Be Great! Motivated Monday!

Trust in your journey! Things are going to happen…. many of your plans won’t work out exactly as you plan them and THAT. IS. OKAY!

It will be scary, or unsettling or just plain annoying, but trust that things will work out for your good. I’m a strong believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. There is always a lesson to be learned in each setback we face. Our wins, the ones that come just in the nick of time are meant to keep us motivated.

We don’t have it all figured out and we won’t…. Trust me I’ve tried. But there is POWER in positive thinking and reacting positively to whatever comes our way.

This week take a few deep breaths and move with conviction. Everything will work out just fine!

And Now I’m Mad….. a rant.

How was I supposed to avoid this one? I couldn’t and I wouldn’t dare…. you can not have a platform and be silent, that is the only thing i’m sure of in this moment.

In the midst of going through an emotionally rough thing with a black man in my life, I realize that they are truly an endangered species. Black men in America have targets on their backs and their fronts, on their side and their elbows. The world does not mourn for the black man. Black women do.

I’m considerably outraged. My feelings are torn between anger and hopelessness. Both a result of the knowledge that I cannot physically protect the ones I love from the people who renege on their promise to “Protect and Serve”. What is it with the officers hired with a outrageous lack of ethics and morals? Why does it seem like the training and patience goes out of the window when Black and Brown people are involved. What do we do now is the question on everyone’s mind? We have marched, we have rallied, we have prayed, we have sung and cried….. what do we do now?

I think it’s time to hold people accountable. The police chiefs need to feel this, the training program needs to be overhauled, officers policing officers needs to become a regular thing. The system this country is built on seems to be harshly  skewed as far as favorable results in conflict go. We have to act. We can no longer sit idly by and watch our people be exterminated. I’m not suggesting the world turns to violence but I am suggesting that we redirect our funds and take care of ourselves. There is power in the Black Dollar, we must use it.

Aside from that, in the midst of all this  turmoil, remembering to take care of ourselves is important. Grieve if we must, prioritize our stress and remember to help each other through. Times can’t be like this forever, they’ll end. One way or another.

Homage To My Hips directed by Ryan Pearson

The word Queen is defined as “the female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.” Let’s break that down, shall we?

The female ruler of an independent state: She is in control of her world. The choices she makes are hers and hers alone. She decides how she views her self and defines how others see her as well….She is sovereign.

Especially one who inherits the position by right of birth: As human beings, we are all BORN with the right to decide how we feel about ourselves or otherwise and absolutely no one can deny us that right….. Especially when it comes to our image.

Since, basically the beginning of time, society has been telling women  how to look. Not much bigger than this and not too much darker than that…. it’s all a load of crap, which is how Ryan Pearson saw things too. So, she created Homage to my Hips. When I asked her about it, she had this to say.

“Homage to My Hips” is a photoshoot project I developed, featuring myself and five other full-figured women I know. It began as a simple boudoir shoot, but evolved into a celebration of body acceptance, sexiness and sensuality — a reflection of plus sized Black women and our bodies we do not often see displayed in media. With each woman free to explore and exude her own sexy from playfully coy to seductive,”Homage to My Hips” is a proclamation: We are sexy, we are big, we are Black, we are beautiful, and we love it, every inch and every curve. It’s a message to plus sized women to love their bodies and embrace their sensuality, with no apologies.

#HomageToMyHips

When asked about her inspiration for this project, Pearson said it was reflective of her personal experiences. She went on to say:

I think what we consume is so important, and changing what images I was consuming helped tremendously. I also began reading a lot of information about body positivity and fat acceptance, and that further helped me start to truly love my body. When Lane Bryant released their “I’m No Angel” campaign feauturing plus size models in bras and panties as an alternative to Victoria’s Secret Angel Ads, I was very inspired by the boldness of that move. It was so refreshing to see women who weren’t thin represented as sensual and sexy.

As with all things inspiring, there is usually some back lash to follow. In the case of people accepting their bodies as is, health concerns top the list. We realize that “when it comes to plus size people, everyone suddenly is a doctor.” Pearson makes a good point in saying

We all have a number or size on both sides of the spectrum (big or small) that is unhealthy for us, but that is truly different for each person individually, based on a variety of factors including genetics. What society seems to not realize is that you cannot look at a person’s size and soley determine they are unhealthy when you know nothing else about them except what you see. I’ve been around excessive smokers and drinkers and people rarely ever make them feel bad about their choices, yet people are quick to give out unsolicited diet advice and weight loss tips to plus size folks, primarily women. It’s rude and ridiculous and assuming. And let’s just say every last one of us were actually unhealthy: it’s our lives, we don’t need or deserve ridicule or shaming, regardless.

She has no fear of change, she’s an advocate for mental health and that is her major concern. Ryan says,

The effect of not being content/accepting of yourself is a poor body image, which is very damaging to mental health, and no one ever talks about that. I’d rather people be happy with themselves being big, than hate themselves trying to be thin any day. I think people should do whatever is best for them and will make them happy and healthy all around, without the influence of what other people think. If that means losing weight, great, if that means loving their current body, that’s also great.

On realizing that her pet project wasn’t just a photo shoot with friends:

The initial goal of “Homage to My Hips” was just to do a boudoir photoshoot that featured plus size Black women. In fact, we didn’t even have a name for it! But as I began to coordinate the project, I saw that it was becoming something bigger than that, even before we publicly shared the photos. During the actual shoot, we all felt so beautiful and sexy and free, and I remember thinking, if we could inspire this feeling in more women and girls, there would be less incidences of self hatred and eating disorders. I remember wishing that I’d had images like these to look to for inspiration when I was a teenager and young adult, and how that would have positively shaped how I viewed my body. For a long time I felt pretty, but not sexy, and that’s because I rarely saw someone with my figure being portrayed as such. I recognized that this project had the potential to be much bigger than myself or the other ladies who are a part of it, and that we could really incite inspiration and radical body acceptance within the plus size community.

THERE IS POWER IN THIS…. Women who think for themselves and are accepting of themselves are true Queens. Check out some of the photos below and like the Homage to My Hips Facebook page!

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Be Great! Motivated Monday!!

Happy Monday Folk!

We’re at the end of June and that means that half of the year is GONE!! Adios. Au Revoir….

And at this, the halfway point of 2016 I have learned one thing (rather recently, but still…) WE MUST PRIORITIZE OUR STRESS! At any given time we can have a number of things on our plate and weighing on our brains. Unfortunately, most of those things can’t be swept under the rug and forgotten about– they must be handled. Like…. Olivia Pope handled.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t quite come equipped with Olivia Pope style levelheadedness (it’s a word today). To keep from melting down and getting nothing done, we must prioritize! This week Find a way to arrange your stresses so that the ones that have the greatest influence on you and your productivity get handled first. We have only six more months left to make  2016 our year! Let’s do it with as little stress as possible.

Handle it!!

New Flava In Ya Ear! The Flood from KULTURE (Revisited)

In light of some MAJOR things coming up for WUQ, we’re revisiting some of our favorite music features. Enjoy!

This New Flava is another one from Detroit!  I might be a teensy bit biased, but Detroit is DOING IT right now music wise. This man goes by KULTURE.

the flood cover art

KULTURE, more formally known as Kaylen Ivory, is a 20-something actor, musician, poet, songwriter, and recording artist. He started as many performers do, in school plays and church programs. He enrolled at Wayne State University and  began to indulge further into his poetry and started to write more frequently. After performing at numerous poetry events throughout the city, his discontinuation at WSU, and a host of other life events, he decided that he would finally pick up the microphone, turn that poetry’s tempo up, and put a well-produced track behind it. I must say, it has been interesting to see KULTURE’s transition from the kid in the marching band I had to stay on about homework (we went to high school together and I was Band President *super nerd*) into someone so passionate about their art. However, he has now begun his rap career which is earmarked by The Flood.

I asked KULTURE about his sound and he had this to say:

I’m making this music because “Detroit Rap” is in an identity crisis, and I’m making it my job to recreate the sound of Detroit and expose the real music and talent in our city. I want people to see that the culture of hip-hop and the culture of Detroit can coincide and become an art like no other; thus KULTURE.

I’m simply looking to enlighten a few souls and appease a couple spirits with my music. I create not to entertain, but to express. It just so happens that y’all like it….

 

There is nothing but potential here and this is only the beginning. In the meantime and in between time, listen to The Flood twice and let me know what you think!!   Follow KULTURE on IG and Twitter @MyNameKaylen.

 

Be Great! Motivated Monday! (Tuesday Edition)

Listen. Yesterday…. I just couldn’t. Still reeling in shock from the Mass Shooting in Orlando over the weekend. My heart and prayers are with the families and the victims of such a horrible tragedy.  The thought for this week is R-E-S-P-E-C-T and this ain’t no Aretha Franklin song.

Respect has many definitions. As a noun, it is the understanding that someone or something is important and is treated in an appropriate way. As a verb, the word respect refers to paying attention to and not interfering with a person’s ideas, beliefs, privacy etc… It is not shoving YOUR moral compass down someone else’s throat or discounting a differing opinion merely because it’s different.

This week bear in mind that differences are to be respected. You will not agree with every thought or action of people you work with, live with or pass on the street. You just won’t. And guess what else…… you can’t make them change! Respect the fact that the decisions they’ve made (be it occupational, love related or otherwise) are theirs alone. People have to respect your decisions don’t they??

LOUDER! (for the people in the back)

It’ll make your life so much easier to just focus on your own crap. Let folks deal with their own consequences. You don’t have to like them, what they believe or what they do…. but you should respect everyone you come across. Now go…. Be great.

Be Great! Motivated Monday!

Happy Monday!!!

Your weekend was probably awesome and if it wasn’t, no worries…… Here’s a little something to help you make this work week GREAT!

LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION.

I was scrolling around on Instagram and came across a picture from Elle Varner (LOVE HER!). It was a picture of the slip she found in her last fortune cookie. It read, “Be a first rate version of yourself not a second rate version of someone else”….. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

And if that wasn’t enough, I checked my daily devotional and the topic was “Run Your Own Race”!! It is very very easy for us to be tempted to live according to what others are doing. You may find yourself trying to lose an extra ten pounds because the girl across the hall did, or spending money you don’t have trying to live bigger than your bank account (guilty…. ). The fact of the matter is we’d be so much more content and a LOT happier if we focused on running our own race. We don’t have to catch up to our neighbor or out-do the person down the block.

There is no shame in admiring someone else’s motivation and trying to boost our own. The thing to avoid is the never-ending cycle of “monkey see, monkey do”. There will always be someone ahead of us, someone “better looking”, more fashionable, more slim….. So go ahead and free yourself this week. Let go of the idea of competing with everyone else and make yourself your greatest competitor. You can never lose if you’re competing against yourself!! Now go….. Be Great!!

WUQ #TopTenFridays

Soo you’ve made it to the end of the week…… #ThatsWhatsUP!!!

Now it’s time to do Queenly things! Be it a night out with friends, something fun with your special person or Queenin’ it up by your lonesome…..Here are the top 10 things to check out/listen to/do this weekend!

 

10. Revisit Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass done by these super cute little girls !!

9. Play in your makeup! When was the last time you tried out anything besides your “go to” for work?

8. Sing and Dance…. either in a bar or in your bedroom (choice is yours). Get your endorphins pumping!

7. Listen to Mona Lisa by Jasmine Sullivan….. then listen a couple more times.

6. Find 5 inspirational quotes and post them where you can see them every day.

5. Actually read your inspirational quotes…. Aloud…. they don’t absorb via osmosis. Sorry.

4. Customize your Quiet Space. Figure out the best place for your “Me Time”. Is it surrounded by pillows in your bed? That cute little coffee shop with the really good muffins, maybe?

3. Get a good nap.

2. Think of all the times babysitting went wrong and watch this Video.

1.  PUPPIES! Obviously we got a little distracted towards the end…. Don’t judge. It’s Friday. And also…. puppies.