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    Courtesy of Vibe Vixen

    I know I wasn’t the only one writhing in discomfort watching Somaya Reece pour out her emotions during a first date on this week’s episode of Love & Hip Hop. My eyes ballooned in disbelief as I leaned in and jerked away from the TV groaning, “Noooo, girl! What are you doing?” I was embarassed. She told that man–a complete and utter stranger–all about her trust issues stemming from an abusive childhood and past relationship. She even cried real tears! Pause. What part of the game is that? I wanted to shake her, although maybe I need to be shaken for allowing myself to be sucked into Love & Hip Hop like that.

    Anywho, after viewing Somaya’s cringefest of a first date, I was moved to compile a short list of what not to do on a first date, especially if you expect there to be a second date…

    1. DON’T GET TOO PERSONAL

    When your date asks you about yourself, he does not want you to start from birth, especially if you had a troubled childhood. Leave the stories of horrific lovers for your diary. Keep the conversation light and interesting. As depressing as Somaya’s story was, I was almost ready to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge after she was finished.

    2. DON’T RAMBLE

    Don’t dominate the conversation. Ask him about himself, and actually listen! It’s easy to tell when somebody is really paying attention to what you’re saying and when they’re just waiting for a break in the conversation to add their two cents. Plus, you wanna leave some mystery about yourself. If you tell him everything there is to know about you the first time around, what are you going to talk about on the next date?

    Read more tips at Vibe Vixen!


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    For some, death is a time of mourning and reflection on a loved one’s life. For others, it’s a chance to collect Facebook ‘likes’ and comments. Let me explain.

    The recent tragedy of Robert Champion, the FAMU band member killed in an alleged hazing incident, has cast a dark shadow on the university but brought light to an eerie trend– photography at funerals.

    I stumbled across an article over at Loop 21 (WARNING: Picture may be disturbing) discussing the controversy over whether or not Champion should have been buried in the very uniform that he was killed in. While debatable, I couldn’t get over the photo the accompanied the story. An attendee by the name of “Saxwell Self” had the indecency to snap a picture of Champion lying in his casket. His reasoning behind the shot:

    “SOME PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHY I POSTED THIS PIC. MY RESPONSE:

    I ALWAYS POST UP MY PEEPS THAT DIED. THIS IS NOTHING NEW. I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER AND IM SURE YOU DO TOO. IM ASKING MY PEOPLE TO SAY A PRAYER FOR HIS FAMILY. MANY PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY RESPONDED THAT THEY WILL. WHAT IM DOING IS GETTING GREAT NUMBERS OF PEOPLE TO PRAY FOR HIM. THAT IS A GOOD THING & PRICELESS.

    MY DAD JUST DIED AND I POSTED A PIC OF ME STANDING BY HIM IN THE CASKET AND I GOT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE TO PRAY FOR HIM AND MY FAMILY. THAT MADE ME FEEL GOOD TO ACTUALLY SEE THE LOVE & RESPONSES. THATS WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW IS THE FAMU NATION PRAYING FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY. POSTING THIS PIC MAKES IT REAL. ITS ONE THING TO HEAR ABOUT IT IN THE NEWS BUT NOW THEY SEE IT, THEY FEEL IT, THEY PRAY FOR HIM.

    SOME PEOPLE SAY IM BEING DISRESPECTFUL. SO BE IT. IF GETTING MY FELLOW RATTLERS AND FRIENDS TO PRAY FOR A MY HUNDRED BROTHER SOUL IS DISRESPECTFULL THEN IM GUILTY AS CHARGED.

    FEEL FREE TO CHECK OUT MY RIP GONE BUT NOT FORGETTEN ALBUM. I POSTED ALL THESE PICS WHEN THEY DIED. NO ONE HAD A PROBLEM WITH IT BUT NOW ITS A PROBLEM.

    WHEN THEY NEXT PERSON DEAD & GONE THAT I KNOW IM SHOWING LOVE AND GETTING MY PEOPLE TO PRAY FOR THEM TOO!!”

    Feel free to check out my “R.I.P. Gone But Not Forgotten” album?? I’ll pass.


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    Not to step on anyone’s dreams, but every time I turn around someone is stepping out of their lane. Actresses wanna be rappers, rappers wanna be singers, singers wanna be bus drivers — it’s beginning to be too much. Where are the career police when you need them? Some of these folks need to be content with their day jobs and HAVE A SEAT!


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    AIQ_1202

    This week, the celebrity sound bites making headlines include everything from a ghetto fabulous diva’s resurrection to a troubled rapper’s homophobic rant  to an actress’ new baby daddy drama.  Plus, guess which songstress was snubbed for the upcoming 2012 Grammy Awards and whose “Love & Hip-Hop” causes beef. And I quote…


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  • 12/02/11--10:27: Star Clique
  • Diddy, slightly injured and looking like Tony the Tiger, strikes a pose at Art Basel Miami Beach on November 30, 2011.  Pichichi / Splash News


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    In today’s link round-up: The rise and fall of Herman Cain, a “Barbie” is getting a Barbie and much more!

    Essence.com
    Bishop Eddie Long’s On-And-Off Divorce Saga
    Let us pray.

    HuffPost BlackVoices
    Gayle King: Oprah Never Sent Letter To Wendy Williams (AUDIO)
    Oprah, Wendy or Gayle: Somebody’s lying.

    CNN.com
    The Rise And Fall Of The Real Herman Cain
    Herman Cain‘s campaign is over, but CNN takes a look back at the road traveled.

    Rap-Up
    Kanye West Honors Mother, Thanks Jay-Z and Beyoncé at Hometown Show
    Kanye West shows his emotional side in Chicago.

    Hello Beautiful
    Nicki Minaj Is a Barbie…No Really She Is
    The Harajuku Barbie will now get a Barbie of her own.

    NewsOne
    Ex-McDonald’s Cook Who Beat Up Two Women Suing Restaurant
    Cleared of assault charges, the worker is now going after the big dogs.


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    Fans of VH1′s hit series “Single Ladies” will no longer have to guess who will replace Stacey Dash‘s character “Val”; the position has been filled by  Denise Vasi.

    In August, Dash announced she would not be returning for the show’s second season, stating:

    “I truly enjoyed playing Val on ‘Single Ladies’, but I have decided to leave the show. I have to be back in L.A. with my children right now and the ‘Single Ladies’ shooting location makes that impossible. I wish VH1 the best of luck with the show and in maintaining the strong fan base we developed in season one.”

    Producer Queen Latifah and creator Stacy Littlejohn scrambled to secure a replacement and found it in Vasi, who has starred in the daytime drama ”All My Children” and the film “What’s Your Number.” Vasi will stand in place of Dash, but will not be taking over the role of Val. Deadline.com reports:

    Vasi will play the new role of Raquel, a close friend of Keisha (McCoy) who is a savvy business woman from a prominent Southern family on a quest to discover passion. “Denise is the perfect addition to the Single Ladies cast,” Queen Latifah said. “She is bringing a fun, new element to the show.” Single Ladies, VH1′s first hour-long scripted series, is a romantic comedy series about Keisha, Raquel and April (Shea) – best friends with different philosophies on love, sex and relationships, proving not all women have the same desires.

    The addition of Vasi stops the speculation of Tika Sumpter, Gabrielle Union and a host of other black actresses taking over Dash’s role. Let’s just hope she can fill Val’s fashionable shoes.

    Season 2 of “Single Ladies” will begin production in January and will premiere in early summer. 

     

     


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  • 12/05/11--07:38: Uplift: Who Am I
  • By Anita Kopacz

    Recently I went to dinner with a group of wonderful people. I personally only knew one gentleman there, but by the end of the meal it felt as if we were all family. Naturally, the question, “What do you do?” came up the entire night. People asked me and I asked them as well. My answer varied each time… I’m a Mom… I’m a writer… I’m an actress… I’m a model… I’m a spiritual psychologist… I’m a filmmaker.

    I started to confuse myself. I have not had to explain myself for quite sometime now, and putting words to “who I am” felt somewhat strange. Then it dawned on me: Who I am has nothing do to with what I do.

    I connected to this group on a soul level. We spoke of what we do, but there was no denying that we were experiencing each other’s presence. At that moment in time we were people sitting, talking, eating, laughing, connecting… we were being who we are.

    In honor of being ourselves, here are our Well-Life Maintenance Goals for December.

    Spiritual: What would your spiritual practice look like in a “perfect world”? For example, my practice would look something like this: I meditate everyday for about and hour, I do yoga every morning, pray every night, and express my gratitude throughout the day. Simple enough, right? But there are days when I skip everything on my list. This exercise allows us to put our spiritual goals in words.

    Mental: It’s the end of the year again! Take sometime to write down a list of goals you accomplished this year. It is just as important to look at your year in review as it is to set intentions for your next year. Celebrate yourself!

    Emotional: Express yourself! It can be extremely healing.

    Physical: Hang out with friends. Meet knew people. Flex your social muscle (and I don’t mean on facebook!). Get out and experience the magic of sharing yourself and connecting with others. Spread the love.

    Welcome to Uplift at UPTOWN. If you are just joining us this week, my name is Anita Kopacz. I am an author and spiritual adviser with a passion to see people thrive! Collective energy possesses a divine power that can remove stubborn obstacles and open locked doors. My intention is to join our UPTOWN family in spirit and forge our return to healthy living. With the Well-Life Maintenance Program, together we will take small steps in four areas of our lives to improve our quality of living. The four areas include Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical. You can find more in my new book,Finding Your Way: Alphabetical Keys to the Divine


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    As Herman Cain announced the suspension of his presidential campaign Saturday, the writers over at ”Saturday Night Live” unloaded their jokes during their Weekend Update.

    From referencing the sexual harassment allegations to the “Libya” blunder, Kenan Thompson does a spot-on [and hilarious] impression of the former Republican candidate.

    Watch here!


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    By Aydrea Walden

    The holidays are a wonderful time for couples. Cute things like ice skating, ugly sweater parties and sex totally warm up the holidays. But just because you’re crying yourself to sleep at night because you are very likely destined to forever be heart-wrenchingly single doesn’t mean you have to endure a cold winter.

    If you’re partner-less this year, here are five other things to keep you warm this holiday season.


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    Fantasia Barrino got an early Christmas gift Monday afternoon with the birth of her new baby boy!

    Sources say the mother is resting comfortably after giving birth to the healthy baby at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC. The new addition is Barrino’s first child with boyfriend Antwaun Cook.

    This is child number two for Barrino; she also has a daughter, Zion, who is ten.

    Congratulations!


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    I’ve literally watched a blank computer screen for the last two minutes. Where do I begin?

    Gene Marks, a contributor at Forbes.com, unwittingly wrote the “how-to guide to end all how-to guides” on saving the lives of poor Black children. Marks is a middle-aged white guy with a suburban upbringing (pictured left).

    The following are excerpts from his column ”If I Were A Poor Black Kid”:

    “My kids are no smarter than similar kids their age from the inner city. My kids have it much easier than their counterparts from West Philadelphia. The world is not fair to those kids mainly because they had the misfortune of being born two miles away into a more difficult part of the world and with a skin color that makes realizing the opportunities that the President spoke about that much harder. This is a fact. In 2011.

    I am not a poor black kid. I am a middle aged white guy who comes from a middle class white background. So life was easier for me. But that doesn’t mean that the prospects are impossible for those kids from the inner city. It doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities for them. Or that the 1% control the world and the rest of us have to fight over the scraps left behind. I don’t believe that. I believe that everyone in this country has a chance to succeed. Still. In 2011. Even a poor black kid in West Philadelphia.

    It takes brains. It takes hard work. It takes a little luck. And a little help from others. It takes the ability and the know-how to use the resources that are available.

    According to Marks, poor black kids can overcome their circumstances with good grades and by adapting to new technology. 

    Excuse me Mr. Marks, while I understand and somewhat agree with your position, when was the last time you heard of Black kindergartners in inner-city Chicago receiving iPads? I’ve got all day.


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    Courtesy of The Grio

    Monique Grissette-Banks is an African-American woman who has successfully climbed the corporate ladder. She has worn her hair in dreadlocks for the past six years and says from personal experience locks are becoming more acceptable in corporate America.

    As corporate culture encounters more skilled and professional dreadlocked people “how we decide to wear our hair becomes a less important factor,” says Grissette-Banks, an HR Manager at LexisNexis, with a master’s degree and in the final stages of her PhD.

    “Since I’ve started working here, two other women in my division now wear locks and there’s also a man,” says Grissette-Banks, who wears shoulder-length dreads.

    Professional women are embracing their “nappy” hair, “because salons are creating interesting and diverse styles, even if hair is not chemically altered,” says Rosario Schuler, founder of Oh! My Nappy Hair, a trio of salons in L.A, Oakland and Atlanta that specialize in the care, styling and maintenance of natural hair.

    “Initially people are just fascinated that their hair can grow but if long manes aren’t well-maintained they get matty,” Schuler says. “But locks are extremely versatile and we can take any straight hairstyle and recreate the style with locks.”

    However, Alice Sydow, an image consultant based in Minneapolis, concedes she would advise clients to wear dreadlocks with caution. “You have to consider your geography, the industry you work in, and what level you are in your company,” says Sydow, who has corporate clients.

    “For example, if you are in an artistic industry, working at a music label or advertising agency, then dreadlocks that are well-maintained and styled are more acceptable than if you worked at a law firm or in a corporate-level position.”

    Schuler’s daughter Erica Blevins-Richardson, who manages the Oh! My Nappy Hair location in Atlanta, still maintains “once locks are styled and well-maintained they look great.”

    Blevins-Richardson, who has styled dreadlocks for a host of celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Lennox Lewis and Lalah Hathaway, says media acceptance of dreadlocks has encouraged their popularity.

    Continue at The Grio!


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    Take a peek inside the UPTOWN Weddings & Travel issue. And don’t forget to pick up your hard copy on newsstands.


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  • 12/13/11--13:22: Barbie Goes Natural
  • Courtesy of the Ledger-Enquirer

    Candace McBride remembers wanting a Barbie doll as a girl.

    “It’s kind of an iconic doll. Every girl wants a Barbie. I wanted a Barbie when I was a girl,” she said.

    This Christmas, she’s hoping to give a few girls their own Barbies — ones that look a little more like them.

    McBride is part of an African-American natural hair group that meets regularly at the Columbus public library that decided to give Barbie dolls to girls at Booker T. Washington apartments for Christmas. Though Barbie comes in 50 different nationalities, most of the dolls, even the African-Americans ones have straight hair.

    “When you look for dolls, they all have straight hair,” she said, adding that she’s noticed that many of the dolls also have blue or green eyes. “It’s tricky even to find ones with brown eyes,” she said.

    She found an online tutorial that uses pipe cleaners and boiling water to give Barbie natural-looking curls. After they collect the dolls — they want to gather about 40 — group members will give them a natural hair makeover before giving them to the girls.

    “We wanted to show the girls that basically, it’s okay the way God made you,” said Jennifer Henderson, a member of the group. Henderson said her 2-year-old daughter, Imani, isn’t into Barbie yet, but she does like dolls.

    Continue at the Ledger-Enquirer!


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    With 2011 coming to a close, Oprah Winfrey can look to the new year and only hope that her brainchild network OWN sees better days. A third quarter earnings report revealed the network is losing millions and ratings are down. And just last week, execs toyed with the idea of targeting Blacks to get viewership up. The strategy was met by mixed reviews.

    In an exclusive interview with TV Guide, Winfrey discusses the hardships of starting the network, its future and the plans she has for herself.

    On launching OWN…
    “It’s been challenging and eye opening. I walked in thinking, ‘Oh, it’s going to be about programming.’ But there’s so many more layers to building this business, including trying to get affiliates and advertisers. I am focusing on my strength, which is my connection to the audience. This show is my way of building outreach in that way, as was Life Class, which I’ll be taking to colleges around the country. If anyone needs direction in their life, it’s a college kid!”

    On reaching her audience…
    “We are building one show at a time. I know you’re going to ask, what I would do over if I could. From day one, I said, let’s not blow our horns too loud. So if I had it to do over, I would do is exactly what I am attempting to do now: build one night, one show at a time. I would have said, ‘Give me a couple of years to launch an entire network, but right now what I’m doing is Saturday night or Sunday night. Then when I’m ready, watch me Tuesday and Wednesday nights.’ That’s part of the learning curve.”

    On the future of OWN…
    “I refuse to be discouraged. This is the thing about being well-known and trying to do anything. When I did The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg taught me you can’t believe the good [press] unless you’re also willing to believe the bad. That’s a powerful lesson for not getting distracted by praise — or criticism. You can’t allow either of them to affect your vision of what you know is true for you. That’s exactly how I feel right now. My thing is stay on course so you can stay the course.”

    On her future endeavors…
    “I’m also thinking seriously about movies again and looking at scripts. I have some upcoming projects at HBO that I’m really excited about acting in.”


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    Reality TV has dominated our lives for the past couple of years, what was once a small genre is now one of the dominant forces on that prime time screen. Although it’s a major source of entertainment and foolishness, the main characters are not what we watch for. Sometimes it’s the supporting cast, and a lot of times, it’s the most unsuspecting characters that make us cringe — the mothers!

    Here are five reality TV moms who need to HAVE A SEAT!


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  • 12/14/11--07:00: The Purity Myth
  • by Demetria L. Lucas

    Over the weekend, I stumbled across the trailer for “The Purity Myth,” a documentary (available on DVD) based on author Jessica Valenti’s 2009 book of the same title.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Valenti explains, “The purity myth is the lie that women’s sexuality has some bearing on who we are and how good we are, because really I think we all know that young women are so much more than whether or not they have sex. We really should be teaching our daughters that their ability to be good people should be based on their intelligence, on their compassion, their kindness, not what they do with their bodies.”

    Adds Valenti in the film, “women are still led to believe that our moral compass lies in between our legs, literally.”

    It’s unfathomable to me that in 2011, the idea of a “pure” woman still abounds in some places even if its subtext forcefully runs through so-called liberal social interactions. Outside of religious circles, a non-married women having sex is generally accepted after a certain age, and yet women continue to be judged on their sexual experience as a primary factor to determine her worth.

    Think of the last time a guy asked you “how many people have you had sex with?” As the question assumes you’ve had sex, the answer can’t be used to determine the likely results of your HIV status, whether your STI-negative, or whether you participated in a 10-person gangbang the day before. But the answer is heavily factored by many men in determining whether you are girlfriend, wifey or wife material. Again, your worth and “goodness” are stripped down to the most basic level of how you manage your lady parts.


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    In today’s link round-up: Tracee Ellis Ross snags Vibe Vixen’s new cover, Time names its person (or should we say people…) of the year and much more!

    Vibe Vixen
    Tracee Ellis Ross Talks “Reed” and The Real Her
    Get a sneak peek of Vibe Vixen’s new cover girl, Tracee Ellis Ross!

    Essence.com
    Beyonce Is Already Planning Kid Number Two
    Beyonce‘s first kid is still cooking and she’s looking for more.

    NewsOne
    Time Magazine Names “The Protestor” The Person Of The Year
    “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

    HuffPost BlackVoices
    President Obama’s Favorite TV Shows
    What does President Obama watch when he’s not leading a whole nation?

    BET.com
    Viola Davis Wins Top AAFCA 2011 Honor
    Viola Davis’ big year just keeps getting bigger!

    Loop 21
    Rihanna Makes Film Debut In ‘Battleship’ [VIDEO]
    Little Miss Sunshine Rihanna takes on her first role with the boys.


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    Rapper Common paid a visit to “Chelsea Lately” Tuesday to discuss is new role on AMC’s hit series “Hell on Wheels.” And because Chelsea Handler is never one to stay on topic, the pair get to discussing Common’s love for all women, his daughter and his embarrassment at the hands of Justin Bieber.

    Check it out here!


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