Monthly Archives: April 2012

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think like a

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First – it was hilarious – I laughed out loud and needed that happy ending on love between African American folks.

By Jan Robinson Flint


Tim Story, Director o f Think Like A Man should be commended. The story he told is funny, just laugh out loud funny, the cast looks good and it shared the glamour of Los Angeles on screen, including a fabulous night time skyline. Mr Story had a promotion budget and I will assume learned many a lesson on the way to Think Like A Man, he is one of the folks whom I was truly worried about as he personally sold his films on the sidewalks and in the shops of  Leimert Park. This overnight success is long in coming and well deserved for all the work he has put into this art form.
There seems a sense of camaraderie among the cast – no one hogged the screen, the ensemble of 6 couples (kinda sorta) stepped up and stepped back with grace and style, so each could have their story unfold. Gary Owens (what ever happen to him after winning BET comedy show) wife did not appear on screen, and Kevin Hart  character ‘s wife (surprise guest appearance by Wendy Williams) only arrived for the final scenes of the movie. That left Taraji, Michael, Meagan, Romany, Jerry, Gabrielle, Regina and Terrence J plenty of room and time to showcase the characters. Yes Steve Harvey had a cameo being interviewed by Sherri Shephard, and yes Jennifer Lewis who has played one too many mentally disturbed mama’s (so that I am starting to believe this is her real life not acting) pulled their weight in Think Like A Man too, but the couples in search of themselves pulled off this light hearted romance. I must say here though Kevin Hart really was over the top, his electricity and hi energy was fabulous, he is simply hilarious and almost stole the show, almost.
Fluff over, let’s take a deeper look into this expose on the politics of race and relationship among African Americans. Where/Why is it that I cannot find a dark skin woman who is middle or working class, even economically gifted to play a positive role in a romantic comedy and get the man. Don’t we deserve love and importantly to see women like ourselves on camera looking good? Colorism is a huge problem in our community and certainly in Hollywood, Think Like A Man demonstrated it is more a problem for women than men, but it is one that needs immediate address with all of its potential to divide our community as it is perpetuated on screen, in classrooms, in courts and job markets.
Of the men, only one job mentioned which he lost stealing a car to catch up with Taraji’s character. While the men must have been working as they lived in fabulous apartments, even the mama’s boy did not live at home. We did not see Black Men Working. So the books’ test question to be posed by women on short and long term goals, was never answered except of course by the one who had a dream of opening a restaurant. Yes the same one who got fired stealing a car and busted being a waiter at an event where Taraji’s COO character was being honored.
Gabrielle Union character is  in an inter racial relationship with a white guy who is not working and has strung her along for 9YEARS. Hmmm what message my sisters does one take home from this, are we normalizing inter racial relationships for Black women? If so brothers yall are in trouble, deep deep trouble. Of the women, only one had a job too, so most of the characters in Think Like A Man had no visible means of support but thank goodness at least they were not selling drugs, pimping, ex cons, or other illegitimate forms of money making stereotypes often found in movies featuring African American stories. It would have been good to see some role models of Black folks going to work but that is asking for a lot I know, being in love with each other is good. I will take it for this movie. Speaking of stereo types, only one baby mama and while it was not clear what happen to her son’s father, there was no negative drama, bitterness or hating going on, no job either but taking the good here…
Every  one was well dressed, coiffed and on best behavior, with the possible exception of Taraji’s kissing Micheal Ealy character (hmmm seemed a bit more than a Hollywood kiss there but I ain’t trying to start nothing). There was balance in the story with airing both the male and female perspective, as well balance of the whom was at fault in contributing to the breakup of relationships. Yall know they had to break up to get back together for the happy ending right?
Nice surprise with the basketball players from the Clippers and Lakers, as well Lisa Leslie with the Sparks, demonstrating to me we have a director here truly in love with Los Angeles and wanting to highlight our wonderfulness. The scene on the basketball court was super funny though I must admit I did not feel the love from the sports team and that interaction has so much more potential.
As we were walking home from the movie, my daughter wondered out loud about the matching of the ages, mentioning Terrence J was matched with an older woman being a trend for him. And thinking on it, if that was the intention of the story line, it did not make it apparent. Romany and Regina seemed to be more aged suited, while Terrence and Meagan are closer in age to each other however Black women can be ageless for quite a long time and the make up was impeccable.  No cougar intentions were felt, and the older man with a younger woman is played out much too much in our communities and as Kevin Hart pointed out in case one was not looking, Romany looked damn good. The pajamas with no shirt scene was yummy.
Chris Brown dropped in for a few scenes, being the irresponsible lover of Meagan Good that drives her to read the book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. He too gets to show off his tattoos and his acting chops though only for a moment. The sound track is great nope no Chris Brown music tune in for John Legend. Sound track was a great match for the movie.
Over all this PG romance was worth the time, there was a balance of male /female energy, it was light, funny, no villains, loving Los Angeles and demonstrates that yes Black people do read and yes we go to the movies too. We lead normal lives, we work hard, play hard, have friends, lovers, education, hopes and dreams and should be able to see them from time to time on the big screen. Shout out to Tim Story for getting this out…looking forward to the next one.

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Celebrate Across the Generations – Saturday, May 5, 2012 2-5pm Fundraiser

This year’s event is FREE! Bring your wallets and pocketbooks though, as the day promises to be a fun event!!  We ask that you RSVP (by emailing fundraising[at] or calling 323.290.5955) so that we may have an accurate headcount for our healthy food offerings prepared by our Kitchen Divas!

Community Build Garden
4305 Degnan Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008
RSVP: Phone 323-290-5955 or fundraising {AT}

Support this event by submitting a photo of your loved one to be displayed during an electronic slideshow throughout the event, with a donation of $10, below.

Mother’s Day Tea Advertising is Going Green!

We want to reduce on paper and printing costs and are going mostly electronic with our ads with logo placement on a keepsake.  Please support this fundraiser by selecting one of three advertising options below.

Please submit Advertising Application, BlackWomenforWellness_AdvertisingApplication2012.doc

$50 Advertisement – Rotation of Your Ad/Logo on and
$175 Advertisement – Rotation of Your Ad/Logo at event and on and and more!
$250 Advertisement – Rotation of Your Ad/Logo on at event, Ad/Logo on event keepsake, placement on and and more!

This Year’s Honorees

Nike Irvin
Black Women for Wellness’ Community Champion of the Year

Ms. Irvin is vice president of Programs, Nike oversees a staff of 13 professionals and discretionary grants budget of $26.4 million for fiscal year 2011-2012 at California Community Foundation. From past experience, she believes, “The social sector plays a critical role in our era of collapsing government budgets and corporate consolidations. And no matter the sector, smart, ethical, authentic leadership matters.”   A native of Los Angeles and active member of her Los Feliz community, Nike attended LAUSD public schools through 9th grade. Through the nonprofit A Better Chance, she attended a Connecticut boarding school. She then earned a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale, and later, an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Moya Mzuri Pambeli
Black Women for Wellness’ Amy Jacques Garvey Award

Being from  Africa ,  born in the projects of Aliso Village –Los Angeles in 1955, then moving to  55th and Vermont, then to Watts/Compton area, I am a child of my community.   My  community was full of examples of progressive voices and personalities of resistance. I sought out these soldiers as mentors. First being mentored by church elders and especially the wormen, then a Watts motorcyle group called  ‘Brothers of the chosen Few”, then the young Panthers who were all mentors and protectors of our community.   A graduate from –CentennialHigh School in Compton 1973, we took on the theme ‘Uziku Za Watoto’-children of the night!   I attended and studied at the University of California Berkeley, following in the proud footsteps of activism. I majored in Economics receiving a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Urban Planning and later received a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

Stephanie Haynes
Black Women for Wellness’ Volunteer of the Year

Founder and CEO of Fashionably Fit, Ms. Haynes is a gifted multitalented personal trainer and life coach with 30 years experience in the field of fitness and fashion. She has first-hand knowledge of healing the mind, body and spirit. Her famous saying is “When you heal the mind the body will follow.” Ms. Haynes specializes in self-empowerment with a focus on empowering the individual to create a fulfilling and successful life by supporting them in transforming negative beliefs and replacing them with powerful positive beliefs.   Ms. Haynes has been working in the community for over 30 years in different capacities such as community activist for youth education and displaced homemakers. She has also been an advocate for stroke patients, diabetics, arthritis and chronic pain sufferers as well as alcohol and drug abuse clients.

This young lady has given so much of her time, energy and enthusiasm to Black Women for Wellness.  We hope you come out to find out who she is!!

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By Erika Siever, MPH

Hello Black Women for Wellness Family!

April is autism awareness month.

What is autism?  Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors often appearing in early childhood — usually before age 3.  Some children diagnosed with autism are highly intelligent; others are mentally challenged.  Did you know that 1 in every 88 children in America is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)1 ; and the ratio of boys to girls with ASD is about 5-to-1.  On average, white children are diagnosed around six years old, while Black children are not diagnosed until they’re almost eight. It may only seem like a small difference in time, but early treatment is the key to reducing the challenges parents stand to face ahead.  No one knows exactly what causes autism and at this time there is no known cure, but with early interventions like speech, behavioral and occupational therapies children on the autism spectrum develop speaking, social and motor skills they’re missing.   As a mother of two, with a 7 year old son on the autism spectrum, I’m grateful that I learned the signs of autism early to help him to become the vibrant boy that he is today.
Know the signs:

Social skills

  • Fails to respond to his or her name
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Appears not to hear you at times
  • Resists cuddling and holding
  • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
  • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her “own world”


  • Starts talking later than age 2, and has other developmental delays by 30 months
  • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
  • Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
  • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
  • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them


  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
  • Develops specific routines or rituals
  • Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
  • Moves constantly
  • May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
  • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain

My tips for parents with a child with autism:

  • Be your child’s biggest advocate
  • Learn everything you can about autism.
  • Ensure that their educational institution meets their specific learning needs
  • Connect with a Regional Center in your area
  • Join a support group
  • Great websites
  • Find a Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctor in your area. These are clinicians specially trained by the Autism Research Institute to treat autism.4
  • Find a ‘Generation Rescue Angel’ in your area for answers and advice from parents who’ve been in your shoes.5
  • Ask your child’s primary care doctor for a referral to a speech pathologist, occupational therapist and applied behavior specialist.6


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Screen shot 2012-04-12 at 8.57.17 PM

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Just in time for earth day…. below is a great panel on Frankenstein foods and the chemicals that we used to create them… If you thought Pink Slime was it, think again…Over 90% of the soy and corn plants in the US are genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and they are not labeled. GMO’s are defined as ~ Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. -World Health Organization

Many of the GMO ‘s are plants used to resist harsher and harsher chemicals that are sprayed on fields…and it doesn’t stop there. There has been some experimenting with adding animal genes to plants to make them “stronger”, prettier or bigger. Right now, a genetically engineered salmon is waiting for approval. This will be the first animal on the market that is genetically modified in the US. What are some of the issues with GMO’s.. have you noticed more and more folks with allergies? There is a link between GMO’s and introducing new toxins and allergens to the world. In addition, researchers have found toxic pesticides in the umbilical cords of newborns. Want to do more? You can sign the petition to label GMO’s at, and check out websites like CHANGE, Pesticide Action Network North America and Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles for more information about chemicals

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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[dropcap]B[/dropcap]lack Women for Wellness is deeply relieved that the Florida state attorney general has arrested and will press 2nd degree murder charges against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It is one step forward toward achieving some type of social justice in this country for African American peoples, yet it is also a illustrative example of how far we need to go toward achieving equity and equality.
We mourn the death of Trayvon Martin, and know that his family will only find some peace with today’s charges against and arrest of George Zimmerman. But it is some peace, it is something to lend them solace that the life of their son will create a legacy of goodness. It is some solace that perhaps the next Zimmerman will think twice before assaulting or murdering an African American child, then stop. It is some solace that the next unjustifiable killing of an African American child will be prosecuted and the villain will be held accountable and responsible immediately. BWW hopes this will be the start of a trend that respects and values the lives of Black people…that the criminal justice system takes crimes against African Americans seriously, that our human rights will be upheld in courts of law because until today, there has been very very little reason for belief or trust in that system to actually render justice for folks of color.
Our attention needs to stay focused, please remember to keep the pressure on – we know from experience that juries can come back with interesting verdicts (this month marks the anniversary of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest following the acquittal of policemen who beat down Rodney King –to think we all believed our lying eyes) – we know that the maximum sentence might not happen – we know that many things can keep the family of Trayvon Martin from receiving the justice due, from the community of African Americans receiving justice long overdue. Our communities should plan to keep the pressure on, let this small victory fuel the passion, movement building and desire for justice that the family of Trayvon Martin and African Americans in general deserve.

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For Immediate Release: April 11, 2012

Contact: Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246, scoughlin@breastcan; Julia Liou, 310-804-9953, jliou@ahschc. org; Jamie Silberberger, 406-543-3747, jamies@womensvoices .org; Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephdh@gmail. com

Nail Polishes Test Positive for Toxic Chemicals Despite Label Claims
Consumers and nail salon workers can’t trust labels, highlighting the need for meaningful regulation of cosmetics

Sacramento –California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control announced yesterday that some nail care products typically found in many of California’s estimated 48,000 nail salons and sold directly to consumers contain high levels of hazardous chemicals despite their labels claiming otherwise. These chemicals, dibutyl phthalate and toluene, have been linked to birth defects, asthma and other chronic health conditions.

Dibutyl phthalate was banned from cosmetics in Europe in 2003, which prompted consumer groups to demand that the chemical be removed from products sold in the United States. Many top nail polish brands then began claiming their products were free of dibutyl phthalate, even labeling as such, but the DTSC tests reveal that products from brands including Sation, Dare to Wear, Chelsea, New York Summer, Paris Spicy, Sunshine, Cacie and Golden Girl actually contain high levels of the chemical.

This misbranding of nail polish is the latest in a series of scandals that have rocked the cosmetics industry, including formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowout hair straightener, lead in L’Oreal lipstick, carcinogens in Johnson’s baby shampoo and mercury in skin-lightening creams.

“Consumers have had it with the current system that tolerates cosmetics companies outright lying to consumers, putting dangerous chemicals in our products, and getting away with it,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund. “It’s clearer than ever that we need to overhaul our country’s outdated and broken cosmetics laws to protect workers and all of us.”

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is currently debating the inclusion of cosmetics regulation in must-pass user fee authorization bills, and health advocates are urging members to ensure that any regulation they adopt is meaningful and effective. They say the regulations must include the phase-out of ingredients linked to cancer and reproductive or developmental toxicity; a safety standard that protects workers, babies and other vulnerable populations; full disclosure of ingredients; and FDA authority to recall dangerous products from the market—all of which are elements of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R.2359), sponsored by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.

In the case of nail polish, worker safety is of particular concern, as nail salon workers are heavily exposed. In California there are approximately 121,000 nail technicians and 284,000 cosmetologists offering nail services on a part-time basis; more than 380,000 nationwide. Women make up 96 percent of this workforce. “Many salons choose brands that do not contain toluene and dibutyl phthalate as a way to protect workers and customers from potentially harmful exposure to these chemicals,” said Julia Liou of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance and co-founder of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. “The fact that some manufacturers are making false claims regarding their ingredients is a major public health problem. The heath of workers who use these products day in and day out is at stake here. No worker should suffer occupational exposures and health impacts due to manufacturer misrepresentation.”

For the report, DTSC sampled 25 nail care products bought from six San Francisco Bay Area locations. Of the 12 products that claimed to be free of at least one of what’s known as the “toxic-trio”—toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde, 10 contained toluene, and 4 contained dibutyl phthalate. Toluene is a neurological and a developmental toxicant that can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of short-term memory, and is proven to be toxic to a developing fetus. Both of these chemicals can impact the health of nail salon workers as well as consumers. Dibutyl phthalate can cause adverse effects on the male and female reproductive systems, as well as developmental problems in infants and children.

“Manufacturers that don’t get their labels right are putting those that do in a bad light,” said Debbie Raphael, DTSC director. “Manufacturers must ask themselves a basic question: ‘Is it necessary to make nail care products with these ingredients?’ Asking that question is a primary goal of DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations,” Raphael said. The regulations, scheduled to go into effect in 2012, are an effort to make selected product manufacturers analyze alternatives to toxic ingredients in their products.

“This report shows that companies are including harmful chemicals in their products, and are not being truthful about it,” said Miriam Yeung of the National Health Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance. “More disturbing is that the cosmetics industry continues to be almost completely unregulated—the FDA still does not have the power it needs to keep consumers and salon workers safe. Over 40 percent of nail salon workers are Asian American women. These are hardworking women trying to make a living while providing the service that their customers want. They deserve better.”

In 2006, under consumer pressure generated by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, leading salon nail polish manufacturer OPI agreed to remove the “toxic trio” chemicals—formaldehyde, toluene and DBP—from its nail polishes and treatments, and several other manufacturers followed suit. Yet the DTSC study highlights the fact that voluntary action on the part of industry is not backed by any kind of enforcement.

“Clearly we have a big problem. While the FDA has the responsibility to protect the public by ensuring cosmetics are safe and non-toxic, under current law it doesn’t have the authority to do so,” said Archer of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “The DTSC study illustrates the importance of states having the right to regulate toxic chemicals to protect people’s health, and that ultimately we need stronger laws at the federal level that set a bottom line of safety, no matter where you live and work.”

The DTSC report can be found online at http://dtsc. Prevention/ SaferNailProduct s.cfm.


The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include: Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.www.safecosme

Founded in 2007, the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance (Alliance) works to increase the health, safety, and rights of salon workers by reducing toxic chemical exposure and engaging in strategic movement building, policy advocacy, and media efforts nationwide.  The Allianceis a joint project of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (theCollaborative) , and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

Jamie Silberberger
Director of Programs and Policy
National Coordinator| National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance
Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE)
jamies@womensvoices .org
phone: 406.543.3747
fax: 406.543.2557
www.womensvoices. org

Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies.

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