Today is a sacred day. The first Monday of May has always been the day that fashion lives its best life. It is the one day a year that is devoted to getting rich people to help fund the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. By gathering the best, brightest, and most importantly, the most fashionable in the industry, The Met Gala, it has become the party of the year. Picture Cardi B at a table with Anna Wintour – that conversation has to be most interesting on the planet. But of course, Big Rona said, "Not up in here!" this year.
I never thought I would mourn an event the way I have with the Met Gala. Good thing I am not alone. Vogue has curated something special for us in remembrance of this event, "A Moment with the Met". The intimate celebration is set to happen on May 4 at 6 p.m. EDT via livestream exclusively on YouTube. The virtual turnup will feature an address by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, a special live performance by Florence and the Machine, and a DJ set from Virgil Abloh.
To keep hope alive, we assembled some of our favorite looks of all time. Check them out!
Rihanna at the 2018 Met Gala
Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a certified Met Gala killer. It was hard to choose just one look from this multi-hyphenate icon because she gives it every single time. But this lewk from 2018 was one for the books. 2018 was actually full of hits with celebrities nailing the theme, "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination".
Rih came through in a matching jewel encrusted robe, dress and papal mitre looking like the best dressed pope EVER. The entire lewk was designed by Margiela accessorized with Cartier jewelry and Christian Louboutin heels. It was her first time wearing Margiela and she definitely left a lasting impression. We also think she came this hard because she co-hosted the gala this year.
Zendaya at the 2018 Met Gala
Saint Joan of Arc has a new name and her name is Zendaya the queen. We know Zendaya is no stranger to slaying red carpets but she absolutely demolished the steps of the Met in 2018 with this iconic outfit. The custom Versace gown could not have been more perfect for the theme with the armor, chainmail and glimmering sequins. From her accented jewelry to the famous Maid of Orléans' bob, we stan.
Janelle Monae at the 2019 Met Gala
Last year, Janelle Monae proclaimed that Camp, the designated motif for the gala, was embedded in her DNA. She strolled onto the carpet in an intricately, structured Christian Siriano design with a motorized blinking eye provided by Smooth Technology. This was not only a nod to Picasso but also to her love for science and fiction. Janelle wanted to specifically pull inspiration from Picasso's work as it related to tribal masks and shattered portraits. The stack of hats were also perfect for Janelle's infamous aesthetic.
Beyonce at the 2015 MET Gala
We distinctly remember the Queen showing up late but still shutting sh*t down! The year was 2015 and Beyonce arrived to the gala in a barely-there Givenchy dress. She had us all saying, "Heyyyyyyy, Mrs. Carter!" We gave her a pass for being on CP time because there's no way this getup could have an error. One jewel out of place could make for another time Bey made the world stop. We were also living for this super high pony because it enhanced the levels of snatch-dom.
Diana Ross at the 1981 Met Gala
Giving us shoulders and cheekbones, the legendary Diana Ross looked amazing at the 1981 gala dedicated to "The Eighteenth Century Woman". Her gown, made completely of feathers, has been on every iconic Met Gala list ever created. The dress was so fly, she pulled it out of hiding and rocked it again at the 2012 American Music Awards.
Naomi Campbell at the 1990 Met Gala
The black Barbie herself, Naomi Campbell owned the "Thêatre de la Mode — Fashion Dolls: The Survival of Haute Couture" theme in 1990 in a mini couture dress splattered in colorful art. Her debut to the event was nothing short of groundbreaking. The supermodel's runway presence was undeniable so her attendance at this specific gala was a requirement.
Solange at the 2018 Met Gala
First off, we don't deserve Solange. We definitely did not deserve this lewk she donned to the 2018 Met Gala. Like always, she paid homage to her culture with a braided halo and a durag that read, "My God wears a durag." What accompanied this already flawless situation? A sculpted and textured Van Herpen creation. The "Don't Touch My Hair" songstress carried Florida Water and a piece of obsidian to protect her energy because we know our homegirl ain't got time.
Iman at the 1981 Met Gala
Wearing Calvin Klein with the designer himself on her arm, Iman stunned in a golden getup. The acccented body chain and gold earrings were it for us because it complimented her melanin so well. Seeing her in this space back then is so important because had it not been for her, Diana Ross and Naomi Campbell, there wouldn't be room for the other brilliant black women on this list.
Whitney Houston at the 1999 Met Gala
A rock style queen if we have ever seen one. Whitney Houston wore a diamond-encrusted outfit designed by Dolce & Gabbana. It was the end of a decade and the beginning of Whitney's presence at this illustrious event. She was gearing up for her My Love is Your Love World Tour and she was all about reinventing herself.
Lena Waithe at the 2018 Met Gala
Lena Waithe, the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing in a comedy series, lives to make a statement. The 2018 Met Gala's theme of "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" wasn't ready for her statement in her Carolina Herrera ensemble made perfect with a rainbow cape. That evening the creator told Complex Magazine, "You talk about church and Catholicism, it's about—you were made in God's image...The theme to me is be yourself." It was something about the beat paired with the suit that made us fall in love with her feminine masculinity even more.
Cardi B at the 2019 Met Gala
Her nipples are literal rubies valued a $250,000. Chile. I'm obsessed. Cardi's Thom Browne regalia goes down as one of the most massive trains ever. It required 10 people to guide it down the carpet which created the perfect photo opportunity on the steps of the Met. We also learned that the intricate gown was composed of 30,000 feathers that took 2,000 hours to create by 35 people.
Billy Porter at the 2019 Met Gala
The name Billy Porter rings bells, hunty. The actor, singer and all-around entertainer extraordinaire entered the scene on a pedestal carried by six shirtless men. And his outfit? A catsuit designed by The Blonds accompanied with a 24-karat gold headpiece and wings that were high enough to touch heaven. Lest not forget the custom gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and fine jewels he wore from Andreoli, John Hardy, and Oscar Heyman.
Migos at the 2018 Met Gala
The trio we all love blessed us with matching Versace suits in 2018 and we can never say thank you enough. Migos is wildly known for their flamboyant but fly attire so we loved that these black men came ready to kill it. The colorful blazers overlaid with religious pictures and iconography brought a much-needed sauce to the carpet. Of course, the Atlanta rappers had to complete their fits with jewelry that could pay off the entire world's student loans.
Jaden Smith at the 2017 Met Gala
Oh, Jaden, how we adore thee. Only he could walk a carpet with his trademark dreads in his hands like flowers. The rapper wore man heels and a perfectly tailored Louis Vuitton suit keeping up with his unapologetic vibe. Word on the street is he also walked on the carpet with a speaker blasting his own music. We love to see it!
Andre Leon Talley at the 2004 Met Gala
Get into this fashion king's cape of all capes. Andre Leon Talley is undoubtedly an unsung hero of the Met Gala. In 2004, with the theme of "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century", the former Vogue editor-at-large gave us 6'6'' glory. Seeing him on a carpet back then means so much for the queer community because he always showed up authentically and fabulously. We can't wait for his new novel as he may spill some Met Gala tea.
Ciara at the 2019 Met Gala
Ciara's "costume" at the 2019 Met Gala has to be one of her best looks of all time. The larger than life hair coupled with the emerald green Peter Dundas dress made this look an absolute head-turner. The fact that she also twerked with Big Freedia at this distinguished gala gave us so much life.
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Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
It (almost) never fails. Whenever I do an interview, someone will ask me: 1) is it hard to be a marriage life coach and not be married (chile, these clients are a part of the reason why I’m more cautious than ever about mate selection) and 2) am I lonely when it comes to being single? From the angle of loving Black men and understanding, daily, what a marital covenant can do for a person, I am totally open to jumping somebody’s broom one day. Lonely though? No. Not really. And a part of the reason is because I have such an awesome group of male friends.
No, I’m not one of those women who don’t see the value in female friends too. It’s just that one demographic “scratches one itch” while the other scratches another. And when it comes to men, specifically, there are certain things that they bring to my life that are simply incomparable.
That’s why, whenever single women will tell me that they are getting restless as they wait on their husband to make his presence known, I am quick to ask, “Girl, where are your male friends at?” Because while they can’t meet every need that a husband can (and should), believe me when I say that they do offer some bona fide benefits that will definitely make them a great alternative on a few different levels.
I’ve got a solid six for you today.
1. Men Are Not Women. Let’s Start There.Giphy
Listen, I’m sure that there is a lot of good stuff out in TikTok world; however, as a life coach myself, on the coaching front, truly sensible advice can really be like a needle in a haystack on that platform — especially when it comes to trustworthy (and sound) insight on men. So much stuff is rooted in bitterness, stereotypes, and gross generalizations (generalizations are typically rooted in bitterness, by the way) that there’s no way that it can be seen as being even close to being reliable.
And as much as some of y’all might not want to hear what I’m about to say, I think a part of the reason is because a lot of women don’t want to accept that men are just…different. Not in a “Yeah, I know. They should be more like us” kind of way. I mean, a “God made it that way by design, and science is there to back it up.”
For instance, some professionals believe that women having more blood flood to the brain is why they are more emotional in their communication style, while men are typically more direct (more on that in a bit). Other studies reveal that women are more comfortable with their emotions while men tend to be more centered (and sometimes quicker) at problem-solving. And while a woman’s right hemisphere of her brain is more developed to the point where she is more sensitive and empathetic, a man’s is more developed to where he is more “mathematic” (2+2=4, that’s it) and explorative.
This kind of stuff always fascinates me, so while I could go on and on, the bottom line here is men's and women’s wiring are not identical.
And while society keeps trying to make them be the same via all of these damn gender wars, the beauty in the differences is men and women can actually provide each other with balance. Because, after all, as a man by the name of Larry Dixon once said, “If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary.” And both men and women are…necessary.
2. Guys Tend to Have a “Straight No Chaser” ApproachGiphy
Whenever I read an article about how social media is creating more narcissists than ever, I can’t help but nod my head up and down in total agreement. I don’t even hesitate because one example of this that I see on a regular basis is how people are becoming more and more wired for praise, and yet they can’t handle any kind of criticism or call out to hold themselves accountable to save their lives.
You know who will bring you back down to earth, though? A good friend. And guy friends? I guess due to some of the science that I just mentioned, I don’t have one in my life who pulls any punches. Although some are more, let’s go with tactful in their approach (LOL), there’s not one who sugarcoats issues or tells me what I want to hear. And you know what? I need that. I don’t need flatterers (even the Bible frowns on that…did you know that? — Job 17:5); I need folks who will be as direct, candid, and “Well Shellie, you asked” as I tend to be with other people. It keeps me responsible. It grows me up. And it helps me to better discern when my ego is getting all up in the way.
Yeah, if you want to hear the REAL real, a guy will deliver it to you. Which brings me to the next way that they are a true “win.”
3. They’re Good At Catching Blind SpotsGiphy
Back when I was on my “Get Your Heart Pieces Back Tour” (you can read more about it here), there was a guy from my past who I was talking heavy with for a few weeks. He’s always been fine. The sex was always incredible. And, back in the day, he was there for me during a time that was very dark in my life, which is why I will always hold a special affection for him. That’s why, I ain’t got no lies to tell y’all — after our first eight-hour-straight conversation, I was ready to get on a plane and (eh hem) relive some memories. So, what stopped me? One was a particular conviction that I have (perhaps we’ll discuss that at another time). Another was a conversation that I had with two of my male friends.
One asked me, “So, who contacted who?” Oh, the loaded question that will make you reflect on talking to these exes, chile. The other said, “He said he did what when he found out his ex cheated?” Listen, I don’t know who reads my content or not as far as people who know or who knew me, so I won’t get all into the details. I’ll just say that it wasn’t anything violent, but it was intense. And those two questions, put together, caused me to ponder some things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Because while my girlfriends thought that it was some rom-com come to life, my guy friends were like, “Uh-uh. Think it ALL the way through.” They simply had eyes where I didn’t because…they are guys who know guys. Simple as that.
4. They’re Like the Big Brothers (or More Big Brothers) You Never HadGiphy
I didn’t really notice how much I needed my blood brother until he moved to South Africa. Even though he’s younger than I, there’s a presence that he provided that made me feel protected; like if some ish really hit the fan, I had someone to call who could help me to feel safe. Thankfully, over the course of the first couple of years that he was gone, some “love brothers” came into the world. And when I tell you that they don’t play about me — I mean, at all.
A good example of this is when my house burned down back in December of 2021. Two immediately sent me a laptop (because for a writer, that’s like not having a car). One sent me the deposit for a new place to stay. Another came to check on me for a week straight. I can’t tell you how many mini-sermons I got on how to legally proceed with my landlords. Bottom line, they held me down and didn’t even give it a second thought. And although my girlfriends had my back as well, they were coming more from a nurturing stance, while my male friends were more protective.
Another example. Earlier this year, I had to drive to another state to sue the person I bought my car from (heads up: a meditator told me that Kentucky has some of the strictest as-is laws in the country). Long story short, the dealer assured me of a feature that wasn’t there. Anyway, I asked one of my male friends to drive me, and even though we took my car, he was like, “Let me drive” — and I had no problem with that. He does it for a living; we had to leave while it was still dark outside, and he knew that I was kind of tired. There was a natural “let me cover you” energy about him that we didn’t need to be dating for it to show up — he’s a good man who knows how to take care of ALL of the women in his life. I love that for me.
One more example. One time my car didn’t start, and I didn’t know what to do. I had to leave it in a random parking lot and, so I called a male friend for some advice. All he said was, “I got it. I’ll call you later.” By that evening, he drove it to me. He had a mechanic friend of his put a new alternator in, and he didn’t even charge me for it. He was like, “Girl, you need to get a man, but until you do, I got you.”
When all you have in your life are guys who you date, sometimes it’s hard to discern what their motives may be. Plus, if things don’t work out, you’re back to figuring everything out on your own. When you have male friends, though? There’s no slick ish. Plus, they’re not going anywhere. You’ve got brothers from another mother who acts just like that. And it’s awesome.
5. They Are Awesome Friend (or Stand-In) DatesGiphy
One of my male friends, folks have been thinking that we’re screwing on the low for years now. He’s a cutie. He can sing his butt off. I tell him often that if I could turn his speaking voice into a person, that part of him (and that part alone) would be my sneaky link, for sure (that voice!). Yet nah — nothing even remotely sexual/physical has happened to us beyond a hug “hello” and a hug “good-bye.” And while I wouldn’t say that we’re exactly “platonic” because he sometimes jokes that “Shellie, you are like a sister, but you still ain’t my sister” and that holds a bit of subtext (check out “Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'”), we’ve got almost two decades under our belts — at this point, ain’t nothin’ finna go down. It just doesn’t “click” that way. And we are both so good with that.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not each other’s kick-it buddies, though. Aside from the fact that we try to have a lunch or dinner date once a month, if there’s something we want to do or a place we want to go to, we don’t hesitate to take each other as an unofficial date. That’s because we know that it will make the event more fun and less stress-filled because there is no extra stress, pressure, or expectations. We also know how to dress up or down, be casual or corporate — y’all get it.
Yeah, if you’ve got something coming up, you don’t want to go alone, and the idea of a traditional date seems like it would be “too much,” a guy friend is the perfect solution. It has worked out for me (with the guy whom I’m referring to and others) for years now.
6. Platonic Love Is Really SpecialGiphy
Clearly, I believe that men and women can be “just friends” (check out “Unpopular Opinion: Men And Women CAN Really Be 'Just Friends'”). And although the genuine definition of platonic means that there is NO sexual interest on ANY level (which is why I think that word is used too loosely), those types of relationships can exist — and they are truly one of a kind.
Final example. I’ve got four male friends who I absolutely adore. We hang out. We can talk on the phone for hours. We send each other stupid clips throughout the day. And HELL NAW, we ain’t gonna date each other. Like…ever. We talk enough about relationships that we get how and why other people are attracted to us — and still, that doesn’t mean we want to fit into those categories. We like each other. We love each other. We trust and respect each other. We enjoy each other. As friends, and that’s all it’s ever gonna be.
However, because I am a woman and they are men, we bring something into each other’s worlds as far as opinions, perspectives, and insights that no one of the same sex can. As their friend (for instance), I tell them when a woman has some ulterior motives that they haven’t even thought about, and as men, they tell me when a guy is just wanting to hit, no matter how cryptic their approach may be.
OH, HOW I LOVE MY MALE FRIENDS. They make my world so much richer. Plus, they’re great reminders that you don’t have to be sexual with a man in order for you to be intimate with him. Men are far more layered than that (contrary to whatever you may hear in the media).
So, if you don’t have any strictly male friends, I’m hoping that this will encourage you to at least consider getting some (or hell, at least one). And if you do, do what I do and treat your male friends to a meal sometimes, just to say “thank you”. Men who’ve got your back, just because, without wanting you to get on your back? Sis, they deserve a seasonal meat-‘n-three or somethin’. Wouldn’t you say? I WOULD.
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