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Madonna — a global icon who extended her record as the highest-grossing female touring artist of all time in 2016 — was honored as Woman of the Year at Billboard’s Women In Music 2016 event on Friday (Dec. 9). And during her acceptance speech, she was fully ferocious, funny and brutally honest — in other words, she was the Madonna we’ve known and adored since she debuted more than 30 years ago. Madonna, unsurprisingly, stole the show the moment she took the stage. Her weapon? Something you can’t contain, fake, reproduce or put a price on: Blunt, personal truth. After…

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As event planners, with special focus on the shower industry, we have come across all kinds of clients that want glitz and glam but are not willing to pay for it. They are the ones who screen grab all the outlandish and elaborate decorations from BellaNaija Weddings, graciously bombard our WhatsApp with all the pictures, and finally state “We are on a very small budget”. They forget that most times, price is a reflection of value. Every event vendor, regardless of the scale or type of business i.e. wedding planner, wedding decorator, bridal shower planner, cooperate event planners etc., will…

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In July the BBC wrote about a Malawian man paid to have sex with young girls from his village, as part of a sexual initiation ritual. Later a Malawian woman, Natasha Annie Tonthola, contacted the BBC to explain how her experience of the ritual helped inspire her to campaign for the protection of women and girls. This is her story. I’m the oldest of five children and I grew up in a village in the central district of Malawi, near the capital, Lilongwe, and I was 13 years old when the initiation ceremony happened. My father was from a village…

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I am from the society that does value education for girls. I didn’t go to school myself until I was 12 years old. I was much older than the rest of my classmates because of the very many hardships I passed through.  My brother helped me out a lot, like the time he helped me escape from home on the day I was to be married off to a 50-year-old man.  He took me to a rescue center, which is when I started school. Because of school, I am now an educated lady full of empowerment. School gave me a…

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As did many African Americans, my paternal grandparents left the Jim Crow South to make a better life for themselves. From Louisiana, they settled in Oakland, California, and devoted themselves to church ministry. I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area into a family tradition of stewardship. I was taught the teachings of Jesus, which were to be loving, kind, generous and community building. Love was the theme and stewardship an essential expression of that love—“philanthropy” means, literally, “love of people.” Our congregation regularly shared what we had. It was woven into our daily lives. Pound Fridays, for example,…

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Despite being recognised as the third gender, the marginalised hijiras of Pakistan suffer violence and abuse. Now one brave woman is demanding justice While growing up in Pakistan, Julie struggled with a sense of identity. Something was always gnawing away at her, never fully apparent. One day her boss at the fastfood restaurant where she worked told her to look for the transgender community. She was 19. Her coming out was a rude warning from a society that told her she didn’t belong, that she must find a home elsewhere. In Pakistan, hijras, a blanket term used to identify transgender…

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Women have been putting up with the hormonal side-effects of contraceptives like the pill for decades. It’s time for men to do their bit Deborah Orr An experimental male contraceptive jab has proved just as effective as the pill is for women. Trials were abandoned, however, because side-effects included depression, raised libido and acne. Which is weird, because the pill has similar side-effects – although sometimes it can cure acne. The pill’s other common side-effects include nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, anxiety, weight gain and, sometimes, decreased libido. However, suggesting that the pill isn’t an almost perfect form of birth control tends…

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Leyla Hussein interviews her home country’s first female presidential candidate Fadumo Dayib, and is re-inspired to keep fighting for women’s empowerment oftly spoken with assertive undertones, Fadumo Dayib is the first woman ever to run for the presidency of Somalia. As a Somali female campaigner, she was a “shero” of mine before I met her. The odds are stacked against Dayib defeating incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; she isn’t even listed as a candidate in analysis in regional media and has said herself that she has little chance of winning. But Dayib’s courage says something about my home country and how…

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“You should never have a fear of doing what you really aspire to do or what you’re passionate about. You can prioritize and keep the balance.” Savannah James is having a really good year: two years after she, husband LeBron James and their three kids returned to their home state of Ohio, LeBron led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in the city, she celebrated her 30th birthday with a Ferrari and the Akron-native recently christened the newest Goodyear blimp, Wingfoot Two, in her hometown. We caught up with her at the christening to see how life has…

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Film making, like many other fields, is dominated by men. It’s not that women have no interest in film making or film directing. In fact, half of all graduates of film schools are women. But, only 1.9 percent are directing big budget films. That small group includes Ava DuVernay, the first Black woman to direct a $100 million film. DuVernay is the third woman to direct a film with such a huge budget, but she is the first African-American woman to do so. The film she is directing is Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” In addition, DuVernay has a new…

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