the spin: all women media panel

THE SPIN: all women media panel” is award winning journalist, political commentator, playwright and radio host esther armah’s new radio show, co-produced by the african american public radio consortium and recorded at NPR studios.  The inaugural show features writer and activist dream hampton, political science professor dr. christina greer and author asha bandele. listen to these powerful women discuss the role women play in liberation movements, revolutionary love and income inequality.

make a commitment to this movement to amplify women of color’s voices here.

what karyn washington’s death taught me about life

BLACK_GIRL_CRYING-516x340according to mental health activist terrie williams, people don’t commit suicide, they die by suicide.  terrie made this point during a discussion about karyn washington’s death, hosted by marc lamont hill and janet mock on huffington post live.  her words forced me into an existentialist moment, contemplating suicide and mortality.

through my contemplation, here’s what i’ve come up with so far: everyone dies.  i’m sure your response to this factoid is ” and water is wet;” however, the common reaction to suicide doesn’t seem to embrace this reality.  we tend to judge the act as selfish, often blaming the deceased for “playing god.”  in my opinion, both reactions are problematic because they deny the inevitability of death and presume that we have a birthright to another person’s physical being.

all we truly have in this world is the self, that is the mind, body and soul that takes human form on earth. our friends, spouses, children and loved ones do not belong to us, they are simply vessels of love and light that i believe a higher power has placed on our life journey. therefore, judging someone who dies by suicide breeds the misconception that his or her life was ever ours to control.  releasing this bind of possession over another allows us to love free of expectations and to be fully present in all of our relationships.

i understand the role that mental illness and/or the lack of adequate mental health treatment can play in suicide and champion the need for treatment. in fact, the lack of adequate treatment further highlights the need to shift the narrative around suicide from blame to compassion and from judgment to understanding.

even in death, karyn washington continues to be an inspiration for growth and acceptance.  watch her friend yumnah najah’s touching video dispelling the misinformation surrounding karyn’s death and her thoughts on why she remains a role model despite her suicide.

weekend wear 4.14.14

IMG_0885the weather was perfect for the cherry blossom parade and festival in dc over the weekend. everyone was out celebrating the sunlight after a painful winter, and i finally got a chance to wear this vintage hat that i picked up last year.

IMG_0886IMG_0878 IMG_0883 IMG_0907IMG_0821 photo (6)IMG_0928i can’t wait to wear this dress again with different shoes — a pair of colored heels or patterned flats maybe?  we did lots of walking this weekend so simple, flat sandals were a must.

lots of love to the nice people who couldn’t speak english, but enlisted a friend to help them ask for my picture.  hope you enjoyed dc!

hat and dress, polly sue’s vintage | clutch, vendor at eastern market | earrings, vintage | lipstick, ruby woo by mac

rest in peace karyn washington

karynbeauty bloggers who look like me aren’t a dime a dozen.  for this reason, imagine my excitement when i found for brown girls, a website dedicated to celebrating dark skin and combating colorism.  the site’s founder, karyn washington was a young, effervescent beauty whose compassion for eradicating harmful tropes about dark skin women was encouraging.  i reached out to karyn during her #darkskinredlip campaign to submit my photo and was pleasantly surprised that not only did karyn write back, but she was personable and engaging.  we promised to keep in touch and find ways to build together in the future. unfortanately, i let life get in the way of me keeping my word, and we never had the chance to collobrate.

friday i read the horrible news that karyn had committed suicide.  media sources report she had been having a tough time, including dealing with the loss of her mother.  i’m still stunned that such a beautiful woman, both inside and out, found her life so painful that she lost her will to live.  my heart and prayers go out to her family, friends and the countless sisters who were inspired by her work.  let us keep karyn’s memory alive and in her words to me “continue to work together to stand up to colorism and embrace our right to rock a red lip!”

rest well dear heart.

if you are struggling with depression please reach out to someone. you are NOT alone.


crush of the week: black icons

hazel scott and lena hornethis week’s crush of the week pays homage to black women’s legacy of breathtaking beauty. i admire hazel scott, lena horne, pearl bailey, dorothy dandridge, eartha kitt and diana ross for winning the fight to be recognized despite all odds.lena hornepearl