I clapped for Rihanna back when she checked the world and reminded them she's nobody's role model--she's simply living her damn life. It was real then and it's real now, specified at those who unduly ask celebrities to conform for the sole purpose of parenting the children of the world.
In the words of a wise internet person (who, that I'm unsure): f*ck them kids.
All jokes aside, the world tends to want their role models to fit the stiff stature of a homogenous society while some of the best role models have been anything but "socially acceptable". Despite acknowledging that "well-behaved women seldom make history" and having zero regard for the miserable lives we would ask celebrities to subscribe to under the guise of being a so-called-"good" role models.
Because being a good role model in our world means not living a life worth living -- it means ridiculously asking that celebrities be flawless at all times even when they're young and most deserving of that learning curve and the grace we grant to the rest of our youth as we learn to fly.
We ask that people live a facade and feign shock when we find out that a celebrity has overdosed after years of closeted addicition, or government officials are exposed for their closeted kinks and sexual preferences amongst other things. I have to wonder if any of these things would be so salacious and jaw-dropping if we just let people live in their truths to begin with. Well, at least those whose truth do no tangible harm to others.
All any of us can do is our best, and for many of these stars (well before insta-fame), the goal was to simply thrive and be able to take care of their families using their talent. This shouldn't mean that they have to sacrifice an authentic journey. We often hear stars cite "the pressure" as the root cause of drug addiction; and WE HAVE TO KNOW, in part, that pressure comes from a fanbase and media outlets that demand that they uphold an image of innocence that is unrealistic and not at all true of any human being walking this earth.
And I know without a doubt that this standard is always far more impossible for women than men--providing little to no leniency for those moments we deem uncouth and immoral when it comes to women. How do I know? Well, one word: patriarchy! And history has taught us that it is a woman's role to maintain purity while it is a man's role to cause sexual upheaval as he sees fit...and, of course, be providers.
With that in mind, I encourage us to embrace the importance of having role models who are confident, raunchy, sexy, independent, experimental, and most of all: living.
If we were only ever given the Lauryn Hills and the Beyonces of the world, then we would continue to uphold a patriarchal standard of purity and wouldn't have the true versatility necessary to bust down the glass ceiling we so desire to have removed.
Nasty women don't just live in the arenas of the politico. Many of us like to quote and post vintage photos of the sultry pastimes that walked so we could run during this and every other hot girl summer to come.
Yet, somehow, we still manage to ignore the one thing that made them stand out during their time: reckless disregard for the rules of sexuality and gender norms. It's not lady-like for women to hang with the big dogs and many of the most historical women made history by doing so in a multitude of ways and sometimes they weren't the best choices; but it is our poor choices that we learn the most from.
Legends like the "Queen Bee" Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Trina, Foxy Brown, and those that predate them like Eartha Kitt, Josephine Baker, and Lena Horne -- none of them followed the rules regarding what it meant to be a woman in this world.
And had they not broken the rules, can we genuinely say we'd love them the way they do?
I say all of this to say, please please stop pushing the narrative that we solely need more Lauryn Hills in this world when the reality is, we could use any woman who changes the narrow-minded expectations of how we as women should move through this world.
Stop negating the empowerment behind the lyrics of musical artists because you would prefer that your kids only be exposed to music that promotes a lifetime of missionary and under-the-radar-living. As I've said many times before, having a well-rounded personality includes all the moving parts of self, including an autonomous sexuality and sense of independence. And in truth, many of us will never reach a full sense of independence because we're too dependent on the views of society and being socially abiding citizens.
Personally, Rihanna (if you hadn't guessed by now) and Megan Thee Stallion have proven to be some of the women I stan for the most and it's because I can relate to them in a very holistic way. Rih took music to the next level, exploring topics mainstream woman musicians hadn't touched, has never been one to feign perfection, and has created a Fenty fucking empire. While Megan has made efforts to collaborate with fans to clean up the environment, attends college, and is a self-proclaimed "big ole freak." And we're asking that young girls not idolize them why again?
It's nothing more than fear of those things we can't understand, such as how a woman can be a woman without subscribing to the construct of lady-like-ness. We bop to the beat of male artists exploiting us and then scoff when women take back that power and make a bag. It makes zero sense. Celebrities and particularly badass women won't always be the hero or idol we want but nine times out of ten they will be the heroes and idols that we need.
At least, if we have any hope of raising sexually liberated and truly independent thinking women.
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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