Video: Jada Pinkett Smith On Drug Abuse, Resentment and Love; Willow On Her Change Of Heart & More

By Posted on 64 2 m read
Last week, we made note that Jada Pinkett Smith would be releasing a mini-documentary on Mother’s Day of the groundbreaking discussion she had with her daughter, Willow, and mother, Adrienne.  And it turned out to be much more than I would’ve expected.  From her mother Adrienne expressing her pitfalls with drug abuse and the effect it had on Jada’s upbringing; Jada’s opening up about the difficulty of balancing life; and Willow’s change of heart about singing and dancing in the spotlight.  Peep Willow’s touching reaction following the taping of the Red Table Talk below, and follow up with the actual footage from the Red Table Talk where Jada, Adrienne, and Willow openly express their heart-felt opinions and questions to one another.

The red table begins with the spotlight on Mama Pinkett, who opens up for the first time in front of Willow about her drug habit she suffered with during Jada’s upbringing, the pitfalls it made between the two, and how they overcame on their own terms.
What I look for is the power in all things…  I didn’t go to college.  I learned all that on the streets.  So it’s all relative.  That’s why it’s very difficult to look at something and go ‘that’s right; that’s wrong.’  Because you don’t know.  You don’t know where your gift life; you don’t know where your treasures are.  You just go with the flow and make the best of it.
Jada Pinkett opens up about how she has struggled with balancing her world, and the contrast with modern-day society’s pressure on women to reality.
You have to understand that life is a journey; communication creates partnerships…  That we can’t make your life for you and we can’t help you with the things that we don’t know… And you always have to remember to take care of you first and foremost, because when you stop taking care of yourself, you get out of balance, and you really forget how to take care of others.
The table turns on Willow, when she is asked about her aspirations in life and how they have seemingly changed from being a singer and dancer to something other, still in the making.  They discuss the perils of being famous and the journey to come with finding yourself.
And I’ll tell you what makes being famous difficult for you, and it was the same for me: you lose your freedom.
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The Super Ugly: Lisa Turtle, Skin Bleach, And Self-Love

By Posted on 59 4 m read

Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle dominated the television stream in the 90s alongside her counterparts in the hit TV Series “Saved By The Bell.”  As one of two characters that helped expand the show with diversity, she was known as Screech’s crush and almost every young man’s dream with glowing brown skin and vibrant eyes.  One of the first African-Americans to take such a position on day television as a heart-throb/sweetheart.  But yesterday, she made an uncanny appearance on my Twitter timeline, consistently, with the attached picture below.

Well, my initial reaction was make-up.  I’ve seen many of African-American women on television as victim of horrible make-up; choosing the incorrect tone to match your own will make the difference between a clown and a Naomi Campbell.  And to keep it frank: it’s due to the lack of properly tinted products and educated artists for melanated skin.  So it was my optimistic approach to the situation that Voorhies was such a victim.  That is, until I saw the video.

Of course everyone’s jumping to conclusions, and she may very well have an explanation for this atrocity… Possibly she has a skin disease; maybe she has a sort of nutrient deficiency; or for kicks, let’s say she decided to put foundation on her entire body.  Maybe it’s just skin lightening.

The world has a long history with skin bleach and skin lightening.  It’s biggest consumers today are in Japan, India and the Pacific, imported from countries around Europe and sold worldwide.  The first controversial skin bleaching much of us are familiar with is that of Michael Jackson.  But it later came to pass that he actually suffered a skin condition– Vitiligo.  Choosing to be completely off-white instead of patchy was his true decision, rather than what most initially thought it was: a lack of self-love.

Skin bleaching is similar in theory to plastic surgery, and many of times the two come hand-in-hand.  For every Beyonce photo lightened for the covers of your favorite White-friendly magazine, is another young Black woman wondering why the darkness of her skin holds her back from such an accomplishment.  And every rap song epitomizing the “red bone” and “light skin bad b***” as the ultimate image of a beautiful woman in our world, even among African-Americans, there’s another young Black man learning to cherish this image as the same.

As a brown-skin woman myself, I never grew up with such insecurities– thank the progressive mother and father.  But I had noticed it in others.  Particularly around the time Lil Kim‘s transformation began to be more apparent, I became more of a Foxy Brown kind of girl (but still a fan of both).  And to look at old photos of Lil Kim that actually image myself –opposed to her latest photos– are disheartening.  While much of the media’s superiority to white and light skin has obviously taken a toll, there is a responsibility that all humans must take for their own actions.  I’ve never once heard Lil Kim address these changes to her body.

But if you take a stroll over to South Africa, you may see why.  Mshoza, a South African Kwaito singer, recently made headlining news after addressing her obvious transformation throug time.  Having been a popular singer throughout the 90s, she became known as the Princess of her genre, Kwaito, and has since continued to develop in the public eye.  The most shocking of these changes recently landed her in the hot seat again; with little traces of brown left on her now pale body, to a newly contructed pointy nose, breast augmentation, booty bump, and more– all of which she claims to have done out of the “passion to be white.”  Citing with the interviewer that she “want to be Black, but White.”

The difference with Mshoza and other skin bleachers is her strong conviction that she is not judgmental of others who do prize and enjoy their skin color, but that she is simply making these changes for herself.  So, she can remain married to an African man and not find any faults in his being Black.  But she can’t remain the same color because she wants to be happy.  Fundamentally, you can’t really knock someone for wanting to do with their own body what they believe will make them happy, even if only for the time being [re: long-lasting effects of skin bleaching].

The saddest part of this all, though, is that her happiness is being dictated by her White features.  If your happiness is relative to the amount of melanin in your skin, what do you believe this newly lightened skin will bring to your life that brown skin could not?  It’s not marriage, as an already married woman.  It’s not fame, as an already famous woman.  So is it piece of mind?  The thought that you could live your life more freely and less objectively as a White woman than as a Black African woman?

If Lark Voorhies really did bleach her skin, I don’t wish her much of bashing or headlining news, but instead to find clarity and self-love within herself.  To hate yourself so much to the point that you’ve decided your outward appearance is the ultimate reason for this frustration is a sickening reality that much of our world’s prejudice, stereotypical and racist rhetoric is to blame.  Here’s to hoping it’s just horrible lighting and a newly fired make-up artist “/

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The Racist Side Of The Nation’s Largest Industry: Ghetto Gaggers

By Posted on 421 4 m read

America produces most of the world’s pornography, an industry that grosses $15billion dollar annually in the US alone.  That is with little regulation and the widest audience for speculation known to modern-day man.  You can tickle your fancy with any and all fantasies you so may choose on the world wide web.  And it caters to all races, and unfortunately, even all ages (illegal as it may be).  Some choose the lighter, more subtle route while others may enjoy a raunchier display of affection.  And then there are the other-others, who have chosen a more historical route to sexual encounters.

The latest trend to catch on in the secret world of sex was found by writer/journalist Jamel Shabazz who writes:

One day, I Googled negative terms for Black women just to see what I’d find. One of the phrases was “ghetto bitch,” and to my surprise, a pornographic site called Ghetto Gaggers appeared.

Capitalizing off of the torture and inhumane treatment of Black women, “Ghetto Gaggers” is a site that is new to the mainstream but has been around for some time.  Featuring a group of white middle-aged men, Black women are sexually abused and physically tortured through gagging, humiliation, racist mockery, and violence.  Sounds familiar?

As proven through videos uploaded on the site, most–if not all– of the participants are not under mutual understanding about the actions that take place thereafter signing the agreement.  And many porn stars who believed they were aware of the proceeding details before they agreed have quit the industry after the taping, according to Shabazz.  Read a few more details from Shabazz’s piece below:

“After we get through with them they’re going to have to see a psychiatrist for the rest of their lives,” one attacker boasts on camera. In a typical video, three or four men take turns physically and mentally destroying their victims. During 90 minutes of barbarism, the perpetrators spit in their faces, slap them, stomp them and force some to crawl on all fours with chains around their necks. In other scenes, the women have watermelons smashed on their heads and then are forced to eat the melon, along with the men’s semen. Some women have their faces shoved into a toilet, much to the pleasure of the assailants. During the grotesque finale, the men shove their penises deep inside the women’s throats until they vomit into a large dog bowl, which is emptied on them. As the humiliated women cry, a host promises fans there will be new girls every week!

 

This new form of psychological warfare is gaining momentum and popularity among racists. There are now hundreds of sites specializing in the sexual destruction of the “ghetto bitch”; from the now defunct “NaziNiggers”, which featured white me in Nazi gear violating black women, to “Exploited Black Teens,” where a white man has sex with underage black girls, to “White Boys Stomp,” where the home page trumpets “We Hunt Down Black Sluts!” Ghetto Gaggers also has a spin-off site, EbonyCumDumps.com, which shares the same concept as Ghetto Gaggers, but with less brutalization.

I most definitely have been taken aback by this piece of information, but I can’t say that it has surprised me.  In the day-and-age where everything Black women do, see, touch, and think is scrutinized and picked apart by not only the media, but even our very own is a norm for me now.  From a proclaimed scientist releasing “evidence” that Black Women Are Less Attractive to the latest NYT piece entitled Black Women and Fat— who is actually worried about the Black woman?  Besides the rebuttals to these pieces that come after its already popularized publication, what is the motivation for these articles?  Are they written to reveal the truth or to degrade a population?  Is a woman who would assume and interpret misguided claims about her own identity doing so to move herself forward or to gain clarity with an audience?  It seems to be that we’re always on the list for endangered species but never in consideration for preservation.

Jamel Shabazz concludes it best: “When mainstream society can’t see Black women’s beauty, or recognize their worth and dignity, maybe the psychopathic hatred of “Ghetto Gaggers” is the end result.”

The most baffling thing that’s occurred to me in 2012 is the unrelenting pulse for a confirmation that change has come.  Not necessarily Obama’s change, but the change that was dreamt, sought, marched, and supposedly achieved: MLK’s change.  Still, there’s this ever-lasting pull that tugs with Earth’s gravity and Space’s levity, battling the former’s existence through sight, and the latter’s through conscience.  So, everyday, we wake up renewed to a world on television and in walking life that we believe has undergone a transformation like no other country in history.  But then, I scroll down my Twitter timeline: George Zimmerman, Phil Mushnick,  Joel Ward reactions, Fox News’ actions, and so on and so forth.  And then I watch a Black man joke about a Black woman, and suddenly we’re all up for debate in the mouths of the same men who were once our allies against a racist nation and despicable injustice.  Could it be that these Black women have yet to speak out because not only do they believe they would ruin their own reputation against strangers, but also within their own community of misguided anger and ridicule?  Who really knows these days?

Read Jamel Shabazz’s “GHETTO GAGGERS: A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than It’s Women

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What’s Race Got To Do, Got To Do With It? [A Talk Of Men & Preference]

By Posted on 85 5 m read

Early this morning on PIX11 News, the ladies sat down with three men [Jozen Cummings, blogger of “Until I Get Married” as well as Rich Davis and Steve Covino of XM Radio] to get their take on a question that’s been buzzing the most for the past two decades or so: When it comes to what men wants, do certain men prefer certain body types? (Do Black and Latino men prefer women with curves, and White men prefer them without?)  Although the segment was short, and a part of a week-long feature relative to the topic, each of the three men only had the chance to share a few thoughts on the situation, but I found them all as an interesting dialogue to dissect.  Peep the video below, see a bit of my personal opinion about it, and weigh in on the topic below!

 [WATCH THE 2-minute video HERE]

All Could Agree

that fear has something to do with not seeking a woman with curves.  If we would take this a bit farther and go by science, anthropologists would say a fear of curves is a fear of reproduction, or children.  According to this source,

Everything in anthropology boils down to answering the question of why a particular trait was selected in evolution for reproductive success. Anthropologists speculate that curvy women signal health, reproductive fitness and youth. Ask any woman in menopause what body part is first to announce the closing of her baby factory, and she’s likely to say, “My expanding middle.” Women past child-bearing age tend to become less curvy.

If that’s what the body naturally believes, then what is it about a young man attracted to a less curvy woman?  Is he less concerned about children in the future?  I wouldn’t say so, but it’s an interesting combat to the findings, and a few comments made within the interview.

Socialization

As brought up in discussion, and reiterated by guest Jozen Cummings [first man to the left]– socialization, experience, and environment has a lot to do with preference.  While the debate seemed to corner in all men of certain races to either like or dislike curves, that simply isn’t true.  Race may be the hugest factor to come into play, because body-type is not dictated by a race.  So a white man courting a less-curvy white woman isn’t because he doesn’t like curves, it’s most likely because he prefers white women without curves.  Some Black men who are less inclined to curves may also find him a Black woman with less curves.

So, race wasn’t really touched upon as much as it could have been, except for the very end when Cummings stated “Black men are more open to variety” than most other races.  Which definitely seems to be true, as played out in the media if no where else.  Cummings later went on to expand his thoughts on his blog:

 

I like black women, always have. The first girl I ever liked in second grade was black, the girl I like now is black, 90 percent of the girls I liked in between those two girls are black. Every now and then I have connected with a woman of another race, and I know the diplomatic thing to say is race doesn’t matter, but who are we kidding? If a white man dates nothing but white women, he has to face the fact he just might like white women only. So to answer the question if race plays a factor in whom we choose to date, it most certainly does, even if we’re not conscious of it.

The idea I reject is that the race we prefer denotes the type of body we prefer. – Cummings, Until I Get Married

I 100% agree.

A Bit Problematic

I didn’t really take issue or offense to what any of the men had to say.  I found it a very amusing and intuitive piece, even as the short-lived discussion it was.  What I did find a bit troubling though, was a statement from Rich Davis [third man to the right] of the “Covino and Rich Show.”  Which was as follows:

“I feel like they don’t think enough about the future when they point out these booties” – Davis

“Well, who’s talking about marriage?” – Host

There are obvious issues brought up in this simple dialogue that may or may not be inherent at first glance.  First, to reference the facts of curves and reproduction as I did earlier, to infer that a woman with a “big booty” could not be marriage material is both misguided and degrading.  But I realize that he could have meant this two ways:

  1. that the men who are scoping out women with big booties are simply looking to them out of lust, and aren’t really searching for love
  2. but then, isn’t the first initial attraction to a man/woman what you see physically? before conversation and the inevitable first impression?

So, why is it so hard to believe that a man who begins a conversation with a pretty woman with voluptuous curves would not be able to court her, fall in love, and find bliss in marriage as a man who seeks a woman with less?  This observance isn’t to target Davis, but to point out the opposing beliefs that have developed in our country over time due to stereotypes and portrayals of more curvy, ethnic women in media; especially with this statement stemming from a White man.

 

In the end, preference is all about social constructs.  What did you see while growing up? Was your mother curvy?  What did you come to learn about the beauty of a woman?  From your family? Friends? Dating life? It’s one thing to understand what you prefer, but it’s another thing to find what you prefer as superior to what another man/woman may prefer.  This is where the real issues lie.  So instead of arguing about why or why not you prefer what you do, learn to understand why you prefer what you do, and to find respect in the man/woman who may prefer otherwise if they can effectively understand their preference the same.

We don’t all need to be loving each other; we just all need to be loved.

 

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Best of Youtube: Celebrity Make-Up Tutorials

By Posted on 0 1 m read

For many of us, when we go to do our make-up, we have a certain look in mind when beginning. Most times, even if done well, it never ends up the way we initially planned. This tends to be especially true for African-Americans and other “ethnicities” because our complexions range on a variety of levels, not to mention a lack of properly mixed foundations and blush that matches. For this purpose, Live Civil compiled a few of our favorite celebrity make-up tutorials. The hosts also have a plethora of other options, so if you’re searching for any specific look, you’re bound to find it from one of these ladies. Enjoy & Spread.

 

1. Rihanna’s Pink Lips, Winged OutLiner & Cat Eyes

From Celebrity Make-Up Artist Alana Dawn, she covers Adele make-up to Rihanna nails

 

2. Kelly Rowland’s Blush & Woodwinked Eye Shadow

 As a MAC enthusiast, Erin Bailey offers great looks with the perfect tools

 

3. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” Lashes, Eyeshadow & Smoulder

Sisters Sam and Nic make a collaborative effort to provide the most daring make-up tutorials online from Beyonce to Kim Kardashian.

 

3. Drake Look-A-Like/Celebrity Impersonator Make-Up Tutorial

Definitely perfect for Halloween.  But Tamang Phan has plenty more to offer for everyday looks, including Snooki to pageant queens.

Do you have a favorite look you’ve been trying to immolate?  Let us know who’s make-up you think would add the za-za-zoom to your already fierce look!

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The Best Of Youtube: Natural Hair, Weaves & Wigs Tutorials For The Ladies [& Queens]

By Posted on 14 3 m read

For a lot of people of African descent, it can be difficult to find great DIY tutorials online that caters to your needs.  With varying textures, lengths, and styles, it’s even harder to find the one perfect for you.  So, we’ve combined a few of our favorite and varying favorite from Youtube.  From natural to permed to wigs; and all shades of the brown spectrum for make-up, here’s a quick run-through of some of the best the net has to offer.  Feel free to add your own personal favorites in the comments below!

 

Long & Thick….HAIR

Channel: ChellyWellzShop
Specialty: Tips on healthy, long, and thick natural hair (sometimes with extensions)

ChellyWellzShop channel documents natural hair through a journey.  Chelly brings along her family for the ride as well.  Herself, who’s been natural for 8 years and her sister for the entirety of her life.  Although they don’t show much for hairstyles, they do a lot with hair maintenance and healthy tips for the scalp.  Their hair is gorge.  And it’s proof (especially through their “Are You Mixed” video below) just how versatile African-American hair can be.

They answer the question ~ 5:40

 Dark & Lovely

Channel: Black Onyx77’s “Natural hair is Divalicious”
Specialty: Versatile and Funky Natural Hair Do’s

Black Onyx twinkles and gleams, shining the true versatility of natural hair with her comprehensive tutorials. She walks viewers down a slew of user-friendly options toward managing stretched or shrunken natural hair. She also features a buffet of videos on skincare and fashion forward solutions that radiate nothing short of true natural black beauty. [Source]

 

Braids & Curls

Channel: BubzBeauty
Specialty: Unique Styles For Permed/Natural Hair

Bubz/Bubbi is a popular Youtuber also known for her comedy and v-logging, along with her beauty tips.  Known as an ‘Internet Celebrity’ her many faces have led her to creating her own fashion label and make-up line.  Although she’s Asian, her hair resonates with many similarities of some African-American ladies.  She makes great use of her tutorials with unique braiding techniques and curl applications.

 

Cuts that Kill

Channel: Alsmillion’s “Average Barbers Making Above Average Money”
Specialty: Low Cuts and Fades

As Alek Wek, Amber Rose, and the western hemisphere of Cassie’s dome have so eloquently portrayed, there is a unique and careful art to achieving the bald fade. Master barber Alsmillion provides all ladies out there that keep it lovely and low, how to achieve clean crisp line- ups, intricate cuts, and perfect hairlines with clipper happy precision. [Source]

 

We Still Believe in the Weave

Channel: Thomasadrianna
Specialty: Glamourous Styles with Weaves and Half Wigs

Despite popular Tyra Bank mantras and satirical box-office documentaries, some of us are not letting go of our weaves. We’ve found a place of comfortable residence under them, and really don’t want to move. For those of us, happy at home – you will also find comfort with Ms. Adrianna- the weave and half wig expert that sits cherry top above all other YouTube track stars. [Source]

Results of a Tutorial

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The Thing About Being Drop Dead Gorgeous

By Posted on 5 2 m read

“Now say hi to acceptance, say bye to denial more/ You’d be surprised what it could do if you’d say hi more.” Dedicated, the song takes a different approach to the ill that come when outer beauty is used to determine happiness.   Keeping up with health, hygiene and appearance, of course, adds to your self-esteem, but will never truly satisfy your inner search alone. The world’s example of this came following the unexpected suicide of international fashion model, Daul Kim, late November, 2009.

Through Kim’s personal blog, I Like To Fork Myself, she transformed her troubles into her daily confessions.  Beginning each post with the title “Say hi to….” she wrote about her life; new musings, image battles, depression, favorite songs, trips, people, designers, books, and even self-reliance and loneliness.  She was multi-faceted.  But her beauty was jaw-dropping.  Her intelligence would have taken her far and beyond, but her pitfall was her lack of love for self.

While her blog inspired a few hundreds of fans daily, she was open and honest about things within the modeling industry that were keeping her–and many others like her–down.  Have you ever met a person you initially deemed as unattractive, and grew to love them for everything else they inhabited?  The thing about this drop dead gorgeous model was that she was so beautiful, all of the rest of her that she had to offer was often overlooked.

With the memory of Kim re-sparked in a recently released song entitled “Suicide Supermodel” by Asaad, the rap calls for saying “bye” to insecurities and doubts, and saying “hi” to a new way of thinking and understanding.  Learning to let go, live and learn is a challenge we all face, but it’s important to know where it’s appropriate to reveal and when not.  As a woman, I can recall several instances walking down the street, with a frowned face and inward eyebrows, hearing an older man holler “Just smile for me babygirl, ” and turning to deliver the hollowed death’s eye!  But now, I may reconsider my strategy. (lol)

It was said that Kim once spoke of walking past strangers, greeting ‘hi,’ but rarely received the same back.  And never understood why.  If it wasn’t her looks holding them back, then what?  Lesson of the day is to be generous and kind to any and everyone you meet.  Not only do you not know what they, too, may be battling, but that ‘hi’ could be their one acknowledgement of the day that saved their life.

“beautiful to be remembered and to capture and to display and to be forgotten to be remembered and then forgotten then remembered…” – Daul Kim

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