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The Six Dates That You Should Know For Black History Month

Black History Month starts today. Here’s how it got started, and some dates you should know.

Black History Month Og

Important leaders to remember during Black History Month. From left: Rosa Parks, Bernard Harris, Hiram Revels. Image Source: Wikipedia

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, and we assure you it does not — as actress Stacey Dash asserted on the TV show Fox & Friends — have anything to do with segregating a portion of the United States’ population. Rather, it commemorates the achievements of black Americans in national history.

How Black History Month got started

In 1926, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History sponsored a national Negro History Week. The group chose the second week of February since it coincides with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. The logic for Black History Month, according to Black History Month “father” and historian Carter G. Woodson, was clear: “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

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Meet The Human Barbie And Ken

Mattel made waves today when it unveiled three new Barbie body types that come a good deal closer to reflecting the realities, and diversity, of the female form. Like it or not, the doll’s exaggerated proportions have shaped popular conceptions of physical beauty for decades, leading some to go to extreme lengths to bear a strong resemblance to the doll:

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real life barbie and ken

30 year old Valeria Lukyanova is a Ukrainian model. Lukyanova, whom most recognize as the "Human Barbie," is alleged to have spent $800,000 to achieve her other-worldly appearance. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbie Swimsuit

The 5'7" model weighs 93 pounds, according to French magazine L'Express. Her proportions — 34-18-34 — are quite close to what an actual Barbie's would be: 39-18-33. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Flowers

Critics have suggested that in order to achieve her 18-inch waist, Lukyanova would have had to have some ribs removed. Lukyanova has denied that: "Don't believe any stories about me having rib removing surgeries," she said. "They aren't true. The only surgery I had was breast surgery. My mother's waist is as narrow as mine — I inherited that from her." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Shorts

Some have said that Lukyanova's figure is more the magic of Photoshop than it is surgery alone, and in May 2015, Lukyanova gave credence to such a claim. The Ukrainian model admitted the she 'shopped images of herself in jean shorts (seen above) to "smooth" the overall photo. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Blonde

In the past, Lukyanova has told papers that in order to stay trim, she hopes to live on "air and light alone," in what is known as the extreme 'Breatharian' diet. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Turquoise

As for exercise, she told Cosmo that she works out for five to six hours a day to maintain her figure. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Closeup

Behind the beauty regimen and obsessive manicuring is a desire to appear like a doll. "Look," she said in an interview. "To me the Barbie doll looks perfect; it was created as a human idol. When I adopted her image, it felt very positive." Image Source: Facebook

real life barbie and ken eyes

Today, however, Lukyanova takes umbrage with her nickname as "Human Barbie." As she told Cosmopolitan during an interview, "It's a little degrading and insulting, but I'm used to it now....it's the image most fans request, so I have to comply with it because it's become part of my aesthetic image, but I don't like it. I don't like it when people think I am imitating a doll." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Friend

Instead of "Human Barbie," Lukyanova has said she'd rather be known as a spiritual leader called Amatue. "Valeria is my earthly name and more for people who don't really know me or aren't absorbed with esoterics; they don't understand this. But all the people who are close to me, they call me Amatue." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Sitting

Lukyanova likewise believes she can communicate with aliens, and travel to other planets. "My communication with aliens is not verbal," she said. "We speak the language of light. I have learned a lot from them...and also that humans are the least sophisticated civilization." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Before And After

A before and after photo of Lukyanova. While Lukyanova is married, she has said she doesn't want children. "I am never going to have my own children. Once when I traveled outside my body, I remembered that I was not a human and my spirit is not a human spirit — I should not have children in this world." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Underwear

Justin Jedlica, 35, made it his endeavor to become the human Ken, having spent at least $200,000 on his procedures, and enduring over 100 cosmetic surgeries. Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Side By Side

To date, Jedlica has undergone 102 surgeries, some of which are female-specific body procedures. In addition to nose jobs, muscle implants and leg lengthening, Jedlica has received breast implants, toe straightening, foot narrowing and umbilicoplasty (belly button surgery). Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Tennis

On his site, Jedlica explains that his childhood shaped his decision to become a human Ken. "I was anything but what [my father] had expected. Instead of sports and cars, I was drawn to the arts and had an affinity for the “finer things in life...My community, my family, and my friends didn't seem to understand me or my interests." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Bathroom

It also had to do with popular culture. Says Jedlica on his site, "the lives of famous figures like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, and Donald Trump fascinated me. These interests were instrumental to the formation of my personal view of beauty, the lifestyle I wanted and the notoriety I sought. Thus, the Justin Jedlica rendition of the 'Ken Doll' was born." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Pelvic

Jedlica's trasnformation began at age 18, when he received his first nose job. Image Source: Facebook

real life barbie and ken lines

Jedlica describes his modification and its constitutive procedures as "cathartic," and says that the "restructuring of the contours of my face and body in an effort to customize myself perseveres as I grow as an individual." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Swoop

It apparently helps that Jedlica always sees ways that he can improve his body. "As a very detail oriented person I always find something new to critique and fix," Jedlica told the Daily Mail. "Most recently I had three veins in my forehead stripped and ablated as every time I would smile or laugh they would pop out...I called them my 'Julia Roberts' veins." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Beach

As for Jedlica's thoughts on Lukyanova? As he told the Huffington Post, "I do find her beautiful...[but] it appears to me that much of her look is added makeup, fake hair and 'slimming' corsets...drag queens have put on the same illusions with makeup and costumes for years." Image Source: Facebook

Human Barbies Justin Before And After

A before and after shot of Jedlica. Image Source: YouTube

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Why Is Iowa First? A Quick History Of The Caucuses

Every four years, Iowa becomes the most important state in the Union. But why?

Iowa Caucus Barack Michelle Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama in one of their final campaign stops before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Source: Luke Vargas

For four decades, Iowans have had an out-sized privilege: They get the first say in who will become the presidential nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties. As a result, presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders dote on the state for months, making promises—and taking votes in Congress—that disproportionately benefit Iowans. The question is, how did this frosty state of three million people get this leg up on the other 315 million of us? Why is Iowa first?

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