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Kourtney

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SWIRL NATION BLOG IS 1 YEAR OLD TODAY!

SWIRL NATION BLOG IS 1 YEAR OLD TODAY! via Swirl Nation Blog

A year ago today JennKourtneyAmal and I launched Swirl Nation Blog! After many group phone calls and texts we got our baby launched and just hoped someone would want to read it! Since then we have been lucky enough to have almost 60,000 people make their way to our site. We can only hope they enjoyed reading what they found when they got there! 

Over the last 12 months we have been lucky enough to add contributing bloggers from all over the U.S. as well as the U.K and Puerto Rico. Their unique voices and perspectives have allowed the page to represent a wide variety of multiracial journeys. 

On social media we have worked hard to connect with the multiracial community, reaching out to others who are passionate about the topic and we feel so blessed at the many individuals and families who have agreed to be featured on our blog! We had fun heading to the 2016 Best Nine site to find out which of our Instagram photos got the most love, and here they are!

Our 2016 Best Nine from our Instagram page

Our 2016 Best Nine from our Instagram page

We are so grateful for everyone who has contributed to the growth of Swirl Nation, whether through writing blog posts, or subscribing to our newsletter, or liking our social posts! All of it means so much! In 2017 we will continue to share the Multiracial Goodness! We are always looking for more stories to share and people to collaborate with. 

Peace and love in 2017 to you all. 

xx The Swirl Nation Team

 

P.S. If you are just joining us as a Swirl Nation Blog reader, welcome:) We thought it would be fun to share a few of our very first posts from last January so you can see where we started, and then explore the blog more to see where we are now. So here is a little look back, click on photos to link to the original post...


 

 

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RAW BEAUTY OBSESSION: MARY'S MARIPOSA

So I'll start with the disclaimer: this article is centered around a raw beauty product line that my cousin Maryam created 13 years ago. My family in Michigan has been raving about it and I've tried things here and there but Maryam and I lived on opposites sides of the country and I was into the lux lines we all see in the blogs, magazines, etc. 

A few months after we moved back east, I took a quick trip from Michigan to New York and stopped by Maryam's to pick up an item or two. $200+ later I had a car full of Mary's Mariposa products.  

 
RAW BEAUTY MARY'S MARIPOSA via Swirl Nation Blog

A few weeks after my trip, I had a tragic haircut from my salon owner's daughter. I was devastated (ask my husband and kids) but then went full throttle to grow my hair back as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, my almost 50 year-old hormones don't work like they used to and my hair has been thinning, slowly but surely.

When I bought Mariposa's Hair Growth Formula, Maryam warned me "Don't put this anywhere you don't want hair to grow." I heeded her advice--a hairy neck and temples doesn't look good on anyone.

Four months later (last week) I returned to the salon that committed the cut crime (I was so mad, I'd switched salons). The owner handled my entire appointment. Throughout my services, she kept saying, "You have a lot of new growth." When she got to the styling stage she said, "OK, you have a LOT of new growth, like, a lot, a lot, a lot. Don't put any heat on your hair unless you come here. You have so many new hairs coming in!"  

I had noticed the baby hair filling in my thinning temples but to hear my stylist affirm my regime was working was a whole new ballgame. Which is why I'm sharing my story. Here's the scoop: I use Raw Black Shampoo, condition with whatever I have (Maryam was sold out of her conditioner), apply Hair Growth Formula to my scalp and pin it up for 20 minutes (no hairy neck!) After moisturizing the rest of my body, I put the light and delicious smelling Hair Oil on my ends and work it all the way through and then do a protective style. 

Have a couple other favorites--love, love, love the Powder Deodorant. And years of spots and scars on my face have faded after using the Raw Face Cream and Brazilian Body Balm. Body Butters moisturize and smooth skin (Monoi scent is yummy). And yep, my initial $200 got me all of this and more...


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MIXED ROOTS FOUNDATION 'ADOPTEE NIGHT' WITH THE LA DODGERS


As a teenager, Kevin Frazier, Co-Host of Entertainment Tonight,  made the difficult choice to put his oldest son up for adoption. On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Kevin will be throwing first pitch when the Mixed Roots Foundation hosts ‘Adoptee Night’ with the LA Dodgers. First pitch will be caught by the son Kevin gave up.

Mixed Roots Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the first and only national / global multicultural foundation for adoptees. Their families are representative of the international, domestic, and foster care/adoption experience. Mixed Roots Foundation leverages philanthropy and grassroots fundraising to support post-adoption resources including mentoring, DNA testing and unique scholarships/grants for adoptees, foster youth and their families. 

"Please help us send 1,500 adopted and foster youth to their first baseball game this year by donating to Mixed Roots Foundation; this time, no wild pitches." 

                  Kevin Frazier, Co-Host, Entertainment Tonight

 

Buy your tickets HERE

Sponsor a kid HERE

MIXED ROOTS FOUNDATION 'ADOPTEE NIGHT' WITH THE LA DODGERS via Swirl Nation Blog

LIKE Mixed Roots Foundation on Facebook

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BEYOND THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY

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BEYOND THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY


BEYOND THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY via Swirl Nation Blog

February is gone--Black History Month is over. But as the mother in a swirl family, I'm hardwired to discuss black history with our kids whenever the opportunity arises. They need to hear stories not shared in the media and have cultural experiences that expand their perspectives. I studied tap dance for many years and was so excited to take the kids to a live stage performance starring Savion Glover. I'll admit I was a little bummed when our 14 year-old son rated the show a pitiful "2" on a scale of 1-10. "Mom," he lamented, "He tapped for TWO HOURS." Seizing the teachable moment, I inquired,  "Why would he do that? Why is tap important?"  Research on their modern devices led to the understanding that the creation of tap was a direct response to the fearful acts of slaveowners who attempted to remove all methods of communication from their captives. In other words, Tap equals Genius. The rating moved up to a "4". Mission accomplished.

 

Three weeks ago, our 12 year-old daughter and I went to Washington D.C. with a wonderful black family from her school. Visits to the African Art Museum, African American Civil Rights Museum and the MLK Memorial were priority. Perusing in a gift shop, Mangala picked up a bookmark that featured every U.S. President. Finger scrolling the rows of faces she said, "I can't believe all of these presidents were white." She stopped on President Obama's image and said with a smile, "...and then a Star." Her innocent observation brought tears to my eyes. She clearly saw the shining glory of a black man.  She has stated she likes white boys "just a little" more than black boys because "they remind me of my Dad" but she definitely likes both. More importantly, her preferences are not tainted by anyone's negative portrayal of her mother's people, but rather by her healthy relationship with the man that helps her with her math homework every night and cooks her gluten-free pancakes on demand. I'm fine with that.


Black History Month 2016 was the best I've ever experienced. It forced me to delve more deeply into the race dynamics currently happening in our country. We have a coffee table book "Los Angeles". The historical images of happy, wealthy, white people swimming, surfing, making movies, enjoying fine dining and building prosperity decades before Black Americans were allowed to vote provide a stunning contrast. Photo after photo it is apparent how HAPPY they were. There was no struggle on their faces, no stress in their brows. 


Anyone who doesn't believe we need Black History Month is uneducated and narrow-minded.  They diminish the Black Experience in America by trying to blend it into American History. Fact is, if African slaves had not been brought to America, the world as we know it today would not exist. We would not be as evolved as a human race. The Africans and the Europeans in the United States is a complex fusion of cultures and we continue to force each other to reach our highest potential. The blending of the cultures is not the problem. The excessive greed, the cruelty, the sexual perversion caused by the mental illness of slave masters poisoned the blend. It didn't have to be that way but it was. It is our unique legacy. And despite all of our problems, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. The racists will die off. Tolerance will become the norm. Sooner than later. Our children already understand what is really important and as long as we give them the tools to be happy and tell them the truth, Mr. Lamar is correct--We gon' be alright. 

BEYOND THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY via Swirl Nation Blog

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NOT FEELING "FORMATION"

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NOT FEELING "FORMATION"


"Formation." Watched with horror and turned it off less than half way through.

"My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana. Mix that Negro with that Creole, make a Texas bamma."

Grrrr...Ugh. My poor family was soon subjected to my rant about Queen B diminishing the Creole legacy, gyrating in the hallway set in a fine Louisiana mansion. I am Creole--family from Gretna and Algiers. My great-grandmother Josephine, her sister Marguerite, grandmother Jeanne, mother Florence. We have more Pierres and Maurices in our family than I can recall. Grandma spoke French, played piano, had a master's degree in English. She was elegant.

BEYONCE FORMATION via Swirl Nation Blog

Seeing Bey do her work on a set that represented what is regal and dignified about my history smacked of coonery. I was not happy to see Blue Ivy's mother in a ruffle-neck, long-sleeved, cleavage-bouncing leotard on the dimly lit, ornate set. "She's debasing our history," I said in a call to my mentor, a 70-year-old cultural critic for the New York Post  and author of eight books. He hadn't seen the video but quickly put it into perspective. "She is in the business of being watched. And vulgarity gets people's attention." Our conversation was so enlightening, I recorded it. My thoughts and feelings validated by one of the black community's most respected elders.

 

An hour later Jen texted me to write about "Formation" for this blog. Timing is everything.

 

I watched the video all the way through, spent two hours reading and watching reactions from various points of view. Everything I read/saw was in complete praise of Beyonce's artistic expression and unabashed acceptance of her blackness. And I mostly agree with the positive commentary. Partially because I refuse to be a Beyonce-hater. That woman has worked more than any of us can imagine and she has earned the right to do and say whatever the hell she wants. But I was still a bit stuck--on the leotard. She does it/wears it better than anyone ever has. But I hope she never does it again. It's not original anymore. Not for her. She and her hubby bail protesters out of jail and donated $1.5 million to the #BlackLivesMatter movement (I have mixed feelings about this movement but that's another blog). Bey herself built a $7 million homeless shelter in Houston. Enough with twerking in leotards--it doesn't suit her anymore. She's too deep for that.

 

Here's the issue:  My line of thinking goes directly against what "Formation" represents. My conservative militant stance takes an "L."   MSNBC.com's Melissa Perry-Harris oozed, "In just under five minutes she somehow managed to use her black girl magic to read our minds and tackle all those complicated questions of race and justice in one Beyonce video to rule them all." I'm clearly on the wrong side of this argument.

 

BEYONCE FORMATION via Swirl Nation Blog

Why do I even care? It's just Bey's way of entertaining and expressing HER art. Beyonce's overall message for the black community is so powerfully positive that I know I need to let it go. Especially since in my younger days I spent three years on the sidelines of Texas Stadium in white hot pants and go-go boots. Who am I to talk? 

 

But there's something special about Beyonce. She's so beautiful and so talented and so smart and I don't want to see her humping air in a leotard anymore. I don't want to see her humping at all. Ever again. 


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TEARS FOR DETROIT

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TEARS FOR DETROIT

I cried today. Sobbed actually. I saw a video on Detroit schools. Mushrooms growing up the wall, mold, rodents, playgrounds and gyms deteriorated beyond use, no arts, no supplies. A shot of the bathroom is what sent me over the edge. It's criminal. Between the water in Flint and the schools in Detroit, that whole region needs to be under federal control. And people need to go to jail. Money should come from the weapons industry ($400 billion annual; six of top nine companies located in the US). Sorry, I rant...it won't be the last time.

I try to be optimistic about how things are going in this world and stick to solutions, but Detroit/Flint is ridiculously complex. These schools need immediate repair. Flint is being poisoned. I mean...I'm kinda speechless. What happen to the humanity of the people who knew? How did they look themselves in the mirror every night? They had to have known this day would come. Greed? Racism? Stupidity? What kind of mind allows someone to know a city is being poisoned and just do nothing? How did someone like that get elected Governor? 

His fate will be decided. Focus must now be on solutions. The human race will always strive for better and we are working hard to manage this unfathomable experience called Life. Flint and Detroit need a little extra attention right now. Praying our leaders do what is right, fair, kind and just.


All photos from @TeachDetroit  Twitter account

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DR. KING'S LEGACY 50 YEARS LATER

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DR. KING'S LEGACY 50 YEARS LATER


The celebration of Dr. King on the brink of Black History Month gives us a chance to authentically reflect how we are progressing as a country on the issue of equality. We are drowning in media coverage about the injustices perpetrated on the current minority communities. The Black Lives Matters movement captures headlines nearly every week. The aftermath of U.S. slavery continues to debilitate our efforts to merge the gifts and talents of all cultures and improve our quality of life. In the United States, we already have enough for everyone to live a decent existence. But far too many prefer to be petty, angry, fearful, mean, scared, paranoid or evil. They are willing to lie, steal and kill to defend the disturbed concept of superiority. It boggles my mind that with all of the information available, people still choose to hate. A Canadian friend once told me they consider racism a form of mental illness. From everything I've seen, heard and lived, I must say I agree. But what I know is, there are more good people than bad. If it weren't so, our world would be in chaos. And Flint would be on fire.

 

Problem is, our expectations for black/white race relations are far too high. On both sides. Black people were given the right to vote in this country a mere 50 years ago. 50 years.That ain't shit. How can anyone possibly believe things should already be equal? It's illogical. We've got 400 years of slavery's bad karma on us. It's going to take at least half that amount of time to straighten things out. That gives us until 2165. Now I'm not at all advocating the efforts should slow down. But thinking in these terms allows us to put into perspective the spectacular amount of growth that has happened  in a ridiculously short amount of time. As a country, we are doing great. Nowhere near perfect, but certainly poised to get it right if we work hard enough. Amidst all of the ignorant rhetoric, I've heard truths spoken that can expand our ability to tackle our racial issues effectively and permanently.

I stumbled upon this interview with Brian Lehrer on Huff Post Live speaking on white privilege. Whether or not you agree with Brian Lehrer's views, his intention to find solutions cannot be denied. The beneficiaries of privilege are acknowledging the inequity in greater numbers. As Americans continue to come together on this issue, we will expedite the rate at which our country heals its wounds. I think Dr. King would be proud of where we are and the work that is being done . And perhaps he would agree that while it is fine to be optimistic, we must remain realistic on how much further we have to go. Now is the time to work harder and smarter. Everything is at stake.

Click on photo for full interview

Click on photo for full interview


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About that Resolution...

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About that Resolution...

I don’t even bother to make New Year’s Resolutions anymore. Haven’t in years. I know we are supposed to set goals and plan but my resolution is always to get in better shape and making it again and again, year after year,  just got, well...silly. So I don’t.

Every New Year, my goal is to purge. Yesterday I unloaded every single bottle in my bathroom, wiped out all shelves and drawers and deep cleaned. Over the years, I’ve noticed a direct connection between my ability to achieve my goals and the condition of my home. Whether it’s working out, eating clean, completing a project, I find I am much more effective when my home is in order. 

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NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVES

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NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVES

I wanted my first blog post to be helpful, meaningful, impactful--filled with information to improve the quality of our readers' lives. Over the weeks, different subjects floated through my head but nothing really stuck. So here I am, a day after deadline, subjectless. When I think about the dynamics of multi-racial families I'm struck with the spectrum of issues. How do we parents navigate through a world that seems to constantly point out the differences between the races? How do we choose our words when our loved ones are confused about where they fit in? How do we manage our anger when our family members are targeted by ignorance? How do we truly feel about the different bloodlines coursing through our veins, which society uses to define us? Is there a particular heritage that brings a little more pride? Another that brings shame? Answers to these questions can help explain why we make the choices we make and expand our view of our purpose in the world.

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