Tag Archives: Rihanna

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

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Fly Read: The seriousness of one’s intent

11 Jun

A close friend of mine recently posted a quote from Anthony Bourdian that stated, “the journey is part of the experience- an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.” This quote really resonated with me because my intent of studying writing and than traveling to Africa to teach writing is very serious.

The objective of this educational/missionary trip is to learn as much as possible so that I can give as best as possible.  The course at Yale University will help me revise my pilot television script and the course at the University of Cambridge will assist in the finishing of my fiction book for teenage girls. With both projects I am looking to re-shift the perception of Black girls and Black women via the media, I am developing projects that will showcase the full-dimension of Black teenage girls and Black women.

There is a problem in the media where it seems that networks are keen on showcasing Black women in one dimension, a dimension that strips the soul and the deep rooted history of African American women by showing only superficial, overtly sexually, and angry Black women. Black women are the capstone of American history and argumentatively the strongest persons of mankind. The strength and the depth and the pride of being unashamedly and apologetically Black needs to be displayed in the media and I am hoping to showcase the aforementioned.

I am specifically hoping to reach teenage Black girls from the ages 12-18 with my fictional book series starting with the first book tentatively titled, The Fly Girl Guide To The 6th Grade. This book which I am currently on the third chapter of is a division of my online website, The Fly Girl Guide (www.theflygirlguide.com). It will serve as an alternative look at middle school and high school in the eyes of a young girl who is seeking to navigate middle school and high school with an independent thought and with style and grace.

My television script has a similar concept showcasing a Black professional woman living and thriving in Brooklyn, New York. What Living Single showcased in the 90’s, I am looking to reinvent with a new aged twist. Black women are spiritual, funny, educated and married and I am hoping to show a narcissistic generation who loves bathroom pictures and relishes in all that is ratchet that being a lady will never go out of style.

This campaign is bigger than me; it’s for the moms who have to explain to their daughters that she shouldn’t aspire to be just a basketball wife, it’s for the aunties who have to explain that Kim Kardashian isn’t a role model, it’s the for the teachers who have to discuss why Michelle Obama is an inspiration as opposed to a pop star.

My intent is to make sure the media takes Black girls and women serious as not all of us are trying to put on a minstrel show. We are mothers, wives, friends and we are fly.

I’m not asking you to go broke, I just ask for a little support to help with a big cause.

http://www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Fly Read: Back to my Beyoncés

9 Mar

beyonce

 

I used to be a Beyoncé hater. I used to call her, “Solange’s sister” just because I vibe with Solange a little bit more but truth be told, I was originally a Beyoncé fan. I remember I took my high school graduation money and went to F.Y.E. and copped, Dangerously In Love. I thought it was a great album, I knew the dance moves in her,  “Crazy In Love” video and “Hip-Hop Star” was my ring tone. I only started disliking her when I realized that her and Jay-Z’s relationship was serious. In my head she stole my man and I just couldn’t like her.

But my infatuation with Shawn has ended and at this stage of my life as a budding fly girl, I can no longer hate on another female who is making all the moves that I long to make. Beyoncé is a hard workingwoman but the biggest compliant heard about Beyoncé is that she never shows her flaws.

After watching Beyoncé on Oprah and then her own, “Beyoncé: Life Is But A Dream”, documentary, it is clear that even a mega star has insecurities and flaws but what makes Beyoncé so special is her work ethic and her understanding that she is a role model. Knowing that others are looking up to her takes her from just an artist to being a person who knows her purpose. After viewing the specials, you see that she is truly blessed and her blessings come from hard work and walking in her purpose.

In the recent issue of Vogue with Beyoncé on the cover, one quote stood out: “As her competition was spilling out of limousines, Beyoncé remained the knockout in six-inch heels who still gets home by 11:00 p.m. Responsibility over recklessness.”   Here is a superstar who goes out, does her thing, sets the world ablaze and gets home by 11:00 p.m. In an era of basketball wives, starter wives, and housewives, how refreshing is it to have Beyoncé? A woman who even the President said the superstar, “could not be a better role model for my girls.”

There is something to be to be said about someone who owns up to his or her influence and does everything with class. Just this week, I saw Rihanna’s ass again! I thought you just had to show your ass to get famous so why does a superstar insist on continuing to expose herself? When Beyoncé GQ cover hit online, the biggest gripe in the blogosphere was that Beyoncé didn’t have to stoop to the level of overt sexually because her talent speaks for itself. Although the complaint could be valid, here is pop star who has been in the industry for over a decade with no nude photo leaks, no drunken pictures, and no excessive sexiness yet she appeals to both men and women.

There is a theory called, The Law of Reflection, The Law of Reflection manifests in that which you resist in yourself, you will dislike in others. Many will continue to accuse Beyoncé of “not being real” or “not doing her”, as if doing less than favorable activities in the public eye accounts for one’s realness. What Beyoncé represents is a sophistication and class that is desperately missing in the industry and in young women. Beyoncé may not be the best reader, she may steal ideas from others and her father has totally groomed her but what Beyoncé seemingly knows for sure is that as a woman, you can get a lot further without being crass and showing your ass.

This isn’t an idol-worshiping article, it’s a simple observation that it is possible to work hard and have it all, while doing it with style and grace. In an era of narcissism and attention seeking, wouldn’t it be great to go to back to our Beyoncés?

Carla Thomas
Writer and Fly Girl

 

 

 

 

Fly Fashion: My top picks from Rihanna’s River Island Collection

5 Mar

Rihanna’s collaboration with River Island feels very throwback; like she has an obsession with the grunge look from the 90’s. Although her collection has an old school feel- the pieces are not dated. Below are my picks from Rihanna for River Island.

RI4

RI

RI2

RI5

 

 

Above:
White Rihanna side split oversized t-shirt, $50.00

Navy Rihanna tied denim shirt zip front skirt, $125.00

Black Rihanna tied t-shirt dress, $175.00

Black and white Rihanna striped bra top, $75

You’ve Got Fly: Inbox Scan

20 Feb

You’ve got mail! Fly picks from my inbox.

SOHO_DRINK_AND_SAVE_FEB_MAILER

In God We Trust NYC: Deals and Bubbly (Pictured)

butter London: Royally brilliant color, inspired by London Fashion Week

River Island: Check out Rihanna for River Island

NASTY GAL: Out of the Blue

PIXIE MARKET: Mod for You

Fly Fashion: Rihanna’s Pineapple Print Playsuit

17 Jul

Rihannas-Porto-Cervo-Topshop-Pineapple-Print-Playsuit-and-Klive-Flatform-Espadrilles

motel

While on a vacay in Porto Cervo, RiRi rocked a $90 Pineapple Print Playsuit from TopShop. The playsuit is sold out but by pairing Motel’s Pineapple Bandeau Cropped Top and High Waist Hot Pants, you’ll look just as sweet as Rihanna.

Above:

Motel Pineapple Bandeau Cropped Top


Motel Pineapple Print High Waist Hot Pants

Fly Fashion: Rihanna Harper’s Bazaar August 2012

6 Jul

RihannaBazaarAugust2012

Bad gal RiRi covers Harper’s Bazaar August 2012 issue, now in circulation.

Fly Fashion: Rita Ora’s DOPE Ski Cap by Perry and Printup

26 Jun

Rita Ora

Jay-Z’s new Rihanna sports a dope hat made by Brooklyn husband and wife duo, NYC Sound Artist Perry Levy and Events Promoter Krystyna Printup.

Perry and Printup is an accessories line dedicated to the NYC night life, the 80’s art scene, and 90’s hip-hop. Perry and Printup‘s first collection SLIME,SYMBOLS & SLANG, blends their personal style and knowledge of underground fashion in NYC. Each piece is hand-made and is meant to be a statement piece for the fun and flashy.

Launched in Spring 2012, Perry and Printup is currently only exclusively for sale online in the USA.

Fly Fashion: Rihanna’s BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend Outfit

25 Jun

Rihanna Hackney Outfit
Rihannas-BBC-Radio-1-Hackney-Weekend

Roxy

You might not be able to join Jay on stage but if you catch him in concert at the Barclays Center, this outfit is totally BK appropriate.

Above:

Crawford Bustier – $48.00

Roxy Shorts– $58.00

Mixed Metal Studded Belt– $20.00

KTZ x Linda Farrow sunglasses-
$447.17

Fly Fashion: Since I don’t have a sponsor (yet)…Confetti Cork Clutch

25 Jun

Confetti Cork Clutch

This confetti cork clutch will make a fly statement when paired with absolutely anything!
Damage: $48.00
$297 re-up from the DVF Tonda Cork Clutch.