Falling Black in Love week at Florida A&M University has been a week of awe-inspiring motivational speakers, hot button issues and a call on our community to address the realities we face everyday through open discussions.
(Read: Full week of events ihearthatgirl.com)
Described by Eric Troy Wright Jr., organizer of this fundraiser and two time graduate of FAMU as,
“A movement committed to paying both respect and homage to the incredible feats, accomplishments, and achievements of the African American community from around the world. In a time when the image of Black men, women, and youth have been both distorted and misrepresented, It is vital that people of color be affirmed in who they are.”
(Help Support the Movement http://www.gofundme.com/78g6b8)
Arian Simone hosted the Does Pretty Hurt event as apart of her FEARLESS Disccusions movement featuring an all-star panel of FAMU alumni, make-Up artist Siteria Gregory, former Miss FAMU and beauty consultant Aisha Everett and one former professor, psychology expert, and editor of FEARLESS Jenay Sermon. But what really set off this panel off was the surprise feature guest of the night, who took the place of Tika Sumpter, Ms. Michelle Williams.
The panel discussion, which included plenty of audience, feed back featured topics like, colorism, cosmetic surgery, size, self-worth, and what we define as beauty. The overall message and name of the discussion coming from the lyrics of Beyonće’s popular song “Pretty Hurts,”
“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst, we try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see it’s the soul that needs the surgery”
(Read 12 opinions on Body Transformation on TypicalVixen.Com)
Students as well as panelist shared their views, and the general consensus became, that we all define our beauty, and what matters most is what your inner beauty reflects.
Araian Simone does a great job of facilitating discussion rather than debate, encouraging diversity and unity and reminding us all that as black men and women we must stand together.
The feature guest 3 time Grammy award winning artist Michelle Williams was surprised that colorism was still an prevalent issue, as young women shared their stories of racial bias on campus from black men, bringing up terms such as #TeamLightSkin vs. #TeamDarkskin to her attention for the first time.
Michelle also chimed in on another hot topic natural hair, which was led by an all-natural panel, speaking about wearing lace fronts during her time on Broadway, which she says the lace wigs were originally made, the importance of proper removal, and how she lost a job opportunity because of her trying out a natural look recalling,
“I came in with my natural hair, my curls were laid and it was really cute, I was really feeling myself, and the guy was like, ‘We were expecting the girl from Destiny’s Child’ and I was just so mad like seriously?”
This also sparked an interesting discussions about the reasons black women perm their hair and how it relates to the love of your African roots. Some calling the natural hair movement a trend, others happy it has become more acceptable, despite criticism of natural styles being considered unprofessional, most recently by the U.S. Army, as demonstrated at the Pretty Hurts photo shoot by Ferissa Connel, who also spoke about her experience during the discussion.
“I think it’s sad that I might miss out on certain opportunities because of my hair, we have to stand up for ourselves in order for these new implementations to stop.”
Overall I do believe the mission Arian opened with was obtained stating,
“You will leave this discussion knowing that you were designed on purpose and for a purpose, having a greater appreciation for your unique self and understanding of your self worth, and with more confidence in who you are and how you look right now.”
Arian ended with an inspirational message of how she rose to became a celebrity publicist after at a time when she was broke, homeless, and snuck into the 2004 BET Awards, after losing her job just one month after moving to LA.
“I learned how to dance in the rain. You never let your situation or circumstances dictate your feelings, even when all this stuff was going on in my life…It doesn’t matter what’s going on, you decide your emotions, and you can choose to be happy everyday.” As she smiles and leaves us with her iconic laugh.
(Read more about Arian Simon, and the FEARLESS Movement at ArianSimone.Com)
(Read more stories like this in the NEW Spring edition of Natura Magazine)