Tuesday, 30 October 2012

James Bond Skyfall: Non-Spoiler Review

I had an awful day today. Had a small interpretative test that went ok-ish and had to sort out a number of things too. It was long, awful, annoying. I really wanted to just be in bed for the entire day. But things got better for me towards the end of my terrible Tuesday!

I was invited by my lovely friends to accompany them to watch James Bond: Sky Fall.

I loved.

A lot of long-time James Bond fans do not like Craig as James Bond because he's not the 'tall, dark  and handsome' Bond that they're used to. I know change is difficult to bear but damn, it's just a legendary movie empire.

I like Daniel Craig as James Bond... but then again I'm quite biased; I like Daniel Craig so any movie he's in, I will like and sometimes even love.

I'm not a James Bond expert but I do believe he pulled off his role as James Bond (whether he fits the old James Bond stereotypes or not). Daniel Craig portrays/plays him quite well.

All in all, the movie was great. Of course the movie had its moments when it wasn't that great. I was slightly disappointed by some elements of the movie. I was hoping there would have been more tricks/puzzles instead of everything getting solved so quickly. But James Bond knows everything, so I'll let that go.

Skyfall by Adele is the theme song of this movie (unsurprisingly). I love the lyrics and the kind of mood the song is in. I don't get the Adele hype though, I guess I haven't jumped on the 'she's got the greatest voice ever' bandwagon but I still believe she was best for this song; she executed it mightily. 

I liked Naomie Harris as one of the Bond Girls. It was nice to see a different Bond Girl for a change. I also liked the fact that her hair was in a curly style for most of the movie (naturals represent!). 

So the bad guy or one of the bad guys was Tiago Rodriguez, played by Javier Bardem. He was a bit camp. I laughed. It's not that camp-ness is a laughing matter, but he was just... very flamboyant which was funny to me. 

Berenice Marlohe was Bond Girl number two. I liked her presence in the movie. She's really pretty too.

Ben Whishaw as 'Q' was so adorable to me. So nerdy and so cute. Ben Whishaw should choose to look like 'Q' every. Single. Day of his life. 

Judi Dench as 'M'. No disappointment as always.

There are more characters in this move (obviously) but I chose to stick to the ones who stood out to me.

I will watch this movie again LOL. Just because I already said I would watch it with someone else... besides it doesn't hurt to watch it twice, there may have been a few things that I probably missed while watching it for the first time.

I'm considering a James Bond movie weekend or something like that...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The “UGLY” Truth: Natural Hair Ain’t A Good Look For EVERY Black Woman

Thanks to Angel from The Natural Lounge for posting this to her groupThis is an old post but the attitude towards natural hair remains the same.

You already know. I have to respond because, that's what I do; respond to ignorance about natural hair because I'm sick and tired of it. I'm tired of people having an idea of what natural should be. And most of all, I am tired of this old rhetoric that natural hair isn't for everyone.

I have written EXTENSIVELY on this site in the topic of natural hair, but the one point I’ve never made [because I'm actually afraid of Natural Hair Nazi's]
I'm sorta, kinda afraid of the Natural Hair Nazi's myself.

as much as I LOVE natural hair [http://www.thisisyourconscience.com/2010/06/what-black-men-really-think-about-black-women-with-natural-hair/] it simply is NOT made for every Black woman.

I refuse to buy into this crap that something that is natural and native to black women, is not made for them. How many people say that an Asian woman's hair is beautiful but it is not made for them? How about Caucasian women? 

Repeat after me: Caucasian women's hair is beautiful but it is not made for every Caucasian woman.

Do you realise how absurd that sounds? I do...
And opposed to what many people who watched Chris Rock’s documentary believe, there IS a thing as BAD HAIR – and some Black women who have it need to avoid going natural like Eddie Long needs to avoid attending a B2K reunion.

Can someone please explain to me what 'bad hair' is?

What is this 'bad hair'? Is it;
  • hair that doesn't curl up right? 
  • hair that is damaged by heat, colour and chemicals? 
  • hair that can't take up colour well? 
  • very thick hair or very thin hair? 
  • hair that is tightly curled or hair that is very loosely curled?

On YouTube, there are many success stories and wondrous tales of Black women overcoming the odds of friends, family and society telling them they are stupid for going relaxer-free, but in the midst of all that, there is this:
Very rarely do I actually Laugh Out Loud, but I will admit that I was almost in tears after watching this videoHer self-effacing honesty about her difficult yet honest attempt to accomplish a great looking natural style was simply priceless. She did not just do one or two things and give up in vain, she actually busted-her-a*s and followed the videos and bought the products, and ended up [by her ownadmission] looking like:
The video has since been removed, so I can't comment on this. 

The harsh reality of Natural hair is that it IS high-maintenance, it does require a lot of patience and ultimately is NOT made for someone with a wash-and-wear mentality. As a black man who once had shoulder-length hair, I do sympathize with women and their struggle to remain natural.

Did you decide that natural hair is high maintenance based on one woman's experience?

Who lied to you and told you that natural hair is high maintenance? Many naturals have very simple hair regimens and use very simple styling and hair care techniques. Never do I hear naturals who actually know their hair and how their hair responds to products/techniques/weather etc., complain about their hair being high maintenance. Never. Ever.

With that said, even when getting braids was HOT in the streets, there were some of my friends who just had NO BUSINESS growing their hair out and getting it braided. Some of these dudes dookie braids looked like an overhead view of Gaza Strip alleys instead of Iowa corn-rows. I love having Black kinky hair, but I witnessed many a Black girl get onset arthritis from trying to braid some of these dudes hair that was tougher than Mickey Ward’s chin.
You are a lover of natural hair yet you state; 'dudes with hair tougher than Mickey Ward's chin'... what type of natural hair do you love, exactly?  

Again, the lover of natural hair here is reinforcing stereotypes about certain hair types.

So why is it a bad word to say that some Black women will have hair that is not APT to being worn natural?

Because it's subjective. Not every hair style will suit every woman. And if a black woman with natural hair wears it a certain way and likes it that way, what's it to you?

I refuse to accept that something native to your body 'isn't for you'. That's just absurd. 

I agree that saying it’s too difficult to manage is a PUNK-A*S excuse for many women, but there are the few, like the woman in the video above, who are simply keeping it 100. Now, don’t accuse me of being another brother addicted to weave, because I have spoken out against excessive weave addiction on this site before too [http://www.thisisyourconscience.com/2010/09/wig-lace-front-weave-yaki-track-donkey-tail-unicorn-mane-wearers-black-men-want-a-break/]. But what I define as BAD HAIR, is hair that is just simply impossible to manage. Some people unfortunately [of all races, sexes and cultural backgrounds] are born with hair that just refuses to cooperate with what you are trying to do, and in the Black community we are not exempt from that either.
Oh here you actually admit that 'bad hair' isn't just limited to black people! Ok I'll give you that. 

But hair that doesn't cooperate, is more of a technique problem. A styling problem. A product problem. A patience problem. 

But it is not and never will be, due to the hair being a certain hair type or whatever that makes it 'bad'. 

All hair is manageable, we just need to find the techniques to manage it. People need time, patience and motivation to find what works for their hair. My hair is tightly coiled or 'type 4' and I'm still managing it properly by keeping it stretched etc. it's doable. 
Then it’s time to stop burning your scalp with that hot comb or fighting with yourblack-power-fist afro pickand go to the damn wig shop.This Is Your Conscience

A word of advice to you; stop investing yourself so much in black women's hair. It's creepy. It's borderline obsessive that you want us to wear a wig if our hair doesn't fit your standards of natural hair.

Just stop. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Long Month Without My Brother

It's almost one month since my younger brother passed away, he was 19.

It's been a very tough month for me, my remaining siblings, as well as my parents.

What made this tough month a little bit more bearable, was the outpour of support we got from the Sudanese community, family and friends. People have been very good to us and many continue being good to us. The favours people are doing for us, the nice offers of this and that, sacrificing their entire days and even weekends to spend time with us... I appreciate it all.

Everyday I think of him and everyday I touch his clothes and hold it close to me, I really miss him. I've been trying to distract myself as much as possible by carrying on as normal, but life will never be normal and it will never be the same.

The thought that he is gone never escapes my mind. My smiles and laughter cover up how I truly feel inside. Distracting myself is the only way I can put my mind at peace for that little while.

It's a known cliche that people always speak positively of the deceased but my brother was a wonderful person. He never harboured any resentment towards people.

I've been that typical older sister who's shown him a lot of tough love, but he continued to respect and care for me. He was quiet, kept to himself but had a big heart for the people he loved. He was overly generous, with time and resources. He was also very easy to please. His birthdays were simple and he was happy with that. He never had a new mobile phone either; he was more than happy to get a handset which could call and text. He was never into the whole smartphone craze.

My brother was never demanding and never, ever asked for much.

When I went to the U.S. last year, the only thing he asked for was candy and FIFA 2012, which he really enjoyed playing. He was a huge football fan!

He tinkered a lot with our old computer, played online games and he loved the PlayStation 3 so much. He was also very intelligent; he achieved wonderful A level results and was very good at debating.

He spend a lot of time with a relative from South Sudan and his Dinka improved in matter of weeks! He was able to speak it to my parents and other relatives. He was a very proud Dinka man and definitely wanted to go back someday. My brother was very hopeful of South Sudan and had many dreams and wishes for our country.

My brother was also a joker. He was very mischievous! He would make jokes to annoy me to no end. He always had play fights with my baby brother and my younger cousins too. He was just this wonderful spark in our lives.

I am so glad I was able to have this wonderful person as my brother. I just wish I had much more time with him than I was given.

And although we had our ups and downs, I always told him I valued him very much because of his  kindness and innocence. I really didn't deserve to have him as my brother.

Many people he went to school and work with, can only say good things about him. His death has reminded me that life is precious and fragile. It's unpredictable. Everything has been planned for us.

As time goes by, I may be able to accept his passing a little bit more, but the pain won't ever go away. I miss him greatly, but I'm glad he was able to touch everyone with the way he was.

Me, my brother and my dad

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Kickin' It With The Kinks Screening in Birmingham!

KIWTK are finally doing a screening in Birmingham, UK! I'm super excited and I've managed to invite a friend to come with me, but I'll definitely try and recruit a group of people to come with because this is a must see. This screening was a success in London and many UK naturals who attended the London screening, found it an insightful film.

What, where and how much

The Kickin' It With The Kinks film screening is a thought-provoking insight into the natural hair phenomenon as black women embrace their natural roots. A look at chemical straightening and why natural afro hair has been believed to be less desirable - until now! KIWTK is touring the UK with this inspirational film for anyone who's considered 'going natural'. Hosted by Cynthia Butare and The Natural Hair Forum UK. Join us for talks, debate and more! 

Tickets are just £6. The event is from 3 - 5pm on Sunday 28th of October at the Custard Factory Theatre on Gibb Street Birmingham, B9 4AA. 

To find out why I am going to the screening, please watch the trailer below! 

To purchase tickets for the event, please click here

For updates on the screening in Birmingham and/or future screenings, visit the websites below:
Twitter: @KIWTKinks 
YouTube: KIWTKinks

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sexualisation Is Not Love.

Sexualisation does not correlate with love. 

I've found a number of social networking accounts sexualising black women. On Twitter, I find tweets discussing how full our lips are, how big our bums are and how beautiful our skin glistens in the sun. I can't disagree with that. Women are beautiful beings but there is so much more to us than just that.

I've noticed that a lot of women are in support of guys who sexualise women (or black women in this case). I suppose it's because they view the comments as compliments and compliments are nice. 

I frown upon the way women support guys who sexualise them because I want people to not just see that I am sexy, beautiful, attractive etc. I want people to see that I am intelligent, outspoken and caring too: aspects of my personality need to be appreciated as well. 

I'm completely against the sexualisation of women (even though it's an integral part of society since we live in a patriarchal world). But why am I so against it? Well: 

  • Your physical appearance is temporary. Hit a certain age, have kids or pick up bad habits and everything will go south. 
  • Your physical appearance is subjective. One guy may think you're the best thing since sliced bread, the other guy may think you resemble Cruella de Vil. 
  • Many guys will pay you compliments just to get you into bed and will kick you out when they're done entering you. 
  • There is so much more to women than physical appearance. We are educators, presidents, scientists, CEO's. We are thinkers, revolutionaries, leaders and warriors. There is more to us than just looks. 
Don't get me wrong, I do like compliments. 

I'd be lying if I said I'm never flattered when a guy compliments me or women who look like me. Compliments are nice. Approval is nice. Basically, it's always nice to get compliments, but my confidence and self-esteem do not depend on them. I don't need compliments to continue loving myself.

Black women have been sexualised for centuries and even to this day, black women are heavily sexualised in the entertainment industry (particularly in music videos). Sex sells. But continuous sexualisation of us, makes people think and believe that we are good for one thing only; sex. It is not a good thing. My aspirations and sights are set higher than that.

Sexualisation is not love. 

Sexualisation is lust and not love. Love and lust are two completely different things. Sexualisation focuses on the physical appearance of the person concerned. It focuses on how they look, not on how they think.

We live at a time when women have more rights and more freedom than ever before. Sexualising us and deeming us as just good enough to look at and masturbate over, ignores our capabilities in many different areas of life. You can sexualise me and appreciate my body, but you will never think that I'm good enough to make something of myself. 

Your love means nothing if the only thing you love is her body.

He may love her hips and her lips but if he doesn't love how she thinks, how she acts... who she is... that's not love

You can love our bodies, but don't forget to love our minds too. Preach about how we look, but also preach about our minds too. Women need to be appreciated and loved for more.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

In Review: Hibiscus Powder and Moringa Leaf Powder from Sheabutter Cottage

Disclaimer: The images aren't great.

I'm a tea freak, lover, admirer. I probably used to be a tea leaf in my previous life too.

Some months ago, Sheabutter Cottage send me Hibiscus and Moringa leaf powder samples. Since I love tea, I want to review it.

Hibiscus tea 

Sheabutter Cottage sells food-grade hibiscus powder. You can either drink this hot or cold. I drank it both hot and cold. I found that half a teaspoon was sufficient. The powder dissolves pretty quickly, but leaves some powder/leaf residue that I'm not too fond of. It probably won't interfere with your tea party but I guess this is why I prefer hibiscus tea bags.

Hibiscus tea has a tangy taste. I like to add a bit of sugar to sweeten it. I find it difficult to describe the flavour and scent fully but the tea is nice, take my word for it. It's a refreshing drink with added benefits. Hibiscus tea benefits include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Good for lowering high cholesterol
  • It's rich in vitamin C

I grew up with hibiscus tea and we call it karkadé in Sudan. My mum used to soak real hibiscus leafs in water to create a cooled version of the tea which would then be sweetened with sugar and refrigerated.

I will continue to use this powder for things such as hair and skin treatments. This hibiscus powder is definitely good quality (like all Sheabutter Cottage products). Hibiscus powder is available at Sheabutter Cottage.

Moringa tea

Moringa leaf powder is something I have never come across before. I never knew what it was until I did more research on it. I don't have any previous experiences with this so what I have experienced recently is all I know about this powder.

Moringa leaf powder is my favourite new thing. Ever. I will go back to Sheabutter Cottage to purchase more. It's very refreshing and has a very... green taste and scent. I know green isn't the greatest way to describe it but it really reminds me of nettle tea. I used about half a teaspoon.

The benefits of moringa tea include:

  • Rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and protein 
  • Helps boost milk production in lactating/nursing mothers
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Aids in sleep when drank just before bedtime. 

I totally love this tea. I haven't thought about using it externally (I probably will after doing more research on it). This powder is available at Sheabutter Cottage.

Monday, 1 October 2012

If You Belong On NoWayGirl.Com, Don't Give Me Your Salon Card

Last year, I was waiting at a bus stop in Camden for a bus to Victoria (both places are in London). While I was waiting, a woman approached me. She had a lace front wig which was tied back into a ponytail. Her edges looked like this:

Kelly I love you, but this style was a hot mess

This woman's edges were thick. She had no baby hairs at all and you could clearly see the glue! The hair looked old and synthetic as well (you could tell by the shine it was giving off). Her lace wig was so unsightly, I felt embarrassed for her. 

And as if the lace front application and quality wasn't bad enough, the hair was freaking blond. When will people start accepting that the colour blond isn't for everyone

The friends or family members of the woman concerned, clearly didn't love this woman enough to sit her down and tell her that her wig was a total tragedy. But I digress. 

It's one thing to be going out with a hair helmet and it's another if you approach me with a freaking salon card. Of course I shook my head and declined. If I needed my hair done, it wouldn't be anywhere near the salon of a Nowaygirl.com poster child.

Some salon-card-givers are obviously very unabashed about what they do. Many seem to lack basic manners and even friendliness. 

I appreciate the fact that everyone needs to pay their bills but there are some things you shouldn't be doing if you actually want people to take you and your business seriously. 

Future and current salon-card-givers, take heed of what I, as the non-salon-card-acceptor, think about you all: 

Many of you are rude, rude and rude. 
  • The woman I described in this post, was particularly aggressive. I'm sure a bit of intimidation prompts someone to accept your card (even though they don't want to), but do you really think they'll visit your salon if you approach them so aggressively? I think not.
  • You're insinuating that I require your services because the hair on my head right now isn't good enough. Offering your salon card can be deemed as offensive.

Your own hair looks bad.  
  • Yes. It does. It wouldn't be wrong for me to assume that it probably looks bad 95% of the time.  I'm very unlikely to accept your card if your hair looks bad. 
  • Your hair should be regarded as an advertisement of your salon. If it looks bad, we will expect a bad salon experience. Good luck with getting anyone to visit after seeing your sumo wrestler hairstyle. 
  • If your tracks are so visible that even a train can use it, consider that you are probably more in need of your own salon services... no scratch that, you should probably close your salon. No one in their right mind would go to a salon where the hairdresser has messed up hair themselves. 
Salon-card-givers, if you want people to accept your card and visit your salon next time, make sure your hair is on point and give your salon card with compliments, please and thank yous. Don't forget to smile too!

P.S. If you're reading this and your hair resembles the hair of the woman in this post, please go back to the salon you came from and demand your money back. You've been scammed.

P.S.S This post is a true story and satirical, it isn't meant to be taken too seriously.