Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five: Summer Solstice Edition

Shanté

Happy Wednesday! It’s the beginning of the summer solstice, which means we’ve officially entered Cancer season (and we’re one step closer to Leo season, but I digress). The last month or so has been about introspection for me and I foresee this continuing during the summer. I’ve been getting all of these signs that it’s time for growth, so I’m embracing the summer solstice as a time of continued reflection and maturation.

Summer Solstice Ritual

Delving into my spiritual work is very important for me at the moment; I’m working on trusting myself and my intuition. Per my mom’s influence, I’m beginning a total energy clearing decree tonight, which I will repeat for the next seven days. I’m also going to continue my daily self-care rituals: eating foods I enjoy, listening to music, drinking water, and spending time outside (usually with my crystals). The literature and daily insights of other femmes of color is also highly recommended!

WCW/WCE

I believe that society’s collective Gemini hatred is unwarranted. So many of my faves are Geminis and that includes one of my #WCW, Kelela. I’m celebrating her as we exit Gemini season (although have my sister tell it, it extends to the full month of June). Here’s Kelela, looking alt-babe AF in a recent Niijournal feature.

kelela nii journal by campbell addy

credit: Campbell Addy

I’ve got love for my Cancers too; my other #WCW is Cancer queen and Fleurish fave, Solange. She’ll be celebrating her birthday on the 24th. Also, I’m super excited that she will be performing at Afropunk in Atlanta!

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credit: Robin Eisenberg

Cleo | Charlotte Dos Santos

I’ve talked about Charlotte Dos Santos here before and how much I enjoy her music; she decided to bless this solstice by releasing her debut EP. It has a few songs that I’ve already grown to love and more that I will have on repeat this summer.

Dream

It’s the beginning of summer! I am in a finally hot, sticky, sweaty New York City and I wouldn’t have it any other way– Although I will say, not having ubiquitous central air has certainly humbled me. Summer and I have a deep affection for one another and no matter how many bad ones I’ve had, it never seems to sour. For me, the solstice marks a kick off of endless sunsets and great experiences. Vive el verano!

Rooftop Garden of Met

Only open when the weather permits and most likely hella crowded even then, I had the lovely pleasure of going to the rooftop garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when my friend visited last month. I expected to think it was cool but it never expected it to make me “feel”. I have always said NYC feels different, it vibrates some special frequency and at the top of the MET, our vibrations met once again. The museum is on the outskirts of Central Park and from the roof, the skyline and the park. It’s definitely a must see, must experience quintessential summer view. Here’s my pictures from when I visited. I promise you it feels amazing up there.

 

“Why Don’t We Fall In Love” | Amerie

I’m pretty sure one of everyone’s favorite summer jams but when you’re from the Northeast, I’m sure this song is more special to you. When I hear it, I can feel the icee man with his helado cart, I can hear the screams of the kids playing the streams of the water from a re-appropriated fire hydrant, the jingle of Mr. Softee and loud streaks of the train. Of all the summer classics, it’s the one that most reminds me of roller skating at Riverbank and watching summer sunsets from the train. Even though Amerie doesn’t quite agree, this is the song that makes me want to bust out my short shorts.

How are you welcoming in the summer solstice? What are your summer must-haves? Let us know on Twitter @fleurish1994!

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five: 5.20.17

Shanté

1. That post-grad life.

This time last year, one of us was a college graduate and now both of us are! The day I walked across that stage was the day I felt relieved. My spirit felt lighter and I felt ready to move on. In fact, the day after I finished my finals, my mom did a card reading for me and the first card related to acknowledging that a chapter in my life (in this case undergrad). Through that, I realized that I needed to actively relax after 5 years of school and not move right into something else. Since then, I have been putting in the (light) work to grow on many levels. I’m beginning with decluttering my physical space (think of years of papers and texts I can now discard) and I’ll see where that takes me! As far as enjoying the summer is concerned, I’m digging the path I’m on and finding summer anthems on the way (“Crew” by Goldlink has been on repeat; DAMN. in its entirety is a summer anthem!)

2. “Cold Little Heart”

Now that summer is in, I have so much time to watch new TV series and movies. This past semester, I devoted my time to Six Feet Under. Since completing that, I have caught up on new seasons of other series and watched a few miniseries; I could only make it through the first season of American Crime, which I honestly still need to digest and discuss. One miniseries that I was convinced I needed to see was Big Little Lies. While I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the theme song really captivated me (after it grew on me). Michael Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart” is a tragically beautiful ten minute track with an equally tragic and beautiful video to match (co-starring LaKeith Stanfield). I’m a sucker for long songs and the radio edit is perfect so I can’t lose either way. It’s a good song to practice singing to (or maybe just sing in the shower if that’s more your forté).

3. Deidra and Laney Rob a Train

In my summer haze of picking through Netflix selections, I stumbled upon Deidra and Laney Rob a Train. Besides thinking that it was a kid’s movie, I went into it with little expectations and really enjoyed it. It’s a somewhat satirical crime drama about life in a small town and the desire for more. What I loved was that it situated blackness in a rural area through this family but that their race was not the focus. The family dynamic is interesting (spoiler: the parents are not together anymore but co(s)mically drawn to each other) and the scenarios (robbing trains, pageantry, high school drama) were refreshing through this rural lens. The movie is light-hearted while reinforcing a notion that most kids have no idea the sacrifices that parents make to see them happy.

Dream

It is hot in New York. Hot, hot, hot. New York is crowded and on an average day, a fair amount of heat can lead to what my aunt calls, the ants. Also known as the people who don’t leave the house until they can flood the streets. But that’s what makes New York so much fun. Everyone and everything is out. I’m talking farmer’s markets, brunch spots, roller rinks, all of that. The city just vibrates higher in the heat. So my picks for the week will revolve around my new faves for summer.

4. Mario Badescu Rose Facial Spray

Yes, I admit, I jumped on the bandwagon. If you have an Instagram at all, you probably have seen this pink liquid in a clear bottle with a white label and green font. I am, in short, obsessed. I’m certainly not saying it’s a miracle product but it genuinely has helped my skin. While many contest the efficacy of it, I believe it’s all in the application. I apply after my toner and before my oil and moisturizers and it has left me radiant and hydrated each and every time. It’s perfect for summer, especially in this heat.

5. Heatstroke | Calvin Harris, Young Thug, Ariana Grande and Pharrell // Slide | Calvin Harris, Migos and Frank Ocean

Summer songs are tricky. It has to feel somewhat breezy for daytime but heavy enough for lots of dancing at outdoor night parties. These new songs by Calvin Harris feel like day drinking and brunch parties on green lawns underneath my toes, while wearing a linen sundress with all my friends surrounding parties. They’re kinda classic but new and fun like when I discovered lemon pepper wings for the first time.

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Resources

Women of Color and Mental Health: A Masterpost

The APA has stated for years that women of color are more likely to have a number of socioeconomic risk factors for depression. These include racial/ethnic discrimination, lower educational and income levels, unemployment, and single parenthood. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. The rates of suicidal ideation/attempts among Native American and Hispanic adolescent females are alarming.

These are just a few disparities surrounding mental health in communities of color. Coupled with these statistics is the fact that women of color are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness compared to their white counterparts. Factors that prevent women of color from receiving mental health services include stigma in their communities, socioeconomic status, and previous adverse experiences with mental health services. In order to spread awareness about mental health, race, and risk factors, I have compiled a masterpost of educational links and texts relating to these topics, as well as mental health services and resources. The first step to addressing mental health concerns is the ability to talk openly and honestly about it. Many of the links below are about removing the stigma from mental illness. Feel free to suggest relevant texts and content warnings to keep the list updated.

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Interviews

Love: The Pathway of the Heart – an interview with Julius D. High

Just in time for the calendar day of love, we have an interview with the lovely Julius D. High about his social project Love: The Pathway of the Heart. In 2016, High set out with an Instax Mini camera to photograph people and ask what their interpretation of love is. Since beginning the project, he has garnered the perspectives of folks in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles and Love… was also featured in Dazed. I was already familiar with High and this project after we took a class together (coincidentally, we have the same major and minor). After being introduced by a mutual friend, I was even photographed for Love… and appreciate what the project represents. So, without further ado, here is a peek into the pathway of the heart.

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The artist himself

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five 2.10.17

Shanté

1. Still Processing

This podcast is one of my favorite things right now and I’m glad I finally gave it a chance. When it first came out, I was interested because I follow one of the hosts, Jenna Wortham, on Instagram. With podcasts, however, I have to be able to access it easily on my phone for me to stay involved and I don’t believe it was on Google Play initially (I could be wrong). Something told me to check again last month and there it was! Since then, I have been binge listening and Still Processing is everything I needed in a podcast. Wortham and her co-host Wesley Morris are both writers for the New York Times and the podcast finds them dissecting and discussing various topics – music, art, politics, technology, you name it! What I really love is the fact that it’s two black LGBTQ folks keeping it real and I can totally relate. Some of my favorite episodes are as follows:
– the one about Kanye
– the episode where they visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture aka “Blacksonian
– the one where they put Moonlight and A Seat at the Table in conversation with one another

…honestly all of the segments are worth a listen just to hear the banter and shared admiration between Wortham and Morris.

2. Black History/Futures Month

I love that, in recent years, (and this may just be because I seek out diverse content) there has been more of a focus on the hidden figures of Black history during February. We’ve heard almost all there is to know about Martin. A decent amount about Malcolm – but he was too radical for the public school set. There’s widespread info about Rosa and a few other palatable Black icons. Yet, for those of us who went to public school, we have had to learn the truth about our history once we reach higher education. I have yet to see Hidden Figures but I am so on board with rejecting the whitewashing of history. I also enjoy the concept of Black Futures Month – basically bringing to the forefront the Black people who are doing amazing things today or in more recent history. I think that solely focusing on the Civil Rights era in terms of Black greatness serves a post-racial mentality…one that does not reflect our reality.

Also for me, every month is Black History Month *raises fist*.

3. Charlotte Dos Santos

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I co-host a radio show on my school’s station that features R&B, Neo-soul, and everything in between. One artist I stumbled upon while looking for new music is Brazilian/Norwegian artist Charlotte Dos Santos. I just think she’s doing something so important musically – it’s retro but also very fresh. Her voice is soulful, smooth, and very easy to listen to. She was recently featured on Black Girl Magik, which made me happy; not only for the sake of me knowing more about her but just to know that she is getting some recognition. Below is the video for one of her songs that I can’t get enough of. The video was simultaneously not what I expected but everything I needed.

Dream

4. Jarry The Worst

Make up gurus on YouTube can be a bit annoying, particularly when they all do the same looks over and over and over. But along came Jarry. Jarry, a college student from the Baltimore does these over the top looks and she does it well. It may be more adventurous than my normal eyeliner-highlighter duo but hey, I admire her skills! Her YouTube channel is here.

5. The Cuba Libre story

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So boom. I hate binge watching and I really have to be sitting down with nothing else to do in order to do it. But Fidel Castro’s recent death left me feeling sort of ambivalent and I was twisting up my hair with nothing else to do so I perused Netflix for a pick that wouldn’t leave me too annoyed. Cuba Libre to the rescue. This docu-series really breaks down Cuba’s liberation from multiple perspectives, which gives a fuller picture of how modern day Cuba came to be. Like I said, I don’t binge watch but it did leave me entertained and more informed with nicely twisted hair by the end of the two episodes.

(photos not our own)

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Essays

The Beauty of Aging

It’s popular to say that “black don’t crack,” which, if you’re unfamiliar, refers to how it is often hard to tell a black woman’s age because of visible youth. This is often true and it has been for my family. I dare not reveal my mom and grandma’s ages without their approval, but they are usually not perceived to be the ages that they are. However, this does not remove women of color from experiencing ageism. This is a form of discrimination that can affect both the young and old, but really gets discussed more in terms of obstacles faced by older people. Aging in this society is seen as something that we should not want to do, even though it’s a natural part of life. Why as a society are we ashamed to embrace aging when, one, it’s an opportunity not afforded to everyone and two, with age comes wisdom (for most)? In reflecting on this, I wanted to counter this narrative by showing examples of the beauty of aging.

Style Like U x Allure – Dispelling Beauty Myths

One of my favorite resources for style inspiration and good vibes, Style Like U, recently partnered with Allure for a series titled “Dispelling Beauty Myths.” In this version, the team speaks to Norma Kamali, Michaela Angela Davis, and Joani Johnson – all women of varying ages and backgrounds that provide a positive perspective on aging. Kamali mentions how in her younger age, during the time when society would have deemed her most beautiful/worthy, she was riddled with insecurities. Now, at 71, she feels the most beautiful and she is still very active despite what naysayers would believe about someone her age. Davis, who is in her early fifties, has finally found peace of mind (she calls this sexy!). And can we just talk about Johnson’s fabulous grey hair? Based on the gems provided in this video, I’m curious what wealth of knowledge would come out of a longer conversation with these ladies.

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Moodboards

The Fleurish Girl

Who is the Fleurish Girl?

Here are some examples:

  • a glamour girl with down to earth sensibilities
  • a woman, of any age, who stays true to herself
  • a modern femme with an old soul
  • all of the above and more

The Fleurish Girl is a combination of all the women we’ve ever been inspired by and the women we are becoming. She is the girl whose style and ambition we are perpetually swooning over. She is fly, colorful, wise, emotional, and real. The Fleurish Girl values style as much as she values education. She addresses discrimination and supports justice for all. She is in tune with herself and nature and inspired by all walks of life. Simply put, she is THAT girl.

There are plenty of women who fit this archetype. In no particular order, here are some fabulous women of color who embody the spirit of Fleurish1994: Bianca Jagger, Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange Knowles, Santigold, FKA Twigs, Nadia Aboulhosn, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, Cipriana Quann, Jessica Williams, Nikisha Brunson, Kelela, Sade, Freddie Harrell, Gina Rodriguez, Jillian Hervey, Danielle Brooks, and Destiny Frasqueri (commonly known as Princess Nokia).

Clockwise from bottom left: Janet Mock, Freddie Harrell, Gina Rodriguez, Nadia Aboulhosn, Kelela, Tracee Ellis Ross, Santigold

We admire these women not just for their beauty and style: it’s because of their individual contributions to their communities, the ways that most of these women have brought attention to social causes, and their commitments to living authentically.

But if we are to return to style, the adjectives that describe any of these women at any given time are: classic, edgy, carefree, quirky, and trendsetting. We are always interested in what they are going to do next.

Overall, the Fleurish Girl is someone committed to living in a more creative, diverse, and just world. Every day, we work to cultivate a space that is representative of this spirit. We do this in the hopes that Fleurish Girls can feel affirmed and continue to thrive.

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Moodboards

Fall/Winter Moodboard: Shanté

November is halfway over and we are just experiencing chillier days in Atlanta. However, it’s unlikely that the warm days are gone for good this season. Therefore, my inspirations for the next few months reflects the ever-fluctuating weather.

fall-moodboard

My inspirations are eclectic as always.The overall vibe I’m channeling hardly changes from season to season; just the materials. ‘Eclectic femme’ should be how I describe my style all the time. It was chosen for this moodboard because I’m inspired by boss ladies with funky style, people who take a light-hearted approach to style, and those who embrace the divine feminine.

Right now, I’m feeling fur and leather (preferably faux), jewel tones, velvet, bright eyeshadow, aviator eyeglasses, statement hoop earrings, and black outfits with an accent piece. I’m also inspired by fly hairstyles like braids, Afros, shaved heads and all of the above in fun colors.

First row: Wildfang, India Mitchell For CocainePretti, Farah Yusuf of Mahoyo

Second row: Zodwa by EverydayPeopleStories, Grace Bol for Paula Mendoza

First row: Solange for Michael Kors, Jessica Bentu by William Okoh

Second row: Charly of Chargaux, Cassey Chanel by Nadine Ijewere for Dazed

Third row (going clockwise): Yara Shahidi for Teen Vogue, Alvina Bokhari for Roberto Cavalli, Kiefer Dixon Photography

Going clockwise: IG: @chrismiss_, Yasmin Sewell, Solange for Michael Kors

In addition to the three mini moodboards above, I have created a playlist affectionately titled Boss with the Sauce.

moodboard-playlist

Now that I’ve left you with treats for your eyes and ears, I’m very interested in knowing what other people are into this season. Let us know in the comments or on any of our social media accounts. Look for @fleurish1994 on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.

With love,

Shanté

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Essays

State of America

There are so many words, but simultaneously not enough to describe where we are at right now. I’m referring to personally, interpersonally, nationally, and globally. I have a lot of feelings. But a week post-election, my initial shock and distress has subsided. At this point, my concern is not becoming complacent with the situation. Learning more and challenging/championing certain issues, especially in my own community, is important to me.

Even though I don’t really have all the words, Dream wrote this article for HerCampus the day right after the election. It perfectly sums up how many of us felt on November 9 and how many continue to feel.

Many of us are concerned with how the policies enacted in the next four years will affect us. Just know in these times of uncertainty that it’s important for us to band together, support one another, and allow room for healing. A goal for Fleurish1994 moving forward is for this platform to be one of those healing spaces. If you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see, be it related to healing or otherwise, feel free to let us know.

With Love,

Shanté

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Essays

Send Love.

A tragedy happened yesterday at the university where Dream and I first met and I am deeply saddened by this event. While she has already graduated, I still have a semester or so left. Around the time it happened, I had walked through the area 4 times and had no clue what happened until people at work started mentioning it. There have not been a lot of details shared about this incident and I do not want to get into the details I know, but my thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased and the witnesses.

I would like to take this time to encourage everyone to send love to someone you know. When someone crosses your mind, check in with them. Dream and I are not just collaborators; we are friends with great insight and intuition. When something is up with me, she senses it and checks in with me. I do the same for her; I can tell when she is not responding like she usually does and I send love her way. I can admit that I am often in my own world. I don’t engage with the people that I love as often as I could. But if I think about someone, I take that as a sign that I need to reach out. Just a couple of weeks ago, my grandma was on my mind for days and when I called to tell her that I love her, I could hear the happiness in her voice.

In my opinion, it seems that people are stingy with the word ‘love.’ Or that they feel they have to be reserved about using it. While I understand the reservation as it applies to romantic situations, I encourage people to tell your friends that you love them. And if you feel compelled to tell someone how you feel romantically, do so. Words hold power and sometimes, people need to hear things to feel uplifted. I understand that not everyone has close relationships with their blood relatives, but if there’s anyone in your life that you feel mutually connected to, take the time to express how much it means that they are in your life.

Lastly, I want people to send love inward. It can be hard to love yourself when you are constantly bombarded with messages from society of why you shouldn’t. While the narrative around this is changing, self-love can sometimes be considered selfish and I think we need to completely do away with that form of thinking. If it is hard to outright say ‘I love myself,’ being kind with yourself goes a long way.

With Love,

Shanté

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