I’ve gotten so sick of being disappointed by magazines. I buy a lot of monthly mags, and there’s a familiar feeling of emptiness that I get after realizing yup, I read this whole thing cover to cover and got not-a-damn-thing out of the experience. I’m not gonna name names because I have lofty freelancing goals (holla at your girl at bella@afrobella.com)! But I will say this — if I’m shelling out four bucks for some shiny paper, I want to feel educated, enlightened, and definitely amused by what I’ve read. And more and more these days, I’m finding that stimulation online.

Yesterday’s “Thinking Blogger” post reminded me — there are some new, very cool sites for afrobellas that I’ve been exploring these days. Allow me to share some of them with you. And thanks to some of my favorite commenters for reminding me about some of these sites!

Whenever I need visual stimulation, I turn to Fly. The site is all about design and beauty, and the writer has a very unique and distinctive aesthetic. I LOVE her appreciation of color and pattern. On Fly, you can learn about anything from art to adorable printed shoes, to beyond gorgeous jewelry, all laid out prettier than some glossy mags. And you can always find inspiring images. For example, I love her collage of lipglosses. This is the kind of thing I’d print and put on my inspiration board.

Clutch Magazine is all about cool photos, fashion, and videos. In addition to the pretty-to-look-at stuff, this month’s issue offers in-depth articles about Aron Ranen’s black hair documentary, being young, black, and single, fashion with June Ambrose, and ever helpful tips on blush. It’s a guaranteed good read.

I’ve raved on and on till the break of dawn about the Smoking Section, and the site’s steadily improved. Now it’s about music AND great writing about a variety of topics. As an aside — seriously, thanks for just sharing Questlove’s harrowing police encounter, Gotty. That, coupled with today’s Pat Tillman/Jessica Lynch hearings left me filled with frustrated anger and a heavy heart. But the primary reason I visit TSS is for the music, and the good reads. In my opinion, Lavish Magazine is the female equivalent. Fashion, politics, and music! Peep their Brooklyn Summer mix, and revel in it. Love Lavish.

Mollygood is one of my absolute favorite daily-read gossip sites, and although I sometimes don’t know who they’re snarking about on Manhattan-based blog Jossip, I always enjoy the writing. So when I discovered that Jossip was launching an urban blog, Stereohyped, I came in with high expectations. And so far, I’ve been delighted. The editor is Lauren Williams, an afrobella with jaw dropping gorgeous curls, and sister of Shake Your Beauty blogger and beauty editor extraordinare, Tia Williams. I like the range of Stereohyped’s vision — they cover everything from celebrity gossip to fashion to beauty reviews — peep their glowing review of Iman’s foundation. I personally prefer the stick, but agree with the review. Iman’s products really work!

And oh, Iman just ages like wine. I just love her and David as a couple. Listen to me, Iman and David. They’re my friends-in-the-head.

I started to kind of get burned out on MySpace. Between everyone and their mother trying to post ginormous flyers in my comments, and the webcam girlz trying to holla at me, I found myself drifting further and further away from Tom and friends. If you’re seeking the new hotness in friend network sites, and hoping to find a community of likeminded afrobellas, check out Nappy Star. The site’s creator, Gee Star, is bringing nappy back.

“If there’s any group of people that deserve a networking site that’s fully dedicated to them, it’s nappy stars because we’re often seen as the most undesirable and it shows. It’s a sad situation when a natural-haired black woman walks into a room of twenty other black women who all have their hair relaxed. What makes it even worse is when a black woman with a relaxer laughs at you for having “nappy” hair. That’s like me bleaching my skin ten times lighter than its natural shade and laughing at another girl for having dark skin,” she explained. Gee and I talked about nappyness back in March, long before the Don Imus controversy. But she addressed the meaning of nappy in such a fitting way, I need to share.

“Say that afros were the new trend and there were a group of eight white girls who teased their hair into afros. A straight-haired white girl, who’s happy with the way she is naturally, walks in. One of the white girls with an afro walks up to her and says “Your hair is straight! You need to tease it!” How silly does that sound? Well, that’s no different than someone who chemically altered their naturally-kinky hair telling another girl that her hair is nappy… I see nappystar.com as a movement all in itself. Hopefully, on top of everything else, we can help the word ‘nappy’ become more of a positive word and show others who are “lost” that nappy isn’t a bad thing. The word should be seen as a compliment because nappy is beautiful. This needs to be done in order to de-program the many black women who were brainwashed into thinking that there’s something wrong with their genetics and to prevent our little ones, into thinking that there’s something wrong with them. And if society sees us accepting ourselves more, maybe they can learn to accept us more. (Goodness knows that there’s natural-haired women out there who are sick of hot-combing their hair just to get or keep a job.)” Ain’t that the truth.
I’m just happy to hear someone recognize that nappy is beautiful, and to be part of a community that feels that way, and also understands the roots, meaning, and power of the word. So sign up and add me as your friend, why don’tcha?

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