12 Black Girl With Braids
The additional I accelerating from college, I arranged up my Jetta and fabricated the drive West from Texas to California. I capital to assignment in appearance but not in the archetypal composure of the New York scene. I capital the celebrity-driven, red-carpet amaze and glam Hollywood had to offer. Upon my accession in Los Angeles, I started an abettor job at a acclaimed appearance PR agency. There I began what has been a 15-year career in the appearance industry.
I had formed in a PR appointment for a few years afore acumen I was bigger ill-fitted for the action of “set life.” I anon became an abettor to celebrity apparel stylists. I was usually the alone Atramentous babe on set, the alone Atramentous babe at accessories and the alone Atramentous babe on the administration team. I had consistently been acquainted of race. Growing up Atramentous in this country, how could you not be?
I knew a few Atramentous and amber faces at PR agencies. Generally they were the best accessible back I bare article loaned for a adapted project. It was like an unspoken, underground abutment arrangement aural the industry that was capital for a babe like me to survive.
During blow on set, I was generally afar from the conversations on appearance and appearance (although I was a apparel stylist). That’s unless we were talking about streetwear, sneakers or a accouterment aggregation started by a hip-hop artist. Again all of a abrupt I became the able in that category. The alone sneakers I endemic were acclimated for workouts. Oh, the irony.
The appearance industry generally kept me activity alienated and overlooked. They’d say, “Jerry Hall.” I’d say, “Pat Cleveland.” They’d say, “Anna Wintour.” I’d say, “Eunice Johnson.”
I acquainted the weight of defective to brainwash white bodies and accommodate afterimage to Atramentous allure in fashion. That’s back the anticipation aboriginal beyond my apperception about creating a affluence Atramentous magazine: “Like Vogue but Black.”
I agitated that abstraction about in my affection for years.
My aftermost active grandparent died aftermost September in Texas. Both of my grandmothers heavily afflicted my life, including my accord with appearance and style. My affectionate grandmother, an educator, was the apotheosis of archetypal chic: a babe heel, a sheath dress and never after a adventurous red lip. My benevolent grandmother, a nurse, was the queen of camp: leopard-print caftans, apparel adornment and her shoulder-length accustomed beard consistently braided up beneath her altogether styled wig.
Both of them acclimated appearance as a anatomy of self-expression. It was a way to allege to the apple about their adventures alike if association had aerial their voices. I capital to account that assured energy. Thus, the eyes for Mae Jones was born.
Mae Jones, a aggregate of my grandmothers’ names, is a annual that believes in the adorableness of Atramentous representation and is committed to redefining the attending of affluence in the appearance and adorableness industries.
Mae Jones launched February in a agenda form. I was accustomed that so abounding of my artistic accompany capital to advice me actualize agreeable for the magazine. We all knew the accent of afterimage — the accent of aspirational adumbration featuring Atramentous women.
Our aboriginal photo shoot happened in Joshua Tree, two canicule afore California’s COVID-19 calm orders.
Obviously, the virus affected changes to the beat calendar.
Then came the account about Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
As a Atramentous woman, I had to sit and ache another, again another, again addition affiliate of my association acceptable a social-media hashtag. In my grief, I had to adjudge if it was alike adapted to move advanced with Mae Jones. I beggarly it’s alone fashion, right?
I sat at my board the morning of #BlackoutTuesday and watched as my Instagram augment became abounding with atramentous squares from brands, PR agencies and designers I followed. The captions read, “Black Lives Matter.” Do they though?
Many cast assembly abandoned my emails for accommodation requests, banned to dress Atramentous celebrities or hadn’t featured a Atramentous face on those branded amusing feeds back February, a.k.a. Atramentous History Month. If Atramentous lives matter, again the appearance industry charge admit that Atramentous representation affairs too. My anguish bound angry into assurance with alike added of a purpose than I had before.
We’re all alive against systemic change here, and in accomplishing so, we charge to aggrandize our analogue of beauty.
If you acquaint in adherence of Atramentous lives in this country, you will be captivated answerable for that pledge.
You charge ensure that your cast absolutely supports Atramentous activity and not aloof back it’s a trend. Therefore, Mae Jones has accomplished a hashtag claiming for those brands to alter year-round alleged #NotJustInFebruary.
We’re attractive for added representation in adumbration in all shades of amber and added representation aural your teams. That’s added representation in advanced of and abaft the camera.
Representation agency hiring Atramentous models, Atramentous photographers, Atramentous stylists, Atramentous business directors, Atramentous clear designers and Atramentous artistic directors.
I’m additionally captivated to assuredly allotment images from Mae Jones’ aboriginal beat shoot with the apple here. Attractive at them now, they accept new acceptation for me. The arid arid is adumbrative of the times, but there in the average stands the befalling for change and a ablaze new hope.
The time for activation in this country is now. It’s time to boilerplate the adorableness of Atramentous and amber faces in appearance so that back they see us: They. See. Us.
Kristen Turner is the architect and artistic administrator of Mae Jones magazine. She lives in Los Angeles. The magazine’s Instagram handle is @maejonesmagazine.
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