” What would America be like if we love black people as much as we love Black Culture” -Amandla Stenberg

Being that it’s black history month and I haven’t posted in a while, I though what better way to try and express myself, my values, and my beliefs than through my blog. By no means, do I consider myself a great writer. In fact, I struggle a lot with writing and find that sometimes, I just can’t express myself in ways I wish I could, but that’s beside the point. Lately my mind has been muddled with shock and disbelief (although who am I kidding) at some of the crazy shit going on in the world. I have so much I want so say as an African American woman, while still having no words. But the hell with that! And so, I bring you a new rambling segment i’m calling “I’m Black Everyday”.

First things first, cultural appropriation is real. As, Amandla Stenberg said in her powerful video Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows, “the line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange are always going to be blurred”. But in case you didn’t know, “appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,”. In other words, cultural appropriation in America can be defined as when a dominant group (white pepo) take different aspects of cultural property from a minority group (African Americans and Native Americans to name a few) without fully understanding it’s historical and cultural significance. Claiming cultural appropriation doesn’t exist is the epitome of white privilege. If I had a dollar for every time someone tried defending cultural appropriation, I would rich enough to produce a biopic on Queen Elizabeth starring Viola Davis…

Lately, the appropriation of black culture seems to be everywhere. From twerking to bantu knots, people love appropriating black culture, particularly Hollywood. I can’t seem to open any of my social media accounts without seeing a Kardashian in Cornrows: we get it, Black culture is popular, but it’s not yours to claim. Even more times I’ve been confronted with white people receiving praise and credits of innovation for hairstyles that are cultural staples in the black community, meanwhile people of color are criticized for the exact same look. For instance, take Miley Cyrus’ VMA look where she rocked platinum blonde dreads, according to Hollywood Life, “those dreads [were] EVERYTHING!”. But in similar fashion, Giulianna Rancic, Fashion Police host criticized Zendaya’s faux dread look stating she probably “smells like patchouli oil” or “weed”. Look, before y’all start coming for me, the issue at hand is not who can do what with their hair, but instead, is a matter of bias and stereotypes ascribed to people of color.

African Americans are some of the most influential people in this country, especially within the entertainment industry, and it is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, African Americans are still one of the most oppressed groups under a system of institutionalized racism, mass incarceration, and discriminatory hiring practices related to predominately Black hairstyles (*sips tea*). So, regardless of whether white people appropriate Black hairstyles, the truth of the matter is, as Paul Mooney stated, “everybody wanna be a nigga, but nobody wanna be a nigga”. So ask yourself this question…

 

 

Sometime ago, a handful of YouTubers took part in the B.O.M.B challenge, and unlike other challenges this is by far the most meaningful beauty related video I have seen on YouTube. Nowadays you see a bunch of makeup challenges floating around the internet, but the B.O.M.B challenges is about way more than just makeup, and that is something I can get behind 100 percent. The B.O.M.B challenge, also known as, the Black Owned Makeup Brand challenge calls for a full face #beat, using nothing but makeup products that are black owned. With the lack of representation of women of color in the beauty industry, it’s nice to see a challenge that calls for more than just 100 layers of foundation.

Although the B.O.M.B challenge makes a powerful statement on inclusion and diversity within the beauty industry, it also shines light on companies that are, more often than not, overlooked. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have been to Walgreens or Target looking for a foundation, only to walk out frustrated and disappointed with their color selection. After seeing this challenge all over YouTube, I’m quite embarrassed to say that I do not own a single brand that is black owned.  

For many women of color, especially dark-skinned women, shopping for foundation can be a real struggle. Makeup is meant for everyone, but it can be alienating for women of color, as some makeup brands consistently fail to cater to our needs. Now, this does not mean I’m going to stop purchasing from non-black owned companies, because lord knows I can’t live without certain things. Instead, I am making a commitment to support companies that cater to women of color like myself. Below is a short list of some noteworthy black owned makeup brands that I am dying to try! 

Juvias Place

Aj Crimson

Beauty Bakerie

Shea Moisture

Lena Lashes

Lashed

Coloured Raine

Pat McGrath Labs

Danessa Myricks

Also, check out Alyssa Forever & Jackie Aina’s B.O.M.B Challenge below!

 

I meeeeaaaaan look at that slay! #BlackMakeupBrandsMatter