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Step Into The Nude: Kahmune Is The Shoe Brand Full Of #BlackGirlMagic

10 shades. 1 mission.

Style

Thankfully, more and more fashion and beauty brands are embracing black women of all shades. Sure, you have numerous hair care companies to keep your kinky curls looking their luscious best and Rihanna has you fully covered with her all-inclusive Fenty line of beauty products, but what about fashion—specifically shoes?


If black women are aware of anything within the fashion and beauty space, it's that all things are not created equal, especially when it comes to nudes. What's nude on a woman of a different race, a biracial woman or black women on the lighter end of the color spectrum, is not nude for a WOC with a deep ebony complexion. Luckily, one woman and her new brand of nude shoes are changing the landscape one pair of shoes at a time.

Meet Kahmune, a U.K shoe brand founded by Jamela Acheampong that has shoes that represent the entire color spectrum for WOC. The shoes retail between $200-$250 and are available in four styles: a pump, sandal, flat and a mule. The collection offers 10 different shades from fair to deep, and each shade is named after a city, such as Juba, Rio, Bogota, Goa, and Enugu.

xoNecole caught up with Jamela Acheampong, who opened up about her innovative shoe line, how Kahmune, what the future holds for the brand and more!

What made you want to create Kahmune?

Jamela Acheampong: I've always been a pretty tenacious female - aggressive, stubborn, driven, all things others have chosen to call me over the years. When I was on Instagram one night back in 2016, I saw a "nude" themed outfit I wanted to mimic but quickly realized purchasing the same products I saw would result in it simply being a tan outfit on me, not a skin-tone one. There were so few options for my dark complexion and I found myself having to search "nude for dark skin," "black girl nude," and other ridiculous iterations to find products it was clear were not available in my shade. I decided in that moment not to wait around and hope someone else would recognize the problem but to fix it myself. That's how Kahmune was born!

"I decided in that moment not to wait around and hope someone else would recognize the problem, but to fix it myself."

When you initially launched Kahmune, what did you hope the response would be?

I think in the beginning I just wanted people to get it - to understand where I was coming from and to be just as passionate as I was about filling the gap in the market. I knew there were a lot of women out there, particularly women of color, that would resonate with the brand's mission, but I also wanted women in general, of all skin-tones, to take a second and think about the term "nude."

Why does a word that's intended to imply naked have a designated shade? How come only a fraction of women out there have skin tones that match said shade? Why hasn't this been an issue that's been tackled already? Do we not all deserve to have our skin tones acknowledged?

It's been great to see comments on social media and get emails like, "I never realised this but so true" or "I've been saying this for years." It's a concept that seems so simple to me. If the beauty and fashion industries are making skin tone accessories then they should be making options for all skin tones, no? I'm humbled that the brand was so well-received, and the response was so positive. Women want true nudes!

Are there any future plans in the works to expand your product range to include different shoe designs?

Yes, of course! If I had it my way, I'd already be offering 10-15 designs but I recognize that I have to start small. We currently offer four styles. I will be introducing one more style, a suede slide, this spring. The pump is currently available in two heel heights, and I hope to introduce a third more work friendly one this spring. At the moment, all styles can be pre-ordered for up to 30% off as I am currently crowdfunding to raise funds for the next round of production. Those who order the heeled sandals will have the power to decide what it looks like at the end of the campaign. As much as this is my brand, I think it's important to listen to my customers and I make a note of all of the feedback I receive regarding designs.

Additionally, I'm offering limited edition leather credit card holders and tote bags available exclusively through the campaign. What woman doesn't love a good bag to go with her shoes? The campaign runs until May 3 and we hope to start shipping out orders end of May/Early June. (Those interested can reserve their pair at bit.ly/KahmuneDiscounts.)

What can we expect from Kahmune throughout the rest of 2018 and beyond?

2018 will be the year of Kahmune In Real Life. What I mean by that is I want to give as many members of "The Kahmunity" as possible the opportunity to see, try, and match the shoes in person. I recently returned to the U.S. to host a series of launch parties for the brand and will be spending the remainder of 2018 here working on spreading the word about our nudes. We completed a successful launch in New York City and have plans for Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Atlanta. Always open for suggestions for new cities as well! I also hope to launch our first pop-up shops this year and am very much looking forward to introducing some new styles for the fall. I'm starting with shoes for now but who knows what products I'll introduce in the future! I'm not limiting myself to anything. If we hit our crowdfunding goal, I plan on introducing limited edition bodysuits. If those go over well, they may become something we offer all year round. I want Kahmune to grow to become the number one destination for skin tone garments and accessories for ALL women, regardless of skin tone or body type. Dark or Fair, it's time we all had the opportunity to celebrate our skin tones and it's my hope that women all over the globe will support Kahmune so that we can make it happen.

"I want Kahmune to grow to become the number one destination for skin tone garments and accessories for ALL women, regardless of skin tone or body type."

We are totally down for this representation of #BlackGirlMagic and can't wait to fill our closets with some nude shoes that perfectly enhance our melanin!

For more Kahmune, follow the brand on Instagram. Also if you are interested in helping this self-funded brand reach their profit goal, check out their Indiegogo campaign.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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