Tag Archives: Black Girl Magic

06Sep/18

Black Girls Rock Shows-off This Sunday

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.

26Mar/18

The Asa! Movement with Akosua Akoto

If Wakanda were real, Akosua Akoto (@akosua_asa) would no doubt lead the Dora Milage. Her peak physique, intelligence, and passion make her one of the talented leaders of the exercise world. Her motivation is not money or fame but to improve the quality of health for her clients. With Asa!, she is able to do just that, providing services that are beneficial to the health and well being of our community. The low impact workout that is a hybrid of fitness endurance and energetic dance movements allow participants to get fit, attack all body parts, and have fun in the process.

Akosua ’s love for fitness started at the age of 3 when she began to learn about dance. Her gift in dance granted her opportunities to perform in many of the highly praised programs around the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Akosua showed her ability to not only excel as a great student but also as a great teacher leading dance classes by the age of 15. She would continue her growth as a dancer through the choreography of different dance companies and events.

As her dance career continued to grow, so did her interest in health and fitness. Akosua’s interest led her to attend Howard University, where she completed her Bachelor’s in Sports Medicine followed by her Master’s in Human Performance & Injury Rehabilitation at the California University of Pennsylvania. Her intention was to use her degree to train and educate clients about health working for an organization, but life had better plans for her gifts, leading her into the extraordinary fitness entrepreneur that she is today.

Akosua in one her designed costume’s from the FUZE collection.

Not only is she a boss in the fitness and dance worlds, she is also the boss of her own businesses including Asa! and FUZE, where she serves as co-founder and designer. FUZE is not only a great company influenced by African and Antiguan culture, it is also a movement that is meant to encourage wellness, homemade body products, and dazzling costumes that can be worn for festival activities. In addition to Akosua running her many companies, she also finds time to train clients on-one-one. With her education and background, she is able to set up goals with her clients for them to achieve. Her training methods are effective because her focus is less based on the aesthetics. Akosua’s goal in fitness training is based on improving health through proper body mechanics and nutrition. 

Although Akosua has the moves and looks to lure audiences, she prefers to be behind the scenes developing choreography but is often asked to be in front of the camera to perform. Her latest work was in the video “Boomerang” by Jidenna where she and a long-time friend artfully dance through the whole video.  She has also performed on many huge platforms like the BET awards pre-show.

Although Akosua isn’t a protector of the King of Wakanda or can provide her clients the with heart-shaped herb from Black Panther, she can protect her clients from unhealthy habits, informative health/exercise education, and supportive nutrition advice. Her passion that she pours into her work will only lead her to greater success and improve any that are a part of her journey.

Be on the lookout for Asa and FUZE events near you!

 

04Jan/17

Why I Cut My Hair: Black Girl Magic

Why I Cut My HairWhy I Cut My Hair: Black Girl Magic

When I decided to cut my hair two years ago, on October 3, 2014, the shortest I’d ever gone at the time, it was due to the excessive shedding I was experiencing. I was also looking forward to having a new look. I’d had the same style for the last decade and desperately wanted a change. I also wasn’t happy with the growing, and visible, specks of gray at the crown of my head.

Since cutting my hair, however, the versatility and self-awareness that came with it, gave me a sense Why I Cut My Hairof confidence that I’d never known before.

With the cut went the notion that a Black woman with little to no hair couldn’t still be beautiful and feminine at the same time. I know not everyone believes that, but growing up in a world where your beauty is defined by European standards, your sense of self can be non-existent.

Cutting my hair freed me of such a notion. For the first time, I began to see ME! The real me, what was under the hair. As my confidence grew, I became more playful and experimental with makeup and various short crops, highlights, whether curly, straight, natural and everything in between to accentuate my natural features. The standards that I’d grown to know as normal began to subside. I felt beautiful. Authentically beautiful. Just as I am and there was/is beauty in that.

I recently shared the above image with my Instagram followers with this statement:

“I use to think that having long hair was a beauty feature. Especially as a Black girl seeing perpetuated ideals of what it means to be beautiful. And to be considered a beautiful Black woman. Ironically I’ve never felt more beautiful after cutting all my hair off and going nearly bald. The best thing you can do for yourself is reject society’s definition of what’s beauty and find it in you. You already have everything in you. Imo short hair gives you versatility. And a big chop normally represents new birth/a new phase in your life. I’m ready ❤️”

To my surprise, there were many brown faces on my feed sharing their own thoughts on the matter, and expressing much of the same sentiments.

When I re-read that message, I recall the days in elementary school wanting my hair to be long and down my back like some of the other girls in my class. And along with it, lighter features: fairer skin and a straighter nose.

I don’t know how young or at what age I began to acquire these standards, and internalizing them as my own, but I am sure that they are the same ideals passed down from my mother, sister, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and friends. And it’s important for me now to break that cycle, so that I can pass down better messaging to my future daughter. To own her beauty and feel confident and enjoy every bit of this black girl magic.

What I also hope this message does for others, like myself, is help them in eradicating beauty standards that aren’t ideal or natural or maintainable. It’s important to understand that beauty comes in all forms, shapes, sizes and colors and, honestly, it starts with each one of us.

They say a woman who cuts her hair is getting ready to change her life. For me, that is exactly what happened. I changed my perspective and it reflected externally.

You won’t begin to see your physical beauty until you’ve tapped into your inner beauty, what makes you so unique, different and special. Loving you trumps any social standard of what you should look like and who you should be.

By: Antoinette “Ms. Toni” Warren
Ms. Toni is a Digital Media Influencer, Content Marketer and Founder of cottenkandi.com.
Twitter: @i_am_mstoni
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