What Should I Wear Today? Thrifting, buying only what’s on sale and re-inventing your old clothes…

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When speaking with teenage and pre-teen girls, the most popular and sometimes most difficult things for me to discuss are…

1. how to dress
2. how to stay clean (hygiene)

HOW TO DRESS
It can be difficult to influence the way a young girl dresses because the world is mostly telling her to wear the tightest and most revealing clothes she can find. However, finding acceptable attire that makes a young woman look respectable is possible. The trends have shifted since the early 2000s, but it seems that they are stagnate right now. For the past 8 years or so, it has been all about skinny jeans and leggings. I can barely stand either! It is an easy way to say, “I don’t really care about how I look, so I am going to buy what is on display in the stores because it is easier to just blend in.” Honestly, when shopping, it is hard to find a nice pair of jeans that are NOT labeled skinny. The most popular item for women right now is leggings and blue jean button up shirts that are priced way too high! Come on, you can get one from the thrift store for 3 bucks! You should never buy clothes unless they are on sale! Yes, I said it.Young girls are always growing so why spend loads of money on things they will grow out of next month? Why spend loads of money, period?

Check out this blog on thrifting. You can do a youtube search for thrift store hauls to see how people transform thrifted clothes into masterpieces. Adopt styles that are colorful and vibrant instead of revealing and dull.
thriftionary.blogspot.com

Check out this wonderful blog!

Check out this wonderful blog!

You don’t want to end up looking like this! Absolute no no!
Leggins prohibited

STUCK ON STALE
I do not desire to tell a young woman to stop wearing what is trendy. My initiative is to encourage her to find the type of clothes that best fit her and to stop buying what is “hott.” It is not hott when everyone is wearing the same uniform. Isn’t that just like being in school? I always hear young people complain about school uniform. So why buy the same things that everyone else has? The same shoes, the same fake long hair, the same shirts, the same jeans- the same style! Try something different and wear your own hair young lady! This is what I have seen the constant use of hair weave do to a woman’s hair.

No Weave Permitted

I tell girls to try to listen to whats inside of them. Go with what’s natural and leave the fake in the store. A good place to start is to ask their parents to take them to the thrift stores, Salvation Army’s, and Goodwills. There, they can find unique items that speak more to their personalities. It is also cheaper and will allow them to have 3 shirts instead of 1. Sometimes variety is good.

It can also be difficult to explain to a young lady that Air Jordan’s (the tennis shoe) are not really designed for a woman’s foot. These shoes look hideous on women to me. They are too masculine. This is just my opinion. The girls always show resistance to this when we talk about it. Some listen, some continue to ask for these expensive ugly things. It may just be something they have to mature out of.

TRY THIS…
March53March52March51March50Blog log 044Blog log 055

HOW TO STAY CLEAN
FEATURED BLOG : http://www.africanexportsblog.com/
Yes, we have all smelled an unpleasant young woman before! We have seen weave tracks, and plaque on teeth, and dirty bra straps. We have seen clothes that are too small, what appears to be ash on ankles, necks, faces, and feet. We’ve seen nail polish that has gone bad 3 weeks ago, we have smelled bad breath, saw body parts falling out of clothes… these ARE ALL THINGS THAT SIGNIFY BAD HYGIENE. You have to be careful when teaching this to a young person because many of the girls I talk to, have not been taught how to be sweet young ladies. By “sweet” I mean smelling good, feeling good, talking good, looking good.

Hygiene always starts inward and it oozes outward. What you are on the inside determines how you look. This starts with KNOWLEDGE. Put a book in a young girls hand. Visit your local library and request books on “teaching young girls about personal hygiene.”. Talk to them. Address hygiene issues head on. Pull them to the side and talk about it in a passionate way so that they can feel comfortable. Take them to stores like JCPenny’s or Victoria’s Secret where they can get properly measured for bra sizes. Get their feet measured at Famous Footwear or any department store. Buy measuring tape from the dollar store and show them how to measure the width of their hips and the width of their waists so that they can find the proper sized clothing when shopping.
Searching for bras sizes

Teenage bra sizes

Show them how to shop for sanitary napkins, getting the healthiest brands with the least amounts of bleach and chemicals in them. Tell them how to wash their bodies when bathing. Buy them soaps that won’t irritate their skin and that are sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate free. Give them scented oils that are natural instead of perfumes that are NOT. Many things can fall under this category and it is not easy to talk about it all the time, but you must. Show them how to take care of their own hair instead of funky weave! Girls should be wearing their own hair! Maybe adding a little color would be cool, but that’s it!

Love this girl!

More tips…

In the end, I like to stick with all homemade and natural products like coconut oil, shea butter, coco butter, olive oil, rosemary oil, aloe vera, etc.

STYLE SUGGESTIONS: TRANSFORMING OLD CLOTHES
I really the It’sMyRayeRaye Channel on Youtube

After looking at these videos, you will come up with many many more ideas!

Peace and love,

Queen Duafe for African Essence

My Duafe Throne- When I do poetry, I sit on my Duafe Throne!

My Duafe Throne- When I do poetry, I sit on my Duafe Throne!

Headwraps & Afros- Solange & Today’s Black Woman Style Report Magazine

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Solange Knowles leaving The Frolic Room in HollywoodSolange

I understand that Solange is big in the media right now because of her modeling and the types of clothing she wears. I am not into jumping on bandwagons but after looking at some of her pics, I definitely agree that she has style. She is going against the grain, choosing to cultivate her natural beauty rather than mimicking the fake identity that is labeled “trendy.” That is evident in this video:

Solange’s uniqueness is oozing out in all of her artistic endeavors. The video above is cool in many ways. I like the design and setting, the people, and even Solange’s dancing. She is moving to her own beat and I can dig that. The stylist responsible for her look in this video is Ty Hunter. After doing some research on Mr. Hunter, I learned that his styling is definitely worth following. Although mainstream, he brings a wonderfully earthy and colorful angle to his client [s].
SOL AND TY

In addition to Solange’s music and modeling, she is a DJ and budding fashion ICON. She seems to have a good attitude and knowledge of herself so perhaps she can tackle fashion and identity. I like that she wears head wraps and “ethnic” designs. I’ll keep an eye on her.
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Ever once in a while I look at style magazines. Most of the time I cannot bear to look in them because I do not like the images of women that I see- painted faces showing no traces of reality. Often times the clothes are a bit overbearing as well. I have learned how to have a discerning eye.

THIS IS THE COVER OF THE APRIL/MAY 2013 ISSUE OF TODAY’S BLACK WOMAN STYLE REPORT MAG. I LIKE the golden dress on Megan Good (I am not sure if I would wear it, though!)

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I can appreciate some things about these sorts of magazines. My wishful thinking makes me think that perhaps one day, the world won’t be so consumed with sex and the physical. If you are conscious of who you are, you won’t buy into these things. Sadly, many of us are not and we end up thinking this is what we are supposed to look like.

Material things are not what defines us. Black and beauty are not synonymous. If they were, women would not spend so much time trying to change into something that they are not via clothes, make-up, etc.

The outfits that I am sharing may encourage you to find your own style. They are not meant to encourage you to copy someone else’s. In saying that, I saw a few good pics that I want to share that could add some flava to your wardrobe. What do you think?

I LOVE THE STOCKINGS IN THE MIDDLE!
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I LOVE THE COLORFUL SUIT ON THE LEFT!
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I LOVE THE HAIR AND THE GRAY SUIT AND SHOES! THIS IS GARCELLE BEAUVAIS.
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Today’s Black Woman Style Report April and May 2013

WOMEN’S STORIES- The ART of STORYTELLING

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Storytelling is a creative art form that dates back to the beginning of time. It has been one of the most effective methods in communicating and in sharing history. It allows us to break down and let it all out! I personally love to share my stories with people as part of my cycle of growth. I have loved and been loved; I have hurt and been hurt- telling these stories are liberating!

No one can tell you how to tell your story. You have to decide on the best way to share your life. Some people will like what you do, and many won’t, but if you keep a clean heart, the world will return the positive energy to you.

I most often choose to tell my stories using poetry. I look like this when I do (lol). Queen1

Queen2Queen3

Queen4Queen5
I find it refreshing and it gives me a crazy boost that flows through my entire body! It’s hard to explain. My style is at best rhythmic, but the cadence changes just as the temperature of my stories change. My pulse goes up and down and through the roof! Even when I’m calm, I’m excited inside. I tell women’s stories because I AM WOMAN. Some of these stories are bright and cheerful, and some are deep and dark, but in the end everything is good.

In storytelling, I have learned that denial is not an option. The truth sets me free. My perspective is what’s most important in my art of storytelling. I mesh together what I have learned with what’s happening now. The past, the future, and the most important- THE PRESENT! I am here RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow or yesterday- now!

In my continued celebration of women I would like to share with you a small gift that a very special person gave to me … Nikki Giovani’s book “My House.” Published in 1972.
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The guy that gave me this book is someone that I talk to in passing, but he’s almost a stranger. Somehow he understood that I adored poetry and he decided to give me this book as a gift for Women’s History Month. Much love to him for thinking of me. What is so special about this gift is that pages 25 and 26 are missing! The poem that is supposed to be on these pages is called Just A New York Poem. This is weird for me because New York has been on my mind for weeks now. He gives me this book with the poem ripped out! Interesting. I feel like I needed that poem to be in the book, but it is not. Well, the rest of the book is great. Check it out if you can.

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I like Nikki’s poems. I met Nikki Giovanni during my undergraduate studies at Fisk University. She once attended Fisk and she was a visiting professor for some time. I really dig her evolution as a woman. Her stories travel deep into the soul and resonate. She tells the truth. I appreciate Nikki Giovanni and all the women who boldly tell stories of hurt and triumph without placing blame or pointing fingers. Peace to all Queens who have stopped hiding. Peace to you.
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Queen Duafe for African Essence

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH- I AM EVERY WOMAN, THAT INCLUDES YOU

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In speaking to a group of men last week, it was not surprising that they had never heard of WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH. They asked me if this was something new. I told them that it had been a national celebration for quite some time now. The worldwide celebration of women started in the early 1900s but it evolved into a month-long celebration in the U.S. in 1987. It was started as a way to promote equality among sexes in the classroom. This is of great importance around the world even today as women are still denied many rights in countries around the world! Sadly, I do not come across many women who know about Women’s History Month or are ready to talk about the importance of women in our culture. This is a good time to learn!

I feel the necessity for the celebration from two personal standpoints: being WOMAN and being BLACK. Although the month is not just about women gaining the right to vote, women’s suffrage is one of the defining elements. Women wanted to be treated like thinking & feeling human beings and did not want to be disenfranchised on the basis of sex. This is what led to the struggle for women’s rights known as the feminist movements.

DEFINITION

Feminism (n): the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

In America, women’s suffrage movements and Black freedom movements were parallel but indeed separate. I am deeply affected by both. America is still in the recovery years from slavery and oppression. THE DATES:

March 30, 1870, the 15 Amendment was adopted allowing Black men the right to vote. Few actually ever voted because of other oppressive laws that were set up to counter their votes. Blacks were still being lynched and treated like animals well into the 1960s. So, almost 90 years after the initial ratification, there were still too many parameters set up to deter Blacks from voting.  

Women’s right to vote came in 1920 after the 19 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex.

Were Black women voting at this point? Not too many. Black people did not FULLY exercise the right to vote until the 1960s after protesting Jim Crow laws that were pretty much scare tactics to keep Blacks from voting. This is why many people believe that women actually received the right to vote before Blacks.

Not until the Voting Rights of 1965 did African Americans start to vote, without fear of being beat, lynched, spat on, turned away, etc. It eliminated literacy tests, poll tax, and other subjective voter tests that kept Blacks from voting.

Technically, all WOMEN did not get the right to vote, free of discrimination until 1965. This meant that any person regardless of race or sex could vote. Every diasporic groups voting rights were strengthened during the Civil Rights Movement.

In the celebration of the history of the woman, I would like to acknowledge the 1920 amendment as well as the Voting Rights Act which was the beginning of the right for every woman to vote free of discrimination.  I am you, and you are me and we must celebrate every woman the same.

QUEEN DUAFE FOR AFRICAN ESSENCE

Akua Naru & Aziza Yasmine – Much Style & Much Flava

Most people who know me, know about my TWO loves:

Melodic Poetry & Natural Beauty

Akua Naru, lyricist, is the definition of femininity IN poetry at its finest. Redefining hip hop, her lyrical prowess is a sultry caress to my ears- so much soul. 

Aziza Yasmine, natural hair stylist, softly caresses the tresses to bring out the best in every woman. She has been transitioning women back to their natural roots since the 90s after returning from a trip to Africa where she learned many hair techniques.

These two women visually remind me of one another. They have similar spirits and do a great job at their crafts. Upon listening to Akua, I get butterflies. For me, this means that I am learning and believing and feeling a kindred spirit. When in Aziza’s chair, I feel a level of trust that I have not felt with many others. I adore these women and in celebration of WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, I want to honor their contributions to WOMANHOOD. They are very much alive and moving and are helping women to define what they are. Choose to cherish your true identity, and not live in vain. BE YOURSELF. Start listening and start appreciating what you are. Check out the video below to hear what Akua has to say about telling stories and about womanhood. I like her message. What we must realize is that the way we talk, the way we look, and the things we do, define us. Your physical identity tells the story of your existence, just as your words and actions do. Make sure you’re living righteously and putting out love. What you give out is exactly what you will receive. Live, learn, and change. Grow up, not down. Peace!

Sisters in struggle,

QUEEN DUAFE FOR AFRICAN ESSENCE