Why we can’t wait for others to tell our stories

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I’m so honored to present today’s post by artist, Andrea Pippins. You may have read about Andrea on the blog before and she even designed the Natural Chica logo, but today she is sharing a special post as part of the blog tour for her new adult coloring book, I Love My Hair! I’m so incredibly proud of her for launching this and I’m already finding it relaxing coloring in her intricate designs that celebrate the diversity of hair (you can check out my work in progress at the end)! 

Why we can’t wait for others to tell our stories

Guest post by Andrea Pippins

As a little girl drawing and writing stories was, and still is, a favorite pastime. Being an only child it was a way to entertain myself when going outside to play wasn’t at the top of my to-do list. Creating imaginary worlds with characters inspired by people in my life or purely birthed from my mind was something that comforted me and became a necessary exercise for how I would navigate the world. Producing art is what I am here to do and it’s been a blessing to do so. I am also very fortunate to have parents who have always encouraged me to pursue opportunities that would allow me to express my creative dreams.

As I moved through my professional career I learned quickly that this was not always the case for everyone, especially other artists of color. Culturally, pursuing a career in the arts is often looked down upon; especially in minority populations where one might be the first to graduate from college or if the entire family is working hard and making sacrifices to get one through university. School is expensive and requires a lot of support. It is a huge investment that is expected to have a pretty good return. Parents and family members expect that when you leave school you will be able to support yourself and a family of your own. Sadly, a career path in the arts is not seen as such and therefore a lot of talented young people are discouraged to pursue that direction.

And I see the results of this everyday. From classrooms to boardrooms, conferences to art and design workshops, people of color are few and far between. When there aren’t enough people of color in the executive meetings offering a different perspective; on the design team choosing a culturally inspired image for a layout; in the production studio pitching ideas; behind the camera saying this shot is a little offensive; on the casting team choosing black models and actors; or in the writing meeting telling stories of how we really experience this or that, our world becomes documented with a very narrow lens.

Without our voices contributing to art and design, communities are excluded from history and their stories are one-sided or recorded inaccurately.

The visual arts are a form of story telling and documentation of everyday life. Visual artists use design, fashion, crafts, photography and technology to interpret our world and how it relates to cultural, political, environmental, and historical contexts. If these experiences are expressed through one lens, stories then become one-dimensional.

How do we fix it? Encourage people of color to consider careers in writing, photography, fashion, art, design, and film/video. Whether it’s an art school education or taking a few classes at a community college these are the careers that need to be pursued if we want to see a change in what we see at a museum, on screen, or in magazine pages. If we want to see black-owned production companies, galleries, and exhibitions highlighting people of color or the work from people of color; or books, movies, and shows about our stories then we need to make them. Not only create them but be present to make decisions about them we need to be there to see projects through and to support talent who are trying to share their perspectives.

We can’t expect or wait for others to tell our stories. Others are busy telling their own.

Here is a summary on how to make it happen:

1. Be a part of the creative process. Be in a position to make suggestions and pitch ideas. In order for it to work there needs to be several of us in the room at once.

2. Be the big boss at the top making big decisions. We have a few folks up there, but the fact that we can probably count them all on two hands means there aren’t enough. Also, getting to the top means you have to start at the bottom. You have to be okay with being a PA or an intern for a few years until you work your way up.

3. Consider art school. There are not enough of us in art programs and I strongly believe the lack of our voices in the classroom leaves all students at a disadvantage. Without different points-of-view class dialogues become one-sided, and quite honestly, very boring. We can’t really solve problems, innovate, or learn anything if we can’t have constructive conversations with people from different backgrounds in our college classrooms.

4. Start your own. Working for a big brand is a great way to learn and grow but maybe your path is having your own production studio, publishing company, or casting agency.

5. Be supportive or mentor. If you know a person of color interested in the arts encourage them to go for it. Type up a small list of information to get them started, or introduce them to someone who can help. Or, just be an example. A little goes a long way.

6. Be a maker. Do you draw, photograph, or knit? Write poetry, make movies, or design clothes? It doesn’t matter what it is whatever fuels your creative fire then do it. And you don’t have to make a business out of it or do it full-time.

The mere act of making documents your story and adds to our collective story. Which is just as important as a painting hanging in a museum or a chapter written in a history book.

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Andrea Pippins. Photo: DFinney Photography


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My “coloring-in-progress” from Andrea’s I Love My Hair coloring book!


Available for pre-order on Amazon!

I LOVE MY HAIR (on sale November 10, 2015) by designer Andrea Pippins is a fabulous new adult coloring book from Schwartz & Wade Books that celebrates strong, confident women and explores how beautifully diverse, stylish, innovative, and fun all types of hair can be.

Featuring bold hairstyles and accessories, from rows of braids, to Mohawks, to sweeping updos, to cascades of ribbons and beads, I LOVE MY HAIR is filled with Andrea Pippins’s delicate pen-and-ink illustrations, ready to color, complete, and embellish. Coloring enthusiasts of all ages will love this empowering and stylish book.


ANDREA PIPPINS is an artist, a designer, and an educator with a penchant for cool and a personality as warm as her Brazilian roots. Her work can be seen in magazines and on television as well as on clothing and stationery. Andrea teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art and curates her fashion, art, and design blog, Fly, a weekly resource to inspire young women to pursue their creative passions. She also produces digital and screen-printed artwork in which she explores color, pattern, and texture while interpreting her personal experiences as an African American woman. Andrea lives in Baltimore. This is her first book. Learn more at andreapippins.com and follow her on Twitter at @andreagpippins.

2015 Naturally Pretty – Curl Boss | GIVEAWAY!

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For the past 4 years, Mimi J of http://www.mimijonline.com and I have teamed up to host our Naturally Pretty events in Atlanta, GA where we bring the community together to have some natural hair fun while raising money for the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women & Children!

This year is our 5th annual event and we decided to celebrate the Curl Bosses in our community – women making major moves in the beauty industry!

You can learn more about our Naturally Pretty event and our special guests here !

We’ve decided to host a special giveaway this year and we’re giving away 5 VIP tickets to the event! Our VIP tickets include a swag bag and a limited edition tote bag with custom artwork by Pardon My Fro. There will be 5 winners and the names will be announced tomorrow!

To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.

If you’d like to buy your ticket now, click here!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finger Coils + Shea Moisture Natural Pro Curl Care Collection

In case you missed it, last month I teamed up with Robin Groover of the Too Groovy Salon to experiment with Shea Moisture’s new Professional Natural Hair Care Collections and share the results on my YouTube channel!

In our first episode, Robin showed how to straighten natural hair using Shea Moisture’s Professional Natural Pro Keratin Care Collection. We both were really pleased with the results and you can take a look for yourself in the video below.


For our second episode, Robin decided to try out finger coils on my hair using Shea Moisture’s Professional Natural Pro Curl Care Collection.

I really loved the longevity of this style! I was able to wear it for two weeks and probably could have gone longer but I had to do some swimming at the beach :)


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My finger coils after 2 weeks!! They swelled a bit since I was by the water.

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This is my finger coil out after 2 weeks AND after getting my hair wet in the water! I was surprised at how well it held up!

The Shea Moisture Professional Natural lines are available exclusively at Sally Beauty and sallybeauty.com


Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored video.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to share this content. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How Can I Avoid Heat Damage? – Engineers Investigate!

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When it comes to straightening natural hair, the questions you usually hear are …

“What temperature should I use to straighten my hair?”

 “How can I avoid heat damage?”.

Well according to a recent article by NPR, engineers at Purdue University are investigating these exact questions! Tahira Reid and Amy Marconnet, both assistant professors of mechanical engineering at Purdue are leading the study that is exploring the question,  “How much heat is too much heat before you lose your permanent curl pattern?”. [Read more…]

REVIEW | The Bronx Naturals Spa Box

For those days when you can’t get out to a luxurious spa, the second best thing is a mini spa day at home! I was really excited about reviewing this Spa Box from The Bronx Naturals because it forced me to take some time and pamper myself. Yes…RELAXATION!!

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About The Bronx Naturals

The Bronx Naturals LLC is a Westchester, NY- based all natural Health and Wellness company. Founded in 2012 by Melissa Mendez-Emmanuel as a modern day crafts/ handmade products company. She began her small business with Soy Candles. To date, her products are all handmade in small batches to ensure quality and focused on using the finest local ingredients.That means no drying sulfates, harsh parabens, or harmful fragrances. At The Bronx Naturals they believe that products should enhance ones life and experiences.

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The Bronx Naturals Spa Box Membership

Each month discover The Bronx Naturals Spa Box. You will receive 3-4 hand-crafted bath, body and home products delivered right to your door step! These are exclusive products that cannot be found on the website, and are only offered to our members! Valued at over $40, Yours for only $25 per/ month- This includes shipping. Bring the Spa home.

The Bronx Naturals Spa Box: My Experience

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The contents of the The Bronx Naturals Spa Box I received

Soy Candle (9 oz) – Velvet Rose Scent

Description: Burn time approx. 60 hrs. Can be used as massage oil when wax turns to liquid

My Thoughts: Ahhh…this velvet rose scent candle was my absolute favorite from the box! I love candles that give off a great scent while burning and this one did not disappoint! It gives off a warm, rich rose scent that is extremely calming. Just what you want for your spa day!

Rose Bath Tea (2.50 oz)

Description: (2) 2.5 oz bath tea soaks filled with rose floral notes. Add one bath tea soak to a tub filled with warm water and enjoy the relaxing aroma. Do not open tea bag!

My Thoughts: This was my first time doing a rose bath tea and I can say that I’m already looking forward to taking another one. Soaking in a bath filled with real rose petals took my home spa day to the next level! The natural scent from the rose bath tea is very light, but still adds to the overall calming aroma.

Lotion bar (3 oz)

Description: Lock in your moisture with our mango butter, almond oil, beeswax and lavender essential oil lotion bar. Simply unscrew the lid and rub a small amount of our highly moisturizing lotion bar on your body. The easy to use container is great for travel and on the go.

My Thoughts: The ingredients in this lotion bar are perfect for sealing in moisture after such a relaxing soak. I found it easier to rub the bar in my hand first and then apply to my body instead of gliding all over with the bar. It’s a non-greasy formula and I like the on-the-go packaging.

Reviewing this box was certainly a treat for me and if you’re looking to have your own spa day at home, I encourage you to check out The Bronx Naturals Spa box for yourself!


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For more info on The Bronx Naturals

Instagram: @bronxnaturals

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”