goodbye 2013

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.



ruby woo: a black girl’s best friend

red lipstick 3“she too dark to  have on that red lipstick.” apparently, asap rocky isn’t the only person who believes black women on the darker side of the melanin spectrum shouldn’t wear bright lipstick.  according to my big sister kdj, she faced this not-so-quiet whisper while boarding the bus, and was quick to couch it among the bevy of criticism and judgmental stares that she receives while wearing her precious ruby woo lipstick. not easily intimidated, kdj was unfazed, but her comments made me think: how many black women shy away from bright colors because we’ve been told that we’re too “dark”?

when i turned 16, my mom took me to the fashion fair counter and purchased my first makeup kit.  the sales associate counseled me to wear warm colors and quickly applied a golden lipgloss that was as thick as molasses.  the message was clear: dark-skinned girls like me shouldn’t venture to the more colorful side of the lip color rainbow.  thank God some of us are challenging the ridiculous notion that skin color should be the only determinant for lip color.

reds, pinks and the current trend of even bolder colors like blue and purple are being worn by sisters as chocolate as sudanese model alek wek (pictured below).  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.

bannerred lip collage

first position, the cupid shuffle, and twerk moves


after two weeks of ballet i must admit the painful truth.  there’s no chance that i’ll become a professional ballerina.  although lean, i’m as flat footed as a dinosaur and all my moves imitate the cupid shuffle.  i look a summertime-bbq-doing-the-electric-slide-with-your-aunt-while-she-smokes-a-cigarette-and-holds-a-beer mess.

fortunately, all utility is not lost because each  butchered step helps me reach self-discovery.  my instructor teaches our choreography once, turns on the music, and  leaves the students to their own devices.   at first, i felt my face get hot when she suggested that we dance without her walking us through each step.  instead of succumbing to the ensuing fright,  i started flailing about in circles, bending my knees, stretching out my arms, playing hopscotch…doing whatever my heart desired with reckless abandonment.  so much of my life has been about “getting it right,” but this time, i just said eff it.

this week’s lesson: in order to learn something new, you have to allow yourself to lose control.  this concept is instinctive, but once humans develop egos, we become much more concerned with how others perceive us, and  less inclined to risk making a fool of ourselves.  well, that’s just a silly reason not to try something new, especially when foolish is often a synonym for confidence.

i almost missed this week’s class–it was cold and i’d had a long day.  thank goodness i changed my mind because afterwards i came home full of energy.  the best part is that i got some coaching while practicing in front of the mirror and holding my invisible bar.