Happy MLK Day – Love, Equality and Justice for All
Happy MLK Day darlings,
Hope you had a nice 3-day weekend. I was going to do a post on how to wear a black dress from desk to dinner, but I decided to switch things up and share my thoughts on certain issues I’ve seen in our community. Martin Luther King has always been one of my biggest heroes, but apart from the ground-breaking work he did for civil and human rights, I love and respect him for being bold and brave about his beliefs and taking a stand despite the consequences.
So much has been going on recently in our society which has brought certain issues to the fore front. I believe we’re in a crucial state where a lot can be done to bring more awareness and solutions to human rights, women’s rights, the culture of rape and abuse, segregation and racial issues, but I think for us to move to grow and move forward, we must be more aware, honest and intentional about what we do and how we treat others.
Recently in the blogging and fashion world, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding H&M with the black child who modeled a sweatshirt with a negative racial undertone while the other model had a sweatshirt that was more positive. Then there is REVOLVE that recently hosted a tour for their influencers and it was obvious the lack of racial diversity and inclusion in their brand despite people of color being part of their clients. Like most people have said, these are not the first companies to do things that are very insensitive to say the least or discriminate against a community. There has also been a lot of disparity and lack of diversity in the types of bloggers who work with certain brands and sometimes even amongst women and bloggers ourselves, people can be cliquish. So, whether it is a divide in gender, race, size and shape of people with opportunities or income, there is a clear divide and honestly, I’m over it.
As a Nigerian American woman in this country, I’m a minority on 3 different levels, being a woman, being black and being an immigrant. Although there are great sides to being all that, there are also challenges with being a minority. I see women of color or of a certain size being left out. They work twice as hard to get the same opportunities as Caucasian women and even when they get those opportunities, they usually get paid less for working twice as hard and get less recognition.
As Oprah said, the most powerful tool we have is our voice which is why I say and write what I see and feel. This is not a post to bash people, but to applaud and say thank you to those who choose to educate themselves, remain aware and learn to embrace all types of people especially when an issue doesn’t directly affect them. Also, this is to challenge us as a community to be vocal and more honestly about issues like this that may be uncomfortable but very necessary for growth and healing of our community.
So, I encourage everyone to share their experiences and feelings. Continuing the dialogue that was started by people before me because until we have dialogue and start demanding equal rights, opportunities and resources, we will never grow an heal. Also I encourage you to listen more and show more compassion and empathy to all people despite their differences. I know some people say they don’t see color which may be great, but that doesn’t mean others don’t and that doesn’t mean there is no discrimination going on. Wake up and see the truth because it’s easy not to see an issue when it doesn’t affect you. And for everyone who has felt some form of prejudice, who has invested time, talented, resources into someone or something and you still feel left out, unheard, under represented and you feel like an outsider because they never want to include you or give you a seat at the table, please realize your worth. You are beautiful, you are brilliant, you are blessed and totally bad ass. You don’t need anyone to validate you, become the solution you seek, create your own table and invite others to sit with you. Be your amazing self, reach out and support others, especially those who have also been left out and told that they will never be good enough. Also please be wise and stop giving your resources to people and business that continue to perpetuate a negative stereotype and agenda. Be aware, be conscious, BE WOKE.
I also want to encourage us women to learn to get along more and work together. I have met so many amazing women on my journey as a blogger and an entrepreneur. They have loved, supported and inspired me despite our differences in style, size, shape, personality, interests, background, ethnicity and race. From the group of Style Collective women I met in Dallas, to the bloggers I met in Houston, NYFW and even online and across the globe. These community of women have been great. So this is a reminder that you’re not alone. It’s not you against the world and you’re not in competition with anyone else but yourself. Learn to reach out, learn to share and support each other. We are stronger together and there’s so much magic when we link up and authentically stand up for each other and love each other. We are all in this hood called womanhood and sisterhood. Speak up when you see injustice, speak up for people who are being marginalized. Do not wait to speak up only when it affects you. Always stand for love, justice and equality for all people. And with that said, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
“The time is always right to do what is right”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppressed and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy”
“Darkness cannot drive drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
‘The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”