The Remix: Hip-Hop x Fashion (Netflix)

THE REMIX: Hip-Hop x Fashion (NETFLIX)

I’m BAFFLED as to why more people are not talking about The Remix: Hip-Hop x Culture on Netflix. I mean I know why, but like c’mon! The world is so obsessed with black culture they never want to appreciate it, but rather appropriate it. Ugh! I can go on and on about that… but let’s talk about the film!

The Remix, focuses on pioneers in fashion culture such as Misa Hylton, Dapper Dan, and April Walker. I was born in the mid nineties and I’ve always been around music and the culture that comes along with it. It was pretty shocking to grow up and realize that people had never heard of them, when I’ve always known how much of an impact they made on hip hop culture. Even brands like FUBU and Karl Kani played a big part in this cultural boom, and inspired designers like Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss pursue a career in fashion as well.

Every fashion statement you see today is because of Misa Hylton, it didn’t come from TikTok or someone’s Pinterest board. Misa styled everyone from Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliot, Diddy, and so many other artists that played a huge part in the merging of Hip-Hop and Fashion. More importantly, she changed the perception of what women in Hip-Hop should look as well. Because Hip-Hop is a male dominated genre, women were expected to meet those requirements as best as they could. They would never wear outfits like the infamous VMA Purple Pasty outfit Lil’ Kim wore in 1999. LEGENDARYYYYYY!!! Before Misa’s influence on Hip-Hop culture, women were expected to dress masculine, otherwise they wouldn’t be taken seriously. A few years ago, Misa posted a restructured MCM leather jacket worn by Big Daddy Kane on her Instagram page to pay homage to Dapper Dan’s legacy. Stylist Zerina Akers reached out and wanted Misa to design something similar for her client’s upcoming video. That client, was the one and only Beyonce. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Misa now serves as a Global Creative Partner for MCM. Ayy!

Now I KNOW you’ve seen this video before – YUP, all Misa Hylton!

Now onto Dapper Dan. For DECADES Dapper Dan has been a staple in not only the history of Hip-Hop, but in the history of New York as well. Rapper’s would flock to his shop to get custom designer clothes. Because of the customers he would attract, he knew in order to accommodate their needs he needed to be open 24/7. Until his shop was raided in 1992, Dap was the go-to person for unique restructured designer pieces in the Hip-Hop community. He was even charged with copyright infringement and shunned from the mainstream. He continued his work underground in different cities, but the threat of getting in trouble again was always looming in the background. Years later at the 2017 Gucci Resort runway show, a jacket appeared on the runway that was CLEARLY inspired by Dapper Dan’s previous work. When social media reacted (yas black twitter!), Gucci acknowledged this and even created a line with him. After this resurgence, Dap even was able to reopen his shop in Harlem twenty-six years later! Yay! It was honestly a pleasant surprise to see a brand like Gucci show their respect and include Dapper Dan in the conversation.

I don’t want to give all of the details of the film away, but it’s important to recognize the people who basically made fashion what it is today. When you see uniquely cut and styled designer clothes emblazoned with flashy logos (which I know you have); you can thank Dapper Dan for that. And when you see girls wearing oversized clothes, or your favorite rapper/singer wearing colored hair and a bikini top; you can thank Misa Hylton for that. I’m so relieved that these two are receiving their flowers while they’re still here, because honestly it’s been long overdue.

BONUS VIDEO! The styling on this video was a Misa Hylton + Dapper Dan collab!

Being Black + Private School = Lifetime of Depression

Being Black + Private School = A Lifetime of Depression

I attended two separate Private Schools on Long Island, NY. From First to Fifth grade I attended Portledge School, a very small school with maybe thirty to fifty kids in each graduating class. I actually liked Portledge, everyone was kind for the most part and I felt like certain teachers actually had my best interest at heart. By Sixth grade, my parents transferred me to Friends Academy which ironically was right down the street.

I remember my first day at Friends Academy. I felt like an alien. It was huge, I didn’t know anyone and it didn’t really seem like anyone wanted to get to know me either. I entered at the same time as a lot of other new students, but it seemed like they all flocked to the ones that looked more like them. If you guessed white, you win the cash prize! I obviously wasn’t going to tell my parents this, because anyone who has attended a private school knows that you’re supposed to treat this opportunity as an “honor”. The notion is that I should be grateful that I was even admitted to this ~prestigious~ school. And when your parents are paying $25k per kid, you keep those opinions to yourself. Honestly Friends Academy is the worst thing that could’ve happened in my life.

For starters, when I looked around there was nobody else that looked like me in my class. Sure there were like two kids who were half black, but being mixed gives you an “in” with the white kids. I am black. Always have been, I was black before I was born and I’ll be black after I’m gone. The white kids weren’t going to let me forget that either. Once they built the courage to speak to me, I got asked all sorts of stupid questions about my hair, what my parents do, if I was related to another student in the school who looked nothing like me… you name it. Constant microagressions from teachers and students alike. Just like my girl Jodie from Daria said; “At home, I’m Jodie – I can say or do whatever feels right. But at school I’m the Queen of the Negros”.

After a while you get tired of feeling being gawked at 24/7 so you try your best to fit in. You get perms to straighten your hair. Once that breaks all of your hair off, you wear weaves for years, which also destroys your hair. But honestly you’d rather DIE than let anyone see your hair in it’s natural state. Today at 25, my go-to style is box braids past my butt (yes, she’s got inchesssss baby!), but I would not have had the confidence to wear a black hairstyle back then. Regardless of my comfort level, according to our schools handbook it wasn’t even allowed.

Not only was I insecure about my hair, but I grew insecure about my body. I’ve had huge boobs and a big butt since I was twelve, just like all of the women in my family. It’s in my genetics. When I would get undressed in the locker room I would feel embarrassed that I was larger than the fully grown yet grossly underweight ninety pound girls in my class. It got to the point that I would either get there before everyone else to change alone or change in the bathroom stall in order to spare myself from feeling “fat” for ten minutes. For all four years of high school, one of the librarians would call me some other black girls name EVERY TIME I would go to check out a book, to the point that I felt uncomfortable even going there. It was almost like she thought it was some sort of fun guessing game. Might I add that the only black students that looked alike were the ones who were ACTUALLY related, hell my own brother and I don’t even look alike. Basically what she was telling me was that “you all look alike and I don’t need to bother learning your name”.

No matter what I would do I would still feel like an outcast. I lost weight, and entered my junior year thinking “NOW, they’ll like me”. However nothing was enough, because the one thing they disliked about me, I would never be able to change. The only thing that seemed interesting about me to these people was that my dad was in the music business, because they couldn’t relate to me on any other level. Also, they couldn’t quite grasp the fact that a black family could obtain more wealth than them. I knew when random parents called me by my first name, it meant that they looked my family up in the school directory and more than likely googled my dad. So many parents of kids who I had no relationship with would contact my dad and attempt to relive their childhood dreams of being a singer.

What people don’t realize is that when the media, your classmates, and even your teachers are constantly telling you’re not good enough, your self esteem is pretty much nonexistent. Teacher’s would call home and insinuate my depressive nature was due to something happening at home… rather than the toxic environment that the school upheld. They were fully aware and did nothing to change the situation, because it wasn’t effecting them. And because it wasn’t happening to them, it must be a “personal” problem.

The six years I spent at that school were easily the worst years of my life. And I spent 2 years trying to narrow down whether or not I had a cancerous tumor growing in my face, so that says a lot. Years of teachers singling you out and discrediting your abilities will make you feel like you’re stupid. Years of rejection from crushes on white boys and six different prom dates will make you feel like you’re ugly. Years of trying to fit into certain clothes and abide by the “dress code” will make you feel like you’re fat. The only message I got from this school was that I was basically worthless.

To this day, I still fight to not believe these things about myself. Some days I battle my own thoughts because I wonder why I was subjected to that type of experience. But I know it was made to make me stronger. SO many students have come forward with similar stories. It hurts that so many black students were suffering, but I’m relieved that I wasn’t alone in my experience. Now that we’ve all graduated, social media has played a big part in us all reconnecting and sharing our stories of trauma and supporting one another in our post graduate endeavors.

The best thing I’ve done for myself is move across the country and leave all my memories of that place behind. While I know moving to a place like Los Angeles isn’t exactly a tangible solution for most people, living your truth comes at no cost. Though I still feel a sense of self doubt on occasion, it’s pretty awesome to finally be the person who I’ve always wanted to be. I wear my natural hair without any judgement. I wear my glasses proudly, and don’t risk my eyesight with painful contacts. I even got the tattoos that I always wanted! For years I was brainwashed into thinking that if I didn’t fit into this certain mold, I might as well be invisible. Since moving, I’ve been able to make friends of all different backgrounds who actually like me for me. Sure life gets me down once in a while, but I can look at myself and say I am glad I’m no longer struggling to change myself to fit into a society that’ll never accept me.

When I think about all the good memories in my life, they either happened before or after I attended that school. At my graduation I didn’t shed a single tear, I was relieved that I would never see that place or those people again. Friends Academy is a huge factor of my anxiety and depression, and for years I felt like I was crazy putting the blame all on a stupid private school who’s mascot was the Quaker Oatmeal man (yes, really). Private schools or “college preparatory” schools are meant to do just that, prepare you for college. But it didn’t even pay off at the end because many of us didn’t even get into the schools of our dreams. If I had to do it all over again, I would have told my parents how horrible my experience was early on, and save myself from the years of trauma I experienced at Friends Academy.

Badass Black Women You Should Be Following

BADASS BLACK WOMEN YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING

We all use social media everyday. Most of the time we see nothing but hateful statements and toxic influencers. Every time I log onto Instagram I see some Karen attacking a Walmart employee or some “model” selling Flat Tummy Tea as if the world wasn’t in complete f*cking chaos.

What I find helpful is following women who’s morals and mindsets align with my own. It’s hard being a black woman, especially during these times. The black lives matter movement is thriving, but black women still aren’t getting recognized. Black mothers are dying every day in childbirth without any explanation. All the while, the world still turns and nobody blinks an eye.

Many white influencers posted a black box and spoke about black lives matter for a week before returning to their regularly scheduled program. However the black women I follow on instagram were discussing topics such as inclusion, diversity in media, interracial relationships, LGBTQ issues, and much more even before the “movement”.

Check out my list below of these badass black women who you should be following ASAP!

Hannah Bronfman is from a wealthy entertainment family background like myself. This comes with it’s own set of difficulties, it’s often hard to fit in to a group because the white wealthy kids typically carry their racist parents ideals and are confused to see black people enjoying the same successes as they do. Hannah has defied the odds and created a brand for herself, she is constantly transparent with her followers about her struggles growing up and learning to love things like her curly hair. Most recently she’s shared stories about her miscarriage and IVF journey.

Marz Lovejoy is my favorite badass tattoo’d momma. For years she’s been a beacon in the fashion and underground music industry and served as a representation of what black culture in media should look like. After having two children of her own, she uses her platform to support black mothers. As I mentioned, black women are at a major disadvantage when it comes to giving birth. Marz constantly spreads awareness and raises money to fight for black women to get better treatment during their pregnancies and can safely deliver children into this world.

I first heard of Kayla Nicole because of her longtime boyfriend, Travis Kelce. Honestly, I am more interested in Kayla’s life than Travis’ now. She is the embodiment of black girl joy. She is always living her best life despite the constant haters and people questioning her relationships. Kayla also has a bangin’ body! Her hashtag #STRONGISSEXY, keeps me motivated to workout even when the last thing I want to do is exercise.

I want Flex Mami (aka Lilian Ahkenhan) to be my best friend!!! For starters Flex is from Australia. From what the media tells us I would not even think people as cool as her lived in Australia. I always thought it was just a bunch of skinny blonde white girls. Flex obviously is aware of that, and uses her platform to speak out on how she is constantly defying the odds and not letting naysayers distract her from her grind.

I used to follow Man Repeller solely for Crystal Anderson’s fashions. She was the only black voice I would see on their platform, so once I grew to learn more about her as an individual I could care less about Man Repeller. Crystal has always used her platform to uplift black women who don’t see themselves being represented in the media and always holds events for black LGBTQ women to thrive in the media without being held back by other predominately white platforms… *cough, cough* Man Repeller.

Ditch Your Fake Friends

DITCH YOUR FAKE FRIENDS

“You in danger girl” – The Queen, Whoopi Goldberg

Just because that person is always around you, doesn’t mean they’re really your friend. Sure they may like to party with you and tell you alllll about their so-called problems, but do they even know your middle name?

People are quick to call others their “friends”, when they really aren’t deserving of that title. Even I’ve been guilty of that. Often time people are motivated to be someone’s friend not because they seem like a good person, but because they have something to offer them. I’m often referred to as standoffish because I am so hyper aware of this. So often people will try to use me or my family because of what we have access to (especially here in LA). Sure, I can surround myself with leeches, but I’d rather use my energy to nurture real friendships than surround myself with people who don’t have my best interest at heart. Still don’t understand? I’ll give you a few examples.

When my brother was involved in an auto accident, which was in no way shape or form his fault, only one friend came to visit him. Just ONE out of his “group” of friends. These same friends who he would allow to help on different projects and to be a part of his life said that it was “karma” that the situation occurred. Disgusting. (They can still see these hands). Another person I know constantly discredited the co workers I would hang out with, saying I could “do better”. Apparently their version of better means doing drugs, sleeping around for clout, and being used as an ATM machine for their “friends”. To each their own I guess… These “friends” don’t care what happens to you once they’ve gotten what they want. Even more so, if they don’t get what they want or you decide to stop allowing them to use you, they feel as though there is hell to pay and want to seek revenge.

I’ve actually met my closest friends as a result of being around these fake friends. So I feel as though maybe that’s the reason they were brought into my life, and not to make some sort of long lasting friendship.

I met one of my best friends ten years ago working at a summer camp, ironically I applied for the job with someone who I thought was my best friend at the time. About three years ago, I went out for halloween with someone who I thought was a close friend at the time. She left me for some guy in the club, and the group we came with all went home early. One person stayed with me until I reconnected with my “friend” hours later. I haven’t spoken to club girl in years, but the girl who stayed with me that night is one of my most genuine friends. Someone else I was friends with, would constantly demean my interests, which didn’t always align with theirs. One day I knocked on the door to introduce myself to her new roommate who had just transferred, and we’ve been friends ever since. We have so much in common, we’re like the same person! And finally, I was friends with someone who was never there for me like I was for them. That person eventually became envious of the fact that I began to hang out with “her” friends. One of the main people she was most infatuated with, has become a great friend of mine despite all the bullsh** that other person caused. Oddly enough, I have more in common with him than I do with the person who I considered my “friend”.

That being said, people come into our lives for different reasons. Sometimes they’re there to teach a lesson, or they can even serve as a gateway and bring a good person into your life. What’s most important is that you realize who’s really there for you and who has your best interest at heart. So once more I digress, ditch those fake friends… because they don’t give a sh*t about you.

Is Monogamy Dead?

IS MONOGAMY DEAD?

Well I certainly hope not! But it sure seems like it is.

I don’t really get out much. Before the pandemic I was always working and then was busy trying to keep my life together on the weekends. As a result of that, online dating has been my only option. Throughout the years I’ve been on some dates here and there, but nothing serious has ever come out it. Sure I’ll admit some situations were due to me putting the pressure on people, but honestly it was just me asking for the respect I deserve. For some reason, all of these guys think they can have their cake and eat it too, and I’m at my wits end.

Just this week I’ve seen four profiles saying they were in open relationships, and TBH that’ll never be an option for me. Since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of having a relationship like my parents. Throughout their 27 years of marriage they’ve supported one another through the good and bad. They met through my uncle (my mom’s brother) and dated for 2 years prior to getting married. Yes, I know times are ~different~ but this has always been my standard for my entire life, so I don’t plan on changing it.

At the same time, these guys need to give me something to work with! People don’t want to settle down, but expect you to change or compromise (for their benefit) and do “wifey-esque” things. NO. People want to be married and legally commit themselves to one person, but then want to be on dating apps trying to f*ck the hottest thing they can get… as well as their wife. NOPE!

I’m all for people expressing love in their own way, but it seems like everyone’s doing everything but committing themselves to one person. And let’s be real, I definitely am not interested in becoming someone’s side piece. Ever. Monogamy to me, means having a life partner. But because people think the grass is greener on the other side, the concept of “monogamy” has been seriously skewed. One of the excuses I’ve heard, is that people don’t want to sleep with one person for the rest of their lives. YAWN. Life isn’t just about sex, but because of what we see in the media people think it is. It seem’s like people’s goal is just to get the most notches on their belt. Eventually that chase gets old and it’s in our nature to want to settle down with one single person. Penguins do it, seahorses do it, heck even vultures do it.

Don’t get me wrong though I envision marriage in my future, but I’m still pretty young. I have time before I find “the one”. Truthfully, I’m not even interested in having some huge spectacle of a wedding. I just want to find someone who loves me for me, and wants to build a future with just me without any question. These days I only see that very far and few in between. Though it seems like monogamy is dead, I truly hope there’s someone out there who still believes in it as much as I do.

Quarantine Fashion Looks!

QUARANTINE FASHION LOOKS

We are in month 227 of this quarantine because nobody wants to wear a mask in the United States. If you are like me, you’re tired of wearing the same four outfits. (Sweatpants, leggings, sometimes mix a pair of shorts in there, or an old rusty t-shirt from 2005). I’ve purchased so many cute things online, but now they’re just collecting dust in my closet not knowing when they’ll make their stunning debut. I see so many girls on IG wearing cute outfits when they’re running errands, or even just chilling in the house. It inspired me to get a little cute, even if my dog Ozzy is the only one who will see it!

Take a look below at a few of my favorite outfits below!

Outfits in order: @asos, @samiahamps, @nice.to.mitra, @hellobosco, @shandathapanda, @idressmyself, @jessthrowiton_, @lipstickncurls, @compoundcommunity, @tori_deal, @wuzg00d, @killer.killer, @brennzolorenzo, @loviesimone_, @ayeshacurry, @amaka.hamelijnck, @starrscurl, @flex.mami

OOMPH Kickboxing + Fitness APP

OOMPH KICKBOXING + FITNESS APP

Once my initial fears of the pandemic began to subside, I started wondering how on earth I would stay fit now that the gyms are closed. I tried a few different apps, but honestly they all were a bit dated. Fitness is important to me not just for physical reasons, but for mental reasons as well. There are some days were I’m overwhelmed and don’t really feel like working out, but after I do I honestly feel so much better. Certain days when I’m feeling low, a good workout really boosts my mood. Exercise truly gives me peace of mind.

So once I realized that I would no longer have that at my luxury, I needed to find some options. I tried a few different apps, but they all felt pretty dated. I like to hike, but I’m not someone who will just go out on a run (plus these boobs don’t want to see me be great). So I was really having difficulties trying to find a high intensity workout that matched what I had been doing pre-lockdown. That is, until I came across the OOMPH Kickboxing Fitness app!

I LOVE this app! At first I was a bit reluctant to workout on such a small screen, but it’s truly worth it. OOMPH has their own playlists for you to use, or you can connect your Apple Music and make your own! There also is a new workout almost everyday. Monday you might be focusing on jabs and crosses, and Tuesday might be squats and lunges. Another fun thing about the app is that after every six weeks, you move up a belt. I started as a white belt, and now I’m almost at my orange belt! OOMPH is also the perfect app during this lockdown, because you can take it anywhere and it doesn’t require any additional equipment. Whether you decide to go back home and visit family, or are simply just hiding from your roommate, it’s the perfect portable exercise app. I highly recommend downloading OOMPH, it’s a great way to keep fit or to get a jumpstart on your fitness journey!

Low Maintenance Natural Hairstyles

Low Maintenance Natural Hairstyles

During this quarantine it’s pretty hard to keep up with a daily hair routine. I personally love to rock box braids all year round because my hair is a lot to deal with. But for others who like to cut and style their hair, not being able to go to the salon has posed a challenge.

In order to keep your hair in tact, the best thing to do (in my opinion) is to wear a protective style for the time being! There are so many different options to rock, heck you can even try them all out! Lord knows we have all the time in the world to do so. Take a look at the list below and find which suits you best!

First up is Box Braids! The most common protective hairstyle because it’s the easiest to do. However it takes the longest to get done. *sigh* Once they are done though, they can last for about 4 weeks!

Passion twists are really popular right now. While I’m not sure how long they’ve been around, I’m suddenly seeing everyone wearing them. It’s a really cute way to wear a protective style, while still having your hair look kinky and curly.

I have a love/hate relationship with Senegalese and/or Havana Twists. I think this style is GORGEOUS. However when I tried it myself they constantly came undone. I feel like I probably just got the wrong grain of hair, but I’m still sad about it.

If adding hair isn’t really your thing, you can always do a two strand twist. It’s pretty self explanatory. This one can also take a while especially if you’re doing it free hand.

And lastly…. we have THE BIG CHOP! So many women have been saying “f*ck it!” and commuting to the big chop. I must say this one is the easiest and lowest maintenance of them all. But you have to be 150% sure you’re ready to do it so you don’t cry about it the next day.

Interracial Relationships in a Time of Racial Tension

Interracial Relationships in a Time of Racial Tension

For many people, seeing interracial relationships is the norm. We see it on television, in movies, and even on the street. You may even be in one yourself or be the product of one. The issue of racism doesn’t often come up within these relationships because one would assume (and hope) their partner isn’t a racist. But with the state of the world, being silent isn’t an option.

I am a product of my environment. White boys were pretty much the only option I had for a long time, so some interracial entanglements were inevitable. However, the environment I grew up in was not accepting of it. I will admit, I was nervous to tell my black parents that I liked a white boy which is so crazy to say. But my parents are normal and forward thinking people who didn’t even bat an eye. They did explain to me though, that dating outside of my race would be a bit harder for me especially at the particular private school I went to.

I never found dating outside my race an issue. I hate to sound cliche, but people are people. I would never dislike someone based on their race, but at the same time I shouldn’t just like someone because they are the same race as I am. If I vibe with someone that’s all that matters, you should be with whoever you’re happy with and share common interests with. For me, often times that ends up being someone of another race.

That being said, it’s important that your partner understand your culture’s history. When you decide to date outside your race that comes along with the relationship. No exceptions. As a young black woman, I could not date someone who does not understand why we are fighting for equal rights and better treatment, and I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable speaking on issues either.

Many black celebrities with white significant others have spoken on a few important aspects of being in an interracial relationship during these times. Actress Tika Sumpter recently tweeted, “Dear Black interracial couples with a significant other who is white (raises hand), we DO NOT need to protect them. I promise, they will be A. OK. They need to continue to fight for us. If they get offended when you talk about racists. You have a bigger problem on your hands.”

Even Shaun T, of Insanity fame, described a moment where his son was playing “police officer” with his dads. His husband, who is white, did not see any issue with the game, but Shaun realized his son now knew what a police officer was and that soon they would need to discuss the treatment of black people by the police.

I try my best to educate myself on the issues going on in communities other than my own, and I would hope whomever I chose to date has the same respect. I do not need to spare someone’s sensitivity at the risk of “hurting their feelings”. It’s sad that some women will silence themselves or turn a blind eye to comments their partner made, just to stay in said relationships.

After a while, I knew none of the boys in my town would be bold to bring a black woman home to their parents. I even met a girl who kept her black boyfriend a secret for 3 years from her Persian parents (no idea what ever happened with that one). I’m content knowing that I never subjected myself to that just to be in a relationship.

If you are not open to having tough conversations about racial injustice, you are not someone who should be dating outside of your race. If you are someone who gaslights their partner or acts as if racial injustices isn’t a factor in your relationship, you are someone who likes the idea of being with a man/woman of color. Being in an interracial relationship means that you are supportive of both your partner and the adversities they encounter, because it is now a part of your life as well. If you can’t handle that being a part of your everyday life or bother to educate yourself, then you need to re-evaluate things, because silence is not an option when your BIPOC partner is suffering.