Fate allowed me to attend the taping of the 2018 Black Girls Rock awards show, which took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark this past Sunday. This year, awards are given to Dancer & Choreographer Judith Jamison, Queen Mother Janet Jackson, Writer Lena Waithe, and Queen of R&B Mary J. Blige, to name a few. Believe you me, the stars presenting the awards are of the same fan-moment inspiring caliber as the honorees. The likes of the incomparable Phylicia Rashad, Ava DuVernay, Ciara, and Misty Copeland are far more superior than anything else likely to grace your screen. Yes, ever.
Photo Credits: FashionSizzle.com
I refuse to ruin anything for you dear reader, especially regarding the opening, but I definitely suggest that you prop yourself up before the show begins. I pretty much keeled over in my seat watching it live. You have been warned. With the door having been immediately blown off its hinges, you will soon realize that it was just to make way. Behold, the mogul MC and Black royalty, Host Queen Latifah. Black Girls Rock and we get to rock with the Queen for the entire evening. Stunning and attention demanding, suited in an almost tangible coolness, the Queen commands the stage just as you would expect.
With praiseworthy performances (plural, yes) from Yolanda Adams, a goose-bump raising ballad full of swagger soul by H.E.R., and the dipped-in-honey vocals of none other than Tamia, the announced performers will give you the show you are expecting. The soul-stirring performances will leave you with more to say than ‘Great gowns– beautiful gowns’. Okurrr? But what you’re NOT expecting though? The sheer force of the performances that WEREN’T announced. While there are no spoilers here, the good news is that you don’t have to wait long in order to experience it for yourself. ‘ Black Girls Rock ‘ premieres on BET this Sunday, September 9th, at 8pm ET/PT. Check your local listings.
Close out the Summer with one of the hottest parties in the Hamptons, ya’ll! Yes, the Hamptons– like Beyonce’ and Jay Z– Hamptons. Art ‘n Pool is set to be a sexy pool party showcasing New York’s finest emerging Artists. The art exhibit will be featuring the work of Melosa Basquiat, Ben Moon, Cee Love, Justin 32, Jaime Zevallos, Eddy Bogaert, Sunhe Hong and Marcus Glitteris. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by the best artists while taking a sip and a dip? So come prepared and hope to snag a piece from one of the next big names in art. Like Jay said, “Two years later that **** worth $2 million”. Okurrr!
Art ‘n Pool will be taking place at Oreya, one of the trendiest locations in the Hamptons; this event is seriously not to be missed! Exquisite Events NY is hosting with Beautique, alongside Jaime Zevallos, and INN-A-CIRCLE productions, and they are pulling out all the stops for this fashion forward event! Sponsored by Marcel Fine Wines and featuring the sounds of Dj Marcus GlitteriS, guests are promised a night filled with live entertainment and music. So put on your sexiest pool attire, and wear that ‘for when I go out’ outfit that you bought but haven’t shimmied into yet. Summer is ending and this is going to be the night to remember.
Slay you there.
Sunday, August 26th, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Oreya (281 County Road 39A, Southampton, NY 11968)
Have you heard? At last month’s Essence Fest, Essence Ventures CEO Richelieu Dennis announced the official launch of the $100 million New Voices Foundation. Dennis, also Founder of the Shea Moisture Brand, had already invested more than $30 million in the 6 months prior to the announcement. “What many of you may not have known all these years is that when you were buying Shea Moisture products you weren’t just investing in that business,” said Dennis during the event’s opening press conference. “We need you to continue buying Shea Moisture so [that] we can continue putting that money back in[to] the community.” The New Voices Fund, dedicated to funding Black Women in business, was originally established in 2017.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence
As if that were not enough, the CEO also took the opportunity to announce the new Essence Creators and Makers Fund. Essence Ventures, the parent company of Essence Communications, has already invested $20 million into that fund under the guidance of Dennis. Focused on curating African-American content, production company ‘Flavor Unit Entertainment’ lead by Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere is the first partnership on the bill. Appropriately so, being that during the announcement Dennis gave credit to the duo for developing the idea in the first place. During a later panel discussion on Entrepreneurship, Queen Latifah spoke about the financial obstacles that new ventures often face. “One of the most difficult things is struggling to find the capital to continue your ideas. So by supporting us, you are going to keep this engine running in a way you [can’t] even imagine.” Flavor Unit Entertainment will both create and finance film, television, digital, and documentary-style content that reflects the lives and experiences of Women of Color. The Essence Platform — including print, digital, and live events — will be used to market and promote projects taken under the fund.
I truly respect Dennis for his direct actions against the disadvantages plaguing Black Economics. So far concerning the Makers and Creators who need to “own our content and not just be work for hire” and the Black Women Entrepreneurs that will receive funding for their businesses, I can’t wait to see what else is in store. “Essence and the vision… speaks to Black Women, but also that creates an economic engine through which… we can reinvest back into our community.” Dennis leads by the example that, with initiative, each of us can take part in the collective growth. I’m convinced that, in finding his purpose, Dennis has our backs for the long haul. That’s almost enough to make me grow back out my hair to support Shea Moisture again. Almost.
International I Love Braids Day (IILBD) 2018 was all things braided godliness! This July 29th, the Queens came to make a statement, and that they did! From traditional styles with ancestral meaning to modern spins on staple techniques, these hairstyles left everyone in awe. They proved that braids can be worn by anyone for all occasions, at all ages and stages in life. Your royal can be clean and simple or adorned with cowry shells and jewels, whatever makes you strut and walk with your head held high. This inaugural celebration made history.
International I Love Braids Day received it’s official Proclamation on July 21, 2017, by the Brooklyn borough president’s office to the founder of IILBD, master hair braider Debra Hare Bey. Debra has been styling natural hair for over 30 years in Brooklyn. Her current salon, OMhh Beauty Oasis, is located at 407 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. At the salon, she services clients with a multitude of natural hairstyles, but she specializes in braids. Debra is the originator of the style Nu Locs, most popularly worn by “Maxine Shaw” on the television series Living Single. Go ahead, question it. You thought Erika Alexander was rocking locs back then? Nope, those were yarn braids done by Debra. Debra also has a line of nourishing vegan hair and body care products that smell so good you’ll never want to stop using them. Fall in love with all things Debra Hare Bey and OMhh at www.OhMyHeavenlyHair.com.
Some of the other participating stylists were Ayana Card of Kinky Rootz, Fajr of Sophisticated Loc Salon, Ngone Sow of Soween, and Thema Taylor.
If you slacked in your mackin’ and slipped in your pimpin’, check the images here to see what you missed. Be sure to mark your calendar for July 29th next year for International I Love Braids day and follow @internationalilovebraidsdayblc on IG to be notified of the #BraidLoveBK celebration for 2019!
Alida was very beautiful and one of the slaves of White Dutch slave owners. Her master, duPlessis was known to be the most vicious slave owner in Suriname at the time. According to the legacy, the wife of the slave owner, Suzanne duPlessis, thought her husband was sleeping with Alida. Out of pure hate and jealousy, she cut off one of Alida’s breasts and served it to him on a silver chafing dish. Alida survived and the slave master gave her a position in the house as a ‘misi’ or mistress. He also gave her a three-legged table inlaid with precious metals.
The ‘Jealousy Chair’ is an important part of Surinamese history; in particular that of the Black Surinamese woman. The slave women created the Koto dress, which is made up of many layers including a jacket, shirt, skirt, and headwrap, to hide her body and that of young girls, from the predatory eyes of the slave masters. The ‘Koto Misi’ derives from the story of Alida and Black Surinamese women, until today, honor her legacy by taking photographs sitting in the ‘Jealousy Chair’ in their Kotos with plants or flowers sitting on a three-legged table. They also celebrate her legacy by having Koto Misi contests in both Suriname and Amsterdam. Black Surinamese women celebrate the Legacy of Alida until this day for her courage, resilience, and strength during a time when she and Black women like her throughout the Caribbean and America were the innocent victims of cruelty, hate, heinous sexual exploitation and more.
The Stächa Huis brand embodies the culture of generations of Surinamese women in the family of designer Stacey Filé. Her debut lookbook takes you through traditional Surinamese culture juxtaposed with distinct silhouettes, hand painted batik, rich colors and more. The memory of Alida mirrored with imported and gilt embellished textiles, this collection tells the story of the women of Suriname who represent Chinese, Javanese, African, and Indian ethos. The gold in each garment represents in-laid with precious metals in Alida’s chair. The garments themselves are the opposite of Kotos; they are meant to be freeing and in a sense showing off the female form of the wearer. The story of Alida and so many women like her from the sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean to the cotton plantations in Mississippi allow us to remember the power of our voices, our rich history of revolution and remind us that we are the embodiment of the Black woman, no matter our background. The Stächa Woman is a symbol of feminine empowerment; she is the definition of the women who came before her and the blueprint of the women to come.
Jermaine Gooden aka JGoodtheModel is originally from Brooklyn, NY but currently resides in North Carolina.
He has pursued modeling since the age of 26 but started to take it more serious in the past year. Follow his journey on all social media at @JGoodtheModel.
Most of what he knows about modeling is self-taught, and no one person truly inspired him to start modeling, but, nonetheless, he has been to multiple model recruitment castings. He was accepted to a school but the advice they provided was that which he could do and learn himself. So, instead of paying a huge amount of money to continue the training, they provided him with a ‘blueprint’ on what he needed to do to get to the next level.
There are challenges to being a male model. There are so many stereotypes and assumptions that he has to dissect and overcome. Since he’s not in a “big market” city like DC, NYC, ATL, or Miami, the work is slow and limited. J has to diligently go out, search, and network with other models, photographers, fashion designers, etc. The training that he wants and needs requires him to travel out of his area which is time-consuming since he works full-time.
To date, J has been in three fashion shows. In November of 2017, he participated in two fashion shows in the same weekend! He most enjoyed being in the B:U Gang Fashion Show with designer Megan Jackson from Charlotte, NC. It was fun because they had a Black Lives Matter theme that was being shown throughout the fashion show. He also participated in the DFW 2016 (Danville Fashion Week 2016) which was themed “Colors of Fashion” where they worked with local clothing stores and department stores to highlight their 2016 Fall Fashion.
Throughout his short career, he has already gained a lot of insight. The advice he offers for any up and coming model is:
·Be prepared! Practice your walk, poses, and faces in the mirror.
·Do your homework! Know something about the agency or client and industry. Not everything out there is legit!
·Your make-up should be minimal to show off your natural beauty when casting.
·Never be late!
·Have proper posture. Stand up straight, shoulders back.
·Be honest! It is okay to tell them if you do not have a lot of experience. Wow them with your natural ability (this is why practice is so important!)
If he could model or do a photo-shoot with any top models in the world, he would choose Tyson Beckford and David Agbodji. In his eyes, those two are the pinnacle of success for African American male models! “I love all their editorial work in magazines for different designers… They also show how you can branch-out from modeling and go into other industries such as film, campaigning for brands, and commercials.”
Possible Appearance in the Spring 2018 Fashion Show: Misfit Kids Presents: Fashion Junkies April 21, 2018 in North Carolina.
The Black Panther movie released this weekend in all of it’s Black Excellence glory. It was worth the wait and the estimated $218M it earned during its opening weekend, shattering records and telling movie studios to STFU about Black movies not busting box offices wide open. More on that and my thoughts about the deeper storyline to come (skip to below the bullet points), but first my reactions to some of the Blackest moments and lines in the film. Ryan Coogler has a way of capturing the essence of Blackness, especially with Michael B. Jordan, from Fruitvale to Creed and now with Black Panther. The writers did an excellent job at including colloquialisms and mannerisms specific to Black culture and the actors did a phenomenal job of bringing them to life.
I loved the irony of the newscaster calling Wakanda a “third world country” which made me ask wtf defines a third world country to begin with?
Okoye (Danai Gurira): “Don’t freeze when you see her.” T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman): “What are you talking about? I never freeze.” Then he freezes, LMAO. Lupita has that effect, hunny.
Shuri (Letitia Wright) gives T’Challa a playful middle finger while walking away and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) calls her on it without even seeing it. Black Mothering at its finest…
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) tells the lily-white museum director, “Don’t worry, I’m going to take it off of your hands,” referring to the Wakanda artifact. MJB is consistently Black as hell…
The boat ride to the ceremony with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) giving us a taste of #danceislife deserves mention.
When T’Challa walked into the water and saw his nation rooting for him. That was powerful on multiple levels. We all need to be rooting for each other like that.
When Zuri (Forest Whitaker) asks if anyone of royal blood wishes to challenge for the throne and Shuri raises her hand only to ask them to wrap it up because her outfit is too tight. Typical Black sibling trolling.
Ramonda yelling to T’Challa “SHOW HIM WHO YOU ARE!” during the challenge with M’Baku (Winston Duke). Babbbbbbyyyy, I felt that in my bones. That needs to be a daily affirmation.
I loved how every ritual was ancestrally-based.
T’Challa telling Nakia she would make a great Queen if she wasn’t so stubborn (I almost threw my boot at the screen), for Nakia to respond that is WHY she would make a great Queen. T’Challa just wanted her to admit that she wanted to be his Queen.
Shuri’s consistent afrobeat playing throughout her lab. *hearts*
Shuri yells “WHAT ARE THOSE” to T’Challa’s traditional sandals. She then gives him his new soundproof footwear and says she calls them… wait for it… sneakers… get it? LMAO! THEN she tells him about his new suit design and he’s all my suit is fine and she says, “Functional, but old. If people are shooting at me, wait, let me put on my helmet.” She had jewel after adorable jewel. She tells him to strike the suit and he boots it across the room and she yells at him for messing up her lab, but informs him of the suit’s design and that it absorbs and then redistributes kinetic energy. She takes out her camera, for research purposes, and tells him to strike the suit again only to howl laughing when he goes flying across the room when he is blasted back by his own force.
Okoye said she couldn’t wait to get her wig off of her head and that it was a disgrace. Shots fired?
Nakia in the green dress in the Korea scene. Have mercy.
Agent Ross’s ole bitchass needed to be popped in the mouth for how he was speaking to T’Challa at the table. Find some respect.
Okoye pointed out that no weapons were allowed yet yielded her weapon less than 60 seconds later when the fight broke out! Black women always prepared for EVERYTHING. That jump down from the 2nd level was the first of her notable jump scenes.
Shuri’s excitement when the car populated in her lab. Adorbs.
The quick shot of Nakia driving barefoot was a great attention to detail since she lost her shoe when she used it as a weapon in the fight.
When their car is blasted by Klaue, Okoye flips, grabs her spear in mid-effin-air, and lands on a piece of the car. Then Nakia comes hilariously sliding in with just the seat and steering wheel.
Can we talk about how T’Challa could’ve ended Klaue and Killmonger wouldn’t have had his dead body as leverage if we weren’t in such a digital age? Oh ok.
Okoye’s disdain for taking the shot Agent Ross into Wakanda to be healed, and Shuri saying, “great, another broken white boy for us to fix, this is going to be fun.” Classics.
Killmonger showing his Wakanda tattoo and killing Klaue made me smile.
When they revealed that Young T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani) and Young Kuri (Denzel Whitaker) left baby Erik after killing his father, N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown), I was livid. Though we are ultimately responsible for our actions, we cannot ignore the roots of our issues. People keep referring to Killmonger as the villain, but, in my opinion, he killed the main villain. He’s just a brother who needs some healing and therapy to learn to deal with his past and how to properly bring about the change he wants to see for his community.
Shuri to Agent Ross: “Don’t scare me like that colonizer!” when he woke and started asking her where he was. According to the internets, wypipo will officially be referred to as colonizers until further notice.
Killmonger points out there are 2 billion people that look like them struggling around the world and that Wakanda had the tools to LIBERATE them all. T’Challa remarks that it is not their way to use vibranium for they are not judge, jury, and executioner for people that are not their own and Killmonger then he says “Not your own? But didn’t life start right here on this continent? So aren’t all people your people?” JEWELS JUST FALLING FROM HIS LIPS!
Killmonger nonchalantly to Ramonda: “Hey Auntie.” By far tied for my favorite line of the movie. He makes the challenge for the throne and Zuri says it’ll take weeks. Killmonger says I don’t need the whole nation, I just need him. That was real. I also lowkey enjoyed watching him fight T’Challa . It was like he had the power of every oppressed souled within him. His pain was relatable. Hated that it was targeted towards his own blood, but that was also real. We usually strike out to those closest to us. Him having them burn all of the ancient flowers was egotistical and short sided, but also a key part of the character.
When Killmonger sits on the throne, he points out that where he’s from, Black people start revolutions without the firepower and resources to fight their oppressors. More jewel dropping…
Okoye’s face when W’Kabi agrees with Killmonger…
M’Baku to Agent Ross: “You cannot talk one more word or I will feed you to my children. Just kidding, we are vegetarians.” The vegan in me howled with laughter. Plus he made him shutup initially by overpowering his voice with their chants. Then he made Agent Ross turn away during the ritual. He won 4 times (presented the preserved T’Challa) in under 4 minutes.
I appreciate T’Challa realizing that his father was wrong for both leaving Killmonger and for turning his back on the Africans worldwide and for calling him out on it when they meet once again in the ancestral realm.
Killmonger: “All that challenge shit is over with. I’m the king now.” Hood af, lol!
W’Kabi so quickly fighting with Killmonger made the whole theater suck their teeth. Will Focus gon say he’s still in the sunken place. I DIED! LMAO
Killmonger got Black Panther suited. That shit was sexy.
We all felt Okoye’s pain when Killmonger killed one of her fellow Dora Milaje. *sad face*
Will also brought up a good point and asked where were the other 3 tribes during this fight before M’Baku’s tribe showed up to assist the Dora Milaje against W’Kabi and his tribe?
When W’Kabi and his techno rhino were charging towards M’Baku but Okoye stood between them and the rhino kissed her. All powerful. Then W’Kabi asked if she, his love, would kill him, and she said, for my nation, absolutely. POWERFULLLLLL.
So I was highkey pissed that T’Challa took Killmonger to look at the damn sunset instead of to Shuri, but later that was put into perspective for me (read below).
T’Challa: Maybe we can still save you…” Killmonger: “Why? So ya’ll could just lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. They knew death was better than bondage.” CHILLS. That line right there spoke volumes. VOLUMES!
T’Challa buying the block. Just. Yes.
The kids wanting to break apart Shuri’s ship to sell for parts. So real, lol. We need that community bridge building though.
There has been lots of debate about seeing a white studio production and where our dollars could have gone and even about the characters parallels to sections of society, but I personally feel like it’s all chest-inflated poppycock. 99.9% of movies that we love and hold as staples in our society are produced by white studios simply because, well, WE DON’T OWN ANY YET. Keyword, yet. So Malcolm X, Selma, Hidden Figures, Thurgood Marshall, Coming to America, and the likes that are so near and dear also fall under that umbrella, but we still went to see them in droves. Could we have collectively used that money and built a small town with our roughly 37% contribution to the $218 million? Most likely, but we already know we’re still combating centuries of conditioning and teaching ourselves to love ourselves and each other. So chill. It’s a process, and this movie is a major part of that process because representation matters. Seeing ourselves and what could be matters. Sometimes people need to see it to even know it’s possible.
Yes, this is in Africa.
The visuals and quotables definitely woke up some of the sleeping and even smacked a few people into loving themselves and reframing their thoughts on Africa. Yes, Wakanda is fake, but Africa’s beauty has never been a lie. It’s just been retold and intentionally hidden from the masses, especially Africans born in america, in attempts to continuously divide and conquer. This is touched on via Killmonger’s story. His story simultaneously parallels the american Hood King and the Revolutionary. He grew up without his parents, more specifically finding the dead body of his father. He had to learn and grow on his own which resulted in his genius-level intellect and thirst to avenge his father via combat and claim his spot on the throne. Via his research, he learned of the advancements of Wakanda and grew resentment because they had the capacity to liberate Black people globally, but never bothered to. He wanted to ‘stick it to the man,’ and rightfully so.
Killmonger’s passion was in the right place, but his methods wouldn’t have fully resulted in the outcome suitable for most, mostly due to his dictator ways. T’challa had to come to learn that peace and hiding weren’t the way either. With their collective intellect, Shuri’s technological advancements, and Wakanda’s wealth and resources, they could have liberated Africans globally, but pride was a key factor in Killmonger having to die. (And also, as my bro Jashua Sa’Ra pointed out, “the movie studio couldn’t show us what it would’ve looked like if the forces joined in this already powerful Black Panther movie.” AKA the reason why the FBI killed Malcolm & Martin when their speeches started to mirror each other and they were on the verge of working together instead of fighting each other. Someone call up an independent Black production company to bring that story to life. “If Malcolm & Martin Lived to See Their 40s.”)
Leave your thoughts on the Black Panther movie in the comments. What rating do you give it?
February 4th wrapped another successful Harlem Fashion Week season. Held at the Museum of the City of New York, Harlem Fashion Week combined the downtown fashion with the uptown culture and vibe, including an Emerging Designer’s competition show and a guest appearance by TV host, Creative Director, and makeup artist, Jay Manuel. The night featured 17 different designers including Styles of Imagination, Christy + You, and the Emerging Designer winner, XX. Premiere designers for this year’s show were Beast Mode by Marshawn Lynch and the Malcolm X Legacy Collection, designed by Yvonne Jewnell of Yvonne Jewnell New York.
“There are so many people who have no idea about Malcolm X beside what’s in our textbooks, and even then, it’s limited to one or two pages,” said Yvonne Jewnell, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Harlem Fashion Week. “It’s time that his [Malcolm X] legacy resurfaces for both new and old generations.”
Guests were treated to a four-level experience including a vendors market selling clothing from the designers, natural hair and beauty products, books, and a host of accessories. On the main level of the museum was the brand experience floor featuring other vendors, a media hub and interviews, and VIP red carpets.
Executive Producer and Co-Founder, Tandra Birkett recapped the evening by saying, “To have three sold out shows, on Super Bowl Sunday, facing the torrential rain, we could not have asked for a better night. We will continue to share the word about the richness of Harlem and all that it has to offer.”
The next Harlem Fashion Week event will be XX and guests can look forward to the S/S 2019 show in the fall.
Designer Chuks Collins has combined social causes and bold fashion on the runway during New York Fashion Week. After a second lease on life, the designer founded a nonprofit and for the past several years has presented his latest collections within a fundraising event. Last year’s soiree, The Dream: Fall 2017 Benefit Fashion Show and Silent Auction was in collaboration with Oando Foundation U.S. held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side.
Event hosts Claudia Jordan (RHOA, celebrity apprentice) and Hadiiya Barbel (celebrity wigologist and transformation artist) welcomed attendees and introduced Sony music artist SUMMER Williams who performed new music from her EP.
The Chuks Collins collection offers ready to wear fashions for men and women that appreciate sophisticated style and last season the ensembles ranged from modern elegance to casual chic in a handsome array of bold colors. The presentation also included sharing with guests how funds raised would be used in the Adopt-A-School initiative for children in Collins’ home country of Nigeria. The silent auction, courtesy of Charity Grow, provided an opportunity for making a tax-deductible donation in addition to a portion of proceeds from tickets.
Special guest attendees included rapper Peter Gunz, Orange Is the New Black actress Adrienne Moore, Kim Mastroddi, Taneka Bowles, Actor Marc John Jefferies, pop singer Chelley, celebrity stylists TY Hunter and Kidear Youmans.