Thursday, March 26, 2015

A N.I.C.E. Shout-Out to Beauty of the Black Woman and the Yellow Rose Society!

     Recently, I was invited by the President of the Yellow Rose Society at the University of Miami, Phalande Jean (who is also a Co-Founder and President and CEO of PhaJenn, LLC), a fashion accessory company, to discuss "Beauty of the Black Woman: A Conversation On The Perception of Beauty Through Time."  I am thrilled to give this presentation because the topic is so meaningful and important. 
Phalande Jean, President of the Yellow Rose Society, UM
Jennifer Pierre and Phalande Jean, Co-founders of PhaJenn,
a fashion accessories boutique.
For more information visit: http://www.phajenn.com/info/

Their company, PhaJenn, LLC, was also featured in Distraction Magazine. 
Check out the article here:  

I have given presentations for this organization as an invited speaker 
in  previous years because I love the fact that they are;
 "a community service organization of [emerging majority] women that 
strive to promote female pride by self-enrichment and social education." 
This is very much in-line with Natural Is Cool Enough as the goal of this 
Blog is to do the same.  

For more information about the Yellow Rose Society,  check out this link: http://www6.miami.edu/studorgs/

Since many N.I.C.E. readers are not in the city of Miami and are reading from other cities, states and countries and may not be able to attend, I will update you on this exciting event after it takes place.
Also, below is a list of The Yellow Rose Society's upcoming events for Women's History Month 2015,  on this fantastically creative and interesting poster.  A yellow rose has never looked so beautiful!  In the context of the event for which I will serve as the Featured Speaker (see flyer above), be sure that amongst the discussion of beauty of Black women inside and out, over time, I will also talk about the beauty of Black women's hair because without a doubt, Natural IS Cool Enough and of course that's N.I.C.E.!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Health Disparities and Hair Product-Related Breast Cancer Risk for Black Women: A N.I.C.E. Report on Information You Want to Know!

Recently, I was a Keynote Speaker at the 7th Annual Health Disparities Conference at Teachers College (TC) Columbia University.   Overall, it was an outstanding event and I appreciated the opportunity to speak about the issue of health disparity and the convergence of social unjust factors (food injustice, mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline and prison profiteers). I also had the opportunity to hold a book signing of which many of my books were acquired.  As an alumna of TC, and the mother of a current Doctoral student at TC,  it was an honor and a privilege to participate in such a significant event.


Also, I had the opportunity to attend the poster session of this event where students, and organizations, presented their research.  Although many of the posters were compelling, the one that was very relevant to N.I.C.E., and the most interesting, was entitled "Using CBPR to Explore Community Concerns of Hair Product Related Breast Cancer Risk for Black Women" presented by Dede Kossiwa Teteh who is the Project Coordinator for Healthy Heritage Movement, which is a Health Education and Advocacy Organization, located in Riverside, California. Her poster included a sections entitled, "Our Hairstory," "The Importance of Hair in Black Culture," "Societal Influences on Hair and Identity and Reactions of potential risk of hair products to health.

For more information about this informative research contact: DedeKossiwa Teteh, MPH, CHES, Cost of Beauty-Project Coordinator, Healthy Heritage Movement: costofbeautystudy@gmail.com 

Monday, March 16, 2015

N.I.C.E. Says YES to LovingCulture: A Natural, Holistic, Beauty, Organic Product Line!

    One of the most exciting aspects of having a natural hair blog is the opportunity to find and share new, natural and healthy products for our hair. As my readers know, I am a product minimalist and have vowed to keep my bathroom counter uncluttered with products that are not necessary, unnatural and costly.  Therefore, when I find something great, I am excited and ready to share with you so here it is!  I met a young woman at the wonderful 7th Annual Health Disparities Conference (http://www.tc.columbia.edu/healthdisparitiesconference/) recently, who is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University where the conference was held in March, who also has a line of all natural products for the hair and body. She is smart, interesting and vivacious and when she talks to you about health and keeping our bodies healthy, she exudes contagious enthusiasm.  She is a young mother and began her foray into what matters for our bodies to ensure optimal health for her young son.  In that process, she used her expertise and knowledge to extend what she learned to others, through an entrepreneurial venture.  I will focus here on her hair product only as I purchased it and I'm using it, daily.  For more detail on this product and all of the others, visit this website: www.LovingCulture.com.  The Founder and CEO of LovingCulture, LLC is Mary-Andree Ardouin-Guerrier and I want us to begin by looking at her beautiful hair per her picture below:

     Her free and natural style is a clear example of beautiful, healthy and natural hair.  Don't you often wonder when you see such gorgeous and healthy hair, how was that achieved? Again, what is so great about her product is that not only did she create it for herself, but she was savvy and caring enough to make it available to others.  My daughter, who is also a TC graduate student, told me about this wonderful product, so when I arrived in NYC, I was eager to acquire it and try it.  Let me say that the results are fabulous!!!!  I believe that keeping our hair moist, naturally, is the key to length and manageability.  So with the all natural ingredients in LovingCulture's oil product for the hair, I am able to use it and keep my hair wonderfully moisturized, soft and continue with the growth that I have been experiencing of late, since I made a decision not to cut my locks again, at all.  This is the product that I purchased, "Hair Growth and Repair Oil" with a little info. about it:

I love the wonderful glass bottle (no plastic) with a dropper for ease of use. The following is contained within: 

     Seriously, with those fantastic, organic ingredients, there is no wonder that the result for my hair has been fantastic.  Every time that I use it, which is everyday at this point, I feel certain and know that I am doing something wonderful for my hair. It feels strong and moist, leading to twisting with ease and a lovely, long-lasting shine.  Consequently, this falls into the category of a product, in my minimalist approach to product use, that embodies the notion that Natural Is Cool Enough, and of course, that's N.I.C.E!  I hope you will share your experience with this product, with N.I.C.E., when you try it.   I'm sure N.I.C.E. readers would love to know your thoughts.  To order the hair oil and other products (at fantastically reasonable prices) created by LovingCulture here is the shopping link: http://www.lovingculture.com/shop/  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Health Disparities Was ATopic for The Tau Rho Oratorical Contest At UM and a Naturalista Won! : Limited Black Faculty Numbers Up For Discussion Next?

   Very soon, I will give a talk at Teachers College Columbia University.  My Keynote Speech is entitled "An Exploration of the Convergence of Unjust Factors—Health Inequities, Mass Incarceration, Prison for Profit Healthcare, the School to Prison Pipe-line and Beyond—and Culturally Competent Multidisciplinary and Community Based Approaches Towards Solutions."  For more information, the link is here for the Conference: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/healthdisparitiesconference/My new book, which I am in the process of writing, to be released in 2016, will also focus on Health disparities.  Consequently, it was perfectly appropriate and exciting, when one of my former students contacted me and asked me to judge a Tao Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Oratorical Contest about health disparities at the University of Miami, and I was thrilled to do so.   I am not a member of Delta Sigma Theta, or a member of any sorority, but nevertheless it was my honor to assist them. 
     The contestants were: 
  • Donovan Thomas 
  • Nigel Richardson 
  • Beja Turner
  • Kayla Lott

     All of the contestants were excellent so it was tough to choose but Beja really did an outstanding  job of speaking about health disparities. Nevertheless, before leaving the campus, I was advised by one of the judges to pick up the campus newspaper, the Miami Hurricane.  In it I found an article entitled Black Faculty Low: http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2015/02/22/black-faculty-numbers-low/.  Upon reading the article, I found it profoundly sad, to know that a young, Black, woman, student, along with  other Black students, who are so brilliantly talented and eager to have a culturally competent experience, at a university in which their tuition is extremely high, would be deprived of such an experience.  I found that the winner of the contest had stated the following in the article about Black faculty at UM:  “I rarely see them in any of our colleges and schools on campus outside of the Africana Studies department,” said Turner, a public relations co-chair for United Black Students (UBS). “My experience on campus has shown me that there’s a deficit in black teachers at UM.”  
     The Black faculty should at least be representative of the percentage of Black students at the University of Miami.   It is a top 50 school, #48, but so is the University of Florida, an athletic rival, and the latter is a state school, with a much lower cost of attendance and a more comprehensive physical environment, so I feel sad for the Black students who are not supported at UM by virtue of having significant numbers of Black Faculty, both women and men, to mentor, teach and serve as academic role models for them, although they are choosing to pay more, for the same or less, in terms of academics.  When I read the  Miami Hurricane article  it became clear to me that the Task Force mentioned in the article does not seem like a venture to be to optimistic about, particularly when it was stated in the article, by a Black administrator that "compared to the let's say top 50, our numbers are actually pretty good for Black faculty." This statement is shameful when most Black students at UM graduate without ever sitting in a course with a Black faculty member, as stated by Beja Turner above. Also, the article states that decisions, in terms of hiring, will still be made by the departments, rather than the task force, so therefore the status quo is the likely outcome. 
     Therefore, I close this post by praising the young Black students for their positive efforts, including the organizers of the event, the Oratorical contest participants and of course, the winner of said event, a Naturalista!  This was a clear indication that once again, Natural Is Cool Enough!  Hopefully, there will be a contest to discuss the limited number of Black Faculty at UM next.

Judges Getting Instructions