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weekend music: infatuation, brothah malik & jonathan lykes

onrae lateal just released the video for “infatuation,” the lead track off her first ep, Iibra season.  i had the pleasure of styling everyone in the video, and i’m grateful to videographers, creative junkfood, for their amazing work!  check out onrae lateal’s website to learn more about the dope artist and download her ep for FREE. trust me, it’s great music.

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crush of the week: chargaux

char5

charly and margaux, known as chargaux, are two sisters killing the violin and viola. their music is the perfect mix of jazz and r&b with hip hop influences — AND their style is impeccable. i’m head over heels in love with their music.

char3char8char2 char7char1all pics via the chargaux website

working in retail while white, fit, tan and privileged

abercrombie-and-fitch-ad-campaign-courtesy-fo-abercrombie-and-fitcholiver lee bateman’s recent article for salon chronicled his experience as an assistant manager for abercrombie & fitch and is an eye-opening account of bias and discrimination. according to bateman, the company recruits people who are “quality and collegiate” and define such to almost exclusively include college-educated white people who are physically fit and tan.  the elitist environment is condoned by regional managers and corporate executives who want to build a brand based on “you can’t sit here” type of marginalization, and bateman’s account of how a black employee was treated at his store made me cringe:

the regional manager’s adoration didn’t extend to our finest worker, a tall, chubby, and openly gay african-american who had bright green braces.  although we tried to avoid scheduling him when we knew the RM was due to visit, chronic labor shortages on account of the company’s low starting wages and obsession with brand representative beauty ensured that he was often working 30+ hours per week.

“you have to get that guy off the floor,” he’d tell us. “he’s a fucking disasterpiece.”

this piece resonated with me not because of bateman’s revelations about the company — absent his article, one can figure those out by the racial discrimination lawsuit, nearly all-white models in in the company’s advertisements and extremely loud techno music in the stores — but because i could relate to the black employee who faced microaggressions by his all-white peers. i worked retail after college and as an assistant manager in a high-end store, i helped supervise a store that lacked staff and customer diversity. one day, i was written up by my manager because i hurt the sales representatives’ feelings by not building a more “personal” relationship with them (i’m not making this up). despite the fact that after sitting down with each employee no one could give me a clear answer about what i had done to offend them, i internalized my manager’s criticism, seeing myself as the stereotypical angry black women. i now know the real issue was that i didn’t fit into the store’s “brand” or dominant culture, and for me this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because i had goals to achieve that were much larger than my co-workers’ microaggressions.

you can read the rest of bateman’s article here.

rest in peace karyn washington

karynbeauty bloggers who look like me aren’t a dime a dozen.  for this reason, imagine my excitement when i found for brown girls, a website dedicated to celebrating dark skin and combating colorism.  the site’s founder, karyn washington was a young, effervescent beauty whose compassion for eradicating harmful tropes about dark skin women was encouraging.  i reached out to karyn during her #darkskinredlip campaign to submit my photo and was pleasantly surprised that not only did karyn write back, but she was personable and engaging.  we promised to keep in touch and find ways to build together in the future. unfortanately, i let life get in the way of me keeping my word, and we never had the chance to collobrate.

friday i read the horrible news that karyn had committed suicide.  media sources report she had been having a tough time, including dealing with the loss of her mother.  i’m still stunned that such a beautiful woman, both inside and out, found her life so painful that she lost her will to live.  my heart and prayers go out to her family, friends and the countless sisters who were inspired by her work.  let us keep karyn’s memory alive and in her words to me “continue to work together to stand up to colorism and embrace our right to rock a red lip!”

rest well dear heart.

if you are struggling with depression please reach out to someone. you are NOT alone.