Fresh Links:’s New Beauty Column For Brown Girls, Plus New Janelle Monet & An MBB Honor

Watch out there now: My super adorable, fly as pie, dopalicious cousin Melanie Yvette Martin, a beauty maven who has a delicious sense of style and an addiction to pretty little things for pretty brown girls, has a new beauty column over at! But in typical Millner/Martin family fashion, Melanie’s new digs ain’t your average: cuz is repping hard with Beautifully Brown, a weekly column in which she promises we’ll “try new lipsticks together, share stories about our Brown womanhood and hopefully love ourself a little bit more each day.” She kicked off the series by recalling how it was her father who instilled in her, at the tender age of 9, her love of beauty—not just for her (amazing!) dark chocolate skin, but the loveliness that comes from being beautiful on the inside. I absolutely adored, too, her piece, “What Is Brown, Anyway,” in which she explains why she chose to focus on dark brown hues in her quest to share beauty secrets on such a widely-read platform. Witness:

This is no slight to the super light, light brown, caramel, mocha, mixed or even Latina girls (who’ve been considered brown for decades). You all can see that my clique reps the complexion gamut; I don’t ever throw shade to my sisters (and we ARE sisters). But when I say “brown,” I mean brown because it means something to me, having had this dark chocolate skin all of my life. “Brown” is used here as a reference to us young darker skinned women who have felt the void in our confidence that has been left by many things, but especially the fifteen or so years of lazy hip-hop videos and the anti-brown women messaging they often spoke. Even today that kind of crap is promoted by some–check out A$AP Rocky’s claim that dark women shouldn’t wear bold, bright lips, and other genius statements. Okay.

Brown is the description that many of us embrace to find community with those of us who continuously wait to be considered simply a “pretty girl,” and not “pretty-for-a-dark-skinned-girl.” Until those of us of a richer, deeper hue can find regular affirmations of our beauty in the media, society and amongst our own, we are going to have to continue to speak the brown girl language straight through to a new generation.

Damn, I love my cousin. (Now if I could just get her to Atlanta to play in her make-up bag with me, I’d be doing some thangs.) Go right now to check out Melanie’s Beautifully Brown.

Jet is  looking for a very special, standout man with children who is not only a treasure to his own family, but who also is making a significant positive impact within the Black community. If you know someone who fits the bill, now’s your chance to show him some love. From now through April 29th, nominate the most deserving daddies by entering him into JET’s First Annual “Fantastic Father’s Day” contest. And then on May 1st, rally all of your friends, family and co-workers to log on and vote for your candidate. The winner will receive a special feature in JET’s coveted Men’s issue, slated to hit newsstands on May 20.

I’m incredibly honored to have been named one of the 15 Most Influential Parenting Bloggers by Kids In the House, a new website with 8,000 videos of top experts sharing their hard-earned wisdom on parenting. MyBrownBaby joins a prestigious list of physicians, psychologists, researchers, educators, best-selling authors, bloggers and everyday parents who give inspirational, thoughtful, spot-on advice on practically any and every childrearing dilemma you can conjure up, but I wasn’t expecting to be called out as one of the site’s most influential voices. The site’s shout-out is so sweet: “What’s not to love about Denene Millner? She’s beautiful, successful, warm and brave – all traits that come through in her writing.” What a lovely compliment! Thank you, Kids In the House, for the kudos! Check out the company I’m keeping on the 15 Most Influential Parenting Bloggers here, and make sure you take the time to get to know the site. I’m excited to be a part of this parenting revolution.

Yaaas, babies, you’re reading that right: funky girl extraordinaire Janelle Monet has a new album coming out, called Q.U.E.E.N., and one of the tracks, “The Electric Lady,” features MyBrownBaby fav Erykah Badu. There’s a funky guitar lick. Lots of colorful imagery. And some real black girl energy all up and through it. Take a listen—it makes my booty shake from left to right. Word. Janelle and Erykah: THANK YOU for this!

Have a fine weekend, folks!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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