I decided several years ago to eliminate processed foods and other unnatural products from my home. It’s been a gradual process for us to break the addiction we had to things like shower gels and household cleaning products. Instead we use baking soda, vinegar, water, lemon and other natural ingredients. I also found a wonderful natural soap made from goat milk. Instead of lotion we use mixtures of natural oils like jojoba and Shea butter.  However, the strongest addiction to break were the processed chemicals we used on our hair, particularly perms. As I transition out of my perm I began to realize the standard of beauty I had set for my children; my girls in particular.

For black women, hair is such a big deal. When a baby is born, the first thing we ask after we know the baby is healthy, is “how much hair does he/she have”? We care how much and how “good” the hair is. Since I’ve never known anyone to have hair that’s gone to jail, I guess we all have “good” hair. As a culture, the more straight and manageable the hair is, the better it is.  As I think about this, it saddens me that our children are subjected to this rejection of their natural beauty.

As soon as a female child is old enough, we slap a perm in their hair to make it straighter. We rob her of the ability to embrace what God has given her and to see it as beautiful. What I am finding out through this journey of taking back my natural beauty is that if you are patient enough to find products that work for your unique hair type, it too will be manageable.  I am falling in love with my hair all over again and it’s beautiful.  We must teach our daughters to love what is pure and natural about them.

The image of beauty should not be learned from the media or school; it should be learned at home from women who look like them.  I challenge you as you read this to embrace something that is naturally yours and accept it as beautiful.

Until next time, stay strong, smart and powerful.  For more discussion of this topic, visit my discussion forum on Facebook on the fan page TiffTalks.



I must admit, like most of you, I was teary eyed as I listened to this young man talk about his journey. It wasn’t so much what he said, but the feelings his words stirred up in my gut. My tears were from the overwhelming sense of pride I felt. I don’t know this young man, but I felt connected to him. He was appreciative and humble. I also sensed his pride for his accomplishments and his disdain for those who thought he couldn’t and others who thought he wouldn’t.  It was almost like he was saying, look at me, I did it. I am successful in spite of the hurdles that were in front of me.

I also felt burdened.  There are so many young men who should be able to feel what he feels right now. We live in a country where public education is available to everyone. This young man should be the norm. We should not be amazed by what he’s done, we should expect it.  Are our expectations of our children so low that we are awe struck when we see someone who took their education seriously, burned the midnight oil studying for tests, turned in homework on time, participated and volunteered in community efforts, and was respectful to himself, his parents, and others? Where have we gone wrong? Those same things it took for this young man to be successful, are the same things that took us from the cotton fields to the white house.  As he quoted in his speech, Langston Hughes reminds us that “Life ain’t no crystal stair”. Being successful in spite of hardships and not failing because of them was a standard for black folks. You were expected to work hard, pull your pants up, study, and be respectful. What happened?

Congratulations to this young man and hats off to the village that came together to raise him. It’s time to take back the village.  

Until next time, stay strong, smart and powerful!

I couldn't ignore the Laurence Fishburn debacle. Every site I visit is talking about his daughter's decision to release a sex tape. I read a few of the comments and was shocked at what I saw and thought Ok, here is another opportunity for the village to help raise the child. Instead we do what “we” always do. . .tear the child down. She’s a know-it-all twenty-something who thinks she’s making a career move because it worked for Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters. Although I love brotha Fishburn, he’s not of the social elite and Fishburn just doesn’t carry the same financial weight as Kardashian or Hilton; thus the consequences are very different as well. Lucky for her, people have short memories and soon we’ll be on to the next baby daddy/mamma, who came out the closet, who got married/cheated drama of the day.


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