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Dress and Jacket: Ayasa Afi

Every year someone asks me, “What is you New Years resolution?”, and to be honest, I usually say “I don’t know”. I try not to focus on just one thing to change or alter going into the new year. I set new goals, reset my mind set, and most of all I continue my journey of self love. I can’t confine myself to just one resolution, so I create many resolutions for myself. Sometimes, I realize that throughout the years, some of my resolutions have repeated, which I pay very close attention to. It shows me that sometimes change doesn’t happen in a year, and sometimes I haven’t put enough effort into something that needs to be resolved.

Starting the new year should be exciting and thrilling, never allow someone/something to rain on your parade. Here are 3 simple tips that can help you step into the new year on a positive note:

  1. COMMUNICATE YOUR LOVE– We often wait until the last minute to tell someone we love them. Take advantage of the NOW moment, and express your compassion, words of wisdom, and love for the ones you care for. You never know what someone is going through, and your words could be the game changer in their life. (In the words of my grandmother, be nice to all for as long as you can).
  2. SMILE- As cliche as this sounds, smiling is so simple. It has the power of making you feel good about yourself and it has a CONTAGIOUS effect on others. (side note: a beautiful smile is very attractive).
  3. WRITE IT DOWN- Whenever you are feeling a certain way or have an idea, simply WRITE IT DOWN!  Buy a notebook from your local dollar store and begin your journey of written expression. As humans, we have the tendency of forgetting a brilliant idea we had, so if you write it down you won’t forget. Also, writing your ideas and thoughts down is a great way to self reflect.

Enjoy the New Year, and continue to discover who you are, and who you are becoming.

Xoxo,

IvyCoco

Photographer : Marcus Derricote

Makeup Artist: Shanah

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In the past 35 years, over 15 million people have been infected with HIV/AIDS. At a young age, my mother, actress and HIV/AIDS advocate, Sheryl Lee Ralph, informed me about safe sex. In the 1980’s, while my mother was doing Dream Girls, the Broadway musical, she witnessed her friends die of a “mysterious” disease, which is now called HIV/AIDS. She made it her duty to inform the world about how the virus and the disease is 100% prevent preventable.

“Don’t let your denial be deeper than your grave….The stigma against the disease is killing us quicker than the actual disease”

-Sheryl Lee Ralph

As a millennial HIV/AIDS Ambassador, I believe it is my duty to inform my youth and generations to come about HIV/AIDS:

Here are 5 important things you must be aware of:

  1. HIV and AIDS are two different things! HIV is the virus that can lead to the disease, AIDS. Many people believe HIV and AIDS are the same thing, but they are completely different.
  2. You CAN’t get HIV/AIDS from touching, kissing, handshakes, or a toilet seat! The stigma of the disease and virus is so bad, people believe you can get it by physically touching someone with it, but that is not true. You can contract the disease from unprotected sexual intercourse, needle drug use (intravenous drug users), or being in contact with the blood of someone with HIV/AIDS.
  3. USE CONDOMS! HIV/AIDS is 100% preventable. Protect yourself with using condoms (male condoms or females condoms). You must take matters into your own hands and be responsible for your actions. If you can’t use a condom, think about abstaining from sex.
  4. GET TESTED! Don’t be afraid to go get tested at a clinic with your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, or just make a date with a couple of good friends. You must be aware that the virus and the disease are spreading quickly, and it’s not just about pregnancy, it’s also about new STIs (sexual transmitted infections) and STDs (sexual transmitted diseases)                                                                                              ***if you are afraid to go to a clinic, go to your local drug store(Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS…etc) and pick up Ora Quick ,an at home testing kit, that will give you your results in 30 minutes.
  5. RAISE AWARENESS! #GettingToZero We CAN’T allow the stigma to kill us. We must inform and spread awareness in the fastest, safest, and best way possible. #GettingToZero is a hashtag used to spread awareness so we can get to Zero new HIV infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and Zero discrimination.

***TO MY LADIES

Don’t be afraid to carry a “safe girl” kit with you( DON’T BE AFRAID TO CARRY A CONDOM). As a young woman it is important to carry protection on you, if you are sexually active. Be prepared for anything, because you never know what can happen. If people look at you funny, be confident and know that you are protecting yourself! Safe Sex is the BEST SEX!

Click on the link below to get your safety girl/condom kit 😉

 Safety Girl Personal Kit

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BE SAFE !

xoxo,

Ivycoco

For more information:

Go to AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

           The Black AIDS Institute

          The DIVA Foundation