From Child Refugee To Supermodel : Halima Aden

She was born in a refugee camp. Now she is the first supermodel to do a modest swimwear photo-shoot for Sports Illustrated. This is the life and fashion of Halima Aden.

From Refugee Camp To Walking Runways

Life was not always glamorous for Halima. Originally from Somali, Halima was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. Aden advice to refugee women and girls is this : “There is one thing that I can say to those girls: Nothing is permanent…..you have to be accepting of the change and be ready to evolve”. Once she moved to the United States with her family at the age of six, she started chasing after her goals. She entered into the Miss Minnesota Pageant. She became a semi-finalist, and was voted as homecoming queen in her high school. She is a Muslim model who advocates for the hijab . She is the first hijabi model to walk international runways. She is signed to a major agency. She has also been the first hijabi model to be on the cover of Vogue, Arabia, Allure, and British Vogue.

“I want to be known for encouraging other girls to go out and have their own success stories,” she told Paper.

Backlash For Sports-Illustrated Photo Shoot

Not everyone was happy with her modest swimsuit photos.

“Modesty culture is backward & anti-women. Thousands of women are arrested in Islamic countries protesting against veiling & yet your silly mag is celebrating a symbol of oppression…in the most absurdly incoherent way imaginable. Fail.”- Rita Panahi

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Image Credit: First Image – Daily Sabah, Images Above- Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

How is it backwards and anti-women to promote modesty? If anything, dressing provocatively and wearing revealing clothes is backwards. How will a man respect you if you dress without leaving anything to the imagination? That is why I always admire African styles in general. It is colorful and full of life. Our headscarves are full of intricate designs. Our skirts are long and flowy.  If you want to feel like a Queen, just walk around at your local African boutique. The designs will fill you with pride.

Somali Fashion

Somali is a country full of diverse cultures. The country is located along a international trade route. Most of Somali people still live in Somalia, although their is some who have migrated to Ethiopia. Other groups of people that are Somali are living in Yemen, Kenya,  Djibouti, and other parts of the world. The strong influence of Islam can be seen in their dress codes. The young and those living in the city/urban areas can be seen wearing Western dress for everyday clothing. But for special occasions they always rock their traditional clothing. In the rural area, wearing traditional clothing everyday is more prevalent.

The woman of Somalia frown upon revealing clothing. Most of their garments are comprised of conservative colors. They have many full-length dresses that come in a variety of styles. In a random day in Somalia , you might see a female wearing a guntiino. A guntiino is a long piece of cloth. You tie it over your shoulder and drape it around your waist.

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Image Credit: Art Station

For formal events, women will be seen wearing a dirac. A dirac is a long dress. It is made up of 100% cotton , or a blend of cotton, linen, and/or polyester.

Image Credit : Xarrago

If you are a married woman you wear a scarf on your head. Your scarf is called a shash. Some Muslim women wear a burqa . This garment covers the body from head to foot. (Source: Interesting Africa Facts)

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Image Credit: Express Co UK

 

What Does The Future Hold For Halima?

The trend of being modest has rose in recent years. A lot of older vintage styles are coming back and are in high demand. “Headpieces were being celebrated,” says Aden. “It’s no longer a ‘Muslim women head covering’ thing, you know. Turbans are in.” Many women around the world are embracing that “we are all Africa” and are rocking colorful headpieces. “I believe that the time has changed. For instance, once there were not enough cosmetic products for even adult women and now even 2-year-olds are playing with makeup. This change is coming with the change of times and I’m afraid older generations might have difficulty in accepting that,” Aden says.

Halima Aden: ‘My family doesn’t understand modelling is a real job’

“I’m not Rapunzel stuck in a castle,” she says defiantly. “In today’s society, you’re out and about, and you’re visible, no matter what. So why is it OK for me to be visible in a classroom? Why is it OK to be out in a mall, or just outside, but I can’t be seen in a magazine?”

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Image Credit: Bossip,People, Metro UK

The future holds a lot for Halima. She will be opening many doors for those who are Muslim in the fashion world. She is a designer herself, with a fashion collection that will break many barriers. And she will be inspiring others to believe, that you can be beautiful and modest, for years to come.

 

Femicide In South Africa

Shuga is a TV show that I always get excited to watch everytime a new season comes on. It’s first season was videotaped in Kenya, and it was how Lupita Nyong’o  got her first main acting role. Ever since then, it has changed countries, jumping from Nigeria to South Africa. Pretty soon a new season will be filmed in Coite D’voire. It touches on the issues a lot of people of color face, such as discrimination, finding oneself, relationship problems, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But what really caught my eye was The Down South Season 1 , which depicted life for youth in South Africa. And what really broke my heart ( although the story was fictional) was how a young 15 year old character Tsholo (pictured in first image, image credit: MTV Shuga) dies after being in a abusive relationship with 24 year old neighborhood taxi driver Sol. It moved me to research a trending topic called Femicide. Global Americans states South Africa  as the 3rd country in the world to have a “very high” rate of femicide, with El Salvador taking the lead. What exactly is femicide? Why is it such a huge problem in South Africa? And what can be done to prevent it?

The Meaning of Femicide

The spectrum of violence is a long one. It can start off as just a verbal insult, grow into physical assault , and explode into murder. Femicide is the actual killing of women.

The World Health Organization has this to say about femicide: “Femicide is usually perpetrated by men, but sometimes female family members may
be involved. Femicide differs from male homicide in specific ways. For example, most
cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse
in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have
less power or fewer resources than their partner.”

There are different types of femicide:

  • Intimate femicide– A murder of a woman by their own current or former husband or boyfriend. An ongoing study by WHO found out that over 35% of femicides are committed by the persons own current or former intimate partner.
  • Murders in the name of honour-  ” ‘Honour’-related murders involve a girl or woman being killed by a male or female family member for an actual or assumed sexual or behavioural  transgression, including adultery, sexual intercourse or pregnancy outside marriage – or even for being raped . Often the perpetrators see this femicide as a way to protect family reputation, to follow tradition or to adhere to wrongly interpreted religious demands. Murders in the name of ‘honour’ may also be used to cover up cases of incest .”  -WHO Organization. Wow. So to cover up a crime like rape or incest that was not even the females fault, some families decide its just best to kill off the woman , so the family’s reputation can be “protected”. Very barbaric and sickening.
  • Dowry-related femicide- This is when a conflict involving the bride price enrages the in-laws so much, to the extent that one of them decides to just kill off the newly married woman.
  • Non-intimate femicide- When a female is killed that has had no relationship with the man. It usually happens after sexual aggression. It is random and is sometimes done by a creepy stalker or a secret admiring psychopath.
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Why Is Femicide Such A Huge Problem In South Africa ?

The South Africa Police collected data that shows that a woman is murdered every 3 hours in South Africa. Nationally this is 4.8 times the global average rate.

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Image Credit: MatieMedia

The Institute For Security Studies explanation is understandable. It points to apartheid as one of the main reasons why violence in South Africa is at an all-time high. With so many years of inequality and abuse of power on their plate, many South Africans have no reasons to respect the law. And to this day, the European race still holds most of the power and wealth in South Africa. Much of the poorer class, which is comprised mostly of blacks , in this day and age still do not have access to psychologists or lawyers who will fairly fight for them. Although wrong, what usually happens when a man who has carried the weight of stress and trauma has nowhere to turn? They unleash their pain on a woman. And just one blow can become fatal.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Femicide?

 

Increase Education, Intervention and Research

The more men that become informed of these horrifying statistics,  the more awareness it will bring to the situation. It can move many SA men to be on the lookout for potential violent situations. If you see a female neighbor that is bruised, try to figure out what is going on. A lot of protests are going on with women marching the streets, but more men need to be involved.

Restrict Gun Ownership And Increase Gun Laws

Guns should only be used for hunting animals only. (That is my opinion, and I am sticking to it.) The government needs to enforce stricter gun laws so that a lot of deaths can be prevented. If guns have to be seized, then so be it.

Train And Sensitize Health Staff/Police

Health care workers and police who are on the scene during violent situations need to be trained thoroughly. Proper documentation needs to be made, and improving detections needs to be done.

The community as a whole can do much to prevent femicides from happening. Walk away from abusive relationships. Say no to domestic violence. Need help? Always remember that you are not alone. Call one of these numbers if you are being abused or if you know someone who is being abused:

  • POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse): 011 6424 345
  • Gender-based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428 (emergency line) or *120*7867# (please call me facility)
  • Tears Foundation helpline: *134*7355#

Do you have a story to tell concerning the topic of femicide? Any input or advice to give? Comment below.

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Black Girl Blues

(Image Credit: Twitter)

It is a affliction that develops within us after being strong for too long. After being faced with barriers, negative outcomes, surviving trauma, inheriting a serious health issue, or coming from a disadvantaged background, many Queens of color fall into depression. “Black Girl Blues” has become such a hot topic that may books, movies, and even local community events are focusing on it. And yet, the stigma within the African and African-American community remains.

With a lack of resources and funds, many black Queens self-medicate by becoming workaholics, alcoholics, drug-addicts, or even sex addicts. What causes depression? Why is being a black female, and being depressed such a huge epidemic? How can a black Queen deal with depression?

What Causes Depression?

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The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine has admitted that women of color try to fight their way through anxiety and depression by themselves. The whole stereotype of being the “strong black women” has been ingrained in our minds for too long through mainstream media. “Anyone can experience mental illness. There is no group, gender, sexual identity, race or cultural belief that can prevent it from occurring,” says Richards, M.D. “And it’s actually happening at higher rates than most other illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.” In the African and African American community ( I personally make it a point to separate the both because we are similar and yet so different), many attribute depression to someone who is weak. In the African American community it is quite common to hear depression be turned into a joke, and someone suffering from it is sometimes used as a source of comedy relief. In the African community when you bring up depression you are often the target of shame and mockery. Your relatives may go out of their way to embarrass you and make you feel as though you are not strong, that is why you can’t “get over it”.

Women of color suffer mentally more than the general population because we lack so much. When you have been stolen from, abused, neglected, and oppressed for centuries,more than any other race, you suffer more from violence, PTSD, poverty and homelessness. All of these negative components create a concoction of depression in a Queen’s mind.

The Three Strikes : Being Black, Being A Female, and Being Depressed

 

Every hit black TV sitcom I have watched whether it was “The Cosby Show”, “Living Single”, or “The Jeffersons”, the black leading female was always portrayed as being so strong. She always had a extremely witty demeanor with a hysterical comeback that would always save the day, and it would seriously get on my nerves. I mean why couldn’t Clair Huxtable ever have an emotional breakdown in front of her kids? Didn’t being a lawyer and seeing all of the corruption in the system ever depress her? Did not moving on up to the East-side emotionally exhaust Mrs. Jefferson? Queen Latifah did see a therapist while acting in “Living Single”, but it was not a reoccurring topic.

“During slavery you were supposed to be the strong one. You weren’t supposed to speak. You were supposed to just do,” said Esney M. Sharpe, founder and CEO of the Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center in East Orange, N.J., which offers health services for uninsured and underserved women. “…Our moms and our grandmothers always told us to suppress. Just be quiet, chalk it up, get up, dress up, fix your face, put on your best outfit and just keep going,” she said.

Women in general are more likely to experience depression than men do. (What a surprise.) But when your black, and a woman, your chances of experiencing depression are higher than the rest of the general population.

How Can A Black Queen Deal With Depression?

1.) Choose a provider that demonstrates cultural competence. Your healthcare provider should be able to provide care to you despite your belief, values and behavior. They should also take into account your social, cultural, and linguistic needs. If they can’t, then you need to find a replacement.

2.) Walk away from toxic relationships and/or family and friends. The saying : “You are who you sleep with”, is very true. You cannot have a healthy mind if you choose to have a partner that is constantly insulting you, demeaning you, cheating on you or beating you. The same goes for your friends and family. Misery loves company. If they are not uplifting you, you need to replace them with people who will.

3.) Seek help from a mental health provider. “I do think our community could use a lot of healing and I do think there’s a lot of potential for psychotherapy in our community,” said Psychologist Orbe-Austin.

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Shop Healthy At Aldi’s For Only $25 A Week

The main barrier that holds a lot of fast food junkies back from eating more healthier is the claim that healthy, nutritious food is too expensive. But is it really? What store can you shop at to get healthy , nutritious food? And what is United States guidelines when it comes to eating ?

We live in a country where obesity is a growing epidemic . The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention states that obesity affected 93.3 million US adults in the year 2015-2016. Being overweight can cause heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even different types of cancer. You can prevent an unhealthy lifestyle. Aldi’s is well-known for selling fruits, vegetables , grains, and dairy at a discount.

USDA Food Guidelines

The USDA is our country’s department of agriculture and it focuses on nutrition and food services. They have admitted that many chronic diseases in the U.S have increased because of poor quality diet and physical inactivity. It is being encouraged that if you want to live a long life, you must follow a healthy eating pattern consistently. Your nutrients should have density, variety, and at least a handful for each portion within calorie limits. You should only eat a low amount of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Change your beverage choices to a more healthier choice. And promote healthy eating patterns in your community by setting a good example in your home, school, and place of employment.

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Aldi’s Shopping List Idea 

So an ideal meal would be to have one serving of dairy, fruit, meat, vegetables, and grains. Here’s a shopping list that can feed 1 person for a week and get you all that for $25 :

This week Sept. 22-28,2019 Aldi’s is selling grapes for sale. 1 pound is 89 cents. A pound of grapes is a equivalent to 2 cups. So if you brought 5 pounds of grapes and ate a cup of grapes every morning, you will only have spent $4.45 and still have grapes left over.

For dairy , a gallon of milk at Aldi’s is 1.79. So you can have a cup of dairy with every meal for your week for less than 2 dollars. Don’t want to drink milk with every meal? Drink water.

A loaf of sliced bread is a dollar, you can get a bag of pre-made salad for 2.49, and you can buy any choice of meats for around $5. So lets get a final calculation:

Five pounds of grapes : $4.45

One gallon of milk:       $1.79

Two Loafs of Bread:    $2.00

Two Bags of Salad Kits:$5.00

Choice of Meats:            $5.00

TOTAL:                           $18.24!

That still leaves you with $6.76 to buy snacks, (yogurt cups are only about .50 cents each), condiments (which are only around $2 each) , or desserts ( a box of sugar free popsicles is only around $3.99). And that grocery list includes your USDA recommended serving of dairy, meat,fruits,vegetables,and grains!

Cool, right?

I know driving through a fast food drive-thru seems more enticing , but keep in mind the long-term consequences: obesity, heart issues, diabetes, and even different forms of cancer. So keep in mind that eating healthier will increase your chances of living a good long life, it will help you have more energy, and your arteries will be clean. Also, you can be a good example to your family and friends.

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How To Grow Long Thick Locs

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I have had my locs for four years and 9 months and man, they have grown . Many people have asked me : Are they real? Is that yarn?

Yes! These are my real locs and no, this is not yarn.

How did I achieve this growth and thickness?

Stimulate Your Scalp

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Just like a plant needs water to grow, your scalp needs water to stay hydrated and healthy. You can buy a empty spray bottle from Dollar Tree and just fill it up with water. Spritz your hair several times a day or whenever you have a chance. You can massage the moisture into your locs with a brush. This helps a lot to prevent breakage and thinning.

Eat Healthy

Since my doctor suggested that I go on a diet I have been taking a break from Popeyes. Drinking a lot of water, eating your fruits and vegetables ( strawberries is better than sour-patch kids , and carrots is better than Cheetos), will create length retention and thicker hair. Your body is over 50% water, so drink lots of it!

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Put A Scarf Over Your Pillow

If you are lazy like me than you know you never put a scarf on your head before you go to bed. Girl do you? Well if you don’t , a solution to your laziness is to just put a satin scarf over your pillow. Personally, I just put a regular scarf over my pillow. It keeps the lint away. There are also “Satin Du-bags”. They sell them online and they are specifically made for locs.

Lock In The Moisture With Oils

 

Wild Growth Hair Oil 4 Oz    Okay Coconut Oil for Hair and Skin in Jar, 6 Oz, Adult Unisex, Size: 177 mlCase of Lusti Organics Olive Oil Detangling Spray, 12-oz. Bottles (8 u

Image Credit: Amazon, Walmart, Dollar Tree

Water is not enough to keep your locs healthy. You have to lock in the moisture with oils. My personal favorites are coconut oil, olive oil, and Wild Growth Oil. Wild Growth Hair Oil is an amazing product for any type of hair. This oil is popular worldwide. Wild Growth Oil really helped my hair when I was first starting out. It helped me go from this:

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To this :

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Don’t Re-twist Often

What I notice some locheads will do is frequently go to the loctician to get their locs re-twisted. Over twisting can cause your hair to break at the roots. Sometimes I mindlessly twist my locs with my hands. Playing with your hair can make it easy to break off. It is recommended that you wait at least 4 weeks to get your locs re-twisted. I only re-twist a couple of times every year.

Let Your Locs Be Free

Always manipulating your hair with twist-outs and different styling can weaken your locs. You have to treat your coils like a newborn baby that constantly needs care. If you use a lot of rubber bands that can also weaken your strands. Most of the time, I just wear a headband or a scarf and let it flow freely. Make sure you don’t wrap your scarf too tight though, because that can create tension to your roots. I am living proof that with proper moisture, a healthy eating lifestyle, and minimal styling, you can grow long, thick, locs!

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