BEAUTIFUL Women of Color

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I was surfing the net and I came across some great websites for women of color. The first website is actually www.womenofcolorfoundation.com. It primarily focuses on African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women. The foundation facilitates conferences that help with networking, mentoring, and professional development. You may find it of interest.

Then I found some wonderful websites on hair styling. Women of color tend to have the most beautifully textured hair in the world. These websites have exceptional information and pictures on styling ideas for women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state. If you committ to growing your hair the natural way, this is what you can expect.

Check them out.

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Here are some great PIN BOARDS featured on  www.Pinterest.com

NATURAL HAIR AND DREADS

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National Geographic Nudity

I found this article to be interesting. I was unaware that this was taking place. The sexual exploitation of brown people continues to plague this world. Why do people have to be treated a certain way because of their skin color! This hurts. I am so tired of feeling this way. Always having to be on guard because of my skin color. God, please!

Abagond

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Warning: NSFW. Bare breasts ahead!

National Geographic nudity (1896- ), also known as tribal nudity, is where National Geographic shows the bare breasts and penises of brown-skinned people but not those of whites. It has been well-known for this since the 1960s, though the practice goes back to 1896.

Apart from pornography, it is rare for a mass-market American magazine to show the bare breasts or penis of anyone of any race. National Geographic is the main exception. It gets away with it in the name of science, of showing Americans the world as it truly is.

But this love of truth only extends to black and brown people, particularly the “tribal” people of Africa, Australia, the Pacific and Amazonia. In the early 1900s Latina and Arab women also appeared bare-breasted – erotically so. All in all, pretty much the same sort of people who appeared in human…

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Tired of Victim Mentalities: Learning to Escape From Drama Queens aka “Bad Bitches”

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Click to read my article.

Found Treasures – How to Wear Your Thrift Store Clothes

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Thrifting is a great pastime of mine. It is especially fulfilling when I have a 50% off coupon or some form of a discount. I have gotten many worn- once or never worn treasures from the second hand stores. I learned about the whole idea of thrift-ing when I lived in Nashville, Tennessee. Actually, two men took my friend and I out on a Sunday thrifting haul. They drove us all over the city and we spent maybe $30 the whole day for some great stuff. The men were graffiti artists who were very eclectic, but not in a cookie-cutter type of way. They just were not into paying a lot for clothes. I have been doing it ever since.

A lot of people can’t get with wearing used clothes and I understand, but to each his own. I think it is a wonderful challenge and if I was money-rich, I would still not waste cash buying expensive threads. It is just not necessary for me to have a $900 pair of stockings or a $5000 dress. Not ever going to happen for me. I am not even into spending large amounts of cash for wedding attire. As I say in my poetry, “I can walk down the aisle in a $3 dress.”  I’m just that type of girl.

So this is a green dress I got for $2.35 at Value World. Well, it was 50% off that price because I had  a coupon. The fabric feels great and it looked like it had been slightly worn. I washed and ironed it, which I think may have caused it to change shape a bit. I have to be more careful with that. The sandals are by Chinese Laundry.

I really love to pair earth-toned dresses with this style of sandal. I once found some at Kohl’s. I also think animal-skin printed sandals look great with solid colored clothing. Something like this…

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Check out this blog for other sandal ideas: huaracheblog.wordpress.com/

Queen Duafe for African Essence

P.S. Looking for some good music? In 2005 an artist named Lina released a CD on the Hidden Beach record label (same as Jill Scott) named The Inner Beauty Movement. It is an amazing CD. Check it out…

Spring Things for Queens: Fringe

Although I am dying on the allergy side, I still love Spring! I can barely go outside without breaking out in hives! I need an herbal remedy ya’ll! … any who…

This is my STYLE idea for the day. I love FRINGE! In fashion, fringe is defined as : An ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material. Like this…

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or this…

I wear fringe a lot! It’s reminiscent of the 70s, but has been used for centuries in clothing, mostly in pre-American tribes especially those traveling from the motherlands.

CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO ENLARGE

THE STYLE: I got my red fringe boots online from UrbanOg. They are no longer offered. If you Google red fringe boots, you will be able to find them. They are not Minnetonka boots. I prefer to pay less. The quality is descent enough. The shirt is from Dillard’s. It was only $10 on sale by a brand named Angie. The skirt was maybe $8 at Forever21.

Peace and love,

Queen Duafe for African Essence

Looking for some conscious music? Do you like Bob Marley? I am not referring to the “Bob Marley bandwagon hoppers that wear t-shirts and ACT all down-to-earth!”  I mean do you really like Bob Marley’s music? It’s full of conscious messages about mankind. The song of the day: Who the Cap Fit… This music inspired the mood that I am in today. Let me know your thoughts.

Smile.

Within Walking Distance: The Three Women Behind the Closed Door

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The Three Women Behind the Closed Door in Cleveland, Ohio 

“I live within walking distance, 4 minutes to be exact. How do you think that makes me feel?”

I am sure that you have all heard about the 3 women that were found in Cleveland after missing for a decade or more. Michelle Knight had gone missing on August 22, 2002. Amanda Berry was missing since April 21, 2003. Georgina DeJesus had been last seen on April 2, 2004. There was also a six year old girl found that is Berry’s child. As I navigate internet articles and videos about the groundbreaking news, I can’t help but to cry for them.

Naturally, I put myself in the shoes of the girls who unwillingly went into the house perhaps young and innocent and came out forlorn women.  I cry because it is hard to imagine the physical condition in which they lived for the past 11 years- in a basement, like slaves. This is not the first time that I have had to cry for a missing girl in Cleveland and it probably won’t be the last. They were being held captive in a house less than a mile from my own residence. I could get there in four minutes! Even more petrifying, I had shaken the hand of the guy who owned the house where they were found.  Ariel Castro was a bass player and I heard him play at a celebration. 

The proximity of this man to me is enough to remind me that we never know who walks amongst us. I walk around my neighborhood and I feel safe. However, I remember my grandfather, who is now deceased, reprimanding me for always walking and going places by myself. I am the person who will take a midnight walk and consider it a challenge as opposed to a threat. My grandpa knew how I was, and he never stopped trying to get me to be more cautious. These types of stories make me yield to the idea of security. Although, I don’t want to be in a box, I will think again about my midnight adventures and consider my well-being first.

Yesterday, communities could only speculate on what happened in Castro’s basement. Were the girls being held as sex slaves? Were they cooking and cleaning? Did they know him previous to the kidnapping? Had they ever tried to escape? Were they beaten? What did they eat? How was the baby conceived? Did one of them give birth in the basement? Today, we have some of the answers.

A few years back, there was a girl locked in basement in a neighborhood where I did community work. It was the same neighborhood where the serial killer, Anthony Sowell trapped and murdered his victims. This girl was naïve and actually willing to meet older men, but she was not willing to be kidnapped. I remember hearing her story. It was not publicized. I wrote a poem about it and performed that poem at the Soul of Buckeye Art Park a block from where she was held.

It seems that women are susceptible to abduction. Most of us can’t fight off a bigger man who is aggressively handling us. We are women! We are not supposed to be big and bad. What I can do and what perhaps you can do to help yourself be prepared for life’s physical challenges is exercise and build up our physical strength so that we can at least fight back. I do not want to jump the gun and say every woman can be taken, but this story just reminds me of what is out there.

I am a fan of the TV show Dexter which is about a serial killer that goes undetected for most his life. As I watched Dexter for the past few years, I never thought that the things he did were bogus. Although it is just elaborate storytelling, I always thought that it could happen. It is happening.

There is a woman named Mandy Matula in Minnesota that just went missing. People are being taken every day in America and all over the world. We have to watch over each other and know our neighbors. I am not saying be nosy because we all have the right to our privacy, but can we stand to be more friendly?

There are three men being held in the custody of the police for the kidnapping of these three women. The attorney that will represent them in trial will definitely have some spiritual warfare. We all want to cry for them because we know that our mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, and friends are all susceptible to these types of situations. Let’s protect each other. Let’s love instead of hate. We have to be concerned for the well-being of each other.

It will take years of therapy for these women to be able to walk again. I believe in them and I know that they can do it. My heart goes out to the families, friends, and the community. This affects us all. None of us can be fully prepared for it, but we can at least have self-defense tactics in place. The police and news reporters canvassed the neighborhood to speak to people about this case. Everyone was pretty much shocked because Castro was a good neighbor. As I told you, I shook his hand, so we can never know.

I am Queen Duafe and I write for all women because we all descend from the same place, in the heart of the motherland. We have the same organs and bleed the same way when we are wounded. We set up barriers between each other as if we are superior because of our skin complexions. We should know better. A woman is a woman and a man is a man and we must not fight.  We should embrace and love one another. I just want to hug the three women and say, “sisters, you will get pass this. You can do it.”

I live in a mixed-racial community where I also work. At least six times a year, a police officer or family member comes into my place of employment with a poster of a missing child or woman. I have never seen any with men or boys missing, but I am sure there are some. No matter what area of the city, there is always a girl missing! At other jobs, I have experienced the same thing. A mother, a father coming in with a poster, asking the staff had they seen the child. I knew many of the children that were missing, some recovered, some not. I have had conversations with fathers, only to find out months later that they had been raping their daughters. These things are ugly, but I am prepared because mental sickness is rampant. I have heard men call their wives queens only to abuse them emotionally and physically behind closed doors. My attack is not on men, because I love men. My intent is not gender or culturally- based. It’s just a story.

Earlier this week, a man at work asked me to view a film called Heading South. It was a movie about sex tourism where Caucasian women from the United States went down to Haiti to have sex with young Hatian boys in the 70s. These women were sometimes married and would pay for the sex and give the boys gifts. The target was only on African/Haitian boys. These women got away with it because of the political unrest that was happening in Haiti during that time period. They should have been arrested.

When I first started watching the movie, I was disgusted because one of the women had a monologue about being 40 and fawning and eventually sleeping with a 15 year old Haitian boy. Honestly, I had to stop myself from throwing up! The man at work, a Caucasian man, kept asking me to watch it so that we could talk about it. When I finally talked to him about it, he said that the film was “erotic.” I do not want to paint the picture that that was all he said, but it was his final critique of the film. I found that hard to grasp because there was nothing erotic about it to me. I suppose that it is a matter of opinion, but erotic? Not a word I would use. Let me say that the man is older, in his 60s and I engage in conversation with him every once in a while.

He said to me that he understood the women’s point of view: they were old and felt undesired. They could go to Haiti and escape all of this and feel loved. Ok, there are many things wrong with that statement, but my point is, there is a mental sickness when it comes to humanity in this country. People indulge in the idea of eroticism and exoticness when it comes to darker people. The women in the film were in love with the Haitian boys. They talked about their skin complexions and how it turned them on. This is so sad to me. We are all just people. I get the feeling that the man who I was talking to about this film might have been trying to see where I stood on this issue from his own point of view. I feel like this because of my past encounters with him. He seemed to be searching for something and he thought perhaps I might be too.

Well, I am not searching for a cookie-cutter exotic experience. I do not want to be used as anyone’s slave to any degree- not at work, school, social places, etc. I am not erotic. I am not someone’s toy. I am NOT. The women on Seymour Avenue were not. The women on Imperial Avenue were not. The girl in the basement on East 117 Street was not! We are NOT toys to be fiddled with and we cannot be used to satisfy someone’s sick reality of acceptance. I don’t want to be accepted for my sex or skin. I am a human being, belonging to the ONE RACE.

Being attracted to someone because of their color is a bit disturbing. There is something not right about it. We are most often around people who share our same heritage, stories, and lifestyles. In America, that means race because of how the country was built. We are obsessed with skin color! Naturally, we can be more inclined to like certain people, but to target a certain group and then at the same time hate them for their skin is horrendous! The women in the film thought they were doing the boys a favor by supplying them with gifts and money. At the end of the movie, the boy ended up getting killed because of his prostitution and relationships with these women. The message was very deep. Did they really care? Selfishly they mourned the loss of their lover, but they went right back to America and continued on in their lives. The young boy prostitute was disposable. How sad.

Peace and love,

Queen Duafe for African Essence

Spring Fashion on a Budget

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Hello! Jambo! (Swahili welcoming)

This year, I am exploring longer (maxi) skirts for the Spring. I like them in this weather because they protect me from the changing elements that come with the season. For example, where I live, the mornings can be a bit chilly. Then by 1 pm,  the weather will warm up. Wearing a lengthier skirt allows you to be prepared for all weather as well as various social situations such as work, lunch dates, or after work shopping. They are more versatile than shorter skirts because they are widely accepted and normally help women to appear more elegant.

Maxi skirts look beautiful as they have the tendency to scream maturity and feminine softness. You should try them!

Maxi Skirt

floral maxi skirt from a local boutique; clearance $10

This is a faux leather wedge sandal that actually feels really good. Got them maybe 3 years ago… they were cheap. They are by Guess… I believe the line was G by Guess

I normally don’t dig floral designs, but this skirt stood out for me. I like it a lot and have been wearing it since 2009. It flows in the wind, making it very “queen-like.” You will love it! I encourage people to spend as less money as possible on clothes. You can have a nice wardrobe for cheap. If you like challenges, try dressing for less. Save your money and buy a passport or passports if you have a family, and travel the world.

Queen Duafe for African Essence

P.S. Need some music? Check out my QueenPlayList for Saturday…

Heartbeat by Nneka, Valley by Nneka, Fellowship by Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Neon Valley Street by Janelle Monae, Do You Like the Way by Santana f/ Lauryn Hill and CeeLo, and How Many People by Ayo.

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Other artists to explore…

Five Artists

*Note: Depending on the speed of your browser, the photos may appear different. Also, I really appreciate you visiting African Essence! People are asking why they can’t comment and/or like the posts: the thing is, this is a wordpress hosted blog which in this case means that you can comment and like posts if you are logged in to your wordpress account. However, you can comment and follow the blog using your email address. Please do! You can also share the posts on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on those icons at the bottom of each article. I could always use the support.

Peace and love