Is It Art or Is It Racist?

Another racial controversy sparked social media’s outrage over the weekend when LA MUA, paintdatface, decided to paint a white model’s face to represent various women of black culture(s). The blacklash is imminent when it comes to modern blackface, which is why this man felt the need to add a disclaimer to his work. 

It came anyway. 

When the very women you claim to be celebrating are already under-represented in the industry (fashion industry that is), a true testament of “celebrating” their race as he claimed was the point, would’ve been to USE the women of that race. That’s at least in my opinion, especially when a quick screenshot from his IG quickly shows he hasn’t done so thus far. 

Paintdatface later removed the post & further added that he couldn’t apologize for his artwork because he believes it to be beautiful. It is. But does that mean it isn’t racist? I don’t think so. The irony behind the post is what tickles me. “I struggle to remain challenged…my post have become more manufactured than authentic.” Authentic he says! It’s almost laughable given the context of his page & the transformation project he produced to combat his creative boredom. There isn’t anything authentic about his post, or even the reasoning behind it. He was an MUA looking to boost his insta-following overnight. He succeeded. Blackface will never be considered art. 

Photos courtesy of Instagram page: @paintdatface

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Modified Warhol Moment

Bad press is still press is something I find myself saying a lot recently. Specifically for the point of this article though, it’s because it’s become a marketing tool in consumer ads. Advertisements of late have taken to provoking the public for a response, with anything from commercializing social upset to white-washing brands in marketing attempts. The online upset that follows a negative, tone-deaf ad is all that’s seen across social media for days at a time in what I like to call a modified Warhol moment, you know his 15 min. of fame quote? Yeah, that. 

Some recent ads have left many a consumer scratching their heads wondering how the ad made it all the way from the board room to production without any opposition. From Pepsi & their soda-saving protests to Nivea with its ‘white is purity’ agenda, Shea Moisture decided to join the “bad press is still press” bandwagon with their most recent commercial series entitled, “Hair Hate is Real,” following their #BreakTheWalls campaign (Mini-background breakdown on Shea Moisture: it’s a hair & skin care line which in its origin catered to the kinky hair types & the black girls who grow it because products for curly-kinks were non-existent/non-effective. Fast-forward to product expansion & share owners, the brand & product ingredients have since been modified to include all hair types to avoid exclusion. . . Insert all ironic/sarcastic captions here). 

The ad features a presumably biracial woman with loose curls & three white women, one with straight blond hair & two straight-tressed redheads, discussing their hair hate/hassles & their Shea Moisture solutions. View it here: Shea Moisture Ad

The problem though was one of the missing women; the main target consumer of Shea Moisture products mind you. The brand neglected to include the brown-skinned kinky-curly woman in their “all-inclusive ad.” The Asian community wasn’t represented either, but I digress. The brand was developed by & for women with kinky-curls. The same women who have  presumably invested plenty-a-coin on the product, not to mention volunteering free press which lead to the product’s expansion in the first place, was omitted from the commercial- save the last 2 seconds of the ad. Big mistake! 

It took no time at all for the backlash or “black-lash” to spark within the hair community & for Shea Moisture to issue an immediate apology as it pulled the commercial, saying in short, “We F-ed up.” The kinky girls are not here for the virtual slap in the face. But is it a ploy? Did Shea Moisture just want their name in the digital headlines? They know which demographic invests the most in their products & it’s not the models in their recent commercials. Too many companies are adapting that byline of bad press is still press. But at what cost? Is the “15 minute” phenomenon worth it to alienate & anger your target consumer for the prospect of new customers? We’ll see shortly. 

So far Shea Moisture has been the topic of discussion since the commercial aired on Monday, April 24th. It’s so calculated it seems planned. It’s upsetting when insta-friends do the most for likes, but when it comes to national brands the question is just how pressed for press are you? 

More Hairy Tales

If you’ve followed my posts both here or on blogspot, you seen posts regarding my hair. Now this is by no means an ammendment to what was previously written (Hair’s Nothing | Gilded Sass
https://gildedsass.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/hairs-nothing/), when I cut my hair I didn’t embark on a miraculous coily journey. I cut it because I was hot, end of story. At least that’s what I thought. . .

Products, man. I started growing out my hair & trying to find products is costly, time consuming, & incredibly annoying when you don’t purchase the right ones. I am always on YouTube searching for quality brands, looking at videos for moisture retention, products for 4C hair (because there is no mistaking this texture. It is 4C hair),  & styling for my TWA (teenie weenie afro- yes that’s really what it stands for), in other words becoming fully engrossed in the natural hair world without my realizing it! I have questions & they have tons of answers & . . . Ohhhhh, there’s my Aha moment. That’s the purpose of the natural hair community. 

My hair has been natural for over 5 years but in the same sentence, it’s also been short. I’ve had a buzz cut since I cut it & never intended on growing my hair out. I never focused on products because I cut my hair every two weeks. Products didn’t matter until I went blonde & had to find ways to keep it moisturizered. But now, now I’m starting to see a purpose for this community I mocked. I didn’t knooooow, I come in peace. I just want to have a visible curl pattern. Forgive me, my natural friends. Forgive me. 

But with that being said, Foxy is still dead on! https://youtu.be/3UP-HD_GwGM Enjoy her video posted above! These are my sentiments exactly! As far as me & my hair goes, I’m just winging it man. Just winging it.

One Cause Leads To Multiple… Or At Least It Should

The Women’s March yesterday drove home a much repeated truth: when people want to affect change, they can affect change, especially women. Humans came out in massive numbers yesterday in solidarity for one cause. My own city, had an estimated attendance of 20K but closer to 50K protestors came out to support, and for that I was proud. 

Proud yet disappointed. There are several memes floating around the net to explain why. The empowerment these women felt & displayed across the U.S., was missing a few months ago. We had a woman running for president & some of the same women who marched yesterday, (statistics would probably show that the majority of women who marched yesterday) didn’t vote for her, but voted for the very man they’re up in arms against now. No, Hillary wasn’t my first choice but seeing as how the masses weren’t rooting for Bernie when the vote mattered, I was “with her,” based on circumstances. 53% of the white, female vote were not. Look it up. 

As a feminist, I’m happy. As a black feminist, I’m hurt. The more involved I become in actively speaking out against obvious injustices against women, minorities, the disabled, trans, etc… the harder it is to ignore that these causes can’t be separated. When I view it that way, all lives do indeed matter. How unified are we in women’s rights if those rights exclude women of color or transgendered women. . .? 

Are we really marching on a united front? I would like to believe so because those are my intentions. But if we aren’t… 
Photos courtesy of: The Other 98%, Instagram- @nikes_nae, Twitter- @BridgetMarie, The Other 98%, Instagram- @obviousmag. 

What Plan B?

I was supposed to be chronicling my journey here; writing tales of mini triumphs on my road to success. I had a vision for this part of my life, I swear I did. . . 

Yeah, things aren’t quite going to plan. I think I’m in the chapter of my story where I go thru struggle. I’m at such a scary point where I question my goals, where I doubt my plan… I mean I’m not only struggling financially, but spiritually & mentally. It’s hard, man. Harder than I imagined. Yet with each new bottom (because I have hit it quite a few times), I’m trying to stay positive. I keep reminding myself where I was & how I felt because I know I can’t go back. Corporate life made me mental, borderline suicidal (I wish that was an exaggeration, it isn’t.) I was so unhappy. & it showed. (I’m beyond grateful for my family right now. I know I’m driving them crazy & even in their doubts, they’re supportive. Even when I’m unappreciative, they’re supportive…)  I need to find my niche in this world. If not in the industry, than in this world. Something feels incomplete… I can’t place it. Something is definitely missing. I feel misunderstood among other things. I feel lost. . . I don’t like the place where I am now. But I know it’s only temporary. I remind myself constantly that it’s only temporary. I wouldn’t have these dreams if I couldn’t fulfill them, they wouldn’t haunt me so, you know? There’s a way to do this my way. Uncompromising, but uniquely me. . . I just haven’t found it yet. That’s the next step, I just have to find it. 
So, with everything & nothing, with fear in my heart & determination in my blood, I move forward. There is no plan B. 

Quick reminder

I hit a minor road bump on this road to greatness & allowed it to temporarily rob me of my positivity. I was waiting for the high to fall; waited for the crash that would fling me to rock bottom. But even as I tripped, because I built myself up so much I couldn’t fall completely back into it, into nothing. The process is working, keep going. This won’t make sense to you (whoever you may be) if you’re reading this, but this moment is important for me. Keep rising. Don’t fall & think you need to settle for a mediocre life with the mindset of the average. 

The only average thing about me, are my initials. 

Sometimes you have to inspire yourself before you can inspire others. Motivate yourself on days where it feels easier to give in. I had one of those days, today was the motivator I needed. Keep going. 

Currently. . .

I didn’t really want to start with politics & presidential candidates because it can easily change my attitude & the topic of this post in general. So I’ll just share this, we’re fucked.

Moving on. 

I lost my original post that was filled with interesting tidbits & adventures of my life from the past month. I could rewrite it but clearly those experiences weren’t meant to be shared. In an abridged version however, Philly Fashion Week has come & gone. I won’t say it was a complete waste of time, because some useful connections were made, but it was a slight waste of time if I’m going to be completely honest. & I mean that in the most literal way! A lot of time was spent doing absolutely nothing due to miscommunication & poor organization. But that isn’t a complaint from me. From the beautiful models, awesome designers, & interesting photogs I met this city’s current talent both reputable & aspiring. Overall I enjoyed it & the collections were clutch, I dig it. Nothing more, nothing less. Well, at least for now.

In other news, spring is on the horizon & with the warmer weather will come even fresher opportunities. I can only look forward & smile at this point. This is about to get really interesting.