J. Cole: Rapper, Producer And…Body Image Counselor?

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When hip-hop artists spout horribly misogynistic lyrics, the Twittersphere weighs in, the media chooses sides and sometimes protestors take to the streets. Fair enough, but how about we give credit to rappers when they do something right? J. Cole deserves a shout out for his new single “Crooked Smile” from his Born Sinner album. The song delivers an uplifting message to women who are plagued with insecurities: “Love yourself, girl, or nobody will.”

It’s fitting that Cole recruited T-Boz and Chilli to lend their voices to “Crooked Smile” because like TLC’s  hit “Unpretty,” the song is about impossible beauty standards and self-image. In the first verse, Cole brags that he’s maintained his success without fixing his “twisted grill” and his “thick as hell” eyebrows. He urges ladies to stop trying to cover up their own perceived flaws.

Oh, you a woman? I don’t know how you deal / With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels / I feel for you / Killing yourself to find a man that’ll kill for you / You wake up, put makeup on / Stare in the mirror but it’s clear that you can’t face what’s wrong / No need to fix what God already put his paint brush on

J. Cole continues to showcase his sensitive side in the second verse by reassuring us that we’re fabulous just the way we are.

Take it from a man who loves what you’ve got / And baby girl, you’re a star, don’t let ‘em tell you you’re not / Cause what’s real is something that the eyes can’t see / That the hands can’t touch / that them broads can’t be / and that’s you

He uses the last verse to remind us that we don’t have to look a certain way to go for what we want in life. And, as he points out, there are bigger, non-superficial problems in America.

We don’t look nothing like the people on the screen / You know them movie stars, picture perfect beauty queens / But we got dreams and the right to chase ‘em / Look at the nation, that’s a crooked smile even braces couldn’t straighten / Seem like half the race is either on probation, or in jail

Although “Crooked Smile” is a refreshing display of social awareness, it doesn’t mean that Cole’s entire album is warm and fuzzy. Rappers have the right to say what they want, and offensive lyrics aren’t going away anytime soon. But perhaps if we pay just as much attention to inspiring songs as we do the controversial ones, the latter won’t have as much power.

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Gabby Douglas: The OTHER Beauty Feature That’s Scoring Her Tons Of Buzz

So now that Gabby Douglas herself has told the world to stop all the “stupid, crazy” talk about her hair, let’s move on to a different topic. There’s something else about Gabby’s looks that gets a lot of attention. It’s one of the main things (besides her historic Olympic performance and inspiring backstory, of course) that’s helping her rack up millions in endorsements. Any guesses?

I’m referring to Gabby’s smile. It’s pretty dazzling. Like, light-up-the-whole-Olympic-stadium dazzling. I love Gabby’s megawatt grin, and I’ve noticed that in articles about her future money-making potential, it keeps coming up.

From Advertising Age:

No matter what she eventually earns, there is no denying her star power today. Along with her charming smile, Ms. Douglas has a certain every-teen quality that makes her an immediate hit.

From Essence:

It’s her amazing smile and girl-next-door appeal that has instantly made her America’s Sweetheart and a model spokeswoman for any brand – cosmetics, shoes, sports drinks.

From CNNMoney:

“She’s the new darling of America,” said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising and author of Sports Marketer’s Scouting Report. ”She has the look, the great smile, and seems like someone who could be a compelling pitch woman of products to teens and pre-teens.”

From Bleacher Report:

Corn Flakes is a great start for the 16-year-old. Her bubbly personality, warm smile and care-free attitude are things that almost every company looks for when promoting their products.

From Forbes:

She has a golden smile, and thus would be a great face for a corporate campaign.

From ABC News:

“That infectious smile and the joy — when you are trying to market a product, that’s what you want,” Miller said.

 So take that, hair haters! I’m sure Gabby will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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What would be your dream splurge for 2012?

 

Happy New Year! I love me some January. Despite the miserable weather, post-holidays withdrawal and the slightly depressing sight of dried out Christmas trees strewn on sidewalks, the month is so full of optimism. But let’s forget about all the usual boring health and fitness New Year’s resolutions for a minute and fantasize. If money was no object, and you could get any pricey beauty thing you wanted this year, what would you choose? I would definitely pick…

…lash extensions. I’ve had them in the past, but I got them again recently for my sister’s wedding and it reminded me of how much I love them. They’re not so great for your lashes (mine looked like nubs after I took the extensions off), but the results are amazing. They really do change your whole face. I got mine at a questionable salon in Korea Town and I paid $90 bucks. That’s a bargain considering they cost around $250 if you to a lash stylist that uses name brand lashes.

What would you splurge on if someone else were picking up the tab? Vote, then defend your decision in the comments section below.


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