My Latest for Elle: French Hair Products For Women of Color

Here’s my latest for Elle.com:

french hair products

Aside from eating foie gras and cheese with wild abandon, I had one particular mission on a recent trip to Paris, and that was to find hair products. Now, this isn’t a particularly ground-breaking mission in the beauty capital of the world, but I was looking for hair products for women of color. In all of my years of traveling and living in Paris, I’ve never seen an article extolling the “must have” beauty products to be had in the City of Lights that acknowledges women who don’t have straight or “normal” hair, let alone the complex hair types and needs of women of color. Because of Paris’s colonial past, it is an incredibly diverse city, widely recognized by women of color as the place to go to go find hair and beauty products. So why aren’t they represented when we talk about Paris and beauty products?

Taking into account my prior experience with a leave-in conditioner recommended by a “Must Buy” guide, which left me with an empty bottle and wallet to match after two uses, I was on a mission to find affordable products, too. Before my departure, I scoured the blogs, finding a shout out or two for the usual suspect—Kérastase—which is great, until you have to pay for it in dollars. Clearly on my own in this quest, there wasn’t a Monoprix, pharmacie, or out-of-the-way beauty shop uptown that I missed. I journaled and Excel’d beauty products and their end results with a focus that’s equally vain and admirable, with one central aim: wanting to be represented.

beauty products

The editorial oversight is strange, because Paris is a pure treasure trove of products for women with “problematic” hair. When I went natural in college, I struggled to find affordable products that addressed my curls, which were dry and voluminous but when straightened, went flat and desperately needed dry shampoo. It was when I studied in Paris that I discovered that yes, black girls can use dry shampoo, and I found real leave-in conditioners, not left-in conditioner. Part of the reason I didn’t think I needed things like clarifying shampoos (which I now swear by) was because those products never featured women like me.

check out the rest of the article on Elle.com and the review of the products by clicking the link!

Tiffany Wants The Gays To Put a Tiffany Ring On It

gay tiffany couple

Tiffany & Co. just released a same-sex ad, quietly – or not so quietly – supporting the fight for marriage equality. Recognized in all but 14 States, same-sex marriage has become one of the cause of the “cosmopolitan and learned” set and given the high net worth of many urban dwelling, childless, educated gay couples, to not embrace this high-earning demographic is not smart or good business. It also helps that their couple is a real and all model-y.

“Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear, and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms,” a Tiffany spokesman said in an official statement to Elle. But given the conversation about the other side of LGBT rights – the epidemic of transgender violence in the States – I would have liked to have seen a couple of color, given that so much violence right now against the community is targeted towards many LGBT of color that are not White and are not solvent.

You can read more of this trend at Elle.

h/t Time

This Week’s Curator: “Funny or Die” Getting Paid, Misty Copeland Killing The Game and Black People Are “Magical”

Partly inspired by the fact that I send too many emails with articles that I think are dope, The Curator list is just basically cool and interesting articles that I’ve been paying attention throughout the week. And there’s more news in the world than just Kim Kardashian’s ass – though Kanye has been thankfully quiet as of late. And I’m not giving Piers anymore HTML. And if you missed it, you should check out the roundtable of Black leaders in tech today.

misty copeland

Misty Copeland Takes The Lead in “Swan Lake
Homegirl is gunning for that New York Ballet principal role. Misty will take the lead, with Brooklyn Hunt (Black ballet is FLOURISHING this week) as the Prince/baé in the Washington Ballet’s run. I haven’t been to D.C. in years but a trip may be in order for this. Begins in April. (Also, ignore that post-racial wishful thinking line of “effectively shatter shatter the all-white stereotype of ‘Swan Lake.” Let’s save that line when Misty is not the exception to the rule, hmmkay?)

Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Say Media Sells Off xoJane (it’s time though) And a Few Others
So, apparently, this publishing and writing good content thing is hard and the business of advertising is even harder. Say word? But on the other hand…

want a network

Video Site Funny or Die looks at $300 Million Sale
Will Ferrell is winning. It’s a good time to be in the business of comedy, content and if you’re really good, both.  Rumor has it that The Onion is up for sale too. Though the helm says that they’re “just looking into” their options, (but as no one hires an investment bank to do a little window shopping), should we just go ahead and send them a congratulations tweet? Looking forward to think pieces about this possible sale.


The Dream of The 90’s is Not Alive in Delia*s
Your 90s crushed velvet dresses and rose tinted sunglasses are dying a slow death. New York Magazine takes a look. Real quick though : did their shorts and pants have not THEE WORST CUT OF ALL TIME? And when recently I found out it was started by a pair of men, I then understood. Could that have been the one of their biggest issues, that women weren’t in the core of Delia’s business DNA from the beginning? Could this be a cautionary tale for other companies started for women by men that “x” women out of the brand and product building? (Okay, that wasn’t real quick, but you know how it is.)

margaret cho

All-American Girl at 20: The Evolution of Asian Americans on Television
Back in the day, I loved Margaret Cho. She had the best choker and blue jean vest collection. And it’s a shame that Fresh Off The Boat is the first show in 20 years to tap into the Asian American experience. This is an excellent essay about the landmark show and what its legacy means in a time where Asians are one of the fastest growing population segments and they are virtually absent from representation in the media, television and film. And if you didn’t know, now you know: the pilot show

It’s 2014, But White People Still Think Black People Are “Magical”
A study shows that “Whites tended to associate black faces with the far-out word group (superhuman, ghosts, magical, mystical) suggesting that “whites appear to super humanize blacks implicitly.” Not surprisingly was also associated with a decreased perception of pain in Black people. (i.e., excessive police force, Black children over-punished in schools, the myth of the Always Strong Black Woman, etc.) Post-racial though.

amy sall

Vogue Found Inspiration in My Own Elle Piece
Okay, that’s definitely not the title of their piece, but I thought it was worth including for two reasons. A.) It’s a really cool profile of a very stylish woman Amy Sall that’s giving life and lessons about fashion and proper appreciation versus appropriation. And b.) I’ve had really amazing conversations with a few editors from these magazines and have seen a number of articles come out addressing this habitual problem in fashion after my own came out and I’m proud of that and of pushing important conversations forward. Vogue has been one of the worst and repeat offenders of this problem, so this is a step in the right direction for them. And Amy is one stylish woman. Her Instagram is ON. FLEEK.

Growing Up With ADHD

“The way I describe it is that it’s like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes.” This is a great read and series that Time is doing on ADHD, exploring the cultural debates about the disorder, why there’s a rise of diagnoses in the South and the positives and limitations of ADHD medication. Highly recommend this one.

craig watkins

The D.O.J. is Officially Auditing Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins
In this continued discourse of how Grand Juries and District Attorney offices fail to pursue and uphold justice, this is a big one. Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins, who recently lost his bid for re-election, has also lost access to the the federal forfeiture funds assets due to “non-compliance” Watkins, a rumored alcoholic, also used money from the fund to pay for a settlement after Watkins rear-ended another vehicle. In the 8 years that he has been D.A., Watkins has also never indicted a police office for the shooting or killing an unarmed citizen. For context, Dallas alone has had over 21 unarmed citizens shot in 2014, six alone in August.

“Indian Country” Offers Last View of Native Plain Life
This is so cool and so sad. This exhibit is in Kansas City, but well worth the read.


Want To Stay Married? Marry Someone Your Age
“The study shows…a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely.” To paraphrase Johnny Taylor, it’ll be cheaper to keep her. Or him. Or at least easier. (Check out that song though.)

Because America.

Have a great weekend, see y’all next week!

This Week in The Curator: Blackface, Tim Cook and Hello Kitty

Hey. So, I’ve come up with this idea to create a curated list of news articles that are interesting and relevant – ten or so – that caught my attention through the week. Over the past few months, these past few weeks in general, I’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback with regards to content and curation seems to be a common thread.

The name might change as it expands, the date, even the list, but either way that it goes, it’s another feature that I’ll continue working on. As always, feel free to email your thoughts at themarooncolony@gmail.com or tweet them to me @chaedria.

So, in no particular order:

I. The Street Harassment Video That Everyone is Talking About
But I’m not sure that they should, at least, as accurate example of street harassment. While it definitely brings up some very important and valid issues, it also brings up its fair share of problems, mainly that the White men in the video have totally omitted. But I’ll let you judge that.

II. Tim Cook Officially Comes Out
What’s been an open secret at Apple and Silicon Valley for years has now been publicly confirmed and embraced by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. No one has to feel that they should be forced to come out of the closet, but I can’t help but to wonder how this is going to be so amazing for so many LGBT kids, teens and adults who have feared that their sexuality would prevent them from reaching their potential and dreams. This is just all around great news for everyone.

III. She Has a Name – Afrikka Hardy
This story struck me so deeply. Afrikka Hardy, 19, was strangled in a Motel 6 by a serial killer last Friday. This kid was a baby. A baby. She was allegedly meeting Darren Vann for arranged sex when he strangled her after she refused to perform an unspecified sexual act. I know there are other women who’ve been killed – some of whom haven’t been identified yet – and I’m not privileging her life over theirs. But who are we to judge the decisions that people have to make in order to survive in this very harsh and unforgiving world? Her family is raising funds to give her a proper memorial; if you have it to give, please do so. I did.

IV. “We work hard at being last”: How The Poorest, Sickest State In The Union, Mississippi, Got Left Behind by Obamacare
Mississippi, goddamn. This is an excellent piece about the state of healthcare in Mississippi and how a history of racism and classism and political corruption keeps the nation with the highest mortality rates and lowest literacy rates continues to be the land that progress seems to miss.

V. History, Halloween and Blackface
This should be self-explanatory, the offensive nature and history of Blackface, but, here we are America. Because trends, no matter how disturbing, never happen in a vacuum.

VI. Halloween Butterbeer Cupcakes
Given all of the Blackface that abounds lately, this is a new Halloween tradition that I think we should all get behind instead. Inspired by the Harry Potter books, this is a recipe that calls for butterscotch and hipster craft beer for the 21 and over crowd. Looks like fun!

VII. Have Several Seats: Gawker Tries to Call Queen Latifah Out For Cancelling Cosby Interview
Just in case you haven’t heard, lots of people are calling out Bill Cosby’s possible rapist past and apparently, Queen Latifah wasn’t here for it, giving an alleged rapist a platform and all. Naturally, those assholes over at Gawker got upset. Despite the fact that Gawker too is a media outlet and can jockey for the same interview, instead they decided to allow a man to tell a woman how she should respond to someone who has a history of at least allegations of disrespecting women. I’ll let y’all decide.

VIII. A Poem From a 17-Year-Old Tupac
Just cause.

IX. Hello Kitty Takes Over L.A. in Museum Exhibit
And to boot, a Hello Kitty Convention that runs until November 2nd in downtown L.A. Bonus: the valid debate over whether Hello Kitty is a cat or a girl.

X: Off Color: Issa Rae
A great look into the digital world of Issa Rae, famous for creating Awkward Black Girl and her quest to bring the experiences of quirky characters of color to the screen.

XI. Timberlands, Twitter and Throwbacks
And of course, an article by yours about the Timberland boot, why it’s not a “new” trend and why it’s important to include the history in the narrative of a trend.

XII. The Friendship of Toni Morrison and Angela Davis
Did you know that Toni Morrison was Angela Davis’s mentor? Did you know that Morrison edited Davis’s autobiography? I did not. A fascinating look at the friendship and professional relationship of two of the most dynamic women in modern American history.