During this time of social distancing, we turn to social media for uplifting messages and motivation as a means of connection and empowerment. On Instagram, with the help of our Explore page, we discover new pages to follow and people to connect with on mutual interests, coordinated color schemes and clever captions. Check out these Instagram accounts below that are building positive and powerful online communities for women of color in fashion, media, mental health and more!
Chief Kicks Officer Melissa Cantey is creating the perfect online community for women like myself who love urban streetwear and melanated skin. "My purpose for starting the Kicks & Fros Instagram page was because I wanted to inspire. I'm able to show women and girls around the world that they can be bosses and comfortable, too!" the CKO tells xoNecole. "This platform has women rocking two things—beautiful, creative sneakers and their beautiful, natural fros. It's taken us women a while to feel comfortable in both of those things. But now that we are, there's no stopping us. I'm committed to highlighting it as much as I can. It's an incredible thing to see; women are truly the dopest!"
"My mission is to empower, elevate, and educate," Cantey continues. "Women are feeling more comfortable taking risks with both their sneakers and natural hair. I want to empower more women to keep taking those risks by showing how fun it is to express ourselves with our hair and sneaker selection, and educate women who think sneakers aren't for them. We ALL have a sneaker style, so I help them find it. Kicks bring so much versatility to our personal style, and we can all rock them."
Ashley Glaspie has created a safe space for melanation to live and breathe mental health and wellness while being authentically and unapologetically themselves. "I couldn't find a positive Instagram page/outlet that really fed my soul as a black Woman and nothing I could really identify with. I started #CoolAssBlackWoman because it was something that I could relate to and I knew there were other women like me who needed a support system," Glaspie shares about her purpose for founding the Instagram page.
"#CoolAssBlackWoman is a safe space for black women to be vulnerable. A space that welcomes the mental growth and wellness of black women. We knew the Instagram page would help spread self-awareness and self-care at the consumer's fingertips," Ashley continues about her passion for Black women. "A few ways we engage with the cool ass Black women on the @CoolAssBlackWoman Instagram page are through self-care challenges, the #CoolAssBlackWoman podcast and virtual conversations to stay connected during our new normal."
Brown Gyrl Social is the brainchild of Tola L. inspired by the interaction and engagement of the Gyrl Wonder audience. "A lot of women who didn't fall into the Gyrl Wonder age range saw the work that we were doing for young women and asked about a community for the 25 and up crew," Head Gyrl in Charge Tola shares about BGS. "From those inquiries, the Brown Gyrl Social brand was created for women of color who are well into their professional careers and are looking for an authentic, inclusive community and support system."
On the mission of her new social platform baby, Tola L. states, "Brown Gyrl Social is a community of black and brown women creating and reserving space for one another, sharing resources for success. Through cultural impetus, authentic connections, and transformative conversations Brown Gyrl Social centralizes overall wellness, financial literacy and professional development."
Transparent Black Girl was founded by entrepreneur, writer and wellness advocate Yasmine Jameelah with the intention of being a wellness company shattering unconventional stigmas around what it means to be well for Black women across the diaspora. "Since our inception, we've grown to include Transparent Black Guy, which speaks to wellness for Black men," shares the xoNecole contributor about her male-centric platform. "Through our social media content and events, we create spaces for our community to heal in an environment where they are the priority."
I don't know about y'all, but since COVID, I've been getting on the up-and-up about my zodiac sign and quite frankly, I'm learning more and more about myself as a Sagittarius everyday. Thanks to one Instagram page specifically catered to astrological knowledge for Black people, founder and CEO of @ScorpioMystique and @KnowTheZodiac Dossé-Via Trenou have created engaging, shareable content for all to behold about emotions, habits and quirks of each sign. On the commencement of her purpose, Trenou shares, "I began KnowTheZodiac's Instagram page due to my passion for astrology and spirituality that I wanted to share with the world, particularly with black people seeking an astrology platform where they felt seen, valued and recognized."
Dossé-Via is not shy about her passion and wants to share it with her people to have access to the knowledge they crave about spirituality, astrology and alignment. "Astrology, like most forms of spirituality, originated in the Motherland. OG astrologers were African women who tracked their menstrual cycles based on the phases of the moon. Our rich history as interpreters of cosmic patterns shouldn't be erased, but rather amplified, and KnowTheZodiac aims to do that," she adds, dropping knowledge. "Our team of astrologers are all women of color, and the media we use on our pages highlights the magic and melanin that exists within our community. Astrology is about getting to the root of who one is, and KnowTheZodiac's mission serves as a clear reminder that black women are the source from which life is derived."
Founder and lead editor Narcisse Burchell is a woman of many hats, talents and sophistications - including the brains and beauty behind @GrownAssBlackWoman, where Black women who are #GROWNAF can engage in grown folk business while leaving the children to play out-back. "I created Grown Ass Black Woman after being stood up by all of my 'homegirls' for my bachelorette party and a long and lonely battle with depression. I needed to meet and bond with some real and ride or die women. I knew that I wasn't the only woman who needed to feel like she mattered," she shares with xoNecole.
"GABW was born to the multifaceted Proverbs 31 woman who enjoys taco Tuesdays, trap music and the occasional midnight jigga train to Georgia. Women want and need to be heard. Even more importantly, listened to. Without judgment. Without shame. We needed love. We needed laughter. We needed acceptance. We needed a space to snatch off our wigs after a long day of being Superwoman but still grow...together."
On her mission and engagement on her growing Instagram community, Narcisse says, "Life is hard and the answers we're seeking aren't always available in that group text of 4-5 friends who've never dealt with what we're going through. Grown Ass Black Woman provides a pool of passion-filled women from all ages and walks of life to weigh in, inspire and support in a space that encourages authenticity, vulnerability and transparency. Our experiences connect us to each other, our stories empower the next and this is where your voice gets heard."
For the dope Christian baddie looking to connect with other like-minded spirits, build profitable brands and grow their faith, then Epic Fab Girl is the online community for you! "We started Epic Fab Girl's Instagram after launching our blog in 2016 with a goal to be a community to help Christian women fearlessly pursue their purpose," founder and CEO Candace Junée shares.
"Epic Fab Girl's platform is made for Go-Getters - a place where faith and entrepreneurship collide for the modern-day Christian woman. We encourage our community to have a relationship with God over religion, while never forgetting that we are not 'self-made' entrepreneurs, rather we are building profitable brands with the help of a supportive community of women and God by our side," Junée continues to clarify about the mission and vision of how the brand engages with dope women of color. "We provide our community with the tools to build profitable brands, grow their faith, and connect with other women through our initiatives such as our annual Go-Getter Conference and the Go-Getter Confidential Virtual Summit."
What do you get when you take a woman who is passionate about the sociopolitical state of women of color and a social media handle? You get Autumn Myers, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Queen Sessions. As the former lead writer and current digital lead for America Hates US, Autumn gave birth to @TheQueenSessions through her love of content creation and media strategy to empower women of color. "I recognized that we want to go to a place that genuinely makes us feel good and inspired. So, once I started showcasing inspiring clips, memes, and women we aspire to be - some of who don't receive enough shine - I noticed a shift in interest which, overall, I love. To continually drop gems and highlight WOC who are impacting the world with their gifts," tells Autumn.
The editor-in-chief concludes, "We are now working on producing digital segments where we interview different queens and provide self-growth tips. Overall, the platform is growing and designed to impact women of color to reach their goals and feel heard."
Instagram provides a really unique platform for brands like Girls Who Listen (GWL), founded by CEO Kadijat Salawudeen, to build an authentic fanbase. Girls Who Listen is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting female creators in the entertainment space that hosts a series of events such as panels, mingling mixers, songwriting sessions, and compile an internal networking database for upcoming artists and media professionals who aim to learn more about entertainment industries.
"GWL is actually an extension of Industry News Magazine (INM), a digital platform for keeping up with the latest music, news and fashion trends," tells Kadijat. "It wasn't enough for my team and I to feature local up-and-coming creatives, we felt it was necessary to curate this tight knit community for the ladies - sorry boys." GWL is actively engaging with dope women of color by partnering with brands that align with their mission and hosting giveaways and contests. "We also began curating a weekly Instagram series called '#LockedIn.' For the first two weeks we were able to feature Music Choice video producer Chazeen and Rebekah Espinosa (°1824 Director at Universal Music Group). Weekly, viewers can engage with our featured guests and really tap into their expertise as executives and creatives."
Featured image by Shutterstock
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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images