U.S. Army Finally Lifts Ban on Dreadlocks, Black Service Members Rejoice

(photo via atlantablackstar.com)

article by Tanasia Kenney via atlantablackstar.com

After years of being forced to chose between their hair and staying within regulation, African-American servicewomen in the United States Army are praising revised grooming policies that’ll allow them to don dreadlocks. The Army announced plans to lift the ban on locs early last month in a directive that largely focused on grooming policy changes that pertained to religious accommodations, according to The New York Times.

Buried in the memo was text stating that female service members would now be permitted to wear “dreadlocks/locs,” as long as the strands are less than 1/8 inch wide, the scalp grid is uniformed and neat, and, when gathered, all the hair fits into the authorized bun size of 3 1/2 inches wide by 2 inches deep, as stated under Army Regulation 670-1.

The change was happily welcomed by African-American servicewomen, who, in April 2014, were outraged after the Army enacted policies that explicitly prohibited locs, twists, braids and other protective hairstyles common in the African-American community. Many argued that the regulations were confusing, discriminatory and left Black servicewomen with little hairstyle options while in uniform.

To read more, go to: U.S. Army Finally Lifts Ban on Dreadlocks, Black Service Members Rejoice – Atlanta Black Star

Jahkil Jackson, 9, Gives “Blessing Bags” With Essentials to Homeless

9 Year-Old Philanthropist Jahkil Jackson (photo via usatoday.com)

CHICAGO — At 9 years old, Jahkil Jackson is helping his community take care of those in need.  It all started the day his aunt took him to feed the homeless. Jackson was saddened when he saw how the homeless lived.  “They didn’t have items to start or end their day,” say Jackson.

So he and his mother took action, creating the non-profit, iAMNaeem.

Jackson puts together “Blessing Bags” which he hands out to the homeless community.  The bags are filled with toothbrushes, socks, soap, deodorant — everyday items a person needs.

He disburses the bags from the back of his godfather’s pickup truck. He’s on the ground, meeting the homeless community face-to-face while handing out bags. Jackson’s mother says he always takes charge during these trips, proving to be a strong leader at such a young age.

“In a perfect world, I would buy every homeless person a house,” Jackson says. “But since I can’t do that, I will try to help as much as I can.”

Since starting his non-profit, he’s distributed almost 2,000 Blessing Bags. Jackson’s goal for the end of 2017 is to distribute 5,000 bags.

To read more: Boy saw how homeless lived and did something about it

Rapper Big Sean Makes Hefty Donation to Aid With Ongoing Flint Water Crisis

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Big Sean (image via seanandersonfoundation.org)

article by KC Orcutt via bet.com

Big Sean is wasting no time this new year, and is currently busy readying his forthcoming album, I Decided.

On top of promoting the project, the G.O.O.D. Music recording artist also made time for something else that is important to him: showing love to where he came from and giving back how he can. The Michigan native recently stopped by The Daily Show to discuss why he chose to donate money to the Flint water crisis.

During the interview, Big Sean revealed that through his foundation, he has been able to raise roughly $100,000 to help assist the people of Flint, Michigan.

“I just know it’s not even close to being over,” the rapper shares with host Trevor Noah. “In that situation, I feel like, it’s not a natural disaster. It’s something that should’ve been prevented and could’ve been prevented, so it’s just disgusting to think about the damages that these families and even kids have to go through with the lead poisoning.”

On top of the Flint water crisis being an ongoing problem since roughly April 2014, when reports first shed light on the catastrophic reality that the drinking water had been contaminated by lead, the rapper also revealed just how close to home the issue hits, explaining that his own mother had been personally affected. “It was very hard for her to deal with, but she was able, through holistic care and homeopathic remedies, was able to reverse a lot of the effects of lead poisoning,” Big Sean says.

On top of donating financially, the rapper also is giving back to the community, by way of featuring the Flint Chosen Choir in his music, incorporating the local choir on his single “Bigger Than Me.”

To read full article, go to: http://www.bet.com/music/2017/01/25/big-sean-makes-a-hefty-donation-to-the-flint-water-crisis.html

Mahisha Dellinger, CEO of Hair Product Line Curls, on Becoming a Leader of Your Life – New York Times

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Curls CEO Mahisha Dellinger (Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)

by Adam Bryant via nytimes.com

This interview with Mahisha Dellinger, chief executive of Curls, a maker of hair care products, has been edited for space and clarity.

Q. What were your early years like?

A. I grew up in California, in an area called Meadowview, which was dubbed Danger Island. There was a lot of crime: drug activity, gang activity, home invasions, drive-by shootings. I was my mother’s star child because I never gave her any trouble.But my brother was in a gang, so he got into a lot of trouble starting from 15 on. Our house actually got shot up because another gang came to retaliate. No one was hurt, but my environment was very much one of fear. I had to learn how to take care of myself at an early age. My mother worked a lot, and she was often gone. So from the age of 7 on, I got myself breakfast, made my lunch, went to school, came back home, did my homework, and then she would come home after 7. In that kind of neighborhood and environment, you can go either way. You can either become a leader and control your destiny because you’re forced to, or you can go in the opposite direction. I had to become a leader of my life, and it started there, at a young age.I think I have an innate strength about me because of where I came from. I’ve seen it all. And I had a desire to change my life. I didn’t want to live the way I was living. That pushed me to finish my education and ultimately go on to higher education, and change my legacy.

Given that you had to take care of yourself, were you able to be involved in things outside of school?

My mom changed her lifestyle. She used to party a lot on the weekend. My brother would babysit me, and take care of us both while she was gone. But in sixth grade, she gave her life to God, and that’s when our lives really changed for the better. From that point, it became all about church, all week. Church was my life. I didn’t have really a lot outside of that. It was a very strict environment from sixth grade on. I loved it. I had a sense of belonging.

Tell me about your decision to become an entrepreneur.

I reached a point where I decided I’m never going to work for anyone else again. I’m going to own my destiny, and I’m going to determine how far I can go. When I turned the switch on my website in April 2002, I was so happy when I had eight orders. It was the best thing ever, that first day. Initially, it was e-commerce only. The big change in my business really happened in 2009, when Target called and wanted to carry my products. That gave us the exposure we needed.

What have been some key leadership lessons for you?

I learned to soften my approach. Because I am a Type A, there’s not a lot of room for fluff, typically. That’s my personality, but I had to soften myself with certain people and adapt to different personalities and give each one what they need individually. I have four kids, and they’re all different. I feel like my employees are the same way. Some need more from me in some areas, some need less, and I had to change that so I could retain my key people. That was an important personal development for me.

To read more, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/business/mahisha-dellinger-of-curls-on-becoming-a-leader-of-your-life.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=4&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F12%2F30%2Fbusiness%2Fmahisha-dellinger-of-curls-on-becoming-a-leader-of-your-life.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=0

NFL MVP Cam Newton Surprises 10 Year-Old Heart Patient Taylor Deckard with Hospital Visit

Star NFL quarterback Cam Newton comforts 10 year-old Taylor Deckard during surprise visit before heart surgery (photo via charlotteobserver.com)

Star NFL quarterback Cam Newton comforts 10 year-old heart patient Taylor Austin Deckard during surprise visit before high-risk medical procedure (photo via charlotteobserver.com)

article via blackamericaweb.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There’s no doubt Cam Newton has a soft spot in his heart for kids.

That was never more evident than this week when the Panthers quarterback surprised a 10-year-old Taylor Austin Deckard, a boy who suffers from advanced pulmonary hypertension, a rare heart condition that requires a high-risk medical procedure to save his life.

The league’s reigning league MVP visited Deckard in an Atlanta children’s hospital Tuesday. Taylor was wearing Newton’s No. 2 Auburn jersey at the time.

When Newton asked him how he was doing, Taylor climbed out of bed and hugged him. During the long embrace, Newton said, “I feel your heart. It’s going 1,000 miles an hour.”

Newton appeared touched by the moment in the video posted by Auburn. He twice said, “Aw, man.”

Taylor initially pouted after his parents told him to turn off his tablet. Then Newton walked in saying, “What’s going on buddy?”

Newton spoke about the encounter at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. He didn’t know what to expect when he walked into the boy’s hospital room.

“I read a lot of things about him and what he likes,” Newton said. “Then when I go in there he hugs me. And it’s the parent touch. You can’t explain it. You can’t really explain it. My heart falls for a child in any situation. I was just there to comfort him. It was something that happened naturally.”

Newton described the boy as full of joy and full of energy, which made him sad to know that he’s battling a heart problem.

Newton said he was blown away by the strength of the boy’s family, most notably his father Timothy.

“You have a strong man who will not let his son see him bat an eye,” Newton said. “He has all the right words to say and all the comfort to give. And the mom is just as strong as he is and they are just there for him. And it inspires me because I have kids. … When (Taylor) looked at his dad and he looked at his mom, he just knew everything was going to be all right.”

To read more, go to: https://blackamericaweb.com/2016/12/28/cam-newton-scores-with-visit-to-boy-battling-heart-condition/

Rashida Jones’ Nail Salon Series ‘Claws’ Starring Niecy Nash Gets Greenlight from TNT

‘Claws’ TNT

“Claws” cast (photo courtesy of TURNER)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

TNT has given the greenlight to “Claws,” a nail salon-set dramedy hailing from executive producer Rashida JonesVariety has learned.

“Claws” follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon in South Florida, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures.

The hourlong series stars Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Harold Perrineau, Jenn Lyon, Judy Reyes, Jack Kesy, Karrueche Tran, Kevin Rankin and Jason Antoon. TNT has ordered 10 episodes for the first season.

Rashida Jones Claws TNT

“Claws” Executive Producer Rashida Jones

At the center is salon owner Desna (Nash), who lives with and cares for her mentally ill twin brother, Dean (Perrineau). Desna’s staff includes best friend Jennifer (Lyon), a tenuously sober ex-party girl raising two children from previous relationships; Quiet Ann (Reyes), Desna’s enigmatic driver who also provides security for the salon; Polly (Preston), a mild-mannered preppy who recently served time in prison for identity theft; and Virginia (Tran), who makes no effort to hide her boredom and impatience with her job. Adding chaos to the Nail Artisan mix is Roller (Kesy), a gangstered-out redneck who runs a barely legal pain clinic and uses Desna’s nail salon to launder the obscene profits; Bryce (Rankin), Jennifer’s husband who is also newly sober and trying to stay legit by working as an abundance coach; and Dr. Ken Brickman (Antoon), a bona fide doctor at a decidedly un-bona fide and illegal drug clinic.

The series hails from Le Train Train, Jones’ production company with Will McCormack. The duo will serve as executive producers, along with Janine Sherman Barrois who will also serve as showrunner. The pilot was written by Eliot Laurence, who will serve as co-executive producer, and was directed by Nicole Kassell. Warner Horizon Television and Turner’s Studio T are behind the project with Le Train Train.

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/claws-tnt-greenlit-nail-salon-series-niecy-nash-rashida-jones-1201941136/

Author Chimamanda Adichie, the New Face of Boots No. 7 Make-Up, Speaks on Black Hair and Redefining Beauty

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Photo: Boots)

article by  via nymag.com

We probably don’t deserve Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The author and feminist who inspired Beyoncé is now fighting America’s political battles, and man is she good at it.

But that’s not the only hat Adichie’s wearing as of late. She’s also the new face of Boots No. 7 makeup — a British drugstore retailer known for its cult serum that’s a best seller across the pond. (You can purchase the brand in the U.S. at Walgreens.)

The partnership between Boots and Adichie is a match that feels in sync. For years Adichie has been outspoken in asserting that feminism and makeup can co-exist, and the specific campaign she was tapped to lead for Boots hedges on the concept that cosmetics are more than tools to look pretty: They’re vessels to help a woman begin her day. The Cut talked to the author about her foray into the beauty business, the complex relationship she maintains with her hair, and the feminist lesson to be learned from the presidential election.

What frustrates you about the beauty industry? What gives you hope?

The beauty industry is more inclusive than it was ten years ago. There’s a slightly wider range of foundation shades, for example. What I find frustrating is that it should be even more inclusive. The definition of what is beautiful shouldn’t be so narrow. We should have different kinds of women — different body sizes, different shades of skin, and in a way that is consistent, not only occasional.

A note that struck a chord with me in your book Americanah is when Ifemelu, the novel’s protagonist, says, “Hair is the perfect metaphor for race in America.” What did you mean when you wrote that?

Hair is something we see, but we don’t understand what’s behind it, kind of like race. It’s the same way that something seems obvious, but it is really complicated and complex. For example, to see a middle-aged white woman who has highlights is not something everyone in the world necessarily understands, especially if it’s because she struggles to cover her grays. Or if you’re a black women, sometimes the way that your hair grows from your head isn’t considered “professional” by people who don’t know black hair. I don’t think it’s that people are malicious, I think it’s just some people don’t know what the hair that grows from the head of black women actually looks like.

To read full interview, go to: Chimamanda Adichie on Black Hair and Redefining Beauty