OK, so, boom. In 2005, India Arie and Akon linked up to create a new negro national anthem that firmly reminded America that Black people cannot be defined by their hair and fifteen years later, it is abundantly clear that Karen and Chad never got the memo.
I'll never forget when I was 16-years-old, attending a Catholic school in Augusta, Georgia, when a teacher told me that my twists were too "ethnic" and that straighter hair made me look more "ladylike" in front of another group of students. I felt angry, hurt, and embarrassed by his not-so-micro-microaggression and had no means of retaliation or recourse. If you or someone you love is also Black AF, I'm sure that they, too, have had an experience like mine and it is for this reason that Dove and The CROWN Coalition have linked up to put an end to hair discrimination for good.
Unilever's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of North American Beauty and Personal Care, Esi Eggleston Bracey, told xoNecole:
"We know as black women, we wear our hair in many ways that are expressions of us. So we define our own professionalism. Our braids, my twists, my locs, my Afro, when I've worn [those styles], those have all been professional because I've worn those in professional settings."
Courtesy of Esi Eggleston Bracey
One year ago today, the CROWN (which stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act was signed into legislation in California, making race-related hair discrimination illegal and triggered a domino effect that has since led seven states to follow suit. The law, initially introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell last January, has now been introduced as a federal bill that has the support of more than 70,000 petitioners nationwide and according to The CROWN Coalition, this is only the beginning. As of today, July 3, is officially National CROWN Day.
xoNecole recently chatted with Esi to talk more about how laws like The CROWN Act can be life-changing to the professional narrative Black men and women experience nationwide and, honey, it was a word.
Here's what she had to say.
*Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Here at xoNecole, we are owned by a Black woman. We are an office of Black women and hair discrimination is not a thing here. And discrimination is not tolerated at all. If there is someone who feels that they have had a discriminatory experience, what should they do to take action?
Esi Eggleston Bracey: Help us make The CROWN Act law in all 50 states so that we can all be protected because right now we only have that protection in seven states. So the answer for the recourse depends on if there's legislation passed in the state. To get it passed in your state, please go to TheCROWNAct.com and sign the petition. You can also go to TheCROWNAct.com and find out who your local officials are so that you can petition them for The Crown Act in the state. If The Crown Act is in your state, which is what we're celebrating, you have the same recourse.
You have legal action and recourse for the discrimination, the same way you would for gender or for race or other things that are protected based on civil rights legislation and the FEHA legislation. You have legal rights if you feel that there's discrimination.
When you say, what can someone do if they feel that they've been discriminated [against]? The first thing I say is, have a conversation, and say my hair is an extension of me. And in that, [say] I believe it's completely appropriate for me to wear my hair X, Y, and Z, and see where that conversation goes. If through that conversation, you're still denied employment or access to school, and you are in a CROWN Act municipality or state, then you have the right to take action.
There's a lot of intense discussions happening right now, as we know, about meaningful systemic reform versus symbolic pacifiers if you will, can you share specific ways the passing of the CROWN act legislation has directly impacted hair discrimination or the end of hair discrimination and the creation of more equitable and inclusive beauty experiences for black women and girls?
I think The CROWN Act and the work of Dove and the CROWN Coalition and championing the legislation is exactly the action that you're talking about. In our community, as we appreciate people still saying, 'I stand with the black community' [and] 'I support #BlackLivesMatter', [we] want people to go beyond just standing with us, but actually helping us change the world and changing society because we've been oppressed for centuries. It's been 401 years since slavery. And it's only been 56 years that we have been legally desegregated. So we know we have a long road to go to make meaningful change.
I believe legislation can be that meaningful change. That legislation changes lives and The CROWN Act is an example of legislative change that makes hair discrimination, not legal. And hair discrimination is a type of discrimination.
In fact, why we've been able to get it passed is because it's recognized that hair is actually a characteristic of race that is already protected. And so what The CROWN act does is supplement that and make it clear that race is a protected class and things like The Emancipation Proclamation, which is an executive order. If we think about the 13th Amendment, if we think about The Civil Rights Act, The Voting Rights Act -- all those made meaningful changes to where we are today. The CROWN Act is an example of that. It's great to take a stance, it's even better to drive systemic change. The CROWN Act is one, but there's so many other areas that we can use our voice and our influence to drive that systemic change.
You have a daughter. What conversations have you had with her or things you've done with her to help her embrace her natural beauty?
My daughter, Anura, is one of my pride and joys because I have two, my son Benoit, and there are conversations needed with the boys and the girls. She rocks her beautiful natural hair. She wears a big, let's call it an afro puff bun. And she's proud of it. And your question is what have I done? I think it's the same as many mothers do. One is, lead by example, which is be true to who I am regardless of the organizations that I'm in.
I run a $5 billion business and I work for Unilever. I have 24 brands. I've been in corporate America for nearly 30 years. When I came into corporate America, I did feel the pressure to conform. I wore a bob and a perm and straight-up little glasses, and I wanted to fit in and blend in. And then I realized that by doing that, I was perpetuating for all what that standard was. So I challenged myself to break out of that.
I cut off my perm, wore a really short afro, changed a lot to just reflect who I was in the workplace. That is what I try to show and have conversations with my daughter about. I encourage her to go past her comfort zone and be comfortable in sharing who she is, but she's on her own journey. So, I try to lead by example and try to stretch her beyond her comfort zone and then have her see that it's not just about her, it's about other people. So, when she steps out of her comfort zone, she creates a space for others to do the same.
Courtesy of WWD
Have you yourself ever experienced hair discrimination in the workplace? And if so, how did that make you feel?
That's a hard question to answer. I have not experienced a kind of discrimination that asked me to be sent home from school or had me rejected officially from a job. But we all experience what I would call is more the covert discrimination: perceptions.
As a leader, as an executive, I've had many people not assume I was an executive. They might assume I was the intern or assume that I was working to support executives. And I've seen that and it's hard to unpack. Is it because of hair? Is it because of race? Is it because of youth? Is it because of gender?
I'd say probably all of the above because it's happened many times. So, in that, I just smile when someone makes a comment and I might say something like, 'you know, I lead this business, right?' And take what I call a power stance. I've not had to legislate for myself, but I have advocated for myself.
We're currently talking about freedom quite a bit. It’s a major topic of discussion and many things for people in the black community freedom and the black community. What does being free mean to you?
Free to me means free to be. You know, how we all have mantras [and] different things that we say? One of the things I say is free to be me. That's the foundation of freedom -- freedom to be who you are now. What does that mean in the world? That's freedom to be safe. That's freedom to be respected. That's free to contribute. That's free to bring to life the impact that we inherently know that we can make.
To learn more about The CROWN Act, visit their website. Click here to sign The CROWN Act petition and help make hair discrimination illegal.
Featured image courtesy of Esi Eggleston Bracey.
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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy