Let’s talk about the cringing topic of colourism, also known as shadeism. It is slowly becoming a phenomenon that is hard to ignore. What actually triggered my thoughts regarding this issue, is a recent episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, where one cast member is so adamant on transforming her skin tone from a dark shade to a lighter one because she feels rejected by the American audience. She feels that the audience, in particular, does not regard as her beautiful enough because she does not match the existing beauty standards of the music industry, being light skinned amongst other things.
She calls the black race hypocrites because we are the first to make crude remarks about darker shaded people, yet we are also the first to rebuke and judge the same people when they resort to lightening their tone. Colourism focuses on the ‘black’ race on a wider spectrum looking at all the shades between black and brown. I say ‘black’ because for whatever reason (perhaps the term black is understood to be derogatory and degrading, given to us people of colour by colonialists and former slave owners) some choose to identify as brown. Actually thinking about it, we must be the only race that has further divided itself in terms of color, especially in modern times.
Indians are also known to carry a different attitude to different skin tones; this is simply a matter of an existing caste system. It is believed that the lighter you are the wealthier your family and family name, the darker you are the poorer you are. The lowest caste members use to work in the fields, and performed hard labour in the scorching sun, that is opposite for the higher caste members. Region also plays a role, the north and south region.
Looking at African history, South Africa for example, we are divided into 11 ethnic groups. This division came upon during the colonial era in the form of what is known as indirect rule. This was a strategy employed by the minority, white Europeans, so that they could exercise power and ruler-ship over the majority Africans. This segregation meant that we were divided by the means of land and ethnicity. This is still very much apparent today, as we have the Xhosas who occupy the Eastern Cape, former Transkei area and the Zulu who occupy Kwa-Zulu Natal, former Zulu Land. However, these two groups belong, together with emaSwati and amaNdebele, to the same traditional group (I refuse to use the term ‘tribe’, because the term does not exist in any of our ethnical languages), the Nguni, but this division had to take place, because that was the only way the white man could manage his authority, in the form of divide and conquer. So, our division as a race has always been socially inclined, it is psychologically instilled in us.
We can all admit to the fact that oppression still exists in today’s society across Africa and even in countries outside of Africa where black people reside. Every day forms of oppression include opportunities and equality, and for those reasons I do not blame those who believe that if they identify as something lighter they would be subject to the same opportunities and experience similar equality as their white counter parts. So much so, that we have then ventured to divide ourselves further within a race. I don’t think that most black people are aware that this is a form of oppression that stems from colonization. This kind is rather subtle and it is psychological, almost like religion.
I think what puzzles me the most is the fact that I’ve never witnessed a whitening experience from a dark shade to a lighter brown shade, it almost always seems to be on the extreme side; looking like a white character. I presume this is where the negative speech about skin bleaching stems from. Does it mean that you completely dislike the brown skin, because you do not even try to measure to a lighter shade of black or brown, but instead you aim for a shade outside of the spectrum?
There is the whole melanin movement whereby black people conscientise towards celebrating darker shades of brown. But before that the light skinned woman was seen as more beautiful and accepted by society and within the black community. The light skinned girl therefore grows up with an unsolicited type of confidence that the darker skinned woman did not experience because society did not recognize her beauty as equal to that of a lighter skinned woman. This begins at a preparatory stage, unconsciously, perhaps from the white children that black children in mixed schools associated with.
But it disseminates into our adulthood, as what we adopt in our early ages grows and sticks with us, especially if society also supports it. So, here we are today with emojis that have different shades of black, and we have stop and compare which shade actually resembles my true shade, and no one ever chooses that last dark shade, because it’s ‘too dark’, but is it not as black as the others are? Are the lighter shades also not black? How does it even impact how others see you?
Actually why is changing your skin tone even a consideration? My point is that it is silently ingrained in our psyche that our colour may be the root cause of the problem, as it was in history. But I am firm believer of changing or altering whatever it is you may not like about yourself, by all means, especially if you can afford it. I am not one to judge you.
However, I perceive small-scale social things like this as things that are subtle and subliminal but are also highly effective forms of oppression; they are ways in which black people continue to exercise the influence of colonization on our own race. We have to praise and applaud the whole recognizing melanin movement, because we need to abandon what we have been taught about color and honor each and every shade of black, this will ultimately result in a unified race that is undisputedly more powerful.
By Tshiedza Chivizhe
Rules are meant to be broken, why not start with a fashion statement.
There are many ways a person can express their mood, from that basic weekend sweater you wear when don’t feel like doing anything, to your favorite LBD. As Karl Lagerfeld once said, “one is never overdressed or under dressed with a Little Black Dress”. Truth be told fashion is one of the ways you can release a statement without being heard but seen.
Style and Fashion Trends
Two different words but both similar in one way or another. Some people would prefer to stick to their everyday style while others, on the other hand would rather follow fashion trends. Fashion obsesses over perfect proportions whereas style is an individual choice unique to how a person wants to present themselves and be perceived. Think of Fashion as the weather, you can never be sure about it because it changes now and then, whilst style would be compared to climate as it barely changes, maybe, but overtime.
The Rise of Style and its Street Influence
Who would want to wear the same clothes as the girl next-door? Well, some of us would and there’s nothing wrong about that. But that is changing slowly but surely and this is because of a new wave called, “style”. Style has been around for a while but hasn’t been getting the same spotlight it used to get until now. It seems like the fashion trends our parents had in the 80s and 90s are suddenly becoming our sense of style but in a modernized edit known as street style.
“Street style” has influenced and changed the fashion industry in a way that, it kind of highlights the fact that “its okay to be different, so embrace it”. Like the young Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi who is not only releasing fashion statements on social media but showing us that we are all unique, equal and living art as we are all a shade of brown which adds more to the fact that we should celebrate our differences. I can say that street style has really become as big as the runway show itself as it has proved that you don’t need to have a lot of money to look good and feel good about yourself, be who you are and show it through your personal style. It can be really difficult to articulate the power of fashion and style through words but one of the most powerful style quotes was by an icon, Gianni Versace when he said, “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live”
Can I use Fashion to build my Self-Esteem?
In my opinion I would definitely say, Yes. I believe that you feel good when you look good. Fashion doesn’t only help with building self esteem, it can also have an impact to improve your confidence. A lot of girl teenagers these days find it hard keeping up with all the fashion trends and peer pressure which is where “style” comes in. With your own unique sense of style you can show and express who you are and not what people want you to be in society. Have you ever thought, “Why do we wear black when it’s a funeral and white for a wedding?” It its because what you wear reflects and affects your mood and overall confidence.
It is not always necessary to dress to the nines but if wearing that dress which people say seems like it was taken out of the history book, makes you feel comfortable then wear it. Its like we dress according to what society thinks we should dress rather than what we want to wear which I see as working backwards, instead of us building each others self esteem and confidence we tend to break each down in order to get ahead. Well, an “eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”- Mahatma Gandhi.
Science has even proven that what you wear not only signals something to others, it affects your own self perception which is where fashion statements come in. Wearing something like a pantsuit or that red formal outfit gives a signal that shows that you mean business. What I’m trying to say is that we might not have the same style but dressing to suit a role helps a lot with building self-image and self-esteem. What I can also conclude to this question is, you can’t build self esteem with a sense of style that doesn’t represent who you are and therefore you can’t be the best version of yourself.
How to find your own unique sense of style in five steps
Let’s first go back to understanding what the term “personal style” means. It is all about knowing what looks good on you, expresses who you are, makes you feel good and confident
1 Personality Check
Personality is defined as the characteristic set of behaviors, cognitions and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. Which adds more to why we all have different senses of style. Maybe you are all about being fit and athletic, you might find wearing heels a problem. Which is why you would rather stick to flat shoes as they are comfortable.
2 What you like in the fashion industry
Maybe those ankle boots you saw last week at the mall which are suddenly becoming a need? Or the animal print that just became a trend? Well its up to you, some of us prefer our jeans tight while others like them baggy with a lot of pockets and comfortable. Which is perfectly ok because detail matters.
Red? Why not share the drama. Well it doesn’t really matter what colors you choose as long as you are able to use shades and play around with different colors. But try to avoid wearing a lot of different colored patterns and prints at once unless its a photoshoot of course
4 Find your own fashion icon
Depending on what you like wearing, why not find a fashion icon with a similar sense of style as you maybe Billie Eillish, when feeling like wearing your emotions or Sho Madjozi if you want to express the fun and playful side of who you are. Don’t forget that you are trying to find “your” own personal style and not your fashion icon’s, so always view whatever they are wearing with your own vision
5 What did you get?
After doing all of these steps you will find out how different and unique your personal style is or you might still think you still don’t know or get what your personal style, in the meantime just wear what you are comfortable with and look good in and eventually it will all come together as “style”.
Written By Khanyisile Msebenzi
It’s not like we hadn’t watched Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella online last year already, seeing it again was like walking into feminist heaven!
Going into the film I thought it was a mostly behind the scenes film, but it actually was mostly the concert, this was the only disappointment I had with the film. In this world of celebrity over exposure no one can blame us for wanting to know more about Beyoncé’s daily life and thinking. But it did give enough insight to satiate curiosities for a week or so. But, I can definitely say, this film made me fall more in love with Beyonce. I didn’t think it was possible, and so I promote myself as head of the Beyhive in my circle of friends.
1 I loved how Beyonce unreservedly shared about the difficulties she experienced during her pregnancy. Maternal health, especially black woman maternal health has come into the spotlight lately in the USA because a much higher percentage of black women die of complications during pregnancy compared to other races. In Africa the statistics are even worse with many countries having healthcare systems that aren’t equipped to properly diagnose or treat pregnancy complications like preeclampsia fast enough. There are more conditions that lead to either the death of a baby or the mother. Beyonce had to have an emergency c-section to save her life and that of her twins.
2 Beyonce works hard for her body! She was clearly unfit and had gained almost twice her weight during pregnancy. She shows us how she struggles to get fit and strong again and also shares how scared she was she would never be the same. She went on a strict diet, eliminated all carbohydrates and had a hectic work out regime. One of my favourite parts is when she fits into one of the costumes she used to wear before pregnancy and she calls Jay Z to share the news and he is really excited for her and reacts with the enthusiasm we expect from our girlfriends who understand the stress of trying to lose weight and fit into old clothes. Guys, learn from Jay Z! If it matters to us and it stresses us, even if you think it is trivial, act as though you are just as invested as we are, lol!
3 The first film Beyonce did was to give us a peak into her life as she had taken time off to raise Blue Ivy and to get some much deserved rest. This film had a clear message, her Coachella performance was a message, it was a celebration of black culture and black history, owning it without being ashamed. She says she couldn’t believe she was the first black woman to headline such a big and international concert, and practically shamed the organizers that it took them so long when black culture influences America and the world so much. Her being inspired by what goes on at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) made me wish we had the same culture here. But instead, in South Africa black colleges and universities are seen as offering inferior quality of education and overall experience. Perhaps our black elite can start contributing to these and build institutions of excellence that take pride in being black instead of having all of us clamoring to get into the Wits, Stellenboschs and UCTs. HBCUs in the USA are mainly funded by its black alumni.
4 Beyonce used her Coachella performance to celebrate every woman. She had women of all shapes and sizes on that stage and she did it purposefully too. One of the women interviewed in the film is a sister from Nigeria who is now American and she was still in disbelief that she was chosen to participate in the show for Beyonce. Beyonce set out to tell us ladies that we are beautiful as we are, as unique as we are no matter how thick, or thin, or tall. No matter our skin tone or the texture of our hair, she didn’t seek to find ‘clones’ of herself, we all could see ourselves on that stage. And importantly celebrate all black peoples not just African Americans.
5 My biggest learning was this -> Beyonce was involved in every part of planning her Coachella performance. She was involved in the choosing of everything from the design of the stage, materials used to make costumes, choreography and the placement of the smallest thing! That’s a big job! Whilst still working on her own fitness, performance, breastfeeding and caring for her babies at the same damn time! Not only that, she was also ensuring that the performance looks good live on stage as well as in video. There was a time when most of the team thought they had nailed the performance but she wasn’t happy with how it translates on video. She chose every single dancer and every single artist and performer. That is a Girl Boss, she didn’t outsource a single part of this, she took full control. Often in our lives or at school or at work we leave something important to us in the hands of somebody else and when they drop the ball we blame them. We are quick to blame others. There is nothing that we should ever feel we don’t have control over, not even the financing of our university fees, we can always find a way.
6 Beyonce brought on her sister Solange and her sisters from Destiny’s Child, she didn’t have to. Nobody expected her to and nobody would have crucified her or judged her if she hadn’t brought them on. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams wouldn’t have blamed her if she didn’t include them in her show. Destiny’s Child has been ‘over’ for years, and yet she still brings them onto key and big shows, she did the same with her big Super Bowl Show. She walks the talk, that we can all shine, she doesn’t try to shine alone. As women this is very important, as we fight for equality we need to do so together and pull each other up. You don’t lose anything by helping another woman.
Beyoncé’s Coachella performance was as impactful on the world’s consciousness as her Super Bowl performance. Which also had a strong message about black pride, black unity and a call to action around Black Lives Matter.
Beyonce is an artist using her celebrity to influence the world for the better and she’s doing this proudly as a black woman.
Watch the Official Homecoming Trailer Here
The event we have all been waiting for is upon us, winter has come. And, girl, it didn’t disappoint. From the title sequence, it was as EPIC as epic fantasy demands! The 3D animation map of the Game of Thrones world was magnificent, it didn’t just show you the 3D unfolding’s and mechanical constructions of the different castle’s, it also showed you inside the buildings. It was spellbinding! And, when the iron throne rose from the floor and unfolded, our viewing party all cheered in joy and excitement. From the beginning we knew, nothing was same.
I don’t know where to start…It starts with shots of The Unsullied marching in snow, to Winterfell. I can still hear the sound of the mechanical marching reverberating in my ears. And then, yooooohhhh, the power couple of the century, Queen Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (who we found out in the previous season is actually, the rightful King, Aegon Targaryen) entering Winterfell, side by side on horseback, accompanied by the greatest army ‘modern’ Westeros has ever seen. The camera work of the opening scene is breath taking. Again, we all roared in enchantment. Expect Sizwe, who was watching his very first Game of Thrones Episode… If this was not dramatic enough, we then see shots of two glorious full-grown dragons flying over ice capped mountains, the Queens mighty army and Winterfell. The reactions to this military supremacy was electrifying. For us watching at home and for the hardy Northerners of Winterfell.
My mind was blown many times throughout the episode. Entire storylines came full circle and people that we have been following for years, met for the very first time or were reunited after years of being separated. The most mind-boggling scene for me has got to be the final scene, of Jamie arriving to Winterfell after riding on horseback from Kings Landing. The way they conjure up the suspense, as you see the figure of a rider, hooded and dressed in all back. They off mount the horse, take their gloves off and lastly the helmet. Revealing the face of the greying Jamie Lannister, the pompous prick we’ve grown to love, looking up into the light. Then he looks over his shoulder sensing someone watching him. The look of recognition in Jamie’s eyes, of Brandon Stark (the Three Eyed Raved) the boy he attempted to murder when he was a lesser man back in the last scene of S01E01. Jamie was #SHOOK and we at home were undeniably discombobulated.
In our post-episode discussion, it was revealed to me what the White Walkers represent. Climate Change and Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was not the first time I had been enlightened but somehow it previously didn’t absorb into my mentality. The feeling of coming to terms with the allegory of Game of Thrones was positively terrifying.
Here we are on Earth, “The Pale Blue Dot”
“We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there?—?on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturing’s, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light . . .
To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”Carl Sagan, speech at Cornell University, October 13, 1994
The Earth is on the brink of an ecological catastrophe. Due to humanities negative impact on our environment. A lifestyle that we have created and perpetuate in our day to day lives will only serve to destroy our species. But, the planet will prevail. Mother Earth’s capacity to incubate life is miraculous. Hence, it is us that will suffer and perish if we do not act now to reduce our carbon emissions, plastic pollution, deforestation and all the other capitalistic monstrosities. We are the people of Westeros who choose to take sides and subscribe to the ideologies of powerful people that believe in the delusion of their own grandeur. Who alienate entire communities due to petty border and territorial disputes. In the end it does not matter. The decision isn’t between this side and that side. It’s between the beauty of life or the end. Are we going to choose life or face extinction? Whether you’re a Make America Great Again Trump supporter or a Black Lives Matter Activist in the end we are human beings and we need to put our differences aside and face the end of our world together as one. Because, darling, the final season of global warming has come.
Your girl went to Living Room in Maboneng to taste the food and feel the atmosphere. The Maboneng Precinct is a trendy area in the Johannesburg CBD. Maboneng means ‘place of light’ in seSetho and the first time I went there I thought this is the South Africa the enlightened Nelson Mandela envisioned in his 46664 prison cell in Robben Island.
It’s a place where the cool people gather on weekends. Although I am new to Joburg I am aware there is unfortunately glaring inequality like many other places in South Africa.
I guess the question is, did I feel alive in the living room? And the answer is yes, it’s a roof top café that has a lot of plant life. There is something calming about seeing all the green of the plants, it’s beautiful. It’s actually more of an event venue but when they’re not hosting a private event. The place is open as a restaurant from 11am-10pm from Wednesday to Friday. Therefore, one should check the online calendar if planning on going there on Saturday or Sunday as they be hosting a private function. If not then they have Djs come through on weekends and there is a chilled vibe. The music is that music that hipsters listen to that we really can’t name the genre unless you’re a music head. I like to think of it as ‘post-genre’ music, lol.
Lets Talk About The Food
I shared the food with my sister as there is no way I could eat all of it by my selfie.
For starters I ordered from the Gourmet Tapas section of the menu
I got the SAFA Classic- R30. Which is two small crispy beef, veg spaghetti and pickled cucumber spring rolls served with peppadew cream cheese dip. The spring rolls were crispy and the filling tasted of crispy beef and veg. Crispy beef is basically browned beef, when you fry it on a high temperature and that brown seal forms. That’s the flavorful part and it tasted mostly of that. It had simple yet effective taste but I’m was left feeling, where are the aromatics?
I also got the Dimsum Yum- R40. Which was 4 steamed Asian Pastries with coriander chicken filling. It was delicious! I Highly recommend this as a starter. The chicken filling was tender and flavorful with coriander and ginger. The dipping sauce tasted of soy, sesame oil, chilli and there sweetness to it. It was lovely. I love the taste of soy sauce there was a time where I would put soy in all my food. And, every time I did I would say, “it’s time for my boy, soy”, so soy is my homeboy.
The mains we got was the Ocean Breeze- R115. Which is fresh mussels steamed in white wine and garlic. Finished in either a mussel broth or a yellow Thai coconut curry. Served with two fresh mini rolls. It was also very tasty. The mussels were fresh and not overpowering. I’m not a fan of mussels as I think they taste too much of the sea. But I think the ones I have had in the past were not fresh. These fresh ones, were the ones, damn, it was so good. It was creamy as the sauce base was coconut cream, there was the taste of garlic, coriander, lemon and lemon grass. I enjoyed it and I am converted. I am now a believer of mussels. However, I wished they had been served with noodles not bread rolls as you just want to slurp all the soupy goodness.
We also got the Stripped- R140. Which is a Grilled Sirloin (250g) steak cut into strips served with a tangy mustard cream and french fries or a small salad. I got fries of course, as I haven’t out grown potato chips yet. I think if there was ever a marker of adulthood it would be when you get the small salad instead of fries. That’s when I’ll know I’m grown AF, I don’t play.
I asked for the steak to be medium and I got what I asked for. It tasted of chargrilled beef and herbs. The mustard cream was tasty. I guess it depends on how you like your food. Some people want their meat to taste like meat and everything else must enhance that natural flavor of the meat. Whereas I like my food to taste of meat and the seasoning.
For desert, we wanted the Peachy -R45. It is a glass jar filled with grilled peach, ginger cookie crumble, lemon and mint curd. Topped with ice cream but unfortunately it wasn’t available. So, we shared the Yes Please -R45, it was a Deep-Fried Bar One with Salted Caramel. It was yummy for sure. The batter was little crispy and warm. I could taste the batter also had lemon juice in the dough making it balanced and not overwhelmingly sweet. The salted caramel tasted lush but the texture was grainy as some of the sugar was still crystallized and there wasn’t enough of it, sadly.
All in all, I really enjoyed the living room. I even danced a little with some happy strangers. I definitely recommend the spot, but I wish the music was more distinctively South African. So I can feel I am really living the post-apartheid South African dream.