Essays

Cardi B. : A Bronx Shero

Photo via FashionBombDaily

It’s strange who we, as women, are told to idolize. While we have the ability to discern, we almost always sold women who are unlike most women. They are perfect, in each and every way and thus, impossible to replicate. Whether they are bombshells or bookworms, we as women are expected to choose our empowerment from what seems like two piles. If we do get a woman that is more complex with a more checkered past, there is often a scrubbing of that past in an attempt to further remove her from the everyday woman. That is until recently. The ubiquity and easy access of internet made it possible to find facts and allowed women (past and present) to be more open about their lives. Legends and newcomers alike were open to show the reality of what being a woman meant. It expanded horizons and allowed women to be more openly multidimensional. Our heros or sheros were more… like us… But even now there is a stigma around who women herald.

When you think shero, who do you think of? Femmes who defy the odds? Activists? Businesswomen, perhaps? Well, I want to nominate someone for consideration. She’s funny, intelligent, resilient and probably already clawed her way into your heart. People on Tumblr have already given her title of a great sociologist, able to see and assess the world accurately and concisely. Only 24, she’s already staked her claim and gone after it. That’s right, I’m talking about Belicalis Almanzar of the Bronx, NY, AKA, the one and only Cardi B. My shero.

Here’s a disclaimer before we continue. I am not saying Cardi is perfect, far from. In fact, I think she has a lot to unlearn, in the same way I did. But I can critique and admire her at the same time.

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Moodboards

Fall Moodboard: Dream

Hey, y’all, long time, no see. But the leaves are finally dropping here (which I know because of the amount of raking I’ve had to do). So we figure we should drop our fall moodboards.

Dream, here. Still here… In Atlanta. And still hella homesick. My fall inspo is supposed to be a homage to the girl I am inside, that is, just a girl from Uptown trying not to get stuck at E 180th for 40 minutes waiting to transfer trains. I would like to call it Uptown Betty.

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Row One: Crystallized Bloodstone, Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, Willow Smith

Row Two: Jean of The Joneses, Vertigo, Jean of the Joneses

Row Three: Leaves, Cher Horowitz, Tracee Ellis Ross

Row Four: Dej Loaf, Rihanna, Laquan Smith

Therefore, my inspiration board reeks of a carefree, classic New York girl vibe, channeling a hood Cher Horowitz. An eccentric uptown socialite (I mean the real uptown, like Harlem & The Bronx, not the Upper East/West Side, if you catch my drift.) Basically, Teyana Taylor with a free spirit. Azealia Banks with prep. Junglepussy if she came from Uptown. As in twin sets worn with Timbs, bombers and berets worn with bamboo earrings. (I didn’t get to wear my bamboos all summer so please, let me have this.) Mary Jane shoes that walked her all the way to Champion Jamaican Bakery and corset belts and harnesses that parallel W 125 itself. Insert a little black boho edge, this inspiration comes with a bit of fall breeze, echoed in the embroidery and fringe.

I hope this board captures the essence of  the girl who effortlessly flows from both museums to underground concerts to Kennedy Chicken orrrr Red Rooster (or Amy Ruth’s– my personal fave) alike. From bottomless brunches to the classic weekday bacon egg and cheese. The intermediary of a new and old classic. Essentially, it’s the best of both of my worlds.

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If you’re more of an auditory person, here’s a playlist to help me illustrate my flow.

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Essays

A Late Summer Salvage: The Get Down

So, there are two things you must understand about me if you are to understand this newfound interest of mine.

  1. I do not binge-watch.

Believe it or not, bingewatching is hard for me. SO so so hard for me. The only reason I tend to partake in this activity is to avoid spoilers. Otherwise, I creep slowly at my pace, starting and stopping various movies and series as I please. I’m only three episodes into House of Cards season three and two episodes into Narcos. It’s not that I’m not interested but… it’s more like a filler activity and more often than not, I truly can’t be bothered.

  1. I am majorly, tremendously and excruciatingly homesick.

I may reside in the suburbs of Atlanta but if you ask me, I LIVE in the Bronx. It’s where I’m from, where my hopes and dreams are, where my family settled into when they emigrated from Jamaica. It’s home, at least for me. I planned on going back immediately after graduation, to experience it before the inevitable gentrification really took root, to live just ONE more carefree summer before the beginning of the rest of my life began.

I really did dream of the hot summer days, chasing down Mr. Softee, the screech of the subway, jamming in Webster Hall to the song of the summer (which features Bronx based rappers!), all of it. People may talk cash shit about it but do not get it twisted. The Bronx is where it is AT. And it makes me sad to think I could not experience it due to circumstances outside my control (namely a boss that thought she could control me to the end and a fight I fought until the very last breath). It makes me sad and it makes me sick. As in sick to my stomach, as in I have had to sit down to avoid vomiting.

Which is how I happened upon onto this show. THE GET DOWN.

It takes place in a late 1970s Bronx with (FINALLY!) black and brown characters as the framework. The Bronx, rife with crime facilitated by the greed of the landowners also blossomed creatively with graffiti on each and every subway and hip hop steadily taking over the underground scene. The show captures a summer of the Burning Bronx time period with its characters coming of age in the gritty New York City streets. And I was riveted.

Each episode, titled with some sort of sage phrase, took the audience through the journey of Zeke, Shaolin Fantastic, the Kipling siblings and Mylene as they grow each and every day on the hot summer streets of the Bronx. Zeke is a shy poet learning to grow into himself as he tries to profess his love for the ambitious Mylene. He and the Kipling brothers team up with Shaolin Fantastic, a street kid with bad connections but an artful soul he just wants to express. I loved it. For me, it was so similar to the way a real NYC kid would grow up, sort of independent, rebellious and with an entire squad of loyal ass friends. From Zeke standing up for himself to the FINE ass Shaolin to 1520 Sedgwick where my family moved years before my birth, I saw lives like mine with stories that needed to be told in a place I knew to be full of stories so many had deemed not worth one at all. It felt real to me, fantastical and bizarre at times, but real enough. I have most definitely known a Zeke, Yolanda, Boo and a Regina. I have seen frustrated Ms. Greens and plenty of playboy criminals like Cadillac. It seemed like for the entirety of the series, The Bronx really came alive on screen and I relished the experience. I felt like I was actually experiencing the Bronx for those few episodes. It felt… true, in a way.

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Don’t get me wrong, there are definite criticisms I have of it. Like how maybe three of the characters sound like me or my friends back home at all. Or how this media isn’t even controlled by black or brown people (minus Nas, the executive producer). But overall, I’m pleased with it. I’m well aware that critics don’t quite like it but I truly feel it has less to do with the plot of the show and more to do with the subject. As in, TRUE hip hop at the core serves black and Latino people who created it. It leaves no space for the voyeuristic white boy who simply cannot relate and comments only on a technical standpoint because he cannot feel the music. They don’t understand so they condemn. It’s a black thing, a brown thing they don’t feel included in except as the villains so they condemn, not stopping to consider the point of view of that the story is not written for them, except possibly as the role they do so well: voyeur. At least, that’s how I see it.

The Get Down is a story that needs to be told. Not to legitimize hip hop’s origins or the people of color that created it but to show the blossoming of the concrete rose and the ingenuity, the struggle of the artform so many have called their love. And for me, the little Bronx girl trapped far far far away, it felt like being home. Almost.

Photos via Vogue and Variety

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Essays

Ceejai vs The ‘Real’ World: A Observation in Black Womanhood

Let me start by saying this: I am no fan of The Real World. I don’t think, even as a child, I’ve ever sat down and watched a lot of it, minus recaps and one infamous fighting scene. I’m not an avid watcher of MTV as a whole, except that one semester my freshman year. That being said, like the season of the Bad Girls Club with the Clermont twins in it, I decided to watch after seeing an overwhelming amount of videos and screencaps of the most endearing and supportive castmate, Ceejai.

Ceejai, a black girl from St. Louis who currently resides in Atlanta, is one of the several castmates chosen to live in an apartment with six other strangers for this season of the Real World: Go Big or Go Home. She’s much like a lot of other black girls her age, fun loving and supportive. Under any normal circumstances, Ceejai would probably remain as cool as cucumber. But after enduring racist remarks for weeks at the hands of her roommate, Ceejai reacted in a way that many of us find understandable. Here’s a video of the altercation that ensued after Jenna and her friend provoked Ceejai using racially motivated insults.

This stirred up feelings in me about black womanhood and the way confrontations are handled when you are a black woman. Here’s several things I noticed in that video.

  • There are constant neverending trials for black women, both microagressions and blatant. Ceejai was tested time and time again.
    • To be black in America is hard. To be a black woman in America (or in any Eurocentric society tbh) feels backcrushing. There are black women who are forced to prove their calm, to rise above all the noise and all the pointed spears to keep a self image that radiates competence, hard work and patience. Perpetuated by the trope of the “strong, independent black woman”, this image is extremely damaging to the psyche as there is no room left for mistakes or humanity. In the scene, Ceejai clearly walks away from the issue and tries to calm herself down to not seem ‘ratchet’, deflecting the fact that the angry response to that level of ignorance would probably be the common one.
  • Black women understand the game white supremacy plays and many times choose to rise above. 
    •  Constantly antagonized and clearly hurt by many of Jenna’s remarks, Ceejai either kept quiet about the astounding ignorance or confronted her directly.  Ceejai was patient, kind and understanding toward her roommate, even opting to keep her in the house after she failed a challenge. As a black woman, the first instinct is rarely to react but to explain or attempt to understand. There are many black women who are forced to endure various degrees of racism and for the sake of preservation, try to react in the calmest ways possible. It’s all too common.
  • Often times when black women are struggling to maintain composure, they are often alone without aid. 
    • Despite their best efforts, Ceejai was alone that night. Instead of aiding her and comforting her the same way she did for Dean, Ceejai was alone when she walked out the room. Not a single person followed or attempted to calm her down. In fact, the same black man she had comforted after his run in with Jenna sat RIGHT there, rather than intervening. Even though her roommates were clearly on her side, they could have both stopped antagonizing her with the comments made and had enough time to stop her from fighting. The two roommates I believe would have stopped her were not present at the time. But either way, Ceejai was alone. Black women should find comfort in their friends or allies, not more animosity.
  • Even though the action could have been perfectly justified, black women are almost always made out to be the aggressor, never the victim.
    • There is only so much a person can take. As a person with a shorter fuse, I can truly say Ceejai endured a lot prior to the altercation. First, Jenna provoked the argument with her, having clearly attacked Ceejai prior to the fight. Her racial remarks were one thing, her threats toward Ceejai were another. The moment she physically put hands on Ceejai should have resulted in her ejection. But it didn’t. The threats Jenna yelled at her should have gotten her ejected as well. But it didn’t. Ceejai was the victim of bigotry and violence but no one identified her as such because of her black womanhood, adding to the abuse she suffered. MTV and the producers took a different route, waiting for her to ‘pop’, in which case she FINALLY became the aggressor, backed into a corner after all the abuse. This is common in most White dominated environments. Any person would have cracked under the pressure of that abuse; Ceejai’s response was extreme but by no means wrong in that sort of situation.
  • Sometimes, blackness doesn’t equal complete support.
    • All skinfolk definitely ain’t your kinfolk. Ceejai was far from a loner in the house. She was also not alone in her blackness. Jenna actively antagonized Dean, the other black roommate so badly, he was drawn out his character. Ceejai saw his struggle and comforted him, in a way only black women can. She acknowledged his struggle to be seen as a human being, capable of being vulnerable and having human emotions. Yet in her time of need, he was as silent as a mouse. He should have risen to the occasion and aided Ceejai, either by calming her or separating her from the argument all together.
  • Black women are often forced to take the high road to act as ‘examples’ of an entire community while their abuser continues to taunt them with racial insults.
    • Ceejai said it herself; she explained, walked out, ignored and just flat out refused to bend to Jenna. Despite all that, Jenna still called her ratchet and let her friends tell her to ‘Go Pick Cotton’ and allowed them to call her ‘nappy headed’. Meanwhile, Ceejai realizes that she cannot react as that is not the person that she is and she doesn’t want to let down the image of the black woman. As black women, when we walk down the street, when we talk, when we laugh, we are simultaneously made to be role models, most times without our permission. If we speak in AAVE, we’re Sheneneh. Confrontional? Nene Leakes. Angry? Tiffany Pollard. Matronly? Mamie.  Ceejai knew her appearance on this show meant more than an appearance on a show and tried so hard to avoid becoming a ‘bad’ example. We can’t win for losing.

Do you have anything to add about the altercation between Ceejai and Jenna?

Comment below!

XOXO,

Dream

 

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five 5.27.16

Dream

1. Personal Style Muse | Tracee Ellis Ross

I shift muses a lot. From season to season and month to month, as I evolve so do my muses. I have to admit, I’ve never quite paid that much attention to her personal style outside of her characters but Tracee Ellis Ross’ personal style has truly struck a chord with me. From her more lax choices (A Kimono and Adidas? Genius!) to her dressier choices (A Norma Kamali dress and YSL blazer with TIMBS! ICONIC!), Ms. Ross has truly earned her place in my everlasting hall of muses.

2. Tell Me from “The Heart Speaks in Whispers” | Corinne Bailey Rae

I’m a sucker for CBR and her new album is no exception. The soul truly blasts from this album in a way that reminds me both of my dear Harlem and a Caribbean tropical beach near simultaneously. Here’s my favorite record of the bunch, Tell Me.

3. Solange’s Snapchat

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Our Sol-angel has captured our heart again, but this time with her Snapchat. Each snap shows Solange living her best carefree black girl life, a life I think we all might aspire to. P.S. Sometimes, she puts up album snippets!

Shante

4. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

I approach films and other media about feminism with caution because I’m wary of one-sided narratives in which intersectional feminism is not the goal or focus. Yet, this film did a great job exploring all facets of the women’s liberation movements of the late 1960s. Movements that put a spotlight on how race, class, and sexuality intersect with gender were all featured; a feminist branch of the Puerto Rican nationalist group Young Lords and groups with black lesbians were shown, among many others. What’s even better is that the movie was able to highlight criticisms of and within those movements. Recommended viewing: I streamed it via Netflix and it’s also available for rent on Amazon Prime.

5. SassyBlack

The Afrofuturistic duo THEESatisfaction recently disbanded to focus on personal and independent projects. Regrettably, I did not listen to them a ton while they were together, but I am taking the time to explore their work and will look out for any solo work that comes from either member. SassyBlack, née Catherine ‘Cat’ White, recently released an jamming album titled No More Weak Dates.  The single ‘New Boo’ is highlighted above. Give the album a listen and also check out White’s previous album Personal Sunlight (‘Sorry I Had to Funk You Up,’ also featured above, is from this album).

Also, I second Dream’s praise of Tracee Ellis Ross’ personal style. She’s been killing it for years and continues to do so!

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Essays

FGOTM: Ivie Osaghae Pt 3

Part Three of our Fleurish Girl of the Month interview with Ivie Osaghae. Check out parts 1 & 2 too!

F: Super Taurus answer! So can you name five things that you are into right now?

I: Hmm. Taking the time to get dressed before school. Um, what’s next? Introspection. Really questioning what it is I want from my life outside of the professional or academic sense. Even though I don’t necessarily know what that is just yet, I have a better idea of that than my personal development. Introspection is allowing myself to feel and follow those emotions especially in terms of relationships. (…) Because when you don’t allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to another person, then you potentially miss out on the greatness of who you are with that person and who that person is.

Introspection is allowing myself to feel and follow those emotions especially in terms of relationships. (…) Because when you don’t allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to another person, then you potentially miss out on the greatness of who you are with that person and who that person is.

So, that’s two. Music. Going back to… I was never really into rap music and stuff. I’ve listened to it but it wasn’t really my forte so I really have been going back to what I really love. I personally really like Vampire Weekend. I think they’re an amazing band. I think it’s funny how iTunes classifies them as a Upper Westside or Upper East side soul music. Because they’re a bunch of white dudes making Afro beats and music and singing over it. Just going back to people that I listened to in high school that helped me feel like I was an individual. So Vampire Weekend, Santigold, AlunaGeorge but also listening to some newer people like Kali Uchis, more local artists like AriSoul… So just finding myself through my music again. Not necessary through anything that I create because I don’t make music but finding the soundtrack for my life through the music that I love. So that’s like three?

Being unapologetically me. For a long time, I allowed myself to be minimized by… It’s been mostly men in my life. Being afraid to stand up for something that I believe in… Standing firm in who I am and understanding my womanhood outside of, not even outside of, in all the spaces that we’re not allowed to be women, especially as black women. We really have not have emotions or not have an opinions because it will make this man appear inferior or it will push the wrong man away but it’s like, if he feels threatened by it, then we don’t need to be together anyway. I’ve been reflecting on past relationships and the guy that I was with before vs the guy that I’m with now. He would always say ‘Why are you being so difficult?’ In my head, I’m not being difficult but at the same time, I was being kinda emotionally defensive. So yes, there was some truth to that but at the time, that was just me speaking my opinion. I’m not going to be forcefully pushed into something that I’m not going to be. Whereas the guy that I’m with now is very much like ‘I appreciate this about you. Because that’s who you are and I would never try to change that about you because that’s not the person that I chose to be with.’ So introspection, being unapologetically me, surrounding myself with people that continue to motivate me and even though I don’t always appreciate what they say to me and don’t feel like having conversations on a super deep level half the time, what they say definitely resonates with me and makes me really evaluate my own life. Am I playing a supporting character in my story? Or am I the star of it? By being the star, am I helping other people along that journey? So that’s what I’m into. Being with people who push me to be a better person on all accounts, not just in my private life and in my professional life, in my emotional life, in my mental life… All of those things make a whole individual. the things that these people say make me a better person. It’s like trying to change our habits. That’s not all it is. You can change your habits but if you don’t change your pathology then you’re not going to change. You’re basically changing your clothes and not washing yourself.

Am I playing a supporting character in my story? Or am I the star of it? By being the star, am I helping other people along that journey?

F: Favorite city in the world? That you’ve been to and that you would like to go to?

I: I’ve been to a lot of places. Honduras. It’s not a city, it’s a country. Really, Central America. I really like Central America. Belize and Honduras. It’s a toss-up between both of those. Really if you stretch Central America and the Caribbean, that area of the world is very interesting. But Roatan, especially. Roatan is a black area of Honduras; it is very influenced by Garifunde culture. When you think of Honduras, you think of mostly traditional idea of what you may think a Hispanic person is.But the parts of those countries that I’ve seen is mostly black and so I’ve always been interested in how our lives are very much the same even though we’re separated by geography. But there’s also cultural difference that make them so unique. A place I’ve always wanted to go to is… Well, I’ve always wanted to go everywhere in Africa but that’s kinda like an obvious answer for me so I’ll try somewhere else. I’ve always wanted to go to Bali. Either Bali or Fuji. But Bali especially is older and untouched. I have a lot of places that I’ve been thankfully. I’m just so thankful to have gone because of my parents always took us on cruises. But they would always make sure that whenever we went on a cruise, we never did the tourist stuff. We went and found people that lived in these places and showed us around. Oh, I forgot St. Nieves. St. Nieves was really cool too. St. Nieves and St. Kitts. So beautiful. So untouched. Black sand beaches. Beautiful black people everywhere. But I want to go so many places in Africa. Actually, I think it might be unfair to ask me that question. (Laughter)

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Interviews

FGOTM: Ivie Osaghae Pt 2

[Part Two: Future]

F [D]: So where do you see yourself in like five years?

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I: Well, that is something that is very, very real right now. I’m thinking of next year, like, [sigh] …

F [D]: It’s a pivotal moment right now!

I: Well, I graduate next year. So I’ll be 22 at that point. I don’t know what I’m doing. I know I want to go to grad school but I don’t know if I want to take a year off and travel. I don’t know. But five years from now, from this very, very moment, I will be 25 years old. I hope to be in some field that makes me happy. Maybe some aspect of anthropology, something that deals with the methodology. That side of anthropology that stays true to the confirmation and the affirmation of a person’s knowledge. Like the knowledge that they, as an individual, have, as a person or communally. I’m realizing more and more that education is definitely a huge passion of mine.

I’m realizing more and more that education is definitely a huge passion of mine.

I want to make sure people know their real histories. I realized like every since, starting two years ago almost, with AmberNechole resurrecting Black Student Alliance, students don’t know, especially black students and students of color, who they are. For twelve years, really thirteen years, if you include kindergarten, we are taught about ourselves through a white hegemonic lens. We don’t really learn who we are. It’s almost up to your parents to teach you, or even yourself that’s where agency comes in, to keep your culture alive and teach you who you are. And not the culture that is mediated by the media, not the culture that is sold to us, as to who we should be but the actual culture and history. The dancing, the art, the history, the music, the familial connections, the kinship relationships, the way that we cultivate our understanding of self whoever that is. For me, I hope that whatever I’m doing in five years is helping obviously black students and black people but other people of color as well, understand who they are, making sure they see themselves through their curriculum. Whether that’s being a person who writes curriculum or a teacher at a non traditional school like an Afrocentric school, I really realize education is something I do very well even though I don’t put as much effort in it as I should. But it’s definitely important because a kid who is at Jumpstart [an organization that allows college students to teach preschoolers] age to really understand who they are and affirm who they are before someone else can tell them otherwise can change their whole trajectory of their life. If someone tells you as a kid, as a black child, as a black girl, who you are, that’s absolutely amazing. And to follow wherever their heart goes, not to let anyone else tell you otherwise.

As a kid, you have this very innate sense of wonder and seeing the beauty in everything.

I read this quote once, it goes ‘We need to stop telling children that they can do anything that they set their mind to because it never occurred to them that they couldn’t.’ As a kid, you have this very innate sense of wonder and seeing the beauty in everything. But the world really tries to minimize that and squash that out and then, we don’t create individuals anymore, we create, what [Maulana] Karenga said, ‘vulgar careerists’ who don’t actually want to follow their passion. If you want to do art history, do it! There is a niche out there for you. Don’t let someone say ‘Your degree is trash.’ Especially as an African American studies major. People really try to deter you like it’s unpatriotic or un-American all because I want to learn about myself. If I just got a history, they would still say it’s trash but like ‘it’s cool that you know that history.’ I’m American; I’m a part of that history. My Latino brothers and sisters are a part of that history. My Asian brothers and sisters are a part of that history. So why are you trying to marginalize us and make us feel like slavery was just voluntary and (…). Fuck all that. That’s not what it was. Stop trying to sanitize my history, stop trying to sanitize Martin Luther King, stop trying to sanitize this man and put him on a pedestal. He was a human being just like everyone else. But at the same time, he told America about itself up and down because he was a democratic socialist. But we don’t talk about that. When we learn about economics, we only learn about capitalistic system, we don’t learn about socialism, communism, fascism. We don’t learn about that stuff. We pick and choose what we learn about without also putting lenses on perspectives. So that’s what I want to do in the first five years. That was a very long answer; I’m sorry about that. Also, on the more traditional side of it, I kinda want to be married or engaged.

F: In five years?

I: Yeah! Because I’ve always wanted to get married relatively young. I always wanted to get my degree out the way and almost done with my second. I really want to have kids before I’m thirty. For the first eight years of my life, I was an only child and now I have four other half siblings and two step siblings. I want to be able to have a big family. I’m really trying to mediate that ground but at the same time, not letting the fear of that not happening the way that I want it to talk me out of the things that I really want. I very much want to do everything and do it well and also at the same time, raise four or five children. I feel like that’s extremely possible but it takes finding a partner whose willing to work with you to do that and also being ready to grow as an individual. If I pursue this degree, [he] has to be willing to stay home with the kids so I can do what I do and when I’m done, you can go do your thing. But at least, that way, I can be established so at least, we can take care of our kids while you’re doing your thing as well. I’m very traditional but in a nontraditional way.

F: That’s a very Taurus answer. A very, very Taurus answer.

I: I don’t like gender roles because I think they’re stupid. But I like motherhood and wearing lipstick and nail polish and stuff.

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five | 5.12.16

Anddd… We’re back! Sorry for the short hiatus. But what matters is that we’re here and like Bryson Tiller loves to say, back and so much better, so so much better. One of us has graduated college (!!); the other completed the semester with stellar grades. We’re going to celebrate these accomplishments and our return with a Fleurish Five!

Dream M.

  1. Preston Harris | Good Morning

So long story short, I was perusing Soundcloud, listening to a completely different artist’s catalogue when this popped up in suggested listening. We all know how I love a soft R&B sound…

2. CocoaSwatches

As a dark skinned girl, it’s quite hard for me to buy makeup online. Primarily because it’s difficult to know and see what shade will show up on my skin tone. Most sites use lighter skinned models, making it difficult for me to see how it might work on someone like me. But here is CocoaSwatches to the rescue. The app/site/Instagram enlists the help of brown beauty bloggers to show how newly released makeup might fare on darker skinned women. The app is available to download here on Google Play.

3. Meghal and Natasha

Cool ass makeup tutorials from beautiful brown girls? I’m sold.

Shanté

4. Corinne Bailey Rae – Green Aphrodisiac

New music from one of the artists I played on repeat growing up. Corinne Bailey Rae has such a soft, soulful voice and this track shows her full range. Featuring vocals from the lovely trio KING, ‘Green Aphrodisiac’ will be on Corinne’s follow-up to 2011’s The Love EP. The Heart Speaks in Whispers is due on May 13 (tomorrow!). Also, check out how majestic she looks in this video. We missed you while you were away, Corinne! Considering how much this new work is moving me, it was worth the wait!

5. Veggie Tacos

I’ve been eating a considerable amount of tacos and I’m ok with that! I really enjoy going to restaurants that do Taco Tuesday to get $2 tacos, sometimes for $1 for the veggie ones. #veggielife #mealsfordalow. All jokes aside, put some onions, zucchini, mushrooms or any assortment of veggies on a corn tortilla and I’m sold. Don’t forget the cilantro and hot sauce!

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