men

#blackout friday

picture it. it’s black friday 2003, and wal-mart has dvd players on sale for $20. these were the pre-netflix days so a dvd player priced under $75 was a huge steal.  like dedicated shoppers across america, i woke up at dawn to rush my local wal-mart.

all hell broke loose when somebody’s uncle jumped on a stack of boxes and started throwing dvd players to nearby customers. i caught one like odell beckham jr. and ran for my life. you would have thought i was carrying baby jesus.

fast forward to 2015. not only do i try to abstain from shopping at wal-mart due to it’s anti-worker practices, but i’m also working hard to align my spending with my principles. with the murders of so many black men, women and children, i’m in no mood to celebrate a capitalist system that devalues black life.

this holiday season, my mission is to support black-owned businesses who deserve love year round. on friday morning, i’ll be shopping online from the comfort of my bed while eating leftover sweet potato pie.

clothing:

  1. nubian hueman
  2. ekineyo
  3. dopeciety
  4. nubian skin
  5. gloss rags
  6. nomad yard collectiv (dc area)

accessories

  1. peace images jewelry
  2. venus visuals
  3. rachel stewart jewelry
  4. lost queens

makeup

  1. coloured raine
  2. ginger + liz
  3. black up cosmetics

skin & haircare

  1. pooka pure & simple
  2. oyin handmade
  3. curlkit
  4. qhemet biologics

art

  1. andrea pippins
  2. thepairabirds

good reads & writes

  1. salt by nayirrah waheed
  2. teaching gold mah how to heal herself  by bilphena yahwon
  3. shapeshifters by aimee meredith cox
  4. vagabroad journals
  5. effie’s paper

health & well being

  1. little urban tea
  2. afro-vegan cookbook
  3. the spice suite (dc area)

check out quirky brown love for a list of over 200 black-owned businesses.

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dear lesley mcspadden

after watching lesley mcspadden’s reactions to the grand jury’s decision not to indict her son’s murderer, darren wilson, i cried with her, sharing pain that only black women know for our born and un-born sons. melissa harris-perry addresses lesley in an open letter on sunday’s show that captured my sentiments exactly (check out the video here):

letter

Dear Ms. McSpadden,

It’s me, Melissa.

Like you, I am the mother of black children. Like so many other black moms I wanted to say something to comfort you this week. But here I stand, still unsure of what to say. For months we have watched you navigate the treacherous, agonizing, and now all too familiar role of a grieving black mother seeking justice for your slain child.

Along with the stoic and extraordinary Sybrina Fulton, we endured the not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman who killed her son, Trayvon Martin. Along with the undaunted Lucia McBath, we felt some sense of fairness with the retrial conviction of Michael Dunn who killed her son, Jordan Davis. Along with determined Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, we were stunned by the senseless motivations of gang rivalry espoused by the alleged killers of her daughter, Hadiya Pendleton.

This week, along with you we were broken as we learned that a grand jury found no crime in the killing of your son-Michael. I cannot speak for all black mothers, but I want you to know that many of us felt your anguish through the screen, felt it penetrate our core and break our hearts as we bore witness to your shock and torment.

I want you to know: your son’s life did matter. No decision by any jury, anywhere, can ever change that truth. (more…)

afropunk style

DSC_0676 DSC_0670 DSC_0669 DSC_0649 DSC_0772 DSC_0794DSC_0636 DSC_0631 DSC_0619 DSC_0615words can’t explain how inspired i was over the weekend at afropunk. the vibe was amazing, hundreds of people of color were in one venue simply loving life, music, culture and each other. the spirit of social activism was in the air as signs were posted that said no to all forms of oppression and people staged a “hands up, don’t shoot” demonstration to protest police brutality. it was undeniably the best experience that i’ve had all summer.

#freethenipple

between the ma’at tattoo under her breasts, countless instagram pics and the recent lui magazine cover, rihanna’s breasts receive lots of attention.  therefore, we shouldn’t be shocked that her nipples played a starring role when she received the cfda fashion icon award last night.  rihanna’s dress was covered in swarovski crystals — and not much else.

rihanna_cfda_a_pshe looked ethereal, almost other worldly with the sparkling dress, gloves and head wrap.  with the dress and her nipples earning a spot in media outlets around the world, i’m wondering what it means for a woman to bare her breasts and disregard norms that typically make such an action taboo.

first, rihanna’s pixie dust dress demands a conversation about double standards.  in a society where the way a woman dresses invites judgments about her purity and sexual mores, women are held to much stricter rules about acceptable styles of dress than our male counterparts.  for example, why is it appropriate for a man to show his chest, but not a woman? pondering this very question, scout willis (demi moore and bruce willis’s daughter) recently started the #freethenipple campaign to protest instagram’s rules that ban women’s bare breasts, including those of breast cancer survivors and breastfeeding mothers, but allows bare chested pictures of men.   in fact, rihanna’s lui magazine cover was initially removed from her instagram account by the social media empire for this reason.

(more…)

for girls who have been sexually harrassed on the metro when human decency was not enuf

harassmentsomething terrible happened.  last weekend, i was getting on the metro and a man touched my arm.  completely wrapped up in a funny text message, i didn’t turn around to inquire about the touch’s origin, but instead cursorily acknowledged the man’s apology.  the train platform is busy on saturdays and with metro doors that will enclose you like the jaws of life, shoving and pushing is common while folks are clamoring to get on the train.

my favorite seat on the train was free — you know the one that’s off in the corner behind the glass partition — and the unwarranted toucher sat right beside me.  being from the south, my first response was to look at him and smile to acknowledge his presence, but then things got uncomfortable.  this dude sat really close to me.  long legs stretched out, his body was almost touching mine.  also, there were empty seats all over the train, and everybody knows the unspoken metro rule requiring single passengers to sit alone whenever possible.

i made a mental note to move at the next stop, but then it happened.  i glanced over and this random person was watching a video of a man masturbating on his cellphone.  shock and embarrassment entered my body.  i shook my head in disbelief and quickly looked away.  obviously committed to his sexual harassment, when i looked again, this poor excuse for a human being was in fact watching porn on his phone while invading my personal space.  in real effing life.

i got up and quickly found a seat on the other side of the train, but the image lingered in my head all day.  what bothered me the most was my immediate response.  the first thing that crossed my mind was how i had been responsible for this guy’s actions: i shouldn’t have smiled at him, i should have glared at him when he touched my arm, i should have moved immediately when he sat beside me, i should have been paying more attention to my surroundings, maybe my shorts were too short…all bullshit.  as a feminist, i’m sensitive to the rhetoric that tells women their victimization is their fault.  however, while i can intellectualize this, my emotional response was to blame myself.  in a society that hypocritically teaches puritanical values and conditions women to submit themselves to male power, i faced my conditioning head on.   how had i, of all people, thought this was MY fault?

for all the women who have faced male predators on public transportation, let’s get this 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.

if you’ve been sexually harassed on the metro file a complaint here.  who knows if anything will come of it, but i feel a bit less vulnerable after sharing my story.

mona lisa

mr. porter asked a very complicated question to the best street style photographers in the game: what’s your best menswear photo?

featuring: scott schuman, tommy ton, kar-edwin guerre, lounge delcy, young jun koo, jonathan pryce and tamu mcpherson.