Tag Archives: natural hair

09Dec/18

NATURAL BORN LEADERS

Black women have often been seen as a liability rather than an asset in many careers. This can be especially true for Black women with natural hair. As the year comes to a close, Taji Mag reflects on two strong Black women leaders with natural hair.
Shauntrice Martin and Wyllene Turner come from different backgrounds, but they are both Black women focused on improving the lives of young people. They are both leaders within an organization called the Bay Area Urban Debate League (affectionately known as “BAUDL”). There are dozens of urban debate leagues across the country and BAUDL has the most diverse staff along with such accolades as National Champions, League of the Year, and Champions of Diversity. They are truly making moves. I was able to interview these brilliant young women recently to learn more about what it means to be a leader and part of #teamnatural.
DapperDrFeel: Tell me a little about your organization.
Shauntrice Martin: The Bay Area Urban Debate League is an after-school program focused on marginalized youth in Title I schools. The goal is to engage students in policy debate to improve academic performance and college acceptance.
DDF: What are your titles?
SM: I am the executive director
Wyllene Turner: I got involved in Baudl in my 10th grade of high school. Then when I graduate in 2011 I came back to work and a regional coordinator until I worked my way up to Program Coordinator.
DDF: Ok, let’s get right into it. What does it mean to be a Black woman in a leadership role?
WT: It means that I have the opportunity to show represent, especially in a sport that is primarily a white male sport like debate.
SM: More than half of my time is spent on fundraising and development. Most of our donors are affluent white males and a lot of the “experts” in the field don’t look like me or the students we work with. I’ve dealt with microaggressions (being asked how I learned to speak so well, assumptions that I never met my father, etc.). When confronted with these issues, I’ve had to make decisions about whether to react in the moment and what the consequences might be. While this is not unique to a person of any race in a leadership role, my actions are seen as a representation of ALL Black women. As a Black woman, I have the added responsibility of representing the entire race as if we have monthly meetings of the Black Monolith.

 

Three students holding trophies after a win. Hesten, Ne’Jahra, and Jessica.
DDF: So how does being a Black woman with natural hair impact your work?
WT: I’ve been natural for about 7 years now! And I decided to go natural to find my self again, as I see it black women are so held back by their hair because it is seen as a symbol to show a multitude of things. Growing my locs where a way to take my crown back and make my own image!
SM: It gives me confidence. I know I will usually stand out in a crowd. At the same time, I went natural in college because I had people around me who celebrated me without trying to change me. We all deserve that feeling. In that way, it has a positive impact on my work. Conversely, I have been told to “tame” my hair in previous positions. I have been hyped up by white colleagues and supervisors when my hair was pressed straight as a signal that my naps were not welcomed in the workplace.
DDF: Speak more on that Shauntrice–are you saying that it is a bad thing to have natural hair in a corporate environment?
SM: I’ve had hundreds of white colleagues over the years and many of them don’t know how to react to my hair. I’ve had strangers reach out to touch my hair. I’ve had donors comment on my skin tone. Several years ago, before I had my son, I was asked in an interview whether I planned to wear afro puffs to the office. There is nothing but love growing out of my scalp so if someone attributes negative characteristics to my hair, it means they have a problem, not me.

 

Executive Director of BAUDL Shauntrice Martin
DDF: Ok, right on. In what other ways does being a Black woman in a leadership role present challenges?
WT: The challenges I face are people in different spaces act as if I don’t know what I am doing…which is funny because they’ll usually do that at an event I’m hosting.
SM: Yes. Hiring Wyllene was one of my best decisions as an executive director. She was hired based on merit, and as she said, she worked her way up to a full-time position. Because of the way she looks (dark-skinned woman with natural hair) people underestimate her. I have seen people disrespect her in situations and they end up looking like fools when she comes through. She cares about her job and if people could stop projecting their bias onto Black women, they would see that.
DDF: I noticed your organization is quite large for an after-school program. How many students do you serve?
SM: This school year we are on track to work with almost 1,000 youth in the Bay.
DDF: That is impressive. How do you maintain a program like this?
SM: Having people like Wyllene is absolutely essential. Our staff is one of the most diverse groups in the country. Most of the people who work at BAUDL graduated from the program. Our budget is just around half a million dollars and thankfully we have a dope volunteer base. I also do this really innovative thing when hiring people–I trust Black women.
DDF: Well there you have it. Now how can people get involved and support the work you do?
SM: The two biggest things we need right now are volunteers and donors. We have an end-of-the-year campaign called the #MakingMoves campaign. This is a Black-run organization and we hope to keep it that way. If you want to donate $5, $50, $50,000 use our link: www.tinyurl.com/wedebate. You can also share our story and encourage others to support.

Wyllene Turner

28Jul/17
richard sherman

Richard Sherman Comments on His Locs at the ESPYs *Video*

richard shermanWhat is a great way to grab the attention of a NFL star on the red carpet at the ESPYs? Just take time to compliment them. That is what happened when Taji Mag stopped Richard Sherman to ask him about his locs. When asked how he keeps his locs well conditioned against the strenuous conditions of football he simply relies on lifestyle as mentioned in the video below.

Sherman showed much humility engaging with many around him and sporting an equality pin on his fashionable jacket for the ESPYs, expressing that he believes in allowing people to be themselves and not conform to what society thinks. He has spoken out against the NFL about taking away the individuality and the freedom of players, ultimately affecting the play of the players and the ratings of the NFL.

Richard Sherman is always a class act and a true display of being a positive Black man. Not only is he a pro bowl cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, but he is also a graduate from Stanford. His education and charismatic personality have helped him dispel any negativity placed on his character from the media. Most notably is the situation with Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, where he was called a “thug” after passionately asking Tom Brady “Are You Mad Bro?”. He let the media know how offended he was being labeled a thug and eloquently explained how it is comparable to the N-word.

There are other times that Sherman has been vilified but he finds ways to defy them and he also shows compassion with his acts of kindness. During a #BlackLoveConvo twitter chat, we discussed how he recently paid the tuition of a Virginia high school student. He met her at a charity dinner in Richmond, VA and made an agreement with her that if she was able to bring up her grades her senior, he would pay her tuition.

Hopefully Richard Sherman will continue to inspire and contribute to society, allowing for the Black community to have yet another positive role model.

Link to video

13Jun/15
The Cox Family

Cox Family. Black Love. Black Family

The Cox Family… Take a moment to bask in the beauty of the Black Family! Genuine, beautiful moments, captured in time to be cherished forever! A beautiful example of a loving family swimming in all their natural glory. Speaking of natural, those puffs and braids are divine! They’re making sure their girls love their natural beauty 😉

The Cox Family | © NayMarie Photography | www.NayMarie.com The Cox Family The Cox Family

Photos taken by NayMarie Photography

12Mar/15

Fashioning Our Economics by Uri B.

17-18

Fashioning Our Economics

Fashioning Our Economics: The quest to secure our financial futures often eludes us as the future can seem so far off. The idea of ‘the Joneses’ and other symbols have been used to propagate a culture of consumerism within our communities. While hypnotized by their possessions, we fail to consider how the Joneses acquired their wealth. We can’t name wealthy African Americans (that aren’t entertainers) without stuttering, yet, our continuing to save for $1500 monogrammed handbags or identical chronograph watches pulls us further away from our financial freedom while allowing others to maintain theirs.

As a recovering shopaholic (self-diagnosed) on a journey to financial freedom, I would like to humbly share key lessons I have learned on managing finances as a young business owner and future law student; this list is in no particular order nor is it exhaustive. We’ll have moments of weakness, but it is paramount you don’t beat yourself up! This is not a sprint; bear in mind the light at the end of the tunnel is a new house and even better: an economy built For Us, By Us.

~ Save at least 20% of every dollar you receive. This includes monies earned from the 9 to 5, the side gig and the “just because” cash Aunt Jackie balled into your hand; EVERY penny counts.

~ Set a budget and penalties if violated. Making the budget is easy, but sticking to it can be hard. However, if you want to save money you can’t spend it- that simple. Be sure that you are setting reasonable expectations for yourself by including lines for pampering and entertainment. Various online banking apps have customized settings where you can get alerts about balances, deposits, and bill payment dates. If you violate your budget, set penalties such as paying double the next week or skipping a night out.

~ Stay away from store credit cards! They will eat you ALIVE! The interest is ridiculously high and it just encourages you to spend money that you don’t have.

~ Cook more… eat fast less. Eating lunch out every day will drain your pockets. Set time aside to go to the grocery store to stock up on what you need to prepare meals for the week. You can search for *recipes online to keep it interesting and tasty. It’s a healthier option that saves you a few bucks every month and maybe even takes a few inches off the waistline. What more incentive could we need right?

~ Date night in. Now, I love a night out as much as the next person, but the drinks, food, entertainment… it all adds up, especially if you’re out every weekend. Instead, you can stay in and invite other couples over for game night or have your own wine tasting with a few bottles of wine and make a cheese and veggie platter. I promise you, it’ll be a lot more romantic and comfortable.

~ Be trendy and shop thrifty. Designer labels and department stores do not serve us, the faster we realize this the sooner we can take control of our economy. According to Bianca Bailey for Atlanta Black Star, our “… designers represent less than 1% of apparel products sold in department stores, yet… the black community is on track to spend 1.1 trillion dollars by 2015.” Needless to say, if they aren’t checking for us we need to check on ourselves.**Thrift stores and consignment shops are great places to get great fashion forward pieces with character at a reasonable price.

~ BUY BLACK. In order to build our economy we must contribute to it. Our people are represented in every industry, it’ll just take some perusing to find them. Your budget is a great place to start the initiative; dedicate at least one line item to supporting black business per month. And please lets try not to complain about price points because you did not consider that when you purchased Mr. Monogram or your latest time piece. No one else can build our individual and collective wealth but us, so let’s get to Fashioning our Economy!

*http://www.forharriet.com/2014/10/five-black-women-food-bloggers-to-know.html
**Shops to check out in Bedstuy, Brooklyn are Tracy Chambers Vintage and Calabash, both owned by dynamic black women. Bianca Bailey is the creator of Consignments Cousin’s Vintage, a source for everything vintage in the Atlanta area.

Written by Uri B.

10Mar/15

Negros Americanos: Bilingual Rap Duo

Negros AmericanosNegros Americanos succeeded in carving out a niche in a culture that oftentimes forces its participants to assimilate. They are an unmistakable embodiment of what Hip Hop was born to be; genuine, socially charged, and full of self expression. They navigate between the happenings of their personal lives and sounding off on social matters, drawing inspiration straight from the source; their hearts. From traveling across the globe and setting their dreams in motion, to returning home in order to share the wealth acquired, It is a wonder to watch them journey together so effortlessly. This is something they were born to do, and from the looks of it, they are having the time of their lives doing so.

As an Artist, I especially appreciate the journey of Negros Americanos. As Creative Souls, they are doing what we all wish to do; to follow our dreams. I feel they are so far above just being called Rappers that they are, in fact, returning the word to its original meaning. They speak from the heart, and that is missing in today’s music. Their songs take me from heavy, soulful beats that carry weighted lyrics, to more playful vibes that leave me thinking nonetheless. Their music says to me that it’s okay to be a Witty, Over-analytical, Love-struck Philanthropist of a Revolutionary who’s a sucker for a mean groove; they lead by example. They are of the few who have restored my faith and love in Hip-Hop.

Look out for their dope upcoming album “Take Flight” this Spring as well as their bilingual documentary “Lost in the Wilderness: The Story of Negros Americanos.”

Follow their musical journey at www.NegrosAmericanosMusic.com and join them on social media at @NegrosAmericanos on facebook and instagram!

Written by Lauren “Lola Valentine” Jones for Taji Mag.