Having the Biggest Afro Physically Possible [and other things you will deal with]

I stan for my natural hair. Once an avid relaxer fangirl, I now shout “YASSSSSSSSSSSS” really loudly any time I see a natural proudly rocking her kinks. I’ve also received so many compliments on my extremely nappy and puffy hair that I have no darns to give about folks who feel natural hair is inappropriate for school, work, church, Big Mama’s dinner table, whatever. If you don’t believe black women should be “running round here nappy-headed” well you know avoid me at all costs because I’m basically the nappiest-headed of them all.

It’s one of those things that you just have to accept when you choose to associate with me. If you don’t like it, that’s fine.
Over It

Here’s a list of other things that you should be prepared to deal with when dealing with me. Otherwise you can politely exit, stage left.

My Love of Makeup and My Passion for Feminism

“If you love yourself so much why do you pile all that makeup on your face?” “Aren’t you a feminist? Feminist hate men right? If you’re not putting your makeup on for men, who are you putting it on for?”

I’ve never been asked these things directly, but I know people who have. I’ve also seen several comments on the interwebs regarding women who have a feminist politic and choose to powder their nose. Yes, there are feminists who don’t wear makeup or paint their nails or wear high heels. Good for those women. Guess whose not one of those women? You guessed it. So why do you think you’re gonna dismantle over a year of feminist learnings and beliefs by pointing out that I wear makeup? Are your beliefs so easily swayed? Didn’t think so. Stop attempting to destroy the things I, or any other person, align myself with. Is my makeup affecting your feminism? Is my makeup attacking your attachment to patriarchy? 

Well we ain’t got a thing to discuss.

My Deconstruction of Whatever Foolery you Tryna Propagate

If you walk into a room and yell something like “I don’t understand why all you angry black women are hating on Miley. Why you can’t let her, Iggy Azaelea, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke do what y’all do without any social repercussion and be happy for them?”

I’m going to first hit you with this:

See, Naomi know my struggle

See, Naomi know my struggle

Then I’m going to hit you with this:

My President ain't got time for it either

My President ain’t got time for it either

 

Lastly, I’m going to read you for filth. Not only will I give you a quick history of appropriation in the western world. I’m also going to drag you for knowingly saying something so ignorant. There are several articles on the internet that will inform you on any social issues. So many that there is absolutely no reason  for you to be walking around stirring the pot. If you don’t like being called out on your foolishness when you know darn well that it is 100% Grade-A nonsense well you need to never cross my path.

I have more than one side

Somedays I want to talk about the wonders of Breaking Bad and the intricacies of the state of healthcare in the United States. Other days I want to revel in the goodness of Janelle Monae and Nicki Minaj and some days I want to listen to “O.G. Bobby Johnson” six times in a row. I’m a diverse human being, like most people, and I can’t promise that I’m going to be who you want me to be any given day.  All I can be is Brianne and if you were looking for philosophical Bri and got ‘Started from the Bottom’ Bri instead….

...my bad

…my bad

I Wasn’t Put on this Earth to Make You Comfortable

This one sounds self-explanatory. Yet, people still have the tendency to get all up in their feelings when someone speaks their truth. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be understanding and conscientious of your words, but don’t let some one’s feelings get in the way of you sharing your reality to the world.

That’s all I got folks! Let me know what people have to accept when they come across you.girlllllll

Hope summer is treating you right and you ain’t been left outchea,

-Briizy Bri

“So I tell you, when you pray for something, believe that you have already received it. then it will be yours. And when you stand praying, forgive anyone you have anything against. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins.”- Mark 11:24-26

You Should’ve Left It To Beaver [on romanticizing the past]

Every day there is a new reason why I should just delete my Facebook account and never log on to that website again. The only thing keeping me on there is because FB was more or less shooting with me in the gym regarding my social media life. And you know how it is when somebody was with you shooting in the gym…Chris Jamming

But regardless of being with someone from shooting in the gym sometimes you gotta cut some social media outlets off especially when that social media outlet refuses to let your intellectual spirit be great with its foolishness. The latest trend that has me rolling my eyes is the barrage of articles that have these annoying click bait titles (“The Second I Got Married, I Realized I Shouldn’t be Married” blah blah I’m basic blah blah please click my article blah blah this is going to be about the exact opposite of what the title reads) and then proceed to talk about some foolishness I either don’t give two damns about or just wholeheartedly disagree with.

Usually I scroll past these articles but there was one that came across my timeline that was being praised by Black Christian Facebook that although I knew I was going to despise I read it anyway. The title was something like “[ambiguous number that the author made up] things that women should start doing again[ or should have never stopped or should at least look like they do or else they'll die old and alone]“. It was written by a black woman (so I wanted to metaphorically support her and let her be great] but, of course, the top things on the list was cooking, cleaning, and looking good for her man. And her reason for why women should behave like this is because back in the day women put time into themselves and you never saw women on 50′s Tv shows behaving like that…

For real? That's what we basing our behavior off of now?

For real? That’s what we basing our behavior off of now?

M’am.

First thing to remember about “50′s TV shows”, those women were white. Like the whitest most stereotypical white women you ever did see were presented on the TV. That ain’t our history, that ain’t our struggle.

but we young black women though

but we young black women though

Do you know what most black women were doing while Lucy and Mrs. Cleaver was cleaning the home and cooking these elaborate meals and keeping themselves up?

Working.

‘Cuz they ain’t the luxury nor the income to be playing Mrs. Cleaver. Another thing, these women were on TV SHOWS. Depictions put out by the people who control the media. Know what that means? THE STUFF AIN’T REAL!

If you’re basing how you treat your man or how you run life off what white folks decided they wanted to tell the world about marriage and domestic life 60 years ago, girl you are on a smooth road to being outchea. Wanna know what part they left out the depression and drug problems the magical mythical housewife had back in the day, but I’m sleep though.

There’s nothing wrong with cooking and cleaning and being cute for your man…if THAT’S what you want to do. But there’s no golden rule on what you should be doing as a wife or a partner in order to be perfect. Just like there is nothing wrong with a man cooking or cleaning or taking care of the housework if that’s the arrangement you two have regarding your relationship, but I’ll be damned if I’m round here cooking (which is very much not my favorite thing to do) and cleaning (which I also despise most days) and killing myself to stay fine (and he over here looking like Homer Simpson) just because somebody told me that’s what a woman should do.

I’m all for treating your man like a KING, girl do you thang, but best believe he is treating me like a Queen in return. Because that ‘s the foundation of successful relationships, not just romantic ones but ALL relationships, giving and taking and having it balance out somewhere. I may have to compromise and cook a couple of nights out the week but I’d expect my man to be cleaning that week or washing my car or something. I’m not gonna just be doing all this work because Leave It To Beaver told me so.

Neither should you! Don’t live your life based off what the older folks tell you about “back in their day.” I’m not saying ignore your elders or ignore the wisdom of people who’ve walked the road before you but always take into account that people romanticize their childhood. EVERYONE romanticizes their youth.

Don’t believe me?

Have you been within a five foot radius of any person born between 1988 and 1995?

Born in 1990, I can say with no shame that 90′s kids are the WORST at “back when I was a kid things were so much better.” For some reason, we love to highlight Super Mario Brothers and the prevalence of great hip hop and ignore parachute suits, video game cartridges that you had to blow in to make work, and the prevalence of those weird cartoons that I’m sure had to be made by people who were very open to various types of drugs.

People will have you living a lie and wondering why your life ain’t going the way it’s supposed to all because you’re trying to live up to what used to work in their day (if it ever did work). I’m just saying don’t be outchea living your life or striving for days of exaggerations past because you believe you’ve missed out on some great time. God placed you on this earth at this time for a reason and you better go out and make the Creator proud by living your life and balling out the way YOU want to, not the way big mama, Uncle Elroy, random clueless blogger, and Pastor so-and-so told you should.

Go forth and prosper, freedom fighters!

Look at 2 Chainz taking life by the reins

Look at 2 Chainz taking life by the reins

vogue on the romantics and the haters

vogue on the romantics and the haters

 

Peace, Love, and Freedom,
-Briiiiiiiizy aka @kewl_briize aka The Chocolate Girl with The Masters Degree aka she gonna be a doctor

 

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come”- Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

Talk that stuff now roll with it [and other ways to be responsible with your words]

I am a talker.

I always have been. I used to talk so much that when I was younger that my mother would literally have to ask me to let her exercise in peace for 30 minutes and then promise the rest of the evening was mine to talk about whatever I wanted to. Sad right?

Well as I advanced in school and started taking discussion based questions I started to realize that you don’t really always have to have something to say. Sometimes it’s fine to just not share everything that’s on your mind. Particularly since I was never one to want to stay a minute longer in a classroom than necessary, I always despised the people that over shared or had a question right at the end of class.

But we all know those people who DO believe that they should share everything in their head with the world. There are certain people who I’ve come across that believed it a little too hard when someone told them at some point in their life that their opinion and their voice mattered. And I am in no way saying that people’s voice don’t matter. I’m saying that not EVERY opinion matters. Sorry friends, it just doesn’t.

It’s like when someone posts a long Facebook status about how Donald Sterling isn’t the only racist NBA owner…

Oooh thanks for the novel interjection, never heard that one before

Oooh thanks for the novel interjection, never heard that one before

And I must admit that I’ve probably been that person at some point in time. Contributing a bit too much, saying more than needed, speaking over folks who probably had better stuff to say, but as I grow older and more conscious of the power of my voice and the weight it can sometimes carry I’ve become more conscientious about what I say and when I say it in public forums. But sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re the person who’s sharing too much and using their voice a little too loudly so this post is for you and here are a few tips on how to use your voice a little more wisely!

Is this REALLY something that needs to be said?

So there is plenty of time before one lends their voice to the greater conversation for her to think about what she’s going to say and how she’s going to say it. Value this time, cherish this time and really mull over if what you are planning on saying is something that needs to be said.

Ask yourself these simple questions:
Will the lives of the people listening to me be changed for the better because of what of I say?
Do the people listening to me actually care about what I’m saying?
If I were the people listening to me would I actively listen or pull up twitter on my phone?

If the answer to any of these questions are no [or in the last case pull up twitter on my phone] then you probably shouldn’t say what you were thinking about saying because no one cares and people just outchea tryna learn and enjoy their lives, not listen to you talk about how when you were in middle school, you too felt the struggle experienced by Jean Valjean in Les Mis and how that crafted you into the academic you are today and how that vaguely but not really connects to what we were talking about.

Am I talking over or potentially silencing someone else?

I’ve been in enough forums and discussion-based lectures to notice a certain class-dynamic pattern. There’s always ONE or TWO people who will answer ALL THE QUESTIONS and CONTRIBUTE ALL THE OPINIONS, then there are like 4-10 people who will contribute occasionally if the talkers are sick, or missing class, or the teacher has explicitly stated that they can’t talk anymore, and then there’s the rest of the class that are either too shy, too bored, too busy on facebook, or too unenthused about school in general to contribute anything. For those too shy, they may be intimidated by the talker and feel they have nothing to contribute because you, a talker, have pretty much said it all and even if you didn’t say it all, you’ll probably have something to say about what they’re saying and that might just be too much for them. If you have been talking ALL class you should probably open the floor up for others to contribute.

If you spend the entire time when some one else talking, thinking about what you’re about to say instead of listening to them well you probably need to calm down a bit and just take a break from contributing to the class. Because although it looks like everyone is nodding and agreeing with you what they’re really thinking inside their heads is:

Pleassssse for the love of everything pure and holy stop talking

Pleassssse for the love of everything pure and holy stop talking

I know you sound great to yourself but really people are tired of hearing your voice.

Has this been said already?

There’s this trend in public spaces where people feel the need to say something, ANYTHING even if that includes saying something that has been said already for the fifty-leventh time. Seriously if you start the phrase off with “just like Akbar said…” and then you proceed to say exactly what he just said in YOUR own way, then you LITERALLY have just repeated something that the world has already heard before. If you are expanding upon a previously stated thought and adding a nuanced interpretation of it well then great, go forward in what you are saying but otherwise:

seriously just stop

seriously just stop

Am I doing this to make people like me or make them think I’m funny/cool/interesting etc.?

Peer pressure is real y’all and every one wants to be liked. EVERYONE. If you say you don’t, well you’re lying because you may be so deep and cool and enlightened that “only God can judge you” and you “asked God to take away your enemies and you started losing friends” [or whatever the hell else y'all say in Instaquotes] but every one wants to be liked/loved/appreciated by somebody. I get it. And there are some of us who want to be liked a little bit more than others by our peers and we will use any opportunity to show people that we’re clever or cool or funny.

There is a time and place for such events and in the middle of this class or public discourse is not that time nor that place. It’s kinda like the class clown in middle school who would do anything for laughs even if it meant disrupting the teacher and/or other students and after the fifth “accidental falling out of chair” the rest of the class was just like:

not funny

So yeah, the same thing applies here. We don’t need you to prove to us how funny you are, by the dumb/pointless things you say in class. Honestly, if we’re in a public forum or college-level class we probably don’t care about your existence outside of this class, no shade, but you know you and your sense of humor are not that important to us.

Well that’s all I got friends. Any other ways that people can prevent themselves from being THE TALKER? Let me know in the comments section.

Love,

Brini-weenie

“So let me give you some advice. Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their plans and actions are only human, they will fail. But if their plans come from God, you won’t be able to stop these men. you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”-Acts 5:38-39

 

 

On Perfection [and Sally Ride]

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it”- Zora Neale Hurston

[Disclaimer: I'm writing this for anyone who have felt like the world or the people around them was too much, but I'm writing it from the perspective of a black woman. I hope you can find your truth in here somewhere even if you don't look like me]

I’m currently having a brilliant day and on this day I decided to venture around my neighborhood and dig into this phenomenal book of poetry titled Job’s Daughter: The Adventures of Trill Yeezy by a 20-something black woman from New York. Her words have been moving me since I started reading the book a couple weeks ago but there was one particular set of lines that spoke to me so deeply that I damn near fell out:

“Pick up my own bed and walk
In the name of my own transgressions, beautiful
By any other name
Make sure you call me God to my face, I never desired the
name Khadijah, never wanted to be the favorite wife
Never desired to offer a man my life”

basically after reading that:

dancing soccer

If you’re not aware of the Khadijah reference, long story short she was the Prophet Muhammad’s wife and is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of Islam”. I am in NO WAY any type of expert on Islam, actually I am not even remotely familiar with the major tenets of the faith but I do know that Khadijah is very widely revered and loved and a lot of it has to do with her being the favorite and first wife of the Messenger of Allah aka the Prophet Muhammad. She also by the end of her life, left all her wealth so that Islam may grow and prosper. There is truly nothing more noble and honorable than that.

Basically what Yaya, the author of this book of poetry, is saying is that she doesn’t want to be put upon a pedestal for what she is to an even more important man. She does not want the burden of queendom or the Matriarch or being the best of all the other women. She takes no joy in such titles or such praise. From one black woman to another, this line just resonated with me so much because so many times I’ve been an ideal. I’ve been a fantasy. I’ve been the backbone of another man’s, particularly a black man’s,dreams. And I’m gonna admit it right now that it’s exhausting and it sucks and I don’t want to do it ever again.

I’m not referencing the commonly used image of a controlling partner trying to change everything about so that he can feel powerful in controlling and changing you [even though I've dealt with that]. No I’m referring to the more subtle ways in which I’ve bent and flexed and fit myself to fit people’s requirements of what they need me to be. I’ve had male friends refer to me as someone who “teaches them so much about themselves” or who “didn’t deserve me because I was always so caring and a great listener and was there for them no matter what”. I’ve been the best friend someone could ever need me to be, I’ve been there to listen to their sorrows, let them cry on my shoulder, and complain about their day, and share their hopes and dreams, all in the name of being there and never letting a black man feel like he was alone in the world. And these different descriptions of me as a friend can very safely be considered compliments and testaments to my character but I also realize that at some points the friendships became more about the compliments and what I was to them and less about me as a human being. Me as a person, me as someone deserving of the same love and attention and care that I was so intentional about giving to them. Me as more than a teachable moment.

And from early on, I’ve been taught to be everything he needs you to be. Whether that HE be the church or another man or the commonly referenced gender of the Creator. Whatever you do, be there for HIM. Fill his gaps. Make him feel like a man, never encroach upon his manhood or make him feel less like a man. Which is problematic for a number of reasons, but the ultimate reason is that it completely silences my humanity. It’s very hard to focus on nurturing and caring for one’s self when you are making sure you’re properly holding the world around you together so that no person around you feels less than they should be. So that no person around you should ever feel inadequate or uncomfortable or like they are a burden to you…even if they are.

I’ve seen pictures and statements made by black men and women that more or less says that we should treat our women [black women] with respect and dignity and like queens because they will birth the future kings of our society. On the surface that may seem like a good notion…to some people, maybe? But at the root of that is the importance and dignity of black women resting upon her contingency and usefulness to black men. Are we less worthy of dignity and respect if we choose not to birth any one let alone the “kings” of our society? If we choose to never marry and devote our lives to spreading light and love through the love of ourselves and the world around us, do we not get the honored and revered by our fellow brothers and sisters? I know that is not the point of statements like these but it is these types of statements that perpetuate the notion that black women, or women in general, are only as useful as what we can do and produce for the men around us and I’m sorry I’m worth more than that.

i deserve more than that.

I’ve spent a good 15-20 years of my life being strong for whatever reason. Because I am a black woman, and we are strong, we are so strong that we are damn near indestructible. We’re every woman and it’s all in us, right? Your hurt, your pain? Give it to us and we will make sure that it not only goes away but that you never have to see the pain ever again because we will take it into ourselves and make sure you never feel incomplete ever again. I learned pretty early in the game to not let them see you sweat. You suffer in silence. You shed your tears when no one is looking and if you are broken you never let the people who broke you see the damage because at the end of the day you gotta be strong. You can never let go of being strong. Even through tears, and hurricanes, and being ignored, and being silenced, and being told you’re good but I want better and by better I mean someone who is not you, you can’t let go of being strong. You can never break because God will never give you more than you can bear and we made it through slavery so you can make it through this minimal, unimportant hurt that you feel right now. Because Black women are basically Superwoman incarnate.

well.

I gave up being Superwoman about a year ago and I’m pretty sure I burned my cape, buried it in my back yard, and salted the ground I buried it under so nothing could grow there. There’s nothing wrong with strength and because I am human I do have an endless amount of it but I also have a lot of other emotions inside of me that I have a right to feel and understand and bear to the world because it is not my job to keep the sky from falling.

Janelle Monae sings in the song Sally Ride” that “I’m packing my spacesuit and I’m taking my shit and moving to the moon” and closes the song with “I know you love me but I’m still going”. Sometimes you have to leave certain people and causes and relationships behind because they ask too much of you and even when you tell them how exhaustive they can be they continue to pull at you and drain you and suck all your life force. you don’t love them any less because you leave, sometimes you just have to prioritize your well being.

You don’t owe it to anyone to absorb their hate and their pain for the sake of being a good woman/friend/wife/associate/coworker. There’s so much hate thrown at us as and we take so much of it on, because we don’t want to be a killjoy or seem like the one who doesn’t get the joke or seem selfish or seem like you’re asking for too much. If you don’t want to listen to that sexist, racist joke…don’t. It’s not funny to you, it’s harmful to you, and anyone with good sense will tell you to not gladly accept poison so don’t. You don’t want to hide your tears caused by your partner’s dismissal of your efforts to make them happy..don’t. Your feelings matter.

Anyways, this was a rant but I felt the need to publish it because there’s too many of us slowly suffering in silence and letting the world and the expectations of the people around us send us into early graves.

If no one told you they love you to day…

I lOVE you!

I lOVE you!

dancing

Peace and blessings and all the things that bring you joy,

Bri

“Their strong hands couldn’t give me any help. That’s because their strength was gone.”-Job 30:2

 

20 Feet Tall [and other ways that we run the world]

On the tail end, it’s the 31st and there’s less than two hours of March left on the East Coast, of the month of March I had to come write a blog about…WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH!!!!! If you didn’t know it was women’s history month, well it’s not too late to- actually yes, yes it is too late celebrate because you know it’s practically April-but I’m guessing it’s kinda like Black history in that you can celebrate 365 if you want to…maybe. Anyways, March was women’s history month and of course, being the crazy little black feminist that I am I had to dedicate my March post to the ladies and our complete awesomeness.

I’m currently in the process of composing and polishing off the first draft of my thesis, which is a black feminist analysis of the works of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Janelle Monae, and Erykah Badu. Through the analysis of their latest albums I’ve been up to my eyeballs in black feminist glory and I love it. Digging through the sexual freedom of Beyoncé and the revolutionary nature of The Electric Lady is pretty much the most awesome research I’ve done up to this point. And as I watch Erykah Badu challenge groupthink in her “Window Seat” video or listen to Nicki as she out raps and earns the respect of her male counterparts, I can’t help but think My God women are awesome.

As Bey once sang “strong enough to bear the children and get back to business” and even if we don’t bear the children-which we are under no obligation to do & should only do if we so choose-we’re still amazing. We face the multitude of barriers put in front of us and we push through and survive. It’s not always pretty, and it’s not always appealing or attractive to our male counterparts but hey we make it. I, of course, can only speak from a black middle class perspective, but I know enough lower class and upper class women who-although their struggles are different- have resisted the titles and stereotypes and expectations pressed upon them. Patricia Hill Collins notes the goal of black feminism is to work toward group survival and institutional transformation and I must say I’ve seen enough surviving and transforming to know that we are well on our way to some type of black feminist glory. And if the thought of black women, or any women, fighting for their rights as a woman with the same vigor and passion that they do as they fight for their rights as people of color, or their rights as an impoverished person ,or any other intersection of marginalization intimidates you or bothers you or “rubs you the wrong way” or troubles your sensibilities, well:

That's me caring about your bothered sensibilities

That’s me caring about your bothered sensibilities

and that's side eyeing you for getting in the way of my revolution

and that’s me side eyeing you for getting in the way of my revolution

And while you’re over there being a hater and holding fast to your patriarchy, me and the rest of the awesome women who are fighting the power and staying strong in the struggle will just be over here like:

yup

yup

and like this too:twerk in the mirror

Because we are women, hear us roar.
Badu opens her New Amerykah 2 album with the song “20 Feet Tall” where she says “and then I recall I’m 20 feet tall”. And that has always encouraged me because sometimes we get beat down-by whether we’re keeping our weight in a good place or whether we’re being supportive enough friends or if we have the right amount of makeup on to make it look like we don’t have any makeup on [so that all the rappers who want us to "stop hiding behind our makeup" will stop devoting four minute plus songs to us and assuming that we have self esteem issues because we wear makeup and weaves] or if we’re being good mothers or if we’re balancing the right amount of stoic so that our male counterparts won’t dismiss any valid point, we’re making in either an argument or in the workplace, as us being “too hormonal or emotional” with the right amount of feelings so as not to be mistaken for the cold hearted wicked witch of the West- and we forget that we are in fact magnificent.

That we are capable of any thing we put our minds to, and not just being the best wife ever or being the mother that your {hopefully} non-misogynistic sons will dedicate Proverbs 31 to, but really ANYTHING we put our minds to. We can be President, if you know the U.S. decides to tuck in its misogyny, or we can raise our kids on welfare and minimum wage and still get up in the morning even though as soon as you turn on the news you’ll probably be bombarded with elitist, classist propaganda that you’re only poor because you choose to be. Yet you go on about your day, you put in your hours, you do what you got to do and you try your hardest to not internalize the hatred. As Janelle Monae sings, “Carry on Ghetto Woman, I see you working night to morning… carry on ghetto woman cuz even though they laugh and talk about the clothes you wear….and when you cry, don’t you know I am crying with you…oh ghetto woman hold on to your dreams and all your great philosophies you’re the reason I believe in me”. And that’s true, we are all the most fantastic beings to be placed upon this earth by God herself and we should never ever forget that.

So even though I’m late I just had to come and give my fellow ladies a shout out because we’re awesome. Look at the leader of “doing the damn thing”, Maria Stewart. The first woman, of ANY race, to speak to a co-ed audience was Maria Stewart, like back in the 1800s when women couldn’t vote and there’s good chance blacks weren’t free. She was a devoted abolitionist and she before her life ended she opened two schools for free African American children in DC. She was THAT deal and she is female history and black history. We’ve been doing magnificent, life-altering, powerful stuff for centuries women, and we got a ton of centuries left to keep making change and fighting the patriarchy.

Never forget you’re 20 feet tall.

swagging

Stay vigilant and know that She is always standing beside us,

Bri

P.S. if you’re thinking of letting the phrase “but what about the men” slip from your mind to the keyboard, just don’t

“They were around me on every side. But by the Lord’s power I destroyed them.”- Psalm 118:11

 

 

 

You’re Blinded by the Fashion [and other ways WSPS is infringing on my liberty]

Let me start this post off by saying, HAPPY BLACK FOLKS MONTH YALLLLLLL! There’s just Black Excellence Recognition everywhere. On my instagram there’s a black history month challenge going on where people are supposed to post a different Black Great everyday and I’m seeing all kinds of people I knew nothing about. Between that and Tumblr and the Black history Calendar I have on my way it’s just one great Black People be Great party for me right now. And y’all know how I feel about Black People being great

and some of this too

and some of this too

Anyways, on to the actual topic of discussion!

A very close friend of mine is a fashion-fiend.

And not just, “ooh my clothes and my shoes and my hair accessories coordinate” [which is pretty much what I pat myself on the back for whenever I actually accomplish it-which is seldom] but legitimately reads fashion magazines, stays informed of the latest styles from fashion week, and has a list of her favorite fashion houses [I didn't even know fashion designers and their body of work were even called "houses" until like a week ago] so basically fashion is seriously her thing.

 Recently she informed me of the rampant and overt racism that is ever-present in the industry. Not just “oh we’re going for a different look” but designers blatantly telling people to their faces that “they won’t put you in a show because you’re black [or of brown color]“. Which is truly a travesty, but of course to my ever-watching for racism ears it was like hearing that the sky was blue. It was THAT un-shocking to me because almost every component of the Western World (U.S.A., Europe, anywhere where folks decided to colonize FROM) functions that way. Some may be a bit more tactful about their exclusionary practices but they are exclusionary and discriminatory nonetheless.
To have a industry that is built on not only the exclusion of people of color-who make up the MAJORITY of the entire globe- but also the simultaneous pushing of the minority’s physical qualities as the standard (Euro-centric beauty standards) of what the world should try to live up to is absolutely ludicrous.
So you mean to tell me that some fashion houses would not let Luptia N’yongo, who is “Yes Gawd, You Better Werk” personified, model their clothes on a runway…..

Really though?

Really though?

I wrote about something similar last February regarding Kerry Washington being the first black woman in 40 years to be the lead in a primetime network television program but it all boils down to the fact that everything matters. The faces we see in magazines, the people we see on our TV screen, the complexity of the stories of people who look like us in movies. All of this matters. And if out the womb, you’re constantly being bombarded with images that seem to praise every type of look except the way that you look. You’re gonna start feeling some type of way. So if I love fashion-live it, breathe it, dream about it-but when I look in all the top fashion magazines, see the models on the runways, and listen to the ways designers talk about the perfect “look” (which is almost across the board long, flowing “flexible” hair, stick thin with minimal curves and “fairer” skin type) I’m going to start self-hating one way or another.

And we all know self hate can only lead to this:

no one wants this

no one wants this

Seriously, no one has time to outchea like that.

These were the conundrums our ancestors were in. Looking everywhere for representations of themselves and coming up short.

So you wanna know what they did?

They said ‘screw your Eurocentric beauty standards and the boat they rode in on, we gonna make our own industries’ [this is a loose interpretation, i have no proof that any of my ancestors-literal or figurative-said anything like this]. And that they did, they started their own magazines {Jet/Ebony etc.}, their own clothing lines, their own music and all that jazz. But see there seems to be this pesky little problem with oppression, it won’t let people who don’t follow the rules make it. Or at least not very far [Granted there are several black entertainment publications and hair magazines and other types of industries and models, but no where near as many as there should be]. And the easiest example I can think of oppression trying to not let folks make it is the “othering” of things that are not explicitly Euro-centric. So you have phenomenal movies [like Best Man Holiday or Friday or Boyz n da hood] or awesome magazines [like Ebony or Jet] being categorized as “black things” or things geared solely towards black people and therefore not for everyone. Just because a movie isn’t directly made for you doesn’t mean you can’t watch it or enjoy it. Hell, if that was the case I wouldn’t be able to watch 97% of the moveis/tv shows I watch. And before you get all but non-black movies are made for a “wider audience”/ “speak to the human experience not just the black experience” please show me how any of my humanity was informed by the lives of any of the women in sex and the city, or any of the people on friends or any of the “problems” of the Great Gatsby. Don’t worry I’ll wait….

The point is, if you can’t make room for people of color well I hope you can watch these dollars of color as they go to support industries that are geared toward me. And if you are a fan of an industry that seems to be unbendable in its discriminatory practices and you truly believe there is a way to fix things then follow in the footsteps of organizations like balancediversity who are making a whole heck of a lot of noise in the fashion industry by calling them on their racist bs. And that’s what we all should do, MAKE SOME NOISE. Get all up in their business, READ THEM FOR FILTH until they expand their brand. And if they refuse to comply then you leave and find a way to start your own. But make just as much noise on the way out-taking all the socially conscious people with you. And if you make it big, don’t let any of the people in the original industry discredit you for being different or small time. Patricia Hill Collins (my she-ro of she-roes) said there is liberation in self-definition. So get to self-defining and if somebody tries to get in your way just tell them….

I dont like you….and move on.

That’s all there is to it.

We as a people [black people, women, black women, our brothers and sisters in the economic struggle, LGBTQ folks fighting the fight] are gonna be free someday. I know this because Donny Hathaway told me so  and what Donny says is canon. The question is what side of the revolution you’re gonna be on? If you are in a place of privilege and can’t see yourself helping marginalized people on their way to freedom well I’m gonna need you to move the hell up out the way because it’s happening with you or without you.

Anyways that’s my rant/speech from the soapbox for the month! What ways do you see things getting better in regards to representation in media?

Love and Peace also Happy Black History Month

-Brini Weenie, Briizy,aka @kewl_briize

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”-Psalm 118:6

Soundtrack to My Revolution [the soundtrack that will strengthen you against the forces of the haters and oppressors alike]

I spend most of my time with some type of music in my ear. Whether I’m on the metro or the bus or walking to class or cooking up dinner for the week I usually always have some type of magical melodies and/or dope beats surrounding me. My musical tastes are pretty diverse in that I can be musing over the intricacies of a Janelle Monae song or a Jay Elec verse and then in the same session be shaking to the beat of Slight Work or Flawless. And you know what, that’s just how I am, and honestly that’s probably reflective of my entire life from my academic interests and writings to my TV viewing choices. I will discuss shifting paradigms in the field of gender theory and the authenticity of a New Orleans bounce beat in the same conversation. My activism just works that way. If that’s not how it works for you and you think I’m a complete fence-rider/impostor for my sensibilities well:

There's a lovely door to the right where you and your sensibilities may exit

There’s a lovely door to the right where you and your sensibilities may exit

Earlier this month, a good friend called upon me and another friend to suggest songs for her to work out to, and she wanted them to be by female artists and/or pro-women. Of course, I was ecstatic to create this ultimate feminist playlist instead of doing real work for school or thesis or anything and jumped to the task like:

Image

yassssssssssssssss

So here’s the list and the commentary I attached to it, I actually spent an inordinate amount of time creating this list.

Bri’s Empowering, Heart Rate Raising Playlist for Boys and Girls of All Ages

Elle Varner-Soundproof Room Because Elle Varner wants to ravage some good looking coed

Nicki Minaj-Romans revenge Ruff ruff like a dungeon dragon

Beyonce- Because all of these will raise your heart rate while also strengthening you against the forces of “ain’t bout ish” men.
-Lost yo mind
-Green light -
Get Me Bodied
Suga Mama-this is a particular fave because she spoils a man with lavish gifts as reward for him putting it down in the bedroom

Janelle Monae-Because if we are in a revolution, Janelle would be a general. And she’s super clever and uses dancing and music as protest and revolt
-QUEEN
-Cold War
-Ghetto Woman
-Dance Apocalyptic

Valerie June-Working Woman Blues,She’s a black folk singer from Tennessee. there’s no reason not to love her

Kimbra-Come Into My head

Adele
-Best for last
-Rumor has it

Jill Scott- she’s a black woman unashamed of her curves and her sexual freedom
-Crown Royal
-Shame
-Hate On Me

Chaka Khan-What You Gonna Do for Me

Janet Jackson-Doesn’t Really Matter

Danity Kane-Striptease

Destiny’s Child- Independent Women Part 2

En Vogue-Free Your Mind…and the rest will follow

Esperanza Spalding because she’s like the youngest professor at Berkley and is a classically trained musician 
-Black Gold,
-Radio Song

KING-The Story

Solange-tony, and the entire true ep Yeah Bey’s sister is that deal, she’s a Knowles, can she help it?

Tamar Braxton-Hot sugar

Mela Machinko-Get that cash and run, This woman has pipes and she sings about whatever she wants whether it’s hustling, being in love, or threatening to chop her beloveds junk off for cheating

Quadron-LFT

Yuna-live your life It’s a jam

Georgia Anne Muldrow ft Mos Def-Roses

MIA- she has no damns to give about the patriarchy or capitalism
-Bad Girls
-Boyz

La Roux-Bulletproof Don’t we need to be at least metaphorically bulletproof against the darts of patriarchy

Ciara-Work 

India Arie-I am not my hair

Soldier-Erykah Badu, not really a workout jam but it’ll inspire you to fight the patriarchy nonetheless and that’s what matters most

Iggy Azalela-Work, it’s quite the jam, BUT she’s kinda a notorious cultural appropriator so use your discretion on this one

Big Mouth-Santigold

Rihanna
-Where have you been
-Cockiness-if you don’t already have it 

After Party-Koffee Brown

Male Artists- If you feel like adding a little extra twerk to your list, they are here for you
Paranoid-Kanye
Busta Rhymes-twerk it
Wale-Clappers shawty does in fact have a big ol’ butt so why not let her celebrate it within her own parameters and on her own terms
Drake-fancy yes Drake I am fancy, hair done, nails done, everything is in fact did

Hope you enjoyed this and will take some of these works and add them to your jamming/exercise playlist. Any suggestions on what to add to the list and/or what do you listen to when you want to be empowered/energized at the same time. Go vibe in peace!

vibing

-Bri

“I do not pray only for them. I pray also for those who will believe in me because of their message”- John 17:20