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On My Radar: Afrikrea – Etsy for Black Entrepreneurs

I’ve just heard about a really inspiring website via Instagram. Afrikrea is a marketplace for Black-owned businesses. It’s your one-stop-shop for African inspired goods. How perfect is it that I come across this marketplace in the holiday season? The site states, “Safely shop for clothing, jewelry, art and modern accessories directly from designer boutiques inspired by Africa with delivery anywhere in the world.” Check out their Instagram!

It’s so amazing to see homemade headwraps, jewelry, fashion, accessories, home goods, things for the baby, all in one online marketplace.  I love the site’s clean design and easy to navigate features. Similar to Etsy or WeBuyBlack.com, consumers are welcome to read sellers’ stories and detailed product descriptions before making their purchase. It looks like they openly accept new sellers so don’t hesitate to list your products! Check out some of my favorite items I’ve come across so far on Afrikrea below!

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Bomber jacket via seller, the-united-fingers

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Captain Africa hoodie via seller, ladjy-clothing

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“Playtime” painting via seller, zguerrier

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Blue top via seller, eliyany

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Beaded cape via seller, coco-styles-craft

 

 

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Serena Pens an Open Letter on Gender Inequality

Serena Williams in a phenomenal woman and my all-time favorite athlete (and celebrity). I love that she’s proud of her strength and continuously encourages others to work to be greater. Just looking at her makes me want to hit the gym harder, work more efficiently, and just… be better. Does she have that effect on you, too? She honestly seems like an overall awesome person. Serena just gave us another reason to admire her even more.Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Russia's Zvonareva in their women's singles tennis match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games

Before winning the Wimbledon final in July (for her historic 22nd major), Serena was asked if she considered herself to be one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Her response: “I prefer the word, ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.” That’s right, drop the “female.” You have to love that she is vocal about double-standards and the struggle for women to earn equal pay in and outside of the sports world.

On , Serena penned an open letter to encourage women to dream big.  She addressed her letter, “To all incredible women who strive for excellence.” I mean, she already had my attention but I had to brace myself for the words of wisdom she dropped.

So when the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you.

Serena WilliamsIt’s unbelievable that we still need to convince people that Black Lives Matter and that women deserve equal pay. I sent this letter to my sister and she posted it on her bedroom wall. Honestly, I should post it on my wall, desk, and mirror.  Serena’s words are touching and we hope that it helps reshape how some view women of color and women in general.

 You can read her letter in its entirety at The Guardian.

 

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America Flaunts its Hate

It has been a week since Trump became President Elect. Many are shocked and are publicly mourning, many are shocked and are privately rejoicing. My mind is still racing and trying to sort through the conspiracies and agendas that were carelessly thrown around. Will I ever get process everything to get down to the facts? I never imagined Trump to lead America to a brighter future.

This election shows that racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and ignorance are still prevalent in America. The KKK openly supported Trump and he openly did not express disdain for the terrorist group. Although I was hopeful Trump would not win, I can’t say I am entirely surprised. The win reaffirms that modern racism, sexism, and so forth are not non-existent, but practiced in ways that are not easily measurable and seen.

My hope is that everyone who did not vote for Trump finds ways to help those in need and elevate the country as much as possible. We must fight back against any sort of bigotry that arises during the Trump administration.  Volunteer, donate to worthy causes, escort women to and from health clinics. Those are just a few ideas…

#Obama2020? We’re all rooting for you Michelle!

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Naturalista at Work Series

There aren’t enough positive narratives of women with natural hair in the workplace. I decided to create content for myself and all those in the world that are questioning their right to wear their natural hair at work.

Stepping into an office looking like my true, authentic self shouldn’t be questioned by parents, friends, nor co-workers. Wearing braids, twists, locs, or rocking my natural fro is not unprofessional. As the more and more women ditch their perms (a.k.a. creamy crack) and the Black Lives Matter movement beats on, shouldn’t society be celebrating and embracing natural hair? Why are we seeing companies being able to legally banishing certain ethnic styles from the workplace?

Embracing natural hair should seem like the obvious choice. “This is America,” “I’m free to be me,” and “it’s 2016.” But unfortunately, many people are still threatened by Black women with non-straight hair. Case in point, just this September, the U.S. Court of Appeals deemed it legal for employers to ban locs in the workplace. According to the Wall Street Journal, Chasity Jones’ job offer was rescinded as she refused to cut off her locs to comply with the company’s “grooming policy.”

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, banning locs is racial discrimination as the style is “physiologically and culturally associate with people of African descent.” CMS, the company with the policy at question, stated that the hairstyle tends to get messy” and employees need to project “a professional and business like image.” The U.S. Court sided with CMS, the insurance claims company with the policy at question, stating that race is “a social construct” and “has no biologic definition.”

Is this case riddled with ignorance or should a hairstyle really make a candidate less valuable?  A person’s hairstyle is not associated with their ability to do great work and excel. Unfortunately, there are unprofessional persons in positions of power that are unable to look past an ethnic hairstyle to envision how the person will be an asset to their team.

For the first time in my life, I have locs! They’re long and some are teal! In case anyone is wondering, my ethnic hairstyle and my affinity for having colored hair has no effect on my ability to excel in the office. Just so we’re clear.

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Makeup and Photography: Shellanna James

Model and Styling: Janelle Clayton

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A Black Thought

With every click, I felt more frustrated and more defeated. Months ago, while conversing on Black Twitter, someone tweeted at me that every black person needs to take a break from reading about our injustices sometimes. Don’t feel guilty, you need to keep your health in mind. That person was right. Fast forward a few months, I slowly peeled myself away from social media so I could avoid seeing the countless names of Black people who were unfathomably degraded, brutalized, and gunned down by police.

Doing things I enjoy started to feel trivial and made me feel guilty. How can I enjoy catching up with my girlfriends when I know there’s a black man being brutalized by police somewhere? How can I enjoy my work when I know black children are being unfairly suspended from school somewhere? How can I enjoy writing when I know a black woman voicing her opinion is being put down somewhere. Somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere.

I slowly came to the realization that I will do my best to use my voice in the ways I deem are best for me. I can’t let the news freeze me into an anxious panic and ironically suppress my voice. We all need to do our best for this (potential) era of social progress. It is our responsibility to change the conversation about black children, black women, black men, and black people despite their gender identity. There is a voice in all of us. I hope we learn to make them count.

In Black Lives Matter, I believe. And you should, too.