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Style Line-Up: Chelsea!

Scroll through the Style Line-Up of Maryland-based fashion-lover + blogger, Chelsea!

What’s your name, age + the city you’re from?

Hayyyy! My name is Chelsea, I am 20 years old— soon to be 21 yasss. I currently reside in Waldorf, Md.

Style is showing who you are without having to speak! If you had to lineup your top 3 trends you’re feeling this season what would they be?

I am ALLL for the corset-like belts that go around your waist. They can really turn an outfit into a look!  I’ve also been loving the platinum eyebrows. Finally, statement purses/bags are everything! I love unique bags that stand out.

Describe your style in 3 words:

I would describe my style as eye-catching and diverse. I also would call my style “ a look”.

Style inspo is everything! Who’s your ultimate fashion icon + why?

Teyana Taylor’s diversity is everything! From her hair to her style— she never lets herself get confined to one category.

Getting ready in the morning can be fun but stressful if you’re in a time crunch, what’s your go-to outfit if you’re in a rush?

To be completely honest, if I am in a rush I will grab a pair of sweats and my nearest hoodie. Add a bun or a scarf and some lip gloss and I’m ready to go!

What’s your number 1 rule when it comes to style?

Serve looks and be yourself. Don’t let anyone’s opinion determine what you wear. Don’t follow the trend, be the trend! <3

Follow more of Chelsea’s style here!

Remix Your Closet For Under $30?

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Finance, Latest | by — January 19, 2021

It’s a new season and also time for your closet to get a new look. An unlimited budget is ideal for anyone, but if you’re working with tight funds, you can still give your closet the upgrade it deserves. There are a plethora of options!

Having a frugal conscience now will benefit your future self. Here is how we take a $30 budget and stretch it for a closet revamp:

Rings and Things | $5

Accessorizing can take an outfit up a notch. Try adding things like midi rings, bracelets, pins, headscarves, and uniquely designed earrings to your closet—all of which can be found for a low price at your local shopping store. You can find plenty of inspiration by swiping through your Instagram feed! 

Repurpose | Up to $10

Use your creative eye and check out your local thrift store to see what you can find. There are endless ways to take something and put your own spin on it. For example, find a pair of jeans and add rips to them or take a shirt and cut it into a crop top. With the 90’s trends becoming popular again, you might luck out and find something that doesn’t need to be repurposed at all!

The Unique Bag | $15

Add a bag to your closet that is out of the ordinary—something you normally wouldn’t lean towards. Whether it’s a bright color or a cool shape, make sure it stands out. You can take a simple outfit and make it the center of attention or make a dope outfit even more dope.

~ Tia Banks, Content Editor

Battery On Low: Recharge!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — December 15, 2020

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By Teen Blogger: Claudia Lopez

I think that we can all agree that this year hasn’t been the greatest. From the presidential elections to the unforgettable pandemic, the last couple of months haven’t been what anyone expected.  Let’s not forget the impactful and life-changing BLM movement, along with issues going on in places like Vienna, Yemen and Tasmania, just to name a few. My point being that with so much going on it’s easy to forget about ourselves. And yes, I’m referring to your mental health. If you were feeling physically ill or broke a bone you would seek out help; the same goes for when you’re feeling mentally drained.

During these hard times, you’ve probably experienced stress, anxiety, fear, and sadness. All can be increased from the events of this year. Surveys show a major increase in the number of U.S. adults who report these same symptoms, compared with surveys before the pandemic.

Now, I’m most definitely not encouraging anyone to self-diagnose but be aware of yourself and habits. If you see that you might need help, seek it! It is so important that we ask for help when we need it. By nurturing your mental health you can also help prevent chronic physical illnesses. So, by caring for your mind you are also caring for your whole body! 

Now, to talk about ways you can make sure you stay mentally fit. One way is to simply find something you enjoy doing! Maybe that’s music, art, a sport or even skating. Invest some time in that hobby, it could help keep your mind off things, blow off some steam, and it can also increase your productivity.

Another way is to surround yourself with good influences and people you can trust. If there are people in your life that you feel have a negative influence, cut ties with them. Now, I know that’s easier said than done, it also sounds a little rude, but it’s better for you if you know who in your life takes a mental toll on you.

You should also learn to know your limits and leave room for mistakes. Many times overachievers put a lot of pressure on themselves to be ‘perfect’ at everything. This might make your work-ethic seem strong but it can also lead to anxiety and stress. Lastly, you want to make sure that you are getting your sleep. I cannot stress this enough! The minimum amount of sleep that you need to be getting is 7-8 hours. If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxing routines (which you can find basically anywhere on the internet) before your designated sleep time. Not getting enough sleep can cause depressive episodes and stress… so get your sleep! 

We need to start practicing self-care both physically and mentally. In the long and short run, your mind will love you. It doesn’t do us any good to not care for our beautiful minds, so let’s do it!  

~ Teen blogger, Claudia Lopez

Follow more of Claudia HERE

Vibe Check With Jojo!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — December 1, 2020

Whew! This year has been a whirlwind that has shifted our mind, body + overall chill vibes when it comes to life.  Maryland-based college student, Jour’dan Haynes, drops her gems of how she stays grounded, protects her peace and elevates her wellness!

Let’s vibe out with Jojo…

This year has given us many surprises we weren’t expecting, whew! What are some of your go-to affirmations or quotes that you say to stay motivated?

The infamous year 2020 will never be forgotten. To get me through it, I remind myself daily of my mission despite the obstacles being thrown at us over the course of this year.

1. Continue saving money

2. Spend time with loved ones

3. Be about your grind! Prioritize your time!

4. Finally, every day at 11:11 I wish for everyone that I care about to be healthy, happy & successful.

What’s your spiritual morning routine? How do you unclutter your thoughts before you start your day? 

The first part of my morning routine begins with preparing a cup of tea, followed by cleansing the exterior of my body. I sage myself from head to toe, allowing the aroma to spread through my bedroom removing all negative energy and thoughts from my space and mind. Next, yoga to awaken and relax my muscles and meditation to center my mind. Then, a big glass of water, and depending on the severity of my stress levels I will take a warm bath.

I find that the best way to declutter my thoughts is making a to-do list. Accessing the most important things I need to get done by the end of the day.

Being a student + budgeting can be stressful! How do you still eat healthy on a budget? How does food affect your mood? 

Maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important when you’re a student. The workload can stress you out! The best way to not grab for the ramen noodle packs and candy bars is to consciously choose healthier alternatives that will still fulfill the craving. Instead of having ice cream, I will make a smoothie! Something that is healthy, equally delicious, and will curb my craving for sweets. Implementing these sorts of habits into my life I have seen a drastic change in my focus and mood.

The budgeting portion really comes naturally once you realize how much you save cooking at home or in your dorm. But treat yourself from time to time! Set up a reward system. For example, every two weeks if you completed your class assignments, studied hard for an exam, or just completed some personal goals, then you can take a day to eat out. This will motivate you so much more because you have something to look forward to that excites you after the hard work is done.

Why are manifestations important? 

It helps you get a clear understanding of your goals, and acts as a reminder for when things start to get hard.

Being a free spirit is a beautiful gift! How do you protect your peace + stay true to who you are?

Being a free spirt is about staying true to your “real” self. Once you understand yourself, you develop values, rules, and expectations to live by. The best way to protect your peace when you unlock such gift is to quickly remove anything that is not serving you for the better.

What type of music elevates your energy? Your go-to songs?

I am an old soul. R&B records from back in the day “hit different” how young adults my age would put it. LOL.  My favorite artist is Charlie Wilson! And Some of my go to songs are: For Real by Amel Larrieux, Off The Wall by Micheal Jackson, Angie Stone: Do what you gotta do, Corinne Bailey Rae: Put Your Records On, Even Closer by Goapele and Stephanie Mills, Love Like This Before. These songs stay, and I repeat, stay on repeat. They never fail to get me out of a funk.

Does moving your body + fitness impact how you feel?

Exercise really is a mood booster. Taking a walk, riding a bike, strength exercises really wake me up in the morning. I would advise at least working out for 30 mins a day. If you have not worked out in a while start light and just monitor to see if your experiencing any changes in your mood.

What words of wisdom would you like to leave with other girls creating who they want to be?

It’s not always going to be easy as Erykah Badu said “evolving involves eliminating!”

Be about your grind and prioritize your time! A personal quote of mine.

And something I heard recently “if one can do it you can too, if none have done it you can be one!” Stay true to yourself, be authentic, and trust your intuition. This way you will build the lifestyle you want and become the person you desire.

Follow more of Jojo’s journey here:

Instagram @theyallknowjojo 

Meet Jewelry Designer Lorraine West!

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Feature, Latest | by — November 24, 2020

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Interview by teen bloggers: Lynara Richards + Aiyana Lockley

Lorriane West went from being intrigued by her mother’s jewelry as a child to creating a successful jewelry brand. Her interest in jewelry and art began at a young age and ever since then she never lost sight of that dream to become an artist! She went on to go to FIT and gain a degree in Fine Arts. Years later in 2010 that’s when she became a full time entrepreneur.

Her beautiful designs have been worn by Erykah Badu, Keke Palmer, Serena Williams, Zendaya, + Beyonce in the Black Is King video. Ms.West is still continuing to create dynamic + captivating jewelry today!

Let’s get to know Jewelry Designer Lorraine West a little better…

LynaraOk so my first question is what did you study in high school that showed you that design was your passion?

Lorraine: In high school, I had many subjects but art was my main focus.  I loved art and visual art which led me to take drawing and painting classes. You have to start somewhere, right?  I had a lot of support from teachers, friends and family because I always knew I was an artist since the first grade.  

Aiyana: What challenges have you faced as a Black woman in the jewelry design industry? 

Lorraine: Oh, that’s a good question as well! The challenge I faced the most was not having the support from the industry. I would say half of my career I was mostly around other women and men of color that appreciated my work and it did help lift me and catapult me to a certain level of success.  I didn’t have access to the so-called standard of the industry though. The industry is primarily ran by Caucasions which I didn’t have those connections nor did I seek for access. 

I told myself I’m just going to live in this realm and rock out with the people that appreciate me. In terms of support from Caucasians it was a small percentage.  I just got used to that. I got used to  when I apply for a job they probably wouldn’t hire me. They’ll tell me my work is great. They’ll see my name a lot of the time and think “oh Lorraine West sounds great, love your name” and then when they see it was a brown person it was a very different reaction.

I went on an interview with a designer named Alexis Bittar who is a legendary designer. I used to revere him so much and loved the work he did. It was early 2000 that I saw there was a job opportunity on Craigslist for Alexis Bittar. I was so excited to possibly have a chance to work with him. I happened to get an interview. 

Alexis Bittar comes in to interview me and at the time I didn’t have as much jewelry as I have  now.  I was meeting with him  and thinking “I can’t believe it, this is crazy” but something shifted in me when I sat down with him. I didn’t feel he was better or greater. I felt like we were on the same page. Here I am a black girl, no publicist, no money,  just kind of making it work with whatever I sell, investing back in the business and I was able to get my work on celebrities. 

He told me I had a strong point of view.  I have a degree in Fine Arts so I showed my illustrations. He said. “Your jewelry has a point of view and I don’t know if you would be a good fit here because I need someone who is going to shadow me.” Right then and there I told myself that I am not applying for these jobs anymore. I’m going to keep doing my work and that was the switch!

The universe wanted me to meet him. The universe knows what’s up! If I were to work for him I don’t think I would be where I’m at now and where my work is now. If you feel like you’re trying and trying and people are not hearing you, you gotta go harder for what you do. 

Lynara: It was great to hear your insight and to hear of the opportunities you took to make yourself greater! When did you know that this was your passion and something you wanted to do with the rest of your life?

Lorraine: Well, I knew that I always wanted to be an artist because I do consider myself an artist first.  I just happen to be a jeweler at the moment. In first grade I entered a contest and my drawing came in second place! I knew then that I wanted to do art. Sharing your point of view and getting rewarded for it, I loved it!  I just felt like I had a talent for it and  kept doing it.

I remember when I was in college something came over me. I had an impulse to go to a store on 38th street. They sold beads, wire, plated wire and all this different stuff. It was almost like the ancestors whispered in my ear “go inside there and go buy some stuff and try it out”.  I  started playing around and giving things to friends. They would wear it and some of them weren’t even anything great, but people believed in me at the time and I guess it was cool. When I made my first sale I knew this was for me! I made my first sale in like ‘97 or ‘98. But I continued doing it ‘98 to ‘99 and that was when I started selling custom work. I did meet a few influential people in the industry that invested in me.

I didn’t really know what I was doing that well. That was the time around the, late 90s early 2000s a lot of people were still sort of coming into themselves. Not to say that you aren’t coming into yourselves now but 20 years later so much has advanced. If you’re in any industry now you can advance quicker than maybe when I was in the industry because I wasn’t using the internet then. I don’t think I got an email address until the early 2000’s. I knew that this was what I wanted to add to my repertoire as an artist. And I just went with it and truly tried it. It wasn’t like I wanted to be the best jeweler in the whole world. I simply wanted to create and the fact that I could make money was awesome! It’s been 22 years that I’ve been selling my work as a professional.  

(Instagram)

Aiyana: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a jewelry business?

Lorraine: The advice I would give is learn the technicality of jewelry. Learn what type of jewelry is going to float your boat. If you’re wire wrapping I would say take a class. YouTube is phenomenal! You can learn how to make jewelry.

There  cold connection, wax modeling and CAD. There are some people who only use cad. They work for companies and work for designers. The designer gives you the sketch or the ideas and they punch it into the cad. They create the model where they can print and then cast.

There are also hand fabricators. There are people who do all of that. A little bit of everything. Then there’s the designers that focus on the look and the feel and the technical designers who will produce it. 

Once you jump into the professional realm you have to deliver a really good product to the expectation of the customer because they’re paying you. Start somewhere, start at whatever piece you’re into first. Start from there + do whatever type of design you feel connected to.

Lynara: How do you get your ideas for your jewelry pieces, what influences your ideas for the jewelry?

Lorraine: That’s a good question. Honestly, I feel like a lot of my influences, I don’t even know where it comes from. It just comes at  different times. I feel like we’re constantly seeing things so they’re stored in our subconscious mind. I mean in my bio I have my inspiration being geometry, symbology and experience. I really love symbols and love to abstract symbols.

For example, I have an astrological collection that I’m going to be relaunching. They’re cuffed bracelets and their a glimpse of the Astro signs where I like to stretch them out so they can cover your arm. I designed those almost 20 years ago and sold some here and there but never put out a full the collection.  I’m excited, but I made the samples and realized that because I evolved as a designer the sketches I used then I have outgrown so now I’ll be updating it.  I even did a little film for it with a director that looks beautiful and will eventually be released.  I’m constantly thinking of how I can improve.

The next stage for me is passing off the work and getting trusted manufacturers. When I say manufacturers it can be a small company of 1-4 people that are masters of the trade and are used to being in the business of producing the inventory of collections.

The more your business grows you have to learn to articulate your vision. You can sketch something but how thick do you want the gauge to be? What size stone are you gonna put in the piece? How many stones? You have to be clear because the manufacturer doesn’t know those details. Only you know what you want.  If you have a little bit of experience with designing and making pieces yourself, you’ll be  able to communicate it.

Aiyana: Do you have a favorite piece that You have made, if so what is it?

Lorraine: Well my favorite pieces are the ones that I’m wearing now! This is actually bezel wire. This is a wire that you use to put around a setting but because I feel like I wasn’t classically trained I use certain materials in different ways. I saw this garland and I loved the way the shape looked with the round beads.

Growing up my mother had a horseshoe over the door for good luck and she’s like if you have it facing up all the good luck will poor in and if you face it down you want to give it to others. So this is one of my favorite pieces!

My other favorite is my open heart ring which is kind of an evolved version of wire wrapping and bending.  I started  with wire and you can use wire and make it more sophisticated.

 I like jewelry to be a part of me. I don’t have any tattoos so the jewelry serves as like a tattoo. Then these are one of my favorite hoops, they are called the nipple hoops and this is actually inspired from bangles that I made almost 20 years ago. Serena Williams actually wore the same ones I’m wearing. So when pieces get seen and worn by people particularly people of high influence it does kind of give you that confidence.

You have to develop a thick skin because there is a lot of competition and when I say competition I don’t mean in a negative way. You are competing. It’s like athletes when they are playing they are competing with each other and they are competing with the best. If you are at that high level you are competing with the best. 

Follow more of Lorraine’s West jewelry  journey here:

Lorraine West

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Bored + Alone? Find Your Tribe

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — November 12, 2020

(Tenor.com)

Finding Relationships During Qarentine…

It feels like quarantine has really taken a toll on our social life, right? It gets a bit boring not to see our fam and friends. However, quarantine is a great time to sit back and think about maybe making new friends or perhaps finding a significant (if you’re ready but make sure you get to know them)! It’s even a good time to reconnect with your old friends or old classmates you’ve wanted to talk to but were too busy.

Now here’s some tips into finding new relationships virtually: 

1.MEETING FRIENDS OF FRIENDS:  

 You and your friends can create a group chat of  their extended friendship circle. This is a way to get to know each other through your crew.  It can be a bit weird at first but also comfortable because you both have a mutual friend. Even though there aren’t many places to go you can still find time to link up but of course maintain social distancing and wear a mask!

2. RECONNECTING WITH OLD FRIENDS OR CLASSMATES:

Social media is a huge platform  to connect with your past! Even if you don’t know their social handles you can perhaps find them through other friends profiles, recommended pages or simply ask a friend. Once you find them, you can shoot them a message. I know it’s not a new person but, you guys can start all over again and have a new bond.  It  can be best friends or boyfriend/ girlfriend, you never know!

3. PMOYS (put me on your story):

On snapchat or instagram have a friend put you on their story putting a photo of you  with your user in it.  It seeks a bit more attention in which people will add or follow you. You can get to talk to someone new or just grow your profile. But it helps!

(Giphy.com)

  1. BRING OUT THE FRIENDS APPS:

Well there are pros and cons to it there’s apps like Yubo, Spotafriend,Wink and more that are in our age range. Make sure you stay safe and don’t just jump into things, keep alert, get to know each other. Remember,  don’t share your personal information that includes your phone number till you get to know them for awhile. If you guys are ever gonna meet, tell your parents, bring a friend and NOT AT NIGHT! 

Thank you very much for reading all my tips!

Instagram: @itzcaseyyb

Youtube: itzcaseyyb

~ Kiarra Charlemagne, teen blogger

#Freshman5 x Kene Kae!

 
Take note of Kenechukwu’s #Freshman5 Must-Knows for your freshman year in college!
 
Name: Kenechukwu Uwajeh

What college/university do you attend:

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Friendship/Relationship:

Don’t feel obligated to stay with the first people that you meet in college! It can be really easy to get stuck in a bubble. I encourage you to branch out until you find your place with friends you genuienly connect with on campus.

Classes/Studying:

Utilize the 20 to 5 or 30 to 10 studying method. Essentially, this means studying for 20-30 minutes (no distractions) and breaking for 5-10 minutes to rejuvenate. You’re brain will love you for this.

Budgeting Money:

You do not need an elaborate budgeting plan. However, you SHOULD ATLEAST give yourself a cap on how much to spend each month. You can even get more specific by putting a limit on specific categories like food/groceries.

Time Management: 

If you don’t have a planner, get one immediately. I recommend getting one that has times listed for each day so you can get a better glimpse of what that specific day should look like (even if you don’t strictly follow it). This has changed my life!

Self-care:

Try to schedule a little bit of time each day and/or one day out of the week to do something that you enjoy. You don’t want to burn out by over indulging in work and school.

Follow more of Kenechukwu’s journey:

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Dark-Skinned + The Makeup World…

(Tenor.com)

The Struggles of Having Dark Skin in the Makeup World

~ By Mariam Sikiru, Teen Blogger

The makeup industry is starting to become diverse, but how much of the makeup industry is changing. Every Year black women spend 7.5 billion dollars on beauty products and that number continues to grow. The beauty industry is valued at $532 billion and In the U.S the cosmetics industry made 93.5 billion dollars in 2019. African Americans have a 1.7 trillion spending power but, have no representation in the fields they spend their money in. In the makeup industry, it’s hard for dark skin women to be able to find makeup that matches them, they often have to mix two shades or use contour as a foundation.

A story that hit home was when an influencer named @okaysophi talked about having to use black eyeshadow or black eyeliner to contour her face for some time. But, after the release of Fenty beauty’s new contour stick called “caviar,” she found her shade of contour and has been using it ever since.

These success stories are made possible due to brands being inclusive and not putting the same three “medium-dark shades” for a group of people who should be boxed into 3 shades. The majority of the time those shades have warm, or orange undertones making it very hard for black women to even use them. It turns their skin ashy and sometimes pale white. Many brands started to become inclusive after the successful launch of Fenty Beauty, starting with 40 Foundation shades and developed 10 more shades. Rihanna set the tone for the makeup industry and many began to follow suit. 

(Nyma Tang, Tenor.com)

Some Influencers that shed light on the discrimination and the lack of diversity are Jackie Aina, Nyma Tang, Shanygne is also known as Ya Girl Too Much, and many more people who don’t revise recognition.

Here is a list of 10 Brands that are very inclusive  and have shades for darker skin toned women.

  1. Fenty Beautyhttps://www.fentybeauty.com/
  2. UOMA Beautyhttps://uomabeauty.com/
  3. Flesh Beautyhttps://www.fleshbeauty.com/ 
  4. NARShttps://www.narscosmetics.com/
  5. Beauty Bakeriehttps://www.beautybakerie.com/

    (Mariam Sikiru, Photo by E.J. White)

  6. Anastasia Beverly Hillshttps://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/
  7. Too Facedhttps://www.toofaced.com/
  8. Mac Cosmeticshttps://www.maccosmetics.com/
  9. Elf Cosmeticshttps://www.elfcosmetics.com/
  10. Revolution Beauty –https://www.revolutionbeauty.com/us/us/home

It’s 2020, put your money where your mouth is, don’t spend your money on brands that don’t support you nor the values that you hold. 

~ Mariam Sikiru, Teen Blogger

 

Toni + Tyanne: Falling Into Girl Chat?

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Latest | by — October 8, 2020

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Waving bye ✌🏾 to summer with a dose of girl chat with sisters Toni + Tyanne!

Not A Trend, A Movement…

~ By Fatoumata Sanneh

BLACK LIVES MATTER. Black lives matter,  is still a controversial statement and for what, why is that such a bad thing to say? Why is it that if I said ‘dog lives matter’, no one would be mad; but when I say black lives matter, I’m deemed racist by some and an activist by most. Black lives matter affects me as a black person everyday, and it should affect everyone, but it doesn’t. Why, you ask? Because people have a tendency to turn a blind eye to everything that doesn’t drastically affect them.

The Black lives matter movement was started in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer George Zimmerman was acquitted. After Trayvon’s death, there were many, many more. The acquittal of Mr. Zimmerman just showed that the so-called justice system acts as if black lives don’t matter. And that’s how the movement was started. Soon after, Tamir Rice, who looks eerily like Emmett Till, was murdered by Timothy Loehmann. No Justice was served. Black Lives Matter continued to gain movement  + attention this year after the  death of Breonna Taylor + George Floyd.

 The problem with ‘all lives matter’ and ‘blue lives matter’ is that all lives matter is inherently racist. Police officers are facing a fraction of what BIPOC have faced in this country for centuries. Except there are no true blue lives, if police officers don’t want to be ‘oppressed’, they can take off their uniforms,  BIPOC can’t take off our skin.

Black lives matter has solved some dilemmas in our corrupt ‘justice’ system, but the struggle of simply being your authentic self as a black young woman is a constant struggle. It is a constant battle that affects me and the rest of the black girls everyday of dealing with navigating racisim. It has shed light on the fact that the lives of many black people are riddled with microaggressions and just blatant racism. 

Here is an admission by my friend who chose to keep her name anonymous for reasons of her own:

So I didn’t grow up the way that most people think that black people are supposed to grow up. I lived in a country suburban home in Richmond, Texas. For a lot of my life I’ve gone to predominantly white schools and even though it was fun, I never truly felt like I belonged. My classes were mostly white, my teachers were mostly white. When I walked into a room I always felt like everyone’s eyes were on me, I was the odd one out. 

I didn’t realize it at the time but when people heard me speak loudly or ‘catching an attitude’ while I was just speaking my mind, people stereotyped me. That I was just another black girl or whatever. When I finally got to schools with more black people it felt like I wasn’t “black enough”. I didn’t talk a certain way, act a certain way, or carry myself in the same way that the other black kids did. So, sometimes I feel like I’m too black for white people and not black enough for black people. Because of that, I’m now learning that no matter how I act or behave prior, one wrong move and I’m either another “ghetto” black girl or “white-washed.”

Luckily I’ve befriended people who just see me for who I am, but those feelings of not belonging are still there, they’re just lying dormant for a situation to come up– Anonymous.  

Most of my community either owns a confederate flag or still preaches “all lives matter.” The minority who supported Black Lives Matter, only used it as a trend. Everyone doesn’t seem to care and our statistics show that, for example, black people make up a fraction of the American population, but are disproportionately murdered or stopped and searched for no reason. What we need right now is not equality, but equity.

 We need reparations and policies to be put in place, what we don’t need is black tiles on our instagram feeds, we don’t need  performative activism. What we need is recognition and for our voices to be heard. We need to say their names.

EMMETT TILL – MEDGAR EVERS – GEORGE JUNIUS STINNEY JR. – DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR – HENRY SMITH – JOHN CRAWFORD III – MICHAEL BROWN – EZELL FORD – DANTE PARKER – MICHELLE CUSSEAUX – MARY TURNER – LAQUAN MCDONALD – MALCOLM X – TANISHA ANDERSON – AKAI GURLEY – TAMIR RICE – RUMAIN BRISBON – JERAME REID – MATTHEW AJIBADE – JAMES N. POWELL JR. – FRANK SMART – ERNEST LACY – NATASHA MCKENNA – TONY ROBINSON – ANTHONY HILL – MYA HALL – PHILLIP WHITE – ERIC HARRIS – WALTER SCOTT – WILLIAM CHAPMAN II – ALEXIA CHRISTIAN – BRENDON GLENN – VICTOR MANUEL LAROSA – JONATHAN SANDERS – FREDDIE CARLOS GRAY JR. – JOSEPH MANN – SALVADO ELLSWOOD – SANDRA BLAND – ALBERT JOSEPH DAVIS – DARRIUS STEWART – BILLY RAY DAVIS – SAMUEL DUBOSE – MICHAEL SABBIE – BRIAN KEITH DAY – CHRISTIAN TAYLOR – TROY ROBINSON – ASSHAMS PHAROAH MANLEY – MICHAEL STEWART – FELIX KUMI – KEITH HARRISON MCLEOD – JUNIOR PROSPER – LAMONTEZ JONES – PATERSON BROWN – DOMINIC HUTCHINSON – ANTHONY ASHFORD – ALONZO SMITH – TYREE CRAWFORD – INDIA KAGER – LA’VANTE BIGGS – MICHAEL LEE MARSHALL – JAMAR CLARK – RICHARD PERKINS – PHILLIP PANNELL – NATHANIEL HARRIS PICKETT – BENNI LEE TIGNOR – MIGUEL ESPINAL – MICHAEL NOEL – KEVIN MATTHEWS – BETTIE JONES – QUINTONIO LEGRIER – KEITH CHILDRESS JR. – JANET WILSON – RANDY NELSON – ANTRONIE SCOTT – WENDELL CELESTINE – DAVID JOSEPH – CALIN ROQUEMORE – DYZHAWN PERKINS – CHRISTOPHER DAVIS – MARCO LOUD – JAMES BYRD JR. – PETER GAINES – TORREY ROBINSON – DARIUS ROBINSON – KEVIN HICKS – MARY TRUXILLO – DEMARCUS SEMER – AMADOU DIALLO – WILLIE TILLMAN – TERRILL THOMAS – DEMETRIUS DUBOSE – ALTON STERLING – PHILANDO CASTILLE – TERENCE CRUTCHER – PAUL O’NEAL – ALTERIA WOODS – BOBBY RUSS – JORDAN EDWARDS – AARON BAILEY – RONELL FOSTER – STEPHON CLARK – COREY CARTER – ANTWON ROSE II – TAYLER ROCK – MALICE GREEN – RAMARLEY GRAHAM – ELIJAH MCCLAIN – AIYANA STANLEY JONES – BOTHAM JEAN – PAMELA TURNER – DOMINIQUE CLAYTON – SEAN BELL – ATATIANA JEFFERSON – JEMEL ROBERSON – JAMES LEE ALEXANDER – RYAN MATTHEW SMITH – DERRICK AMBROSE JR. – ADDIE MAE COLLINS – CAROL DENISE MCNAIR – CAROLE ROBERTSON – CYNTHIA WESLEY – NICHOLAS HEYWARD JR. – CHRISTOPHER WHITFIELD – WILLIE MCCOY – VICTOR WHITE III – MARCUS DEON SMITH – CHAVIS CARTER – MARTIN LEE ANDERSON – CHRISTOPHER MCCORVEY – BRADLEY BLACKSHIRE – TIMOTHY THOMAS – REGINALD DOUCET JR. – DANROY “DJ” HENRY JR. – KARVAS GAMBLE JR. – ERIC REASON – KORRYN GAINES – REKIA BOYD – KIONTE SPENCER – DARIUS TARVER – WAYNE ARNOLD JONES – MANUEL ELLIS – VICTOR DUFFY JR. – KOBE DIMOCK-HEISLER – CLINTON R. ALLEN – DONTRE HAMILTON – TIMOTHY CAUGHMAN – SYLVILLE SMITH – COREY JONES – TYRE KING – ERIC GARNER – MILES HALL – KENDRICK JOHNSON – CHARLEENA LYLES – MICHAEL LORENZO DEAN – TRAYVON MARTIN – RENISHA MCBRIDE – KIMONI DAVIS – KIWANE CARRINGTON – OSCAR GRANT III – BREONNA TAYLOR – KALIEF BROWDER – DARRIEN HUNT – TROY HODGE – WILLIAM GREEN –  ARBERY – DION JOHNSON – TONY MCDADE – ANDREW KEARSE – JAMEL FLOYD – GEORGE FLOYD – RAYSHARD BROOKS – ITALIA MARIE KELLY – DAVID MCATEE

~ By Fatoumata Sanneh