Editor’s Picks: White guilt, black women in business, Solange’s love letter and unpacking natural hair acceptance

  • Talking about race with your white friends can be uncomfortable as a person of color, but luckily Bustle writer Mia Mercado has some sage advice. Inspired by a conversation between comedians Margaret Cho and Phoebe Robinson, Mercado lays down some ground rules for talking about race as a white person.
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Margaret Cho by Mary Tyler for Hollywood Reporter

“When you (white friends) want to talk to your friends of color about race, make sure you’re opening up a conversation and not just seeking validation. Your friends of color are not here solely to make you feel comfortable. We are not only here for you to confess white guilt. So, when you us ask things like “Is this racist?”, ask yourself first “Am I seeking truth or comfort?”

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Phoebe Robinson + Jessica Williams doing 2 Dope Queens by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

 

Mercado also outlines changes white people can make as allies. These include listening to people of color, amplifying their voices, acknowledging when you mess up,

  • The ethereal being known as Solange Knowles wrote a letter to her young self for her Teen Vogue cover story. Apart from acknowledging her teenage phases (dancing queen, indie kid at Bible camp, video vixen, Incubus-loving vegan and carefree black Valley Girl ), Solange gives some tough-but-optimistic advice.
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Baby Solange

She writes, “Soon enough you will learn how to love and how to exist with love in ways that you never knew. You will learn how to love yourself and how to empathize with and forgive those who may have taken a bit of that pure love away from you.”

Life isn’t always easy, Knowles warns. “But I can promise you it will be fruitful and with much purpose,” she says. “All the bridges you’ve burned, you had to, so that you could rebuild them to become a stronger and more wonderful you.”

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Photography by Ryan McGinley
  • Forbes has named black women as the future of entrepreneurship. From the rise of brown women business-owners seen in America Express’ annual report to Forbes’ own Black Women Tech Talk, it looks like brown girls are leading the wave in business.
  • Naturally, Jhene Aiko spoke about fame, Big Sean and those iconically illicit lyrics on “Post to Be” for Galore Magazine. But she also talked about the need for women to embrace their sexuality and the woes of being mixed race.
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Photography by Prince + Jacob

“I think once you start to realize all of the strength of being a woman, you can learn to appreciate there’s really no difference between a man and a woman other than our chromosomes. And so why should there be this thing about women not expressing their sexuality?” Aiko asks. “There’s really no real reason why we can’t be as confident in our sexuality as a man.”

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“The things men are not ashamed to do —we shouldn’t be ashamed either.”

Moving on to race, Aiko says, “I’ve had people make racial comments about black people to me not knowing that I am part black. I’ve had people make comments about being Asian to me, not realizing that I’m Asian – or even people not realizing I’m also European.”

Aiko, who is Japanese, Dominican, black and Native American, tells an anecdote about someone asking her “how China was.”

“I’ve gotten used to the fact that a lot of people still don’t understand the concept of being mixed, you know? So I’m patient with them.”

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Ebonee Davis from W Magazine

“It went even beyond my physical appearance or my physical beauty. It changed the way that I carried myself. There were certain things about who I was that I felt did not qualify, or did make me palatable, or things that I felt like I couldn’t share about my past or where I come from.”

Davis recounts, too, how she policed herself: not knowing any better, Davis relaxed and straightened her hair from a young age. This all changed with Davis’ recent natural hair journey.

Meanwhile, actress Zazie Beetz says she never relaxed her hair. “But that still doesn’t mean that from even within black culture you’re not necessarily pressured to straighten or relax your hair.”

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Zazie Beetz via HypeHair

Ultimately, Dascha Polanco hits the nail on the head when it comes to the natural hair wave and the crop of brown models in fashion: “It’s not about conforming. It’s about making it acceptable. It’s about being able to have these as to why this is beautiful… Actually believing it. Actually saying, ‘This is the norm. Diversity is the norm and it’s not a trend.'”

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