Friday, April 30, 2010

Venus Williams serves up stylish off-court lifestyle

On The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda amazing tennis player Venus Williams who has won 43 WTA tour titles, with 7 Grand Slams and 10 Doubles titles with sister Serena, talks about being successful off the court. Venus is the President of her own clothing line company, and an interior design company V Starr Interiors, and part owner of the Miami dolphins along with sister Serena Williams.

Venus talks about a competition she has with her fan to design an dress online and the winning dress will be worn at the 2010 US Open. "I had a really great competition for my fans with Tide Plus and Febreeze Freshness Sport and they got to design a dress online and I got to judge all the dresses, and all the entries entered and the winner will be announced on May 7th, but I will wear the dress at the Us Open".

She also has a book coming out this June that elaborates on how sports has helped a lot of people through their lives. "Ive talked to so many wonderful people. We have Vera Wang, very high level figure skater could have went on to that next level, but I think she found she wanted to do something else, but how that applied to her life even to this day, and how with out playing sports she couldn't have had that success that she had".

Being so involved in tennis as a kid one would expect certain child hood experiences to be missed, but that's not how she feels. "I've been so blessed in my life I get to do what I love. I get to design, I get to do interior design and I get to play tennis and I love playing it!"

With such a busy schedule Venus believes that when it comes time to settle down and find a soul mate she will make the time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sister Soldier Project protects black servicewomen's hair

Wearing a green, camouflage ball cap, Myraline Morris Whitaker looks like a drill sergeant as she leads a group of volunteers putting together care packages for U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

"Excuse me, you gotta put one of these in all of the boxes," she says to one volunteer.

But Whitaker is not an officer, nor has she ever served in the military. She's a hospitality executive who in 2007, founded the Sister Soldier Project - an organization that sends hair care products to female troops of color, who often face challenges maintaining their ethnic hair in desert areas like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The California resident says she got the idea after talking to one of her Caucasian friends who served as a U.S. Marine 20 years ago. The woman told Whitaker she always had to leave the room whenever her African-American roommate would style her hair with what's known as a "hot comb."

Whitaker researched the Internet and discovered some of the most requested items from African-American military women serving overseas were black hair care products.

Answering the call, Whitaker hosted a "packing party," where her fellow book club members helped her send out unused hair products they found in their bathroom cabinets. The idea expanded, and Whitaker now hosts packing parties all over the country, helping an estimated 2, 500 soldiers and counting.

On March 15, the organization held one of its largest events at Morgan State University in Maryland, where volunteers prepared 200 hair care packages. In addition to products like relaxer kits and shampoos donated from black hair care companies, the boxes include women's magazines, toiletries and letters from local elementary students.

"As a future officer potentially going to Afghanistan myself, I think this is a great opportunity for me to give back to those who are serving before me, and then once I go, I know someone will be doing this for me," says Tyeshe Morgan, an Army ROTC student at Morgan State.

The volunteers' efforts haven't gone unnoticed. In 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus honored the Sister Soldier Project with the Veterans Braintrust Award - given to individuals or groups that support America's military veterans. And every day, Whitaker receives emails and letters from soldiers expressing their gratitude.

"I just want to express my personal appreciation for the recent package that you had sent. You certainly did not have to go to such trouble, but I am glad that you did! Your efforts throughout my deployment have been a tremendous morale boost for myself and my soldiers. I will NEVER forget what you have done for us," wrote Lisa Taylor, a soldier serving in Iraq.

For Whitaker, it's that kind of appreciation that pushes her to be all that she can be.

"These [women] have something special in their DNA that says 'I'm going to go out and be of service to this country.' And I want to help them do their job better... and feel better."

Supermodel's daughter talks about her struggles with weight

Imagine you are the daughter of an internationally known supermodel and former Olympic athlete. Now imagine you are over 300 pounds. That used to be Zulekha Haywood, who is the daughter of supermodel Iman and former NBA/Olympic basketball player Spencer Haywood, who has struggled with her weight and body image her entire life--until now.

Like many women, Zulekha has tried every diet imaginable. Of course none of them worked in the long-term, causing her to make the decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery, an experience Haywood wrote candidly about in article called "Imagine You Are the Daughter of a Supermodel" the most recent issue of Glamour magazine.

Haywood sat down with The Today Show's Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford to talk about her experience being the daughter of two famous parents, her weight loss struggles and her decision to undergo gastric bypass. To date, she has lost 170 pounds.

Are Girl Fights and drinking related?

"I've seen plenty, fights breakout all the time over small things, over big things" said one teen girl. "Like oh you looked at me different to oh you're talking to my boyfriend."

Girl fights, they're all over YouTube, but why are they happening?

As girls have access to drugs and alcohol more, they're behaving more like boys.

On Monday San Diego county officials focused on binge drinking as one tie to the female violence.

Defined by the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health as girls fighting at school or work, or taking part in a group-against group fight or attacking someone with the intent to seriously hurt them.

According to the survey, about one in four girls between the ages of 12 and 17 had been engaged in at least one of those types of violent behavior in the past year.

The survey also revealed the girls who fought were more likely than those who did not to have reported binge drinking and illicit drug use in the last thirty days.

"No, we're not saying it's all about the alcohol. We're focusing on alcohol as one of the intervenable effects," said Trauma doctor Michael Sise.

Sise says while binge drinking is just one link to the violence, it is one that shows up in many high-risk behaviors.

"If you don't make it clear that drinking is unacceptable, that violence is unacceptable, then you're putting them in danger. It works to tell our kids what to expect it works to show up and be a force in their lives it's our future and its their health and safety." Sise said.

High School Besties start an innovative new business...Cakes -n- Wings

by Melissa Rose Cooper from www.grio.comShari Griffith and Katrina Kelly met over 10 years ago and are best friends. At 25-years-old, they walked the path that many students typically follow after graduating from high school: they went to college, earned bachelors' degrees, and obtained jobs in corporate America.

But in 2008 during the height of the recession, their lives took a different twist. They were both let go from their employers. But instead of struggling to find other jobs, the duo decided to revisit their high school roots in March 2009 and create their own catering business --- Cake N Wings.

Griffith and Kelly's business is a unique combination of bite-sized, square cakes, called "tots," and chicken wings. It had its birth in 2001 when the two were seniors at Frederick Douglass Academy. Kelly proposed the idea that they enter a business competition through The National Foundation of Teaching Entrepreneurship.

"It just started with the fact that I make wings," said Griffith, "and she [Kelly] makes really good cake. "

Kelly shook her head, still baffled that her friend had even considered the idea.

"I didn't think she was going to take me seriously," she said.

As simple as their idea seemed to be, Cake N Wings won the competition and Griffith and Kelly received $200 in seed money to start up their business, which continued throughout their last year at the school.

Griffith studied business at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. and Kelly, theater arts at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. They both graduated in 2006 and like other new graduates, secured paying jobs. However, they soon learned that earning a regular paycheck was not necessarily the key to their happiness.

"I realized that I didn't want to work for anybody," said Griffith while Kelly nodded in agreement. "I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to work with my best friend and be happy."

Kelly lost her job in July 2008 and almost 4 months later, Griffith lost hers. These long time friends then took their misfortune, turned it into an opportunity and brought their inactive business back to life.

Griffith and Kelly sought help from the place that initially brought them together---their high school. Their principal, Dr. Gregory Hodge, has known them for 13 years and was one of their biggest supporters. He gave the women their first catering job, which turned out to be a surprise birthday party for an investment counselor, Robert Schwartz.

"I struck up a conversation with them at the party and I was very impressed," said Schwartz, who is now retired. He said the event was such a success that he decided to provide the start-up money for Cake N Wings.

And with the money Griffith and Kelly received for their company, they began advertising Cake N Wings throughout Harlem by word of mouth and giving their business cards out in the neighborhood. This is how they met Michael Rosen, a local hip-hop artist promoter.

"Me and Shari are just your regular girls from around the way," said Kelly. "We're not all stiff and, like, uniformed and if we have a job, we come there as ourselves. That's what makes us stand out."

OMG!! Booty Pop Panties?

From www.thegrio.comI recently saw a commercial for the "Booty Pop" panties -- a pair of panties that is padded to increase a woman's gluteus maximus, and thus her confidence -- available in several sizes: extra-sweet, sweet, sweeter, sweetest and super-sweetest. The panties are available in both black and nude shades. The commercial was clearly geared towards young white women without actually saying as much. And doing a quick search around the Internet, it's clear the artificial buns are really popular; even with talk show host Kelly Ripa.

What makes this product interesting from a black woman's perspective is that we have long dealt with low-self esteem and the idea that our bodily features -- especially our stereotypically big butts -- are not only unattractive, but also inhuman. I remember reading in school about the life of Saartjie "Sarah" Baartman, a black South African woman who was exhibited literally like she was a caged animal throughout Europe 200 years ago because of her large backside.

Fortunately, pop-culture icons like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian have made having "junk in the trunk" a desirable feature. Tune in to almost any hip-hop music video and you'll almost certainly see very full-figured females showing off their very healthy behinds. You may also notice that women on the magazine covers are also airbrushed to add on a little curve to their backside -- regardless of their race.

The "Booty Pop" panties are just the latest in a growing trend to have women who are rear-end challenged achieve this now popular Hollywood look. Woman can opt to receive butt implants; there are special exercises, diet regiments, and jeans to give them the bums they desire.

The argument can be made that this new trend will make ethnic girls who are naturally gifted with shapely backsides feel a bit more proud about their bodies. But this new panty product can also be viewed as another loss for women in general. Young girls and women of all color are increasingly under pressure to augment and adjust their bodies.

What's disturbing about the "Booty Pop" ad is that it clearly focuses on young women. It's already bad enough that young women have to deal with a laundry list of body image issues. While we can expect that there will always be someone trying to make a buck off of our insecurities, this just serves as a reminder that we must impress upon our young women that they are all sweet, no matter what sizes they come in.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Target expands black hair products

Target has expanded its hair care assortment to include African American salon products never before offered at mass. Now available at select Target stores and, the new offerings include Miss Jessie’s, CURLS, The Jane Carter Solution, and the Target exclusive SheaMoisture. This expansion further delivers on the retailer’s Expect More. Pay Less™ brand promise while providing guests with convenient access to the brands they know and trust.

The heart of the hair care expansion at Target is the launch of the Miss Jessie’s® product line at mass. Known throughout the hair care industry and favored by celebrities including Alicia Keys, The Roots, Holly Robinson Peete and Randy Jackson, Miss Jessie’s is considered the go-to productline for curls and waves. Initially developed to manage the curl of African American hair, Miss Jessie’s products have since found a strong fan base among people of all backgrounds looking to enhance curly hairstyles.

How to Say no After You've already said YES

Once you have sex with your BF, can you still tell him no? Of course!

At some point, every virgin faces the big "will you, won't you?" sex question, but once you've gone all the way, does the question go away? No.

Once you've had sex with a guy, it does not mean you have to do it every time you see him -- in fact, telling him you want to wait before the second time is a good way to find out if he's really into you. Any guy who's worth your time will be more interested in getting into your heart than your pants. If sex is the most important thing in your relationship, perhaps it's not the best match for you. The "virgin decision" is not the only decision you make when it comes to sex -- it's a decision you make each time you do or don't.

Then there are times when you've already said yes in the heat of the moment (or in response to pressure) -- but you change your mind. Is it still okay to say no when you're in the middle of yes? Yes.

Your body is yours and you can deny access at any time. No matter how mad he might get, if you're no longer into it, it's your right to end it. But, try to avoid it, indecisiveness comes off as game playing.

Bottom line: You are never obligated to be intimate with your guy, even if you've already slept with him. And you can always change your mind, no matter how far beyond kissing the makeout session has gone.

Saying no is always okay. And if you do say yes, make sure you play safe.

Read more here at The Tyra Show

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Congrats to PARADE All-America Girls Basketball Team!

by Michael O'Shea
Parade Magazine

If the names Chelsea Gray and Chiney Ogwumike sound familiar, it’s because both have been chosen as PARADE All-Americans twice before. This year, they have the added distinction of sharing Player of the Year honors on our 34th annual All-America High School Girls Basketball Team.

Gray, a 5-foot-11 point guard for St. Mary’s High in Stockton, Calif., helped keep the Rams in the nation’s top-ranked position for most of the year, averaging 18 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game.

“She’s a great all-around player, always working hard to improve,” St. Mary’s coach Tom Gonsalves says. “Chelsea could score 30 points every night; instead, she passes and gets our other players in the game. She’s an even better person than player, and a super student with a 3.6 GPA.” Gray will head to Duke next season.

A love of basketball runs in the family for Co-Player of the Year Ogwumike, a 6-foot-3 center at Cy-Fair High in Cypress, Tex. Her sister Nneka was named PARADE Co-Player of the Year in 2008, and Chiney has two younger siblings who also play the sport. But she isn’t likely to disappear into anyone’s shadow. This season, she averaged 23 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

“Chiney has so much talent and outstanding leadership abilities,” Cy-Fair coach Ann Roubique says. “She has grown tremendously—not only as a player but as an individual. She’s an excellent teammate and an excellent role model, and she’s without a doubt a great representative of our school and our community.” A straight-A student who is active in her community and president of the student council, Ogwumike will join her sister Nneka at Stanford next year.

Gray and Ogwumike head a 40-player roster of standout athletes from 18 states and Washington, D.C. California leads the pack with nine All-Americans, including Co-Player of the Year Gray. The team was selected by coaches, scouts, and recruiters across the country.
Top Players

KALEENA MOSQUEDA-LEWIS Mater Dei High, Santa Ana, Calif.
ODYSSEY SIMS MacArthur High, Irving, Tex.
NATASHA HOWARD Waite High, Toledo, Ohio
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS Princess Anne High,Virginia Beach, Va.
RICHA JACKSON Midwest City High, Midwest City, Okla.
SHONI SCHIMMEL Franklin High, Portland, Ore.

Nortre Dame to have have its first Black Valedictorian!

A Gary, Indiana native will make history next month as the first black valedictorian from the University of Notre Dame.

Katie Washington, 21, is a biology major and minor in Catholic social teaching with a 4.0 GPA.

“I am humbled,” said Washington to the Northwest Indiana Times. “I am in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving right now.”

University officials said they couldn’t recall ever having a black valedictorian, and don’t keep record of their race.

“Katie works so hard,” Washington’s mother Jean Tomlin said. “I told her when she went to Notre Dame, ‘You are representing your family, your church and the city of Gary. Make us proud.’”

She has definitely made her family proud and is following in their footsteps. Her father is a doctor, her mother and sister are nurses, one brother is completing his residency and another brother who works for British Petroleum.

“I have had so much support, people who really wanted to see that I reached my full potential,” Washington told “They all had my best interest at heart.”