Good morning Eclectic Chic family! How are you all feeling? I know I have been having some intense, raw, open, and honest conversations with friends, family, and supporters. My influencer sisters and I have acknowledged the lack of diversity in the influencing and blogging community. Non-Black influencers have expressed a desire to understand the types of discrimination Black influencers face, and help to fight against any unfair treatment we are subjected to. I wrote this letter to them, and wanted to share it with my Eclectic Chic family, as well. I hope this helps to shed light and bring understanding.
Hi rS sisters! The positive, raw, open, and caring conversations I have seen and taken part in within this group during the past couple of days has prompted me to share something really personal with you all. Attached are pictures that demonstrate examples of overt and covert racism that I have personally experienced. I have been struggling with whether or not to post this. There was a time when Black people sharing their stories and experiences was met with invalidation, defensiveness, and dismissiveness. This has hindered our ability to communicate with one another openly and address issues that are incredibly important. However, many of you all have expressed a desire to increase your understanding and awareness of Black culture and racism in our world. Plus, you all have made me feel safe…so here goes nothing 🤞🏽😊😬
The first picture is of an email I received, in 2015, from a previous modeling agency I was signed to. After I excitedly prepared for this casting call, I was told there was no need for non-Caucasian/White models to attend. Basically, “you’re Black, so don’t come”. Ok, so not the first time I’ve been told I was not wanted for something because of my skin color. Another modeling agency I was signed to informed me that many brands do not want to book Black models. My booking agent also added, in a matter of fact manner, that I would be lucky to be booked for a toothpaste ad or pizza ad because I was a Black model.
The second photo is of an anonymous piece of racist hate mail that was mailed to my home address referring to me as the n word. I received this letter while I was preparing 2 days before participating in a Miss USA preliminary state pageant in 2014.
Me in my Pageant Gown During Rehearsal
During the Swimsuit Fashion Show
I will say that as a strong, educated, kind, caring Black woman…this hurts. I’ll say it again. Being constantly overlooked, dismissed, and told to “shut up” and “get over it” whenever showing any sign of disappointment, frustration or sadness…it hurts. Looking down the newsfeeds of major brands and companies only to see predominantly Caucasian models and influencers…it hurts. While feeling appreciation for the brands and influencers putting campaigns on hold during this time in solidarity of the BLM movement; it is also frustrating that many Black influencers, including myself, do not have any campaigns to put on hold because we are constantly overlooked and turned down for opportunities we apply for. Yes, that hurts, too. Wow! That felt good to say. It’s funny how you only find yourself admitting that something hurts when you are certain that someone even cares.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Counselor, and the owner of a private practice, the past months for me have been filled with doing much more grief counseling than usual for those who have lost loved ones from COVID-19. Just when I thought our world had enough on its plate to handle and cope with, I turn on the news and become mortified at what I see. I have felt heavy and heartbroken by the recent murder of George Floyd. During this time of pain and confusion, it lifts my spirits some seeing the positive, courageous, supportive, and intelligent posts of my friends, family, and many others…including those in this group. It feels good to see that we are all acknowledging this together, mourning together, and collectively thinking of ways to do better for future generations to come (not just today, the next week, the next year, but indefinitely).
I know some of you are wondering if you should say something, and if so, what to say. If you are coming from a place of equality and positivity, saying something is always better than saying nothing. Will you always say the right thing? Probably not. None of us do. That is ok. If we hurt someone’s feelings, we can acknowledge it, apologize, fix it, and continue working alongside one another for this collective good. We have to stay open to one another while keeping these conversations going. You all speaking up has meant the world to me and more 💖 Thank you for listening, caring, and understanding.
Founder of Eclectic Chic®
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