WhenYour Favorite Rapper’s Rapper Talk Financial Freedom, You Listen: Jay-Z Edition.

Jay-Z recently blessed the masses by dropping his most recent album, 4:44. (Tangent, Is it a coincidence that if your hold down the “shift” key “444” turns into “$$$”?) When we think of Jay-Z we automatically think of his equally accomplished wife, Beyonce. We think of excellence. We think of Dollar Bills and Coins! The amount of money that they have both amassed is something to brag about. They have social, economic and political clout. They have success. Most important, they personify financial freedom.

Jay-Z, 4:44

The songs on the album go into so many areas of Jay-Z’s life. He talks about infidelity, maturity, dedication to family, sexuality, race relations and a few other topics I’m sure slipped past me. The one topic that Jay rapped about and resonated with me was “financial freedom”. Now, make no mistake, he’s touched on the topic before–remember “until you own your own you can’t be free.” This album goes deeper. In the song and video that was released, “The Story of O.J”, Jay-Z goes in depth regarding the need for us to invest, pass on an inheritance to our children and build our communities by buying property.  He depicts himself in a racist cartoon in the video to show that even though a Black man can amass great wealth/success in America, he is not just looked at as a man but as a… There is a sadness in the black and white cartoon. At least a sadness for me in that here, a 40-year old brilliant man feels the artistic/social need to depict himself as a racist cartoon from the 1920s because there is still relevance. I recently asked a friend if we will ever transcend race in America and the answer was a resounding, “no.”   I’m keeping hope alive that we will begin to see each other as people and not just our race sooner rather than later.

I feel like I’ve ebbed and flowed all over in my writing this post but this is my norm. Bear with me. As a 40-year-old it is only appropriate for Jay-Z to address financial freedom. I’m 40-year-old and upon turning 40, maybe even into my late 30s, my finances was all I thought about. Gone are the days where I lived to rip the mall down and buy everything in it. I simply got no pleasure from that anymore. My high comes from reading my 401k statements and thinking of investments that I can one day pass on to my child or making moves now that can give the younger children in my family an advantage later on.

Financial freedom comes with education about finances. We aren’t taught financial literacy in school so this is where self-education comes into play. Thank goodness for the internet and even social media. There is so much information on hand in books and in media. I borrow books from the library and follow some fabulous people on social media to learn new skills and gain ideas.

Take a listen and browse Vibe’s site: http://www.vibe.com/2017/06/jay-z-the-story-of-oj-video-444/

Eonline also did a great wrap-up: http://www.eonline.com/news/864291/jay-z-s-4-44-lyrics-all-about-beyonce-cheating-solange-the-twins-and-becky

 

Lovers Rock Edition: Red Lips

What is your perfect Valentine’s Day lip look? It has to be a look that takes you seamlessly from day to night. A hint of weekday business but weeknight sexy. I know there are no hard and fast rules but your lips must be the most perfectly succulent crimson because the day calls for it. Conjure your inner Sade and leave sexy pouts on your dinner flute, white napkin and on your lover’s collar.

 

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The iconic Sade wearing the perfect pout and the right amount of casual sexy.

Wear a Red Pout and Nothing Else: 

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Let It Be Glorious: Grammy Awards

 

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Beyonce performed at this year’s Grammy Awards and did so majestically. She conjured deities from Christianity and African culture and wrapped it all up in song and soul. Even though Lemonade did not win album of the year, this image tells of the excellence that Beyonce continues to set. She won!

There were some other folks in attendance so let’s look at some of the fabulously dressed and well-coifed souls who we also love:

 

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Rihanna’s outfit was sculpted just so in order to give us a peek of her toned midsection and the dope tat but I was ALL about her auburn, flowy tresses. The shade was perfect for her skin and the flow is soft and takes us back to the Rihanna we first fell in love with.

 

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Oh, hey JLo. She can do no wrong in my eyes. Some people felt the busy bow at the neck was too much but those women don’t know the rule, “when in doubt, do the most.”

 

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Adele was the night’s big winner and we cannot deny the pipes on this woman. Talented and the homage that she paid to Beyonce was classy and proves she is indeed a class act who knows art and can compliment other artists. Kudos!

 

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Soul Glo…Solo!! We love Solange and love her love of contemporary style gowns that evoke pieces of art that you might see in a museum. I hope she left a seat at the table for us because who wouldn’t mind sitting with Solange.

 

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Has Heidi found the fountain of youth? Can she share the locale via airdrop? This Rockmom stuns in silver. She isn’t doing too much and the pieces are minimal but oh, so sexy.

 

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How excited was I to see Maya on the red carpet, wearing read and looking phenom. She didn’t clash with the carpet. It worked! She was serving just the right amount of skin and a strong pantsuit with great skin and hear. “It’s all about me, me, me, me, me. Forget about you, you, you, you, you.

 

Coupled Up:

 

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Chrissy and John Legend. We can always depend on them for super cute appearances together. You can see the love in every picture they take together.

 

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Lady in Red. Sorry, I had to. Beyonce’s red sequins jaw-dropping dress compliments all of the debonnaire that Jay-Z is serving in his skinny suit.

 

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Remy Ma looked like a princess in her mermaid cut crystal encrusted gown. Glad to see her doing well.

Did I miss anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athleisure: Ivy Park Collection at $40 and Under

So, here I am waiting patiently for the Ivy Park collection to go on sale at www.topshop.com but alas it is July and not a drop in price in sight. What’s a girl to do? Shop $40 and under and choose some key pieces that will stay in your workout/wear-out (to brunch) collection for some time. I avoid trends and stick to classic colors and styles when I am shopping nonsale items . It is here that I will skip the scarlet reds or canary yellows and choose the noirs and grays.

Key Pieces from the Ivy Park Collection for $40 and Under: 

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V-Back Mesh Bra- $36

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Armhole Tank $25

 

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Great Deal!! Full Length Jogger $40

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The Classic Beanie $25

 

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Because it’s Blue and we love Baby Blue. If you are a girl who loves color then this blue crop top is perfect. $35

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Happy Shopping! Don’t forget to stay within YOUR budget.

 

 

Workout Wear As Everyday Wear. NYC 18th Street and 5th Ave.

I’ve deemed 18th street and 5th Ave as the workout Mecca of New York City. On that city block or its’ proximity there are major athletic wear stores for women such as Tory Burch Sport, Athleta, and Lululemon. Athleta has a wonderful workout studio and offer FREE classes for customers. The classes are taught by certified yoga and dance instructors and offer a great burn in a great environment. They also have a great girls line and also offer workshops geared toward healthy body image for young girls. I love that!

The ladies in Lower Manhattan are decked out in workout wear for errands and the gym. They are still NYC chic even when decked in spandex. The outfits are normally topped by a cool jacket and killer shades. You are now ready to slay the streets or the gym.

Some of our favorite celebs who rock workout wear as everyday wear:

 

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Nicole Richie

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Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams

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Taylor Swift

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Beyonce in Ivy Park

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Gabrielle Union

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Hannah Bronfman

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Kim Kardashian

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What are you wearing to the gym?

 

My Braid Crush

Winter is the season for Protective Styles and there are a few ladies who we have been slaying braided styles lately. Braids don’t just serve as a great way to protect your natural hair from everyday wear and tear but it is also a fun way to switch things up. I’m not a fan of sitting the length of time for styles like micro-braids to get installed, upwards of 4 to 6 hours, so I’m more of a cornrow type of girl. In less than 30 minutes or an hour you are transformed into a braided goddess. I’m always down for that.

These are some of my favorite styles spotted on our favorite celebs:

Megan

Megan Goode completely rocked the heck out of these faux locs. I know, they aren’t braids but they count in my book.

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Gabrielle, oh how I love thee and these micro braids. She is a better woman than me because my patience is not set up in a manner that allows for me to elver wear this style.

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Classic plaits on a classic woman. Janelle Monet looks great.

Kim

Yes, I’m adding Kim’s cornrows! We all know about these straightbacks. It is the Black woman’s go to for giving birth, after giving birth, vacation, or just a great Summer style. Someone put Kim onto the low maintenance greatness of the cornrow.

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Brandy has been serving red hot braided styles since Moesha. We can always depend on her for some great looks.

Amandla

Amandla is new to me. She’s young and fearless with her hair and I love that. Here she wears the root braided and the rest of the hair loose. The choice of grey hair is very today.

Zoe

Zoe’s braids have almost become a staple style for her. She is inspired by her mother’s style and I’m here for it.

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Blackish’s Yara did a braid combo. Loving the idea of braiding the single strand micro braids into a fishtail style.  

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Keke Palmer is the queen of switching things up. She goes from short to long and from weaves to braids. Love these funky twists.

We can’t possibly leave out these ole long skinny cornrows worn by Beyonce in “Formation”. Giving Susan Taylor realness.

 

Are you wearing a braided style? What type of style are you rocking and why?

She Don’t Need the Possessive “S” to Slay.

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“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros.”

“I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”

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Those are probably the most decadent and provacative lyrics from Beyonce’s, “Formation”. Why? Because she was not only speaking to the masses and letting you know that Black is Beautiful but directly to Black Folk who make frequent comments on her baby’s hair texture and style and the size of her lover’s nostrils. The people who comment the most about Blue and Jay Z are people who look like Blue and Jay Z. We are the most offended by our hair texture and nose size.

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We have been taught to hate our Blackness subliminally by the media and at times, within our own familial structures. There is a standard of Eurocentric Beauty that is upheld not just in our society but worldwide. There is an understanding that lighter skin, a narrow nose and fine features are what is considered beautiful. And the complicated topic of hair! Where do you begin with this tumultuous topic? There is a natural hair “movement” happening where Black women are embracing and wearing our hair the way it grows from our scalp. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Oh, but it is. Hair has also been defined as a standard of beauty and straight hair has been a mode for upward social mobility within the Black Community. As a mater of survival, we have had to cover our scalps with toxic lye in order to take out the kinks that reminds us and the greater society of our Blackness. I can comfortably say that there is a huge change in the way society and our own communities have embraced our distinct kinks and curls.

But let us hone in on Beyonce’s visuals for a minute. Not her video but her. Her skin is a light shade of brown and hair is dyed blonde. She is a great performer, hard worker and is wildly successful. She might have contemporaries in her field who may be just as hard working and brilliant performers but may never achieve worldwide success because they may be a darker shade of Black but that visual has not been praised as brilliant and beautiful.

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Beyonce is the epitome of what society upholds as beautiful but she wanted to remind y’all what she finds beautiful. She like her baby’s hair with baby hair and an afro. She likes her Negro’s nose with wide, Jackson Five nostrils. Those visuals are not what society considers beautiful but she covets it. With her influence, she is looking to debunk the myth of the American Beauty.

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Don’t get too lost in all of the other lyrics that may not have too much of a political message. It is, after all, Beyonce. She is a Popstar not a Politician, not a Social Activist. She is a Black Woman who has experienced an amount of privilege because of her light skin and dyed blonde hair but she just wants to remind you to not let her “visuals’ fool you. She has that privilege today and she would have had it if she were alive 100 years ago in the American South. The visuals are to remind you that she is aware and she’s woke.

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Hop on over to www.beyonce.com and watch if you haven’t seen the video already. While you are at it you can order a sweatshirt or a bag with a witty saying.

Celeb Saturday: Zendaya, Beyonce, Rachel, keke, Vera

List of celebs that made waves this week:

Zendaya Coleman was chosen to portray RnB songstress, Aaliyah, for a Lifetime television biopic. Well, Aaliyah’s family is not pleased and there are many critics out there who are also upset about the actress chosen to portray Aaliyah. Most are upset because Zendaya is biracial and not 100% Black! I may be in the minority here but I think Zendaya is a great choice.

Zandaya is a Disney star who was selected to portray Aaliyah.

Zandaya is a Disney star who was selected to portray Aaliyah.

One of our favorite designers, Vera Wang, opened a boutique on Rodeo Drive this week and Keke Palmer and Rachel Roy came out to celebrate with Vera. If you haven’t done so already, you must visit Kohls online or in store to check out their Vera Wang line. Vera comes through with quality appealer and accessories at a great price.

 

Keke Plamer posed with Vera wang at the opening. Keke wore Vera designs on the red carpet.

Keke Plamer posed with Vera wang at the opening. Keke wore Vera designs on the red carpet.

Rachel Roy walked the carpet in a casual, chic outfit.

Rachel Roy walked the carpet in a casual, chic outfit.

 

King Bey aka Yonce shared some pictures from her celeb filled, “On The Run” , trailer that she dropped a few weeks back. Beyonce and Jay Z, in spite of all of the breakup rumors and elevator scandals, are getting ready for their Summer tour. One thing’s for sure, it shall be epic.

Bey in a line-up with the Jones sisters, quincy's daughters.

Bey in a line-up with the Jones sisters, quincy’s daughters.

Beyonce and Blake.

Beyonce and Blake had some grins behind the scenes.

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Bey and Jay

 

 

 

Fresh Faced Beauty.

There is always a time and place for a beat face but there is nothing greater than a fresh-faced beauty. Great skin is necessary for a fresh face. It is the foundation for a beat face after all. Here are some of our favorite fresh-faced beauties.

Beyonce aka Yonce is beyond styled in fabulous blonde hair pieces and face done for the Gods when she is working but during her downtime she isn’t afraid to let us see some gorgeous skin.

Beyonce recently shared this close up face picture of herself on Instagram.

Beyonce recently shared this close up face picture of herself on Instagram.

Lupita! How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways. She glows inside and out when we see her on the red carpet but she recently shared that she feels the most beautiful with a bare face. Well, we agree.

We love Lupita's acting chops, red carpet style and great skin.

We love Lupita’s acting chops, red carpet style and great skin.

June Ambrose. This Rock Mom and Super Stylist to the Stars is uber chic and has a fun sense of style herself. Her face and hair are always flawless but she often shares the key to her fabulosity. Her “Stylefit” foods, exercise and great skin care keeps her face looking fab.

June Ambrose often shares pictures of her and her little ones.

June Ambrose often shares pictures of her and her little ones.

You cannot leave Jennifer Lopez out of this list if we are talking beautiful skin. Does she ever age? JLo looks just as great as she did 20 years ago. She is a mother of twins now and still working hard but looks fabulous doing she.

Caught by surprise by this picture but there is no surprise as to why she is so gorgeous.

Caught by surprise by this picture but there is no surprise as to why she is so gorgeous.

What is the key to great skin? The key is to treat it gently and take care of it before you really need to. Don’t wait for the blemishes and fine lines to appear before you start a regimen. Visit an aesthetician and treat yourself to a facial at least twice a year. You are worth it.