I Remember Blackness: The Prettiness That Makes A Black Girl

The first time I wore red nail polish I was 7.

My Aunt Linda, my mother’s little sister, used to paint my nails when she would press my hair. I was fascinated by bottles on vanity trays and would turn my nails another color. And I remember my aunt would always tell me to keep still, because if I didn’t my nails would mess up. Even now, I can remember the white carpet under my hands as I willed time to speed up in order to have my hands back. Before nail polish, it was makeup. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to wear make-up! I was constantly in trouble for having makeup at 13–my mother told me that I could wear makeup at 15.

Fifteen felt like forever. And by the time I turned 15, Clueless was out. And that was all it took! But, let me back up again. I remember Lisa Turtle was the prettiest Black girl on television! She was stylish, present, and FASHIONABLE! There was never a hair out a place, never an ugly outfit, and her makeup? Oh, yes! It was that fictional character that inspired me to get into fashion, and even to consider FIT in New York!

I am student of old Hollywood, and love a good heel, and my style icons are still Dorothy, Eartha, Diahann and Lisa Turtle! I began to take creativity from pen to fabric! I wanted to know how to make clothes, dresses, and anything else! I began to appreciate how clothes fit, clothes that work best for me, and I realized that I am a bag and shoe girl.

I am a dedicated bag and shoe girl.

I deliberated on being an MUA as a side hustle.

Being able to express myself with makeup, clothes, accessories was essential to me as a creative. I needed that outlet–and still do. I feel more confident when my hair and nails are done. I mean, I even have a signature colors now: Ma’Damn by Fenty Beauty. Firebird by Urban Decay. They are in my purse…always. And magnetic lashes? GAME CHANGER.

In a world that copies Black women, and hates Black women, this is a needed outlet. Black women need that space to flex, change and to experiment. I need that ability to make my way in the world, and sashay through it from time to time.

Besides, I still do love a good manicure–with acrylic tips, skinny coffin shape–and I still can’t wait for polish to dry.

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