The Break – Men Showing Affection

In this episode KC, Chris, Tash, Leisha, Shelby, Nicole and E. Green (from the Hip Hop Digest Show) discuss men showing affection to one another, getting the opportunity to value their whole selves, understanding their nature and having a Christian upbringing.

Music: Tom Misch – South East

Please leave your comments and feedback below or you can contact us via Twitter: @BLACKISONLINE; Facebook: Black Is Magazine; Email:; Voicemail: (323) 455-4219.

The Break – Can Women Rape Men?

In this episode KC, Chris, Tash, Leisha, Shelby, Nicole and E. Green (from the Hip Hop Digest Show) discuss young boys having sexual encounters with older women, the impact it has on their lives, teachers having relationships with students, why men allow it, the question of male rape and getting consent.

Music: Daft Punk – Giorgio to Moroder (LAKIM Smoov’d Out Mix)

Please leave your comments and feedback below or you can contact us via Twitter: @BLACKISONLINE; Facebook: Black Is Magazine; Email:; Voicemail: (323) 455-4219.

The Break – Marriage Legal For All

In this episode KC, Chris, Toria, Tash, Leisha, Shelby, Arion and The Other Chris discuss gay marriage being legal, John Hopkins Hospital’s view on transgenderism, and the ability of a business to refuse service.

Please leave your comments and feedback below, or you can contact us via Twitter: @BLACKISONLINE; Facebook: Black Is Magazine; Email:; Hotline: (323) 455-4219.

Subscribe to us on StitcheriTunesTuneIn & SoundCloud!


The Pros and Cons of Obamacare

There is a criticism of Barack Obama that I hear levied against him, not primarily from white people or Republicans, but from black people, that I take some issue with. It is the claim that President Obama has not done, or has not tried to do, anything for black people. Some will point out that he has championed immigration reform for Hispanics and gay marriage for gay people, but nothing for us. Those who say so however probably have not considered this point within the context of health care in the African-American community. Some conservative critics of the healthcare overhaul have criticized the reform as a 100% solution to a 10% problem. And they’re right, in a way. It had been widely reported at the beginning of the healthcare debate and before that there were 46 million Americans without health insurance in this country. Really though it was never that bad; 10 million Americans without health insurance are people making above $75,000 a year who did not want insurance. 14 million were eligible for state sponsored care and never enrolled, while 6 million were eligible for insurance through their employer but never took advantage of it (another 5 million are undocumented immigrants, another 5 million are legal immigrants who are not insured for various reasons) thus leaving about 6 million Americans without reasonable access to health insurance. Too big a number to be sure, but a relatively small percentage of the American population. Yet of that 6 million, most are black Americans, making what might be thought of as a 10% problem for the rest of America a 100% problem for us. In seeking to expand healthcare coverage for all Americans, President Obama was not simply doing something for the country at large; he was doing something for the black community.

Yet and still there are serious concerns to be had about the new legislation as it unfolds, as well as things to be grateful for. The number one positive thing which the Affordable Care Act (its legal name) does is expand coverage to millions of Americans who did not have it previously (assuming the unfortunate glitches with the website are eventually worked out). As noted, in the black community that is a particularly big deal. Medicaid expansion, subsidies available to lower income Americans, and coverage mandates for children and young adults up to the age of 26 as well as for people with pre-existing conditions will help secure the healthcare of millions, including those who are economically and physically the most vulnerable among us. This is a victory for the health of the black community, and for all those who were unable to afford care.

For the black middle class however, and for working class black families and others making more than a relatively modest income (above $43,000 a year for individuals and above $92,000 a year for a family of four, though keeping in mind too that for many making less than these levels but still doing relatively well the subsidies available to them are smaller) there is an increased economic burden resulting from the law that needs to be acknowledged. One of the reasons for passing the ACA to begin with was to help control rising premiums, costs that have been straining the budgets of many American families, and black families are no exception. But for most people in this income range, premiums are not only still too high but are still getting higher, especially for those who don’t receive employer based coverage. (A study by the Manhattan Institute has shown that average premiums on the individual market have risen 99% for men since the implementation of the law.) Particularly as minimum coverage requirements are applied to insurance plans on the individual market, and as insurance companies seek to recoup monies spent on guaranteeing coverage for those with preexisting conditions by passing costs on to other consumers, it seems that what we can expect is for middle class premiums generally to continue to rise even as subsidies and Medicaid increase affordability and access to care for poor and for many working class African Americans.

One might say that this is a fair trade off, and maybe it is. But we shouldn’t be quick to give up on making things easier for the middle class. After all, the prosperity of this nation and certainly the future success of the black community are built upon having a thriving middle class, and insuring affordable health coverage for the middle class is a necessary part of that process. To that end there are many more reforms to be considered, from defensive medicine reform, to expanding competition across state lines, to encouraging Health Savings Accounts, etc.

The point is that, in some important areas, we have made progress. But make no mistake: the effort to fix the healthcare system continues.

LA EVENTS: Leimert Park Village African Art & Music Festival

This is the most anticipated Labor Day event in LA – where people party all day and night!!!

The 5th Annual FREE Leimert Park Village African Art & Music Festival in Historic Leimert Park Village is a FREE 3-day event, scheduled for Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 31, Sept. 1 & Sept. 2, 2013 in the heart of LA’s most dynamic cultural enclave for African and African American culture enjoyed by over 10,000 people from all council districts. Our highly anticipated festival features jazz, blues, reggae, R&B, neo-soul, Afro-beat, spoken word, comedy, traditional African drumming and dance.

In addition to our exceptional music, there are 5 special events that occur during the festival: 1) a Fashion Show, 2) a Natural Hair Show, 3) Sankofa Sunday – a remembrance of those that have transitioned in the past year, 4) a Legacy Awards Ceremony and 5) Leimert Park After Dark – entertainment in and around Leimert Park that occur after 6pm on Sat. & Sun. nights.

Our multi-generational and multi-ethnic audience will enjoy browsing and shopping in our authentic African Marketplace that has over 50 fine art and quality craft vendors selling paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, jewelry, designer clothes, and quality crafts from around the African Diaspora.

We also have age-appropriate activities and distinct areas for children and teens and an international food court with vegetarian, vegan and meat entrees, quick bites, snacks, desserts and drinks.

We invite you to join over 10,000 people who eagerly look forward to this annual event that showcases the best national and local talent.

Email Us:

Like Us:

Follow Us:

Join Us:

Stay Informed:

Dates: Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 31, Sept. 1, Sept. 2, 2013
Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, daily
Location: Vision Theater Special Events Lot, 4318 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008

Transitioning Your Hair From Processed to Natural (PODCAST)

BI Fam, today we are introducing you to a new podcast segment with one of LA’s master natural hair stylists, Brandii Holloway, owner and operator of 2814 Hair Studio. The idea for this podcast came about as a result of my conversations with two of my cousins who are currently transitioning their hair. One I talk to constantly, swapping product suggestions and photos of our experimenting with styles. The other I try to encourage to stay the course when the process of transitioning becomes frustrating. It occurred to me that perhaps there are other women out there who are committed to the process, but find it challenging – so I called in an expert. Listen in as Brandii and I discuss what transitioning means, the best styles for anyone in the process, do’s and don’ts and resources to consult to educate yourself about managing your natural hair. Enjoy!

African First Ladies Unite to Improve the Health of Women and Children

A coalition of African First Ladies, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the African Union Commission to the United States, will hold a summit in Los Angeles, California, April 2-4 with American business leaders and foreign assistance agencies to improve health care for women and children in Africa.

Nearly 20 First Ladies from African nations are planning to gather for the health summit, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles-based nonprofit US Doctors for Africa, with support from the Cameroon-based organization of African First Ladies, African Synergy, and the group of 54 nations comprising the African Union who are responsible for organizing the second in a series of African First Lady Health Summits dating back to 2009. The Los Angeles Intercontinental Hotel will be the summit headquarters for the event.

Ted Alemayhu, founder of US Doctors for Africa, praised the dedication of the African First Ladies to improve health care and infrastructure in support of Every Woman Every Child, an unprecedented global movement spearheaded by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.

“I applaud your vision, fortitude, and tireless efforts to improve access to quality healthcare for women and children,” Alemayhu said. “We look forward to welcoming you, building stronger partnerships, and mobilizing more resources to reach your objectives.”

Forty-three African first ladies have been invited to the summit, and participation so far is anticipated by at least 15 nations: Angola, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Swaziland; including the First Lady of Haiti who is also expected to attend.

US Representative Karen Bass, of California’s 37th District, Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, will welcome the group to Los Angeles. Additionally, prominent women leaders will gather for a special breakfast entitled `Ladies First: Healthy Country, Healthy Citizens’ hosted by Marcia L. Dyson’s `Women’s Global Initiative’ and featuring actresses and advocates Tichina Arnold and Tatyana Ali on day two of the conference. The closing gala awards address will be given by Desiree Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing, a lifestyle company inspired by the African-American experience and the home of Ebony and Jet magazines, and Fashion Fair cosmetics.

Corporate sponsors include Unither Virology and Procter & Gamble. Nonprofit sponsors include Santa Monica-based emergency response group International Medical Corps and Jhpiego, a health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.

The reigning Miss USA, Nana Meriwether, will also join the summit to use the influence of her title to raise awareness about health care in Africa. Having roots in South Africa, Meriwether co-founded The Meriwether Foundation, which supports four African nations with HIV/AIDS programs.

More details and information about the summit and registration can be found at Follow us on Twitter @1stLadiesAfrica and `Like’ our Facebook Page First Ladies of Africa Health Summit for up-to-date information prior to the summit.

From 500 To 1: The Death Of The African-American Owned Hospital

The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations. – Will Durant

The idea that someone else will care for you, your family, or your community better than you seems to be the purveying attitude of African America in almost every facet of our strategy today. This is of course assuming you believe we have an institutional strategy of our own to begin with. Instead of building and competing for power and control we seem content on waiting for others to share their spoils with us because it is the “right” thing to do only to be “shocked” when others idea of right and our idea of right do not acquiesce.

The history of African America and health has always been a precarious one. A people descended from the medical genius, Imhotep, known as the “father of medicine” who performed the earliest known surgery to the inspiring story of Dr. Ben Carson in present times. Healing sanctuaries and temples to the goddess Sekhmet are known to be the earliest “hospitals” to date. Fast forward a few thousand years to America and African Americans in Detroit alone owned and operated 18 hospitals of their own between 1917 to 1991. The confines within their own hospitals and medical ecosystem would seemingly be the only place where safety existed. From colonial times to present time, as noted in Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington, when African Americans went outside of their own medical ecosystem we were and are subject to some of the most brutal medical experiments and abuses known in medical history. In an interview with Democracy Now, Ms. Washington is quoted giving examples of these abuses from past to present, “James Marion Sims was a very important surgeon from Alabama, and all of his medical experimentation took place with slaves. He took the skulls of young children, young black children — only black children — and he opened their heads and moved around the bones of the skull to see what would happen. He bought, or otherwise acquired, a group of black women who he housed in a laboratory, and over the period of five years and approximately forty surgeries on one slave alone, he sought to cure a devastating complication of childbirth called vesicovaginal fistula.” Ironically, as it were, Dr. Sims would go on to become president of the American Medical Association. Ms. Washington then goes on to present times stating “It’s black boys who have been singled out for these very dangerous experiments, such as a fenfluramine experiment that took place right here in New York City between 1992 and 1997. A lot of the abuse in African Americans has dissipated, but that kind of research is being conducted in Africa, where the people are in the same situation. They don’t have rights. They don’t have access to medical care otherwise, and Africa is being treated as a laboratory for the West by Western researchers.” Despite this obvious and consistent pattern of behavior we continue to seek to dismantle our own medical ecosystem.

It is no secret that the health of the African American community has always been in peril. Arguably today, more so than it has ever been in our history in this country. To some, the issues of medicine are a one size fits all prescription for any human anywhere. It is true we all have the same anatomy certainly but historical diet from our ancestry, environment, stress from the Middle Passage, slavery, and socioeconomic burdens that culminated after desegregation have taken its toll and many other factors create unique factors in the African American health dynamic. In fact, every group  based on their historical geography and diet has unique health features in their present health makeup. As such what is conducive to one group will not necessarily work for another. The variables at play do not provide for blanket medical solutions or care. Biological diversity exist in every species be it cats (lions, cheetahs, tigers) or humans. Yet, our desire to ignore these realities for the sake of creating a racial or ancestral Utopia has created a boom in our health risk with no seemingly end in sight. The numbers bear out a bleak picture of African American health today. African American life expectancy is 4.3 years less than the average American and 4.8 years less than European Americans. We currently have the highest age-adjusted death rate among all populations. The infant mortality rate in America for all is 6.8 per 1000 births yet for African America it is 13.2 per 1000 births. Approximately 20 percent of all African Americans are uninsured versus a national average of 15.9 percent. We are going extinct and do not even realize it.

Nathaniel Wesley Jr.’s book “Black Hospitals in America: History, Contributions and Demise” points out that at our apex there were 500 African American owned and controlled hospitals. Today, Howard University in Washington D.C. is the last one standing. In 1983 as Dillard University was selling its hospital Flint-Goodridge their president at the time, Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook stated that its demise was a result of “tragic mismanagement, social change that desegregated hospitals, financial irregularities, the fact that 90 percent of the patients were on Medicare or Medicaid and the loss of broad community support”. It would be hard not to assume that these were the underlying cause of the majority of most African American owned hospitals since as we know fervently believe that our proverbial ice could not possibly be as cold as the ice in other communities.

Rethinking the role of hospitals in general is needed given the rapid rise of healthcare cost but especially so in the African American community where the ability to afford private healthcare is almost impossible given our lack of wealth. While Asian and European America’s median net worth both approach $100,000 the African American median net worth is close to $2,000 and dropping according to the Economic Policy institute. Hospitals in our communities should be fashioned as health and wellness focused on preventive care, nutrition, and alternative medicines more unique to our biology. HBCUs themselves while not all needing to build hospitals should all be investing in community clinics that are connected regionally with an African American owned hospital. The pre-med and business programs should create more courses on the development of these facilities. Its impact on both wealth creation and health improvement would do wonders for African America as a whole.

It could be said that for all the benefits of the Affordable Healthcare Act proposed by President Obama, our longer term interest in building a medical ecosystem focused on the needs and issues that face the African American and African Diaspora community would go much farther in improving our health as a people. After all if health is wealth and wealth is created by ownership then we must once again build and own the ecosystem that is the DNA of our blood, sweat, and tears.

Mr. Foster is the Interim Executive Director of HBCU Endowment Foundation, Founder of the HBCU Chamber of Commerce, sits on the board of directors at the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy, & President of AK, Inc. A former banker & financial analyst who earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics & Finance from Virginia State University as well his master’s degree in Community Development & Urban Planning from Prairie View A&M University. Publishing research on the agriculture economics of food waste, full-time contributor at HBCU Money, and guest contributor for a number of African American media outlets.

Where to Draw the Line: Dealing with Stress in College

It is without a doubt that being a college student entails a lot of responsibility. From the load of homework we bring upon ourselves to the extra tasks we take on such as extracurricular activities and a job, being a college student is a job by itself. Day by day, going through the same routine gets harder and harder as you physically and mentally want to shut down; but the only thing that keeps you going is the finish line, that last semester right before you graduate where you will finally receive your diploma. The idea that “I need to graduate no matter what it takes” is a common ideology among dedicated college students whether your parents have money to send you to college or you have to work two jobs in order to stay enrolled. Dedication, jobs, and other activities aside, it is important for students to know their limits and where to draw the line between being a dedicated student and putting too much pressure on oneself.

The most common experience college students go through throughout their educational career is stress. In relation to a higher education, stress is the result of multiple college experiences and situations. From peer pressure to the amount of school work we receive, stress is a major problem for college students across the United States. According to, 80% of college students state that every now and then they experience daily stress. Daily stress can come in the form of the extra paper the professor assigned or even the desire to be socially accepted amongst your colleagues so one doesn’t feel alone. Above all else, it’s that drive to not fail our classes that prepare us for our future, the parents that are investing their own money to send us to college, and more importantly, ourselves, that keep college students under the pressure to finish college strong. But even with the daily stress that college students go through, knowing your own limit and where to draw that line is paramount in order to be successful.

As a college student, it’s easy to get sucked into the social norms of dedicating your life to your education. Each day I find myself as a student wondering if my studies have become the most important factor in my life. Have I drawn a clear line as to where my dedication to school exceeds other responsibilities and my own comfort zone? Pensive about my own life, I still continue to stress about attaining straight A’s but at the same time not being looked upon as uncool because of my “perfectionist” view about college. Even with my own insecurities about my educational direction, I know never to lose myself in the process. Building on social, educational, and organizational strategies assist me in not becoming stressed to the point of self-destruction. When I have piles of homework I have to complete in a short amount of time, I use a planner to write everything down neatly to form a schedule which mentally saves me from destructing. In addition, I try to take breaks and eat so I won’t physically break down. I’ll also sometimes study with classmates so we can bask in our stress together and find relief with encouraging words and hopefully a finished assignment. With these different strategies, the outcome is always one of physical, social and mental contentment.

If nothing is taught to you through the hands-on experience of being stressed in college, one thing you can gain from the college experience is that all students have our unique way of handling our individual situations. Speaking to your advisor or the school psychiatrist will never change that factor. But beneath all that, the question still remains: Where do we draw this line? The separation between dedication and stress? Social acceptance and overwhelming despondency? It’s wherever you feel comfortable. Although you should never settle less than your own personal goals, your own physical and mental health comes before any inflicted pressure to become successful.


Oily Skin (Hyper Secretion/Excess Oil/Sebum)

Characteristics:  a skin type that you are born with. The skin has an over production of oil or sebum.

Causes:  Genetics/Heredity.

Results:  Large pores, shiny areas, possible breakouts; can be dehydrated; diminishes with age.

The solution?   Cleansers that are foamy or gel based; Proper exfoliation with enzymes, acids, non-shell/seed scrubs.  Masks should be clay or mud based. Serums & Moisterizers should be water based.

Ingredients to look for: Salicylic Acid, Kaolin Clay, NDGA, Probiotics, Anti-Microbial Peptides, Essential Oils of Tea Tree, Citrus,Cornmint.

Clinical Treatments :  should  absorb excess oil, detoxify and revitalize.  Consult your Esthetician to select the products/professional treatments best suited for you. If you have any questions or don’t have an Esthetician, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help you.

Sherilyn Rhymes, L.E. has been practicing her passion in the skin care and make-up industry for over 12 years.  She continues to learn and explore new areas of skin care and dermatological studies on an on-going basis through the world renowned International Dermal Institute in Carson, California. Sherilyn’s goal is to “save the world one skin cell at a time”. Leave a comment for her if you have questions – she will respond!