ESSENCE TALKS 5 – THE BBL DILEMMA.

It’s Friday. You’ve just come home from a long week of work and your girls have invited you for a night out of drinks and fun. Despite your feet aching, your hair not being washed and your heart desperately yearning for your remote to watch Netflix in bed – you decide to go. That silk black dress that you know is figure hugging is eagerly staring back at you as it lays on your bed.. but then your head slowly starts to drop down almost as if you are a baby struggling to stay awake as you look at your “FUPA”

Okay story telling is over- let’s address the elephant in the room. Orrr page…

Yes, the infamous BBL, the abbreviation that is going all around the streams of social media and has now become the new trend/phase lately causing numerous of girls to go under the knife and causes numerous amounts of debates online. And here I am to add my own 2 cents into it.

Why am I calling it a dilemma? :
I decided to name this post the BBL dilemma only based on the reason that I am literally stuck on whether I support the option to have a procedure done and whether not to. I wouldn’t say I’m contradicting myself by supporting two different options but let’s just say I am in support of a person’s choice to change an insecurity if they have the means to and it is not detrimental to anyone’s wellbeing. However, I am also in much support of women not automatically succumbing to social trends based on their body part and then going under the knife is then seen as their only option to getting rid of a body part that society has deemed unflattering. So, since I haven’t come to a solid conclusion about which side, I’m on I will call it a dilemma.

The Biology Lesson:
BBL’S or Brazilian Butt Lifts is a surgical procedure in which fat is transferred from different body parts such as the abdomen, hips, lower back and thighs through liposuction and then transferred to the butt to create a desired look of a larger butt or a curvier body.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started to be on the rise in terms of popularity, but I believe it began to be an American craze before it crossed borders to the UK. According to the BBC there are several reasons why BBL’s cause severe damage or even death to women, such as injecting the fat the deep muscle tissue which can be incorrectly put into the veins, fat being transferred to the bloodstream and then to the heart, or it being done by inexperienced practitioners.

Image result for bbl surgery

Average People:

This whole post was inspired after watching Live from Layfield’s YouTube video talking about the problem of average people (mainly being influencers, youtubers etc) getting these procedures done. It leaves us to really question where the line has to be drawn with it. I like the points they were making, and it really made me question some of the things regarding these surgical procedures, one being about insecurity.

I’ve started to notice that you are never really going to be happy with your insecurities, whether it be the size of your height, your FUPA or the size of your butt, how it doesn’t agree with the size that society has deemed to be acceptable. But the fact that going under the knife to create something that agrees with societal standards, doesn’t mean deep down you have changed your insecurity, you have almost just masked it.

So, when its average people promoting this procedure and ‘influencing’ to follow suit, I guess it leads us to question are they really influencing body confidence, or influencing societal standards?

Solutions:
Like the YouTube video said, I believe the main solution to this is to know who you are in Christ/ or at least know your worth if you are not religious. God did not make any mistake when making you, this is evident by making you very unique to everyone else, no one else has your fingerprint even, if you think God made you the same would he have let things such as the amount of hairs on your head be the same as everyone else’s? I’m not trying to preach here but its’ food for thought.

Others include:
-Limiting your social media time: One tip that Is recommended is to have a limit on your social media time, I would say Instagram the most, bodies are plastered constantly all over the explore page and it can be discouraging to one’s eye. If it’s really affecting, you decrease your time

-Verbal agreements: if this means standing in the mirror every day for 5 minutes repeating to yourself “I am happy with my body” then by all means do so. Verbally repeating something to yourself each day will aid in increasing your self-confidence.

Thanks for reading x

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 4

Hey!

So, I am back with a long-awaited ESSENCE INTERVIEW, where I discuss life with inspirational or motivational people, and I ask them about any tips they can share about their journey to their current position or about any life lessons they have learned. If you haven’t already you can read the previous interview I did with Laila Mensah (Fusion of Cultures) here

So, in this edition, I have Manny Ade, a YouTuber and a radio presenter of his show protonixmusix

manny ade

I wanted to bring someone with a different perspective, since he is my first male on here since starting ESSENCE INTERVIEWS (*dances away*), I thought it would be exciting to talk with him and discuss his passions for Christ and his love for music, so here is the talk I had with Manny!

So, tell us the background behind your creative side e.g. your channel, radio show, your photography etc?

Funnily enough it came from a dark place of frustration actually. I was born in the UK and then moved to Nigeria when I was six, came back at 16, spending a total of 10 years out there. In Nigeria we didn’t have subjects like media within academia, so I wasn’t tapped into that, but I realised I was always a creative kid (making and creating stuff). When I came back to the UK, after GCSE AND sixth form, you’re at the point where you are trying to figure out what you would like to do in the future. Initially I had picked computing and ICT as that was available to me at the time. It got to a point where I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was never into 9-5’s and I realised it just was not for me at all. I am a very outgoing person, so I started to consider if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

One thing I always loved was music, as a kid I would always be on blogs and eagerly waiting for the next album to come out and drop. I then considered becoming a producer at one point, then I thought of starting off my own label- I really had big dreams.

Around 2015, I started planning towards a website, started blogging and launched the website on my birthday. This website included a radio feature and from then onwards I have just been enjoying doing radio!

What/who inspired you to start Protonixmusix?

Protonixmusix is a pop culture show, but I play Christian hip-hop. It still touches on mainstream media but also touches on the Christian hip-hop scene, this is because I am now a fan of it and I find it is really minute, so I feel like I’m in a good space to help push it.

A guy called J.Monty was the first guy I came across in terms of Christian hip-hop, ever since listening to him I have been inspired to really promote Christian hip hop.

You changed your show from mainstream to Christian hip hop- as a Christian, what’s your opinion on Christians listening to secular music?

It’s a tricky one! Certain people may say it’s a conviction, certain people may say to rule it out completely, certain people my say not all secular music is bad. Personally, it’s hard to detach myself from hip-hop as that is something I will always love, however at certain times, there are certain people that I would not listen to. I do think it’s a conviction thing to a degree, if it’s something that influences you wrongly, I would say cut it out for a period of time and see how it changes you, if there is a change. But to be on the safer side, cut it out completely. For me I still listen to secular music but there is a balance between the two.

With music it’s hard to put a cap on it, there are attachments to it, I have grown up on the Kendrick’s and the J Coles, so they have a place in my heart.

How do you keep focused on your path with Christ, being a young male especially with social pressures e.g. raving, parties etc?

For me, certain things come easier for me e.g. not drinking or smoking. So those things have never been my vice. With regards to relationships, during university things such as lust and sexual sin are things that we have to battle with. But in general, I don’t find it hard. I don’t find myself in situations that would get me to act out of my Christian character, even when I do, I am just me. I am very solid in my walk with Christ, I’m no superman but I have always been individualistic, I don’t get influenced by my friends a lot also. If there are things, I struggle with then I take that to God and we figure it out.

You are very open with your faith online, e.g posting scriptures and making your show Christian based ,what would you say to younger people who want to be bold in Christ but feel shy to?

I would say go for it. I don’t care where I am with my walk in Christ, there are times where I feel super on fire, and there are times where I don’t feel it. The logic behind it is that- the sacrifice that God has made through Jesus, it’s almost selfish to me to know that this is the greatest gift to man, why wouldn’t I want someone else to experience it. If I know that having Christ in my life is this good, then why wouldn’t I share. It’s as simple as that. I don’t care about what others think ( to some degree we do we are human beings after all) I personally feel that Jesus is the solution to everything, so if I can help someone and give them a glimpse to what I know to be- the greatest gift, and I might as well share and give them the greatest gift that I have received.

You have been on YouTube for quite a while now, what are the lessons you have learned and what tips can you share to anyone who wants to start a channel ?

BE PREPARED- know what you are getting into, don’t look at the glitz and the glams of it, there is a lot of hard work be super consistent.

When I got into it, it was for the fun of it. If you are going into it purely for the money, then try and reconsider doing it. Do it for the fun of it but know if you are going to take it seriously, it is a full time job.

I would say prepare and be consistent- something I even struggled with. You can find there is a good high at the start, but there was a point when it got daunting (consistently editing and uploading)

If you can do it, go for it- but be an individual and be unique, you don’t want to be packed in for being like everyone else, you want to go into it and want people to know you for your individual self. Have your unique selling point- someone is going to gravitate to you.

Thanks for reading and make sure to check out Manny’s socials for more content !

YouTube- Manny Ade’
Instagram : mxnnyade
Twitter : @MxnnyAde
Protonixmusix: 

 

 

 

 

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 1

Hey Readers!

So I’m back with something exciting and new, since September I’ve been pondering on this new segment called ESSENCE INTERVIEWS, where I interview successful people on tips to do with motivation and their journey to get to where they are now. It wasn’t until the beginning of October that I put this plan into action, and by the beginning of November, this planned was birthed into reality !

So I start off this segment with a very dear friend of mine, someone I’ve known since I was like 4 years old and someone who inspires me more than ever- Desiree Henry. Desiree is a British sprinter from North London who competes in the 100 and 200 meters races. So far she’s acquired an amazing bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay in the World Athletic Championships in 2017. Amongst these many achievements, she is an Adidas ambassador and lover of photography ! It was such an honour to catch up with her since I haven’t seen her for over 7, maybe more years ! I’m glad that I got the chance to start off my new segment with her, and I look forward to continuing with this with more great people to interview! Check out the interview here :

  • So Desiree, how did you know you had a passion for athletics ?

    I feel that my passion for athletics began when I attended multiple competitions and just found that I was winning ! Of course everyone wants to be the best, everyone likes to win and feel successful and have their moment, and after winning a few races, I just wanted to do everything in my power to maintain this and be successful, become an athlete and be successful at it, so I believe my passion started from there.

  • Do you feel pressure to stand out amongst thousands of athletes that are around the same age as you, if so, how do you deal with this pressure?

    Most definitely , in terms of the pressure I have to realise that, yes athletics is an individual sport, and the competitiveness is extremely high in the UK, but I think what puts things into perspective is when I went to America, and found that not only are there girls my age running just as fast as me, working just as hard as me, but it was the numbers. I’m sure that there are 100 girls that could do what I do, and that could knock peoples confidence. But that could make me think how am I going to make myself feel even more special, I just think to myself my drive is completely different to their drive, it’s just remembering who I am, remembering the work I have put throughout the years and not discrediting it and just giving myself a pat on the back and realising that all my efforts haven’t been for nothing, and I’m going to be successful regardless, even if it means I’m my own cheerleader you could say.

  • What is your favourite thing about being an athlete ?

    Hmm, my favourite thing about being an athlete would definitely be the travelling aspect of it, being an athlete has opened up my eyes to so many cultural experiences, and not only cultural experiences but being able to experience it through travelling and going to different countries, a big thing for me when I started off being young, was travelling around the UK. I thought that was the greatest thing, but now athletics has brought me to places such as South Africa, China, The Bahamas, America etc. It’s just incredible that I’ve had these opportunities to go to these places ,so that’s not only comepetition experiences but life experiences, that have been amazing and have been able to achieve through athletics.

  • Do you feel that the sporting community is lacking in black females, form diverse areas e.g London ?

    To an extent, yes. I am lucky in the sense of  the generation of sprinters we have are top female sprinters , that are London sprinters, so I feel like we have the representation there. Of course we have to think about the future, what are the future generation looking like for upcoming sprinters ? and I wouldn’t say a lot of them are from London, but I think we are lucky for the support and for me to do my job which is to represent London the best I can, even if that means winning a medal. Just giving the younger generation, hope and a future. Then I would also look at a wider scale, London is partially represented in out sport, but on the grand scale, are black women represented in sport in general ? If it just means that I can do my role and get my face out there as much as I can, then I’m doing a great thing, we are on the right path of having well represented black female athlete.

  • What makes you gain confidence in times of anxiety, for example when you have a huge race coming up or a big interview etc ?

    Well for me, when it comes to races, I’m at the stage where I’m running against my heroes, my idols and all that kind of stuff. It’s really easy to crumble and get sucked in and forget all he hard work you’ve put in, but now I’ve been able to train my brain, that when I’m standing there on the line, those days of sweat,blood and tears that I’ve put in at training, it’s going to be for a reason. This is the moment that it’s all been worth it for, and I think it only takes me a few seconds to simply realise that and once I believe that all the work that I’ve put in has been worth it, and all the work is going to help me with my performances, I just feel unstoppable! I can look to my left and to my right and be like ” right, let’s go, bring it on!” because I’m confident in my work.

  • In terms of motivation, what would you tell your younger self ?

    I would tell my younger self, the hard work that you’re putting in right now, maintain it. It’s going to define you as a character and separate you from not just being an average sprinter but being one of the best in the world and a world class British athlete, so I would commend myself on that, on my perseverance and determination. I would also say- enjoy the journey ! You are going to experience a lot and in experiencing alot, take a moment to just appreciate every single opportunity. Whether that’s going to a new country and racing there- take a moment to walk around and explore the country because another thing is, you’re gonna travel the world a lot, but just make sure you get the real experience and not just see the tracks, the hotels and repeat that cycle but try and get that experience in. 

  • What would you say to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and gain exposure for their career e.g boosting themselves on social media ?

    I would start to think how can I help myself, and I would start with things such as charity events. That way you are doing a selfless act, something that is not going to bring financial gain out of it but to gain experience and communicate with people, that could be an amazing thing. So by charity events, this could be giving away old clothes or speaking at schools etc. Because it ultimately helps you to build your own character and it gets you think to think from another perspective, so if you’re going to a school and you are going to speak to people from another generation, if you’re an individual or an athlete, everyone has had life experiences, and everyone can learn from a moment and if you can share those experiences and what you’ve learnt to to a younger generation, again through that you have done a selfless act- share it on social media! It’s not a problem at all. And yes people can say, “oh well, you’re only doing it for social media clout” but also you did something amazing, you took time out of your day, not getting paid by it, but taking time to help others, I feel like that is a  major important thing. It’s important to build yourself first, build your own self confidence and to get to a place where, you don’t feel as well that you need outsiders to tell you are great or amazing, but simply spending time and building on your own self confidence it the best thing. 

  • And girlllll, I need some fitness tips so, what are the essential/starter-kit basic things to getting that body in shape

    Right, we are getting right in there ! When we say “fit body” people have to remember, it is not going to happen overnight. If you are going to the gym, I’m telling you don’t look in the mirror the next day, thinking you’ve made an improvement – because you haven’t. But this shouldn’t discourage you, but I think the number one thing is – brace yourselves- CARBS !
    As much as we love our rice, bread, pasta etc, that is the number one thing I would reduce on my list. I personally don’t have any carbs, but for someone that isn’t an athlete and they are doing their day to day things, I would reduce the amount. By this I mean having 1-2 carb dishes a week, eventually progressing to having no carbs at all. I tell you that is where a lot of fat comes from.
    Tip number 2 – everyone loves a good ab circuit workout. and if you can implement at least three ab workouts a week, roughly 10 exercises for each of them =, I feel like that’s an amazing foundation for you, just to introduce exercises into your body. Nothing too strenuous, something easy, maybe if you are watching a Netflix show or just chilling, something that is not taking major time or is taking out time from your busy day. I believe those two, would be my top 2 things, if you want to start your journey to a healthy and fitter lifestyle.

  • Any lasting things you would like to say..

    I used this quote the other day “dreams don’t work unless you do” and this can be applied in every aspect of your life. How I relate that to me- if I don’t go to training, if I don’t put in the work and effort, how am I going to be successful ? You or anyone else can apply that by making sure your going to lectures, going to seminars guarantees you graduating or getting the grade that you want, whether your a teacher or something, going to work inspires the next generation and helps them too. So that has been my quote for the day, – ” dreams don’t work, unless you do.” 

So that’s the first post of this new segment completed ! I’m so excited for starting this and can’t wait to see what come out of this. I would like to thank Desiree for contributing to this and you can find her on :

Instagram : desiree_lh
Twitter: @DesireeLHenry
Facebook: Desireehenryfanpage
Youtube: Desiree Henry

Thanks for reading !

 

 

 

My Culture is Not for Sale !

So, this week I have decided to blog about my opinion on the idea/theme/social construct or whatever you would like to phrase it as – Cultural Appropriation. The whole scepticism around the concept, and how it has affected me directly or exactly how it has affected girls my age or around my ethnicity.

But first, let’s define the term as: “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society”

In simpler terms, it’s the process of taking another group’s culture, or traditions or lifestyle and adopting it as your own, and therefore making it accepted in your culture, rather than theirs, hopefully that makes sense?

The term arose around 2016/2017 and it came to it’s prominence due to its association with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber all facing criticism over it. Even celebrities we recognise today such as 6ix9ine who regularly use the derogatory word “n*gga” in his lyrics is facing high criticism from let’s say the “black culture” after using the term quite frequently

So why would anyone be offended over this idea? Let’s look at it in depth. The whole process of it is when you are taking a person’s culture (mainly of a lesser dominant race) and using it as your own. An example of this could be when Kim Kardashian wore braids and posted it on her Instagram account. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with it, after all she is just wearing a hairstyle, isn’t she? However, the problem starts when she referred to the braids as “Bo Derek” braids after the famous actress who wore the hairstyle in a movie. Many black women were highly offended by this act, stating that she completely disregarded the history of braids and cornrows, as it can be traced back to relating to slavery, as those were the styles that women wore before they boarded slave ships and had their hair removed, it was apart of their culture and customs, and unfortunately it was stripped away by the slave owners, due to their wanting of them to assimilate to western types of hair which is mainly straightened.

Other instances include singers such as Katy Perry being criticised for wearing Geisha which is the tradition of Japanese culture which includes wearing pale white make-up and elaborate hairstyles. This stemmed from her American Music Awards performance in 2013. Many people again were hurt and offended by the act, which she later apologised for. Now there is not anything wrong with wearing other people’s cultural attire or materials, it can simply mean you show appreciation for their culture and are interested in it. However, when it is culturally accepted by a person of a dominant race, whilst the weaker race is criticised for it, it becomes a problem and many people who view it happening on social media become very offended by it.

So, what is my opinion then? I completely understand the hatred and the annoyance coming from the receiving end of cultural appropriation. After all, imagine wearing something you find attractive, but when a person of a higher status or wealth wears it they are praised and adored for it whilst you are ridiculed for it. However, I believe we have to look at it from both sides. Taking the example of black cultural appropriation, with hairstyles and facial features such as lip shapes, aren’t we doing the same by doing processes such as contouring noses and wearing weaves and wigs? There is the argument of it being protective styling and beautiful, however we happen to take the culture of Europeans or Caucasians by wearing straight wigs, even with the emergence of frontals to make it look extremely realistic (as you can see I am digressing into hair talk)

But the point is, in realistic terms, we take things from people’s cultures all the time, sometimes without realising that we are doing so. This is not necessarily wrong, as it can be considered as a way of appreciating the beauty in one’s culture, I think where the problem lies is when the persons culture is not being accepted for its originality and praised when someone of a different culture takes it into the public light. Whether culture appropriation would ever be solved is the question, as time goes by, people’s cultures are being shared and intertwined with others rapidly. So, should we start to accept that this is occurring, or should we put an end to appropriation due to the harm that it causes to the lesser dominant race ?

Thanks for reading !