week 52 \\ 2015

Although this year has been pretty shitty for my people, in my itty bitty corner of the world, this year has been b e a u t i f u l. I won the lottery [gained a wealth of knowledge]. I fell in love [with myself, my art and my life]. My art was published in a magazine! I made a big move and it has proven to be the best move for me. I learned so much. I grew a lot.

My blog shifted; did you feel it? I gained the bulk of my followers this year so it’s safe to assume most of you didn’t know gray suede started out mainly as a fashion/style blog. {How original, right?} Not until late last year did I realize how limiting that was and really opened my mind and fingers up to writing about any and everything I’m moved to share. Fashion is still my first love tho! I just choose to express my adoration more so in the physical realm.

I became less apologetic. Less compromising. I stopped explaining myself in matters that don’t matter. [People only hear you at their level of understanding anyway; it’s nothing personal. I can say that now that I get it.] I created some great bonds with some amazing souls that I’m excited to build. I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot + I created so much more than I have in previous years.

The state of my people in this country has put me in my dormant volcano mood many times this year, but I attempt to frequently give thanks for the beauty surrounding + within me as opposed to dwelling on the necessary changes I wish I could magically snap into existence. And I believe that is why I’m attracting more and more of what I want in life.

I’ve gained great confidence in myself/my art/my words. Not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone is gonna want to pay for it. Not everyone is going to get it. And that is ok.

It’s a process, but I am mastering the ability to truly live in the moment, not in the past. Not in the future. And I honestly feel-universe forbid-that if I were to transcend into my next form [die] tomorrow, I would be completely at peace with it. I know I’ve left a pretty small yet fairly deep imprint. My art will live on; it’s hanging in people’s homes and offices, y’all! And my words, as simple as they may be, are out there forever. Plus I have a few posts scheduled into the new year, so if I were to go down, I’m gonna be like Tupac and release that hot fire in my afterlife.

Anyway, I’ll keep this short before you guys start getting misty-eyed. I just wanted to share some thoughts on one of the greatest years I’ve had thus far. I know the best is yet to come I appreciate all of you subscribing + tuning in to ride along with me and my rants. I’m humbled. I’m inspired. Many, many thanks. I love reading your awesome posts and comments and I’m so glad my thoughts resonate with you. Cyber hugs all around. You make this blogging thing kinda cool.

See you next year. ❤

week 51 \\ 2015: GOD

bnw

Across the globe, we are the most often degraded, mocked, unprotected and disregarded living beings-condemned just for having a bad day or being too skinny or too dark or too loud or wearing our hair naturally or liking rock music or standing at a bus stop. Or smiling. Or breathing. The list is unfair, stupid and ridiculously long. Nonetheless, the Black woman remains the most precious, feared, RESILIENT, beautiful, envied and desired. Add confidence and intelligence to any one of us and the Black woman is a lethal weapon. We all know it. Many fear it. Some of us have lost our way and forgot how much strength we posses-the mountains we can move. The nations we have built. And for those reasons, along with being Black queen myself, I live for my sisters- a strong ally, adamant defender, supporter, friend, and my best self. And my visual work will always perpetuate the strength and natural beauty of Black women; there is no greater muse.

HANSBERRY-KOENEN

Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women and Black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When Black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society. -Angela Davis

god1

The moment anyone tries to demand or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are. No one would bother to beat you down if you were not a threat. -Cicely Tyson

g4

If we were made in His image then call us by our name / Most intellects do not believe in God but they fear us just the same. –On and On, Erykah Badu

g3

I consider myself a crayon.. I may not be your favorite color but one day you’re going to need me to complete your picture. -Lauryn Hill

thicky2

knight twins

 

The empowerment of Black women constitutes the empowerment of our entire community. -Kimberly Crenshaw

god

winnie1

afroluv

We won’t all agree on a definition of beauty, but we all have one. And if you’re lucky, that definition will actually be your own. -@BeRealBlack4Me [via Twitter]

bantu6

thicky

God creates life. Women create life. Maybe we as men were put here to protect God while she works. -David Banner

blk

I disagree with the #unconventionalBlackBeauty wholeheartedly. You are all beautiful. Period. There is nothing unconventional about it. -Terminally Chill [via twitter]

blk2

blk3

P.S. The last two photos[below] were taken by Al Vandenberg. He has a whole collection of beautiful moments captured in time. Definitely worth a gander.

al vandenburg


I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile, kept adding and taking away from it, unsure of where to fit it into my random, lighthearted rants; I just knew I had to. I’m not the best writer. I don’t have the broadest vocabulary, but I do do a lot of reading. And a lot of feeling. A lot. And almost daily I come across something that hurts my heart regarding a sister. Whether it be her voicing how unhappy or fed up she is ..a queen butchering her natural beauty into a more European aesthetic ..or a man-often our male counterpart-slandering our name ..another sister murdered by police, raped or assaulted.

It just gets tiring, day in and day out, feeling like we’re invisible, worthless and unlovable in so many eyes [often eyes that look like ours]. Some days holding the weight of the entire universe on our backs. Our stories of triumph or pain or struggle or joy are not being told or heard, that we’re usually [especially in mainstream media] viewed as objects and animals instead of humans with a range of feelings, going hoarse from screaming at the top of your lungs only to fall on deaf ears.

Knowing that we will never be equal to the untouchable white woman in a patriarchal white society. Just trying to share your knowledge with a fellow brother or sister on why. Staying poised enough to not give off the angry Black woman vibe but simultaneously not giving a damn because some people just won’t get it… and you can’t help but deliver a stealthy sideeye to anyone who truly believes we are seen as equals or that things are progressing in our favor. It can be such a delicate balance just to have a meaningful, possibly life changing, conversation… and conversing shouldn’t feel like drowning.

It is frustrating.

It is exhausting.

It’s disheartening.

But hopefully my few words help remind you of your greatness-OUR greatness. It is incomparable, and, if you dig far enough, you’ll find the reasoning why the powers that be are hellbent on destroying the Black woman‘s true worth and  divine image. We are queens, naturally. We don’t have to use our bodies or lies or violence to prove our power.

And that is what scares people.

Keep your head up, sistars. You are SO inspiring, unique, resilient and beautiful.

I love y’all. ❤

P.S. I linked a few great articles and posts to support my views; I hope you find them enlightening.

New Fashion Web Series “The Reclaim” Aims to Change the Negative Imagery of Black Men (VIDEO)

It’s Monday, right 🙂

GOOD BLACK NEWS

The New Stereotype: The Reclaim The New Stereotype: The Reclaim (photo via Shadow And Act)

A new web series on Vimeo has been launched this month called “The New Stereotype: The Reclaim” which aims to change the perception of black men in the media.

Conceived by Harlem-based Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist, who is an assistant buyer for a luxury fashion company, he says that he came up with the idea for the series to “show the diversity and strength of black males.”

He then reached out to friends and others willing participants through social media to be a part of the project, and created it to be all inclusive, taking into account skin tones, fashion styles, careers and backgrounds from all over the world, such as Ghana, the Virgin Islands, North Carolina, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Georgia.

The result is basically a fashion show for young, successful, upwardly mobile brothers (or “dandies” as I call them)…

View original post 98 more words

I just wanna thank…

lieb.pngWow, so I’ve been nominated for yet another Liebster! Thank you. AND, I also graciously accept my very first Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Thank you!! My next place will need to have a  trophy room at the rate I’m going.

A Liebster and an SWB seem pretty similar. In my own words, they both are a means to thank bloggers you love and get to know them a little better. It also lets me know that you guys are watching and appreciate what I do, reminding me why I do it. And who doesn’t like talking about themselves, right??! So here we go:

How would you define your style? uhmmmmmm..me? I really like to look and feel my best so I make sure I love every article of clothing I put on. I’m into juxtaposing hard and soft, masculine + feminine, after 5 + casual. [Very telling of my personality, I think.] And I love a good statement piece, especially big earrings to counter my nearly bald head. So whatever that is.

Who are your style icons? Solange is number one. Tracee Ellis Ross is a close second. Lupita Nyong’o hasn’t been doing it long enough to be first, but I see you, L! She always looks amazing.

What is a social issue that you are passionate about? Like Sache’t, I am very concerned with the amount of Black bodies disappearing in amerikkka. I also want to help my people get back on track to understanding, accepting and loving who they are.

What is your favorite style trend this season? Ankle booties! Not really a trend but a staple! can’t get enough can’t get enough

What is your niche for blogging?  (i.e) – fashion, hair, DIY, social issues, everyday life, etc: Yea. All that. I blog about whatever- in my words, my perspective. [I don’t have a niche. I don’t think. Do I?]

What was it that made you want to start blogging? Initially, I wanted to share my passion for clothing and accessories.

What is one of your goals as a blogger? I want to bring light to subjects that are less known and/or completely overlooked. From music to visual art to underrepresented stories in the news, I rep for the underdogs.

Are you into art?? If so who is your favorite artist? (Feel free to leave a link to their work) What?! Art is me. I am art. I see other people as art as well, along with artists who create music and food and graffiti murals and poetry. There are so many categories and facets that I cannot choose just one favorite; every artist I encounter is such an inspiration in their own way.

What is your favorite social media site/app? Does youtube count? If not, I guess it’d have to be instagram [because it’s the only one I use.]

Which blogger(s) do you admire the most? Again, I can’t choose just one. I love all the bloggers I follow. I love the unapologetic types. They all express themselves in different ways about different things so I appreciate them for that. I love anyone who freely expresses themselves that can teach me something but is still open to learning something new/hearing a a different view.

sisaward.pngWhat does the definition of sisterhood mean to you? Sisterhood is always being there for your sisters, in the physical world and online. It’s being a shoulder, a tough love giver. Although there are many things that some sisters do that I don’t agree with, I still love them and I’ll remain an adamant defender, even if it’s loving from a distance.

What is your purpose in life? I think the long answer will be ever-changing, but right now, the short answer: my purpose is to be my true self, unapologetically. I love my life. I am happy and free and I believe my purpose is to inspire others to live freely and be their authentic self.

A big thank you to my sisters over at Visionarie Kindness and  Everyday Sache’t! This was fun.

 

Black Every Friday

I hate to admit that I watched a tiny bit of local news this week. I saw plenty of coverage of the Planned Parenthood “shooter”, the San Bernadino “attacks” and the Chicago protests….. but NOTHING in regards to the case of the inhuman Daniel Holtzclaw. Not a peep.

In short, Holtzclaw is/was a POLICE OFFICER who RAPED AND ABUSED SEVERAL BLACK WOMEN all while ON DUTY. I believe he did it because 1). he’s a sick fuck, and 2). he knew he’d probably get away with it.

This case got me deep into my dormant volcano mood; I have yet to read or hear the entire story because it’s pretty disgusting and painful. I just hate that our bodies, Black bodies, are constantly disregarded. Let’s be real, if this were several white women, Holtzclaw would probably be on death row right about now. Nancy Grace would be working double shifts to chew up this monster. I don’t trust or expect much from mainstream media, but with the obvious lack of coverage, it’s just very disheartening [and often overwhelming] to be reminded that the safety and well-being of my people doesn’t matter.

Where are all those feminists when you need em?

Where’s Al at? Jesse Jackson? Tito? Anybody?

***crickets***

My solace? He was convicted last night. Hopefully he’ll get ass raped everyday for the rest of his days.

Are/Were you following this case?