Gays in the Life

building our white picket fence.

Category: Social

Why I’m Canceling SheaMoisture.

After a lot of thought, consideration, and a recent purchase of a large bottle of Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo, I’ve decided to cancel SheaMoisture. By cancel, I mean I will not be buying anymore of their products or endorsing the brand to friends, family, or my followers. Now, I don’t plan on wasting any of my money. By the time the few SheaMoisture products I do have run out, I’ll have found replacements and will make the time to kick it fully natural again when it comes to my hair and skincare.


Earlier this week the brand released a video featuring young white women sharing their hair struggles. That’s cute and all, but seriously? Take a look at SheaMoisture’s cover photo on Twitter and tell me where all those women were in this commercial. I’m a black man who grew up in a mixed black family. When it comes to hair struggle? I know it all too well.


One young lady mentioned how she just couldn’t do anything with her pin-straight hair and the other went on about how she had to bleach her hair – leaving her natural red color behind. Girls – this includes you SheaMoisture – get out of here with that nonsense!


I’m all for a brand branching out and including all ethnicities, but black women basically made SheaMoisture the natural, fair trade beast that they are in the industry.  Why would you exclude the primary source of your coins and success from this commercial?


What made matters worse – because I was going to let this slide after their half-assed apology on Twitter – was thanking Tariq Nasheed. Tariq is an anti-racism strategist who got on the case of angry black SheaMoisture supporters for being upset about the flat and offbeat commercial.


Tariq tweets:


So yall don’t want 2 boycott businesses like:
*Asian nail shops that beat up BW
*Companies that support Trump
But Shea Moisture is the issue”


Excuse me, sir? Have you not been part of any post-election conversation since November 2016? We’ve got apps like Boycott Trump and a long list of known Trump supporting businesses and brands that we’re doing our best to avoid and guess what, the list of small, minority-owned businesses are just as long. Forgive us for taking our money and support to brands that support its community, and have marketing teams that are smart enough to find ways to include everyone without completely disregarding the customer base that gave you the most traffic and sales – the customers that put you in major stores like Target across the nation.


SheaMoisture responded to Tariq as follows:


“We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty and support.  It’s wonderful people like you that keep us going strong, Tariq!


They could have left that response in the PR crisis meeting. Wow. So you’re going engage this ignorance? One could ask Tariq how he feels, after he’s had more time to think on it; about how his ancestors would feel about all of this.


I’m fully aware that white women can have just as much trouble with hair and texture as any other person from around the globe, but why cast these young ladies with the lines they had in this commercial? You’re complaining about having red hair – red hair is GORGEOUS in my opinion – and having to bleach your hair? Okay, for one, bleaching your hair isn’t the best for it, but sure, go ahead and sell those restorative products; I love rocking blonde hair. What happened to nurturing the hair you have and maintaining that hair with products like SheaMoisture?


All these ladies had to do was get a cut and color. Where was the kinky-haired white girl chopping it up with other young ladies that have actual hair struggles? The struggles you use to sell your products currently. These ladies weren’t sitting under searing hot combs or feeling the rage of a screaming scalp as your mother, aunts, or grandmother untangled tight coils from each other. You want to talk about hair struggle? Talk to all the females in my family who have gorgeous and extremely challenging hair. MY hair is extremely challenging, but I’m going to let the ladies have this one for obvious reasons.  


So what good does canceling do? Well, it may not do much at first, but companies like SheaMoisture will get the picture when smaller companies, companies that started just like them, take their place at the top of the natural industry. On every bottle of SheaMoisture they share the story of how their grandmother gathered and sold shea butter and African black soap in Africa and transformed people’s spirits and changed her family’s life with her hustle. Where’s that commercial? Keep it simple, stupid. How’s that for some direction in your next marketing meeting, SheaM?


For some good discussion and reads on this topic, I recommend the following podcasts:


Gettin’ Grown, Episode “Shea Dry,” start about 14:10:00 into the show.

The Read, Episode “Plight of the Light,” start about 1:37:15 into the show.

Let Love Be. Congrats, Serena Williams!

I love this tweet so much. Masculinity is so fragile. Beyond words, really.

Keep up with us on Twitter @GaysintheLife.

Pepsi & Kendall Jenner Stir Up Controversy with New Jump In Ad

A fabulous wrap-up about the new Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Well said and presented.

Alexis Chateau PR

When it comes to public relations and marketing, Pepsi Co. is a brand to be reckoned with. Over the years, the mega-food company has attracted the endorsement of pop culture and music legends like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, Aretha Franklin, and The All-American Rejects.

So why not Kendall Jenner?

The Backlash

But when Pepsi released the Jump In commercial, starring Jenner, on April 4, 2017, it was not to critical acclaim. Journalists and consumers alike labelled the ad “tone-def”, and called it an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter campaign to sell a can of soda.

Symone Sanders, a CNN Political Commentator said:

Literally, Pepsi just used Kendall Jenner to co-opt the resistance to sell a freakin’ can of soda. Okay?

There were no police pictured in riot gear as they often are when Black and Brown people are putting their bodies on the line…

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Day: 16 New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve

While just about everywhere out East is dealing with the last bits of Winter. (Hopefully) I’ve curled up with a nice warming stout. And what a stout I’ve picked to warm myself today! New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Reserve Triple Mash. A bourbon barrel stout aged in New Holland’s own whiskey barrels. At 17% this is […]

via Day: 16 New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve —

Ink’d: The Grizzly Comes to Life

The North American Grizzly bear. This strong and courageous creature represents my innermost Alaskan self and breathes life into the soft and dangerous parts of my personality. I’m a very cool and cuddly person, until I’m not… Get into my latest tat in this video I pieced together – with the help of my sister, Lenci – on ink day.

Feel the burn and enjoy,


Big shouts to Kenny Slone and the crew at Ink Therapy Tattoo in Plainfield, Indiana. The customer service there is beyond great and you’re guaranteed to have a blast during your session.

Support the ACLU of Indiana Podcast!

So I haven’t found the podcast on iTunes yet, but here is the SoundCloud link and info:


It’ll be important to stay informed and ahead of the game during this presidency. Support the ACLU of Indiana or you local ACLU organization. I’ll most definitely be following this podcast. Please feel free to share this info with your friends and family.

More here:

Today’s Workplace Under a Trump Presidency:

A co-worker came up to me on Monday afternoon, alerting me that someone hadn’t read my don’t-let-the-coffee-overflow sign and that there was a mess. She continued on to say “It was probably those Indians over there… they probably don’t know how to make coffee.”
My blood boiled. “I’m pretty sure the fact that they’re Indian has nothing to do with them not checking the coffee level.” I said in a shitty and cold tone. She immediately began to backtrack as I directed my attention back to my computer screen. She kept talking but I stayed silent until she left me the hell alone.
Most of our IT department is made up of people from all over the world. How could this white woman be so dense as to share a comment like this with me – An African American male. Oh… it’s because she’s white. She has no experience being marginalized or scrutinized because her skin isn’t full of melanin and she doesn’t have an accent.
Had I gone off in that moment? Raised my voice to tell her how stupid she sounded? I would be the one looked at first. Why? Because I’m a large, black male… speaking loudly to a frail, sweat-stained white woman.
Again, readers of this comment, when I say “white people,” I’m not talking about all of you. Believe me. People of color in today’s America have figured out exactly who they can trust on that front. We know not all white people feel this way.
I urge everyone to correct behavior like this and embarrass the hell out of the individual spewing disgusting, dimwitted, and disrespectful remarks like this. She deserved to feel that embarrassment and shame in that moment, and she’s lucky I didn’t go to HR on her. I could have… but I’m a busy professional and I don’t have the time to correct ignorance. Not without a huge raise, anyway.
I could read the hell out of her for so many things right now, outside of her despicable and small existence, but I won’t do that. I’m better than that, and so are you. 

Happy 31st Birthday Lauren Conrad!

Happy birthday to one of the first to star in a semi-scripted reality show (allegedly), Lauren Conrad. She is a true pioneer in the reality show realm, I think that we can all agree with that. We were first introduced to LC when she was just 17 years old on ‘Laguna Beach’, she then got […]

via Happy 31st Birthday Lauren Conrad! — Celebrities are tragic

5 Reasons Pam De Beaufort and I Could be Family

Anyone else a fan of HBO’s True Blood? I’ve been rewatching the series and have come to the conclusion that Pam De Beaufort and I are long lost family members. Take a few minutes to get to know Pam before you continue:


Are some of you starting to see the similarities? If you’ve seen my uncensored side, you can’t deny that this would be me if I were a cold, golden, Pharrell-Williams-like Vampire. Let’s get into it…

*ONE* We’re not here for the bullshit. If you say something sideways to us or challenge us without enough ammo to survive the verbal lashing you’ll receive a swift few seconds after you’re finished speaking your last word? Just watch out and don’t expect us to feel any type of way about it.


*TWO* We keep it classy but bring the slayage when necessary. Let’s face it… we always slay. It’s a requirement in both our lives and spirits and deep down I know she’s a Beyonce fan.



*THREE* We really only cry when we’re pissed off or full of rage and frustration. Deep down inside we’re big softies, but we can’t let anyone know that – unless you’re in our inner circle, but still, tread lightly.


*FOUR* We’re team players even when we don’t want to be.  Pam and I both share many experiences in stepping up for the betterment of whatever grand scheme or mission we’re executing. It’s nice to worry about me, myself, and I – when we get the chance – and will never turn down a good mani-pedi session.


*FIVE* We’re natural born leaders. No matter how annoyed we may become in a moment, we get the job done and get it done right. And come on… If I had a throne on a stage? My fierce levels would be out of control; much like Pam’s.


I love me some Pam and True Blood. If you are familiar with the show, let me know in the comments which character you’re most like or could possibly share blood with. I see Pam as a snippy older sister I never had, lol.

Guest Post: A Woman’s Worth


If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know about that moment pre-impact when your body naturally tenses up in response to the impending collision. That feeling, when everything is moving in slow motion, and your head is filled with alternative scenarios and “what have I done?” – THAT is the feeling within me that has slowly been building under pressure since the late hours of November 8th.

Today, the day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, that same question is blasting repeatedly in my mind: “What have I done? What have WE done?” Last night, as I was lamenting my lack of participation in the Women’s March on Washington, my husband looked at me and said “Well, no worries. We voted. We tried.” It’s true. I voted. I voted for Hillary.  What more could I have done? Where did we go wrong? And then the flood came…

I remembered being very young, sitting in the dressing room with my mother as she tried on dress after dress after dress. She was looking in the mirror, grabbing at bits of flesh, desperately trying to rearrange her post-partum body, half-heartedly “joking” (was it a joke?) that I was to blame for her stretch marks and her size 12 pants. She used words like “fat”, “ugly”, and “cellulite” over and over again. I’d thought she was beautiful. Was she not beautiful? Was I mistaken? Was I also fat and ugly?

I remembered my first interactions with bullies. A boy in 4th grade said I sounded like a boy. In the 7th, I was intentionally tripped during the mile-run in gym class because it took me too long. In 9th grade I was “too fat” for shorts and the line of sweat running down my back was pointed out in class after I’d raced to make it before the bell. The snickers in band class when someone whispered that the way my hair fell made me look like the head of a penis. Being dumped for another girl who would “look better naked while sprawled across the hood of a car.” Being called a “slut” for the first time.

I remembered my escape to college, where I’d hoped things would most certainly change for me. The sexual assault in my dorm room, being held face down on my college-issued dorm mattress, inhaling those who had slept soundly on it before me, silently paused for perhaps my one and only prayer, my roommate ignoring what was happening.

I remembered waking up in the middle of the night, next to my ex-boyfriend, who was trying to pull my panties down without waking me. Pretending to be asleep so I could see just how far he would go. Feeling the violation and realizing it was not going to end with just touching. “Waking up”. Being told I’d pulled them down myself. That same man later distributing a naked photo to his friends, MY friends, our mutual friends…strangers…for the purpose of shaming me. Only much later, being informed of the picture’s existence by an acquaintance.

I remembered, after giving birth to my son, and experiencing a very rare post-partum stroke, my life hanging by a thread, being asked if I’d “lost the weight”. Having to use the stroke as an explanation for why I still look like this.

I remembered that despite all of these things, I had managed to chug along. But most of all, I remembered not saying a word.

The harsh reality is, my plight is not unique. Many women have similar stories to share. It isn’t even unique to my race, sex or gender. But somehow, SOMEHOW, it’s over-looked and ignored. Those who commit such atrocities against us are glorified. In high school, they were popular. In the workplace, they are viewed as “go-getters”, “strong”…even presidential. I wanted desperately to believe that once the people heard about Trump’s disregard for women, the LGBTQ community and minorities, there would be some pause.  On November 9th, I cried because again, I felt the burden of my biological form.

Throughout my life, I did not get to decide what happened to my body. Feeling good about myself was not an option.  I was defined by my image.

When my husband told me I’d done what I could…that I’d tried because I voted, I became angry. Angry because I realized that by not saying anything, I’d contributed to the problem. I’d taken the blame, fully, and unequivocally. But nothing that happened was my fault, and the only person in control of my body is me.

Believe it or not, the collision has not yet come. We are losing our access to contraceptives, we are losing our reproductive rights, we are losing our right to breastfeed and the resources that are currently in place to protect it, we are still making less than our male counterparts, and there will be federal tax cuts to organizations focused on preventing violence against women. But we need not and should not simply brace for impact. The time for action is now. March! If you cannot march, donate! If you cannot donate, volunteer! If you cannot volunteer, share! And if you cannot share, at the very least, please listen.

And always remember, you are not alone.


One Nasty Woman