I have a confession to make: Huey P. Langston reads Essence. But there's no shame in this. I feel any man who has an affinity for black women, such as myself, should be reading Essence.

Essence is the modern black woman's bible. Date a sister and ask her what's the last thing she read. Chances are the chick will reference some article she read in Essence.

So I use Essence as a tool to educate myself on the ways of the black woman. I have to say some of the information is highly insightful. What I have decided to do is give a monthly critique of certain articles from the latest issue of Essence, starting with their January 2007 issue. This is for my fellas who would rather read KING, but are still curious to know what the hell our sisters are talking about. And for my female fans (I see you all out there!) who will hopefully read my criticism and realize how misguided they truly are. For those articles that can be found online, I have included links.

The Cover: This month's cover features Wendy Raquel Robinson, Kelly Rowland, Pattie LaBelle, Vanessa Williams. Their cover line reads, "LOOK BEAUTIFUL in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s...Real Women and Celebs Share BEAUTY and HEALTH secrets.

The only complaint I have is the wording. "Real" women and then you have five women who men only see in their dreams? And it sends a wrong message to "real" women. I don't know how many times I've had to let Shontae at the Hair Salon know, that she is not A) a member of Destiny's Child B) A diva C) in any position to ever win Miss America. If you want to feature real women, feature the real women I have to confront every day at the KMart checkout counter. Some of them chicks look good, but they're all definitely real.

The Smart Black Woman's 2007 Money Guide: Applaud the ladies of Essence magazine. They actually manage to tell sisters how to attain financial wealth without telling them to get a man with a good job, good credit and a healthy bank account. Let's just hope black women are paying attention.

Black Men, Sex & Intimacy - What Men Think: One of my favorite sections of Essence. In one page, black women get to peer into the minds of black men everywhere, and from there it is fair to assume all black men think alike. The shit is pure comedy.

Question of the month: Why Do Men Cheat?

But what you won't see in the online version of the article is where the comedy is really at. A poll conducted on Essence.com asked females have they ever cheated on their man before. Unsurprisingly to me, 66 percent of the respondents admited they have cheated on their man before.

So there's your answer ladies. Why do men cheat? Because 66 percent of women do the same damn thing.

On His Mind: Another one of my favorite sections in the magazine where a brother talks about some experience he has learned about love and relationships with black women. Sometimes the essay is written by a man, but other times, a man is interviewed by an Essence writer.

This month's topic: A Lesson Before Loving. A reformed player advices sisters on how they can get the love they want and deserve. This would almost be insightful if the man giving the advice wasn't a 51-year-old by the name of BIG BOOM.

Yo, who the fuck takes relationship advice from a man, who at the age of 51, still calls himself Big Boom? I know a dude named Big Boom back in my old neighborhood, and you know what he does? He collects guns and money. Not to say this Big Boom is the same dude, but I'm saying, ain't one person in my neighborhood ever even talk to Big Boom because you just didn't know what he would do next. So I'd advice ladies to do the same and move on.

One Week To Better Sex: Seven days that will help you and your man build to one amazing night of passion

On day one the author advises women to "grab a pen and a journal" so they can start a sex diary. The goal is "to write about any negative sexual experiences you've had." This way you "change the way you think about any bad experiences by writing positive affirmations in your diary."

Then the author gives a whopping example of a bad experience turned positive by self-affirmation (DRUMROLL PLEASE!) "I forgive myself for the time I got an STD."

WHAT THE FUCK!? That's not a negative experience. Negative sexual experiences are things like accidentally swallowing, or sweating out your perm during a marathon love-making session. But an STD, I repeat, is not a negative experience. That is a life changing event, and fellas, if you ever get to look at this secret diary of hers, and find an entry that has the words, "I" and "STD" in the same sentence, I will pray for you.


The women of Essence are doing fine by themselves, but still miss the marker completely when it comes to finding a man, and even more important, keeping a man.