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Inside This Issue: May 2009

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See photos from ESSENCE's exclusive interview with the First Lady and her mother »

Get a glimpse at the new cover »

BEAUTY
25 Color Decoded: Standout shades
34 Strands: Updos, mohawks and pompadours, from edgy to elegant
40 Fab in a Flash: Mikki gets au naturel with guest editor Kerry Washington
42 Best Sellers Top eco-friendly beautifiers

FASHION
47 Looks We Love: Shift into neutrals
50 Perfect Fit: Asymmetrical frocks offer a new slant on style
52 Accessories Down-to-earth gear
56 Cheap & Chic: Green-inspired fashions for less green

FEATURES
104 A Mother's Love First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, talk family, community and the future with Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray
116 Thank You, Mom Showing our  appreciation for the woman we call Mama
120 Tropical Punch Embark on a fashion trip to paradise this spring
126 The Good Fight A man of faith battles corporate giants for his neighborhood's health
By Brentin Mock
130 The Green Awards In recognition of the activists working to improve our environment

CULTURE
59 Essence Ultimate Summer Movie Preview: From action and animation to comedies and thrillers, we give you the lowdown on this film season's flicks  
62 Gazette: In case you missed 'em, highlights from the indie film world; a bout of festival fever and Chris Rock's award-winning hair tale
64 Books: Helpful tomes good for all ages; Farai Chideya offers to Kiss the Sky for our next book club selection and more

WORK & WEALTH
69 Be Your Own Boss Why your future might be in franchising
74 Money Makeover: She's divorced, in debt and hoping to retire by 2013
78 Your Money: Nine easy steps to turn your home into a green house
82 Working Smart: Broaden your outlook on what it takes to get ahead
86 Tanisha's Tips: Understand your refinancing options; steals and deals

BLACK MEN, SEX & INTIMACY
89 What Men Think: H-town hotties debate whether cheaters deserve a second chance
94 Tell It Like It Is? Actress Niecy Nash says keep the awful truth to yourself
96 Oh, Brother: Finesse believes nice guys aren't for everybody

OUR NEWS
99 Ten Things We're Talking About
100 Time for a Change: Kerry Washington issues a plea to save the planet

HEALTHY LIVING
135 Sexual Health Special: We weigh in on medical advances in the reproductive field, birth control concerns and how to maximize your next trip to the doctor
144 Fit & Fab: How one woman became half her size without surgery, medication or extreme dieting
147 Organic 101: Are organic foods the best choice for you and your family?
150 Take 5 Honoring the mother in you
152 How She Does It: A parent of two toddlers successfully shares her home and her office with her hubby
154 Healthy Food Fast: Wholesome meals can be affordable and delicious

IN EVERY ISSUE
18 Between Us
20 Contributors
22 Your Letters
163 Where to Buy
166 Horoscope
168 Get Lifted God's Gift by T.D. Jakes

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