All Articles Tagged "serious question"

Serious Question: Is There Room For Ghostwriters In Hip-Hop?

August 4th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Drake and Meek Mill


Even if you weren’t seeking it out, chances are the beef between Meek Mill and Drake found you.  It popped up in your Twitter feed, while you were updating your Facebook status, listening to the radio or chopping it up with a friend.  A gift from the meme gods, it’s the kind of online fodder that keeps on giving.  But for the 2.7 of you who have no clue as to what I’m talking about, here’s a brief recap. On Twitter, Meek Mill called Drake out for allegedly using a ghostwriter on his verse for their collaboration “R.I.C.O.” off Meek’s new album, Dreams Worth More Than Money.  Meek also told people to stop comparing him to Drizzy because, unlike Drake, he doesn’t “trick” his fans into believing the raps of an unknown author are his own.

In true beef fashion, Drake responded with not one, but two diss tracks, “Charged Up” and “Back to Back.” After referring to Drake’s efforts as “baby lotion soft,” Meek released “Wanna Know,” which, ironically, left fans wishing the Philly-born rapper employed the use of his own ghostwriter.  All of this back and forth raises a valid question: is it earth-shattering (or that much of a revelation for that matter) if a musical artist, a rapper specifically, uses a ghostwriter?

In a machismo-heavy genre of music like hip-hop that’s often all about keeping it 100, I understand the concerns and raised eyebrows that ghostwriting elicits.  In rap and hip-hop, your rep and your word are king.  But if 50 Cent or Rick Ross has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t take every word that comes out of a rapper’s mouth as a fact.  That applies to whether or not an artist penned their lyrics by themselves or had assistance.  Rappers, like any other artist, tell stories.  Storytelling – I’m not saying anything we don’t already know – can be rife with embellishments that progress a plot, sell a point, appeal to an audience, etc.  It’s called artistic license.  So just because you’re rapping about one thing, I as a musical consumer don’t have to believe that everything you’re saying is real or immediately assume it’s a fantastic tale.  And this, my friends, is called suspension of disbelief.

Some of our most treasured artists never wrote a word of some of their biggest hits. From Whitney Houston to Chaka Khan and Diana Ross – the list goes on and on.  Even if these artists employed writers, the love would still be there because fans fall for the voice.  It’s all about talent and delivery.  Yes, lyrics play a crucial role, but in the wrong hands, a well-written song can fall completely flat.

In music, regardless of the genre, ownership falls on the artist singing, or in this case, rapping on the track.  When most people hear a song they like, they don’t say, “I wonder who wrote this song.”  Rather, they ask, “Who sings this song?”  It’s the same reason in a band of equally talented artists, the lead singer is the one who garners most, if not all, of the attention.  They are both the visual and aural center, focus and hub; not the songwriter.

Let’s also remember that ghostwriters have been around forever and a day.  Their efforts are utilized in novels, screenwriting, songwriting – practically any written form.  And the world has neither stopped nor ended because they exist.  Ghostwriters punch up lyrics and dialogue. And who is to say that they’re behind entire songs and not just helping stuck lyricists with punchy lines and choruses? They help artists find their voice.  And they do it anonymously because either their contributions weren’t enough to garner a “written by” credit, because of the type of contract they signed, or because they’re part of a team created to take an artist to new heights (see Bad Boy’s Hitmen production team).  So even if Drake used a ghostwriter, is that cause to turn our backs on one of the most celebrated, chart-topping rappers in the game right now? Is it cause to get that bent out of shape? Does it destroy his cred, suddenly wipe the slate clean or strip the man of his obvious talents?  I don’t think so.

In my opinion, what makes a rapper or a music artist, in general, authentic is their unique spin on the music they present to the world. That includes their ability to adapt and grow as an artist.  Hip-hop has a bonus element of smart and clever wordplay that garners respect from fans young and old.  (Well, maybe not that old.)  And as we well know, rappers are given respect partly based on their ability to deliver on that front, along with other status-invoking accolades like their number of albums sold, freestyling abilities, mixtape popularity, and, as evidenced by Meek and Drake, beefs won.

Meek certainly garnered a lot of attention following his initial Twitter rant, but let’s not forget that music was at the center of those tweets.  Based on the delivery of the tracks we’ve heard from both him and Drake in the days following (which Meek even acknowledged sounded like Drake’s own words), I’d say Drizzy is the clear winner.  Ghostwriter be damned.


Serious Question: What Happened To Album Sales?

July 29th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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ciara-ciara-e280a2-instagram-photos-and-videos-3 miguel-wildheart-560x560

Whatever happened to the good old days when all a musician had to do to sell an album was…make an album?  Well, that’s a gross oversimplification of the way the music industry works. But bad contracts aside, there used to be a definitive, tried and true formula for label-repped artists that resulted in the selling of millions of albums that made all parties involved stupid rich.  I’m talking swimming in a room full of dough à la Scrooge McDuck rich.  But in a market dominated by singles in which consumers download or stream music for free 99 via a host of services like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and the like, music artists today have to employ a different hustle altogether.  They do this all in an effort to promote their music while countering the challenges of declining album sales and record companies that don’t promote nearly as much as they used to.

This drop in album sales is something singers Miguel and Ciara know a lot about.  Both have released albums in recent months, Wildheart and Jackie respectively – neither of which performed very well.  Jackie, Ciara’s sixth studio effort, had the lowest first-week sales of all her albums to date and sold roughly 20,000 copies during that crucial first week.  Talk about disappointing.  It’s safe to say that people know more about Ci Ci’s sex life with new boyfriend Russell Wilson (or lack thereof), her ongoing bouts with former fiancé Future, and her Roberto Cavalli campaign than her latest music.  But for those who have paid attention, some critics have referred to Jackie as a missed opportunity for Ciara. A chance lost to delve into deeper issues (like her breakup with Future), rather than rely on the club-banger, dance-heavy, lyric-light songs she’s used to singing.  But Ciara is serving what she’s always given us.  And perhaps that’s the problem, in addition to the current harder-to-chart musical landscape, and lack of heavy promotion from her label.  The singer even promoted her album on her own to fellow passengers while on a flight from London to L.A. This is a trend that has seemingly become popular among artists like Brandy and Tyrese.  More on him later.

Miguel’s new album Wildheart, which my MadameNoire editor says is “crack,” fared a little better than Ciara’s.  It sold just over 40,000 copies in its first week, but that’s still not saying much, despite the fact that critics showered it with praise.  Miguel, who for reasons unbeknownst to me, is often compared to Frank Ocean, flat out said that he makes better music than the Channel Orange singer and songwriter.  But even that wannabe/potential beef didn’t help Miguel sell his album.

Both Miguel and Ciara are two respected, Grammy-winning artists who have sold well before, and yet here they find themselves in a position that you’d expect a lesser-known artist with limited label access to be in.  Is this a sign of the times?  The new norm?  Is R&B indeed dying, or worse yet, dead?

Well, based on Tyrese’s success, not exactly.  His latest release, Black Rose, an independent album, is his first number one album on the Billboard 200, according to Nielsen.  Not only has it sold close to 90,000 units since its July 10th release, but it was also the number one album in 15 countries.  This, coming from an artist who publicly stated on Power 105’s The Breakfast Club that R&B is indeed dead.  Said the singer, “…a lot of us [in R&B] are insecure and we feel like our songs don’t get attention, don’t get no love on the radio, don’t have any fans buying it anymore unless we’ve got 15 rappers on it.”

To counter that insecurity, Tyrese has been on a promotional binder and has gone to some extraordinary lengths, including re-enacting the Coca-Cola commercial that first brought him to our attention in 1994. He has hit the NYC subway asking for support (while exclaiming he left major record labels so he could do his thing as an indie artist). He even recorded a spiel with a sleeping homeless woman, comparing her to people sleeping on R&B.  He also penned an open letter to mainstream radio stations regarding the disparity between the promotion of music between Black and White R&B singers.  But Tyrese has one other promotional tool that Ciara and Miguel don’t: He’s the co-star of the country’s highest-grossing film this year, Furious 7.  It would be hard to miss the work of an artist from such a popular and beloved franchise.  I mean, they made seven movies.  Seven.

But for every Tyrese, there’s a Bilal, Tamia, Kenny Lattimore and Johnny Gill – all of whom have released new albums that you won’t find sizzling on the Hot 100 chart.  For artists to sell nowadays, they not only have to promote like crazy (unless of course you’re Beyoncé, in which case you can drop an album sans prior promotion and have it sell like hot cakes), but package your brand via stints on reality TV, shoe and clothing lines, perfume, modeling contracts, and whatever else your team can think of.  A little mitigated controversy doesn’t hurt either.  Stir up some ish on Twitter, and folks will talk about you instantly. Although, not necessarily about your music.

But don’t fret or weep for your favorite artists.  Even in this brave new world of music, they’re still richer than you.  And as long as they’re making good music, true fans will find a way to support them and keep their careers afloat.

Serious Question: Did “Empire” Actually Deserve More Emmy Nominations?

July 27th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Lucious Lyon's Fourth Son


By now, everyone has seen or at least heard about Lee Daniels’ fake me out Instagram video in response to the dearth of Emmy nominations his record-breaking hit show garnered.  In quintessential Daniels fashion, the Empire co-creator and executive producer, with breakout star Jussie Smollett by his side, said, “f**k these mother”— well, you know the rest.  The video was tagged with the hashtag #emmyniceguyoverwith.  And while some took Daniels’ words to heart, he made it perfectly clear that he was just joking.  In a follow-up video, Daniels stated that he loves the Emmys and wishes all the nominees well.  But die-hard Empire fans have no chill and felt the show was snubbed when Emmy nominations were announced more than a week ago.

As is oft the case come awards season, it should go without saying that not every show is going to get nominated.  And thankfully, unlike this year’s Oscars, whose lack of diversity in the acting categories spawned the hilarious yet poignant hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the list of actors nominated for this year’s Emmys is more diverse than usual.  Taraji P. Henson is nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Cookie Lyon, along with How To Get Away With Murder star, Viola Davis.  This marks the first time that two Black women have been nominated for the coveted category simultaneously.  And though Empire is also nominated for Outstanding Costumes, that’s where the nominations stop.  No love for Lucious himself, actor Terrence Howard, or the show as a whole for Outstanding Drama Series.  And while not everyone’s aboard the Empire train (some have argued the show perpetuates negative stereotypes about Black folks), given the show’s overwhelming popularity and success, and the industry’s obsession with ratings, folks are wondering what gives.  After all, Television Academy members wouldn’t have any shows to nominate if it weren’t for the fans and viewers who consume and keep alive the very content they’re voting for.  Not to mention, in one season, the critically-acclaimed hip-hop drama became a pop culture phenomenon.  Thanks to word of mouth and the Twitterverse, Empire’s viewers grew exponentially week after week.  This feat is virtually unheard of in network television and in today’s DVR world.  In short, Empire changed the game.  So what more does the Academy need to acknowledge the show for all its juicy, plot-twisting, meme-worthy greatness?

Clearly, the Emmys are not the People’s Choice Awards.  If that were the case, it’s safe to say that Empire would be all up and through the nominations.  The Emmys are a symbol of peer recognition and Television Academy members’ votes on nominees and winners – presumably for the work (and the people) they know, the work they’ve hopefully seen and loved, and the work they’ve played a hand in.  This is part of the reason why we’re used to seeing repeat offenders.  Shows like Modern Family, Mad Men and The Big Bang Theory have been nominated and won time and again.  Seemingly, once a favorite is picked, it’s difficult for newer shows to break in.

But the Academy has thousands of voting members, members who clearly thought enough of Henson to nominate her for her performance.  The impact of her on-screen presence alone is obvious.  Cookie is bold and sexy; she never holds her tongue and will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it (especially when you don’t want to hear it).  Because of Cookie, Henson’s star power has shot through the roof.  She has graced countless magazine covers, some with Howard.  That makes her instantly recognizable to people, even to those who haven’t actually seen an episode of Empire, and has given that much more credit to both her and talent.  But as Henson recently stated in a Los Angeles Times interview, “Cookie is nothing without Lucious.  She is nothing without her family.”

In Lucious Lyon, Terrence Howard plays the kind of man people fear.  He’s ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even at the risk of harming those he supposedly loves.  I’m not suggesting that’s the reason Howard wasn’t nominated for an Emmy.  Clearly, as previously stated, there’s a lot at play, campaign ads and politics included.  But let’s face it.  Empire is unmistakably and unapologetically Black and “Black shows” are still seen as less viable in Hollywood and are thought to lack relatability. (And yet, when shows or movies with predominantly Black casts succeed and defy the limits put on them, it’s always met with surprise.) Could this be the reason why Empire was snubbed?  It doesn’t help either that the show is a prime-time soap opera, a genre that’s not exactly favored in the television world. But that didn’t stop a show like Desperate Housewives from being highly celebrated and recognized.  Or Scandal, for that matter, which has soap-like qualities.

If “best” were defined as most popular, Empire would be the best show on network television.  But perhaps the Academy isn’t ready for the series. Given the show’s popularity, it should be around long enough to be able to garner more nods in the future.  It has already made history and there’s plenty room to make more.

What do you think? Did Empire deserve more Emmy nominations?

Serious Question: Would You Have Sex With Your Best Friend For $1 Million?

July 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Two (business) women/friends making peace/forgiving


Today during my lunch break, I watched a video my coworker sent me. It was a Cut Video from their “Truth or Drink” series. This particular one featured best friends.

Like truth or dare, the friends either answer the questions posed truthfully or they take a shot.

One of the questions posed was “What would it take for you to sleep with your best friend?” Naturally, the answers varied. Two good girlfriends said $100 and a lifetime supply of Mac and Cheese. Two straight, guy friends asked if they could just give each other blow jobs?

The question was an interesting one and after I watched the video I wanted to pose the question to my coworkers. But to make the question more concrete, I asked, “Would you have sex with your best friend for $1 million?”

So you get an idea of what the demographics of our office are, most of my coworkers are women. And most of their best friends are women. One MN editor’s best friend is a guy and she said she would have sex with him, no problem, but oral wouldn’t be an option. With the exception of one woman and myself, everyone else said yes.

Personally, I had reservations.

When I think about girl on girl sex I think about oral, fingering or scissoring. God knows I love my best friend and a million dollars is a nice little chunk of change; but in 2015, it just doesn’t go as far as it used to. Vaginas are fascinating I just don’t want to touch one that doesn’t belong to me. And I have a feeling that sex with my friend would just put a strain on our relationship.

If I could use a dildo maybe we could talk about it.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the prostitution element of it all…

But that’s just me.

We’re dying to know what you think about all of this. Would you have sex with your best friend for $1 million? And you can’t chose your good guy friend unless he is legitimately your best friend, i.e. Will and Grace.  Why or why not?


Serious Question: Could You Date A Man Who Sucks His Thumb?

June 29th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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There’s this meme going around the internet that made me think of a question I wanted to ask you all. The meme goes on and on about a woman discovering her boyfriend in bed, peacefully sleeping with another man by his side. And that’s bad. Real bad.

But honestly, as I was reading this tragic story, I just kept thinking that in addition to being involved with a lying cheater, this woman had subjected herself to dating a thumb-sucker. Liars and cheaters are quite common; but thumbsuckers, that is a rare form of unattractive.

And yet, I know, from the omission of thumb sucking in this post and from observing the dating patterns of those close to me, that men who suck their thumbs are in relationships all over the United States and perhaps even the world.

So I’m wondering, is it something that women generally don’t have a problem with, or is it something they’re willing to overlook once they’re in a serious, committed relationship?

In other words, is this a deal breaker?

I think it would be for me. The thought of a thumb, wrinkled from spit, touching and caressing me, would drive me absolutely insane. That doesn’t even take into consideration the misshapen teeth that inevitably occur with longtime thumb suckers. *Shivers.*

I do know one thing. I actually question the authenticity of this internet meme. If I were gracious enough to date a man who sucked his thumb, I would be far too embarrassed to admit that this very man, then had the nerve to step out on me. If it did happen, I would hope that I would have enough shame not to put it all over the internet.

But what say you, could you date a man who sucked his thumb? Have you done it before?

Serious Question: Would You Marry You?

June 10th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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The title of R&B Divas: LA star Chanté Moore’s upcoming book poses a serious question: Will I Marry Me?  In it, the thrice married singer shares the lessons she has learned in her relationships, all in an effort to help women avoid similar missteps when it comes to a love of self and partner.

While I have yet to read its pages, the book has already struck a chord with me.  The second I heard the alluring title, a little voice in my head answered the question it poses with a resounding “No!”  Being marriage-minded and being the thinker that I am, I wanted to explore the reasons why that response seemed to come so naturally, rather than one that was positive, reflecting the catch I know myself to be.  I realized that knowing your worth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to walk down the aisle.  So was that “no” a genuine response alluding to issues I need to work on, or an admission of fear?  And is it the fear of being eternally single, fear of rejection, or something else entirely?

When I think about some of the core qualities that I want in a partner – someone who is passionate about the life he’s living and one day hopes to live, loving, intelligent, and a man who does what he means and means what he says – I know that I embody many of those characteristics.  That, to me, is a good sign.  This future partner of mine doesn’t have to meet an arbitrary height requirement or make a certain amount of money that I don’t even come close to making.  There’s nothing trivial, unrealistic or impossible on my “list.”  He doesn’t have to be perfect – Lord knows I’m not. He just needs to be perfect for me.  And if I can bring to the table the same traits and characteristics that I seek in the kind of a man I’d want to marry (and can accept my imperfections), then I think I’m on the right path.  (It’s finding him that’s the hard part, but that’s a story for another day.)

I also have a beautiful example of what love – healthy, supportive, and honest – looks like thanks to my parents, who have been married for nearly 40 years.  They’re the kind of couple that still walk hand in hand, and that make “happily ever after” look relatively easy. Although I’m sure they’ll be quick to admit it’s anything but.  The biggest thing I’ve learned from them and other successfully married couples in my life is that marriage is a bending, malleable entity.  Marriage is far deeper and much more complex than the simple sayings we’ve all been fed: “Never go to bed angry”; “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” etc. If these were the keys to a happy, lasting union, I’m pretty sure the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.

But back to the notion of malleability – not to the point where you compromise your morals, lose your identity or give so much to someone else that you have nothing left for yourself.  I’m talking about being flexible and adaptable.  Just like any relationship, marriage is chock-full of challenges you don’t anticipate.  This is where I think I struggle on the whole question of whether or not I’d marry myself.  Because I’m single, I can afford to be rigid.  I can’t predict what any particular day will bring, but I know my plans from day to day (and I especially know how I feel when I have to change those plans.)  I don’t have to consider anyone else’s thoughts, opinions or needs.  I don’t have to consult with anyone other than myself when I want to go out or just do my thing.  Simply put, I enjoy my independence, but I worry that I’ve been in this individual mindset for so long that I won’t know how to make room for someone else.  And if I can’t make room for someone else, then how am I going to maintain a relationship, let alone one bonded by marriage?  Who would say “yes” to that?

Now if that’s not fear, I don’t know what is.  Here I am single as the day is long, and I’m pondering these (and many other) questions.  Perhaps I’m a victim of my own over thinking, or I am placing too much importance on a simple one-word response that my brain generated upon hearing the question: “Will I marry me?”  But I guess the point of Chanté Moore’s book is to make you ask yourself the hard questions. Better to do that now and before you end up marrying the wrong person, marrying for the wrong reasons, or a host of other problems you want to avoid or identify before saying “I do.”  I’m looking forward to the read and hope I’ll learn a little something.

Serious Question: Is It Wrong To Propose At Someone Else’s Wedding?

May 28th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Reddit

Source: Reddit

Right now someone out there is already feeling their neck get hot at the mere thought of someone stealing their shine on their wedding day like this and, more than likely, there are millions of people who agree with you.

The photo above picked up traction on Reddit three days ago and the title of the subject thread, “Any girl’s wedding nightmare,” sends a clear message that when it comes to weddings there are two things you don’t do: wear white and propose to your long-time girlfriend in front of everyone. Clearly ol’ boy in the teal button down didn’t get the memo, as he not only asked this woman to be his wife at someone else’s wedding, he did so right in front of the bride and groom on the occasion that’s supposed to be their big day. And by their, I mean the bride and groom, not his and his new fiancee’s.

The image prompted Jezebel’s Mark Shrayber to write a scathing read of this show-stealing proposer that stated in no uncertain terms: Only a Classless Douchebag Would Propose During Someone Else’s Wedding. And the fact that my coworker couldn’t even verbalize what she would do if someone got engaged at her upcoming wedding in September when I asked tells me he must be right. But there is a small part of me that’s asking, what’s the big deal?

Maybe it’s “The Best Man” lover in me that remembers how cute it was when Harper proposed to Robin that leaves me unconvinced I would be totally irate if someone proposed on my wedding day. But I’m also remembering that the proposal was spur of the moment and dude up top actually planned this proposal — which is why he already has a ring in hand — and that does make me feel some type of way. Oh, and “The Best Man” was a fictional movie.

Still, I hate the undertone of self-absorption that exists when people expect every.single.thing. to be about them on their wedding day. Yes, we all are here to celebrate you. No, guests shouldn’t purposely distract from the couple on their big day. But people have lives too. As much as newlyweds want the day, from sunup to sundown, to be all about them, it’s just not realistic. That doesn’t mean, however, that guests should make the day all about them in turn and move the focus away from the newlyweds to the newly-engaged.

The only way I can see this act being any type of socially acceptable is if you get the couple’s permission first — or you pop the question when the lone waiter left in the venue is stacking up the last chairs at the reception. Otherwise, proposing on the day that’s supposed to mark someone else’s love — not to mention someone else who’s close to you — is pretty selfish and will likely warrant the stank face so apparent on this bride’s face in the photo above. You can also take that chance and just let everyone cuss you out after they congratulate you. Your choice.

What do you say? Is it wrong to propose on someone else’s wedding day?

Serious Question: Is Anything Private Anymore?

May 28th, 2015 - By Alexandra Olivier
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  In case you missed the memo, we have all become attention whores. It’s not 100% our fault, but the line between what is and what is not to be kept intimate has become a very hazy and foggy shade of gray. At every turn, we overshare life’s intimate moments – whatever that is. Whether it is selfies on the toilet, Snapchats of us brushing our teeth or sharing pictures of our significant other barely dressed for our followers, it makes me wonder: What exactly are we keeping as moments for and to ourselves? Recently, Kanye West updated his fans that his upcoming album title has changed to Swish. With the update, he included a few pictures of Kim Kardashian, his wife and the mother of his beautiful daughter, North. In those images, she was essentially naked. While Kim K. is no stranger to nudes or being seen naked, as a husband, what sense does it make to share your wife’s goodies with the world and fans? Regardless of her past and even recent decision to bare it all on the cover of magazines, when did we lose a sense of intimacy where our bodies, thoughts and more were only for ourselves and our husbands? Social media has significantly influenced the muddying of intimacy. For likes, men and women are shedding clothing, puckering their lips, and flexing their muscles. And while it isn’t every Instagram user, you’d be lying if you said a good percentage of your timeline wasn’t filled with men and women clearly “doing it for the ‘gram.” The need to utilize the most provocative images to garner attention is seemingly weighed as more important than keeping some things private. Diddy defended his latest ad for fragrance 3AM and said it was an attempt to show love as the new sexy. The “fantasy” he displays in his ad is no doubt hot, and sure, it’s nice to see him show some form of affection to Cassie, but the simulation of intimate moments between the two, is it necessary? “The concept for the video represents one of the things that 3 a.m. is for me. It’s a very one-on-one time. It’s a time to have fun and push the envelope a little bit. It’s definitely an hour where you would find yourself with a young lady. Anything can happen at 3 a.m., and in the video, you see a fantasy that’s in my head of what happened that night,” Diddy told Style. And now, every fantasy in your head and played out in your bedroom is being shared for the world to see. We live in a society where sex sells. It assaults us even in cartoons and Disney shows nowadays – you can’t miss the sexual innuendos. With reality TV invading personal space, it has become common practice to post bedroom selfies cuddled up with bae, or random images of you getting in and out the shower. But some of the best moments are best kept quiet. Some things don’t have to be everybody’s business – even if it will guarantee a few hundred likes and get a little attention. Then what?

What is and what is not to be kept intimate has become a foggy shade of gray nowadays and many blame social media. in Madame Noire Polls on LockerDome

Serious Question: Why Do Swimsuits Cost So DAMN Much??

March 17th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Swimsuits Cost

Source: Shutterstock

The headline for this article is literally the question I asked one of the editors of our sister site,, yesterday morning. When she had no answer for me and replied “It’s been this way since the beginning of time” when I suggested she investigate how a few yards of Lycra translates into a $100-plus price tag and write an article on it, I thought, hmmm maybe our financially savvy readers will have an explanation.

See, I’m new to this whole bathing suit thing. Well, the cute bathing suit thing. Up until my recent trip to Jamaica, it had been about seven years since I’d been on anybody’s beach or swam in somebody’s pool, and at my former size, a bathing suit was basically like a uniform for me. I wanted to go in the water, bathing suits are what you wear in the water, I bought a cheap one since I was going to cover it up with a t-shirt/tank top/ cover up of some sort anyway. Now that I’ve dropped some pounds and am anxiously awaiting a week-long birthday excursion to the Dominican Republic, I’m trying to dip my foot into the lake of swimsuit couture. Unfortunately, every time I come across something I like online, Sallie Mae and Bank of America tap me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear, This ain’t what you really want.

And it’s true. I want to look cute on the beach. What I do not want is to spend close to $100 trying to do so. Unfortunately, it appears I don’t have a choice. I conducted a rather non-scientific survey of the office asking everyone how much they spend on bathing suits and everyone pretty much agreed it’s nothing to pay $50 for beach separates — unless of course you’re like my petite coworker who can sneak pieces out of the children’s section. Y’all have seen me before. I can’t even get by with a swimsuit that doesn’t have an underwire in it.

But neither is dropping hundreds of dollars on something that’s going to be soaked in chlorine and salt water and lose the richness of its color out in the Dominican sun for merely a few hours out of the day. Which reminds me, something good has come out of this whole “Swimsuits are too damn high” rant I’m on: I owe some women out there an apology. I always assumed when I saw women walking around in grocery stores and restaurants in their bathing suits with nothing more than maybe (and that’s a big maybe) some low-riding booty shorts on on top, they were thirsty, attention-starved creatures just trying to show off their bodies. Now I realize these women have spent their hard-earned money on those string bikinis and see-through one-pieces and they will be damned if the only place they show off those expensive garments is in the water which they were created for! I feel you now sisters, I really do.

While I’m pretty sure I won’t be following in the footsteps of said ladies, after taking advantage of ASOS’ St. Patty’s Day sale and dropping a pretty penny on two bathing suits I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I spent too much money to cover up anything with a cover up in a few weeks. Consider that your warning fellow beach goers. Ima let it all hang out. And despite becoming a part of the expensive swimsuit machine I intended to rally against, I will not rest until I at least get an explanation as to why bathing suits cost so damn much (beyond the fact that they’re stretchy). Or some suggestions for sites that sell cheap ones. Who got the answers?

Serious Question: Why Y’all Not Bathing Regularly?

February 4th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Women Don't Shower Everyday


This week I caught up on the latest episode of ABC’s The Bachelor and as usual there is a contestant who the other women begin to hate because the leading man is paying too much attention to her. This season’s bachelor Chris Soules is definitely feeling contestant Britt Nilsson, however, the other women vying for his heart want to know why, especially since Nilsson apparently does not bathe regularly.

And just today, JWOW and Snooki stopped by The Real and confessed their biggest regrets from being on MTV’s Jersey Shore. Snooki admitted she wished she showered and washed her face more, revealing that while producers filmed the show, she never showered and looking back felt she looked like a “dirty little hamster.” Since Naya Rivera claimed on The View a few weeks ago that showering more than once a day is a “white people thing,” many women have come forward (regardless of their race) to admit they don’t bathe every day.

So, I need to ask: Why y’all not bathing?

This news isn’t totally foreign to me. I have had college classmates who adamantly, and sometimes proudly admitted, that they missed a few days without soap touching their bodies. But for the rest of y’all who aren’t running across campuses and testing cancer vaccines, what’s your excuse? While researching this topic, I found some women forego showers because they don’t want their straight hairstyles to get wet or frizzy, while others say showers dry out their skin. There are women who say they are simply too lazy — or too busy to shower, while others say they spend too much money on hygiene cosmetics and must preserve them. No matter the explanation, I find this behavior and the excuses that come with it a bit odd.

Growing up in a Caribbean household meant personal hygiene became a badge of honor. My Guyanese mother would continuously tell me if I didn’t shower and thoroughly wash my vagina I would have no friends and worms would begin to form in my genitals. Once I started to menstruate, my mother (along with my aunts who were nurses and doctors) disclosed every type of bacterial infection — factual and fictional — that could present itself if I didn’t “rinse my skin and wash my patta-cake” regularly. Now, you and I both know these fear tactics are a bit extreme but even when I feel like being a daredevil on the weekends and don’t shower until later on in the day, I feel a bit disgusting and my perspiration makes me silently say to myself, “got damn!” But I digress.

I’m not Sway but I do have the answers for the women who fear taking showers. If you don’t want to mess up your fresh blowout, buy a shower cap from the 99 cent store! Feeling ashy after a shower? Use lotion, shea or cocoa butter; sometimes I use baby oil before I shower for softer skin in the winter. Can’t find time in your schedule? Have a 10-minute shower and it will help relieve you from the daily grind’s stress. Seriously. It doesn’t take that much to freshen your body.

We no longer live in the 17th century and the majority of us live in the first world so there is no limited water supply. You can take as many showers as your water bill permits. And even if you don’t do it for yourself, think about those around you. As a matter of fact, how do the “ride or die” men in these non-bathing women’s lives cope with their girlfriends or wives not bathing on a regular basis? I need answers. Check out Snooki and JWOW’s interview with The Real below and weigh in on the discussion in the comments section. How often do you bathe? If it’s not often…why?