Editor’s Note: Consume As Much Beauty As Possible

Beyond Classically Beautiful: Abi Ishola
Photo: Kunle Ayodeji, Beyond Classically Beautiful

As black women, we need to consume as much beauty as possible.

Hello beautiful people! Thanks for visiting BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com, a multimedia platform that will celebrate the diverse beauty of black women.

I hope you had a wonderful summer. Much of mine was spent working on the launch of this website. After I made the decision to turn this movement into a multimedia platform, I went back and forth about what I wanted to cover and what message I wanted Beyond Classically Beautiful to send to black women on a regular basis. Everything finally clicked in August after I attended a panel discussion on the black panthers. Part of the talk was on how the Panthers’ style contributed to their influence. The panelists also correlated the turbulent times of the 1960s to the current state of being black in America. At that point, the female panelist, whom I greatly admire, said something that helped me fully embrace the ideas I had for this platform.

“We are living in a time when black women and black people in general need to consume as much beauty as possible.”

It was exactly what I needed to hear. After watching footage of several black men brutally beaten or killed by police, it’s imperative that we have as many avenues as possible that present the other side of our existence: our beauty inside and out, our uniqueness, our ingenuity, and our drive. I think it’s safe to say each time we consume stories on police brutality, racial injustice, and discrimination, our spirits are somewhat diminished. How many of us felt immense pain and defeat after hearing the news that Sandra Bland, a woman who was traveling to her new home in Texas to start a new job, was arrested for a traffic violation and later died in police custody?

So hearing that we need to consume as much beauty as possible was the sort of encouragement I needed to fully recognize that I was on the right path—especially since black women have been blazing the beauty trail online for a while now. Just take a glance at social media platforms like Instagram, where sisters have carved out space and built platforms to not only showcase their beauty, but also redefine what beauty is. The proof is in hashtags like #BeyondClassicallyBeautiful, #BlackGirlMagic, and #CareFreeBlackGirl. They have become mantras for women who refuse to accept society’s depiction of black woman-ness, black beauty, and black humanity. In other words, black women are having a party all over the web—no invitation needed. Simply come correct, show love, uplift, and share.

For me the digital black beauty revolution became most apparent last September when somebody at the New York Times thought it would be a good idea to publish an article that referred to Emmy Award winning actress, Viola Davis, as “less classically beautiful” than lighter skinned black actresses. Bad move! But we can’t deny that something amazing happened as a result: countless women of color took to social media to stand in solidarity with Viola Davis. They posted their photos, showing off their beautiful brown faces with the hashtag, #LessClassicallyBeautiful attached. It was that vibrant spirit that allowed, Beyond Classically Beautiful, a critically acclaimed photo series I produced in response with the help of an amazing team of creatives, to blossom into the digital beauty movement it is today.

This website will take the Beyond Classically Beautiful movement even further. Here you can expect to see street style and beauty snap shots along with quotes on beauty, identity, and black womanhood.  We call those “Real Beauty Moments.”  You’ll also find inspirational articles that remind us that who we are should always transcend the idea of conventional beauty; and features on outstanding women who’ve mastered their crafts, started successful business ventures, or are working to uplift other women.

We also plan to continue producing the Beyond Classically Beautiful photo series that gave birth to this movement, so if you haven’t seen your kind of beauty represented through our work, just know that we’re just getting started!

So think of this space as an avenue for the black beauty celebration that’s taking place online. Support us by bookmarking our home page. You can also follow us on social media, enter our cool giveaway contest, and visit BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com everyday to get your dose of beauty beyond categories.

Thank you and…

Be Classic,

Abi Ishola

 

 

 

 

 

Abi Ishola
Abi Ishola

Editor-in-Chief

Abi Ishola is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Classically Beautiful, the acclaimed photo series turned multimedia platform. On any given day, you can find her tucked away in a perfectly lit Brooklyn coffee shop working for several hours. Then she dashes off to pick up her daughter from daycare. Abi is also a TV Producer, a proud FIT Alum, Nigerian-American, and a soul searcher.

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