Last year blogger, Awesomely Luvvie (<—click), called out Black Beauty and Fashion bloggers for staying silent on issues involving racial injustice. I found the criticism harsh and unfair. The expectation that black women are required to speak publicly about these issues feels very much like another weight is being placed on our already weighted shoulders.
According to Luvvie, even a tweet or IG picture would do, and those of us who remained silent were doing so because we were concerned about our checks.
Ma’am? Most black bloggers, particularly Beauty and Fashion Bloggers aren’t making any money. Like, none at all. Those of who are doing this do so because:
- We are passionate about our craft and
- We’re tired of being boxed into what we should or should not be.
For me, being traditional in my career pursuits didn’t pan out. I got tired of trying to make myself fit in spaces where I wasn’t wanted. So I created a space of my own. It’s awesome that some of you care to visit this space and occasionally comment or watch my youtube videos, but I’d likely be here without you. This space speaks to my soul. It’s mine. All of it. So I find it particularly disappointing when someone tries to police my space. Luvvie, of all people, should know we aren’t all here for the money, so our silence isn’t necessarily about keeping a cash flow or repping for the brands.
Let me be clear: I am a black woman.
I have never ever forgotten that I am a black woman, so when the news reports show that one of my own is being treated unjustly I am both outraged and heartbroken, but why am I required to be both things publicly? Before today I have never posted on my blog about the murder of a black person by a police officer. It never felt like the right space, and frankly it made me uncomfortable.
Alton Sterling’s murder, for whatever reason, hit a chord that made me feel enough comfort in my discomfort to speak on behalf of my fellow beauty and fashion bloggers who may feel just as horrified but feel unable to publicly share their outrage. We feel it, even if we cannot speak it. And many of us have platforms that are not necessarily safe spaces to do so. I think it’s easy to cast aspersions and draw all kinds of conclusions about people you do not know and have never asked the question, “How do you feel?”
I get where Luuvie is coming from, I do. I mean when I see Whoopi Goldberg on TV acting deaf and dumb to racial prejudice and injustice, while having a HUGE platform to speak on our behalf, I am pissed. But we beauty and fashion bloggers don’t have those kinds of platforms, and many of us are just trying to stay afloat and figure this thing out. I’m four years in and I’m still figuring it out!
In any event, I say all this to say that Alton Sterling’s death, and the death of so so so many of our people affects us. It affects me. I do not even have the words to fully express what I feel because it feels almost beyond me. Does that make sense? I don’t even know for sure the purpose of this post, but I guess I wanted those of you who do read to know that I do care about more than beauty and fashion, I’m just not much of a social activist.
I leave you with a quote by one of my favorite writers of all time, James Baldwin:
“Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it’s true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
― James Baldwin