Ariana Proehl Ariana Proehl

Ariana Proehl + Single Black Women

It feels somehow wrong to write about Ariana Proehl. She’s the creator of a YouTube video calling for the “Death of the Tragic, Scientifically Less Attractive, Unmarriageable, Single Black Woman Narrative” in 2012. Proehl, like many Black women who have sat through a slew of monthly trend pieces, news segments and blog posts analyzing our alleged miserable dating lives and the multitude of causes (always attributed to our generalized disposition, basic expectation and the overall lacking of Black men) wants all the fuss to finally come to a full stop.

“Deading it, it’s done, it’s over,” Proehl says in the video. "So after 2011 I don’t want to read any more articles. I don’t even want to read any more well researched, intelligent thoughtful responses. It’s a waste of our brain trust that has better issues to be attending to and has real issues that need to be solving.”

Sorry, but I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t give Proehl—and the others who champion single Black women-- some shine for positivity and truth-telling when I’ve always responded, and by unfortunate proxy, spread the fear-mongering negative news. Proehl might not agree, but what the conversation about single Black women needs more than anything in 2012, isn’t the moratorium she calls for, more like more conversations to undo the damage by giving sensible souls a voice. Maybe just maybe that will combat the idea that their sum total of a Black woman rests on whether a man puts a ring on it, and if she can call her partner, if she has one, her “huszzzband."

The tragic Black single woman narrative is the deceased horse that seemingly everyone loves to beat. And it’s been effective. I hear traces of panic and fear from many of the clients I work with as a life coach, from the dating and relationship questions I answer on Formspring to casual conversations where women I barely know pull me aside and say with more than a hint of panic and a full cup of shame about being single, “Can you help me meet someone?” The damage has been done, and calling for a moratorium on the issue as a whole won’t clean up the BP-sized spill.

Forgive me for adding to the Single Black Woman Archive of Stories, but I feel compelled to because the affirming, positive stories like Proehl’s don’t get told often enough up on the mountain. When Psychology Today releases a story “verifying” that Black women were less attractive, or when Tyrese adds his two cents about Black women being “too independent,” or author Rick Banks publishes "Is Marriage for White People?", I can’t go to Facebook or Twitter or e-newspaper or e-mail without hearing about it 50-11 times.

But when researchers from Howard and Morehouse put forth a joint study, as they did in August, declaring that 75% of Black women have been married at least once by 40, or that, despite all the seeming e-complaining from Black men about Black women, more than four out of five marry a Black woman, or that the more educated a Black woman is, the more likely she is to walk down the aisle—essentially deading the idea that we lose bonus points, or men en masse are intimidated by Black women’s education and subsequent income—I don’t hear much chatter. When Angela Stanley, a researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University declares, “This culturally popular notion that 70 percent of black women don’t marry is just a myth,” in an op-ed piece for The New York Times, as she did earlier this month, I don’t get mass e-forwards on BBM and e-mail asking, “Have you seen this?” And I don’t hear and read mainstream media stumbling over themselves to report on it the way they do for, say, a man who releases a video of cartoons mocking Black women’s dating expectations.

If only good news traveled as fast as the bad. That video with the cartoons, created by a long-time married man, went viral with upwards of a million views. Proehl challenges viewers to “think of what it would mean if the Black woman was truly empowered in our society. That would mean we would have addressed issues of race, and issues of gender discrimination in our society, and tied into that issues of class and potentially advance conversations about issue of homophobia.” As I type, YouTube says her video… (drumroll, please) has 2,061 views. That’s worth shooting the Sherriff and the Deputy.

As a fan of Proehl’s video and a cheerleader for her cause, I apologize for adding one more story to the (longest ever) list. It’s still 2011, so maybe this can get read without incurring her—and your--wrath.


Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 


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"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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