Meet Our {un}convention Diversity Panelists: Lucy Baber

Meet Our {un}convention Diversity Panelists: Lucy Baber

I started considering how I could give back to the community with my art. During the summer of 2016, I had this idea to take candid family photos of black fathers with their children, in an effort to change the negative media narrative that black fathers are all "deadbeat dads" and "criminals." I am proud to live in a very racially integrated area, and I realized that the amazing black fathers that I know just don't fit that narrative. I wanted to give them a voice—to offer a platform for them to tell their stories. And then of course, after the presidential election last year I felt an even stronger sense of urgency to get this message out. That's when my project "100 Black Dads" was officially launched.

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Debunking Bigotry // Trump's Response to Events in Charlottesville and What Really Happened

Debunking Bigotry // Trump's Response to Events in Charlottesville and What Really Happened

Trump's Tuesday press conference demonstrated not only complacency in white supremacy, but also support of these acts. I sat in horror and disbelief as I watched the president of the United States condemn the "alt-left," a made-up term for those fighting for human rights and against white supremacy. I watched him talk over reporters, shout at people, and go completely off teleprompter. But really, were any of us surprised?

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Tulle & Fury // The Joy of the Oppressed is Political

Tulle & Fury // The Joy of the Oppressed is Political

I often felt like I wasn’t fighting hard enough. I wasn’t doing enough to combat the trauma and distress of racism and institutionalized hate. I felt like I was hiding. But then I sat down and looked at the work that I do. It’s beyond the details. The core of the work is facilitating joy. As I heard David Tutera describe it, the burden of wedding professionals is to create a “bubble” moment that envelopes everyone and allows them to escape.

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Kin Aesthetics // Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice

Kin Aesthetics // Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice

There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter does not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who doesn’t know everything, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:

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Woke Wednesday // Meet St. Louis Photographer Raquita Henderson of Pinxit Photo

Woke Wednesday // Meet St. Louis Photographer Raquita Henderson of Pinxit Photo

For Woke Wednesday, we chatted with Raquita Henderson, the photographer behind Pinxit in St. Louis, to discuss how she started photographing weddings at age 13, how she risks losing business by being vocal about her values, and how much she deeply loves weddings.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Black BeauTEA Talk // When Diversity is Cool, Black Women Are Still Ignored, Tokenized, and Used

Diversity and representation are important, but before you send out that model call, stop and ask yourself these questions.

1. Why is diversity important to black women?

2. What do I do regularly to help fight against the white supremacist world we live in?

3. What will this black woman gain from doing my photo shoot?

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Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

I greatly underestimated the journey to motherhood. I had nine months to change my mentality and to become the woman and mother I have always dreamt I'd be. I've learned more about myself in these past months than I have in my 28 years on earth. I wanted my maternity session to reflect that growth. My journey hasn’t been easy to say the least, but I have and will continue to overcome all obstacles in my way. At the time of my session, I felt confident in my new role of Mommy-to-be. Megan and Garrett were spot-on with a location that would reflect this change. Mansions are beautiful and known to  symbolize wealth. I found beauty in my transition from independent young woman to highly-favored young mother. I have now become rich—rich in knowledge, strength, and unconditional love for another. Like a mansion, the home for me and my daughter, Ava, will be built brick by brick on a solid foundation of faith. I’m so thankful that I have pictures that truly depict the woman I have now become and the mother that I know I will be. 

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Real Couples // From the Beach to the Mountains: Ty + Jarred

Real Couples // From the Beach to the Mountains: Ty + Jarred

These two decided to elope and have a simple ceremony that included just the two of them. For their official wedding photos they wanted photos to reflect their time spent together in Utah. They met by fate one night outside of a club and have not been apart since. They loved to take drives out to the flats and watch the sun set over the city. We spent the day adventuring together doing just that. 

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

We spoke with Erika Swift, the owner of J&E Designs and The Bridal Loft in Phoenix, Arizona, about her experience growing up in a predominantly white community and finding her voice in the wedding industry to advocate for couples of color. 

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Real Couples // Love & Board Games: Alex + Brooke

Real Couples // Love & Board Games: Alex + Brooke

Brooke and Alexandria are a couple who exude warmth. Spend 2 minutes with them, and you feel like you have known them your entire life. They are a couple whose love grew quickly and deeply, and you could not imagine one without the other. Brooke wanted to surprise Alexandria with a session that captured who they are as a married couple and that included some board games, some cuddling, laughter in spades, and that warmth that just brings you into their story.

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Let Me Ruin This For You // How PepsiCo Failed to Properly Exploit a Movement for Money

Let Me Ruin This For You // How PepsiCo Failed to Properly Exploit a Movement for Money

There’s probably a Pepsi executive out there right now, shaking his head over a half-full decanter, wondering how such a dependable method of advertising failed him. Maybe he’s sitting in a dark room, projecting a YouTube compilation of the 2017 Super Bowl commercials onto the wall, thinking to himself, “What about Budweiser’s pro-immigration commercial? What about Coke’s anti-wall spot? Have we not made it clear that we too stand with the youths? We also believe in music and conversations and hijabs!”

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Makeup Artist Brittney Taylor

Woke Wednesday // Meet Makeup Artist Brittney Taylor

Feminism is touchy for me because I feel it was created (or given the title and taken mainstream) by white women and fails to include black women. Black children, women, and men are my FIRST priority and who I scream the loudest for. So when something puts that second, it's hard for me to carry the title—although I do understand and agree with the views of feminism. I would say I'm an advocate for social justice because I do believe in equality, and I know the system is fucked up. What it all means to me is pulling your head out of the sand and saying, "That's some bullshit, and it's not okay," and then doing whatever you can to change it.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Corporate Curls and Natural Hair in the Workplace

Black BeauTEA Talk // Corporate Curls and Natural Hair in the Workplace

Hey ladies, it's been a minute. Did ya miss me?! So I'm sitting here sippin' this hot tea that I'm so excited to tell y'all about! Today's tea is from a black-owned company called SoRen Tea; I ordered it on their website. Honestly, I usually go to the market and just grab a box of tea because it's just tea, right? But I decided to go online to find some black-owned tea companies to try, and this one caught my eye because it looked so luxe. The tea is a loose tea and comes in a black tin, which I know you already know because you've clicked the link to go support these sisters already. So I got the peach flavor; comment below and let me know which one you're gonna try or if you already knew about this company and I'm late as hell.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Seattle Photographer Bri Richards

Woke Wednesday // Meet Seattle Photographer Bri Richards

Liz: Is there anything else you would like to share with folks reading who are also working to find their own place and their own identity?

Bri: I would say to others that it starts with stepping out of the denial. Don’t deny how you feel or think because it is beautiful, and it is you. Once you stop denying you can start loving, and that extends to yourself.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Natural Bridal Hairstyles Especially for Black Brides

Black BeauTEA Talk // Natural Bridal Hairstyles Especially for Black Brides

Black BeauTEA talk is a monthly column, and I look forward to bringing you ladies all sorts of TEA. No, seriously I'll definitely be sharing with you all what tea (as in the drink) I'm sipping as I write each post, as well as what tea (as in the latest news) I'm sipping as far aa beauty tips, tricks, and products for us.

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Can Straight White People Ever Really Be Woke?

Can Straight White People Ever Really Be Woke?

Let’s get it all out in the open. I am a straight cisgender white woman, and the only thing I know I am fully aware of is the fact that I can never understand what it’s like to be a member of the LGBTQ community or a person of color. I can never know what it’s like to be afraid to kiss or hold hands with my S.O. in public. I can never know what it’s like to live my entire life penalized by systemic racism. I can never know what it’s like to be afraid to pray in public. I am blessed with more privilege in my life than I can ever fully account for, and I accept that and acknowledge it. Because of that privilege I don’t think I will feel comfortable calling myself “woke.” I think the best thing that I can aspire to as a straight cisgender white woman is to be “woke-ish.”

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