Women in the entertainment industry like Kehlani and Janelle Monae are proving time and time again that 2018 is the year that we take full control of our femininity. We are demanding pay raises, requiring orgasms, and taking advantage of every opportunity to live our best lives. This includes liberating ourselves sexually and redefining our perceptions of gender identity and romantic orientation.
Kehlani recently reactivated her Twitter account and cleared up some misconceptions about her sexuality, reiterating her status as a queer woman:
"cuz i keep geddin asked.. i'm queer. not bi, not straight. i'm attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary people, intersex people, trans people. lil poly pansexual papi hello good morning. does that answer your questions?"
She added that she used the term "queer" instead of "gay" because she did not want to be refined in her sexuality to loving only certain "types" of humans. At first, some of the terminology can be confusing but Kehlani reminds us that it's important to be educated when defining our own ideas about love and relationships.
"i always want to be corrected & educated when i am wrong. if i tweet something any form of incorrect, please let me know because i have a massive responsibility by having a platform."
The songstress has always been candid about her romantic life and told MTV News last year that she is secure and open about her sexual orientation in her music because it reflects her own reality.
"I'm very openly queer. And I thought that my music lacked representation of how my actual life is, and I thought it was important to be myself fluidly, in my music and not just in my life. My art mimics my life...It's only right that that's what I make music about and that I'm able to put that out confidently."
Personally, I've heard people use words like "pansexual" and "non-binary" to describe themselves, but I typically wrote it off without realizing that these classifications were developed so that people could better express who they are. We, unlike the generations of women before us, have the privilege of defining sexuality and identity on our own terms without persecution or ridicule of our non-conformity.
In the past, society has limited sexuality to only a few terms that narrowly describe orientation and leave a lot of room for interpretation. Advocates of the LGBTQ community have made a steadfast effort to break the standards of sexual and gender identity to help others feel secure in just being themselves. Terms like "pansexual" and "non-binary" are dictated based on preference of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or romantic attraction and encompass a broader description.
Identifying with these terms are one of the many ways that women are taking initiative to choose who and how they love, and it's pretty lit. Here's a comprehensive guide through some of these terms In reading them, you may find that you identify with some things you didn't think you would. I know I did.
A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
A term used to describe people who are romantically, physically, and emotionally attracted to someone of the same gender.
A term used by people who are not exclusively heterosexual who may feel that the term 'gay' has connotations that don't apply to them. Usually represents fluid identities and orientations. People who identity as genderqueer may see themselves as both male and female, or fall outside of the categories completely.
Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.
Someone who is primarily sexually, aesthetically, or romantically attracted to masculinity.
Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, or romantically attracted to femininity.
Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, or romantically to genderqueer, transgender, and/or non binary people.
Any gender that falls outside of the binary system of male/female or man/woman.
A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; of or relating to a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity.
Sexual attraction regardless of someone's sex or gender identity. Not the same as bisexuality - gender does not factor for pansexuals/ominsexuals.
Regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation, love is love.
These labels should not limit us, but instead allow us to love each other and find love in ways that feel most comfortable to us.
Kehlani reminded her followers that she was not sharing her orientation to push her own agenda, but instead to help liberate other women and let them know that they the right to have preferences and make choices that truly make them happy.
"the last i'm finna say about this is i'm nevaaaaa tryna push my agenda, sis. twitter is for personal thoughts. preference exists. opinions exists. do you booboo cuz im doin me!"
You heard her right, just do you boo boo.
Featured image via Giphy
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Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood