Watch this love letter to Brown Girls

This short film is an artistic interpretation of a black girls response to cornrows being renamed as ‘boxer braids’. The anchor point of the film is cultural appropriation but it expands much wider than that – it isn’t about taking a stance as a victim, it is about reclaiming our place and not being afraid to take up space. 

Moments in the film reflect the resilience that is built in black girls from the day they are born – as they must learn to grow in a system that was built to destroy them. Other moments reflect a softness, a sisterhood, and a sensualness.

There is an overwhelming sense of sisterhood, one that expels the idea that women must compete with one another, or the idea that only one woman can win at a time. Instead the film sees the girls come together, as a unified front, walking fearlessly towards a future that belongs to them.

Watch Future First below:


Tutorial: Straighten Natural Type 4 Hair

Straightening natural hair can be seen as mission impossible especially for naturals with Type 4 hair. We have been fed the narrative that our hair cannot get silky straight because of its kinky and coarse texture. Last year I went to the hair salon to straighten my hair; I done a treatment to ensure that it was silky straight. This year I decided to straighten it myself because I had such a bad experience at the salon.


Read my top techniques below to get your curly hair straight without any heat damage:

  • Deep Condition – after you clarify your hair using a shampoo, deep conditioning is the next important step. I condition then deep condition for an hour or so, depending on how much time I have to catch up on my favourite shows!


  • Use oil and heat protectant – adding oil to your hair would keep your hair lightweight whilst also adding body and shine. The heat protectant I used was from Beautiful Textures line.


  • Blow Dry – using low heat is a great way to prevent heat damage.




  • Use the chase method or detangle thoroughly before straightening – the chase method can be a bit tricky, so I decided to detangle my hair before using the flat iron.


  • Flat iron in small sections – because type 4 hair is very coarse, it is best to work in small sections to give you a silky finish.


  • Use a ceramic straightener- ensure that the temperature is low to avoid heat damage, mine was at 230 degrees. This was pretty low as our hair can withstand up to 350 degrees of heat.


Watch my video below for the products and method that I used:

Not Another Rose

He told me I was a magnetic rose

That grew from concrete

As if his overused Tupac reference 

Would impress me, 

He rubbed his fingertips against my arms,

Bragging about my soft skin

Oh, I’m sorry, he called my limbs petals

Said my words were the thorns

Because I quickly dismissed him

But HE still saw my beauty

So he doesn’t mind me playing

Hard to get

As if my existence, my value

Depends on his metaphorical approval

And him capturing me, joining his bouquet

Yet, never seeing what was behind the rose,

A woman. A Black woman. 

Mother Nature, A creator

Does he not see the billions of children

Released from my womb

Does he not see his mother’s mother’s mother’s

Turmoil in the fields

Our melanin darkened by an unforgiving sun

That a world connected to ugliness

And Mama Maya reminded us to Rise

Still, he doesn’t see the life risks

The sacrifices, the reason

For everyone’s existence

I am more than a rose

I am your provider, your strength

Your pride, your honor

Your lifeline, your reason

I am who you should thank

We raised you when men like you left

We loved you when you didn’t love yourself

We carried you before you came to existence

And we’ll watch over you when our souls are lifted

So excuse me if I missed your attempt at a compliment

But I’m not a rose that grew from concrete

I’m the woman that planted the field.

By Taryn Nicole Biggs

The Future is Female in Hip-Hop

 The future is female – isn’t something that just looks trendy on a t-shirt. Feminism isn’t a fad that people can subscribe to then dispose of whenever they feel it is no longer ‘cool.’

Whether this era is truly one for women is yet to be discovered, with two leading women in the rap game, becoming pioneers in their own right. Conquering firsts, and solidifying themselves in history

Nicki Minaj and Cardi B have bulldozed their way to the top of the rap game, they maximised their femininity through sex appeal but didn’t let it shy them away from making ‘money moves.’

Cardi B is the latest female rapper on every lips, she was even dubbed the hottest rapper in NYC by Revolt. After her chart topping success from single ‘Bodak Yellow’, Cardi B became known as the first solo female rap act to top the Billboard charts since Lauryn Hill, in 1998. Her glow up is the new American Dream, being picked up from the street of the South Bronx and thrown into fame and wealth.

The fairytale-like story is similar to Nicki Minaj’s, although her come-up story seems a lot further away now with her consecutive chart winnings acting as a lodge between her present and previous life.

2010 marked the release of Nicki Minaj’s first album Pink Friday – the puns, grit and catchy hooks catapulted her as the new queen of rap- a title that she has maintained for a decade now. At the start of her career Minaj was invited to rap on many prolific artists from Madonna to Justin Bieber. Yet it was her track with Kanye West, “Monster” that really proved she was a force to be reckoned with. Nicki Minaj has reigned supreme, fighting off any battles that have threatened her reign. Until this date Cardi B’s recent chart topping success has been the only thing that shook the Nicki Minaj dynasty.

The history of hip-hop teaches us that only one woman can reign supreme at a time, and that there must be beef between the existing queen and the one on the come up. These unwritten rules are encouraged by a matriarchal society which feeds into pitting women against each other.

This notion materialized recently when Remy Ma ignited beef with Nicki Minaj in March earlier this year. Nicki Minaj responded by releasing three songs “No Frauds”, “Regret in Your Tears” and “Changed It”. The tracks crowned her as being the woman with the most Billboard Hot 100 hits of all time, her 76 entries beating out Aretha Franklin’s former record of 73.

Releasing dis-tracks isn’t new to the game; it is imprinted in Hip-hop culture. Hip-Hop is rooted in beef, and some of the most historical moments in the culture prove this. A lot of hip-hop heads were feigning for Cardi B to release a track about Minaj, but the two continues to deny a beef between them. Both rappers have risen up above the idea that women must tear each other down in order to get to the top, a theory that is riddled in sexist assumption.

On the contrary if we look at the leading males in the rap game today, there isn’t a slim line for all of them to exist within. J.Cole, Drake and Kendrick Lamar can all co-exist without any animosity or overt competition between them. Separately they are all kings in their own right, and musically they have evolved into their own lanes where comparison no longer takes precedence.

Yet we have never seen what it is like for two women, in their prime to achieve consecutive wins without being pitted together. We have never seen what it is like for females in Hip-hop to rise up above the notion that there can be only one queen.

Cardi B’s win signalled a shift in culture and a new American dream- one that champions and includes the marginalised. Women once existed without a voice but today women are leading conversations. This is especially significant in Hip-Hop – a world where women are openly objectified and degraded.

If the future of hip-hop is female, we can encourage a future generation of boss women; and we can dislodge the idea that only one woman can succeed at a time. Young girls need to recognise the importance of supporting instead of competing with one another.

Nicki Minaj’s time is far from up, she just hit a decade of continuous wins, and Cardi B is just starting her winning streak. Can the rap game make an exception for two rap queens?

-By Naomi Grant

Wearing my Natural Hair to a job interview

I remember the first time I went for an interview feeling relaxed about my natural hair. I remember being nervous and wondering how I would be received. Would the interviewer spend more time looking at my hair than listening to my answers? I had my hair tied in two afro buns. As I sat waiting for my interviewer to join me I felt both of the bands snap! Now I think of this as divine intention because suddenly and unprepared I had a full Afro out, unconfined and unapologetic. Even after all the worrying, there she was and there was nothing I could do about it!
I remember panicking for a few seconds and then thinking this is completely out of my control! There’s no point panicking and throwing myself off track to worry about my hair which I adore so much or I wouldn’t be growing it. Anyway… did I really want to work for someone who was willing to see my hair over my qualifications, skill and intelligence? Nope.
The door opened and another sign from the universe… my interviewer was a black man with short natural hair! At this point I was genuinely relaxed about my hair and concentrating on making the best impression I could. I had decided that whoever walked through that door, I was ready to impress!
Have you ever been getting ready for a job interview (or any important event) and thought so hard about what you were going to do with your hair? How you can make it PRESENTABLE? How you can make others feel RELAXED about your hair? How you were going to make the conversation about you and not your hair?

I certainly have and I felt that way because of the texture discrimination that goes on within our natural hair community.
The intense and heavy message I carried around for YEARS in my mind and on my scalp was rooted in texture discrimination. The idea that the texture of my hair was not beautiful or good enough to be on the cover of magazines, in an advert, on a model or anywhere that other people would have to see it was so deeply buried into my mind-set that I became immune to the idea of texture discrimination. I didn’t even realise I was being discriminated against. My first reaction as a child was to try to make it more like the hair that people wanted to see rather than using my beautiful hair to represent what I wanted the world to see and who I am regardless of their unachievable beauty standards set out for everyone but me.
I have to cut myself some slack though, after all I was a child. Children are easily influenced. This is why having these conversations now is so important. I hope that one day a little black girl buying a magazine would look up and see herself. I hope that she’ll feel that she is represented, important and beautiful… but it’s going to take more than a magazine to achieve this!

Watch New Documentary: Kinks And Curls uncover truths about Texture Discrimination within the natural hair community.

By AfroGlory


What is Good Hair?

The topic of ‘good hair’ is often debated within the brown community. Those who typically qualify for this category tend to have 3C to 4C hair. New documentary Kinks and Curls looks at texture discrimination within the natural hair community.

In my opinion, good hair is healthy hair. But in the eyes of society, good hair is straight, sleek, and easy to tame – apparently everything that afro hair is not.

Growing up, I was always made to feel as though straight hair was better than afro hair. Afro hair was out of control and hard to tame. Back then, your hair defined you and your hair meant that you would be perceived in a certain way. To put it simply, straight hair meant good hair and natural hair meant bad hair. Because of this I grew up seeing my hair as difficult and problematic.

I had a lot of experiences with many people trying to police my hair and the styles I done with it. But I reached a point where I thought “Why can’t I do what I want with my hair?” I don’t like being told what to do.

I’ve also had challenges where people touched my hair without your consent, and when employers deem it as ‘unprofessional’ and ‘unsuitable for work’.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve accepted my hair for what it is and I embrace it. My afro hair is beautiful. My afro hair is soft, shiny and sleek. My afro hair is healthy. My afro hair is my crown and I wear it with pride, esteem and happiness, and nothing and no-one will ever change that.

So what is good hair?

Good hair is beautiful hair, regardless of type, texture and style.


By Chichi Ogwe

Find ChiChi on her blog here.

There is More Than One Way to Embrace Your Natural Hair

Light skinned women with loose curls are hijacking the natural hair movement. Huge hair care brands seem to endorse this biased image, that excludes the dark skinned woman with 4C hair. So just how revolutionary is the natural hair movement, if it only celebrates one type of natural? New documentary, Kinks and Curls delves into the politics of black hair as girls and women celebrate the different type of natural that isn’t always at the forefront of the movement.

The natural hair movement started when black women began to put down the relaxers. The iconic Black Panther afro circulated the black community, and black women refused to live their lives according to the European beauty standards. The same European beauty standards that the Europeans themselves couldn’t even live up to.

The natural hair movement was for the black women who grew up hearing “nappy”, “picky”, “unprofessional” and “untidy” on a daily basis. The movement was for the black women who were told that their natural hair, the hair that grows tall and strong is inappropriate. The need to survive, work or go to school in peace required a lot of black women to relax and straighten their hair. Women began to use wigs and weaves to blend into society, the same society that wouldn’t even class them as human.

Obviously not all light skinned, mixed race women with loose curls lived a life free from discrimination, abuse and ignorant comments. However it isn’t a bad thing to admit that, me a lighter skinned woman has some sort of privilege. I can admit that with ease because it doesn’t take anything away from my blackness, I am not less black, I am not immune to discrimination, however I am aware that my skin tone and hair type is the archetype for the black woman in the eyes of the media.

My hair takes to products well and I can achieve curly hair styles without much effort. This is something I have only recently started to pay attention to.

 I didn’t pay attention to the “your hair is so nice like that”, “how did you get your hair curly like that” comments.

I make a conscious effort to encourage women and men to explore their hair and to respect and love their hair as it is. Once you begin to focus on your hair, you begin to appreciate it; when it’s in “doodoo” plaits, when your satin scarf comes off whilst you’re sleeping, when your braid out comes out wrong and when you haven’t detangled your mane. Those moments that were once disasters or bad hair days become moments of laughter and creativity.

There is too much history within natural hair movement, for it to be ignored. Yes the natural hair movement is inclusive, but people and brands seem to be very specific about what naturals to show to the public.

Do you still love and appreciate your hair without the curl enhancing creams?

The natural hair scene has such variety; there are so many colours, lengths, textures and densities. There shouldn’t be a bias to a specific texture, length or skin tone. Your hair doesn’t need to curl a certain way in order for it to be classed as good hair day. Change the way to think and talk about your hair. If a larger variety of naturals are shown more, the natural hair scene will reflect what is being celebrated.

By Saabirah Lawerence

Find Saabirah on: Blogspot, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Being a superwoman, doesn’t mean you cannot cry sometimes.

From one brown woman, to thousands of brown girls

It’s been a while since the Strong Black Woman narrative has been exposed for its problematic nature. It robs women of the right of being vulnerable and denies the strength in vulnerability. Yet what happens when we have internalised this narrative, and it is no longer the world telling us to be strong all the time but ourselves?

Kamaria Fleary is a graduate with a Masters Degree and a Bachelors degree in Psychology. She is a millennial woman with a mission to get young women to talk about their mental health and wellbeing. Her company works to overcome regressive narratives such as the SBW by providing a series of fun and forward-thinking programs and workshops. Kamaria is passionate in helping women of colour achieve personal growth, self love and success. With her work she proves that strength comes in all different guises, and allowing ourselves to shed tears as brown women, can be as refreshing as a baptism.

Black feminism for me is saying that I do not have to choose between identifying with my race and identifying with my gender.

-Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.

I decided to create this space as it was a way to share my love for psychology and personally help people in a fun, free and de-stigmatising way. It was born from a series of conversations that I was having with various friends whom I then realised were all talking about similar struggles stemming from the black experience. Having also worked in the NHS on an in-patient psychiatric ward, it suddenly dawned on me that such smaller problems – if gone untalked about and I acknowledged – could possibly result in much more problematic mental health and wellbeing.

-What made you decide to take up a career in psychology?

It all began with me studying psychology at A-Level. I was captivated by how broad the field is and how it draws on such a range of areas from neuroscience to child development to cognition to evolution. I was pretty much interested in the vast amount of perspectives to explain how we develop and behave as human beings and how these different approaches can be used to help people in a variety of areas in their life – from relationships, to childhood trauma to mental health, to learning disability.

I remember initially wanting to be a journalist, because I loved to write, but psychology provided me with all the interesting perspectives to write and talk about. That was kind of how my blog was born – writing about my own personal growth through psychological perspectives. Then I found out that you can also earn the title of “Dr” through becoming a charted psychologist and I knew that would be convincing enough to keep my education-passionate dad happy.

-Can you give us a brief explanation on black feminism and what it means to you?

For me, black feminism is the acknowledgement of intersectionality. Intersectionality is a term coined by the wonderful Kimberle Crenshaw (whom I had an opportunity to meet at BBC 100 women’s ‘does feminism include you’ event). It is the idea that our identities are multifaceted and nobody fits into any one box. I think for a long time the perception was that you are Black first before you are a woman. These ideas emerged due to racism taking such precedence in the history of the United States, the UK and many countries around the world.

Black feminism for me is saying that I do not have to choose between identifying with my race and identifying with my gender; and acknowledging that sometimes both of those elements often interact to create a unique experience of its own. It is acknowledging that there is inequality in the feminism movement which is supposed to be about fighting for equality.

kamaria 2.jpgimage from: kamariafleary

In my programs I share these psychology research findings in a simple and fun way to help other people see that there is science to support the ideas around “black girl magic.”

-How did you find out about black feminism?

I feel like I was always aware of black feminism, but it was only in the recent few years where I felt like I discovered a name for this thing I was experiencing. I would say that I got re-introduced to it through my women of colour coffee club when I was undertaking my Masters at UCL. I was the only black person in my whole faculty and I was looking for that space to meet other Black students.

Through this club put on by the Students Union, we all talked about our experiences and I was at first puzzled by a lot of the terminology thrown about such as “intersectionality” and then I did my research for myself and discovered Kimberle Crenshaw’s work. It was also the year where Beyoncé dropped the Lemonade Album which basically gave even more meaning and understanding to everything I had been reading.

-You are very much about empowering women and ‘helping them blossom into their best selves’, you say on your website ‘it’s time to start loving you…’ how did you get there yourself?

I am still getting there to be honest! It’s an on-going project. Life will throw things at you just when you think you got it all figured out. I was always brought up to have a strong sense of pride and to value natural beauty and have a high level of self-belief. But there were times when I doubted that, there were times when I questioned myself and let the inner critic get the best of me. I learned to get here by learning to stand up for myself, by believing in who I am and knowing that I am enough in everything I do.

I got tired of the code-switching – pretending to be one person at work and one person with my loved ones. I just decided that I was going to be Kamaria 100% of the time and whoever didn’t like it – oh well that would be their problem. Reading a lot of psychology literature helped me a lot too. Especially literature surrounding ethnic identity. I wrote my dissertation on the benefits and protective elements of ethnic identification and finding that it was positively associated with academic achievement, high self-esteem and being protective against race-related stress, I knew that this was something I had to stop being so afraid of showing off in the working world.

In my programs I share these psychology research findings in a simple and fun way to help other people see that there is science to support the ideas around “black girl magic.”



We spend far too much time worrying about working for other people and meeting all these demands and we need to put as much of that effort into ourselves.

-Mental health is still a taboo in the black community, despite many efforts to change it, how do you tackle this?

I tackle this by simply talking to people about it in such a causal or even in a fun way. In my blog I’m very open about my own self-doubt, my own worries and fears and I talk openly about how these ways of thinking had affected the way I feel about myself. I recognise that my experiences may not have had such detrimental effects on my wellbeing as per say someone suffering with schizophrenia, but it’s letting people know that we all struggle in some way that helps to break down the barriers.

Many people are surprised that I talk so honestly and openly about personal experiences and I think that is the first step in removing stigma. In the Black community the idea of being “strong” has been well intended to be a positive attribute to us, but this hasn’t allowed people the space to be human and sometimes say -“today I cannot be strong, today I need to cry, I cannot do it today or tomorrow or even next week.”

However, I do feel that in the present movement we are creating these spaces and it is only a matter of time before the stigma has to stop. I also worked for a period of time in community psychiatric services in Ghana, West Africa and it opened me up to the way that mental health stigma manifests in different ways. For some, just being a mental health professional came with its own stigma, so we can only imagine the stigma placed upon the patients.

However I do think that we do have to also recognise our resilience as a people and be proud of how much adversity we have withstood and learn more about those coping strategies in our community that have also allowed us to have a strong sense of wellbeing and determination.

-What top tips can you give our readers on how to reach the best version of themselves?

Always make time to work on you. You have to be a project for your own self. We spend far too much time worrying about working for other people and meeting all these demands and we need to put as much of that effort into ourselves. Don’t be afraid of facing those inner troubles, experiences and deep rooted feelings. Once you unpack them and acknowledge them, then you can soon work out a way of managing them.

My second piece of advice would be to find out what it is you truly value and that will inform who you are and how you respond to things that are not in alignment with your values. Once you know who you are it’s so much easier to say no to things that do not serve you and focus on engaging yourself in the things that you deserve.

My last tip is to face your fears and stop being afraid. Challenge yourself, undertake new experiences that are going to help you think differently and give you the confidence to develop your passions and yourself. I feel that fear is one of the biggest causes self-defeat and everything always comes down to mindset first and foremost.

“High school will be the best years of your life”

If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that the statement above is telling only half the truth. High school, in some ways, is important. You are exposed to a variety of personalities and with those personalities, a variety of conflict arises. In constant conflict, you learn how to communicate. Or at least, that is what I got from high school. At this moment, I am reminded of a senior quote that one of my peers had said. It went, “you never know how strong you are until you have been tested.” That statement should be more popular than the one that tells us high school is our pinnacle of happiness. My whole schooling experience, I visualize, was like a huge standardized test. Each year flowed past like the turning of packet’s page. Senior year was fittingly the written portion.

It is hard to fathom that I could spend four years in an institution and gather no real life insight from the classes I have taken. I have learned more out of class, if anything. Let’s begin with my first lesson- introductions matter. I came into my school thinking it would mirror the lives of those protagonist I have seen in the movies and television shows. Freshmen year hosted a lot of 8th grade angst that somehow poured over from my transitional summer and rudeness stemming from my unjustified anger.

Sophomore year was the time of realization. I realized that I had wanted to change and here is where lesson two comes about. You are what you perceived yourself as being. Unknown to me, the abuse I had dealt with in my freshmen year had left scares underneath my skin and as my skin shed with renewal, the scares stood prominently. This was the year where my body dysmorphia had sky rocketed and I felt as though I was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. It is strange looking back on it because I don’t think I had ever let any of my issues show.

I had been keen at codeswitching, feeding people what they wanted to hear and see. It was around the middle of the school year when I realized that I could no longer be a chameleon and had to find myself. Better said than done, I suppose. My reputation was determined for me at that point, freshmen year being the “write your name here” portion of the test. For so long I lived with what was given to me, be the person that everyone believed I was and who I was trying to make myself out to be.

Junior year, the major lesson I learned was to embrace my own change. Sophomore year I realized I had a problem and junior year was the time I needed to correct said problem. I became nicer, more respective of my peer’s feelings. I started to embrace my appearance. This is was a new beginning.

And now we are here. Senior year, where I am currently anticipating graduation. I would like to say that everything is fine and dandy, but that would be the greatest lie I have ever told. My body dysmorphia has its flare ups and I have taken on some situational depression, but nothing I can’t handle.  A lesson I have learned thus far is that there is no exact happy ending, not in high school. There is only progression.

By Morgan Dezum


Thank you Morgan for sharing your voice with us. If you would like to share yours email us at for a chance to be featured on the website.

5 Tips to ensure Healthy Natural hair under wigs


Wigs to a black girl is like a basketball to Jordan. It is the enabler that allows us to be Solange on one day and Beyoncé the next. Whether your hair is relaxed or natural, one thing we all own as black girls (other than a comb) is a wig. Wigs do more than keep your co-workers guessing which of your hairstyles are real, it is also a great protective style for when you want to reduce manipulation to your hair. However, it is important to not become complacent with wigs, and throw your hair routine out the window. Below I share with you my top tips to maintaining the health of your hair, whilst wearing a wig.

1. Moisturize – this is particularly important when wearing a protective style because your stands are hidden in conrows or braids. Using water-based sprays that can penetrate the braids would add the daily moisture your hair needs. Depending on your hair type, you might need to moisturize your hair more frequently, but typically once a day or every other day is a good amount.

2. Massage the scalp – massaging your scalp frequently stimulates growth as it encourages blood flow. It is best to do this with an oil that also stimulates growth and soothes the scalp.

3. Co-wash weekly- co-washing is a great and easy way to add moisture to your hair. It cuts a wash-day in half, yet still produces the same results. This is also a great time to add direct moisture to your ends outside of the cornrows.

4. Let your hair breathe- If your anything like me, you take off your wig as soon as you enter the front door! Throughout the day wearing a wig can become irritable, especially in this weather, so it is nice to give your hair some air until the morning.

5. Don’t over lay your edges- laying your edges has become a phenomenon, and leaving your house without an S-Shaped swirl in your sideburns is a big problem. But overusing gels can affect your edges and cause tension to your baby hairs. It is best to use an edge control instead, or dare and go outside without laying your edges!
If you want more tips on how to take care of your hair after you take out your cornrows, check out my video below: