Rachel Dolezal: The Most Troubling Facet of This New Race Issue

150612092018-rachel-dolezal-split-exlarge-169I spent the better part of last week covering Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who pretended to be a black woman for a number of years and earned  tricked everyone into voting for her as the NAACP Spokane, Washington chapter president. I’m almost positive that we’re going to see a Lifetime movie of some sort that will attempt to delve into her past to unveil that life-changing incident that set her on a path of lies and deceit. After the ridicule and humor dries up, most will muster up sympathy for this white woman who apparently has to have a “mental illness.”

It pains me even more to foresee her getting a pass and subsequently be propelled to superstar status in the world of political commentary. As the world becomes more receptive to this new normal, networks like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, they’ll all have paid big bucks to have the wise Dolezal in a panel seat. Blame it on our country’s love for forgetting and forgiving.

Her lies were anything but harmless. As the head of an organization whose sole mission is to fight for rights of the disenfranchised, you go and claim on multiple occasions that you were the victim of a hate crime and/or discrimination? Really? I just have to sit back — and though these two are loosely related — think of all the black and hispanic men that have been wrongly accused in this country, some sitting in a cell for years before they’ve even had a trial, or those who make it out and hang themselves because they can’t deal with the traumatic effects of being tortured over and over again. This woman’s lies are bigger than who she is and they effect more people than just herself and her family.

So since lying is wrong, and she broke the law for filing false police reports, how much time should this criminal get, if any at all?

Familiarizing Thyself with the Word ‘No’

NoYou know what I don’t miss? Driving home from a party two hours away from my house in a mix of groggy, tad tipsy, exhaustion at 4 a.m — or even worse: having to crash on someone’s couch. I now hang my head in shame admitting that I might have put myself and others at risk for the sake of upholding my position as the “loyal and reliable friend.”

[Ed note: I would never, ever get behind the wheel if I was drunk. That’s a “no” in my book.]

But anyway, I’m pushing 30 and the word “no” is becoming just so darn sexy and convenient. I get a thrill every time I get to say it: “Nope, can’t do it.” There are just so many cons to situations that involve leaving my house past 10 p.m.

28club-span-articleLarge

  1. The egregious activity called getting dressed. Like, why can’t they allow slippers, robes, and bonnets in the club? I’d be there every weekend. Seeing as I rarely ever go out, I’d have to spend hours digging through my closet, trying on clothes that I already know won’t fit. (Work clothes > Club outfits.)
  1. Heels are painful. I’ve mastered the art of busting out a Naomi Campbell walk in 5-inch heels, but should I have to do it if I don’t have to?
  1. It’s late. Seriously, my bedtime is at 10 p.m, maybe 11 if the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” is on. You can’t possibly expect me to get drunk and stay awake for three whole hours.

Some people may call me a prude and that’s totally fine. I’ve reached a point in my life where I realize that time is limited and valuable. More important than the general concept of time is “my time.”

Folks are quit to contribute to the widespread misconception that you’re a “hater” or “not in support” of people if you don’t attend everything they merit worthy of a celebration. Damn that! I’m happy for all the recent graduates, the newlyweds, the mothers and/or fathers-to-be, the people moving to new cities, and those with new jobs. I also reserve my right to express my congrats without forsaken my own comfort and peace.

My mother always told me that it’s impossible to be all things to all people. Sometimes you have to exercise your right to turn down an invitation. If you give all 100% of yourself to other people, then what do you have left for yourself?

Obviously, there are certain exceptions to the rule (i.e. supporting a real friend who has held you down forever), but you should in no way feel guilty about not being up to something.

Beyonce’s Met Gala 2015 Dress Was All About Hoisting Her Feminist Power

An unstoppable force, a freak of nature, superhuman, and at this point in the game, Queen Bey really doesn’t give a f*ck. The press (dressed to the nines, leaned on the barricades in painful heels) waited two long hours after the biggest stars including Reese Witherspoon, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lawrence made it up the red carpet coated staircase at the 2015 Met Gala exhibit, themed China: Through the Looking Glass, on Monday, May 4.

If you thought Beyonce’s MET Gala 2015 red carpet look was all about being naked, then you totally missed the point.

Just when hope for a Beyonce sighting appeared to be a lost cause the supreme diva announced her own arrival with high quality pictures via her Instagram account. Sorry reporters and photo agencies, Beyonce just stole your thunder once again. She did eventually decided to trek and pose on the stairs, showcasing her extremely sheer custom Givenchy gown with cautiously placed multi-colored jewels. Forget about the dress for one second because Beyonce’s body in itself is worthy of all the headlines. Queen Bey’s attendance was all about breaking the rules (i.e. Anna Wintour’s social media selfie ban), while showcasing her earnest dedication to loving her mind, body, and spirit. She didn’t pose in a matter that suggested fear or coyness.

Bey went bold. She glared at the photographer’s pit with passion and though wearing little clothes she remained confident in that presentation. Not even Kim Kardashian — a woman who is naked nearly every 3-4 months — couldn’t pull of a stunt like that with such ease. Though she tried, she took clear inspiration from the whimsical and sultry feel of Beyonce’s 2014 MET Gala dress, which explains the copycat version Kardashian donned in white designed by Roberto Cavalli.

The Beyonce of 2015 is not the 18-year-old we once knew. She’s a mother, a superstar, a CEO, a wife, and worth $500 million dollars. She brings her own to every table and makes no apologies for her accomplishments. She should be an inspiration for all women. Those suffering from Beyonce fatigue should probably run to a doctor to see about a prescription, because she has at least 15-20 more years of reigning to do.

The Ultimate Indulgence: Beauty Editor Getaway to the Royalton White Sands in Jamaica


Ended up with a puff and a red lip. #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

I went to Jamaica for the weekend. Not the section in the borough of Queens, but the actual Caribbean island, roughly four and a half hours away from New York by plane and where the people and the weather are almost always pleasant. I was invited along with a group of distinguished writers, bloggers, and beauty experts by Finn Partners and Strength of Nature, a hair care conglomerate that houses 12 unique brands.

Can I be candid with you? I was afraid when I received this invite. Not because I was traveling alone to another country, but because I felt like I no longer belonged in this circle. It’s been a while since I’ve written about black hair care let alone natural hair. I’ve been natural for four years now and I’m beyond the stage where I continuously obsessed over hair styles and hair types (ha!). I was excited to go on the trip, but I wouldn’t even allow myself to believe that I was really going until I arrived at the airport and checked in; no lie. Well, after a six hour delay following what seemed like a never-ending snowstorm, I finally arrived at the Royalton White Sands resort in Trelawny Parish around 9:30 p.m.

The New York crew and I met the writers from Atlanta, Washington D.C, and Chicago, who all arrived promptly, sans weather delays and airplane mechanical problems. With a few greetings and hugs, it didn’t take long for me to get my mind right and realize that this weekend would be about more than just dipping my hands in product. I’d soon be establishing new relationships and celebrating the beauty of women who look just like me.


One big massive selfie with some of the journalists and bloggers on the trip. Regram @browneyereporter #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

On Friday morning we had breakfast, which was followed up by an in-depth presentation featuring celebrity hair stylist Felecia Leatherwood and hair educator Pamela Hogan, who both offered a bevy of styling tips using African Pride, Elasta QP (my fave!) and Soft & Beautiful Botanicals on a spectrum of hair types. Being beauty experts for our own individual outlets allowed us to chance to extract information, skills, and techniques to implement into future stories. Like, did you know that you need more than water to moisturize your hair? There’s misinformation floating around the natural hair community that suggests we only need oil and water for our manes to thrive, but unfortunately that just isn’t the case. And natural ladies, please, don’t be afraid to detangle with combs; so many of us aren’t doing it.


Cruising around Montego Bay. by @candaceamos

After our morning tea wrapped up we took a catamaran cruise around Montego Bay. The DJ was live, the drinks were flowing, and many of us were sprawled about in our cute bathing suits like we were in a music video. And when the DJ played Beyonce’s “7/’11,” you couldn’t tell us nothing!


A group of beauty writers + Beyonce + Rum Punch = This #SoBeautifulInJamaica by @candaceamos

The highlight for me was our visit to the River Bumpkin Farm in Falmouth, Jamaica, along the Martha Brae River. We learned so much information from the names of the trees to why bananas are curved (Thank you, Island Routes!).


Y’all see my foot in the air? I was in the middle of the best foot massage I’ve ever received from “Surprise” our @IslandRoutes tour guide during the River Bumpkin tubing excursion. He gave us fresh coconuts and made our straws from a nearby bamboo tree. Then he gathered some flowers and made us all personal bouquets. It was such a wonderful and relaxing experience. #VisitJamaica #LiveFunner by @candaceamos

We were offered an opportunity to go biking, tubing, or kayaking. I was leaning more towards biking (you know, for safety reasons), but I said what the heck, YOLO, let’s go tubing and it was the best decision I made. Christina of LoveBrownSugar, Jessica of The Glamazons Blog, and Lexi of LexiWithTheCurls and I lazied around the river for hours gabbing on about life as we occasionally roughed through the rapids. The girls even got out of their tubes and jumped off a small cliff. (I didn’t because HEIGHT and SPEED).

Then our tour guide who’s nickname was fittingly “Surprise” gave us limestone foot massages that felt like heaven. We had raw coconut juice, sugar cane, oranges, and just so many sweets along the way. If his generosity wasn’t already stretched enough, he made us all personalized floral bouquets. At the end of the excursion we feasted on divine pumpkin soup, jerk chicken, and rice and beans. Ugh, so delish! I can go on and on about how amazing this trip was. I already want to go back.


I enjoyed lazying around the river with these ladies for two hours. I learned @msandrews can dance her butt off, @lovebrownsugar has been to every country around the globe, and @lexiwiththecurls is an excellent rope cliff jumper, and our tour guide is full of surprises! Haha #IslandRoutes #SoBeautifulinJamaica #VisitJamaica by @candaceamos

It just felt good to connect with my sisters in media if only just for a few days. It felt great to be reminded that I’m black woman with kinky hair and my beauty deserves to be acknowledge just the same as anyone else. We were a group of women from different places and backgrounds who united to celebrate our beauty. I had one more late revelation on my plane ride home: Our trip coincided with International’s Women’s Day, and instead of just tweeting about it, I was really living it! How’s that for divine intervention?


Peace out Jamaica! Love ya long time. Yeah mon! #VisitJamaica #SoBeautifulinJamaica by @candaceamos

Choosing Minimalism: Why Scaling Back Is Good

MinimalismA few months ago I watched a video from one of favorite my bloggers. I am just inspired by everything she does —  she could give a tutorial on blowing your nose and I’ll be ready with a pen and pad. This blogger is known for having the most beautiful hair and bringing her audience an array of styling ideas that just seem endless. Her sense of style is artsy — without trying too hard, unique, crisp, and just impeccable; plus, her skin is super-flawless. In a nutshell, she’s basically an internet icon to me. But anyway, she hit me out of the blue with a video discussing “Minimalism.”

I’ve heard the term used before in regards to fashion, which basically relates to clean lines and minimal distractions within clothing. There’s also the minimalism art movement of the post-World War II era, which focused on works with pared down elements of design. What’s different here is her focus on lifestyle, which expands to fashion, beauty, home decor, food — just about everything.  The ultimate goal is to cut back on all the frivolous things in life. Less makeup, less clothes, less clutter —  getting rid of all the junk to make room for space and clarity.

The idea made so much sense. For years I was the girl who had things because it was popular. I’ll admit it; I was a follower. New Jordans came out, I had to have them. MAC was releasing a new limited edition lipstick in a shade I probably already owned? Still purchased it.

I just did stuff because everyone else did it, and every time I followed the pack I never felt fulfilled. I’ve never finished a tube of my so-called “must-have lipsticks.” Not a single one.

Some minimalists are extreme in a sense that they live in a one room shack, eat only what is necessary to not go hungry, and don’t own a car. I’m not trying to go that far with this concept, but I am intrigued enough to rid myself of unnecessary things in order to attain peace of mind and clarity.

SimplicityWe can’t take these things with us when we die. They are going to stay right here on earth. Instead of spending our days frantically chasing the latest hot find, we could be enriching our minds, spending time with family and friends, and improving ourselves sans the assistance of garbage goods.

I realized this even more when I started to look at people’s priorities and analyzed their reasoning for needing things. Yes, I’ve been known to dish out a room full of side-eyes. We don’t need “stuff.” A brand new car when you already have one that runs fine, a 4-bedroom house when it’s just you, a pair of $600 Louboutins when Nine West has shoes in the same color and shape — all fall under the category of unnecessary things to me.

We are a culture obsessed with consumerism, but I’m stepping off the wheel because I refuse to keep up. It becomes a stressful competition.

Minimalism for me is taking a look at my life and adding the things that are needed. Right now I live in a cozy apartment which fits my current lifestyle. Even if life were to suddenly change, say I hit the lottery, I don’t see the value of being sucked into a world that is motivated solely by money.

I want to continue to chase things of value that have longevity and purpose. Here, watch Ambrosia talk about changing her lifestyle.