All Articles Tagged "spirituality"
“Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts will publish a memoir in 2014 with Grand Central, the publisher announced Wednesday.
The book, which is not yet titled, will include Roberts’ story of her battle with MDS. The disease affects bone marrow and the creation of new blood cells.
“I am humbled that many have an interest, and draw strength from my ongoing journey,” Roberts said. “I’m grateful for the prayers and well wishes of so many people. I’m thrilled that Jamie Raab and Grand Central Publishing will help me tell my story.”.
Read more at EurWeb.com
Who knew a detergent could be so helpful outside of the laundromat?
Tide, the P&G super soap mega brand, has launched a contest aimed at moguls-, artists-, and professional successes-in-the-making aged 18-to-30 years old. The Rising Tide Contest will give one winner two tickets to Los Angeles, $5,000, a brand new tablet (nine finalists will also get this prize), and the chance to have lunch with mogul, entrepreneur, and yoga devotee, Russell Simmons. For details and to enter, click here. You have until May 3rd. And after the jump, you can check out another clip (besides the one below) that gives a sample of what lunch with Uncle Rush would be like.
We had the chance to sit down for a chat with Simmons also, albeit over the phone. “It all depends on the individual,” he told us when we asked him what sort of advice he would give to the contest winner. “What you know to be true is true. People don’t really have faith because of all this noise on the outside. But all this promise is useful.”
We all know that Simmons is dedicated to practicing yoga, but it’s still a little jarring to hear him speak in such spiritual terms when you know he’s also so rooted in the business world. From Def Jam to Global Grind, Simmons has made a name in earthly enterprises.
“Smile and breathe,” Simmons says when he talks about the practice of yoga. “You have to have the clarity to be present. When we’re in the present, we access our creativity.”
And having that clarity is tied to his business success. So all you have to do is sign up for a class, stretch, breathe, find your deeper self, and the path to moguldom will be laid before you. Simple right? (Not.)
“These things are simple. It can be complex if you want to make it that way,” Simmons continued. “The goal is to give without expectation. Having faith in our journey.”
In addition, we have to take advantage of the modern conveniences that we’ve been afforded. For example, Simmons says he’s working on a television project focused on Frederick Douglass (he couldn’t reveal any further details). Douglass reached great heights without the benefit of anything even remotely like the Internet, where information is at our fingertips.
“It’s the choices you make… to change your position. Blame isn’t an option,” Simmons continued.
Speaking of technology, we asked about his new digital agency, Narrative, which he’s launching with his longtime business partner, Tricia Clarke-Stone. The goal, Simmons has made clear, is not to be an ad agency, but to help agencies with their work. Again, there was no mention of business success per se (until I brought up the whole making money thing), but rather the success that comes with following your path and a job well done.
“When you do a good job you start making money. Think about being smart and having fun,” he said. “One when you’re fully engaged can you be successful.”
And with that, I might dust off my mat and head down to the yoga studio.
Our country is pretty progressive. After all, we have a black president, have had multiple female Secretary of States, and openly gay people in many areas of leadership. Yet in some parts of our country, some people still seem to be hesitant to appoint women to pastoral positions in the church. What’s up with that?
Women are the backbone of many churches. We attend services regularly and we continually contribute our time and money to an institution that theologically seems to want little to do with us. The church would be non-existent without women, but somehow the powers that be haven’t caught a clue.
I grew up in a small Baptist church where women were expected to be seen and not heard. Women had no business in the pulpit and were often delegated to domestic roles in the church, such as being a caregiver or cooking all of the potluck dinners. None of the women vocalized an issue with their roles, which could be one of the many reasons why the notion that women have little value in high positions in the church still exists.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my mom in which she told me she had no desire to have a female pastor over her church. Her statements hurt my feelings since I aspired to be an evangelist and would love to see a strong black woman preach the word, and on more than just Women’s Day and similar events. Sadly, I figured that my mother is not alone in her feelings and that many people are just not enthused by women who hold spiritually authoritative roles. Although I can’t change her views, I can’t help but wonder why my mother and others like her feel that women are spiritually incapable of holding the same leadership roles in the church as men.
There’s a verse in the bible about women being silent in church that everyone likes to misquote to support their views of women being inferior in church matters. It’s in 1 Corinthians 14: 34: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” The problem is that those who like to use this verse to reinforce the opinion that women shouldn’t be pastors don’t take the historical context into consideration. Women didn’t have rights and opportunities we have now, so it was commonplace for women to be silenced in church matters. But we’ve come far, and if we know the word, have studied it, had the proper education and are ready, why should we be held back? I’m also offended by the fact that there are educational institutions like seminaries that readily take money from women knowing full well they will not permit them to be pastors. If women aren’t good enough to lead than our money shouldn’t be good enough either.
In the end, it’s time for the hypocrisy to end so that the church can progress in the right direction once and for all. Men aren’t the only ones who can deliver the word of God in a powerful way, so it’s time for those who still would prefer for us to cook the Sunday dinners, sing in the choir, watch the children run around and do those things only to get with the times.
It’s been 18 months since The Oprah Winfrey Show left the air. Ms. Winfrey has kept herself busy managing a magazine, an XM radio channel, a television channel, and an online presence that includes a content channel on The Huffington Post. Despite all of this, the New York Times recently questioned whether the era of Oprah has come to an end.
The absence of daily face time with her millions of fans has impacted Winfrey’s brand in ways even she didn’t anticipate. Her magazine and website experienced a decline in revenue and sales. Her television network’s rough start is well documented.
If anyone else’s name were attached to these projects they would still be deemed a success. But high expectations are a common side effect of greatness. Lady O doesn’t seem to be checking for her critics’ opinions anymore. Instead she is setting her sights on expanding her audience to include a younger demographic.
Can Oprah Be Hip?
Oprah is influential, but she stopped being cool in the 90s. The median age for an O magazine reader is 49. But Ms. Winfrey thinks she has something to offer younger generations. At her magazine’s annual conference, she said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”
Oprah has made it clear that she won’t stray from her message of “living your best life.” Rightfully so, it is clearly her passion and has become a primary part of her brand along with interviewing the most noteworthy names in pop culture. Oprah seems to be hitting her stride in adapting the latter to new platforms. Appearances by gossip blog favorites Evelyn Lozada and Maia Campbell on self-help guru Iyanla Vanzant’s show, Fix My Life, hint that she is working out how to use one of her trademarks to boost the popularity of the other.
Spirituality For a New Age
Oprah was originally criticized for her New Age spirituality that didn’t identify with a set religion. But the inclusive nature of her faith is the perfect fit for younger audiences. A recent study found that 72 percent of millennials, the generation between 18 and 30 years old, say they are more spiritual than religious.
Despite not identifying with a religion, or maybe because of it, young people crave spiritual direction. Holistic lifestyle topics like wellness, spirituality, and healthy living are becoming increasingly mainstream. Oprah was already covering these topics on her show. She continues to use platforms like OWN to bring spiritual advisors of all kinds to a mass audience. Now is the perfect time for Winfrey to lead this conversation for a new generation.
An Army For Oprah
At 58, Oprah can’t speak the language of millennials, but she can empower people who do. I want Oprah to be satisfied with hanging out with Tyler Perry on the weekends and leave him out of her business. His 12-hour block on TBS is more than sufficient. OWN and her bevy of multimedia channels needs to empower a new generation of spiritual ambassadors that promote her message.
An army of young, diverse men and women empowering other young people to live their best life is a powerful image. In exchange for Oprah’s stamp of approval, this band of brand ambassadors will bring a much-needed hipness to the Oprah brand and bring fresh content and followings to her other platforms. This strategy is nothing new to Oprah. She’s producing most of daytime television (Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr. Oz) using the same formula.
Taking shots at Oprah has become a popular pastime but it’s silly to bet against her at this stage in the game. Her public journey to reshape her career shows us all how success happens. Most of the time you’re not a hit straight out the gate. Greatness requires a never-ending process of trial and error that constantly reevaluates and recalibrates your efforts.
The woman credited with getting Middle America to vote for our nation’s first Black president does not have the option of sitting around twiddling her thumbs. It would be irresponsible for her and her influence to sit at home and count coins. Dreams are easier than ever to achieve, and we need someone to remind us of this. If anyone is up for the job, it’s Ms. Winfrey.
It was a couple of days before I had a really major assignment due; an assignment I’d been slaving over the entire semester. The one assignment that could determine my fate as a student at my university. I was totally freaking out. The professor whom I had to submit the assignment to was also the director of the Media & Communications department and although she only stood at about 5’2″, she was nothing short of intimidating with her vague directions and her blasé attitude.
“If Jesus decided to come back before I have to submit this assignment I wouldn’t even be mad,” I text him.
“Lol, you’ll be fine. You’re smart and hardworking. Plus, you put a lot of effort into this assignment,” he replied. He followed up that text with a very thoughtful prayer asking God to help me focus, remain calm, and carry out the task at hand. It was like something clicked in that moment. That little nudge wrapped in a blanket of encouragement, sealed with a prayer seemed to be exactly what I needed. I let out a deep sigh, shook myself off, relocated my “mojo” and got back to work. I completed my project not long after.
I reflected on our conversation later on that night and thought “So, this is what it feels like to find someone who actively, positively, and genuinely contributes to your life.” When I really got to thinking about it, he’s been that way for the entire five years we’ve been friends and the last five months that we’ve been something else. I made a mental note that if he wasn’t the one, I certainly wanted someone with similar characteristics.
We’re all aware that relationships can take on a slew of different characteristics. There are those toxic relationships where your significant other seems to bring out the “crazy” in you. There are those damaging relationships that seem to magnify your flaws and amplify your insecurities. Then, there are those relationships that uplift and inspire, and whether they work out or not, you’re a better person as a result of them.
It took me awhile to fully grasp this concept, but now that it has clicked, I wish I had learned it so much sooner. The concept that love should be more substantial than superficial. Your significant other should be able to do more than just give you butterflies, make you blush, and whisper sweet empty nothings. Those same lips that whisper sweet nothings should eventually be able to utter words of substance and reassurance in the midst of challenging times and of course, you should be capable of reciprocating. It is a concept that seems so basic and a characteristic that should be so common, yet is so frequently lacking and overlooked.
In an article featured on Psychology Today, Dr. Alice Boyes discusses ten ways in which your relationships could and should help an individual to grow as a person. Some of the points that she made included:
- Relationships that provide “practical support that allows you to pursue your personal goals.”
- Relationships that provide “emotional support that helps you persist with hard things.”
- Relationships that “help you learn to trust that another person will be dependable and emotionally available to you.”
I’m not suggesting that anyone should look to another person or a relationship to feel complete, because I definitely subscribe to the philosophy that a healthy relationship consists of two whole people, but what I am saying is that if a person isn’t contributing anything substantial to their partner’s life, then exactly what are they doing?
Do you believe that your relationships should help you to grow as a person?
Jazmine Denise is a freelance writer living in New York. Follow her on Twittter @jazminedenise
All photos are courtesy of ShutterStock
Despite making headlines for being “most likely to be [every terrible thing known to man]“, it turns out Black women are the least likely to commit suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate among white men was 25.96 per 100,000 from 2005 to 2009 and, by comparison, the rate for black women was less than three suicides per 100,000.
As we reported before, according to the Government Executive, Veterans Affairs officials are studying the uniquely supportive culture of black women believing that might provide a key to addressing the spike in suicides occurring in the armed forces. They are hoping to re-create elements of black female culture that may help stop military veterans from killing themselves.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Black women don’t struggle with mental health issues, but according to Good Therapy, a sense of belonging might be the reason Black women do not often commit suicide:
The stigma that is associated with mental health problems may be disguising the real number of African Americans at risk for suicide. Research on suicide has been focused in many directions to assess the contributing factors. One area of research that has not been examined fully is the relationship between suicide and reasons for living among African-American women.
To address this gap, Jalika C. Street of the Department of Psychology at Georgia State University led a study that looked at how racial regard, which describes people’s sense of belonging to their race, influenced suicidal behavior in a sample of 82 African-American women with a history of at least one suicide attempt. She also assessed how racial regard and reasons for living worked together to affect future suicide attempts. Street used the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity and the Reasons for Living Inventory scales in her study.
Street discovered that the women who reported deep racial regard and felt positively associated with their African-American identity reported being more committed to living and felt a stronger sense of purpose than those with little racial regard. Racial identity alone, in the absence of racial regard, did not increase a woman’s willingness to live. These findings shed some light on how private racial association and sense of commitment affect psychological well-being in African-American women. It has been suggested that private racial regard is linked to mental health issues, such as self-esteem and depression, in other culturally diverse samples, but this study is the first to elucidate a link between racial regard, desire for living, and suicidal ideation and behavior in this sample; the practical implications of these findings could be significant if applied in a clinical setting. “In other words, private racial regard may be considered a coping resource that is important to capitalize upon in designing and implementing culturally informed interventions,” said Street.
We know that our friendships are important, but it seems having good thoughts toward our race and others of the same race can be a factor in decreasing the likelihood of committing suicide. However, these researchers did point out that suicide still poses a major problem for the culture at large. Some experts believe that the low rates of suicide do not accurately reflect suicidal ideation (or thoughts of suicide) among African-Americans because many members of African-American communities perceive disclosure as a sign of weakness.
While we can definitely be glad that Black women aren’t killing themselves in high numbers, if even one feels she needs to end her life, that is one too many.
Are you surprised by their reasoning for black women being the least likely to commit suicide?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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Let’s face it, marriage isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, Nia Long made headlines recently for declaring that marriage wasn’t a “priority” for her, despite having a baby with her long time boyfriend – her second child out-of-wedlock. While we know that you can be in a loving relationship without having a piece of paper to legitimize your commitment, that piece of paper can reap greater benefits to couples who make it “official” as opposed to those who are simply shacking up. Society, communities, congregations and even the IRS tend to make things a little easier for those who decide to say “I do” – so while marriage may not be YOUR cup of tea, for those who ARE considering it, here are a few reasons why uttering a few vows in front of friends, family or the courthouse officer may be worth your while.
Most times when we find out that researchers are going to be studying some facet of black women we cringe. Especially since as of late those studies have revolved around two things—why are we all overweight and why are we all single. Yeah, we’re over it. But a new Veterans Affairs study is actually looking to examine something that black women are doing right in order to help other ethnic groups who aren’t faring so well. Amazing, right?
That being said, the good news this week is: We support one another more than any other culture!
How do we know this? Well, the government has been examining the fact that suicides among U.S. military members have spiked this year to an average of one suicide a day which is an 18 percent increase over last year and the highest rate so far during a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the government doesn’t break down military suicides according to race, when you look at the general population, African American women have the lowest suicide rate of any group, while white men have the highest. Seems pretty odd for a double minority to be handling life better than the one’s born into the highest rank of society, right? The Department of Veterans Affairs thinks so too which is why they’re looking into how black women’s network of social support can be applied to military personnel and curb these deaths.
Jan Kemp, the Veterans Affairs mental health director for suicide prevention, told Government Executive magazine:
“The sense of community among [black women] and the … built-in support that they get from each other is something we’re paying a lot of attention to, and trying to find ways to emulate. I think often that veterans and men don’t have that same sort of personal support, and we have to build that for them.”
The Grio points out that recent studies like those from the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation have brought our supportive nature to the forefront, showing how we rely on one another and our own sense of self-worth to still feel beautiful and powerful and loved despite expanded waist bands, low net worth, and even social stereotypes and racism, and we encourage other black women to feel the same.
Sophia Nelson, author of Black Woman Redefined, told the Grio there are two main reasons why black women have a lower suicide rate and hold up so well against the odds:
“Black women are considered the most loyal faith-based group in the country,” she said. “It’s really black women’s coping mechanism. Black people go to church at the highest rate in this country, black women being the largest portion of that group.”
The other reason is steeped more in our history in America.
“The strength of black women harkens back to slavery, but that strength is not just physical — it’s also spiritual. It has evolved,” she added. “We have been through slavery, Jim Crow, and suffered the social injuries of being both black and female. I would argue that black women, because of the horror we have endured — that puts you in a very unique situation. Their strength and their spirituality is what saved them — because of their history. It’s kind of like being a marathon runner. You build up your endurance over time.”
As much as we don’t like to have to have to carry the image of the strong black woman on our backs all the time, this research shows it’s something that’s already in most of us anyway. Kudos to us for having each other’s backs and our own!
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WE TV has another hit on their hands with their new reality show “Mary Mary,” featuring sisters Erica and Tina-Atkins Campbell, from the gospel group with the same name. Madame Noire caught up with the two sisters to discuss the show, Tina’s unexpected pregnancy, family and that pesky pole issue.
Why did you all decide to do a reality show?
Tina: The biggest deciding factor in taking this show on was the fact that we’ve got a lot of things that are not generally considered great success stories but to us, it’s what makes us successful, it’s what makes us great. And it’s the fact that we are moms of multiple children, we are very good moms and active moms, even though we have nannies, we have help. We are very hands on with our children. We’ve both been married, we’ve been married in entertainment, happily married, not perfectly married, but happily married for over 10 years. We know countless families that do not like each other and cannot stand each other. People who started out when Erica and I started our careers, who are no longer together. And so those three things, the fact that we’re able to still manage to stay together, still managed making the group work when it’s really hard when our personal lives are quite different, maintaining a marriage and managing a household filled with kids, in addition to all of our other things. I think that is also very inspirational and we said, ‘let’s let the cameras in and see if this can be as inspirational as our music is.’ So we decided to go for it.
Erica, Is it easier working with your sister or easier working with your husband?
Erica: It’s a challenge with both because there’s personal and then there’s business and you have to make sure that you don’t let the personal intrude on the business. I think I’m a little bit better with my husband because it’s 11 years but I’ve been with Tina all my life and we’ve been fussing since we were kids. So the last 11 years we’ve been working hard, really putting in the necessary work to make sure that we are as professional as possible because it’s easy to not give to the people who we know are family. You assume that they know you love them. Oh, she knows that I didn’t mean it like that. And sometimes they don’t know. So, to be to make sure that you show the same compassion that you would to a producer, even though that producer is my husband. Plus, she’s my little sister so I think I sometimes treat her like a little sister.
Yesterday, I caught up on one of the few reality tv shows I can still stand, Mary Mary. Some folks were very skeptical of the show because the sisters, the stars of the show, Erica and Tina, are gospel singers. I guess people didn’t want to see these two acting a fool on tv. I was skeptical too, but only because I thought it was going to be boring. But that’s not the case. The show, though it lacks the drama we see on Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is still very entertaining. Kind of like the Braxtons but with a lot less foolishness and infidelity.
In one of the more recent episodes Erica and Tina decided they were going to have a girls getaway with their other sisters and sisters-in-law. (They come from a large family.) Erica, the more mild-mannered sister, who was also pregnant at the time, suggested that while they were away in Palm Springs, they take a pole dancing class. Well, Tina, who is kind of hot-headed and feisty, was not having it. Despite Erica trying to convince her that it was just a workout with she and her sisters, Tina couldn’t get past the sexual connotation and even more importantly, she didn’t want to deal with the fact that the Christian community would throw major shade.
I remember watching the show and thinking well “gospel singer” is another career I can cross off my “occupations I couldn’t do” list. Really, the list is full of all types of jobs that would require me to be too much in the public eye because people, and for some ironic reason specifically church people, can be too mean spirited and judgmental.
When I was younger, I got to see the good and the bad when it came to church. I went to one where the message wasn’t fulfilling, the people were unwelcoming, petty and insanely judgmental and the church wasn’t meeting the needs of the community. And then when I got older I went to one that was the complete opposite. The latter church and the people in it, nurtured me and instructed me in a kind and loving environment. So I know how church should and shouldn’t be. Which is why it always saddens me when I think about the reputation “the church,” and let’s be real, “the black church” gets just because the people who rep it so hard, don’t know how to act like the Jesus they claim to worship. It breaks my heart to hear people claim that they’re done with church, although they believe in God, because the people inside the building have no act right whatsoever.
It breaks my heart because 1.) I know they’re telling the truth and 2.) because I know not all churches are like that and 3.)because God does not want his people out here dissuading others from entering his house. If any group of people are supposed to be accepting and warm, it’s supposed to be Christians; but far too often, that’s not the case. And that’s a shame.
While I could understand Tina’s reasons for not getting on the pole, it’s a shame that she, as a gospel artist, a woman who makes a living glorifying God, would even have to consider what other religious people might have to say about her working out on a metal bar. Sometimes…no a lot of times, it’s people’s own perversion that make them condemn others. If you’re the type of person who can’t look at a pole and not think about a woman taking her clothes off, then it’s not something you should be burdening other people with, that sounds like more of a personal problem.
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