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.
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Nelly And Ashanti Are Giving It Another Shot? Here's What You Should Know About 'Ex Reconciliation'
Okay, so if you’ve read any of my pop culture think pieces on this platform before (like here or here), you already know that I don’t tend to spend a lot of time talking like I know people who I actually…don’t. As someone who grew up in an entertainment industry home and then got my (official) start in journalism in the entertainment realm as well — let me just tell you from very up close and personal experience that nothing is a smoke-and-mirrors game quite like the celebrity world. That’s why it’s wise to not invest too deeply into it/them.
At the same time, since, for better or for worse, we do live in a culture that seems to be constantly consumed with what famous folks are doing. What I prefer to do is use certain news stories (even if they are basically nothing more than tabloid gossip, depending on the day) as personal teachable moments — and since the word on the street is saying that Nelly and Ashanti are giving it another go, I thought that topic would be a great one to tackle.
My personal recollection of them being together consists of my finding Ashanti’s visual for her single “Good Good” (damn, was that 2008?!) to be cute enough. Plus, I liked how they mostly kept everything off the grid — unlike the other relatively reunited (and does it feel so good? I can’t tell because Ben always looks so irritated) couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, chile). Anyway, beyond that, and then reading some timeline pieces on Nelly and Ashanti (a recent one is located here), there’s not much more that I can say as far as their coupledom goes.
Ashanti and Nelly during Sean Diddy Combs First Fragrance Launch for Unforgivable - After PartyJohnny Nunez/WireImage
However, when I did happen to catch a roughly hour-long Instagram post (here) on Ashanti’s page a few months ago talking about how (among other things) she used to want six kids, and now she’ll “settle for” two or three, I took that to be a subtext that she’s ready to get into something serious/substantial — and sometimes that can mean reconciling with someone from your past.
It’s kind of like a point that was made by Alec Baldwin’s character in the movieIt’s Complicated (paraphrased): “Some people should get back together 10 years after a divorce because the time apart can help each person to grow. And since you already know your ex so well, reuniting later could be the best decision ever.”
Nelly and Ashanti reportedly broke up ten years ago, so maybe they are life-imitating art. Either way, before you use them as inspiration (or ammo — LOL) to get back with someone from your own past, please ask yourself the following questions. Then be serious about the answers. Then run them by a trusted friend (or your therapist). And then, if it all checks out, proceed with extreme wisdom and logic. Because getting back with an ex is a bit like a crap shoot — it can be a real blessing or a HUGE mistake. That’s why factoring as much as possible beforehand is such a wise thing to do.
Why Did the Two of You Break-Up?Giphy
I recently got certified (and soon to be credentialed) to be a professional certified coach (a holistic one). It’s interesting because, when you’re actually learning from an ICF-accredited school, a question that actually isn’t asked in life coaching is “Why?” Why is that? Because while therapy/counseling tends to focus on the past quite a bit, life coaching specializes in asking questions that will empower you to decide what is best for your future.
In this case, though, you definitely need to take your past into account because if you don’t factor in why you broke up with your ex in the first place, it could result in you just repeating the same ish that you did before — and if that ish is centered around things like abuse (neglect is abuse, by the way), constant lying or being taken for granted, you really need to do some serious vetting to see if those things are still a present-day issue.
And yes, this is a critical point to consider because, while some people live by the motto “forward ever, backward never” or my personal favorite, “getting back with an ex is like getting out of the shower and putting the same underwear on,” not every break-up is horrific or even devastating. Sometimes it really is a matter of meeting the right person at the wrong time or the two of you really liking each other, but something just doesn’t quite “click.”
You know, it is Benjamin Franklin who once said, “All highly competent people continually search for ways to keep learning, growing, and improving. They do that by asking WHY.” And since, hopefully, you’ve been learning, growing, and improving as an individual, ever since you ended things with your ex, asking yourself why you broke up and being really honest about the answer, that can help you to see WHY you should consider trying again or WHY the past should totally be left there.
What Lessons Did You Learn? During and Since Ending the Relationship?Giphy
Everyone is a lesson. That is, if you’re humble enough to know how to be taught anything (some of y’all will catch that later). And just so we’re all on the same page when it comes to this particular point, a lesson is a practical piece of wisdom, and wisdom is something that offers insight and heightens your sense of discernment. In other words, if it’s truly a lesson — and you apply it — there will be no reason to repeat it; your insight and discernment won’t let you.
So, when it comes to your ex, what lessons did they teach you? One of mine taught me to not convince myself to be with someone just because they are a good person. Another taught me to not "be a wife" to someone who is not my literal husband (check out "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife"). Still, another taught me to stop mistaking nostalgia for actual love (more on that in just a bit). The first and second lessons I learned during the relationship. The last I learned after. And because the lessons were so profound, they totally altered my way of thinking — which makes getting back together with any of those guys basically an impossibility. Wisdom won't let me.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is kinda-sorta back with one of her exes because the lesson that she learned during the relationship was because she had never been in love before, she kept playing the exhausting game of come-close-go-away. Now that she's had some therapy (and matured a bit), she and her ex are in a far better place which makes it easier to interact with one another on another level. Is it just like it was before? No. In many ways, it's better because, since my friend has less anxiety, there is less stress on the relational dynamic, which makes them able to see where things could go a lot easier for both of them.
I am a firm believer that life is one big school. Thing is, when it comes to the lessons that you need to learn, you can stay in the same class for 20 years, if need be. So yeah, when it comes to pondering about getting back with your ex, did the lessons that you already learn reveal to you that it would be a smart move or a really dumb decision?
Who Reached Back Out First? (Yes, It Is Valid)Giphy
Typically, the "Who did it first?" question leans on the side of silly and/or petty and/or entitled to me. Oh, but not in this case. And although words cannot express how disgusted I am with how Brian McKnight is displaying extremely poor (fellow) Gemini energy, he is a great songwriter, and his song with the hook, "Do I ever cross your mind? Anytime?" — let me just say that an ex who says they never think about their exes from time to time they are a bold-faced liar.
HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that they care enough to reach out or that it's a good idea, even if they're tempted to do so. So, when someone actually does step out and send an email, get in the DMs, or leave a voicemail (your ex still has your phone number? Interesting), that's quite telling — although you do need to take into serious account what it all actually means.
For instance, back when my first book came out, a few of the characters (pun intended and not intended) hit me up. One was my first love. All he really did was send me an email to tell me that he read the book and that he was sorry for the role that he played in the pain of the relationship. And that he would always love me.
Now guess what part I focused on? You can check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour" to get the gist of that. As a result, for several more years, off and on, that continued to be all that my heart (the Bible says the heart is deceitful; always remember that — Jeremiah 17:9-10) honed in on. That man didn't say that he wanted to rekindle anything. He said that he wanted to apologize. Lawd, how much we can spare ourselves if we'd just learn to listen to what is being said instead of editing conversations into what we want to hear.
So, did he reach out first? Yep. Did he want anything? Not really. And from personal experience, that’s why “who reached out first and why” is something else that needs to be given some serious thought. After all, the two of you broke up for a reason…so, if they do reach back out, now more than ever, it’s important to take their words literally. If he only wants to see if you’re well, let him know that you are and leave it there. If he wants to apologize, accept this apology and tell him to take care. If he asks to see you — now that’s when trying to figure out if reconnecting, on any level, is actually a good idea.
Bottom line here don’t make something be what it’s not. Oh, and if you are the one who reaches out first…let me just say that I know a woman who got ghosted by an ex back in college, she decided to reach back out to him some 20 years later, and all they’ve been doing is dating for over ten years now (even though she wants to be married). I mean…he didn’t come looking for her; she went out looking for him — which kind of translates to me that he was fine whether they spoke again or not.
See what I mean? *Elmo shrug*
Is It Love? Or Nostalgia?Giphy
Please, please, PLEASE — if you don't get anything else from this article, get this: just like fleeting passion can be mistaken for lasting love, so can nostalgia; the definition of the word explains a lot of the reason why, too: "a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations."
You know, the mind is a funny thing. "Funny" in the sense that, if you lean into nostalgia, it typically will edit out all of the crappy stuff while encouraging you to focus solely on the good times. For instance, I know a woman right now who got back into something with an ex who was sending her all kinds of expensive shoes and random flowers for the first few months…just like before. Now? Now he's calling her when he's tipsy to vent about his ex-wife.
How did she get caught up in this pattern? Good ole' nostalgia, chile. Initially, reconnecting included discussing fun dates and good sex. Yet, nostalgia is kind of like a drug — it gets you really high, yet sooner or later, you're gonna crash…and that can have you feeling super low.
You know, there's not one ex who I don't have a myriad of good memories of. Yet when I bring logic, common sense, and facts into the dynamic, they all needed to be exes — and honestly should stay just that way. Just because I "love" certain things about them, that doesn't mean that I'm actually still in love with them…and why let the former cause me to overlook the latter?
Pleasant thoughts are fine. They aren't enough to go off of to rekindle a relationship, though. You are far too precious. So is your time. This brings me to the next point.
Time Is Precious: How Would Reconciling Make the Most of Yours?Giphy
It actually wasn't too long ago that I penned the piece, "Let's Finally 'Spring Clean' ALL Of Our Exes Out Of Our Lives, Shall We?" for the site. One of the things that I mentioned in it is there is something known as recycling (making something new without changing its original form), and then there's something known as upcycling (taking an original thing and changing it into something totally different; typically something better). That said, if you are thinking about getting back with an ex, I recommend that you determine if it's going to be an UPCYCLE for you. Otherwise, really…why do it?
Something that I oftentimes tell people in their 20s is it really is time out for acting like that decade is nothing more than being in the 2.0 version of your teens. In other words, if you don't make wise decisions, then, you can end up wasting a lot of time. And then you'll need even more time trying to heal and recover from it all.
Personally, that's one of the things that I mourn about a lot of the moves that I made back then; I had to spend a significant amount of my 30s healing so that, should I ever decide to marry a man, I will be the helpmate that he truly deserves. And that's another reason why I'm good on my exes — I don't have another decade to throw away.
And for those of you who may struggle with taking personal accountability and so you like to romanticize your poor choices by saying things like, "Nothing is a waste of time," — no offense, but that is a damn lie. Waste literally means "to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander," and yes — it is quite possible (and easier than most people think) to involve yourself in something (or with someone) without getting an adequate return…in return.
When one of my surrogate mothers passed away of cancer in her late 50s several years ago, one of the last things that she said to me on her hospice bed was, "It goes by sooner than you think," and I have always kept that in the forefront of my mind. As I get older, I find myself saying, "Where does the time go?" more and more.
An ex coming back into your life could potentially be an awesome thing. "Awesome" if the two of you aren't going to be a waste of each other's time. Again, use the definition of the word as a barometer. Be honest with yourself as you do.
This Time, Be Friends First (or Again)Giphy
I've been in the couples counseling game for a long time now. And if there's one thing that a lot of married and divorced people have told me, it's that they wish they had spent more time trying to cultivate a friendship with their spouse than a relationship — because when the foundation of something is unstable, the house will eventually crumble on some level.
And this brings us back to Nelly and Ashanti — they seemed to last for a good amount of time by keeping things private the first go around, so if they are indeed reconciling, I'm not sure why they would switch up the formula now. Either way, I hope that they and you will make friendship the top priority. Why? Because the best things come out of friendships. The healthiest relationships are included.
When it comes to you and your journey, please check out articles I've penned, like "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships," "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One," "10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend," "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?" and definitely "Self BFF: 7 Signs You're Your Own Best Friend." Because if you are thinking about getting back with an ex, the least that the two of you need to be towards each other is hella loyal, honest with each other, and respectful of each other's feelings, needs, and even a few wants. No relationship can thrive without those things intact and every healthy friendship consists of those "ingredients."
And you won't (fully) know if any of this is the case if you're quick to jump into bed or rush into a relationship without seeing how you are as friends…first.
You know, reconcile is a really interesting word. On the one hand, it can mean "to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired." On the other hand, it can mean things like "to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable" and "to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent." And with those definitions in mind, that's what you should focus on most of all.
- Is your ex willing to "win you over" by how they (now) treat you? Are you willing to do the same?
- Would being with them bring more or less harmony into your life?
- How compatible were you before, and how compatible do you seem to be now (sans the nostalgia)?
I will never say that getting back with an ex is a good or bad idea, full stop. I'll just say that if you're going back to your past, make sure it benefits your future. Otherwise, leave it right where it's at: nothing that your present needs beyond a scroll and a click…if that much, sis.
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