More Than Worth a Click

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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Comments

  1. cool_caramel says:

    As always, you are on point with today’s post! Thanks for the links to these great websites. Keep up the good work Bella!!!

  2. Love the run down….The sista’s of Clutch Magazine definitely appreciate the mention and love :)! Afrobella is one of my favorite sites and a great place for inspiration.

  3. :) Reading.

  4. Love you guys — DeDe and Gotty, keep on making it do what it do!

  5. My decision is final. I did the test run. The other day I bought the new “high end” glossy mag for sistas this month. Which I have treasured for years for fashion, style and fun reading. I come back to Afrobella today.
    I like to read Afrobella and other similar blogs better. It’s up to date for where I am right now. Natural and Glam, yet practical. I can use the information today or maybe tomorrow. Afrobella keep up the good work!

  6. I plan on checking out Nappy Star today. I feel so blessed to live in an environment where relaxed and natural, braids and locs all really do coexist wonderfully. I have never gotten more complements from men and women (nappy or not) on my hair than since it’s been loced. This is second only to the complements I got when I wore it out and natural.

    Just last night I was at dinner with a group of women – 4 with locs, 2 with naturals and 1 who has her hair relaxed. There were sideways looks or holier-than-thow attitudes. It was beautiful.

  7. As if I needed another reason to be distracted from work… NappyStar isn’t blocked here! I will definitely be checking it out. :)

  8. TheBeautifulOne says:

    Your blog is so wonderful, intelligent, fun and insightful! I tell everyone about your site and they’ve become fans as well.

    I’m moving to Korea soon and you can best believe that I’ll read you everyday and rock some of the fashions that I’ve discovered through you and other websites on your blog. I have a few Korean friends here in my neighborhood and they love it when I rock my huge curly fro’. They tell me, just wait until you get to Seoul, people will want to touch your hair constantly. Love that!

    Thank you so much!

    Keep up the great work! You’re an inspiration!

  9. Speaking of being natural at work, I am a SW engineer and although our environment is pretty business casual there was definitely an adjustment period for my coworkers to get used to my new hair. When I was relaxed, I wore it the same way every day, straight and boring. When I decided to go natural, during my 11 month transition period I was wearing new styles every other week; twists, braids, corn-rows, twist-outs, braid-outs, a curly weave for 2 weeks (never, ever, ever will I sew some dead hair to my head again), etc. There were lots of comments when I started wearing my braid-outs, ranging from “Ooh I like it!” to “Looks like you’re wearing your Friday Fun Hair.” but overall the reaction was positive. When I finally did do my big chop, I think everyone was already over my ever changing hair so it was no big deal. My first two weeks of being natural I was looking kinda crazy though since I still didn’t know what to do with it. I only got one comment at that point, “That’s some interesting hair you’ve got there.” But that was it. Being natural didn’t stop me from getting promoted a couple months ago and doesn’t stop me from meeting with customers and attending briefings or doing anything else that needs to be done. I think that people are accepting once they get used to it, there’s just not alot of natural sistas in the corporate environment because they are afraid of what people may think/say/do when the people that I work with have been much more accepting than I could ever imagine.

  10. I haven’t had the chance to read this post yet but…I just wanna say my lipgloss arrived today!! It’s beautiful and I’m so excited! Thanks Afrobella!

  11. You are so on point about blogs being better than magazines! I’d rather read your reviews than, ahem, those other zines who shall remain nameless.

  12. LBellatrix says:

    Like I needed to see another nappy-hair site… *sigh*

    Seriously, though, I’m thrilled that more sisters are starting to get the message that all hair types really ARE good, especially if they’re well cared for.

    I posted a response to the Aron Ranen article on Clutch, so thanks for that link.

  13. My daily reads: Afrobella and Clutch. I also check out Stealstyle (a blogspot deal) and Bayiah every now and again. Blog-zine is great because of the regular updates. Silver lining is… i like, many, sucked up every word of bazaar, vogue, elle, cosmo in high school and college, so maybe that’s why so many of us can do this so well, lol. CPJ

  14. Adrianna says:

    What Magazine? These things are still around? I mean they have pretty picture and all but what a bore. They leave something to be desired! Afrobella you are my beauty destination If I want info on being Young, gifted, Beautiful and Black I just come to your blog.Bella I wish I had lots of cash Cause I ‘d pay you to have your own Mag. All the other blogs look amazing can’t wait to start reading them. Nappy is not a dirty word. I love being Nappylicious!

  15. Adrianna says:

    Check out this website Bella you will love it !!

    http://www.thecoolhunter.net/

  16. mmkay bella, i have to disagree, having natural hair is the new trend these days. Most times I feel my natural haired sisters talking down at the rest of us…for lack of a better word….’condemning’ us for relaxing our hair. Maybe it’s a rebellious outgrowth from being laughed at for being nappy, but nappy is definitely the new snob out there.

  17. I am a sista with a relaxer and I don’t laugh at other sista who keep their hair natural. I am planning on getting dread locks one day. I think that its awesome to see a sista with a fro and dreads or braids. I commend you all. I consider myself an afrobella as well.

  18. The only magazine I actually purchase is In Style. Otherwise, I read them in the check out line or flip through them when I go to the library, and then it’s only People or Marie Claire. My favorite site (other than this one, of course) is Crunk & Disorderly. I am weaning myself away from Perez Hilton(who is trying to be a celebrity and his little drawings on pictures and silly catchphrases are getting old) and Mollygood (it’s still kind of cool when Cord isn’t grandstanding) and C & D is just plain old funny, irreverent, and crazy. I have to check myself at work when I’m looking at that site because Fresh inevitably will write something that makes me laugh out loud. Totally off topic, but I saw that Carol’s Daughter has new lip glosses called “Candy Paint” and they look very interesting!

  19. Thanks for the procrastination material!

  20. I just posted about your induction into the IBB Hall of Fame. Er, or something like that. I luvs your blog: it is fantastic! And funny! And most important – smart! Keep it up – you’re an inspiration…安

  21. “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.”

    – I hear ya.
    And thanks for those recommendations. They are awesome!

  22. Wouldn’t embracing the word “nappy” be the same as embracing the word “nigger?”

  23. Jamena says:

    If Black bloggers are smart they will not support Stereohyped. As Black entertainment blogs have taken off and now rival their White counterparts, Whites now see that it is time for them to MUSCLE in on this business. And being a corporation rather than just than just regular folk , they have the money and power to easily take over this genre. Do you really think Stereohyped was created to serve us? No. This is a business move. Mark my words, more and more of these corporate backed sites will be popping up until they have eventually taken over. But we are quick to not to see the train coming until it has ran over us. But I guess in 5 years someone will write an article called “Taking Back The Black Blog Business”, but by then it will be too late. Wake up ppl.

  24. Jamena, I’m a smart black blogger, and I’m not even worried about Stereohyped. Here’s why: Nobody can steal my readership from me, and more competition just means that I have to step my game up and have the best site I can possibly have. There’s enough room on the internet for all kinds of sites. Stereohyped is clever, it combines smart gossip, politics, and I even saw a little beauty and fashion creeping in there. The fact that a corporate site like that exists means that black bloggers need to step up and deliver a smarter, better product. We already have the readership, and the authenticity. I don’t think there’s much to be afraid of.

  25. Jamena says:

    I’ll be honest, I really did expect a better come back than that from you. It sound like a million other replies I have read from Blacks as they back White-owned businesses and so forth that eventually lead to the downfall of Black businesses.

    Jossip went White first because naturally that is all they cared about. They are only in our back yards now because they see Black celebrity blogs making money and creating our their place on the net and now they want in on it.

    This isn’t about competition, fear or any of the other silly implications you threw out. This is about Black bloggers being smart. Geez, haven’t we seen this enough times by now to know what will eventually happen?

    Eventually when you think of Black entertainemnt blogs, or celebrity Black gossip, it will be White owned sites like Stereohyped that will come to mind and be sought out by the press to give their point of view on our issues.

    As it stands now YBF, Bossip and Concrete Loop are all Black owned and the leaders in this market. They are who GIANT magazine featured. How long will this last? How long before one corporate hand washes the other and the press starts giving preference to the White owned so called Black blogs? How long before advertisers seek them out rather than the above sisters who run YBF, Bossip and CL? I am well aware what the sisters who run these sites are probably making in revenue and can’t you see in the long run, maybe 5, 10 even 20 years from now these opportunities will be gone for our people as there will be no place for the average Black blogger.

    Does anyone remember all those Black sites that first dominated the net when it started? Where are they now? What is left is Asian owned Black Planet and White owned Black Voices.

    Watch as Stereohyped and others soon to pop have the Black gossip market on lock. And when you look for anything Black celebrity related in a search it will lead to their sites as they again have the money and backing to buy up keywords and flood the search engines with their sites.

    I could go on and on but it would be no use. The average Black gossip site today won’t stand a chance against the corporate giants. Your readership and most definitely your search engine traffic can be taken away like that sister, please don’t be fooled. This is a game of numbers and whereas it would take the average up and coming site months, even years to break into the game, Stereohyped already has a Google page rank of 5. That ties you sista and tops several other Black blogs that started last year.

    Jossip bought their page rank and will soon buy up Black celebrity gossip all together.

  26. Jamena, sorry you were disappointed in my response. I’m still not worried. Maybe it’s because I’m new to the game myself — Afrobella hasn’t even been around a year yet and also, I see my site as a personal expression, not a competing black entertainment/gossip site. I’ve been reading Jossip and Queerty and occasionally Fleshbot for a while now, so I’m familiar with their style and approach. As a conglomerate, I expected that at some point they’d realize there was an untapped market. They’ll probably have a Latin site before long. But I see it in the same way that Mollygood (also a Jossip site), Perez Hilton, DListed, and The Bosh and all of the other white gossip sites coexist. They all do something different, but I feel personally invested in the sites that I’ve seen grow. Like DListed, which will always be my favorite of the white gossip sites specifically because of Michael K. So while I might read and enjoy Stereohyped, Fresh will always be my go-to site for humor, and The Loop for everything else, and I’d like to think that advertisers realize how important and how invested black readers are in those sites. I’d be very interested in hearing what Concrete Loop and C&D think about this. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Do you have a blog as well?

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