Writing

A Love Letter to Shea Butter

A heartfelt love note to a vital component of black hair and self care—raw shea butter. Light the candles. Cue the violins.

Dear Sista Shea,


You’ve been apart of my heritage and household for longer than I’ve known, yet I’ve only become truly acquainted with you about six years ago. It was when I went natural, and I suddenly became more aware of what goes in and on my body and how my body reacts to it. It was when I started to consciously practice self love and self care.

Self care. It’s one of many buzzwords that rose in popularity in recent years. Simply put, it is the act of caring, catering to and comforting oneself in times of emotional and mental need. I’ve needed to do this more often lately because sometimes it feels like the world is falling apart: police brutality against black people, the acquittal of offenders in controversial cases, and, most recently, the presidency of Donald Trump. We have to take care of our minds, hearts, and bodies, and thus, one another.

For me, self care varies from cooking myself a delicious, healthy meal to reading a good book to going on a mindful walk and treating myself to a cup of tea. It means logging off of social media, meditating, stretching or calling a friend.

It means buying all natural soaps and hair products because it eases my senses and my body. It also means washing and styling my hair, which, as a natural hair mama, can take several hours, but I find it exciting because I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my hair. It is an intimate, personal activity filled with aromatic essential oils, scalp massages and creamy conditioners.

And you, shea butter, have played a key role in my self care routines. As you know, I care a lot about maintaining smooth, clear skin and growing strong, healthy hair. You’ve been helping me get closer to these goals.

Growing up, I’ve suffered from all kinds of skin issues. Eczema has plagued my body, ranging from itchy, scaly spots to more severe symptoms. I am susceptible to boils in the winter (I know, gross!) and essentially, I have dry, sensitive skin. But with you, shea butter, I’ve found a cure to these dilemmas.

You smooth the cracks of my heels, you appease the ash on my elbows. My lips drink your moisture, my curls cuddle with your softness. With you, my body awakens: glowing, glad, grateful.

And when you meet the likes of coconut, almond, avocado, extra virgin or vitamin E oil, your benefits multiply in number. With the whip of my wand (a long spoon) and the addition of these essential oils, you transform into a supple, buttery cream that glides easily between my fingers and kisses the grooves of my curls. You become a still, golden river.

No more stark white lotions with ingredients I can’t pronounce—I’m on my DIY body creme flow, and you’re the star. No more overpriced lip balms—err, wait! I still like those! But I make sure you’re the main ingredient. And my soap bars contain you as well. You are with me all day, in many ways.

Yet, there is another reason why I feel connected to you. You are the treasure from my family’s homeland, Ghana. And although I haven’t been home yet, I feel like I have a piece of my roots every time my grandmother returns to the States with hunky globes of you. You are the bridge that connects me to the land I dream of.

And it’s not only I you've touched. There’s natural haired people far and wide who have been blessed by your wonder. They do tutorials about you, have started skin and hair care lines in your honor. You’ve helped us realize a new level of our potential, have empowered us to embrace our kinks, our melanin, our now unchapped lips.

Because when your skin is smooth, your hair is poppin, your mind and body softened, you can go about your day with more confidence and stride. Then you can focus on other important things as well: like work, creativity and social justice. You bring out the best in me, and thus I can walk into the world as my best self.

Love always,

Sista boo

Yes, Shaquille O'Neal Dropped A Diss Remix of 'Mans Not Hot'

"The real" Shaq responds to British comedian Big Shaq's viral grime hit. The ting goes skrrraaa.

Today, in things you didn't know you would ever hear (or needed to), NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has dropped a diss remix to British comedian Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq aka Roadman Shaq aka MC Quakez's "Mans Not Hot."

The track's a response to Big Shaq's ultra viral freestyle on BBC Radio 1's "Fire in the Booth" segment, where the comedian first dropped his now timeless "the ting goes skrrraaa" lines. Since its release back in August, the clip's gone beyond viral—Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq's even released an official version of the track.

Fast forward to last week, the NBA's Shaq went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, in which The Roots played "Mans Not Hot" as his walk-on music.

Well, with all the attention on the track, it seems the OG Shaq's taken notice and, in his own tongue-in-cheek way, has fired off some bars at the comedian taking his name.

To make things even more confusing, he's also joined by Toronto rapper ShaqisDope on the comedic diss track.

"There's only one Big Shaq," the NBA star rhymes.

Check out Shaq's diss and the original video below. skrrraaa pap bap bap.

A Nasty Boy Magazine's 'Creative Class of 2018' Highlights 40 African Creatives Who Are Disrupting the Status Quo

For its inaugural list, the trailblazing Nigerian publication highlights 40 creatives who are disrupting the norm through art, photography, writing and more.

With it's emphasis on unapologetically interrupting the status quo and championing all things striking, artistic and unconventional, A Nasty Boy is the rare and severely necessary publication shaking up Nigeria's conservative media landscape.

Keep reading... Show less

Erykah Badu Curated A New Fela Kuti Box Set

Badu: "Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius. Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."

To celebrate Fela Kuti's birthday and the many Felabrations going down across the globe, Knitting Factory Records has announced the upcoming arrival of their new Fela Kuti box set.

The new box set, which will be the fourth installment the label has released from the king of Afrobeat, will be curated by none-other-than Erykah Badu.

"Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius," Badu writes in a press statement. "Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."


Erykah Badu's selections include her "favorite Fela Piece of all times," 1980's Coffin For Head of State, alongside Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) (1977), V.I.P. (1979), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992).

The box set will be limited to only 3,000 copies, which come with a 16" x 24" poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti's iconic album covers, and a 20-page full-color booklet. The booklet features seven personal essays written by Erykah Badu.

Previous Fela Kuti box sets have been curated by Questlove, Ginger Baker, and Brian Eno for Knitting Factory Records.

Pre-order Erykah Badu's Fela Kuti box set now.

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