Politics of natural hair

Natural hair

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Jul

Melissa Harris Perry said it best on her MSNBC show, “Black women’s hair is political” and indeed it is. The politics behind Black women’s hair stems from centuries of struggling with the unruly disposition of our hair; battling with the Eurocentric standards that we would only begin to halfway achieve by either relaxing our hair or putting a 500 degree hot comb to it. Those hot comb days were every little Black girl’s rites of passage; a passage that would soon result in wounds because of the endless comparisons between what we were biologically pre-destined and the conflicting images of what we were told was “beautiful.”

The natural hair movement serves as a safe space for Black women. It serves as a place where we can come together and learn about how to treat, maintain and upkeep our natural texture; a conversation that beauty sellers, for many years, have opted out of joining.

It troubles me that this exclusive space that is rightfully “ours” is slowly becoming more and more inclusive. Firstly, I am all for inclusive spaces and sharing with other groups the politics of Black women’s hair, but I don’t believe we are in any position to include other races when we have not fully embraced the diversity amongst ourselves.

Despite the slogans and hashtags advocating for natural hair, there is still a hierarchy that exists within the natural hair community. Too often the textures that are showcased to define ‘natural’ are curly/multi-racial textured hair, excluding “sistas” with kinkier textures; this is problematic. CurlyNikki, a popular website for naturalistas, recently posted an article featuring a Caucasian blogger, Sarah, who talked about her experiences and accepting her natural hair. The article received mixed reviews as some post-racialists discussed moving away from exclusivity and towards equality, while others such as Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor at Ebony Magazine, discussed why other races should not be included in our sacred space–and I would have to agree.

The natural hair movement is a sacred space for Black women. In fact, I don’t know of any other spaces that attempt to dispel societal beliefs about Black women’s hair that has been engrained for hundreds of years. A space that disapproves of the banning of locked hair in elementary private schools or the military’s attempt to police African-American women’s hair; a space that was uniquely created to serve a group of people that have been so marginalized by the beauty industry. I can’t begin to understand why, in the beginning stages of our self-acceptance, we would want to revert and include the same standards that we are oppressed by. I am all for inclusion, but I am also for the entire acceptance of natural hair and not just desirable textures. In due time, our safe space can include others, but right now, as we work on accepting ourselves, it needs to be exclusive to us.

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The business of websites

Importance of WebsitesInteractive technology has grown exponentially in the past ten years. The way consumers search for products, businesses and locations is instantly accessible online.  Consumers are now in control of when, what and how they search on the internet.  In addition to word of mouth reviews, websites are the next standard to seeking the truth in our endless search of the “answer”.  To reach consumers, businesses showcase their products and services through professional websites.  The utilization of websites is a low cost strategy to reach an unlimited number of people and increase visibility within your designated marketplace.  The format and how engaging the website is, can make or break your relationship with the consumer.

Ideally, businesses have mere seconds to command attention through content, navigation and feel. It is imperative to include easily accessible details that answers specific needs, questions and ultimately convert to purchase.  Easy website navigation for the audience is key and aids in establishing brand credibility.  If a website does not appear professional, this can turn off potential consumers.  First impressions are ever so important in the fast paced world we live in.

The use of search engine optimization (SEO) is imperative in building websites and is used to enable both users and search engine robots to understand where the website is located. SEO helps the engines assess and determine what each webpage is about and how it may be useful for the audience.

Web-based communication can increase productivity and profitability. Products are easily researched through the touch of a finger and reviews are posted instantly for the world to view.  Remember the days of “Oprah’s favorite things?”  The mere mention of a product from Ms. O, would send millions to websites to purchase that one-of-a-kind cookie or the must have techie gadget.  As a result, company websites would often crash, due to the high volume of traffic.  Now this is a problem many businesses would love to have but very few experience.  The power of online marketing was imperative then, as it is today.

Even in this high tech day and age, there are some who question the very need of web-based communication. I recently spoke with a potential client who wants to sell literature but felt she would fare better using the hand-to-hand method verses a company website.  I tediously explained that potential consumers would be able to inquire about her background and would have the ability to purchase her literature and that websites are truly a strategy to connect with your audience. The proper advertising to a limitless audience can provide a great return of investment.

Business growth and opportunities are infinite when marketing strategies are implemented. The use of online communication automation can reduce organizational costs for advertising, marketing personnel and other overhead budget expenditures.  There is a greater return of investment through lower costs over time.  The power is ultimately in the business and consumers hand.

For additional marketing tips and information please visit Achievers Marketing & Management, Inc. here.

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Business profile: artist Andre’ Thompson

Andre’ Thompson has become a household name when it comes to art and décor. His tapestries are breathtaking, his watercolors are loose yet defined and his subject matter touches the hearts of many. It is clear why collectors find inspiration in his work.Andre Always looking within, Andre’ relies on his spiritual upbringing as inspiration for his creations. He has not only made a splash in the art world, but his talent has allowed him to impact the home decoration industry, designing custom windows and doors.

In the city of Atlanta, Andre’ has used his talents to make a difference in the community offering mentorship to area youth. Since 2005, he has served as Executive Director of Cider House Inc., a coalition of professionals from various artistic genres united to create change in our society for children through art. Andre’ believes that the creative process can be both healing and life enhancing ergo, he is now offering art therapy to residents of metro Atlanta.

Andre’ is responsible for the creation of art social events such as, Paint by Numb3rs, “where ordinary folks can become artist.” In addition, Andre’ is the creator of The Coloring Book, a theatrical production, which debuted in 2008.

Andre’, a native of Virginia, received his BFA in Fashion Illustration/Textile studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. Born the middle child and only son to Reverend and Mrs. Charlie Thompson, he finds it easy to apply his childhood and growing experiences and testimonies to his art. His clientele includes Fantasia, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Tom Joyner, Tavis Smiley, Richard Smallwood, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Reginald Vel Johnson, Dottie Peoples, Gail Devers, Erykah Badu and a host of consulates and dignitaries throughout the world.

Atlanta Free Speech salutes Andre’ Thompson.

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How to Protect Yourself from Getting Hacked

How to Protect Yourself from Getting Hacked



Every six seconds, a personal computer is hacked. Often, African Americans do not think about computer security in the same manner they think about personal protection, including buying Mace, a gun or a burglar alarm. In fact, 80% of computer hacking boil […]

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Columbus Day true legacy: cruelty and slavery

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

Photo: Associated Press

Once again, it’s time to celebrate Columbus Day. Yet, the stunning truth is: If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish.

Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?

If you’d like to know the true story about Christopher Columbus, please read on. But I warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Here’s the basics. On the second Monday in October each year, we celebrate Columbus Day (this year, it’s on October 11th). We teach our school kids a cute little song that goes: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” It’s an American tradition, as American as pizza pie. Or is it? Surprisingly, the true story of Christopher Columbus has very little in common with the myth we all learned in school.

Columbus Day, as we know it in the United States, was invented by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model their kids could look up to. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday to honor this courageous explorer. Or so we thought.

There are several problems with this. First of all, Columbus wasn’t the first European to discover America. As we all know, the Viking, Leif Ericson probably founded a Norse village on Newfoundland some 500 years earlier. So, hat’s off to Leif. But if you think about it, the whole concept of discovering America is, well, arrogant. After all, the Native Americans discovered North America about 14,000 years before Columbus was even born! Surprisingly, DNA evidence now suggests that courageous Polynesian adventurers sailed dugout canoes across the Pacific and settled in South America long before the Vikings.

Second, Columbus wasn’t a hero. When he set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, Taínos and Arawaks. Writing in his diary, Columbus said they were a handsome, smart and kind people. He noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kind-hearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.

Columbus was so impressed with the hard work of these gentle islanders, that he immediately seized their land for Spain and enslaved them to work in his brutal gold mines. Within only two years, 125,000 (half of the population) of the original natives on the island were dead.

If I were a Native American, I would mark October 12, 1492, as a black day on my calendar.

Shockingly, Columbus supervised the selling of native girls into sexual slavery. Young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men. In 1500, Columbus casually wrote about it in his log. He said: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

He forced these peaceful natives work in his gold mines until they died of exhaustion. If an “Indian” worker did not deliver his full quota of gold dust by Columbus’ deadline, soldiers would cut off the man’s hands and tie them around his neck to send a message. Slavery was so intolerable for these sweet, gentle island people that at one point, 100 of them committed mass suicide. Catholic law forbade the enslavement of Christians, but Columbus solved this problem. He simply refused to baptize the native people of Hispaniola.

To continue reading, visit the Huffington Post.

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Chattanooga looks at ‘Shot Spotter’ technology for crime prevention

Chattanooga looks at ‘Shot Spotter’ technology for crime prevention



CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) – Several major cities across the country rely upon crime prevention technology called Shot Spotter. It’s radar detection that automatically detects gunfire and reports it to local police, and the city of Chattanooga is interested. “We would […]

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Alleged Russian Hacker Faces 40 Charges

Alleged Russian Hacker Faces 40 Charges



Alleged Russian hacker Roman Valerevich Seleznev, arrested earlier this year, is facing 11 additional charges tied to the theft of credit card information for later sale on “carding” websites. 2014 Fraud Summit Agenda Released – View Session Details > “As […]

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FBI task force deputy director to join panel on identity theft

FBI task force deputy director to join panel on identity theft



CARLISLE — Adam Karcher, deputy director for the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force in the Office of Data Exploitation, will take part in a panel discussion on fraud and identity theft at 6 p.m. Thursday at YWCA Carlisle, […]

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Anonymous Hackers Threaten Chinese Government with Website Blackouts and Data Leaks

Anonymous Hackers Threaten Chinese Government with Website Blackouts and Data Leaks



Online activist group anonymous has warned authorities in Hong Kong and China that it will launch a massive attack on websites and leak tens of thousands of government email address details. The group said on Friday that it will carry […]

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Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’

Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’



The recent rash of cyberattacks on major U.S. companies has highlighted the scant options available to the victims, who often can do little more than hunker down, endure the bad publicity and harden their defenses in hopes of thwarting the […]

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