Monday, March 31, 2008

It Takes a Village...

I'm here today to present some, not-so-new findings; a new study from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University has found that community organizing can provide a significant boost to student achievement among young people from low-income and underserved neighborhoods.

For those of you slapping your foreheads in an "adoye" kind of motion, temper yourselves. It's easy to become wrapped up in the quagmire created by the multi-layered issues of this world. Sometimes we over look the simplest, and most attainable possibilities.

During a recent conversation with my teacher friend, she expressed concern that out of the 30-odd students she teaches, only four parents attended her exhibit night. That's atrocious by any account. But let's, for a moment, take the side of overworked parents. Though, it is likely that a number of the no-shows were the result of well developed apathy, there were probably a fair amount who may have just forgotten, or were honestly feeling too tired to attend. Either way, the issue remains, community involvement in youth development is low; the result - at least in part - of too much or too little, unorganized information.

Disorganization calls for order; but how do we reconcile interests and organize a community? The answer often lies in finding common ground. I have read complaints by people, in various communities, which run along the lines of any combination of the following:

1. My children have long since grown up and moved out.
2. Teachers should do their job better, so we wouldn't have to do their jobs for them.
3. I prefer to mind my own business.

In response to all of those statements, I reclaim; a new study from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University has found that community organizing can provide a significant boost to student achievement among young people from low-income and underserved neighborhoods.

If you happen not to live in an underserved and/or low-income neighborhood, please do not feel left out. I'm sure this finding would hold true across the board. After all, it takes a village to raise a child; no matter if that village's homes have dirt or hardwood floors.

All of this is to say, it is far past time for us all to start running our communities like our businesses (well, you know, before the recession...and the poorly planned, never-ending lines of credit). Let's consider our communities the way we consider our finances; invest our time and see our investments yield profit. Put aside the differences we may have with the neighbor whose dog craps on our lawn, or the church down the street whose views we believe to be too conservative and bond along our common interests. Communities hold masses of unexplored potential for power. Let's all start being more effective.

For ideas on how to be the most productive citizen you can be, refer here.

- Ashleigh Rae READ MORE

WAM! Conference 2008

This weekend, I attended the 2008 Women, Action, & the Media (WAM!) Conference in Cambridge, MA. The 3 day event is a brainstorming, discussion-fueled, workshop loaded, highly empowering, networking opportunity sponsored by the Center for New Words, an organization whose mission is "to use the power and creativity of words to strengthen the voice of progressive women and women speaking from the margins of society." While there, I participated as an active listener and commenter in sessions on radical womYn of color bloggers, portrayals of sex workers in the media, and sexist media mechanisms in relation to portrayals of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. I also spoke at a session entitled "Can Blogging End Racism?" with the rest of the Racialicious crew, the highly intelligent and hardworking Carmen Van Kerckhove and Latoya Peterson. Not to mention, I had the opportunity to meet several other writers including, but not limited to, some of the ladies from Feministing, Canada's Shameless Blog, several women of color-focused blogs (brownfemipower, Angry Black Bitch, and No Snow Here), AND the lovely and uber-talented Alexis Pauline Gumbs, one of our advisers here at The Coup Magazine and the writer behind Broken Beautiful Press!

If you'd like to meet her, check her out this Friday, April 4th, at the Theorizing Blackness Conference sponsored by the CUNY Africana Studies Graduate Program. More info can be found here. P.S. It's free to the public!

Long story, short, awesome time this weekend.

I must say, however, that the session that kept me thinking long after the conference was the session on media images of Hillary Clinton entitled "Cleavage, Cackles, and Cookies: Analyzing News Coverage of Hillary Clinton and the 2008 Presidential Election," which was led by moderator Allison Stevens and guest presenters Barbara Lee (Founder of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation), Betsy Reed (Executive Editor of The Nation) (, and Carol Hardy-Fanta (Director of the UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy). The bulk of the discussion was a focus on the sexist, ageist, and lookist criticism made of Senator Clinton during this campaign, causing the presenters to note that statistically speaking, despite positive performances on the campaign trail, Senator Clinton continued to receive negative press, the most negative, in fact, of any past presidential candidate. Through a display of video clips, article excerpts, and voter polls, the session presenters framed a compelling argument regarding the portrayal of female political candidates as a whole, of course, with a focus on Senator Clinton as her campaign faces the highest scrutiny to correlate with the magnitude of the position for which she is seeking voter support: the presidency.

During one portion of the presentation, Reed remarked that the "playbooks" employed by the media when launching racist or sexist attacks toward candidates differ. There is a separate set of rules and devices they used for either racism or sexism. The statement compelled me to ask what mechanisms she and the other panelists, particularly Fanta, who had researched the campaign of Carolyn Mosely Braun (who ran in 2004 for the spot as the Democratic Presidential Nominee) thought that the press would employee in the case of women of color candidates. I noted that as women of color are usually slighted in media coverage of the candidates by way of words alone (ever hear the phrase "women are voting for Clinton" and "blacks are voting for Barack"?), the press often rendering us either not women by way of being of color or not of color by way of being women, my curiosity had grown with regard to how the press could possibly handle two intersecting categories in their criticism. Even attacks launched against Michelle Obama are confusing at best, often leaving the audience to wonder whether or not the press is being sexist, or racist, or both when they criticize her.

While my question was only half-answered, it launched an interesting discussion as to the weight the demographic makeup of women voters had on this election--be they women of color, women of varying age groups, women of varying class and education levels, etc. I ended the session wondering myself how the future of this election would be shaped as a result of these characteristics. And as November draws closer and closer, I wonder if any of this will matter as the Democratic nominee faces Senator John McCain, a white male whose flaws (i.e. war mongering, increasingly heightened conservatism, alignment with radical religious conservatives) seem to have gone unnoticed by a magnanimous press. . .

Aliko Dangote and Patrice Motsepe make Forbe's Billionaire List

Having someone of African descent making the Forbes Billionaires list is nothing novel anymore. Over the years media mogul Oprah Winfrey has reigned supreme for three years. Other African-American billionaires according to the Forbes list included BET founder, Bob Johnson.

However, it is indeed a novelty and well worth sharing when not one, but two black Africans make the list. The richest black billionaire is now listed as Aliko Dangote of Nigeria. Dangote’s net worth is believed to be at least US$3.3 billion.

There is debate as to whether or not Dangote is in fact Nigeria’s first black billionaire as that honor may well belong now deceased former dictator, Sani Abacha. Nonetheless, Dangote is the first black Nigerian billionaire on record. Dangote built his empire after acquiring a loan from his uncle over 25 years ago. With this capital he built the Dangote Group. His income comes primarily from investment in sugar production, pasta and cement.

South Africa on the other hand has no shortage of billionaires, but 46-year old Patrice Motsepe is the first black South African to become a billionaire. Motsepe who is a self-made billionaire who made his wealth from buying gold mines that were performing below par. He then turned them into profitable enterprises by employment of stringent management practices. His current net worth is set at US$2.4 billion.

Motsepe is also a lawyer by training and is believed to have made good use of the post-Apartheid Black Economic Empowerment laws. Under these laws, all mining entities had to be at least 25 percent owned by blacks.

Of the current 1062 billionaires listed so far for 2008, Dangote and Motsepe are not doing badly at number 334 and 503 respectively.

-Jessica McCurdy Crooks


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nigeria's National Beauty Contest Crowns Winner

MBGN (Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria) had it's 21st pageant yesterday, March 28th, in Lagos, Nigeria. The contestants are chosen from several state-level primaries and all share the common goal of representing Nigeria in the "Miss World" pageant in 2008. This year's winner was Adaeze Igwe, from Anambra State.

The contest was established in 1986 as the former "Miss Universe Nigeria". In 2001, the MBGN winner (Agbani Darego) was the first ever Black African to be crowned Miss World.

-Wayetu Moore

Man Six Months Pregnant---Having his cake and eating it too?

Thomas Beatie, a transgender man of Oregon State, will deliver a daughter in July 2008. Beatie is a printing entrepreneur, a husband of ten years to a woman named Nancy, fully bearded, flat chested....and six months pregnant.

Born Tracy Lagondino, the former gay activist underwent a partial sex change where his breasts were removed, and he was given a course of male hormones. His female reproductive organs were not removed, and luckily so, since Nancy was unable to carry a child after an emergency hysterectomy.

Beatie, legally classified as a man after his sex change inseminated himself with donor sperm after being repeatedly turned away by fertility clinics. In a recent article for The Advocate, Beatie wrote:

“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible. Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our child — I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family.”

Although Beatie stopped taking the male hormones for his period to resume after eight years without menstruating, I'm curious to see (or read of) the expectant child's biological, emotional, and psychological traits since she would've been carried in a body that is used to heavily processed male hormones. I'm sure that even after stopping the hormones and resuming his period, his body still carries the remnants of the drugs. After all, he still has full facial hair. Will that affect the birth of the couple's daughter?

Also, Beatie underwent a sex change because being a man was what felt natural to him. By legally, and almost completely physically assuming the sex of a male, it's peculiar that the beauty of womanhood would be returned to in a situation where it is seems over all else, convenient. If being a man really felt natural, if the male intuition is something that Tracy Lagondino was born with, then what made her offer to impregnate herself, an act and process that is one of the most natural and organic characteristics of womanhood?

-Wayetu Moore READ MORE

Help the Angola 3

I received the following letter a couple of days ago and wanted to share it:

After a week of intense public pressure, officials at Angola prison moved Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox out of solitary confinement for the first time in 35 years.1 But they're still locked up--for a crime everyone knows they didn't commit.

Together, we've started to turn things around by making it a political liability for the authorities at Angola to keep Wallace and Woodfox in solitary confinement for challenging the violence and segregation at Angola.2 We need to keep the pressure on to force federal and state authorities to intervene and release these innocent men. Will you join us?

"Angola", sits on an 18,000 acre former slave plantation and its history is telling: considered among the most violent, racially segregated prison in the 70s, almost a prisoner a day was stabbed, shot or raped3. Inmates were often put in inhumane punishment camps for small infractions.

Although not activists when arriving in prison, brutal, squalid conditions and news of a civil rights movement on the outside prompted the Angola 3--Wallace, Woodfox and Robert King Wilkerson--to begin routinely speaking out against injustice. They organized hunger and work strikes and a Black Panther chapter within the prison to protest the corruption and horrific abuse, including systematic rape4, facing the largely Black prisoner population.5

Shortly after these protests became public, the Angola 3 were charged with murdering a prison guard and quickly convicted by all-white juries, based on fake evidence. The bloody fingerprints at the scene don't match any of the Angola 3. Both men have alibi witnesses with nothing to gain, while the witnesses who testified against them have admitted to being coerced by prison officials. Even the widow of the correctional officer who was murdered does not believe Wallace and Woodfox killed her husband; she's urging state and federal officials to find the real killer.6

The Angola 3 don't pretend to be saints. They committed crimes many decades ago, but they've more than served their time. They should not be denied their freedom for standing up against unimaginable conditions in prison--including violent segregation and 16 hour, 6 day a week work schedules.

NBC Nightly News7 just aired a piece this week about the plight of the Angola 3. And it's time to finally get some justice for Wallace and Woodfox. When we spoke up about the Jena 6, it was about more than helping six Black youth in a small town called Jena8. It was about standing up against a system of unequal justice. That broken system is at work again and we're joining The Innocence Project and Amnesty International9 to challenge it in the case of the Angola 3.

It's now time for the Governor of Louisiana and the Department of Justice to step in and say enough is enough. Please join us in demanding that they both intervene--to ensure justice for the Angola 3 and to bring about reform and accountability in Louisiana's prison system:

Thank You and Peace,

-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, Mervyn, Andre, and the rest of the team
March 18th, 2008


1. "Ex-Panthers Leave Solitary After Decades," Associated Press, March 27, 2008

2. "Justice for the Angola 3," Comment is Free Blog, February 21, 2008

3. "Free the Angola 3,", March 4, 2002

4. "Ending the hidden, savage routine of prison rape," The Huffington Post, March 17th, 2008

5. "Lawyers call for release of 'Angola 3'..." (The Times-Picayune), March 17, 2008

6. "Angola 3: approaching 36 years in solitary confinement,"

7. "Cruel and Unusual?," NBC Nightly News, March 16, 2008

8. Jena 6 campaign page

9. Amnesty International Public Statement,, September 19, 2007


Liberation for Liberian Women

In January of 2007 the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) deployed the first all female Para-military force from India and this past January a second unit of women came to replace the first unit as they ended their tour of duty. Over one hundred Indian women served in an effort to help maintain the fragile cease fire and be peacekeepers in Liberia as well as influence Liberian women to join the Liberian National Police (LNP). In the wake of the country’s two civil wars that have spanned fourteen years, at least 450,000 Liberians have been killed, 2 million displaced and 40% of the women have been raped.

So in a way women are doing the work that men could not or would not do. What was it that Margaret Thatcher said, “If you want something done, ask a woman.” It seems that male U.N. peacekeeping troops have been abusing their authority in the country and in 2006 male troops were found guilty in thirty cases related to sex for food. And although the country got tougher on rape and made an amendment to its rape law in 2005 it doesn’t seem to be enough. Me`decins Sans Frontie`res reported 513 rapes in just the first six months of 2007 from a single hospital in Monrovia; 174 of those cases were girls under twelve years of age.

But will all female units and educational incentives to join Liberia’s police force be enough to end violence against its women? There are thousands of stories right here in the United States of women who served in the armed forces, were raped by their fellow officers, reported it and their was no punishment. In fact many were harassed until they left the service or were discharged against their wishes. The world is not one gender and all female units may be empowering but it will be short lived unless you change the mind set of the people, the corrupt system and enforce consequences. For example, in Peru’s capital city of Lima the majority of traffic officers are female (73%) since a study done in the late nineties showed that women would be less corrupt in that role than men. However by 2002 female traffic officers were the victims of violence in 90% of reported cases. In fact Peru had to reconsider its laws regarding violence towards women after a female traffic officer was dragged twenty yards by one vehicle and then subsequently hit by another.

It is unfair, almost absurd but more likely unconscionable to ask women in India, Liberia, Peru or any place in the world to engender peace and restore balance with our presence alone. If and when more Liberian women join the police force they will have to work with other women and men too. What will be put in place to support these women in an environment that is dominated by men and the country’s police force has a 5% female population? They will not live and work in single sex barracks as their Indian female counterparts do. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the first woman president in any African country and in her inauguration speech she stated, “My administration shall empower Liberian women in all areas of our national life” and she gave the country its first woman chief of police and six of her cabinet members are female but a presence is not enough. It will take work, systemic changes and time to bring about any true equity and hopefully Liberia’s “Iron Lady” aka President Johnson-Sirleaf can do it.

-Adisa Vera-Beatty

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Network Neutrality: Part 2

There is a new book, "Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering", that describes in detail the growing 'scope, scale and sophistication of net censorship." (source: BBC News March 25th, 2008 online edition.)

Since last week when I introduced Net Neutrality in the first of a two-part series blog, I felt I was on to something that everyone should become aware of.

The future of our access to information on the internet, without outside bias, is being decided by lawmakers, lobbyists and large broadband carriers: Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, software and internet services corporations (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, YouTube, Amazon), inventors/founders of the internet protocols (Vinton Cerf – internet protocol founder, David Farber – professor and researcher known for Distributed Computer System, Bob Kahn -TCP inventor.)

Even now, while you sit and read the contents of your computer's screen, you made a conscious or unconscious decision to use some type of search engine to find this page. The control of the results of the search engine is combined with your input and how the search engine is programmed (which would have its other parameters that could include advertising revenues.) So already your choices of the sites presented from which you can pick from are already filtered for you by the search engine. This programmed choice is determined by the search engine provider and possibly by your internet browser (e.g. Internet Explorer application which is part of Windows™; or Mozilla Firefox.)

With recent events of the clash between the Tibetan monks uprising against the Chinese Authority occupation in Tibet, it was known that the Chinese government had blocked any unauthorized news reports on the internet. This is a deliberate overrule by a government authority to keep its citizens ignorant of external and objective views of the event. This type of censorship goes beyond profit driven and/or best-practices agenda.

The BBC article is quoted:

"Surveillance is a huge deterrent," says The Citizen Lab's Nart Villeneuve. "If you talk to dissident groups in these countries, they'll tell you that they're under surveillance, that they're concerned for their safety, and that it definitely influences their online behavior."

And even as human rights and internet rights groups fight to raise awareness about internet censorship, countries such as China have responded by getting smarter in what they block, and when they block it.

"We call it 'just-in-time' filtering," Mr. Deibert (one of the editors of "Access Denied") says. "Countries are selectively blocking access to information around key events, such as demonstrations or elections. They are clamping down on the internet during times that it suits their strategic interests to do so."

As an example of this kind of filtering, he points to China's recent blocking of YouTube after videos of Tibetan protestors appeared on the video-sharing site. Google has been criticized for working with Chinese authorities. There was also a case in Pakistan when the entire YouTube service went down globally for a few hours, because of a government order to block material.

"But it's not a simple equation with territorial boundaries. Maybe the best analogy is with the old Middle Ages, where you had multiple and overlapping layers of authority. I think that's the future of the net." – Ronald Diebert (Source:

To me, Google seems to represent two-faces on Net Neutrality. On one face it is one of the strongest proponents for legislation of Net Neutrality (as member of Open Internet Coalition while, on the other face it seems to be collaborating with the Chinese government in customizing its search engine to limit the news presented to the Chinese citizens.

In doing further research about net neutrality I read from various sources to determine the weight of the arguments by those parties against Network Neutrality. I interviewed a Network Engineer, Christoph Schwinghammer, on the veracity of argument by AT&T regarding network management and security implications. AT&T claims that it part of their job to apply network management for the purpose of detecting and preventing malicious virus attacks. This is one of the reasons the broadband carriers (Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T) cite as their arguments against the embodiment of any legislations on "Internet Neutrality". In addition, bandwidth-intensive peer-to-peer applications (BitTorrent) are not designed to consider congestion management. There have been times that the volume of traffic on the Internet has caused some services to fail or be interrupted due to "congestion collapse"[i] and "slashdot effect"[ii]

(There are some technical terminology used which are footnoted for definition. Source of definition is Wikipedia.)

Analyn: One of the arguments by the bigger corporation (such as AT&T) who is against legislation on net neutrality is that they need to manage the traffic on the internet to prevent virus attacks, so they want to be able to control the type of traffic that goes through the network. Is what AT&T saying true?

Christoph: Well, it depends. If you keep traffic transparent you can manage every traffic. For example, leased lines are services which are always transparent. Corporates (companies) who use leased lines from operators like AT&T want transparent leased lines traffic IPSEC[iii] encoded for example. But VoIp[iv] traffic VoIP traffic has to be controlled by session border controller not the content of the call but some malicious user could manipulate or even extract data from a softswitch[v] who establishes the phone calls.

Analyn: I see and change the content? or direction of the call?

Christoph: a soft switch establishes phone calls so this switch knows all user data of a phone call user like the old digital central unit, in the last decades in former times, the users the management and signalization traffic were separated. Not every kind of traffic is IP traffic, running on the same links and interfaces so security will get a more and more critical problem.

- End

The argument against net neutrality is that "an environment in which a content provider can provide a guaranteed quality of service to all customers could allow independent content providers to compete with traditional content providers in areas such as television and music broadcast, telephony, and video on demand." This alludes to a healthy competition between providers is better for the consumers as long as it is affordable.

To conclude this two part series blog, there are many things to consider about who and how the information you want access to is being filtered. What I've presented here are the arguments for and against net neutrality and considerations by proponents on both sides. I have only presented a very thin overview of what I've come upon. I really encourage anyone who comes across this blog to be active in the process of how the shape of internet content and service will form and evolve. Being active starts with being informed - and being informed well.


[i] is a condition which a packet switched computer network can reach, when little or no useful communication is happening due to congestion.

When a network is in such a condition, it has settled (under overload) into a stable state where traffic demand is high but little useful throughput is available, and there are high levels of packet delay and loss (caused by routers discarding packets because their output queues are too full).

[ii] The Slashdot effect is the phenomenon of a popular website linking to a smaller site, causing the smaller site to slow down or even temporarily close due to the increased traffic. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic that results from the technology news site Slashdot linking to underpowered websites. However, it has been used to describe the same effect when generated by other websites or metablogs such as Fark, Stumble upon and Digg, leading to terms such as the Digg effect or the link becoming Farked or Stumbled. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable – common causes are lack of sufficient bandwidth, servers that fail to cope with the high number of requests, and traffic quotas. Sites that are maintained on shared hosting services often fail when confronted with the Slashdot effect.

[iii] IPsec (IP security) is a suite of protocols for securing Internet Protocol (IP) communications by authenticating and/or encrypting each IP packet in a data stream. IPsec also includes protocols for cryptographic key establishment.

[iv] Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a protocol optimized for the transmission of voice through the Internet or other packet switched networks. VoIP is often used abstractly to refer to the actual transmission of voice (rather than the protocol implementing it). VoIP is also known as IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband. "VoIP" is pronounced voyp, IPA: /voip/.

[v] A softswitch is a central device in a telephone network which connects calls from one phone line to another, entirely by means of software running on a computer system. This work was formerly carried out by hardware, with physical switchboards to route the calls.

A softswitch is typically used to control connections at the junction point between circuit and packet networks. A single device containing both the switching logic and the switching fabric can be used for this purpose; however, modern technology has led to a preference for decomposing this device into a Call Agent and a Media Gateway.

-Analyn Revilla


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Conservative Commentators criticize old Michelle Obama speech

In January, Michelle Obama made a speech at the University of South Carolina that has resurfaced.

Before expounding on the absurdity of what she is being criticized for, I would like to note that you should notice that Obama's campaign is usually attacked when the Other campaigns slip up on something. Most recently his competitors are embellishing the race issue, since its sensitivity to all American people has been devastatingly evident in this campaign. Reverend Wright, for instance, has received an excessive and unnecessary amount of press due to comments made at some of his sermons, most of which were taken out of context and broadcasted widely to the American public. The coverage is ridiculous, considering the fact that Hillary Clinton's "mistake" description of arriving under sniper fire at the Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia in 1996 (which was recently uncovered as a lie) has been barely skimmed, and is more offensive to me.

Today the press indulged in the following clip of Chelsea Clinton dismissing a question about Monica Lewinsky. The person asking was actually a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and said that he only wanted to give light to Clinton's strength amidst what she had to go through.

Shortly after the clip broke ground with political commentators and media, an amateur video recording of Michelle Obama at USC popped up. Obama talks about her experiences as an African-American student at Princeton, and admits to hanging out with the African-American crowd. She states,

"We don’t like being pushed outside of our comfort zones. You know it right here on this campus. You know people sitting at different tables- you all living in different dorms. I was there. You’re not talking to each other, taking advantage that you’re in this diverse community. Because sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America. So the challenge for us is are we ready for change?"

Shortly after the video (posted on youtube as "Michelle Obama bashes America") is posted, conservative commentators went to the chopping blocks with claims that what she is in fact saying, is that "ignorance" is essentially American. Obama's campaign defended her, clarifying once again that she had been taken out of context, and stating that what she referred to as "American" was a desire to maintain and exist in comfort-zones.

Although her implications can be viewed as an unfair criticism of America, since people all over the world have a desire to seek comfort and what is relative to them, Michelle Obama seemed to be using the reality of her experience as a way to ignite thought on racial exclusivity and preference, and further provoke change in the way America's members socialize and co-exist.

It is unfortunate that the new media angle on Obama's campaign are efforts to somehow prove that he hates this country, and thus cannot correctly lead it. Obama's love for this country, something that even at a time discombobulated and annoyed African Americans, seems to be something that media and conservatives are attempting to disprove. If they can prove that he subconsciously (or blatantly) hates this country, then they can prove that he is just another black man in America, a citizen internally and eternally scarred, a soul broken, and still very bitter against the majority.

-Wayetu Moore READ MORE

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Implications of "Note to White People"

In light of Reverend Wright's speech, which you can view in full via the post below, Washington Post guest columnist Jacques Berlinerblau, the program director and associate professor of Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., wrote an article entitled "Note to White People," in which he discusses the meaning, or lack thereof, behind Reverend Jeremiah Wright's recent comments. He notes the following in response to Barack Obama's mentioning that "Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear":

I was critical of Obama’s speech but it strikes me that this point, in and of itself, is true. Things are often said in African-American oratorical contexts—sometimes the most lyrical, provocative and over-the-top things—which are rarely intended to be marching orders. Those who hear these things may indeed be dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting, but they are acutely aware that they are not hearing fighting words.

Berlinerblau goes on to discuss his initial shock and discomfort at a meeting of racial Afrocentrists during a research project on African-American oratory with relation to intense and incensing speech used by the group leaders, only to be comforted by a friend who explained that their oratorical styles greatly differed from those in conventional (read: white) environments. In addition Berlinerblau asserts that while he recognizes that many black leaders may say things that could be interpreted as dangerous by the outside public, in the end, they are "just talking."

While the columnist assures his readers at the end that he is not on a mission to dismiss the power of speech in the hands of black orators, nor is he implying that black leaders' suggestions and calls for unity fall on deaf ears (he cites the highly successful community outreach performed by the Trinity Church congregation as evidence to the contrary), it is difficult not to come away from this article feeling a little raw for several reasons:

1) It speaks in general terms with relation to public speaking and presentations administered by African-Americans.

2. Despite its best efforts to show otherwise, it trivializes black speech and, in turn, 3) insults the intelligence of the black audience (by, in some ways, implying that while we may hear commands or assertions we should put to use, we ignore them or simply dismiss them in our own way of acting out #2 in this list).

4. Berlinerblau provides a white colonial gaze on the public black spiritual experience and subsequent personal interpretation of the same, rendering African-Americans a foreign/alien entity of sorts.

5. In hopes of separating himself from conservative observers, including Fox News and GOP leaders, who were critical of Senator Obama as a result of his membership at Trinity Church under the leadership of a reverend whose speech they found objectionable, Berlinerblau resorts to a subtle hypocrisy then takes on the role of educator to a white readership, which is troubling, as if he holds the keys to some unknown secret about blacks to which other whites have limited access and for which they must first consult Berlinerblau.

6. The article could also be used as additional support for those who consider every complaint of racism or bigotry toward the black community as a mere case of "crying wolf." After all, our words are "just talk," right?

In short, while Berlinerblau attempted to soften the blow unintentionally dealt to Obama by one of his biggest supporters, his own pastor, by way of his explanation of black speech, he missed the mark. His discussion of race and faith found itself in the familiar territory (at least to marginalized people) in which a person of privilege seeks to educate others of a similar background on the exotic practices of the Other.

Better luck next time, I suppose.

Check out the article for yourself here.

- Wendi Muse

Wright's Full Sermon

If you turn on your television to FOX news and keep it on that channel for three hours, you will see repeated excerpts from this video and others by Reverend Wright of Trinity Church in Chicago, Illinois. Reverend Wright is the former pastor of presidential hopeful, Barack Obama.

The above recording is the entire section of the sermon in which Wright's now infamous "America's chickens are coming home to roost" quote was taken from. The quote was taken out of context and is acting as a divisive distraction from Obama's campaign and the bigger picture of his message. READ MORE

Flower Power

On the close of the Easter weekend, spring is inching its way (more like a tortoise) into our lives. One way to give yourself the feel of spring even though the temperature hasn't met us there yet, is to dress as you are the season. Now I am not an advocate of baring skin before 75degrees, but there are many other ways to evoke the spring feeling, than to show skin and freeze your assets off. A way to achieve this is through wearing big beautiful FLOWER prints.

FLOWER POWER was HUGE on the runways of New York, Paris, London, and MILAN! With flowers all the rage, there is something in it for everyone. Flower enthusiast will have their hearts going pitter-patter as they stumble across large, graphic floral prints in jerseys, silks, and heat absorbing cottons! Also those of us who are DONE with oversized patterns can opt for a quieter take on the flowery trend by choosing summery dresses and silky scarves in mid-sized prints.

Just like with every trend, don't rush out to your favorite shop or online store, without reading these few helpful hints to aid you in picking out the RIGHT floral fantasy for you!

If you're a petite, and slim a large, gaudy floral print will overwhelm your small frame. Look for a smaller, more delicate floral print to compliment your build. If you're tall and slim, you can get away with the bold, splashy floral. Now many fashionistas will say that if you are big you cant do prints at all, I for one scoff at such a notion. If you're a curvaceous beauty just look for a less complicated, simple flower print instead of graphic over the top.

Another wonderful fashion secret that evolves flower prints is they can be used to bring out your positive assets or camouflage the assets you would like to work on.

If you have rounder hips and thighs, use FLOWER POWER to make your thighs thinner. Yes, that's right! Pair a vibrant floral top with a pair of dark pants or a dark skirt to hide a few inches on the hips. The bright floral pattern will pull the eye upward and away from your hips while the dark pants will slim your lower half. Tricks of the fashion trade!


I can't stress enough! That one perfect hairclip, belt, pair of gorgeous earrings, etc can turn a blah outfit, into something sexy and fierce! If you have a pretty face and want to call attention to it, a floral scarf worn at the neck or a flowered blouse will draw attention to your face. Is your hair one of your better features? Call attention to that fact by wearing a silk flower hair clip or a floral headband for the spring. If you have perfectly manicured hands, add some pretty floral bracelets, bangles or rings with a flower motif to draw the eye towards your hands.

And one last thing, remember the whole point of floral fashion for spring 2008 is putting a new twist and literal spring in your step. The last thing you want is to look like you pulled your outfit out of Granny's closet. To keep that from happening to you, remember to your selections current and NOW by choosing a slightly more fitted and shorter length. This will keep you in step with being current, but also sexy. A little sexiness goes long way ladies, and every woman needs a hint of it every day. Try an open toed kitten heel for a splash of sexy in your life, with your new flower print!

-Nana-Adwoa Ofori

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Men of Power, Women of Patience

A friend of mine based his senior thesis paper on the inability for men (of any position) to be monogamous, since we are in fact the only species that practice monogamy. In his opinion, men of success, since they attract an overwhelming amount of attention from females because of their status, are being extremely idealistic, and even unreasonable in attempting monogamous relationships.

The notion is something that has surfaced in light of the accused and admitted infidelity of a number of men in a variety of successful positions. I wonder if all men of power have had to make a choice of whether or not to cheat. I also wonder how many of them still live with the secret of their choices, since all but one of the most recent men have been ousted, as opposed to confessing.

What is the most interesting in these situations are the female members of these relationships, their ability to stay with the men that have publicly humiliated them, their patience, and their willingness to forgive. Any time I think of being cheated on my mind runs to the scene in the movie Waiting to Exhale when Angela Bassett burns the clothes and car of her successful husband. I’m beginning to realize, however, that maybe those reactions are only of Hollywood, and not the reality in which we exist. The reality is that most women that date successful men who may be unfaithful stay in the relationships. In a recent article by Ruth Houston, the following reasons are given as to why women stay in unfaithful relationships:
• Love
• Convenience
• Financial reasons
• Not willing to give up lifestyle
• Insufficient proof of infidelity
• For the sake of the children
• Fear of change
• Low self esteem
• Bad timing
• Thinking the cheater will change
• To achieve career goals
• Hoping counseling will help
• Fear of being alone
• Loyalty
• Religious beliefs
• Desire to keep the family intact
• Belief that it won't happen again

The following is a list of men of power who have fallen to infidelity, and the women of extreme patience who continue to stand by their side. Is it worth it?

In November of 1991, Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive and was retiring from professional basketball. After almost 17 years of admitting the infidelity that led to him contracting the disease, Cookie Johnson stays by his side.

After winning the Academy Award, Halle Berry was envied by women all over the world. She was beautiful, successful, and in a happy relationship. It wasn't until after her divorce to Eric Bennett that it was confirmed that he was unfaithful, and that Halle stayed by his side even after realizing the fact.

Kobe Bryant was a spiritual, talented, and intelligent basketball player that no one assumed to follow the unfaithful culture of most professional athletes. After being accused of rape when he cheated on his wife with a hotel worker, the case was one of the most famous scandals of our time. He publicly apologized, crying, with his beautiful wife by his side. The two remain together.

Bill Clinton was the man in the 90s. Unemployment and gas prices were down and the economy was booming. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal surfaced, it cost Clinton his position. It didn't, however, cost him his wife. Hillary Clinton not only stayed with him, but the husband and wife team are now aggressively fighting together for a democratic nomination for Hillary in the 2008 presidential races.

Music video "actress" Karrine Stephans ousted dozens of public figures in her 2001 tell-all, Confessions of a Video Vixen. Among those included on her long list of affairs was Shaquille O'Neal, while he was reportedly in a relationship. Later on, when the Kobe Bryant scandal occurred, Bryant mentioned O'Neal as an athlete that was doing exactly what he did (cheating), a statement that supposedly ended the friendship. While repeatedly accused, O'Neal's wife stayed by his side. In late 2007, Shaunie Nelson O'Neal finally filed papers for a divorce from the basketball star.

When Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was first accused of infidelity, he denied it under oath. When text messages were revealed proving his unfaithfulness with Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, he then made a public apology to the people of Detroit and to his family and wife. Last week, the Detroit City Council passed a resolution asking Kilpatrick to resign as mayor. His wife remains with him.

Before a whistle was blown on New York Governor David Paterson, he admitted this week to adultery with multiple women while he served on the NYS Senate. He proclaimed that his infidelity had been years before and that he is now in a happy and committed relationship. His wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, stood by him as he confessed his past to reporters. One of his former mistresses continues to work for him.

-Wayetu Moore READ MORE

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wind of Change in Caribbean Politics

Between 2007 and 2008, the political landscape in the Caribbean has seen many changes. No less than five new political parties have come to power in the region and of course, there is the stepping down of Fidel Castro as the president of Cuba. The transfer of power in Cuba is a momentous affair not only for the Caribbean’s only communist state, but for the rest of the region as well.

In August 2007, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) was defeated at the polls by the opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) in what can only be described as a landmark victory in the British Virgin Islands. The Orlando Smith led NDP was in power since its victory at the polls in 2003. With the victory of the VIP, the country is now being led by Premier, Ralph T. O’neal.

Jamaica's general election in September 2007 saw the ruling People's National Party losing power in a closely-won battle to the Jamaica Labour Party after 18 years in power. The Portia Simpson-Miller led People’s National Party was aiming for an unprecedented fifth term in government when they were narrowly defeated by Bruce Golding’s Jamaica Labour Party. The outcome of the polls is still being disputed seven months after the elections as petitions have been filed in court concerning the suitability of some members of parliament based on their citizenship.

On January 15, 2008, the David Thomas led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) kept the momentum going when it defeated the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

In Belize, the United Democratic Party (UDP) defeated the reigning People's United Party (PUP) of the then prime minister, Said Musa. Musa’s defeat crushed his hopes for a third straight term as leader of Belize. Time will tell if the Dean Barrow-led UDP will be able to hold on to their hard fought victory come the next general election.

The other Caribbean island where power changed hands since 2007 is The Bahamas.

With the loss at the polls for so many established and long-serving parties in the Caribbean, one is left to curiously await the outcome of those general elections that are constitutionally due this year.

Are the Leonel Fernandez and Keith Mitchell led governments of the Dominican Republic and Grenada watching with trepidation what has befallen their fellow leaders – waiting and wondering for whom the bell will next toll? They may well be taking comfort in the fact that the ruling party was returned to power in the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in that nation’s November 2007 general elections. However, that situation in Trinidad should not necessarily be seen as a deviation from the pattern.

Despite all the other changes in the political landscape of the Caribbean recently, the change in Cuba will be the one most remembered for years to come.

With the Caribbean anxiously awaiting the November 2008 general elections in the United States of America, one is left to wonder if the winds of change will likewise be blowing across the States. Politics has once again become an interesting and much watched activity for Caribbean nationals, and no doubt for many across the world who rarely pay attentions to political affairs.

-Jessica McCurdy Crooks READ MORE

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Network Neutrality: Part 1

This concept was started back in 1860 when a US federal law stated that "… messages received from any individual, company, or corporation, or from any telegraph lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall be impartially transmitted in the order of their reception, excepting that the dispatches of the government shall have priority. - An act to facilitate communication between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric telegraph June 16, 1860"

Fast forward to today, as recent as March 17th, 2008, in a blog posted by Jonathan Rintels in the website for the Coalition, he describes thoroughly the latest development in the battle between the two sides debating the regulation and governance of the Internet ( Right now the FCC has claimed the jurisdiction over the issue by defining the guiding rules that expects the telecommunications industry to go by. On February 11th, 2008 Rep. Ed Markey and Rep Chip Pickering introduced HR5353: "To establish broadband policy and direct the FCC to conduct a proceeding and public broadband summit to business competition, consumer protection, and consumer choice issues relating to broadband Internet access services, and for other purposes."

So let's start with defining Network Neutrality.

There are many sources in the net that defines what is Network Neutrality. The different shades of meaning are naturally colored by the point of view of the party. Here is Googles's definition (Google is a member of the Open Internet Coalition):

Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days. Indeed, it is this neutrality that has allowed many companies, including Google, to launch, grow, and innovate. Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should not be permitted to usert heir market power to discribimnate against competing applications or content. Just a telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online. Today the neutrality of the Internet is at stake as the broadband carriers want Congress's permission to determine what content get to you first and fastest. Put simply, this would fundamentally alter the openness of the Internet" (

Wikipedia offers a broader definition of the term Network Neutrality (aka: Net Neutrality, Internet Neutrality; NN.) It defines it by three characteristics of: Absolute Non-discrimination; Limited Discrimination without QoS (Quality of Service) Tiering; and Limited Discrimination & Tiering. (

On the last day that the FCC was accepting comments on the proceeding, the major telecom companies (AT&T, Verizon & Time Warner Cable) countered that the regulation intended to ensure net neutrality will impede the growth of innovation of the Internet. AT&T launched an attack on Google by making a comparison: "It would be wholly arbitrary to regulate Comcast's purported 'traffic shaping' but not the content-shaping practices of Google within the search and online advertising markets it monopolizes."

(Note 1: Comcast: The case about Comcast is it was found to have interfere with file transfers. "TorrentFreak said in August that Comcast was surreptitiously interfering with file transfers by posing as one party and then, essentially, hanging up the phone. But when we contacted Comcast at the time, it flatly denied doing it. (

I'm introducing this topic in two parts as it's a broad and complicated issue that affects all of us in some aspect of our life. I heard the discussion on the radio one evening during my commute from the office. It stewed in the back of my mind since mid-February, and I hadn't had a chance to thoroughly formulate a solid opinion on where I stand. The proponents advocating for net neutrality speak convincingly, because it touches on the individual's right to choose freely. However, I also need to step back and listen to the other arguments. I've given some sources that I'm checking into and I hope you'd do the same to help you decide where you stand on the issue.

-Analyn Revilla READ MORE

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama Race Speech

I am here because of Ashley

Finally the white, or should I say Black elephant in the room has been brought to light. Sen. Obama has so far run a campaign based on the issues and has sought to avoid racial commentary, not on the bases of its lack of importance but on the basis that it is a distraction from the issues, political & economical, that a president should be elected on. Well the American people have been distracted and it is not for the lack of effort. Many other scandals have been drugged up to do so, including his placement in Muslim schools, plays on his name that sought to link him to terrorism and the ridiculous comments made by Iowa Republican congressman Steve King who sought to impress upon the American people that "Terrorists would be dancing in the streets" if Sen. Obama was elected.

What finally won the full attention of the American public were the comments of Rev Wright, a pastor and mentor to Sen Obama who referred to accurate social commentary in one particular sermon pointing out the differences in the daily challenges that Black Americans face versus their white counterparts. This is not news to many of us; what the good reverend has spoken about occurs daily in the lives of many African American citizens. Nor has this been the first that is a topic of contention. We hear this commentary in black music, in the barbershop, the beauty salon, even on the 'block'. The scars left from years of black oppression is not something that we will sweep under the carpet, it is not something that we can so easily forget, but it is something that we can grow from, it is something that can inspire change. That was Sen Obama's message. Injustice happens, it is not a Black thing, it is not an Asian or even a Latino thing. It does not solely happen based on race but also on social class. It happens everyday all over the world, but we can no longer absorb & internalise this. We can no longer allow it to force us to be bitter & preach bitterness. Hate can no longer consume us & while we can not let it go, we have to use it for good.

Sen Obama accepts the awful truth in what the minister spoke about. He disagrees & condemns how it was put forward because it conveys the idea that the world is 'static' and this truth will always be 'the truth'. He cannot agree with that message, although he cannot distance himself from the messenger, because he is campaigning to be the next American president as a black man and has been quite successful thus far. This is a slap in the face of the 'static' theory. It is proof positive that America can change. Do not be confused and believe that his campaign speaks only to his ability to change, because his belief that America can change does not just come from within. That change he speaks of was not brought about by him, nor his charismatic leadership style. No. That change has been brought about by Ashley. A young, hopeful, selfless, colour blind, class blind white woman who not only realises that America will not prosper if this change does not come, but also realises that its her job, just as it is our job, to effect this change in ourselves & the lives of the people that we touch. The buck stops here. Cynicism cannot be taught to another generation; History can be taught, Unity can be taught, Change can be taught.

-Gynelle Findlay READ MORE


This season designers were heavily inspired by the BEDROOM and left little to the imagination on the runway, but on the street, women will be wearing designs featuring layer upon layer of translucent textiles, revealing the body with equal doses of subtlety and exquisite taste.

BCBG MAX Azaria collection for Spring/Summer 2008 also emphasized a palette of breezy pales and cool, washed neutrals, highlighting themes of luminosity and layers of transparency. Belts cinched flowing fabrics, highlighting a distinctly grown-up – yet still playful – hour-glass silhouette, with both knee-length and ultra-mini hemlines.

Picture this: Standing there at a backyard BBQ or garden party. You can't count how many times you've been complemented by your dress because of the way it just flows in the early June breeze!!!!Airy organza, sheer tulle, and liquid jersey, are the most amazing sheer fabrics, any dress in any style in these fabrics is a must have. They are forgiving to most if not all figures. In print, or solid colors, neutral or bold you can never go wrong with this heavenly garb!

Now ladies, it's important to remember that you the transparent look is not for every occasion and every venue. Please use discretion when you rock the transparent look. It most definitely can be worn to the office. For everyday wear, sheer fabrics are best worn in a manner that doesn't reveal undergarments; transparent shirts should be worn over camisoles or under jackets or vests. And see-through skirts or dresses should be worn over opaque layers: slips, pants, skirts or shorts.

For an easy transition into a sexy evening look, choose evening wear with sheer fabric panels covering open-back and low-v tops or dresses. Full or fluid skirts made of layers of transparent fabric are perfect for formal attire, and sheer wraps are an easy, low-commitment way to follow the trend.

Ladies, another beautiful thing about this trend is that there is plenty of room for you to play up your feminine curves with hour glass accentuating accessories like thick and thin belts or obi style sashes. Let's not forget about how absolutely fabulous the wrap dress is for of all shapes and sizes, making body-skimming wrap dresses sheathed in gauzy fabric a MUST HAVE for this season!!!!

To have this runway look for LESS, shop on line at BCBG Max Azria for a breath-taking new number for your spring collection.

Shop online

Watch Spring 2008 NYC Fashion Show

-Nana-Adwoa Ofori READ MORE

Monday, March 17, 2008

Watch Your Mouth!

Trouble may be in store for the Junior Senator from Illinois as he is set to give a speech on race tomorrow, reports the New York Times. According to several reports on blogs and as confirmed by the Times, in hopes of doing a bit of damage control with relation to the recent (ok, technically on-going) inflammatory remarks made by his pastor Jeremiah Wright and to address an issue he's attempted to keep at bay, Barack Obama will finally and formally discuss race and its role in the campaign. Yet in light of Hillary Clinton support Geraldine Ferraro's most recent thoughts aloud on "black privilege," it doesn't seem like Obama will be the only one in the hot seat. In fact, as many Clinton supporters and her campaign advisers have given Obama hell for the gadfly that is his liaison to faith, reporters, bloggers, and even Hillary Clinton herself have expressed disappointment in Ferraro's statement, leaving the camp to distance itself from the woman who ran for vice president in the early era of the power suit.

With both candidates facing considerable noise over comments they neither made nor endorsed, it leaves the voting audience to make educated guesses about the prospect of guilt by association. While the candidates are not responsible for those who support them, should they be held responsible for associating with those who may (or may not, for some) bring down their campaign unintentionally?

to read more on Obama's addressing the aformentioned issues, click here.

- Wendi Muse


Halle Berry Gives Birth!

Halle Berry gave birth to a baby girl Sunday morning in Los Angeles. This is the first child for the 41 year old actress and her 32 year old model boyfriend, Gabriel Aubrey.

Sources say the baby was born at Cedars-Sinai Hospital at 10:17 am and weighed in at 7lbs 4 oz. The actress initially checked into the hospital at 4 am on Saturday because she felt like she was going into labor but was later released after she stopped dilating. Halle then returned again at 11:00 pm that night saying that her contractions were more intense.

No name has been released for the baby as of yet.

-Tremaya Reynolds READ MORE

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick under fire for using the N-word

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is at the center of controversy yet again, this time it’s for using the N-word during his State of the City address on last Tuesday. Kilpatrick stated at the address, “In the past 30 days, I’ve been called a nigger more than anytime in my entire life,” and also went on to say, “I’ve received more death threats than I have in my entire administration.”

The Detroit Mayor is currently involved in a sex scandal involving his former aide, Christine Beatty. While under oath during a whistle-blowers’ trial, Kilpatrick and Beatty both denied being in a relationship, but it was later revealed through sexually-charged text messages that they were in fact romantically involved. Kilpatrick could possibly face perjury charges and many are calling for him to voluntarily resign.

While some leaders such as the national spokesman of the NAACP, Richard J McIntire are defending the Mayor’s use of the word, in light of the context it was used in, others are not so understanding. State Attorney General, Mike Cox called the use of the word “race-baiting on par with David Duke and George Wallace”. Cox also went on to state that “He’s a very talented guy, but he’s overstayed his day. He should resign, he should quit, whether he’s charged or not.”

An aide to Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, stated that a decision as to whether charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, or official misconduct would be brought against Kilpatrick would be made public sometime next week. The City Council of Detroit is also considering a nonbinding resolution calling for the Mayor’s resignation as well.

-Tremaya Reynolds READ MORE

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SPRING 2008!!

As the last traces of winter begin to dwindle, and daylight saving time is in full swing, it's time to concentrate on SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Spring 2008 is a highly anticipated season, for those of us who are kids at heart, this spring you will find your options as delectable as charlie the first time he walked into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory! The trends for this spring are whimsical, bold, and sexy, all the elements that put the "spring" in your step. Over the next couple of entries I'll be sharing with you my ultimate favorite trends for this spring, and where to get the looks for LESS.

My first and ultimate favorite trend is 1970!

As a 70's baby, I grew up watching my mother in FABULOUS pieces that even as a child dazzled my eyes. Now as I grown woman when I look through the family albums, my mouth waters as I scream out "I want that NOW!"
I am a fan of vintage and thrift shopping, and I could spend 24 hour straight in a vintage store sifting through thousands of pieces. But of course, I know not everyone has the patience and stamina for that type of shopping. That's why it's so exciting that one of the major trends for Spring are retro looks inspired by the ground-breaking era of the 1970's, available in major retail stores for you!
High waisted Pants, bell-bottoms, leisure suits, platforms, off-the-shoulder tops and retro prints heralded the return of groovy 1970s fashions. Pull out the caftans and slip into your maxi-dress; the long languid lines of the decade will have everyone renting the film Studio 54 and watching reruns of Charlies Angels for a lesson in rocking the trend.

I can't pinpoint my favorite 70's piece, they are all delicious! I do believe every stylish woman in know should own a pair of high waisted pants! Especially for the petites out there, it's an awesome way to give the illusion of of a longer leg! This season Juicy Coture is a great and affordable place to grab a pair for your closet!
Donna Summer, Pam Grier as "Foxy Brown" and every other woman in "the know" rocked high waisted pants and the true beauty; HIGH WAISTED JEANS! In the late '70s and early '80s, and Vogue even declared low-rise styles déclassé in May 2002.

* Because high-waisted jeans cinch the narrowest part of your torso, they PLAY UP CURVES, so sisters this is an A+ item for you to have in your collection! This makes them ideal for naturally curvy women who want to accentuate what they've got, as well as for more boyish figures who want to create the illusion of an hour-glass figure. Take this one step further by looking for high-rise styles that feature thick waistbands or belts.

* If you have wide hips, look for high-waist denim with larger rear pockets or flap pockets, and details like sailor-inspired buttons or small pockets in the front – these features will break up a wide expanse of denim that could otherwise make you look even wider through the hips and flatten your bottom.

This item can easily take you from a casual office day look, to a sexy night look with the help of a few accessories. Look polished and professionally casual by pairing a darker rinse jean with a tucked-in white shirt and a cropped jacket. Throw on a few cuff bangles and a thick belt with platform pumps and you are good to go! Here's a tip: wear a shirt with a built-in bodysuit so it stays tucked in! I love the shirts by GAP body, and Body by Victoria's Secret! For a sexy transition into an evening look for a hot new date, or a nigh out with the girls at your favorite spot, dip into the transparency fashion trend by wearing a sheer blouse over a metallic camisole tucked into dark high-waist jeans with a pair of metallic platform pumps, and you are already the LIFE and the LOOK of the party!

These looks are available this season at online stores such as

at any fantastic Vintage/Thrift Store!

-Nana-Adwoa Ofori READ MORE