Monthly Archives: October 2017

Staples: I have a few

UE Staples

Recently I noticed that I’ve been running out of some products that I feel like I can’t live without. Not just your cute shit that you get as a novelty to look at but you rarely ever use, but those things you use on the regular and even daily without fail. I don’t always make the discernment between sparkly stuff that catches my eye and the products that sustain, enhance and that I rely on every day so this is actually really helpful for me.

Spectrum Coconut Oil: Aka, Black people’s liquid gold. I use it to remove my make-up every night. A little goes a long way and though mine is running low, I’m pretty sure I can stretch it for at least another week or so. It can also be used on your hair, in your hair treatments, on your skin, on chapped lips and a myriad of other uses I’m sure I haven’t listed and some which may not have been discovered yet. Check out our video at Soul Sistah Series to learn more about the Coco Cure!

Rose Hips Oil: It’s filled with antioxidants and fatty acids and stuff which is scientifically proved to be good for your skin. All I know is, after I cleanse tone and serum each night, I put a small amount on my face and it absorbs it so well. It feels super soft and smooth. I’m oily so I was always scared to put oil on my face, thinking it would make it worse. I’ve learned some thangs since I started hanging out in the Whole Foods skincare section. LOL! My first ever bottle lasted a long time because you only need one good squirt a night. But It was done last week.

Shea Moisture Argan oil and Raw Shea with Frankincense and Myrrh: Another oil that does not leave my skin feeling greasy or sticky. It absorbs into my skin so well and again, leaves it feeling soft and smooth after every shower. Sigh…that shit is done.

EM cosmetics  Felt Tip Illustrative Eye Liner: There are a range of middling to great felt tip eye liners on the market right now and trust me when I tell you, I have most of them. LOL! I’m a wing tip cat eye junkie and I searched most of this year for a felt tip that would give me the most perfected, controlled line, the most pigmented black, the tip designed to give the best thick to thin release….(I know you’re like, what the hell is she talking about?) and Michelle Phan damn did it. It’s exactly what she describes it as. It is an illustrative (read graphic) Eye liner. Think calligraphic brush. For steady hands only. When it comes to perfecting a cat eye and painting my nails, I have very steady hands. I use this liner every day and it makes it so easy and so precise that I feel like a pro! I could tell my pen was running low last week and I cannot have that. Like I can’t. Drawing my cat eye in the morning is one of the great joys of my day.

Pumpkin Velvetine Lip color by Lime Crime: It took me a moment to realize that this was not just a matte lip color I love but one that I can wear with anything, every day and always look good. Let me just say that the Lime Crime liquid matte formula is basically everything. Light, comfortable, long wearing, never smudging, running or bleeding. And  the color Pumpkin is not represented well on the website at all. It’s a warm, earth tone in the terracotta family but with a vibrant brick/orangeish colored hue. It’s described as a “Brick red.” On my skin tone, it just always looks good. It’s the kind of lip color I can always wear when I don’t know what lip color I want to wear and I don’t want to think about it.

God, I need a dress that can do that. I need like ten dresses that can do that. 

Smith Rosebud Minted Rose Lip Balm: It’s just my boujee petroleum jelly. It’s rose so it’s pinkish in color which is cute. It lasts forever. I get one. It lasts all year. It’s in a tin, not a tube because although I know we live in a germ infested world, I like touching my lips.

Honorary Staple

Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Foundation: Since I bought this foundation, I have given most of my other foundations away. I still have a few but I don’t know why I keep them. This is the only one I use. Fenty gave me what I never knew I always wanted in a foundation. It’s light but buildable coverage does not cover my skin as much as enhance it. Every night, when I remove it, I swear it’s like I’m just removing a light layer. It’s such a difference from removing a heavy formula, full coverage foundation that feels like you’re wearing a mask. I also love that there are at least 2 or 3 shades that match me. Currently I’m rocking 400, but 410 and 420 work as well. And kudos to Fenty creator Rihanna for raking in $72 million in just a month!!! All those empty spaces at the Fenty counter at Sephora don’t lie!

 

In My Dreams Staple (LOL!)

Flesh 3

Matte Trance Lipstick Flesh 3 by Pat McGrath 

I picked from the fruit of The Mothership Collection and now I am obsessed with the color Flesh 3 which is sold out everywhere but that’s the story of my life. I’m not super big into nudes but when you find a nude that suits you, the whole world is suddenly changed. LOL!! I did get one her Metamorphosis kits last year which included an eye shadow a pigment and a meh felt tip liner. Frankly, I haven’t used it in a while, but this Mothership Collection…It is seriously glam, and I dared not look at it directly for fear my wallet would explode. All I want for Christmas is for them to restock.

LOL!

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Urban Eve: What I’m Listening to Now

lianne-la-havas-for-atc

My husband introduced me to Liane La Havas, “Is Your Love Big Enough,” one night (wink wink LOL!) about a month ago and I have been hooked ever since. I’ve played it so many times, I think even he’s sick of the album now.

The Song that Hooked me

Found myself in the second
I found myself in the secondhand guitar
Never thought it would happen
But I found myself in the secondhand guitar

-“Is Your Love Big Enough”

I have to say, I really pretty much loved this entire album when I first heard it. I was hooked right away. But I do remember feeling like I was at the beginning of an exciting ride when I first heard the title song, “Is Your Love Big Enough.” The energy of the music, and it’s bold inquiry reminds me of Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna go My Way?” It’s a great album takes me on a journey whenever I hear it.

HERIt was while I was listening to my Lianne La Havas Pandora station a few weeks ago that I started to notice songs by H.E.R. playing repeatedly. I’m always working while Pandora is on so I never see the names of the artists. I just know that whenever an H.E.R. song came on, something happened. I listened. What was once just music playing in the background would make itself fully present as the only thing in the room worth noticing. And with music, if I respond to anything viscerally that I’ve never heard before, I immediately stop whatever I’m doing, find the album on Tidal and upload it.  “Volume 2” is my favorite of the 2 volumes H.E.R. has released. And I love the Album cover art. The silhouette of a thick hood girl with a softly glowing halo of letters H.E.R. just above her head is endearing and sweet.

HER Album 2

The Song that Hooked me

If the world should end tomorrow

and we only had today

I’m gonna love you in every kind of way.

-“Every Kind of Way”

“Every Kind of Way” is about making love and pleasing someone and the pleasure derived in pleasing someone and how much she wants to please. I just think it’s beautiful. In fact, even listening to it now is like listening to it again for the first time. I just feel it inside me. It moves me.

 

Okay so I heard both these last two artists while listening to my Lianne Lahavas Pandora station. LOL! It’s my top fave station right now.

Sabrina Pic

I only had to hear “Unravel” by Sabrina Claudio once. And it was only half way done when I looked up and clicked on my Pandora window. I went straight to Tidal, uploaded “About Time” and I’ve been mesmerized for days.

The Song That Makes Me Emotional

 The flowers will be blooming
The leaves will be turning
And snow will be falling
While we’re making love
And the sun will be shining
The flowers still are blooming
Then leaves will turn again

But time will be frozen for us.

-Frozen

Frozen makes me think of those moments when you share a special time with someone that you don’t ever want to end from something as brief as a gaze, to something as long as  a ten minute walk. Yet as a matter or your ability to cherish the moment, it must in fact end. It’s bittersweet and I’m a sucker for some melancholy done right. And this is done so right. The music on it’s own is just, unraveling. I fall open whenever I hear it.

A well crafted playlist of all three of these three albums is in the works. I imagine it would be a great mix for nothing but chillin, making love, feeling good, sexy, introspective, smoking a L, crying, having visions and starting anew.

bomba_estereo1

My honorary fourth fave new artist is Bomba Estereo. A new friend I made over the weekend, at a Racial Justice conference I attended with Khalilah, explained the video for the  song, “Soy Yo” as it was playing over the speakers after an incredible night of deeply vulnerable shared stories and a hell of a closing speech by Michelle Alexander came to an end. “Soy Yo” is on the album “Amanecer” which means dawn.  I’ll also be checking out their album “Ayo” which I uploaded this weekend because the video for “Internacionales” hooked me as well.

 

#itwasamerica

I don’t have any close White friends. Acquaintances yes. Close White friends?

I might have like…three?

As a Black person, you can have White friends for years and they will never really know the core of you unless you’re the type of Black person who is unapologetically Black about your shit.

I have not always been the kind of Black person who was always unapologetically Black about my shit. Therefore I have White acquaintances in my life who think they know me…but don’t fully. And that’s totally on me. But the White people I’ve I rocked with, who I got to know in my late 20s and 30s; they are staunch anti-racist White people who do their best to own their shit, to push themselves and stay informed on how to really do their work and check their privilege constantly.

I was in Manhattan yesterday, on my way to an appointment and waiting on a train platform for an express so naturally I started to scroll idly through social media feed on my Facebook account. That’s when I saw this posted by one of my good White friends’ status feeds.

#itwasme 

i was complicit,
the sexist, offensive, degrading, locker room talk – there have been too many times when i haven’t stood up to it, when i was part of it. used my privilege to be in and out of spaces without being damaged and without standing up to damaging behavior.

i haven’t called out men, who i knew were crossing the line with their talk, with their threat of action, with their violence. 
i have looked, stared, thought, and not respected boundaries. 
it was me, i was complicit.

It is our turn to speak up…and to post and hashtag and pass along. Somebody is doing the harassing and abusing…it doesn’t just happen. I have stood by in silence too many times…no more.

Men…Don’t just like this post…own it. Share it. Copy and Paste. Do something.
h/t David Cohen

Once, years ago,  I did an enthography of an anti-racist reading group (which I had never heard of in my life before) for a Cultural Diversity class I was taking for my undergrad. I did interviews with about 3-4 White people (it was an all White group) for my paper. One of the White men I interviewed was a social worker who told me that essentially, along his journey towards becoming active in social justice and anti-racism he discovered how hateful Whiteness was.

I was stunned. He was the first White person I had ever met who openly admitted how destructive, violent, dangerous and generally not shit Whiteness was.

I didn’t know how to respond. I think I was a little worried about him.

I got over that shit after Trayvon Martin. I stopped worrying about White people altogether soon after that.

When I read this #itwasme repost by, I’ll call him John, I was caught of guard but then I was like wow, this is exactly what more White men need to be doing. Admission of implicitness in the endangerment of women and the nurturing of rape culture is a real step towards a conversation that might actually shift attitudes and practices that perpetuate this sickening Weinsteinian/Trump/Cosby scourge.

I think it was pretty decent of him to own up to it in a way that honestly, any woman would have the right to wanna take him down for.

But then I thought….

Well, how about the admission of the numerous times when White people, maybe even John were present during conversations that were racially insensitive? Because to be totally honest, (I’m naive) I would not have guessed that he was someone who would let sexist comments slide either. I guess this was another reason the post caught me off guard. At first I thought he wrote it. Then I saw it was a repost. But the repost was still an admission. So I’m like torn between applauding (I really have to fight that applauding urge) his honesty but yet also feeling like…emmm, if you could be silent here, where else are you silent?

See because, I like this guy and I feel he’s really doing his work…

and yet…

You see, if America (read White people) ever had the dignity to admit its unforgivable atrocities towards all Black Brown and indigenous peoples in this way, it would at least be the first step towards opening up a conversation about what needs to happen next.

But if America ever did admit it openly, willingly, at the risk of deflating White fragility, ripping away the veil of respectability and phony puritanical standards to reveal and take responsibility for it’s perverse, putrid, rapacious and psychotically divisive existence, I don’t know about you; I would be both stunned, thankful and yet also…

Ummm…you don’t get invited to the cookouts no more man.

And I don’t even have cookouts.

And I think that at the core, this is what White people are really afraid of. They’re afraid we won’t invite them to partake of our perpetually resilient abundance anymore the way we always have, not matter what they’ve done to us.

They’re afraid of being left alone with themselves.

It’s certainly not a reflection I would want to face.

 

My Black Woman Halloween Costume on a Budget

I’m a Black woman.

I’m on a budget.

I have always loved Halloween.

I wouldn’t be caught dead at the Halloween Parade these days.

I’m not necessarily sure I want to be present at whatever corny Halloween shenanigans my company it doing.

Basically, I just want to sit at my desk and roam the streets in a costume on Halloween.

LMAO!!!

And this year, I’ve figured out a way to do that.

Seat at the tableI’ve decided to be Solange on the iconic cover of her hit album, “A Seat at The Table.”

Think of it.

All I need is a wig, some duckbill clips and I don’t even have to wear any make-up (right, like I’m leaving my home without make-up). I can judge the people who don’t know who I’m dressed as and high five and kiki with those who do all while honoring a great album and a talented Black artist, sitting back, looking cute and not having to fiddle with an stupid mask, glitter everywhere, bunny ears (though I like some bunny ears) or anything that sticks out, melts, falls down or needs to be constantly adjusted.

I’m weary of the ways of the world.

Now everyone will know!

LOL!!

“You Hate All Black People As Much As You Hate Yourself”

How many ways can a person say racism is the real bread and butter of our American mythology, and in how many ways will the racists among our countrymen act out their Turner Diaries race war fantasy combination Nazi Germany and Antebellum South – states which, incidentally, lost the wars they started, and always will, precisely because there is no way those white racisms can survive the earth without the rest of us types upholding humanity’s best, keeping the motor running on civilization, being good, and preserving nature and all the stuff worth working and living for?

-Kara Walker

As a Black person, going to see an art exhibit by a Black artist means that you will be surrounded predominantly by White people who like to discuss form, line, light and composition rather than content. I’ve only gone to see exhibitions lately that are pretty hardcore in their examination and critique of the atrocities committed by White people on Black and Brown people so I’ve had to get used to tunneling through and stepping in front of White bodies, avoiding White gazes and just taking in the work without letting my feelings of disgust, anger, violence and sadness overcome me.

Kara Walker 2

Kara Walker’s show at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co in Chelsea left nothing to be speculated on as far as what her subject matter expressed. The ugliness, the horror, the perversion and sickness of White racism, bleeds off of every piece. There were a couple of pictures I took of images, which I still cannot post on social media because they are for me, too triggering.

22291465_10155718930603149_5363872275001101401_oWhen I think of what it must take for Walker to get these images on the paper, mentally, psychologically, spiritually I can only hope that it serves as a form of catharsis. I don’t know how White people take in images like this casually, and I try not to preoccupy myself for too long, wondering how. My guess is that it’s the same way they can imagine that anything about America’s history as it has been taught for so many years could possibly be built on anything but lies, genocide, murder and hate.

After passing through a large room of about 5-6 of the large scale hand cut paper silhouette pieces Walker has become well known for, full of the darkest, most disturbing indictment of White Racist violence via chattel slavery and the modern day products of it I have seen since Kerry James Marshall, I came into a room of more traditional sized framed pieces filled with dark paint. The first one I looked at had a few snatches of hand scrawled words on it that were hard to make out until I leaned in close.

“You Hate Black People as Much as You Hate Yourself”

It is glaringly obvious who that message is for. There is no question of its authenticity. And it’s frighteningly clear that the truth of this statement has played out from the enslavement of the first of our ancestors until this very minute. This message I feel, is the one which White people are responsible to allow into every pore without the promise of acceptance, forgiveness, sympathy or love from Black or Brown people to keep them from the rawness and destruction of it’s sting.

Because we are beyond apologies now.

The day after I went to see the Kara Walker show, White nationalists in Charlottesville Virginia were on the march again, with lit torches chanting “You will not replace us.”

Later on Dove released an insidiously racist image of a Black woman pulling off her shirt to reveal a White woman’s face and body.

 

And to that I say:

You cannot replace us.

Without us you have only the mirror of your sins to reflect upon.

In her artists’ statement for this show and in her pieces,  it’s obvious that  Kara Walker is clearly fed up. She knows that showing White people to themselves has very little chance of changing anything because up until now it never has. But as Auntie Nina Simone once said, an artists duty is to reflect the times. Because time will always tell.

Thanks to social media and the Cheeto in charge,  though the times haven’t changed much, the ways in which they are being reflected is broad, immediate, often explosive, and perpetually evolving. This is only the beginning.