Dress Like a Queen

Hope you like! Peace and Love.

Shila Iris aka Queen

What I’m reading…

africa is style


Wardrobe Ideas for Queens


I am Shila Iris, who are you?

Smile. Check out my other posts.

Peace and love.

My Experience at AfroPunk was so Amazing!


Me at AfroPunk- Picture Courtesy of Aagdolla Photographer

Me at AfroPunk

This year, the AfroPunk Festival in Brooklyn, New York was amazing! I had been wanting to go for 2 years, but once again I almost flaked out and stayed home. However, some wonderful ladies pushed me to go. I got my small amount of disposable income together and went for it! I am so glad that I did. I would estimate that over the course of 2 days, August 23 and 24, at least 50,000 people got to experience the funk of AfroPunk!

The 10 Major Cool Things About AfroPunk…

1. The beautiful Afrikans! -Gazing into the crowd, we looked so good ya’ll! Go Brown people! Everyone was fly! The Diaspora was well represented.

2. The Music- Oh my! LiAnn La Havas, D’Angelo, SZA, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Shabazz Palaces, and The Internet were among my favorite.

3. The Vendors- Handmade goods galore! We are so talented! These were the best vendors that I have seen at a festival, ever!

4. The Free Things- they were giving away some very valuable merchandise. No contest, just walk up. Lovely.

5. The Good Vibrations and Energy of the Crowd- Everyone was so welcoming and full of love! “I got the vibrations to change the nation, lick shots in the air, crowd participation!”

6. The Photographers- AfroPunk is well documented.

7. The Artists- There were so many expressionists and bold people who were just rocking eccentric styles! I appreciated the confidence. Keep ya head up!

8. The Bonding Experience of Going with People- Although the ladies I went with only recently joined my Universe, they were great to experience AfroPunk with. We were on the same frequency.

9. What AfroPunk represents and the AfroPunk Official Merchandise. Everything sold out. This festival represents so much positivity. Image of No Hate (Black)

10. The Appreciation- The people who organize AfroPunk are so appreciative of the participants. They walked around and mingled. So wonderful. They send out nice emails to thank you for attending:

There are few words that can express the amount of gratitude that we have for the AFROPUNK community.  People who consciously make an effort to join us year after year at the festival and online, supporters from around the block and around the world that come together for two days to celebrate culture and freedom with us. For that and more, thank you! See you next year!

Shila Iris for AfrikanEssence… I like saying AfroPunk… smile. Lol.

Reasons Why I Want to Go to AfroPunk Fest 2014


I love the wonderful, artistic, and eccentric expressions from the tribe we call African Americans, Afrikans, or the colorful people of the Diaspora!  The beautiful and poetic faces. The funky and stylish kindred spirits.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

AfroPunk tends to attract the fearless ONES. Those who travel on that untouchable frequency. They levitate. The vibe is heavy. Who wants to go and check out “the other” Black experience? Here’s the website. Dates: August 23-24, 2014. BK, NY.

The type of music that you could hear at an AfroPunk Fest.


Peace and love,

Shila Iris aka Queen, July 28, 2014, 12:53 a.m.

Spring Style Ideas


Are you having trouble coming up with style combinations? Try these looks. Depending upon the weather, you may or may not need to add a jacket or more layers to keep warm.

Shila Iris for African Essence

Need something to read?


The Warm Embrace of Mud Cloth…

Soon, the seasons will change to a warmer climate which may prevent us from wearing our beautiful mud cloths. Although created in a place where the weather is typically warm, it can be difficult to indulge in the beauty of this Malian textile once the sun starts blazing. So, you may want to start taking your heavier pieces out for their final spins. In many states, you should be able to get through the Spring wearing bogolanfini and if so, go for it! Here are some of my favorite styles…

The artistry and aesthetic sophistication of African textiles and dress has been admired and appreciated by foreign observers since the time of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Navigators would travel to Zaire, Mali, the Kuba Kingdom, Kasai region, and the Kongo from overseas, returning home with cherished prizes of embroidered cloths and mud-dyed fabrics. Fast forward to 2014, what is the importance of these cloths today?

At the risk of greatly oversimplifying the extremely elaborate symbolism in African textiles, we have come to accept them as “ethnic” prints, sold to the masses strictly for profit. However, to the trained eye, a print is not good enough. I myself desire raffia cloths from Zaire. I dream of owning just a piece of a royal Ashanti kente cloth. I would travel far to acquire an aso oke, the ceremonial cloth of the Yoruba or any of the wax-printed cloths that adorned my ancestors. However, my most beloved choice of fabric is the bogolanfini, mud-dyed cloth of Mali; which translates from the Bamana as “mud cloth.”

I like the look of bogolanfini. I like its stiffness. I like how it compliments my tinted skin and I like its warm embrace. Mud cloth was originally decorated by women in the Bamana-speaking region of Mali, using a unique process that utilized dyes made from mud and leaves to produce light designs outlined with a dark background. In its local context, it remains to be a crucial garment worn to mark important lifecycle stages including birth, marriage, and death.

Today, numerous Malian’s as well as the Fulani and Dogon, have taken up the craft to produce simplified versions for tourists and the international market. But let us not forget, the genuine beauty and history of these fabrics. I am not an anthropologists or African art enthusiast looking to profit from this cultural artifact. I am simply a person who is aware of the greatness of my ancestors. I feel their royalty in everything that I do. I am empowered through them!

Read more about the bogolanfini, mud-dyed cloth of Mali…

The Kush Queen, 2/5/2014