I stand with April Ryan & Maxine Waters.

On being one of many #BlackWomenatWork:
I remember when someone at a previous job gifted me with $5 in play money to “thank me” for a job well done. I remember being told to “smile more” as if I had been hired to provide some sort of reassurance, comfort or entertainment. I remember being constantly made to move, “musical chairs-style” in an office with plenty to spare. I remember being yelled at, cursed at and talked to worse than one would a dog. I remember watching others get away with coming in late and leaving early, when I could take 2 vacation days in a quarter and then be asked to account for “excessive use of time off.”
I remember being point blank asked how I could possibly afford my  designer handbags, shoes or my car. I remember being saddled with other people’s work while they were free to vacation, or simply take up space. I remember other people doing much less and being celebrated, while I could work from here to Kingdom Come and it still wasn’t good enough for a raise, recognition or some other reward. I remember mine being the only black face some people saw except for the cleaning, catering or maintenance people. I remember being asked about crime levels in certain areas of town as if I were the expert on such matters (um, I’m from a RURAL area).
I remember a million micro aggressions including being laughed at repeatedly in a classroom setting as I presented serious research. (That was a straw.) So was having to explain to someone older than I am–yet subordinate to me–why using profanity to talk to me was unacceptable.  Let’s not even go into the rude comments on my hair or the many attempts people have made to put their hands in it.
“Twice as good” is a concept that was drummed into me from the womb.
I needed those jobs, so like most black women I kept my head up, I swallowed a lot of tears and righteous anger,  I ignored a lot of disrespect and I kept pushing. I KEEP PUSHING. Black women typically don’t have much of a choice to do otherwise. I left each of those experiences on my own terms (“always stay gracious; best revenge is your paper”–be it degrees or cash). I wasn’t ever a perfect employee (who is?), but I worked hard. I work hard, still.
Even if it goes without external recognition.  Especially when it does.
I validate and reward myself. #MartyTaughtMe
To be clear: there are countless women who came before me and had it much, much harder. I thank them for enduring and making my way a bit smoother, for the blueprint they left. This isn’t a rant, screed or complaint. It’s merely a series of observations collected over time and added to a narrative. Only by being open about our experiences can we change the pervasive part of our culture that supports Zora Neale Hurston’s words published in 1937:  “The [black] woman is the mule of the world.”
After all, as she also pointed out, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
The rules, expectations and assumptions levied at people who look like me are vastly different and applied on a constantly shifting plane. They are set up so you always fail someone, somewhere or fall short in some way for which you can never quiiiiiiite never atone. They are designed to make you feel less-than and to justify paying you less or failing to promote you. They are bent on teaching — and/or keeping — you in your “place.”
But I’m grateful for what those experiences reinforced in me:
Deal with it.
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(Note: I don’t own the graphic posted above. I just received it in a text and thought it was cool! The featured image of me was shot by Derrick L. Curry of Camera Play Photography.)

Every Michelle Has a Melania.

I SO did not want to address this again. But I have to.

When I was in high school, I saved my allowance to buy a banging new outfit for the Bayou Classic. It was a pair of black jeans (as tight as my mother would allow), a matching black denim cropped vest and a black and white striped top, all by Bongo Jeans and all from The Body Shop, which was THE shop for teenage girls when I was growing up. I was so excited to go to Pensacola’s Cordova Mall and buy this outfit, then wear it in New Orleans and to school.

Imagine how I felt when soon after I’d worn it, a classmate went out and bought a nearly identical outfit, down to the shirt and belt with a big buckle–in hunter green. If there were hundreds of kids in my school it might not have mattered, but there were just about a hundred kids in each class. So if we showed up wearing them on the same day and had the same class(es), it was awkward.

I still wore my outfit but it didn’t feel quite as…special. I never let my classmate know her blatant imitation did not feel like flattery.

I’m a grown up now. And I don’t think anyone is out here trying to copy my looks from head to toe anymore–if they are, good luck with that. What has become impossible to ignore though is people who are, shall we say, heavily inspired by what I’ve written, posted and shared. These are people who stop just short of clicking “Control +C” and “Control +V.” Inspiration is great; many people inspire me. But what you won’t see is me coming out with a Pink Lemonade album, or singing “When Swans Cry” and acting like I thought of it myself.  I won’t ever try to be The Jenesaisquoi, J.Crew is My Favorite Store, Atlantic Pacific or Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, because I’d be a poor imitation. I love them. But it’s much more fun just being me. And if I were going to be inspired by them I’d at least give them props in print (like I just did). Or via video.

I don’t copy because it’s taken me a long time to be totally comfortable being Alexis, and writing in my own voice. That’s why I have to put up this post today. I’ve put too much time and effort into what I do not to defend it. So for those who are leaning heavily on or who are so deeply inspired by my posts,  graduate work or journalism (and I know you’re reading this), that you use it to attempt your own low budget versions, know that I see you.  We all do. E for Effort, darlings! I’m just thankful my family of supporters know the difference between cheap imitations and the real deal.

Make sure you don’t ever get so sloppy and desperate that you directly plagiarize my work, though, because then we’ll have a problem. Let me be explicit: my work is original content that is protected by copyright law*, and I take my intellectual property as seriously as I take getting dressed every day.

Keep it chic,


*i.e. That’s what the fine print at the very bottom of this page means.

Images via Giphy  (<—Here’s another way to attribute work you didn’t do or dream up by yourself. You’re welcome.)

Beyonce gets ‘snatched’

A literal fan tangled with Beyonce’s blonde ‘do during last night’s stop on the Mrs. Carter Show world tour in Montreal. And as this is Beyonce’s world, you can guess how this played out.

Watch the video:

I love white jeans, but…

This commercial does NOT make me want to buy them.  

However, it did provoke either horror or hilarity from just about everyone who saw it during a Scandal commercial break last Thursday night.

‘The Onion’ Stinks.

QuvenzhaneWallis_Oscars2013I was all set to give you my Oscar fashion recap this morning, to talk Oscar highs and lows and to tell you how Halle Berry killed it in Versace, Kerry Washington rocked a pitch-perfect Miu Miu, Jessica Chastain gave us Jessica Rabbit in Armani Prive and a surprise appearance from Mrs. Obama shut them both down in Naeem Khan.


Then I scrolled through my Twitter feed and saw that the parody website The Onion (I refuse to link to them) sank to a new low by calling Best Actress nominee and nine-year-old (!) actress Quvenzhane Wallis the c-word. Where’s the gag in that? Where is the humor? Why and how and where would it be funny to call anyone – much less an innocent little girl – such an awful name? Are they that desperate for internet traffic? Or are they just completely morally bankrupt? This is someone’s daughter. Where do we draw the line and say “Enough”?

Fifty years ago, in the city where I live, where I’m sitting up at twenty minutes to midnight writing this, someone felt it was okay to kill four innocent little girls. Fifty years later, we pat ourselves on the back and think we’ve come so far. And we have. But not far enough. Not when women and girls of ANY race continue to be insulted, objectified and degraded.

There’s nothing funny or fashionable about that.

Shame on The Onion and whoever cosigned that tweet.

*Although she did not win the Oscar, Miss Wallis is set to star in the remake of Annie. And was quick to correct an AP reporter who called her by that moniker, instead of her given name. The tweet was deleted late last night, but that’s not enough. We’ll wait for an apology from The Onion’s leadership. *getsoffsoapbox*

Image via Jezebel

**The Onion has since removed the tweet and issued an apology.


Tomorrow is another day…


        Real Housewives of Atlanta castmate and Miss America USA 1993 Kenya Moore shows us all how to work a caftan while having a meltdown, hunty.  And yet somehow I don’t think Scarlett O’Hara would approve…

Image via Reality TV GIFs


What’s your biggest beauty pet peeve? (One of our biggest no-no’s is illustrated above. Here are two more that get a big “No ma’am!”: VPL and painted-on eyebrows.) Share yours in the comment section!

Image via Hey Dollface

Inquiring minds want to know…

…what do you do when someone copies your look?  Don’t you hate it when you take the time to put together a new outfit, or try a particular hairstyle, and then someone runs out and copycats you down to the smallest detail?

I’m always perplexed when someone (especially an adult) does this. Sure, designers produce and stores sell multiples for a reason, but you know what I’m talking about:  when someone attempts to take over something in particular that may be your signature.  I usually lean toward being the bigger person and overlooking the poor soul who hasn’t the creativity to develop her own personal style (and throwing shade in private). 

What do you think? Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery or is this busted behavior? 

Image via SomeEcards

Haute off the press: Cam Newton to Launch Collection at Belk

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Carolina Panthers quarterback (and GQ cover model) Cam Newton is launching MADE Cam Newton, (a menswear line) with Belk.  The collection will debut in stores and on Belk.com next Spring.  According to Cam: 

“As a man born and raised in the south, I have always known Belk as a benchmark for quality apparel and a destination for clothing that is both functional and stylish. Developing a collection for Belk was a natural fit from the beginning, and we designed the MADE collection with an authentic approach,” said Newton. “I’m happy to bring my vision to a clothing line that provides comfortable, on-trend clothing to men and that reflects my personal style.”

The collection will be comprised of “fashion-forward, versatile, professional apparel options for men, and in fall 2013, will also include accessories and shoes.” Celebrity fashion collections can sometimes go left (hello, House of Dead Wrong), but having seen a few of the casual and professional looks, I have to say the pieces are a sophisticated breath of fresh air (no signs of this or this).  I can’t wait to see how the line will be received here in Alabama (I’m sure the Auburn family will be “all in”). 

Your thoughts?

Update: My source told me “tees will start at $28 and a blazer will be around $120, [offering] a wide variety of prices for any budget. [Belk and Mr. Newton] created this collection for people to be able to purchase what their wallet allows…we wanted to offer a variety of choices.”

Images via Belk, Inc./PRNewswire

Shackles on my feet, indeed. 

We feel this footwear – designed by Jeremy Scott – was in utterly poor taste, as did Jesse Jackson; your thoughts?

From Adidas:  “The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery,” the statement said. “We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”

Adidas, get your life.

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Image via Adidas

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