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Magazines for the Holidays: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Some of my favorite magazines. All would be perfect gifts!

Some of my favorite magazines. All would be perfect gifts!

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

It’s that time of the year again when we’re all supposed to focus on the reason for the season: consumerism. Yes, it seems to me that every year Christmas becomes more about gift giving than reflecting on the changing seasons, the birth of Christ (if that’s you’re thing), a celebration of light (if that’s your thing) and / or giving to the less fortunate and counting our own blessings.

But I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s gift giving parade. I realize there is something intrinsically wonderful about not only receiving gifts but giving them as well. And I think with a wee bit of thought, gift giving can be more than just hitting up your local mall or Amazon page. In fact, finding that perfect gift can be so satisfying not just for the person on the receiving end, but the giver as well. But what is the perfect gift?

I’ll tell you what the perfect gift is, dear readers, a magazine. Think about it, a subscription to a magazine is a gift that keeps on giving for 12 months after Christmas is over. Delivered right to a person’s door, a glossy new magazine chock full of information and entertainment is like a curated care package for the ones you love and all you had to do was send in a check with a delivery address. No worrying about the right size, or color, or whether they’ll like it or not. Who isn’t going to love a magazine? As long as you pick the right magazine, that speaks to the interests and/or hobbies of your loved one, you can’t go wrong. And trust me, there are magazines out there catering to just about every single hobby, interest, fetish and fan. Here are just a few ideas. You can thank me later.

1. Ebony Magazine – For your Black friend or Rachel Dolezal-esque friend who just loves Black people and Black culture. Kierna Mayo is the new Editor of Ebony and it’s better than ever before.

2. Afar – For your friend full of wanderlust, Afar magazine is a travel magazine for the traveler not the tourist thanks to its gorgeous photography and editorial content that goes way beyond the obvious, trendy vacation hot spots.

3. Poet’s & Writers – For your struggling writer friend who would buy their own subscription to this inspiration-packed, bimonthly magazine, but is a poor writer so can’t justify the expense.

4. Bust Magazine – For your funky feminist friend who still secretly wants to be Martha Stewart but also joined the local roller derby league and is about to start her own business.

5. Culture – For your foodie friend who loves cheese. Yes, this is a gorgeous magazine dedicated to cheese and the people who love to eat it. Seriously.

6. Catster and/or Dogster – For the cat and dog lovers in your circle, these new magazines take all the fun from viral animal videos, plus useful columns and advice and offer a bimonthly magazine for anyone who considers their pet a part of the family.

Okay, dear readers. What magazines do you think make great gifts? I’d love to hear any you think Ms. Meltingpot would like. I’ll pass the info on to el esposo. I’m totally listening.

Peace!

ICYMI: “100 Men of Color Greeted Kids on Their First Day of School”

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

The Meltingpot is now dedicated to promoting what I love. Stay tuned.

The Meltingpot is now dedicated to promoting what I love. Stay tuned.

This morning I posted the following quote by David Wolfe on my Facebook page, “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” Ironic because I fell asleep last night wondering if focusing on the positive and the good could be the antidote to the horror unfolding daily in this world. I get exhausted just thinking about working to undo the damage being done by racist politicians, hyper-violent cops, the NRA, and countless other “evil doers” in our midst. But I have to do something. I have the platform of this blog and my books and my voice and I really cannot sit by and wait for change to just come.

But my puny efforts to take down the evil would be like a hummingbird’s futile peck at a stone wall. So, I will not try to destroy the wall, rather I will plant seeds all around it, seeds of love, laughter, and light and hope that they will grow strong and fragrant all over the wall, until that wall is covered with the flowers of my efforts.

So, with that, I give you a fabulous story to inspire – and provide another example of folks sparking change with positive intentions – about a group of Black men who showed up on the first day of school to welcome the kids with a handshake and a high-five. It’s a sweet little piece and it appears on a fabulous (relatively) new website that’s all about promoting positive journalism. It’s called A Plus.com. Imagine if the mainstream media spent more time highlighting positive news stories. Would that make a difference in this world? I think so. Check out A Plus and let me know what you think (FYI, A Plus was co-founded by the actor, Ashton Kutcher.) Do you have any positive news websites that you enjoy? Don’t keep it to yourself, share in the comments, please. And then, enjoy my favorite song from Will. i. am that perfectly captures my mood after writing this post.

Peace!

Colorism By Another Name is “Shadeism:” A Movie Coming Soon To A Film Festival Near You

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

The Conference on Colorism

The Conference on Colorism

Not a lot of time to write today, but I still wanted to share. Last week I had the opportunity to attend an amazing conference on colorism. It was held at Washington University in St. Louis and featured an amazing gathering of scholars from around the world who all research and/or advocate against colorism. I learned a lot.

The last agenda on the conference schedule was the screening of a film by a young Canadian filmmaker named Nayani Thiyagaraja, who produced a documentary about colorism amongst her own friends – a diverse group of ethnic Canadian young women. Originally a short she posted on YouTube, the film has been expanded into a full-length documentary that will soon be screening at a variety of film festivals. The movie is called Shadeism: Digging Deeper. You can watch the original short below. And stay tuned to the website for updates on the full documentary.

Hair’s the Thing: Dove’s #LoveYourCurls Campaign


Hi Meltingpot readers,

Have you seen Dove’s new #LoveYourCurls video? There aren’t any references to Dove products in the video, so it actually feels more like a public service announcement than a commercial. The main message is that little girls with curly hair want straight hair because they believe it’s more beautiful. This of course, we can assume, will be detrimental to their self-esteem and body confidence. The solution, according to the social scientists employed by Dove, is for mothers and relatives and essentially anyone who is exposed to a young girl with curly hair, to stop straightening their own hair and learn to love their curls. In other words, ladies need to model self love. At that point, I suppose, a grown woman watching this video, whether she has children of her own or not, will decide to stop straightening her hair and from now on wear it curly, which means she’ll need a new arsenal of products. Enter Dove’s new line of Quench Absolute products and voila, Dove’s work is done. More women will wear their hair curly, more young girls will see this curly hair in public and feel proud of their own curls, Dove will sell a lot of shampoo and conditioner and everyone will be curly and happy and rich. Well, the Dove executives will be rich, the rest of us will be curly and happy.

Perhaps you note a twinge of sarcasm in my review of the video. I admit I am being a little snarky. The truth is, I watched the video with my own curly-haired daughter and smiled at all of the kinks and curls on display. I loved the fact that the girls interviewed were multi-hued and throughout the video a wide variety of young girls and women were portrayed. That’s always nice when shampoo companies acknowledge that not only White people buy hair products. Still, there’s a part of me that feels like Dove has simply utilized a very trendy “issue” to champion in order to sell more products. Not only does a “LoveYourCurls” campaign potentially draw in all of the Black hair bloggers and vloggers that dominate social media and are essential in making or breaking a new product, but they’ve managed to pull at the heartstrings hairstrings of anybody who cares about young girls and self-esteem. I’m surprised they didn’t add a puppy or a cute kitten in the video for extra effect.

At the end of the day, I am all for the basic message of this video, which is quite simply to love your curls. And I do agree that if young girls saw more women with curly hair who were heralded as beautiful and smart and capable and there wasn’t such an incessant keening over straight hair in our society, that would be a step in the right direction. But I will always be a skeptic when commercial interests are involved. Now, if the Girl Scouts of America had made this video, I’d be telling all my friends about it.

Your thoughts, dear readers? I’m listening.

My Protest on the Page: The #CapitalBCampaign is Launched!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I’ve been busy since the last time I wrote. Besides making a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people, I’ve started a revolution in the name of respect.

Dear readers, you all know how I feel about the capital B situation in printed work. It drives me nuts that Black Americans are written in the lowercase, as if Black culture was something less than Latino, Asian or Native American culture. I wrote about my feelings here on the Meltingpot as well as in the New York Times in an Op-Ed piece that ran last month. And now, I’ve formally created a petition on Change.org asking the New York Times and the Associated Press to officially change their style books to say that when referring to Black Americans, always use the uppercase. Always.

I think it’s so silly that all of the major media outlets agreed to capitalize the N in Negro in 1930 and yet black is still written in the lowercase. What’s up with that? Is there some sort of collective amnesia going on in media circles?

If you agree that Black people deserve the respect of the uppercase, would you please be so kind as to sign the petition at Change.org and share the link with your networks? Bring your protests to the page and join me in the #CapitalBCampaign.

Thank you.

Peace!

Monday Microagressions Comic Relief: If Black Women Said…

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I have a new obsession and it’s called Buzzfeed. *hangs head in shame* My brother sent me a link to this hilarious video entitled, “If Black Women Said the Stuff White Guys Say” from the funny people at Buzzfeed. Yes, it’s meant to make you laugh but underneath the humor is a really effective way to get people to think about the microagressions Black women face every day. Like, I laughed until I almost peed myself watching this, but mostly because I could relate to every single example in the video. And that’s not funny at all. So, rather than keep all this highbrow humor to myself, enjoy. And be warned, there are also, If Latinos Said…, and If Asians Said… versions as well. You’re welcome.

black•ish is okay•ish: It’s No Cosby Show but I’ll Stick Around to Watch

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Not quite the Cosby Show.

Not quite the Cosby Show.

Thanks to our robust Jewish community in Philadelphia, my kids’ school was closed today, so I allowed them to stay up to watch the premier episode of ABC’s black•ish last night. I have to admit, I too was really excited by all of the promos and advanced praise about the show. I mean really, it sounds like my life story…sort of. At least the part about a Black parent wanting his kids to feel connected to their Black roots, even though he’s raising them in a mostly White world. Honestly, what person of color can’t relate to that fear these days?

Meanwhile, my kids were just excited because finally there’s a sitcom with a family that kind of looks like ours. You know, they want their own Cosby Show. I want them to have one too. But, let’s begin with the fact that it’s airing at 9:30pm on Wednesday nights. Too late ABC for a family show. Can we fix that? And while all of the characters are super cute and nicely dressed and the funny race jokes were funny, it all felt a little too rushed and too silly. I want to laugh, but you gotta give me something to sink my teeth into besides one-liners. My kids felt the same way, and they’re only 10 and 13.

I’m going to keep watching because, like my kids, I’m ready to have a Cosby Show for the 21st century. I want my kids to see their lives reflected on the small screen. But if the writing doesn’t get a little smarter, I’m going to have to turn it off.

Did anybody else watch? What did you think? I’m so listening.

Peace!

“Love the Skin You’re In,” Says Elmo and Lupita

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

After Monday’s depressing post about skin whitening soap, today I bring you better news on the same topic courtesy of Elmo and my new girl crush, Lupita Nygong’o. They have a simple message: Love the skin you’re in. Way to go Sesame Street for offering this tiny tidbit of self-love empowerment in a world where white skin is held up as pure and perfect, dark skin is demonized and skin lightening products can be found on grocery store shelves. I hope some little brown girls are watching this, some big brown girls too. Enjoy!

Do you love the skin you’re in? Do you even think about your skin color on a daily basis? I’m so listening.

Peace!