Insecure

Today is August 17th, 2017 which is my Birthday (Earthday)… whatever name you want to call it! This year I decided upon a photo shoot. Not just any photo shoot, but a photo shoot and a blog to promote positive body image. I remember being displeased with my body at the age of nine. Some of my body parts seemed to be growing fast, which looked very awkward on a child. Adults would make negative comments about my body and we all know how cruel kids can be.
 
I always seemed to be bigger than everyone else including my friends. Even in high school, I considered myself to be the big girl with the pretty face. You see being “thick” wasn’t all that popular in my day. I mean don’t get me wrong, there has always been males, at that time, that made me feel good about my body- but the damage had already been done. If you don’t feel good about your body it doesn’t even matter what anyone else thinks.
 
The lead girls in music videos were always thin unless it was Buffy the Body and she was all butt back then! I don’t really recall seeing many positive images of bigger women on TV, if I saw any at all. My birthday photo shoot felt like a coming out moment for me. It’s me accepting my entire body flaws and all! Recently one of my Facebook friends asked if there were any girls out here with naturally perfect curves without any enhancements from surgery. If you didn’t know we are in the age of Brazilian butt jobs, liposuction, tummy tucks, and gastric bypass surgery. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those procedures if that is what you need to feel beautiful.  As a person that has never had any type of surgery, those avenues just aren’t for me currently.
 
My body may not be perfect, but I love the way I look!  I definitely have curves, and I make an effort to workout 4-5 days a week. I don’t workout due to my weight; I workout because I want to obtain and maintain good health. This blog isn’t just about big or bigger girls. This blog is for every girl or woman who has ever been told that she’s too skinny or too tall. For every woman who has been told her breast or butt weren’t big enough, or that her stomach wasn’t flat enough. It’s for every person that has ever been compared to a model, actress, singer, or some random girl on Instagram that shows all her goods!
 
Embrace whatever body type that you may have. Look at your beautiful naked body in the mirror and speak positive life into yourself! You believe what you tell yourself, and as long as you speak positively to yourself you’ll never feel insecure.
 
Respect and love your body no matter its shape or size.
 
Photo credit JMT Printing & Design photo of Ashley Rae..

Detroit

I decided to create a list of details that you need to know regarding what was taking place in the city of Detroit before the 1967 riot: And before you watch the movie “Detroit,” which will be in theaters August 4th, 2017. I have been told the movies narrative will accurately portray the plight of the citizens, and what actually happened that night to ignite the riot. Most of the list are things that were occurring or occurred before the 1967 riot, and there are a few items listed that happened directly after the riot ended.

1. There was a race riot in 1943.
2. African American (Pan Africans, Blacks) people were dissatisfied with the social conditions in Detroit before July 23rd 1967.

3. African Americans (Pan Africans, Blacks) constantly reported discrimination against them in
A. Policing (Harassing citizens and putting them in jail without cause).
B. Housing (African Americans experienced redlining meaning they could only live in certain areas).
C. Employment.
D. Spatial segregation in the city.
E. Mistreatment by business owners/merchants.
F. Shortage of facilities.
G. Poor quality of public education.
H. Lack of access to medical services.
I. The way war on poverty operated in Detroit.

4. African Americans insisted and pleaded with the Mayor to create a review board for the Detroit Police Department due to the brutal beatings and killings of African American people by the police. Of course the review board wasn’t created.

5. Police brutality constantly made African American people feel at risk. The Detroit news had headlines regarding many suspicious and unjust deaths of Black people caused by Detroit Police officers.

6. African American people were tired of being spoken to disrespectfully by police. For example addressing Black men as “boys” and Black women as “honey “ and “baby.”

7. African Americans reported police brutality as the number one problem they faced leading up to the riot.

8. African Americans felt police raided after hours unjustly because the police knew African Americans weren’t allowed in the clubs in Detroit.

9. When the riot started the unemployment rate of Black men was more than twice the amount of White men.

10. By 1967 the homes that African Americans lived in were rented from Jewish owners that now lived in the Suburbs, and they owned the local businesses as well. Most of the Black owned thriving businesses had already been demolished thanks to the Government for building I-75.

11. White Flight began, which is when White people began moving out of Detroit in huge numbers. Businesses began to leave Detroit, and businesses refused to invest or locate in the city. The 60’s are the mark of the decline of Detroit.

Let’s not forget these very important events including assassinations that occurred before the 1967 riot!
The Vietnam war officially began in 1961. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The Civil Rights Act to stop discrimination was also signed and passed by Congress in 1964. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965.

If you’ve read the list you’ll be able to identify with many issues because they are still happening today. I hope the information provided help you understand the frustration, discrimination, hopelessness, fear, anger, sorrow, depression, and anxiety that Black people felt at that time. Imagine being trapped in the same place with all those feelings that I stated. Imagine being punished and further pushed to the edge, because you displayed how tired you were of being mistreated. Tired of identifying the problem, and yet nothing being done to rectify the situation.

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It’s just biology

It’s that time of year again! You guessed it prom season. Social media is filled with pictures of young men and women in their gowns and garments, getting ready to enjoy their last high school special occasion before their graduation. There was a picture that I stumbled across of a young lady going to prom and she was pregnant. If I had to guess, I would say somewhere between 6 and 9 months pregnant. She wore a beautiful form-fitting gown. Her hair was styled in loose spiral curls, and her makeup appeared flawless and perfect.

This photo was actually the first time I’ve seen a showing pregnant young lady glammed up for prom. I didn’t think much of it until I read the comments. People are so cruel, and they weren’t shy about what punishment their kids would be receiving for being pregnant in high school. Everything you could think of was listed as a punishment. Some stated she shouldn’t be able to attend prom due to her situation. People commented… “She has other things to be worried about,” “I wouldn’t spend money on prom due to the disappointment of being pregnant.” This is my favorite line “Since she wants to be grown so bad she shouldn’t be involved in kid events such as prom.” Having sex has nothing to do with being grown or acting grown it’s just biology. Biology tells us that both boys and girls go through puberty. Puberty is the time in which kids and/or teens become sexually mature. After becoming sexually mature eventually the act of sex or sexual behavior will occur. Having sex is an act of biology.

There are so many things that disturbed me about the comments for several reasons. I have never understood why reproducing has always been considered a horrible act in the African American community. I’m also curious as to why so many people were interested in punishing this girl. All these judgments were formed from this one picture. No one actually knows what her situation may have been. No one knows who paid for her prom expenses. She could be from a culture where she is already married and now expecting the couple’s first child. Folks are just shooting off at the mouth per usual.

The bigger issue of what the picture and comments represent to society- is plain old misogyny. Why do we continue to mistreat our daughters for mistakes and their bodies? Then wonder why their daughters don’t communicate with them… If we are constantly telling our girls that everything is their fault we can’t possibly be effectively teaching them to love themselves. As of lately, I have been in contact with a few ladies that were pregnant during my in time high school. Many of them informed me that they were mistreated by teachers and shunned by parents when they became pregnant. The audacity of those faculty members to display their negative feelings on a person already in a delicate and emotional state. That kind of behavior is not only appalling but it’s not productive nor necessary.

Do not misunderstand my intent for this article. I thoroughly understand that parents don’t want their teenager to become a young parent. However, if it does happen do you honestly think kicking them out the house, verbally abusing them, or any other punishment will help or hinder them in the long run? Teenage pregnancy isn’t some new phenomenon. Teenagers have been having sex and getting pregnant for decades! In fact the 2011 pregnancy rate was the lowest it has been in over 3 decades, and that’s with 54 out of every 1,000 women getting pregnant at age 15 and up.

Keep in mind girls don’t get themselves pregnant. Yet, we hardly ever hear about parents punishing their sons for their role in pregnancy. Some don’t even feel that their sons have to responsible in the situation. Reinforce safe sex and reevaluate the way you communicate with your daughter about the subject. Remember it’s not about being grown or wanting to be grown, it’s just Biology..

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Family Ties…

Many thoughts and meanings are associated with the word family. Loyalty, blood, unbreakable bonds, and childhood are just a few. We often have this idea of what family should and shouldn’t be, and what they should and shouldn’t do. It seems that we hold our family to the highest standard possible when it comes to relationships with one another. Continue reading “Family Ties…”

Being your own boss

 

Entrepreneurship has been on the rise for the last 3 years. Everywhere you turn, you see someone opening up a business- even if it’s just an online business. There are memes all over the place encouraging people to exit their 9-5’s to become entrepreneurs. “Do what you love and get paid for it,” is a popular slogan that’s often viewed via social media. There was also a post that said something along the lines of “we congratulate people that get new jobs, but don’t congratulate those that start their own business.” Shouldn’t both be congratulated and celebrated, though? Continue reading “Being your own boss”

Kalief Browder

 A couple of years ago, I hosted a podcast discussing the prison system in America, and the mistreatment that the prisoners receive there. During the podcast, I began to discuss Kalief Browder. Kalief Browder was a 16 year old black male from the Bronx, who was arrested by the NYPD on his way home for allegedly stealing a bookbag. Kalief proclaimed his innocence, but was still sent to prison. He was taken to Rikers Island, which is an adult facility. If you have ever watched a single episode of Law and Order, you know Rikers is not where you want to be. Continue reading “Kalief Browder”

What happened to Kym Worthy?

IMG_8626The first time I heard the name Kym Worthy, I was 8 years old. The city of Detroit was in a state of bedlam due to the Malice Green beating. It was definitely a time for the community to be upset. Police officers had been getting away with murdering and harming African American citizens like Malice and Rodney King for decades. Continue reading “What happened to Kym Worthy?”

Keeping quiet

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What’s one of the first things a person does when they are excited about a new business venture or idea? They share it with people! They share it with friends, family, and loved ones! After all, those are people that bring you joy, comfort, and love! There’s no harm in that, right? There is always a person that doubts your idea or makes a negative comment or two- mainly because they have no drive and don’t believe in themselves- but for the most part, you’ll have people that are genuinely happy and excited for you! Continue reading “Keeping quiet”

She has her own: Independent Women.

 

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I made a Facebook status posing the question “when did being an independent woman equal not needing or wanting a man?” Of course the comments section blew up. Some people stated that social media has a lot to do with this new found definition, while others said they actually heard women stating that they are independent and don’t need a man. However, I’m sure that the statement of not needing a man is being misinterpreted. Continue reading “She has her own: Independent Women.”