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Black hair took the crown at Sister Spokesman event

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — Hair enthusiasts of all ages packed into a suite at Thor Companies in North Minneapolis for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from the importance of representation and self-love to healthy scalp and hair maintenance and proper hair care for children.

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(l-r) Faatemah Ampey, Essence Shabazz, Briana McCall Cress and Stephenetta (isis) Harmon (Photo by: Steve Floyd | MSR News)
By Paige Elliott

Black hair, in all its diverse glory, was the topic of the day at Sister Spokesman’s “Wear Your Crown” event.

Hair enthusiasts of all ages packed into a suite at Thor Companies in North Minneapolis for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from the importance of representation and self-love to healthy scalp and hair maintenance and proper hair care for children.

“There’s never been a better time for Black women in history,” declared panelist Faatemah Ampey, celebrity stylist and owner of SuiteSpot and Salonspa. She cited Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and others as high-profile examples of Black women succeeding while serving up bold, natural looks.

“I think we have to learn how to have courageous conversations with people about our identity and our beauty,” added Ampey when asked how to find a sense of comfort when encountering not-so-nice Minnesota workspaces. “We should lose some of our defensives because people don’t know what they don’t know. It is our responsibility to educate people.”

“We’re taking a few steps forward and few steps back,” added panelist Briana McCall Cress, owner of Gorgeous Looks Salon, in reference to recent news stories involving Black hair. “But we have more images in the media and more people who are being intentional about putting [their] Blackness first and showing who we are, loving who we are, and accepting that we’re remarkable.”

Attendees packed into Thor Companies for a discussion about hair. (Photo by: Steve Floyd | MSR News)

Attendees packed into Thor Companies for a discussion about hair. (Photo by: Steve Floyd | MSR News)

Essence Shabazz, owner of E.bazz Hair Loft Beauty Supply, rounded out the panel. She encouraged attendees to know their worth from the inside out and to prioritize spending habits. “Take care of your home first. I see us spending so much on wigs and weaves when we can’t afford it.

“If you don’t own your own home but you’re spending $500 on a weave — that is insane! If you want a certain look, but can’t afford it, ask [your stylist] how to achieve it for less,” she advised.

The event was moderated by Stephenetta (isis) Harmon, MSR editor-in-chief, Hype Hair digital editor, and owner of Sadiaa Hair+Beauty Guide, a beauty directory for women of color. In addition to the discussion, attendees shopped with local entrepreneurs, networked and vibed to sounds from KMOJ’s Q-Bear.

Next up: Sister Spokesman talks love and relationships at the Minneapolis Urban League on June 1 from 12-4 pm. RSVP @ Sister Spokesman/Facebook .

See a Facebook live stream of the event here and here.

Connect with the panelists at the links below:

Briana McCall Cress @ gorgeouslookssalon.net

Essence Shabazz @ ebazzhairloft.com

Faatemah Ampey @ suitespotsalonspa.com

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon @ sadiaa.com

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Defender News Network

Salon teaches dads how to style daughters’ hair

DEFENDER NEWS NETWORK — An Ohio beauty salon is working to make sure dads have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to do their daughters’ hair. Tieya Riggins is the owner of Natruelly Mee in Rocky River.

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Photo by: defendernetwork.com
Defender News Service

An Ohio beauty salon is working to make sure dads have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to do their daughters’ hair.

Tieya Riggins is the owner of Natruelly Mee in Rocky River.

“Doing hair for me is just, it’s a passion and it’s a passion for me to teach other people to do hair too,” said Riggins.

Rigging recently held a free Father/Daughter class to teach dads how to create fun and easy hairstyles.

“It’s really important that dads are involved, we kind of like, shut them out when it comes to the hair thing and we kind of take over as women.”

Riggins hopes to host another session in August, ahead of the new school year. That class will be open to both to fathers and mothers.

Read more from WKYC.

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Afro

RHOA Star Opens Boutique at National Harbor

THE AFRO — They came early and waited longer for a passing glimpse at a reality show icon who is now blazing a trail in the high-end fashion industry.  Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) star Nene Leakes, by all accounts, officially became the first Black woman to own a retail establishment at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill.

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Nene Leakes, who is posing with her friend and RHOA co-star Marlo Hampton, became the first Black woman to open up a store at MGM National Harbor, with her shop Swagg Boutique.

By Mark F. Gray

They came early and waited longer for a passing glimpse at a reality show icon who is now blazing a trail in the high-end fashion industry.  Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) star Nene Leakes, by all accounts, officially became the first Black woman to own a retail establishment at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill.

Leakes, whose often combative TV personality has earned legions of fans who revere and despise her, opened her second Swagg Boutique in a prime location, just outside the food court in front of Starbucks at Maryland’s mega casino and entertainment complex. She opened the first in Atlanta after launching a successful clothing line on QVC and her Swagg brand stores currently has another location called Swaggalicious in Miami.

A massive audience waited outside the store inside a velvet rope for more than three hours before she appeared and was swiftly escorted into the store to become a sales magnet.  The overflow audience stretched from the store’s entrance and halfway down the hall towards the casino with an excited gathering who was far more enamored by being in the presence of celebrities than making a purchase.

This was not the conventional grand opening in the D.M.V. to a celebrity’s retail establishment. There was no countdown to the ribbon cutting. There were no dignitaries, nor other celebrities who weren’t associated with the RHOA brand either.

However, Nene cleverly pulled off a fashion show with runway models who worked the hallway outside the store inconspicuously. Through about five different wardrobe changes, the quartet brought a closer look to the store’s summer fashions that would inaugurate it’s inception.  Somehow it was almost too discreet and hard to determine if they were representing for the reality show fashionista’s line of clothing or random divas looking for a photo opportunity.

Guests who were visiting the resort for the afternoon matinee’ of the “Disco Nights” show that played in the theatre were split on their reaction to the atmosphere that surprisingly greeted them. The generational culture divide was most apparent then.  Many knew that something significant was happening although the late 1970s and 80s dance craze audience weren’t RHOA – or reality show fans – so they couldn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of what they were walking into.

Leakes grand entrance came approximately 90 minutes after the doors opened.  The first wave of customers had their patience tested after standing on-line to be first in the store, then have to wait for another hour for a coveted moment to see the star. The RHOA fans from the D.M.V. were mindful of how important it was to have a Black woman to operate a retail establishment at National Harbor while trying to get the perfect selfie without making a purchase.

The RHOA star joined Sex In The City’s Sarah Jessica Parker, as the only female celebrities to have their names associated with retail establishments at MGM National Harbor.  Parker reportedly was in the building Friday to debut a pre fall collection of SJP shoes by serving as a pop-up salesperson for two hours then heading back to New York.

The boutique’s shop and sip event opening gave fans and high end customers a chance to browse and shop during an afternoon of decadent dessert, hors d’oeuvres, and wine. Those who made purchases didn’t have to worry about that perfect selfie because full bags meant full tummies while Leakes would strike a pose with them.

This article originally appeared in The Afro. 

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Education

Detroit Almighty contest aims to empower DPSCD youth to create

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — The winning students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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Tommey Walker (Photo by: michiganchronicle.com)

Detroit Vs. Everybody (DVE) founder Tommey Walker was a student within the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) all his life. He attended Chrysler Elementary, Burton International and Cass Technical High School. Now he is giving current DPSCD students the opportunity to follow in his footsteps with the launch of the “Detroit Almighty” contest.

DPSCD elementary, middle and high school students will have the opportunity to design a DVE item that best represents Detroit through their own eyes. Winning items from each grade level will be sold on the DVE website and inside its flagship store located in Eastern Market. The student with the most sales wins $2,500 for themselves and another $2,500 for their school.

“The whole scheme of this project is to let the kids of Detroit Public Schools know how feasible it is to have a career in fashion design,” said Walker, who founded DVE in 2012. “I want them to see the process from A-Z and get a feel for what it’s like to view financial reports…and see how their work is being accepted by the customers.”

Participants will have to pitch their designs to the DVE team, explaining why they chose their design. The winning students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with Walker, who will walk them through the entire process of design, manufacturing, shipping and retail of their respective item. Winners will also participate in the store display of their item and receive weekly sales reports.

“We have this platform and are able to open doors for others,” said Walker. “I want the kids to see that it is very real for them to have an idea of theirs materialize and actually make money [from] it. Once they see that, they will know that things are more obtainable for them.”

Walker credits his educational upbringing in DPSCD as well as the fact that his mother has been an advocate and educator for his success to this day. As a student at Cass Tech in 2002, someone offered him the opportunity to break into the world of graphic design, which propelled him to start his international DVE brand a decade later. The next best Detroit brand could be waiting in the wings through the “Detroit Almighty” contest.

“When you have some type of success, it’s kind of your duty to give back and lift up others,” added Walker. “But I didn’t want to do that in a cliché way. I wanted to give them something that they can remember. I wanted to give them the money so that they can spend it the way they want. This is a project that I would have wanted to do as a DPS student.”

All artwork submissions for elementary, middle and high school students are due June 21. The pitch stage begins June 22, with finalists announced June 25. Customers will be able to purchase the shirts July 1 until September 6 when the contest ends. The grand prize winner will be announced September 10.

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) was established in 1842 with the first high school (Central) opening in 1858. DPSCD replaced the original DPS in 2016. It is comprised of 106 schools and more than 50,000 students

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle

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#NNPA BlackPress

The 2019 Met Gala: Lena Waithe and Kerby Jean-Raymond Slay for The Culture

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Waithe is literally the present and future of film and television with her Emmy award for Master of None. Jean-Raymond is the present and future of fashion with his 2018 CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) nomination for Emerging Talent and 2019 CFDA nomination for Menswear Designer of the Year (Pyer Moss).

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Fashion Designer Kerby Raymond-Jean and Actress/Showrunner Lena Waithe arrive at the 2019 Met Gala. (Instagram: Lena Waithe)

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., NNPA Newswire Contributor

Actress, showrunner and writer Lena Waithe “came to slay” at the 2019 Met Gala strutting on the pink carpet wearing a pinstripe Carolina blue suit with the statement “Black Drag Queens Invented Camp” written in script across her back. With Haitian-American fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond at her side and wearing the same suit in a different color, the it-duo donned Pyre Moss’ (Jean-Raymond’s fashion label) very 80s styled suit which enveloped the words to music legend Diana Ross’ classic hit song “I’m Coming Out,” in the pin stripes. Jewelry Designer Johnny Nelson collaborated with Pyre Moss and created 16 custom iconic portrait buttons and black power fist cuff links to adorn their suits. Kerby chose 8 of his favorite rappers for his buttons: Nipsey Hussle, Nas, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Jay-Z, Meek Mill and Tupac. Waithe chose LGBTQ icons for hers: RuPaul, Octavia St. Laurent, Dorian Corey, Freddie Pendavis, Pepper La Beija, Paris DuPree, Venus Xtravaganza and Willie Ninja.

The outspoken artists confronted the controversy brewing since the Met’s announcement that the 2019 theme of the costume exhibition would be “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” The Met exhibition would be an ode to Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay that defines camp as “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.”

Susan Sontag is to camp what Norman Mailer is to cool. Sontag’s writing is revered and reviled with the same intensity by artists, intellectuals and the like. One of the reasons her work is reviled is because of the invisibility of the blackness that informs it. Sontag’s essay failed to mention one black person; the only person of color mentioned is Cuban pop singer La Lupe. Her essay posits camp in a binary construct of gender and class yet fails to mention race. For the out black queer queen of Hollywood to step onto the pink carpet proclaiming black culture as the foundation for the evening with Jean-Raymond who burst onto the fashion scene with his presentation at Pyer Moss’ 2015 Spring Menswear Collection which confronted policy brutality and referenced the Black Lives Matter movement and literally wearing the words and images of black and gay icons is in a word – gangsta.

Waithe is literally the present and future of film and television with her Emmy award for Master of None. Jean-Raymond is the present and future of fashion with his 2018 CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) nomination for Emerging Talent and 2019 CFDA nomination for Menswear Designer of the Year (Pyer Moss). Waithe and Jean-Raymond make major moves and statements in dominant cultural industries that have historically marginalized and “othered” black folks, while simultaneously appropriating black cultural symbols and practices. The duo’s unified emergence on the pink carpet demonstrates their awareness of the power play in progress and their commitment as “othered” artists, yet and again, to battle the cultural dismissal head on.

In the same vein that Waithe and Jean-Raymond, who has built a brand that tackles issues of social justice directly and centers Black American stories in his sure-to-be iconic fasion collections (American Also), their pairing is a fierce statement of the centrality of black culture, the shared global histories and struggles of black people of African descent and the mandate in this climate, which is in many ways a microcosm of a macro problem – to deconstruct and address the invisibility of black people in general and queer black people specifically.

Their privileging of queer black people and culture tells the story of an underappreciation of black and queer contributions to society despite the use and misuse of black and queer culture and in this case, black queer creative labor to build empires. Both are disrupting American industries (media and fashion) through their award-winning and highly acclaimed work (Master of None, Seven Mothers) while being themselves. They literally used their black and queer bodies and clothing to disrupt one of the most iconic and beloved events in the world.

Gotham got got last night by a black lesbian from the Southside of Chicago and a Haitian American from Brooklyn who has been toiling in the fashion industry since age 15. They know the industries they work in like the back of their hands, which is one of the reasons for their major successes while being very clear about who they are as people and artists and what they represent. They challenged Sontag’s limited definition of camp and inverted the power relationship if only for a moment. The wonder twins used their cultural capital to remind attendees that this “celebration” and “exhibition” would not be possible without the contributions of queer black folk. Waithe and Jean-Raymond physically “trolled” the theme of the 2019 Met Gala with their bodies, stories and fashion. One could say, they slayed for the culture and if that isn’t camp, then I don’t know what is.

This post was written by Nsenga K Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. An expert in intersectionality and media industries, Dr. Burton is also a professor of film and television at Emory University and co-editor of the book, Black Women’s Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire

Fashion Designer Kerby Raymond-Jean and Actress/Showrunner Lena Waithe arrive at the 2019 Met Gala. (Instagram: Lena Waithe)

Fashion Designer Kerby Raymond-Jean and Actress/Showrunner Lena Waithe arrive at the 2019 Met Gala. (Instagram: Lena Waithe)

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Fashion

Halle Berry shares the secret to her youthful appearance

ROLLINGOUT.COM — Halle Berry shares her beauty secrets. The 52-year-old actress – who is mother to Nahla, 11, and Maceo, 5, from previous relationships – believes the bargain home-made concoction is the best anti-aging product she can consume because it is “full” of collagen.

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Halle Berry (Photo Credit: Splash News)

By Rollingout.com

Halle Berry shares her beauty secrets.

The 52-year-old actress – who is mother to Nahla, 11, and Maceo, 5, from previous relationships – believes the bargain home-made concoction is the best anti-aging product she can consume because it is “full” of collagen.

When asked her best anti-aging tip, she told Closer magazine said: “Bone broth! You can go to the butcher and pick up all of the bones they’re going to throw away – they give them to you for free.

“Then you boil them for 24 hours and drink the broth. It’s full of collagen.”

The John Wick 3: Parabellum actress admitted she puts in a lot of effort when it comes to looking after her body.

She said, “I do so many things to take care of my body.

“The most important thing I can think of is that I eat well. I have a really good lifestyle and eating plan.

“I won’t say diet because it’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle.”

Berry is delighted to be able to share her fitness, diet and fashion tips on her own website, Hallewood.

She said: “My health, wellness, and fitness have always been a huge part of my life.

“I’ve just never shared it before.

“Now, because of the internet, and how the world is now, I get to share it with others.”

Meanwhile, the X-Men actress doesn’t think she could be more proud of anything than she is of her children.

She said: “I have two children so I have to keep it together for them.

“I had two in my 40s. I managed to have two beautiful, healthy children. That’s the best I think I could ever do in my life.

“My kids are the thing I’m most proud of.”

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com
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Business

The Black-owned online beauty supply store you should know

ROLLINGOUT.COM — Are you natural or in the process of transitioning but are struggling to find products for your hair? Aisha Shannon Bates, the founder of Coil Beauty has a solution for you. Coil Beauty is an online retail community created by and for women of color to make their shopping experience fun and convenient.

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Coil Beauty (Photo courtesy of Coil Beauty)

By Cassidy Sparks

Are you natural or in the process of transitioning but are struggling to find products for your hair? Aisha Shannon Bates, the founder of Coil Beauty has a solution for you.

Cassidy Sparks

Cassidy Sparks

Coil Beauty is an online retail community created by and for women of color to make their shopping experience fun and convenient.

Bates, a Spelman College graduate, launched her business with partner Kethlyn White in 2018 after dealing with an unpleasant beauty supply store experience that made her realize the lack of quality products and customer service. Coil Beauty promotes and sells emerging Black-owned brands and offers a selection of products that can address every beauty concern for people of color.

The online boutique sells products like Pear Nova, Soultanicals, UnSun, Mielle Organics and more. The company focuses on quality customer engagement by providing, personal touches and feedback. They make shopping easy by creating categories for hair, skin, nails, lips, him and kids.

Coil Beauty’s website also has a blog featuring helpful articles that touch on an array of beauty topics.

Bates and White are tackling the issue of Black ownership and representation in the beauty industry by creating this marketplace made just for you. We encourage you to consider supporting this Black-owned business.

You can find them at CoilBeauty.com.

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com

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