I've been thinking a lot about my interests and things I want to try and what constantly reappears is my fascination with textiles and surface design. The theme is clearly evident right here on Fly, on my mood-boards, and especially in my library of design books. I collect textiles and anything related to them. Then most recently I was offered the opportunity to teach a surface design course at my school and the excitement I felt convinced me that this is something I should really explore.
When I was at the Baltimore Farmer's Market & Bazaar over the weekend I was reminded of that desire to explore textiles/surface design when I was gushing over the market vendor called Made in Heaven. This particular brand sells imported vintage kantha quilts from India among many other beautiful goodies. I had been eyeing the vintage kantha quilt Anthropologie jackets and dresses by Vineet Bahl for a while but couldn't get over the price. So when I saw a similar collection at Made in Heaven for way less than a quarter of the cost I went bananas! I had to treat myself to a fab kantha quilt jacket and a beautiful throw for my new couch.
Why I'm so drawn to textiles and beautiful surface prints, I don't know — I'm in the process of figuring it out. Maybe it was my early years growing up in a sewing studio, or the idea of creating something textural, colorful and usable. Either way I'm definitely curious to learn more.
What about you? Have you discovered something new that you would like to try or learn more about?
This weekend throw on some of these Janet Jackson love song classics while you chill with your boo and sip on some spiked lemonade.
Also, be inspired by the stylings in all three. I LOVE how "That's the Way Love Goes" and "Anytime, Anyplace" totally capture the essence of 90's style. And the chains, buttons, and pins Janet is rockin' on that shoulder padded blazer in "When I Think of You" is fab.
Will you go see this film, Beasts of the Southern Wild? It's a story about the will of a little girl, Hushpuppy, who lives in a forgotten bayou in Louisiana during what seems to be an apocalyptic time (sounds familiar). Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think.
I already love this little girl.
As Fly continues to grow I am in need of some assistance: I’m looking for an intern! I am looking for someone who can help with a few aspects of the site. This person should be web and design savvy, have an eye for great content, and be available to assist with events and projects. Here are the details for the position:
Position: Research and Production Intern
Duties: Coordinate shoots and interviews, brainstorm and research for posts, handle communications for the team, and contribute to and assist with blog posts.
Compensation: Hourly rate based on skills and experience.
Location: Preferably in the Washington, DC or Baltimore metropolitan area.
Time Required: Roughly 10-15 hours a week.
• Must be familiar with fashion, art and design communities.
• Must have excellent communication skills.
• Must be familiar with social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
• Working knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator is preferred.
If you’d like to be a Fly intern please send an email with your attached PDF resume to FLYGIRLBLOG(AT)AOL(DOT)COM with "Fly Intern" in the subject line. In your email please tell me why you’d like to be a part of the Fly team, also feel free to share any skills, talents, ideas you feel would be helpful to this position. Please submit emails and resumes by Friday, June 15th at 10pm EST.
Thank you for submitting! I'm excited about having our first Fly intern!
A cool musical story for your weekend.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend. See you on Tuesday.
It's that time of year where commencement ceremonies and graduation celebrations are aplenty. I know that a lot of Fly readers are college students, some of whom are graduating this year, so I wanted to say congratulations!!
But I also wanted to send a special congratulations to the first generation college graduates of immigrant parents (and to your parents as well). This one is for you.
On Saturday I attended a graduation party for the daughter (let's call her Flavia) of some very close family friends. Like my mom, Flavia's parents are Brazilian, and they have been friends with my mother since coming to this country. I have known them all my life, so we consider them family.
As any celebration, there was a moment for speeches. Flavia and her parents stood by the DJ booth to say they're thank yous; and of course Flavia's parents were expressing their pride and joy of their soon to be doctor daughter.
I could not stop the tears from welling up and rolling down my cheeks.
I was so happy and very proud of Flavia, her accomplishment is tremendous. But a big sum of my tears were for her parents.
I'm going to generalize here but I don't care — immigrants work hard.
They leave everything they know: family, friends, language, culture, food, and environment for a country that may offer them a chance to fully actualize their hopes and dreams. Without a guarantee of anything, not even the guarantee of being able to go back home, they leave willingly for the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
Barely knowing the language or anyone to help, many, like my mother and Flavia's parents, come here and work really hard. They do work that no one wants to do while often dealing with disrespectful people who are not very welcoming to the immigrant population.
Over time, they realize that achieving the American Dream is a little more complicated than what they had imagined. So they set aside their dreams and function in pure survival mode to support themselves here in addition to frequently sending financial support back home. (Sometimes to family members who are insensitive and who don't understand the struggle one is facing in the U.S.)
Dealing with the basic challenges that come in life, many are dealing with them on their own without the support of family or friends. Imagine how it was before Skype or Facebook.
Then children come.
Although some of these immigrants didn't get their chance to explore the path to education or the career of their dreams, they do everything they can to make sure their children will be able to. Their new hope is that their children won't suffer or experience the difficulties (like discrimination, loneliness, and sometimes poverty) they faced in coming to this country.
As they sacrificed the life they knew to follow their own dreams, they now work hard and sacrifice again for the children who become their dreams.
As I watched the emotion bubbling up in Flavia's parents I knew where it was all coming from. These parents had finally achieved their dream — through their daughter.
I know how hard they worked. I know what they had been through. Having been in Flavia's shoes some years back I know what it means to have that piece of paper; I know that WE worked hard for this moment.
So, again, this is a special shout out to all the graduates who are an extension of their parents' dreams. Know that what you have accomplished is a special gift to yourself but also a beautiful reward to the people who have sacrificed so much to get you there. Congratulations to you and your parents, especially the parents who left everything they knew to help you become who you are. Cheers.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of these statemens are generalizations. I hope we all understand that this does not reflect the entire immigrant experience, which is indeed diverse and varied as we are individuals.
Sharing a few eats from my visit to Spain:
One of my goals during my Spain visit was to eat a lot. I acheived my goal successfully. Good meals were in abundance (I can't remember having one lousy meal).
The weather was so amazing we were usually eating outside, which was perfect for people watching, and eating in groups made it more fun to order several tapas per person and share.
My favorite tapas were melon wrapped in ham and artichoke hearts with ham. There was a lot of ham everywhere. I'm not really sure how a vegan or vegeterian would survive in this country of fabulous meats. Speaking of meat can we talk about the oxtail?
I grew up eating oxtail, it's one of my mother's best dishes, but this oxtail dinner I had in Madrid was spectacular. Up there with mom's? For sure.
One evening in Madrid after dinner, we ventured over to Chocolatería San Ginés — one of the oldest chocolate and churros cafes in the city. You order the fried dough with hot chocolate, which is thick melted dark chocolate (not the powdered stuff), and you dip and eat. So delicious.
After 10 days of all that wonderful food (and lots of meat) I was in need of something light. At our final stop in Spain, Barcelona, I found Juicy Jones. The colorful restaurant caters to vegan palates with a menu of mixed juices, salads and sandwiches. While sipping on my pineapple, kiwi, and something-else-juice and munching on the huge salad I ordered, I was admiring the fun and colorful murals throughout the space. Juicy Jones is such a cute spot.
What about you, have you been to Spain and enjoyed a particular meal? Do share.
Since the new series Girls hit the HBO line-up there have been a lot of questions and discussions (among black-folk) about the lack of diversity on the network and in the media in general. I mean, it 's always been an ongoing conversation, but seems to bubble over every time a missed opportunity to feature people of color comes along.
I have to admit I resisted at first. Here was another show featuring the same people and story. Initially, it left me frustrated and made me question if the network deserves my eyes and time if they can't manage to produce content that showcases people who look like me. Then I was sucked in. I watched the first two episodes and totally enjoyed the authentic dialogue, the witty writing, and the dry humor. I like the show.
Quite honestly, I can't entirely fault the network or the creator of the show, Lena Dunham, for not including a person of color in the group of girlfriends. Let's be real, if she did write in a black character as part of the cast would it feel real? No, we'd be calling her a token character.
The reality is, Lena is speaking from her perspective and the perspective of her friends and peers, which may not include people of color. If she was forced to incorporate black characters where they wouldn't ordinarily be she would totally lose the authenticity of the show which is the very element that makes the show good.
Yet, this doesn't change the fact that the lack of diversity in the media still persists. It's a problem because we are seeing stories told from the same perspective over and over again. Bringing in new perspectives is the way to address this issue, yet, if we don't have people of color providing their point-of-view then the problem can't be solved.
Which leads me to my theory: I don't think we (black people) are really ready to talk about diversity in the media until we are ready to have a serious conversation about encouraging our young people to pursue careers in the arts.
Trust me I'm not letting anyone off the hook, nor am I trying to oversimplify the powers and systems that have been employed to promote certain images. Yet, I strongly believe that if we want to see changes then we need to make the changes. Not from a soapbox behind our cubicles or work-desks, not from a letter to the editors and producers, not a Facebook status update, or a Twitter rant, or even a blog post. In order to control our image and contribute to what images are created we need to be physically there making decisions.
Physical presence changes the creative and thought process of everyone in the boardroom. Diversity behind the scenes creates diversity in the media.
We can't expect a room of non-black people to create images and stories about our experiences when they don't know enough, or anything for that matter, about our stories and experiences. They know their experiences, they know what works, and they know what's safe. Without black people (or people of color) in there to interject, comment, challenge or suggest then nothing will change.
Bottom line, there aren't enough of us in the boardroom; on the design team choosing diverse images for a layout; in the production studio pitching ideas for diverse stories; behind the camera saying this shot is a little offensive; on the casting team choosing black models and actors; or in the writing meeting telling stories of how we really experience this or that.
How do we get there? Encourage people of color to consider careers in writing, photography, fashion, art, design, and film/video. Whether it's an art school education or taking a few classes at a community college these are the careers that need to be pursued if we want to see diversity on screen or in magazine pages.
Culturally, pursuing a career in the arts is often looked down upon; especially in minority populations where you might be the first to graduate from college or your entire family is working hard and making sacrifices to get you through university. School is expensive and requires a lot of support. It is a huge investment that is expected to have a pretty good return. Parents and family members expect that when you leave school you will be able to support yourself and a family of your own. Sadly, a career path in the arts is not seen as such.
However, the recent economic downturn has shown us that no career really guarantees you a life of prosperity or promises the American Dream. The people who prosper and thrive are those who pursue their passions, innovate, and speak from unique perspectives. Careers in the arts promote this kind of thinking. Therefore, we need to encourage all young people, especially young people of color, to follow a path that allows them to do the above. (Please note art school is not the only option. There are many ways to get to that space where decisions are made, the most important thing is to get there.)
If we want to see black-owned production companies, galleries, and exhibitions highlighting people of color or the work from people of color; or books, movies, and shows about our stories then we need to make them. Not only make them but be present to make decisions about them; we need to be there to see projects through and to support talent who are trying to share their perspectives.
Here is a summary on how to make it happen:
1. Be a part of the creative process. Be in a position to make suggestions and pitch ideas. In order for it to work there needs to be several of us in the room at once.
2. Be the big boss at the top making big decisions. We have a few folks up there, but the fact that we can probably count them all on two hands means there aren't enough.
Also, getting to the top means you have to start at the bottom. You gotta be okay with being a PA or an intern for a few years until you work your way up.
3. Consider art school. There are not enough of us in art programs and I strongly believe the lack of diversity leaves all students at a disadvantage. Without different points-of-view class dialogues become one-sided, and quite honestly, very boring. We can't really solve problems or learn anything if we can't have constructive conversations with people from different backgrounds in our college classrooms.
4. Start your own. Working for a big brand is a great way to learn and grow but maybe your path is having your own production studio, publishing company, or casting agency.
5. Be supportive or mentor. If you know a person of color interested in the arts encourage them to go for it. Type up a small list of information to get them started or introduce them to someone who can help. Or, just be an example. A little goes a long way.
What do you think? What do you feel needs to change to see diversity in the media?
Check out this Grammy award winning, Colombian hip-hop group, Choc Quib Town. Over bold beats with Latin influences they cover challenging topics about social and political issues, while also highlighting the pride of African-Colombianos.
I am so excited about Dandy Day happening this Saturday. It's an event hosted by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum and Planet Maud Vintage in celebration of the Dandy Lion exhibition currently on view. The festivities of the day will include vintage shopping, lectures and a Q&A session with the Dandy Lion curator herself, Ms. Shantrelle P. Lewis. There will also be dope music spun by DJ Jahsonic. Should be a lot of fun! I will definitely be there. Will you?
Dandy Day: A Celebration of Dandyism
Apr 28, 2012 :: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm (Saturday)
Reginald F. Lewis Museum-African American History & Culture
830 E Pratt Street
Remember Musiq's (Soulchild at the time) "Just Friends (Snuny)" off the Aijuswanaseing album? I was living in Philly when this song was released and it always made me happy when the single played on the radio.
Lately, Philly has been on my mind and I've been rocking hard to this album — which is perfect to listen to while riding around with the windows down in this great weather.
I had a wonderful time and cannot wait to share the many photos and stories about my trip. Here's one photo from my visit to the magical Plaza de España in Seville.