Friday, September 30, 2011

Last week at the Fro Fashion Week conference I had a chance to attend a great workshop by London James of Sooo Chic Accessories on the latest trends in accessories. Here are my five favorite fall accessory trends. 

The infinity scarf 

Old Navy scarf

Because this is one of my favorite fall trends, I was quite excited to get new ideas of how to wear the infinity scarf. You can wear it as a hood by placing it around your head and then twisting and looping it back over your head for a tres chic headscarf/neckscarf style. Or, if the scarf is large and long enough, you can wear it on your shoulders like a shawl. 

Collared necklace

The choker has an updated look with the collared necklace. 

Mixing metal

No longer feel that you have to choose between silver and gold or cooper and nickel. Feel free to mix metals as shown above. 

Geometric shapes

This is one of the hot new trends with earrings. London recommends sporting these with a button-down collared shirt. And remember there's no need for a necklace. You want all eyes on your fabulous earrings.

Structured Bag

Trade in that slouch hobo bag for a structured purse. I love these bags because they're so versatile. They're professional enough to take to work, yet trendy and stylish enough to tote on the weekends. 

*All items from Sooo Chic Accessories unless otherwise noted. 
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Posted by in  on 7:05 AM 1 comment
Happy Friday, everyone! Ready for a trip down musical memory lane?

This week, we hear from family - Javacia's brother C.J. Harris.

Destiny's Child, The Writing's On The Wall (1999)

C.J. said: "I think this is a very well-rounded album, as far as subject matter goes. They were in their teens at the time and just becoming women. "Bills Bills Bills" and "Say My Name" were and are still the s***. And they ended the album with a praise to God."

Also check out:
"Bills Bills Bills"

Georgia Mae fan Kimberly Jackson is back with another selection:

Joss Stone, Mind Body & Soul (2004)

Kim said: "I love this Joss Stone CD because it possess such a soulful, chill vibe. I love "Spoiled" and for those who say otherwise, it proves white girls CAN sing soul!"

Also check out:
"You Had Me"
"Don't Cha Wanna Ride"

Now, it’s your turn. Email, hit us up on Twitter @etbowser or @writeousbabe, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. We’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jess McGuinty unveils the new look of Jessicurl at Fro Fashion Week

At the Fro Fashion Week conference she was called the Teena Marie of natural hair. 

When Jess McGuinty took the stage at the conference she immediately pointed out the elephant in the room: "Yes, I'm white!" she said, getting belly laughs from the crowd. 

McGuinty is the creator of Jessicurl, a complete line of products for us curly girls. At Fro Fashion Week, McGuinty shared her hair story, which sounded quite similar to tales told by women of color.  

"We're more alike than we are different," she said. 

McGuinty grew up hating her coarse, curly hair. Her mom, who had straight hair, had no idea how to help. And then there was Kenny Anderson, the boy at school who picked on her and stuck pencils in her hair to see how long they stay. Didn't we all have a Kenny Anderson?

McGuinty eventually discovered and was elated to have found a community of curly girls who could understand her struggles. Unfortunately, she didn't find any products that worked for her hair. So she decided to make her own and Jessicurl was born. 

At Fro Fashion Week, McGuinty unveiled her product line's new look which features this new logo:

McGuinty said the freedom, confidence, and joy reflected in this image is, "how I want us all to feel about our hair. It's how I finally feel about mine." 

She said, "You have the right to remain curly," quoting her company's new slogan. "You have the right to remain yourself." 

Reviews of Jessicurl products coming soon!
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Posted by in ,  on 7:05 AM 1 comment

J. Cole

Cole World: The Sideline Story (released September 27, 2011)

When I was a kid the debate (about best rapper) was LL versus Run DMC, or later, Kane versus Rakim. Next year it might be Drake versus J.Cole

- From Jay-Z's book Decoded, which is much better than this album. SPOILER ALERT!!!

A year or so ago, when everyone was proclaiming Drake the greatest thing to happen to hip hop since four-finger rings, my eyes were on a different light-skinneded young'n - J. Cole. Drake had the charisma and radio-friendly catalogue while Cole had the lyrical prowess and cockiness. The hip hop peanut gallery, always eager to find the next big thing, immediately began to compare the two with rap's heavyweights.

If they were taking the SAT, Jay-Z : Drake :: Nas : J. Cole.

After a series of phenomenal mixtapes, anticipation has been sky high for Cole's long awaited debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story.  In fact, Cole's latest mixtape release, Friday Night Lights, is among the best mixtapes I've ever heard, period.

And that's why I'm so disappointed in Cole World.

The first red flag was hearing Friday Night Light's "In The Morning" on this set. While I'm a big fan of the song, which features - guess who - your favorite rapper Drake,  I was hoping Cole World would build upon the strength of his mixtapes, not feature tracks cherry-picked from earlier releases. It's even more upsetting that "In The Morning" is Cole World's best song. Why are we being asked to buy a song we got on a superior release a year ago - AND FOR FREE?  But that's not the only "greatest hit" that makes an appearance. The ultra-moldy "Lights Please" shows up too. Playa, that song was released before Georgia Mae moved its headquarters to Birmingham. Bush was rocking to that while he was still in the White House!

That's just the talk of a frustrated fan. I think newer fans definitely will warm up to Cole World. "Lost Ones" is the type of track that made me a Cole supporter. The song, a heated conversation between lovers over the fate of an unborn child, lays real-life situations on wax. I'd rather hear songs like this than Rick Ross bragging about eating pancakes overseas in his Maybach. "Never Told" and "Breakdown" both serve as a looking glass into Cole's life, with solid production and engaging wordplay to boot.

Perhaps the greatest guilty pleasure track of the year is "Workout," which (very) heavily borrows from Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan." Yes, the song is as hollow as a Jersey Shore marriage proposal but the beat burrows in your brain and bounces around endlessly. I'm serious, the song has been in my head for a day and a half. I just can't hate on it - even when Cole sporadically breaks into Paula Abdul karaoke.

But as I mentioned earlier, there IS a lot to hate on here, sadly. The current single, "Can't Get Enough" sounds like a knockoff Timbaland track from 2002. It features Trey Songz, who should be called Trey Talkz here because it sounds like he's literally READING his hook. And perhaps the biggest offense is "Mr. Nice Watch," the long-awaited collabo between Cole and mentor Jay-Z. Jay's verse sounds like he got it out of a box in the attic labeled "Memphis Bleek Throwaways." And Cole is equally lazy, with amateur-hour punchlines: "I rap like it's Christmas Eve." Playa, please.

If only Cole had more tracks like "Nobody's Perfect" (with my girl Missy Elliott) which are both radio friendly and introspective. For some reason, when Cole goes into ultra-serious mode - "Sideline Story," "Cole World" - he seems like he's going through the motions. The spark he had on his mixtapes seems lost.

Maybe I'm being too hard on Cole and expected too much. If this album is your introduction to Young Simba, you'll likely be pleased and it's definitely worth a look. But for those of us who have been riding with him for years have heard better. And for free.

Best tracks: "In The Morning," Workout," "Nobody's Perfect"

3.5 stars out of 5
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's your favorite part of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" or Seal's "Kiss From A Rose?" I bet it's not the actual lyrics. If you're like me, the most memorable segments are the vocal histrionics.

Check out this medley of music's most famous non-lyrics. See if you can recognize all the songs. I'll be honest, I started to struggle once they hit the 00s, but y'all know I'm secretly an old geezer.

Shout out to David Griner (@griner) for pointing out the vid.

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Posted by in , ,  on 11:31 AM 1 comment
I've received a lot of compliments on the frock I wore to the Fro Fashion Week Penthouse Party featuring Kim Coles. So I thought I'd give you all some details on my outfit. 

Denim dress from New York & Company
Vintage clutch from Cherry Bomb in Louisville, Ky (It only cost me 8 bucks!)
Shoes by Michael Shannon 
Ring and earrings from Target
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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Check out Edd on Talk of Alabama as he discusses Tea Town USA, a social media success story he'll be sharing during an upcoming panel discussion hosted by the Alabama Social Media Association.

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It's time for the women writers of Birmingham to have a ladies' night out, or perhaps a bloggers' night out!
And men, yes, you're welcome to stop by, too! In fact, I'd really like to see some guys in the building so my poor hubs won't be drowning in estrogen. 

Step away from your computer for a few hours and join See Jane Write for the first Blogger Bash at Wine Loft. Mingle with successful, emerging, and aspiring local bloggers and be ready to network for a chance to win incredible prizes such as jewelry by Christy Turnipseed of the Etsy shop LilSeeds and the blog Life of a Turnip, a grab bag from Karri Bentley of Artistry Skin Care & Cosmetics, and a t-shirt from Alison Lewis' Ingredients, Inc

Wine Loft will be offering the following specials for this event:
$5 glasses of select wine
$6 Blogtini (you know you love it!)
$10 for half pizza/salad dinner

Click here to RSVP. 
Follow us on Twitter @seejanewritebhm for updates on prizes and more. 

The hashtag for this and all future See Jane Write Birmingham events is #sjwbhm. 

Hope to see you all there. 

See Jane Write Blogger Bash
5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29
Wine Loft, 2200 1st Avenue North
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Do you remember The Secret? It's a philosophy that teaches that "we create our lives with every thought of every minute of every day." This credo, upon which both a book and film was created,  is essentially the power of positive thinking on steroids. I have a friend who always wins door prizes, raffles, etc, and swears she does it by using The Secret. 

I never win anything, but according to The Secret this is only true because I make it so when I think and say things like "I never win anything." Fast forward to this past Saturday. I was at the Fro Fashion Week conference and I attended a workshop sponsored by Darcy's Botanicals. The session leaders were giving out gift bags of products to five lucky winners. So I decided to put The Secret to the test. "I will win one of those gift bags," I said to myself over and over. 

Sweet little Darcy (daughter of the product line's creator and inspiration for the company's name) drew the first name out of the basket and read it. It wasn't me. Then she pulled out another, and another. Then she pulled out a name, stared blankly at the piece of paper and said, "Juh..."

Ha! With that I knew I'd won. The Secret had worked and with it I snagged two free products, one of which was Darcy's Botanicals Curl Styling Cream. 

When I first opened the container to try this product I wanted to eat it. Seriously. It smells like a freshly baked vanilla cupcake.  But I controlled myself and fed my hair, not my sweet tooth with the Curl Styling Cream. Following the directions on the packaging and website, I applied the product to clean, damp hair from root to tip. 

I then combed my tresses with a wide-tooth comb and let my hair air dry. The creators claim this product will "moisturize, soften, and protect your lovely coils." It did just that. 

My hair was soft and shiny and didn't get too frizzy even though I had to run errands in the rain. I do have a few pieces of hair that tend to be more unruly than others (don't we all?) that were a bit frizzy by the end of the day, but overall I was happy with the results. I was especially impressed by the fact that I was able to achieve a good look using this product alone, as I usually use two products on my hair. 

An 8 oz. container of Curl Styling Cream is available for $12 at 

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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM 1 comment

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday afternoon while driving eastbound down I-20 on my way to the Fro Fashion Week conference I told my travel buddy, "I have to get a picture with Kim Coles." 

Known best as Synclaire from the hit television show Living Single, actress Kim Coles is one of my favorite comedians and a champion of natural hair. Coles decided to start wearing her natural hair after realizing she was hiding behind those long, long micro-braids we all remember her sporting in the 90s. (Read more about her transition at Afrobella.)

She devotes much of her time now encouraging naturalistas with her own story and inspiring all women through her G.I.F.T.S. program. This weekend she was the keynote speaker and celebrity guest at the Fro Fashion Week conference. 

I imagined getting a picture with her at Friday's Penthouse Party would be a big ordeal. I figured she'd be surrounded by some entourage and would make some 10 minute appearance at the party and then be whisked back to her room. Boy was I wrong. 

Kim Coles was unbelievably approachable and even gave me a big bear hug when I told her how much I'd been looking forward to meeting her. Here we are:

Kim Coles and I

Then, while we naturalistas were working up a sweat (and not worried about sweating out our perm) grooving to tunes like BBD's "Poison" and Rob Base's "It Takes Two," Ms. Coles hit the dance floor too! 

Kim Coles is in the center getting her groove on

But that was just the beginning. Saturday Coles gave a very uplifting talk on life transitions, offering sage advice derived from the concepts behind her G.I.F.T.S. program, which stands for Grateful, Intention, Forgiveness, Triumphs, and Self-love. 

Be grateful every day, she reminded us. She was very transparent and shared that once Living Single was over and she was no longer getting steady acting gigs she found herself depressed. A friend recommended she start keeping a gratitude journal so that she would write down things she was thankful for and not dwell on what she didn’t have. Things turned around. Opportunities and resources began to landed in her lap. When you’re grateful for all God has given you, she learned, God gets excited and gives you more!

Be intentional with a sort of spiritual to-do list. Make a list of all the things you will do each day that will help nurture your spirit such as “I will not get angry in traffic” or “I will not allow my co-workers to upset me today.”

Forgive those who have hurt you.  You probably don’t remember Coles much from In Living Color, but that was actually her first Hollywood job. It was a short stint because, Coles said frankly, there wasn’t room for her and Kim Wayans (sister of the show’s producer Keenan Ivory Wayans). But Coles didn’t hold on to any resentment toward the Wayans. She let go and moved on. And if she hadn't she would have missed the wonderful blessing that was Living Single.

Celebrate your triumphs and silence all those negative thoughts about yourself. “There are so many more things right about you than wrong,” she said.

Self-love, of course, is essential. Coles has a tattoo on her wrist that reads: “Goddess.” She said it is her reminder to never stay in relationships with people who don’t treat her as such. Just think of all the heartache that could be avoided if we all followed this rule.

One of the things that stood out to me most about her talk (aside from the fact that she’s just as funny, beautiful, kind, and down-to-earth in person as she is on TV) was her revelation that she could share her gifts and be her authentic self whether she had an acting gig or not. Her life, she realized, is about sharing the gifts of laughter and love and that’s something she can do if she’s starring on a hit TV show or waiting tables at Applebee’s.

What are the gifts you’re meant to share with the world? How will you share them today? 
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Details are pretty sketchy right now, but I'm sad to announce that we've reportedly lost another soul star. According to Twitter and, '80s R&B star Vesta Williams was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel. She was 53.

Vesta might not have had the lasting appeal of luminaries like Whitney Houston and Sade but she certainly had her share of hits. She paid her dues in the early '80s as a session musicians, working alongside legends like Chaka Khan, Stephanie Mills and Gladys Knight. She received a contract with A&M Records and released her debut, Vesta, in 1986. That album featured her first hit, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

Two more albums followed, which contained some of her more memorable work. Those included "Congratulations," her sad tale of lost love, on Vesta 4 U and my favorite, "Special," the title track of her 1991 album.

In 2007 she released Distant Lover, a cover album that paid homage to such greats as Stevie Wonder and Deniece Williams.

Vesta has left us, but her voice will never be silenced. If you aren't familiar with Vesta, take a moment to get to know one of R&B's most underrated performers.

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Who is ready for the weekend? We are!

Check out what's on Edward's speakers:

Nas, God's Son (2002)

Nasir Jones - the Rodney Dangerfield of rap. His first album, 1994's Illmatic, is very likely the greatest rap album of all time. And Nas has spent nearly two decades being punished for that achievement. No matter what he releases, everyone says "well, it's no Illmatic." That's a shame, because Nas has an outstanding collection of albums that get lost in Illmatic's gigantic shadow. Mention God's Son and I guarantee the first thing Nas's detractors will say is: "Isn't that the album with the corny "I Can" song?" Yeah, but "Made You Look" alone pushes "I Can" off its training wheels, beats it up and steals its lunch money. Nas' aggression and lyrical fury showed that he had something to prove. Give the man his due.

Also check out:
"The Cross"

What's Javacia listening to?:

John Legend, Get Lifted (2004)

I remember the first time I heard John Legend's first single "Used to Love You." I think I called five people asking if they knew who this dude was. I hadn't heard anything that good on the radio in years. So impressed with this one song, I paid to see Legend live at a small venue in Oakland before his debut album hit shelves. The show did not disappoint and neither did the album.  

Also check out:
"Let's Get Lifted"

Now, it’s your turn. Email, hit us up on Twitter @etbowser or @writeousbabe, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album. Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. We’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM No comments

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I've been seeing this on a lot of blogs lately and this week Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, one of my favorite websites, gave it a try so I figured I would too. I've love for you all to play along. Just answer the questions on your own blog and post a link in the comments section. 

Age: 30
B. Bed size: Queen. (Dear Internet, this question is lame.)
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning the bathtub.
D. Dogs: None yet. But Edd and I are planning to get one soon and name him Jedd (which is also our celebrity couple name)
E. Essential start to your day: I can't operate without breakfast. I think I've had a bowl of cereal nearly every morning of my life. Seriously.
F. Favorite color: Pink. I'm hopelessly girly. I'm also a fan of purple and blue.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver
H. Height: 5'4" and I'm the tallest woman in my family. For real.
I. Instruments you play: Does air guitar count? What about Guitar Hero?
J. Job title: educator, writer, blogger, wife (yes, that's a job)
K. Kids: I have 90 wonderful kids that I get to send home every afternoon.
L. Live: Birmingham, Alabama aka The Salty 'Ham!
M. Mother’s name: Lesa (that's Lisa with an "e" as she loves to say)
N. Nicknames: J, Jai, Jae, J-Nic, Niki, JJ Fad, Writeous Babe
O. Overnight hospital stays: Nope. Not even when I was hit by a car.
P. Pet peeves: laziness, excuses, unjustified jerk-store behavior
Q. Quote from a movie: "
Y'all is the horniest bunch of white folks I ever seen!" (From Shag one of my favorite movies of all time. Quote by Buzz, the maid, after finding yet another teenage couple making out in the house she's paid to clean.)  
R. Right or left handed: Right handed.
S. Siblings: the greatest little brother in the world, C.J.
U. Underwear: is not to be discussed on the Internet
V. Vegetable you hate: Okra. Yuck!
W. What makes you run late: Trying to do too much in a short period of time.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: My entire body thanks to my run-in with that car
Y. Yummy food that you make: Spinach Ravioli Lasagna
Z. Zoo animal: Zoos stink. 

Your turn!
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Posted by in  on 6:10 AM 1 comment

In case you missed it, here's a look at the story I wrote a few weeks ago for Weld for Birmingham, a new weekly publication in my great Magic City, about Birmingham's natural hair community. 

A  few dozen women and I gathered on a Sunday afternoon in the meeting room of the North Birmingham Public Library. Many of us busily took  notes like conscientious college students. But it wasn’t a continuing education course or a business seminar. It was a meeting of the Birmingham Naturalistas, an organization created to empower African-American women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state.

Click here to read the entire story. 

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Posted by in ,  on 6:00 AM No comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!" -- Victor Hugo

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice." -- Desmond Tutu

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Posted by on 10:04 PM No comments
Mind-blowing tidbit for the day - Javacia could have married a member of 112. Yes, it's true.  But she wised up and settled for yours truly. Wouldn't you?

But more on that later. The hater in me celebrates that I got the girl, but the music fan in me will always show 112 the utmost respect. You know what the old folks say  - good things come in threes. And the group's first three albums are, in my opinion, the best consecutively released R&B albums in the past 15 years. I can't recall any other group or solo artist who had three back-to-back-to-back mind-blowing releases.

Sadly, once they hit album No. 4, they hit a wall. What ever happened to those guys?

In the mid 90s, young Atlanta crooners Marvin "Slim" Scandrick, Daron Jones, Quinnes "Q" Parker and Michael Keith caught the ear of Sean Combs, who was mesmerized by their vocal prowess. Y'all know the formula by now - '90s Diddy + talented artists = $$$$. Heck, '90s Diddy + marginally talented artists = $$$$, as these girls would attest to

Puffy signed the quartet outside of Atlanta's Buckhead 112 Club and the name stuck. Success soon followed.

The group's self titled debut was released in the summer of 1996. The timing couldn't have been more perfect - Puffy was dominating the musical landscape and 112 had an unstoppable juggernaut (word to the X-Men) in their corner. It also helped that the album was AMAZING. Singles like "Cupid," "Only You" and its remix are still fondly remembered, thanks to lines like this, from the Notorious B.I.G.:

"Jeeeesus, the Notorious just/please us with your lyrical thesis."

That one line is greater than Young Money's entire rap career. Sigh, that's why I still mourn that man.

Those singles are certainly memorable but the album cuts were even better - "Pleasure & Pain," "Can I Touch You," "Throw It All Away," "In Love With You," all classics in their own right. The double-platinum debut is easily a 5-star classic.

By 1998, even though Bad Boy Records had lost Biggie, they were still the hottest label in urban music. It was then when 112 released the second album in their holy R&B trinity, Room 112. It wasn't as ballad heavy as their debut but the quality was still superb. "Love Me" and "Anywhere" upped the tempo on their trademark sensuality and when it was time to slow things down, they easily returned to their element with "Love You Like I Did" and "Crazy Over You." It was yet another bulletproof release, and another double-platinum seller.

Sometime after release of this album and the promotion of their next one, Q Parker started frequenting the campus of the University of Alabama, the alma mater of the wifey. Just think - if those two hooked up, he'd probably be writing this right now, and I'd be doing...whatever it is he does these days. More on that sad story later.

Bad Boy's gravy train was starting to run out of steam by the turn of the millennium, but 112's third album, Part III, provided one last burst of energy. Lead single "It's Over Now" borrowed the beat from Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm," giving the guys a little edge to their loverman act. Their biggest hit though was "Peaches and Cream," which hit No. 4 on the pop charts, becoming their most successful release. Surprisingly, (or not surprisingly, if you know me), that was probably my least favorite cut on the album. Gems like "Sweet Love" and "Do What You Gotta Do" were much more satisfying. Again, for the third straight time, 112 knocked it out of the park and enjoyed platinum success.

Oh but success can be so fleeting.

A year or so later, it was clear that 112 was ready to move on. You can't blame them - Puffy had just beat his shooting case, leaving poor Shyne to rot away in jail in his stead, and he was more concerned with clothing and reality shows than promoting music. The group split "amicably" with Puff and signed with Def Jam. Puff even served as "executive producer" (i.e., he kept his hands in their pockets). Their fourth album, 2003's Hot & Wet, just seemed off. I mean, look at that greasy album cover. You could fry 10 pounds of bacon on their foreheads. The upbeat singles "Na Na Na Na" and "Hot & Wet" tried to mimic the success of "Peaches and Cream" but fans weren't buying it. After three masterpieces, it was hard to swallow mediocrity. Hot & Wet was as appealing soggy bacon.

With renewed focus, 112 returned in 2005 with Pleasure & Pain, a tribute to the song from their 1996 debut. While nowhere near as good as their first three discs, Pleasure & Pain somewhat redeemed the damage done from Hot & Wet. "U Already Know" was a minor hit and "What If" helped push the album to platinum status.

By 2007, rumors of strife began to arise (about money, of course) and all four members began to discuss solo projects. As far as I know, only two of those projects actually materialized. The most widely known is Slim's 2008 album Love's Crazy, which featured "So Fly" and "Good Lovin'." It was a very solid release - much better than 112's final two albums. That same year, Mike dropped Michael Keith, which wasn't bad. Check out "No More Tears" - longtime 112 fans will love it.

For years, Javacia's almost-babydaddy Q has bragged about dropping an album but I guess he has been too busy hanging out on college campuses to actually release it. Plenty of his unreleased tracks are on YouTube. Same goes for Daron, who has stepped from behind the producer's booth to record a few songs of his own. Check them out but I'll warn you, their solo efforts aren't as strong as Mike and Slim's. Daron's newfound Super Playa act is especially hard to swallow.

Should They Come Back: YES, YES, YES. 112 is like good chili: separately, the ingredients are fair to decent, but combine those same ingredients and you'll be truly satisfied. But don't lose heart, 112 fans  - there are rumors of a reunion. About a year ago, a few songs began to pop up online, the best being "One More Try."  Mike, Q and Daron are on board, but Slim has yet to commit. Too bad Javacia didn't marry Q, she'd have them in the studio in no time.

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Posted by in ,  on 6:45 AM 3 comments
image via

It's time for another edition of He Said, She Said. This occasional Georgia Mae feature allows our resident man blogger and me to discuss different, though not necessarily opposing, thoughts on different issues. 

She said:

Last week a male friend of mine called to my attention an article titled Natural Hair I Not a Man Magnet.

I guess this is the latest angle to the worn out news story of why black women can't get a man. First we were too mean, then too educated and successful, then too fat, and now it's because our hair is too nappy. But I digress.

In the article the writer talks about friends who are as cute as they are kind and who all sport natural hair. She says that since going natural these friends have had trouble getting attention from men, well, black men, that is. Which brings us to the topic of what should a woman do if her man doesn't like her natural hair?

I'll be honest I have pretty extreme opinions on this topic but also an atypical situation. Many women grappling with this question are transitioning from relaxed to natural hair and their men are giving them the side eye because  in one instant they went from long, luxurious Indian Remy to a fade or a 'fro. That wasn't the case with Edward and me. When we met in 2002 I was already wearing my hair in its naturally curly state. In fact, it's my hair that caught his attention he says. He noticed me, he says, because he saw "this little woman with big hair running around the newsroom."

A year prior, I had attempted to start sporting the curly coif for which I'm now known and the guy I was dating at the time hated it and was constantly telling me I needed to get a relaxer ASAP. As you can imagine, this did wonders for my self-esteem.

Some women say it doesn't matter what your man thinks and you should just do what you want. But is it really that simple? If you're in a serious, committed relationship with a person of course you want that person to like the way you look and there's nothing wrong with that. That's why if Edd suddenly left me for Kim Kardashian and I found myself single and back on the dating scene I would not date a man who prefers straight hair. Period. That might sound unreasonable but that's where I stand. A man telling me he wants me to keep my hair straightened is like telling me he wants me to wear makeup to bed.

Furthermore, natural hair for me is about so much more than hair. I see natural hair as a gateway to self-acceptance and a way to build community among black women. I must be in a relationship with a man who understands that and who loves my natural hair as much as I do. 

Now I'm not saying naturalistas married to men who prefer relaxed hair should go file for divorce. But if you're still searching for Mr. Right and if natural hair is not just a fad for you but an actual lifestyle change you need to be with someone who will respect that.

-- Javacia

He said:

Let me defend the brothers for a second. I think men who dislike natural hair are unfairly criticized. Everyone has their preferences and when the media has fed us a steady diet of a specific image of beauty, it's hard to turn back. Some people think Rihanna is a fantastic singer. I think those people have severe mental issues, but to each his own. If a guy doesn't like natural hair, eh, that's his choice. Natural hair is no more of a "repellent" than short hair or unpolished toenails or acrylic nails. Some dudes like 'em, some don't.

I'm very supportive of the natural hair movement, but as the wifey mentioned above, when I met her she was already natural and curly. It's not like she went from long silky weave to chewed-off Bobby Brown Gumby fade overnight. Many men (including me) aren't fond of change, especially the drastic change in a woman's appearance during the early stages of going natural. I would be taken aback if her look radically changed - she wouldn't look like the woman I fell for. But of course, being that stuck on  physical appearance is as dumb as Rihanna's songs.

Guys have to understand that for many women, going natural is more than just a physical thing. It's an expression - almost a declaration - that embraces who they truly are. If a man truly cares for his woman, he would respect that.

And what about those single ladies who are afraid to go natural because they won't pull their dream man? If you're afraid to go natural because you'll ward off some magical dream man, you need to re-examine your priorities. You should never compromise who you are because it MIGHT somehow upset some guy you MIGHT meet one day who MIGHT make your dreams come true. If a guy can't accept you for you, he can buy a pack of weave from Family Dollar and cuddle with that all night. He never wanted you anyway, at least not the real you. He just wanted a facsimile.

-- Edd
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One of the beauty care sponsors of Fro Fashion Week, which we're celebrating all week here on, is Shea Moisture. I'm a longtime fan of Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It's great for locking in moisture and smells so good you'll often catch me sniffing the ends of my hair when I've used this product. In honor of Fro Fashion Week I decided to try a little experiment. The challenge was this: Can I cleanse, condition and style my hair using only Shea Moisture products? 

At my favorite Walgreens I picked up the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Kit. It includes Curl & Shine Shampoo, Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Curl & Style Milk, and Hold & Shine Moisture Mist. All four products contain coconut oil (which can help hydrate and protect hair), silk protein (which can strengthen hair and reduce breakage) and neem oil (which can provide shine). 

I began by washing my hair with the sulfate free shampoo. I was quite impressed with how silky my hair felt afterwards. Then I thought, "Wait! There's no conditioner!" But I studied the box in which the products were packaged and learned that the Curl Enhancing Smoothie could also be used as a deep conditioner. 

After getting out of the shower I combed the styling milk through my hair and then liberally sprayed the holding mist on my mane hoping this would define my curls a bit and offer the hold I need to prevent frizz.

To be honest I didn't think my experiment would be successful. Most women search for products that won't weigh down their hair, but I search for products that will. My hair is very thick and very curly, so without using products that are somewhat heavy I will end up with a massive mane. Shea Moisture products are very lightweight, which again is a good thing for most naturalistas, but I worried this regimen wouldn't give me the hold and definition I wanted. 

I was wrong. I followed this regimen a few times and I found that if I used the right amount of the Hold & Shine Moisture Mist (read: a lot) I could keep my curls under control. See:

Most important, though, I found that even on days when my hair was more voluminous than usual, I was still satisfied with the results. You see, I don't have a problem with the look of big hair. In fact, I love big hair on other people. But in the past I've noticed that the bigger my hair is the frizzier and drier it is. That wasn't the case with Shea Moisture. When using these products my hair sometimes has more volume than it does with other products, but it is still unbelievably soft, virtually frizz free, and, of course, smells delicious. 

Shea Moisture has made me fall in love with my big hair!
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