Here are wedding traditions from 12 African countries you need to know

There is often a misconception that all of Africa is homogenous. This is not true. Africa is filled with so many different tribes, cultures, and traditions, and there is no one way of having an African wedding. Here is a list of how 12 African regions get down at a wedding.

1. Ghana

[Image Description: A newly-wed couple dressed in traditional Akan clothing sit side by side in golden thrones.] via Maxwell Jennings New York
[Image Description: A newly-wed couple dressed in traditional Akan clothing sit side by side on golden thrones.] via Maxwell Jennings New York
In Ghana, when the groom joins the family, a ritual called Akonta Sikan takes place. He is expected to give the bride and her sibling’s gifts. The parents also receive a set of gifts as an appreciation for taking good care of their daughter.

2. South Africa (Zulu)

[Image Description: A newly-wed couple dressed in green traditional outfits for their ceremony. The groom fixes his wifes train.] via Abdul Khoza
[Image Description: A newly-wed couple dressed in green traditional outfits for their ceremony. The groom fixes his wife’s train.] via Abdul Khoza
In Zulu culture, just before the wedding ceremony takes place, the family of the groom slaughter a cow. The bride then drops money into the cow’s stomach. This symbolizes that she is now a part of the family. This is referred to as ukwaba.

3. Senegal

[Image Description: Blue traditional dress worn by husband and wife. Family members flank the happy couple clothed in blue traditional dress.] via Matix
[Image Description: Blue traditional dress worn by husband and wife. Family members flank the happy couple clothed in blue traditional dress.] via Matix
In Senegal, the Wolof are the largest tribe in the country. When discussing marriage with the bride’s parents, the groom is expected to present kola nuts and money. If the family accepts the kola nuts, the marriage is then binding.

4. Zimbabwe

[Image Description: The groom dressed in white is surrounded by bridesmaids dressed in orange.] via Pinterest
[Image Description: The groom dressed in white is surrounded by bridesmaids dressed in orange.] via Pinterest
When the bride walks into the reception hall after the wedding, relatives from the bride’s family throw blankets, carpets, and even jackets on the floor she’s walking on to make sure she goes to her new family safely. The bride’s family is showing that they have taken good care of her, now the groom should do the same. They sing the words, “Tawuya naye nemagumbezu” which translates to “we have brought your daughter-in-law with blankets.” They make sure she doesn’t touch the floor until she sits. If she does touch the floor there is a belief that their marriage will be troubled.

5. Nigeria (Yoruba)

[Image Description: A group of yoruba people wearing yellow traditional dress.] via Pulse Nigeria
[Image Description: A group of Yoruba people wearing yellow traditional dress.] via Pulse Nigeria
In Yoruba, typically during the engagement process, the groom and his family usually lie face down. This is to show respect to their in-laws.

6. Ethiopia

[Image Description: A bride and groom clad in Ethiopian traditional attire.] via Pinterest
[Image Description: A bride and groom clad in Ethiopian traditional attire.] via Pinterest
Ethiopian weddings can last up to three days. The first day is the official wedding day where photographs, lunches, and dinners are had to celebrate the nuptials. The second ceremony is called melse, where the bride and groom are dressed in a traditional dress called Kaba. The mother of the bride gives her daughter a nickname so people may use it to remember the wedding. The third is kelekel which is meant for family and friends who couldn’t make it to the other ceremonies.

7. Kenya (Kikuyu)

[Image Description: A woman with a bridal headdress and a man sits next to her. Both her and the man with large smiles.] via Toku
[Image Description: A woman with a bridal headdress and a man sits next to her. Both her and the man with large smiles.] via Toku
There are various different wedding traditions in Kenya that differ from tribe to tribe. In the Kikuyu culture, the formal meeting of families is called the ruracio. During this event, the bride and women of the bride’s family cover themselves in veils. They stand in front of the groom and he has to identify his bride. If he doesn’t guess correctly, he gives the mother and father of the bride another goat or money.

8. The Gambia

[Image Description: An African wedding procession. The groom is in all white and the other women surround him wearing traditional Gambian dress.] via The Gambia Experience
[Image Description: An African wedding procession. The groom is in all white and the other women surround him wearing traditional Gambian dress.] via The Gambia Experience
In The Gambia, the traditional wedding ceremony is observed by the elders and parents. At the end of the ceremony, a kola nut is broken which reflects the culture, relationships, customs, and social realities of the Gambian people. The pieces of the kola nuts are then passed amongst the elders and relatives.

9. Nigeria (Igbo)

A woman dressed in Igbo traditional dress, surrounded by friends and family.
[Image Description: A woman dressed in Igbo traditional dress, surrounded by friends and family.] via Klala Photography
During a Nigerian Igbo wedding, a glass of palm wine is poured by the bride’s father and given to the bride while the groom hides among the guests. The crowd distracts the bride in a bid to confuse her. Once she finds him, he must drink from the cup, and then they are bound.

10. Eritrea

[Image Description: A newly-wed couple hold hands as a procession of men dressed in white follow them.] via Pinterest
[Image Description: A newly-wed couple holds hands as a procession of men dressed in white follow them.] via Pinterest
Okay, so this isn’t so much a wedding custom, but it’s an Eritrean wedding must-have. Suwa, is a drink made with grains such as millet and sorghum. The drink is an extremely important staple of an Eritrean wedding.

11. Algeria

[Image Description: An Algerian bride dances at her wedding.] via FAYEZ NURELDINE/Getty Images
[Image Description: An Algerian bride dances at her wedding.] via Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images
Shoura, is a custom often practiced after the engagement. The families begin the process of purchasing gold, wool, household goods, and clothing. Families discuss tasks for the wedding and how they will be divided. An Algerian bride may have different dresses for her wedding which depicts the different regions her family comes from.

12. Angola

[Image Description: A family dressed in traditional dress. Two men on either side of the photo and the couple in the middle dressed in yellow.] via Wikimedia Comms
[Image Description: A family dressed in traditional dress. Two men on either side of the photo and the couple in the middle dressed in yellow.] via Wikimedia Commons
Alambamato is when the groom asks the family for the bride’s hand in marriage. It contains a series of rituals such as the delivery of a letter asking for the bride’s hand. The uncle of the bride reads the request to the father and if he approves, the process to marriage may continue.

African weddings are exciting, colorful, and undeniably beautiful. These African wedding traditions and customs are woven together by love in these ceremonies.

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Race Inequality

Orania is a white-only town in South Africa and a reminiscent of Apartheid

Segregation feels like a practice that has been relegated to a period long gone. With racial discourse becoming a salient topic of discussion globally, a magnifying glass has been placed on societies around the world. From the issue of plantation weddings in America to Britain attempting to defend their racist statues, South Africa has not been spared.

South Africa, a country still ravaged by the aftermath of Apartheid; from a racial wealth disparity to colonial edifices ingrained in their institutions, is also the home to Orania. A small city of only white people – specifically Afrikaners – thrives in the Northern Cape. Afrikaners are the descendants of the Dutch who first colonized South Africa along the Good Cape in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were mostly responsible for the mobilization and implantation of Apartheid in 1948. Orania embodies everything Apartheid stood for,  Anna Verwoerd who along with her husband bought the land and “found” Orania, was the daughter of Hendrik Verwoerd, who has often been cited as the architect of apartheid. From its inception, Orania was built for the Afrikaners who still hold a candle for pre-1994 South Africa.

No-one likes to give up power. When it became apparent that a white minority rule would not last, many Afrikaners knew a reckoning would come for their opposition or indifference to the fall of Apartheid. The realization that their power would no longer hold the same value it did in a democratic South Africa had them running for a barren strip of land in the Northern Cape. They carved out a piece of South Africa that belonged to only people who looked, talked, and acted like them, thus disillusioning themselves into believing they still had their power.

At the end of Apartheid, affirmative action was a measure taken to close the wealth gap between people of color and white people. This initiative was seen as an act of war by the Afrikaners. These legislations passed by the South African government were seen as ‘reverse racism’ in the eyes of Joost Strydom, head of the Orania Movement. Yet statistics scream these fears are unfounded. White people make up 30% of the country’s population, yet they own 72% of the total farms according to the 2017 South African Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Audit.

In the small community on a hill, there are busts of revered historical figures; or to be more accurate, war criminals. These sculpted heads boast the legacies of former Afrikaner leaders such as Paul Kruger, Barry Hertzog, Hendrik Verwoerd, Daniel Malan, Hans Strijdom, and John Vorster. Each one of these men is responsible for the mass terrorism and displacement of Black South Africans during Apartheid.

Barry Hertzog implemented an economic regulation called Civilised Labour Policy, which involved replacing Black workers with white people. This improved the lives of many White people in South Africa but barred Black people from white-collar jobs and relegated them to be mine workers, domestic helpers, or farmhands. These racialized labor lines paved a way for the construction of the Apartheid state. Hendrik Verwoerd was famously known as being the architect of Apartheid for creating the unequal system that still reverberates in South African society today. John Vorster publicly supported the Nazi’s during WWII. These are the busts that are held as Afrikaner heroes.

In a world trying to move forward and heal from racial tension, a place like Orania which is so hell-bent on creating this utopia for themselves, makes me wonder if a truly peaceful world is possible. Although less than five thousand people live in Orania, there are people outside who still think the way they do.

Orania makes South Africa’s ‘rainbow nation’ dream unattainable, a mere aspiration they may never reach. I hope this is not the case.
The world is at odds, and through social media may feel like a cushion that things are changing – this is far from the truth. Hate, division, and social constructs create dissension amongst people in the world.

Race has never been more widely discussed in the 21st century than the time we are living in now. We are beginning to question, probe, and demand answers for what happens in this unjust system we continue to live in. Silence won’t be a fixture during this moment in history.

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Tech Now + Beyond

Sex doll brothels: Is technology replacing the real thing?

Technology has made everything easier, from the way we communicate, the way we store money, and now even the way we have sex. Since the invention of vibrators that connect to Wifi and have Bluetooth capabilities, the most intriguing creation has been the rise of sex doll brothels.

Sex dolls were first widely used in the 17th century when long expeditions on the sea left sailors sex-starved they began carrying a prototype of a doll created by French philosopher Rene Descartes. The doll resembled females and was made of fabric attached to bamboo poles, wearing a dress used by those wanting to let loose their pent-up sexual frustration.

In 1904, sex dolls were found in French catalogs. Its main advertising point was, “There is no fear of blackmail, jealousy, argument or disease. They are always available, always obedient.” This new model was described by sexologist Iwan Bloch who said, “Even the secretion glands are imitated, by means of a ‘pneumatic tube’ filled with oil.” 

While in the past sex dolls were reserved for shy men or sailors, nowadays, sex doll companies have seen a boom. Even in the media, the rise of robotic female companions is notable in media (like Lars and the Real Girl and Westworld). These images of women, however, are always within the male gaze. The feminine features, silk voice and generous breasts play into roles like housewife, nurse, or damsel in distress. In these dolls, men can mold the ‘perfect’ woman.

The dissent against sex dolls is not to do with the fact that real sex workers will not get customers, but it is the fear that men will not treat them with respect. 

As many modern women begin to create paths and identities that veer away from Stepford wives, in these dolls men find their imaginings and desires of artificial womanhood realized. David Levy has even predicted in his book, Love and Sex with Robots, that sex dolls “will have the capacity to fall in love with humans.” For now, however, sex dolls are seen by their advocates as a healthy release for sexually-timid men and those with high sex drives.

In Spain, sex brothels have risen in prominence. In a documentary by VICE called, “The First Sex Doll Brothel in Europe“, the documentary talks to the owner of the neighboring brothel who worries that the sex dolls will replace their business and take monopoly, however, the workers were not worried. They claimed that sex dolls are a niche market and the real thing is irreplaceable.

As technology advances, and sex dolls can now moan when touched and release lubricant while vibrating in ways the human female body cannot, is there something to be worried about?

In an interview with Rolling Stone Justin Lehmiller, a PhD research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author of the book Tell Me What You Want, says “Most men and women fantasize about having some emotional needs met through sexual activity – feeling desired or validated or competent or loved. So, when you are talking about sex with dolls or robots, I think it’s going to be a relatively small number who seek it out because it just can’t fulfill their needs.” 

The dissent against sex dolls is not to do with the fact that real sex workers will not get customers, but it is the fear that men will not treat them with respect. 

Sex dolls are inanimate objects and they are a good starter for timid people still trying to understand what they like and what they do not. However, if their sexual confidence grows and their desires are violent in nature, because of the lack of practice on actual humans, they begin to underestimate pain. Their understanding of pain threshold and consent may be non-existent.

Sex dolls are seen by their advocates as a healthy release for sexually-timid men and those with high sex drives.

There was a study from the California State Polytechnic University, which compiled data as to who buys sex dolls. Ten percent are couples who use the dolls, then there are men with violent or paedophilic tendencies. There are debates as to whether this encourages their inappropriate desires or keeps them at bay. Although these dolls can be a point for release, it may embolden men to play out their violent, misogynistic paedophilic ideals onto real women and children. Others are those who have long had love affairs with inanimate objects and fetishes. Even those who are in long-distance relationships or unsatisfied with their sex lives were counted as reasons people own sex dolls. 

Sex dolls can be used for various things ranging from containment to therapeutic to simply being a stand-in. 

During this lockdown, businesses have also seen a spike in sex doll sales. The online sex store, Cherry Banana, told Vice News, “We’ve doubled our Cherry Doll sales since March, and now we sell four to five a week – 20 to 25 a month.”

Sex dolls are expensive, with sex dolls starting at around $800 and high-end ones costing up to $8,000, according to Forbes. With sex doll brothels like AuraDolla, it is affordable and accessible with a half an hour starting at $90 and an hour at $120. 

Sex doll brothels are not taking anything away from real sex workers, they are a niche market, that is thriving, but in their own corner of the market. Despite the percent that finds intimacy with sex dolls, humans will always crave one another.

Technology has shown time again the boundaries it can push and the feats it has accomplished are to be appreciated. However, one thing technology can not do is manufacture intimacy.

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TV Shows Pop Culture

Why “Sense8” was the most beautiful Netflix show: a lesson in human connection and intimacy

What is connection? What does it mean to truly connect with another human? Personally, I had never seen a show that tackled these questions the way Sense8 did.

The creators of Sense8, the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, created a show that showcased the best parts of humanity: how we connect when we do not use our own perceptions of people but rather seek to understand them.

Sense8 follows eight individuals who find themselves uniquely connected. They are able to talk, see and touch each other yet they are all in different countries. They have never met each other before, but find themselves with a shared ability to connect to each other’s thoughts and actions. As they try to pursue answers, an organization run by a man called Whispers tries to hunt them down.

One of the main protagonists, Nomi, a transgender hacktivist in the series once said: “labels are the opposite of understanding.” When we try to understand people in a way that makes sense to us we are prescribing our own ideas on them and not seeing them for who they truly are. Rather, we paint an idea of who we think they are. However, love is seeing someone. Not just the image they present to the world, or the front they put on, but truly understanding them and seeing them as they are. Sense8 taught me you can’t establish real relationships with people if we are limited to our own perceptions of them.

Sense8 uses the different locations and personalities of the characters to highlight that you don’t have to be the same as someone to understand or love them. Wolfgang is a German gangster and Kala an Indian pharmacist, yet they fall in love. Their differences make them stronger, as the mental connection they share allows them to see each other in 20/20.

The violence that is unforgivable is the violence we do to ourselves.

Although in reality, we don’t have the connection the characters in this series have, they give us a glimpse of what it means to be truly connected. Sense8 also highlights the relationship each character has outside of the cluster, showing that you don’t have to have superpowers to empathize and love someone. You simply must be willing to hear and understand them.

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(Check out this awesome Sense8 shirt! And so much more here.)

Moreover, Sense8 presented the idea that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. This may be a cliché, yet it’s such a powerful and important message. We often treat people badly because we treat ourselves badly. Hurt people hurt people.

Nomi even said, “The violence that is unforgivable is the violence we do to ourselves. When we are too afraid to be who we really are.”

If we constantly deny ourselves what we truly want, how can we gain the intimacy we desire? How can we share our life with someone if we don’t live to the width and breadth of our truest form? They would be loving a shadow of who we truly are.

This is not a way to build authentic relationships. Intimacy and human connection are impossible without vulnerability.

Leave yourself open to love always.

Sense8 is a show that celebrated the brightest moments in life, the boldest and the saddest. It was an emotional journey that proved you neither need to have the same nationality, ethnicity, or language to connect with someone. Even when the characters first realized they weren’t alone, no one freaked out. They welcomed strangers into their lives.

Humans are social creatures and without love and affection, we can die. This swift acceptance of their first interactions with one another is simply another statement. Leave yourself open to love always. You must have a heart ready to provide understanding and empathy, that is the key to love.

I miss the raw vulnerability Sense8 brought into my life and I still can’t get over the fact Netflix canceled such an authentic show.  Fingers crossed it gets a reboot. For now, we can binge it again and again and hope Netflix notices.

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Dedicated Feature Music Pop Culture

Happy Bisexual+ Awareness Week, here are 17 songs to celebrate bi-visibility

Bi-visibility is an important aspect of the queer community that is often overlooked.

There is often the misconception that, because bisexual individuals can hide behind others’ heteronormative assumptions, they aren’t really a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is wrong.

Let’s celebrate bisexual visibility and awareness with these amazing songs to raise your bi-flag high!

1. “Strangers” by Halsey

Notable Lyrics: “She doesn’t kiss me on the mouth anymore / ‘Cause it’s more intimate, than she thinks we should get”

This song is about a fading relationship between two girls, while one of them is still in love. Halsey and Lauren Jauregui have both come out as bisexual in recent years.

2. “Girls/Girls/Boys” by Panic! at the Disco

Notable Lyrics: “But girls love girls and boys / And love is not a choice”

Brendon Urie’s vocals on a song about a love triangle with the complications of bisexuality? Sign me up. This song also delves into Urie’s own threesome experience.

3. “Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko

Notable Lyrics: “You say you wanted me, but your sleeping with him”

Hayley Kiyoko is an out and proud lesbian, but in Curious she sings to a a bisexual girl who doesn’t know what she wants. The girl in question seems to enjoy the attention she gets from Kiyoko but isn’t ready to embrace her sexuality and ends up going back to her boyfriend. This song highlights issues of not being able to come out as bisexual or queer because your scared of what society will think of you.

4. “Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monae

Notable Lyrics: “It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender / An emotional, sexual bender”

This video is a visual representation of bisexuality. Monae highlights her sexual fluidity in this creative video as she shows interest in both men and women.

5. “Boyfriend” by Tegan and Sara

Notable Lyrics: “You call me up like you want your best friend / You turn me on like you want your boyfriend / But I don’t want to be your secret anymore”

The duo Sara and Tegan hardly ever miss the mark and this is no exception. The half of the duo Sara Quinn said in an interview with Beats1 that she was seeing a woman who had never been with another woman before and was also seeing a guy from time to time. The song talks about wanting someone who isn’t quite ready, something we can all relate to.

6. “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town

Notable Lyrics: “Lord knows I’ve tried / I can’t get her off my mind”

Okay, so this song is about a woman jealous of another woman who is with the man she loves. In my own interpretation however, I think the woman starts off jealous but ends up falling in love with the other woman. This song has all the makings of a sad country song along with undertones of a sexual awakening that I absolutely love!

7. “Take Me On the Floor” by The Veronicas

Notable Lyrics: “I wanna kiss a girl / I wanna kiss a boy”

The Veronicas take on the pastime of going to the club and having fun, meeting anyone and potentially hooking up. This song doesn’t discriminate as the singer talks about being interested in both genders.

8. “She’s Not Him” by Miley Cyrus

Notable Lyrics: “No matter what you do / I just can’t fall in love with you / ‘Cause you’re not him / Yeah, she’s not him”

In this song Miley Cyrus sings about being in love with an ex-boyfriend while she’s with her current girlfriend. She goes through the motions of saying it’s not you it’s me but ultimately it would be a blow to anyone’s ego. This song highlights the struggle of the bi community such as feeling the need to pick a side. This song shows that heartache knows no gender boundaries.

9. “John I’m Only Dancing” by David Bowie

Notable Lyrics: “John, I’m only dancing / She turns me on, but I’m only dancing”

David Bowie’s song sings about being faithful to his partner who is a man and assures him that he’s only dancing with the girl but won’t do anything. There’s often a conception amongst people that bisexual people like everyone but this is far from the case.

10. “Te Amo” by Rihanna

Notable Lyrics: “I feel the love but I don’t feel that way”

Te Amo is one of Rihanna’s sultry song which touches on being in love with your friend and your feelings not being reciprocated.

11. “Chanel” by Frank Ocean

Notable Lyrics: “I see both sides like Chanel”

Frank Ocean is an amazing singer and anything he sings is gold, in this song he talks about being in love with both genders. He basically says he loves both just like the Chanel logo. If that’s not lyrical I don’t know what is.

12. “The Sweet” – AC/DC

Notable Lyrics: “She got girls, girls all over the world, She got men every now and then.”

The lyrics of this song are pretty self-explanatory. Love who you want to love, do what makes you feel, good whether it’s a guy today or a girl tomorrow.

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13. “Be Yourself” by Taylor Bennett

Notable Lyrics: “I’m an outstanding Afro-American bisexual “

In Be Yourself, Taylor sings about being out, proud, black and bisexual! He is plainly saying be yourself because you have no one else to be.

14. “Pretty Boys and Pretty Girl” by Book of Love

Notable Lyrics: “(When I’m without) / Pretty boys / (I dream about) / Pretty girls”

This song is simply about enjoying both genders. The song still discusses the dangers of sex as this song was released in 1988 during the AIDs epidemic.

15. “He’ll Never Love You Like Me” by Hayley Kiyoko

Notable Lyrics: “You wish you could but you just can’t so / How many days, how many nights / ‘Til you realize, he’ll never love you like me?”

Hayley Kiyoko comes through again with another song, possibly about the same girl from Curious. Here she croons about being in love with a girl who has a boyfriend who will never love her as she can.

16. “Bad at Love” by Halsey

Notable Lyrics: “I know that you’re afraid / I’m gonna walk away”

In this song Halsey discusses her many relationships ranging from high school to adulthood, as well as dating different genders. This song highlights how love can be fluid and bisexuality isn’t a phase or a fluke. In the first verse she sings about the men she’s dated, then in the second verse the women she’s dated. This song is a statement that presents bisexuality in a honest way. She’s a mess regardless of the gender she’s with. In my opinion bi-visibility at it’s best.

17. “Bisexual Anthem” by Domo Wilson

Notable Lyrics: “Better not forget the B in LGBT”

Finally, Domo Wilson closes this list off with Bisexual Anthem. It completely shuts down any naysayers when it comes to bisexuality. This song is not only perfect for throwing it back to, but also for loudly and proclaiming your bisexuality! In a Genius interview (July 2019) Domo Wilson said, ” I cook for the culture, and I felt like bisexuals, we need an empowering song.”


Seeing all these songs in mainstream pop is imperative for bi-visibility. This has to be seen as a proper part of the LGBTQIA+ and not a ‘phase’. I love to see the B being more widely accepted and sang about in music and can’t wait for more.

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Love + Sex Love Advice

Why you can’t move on from your almost-relationship

The word I hate the most is ‘almost’.

“I almost got the job.”

“I almost won the race.”

“We were almost perfect.

To me, it represents a lack of something. It reminds me that we were on the cusp of greatness but just failed to reach it. It feels like the biggest failure that ever existed, the worst kind of heartache. To think that we were right there at the edge of glory and you fell short.

When I think of almost, I always dwell on what could have been.

Almost are a different kind of heartache.

The worst kind of relationship to me are not the ones that cheat or lie to you, rather the ones that end before they have even begun. The ones that are filled to the brim with all the unrealized possibilities, the ones that drift off before you have managed to catch a ride. These ‘almosts’ that you stayed up late for, that you were ready to give you heart to but were left holding it in your outstretched hands, forgotten.

Almost are a different kind of heartache. There never seems to be any closure or any reason why something that seemed so perfect simply ended.

You treat each other as more than friends but you are both afraid to take the plunge, maybe it is because you know deep down, they are not meant for you.

I have always believed that if someone loves you nothing can stop them from being with you. No excuse can stop them from being with you.

Almost relationships are painful not because of unrealized potential, but because you know in the crevices and cracks of your heart that you wasted your time.

You are not mourning the end of the relationship, but rather how much time you wasted with someone who was not the one.

You deserve more than almost.

They were intimidated by the love you had to give because knew they would not be able to reciprocate the depth and breadth of your feelings.

Nothing is wrong with you. You are not unlovable, and you are not a pit stop before they find the one.

You deserve more than almost.

Your time was wasted and that is something to be angry about, but do not waste any more time than you need to on the entanglement.

It was not even really a relationship. It was simply flirting.

You deserve a love that does not need to think twice about going all the way with you. Begging someone to make you a priority is not romantic. You should not have to ask for someone’s love.

When you outstretch your heart to someone you should be met with their heart meeting you halfway.

The problem with almost relationships is deciphering what was real and what was not. The promise of forever was so potent, but now all that lingers is the faded scent of a lie. You embroiled yourself so deep in this almost you did not realize all you were to them was the attention they craved.

Forgive yourself for what happened, forgive yourself for the time wasted. Not everyone’s intention is as pure as yours. Do not dwell on the hurt, grow from it, and learn.

Next time, do not settle for, “we were almost perfect” but rather “we are perfect.”

Editor's Picks Crime Race Inequality

Here’s the real reason why we’re obsessed with serial killers

When Bundy was sentenced, the judge said this to him, “It’s a tragedy to see such a total waste, I think, of humanity that I have experienced in this court. You’re a bright young man. You’d have made a good lawyer.”

Imagine, a man charged with raping, torturing, kidnapping, and killing girls in the most sadistic ways, being appraised for his potential.

Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Infamous serial killers, and all white men. The media has had a long affair with these men and many more like them. In their crucifixion and admonishment, there has been a glamorization and romance. There are many other serial killers of other races with far more gruesome escapades, yet even in the most disturbing of places, whiteness prevails.

Black serial killers do not have the shield of whiteness to veil their depravities.

The pervasiveness of white supremacy can be seen in the way these names are dug up, year in and year out, to yield a gross profit, as groups of young girls buy their merchandise, and fawn over their mug shots on social media. Even as the darkest parts of humanity are shown, the power of whiteness gives men like Charles Manson, Ed Kemper, and David Berkowitz followings and movie deals.

[Image description: Zac Efron in Ted Bundy movie, "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile"] via Netflix
[Image description: Zac Efron in Ted Bundy movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”] via Netflix
In 2019, when Zac Efron, a certified Hollywood heartthrob, was cast to play Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, people could not wait to see a biopic about a man who devastated countless families.

Although the movie was marketed as a means to understanding Bundy, it did nothing but revive his legacy. I bet Ted Bundy is throwing a party in his grave, proud that even after all this time his mediocrity has skyrocketed to ‘mastermind’ using his whiteness as fuel for his ascendancy to a cultural juggernaut.

Zac Efron’s performance did nothing to educate or provide insight into the monster Bundy was.

He merely bolstered the murderer’s star.

He was painted as a suave, intelligent mastermind who outsmarted the cops. They painted him like Joffrey in Game of Thrones: the villain you love to hate. Except this is not fiction, this is reality. They made an endearing character and cemented a legacy of Bundy fanatics for the new generation.

If Bundy had been a Black man, his name would rot in a file somewhere. No-one would mention him, praise him or fawn over him. Yet a white man got away with driving his broken-down car up and down highways looking for girls and has been immortalized on the big screen. Ted Bundy is not exceptional; he is a mundane white man sensationalized by a hegemonic society which he sat atop of.

In a 2005 study called African-Americans and Serial Killing in the Media: The Myth and the Reality, the researcher, Anthony Walsh, commented on the under-representation of Black serial killers in the media.

He found that because their victims were also Black and as such, there is little to no media interest. When Black people – especially women – go missing or are found dead, no-one seems to care. This is evident in the 75,000 missing Black girls in the USA who went by largely uninvestigated in 2019.

I bet Ted Bundy is throwing a party in his grave.

The term ‘missing white woman’ syndrome was coined by the late Gwen Ifil, where missing young white women are mainstream media’s focus fascination, affliction, and Achilles’ heel. This is what makes a high-profile missing person case: simply cast a young, attractive, middle-class, white woman and boom, a media sensation. White women are the only victims seemingly worth the airtime, resources, and energy.

Yet, they only make up a third of missing victims.

Black serial killers are not given attention because nobody cares about their victims. The lack of representation of Black serial killers leads to police not adequately protecting potential victims of Black would-be murderers. It also leads to a lack of academic research, leading to a gap in the psyche of a Black or non-white serial killer.

Walsh’s study also highlighted that, within the White domain, it is believed that a Black person does not have the psychological complexity to carry out multiple murders and not get caught. However, between 1945 – 2004, there were 413 serial killers, 90 of which were black.

Ted Bundy’s whiteness has allowed him to benefit from the media as his popularity is far from waning. America’s deep anti-blackness, anti-other has created a fertile ground for even monsters like Bundy to plant seeds for a legacy to grow into a tree of fanatics.

[Image description: Serial killer Jarvis Catoe looks at his hands.] via
[Image description: Serial killer Jarvis Catoe looks at his hands.] via
Black serial killers get attention only when they murder outside of their race. In Pre-World War II, Jarvis Catoe went under the radar while he murdered Black women, but in 1941, when he switched his pattern to white women he was arrested.

Between 1945 – 2004, there were 413 serial killers, 90 of which were black.

The media may fear being branded racist if they hone in on Black men the way they do other serial killers. This is unfounded as the media has largely been plagued by social activists who have accused them of racist overtones due to the paradoxical differences when reporting Black and white crimes.

Black serial killers do not hold the same appeal, hence why shows like Dexter, Mindhunter, and Criminal Minds afford almost no reference to them. Black serial killers do not have the shield of whiteness to veil their depravities.

Only in White America could this happen.

This is seen time again and again when white men are given lenient sentences for rape, or sexual misconduct. Their whiteness automatically bestows upon them the benefit of the doubt.

As we continue to discuss race and attempt to root it out of our society, we must remember white privilege lies even in the deepest darkest places you never want to look into. Even our obsession with serial killers is ultimately a result of white supremacy.

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Love + Sex Love

My boyfriend and I are breaking up on the 17th of July 2025 – here’s why

If you knew exactly when, why, and how a relationship would end, would you still do it?

Would you still put your heart on the line even though this is not forever?

That one day the person you can’t go a day without talking to will be nothing more than a footnote in the book of your life.

Would you still choose to be with someone who you ultimately knew would break your heart?

I have, and I would choose so again. Thousand times over.

My boyfriend and I are incredibly similar in all the ways that count for a friendship. We went to high school together, so he saw my ‘awkward’ phase, we have the same sense of humor and we love watching trashy reality shows. However, we are different in all the ways that matter for a relationship, I could name so many, but the point of contention is, I do not want kids.

Ever since I was 15, I knew I did not want kids. Naturally, I have received the comments, “you’ll change your mind” or “when you’re older it’s different”. But, 6 years on and I remain adamant. My boyfriend, however, is different, for as long as I have known him, he has wanted kids. He has wanted to be the best dad he could be. As admirable as I think this is – I don’t want children. It feels as though breaking up is an inevitable for our relationship.

Every time we have tried to bring the issue up, we hedge around it, both of us reluctant to truly delve into the fact that the only resolution is breaking up.

So, we did something unconventional.

We scheduled our break-up, for 5 years from now, when we’ll have no more time to ignore it. Realizing that you have such fundamental differences with the person you can see forever with as clearly as you can see your hand in front of your face, is utterly shattering.

I’ve never loved someone as deeply as I love my boyfriend. We’ve naively planned to buy houses together, co-ordinating the next 5 years so we’ll be closer to each other and talked about getting a toy poodle when we’re settled, though we’re still disagreeing on whether to name it George or Steve. Yet, deep down, we know one day we will be receiving wedding invitations from each other.

We aren’t the end-all and be-all for each other. We won’t fight over whole grain or white bread. All we’ll have is here and now. I try to not think up breaking up or letting him go, because the very thought is unfathomable.

It may not seem like much but it’s enough for me right now. My friends think it’s a waste of time, but all we have are the moments that sum up to create chapters in our lives. Even though there will be a pain at the end of the road, it doesn’t make the journey less worthwhile.

Sometimes, relationships don’t need to have a fairy-tale ending, and that’s fine. Then again maybe the end isn’t always the worst thing, maybe breaking up is the blessing I am waiting for. No-one truly know what life has in store for us.

July 17th, 2025, will either be the day my life begins or, the day my heart breaks.

I’m not thinking about that now.

Life is too short to worry about five years from now.

I’m happy in love and loved, that is more than most people get and instead of worrying about the end, and going to enjoy the right now.

Hair Lookbook

Body Hair and Femininity: The Lavender Project by Queen Esther

Since the dawn of time, the rules for men and women have been different. The paradoxical societal constraints of gender often rears it’s head when conversations about body hair occur.

There is a standard that’s been set for women to remain smooth, clean, and hairless. Consequence of not meeting it, and immediately you are unfeminine. Yet, if a man’s chest is hairy, they are considered masculine. Ideals about body hair stem from a patriarchal society that dominates women’s public and personal life. A by-product of this male constructed world is internalized misogyny and so women believe to be physically attractive, their skin needs to be stripped raw of any trace that they are human.

Queen Esther and the Lavender Project

Queen Esther, however, challenges this idea of beauty, unapologetically. Her project titled ‘Lavender’ dismantles preconceived notions about hair on women’s bodies. Queen Esther tackles the dogmatic ideal of what femininity is. In her photos she defiantly poses with her chest hair coiling out, armpits gloriously on full display and legs brambling. There is confidence exuding from each photo on her feed. In every post, words of affirmation are written, to remember that any choice you make with your body, is yours and yours alone.

When I first saw the pictures, my own misogyny came out. I admired her but, I would never do that myself. Everything about the Lavender movement was scandalous to me. Her coily, kinky, 4C hair mirrored my own. Queen Esther’s confidence was a sharp contrast to my lack of it. If I did not shave, I’d wear long tops or hoodies. Never would I think of wearing shorts, skirts, or dresses without shaving. But the softness these photos exude tell me having hair doesn’t make you less of a woman. It’s not disgusting or dirty. Now when I see her, I simply see a brave, powerful, and unabashedly self-assured woman who doesn’t quantify her beauty on the basis of the hair on her body.

Femininity shouldn’t survive on the pinnacle of standards constructed by men. Carving our your own path for beauty and womanhood is a task our generation must take seriously.

Despite this project, hair continues to be taboo.

Body Hair is a Choice

In an essay with Harper’s Bazaar in 2019, Emily Ratajkowski commented on body hair as a choice women make. “If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that’s up to me. For me, body hair is another opportunity for women to exercise their ability to choose—a choice based on how they want to feel and their associations with having or not having body hair,’ she said. Emily Ratajkowski posed for the magazine with her armpit hair, and naturally, the policing trolls soon followed. The fact that it was her choice meant nothing to the criticizers.

This is what it boils down to, choice.

To tell women that they must shave, is taking away their choice. Telling women what they should look like and why is a gross infringement on their self-esteem. People feel the need to make comments no-one asked for. Unsolicited advice about which brand is best when shaving. Honestly, if no-one asked. don’t put your two cents in.

The question of body hair should not even be a debate. Choice, choice, and choice is all that matters. Just like how beauty is in the eye of the beholder, femininity differs from person to person. There is no one way to be feminine.

Queen Esther drives in her own lane and sticks to it, a lesson I think every woman should employ in their lives.


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Editor's Picks Life Stories Weddings

Women in my family are cursed to never marry — at least, that’s what my aunts believe

Marriage was never a question in my mind.

I’ve never spent time wondering whether or not I will get married. For me, I always worried about when and who I would get married to. 

On a lazy Saturday when my parents were away,  my two aunts showed up unannounced. It was just my sisters and I left to our devices. My parents had given no warning that we’d be expecting any guests, so we were already on edge. They sat tentatively, the obligatory salutations batted back and forth like a never-ending tennis match. Then, silence.

It cloaked the entire room for what felt like forever. 

“There is something we need to tell you, girls, as aunts,” they said. I thought possibly this was the sex talk I’d never received from my parents. What happened next, I would have never guessed.

“You are cursed. Every relationship you have is doomed to fail. It is the fate of the women in our family.” I couldn’t help but giggle and I was met with a steely gaze. They were dead serious. None of them were happily married but that was down to choices, right?

I could not fathom that I was cursed. My life wasn’t an episode of Vampire Diaries. Yet, the seriousness of the situation echoed in the emptiness of our living room. The way they clutched their purses tightly, their veins visibly throbbing. My sisters’ faces had the same disbelieving look. 

They explained how happiness would evade us, along with love. The men who entered our lives would do nothing except steal, cheat, and lie to us.

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One spoke about her own experience in her marriage how he had simply left and taken all her things. My sisters and I stole glances from each other. We’d been told this story but not like this.

From our recollection, relatives had told her that the man she was about to marry was a con artist, but she went ahead and married him anyway. She’d come home to an empty house with no furniture.

My other aunt, her husband had died. I was too young to comprehend anything they were saying. Would a long-lost ancestor grow so bitter because of her own failed marriage, that she would curse her future generations?

The story was, a long-lost ancestor had grown bitter and angry in her marriage. She’d found nothing but hardship and tribulation that she never wanted the women in her family to feel as she did. So, she’d gone up to the mountains and made a deal with a witch doctor, to curse any women in her family to never get married.

However, the more I pondered on it and went down the list of all my aunts and their marriages, a feeling of uneasiness clouded over me. I began to believe what they were saying. The way they weaved the tale and strung together the evidence of all my aunts who were alone.

In looking at them, I thought I saw my future.

Would I really end up alone? Not just alone, though, but bitter.

Suddenly every interaction I’d ever had with a boy raced through my mind. Had they not liked me because I was cursed? I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions and I could feel the panic in the tension in my eyes. Would I never get to have a wedding?

The thought consumed me, and my aunt’s words were drowned out in a sea of my fated misery. “Don’t cry, it’s just the way things are.”

I drew my attention back to my aunts, saddened by this revelation until I caught a glint in her eye. She was enjoying this. At that moment I realized they didn’t want to inform us, but rather scare us. 

As soon as they left the house, my sisters and I looked at each other. Our confused eyes bouncing between our unsaid words. We spoke about it, confused and barely able to believe it. My sister thought it was true but I was skeptical. I didn’t dwell on it too long, I didn’t want to give power to a spirit that didn’t exist. We went our separate ways both on opposite sides. 

Well, apparently, I’m cursed, and I’ll never be married.

I wonder if it’s true and question myself whenever my feelings aren’t reciprocated, or I get dribbled like a basketball. I can’t help but think that each time I was ghosted, the spirit of my ancestor was cackling. That each night I cried myself to sleep thinking I would die alone, she was rejoicing at her victory.

For a time I bought into it and decided I would fight this curse. I began taking tips from friends in relationships and reading books about marriage.

But then I sat down and thought back to that glint in my aunt’s eye. Not all kin is family. I am the master of my own destiny. No-one, not even my ‘family’ can tell me what my life will be like. I won’t let this curse be a cloud over my life. My aunt’s struggles aren’t mine. They made choices in their lives that led them to were they are.

Men who were liars, abusers and cruel took advantage of them, and for that my heart weeps. However, their history isn’t my future. You don’t inherit failed marriages.

One day, I’m going to walk down a calla lily strewn aisle, in a Pnina Tornai gown, with my face beat, and say ‘I do’.

Hair Style Beauty Lookbook

21 things that’ll make Black women who wear wigs say “me!”

1. “Is that your real hair?”

[Image Description: Joan Crawford smiling and walking away saying, “There’s a name for you, ladies but it isn’t used in high society outside of a kennel.”] via Giphy

This is a common question we’re all tired of getting. Don’t you know that saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”

2. The lace refusing to blend.

[Image Description: A chihuahua sitting on a tartan blanket, wearing a blonde wig.] via Giphy

Now, for beginners, this is the greatest mission. I remember someone asking me if I knew my band-aid had hair. Yup. That’s how bad it was.

3. Hot days are the worst

[Image Description: A woman wearing a blue cap and blonde wig talks to her friend saying, “Girl, I’m not sweating out my lace wig.”] via Giphy

Days like these you need to break out the industrial glue. I had to borrow a friend’s cap because the wig had given out. Embarrassment averted!

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4. …especially when the wig starts to slide.

[Image Description: A woman sleeping and her wig slides off.] via Giphy

Okay, sometimes neither the weather nor sweat can be blamed for your wig’s lack of cooperation.

5. People assuming you have no hair.

[Image Description: Woman in pink dress singing removes wig.] via Giphy

The majority of Black girls wear wigs because they’re a great protective style, FYI.

6. People straining their eyes to find the lace.

[Image Description: A young man stares intensely.] via Giphy

Staring at people is rude. Some people just don’t get the memo.

7. The first time you take it off in front of your significant other.

[Image Description: A blonde woman in a gold dress takes off a man’s wig.] via Giphy

This is kind of a big deal. A lot of girls feel incredibly insecure about this, especially when they don’t know how their partner will react. It can be a huge milestone as it’s an incredibly vulnerable moment.

8. Finding the right wig glue is IMPOSSIBLE!

[Image Description: A young boy in Northwestern sports shirt cries.] via Giphy

There’s no such thing as the perfect lace glue. When you do find it, it feels like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

9. You get questions about why you don’t wear your natural hair.

[Image Description: Rihanna with a red wig looks to the side.] via Giphy

Honestly, what people do with their hair is no-one’s business.

10. People say you’re trying to be white.

[Image Description: Obama looking confused.] via Giphy


11. White people claim it’s cultural appropriation.

[Image Description: A man with glasses says, “that’s totally inappropriate”] via Giphy

I consider Twitter a place where brain cells go to die.

12. Your significant other feels like they have 3 girlfriends.

[Image Description: A woman in a cheetah print gown with interchanging wigs.] via Giphy

The constant wig changes make your partner feel like they’re dating different people. Who are you today, Maggie from marketing or Candy from accounts?

13. YouTubers advertising the WORST hair companies.

[Image Description: Obama with two microphones in his face says, “I was a little hurt by that.”] via Giphy

I’ll never forget when I naively trusted a certain influencer who claimed the hair company she used was the best and, even better, that she had a discount code. Never again.

14. “Are you insecure? Is that it? Do you secretly hate yourself?”

[Image Description: Zendaya rolls her eyes.] via Giphy

So, there’s this assumption that if you wear wigs you’re a self-hating, insecure girl. This isn’t at all true. If anything it takes confidence to wear a wig. The most confident women wear wigs: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga. Should I continue?

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15. Treating your wig like your baby.

[Image Description: Wig on mannequin head being sprayed.] via Giphy

Because it kinda is. You take it everywhere, you clean it, make sure it’s safe and comfortable. It’s practically family.

16. Getting the parting right feels like a mission.

[Image Description: A woman looks down despondently.] via Giphy

That elusive parting. It feels almost impossible to get it right.

17. Your teacher not recognizing you.

[Image Description: Dwight from The Office wears a variety of wigs as a disguise.] via Giphy

I remember a teacher in a lecture asking me for my name. I’d literally had coffee with her in her office the day before.

18. Your wig can be your greatest accessory or your greatest weapon.

[Image Description: A woman removes her wig angrily.] via Giphy

We’ve all seen it on reality TV. They take off their wigs and start fighting their opponent. This multipurpose use of wigs is admirable and resourceful.

19. Wigs are addicting.

[Image Description: A woman in a light blue blazer says, “It’s addictive, right?”] via Giphy

You’re your own Barbie! It’s like being in your own music video every day. Once you make that first swipe, it’s a long dark road ahead for your bank account.

20. Wash days are extremely therapeutic.

[Image Description: A monkey being brushed by a small comb.] via Giphy

I look forward to this. Lather, rinse, repeat.

21. Feeling like a baddie every time you wear one.

[Image Description: A man wearing a pink wig flaunts it.] via Giphy

‘Cause let’s be honest, you look bomb every time you wear it.


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