Fortune's Cookie

You have to join me in bragging with bright smiles only being three months into 2017 and already witnessing how epic of a year it has been for Taraji P. Henson. Henson is currently known as the dauntless character “Cookie” in the popular Television show Empire written and produced by Lee Daniels. Pretty much all of us were  introduced to Henson in 2001 when she played  Yvette putting up with Jody’s crap in the movie Baby Boy.  Since then Henson has been busy building an successful career as one of the top African American actresses.  

Taraji has managed to rack up several awards this year including Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, Satellite Award for Best Ensemble – Motion Picture, and Hidden Figures brought home a Golden Globe and a SAG Award.

She’s moving fast in 2017 and we can barely keep up! In 2015 Henson began her lead role as Cookie Lyon for which she became the first African American woman to win a Critics Choice Award for best actress in a Drama Series. She also won a Golden Globe and was nominated for two Emmy Awards.Last year Henson released a New York Times Best Seller titled ‘Around the Way Girl’. Which is an inside look at her life including family, friends and the struggles she has faced in all aspects of her life.

Taraji recently sat down with the Hollywood reporter to discuss being an African American actress in Hollywood.“Have we seen enough representation of African-American stories? No. But has Hollywood been horrible to me? No. I’ve worked,” she said. “Did I get paid what I deserve? That is the question we should be talking about. But I can’t take that on because I have worked and I’ve seen my career do this. So I never wallow in the muck and say, 'Oh, it’s hard.' That’s a given. I can’t take this skin off. We know what the deal is. You understand? So I’m not going to make it an issue. I’m going to work my a-s off and hopefully the work that I’m doing will change things, will make it better for the next one coming behind me. You let me in, give me an inch, I’ll take a mile. I’ve come a long way.”

Photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Henson graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in 1988. She then went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she studied electrical engineering before transferring to Howard University to study drama. To pay for college, she worked mornings as a secretary at The Pentagon and evenings as a singing-dancing waitress on a dinner-cruise ship, the Spirit of Washington. Taraji has worked her butt off to get where she is today and looks stunning at the age of 46. We should all be honored that the our youth have this amazing Queen as their muse.


The Benefits Of Meditation: Creating A Space for Marrying Mind, Body And Spirit

Yoga Racheal/ Captured by Aleah Clark

Yoga Racheal/ Captured by Aleah Clark

Meditation is a huge part of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. According to Forbes, meditation helps reduce anxiety and depression, improves concetration and slows aging. On a spiritual level, meditation helps develop your self-awareness and oneness with all living things. So, why is it that we don't invest more time and energy in an area that benefits us in so many ways? Well, first, you need a place to start. 

Create a meditation room in your home, or a quiet corner in your bedroom, where you can go and exhale all of the toxic and unwarranted energy that may disturb your peace. In this space, you'll learn to meditate on things that attract positive vibrations and encourage mental, physical and spiritual growth.

Here are some bare necessities to creating your own space for peace and reflection:


1. Something living. Living organisms represent the eart and nature is a powerful force in our lives that we should embrace.  Medication is all about focusing on your breathing: plants, flowers, herbs and trees are great healers in nature and can represent different qualities that can support your personal development.

2. Crystals.  Each type of crystal has its own unique talent and contributes to your healing intention. Gemstone colors, shapes, and textures all have special meanings. Healing crystals are great for meditation purposes. You can intuitively choose which crystals to use by noticing which stones you are attracted to. 

3. Floor pillows. Lightly colored and cushioned, floor pillows are important for creating a comfortable environment that promotes good energy. 

4. Candles or incents. Fire is also an element to honor when meditating. Lighting a candle or incense can send a spiritual message that you are honoring the Creator and intensify the spirit or your reason for your worship.

5. Bowls. Fresh water is needed to dispel bad energies and offer an element of purity to your space.

6. A tea table or small table. This wooden table establishes a foundation for your meditative journey.


Solange Knowles/ Captured by Roger Kisby

Solange Knowles/ Captured by Roger Kisby

Health and wellness are not trending topics. We live in a time wherein which people are becoming more aware of their environment and their relationship to it—from eco-friendly designs and sustainable furniture, down to the foods they consume and chemicals their bodies are ingesting.

The fact is: Old habits are hard to break. As we move away from harmful habits that affect our health and the planet, we find ourselves discovering our authentic selves. The natural hair movement is testimony. Black women and men, whose textures and styles are diverse and vary, are experiencing a shift in mental and physical health. Embracing a more authentic look promotes self-care as well as health care according to an ongoing study.

Utilizing 10 years of quantittative and qualitive data, Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, along with her research team, has been able to develop her theory of PsychoHairapy. Analyzing the effects of long-standing standards of beauty via popular African-American magazine covers and exploring practical counseling techniques for beauticians and barbers, Dr. Mbilishaka is not only asking deep-rooted questions but seeking viable solutions. PsychoHairapy aims to explain the role of hair in identity development, describes the role of hair from the spectrum of psychological injuries to wholistic health practices, and predicts positive relationships between an emotionally supportive hair environment and optimal mental health outcomes for clients.

Dr. Mbilishaka’s findings have been presented at various conferences, workshops and beauty shops across the country. She continues to address the role of hair as an entry point into wholistic health practices within a cultural-historical context.

For more information about PsychoHairapy or how to participate, click here.