Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Only Reason I Can Never a Watch White Person’s Make-up Tutorial

This will be short.

 

BECAUSE BARBIE

BECAUSE BECKY

BECAUSE AMERICA

 

The only reason I started watching youtube beauty tutorials, reviews, GRWM (Get ready with me if you didn’t know) or style vlogs was to see Black women doing it. I mean, initially, I started watching to find my shade twins and see how certain colors, foundations, lipsticks I like, might look on me. But I ended up watching and following Black women across the Diaspora with a broad range of skin colors because we are so gotdamn beautiful and the range of our skin tones is NO LIMIT!!!!!

And I LOOOOOOOOVE watching Black women put on make-up. I just do. I love all the different ways, the reasons, the looks, the attitudes, the approaches.

I clicked on a White chick’s video once but

NAH

NOPE

WHY?

Nothing for me to learn there that I haven’t been working on the daily to unlearn. And I mean personally, it’s just not attractive to me. That’s not what I’m checking for. I’m checking for me. And it’s not to say that White supremacy is not still alive in complex and dangerous ways on the Black channels but at least there I feel like I care about what’s happening. I’m invested, because I am represented.

And I can work from there.

 

 

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Have I been Choosing Failure?

Do you know how many times I’ve watched the film The Hustler with Paul Newman and still not understood why some people choose to loose?

Newman Giphy

Never seen “The Hustler?” Never mind. My film fanatics will get it.

But I wanna bring the rest of you in.

Let’s try this:

Beloved are you more committed to your anger than you are to your dreams and pleasure? Observe what happens when you in all your receptivity call upon the passions never expressed. Ignite the bouquet of flowers along your spine. Don’t judge anything. Just observe. 

-From “You Look Like Something Blooming”

By India Ame’ye

I was heading downtown to Brooklyn for an orientation last Saturday morning and unless I truly don’t give a fuck, (and sometimes even then, to be honest) I pride myself on getting to events and meetings on time if I have anything to do with it. But like most people who commute via mass transit in New York, I often have nothing to do with it. Especially every weekend when the MTA decides to put you through train travel hell.

All that to say,  I had transferred to the third downtown train and was pacing in a virtually empty car which crawled along at a snails pace like it had no where to be when I realized I was not going to be on time. In fact I was going to be late. I’ve been is this situation enough times already and it’s always hard for me to avoid getting upset.

I was pissed. I was infuriated. I had to squeeze the hell out of my cellphone just to displace my violent energy into something I couldn’t hurt or destroy. Then I decided to just sit and read this book. Whatever was going to happen would happen. I couldn’t control it. I had done all I could.

All this over being late. I have problems…

And that’s when I read the passage from India Ame’ye. And this is a teeny tiny footnote at the end of page 170.

It occurred to me that YES, I have been more committed to my anger than my hopes and pleasures! And for a looong time! But hearing it, reading it out loud and outside of my own head for the first time just made me think, made me realize how fucking wrong that is. When did that happen? Who would do that?

But there it is. Over identification and investment in anger which is closely connected to fear of failure breeds a kind of lifestyle that always ensures failure. Because no matter what good you have in your life, no matter how talented, how capable, how unique, how worthy you are, if you don’t actually believe in it, you’re not really living, You’re busy avoiding imaginary pitfalls that haven’t happened yet. And even when they do, the idea should never be to hang out in the pitfalls but to learn from them and transcend them. You’re  not supposed to remain perpetually at the starting line watching others race and think you’ve figured out how to never be disappointed by never daring to try.

That sounds extreme. But I think most of us are conditioned to do this in one way or another. We think someone else will do what we need to do and do it better, or that we weren’t meant to do it anyway so why bother?

Where does that kind of thinking originate?

Some of us are conditioned to treat the world as if it could never have existed without us.

I’m not going to give you my specific theories as yet but I will say that a large percentage of it is intentional and systemic.

And I really want to move away from it.

Candle

 

There are many of us who subconsciously dedicate so much time and energy into our own failure through self sabotage. I’m there quite often myself. But as we become more conscious we have to demonstrate an understanding that the terms which we have been conditioned to accept are deeply dysfunctional, unhealthy and totally inauthentic to who we really are. And then go discover who we are by being who we are, in effect,  we have to create ourselves again…

For the first time.

So I was late but I wasn’t turned away as a I feared I would be. And I got exactly what I needed, plus a little bit more which I will happily share in my next entry.

 

How Have I Only Just Discovered Laura James?

I look to art and design a lot for inspiration, motivation and occasionally to improve my mood. And when I say art, I mean anything from fine art to street art, to fashion, to performing art, to the way any medium is crafted to mimic or honor or comment on a vibration that resonates intentionally with the human heart. Like when Migos says ssskrrrrrrt!

I like art that effectively communicates a feeling and expands or explores it. The feeling cannot be contrived with the crude and oppressive language of mainstream or standard commercialization. Obviously, for a series of reasons, not all art is effective in disrupting those destructive normative conditions. And so it’s all the more sweet and priceless and irreplaceable, that feeling when you come upon a work, which connects you squarely to your spirit in it’s execution.

This was how I felt when I came upon Laura James painting of Oshun as I was perusing pinterest for Orishas, which is what I do for inspiration and motivation and to improve my mood when necessary, along with the 7 other things I do at the same time on the internet.

I have a page on my board called “The Originals” where I curate images of Orishas created by artists utilizing all kinds of mediums, interpretations. Visually, Oshun is one of two of my favorite Orishas to see images of.  I don’t want to incur a wrath of jealousy among the others so I won’t say who my other faves are here. But there are sooooooo many! So many depictions of Oshun!

YemeyaGo ahead and google Oshun now and click on the images link. Make sure you come back, although I can understand if you don’t. You got lost in Oshunlandia™. You drowned in Yemeyatopia™.

I GET IT.

 

 

 

Of all the incredible images of Oshun I have collected on Pinterest, this one below just filled me right up and in all the right places.

It’s the colors I respond to initially. I love colors and the way in which a good painter uses color combinations and shades to evoke specific themes, feelings, moods and undercurrents of energy. Laura’s colors are playful but not juvenile. They are unapologetically vibrant and joyful and seem to reference a lot of popular Mexican and Egyptian art.

orisha-OSHUN-by-Laura-James

Then it’s the forms. Laura’s Oshun curves her hip to pop her booty out to the left, her proud breasts jutting out in the opposite direction of her head which is tilted towards an up-stretched arm as she looks down into the water, which she is pouring from a soft pink shell onto the ground. There are also fish being poured from the shell. There are bees buzzing around her yellow clad form, ya know because she’s sweet like honey. The tail of a peacock in a tree on her right hangs down almost to her knee. There are birds gathered in a tree to her left. There are lotus blossoms and lily pads at her feet. the tiny yellow orb in the upper left corner seems to be descending into the blue of a twilight sky. In fact all the plains of the painting, the hills, the ground are painted in the same blue that blue goes shortly before it turns into night. There is purple in the blue. There is yellow in the blue. There is blue in the blue.

The shapes are simple, triangles, ovals, wavy lines. The bottom of her dress blooms out in a series of down turned  lotuses. On her waist is a belt of cowrie shells. Her hair is a rolling network of orange and blue circles that mimic the tale of the peacock.

And the last sweetest detail, a form, which seems to imitate a cloud or gust of wind is a brown face curled in profile looking down over her with an approving smile.

OH, I love this painting!

And lest I forget what looks like a frame of uniquely arranged cowrie shells painted around the entire edge, against an outer frame painted in gold.

I didn’t even know James painted this image of Oshun until last week. The more I looked at it, the more I needed know about the artist but the signature on the low res image I saved was hard to make out. I recognized Laura, made up what I though was her last name and let google do the rest.

Laura James 2.jpg

I learned that she is an Brooklynite of Antiguan heritage! YAAAAAAAAZZZ!!! She Blackity Black! And she has painted a series of religious, spiritual and secular images in the same style. She calls her art, “Art for the People.” I have to keep my eye out for her next show because I would love to see her work  up close. Anything more I turn up or discover about her, I will happily report here.

 

Saving My Coin for Fenty

Full coverage vs serum foundation, blending brushes, transition shades, highlighter, primer, setting powder, eye shadow base, facial serum… Over the summer my obsession with make-up expanded my jargon and practice a great deal. I have gone from the one foundation that I first bought when I first decided I wanted to wear foundation to…I don’t know, like…

10?

That might sound like a lot but I like to experiment. I have had to do a lot of experimenting and sampling to find the products that work best for my skin, my shade and my budget and in the last week or so, I have finally gotten to that point My nightly make-up removal and skin care routine is real and consistent. My morning make-up routine is also a ritual I look forward to literally every morning. Depending on my timing, I might miss out on one or two things but the foundational basics never get skipped. I believe that if you can slay every day, whatever that means for you, you should.

D myricks

So now that I do all of the things and I would like to mention that my make-up routines consists of brands from two amazing Black owned beauty companies, Juvia’s Place, whose eye shadow pigments are incredible and named for cities and locations and monuments from the continent of Africa like Burkina and Gizeh. The highlighter I used on special occasions (and at work, who am I kidding? LOL!) is by Danessa Myricks, part of her Illumunaters powder line in “Gocha Glow.” Danessa reminds me that Black people can never shine too much. The light against the numerous shades of skin we live in is lit for real. Her models are on the next level of Glow Up. And I have never seen any other highlighter that shows up on my face the ways hers does.

 

So of course, now that I have all the make-up arsenal I will need for a while and am no longer shopping around and experimenting, Khalilah drops me a line this weekend that Rihanna’s line of make-up Fenty Beauty is about to drop on September 8th!

So what’s a supposed former make-up junkie to do?

Ignore my idle impulses at Sephora or any other make-up brands online and save my coins for Fenty! I mean duh! It’s Riri! I gotta check it out. I may have all I need but I have to support my girl. At the same time, I also really want to guard against buying anything that looks similar or identical to any make-up I already have. Other than that, I’m excited to see what she has to offer because if it is truly inspired by her wild, playful, intense, out of the box spirit, it’s gotta be good.