In this digital age, there are certain things that I miss at times like the importance of a landline phone, or a good paperback book and talk radio shows with music and hilarious discussion topics. I’ve jumped on the podcast bandwagon. I love them. I laugh with them and shake my head in agreement with their commentary. There are five in particular that I look forward to every week to get me through my 8 minute ab workout or help me get through the digital pile of deadlines that find their way onto my desktop.
I’ve been a HeyFranHey fan since my earlier Tumblr days in 2009 and she serves as the right amount of balance between Assante and Dustin with their hilarious antics and commentary. Listen along every Wednesday as Dustin Ross, HeyFranHey & Assante explore mental hygiene, because who in the hell wants a musty brain?
In case you’re ever in need of some morning inspiration #Girlboss legend Sophia Amoruso finds some of the most brilliant women entrepreneurs and gets all the inside scoop on their building process, career gems and strategies. It’s also girl chat as well.
Black Girls Talking
It’s like dialing up for girls on a conference call. Black Girls Talking is a podcast wherein 4 black women discuss pop culture, Beyonce, & the pursuit of the perfect body oil.
Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.
2 Dope Queens
Join the 2 Dope Queens, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. Plus a whole bunch of other s**t.
Being a blogger, or a social media influencer can be extremely difficult when most of your life is on broadcast for the world to see, but people only get a front seat view of your successes. They never truly see the amount of work that happens offline when the YouTube videos aren’t uploaded or the pictures haven’t been posted on social media just yet. Sometimes it’s difficult to compartmentalize what you want your audience to see versus what you’d like to remain hidden, but in “My Life Offline,” three natural hair influencers and vloggers were brave enough take you on a tour of what happens offline.
In 2013, Maureen Aladin, Founder and Executive Producer of TWELVE18 Media, set out on a (3) city tour to develop the docu-series My Life Offline (#MLO). The reality show, which features the top natural hair vloggers Vaughn Monroe (@msvaughntv), Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey (@BeautifulBrwnBabyDol), and Chime Edwards (@chimeedwards) is the first ever to follow what happens in their world when the YouTube cameras are turned off, and the lens to their life (behind-the-scenes) turns on. They are social media’s “it” girls. People want to know every detail of their lives, from what they’re eating, to where they’re going, and who they’re going there with. After building their own social media empires, they’re ready to take things to the next level. The question is, will they be able to successfully translate what they’ve done online, offline – in the real world. This series is about their journey.
It’s about their journeys, but it also about the journey for most African American women. Each episode made me feel like I knew these women. You develop a common bond with them and you leave each episode feeling a little bit more inspired. These ladies laugh, they
cry and more importantly they work hard.
Aside from vlogging, I love the personal aspects of the series. It follows Dr. Nina’s quest in searching for her biological parents, to pressing towards her weight goals and building her business. Vaughn is building a brand of her own in her city and she’s taking us on a tour of the process. She’s learning how to tackle entrepreneurship without losing herself and her own voice. With a growing audience and blog Chime takes us on her journey to putting herself out there for her brand while at the same time preparing to also build her own
family and plan her wedding.
Beyond the vlogosphere, I think My Life Offline perfectly captures what life is like for us black women who are building. We see the triumphs and the successes and the points of achievement, but we barely get glimpses into the chasing of the pavement, the tears, the anger and the amount of work it takes to “make it.” These ladies tackle their mental well-being, they look for love and they just want the best possible life just like we all do while balancing work and life.
So if you’re looking for that sunny side of the street feeling, make it a hair day and binge on a couple of episodes of “My Life Offline” I promise it’s good and the music is too! You’ll
I’m walking through a busy train station and a man stops me to tell me that he thinks I’m beautiful. Now I’m not one of those women who don’t know how to take a compliment, so I smiled and said “Thank you,” but before I can continue walking he asks me, “what are you?” I’m a bit confused by this question so I’m looking at him like what do you mean? He responses “are you mixed with something?” Tired of these types of questions I said, “I’m just black.” Meaning that I am Black American.
If I had a buck for every time a man asked me “What are you?” as if I’m some foreign creature after giving me a compliment…I’d probably be able to pay off my student loans and believe me, that’s a lot of money. But every single time a man…mainly a black man gives me a compliment on my hair, my skin, my eyes, or my figure…it’s immediately followed by “what are you?” My response is always “I’m just black.” They never believe me for some reason so they start throwing out nationalities as if my answer of being “just black” is going to change. “You Jamaican?” “No.” “You Haitian?” “No.” “You African?” “No…I’m just black.” It’s as if I have to be something other than just black…meaning Black American in order for their compliments to be validated. Why can’t all the things that make me beautiful be okay on a just black woman? What does “just black” look like anyway for it to be unbelievable that I am? It’s bad enough that black women have to put up with European beauty standards as is, but why do I get a disappointed “oh” when they finally accept that I’m just black. It made me realize that the beauty standards in the black community, amongst the black community, within the black community are just as bad as European expectations and it’s usually rooted in biases that comes with one’s nationality.
Perplexed by this and curious, I brought the topic up to a male friend and he was confused at first because his idea of “just black” was the same as mine. I’m not mixed with anything nor am I a first generation of any other cultural background therefore, I identify as “black,” but when I told him the scenario, the multiple scenarios of me being asked “what are you,” he had some sort of an “ah ha” moment because as a Jamaican man he realized what I meant by being a “just black” woman. According to him, as a West Indian man, there is a stereotype or a stigma attached to women who are just black. For whatever reason, he claimed that most men of other cultural backgrounds usually prefer to date within their culture because there is a negative view when it comes to the upbringing and the mannerisms of “just black” women. He painted the picture of a just black woman as a LL Cool J type of ghetto around the way girl as if she’s loud, unappealing and difficult….clearly I’m far from all of that so I was a bit bewildered, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. African American women have been at the bottom of the totem pole for as long as we’ve existed despite all of our accomplishments and magic. Within our own culture, we are often victims of shadism, we deal with backlash because of our nationalities, etc. In conclusion, he said that maybe I looked approachable, unlike most black women.
This brought me to my next question. I looked “approachable unlike most black women,” what do most black women look like and how do you make a clear distinction of someone’s nationality just by looking at them? I wondered how am I supposed to look? The point is, as a unit…as people of color…as the essence of blackness, we have to do better. We have to do better in-house and change the way we view each other because we are a powerful people and it doesn’t matter if you are Jamaican, Haitian, African or just black. The standards of your blackness doesn’t change just because your nationality is different and of course because black is beautiful.
The video above is one of Tiffany “New York” Pollard expressing her issues with colorism after being offended by a remark made by someone on the same show as her. She said something that’s stood out to be since seeing this clip months ago. She said:
If you are going to stand in it [blackness], stand in it in ALL shades.
That statement alone summed up exactly how I feel when a “BLACK” person, regardless of nationality fixes their lips to speak down on another black sub-nationality. Yes, take pride in being African, take pride in being West Indian, but you are also black so take pride in standing in that as well.