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Simplicity

I LOVE the outdoors! When amongst nature, I receive far more than I seek.

Be thankful for your life, spend time in nature, take it all in, breathe deeply, let go of your worries, forgive yourself & others & build your life around what you love 💚 🍃

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There is Beauty in Simplicity!

I love wearing basic items such as a plain tank or tee with denim paired with bold shoes and accessories.

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Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Tank| Forever 21

High Waisted Jeans | Forever 21

Shoes | Kennyya by Steve Madden

Nail Shade | Blue it out of Proportion

Hat | H & M

Bag | Design By U Jewelry

Jewelry | Design By U Jewelry

The Brighter Side of Things

Think Happy. . .Be Happy! Stay on the Sunny Side of Life!

Yellow always uplifts my mood! It has many meanings; happiness, optimism, sunshine, laughter, enthusiasm, confidence, emotional strength, friendliness, self-esteem, creativity and uplifting are a few of my favorites.

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Wherever I am, I stand Tall!

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There are some walks that you have to take alone! No Worries. . .God will direct your steps!

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it!

One of my many gifts is knowing how and where to shop on a budget! I bought this beautiful yellow tie knot asymmetrical dress from Rainbow Shops for approximately $18 and my sandals from Luichiny for about $150 about 11 years ago. I remember this vividly because my son was just a few months old. He’s now a vibrant pre-teen 🙂 My sandals are in mint condition! I’ve only worn them a few times.

I will share how I keep my shoes ‘Brand New’ for so many years in a future post.

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Dress | Rainbow Shops

Shoes | Luichiny Shoes

Nail Shade | Blue it out of Proportion

Jewelry | Design By U Jewelry

Blooming

When you’re growing and glowing, you have no choice but to prosper and allow yourself to bloom! Don’t go through life, grow through life! It does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

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Follow your soul. It knows the way. Be one with your thoughts. . .Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey. You are!

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I have a thing for tanks, hats and  maxi skirts! There is just something about the combo that I love. I’ve never been a fan of floral prints . . but I must admit, I’ve been enjoying them all summer ’16!

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Where ever life plants you, Bloom with Grace!

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Hat | H&M

Top | H&M

Belt | Forever 21

Skirt | From my closet! Purchased from Century 21, Spring ’15

Bamboo Bracelets | Design By U Jewelry

Lipstick | Shade. . .Electric Purple by 127 East Cosmetics

What is African Black Soap?

I’ve had an influx of orders for my Authentic African Black soap during the Holiday season after I shared my personal testimonial on it on instagram; after frequently being asked how I am able to maintain flawless skin.

Many have been saying & asking, “I know it works, but what exactly is African Black Soap?” Below is a brief summary.

African Black soap has been used for centuries in West Africa. It is still made the traditional way from locally harvested plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves & shea tree bark, to name a few potent ingredients. It is then fermented which is how the soap gets its brownish-black color.

*Please Note* African Black Soap  should not be entirely Black in color. If so, it is not authentic. It’s  watered down & mixed with different agents!

African Black Soap is suitable for all skin types! It can be used daily and it is also great for washing makeup off! If you have any skin sensitivity, it is best to do a skin test. Place a small amount of soap (wet it first) and leave it on an area of your skin for about a minute to see if you have a negative reaction to it. Another way is to choose an area on your skin to wash with it for 3 consecutive days (same area). Because of it’s organic ingredients, a negative reaction rarely happens (unless you have specific allergies).

(WASH ONLY. DO NOT USE AS A MASK)!

Because of it’s potent ingredients, the soap is powerful. You should not leave ABS on your face for a long period of time. When you start using this soap, you will instantly see improvement in discoloration, skin tone, acne, reduction of razor bumps, ingrown hair bumps, fine lines and wrinkles. . .just to name a few. ABS detoxifies and purifies the skin, due to its amazing ingredients.

Plantain skins is high in vitamin A, which increases collagen production; vitamin E, has natural healing properties which helps  moisturize the skin; & iron, which boosts the benefits of both vitamins A and E.

Cocoa powder softens & firms the skin & its antioxidants & anti-inflammatory properties, fight free radicals, repairs damaged skin, and renews skin cells.

Cocoa butter is a natural moisturizer loaded with vitamins A and E that fights & helps reverse the signs of aging. It also eases rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.

Shea butter also has vitamins A and E to strengthen skin, repair damage, and diminish wrinkles. Over time, ABS can help in healing sores, scars, & help with treating psoriasis, eczema, & dermatitis.

Palm oil is rich & packed with antioxidants and two forms of vitamin E which help heal acne and eczema.

Palm kernel oil, extracted from the fruit seeds of the African palm tree, is high in lauric acid, giving it antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help heal acne.

When African Black Soap is exposed to air, it may develop a thin, white film. There is no need to panic or worry. This is normal. It’s not mold nor is it a sign that it is expired, and the soap may still be used. African Black Soap has a very longgggggggg shelf life!

F A Q’s

What are the ingredients in Raw African Black Soap? How is it made?

The ingredients in Raw African Black Soap may vary depending on the region, but the soap consistently usually includes: plantain skins and leaves, bark from the shea tree, cocoa pods, oils (palm oil, coconut oil and/or shea butter). The skins, leaves, barks and cocoa pods are burned to ashes. Water and the oils are then added to the ashes. After being stirred for a day or more, the mixture  is left to ferment. There are absolutely NO CHEMICALS, artificial ingredients or preservatives in our A U T H E N T I C  African Black Soap.

Does African Black Soap contain alcohol and | or lye?

NO! Our Authentic African Black Soap contains neither alcohol or lye.

What are some of the benefits of African Black Soap?

It is an all-natural exfoliator which deep-cleanses the pores. It is suitable for all skin types. It helps fade dark marks and hyper-pigmentation, psoriasis and some eczema flare ups; (should not be used if the skin is broken; sore)

How do I use African Black Soap?

A little bit of African Black Soap goes a VERY LONG WAY! We’ve made it easier for you by cutting it in our classic soap pattern. Just add water and lather. Because of the uneven texture of the soap, we suggest lathering the soap in your hand and then applying the lather to your face (if using for your face only). If you’re using the African Black Soap to wash your hair, you can put pieces into a bottle, add water and shake it up. That will dissolve the soap and create a face | body wash & shampoo. This is easier and safer than buying already mixed African Black Soaps because you are controlling the contents that it’s being mixed with.

How do I store African Black Soap?

Since the African Black Soap has no preservatives, it must be stored in a cool, dry place. We suggest you keep your soap in a tin; not in plastic. If the plastic that you are storing your soap in; is not BPA free, it will absorb the toxins present in the plastic.

Note: the soap dissolves quickly when it is wet. If you let the entire soap or piece you’re using sit out in water, it will look like melted caramel by the time you are ready to use it again 😁 When stored, ABS may get a whitish film on it. If this happens, do not panic, It’s not mold! It’s just the effects of the soaps exposure to air.

Can I Use African Black Soap on my newborn?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is too strong for a newborn baby’s skin. We suggest you use on children 2 years of age and up (Only to bathe); do not leave on their skin for a long period of time.

African Black Soap didn’t work for my friend. Will it work for me?

Everyone’s skin is different because everyone has a different skin type. What works for another may not work for you. This is why we encourage you to do a skin test prior to using, as we mentioned in our summary. It also helps to know what you are buying. Not all African Black Soaps are Authentic.

How is it that I’m able to use this soap on my oily skin when there are oils present in the soap?

Though oil is present in the soap, it is not “oily”. The fermentation process gives all ingredients an amazing balance, which makes it a great exfoliator. It keeps your skin hydrated without increasing oil. If you have oily skin, please moisturize afterwards with a non-comedogenic lotion.

Can I use African Black Soap on my dry skin?

Yes you can! But, if you do not like to moisturize or wear lotion, please do not bother to use it! With those that have dry skin, the soap is effective, but you MUST moisturize and cream your skin immediately after using. It is a natural exfoliator, meaning it is striping skin. You have to replenish moisture to maintain balance.

What is the shelf life of African Black Soap?

African Black Soap has a very long shelf life. If stored in a dry cool place, it can last for approximately 10 years.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Your questions will help me add more insight to Design By U Essentials FAQ’s for ABS! Comment below or send us an email at info@designbyuessentials.com

Freedom

I constantly inhale courage and confidence and exhale fear and doubt. When you own your own breath, no one can steal your peace. Do more than just exist!

Fill your life with experiences; not only things! Remember, it’s your life! Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for living it the way you want to.

Constantly make choices that liberate you. To realize who you are is Freedom!

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I’m thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength. Every brick that has been thrown at me; I’ve used to build a platform to stand on.

Self Love is the greatest medicine! Love your WHOLE story. Fall in love with taking care of yourself. . .Mind, Body, & Spirit!

Great things never came from comfort zones! Live less out of habit and more out of intent.

Be BOLD! Bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined

Location The Highline. . .NYC

Photographer   Matey Ghoslow Photography

Ankara Jumper Designed by me 😁 Available for purchase Fall 2016

Shoes From my closet! Purchased from Faith in London over 15 years ago

Natural Hair Bloggers : A Few of My Favorites 

Many are inspired by how I wear my natural hair in various tapered cuts and curled styles. I love creating different shaved cuts, color patterns and twist out techniques. Do you ever want that cut, style or technique, but just don’t know where to look? I prefer to use Instagram and the # hashtag, which is a powerful tool for us Naturalista’s. . . to get inspiration!

I too am quite inspired by many other Natural Hair Bloggers. These are just very few of those that I have on my inspiration list which I want to share with you. You’ll find a variety of shaped haircuts, fros, coils, curls & protective styles.

1. @sheilandinda

2. @naturalhairrebel

3. @natashaleeds

4. @glammzmore

5. @missalexandrianicole

6. @naturalbelle

7. @blakizbeautyful

8. @themarieantoinette

9. @zoezeigler

10. @candicoatedcurls

11. @blackonyx

12. @kentekinks

12. @belle_anoir

13. @dayelasoul

14. @avielleamor

15. @danieandthebloom

16. @iamfabellis

17. @enchanted26

18. @tjluvsbeingnatural

19. @askproy


20. christian_byshe

The Entrepreneur Experience 

The Entrepreneur Experience was curated by The UpperRoom Events and took place on Saturday, April 23rd at 12pm at Amarachi Prime Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. The ambiance was outstanding! The dĂ©cor was both light and vibrant! The room was filled with beautiful people. . .a rich blend of attendees, successful entrepreneur’s and small business owners looking for resources to grow their businesses. The topic of discussion was on ‘Building your Brand’.

The goal was to bring like-minds who are business-focused and oriented together. It was an absolute success!!!

The Keynote Speaker got the crowd off to a great start

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Gbenga Omotayo is the author of the Best Selling Book, “How to Start Your Own Business While Employed!” He’s committed to helping transform countless small businesses in their approach to integrated marketing communications. He has trained hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and helped many kick-start their business ownership vision.


He has spoken on various topics, with special emphasis on the areas of business startup and entrepreneurship, events marketing and communications, as well as business networking. Outside of work, Gbenga is the Youth Director at Abundant Life Christian Center and happily married with three great children. 

Gbenga touched on many key points at The Entrepreneur Experience. He expressed that you have to know your WHY. Why is it that you want to start the business you are interested in? Knowing your why adds Purpose; which fuels your passion!

Click Here to watch this video by 9JAQUEENBTV…Building with a Purpose

The Panelists 

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Sharon Beason, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Womeneur, a platform launched in April 2015 to Connect, Enlighten and Empower female entrepreneurs by providing tools, resources, advice, events and motivation to propel their growth.

I met Sharon in the fall of 2014. She supported my business at an event I was vending and we exchanged information. She then supported me again at an event I had for the Holiday that same year. It was then that Sharon shared her vision of Womeneur with me. To see it come to fruition and how it has evolved is absolutely amazing! It’s a prime example of Planning your work and working your plan! She is truly a force to be reckoned with. . .a fierce Leader helping to create more Leaders!

Sharon provided strategies on building a solid network and steps every entrepreneur should take on successfully branding their business.

Click Here to see Sharon in Action

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Anie Akpe is the Founder and CEO of Innov8tiv Magazine. Anie is also an avid advocator for diversity and inclusion with the tech space. Through Innov8tiv, she seeks to highlight the underrepresented players in tech such as Blacks in Tech, Africans in Tech, Women in Tech and Minorities in Tech. She recently launched Networq App, an indie app that will improve how you network by allowing users to exchange electronic business cards.

I met Anie at an event that I was a guest speaker at last year in NYC, which she hosted. I was very impressed! To see an African Woman in a male dominated industry spoke volumes!

Anie shared how she skillfully handles three different businesses, the dynamics and costs involved in developing an app, and gave sound advice to those interested in opening their business overseas; primarily in West Africa.

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Joseph Adewunmi is the founder of Amarachi Restaurant. Amarachi  is the Premiere Afro-Caribbean Fusion Restaurant in Brooklyn. Their Objective is to capture the excitement and diversity of the African And Caribbean cultures as they flourish in the United States, serving as a melting pot for fans of deliciously eclectic foods and drinks that stretch the fabric of the imagination.

Joseph made many key points on growing his establishment, gave insight on marketing ideas and strategies on how to continually generate customers, and shared some of the challenges that comes with being a restaurant owner.

Amarachi is a really beautiful space! That was my first time there. The food…absolutely delicious. I had a dish called Talapia Lati Nigeira; which is  a whole tilapia fried and topped with a sweet and spicy Afro-Asian sauce and shrimp with Jollof rice. If you are in the NY area, please stop by Amarachi Prime. In addition to your taste buds being happy, you will have a great time.

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Daron Pressley is a former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, The Washington Post, and American Express Open. As a consultant, Daron has worked with organizations including ESPN, WEtv, Sneaker Villa, and professional athletes and individuals to develop strategies to build, strengthen and grow brands. He has also produced content for Black Enterprise Magazine, Pressley has written original content, interviewed countless business and community leaders, celebrities and is instrumental in developing the BE Modern Man campaign.

Daron gave insightful tips on building your brand as an entrepreneur and he also gave advice on challenges and obstacles a few entrepreneurs in the black community may struggle with.

Legal Advice

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Lydia C. Hills, Esq. is the owner of The Hills Firm which is a general practice law firm assisting clients throughout the New York City area in a variety of legal matters. The Hills firm provides efficient and cost-effective legal representation of New York City and Long Island (Suffolk and Nassau County) businesses, corporate entities and individuals. The firm proudly offers a range of legal services for Entrepreneurs, established Corporations and Businesses, and Non-Profit Organizations. Lydia is also known to be both a philanthropist and an entrepreneur internationally and locally. In addition to her membership in the Nigerian Lawyers Association, she is also a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association and BWEL (Black Women in Entertainment Law).

Lydia shared key legal points for entrepreneur’s to maintain a successful business.

Hosts

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To be inspired is great but to inspire is an honor! I had the pleasure of hosting this phenomenal event with MC & Lawyer by profession, Joshua Korode. I shared how I failed my way to success a few times. I also stressed that mistakes don’t make you a failure but beating yourself up makes you feel like one. Failure is nothing more than a challenge to revise your strategy. You only fail when you stop trying!

Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will Inspire others. By doing what you love, you also inspire and awaken the hearts of others.

Special Guest

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Olutosin Araromi, Miss Nigeria USA 2015-2016 has used her platform to promote female empowerment, education as well as breast cancer awareness. After graduating college this May, she plans to start and launch her own non profit organization focusing on female empowerment, education and health awareness.

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The Entrepreneur Experience was interactive. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in Q & A with the panelists. It opened up intriguing dialogue throughout the event.

Sponsors

The Entrepreneur Experience had wonderful sponsors. Each sponsor had the opportunity to introduce themselves and not only share their business, but what inspired and motivated them to start; and the passion and drive behind it.

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The UpperRoom Events

The Entrepreneur Experience would not have happened without The UpperRoom Events Team, lead by the fierce, stunning, visionary; Yetunde Oso.

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The UpperRoom Events is an event planning company that specializes in sophisticated celebrations that are full of style. Our services are built on the essential facets of successful event management–connecting people, devising smart solutions, and seeing the big picture while also mastering the fine details. We offer exceptional event planning and creative design for celebrity events, local and destination weddings, social events, private affairs and corporate functions. The UpperRoom Events work process reflects an authentic desire to make clients and guests feel calm, comfortable, appreciated, and welcomed. Every outstanding and remarkable event begins with precise planning, meticulous communication and by working closely with diverse teams, we execute phenomenal events that meet and exceed expectations—all with seeming ease and efficiency.

The Philosophy to making our clients happy is simple- Give them a successful event!” ~ Yetunde Oso, CEO and Creative Director

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Thank You to all that supported The Entrepreneur Experience

Keynote Speaker – Gbenga Omotayo
Legal Advice – Lydia Hills, Esq.

Panelists
Sharon Beason
Daron Pressley
Anie Akpe
Joseph Adewunmi

Hosts
Fatima Samad
Joshua Korode – MC JFK

Special Guest – Olutosin Araromi, Miss Nigeria

Esteemed Sponsors:
AMARACHI Prime, Junkyard Cinema, Fola Lawal photography, Vintage Lipgloss, CupCake Kay, Purh20, Gbenga Omotayo, DJ Ob1, Bijoux events, Rohbach Cakes, Dinning with Grace, Figure Friendly

Esteemed Media:
Charly Buxx
Glamsense Divas
Black to business
Black Brunch NJ
9JAQUEENBTV
Boss Ladies Network
‬

F O R M A T I O N

Beyoncé slays. . .Indeed! Not only is she strategic in dropping her video prior to her Super Bowl Performance; she blatantly makes it clear who she is!

This video is EPIC!

 

The lyrics to “Formation” are bold and representational. Not only does the theme adddress what is currently happening in today’s concerning and growing social issues, she diffuses rumors and proudly boasts her roots. I previously posted an article referencing pressure from media outlets to change who you are to fit society’s Beauty Standard Ideals. BeyoncĂ© makes it clear that she’s not interested in doing any of that! She loves exactly who she is and she needs her ladies to get in Formation!

Lyrics such as. . .“I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. . . Cameo of Blue Ivy and her squad, while BeyoncĂ© sings, “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and Afros”. . .hinting to the media making a mockery of her husband’s features and Blue Ivy’s natural tresses. Natural Hair has been on the rise! Some think it’s a trend; I beg to differ. It’s a Lifestyle! The clear representation of being proud of having natural hair is evident throughout the video. BeyoncĂ© made it clear that she does not care what anyone thinks!

It’s no secret that BeyoncĂ© has been referenced as being involved with the secret society; Illuminati. She opened by saying “Ya’ll Haters Corny With that Illuminati Mess. . .” This is the first time I’ve heard her mention and address it publicly. She makes it clear that she is blessed and she gains success by giving God thanks and by working hard.

Lyrics. . . I see it, I want it; I stunt, yeah, little hornet; I dream it, I work hard; I grind ’til I own it! And then some!

BeyoncĂ© pays homage to YouTube sensation of the early 2000’s, Messy Mya (tragically gunned down in 2010) who shared much light on what was happening in New Orleans. You will also see reference of the Church empowering people and highlights of police brutality.

I can go on and on about the representation in this video. Watch it if you haven’t already.

Lastly, BeyoncĂ© ended with the words “You know you that b!tch when you cause all that conversation! Always stay gracious! Best revenge is your paper.” HA! I highly agree!

Watch Formation Here

Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?

I believe the answer will depend on whom is being asked. Beauty can be
and is expressed and translated in many forms. One may express beauty through art while another may choose to express beauty through fashion, hair, music or all of the above. In regards to physical beauty, there are usually various opinions and debates on what is and what is not ideal.

When I saw this image, I stared at it for a while. It fiercely resonates with me. 99.9% of what is written has been and at times. . .is still said to me. I went back to my natural kinks almost 20 years ago. The natural products you now see on shelves did not exist back then. At that time, I was attending Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. I befriended a few Naturalista’s at school and they provided me with information on natural hair products. I started purchasing Carol’s Daughter’s products. This is when her shop was at Spike Lee’s old Joint on Dekalb Ave & South Elliot Pl; literally a few blocks from school. When I found these products for my hair, I was the happiest woman on Earth. Not only did I have natural products for my texture; to see a black woman who owned and operated this business with her family was just PHENOMENAL!

Prior to going back to my natural kinks, I had a perm and wore weaves. I loved it! Society taught me that this was how my hair should look. I felt beautiful. . .but, there came a time where this stopped agreeing with me. Years and years of chemical abuse started to show. My hair was breaking, shredding, falling out…It was very weak and tired! It was then that I made the conscious decision to just cut it all off and start over. This also awakened a new me!

My natural hair downright offended folks. I would hear, “What is that on your head?…It doesn’t hurt when you comb it?…I really think you would look nicer with a weave!…Press that shit!…It’s too kinky!…You look like a coffee shop chick!…You really look African now!…You look like Kizzy from Roots!…Can I touch it?” I even received criticism from my parents. I’ll save my complete story for another day 😉

This image speaks volumes! Whether you are dark-skinned and natural, light-skinned with straight hair or vice versa; you face ridicule, judgement, whisper…all kinds of opinions will be thrown at you. This happens because society spreads it’s own convoluted messages on what beauty should look like.

Why should I wear my hair straight because you don’t know what to do with your natural hair? Why should my friend cut off her relaxer because you went back to your natural kinks?


Body Shaming. . .What’s That? Unfortunately, body shaming is a part of our daily lives. Women are shamed for being too dark, light, fat, skinny, tall, short, petite, busty, flat chested, having a flat ass, having too big of an ass, for being too plain, wearing makeup, having a thin nose, big lips, being too sexy. . .for just being a woman!

Magazines, billboards and social media outlets constantly encourage us to change our appearance. We are continually reminded of this through body slimming tea advertisements, body shapers, liposuction, hair, lightening creams. . .etc. These messages and the messages we may receive from others often imply that we should want to change; that we should care about looking smaller, thicker, darker, brighter.  .  .the list goes on!

Young girls are being corrupted and brainwashed daily. Mass media is one of the most powerful tools for young girls and women to learn and also understand feminine beauty ideals. “Before mass media even existed, our ideas of beauty were limited to our own families and communities.” Because of that, people would stick to seeing each other in person in order to form beauty ideals. But as mass media develops, the way people see feminine beauty ideals changes as does how females view themselves and one another.

Each day, girls are exposed to images of beautiful models and advertisements about beauty and fashion.” says Renee Hobbs, EdD, associate professor of communications at Temple University.

Beauty ideals are exposed to children from an early age through fairy tales and Disney princesses. The feminine beauty ideal has become more ingrained and cohesive in recent decades because of the expansion of technology and the relevance of mass media. Research has shown that the pressure to conform to a certain definition of beautiful has had drastic psychological effects. These ideals have been correlated with depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem starting from an adolescent age and continuing into adulthood – via Wikipedia

Body Positivity

Again, Western Ideals have a profound effect on our perception of Beauty! It is no secret that the fashion industry has been guilty of body shaming and photoshopping for years! In recent years, curvy and voluptuous women have been taking a stand and fighting back on what’s considered “Normal!”  Curvier women are on runways and in print. The various body positivie and love yourself campaigns that I’ve been seeing are capturing many hearts. It has helped change the game. It has aided in redefining what “Beautiful” is. It has also taken “Confidence” and “Self-Esteem” to a totally different level!

It’s an amazing thing to see a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and dares to be “Unaplogetically” Her!


Colorism 

The term “Colorism” was coined by author Alice Walker in 1982. It is not the same as racism. Colorism is dependent upon the social status on skin color alone.

“Colorism is discrimination or bias based on skin color. Colorism has roots in racism and classism and is a well-documented problem in the black, Asian and Hispanic community. People who partake in colorism typically value people with lighter skin more than their darker-skinned counterparts. They’re likely to view lighter-skinned people as more attractive, intelligent and generally more worthy of attention and praise than darker-skinned people. In essence, having lighter skin or being associated with light-skinned people is a status symbol. Members of the same racial group may participate in colorism, giving preferential treatment to the lighter-skinned members of their ethnic group. Outsiders may also participate in colorism, such as a white person who favors lighter-skinned blacks over their darker-skinned peers,” says race relations expert, Nadra Kareem Nittle.

Mass media often bolsters discrimination based on skin color. Scottish artist, Rawdi, depicts the beauty standards of women of color and blackface in the fashion industry. These images are powerful! The black model is condisered too dark and her hair is too kinky. Her hair is being straightened and her skin is being lightened so she can occur to others as more appealing. The white model feels she is too pale and her hair is too straight. She gives herself curls and darkens/tans her skin with makeup so she can occur to others as more appealing (Blackface).

The images below are from an Animated Short Film titled ‘Yellow Fever,’ which explores Colorism & Self-Image among African women and young girls. This mixed-media documentary animation by Kenyan filmmaker Ng’endo Muki was a. thesis project at London’s Royal College of Art. This lovely animation explores the effects of Euorpean beauty standards and highlights the reasons why darker skinned women resort to bleaching creams to lighten their skin. Yellow Fever also addresses how certain beauty standards are passed down through generations.

In these particular images from the short film, Ng’endo Mukii’s niece states that she wishes she were American and white. When asked how she sees herself,  she stated that she is uncomfortable with her dark skin every time she sees her reflection in the mirror.

All of the images I shared is to provide examples of the different beauty standards and ideals that we face today. The question, Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?. . .is not so easy to answer. Depending on who you are, where you are, your confidence and self-esteem level, what you view as beautiful, what you take offense to. . .will shape your view(s) on, “What’s Ideal?” 

How would you answer this question? How did these images make you feel?  Share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!


* timasamad.com does not own the images or video published in this article *

Naturalista. . .What’s That?

For the past few years, the term and hashtag #naturalista has been used by many. What exactly is a Naturalista? If you look in the dictionary or search Naturalista in your web browser, you will find different meanings. The first one I saw stated that a Naturalista is anything or anyone copying nature’s ways, its natural surroundings; pertaining to natural history; or anyone about or an advocate of naturalism. Another meaning stated that a Naturalista is a biologist knowledgeable about natural history. The one that stood out the most to me was the Urban Dictionary’s meaning.


Kudos to the author ❀  I am a black African female and I totally identify and take pride in who I am, my hair and its wonderful texture. . .But, I believe being a Naturalista is deeper than what is written. It is what all these meanings state and then some! Being a Naturalista is a way of life. Being a Naturalista is being YOU! Naturalista’s come in all shades, shapes and sizes . They also rock fros, frohawks, tapered cuts, undercuts, locs, protective styles, blowouts and pressed hair.

 

@deunivory

 

Being a Naturlista is not a statement but the closest I can get to being myself! – Anonymous

What does being a Naturalista mean to you?

*Photo Credits* @africancreature @bennu_rising @loccrush @caraliekory @djandaj @deunivory