Aug 9, 2011

Living as a Black Woman With Albinism

For a long time, Brandi M. Green, 28, looked in the mirror and thought she was a black woman of a lighter complexion, even biracial. But the reality is that she is a person with albinism. As she has come to love her unique beauty and more are becoming aware of the attacks on people with albinism in East Africa, she wants to share her difficult but fulfilling journey.

By Brandi M. Green as told to Victoria Uwumarogie

I don’t know if it was a specific age, but I did notice early on that I was different. Around 8 or so I questioned things and thought, “What’s going on here?” But the answers that were given to me were never satisfactory. My relatives would say “Oh you know, we have white people in our family. ” Answers like that never satisfied me so I was always searching in a sense.

My mother told me I was just light skinned. Maybe she didn’t want to believe I had albinism. Parents don’t want their kids to suffer and I think it was that. She didn’t want me to be held back in any kind of way. She never really associated albinism with me, and she never wanted anyone else to associate that with me either. I think that’s ultimately what led to my identity crisis.

I went to an all black Christian middle school and that first year was rough. I was “White Girl.” I was “Casper.” After people got used to me, school went a lot smoother, but those experiences made me uneasy. The other kids didn’t buy what I was saying. They told me I was an albino and I would say, “No, I’m light skinned,” because that’s all I had known and all I was taught.

In high school I went through a phase where I was trying to “act black.” I was trying to fit in with my black peers and with everyone else in high school. I went through a period where I was trying to be rebellious and act hard and act like something that really wasn’t me. But after high school, when I was at Grinnell College in Iowa, that’s when I feel I really came into my own. Coming from a black school, it was important to me to be in a more diverse setting. I wanted to be somewhere where I could just kind of blend in instead of being a target and that worked for me. College by far was the best time in terms of me coming to accept albinism.

I keep saying albinism instead of albino because the use of the word albino is tricky. I personally don’t mind, because I am what I am. But don’t just walk up to somebody and say, “you’re albino.” I hate to compare, but it’s kind of like the N-word. Some might say albino all day long, but won’t like other people to say it. The safest way of referring to us without offending us is to say “person with albinism.”

When I was younger I used to hear “Oh you’re ugly,” or “Why do you look like that?” from guys who didn’t understand albinism. But now as I’ve got older I can see it turning into much more of a sexual fetish. Someone actually told me one time, “Oh, you’re like the best of both worlds because you’re black and white at the same time!” But I’ve been able to maintain some relationships throughout all that. I do like my partner to have some interest in albinism because it is a big part of my life and this is a community I’m very closely tied to, but there’s a fine line where it begins to be too much. I can tell pretty early on who is in it for the interest of me and who is in it for fetish thrills.

People should know that there is another experience out there. I love being a black woman, but I equally love being a person with albinism. I can not separate them. My experiences are not going to be the same as your “typical black woman” and that’s fine.  I understand that all black women have their experiences, but there’s just something very unique about being a black woman with albinism that is not seen in greater society. I want a voice. I don’t want to be swept under a rug. I’m black too! My version of black is just as beautiful as the brown sista, the redbone or any other shade. My black is beautiful, gold hair and all!

Aug 5, 2011


Rihanna was spotted at home in Barbados heating up the island! The Bajan beauty was spotted out shopping soon after she arrived but it's the images of her at the island's Kadooment day parade and frolicking at the beach that's heating up the web. At the beach Rihanna sported a sexy white stringy bikini that covered just the necessities. The "Man Down" singer also enjoyed some water activities with family and friends. Read on for the pics... 

What do you think of Rihanna's bikini?


August 05, 2011. This morning, Rap star Nicki Minaj was on GOOD MORNING AMERICA performing. When all of a sudden . . . PLOOP!!!

Nicki Minaj and all her theatrics were present at her sold-out Good Morning America performance this morning - her nipples also wanted to make an appearance. Wearing a poofy blonde wig, printed leggings with what looks like a clear umbrella turned into a skirt, and a barely there bra top - Nicki was bound to have a mishap somewhere. TMZ also released the 911 call that was made last month when news broke that someone, allegedly Safaree, hit Nicki in the mouth.   Read on for more pics of Nicki's nip slip....

Nicki tried to no avail to keep her nipples from popping out! Someone's stylist should be reprimanded - if they're not enjoying the publicity.

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Jun 29, 2011

Hair Care Tips for Black Women

Dry, fragile, frizzy, difficult to manage' are some of the adjectives that best describe your hair, if you are an African-American woman. Due to such hair type, hair care for women of African origin differs slightly from normal hair care. Here are a few useful hair care tips for black women.

Nice, shiny, black dreadlocks are a dream of every African-American woman. Unfortunately, the coarse, dry texture, which is a characteristic feature of a black woman, makes it a distant dream. However, the good news is, that you can still achieve your dream hair, if you follow a regular hair care routine. Throughout this article, you'll find great tips on hair care for black women. More on african-american hair care tips.

Healthy Diet
Your hair reflects what you eat, hence, if you want shiny, healthy hair, you must eat healthy food. Incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Since, your hair is made of protein, you should eat foods rich in proteins. Also, include vitamins such as A, B6, B12, E, niacin, etc., as a healthy diet does more good to your hair than any hair care product. Read more on best black hair care products.

Cleaning Routine
It is a common myth that washing your hair more often renders your hair more dry and weak. You should wash your hair at least every 4-5 days. Use a good quality shampoo meant for dry hair and do not forget to condition your hair. A leave-in conditioner is best suited for black hair. Also, while washing your hair, do not rub your scalp too roughly. Partition your hair in several sections and gently rinse off the shampoo. Moreover, do not rub your hair vigorously while drying. Just wrap it in a towel and press it, so as to remove excess water. Letting them dry naturally is the best option. Read more on hair conditioning tips.

Extra Nourishment
Besides a regular cleaning routine, you need to provide extra nourishment to your hair. Jojoba oil is the best hair moisturizer. Look out for products that are rich in jojoba oil and apply on the scalp every 2-3 days. Oil treatment is also necessary to provide your hair with additional nourishment. Warm some coconut oil or olive oil in a pan and apply it on the roots of your hair with a cotton wool. Follow this routine at least once a month. Read more on olive oil hair treatment and jojoba oil for hair and skin care.

Hairstyling Tips for Black Hair
If you are opting for 'bone-straight' hair, do not keep your hair too long. Hair coloring ideas are not a recommended hair styling option for black hair. The chemicals in the dyes are too harsh for black hair. They strip the hair of its moisture and renders it vulnerable to damage. If you must, always color your hair after you are done with perming. More on hair care for curly hair.

General Hair Care Tips for Black Women

1. Always de-tangle and pin-up your hair before you go to bed.
2. If you have rough, cotton pillow covers, then wrap your hair in satin scarf to protect them from getting damaged over the night.
3. Always cover your hair when going outdoors, especially in the sun.
4. Avoid using more than one heat product on your hair such as blow dryer, flat iron, hair straighteners, etc.
5. Use a wide toothed comb to de-tangle your hair.
6. Trim your hair every 2 months or more (depending upon your hair growth) to get rid of split ends.
7. Use a pre-styling gel or serum before going for any black hairstyle. More on black hair care tips.

The above hair care tips for black women will definitely help you achieve an enviable mane. Follow them to the word and you'll be all set to flaunt your shiny, black curls.

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Jun 27, 2011

The 10 Most Compelling Interracial Romances

Although interracial romances in films are definitely not the rarity they once were when movies like 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' or '100 Rifles' hit the screen, they are still fairly uncommon.

So it was a surprise to see that in the new romantic comedy 'Our Family Wedding,' America Ferrera and Lance Gross play a Mexican woman and an African-American man in love. Considering that most movies featuring interracial lovers include one white partner, it was a welcome change to explore how two minorities would handle the ups and downs of cross-cultural romance in 'Wedding' -- even if it was handled in a stereotypical fashion to milk laughs out of the audience.

Looking back at movies with interracial couples, they fall into two categories -- ones in which the couple's backgrounds are a Big Deal, and ones in which it's just not an issue. The majority of movies on this list are the former, but perhaps one day soon, more movies won't need to highlight a couple's cultural differences -- you know, sort of like Uhura and Spock in 'Star Trek.' Although interracial romances in films are definitely not the rarity they once were when movies like 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' or '100 Rifles' hit the screen, they are still fairly uncommon.

So it was a surprise to see that in the new romantic comedy 'Our Family Wedding,' America Ferrera and Lance Gross play a Mexican woman and an African-American man in love. Considering that most movies featuring interracial lovers include one white partner, it was a welcome change to explore how two minorities would handle the ups and downs of cross-cultural romance in 'Wedding' -- even if it was handled in a stereotypical fashion to milk laughs out of the audience.

Looking back at movies with interracial couples, they fall into two categories -- ones in which the couple's backgrounds are a Big Deal, and ones in which it's just not an issue. The majority of movies on this list are the former, but perhaps one day soon, more movies won't need to highlight a couple's cultural differences -- you know, sort of like Uhura and Spock in 'Star Trek.'

10. Lucy Liu and Josh Hartnett in 'Lucky Number Slevin' (2006)

In this clever crime thriller, Hartnett's young assassin Slevin finds himself easily distracted by and attracted to Lindsey, an upbeat mortician played by Liu. Their flirtatious, rapid-fire banter is reminiscent of screwball-comedy dialogue, and their sexy exchanges are definitely color-blind.

9. Irene Jacob and Laurence Fishburne in 'Othello' (1995)

William Shakespeare's legendary interracial romance between the courageous Moor Othello (Fishburne) and his beloved Venetian beauty Desdemona (Jacob) inevitably ends in tragedy, but in this abridged film adaptation, the leads share an electric sexual chemistry before jealousy and deception (choreographed by Iago, who's played by Kenneth Branagh) lead to their demise.

8. Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski in 'Away We Go' (2008)

As a super-connected couple trying to find the right place to call home before their baby arrives, Rudolph and Krasinski are so sweetly believable as hipsters in love that race isn't even a consideration. Until Rudolph's Verona visits her sister (Carmen Ejogo) and discusses her dead parents, her background isn't even mentioned. They are committed and happy, and it doesn't matter that she's black and he's white.

7. Melora Walters and Don Cheadle in 'Boogie Nights' (1997)

Yes, Paul Thomas Anderson's breakout drama doesn't center around them, but Walters and Cheadle's married porn stars Jessie and Buck are the only stable, devoted couple in the movie. While the other characters deal with heavy issues such as murder-suicide, infidelity, custody battles and drug addiction, Jessie and Buck only have to overcome a racist bank loan officer -- a problem fate solves for them.

6. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer in 'West Side Story' (1961)

Wood may not have been Latina, but she played the Puerto Rican Maria in the Oscar-winning musical, falling for Beymer's handsome Tony, aka "a boy like that," despite the protestations of both her family and his white gang buddies. Between their tender first dance, their impromptu wedding in the dress shop, and their passionate first time, Maria and Tony remain one of the most enduring, if tragic, on-screen couples.

5. Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in 'Monster's Ball' (2001)

Theirs is definitely not a conventional romance, since Thornton's Hank starts the movie as an unapologetic racist, but eventually he and Berry's Leticia -- both of whom are dealing with devastating losses -- come together in one of film history's most emotional, passionate scenes ever. When a bereaved Leticia sobs, "Make me feel good," Hank does just that, overcoming his years of racial prejudice to take care of the woman he loves.

4. Katie Holmes and Derek Luke in 'Pieces of April' (2003)
Holmes broke out of her 'Dawson's Creek' mold in this critical darling about April, a rebellious daughter who hilariously attempts to fix a Thanksgiving meal for her dysfunctional family -- all with the help of her supportive boyfriend Bobby (Luke). April and Bobby may be young lovers, but they deal with each other's bouts of crazy with ease and as much patience as they can muster.

3. Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' (1967)

Stanley Kramer's classic drama was once considered quite controversial (it was released the same year the Supreme Court finally deemed interracial marriage legal in all states). But if Poitier's saintly character couldn't secure the blessing of his young fiancee's parents (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy), then there was no hope for any other interracial couples.

2. Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington in 'Mississippi Masala' (1992)

Mira Nair's Southern romance follows the daughter of Ugandan-Indian motel owners, Mina (Choudhury), who literally bumps into and then fall hard for Demetrius (Washington), the owner of a local carpet-cleaning business. Their affair causes problems on both sides, and the external cultural tensions almost wreck their relationship, but in the end Mina and Demetrius choose each other instead of giving in to their families and friends.

1. Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker in 'Something New' (2006)

This under-appreciated romance stars Lathan as Kenya, an ambitious, tightly wound accountant from a wealthy black family, and Baker as Brian, her laid-back landscape architect. In a twist on the stereotypical plot line, her family considers him "the help" after they begin a torrid affair. From frank and funny discussions about the difficulties of black-white relationships to some of the sexiest love scenes (he lovingly paints her toenails red!), this tops the interracial romance hall of fame.

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Jun 26, 2011

Makeup Tips for Black Women

For years, the art of applying makeup for black women had remained undiscovered by women of color. However, that was because they didn’t get enough resources to teach them. Today, that is no longer the case. Black women can easily access makeup tips for black women to learn how to use their makeup right from experts. So, if you’re looking for makeup tips for black women, you’ve stumbled on the right page.

Here are some makeup tips for black women from the best makeup artists around:

1. Most lists of makeup tips for black women emphasize on the need to choose the right foundation. There are two things which you need to keep in mind while selecting your foundation: your skin type and your undertones.

2. Go light with your makeup. Makeup tips for black women stress that women of color should try to look natural when they apply makeup. Remember – it’s makeup not war paint.

3. Blending is a must for every cosmetic you use. Whether you’re applying eye shadow or foundation, making sure that it is seamless will give your makeup the perfect look it deserves.

4. Another point makeup tips for black women agree on is that special makeup for colored women is always a better option. Makeup manufacturers who specialize in producing cosmetics for black women know exactly what your skin needs.

5. Though black women’s skin defies aging, spots are one thing mature skin will show. In that case, one of the important makeup tips for black women older women need to know of is to use concealer by day and fight those spots with creams by night.

6. Makeup artists love the fact that black women have luscious lips. However, in their lists of makeup tips for black women, they prefer that women of color use gloss rather than lipstick. Yet if women want to emphasize on their other facial features, experts suggest that they choose lipstick shades that complement their undertones.

7. Speaking of lips, all makeup tips for black women point out that black women should never line their lips in black. This will look unattractive and will not enhance your lips as well as proper lip liner.

8. Another product experts prefer using on black women is the bronzer. Blush is great, but bronze on African American cheekbones is a better option.

Keep these expert makeup tips for black women in mind and you will have a beautiful ebony face to die for!

Black woman, you deserve someone to love you for life !

Jun 23, 2011

The Best Gifts for Black Women

Gift giving can be a wonderful way to express feelings of friendship, love, admiration and congratulations. It can also be a challenge when you're not sure what is expected of you or what type of gift to buy.

Be clear about the relationship intention that the gift represents. A holiday gift for a co-worker will be different from a gift intended for a love interest. Being culturally sensitive to black women shows that you are the type of gift giver who is caring enough to "think with your heart."

The Joy of Thoughtful Giving

Whether the black woman you are buying for is American, Brazilian or Nigerian, all women appreciate beautiful things. Flowers are a universal gift that express emotion, like a dozen red roses means love or passion in any culture. Gift giving will be separated into two categories, general and intimate.

General gifts are given to anyone you don't know well, like wine, chocolates, pen sets or books. These should be gifts that you would see on a desk, served at a dinner, or commonly used in public view.

Intimate gifts are lingerie, perfume, toiletries, bedding or items that you would not see unless you have or desire that level of intimacy with the lady.

Cultural Sensitivity

There is a saying, "When black women conquer their hair, they will rule the world." Michelle Obama constantly draws media attention to any changes about her hair, as her choice of style is not natural and difficult to maintain. The ongoing challenge for a black woman is that her hairstyle decision comes every 6 to 8 weeks when it's time for maintenance. It is safer to stay away from specific products like curling irons or chemical relaxers and choose gift certificates to beauty supply stores or her favorite hair salon. That way the gift is about hair care in general and not making a statement of: "I want you to look like this."

The same sensitivity should be taken with any personal hygiene item, with exception to spa or relaxing bath gifts such as bubble baths, salts and oils. If you notice that she has dry skin or feet, don't buy her lotion, but consider buying a gift set or certificate to a bath store. That will send a message of "'pamper yourself." These items if purchased should be in a visually appealing gift basket.

Food gifts can become a sensitive issue if the lady has a weight problem. Since black women are prone to diabetes, sweet gifts in small doses are best. Gifts that you think are traditionally 'black' like watermelon, barbecue or fried chicken can very easily be taken as offensive and should be avoided.

The best gift is to find someone to love her life long!-----