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Her red-carpet hairstyle turned heads, but one fashion cop didn't get it. Here's where she's wrong.

From locs to braids to twists and 'fros, I love natural hair in all its forms. So when I saw actress Zendaya Coleman rocking loc extensions at the 2015 Academy Awards, I was ecstatic. But it wasn't until after the awards show that I had to shake my head.

Her red-carpet hairstyle turned heads, but one fashion cop didn't get it. Here's where she's wrong.

Here's how Zendaya usually wears her hair:

But like most teenagers, the 18-year-old actress has been known to switch up her look every now and then.


Zendaya debuted her gorgeous faux locs hairstyle at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Full disclosure: I've had locs (sometimes referred to as dreadlocks) for over 10 years, so I instantly loved everything about Zendaya's look. So I'm somewhat biased, but I couldn't help but love Zendaya's explanation for wanting to rock locs on the red carpet.


So imagine Zendaya's surprise when Giuliana Rancic of E!'s "Fashion Police" had this to say:


"I feel like she smells like patchouli oil ... or weed." — Giuliana Rancic

Now just to be clear, Giuliana made these comments the day after the Oscars during her "Fashion Police" segment on E! She didn't actually *smell* Zendaya, she just assumed she must smell like patchouli or weed because of her loc'd hairstyle. And while there's nothing wrong with liking the smell of patchouli or smoking weed (if that's your thing), patchouli is often associated with uncleanliness because its pungent smell is sometimes used to mask body odor. Given that, it's easy to understand why Zendaya didn't take so kindly to such comments.

That's when Zendaya went on Twitter to respond to Giuliana's hurtful and ignorant comments.


"There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane." — Zendaya Coleman

Whew! Say it, Zendaya!

Then Guiliana offered an apology on her Twitter.

So what's the big deal? Well, despite Giuliana's intentions, we can't ignore the very complicated politics surrounding black hair.

Throughout history, black women have been told that their natural hair is unprofessional, dirty, and even distracting. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the misconceptions surrounding locs. Many assume loc'd hair is dirty and cannot be washed or that people who wear locs are drug users. In recent years we've seen companies and schools institute regulations banning natural hairstyles, including the U.S. military. One Oklahoma school even sent home an elementary school student for wearing locs, resulting in the student unenrolling from the school.

It's also worth noting that hairstyles, fashion trends, and even body shapes that are normally associated with blackness (like locs, braids, full lips, and even shapely behinds) are often dismissed as ugly, "ghetto," trashy, or a whole host of other negative insults. But when those same attributes are co-opted by white people, they're suddenly "edgy" and fashionable. This is cultural appropriation at its finest.

For example, when R&B singer Ciara debuted her faux locs shortly before her wedding day, People magazine initially wondered if she'd keep them since they might not work with a "very elegant affair."


(The original People post was later updated after audience feedback.)

Meanwhile, when reality TV star Kylie Jenner debuted her "dreadlocks" on Instagram, Cosmo magazine labeled them "edgy."

While I don't doubt Giuliana didn't mean for her words to be harmful, it's important to understand that there is a long and painful history associated with criticizing black skin, hair, and bodies that continues to this very day. That on top of appropriation that deems blackness "cool" when it's on white bodies and associates those same things with "ghetto" — or in this case, drug usage — it's hard to ignore the racial undertones. As much as it pains me that this conversation had to happen, I hope Giuliana can learn from her mistake and Zendaya's words can inspire other women to love and embrace their natural hair and natural beauty.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!