Album Review: Anti by Rihanna

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I’ll start off this review by saying that in the past I was never really a big Rihanna fan. I only caught wind of her more popular songs *queue Pon de Replay and Bad Boy*. I’ve always liked her as a celebrity and of course a fashion icon.

So, with all of the hype surrounding the much-anticipated ANTI, and the drop of the albums first single Work,  I finally decided to give in and give the entire album a good thorough listen, and let’s just say Rihanna did not disappoint.

ANTI, the 8th studio album by Rihanna was released on January 28th 2016. It has 13 tracks.

I’ll break this down by describing my favorite tracks off the album.

Consideration, the first song on the album, features TDE songstress SZA is a dreamy, song that you could smoke too (not that I do, but if I did), as well as James Joint, which really captures Rihannas sultry seductive voice accompanied by a simple yet lovely backdrop of sounds. Love on the Brain and Higher are both powerful, soulful tunes that invoke emotion, and are almost impossible to not belt out to and try to match Rih’s notes. Yeah, I Said It is a way too short bop about a lusty relationship with no titles, and Kiss it Better is reminiscent of a 80’s ballad. Oh, and of course let’s not forget the dance-hall inspired hit that nobody can resist wining their hips too: Work.

What I gathered from listening to this album is the many different stages of life that Rihanna has gone through. Heartbreak, flings, a missed connection, and a comeback. The songs are mostly all relatable and I think this is what makes a good album.

The album cover art is a picture of her as a little girl. My interpretation is that this album is setting the tone for the rest of Rihannas’ career, she’s going through a metamorphosis and this album is just the tip of the iceberg.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this album.It’s been on re-peat since I decided to give it a listen about a week and a half ago. You should too, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

I give this album a 4.5/5.

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4 Products Under $10 That Every Natural Needs

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Being natural can be very frustrating, time consuming and most times, can be really expensive. Here are some quick, cheap and easy to use and easy to find products that will help you on your journey.

 

Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture into your hair. Look for products who have glycerin listed at the second or third ingredient for optimal hydration for your  curls! Ever since I discovered the effects and uses of this product my hair hasn’t been dry like it usually is. I definitely recommend this for any hair type. ($4)

 

This gel is a STAPLE in almost every natural haired girls regimen. Apply it after washing your hair, (don’t towel dry) for maximum definition and hydration to your locks. It deep conditions while giving you a great hold. Great for laying down your edges. It’s pretty much guaranteed to give you fabulous day 2 hair as well. They also have gel infused with Argan and Coconut oil if you don’t like Olive. ($6)

I swear by this product. I have 3b/3c dry curls that sometimes lack definition. Using this in my LOC method right after washing my hair really does the job in giving it a hydrated, frizz free and defined look. Once my hair dries my hair is FULL OF LIFE. Bouncy, shiny, and just carefree. I urge you guys to at least give it a try! It smells good too. ($6)

The best has been saved for last! I use this oil almost everyday. I like to take a quarter sized amount and distribute it all over my hair, roots to ends and even rub some onto my scalp. It’s great for laying down any frizzy flyaway’s for when you want a more sleeked down look. It smells good and also doubles as a hot oil treatment. ($6)

 

Ranting on Race

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Now that  I am blossoming into an educated young woman, not only am I learning to grapple with the hurdles of responsibility that come with adulthood but I am also learning that the world is in fact, a scary ugly place. Trying to broaden my mind and my opinions by watching the news, reading up on what’s going on in the world always leaves me with a terrible taste in my mouth, and an uneasy feeling in my heart. These days, it’s always something about police brutality, or some racially fueled shooting spree, or ISIS, etc, etc.

You’re probably rolling your eyes or whatever, thinking wow of course she would dwindle this down to race.

MOST of the time, in my opinion IT IS racially fueled.

Take for instance, Donald Trump. He wants to ban “Mexicans” and “immigrants” and “send them back to where they came from”. This man wants to build a WALL on the U.S/Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. (lol) He wants to “temporarily ban Muslims from coming into the U.S. also stating that he’d make exceptions for businessmen, athletes and others who have “proven themselves”.

I mean, I’m really chuckling as I’m typing out all the ridiculous things he’s stated, because he’s crazy. There’s also a ton of other insane stuff he claims to do if he is elected, you can brush up on it here:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/01/22/here-are-76-of-donald-trumps-many-campaign-promises/.

But my point is, that he is in fact a big fat racist, who is running as a presidential candidate in the year 2016. By “Making America great again” he means he really just wants to slowly pick and prod out all the POC and white-a-fy the nation.

Does that not scare some of you guys?

The fact that Donald Trump could very well become the next POTUS?

I just got chills running down my spine just from typing that.

Now onto the police brutality.

We’ve all seen the videos, or have at least heard of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, the list goes on and on.

They all have two things in common though, 1) They’re black and 2) They really did not deserve being shot and killed for what they were being stopped for.

Hearing theses stories, seeing these atrocities happen in this day in age, for me as a woman of color makes me sick to my stomach. I honestly get scared anytime one of my family members leaves the house by themselves, especially my father and brother.

How can we as a society move on and delve into a happier, more loving and understanding community when racists and bigots and just hateful ignorant people continue to be bred?  Can’t we all just exile them or something? In my mind I really don’t see any other option so that all of this can STOP.

We’ve tried rioting, marching, speaking, explaining, fighting, praying, and even right down to shouting BLACK LIVES MATTER to their faces but to no avail. All we get is these ridiculous unparalleled rebuttals that have nothing to do with the message we’re trying to convey, a message that should be easily understood and transcended into every human heart. We’re all the same, and we all deserve to be HUMAN; and to be human is to be loved, and considered just that.

I just hope that I can see the day where all people can dwell and be happy together. A place were racism, bigotry, colorism, and all that hatefulness no longer exists.

 

Colorism in Latinx Culture

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Growing up as a little girl, I would always look forward to sitting down on the living room couch with my mother to watch her favorite novelas with her. It was considered bonding time for us, watching the saucy plots develop, rooting for our favorite characters and even debating about what we thought would happen next.

As time passed, I would often wonder why I did not look at all like the women in the novelas. Being a latina, it is often construed that you should have fair skin, big brown eyes, and long dark hair along with a great hourglass shape. I would literally look myself in the mirror and wonder why I had such big, curly, coarse hair or why my skin was so much darker and my nose wasn’t as skinny as the women I would see in the novelas. I am a Latina after all… so why in the world did I look so far off from what I should?
Years passed before I discovered that the problem was never with me, but with the unfair, almost non-existent representation of Afro-Latinos in both the Spanish and English worlds and media.
Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez are some of the distinguished Latinas in Hollywood right now, and have all earned respectable praise in each of their fields. Their visibility to the public eye does not exactly mean that other types of latinos are given much leeway. The many types and groups and sub-cultures of Latinos fail to be represented in the media, which is terrible because we make up so much of the community itself.
As an Afro-Latina, I have struggled with acceptance from both my Latino side and my Black side. Hispanics almost always look at me in bewilderment whenever I speak Spanish to them so fluently, they think I’m black, so they can’t possibly imagine why I can switch up and speak it. They always want to ask me why, but the answer is so blatant. It used to hurt to know that people judged me on the color of my skin, and wanted to simply separate me and put me into their conjured up perfect little race box that they made up in their heads. I used to feel like I was an outsider to both worlds, and honestly at some point, hated myself for it.
According to an NBC article: Afro-Latinos Seek Recognition, And Accurate Census Count ““Among Latinos, the idea of talking about mixed race can still be taboo,” said Ed Morales, adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. “It’s easier to say that you’re Dominican or Mexican, rather than delve into your racial background.” He attributes this to the traditional cultural forces at play in Hispanic culture. “In our own families, there is not a lot of discussion of being mixed race, there is not a lot of open acknowledgement of it.”
It is safe to say that the reason for this issue is racism, and deep rooted colorism. In the Latino world, racism is way more prominent than it may seem. Latinos love to deny their blackness! Take Dominicans for example, most of them do not like to touch base on the fact that a large part of their ancestry comes from Africa, and that because of that they are part African. Instead they just hold onto being Dominican and ignore or deny that they have anything to do with being black, when the evidence is in their very own blood.
There is reason for this type of denial. Afro-Latinos or people who identify as both black and Latino are more than often treated as outsiders in the Latino community, because just like in American culture, many Latinos pair being dark with being dangerous or a lesser human being.
I have experienced this type of racism my whole entire life. It is often times subtle but still a steady stream of “Oh you’re dark and you have thick curly hair, you cannot be Latina, you don’t fit in”. Most Latinos can walk into a store and not feel as though they are being watched based on the color of their skin, or can turn on the television and see their ideal type of beauty being showcased and feel like they belong with their culture.
I am always left leery about why this issue of colorism is so deep rooted in our community and how alike it is to American white supremacy, and racism.My own grandmother has relaxed her hair her whole life, trading in her big brown afro for a less voluminous, more manageable hairdo. She has bleached her skin and limited her time outside every time she was getting “getting too dark”. These habits passed down unto my mother, and almost trickled down unto my sister and I. Thankfully I have been able to open my eyes to stop this cycle, and help my sister and our future children out of it as well.
It is also safe to say that Latino culture, along with African culture, Asian culture, even Indian culture all favor European features within their communities and either look past darker tones or don’t even look their way at all. Most cultures have become white washed and hold lighter skin higher than the darker counterparts.
The concept of an Afro-Latino is still a new idea to most people. Many cannot wrap their heads around it. People must understand that a lot of our culture is filled with African influences, we cannot keep denying our melting pot of a community.
“It is important because, for the most part, we are invisible,” said Jiménez Román. We are invisible because when people speak of Latinos, they have in mind a particular stereotype of Latinos – physically, culturally, racially – and that doesn’t necessarily match our reality.”-  Miriam Jiménez Román, Executive Director of the Afro-Latin@ Forum in New York City.
We are all beautiful, and full of life, all of us should be represented and accepted and able to contribute to our colorful, vibrant culture.

Barbie’s New Look(s)

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As a young girl growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, Barbie was my first choice whenever I had the opportunity to choose a toy. I’d ask my parents to get me one for Christmas, my birthday, Easter… any holiday that warranted a gift. Playing with my new dolls with my sister were the highlights of my day back then.

Of course, back then there weren’t many Barbies that looked like me. Tan skin, almond eyes and thick curly hair, and let’s not even get into body types. I’m the farthest from a tall, blond, skinny model girl.

So when Mattel recently came out with it’s revolutionary 3 new body types for Barbie: petite, tall and curvy, my inner child squealed and jumped for joy. Not only are more body types being represented but more hair textures and skin tones alike.

I can’t express how important it is for children of color to be represented in the TV shows they watch, and the dolls or action figures they play with. It makes it easier to love yourself when you see your self being represented. Only seeing people of a certain skin tone and not those who look like you DOES make you feel lesser, and unwanted. You begin to want to become that blonde, blue eyed doll that everyone wants… and so the cycle of self hate begins at such an impressionable age.

As humans we should all be loved and showcased, whether your tall, short, black, white, curvy or skinny. Mattel taking this step in broadening it’s variety is more than just Barbie.. it’s impacting our youth in a healthy, and great way. So, cheers to Mattel in taking a huge step in including everyone… as it should be.