Bonding through Words With Maya Angelou
May28

Bonding through Words With Maya Angelou

I am not ashamed to say I cried. Yes, the tears began to flow down my face as if I’d experienced the death of a close family member. In a way, she was a family member. We were related through writing, through the burning inward desire to share how we felt through the written word. She was an author I looked up to, she was a poet I admired. And although I never met her, she introduced herself to me through her writing. She was Maya Angelou, and it’s no coincidence that she wrote the poem “Phenomenal Woman” because she epitomized what it means to be phenomenal. The way I learned about Maya Angelou eludes me, I just know that her work followed me during my academic career, and even now, during my post-college years. In high school, I wrote an essay about her life, realizing that she was born the same year as my grandmother. I guess I didn’t know at that moment Dr. Angelou became my “Grandmother” in writing. My dad introduced me to a song by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFunque named after Dr. Angelou’s poem and memoir “I know why the caged bird sings.” In this jazz tune, Dr. Angelou’s recites her poem, and this is how I memorized the words to it that are full of meaning and symbolism. I later learned (and began to live by) some of her wise quotes: – “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” -“I learned that making a living is not the same as making a life.” And my favorite: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Because of her way with words, the depth and richness of her writings, I decided to be in awe of this woman. She was one person who, as my friend Veronica (a fellow journalist) put it “I’d be afraid to interview Maya Angelou, she’s so profound ’til I probably wouldn’t understand what she’s saying or know what question to ask next!” Dr. Angelou was just that deep. She may be gone, but her words and the way she used them will last forever. As a writer, a black woman, and a lover of words just as Ms. Angelou was, I’m thankful for her use of the written word. I’m reminded,  of the power that words can have. And to share that love of words with Dr. Maya Angelou is good enough for me.   – This post originally appeared on Leah’s personal blog at Leah Figures it...

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The Loss of a Legend: Maya Angelou
May28

The Loss of a Legend: Maya Angelou

It is with much sadness that ColorBlind Magazine reports the loss of the renown poet, author, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou who died at age 86. ColorBlind Magazine will share more about Dr. Angelou’s work and the impact she made on writing, women, education, and civil rights. Join us by commenting below, or send your thoughts about Dr. Maya Angelou to info@colorblindmagazine.com. Your comments could be posted on our website and shared with other readers. For now, we are all...

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Lupita Nyong’o: Redefining Beauty
May16

Lupita Nyong’o: Redefining Beauty

Her birth name is Lupita Nyong’o, but she’s also known as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave . It was her first feature film that led her to win her first Oscar. Aside from her amazing acting skills, Nyong’o has also redefined the word “beautiful.” The Mexican-Kenyan beauty has since graced the covers of many magazines including Marie Claire, W, Vanity Fair and most recently People celebrating her style and appreciation for her dark complexion. She was named People magazines most beautiful cover girl of the year. Before the fame and popularity, she had a hard time accepting her skin tone which served as an obstacle to overcome in her life. In the long run she learned to accept herself for who she is and served as an inspiration to women of color. Has Hollywood finally accepted the beauty of black women as a whole or is it just a front until someone lighter skinned comes along?  We should not have to wait and see what Hollywood thinks is beautiful. Lupita has opened up the doors for women of color and encouraged many to never give up and follow their dreams. The Memorable Speech  In March 2014 before her epic Oscar win, Lupita was honored at the Essence magazines  seventh annual Black Women  in Hollywood Luncheon. She accepted an award for Best Breakthrough Performance. While she was there, she gave an inspirational speech on her beauty and confidence that woman of color especially should hear. In it she mentions a fan letter from a young girl she writes “Dear Lupita, I think you’re really lucky to be this black and but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight I was just about to buy  Dencia’s Whitenicious Cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.” The letter is proof that Lupita Nyong’o serves as inspiration to women of color and different economic class. View her brief and powerful speech here. By Chasidy Hall/Contributing Writer for ColorBlind Magazine...

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#BringBackOurGirls: The Male Perspective
May15

#BringBackOurGirls: The Male Perspective

It is impossible for ColorBlind Magazine to turn a blind eye to the crisis in Nigeria. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign has flooded social media. People are interested in this international story. But, what does the male perspective have to say about this issue of females being denied education? Read on as Martyns, who resides in the United States, but is a Nigerian Native, shares his views on education, females, and his beloved country, Nigeria. ColorBlind Magazine: Where exactly in Nigeria are you from and how long did you live there? M:I am from the Southwestern part of Nigeria, and I’ve lived there my entire life. I spent 26 years in Nigeria [until moving to the U.S.] I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria which is the largest city in West Africa and the second largest city in Africa. CB Mag: Prior to the abduction of the young girls, how do you think some people viewed Nigeria or Nigerian people? And how do you think some people view Nigerians or Nigeria now that this has happened? M: For people who have come across a Nigerian they believe they are some of the best people on earth. Very kind, and are considered to be educated and civilized. Unfortunately, as the way things are going right now, people think that what is happening in this area in Nigeria is happening virtually everywhere in Nigeria which is not so. Even some people think that Nigerians are terrorists. CB Mag: You were raised in a family that values education. (Martyns is finishing his Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering). Why do you feel education for females is important? M: It is important because when you are educated, your reasonings seem to change totally, your way of perception changes. You think like somebody who knows what she is doing and that makes you not to be dependent. There is a saying in Nigeria: “What a man can do, a woman can do even better.” People say that because there are some occupations in Nigeria that people consider to be “manly” like mechanics, shoe cobblers, or  technical work. But we have female doctors, lawyers, accountants, and our Nigerian finance minister is a woman! So education is very vital and it takes priority in an average Nigerian family. It is a MUST. — For more information, check out the opinion of Free Press Columnist Rochelle Riley’s latest column. Riley said in part :  “Girls abused for learning anywhere is a threat to girls learning everywhere.”  First Lady Michelle Obama has joined the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. View her video address here. Written By: Leah T. Johnson/ ColorBlind...

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Memorable TV Mother: Nikki Parker
May09

Memorable TV Mother: Nikki Parker

This brief piece was written as a salute to Television Moms in honor of Mother’s Day.  “Heeyyy” rings out Nicole “Nikki” Parker to her one and only daughter, Kimberly. This loving gesture between a mother and daughter spawned a series about love, devotion, and triumph that can’t be ignored. Nikki Parker, a fictional character in the TV series “The Parkers” spent her entire life trying to improve herself so that she could provide the best for her daughter. From a teenage pregnancy to dropping out of school and reapplying for college in her 30s, Nikki Parker cared what no one thought. She wanted to be a role model to her daughter and if that meant stumbling into humiliating and embarrassing situations, Nikki did just that. Her antics included, but aren’t limited to,black mailing her cross dressing Dean into getting her back into school and joining the cheer squad to promote a healthy body image. And who can forget Nikki’s love obsession with “The Professor” Stanley Ogilvy? Nikki’s love was unconditional and she did the best she could while she trudged her way through life. She laughed, fought, and cried with her daughter, showing Kimberly that she would always be there for her no matter the circumstance. The Parker’s- Nikki’s Cheer Team Written By: Jalissa Williams/ColorBlind Magazine Editorial...

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Motivational Mother
May05

Motivational Mother

“Freedom Ain’t Free” is the name of one of the one hundred plus poems written by local motivational speaker and poet Tinesha Cherry. It’s also a microcosm of Cherry’s personal life. A reading of her recent and first published book “I Was Born to Lose, But I Chose To Win!” reveals Cherry’s struggle of enduring abuse, neglect and abandonment.  It tells her story of being born with heroin in her system, abandoned by her dad, subjected to mental, physical and emotional abuse, unsure of where her next meal would come from, or rather, if it was coming at all, struggling with her mom’s addiction to drugs, and living in foster care. The light at the end of the tunnel “I’ve always been better than my circumstances,” Cherry said confidently, during an interview at a Bloomfield Hills, MI Bookstore. Her daughter, 11 year old Tiara sits next to her mom, smiling proudly and looking away from her cell phone. Cherry, who now works for U. S. Customs and Border Protection, and is a mother and wife, believes her reason for knowing her circumstances would change for the better were because of self-control, self-motivation, and self-determination. “It all starts with Self,” she said. “…and remember, there will be many people throughout your life who will fail you, but the one person who cannot afford to fail you is YOU.” The positive and negative example Cherry has had in her life helped shape her decisions. She learned the value of education, and hard work. This fueled in her a desire to share her story and motivate others, particularly young girls. “You spend the least amount of time in your life being a child, but the decisions you make as a child have a significant impact on who you become as an adult.  That’s why every decision you make especially when you are young is so important.” This work of motivational speaking and performing poetry has become Cherry’s passion, allowing her to have spoken at many local events during Black History Month, and Women’s History Month.  She’s also performed in a number of open forums in front of both small and large audiences, to include galas, graduations, weddings, funerals, school events, specialized programs, baby showers and church services, with self-empowerment always being the theme of her poetry and presentations. “It all just comes so natural to me,” Cherry said smiling. Her largest crowd was 15,000 people in DC, prior to the idea for and release of her book. When and Where I enter … At times, Cherry’s presentations and speaking engagements give her the opportunity to reminisce, which happened in May 2013 at her former high school, Pershing. “I know that I touch people when the kids are following me through the halls,” Cherry remembers. “One girl just gave me her number and said ‘I just want to hear from...

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Iconic Hairstyles of the Last Century
May05

Iconic Hairstyles of the Last Century

A woman’s hairstyle often defines her, and allows her to change her look. ColorBlind Magazine will take a look at popular hairstyles and how they have changed so drastically over the past 100 years. Let’s start with a style that originated during the early 1900s. One of the most popular hairstyles during this time was the “Bob”. The bob was usually short to mid length. The hair would be cut around the jaw, sometimes asymmetrical with a fringe. It was very common to have bangs cut with this hairstyle. The bob has made a recent comeback, as you can see from the photos shown below. One of the most bold hairstyles over the past 100 years and my personal favorite was the “Pixie”. This style became popular around the 1950s. The hairstyle includes short cut sides with a longer cut on the top of the head. This style reflected confidence, showing most of the face with minimal opportunity to style different until after growth. Shortly after the Pixie came the “Beehive”.  The name originated because the hairstyle resembled a beehive sitting atop a woman’s head. It demonstrated a very tall and domed look. The beehive became popular in the 1960s. Another popular hair-do from the 1960s was the “Bouffant”. In order to create the bouffant hairstyle, the hair must be teased, puffed out into a round shape, and raised high into a bun. The beehive and bouffant are very similar in style, considering they originated and were popular around the same period of time. Similar, yet smaller versions of this style are still worn today by women. Once the 1970s came around, one of the most fun and wild hairstyles was created. This was a thick, tightly curled, picked out hairstyle we all know as the “Afro”. The afro was usually natural and remains popular well into present day.   The next hairstyle we will focus on has been popular for quite some time, mostly over the past 20-30 years. “Cornrows” are a traditional African and West Asian style. To create cornrows, the hair is braided close to the scalp in rows. Cornrows can be worn for weeks at a time if maintained properly. While cornrows are currently popular, evidence shows that cornrows may very well have been worn as early as the stone age. The last and most edgy style we will discuss is the “Partially Shaved Head”. Over the past five years this fantastic and feminine hair-do has originated and is now being worn confidently around the globe.  This daring, bold do is easy to style. Depending on how fast or slow your hair grows, it could...

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Young, Ambitious, Broke
May05

Young, Ambitious, Broke

Click here for Leah’s sound bite of her article! Most of us don’t get that year between high school and college that nearly every teen drama/evening soap opera say is a requisite to adulthood. Finding yourself, they encourage, without ever mentioning the added burden of payment. Perhaps we can credit that to generous television parents or an inheritance from a long-lost great aunt just waiting to be claimed (and subsequently squandered). More likely its just good writing, carefully crafted for character-envy and never critique. No, in fact, most of us get three months after graduation, a pat on the back, and the keys to our un-air-conditioned freshman dorms. Here’s the thing about travel, while I believe that it is wildly valuable and crucial for a world-conscious mindset, it also comes with considerable expense. In this edition of “Young, Ambitious, Broke”, we’re going to take a quick look at travel; how to do it efficiently and perhaps most importantly, how to afford it. Okay, so I’m actually just going to aggregate a list of places that can help you more than I probably can, as they’ve helped me in my pursuit of foreign travel. Pinterest | Best Packing Tips: If you’re not already on this site, I’m not sure how you find your recipes, catalogue your #ManCrushMondays, or figure out what you’re going to wear every morning. All of those things notwithstanding, it is my favorite aggregator for travel help. It is a great help in figuring out what you need to bring and how to pack it. I’m heading out of the country for the first time this summer and barely know how to find an airport, let alone how to deal with luggage for my flight. Find a “Travel” board and start pinning! Link to my Pinterest Travel Board: http://www.pinterest.com/leahdanyel/t-r-a-v-e-l/ GoFundMe | Best Crowfunding: I couldn’t begin to say enough positive things about crowdfunding. For anything, for everything, having a centralized location where people can contribute to your cause is really handy. Example link to my GoFundMe: http://www.gofundme.com/66g5wg Local Resources | Best FREE MONEY: This piece of advice is specifically catered to students.  There is money everywhere for young people interested in foreign travel that could potentially enhance their education. Lots of times, these resources are right in your back yard. Check your school’s Office of Overseas Study for further assistance.  For a national scholarship search engine: http://www.studyabroad.com/scholarships.aspx By Leah D. Johnson/ColorBlind...

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A Grecian Odyssey – The story of Lynnorra Phillips
May05

A Grecian Odyssey – The story of Lynnorra Phillips

Is it possible for an accountant to have an interest in art and ruins and travel to Greece alone? Before you answer, meet Lynnorra Phillips, 26, and let her tell you her story…    ColorBlind Magazine: What year did you visit Greece and how old were you? I visited Greece in 2013 and at the time I was 24 years old. CB: What made you decide to take this trip by yourself? Were you nervous? Had you ever traveled alone before? In 2011 I graduated from college and worked really hard to land a corporate job. Once that was complete, I thought it was time to do something new. I enrolled into a Master’s Program at a local university and something told me to look at the Study Abroad website. So I did. Most of the programs were for undergraduates and for an entire semester which did not fit into my work schedule. Just when I was about to give up, Greece “tour” popped up on the screen and I clicked the link. The requirements appeared and lucky for me, there were none other than being a student at the University. I was so excited because it was something that I could actually participate in and more importantly, somewhere I REALLY wanted to go. I have always loved ancient ruins and art history. Even though my entire background is business… ancient world arts have always been a passion of mine. From there I just registered. I think I emailed the group leader like 4 times in a week to make sure that I could still register. CB: Were you nervous? Had you ever traveled alone before? I was definitely nervous once all the paperwork was completed. I thought to myself, ‘who in the heck do you think you are getting on a plane. Not only are you getting on a plane, YOU’RE GOING OVER SEAS!’  It didn’t hit me that I’d only been on a plane one other time in my life and it was 7 years prior to the trip so I couldn’t really remember. Before Greece, I had never travelled alone before. I just thought that it was time that I did something I wanted to do regardless of what was going on in my life. I had a big thing about waiting around on people in order to do the things I wanted to do. So this was just one thing that I wouldn’t dare pass up. I didn’t know anyone going on the trip with me, all I knew was that I was going to Greece. CB: How long were you there and where did...

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Eckerd E-Nini-Hassee – Youth Alternatives for Girls
May01

Eckerd E-Nini-Hassee – Youth Alternatives for Girls

Growing up is one of the biggest struggles we all have to face. People change, emotions change, your body changes – life changes. As females, we have a load of hurdles we have to overcome and transformations that we have to endure. Some of us handle these life obstacles better than others and some of us just need that extra guidance. This is where Eckerd E-Nini-Hassee Outdoor Therapeutic School for Girls comes into play. Located in Floral City, FL, this camp is located on over 800 acres of land and has been helping young girls since 1969. There mission statement reads, “Provide and share solutions that promote the well-being of children and families in need of a second chance.” Jack and Ruth Eckerd started this camp with just one goal in mind, and that was to provide a better treatment alternative for girls other than methods of hospitalization or institutionalization. So here the camp stands, 45 years later, still being successful in giving guidance and leadership to young girls. The treatment process is unique at Eckerd for multiple reasons. This fully licensed and accredited camp uses many outdoor activities such as, hiking, canoeing, tent building, and their ropes course to create things such a team building and self-confidence for the girls. Also, along with all these activities, each girl at this camp are given an individual treatment plans according to the girl’s specific needs. Eckerd specializes in many areas for troubled youth, as listed on their website some of these areas are   Abuse and neglect Adoption issues Attachment issues Anxiety disorders Bipolar disorder Depression Eating disorders Hopelessness Low self-esteem Poor peer choices Post traumatic stress Relationship problems School failure Substance abuse This camp is proven to help numerous troubled girls, gaining the title of most established and trusted outdoor therapeutic school for girls in the southeastern United States. Since this camp was founded, it has helped the lives of over 10,000 girls. Their name itself states the camps ambition; “E-Nini-Hassee” means “Her Sunny Road” in the Seminole Indian language. Eckerd E-Nini-Hassee Values ·      We base our concepts upon a belief in God and respect for all. ·      Youth always comes first. ·      Services should focus on the family. ·      We hold ourselves accountable for achieving superior outcomes. ·      We engage people from a strength-based perspective. ·      We are good financial stewards. ·      We build strong and lasting partnerships. ·      Local communities must be engaged and empowered. ·      We have the courage to innovate and change. Summer Stone, camper turned counselor, was happy to share some of her personal experiences and thoughts about this camp that holds a very...

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