2013 was amazing. cliche, i know, but i can’t think of a time in my life when i’ve been happier. between a new job, living in a great city, an amazing family and friends and falling in (and out) of love, i’ve grown more during the past 12 months than the past few years combined. thank you to my readers, especially those who have followed since 2011 — your support keeps me motivated to share my random thoughts on life. here’s a review of 2013 captured by politics and fashion:
1. thanks to michael idiokitas for his bomb photography skills and asking me to pose for his forthcoming streetstyle book.
among ourselves, we openly discuss how we are misunderstood, exocticized and/or marginalized by our co-workers; however, we rarely speak truth to power. how will the current socio-political hierarchy ever change if we don’t push it to it’s collapse? we must demand that the definition of “professionalism” include us. no, we don’t need protests and new laws–no amount of equal opportunity laws and workplace policies on diversity will undue the structural racism that black folks have internalized. instead, we must start by being unapologetically ourselves.
we trade the european standard of beauty for something in the middle, maybe bi-racial or puerto rican, and become obsessed with creating the loose curls previously assigned to “good” hair. while we may have done the big chop, we still have work around self-love and acceptance that needs to be done.
the day after an injustice you wake up and wonder if it was a dream. you search your memory to recall the events from the day before. you remember the news reports, the twitter feed, the facebook posts. they all remind you of the verdict: not guilty. the day after an injustice you feel restless. rally? prayer vigil? scream? no solution to mend a weary soul comes to mind.
beauty is all about self-expression and confidence; let the naysayers mumble under their breath while we dark-skinned-red lipstick wearers continue to swag the fuck out. remember that the roots of this “no bright colors” rule comes from the same racist and sexist paradigm that tells us we’re not beautiful. i’m sending power and love to sisters who boldly eschew the restrictive norms that are associated with being dark skinned. i see you.
6. for girls who have been sexually harrassed on the metro when human decency was not enuf
for all the women who have faced male predators on public transportation, let’s get this shit clear. we do not deserve it. we alone have agency over our bodies and the immediate space surrounding them. our clothing and demeanor do not give another person the right to violate us. sexual harassment and victimization are acts of power and dominance, and nothing else.
i realized that i’ve been holding much too strictly to an academic definition of feminism; as if it’s only about how many audre lorde or bell hooks books one has read in order to receive the honor of being a feminist that i should recognize. this album made me check that elitism and realize that an artist who has created a body of work that’s a reflection of womanhood doesn’t need to read a book to create her own definition of women’s empowerment.
happy new year!