Can I just tell you how excited I am about today? It’s the Friday before a Holiday weekend, so we leave work early, AND it’s payday (which really just means that a bunch of white people are about to get my money because bills are a thing). So let’s jump right in and discuss this week’s best looks.
Today was such a good day. Emphasis on was. Ever since the election I’ve been caught in a space between being highly motivated to take responsibility for my life and contribute something good to this world, and crippling fear over what our soon to be President is going to do to this country. Today, I was on the good side of that. I was on the side that my forever President Barack Obama encouraged me to be on per his farewell address. After watching Being Mary Jane, I thanked God for opening my eyes to the fact that it is always a good idea to work on yourself before you commit to someone else. I even wrote a little about it:
“If you subscribe to the beliefs and teachings of any higher power, then at some point in your life you have hopefully endured some experience that showed you the principle of perfect timing. We call it God’s perfect timing, or His perfect plan for our life. This guiding principle gives us peace in knowing that everything we need is ours according to His perfect timing. With that being said, is it so illogical to believe that if I am not in a relationship right now that maybe I don’t actually need that right now?”
As I was typing this, I casually asked a co-worker how she was doing. I could tell from her posture that she was really going to tell me the truth.
“You know at the end of 2016 I told myself 2017 is going to be about me. It’s not gonna be about my kids or my husband, it’s gonna be about me, and that just didn’t happen. I’m telling you Jessica, value this time now. Be present in it, because you’ll never get this time back.”
Feeling even more assured that I am on the right path, I typed this out with such vigor, conviction, and pride. Sometimes we need a reminder that time to ourselves is a valuable commodity that every woman doesn’t have. The love and companionship of another person always seems to be at the forefront of our desires, but I decided a while ago to put myself at the forefront of my desires. I have this time to myself for a purpose. The phase after this is a husband and possibly children, and we all know that one must be selfless in the role of wife and mother. I tell myself all the time I can’t be more eager to commit to someone else than I am to commit to myself. With this burst of energy and certainty, I responded to emails about upcoming events, execution of plans for my brand, and I felt so good adding things to my calendar. And then I really looked at the calendar. I mean I really looked. I looked forward, and I realized that Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that I have to be okay being alone on that day too, and my whole day went to shit.
I don’t care what anybody says, it sucks to be alone on Valentine’s Day. You can be as happy and content in your single life as you want to be, but when Valentine’s Day comes, and everyone around you is getting shit and feeling loved and shit, it sucks. I can’t even solidify plans to have a girl’s night out, because my friends aren’t reliable when it comes to that kind of thing. So I started thinking what can I do by myself that won’t also make me feel lonely? I googled and came up with zero good ideas. I mulled this over in my mind a hundred times. What do I really want to do? What would I want to do if I had a guy? And then I realized that it is a whole ass month away. I climbed down off the ledge in my mind, and said relax bitch, it’s a whole ass month away. Let’s worry about it when it comes. I will check in with you in a month to let you know if I dipped into my 401k to pay a matchmaker. Standby.
Last night’s 2017 Golden Globes awards were amazing, because two of my faves were deservedly honored. Atlanta won for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy, and Donald Glover (the show’s creator) won Best Performance By An An Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. Not bad for the show’s first season. Moonlight won Best Motion Picture Drama and I cannot begin to tell you how happy this made me. Neither Atlanta nor Moonlight exploited black pain, or black violence, or black sexuality, yet they still managed to tackle some very tough issues that we as black people prefer to sweep under the rug. This proves that it is possible to create black art without exploiting the black experience. Who knew?
The first highlight of the evening was Donald Glover thanking Migos, who made a cameo on Atlanta. He didn’t thank them for appearing on the show, or for the award, but for making the song “Bad and Boujee,” which, let’s be honest deserved to be acknowledged.
Now to the fun part. The red carpet. Let’s jump right in.
Fashion Friday 1.6.17
Let’s take a moment for the brown goodness that is Gabrielle Union in Thakoon headed to the premier of the new movie Sleepless.
On Wednesday night my manager/friend/sister Nikki and I did the most New York thing ever. We attended a fencing match between Victoria’s Secret supermodel Adriana Lima and world champion fencer Miles Chamley-Watson that took place in a warehouse where Questlove was the DJ.
Jourdan Dunn’s wigs always stress me out a little, but when she gets it right, the girl gets it right. The designer of this look worn at the British Fashion Awards, Brandon Maxwell, is one of my favorite designers. He strikes the perfect balance between minimalism and glam.
It has been a great season for black television, and I don’t mean BET. I mean black creatives in television are showing out and giving us amazing content we didn’t even know we were missing. I have already sung the praises of Atlanta, but now that Insecure has concluded its first season on HBO (and has been renewed for a second) I have to show major love. Insecure takes place in L.A. with the show’s protagonist Issa (played by the show’s Creator Issa Rae) going back and forth between the guy she’s with, and the guy she’s most attracted to (you know that one trash ass ex who reappears right when you’re happy) while also figuring out how to perform well at a job she’s not sure she should be doing. Her boyfriend Lawrence (played by the ever lovable Jay Ellis) is down on his luck and trying desperately to get it together, which puts an even greater strain on an already lackluster relationship that has kind of plateaued. Meanwhile, Issa’s best friend Molly (played by Yvonne Orji) is a successful lawyer with an amazing wardrobe who is climbing the legal (?) ladder, but whose love life looks like one long, endless Drake song. She has taken L after L in the relationship department, and discovers (through some tough love via Issa that she is actually the problem).
A few things I loved:
Moonlight is by far one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Not just in the realm of black movies, but period. There was so much care taken to tell the layered story of a young black boy growing up in Miami, trying to understand his sexuality and survive, but without the exploitative factor. The movie stars Naomi Harris, (whose red carpet game is beyond notable) Trevante Rhodes, (one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen) and Mahershala Ali (one of my favorite actors). For once, the young black kid is not saved by a well-meaning white woman, in fact, there aren’t any visible white people in the entire film. There are no shoot outs, or gang violence, or hyper sexualized black bodies. There are moments of high emotional intensity, endearing characters, and a true, but careful exploration of a very specific, yet often occurring black experience. At its core, it is a love story. It is not the usual love story that comes with most movies, black or otherwise. Moonlight is the story of how all of the love we receive or don’t receive shapes who we really are.
Set in Miami, Moonlight is broken into three parts of the main character’s life: Little, Chiron, and Black. At each phase, he is trying to find himself and where he belongs in the world, in his world. We see the effects of the crack epidemic on black families, the fallout of the fragility of the black male ego and how it impacts their expressions of their sexuality, and the impact of kindness and mentor-ship. We see that every hero in a child’s life is not a perfect being, nor do they have to be to make a difference in that child’s life. We see that when boys are not allowed to cry, to explore, and/or express their feelings that, that suppression manifests itself in painful ways. There was so much care taken with this story to make sure the focus was where it should be, and that’s what gave it such depth.
Initially I was very taken aback by the fact that the theater in which I saw this film was filled with white people. I felt that weird embarrassment that some of us feel when the word nigga is used in mixed company. But the thing is, that’s who needs to see these stories the most. Our spirits are fed by seeing authentic depictions of black life, but their minds are. We are so often just preaching to the choir when we discuss the black experience amongst ourselves. Those conversations are necessary and beneficial within our circles, but for positive change to happen, it’s important for those outside of our community to see films like Moonlight, and to learn about what it means to be black in America. It’s important for others to see the world through our eyes, from our perspective, with our voice, without the unnecessary displays of black pain. Please go support this movie, and learn something about an experience that may differ from yours.
View the trailer below.
This week I came across two stories on two very different people, from two different industries who shared a huge commonality in their success stories. One that I’m sure most successful people can attest to: greatness in your career is determined by the things you do behind the scenes when no one is watching.
The first piece was Letter to My Younger Self written by former NBA star (and my crush when I was little) Ray Allen. The second piece was a feature at the Business of Fashion discussing Miroslava Duma’s career in fashion media. I had been following her street style photos for months not knowing who the petite Russian fashion enthusiast actually was, only to learn shortly thereafter that she’s a freakin’ boss.
Self care is one of those buzz words that just won’t go away, and for good reason. Most of us don’t do enough self care, because we’ve all mindlessly submitted to the belief that if you aren’t constantly tired, you’re not working hard enough. It’s like you feel guilty for spending all Saturday in your underwear watching Netflix and ordering takeout. Unlike most people, I will never see getting my nails done as a form of self care. Nail shops are a mind phuck resulting in anxiety and constant questioning of social norms. I don’t look forward to the process of getting my nails done at all. I almost equate it to getting a Pap smear in that it’s terribly uncomfortable, the person performing the task is talking at an awkward time, and I just want it to be over. Here’s a list of things I hate that nail shop.
- Choosing a nail color. This shouldn’t be that hard, yet I feel like it’s a race against time to choose a color I’ll be okay with for two whole ass weeks. As soon as you walk in the nail tech tells you to choose a color, and if you take too long they judge you. BUT, if you choose a color you don’t like and ask them to change it, they judge you. I always want to say, “Hey I have commitment issues, so can I have some time and space to really get to know this color?”
- The up charge math. Moment of honesty, I suck at math. I am convinced the nail tech knows this, and lures me into all of these up-charges that she knows I’m going to lose track of. One minute I’m at a total of $25 for a fill in, and by the time I leave I need to take out a small loan, because they’ve charged me to take off my old polish, cut down my nails, add a quick dry top coat, and somehow a massage got thrown in there. In your mind you’re thinking it’s only an extra $3, then an extra $6, and next thing you know you’re washing towels in the back to cover your debt.
- The stare down. Have you ever gotten stared down by the other nail techs in the salon who aren’t doing anyone’s nails? They stare at your nails during the entire process, and you don’t know if you should be flattered or concerned. Then other techs start coming out the back to gawk at you too. What the hell is happening here?
- Cuticle cutting. I cannot look while they cut my cuticles. I just don’t understand how they know where to stop, and I am terrified they are going to strike blood. It literally makes my palms sweat to watch that, so I casually look away.
- The tip Nazis. Until I moved to New York, I had never been shamed into tipping. These salon owners play no games. They will tell you, you didn’t tip enough, to which I say bull shit! I always over tip, because I know they expect for me not to tip at all. A friend of mine was literally told she couldn’t leave a salon until she tipped more. Crazy right?!
- Angry patrons. I hate it when hood and/or entitled people show out in the nail shop. It’s so embarrassing. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it really is. You sit there and cringe while they curse the nail tech out for reasons no one understands, and then you end up over tipping and being overly nice to compensate for the actions of the women you don’t even know.
- The emergency shop. Going to a new salon, because you can’t get to your regular place, and realizing shortly thereafter that you’ve made a terrible mistake is one of the worst experiences in womanhood. You realize really quickly that this place is not up to par, but you’re in too deep to tell them to stop, and really you just want to run out of there screaming like a busty white chick in a horror film.
- The Questionnaire. I have left the nail shop before in a state of existential crisis, because my nail tech has started asking me questions about life that I can’t answer. It starts off so harmless.
Nail Tech: You’re not married?
Nail Tech: Why not? You’re such a pretty girl. Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Who sent you? Did my mom put you up to this? I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M SINGLE!!! *Flips table and knocks everything off shelves, then turns into She Hulk and renders entire city destitute.
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