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Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Beauty, Fashion, Politics, POSHGLAM, POSHNOIR







America’s Dreamer Michelle Obama Stars in New Biography

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The first deeply detailed account of Michelle Obama’s life has been written, and as Elle Magazine reports, the “American Dreamer” text by political journalist and Northwestern University Professor Peter Slevin called Michelle Obama: A Life, is an engaging and authoritative window into life beyond the role of First Lady.

The text grounds itself in Michelle Obama’s Chicago roots, examining her life’s achievements and ascent to the White House through the lens of her working-class upbringing in Chicago’s segregated South Side. Slevin’s rich reporting winds a narrative across the span of decades, intertwining all the important elements of her life. Slevin shows a strong interest in her attendance at Ivy League universities during the racially charged 80s, her experience navigating through worlds separated by class and race, her first meeting with young Hawaiian law student Barack Obama and her community involvement work in Chicago’s South Side, to demonstrate how her history sets her up to take on the role of first black First Lady and then seeks to illuminate the true Michelle.

The book explores a world submerged in every-day human trials; faults, failures and successes in the scope of our broader cultural flaws and human perseverance. While recognizing her position as First Lady, Slevin constructs a relatable narrative. Most notably touched on are her choice to leave prestigious law firm Sidley Austin, her effort to stand as a pillar for her family during the long years of endless campaigning and her struggle to strike a balance in her life. Slevin looks pries at her marriage, remarks on her childhood, delves into her community engagement and casts aspirations on the legacy she’ll leave behind when the Obama term ends.

The literary biography has already garnered positive accolades from a swath of critics, and Elle Magazine is equally impressed with Slevin’s reporting. “Just as she’s [Michelle] consistently reiterated Barack’s humanness over the years, Slevin treats her and her accomplishments with the detail and nuance they deserve,” writes Elle.

Michelle Obama: A Life is the first chance readers will have to catch a glimpse into the inner world of Michelle Obama and possibly the closest they’ll ever get to really knowing her.

Happy Easter from these two!

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

Image Credit: BarakObamaDotCom/Flickr; MichelleObama/Instagram

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Monday, April 6th, 2015

Beauty, Canada, Fashion, Politics, POSHGLAM, Stylicon







Stylicon: Norma Jeane, Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe’s beauty, which encapsulates the idea of sultry Hollywood glamour, has been oft-described as timeless. It must be true—2015 is turning out to be a big year for Monroe. Quite a feat, considering she’s been haunting fashion, beauty and entertainment for going on 53 years. Yet here she is, gracing the inside pages of Cosmo’s April issue for Big Sexy Hair’s newest ad campaign, just months after she was appointed Max Factor’s new “global ambassador” . Sexy Hair and Max Factor aren’t the first brands to call on Monroe to primp their public image and they won’t be the last; MAC and Chanel have previously boosted their marketing campaigns with the help of her fame. Then there’s Star Magazine’s Special Investigation April cover emblazoned with Marilyn’s face and 200 of the FBI’s darkest and most mysterious photos and documents on the long-deceased Hollywood celeb. Of course Star itself might have missed the boat on this one, didn’t the FBI take the wraps off Monroe’s famous communist file way back in 2012? The feature speaks to our culture’s ongoing obsession with uncovering the nitty gritty damning details about those whom we elevate to stardom.

The irony of all this recent media frenzy over Monroe is not lost on us; still in 2015 society is striving to impose its beauty ideals on the long-admired woman and Max Factor’s hands are the grimiest of them all. Aside from Max Factor’s glaringly inaccurate statement that Max Factor Jr. was the guiding force behind Marilyn Monroe’s transformation from the young brunette Norma Jeane into the blonde bombshell Monroe we’ve come to know and love, the company has been busy trying to squeeze Monroe (quite literally) into our contemporary structures of beauty and fashion.

Max Factor has taken their own spin on the star’s classic look for their advertising campaign. If you haven’t yet spotted Max Factor’s Monroe lookalike she definitely has the blue eyes, blonde hair and bold lips down packed, but there’s more than a couple sizes between model Candice Swanepoel and authentic curvy Marilyn Monroe. Max Factor has appropriated Monroe’s image so smoothly most people haven’t even noticed the degree to which it’s been re-imagined (delete: curves) to suit our millennial ideologies and then re-distributed to the public as commercialized “reality”.

 

And sorry Max Factor, but I think I’m missing a beat in this #GlamJam advertisement. What exactly is so lacking in Marilyn Monroe’s younger Norma Jeane natural beauty? While the difference between Monroe’s early look and later look can be great shock-factor, let’s not make fodder of the unenhanced among us. There’s something pure and riveting in the beauty of Norma Jeane, which Monroe left behind in her efforts to garner more work at the behest of Emmeline Snively, head of the Blue Book Modeling Agency (not Max Factor Jr. as the company claims).

As biographer Sarah Churchwell puts it, “Norma Jeane was not changed by someone else into the glamorous movie star Marilyn Monroe… she was always an extremely beautiful girl.” The truth is quite simply that Marilyn “was not created by makeup, in any sense: cosmetics were not sufficient to create Marilyn Monroe, and neither were other people… no one except Marilyn Monroe created Marilyn Monroe, and in 2015 it’s past time for us to give credit to the woman who earned it.”

Makeup isn’t the be-all-end-all of sex appeal. Just as Churchwell and Monroe herself point out, makeup didn’t make Monroe Hollywood’s “It Girl”, her attitude and persona did. Attraction and charisma don’t start in the mirror, but in the way you carry and express yourself.

Perhaps Max Factor ought to reconsider imposing itself on history. We live in an era of constant and considerable awareness of our behaviors, our social constructions, our cultural values and our innumerable failures to validate women regardless of shape, size or hair color (thanks for that social media). Somehow all our self-reflection isn’t enough, we’re still allowing, and even supporting, global corporations to run amok all over realism and real beauty. At the very least it’s a shame that we still fail to recognize the injustice that was perpetrated on Marilyn Monroe by her contemporaries (and now ours). All that work, including weekly hair bleachings and a harrowing exercise routine, and how much more beautiful was she? Not any more beautiful at all—simply someone else’s idea of beauty.

The Max Factor campaign isn’t the first to pick at Monroe’s long-admired looks. The minor plastic surgery she had performed on her nose and chin (let’s emphasize minor! 1950s plastic surgery is not in the league of today’s skilled carvers), has caused plenty of excitement in the media in recent years. The only person who should care about Marilyn Monroe’s chin implant is Marilyn herself, who was subjected to the critical prying public eye. She was once quoted as saying, “I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made.” The face she made and no one else. Every beautifying effort that Monroe took was about her one all-encompassing goal: to be somebody in the eyes of the world. “I live to succeed, not to please you or anyone else.”

Why are we even trying to disparage her iconic beauty or impose our 2015 standards on her 1950s lifestyle? As Monroe herself said, “Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

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Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Africa, Beauty, Canada, Diversity In Fashion, Fashion, Fun, Politics, POSHGLAM, POSHNOIR







‘Black Girls Rock’-ed On BET Tonight

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BET’s empowering awards gala Black Girls Rock! in celebration of the organization of the same name is airing this evening (Sun. April 5 if you’re reading this tomorrow morning) and the women in attendance hit it out of the park with their achievements. Oh, and their rockin’ fashions were something to behold too; well worth the week-long wait for the show to air, after its live filming on March 29 at the NJPAC Prudential Hall in New Jersey.

Highlights from the galas include T-Murda’s hastag pullover (#TMURDA) and glittery knee-length skirt, Janelle Monae’s RVN modern take on the circle skirt and her matching studded clutch, Erykah Badu’s amazing hat funky jacket, Willow Smith’s fun feminine dress suit and we cannot forget First Lady Michelle Obama who stunned in a classy, yet sexy, white off-the-shoulder dress.

Mrs. Obama is a huge supporter of education for girls and empowerment for black women. She was one of the most heralded participants at this year’s Black Girls Rock gala; Black Girls Rock is a foundation working to empower young girls of color to become leaders, innovators and strong pillars for their communities through leadership, education and positive identity development since 2006. Annually over the past four years the organization has hosted an awards gala in conjunction with BET to broadcast the amazing achievements of black women. Notable honorees you’ll recognize from this year’s show include Jada Pinkett Smith, Erykah Badu, Cicely Tyson, Ava DuVernay, Nadia Lopez and Helene Gayle.

The televised show was crafted by founder and executive director Beverly Bond with the intention of producing a groundbreaking exhibition of female talent in the African Diaspora.

“Tonight’s incredible celebrants represent the spectrum of brilliance that black women possess,” Bond says in her closing remarks. “Your elevation in our culture matters because far too often the breadth and depth of contributions made by black women are pushed outside the margins of mainstream culture and the result is young black girls do not always get to see diverse, layered and healthy representations of role models to emulate.”

Check out some of the wonderful women in attendance at Black Girls Rock!

Willow definitely loved her dad’s speech to her mom! #BlackGirlsRock A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

That #ErykahBadu speech gave us life!!! #BlackGirlsRock

A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

If you weren’t able to make it to Easter services, no worries: Fantasia took us to CHURCH!! #BlackGirlsRock A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

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Image Credits: RVN New York (circular striped jacquard midi skirt); BET/Instagram; Black Girls Rock/Instagram

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Monday, December 9th, 2013

London, Politics, POSHGLAM, Spying







Surveillance Sluts, Free Porn for the Government

Sluts.  Or maybe Posh Sluts for wearing great clothes while doing it (or nothing at all), new word for women being watched by the government, SLUTS or Prospective SLUTS…I guess that’s what we are for demanding privacy in our homes. According to Rush Limbaugh we should just take our birth control pills and give free porn to the government, after all, it’s a free country and they deserve to watch.

Isn’t that what security clearance is for? We should all turn our lives into the True-woman show and allow the government to watch with popcorn and scream via closed circuit when they don’t like what we are doing.

Welcome to the future. The government is always looking for a reason to get some free puss puss and apparently the Secret Service is already paying for it. Why pay for what you can get for free. If we don’t take back our civil liberties now, we won’t continue to have them for long. So enjoy the lights off, but remember, the camera is on.

Someone ask Barack Obama how many times he’s seen me naked.

Sponsored by Slut Walk London.

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Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Politics, POSHGLAM, Spying







Cloak & Dagger | The Obama Administration’s Spy Game

forward obamaWe’ve watched enough CSI, Criminal Minds, and spy films to set off a sense of heightened, albeit sometimes irrational paranoia about whom we’re sending messages to and what it is we’re saying, but when life starts to imitate art in this respect we have to draw the line. The Obama Administration wants to further develop the government’s ability to conduct invasive surveillance, and to say that we’re not too fond of this idea is a gross understatement. According to recent news the Obama administration wants to do a full back-door overhaul of the internet to allow the FBI and whatever other government agencies exist that we’re being kept in the dark of to violate our civil rights and spy on our personal conversations. From BlackBerrys to Twitter and Skype no corner of the internet will be safe for real freedom of expression if they go ahead with this proposal. We’ve had enough censorship to last a lifetime and this bright idea is going to wreck what little we have left of our right to freedom of speech. This whole threat of constant surveillance thing might have worked in prisons to keep inmates in line for decades but the fact remains we’re not in prison, we’re not criminals, and we’ve done nothing to warrant being spied on. Instigating this surveillance program is akin to slapping us all with ankle bracelets and microphones, accessories we’re none too fond of. Didn’t the Obama administration promise to rectify the civil rights violations of the Bush era? It seems we fooled ourselves into believing that things would ever change. We’d like to keep on being posh and glamorous without the threat of the FBI hanging over our shoulder, so thanks Obama Admin, but no thanks. The American Civil Liberties Union has started a petition to have this ridiculous idea buried in the dirt where it belongs. Click here to sign it.

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