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good news

Here's why we can't wait to get in the Hella Black Brunch kitchen with Chef Shonda

When we decided to have a Hella Black Brunch pop-up in New Orleans, we knew we wanted to expand our focus from simply building community with Black and queer folks of the African diaspora, to also embracing and supporting the burgeoning entrepreneurial community in their historically Black spaces.

In order to do that, it became important that we partner with folks native to the beautiful New Orleans community - folks working to build for themselves and those around them.

When we came into contact with Chef LaShonda Cross - most well and lovingly known as just: Chef Shonda - we knew it was a perfect match.

chef shonda new orleans chef lashonda cross

The partnership between Chef Shonda and Khafra grew organically, and - as most things do these days - over the Internet. Since our first fateful interaction, Chef Shonda has joined Hella Black Brunch Bonne Fete as our Executive Chef - and we’re so excited to share what we have in store with this collaboration!

But first, we wanted to give you a chance to learn about the person behind the chef’s coat.

We spoke to Chef Shonda earlier this month and discussed her origins, her love for New Orleans, her thoughts on the growing Black business community, and much more.
Below are some of our fave moments from the conversation!

 


Who is Lashonda/Chef Shonda?
I am a kind, fun loving soul who is honestly trying to spread a little peace, love, and happiness in this world. Because, honestly, the world needs more of it.

What drew you to the kitchen?
It started when I was 12 or 13 at home, of course - with family and cooking with my sister. Every Thanksgiving, we’d gather at her house. I was the one with her - in the kitchen, going to the grocery store, and learning. I was previously a carpenter building houses, and I found this peace in the kitchen. This quiet, this calm. It was unlike any other space.

chef lashonda cross chef shonda new orleans

Can you talk a little about being a Black woman working in the food industry?
So, I quit my job and I found a job in the kitchen at The American Sector Restaurant + Bar in The National World War II Museum. And then I found out that Chef Nina Compton, who was on Top Chef Nola, was opening a restaurant. I reached out to her and told her I wanted to work for her. She’s a Black female executive chef and I said “I promise you won’t regret it.” To this day, I don’t think she does. And we have such a beautiful working relationship.

In the culinary world it’s difficult for women, period. It’s a very male dominated game. To see Nina (who has not yet reached her pinnacle, because she has so much more in her) … but to see her and to know that I can too can reach such heights in this culinary world and be a force is such an amazing feeling.

chef shonda nola new orleans

A major facet of HBB centers on building community with Black folks over food. What is your relationship to food and community?
When you think of Nola, you think of food. And as far as community is concerned, food is one of the things that over time has always brought everyone together. Everyone is welcome at the family table. So I think that’s honestly how it all ties in. We’re all connected by not only the fact that we are all human, ut that [we have a universal] need to survive. And it is food.

Nola post katrina new orleans

Have you noticed anything different pre- and post-Katrina about Black entrepreneurship and the energy of New Orleans as a city?
I have never seen so many Black businesses ever, growing up in Nola and throughout my childhood. And not only are there so many, but they’re also flourishing. That’s because of the support that we have in the community. It’s happening all over and there’s no way we can fail if we are supporting one another.

Why did you decide to partner with HBB? What are you hoping comes from this?
When khoLi. reached out to me I did a little research on who she is and what she does with Khafra and what they stand for. Honestly, I couldn’t pass it up. The community support was a big thing for me. The LGBT community, that support was a big thing for me. And I said “Hey, why not?!” Why not support someone who is supporting us and what we do and not only chefs but just as people?

I hope that everyone who comes to sit down at the table and eat with us takes something away from the experience. That there’s some positivity and light in it all.

We hope so too. In fact, if you're ready to get into this menu with Chef Shonda ...

PURCHASE YOUR TICKET NOW.
AND GRAB ONE FOR A FRIEND, WHILE YOU'RE AT IT!

 

(all photos and video courtesy of Chef Shonda)

 

arts + entertainment, good news, entrepreneur tips

#WomenatWork: 'LADYLIKE' director Tiffany Johnson schools us on art as freedom

Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series, where you're introduced to a curated selection of working women discussing their professional lives as well as the impact they're making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around them.

Closing out Women's History Month, meet Tiffany Johnson.

 via @tiffanyjenellej

via @tiffanyjenellej

Admittedly, I wait until the morning each WaW story is due to write it. As an entrepreneur whose entire life is now guided by one giant Passion Planner, I get joy out of being able to wake and feel my way to useful words - hopefully, accurate words - describing these women who move me so much.

When I started thinking about Tiffany this morning, I started thinking about freedom. I started thinking about "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint," the "absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government," "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved."

 via @tiffanyjenellej

via @tiffanyjenellej

As a graduate of the Los Angeles Film School - one who majored in Directing and minored in Screen Writing - I can imagine that Tiffany knows a lot about engaging the right to speak, think and act without hindrance. I'm probably projecting my 8-year black girl experience as an English Ph.D. student, but I'm willing to bet Tiffany would bring brilliance to a discussion of art, particularly Hollywood filmmaking, and the feeling of foreign domination.

We just haven't discussed that yet.

I think about freedom when I think about Tiffany because (well, look at her, so in and of herself)  since graduating, she's worked for CBS, Overbrook Entertainment, and Academy Award-winning Producer Peggy Rajski.  She's also worked as an Associate Producer on numerous live television award shows, including MTV Movie Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and the 2011 Primetime Emmy’s. She also serves as assistant to another fave, Lena Waithe.

Tiffany is a woman not just standing in, but operating from her multiple freedoms: to desire, to choose, to create, to redefine. If you're not quite sure how I got there yet, you will be after further reading.

 

Check out the best from my correspondence with Tiffany below.

 

On owning her professionalism ...

I didn't always, but I definitely do now. I had to learn to change the way I speak. When asked what I did, I would say, "Oh I am an aspiring director." That's bullshit--I am a director. Filmmaking is what I do. 


On the logistics of life ...

There's definitely a lot of music ... Music gets me through my days. As an assistant to a Showrunner/Writer, my day usually consists of lots of emails and reading scripts. In the evenings, I'll sometimes grab drinks with friends, maybe catch a movie I've been wanting to see or go home and binge a new show. It varies.

 

On the last year ...

I actually have 2 important projects I completed last year. One was my short film LADYLIKE.
We screened it at a few festivals and even went to Cannes--such a wild, life changing experience! It's currently streaming on Issa Rae's YouTube channel.
I also completed a short documentary last year, entitled The Ride Home. It's the most emotional and personal film I've ever worked on. It was the first time I turned the cameras on myself--it follows me and my dad on the day he was released from prison and the ride home we shared. 

 

On what's up next ...

I'm currently in post on a short film I recently shot called Dead. Gay. Fictional. It's a fun rom-com send up, written by my good friend Caty Zick.
 via wesjanisen.com

via wesjanisen.com

Also, my writing partner, Nick Williams and I are developing LADYLIKE into a feature which I'm really excited about!
 via ladylike.com

via ladylike.com

On sustaining your craft ...

I think it's super important for creatives to fuel their craft. What I mean by that is: surround yourself with other creatives that inspire ... and encourage you. Learn from each other. Study those you admire and dedicate time to your [calling]. I'm constantly watching films or reading books or articles on filmmakers I'm obsessed with.  

 

Do you see why I'm thinking about freedom?

Before I began writing this, I kept scribbling a phrase in my journal: "Do not complicate your freedoms."

Over and over.

DO NOT COMPLICATE YOUR FREEDOMS.

It wasn't until I reread Tiffany's correspondence that I realized what that phrase was really getting at. We, like Tiffany, will often have to enter into spaces that others might dictate as never having been meant for us. However, what's important is our presence there, that we have shown up, not the narrative surrounding our entrance.

Tiffany Johnson reminds us all that we have a right to exercise our freedoms, uncomplicated in whatever form they appear to us. We can show up as ourselves, for ourselves, and tell the stories we want to have heard. Or in Tiffany's case, seen.

 via @tiffanyjenellej

via @tiffanyjenellej

 She is a vision, with sublime vision. 

The only appropriate way to end this is by butchering Bambara, is to say all of our freedoms are real, all of our dreams, attainable. "The failure to realize is the only unreality." 

arts + entertainment, good news

#WomenatWork - Maame Adjei inspires us to literally be all that we can

Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series, where you're introduced to a curated selection of working women discussing their professional lives as well as the impact they're making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around them.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Maame Adjei.

 via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

Every time I sit to write about anyone, I'm tasked with minimizing an overwhelming desire to type something like "I don't know what to tell you guys. It's ridiculous that you don't know Maame. She's important. Her face. Her eyes. Her body. Her being."

I don't write, "Most important is that I adore her ... that I saw her and she immediately felt like everything to me ... that I see her and can more clearly see myself - in ways that are incredibly important as an immigrant living in the United States ... as a future expat ... as a brown body full of curve and lyric and Liberian ..."

I don't write, "Can't you see she's a model of my most desired ways of being in this world." 

 via Blavity

via Blavity

Instead, I turn what has already become a full-fledged unrequited love affair into the concrete language of Internet introduction.

So let's just get that out of the way.

Internet, meet Maame Adjei, more commonly known in cyberspace as Ms. Adjei, and, perhaps, most easily recognized as the confident, couture-clad, Zainab on An African City

 via Blavity

via Blavity

Now that you've been formally introduced, I'll admit that most of that opening rant was true. I was less than halfway through the first episode of An African City, when I realized I loved Zainab. And because I am who I am, I decided that meant I loved the person who embodied her. A quick internet search would validate all of my feelings.

 via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

I soon learned that Maame Adjei was not only a talented actress, but also an artist and producer with an educational background in Psychology and Healthcare Finance and Administration.

As an actress, aside from playing Zainab and co-producing An African City, Maame has also had roles in "A Sweet Song,"a short film by Ghanaian director Asantewa Prempeh, and Coz Ov Moni, a Ghanaian musical.

As an artist, she upcycles vintage and antique furniture for private clients, and has produced visual installations for The Chalewote Street Arts Festival in Accra.

 via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

via msadjei.tumblr.com (used with permission)

As if those passions weren't enough to consume one human being, Maame served as the Talent Director for the Miss Universe Ghana 2014 pageant, is currently Travel Editor for The Style HQ, and an influencer for Tastemakers Africa.

Maame's bio admits (as if one didn't automatically infer from her list of pursuits) that she is "committed to living life passionately, and to exploring all the opportunities that her natural gifts and talents bring her way."

Learning this, I needed to know more. And I needed it directly from the source.

 

Check out the best from my correspondence with Maame Adjei below.

 

On passionately multitasking ...

Each role definitely seamlessly rolls into the next. I'm an artist. I consider everything I do art. So from production, to making furniture to even teaching (which I do sometimes). I always pull my creativity into it. They are never mutually exclusive.

On the logistics of living ...

Being a self employed artist anywhere in the world is not easy. On the continent it's even harder. My day starts and begins and ends with emails. ... Constantly replying to emails. I'm usually heading to one meeting or another which, in Accra, means I'm spending a lot of time in traffic. At some point during the day, I always stop by my friend Dedo's cozy restaurant, Tea Baa, for some good eats. I always end the day in bed re-watching a movie I've probably seen a hundred times.

On her most important project ...

Everything I work on his super important to me because I'm in a space where I only do work that moves me. So An African City, of course, a short film project I just worked on. And of course my passion project Girl Going Places, a travel show that exposes the beauty and dynamism of the continent and implores Africans, and Diasporans especially, to travel the continent. I've been working on [Girl Going Places] for almost three years and I'm so excited to slowly be sharing it with the world.

On sustaining creativity ...

Diversify, diversify, diversify! It's important to work for the love of the art but at the end of the day artist still need to eat, and pay bills. I can't give the what, where and how cause I'm still trying to figure it out myself but I think that's definitely a good starting plan.

Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.

 

Received, Maame. Received.

I want to end this neatly, enveloped tight phrasing with a simple call to action. But, as the beginning of this article demonstrated, often words and will don't work that way.

 

For some reason, sharing Baraka's “How You Sound” (1959) feels best.

MY POETRY is whatever I think I am. (Can I be light and weightless like a sail??  Heavy & clunking like 8 black boots.)  I CAN BE ANYTHING I CAN. I make a poetry with what I feel is useful & can be saved out of all the garbage of our lives.  What I see, am touched by (CAN HEAR) … wives jobs, cement yards, where cats pee, all my interminable artifacts … ALL are poetry, & nothing moves (with any grace) pried apart from all  these things.  There cannot be closet poetry. Unless the closet be wide as God’s eye. And all that means is that I must be completely free to do just what I want, in the poem. 

Yea. That feels right.

 

 

good news, arts + entertainment

SiairaShawn launches new #FWYH merch

You know we love SiairaShawn.

So, of course we're honored to share this message from her. 

 

The "FLWRS WHILE YOU'RE HERE" design is my first foray into merchandise. "Flowers While You're Here" is the title of my recent e.p. series, but also a life philosophy. I believe that we should share love, vulnerability, and truth with our loved ones, "while we're here."  
I'm not on tour right now, but I wanted to still connect with folks who want to represent this message and support my music. My goal is to sell at least 30 items at the end of 21 days!

View all of Siaira's new merch HERE.

entrepreneur tips, good news

#WomenatWork: @ItsAriFitz brings out our deepest feels

Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series. If you joined us last week, then you already know that our newest series introduces you to a curated selection of working women discussing, of course, their professional lives. But Khafra's always trying to help you look good and live great,  so we explore the impact these women are making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around us.

Allow us to reintroduce Tomboyish founder, Ari Fitz.

 photographer: Brenton Gieser

photographer: Brenton Gieser

It's difficult to discuss Ari Fitz without reaching into the most vulnerable depths of my feels (or fee-fees as my lil sis would call them). In 2013, Ari and I had one very important phone call, followed by a few strategic meetings, and a short stint in a world of surreality. From that, we made magic.

Like. A lot of it.

A whole lot.

Today, the feels are lovely, dark, and deep, not because we're more homies than creative partners these days. That's to be expected of magic makers - those who come together at a brief moment in the universe's juncture for the sole purpose of sharing.

I speak about Ari from a soft spot because I look at her and see the manifestation of intentional desire matched hunger, unimaginable work ethic, and indestructible self-belief.

 photographer: Brenton Gieser

photographer: Brenton Gieser

Ari is proof that if you dream it, build it, do it, it can and will come ... and in ways, that (even to me, thank god) were unforeseen. From the day I began collaborating with Ari, I recognized in her what I see in so many of us who know that we know; I saw will. And for the last three years, I've been proudly watching her wield that will, shaping a future (and undoubtedly the next media empire) along the way. 

This is the shit that moves me, folks.

I recently checked in with Ari on the current status of life. Check the best of her interview below.

On the architecture of dreams ...

I'm one of those creatives [funding] their projects with a day job, so a day in my life is pretty hectic. My nights, weekends, and lunch breaks are spent ... curating content on TOMBOYISH's Instagram, casting/producing/filming/editing fashion films, engaging with my audience at every moment, and in my spare time looking for new collaborators (photographers, videographers, brands, etc.).

On her most important project of the last year ...

Late last year, TOMBOYISH launched a partnership with Reebok Classics where we had complete creative freedom to develop something dope for their new styles. That [partnership] was definitely one of my most exciting, rewarding, and impactful projects in the past 12 months.

On what's next ...

Right now, [I'm] hosting meet-ups for TOMBOYISH to bring other tomboy-ish folk together. [I'm] headed to nine cities: SF, LA, Chicago, Toronto, NYC, Philly, London, Paris & Cape Town in the next few months.

Some sound advice ...

Don't let anyone else decide what success is for you. Define it for yourself and don't sleep until you have it.

Define it for yourself. Don't sleep until you have it.

Noted.

Need more Ari in your life? Complete our  STYLE SURVEY and request an invite to Ari's INVITE ONLY salon at Relove Vintage Boutique in SF on Friday, March 25.

 

By khoLi.

 

EXPLORE: #WomenatWork - We spoke with @Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles. It was everything.

good news, entrepreneur tips

Who knew 4 easy steps + 30 seconds could change your day?

Drop everything. Pause for just 30 seconds. This is all the time you need to refocus and center yourself. And we know what you're probably thinking (because we were thinking it, too): 30 seconds seems like a small window of time to essentially dismiss your life's chaos. We understand your skepticism. 

skeptical african boy

However, this 4-step "mindful pause" outlined by Jon Krop, a lawyer and meditation teacher from New York City (who also, in a balanced marriage of his passions, leads Mindfulness for Lawyers workshops) is something like a "spot treatment" - for when you feel the colossal mass of the world pressing against your chest, for when you feel doomed, stressed, and about to collapse under your own anxiety.

 via JonKrop.com

via JonKrop.com

The first step is to take a deep breath.

Take a slow inhale from the bottom of your lungs to the top, slowly filling your torso and, finally, your chest. There is a connection between breath and mood, and slow, deep-breathing fosters a feeling of calmness.

The second step is to turn toward your body. 

This may sound a little complex, but it's really all about focusing on the small sensations of your body - whatever you're feeling, whether it's the material of your clothing against your skin, or the coolness of a breeze rippling mellowly through your hair. All you need to do is focus on these sensations and watch them, and if you happen to feel sensations connected to stress and anxiety, then all the better. Watching them, as opposed to resisting them, will help you pass through them, and them through you. This step can last for one in-breath or one out-breath, and if you choose to stay here longer than that, then feel free to.

The third step is to focus on your breath.

Focusing on the sensation of air entering through your nostrils roots you in the present moment. At this stage, allow your body to breathe however it chooses to. Like the previous step, this one can last for as long as you need it to.

The last step is to carry on with your life

Re-engage with the world, remembering there's no need to do this in a hurry. Try to keep the calmness that you created; keep your rootedness. Don't feel pressured to hurry back into the world; take your time, and fall in slowly.

---

But is this for me?

What's perfect about this mindful pause is that it's fast, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. Krop notes that the most difficult part of the mindful pause isn't in completing the process itself, but in remembering to do it.

 via hellobeautiful.com

via hellobeautiful.com

Our days are cluttered and over-saturated with things - work things and personal things and commitments and deadlines and responsibilities - and feelings of anxiety and stress are always there; they will come, and they will go.

Remembering to take 30 seconds to deeply breathe, to channel ourselves, and to turn towards our feelings and watch them isn't always on the agenda, but re-engaging with ourselves throughout the day guides us through challenging emotions, reminding us that we are transcendent. 

Try it now!


Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch

good news, entrepreneur tips

#WomenatWork - We spoke with @Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles. It was everything.

If you follow us on Instagram, you probably already know it's Women's History Month. In celebration, we're launching our newest series, "Women at Work."

"Women at Work" will introduce you to a carefully curated selection of working women discussing, of course, their professional lives. They'll also explore the impact these women are making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around us.

First Up ... Pathbrite Founder, Heather Hiles

 via leanin.org

via leanin.org

I was first "introduced" to Heather at the first Lesbians Who Tech Conference in San Francisco. We didn't actually meet. I was dizzied by a round of curious and provoking pitches from powerful women committed to diversifying tech, then sobered by Heather's discussion of her (much newer then) company, Pathbrite.

 via Pathbrite

via Pathbrite

As an English Ph.D., my interest was peaked - though admittedly, more in Pathbrite than Heather. But I don't always know what's good for me.

Some two years later, watching Heather open the Capital Connections Conference in Oakland, the universe brought me to my senses.

At Capital Connections, Heather revealed that, launched in 2012, Pathbrite (the world’s first Portfolio Learning Platform) has since raised over $12,000,000, and been acquired by Cengage Learning. The company currently supports more than 500 schools, colleges, universities, and companies, and -- with Heather still serving as CEO -- "Pathbrite’s Portfolio Learning Platform is transforming learning, teaching, and assessment across the globe."

Moved by Heather's discussion of what she calls "overt inclusion" -- a commitment to not only inviting diverse representatives to the tech table, but providing them with access to equal would-be victuals when they arrive -- I decided, "We need to talk."

In my pre-call prep (Internet stalking), I was reminded that Heather is a serial entrepreneur, one who's held founding and leadership positions in multiple private and public sector organizations. For instance, she's served as Board of Directors Member of Liberty & Justice (Africa’s leading Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturing company, based in Monrovia Liberia), Commissioner for the San Francisco Unified School District; Executive Director of Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2); co-founder of EARN; and CEO of SFWorks, a nonprofit that transitioned women from welfare into careers.

Heather has also previously been named as one of the Top 100 coolest people in Silicon Valley by Business Insider.

 via Pathbrite

via Pathbrite

Below, you can check out some of the highlights from my chat with Heather Hiles.

On Pathbrite's ideal audience ...

Pathbrite is a modern version of the e-portfolio with the power to improve meta-cognition through learning, and mastering ... content.  [It's] helping all lifelong learners [and] built for all human beings … not just [people working] in education.

On intuition ...

[When making the decision to separate from my co-founder and transition Ripple to Pathbrite,] it was definitely a gut decision. Intuition happened earlier than action. It was like any relationship, you just know when it's time. 

...

[A lot of women believe they need a co-founder, but] trust yourself. You need one leader. You need to trust you can lead. It has never served me wrong, believing in me.

...

[You have to] get to your core. You know what you need to do. Sometimes you’re afraid of the answer, but you’re there already. Ask yourself, "What is the honest truth about the situation?"

On overt inclusion ...

It’s fulfilling. There’s not a tremendous amount of gratification in being the first of something if you can't do something meaningful with it and share that. [There's something about being there] to just share access - not pitching, just helping.

On choosing to share information and resources ...

It's about creating more opportunities for people to be in a place of growth and transformation. I'm invested in the creation of organizations, the experience of building and growing with other people. So, sharing is not a decision. It's what I have to do. It's who I am. There is a calculated decision about what and who [I give my time to] … but then it’s pure instinct.

But then, it's pure instinct. 

Interested in learning more about Heather? Check out her portfolio on Pathbrite, or follow her on Twitter.

 

by khoLi.

 

EXPLORE: I think you are a Lost Queen | Interview with founder Eboni Merriman

good news, collections, women at work

#WomenatWork - I think you are a Lost Queen | Interview with Eboni Merriman

via LostQueens.com

If you recognize this catchy tune from Pharrell ...

then you're already familiar with most of the intentional magic that went into the launch of Eboni Merriman's e-commerce boutique, Lost Queens. 

But, since rebranding what began as a spontaneous meeting of passion and necessity, Eboni's baby, Lost Queens, has grown to a self-sustaining nationally-recognized brand.

I've been curious about (and admittedly hardcore stanning for) the Lost Queens Instagram account for awhile now. I've watched as it's grown by thousands of followers, boasting black girl fave ambassadors like Jamilah Lemieux, Nina Amour and Pinned x Stitched's Meron B. But when the new collection launched, inspired by Beyoncé's "Formation," I knew I absolutely needed to have a sit down with Eboni.

But it's 2016 and we're working women on different coasts. So we did what any two long lost girlfriends who had never met would do ... we hopped on the phone.

I won't make you endure the details of the many moments I fell in love with her raw and present energy. But, I will say, baby girl showed up ... in full authenticity.

Five minutes into our convo, Eboni had already offered me her full self, her full spirit, and revealed herself in a form that's rare for many. I'm talking revealing everything from how she couldn't keep a job before pursuing her dream, to her relocating about 15 times since moving back to NY from VA in 2011, to the balancing of depression and being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2015. Did I forget to mention that Eboni is only 24 years old?

Catch the best from my chat with Eboni below.

And shop the new Lost Queens collection with 15% OFF when you enter "LQCARRIEK" at checkout.

On how Lost Queens became a thing ...

I was sitting at home with a friend, typing ideas on a computer - [Eboni and another friend, Nik Adams had previously begun a blog for creative women that would be a spring board for Lost Queens]. I felt like I was just going in circles … and that Pharrell song came on and took me. I felt it and went with it.  I had already been experimenting, selling things on Ebay. So Lost Queens was a way to spread my love for women and pretty things.

 

On creating ...

I can’t pretend like I'm this business woman that has it all together. I didn't have business experience coming into this. I’m just myself, what I go through is what is reflected in the collections.

On trusting herself ...

I do second guess myself a lot. It’s something I’m working on. But, Lost Queens was something I needed. It gave me a chance to say to myself and other women, "It’s ok to be beautiful, be yourself, be different."

On the Lost Queens collections ...

The jewelry is secondary to the girl. It's complementary. Lost Queens is all about that moment when they pull out the phone to take a selfie because they're like "Oh, I look poppin’ today.” Or, "Oh, my hair is poppin', so let me put this headband on."

On what she's learned from her brand fans and followers ...

Everything, really. Black women are the most vocal. So I take their feedback seriously ... I take the advice and fix the problem. And put the growth back in the business.

It's hard to want to end this with anything more than a "Thank you." So, sincerely, Eboni. Thank you. For being and doing you.

 

By khoLi.

 

EXPLORE: @KariFaux has something to say. And, we're listening.

 

good news

Krys Freeman (@blaktivist or @krysfree) -- A birthday look back

Last year, we celebrated when Ari Fitz chatted it up with Krys Freeman (our co-founder) about her personal style, and how that style resonates in the rest of her life.

Today's Krys' birthday. So we decided to bring it back.

It's also Audre Lorde's birthday.

 via flavorwire.com

via flavorwire.com

So ... we also decided to take a little stroll through some our favorite Krys Freeman #lookgoodlivegreat moments ... and let the Lorde narrate.

 

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.
krys freeman huey p newton
It is never easy to demand the most from ourselves, from our lives, from our work. To encourage excellence is to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity of our society is to encourage excellence. But giving in to the fear of feeling and working to capacity is a luxury only the unintentional can afford, and the unintentional are those who do not wish to guide their own destinies.  — “Uses of the Erotic,” Sister Outsider
Who I am is what fulfills me and what fulfills the vision I have of a world. — Conversations with Audre Lorde
krys freeman greenbiz verge
krys freeman black women in tech
You have to learn to love yourself before you can love me or accept my loving. — “Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger,” Sister Outsider
For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. -- "Uses of the Erotic," Sister Outsider
Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.

Feel free to shower Krys with birthday love today. <3