Happy Birthday Naomi Campbell

Happy belated birthday to Naomi Campbell.  The hardest working woman in fashion turned forty eight on May 22.  Naomi is from the era of the super models and hasn’t slowed down since the 1990s.  Naomi has challenged beauty standards in the fashion industry for decades and continues to do so as she nears fifty.  Naomi Campbell has been a hero of mine for many years.

I remember the first time I ever saw Naomi Campbell.  She was doing a seductive dance in Michael Jackson’s “Keep it in the Closet” video.  She was an absolute sensation in my middle school suburban Detroit social circle at the time.  Me and my young girlfriends were fascinated by this dark skinned exotic beauty and her waist length hair.  There was some debate among us whether the hair was real or not.  I was on team weave but it didn’t even matter.  I loved that woman.

She was a stunning Black woman with African features. Her contemporaries were Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and another favorite of mine Tyra Banks.  There had been successful Black models before but none as dark and lovely as Naomi at that time.

Some of you may be unaware that lighter skinned, European featured beauty is highly favored in the world.  Even in Black communities light skinned, straight haired looks are praised over dark skin and kinky hair.  I had childhood experiences that involved me being teased for being dark.  As an adult it’s been clear to me that most men prefer lighter, European women over African looking ones.  So it meant a lot to me as a young girl coming of age to see someone with dark features in the limelight.

Other models from the super model era have either retired or play different roles in the fashion industry now.  At forty eight years old Naomi is still working the runway better than anyone and I mean anyone.  Young models of the day can’t match her stage presence.  In April 2018 she was on the cover of “GQ” magazine.  Ms. Campbell shows no signs of slowing down.

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Naomi has a bad reputation.  She’s been accused of abusive behavior and has served time for her crime.  She paid her debt and hasn’t had any legal problems in years that I know of but I believe that Naomi is misunderstood.  It’s hard for Black women to stand up for themselves without being seen as being combative or aggressive.  Unfortunately, Black women, even tall and glamorous models are forced to defend and demand their worth themselves often in this world.  The world doesn’t just give people of African descent respect we quite often have to demand it.  I think Naomi may have just been demanding to get the respect she deserves.

Despite Naomi’s notorious temperament she seems very polite and gracious to me.  She doesn’t seem to take her lot in life for granted and she has worked very hard for all she has.  I also respect a person that is able to maintain long term friendships.  Friendship is under appreciated in this world and Naomi is still friends with some of her modeling colleagues from the 90s like Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista.  I respect and admire people that maintain long lasting friendships.  She also has a long term relationship with P. Diddy that I find to be, well, intriguing.

Happy belated 48th birthday to Naomi Campbell.  The diva, queen of the catwalk, hardest working woman in fashion, muse and one of my personal heroes and an inspiration to millions.

 

 

 

Why I Love Gabby Douglas

Simone Biles is the gymnastics star of the 2016 Olympics.  She performed beautifully and is as cute as she can be.  The story of her road to Rio is an inspiring American dream that will bring tears to your eyes.  Simone deserves to be the belle of the ball.  But I absolutely love Gabby Douglas.  She is a mature champion that has represented our country well.

During the Olympic trials I could tell that Gabrielle had changed since the London Olympics.  She has matured and become a young woman as opposed to the bubbly, eager girl we met in 2012.  Gabby Douglas is reserved, poised and focused.  She carries herself like a sophisticated lady that is in Brazil to win medals, not entertain or be anyone’s pet.

Gabby Douglas is a refreshing change from many of the young women that are paraded in front of us and lauded as celebrities.  She is not a young woman that is on TV or in magazines for the purpose of arouse men.  She is not there to be funny or cute.  She is there to win.

There is something a little steely about Gabrielle Douglas this go round.  But I love it.  I see the same character in Russia’s Aliya Mustafina.  Aliya competed in the London Olympics and has probably completed her gymnastics career.  She and Gabby are not little little girls any more.  They are veteran champions with youthful, beautiful stalwart exteriors.  God bless them.

It seems that Gabby Douglas has been criticized during the Rio Olympics.  I don’t take Twitter jabs very seriously because I know that people will complain and find fault in anything.  The criticism of Gabby Douglas is rooted in sexism and racism.  American culture wants Black women to be clowns on some level.  Attractive young women are asked to be bimbos.  Black Americans prefer to put light skinned women with European features on a pedestal.  Gabby Douglas is none of that but still successful and there are some that hate it.

All I can say is watch out Simone Biles.  Today you are America’s sweetheart.  Enjoy it because you deserve it all the spoils of victory.  But I hope the fickle American public will be kind to you when you when you compete in Tokyo in 2020.

I’m getting my hair did tomorrow!

Tomorrow is pageant day.  That’s what I call beauty shop appointment day.  I am getting a relaxer on my hair and a style; nothing very different.  I would love to grow my hair out natural.  It would be great to try it out for a while.  I’m not afraid in the least bit to shave my head bald and watch it all grow back natural.  I just want time to do it.

The problem with changing your hair drastically are the shocked reactions to people that see you regularly.  I don’t want to have to explain myself over and over to people about why I made the decision.  I also need time and space to decide if I like my hair au natural myself.  I have not worn my hair in it’s natural state since I was a toddler so I don’t really know what it’s like.  The same can be said for many Black women.

I love how my nappy roots feel.  My hair is very spongey and super curly.  Curly probably isn’t the right word.  I really prefer nappy even though I don’t think that word is widely understood either.  But I must admit it is very difficult to get a comb through my hair in it’s natural state.  That’s another reason I wish I had time to grow my hair out naturally.  I don’t really have the time to rake through a nappy afro ever morning.  I would have to figure out a new maintenance routine which would take some experimenting with different finishing products and styling tools.  I want a good month to myself to watch my hair do what it naturally does.

One of these days I’m going to do it.  My hair has been should length, short, shorter and super short but always chemically process to give it a straight texture.  It’s been it natural super dark brown (now with gray tinsel) , lighter brown, copper, reddish, fire engine red and streaked with blonde.  I think it’s kind of a shame that it’s been everything but it’s natural nappy self.

Natural hair is the trend right now.  But what’s funny the fashion bloggers that right about natural hair are often promoting a White standard of beauty.  The models they use often have curly hair and not nappy hair.  The hair falls to their shoulders instead of standing up on their head.  The models are often people that don’t even have two Black parents.  I call bullshit on the current natural hair trends.  When I grow my hair natural it won’t be because I’m following a fashion trend.  It will be because I reached a point in my life when I’m able to better control my own time instead of punching someone else’s time clock 45 hours a week.  Until that time off to the beauty shop I go.