Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

No You Can’t Have Nappy

Credit: OrganicBeautyTalk.com

When I was 8 years old I had a classmate who came from a mixed background, her mother was white and her father was Black. One day I was over her house when her mother called her over so she could braid her hair. I watched as she separated the mass of curly fluffy hair on her head and braided 4 pig tails. “My mom could never do that to my hair,” I commented as I touched the bo-bo secured around my tiny afro puff. To which her mother replied, “I don’t know how she manages to do anything with your hair, I would die if my daughter had nappy hair like that.” My feelings were hurt and I wasn’t even sure why, what was wrong with my nappy hair?

Nappy is not the same type of N-word as nigger is. Historically nappy was a means of spitting on the phenotypically African nature of our hair. It was a way of separating African Americans from Europeans and it was a means of shame that we connected back to being a slave. When we existed as a Black society obsessed with European features, when we lived by hot combs and created straightening creams and chemicals, nappy was a means of signifying that we had ugly, slave like hair.

Credit: OrganicBeautyTalk.com

Credit: OrganicBeautyTalk.com

Black Girl Long Hair came out with an article today pointing out that the hashtag nappy was hijacked by white girls with messy bed head and unwashed hair. It was so… infuriating. To think that something else from Black culture had been columbsed yet again. But unlike cornrows and baby hairs, the term nappy carries a history of self hate that was instilled in Black people by European culture. Even worse is that the white women using nappy to refer to their hair are not using it as the positive adjective that we’ve adopted into Black culture, but instead are choosing to use it to describe undesirable hair.

Taking back nappy was a means of reclaiming pride in a natural thing. By nature our hair is nappy, kinky, and full of life. It battles us because it grows however it feels, and it doesn’t like to be forced into unnatural states, and we work with it and love it because it’s beautiful. Nappy is a celebration of accepting the beauty of our own hair, it’s become a commonplace term in the Black community and even more so in the natural hair community. Nappy is a difficult term, it wasn’t quick to be picked up and accepted, but once it was embraced it was a positive norm.

As a kid, growing up in an all white school had me begging my mother to rid me of my kinks. I hated my hair, it didn’t hang or flip like all the white girl’s hair did. All the characters in our books at school had long silky locks, and even the girls younger than me, just had all of this “pretty hair”. Growing up with white people turned nappy into an ugly thing for me, until I was old enough to understand that my hair struggles were a part of my narrative, a part of finding and being me.

Nappy means kinky and coily, and natural, and when used to refer to hair as such, it is a celebrated word. When nappy is used as a negative connotation by anyone it’s an issue, regardless of race. When you try to take something we fought to accept and make positive and use it as a negative, in a pejorative nature, or in reference to something undesirable you are making an effort to look down on and disrespect a part of a culture. Ignorance is not an excuse, just like ignorance of the history of black face is not an excuse for its use. If your hair is unwashed and unkempt, then those are the words to use when you want to describe it. Nappy is not dirty, it is not ugly, and it is not bed head. It is not the ugly insult Europeans leveraged against us as slaves and it is not a word to be claimed by those who don’t understand it’s meaning. So no you may not have nappy, the Santa Maria can sail right on by.

Bye FeliciaDon’t forget to like the Facebook page for more and follow me on Twitter for some good ole’ rants.

To My Biggest Fan

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This blog means the world to me, and I started it for a few reasons and with a few intentions. Above all else, I created this as a means to share my voice with the world and hopefully spark something in people. For those who don’t know, I recently graduated college and my journey to my degree was very unorthodox. I never would have made it to the other side of college without an awesome support team. Not only did I have both of my parents and my friends and family behind me, I had one shining star who no mater what, supported every single one of my decisions and endeavors, especially this blog. I’m fortunate to have my parents but I’m beyond blessed to have my Auntie Charlotte in my life. That’s who this post is for, my biggest fan.

When I was in the 5th grade, I came home from school having had the absolute worst day in the world. I felt ugly, in the most self pitying, disparaging way, I just couldn’t stand to look at myself.  I had a solo in the Spring concert that night and I just did not have any desire to be looked at, let alone be in the spotlight of the stage that night. When I went up to my room, there was a package on my bed, I ripped it open and found Born Beautiful: The African American Teenager’s Complete Beauty Guide That night I got on stage and blew everyone out of the water with my solo of “Memory” from Cats and  my new hairstyle. Talk about fairy godmother huh?

My Auntie Char has been by my side quite literally since birth. Back when I was the toothless kid in the sunflower dress and afro, my god mom embraced, loved, spoiled, and celebrated me as if I were God’s greatest gift and I was doubly spoiled by her mom, my Auntie Freda. My two extra mothers showered me with gifts and praise, but they shared with me something even more special. When I look at my godmother’s family history it reads like a vibrant Black novel, a shining example of the development of Black life in America. Every visit to her home was filled with black and white photographs and old family heirlooms. My parents are both of Caribbean descent and did their best to educate me in Black American history and culture, but my Auntie Charlotte provided me with something more; a deep sense of pride in her history. A history her ancestors had lived and forged for her. Volumes of Black poetry, prose, novels, and history books lined her walls, and whether she knows it or not, I had thumbed through at least half of them by the time I was 13.

Half of my knowledge on Black culture and history came from my parents, but the other 50% undoubtedly came from Auntie Char, who embraced every opportunity to fill me with knowledge and instill me with pride. She introduced me to one of my favorite Black artist, Annie Lee, she lent me book after book, and more than anything else she listened. Charlotte listened to my obsessive rants over being the only Black kid in my school, how I felt about the little snippet of slave history taught in my class, and how I knew I wanted to be a Black magazine editor. No dream I had was ever too big, too crazy, or too outlandish for me when it came to Auntie Char.

Fast forward to my college years, which were undoubtedly my most difficult. I had to make a lot of tough decisions and live with some even tougher ones, but no matter how I acted in those times of stress and pressure, my god mom was right there cheering me on. When I started this blog as a project, she was one of my first subscribers, reading every post, commenting, and sending me words of praise and encouragement. I swear she’s told everyone she knows about this blog and she even created a Pinterest board for all of my articles. If ever I thought that this blog was a waste of time, Auntie Char certainly would be my incentive to never stop it. When graduation came, she opened her home for me, and threw me a party of epic proportions. (It of course helps that she is a killer interior designer!) Every detail of what I studied in college was integrated into the party, photos of me growing up, kente cloth to match my graduation stole, and a station for everyone to write me letters of encouragement and goodwill. Letters that ultimately found me crying tears of joy and gratitude in my bed at 3 in the morning the next day. The amount of love that my Godmother showed me on such an important day in my life only confirmed what I’ve always known.

My Auntie Char, is my mother, she has loved , nurtured, cared for, and supported me as her daughter and I will be eternally grateful. She inspired me every step of the way in life and is a big reason I am the person I am. I owe so much in life to her, her love, and her support and when I finally reach whatever crazy dream goal I have in this life, my Auntie Char will be right there at the top with me. I love you Auntie Charlotte, thank you, thank you for everything you’ve done, thank you for everything you are, and thank you for inspiring this diva, from day one.

You Will Never Be “THAT GIRL”

You will never fit perfectly in your jeans.
Your eyebrows will never be identical.
Your lipstick will never be precisely straight and your eyeliner wings will always be uneven.
You will never be that girl.
You will wake up on occasion and want to be that girl, lament at the fact that you are not.
It’s okay though.
I will never be that girl, she will never be that girl.
You will always be THIS GIRL.
You will always be a masterpiece.
Your jeans will show everything you’re afraid of, and that’s perfect.
Your lipstick will smudge, and that’s perfect.
Your eyeliner wing will flop, and that’s perfect.
Being THIS GIRL, is perfect.

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Makeup Courtesy of Sweating. Because I’m Not Ashamed of My Naked Face.

We waste too much time in life lamenting over our inability to be that girl, when that girl doesn’t even exist. Your makeup isn’t designed to hide, correct, or manage. It is to enhance and highlight and celebrate. You don’t need it, but you like it and that’s ok. A man asked me why I hid my face under makeup and I had to ask why he thought I was hiding. I was celebrating my full lips, my wide nose, and my big eyes. What is surrounded by my makeup isn’t a mystery, you’ve seen me without it. I’m not ashamed. Don’t let anyone shame you for your pink/purple/orange lipstick and black liner wing. All that matters is that you know you are THIS GIRL.

From A “Strong Black Woman Who Don’t Need No Man”

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The other day I was happily chatting with a guy who I had been talking to for weeks, when he decided to blurt out that he didn’t think we could end up as more than friends. Not particularly troubled, since I really wasn’t checking for him anyway, I asked why. His response? I saw your resume on your website. I had to end the conversation there, because even though I had so many questions, the sheer ignorance of his statement prompted an automatic desire to laugh in his face and I didn’t want to be rude. I know I’m not the only woman out there whose ambition has been a direct turn off to prospective dates and boyfriends, apparently a lot of guys can’t handle it, but my question is why? What does my resume have to do with how I handle my love life? It’s 2014 why can’t I be ambitious and attractive?

For most women who are like this, you ended up with the label of being a “strong Black woman who don’t need no man”, but let’s be real you want one, and you’re entitled to that desire.  So you start browsing and you end up finding the one who sags his pants, one who doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re, and the other one who thinks every word out of your mouth is  a theory on feminist practices. Needless to say, you’re over it! You want to give up because it seems like these men just aren’t cutting it, but then you second guess yourself, consider that maybe your standards are too high. Stop it, stop right now.

Being a “Strong Black Woman” is not the same thing as being an “Angry Black Woman”, although society seems to make them synonymous. Your intelligence, your ambition, your accomplishments are a gift that you should embrace and celebrate. You will have moments where you will want to down play them or hide them, in an effort to seem more attractive. DON’T. Once you get involved with a man are you going to continue to downplay it; what kind of relationship are you trying to sustain? You would think that the man who is the least accepting of your ambition is the guy who isn’t as ambitious as you, but beware of the trap. Those Black men who make you swoon with their suit and tie, NAACP membership card, and claims of consciousness, will be the first men to step away once they recognize just how ambitious you are. These men seem like the dream, forward thinking, and looking for a strong Black woman. The pattern I’ve come to see is that he really wants a woman smart enough to hold a conversation and support his movement, but not threaten his masculinity with their own ambition. Want some examples? Read up on the relationships of some of those Civil Rights leaders, Garvey might be a good start.

I say all of this to say that being a “Strong Black Woman” is not easy and when it comes to relationships it can be even more difficult, but the difficulty stems from a societal perception that when you are a Black woman focused on her career or her goals, you don’t have time, space, or the capacity for love. This is so very wrong and if you’re a “Strong Black Woman”, don’t convince yourself that it is true. We are not all Taraji from Think Like A Man , we aren’t waiting for a man to show us how hardened ambition has made us. For any man who thinks otherwise this is my eternal mantra:

 I love what I do. I will never stop doing it so that you can feel secure. I am here because I want to build something with you and when I come to the table I leave all of my work where it belongs. Do not mistake my strength for an inability to be vulnerable. I know how to take the backseat in this partnership. I can compromise, but I won’t concede. I will give this all that I’ve got. I will support you in everything you pursue and you will support me too. I am not here to compete with you, I want us to build each other up. 

Black women should not be afraid to choose either success or love. They should be empowered to understand that these two things can very well go hand in hand. Love me, love my ambition, and embrace what I will bring to the table. If you are intimidated by my resume, you weren’t ready for me anyway.

I Hate My Natural Hair… But I Won’t Quit On It

You know the girls you see in the Ms. Jessie’s and Shea Moisture ads, the ones with big smiles as tons of bushy curls come falling down around their faces? Or how about the dark chocolate girl whose perfect white teeth beam up at you from the magazine ad as she rocks a thick kinky type 4 afro? Yea those girls… they are not me. My natural hair doesn’t make me smile or want to pose for pictures or even run my hands through it. On the daily I consider if I should just chop it all off and go bald. I’m one of those 4c hair texture girls; defined as tight kinky texture with a minimal curl pattern. Now what the real definition of 4c is: ” Oh you thought you were gonna get a comb through that? You wanted to use curl cream and denman brushes you say?….NOPE!”

Transitioning

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Invisible Extensions

Almost 4 years ago I stopped perming my hair and let me tell you it has given me hell every step of the way. I left it in twisted extensions for the first year, then cut off the permed ends and started to wear it out. I was so excited. I combed the natural hair blogs and watched hundreds of youtube tutorials, to help me decide what creams I would use for all these amazing styles I would be doing, it was like an awesome dream. For a while things were okay, my hair was still in that “in-between” phase so it held onto twist outs pretty well but I was still itching for some length! I figured if I gave my hair time to grow it would work out better for me. So I put in an invisible (tiny braided extensions) and I left my hair alone to grow.

Fast Forward

Whenever I would take out my invisible I was excited to see what kind of hair growth I had acquired. I attempted wash and gos and was horrified by the results. My hair in actuality was about 2 inches short of being shoulder length and when I washed it the shrinkage was horrible. I would attack my head with curlformers, denman brushes, afro picks, Shea Moisturizer, Ms. Jessies, Carol’s Daughter, I mean if you named it I promised you I tried it; many of these products at the recommendation of natural hair dressers I visited and consulted. No matter what I did my hair would shrink up into a dry not so fluffy little afro. It made me miserable. I would literally sit in the mirror, stare at my hair, and cry. I had heard that it was a little rougher for type 4 textures, but I felt helpless, I just wanted to hide all my hair.

Twist Out On Blown Out Hair

Twist Out On Blown Out Hair

A Little Heat Lightning 

I decided that maybe if I stretched my hair a little bit it would cooperate with me and boy was I right. I got my hair professionally blown out and then went home and did a twist out on it. It was the most beautiful result I had ever seen and for the short time that I wore it I was absolutely ecstatic about my hair. I snapped photos everyday and made excuses to go out just so I could walk around with it. But as soon as I wet my hair again it reverted to it’s awful, annoying state. I was depressed again and back under an invisible it went.

My Sad Revelation

This summer I wore some Senegalese twists and when i took them out I went to get my hair blown out once more, I did a beautiful twist out and the very next day the heat and humidity destroyed it. By 5 pm my hair had no shape it was just a tangled mess on on my head. I was back to square one, because clearly the summer wasn’t going to allow me my heat straightened freedom. I’ve pretty much given up on my hair for the moment. Even though I have friends with type 4 hair texture none of them seem to have hair that’s anywhere similar to mine and I feel deeply alone in this struggle. I wash my hair and attempt to pick it out with my black power fist afro pick and it just sits there. I still look in the mirror and want to cry but when I walk out the door I hold my head up high and act as if my hair looks amazing. I don’t even have recent pictures of my hair to post because I have essentially refused to be photographed. I have hair envy for other naturals, especially the one’s with big fluffy fros’ but aside from all of that I have alot of self-hair hate. Since my natural hair causes me so much trouble the smartest thing to do would just be to give up on being natural but something in me refuses to allow it. I don’t want to go back to being a slave to my perm just like I don’t want to be a slave to my blow dryer.

Picked Out Afro

Picked Out Afro

Honestly right now I’m just biding my time, covering my hair in pretty scarves, until I can put in my next invisible. But I write this post for all of my other natural hair girls who feel just as miserable and hopeless as I do. I refuse to give up, no matter how much trouble and stress my hair gives me. I cannot change my hair texture, it’s mine and that was the point of being natural, to embrace who I was. It’s not about the fad its about being free from a bond to a conformist habit. Even though I want to stop trying, I know I won’t. I think I’m secretly hoping that one day when it comes out of an invisible it will spring into a huge fluffy fro and my problems will be solved. I know it won’t happen, but a girl can dream and the point is that you should too. I hate my natural hair and I’m okay with that, I just have to keep trying.

I’m Back!

Good Morning Readers. I’m baaacckkk!!! I hope you missed me and of course I’m sorry for being gone for so long but there’s just been a lot going on. First off I’ve been sick and I don’t mean a cold I mean I’ve been to the ER twice and have had enough tests to spell 13 of the 26 letters in the alphabet kind of sick. (I’m getting my third MRI this weekend) Anyway I’m getting closer to figuring out what’s going on with me and I’ve been feeling better lately so I figured I owed it to myself and my blog to get back to writing.

An update on something I want to change as I start posting again is some of my posts. Most fashion blogs give you an OOTD Post (outfit of the day) and well I think it’s only fair that I give you guys a taste of what my personal fashion looks like, so I’m talking to my photographer friend to make that happen.

Oh and I changed my hair! Lol. I used to have curly natural extensions. Then in December and most of January I wore my own hair in some really funky twist outs. Now that I’m back at school ingot some long down my back box braids and I’m loving them. You can see some comparison pics below. ( Just in case I never mentioned it I’m natural with my hair, I haven’t had a perm in 3 years & you’ll never see me with one. )
Anyway readers I’m really excited to be back and I can’t wait to share more with you. Thank you for being loyal and supportive. Love you all!

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Holiday Fashion Cheer

Greetings Readers! It’s finally December which means it’s the holiday season, and of course that means holiday parties! Christmas is my holiday of choice but no matter which winter celebration you’re taking part in you can take all of this year’s trends and use them  to look super fierce for every holiday party! So I’ve taken the liberty of throwing together a couple of looks via Polyvore to help spice up your holidays!

Forget LBD Think LGDLittle Gold Dress

Everyone knows the easiest go to piece for any sophisticated party is the little black dress but this season it’s still all about the gold so let’s think little gold dress instead! A simple elegant gold sheath dress is a perfect piece to pair with some simple pumps and some stellar accessories. This Diane Von Furstenberg  dress is one of my favorites. It’s an elegant way to play up sequins without looking tacky. A statement necklace piece in contrasting colors and a showstopping dark ruby lip will make you the center of attention at any holiday function .

Peplum Christmas Angel

One of this yAngelic Gold Vintage Peplumears most popular trends has been the return of the peplum fringe. From dresses to fitted tops, peplum is a fun flirty trend that can really add flare to any outfit. I personally only like peplum when it’s structured, otherwise it flops everywhere and just looks unflattering for any body shape. But when it’s done right peplum gives the appearance of hips and slims your middle. This dress is another way to embrace the gold trend and throws peplum into the mix. The white paired with the glittery gold gives a soft angelic

 

Glitter In Gold Like Studio 54

So readers if you haven’t already guessed I was pleasantly smacked upside the head by hurricane Sandy and have been knocked offline for quite sometime. I’m currently fighting off suburban, mini van driving, diaper bag toting mothers in the only Starbucks with electricity for a 10 mile radius. It’s been a rough 3 days, no electricity, no heat but my family & I are managing. I pray that you are all safe and keeping warm.
But in an effort to chase away the cold Sandy blues I thought I would cheer you all up with a fun fashion trend that’s been frequenting the runways. Gold is back people! Back in a big flashy manner and I suggest you hop on this fun trend. The fall runway has been full of shimmery gold glamour and it can easily translate from runway to everyday.

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Photo Credit: article.wn.co

The key to gold is to remember that it is a statement color all it’s own, it needs nothing to enhance it. Gold looks amazing on everyone, from the deepest chocolate skin to the frailest pink tones, so no one should be afraid of it. Embrace the studio 54 glitter goddess inside you and find your gold statement piece. A pure gold sheath or wrap dress would be amazing with a neutral face and the fiercest black pumps you can find. Or you could pair an angelic white top with a fierce gold skirt and cinch that bad boy with the meanest vintage belt you can find. I really want to stress that my plus sized ladies should not fear the bold nature of gold. If you’re looking to wear an all gold dress an empire waist is your best bet to be the most stunning gold statue in the room.
Gold is amazing. It’s a great feel good piece because it has the potential to just make you feel so pretty. Just remember to not overdo it. Too much gold and you can look tacky and clownish. There’s no need for any gold jewelry with an all gold outfit & please leave the gold nails for the little black dress. If you rock gold let your one piece stand all on its own. Stay warm my beauties and be fabulous.

3 Reasons Thick Girls Love Fall

The leaves are changing colors and the Uggs are making more frequent appearances, we know that it all means one thing.. Fall is rearing its beautiful breezy head. It seems like the in between seasons always treat us thicker ladies kindly.. well that’s an understatement. Lets be honest. for all my chubby girls out there we adore fall for a wide range of reasons, but these are my favorite.

Goodbye Summer Stress Im sure you’ve heard the joke that the heat doesn’t agree with larger people but I assure you this is no joke. I don’t think I’m the only thick woman who will tell you I hate the summer. But what’s worse is summer fashion! I hate GETTING DRESSED in the summer! I know there are some plus sized ladies out there who can attest to the horrors of keeping your body cool and still covering up those little nooks and crannies we don’t love quite so much. Now if you’re a fly lady you will be fly no matter the season but theres not quite a guarantee on comfort. Something about summer fashion is never quite the nicest to our kind, but fall fashion…. Oh honey you better watch out! Sweater tights, and boots, and scarves oh my! It’s a plus size girls heaven to dress up for the fall!

Cuddling As the temperatures get colder and the clothes begin to appear it seems like skinny girls loose a little of their edge. Everyone knows deep down in his heart of hearts every man wants some thick lovin’ & the cold weather creates the perfect opportunity for them to start seeking out a full figured and warm bodied cuddle buddy. It’s cuffing season ladies time to break out your fiercest fall looks because you should best believe that the boys are watching the way those sweater tights are hugging every god blessed curve. 😉

Color Love Another beautiful thing about fall fashion for us thick ladies is the announcement of fall colors. It seems that it’s impossible for the colors introduced in autumn to disagree with us! This year we have oxblood, black, mustard, & navy. Score! How amazing are we going to look in these colors ladies! Say goodbye to those horrid muumuu summer prints that they plaster across the plus size corner and embrace some fierce fall color blocking!

If you’re looking for some fall inspiration check out Bloomingdales Style Guide: The Plus Edition.

Mammy Made It To Fashion Week

Photo Credit Sinuous Magazine

There’s been a pleasantly disgusting history of the disrespect of black women in fashion over the years but the most recent installment is just especially…”rousing”. Dolce & Gabbana has released their highly anticipated 2013 Spring collection and I’ll disregard the fact that it leaves much to be desired and instead focus on their grave misuse of images of black women. What style.com has called a hail to Sicilian roots, I call an awful reversion to black face mockery. The new line features images of what have been called “street puppets” from the Caltagirone region of Italy. To me these puppets look eerily similar to the toys and images from the days of black face but more specifically they remind me of the idea of mammy. I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or reading to deep into it but honestly I feel offended. How many black women does Dolce & Gabbana feature in their clothing? So what on earth makes them think its okay to put these mammy, Aunt Jemima like figures of women on their 2013 dresses or hang them from the ears of their porcelain white models? If there’s one thing I hate it’s the exploitation of black women in media, fashion, and pop culture. It’s bad enough that we do it to ourselves sometimes but honestly we’re going to allow white people to so casually disrespect us? What the hell is going on Italy; first the Slave earring debacle and now this? I don’t really care how dark a Sicilian may sometimes look, this is an insult. If you want to see pictures of the entire collection checkout style.com’s slideshow. So tell me readers are you offended or do you side with the artistic license of fashion?

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