If you’re looking back on 2021 like, “Where did the days go?" trust us when we say we are, too. As the holidays approach, it’s natural to become reflective and muse over the peaks and valleys, accomplishments, and tough lessons that the year threw your way—and for many of us, we didn’t do it alone. From the homegirls who helped us through breakups, to the long-distance sisterhoods held together by hours-long FaceTime calls. For the friends who always know what to say when you can’t seem to gather the words, and the ones who see you when you can’t see the greatness in yourself. What better way to say, “you deserve,” than with a thoughtful gift made for and by Black women.
We’re here to drop all the gift-giving gems for every type of woman in your life. And if you find yourself frequently asking, "Is it really Black-owned though?" The answer is: Absolutely. From skincare to the latest style staples, we’ve got you and your homegirls covered this holiday season.
From Oprah’s Favorite Things List to your hands, legs, and shoulders. This hydrating formula is enriched with nourishing plant botanicals with a thick and creamy texture that’s sure to make you a certified Shea Butter Baby.
"It’s time for heavy bleeding, bloating, mood swings, and headaches from your period to stop cramping your style. Thankfully, a new all-in-one supplement just hit the wellness space to help ease your flow and disrupt your PMS symptoms, ASAP. Packed with plant-based ingredients and mood-boosting vitamins like D3, B6, Iron, and B12, your pain-free period is just a bottle/capsule away."
This is your reminder to not leave your undereye area out of your skincare routine because it needs love, too. Add these selfie-ready, all-natural eye masks into your routine for some much-needed TLC and effortless glow.
In need of some new arm candy? We just might have found your new favorite set.
If you haven’t heard about the lip gloss, gather ‘round, because once you’ve got this in your purse, you’ll never want to live without it again. The oil-to-gloss formula provides the perfect shine and brown girl-friendly tint. Snag one or two or six — we won’t judge.
Every Day Journal
We know how you girls love to journal. If tracking everyday growth, memories, and moments has become a newfound self-care practice or something to explore, this journal will fit right into your routine.
Brown Girl Jane
It’s giving opulence, it’s giving confidence, it’s giving drama. If your homegirl’s fragrance collection runneth over, what’s one more gonna hurt?
Good news: the hunt for the perfect red lipstick for melanated skin ends here. This cherry bomb of color is lightweight on the surface and heavy on the coverage.
Have you seen something so beautiful that demands your full and undivided attention? Maybe it’s the viper snakeskin or the signature silver metal logo that shines like a jewelry piece of its own, but whatever this purse is saying, we’re listening. Talk about making a statement.
There’s nothing like a little nostalgia — especially when it comes in the form of dainty everyday jewelry. Inspired by childhood imagery, this brand takes vintage silhouettes and brings them into the 2020s and beyond. Did we mention it’s handmade?
Raise your hand if the majority of your wardrobe has been reduced to loungewear and athleisure? Same, sis. Level up your cozy girl energy with this ribbed bralette and boxer bottom set. Who says those lazy days around the house can’t be sexy too?
Black women in gold jewelry are our favorite genre. Whether you're looking for simple, timeless pieces, or tapping into '90s classic styles with a twist, you’ll find your steez here.
We all have that one friend that knows how to mix a crafty cocktail and throw a lively party. For her aesthetic-driven eye and knack for flavor profiles, we thank her. Replenish her bar cart in style with this sparkling treat.
Featured image by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Imagine having the worst luck in love. Dating all the worst men but also being superbly desired in the process. Having to tell your truths, like how you became famous because you decided to focus on your talent after an old boyfriend left. Imagine putting all the hurt in your music through songs titled "Broke," "Waste My Time," or "Blocking You."
And imagine still being willing to trade everything you've worked hard for, for love. That's a hopeless romantic. More specifically, Ari Lennox.
Our fave hasn't had the best journey of finding her person, and she still wholly believes that it will happen for her.
On the heels of the release of her fourth album, Courtney Shanade Salter, known professionally as Ari Lennox, is entering her self-proclaimed 'Eat, Pray, Love season.' For context, she stopped by the R&B Money Podcast with hosts Tank and his business partner, multi-platinum songwriter, and executive J. Valentine, for almost two hours of raw conversation. And of all of the gems she dropped or the experiences she's had over time in her short time as a household name, it was the conversation surrounding her love life that drew me in most.
After Tank asked her if she always knew she would be famous, she responded, "Never. I just always just kept doing it, and I was ready to leave it all for this man, but he went to the military, and so I was forced to kinda like focus on my dreams. But really, I always want to leave this for love and start a family. I don't want to keep doing this." As the co-hosts digested what was said, she continued, "I don't want to give that much energy to this man or dream man, but it's like, I want a family. I feel like that's true life or true love. To have a family is beautiful, it seems, so I want that."
Lennox was last tied to a "mystery man" that it didn't take long for fans to figure out was Married At First Sight star Keith Manley II after sharing photos on IG. The duo split after a month of dating.
She is now prioritizing therapy and crediting her progress to going to help her navigate love to her breakthroughs on the couch. And despite being open about her dating life, even speaking with Huffington Post last year about how finding a significant other hasn't been the easiest journey for her, she is appreciating the tools she's gained to make that progress to having her family.
"[I'm] in a space where I've ignored the red flags too much for the last time, and now I'm so hyper-aware. And it's been a blessing to say, 'You know what? This is not right. This doesn't feel right. It's time to move on,'" she explained. "So it's cool learning about myself, learning my flaws, becoming more self-aware, and just realizing there's a lot of healing I need to do before I can even consider being in a situation with someone."
Self-love attracts love, ladies.
Watch the full podcast episode below:
Ari Lennox • R&B MONEY Podcast • Episode 024
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Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET