It’s 2016 and everyone is starting to finding their voice. Some of voices that were once silenced back in the day, are now at the forefront of the conversation. As a plus size style blogger, it warmed my heart up when I saw Danielle Brooks as the face of a Christian Siriano's collection for Lane Bryant. It’s taking us some time, but we are finally getting there.
As much as I want to sit here and relish in the strides the plus size industry is making, I would feel remiss if I didn’t put some shine on our big and tall brothers. Plus size women are celebrated more widely in the fashion community. We might not be on the runways of Paris Fashion Week, but we have an empowering network of bloggers, brands and body positive advocates. Unfortunately, there aren’t many spaces for big and tall men to be celebrated because society has ludicrous gender role expectations. Men need to be celebrated and empowered too.
With a little bit of research, I'm happy to say things are on the up-and-up for the big and tall fashion scene. Slowly, regimes of fashion-foward brothers who are killing the game are emerging, and you have to check them out. Here are 6 big and tall brothers who are killing the fashion scene:
1. Kavah King of The Gentlemen’s Curb
This Brooklyn native runs The Gentlemen’s Curb, which promotes fashion and tips for big and tall men, as well as how to incorporate fitness into their lifestyle.
Pic one of the #Photochallenge for the month of March. #Art #Blog #Blogger #Fitness #Fashion #PlusMaleFashion #PlusMaleModel #GentlemensCurb #MalePlusSizeModel #BloggerLife #MalePlusSize #PlusSizeMale #PlusMaleBlogger #Photography #BigAndTall #BigAndTallFashion #effyourbeautystandards #Fatshion #BigAndTallBlogger #BignTallBlog #BigMenFashion #KingCurvy #BHK #CelebrateMySize #PlusModelMag #PlusMaleModel #PlusMaleRevolution #PSBlogger #MenOfWeight #BigAndTrendy
A photo posted by Gentlemen's Curb (@gentlemenscurb) on Mar 2, 2016 at 1:54pm PST
2. Michael Anthony-Spearman of Big Fashion Guy
The Detroit-based menswear designer and stylist behind The Big Fashion Guy covers big and tall menswear, fashion design, grooming, health and fitness.
|#TheBigFashionGuy| Look Details👌🏾#DetroitBeards
A photo posted by Michael-Anthony (@thebigfashionguy) on Jul 18, 2016 at 9:04pm PDT
3. Kelvin Davis of Notoriously Dapper
Based out of Columbia, South Carolina, Kelvin runs the blog Notoriously Dapper, a body positive style guide for men.
Back in the good ole SC. I'm loving the throwback 80's vibe of this shirt!! What do you all think?! #80sbaby
A photo posted by Kelvin | Notoriously Dapper (@notoriouslydapper) on Jul 16, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT
4. Marv Neal
Marv Neal hails from Detroit He showcases his styling on Instagram, but also gives a look at some of his personal style.
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeve, some turn up their noses, some don't turn up at all @jeanousdenim Shooter: @davidefoto Edit : @lolabeestudio
A photo posted by Marv Neal (@marvneal) on Jul 10, 2016 at 2:23pm PDT
5. Claude Michelle
Claude Michelle is a Haitian-American designer based out of Boston, Massachusetts. In 2014, he started his own self-titled line which featured items including gowns, suits and everything in between.
"A day without laughter is a day without joy. So laugh as much as possible to enjoy that joy." - Claude Michelle #cmquote #claudemichelle #designer #quote #fashion #joy #laughter #laugh #happiness #success #passion #love #life #luxury #lifestyle #lovewhatyoudo #designerlife #focus #smile
A photo posted by Claude Michelle (@claude_michelle) on Oct 27, 2015 at 8:58pm PDT
6. James R. Sanders of Styled by James
James R. Sanders is a fashion journalist and stylist. He works in New York, but publishes in fashion capitals such as London, Milan and Paris.
That glow is curtesy of none other than my #wcw @kinshasak for giving me #kemet natural #Realness I was smiling because I finally finished the first season of my very own #TalkShow and the finale was every bit of #Fabulous that I thought it would be. #bearfashion #StyledbyJames @southmoonunderphilly @southmoonunder
A photo posted by James R. Sanders (@jamesrsanders) on Jul 6, 2016 at 2:56pm PDT
Give it up for these guys. They are all trailblazers in their own lane and making their mark!
Who was your favorite? Know any trailblazers of your own? Let me know in the comments below!
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16 years after Kids Say the Darndest Things has ended, we have social media to bring the cutest, realest kids out there to brighten up our days. They say some of the most inspirational, heart-warming and downright truthful statements with no hesitation. Here are 11 times kids kept it way too real— adults, take notes.
1. This kid who speaks on the importance of knowledge vs. material possessions.
Don't raise your children to be materialistic ! TAG FRIEND'S #Kingnahh #inspiration #motivation #motivationspeaker #sneakers #Jordans #LeBronJames #KevinDurant #StephCurry #materialistic
A video posted by MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER (@kingnahh) on Jul 31, 2016 at 1:49pm PDT
2. This young Jamaican boy who sets the bar HIGH on working hard to achieve your goals
This kid got my life together in less than a minute pic.twitter.com/SqiHkiYLit
— Pablo Baecasso (@DalaiMamaa) July 29, 2016
3. This little girl who kept it TOO real about police brutality on the 4th of July.
4. This little girl dancing to "Sorry" by Beyoncé.
5. This little boy who knows just what to say to make anybody's day.
My new favorite video on the internet pic.twitter.com/O3t8D7kNu2
— Nay (@OMGImNay) April 19, 2016
6. This little girl (Baby 'Milah) who's all of us in the winter when the sun goes down at 4 p.m.
She's mad at the sun for going down #minimilah pic.twitter.com/wN9qb4N8tq
— jamilah lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) April 9, 2016
7. This blessed baby who showed her dad the realness of having thick hair.
8. This little girl who cried because President Obama will be leaving the Oval Office.
9. This little girl who perfectly acts out how to react to boys and their cooties in elementary school.
10. This little girl who has a message for every 'two-faced' person out there.
11. This little girl who is every person who needs attention 24/7.
When you've been with your girl all day and you try to leave pic.twitter.com/Y6Lkiz8pYd
— Cute Black Babies (@Lilblackbabies) February 19, 2016
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On Tuesday, Instagram launched a new update with a new feature that has our interest piqued. Why you may ask? It seems to be a lot like Snapchat. "Instagram Stories' allow IG users to share photos to their timelines, and they can customize the pictures with text, drawings and more. Just like Snapchat's story feature, Instagram's stories remain visible to other users for 24 hours, and you can view who has looked at your story. You can view someone story be simply clicking on their profile picture.
A post on Instagram's official blog reads in part, "Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember. Now you can share your highlights and everything in between, too."
So basically, we have Snapchat stories through Instagram now?
instagram running out the snapchat headquarters as they copy their entire setup pic.twitter.com/AQQDebCu3C
— The Black DaVinci (@meechonmars) August 2, 2016
#InstagramStories@Instagram: We are introducing a brand new update that will change the way you share your media! pic.twitter.com/VJxXrvkr6S— Kameron (@beyoncesson) August 2, 2016
Snapchat: This platform allows our users to post photos to their personal stories for 24 hrs Instagram: pic.twitter.com/vV2VJcxCB8— ⚡️ (@The__Prototype) August 2, 2016
Most of us still just want our chronological timelines back.
doiKeep your #InstagramStories, @instagram. Just give me back my chronological timeline.
— Jordan-Risa (@jordanrisa) August 2, 2016
If @Instagram really wanted to "battle" w/ Snapchat they'd put our timelines back in chronological order. @Kevinhttps://t.co/hcLZH4D4sV
— Sakita Holley (@MissSuccess) August 2, 2016
The plot thickens even more as Instagram is kind of giving credit kudos to Snapchat, telling TechCrunch, "When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something."
Will you be using Instagram's story feature, or will you stick to Snapchat. Maybe both? Let us know in the comments!
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Celebrities such as Idris Elba and Jidenna have brought the idea of the dapper (or classic) man back to the forefront in mainstream culture, and I'm here to give you some great Instagram accounts to get your daily serving of man-slay. If you love fashion (either for yourself or the other men in your life), these accounts will be great inspiration.
The Posh Standard
The Duke of Bishop
He Slayed JM
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I think #BlackGirlMagic in the kitchen needs a moment of its own. It's nothing short of amazing how these women can transform simple ingredients from the earth — well, mostly — and create beautifully-crafted, decadent dishes. From vegan to flexitarian, these black women can be found cooking up a storm and sharing their masterpieces for us to drool over and replicate with hopes of similar success.
Here are 11 black women chefs to follow:
1. Chef Lauren Von Der Pool
Who's hungry #NEWORLEANS? #AvocadoToast anyone?
A photo posted by I AM Chef Lauren Von Der Pool (@queenofgreen) on Jun 30, 2016 at 7:29am PDT
2. Chef Latham Thomas
Glow Foods- Rooftop Garden Greens and edible flowers and herbs. Straight out of Soho, NYC. Just picked these and have a few pounds more, wrapped in cloths in the fridge. It's growing so abundantly. So glad I don't have to go to the Farmer's Market and pay $12 for a 1/4 pound of greens and lettuces. We are so blessed to stay hooked up all summer with such a variety. I will be making seasoning salts, marinades, pickled veggies and special summer dishes and sharing tips on green kitchen and the summer- stay tuned. #glowfoods #summergreens #vegan #salad #edibleflowers #herbs #greens
A photo posted by Latham Thomas (@glowmaven) on Jun 1, 2016 at 11:17am PDT
3. Chef Ahki
Thanks to everyone who joined me on Live stream and periscope yesterday for Sunday dinner👍🏼
A photo posted by Chef Ahki (@chefahki) on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:31am PDT
4. Chef Carla Hall
I'm gonna get my daily dose of oatmeal in one way or another. This is my I'm-running-out-the-door-but-I-can-still-eat- well version. #quakerflats #RefreshAndRenew #breakfast #snack
A photo posted by Carla Hall (@carlaphall) on May 10, 2016 at 6:29pm PDT
5. Chef Yoli Ouiya
Tiny cleansing salad: cucumber, red pepper, red cabbage, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, sunflower seeds, collards. #WellthyHome #WHHamptons ....... #Montauk #Hamptons #salad #foodie #foodgram #travel #cleaneating #food #travelgram #healthyeating #nofilter
A photo posted by Yoli Ouiya (@yoliouiya) on Aug 1, 2015 at 2:21pm PDT
6. Chef Dee
Let's call it "the lunch special" Lemon Grass glazed Chicken with brown Jasmine rice and stir fry Veg #ijustcantstopchefingitup
A photo posted by Chef_of_the_year🍴🔪#Zphi (@chefdee305) on Jan 28, 2016 at 11:19am PST
7. Chef Kay Kay
Teriyaki Salmon #postworkoutmeal
A photo posted by Kayla Greer (@chefkaykay) on Jun 28, 2016 at 8:30pm PDT
8. Chef Angela
#Buttermilk brines are the way and the light. Juicy, tender, seasoned all the way through. You have probably tried buttermilk for fried #chicken, now try it for #bbqchicken! 🔥🔥🔥 #kitchenista #Chicken #grilled #smoked #bbq #bbqsauce #marinade #brine
A photo posted by The Kitchenista Diaries (@thekitchenista) on Jul 5, 2016 at 7:38pm PDT
9. Chef Alisa Reynolds
Return of the Mac @my2centsla
A photo posted by My2Cents (@my2centsla) on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:55pm PDT
10. Chef Q
I ask for #strength and #God gave me difficulties to make me strong. I asked for #Wisdom and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for #Prosperity and God gave me a #Brain and #Brawn to work. I asked for #Courage and God gave me #Danger to #Overcome. I asked for #Love and God gave me #Troubled people to #Help. I asked for #Favors and God gave me #Opportunities I asked for #Forgiveness and He did. I asked Him to shine thru me and He is. #CantYouSeeIt #KeepWatching #Oprah #HaveOne #Cajun #Shrimp #DevilEggs #TBT #Chefism #TBCE #1000plate #ChefLife #Mayweather #Chef #BeYou
A photo posted by CHEF Q (@chefism) on Jun 30, 2016 at 9:46pm PDT
11. Chef Sunny Anderson
Sunny's Easy Braised Tomato Chicken and Spinach with Fettuccine. #sunnyrecipeyo look it up xo. One Pan Plan! Pasta served in a pie pan. Sue me.
A photo posted by Sunny Anderson (@sunnyanderson) on Feb 25, 2015 at 11:23am PST
Who are your favorite chefs to follow? Please share in the comments below!
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Makeup has taken on a life of it's own with it's power to literally snatch noses and change face shapes. All you need is a few brushes and coordinated techniques. Recently, this video of a makeup transformation has been blowing up on social media for it's uncanny resemblance to a well-known rapper from Canada.
The look was done by Magali Beauvue, a seasoned cosmetic industry professional who has been creating dramatic face transformations that are so good, they could probably destabilize facial recognition software.
Voila!!!! new #makeuptransformation is done... Dylan , 5 years old, into... #minidrake @champagnepapi 🙌🏽🙌🏽... he is sooooo #dope and #cute ... he makes me laught sooo much when he start dancing like @champagnepapi 😂🙌🏽🙌🏽💕💕💕 all the process is on my #snapchat : "makeupmag" ... u have to look a it... its sooo cute ... i couldnt put everything on that video!! tag @champagnepapi if u love it!!! 💕 #makeupmag77 #teammakeupmag #sintmaartenartist #sintmaartenmakeupartist #makeupartist #transformist #transformation #toocute #sintmaartenbabyboy @theshaderoom
A video posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on Jun 29, 2016 at 5:15pm PDT
Beauvue has been a makeup artist for 16 years, and her expertise is clearly showing itself in the numerous Instagram and YouTube videos she shares. Take a moment to watch one of her videos and it's almost as if you're watching a magic show, because the illusions and transformations she is able to make on literally any face is incredible to see.
easter on the beach was fun!!! #happyeaster #me #makeupmag77 #sintmaartenmakeupartist #sintmaartenartist #teammakeupmag #sintmaarten #pinklisptick
A photo posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on Mar 28, 2016 at 4:59pm PDT
Her face has been used as the canvas to transform into Kendrick Lamar.
#tbt when i was @kendricklamar 😁 #makeuptransformation #me #myface #myart #extremecontouring #contouring #sintmaartenartist #sintmaartenmakeupartist #teammakeupmag #makeupmag77 #transformation #transformist #kendricklamar #hiphop
A photo posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on May 19, 2016 at 4:02pm PDT
Also, Nicki Minaj.
for those asking me to do @nickiminaj #makeuptransformation , i did it 4 months ago.... just scrolled to see the #videos and more pics 😁✨✨ #fbf #me #myart #myface #makeupmag77 #makeupartist #sintmaartenmakeupartist #nickiminaj #transformation #transformist #sintmaartenartist #contouring #extremecontouring
A photo posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on Mar 18, 2016 at 2:02pm PDT
If you loved her take on a Baby Drake, she even made Baby Rihanna.
press play ▶️▶️ i put the step by step on my youtube channel ( link on my bio 🖕🏼) i did my lil friend Rishayah #makeuptransformation into @badgalriri with @maccosmetics and @wolfefaceartfx face painting !!! that lil girl always ask me for some lipstick ( pink!!!) and nail polish lool so today i give her the biiig #makeover lol 😂 ... she couldnt sit for 5 minutes.... what a challenge! but sooo much fun ... she plays miss #rihanna for an hour and fell asleep just after 💤💤💤... she still a baby... 3 years old... was just a lil makeup play ... nothing more... like we all use to do when we were small with our mommy's stuff 😂😁💅🏿💇🏽💄💋👠👡 tag @badgalriri if u like it!!! 🙌🏽 #lilgirltobiggirl #fun#extremecontouring #contouring #makeupartist #makeupmag77 #sintmaartenmakeupartist #sintmaartenartist #caribbeangirl #caribbeanbaby #babygirl #transformist #transformation #sintmaarten
A video posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:06pm PDT
She's taken her face from pretty to presidential in this Barack Obama-inspired makeup look...
...not to mention the Biggie Smalls, Big Sean, Beyoncé and Steve Jobs teasers she gave us in this video.
lazy lundi!!! 😬( lundi 🇫🇷= monday) .. i wanted to do a new #transformation but im too lazy today... but tomorow i ll do it ... and dont miss the cute one on wednesday!!! process ll be on my #snapchat : " makeupmag" for now a lil mix of some of the #makeuptrabsformations i did ... tag your favorite one !!! #extremecontouring #sintmaartenartist #sintmaartenmakeupartist #teammakeupmag #transformist #fun @beyonce @troubleman31 @champagnepapi @kevinhart4real @cassie #tupac #notoriousbig #stevejobs @bigsean ...
A video posted by Magali Beauvue (@makeupmag) on Jun 27, 2016 at 2:37pm PDT
THIS WOMAN HAS SKILLS.
From a person who struggles to get their eyeliner in a straight line, I can't help but admire the sheer artistry that is seeping from this woman's fingertips. If you want to see more of her amazing work, check out her YouTube and Instagram accounts and give this woman her props!
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Springtime is over, and summer here in Houston lasts for practically eight months out of the year. Even though spring is long gone, it’s not too late to do some spring cleaning! But I’m not referring to spring cleaning your house, I’m referring to spring cleaning your social media following lists. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. — whichever social media accounts you use should be cleaned periodically!
Why should I spring clean my social media?
I believe spring cleaning your social media following lists is critical for your mental health. You’re probably thinking it’s not that serious, but it honestly is. Your brain is ALWAYS unconsciously absorbing information 24/7. Your brain is connected to your soul, your essence, and it, of course, controls your mood. Scientists, doctors, parents, annoying adults in your life have told you at one point in time that you have to be careful what you feed your mind by filtering the music that you listen to, the books and news articles that you read, etc. But what they never told you is that you have to be careful about what you see online, because social media didn’t exist and/or wasn’t “poppin’” when they were young adults.
Social media can affect your mood
I know I'm not the only one who has ever expressed any kind of emotion from what I've seen on social media. Negativity proliferates on social media. It seems like all of the negative people in the world own a Twitter or Facebook account. They are unhappy and want the rest of the world to wallow in unhappiness too. Negativity might as well be classified as a disease, because it’s contagious as heck, it’s airborne, and no one is immune from it. If you read negative posts all day long it WILL affect your mood, even if you don’t recognize that it does. If you see people posting about their baby daddy/mama drama, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, complaining about their job, etc. every single day, you will loathe seeing their name pop up in your timeline/newsfeed. Utilize that delete button, block button, hide posts button, anything! Seeing their daily negativity does not increase your daily productivity and it doesn’t add any extra commas to your bank account.
But they’re my family/friends!
I don't care if they're your family, friend, or foe — you need to remove them from your following list! I’ve personally removed family members because they were getting on my last nerves. Do I still speak to them at the family get-togethers? Yep, I’m cordial to everyone! If it’s a friend that's being a Negative Nancy, you can mute them on Twitter and unfollow their posts on Facebook. However, let’s keep it real, if they are your friends that are constantly being negative and dampening your high spirits, you should probably cut the cord with them and kiss them goodbye. Love ‘em from afar, if you can love them at all. I honestly only have one person that I communicate with on a friend level. It’s much better to be alone than to deal with people’s shenanigans, but I’ll save that for another post.
Now, follow the right people
Now that you have cleaned your following list, you should probably follow more positive, impactful people. If you feel like your life is a bit stagnant at this point in time, you can't expect for your life to change without absorbing insight from positive people. Your net worth is your network! Also, don't forget that your net worth also encompasses more than just your income. I’ve heard this a thousand times and it will remain true forever. My mindset is forever evolving because of the people I have connected to in real life and online. Find someone who “gets it,” someone that you aspire to be, and follow them. If your life doesn’t begin to change from altering the information that your brain absorbs, you still aren’t doing something right. Keep on trying.
I recently cleaned my following lists because I’ve made some life changes and can't tolerate negativity. Can somebody cue "No More Drama" by Queen Mary J. Blige?! I barely wanted to use social media because I was so tired of seeing drama on my timeline/newsfeed every day, but I needed to start utilizing it more since I started my online bakery business, and several months later I started my blog. I’m trying to brand myself and I needed to find a way to make social media more enjoyable for myself. Spring cleaning my following lists has definitely made my social media browsing time more pleasant. Following knowledgeable, impactful people has actually made me eager to open my social media apps.
What I want you to do today is take some time to analyze the people you follow and determine which ones should stay and which ones you should virtually kiss goodbye! Your mind and soul will thank you later. Don’t forget to follow new, more positive people and watch your mindset evolve.
What tips do you guys have for filtering your social media accounts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Social media is an interesting landscape, each platform different than the next. Instagram is a special place, where you can (and will) encounter a bevy of personalities. Here are the people you're likely to come across on the 'gram.
'Slide in the DMs' Roger
We all know this guy. He's the one you'll encounter that may or may not have a girlfriend. That information is so ambiguous because he introduces every woman as "his queen." He's also the one that calls you a bitter, broken b**** when you reject his advances in your inbox. He clearly hasn't gone to DM training. GO HOME, ROGER!
'Complicated (and hella public) Relationship' Keisha
She posts pictures of them eating, brushing their teeth together, driving to counseling with the church pastor, getting drunk in the club, visiting her mama, stopping at the gas station on the way home. They are so in love. Then, she deletes all the pictures and posts a video of herself dancing to "Sorry," and the caption reads, "Never needed no man to define my greatness. #IAintThinkinBoutYOU" The next day another, less enthusiastic video appears about how she needs to take time for herself and is getting off all social media. A day with no posts. Rinse. Repeat.
Clancy was the knucklehead you knew in high school. He was always getting into trouble, fighting, ditching classes, and you didn't know what would happen to him, but you hoped he'd turn out okay. He's now resurfaced, followed you on the 'gram, and keeps inboxing you about his GoFundMe to raise money for a plot of community land to build underground bomb shelters for the people. He's also selling what he calls "The Woke Basket," which includes two pounds of kale, some incense, a yard of kente cloth, and one video from the Roots collection.
'Pseudo-conscious (and actually misogynistic)' Carl
He's annoying. He's constantly kicking (mis)information, and "sneak" flirting with you. When you rebuff his advances, he says that he couldn't help himself. It's "the nature of a man." He suggests you dress more respectably. An encounter with him makes you feel as though you need a shower. You block him. BOY, BYE.
'Dictionary for Dummies' Donte
T.I. is his linguistic hero. His posts are nonsensical and mostly use words in the wrong context. He tries to sound deep in his videos, but they're more comedy than anything. He clearly loves thesaurus.com, but he doesn't know the difference between their, there and they're.
'Modeling Career' Melinda
There's nothing wrong with having "booking" in your bio, it's just that she's never been booked and still uses Yahoo email. She's your girl, but she's thinks her looks and scantily clad social media bathroom pics will get her discovered. You want to unfollow her, but she's always asking if you saw how Drake liked her last photo, and you don't like lying.
'Entrepreneur (Read: Pyramid Scheme)' Earl
Every encounter with Earl will be different, meaning the "business" he's pushing will be different. The model will be the same. He gave somebody money at some point to coach him on selling some product. Now he can coach you if you give him some money, and you can eventually become a coach when you recruit your "team." Someone taught him the term "cooperative economics," which he now uses to try to appeal to your community sensibilities. You wish Earl good luck and then block him.
'Saved, Sanctified (and still sliding in the DMs)' Sam
He's been your church deacon since you were 16, and this year he convinced his niece to teach him how to use Instagram. He's in your DMs talking about his problems with sister Pearly-Mae, and telling you how well you've grown up. You take a screenshot and text Pearly-Mae, who made you a poundcake for every childhood birthday and used to occasionally slide you a twenty dollar bill to help you out in your broke college days.
'Look at me, I workout' Walter
This guy lives at the gym. His instagram is solely dedicated to photos in the mirror at the gym or drinking a smoothie at the juice bar in the gym. He doesn't feel he needs to slide in the DMs. All these pecks should have the ladies flocking, right? Nah, bruh. We're all set.
Patricia is successful and seems to have it all on the surface, but always has something slick to say on your photos and stays sneak-dissing everyone else. She slides in your DMs to gossip about how your mutual friends need to get their lives together, how she's tired of hanging around losers, and wraps it all up with "But not you, though, girl. We cool." MMMHMMM. You constantly serve her some serious side eye.
'Try not to double-tap' Tammy
You don't really encounter her, but you know she's there. This is your mama's younger sister whose life is always in turmoil, has called your mama to bail her out at every turn, but then looks for something negative to say about your mama at the next family bbq. So, she's scrolling through your entire Instagram history looking for something juicy and trying to be careful not to double tap. The best she can come up with is that you're "still in school." Translation: you've gone to graduate school to get your MBA. Sorry, Aunt Tammy... foiled again.
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Memes are fun. They allow the everyday person to joke around on social media. They allow us to rib our friends or poke fun at something trending on the inter-webs. They're the still-life version of our favorite gifs. One of the current trends in memes will show four or so celebrities that we love and say, "One gotta go. Which one?" Even magazines are getting in on the fun. At first, I laughed at them, especially the ones that make me sing, "one of these things is not like the other." I thought about making my own meme. Then, I started thinking more deeply about it...
Now, my knee-jerk reaction is to say "Get MJB outta there!" (And no, I don't want to get into some lengthy debate about how the soulfulness of MJB's songs allow for her vocal crimes to be overlooked. That's a conversation for another day.) However, when we start talking about alleviating the attitudes and trends that promote divisiveness in our communities, this "game" is completely counter-productive in our efforts to do so. Especially in the entertainment industry, it's often playing into the idea that the older folks need to be pushed out to make room for the newer, shinier, trendier folks. I'm personally still as into Janet's "You Want This" as I am into Rihanna's "B**** Better Have My Money." And honestly, there might have been no Riri without Janet paving the way. Where's the meme recognizing how they're both beautiful, successful, powerful women of the African Diaspora still breaking new ground in the music industry?
I know what you're thinking. They're just memes. She's getting too deep with this.
That's what we tend to say when we'd rather not think critically about our actions, when we'd rather get lost in the trends, when it's more fun to keep laughing. Ask yourself: who's laughing at us? Because there are people out there who are serious about their idea that "one gotta go" when referencing black folks. There are people who think we actually have enough representation already, and that there's no need for more. There are powerful people who think this whole "diversity thing" is over the top. That the best talent will naturally rise to the top. Nah, homie. One AIN'T gotta go. We all gotta stay, and we're bringing our cousins, too!
For these reasons, I will never post a meme that asks me to disregard one of us. There's enough of that going on already.
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Nikisha Brunson is the cofounder of Urban Bush Babes and Pineapple Life. She is also the owner of Folie Apothecary, a 100 percent natural hair and skincare line. She was made in Toronto, Canada, raised in Brooklyn, and moved to Austin, Texas at the age of 30. She is a Christ follower who has been diagnosed with ADHD and General Anxiety Disorder, and spends her days as a wife raising a teenager with ADHD, renovating their first house, cooking, doing DIY, sifting through antique goods, looking up the latest in homeopathic health info, listening to a ton of music at ignorant levels, collaborating creatively with her husband and pretending to be a comedian.
Living a healthy life on a holistic level has been a priority for her ever since the diagnosis of her son's ADHD. It just so happens she was diagnosed later on, so she was already on the right path to living her best life. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master's degree in childhood education, and loves to teach what she learns along the way.
Blavity's Creative Society sat down with Nikisha for a conversation about her passions and creative entrepreneurship, read what she had to say below.
Blavity: Tell us about the early stages of Urban Bush Babes, how did the blog catapult you in a new career direction?
Nikisha Brunson: "Cipriana and I started the blog in 2011 because we got into a conversation about our natural hair, and I asked her if she'd be willing to do a blog with me where we can share our passion of taking care of our hair. It turned into giving women of color a platform to share who they really were through the arts to help break the stereotypes that are made through entertainment and media. Then the blog evolved into lifestyle content. We became popular very quickly because we were doing something very different, we also added the vintage aspect of fashion, which no black hair bloggers were doing at the time, and the blog became very popular very quickly."
B: So many of your followers love your blogs on Pineapple Life and love following you on Instagram because of how informative and health conscious you are, tell us more about how and why you developed a passion for healthy living?
NB: "When I was in undergrad, I was naturally interested in psychology, I loved the mind and how it works and I'm obsessed with people's personalities and why they are the way they are. I found out my son had ADHD and how important diet was to his ADHD. I also realized I had a really weak immune system growing up and I wanted to strengthen that, and I wanted my son to have a healthier life style. So when I found out I had ADHD (I also struggle with anxiety and depression) it just made me go really hard on the healthy living aspect, because it affects our minds and bodies so much."
B: Something I also appreciate about your content is that there are many women of color, black women in particular, who wouldn't have access to this type of information if it weren't for blogs like yours. How does it feel to know you're doing something you love and also empowering your readers?
NB: "It's part of the reason why I'm so passionate about doing it. Growing up in Brooklyn, I went to school right across the street from the projects, and I learned a lot about how our communities lack access to information. That's [why] I'm so passionate about sharing what I know. I feel very blessed to be able to influence lives. Although I'm working more than I ever have, it doesn't feel like work because I'm doing something I love."
Sometimes you can have an "ahha!" moment after talking with your friends or witnessing an ongoing harmful trend. And after that moment you realize you were getting sucked in too or even became apart of the harmful trend. As a social media influencer I believe it's our job not to perpetuate the bs. Like perfection, and the illusion of the lavish life. We shouldn't have to use ring lights for selfies, or apps that make our skin look smoothed over like a cartoon, or taking pics and videos in a house that's not ours to make it look like we are living it up. This is so harmful, it's not honest, and creates an illusion for the people who follow us. Be real with where you're at, your process is what is most important. If you start creating an illusion it only perpetuates this idea of perfection which does not exist. It's not reality. which in turn has other people comparing their lives to yours and makes them try to achieve something unrealistic. So I'm starting with me and my influence over others. I hope you start with you too. It's the only place to start. #keepitrealkish #imgettingBrooklynOnYall #letsbehuman #keepit100 #athomewithnikisha
A video posted by Nikisha Brunson (@nikishabrunson) on May 2, 2016 at 4:35pm PDT
B: Tell us more about why you started Folie. What makes you passionate about natural skin and hair care?
NB: "Part of having ADHD is that we're all over the place and we get bored easily. And I recently learned that I'm a very hands-on tactile person, and I also realized I'm very creative. I realized that I love cooking, I love ceramics and pottery, I love any DIY project, I love interior design. Anything where I get to use my dual spacial intelligence I can do for hours. With my Apothecary line, I started worrying about my health, I want to be healthy and fly and I want to teach other women of color how to be healthy and fly too. My skincare line grew out of my love for DIY and I wanted to create a line for women like me who care about what we put on our bodies. I love making things and there's something magical about making things for other people. It's my way of giving back to people."
B: What advice do you have for young creatives and entrepreneurs?
NB: "Its always harder than what you think. Most of us tend to romanticize things and we aren't really sure about the ground work that needs to happen on the day-to-day, we just see the end results. Especially when looking at other people doing the things we want to do. We don't see the frustration. Know that it's going to be harder than what you think. You have to be able to be honest with yourself and ask yourself what your limitations are, and if you're going to able to handle the aspects of what entrepreneurship brings. You have to be decisive, develop thick skin. Try to do something different that comes from a really passionate place, do something because you think its your purpose. It takes discipline to make money off of your creativity."
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Singer Elle Varner caused a firestorm on Twitter Thursday after posting (then deleting) an Instagram post about what she believes young women in school should ascribe to...
She echoed similar sentiments on Twitter.
Much of the reaction to her anti-feminist rant was a smooth "I don't know her".
Nevertheless, her Erkyah Badu-like rant engaged both Shea Butter Twitter and Hotep Twitter.
This the same girl who performed in a camisole and leggings... pic.twitter.com/sZm5TezwsD
— ✨ (@phoneticjasmine) June 9, 2016
Well... I knew Elle Varner wasn't trending because of her music so... Anyways pic.twitter.com/rDIqBTiySK
— ANTI (@HIFTBABG) June 10, 2016
The desire to tell women what they can and cannot wear in the hopes of coercing men not to rape them is rape culture. What Varner seems to not understand is the severity of her words. She is not fighting to stop 'ho culture.' She is policing young girls bodies.
From a young age, girls are taught to dress and walk a certain way to aspire to be a certain type of woman and to prevent boys from doing awful things. But why are they being taught to live up to a certain type of woman that some men deem acceptable? Why aren't girls taught to be who they are and not give a f*%$ what anyone has to say about it?
Varner's rant is problematic because it overlooks rapists of all genders.
Instead of teaching girls and boys to aspire to their best selves, her rhetoric is forcing them to abide by gender roles. She is teaching boys toxic masculinity and girls how to be a woman. Why are these boys who are so easily distracted by a girl wearing a bra (something most women wear) not taught to focus on school? Why is Varner perpetuating a culture that teaches women not to get raped instead of teaching boys not to rape?
Short skirts and bra straps don't rape. Rapists rape.
Brock Turner's father says his son has paid a steep price for '20 min of action'...that caused a lifetime of damage for this victim.
— Molly Qerim (@MollyQerim) June 10, 2016
Her rant comes days after rapist Brock Turner's already incredibly short sentence was shortened by another 3 months. Rapist Turner's trial brings to the forefront the benefits of being both white and male in a court of law. Turner grew up under a system that told girls what to wear instead of teaching boys to not do awful things.
While Varner's rant may seem harmless, it is dangerous. She is teaching young girls around the world to get used to other people policing what they can and cannot do.
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