Sheryl Underwood’s ‘Nappy Hair’ Comments Question Self-Worth

sherylunderwood7126Sheryl Underwood, well-known comedienne, actress, and co-host of The Talk, has had some interesting things to say over the years. And, as a prominent woman of color, her audience consists of many people of color. Recently, she mentioned that it made no sense to save “nappy, afro hair” when discussing Victoria Secret model Heidi Klum’s desire to save her bi-racial children’s naturally curly, kinky hair after haircuts.Underwood went on to describe the hair as “beady” and “nasty.” Many have come out against the words she supposedly used in jest. Truthfully, this seems less a question of comedy or preference and more a question of self-worth.

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“Dark Girls” Documentary Explores Colorism, Self-Worth, and Prejudice

dark girlsThe captivating and well-received documentaryDark Girls” will be premiering on OWN this Sunday. And while the film touches on the topic of colorism, the intra-racial animus brought on by perceived worth associated with lighter variations in skin pigmentation in the black community, it also deals with social messaging, stigmas about natural hair textures, and relationships with darker women. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the film is its authenticity as it is mainly told through firsthand accounts of “dark girls.” And, I have to say, even the preview brought up emotions for me that I had long ago believed to be gone. [Read more…]

My Adventures Through Black Woman Land: What’s in a Compliment?

pretty-black-womanHave you ever had someone tell you, “Wow, you look pretty today,” only for you to respond with a gracious “thank you”? Then moments later ask yourself if that means you looked terrible yesterday? The truth is, compliments are very very tricky. These tiny gestures, which many of us crave by the way, seem innocuous and random. In actuality, compliments come from a socialized place internal to each of us and are driven by traditional ideals of beauty. Let’s break down to pitfalls of the common compliment for women of color and how getting one or not getting one is never a reflection on you. [Read more…]

Frenemies? Women of Color & Corporate America

Multi-racial business team sitting around an office boardroomCorporate America is a very interesting place. In many respects, it represents opportunity, growth, and possibility. But, since it has always been an environment dominated by “good old boys” and mainstream American ideals, it has not necessarily been the most welcoming place for women of color. In many respects, the very crooked rooms that these women seek to escape in their daily lives are emboldened in the corporate realm, but opportunities for career growth still make mainstream industry very appealing for women of color.

In essence, corporate America has become the “frenemy” of women of color: sometimes friend, sometimes enemy. But, understanding oneself better, being uncompromising with one’s values and ideals, and understanding that every situation is not an always situation helps to mitigate some of these contradicting aspects of a central institution to America’s core capitalistic culture.

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I Stopped Being Normal & Started Being Me

normalFile this post away in your “Confessions of an Ex-Poser” file cabinet. Have you ever been or met a poser? You know, those people who claim to have been born in some exotic locale so they can sound well-bred. Or, a young lady who claims all her hair is her own but she might “clip a little something in sometimes.” Or, one of my favorites, black folks who claim that they are “part Indian” but they have no idea what tribe, province, or “part” they are. These are the hallmarks of a poser. And, I am no different. I have been a poser at different points in my life. I was afraid that if people knew who I really was, they wouldn’t be impressed enough. I was trying so hard to be normal that I wasn’t being myself. [Read more…]