Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thank You Sean and Nicole Bell

On July 28, 2010, Sean and Nicole Bell finally got some level of relief in connection to his November 25, 2006 murder on the eve of their wedding date. Justice? Not quite. Some relief? Yes. The city of New York settled the wrongful death suit in connection to his murder and the injuries to his friends, who were also shot, for over $7 million, a little over $3 million to Sean's estate and the remaining amount to be split between the 2 surviving friends. I've followed this story since it happened. It is one that has stayed with me for years. It was an awful tragedy. A young, gorgeous, black man at the age of 23 was gunned down with over 50 shots fired by 3 off duty police officers on the eve of his wedding to his high school sweetheart and mother of his two young daughters. He was unarmed and celebrating his impending marriage with his friends and then he was dead. It really doesn't get any worse than that. Here we are in the 21st century and young black men were still targets and it was sad and scary and disappointing. I always just felt so bad for Nicole as she tried to garner justice and awareness, not just for Sean, but for US! She was just a young, beautiful mother and then she wasn't. She was burdened with the task of never having married the love of her life, raising her two daughters by herself, living with the memory of the gruesomeness of his death, and now tasked with the responsibility of getting justice for Sean. It wasn't fair. I could always see the grief and sadness in her face and voice when she recounted the story and talked about how things were not progressing, how awful she was treated by the police the day he was murdered, how disappointed she was when the police officers were acquitted of any criminal responsibility, when federal civil rights charges were declined, as she pursued the wrongful death settlement and as she continued to lobby for changes in police policy to help avoid another young man from being murdered. I'm thankful for her for keeping up with the cause and continuing the fight for US despite not having her love besides her. I know if she could trade it all in she'd rather just be married to Sean and raising her children with their father. I pray that this settlement brings some calm in the storm knowing that even in death Sean was able to provide for her and the children, that she could do something with him that would be beneficial to them forever. Thank you Nicole and thank you Sean, your memory and your death was not in vain. I can raise my young, black gorgeous son knowing that someone, aside from me, sacrificed for him. I pray Nicole's continued strength in her pursuit and some day very soon in her very young life she can have the level of peace she needs to enjoy her daughters and the rest of her life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The New and Improved Nicole Ari Parker

I jokingly told my girlfriend recently that the lightskinned, sandy haired, light eyed girl never impressed me. In fact, I always thought they all look exactly alike and not exotic at all. They have all those "characteristics" that you would think automatically made them interesting and beautiful but never really amounted to much, well as far as I was concerned. To put that all in perspective, I'm not trying to come across as discriminatory or to generalize and come up with misplaced and ignorant conclusions. I'm mostly joking in my assessment that "they" all look alike but the other part of me is tired of the generalization that those with these characteristics are beautiful just because, so this is more about balance and annoyance with the blanket beauty pass for being black with fair skin or black with lighter eyes or black with wavy hair. That has to be one of the most annoying and frustrating assumptions and racist based conclusions out there and it's even more offensive when it comes from black people. I've said it before, and trust me you will hear it many times over, Nia Long and Halle Berry (I do acknowledge she is mixed and her hair is fine but she's also brown skinned, has dark eyes, and is more beautiful with her pixie cut and brown hair than she is with long highlighted locks) are super hawwt without any of those "auto" features, not to mention there is Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union, Michelle Obama, Malinda Williams and many other brown skinned women that are automatically beautiful without doing a single thing or having been born with any one of those "auto" features! Anyways, I say that all to announce that I have been pleasantly impressed with Mrs. Kodjoe more recently. With age, marriage and children she looks absolutely fabulous, and that's my kind of girl. She looks gorgeous in this picture! The dress and shoes I absolutely love, her hair looks more modern funky and most importantly, she seems very happy. Absolute winner look...and it has nothing to do with her hair texture, eye color or skin tone! The dress and the shoes are to die for and her happiness is to kill someone else for!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sex and the City.... with Children

I was riding the train today and one of my favorite passenger buddies was surprised to hear I had children and especially the age of my own, 11 and 13. He said shocked, " but I see you with the shoes and the clothes and I just always assumed 'Sex and the City.'" I responded very matter of factly, and just as confused as he was, "oh yes, it is Sex and the City. Just with kids." I never understood the end of your life in exchange for children type of mentality and I certainly never even made the attempt to grasp the concept of "mom jeans" or mom all. It's a sad sad day in the world when the message conveyed is that when you have children you should do away with a sense of style, self esteem, or individuality, as if being dowdy, consumed, and lost is the recipe of a good parent. I dissent. In fact, I think that one of the integral ingredients for good parenting is absolutely loving yourself to death, refusing to lose your own sense of style and personality, and having a strong esteem. What can you offer a child that is dependent upon you when you don't know or care much about yourself? Progression, confidence, success and comfort breed the same. I personally made it a top priority not to compromise any pieces of my style and personality when I had my children. They were and they are always my number one priority but instead of feeling the need to put all things aside when I had my children, I felt empowered and inspired by them to proved that it is not a contradiction to maintain yourself while parenting. You can be loving, committed, responsible, and dedicated while looking fabulous, trendy, youthful and IN all at the same time. So yes, there is dance class and soccer practice for my daughter and football practice and track meets for my son, parenting conferences, and school events, but it's always with tight fitted designer jeans, the hottest heels and the cutest "in" bags and accessories, with the support and love of my children! No compromise. I'm just as involved and concerned with my children and their adventures as I would if I had a pair of ill fitted, out of style, faded pants on! So with that, I would encourage all parents to challenge yourself to keep your kids your number one but without losing sight of yourself and your own needs. Balance is always key. :-)

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Age?

I always provide the cliche response that most women use post the age of 21 when asked my age. I respond, "I'm 21," with a smile and bat of the lash. But the truth is, my age really isn't that big of a deal to me....yet. Black woman are incredibly gorgeous and age knows no limits concerning us. Lucky me. Also, my mother, who will be 54 this month, is absolutely gorgeous and she could easily pass for 10 to 15 years younger, so I know my fate. Double lucky me! As I've aged, like fine wine, as us honeeyz are known to do, I have begun to notice a new form of "hate," and let me first say that I really think the term "hate," in that regard, or the term "hater" is so played out and overused. Therefore, I use it really with much pun intended! To think that someone actually hates you because you are annoying as heck or they think something you are doing is stupid or corny makes them a hater is rather juvenile and quite presumptive? Grow up already! Has it ever occurred that it could be as simple as they actually just think that what you are doing is stupid or corny and not that they are spawns of satan and just hate you for no viable reason?? Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I've recently came across a new form of hate or a means in which some haters (lol) have used to take an unsuccessful shot at me on occasion. This would be the topic of my age. I'm out of my 20s and sailing into my 30s with class and swag for days (for the record, the term "swag" should really not be used by anyone over 14 years of age so much more pun intended with the use of that term)!! Some people are not so happy about my graceful aging so I get the occasional reminder that I'm older or not quite as young as the suspected hater, which to me is such an obvious and desperate, yet misplaced, attempt to attack me and hopefully make me feel inferior. NOT. First of all, 32 is young so I can't be old, accordingly, such attack is factually incorrect! Second of all, I look fabulous and very frequently pass for 22 so who the heck cares what the stupid birth certificate says anyway??? I'd much rather be 32 but easily pass for 22 than look 32 and I'm actually only 22. And third of all, this is such an obvious fishing expedition because if you could say something else about a person, such as they are stupid, ugly, unsuccessful, fat, dirty, classless, broke or had a poor sense of style (the worst allegation of them all) you'd probably say any of those things first (which would be discriminatory, childish and classless in and of itself but that's another topic to be posted and discussed at another time) rather than scream out the "that's why you are old" insult. In short, throwing meaningless digs at my being "older" is an utter and sincere waste of time. I have no hangups and if noting my age is a last resort effort against the older me that looks flyer and younger than you, I'd recommend just forgetting about it! I mean look at Halle. The fact that she is that gorgeous and her body is doing those kind of tricks at the age of 42, makes her that much more rather than anything less. Calling her older or pointing out she is in her 40s is a joke! And FYI, once you hit 26 you're really no spring chicken yourself so watch it! Just a tip. Now, for the sake of closing my personal rant on a more positive note, comment on this post and share with me one of your favorite beauty secrets that keeps you feeling (most importantly) and looking young and hot! My mom always showed me that less is so much more and that I should always have Dove soap and a good moisturizer handy at all times...which I do. Check out the pictures attached of my mother last summer at the age of 53. I'll do whatever she recommends!

How Real is This??

Teen Vogue, and some other teen magazines, as well as the non-famous "regular girls" fashion blogs, of my particular notice, "Sea of Shoes" and "The Style Rookie," are seemingly designed to attract the normal and younger fashionistas in the world; however, I find it quite confusing considering these magazines and blogs generally boast overpriced designer digs that no real teenager (or adult for that matter) could truly afford to purchase considering they are either too young to work AT ALL or are significantly limited to working normal teenage jobs which in turn are paid at minimum wage for the part time hours a legal work permit would allow. In one issue of Teen Vogue there is a fashion piece titled, "Sugar Rush," where brights and pastels are modeled through the pages, but of interest is the brands and designers that are used to create the looks. One outfit consists of $360 D&G blazers and Louis Vuitton belts (price not listed). Another look is made up of Burberry skirts, Chanel bracelets and plastic Louis Vuitton bracelets priced at $310 to $420 each! Lots more Louis Vuitton and Chanel with a piece or two from Dsquared2, Christian Louboutin, Miu Miu, Prada, Phillip Lam and a bunch of other overpriced pieces that no normal teenager should own completes this spread! "The Style Rookie" is certainly not dictated by high end designers and must haves that 95% of the world can not afford even if they prayed on it every day of their lives, but blog owner, little Miss Tavi (I adore her but I'll get into that later) does attend fashion week in New York, she does have a recent post on Givenchy's 2010 lineup, and she does frequently rock designer pieces and accessories I, as a practicing 32 year old attorney, can not afford myself. In her defense, she does usually clarify that most of the items were given to her or borrowed, but still.... And "Sea of Shoes" (another fav of mine that I will discuss in more detail later) has all types of couture and high end designer finds that are to die for especially since no normal person, particularly teenager, could afford any of it. You would literally have to die for some of the things on this blog! But to put things in perspective and in all fairness, "Sea of Shoes," seems to be more about artistic expression and the true love of fashion rather than high end designer propaganda pushing by a teenage girl and her mom despite the expensive finds.
Overall, I'm not necessarily saying that these magazines and blogs are all wrong in what they do. There are some great articles and topics that are teen oriented and helpful in every Teen Vogue issue. There are also more affordable pieces sprinkled throughout their fashion spreads, such as those from Express, Topshop, Guess and Babyphat. Also, Elle girl is an excellent teen oriented magazine that does a great job of promoting real life teen issues and teen apparel. "The Style Rookie" is absolutely wonderful and a commendable feat for little Miss Tavi. It is one of my favorite blogs on blogger and she does an excellent job with managing her blog. Her writing is absolutely superb, her creativity is over the top, her articles and topics are very well balanced and she brings a lot of important and sometimes controversial issues to the light and let's not forget she is a 13 year old child who has to get up and go to school every day! And the same for the Sea of Shoes blog. The art of fashion, bright photography and the bonding between mother and teenage daughter is way more attractive and prevalent than the expensive clothes that no other normal teenager could afford. I love what these two blogs are presenting and I particularly love the blog owners for being young, ambitious, artistic and successful. I would encourage my followers to follow and support these blogs.
In short and to further clarify, I'm not attacking. I've already mentioned, and will mention again and again, that attacking is so not my style. I only draw attention because there is some misleading elements and there is the potential issues that some of these outlets may cause when the attracted audience (young, impressionable, awkward, emotionally imbalanced teenage girls) is desperate to get their hands on the looks and brands celebrated in some of the aforementioned medias, particularly the commercially successful magazines. Maybe they should challenge themselves to be all Teen and not just some Teen, or maybe even consider changing their name so not to deceive that the magazine is for teens and about teens only. I would suggest, "MiniVogue" or "YoungVogue" because these would allow the youthful styles without compromising the designer brand that no normal teen could afford. I'd also suggest clinging to more affordable but comparable brands and lines such as French Connection, Zara, more Topshop, Alice & Olivia, H&M, and BCBGeneration, just to mention a few. All and all, it's all just a thought???!!!! What do you think?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...