Black Girl Magic Costumes

BLACK GIRL MAGIC COSTUMES

I’ll never forget when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, I was playing Power Puff Girls at a friends house and we were choosing which one we wanted to be. I always loved Buttercup, because she was a badass, so I said “I call being Buttercup”… then before I finished my last breath, she said “Well you can’t be buttercup” and when I asked “Why not?” she said “You can’t be her because you’re black.” So for a while I always had a bit of a complex when it came to dressing as “white” characters. The truth of the matter is that I could dress as whoever the fuck I wanted to, but the older I got I always tried to make sure my costumes represented black women in some way. Though Princess Jasmine isn’t necessarily black, every black girl was inspired to see a Disney princess of color after decades! I was thrilled to finally dress as her last Halloween. Though I’ll be keeping it simple by just wearing a witches outfit this year, take a look below at some black girl magic halloween costumes to try out!

COMMUNITY COLORS

COMMUNITY COLORS

It’s 2020 and we’re still fucking concerned about skin tones. With George Floyd’s death there was such an outpour of emotions and sympathy towards the black community. Unsurprisingly just a few short months later, we’re back to where we were. Actually more like one step forward, a million steps back. Of course we’ve seen plenty of issues with police brutality, even with the help of internet awareness we are able to expose the atrocities going on in different African countries as well. But for some reason, retailers and even the black men and women within our own community are still focused on the matter of dark vs. light. Like what the fuck? Are y’all living in the same world that I am…. because we have much bigger fish to fry babes.

Yes, I know colorism is an issue in many different cultures around the world. But that NEVER makes it okay. It makes it worse honestly. But I as a black woman, can only speak on what I’ve seen within my own culture, rather than attempt to speak on what someone in the Brazilian or Indian culture might experience. Those who benefit from it use it to get ahead and pursue all sorts of opportunities. These people are able to “pass” as ethnically ambiguous, or even a completely different race. I knew two girls from my high school who were half Latina. From the outside, they just looked like your average white girl. Which of course made it easy for them to assimilate with the preppy white culture we grew up around. What bugged me, was that they only used their ethnicity when it was convenient. For all intents and purposes, they referred to themselves as white girls, dressed, and acted the part as well. But when it came to college applications and things of that nature… THEN suddenly they were Latina. I mean come on. Not only is that problematic for the obvious reasons, but completely denouncing one half of your gene pool just to fit in is sad. I know part of it necessarily isn’t even their fault, that’s the way this society unfortunately is built. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and comply with the cards society has dealt you. On the flip side those who DON’T benefit from “passing” are constantly held back and deterred from opportunities just because someone took a mere glance at them and made up their mind of what type of person they are.

I see these issues most prevalent in matters of beauty, employment, and dating. In my own culture I constantly see mixed race women or light skinned women being praised over brown or darker skinned women. In movies and tv shows it’s always a crew of light skinned women, or the token black friend has straight hair and light eyes. Clothing brands will constantly use women with straight hair or more Caucasian features. Make up brands don’t even make shades past a certain tone! I mean how ridiculous is that. Because all of the uber corporate beauty brands never even bothered to think about dark skinned women, they had to make due with whatever make up there was available, even if it was 5 shades too light! Thank goodness for Rihanna and Fenty Beauty for bringing this to light, because who knows how long it would’ve taken for them to realize. Though we have seen many more brown skinned leading women, they are often met with comments like “she’s so brave!” or “she’s so beautiful!” So just because she has more melanin than the girl next to her she’s brave? Or just because she’s darker than the girls we typically see in movies means she should be treated like some exotic being? Cut me a fucking break. The sad part is that many of these women end up being fetishized for having darker skin, and are STILL left out of the conversation when it comes to beauty standards.

Over the past few years we’ve seen so many “African American Studies” teachers be ousted for being white. Like, I’m constantly baffled on how the fuck that even happens! If there were more black people in the room when these people were hired, we wouldn’t find this happening as much. I always think about all the brown and dark skinned teachers who applied for the job and were overlooked. The very obviously BLACK women who were overlooked for a position that ended up being given to an imposter. Clearly these interviewers assumed that these were light skinned women that were just the “right amount of black”. See what happens when you comply with colorism?… You end up looking foolish! Even crazy ass Rachel Dolezal was the CHAPTER PRESIDENT of the NAACP. This woman called herself Nkechi Amare Diallo! But because her chapter was located in Spokane, Washington (a very white area) she was just the “right amount of black”. Side bar I’ve been laughing at this fucking picture of Rachel Dolezal and her braids for 30 minutes now. I caaaaan’t. Whew.

Even when it comes to dating, black men are always talking down on darker skinned black women. They’d much rather date someone who is light skinned to the point where you can’t even tell they’re black, or someone that is ethnically ambiguous or ~exotic~ YAWN. Don’t even get me started on the fragile black male ego though, that’s a whole other post. Everyday I see somebody’s dusty ass son talking about how “unattractive” darker skinned women are. I see so many Tiktok’s about black guys preferring white women who want to be black like Kylie Jenner. I get everyone has a preference, but you don’t need to bash people in the process. I am a light skinned black woman so even I benefit from colorism at times, but I’m not a fucking weirdo and would never pretend I’m other than black to appease someone else and “fit in”. I always hear lighter black women saying “they’ve got Native American in their family”, turns out I actually do. However, I am black. At this point the connections to those genes are so watered down that it wouldn’t even make sense to claim them. Everyone in my family, besides my dad (who’s side has those Native genes) and myself are dark skinned. All of my black friends are browb/dark skinned. So I can clearly see the difference in treatment and its fucked up. When an employer looks at me, they think I might be mixed and for some sick reason that equates to being “better”. Now I, of course am a pretty smart cookie, but I have seen plenty of other women who look just like me, or are even lighter get access opportunities they don’t deserve. Though society sucks and will continue to suck for a while, the only way to combat this is to keep calling it out. If you sit by and accept the benefits rather than speak out for those in your community who are being overlooked, things will continue to be misaligned.

How to Be a Boss

HOW TO BE A BOSS

From a young age, my mother would always encourage me to speak and walk with confidence. This was always something she had been adamant because her mother did the same for her, as did her mother before that. So naturally this is a characteristic that has been instilled in me for quite some time. They all taught me that I should have no fear when it comes to speaking up for things I both agree and disagree with.

 That being said, I’ve met a lot of bitches that think they’re bosses, and I’ve had a few bosses who were just bitches, but it takes a certain type of person to be a BOSS BITCH. Okurrrrr! As far back as I can remember, I’ve never had a problem voicing my opinion, even if it would get me in trouble at times. For instance, I recall my teacher addressing the class about the usage of the good ol “N” word in Huckleberry Finn. Looking back, I’m not even sure why this was up for discussion, but he asked if anyone was uncomfortable using “the word”. Of course none of my classmates had an issue with it, but best believe I did! So I let him know, and guess what? Nobody said it. End of discussion. My mom always told me that if somebody did or said something that I didn’t like, I better let them know. Now just to be clear, I wasn’t going around berating people, I only spoke up for myself in situations that pertained to me. Funny enough, my nickname has been “Cookie” (short for “Tough Cookie”) for as long as I can remember. This was simply because just never had time for people’s nonsense. But once I reached middle school, suddenly everyone had time for the nonsense. Whenever there would be drama or gossip involving my name, I’d confront the issue head on, just as I was taught. But I soon learned that some people are put off by people’s confidence, especially when it comes to women. For years I had learned to pride myself on my upfront and mature way of dealing with things, but others continued to tear me down because of it.

Of course, High School is even worse. I was never the type to start any drama, but somehow my name would be in the middle of stories I had never even been a part of. All of this spurred from the insecurity of others. When you reach this age, the goal of many girls is to make other girls feel “less than”. They eventually succeeded in their goal and destroyed any confidence I had left. To make matters even worse, I began to reach the age where I could start dating. Already lacking confidence from the constant and petty High School Drama, my confidence was misread as aggression by any boys I was interested in.

Even now at twenty-five years of age I still have issues with this. For some reason plenty of girls still think its cute to have cliques and be little mean girls. I mean damn, don’t you have priorities to focus on? Like a job? Career? Your own life? I don’t know these are just humble suggestions. We all struggle with insecurities, but I can’t imagine being a grown ass woman and being worried about what another grown ass woman is doing. When I started working, it was like the flood gates opened. I’m a hard worker, but I don’t have a stick up my ass. It’s called ~balance~ But a lot of people see me as a threat. It’s hard for me to look outside of myself and see what it is that threatens people, because I have been like this all of my life. I used to try to understand why people didn’t like me and what it was that I could do to change it, because I just wanted friends. But at this point in my life I have learned how to love myself and not give a single fuck what people think. However the more I do this, the smaller I see my circle get, and that’s OK. I rather have a small circle of real friends rather than a clique of fake ones.

At my previous job, I felt like I went in a time machine back to high school. For some reason people cared more about having friends and being liked than their own jobs. Weird, because I thought we were all there to get paid… This one girl in particular had so many issues with me when I was nothing but nice to her. Once I made it clear that I, did not fuck with this chick, THENNNN she wanted to play victim and act like I was always so mean to her. When in fact I wasn’t worried about her. One time I was going to get drinks with some co-workers, one in particular worked in her department. As he got up to leave, she kept pestering him on where he was going and why she wasn’t invited. Like what?! Cause you and are not friends, there’s no beef (at the time at least there wasn’t), but just because you’re friends with this person doesn’t automatically mean you need to be included in everything they’re in. He ain’t yo man sis!  Another co-worker of mine witnessed the whole thing. She was stunned, and immediately texted me. Because I heard about little things like this she would do or say behind my back, I chose not to invite her to a Halloween party of mine. Again no beef, we just clearly aren’t friends. We do however have mutual friends, and because her and her crew of mean girls are still stuck in high school they made people chose between hanging out with her and attending certain events, or hanging out with me. Needless to say nobody came to my party. However my close friends did, which is all I needed. Girls like this think they’re making boss decisions, but they’re actually just living a life of a miserable bitch.

The same goes for a few female bosses I’ve had. Women in leadership positions often get a bad rep. Men like to accuse women of thinking irrationally and emotionally when it comes to making important decisions. Unfortunately I have in fact had a few bosses that embody this stereotype. For some reason, when some women are put in positions of power they like to completely abuse it for their own benefit. One boss in particular owned a few locations of a popular massage therapy chain. She would never come into the location that I worked at, and would expect way too much from people. She was always pretty smug, and would never solve the customers issues or listen to their complaints. Which is like literally the job of a business owner. The place was always falling apart and running out of supplies, but some how that was never her problem. She was too cheap to buy things like a new washer and dryer, which would of course interfere with the flow of business. Once I left, I found out later that this woman was pocketing money! Even more recently I had two female bosses who I thought were people to look up to, until I actually started working for them. In order to be a leader, you need to be able to teach and properly delegate tasks without confusion. They had actually chosen me to be their new assistant, I was thrilled and expected to learn from the best. However I was pretty much just thrown to the fucking wolves. I had two weeks of training during the slowest time of the year, and after that I was expected to just know how to do things without previously being taught. Before working as an executive coordinator, I had been a receptionist at a few different places. So after a while that became second nature, this however was completely foreign. It was to the point that I felt as though if I asked questions, I would just be called stupid. I would always ask what I could do to help and if I could learn new things, but because their perception of me was that I was incapable they would just overwhelm themselves and blame ME for THEM being overwhelmed.

I tried to understand it from their perspective but I truly can’t. I get their two previous assistants had much more experience, but this is something they knew from the beginning. Also, the company was in a much better place than it was when I was working for them, so things were definitely a bit more comfortable. Whereas shit had hit the fan by time I got to the desk. So knowing this and knowing ME for my whole life, you’d think they’d take time to teach me and want to see me grow. But unfortunately I realized that people like this like to hinder others rather than accept their faults. Oddly enough, all the things they said I wasn’t capable of doing, I’m excelling at now and figured out on my own. I could guarantee whoever they find to replace me would not have an OUNCE of the charisma and talent I have shown through this very blog. I also heard more about the way they treated other people around the company which really turned me off. Going around and screaming at people who are actually trying to protect the company, or refusing to go on trips and meetings is childish, and NOT boss bitch behavior. Having conversations that eventually come to a compromise and making appropriate sacrifices is how you become a boss bitch. Not doing the work for everyone or covering for people who should be doing their job, or even coming for people who are actually doing their fucking job. Women like this like to rule with fear, rather than confidence.

I tried to be respectful and take it all in as a learning experience, but the only thing I’ve learned is how NOT to run a business. After trying to express my needs several times and rather than be heard I was told to “put my big girl panties on” I knew I just needed to get the fuck out of there… so I did! Also unrelated but the word “panties” makes me desert dry every single time. Gross.  Though my new job is currently on hold because the world is a hot ass burnt pastry puff of a mess, I’m excited to work somewhere that my voice can be heard and where I can actually be successful and where I won’t be working for women on a power trip, but people who want to actually make good television.

I always find myself between a rock and a hard place. I will never settle for something I’m uncomfortable with nor will I dim my light to make someone else’s light brighter, but it’s frustrating that my confidence is always seen as an issue. I know in terms of my career and the field I’m in, this is the way I’m supposed to be. Confident and charismatic. Because if I were to be some weak minded woman, I would constantly get stepped on. But there’s also a fine line. Going around and taking over everything and being rude is also pretty weak minded to me, because what does that really solve? If you’re not able to teach and delegate what are you really doing with your status? Its exhausting, but I still have faith things will be okay. I am proud to come from a line of independent boss bitches who worked hard and stayed true to themselves. Though I may lose “friends” or scare some guys off, I know in my heart that at the end of the day if I continue to speak my truth whatever blessings are for me will come my way.

Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music

I finally went to Amoeba music after wanting to go for months. I originally posted this in May of 2019, now just over a year later this location has been shut down. It’s so disappointing that the asshole in charge doesn’t care about small businesses whatsoever. I recall an outlandish statement he made at the beginning of this quarantine, he (I don’t even want to give 45 the decency of calling him a “he”, rather than an “it”) said that places will open back up, but they might be owned by someone else. How disgusting… these people have built their businesses from the ground up, even went into debt, and were forced to shut down due to YOUR bullshit. Easily one of the most elitist and pretentious comments I’ve heard (and that says a LOT)! Yes, I know they simply moved locations, but the Sunset Boulevard store was so iconic and really meant so much to people who have spent their whole lives in LA or even music heads who stopped by while in town. Read below about my (what would technically be my last) experience going to Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard! 

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Yes, I know I’m late to the party but I’m glad I finally went! Amoeba Music is a record store located on Sunset Boulevard. There are many other Amoeba locations around California, but the original location opened up in 1990, on Telegraph Avenue up in Berkeley, California. I happened to go on “Star Wars” Day, so all of the Star Wars items were on sale! I got myself a poster of the Japanese release of A New Hope (*update, this is currently hanging in my apartment!), and for my brothers birthday I got him an ASAP Rocky candle (like a spoof of those tacky Jesus candles), and a box set collectors item of The Big Lebowski (because I am THE best sister).

There is SUCH an extensive collection of vintage music, movies, posters, and art from all different genres and decades. I wasn’t even sure where to begin! It was also quite nostalgic to be in there because I remember actually buying CD’s to put in my boombox and disc-man. My mom also felt nostalgic when she saw 8-track records and Vinyl’s that my grandma used to play around the house. I was able to find a few cool items, but I felt as though there was so much to discover. Though this iconic location has permanently closed it’s doors, I’m excited to check out the new spot on Hollywood Boulevard, opening in Fall 2020! 

Representation Matters

Representation Matters

As a young black girl growing up in a predominately white neighborhood, it was very easy to lose your sense of self. Luckily my parents instilled in me what it meant to be black and how being “different” is nothing to be ashamed of.

Of course, the older you get, you begin to look for validation from the outside world. I would often come home and turn on the television at the end of the day just to be able to see personalities like my own, seeing as everyone else around me looked and acted a certain way. I knew I would find comfort once I tuned into my favorite shows, because they were just like me! 

Here is a list of the most influential female Black television characters that shaped who I am today!

Susie Carmichael (The Rugrats) – The Rugrats was an amazing show, I still watch it to this day. But once Susie Carmichael was introduced was opened up to a more diverse audience. As a young girl I had no idea why I related to Susie more than the other characters, but as I got older I realized it was because she was exactly like me! Susie was a sassy little girl – but not in the way Angelica was. Most importantly Susie was smart, which was something that had not been seen in black cartoon characters.

Numbuh 5 (Codename Kids Next Door) – Abigail Lincoln, better known as “Numbuh 5” was someone who I related to around the time I was in the fifth grade. Though Numbuh 1 was the “official” leader of the squad, the team would be nothing without Numbuh 5’s smart, responsible, and laid-back style of leadership.

Raven Baxter (That’s So Raven) – The Baxter family was very similar to my own family. A close-knit black family who can talk to each other about anything. Raven and her hi-jinks always made me feel like it was OK to be quirky and loud, as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone… or in Raven’s case, hurting myself!

Denise Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – Before the recent scandal, I would often watch re-runs of The Cosby Show on Nick-at-Nite. It was always great seeing a black family who did not fall into the stereotypes that most TV writers put them into, Denise being the most individualistic of all the Cosby Kids. She was always eloquent and “woke” before we even knew what woke was, and we all admired her for it.

Princess Tiana (Disney’s Princess and the Frog) – Though it took forever and a day for us to get our own princess, it was worth the wait! Princess Tiana is a hardworking woman, which had not been seen in any other Disney princess movie. She was determined to open her restaurant and stick to her morals which is always key.

Issa Dee (Insecure) – Issa from Insecure is both someone to look up to and someone to learn from. We see the realistic life of a black woman figuring herself out and sticking up for herself in situations. I’m sure many other young black twenty to thirty something year old women get excited to see what situation Issa will get into next.

Bonnie Carlson (Big Little Lies) – Bonnie did not exactly stick out to me when I read the book, but once I watched the series she stole the show! I already am a huge fan of Zoe Kravitz, so it wasn’t too hard for me to get on board with Bonnie. I was most impressed by her level-headed decision-making skills and the way she supports other women in the series. Her role of “peacemaker” between her new husband and his ex-wife is also something to take note of.

Jodie Landon (Daria) – I recently started watching Daria on Hulu (seeing as I was around 6 years old when the show ended). Jodie is the perfect representation of how I was feeling toward the end of my time in High School. I was so tired of just being “the black girl”. Plenty of teachers would confuse me with other black girls who looked nothing close to what I looked like… yikes! Jodie was fed up with her classmates seeing her as just another token black girl, and honestly, I can’t blame her.

How Drag Inspires Me

How Drag Inspires Me

A few years back I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch, and I landed on something called Rupaul’s Drag Race. Being born in the nineties I had already heard of Rupaul because of many appearances on different TV programs and famous song “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, but I thought to myself “why the hell is Rupaul racing cars?

Once I tuned in I was obsessed! Not just because of the fashion and drama, (which is always on point let me add!), but because of what drag meant to them. On the show, we get to hear many stories about the struggles they endure in their personal lives. Many of the queens discuss how they have been shunned from their families because of their sexuality and “lifestyle choices”, which is upsetting. And SO fucking played out… we’re in 2020 people GET THE FUCK OVER IT. The silver lining though, is that the show is a great platform to boost both their confidence within themselves, and gives them the opportunity to create a new and accepting family dynamic. I feel like if people actually took time to watch the show, it would really open their eyes up to other people’s experiences. 

I am a straight black woman with a pretty great family dynamic, so on the surface I’m sure it seems as though I can’t relate to a drag queen in any way. However, what I can relate to, is how important for people to have a foundation. Whether it be a close relationship with your family, or friends that you consider your family, it’s important to surround yourself with people who love and support you. My mom has always taught me how important it is to embrace people and how many actually WISH they had a positive family dynamic. And until I learned more about peoples experiences, I thought everyone grew up just as I did. Of course I’m a supporter of the LGBTQ community. I don’t care who somebody else wants to be with, as long as it makes them happy. For some reason, I really became drawn to Drag Queens. I LOVE the extra-ness! I love all things glitter and campy, but what I really love is that these gay men are expressing themselves in their own personal way. Their personas are truly who they are deep down inside. It’s awesome that they’re also able to pursue careers in Drag as well. Now that it’s become more mainstream, some queens are really raking in the big bucks! So, after watching dozens of episodes, I decided to educate myself on the history of drag (as other’s should!).

Queens like Divine, Lady Bunny, Lavern Cummings, and of course Rupaul paved the way for future queens to live for themselves, and not based on what society thinks. Because as Mama Ru always says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” I will always find myself enamored by the art of drag and will always have the utmost respect for these ladies and their talents! In a time where the world is so divided, I wish people would educate themselves on other peoples life experiences. This is the only way we’ll be able to understand and empathize with one another. Though most people love drag queens for the glamour, I love them for their bravery and ability to unapologetically express themselves!

Stop Judging Women with Tattoos

STOP JUDGING WOMEN WITH TATTOOS

It’s 2020 and people still have strong opinions on tattoos. I mean at this point I figured we were over it with everything else going on!… According to a few online sources, the oldest tattoo on record was found on the 5,300-year-old corpse of Tyrolean Iceman, aka Ötzi, so needless to say the practice of tattooing has been around for a loooong time.

These days while still somewhat taboo, people don’t necessarily blink when they find out you have a tattoo, unless of course you’re a woman. When I was about 13-15 years old I realized I really enjoyed tattoos. I obviously I did not get any at such a young age (I would hope my parents would have enough sense to not let that happen). However, I did tell myself that if I still wanted tattoos as badly as I did then when I reached 24-25, I was going to go for it. The only rule I made for myself was that they had to mean something. That being said, once my dog passed away I got my first tattoo (that I drew myself!) to honor him. Two years later I have a total of five tattoos, and I have stayed true to the rule I made for myself as a teenager.

Of course like most things on this planet we call Earth there is a double standard. Now, my  father, uncle, and even some of my male cousins are tatted out the wazoo, (most of which aren’t even cool LOL). But still my dad’s favorite thing to say is “You know you’ll have to wear a wedding dress one day, right?”  *insert eye roll here*… He and my mother also seem to think I’m going to convert to a nun by the time I turn 35 years old and will repent all my sins and suddenly remove all of my tattoos.

The tattoos I chose are deeply personal and part of my story that I’d like to share with the world. I mean, nobody really knows what will happen in the next ten years but I know for the past ten years I have been yearning to get inked, but I was always fearful of the perception I’d give off as a young black woman with tattoos.

One of the coolest websites regarding this topic is called Women with Tattoos (check it out here!) created by Eleni Stefanou. Her objective is to show women with tattoos (obviously) in a positive light. She explains that the number of women with tattoos is now greater than the number of men with tattoos, which is surprising.It’s shocking because mainstream media makes it seem as though women aren’t supposed to have or even do tattoos. For years the tattoo industry, like most others, has always been male dominated.

Just like most fields of work people look at gender first, THEN that person’s body of work. For years I have been a fan of the show Ink Master. Though the show began in 2012, they JUST had their first female winner in 2016 after eight seasons! Female artists are extremely hard to come by and the lack of them from a customer point of view would lead you to believe that their work is sub par, which is not the case AT ALL!

Despite what you may see everyday on the news, the world is in fact becoming a progressive place. While this is true, there are still many set backs for women. Though I have several tattoos, I made sure to get them in a places where they won’t necessarily be seen by an employer or the everyday person. They’re not anywhere scandalous, like Eve and her paw print titties (smh, girl) but I like having the option to be able to cover them up when necessary. It’s crazy because tattoos essentially are supposed to be part of an individual’s story, so does that mean women aren’t supposed to tell their stories? Fuck that. I’m done adding ink for a while, but who know’s what will happen once my story progresses. If I eventually have children I’m sure I will get something in their honor. Sometimes a tattoo doesn’t even have to have a story! I know four dudes, FOUR with ridiculous tattoos on their asses, it’s usually said to be a result of a fun night out “with the boys”. Now just IMAGINE if a woman said that they got a tattoo on their ass during a girls night, she would be called SO many different names. I’m hoping as we move toward a more female respected world, the perception of us powerful tattooed women moves in the same direction!

Finding Comfort in my Roots

FINDING COMFORT IN MY ROOTS

As a woman, hair is something that is very important to me. But as a black woman, hair is something I have always struggled with. Society tells us that our hair should be long, straight, and bouncy. Of course, this is only possible when you are born with a particular texture of hair. This stigma then creates tension within the black community, because of the expectations and societal pressures. There is always constantly a debate about having “good hair”. Chris Rock even made a whole documentary about this, aptly titled “Good Hair”. (A must watch for everyone of all backgrounds).

Though it appears black hairstyles are more accepted and celebrated now, this debate continues every day and has been going on for centuries. Protective and natural styles such as braids, dreads, and bantu knots are seen more frequently on red carpets and in photoshoots. But throughout the years, these hairstyles continue to be banned from schools and workplaces because they are viewed as wild or unkempt. So, to appease the masses, we use things like perms/relaxers and flat irons to straighten our hair, which actually results in long lasting damage. Because black hair is so thick and coarse, when heat is constantly applied to it, it gradually gets weaker and eventually falls out.

In the late 1960’s Angela Davis and Pam Grier’s afros were considered non-conformist behavior. Even when Cicely Tyson wore her braids on the cover of Jet magazine it was met with controversy. Afros even became somewhat of a symbol of rebellion and braids are always looked at as “ghetto”. However, this is the just natural texture of our hair and the styles that work best for us. It’s pretty wild to think that wearing our hair in it’s rightful state is automatically seen as a “political statement”. Sure I guess it could be considered a statement because we are opposing the standards forced upon us. But this is how we were actually meant to wear our hair. If there weren’t rules specifically meant to discriminate us, we would’ve been wearing natural afros and braided styles regardless. 

From as far back as I can remember, hair has always been an issue for me. My mother permed my hair at a young age and would put it in cornrows for the summer. To her this was normal, her mother did the same thing. Even all of my cousins, would show off their cornrows every summer. During the school year, it was easier for me to feel like I fit in with the white girls because my hair would be permed and straightened.

But once the summer came, so did all the questions about the “new” style of my hair. The corn rows on my head seemed like such an alien concept to them. My hair had been in all sorts of braid styles since I was a baby. Hell even Allen Iverson was rocking the straight backs at the time. But still they were so fascinated. Little do they know, people have been rocking all different styles of braids and cornrows for thousands of years. (Yes, THOUSANDS! It didn’t start in 2013 when the Kardashian’s started wearing them.) When I would go to camp, the constant questions and attention would make me SO uncomfortable. It was like they needed to make a point that I was indeed, different. I never understood why, because at the end of the day it’s just hair. But eventually I would let it get to me. And after my mom spent HOURS doing my hair the night before, I would come home with my braids all taken out. Needless to say she was pissed.

I have a LOT of hair, which makes it hard to manage. So my mom thought the best thing to do was to perm it. Eventually my hair broke off from harsh relaxers, so I moved on to wearing weaves to try to protect my hair. It felt amazing to finally have long hair down my like the white girls, but I became so addicted that I stopped giving my own hair the attention it needed. I was more focused on “fitting in” than the health of my hair. To this day, I still deal with aftereffects of wearing such tight weaves. I have developed a type of psoriasis that only occurs on my scalp and have to use a special shampoo once in a while to avoid hair loss. Regardless, I doubt I would have been able to wear any sort of natural styling because our handbook emphasized anyone wearing any outlandish hairstyles would be penalized. I recall teachers going up to the black boys and telling them they needed to get a haircut ASAP to avoid getting a DP (disciplinary point). And god forbid a black girl wear box braids or dreads, I don’t even think I ever saw any girls attempt it. However by the end of our time there, we were all either wearing weaves or suffering from heat damage. The sad part is, I was willing to let the hair on my head suffer just to avoid being the outcast.

For the past few years, I’ve been rocking some natural box braids (Poetic Justice braids as my dad calls them). My hair hasn’t been this healthy since I was about six years old, which is sad. It’s sad that for years I willingly let my hair suffer just because society has some vendetta against black hair. The irony of it all is that they take so much sh*t and make all these discriminatory rules, and then turn around and appropriate the same styles! 

It’s upsetting that black women have to put our hair through so much just to fit societies standards. Though there are still cases where children are reprimanded for wearing natural styles at school, we have certainly come a long way. Many black celebrities are able to wear natural styles without getting called out. (Like that time Giullana Rancic said Zendaya’s dreads looked like they smelled like patchouli oil… yeah I didn’t forget b**ch!) It is always disheartening how styles that have been around for thousands of years are still met with judgement. And for virtually NO real reason. If these styles are so “bad”, then why aren’t they bad when Kylie Jenner turns around and wears them to coachella? When it comes to black women’s hair there have certainly been plenty of strides in a positive direction. But I feel like part of the acceptance is only because white women are wearing the styles themselves. I hope we reach a point that black women are able to celebrate our culture through hair just as it was intended and not just because society has suddenly deemed it acceptable.

Happy Birthday Andy Warhol!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY WARHOL

I first heard of Andy Warhol during one of my middle school art classes. I LOVE bright colors, so I was enamored by his style of work because it was so different than anything I had ever seen. For years we were always shown more renaissance artists like Da Vinci and Michelangelo, this was a welcome change!

Once I did my research, I loved Andy Warhol the artist and the person. Warhol had a way of combining pop culture and consumerism in an innovative way that captured the world, and even caused a bit of controversy. His work led him to become a prominent figure in the artistic movement and cultural boom called “pop art”. As someone who is so infatuated with pop culture, Warhol has served as an influence in my life for quite some time. Andy Warhol would bring together drag queens, intellectuals, hipsters, and Hollywood stars in his NYC Studio, The Factory, long before it was “cool”.

If Warhol were still alive, today would have been his 92nd birthday! Though he passed in 1987, his legacy has and will continue to live on for decades. Take a look at his most famous and influential works of art below!

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!