Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair

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Madam CJ Walker

Everyone loves a good bootstrap story, and you can’t get more “Started from the bottom now we here…” than Madam C.J. Walker. Born black in Louisiana only 4 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Madam C.J. Walker (then known as Sarah Breedlove) worked in the cotton fields and was an orphan by age 7. She spent her early life living with family members and deadbeat husbands. By her mid-30s, she was working as a laundress in St. Louis, busting ass for barely more than a dollar a day, intent on keeping her daughter enrolled in school. She was married to some absentee asshole and, on top of all of this crap, she starts to lose her hair.

Part of why I love Madam C.J.’s story is because she found the key to her fortune and success through what at first seemed like an unfortunate circumstance. In her effort to try to fix her failing hair, she came across Annie Turnbo Malone’s “Wonderful Hair Grower.” This hair product would change her life. She quickly became a saleswoman for Malone’s hair product, making way more money than she’d ever made while spending her days speaking with other black women. By 1906, she had relocated to Denver, started her own hair product business, and married Charles Joseph (C.J.) Walker.

This is the power of fixing your hair, bish.

Madam C.J. Walker became hugely successful and was one of America’s first black female millionaires. Over the course of her career, she employed tens of thousands of African Americans, most of them women. She became well-known as both an activist and philanthropist, and when she passed away in 1919, she left ⅓ of her estate to charity. Hers is truly a remarkable, redemptive story.

Learn more in “Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair.”

-Madam C.J.

Lauren Chamberlain

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Lauren Chamberlain is a professional softball player and body positive icon who’s on a mission to transform girls into women by promoting athleticism. In a sad deficient world consisting of plastic social media influencers that promote unattainable body goals, Lauren is here to motivate our youth to find empowerment in strength. Our bodies can do incredible things and they can be pushed to physical lengths most women aren’t determined to experience. Lauren is using her fame and her imperfect athletic body to show girls that beauty can be found and achieved by utilizing our muscles and exercising our physical strength.

Lauren was featured in the 2018 ESPN magazines 10th Anniversary “Body Issues” edition where she posed naked to show off her curvaceous body, tummy rolls and all! She’s captured naked in a variety baseball stance positions and holding her bat, posed and ready to hit a ball. The photos are raw, real and unedited and show that even the most successful career athletics have the same extra pounds of fluff like you and I. Lauren loves her body, she loves it enough to slap it naked on a magazine cover to be displayed to a world that HATES imperfection. That’s some fucking balls right there, pun intended.

Hear more about Lauren’s incredible softball career and her body positive mission in “Episode 17 – The Power of Changing Your Hair”.

-Melissa

 

Episode 16 – Breakups, Blues, and Brothels

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Grace Peixotto

Entrepreneur, whore, and daughter to a Jewish priest, Grace Peixotto was Charleston’s most notorious lady of the night. Grace was born on the island of St. Thomas in 1817 and moved to South Carolina with her parents as a wee babe. Following the death of both of her parents, Grace took her inheritance and invested it in the New York stock market – PSYCHE! Grace took her coins and pumped them all into revolutionizing the whoring industry of Charleston.

She first built a 3-story brick building on Beresford Street that came to be known as the Big Brick Brothel. She gathered a gaggle of “respectable, ladylike whores” (to use Grace’s own words) and opened her doors and legs for business. The existing heaux game in Charleston was NOT cute – it consisted primarily of mattress warehouses, gigantic open rooms full of cots where people banged it out with zero privacy. Duh-skusting. Grace elevated game by turning the bottom floors of her establishment into a parlour where men could smoke cigars and drink bourbon before heading upstairs to PRIVATE rooms for a little shebang.

Her establishment quickly became popular for its discretion and high-brow vibe, she bought additional properties, and she made BANK off of her brothel. When she died in 1883(ish), her funeral was the second most widely attended in Charleston history, second only to former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun. Her Big Brick building was an operational brothel until 1942, when it was shut down by the U.S. Navy (too many sick sailors, perhaps?). In 1996, the building was purchased by, I am not fucking kidding you, the Balzac Brothers. Talk about a happy ending.

Learn more about Grace Peixotto in “Episode 16 – Breakups, Blues, and Brothels.”

-CJ

Janis Joplin

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Janis fucking Joplin, need I say more? A delicate, radiant, sweet sunflower with the voice of 45 person Baptist choir. Janis was a beautiful soul with a musical gift that could heal, connect, accept, and provide meaning to so many. Although her life was short, Janis remains a legend today, tomorrow, and forever. She was a simple girl, seeking much of the same things in life as you and I. She wanted friendship, she wanted acceptance, she wanted appreciation, and she wanted to her heard and loved for all that existed within that small stature and large vocal chords. Fuck, I’m only 1 Baileys and coffee deep and I’m already tearing up! Janis is my greatest idol, she’s someone I’ve looked up to for years and someone who’s life I’ve subconsciously replicated in many ways – good and bad.

As a kid in Texas, Janis didn’t fit in. She wasn’t pretty enough, she wasn’t skinny enough, and she couldn’t connect with the vibe of her community or classmates. She was an outcast, but she used this rejection to her advantage and created an edgy image in an attempt to belong to something. She was able to attract a group of musically inclined guy friends and they dove head first into the blues and jazz world. Later, Janis fled to San Francisco so she could finally coexist in a world full of her kind of people.

But like most of those who flee to San Francisco, Janis found it difficult to execute her game plan as she was overwhelmed by sex, drugs, music, and mayhem. Janis had a few lesbian lovers, she banged it out with Pig Pen from the Grateful Dead, she saw Otis Redding live after being dosed with acid, she joined the Big Brother Band on backup vocals and tambourine… but ultimately took over and became the star of the show. The crowds wanted Janis, soooo what’s a girl to do?!

“Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you got”

Listen to “Episode 16 – Break Ups, Blues & Brothels” to learn the full story of the “first lady of rock’n’roll”.

-Melissa