Archives for category: feature
Was this commercial screaming racism? Or was it blown completely out of proportion?

By: Taren Vaughan

Performing in front of sold out crowds and making cameo appearances in movies and TV shows, music artists are always down to showcase their talents in various arenas. Singer Mary J. Blige has done all these things and more as she has continued to be a dominating force in the industry. But now “The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” is under fire for her appearance in one of Burger King’s latest commercials for their new Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap. And needless to say, some people were highly upset while others well…found their anger to be quite ridiculous.

“I’m a Black woman and I by no means was offended by this commercial. All she was doing was singing about a product that just so happened to be chicken. I don’t see what the fuss is about. If she was up there singing about shackles and chains, maybe my thoughts would be totally different.”

Alicia C.
Age: 23
Silver Springs, MD

“Come on are people really serious right now? Where is the racism in this commercial? The real problem with this commercial was the singing. I love Mary J. Blige just like the next fan, but that was what I found bad about the whole thing, not the fact that it was being so “disrespectful” to Black people because it obviously was not.”

Jennifer M.
Age: 33
Salem, OR

“So tell me, how is this any different from the Black actors and actresses that we see rapping on the McDonald’s commercials? Was that the product of a racist’s mind? I didn’t see people getting all outraged about that and those commercials have continued to air. If a white, Hispanic or a person of any other race was singing about chicken, I guess it would be okay then. The race card can not be pulled in every situation and this is one where it doesn’t need to be.”

Latisha E.
Age: 25
Yonkers, NY

“I may be reaching a little bit here but I think the commercial was very distasteful due to the fact that she was singing about chicken. It is a known fact that chicken is coined as “black food”, right along with watermelon so to see Mary J. Blige participate in something like this is feeding into the negative stereotype that is placed on us already. And God knows, we don’t need anyone else doing that.”

Ashlee T.
Age: 27
Boston, MA

The commercial was quickly snatched off the air after the heavy criticism that it received. And was followed by a statement from the singer, assuring fans and critics that what they saw was not “MJB” certified:

“I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip.”

“I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw go out.”

Was it really that serious?

Take a look for yourself:

Is the anger justified?

By: Taren Vaughan

After sweeping the Grammy Awards this year, Singer Adele has continued to remain a hot topic in the music industry. Her powerful vocals, full of soul, have earned her six grammys and album of the year, setting her apart from many other vocalists in the industry. She is what many people feel has been missing in the world of music, pure raw talent with no extra sound effects in the background.

Accompanied by music or complete silence, Adele’s natural gift shines with perfection.

As she has created quite a name for herself, the 23-year old singer has informed fans that she will be releasing another song shortly for their listening pleasure before the end of the year. And to add to that, she is also looking to collaborate with other artists. As many artists may come to mind, she is hoping to get into the studio with one in particular by the name of Mrs. Carter.

Adele has made it known that she is a huge fan of superstar diva Beyonce’ and has followed her career since she was a young girl. And the chance to pair up with one of the greatest performers of this era is a dream of hers that she is hoping will soon be a reality:

“I adore Beyonce. I”ve been listening to her since I was about 11. I think her work as an artist and a singer is enviable in terms of the length of her career and how she’s grown and grown”

Beyonce’ and Adele on the same track…I feel a hit coming on don’t you?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

As we embark into a new season, we also embark into new fashion trends. And with each red carpet premiere for the blockbusters of the summer, fashion addicts are left to ponder on which looks will stick. And as of late, pajamas have made several appearances, with the help of one of music’s biggest fashionistas, Rihanna.

The Editor’s Take:

I try to be open minded with fashion, but I can’t see how wearing pajamas on the red carpet can be deemed stylish. Even in a pair of stilettos, Rihanna looks like she just hopped out of bed. I don’t care which big name designer signed off on these rags, I’m still highly disappointed that we’ve come to the point in fashion where rocking pajamas in public is acceptable.

I miss the short, black hair, cute short cut rockin’ Rihanna. Yeah she may be back to black tresses, but her style has been missing since the Chris Brown fiasco. I’m hoping she’ll cut off the silky weave and bring back the fierceness we all loved.

Until then, not even “Rebel Rihanna” can pull off pajamas…

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

“The biggest mistake most women make is believing they need closure to a bad relationship. The truth is that once you discover a man no longer wants you, that’s really all the closure you need.”

I think I have lost count of the number of times I have heard a woman say she needed closure from the same man that dogged her the majority of the relationship. I myself have sought closure from someone I probably should have never dated in the first place.

Why do we do this?

I have a few guesses, but I would have to say the problem stems from our overcommitment to men who have never bothered to commit to us. We do this occasionally as an attempt to work things out with people who have no desire to put any work into their half of the relationship. We should walk away happily when we realize that we have been involved in an unhealthy relationship. But instead, we need to hear why we’ve been treated this way, when it doesn’t matter why but the fact that we were mistreated should be enough to move on.

Another problem is our sense of entitlement. After putting up with so much disrespect from one person, we feel they finally owe us some respect for our decision to stay way too long. But they don’t owe us what we owe ourselves, and that’s knowing better, and eventually doing better.

We simply feel entitled to the wrong things. Instead of feeling that closure is owed to us for our devotion to someone we had no business being with, we ought to feel entitled to being respected the first moments we embark in any relationship, and throughout the relationship. Simply put, we ought to feel entitled to a good man! So much so that staying with just any man won’t do.

Why do we wait until the last moment to make demands?

I’m a true believer that when a man wants a woman, he’s going to do what it takes to keep that woman. So if we’ve made our needs clear and he still won’t oblige, it’s quite clear that he is not trying to keep you. And by you hanging on to a man that isn’t trying to keep you, you’re loudly confirming without words that your needs and happiness aren’t really important. And it’s hard to make anything work out with a man who realizes you’ll give up your own happiness just to keep him around.

It’s best to require any man that has an interest in you to treat you right from the beginning, anything else and you’ll have to settle for closure.

Marching and taking pictures with hoodies on is not the final solution to this ongoing problem…Continued activism is.

By: Taren Vaughan

Deeply saddened and completely taken back, reactions have surfaced from millions across the nation in reference to the shooting death of Florida native Trayvon Martin. Prayers have been said and numerous protests have been held in honor of the 17 year-old boy’s memory, one of the most moving protests being the “Million Hoodie March”.

The march attracted the attention of a massive amount of Americans of all races and gender. And it created a chain reaction amongst U.S. citizens all over. College campuses have been flooded with student protestors and professional athletic teams have also taken a stand in the search for justice on behalf of the Martin Family as the Miami Heat players gathered dressed in hoodies, displaying a profound team effort to honor the cause. The wearing of a hoodie is symbolic as it was what Trayvon was wearing when he was killed. And as a way to show support, hoodies have become apart of many people’s attire. The wave has stormed the Internet as well, with changing of Facebook profile pics and Twitter avatars.

Constant outpourings of emotion have been witnessed from school aged children to those of celebrity status so it is obvious the masses of us have been touched by what has happened to this young man. But after the gatherings settle down, will Trayvon’s story be placed on the back burner, not to be brought up for years to come?

His tragic passing will be fresh in our heads for awhile. But will we continue on with true activism in his name and in the name of others who have lost their lives to false accusations and stereotyping? Or to the hands of those who look exactly like them? Black on Black crime is still alive and well too did we forget?

You see, without continued activism, this strong, powerful message that we are currently trying to send becomes faint over time. People begin to forget about the cause as things begin to die down. And that just opens the door up for yet another tragic loss to occur within our community.

And what are we risking when we do that? Another young life.

We are talking about a teenager who had his whole future ahead of him. He was not a common criminal, roaming the streets looking for trouble. Minding his business was what he was doing. And because an overzealous neighbor of his decided to defy police orders and take matters into his own hands, a family has endured a painful loss.

Zimmerman’s freedom remains one of the most infuriating parts of this whole situation as the arguments that many have posed certainly don’t lean in favor of his actions. But aside from that, back to the real question of: Should we stop at the hoodie march?

The answer is quite clear. It can’t stop at a march with hoodie wearing protestors. And it can’t stop with posted pictures on social media networks. It must stem far beyond that.

We must talk to our children about the ugly truths of our society and how certain people already expect you to behave a certain way because of how you look, talk, walk or dress. We must inform them that this is the country where a woman can be detained by security for flour bombing a Kardashian within the blink of an eye but a man can have every ounce of his freedom after taking the life of his innocent, unarmed neighbor. With that being said, it is most important for them to be watchful of their surroundings.

Sadly, Trayvon’s life was not spared but with a continuous effort to inform our young Black men and women about situations like this and what they could possibly have to deal with or face in this world, hopefully this vicious cycle will be broken.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Desperation for titles turns into settling for role playing.

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

I’m a newlywed. I’m still fresh into this whole marriage thing, and if I know anything, it’s that I don’t know enough. There has to be literally thousands of books that promise to offer the best in marriage and relationship advice, but marriage is just one of those things you have to experience first to even come close to getting it…and somewhat understanding it.

The success we’ve always had running this magazine has been a rawness. We weren’t necessarily preaching, but more so revealing our past mistakes in hopes to make someone a lot smarter than we were at the time of the error. But in every relationship article was true emotion. And I’ve become emotional to society’s blatant disrespect to marriage. Since reciting my vows at the altar and proclaiming to share my life with this one man until death, I now wince at anyone who treats their boyfriend as husband.

Now this isn’t about me feeling like I’m somehow better due to my newly obtained nuptials. But I’d be a liar and a very naive one if I didn’t acknowledge the ultimate disrespect many seem to have regarding marriage.

You see, I for the life of me could never understand how any man who hasn’t made the ultimate commitment deserves to be treated as the king in my household.

I simply refused to treat any man like my husband if he wasn’t my husband. I’m sure my mentality isn’t the most attractive to any man who isn’t interested in committing, but rejection and disinterest from the wrong kind of men is a good thing.

I made up in my head during my single days that I wasn’t going to be cooking, cleaning, and screwing a man who wasn’t really mine…all mine.

No, playing house was never an option for me as I never saw the benefits in catering to some man that could easily walk away at any moment.

Call me crazy, self righteous, boogie and even arrogant; but I wasn’t going to act like a wife to any man until I was a wife.

And it turns out that strategy worked out for me eventually as now I am a wife. I’m pretty sure my husband realized while we were dating that me caving to the pressure of our society’s obsession to become “wifey” just wasn’t a reality for me. I wasn’t going to settle for becoming wifey when I knew I could become wife.

This is the same reason I think ride or die chicks are delusional. The only man we should be riding or dying for is our husbands. Not some knuckle head who still refuses to commit to you and refuses to make choices that will benefit your relationship because he rather show his boys how real he is or how many women he can still keep on the side.

Dating is merely a series of auditions. And until engagement or marriage, no man deserves an ultimate commitment from you. No, I’m not saying you should be bagging several men while dating that one brother you really like, but I am saying that women shouldn’t feel obligated to stay and work things out with men we aren’t married to.

Yes ladies, we should walk away from any man who hasn’t shown us any real reason to stay. That boyfriend title just isn’t great enough to warrant our unwavering devotion.

Out of anger, some of you will read this article and tell yourselves (and perhaps me) that marriage isn’t even that serious, yet I’m sure if you sat back and observed you’d be able to see many people who have chosen to imitate its benefits. It’s always the people who attempt to mock and devalue marriage who are involved in their own imitational versions of it.

That man who told you he never wants to get married wouldn’t oppose a live in girlfriend (wifey) who was cooking, cleaning, and screwing him the way he wanted…would he?

There is nothing wrong with cooking your significant other a nice dinner from time to time, but know that your purpose in life is not to provide the benefits of marriage to men you are not married to. We as women can’t continue to complain about our difficulties in getting married if we are pretending to be married to every man we date. Even fear of loneliness should not keep you from being aware of your true position in dating.

Know your worth and leave the role playing to the wifeys.

God never makes a promise that He won’t keep.

By: Taren Vaughan

Promises…What is the true meaning behind them? Are they verbal agreements that we make amongst ourselves that we must follow through with?

“I promise I’ll pay you your money back”

Or are they things that we say only because they sound good coming from our mouths?

“I promise I will change my ways”.

As the true definition of a promise may vary from person to person, there is one thing for sure that we all know about them. And that is that just like a glass plate hitting the floor, they can be broken, sometimes by those that we least expect. Relatives that share the same family tree with you on down to childhood friends that you have known practically all your life can be the very ones that are in the business of breaking promises. Sadly, a lot of times, it is the closest ones to us that can let us down the most. It starts to make you feel like everyone is like that. Makes you feel like no one is to be believed when that “promise” word begins to surface. That may go for the people that you deal with down here on Earth but it surely doesn’t apply to God.

God is one who doesn’t take promises lightly. If He makes one to you, then you can believe that He will follow through with it. Now He may not show up as soon as you get up off your knees from praying or as soon as you call out His name but He will show up. And when He does show, the answer to your questions and the blessings that He has in store for you will be revealed.

People in your life, or even those that you barely even know, are not perfect beings despite what they or you might think. Flaws they do possess, mistakes they will make, and promises just might be things that they can’t seem to hold on it to save their lives. Although this is true, we must not confuse that with the promises of God.

Our Father is very serious about these things called promises. They are not things that He takes lightly at all. He does not make them to break them. He makes them to keep them. To God, promises hold truth and value. His are true and will be brought to the light to those who keep the faith in His doings and listen to His voice.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:5

This promise He will always keep.