First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a taping of the Black Girls Rock award ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Newark. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Vixen Vent: Why I'm Unbothered By The Backlash Of #BlackGirlsRock

For Black girls who don't seem to care about your uproar.

I've grown tired of being sick and tired. For every person that changes the word 'Black' to 'all,' I roll my eyes and continue to play with my thick, natural hair in the mirror. Ive grown to love who's staring back at me in the mirror and in all honesty, it took years to get here.

My mother gave me The Bluest Eye to read at a young age because I'm certain she believed Pecola Breedlove came in the form of her eldest daughter. When I opted for gray contacts that looked blue against the irises of my eyes, I know she died a little bit inside. I never said it openly, but playing with white Barbies did something to me. Flipping through special editions of Vogue and Harper's BAZAAR, and soaking in images of white beauty into my psyche, played a part in me wanting to be something that I never would be.

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I prayed to God in church for lighter skin because I thought the best lipsticks were more fitting to the caramel complexion, and I did go to the altar once to ask God for straighter hair because there was but so much a hot comb could do for my crown. I had Black Cabbage Patch babies, but they were nothing in comparison to the Mattel dolls I owned that had the luxury of coming in collectible boxes, worth a fortune in the future. I drew on the faces of the Cabbage Patch Kids, but those holiday Barbies? I knew not to touch them, much less, remove them from their homes. They were special. They were white. Those toys that looked like me; what were they worth, really?

Fast forward to my collegiate life – a colored girl at a PWI – and it was then that I finally realized the importance of my skin color. I was the only Black girl in an English class; the only person in a public speaking course who "talked a little different,"; the sole member in a club that could finally say they were a 'diversity group.' I went from "speaking like a white girl" in high school, to fitting in with the small percentage of people of color at a university. I didn't dare to be different, I just was, and I loved it.

SEE ALSO: Here’s What Michelle Obama Thinks About Her ‘Influential’ Daughters

In a world where people are undergoing lip augmentations or drawing on their mouths to achieve the thickness that I now love, I wonder why was it that I wanted to be someone else. Black culture is now, for most, the 'it' culture; the wave; the trend; the thing to emulate and embrace. From gelled down baby hairs (with the toothbrush), to the curves in my hips and the color of my skin that doesn't require a tanning salon, I cackle at the people who bash necessary movements like Black Girls Rock and yet, pick and choose what part of me and my heritage they want to pass as their own.

I rock. I rocked when I didn't know I did. I rock because of that 'fro I still wear around my house from my early years – a staple piece for Black girls in hoods, now a hairstyle to rock for models on the runway. Sure, all lives matter, and as a person who identifies as a feminist, all girls rock, but for twenty-something years, I saw that I've been placed on the back burner because of my skin. Black girls get put in the back of the magazines far too often, and so when one of mine makes the front cover of some of your favorites, I buy it for just that reason alone. We're finally in the front – where we belong.

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I rock because somehow, this world says there is no place for women that look like me, and yet, in the words of Cicely Tyson, "no one is going to bother to put you down, if you were not a threat to them." My skin color is a threat. My happiness and my need to applaud my fellow sisters is a sin. My womanhood and my ways are a crime. And still I rise.

We rise. We rock.

The #whitegirlsrock hashtag isn't anything new – it trends every time #BlackGirlsRock airs – but so does my culture. It trends in magazines, in the news, in your neighborhood, in your face. Even when you don't want to see it.

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va DuVernay speaks onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 10th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 18, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ava DuVernay And Theaster Gates To Lead Diversity Council For Prada

Major luxury brands like Prada and Gucci have been under fire since releasing luxury items with racial undertones. Sparking controversy that is not easily repaired with public apologies, Prada has announced a Diversity and Inclusion Council lead by director Ava DuVernay and social practice installation artist Theaster Gates.

Gates and DuVernay, who have used their art in social justice missions will join " Prada’s initiative to elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.” The pair will also help the brand provide the opportunity for designers of color to obtain internships and apprenticeships that are inclusive of diverse communities.

In a statement to WWD, Miuccia Prada, Prada’s Chief Executive Officer, and Lead Creative Director stated explained the brand's willingness to learn from their own mistakes while actively including creative of color in the company.

“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company, Prada said. "In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry, we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with long-time collaborators, Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, on this important initiative. We look forward to working with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to help us grow not only as a company but also as individuals.”

The Diversity Council will work alongside the company's Social Responsibility department to recommend strategic approaches within the next few months.


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Solitary Alignment: 5 Self-Affirming Reads For Single Ladies On Valentine’s Day

Ahh, the Feast of Saint Valentine—the Hallmark holiday that strikes us with its arrow each year, for better or for worse, depending on your bae status. While the romantic holiday is adored and celebrated by many, if you’re still reeling over, say, your ex’s refusal to commit, chances are Feb. 14 is more of a heartache for you than anything.

But as a wise woman once said, “If they liked it then they should’ve put a ring on it.” So whether V-Day has you scared of lonely or sulking over a lost love, as another wise woman once said, they “would be SUPER lucky to even set eyes on you this Valentine’s Day. That’s it. That’s the gift.” Shout out to The Slumflower.

Sure, having a bae on Valentine’s Day is cool, but so is reminding yourself why you’re just fine without one (cue Webbie’s “Independent”). In fact, single folks have better relationships overall, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. You know how the old adage goes: love yourself before loving someone else.

For this Valentine’s Day, VIBE Vixen rounds up a nourishing list of books for our sisters doin’ it for themselves. Consider this your reminder of how badass you are—because you are! Oh, oh, oh. *Beyoncé voice*

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Cast of 'Boomerang' (L to R): Ari (Leland Martin), David (RJ Walker), Bryson (Tequan Richmond)
Kareem Black/BET

BET’s 'Boomerang' Recap: Can You Really Hate The Player?

It’s game night at Bryson’s crib and at this point, you have to wonder if he’s playing himself. Clubs ain’t for everybody, especially Bryson who would much rather spend a Friday night shouting out clues to his boo Simone. Judging by her uncanny ability to keep it real in episode one, it should be pretty obvious that Simone hates playing games, but we digress.

The ladies arrive after a walk and talk of d**k appointments and the gentlemen’s faces are beaming with schoolboy joy. The friend zone portal Bryson always finds himself in opens up even wider when new dudes come to join in on the fun. Simone’s excitement to “meet new people” has Bryson feeling so jealous that he damn near blows steam when an almondy young man accidentally bumps into her. Its official: Bryson’s insecurity level has reached a 10.

As Tara reluctantly Insastories the night’s dull festivities, Ari gives his homie Bryson the cold, hard truth: Simone does not want his a**. Out on the balcony, Crystal and David (RJ Walker) have a moment; the two clearly have history. A shared beer and a couple of laughs reveal that David is an aspiring preacher, begging us to wonder if that’s why little Creflo’s relationship with Crystal didn’t last. The newly invited pizza guy, Shawn, makes his crush on Simone crystal clear and Bryson. Loses. His. Sh*t. Damn, we heard the friend zone was a cold place but we never thought it was that brick. Simone and her new eye candy rendezvous en route to and from the bathroom where Shawn makes a very forward ask to keep Simone company in her bed.  We’re not even going to hold you all, Simone was out; my mans didn’t even have to ask her twice. Le sigh. Poor Bryson. He just keeps taking L after L.

Okay, so remember kitchen bae who bumped into Simone making Bryson get all Mighty Mouse? Well, the gag is, his eyes are just for Ari (Leland B. Martin) and the two make their exit for a steamy hot tub sesh. Bryson feels stupid now, but at least someone is getting a happy ending.  Confused as to why the love of his life doesn’t view him the same, Bryson looks to pastor David for some well-needed reaffirmations. Repeat after me: Everything happens in God’s timing. A spirit of prayer, a childhood photo, and spin of Ahmad’s “Back In The Day” is just what Bryson needs to finally feel the relief he was yearning for all night.

This season of BET’s Boomerang looks like it will be filled with bomb hairstyles, plenty of passion, and some “aww sh*****t” moments.

Tune in to Boomerang on BET every Tuesday at 10/9c to see if this nice guy will ever finish first.

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