Living in the Midwest – Spring Queens

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I live in Midwestern United States where the weather can swing drastically, hitting above 100 in the summer and below zero in the winter. The Springs are cold and warm, and hot, and cold again! It’s nothing to fear, you just have to be prepared and accept the reality of varying temperatures.

Living in the Midwest allows me to get super cReaTiVe with my wardrobe. I can be laid back, conservative, athletic, but most of all JAZZY! My attire is most often referred to as Jazzy. People ask, “where did you get that?” If I can remember, I tell them, but I shop all over. Mostly in thrift stores and specialty-clothing boutiques. I do not discriminate! Anywhere I go from, TJMaxx to Steinmart, I can always find the most “jazzy-ethnic” attire they carry. That’s my thing, that’s my style. My favorite stores are thrift stores, but like I said, I go all over.

I love being able to create my own style!

Many people enjoy living in the Midwest, although it can be depressing sometimes! Nine months of cold weather can have you visiting a psychoanalyst! No need to complain, just get with the program. When its cold, love it, when it’s hot love it even more! Our seasons seem to be all over the place and are highly unpredictable at the present time.
So I keep my closet fully equipped with all types of light and heavy clothing. Every morning I put my foot out the door to see what the weather feels like and I go from there…

THE STYLE… The shirt I am wearing above is one of my favorite pieces. It is a very light fabric and I normally wear a camisole underneath it. I got it from an African Boutique years ago named SeneAfrique, $25. It closed down. The shirt has gold accents so I wore gold jewelry to match. It’s a gold cuff bracelet which you can get from anywhere these days. The necklace is a beaded brown and gold layered style and I have no idea where I got it (maybe Dillard’s on clearance years ago?). The earrings are a costume-like gold from Glitter (in malls), $1. The jeans are from Charlotte Russe, $10. I like flare jeans. The shoes are from Aldo, $95. They are leather inside and out, that is why they are pricier. They are called the Fornili shoe and date back at least two years. I won’t spend that much anymore, but there was something about these shoes that made them awesome. I like them a lot and they don’t hurt. Of course I wouldn’t do crazy amounts of walking in them either.

HOPE THIS HELPS YOU CHOOSE SOME COMFORTABLE ATTIRE THAT FITS YOU.

Peace and love,

Queen Duafe for African Essence

P.S. Need a book to read? Check this out…

Afrocentricity and the Academy: Essays on Theory and Practice edited by James L. Conyers, Jr.

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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

LET MY STORY REACH YOUR HEART

JAMBO! (SWAHILI WELCOMING)

In this very new year, I want to take a minute to remind everyone what African Essence is about. I love doing this blog and I am very thankful for everyone who reads the articles, follows us, and everyone who sends positive vibrations this way. We will continue to encourage people to find out WHO and WHAT they are in this very tough world. We added a new tab above. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT! The story is a wonderful testament TO LIFE. It’s tough to share stories where we play bad roles, but I am brave in this manner. May the story reach your heart and journey on with you. Hope you learn from it.

This year with every new post, we use a soundtrack of songs to express the messages. The playlists are very diverse. Music is a great connector when trying to communicate. For the feature article, the playlist is the following:

Nneka: Heartbeat

Lyrics: “You throw stones, can’t you see that I am human, I am breathing; but you don’t give a damn.

Madonna: Secret

Lyrics: “Happiness lies in your own hand, It took me much too long, To understand how it could be, Until you shared your secret with me…”

Janelle Monae- Neon Valley Street

Lyrics:

May this song reach your heart
May your ears love the sweet melody
Every note, every chord
I’ve arranged them for you and for me

May the sound of my voice be your guide
Bring you closer to me
Let us bathe in the noise
Let the love in your heart speak to me

For now, I’ll pretend
I’m holding your hand

We met alone forbidden in the city
Running fast through time like Tubman and John Henry
But the time was wrong
Illegal aliens moaned
It’s such a pity that the city’s just a danger zone
Atomic blues bombing hearts like Iraqis in Babylon
The droid control will take your soul and rate it
Berate, slay it
You hate it and debate it but you don’t get caught
And outlaw outrunning the law, ha

May the strings make you smile
May they always remind you of me
For now let’s pretend
I’m holding your hand

THESE SONGS ARE AMAZING. THEY HELPED ME FIND MY WAY BACK FROM A CONFUSING STATE. MAY MY STORY REACH YOUR HEART. EVERY WORD, EVERY SYLLABLE- LET IT GUIDE YOU…

THE STORY GOES…

We have never attracted negative energy within the realms of African Essence and don’t intend to start now. We say this because there are some very horrible and spiteful forces out there that attempt to critique and judge and pretend to be GOD. Well, we have to fight them and keep it positive. Despite these negative influences, we are still powerful and full of love! We want to give that love to whoever is willing to receive it. In doing so, we cannot dwell or be held down by anything that happened in the past. It’s like the history of the African in America. It is wise that we definitely acknowledge our past, but we have to keep moving. If you are the same person that you were 6 years ago, then you are dying.
I am queen. I always tell people, I am not the same person from yesterday. Each and every day I grow and learn and live and breathe and thank the universe for allowing me to be a part of it! Here, at African Essence, we march forth in our desire to be the best!

We will not allow our past to suffocate our future. That’s what I am and who we are!

African Essence is a spiritual place for people who want greatness in their lives. Our readers are dedicated and have shown great support over this past year. They have helped us to grow and change in a positive direction. We gather and talk about identity, culture, and many other topics that help define who and what we are. Thanks to everyone who supported African Essence through this first year of blogging.

I (Queen Duafe) started African Essence because young girls ask me all the time about the way I dress. The way I dress can be described as colorful, original, and most definitely ethnic. My ethnic dress code is not strictly African, although it is what I love the most. I am of African descent living in America. That means a lot when it comes to identity because the identity of the African American woman has been tampered with from Harriet Tubman to Michelle Obama.

Moreover, I admire and adore Indian and Caribbean dress. I study dress codes from all over the world. My garb is not really about fashion. Actually, fashion is the least of it. It is really more about discovering one’s true identity. Before you can ever begin to cloth yourself correctly, your mind has to be righteous. If you are thinking sexually, than you project that. If you feel horrible, you may just look that way. If you have nothing but brown shoes and white button up shirts in your closet, you have got be able to be comfortable in it. Wardrobe is not about getting attention. It is about being able to walk into any situation and look confident. Through African Essence, we help you choose the clothing, accessories, and attitude that look best on you.

When you are dressed comfortably and respectfully, you are able to achieve much more in life. You cannot be at your best if you are looking your worst. African Essence is about helping women to adorn themselves in a way that is pleasant and respectful. I cannot describe my dress as fashionable, edgy, fabulous, fierce, or any such term. I can only say that, what you wear reflects what you are. So often do we see women in clothes that are too small, too tight, too big, too dull, too crazy, or just NOT becoming of who or what they are. We never want to draw too much attention to ourselves with our attire. We just want to cultivate a good spirit world around us. I am confident in everything that I wear and from my experiences, I pull some great energy from my dress code alone! Sometimes, I may wear something catchy, but the universe knows that my intentions are to help people and give them a broader perspective on how to dress. I do not desire attention. I find that people with low confidence and esteem, who really admire my style can show hate instead of love. It doesn’t faze me, though! I love you too.

Our women and girls need an alternative to modern day FASHION. The women portrayed in media are often nude, light, with long hair and eye lashes. They show off their curves in the worst way and they force our younger generations to think that the less you have on, the better you look. I see girls do it all the time. It doesn’t do them any good in the long run, if they want to admit it or not. Show some respect to get some. Be all that you can be… I believe in you.

I do not pretend to be perfect and I do not encourage anyone to do so. We all go through trials, life is that way. Pointing the finger and attempting to ‘expose’ someone via the digital landscape is never an acceptable way to express your contempt for another. It is COWARDLY. I encourage all who visit African Essence to keep it positive and show some love. All other things are not necessary in this spiritual circle. We are beautiful. God created me just like he/she created you! I am African and so are you! Love me or leave me alone! Our ritual at African Essence is to put out love. We do not allow hate to poison our cipher.

DO NOT LET THE CIPHER BE POISONED-

THIS IS A SPIRITUAL AND RITUAL PLACE

In saying this, I encourage you all to click on my FEATURE STORY tab above. This year, I will frequently feature a new story that I hope can help or inspire someone to change their life. These stories are written by me and are real.

Peace and love to you.

Queen Duafe for African Essence

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