The Hooded Dress


I have this growing obsession with hooded dresses. Oddly, I do not own any… yet!

The book I’m reading:


Oh my! This book is magnificent! Look at that dance move! Dare you to try it! Smile.

Thanks for visiting African Essence.

Kush Queendom

Got time to browse?


My Love for Seydou Keita




Seydou Keita is the self-taught photographer who sparked my interest in portrait, fashion, and family photography; as well as photojournalism and macro/micro face picture-taking. He is best known for his works of art captured between 1940 and 1960, exhibited in hundreds of gallery’s nationwide. That is a great accomplishment for any photographer. He is also known for his books:

  1. Seydou Keita
  2. You Look Beautiful Like That
  3. Photographs, Bamako, Mali 1948-1963

I don’t want to go on a rant about how much I love him, but I will say that Seydou’s work continues to take my breath away. I am always discovering new elements in his photography that I may have missed the first time around. I often mention his name in conversations when I am asked about how I nurture my eccentricities. I honor the greatness in other people. Seydou’s work has challenged and inspired me to share my gifts with the world.

There are many people who are capable of taking exceptional photos but, if you are looking for a teacher, examining his work may help you to understand what photography is really about. With him, it was more than just a picture, it was history, culture, fashion, and reality.

Here are some of my favorite pictures that you can find on the internet. However, there are so many great photos in his books, so if you have a library card, check them out!

In Janet Jackson‘s video, Got Til It’s Gone featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell, the images reminded me of Seydou’s work. Let me know what you think.

Other photographers whose work I appreciate.

Looking for reasons to become a photographer? Examining Seydou Keita’s work- you just may want to try it out!

I am Kush.

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Not Loving the Lies… a poetic experience


Deep and Dope 1

Deep and Dope 2

Deep and Dope 3 Deep and Dope 4

Just wanted to share some poetry.

As I listen and listen to the stories of my acquaintances, I am realizing that people are saying the same things and telling the same lies. I am trying to express that here. I hear this so much: “I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Well, your choice to withhold information will lead to pain. That is the way that cookie crumbles. We have to start being wiser about the truth. You may think you have your lies under control, but guess what. Not really.

… but I don’t want to judge. Smiling.


“People are uncomfortable with sexuality that is not meant for male consumption.”


In the spirit of evolution…

Why I Love Erykah Badu

… I am getting to know who the fu*#@ I am! It’s not really that I don’t know what I’m about, it’s about enduring the beautiful struggle and allowing myself to deal with the things that make me uncomfortable. The good and the bad count. Sexuality is one of those great things that I am discovering is not what we thought it was (there are so many things that aren’t what they seem). It has nothing to do with other people. It’s all about how you love yourself. Are we mistakenly relying on other people to confirm our sexual identity? It seems this way. That’s why there are one night stands and so many acts of low self-esteem enveloping women and girls everywhere. Men too. You have to know that all these constructs that we follow are ridiculous. Be exactly what you are. Be honest:

I am a woman. of African descent. living in America. i am taught to hate myself. but I do not. i am taught to be conservative. but I am not. i am uplifted mostly when I am in the nude. but I cover myself. i am thought to be exotic. but i do not allow these silly interpretations to pollute my identity. i am separated from my king. but our greatness cannot be denied. they live in fear of me, so they tear me down. they have stolen many things from my family. but they cannot take what is inside of me. they need money and material possessions to survive. i need something different. i am queen. you can be too. if only you did not operate from hate. i am the only image that i will imitate.

-Shila aka Kush

**** I love that Badu is becoming more and more fearless. Believe it or not, the image above, is not meant for male consumption. You’d better recognize! There is a story to be told and artists will tell it because like the world says, art imitates life. Good stories never die. Much love and respect to queens.

What I’m reading:

The Complete Book of Numerology

P.S. I hope that you will find this book valuable. I do. Become shameless. Become fearless.

peace and love.