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.

 

 

 

No Make Up Lent 2018

I am not Catholic but I decided to observe Lent this year.  I was inspired by a short video that I saw on Twitter of a priest discussing the topic.  On a whim the day before Lent began I decided to not use make up for 40 days.  I took it as a new experience and challenge.

I am a light make up user.  I don’t use concealer, powder or foundation.  But I do enjoy black liquid eyeliner, black mascara and a nice bold lip color.  Getting ready in the morning is my favorite part of the day.  I have fun choosing what I’m going to wear and applying my make up.  I think of it as my time to spend on myself before I go out and try to satisfy the world.

The first few days of Lent I was very uncomfortable.  It was shocking to see my reflection when I passed a mirror. I felt like a few people that were use to seeing me with make up looked at me strange.  I felt like I needed to explain my appearance but I didn’t because I would have seemed very self centered because they probably didn’t think anything of my appearance at all.

I didn’t feel like I was doing my best when I wasn’t wearing make up because I feel that I look better with it.  I wanted to give up on my challenge early on and throughout Lent.  I didn’t feel like I was becoming spiritually enlightened or closer to God.  I just looked plain in the face and I didn’t see any value in that.

I wish I could say that I spent the time that I usually spent applying make up reading the Bible or in prayer.  I didn’t.  And I didn’t show up places fifteen minutes sooner than normal either.

I was really happy once Easter arrived and I could wear make up again.  It was like being reunited with an old friend.  Observing Lent didn’t have an Earth shattering spiritual affect on me but I do feel like I learned some discipline and I learned to put aside vanity for the sake of honoring God.  I removed a part of my life that is important to me and glorifies myself and put it to the side for a while.  I’m glad that I observed Lent this year and I am actually looking forward to doing it again next year.

The experience reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses:

Galatians 2:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

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#metoo

I’ve been considering writing about my experience with rape for months.  I’ve thought about writing my story as a catharsis, for revenge and to help others.  The #metoo has helped me make the decision to publish my story.  I’m going to be very brief and to the point.  I don’t think all of the details are necessary.

Three years ago I met a man on OKCupid.  He and I communicated for around four months and I saw him in person two or three times within that time frame.  While I was getting to know this man that goes by the name David Gosh of Houston, Texas I told him that I was not interested in a sexual relationship.

I explained that I wanted to live my life by Biblical rules and that meant that I wouldn’t have sex again until I was married.  He told me that he respected that and sex would not be an issue in our relationship.  He traveled for work and came to Kansas City often.  On one of his trips to Kansas City I decided to spend time with him in his hotel room.  I told him that sex of all kinds was still off the table but we could kiss, hug and cuddle.

After I got off work I went to meet David.  We went to dinner and then back to his hotel room to relax and watch TV.  I brought a change of clothes, a tank top and sweat pants with me.  I changed into my comfortable clothes.  I had been to one of his hotel rooms before and that one had a couch.  This one didn’t have a couch area in front of a TV.  There was just a bed.  That was probably by design.

I got in the bed and David turned off the lights.  He began kissing me and groping me.  He began taking off my clothes and I told him no and to stop repeatedly.  Ultimately I gave in to his advances and the sex act happened.  Afterwards, David took a quick shower and told me he had to get up early tomorrow so I had to leave.

I changed my clothes and left.  After reliving the incident in my mind I felt very used and violated.  After a month I reported what happened to the Kansas City Police Department but I decided not to pursue charges for a variety of reasons.  His name was removed from the police report.

I’ve been taken advantage of in other ways before.  I’ve had my purse stolen, a credit card number stolen on a separate occasion.  I had a window busted out of my car and the radio was stolen.  In those situations after the window was fixed, I got a new purse and the credit card company was notified of the theft I felt whole and I was no longer affected by the crime.  But it is very difficult to get past a violation against your body.  I don’t know if this was made worse because I trusted the wrong person.

I never saw David again after that night.  Once I got home I texted him and let him know that I was upset and thought he was a rapist.  He doesn’t believe he raped me.  He said “I knew you wanted to fuck me when you said you brought different clothes”.  I brought the same type of clothes that I would have worn if I had gone home after work.

I also sent him a few hateful threatening e mails months later.  He asked if we could be friends again.  I laughed out loud when I read that.  That was my last contact with David Gosh of Houston, Texas.  I hope his home flooded.  If he even really lives in Houston or if David Gosh is even his name.  I don’t really know because my entire brief relationship with him was a lie.

 

 

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.

Viola Davis’ Acceptance Speech

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/emmys-viola-davis-lead-actress-in-a-drama-129544120705.html

I really like Viola Davis’ acceptance speech at the Emmy’s on Sunday.  It has been on my mind since I heard it.  She is absolutely right.  There is no difference between Black women and anyone else other than the opportunities that we are offered.  I’m not a Black woman in Hollywood but I am a Black woman in the American work force.

My experience and observations in and of  the American work force have shown me how little American culture values Black women.  A Black working woman in America will be over looked and cheated out of an opportunity before any other group.  It has happened to me many times.  Sometimes I look back at my career experience and I feel that if I had never tried to do better, earn more, or stand up for myself everything would have been ok.  I would not have had to cope with as much friction or drama.

But I am a woman that wants to do my best and live up to my full potential.  I don’t want to just accept what I am being offered.  Black women are usually offered the very least of every thing.  We are offered positions that offer the least amount of money, perks or influence.  It’s very hard to get over that hump.  It’s the same hump that Viola Davis described in her speech which was a quote from Harriet Tubman.  Black women will be relegated to low wage, dead end positions regardless, of talent, contributions or education.

When you speak to a supervisor about advancing with the organization is when the problems start.  In my case they are unable to come up with a real reason why I can not be promoted to a better position.  The next step is for management o start problems for you which forces you to either submit to mistreatment, fight or quit.  All three of those are poor options because you can never really win.

I’m very proud of Viola Davis for her accomplishment.  I’m sure it will mean a lot for Black women in Hollywood.  It means a lot to me as a Black woman in the American work force.  I hope that in time people will begin to see Black women as leaders and not just lowly subordinates  that should be grateful for whatever crumbs they are given.  I also hope that more Black women will begin to see their value and fight for their stake in the American dream.