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

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

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

‘Loving’ Star Ruth Negga Lands Vogue Cover, Talks Being ‘Irish-Ethiopian’

Ruth Negga of "Loving" on January 2017 cover of Vogue (photo via vogue.com)

Ruth Negga of “Loving” on January 2017 cover of Vogue (photo via vogue.com)

article by Danielle James via blackamericaweb.com

Ruth Negga is the January 2017 cover model for Vogue Magazine. The Irish-Ethiopian actress is starring in Loving, a film directed by Jeff Nichols, about an interracial couple who desire to be married in 1958 Virginia. Loving is the first full-length film to be screened at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Ruth delved to Vogue about growing up with interracial parents and losing her father at a young age. Ruth and her mother went to Ireland and was waiting for her father, but he died in Ethiopia in a car crash. She found out via a letter. “This was 1988. There wasn’t any grief counseling for kids.” Ruth admits to going to therapy in her early 30’s to deal with the loss of her father.

Ruth identifies as Irish-Ethiopian, adding, “I become very territorial about my identity because it’s been hijacked by so many people, with their own projections.” Deep and a struggle, many racially ambiguous women must address. Ruth explains, “I’m always very careful to say I’m Irish-Ethiopian because I feel Ethiopian and I look Ethiopian and I am Ethiopian. But there are 81 languages in Ethiopia, and I don’t know any of them.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/12/09/loving-star-ruth-negga-covers-vogue-talks-being-irish-ethiopian/

Halima Aden Makes History as 1st Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Halima Aden (photo via cosmopolitan.com)

article by Gina Mei via cosmopolitan.com

Halima Aden is flawlessly breaking down barriers in the pageant community: Over the weekend, the 19-year-old made history as the first contestant in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition and a burkini during the swimsuit round. And needless to say, she looked absolutely stunning.

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

The Somali-American teenager, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to America when she was just 6 years old, ultimately made it to the pageant’s semifinals Sunday. But as she told multiple sources both before and after the pageant was over, despite not winning, she hoped her participation would serve as a reminder that beauty comes in many different forms.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it. So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing,” she said in an interview with KARE-11. “Be who you are. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

To read more, go to: Halima Aden Makes History as the First Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Alicia Keys’ Powerful No-Makeup Movement Wins Over “The Today Show” Co-Host Tamron Hall

Alicia Keys and Tamron Hall wear no make-up on “The Today Show” (photo via today.com)

article by KC Orcutt via bet.com

Alicia Keys continues to speak her truth, sticking to her word that her days of feeling forced to wear make-up due to cultural pressures are long gone.

Most recently, the Grammy-award winning singer stopped by The Today Show and not too long after they all got to talking, co-host Tamron Hall was next to support the movement to rock a natural face by wiping off her make-up while on national television.

Keys has been experiencing backlash recently for her decision to attend this year’s VMAs without make-up, with her supporting husband Swizz Beatz taking to social media to defend his wife’s choices.

With her movement continuing to gain momentum, along with Hall, co-hosts Billy Bush and Al Roker also joined in on the fun, with all agreeing to wipe their faces clean while broadcasting across the U.S. Keys also gushed at Hall’s fresh face, complimenting the co-host exclaiming, “You’re so beautiful, look at you!”

During the on-air conversation, Keys reminded everyone that her choices have nothing to do with her hating make-up, nor does she have anything against those who choose to wear make-up. For Keys, she no longer wants to feel forced to wear make-up and it’s as simple as that.

In the essay she penned earlier this summer explaining her decision to walk away from her make-up brushes, the singer wrote, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

To check out some footage of Keys’ recent appearance on The Today Show, click here.