Friday, October 24, 2014

Black Journalist Quits Mainstream Media Because of Racism-A Response




“I’m tired, but I can’t quit. There’s too much at stake.” ~ Terry Jones

I received an article this week about media vet, Rebecca Carroll, who announced she’s quitting “mainstream media” because she’s tired of encountering racism in the newsroom. She states, “It’s a strange and incredibly demoralizing time to be a black person in American media.” After reading this, my first question was, “When has it ever been a great time to be black in American media?” My second thought was, “If you’re going to drop out of mainstream media because of racism, then you may as well drop out of life…”

When I was reading this article, I happened to be sitting in a mainly white newsroom.

I understand Carroll’s sentiments. She recounts her experiences of being one of the few black people in at given job, and being met with either blatant or passive aggressive acts of racism. I get it, but I’m inclined to say, “So what?”

It seems to me that Carroll has won in many ways by at least getting to the level of editor, and being in a position where she can even be at the table. Many talented writers of color will never even get that opportunity. The fact she can write a piece like this and apparently not be concerned that her statement will hinder her career implies she’s earned and been afforded the opportunity to solidly establish herself. My reluctance to cry Carroll a river (not that she’s asking me to) isn’t out of apathy. I do understand that dealing with racism is exhausting.

Hell yeah it’s frustrating to consistently be taken to task because of your race. It’s annoying to have to defend your ideas, or explain your perspective over and over again to white people who just don’t get it, or refuse to, because they don’t have to. But dropping out of the game doesn’t feel like the answer-because now, there’s one less brown face at the table to fight the good fight. And the fights don’t end just because one leaves mainstream media.

There are challenges everywhere. No single work environment is perfect. If you’re not dealing with issues of race, it’s class, or age, or status or some other sociopolitical bullsh*t. There is no utopia. And you pick your battles.

There are times when you decide to address the bullsh*t, and hopefully have a teachable moment. And there are other times when you decide not to waste precious breaths and dignify the uniformed stupidity with a comeback.

Carroll has the right to feel the way she does and redefine her career path. After all, media is a tough business, and I believe it can often be exponentially harder if you’re a person of color. But, being black can be hard. And dealing with racially based challenges is just par for the course. You may have to deal with ignorant, racist nonsense, but at least you’re part of the conversation.

I recently had an encounter where I had to explain cultural sensitivities to a number of white journalists. I sensed some defensiveness, but I also thought, “I’m lucky to be here. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can bring awareness to these issues and hopefully affect change.” And I did. And I’m proud of that.

In life, we pick our battles, and maybe Carroll is tired of racism being the most prevalent fight. But what happens if people of color in mainstream media give up? If we attempt to protect ourselves from racial encounters by staying out of the mainstream arena, we may not be faced with the exact same struggles elsewhere, but we also forfeit the bit of power we do have. We give up the power of simply being at the table to represent diverse perspectives. Whether or not we win every fight, we are at least on the battlefield. Not everyone gets there.

I respect Carroll’s right to leave mainstream media behind. And I know there are throngs of others ready to fill her spot at the table and represent.

My hope is that those of us who are fortunate enough to be in an industry that historically has been very exclusive to people of color, will stand tall. I hope we will not become too weary to fight for racial equality and cultural humility with outlets that aren’t primarily concerned with the perspectives of marginalized communities. I hope we decide to remain part of the conversation.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hollywood Makeup Artist Kweli Calderon Gives Tips on How to be Flawless!




photo credit: Kweli Calderon's Twitter account
“Kweli Calderon has the ability to study a face and bring out everything about it that is beautiful. It is truly her gift from God.” ~ Yvette Nicole Brown

photo credit: Yvette Nicole Brown's Instagram account
One day I was perusing actress Yvette Nicole Brown’s Instagram pics and noticed that her makeup was flawless! I wondered who was responsible for creating such wonderful looks for one of my favorite actresses. (I love makeup and the art of it all.) So, I asked her on Twitter she kindly directed to Kweli Calderon, one of the most successful makeup artists in Hollywood.

I got a chance to catch up with Kweli! Read about her career, technique, client wish list and more!


How did you get started as a makeup artist? Who was you first client?

I got started as a makeup artist from doing hair, I started as a hairstylist and I was working on music videos and producers started to ask me if I did makeup as well. And I said yes, because at the time my friend Valerie Hunt (manager at MAC) helped me build my kit and taught me techniques I bought books, tapes and tons of magazines. I practiced on friends (and was) basically self taught.

I honestly can’t remember who my first makeup client was but it was a rap artist E40, Snoop, KC and Jojo, LL Cool J, or something :)

What are the latest trends in makeup? (looks, shades etc.)

Some of the latest trends I feel are radiant skin, always. (More trends include) metallics, blues and green eye shadows and more vibrant colors (as well as) orange, purple or berry lips.


What are some of your favorite products?

Wow! I have so many favorites! I will start the same way I start a face: I love this makeup primer spray from Skindanavia, Hourglass Primer (and) Kevyn Aucoin Skin Enhancers. I love Dior's Universal Brown eyebrow pencil, Nars foundation, MAC Prolongwear, Revlon Colorstay, Too Faced eye shadow primer, Too Faced melted lipsticks, Estée Lauder highlighting powder and Hoola Benefits Bronzer. And I love Loreal Voluminous Mascara to name a few...LOL!


photo credit: Kweli Calderon's Instagram account

What tips do you have for black women for a flawless look?

My tips for black women to have a flawless look is to first find the best skin care regiment for their skin type, good skin is crucial, lots of water. Next would be to find the best foundation makeup (color and texture). 

Learn what your undertones are and bring them out to play. Spend the money on a great brow person. Brows frame the face. They are super important. Primers help as well because it helps the foundation last and adhere to the skin, as well as lightly fill in pores.

Some fun lashes whether they are individuals or a strip. Find the ones that wok with your eye shape. The foundation is super duper important to the flawless look on any woman of color.


If one knows nothing about makeup application, how should one learn?

Find a great makeup artist and ask them for a tutorial or private lesson. 
Some online tutorials are good, but try to stay away from the ones that go too “draggy”. Ask for samples and practice, practice, practice.


Who are some of your clients?

Yvette Nicole Brown, Chris Brown, Rocsi Diaz, Sherri Shepherd, Brooke Anderson, Keltie Knight, Affion Crockett. But I have also had the following clients that I loved working with, including Nick Cannon (he got me in the makeup union), LL Cool J, Eve, Keke Palmer and Ashanti.


I love the looks you do for one of your clients, Yvette Nicole Brown. How do you become inspired to create looks for your different clients?

I appreciate the compliment. There are a few ways I get inspired, I always pray and ask God to work through me, and to enhance their true beauty.

I also study the face for a few days.  I look at some of there photos online and see what things didn't work on them, and I always make sure that the first few times I rely on perfecting the skin, foundation application and the lashes


What about women who say they don’t wear makeup. How do you feel about that?

Women who don't wear makeup, well it doesn't bother me. It's a personal choice. But when they don't at least groom the brow and take care of the skin, well that's a little annoying, but again my opinion only.

photo credit: Kweli Calderon's Instagram account

If you only have a few minutes to pull yourself together, what are the key areas woman should focus on for a polished look?

Again I would say the skin, the foundation, concealer and powder blended well, Brows, great lashes or three coats of mascara, pop of a great blush on the apples of cheeks and your favorite lip gloss, lipstick or stain.


Do you offer any online makeup tutorials?

As of now I do not have any online tutorials, but they will be coming soon!


What are your future plans with your business? Would you like to develop your own line?

I am working on opening beauty bar-makeup, brows, lashes and hair extensions. As far as a line I would love to formulate my own foundations.


Do you have a wish list of celebs you'd like to have as clients? 

There are a few faces I would love to paint:

Charlize Theron
Scarlett Johansson
Pink
Kerry Washington
Viola Davis
Angela Bassett
Robert Downey Jr
Lenny Kravitz
Idris Alba
Denzel Washington


And (I'd) continue to mentor up and coming artists!


Thanks so much to Kweli for chatting with me and providing such great tips on how to "give great face" and be flawless!



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Interview With Chef Jeff Henderson-Host of New Cooking Show, 'Flip My Food'

 
Famed chef, inspirational speaker, author and Food Network personality, Jeff Henderson, has a new cooking show, Flip My Food. The renowned culinary expert who has run kitchens in some of the most exciting venues in the world, including Cafe Bellagio and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, travels across the country offering fresh takes on favorite recipes. 
For those not familiar with Henderson's story, he rose from rough beginnings and bad choices that resulted in jail time. He frequently speaks of his past, but more importantly how he moved beyond it to become one of the most respected figures in the culinary industry. I got a chance to catch up with Henderson to talk about his new show, and learn more about his recipe for success.

What can we expect from Flip My Food? And what do you want people to take away from it?
You can expect to see amazing comfort food with a healthier flip. I want people to walk away feeling they can eat healthier without compromising on flavor.
What is your favorite dish to make?
My favorite dish to make is stewed chicken. I like to cook this dish long and slow with onions, garlic and my favorite seasonings.  
What is your favorite meal to cook for friends and family and why?
During the holidays it’s all about my granddaddy’s version of seafood gumbo. When I prepare this dish it brings back memories of my late grandparents and their southern roots.
How did you discover your love/talent for cooking?What made you say, “I’m good at this?”
It was a dish washing gig where I discovered my love for cooking. One day I got a opportunity to fill in for a cook and everyone raved over the food I was putting out. That’s when I knew I was onto something.
People familiar with you know your story about how you began your career as a chef from prison. What is your best advice for someone who feels stuck in life and doesn’t know how to move forward to create better circumstances?
My best advice to someone who is stuck in life is (to) stay focused on your goals, build strong relationships that will help you get through the challenging times and most importantly, never give up.
What are some easy ways to eat healthy without feeling deprived, or having to sacrifice flavor?
Don’t cut all the fat out of your diet, just cut some and only eat the best and safest ingredients from the local market.
When you are not working or taping for TV, how do you like to spend your time off?
I spend quality time with my wife, Stacy and our 5 kids. (I also enjoy) riding my motorcycle and golfing.  

Thanks to Jeff Henderson for sharing his new venture and advice with us! To watch Flip My Food, check your local listings! Episodes will also be available online!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sherri Shepherd Says Goodbye to 'The View'



 
After seven years, today was Sherri Shepherd’s last day on The View. She had a wonderful send off, with invited guests, Arsenio Hall (who clearly still needs to be on TV), her gospel favorites, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin, topped off with a performance by Bell Biv DeVoe!

Sherri makes her exit from the talk show amid a great amount of personal drama. She is going through her second divorce from that man Sal, who she’s claimed defrauded her and stolen from her. And simultaneously, she has been fending off claims from her first husband, who has fought her for custody of their son Jeffrey. Damn, damn, damn. But through it all, I have to say, Sherri has held her head high, and walked tall.

Sherri gave a touching speech about her time on The View, enduring public criticism from people like Bill O’Reilly who she said called her a pin head. Harsh! I have definitely questioned Sherri’s qualifications to be at a roundtable providing commentary and analysis on (at one time) complex social and political issues. I have also disagreed with her outlook on certain matters. However, over the past few years I believe Sherri has grown and found her voice.

Yes, it took some time for Sherri to find her footing on the show. And frankly, I always felt that initially, she was used to be the show’s comic relief, doing segments that made her look a bit clownish. Real talk. But over the past few years I think Sherri stepped up her game, and was able to contribute more substantively to conversations. I appreciated her honesty about how she had to learn, and prepare herself to be able to speak publicly on topics she never had before. I also believe something went on behind the scenes, where Sherri was no longer being put in a position to be a comedic prop-whether it was a decision on the part of the producers, or her own.

It was great to see some of Sherri’s stellar moments on the show. I personally enjoyed seeing Prince. If Prince told me he loved me, in that voice, I’d fall straight out. And that time Janet Jackson surprised Sherri on the show was amazing.  I also loved what how Sherri’s guests and friends contributed to her last day.

Gospel artists Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin first sat on the couch and sang Sherri’s praises. McClurkin shared how Sherri sat with him in the emergency room for hours. Adams recounted the strength of their sisterhood throughout their own personal trials. Franklin talked about meeting Sherri at the Essence Music Festival, and implied his view of the stage was blocked by her boobage! LOL! The trio gathered at the piano and performed a simple, yet moving song about friends. It was beautiful. Then, it was time for Bell Biv DeVoe!

BBD came out and rocked it, performing their timeless hit, Poison. THIS SONG IS 24 YEARS OLD AND STILL GETS THE CROWD HYPED!!! Mike, Ricky and Ronnie, who totally trumps Pharrell’s vampire game with his eternally youthful look, got the crowd on its feet! 

It was a great sendoff for Sherri, full of fun, laughs and love. The part where I actually got teary is when Jeffrey, Sherri’s son signed off, telling us all to, “Take a little time to enjoy the view.” I love it when Sherri would speak of her son and how they triumphed over doctors’ predictions about his health. Those were always touching moments.

Sherri is actually a good actor, and I have no doubt The View is not the end of the road for this talent. As McClurkin so perceptively pointed out, Sherri’s next step is already in place, as it has been numerous times before. Sherri had a great career before The View, and she will continue to flourish. And Whoopi was right, the table won't be the same without her. I wish Sherri all the best in her career and in her personal battles. She has grown, and proved herself worthy of her time at the table.


Did you watch Sherri’s last day on The View? What did you think?