Archive for the ‘Working Women’ Category

Jada Pinkett-Smith on The View

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Today Jada Pinkett Smith was on The View to get the word out about the upcoming third season of her show Hawthorne. She actually spent more time talking about her husband and her children than she spent talking about her show.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jada because she, like many of us working wives and mothers, is continually balancing both the pursuit of her own dreams and aspirations and the needs of her husband and children. Her husband, Will Smith, needs no introduction as one of the most, if not the most, successful male actor(s) in Hollywood. Her son, Jaden, enjoys a tremendous acting career that many in Hollywood still aspire to have. Her daughter, Willow surprised even her mother with the success of her single “whip my hair” which has earned her the title of “pop sensation”. As if all that were not enough, Jada is the star of Hawthorne, a successful television show which is back for the third season.

I was particularly pleased to see Jada Pinkett Smith yesterday because the story of her life is one of success and positivity. Recently, there seems to be a so much coverage, in the media, of black women either being spoken about negatively or being reported for bad acts such as robbery and throwing babies out of moving cars or acting in reality shows that portray them negatively.

There is a stereotype that black women cannot maintain marriages and that they are angry and difficult to deal with so women like Jada Pinkett Smith are a welcome breath of fresh air. She not only has maintained her marriage for fourteen years, but she still even after all those years has wonderful things to say about her husband, Will Smith. To Mrs. Smith, I say “You go girl!”

The View’s Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg respond to Psychology Today’s apology

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Yesterday, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd of the popular daytime show, The View, responded to Psychology Today’s apology for publishing an article that reported that black women were the most unattractive women of any race. Satoshi Kanazawa, a self proclaimed ‘evolutionary psychologist’, posted the study entitled ‘Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men?’.

Whoopi Goldberg pointed out that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, while Sherri Shepherd, among other things, mentioned that she felt it was detrimental to young black women who may take the study as the truth about who they are. Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s main question was “why publish the study in the first place?”

I am of the opinion that this is yet another attack on the image of black women. It is up to us to consistently push back every single time that there is an attack of this kind. Just because these kinds of attacks have been going on for centuries, does not mean that we should allow them to continue. In fact, the very reason that we need to put an end to it is because it has been going on much too long.

Watch the clip of the women of The View at BlackVoices.com.

Black Woman Redefined

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

For over a year now, I have been writing and blogging about issues that affect women’s lives and more specifically Black Women’s lives. One of the reasons why I took an interest in black women’s issues was that being a black woman, I realized that the way that we were portrayed in the media and the way that we were perceived even in our own communities was not congruent with what I believed was true about who we really are.

My desire is to contribute to positively shifting the image of black women which, unfortunately, has been grossly misunderstood, misinterpreted and attacked. I am pleased to recommend a new book by Sophia Nelson titled “Black Women Redefined”, which I believe carries a powerful message for and about Black Women.

See the trailer here

‘Virginity Tests’ in Egypt are an outrage!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

News outlets are reporting that women in Egypt who are protesting (as a part of the process to oust the government) are being subjected to “virginity tests”. The assumption is that if they fail the “test”, that means that they are prostitutes.

These women now have to decide whether they feel strongly enough about their freedom to risk being subjected to these “virginity tests”. Many are speculating that these “tests” are just a way of deterring the women from going out and protesting.

What I find so saddening is that as horrific as this is, the protest to oust the government are being given more media attention and have more support than the protests to these “virginity tests”. Yes, the freedom of the Egyptian people is important, newsworthy and even urgent but so is this issue of “virginity testing”.

Read the story here

ME TIME: What every woman needs and every woman should have

Friday, April 29th, 2011

A few weeks ago, as I sat in my office at the college at 6:30 in the morning, I began to have a nose bleed. *Gruesome story Alert: Naturally, I jumped out of my chair and raced to the bathroom. I leaned into a sink, hoping that the nose bleed would stop in a couple of minutes. It didn’t! It got worse! I have never seen so much blood in my life. It was out of control.

After about 15 minutes of waiting for this out of control nose-bleed to stop, I realized that maybe it wasn’t going to stop so I took a huge wad of paper towels and held it to my nose. It took only a few minutes to soak through and then I needed another one, and another and another…

Eventually, another woman who happened to be in the vicinity became aware of my predicament and she being in administrative role at the college, knew exactly what to do. A few minutes later, I was sitting in my office with two paramedics and a whole lot more attention than I wanted. They took my blood pressure and it was the highest that it has ever been in my life! I’m so grateful that I was sitting in my desk chair because I was now also feeling a bit light headed and could not think clearly. Even in my foggy haze, all I could think about was my lecture at 8:30am and my long list of “things to do”! I never made it to the lecture because I was in no condition to teach anybody anything!

A few hours later I was sitting on a hospital bed nodding my head as the doctor told me that, according to his examination, and based on what I told him, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. The only prescription that he gave me was to “take it easy” for a couple of days. And so I did…

This is what I have learned,or more rather, been reminded of: “ME time” is not a luxury, it is an essential part of a balanced life. In the weeks leading up to my dramatic episode, I had been looking at my “ME time” as a luxury that I could not afford to indulge in. After all, I have a husband, children, hundreds of college students, I’m writing a book, I have an Audio program in production, I’m writing a new course for Black Women at the college, I had to go to a seminar to get certified for one of my courses, my website and blog needed updating, I had to make plans for the conference in Atlanta, get my National Speakers Association membership processed and on and on and on! All these list items are very important and yes, they needed to be done, but so did “ME time”! In leaving out just one vital thing, ME time, almost everything else was almost jeopardized by the breakdown of my physical body.

My body spoke to me in three ways:
1. An out of control nose-bleed
2. Unbelievably high blood pressure
3. Light-headedness resulting in an inability to think clearly

Here is what I was forced to hear: out of control, high pressure and foggy thinking. Operating this way could not sustain the level of Excellence that I hold myself to.

As I look back at the last four months of my life, there has been such a whirlwind of activity that I can’t believe that one person (me) accomplished it all! The accomplishments are great, but I find myself wondering if it is all worth it. If we push ourselves, physically and emotionally, so much that our physical body starts to get weary and our emotional well-being starts to decline, it is time to stop!

I firmly believe that without taking time away from our busy work and home lives, we do ourselves a huge disservice and we also hurt, rather than help, our loved ones and those that we have professional relationships with. Most women, me included, wear so many hats in their lives that they never take the time to just take off all the hats and attend to the person under all those hats.

I woke up early this morning and while my family slept, I had two full hours of quiet and peace and it has soothed my soul and satiated my spirit. My thinking is clearer and my whole being is at peace. I’ve, once again, been reminded just how vital and valuable “ME Time” is.

So, my friends take some time for YOU. It is not a luxury; it is essential. If you don’t, please don’t hesitate to call me when you need a ride to the clinic or the hospital-that’s what friends are for! But on a serious note, take time to relax and rejuvenate. You’ll be glad (and at peace) that you did.

PS: If your friends, employers, husbands and other family members complain or ask why you need this (and they will), just tell them because “Noma said so!”

Selah

Tyra Banks to become a “baby mama”?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

This past week, many news outlets have been reporting that while on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ show Tyra Banks hinted that she “may be” trying to have a baby soon. She then went on to say that there were no wedding bells ringing any time soon and when asked if marriage should come before the baby, she replied, “I don’t think it’s necessarily necessary.”

Now, generally, I have nothing but love for Tyra Banks but I’m disappointed by the way that she seems to be treating such serious issues so lightly! First of all, having a baby, if at all, is something that should be very well thought out and planned if you’re going to walk that path unmarried. Second of all, Tyra Banks should and probably does know that the statistics of unwed women having children in African American communities is alarming! These same statistics have been shown in study after study to have a correlation with a lot of the negative issues that people face in African American communities, such as the institutionalization of young black men and high pregnancy and high school dropout rates for young women.

I have said it before and I will say it again, women like Tyra Banks are role models and they have a responsibility to young women (and men) to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. Obviously Tyra has the right to make choices for herself that make sense for her but she has to do so in a responsible manner. Carelessly going on television and throwing words like “maybe” and “necessarily necessary” around while discussing issues as serious and sobering as marriage and having children fall way below the expectations that I had for Ms. Banks.

My appeal to Ms. Banks is simple: Be mindful of what you’re saying and doing. A lot of young women look up to you to set the standard for “model” (pun intended) behavior!

Star Jones on The Gayle King Show to discuss new book, Satan’s Sisters

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Today, I gave the Gayle King show a shot and I was not disappointed because it was actually pretty good! The most interesting part of the show was when she interviewed former co-host of ABC’s The View and current contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, Star Jones. Star Jones has been doing the rounds on some television shows promoting her latest novel, “Satan’s Sisters”, which I believe will be an interesting read.

Inevitably, the topic of Star Jones’s rivalry with Nene Leakes of The Bravo show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, came up. I was very impressed with the way in which Star Jones handled herself during this conversation and on the show, in general. She refrained from reducing herself to petty insults and name calling and instead shifted the focus of the conversation to her reasons for going on Celebrity Apprentice.

According to Star Jones, the reason why she went on Celebrity Apprentice was to promote her charity, which focuses on bringing awareness to the seriousness of heart disease.

In my opinion, Star’s shining moment was when Gayle asked her if she was worried about her reputation with regards to her rivalry with Nene and she gave the best answer that I have heard to that question:

“I am the author of the ONLY dictionary that defines me”

Yes, indeed, we are the only authors of the only dictionary that defines each one of us. I think that we could all learn from Star Jones; let’s stop focusing on what other people think or say about us and focus on our own thoughts and actions. There is so much opportunity for growth when we start to be mindful of how we want to define ourselves and then take the necessary actions to make that vision a reality.

I’m about to hop online and order “Satan’s Sisters.” I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished reading. At the very least, I look forward to being entertained and intrigued!
Selah

Wendy Williams on Dancing With the Stars

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Until recently, I had generally lost interest in the ABC channel show, “Dancing with the Stars” until I heard that Wendy Williams was going to be on it. The reason why Wendy Williams sparked my interest in the show is that while I don’t actually watch her show, I have had a few glimpses of it and her and each time I was mildly amused.

What I love about Wendy Williams is that she has a big and bubbly personality and she does not apologize for it. Every time I have seen her on television, I have loved her energy and enthusiasm, so last night when she was on Dancing with The stars, I was a little disappointed to see how timid she was.

Wendy Williams’ appearance on Dancing with the Stars reminded of one lesson that I have been learning and re-leaning; be who you are, no matter what. Trying and learning new things is a great way to grow and expand your influence and I have a lot of respect for Wendy because she is stepping out of the box and doing something that causes her discomfort. What I would encourage Wendy to do though, is to “bring Wendy” to every single performance.

This does not only apply to Wendy; it applies to all of us. It’s great to do new things and go new places but it’s important to always remember what people love about you and bring that to every new place and endeavor.

So, Wendy, next time, (assuming there will be one) please be the sassy, bold and audacious Wendy that we have come to love. If you do that, you’ll go a long way on Dancing with the Stars!

Whitney Houston’s daughter in the news over alleged drug use

Monday, March 14th, 2011

In the last week, there have been photos circulating the internet that allegedly show Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, either sniffing cocaine or smoking what some are speculating is marijuana. This is, of course, a very sad story regardless of whether or not it is actually true.

What I am pondering though is that if it turns out to be true, how many of us are actually surprised? Whitney Houston has herself admitted to drug use and addiction. It is not that much of a stretch to believe that her teenage daughter may now also have entered the drug use and addiction world. Children learn most of their behavior by watching their parents.

My children are still very young but as they get older, I am increasingly more cognizant of my behavior because I recognize that what I’m modeling is going to affect their behavior, both in the near and distant future. I encourage every parent to raise the bar of personal conduct, not only because we should all be aspiring to do and be better as individuals but, more importantly, because our children are watching.

From the time that you become a parent, every behavior that you display should be filtered through one very important question: Is the way that I am behaving right now the way that I would want my son or daughter to behave in the future?

Whitney Houston’s example is an extreme case, but there are other instances that I believe that parents can take the opportunity to raise the bar of their conduct. Consider this simple example: My husband annoys me and I lose my temper and raise my voice while I share my feelings , with him, about how annoyed I am! Not such a big deal-right? WRONG! What I have just modeled to my daughter, among other things, is that it is okay for her to disrespect her (future) husband and I’ve also just suggested to my son that it is okay to be disrespected by his (future) wife.

I’m not saying that disagreements are not going to happen in households, nor am I suggesting that parents can be perfect all the time. What I’m saying is that when we become parents, we have a new level of responsibility that goes beyond just providing food and shelter for our children. In my example where I was annoyed, I had several options. The first one would be to simply brush off whatever was annoying me and not say anything. The second option would be to let my husband know about my displeasure but choose the right time and place as well as do it in a respectful manner. If I lacked the self respect and control to exercise the first two options, I could at the very least, confine my unbecoming behavior (yelling) to a closed bedroom door! (Note: Option three, in my opinion, is still setting the bar very low).

So parents, the next time that your conduct is anything less than excellent, just remember…someone is watching you.

Peace

On Work Bullies, Self Respect and Self Esteem

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Woman looking sidewaysBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Some years ago I had a job which I generally liked and believed I was good at. The problem though, was that I worked with people who treated me really badly; they disrespected me in ways that would constantly have me sitting in our living room, after work, crying my eyes out!
What I now know is that everything that I went through; the way that people treated me, spoke to me and about me, that I thought was so awful was ultimately what I allowed. I allowed people to treat me badly because that is what resonated with how I felt about myself.

One day, after work, I tearfully told my husband about yet another incident at work where someone had spoke to me with so much disrespect that all I could do was sit in my office once again crying my eyes out. My husband patiently listened and when I was done he gave me a “pep talk”. In short, he told me that I was valuable, lovable and worthy of being respected and until I learned to walk in that truth, I would continue to experience more of those very experiences I was crying about.

I laugh as I remember exactly what he told me to do. Basically he told me to go in the mirror and practice what I would do the next time that someone spoke to me like I was a piece of dirt that was not even worth the space it was taking up! His instructions were as follows, “Look in the mirror and boldly say ‘YOU DO NOT TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!’ and make sure that you look that person straight in their eyes!”

Inevitably, a few days later, one of my co-workers came by my office and, as usual, barked something at me and stormed off. Within seconds, I was in his office standing right in front of him-it was show time! It was just like the rehearsal in the mirror at home! That day, I set that man straight! I told him in no uncertain terms that I would not be disrespected and I was done with being treated like the stray cat that everyone kicks when they’re having a bad day! When I was done, all he could do was mumble an apology.

As I walked back to my office, I realized that I was a new me! I was no longer the fearful and self doubting Noma that everyone walked all over. I had stood up for myself and I wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone! What delighted me the most was that I had not screamed, yelled or cried. I had just said what needed to be said and then walked back to my office with my self-respect intact.

Around six months later I left that job to pursue a better opportunity and I’m glad to report that no one ever disrespected me again from that day until I left that company! Apparently, word gets around when a usually timid woman stands up to a cowardly man who is then reduced to a whispering, mumbling mess.

So what’s the lesson here? Well, it is twofold. First of all, it’s important to understand that regardless of where you come from or what you have been through, you matter and you need to recognize your own self worth and value. Second of all, you need to teach people how to treat you. How people treat you depends on how you feel about yourself. When people repeatedly treat you in an undesirable way, you ultimately, just like I did, have to face the fact that you allowed them to treat you that way. Unless you make a change, the people around you won’t.

It’s important to understand that I’m not advocating walking around looking for opportunities to be offended and then getting into unnecessary confrontations. What I’m saying is that we should have a healthy level of respect for ourselves. I’m saying that we should conduct ourselves respectably, treat others with respect and expect them to also treat us with respect.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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