“All For You” evokes the sexiness of summer and the thrill of new beginnings.

Photo credit: PA Images via Getty Images

The year was 2001, and the airwaves thrummed with a sample of the familiar funk groove of Change’s “Glow of Love,” only instead of Luther Vandross’ velvety voice, it was Janet Jackson’s whisper enticing a man with a “nice package.”

With the debut of her album All for You, Jackson entered the new millennium with a midriff, highlights, and a whole new vibe. Following the dissolution of her low-profile marriage to long-time companion Rene Elizondo Jr., Jackson’s seventh studio album cemented her next chapter as an artist and as a newly single woman. Her new sound was dreamier, bright, and…

Your Pleasure

Saying “no” isn’t always nice, but it is necessary.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Several months ago, just as a pandemic weary world was getting excited about a new app called Clubhouse, I hosted a conversation that I cheekily called “The Audacity of Nope.” I had zero expectations, it was my first foray on the app, but I figured that if Eckhart Tolle popularized the “Power of Now,” and Shonda Rhimes gave us “The Year of Yes,” then it was due time to explore the power of “no.”

Much to my delight, one after another, Black women took to the virtual stage to share how one single, audacious, well-timed “no” had profoundly altered their…

If women are the prize for men’s success, they can’t fully love and humanize a partner

Still of Zendaya and John David Washington in “Malcolm & Marie.”
Still of Zendaya and John David Washington in “Malcolm & Marie.”
Photo: Netflix

“I am the prize” is a single woman’s mantra. It’s how we remind ourselves that we are worthy of love. But what happens when a woman is the literal prize of a man obsessed with winning? Netflix’s Malcolm & Marie explores this question by probing the inner lives of a budding Hollywood auteur and his trophy girlfriend, who, for the duration of one exhausting night, exorcise five years’ worth of grievances.

The premise of the film is simple. Malcolm and Marie, played by actors John David Washington and Zendaya, are in love. But after he forgets to thank her on…

Pandemic isolation may be beneficial in helping us get in touch with our truest sexual desires

Black woman lying in bed with eyes closed.
Black woman lying in bed with eyes closed.
Photo: Emmanuel Faure/Getty Images

Remember sex?

We went from hot-girl summer to celibate-girl winter in the blink of an eye. Covid-19 put an abrupt end to barhopping — and bed-hopping — shuttering us indoors to be alone with our thoughts and our most instinctive cravings. But these days, women are less likely to view celibacy as a sentence and more as a form of self-care, especially at a time when protecting your energy and prioritizing mental health are tantamount.

It’s hard to even have a conversation about female celibacy that isn’t connected to religion, relationships, or respectability. Celibacy so often entails taking a vow…

She had it all and still stayed. It’s an eye-opening account.

FKA Twigs at the BRIT Awards 2020 red carpet.
FKA Twigs at the BRIT Awards 2020 red carpet.
FKA Twigs attends The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. Photo: Jim Dyson/Redferns/Getty Images

Money and power won’t shield you from domestic abuse. It’s a symptom of how we love.

Popular singer FKA Twigs stunned fans when she filed a lawsuit alleging severe abuse at the hands of her former boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf. The 32-year-old ethereal powerhouse is known for her wildly conceptual videos, lyrics that challenge feminine norms, and a sinewy body that she occasionally wraps around a pole in a proud declaration of her sexual sovereignty. …

We don’t have to dim ourselves to get what we want. It’s out there.

Photo: Christopher Malcolm/Getty Images

When California rapper Saweetie appeared on Instagram Live with her boyfriend, Quavo, and told women that a man isn’t worth dating “if he’s not getting you a Birkin,” it sparked a heated debate about women and their standards. How high is too high? But for me, that brief viral moment called to mind a real virtual movement taking place among Black women who dream of securing the bag, even if not a $100,000 Birkin, by leveling up.

Every day a new guru emerges with trade secrets for Black women who want to learn to be “feminine” in order to attract…

Whether or not a woman chooses to submit in a relationship has to do with her finances as well as narratives imposed upon her race

Jeannie Mai in ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” Photo: Frank Ockenfels /ABC/Getty Images

Jeannie Mai ignited an impromptu gender war when she announced that she wanted to “submit” to her soon-to-be husband, rapper Jeezy, during an episode of The Real.

“I’m a very dominant woman,” she explained to her fellow castmates, “so when I come home, I like the idea that my man leads us.”

She caught flack for her blatant endorsement of traditional gender roles in marriage, but frankly, I understood. If I were in her position, I’d come home and allow my man to take the lead too. …

Sex & Love

Do you think monogamy was put in practice to benefit women? Think again.

Closeup of a Black woman’s hand with an engagement ring.
Closeup of a Black woman’s hand with an engagement ring.
Photo: Roy Hsu/Getty Images

In 2017 I was shooting an episode of the Grapevine where the topic of discussion was gold diggers. I attempted to explain the subtle ways our romantic customs center male desire, often at the expense of female agency.

That’s when I said it, before a room of cheering women, and slack-jawed men.

“The truth about monogamy is — monogamy is the way that we can ensure that average Joes get to get married too!”

In my defense, I was neither praising polygamy nor slamming—well — broke men. I threw it in as an aside.

I thought this was common knowledge…

Sex & Love

In matters of love, it’s important to know the difference between boundaries and walls

Distorted gold-tinted reflection of a young Black woman.
Distorted gold-tinted reflection of a young Black woman.
Photo: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

Ayesha Faines is ZORA’s newest Sex & Relationships columnist. You’ll be hearing from her on a biweekly basis.

I’ll never forget the woman who asked me how she could open herself to love again.

I was speaking on a panel in Brooklyn, and I can still picture the vacant look in her eyes. She said that after multiple heartbreaks, she felt she’d become invisible. The few men who did approach her all seemed to have bad intentions. …

Sex & Love

Women are not sacrificing their time — or health — for superficial pairings anymore

Smiling Black woman sitting on a terrace with her laptop, on a phone call.
Smiling Black woman sitting on a terrace with her laptop, on a phone call.
Photo: Peter Dressel/Getty Images

Ayesha Faines is ZORA’s newest relationships columnist. You’ll be hearing her musings on the intersection of love and power on a biweekly basis. This column is her debut.

“Before Covid, you could never get people to be open,” my college friend said one night over Zoom. “Men wanted to go to happy hours. They wanted to play rounds of ‘who do you know?’ Now, you’re actually getting to know each other.”

Judging by the looks of the women on my screen, we were all shocked, mainly because she lives in the heart of D.C., …

Ayesha K. Faines

I’m a columnist for Zora 🍯, founder of Women Love Power, talking head & salsera 💃🏾! WomenLovePower.com | IG & Twitter @ayeshakfaines.

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