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Black births can and should be joyful



Last April, you will have noticed an influx of articles and social media posts confirming Black maternal health and mortality, a national issue that took precedence from April 11-17 and was recognized as Black Mother’s Health Week (BMHW). This marks the second yr because the Biden administration led BMHW to national recognition with: White House Proclamation in 2023, the week will be dedicated to drawing attention to disparities within the health and birth of Black children. As President Biden stated in an urgent call to motion, “Black Mothers Week is a reminder that so many families experience pain, neglect and loss during what should be one of the most joyful times of their lives.”

Every birth deserves joy – but with bleak forecasts, how can Black families deal with joy, and where can they find and create support?

In June 2018 Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) co-directors Angela Doyinsol AND Elizabeth Dawes cheerful launched BMHW, partnering with over 18 Black women-led organizations to launch the first-ever national Black Maternal Health Week campaign. Organizations are working together to offer awareness to make sure future and aspiring Black and BIPOC parents know their rights.

Additionally, organizations just like the newly established birthFUND, BIPOC maternal wellness advocates, childbirth educators, Black doula, and midwives have grow to be additional resources as communities work to enhance opportunities for Black birthing parents, helping to vary the trajectory and outcomes at every stage of pregnancy.

Toshira MaldonaldoBlack maternal health activist and “birth activist” and co-founder Beautiful womb (Women Overcoming Major Barriers) is considered one of many childbirth educators working to dismantle systems which have neglected Black people and women for hundreds of years. With over 25 years of experience as a birth social employee, she is currently a community doula committed to the care and support of BIPOC families and maternal health with a primary goal of joyful birth.

At Beautiful WOMB, parents are educated on their medical rights, self-defense, medical terminology, and one-on-one sessions with doulas of their alternative. The goal is to assist parents understand the ability of their voice and encourage them to make use of it once they feel like their provider is not listening. Maldonaldo describes advocacy as easy: “Simply saying, ‘I’m not satisfied with the care I’m receiving and would love to think about other options’ (is sufficient); you’ve gotten the precise to contact the director, nursing director or a hospitaler– she advised.

Maldonado further explained that folks can monitor and take control of their experiences with medical institutions by following easy steps. “Appointments can look like asking for replacements when tests make you feel sick, asking for printouts of results, copies of blood test results or chart information,” she said. “This is a conversation; that is advocacy where the mom takes the initiative to ask a matter and doesn’t stop there when the doctor says, “Well, it could be better, but don’t worry about it.”

“Black joy can be found in creating a space where parents can be connected and tuned in to their inner child(ren) who may have experienced trauma due to some of the current systems we see today,” Maldonaldo said.

“My job is to educate my clients, helping them through previous traumatic birth experiences or if this is their first birth experience. What does this mean for them and what does it look like?” Dr. Holloway explained

“The contribution of mental health issues to the maternal morbidity and mortality crisis we have in America is not widely recognized,” said Dr. Katherine Wisner, co-author of the study published by JAMA Psychiatry and deputy chief of perinatal mental health at Children’s National Hospital, in an announcement to: CNN. “We must bring this to the attention of the public and policymakers to demand action to address the mental health crisis that is contributing to maternal deaths in America,” she added.

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Further exacerbating the issue, in 2023, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found a 140% increase within the variety of Black parents diagnosed with PPD, increasing dramatically from 9.2% to 22% since 2010. In addition to providing comprehensive pre- and perinatal, long-term The long-term impact of training every medical trainee, licensed clinician, or supervisor to think about the identities, intersections, and holistic health of the people we treat is akin to saving one other parent.

Dr. Holloway works to enhance these statistics by educating and training others International postnatal support and servicing individual clients. Notes that treatments may vary depending on trauma, which can include previous birth experiences or complications, concerns in regards to the birthing process, difficulties with a planned home birth or water birth that result in anxiety-filled hospital births, or any desire or expectation that didn’t come to fruition.

Under Dr. Holloway’s care, clients have space to work through and take care of their fears – even in the event that they aren’t related to childbirth. Through holistic care conducted with cultural competence and spirituality in mind, he helps patients solve any problems and doubts related to treatment. This approach prioritizes clients’ histories and connections while helping them discover culturally responsive care, providers, and environments sensitive to their belief systems, practices, and preferences during and after the birthing process.

“This may be the only time or the first time they have been able to show vulnerability or cry about something that has happened,” Dr. Holloway noted. “How it might be related – or how it is connected (and) affects their pregnancy. I help them process information by giving them information about things to pay attention to.”

For Dr. Holloway and her clients, a joyful birthing experience is created in phases that begin with defining joy; questions equivalent to: “What does it mean to have a joyful birth experience? Does this mean you wish it to be quiet and peaceful? Natural birth or water birth?

“That’s why I believe that a joyful birth experience truly honors, prioritizes and celebrates culturally responsive care so that parents feel empowered, supported and respected,” Dr. Holloway continued. “Being authentic in showing yourself without fear of being noticed.”

Said Maldonado: “We are creating a space of positivity, joyfully integrating and connecting our community…We have what it takes in our community to promote community education and communicate models of sufficiency and sustainability.”

TreOnna Jones, a customer at Maldonaldo’s expecting her first child in June, believes the support she received helped her anticipate motherhood, although she initially desired to end her pregnancy out of fear of becoming an unprepared young mother. “As a young person, I was a bit nervous because my friends were being forced to be induced in hospitals; but thanks to my doula, I feel more comfortable and safe giving birth in the hospital,” Jones said.

“Being able to decide that I want to bring a child into this world means that I will pay attention to my circumstances, the environment, health, finances, relationships and everything that this child’s life will be immersed in,” she added. “Now it’s up to me to fix this so that my pregnancy can be not only planned, but also joyful.”

Ifetayo Dudley, a multimedia journalist, currently works as a social media and marketing specialist on the Nike Track & Field Center at The Armory. Her media journey is an ongoing exploration of the multi-faceted nature of storytelling, encompassing photography, videography and graphic design.

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Watch: How to maintain and care for protective hairstyles | Life hacks




Braids, twists and fake curls are only a few of the protective hairstyles we all know and love. Celebrity hairstylist Larranisha Russell joins Life Hacks with Liana to share tips about managing and caring for protective styles.

Russell’s skill and creativity have allowed her to collaborate with Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Janelle Monáe and Mary J. Blige. When finding the proper stylist to fit your needs, Russell suggests being attentive to the strain of your hair.

There are many braiders, but not all of them care about their hair.

Watch the complete video and find more Life Hacks here.

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10 events showcasing Houston’s Juneteenth celebrations




Juneteenth, NYC, L.A., DC, Atlanta

Houston, considered one of the nation’s largest cities and situated about two hours from Galveston – the birthplace of Juneteenth – boasts a major Black population and quite a lot of Juneteenth events.

Here are 10 such events, starting from traditional celebrations to florist collaborations and explorations of how Juneteenth intersects with technology.

Juneteenth, considered one of the nation’s most celebrated celebrations of Black freedom, is widely known by those that want to recollect it in countless ways. Houston’s Juneteenth celebrations are as vast and diverse as town they live in, and anyone can enjoy them.

Although Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Houston’s Emancipation Park has long been the important site of the celebration. Founded in 1872 by 4 former slaves, including Reverend Jack YatesEmancipation Park is the oldest park in Houston and the state of Texas. During the Jim Crow era, it was the one public park available to Houston’s black population. Today, it stays a central place for Juneteenth celebrations for Houstonians from the Third Ward and beyond.

As part its program until JuneThe Emancipation Park Conservancy, which manages the park, organizes several events, culminating within the Juneteenth Family Fun Day on June 19. The event, sponsored by H-E-B, Houston Texans, Microsoft and other corporate sponsors, will happen from 1 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and can include a market, food trucks, a live DJ performance and a mobile game trailer.

June 15 Black marketa collective focused on promoting Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs several-day celebration on June 16. The celebration will run from June 15 to 18 and can include live music, soul food, barbecue, vendor booths and an art gallery.

This might be the favored Axelrad beer garden in Houston a spot for a unique form of celebration on June 16. On June 19, Taylor Brione from Beck&Call Hospitality, a Barbie collector, will host a screening of the film documentation which is able to debut on Netflix on June 11. Juneteenth Cinema Night is a night of thought-provoking conversations about identity, beauty standards and positive representation within the media and toy industry.

The Olivewood Descendants Cemetery will feature a Juneteenth Memorial Garden as a part of its cemetery June 16 in Olivewood ceremony, which is able to happen on June 15 from 10:00 a.m. to three:00 p.m. The ceremony is meant to commemorate and honor early contributors to Houston’s black community. The Juneteenth Memorial Garden also commemorates June 19, 1865, the date enslaved people in Texas were informed of their emancipation. The event is organized by Paul Jennings and Descendants of Olivewood Cemetery co-founder Margott Williams.

On June 15, there might be Historic Black Houston Bus Tourwhich is able to last from 10:00 to fifteen:00. Also on at the present time, Generation Park will host its second annual, officially titled Juneteenth Celebration June 16 celebration in Lake Houston at Generation Park, the event commemorates the top of slavery in Texas through quite a lot of activities. From 3:00 p.m. to eight:00 p.m., participants will enjoy live music, dance performances, art, historical and cultural classes.

On June 15, the Heritage Society will host its event third annual June Programwhich is able to begin at 9:30 a.m. when cyclists from the Juneteenth Freedmen’s Town Bike Riders group will ride to the Yates House for a photograph session in front of Jack Yates’ house, which has been moved to Sam Houston Park.

The history of Black cowboys in Texas is very important within the Heritage Society’s Juneteenth presentation and might be presented in two presentations led by Black cowboy Harold Cash and Black Cowboy Museum director Larry Callies. Martha Whiting-Goddard, great-granddaughter of Jack Yates, may also speak about her family history and what it was like growing up in Yates House. The event will result in “From the plantation to the emancipation trip

On June 18, Ion District, Microsoft, Blacks at Microsoft, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and Emancipation Park Conservancy will present (*10*)Juneteenth Journey: Connecting the Past and the Present Through Technology, an event that can discuss Juneteenth and the evolution of technology. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Ion-Forum Stairs.

On June 19, Fr June Great Black Beach Day will happen in Sunny Beach from 10:00 to 19:00. People who come will bring a dish or items to assist bring the community together. Finally, on at the present time, The Rado Market and florist Joanne Townsend of Design + Revive will host a Jubilee June Flower Crown Workshopsfrom 1:00 p.m. to three:00 p.m

The event will highlight the importance of flowers within the June 16 celebration as participants will create flower crowns, rejoice freedom, take photos within the photo booth, shop from local vendors and luxuriate in refreshments provided by Rado Market.

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Jodie Turner-Smith speaks out on the relationship rumors between ex Joshua Jackson and Lupita Nyong’o




Jodie Turner-Smith, Joshua Jackson, Lupita Nyong

Jodie Turner-Smith wants peace between herself and her estranged husband, Joshua Jackson, and privacy from everyone else.

In a recent interview with Cutting, the actress and model who filed for divorce from Jackson in September after 4 years of marriage and the birth of her daughter, talked about her life since her split from the “Dawson’s Creek” star. In particular, Turner-Smith revealed how she is attempting to co-parent “peacefully” and even revealed her thoughts on how quickly Jackson seemingly moved right into a recent relationship

After explaining that the marriage ended because the couple went on “different paths,” Turner-Smith was asked what she thought of the rumors about Jackson having an affair with actress Lupita Nyong’o, Turner-Smith replied: “That’s good.”

“We need happiness to co-parent peacefully,” continued the “Queen & Slim” actress, who shares her young daughter Juno with Jackson. “I’m trying to get us to the level of Gwyneth and Chris Martin. I really hope they are happy and that it benefits us as a family.”

Turner-Smith and Jackson’s fast-paced relationship began in 2018 once they met at a celebration hosted by Usher. The couple got married in August 2019 and welcomed their daughter in April 2020. Since the actress’s star was just starting to rise to the top when her relationship with Jackson began, it also became a big a part of her public narrative.

The “Acolyte” star noted how making her relationship with Jackson public, especially because they were an interracial couple, led to her feeling defined by her as the two faced intense attention from many quarters.

“I didn’t have a clear understanding of what sharing my relationship with the public would mean,” she said.

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Turner-Smith further revealed that she joins the list of celebrities who’re currently retreating from intense privacy regarding their relationships. Ironically, this list includes Nyong’o, who has yet to substantiate that she is dating Jackson after her very public split from TV presenter Selema Masekela.

Turner-Smith said sharing her relationship with the public is something she’s going to “never do again”. Whenever.”

She added: “That’s one of the main lessons I took away from this, which is that people don’t have to know everything.”

After announcing the end of her marriage in October, Turner-Smith said in an interview months later that she didn’t think her split from Jackson was a “failure”.

“Of course we had such a beautiful moment together. And now it’s time for a new moment for both of us. And how exciting it is,” she told the British daily Sunday times. “The bravest thing in the world is to recognize when something isn’t working and take action. I always want to set that example for my daughter.”

She continued: “The biggest takeaway is that this is about as much love and joy as ever. It’s just about taking a step forward towards a better life for everyone involved.”

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