Neena Speer, the L.A.S.T. Brand

Meet Neena

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As a purpose-driven, inspiring and dedicated professional, Neena Speer is a lawyer, a published writer, & an inspirational speaker.  Also, she is the founder and executive director of Step 1-2-3 Mentor for Life Initiative (step123mentor.org) which is a non-profit geared towards developing lifelong mentors for students K-12 and college levels.


Currently, Neena has written three published articles and has been asked to speak on various topics ranging from diversity and leadership, to the importance of integrity at the 2016 National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and Fair, at The University of Alabama School of Law as a presenter in 2017, a panelist in 2018, and at a recent 2018 Sisterhood Summit held in Brooklyn, NY. Her fourth and most recent publication being her featured novel Dear Future Lawyer: An Intimate Survival Guide for Minority Female Law Student published this September 2018 which provides a guide and journal to help minority women navigate the trying times of law school with an interactive encouragement companion. Neena has a BA (in French), a BS (in Psychology) from Howard University and a JD from The University of Alabama School of Law.


Speer recently passed the Alabama Bar Exam and is excited to begin a career dedicated to helping impact her community one person, one step at a time.

Book title: Dear Future Lawyer: An Intimate Survival Guide for the Female Minority Law Student

Author: Neena R. Speer, Esq.


  1. Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?

The first thing I did was cry. I cried a lot and prayed even more because law school was hard. The next thing  I did was write a letter to myself called "Dear Future 1L" to help encourage me. I was told so many times that I couldn't write well in law school. Thus, I fell back on the writing I knew I did well: creative writing with motivational messaging. I was up one night just typing out this letter to chronicle each and every person I met, the feelings I felt, and the lessons I learned. I wrote it with a passion and energy in my writing much like I did when I was younger. I saw the obstacles I faced as challenges to empower me. I saw that "failing out of law school" class I was in as a chance for me to learn how to be truly thankful for resistance. For me, I did not find a job my first year out of law school. For me, I had to take the bar exam more than once. Those are realities that people who go through law school experience every day. There is no such thing as a cookie cutter success. Along this journey, you will hit a wall. It is up to you to decide how you want to pivot. This book became my pivot. I wanted to leave a future lawyer much better than I was when I was starting law school. I was the first in my family to go to law school. I had one mentor to look up to who told me I could do it. That was it. I am not okay with telling people :if you do everything you are supposed to do, it will work out." Why? Because sometimes even if you do all you can, it does not always happen. I was failing 1L year after going to countless office hours, studying for hours, making my own outlines, skipping games to study, asking for help, and I still did not fair better than my classmates. I studied for the bar and I cry thinking about how close I was to passing to have to sit down and study all over again. There is a skill in each of us to be amazing forces of nature in our crafts. One craft and skill I have is to help people. I am able to see dysfunction, struggle, and discord and be transparent enough for someone to read my story and learn how to beat their own inner struggle. That is why I wrote Dear Future Lawyer.   



  1. How did you find the need you wanted to address? What does your work say about you? 

My book is a collection of self-reflection after entering and graduating from Alabama Law School. Shows such as How to Get Away With Murder, do not show the true hustle or obstacles you will face while in Law School. More importantly, they don't show that the BAR is is unlike any test you've ever taken.So much is riding on that one test: a job, higher pay, your ability to give legal advice, etc. Don't get me wrong, these shows are awesome but it's not the reality. Law school is so glamorized in Hollywood! Although this book is about my journey, the message could be implemented at any time in someone's life. A DELAY IS NOT DENIAL. Just because something we really want doesn't happen on our timing doesn't mean it will not happen at all. Sometimes these delays give us time to reconstruct or reevaluate if this is actually what we want. 



  1. If a kid walked up to ask for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

If I had to give the youth one piece of advice, it would be to keep hitting the "reset" button in their life. I like to live my life as the sun does daily. We see the sunrise in the morning and fall at night. The sun is a symbol that even when darkness happens in our lives, we can start over on the brighter side of things. It is never to late to start over or "revise" your life!   

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Howard Graduate

Nonprofit Organization Management

Mandy Grey Lane, Bloggers

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Bio

We have been the best of friends since high school, and as most college graduates can attest to, we graduated from college and had trouble adjusting to life afterwards. Feeling inspired one day as we were texting we discussed the idea of starting a blog together. Next thing you know we had a name and a logo and plenty of drafts ready to go. The name Mandy Grey Lane comes from a combination of our names (Amanda and Greysi) and we wanted it to sound like a street so we landed on “Lane” and loved it. We started the site in December of 2016, and since then we have really been able to grow our audience. From family members, to friends, to friends of friends and sometimes absolute strangers, Mandy Grey Lane has had a lot of support and we are so excited to incorporate all of the new ideas we have into our blog. We want our content to target the 20 or 30-something year old that is trying to figure out life. We target the millennials that can relate to being lost, needing guidance, needing self-care, needing to feel beautiful or handsome, needing style tips, needing relationship advice, or just needing a friend. We want Mandy Grey Lane to be the hotspot for millennials that don’t have it all together. Just like us. 

 

 

 

Greysi

Greysi’s Role: I struggled to find the perfect words to describe what I do on this blog: “Self-development blogger”? “Motivational blogger”? “I just like to write blogger”? With the help of Amanda, I was able to come up with self-care blogger. I write every and anything to make yourself feel good. Our blog is about the struggles of being a twenty-something millennial, post-grad, who has no idea what to do, so just as our audience is struggling, I am too. Which is why I’m trying to figure it out as I go and give a little assistance, as much as I can, to those who read along. 

 

 

 

 

 

 Amanda Nicole’s Role: At first I wanted to blog about everything in sight, but I’ve narrowed my focus to fashion, with a few unrelated blogs here and there. Since starting Mandy Grey Lane, I have also created a YouTube channel really trying to make a name for myself as a fashion influencer. 

 

 

 

 

 

Q & A

 

  1. Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?

It all started with an idea: creating a blog together. Once we finally landed on a name we really just dove in head first. We also shared how much we are struggling and how we wish there has a platform that had some answers. We had some ideas and decided to share with an audience other than ourselves. We landed on Squarespace since it was a familiar platform, and we made sure to keep the aesthetics minimal with a tad bit of girly to fit both of our styles. We started blogging in December and on day one we got a lot of web hits. Given we had advertised the launch of the site for several days before. We started with blogs that introduced ourselves and then the rest is history!

  1. How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months/years?

We measure our success by our engagement via analytics. Google Analytics, Squarespace Analytics, and Facebook’s analytics have all been beneficial in helping us see just how many people ur blogs have reached. Our blog has over 100 subscribers (or frequent visitors) now. We plan to grow even more in 2018.

  1. If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

Amanda: I would say to never let anyone discourage you from doing what you love. If no one gives you opportunities, create a role for yourself on your own. 

Greysi: Don’t think you have to have your life together all the time. Life is learning and growing. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t be afraid to fail because that is the only way to learn.

CommunityReview

The Pigmented family all went to see Black panther over the weekend. We’ve processed it, loved it, discussed it, and now, we have our reviews. 

This post will be dynamic and updated as our reviews come in  

 

Teymi 

don’t scare me like that colonizer.

Two years of anticipation. Strategic dodging of spoilers. Photo after photo on my Instagram and Facebook feeds of my friends and acquaintances dressing up in the flyest of outfits and going to see one of the most anticipated films of the year. Three days after the premiere in US theaters, I got my life, I got my passport stamped, and was finally on my way to Wakanda.

Like many others, I grew up with a very basic knowledge of the Black Panther. My dad, a comic book expert, used to talk on and on about Marvel’s first black superhero but I never sought out an issue for myself until after the movie was announced. However, it’s not a requirement that you know much because within the first five minutes of the movie, viewers are made privy to the history of Wakanda and it’s inhabitants.

Black Panther is a black movie. Not one-hundo percent FUBU, but still a black movie. It represents the broad spectrum of the African diaspora. From the jokes directed at black American culture (Shuri’s exclamation of “What’re those” in response to T’Challa’s sandals), to the dancing at Warrior Falls and the lip plate of the River Tribe’s elder that felt recognizedly African. This movie shows black folks in a light not seen before in popular culture and in a way that is both natural and refreshing.

There are so many boundary pushing elements in this movie but the closest to my heart is the portrayal of the female characters. It’s sooooo rare for superhero movies to portray the female characters as something other than a damsel in distress, or as fake strong but ultimately needing a male character’s help to overcome an obstacle. This is not so with Black Panther. It portrays it’s female characters as strong, intelligent, beautiful, fierce, funny, and so much more, and passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. There is a sense of sisterhood that I can’t really explain that just made me happy. Shuri, my favorite character, is the embodiment of what I was missing when I was growing up. She’s an insanely smart, funny black girl. Her intelligence doesn’t come off as something that makes her better than any of the other women or characters in general, but as celebrated and cool and encouraged. That’s dope.

A week before the movie came out, a YouTuber I follow went to a preview screening and posted a spoiler free review calling Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger the bet superhero movie villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker. He definitely the most compelling antagonist that has been seen in a Marvel movie to date, but I would say that in comparison to The Dark Knight’s Joker, Killmonger is less textbook villain. I almost struggle with calling him a villain. Killmonger is not your ordinary obvious villain that everyone can automatically root against, no questions asked. His motivation causes some to find themselves empathizing with him. His vision of revenge stems from years upon years of oppression of those of African descent. Real quick, while on the topic of Killmonger, can were just take a moment to appreciate the incredible character development and how the background stories were used as plot devices to move the story along? They weren’t just given to you all at once. They were revealed when they needed to be in the exact right context. Killmonger’s vision and motivation behind wanting the throne is especially compelling because when viewed from the right angle, it bears resemblance to the definition of justice held by a group of black Americans. He’s more Malcom X than Dr. King. However wrong or right you think Killmonger is, Michael Bae Jordan’s character delivers the most scathing and poignant line in the movie and maybe of any Marvel movie when faced with death or possible captivity: “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”

There are two white dudes in Black Panther. They’re cool or whatever.

So long has the black community needed and waited for a movie like this. Representation is so important and this movie delivers positive images in terms of both gender and race. It’s definitely one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. Like Top 3 for sure. I enjoyed the cinematography, the Kendrick Lamar driven soundtrack, the score, and the humor. I only had two main problems with it. I thought the final battle scene between Killmonger and T’Challa was extremely anticlimactic and the relationship between Okoye and W’Kabi seemed a little irrelevant and almost unnecessary so I can’t give it a full 10, but Black Panther was a very dope, important, and relevant movie. I give it a strong solid 9.5/10. Wakanda forever.

 

O’Brian

Walt Disney’s Marvel phenomenon, “Black Panther” is an absolute classic. A cinematic masterpiece. One of its kind. An absolute gem. Super hero and action critics rate it low, but super human and moral critics rate it high. What rating is more important? 🐸☕️


The creators of this movie seemed to have taken a huge risk by not making it a super hero movie aligned with the rest of the Marvel movies, but instead making it a super-human movie. What do I mean? You leave the theater feeling empowered, inspired, and compelled to be the best you can be without any superpowers to rely on. Instead of leaving feeling like a hero, you leave feeling like an empowered human-being knowing the difference between what needs to be saved and what needs to be preserved. What’s more important? Black Panther leaves it up to you to decide. 🤷🏾‍♂️


Whether anyone wants to agree or not, this movie is not about black culture or black power. Yes, the beauty and intelligence of black ancestry and kindred flourishes throughout the movie seamlessly. But that is not what this movie is about. The script itself even blatantly encourages the viewer to not look at any race or culture as superior, but instead encourages the audience to look at self and to be empowered to do what is good and what is right no matter who you are or where you come from. Black Panther hit theaters reaching close to half of a billion dollars in revenue worldwide. It’s obvious that these great numbers are due to the movie’s impact. When I watched on the third day of it’s release, I understood why.


The great “shielded” world of Wakanda within African territory seemed to represent what “privileged” countries have been blinded by. Just because you cannot see the greatness that a nation has to offer, does not mean  there is no greatness. The people of Wakanda were rich, brilliant, strong, and steadfast in their morals and values. Seeing as how some of the world’s “most powerful nations” were struggling to maintain peace and respect for others, Wakanda had no choice but to maintain its shield in order to preserve itself from the intoxication of poor influence. The overall hidden nature and richness of Wakanda seems to therefore represent an empowerment of protection and resilience to foreign mediocrity.


Nobody wants to say it, so I will. The villain of this movie represents ALL of us. We often search for justice, power, and belonging for all of the wrong reasons. The villain sought power to overthrow what he thought was his own adversity. Black Panther challenges the hardened heart of the villain to seek for the adversities from within one’s own self, never blaming others for one’s own fate. Using the strength and power of a “super-hero” along with its technological advancements can never win over adversity when one’s heart is in the wrong place.


Yes, there has been an historical horror of bondage, inequality, bigotry, and division throughout the world towards minorities and people of color at large. Black Panther challenges the viewer to look beyond even just that. The mindset of Wakanda seems to conclude that you cannot fight fire with fire. It is instead more impactful to fight with authentic knowledge, wisdom, and natural resources that ultimately influence adversity with the empowerment to do what is good and what is right.


As we speak, people around the world continue to “dress the part” of Wakanda in effort to preserve and share a message that has been hidden for far too long. Whether or not adversity compels to the spirit of change, the shielded world of WAKANDA will remain the prime example what it means to humbly pursue what is good and what is right, FOREVER.

 

Our Words

Lost Cause

My eyes
They burn
Like flames.
And ashes
Spell out
My name.
Composed
Of broken
Fragments.
Spitfire tongue,
A pupil
Of the madness.
A puzzle
Pointless
To assemble.
Not sure
If I could start
to resemble..
The mirror
Refuses to
Even show, 
A face that I
Had begun
to know.
That girl
That was
Is never more.. 
This thing
I am is sick
At it's core. 
No there isn't
Time for
healing.
A lost cause
Isn't worth
Relieving.
I'd change  
Everything
Just to be free.

But this thing
Called hope
Doesn't
believe
In
me. 

C.Martin

Expedition

Under ominous skies
We’re cast out to sea.
To undergo trial
is our destiny. 
Our inferior vessel
Carries us through. 
Knowing our fate, 
We bravely pursue. 
The waters ahead
are not very forgiving...
Ultimately that’s the beauty in living. 


C.Martin

 

Aesthetic

I have a questionnaire, 
for the women on the screen. 
When you devised this plan,
was your goal to torture me? 

I long to have it too,  
your breathtaking appeal. 
I'll ache until I have it,
until then I won't heal.

My efforts here are useless,
I find this to be true. 
No makeup, or strict diet,  
makes me look the way you do. 

I watch their eyes watch you, 
and they can't help but glance. 
Compared to all of you, 
I don't even stand a chance. 
 
"How could this be fair?" 
I now shout at the sky.  
"All I want is beauty!" 
But I get no reply.  

They don't have the answers, 
the women on the screen...
When all is said and done, 
MY PROBLEM IS WITH ME.

C.Martin
 

Aflame

She
chased
a
spark
Into
the
dark

they'd love to watch her burn...

But her hands were steady
And they weren't ready

for
the
fire
that
would

Emerge.


C.Martin

Reminiscent 

The chilling veil of night has come;
its not the cold that's made me numb.
I'm sinking further down tonight.
I've lost all hope, I see no light.

And now the thought that comes to mind,
what better way to use my time?
To think of what all I have lost,
mistakes I've made, the pain I've caused.

I've severed ties not meant to break,
demolished things not meant to shake;
I've burned to ashes bridges too,
and long forgotten quite a few.

And though the clocks not on my side,
when darkness falls I will not hide.
For in the end I played my role...
I've lost it all, but not my soul.


C.Martin

Hanging Tree
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
They strung up a man
They say who murdered three
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where dead man called out
For his love to flee
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run
So we'd both be free
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of hope
Side by side with me
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree

I've had a few surgeries and broken some bones, and you know what? I never cried. Not. One. Time. I watched Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, heard Hanging Tree, and couldn't stop crying. I am a modern day dystopian character. I have always been drawn to science fiction novels and movies because I can relate to them. They are based on people of African descent...past, present, and future. Dystopian plots feature oppressed people that constantly fight to be treated as equal members of society. My people avoided capture by organizing look-out parties and staying in groups for protection. If we were caught we plotted ways to over through ships and return to our homeland. If we became slaves we met secretly and planned revolts. 
While in captivity we sang songs with embedded messages, hid our ability to read, and concealed martial arts in the form of dance. Sharecropping and Jim Crow replaced slavery and we escaped from plantations headed north & west. We built businesses and communities only to have others invade them, destroy our property and kill us. We never stopped excelling in science, math, art, history, and philosophy. The world profits from our stolen culture and imitates our greatness without recognizing us as human beings. We maintain our sanity by distracting ourselves with survival. I continue the fight of my ancestors by upholding the standards that preceded me. 
I exist in a country that tries to destroy me through institutional racism and pure fuckery. I read, write, speak, and live with the fact that I do not descend from mediocrity. I speak with like minded people and we wake up the world while thinking of creative ways to avoid surveillance. My countrymen would rather watch The Matrix, than dialogue with the people those movies are based upon. You want excitement and horror? Experiments have been done on my people, black babies have been fed to animals, and we've been placed on display in American zoos. And we're still here. Everyday is a challenge. Everyday is a struggle. Everyday I am a Dystopian-American.

Nina Hamilton

 

Thank You

A few months ago, I asked the Pigmented family to submit their creative works. The response was overwhelming; We received poetry, music, photography, and a host of other things. 

It's been an incredible experience to share in all of this art. I've read every word, watch every video, observed every work of art, and I am floored. Thank you so much for the vulnerability that you all have shared. This is just the beginning.

Because of the amount of content I received and the various types, I'll be releasing the works in clusters according to what they are: Poetry, Photography, Music.

The first cluster has been named, Our Words, and is a compilation of works of prose and poetry from some wonderful writers. I hope you all enjoy it.

Farra Winters, Artist

Farra Winters

Farra Winters

Farra's development and artistic expression began at the age of 2 years old. Her parents always noticed that she had an affinity for drawing and other forms of artistic expression; dancing and singing. Farra's artistic endeavors resurged 2 years ago when she decided to make it a full time pursuit. Attending music and art festivals around the country aided her journey to provide audiences with thought-provoking creations and to that end, she is eternal grateful for festival culture.

Much of Farra's work is inspired by her many years of study within the fields of biology and psychology. Her fascination with microbial life, atomic structures, and introspective conscious thoughts have become quite apparent within her art work. The main goal of Farra's art is to "tickle your sensory mechanisms and provide you with something that can be perceived in multiple ways."


Musical Acts and Festivals Farra has painted:

Imagine Music Festival 2016, 2017

Pass The Good Music and Arts Festival 2017

Nebulocity Music and Arts Festivals 2017

Zen Awakening Music and Arts Festival 2017

CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Spring2017

Bogtrotter

Backup Planet

Permagroove

Dopethrown

Ives

Warlok

Stolenfaces

Oppositebox

Of the Trees

Zeke Beats

CBDB

Permagroove

Free Candy

Polish Ambassador

Beats Antique

Break Science

Micheal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics

Ott

Gramatik

Papadosio

G Jones

Minnesota

Dynamo

Translee

Socials

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buttacupcreationz/

Instagram: @buttacupcreationz

Website: buttacupcreations.com

Reconciling with My-Selves

This is our first submitted article from the wonderful Yasmina. Written content is her own.


 Can we agree that self-conceptualisation nowadays is becoming more and more mystifying? I think this is partly because we as individuals occupy multiple states, enact multiple roles and negotiate several identities. In W.E.B du Bois’ originally undervalued work, we find a term called double consciousness (W.E.B, 1994 ). Implicit in this term is the rationale that individuals see themselves through both their own eyes and that of the society which oppresses them. For Du Bois, this double consciousness becomes most problematic when disparate views of oneself prevent one from forming a holistic sense of self resulting in a false sense of identity and therefore, a compromised freedom. Du Bois was inevitably referring to the African American identity, or lack thereof, when he developed this analysis, but the theory of double consciousness is applicable to the experience of many of us. Particularly those who to this day feel secondary.       

In 2017, I find myself, a young female Christian, living under a terrible triple consciousness that seems to be affecting the core of my identity. Not only am I aware of the identities and insecurities I experience through the lens of the secular world, which has greatly influenced and shaped my choices, but concurrently I am aware that within my Christian world, the very same exists. I find myself navigating through my perceived identity guided by visions that emancipate me yet leave me feeling shackled to their pressures and expectations. I’m, at once, ignited by their truths yet dispirited by certain reasoning and ideologies. While searching for my self, I find, I’m actually losing myself - a severe anxiety-inducing endeavour. It must be noted that the secular world is referred here not as something negative or to be avoided, but as defining life outside of a Christian space.

To move away from an abstract explanation to a more concrete one, let me share a practical example of this internal anxiety. At age 28 with a Master’s degree, a decent teaching career and some degree of financial freedom, I and the secular world would refer to me as a successful independent woman. At age 28 with a career and no husband, I and the religious world would refer to me as a “work in progress”. An incomplete individual in need of her better half. As much as I do not reject marriage and the church, my tormented self is angered by both the secondary role the bible assigns to the woman and the way men have monopolised the church and the private space. Women are to submit or be marginalised. Aside from feeling secondary, my distrust of such subordinate roles arises not solely from historical accounts of tyrannical and selfish male behaviours but also through first-hand experiences. Feeling insignificant at the hand of poor male leadership is at best suppressive and at worst, destructive. Amid such dilemma of conflicting worlds, I find myself lost. Lost in worlds that both reflect and misrepresent me. At times when the anxiety mounts to its peak, I catch myself echoing Soren Kierkegaard’s sentiments: “marry, you will regret it…do not marry, you will also regret it” and deeply wonder if my fate is to resemble his (Soren, 1992).

How does one unite conflicting identities? How does one reconcile disparate self-concepts? A big part of trying to resolve such a conundrum took me to the root of my identities. How did these worlds become my world views? When I first came across Simone de Beauvoir’s quote “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman” a quote that has helped clarify and shape my identity, I remember thinking the very same about my Christian self. One is not born, but rather becomes a Christian (Beauvoir, 1953). For activist bell hooks, “being oppressed means the absence of choices” (hooks, 1984). Had I ever really chosen Christianity, I deeply wondered?  Or had I simply been taught, from birth, how to best become Christian? So, the accouchement of my personal Christian journey began, an endeavour to personally choose or reject Christianity. 

I will not bore you with my personal findings. What I will share, however, is my surprise at the discovery that my life had been lived under an illusion! Throughout my 28 years, I had in fact been following Christendom and not Christ. Notions of identity, love, forgiveness and grace took up new meanings once I read and made sense of the bible for myself. All my life I carried so much pride at the idea that I was a born and bred Christian without truly acknowledging the great danger that lies therein. One can know about the truth without truly knowing the truth. 

As I read the bible to better make sense of my role as a female Christian, I came across many passages emphasizing my inferiority (I Cor. 14:34-36, I Timothy 2:8-15, I Peter 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18-19). These verses have and are still granting many men justifications for much sexual, mental and physical abuse simply to perpetuate their supremacy. At this I am outraged, enraged and simply made deranged. The bible also has many passages about equality, the equality of man and woman before God (Ephesians 5:21, Genesis 1:27, Hebrews 12:14, Mark 12:24-17, Proverbs 22:2). To quote my dearest brother, “the bible can be used to justify almost any behaviour, good or bad”. As much as I choose to believe in the latter biblical view of women, the truth is that as I live out my life, particularly within the Christian world, I will inevitably occupy spaces, be exposed to literature and encounter people who view me as secondary. And as du Bois reminds us, our identities are reinforced and rejected through validation.

Social Psychology proposes a strategy called ‘blending’ when dealing with conflicting identities (TURNER, 2002). The idea behind blending is that one redefines and recreates an identity that transcends and merges both conflicting self-views. So, here goes my version of blending: 

She is one who believes in her equality and that of all others. Equally, she is one who forgives, loves and extends grace to all others (especially to those who oppress her) just as Christ extends his love, forgiveness and grace to all. Finally, she is one who hopes and has faith in humanity, just as Christ hopes and has faith in us. Faith that there are people out there who see her as Christ sees her. And while many can love, forgive and hope, only a female Christian can navigate through gender discrimination with a love, grace and hope that only she can extend to others. As G.K. Chesterton reminds us; “hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless… exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful” (Chesterton, 2009).  

Blending occurs over time, across many interactions, negotiations and validations. For this very reason, I believe the female Christian must often surround herself with like-minded Christians who will validate her identity. Only then can she be strongly rooted in Christ and herself. I write this to remind myself, not only, of the beauty of freedom found in Christianity but also of the fact that, being a follower of Christ is to aspire to live a courageous life of truth, humility and love. To do this, one must seek the truth, assimilate it and be responsible for living it out. 

 

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. – Jean Paul Sartre

 

 

Works Cited

(n.d.).

Beauvoir, S. d. (1953). The Second Sex. Great Britain: Jonathan Cape Ltd.

Chesterton, G. K. (2009). Heretics. Rockville: MD: Serenity Publishers.

hooks, b. ( 1984). Feminist Theory: From Margin To Center. United States: South : End Press.

Soren, K. (1992). Either/ Or: A Fragment of Life. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

TURNER, G. F. (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the. Mind's Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books.

W.E.B, D. B. (1994 ). The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Avenel, NJ: Gramercy Books.

 

Yasmina is a teacher, linguist and writer. She holds a BA in Humanities from the UK and earned a Master’s degree at The Catholic University of Paris in Text Analysis and Translation. She currently resides in China where she teaches and studies Mandarin—another tongue to add to her expansive list of spoken languages. She has special interest in cultural anthropology, religion, and gender politics. Connect with her through yasminaherinirina@gmail.com or yazzyfizz (IG)

 

Jei Monroe, Fashion Curator

Jei Monroe Fashion Curator JeiMonroe.com.JPG

             Jei Monroe

                                                                     Fashion Curator

Meet Jei (Pronounced, 'J') Monroe. Jei helps the everyday woman to be fierce, fabulous, and fearless by building up her wardrobe, style and confidence. She initially began taking on new clients as a freelance wardrobe stylist in 2009, which eventually led her to working as a Stylist for BCBG Max Azria in 2012. There she styled and assisted a diverse range of women, mainly well-off women or celebrity clients. At that time, she realized that the everyday woman isn't always afforded that same luxury, and decided that it was no longer going to be that way if she had anything to do with it. There's so many celebrity stylists, style mavens, and fashion bloggers all showing women how amazing their looks are, but Jei found that no one was really telling the everyday woman how to get there. This is why Jei decided cater to the everyday woman. The everyday woman deserves to feel good inside and out, just the same. 

Since, Jei has made it a point to not only curate style and creative direction for clients and their brands; but to also provide the tools for the everyday woman to look and feel just as amazing. The tools consist of providing fashion tips, along with a number of resources such as her Essential Wardrobe GuideStyle ConsultsConfidence Sessions, and much more. Jei's brand is entirely built on her passion to see other women win, and to see them walk boldly in their confidence and style. You can slay with her at JeiMonroe.com and find her on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @JeiMonroe

We've also included a photoset of some of Jei's work which you can take a look at here: