If I

If I had Angelina’s lips
If I had Scarlett’s curves
If I had Nikki’s ass
Halle’s timelessness
Salma’s eroticism
Megan Fox’s eyes and
Tyra’s bone structure
Then I would be one hot boiling stew of mess.
The unique parts of me that make me beautiful would be discarded as excrement.
So I’m good.

By:Shaun Nickens

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I Woke Up Like This (shout out to Bey)

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I woke up worried about the zit on my cheek
I woke up thinking about the texture of my hair (never quite looks like the commercials)
Eyes not chinky, just swollen from crying

I woke up like this
Desiring to be
Flawless
But perfection is unattainable and quite unnatural
I woke up like this
Wanting wider hips and a smaller waist
With my mind churning louder than a ’98 corolla

I woke up like this
Exhausted from mommy duties the night before
Hands with calluses from making a dollar out of 15 cents

Barren uncharted land of passion and beauty within me
My tears irrigate it
I woke up like this
Unique and unmatched
Honest and exposed
Filled to the brim with flaws
Brilliantly authentically

Flawless

By SMN

Girl, Thats Not Your Booty, That’s Your Hip!!! (Challenging Accepted American Media Images of Women of Color)

I don’t care what she tells you.  I don’t care if she looks you right in the eye when she says it.  If she says she doesn’t check her butt out in the mirror before she leaves the house, she’s lying!  We’re all guilty of it.  Hair, skin, nails and booty.  At this point, I don’t even know what I’m looking for!  I’m 27 and I’m aware nothing back there is going to change.  I’m not genetically configured in a way that constitutes a big ol’ Nicki Minaj backside.  Shoot…it wasn’t in her genetic make up either!!!!  I can’t afford the shots and I heard the serum can leak into another  body part and you’ll get a fat knee or belly button or something. Ewww!  So at some point you have to be happy with what you have and be confident and innately sexy.  When was it determined that booty makes a woman sexy?

I remember sitting in an auditorium at Stony Brook University and listening to an informative speech about the story of Sarah Baartman  AKA “The Hottentot Venus.”  I was so moved I decided to do a feature on it with a youth group I worked with at a local dance studio.  We inserted a tribute to her in our annual black history show.  If you don’t know her story I’ll give you the edited version.  She was one of the Khoi people of South Africa.  She was a slave under British rule and she was sent to London in 1810 as a “performer” for “exhibition.”  She was exhibited because of her alluring aesthetic appeal in comparison to European women of that time and her physical features were considered bizarre.  She was the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not of her time.  After she died (allegedly of smallpox) her genitalia was displayed in a Parisian museum.  I was so hurt.  How could a human being objectify another human being like that?

I examine where we are present day.  I think about the images forced upon us by main stream media.  We are surrounded by booty!  Turn on the radio…what do you hear?  Rihanna’s “Cake”, Big Sean singing “ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass…”, or how about the contemporary version of the 80’s babies party anthem by Luke “I Wanna Rock”.  I’m showing my age but remember that song by 2 Live Crew “Pop That Coochie”?  We all know Sir-Mix-A-Lot “I like big butts.”  This has been going on for years!  We’ve been brainwashed by booty.  In a way I support it because there was also a time where curves weren’t accepted at all and we were sending the wrong messages with pencil thin chain-smoking models on our television screens.  However, there has to be a definitive line drawn.  This line has to be thick enough and bold enough to honor our heritage.  This line has to be thin enough and bright enough to be able to laugh at ourselves in certain circumstances.  Who doesn’t love the Thugnificent song from animated series “The Boondocks” entitled , “Booty Butt Cheeks?”

This line has to be transparent enough that we can step over it and around it when people of other ethnicities and cultures attempt to comment on the subjects that we think are exclusive to our own colored community.  Let me be clear…there is no topic that can be our own little secret.  So if it would offend you if your Caucasian brother or sister mentions a black woman’s rear end…maybe it shouldn’t be a topic of conversation for you either.  I need us to be able to recognize when things have gone too far.  I can’t shop for my 13-year-old sister anymore!  The shirts look like bras!  The shorts look like panties!  There’s writing on the back of the pants.  I’m alarmed as a sibling, let alone a parent.  I’m going to learn how to sew so she can wear clothes that actually cover and protect her body!

I was describing an outfit to a co-worker the other day.  I was telling her how I couldn’t wait to wear it because it accentuated my “curves.”  She said, “What curves?  You have no booty.”  I’m used to comments like this so I stood up and I did my best booty pose with an award-winning provocative smile.  She simply responded, “You’re so cute. Girl, that ain’t booty, that’s your hip!”  We all cracked up and then attempted to resume working with tears in our eyes.  As women we have to accept all forms of beauty and appeal,  we have to love ourselves because media will never give us accurate perceptions of what attracts a man to a woman.  We think in different ways, our feelings vary, and our self-expression will always be similar but never identical.  To any woman who struggles with body image and consciousness…love yourself (I don’t care how cliché it sounds)…or ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly 😉

-By Shaun Nickens

My Interview With Cinderella of When We Were Queens Skin Care and Cosmetics-DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

When you come into When We Were Queens you will most likely be greeted with a huge smile and a warm embrace and a kiss on both cheeks!  Most people don’t even get that kind of treatment from their own family members!  In the store is drapery and colorful displays for the customers.  There will more than likely be a video playing from The Honorable Minister  Louis Farrakhan in the background.  There are books available for purchase, both urban fiction and self-help/instructional.  There are display cases with foundations, bronzers, eyeshadows, lipcolors, cleansers (for men and women), toners, moisturizers, and a whole heap of other products to enhance the aesthetic beauty you have.  The friendships, love, and community atmosphere in When We Were Queens will nourish the innate inner beauty you have!  Listen to this short interview with skin care specialist and award-winning makeup artist, Cinderella    

Listen to the story about how tragedy can sometimes motivate one for change…

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You want flawless and radiant skin? Its easier than you think!

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“Without God and you, we truly cannot survive”

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Dressed in my classic “get up and go” outfit, I interviewed Cinderella in black spandex tights, a t-shirt, my hair in a big poof and I was adorned in my favorite silver earrings that are almost the size of my head!  Boyyyyyyyyyy did Cindy have words for me :-o!  Stressing inner beauty as well as outer, Cinderella has challenged us as young women to “cover up that beautiful body”  and leave some things to the imagination!

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She has advice for running a successful business, finding a decent man, self-respect, and of course skin care!

Cinderella is available for Weddings, Makeovers, and Classes.  She is located at : 186-15 Merrick Blvd Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

Some services include:

Designer Eyebrows 15

Bridal Consultation 45

Prom 40

Facial 45+

Makeovers 50+

Stop in for any product and/or service and mention : ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.com or Diamond in the Rough and get a % off of your purchase!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Shaun Melissa Nickens