Ladies, let's exercise our rights! Let's vote, and, um, other stuff lol

tell me why this video made me wanna sweat??

Black women, still spending

Where Do Most Black Women Spend Their Money?
By Daryl C. Hannah

Mounting pressure from a tight economy has most Americans changing their spending habits on everything from education to healthcare needs. But there is one group that remains steadfast in its spending habits despite the crumbling economy: Black women.

According to a new study by ING, as much as 68 percent of Black women say they buy what they want in a good or bad economy.. A staggering 41 percent say they feel guilty about how much they spend on expensive brands.

"What we have here is a financial perfect storm," says Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING's Office of Corporate Citizenship & Responsibility. "An inclination to spend combined with an extraordinary desire to help others financially has left many Black women behind the curve in terms of savings."

The study, which asked 1,000 professional Black women and 454 non-Black professional women about their spending habits, found that 40 percent of Black women shop to cheer themselves up. Black women are also more likely to shop impulsively.

"For some Black women, excessive spending makes the road to long-term financial security even longer," Mims says. "To an extraordinary degree, Black women consider themselves trendsetters and centers of influence. Opinion-leading has its price."

Some accounts view the issue slightly differently. "A lot of these purchases are made on credit," says She-Lia Henry, controller for DiversityInc and president of the southern New England Westchester Chapter of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). "And when things are bought on credit, you don't take the economy into consideration."

Henry hasn't bought anything for herself in more than two months. But her selfless spending is not unusual. Black women are also contributing healthily to their families and religious institutions.

More than half of the Black women surveyed say they've lent $500 or more to friend or to family in the last year; one-third say they've loaned upwards of $1,000.

"Black women's sense of obligation to community and family is both extraordinary and commendable," Mims says. "But when you are pulled in so many directions financially, something or someone has to pay the price. For Black women, it appears their financial well-being suffers."

Unfortunately, that sense of obligation has adversely affected Black women's ability to save.

Among the Black women surveyed, 66 percent say they own a retirement account, compared to 79 percent of all other women; 28 percent say they own individual stocks and bonds, compared with 52 percent of all other women; and 23 percent say they own mutual funds, compared with 39 percent of all other women.

"Many were not taught good financial habits," says Henry. "The African-American community spends more than any other ethnic group." For many Blacks, budgeting is either not a high priority or is not done correctly.

Among those surveyed, 72 percent of Black women said they strongly agreed with the statement "I wish I had learned more about money and investing growing up."

It's unclear whether recent Wall Street events will curb spending habits for Black women, especially as some 85,000+ face unemployment. But if there is a change, according to some analysts, it won't be from an expensive brand to a generic brand--it will be from an expensive brand to nothing at all.

That independence question

An interesting post from one of the Baltimore Sun's blogs:

Like someone else I know (whistles, looks around), Jeniece over at Single is the New Relationship remarks she's been slacking on her blog lately. But she returns with an interesting question. She initially as if being alone is really that bad, but it morphs into a question about independence:
When did all of this relationship stuff get so damn complicated? When did we become enemies of ourselves and of each other’s sex? What happens to a world filled with people who pretty much say, “I can do bad all by myself” or “I’m much better off alone”? ... [is being alone] just a reflection of our bitterness toward each other as human beings? OK: Woman got too independent. Men stop needing us for anything more than sex. These are statements I’ve ACTUALLY heard. What do you think?
As black woman, a bell went off in my head. The question of single women being too independent seems to be a constant complaint. A cursory search reveals pieces on the subject in advice columns and church blogs. And I remember having a conversation with my uncle once, in which he declared that while he was an equal opportunity dater, in general, he said he felt he had to prove himself to more black women than others.

But it seems the question isn't just limited to black women; other advice columns and dating message boards also take up the question of single women's independence.

The shift in gender dynamics does make dating more complicated. And I do think that some women do become too independent, too skeptical of others to have a successful relationship. But I would say the same thing for some men, too -- they are too comfortable in their bachelorhood to make room for someone else.

But that's my two cents. What do you think?

Hmmm... what I think is that, in some ways, the independent stance is taken as a band-aid for emotional pain. The times when I've said "I don't need a man", "I can do bad by myself", etc etc, have stemmed from disappointments in my love life. More specifically, not interacting with the type of men I feel I'm worthy of; not being seen as the phenomenal beauty that I know I am; and not wanting to put my feelings on the line, in fear that they'll get trampled.

But we've all been there. I think the growing independence of men comes out of the same place: of not finding exactly what one is searching for. Instead of searching and searching for his ideal woman, a man will learn how to cook, learn how to keep house, and in the end, instead of continuing to put himself out there, will fall back on sexual relationships until he's ready to continue the search.

So how do you break the vicious cycle? I name it vicious for those of us who don't really desire remain single, but use the independence stance as a safety blanket. From my personal experience, being honest with yourself about what it is you really want is the key to finding that relationship. Because let's face it... our internal biology wires us to want other people. And I honestly don't believe we're meant to be alone, but that today's society supports that situation.. especially for black women.

How many of us get scoffed at when we admit that we want marriage and a family? Part of it comes from being honest with yourself, but other aspects include the courage to not care what others think (i.e. pulling away from the 'bad by myself' pack), the perserverance to keep playing the dating game when faced with less-than-stellar prospects, and the tenacity to not settle for what it is you really want. In the end, we'd all be much happier if we were true to our own hearts.

*Standing Ovation*

Its about time someone said something about dude, besides "you're a musical genius".

I couldn't bring myself to watch the R. Kelly interview.. still can't listen to his music and was faithfully following the farce of a trial (I posted it on here). Every time someone dismisses R. Kelly's actions, it gets under my skin.. its like they're condemning another black girl to live in the dark, in shame, b/c of a nasty man and the black community's refusal to stand up for the black female.

More on black models in fashion

FEW BLACK MODELS USED IN FASHION WEEK: The saga continues at recently-wrapped shows in NY.

*Among the more than 30 fashion shows attended by the wire service Reuters during New York's semi-annual Fashion Week, many designers used two or three black models, several only used one, and some had zero.

Most of the shows featured between 12 and 25 models overall, Reuters reported in a story over the weekend about the continued lack of black faces on runways.

Reuters reported:

Labels Tracy Reese, DKNY and Diane von Furstenberg displayed a high number of black models this season while others, such as Vivienne Tam, did not use any.

Too few industry types are following the lead of former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella, the first to use a black model on the magazine's cover, said Tim Gunn, creative director at Liz Claiborne and co-host of Bravo television's "Project Runway." Some designers consider cultural and ethnic diversity on the runway, "but there are not enough," he said.

While the issue was once left to pioneering black models Iman and Naomi Campbell to note, attention has grown recently. This year, Vogue Italia's first "Black Issue," with more than 20 black models, created worldwide buzz and sold out.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, the U.S. industry trade group, has said it is up to the designers to establish ethnic diversity. This season, the group's president, Diane von Furstenberg, urged them to seek a diversity of models.

"Visually on the runways, it has improved," said Bethann Hardison, a 1970s African-American runway model. "But the results are still racist. You choose the same white and you never go towards the brown or the dark."

Let's Hear It For The Girls!

ESSENCE and The Sallie Mae Fund Award $25,000 to 'Generation Next' Scholarship Winners

Five outstanding young African-American women will each receive a $5,000 scholarship

Last update: 1:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 16, 2008
NEW YORK, Sep 16, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ESSENCE Magazine and The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, today announced the five winners of the "Generation Next" $25,000 scholarship competition. Each of these young African-American women will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from The Sallie Mae Fund, will attend the first-annual ESSENCE Young Women Leadership Conference and will be featured in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine.

The winners are: Ariel Lopez of Greenville, N.C., attending East Carolina University; Janae Nicole Davis of Rochester, N.Y., attending Whittier College; Kamaya Thompson of Chicago, attending Illinois Wesleyan University; Kendra Branch of Smithfield, Va., attending Norfolk State University; and Nadia Dalanne Wallace of Burlington, N.J., attending Georgetown University. From nearly 1,000 entries, these five outstanding women were selected based on their academic record, financial need, and essays, which asked what they would do to prepare themselves for a successful career while in college.

"ESSENCE is proud to salute these gifted young women," says Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief, ESSENCE. "We're happy to reward their hard work and dedication, along with The Sallie Mae Fund, with a scholarship and opportunities that will put them one step closer to achieving their destiny."

Scholarship winner Ariel Lopez, from Greenville, N.C., is a first-generation college student active in community service projects who is pursuing a career in government at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. "College embodies a way for me to become successful and give back to the community," she says.

Janae Nicole Davis, of Rochester, N.Y., claims her disability helped make her all the more motivated to achieve her educational goals. "My parents taught me never to lose sight of my dreams," she says. A pre-med student at Whittier College in Whittier, Calif., she plans to specialize in women's health.

From Chicago, Kamaya Thompson knows that "nothing valuable can come without first obtaining an education." An aspiring writer looking to deliver positive images of the African-American community, her long-term goal is to create programs to enhance the writing skills of youth nationwide. She is attending Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.

Kendra Branch, of Smithfield, Va., admits that her high school grades could have been better, but she earned good grades in community college and is now on track to become a nurse. "Even when I was discouraged, I did not give up," she says. A student at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va., she plans to get a master's degree so that she can make a better life for herself and her daughter.

A student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Nadia Dalanne Wallace of Burlington, N.J., is majoring in political science with the goal of working for the United Nations. "It is important to have a source of encouragement for the long road ahead," she says, "even if it is within yourself."

The ESSENCE Young Women's Leadership Conference is a new program designed to empower young Black women ages 18 to 24. Events will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 1, and Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8. The Sallie Mae Fund will share information about planning and paying for college at each event. More information about the events is available at

"For many families, financial need is an unfortunate barrier to college access," said Erin Korsvall director of community outreach, Sallie Mae, and vice president, The Sallie Mae Fund. "The Sallie Mae Fund is pleased to acknowledge these five inspiring young women and to share the college-is-possible message with other deserving African-American women."

The Sallie Mae Fund offers free resources to help students prepare for college, including resources geared toward African-American families such as Black College Dollars, a free scholarship database, available at In total, The Sallie Mae Fund will award nearly $2 million in scholarships to students attending college this fall.
About Essence Communications Inc.:

Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the leading media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is "Where Black Women Come First". The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, Window on Our Women (WOW I, II & III) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club,, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD) via Essence Studios. For 38 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a readership of 8.5 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives.

Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at

About The Sallie Mae Fund:
The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission--to increase access to a postsecondary education for America's students--by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, prepare families for their investment, and bridge the gap when no one else can. For more information, visit

SOURCE: The Sallie Mae Fund

What's new with me

I got fired last Monday. I've never been fired before. What's bad about it is, I got fired b/c I had been late/called out too many times. What's worse is, I totally didn't want to be there and wasn't that upset that it happened. I'm just bummed that I have to look for something else. I was on a long-term temp assignment, and my agency let me go too.

So last week was a vacation of sorts. On Saturday, I went to a dinner for one of my best friends. She turned 31 last week. I had to roll out before dessert. I'm on the Atkins diet (Induction phase) and I knew it'd be slow torture for me to sit there and watch everyone inhale their sweets. I'm such a carb addict so this type of diet/lifestyle change is hard for me. But I have PCOS and its accompanying symptom of insulin resistance, so I need to cut out simple sugars anyway. What's been getting me through is Linda's Low-Carb Recipes.

Since I didn't have to be up early this morning, I picked up the BFF from the bus station last night. She's originally from NYC and went home for the weekend. We watched some of the Chappelle Show and she gushed about her new guy. New love is always so sweet to behold. I can't wait to get back to that place myself. But with everything going on with me economically, socially, etc etc I don't feel I can add another thing to my plate right now. Or maybe I'm taking it too seriously? Hmmm...

Today I've been twittering (or tweeting?) away today... designed 2 new shirts (check out the Custom Tees section), did some research for my Junior League committee, and general stuff to get better at this e-commerce thing. I really love working for myself.. I can't wait to get to a place where I'm totally my own boss. I can just feel it.. on top of the fact that I love black women... I'm trying not to wax poetic here but we are the most amazing beings. If I had the money I want, right now I would be so content with life.

Usher and Tameka expecting baby #2

*A source close to R&B star Usher has confirmed that he and his wife, Tameka Foster, are expecting another baby.

Their second child together will be a little sister or brother to 10-month-old son Usher Raymond V, who was born to the couple three months after their wedding in August 2007. There's no word yet on when the new baby is due.

The news follows reports of Foster dressed in a belly-disguising outfit during Usher's Sept. 4 NFL kick-off concert in New York.

The dress was "very deceiving," a source tells "You couldn't tell she was pregnant when she was sitting down."

I'm happy for them! Women in the black community really roast this woman.. and I have no idea why. Sure, she's not a supermodel, but the vast majority of black women aren't. Tameka looks like a sistah you'd see at work, at church or in your sorority. So I've never understood the hate. We're so quick to praise 'exotic' looking bw, but will blast an average-looking one. Then blast a sistah for wearing a weave, claiming that she's self-hating. That doesn't add up to me.

I hope this baby is a girl! I love baby girls :-)

Let's Get Married!

Get married! Matrimony the key to ending cycle of Black poverty

by Don Samuels
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Originally posted 8/27/2008

You rarely see a wedding on a Saturday morning on the North Side. This was not always the case. In the mid 1960s, only 25 percent of all U.S. Black children were born to single moms. Today, in Minneapolis, that number is 86.6 percent. On the other hand, only 30 percent of White children are born to single parents. This disparity is directly related to the entrenchment of poverty in our community.

The children of single parents are at a decided disadvantage, more so if that family is Black. Fifty percent of Black children born in poverty will remain poor, compared to only 39 percent of whites. On the other hand, children of married parents are more likely to graduate and less likely to go to jail, do drugs, or otherwise fail at life.

Children are happiest when raised by two committed parents. As the sole parent of a now 32-year-old son and a co parent of girls ages nine and seven, I have experienced both alternatives firsthand. Today my son is a fully functional adult, but there is no doubt that my job as parent and his as son were made more challenging because I was single.

Both parents should maintain contact and care for their child even when they are separated. This is the right thing to do for a healthy and happy community. Young people should begin to think about meeting someone, falling in love, getting married, and having children — in that order.

Young women should insist that young men make the ultimate commitment to a relationship, marriage, before they produce the ultimate outcome of a relationship, a child.

In addition, young men must be courageous. They must battle their fears of permanency for the sake of the children produced by the millions of tiny, indiscriminate sperm cells they produce and share.

Marriage means you can’t just leave easily. As men we commit to a car, a career, a football team, and even a blood family; yet they all give us headaches and are often out of our control. We must learn to do the same for our women and children.

Too often, absentee fathers drift out of relationships with their children and become simply sperm donors. Children blame themselves for the abandonment of their parents. They think there is something fundamentally wrong with them that makes them unlovable and disposable. Many spend their adulthood battling the emotional repercussions.

Ultimately, children of single parents have less confidence as partners, as spouses and as co-parents. They lack examples of domestic partnership, negotiation, compromise and cooperation. They have to learn everything secondhand and experience frequent confusion in relationships.

Life as a single mother is most often lonely. There is no abiding presence with whom to share the ongoing defeats and triumphs of parenting. There is often nobody to give the parent a psychic break from decision-making and stress.

A marriage proposal is the most affirming and progressive gift a positive man can give to the woman he loves. When a man is permanently in a home, everyone feels secure.

Black women want to get married and have children. Well over 40 percent of Black women have never been married; that’s twice as many as White women. There are a million eligible Black women who are not married.

The loss of this normal expectation adds yet another misery factor to the lives of the women who have already shouldered the greatest sexual inequities in our country’s history.

Black men should begin to work hard in school and in the workplace. Those with setbacks must strive to rehabilitate ourselves, preparing to be worthy husbands and fathers.

Chris Rock says Black men have been exercising their options to date and marry across races for years. He suggests it’s time Black women do the same. Openness to interracial marriage might be one key solution to the drought of eligible Black men. It is time to end the routine deficiency of single parenting.

Don Samuels is the Minneapolis Fifth Ward city council member. He welcomes reader responses to