Magical Women

Believe it or not this is a wonderful time to be a Black Woman. Now there are times when it won’t feel like it and honestly it should always be a wonderful time to be yourself, but there has been some beauty in the horizons. Starting with the Emmys Viola Davis’ amazing speech last week made it very clear that we are doing some amazing things in areas Black Women were never taken seriously. We may not be doing everything that we wish we were or have climbed to the top of the game as we would like to but we definitely are making some major moves and have started to be recognized for our achievements. This demonstrates one very important thing- Our voice is starting to be noticed.

As black women our voices have been smothered, silenced, and even beaten out of us. Remember when Celie decided to leave Albert in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”- ” Who you think you is? You can curse nobody. Look at you. Your black, you’re poor, you’re ugly, you’re a woman, you’re nothing at all!”  As I’ve gotten older I realized how much emphasis he put in that statement and that her being a woman was the worst on that list and her blackness was the first of her nothingness. How many times have any of us experienced this type of labeling just because we are black women? We see it in the media, in the workplace, even in our families and intimate relationships. We have even seen it amongst other women. But the beauty in this scene in the movie was no matter what Albert said to Celie he couldn’t undo her realization that she too was a magical woman she no longer stayed stuck in the box that others had put her in her entire life. Like Celie many of us get boxed in we are just little girls.

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Black Girl: Linguistic Play by Camille A. Brown and Dancers at the Joyce Theater in New York City that focused on just that us being girls. The show celebrated the magical power of being a being a black girl from the games we play, the bonds we make, through our discovery of self with the rhythms and gestures of childhood. It was a wonderful demonstration how we grow, play, and evolve into something bold and unstoppable with our voices only growing louder and more powerful where we can longer be ignored.

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Bringing sexy back

Last week I made a post and I mentioned getting my swag back. For some reason I didn’t take into consideration that I was self-publishing and actually had to go out and promote. I had gotten so comfortable in my tights and sweats now that tax season is over, it took me off guard when it was time to reach into my bag of tricks and bring it together for press, promotional pictures, open mic events, and interviews. I actually had that moment of “I don’t feel like it”. It had been awhile since I had gotten dressed to go anywhere other than work or rehearsal, and with working and trying to finish the book it was just way too much to do more than shower and jump into some clothes to go about my day. However, once I started spending more than 10 minutes in the mirror I remembered how nice it was to actually take the time to slip into something pretty and sexy. Taking that few extra minutes in the mirror does a lot to add a little boost to my confidence as a woman. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t necessarily feeling a lack of confidence, to be honest I had been working so much over the last year or so feeling feminine and sexy just was no longer a priority. There was so much on my plate that I ignored myself as a sacrifice to get things done. I was surviving on 2-hrs of sleep a day and as much as I needed make up to hide the bags under my eyes I just didn’t have time, not to mention trying to maintain my natural hair I wore a turban or a bun any chance I could just to make sure I would be out the door as fast as possible. (Isn’t amazing what part of ourselves we give up to make ends meet.)

Thankfully those time are not behind me and while I am still in the midst of an extremely busy schedule I am also forced to look at myself twice in the mirror, especially now that I have to be conscious of my brand and I want to be seen. Now I know it’s nothing wrong with being lacks at times but now when it doesn’t feel natural and most times I was too tired and worn out to feel feminine or sexy. But today is new day and I know that it is never too late to create change and why not start in the spring where everything is fresh new and beautiful. So I will be keeping in touch with a few new purchases, hair, nails and even an occasional OOTD or OOTF. I can’t wait to see how my own progress will move into the summer months.

See you Soon,

Lou Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Finding Our Beauty

In the last few weeks I have seeing a lot of discussions about black women and their natural hair feeling insecure which I discussed on Friday on my blog redbuttaflydiva.com, the show Being Mary Jane has been doing a great job discussing the topic and black women and beauty, and last night’s Black Girls Rock. These different notes and conversations has really had me thinking.

Last weekend I performed in a For Colored Girls at one of the near by colleges and each time I perform in this play and listen to each poem that performed and talk to other members of the cast it really makes me wonder about black women and our definition of beauty. There are a few characters in the play that clearly define their beauty by their sexuality and their being wanted by a man. In the end they do find what they need on the inside but how often in real life do we not find the beauty and validation that we need on the inside. When do we stop looking for the attention or approval from others to feel beautiful.

What really concerns me so must is not just the validation seeking, because we all have been guilty at some point, but the fact that we will never find it. There is and always will be someone out their with an opinion of how black women should look and what defines our beauty. When the truth is we are ones that define our own beauty. Whether we are darker, lighter, weaved, relaxed, or natural our beauty is defined by the women we see in the mirror and how we feel about her. There will always be someone out there that will never approve to anything that we do, but when you find that beauty deep down in your being nothing else matters.

We must be willing to love and celebrate ourselves when no one else is, because how we feel about the woman that stares back at us each morning in the mirror is beautiful. The sooner we are able to realize this the less weight the negativity that surrounds these topics will have.

Lou Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Moment of Clarity!

Have you ever had that moment of clarity when you wake up and look in the mirror and realized that you have changed? Not bad change but you realize that you are not the same individual that you were a few months ago or even a few weeks. Your not even quite sure when the exact moment came and it may have happened over time. But to your surprise you actually like it. That feeling is amazing! Recently I have noticed this for myself.
Now for the last 15yrs I have been a huge weave queen and though I loved the convenience of it because of my hectic schedule I had gotten to the point where wasn’t comfortable with anyone seeing me differently. Then I realized I had started feeling the same way when it came to how I dressed and my nails (which I always kept very long and colorful). It had gotten to the point when people always expected me to look a certain way and looked forward to see what I was doing with myself. Now that don’t get me wrong it felt great. For a few years I loved it because I never expected to be that women who people loved my style. Then I got tired of the same ole thing I needed a change but I still kept my hair and nails a certain way and never dressed in sweats because I didn’t want to appear frumpy or appear to not be keeping myself up. But then it got hot outside this summer and all that extra hair was no longer working my me, so I decided to cut my hair and wear it natural. For a while it was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. In the beginning I was really self conscious and hated it but for some reason I couldn’t allow myself to to go back to my old habits. Once got comfortable with it I started receiving compliments all the time about my new hair cut. Though I noticed that I didn’t get approached as much by men as a natural girl I can definitely live with that. Because I am proud of myself for making that change. I am constantly looking in the mirror surprised at myself for no longer being worried about when other people thought I should look like and love what God gave me. I love my natural look and so does my wallet.
In the process I have realized I don’t owe anyone a particular look. I even took my nails off a few weeks ago and though I will probably put them back on I’m not in a rush I still like the way my hands look. In the past I have told people that my individual style is part of me being a artist and expressing my creativity, so not feeling like I am not expected to keep certain looks is such huge relief for me. Though now I realize that it wasn’t really others expectations of how I looked it was my own insecurities. It was me using my hair, nails, and clothes and crutches make make me feel better about myself. I realized that people will comment on what ever I do, some will like it and some will not, however I don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to how I look or express myself as a woman. In the end it all boils down to loving who I wake up and see in the mirror each day.

My New Natural Hair Journey and visit to the Philadelphia Natural Hair Show

A little over a month ago I decided to go full on everyday natural. Now for the last few months I have been wearing my hair out at least once a week on my days off, but for the rest of the week I was still very much wearing wigs, turban hair wraps and/or protective styles. I needed a little help making the transition slowly, I stopped relaxing my hair 2 years ago and big chopped in October I still wasn’t ready. The idea of wearing on a regular basis made me feel naked and vulnerable, the process of showing my kinks to to the world was actually traumatizing. I know it’s sad but I had been either relaxed or weaved up for the last 25yrs. However, I pushed through and now I’m starting to become very comfortable wearing my twa. Still I have to admit it’s different experience, while I have gotten some great feedback I have also gotten a lot of raised eyebrows like I had lost my mind. Which made me realize I have to come up with styles that I’m comfortable with to keep this thing going. So in the search of other options I recently went to the natural hair show in Philly, and upon arrival it was such a beautiful thing to see do many different types if women rocking their natural hair with so much love and confidence. It just simply amazed me, though I didn’t get a whole lot of different style ideas I did get a lot of information about how to properly use the products that I already have. In the end I am aware that this is truly a journey, I will have my good days and my bad sooooo let’s see what the summer has in store.

Until Next Time,

Lou Hargove