Something I’ve Never Written Before…

This is something I’ve never written before
I guess it’s self-explanatory, the fact that
such words or thoughts have never escaped or made a
conscious departure from my thoughts

Never have I uttered such thoughts and wonders,
many that I keep hidden away, locked up in a
psyche that refuses to bare it’s nakedness to outsiders
in the world , to the unknown, to the unseen

Since this is something I’ve never written before
should I dare to even begin to write it?
words that can’t be traced back to its original being
once stated can’t ever be taken back?

Or should it forever remain a distant memory
of words that could have been spoken
but locked away in a passage leading to my mind
words that that will eternally stay hidden, not awoken

So, this is something that I’ve never written before
although I write down these words that I’m thinking
I’ve actually never written something like this
Should I dare to even begin to write it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 !

Is H&M Racist ??

So if you’ve been scrolling down your social media pages this week, you probably would have come across this picture…

Image result for h&m monkey jumper

This was a picture released by clothing store H&M this week , showing a young black boy modelling children’s clothing, perfectly fine right ? However what has sparked global outcry, as I should say is the backlash H&M received over the words printed on the jumper ” Coolest Monkey In The Jungle”. Many people were outraged over this picture, questioning H&M’s reasons behind this and even threatening to boycott the clothing store. As this is all over my Instagram feed, I looked into this more and decided to talk about my opinion on this interesting topic.

Now personally, ( I really hope I don’t get backlash for this lool ) I actually don’t think its racist at all. Here’s why. I was just scrolling through my explore page on Instagram as you do normally, and I happen to come across this picture as it had gained prominence on social media. My immediate thought to this was , “oh just another store promoting their clothing- normal right?” It wasn’t until I clicked on the picture and the caption  was shaming H&M for releasing this picture on their website, blaming them for deliberate racist terminology being used on the model, it just wasn’t looking good.

So I thought to myself, what is the big deal ? It wasn’t until I read the comments, that everyone was angry at the words printed on the jumper. That’s where I began to understand everyone’s outrage. Now obviously the connotations with “monkeys” and black people have stemmed from the past, it could even be argued as a current racial issue today, so when it has been printed on a black boy, it is understandable to an extent to see where everyone’s anger has come from.

But I still thought about it and said to myself, wellll …. is it really necessary for people to be on such a rant about this ? Is it really racist as people say it is ? and honestly I thought to myself – no. If you think about it, at the end of the day it’s children’s clothing. You would normally see words such as the one printed above written on boys children’s clothing, even the boy who happens to be white modelling with him had the words ” Mangrove Jungle Survival Expert” printed on his jumper, it just so happened that the boy with the monkey caption was black, so immediately everyone went on a social media rampage about the jumper. I do totally see where people with these views are coming from, but strangely I would say I don’t completely agree with them.

This picture has really had an effect on people, so much that even Diddy has apparently offered the boy a $1 million dollar modelling contract in response to H&M’  actions. The Weeknd who had a collaboration with H&M last year stated “i’m deeply offended and will not be working with the brand anymore” on his twitter, adding to the publicity of this picture due to his huge following on Twitter. The main response to this was the huge amount of people stating they were going to boycott the store, both online and in store branches, in response to their actions.

Seeing this reminded me of the Dove campaign, back in 2011 outrage sparked over Dove’s ad showing a black female taking off a brown shirt over head, to which a white female is shown after, insinuating that using the dove product will either make you whiter I’m guessing ? , however people failed to miss the fact that after the white woman was shown, she took off her top and a middle eastern woman was shown, demonstrating that the Dove lotion works for all skin tones and every race. But I can’t even lie, I was angry back then myself about this ad, I guess we all misinterpreted the meanings behind this ad ! Image result for dove racist advert

Well I’ve stated my points and opinions on this controversial topic regarding H&M, and I would really love to see who agrees with my views, many would say that H&M made this move and don’t realise the consequences that came with this picture, also many would say the they were doing this for publicity as they are one of the trending topics of news on social media right now. Whatever the intentions where behind this picture is really left for the individual to decide…

How To Survive A-Levels

Woow, I can really say that time goes quickly, it was just this year that I had finished my A Levels and I had collected my results and now I’m in Uni! Time does go really quickly. Being completely honest, A Levels are not a joke… point blank period. They are really stressful, hard and tough, but you can make them easier as long as you follow some steps that helped me along the way to combat pressure and stress that exams can give you. So below I have 7 steps that helped me survive A-levels. Of course there are plenty more of these steps, however I feel like these ones in particular really helped me and saved me from breakdowns along the way (not that I didn’t have any lool) . Also these may not work for everyone, however I encourage you to look at these and see which ones best apply to you!

Start Now!
If there is any lesson that you can learn from doing your A Levels, is that there is no time at all. If you think about it practically you don’t really go to school as much. If you minus the weekends, holidays (Christmas and Easter), Half-terms and study leaves, you are really not in school for even half of the year. With so much content to cover in such a small amount of time, it is easy to leave things till the last minute. That’s why as soon as you hear your teachers mentioning exams to you, get started on a revision plan, revision notes and resources. For me, I really can’t work under pressure that’s why I start things way in advance. However, some people are good under pressure and can work really well under those circumstances, however I feel even with a-levels you need to have some kind of early background plan at first. Trust me when I say this. before you know it exams will be round the corner!
Make a revision routine/study plan
Linking back to my first point, making a study routine and sticking to it helps. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with how much work you have to do, and it looks like you don’t know where to begin. Having a study plan will allow you to cover as much work for each of your courses. For example, in A2 I done 3 subjects, so I dedicated 2 days out of the week to the subject that I struggled with the most or had most work with, then the other 3 days I would separate them out with my three subjects hope that made sense? Weekends was dedicated to homework or any bits that I needed to catch up on. I guess the only thing is to make it realistic and being disciplined with it. If you don’t like doing Biology on Mondays, put it on Thursdays or Fridays. Practical things like these would make you organise your subjects around your time and your way of studying. Apps such as Microsoft Word or Excel are really good for planning these out
Get Resources
Seriously, they make revision guides and books for a reason! they are for your benefit only. Use as much resources as you possibly can this includes; Past papers, Revision Guides, Textbooks, Online resources to help you study. Practise does make purpose and the more you practise with these the more you progress. They can get a bit repetitive, but they really do aid you in your work, so try and get as much as you can
Get Your Syllabus
Essentially, to do well on the exam you need to know what topics could come up and what to expect. If you know your Syllabus inside out, then you know what could come up in your exam. One thing I love about doing this is getting all the topics that you need to learn and writing them out on a paper, then once you have covered a topic by maybe doing an exam question on it then you can tick it off, so you know you have learnt and revised it well. See it as a checklist so you know that you have covered it, and also use past papers on each topic to ensure that if it does come up in the exam you know exactly what to expect
Use Your Teachers
Right, I know we aren’t all fans of particular teachers, the ones that have mood swings, the ones that seem like they don’t know what they are doing and the ones that take things too seriously. But at the end of the day teachers are one of your best resources. They are he ones teaching you the content. You can rely on your textbooks sometimes, but you need teachers to explain certain things to you and guide you on how to write essays. Remember they have the expertise and the training in this field, so you do have to listen to them. Also, some of them may be kind to hold after school sessions or revision classes on the weekend so take advantage of them if they do
Stay Motivated
There can be times when we all lose motivation when the going gets tough… hey I even loose motivation to write blogposts sometimes. But we have to find the motivation to carry on either way somehow. Maybe this could be through your parents, a friend or even a teacher. Or if you look up to someone for inspiration, try and remind yourself that they are the reason why you are writing that extra paper, or staying up longer to read over something. One method you could try is giving yourself a reward. After every time you do an essay or a practise paper, reward yourself with your favourite food or with a break. That way it would motivate you to do more work and reward yourself even more.
Self-care
This is the most important step. Honestly A-levels can take a huge toll out of your year at school, but don’t neglect your self-care also. Make sure you mind is right, make sure that you are speaking to somebody regularly, and definitely make sure you are getting enough rest, food and sleep which is essential for your body. Take care of yourself from the inside and it will show on the outside. Don’t let exam stress control your life. If you work hard whilst you’re at it, it will definitely pay off in the end!

 

The HI’s and LO’s of Social Media

Heyy !! Back at it again with a new post, been so MIA lately due to the move into university and I’ve really missed my blog so I  forced myself to put this post out which had been on my mind for soo long to do so, did I mention I was the queen of procrastination ?

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Anyways, so I stumbled across the beautiful piece of art above on the gram, you know just scrolling through your feed as you do, and it made me stop in utter amazement and wonder. The image drawn by @rokz_art shows a woman in her natural form with African beads around her waist, which if your from Africa you could relate to.

But what really hit my attention were these beautifully vibrant stretch marks all over her stomach and her thighs, now normally on a black girl you wouldn’t see white stretch marks on the body, but I think the purpose behind this was to capture the audiences attention and really try to capture the beauty of stretch marks on a woman’s body, symbolizing the changes of structure and growth that we females go through

This is why I named this post “the HI’s and LO’s of social media” simply because yes, social media is a great platform for engaging in pictures with your friends, laughing at hilarious posts and catching up with the latest celebrity gossip, however it can get really frantic when celebrity bodies and figures start appearing everywhere and the desire to emulate their appearances becomes almost impossible to avoid.

One of my main goals this year was to be happy in my skin and to accept the way I was made by God. This has honestly been a challenge for me surprisingly and I didn’t really think it was a goal that I needed to work hard for, not knowing that subconsciously I was always checking myself in the mirror, checking to see if I have cellulite or if my body is even in all the different places, yes its crazy right ?

I had to snap out of this and actually realise that I had a habit of doing so and it was slowly affecting me. Me being of 18 years and only realising this now, imagine younger teens in secondary school, where they hit the stages of puberty and the competition for the best body or best skin is on the rise, how would they actually feel and cope? I had a deep thought to myself and upon praying over the issue, I prayed over girls who were younger than me, experiencing the  battle with body image and self confidence. Even though I may not know someone personally going through this, I pondered over all the girls who are open to pages such as Instagram where bodies of women are plastered all over their explore page and wondered what they must be going through.

What moved me was the caption below the picture. ” Ladies please embrace your stretch marks… It’s a mark of strength , you are beautiful , you are gorgeous regardless, don’t think because of these certain stripes that you can’t do certain things” this message basically states that yes although we may gain these marks either through growth spurts or after pregnancy, we should, use these marks not as a reminder of a flaw that society perceives to be, but a reminder of our beauty and our growth as females and even as males too.

I urge anyone who reads this to be in love with their inner self, and to accept themselves regardless of any outer flaw that may be visible to the world, make it your mark that you are unique because of your appearance and although body acceptance may take time to full achieve, it is a beautiful journey whilst achieving it.

“you are imperfect, permanently, and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful” – Amy Bloom

Dear Makeup Brands…

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Source – Instagram (nyamtang)
This is the beautiful Nyma Tang, a South Sudanese Youtuber, who has a channel with over 200,000 subscribers. As you can see she is a beautiful, dark skinned woman with skin to die for. Her inner melanin is filled with glow and sparkle and I am really enjoying her posts on her channel of recent. She is mostly famous for her series #Thedarkestshade where she reviews foundations, concealers and other products in the darkest shade to suit her complexion. This series gained fame as it pinpointed the major problem with makeup brands these days, especially affordable drugstore brands, in getting their shades right to suit all complexions from light to dark. I came across this video from NowThisEntertainment about how she explained her troubles of going to drugstore brands and finding that they don’t appeal to her complexion and often she had to go to higher end brands, which could be quite expensive at times in the US and even here in the UK

Upon watching this video above, I started to realise that for me in particular it wasn’t so much a problem, but for darker skin tones it was a major problem for them finding foundations that were either ashy looking on them or did not match their proper complexion properly. I realised it as I thought whenever I will visit a local Superdrug near me, looking at the brands of Rimmel London, or Maybelline, they would have a range of colours for lighter skin but only have 2-3 shades for darker skin girls. Therefore, leaving them to drift towards higher end brands like Lancôme or Nars who offer great alternatives, however can come at an expensive price.

So I guess the question exactly is, why don’t makeup brands cater towards darker skinned women? I can admit her skin shade would not be something you come across on an everyday basis, it’s unique in itself. However it doesn’t mean popular makeup brands should simply stop catering for their skin shades. Even looking at it from the other way round, most of the light shades still do have a tint of a tan look in them, forgetting that there are paler skin people and that not everyone prefers that tanned look even though it is what is in fashion right now.

Except for black owned brands such as Black Opal Beauty or Fashion Fair who focus on black skin mostly, many brands that are mainly advertised as being affordable for women and easily accessible should take a rise on expanding their colour ranges to suit each skin type. Especially with the rise of popular woman from Nyma herself to other youtbers such as Nikki Perkins or even actors such as Lupita Nyong’o who are gaining prominence in the spotlight.

My hope for the future is that makeup brands will continue to expand on their colour ranges, not only for foundations but other products such as blushers, highlighters and lipsticks (especially lipsticks, we need to stop looking like we have just eaten a powdered doughnut!) so that women will not have to resort to expensive brands all the time, even thought they are of very good quality

I’m no beauty expert myself, but I would really like to know why there isn’t a full range of colours suitable for all women of colour !

The Get to Know Me Tag

Hey !!

So I was just recently pondering over all the blog posts that I have done and I thought to myself I haven’t really given much of myself out there enough except from my first post which was just an introduction- even that was just a short paragraph explaining the blog and not much of an insight into who I really am as a person

So I thought to myself, as a blogger my audience should know a bit more about my life, my interests in general and past experiences well before I even go onto to talk about my opinions on certain topics, so I decided since I’m too lazy to write a whole bio about myself why not make it more creative and do a tag. So here I am to do the Get To Know Me Tag, this tag is mostly associated with youtubers however I thought it would be a great thing to do and look at !

1. Are you named after anyone?
I am not directly named after anyone however my middles name which is Sarpong, is from my Grandmother’s name so I guess I am named after her

2. When was the last time you cried?
On Saturday which is two days ago

3. Do you have any kids?
No

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
Yes, however in certain situations maybe not lool

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Not a lot, but I love using sarcasm

6. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Their personality, I could tell a lot about a person based on the way they speak or act

7. Scary movie or Happy Endings?
Generally, go for happy endings, but I love me a scary movie

8. What is your eye colour?
Dark Brown

9. Favourite Smells?
Anything that smells sweet, however I love the smell of petrol and fresh leather
(weird, I know right?)

10. What’s the furthest you have ever been from home?
Furthest is Canada, miles and miles away

11. Do you have any special talents?
Hmmm, not that I’m aware of

12. Where were you born?
In the UK

13. What are your hobbies?
Reading, Blogging, watching YouTube videos, Museums, going to the cinema, doing make-up

14. Do you have any pets?
I have three pet fishes

15. Do you have any siblings?
I have 3 older brothers, so yes, I am the only girl

16. Who was your first best friend?
Probably my friend called Michelle, who I am still friends with today

17. How tall are you?
5’3

18. Funniest moment throughout school?
Literally just laughing at things until it hurts and you burst into tears.

19. How many countries have you visited?
5

20. What was your favourite subject in school
History

21. What is your favourite drink?
Cherry Coke – literally my love

22. What sports do you play?
Don’t play sports now but I absolutely love playing Volleyball, Handball, Rounder’s and Badminton (girly sports I guess)

23. Favourite memory from childhood?
Coming home from school, grabbing a pack of Cheese and Onion Crisps and watching Horrid Henry after school every day at 4:00

24. What phone do you have?
I have an iPhone

25. Tell us one of your bad habits?
Apart from the occasional laziness, I have developed a habit of biting my nails which I really need to stop

So here you have it, a bit of crazy info about me , I will probably do another tag later on so you can learn more about the girl behind the screen !