Quantcast

My Black Is Beautiful Made Me Feel Seen During Essence Fest

The Glow Up - Home Page

If I could describe My Black Is Beautiful in a word, it would be confirmation.


While a lot of the initiatives, activations, and the ESSENCE Festival itself reflected and echoed a theme of validation, it felt even louder in the intimacy of a smaller room. On Friday, July 6, My Black Is Beautiful held an incredible intimate dinner where black women from different in the marketing and media world (as well as some men) came together and gathered at the Ace Hotel for a special kind of congregation. My Black Is Beautiful's hashtag of the moment was #BlackGirlsDo and God knows black girls certainly do, do.


Charreah Jackson, Gia Peppers, Lisa Nichols, Sylvia Obell, Necole Kane and Luvvie Ajayi attend the Black Is Beautiful Dinner

Within the confines of the beautifully decorated event space, I could feel confirmation more readily, I could see it more clearly, and so a lot of my quiet whispers to self about how fearless I was, how beautiful I was, how enough I was, was louder than I had ever heard it before.

It all began with powerhouse motivational speaker Lisa Nichols. What we thought was a dinner evolved into so much more as Lisa took the mic and filled the room like only she could. She took us away from the comfort of our soup, salad, and pinot grigio and asked that we become still so that we become present. "We have a tendency to be around each other without seeing each other," she said.

It was a heavy truth that a lot of us found ourselves nodding to despite how connected we tried to be. We were always somewhere else, in our thoughts, in our phones, in tomorrow, and next week. Closer than ever, yet so far away. And in a way, it was also how we've come to meet ourselves. We replace introspection with distraction with the quickness. So, she asked us to stop. And then she asked for us to stand.

She instructed for us each to find a stranger and partner up with this person that we didn't know. I parted from the creatives and writers I had become close to over the past day or so of our press junket and found a true stranger, one of the only guys seated in the room full of women, and unknowingly prepared for one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

We looked each other in the eyes and recited a poem of affirmations that Lisa penned. And although we didn't know the words, it somehow permeated through every hard layer I built up in a world where I'm made to feel small, invisible, and silent.

Here was a perfect stranger telling me everything I didn't know I needed to hear until I did. It was both foreign and familiar. A confirmation that I didn't realize I sought outside of myself. And while he didn't know me, it felt gratifying to feel seen. To feel smart. To feel great. To feel beautiful. To feel like every decision I had made in my life up until that moment was the right decision, no matter how wrong, because ultimately, I was led here. Those four minutes were uncomfortable but so needed. Because while it is amazing to be able to affirm yourself, I've learned that it's okay to be validated for the special blessing that you are and the gifts that you bring to the world simply by existing.

As a woman who is built to endure, and programmed to have it all together, it can be exhausting not to appear to fumble, or to be weak. As black women that write for publications, we are very rare. As black women that write for black publications, it's even fewer. But as I looked around the room, I noted that there were so many of us. Instantly, I thought of how – in one form or another – these women have probably all been through the ringer, fighting for visibility in spaces where they are made to feel that they are too much and not enough at the same time. And bigger than that, I know for black women, much of the fight is losing the battle but winning the war.

As black women, we are the key to so much of what is great about this life, but the power we have and the magic we unleash are very rarely seen, much less appreciated in a way that leaves us feeling vindicated for our worldly contributions. Be it entrepreneurship, political activism, education, humanitarianism, or even motherhood – who we are for others often comes at the expense of who we are for ourselves. We are community of women that house movers and shakers, and not just dreamers, but doers. "We do what we do in our own way and we do it unapologetically," Lisa continued. "I want to courage you, as we continue to do, we do us too."


"I'm honored to be able to hold this space, because I couldn't always stand up and be seen. I didn't always own the brilliance that was in me because my brilliance is unique, it didn't look like everyone else. My brilliance comes with being functionally dyslexic. My brilliance comes with getting a D- in speech. My brilliance comes with being on government assistance at one time. My brilliance comes from my son's father being in prison for 23 years and still there. My brilliance comes with a whole lot of salt and pepper and seasoning salt and cayenne pepper. It comes with a lot, but it doesn't change that it's brilliant."

While it begins and ends with us, it can be supported by people that look like us lifting us up and acting as gentle reminders to how dynamic, how magical, and how beautiful we are. Being surrounded by so many sisters that shared my melanin, my roots, my pain, and my triumph was a healing revelatory moment where I saw myself through learning how to better see them and embrace their brilliance and their light in all its uniqueness.


PS: The soulful sounds of Grammy-nominated singer Gallant, and an appearance by Queen Latifah was the icing on the proverbial cake to an evening honoring the acknowledgement of Queens.


Thank you for seeing me My Black Is Beautiful.

You know what? Sometimes, you've got to push a few coins aside and determine in your mind that you're going to invest into your sex life (if you had a sex jar, this would be easier to do, by the way. You can read more about what that is all about here). If you're someone who is totally down to do that, but you don't have a clue where to begin, boy have you come to the right place! Between the joy of being a writer who sometimes gets samples sent to me, the constant research that I do for the couples I work with and having folks shout-out certain items semi-often, I've compiled a list of 12 sex-related items that may seem random AF (a pun is kind of intended there) and, at the same time, can make sex so much better between you and your partner. Where's your pad at? You're definitely gonna wanna take note.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about someone who once told me that they had an annual week-long summer rendezvous that lasted for over 15 years with someone else. Yep — this individual would meet up with another person who lived in a different state, solely to have sex for a week straight, and then return to their city as if nothing ever happened. According to them, the only reason why this ritual romp eventually came to an end is because the other person decided to get serious about someone else; however, it wasn't until it ended that the person who told me the story realized how attached they actually had become to their sex partner (a cautionary tale). After I completed my lil' tale, my friend simply said, "Oh, I do that s — t every cuffing season. There are some people who I only talk to around this time of year, we f — k around and then that's that until the season comes around again."

Keep reading... Show less

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

When it comes to sexuality, there have always been societal limitations centered on what is "acceptable." However, with more honest conversations about how fluid sexuality and sexual expression can be, now there are so many more opportunities for self-exploration and taking back ownership of our identities again. One couple that is living their truth and being sexual beings unapologetically while living and loving their lives are Jasmine Johnson and King Noire.

Keep reading... Show less

I'm so excited because one of my favorite unscripted shows is back. OWN's Ready to Love is a dating series that follows professionals over 30, looking for long-lasting relationships. Hosted by Nephew Tommy, it follows singles who desire true connections and are grouped together to find them.

Keep reading... Show less

Social media influencer and actress Tabitha Brown has garnered viral fame through her inspirational and vegan videos on Instagram, thanks to her cheerful personality and infectious smile. Now, she is entering a new phase in her life as an author. The 42-year-old released Feeding the Soul on Sept. 28 and recently shared an emotional video of herself after finding out her book was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Jill Scott Talks Balance, 'Highway To Heaven' & Not Burning Herself Out To Produce

In this exclusive, the actress dishes on executive producing the reboot, and balancing business and motherhood.

Latest Posts