Monthly Archives: June 2017

Bodak Yellow: The Day I Became a Cardi B Fan

I’m the hottest in the street
Know you prolly heard of me
Got a bag and fixed my teeth
Hope you hoes know it ain’t cheap
And I pay my mama bills
I ain’t got no time to chill
Think these hoes be mad at me
Their baby father want a feel

I don’t know how I felt about Cardi before I watched this video. I never really thought about it. I never watched Love and HIp Hop so unlike her day 1 fans, my knowledge of Cardi B has been peripheral at most. I’ve heard soundbytes. I know she rhymes. I saw her on an episode of “Being Mary Jane” last season and I was definitely amused by her performance. But I didn’t know who she was, or feel who she was until I heard Bodak Yellow.

I clicked on the video this week and let me tell you, the last thing I ever expected was to be moved as fuck. The economy, directness and purpose of the bars she lays on this track are astounding. She’s not doing anything more than what is true to Cardi B. She doesn’t say anything unnecessary. She just says who she is and what she does and how not to come for her.

Now she say she gon’ do what to who?
Let’s find out and see, Cardi B
You know where I’m at
You know where I be
You in the club just to party
I’m there, I get paid a fee
I be in and out them banks so much
I know they’re tired of me
Honestly, don’t give a fuck
‘Bout who ain’t fond of me
Dropped two mixtapes in six months
What bitch working as hard as me?
I don’t bother with these hoes
Don’t let these hoes bother me
They see pictures, they say goals
Bitch, I’m who they tryna be

…..Where’s the lie?

I can’t find it.  And the beat is so hot, the video so sexy and watchable. How she looks exactly like that tiger in the video though? It’s like her spirit animal!

Most of all, it just made me want to know more about Cardi B. Yes, she talks about the consensual exchange of sexual favors for goods and makes it sound empowering without a hint of humiliation towards either party. She also talks about paying her mother’s bills, so she cares about family. And she’s a real rapper, not a pop one. She invests a lot in her looks and I’m not hating on that at all but she also puts a lot into her work as a rapper because her rhymes are tight and there is more than a little substance there. It’s like when Drake, who can also be a bit superficially preoccupied (aren’t we all?) talks about taking care of his team and his family and how the maintenance of that community means as much to him as making it big and staying there.

This weekend Souls Sistah Series got together to “Talk ish” about Amber’s Rose Bush, Rev Al’s thirst trap and Cornrow Kenny (Not Kendrick. Just watch it. LOL!) Though we did not discuss Cardi B., I’m certain we will get around to her and her bloody shoes and money moves soon. Until then, enjoy our shenanigans.

AND HAPPY FRIDAY!!

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The Leather Year

Anything that brings people to express to one another something other than normal day-to-day life touches on the spiritual world, on the ancestral world, and therefore is a ritual event.

-Sobonfu Some

“The Spirit of Intimacy”

 

Today, my husband and I celebrate our third year of marriage. Like many of us, I’ve been aware of the traditional wedding anniversary gifts for some time but I recently felt I needed to know the meaning behind each one because as much as I love tradition, I try to be cognizant of not following it blindly.

I did a little online research and I’m not surprised to learn that it goes back to Europe and Germania from the middles ages. Reading the significance of each gift though, I actually really like it.

1st year Paper

The first year of marriage is like a clean sheet of paper, a new beginning upon which to write your passage through the years together.  Also like paper, it is fragile and can easily rip, not having yet been tried by the fires of adversity and the storms of life.

2nd Year Cotton

Like the interwoven fibers of cotton, the second year of marriage brings a couple closer together as their lives become increasingly intertwined. And as cotton is at the same time both strong and soft, the couple is learning how to be flexible and adapt to each other’s needs.

3rd year Leather

Leather has traditionally symbolized protection and covering; our ancestors covered and protected themselves from the elements with the leather hides of animals.  The bonds of marriage offer security and shelter as each partner takes care of the other. Now in its third year, the growing relationship is becoming a source of stability for the married couple.

SOI Collage2.jpg

I will stop here because my husband and I are in the leather year and I don’t want to skip ahead. I have to say that the meaning for leather makes total sense to me and that I have been experiencing these aspects of our bond this past year. At the Soul Sistah Series discussion of The Spirit of Intimacy that we had last weekend, I felt blessed to be in a space with Black women who felt comfortable enough to share the different feelings, findings and thoughts on the various phases of their relationships with a significant other, past and present. I found that I was not alone in the challenges I faced with my honey bunches (don’t judge me. We’ve had cutesy names for each other for years) in the past year or so. I’ve always known I wasn’t alone and have benefited from the counsel of friends, and therapy which I attend faithfully. But there’s nothing like being in a collective space with Black woman with the goal of deconstructing and dismantling our colonized relationship myths to make space for application of traditional African approaches that honor our ancestors and the meaning behind the spirit that draws us to one another, to build community, nurture purpose, love, liberate and create. Wow, that was a long sentence. I agree. LOL!

Before we embarked on our discussion of “The Spirit of Intimacy” Khalilah, gathered us in a circle in the back yard of the dining establishment (Black owned y’all) to set intention by honoring and pouring libation for our ancestors. We started in a circle and closed out in a circle.

In this same way, I look to the symbolism of the traditional wedding anniversary gifts as a way to recognize how far we’ve come and what level we’re at in this particular relationship with one another and I also wonder about indigenous ways we can begin to do this or what’s a more African version of this gift giving ritual? Because honestly, I don’t always care about gift giving for gift giving sake. We really only cherish things we receive from others when we can attribute a special meaning to them and that meaning usually has to do with the spirit in which is it was given. If I have learned noting from this book, it’s that the spirit is always at the core of any relationship and must never be forgotten. Without it, relationships become empty, without true purpose or meaning. And really, without relationship, we have nothing.

What I honor about my marriage to Francis today, is the way in which our ability to really dig into and confront our issues by facing up to some uncomfortable realities has allowed us to come out on the other side still dedicated to loving and supporting one another and being stronger and better for it. But I could not have done that without the help of others, my besties, my family, my counsel not to mention, our cat. LOL!

We hope to see you at our next gathering to dig deep into “The Spirit of Intimacy” in July! More details on that to follow. Until then, please find ways and rituals to honor the spirit of relationships that are sacred to you. They won’t evolve on their own. You bring the water, and the earth will meet you.

3 yr anni

Yours,

Urban Eve

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Favorite Black Beauty Vloggers

I’ve always loved make-up but really only dabbled in the basics, like lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, the occasional shadow and some powder. But a few months ago, after I had seen the umpteenth chick with dark spots and large pores and hyper pigmentation completely transform herself on camera, I became obsessed with using make-up to achieve a smooth and pore-less look because I have always admired smooth, pore-less looking skin. I say look because that is exactly what well done make-up magic achieves. A look. Getting clean enough on the inside so that you never really need make-up is a different story. And gauging whether or not one actually “needs” it or not is another.

I dived into watching Youtube tutorials which has taken me into a whole other world of reviews on best primers, foundations and color correcting palettes for Black women with a range of skin tones. My morning make-up ritual now takes a little longer but thanks to Youtube I have successfully figured out the right look for me and the products and tools that work best for my complexion within my budget.

Over time, I have watched probably hundreds of videos by countless Black beauty vloggers and love many of them for different reasons. Below, in no particular order, I have listed my top five.

Kelsee Brian Jai

I loooove how she does eye shadow! She makes it looks so easy but in real life, it takes time, patience and a real passion to create these spectacular, expertly blended eye looks.

Ambra Emerald Eyes

Ambra is one of a few Beauty Vloggers I’ve run into with short cropped hair and her face shape is just so adorable. I love her product reviews on best or personal fave foundations for woc.

Nappy Headed Jojoba

I don’t know if she would call herself a beauty Vlogger persay but Nappyheadedjojoba just kind of reviews whatever she likes and gives you the real deal on how it works for her. I stumbled on her account during my wig craze.

C Key

I love CKey’s grown woman energy. She is not only truly make-up obsessed but she also tries to emphasize how important the role inner confidence plays in inner beauty.  I actually caught her on IG live last night and her warm, vivacious and engaging energy comes through the same way it does in her videos. You feel just like you’re chatting with a girlfriend you’ve known for years. Her videos that feature her daughter (her mini me) are a lot of fun.

Cydney Black

Cydney is just a morsel of a girl with two different color eyes, whose brand is very cute and funny and light. Her make-up tutorials with her mom really make me happy. They both work in make-up and are so pleasurable to watch together.

*  * * * * *

I guess my make up and skin care rituals are easier for me to keep up with than others because the pay off for me has been so immediate. Since beginning my nighttime skin routine I haven’t had major break outs in months and my skin is always smooth and moisturized. And thanks to a solid make-up routine, I get to look as flawless as I want on the daily depending on the time and skill I put in in the mornings.

I don’t know about you, but I think that often when we begin a self care ritual and don’t see results, whatever our goals are, we get gripped by fear that it may never work and give up too soon before we invest anymore time. I struggle with that a lot. So what I’m trying to do with those practices that require more patience, like healthy eating and exercise is to look at them like seeds. While I may not see anything peaking out from the earth yet, I have faith that underground, something is happening. Intention is as powerful as execution but the fact is, both have to work hand in hand to achieve results.