Category Archives: Culture

Sandy Hook is a National Youth Crisis: A Clarion Call for Change

It still hurts. Bad. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut is unfathomable. Twenty-seven people were shot dead, and 20 of them children under age 10.  A parent should never have to receive the call that their child is dead due to gun violence. I live in Chicago were gun violence has become a norm. In 2012, there were over 500 murders in Chicago alone. Has anyone recognized that youth and young adults are at the heart of these gun violence tragedies—whether on the giving end or the receiving end? The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut was carried out by a troubled young adult on innocent children.

This kid, was not just some deranged psychopath in his 40s. He was 20 years old, barely an adult. In fact, most of these “murderers” whether in the inner-city or affluent communities are barely adults. At the core of this violence, is a youth, parental, mental health and spiritual crisis. I’m sending out a clarion call to parents everywhere: PARENT YOUR CHILDREN. Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy is a victim is this tragedy, regardless if she had guns in the house or taught her son to shoot. I don’t want to go into blaming the victim. We don’t know what their relationship was like. However, generally speaking, I can say that this should be a wake-up call for parents to pay more attention to their children. Get old school. Get all up in their business. There is no such thing as privacy as long as you live in my house. My daddy took the lock off my door as a teenager, because he remembered when he was a teenager. He knew I was up to no good. Of course, we don’t want to assume the worse of our kids, but we need to stop living in La-La land. We are at war for the hearts, minds and souls of our children.
I’m sending out a clarion call to religious and civic leaders: SHEPHERD YOUR FLOCKS. Feed this starving generation with more than just religion and rules. Give them hope—something to aspire to. Be our role models again. Another call goes out to the state legislatures: WAKE UP! WE ARE IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. Stop cutting funds to mental health.  Let’s have real discussion about how we can get people in the community the help they need. Part of the problem, of course is getting people to recognize that they need help.
We also need to hold the entertainment industry accountable—be it gaming or Hip Hop. No lyric should be allowed to incite violence against another human being. We can argue “free speech,” but people are dying. We can’t possibly teach kids to avoid violence when we ourselves enjoy violent video games and violent, misogynistic rap lyrics because it has a nice beat. That’s just as bad as saying, “do as I say, not as I do.”  Change starts with cleaning up our own house first.  When are we going to start making hard sacrifices for the safety of our children and our community?
A note about guns
As stated by Father Michael Pfleger:
“Now is the time to Demand a REAL conversation about Guns! About Banning Assault Weapons, Closing the loopholes on purchasing guns (private sale, lost or stolen, mental illness) And TITLING GUNS LIKE Cars. We cannot simply talk about the tragedy in Connecticut or the streets of Chicago and refuse to take steps to STOP it from repeating itself again. If we don’t our sympathy is shallow…….”
Final thoughts
What was the first thing people did after the shooting in Connecticut? They ran into the house of God. They bowed their heads in prayer for the survivors and for our nation. To remove God from the equation in solving our nation’s problems is like going up a creek without a paddle. Commit to prayer for our children and our country. Be open to dialogue and creative ways of creating change. Let’s build on the momentum of this tragedy. Let’s honor the memory of the fallen by taking action.

Kim Kardashian Channels Her Inner “Black girl” [PHOTOS]

I promise I’m not a hater. As a matter of fact, I think Kim Kardashian’s hair is really cute (sans the “black face” makeup…). These photos are a behind the scenes look at a photo shoot she she did with photographer/director Hype Williams. On her website she writes,
“Clyde Haygood and Joyce Bonelli glammed me up and we went for a fun, crazy look, channeling Diana Ross. Definitely a new look for me. Xo”

The Hollywood socialite and star of the hit reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians is known for playing dress up. She has also has done shoots posing as Elizabeth Taylor and Cleopatra. So, her posing a Diana Ross should be no big deal, right? Wrong. Kim gets a lot of flack for dating only Black men and fully indulging in urban culture from fashion, to making music videos. People constantly criticize her, accusing her of trying to be “black”. Should there be a double standard for white women who want to wear textured wigs and dark makeup when black women do the exact same thing with long, straight weaves and lightening makeup? Ouch…The thing we need to realize is that there is nothing wrong with enjoying aspects of cultures outside of your own. All skin and hair types are beautiful. One should be free to explore different looks. However, there is something to be said about being comfortable with who you are naturally. (See post on celebs who only wear weave.)

What are your thoughts about Kim’s new look?

“O”MG! An In-Depth Look at Oprah’s Natural Hair Transformation [PHOTOS]

AHHH!!!! “O”MG!! I had no words to express the sheer joy I felt reading that Oprah has revealed her natural hair on the cover of the September 2012 issue of O magazine. Of course, before this issue can even get hot off the press, critics are already saying things like, “she’s so fake,” or “that can’t be all her hair.” Really? Booo! Anyway, do you understand the ripple effect this is going to cause within the Black community? Not saying that Oprah is some sort of god or that we need her validation, but she is huge role model to many women. I can see many more Black women questioning if they should make the decision to go natural. I can see White women saying, “What’s this hair thing all about?” Let’s delve a little deeper into Oprah’s transformation.

First off, I love the volume and thickness. For critics who say that can’t be all her hair, she has always had thick hair. She shared a picture of herself as a child with thick, natural hair in her interview with Chris Rock for his movie “Good Hair.” She also wore a big and beautiful afro as a young reporter. Understandably, people might think Oprah’s hair is still relaxed or fake because she appears to have lost some curl definition, (probably the result of years of heat styling and straightening and there may be some relaxed pieces in there). Of course, now we get into the debate over hair texture. If someone like Solange Knowles wears an afro, people say, it’s too kinky. If Oprah decides to go curly, folks say it doesn’t have enough curl to be natural. Oh, really? What do folks want her to do? Chop off the straight ends and start over so WE (the public) can see her true curl pattern?

Besides all of that, the point is that she is finally in a place mentally where she is comfortable revealing this side of herself. This is the way she likes to wear her hair, but until now only did so on weekends and vacation. Oprah opened up about her new look stating that it makes her feel unencumbered. She also opens up about the time she wanted to cut it all off stating,


“I wanted to wear it close-cropped a la Camille Cosby but her husband Bill convinced me otherwise. ‘Don’t do it,’ he said. ‘You’ve got the wrong head shape and you’ll disappoint yourself.’ I took his advice.”

Hair is kind of a big deal. It changes the way you feel and how you view yourself. With a new style often comes new energy. Straight or curly is a matter of preference and I don’t think it speaks to one’s self-esteem per se. However, there is a vulnerability, a sense of nakedness that takes place when making the decision to go natural. It’s liberating and terrifying at the same time. As powerful as Oprah is, she is still human. Do you really think she would just open herself up to this type of scrutiny unless she was ready? I’m sure that she had to have a conversation with self first before deciding to show the world. And, I am sure the mogul she is had to weigh the impact of this decision on her bottom line. That’s right, in this society…it’s not just hair. Yes, perhaps this could be a publicity stunt to get us talking about Oprah, BUT had the natural hair movement never come about she would not have a platform to come out onto. That reality makes me smile.

There are some who have a problem with our Blackness being a topic of discussion in mainstream media. There is this tendency to just want to blend in and not constantly be reminded that we are different. Many Blacks don’t want to be told by Whites that natural hair is okay because they say it’s okay. Our validation as Black women or as a people doesn’t come from other races, it comes from each other. Even still, there needs to be the freedom to express oneself as an individual. So, before we think to criticize other women for their hair choices, let’s seek to build each other up.

Oh, and ladies if you are thinking about going natural, but you’re saying to yourself, “Oprah, can go natural because she is a gizillionaire who doesn’t have to work for corporate America and has a team to make her look good.” Stop. Look around you, there are average women just like you and me who are going natural everywhere, successful and loving it.

What are your thoughts about Oprah revealing her natural hair?

Rapper Lil Mama Talks Natural Hair and the Black Hair Divide


The social media landscape light up in May after rapper and America’s Best Dance Crew judge, Lil Mama revealed her afro on Twitter. The star normally wears her hair straight and rocks a weave. Most women, (including myself) gave her praise for being brave and revealing her lush, full afro. Then of course you have the haters (trolls) who come out and only have negative things to say. In an exclusive interview with a Love Brown Sugar contributor, here’s is what Lil Mama had to say to the haters, along with her thoughts in general about being natural:

“I posted the picture of my hair and people were like ‘Omg you look like a shocked slave!’ I didn’t get one comment from a white person about my hair. All of them came from the sisters that had these bullsh** helmut weaves looking like a fake a** Nicki Minaj. They don’t know who they are. And the people they’re looking to for guidance don’t know who they are either, which sucks.”

I love that Lil Mama is reppin #teamnatural and her new frohawk is on point. What are your thoughts?

Watch the full video