Let’s be real: although things were on the lookup for quite a while, it hasn’t gotten any easier to be a black or brown woman in today’s world. Sure, we’re having more conversations about the microaggressions women of color face daily and the physical and mental repercussions of decades of trauma; but, it’s still really hard sometimes. So before Women’s History Month completely slips away, I wanted to highlight some black women who are doing amazing work to uplift all people and bring a little more joy into the world.
There’s one thing I’d like to point out about each of these women: their dedication to the uplifting and unification of black women. All of them have been vocal about the struggles, inequalities, and harsh realities of blackness and womanhood. What is so amazing about these women, is not just the work they are constantly doing, but how they stay so true to who they are individually and to their blackness. As a young black woman coming up with women like these to look up to– the future seems so bright.
Jenna Wortham is a New York Times writer and co-host of the amazing podcast Still Processing. Wortham disseminates American popular culture weekly and highlights the ways in which technology and culture impact our communities. Listening to Wortham speak on Still Processing is like having everything that you knew was happening but didn’t have the words for laid right in front of you. It’s fulfilling, refreshing, and makes you feel a little smarter afterward. Not only is Wortham a brilliant mind, but she makes amazing shopping lists and is in tune with wellness in a way that would make Gwyneth Paltrow jealous.
Nana Agyemang is on a mission to unite every stylish girl across the globe and build a community of diverse creatives and media professionals. In newsrooms and magazine conference rooms around the United States, there is an apparent lack of brown and black skin. Agyemang, familiar with the feeling of otherness, decided to come up with a solution: the Instagram blog Every Stylish Girl. Whether you need outfit inspo, a reminder that you don’t have to look like a Hadid or Kardashian to be beautiful, or visual representation of the inherent power of being a woman of color, you can turn to Agyemang’s efforts.
Project Runway judge, author, former editor-in-chief (and the first black one at that) of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth is a busy woman and still finds time to distill timeless advice on her Insta stories. Welteroth is my personal idol not just for her accomplishments, but her ability to stay grounded, humble and totally herself. Welteroth is an example of what being your most authentic self looks like and how far you can get when you relax into who you are. As a black woman who often feels like she has to hide parts of herself in order to survive — that visibility means everything.
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Baby hurrs! Toddler hairs! Laid edges! Snatched edges! Bald...edges. 😭 This post is all about my years long battle to restore my hairline & how I finally did it. *SWIPE* to see my before and after from October 2017 (L) to April 2018 (R) - Freshman year of high school (1999) I burned the fuuuuck outta my hairline after a box dye job went to war with my relaxer. Since then I’ve been insecure about it & bought just about every product to fix it. In 2011 I tried Jamaican black castor oil twice a day on my edges & after 6 months saw some improvement. I even did a review for my Chescalocs YouTube channel! Remember those days? 🙃 6 years later after constant styling, retwisting and STRESS, my hairline was significantly worse. So I did some digging and found @oseitutuderm_hair via @MsjasmineRose. (Check out Jasmine’s hair transplant review on YouTube! Her results were phenomenal.) Dr. Osei-Tutu confirmed I had slight traction alopecia & we started working to repair it. We did cortisone shots & rogaine before moving to a prescription topical compound. To help, I stopped retwisting my locs regularly (sometimes going 5 or 6 weeks) & when I did get my hair done I made sure to ask Annette to retwist lightly instead of snatching my edges. Cut to (pun intended) almost a year later & my hairline is lookin nice and strong! There’s a significant difference & I’m very happy. So much so that when I finally decided to do the big chop I didn’t even FLINCH at the thought of my hairline. Haaay 😎 - Lastly, this post is NOT sponsored. Rest assured, I spent my own hard earned bucks on my appointments & prescriptions. I wanted to share because I know this is something lots of people struggle with but don’t feel comfortable talking about. Also, Dr. Osei-Tutu is one of the few BLACK FEMALE dermatologists that specializes in afro textured hair which is huge. Her results speak for themselves but it doesn’t hurt that she’s very professional & an absolute sweetheart. - P.S. I watermarked my before and after photos cause weirdos on the internet have been known to steal my shit to sell products i haven’t used & would never endorse 😑😒 - 📷: @islandboiphotography makeup: @delinamedhin
Youtuber-turned-social-activist Franchesca Ramsey is the first to shut down racism, homophobia or any kind of discriminatory language on social media. She’s vocal and bold when having conversations about the things she cares about and is a visible reminder that we don’t always have to be meek and quiet or fearful of social repercussions when we see something wrong. Ramsey is a promoter of action and isn’t afraid to get into a Twitter feud with a problematic troll. Her book, Well That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist, is a reminder that we may not be perfect but we have every right to speak our mind.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Oh, Tracee. What a beacon of joy. Of grace. Of pure beauty. Tracee Ellis Ross is an icon for the ages. Not only has she gifted us great characters like Joan Clayton of Girlfriends or Dr. Rainbow Johnson of Black-ish, but she is also the pure embodiment of what happens when you drink your water and mind your business. Her Instagram stories filled with her irresistible laugh, sweat-pouring workouts, and behind the scenes convos with her coworkers are everything you need to have a brighter day. Tracee Ellis Ross is chicken soup for the soul. Take a sip babes.