Art & Culture



Monday, June 19, 2017

10 Things I Learned at the 2017 Hustle HER Way Summit!

Kesha Silver Photography 

I am a firm believer that empowered women empower women. I am also a firm believer that when you fill an entire room of powerful women, the result is pure magic. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to experience this kind of magic during Kyshira Moffett's Hustle HER Way Summit in Pittsburgh, PA.  Moffett is also a certified girl boss, with a variety of titles such as Brand Strategist, Business and Lifestyle Blogger, Author, and Bombshell to her brands, which includes: HER Movement, The KSM Group, Life of a Bombshell Cosmetics, and Hustle HER Way.

Moffett is such a kind and humble person, both inside and out. If you're thinking about attending Hustle HER Way next year, definitely read on!

1. Don't get caught up on what to wear 
Prior to the Summit, I definitely spent a ton of time thinking about to wear, what to pack, what not pack, etc. Although I do think it's important to dress your best, I think it's important to be realistic about several things 1) your finances, 2) your level of comfort, and 3) everyone has their own style. If you're considering attending Hustle HER Way next year but are not sure what to wear, I suggest looking at pictures from previous years or simply ask a friend what she's thinking of wearing to get some ideas.

2. It is crucial to SLAY in your LANE 
On night one of the Summit, PR maven Lola Sims talked to us about slaying in your lane, what it means, and why it's important to do so. "Slaying in your lane is owning who are. No one is going to think the way you think," she said. No matter the variety of moves she made and currently makes, Sims also mentioned that she was able to bring things she learned from one lane and apply it to another lane.

3. Be mindful of who you roll with 
"Relationships are like math. Pay attention to what people are adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing into your life and purpose." (Lachelle Binion,

4. Every FAB Hustler must have:

  • Fresh perspective and clarity 
  • Authentic presentation 
  • Biz Bestie (aka accountability partner) 
Teresa Renee Hunt (Life-Makeover Strategist)

5. Landing pages should be visually appealing 
"Your website is literally your digital website. When you're building your website, think about the process before the platform." (Rita Olds- Robinson, Web Designer,

6. Surefire ways to get publicity for your brand 
  • Build your squad  
  • Get digital house in order 
  • Know they goals 
  • Own your story 
    • (What is the story behind the brand?) 
  • Do your research 
  • Nail your pitch 
  • Dust yourself off (and try again!) 
Lauren Gill (Founder/Chief Power Specialist at Power Publicity) 

7. Enjoy the journey but don't rush the process 
"Don't stretch your life out trying to do everything at once." (Lakisha Greenswade, Personal Brand Strategist, 

8. Victory over defeat 
"Plan your success, not your failure." (Kyshira Moffett, Hustle HER Way Founder,

9. Go with your gut 
Whether you're starting something brand new or revisiting old ideas you haven't completed, go with your gut in each move you make. If something doesn't feel right, you will know it for sure. 

10. It's okay if you haven't established a brand...yet!
I was so inspired by everyone that I met, specifically to the point where they were encouraging me to launch my personal brand. I realized that in a sea full of amazing brands, it's okay if you haven't figured yours out yet. But it is important to spend time crafting, shaping, and developing it. 

Overall, Hustle HER Way was an amazing experience both professionally and personally. I left meeting new friends and endeavors, while also learning from different women from different walks of life. I am 100% sure that the future is DEFINITELY female.  I highly recommend any creative, entrepreneur, business owner, whomever, to attend next year; I know I will be! 

By: Ajea Nicole

Ajea Nicole is a 20 something from Boston, MA who craves anything style related. Though her love of style originated from scouring her mom’s closet, she often gleans style inspiration from Solange and June Ambrose. When she is not catching up on Project Runway, she can be found working out at the gym, reading a good book or somewhere in a sushi restaurant.

Connect with her!
Twitter: @ajeanicole
Instagram: @ajeanicole

Saturday, June 3, 2017

35 Reasons To Touch Yourself As a Form of Self-care

Self-care can be displayed in many ways. Simple things like manicures, spa days and a sip of wine.  Or other things that help your physical and mental well-being like meditation, prayer, yoga or a nice run in the park.  

These are great ways to center yourself in the name of self-care, but what seems to be omitted out of the self-care narrative is masturbation. Sexual satisfaction as means of self-care isn't usually a part of that list.  Solo-sex is usually something perceived as a devious act socially,  or something to be ashamed of.  Let's do away with those ideas, and welcome masturbation in you self-care regimen. 

Here are 35 reasons to touch yourself as a form of self-care Via

1. Masturbation keeps your yoni healthy.
3. Masturbation helps create & sustain your sexual sovereignty.
4. Masturbation is the best way to get to know your sexuality.
5. Masturbation relieves stress & tension in your body.
6. Masturbation gives you a delicious natural high.
7. Masturbation helps you have a better relationship with your desires.
8. Masturbation grounds you into your body.
9. Masturbation is an invitation to practice healthy selfishness.
10. Masturbation feels good.
11. Masturbation cultivates self-intimacy.
12. Masturbation can ease PMS symptoms, like cramping & moodiness.

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14. Masturbation fosters self-acceptance.
15. Masturbation is a natural sleep aid & fights insomnia.
16. Masturbation is free!
17. Masturbation makes the sex you have with others more enjoyable.
18. Masturbation promotes body mindfulness.
19. Masturbation helps you explore the many different orgasms you can have.
20. Masturbation helps you build sexual confidence.
21. Masturbation can jumpstart your creativity.
22. Masturbation creates an intimate kinship between you & your genitals.
23. Masturbation is the ultimate form of self-love.24. Masturbation is easy!
25. Masturbation helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
26. Masturbation expands your capacity to experience pleasure.
27. Masturbation helps cure headaches!
28. Masturbation is a great way to reconcile your relationship with porn.
29. Masturbation helps you have more orgasms more consistently.
30. Masturbation helps heal sexual core wounding & traumas.
32. Masturbation is a form of meditation.
33. Masturbation is a great way to stretch & play with your erotic imagination.
35. Masturbation is a bold gesture toward nurturing your sexual essence.

Steve Madden

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Poor Tax: How Car Ownership Disproportionately Penalizes Poor Communities

Everybody has preconceived notions about the poor, but one of the most common misconceptions is that they have access to cheaper, if lower quality, goods, and services. This simply isn’t the case. People without means have been penalized for hundreds of years, from vagrancy laws to low balance fees. Poor Tax is a monthly series on Ms. Vixen that was borne from a segment on the podcast Brunch & Budget on Bondfire Radio. The segment is curated by Dyalekt and it details everyday laws, services, and products that most of us may take for granted, but are a heavier burden on poorer and lower income communities.

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In NYC, we are fortunate. Most of us can get away with not having a car to get to work or run errands. Many native New Yorkers don’t even have driver’s licenses and Pam finally got her license at the age of 30 after having lived her whole adult life in Brooklyn.

For most of the country though, having a car is the only way to get to and from work and have the ability to buy groceries and other basic necessities. Even in other major cities, the bus and rail systems can be unreliable, don’t run 24/7, and often don’t reach into the suburbs. If they do, the housing costs to live near public transportation are usually 
 significantly higher.
So We Buy Cars.
The average American spends 20% of their income on transportation, but the average lower income person spends 32% on transportation. The cost of owning a car doesn’t go up or down based on income. If it costs you $400 to own a car, it’s $400 whether you make $2,000 per month or $1,500 per month.

To put it into perspective, in NYC, where we constantly complain about the cost of the Metrocard going up, a monthly unlimited card is $116.50, or about 5-8% of your income if you make between $1,500 and $2,000.

The cost to own and finance a car has also increased over the years. In 2014, the average car loan term was 66 months (over 5 years!) and the average cost after interest is around $27,000, with a resale value nowhere near that amount.

Essentially, you’re spending today’s dollars on a huge purchase that is only depreciating in value. Used cars are cheaper on purchase, but will invariably have unforeseen issues and need costly repairs. Those repairs take priority too, because a car can be the difference between gainful employment and a full day of judge shows. Carpooling isn’t an option when you live in a different town from the one you work 

How Did We Become Such a Car-Centric Country?

There is a fantastic explanation on the TruTV show, Adam Ruins Everything, about how jaywalking became illegal, and allowed cars to take over the road and it all leads back to the car industry. Roads used to just be the spaces between the buildings we walked to, until cars came smashing every horse and buggy in its path.

As a way to combat the stigma of cars constantly killing people in the streets, they coined the term “jaywalking” to put the blame on pedestrians for getting in the way of cars. Eventually, jaywalking became illegal. In case you care, a “Jay” was a hick that was too stupid and poor to to drive a car like a Real American.

Now our cities and towns are designed with cars in mind instead of people in mind and even major cities like LA are designed so it’s almost impossible to get around without a car or on public transportation because everything is built so far apart. Many areas have limited sidewalks and are covered by highways that are impassable for pedestrians.


Another clip explains that because we need space to drive and store all these cars, many cities bulldozed entire neighborhoods to create highways and throughways and some cities have up to 25% of their available land as parking lots.

Sometimes, it literally costs poor people more to own a car.

While it’s true that transportation costs are naturally going to be a higher percentage of your income if you make less money and some may argue that housing costs near public transportation are naturally going to be higher because of market demands, there are some situations where being poor is actually going to cost you more money simply because you make less money.

Subprime auto loans have grown in popularity among car dealerships since the Great Recession in 2008. With millions of Americans losing their jobs, getting their homes foreclosed, and damaging their credit, many only had the option to take out subprime auto loans, which allowed you to borrow money to purchase a car with bad credit or no credit and no assets or reserves.

Of course, the caveat was you could be paying upwards of 20% in interest. In 2009, auto financiers sold about $3 billion worth of subprime auto bonds through the securities markets. By 2014, that number was $22 billion.

Some auto insurance companies also charge higher premiums if you're poor. How do they know? In some states, insurance companies are allowed to ask your occupation and/or income. In other states, they tend to rate low-income neighborhoods as a "higher risk," for crime and theft to justify the increased premiums.

People go into debt to buy a car that takes them to a job that pays for the car. Any complication in that cycle can be disastrous. Yet another way the poor are encouraged to stay in their lane.

Pam & Dyalekt teach hip hop + finance workshops to kids, teens, and college students across the country. You can catch them talking about money and social justice and playing good music on their weekly radio show/podcast, Brunch & Budget on Bondfire Radio.
Social media:

Dyalekt insta @dyalekt
twitter @dyalektraps

Monday, March 27, 2017

How To Identify Victims of Sex Trafficking.

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We're all collectively on high alert regarding the many missing teenage Black and Brown girls currently in Washington D.C. What is also getting more awareness is the 64,000 missing Black women and girls currently in the USA. The cases of missing Black women and girls is being handled poorly, by law enforcement which we explore in a previous article Missing While Black

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In many cities across the country teenage girls of color are reported missing in large numbers, and many believe it's a result of human trafficking; specifically the sex trafficking of teenage girls. Many sources are disputing the spike in missing teenagers in D.C and attribute it to the social media contributing to heightened awareness. 

I myself have conversed on social media with people that think these girls are simply runaways and the heightened awareness of these cases is simply that, just hype. Which adds to how deeply Black women and girls are not a priority among the missing. According to The Huffington Post, teens targeted for sex trafficking are homeless teens and runaways and are fighting to live on the street. Runaways are being dismissed as simply that, rather than examining what they are running from, and what they are running towards. 

How do we save these girls, and provide safe spaces for them? One way to start is by being able to identify teens that have been forced into prostitution. Here are a few list provided by and

Some warning signs
  • Signs of physical abuse, such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
  • Unexplained absences from class
  • Less appropriately dressed than before
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Overly tired in class
  • Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out
  • Brags about making or having lots of money
  • Displays expensive clothes, accessories or shoes
  • New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking)
  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
  • Talks about wild parties or invites other students to attend parties
  • Shows signs of gang affiliation (i.e., a preference for specific colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)

    Common Work and Living Conditions: The individual(s) in question
    • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
    • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
    • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
    • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
    • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
    • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
    • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
    • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
    • High-security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

    Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

    • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
    • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
    • Avoids eye contact

    Poor Physical Health

    • Lacks health care
    • Appears malnourished
    • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

    Lack of Control

    • Has few or no personal possessions
    • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
    • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
    • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


    • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
    • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
    • Loss of sense of time
    • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

    To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733). 

    By Queen 
    Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
    Follow Queen 
    Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

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