Black History Month at Women Like Me
We hope that our lovely members and readers have been doing well and staying healthy! With the new restrictions and lockdown in place, we hope that things have not been too difficult, and whilst we’re all back at work and education full-time or working from home part-time we’re still staying positive, full of energy, and beautiful as we should be! Allowing COVID to overtake us would be daft, this is a difficult situation but it is essential to respect these restrictions for our safety. Let’s keep happy together as we move along this new journey.
Now! Onto something rather special and rather celebratory than staying home again; Black History Month 2020. The time of year has come to celebrate Black Purity and Excellence and we couldn’t be more excited to rejoice and remember all that the community has accomplished.
Our company is called Women Like Me, for years in the past and present black women have either been slandered and undermined for their beautiful natural curves and textured hair, or they have been copied and mimicked by those who wouldn’t even stop to be friends or employ a curvy black woman with afro hair but would be willing to mimic her body shape as if they would look better with such curves, and appropriate the culture by getting box-braids or similar hairstyles, butt-lifts which do not naturally via-birth belong to their ethnic community. We as a business, as a loving family is here to say that black women are literally the most beautiful women on earth. From their naturally curly hair, facial features to their gorgeous curves. This is not, up for debate!
Our founder, Mavis Amankwah is a successful Black woman entrepreneur herself in addition to this our company is predominantly controlled by women of colour. We take pride in this fact.
Hairstyles and body-wear are a fundamental part of self-expression. They’re often our most defining physical features and can be a manifestation of our personalities. But for black women, hair and clothing that is worn are about more than just style and beauty. “Pop-culture praises straight hair and euro-ethnic-centric body shapes as the norm,” says Dr. Kathomi Gatwiri, a lecturer in social science at Southern Cross University.
Accepting your body takes time, the road to self-acceptance and self-love isn’t always straightforward. Many women had to unlearn what made some bodies more ‘attractive’ over others. Historically, black women’s bodies have always been hypersexualised. Many of these narratives are rooted in the early voyages by Europeans to the African continent who upon seeing ‘scantily clad natives’ believed that black women were ‘sexually lewd’.
Another historical example of the commodification of black women’s bodies is Sarah Baartman. A Khoisan woman from present-day South Africa, she was taken to Europe and put on display in ‘freak shows’ and crowds were invited to look at her bottom which was considered ‘large’. Today, large bottoms are celebrated — with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez leading the charge. Source – https://www.abc.net
But not all famous women with ‘big butts’ receive equal treatment. Arguably the greatest female tennis player in history, Serena Williams’ career has been mired with endless criticism about her body. As well as one of the best female black rappers of our time Onika Maraj, also known as Nicki Minaj.
Regardless of your race, gender, or age, most of us at some point in our lives struggle with accepting the bodies we were born into. Learning to embrace them as we grow is key. (And, that’s okay.)
As we celebrate the beautiful month full of meaningful memoirs and reminiscing about what our ancestors and great, great grandparents had gone through for the sake of Black Humanity and Expression… we are honoring Black History Month through a curated collection of fashion items for women – created by powerful and excellent Black women specially chosen by our founder.
This collection of hoodies is bold, colorful, showing the beauty of black excellence. They’ve come together to create these proud statement jumpers that people can wear not only during Black History Month but also throughout the year as well to showcase what the brand Curvaceous Fashion stands for and roots from.
In addition to this, we have clothes from Rufina Designs, another one of the brands that one of our Women Like Me members own. It is a new women’s online store offering a range of clothing, shoes, and accessories inspired by traditional African styles fused with contemporary western trends. They sell a variety of African print dresses, maxi African skirts, African print tops, African print fabric shoes, bags, and other matching accessories.
“It is important for black men to live consciously of the fact that our skin often speaks before we have the chance to do so for ourselves,” Afolabi wrote in a Facebook post about his stylish approach to breaking down stereotypes. “The good news is that our fashion choices can also speak before us and in the exceptional case of black men, can silence everything and allow us to speak for ourselves.”- Loba Afolabi, a black student who spoke for the culture when he wore a specific shirt to make a Black History month statement.
This same stance goes for black women and those that wear curves with passion, love, and desire. This black history month proved fashion still has to address its race problem, In the months of September-October alone, which is also Black History Month, we’ve witnessed over a handful of racial, ill-judged incidents involving the biggest fashion brands in the industry including Gucci, Balmain, Vogue, and more. At a time where we should be celebrating black culture, we’re instead facing palming these brands and public figures for making the same racist mistakes that have plagued the fashion community forever. Is no one learning?
The fashion industry continues to progress in other social avenues including gender-neutral clothing and sustainable practices, but when it comes to racial injustice within these brands’ own ranks, it’s still very stagnant. The lingering problem is the lack of diversity and inclusivity of minorities in creative and decision-making positions.
Attached are links to videos we found worth enjoying during this time and it put a smile on our faces to see, black excellence and influence being shown in fashion over the years.
100 years of Black American Fashion:
How Black Culture Influences Fashion and Beauty Industries:
Black Excellist: 10 Pioneers of Black Fashion:
That absence of culture leads to Valentino putting white models in cornrows, Prada releasing a $550 keychain that mirrors blackface, and Balmain painting black models darker for a runway show. It’s a never-ending cycle of racial incidents, community outcry, and “we didn’t mean to offend” apologies. It’s a level of ignorance. In some ways, designers seemingly lack the instruments to understand cultural imagery and history, especially of black culture, because the culture is absent in those offices. – www.highsnobiety.com/p/fashion-race-issues/
Once again, we’d like to thank our Women Like Me readers and members for doing business with us still during this tough time. We hope that you will rejoice and celebrate this month with acceptance and joy for the happiness of beautiful black people. Black History Month should be a time of celebration for everyone. Black history is everyone’s history but has been systemically left out of our history books and mainstream media. Black History Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the Black people in your life and find ways to give back to the Black community. More importantly, you can work on breaking down the privileges in your own life and take action to break down those you see around you.
WLM Blog Song of the Week: ‘Brown Skin Girl’ – Beyonce, SAINt JHN, WizKid & Blue Ivy Carter