Mad Style And Grace

28 Feb

Hello!

It’s Carla! I wanted to reach out to all my fly girls and make sure you know about the fabulous changes that has taken place! I no longer update The Fly Girl Guide as I have launched a new website called, Mad Style and Grace! It’s a fabulous blend of fashion and Christianity. It’s been a long time coming and I’m so excited about this new journey of writing and creating and sharing my stories. Please check it out! It’s still fly, hip and cool but even better than The Fly Girl Guide!

Come on over and check it out! www.madstyleandgrace.com!

XOXO,
Carla
Carla@madstyleandgrace.com
Twitter.com/flycarla

Fly Read: What’s In A Name? Girl Changes Name From ‘Keisha’ To ‘Kylie’

5 Nov

black n proud

My article was written after reading the linked story from Necole Bitchie.

http://necolebitchie.com/2013/11/05/whats-in-a-name-girl-changes-name-from-keisha-to-kylie/#more-257135

Another day- another story of a black person assimilating to appease white people.

Tupac rapped in Keep Ya Head Up: “I remember Marvin Gaye used to sing to me/He had me feelin’ like black was the thing to be.” Do black people even feel this way anymore? Or are we so hell-bent on assimilating that we are losing ourselves? Long gone are the days where black people were unashamedly and unapologetically black. There was a sense of pride in our blackness, now it feels as if we would do anything to remove ourselves from our blackness.

I can’t speak for the girl in this story linked above because it’s clear that she doesn’t understand black culture, her mom is white and there is no mention of her father so it’s understandable that there is no sense of pride in her name because she has no black figures in her life. I am more so upset about the comments I read that showcase black people agreeing with assimilation. Some black people want to be accepted so bad that they will forgo their culture to get ahead. Why is it that we must choose carefully in naming our children? It’s another form of discrimination and I am sick of black people being guilted into changing who we are to appease a white power structure.

We can’t even buy a belt with our own money without being accosted by police and some black people have the nerve to say, “well, it’s Barneys, I would be suspicious too.” Ask yourself why are you suspicious of your own buying power? We have to get some pride back into ourselves and really own our blackness. We should not be ashamed of a name or the perception that comes along with it. Don’t be the kind of black person who is cool with being black until it inconveniences you.

True story: I was getting off the megabus last Sunday from spending the weekend in New York and while I was waiting for my ride and this white guy came up to me asked me if I’m blasian. I said, “no I’m black.” He goes, “you look blasian.” I continued with, “no, both of my parents are black.” Now I don’t get this all the time but occasionally I do get asked if I am black and asian and while some might be flattered by the assumption, I am not. The assumption is that I must be mixed with something to look “exotic” but I don’t want anyone to get it twisted; I am a proud black woman and I will not down play the fact that we come in all different shapes and sizes and we are just as exotic as the next chick.

We are in the days where black people see nothing wrong with forsaking their culture, their people, their history and lineage- all for the sake of getting a job, climbing up the ladder and being accepted. They are telling us that our names, money and hair aren’t acceptable to them and some of us are agreeing and falling in line with our tail between our legs. The reality is that no matter how “ghetto” you think your name is or how “safe” you believe your name is  – it won’t change the character of a racist.

Ask President Barack Hussein Obama

 

 

Carla Thomas

Writer and fly girl

Twitter: @flycarla

Facebook: www.facebook.com/madstyleandgrace

Fly Read: Miley, You Are Not About That Life

29 Oct

miley

I had no idea that I would ever write a story about Hannah Montana. This Miley movement has turned the internet on its head; the 20-year-old daughter of Mr. Achy Breaky Heart is making headlines. I have multiple opinions about Miley Cyrus, some in which have changed about her and then viewing her document on MTV, some of my opinions have stayed the same.

Here is a young woman to whom some believe, a: has grown up and is now wilding out hoping to shed her Disney image, b: the new outburst of nude photos/videos and vulgar tongue pictures are strategic career moves and c: that she is making a mockery of the black community by taking “twerking” and running with it- or twerking with it. I believe this new Miley the movement is all of the above but sadly I also believe that every time a white person does something “black” it crosses over to mainstream quicker than a singular twerk.

As a woman of color I’m not saying that twerking is exclusive to black people or even hip-hop, but for once can we get the credit when the credit is due without having to sell-out or “cross-over”? I look at Mike Will Made It who is fairly young, he is 24 and think it may possibly be that the younger generation sees past color lines and just want to create. But when he says things such as, “rappers aren’t always authentic, rappers lie,” to explain his working with Miley as said in an interview on Sway in the Morning, it’s as if he is trying to justify the fraudulent sound that he is creating with Miley.

I assume when someone wants to sound “black” when they aren’t, they are looking for a specific sound that is exclusive to black people. And if you are a lily white girl from middle America who grew up on Disney and whose Godmother is Dolly Parton, it is hard to justify the authenticity of her new sound. Or image. It’s as if she is trying to one up Rihanna or Teyana Taylor by pushing the sexy/raunchy/edgy envelope and it does come across as a young woman who is wilding out or trying to infiltrate into this edgy hip-pop bubble that Rihanna is queen of or ultimately the hip-hop culture.

When I spoke with Michaela Angela Davis, image activist, she explained when white people do something pertaining to a cultural shift, it’s bigger, “it’s just America,” she stated. “You take black music, culture and put it in a white body, it’s huge, it’s always have been,” Davis continued. The questions arise: why? And why do we seemingly allow them to be bigger than us when are the driving force? I say we allow them because we co-sign their actions for the sake of a paycheck. Would Miley still twerk if Juicy J said, “naw sweetie, I’mma get the twerk team or Caramel Kitten to come on stage” or what if Mike Will Made It put Teyanna Taylor on the song 23 since she is known for her tomboy swag? It seems that for the sake of the all mighty dollar we will bypass our own talented artists and put on the white girl or another white artist and then try to justify our actions by saying, Miley is about that life. “She smokes purp, I’ve seen her,” Mike Will Made It continued in his Sway in the Morning interview. Right, because smoking weed is exclusive to black people but hip-hop isn’t.

I spoke with Kristina Thomas, co-executive producer of the web-series, Losing It, who compared Miley’s actions to the act of black face and that black people are helping her. “Mike Will Made It knows how to get money, he is not a fool. He is making money off a white girl who is trying to be made,” Thomas stated. Thomas continued saying that latinas and white girls are replacing black women and that black women are no longer in and black artists/ producers are helping with the replacement of black women in the arts. “There must be a line drawn, how far do you go? How do you just sell yourself?” Thomas asked. Thomas’ thoughts on Miley’s rapping in the song 23? “MJ just threw up in his mouth,” she said. “Where was  Teyana Taylor? Or Ciara?”

Davis had the best answers for Thomas’ questions. Davis said there is something provocative about crossing over into mainstream for black artists. “It’s about being a player in the game, you want your play and your playing space,” Davis stated. She continued by stating that she doesn’t believe it’s about selling out but more of business. “This is not about selling out, it’s about making records and there are levels to fame.” To make hot records, “why wouldn’t an artist get a hot black producer?” Davis questioned.

Tamara Johnson, fashion enthusiast, leans more towards the ideal that Miley is being used and they are using her so cunningly that she thinks being naked on a wrecking ball is her idea. “These producers know what they are doing, they are interested in getting a different type of money,” Johnson stated. I asked Johnson if they are getting their money but cheapening the black culture and Johnson replied, “Absolutely, she is being manufactured. There is nothing organic or authentic about this new Miley.” Johnson went on the compare Miley to a bootleg bottle of salad dressing. “You know you can walk into Wal-Mart and get the store brand of ranch or you can get the Kraft ranch, one has more favor,” Johnson stated.

All the ladies interviewed did not hate on Miley but they actually expressed genuine concern for her well-being. Thomas stated, “I want her to win, we should all want women to win, we just hope that they win in the right way.” I agreed. I love to see a woman utilize their talents in order to gain success. I however cannot get with the lack of appreciation of black expression and black culture. It’s as if black people cannot ineptly create in the level that Miley can. Davis explained this theory to me, “using Pharrell and Mike Will Made It on her album means we are driving the culture. We are gaining positioning; we are gaining power. This isn’t new. The difference is the visibility, we now know who artists are working with, not like where Elvis Presley stole our sound, this is progression.”

I want more progression, yes, we have Rihanna,  Nicki Minaj and King Beyonce but that isn’t enough for me. I want more faces that look like me on the big screen, on television and more brown faces being able to create a movement like Miley. The thing is that no matter how hard Miley tries, black people will always be cooler. She may hang with Juicy J, she may have switched her Sketchers for Jays but she will never have that authentic coolness that blacks have. She can throw on her Jordans and wear the shortest jersey ever with a backwards snapback all she wants, the truth is she will never have swagger like us.

I remember at the top of the year I was covering the back stage beauty trends at New York Fashion Week for Vibe Vixen and as I was talking to the designers, make up artists and hair stylists who were forecasting next year’s trends, they couldn’t stop fawning over my hair and nails. Here are the industry “insiders” looking at my style. I remember leaving one tent and this security guard goes, “you leaving already? You’re taking all the favor.” Sometimes I believe that black people forget that we are the trendsetters, some of us are so focused on assimilating for that Miley money, that we forget that we are authentically cool on a level that cannot be duplicated. If we can just remember how fly and fabulous we naturally are, I believe we can be movement without taking our sound and giving a white face. In this case, Miley, I’mma let you finish but you’re not cooler than me.

Carla Thomas

Writer and Fly Girl

Find me on Twitter: @flycarla

Fly Fashion: The Nicki Minaj Collection – Kmart

11 Oct

NM10

NM9

NM8

NM7

NM6

NM5

NM4

NM3

NM2NM1

I don’t know about you but I love a good bargain and I had no qualms with heading to K-Mart to check out Nicki Minaj’s latest endeavor. The K-Mart around my way didn’t carry Nicki’s entire line as some of the shelves were bare but what I did see was promising. This isn’t a line for the timid or working women, but if Nicki’s goal was to create a line for her core audience than she definitely succeeded. This line is filled with loungewear and club clothes that hug curves. I tried on the jeans and honestly they fit like a glove, they had a high waist which hide my tummy and the back of the jeans didn’t gap like most jeans do. In fact the jeans are made to showcase your bum, the waist is high but the back of the jeans sit low, they go perfect with her crop tops. She also offered faux leather panel leggings, body con dresses, pink and cobalt blue blazers, netted sweaters and her signature captain hats.

Her accessories were on trend with cuff bracelets, collar choker necklaces and stud earrings and faux leather wrap bracelets. The hats are kinda cheesy as the material is vinyl and the off-the shoulder sweater with a jeweled diamond was giving me JC Penny little girl tease. Overall I think Nicki truly designed for her fans, this line isn’t for everyone but the same chicks who wear her perfume will probably love this line. The material is on par with Forever 21 pieces and the price is totally affordable. If matching your leggings to your jacket isn’t your style or rocking a captain hat with black and pink panel leggings, then skip this line. As a business woman who understand her niche market, I totally tip my captain hat off to Nicki.

Available at K-Mart, $4.99- $29.99

The Fly Girl Guide is changing! Be in the know NOW!

4 Oct

Hi Dolls!

@FLYCARLA here and I have missed updating The Fly Girl Guide but I am still writing and I have great things in the works! I am starting a new website called Style and Grace and it will launch in about a month. Style and Grace is a delightful blend of high- fashion and Christianity. Although I loved updating my fly girls with the latest fashion new, sample sale drama and parties, I wanted to change it up and create something more meaningful.

Until the launch, I still have great things to hold my fly girls over. I have a radio show called Style and Grace radio that takes place every Monday at 10:00AM on www.blogtalkradio.com/styleandgrace. The show is archived so if you can’t listen to it live, you can listen to the show at your leisure. It’s a 30-minute talk show where I pray for my listeners, read scriptures and speak on matters of the heart. It’s a great motivational and inspirational show to help my ladies get through each week with style and grace.

I also started a text message subscription service where I send out daily original inspirational messages to help uplift my sisters in Christ. The messages are funny and REAL! I only send out messages that weigh on my heart! I send out scriptures or quotes to help my ladies laugh and think. It’s free to receive my messages and I only send out ONE message a day. To opt-in text styleandgrace to 555888.

So until the launch of my website please reach out to me via my radio show and subscribe to my Style and Grace text message service. You can also find me on Twitter: @flycarla, Instagram: flycarla and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/madstyleandgrace

I also want to my pray for my ladies! Send prayer requests to madstyleandgrace@gmail.com

Let’s keep in touch and please pray for me as I launch this new endeavor!

Get at me:
Carla@madstyleandgrace.com

Be blessed fly ladies!

XOXO,

Carla Thomas

Fly Read: Show Yourself Approved

3 Jul
Image found on Necole Bitchie.com

Image found on Necole Bitchie.com

I was my making my rounds on my favorite blogs and reading the reviews of the BET Awards and the story about Meagan Good and her dress was a recurring article. The commentary about Meagan Good’s dress really hit home for me because I had a similar situation. I recently moved back home and am having a hard time adjusting from living by myself in New York to living with my parents back home in Baltimore. That being said I got into a huge argument with my mother about three weeks ago because she thought I was inappropriately dressed to attend Bible study and therefore would not take me. I felt like a teenager being shunned and reprimanded because of my outfit. I had on a romper topped with a huge over-sized sweater and flats. The argument was probably one of the most serious arguments I ever had with a parent and I was so angry for two reasons: one, I am a grown woman and I can wear whatever I want and two, here we go with a Christian who is my own mother -judging.

I was heated. When I was in New York I attended Bible study every Wednesday afternoon and since I’ve moved back home, it’s been more of a struggle due to family dynamics to attend church and receive the Word as I would regularly while living by myself. Unfortunately I yelled at my mother about how she was nothing but a hypocrite. At that time I really felt in my heart that she was. Here is my own mother concerned about my attire more than my salvation. I’m not trying to be holier than thou but here I am a young woman who is yearning to go to Bible study on a Friday evening. To me that is enough, there is no more discussion, we should have just went to the Bible study. To her, an old school Christian she was more concerned about the image I was portraying. I yelled, “what image? That I’m a young adult at a Bible study on a Friday night?”

More importantly I did not feel uncomfortable or under dressed, she was more concerned about her comfort level. I went on about how Christians are so quick to judge someone without examining the true intentions of someone’s heart. Christians should only be concerned with their salvation and bringing others to Christ. What someone wears has nothing to do with where they will spend eternity. I spoke of the criticisms of Meagan Good’s dress on Twitter and one follower said two things, which reiterated my point of Christians focusing on the wrong things. I tweeted that we need to be less worried about what someone wears and more concerned about their soul and salvation, she replied with, “would you be comfortable if your first lady had it (Meagan’s dress) on? Her comfort is in question, the comfort of her husbands congregation is question.”

In 140 characters I replied with, “I’m not sure if my comfort has anything to do with her wardrobe. I am more concerned about how she serves in church.” My follower then said, “and that’s true beneath it all, sure. However her husband is a well-known pastor that’s the issue people have.” But the real the issue is in this statement, “and that’s true beneath it all.” It’s the truth-not beneath anything. The truth about being a Christian is to serve and tell others to taste and see how good God is and not to be concerned about the material things such as a dress worn to an award show.

The reality is that there is a war going on in this world and there are people who walk past a church every day wanting to go in but do not because they are afraid of being judge. The argument with my mother continued that there are Christians who get saved and then sit on this high horse acting as if they don’t have a past and now are fronting that they are all holier than thou. No one can bring a person into the church by acting like a cute saint, how can someone see how God changed you and now uses you if you are sitting there as if there was nothing to fix? God rode in to Calvary on a donkey not a stallion meaning you don’t have to be perfect to be used. He uses the Meagan Goods to bring young persons to church.

We have to get past this image of what a Christian should look like because it is deeper than a wardrobe. Our salvation is serious and saving others and bringing others to Christ is when you are being about church business especially if you are a first lady. I told my mother that I am not a nun but what I am is a child of God who yearns to serve God in spirit and in truth. My relationship with God isn’t a show and I’m not interested in putting on a show when I attend church, therefore she needed to get over this romper.

This whole controversy says two things; a woman’s body will always be a topic (you can be sexy but not too sexy and you can’t make anyone uncomfortable) and two, we are focused on the wrong things. Here we have Meagan Good who speaks freely about God being condemned yet someone who blatantly disrespects God by calling himself, Yeezus gets a pass. I was reading commentary on Twitter about the BET Awards and when Tamela Mann started singing, “Take Me To The King,” I saw tweets from people saying that they hate the gospel part of the award show and how they turned the channel. This battle as a Christian is serious and it is more serious than a wardrobe choice.

It’s ridiculous that a stripper can get a pass but a woman who publicly professes her love for Christ is called everything but a child of God because you can see side boob. After arguing with my mother I ran out the house in my romper so determined on attending Bible study even if she was not going to take me. I grabbed my Bible and starting walking down the street towards the main street in which I knew I could take the bus to church. As I’m crying and walking I past a gas station and a high school friend who lived down the street saw me. I hadn’t seen this friend in years but he was right there at the right time asking if he could give me a ride. In the aftermath of a serious argument all I could think of, was look at God. He knew my true intentions! I was a crying mess walking down the street and he brought someone along to give me a ride to church.

I told him about the fight and he goes, “she had a problem with you wearing this?” What she thought was inappropriate, my high school friend, who confessed that he hasn’t been to church in over seven years saw a determined woman making her way to a place that he hasn’t stepped foot in, in almost a decade. He was a blessing and I was a blessing to him by showing that I’m a young and active in the church.

All which goes to show that you never know how God will use you. While some are waiting to be cute saints, others like Meagan Good are walking into their purpose with a plunging neckline. In hindsight and after tearful apologies from my mother and myself, we both admitted to being extra. As a child I am supposed to practice obedience and as a Christian my mother realized that she was being judgmental.

There are some modest dressed hoes and some inappropriately dressed Christians but if you are a follower of Christ, we must realize the severity of bringing people to Christ. It’s more than a wardrobe selection and how you think someone should look. While people didn’t approve of Meagan’s dress choice, ask yourself if you are showing yourself approved to God.

Carla Thomas
Writer and Fly Girl

Image

Dream Bigger!

1 Jul

Dream Bigger!

I have this great idea, instead of writing about beauty, fashion and music: how about I write something that has real meaning and will inspire someone? More specifically, why don’t I turn The Fly Girl Guide into a book for teenage girls? Even better if the book was a series that followed a 12-year-old girl from her first year to middle school to high school. I should call it, The Fly Girl Guide to the 6th Grade and the main character is trying to navigate through middle school with style and grace.

I think this idea might be a winner! I just need some help! I have never written a book before but I also never wrote a television script but I did and my professors at Yale University loved it. Now what if I go to school at the University of Cambridge and sit in a classroom for three weeks while learning how to complete a novel that will inspire young girls? I might have the right guidance to produce something that will change how young girls think and dream.

Sounds like a great idea right? But I need help. I cannot make it to England on my own so I am asking my friends and supporters for any monetary donation to help with my The Fly Girl Goes Global campaign! It’s a great cause that is more than me just traveling; I am looking to learn as much as possible so that I can give as best as possible.

#traveling #dreams #possible #goforth #global #flygirl

http://www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Link

The Fly Girl Goes Global!

1 Jul

The Fly Girl Goes Global!

 I just received a donation! Help a sista out if you can! http://www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Support The Fly Girl Goes Global Campaign!

1 Jul

Hey friends! The University of Cambridge is holding my place for their creative writing summer course but only until July 14th! I am humbly asking all my friends to donate whatever is placed in your heart! It’s an awesome cause and if you know me, you know how passionate I am about writing and how I want to be a great role model to young Black girls. There is more to us than being ratchet and a basketball wife! We are brave, fearless, sisters, mothers, wives, smart, sexy and more! We need to show that we can go travel the world and dream big!  

Thanks in advance!

http://www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Fly Read: How You Doing?

26 Jun

patience

I just got in from walking down the street to see a neighbor; we went to elementary school and high school together. I knocked on the door and while he wasn’t home I talked to his younger brother who I haven’t seen in years. I asked him, how was he doing and he responds with an, “I’m alright.”

“I’m alright” or “I’m okay” or “I’m maintaining” seems to come immediately after asking a Black person how they are doing. It’s as if we are never doing more than alright or okay. We are living at a level of mediocrity mixed with a system that doesn’t assist in our improvement. We can’t even go to the grocery store without seeing a story on how bad we have it as a Black person in America. The cover of Newsweek has a story from Joshua DuBois who was President Obama’s first director of the White House faith-based initiative, and is now an author, teacher, speaker, and CEO of Values Partnerships.

The story is entitled, The Fight For The Black Man is another story of what is so wrong with Black people. I get it we have issues. Deep-rooted issues that go further than this article or an article in Newsweek on a magazine stand. Talib Kweli says it best in his song, “Get By” everything we do is just to get by. The system was not meant for us and guess what? White people will never get it nor understand why we are so impoverished and honestly, the media and stories like the Newsweek cover will continue to perpetuate the same stereotypes and/or truths about Black people without offering any type of situation.

Some Black people have gotten so used to seeing their selves in one dimension that they are starting to believe that we all act in one accord. How many times have you been in a situation where you are the minority and others believe that you speak for all Black people? The normalcy of being Black in America has been shattered. According to an agenda pushed by the government, the media and the entertainment industry, all Black men are in jail, all Black women are ratchet and not too many of us are doing better than okay.

I lived in New York and the thing about living in New York is that on one single train ride you can see the disparity of all people. I traveled from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side daily and I saw White people strung out, Black people high and Hispanic people asking for money, in this economy we are all doing so-so and all the government can talk about is what to do with a woman’s body.

As Black folk we have to be each others sense of hope, we have to inspire on the level that a village raises a child. We have to be the hope that our youth sees because they are not going to turn on the television and see it. It’s a personal fight and it doesn’t need to be thrust in our faces on some magazine with another sob story. Yes, Oprah I am talking to you with the showing of the documentary, Dark Girls.

There was a sermon from a young preacher at my church in Brooklyn that stated that God uses all persons, we don’t have to reach a certain pinnacle to be used. God rode in to Calvary on a donkey. He should be using us everyday exactly how we are, we should not be waiting to be great to be used, and we can make a difference right now.

It’s about time that we build our self-esteem in spite of our situation; we are the capstone of this country. We have a hard fight but at the very least, we can be kind in spirit, slow to anger, quick to love and doing a hell of a lot better than alright or fine.

Carla Thomas
Writer and Fly Girl