Tag Archives: Beauty

The Black Erotica Social Media Movement

Let’s not hide from each other. Let’s not cover up what we feel is natural. I want to be free with you. I want you to be free with me. I want to talk, laugh, joke, play and stay in our bare skin for the entire day. Why would we cover ourselves? I find you beautiful and you find me the same. From the soles of our feet to the details of our skin that cover our veins. I see no reason to make you wonder because what you want from me is more than physical. I want to see you as you are. Fully with nothing covering your blemishes or scars. Don’t hide from me and I won’t hide from you…

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When I was in High School there was a book of short stories and poetry called Erotic Noir that my BF and I were crazy for. It was this large book of beautifully affirming, liberating self-loving, candid, intimate tales of Black sexiness. It was of course the only book of Black Erotica of I found on the bookstore shelves at the time. There was nothing else to compare it to so it was a very special book for me. That was back in the day when I wrote religiously. I never was and still am not very good at writing about graphic intimacy or sexual experiences and so I would read and immerse myself and admire but I remained uncomfortable with actually writing anything like it.

Thanks White Male Patriarchy.

….actually, no thank you.

But thanks to being raised in a household where I was free to run around naked until I learned to be self conscious, I’ve always been pretty comfortable being naked. But as a Black women however (probably as any woman) it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are being naked. In this world, you learn how to become self-conscious even about being un-self conscious.

Continue reading The Black Erotica Social Media Movement

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Goodbye Black Beauty Box

I saw the update in their IG feed yesterday. In my mind the thought “We can’t have nothin” popped up. I had paid up for the next six months. September will now be the last and all six month subscribers will be refunded the remainder of their payment.

siiiiiggh…..I can’t help wondering what really happened.

Julep

Stitch fix (which sucks in my opinion. I cancelled my shipments a month ago)

Gwynnie Bee

Still rolling along. But the one and only beauty box subscription I know of that catered to Black women and Black businesses is now discontinued, over and done.

“The landscape for monthly subscription boxes has changed…” was the only response repeatedly given by way of explanation to various sad and annoyed inquiries like mine.

What does that mean?

I’m not going to act like the Essence Beauty Box was always on point but for me it became one the best things about a magazine which, in my opinion has been struggling to keep up with the times both aesthetically and content wise. My monthly beauty box exposed me to some products which have now become staples in my life and beauty regimen, and I so looked forward to my little monthly treat of five or six hot beauty products formulated with my skin, hair, face and body in mind. It made me feel special. I squealed with joy every time my box came to my office in the mail. It just didn’t last long enough.

So I hope this last September box is amazing. I won’t spend too much time missing it. Instead I’ll start looking into how to create a subscription box that someone like me would love. Because I guess this is the part where you have to create what you feel is missing in the market right?

Right.

 

 

 

Did I ever Mention that Make-Up is also My Life?

 

28741397196_e8e026803e_oI’m in Sephora an average of 1-2 times or more a week. I know I mentioned in a previous entry that doing my nails at the counter in Sephora is literally like meditation to me. But I also have to admit that Sephora as a whole, particularly the lips, face and Nails section are my instant happy makers.

To me, make-up is just another form of art and I like make-up brands that encourage people to step outside of the usual self imposed boundaries of make-up use. Whenever I’m at Sephora, I wish that I had ten sets of eyes, and lips there because I always want to try everything and there is so much really amazing stuff out right now. Formulas for deep, rich pigments, soft finishes, wet looks, softer shimmer and more environmentally sound ingredients are on the rise. I’m like a kid in a very expensive candy store  whenever I’m there and I just decided to treat myself a little bit yesterday since I’m off from work this week and it was payday! YAY!

First I got some tools I needed at the Beauty Supply in my neighborhood, a manicure bowl and a lash curler because I’m about to master my false lash game.  That beauty supply store is the best. I also got a great pair of tweezers there for like $4 a month ago. I’ve never bought tweezers, false lashes, sponges or brushes at Sephora. I only shop Sephora for things I can only get at Sephora.

Today I was going for a new Nars shadow called Stud which is a fine high shimmery pewter color that I can never get enough of when I sample it. It makes me think of galaxies and moon dust. Also, since I’ve been abstaining from Facebook (I couldn’t stay away from IG and YT) this week I’ve started watching more Sephora make-up tutorials and oh my god, does it inspire me! I love that they have a good number of Black girls on there too, because I need to see how colors look on someone my shade before I can commit.

So I’ve been easing into this matte primer, concealer world. Because I kinda wanna be able to look professionally flawless whenever I want to and I can see that it takes a l lot more than just some foundation fix and Cover FX. A tutorial using Becca Ever Matte Poreless Primer impressed me so that was on my list as well. I knew when I went to the Milk counter I was going to get pulled into it’s tractor beam of Uniqueness and clean package design but I didn’t know I would find a concealer there I really liked that blended so easily and softly into my skin. I dotted it under my eyes the way I’ve seen it done. It worked!

I couldn’t let it go. I’d been dying to get something from Milk since I first used their eyeliner in Model/DJ, a blue so vibrant and rich that it exudes play and electricity.

I got samples of the Primer to experiment with.

I would have stayed in Sephora a lot longer if I didn’t have a cat at home to wash/torture. Anything sparkly catches my eye. Bright, bold color, shimmering things, wet shiny, gooey, sexy, playful things, things that have scent that have to be brushed on, rubbed in, feathered, blotted, sprayed, smeared, all hold a tactile, visually adventurous and transformative pleasure for me. Anything can happen! You can use colors available to you. You can create your own colors and textures! You can layers colors on one another and create a new textile on your nail! Sephora doesn’t know it but they’re my lab. I feel like a mad scientist when I go in and most of the time I come out feeling a little more magical.

Lemonade: The Visual Black Wombspace, Pt1

There will be so many different think pieces and stories, documentaries, study groups, conferences and courses spawned by the massive impact of Beyonce’s Lemonade and I have so enjoyed mining the internet and magazines and casual work conversations to observe the reactions and make note of themes that arise to compare and contrast them with my own as I process it all. I cannot even begin to really describe how phenomenal, how loving, how healing, how deeply moving and ground breaking the work is to me, or what a personal call to healing it is for Black women.

Continue reading Lemonade: The Visual Black Wombspace, Pt1

Time Stopping Thursdays: My Favorite video of the month

35 Bday

I viewed this amazing video posted on Facebook by Angela Laketa Tanksley for the first time several weeks ago but so far, no matter how many times I view it, it always gives me life. I mean it’s not just that she was bold and brave enough to take on creating a remake of one the best Beyonce videos ever, “Grown Woman” but also that she did it to commemorate her 35th birthday. And even more than that, she didn’t try to be Beyonce. She emulated some of the best things about the energy of Beyonce and Destiny’s child videos, like friendship, Black women together, beauty, motherhood, marriage, strength, sexiness, fun and laughter and she used the resources that applied to her life, like the baby carriages (oh God I loved the women dancing next to their baby carriages!!!!!!! I loved it!!) and her husband opening his door to see his wife and her friends raising a ruckus in the hallway inspired by Beyonce’s “7/11” video. The look on his face and the shake of his head was pure husbandness. LOLOL!!! He was like, I don’t want any part of this. Back to my X-Box. Omigod, I just loved it. It made me feel like I could actually make a video like this one day!

Duoble Baby
“Betcha I run this!”

Angela did do some literal depictions of her favorite parts of Beyonce’s “Grown Woman” in ways that I loved. She had her husband on the couch and was rubbing his knee, showing her pride in marriage and then had her kids on her bed all around her while she laughed and smiled as her son kissed her and then there’s a bit where her and friends are dressed in sexy black outfits doing the dance routine that Beyonce does with two back up dancers near the end of “Grown Woman.” Angela shot her choreographed piece in a neighborhood that looked like a suburb somewhere outside in natural light. They killed it.

It was like fun sleep over/dance party at a hair salon mixed with grown sexiness defined by some of the best things about being a grown Black woman, and just showing how versatile, how dynamic, how sexy, how fun, how beautiful it is. I think I’m gonna go watch it again right now!

Dark & Lovely Soul Sistah

Lupita-Nyongo-Essence-Magazine-February-2014-BellaNaija-03

“You can’t eat beauty

It doesn’t feed you”

-Lupita Nyongo’s mother

The world became aware of Lupita Nyongo in her break out Academy Award winning role as a slave named Patsey in “12 Years a Slave.” But it was her Essence award acceptance speech that really defined what Lupita has come to represent for women of color everywhere. When she shared the letter she received a letter from a young Black girl struggling with the perceived burden of her dark skin, Lupita was prompted to share her own experience being taunted and harassed because of her dark skin. She spoke of the self-hate that lead to destructive aspirations to lighten her skin as well as her journey toward self- acceptance with help from words of affirmation from Oprah, her mother’s love and compassion and the emergence of the dark-skinned model, Alek Wek.

This was an unforgettable, timely and touching moment in history, a moment when dark-skinned Black women watching everywhere were joined in the validation of their own struggles with colorism and also in gratitude to Lupita’s fearless, loving and beautiful testament to truth about beauty. Wherever she appears in print gracing fashion magazine covers and larger than life Lancome ads or on screen, lively, intelligent and sparkling with joy and curiosity, Lupita represents to young black girls and Black women alike what Alek Wek once did for her. The beauty of self acceptance that exists within is what illuminates what we see on the outside and no shade of Black, Brown or shades in between should ever be exempt from the definition of beauty.

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Why Shouldn’t I Care what Smart Black Women are Wearing?

I don’t comment on Facebook threads very often that appear outside of my network. But every once in awhile, situations present themselves that I cannot resist. For instance whoever posts for Harry Belafonte (is it really you Harry?) posted some anti Kanyeness story last week, positing something like “He doesn’t have all the answers.” To which I commented, “No one has all the answers.” Someone later responded to that by saying, “God does.”

…okay. That’s fair. Not relevant. But fair.

Yesterday there was a post on Chimimanda Adichie’s  FB page, which directed interested readers to see what she was wearing on a page titled “Day 3 of Nigerian novelist’s Vogue Today I’m Wearing Photo Blog.” There was a long list of comments responding to that which expressed displeasure about why they should be interested in what she wears, that they only wanted to know what she was writing or thinking.  To which I commented that I was interested in everything she did, what she’s wearing, writing, thinking…

I mean it just so happens that in addition to being a highly educated brilliant writer, thinker and speaker, Adichie is also stunningly beautiful. Her dress game is sickening. Her hair is always tight and on point. Her skin is flawless and she has an infectious inner glow that pours out from her eyes and her voice whenever she is on camera. Are we’re supposed to not notice this?

Continue reading Why Shouldn’t I Care what Smart Black Women are Wearing?

How to be a Black Woman and remove your make-up in “How to Get Away with Murder”

viola davis

When was the last time you saw a leading actress remove all her make-up in an extended, tight, super close up shot?

The only scene that leaps to my mind is Glen Close as the Marquise in the last few minutes of “Dangerous Liasons,” one of my all time favorite films. As she removes her make-up in a show of total ruin we see how truly ugly she is in spirit because she has destroyed any chance there ever was for love in her life. Now it’s Viola Davis in the last ten or so minutes of the last episode of “How to get Away Murder” when she removes all her make-up and gains more and more ground with every swipe.

I’m only just beginning to immerse myself in the series and I have to admit, I still have not seen the first episode in its entirety as yet.

I KNOW! DON’T THROW THINGS AT THE SCREEN.

I think I was just a bit annoyed at all the law student characters. All I wanted was Viola but they’re starting to grow on me and I can see where they are essential to the plot and the movement and development of the show. There have only been four episodes of the series so far and with each one, I see more than I’ve never seen in any television series before.

For instance, I think it was in one the two episodes before the last that Annalise is shown at her home taking off her wig revealing her own short natural hair, pinned back to her head. I was not prepared for that and was immediately intrigued by the fact that Shonda included this reveal with zero fanfare. I watched Annalise deep in thought, and sitting in bed alone and something in me was just like wow. This happens all the time, everyday. Women come home, take off their wigs, make-up, sit in front of a mirror and contemplate. But rarely see this process documented on screen. The idea with everything women do to beautify themselves or appear presentable, particularly Black Women (because we’re not supposed to consider ourselves beautiful unless we have applied some cosmetic form of skin lightener or hair straitening, curl loosening potion) and especially as power players in a high level positions, is that even if the world knows your appearance is a constructed facade based on white standards of beauty, or male standards of power, you never show the world how you put it on or take it down.

V Davis Make-upWhen Annalise is shown in this last episode, not only taking off her perfect wig but slowly removing all of her make-up in front of her dresser mirror, there is such a powerful and subtle statement being made. It was no surprise for me to learn that this was actually Davis’ idea.  The removal of all her cosmetic arsenal does not disarm an actress like Viola Davis. And I don’t believe it is meant to disarm her character. You don’t even get the sense that she cares about any of it. She’s quite beyond the power of make-up or wigs to define who she knows she is. The scene is electric with the building up of inevitable confrontation with her husband. It addresses a multitude of systemic relational dynamics by engaging the audience with it’s own feelings about what is taking place rather than making Annalise a victim or soul representative of something many Black women fall prey to with regards to the dominant culture’s construction and evaluation of female beauty.

This scene is not primarily about make-up or wigs the removal of them or their application. Shonda just shows you what happens in the households of nearly every adult American woman alive on a daily basis. She leaves it up to you and proceeds on with the development of the story.