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THE MCCLURE TWINS


THE MCCLURE TWINS via Swirl Nation Blog

We've loved the McClure Twins ever since we featured them on our blog back in March as a Featured Multiracial Family! The other day I was on YouTube and stumbled across this adorable video of the girls, Ava and Alexis, discovering they look exactly the same. It is the most adorable thing ever! You can follow all of the cuteness that is the McClure Family on their YouTube Channel


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YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL


YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

I discovered Elizabeth Israel because of this Buzzfeed article which was about how some loser was shaming her online for looking drastically different when she was wearing makeup vs bare faced.

Elizabeth told Buzzfeed

“I love wearing makeup because in my eyes it’s art, yes, it boosts my confidence, yes, I feel more lively wearing it, but no, I don’t rely on it or love myself any less without it.”
YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

Her girlfriend then went on social media with this kick ass response: 

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: ELIZABETH ISRAEL via Swirl Nation Blog

Elizabeth does makeup tutorials that are pretty impressive. She definitely completely transforms her face and has some great tips. I would categorize her makeup style as "Kardashian like". Much heavier than I would typically wear, but then again I basically only wear eyeliner and mascara unless I'm going out.

Here are some of her videos, watch and learn! 

 

EVERYDAY EYE MAKEUP 

 

MY CURRENT EYEBROW ROUTINE


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YOU TUBE CHANNEL: THE REAL


YouTube is one of my favorite ways to not only listen to music and watch videos, but gives my ears what my daytime life cannot afford me since I’m working and that’s The Real. The Real is a diverse group of daytime talk show hosts that is akin to The View or even The Talk except more appealing, fun, and honest.

YOU TUBE CHANNEL THE REAL via Swirl Nation Blog

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate what The View and The Talk have done for it’s worldwide audiences, but The Real is the first daytime talk show I can relate to as a millennial. The group of women is comprised of all ethnic backgrounds with comic Loni Love (Black), singer/actress Adrienne Bailon (Hispanic), Fashion Expert Jeannie Mai (Vietnamese/Chinese) and biracial actress Tamara Mowry-Housley. It’s important to get a group of women with varied careers, personalities, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds so the conversations are fresh, entertaining and educational.

The subject matter they discuss covers everything from trending topics, politics, fashion, interviews with celebrities, and candid opinions that are reflective of not only their beliefs, but where they come from in their respective industries and lives. I do not get the opportunity to tune into the TV when they are on live so YouTube allows me to see clips and highlights from the show throughout my day. It is not only a nice refresher for what can be a long day in the office, but also the co-hosts are very charismatic which keeps me engaged instead of bored.

On the YouTube channel you will a lot of content that ranges from games they played, interviews, key topics and focused discussions on daily news to what is going on in pop culture. It does not feel rehearsed or that I’m watching a conversation that I in no way can understand or relate to, it is in fact just the opposite. As an audience member I feel like I’m participating in conversations that I am invested in and have either had in real life or am grappling with in my personal life. Check out The Real, these ladies are bringing fresh, fun voices to television and I’m so happy they are getting the Emmy nominations they deserve along with recognition on multiple networks and media platforms.

Check out some of my favorite moments on The Real:


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YOU TUBE CHANNEL: IT'S AKILAH, OBVIOUSLY


I first discovered Akilah when I was writing my cultural appropriation post.  She made a hilarious parody poking fun at such things like thinking it is ok to fetishize adopting a baby from another culture than your own…  She had me at “OMG, I want to adopt a white baby!”  I occasionally go down the rabbit hole of what is her YouTube Channel, oddly called SmoothieFreak.

A little about Akilah, from her website:

Hello there! Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you know that I’m Akilah…obviously. I’m a comedian (stand up, sketch, improv, writer, YouTuber, etc.,) originally from Cincinnati (who dey?!) who is now hanging out in Brooklyn, NY.  I write for FusionHelloGigglesFemsplain, and Refinery29, and I am a sketch and improv person trained at Upright Citizens Brigade. I take lots of photos and make lots of YouTube videos, and generally have too widespread of an interest pool to be one of those niche blogs. Here you will find posts about hair, pop culture, race, comedy, being a 20-something lady, fashion, makeup, being good at things, being terrible at things, moving to NYC and pretty much any topic in-between.
 

Below are some of my favorite videos.  Enjoy!

The video that started it all:

White Party

 

Some other favorites:

Meet Your First Black Girlfriend

Every Natural Hair Video Ever

How Black People Feel About Haunted Houses


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SWIRL MUSIC: PRINCE AND BEYONCE


This week we're all sharing our favorite Prince moments in memory of the icon's passing. 

I had my own Prince moment about 15 years ago. My friend Staci and I were dancing at a club in Denver called The Church when all of a sudden a man with gold plated ears (yes, seriously...) came up and tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for us to go with him. For whatever reason we trusted this strange man lol and we followed him up to the balcony and when we got there Prince was standing there. I don't even remember if we talked to him, but I do remember him spending the majority of the night talking to a guy a in a wheelchair and he seemed like a really kind person. I'm glad I at least got to share the same air with him that night. 57 is definitely too soon to go. 

Enjoy a week full of some of the moments in his life we are most obsessed with. I am starting with Prince and Beyonce, because of course I am obsessed with Bey and the two of them together were incredible. 


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DIVERSE TV PICKS: QUANTICO


One of my favorite new shows is Quantico. Quantico is about a bunch of sexy, young FBI recruits who have come to the base for special agent training. They are all super accomplished, but of course, they are also all full of secrets. The premise is that one of the recruits was actually the mastermind behind 911 and the show tries to figure out who is the terrorist.

DIVERSE TV PICKS QUANTICO via Swirl Nation Blog

The cast is very diverse, which I love. There are gay and straight characters. There are black, white, south asian and middle eastern characters. There are muslim and mormon characters. The diversity opens up a lot of compelling storylines.

DIVERSE TV PICKS QUANTICO via Swirl Nation Blog

The star of the show is Priyanka Chopra, who plays Alex Parish. Priyanka is drop dead gorgeous, which makes sense because she is a former beauty queen and a huge Bollywood star. She is actually the first South Asian woman to headline an American network series (crazy right?!).

Overall the show is full of drama, romance and friction. Kind of like a Shonda Rhimes show, but set at an FBI training camp. In fact The Washington Post called the show “if a Shonda Rhimes series hooked up with a paranoid ‘70s political thriller”. Very accurate, worth a watch!











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CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS!



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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE


DIVERSE MOVIE PICKS THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE via Swirl Nation Blog

Things We Lost In The Fire was one of the first mainstream movies that I felt broke many movie barrier rules and portrayed the beauty of biracial families and marriage.  Released in 2007, the film didn’t receive the recognition it deserved.

DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE via Swirl Nation Blog

Without giving away too much of the plot, Halle Berry plays a wife and mother struggling through grief and heartache over the death of her loving husband.  Her husband, played by David Duchovny, is a doting father to their two beautiful bi-racial children.  The love between their characters is evident, truthful, deep and honest.  Another storyline within the film, depicts the husband’s friend, played by Benicio Del Toro, who struggles with addiction.  The movie reveals the gritty truths of human struggle, paralyzing fear, death, forgiveness, growth, love, change, friendship, family, and most of all inner strength.   


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM


My favorite movies are movies I can enjoy with my family.  I love movies with strong female characters who overcome adversity through working hard and having grit.  I have a 7-year-old daughter who loves soccer and Bend It Like Beckham, with the exception of a few scenes with “older” themes, is a good family movie.  It is slightly cheesy and has a few clichés, but it is so funny and addresses issues of culture, tradition, race, and stereotypes of girls who like sports.

 

The movie is about a young, Indian girl growing up in London named Jess (played by Parminder Nagra) who loves to play soccer; however, her traditional Indian family feels she should pass her A Levels and learn to make the perfect chapati.  After seeing Jess play soccer with boys in the park, Jules (played by Kiera Knightley) asks her to join her soccer practice.  Jess practices with Jules’ team and loves it.  She hides soccer from her family for as long as she can, but her family eventually finds out and it forces them to make a decision between dreams and tradition.

 

Bend It Like Beckham focuses on the struggle first-generation Indian youth face in London. Whether it is holding on to tradition, respecting elders, and living the dreams of your parents; or truly assimilating into your new culture and living your own dreams.  It addresses that balance between being who your family is and adopting the culture of where you were born, a theme very relatable for most first-generation youth.

The movie also spotlights sexual orientation.  A side story of the movie is Jules’ mom’s preoccupation and fear that her daughter is a lesbian.  It is a very comical side story, but it brings up a stereotype that girls cannot be good at sports, or like sports, unless they are lesbian.  One of my favorite quotes from the movie is, “Get your lesbian feet out of my shoes!”  You have to watch the movie to get it, and I promise that line will be met with laughter.


There’s a little romance, lots of cultural jokes, and David Beckham only appears in posters throughout the movie.  Bend It Like Beckham features a multi-cultural cast that does such a great job in truly bringing to life cultural nuances and comedy is used as a vehicle to address social issues with impeccable timing.  I really love this movie - I wrote this whole post with a smile on my face.


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS


I'm a total geek, and I was so thrilled when this new Star Wars film came out. Not only is it kick-ass but I felt it has an ethnically diverse cast, which is even better!

So much of Hollywood is white washed, so when I was asked what my favorite movie with an ethnically diverse cast is, I draw a blank. How sad is that? Granted there
are several "indie" films, but nothing really mainstream. Thankfully this new Star Wars
came along. Granted it's still not "that" diverse. I'm just hoping this is a step in the right direction. Shouldn't the movies we see reflect the society we live in? I sure as hell don't live in an all "white" community, and I sure don't like seeing it on screen.


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DIVERSE MOVIE NIGHT PICKS! BELLE


This week we are sharing our favorite movies, focusing specifically on movies with diverse casts. 

I’m not a huge movie person. But every once and awhile I scroll through Netflix or On-demand and see what pops up. One night that movie was Belle. Belle is a beautiful period film from the 18th-century based on the life of a biracial woman named Dido Elizabeth Belle.

 

The movie is a true story and follows Dido’s life from the time her father, navy captain Sir John Lindsay, introduces the child as his own to his uncle, Lord Mansfield. The Lord and Lady then agree to raise the child as their own as she is brought up with another grandniece, Elizabeth Murray. Sir John then leaves to go back to battle and dies, never seeing Dido again.

 

The movie quickly skips to the time the 2 young women are of age to be paired up for marriage. Dido struggles with finding her place in her world as a member of a privileged family, yet without the same rights as Elizabeth. She asks the Lord “Papa, how may I be too high in rank to dine with the servants and to low to dine with my family?”

 

The movie’s most compelling scenes come from Dido learning about a horribly real case involving the Zong Slave Ship in which there was a mass murder of African slaves who were then claimed for life insurance purposes. The Lord is Chief Justice and for much of the movie Dido as well as a young lawyer, John Davinier, are on the opposite side of the issue. Since it is a true story I don’t think I am ruining anything by telling you the decision the Lord Chief Justice made forever changed issues in Britain regarding slavery. 

 

The movie is very moving. Beautifully directed and shares a true story that I had never heard before. You can probably picture me, red wine in hand, weeping during many points of this story. This is a must see for anyone, but especially those of us with biracial or multiracial children. It is rated PG so while it is a difficult piece of history to discuss, it is suitable for children who are old enough to understand the subject.


Here is the trailer which will showcase what a beautiful performance Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives as Dido. 

The movie is directed by Amma Asante


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SWIRL ART: BOB MARLEY


As we celebrate and highlight African-Americans during Black History Month, I think of Bob Marley and how he touched the world with his music.  Who hasn’t been moved by him or his music? There is something magical about true artistic talent.  It has the ability to transcend time, cultural and unify racial differences and divides.  Everyone has a favorite Bob Marley song or, at least, knows the words to one of his many hits!  His words hit your soul and the island percussion lets you escape, dream and believe.

Dave Thompson, author of Reggae and Caribbean Music, laments what he perceives to be the commercialized pacification of Marley's more militant edge, stating:

Bob Marley ranks among both the most popular and the most misunderstood figures in modern culture ...That the machine has utterly emasculated Marley is beyond doubt.  Gone from the public record is the ghetto kid who dreamed of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers, and pinned their posters up in the Wailers Soul Shack record store; who believed in freedom; and the fighting which it necessitated, and dressed the part on an early album sleeve; whose heroes were James Brown and Muhammad Ali; whose God was Ras Tafari and whose sacrament was marijuana.  Instead, the Bob Marley who surveys his kingdom today is smiling benevolence, a shining sun, a waving palm tree, and a string of hits which tumble out of polite radio like candy from a gumball machine.  Of course it has assured his immortality. But it has also demeaned him beyond recognition.  Bob Marley was worth far more.

One of my favorite songs by Bob Marley and the Wailers performing in Boston, MA.



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SWIRL ART: IDRIS ELBA


Idris Elba

Stumbled on this about an hour ago. It made me very happy. Husbands (including my own) I apologize but it's not often us ladies see a man like this in a music video. Actually I don't think I've ever seen a man look or sound better in a music video.

When famous actors turn musician, it doesn't always go so well. This time it did. I can't believe I'm just now seeing this. It came out in October 2015!

This week we were supposed to write about a fine artist- like a painter or sculptor. Oh, wait, he is a fine, real, real fine artist. Yep, def obsessed. But I'm telling you... Idris Elba is, well, see for yourself...


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