson, suffered from mental health issues following his time in the Vietnam War, according to the Foundation.

“My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support,” she said in her 2016 memoir Around the Way Girl. “I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”

Henson’s father died in 2006 from liver cancer.

The organization will work together with school districts to provide therapists, social workers and counselors to Black children.

“BLHF is breaking the silence by speaking out and encouraging others to share their challenges with mental illness and get the help they need,” Tracie Jenkins, executive director for the foundation, told PEOPLE. “African-Americans have regarded such communication as a sign of weakness and our vision is to change that perception.”

Lala Anthony To Executive Produce BET Documentary On The Dangers of Cosmetic Body Alterations

By Posted on 76 2 m read

There’s a rather interesting documentary headed to BET. Executive produced by Lala Anthony, Killer Curves: Bodies To Die For, will take us inside the lives of several women who will share their experiences with the risky but popular and sometimes fatal side of cosmetic body alterations.

Singer-songwriter and Love & Hip Hop reality star K. Michelle has been very vocal about the dangers of silicone butt injections after making the decision last year to have them removed.

“The first surgery went well, so we thought, until my body started to shut down while I was on tour,” she revealed on Instagram. “I later found out the silicone had spread and I would be rushed back into surgery. Last Wednesday I entered surgery barely functioning with my legs and an infection. The surgery to remove all of this from me lasted a long 6 hours.”

We will hear from other women who will share why they sought to have these procedures done and the consequences they have faced while trying to achieve the “perfect” body.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk1e6AAg5la/?hl=en&taken-by=kmichellemusic

According to BET’s official description of the upcoming documentary, for decades, the ideal female body type was said to be tall and thin. In recent years, however, the rise of video vixens and reality TV stars have redefined and influenced that image in a profound way. Today, thousands of women are resorting to risky body modifications to emulate the exaggerated curves of the hottest pop culture female figures. The documentary features a range of voices.

Killer Curves: Bodies To Die For is scheduled to air on BET Wednesday, August 8th at 8PM EST.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpmD3LSLk1c]

HBO To Premiere ‘Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland’ Documentary

By Posted on 0 2 m read

Three years following her tragic and mysterious death, filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner are working to ensure the discussion that Sandra Bland started continues on.

Later this year, HBO will release a documentary titled ‘Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland.’ In 2015, Sandra, a politically active 28-year-old black woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, Sandra was found hanging in her jail cell. Although her death was ruled a suicide, it sparked a national outrage with allegations of racially-motivated police murder and left us all wondering what really happened to Sandra Bland.

Sandra would often upload inspirational video blogs titled “Sandy Speaks,” where she would educate her audience on everything from black history to police brutality to the importance of natural hair. Kate Davis and David Heilbroner will use these videos to allow Sandra to commentate her own documentary. The footage left behind by Sandra provided insight to the filmmakers on exactly who she was and what she stood for.

“Sandy’s message was: We need to listen to one another,” said Heilbroner. “So we felt we couldn’t make the film without listening to their point of view. I don’t agree with everything they say, but that’s not the point.”

He noted his background as a prosecutor in Manhattan helped get interviews with the Waller County authorities.

Sandra Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal hopes sharing her daughter’s story will spark the change this country needs. “By continuing to show her story and tell her story, somewhere, somehow it’s going to change,” she said.

‘Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland’ is set to premiere on HBO in December.