The Revolution: Celebrating Black Women’s Bodies

December 17, 2014

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Spotlight: The War on Black Women’s Bodies Contributors

December 16, 2014

This is how it all started.

This is how it all started.

Tomorrow concludes what has been a four-month journey of writing, researching, storytelling, interviewing, growing and evolving as I finish up The War on Black Women’s Bodies. I keep waiting for the tears to come (and I’m sure they will) as I really consider what I’ve done and accomplished with this piece of work. What started back in September as a simple blog post transformed into a multi-faceted project that took on a life of its own. I am forever changed and so is this blog because of The War on Black Women’s Bodies. For those wondering what’s next, just know that if you know me, “next” has already been envisioned and planned. I do not plan to abandon this project, the community we’ve built around it and the momentum the idea has gained. Stay tuned, that’s all I can offer for now.

But, before the project wraps up tomorrow, I want to take some time to spotlight all of the beautiful, smart, complex and insightful women who contributed to the series. I completed 25 individual interviews, coordinated a photo shoot and partnered closely with several women on the branding and editing of the series. All of these women brought their experiences, truth, talent and vulnerability to the project, adding layers to it that I would have never been able to create myself. Much applause and love to each and every one of these women for contributing to a body of work that has brought me pride, joy and renewal. I hope each of you feel that same pride, joy and renewal when you consider what we have achieved together.

Series Editor: Denni Cravins
Denni has been the unsung hero behind this series. From pulling articles to reference to dealing with each draft sent bit by bit (usually very late at night), Denni made sure the series was polished, informed and ready to get published every Wednesday. I may love writing, but I am the shittiest of editors, and that’s where Denni’s expertise and insight really came in to play.

TU-BodyWar-FBGraphic Designer: Kalani Hillman
When I decided to move forward with the WOBWB as a full series instead of a blog post, I knew it would need some sort of branding  to really anchor the concept. My friend and graphic designer Kalani Hillman stepped in, offered several options and didn’t even fight me too much when I insisted on using hot pink instead of red for the word “War.” (Hey, Twenties Unscripted branding, what can I say?) She created a design that I was happy to inundate Instagram timelines with week after week.

 

Series Finale Photographer: Jazzmin Williams
I almost feel like I can’t say much about Jazz because I just want you to see her power and talent at work in the photo gallery series finale tomorrow. When my sister Alexis (another unsung advisor for this project!) first suggested a photo shoot for the series finale, I ran with the idea like a madwoman. The concept came about around 5 p.m. and by 11 p.m. that night I had worked with Jazz and we booked studio space to set the idea in motion. Jazz is the first person I ever met because of my blog. We’ve come a long way since that first brunch at Busboys and Poets, and she continues to lend her photography talent to Twenties Unscripted and her friendship to little old me.

The following women have all contributed to various parts of the series through the interviews I conducted. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to sit on the phone with each of these women as they shared their wit, told their stories and shed their layers. Ladies, I’m forever indebted to you:

Part 1: Media & Pop Culture
Morgan Pitts
Cicely Rue
Khrysta
T.S. Fitzgerald
Chaédria LaBouviera

Part 2: Sexuality & Sexual Assault
Lamoi
Noëlle Cuvilly
Nikita Brown
Ariel Leconte
Jenai

Part 3: Domestic Violence
Erica Nichole
Tiffany Curlee

Part 4: Healthcare
Brenda Fadeyibi
Jocelyn Triplett

Part 5: Mind & Spirit
Briana Ford
Theresa Thames
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Curvy of CurvyCEO

Parts 2 and 5–Sexuality and Sexual Assault & Mind and Spirit
Yetti

Parts 4 and 5–Healthcare & Mind and Spirit
Devri Velazquez

Finally, get ready to TURN UP for the beautiful women who modeled as a part of tomorrow’s photo gallery finale, The Revolution: Celebrating Black Women’s Bodies!

Raven
Alexis (my sister!)
Martha (my mommy!)
Dejah
Dziko
Kerin
Lindsay
Hermela
T.S.
Kalani
GG Renee
Kayla
Niecy
Cassandra
Denni
Jasmin
Charmayne

Thank you all for supporting this project. Women from every shade, age, shape and size. Thank you for believing in this project. Thank you for the emails, the tweets, the Facebook shares, the text messages, the words of encouragement. There is not any other major creative note I would want to end 2014 on. After something like this, you can’t go back to just writing blog posts. You can’t go back to just saying “NEW POST, FOOL.” You can’t go back to a few good events. After something like this, you realize there is beauty and fulfillment in doing the difficult, tough, nearly-impossible and revolutionary work.

Thank you all. Times 100.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Celebrating Black Womanhood promotional flyerTOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! The War on Black Women’s Bodies will conclude with a photo gallery that you don’t want to miss. You’ll laugh. You may cry. You’ll think. And you will appreciate the complexity and beauty among black women so much more. See you for the finale!

Celebrating Black Womanhood: Photography and Poetry

December 15, 2014

“Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” –Zora Neale Hurston

Celebrating Black Womanhood week continues today on Twenties Unscripted by highlighting the work of two black female photographers and two poets (one of whom you already know…me!) as we examine what it means to be black women through the lens and through words. I respect, admire and adore each of these women and their work, the way they see the world and the ways in which they force us to see the world differently.

Photography by Dejah K. Greene and Stacy-Ann Ellis

Poetry: “Dear Little Black Girl” by Ciera “C. Moné” Williams
“World Under Fire” by Tyece Wilkins

Dejah K. Greene

Kesia & Raven

Kesia & Raven

Kesia

Kesia

dejah-2890

Dejah

Dejah

Dejah

An Appreciation of Self by Stacy-Ann Ellis

Stacy-Ann Ellis

Stacy-Ann Ellis

Dear Little Black Girl by Ciera “C. Moné” Williams

Ciera's Poem-2

 

World Under Fire by Tyece Wilkins, originally performed 10/14, Busboys & Poets 14th & V

Celebrating Black Womanhood promotional flyer

Celebrating Black Womanhood week continues tomorrow with a spotlight on all of the women who contributed to The War on Black Women’s Bodies series! 

Year in Review: Black Girl Magic on Twenties Unscripted

December 14, 2014

We’re kicking off Celebrating Black Womanhood week here on Twenties Unscripted with a look back on all of the brilliant brown girls I had a chance to feature this year on the blog.

Writers. Entrepreneurs. Filmmakers. Activists. The rise of digital media has translated into a wealth of untapped talent hidden in the underground world of blogging. Every single day, I am finding new women doing new and amazing things. I am honored and proud I had a chance to feature some of that new and amazing work this past year. Much applause and love to each of the women below who are changing the game.

Black brilliance represented on Twenties Unscripted in 2014

Black brilliance represented on Twenties Unscripted in 2014

(Links listed based on images beginning in top left hand corner, read left to right)

Erica, creator EverythingEnJ, winner of the 2014 Black Weblog Award for Best Personal BlogSnip20141124_1
July 14, 2014 “Someone Should’ve Told Me
July 21, 2014 “For Erica
October 2, 2014: #FBOMBSEVENT: “A Conversation With Erica Nichole About Fearlessness
The War on Black Women’s Bodies Part 3–Domestic Violence: A Survivor Speaks Her Truth

“Some things are not what they seem. Don’t be fooled by the façade and never covet what someone else has because you don’t know how they got it and you never know what’s happening behind closed doors.”

Alisha Nicole, creator of The Alisha Nicole and Early August
November 10, 2014 Feature: Alisha Nicole of TheAlishaNicole.com

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. New businesses pop up everyday. Make it your business to stay relevant and in front of your customers face.”

Ariel, creator of Revolutionary In Pink Pumps
November 18, 2014 Feature: Ariel of Revolutionary in Pink Pumps

“I don’t think that you can be a writer without having tough skin. When you put your opinion out there you’re open to some hurtful stuff and I’ve had a few trolls who really tried to come for my neck.”

Snip20140815_6Yetti, creator of YettiSays.com
July 15, 2014 The Chase

“Embrace uncertainty. Love the fuck out of it. Because the very same uncertainty that may throw you off your route may detour you toward something better. Sometimes your plan is not for you.”

GG Renee Hill, creator of All The Many Layers and author of The Beautiful Disruption and Wallflower
February 23, 2014 Showcase Spotlight: GG Renee Hill of “All The Many Layers”

“A lot of women are existing but not thriving because they lack meaning in their lives. I’m drawn to write for these women because I was one of them. So busy doing what we think we are supposed to do, but inside feeling like something is missing. As I found myself on this mission to pursue a more intentional life, I started to share my experiences and I became passionate about creating content for other women on this journey.”

Amber Janae, creator of Who Is Amber Janae and author of The Root: A Compilation of Poetry, A Woman’s Quest to Self-Love and Sacrifices and Deception
September 19, 2014: Writing, Inspiration and a Little In Between: Chat with Amber Janae

“To me worrying about the numbers, how much it’s selling and who is buying is a distraction. It can be a bit of a discouragement as well. My first piece wasn’t a NYT Bestseller, neither was the second or third, but I aspire to get there one day soon. The only way I will achieve that is by continuing to create the work my readers love and not worry about the numbers or the profits.”

Minaa B, creator of Respect Your Struggle
September 24, 2014 Respect Your Struggle: Feature w/ Minaa

“A part of being human is learning to accept that failure and weakness are a part of the package in life. To embrace vulnerability and admit weakness will be the strongest thing a person could ever do for their soul.”

Angelique Fullwood, activist and president of the Tampa Chapter of Dream Defenders
September 5, 2014 Feature: Angelique Fullwood of Dream Defenders

“Know your identity and understand your purpose. There are many ways to contribute to the movement. Being involved means being relational with others in your community, striving for organization and operating under shared values.”

Thais Francis, filmmaker, actress and creator of “Late Expectations”
September 17, 2014 Feature: Thais Francis

“I once had an acting teacher who always said ‘Do the work.’ It really is that simple.”

Anique Hameed, ambassador for the My Black Is Beautiful CampaignSnip20141214_5
August 21, 2014 Twenties Unscripted Takeover: Anique Hameed

“It is imperative that Black women define beauty for themselves because there are people being paid to tell you that everything, except for what your blackness represents, is beautiful.”

Chaédria LaBouvier, filmmaker, activist and writer
August 20, 2014 Twenties Unscripted Takeover: Chaédria LaBouvier

“It’s almost as if people expect that they need to be ruthless to have an opinion or to be thought of as intelligent. I think it’s far more sophisticated and more of a challenge to give constructive yet compassionate feedback, if there’s any to give.”

Evette Dionne, writer and cultural critic from the millennium
August 12, 2014 Evette Dionne: Inside The World Of A Freelance Writer

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that a writer has to work within the industry and establish contacts before becoming a professional freelancer. While both of those things can be helpful, it isn’t especially necessary. The Internet is one of the best tools available for writers. Establishing a following through a blog or social media can catch an editor’s eye, and open doors that were previously guarded by gatekeepers.”

Stacy-Ann Ellis, writer, photographer and artist
August 18, 2014 Twenties Unscripted Takeover: Stacy-Ann Ellis

“One thing I keep hearing in one way or another is if someone says what you’re doing is good, it’s okay to believe them. I don’t give myself enough credit all the time because of occasional doubts and have a hard time accepting compliments or praise. But believe in your product the way you want others to, and they will.”

Morgan Pitts, founder of CosMORGpolitan and creator of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog, 2014 Black Weblog Award winner for Hashtag of the YearBlackGirlsWhoBlog calendar
July 18, 2014 Friday Feature: Morgan Pitts of CosMORGpolitan and #BlackGirlsWhoBlog

“As a black woman who blogs, it’s special and unique to see women who look like me doing what I’m doing. I love reading our stories, sharing our experiences, and overall having a voice and presence online. Blogging has given us an outlet to do these things, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Candice VanWye, creator of Brown Girl Bloggers
July 4, 2014 Friday Feature: Candice VanWye of Brown Girl Bloggers

“I wanted to find minority women who blogged about food, gaming, finances, etc. I felt that minority women weren’t showcased enough on popular blogger platforms after I scrolled through the front page of many of them and saw no brown faces or only one.”

Chymere Anais, creator of ChymereAnais.blogspot.com
July 17, 2014 [Fill in the Blank] Consistency Breeds ____________.

“Moral of the story is, stick to something and do what you said you would do.”

Amberly Ellis, filmmaker and documentarian
September 12, 2014 Feature: Amberly Alene Ellis

“My mission is to capture life through film in ways that force audiences to think about something in a way that they did not think about before, and to do this in a manner that is as true as possible.”

Melissa Beck and team, founders of B Astonished Events, LLC
August 22, 2014 Twenties Unscripted Takeover: Melissa Beck

“My biggest advice is do not give up. Starting a business can be so intimidating, but once you get past the initial legal paperwork, you can go from there. Follow your goals and make your dreams become a reality.”

Nneka Okona, writer and creator of Afros Y PaellaSnip20141214_6
July 16, 2014 A Parisian Dose of Peace

“I think love is sure. It’s tranquil. it’s calm and peaceful. It’s soothing. It’s strong but not overpowering. It’s big but not suffocating. It’s balanced.”

Raven Best, creator of the Free Your Mind Project
July 25, 2014 Friday Feature: Raven Best of the Free Your Mind Project
September 25, 2014 Don’t Rely on Olivia Pope to Represent Black Women

“My main goal is to show my followers and other brown girls that there is no one way to be black and a woman. We all have different looks, passions, talents and strengths and I want to celebrate these differences rather than let it cause division.”

Dejah Greene, photographer
February 21, 2014 Showcase Spotlight: Dejah Greene

“Follow your gut and enjoy what you do. Try not to get so caught up in what everyone thinks of you or your art.”

Lexi B, creator of Grown Up Truth
July 16, 2014 The Life, Times and Lessons of a (Former) Angry Female Employee

“So ladies, wear your heels or chucks, zip up your suit or your jeans, pop your curls, straighten your locks, or have your weave laid. Just do you and always work on outdoing yourself every day.  Everything else will come into place.”

Eboni, creator of Keep Calm and Keep Yourself
October 30, 2014 Which Woman Are You?

“If we as women would stop trying to constantly one-up each other, we could do some amazing things within our society.”

Celebrating Black Womanhood promotional flyer

 

Stay tuned this week for more special features as we Celebrate Black Womanhood, culminating in the special photo gallery series finale of The War on Black Women’s Bodies!