What’s It Going To Take For Black Hair To Be Seen As Professional? [via HuffPost]

5c5b4095260000d401fb0aa1Last week the New York City Human Rights Commission released new guidelines that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of hairstyle. Under the guidelines, residents have the right to have “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.” And any targeting they may face in a public place like work or school can be deemed racial discrimination.

When I read this long overdue measure toward equality, I immediately thought about my grandparents and a specific day in the spring of 2012.

I was just a few weeks away from my college graduation and was visiting my family in Virginia during spring break. I recall sitting at the table in my grandparents’ house with my grandma, grandpa, mom, sister, aunt and cousin. We were having an important family discussion, or what some might call an intervention.

The issue on the table? My hair.

I’d recently stopped getting relaxers after more than 13 years of keeping my hair chemically straightened. Trying to tame my growing naps with just a flatiron was proving a frustrating and futile fight, so I grabbed the scissors to finally do a big chop and cut off all my relaxed ends, revealing a teeny weeny Afro for all to see.

And what my family saw was a problem that needed solving.

Read more on HuffPost.com

7 Times Rihanna Was Unapologetic About Her Blackness [via HuffPost]


Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty unapologetically embraces her sexiness, her talent and her Blackness and that fearlessness reminds me to live just as boldly in my skin.

Here’s the thing: I don’t need to Rihanna to “remind” me I’m also Black. I can see I’m Black when I look in the mirror, when I show up to the office or when I go out into the world. But Rihanna does remind me that my Blackness is powerful, that the culture I come from is complex and deserves respect. She inspires me to show up fully as myself in all rooms I enter, be it a boardroom or a bedroom.

Still, when I need a boost in confidence, I turn to some of my favorite memor-Rihs (see what I did there?) of when the singer showed the world that she’s a proud Black woman.

Read more at HuffPost.com

[HuffPost] Beyoncé’s Black History Month Collage Teaches Us A Powerful Lesson

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 12.08.35 PMBeyoncé remains the queen of poignant Black History Month moments. In 2016, she dropped her hit-single-turned-black-anthem “Formation.” In 2017, she revealed her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi Carter. And this year, she surprised us with a creative reminder to recognize the black history happening around us every day, with a photo collage on her website honoring 45 black men and women who have done and are doing amazing work in the black community.

The collage honors some well-known names in black history like Aretha Franklin, James Baldwin and Maya Angelou. It also features famous faces from today like Beyoncé’s sister, Solange; Emmy Award-winning producer Lena Waithe; and activists DeRay Mckesson and Janet Mock. And it features some people who you may not recognize ― but should definitely get to know.

Read more at HuffPost.com

[HuffPost] Big Freedia: My Voice Is All I Need To Break Barriers

Big Freedia

Big Freedia did not come to play with you hoes, as she’d say. She came to break barriers and make noise and live out loud. Really loud.

You may have heard her booming vocals on hit songs like Beyoncé’s black girl anthem, “Formation,” or Drake’s new summer single, “Nice for What,” but she’s way more than a disembodied voice on a track. She’s the reigning queen of New Orleans bounce music with hit songs of her own like “Excuse,” “Drop” and “Rent.”

And believe it or not, Queen Bey and Champagne Papi are just the tip of the iceberg for Big Freedia. With her EP “3rd Ward Bounce” dropping at the beginning of this month and her world tour kicking off soon, she’s just getting started.

Big Freedia has overcome violence, adversity and the tragic loss of her greatest cheerleaders and has proved she’s an unstoppable force of positivity and pride. She is on a mission to increase LGBTQ visibility, to challenge stereotypes about queer artists and to encourage everyone who hears her voice to live their best life and shake their ass while doing it.

Read more at HuffPost.com

5 Lessons In Resistance Explained By Harry Potter


Happy Epilogue Day! This day, September 1, 2017 marks 19 years since the Golden Trio defeated Voldemort, went on with their lives, got old and fat and happy and had children of their own with terrible names who they took to Hogwarts. Today, Harry Potter fans across the country celebrate the happy little ending JK Rowling wrote at the end of the last book in the Harry Potter series.

Nineteen years prior to the epilogue we celebrate today, the Wizarding World was a different, dark place. Harry Potter and the Hogwarts crew were going through a time very similar to what we’re going through as a nation right now, with a strange looking evil man using power, intimidation and a clan of mindless, violent followers to disenfranchise the vulnerable and change the dynamics of our country.

As I look back over the last 20 years of Harry Potter, I’m wondering if Joanne knew how her beloved childhood books would provide clues as to how we can defeat the evil in the real world.

Harry Potter Explains Why (some) People Can’t Be Trusted

I was rereading the first books and found myself thinking “Hm, does Professor Quirrell MirrorOfErised_PM_B1C17M1_QuirrellAndHarryInFrontOfTheMirrorOfErised_Momentremind anyone else of the ‘alt-right?’” No? Just me? Okay then, let me explain.

On the surface, Professor Quirrell seemed pretty normal. Unassuming, downright forgettable. But he had another side. An evil, power hungry, prejudice side, that he kept hidden until the right moment when he had nothing to lose. Like Quirrell, white America has two faces. We saw the evil ugly side pop up occasionally when neo-Nazis marched on Charlottesville. And we see it when people cry All Lives or Blue Lives Matter after an innocent Black person is killed by law enforcement.

Quirrell said it himself, who would suspect him? The shy, harmless guy who just stuck to the rules and did his job without incident (unless you count the troll)? But it’s exactly the Quirrells and white guys in khakis with tiki torches who we need to look out for, walking among us like normal when all the while, there’s unspeakable evil and prejudice in the back of their minds.

Professor Quirrell is a fictional character in a fictional series but the reality is many of our white and non-Black family, friends and coworkers are walking around with two faces. A lot of them show their true colors on Facebook posts. A bunch of them showed their true colors after this election. Some of them showed their true colors in Charlottesville and other “alt-right” rallies throughout the country. All of them are more emboldened by a Dark orange Lord of Twitter. Quirrell and eventually Pettigrew, Barty Crouch Jr., and other seemingly “good guys” became who they were because they were weak and allowed hate to take over. Now is the time to be strong.

Harry Potter Explains How Ending Racism Is Everyone’s Responsibility

And I already know someone is reading this and immediately thinking “Not every white person is a Professor Quirrell in sheep’s clothing and that this is not the Hogwarts–I mean, America–they know.” And I know that, too. Just because a few people want to carry on the racism and cruel legacy of the Confederacy doesn’t mean all white people do. In the same way, just because one of the professors was out in the woods murdering unicorns and plotting for the death of all Muggle-borns doesn’t mean they all were. In fact, all most all of the other teachers throughout the books put forth considerable effort to protect Harry, the stone and all of the vulnerable people.

Because that’s what you do when you’re in a position of power. White Americans and whites people around the world are also in unique positions to be allies for people with less power and privilege than they have. They must recognize that it’s as much their responsibility as it is the responsibility of marginalized people to make the world a better, more just place. I mean, you didn’t see Professor McGonagall out at the Battle of Hogwarts with a #ThisIsNotUs or #NotAllWizards sign. No, she was on the front lines doing the fighting for what’s right like the badass she is. If you don’t want to be associated with the Death Eaters of the world, do everything you can to disassociate.

Harry Potter Explains How To Be An Ally

I hated Ron. I truly did. He was annoying and petty and insecure. But he was loyal to Harry and did what he had to do to keep Harry alive. He supported Harry even when he didn’t understand what was happening to him. Even when he couldn’t relate to whatever scar-burning nonsense Harry was going through, Ron always believed him, defended him and stood by his side. Allies can take a lesson from Ron and do the same for the marginalized groups they support. Believing us when we say Black Lives Matter, defending trans people who are fighting for the right to use the bathroom, standing up for a woman being harassed on the street.

Often, being an ally will mean checking the people you love when they mean to harm someone you’ve decided to be loyal to. Ron did this in book five when he shut down Seamus for trying to come for Harry. Neville did it in book one when he stood up to the Golden Trio to preserve the standing of Gryffindor. As Dumbledore tells us toward the end of the first book, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, and far more to stand up to your friends.” Who among your friends and family needs to be checked?

Harry Potter Explains Why Equality Is Good For Everyone

I always felt like Dudley Dursley was the embodiment of privilege and supremacy. He controlled everything in his life, whether or not it was his to control. Any attempt to treat Harry equally (even just barely, like giving Harry Dudley’s junky and abandoned second bedroom), Dudley viewed as oppression and as stripping away his own autonomy and happiness. A lot of Americans view attempts at equality the same way. We can see this when they scream “All Lives Matter” at Black Lives Matter protests. Or when they push through restrictive laws and bills when a trans person simply wants to serve their country.

Dudley eventually let go of his childish selfishness and notions of being oppressed when he realized there were more important things to worry about like staying safe with his family. Because if Voldemort can come for Harry, he can come for any and every body. Maybe there’s hope that white people will soon come to the same realization. I mean, it took Dudley 7 books. Better late than never, I guess…

Harry Potter Explains The Power In Resistance

#Resist is a new hashtag and a movement following the inauguration of Donald Trump. And while the effort may seem small, throughout the books we see how small revolutions end up making big waves in the Wizarding World.

When Hogwarts was taken over by an evil dictator protege of Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge, Harry, Ron, Hermione and their classmates banded together to educate themselves and fight back against her oppressive policies. Even though it was just a small, secret school group, they retained the lessons they learned in resistance and when the real Battle of Hogwarts began, they banded together on the right side.

Even small steps to learn more about history, each other and ourselves helps arm us for the long fight down the road against systems we may need to dismantle to reach equality.


I know Harry Potter is just a fictional book series. There are no wands and spells in the real world that we can actually use to defeat our version of the Death Eaters and try to start over in peace and understanding. But the reason Harry Potter is so great and will continue to be essential reading is because the series gives hope of what a future and humanity can look like when we get rid of people and policies that would harm us and put forth an effort toward equality.

Where will we be in 19 years? Still dealing with the ramifications of 45’s determination to divide the nation, or will we be able to look back on a time when we decided to be brave and tackle discrimination and fear-mongering head on and be proud of the part we played to take down darkness and make way for a marvelous, magical new day? Will there ever be a time in my generation, when I have my own kids (*knock on wood*) that I’ll take to their first day of school, when I can look out and ahead and say “All Is Well?”

#UnapologeticallyResisting (and reading)

The Woman In Headphones And The Man Who Won’t Leave Her The F*@& Alone: A Fantasy Story.

It’s 7pm and you’re riding the subway home from work and it happens: You notice a girl sitting down looking at her mobile device wearing headphones… And a creepy guy standing 1.5 meters in front of her waving his ashy hand in her fucking face!

For a minute, you give the pair the benefit of the doubt. Maybe headphones girl knows this complete bag of douche.

But odds are she doesn’t and that is precisely why she’s wearing those obnoxious lime green headphones: To keep Creep McDouchebag from talking to her.

But like the Creep McDouchebag he is, he is selfishly ignoring her non-verbal requests for solitude and is now demanding that she remove her headphones using crude sign language.

He introduces himself as Dan and she replies that her name is Jessica. Odds are, Jessica isn’t her real name. But does Dan really give a fuck about Jessica’s* real name? He’s only known of Jessica’s* existence for 7 seconds and has already decided that he’s gotta harass her by any means necessary.

Jessica* tries to replace her lime green headphones snuggly back on her ears. There’s likely no music playing in them and probably never was. Unbeknownst to the Dans of the world, headphones of any shade of green are the perfect tools to shield women from unsolicited male conversations.

But Dan can’t be stopped that easily. Lacking the cognitive development to pick up on social cues, Dan proceeds to berate a clearly uncomfortable Jessica* with questions about where she’s headed this evening looking so sexy with that short skirt on. He might even throw in a “I bet you’re not used to being complemented by an attractive, confident, nice guy like me” when he sees blood rushing to her face and mistakes it as an embarrassed blush, and not the sheer panic that it actually is.

Jessica* responds as vaguely as she can and then turns her attention to her phone. She is likely texting her friend furiously to meet her outside her stop and walk her home. Ha! Foolish Jessica*. Doesn’t she know Dans aren’t deterred by women, their headphones, their friends or their basic sense of humanity?!

Pushy ass Dan then asks Jessica* if she’s texting her boyfriend. Jessica* briefly considers her answer. She could tell him she has a boyfriend, knowing Dan would immediately back off as he likely values the boundaries of an unseen, unknown man more than he values the wishes of the human woman right in front of him. But in a rush of courage, Jessica* decides she doesn’t have to lie or explain a goddamn thing to Dan. She tells him she just wants to listen to her music and enjoy her ride home.

At this simple request, Dan’s Mansplain Mode has been activated. God forbid he lets a woman gain too much confidence and control the direction of the conversation. Now he has to tell her why she should be flattered that he’s even showing interest in her. He has to explain how he couldn’t just let her get off the subway and go about her life without at least asking for her number first. He ask to ask why Jessica* is not interested in talking to him. Is it because some other man had hurt in the past? Does she actually have a boyfriend? Or is she just a stuck up bitch?

Jessica* is now faced with a choice. She summon the courage of our feminst/womanist ancestors and read Dan within an inch of his life and remind him that she was never interested in starting a conversation with his ashy, overly aggressive ass anyway. Or she could remember all the women who have been killed for asserting their humanity to street harassers and decide that getting home safely is more important than taking this opportunity to tell Dan about his life.

Jessica* chooses the latter. She stands as the train slows to a stop, moves near the train doors and jumps off immediately as the doors begin to close, leaving a poor, dumbfounded, lonely, douchey Dan looking after her through the glass as the train speeds ahead. Jessica* is Dan-free but she is still several blocks from home. She firmly places her lime green headphones on her head and walks confidently into a world of Creep McDouchebag Dans.

[VLOG] Hola, NOLA Day: Wednethursdifriday and the end of #ESSENCEFest

At this point, ESSENCE Fest is just a blur of music, people, surprises, no sleep, some food, and lot’s of purple.

Thursday through Sunday from 9am until whenever Charlie Wilson and ‘em decided to stop singing, I was in the midst of ESSENCE Festival and one of the funnest weekends of my life.

I was working 24-7 (I may or may not have gotten dressed in a cab. And I may or may not have taken a nap on the street…) so post-Prince, I don’t have a lot of footage to share but I DEFINITELY got stories! Like the time I wrote interview questions for Anthony Anderson and his new show “Black’ish. OR the time no less than 4 girls threw their underwear onto Trey Songz (ew.) OR the time I took photos for ESSENCE Eye Candy. OR the time I was photographed for ESSENCE Street Style (why, I don’t know. I’ve been looking rough for days). OR the time Anthony Mackie showed up and no one cared. OR the time I got to meet and work with all the editors of ESSENCE Magazine. OR the time I got to publish two posts on ESSENCE.com!

Highlight of the weekend: PRINCE! (duh). Dude, Jesus wept because Prince sang “Doves Cry“. That’s all I’m saying…

Recommendations: COME TO ESSENCE FEST NEXT YEAR! Seriously, it’s 3-4 days of empowerment, networking, really cool people, and GREAT music! You may even meet a celebrity or two (trust me, Ja Rule was just walking around the convention center. Plus, they sit right next to you at the concerts) And if nothing else, you get to hang out in the Crescent City for a few days eating good food, listening to jazz music, and seeing some beautiful sights.

Don’t ever…: eat a beignet while wearing a black shirt. Learned that the hard way.

Fave concerts: Well, besides Prince obviously, Janelle Monae put on a great show. I was surprised by how active Charlie Wilson is (dude danced and sang for over an hour!) Nas had me too hype in the crowd. And The Roots took it back as did Erykah Badu. Poor Lionel Richie just couldn’t keep up. He looked like he had a good time though lol

Fave celebrity run-in: Erica and Warryn Campbell. Erica is one half of the gospel duo MaryMary. I saw them sitting as I was walking through the Superdome before the Prince concert. I just bent down and gave them both a hug! It was really random but they were really nice.

If you know me, you know working for ESSENCE Magazine has been my life goal since I was 11. I’m so humbled by this opportunity. And even though ESSENCE Fest is over, my work is just beginning. Stay tuned…

Check out my second vlog below. And look out for more videos and updates about life in New Orleans!


Growing Pains [via un-ruly.com]

An article I wrote was recently featured on Un-ruly.com, a place for black hair (they were responsible for the controversial “You Can Touch My Hair” events). I wrote the following piece to share my natural hair story and encourage other women of color experiencing hair envy or fro frustration.


In the words of the immaculate Lupita Nyong’o, “Love your stage”.


Growing Pains by Jolie A. Doggett

When making the decision to go natural, we all have a vision in our minds of what we’re going to look like when our transition is complete. Personally, I saw myself as a modern day Diana Ross. Needless to say that is not what resulted after I finally cut off my relaxed ends.

It can be pretty discouraging when things don’t quite turn out as expected when it comes to our hair. But here are five steps to overcoming your irritation with your growing and ever-changing hair.

1. Patience

This is possibly the most important step to growing out natural hair and becoming accustomed to your curly kinky textures. Growth is a natural part of life and it WILL happen. But it will happen in it’s own time. Don’t get frustrated with your tresses. One day, you’ll wake up with so much hair going on that it’ll be too much to handle.

2. Seek Advice

Like with any major life choice, you should talk it over with people you trust and who can relate to your struggle. I was constantly texting my already natural girlfriends asking them which products I should buy next and begging them to set my hair. Some knowledgeable curly girls who helped me on my journey include YouTubers Naptural85Taren GuyMahogany CurlsNikkieMae2003, and Fusion of Cultures. Check them out! It’s a tough transition. You shouldn’t go it alone.

3. Have Fun! (But Don’t Get Crazy)

Going natural is one of the rare opportunities in life when you can virtually start all over. Enjoy your short teeny weeny afro (TWA) while it lasts. One day, you’ll definitely miss it. Your hair is an extension of your fashion sense. Take advantage of your new freedom and explore new styles. Dye your hair a risky color while it grows out. Weave it up, braid it up, lock it up! Play around! Just make sure you’re protecting your hair from damage while you do it!

4. Share Your Struggle

As a naturalista, you’re going to encounter people who won’t love your curls as much as you do. But don’t let the haters get you down. Surround yourself with people who love you the way are, regardless of your hair styles and consult with people who have been or are going through the same thing. Allow people to love your mane and gas you up. Show love to fellow curly girls. No matter what your family, friends, boss, or mean kids on the street might say, believe that you are beautiful and show it off.

5. Accept What You Can’t Change

This is another critical step to hair growth. Hair envy is the number one killer of hair growth. When you’re so focused on what’s going on in someone else’s scalp, you’re missing out on the wonderful things happening on your own head. Embrace your unique curl pattern. Everyone’s hair (just like everything else about a person) is going to be different from yours. And there will be things you can do and use with your hair that other people won’t able to. Love yourself and work what you’ve got!

I think you’ll find that these tips can be applied to multiple areas of your life outside of your hair care. If you’re feeling stressed and don’t see any growth in a relationship, at work, or in your general life goals, take a step back and a deep breath. Remember that patience allows things to work themselves out. Share your issues and graciously take advice. Accept facts with serenity and of course keep living your life to the fullest. You may notice more things than your hair begin to change before your eyes.


me and Afro Lavigne

See original post here

VLOG: Road to Completion — 2

I’m documenting my attempt to complete my first feature-length documentary as well as launch my production company, BeautyShop Productions. As embarrassingly open as this is, I’m hoping it will help me organize my thoughts and actions, stay accountable and reliable, and most importantly inspire someone else to open up and share their journeys. (these are filmed on my cell phone by the way lol)

In this video, I’m coming to terms with my apprehension to be serious about my upcoming film project and setting my goals for completion of editing and grant applications. (I’m also showing off some new beauty  products lol)

Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube Channel!