Opinion: The unheard voice of infertility: A Latina’s story
Annette Prieto-Llopis and her husband have endured multiple failed fertility treatments.
April 23rd, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Opinion: The unheard voice of infertility: A Latina’s story

Editor’s Note: Annette Prieto-Llopis is director of client relations and coach for the Center for Hispanic Leadership. The center consults with Fortune 500 organizations to give Hispanic leaders and consumers a voice.  She is also involved with Resolve, the national infertility association that is promoting April 22 to 28 as National Infertility Awareness Week.

By Annette Prieto-Llopis, Special to CNN

(CNN) - My mother, a Cuban immigrant, had three expectations of me as a child:  To graduate from college, get married and become a mother. So far, I have fulfilled two of them. I became a high school teacher and a wife, but at 40-years-old have yet been able to conceive a child. It is an awful predicament to experience: the stigma of infertility plus the expectations - from my Latino family and community– to become a mother. Being the only Latina in your family without children makes you feel ashamed and isolated.  Watching your friends experience the joy of motherhood leaves you feeling empty and forgotten. As a Latina isn’t it my God-given right to be a mami?

As a Latina, the inability to get pregnant is the most overwhelming sense of failure. The perception is that something is wrong with you as a mujer. In a culture that prides itself on the importance of family, I was underperforming.

That’s how I felt, until now.


April 19th, 2012
10:33 AM ET

Rareview: Sports Illustrated model Jessica Perez on being a white Latina

Sports Illustrated model Jessica Perez is tired of defending her ethnicity.

She is constantly getting question like, “Where are you from really?" and “There’s no way you speak Spanish, right?”

No one believes her when she says “Yes, I am Latina,” because of the way she looks. Perez was born in Costa Rica and Spanish is her first language, but she has pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes - features people don't typically identify as Latina.

Latinas are diverse, she says, and more than what's on TV or in magazines.

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Filed under: How we look • Latino in America • Rareviews
March 9th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Rareview: Going natural in corporate America

By Claudia Morales, CNN

(CNN) - Her black, female, co-workers pressured her to re-consider, but Ivy Grant, an associate partner in a marketing consulting firm decided to make the transition from her processed straight hair, to her naturally textured hair twelve years ago, and has no regrets.

Everyone has this fear that you’re not going to be accepted in the work place with this kind of hair,” Grant said referring to her curly afro.
On the other hand, financial executive Michele Chowtai is only eight months into the transition process, and says she is still not sure if she will go “fully natural.” She fears there is a negative stigma she can’t avoid and wonders, “How am I going to be perceived in the work place after I go completely natural?”

More and more black women are grappling with these decisions. The percentage that say they do not use chemical products to straighten or relax their hair increased to 36% in 2011, up from 26% in 2010, according to a report by Mintel, a market intelligence firm.
The desire for healthy hair and an escape from damaging chemical products are two of the reasons why women are choosing to go natural. After years of torturous treatments, scalp burns and high costs, Grant walked into a salon, cut all her hair off and decided she would never go back to chemical relaxers.


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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Rareviews • Women
January 19th, 2012
01:19 PM ET

Rareview: Touré: Don't forget blackness, but don't limit it, either

Rareviews go inside the lives of those in America whose stories we don't always hear.

By Claudia Morales, CNN

(CNN) – Writer Touré likes to practice yoga and skydive, and married a woman outside of his race - all things he's been told "black people don't do." In his latest book "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to be Black Now," Touré argues that times have changed and there are no limits to the black identity. There is no right or wrong way to "perform blackness" in today's society, he says.

"No one can tell you this is authentic behavior, and this is inauthentic behavior, this is legitimate normative blackness and this is illegitimate non-normative black behavior," he says. " That’s ridiculous."

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Filed under: Black in America • Race • Rareviews • Who we are
December 21st, 2011
01:13 PM ET

Barbie gets a natural hair makeover

By Claudia Morales, CNN

(CNN) - This holiday season, one group of women in Columbus, Georgia, decided to try a new, kinky hairstyle on one of pop culture's most enduring beauty icons: Barbie.

Using simple at-home methods, the Fro-lific meetup group turned the straight, shiny hair on 40 donated Barbies into natural-looking curls.The dolls went to girls living in a housing complex in Columbus - girls who might not have gotten the word that beauty isn't always tied to long, blond hair.

Fro-lific was organized by Layoce Mims and Candace McBride after they attended 'Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta. Their mission: provide support for women - and girls - who wear their hair natural. They plan to remake more Barbie styles in the future, Mims said.

Here's what Mims had to say about the group and its Barbie makeovers.

CNN: What is natural hair?

Mims: Natural hair is no relaxer, no chemical to straighten your hair out. The way it grows out your root, that’s the way you rock it.

CNN: What made you decide to start the Fro-lific meet-up group?

Mims: We thought to start the group after attending the 'Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta. We had such a great experience, so we were thinking of what can we do to bring back it back to Columbus. So, we thought to start a meet-up group to provide encouragement and support for other natural hair women or men. All the support seems to be online or on blogs, we thought, 'If you could really see someone going through it, and wearing their hair natural or transitioning, like being able to touch it, you can really see what they’re doing in person and it can encourage them to follow through with the natural process instead of going back to the relaxer.'

CNN: Why was it important to give the girls Barbie dolls with natural looking hair?

Mims: We have encountered some African-American or biracial children who have natural hair, getting picked on about the texture of their hair, how it wouldn’t lay or didn’t look or feel like the other children’s hair, so they didn’t love their hair and our job is to let them know that their hair is beautiful the way it is.


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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Pop culture • Women
December 20th, 2011
01:48 PM ET

Rareview: Black Latinos balance two worlds

Rareviews go inside the lives of those in America whose stories we don't always hear.

Imagine growing up and to have your family, friends, neighbors, community look at you as the other - maybe because of the color of your skin or the texture of your hair - even though you saw yourself as one of them.

What if you then tried to identify with someone who looked like you - someone who shared your ancestry - but they said you didn't belong to their community either? FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • Ethnicity • Latino in America • Race • Rareviews
Minority-driven tech incubator NewMe expands to local communities
Members of the NewMe Community in Durham, North Carolina, met this week.
December 17th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Minority-driven tech incubator NewMe expands to local communities

Editor's note: Soledad O'Brien chronicles the journey of eight African-American entrepreneurs in "Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley" at 8 p.m., 11 p.m., and 2 a.m. ET on February 11 and February 12.

By Claudia Morales, CNN

(CNN) - The NewMe Accelerator first took eight African-American entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to immerse them in the world of technology startups. But since CNN followed the tech incubator for “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley”, its founders have gone bigger, creating a NewMe Community online. It now has about 465 members in 65 cities.

On Thursday night, nearly 300 minority entrepreneurs met in 10 cities around the country, coming together for the first time and keeping NewMe's momentum going.

"@newmecommunity put together a great event last night. #newmecommunity is going to be HUGE!!!” Joshua Samuel posted on Twitter after the event.

NewMe was the first technology startup accelerator for minority-owned businesses. Founders Angela Benton and Wayne Sutton said they felt compelled to expand the NewMe brand to other cities because of the large response from people who watched CNN's documentary.


December 1st, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Rareview: Growing old openly gay

Rareviews go inside the lives of those in America whose stories we don't always hear.

Early on, they didn't know they were gay. Sometimes, they didn't even know what the word meant.

But eventually, they learned. They fell in love. They paired up. Sometimes, they got married. And now, they're the first generation to grow old openly gay.

November 14th, 2011
10:20 AM ET

Does race matter in Silicon Valley?

Stephan Adams is the managing partner of ValenciaVentures, a venture capital firm focused on funding women- and minority-led tech startups. When pitching a business to venture capitalists, he said, he thinks about passion, confidence and money. What he doesn't think about? Race.

“Race does matter, but I think what is different about race here is that you can overcome race if you can show the VCs that you can make them money," he said. "If you can show a VC you can make money, race and gender go out the window.”

What do you think? Tell us in the comments: Do race, ethnicity and gender matter in Silicon Valley?

Soledad O'Brien reports "Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley," at 8 p.m., 11 p.m., and 2 a.m. ET on February 11 and February 12 on CNN.

November 13th, 2011
11:43 AM ET

NewMe Accelerator participants: Who they are and what they create

Editor's note:  The NewMe Accelerator brought together eight black entrepreneurs for a two-month immersion in tech startup culture - a culture dominated by young males, mostly white and Asian. These six entrepreneurs participated in the accelerator. Watch how it turns out when Soledad O'Brien reports the documentary, "Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley," at 8 p.m., 11 p.m., and 2 a.m. ET on February 11 and February 12. Learn more about the NewMe founders and their companies.

CEO Tiffani Bell created Pencil You In in 2009.

Pencil You In allows hairstylists, makeup artists, nail techs and barbers to accept client appointments online.

The company is working on getting approval for an iPhone application that carries the same functions as the website, and also allows clients to upload photos of desired hairstyles and search for hairstyle ideas.

The site is up and running and currently operating without any outside funding.


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