Tag: Vibe

Come Vibe with Me: Simple Sunday Goodbyes

Come Vibe with Me: Simple Sunday Goodbyes

Image shows black woman in bed with tattoos on her arm with 3 different textured blankets surrounding her.

I feel like I’ll always be on a constant search on how to be more intimate in my writing.

It’s not that I don’t know how to be, it’s just that I am always floating between wondering what’s too much to share and what’s not enough. I needed a space where I could safely navigate that and as a friend of Dorothy’s I’ll just say it — there’s no place like home. Autostraddle was the absolute perfect place to explore it.

Testing out levels of intimacy I was comfortable with while also surrounding it by other things that were important to me in the media landscape: Sharing work from other Black and brown writers, visual mediums that have queer folks of color at its core, sharing job opportunities and more that help my communities and then rounding it all out with the perfect soundtrack.

I’ve learned a lot writing these letters to you every week. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I don’t have to give up my natural private nature for the sake of proving that I can be intimate in my writing .

I’m a believer in ending things when you feel like they either no longer serve you or when you know that feeling is creeping up. I’m so thankful that every week you came here to get a bit of me and that you came into my world and chilled with me every Sunday. I’m not going anywhere, you’ll still find me on the site weekly bringing you joy through the queer Black babes of TikTok, chatting with Dani about a film or album, and of course, writing about all things dating and sex — but this little corner is coming to a close.

Thanks for vibing with me and as always,

Sweet Sunday babes.

Y’all Come Look at This

I’ve managed to meet a solid crew of great folks on Clubhouse — but the app is still rife with phobias of all sort. This piece on it’s racial bias’s sums it up beautifully.

I will never not read pieces on Black women and our hair, so this one on the evolution of natural hair industry was a natural choice to sit back and take in.

A gorgeous read on how Britain’s queer South Asian community created connection and found solace with each other inside the comfort of their own homes in the ’80s and 90’s.

My love for Megan Thee Stallion and Mean Girls decided to come together and make me happy — I have watched the video about 1000 times and I appreciate every text I got about it when it came out!

I love this list celebrating some of televisions Black fictional babes — also I am in love with Wandavision and Teyonah Parris so I am using this as an opportunity to propose marriage, please send me your ring size.

Image shows dark teal background with the text "Ungodly Hour" written in silver chrome colored font.

Ungodly Hour

“I don’t have the time, to teach you how to love all over again.”

Chloe x Halle’s latest album Ungodly Hour has been on heavy rotation in my spot since it came out, and the latest video from the album has been released.

Ungodly Hour is packed full of afro-futuristic visuals, a wardrobe that I want to steal, and pretty much every scene is the perfect still.

I’m genuinely hoping that they decide to make a video for every track on the album but for now just bask in the beauty and talent of these two lovely babes.

Watch the entire video here

The point of this space was to remind people of the importance of community. I miss going into coffee shops and looking through the bulletin board of events that were coming up, job opportunities, and chances to volunteer. I wanted to mimic that feeling in this space and remind folks that there can be some virtual semblance of it. Things like having someone to talk to, sharing warmth and resources are all small but mighty moving parts in taking care of our own. I hope you look back to all the bulletin boards I have shared over the months and continue to keep mutual aid and community connection a big part of your life.

I just want you to look at me like this forever.

Saying see ya later with the songs that have been in heavy rotation for me this past month — sound up sweeties.

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Come Vibe With Me: Snow Day Silence

Come Vibe With Me: Snow Day Silence

I spent the first part of my week snowed in.

Image shows a bouquet of blush colored roses and fresh eucalyptus
Blush snow day roses kissing eucalyptus.

I laid in my bed, quietly watching the snowfall on the other side of my window as my sheer curtains were tucked to the sides. Surrounded by the quiet and the blush-colored roses and eucalyptus that I got in the early morning of Valentine’s day the day before — I felt calm.

I’m not usually one for complete quiet, I prefer my space to be filled with music played at a soft level, the laughter of a podcast that I’m listening to, or even just opening the window and letting the world outside be the soundtrack to whatever moment I’m in. But this time I welcomed the quiet. Maybe it was because the evening before was filled with the loud laughter of another person, or because I’d spent time that afternoon listening to my mother talk at me about who knows what but, this quiet — matched with the visual setting — made me so happy.

It was a moment filled with pure sweetness that I wasn’t planning on. It was unexpected. I tried my hardest not to fight it. Not to reach for my phone and get to swiping away at articles and memes, not to ask my Alexa to play the sounds of rain or thunderstorms but to just to sit in this space and welcome in the feelings it was giving to me.

Eventually, I closed my eyes and as the minutes passed, salt trucks and the sound of people coming out of their homes to set up their cars for another full day of snow broke me out of my living daydream. For the rest of the day though, I held onto it. I held onto the beautiful unexpected silence of that morning and carried it close to my soul, and when I needed it — the remembrance of that perfect moment — it was never too far away.

Sweet (Snowy) Sunday babes.

Y’all Come Look at This

FKA Twigs on the cover of the latest Elle.

The Amaliah Podcast, Small Talk with Muna and Munadiah, had a chat about the connection between race + religion and the climate crisis.

MY PRINCESS MEGHAN (and her man Harry) are having another baby first of all — YAYYYY!!!! — secondly, they are sitting down with Oprah for a chat and if you think I’m gonna miss it you are INCORRECT!

FKA Twigs tells her story to Elle and opens up about her abusive relationship. Heads up, she goes into quite a bit of detail about everything that went on.

Judas and The Black Messiah bought out some entirely incredible performances but what stood out was the gorgeously talented Dominique Fishback as Deborah Johnson. I’m so glad she is getting the attention that she deserves!

Quinta Brunson is amazing and guess what she has a show coming to ABC! Not only is she gonna star in it but she will be writing AND executive producing!

Image shows a dimly lit photo of a black woman clad in black lingerie, the word "TILDA" is placed over her photo with credits of the crew atop.


“You wanna fuck Tilda Swinton? —- Yeah — I guess.”

A pseudo meet-cute with two Black millennials bonding over their love of Tilda Swinton?

Absolutely yes.

I found this amazing short from Ray Smiling and Konyin Ayuba while on the amazing site that is gal-dem. It’s part of their Shorties collections, which shines a light on new dope POC filmmakers with fresh ideas.

The film is just under 7 minutes long and takes you on a cute, sensual ride of what hopefully is the start of a blooming Black romance.

Watch the entire short film here

I turn to herbs and herbal blends quite often for many forms of healing. I burn ones that match the energy I’m trying to channel when I’m pulling my morning tarot card and meditating, I create herbal blends to smoke to match my mood and even make tinctures for healing purposes — both physically and mentally. Herbal Mutual Aid Network has been blessing Black folks with free customized herbal care packages, just send a DM (DO NOT FOLLOW) to get on the list for yours. Also sending bunches of love to Black Girls Breathing, they offer at least two breathwork circles a month that has free and sliding scale slots, they do go fast so follow them to stay up to date. Also, a few resources to help the folks of Texas courtesy of @KiaCooks while their residents go through this wild time.

If you have anything happening that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram. Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

I’m just saying that I am ready to get married when you are.

A vibe made to stay inside that soothes the heart and hopefully makes it smile.

Support Independent Queer Media

We’re raising funds to make it through the end of July. 99% of the people who read this site don’t support. Will you be one of the ones who do? Joining A+ is one of the best ways to support Autostraddle — plus you get access to bonus content while keeping the site 99% free for everyone. Will you join today?

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Come Vibe With Me: Good News

Come Vibe With Me: Good News

Image shows Megan Thee Stallion standing facing the camera with her red hair flowing down. She is holding a paper with her face on it and the words "Good News" across the top.
Megan reading good news about herself is the wave I am trying to be on.

I’ve been getting an influx of good news and opportunities over the past month or so. Some that I am allowed to share and some I’m not, but not even sure I would if I could. Not for lack of wanting to, just worry that doing so would make it more real, which means it has a bigger possibility of going away. You would think that I would be floating on cloud nine with my head in the sky and yeah, I am but — I have a bit of fear still, too.

I know I am not the only one, but often in my life, it feels like a chunk of good news is quickly followed by something rocky. Because of that, I’m on guard once the reality sets in that something that I’ve been wanting is on the way. Instead of sitting in the happiness and preparing myself for joy — I’m ultimately preparing myself for defeat and gloom.

This time around when the waves of great news started coming in, I decided to just let it be. I opted to lean as hard as I could into the positivity of these moments. It was so hard to push away the fear of something “bad” being on the way, so I had to turn to tangible things to help. I re-read the emails that had the dates and times of the meetings, I listened to the voicemails from my parents that told me they were proud and to just be myself, and I just truly tried to use everything I could find to sit in the moments of delight.

I was proud of myself, not just for being able to actually use the tools I had at my disposal to guide me through — but also just proud of my accomplishments. I usually don’t rest in them; I let them happen and celebrate for a second and then ponder on if I’m worthy of it. That’s the imposter syndrome that I let in before it’s even finished knocking on my door.

But this time, I did good and I deserve more than a treat. I’m on my way to breaking this big, harmful habit and that in itself is something to celebrate too. So please, bathe in your accomplishments despite how minute you deem them to be — you’re worth of it and you absolutely deserve.

Sweet Sunday babes.

Y’all Come Look at This

There is a sexual recession happening in Britain and Chante Joseph breaks it down over on Gal-Dem.

There are two more movies coming out where white women pine over each other and kiss in secret, but all I want is to see more Black girls on screen kissing and falling in love.

TikTok is full of folks who are showing off their roller skating skills — but Black and Brown women are reclaiming the culture which has ties to the early days of Hip-Hop.

Megan makes me so happy, just seeing her live her life as authentic as she does makes me smile. Now she is the first global ambassador for Mielle hair products! I already use them so I’m one step closer to Thee Stallion herself.

Adiba Jaigirdars’ book Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating is at the top of my list for spring reads — pre-order it now and swoon over the cute ass cover.

I’m a pastor’s daughter who grew up in the church, so I love reading about other queer folks and their family history with religion and this personal essay over on Harpers Bazaar by Leah Johnson (we also talked about it on Thursday!) was simply stunning.

Image shows text that reads "Judas and the black messiah" in white. a black male stands in the text wearing all black and a beret, while another one is juxtaposed behind him with a red filter covering him.

Judas and the Black Messiah

“You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution”

I talked about this trailer when it dropped a few weeks ago, and now the film is finally out and I can say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Dominique Fishback’s’ performance is so beautiful, she constantly delivers every time she is on the screen. The film delivers from the script to the visuals. There were so many moments that I wanted to capture and turn into a still.

If you have HBOMax it’s streaming now so head over and watch ASAP.

Watch the trailer here!

Tin House has opened up their first set of residencies for 2021! Head over to the post to get more information and apply. One of my favorite Chicago organizations, The Aura House, is hosting a seminar on harnessing the positive power and energy of your pussy! And Mercurys Brood is focused on shining light on the marginalized voices of the astrology community, they have a Kickstarter that’s nearing a stretch goal, donate to help them reach it.

If you have anything happening that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram. Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

I don’t know what’s in the water in Texas but — keep drinking it.

I’m feeling overwhelmed but also excited – so what better way to get through that feeling with a little bit of City Girls and Megan.

Support Independent Queer Media

We’re raising funds to make it through the end of July. 99% of the people who read this site don’t support. Will you be one of the ones who do? Joining A+ is one of the best ways to support Autostraddle — plus you get access to bonus content while keeping the site 99% free for everyone. Will you join today?

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Come Vibe With Me: What About Your Friends?

Come Vibe With Me: What About Your Friends?

I had a truly tough go of it in junior high, especially in the world of friendship.

It was probably the most hellish time of my adolescence and the only moment where I can recall desperately wanting to have a life filled with tons of people. It wasn’t actual friendships I was seeking, it was the acceptance that I was after. I was so confused and couldn’t figure out why I’d been singled out by my peers to be basically tortured. I often tried to change so much of myself with the wish that the pain would stop and the friends would come, but it just made things worse and almost solidified in me that maybe I was meant to go through life without a crew.

Image shows blue neon text that says "if i could see all my friends tonight"
…but y’all won’t let me be great so.

As time passed and I stopped yearning for acceptance, I realized that what I actually wanted was just a few people I could honestly connect with. A circle of folks who would keep my secrets, hold space for me when I needed and who would fill my heart with laughter and love. I know that sounds like it should be framed and sold in an overpriced big box store, but it holds so much truth. Had I gotten the false acceptance I wanted in junior high, my friendships today would be unstable shams.

My group (or pham, as we call ourselves) is small and I’ve said before that it’s Sasha Obama levels of tight. I don’t have the need to surround myself with tons of people, I have too much peace to protect and very little energy to give for a lifestyle like that. I also keep it small because I don’t want it to be a one-way thing; I want to pour into, support and love those who so willingly do that for me.

I write about caring for your homies often, but that’s because true friendship lights me up and raises my vibrations. When I connect with this weirdly perfect group of miscreants the universe has aligned me with, I’m thankful. Thankful for the joy they bring me, for the waves of sweetness and sass that I experience with them, and thankful that I finally found my crew.

Happy Sunday sweeties.

Y’all Come Look at This

I really loved this beautiful piece on grief over on Amaliah, we all experience the emotion differently and sometimes I’m grateful for the feeling of it.

I didn’t watch even a snip of yall’s little inauguration, but what I did see on the Twitter was Michelle Obama’s hair and I cared about it A LOT. The hairstylist behind it was Yene Damtew and hello I’d love to book an appointment.

Ayo Edebiri makes me laugh on a constant basis, we all know how I feel about Libras but for real all I want to do is watch Love Island with her and look at her Letterboxd on commerical breaks.

I will never stop talking about Regina King and guess what? This interview all about her at 28 makes me love her even more.

Flo Milli makes me feel like a cool step-sister and her she’s talking manifestations and looking stunning in this piece over at Refinery29.

Arabella Sweets wants us to unpack our whorephobia, truly support sex workers, and finally to quit acting like sex work is some get rich quick vibe like some actresses would like us to think it is.

Image shows four black men (Sam Cooke, Muhammed Ali, Jim Brown and Malcolm X) staring into the camera while behind them there is an image of The Hampton House Hotel.

One Night in Miami

“Four Legends. One Legendary Night”

The two main things that drew me to One Night in Miami were Sam Cooke (portrayed by Leslie Odom Jr.) and the fact that it is the directoral debut of Regina King.

My mother’s favorite singer is Sam Cooke. She has all his albums (originals mind you) and we would spend many a morning singing, dancing, and twisting the day away. So when I heard about this film, I was mad excited.

It takes hella artistic license on the evening of February 25, 1964 — where earlier that day Muhammad Ali (still known as Cassius Clay) became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. He then went to kick it with Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Malcolm X, who was his spiritual mentor in the nation of Islam. Honestly, yikes to all these men but the movie is good.

This night actually did happen and while we don’t know the true details, the film is dope in the way it imagines it.

Watch the trailer here!

On the bulletin board this week The Estuary Collective wants you to submit your hottest poems for their first-ever zine! Also, The Black Queer Rent Relief fund has been sending out funds to people to try to help folks keep a roof over their head, if you have it to spare, donate funds so they can continue to help others. Lastly, Arm The Girls is raising funds to send 15 QTBIPOC Femmes to self-defense classes, the attendees will be PAID and they are THISCLOSE to their goal — help them meet it today!!!

If you have anything happening that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram. Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

Stay in tune to the folks in your life that light you up, and say goodbye to the ones that don’t serve you.

Featured Image is by Brianna Santellan from Unsplash.

Come Vibe With Me: Say My Name

Come Vibe With Me: Say My Name

What’s in a name?

Some yt cis white male originally asked that question I think, which one I am not sure nor do I care to look it up, I’m sure one of you will tell me. The more pressing theme is the answer to the question in modern terms — what does your name mean to you? When you hear it how does it make you feel? Does your heart jump when it rolls off someone’s tongue and makes its way to your ears? What about when it pops up on your phone in an unsolicited email or an unexpected text?

The only two people in the world allowed to call me by my government name.

I started going by Shelli in college, it’s not that I don’t like my government name but it holds a special meaning and not everyone deserves to take part in that. My mother calls me anything sweet under the sun (gumdrop, sugarplum, honey pop), and my father is the only person that solely calls me by my given name — he was the one who gave it to me. I’m named after The Beatles song Michelle, he said the lyrics perfectly expressed the love he has for me and wanted the song to serve as a reminder just in case I ever forgot and for when he was no longer around to tell me himself.

That’s what a name means to me — a reminder, sometimes of something you’d rather leave behind. The taunting nicknames given to us in childhood, birth names that no longer fit as we grow into our true identities, or in the case that bought this subject to my mind — the names given to us by lovers that are now apart of our past. Endearments that once bought me waves of pleasure and happiness now leave me floating in that space between regret and slight resentment, and that’s somewhere I don’t care to be.

My therapist once told me that I hold the power to let things go and take things back. She was referring to all the time I told her I felt like I lost, but I’ve decided to use it in this situation as well. There are names I want to have whispered in my ear again that will cause a tingle and not a cringe. I have to simultaneously put her advice to use to get back into that sweet verbal space I yearn to be.

So I’m pressing the reset button and until then “Shelli” does just fine.

Happy Sunday sweeties.

Y’all Come Look at This

Gif shows two black and white covers of V Magazine with Audra Day on the cover. She is wearing a black dress in one image and the other is an up close image of her staring into the distance.
Audra Day stunning on the cover of the latest V Magazine

I am more than hyped for the new Billie Holiday biopic, The US vs. Billie Holiday. Audra Day stars as the great Jazz singer and she and the film’s director, Lee Daniels chat all about it in the latest issue of V Magazine.

We all know how dedicated I am to all things true self-care, so hearing SZA talk crystals, intention oils, and astrology in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan made my little heart melt.

This week Issa Rae announced that season 5 of Insecure will be the shows last. That just means it’s time for another binge of my Cali favs.

Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy of BLK MKT Vintage were featured in Architectural Digest! They are legit one of my fav couples and I just love to see them shine.

Chicago’s THORN and Molasses have been featured quite a few times on the Community Bulletin Board, they are over on them chatting about building and sustaining Black trans power.

Image shows a man in all black staring directly into the camera while in the background there is a close up of another man staring off to the side. Behind them a slew of black faces in protest with signs that read "All power to the people"

Judas and the Black Messiah

“You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution .”

There are a few names you hear that will automatically make you think of the Black Panther Party. Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and of course, Fred Hampton.

This trailer dropped earlier this week, and the film release is set for February 12th. It follows the rise of Fred Hampton in the Black Panther Party and the betrayal by William O’ Neal (encouraged and led by the feds) that would ultimately lead to Hamptons’ murder (again… by the feds).

Daniel Kaluuya (my husband) and Lakeith Stanfield star, and familiar faces like one of my eternal faves, Dominique Fishback round out the wildly talented cast.

Watch the trailer here!

On the virtual bulletin board this week we have a two-part introductory study on Black ecology! There will be chats about Black ecologists, you’ll work together to create manifestos and talk about what role ecology plays on the path to Black liberation. Also, an exciting (paid) opportunity to be part of an all BIPOC issue of Daemonumx’s FIST Magazine, guest-edited by the eternally lovely and self-described professional pervert Dolly Rose!

If you have anything happening that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram. Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

Follow the directions from jump and just say my name….

Come Vibe With Me: You’re Like — Really Pretty

Come Vibe With Me: You're Like — Really Pretty

The New Year always comes with folks making big declarations of change. Switching jobs, exploring more, getting rid of toxic folks or traits, and so on. More often than not though the main one is a physical change, namely weight loss. No matter how body positive we believe our generation is, in January my social feeds are flooded with discounted gym memberships, and people posting a scale showing their weight with some sort of disgusted emoji and a promise to keep us updated as the number decreases.

It sucks and I hate it.

In the past, whenever I lost sight of who I was it meant that my usually high confidence in my image was part of the crumbling that took place. I’m suddenly angry at the fit of my clothes, the thought of a selfie makes me ill and I can’t even make eye contact with my reflection when brushing my teeth in the morning. I spoke last week about making my way back to myself and I meant that in every sense, including the physical.

I started feeling fly again and got ready to show the masses just as my feed got flooded with the weight-loss resolutions, and it knocked me for a second — was I actually feeling better? Did I really like this new hairstyle? Was I truly back to loving every fold or curve on my body?

Image shows black woman in bed with long braids wearing a gray. black and white loungewear outfit.
Yeah – I posted it.

I paused and put my phone down and walked to one of the multiple mirrors in my apartment that I used to do a wink/smile combo in, pre-breakdown. I ran my hands through my hair, then over my shoulders and across my stomach, turned and looked at my ass and hips, and turned back around to make eye contact with my reflection that up until now — had been so hard to do.

I stared for a bit, music playing in the background filling up my space — saving me from silence and acting as a filter for intruding negative thoughts. I took myself in and as trite as it may sound, started to smile. My hip dropped, my back arched and I felt that smoldering confidence start to build back up in my core.

Coming back to who you are is a fucking ride and there is always gonna be blocks on the way. But as long as you have a sparkle of appreciation for yourself and the “Not interested” button on IG, you’ll be falling back in love with yourself before you know it.

Happy Sunday cuties.

Y’all Come Look at This

A movie where Black people fall in love and look stunning in vintage clothing? Sign me up 30 times over. I just watched Sylvie’s Love and the stars, Tessa Thompson & Nnmadi Asomugha, chat about the film over on Essence.

Image shows the cover of Essence magazine where two black actors are pictured in black tie style outfits and sitting in a velvet chair.
Wow look at my mom and dad.

I have tried out what feels like a million natural hair tips and tricks and half of them absolutely don’t work, so I am leaving just about all of them behind in the new year and sticking to what I know.

Taylour “Where the band at?” Paige hops into the Bustle booth to talk karaoke, TV, and the all-important coffee order. She also talks about the movie Swallow, which I am OBSESSED with.

Saambhi hilariously and beautifully talks about dating as a Muslim brown babe in the digital age for the crew over at Salty World.

I love Regina King and I long for nothing more to look as entirely beautiful as she does while laying on a suede couch and dishing out infinite wisdom.

Image shows two black people lovingly gazing into each others eyes while standing in front of a yellow New York City Taxicab.

Sylvie’s Love

“Sometimes the right love comes at the wrong time.”

I love a good romantic movie moment filled with beautiful music, gorgeous Black folks and longing looks. Amazon’s latest release Sylvie’s Love gave me every bit of that.

The film centers on the relationship between musician Robert (Nnmadi Asomugha) who falls for pop culture loving Sylvie (our queen Tessa Thompson) after meeting at her father’s record store.

Not only is the story sweet and will have you cuddled up on your couch swoooning, but the score is perfect and Sylvie’s outfits will have you following every vintage IG page in search of the perfect pair of pedal pushers.

Watch the trailer here!

This week on the virtual bulletin board you can help the Trans self-defense fund in Chicago meet their goal of raising $10,000, I love them and they do so many great things like offer free self-defense kits for trans women in need. There is also a help chat line for those who are trans and struggling at home or facing homelessness, send them a message and they will do all they can to help. And here’s a few other lovely things on the bulletin board this week!

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram! Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

Listen to this playlist and feel yourself in every way possible this Sunday and yes — I mean in that way, too (insert terrible wink here).

Come Vibe With Me: Stop Playin’ with me.

Come Vibe With Me: Stop Playin' with me.

I’m quite a strong woman. I stand up for myself, I do not bend easily and even in my worst times, I am sure of who I am. I open up to who I want in my time, I have clear boundaries and I don’t stay in the company of anyone who is opting to disturb my peace — should I announce that I’m a double Taurus, or were you able to surmise that on your own?

I had a big breakdown about a month ago, something I’m not used to having — especially in the company of others as, I’ve let society tell me it’s not allowed. It was bad… heavy and dark, filled with confusion and hatred and all I was asking for was time. I needed to try to make sense of what was going on. I took accountability for things I should have and some I shouldn’t, all in the name of speeding up the process — something I don’t do. It’s upsetting, and triggering, when the time and space I need to heal and process is taken away from me.

Few people give Black queer women the grace and compassion that we extend, but so readily demand it from us. They want the freedom to build up boundaries and confidence by disrespecting us in the process, and we’re simply meant to tolerate it, and sadly — I did. The person was hurting, some of it was my doing but by no means was all of it. Because I had a part to play in their pain, I thought I owed them. I thought I had to let them say whatever they wanted and to work their feelings out through me. I allowed them to attack my character, and break my boundaries — all while going through a breakdown of my own.

I was consumed with what they thought of me, despite knowing in my heart what was true. I’d forgotten advice that I carried through the years that sort of, made me who I am: “Don’t let folks talk to you any kind of way” and “What other people think about you is none of your business.” I remember them now and I want you to carry them with you, too.

Here we are — at the point where I am making my way back to me and putting this moment in my memory book just in case I need the reminder. Some days I need something a little more tangible, and so I’ll leave you with this perfect tweet.

Sweet Sunday bbs. Happy New Year.

Y’all Come Look at This

I could not have been more excited that my Disney Channel queens Aly & AJ gave us an explicit version of their hit “Potential Break-Up Song”. The girls are grown and they want their shit back, let me repeat that — they want their shit back.

I like the new Netflix series Bridgerton, it was a little horny and hella gossipy, but it low-key failed for me and many others with their take on diversity.

Over on Gal-Dem, Tara Joshi writes a beautiful personal essay on how “Parasocial Interactions” bought her comfort through the pandemic.

Keiajah “KJ” Brooks said, “I’m not nice and I don’t seek to be respectable” to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners in October of 2020 and I’ve been rooting for the growing activist ever since.

The CROWN Act would ban discrimination based on hair texture and style in workplaces, and K-12 public/charter schools. This compassionate open letter demands that the Senate pass it.

Image shows A photo of Veneno wearing a low-cut blue lacy top, a cross necklace and a pair of pearl earrings.

This week on the virtual bulletin board we’re going into the new year with as many healing vibes as possible. Therapy for Black Girls has helped a few homies not only find therapists but also find mental health alternatives because therapy isn’t the only way to heal for many folks. Queer Healers is an extension of mental health alternatives and helps queer folks find practitioners to help guide them on their journeys! A few other lovely things are happening on the board as well to help you get your new year off to a vibey start.

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram! Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

We all need the reminder that we are incredible despite what some may think of you. So turn to this playlist when all you want to say is “Fuck You, I’m dope.” Play it right after you hit them with the block, and sit in your complete awesomeness as to who you are.

This week’s feature image is by Dollar Gill from Unsplash.

Come Vibe With Me: Home Sweet Home

Come Vibe With Me: Home Sweet Home

I’ve been at my parent’s house for the past week, they only live a 4-hour drive away but I still haven’t been home since October of last year. The plan was to spend seven days being encouraged to do absolutely nothing. I wanted to come home and read books on the couch with covers that make my father both inquisitive and wary, beg my mother to make large quantities of my favorite food, and spend hours in my twin bed taking naps and watching shows on my (new) computer.

Image shows a view of trees outside from inside a train car. There is a leg in the frame, wearing jeans and sneakers in the shot as well.
A shot from last year – a more restful ride home.

The world once again had different plans. On Christmas Eve morning while joking around with my dad in the kitchen we got a phone call that my aunt had suddenly passed away during her dialysis appointment. My family lost a few other members earlier in the year, including my grandfather but this one was extra hard. We spent the remainder of the day digitally filling out paperwork and doing things that were both emotionally and physically draining. I thought back to The Nap Ministry saying from last week of “Just go Lay Down”, looked over at my parents, and passed it on to them. My dad went to sleep and my mother, somehow a combination of restless and tired, instead turned her energy to cooking. I spent the next few days taking on the tasks of fielding phone calls and other things that come with handling a family member’s death. On Christmas day another family member was in distress and my father then got stranded in the snow for nearly 6 hours after getting a flat on the way to help her after numerous tow trucks failed to show up.

I was so hopeful that we would be able to go into the new year without any more pain, that we would be able to take these few days to laugh, have sweet remembrance of those we already lost, and just be. Loss in so many forms has hit us in unimaginable ways. If no one has told you in this time — I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the loved ones that you’ve lost that you can no longer hold close. For the stress this year has put on your mind, body, and soul. That you were finally getting ahead and then got knocked back. That your finances got fucked up. That you lost your job. That you have not had many peaceful moments to just — rest.

I’m an eternal optimist and for the upcoming year, I hope for a large shift in the most positive direction… it’s the break that so many of us deserve. Until then though, I’m sending you vibes of peace, sweetness, and love straight from my heart to yours.

Sweet Sunday bbs — try to go lay down okay?

Y’all Come Look at This

When I was a nanny on social media, I always kept the kiddo’s identities private when posting. I plan to do the same when I have little ones of my own and I love that Mindy Kaling is unapologetic about privacy when it comes to her little ones.

Images shows the cover of Chloe x Halle's album, Ungodly Hour. Both people are in black latex dresses with silver angel wings coming out of their backs. Their hair is loc'd as they look into the distance.
Chloe x Halle looking stunning on the cover of their most recent album, Ungodly Hour.

Some style tips on how to celebrate “Sala Season” and look fly even if you’re solo in the living room this year!

Ungodly Hour was one of my favorite albums this year, Chloe x Halle talk inspiration, innovation, and using music as therapy over on Bustle.

This stunning personal piece over on Refinery29 gives insight into what it’s like to be the first person in a family of color to face and recover from addiction.

I’m still excited, but the official trailer of Coming 2 America made me a little nervous. Princess Weekes over on The Mary Sue also had a few thoughts on the hopefully not terrible sequel.

For Teen Vogue, Taylour Paige writes a beautiful love letter to her character in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Dussie Mae.

This fantastic end of year message from the one and only Saucy Santana will motivate you to do all you can to actually just Netflix and fucking Chill.

Image shows the cast of "How to ruin Christmas - the wedding" with the title of the movie in red on a blue background. The main charecter is in the front, draped with a yellow towel in front of her, a confused look on her face and holding a champagne bottle.

How to Ruin Christmas — The Wedding

I added this to my Netflix queue a few weeks ago because it was about Christmas and the cast was a bunch of beautiful black people — two of my favorite things.

I was not expecting to be so utterly in love with this!

Older sister and essential black sheep Tumi (Busi Lurayi) comes home for her sister Beauty’s (Thando Thabethe) wedding, and from the moment she steps off the plane things start to fall apart around her. There is cheating, mommy issues, sibling rivalry, and more all on this holiday weekend from hell.

It’s hilarious, it’s 3 episodes and you can finish it in an afternoon and thank me after. Also, slight spoiler alert — there is an adorable mini queer storyline that DOESN’T END IN TRAGEDY!

Watch the trailer here.

This week on the virtual bulletin board I encourage you to look to your inner circle. Reach out to friends who may need a little extra help, love or attention right now and give it to them in the ways that you can. Don’t drain yourself but do what you can to be as available to your chosen family as you’re able to. Hold space for folks and also — don’t be afraid to ask if you need to be held yourself.

Image shows the text "Check on your homies" surrounded by holly, berries and pine needles.

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram! Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

I know you’re used to me telling you to blast my playlists to figure out just how loud your speakers can go, but this week we’re trying to chill. So keep the music low and the vibes high.

Come Vibe With Me: Wanna Wake Up Together?

Come Vibe With Me: Wanna Wake Up Together?

The day after the recent slightly chaotic November full moon happened, I woke up in my bed with a hangover. Not from drinking, although yes, a glass of wine or three was downed the night before, but an emotional one. Due to the Lunar eclipse, I spent the previous evening doing a variation on the magickal work I do when the moon is at her strongest in the sky. I had a bevy of things that I wanted to let go of, a few that I wanted to be open enough to let in, and a lot of feelings that I wanted to well — feel.

I’ve done enough full moon rituals to know how I’ll feel the morning after. So, when I woke up to the sounds of cars rolling down the wet pavement outside my open window and spread my arm across the empty bed, it was confusing that the first emotion to hit me was one of intimacy. I was prepared for my standard slow-moving full moon morning filled with an eerie intensity — not for having soft romantic thoughts shrouded in curiosity.

Photo of a woman in bed, pink and cream hued comforter, blankets and pillows are strewn about. Only her leg is showing and two windows with white sheers are in the background.
Tangled up in comfort and curiosity.

I twisted my body, got tangled in my sheets with parts of my skin exposed to the cold temperature that gives me comfort, and started wondering — what is it like to wake up to me? What have the people who’ve shared a bed with me, thought and felt as they opened their eyes… and saw me.

When the morning or late afternoon woke them and they turned to see my full body, my eyes closed and the smell of our night still on my skin? Do they trace my tattoos with their eyes or smile when they recall the sounds I’ve made? Is there hope that I’ll wake up soon or dread that I’m still there in the first place?

The full moon was in Gemini (as is my Venus) and it was encouraging us to look at the ways we communicate and think. The magickal community often warns against doing heavy work during an eclipse, instead suggests just being in the moment. That morning, I had no choice but to be present when Geminis curiosity came in, got under the covers, and made herself right at home.

So I’ll chill, get comfortable in this place of wondering for a minute, and while I do maybe you can answer — What is it like to wake up to you?

Sweet Sunday bbs.

Y’all Come Look at This

Model Aweng Ade-Chuol shares the story of her career, mental health, and finding love for the January 2021 issue of Elle UK. She shares the cover with her wife Alexus Ade-Chuol and if you live in the UK and want to send me the print issue I’ll cry. I know you saw this in Pop Culture Fix and from Carmen in AAA but LOOK AT THEM! I HAD to bring it up again.

Cover of Elle UK Magazine, showing two black women in polka-dot clothing embracing and nearly sharing a kiss.
I’ve cried at this cover about 50 times.

On the latest episode of The Cut podcast, author Ijeoma Oluo chats about her new bookMediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.

I have PCOS and AFib, two medical conditions that are often left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Keke Palmer sharing a bit of her journey with PCOS felt hella comforting to me.

I’ll always trust Rachel Charlene Lewis and her Film & TV recommendations because she just wants the best for me, and this winter she just wants me to laugh.

Dani Janae and I have a new column here on the site, The Drop, where we talk all things Queer & Black Pop Culture. We talked about the EP Stuck from SassyBlack to kick things off!

A photo showing the title of the show Black Monday in yellow bubbled font. 3 of the shows main characters are standing on Wall Street in NYC facing different directions.

Black Monday

I don’t understand shit about stocks and Wall Street but I know that I love Regina Hall and want to kiss/slap a 1980s Jheri Curl having Don Cheadle.

Black Monday follows Hall, Cheadle, Yassir Lester, and several other familiar faces during the 1987 stock market crash and unravels from there. It’s hilarious, dark, and got renewed for a third season not too long ago.

That means there are already two whole ass seasons for you to binge. The soundtrack is also dope and the wardrobe is impeccable.

Watch the Season 1 trailer here.

This week on the virtual bulletin boards there is a support group for Black & Non-Binary ADHD Babes (their next meeting is Wednesday, December 9th from 6-8 GMT), an opportunity to donate to The Free Black Women’s Library, a social art project centering Black women writers that was founded by OlaRonke Akinmowo nearly 5 years ago, and more ways to show love and support communities of color all over the globe.

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram! Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

Click images to enlarge.

Since I’ve been down lately, it felt hard to rest in the feelings of intimacy and romance that came to me that post-full moon morning — trying to sort through it with a soundtrack of songs that make me feel some typa way helped make it just a little bit easier.

Come Vibe With Me: Remember Me

Come Vibe With Me: Remember Me

I used to watch Inside the Actors studio with my Dad when I lived at home. Either upstairs in my parent’s orange-tinged bedroom or downstairs in my mother’s angel covered den while we ate dinner. I loved it because I got to chill with my dad, but I also love films. I used it to find new ones to watch and add to the mental list I was keeping. Spending time with my father, creating a loving memory to look back on, was just an added bonus.

I’ve been in a well.. rather off place as of late. Sometimes you get in a space so dark that the tools you usually use to climb out feel ineffective or way too out of reach. That was me this week, trying to see light but feeling stuck at the bottom of the tunnel. Then, something slowly (and sporadically) started happening. My heart would win these mini battles with my mind and the prize was quick use of one of those tools I knew I had.

An image showing a glass filled with ice coffee and an ice cream bar. Next to it is a full calender and the background is a city street through the view of a window.
A full schedule that I combat with iced coffee and moisturized lips..

The most constant technique I won speedy use of, was remembrance. When I need to reset in moments of anger, sadness, or equally uncomfortable emotions, I try to think of a happy memory. Maybe because it helps me to realize everything is not all bad. In recent moments, both the ability to use that method and the light it bought me were fleeting, but the win lays in the fact that for even a second — I got a break.

James Lipton would eventually ask each guest the same ten questions. My dad and I would answer, or try and guess if the actor would have a Hallmark response. Once in a while, we’d be surprised by their answer and let out an “Ohhh!” or agree that it was actually a really good response. One of the questions was “What sound do you love?”, right now my answer is laughter. It’s a sound that I love and currently, one that I desperately miss.

So, I’m gonna boil some water for this new Trader Joe’s tea I’m obsessed with, queue up any show with a laugh track, and hope more sweet memories come my way.

Sweet Sunday bbs.

Y’all Come Look at This

Broadway babe Celia Rose Gooding talks all things self-care with the cuties over at HelloGiggles. It made me smile to know she loves crystals and made me smile even more that we share some of the same favorite ones — mine is Malachite!

HRH Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, shares her story of loss and healing and asks the question, “Are you Ok?”

The beautiful and talented Gen Z actress Storm Reid tells us how her mother taught her to have faith.

We’ve talked about this a bunch of times all over the site this week but I have to say it just one more time, future wife of Carmen Phillips, Chika, is nominated for a friggin’ Grammy!

All I want to do is watch Julee Wilson, Beauty Director over at Cosmopolitian, talk about holiday presents while wearing gingham pajamas with furry sleeves. You can’t tell me she doesn’t look absolutely stunning!

I am always so scared to switch up my skin routine in the winter, but this guide for Black skin is making the switch a hell of a lot easier this year.

I’m terrified of the ocean and can’t swim for shit, but seeing more black girls surfing and riding waves might make we wanna put a toe or two in the sea.

A Goofy Movie

First of all, they’re black — the main characters are black. Max, Goofy, Roxanne, PJ, his daddy – and a bunch more, are black. This is a stance I have had forever and is the hill I will die on.

I feel like this is a slept on disney classic. I wanted laughter and lightness today and this movie always does it for me. It has an amazing soundtrack that features Tevin Campbell as the pop icon that we don’t deserve, Powerline.

Also, Roxanne is a hottie and if y’all can lust over Aladdin and not be deemed weird than I can do the same for her.

Here is one of my favorite clips!

This week there is a lot of support groups and opportunities to share your stories through various artistic mediums. The Project T in Pittsburgh is raising funds for their first year of operation, and URGE in Alabama is looking for Trans and Non-Binary folks to model for a project. Much more happening this week as well all on the queer interwebs all over the world.

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram!

Click images to enlarge.

I listened to some songs that my father and I both love with the hopes of holding on to the sweet memory a little longer. It helped, if only for a half a moment, and sometimes a three and a half minute song is all you need to get by.