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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 According to the Wall Street Journal, Chasity Jones’ job offer was rescinded as she refused to cut off her locs to comply with the company’s “grooming policy.”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.

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Willow Smith Crushes Her Chanel Campaign

Willow Smith is a multi-talented teen. This girl does no wrong. She has a soulful sound, killer style, and is an MIT-hopeful. I hope she never leaves the art world for good because I am a serious fan. She’s only 15! Willow stars in the new fall/winter eyewear campaign that is as usual, shot my favorite fashionisto, Karl Lagerfeld himself.

In a brand statement reads, “Swathed in jewels from the Fall-Winter 2016/17 Ready-to-Wear collection, she breathes new energy into the world of Chanel eyewear.” The charming young songstress and style muse is signed to The Society Management and starred in a Marc Jacobs campaign last year. Looks like it’s time I take my piggy bank out for his last meal because mama needs some Chanel glasses STAT.

Check out Willow’s campaign below.

Image: Celebrity Gossip

 

 

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The Queen

They’re here! The edited photos of “The Queen” shoot came in and I’m excited to share them with you! I am extremely proud of this project and the entire team. Take a peek below at our work!

Special thanks to Zeyang, Coco, and my dear friend, Fatima.

Wardrobe & Stylist: Fatima Camara

Photograher: Zeyang Wang

Hair & Makeup: Coco Liu

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Shopping & Traveling with Your Brexit Benefits

Burb 2015 holi campOn Thursday, June 23rd, the 52% of British voters chose to divorce the E.U. The decision to break up, a.k.a. Brexit, was largely motivated by economic and political issues across the continent. The decision is already having an impact on global markets. According to Luxury Daily, “the news of which caused a $2 trillion hit to global stocks, the pound to fall 10 percent to the dollar and the euro to drop 3 percent.” The secession from the union will be a two-year process but British goods are already on sale.

As widely predicated, chief concerns are the fate of the rich’s investments in the UK. How will the London Stock  Exchange perform? Will the rising costs of British materials cause the price of goods to skyrocket? Are visa requirements likely to return? Anti-immigrant backlash, xenophobia, and fear of terrorism fueled the no-E.U. vote. It sounds like Trump can make a few friends in the U.K.

If you already have your calendar marked to take a trip to London, go! No visa is needed and regulations can unexpectedly change for foreigners. If travel documentation requirements change, nonnatives may need weeks or months to process their papers. That could mean trouble for impulse or indecisive travelers.

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maryThe U.K. has a strong and proud tradition of luxury manufacturing. This is not the end of the road for Burberry, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and other British-associated brands. However, the pound has already fallen 10% to the dollar. Because the dollar is the strongest it’s been against the pound in modern history, U.S. shoppers visiting the U.K. are in for a treat. Savvy shoppers can grab luxury handbags at almost a 10% discount from last week. A Mary Katrantzou dress from Selfridges was about $2,606 last month. Now, it’s roughly $1,985.

Are the efforts many luxury companies put toward harmonizing prices globally all for nothing now? The relative statuses of the pound, euro, yen, and dollar are seemingly unknown. London may be the go-to destination for U.S. shoppers to get the best deal on goods from Chanel, LVMH, and Hermes. Now may be the time to finally pay a visit to Big Ben and pull the trigger on that premier purse or heritage trench of your dreams.

Images: Luxury Daily, Selfridges, TTGMedia