Amanda Gorman has captivated the world with her poetry. Chipped from the block of Queen Maya Angelou, with the grace of a regal feline, Gorman has taken up space in a lane that she has created for herself; a lane cool enough for her, and a lane full of pride and peace.
After speaking at Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration, her stardom has catapulted, even providing an opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl (the first poet to ever do so btw). And she's unapologetic about it, in fact, she feels at home. Why? Because she has prepared herself to be here. Recently, the 22-year old sat down with Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama for an interview with Time Magazine. And the gems were as presidential, classic, and black as you can imagine.
Amanda Gorman on the mantra she recites to herself before performing:
"This mantra I'm about to say is actually in part inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda's lyrics in Moana in the song, 'Song of the Ancestors.' Whenever I listen to songs, I rewrite them in my head. That song goes: 'I'm the daughter of the village chief. We're descended from voyagers who made the way across the world.' Something like that. Sorry Lin. I really wanted something that I could repeat because I get so terrified whenever I perform.
"So my mantra is: 'I'm the daughter of Black writers who are descended from Freedom Fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.' I say that to remind myself of ancestors that are all around me whenever I'm performing."
On poets that came before her:
Gorman has paid her dues to those she has carried the baton to the forefront for, giving them ample praise:
"I love Black poets. I love that as a Black girl, I get to participate in that legacy. So that's Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, Tracy K. Smith, Phillis Wheatley. And then I look to artists who aren't just poets. I was also listening to the composers who I feel are great storytellers, but they don't use words so I try to fill in that rhetoric myself."
On her speech and communication struggles:
A little known fact, is that she had difficulty with sounding out words (whaat!?) most of her life. It wasn't until recently, that the Harvard grad conquered the challenge, but she still struggles at times, telling the Forever First Lady:
"President Biden has talked about having a stutter. Maya Angelou was mute for several years. I could not say certain sounds, like r, so I would be saying things like poetwee or dolla. My last name is Gorman, and I could not say that really until three years ago. For a long time, I looked at it as a weakness. Now I really look at it as a strength because going through that process, it made me a writer, for one, because I had to find a form in which I could communicate other than through my mouth, and two, when I was brave enough to try to take those words from the page onto the stage, I brought with me this understanding of the complexity of sound, pronunciation, emphasis."
On her family life and twin sister:
"As twins, we're actually pretty dissimilar. But what bonds us isn't our personalities; it's our values. We've been raised like you, by a strong Black woman who taught us to value our ideas and our voices. It's really interesting when you have two daughters, especially two Black daughters close in age, because they're kind of operating as—I don't want to say each other's mothers—but sisters and then some. If I act out of line, the first person who's going to know about it is my sister, and vice versa."
And finally, on the advice she has for little black girls around the world:
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Gorman's advice is incredibly real:
"I would say anyone who finds themselves suddenly visible and suddenly famous, think about the big picture. Especially for girls of color, we're treated as lightning or gold in the pan—we're not treated as things that are going to last. You really have to crown yourself with the belief that what I'm about and what I'm here for is way beyond this moment. I'm learning that I am not lightning that strikes once. I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon."
What a beautiful, enamoring, poised, humble soul. We look forward to everything single project she releases from here to forever.
Read the full interview here.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by mccv / Shutterstock.com
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Actress and singer Keke Palmer recently shed light on the 'breast milk discrimination' she encountered at a Houston airport.
The incident allegedly went down on June 16, when Palmer, who welcomed her son Leodis Jackson earlier this year with longtime partner Darius Jackson, revealed on Twitter that Houston airport employees ruined her mood as she was discretely pumping.
In the tweet, the 29-year-old elaborated that her aggravation stemmed from the alleged threats spewed at her, including potentially disposing of "over 16 oz" of her son's food.
"Breast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood," she tweeted. "I should've popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16 oz [of] my [baby's] food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime?? I'M A MOTHER, for crying out loud."
\u201cBreast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood. I should\u2019ve popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16oz my babies food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime??\n\nI\u2019M A MOTHER for crying out\u2026\u201d— Keke Palmer (@Keke Palmer) 1686566225
It is unclear if the issue was resolved because Palmer has yet to release any additional details regarding the matter. Still, the Nope star's post was met with fans' support, and many shared similar stories about their experiences at other locations.
According to the official TSA website, breast milk and baby or toddler-related foods and drinks are categorized as "medically necessary liquids." This means those items, including break milk, formula, and puree pouches, aren't required to meet the carry-on regulations and can be transported onto a plane as long as it's in a proper bag.
In addition to those rules, it is also reported that it is legal to breastfeed and breast pump in public. Although different states have different laws, in Texas, where Palmer was allegedly discriminated against, a bill allowing women to pump in public areas was passed in 2019.
In light of Palmer's tweet and the controversy surrounding breast pumping and breastfeeding in public, xoNecole is sharing the stories of other high-profile women who have openly discussed their experiences, positve and negative, with breastfeeding in public.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed during a Workplace Flexibility Conference over a decade ago that when her youngest daughter Sasha Obama was an infant, she was forced to bring her to a job interview because she was still breastfeeding.
The star disclosed that she feared she would have been disqualified if Sasha's presence was a disruption. But because Obama had interviewed with the president of the company, who also had a child, they understood the responsibilities of being a parent and gave her the job.
"I packed up that little infant, and I put her in the stroller, and I brought her with me. And I prayed that her presence wouldn't be an automatic disqualifier. And it was fortunate for me that, number one, she slept through the entire interview. And I was still breastfeeding — if that's not too much information. And I got the job," she said.
"But I know that I was lucky, number one. I was interviewing with the president, that had just had a child himself and was very understanding and open-minded. But I know that most folks are nowhere near as lucky as I was."
In addition to her speech, Obama advised a plan to give tax breaks or credits to nursing mothers to cover breast pump costs, but the opposing party, unfortunately, scrutinized it.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Another person who has discussed the stigma of breastfeeding in public is actress Jada Pinkett Smith. In an episode of her Facebook talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed that she was mom-shamed as she tried to breastfeed her children, Jaden and Willow Smith.
The Girls Trip star explained that when she attended public locations with Jaden and Willow --who were respectively born in 1998 and 2000-- and had to breastfeed, she tried shielding it, but it became a hassle.
"I remember me, myself when I would be out with Jaden and Willow breastfeeding... I used to have that little [breastfeeding] cover. It would make it so difficult. They're in there [and] they're suffocating. I can't see them," she said.
Pinkett Smith added that the experience gave her anxiety because, at the time, breastfeeding in public was stigmatized.
"I had so much anxiety about it because back when I had them, breastfeeding was like, 'what? What are you doing?'" she stated.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Noam Galai/Getty Images