Tag Archives: awareness

Black Women vs Shea Moisture

For several days I’ve been observing the Shea Moisture public relations nightmare. The reaction on social media has sparked so much of what I wrote about in my book Breaking Through The Black Ceiling. Here are my thoughts about the situation:
  • This isn’t the first time Shea Moisture has “offended” people of color, it’s just the first time some people noticed. The company previously had an ad featuring a white baby which also caused an uproar.

 

  • Although I feel Shea Moisture had a disproportionate number of people of color represented in their recent ad, as a black business owner, I (still) wonder why people of color don’t think we (black business owners) should be allowed to earn revenue from consumers that don’t look just like us . Money is green and necessary for businesses to operate. That’s a fact. Businesses don’t exist for likes, the actually plan to make profits unless they structure themselves as a not for profit organization. White owned companies make revenue off of black people everyday. Many black people work for such companies and use their products daily. Let that marinate.

 

  • Hair care products are primarily marketed to WOMEN, who have a combined $5 TRILLION in spending power in the USA alone, so a smart business owner in the hair care business, who knows this would want to target ALL women in their ads. Several companies do. Loreal does it. In fact, if you open the May 2017 ESSENCE Magazine (a popular monthly publication which celebrates women of color), Loreal has paid for a 2 page FOUNDATION ad that includes several women of all races and complexions, along with a…      wait for it …..      Black MAN.  And before you get mad about that, men often need makeup applied when they’re ACTORS and MODELS. Contrary to what you see on social media, everybody isn’t perfected by the use of Photoshop. To me the ad makes sense.

Loreal cosmetics knows their products, and those of their competitors are used in film, television, theater and may be used by men, including make up artists.

As a woman, I’m not at all offended. As a business owner I’m not mad at Essence Magazine for securing that bag. There’s nothing to see here. It’s business. And it’s not bad business

  • Yes, Shea Moisture messed up in their casting process, and someone there should have insisted on having more diversity represented, prior to or after seeing the ad, however Carol’s Daughter also has women who aren’t black in their recent ads for their products. Are we going to get mad about that too, or naw?

 

  • The right to solely use products including ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter or castor oil are not exclusively reserved to black folks. In fact, if you make such products and only target black people as consumers, you’re greatly limiting the amount of revenue you could potentially make, doing your business a disservice. Black business owners SHOULD capitalize and profit off of our greatness too and that means thinking GLOBALLY instead of locally in some instances.
For the record, United Airlines is still winning the PR fuckery of the year award. Pepsi is still in second place. Shea Moisture is like #6 or something, bit they’re definitely not on the top 5. The mistake they made doesn’t hurt anyone directly, physically, financially or minimize important social issues with the assistance of a Kardashian. It was a bad idea, that can also serve as a wake up call towards something more important; how women of color make changes to address a lack of diversity. 
Instead of complaining on social media and “modeling” on Instagram, some women of color who aspire be seen for likes should show up for the next casting call held by Shea Moisture and make a difference that way – by going out for the opportunity to positively represent diversity. And more women of color should become educated to work in the business fields related to advertising and marketing so they can apply for the jobs that make those decisions in the marketplace.

The lesson from this issue to women of color is become the change you want to see in the world and secure a bag in the process. Otherwise, diversity will not be the goal for a lot of companies, including ones you’re already consumers of.

They Don’t Want Us To Be Woke

Let’s start with this, so that we’re clear from the onset.

I am a survivor of rape and domestic violence. I am also both woke and aware that sometimes women lie about being victimized by men. Therefore, what I’m about to state isn’t based on my biased emotions because of what I’ve survived. I don’t hate men and I know how to be objective.

If you are a person of color, and you don’t go to see Birth of a Nation, you’re playing yourself and robbing our children of an important moment in American History that is not sugar-coated or watered down.

A jury of his peers found Nate Parker not guilty of raping a woman, whom he had a relationship with, when he was a young, black man (without millions of dollars in the bank) on a sports scholarship in college. Now, as a grown man, Nate Parker is being vilified for that same crime because he successfully made a movie that could have a positive impact on our legacy and the minds of people in this country.

This is not a “I slipped something in her drink/I gave women drugs regularly” situation by any means. Nate Parker has spoken about this incident and never changed his stand on his innocence. Recently he was interviewed by Robin Roberts about the incident. After the interview, The Grio published an article about said interview with a very misleading title in an effort to (obviously) gain readers’ attention.  During the interview with Robin Roberts, Parker was expected to apologize for the rape controversy that recently reemerged and exploded due to the spotlight put onto Birth of a Nation. In my experience as a rape victim, a woman, and a citizen, innocent people, who are proven innocent by a jury, don’t often apologize for a crime they didn’t commit, if they didn’t commit the crime. It is my opinion that mainstream media is attempting to hang Parker with his past, in hopes that no one will go see the movie.

The reality is this: the biggest demographic of movie goers is women. With an estimated annual buying power of $5 trillion dollars, women rule in many areas of importance, regardless of what you may assume.  Therefore, if women are led to believe that Nate Parker committed the crime of rape, even though a jury found him innocent, women will sympathize with the alleged victim, if they too have been violated, or empathize, even if they haven’t, and thereby boycott Birth of a Nation instead of supporting it. Someone somewhere is hoping that on this opening box office weekend, that will be their victory.

Ask yourself this one question if you think I’m blowing smoke:

If Parker were in fact guilty of the crime of rape, why bring it to the forefront after he’s already starred in several movies, along with the likes of Denzel Washington?

I’ll tell you why. Birth of a Nation isn’t just going to be in movie theaters across the country or the world. There’s an educational curriculum developed around the film to put it into school districts as well. If our next generation isn’t led to believe that slaves were happy being enslaved and are instead taught the truth about what slavery was, introduced to more stories about how slavery impacted the country the live in, they are more likely to have a higher sense of self, civic responsibility and concern about civil rights as it relates to themselves and other people of color. 

The rape case that ended with a not guilty verdict is being used as a distraction. If Nate Parker was a White man, putting out this same movie, the crime he WASN’T found guilty of committing, wouldn’t be a topic of any conversation at all…. anywhere. I urge you to make a decision to educate yourself about a pivotal figure in African-American history instead of allowing yourself to be influenced by the spin being put on Nate Parker’s past. If you were in his shoes, that is what you’d want.

They don’t want us to be woke. So we need to stay woke.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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Real Women Won’t Hold You Back

There’s something terribly wrong with this picture. Women, especially the younger ones under 35, are always crying about men lacking ambition, drive, focus, determination and commitment, but those same women do everything possible to undermine, discourage and sabotage the men who do. They think that being a real woman means having a man. They think that being a good woman means chasing a man. They are even so foolish to think they can get and keep a man by threatening and harassing other women. It never works in their favor, yet they are determined to try.

I feel bad for men who are surrounded by women who themselves don’t want anything more out of life  other than to be “hood”, “liked”  and “ratchet”.

To put it bluntly, there’s a THOT TAKEOVER in progress in this world, and they are doing their best to try to take our promising men down with them. Yes, the thotish behavior of women is negatively impacting the success of men of every generation and will for generations to come if it’s allowed to spread. It’s difficult enough to lay the foundation for our sons to grow up and become strong, decisive, productive members of society, but when you add a thot to the equation, you make the mathematics impossible to solve for any man.

I’m a feminist, who also loves men. No matter how much heartache I’ve had in past relationships, I have a tremendous amount of affection towards the male gender. I have learned a lot about myself and men specifically in many areas of my life because of the men who are and have been apart of it.  It’s not always easy to do, but I can say that because I am not bitter and angry,  like some women, I have built awesome rapports with men personally and professionally. I have the respect of these men because of the kind of woman I am, and the way I conduct myself; not because of how many fans I have, or don’t, and not because of sex.

When it comes to sex, I have no problems being celibate. Keep in mind that I’m not practicing celibacy because I can’t get a man. The problem I’ve always had is that my sex appeal attracts too many men and often they aren’t the kind of men I’d want in my life. It’s the combination of pheromones and the long legs that start at the floor and come all the way up to make an ass out of themselves, that causes me problems with men… or so I’ve been told.

Celibacy is a character, esteem and strength builder.

Celibacy helps me to focus on myself on a deeper level and have a clearer mind so that I will have better discernment when I do decide to date a man. Celibacy shows that I can be sexy without having to have sex. Because of celibacy, I can tell which men are worthy of my time, attention and energy, and which ones are not. Further, because I don’t chase men, I don’t hate on women who have a man, and I don’t compete with thots, I’m self-assured, confident, successful, and I don’t share my body with every good-looking, charming man who wants it. Those are just some of the many characteristics that men actually find attractive about me and other good women in the world. Thots don’t have those qualities going for them. Thots are selfish. They are attention whores who need to be validated at every turn. They like to use a lot of words and can’t say anything meaningful or valuable. They can’t bring anything to the table, not even a pitcher of water because they concentrate more on how cute they are than being smarter or successful. They are braggadocious about their sexuality, and overly aggressive towards men that have absolutely no interest in them because of it.

Men are comfortable with women who don’t try to manipulate them,  who can speak to them like they are adults and allow them to make informed decisions for themselves. Any man who has ever said he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with me wasn’t harassed or belittled. He was set free to do whatever he thought was best for him at that time. Any woman he decided he did want to be with or even showed him attention after me wasn’t harassed by me either. Why? Because I don’t need to prove myself or my womanhood to any one. What does that resolve? Nothing.

In my personal relationships, sometimes men later realize that I may have been the better woman and sometimes they don’t, but they can never say I wasn’t a good woman towards them when they were with me and they can’t say I’m crazy because I can’t handle rejection either. Thots hate rejection. It hurts their feelings because they lack maturity and self-esteem. Thots are quick to attack the next woman in a man’s life, while real women know that they have other options that they can take advantage of.

I learned early on how to be a motivating factor and a supportive woman to a man. It’s not hard, but not everyone can do it either. It’s not about the material things. It’s not about being loud and making it rain in the clubs. It’s not about proving you’re the baddest bitch in a room (that woman doesn’t have to prove anything because everyone else already knows she is). It’s not about cooking a struggle meal or giving good sex either. That’s how thots think.

Real women, grown women, know better.  Grown women know that men mature at different stages, ages and for different reasons. We as women can’t always motivate and nurture men throughout every one of these phases, but we do know that when a man seeks something better for himself of his own accord, he will find and want the woman who will help him accomplish that. He’s not going to give his attention to the woman who is telling him he can’t, he shouldn’t, she doesn’t want him to, or the woman trying to sabotage all of his opportunities and relationships because she fears losing something that wasn’t truly hers to begin with – him. After all, if he was hers, they’d be married and supporting each others dreams and goals.

There’s a vast difference between a good woman who knows how to have a man’s back and a thot who only wants to hold a man back. A thot knows that him moving forward in his life, growing, maturing and becoming successful in spite of her, means that she has no power over him.

Real women don’t seek to have power over men.

Not our husbands, not our sons, not our brothers. We seek to co-exist and partner with men so that we can have a stronger dynamic in this world. There’s so many forces against us already as women, we don’t need to be anymore combative with each other or over any man.

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Enjoy Your Success Today

Sometimes I wonder if people want to be successful, or if they just want to be famous.

There are times in someone’s life when they can’t have one without some of the other. However, I observe people who are very successful and they don’t seem to realize it at all. They are seemingly chasing fame instead of celebrating the success they already have and the added success coming their way. The level of success they currently have is spectacular and impressive, and they are already accomplished and awesome, but they are constantly minimizing it themselves and their success because they desire to have fame and a lot fans. Having fame and fandom on any level isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. Being famous involves a lot of responsibility that many people truly can’t handle. Sometimes being famous can actually destroy your success.

Success requires work, sacrifice and maintenance. Remember all of those college classes you took and that student loan debt for those degrees? That was work. Remember all of the friends you lost and relationships that failed because you were studying or working? What about the long days and nights you spend striving towards meeting a deadline? Those are sacrifices. Think about your continuing education or leadership classes, conferences and networking events you attend. That is maintenance.

Fame is fleeting and unpredictable; it can help, but it can also hinder. Fame also has limitations. Everyone has different gifts and talents when they come into this world that makes them unique and contributes to the quality of their lives. When you are aware of what your gifts and talents are you can use them towards being a success, instead of trying to emulate others. Everyone won’t be a famous author. I know this because I receive phone calls and emails from people who haven’t completed a manuscript. Everyone won’t be a YouTube sensation overnight or at all. Yet daily people invest a great deal of time in doing so. Every woman with curves won’t become the next Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose, but on a daily basis women strike a pose on Instagram in hopes of being discovered. Becoming famous for most people who do isn’t about their gifts or talent. They are dependent on societal trends and timing. Without that fame formula coming in to play for them, we’d never have heard of them at all. Years from now we won’t remember most of those famous individuals for anything meaningful, if we remember them at all.

I’ve learned that you can’t reach the next level of anything in your life or career if you don’t appreciate where you are currently at. Appreciate the success you have today, no matter how small you may think it is. There’s something to be said for having gratitude in your current situation. There’s a lesson in this moment of your life that you need to learn in order to elevate to the next level.

Even if your name is never in lights on a marquee, strive to be success in your life, not famous. Success comes in various forms. For many people success is being able to pay their bills on time, feed their children and help others in their communities. Success for some people is never going before a judge or having their children go to college. Success for some people is having an opportunity to go a job they love everyday. Success is what the people who matter in your life will remember you for when you are gone.

Gratitude is extremely powerful and pushes you closer to your purpose in this world. Be grateful for what you have in your life and career today. Change your perspective and begin working towards improving upon the success you have without expecting to become famous for it. Your life will be more fulfilling and you will be happier when you do.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Does Anyone Really Need Cable Now?

Depending on where you live, you may have personal accounts related to poor customer service received from your cable provider, that range from minor inconveniences to major complications. I too, have a few horror stories. Although cable dominates, more and more consumers are cutting the cords that bind, myself included. I ditched cable in 2011 after I became fed up with the high price of receiving nothing. I traded my frustrations in and bought a Roku. For the one time price of $99, I immediately went from mad at the ridiculous bills and poor customer service, to excited and able to watch television as much or as little as I wanted to. I subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and I have access to several other options for no additional cost, including, but not limited to, Lifetime (the movies, series and reality shows), History Channel (Vikings and the documentaries), all the shows I love that air on NBC, ABC, FOX and dozens of other networks on cable. I can’t possibly watch all of the options available to me because the choices are so extensive.

Since the introduction of Roku into my life, Chromecast and Amazon Fire have entered the market giving consumers additional options for our entertainment. All you need to rid yourself of any issues you have with your cable provider is access to the internet. Yet, people are still needlessly suffering from cable. Even HBO (has finally) realized how much money they have been losing by offering their programming exclusively through cable providers and beginning this year they are starting their subscription platform (which needs to be made available on Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire after the 3 month Apple test run is concluded. Just my opinion if someone from HBO happens to read this. Otherwise, HBO will not have grasped the entire purpose of the subscription platform at all), with the monthly price of $14.99; which is still reasonable when compared to the cost of cable. For those who don’t want to buy devices that connect to your televisions, several national and cable networks offer their programs for free viewing directly on their website.

Did you know that there are thousands of households that have cable, but many of those same households don’t have internet? Knowing this I often ask myselfwhy?

Internet is less expensive and more important than having cable, in my opinion. As I just indicated, you can watch television with an internet connection. And with so many options for online content being developed in various genres, having access to the internet provides nearly endless access to information. Also, if you have children in your life between the ages of 5 and 25, they are likely using the internet to do their homework, learn languages and learning how to use smart devices better than you are. They can’t do that with cable. Businesses, such as Super Woman Productions and Publishing, operate online using the internet. I couldn’t connect with nearly as many people using cable as I’m able to do on a daily basis using the internet. The internet has literally turned people into millionaires in moments, while cable has only made a select number of individuals wealthy.

Keep in mind that I’m not sharing this information in exchange for anything. I believe in sharing knowledge that I have acquired with others and if you follow me on social media, you are aware of that. But if you want to sign up for HuluPlus, click this link and you’ll receive 2 weeks of unlimited viewing for freeIf you don’t love it, or find it to be convenient to use, don’t keep it. Test out other platforms at your leisure and find out what you like and what you don’t. I’m sure you will find at least one that can help release you from the bonds of cable and free up some of your income to save for something else you’d rather do. I happen to use the money I save on vacations.