Something that God and I have been working through is the fact that, although, in hindsight, I attended one of the most racist "Christian" high schools, I'm going to say in the South (no joke), it ended up working out in my favor in the long run. Case in point, I doubt I would be able to write an article like this if I hadn't learned the differences between dealing with flat-out racists who hide under the title of "white evangelical", white people who honestly don't mean any harm but are just ignorant AF about all things race relations-related and those who are truly white allies—and good friends.
With that being said, I don't know who could deny the fact that 2020 has been a year when race and racism has piqued on some pretty high and significant levels. As I find myself saying a lot, it's not that the Trump Administration invented racism (Reagan once called Africans "monkeys" and George W. Bush totally turned his back on our New Orleans family during Hurricane Katrina); but boy oh boy, have those jokers amplified it. And when things are at a fever pitch like this, pardon the pun, but folks' true colors really do tend to show. Take an article that I recently read, for example—"Support For Black Lives Matter Surged During Protests, But Is Waning Among White Americans". (Chile…)
While Black and brown people are literally out here using our blood, sweat and tears to get the justice we deserve, how do we make sure that we approach our relationships with our white friends from a healthy mental and emotional space? While I certainly do not have all of the answers on this one—not by a country mile—I will share what I've been doing to keep things as, balanced, as I can.
Try Not to Generalize
While I'm personally someone who does not believe that Black/brown people can be racist (because to be racist, you need an enormous amount of power), we most definitely can be prejudiced. One definition of prejudice is "unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group" while another is "any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable". I actually know someone who takes her prejudice to the absolute peak because, no matter what white person she comes into contact with, she automatically assumes that they are a racist or they have an agenda. While things like the news and social media can make it tempting to feel that way sometimes (trust me, I get it), that's not right or fair. We don't like anyone to generalize us, so, for the sake of doing our part to keep humanity thriving as much as we possibly can, we must extend that same courtesy to others. Bottom line, like pretty much any human being, until a white person reveals themselves to be someone who isn't worthy of being in your personal space, try and not judge them based on their entire ethnicity. That is wrong, no matter what ethnic group you fall into.
Remember the Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Can you imagine, how much more harmony we'd all have if we actively applied this with the people we interacted with? If we want to be respected, we need to give respect. If we want to be heard, we have to listen. If there's something that someone doesn't understand, we should try and explain it. There is actually a Scripture in the Bible that says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1—NKJV)
A lot of people live by the rule "don't discuss religion and politics" in order to avoid conflict. I'm not that person. I don't find disagreements or uncomfortable conversations to automatically be a bad thing. However, when it comes to something like racism, even when we're talking to those we consider to be a true friend, it's important to give and expect the honor of being a human being who is trying to share and learn. No one said these conversations are easy but if there is a mutual esteem in place, they don't have to ruin relationships either.
Also, Remember Why You’re Friends with Them in the First Place
If you're really honest about the dynamics of, pretty much all of your friendships, the reality is there are certain things that you have in common—and then, there are certain things that couldn't make the two of you any more different. When it comes to your relationships with white people, automatically coming from two different ethnicities sets you apart. Yet, beyond that very obvious point, take a moment to reflect on why you became friends with each other in the first place. Some of my white friends, we're both writers. Some of my white friends, we enjoy the same things in pop culture. Some of my white friends, we've been a part of each other's lives for so long that there is a strong love between us, even if we don't have a ton of stuff in common.
Most of our relationships started from a place of common interests or how well we meshed with someone's character. Even though race is something that is talked about A LOT right through here, if/when you're tempted to "tap out" of your friendships with your white friends, simply because white people, in general, are wearing you TF out, try and remember why you connected with the white folks you hold dear. Remember to see them as people first. Because, at the end of the day, that's what we want others to do when they're interacting with us—not because our Blackness isn't a part of who we are, but because it is just one part of our identity.
Don’t Expect Empathy. Sympathy Is the Best They Can Do.
So, I've got a very dear close white male friend who, a couple of years ago, I had to school him. Interestingly enough, it was because he was actually trying to school me on my own culture. Lawd. I mean, any time he saw something Black-themed (like Dear White People, for example), he would hit me up, thinking that he was hipping me to something that I didn't know. After about six months of him doing this, I said, "You do know that I'm Black, right?" So much of our relationship consisted of discussing any and everything but race relations that he admitted he probably needed to hear my perspective more. Ever since then, he's come to all kinds of conclusions—that his parents are actually racist people, that his circle lives in a bubble that doesn't really deal with ethnic differences because pretty much everyone is white and that him being a white man and my being a Black woman means that we approach this thing called America (which I oftentimes refer to it as being Amerikkka) from two very different places.
Honestly, having those discussions has brought us closer in a lot of ways. But still, I try and be sensitive to the fact that just because my friend is my friend, I shouldn't expect him to have the same amount of knowledge, passion or focus as I do on my people, my community or our history. And so, while we do discuss race relations more than we ever have, I try and limit the chats to when he asks, so that I don't make him feel like I am patronizing him or that the sole purpose of our connection is so that I can "school him" on what's up with all things Black-related.
Take Breaks When Needed. The Good White Friends Will Understand.
While growing up, there was a white family in my life who, in many ways, couldn't be more different than my own family. They were rich, white and, although I don't think I ever flat-out asked them, I believe they were Republican too (I personally am an independent). I say that because FOX News was on in their homes quite often. Over the years of interacting with them, I don't recall having more than five direct chats with any of them about race issues. At the same time, what I do remember is my mother sometimes saying to the white mom that she needed a "white people break". Usually it was after something covert happened to her as it related to other white folks in her life. The white mom would laugh and not take it personally. Then she would give my mom some space.
I was always tickled and fascinated by that. Fast forward to now and I tend to apply that unofficial-white-folks-interaction rule to my own life. I mean, who wants to call a friend, just to chat, only to hear said-friend go on and on and on about how sick of they are of their friend's ethnicity? Good Lord.
Again, this year has been rough on us. Hopefully, you've got some Black friends who you feel safe venting without editing to. My advice would be to go to them on your most frustrating days and if your white friends hit you up when you're at your brink, just let them know that America is wearing you out right now, you love them, but you need a second to catch your breath. Good and healthy white friends won't personalize that. If they consider themselves to even be a surface-level ally, they will understand and give you the space that you need to regroup.
Release Whoever Is Showing Their TRUE COLORS
If there is one thing that 2020 is doing, brilliantly so I might add, it's revealing who folks truly are. After all that I just shared, if you discover that you've got white friends who are racially apathetic, who try and defend racism, who want to make you feel guilty for your stance on race-relation issues, etc.—ask yourself, if they are really being a good friend to you or not. A good friend supports. A good friend encourages. A good friend tries to see things from your point of view so that they can support and encourage you.
We're living in some very trying times so, again, while it isn't fair to expect white people to see things exactly as we do, if the white relationships in your life don't respect where you're coming from, you may need to release them. Right now, what we all need are white friends who are allies. If you're not sure if yours are, go deep enough in your conversation with them to get the clarity that you need. By the way, a white friend that is a MAGA, defends Trump or says "I don't see color" (you should because seeing my color means that you are sensitive to my issues and needs) are some telling signs that some boundaries may need to be set.
It's not impossible to have white friends in this season. Just get clear on your needs, make sure that you state them and that you communicate with the same kind of compassion that you'd want to receive from them. Again, the white people who have your back will rise to the occasion. The ones who don't…won't. And if that's the case, they weren't really your friends to begin with…right? Exactly.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Whether it was your group chat, social media feed, or your favorite media outlet covering the spectacle, I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the viral Black wedding between actress KJ Smith (Sistas, Raising Kanan) and actor Skyh Black (All the Queen’s Men, Sistas). From their grand entrance to Jay-Z, Kayne West, and Beyoncé’s song “Lift Off” to KJ’s standout dance routine and the endless celebrity appearances, it’s an addictive TikTok scroll you can’t help but delve into.
But what many people would be surprised to know is that the couple’s original wedding plan was nothing like what it grew to be. What started as her simply scrolling through posts to get ideas eventually transformed into what the internet knows now as #TheBlackExperience. In an exclusive conversation with xoNecole, KJ walked us through her planning process, the morning of her wedding, and what she thinks of the online response.
Some women have their whole wedding planned out, from the bridal gown and venue to the bridal party and playlist. However, KJ was not one of those people. “I didn’t foresee a wedding in my future,” she reveals. “I was just gonna be the boss chick, rich auntie. I didn’t force love in my life until recently. I never had an idea of what a dream wedding would look like, it was easier for me to elope.”
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
And to many people’s surprise, that was their original plan – until Skyh brought up a valid concern. He was raised by his grandmother and thought she should be at the wedding, and naturally, that led to KJ wanting her grandmother to be there as well – then her mom – and later her sister – and, you’ve gotta invite the besties too, right? From there, the guest list continued to blossom. Much like the updo and pop of color bold red lip, she wore on her special day, which was initially on her Pinterest board as a soft glam look with her hair hanging on her shoulders, KJ is okay with changing her plan if it brings her and her loved ones happiness.
So let’s get into the wedding, which took place in Malibu, CA. The first thing you should know about the celebrity couple is that they’re non-traditional. They know, and they don’t care. So, in true unconventional fashion, they shared the morning of the wedding together.
“I woke up with Skyh, we walked our dog, had black coffee, and said good morning to the people who stayed at the venue with us,” she says.
Now, it was time for hair and makeup. While she was getting glammed up, she had Black-owned McBride Sisters wine and champagne (which ties into The Black Experience theme) on deck with her mom and friends, had her besties help rework her vows, retried on every outfit (sis is very Type-A), took photos, and ended the early-celebration with prayer and meditation. It seems very non-Bridezilla, I said.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company,” she explains. “The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
Things moved quickly, and before she knew it, it was time to line up to walk down the aisle.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company. The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
KJ Smith and her bridal party
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Since everything started with their grandmothers, the couple wanted to ensure they honored them and planned to keep an element of their wedding traditional. Although we’ve all seen the reception videos and photos online, you may have noticed visuals from the wedding itself are harder to find.
“We planned for it to be traditional, but we’re not like that, so we tried to create those moments. We jumped the broom and had a salt ceremony (where the bride and groom individually pour salt into a glass container, symbolizing their lives becoming one.) But honestly, still, nothing was traditional about it.”
She goes on to explain that her mom caught the holy ghost coming down the aisle, her glam team was on deck, and she became so nervous with excitement that she had an anxiety attack – something she struggled with for years, she explains tearfully. Her friends had to literally cheer her down the aisle because of how overwhelmed she felt until she eventually calmed down.
“Skyh was standing there with his hand on his heart; we have our own little language, and I could feel the support,” she shares.
It was surprising to hear all these emotional moments happened before the party we saw online. That is until she once again got into the backstory.
“As a Black woman actress, for so long, it was popular to be mysterious and secretive, but that’s not who I am or what I like. Plus, we both wanted to create an experience for everyone there. We are the people who always host family and friends,” she says. “Like for me, the first order of business was getting sandals for the women so they can dance all night long. We had oxtail, D'ussé, and a coffee and sativa lounge – which is part of Skyh and I’s lifestyle and routine. We wanted to bring them into our world.”
Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith (R)
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
She went on to discuss the dance routine she did for her husband at the reception, which has taken over the internet. Apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t go according to plan. According to KJ, she had promised a performance at their joint bachelor/ bachelorette party, but her outfit got stolen from her car. So, Skyh ended up performing for her – complete with a strip tease. Still, she never forgot her promise to dance for him.
So, she hired her friend as a choreographer, learned the routine, made friends and family watch it endless times, and attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance show a few days before for a confidence boost. It ended up being a show to remember. But that wasn’t all the night offered. Lil Mo performed, and the guests received special goody bags featuring their favorite Black-owned products like journals, hair care, and more.
“We made sure everyone was taken care of all night. That kind of stuff makes us happy. I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives,” she says.
But naturally, the internet is going to internet, and while there were countless people praising the event and applauding the newlyweds, some thought it was too over the top. I was curious to know her thoughts on some of the criticism.
“It’s cool. We did what we wanted to do. I’ve decided to share my world with people. Just how I went on social media platforms and found inspiration, I want people to do the same,” she explains. “I don’t think it's fair to my supporters not to give that out. There’s so much I wanna share with brides, specifically Black brides. I love that people are adding it to their Pinterest boards."
"I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives."
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
“I’m happy with it because we did what we wanted to do. They can do what they wanna do. Don’t be cruel, though, because you will get blocked,” she said, laughing.
The more I spoke with her, the more her sense of freedom shined through. People are always going to have their opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s you who has to live your life, and it seems like the couple realizes that and embraces that power. She also stressed the importance of not living for others and the lessons life has taught her.
“I’ve been to countless weddings, and I’ve been in countless weddings. I’m a generally older bride. So when women in my demographic get married, and you and your husband are busy working people like us, you deserve to have the one you want to have,” she shares.
“This is what we wanted to do. Our loved ones love and support us. We did so much to honor them, but we also wanted to start our own tradition, legacy, and creation. I'm not going to be pulled back into ideas of the past when I’m trying to create a future with my partner. “
If you’d like to see more of the couple, you probably won’t have to wait long. Although no content is planned yet, she admits to being an oversharer. “Me being open and transparent about my experiences lets people know it’s okay to have flaws; it makes you human, and for many years, I didn’t believe that was okay. I had pressure to be perfect, and I’d crumble every time,” she explains to xoNecole.
Now, she owns her flaws and uses them as a superpower to connect with her community and feel and express her love.
“Some people give us [Skyh and KJ] a hard time because they say we just seem too perfect. I’m like, why is that a bad thing? I love the people I love. From my man to my mama, to my friends - unabashedly. We move through time and space how we want to move. If we did it another way, we’d let ourselves and our union down.”
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Feature image by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
In my opinion, oral sex is the best type of sex. In the words of my favorite female R&B group, “You gotta go downtown, that’s the way to my love...” But if you want to enhance your oral sex experience, you gotta try face-sitting.
Face-sitting has been making its rounds again on the interwebs, however, it’s been around since the 1800s. During that time, it became increasingly popular for “upper-class women” to enjoy sexual gratification from men and avoid pregnancy all at the same damn time.
What Is Queening or Face-Sitting?
Face-sitting is just what it says, sitting on your partner’s face. We're talking genital-to-face contact here. We're talking delightfully, smothering intimate oral sex. Face-sitting can be a deeply fulfilling experience for both partners since it allows them to develop incredible intimacy and closeness. Because of its throne metaphor, face-sitting is sometimes called queening. In comparison to traditional penetrative intercourse, face sitting can lead to orgasms that are much more frequent for cisgender women. This makes total sense since it’s been scientifically proven that direct clitoral stimulation boosts intense orgasms.
The only couple I trust when it comes to learning how to “face-sit” correctly are sex experts Dee H. Black and Laydee Vee of DVPassion. When I found out they actually teach a “face-sitting” class at Exxxotica a while back, I had to interview them.
Laydee Vee believes sitting makes people of all sizes feel comfortable praising their partner. Through breath play and smothering, participants learn how to enhance communication. The top person gives instructions to their partner below, which can make them feel dominant, powerful, and in control, whereas bottom partners may feel empowered and submissive.
Queening 101: The Most Ideal Sex Positions For Face-Sitting
Women sometimes hesitate to try face-sitting for fear of hurting their partner or being too heavy. Personally, I subscribe to the philosophy, "If they die, they die!" If they gotta go, why not go in between my legs? However, to build confidence, Laydee Vee suggests looking within. “Confidence starts with you. If you’re nervous, your partner may sense it, causing harm. Once you feel comfortable, you can experiment with different positions to find the one that works best for you.”
Once you become more comfortable, face-sitting can be even more enjoyable for you and your partner. A good position to try and build your confidence is the classic reverse cowgirl position, with your partner lying on their back and you straddling their face while facing their feet. By adding a pillow, the bottom partner can lean back more and add pressure to the vulva to intensify the face-sitting experience.
In addition to using a pillow while in the facesitting position, the bottom partner can also use other sex toys. For example, he or she can use a butt plug or a dildo to feel enjoyable. You can also engage in face sitting while you're on your knees or in a squat with a pillow for support if you want to take things to the next level. You'll experience more sensations and pressure as a result of this.
A personal favorite from Laydee Vee and Dee Black’s workshop is “The Queening Position,” where the person on top sits on the bottom’s face like a chair. For those of you that love anal play, this can be a really intense way to get it. You can also get up close to the anus and stimulate it with your mouth and tongue. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try stroking the anus with your fingers.
Another advantage of face-sitting over other positions is that it can be used for threesomes and group sex. The top can, for instance, use their hands or a sex toy to satisfy others while simultaneously getting pleasured through genital stimulation from the bottom. The bottom, on the other hand, can also experience genital pleasure from others or even penetration while engaging in oral sex with the top.
Face-Sitting: How To Enjoy The Queening Position Comfortably & Safely
Although a number of people can enjoy the act of face-sitting, it is a very risky and potentially dangerous practice. It is possible to hurt your partner if you aren’t careful, hence why communication is key. As with any sexual act, it's important to talk with your partner ahead of time about their comfort level with face-sitting, as well as any potential boundaries or concerns they may have. In many cases, it may be helpful to start with a more gentle, exploratory approach, such as placing your partner's face between your thighs without bearing down too heavily.
Many things can be done to make face-sitting more comfortable for those who are hesitant about it. The first thing that you should do is get a good understanding of anatomy and the position. You might also want to discuss what kind of stimulation you're looking for in a face-sitting session with your partner.
A queening chair, a chair with a hole in the seat big enough for a mouth and part of the face to fit through, is another option I suggested. After lying on their back, the person on the bottom slides under the chair, allowing them to perform oral sex on the person sitting on top. Lastly, it's a good idea to have a signal with your partner for when they need a break. This can be as simple as tapping on their thigh or butt, but it's a great way to avoid having the session become too intense for them.
With a little bit of communication, experimentation, and attention to safety and pleasure, face-sitting can be a wonderfully intimate and satisfying addition to your sexual repertoire. So go forth with confidence and enjoy all the exciting new sensations this position can offer!
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