Monday, February 1, 2016

Full Fledged Nappy Loving Zora Girl Embracing Blackness

Power to the marginalized lady. Nappy Dictionary t-shirt, $25, globalcouture,net
Happy February!
It's the first day of our month, a rather short embittered month that fortunately receives a "leap-ing" bonus day-- an Augusta Savage birthday to be exact. Yet we people of African descent celebrate our culture beyond the scope of Aquarius and Pisces zodiac signs. Ancestral blood doesn't take a quiet slumber on the other 300+ days of the year. One cannot begin to squeeze in what African Diaspora has accomplished in twenty-nine days anyway.
This reflection leads me to searching inside of my mindset.
There was once a time I wasn't proud of the skin I was born in.
I love myself more than I ever had. Originally, I was ashamed of my awkwardness, my short, nappy hair, and the gap between my teeth. When I went vegan, I gradually gained more weight in the last two years, reaching personal high. From television to magazine displays to films, I didn't feel beauty within. I felt grossly unattractive in spite of my artistic talents and burgeoning writing culpability. Plus I spent so much time lazily watching daytime soap operas, obsessing over Downton Abbey, and reading Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Sylvia Plath, and white historical romance. I studied every European painter/draftsman master under the sun with Ingres being a huge favorite.

"Those that don't got it, can't show it. Those that got it, can't hide it."- Zora Neale Hurston, $25 100% cotton t-shirt,
At fifteen-years-old, Wallace Thurman's "Blacker the Berry" changed my world. The plight of Emma Lou Morgan is a plight many of us know well. It's deeply ingrained, ironed and pressed in young impressionable heads, that darker skinned women are not beautiful or only beautiful if features are European, bodies thinner, attitudes less sassy.
I'm older and scratching the wisdom surface. I am smart, humorous, a firecracker. I respect what Hair Wash Day means. I treasure every moment picking out my fro. It;s kinky, wildly nappy. I like my purple spectacles, my full lips, and new septum piercing. I can appreciate my body, but it will take a while longer to value stretch marks.I want to be braver, more confident. Less afraid. Be a brazen conqueror.
Yes, I love reading Plath, Virginia Woolf, those contemporary writers who love historical romance fiction, the popular we-always-have-to-read-him-male writers. I enjoy Downton Abbey with tea.
However, it's applauding Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl web series, rooting for Viola Davis as snappy Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder, having weekend marathons of Girlfriends, and reading Zora that empowers and engages the once closeted doubt in myself. Serena and Venus Williams state incredible words on beauty standards. Janelle Monae often candidly speaks out on injustice. Both Nina Simone and James Baldwin campaign for civil rights through beautiful lyricism. To these, is a real inclusiveness, a real drive to showcase the special gift of being black, of being included, of saying "you're not alone."

Laughing inside and out at the joys of being who I am supposed to be-- painting paintings of Nina Simone handing out Afro picks among other narratives that bring joy to the cluttered, chaotic studio.
Countless individuals have paved the way. My ancestral kings and queens that led me towards a remarkable journey. Literary influences such as Langston Hughes (happy birthday!), Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, Phyllis Wheatley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison, and visual geniuses Augusta Savage, Jean Michel-Basquiat, Lois Mailou Jones, Faith Ringgold, and endless influences have laid down golden bricks for my glittery amethyst slippered feet to walk on. I'm indebted to them for helping me to see my worth and the worth I can bring out in other people. I hope someday that I will inspire people to follow their passionate pursuits. The exchanging of energies is a powerful thing.
Happy Black History Month.

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