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5 Boss Women Define What The Power Suit Means To Them

A power suit for the power player.

Style

The definition of a power suit has changed over the past twenty years because women have redefined what it means to have power. In recent years, we have proven that the future is hella female and we will always create our own lane. With women adjusting their crowns and truly owning their power in their designated fields, the power suit has evolved from massive shoulder armor and bow ties.

Don't get me wrong, we will always be obsessed with women like Olivia Pope and Joan Clayton who could make any tailored suit look flawless. But now that women can decide what it means to have power and what style staples ignite that power, there is no stopping us.

We had the chance to chat with five powerful women and they shared their definition of a power suit and how they avow their power.

Kashmir Thompson

A funky pair of shades is a must in Kashmir's rendition of a power suit.

@kashmirviii

What She Does:

Designer and Owner of KashmirVIII

What Makes Her A Powerful Woman:

"I think what makes me powerful is my confidence in my abilities. I truly believe I can do WHATEVER I want to do, and successfully. I think people see that in me and respect that. And respect will always be a key to power."

Her Power Moment:

"I'm going to say last year when I was a vendor at Essence Festival. That was my first time vending there and for a venue so large, with such a large audience. Having so many of my supporters in one space was an eye-opening experience for me. There were soooo many of them. People coming up to me telling me how much they love me and my work was overwhelming. Not to mention meeting so many new people who didn't know me and who were in awe immediately. A lady came into my booth and saw one of my paintings titled, 'Easin', and literally cried. That experience was one that made me step back and say, 'Wow...look at what I can do.'"

Her Power Suit:

"A dope pair of sneakers, a beat face, one of my clutches, and a funky pair of shades are definitely my staples. If you ever see me, I'm going to have at least two of the four!"

Kumasi Aaron

Color is Kumasi's version of the power suit.

@itskumasi

What She Does:

National Correspondent for E.W. Scripps

What Makes Her A Powerful Woman:

"I am powerful because I don't let doubts and fears keep me from letting the world see who I am. It's a process, but every day, I set the intention to do it and it becomes easier every time. I am a National Correspondent, rocking my natural hair, and bringing the fullness of who I am to every interview I do and every story I write. The way I ask a question, the way I craft a story is authentically me. I think that makes for more compelling journalism, but the real power is being able to connect with people in a truer way, and in turn, empowering them to share a little more of themselves with the world."

Her Power Moment:

"As an Anchor and Reporter at a TV news station in Florida, my bangs breaking off led me to discover the beauty that was my natural hair! So when I was off, it would be out in all its glory but while at work, I wore a wig. After a while, I started to feel like I was hiding who I was, and decided to talk with my manager about being able to wear my natural hair on air. She was okay with it, and although I was excited, I was unsure how our audience would react. I can still remember sitting behind the desk for the first time and telling myself, 'This is who you are. You love it, and so will they.' I anchored like I was the most powerful beautiful queen on the screen. And guess what? They love it too! But even if they hadn't, that moment forced me to embrace my power, and that was priceless."

Her Power Suit:

"Can a power suit be a jumpsuit? Mine is. I was a little hesitant to wear this on air first, but it just makes me feel so powerful, feminine, and confident, I just went with it anyway. Now it's one of the things I reach for when I want an outfit that stands out without being too loud. Another power suit for me is a dress in a color that pops. Armed with this and a smile, I feel powerful walking in any room!"

Tiffany Battle

For Tiffany, personality is her power.

@tiffanymbattle

What She Does:

Creator of The Werk! Place

What Makes Her A Powerful Woman:

"There's power in being authentic. So, the ability to move authenticity from theory to reality is what makes me a powerful woman."

Her Power Moment:

"The transitional moments in life have forced me to get to know myself better. With each test and trial, I've found more strength to embrace my power."

Her Power Suit:

"With any look, I like to infuse my personality. So, my power suit is definitely going to have a little mixed print flavor to it."

Paige Parker

Paige believes flexibility is key for honing her power.

@paige.r.parker

What She Does:

Founder of Whole Health Club

What Makes Her A Powerful Woman:

"Connection, creation and, passion. I have the ability to connect with most people that I meet, on such a deep level that it feels like I have known them my whole life. I create relationships and bonds through trust and honesty. I choose to surround myself with like-minded individuals who aspire to conquer the same life goals; it's almost as if we are feeding off of each other's hustle, good vibes, and passion. I always knew I wanted to help women discover the healthiest version of themselves but I had to make sure I was the healthiest version of ME before I could help anyone else. I notice that when I make connections, create relationships and express my passion for health and wellness, I feel balanced and at ease. When I discovered how these three words made me feel, I realized I wanted to help others find their true value and purpose in life. When you feel balanced, everyone else around you can feel it too! I teach women how to see that they have value and purpose, I guide them to TRUE self-care, I help them see that their past DOES NOT define them and I show them the value of empowering/uplifting other women."

Her Power Moment:

"In 2016, I started Whole Health Club with my husband, Chase, and my best friend, Sam. We moved out to Colorado with the intention of opening up a gym that felt like home to our clients. We knew NO ONE, but we had a vision and we weren't going to stop until we made that vision a reality. Whole Health Club is the gym with the kitchen. We believe in taking the WHOLE approach to health and fitness, so we added a residential style kitchen to help our clients bring back cooking into their homes. We also have an open space with free weights and a classroom where I teach yoga. When we opened Whole Health Club, I had NO IDEA how much energy it was going to take to make it happen, I quickly learned that if I let every bump in the road get to me, then this path to success was going to be a LONG one. I had to go within and find what gave me the power to survive a day in the life of an entrepreneur. I knew if I made connections with the right people, created relationships that serve my divine path to success, and continued to express my passion for health and fitness, then NOTHING could stand in my way."

Her Power Suit:

"Yoga pants and any SOFT fabrics! Being in the fitness field is amazing because I get to wear comfortable outfits that fit my body and allow me to embrace my athletic body. I am all about LEGGINGS, anywhere from seamless and soft to tight and sporty. Alo Yoga is a brand that I love so much because of, not only their clothes, but everything that they stand for as a company. A-air L-land O-ocean are the perfect words, and truth that yoga can be done ANYWHERE. When I feel like I can move and breathe, I feel like my most powerful self."

Kesha McLeod

Bold color is how Kesha makes her powerful statement to the world.

@kmcme17

What She Does:

Wardrobe Stylist & Owner of KMCME

What Makes Her A Powerful Woman:

"I'm powerful because Women are stronger. Men learn from us. We're amazing beings. We work, we nurture, we endure pain, then get back to business. We are all-around."

Her Power Moment:

"Stepping out on my own and leaving my previous agency forced me to do my own thing. I became a better person and I was more confident in myself. I never knew I wasn't confined, but I knew I had to make my OWN major decisions so that I knew I had power. Now it cannot be taken away from me. That feeling is priceless."

Related: How Kesha McLeod Went from Working In Retail to Styling The Biggest Names In Sports

Her Power Suit:

"My style staples are always a great color no matter if it's a suit, coat, or as simple as a sweater. I think anyone in a bold color can make a powerful statement!"

Featured image via Kesha McLeod/Instagram

Originally published February 12, 2018

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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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