OH. EM. GEE.
Let me just start by saying that my love for Kahlana Barfield Brown runs deep, okay! Like she's up there with my absolute fave June Ambrose. She's a gorgeous, melanin-infused style GAWD and being great as an editor over at Instyle. What's not for me to love, honestly? She is living the essence of my dream life. *sigh*
So for those who don't know who Kahlana is, she is the Fashion & Beauty Editor-at-Large at Instyle and is also a regular fixture on daytime television where she discusses the latest trends in fashion and beauty. She is a "fashion obsessive and beauty aficionado," and I love every bit of her ministry! I remember stumbling upon her article Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl last year, an essay that explored her experience with colorism and sort of outlining the plight of a dark-skinned girl, finding her identity, establishing self love and black pride and so much more! I identified with Kahlana so much more after reading her piece. Never before had I seen someone tell this kind of story so eloquently and had it hit so close to home for me. I love when people on fashion-based platforms use their authority to bring to light topics that extend beyond the superficiality of the fashion and beauty industries. THAT'S the part of the industry that I'm striving to be a part of. It was beautiful, to say the least. It caused me to reflect on my personal experience growing up and learning (and relearning) to love the skin and body that God blessed me with. To see how far I've come mentally is such an amazing thing to me.
But I digress. That's definitely another topic for a different day! *just wait on it!*
Bottom line: I love Kahlana! She's also living her best life, and it has me so inspired. She's enjoying married life with her best friend, being a new mother to her baby girl, being a key player at Instyle, serving looks everyday and just getting involved with and doing cool things in her day-to-day routine. She's just so cool, man! Ugh!
Scrolling through my IG feed the other day, she blessed me with yet another slay, and I felt led to share the ministry of Kahlana Barfield Brown. Get into her slay below!
Photo Credit: Instagram / @kahlanabarfield
Photo Credit: Instagram / @muva.mara
A girl’s relationship with her father is one of the most important, if not the most important, interactions she will encounter in her lifetime. This relationship will shape the way that girls maneuver relationships and view themselves for the rest of their lives. Within the black community, too many depictions of broken families and absent fathers swarm media and imagery that we come across everyday. Unfortunately, this narrative is all too common in the lives of young black girls. When a father isn’t there for his daughter, this action sets off a chain of events that leave women looking for love in the wrong places, accepting abuse and calling it love, stepping into roles they aren’t ready for and more. It’s up to us to change our narrative and help to build those affected by it.
Photo Credit: Instagram / @muva.mara
Change begins when we take charge in changing our narratives. I’m so proud to announce that my friend, fellow CAU alumna and one of the most inspiring and driven people I know, Samara Jordan, is taking charge of our story. With her first book Daddy Tells Me, she shows a young black girl’s relationship with her father, showing the love and affirmations that help to shape her view of herself. It shows the beauty and power that stems from a father being there to actively support and cherish the beautiful being that is forever a part of him. Samara takes us on a journey that everyone can learn from.
Daddy Tells Me is set to release at Samara’s book release event next month on April 15. It is so important that we support books like this, especially in support of young black authors. I cannot wait to support my friend! It is my hope that you all will support this major as well.
Samara and I had the opportunity to discuss Daddy Tells Me, her own relationship with her father, her goal with this book and more! Check out the conversation we had below!
Shatay Speights: Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Samara Jordan: I’m a Spring ‘16 graduate of THE Clark Atlanta University. I studied Fashion Merchandising and Business Management. Although I excelled academically in my fashion studies, I could not (and still cannot) shake the fact that my heart is in education. Currently, I am on an alternative track serving as an AmeriCorps member with City Year. I was recently accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows program; in May I will begin teaching fulltime and pursing my Master’s degree in education and a certificate to work with Special Education students specifically.
SS: That's amazing! Kudos to following your heart...Give us a brief summation of your book.
SJ: Daddy Tells Me is a story that depicts my actual relationship with my own father (who is a single dad) and the sort of “fairytale” relationship with our dad that we all dream of. Growing up with a single father makes me really unique and I genuinely appreciate the experience. However, everything was not perfect and there were some situations where I wish my father’s reaction/response could have been a bit different. We live and we learn. I want the story to encourage fathers to be transparent, nurturing, and supportive. I hope that Daddy Tells Me can be a guide to fathers everywhere, especially fathers of color who are slept on.
SS: What inspired you to write this book?
SJ: Aside from my own selfish desires of being every kid’s favorite teacher and a New York Times best seller, my father inspired me. That’s my right hand man. Also, my generation and the youth inspired me to put myself out there, especially at a time like this when people of color are being marginalized and murdered. We matter! We deserve to read about characters that look like us, we deserve a quality education, and we deserve role models who are willing to pave the way.
SS: Indeed we do! How has your dad inspired you? & how has he affirmed you over the years?
SJ: My dad inspires me by supporting me in everything that I do and allowing me to be an individual. He has affirmed me over the years by instilling in me the importance of hard work and hustle. We have this thing where he asks, “How long are you supposed to work hard?” and I respond, “Until you die!”
SS: That's quite the mantra. In what ways are you like your dad?
SJ: My father is funny, nurturing and super passionate! Our passion is often mistaken for being dramatic, but we get each other.
SS: Aww, like father like daughter. So to you, what does a young girl's relationship with her father mean/ represent?
SJ: A young girl’s relationship with her father represents her relationship with men throughout the rest of her life.
SS: How can this book be an inspiration to young girls or even young women whose fathers aren't in their lives?
SJ: This book can be an inspiration for young girls regardless of whether or not their fathers are or were present. The advice written in the book is not meant for face value; its meant to be taken literally and seriously. It is a representation of how they should all view themselves and how they should expect a man to treat them.
SS: In your book, the young girl wears a crown. How important was it to display this image of young black girls as queens? & how can young girls/ women embrace their inner queendom?
SJ: Black Girl Magic is a real thing. We are royal, and we are the crème of the crop! There are people who would kill for our features, whether it be physical or within. Everything that makes us who we are is a hot commodity, and young Black girls need to know this at an early age so that outside sources can’t tell them differently. Young girls/ women can embrace their inner queendom by seeing the magic in someone else and helping them see it as well. We have to take care of each other.
SS: We sure do. Sisterhood, especially in the black community, is so important. What are your plans for this book and beyond? Do you see more books in the future?
SJ: I plan to have a book release an April and self-publish to start. Maybe I’ll get picked up by a publisher, maybe not. But either way there are definitely more books to come!
Daddy Tells Me will be available very soon!
Congratulations are definitely in order! Continue to shine your light, queen!
Make sure to follow Samara on her social media for daily doses of inspiration, black girl magic and more book details! FB - Samara Jordan | IG - @muva.mara
I'm so happy for this girl right now!
I've been a fan of Justine's since the days when Tumblr was popping. Are we still using Tumblr? I still get my life and constant mood board inspo scrolling through my feed!
I remember falling in love with Justine's purple locks and being a fan of her music, not to mention she's gorgeous. It's been so dope seeing her growth overall and as an artist. To see another young black queen being carefree, living her best life, on her grind and remaining humble is so amazing!
As of late, she's been making some serious moves. With her being named the newest face of Dark & Lovely last month, upcoming highlighter release with MAC, most recent spread with Flaunt Magazine and more, she's definitely staying on top of her grind.
It was so dope walking into work this week at Forever 21 and seeing the banners for her festival campaign. She even dropped the exclusive track "Flames" to go along with this collaboration. The looks are pretty dope. & of course Justine looks uh-mazing too!
The looks featured in this collections promise to change the scope of "festival dressing." When you think of people dressing for festivals, you think of the boho vibes with a lot of suede, fringe, flower crowns, bandeau bras/ bralets, denim cut offs, and so on and so forth. F21 present refreshing options that will definitely revamp a festival goer's wardrobe. This collection has a vibe that is more throwback streetwear-infused, complete with mesh dresses, bodysuits, crochet crops, extra-long-sleeved hoodies, metallic bombers, and more. Many of these same looks and styles (patent minis, over-the-knee metallic boots, corset belts) have been seen in street style shoots and runway shows. This definitely isn't your traditional festival, concert-going attire, but it does present a refreshing alternative. I'm digging it!
With all of her show gigs, collaborations, events, etc., Justine is definitely keeping busy and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. I'm so here for it all!
Check out Justine Skye's most recent F21 campaign and the other dope things she's been up to below!
Photo Credit: Forever 21/ Refinery 29
Photo Credit: FLAUNT
Photo Credit: Instagram @justineskye
Photo Credit: NYLON
Listen, I am in love with the latest cover offering from NYLON Mag!
First off, I love Gabourey. She exudes a presence and aura that is so positive and strong. I claim a lot of celebrities as my best friend in my head, and I don't foresee that stopping any time soon. I'd definitely want Gabby to be my BFF!
Seeing the cover and spread really made me happy, more so because it's rare that we get to see a real plus size black woman get any shine. I feel like Gabby helps to represent real women, the ones that don't have hourglass figures and fit a certain societal mold. This cover is special because it allows women to see a piece of themselves on a platform. Representation is everything! Gabby really sets an example of being unapologetic about who you are and everything that encompasses, transparent about the tough things we go through, loving you first and honestly not giving a fxck about what the outside noise is saying concerning you.
In the spread's interview, I loved getting to experience another side to Gabby, the sides we don't get to see and read about. I loved how open and transparent she was about her struggles with her weight, mental health, eating disorders, her journey to being okay and so much more. It's hard oftentimes for people to be completely honest about how they are doing. When you get to witness someone being open about their personal struggles, it sort of makes you face your own issues. We all go through hard times, but it makes it so much easier when we don't have to feel like we are alone. I learned so much about Gabby that I didn't know before and the powerful effect that she has on people. The whole interview was honestly very inspiring! My takeaway: problems really are universal and don't discriminate; no matter what cards you were dealt in life or what people have to say about you, you can't let this world stop you from progressing!
AND Gabby has been working on her memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, that's set to release May 1st! She is keeping busy, okay!
I definitely suggest that you all head on over to NYLON mag and check out Gabby's cover story! In the meantime, enjoy these BOMB images from the spread of Queen Gabby!
The black magic is in full effect!
Photo Credit: NYLON
I am loving the latest spread from Paper Mag! Their March Break The Rules issue features Rihanna. The cover spread is giving me futuristic-bougie-lavish-ratchetry, and I am living for every bit of the juxtaposition!
It's been almost 10 years since Rihanna has graced a Paper cover, and this is one helluva reintroduction!
Here you have Rihanna as this cool, stylish, weirdly appealing girl who's just slaying for the kids, ringing up sodas and candy and running lottery tickets, at her job at the corner store. I saw the images and immediately painted a whole scenario and character in my head. I imagine her with her feet up on the counter, spilling tea with her best friend or caking with her boo on the phone and playing all of the good tunes on her speakers. She's like an around the way girl who's just carefree, living her life like it's golden and has the dope style that girls in her 'hood would die for. To say that she stands out in the crowd is an understatement, but she loves the attention.
The more I saw these images around, the more I thought this is the essence of a black woman. Rihanna paints a picture in this spread of a girl with an IDGAF attitude, who rocks these different hairstyles and colorful weaves and fun, edgy clothes and is on her grind, trying to make a few dollars. All that was missing for me was a blow pop (nah, the ring pop wasn't enough for me LOL) in hand or some obnoxious bubble gum bubbles being blown. Anywho, this was a dope spread. & honestly, when has Rihanna ever looked bad? I'll wait.
But shoutout to Farren Fucci for styling this shoot. He's no stranger to working with Paper Mag. & I love the futuristic vibe he threw into the mix with this spread. He's so dope; I LOVE him on Twitter. He has such a dope eye for style, and Rihanna has been a fan of his for a long time. Crazy how social media can propel a person's career. A DM from Rihanna literally changed his life! He literally went from posting Polyvore looks to making some MAJOR moves in the fashion industry. This is so inspiring! Definitely looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future!
Check out the spread below!
Photo Credit: PAPER
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