xoNecole was in the Dolby Theater for our parent company Will Packer Productions' making history as the first all-Black producing team in the Oscars' 94 years--and yes, the moment was shocking and confusing, with guests reacting much like those at home, wondering was the presumed Best Actor Will Smith doing a bit when he walked onto the stage and open-handed slapped Chris Rock after a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's bald head? It was quickly clear that it wasn't, with those of us up in the theater's rafters looking to Twitter for a replay of what exactly went down.
But we should not forget some truly amazing moments in Black history that went down at this year's Oscars.
xoNecole was on the red carpet talking to your faves about what this moment meant for Black people, Oscars host Regina Hall, Best Supporting Actress Aunjanue Ellis, Oscar winner H.E.R., Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter, presenters Chloë x Halle and more:
Oscar Winner Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson celebrates his Oscar with Denzel Washington
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
At The Academy's Governors Awards the night before the Oscars, Denzel Washington presented his peer and friend Samuel L. Jackson with this year's honorary Oscar. The 73-year-old acting veteran has been on our screens for most of his life, alongside Washington and Spike Lee. After being nominated for Supporting Actor for his role in Pulp Fiction, Jackson now has his first Oscar!
Blue Ivy Gave The Opening Performance
Baby, Blue Ivy was MOVING, okay? Dance moves on point. An icon. A legend. We didn't deserve it, but I'm so glad Blue Blue let her mom sing background for her debut performance at the Oscars. She can add this accolade to her illustrious Emmy, Grammy and literary awards.
'The Queen of Basketball' Received Best Documentary Short
One of the early, exciting moments from the pre-taped show was when The Queen ofBasketball won for best documentary short (just as I predicted!). The floor vibrated as the family of Lucy Harris, the first woman to ever play in the NBA, celebrated the Oscar win in her honor. Sadly, Lucy passed just months before the nominations were announced, so she never got to see how her pioneering story would reach international acclaim. "Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!" Her family and loved ones shouted out from the rafters above and behind me in the Dolby Theater. Their energy and joy were electric! And Director Ben Proudfoot ended his acceptance speech with an appeal: "President Biden, bring Brittney Griner home!" A Black history moment and icon we should never forget. Watch the Oscar-winning documentary short below:
Ariana DeBose Won Best Supporting Actress
The first award of the (televised) night went to Ariana DeBose for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story, (as predicted) making her the first Afro-Latina, openly queer woman to win the award. Quoting her famous musical in her acceptance speech, she said "So to anyone who has ever questioned your identity, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed 'a place for us.'"
Megan Thee Stallion Is The First Female Rapper To Perform
One of the more pleasant surprises of the evening was seeing Megan Thee Stallion performing the hit song from Encanto by Lin Manuel Miranda, "We Don't Talk About Bruno." While you may remember the famous performance from Oscar winners Three-Six Mafia of "Hard Out Here For A Pimp," Megan's performance was the first-ever by a female rapper in Oscars history. Keep doing it big for the Hot Girls, Meg!
A Disabled Black Woman Was Defended Against Ableism and Misogynoir
WILL SMITH, JADA PINKETT SMITH
THE OSCARS® – The 94th Oscars® aired live Sunday March 27, from the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT on ABC in more than 200 territories worldwide. (ABC)
For too long, comedians like Chris Rock have built their entire careers on mocking how Black women look, talk, dress and act and we're always expected to take it because it's "just jokes." I'd wager that part of what seems to be so offensive to people in the aftermath of the Slap is not that Chris Rock got popped in the mouth for mocking a Black woman's appearance, it's that this violent, ableist, misogynoiristic 'joke' is supposed to be acceptable. Open season on the most unprotected and disrespected people in America, the Black woman, is assumed, and how dare Chris Rock face consequences for it? Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. Jada Pinkett Smith is disabled. A Black disabled woman was defended against ableism and misogynoir in front of the world on Sunday night. While we'll have to wait for Jada to speak specifically on how she felt about the offense or the defense, I hope more 'comedians' think twice before mocking Black women for a white audience's laughter and actually try to be funny next time.
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.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in L.A.
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.
Dontaira with her nieces at Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
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.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
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