All Articles Tagged "black women"

15 Surprising Facts About Black Women

December 9th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Think you know all there is to know about the African-American experience? These surprising facts about black women just might surprise you.

A Black Woman Designed The Playboy Bunny Outfit

Zelda Wynn Valdes was designer-to-the-stars in the ’40s and ’50s known for her form-fitting designs for stars like Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West. Hugh Hefner hired her to design costumes for his Playboy bunnies and history was born.

Here’s Why Black Girls Workout Too!

December 1st, 2014 - By jade
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In this new series, One Bold Move, MadameNoire profiled four popular bloggers in the categories of Hair, Makeup, Style, and Fitness. These bloggers discussed the one bold decision that placed their life on a completely different trajectory. In this episode, mother and daughter duo Ellen and Lana Ector discuss their motivation for working out and why it’s important for black women to workout.


To join their gym, purchase workout DVD’s or workout gear visit their website.


Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 3 – Black Girls Run!

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

Episode 6 – Series Extras

7 Adjectives That Accurately Describe Black Women Besides “Strong” And “Independent”

November 7th, 2014 - By Kara Stevens
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Describe Black Women

Source: Shutterstock

For years, one of my favorite lazy Saturday rituals was to go to my local thrift store and shop. On one particular Saturday I went to the store in the afternoon and the radio was playing.

“Fellas, call in and tell me two things you love about Black women after the commercial break,” the DJ said.

When I heard that question, my stomach immediately tightened. Even though I hadn’t heard any of the listeners’ perception of Black women, I already knew (in my gut) what they were going to say.

“We’re back. Caller, you on the line? What do you love about Black women? What two qualities do you love about Black women?”

“I love me a strong, independent Black woman,” the first Black male responder.

By the time the third Black responder said that same phrase, “strong Black woman,” I was in the coat section and in a bad mood.

“Why?,” I asked myself, “are those the only damn words that come to mind when describing black women?”

Intellectually, I knew the answer: The intersection of race, class, and gender for black women in this country has meant having to reconcile a legacy of slavery and the creation of dehumanizing tropes and stereotypes like the strong Black woman, created by the white patriarchal engine to systemically control our reproduction, destroy our families, and distort to ourselves and our men. And the truth is that Black women had to be many things, one of which was strong, to endure the ravages of slavery and Jim Crow. I also understand that this is why we as a culture value this attribute at the expense of so many others.

But there is far more to being a Black woman than being strong and independent. So, shortly after leaving the thrift store, I created my own survey and asked approximately 75 Black women to describe themselves. While I was disappointed to see that Black women, too, had internalized many of the same stereotypes that have been paraded as truth, it was refreshing to see that many Black women understood the complexity of their human experience and were able to articulate that complexity by choosing words that more fully and accurately encompasses what it means to be a Black woman.

Here are seven of the ways Black women surveyed see themselves that, thankfully, have nothing to do with being strong:

1. Fashionable: Some of us love to look good and smell good.We love to be on the cutting edge of fashion trends. Others are always watching how we put colors together and how we tend to our hair.

2. Spiritual: Black women describe themselves as women of faith whether they identify as Christian, Muslim, Rastafari, Santero, or “not religious, but spiritual.” Black women strongly believe that they are connected to a higher being and that there is someone out there larger than themselves.

3. Family-oriented: Black women are often the ones to remember the birthdays, send the Christmas cards, and plan the family reunions. Family fuels a lot of Black women’s happiness and sense of belonging.

4. Funny: Black women love to laugh and make their friends and families laugh. We push back against that ABW (angry black woman) stereotype.

5. Happy: Similar to the concept of Black woman being funny, we’re also happy people with healthy emotional dispositions and worldviews. This happiness also comes from our ability to be grateful.

6. Sexy and Sensual: Black women embrace their sexuality and femininity. We feel desirable; they see the beauty of their skin tone, their features, their bodies, their natural smells, and their hair.

7. Intelligent: Black women see themselves as cognitively well endowed. We believe that black women are able to juggle the matrix of life because of our ability to think quickly and creatively.

What adjectives would you use to describe black women beside “strong”?

Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.

9 Times White Folks Tried To Claim A Black Trend As Their Own

November 4th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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9 times white folks tried to claim a black trend feat

When you consider the fact this country was founded on the principle of taking from others who had already been there and done that, it’s really not surprising that this behavior is still going on today, in smaller, more passive ways. Oh, don’t get it twisted the government is still figuratively raping and pillaging but that’s another story for another day.

What I’m talking about are the micro ways in which fashion magazines. pop culture websites and mainstream culture adopts vernacular, dances, hair and fashion trends from the Black community and pretends they’ve stumbled upon a new trend. It happens quite often.

Check out a few examples on the following pages.

And for more on this topic, check out the trailer for “Bleaching Black Culture,” which is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon now.

Are We Selling Sex Or Is Sex Selling Black Women?

October 31st, 2014 - By TaMara Griffin
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Selling Sex

Source: WENN

With all the buzz that was surrounding Nicki Minaj’s video “Anaconda,” I have to wonder as a Black women is this all we want for ourselves? Is this really a representation of Black women and our sexuality? Why must we continuously be the focus of hypersexualized videos in order to be relevant? Why must we allow ourselves to continue to be exploited like Mimi Faust and her infamous sex tape? Is this five minutes of fame worth our selling our souls and destroying our people? What statement does this send to our young girls who watch videos and reality TV shows and think that this is a way of life?

While many women are empowered enough to realize that this buffoonery is a form of “entertainment,” many women are not able to make that connection. Unfortunately as a result, many women and young girls end up modeling their lives after these reckless, negligent and thoughtless images. These images don’t represent nor promote sex positivity nor do they denote owning and embracing one’s sexuality. In fact, it’s just the opposite. These images actually represent a conflict of values, morals, and a lack of self esteem
and self-efficacy that contributes to putting oneself at risks for mental health issues, interpersonal violence, substance abuse, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, etc.

Black women’s sexuality is already stereotyped, stigmatized, taboo and bogged down by layers of negative intergenerational patterns and ideologies that have been passed down from slavery. These ideologies were used to validate the inhumane sexual treatment of enslaved women. They were also used to imply that Black women were despicable and inferior. Unfortunately, these ideologies are still present. Today, the media uses these images in music videos, movies, television shows, and other forms of entertainment to continue to brainwash people into believing the negative stereotypes of Black women.

The prevailing images of Black women in the media include jezebels, baby-mamas, video vixens, chicken heads, gold diggers, angry Black women, and hoes. These images and ideologies, with their highly sexual undertones, helps to influence the way in which Black women view themselves. The more Black women see images of themselves getting famous for fitting into one of the aforementioned categories, the more likely they feel inclined to model what they see. In addition, these images helps to influence the way others value and interact with Black women.

While rappers, actors, entertainers and “reality” TV stars may not have signed up to become role models, they are! Once they step into the spotlight, they become a model for what is considered to be trendy and acceptable. These “celebrities” in many ways, good or bad, set the standard. But what standard are they setting and at what cost to Black women?

Unfortunately, Black women have become desensitized to seeing themselves portrayed negatively. While there aren’t any signs of these unhealthy images disappearing any time soon, there is definitely a need to counteract them in the media. We are in need of a cultural shift in sexuality, one that restores the dignity of Black women. It is time for Black women to reclaim our sexual images in society. We must ask ourselves the following questions: 1)Do we care about the type of women our girls grow up to become, 2) Is their public image worth defending, and 3) Is their sexual integrity worth protecting?

No longer can we sit in silence or stand idly on the sidelines while the images of Black women continue to be destroyed in the media. However, in order to change the trajectory, we need to begin with restoring Black women’s sense of value, worth and sexuality. We need to transform from the “ex’s,” “jezebel,” “angry Black woman,” “video vixen,” “gold digger,” “baby mama,” “chicken heads,” and “‘hoes” to self-respecting women, wives, mothers and leaders in our community. Once we do, we will be able to see a shift in our society that will begin to embrace and celebrate the true authentic essence of Black women’s sexuality.
Dr. TaMara G10517587_10152337526693315_3514000000734284521_nriffin loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a sexologist, sex therapist, educator and motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality. She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara Griffin, Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-L.I.F.E. She is also the Director of Project Create S.A.F.E. {Sexual Assault Free Environments}

You Think You Know But You Have No Idea: 15 Tired Misconceptions About All Black Women

October 28th, 2014 - By Erica R. Williams
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Black women, to everyone who isn’t a black woman, are mystical, complicated creatures. We are often misunderstood because no one takes the time to understand us (my opinion…not fact). There are stereotypes associated with every race, but many negative ones are attached to black people.

While black men have their own set of misconceptions perceived by others, black women deal with broad generalizations being made about us as well. These are a few of the ones that I’ve heard all too often about how people think we are, but they really have no idea.

Crabs-In-A-Barrel Drama: Why I’m Disappointed In “Hollywood Divas”

October 28th, 2014 - By La Truly
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Hollywood Divas

I thought I had really sworn off ratchet reality TV, but something about seeing famous (or in some cases, semi-famous) Black women come together to create something piqued my interest enough to make me tune into “Hollywood Divas.” Featuring Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks, Countess Vaughn, Elise Neal and Lisa Wu, “Hollywood Divas” is a close sister-friend of “R&B Divas.” What I mean by that is, has-been or struggling celebrities of a certain craft come together to become relevant again, constantly listing their credits to validate their current staked claim (READ: struggle).

I’m not sure if I was wrong for expecting a bit more (this IS reality tv), but I was all kinds of confused and disappointed by the rollout of the episodes and the catty/shady behavior of the women on-screen. In my mind, if I’m a struggling actress trying to get my name on somebody’s marquee or credits, I’d come into a collaborative situation with my game face on and my pettiness tucked clean away.

These women don’t think like I do, apparently.

The first two episodes jumped off with tears, fake high-pitched greetings, half-hugs, shade and catty backhanded compliments. One thing that struck me in particular as crazy with a capital C is the fact that Golden Brooks, best known for her role as ‘Maya Wilkes’ on Mara Brock Akil’s groundbreaking show “Girlfriends,” spent every waking moment shading reality stars and blaming them for the reason that “theater-trained” actors with a “certain pedigree” couldn’t get work.

Um, you’re on a reality show now, boo.

She also stated that in order to get work nowadays, actors have to be active on social media with millions of followers. To say that I was annoyed and that I highly disagreed would be the understatement of the year. There are so many examples of actresses, BLACK actresses, who have made it – in RECENT years – based off of their talent and strategic choices in roles not their standing on social media.

Viola Davis, a newcomer to Twitter, gained acclaim because of her work in recent movies like The Help and now her incomparable work as the mysterious and driven Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder.” Her Twitter followers are climbing, but it’s not because she’s so active online. It’s her talent.

Though she boasts 1.8 million followers on Twitter, Kerry Washington was on the map before she ever became active on social networks. Having masterfully portrayed Ray Charles’s wife, a former Black Panther, Kay Amin, a slave woman and now political pistol Olivia Pope, she has garnered a fanbase. This fanbase comes not because of selfies and tweets, but because she has put in the work and taken on roles that align with her values and trajectory.

“Soul Food” actress, Nicole Ari Parker, spoke candidly at last year’s Woman Thou Art Loosed “Girl Talk” segment about hearing a thousand nos before hearing the yes’ that have helped her have success.

The bitterness and jealousy seen within the first few episodes of this show has left a bad taste in my mouth, but I’m still hoping for the best. We, as Black women, already have it tough without blaming one another for what we lack. There is room for all of us to shine, we just have to get in where we fit in and be resilient.

I’m hoping “Hollywood Divas” will eventually showcase strengthened friendships, uplifting creative projects, and a positive answer to the portrayal of Black women, but I won’t hold my breath. However, it’s still early, so we shall see…

La Truly is a writer, higher education professional, and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly and check out her site:

Things No Black Woman Can Do Without

October 23rd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Hair care products, cocoa butter and a solid support system: these are just some of the things that no black woman can do without.

A photo posted by Alexis Dawn (@axsdwn) on

Hair Oil

And back in the day, it was usually pink lotion.

Why Don’t We Laugh At Iggy Azalea’s Fake Cakes?

September 19th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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So there is a parody video going around, making fun of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video.

It’s by Bart Baker and not surprisingly, the gist of his jokes are about her fake cakes, allegedly. But as the blog Stylite wrote of the parody:

Surprisingly, or actually not at all surprisingly since the internet kind of sucks too, the video has already reached almost 900,000 views since being put on YouTube yesterday, with the vast majority of those drawing a very enthusiastic thumbs up for its remarkable rhyming of “surgery bill” and “lips.” Other notable lyrics include “rap about sex nonstop / act like a whore / waste the talent that I got” and “so plastic when I die they’ll throw me in recycling.” LOL. Though our favorite part is how the entire video is basically an ode to Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” when the two songs are about the exactly the same thing only one is told from a female point of view.

When it comes to the formerly rainbow-colored “Starships” rapper, the validity of her cakes appears to be a favorite topic of most comedians and average snarky people on Twitter alike. And when folks are not harassing her about her surgically enhanced figure, they are equally perturbed by the equally large sexual gall in her lyrics.

Honestly, it is hard to say why (in a genre where a song will have the singer shooting two dudes, robbing a bank, going to the club to pop bottles with models, get on a private jet to Barcelona and be back at the ‘hood by morning to push weight – all one verse), folks single her out specifically. But the meme as of late is that Minaj is single-handedly corrupting the tender, impressionable minds of the entire next generation of Black folks, with her exaggerated body and raunchy lyrics.

That’s pretty much what the editor of wrote recently in his open letter to Minaj, more specifically:

The song: “Anaconda.” The art: your booty in a thong. As a man, I can appreciate the virtues of your perfect posterior. The dad guy is not a happy camper, particularly now that his lil’ girl is transitioning into a young lady.”

For the children’s sake.

Meanwhile on the other side of the booty scale, T.I. has this to say to all the people criticizing his protege Iggy Azalea for her less than genuine act:

Me knowing her, knowing where she comes from—for real, the whole racist thing, that’s American—we forget, she’s not American. So the whole Black, White, color divided thing, it isn’t a part of her DNA like it is here in America. It’s just ignorant to me. In this day and age, to be a race of people who are demanding equality and speaking out on injustices and wanting to be treated fairly, to stand up and do the exact same thing in opposite to someone unwarranted for no reason, it’s hypocritical. I’m a ride with her.”

I guess many Aboriginals don’t make it to a T.I show whenever he visits the land down under? I’m sure they would have something to say about the whether “the whole Black, White, color divided thing,” really exists or if it is just a figment of their Rabbit Proof Fenced-in imaginations. Or as Michael Arceneaux, writes for Urban Daily:

Either way, more than anything else, it has been her whiteness that has benefited Iggy Azalea the most and no matter how uncomfortable hearing that repeated makes her supporters feel, it is the truth. Besides, it could be worse: she could bear the burden of being a Black female rapper trying to make it in 2014.”

The burden of being a Black woman rapper is having everyone make a big deal about your allegedly enhanced cakes while nobody – and I mean not a single soul – talks about Iggy’s probable fake ass. Nope, not a single parody video or song, saying “ha-ha-ha, that white girl got a fake ass” can be found anywhere around this Interweb. I guess folks truly believe she naturally picked that up in the South along with her accent. – or they want to believe anyway. In fact, if you try to bring up the fact that Iggy has a fake ass, folks will more than likely respond, “So? Nicki Minaj does too.” And they’ll say it with no irony in the fact that her fake ass is a major reason why folks mock and mudsling Minaj.

The burden of being a Black woman rapper means always having to be concerned with being a good role model to the next general of Black girls – or hell, women in general. As Black women are not individuals and capable of thinking like individuals. We are like the Borg. When one twerks, we all twerk. Therefore Minaj has to be careful how she uses her power. Don’t want to leave the childlike minds of women astray.

However, there are no “Dear Iggy” letters written most ironically from men within the rap industry, denouncing Azalea and her music for turning his precious Lil’ Precious into a dollar-strip walking whore. Even though, Azalea speaks in the same vernacular as many of the brown-skinned folks in her audience and swears and uses sexual imagery in her music as Minaj. And even though folks like T.I swear up and down that “race don’t matter.” Well if it doesn’t matter what color she is, how come we don’t hold her up to the same levels of respectability and accountability as we do her darker skinned counterparts?

Folks don’t like to admit it but everybody is amused and entertained. It’s cheeky and cute when Iggy or any White person does Blackness. Hell, she gets to sing her bullshit on “Dancing With the Stars” where middle aged White women in mom jeans and knit kitten sweaters can ironically sing along too. However the same attitude makes you very little friends or gains you very few supporters as a Black woman. And there is nothing too funny about that.

Racism Is Real: Three Black Women Mistaken For Prostitutes At The Standard Hotel

September 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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While actress Daniele Watts’ story of being mistaken for a prostitute has more holes than a flour sifter,  the occurrence of Black women being mistaken for prostitutes is, sadly, not uncommon.

When Kantaki Washington and her two friends went out to spend an evening at the Standard Hotel in the New York City’s meat packing district, a few weeks ago, they encountered a similar, undeniably racist, circumstance.

Washington and her friends Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas told AlterNet that during the early morning hours of August 28, a security guard from the hotel approached them and accused them of being prostitutes.

The women had just come from Le Bain, a bar at the top of the hotel, and were seated in the lobby, when several men approached them, offering to buy them drinks. Shortly after an African American man introduced himself, a security guard from the hotel whispered something in his ear and ushered him away from the women.

Washington told AlterNet, “After the security guard ushers the brotha away, he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,'” Washington told AlterNet in an interview. “We were like, soliciting? He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you’re doing. Stop soliciting in here. We were like, ‘Soliciting what?'”

Washington incredulously asked the security guard if he was accusing them of soliciting sex from the patrons of the hotel. He responded, “Don’t act stupid with me, you know what you were doing.”

Washington responded, “Dude, I’m a lawyer and these women are educators. Why the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?”

He said, “I don’t know but that’s what you’re doing.”

As you might assume, Washington and her two friends were the only Black women in the area and believe they were racially profiled. Washington demanded the guard give her his name and his manger’s name. He gave her his first name only and directed her to the reception desk.

Washington says when she and friends spoke with the manager, their story was received with indifference. The manager claimed the security guard was an outsourced employee and not officially a staff member.

Apparently, a few weeks later, the hotel saw the error in their ways and attempted to extend a peace offering.

Washington received an e-mail from the Standard Hotel inviting her and “three guests back to The Standard for a bottle of champagne in The Top of The Standard or Le Bain, followed by dinner for 4 (valued at $400) at The Standard Grill.”

Washington provided the e-mail correspondence between herself and The Standard to Alternet and none of them made any mention of the prostitution accusation.

Instead, a staff member wrote: “Again, I want to apologize for what happened to you here that evening. We are extending this table for 4 as a gesture of goodwill for you and your friends, plus one more person. Please let me know when you would like to come back.”


The fact that they thought a $400 dinner would fix being called prostitutes…ridiculous.

Ladies, have you ever been racially profiled in this way?

You can watch the women tell their story in the video below.