“we plant the seed of possibility.” –lupita n’yongo
the 24th annual glamour magazine women of the year awards were held last night at carnegie hall, and our darlings lupita n’yongo and laverene cox are two of this year’s honorees. lupita was STUNNING per usual wearing an all-white dress from chanel. in her interview with glamour, the actress shared these thoughts on standards of beauty:
glamour: you’ve received lots of attention for your looks. did you grow up feeling beautiful?
lupita: european standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world—the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. africa is no exception. when i was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, “where are you going to find a husband? how are you going to find someone darker than you?” i was mortified.
i’m so amazed and impressed by her effortless candor. lupita disrupts the beauty matrix when she criticizes european standards of beauty directly to a mainstream magazine that upholds such values. her presence threatens the power imbalance and tells women of color “there’s room in this world for beauty to be diverse.”
glamour called emmy-nominated actress laverne cox, “the face of one of the biggest equality stories in 2014.” always armed with statistics and stories of an oppressed community, cox used her spotlight with glamour to cast light on the injustices perpetrated against the trans people. read her interview here and witness an true activist at work.
hey good people, i hope you enjoyed your weekend! we visited brooklyn for the afropunk festival this weekend and had a blast. between three stages, vendors and food trucks, it felt like a playground. i have way too many dope shots to share in one post, so i’ll keep this one simple and share more later this week.
kimono, afrodesiac worldwide (available this fall) | crop top, american apparel | pencil skirt, zara | necklaces, topshop for nordstrom | lipstick, kat von d
hey good people! i worked with carlisha shanae photography this weekend for the black beauty: unbleached photo series. the endeavor showcases the beauty of four black women with sunkissed skin, more specifically, those who would have been forced into category d based upon the original straight outta compton casting call. through this series, carlisha shanae is abolishing norms and creating a wider space for women of all hues to see their reflections. many thanks to the photographer, models and production crew for a dynamic shoot — i felt blessed, loved and empowered.
check instagram for the teaser video from our shoot. stay tuned for the full length version!
dress, ashanti brazil from nubian hueman | necklace, forever 21 (similar here) | shoes, nordstrom rack (last seen here) | lipstick, rich violet by kat von d
sindiso khumalo is a former architect and textile designer based in east london. she works with non profits around the world to create her textiles and believes “fashion can become an empowering agent by creating a positive economic activities in otherwise marginalized parts of the world.”
congratulations on winning an oscar for your role in 12 years a slave! like many black women, i got chills when they called your name for best supporting actress and cried with you during your heartfelt acceptance speech. while you’re an amazing actress with ivy league training, it’s not your profession that has so many of us celebrating your presence. it’s the fact that you’re a black woman, with dark skin and natural hair and despite or shall i say because of these things, you now exist at the epicenter of what’s been denied similar women for far too long — beauty.
most black women become aware of the unwritten rules about beauty when we’re very young. i remember being in elementary school when i was rubbing my pudgy stomach and a lighter friend told me how “black” it was with a look of disgust. i was in middle school when one of the popular girls in school walked around class and measured the width of our noses, an exercise in determining our attractiveness. i was in college when walking to class, a stranger loudly recommended that i quickly find shade so i wouldn’t get any darker. i was in grad school when i was told (for the 25th time) that i was “pretty for a dark skinned girl.” microaggressions like these become a dark-skinned black woman’s rite of passage — universal experiences that leave us feeling ugly and undervalued.
in light of these experiences, imagine how our hearts leaped when the mainstream media deemed you a beauty icon in the making, an honor usually reserved for the beyonces and zoe saldanas of the world. amazingly, you didn’t have to pander to negative stereotypes to get recognized, instead you came to the world’s attention as a thoughtful, witty, beautiful and talented woman. while your presence doesn’t eradicate a history of white supremacy and patriarchy or black women’s subordination, it certainly represents a challenge to the dominate group’s authority to restrict our wholeness.
thank you lupita for recognizing what you mean to us and your willingness to be open about struggling to fight the same standard of beauty that your presence now works to debunk. your existence tells little brown girls who fight to embrace their beauty that it cannot be denied.
1. i’m flabergasted that a florida jury allowed yet another man to murder a black teenager without a murder conviction. i’m sickened by the constant reminder that the lives of black children are less important than those of their white counterparts. watch as jessica williams of the daily show does a tongue and cheek run-down of white america’s omnipresent “fear goggles” that can make “four black teenagers taking a calculus test look like a scene from the wire.”
2. don’t you just love yaya alafia (nee dacosta)? i remember her season of america’s next top model and the way she schooled tyra banks on the origins of kente cloth. the ivy league grad is now an actress, wife and mother who was recently interviewed by michel martin on npr’s tell me more. listen to her thoughts on her role in lee daniels’ the butler, colorism and why she calls herself an african in america.
3. have you heard the teaser to beyonce’s drunk in love remix featuring kanye?!?! it made me jump up and run around my apartment full speed — the only appropriate response when one of your favorite songs from beyonce’s new album gets better.
4. it’s not every day that you hear an artist reference brandy, bun b, bounce music and kirk franklin as their inspirations. in a recent interview with npr’s new r&b and hip hop show, microphone check, i fell in love with solange all over again as she rattled off a list of 90’s hip hop and r&b that only a person raised in the south can appreciate.
in my most humble opinion, kelela is one of the breakout stars on solange’s st. heron compilation album. the la-based singer/songwriter/producer laces her sultry voice over r&b infused electronic beats AND is absolutely stunning. in an interview with pitchfork, the daughter of ethiopian immigrants stated “i’ve always wanted to interrupt the space—more than sounding like anything, my commitment has just been to fuck it up.”