By Ky Finds: Nicholle Kobi

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I am absolutely IN LOVE with french artist Nicholle Kobi’s artwork. Kobi’s art encompasses representations of beautiful black women being fabulous. She has illustrations of women with beautiful natural hair and unapologetic brown skin, hanging out with friends, drinking coffee at cafe’s, dating, shopping, and just exhibiting #blackgirlmagic at it’s finest.

I’ve gained such inspiration from her illustrations and want to share that you can also purchase a bunch of great items from her online shop including coffee mugs, shirts, sweaters, posters and cell phone cases just to name a few.

Nicholle Kobi’s shop can be accessed by clicking the below link:

http://nichollekobi.com/

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I wore my natural hair to work for the first time…

I wore my natural hair to work for the first time and it felt awesome! Some people might be surprised that it took 4-years for me to wear my natural hair to work but getting the courage to do so was a journey in it self.

I started my natural journey in 2011, and it has been a very long four years since then. Sometimes, I can’t believe it’s been that long. My hair journey is complicated. To give you the short version of the story, I big chopped when I was about to graduate from Penn State, wore wigs for 2-years and then during the summer of 2013 I got so sick of wearing a wig every day, I decided to wear my natural hair on the weekends(Baby steps).

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The beautiful summer day in 2013 when I decided I would start wearing my natural hair, but only under one condition–during the weekends ONLY!

Continue reading “I wore my natural hair to work for the first time…”

Feeding the Soul

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The other day at my Weight Watchers meeting, Toni, our leader stressed the importance of finding things that you love and doing it. Based on our feedback, she created a list of things that we love to do or would like to do to have “Me Time”. The idea here is to use these ventures as a substitute for eating. See below some of the things we came up with:

  1. Painting
  2. Church
  3. Mani/Pedi
  4. Volunteering
  5. Exercising/Going to the gym
  6. Taking a new Class (Cooking/language/Sewing/Knitting)
  7. Writing
  8. House Work/House Décor/Pintrest
  9. Taking a nice bubble bath/shower
  10. Going to a museum

A lot of revelations came out of this meeting. For one, if you know me then you know that I don’t have a problem with finding “Me Time” but more on that later. What was surprising to me was how many people in that room thought personal time for themselves or a creative outlet was foreign or something they could not fit into their schedules. That’s terrible! There are so many people on this earth that are not living, they’re just existing. They go through the motions of life, without taking time to look up, and see the beautiful, colorful, and multifaceted world that God created. They go to work, come home, deal with whatever they have going on at home, and do it all over again the next day. To be honest, a few years ago this person was me! I just focused on my job. I had no other goals and ambitions and did not even think about a purpose for my life as yet. I know how miserable that life is, because you’re doing nothing to make an impact for yourself or others, you’re just there, existing.

Maybe I do these things too much, I thought.

While at the meeting, I questioned if I had a problem because I didn’t need someone to tell me the importance of finding creative outlets to just do what I love, I try to do something I love every single day, whether it’s writing, painting, reading, or going to museums, it’s definitely in my schedule because my soul craves it. Soul Food, or Food for the Soul is the single most important thing you can do to bring happiness and fulfillment into your life. Tapping into what you always wanted to do and just doing it, no matter how good or bad you think you are at it is such a beautiful thing and adds character to your personality and your life. Who knows you might even find your purpose in this. Matter of fact, I am sure you will find your purpose in just doing what you love. Some people might think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time but that’s because they don’t get it. The first line of Ecclesiastics in the bible says “Everything is meaningless” and when you think about it, it really is. Life is so temporary, we are here one minute and gone the next and nothing you do, not that degree, that job, that house or the savings account, can come with you, so why not make the best of it while on earth. Feed your soul with travel, feed your soul with time with loved ones, feed your soul with experiences, feed your soul with activities, feed your soul with all the things you love to do because it needs it.

 

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Natural Grandma

Ma, your curls are just popping; let me take a picture of you

I know they are. Okay, let me put on some lipstick 

My grandmother has no shame, she loves any opportunity to be acknowledged for her beauty which I absolutely love about her. Getting older sometimes can be discouraging because you think you’re looks are fleeting and no one finds you attractive anymore but she gets compliments every day. People stop her on the street to tell her how amazing her hair looks or how well she did her makeup. She’s beautiful. Her curls are so defined. They just twirl out of her head when she wears it in a wash and go. I had to capture this moment. It made me happy to know that she was happy.

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Reclaiming My Beauty

IMG_7477When I was 10-years old, I overheard a family member tell someone that she thought I was cute, not pretty, just cute. I was taking a nap on the couch, and woke up in time to hear her conversation. It damaged me. I pretended like I was sleep, but turned around to hide the teardrops falling from my eyes.

For years, I looked at myself as just cute, not pretty, but cute. In reality, I questioned why others didn’t view me as I viewed myself. I loved my skin color. I am amber brown, a reflection of my mother’s fair skin and my father’s rich dark skin. I have beautiful full lips, big brown eyes as bright as the sun and a button nose. I have a small gap in my teeth, which adds to my beautiful imperfections. My hair is cotton soft and was never really able to grow very long (it has a mind of its own). I loved who I saw looking back at me when I looked in the mirror, but to others, I guess I wasn’t good enough.

When I was 15, my boyfriend told me “You’re Beautiful” for the first time in my life, I heard those words; it made me love him even more. My whole worth was warped into how he viewed me. I wanted to be his ideal; I wanted to remain beautiful in his eyes. Once our relationship died, I was completely lost. I spent years trying to reverse the effect that he had on me. I was insecure and I felt rejected. Who would ever love me as much as he did? Who would ever view me as beautiful again? I was broken. Continue reading “Reclaiming My Beauty”

By Ky Books: The Blacker the Berry

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The Blacker The Berry is a hard read. The harsh realities of Colorism exhibited throughout this book made my heart weak. Emma Lou was typecast as unattractive and some would go so far as to call her ugly because of her dark skin; her life was filled with struggles because of this. Her family were blue bloods. They created a chapter of the Blue Vein Society in their hometown. Back in the days, lighter skinned blacks deemed themselves blue blood or blue veiners (if they were light enough to see the blue veins running through their body). Emma Lou came out with dark skin like her father, who left her mother and Emma Lou when she was a toddler. Her family saw her father in Emma Lou and resented her.

Emma Lou believed she could escape from this familial scrutiny when she went to college. She was accepted into USC in California. The only problem with Emma Lou was that she internalized a lot of the negative words that her family said to her while growing up and projected her own self-hate onto other blacks, especially dark skinned, lower-class ones.  She wanted to be accepted with the well-to-do blacks, but they weren’t accepting of her because of her skin color. Desperately searching for a place where she could belong, Emma Lou left USC and moved to Harlem. Yet, she soon learned no matter where she went, she could not escape the demons of her past.

Emma Lou allowed herself to be trapped by her skin color and by the lies she was taught growing up. She encountered terrible relationships, where men, especially Alva, was ashamed of her because of her dark skin and rarely brought her around their friends on a social scale. One day, after many ups and downs, Emma Lou grew tired of allowing her skin color to trap her. She ran from her color issues her whole life and it was finally time she accepted herself.

Her struggle resonated with me in so many ways. Sometimes, we allow the people who are supposed to protect us, to hurt us the most. We fall victim to their misguided perceptions, especially when it comes to standards of beauty and it affects our lives tremendously. Emma Lou allowed the harsh words of her family in her early years to affect the way she looked at herself and it traumatized her for years. Many people are struggling with this very issue, even in today’s society. Eurocentric standards of beauty does very little to empower black women. We have to break these shackles, by empowering ourselves, building confidence in who we are and disallowing society to tell us  how we should look. We have to reclaim our beauty.

 

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