Thursday, August 20, 2009

Licensing hair braiders

My sister is wonderful at braiding hair. Corn rows, french braids, plats, whatever you needed, she has/had the nimble fingers to get it done beautifully. Back in the day, her hair braiding skills were quite popular in our neighborhood. She was attractive and unattainable, but you could pay her to braid your hair. And the boys paid.

My mother let her make the extra money – but she had strict rules - nobody at the house after dark and nobody could sit between her legs. The customer had to sit in the chair, with my sister standing behind it, she could not move to the front of the chair, you had to maneuver however so she could do what she did.

In between attending nursing classes and working part-time, she made decent extra cash braiding hair. There are thousands of young ladies, many of them single mothers in the inner city supplementing their income braiding hair.


When Oumou Wague immigrated to the United States 18 years ago, she braided hair -- a skill that virtually all women in her native Senegal learn as girls -- to help her family. Today, braiding still is her primary source of income. But like many hair braiders in Illinois, she does not have a cosmetology license -- something required by state law since 1985.

The law requires braiders to complete 1,500 hours of cosmetology school -- which can cost upward of $10,000 -- despite the fact that hair braiding-specific courses are not offered at any of the approximately 60 schools that are part of the Illinois Association of Cosmetology Schools. There are about 100 cosmetology schools in Illinois and some of them offer braiding basics, but it is not part of their core curriculum, the association said.

Carol Frederick, executive director of the Illinois Association of Cosmetology Schools, agrees that consumer protection should be the main focus. She said any changes in the law should ensure that hair braiders are trained in sanitation, such as keeping combs and pins clean, and health issues, such as identifying scalp diseases and dealing with blood-borne pathogens.

Hair braiders who know of the law want to comply but the requirements are too rigid. Many hair braiders don't have the money to attend cosmetology schools and work out of their homes. The law criminalizes their work.

While the legislature is on summer break, hair braiders are waiting and hoping that the law will be changed soon.


Monday, August 17, 2009

2008's Best and Worst selling magazine covers

W Magazines 2008 list of the best and worst selling magazine covers are out. I’m always interested in seeing these lists just to see who is selling. A recent visit to my local magazine rack reveals that once again, there are very few, if any African Americans on the cover of the major glossises this month. The only one I saw was Will Smith’s wife on the cover of Shape Magazine…

Whenever African Americans (or models of color) do appear on the cover of major glossies or major advertising campaigns, they always appear to be magically lighter – some may even say white…

As I reviewed the W. Magazine list I could not help but notice that of the few magazine covers that black folks did appear on in 2008 – none of them were on the Worst list...

Vogue 4/08 Gisele/LeBron James
Bazaar 9/08 Tyra Banks
ELLE 6/2008 Rihanna
Cosmo 3/2008 Rihanna
IN Style 8/08 Rihanna
IN Style 2/08 Halle
IN Style 11/08 Beyonce

I found it interesting that the so called “hottest chick”, Tom Brady's homewrecker, a/k/a the highest paid supermodel in the world and former Victoria Secret underwear model, Giselle Bundchen’s covers of Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar have both been their worst-performing of the year, so far. Even more interesting is that fact that – she continues to get covers.

2008 Worst Selling Women's Magazines
Best-Selling Cover: Keira Knightley (559,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Rachel Weisz (276,000 copies)
Vanity Fair
Best-Selling Cover: Angelina Jolie (504,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Katherine Heigl (314,000 copies)
Best-Selling Cover: Victoria Beckham (413,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Covers: Carrie Underwood (253,000 copies)
Best-Selling Cover: Jessica Simpson (775,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Nicole Kidman (460,000 copies)
Best-Selling Cover: Scarlett Johansson (2 million copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Jessica Simpson (1.5 million copies)
Best-Selling Cover: Angelina Jolie (78,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Hilary Swank (27,000 copies)
Best-Selling Cover: Eva Longoria-Parker (889,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Anne Hathaway (585,000 copies)
Marie Claire
Best-Selling Cover: Women of “Sex and the City” (440,948 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Jennifer Connelly (191,000 copies)
Harper’s Bazaar
Best-Selling Cover: Lindsay Lohan (213,000 copies)
Worst-Selling Cover: Drew Barrymore (120,000 copies)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Congressman Shock's "conversation" with the First Lady

Schock will be a guest on NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!," airing August 15th and 16th, where he revealed that he complimented First Lady Michelle Obama on her "buff" arms, and she returned the praise.

Read the excerpt below:

PETER SAGAL, HOST, WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!: Because of that photograph, you were asked once, we found this - whether you felt in your professional congressional opinion - whether you or President Obama had the better bod. And you said you didn't know. Have you had a chance to check it out?


SAGAL: Because we know what guys are like - I'm a guy. You're out there, you're hanging out at some congressional thing. We're checking each other out. We're seeing who's brining it. So, what do you think?

REP. SCHOCK: Well, I'm sorry to disappoint - the opportunity has not presented itself. However, I will say that at the White House picnic that I was invited to, Michelle was there, First Lady Michelle Obama, with a sleeveless shirt on, and she was looking pretty buff.

SAGAL: Really?

REP. SCHOCK: Yeah. I actually complimented her on her arms. She's got it together.

SAGAL: You did? You actually went up to Michelle Obama and you said, 'Hey, nice guns?' What did you do?


SAGAL: Come one. No, stop. What did you say to the First Lady of the United States? I want to hear it.

REP. SCHOCK: Ah... [LAUGHTER]. We were along the rope line at the White House, I had some guests there that I brought with that wanted their picture taken with her. And so I said hello to her, and we, you know, I chitchatted and I said, 'You're looking good.' And she just kind of laughed at me. And I said, 'Seriously,' I said, 'Those are some arms.' And she said, well, she made a nice compliment about myself, and then she moved on, so.

SAGAL: No, stop! No, sir. No, sir. You're not going to get away with it. What did she say to you? 'She made a nice compliment about myself.' What did she say?

REP. SCHOCK: Something to the effect of, 'You're not too bad yourself.'

SAGAL: Ah ha! Ah ha. And then you guys went into a pose-off, right, like at the end of a body-building competition?

AMY DICKINSON, PANELIST, WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!: You know, I bet that never happened with Mamie Eisenhower. You know? It just never did.

SAGAL: I got to say, elected to Congress at age 27, big deal. Gotten some props from Michelle, that's something sir. Congratulations.

REP. SCHOCK: You know, I think Joe Biden overheard and got a little jealous, too.

SAGAL: I'm sure. Because I've noticed Joe's been on the elliptical ever since he met Michelle.

Hmmph, kinda fresh don't ya think? Good represntn Congressman Shock, you go boy! (Oh, was that a little fresh?)