Yesterday we introduced the first batch of our favorite beauty moments of 2016. Here’s part 2.
Teen Vogue’s #CulturalAppreciation photo series.
We loved how Teen Vogue decided to shed light on cultural appropriation with a photo series featuring girls of different ethnicities explaining why their hair and cultural adornments are far more than trends. You might recognize Kyemah McEntyre who went viral when she shared photos of her amazing prom dress.
She told Teen Vogue:
“I am African American. The reason I wear my hair in an Afro is because I think it expresses exactly who I am, where I come from, and the people who have paved the way for me. I used to have a perm but I asked my mom to cut it off when I was in seventh grade. I’m superhuge on expression and individuality. I found it very difficult to be myself because I was comparing myself to others who had straight hair. There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about black people and black hair. We shouldn’t have to question wearing our natural hair to a job interview; I wish people just understood how strong and beautiful it is. I think cultural appreciation is about understanding that you can’t just take aesthetic properties from a culture. Our hair is not an accessory. It’s literally who we are.” @mindofkye_
Sashamoni Burnett on her locs:
“I am Jamaican and Haitian, and I live in Brooklyn. I am Rastafarian. When I was 3 or 4, my mom and dad decided to dread my hair, and I haven’t cut it since. I really like my hairstyle. Wearing locs makes me feel totally unique. And I don’t want to be like everyone else — I am my own person. People are always asking me, ‘How do you wash your hair?’ It’s like, come on — the same way you wash your hair! [Laughs] If I see someone on the street with dreads and they aren’t Rasta, I’m completely cool with that. They just want to be a part of the culture. I think the coolest thing about my culture is the food. The spices are the best! I love the combinations of flavors. Jerk chicken and white rice with beans and sweet plantains — that’s like life, literally.” @ssashamoni
Brandi Kinard on her braids:
“I am black, Irish, Chinese, and Creek Indian. I call this my crown of glory. What better way to explain it? This look all started at Afropunk Fest, when I was trying to find a hairstyle to represent my blackness. I got the idea from Pinterest! Now it’s my identity. It comes from a tribe in West Africa called the Fulani. I see my braid designs as a way to attach myself to my roots. Going back to my engineering classes at a predominantly white college, I was nervous that my classmates would think, Is she some type of witch doctor? [Laughs] I had to explain to them why I had this hairstyle. It was a weird, wild experience. Not too long ago, people were telling me how weaves, hair extensions, and braids are considered hood or ghetto, but I’m not that at all, and I don’t see it that way.” @brandikinard
A highlight for us at BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com this year was photographing and interviewing several young women who embody what it means to be excellent. They are opinionated, driven, and in love with the sport their currently working to master. We spoke to members of a double dutch team, fencers, and cheerleaders for our #BlackGirlExcellence photo series. Check it out if you missed it!
Heeqmat Jacksmith, Brooklyn Titans Cheerleader
My school has a bad [reputation] but I really do feel safe. Our teachers have our back so you really wouldn’t expect much. It’s really a black school. You’ll never see a white person. You’ll see an Asian or a Spanish person, but you’ll never really see a white person. There are a lot of white people moving into the area, and I feel like they can come and try the school. It’s either they’re mixed or they just don’t want to come to our school. I don’t feel bad. It’s just that they’re missing out because I love my school and I feel like we treat each other like family.
I’ve never been suspended. I have seen girls get suspended for very petty reasons. It’s for like fighting or doing something they’re not supposed to. It’s very rare that you see them get suspended. It’s mostly boys.
I feel very happy when I perform. Usually in practice I’m sometimes stiff, but when I’m performing it just comes through me. I like cheering. I actually started cheering at school. When my mom saw that I was good at it, she put me in the Brooklyn Titans. In movies like Bring it On, you usually see white girls as the cheerleaders. When you see a black girl, they do stepping and it’s totally different. I like that about it. We usually do stepping and it’s different.
I want to be an engineer of some type. I was thinking about something like Astroengineering or a chemical engineer. I’m not sure about the chemical, but they get paid a lot.
Kristen & Chejsa, Peter Westbrook Foundation Fencers
The Over-policing Of Black Girls In School
Many black children are born into unsafe communities and are denied the same opportunities given to white children. They are put at a disadvantage from a young age and the gap between black and white will only continue to grow as they get older. So it is no surprise that by the time some black girls reach middle and high school, they get into more trouble than white girls their age. In addition to this, white families are often richer and more successful than black ones, so it is much easier for them to buy their way out of trouble.
On The Strip
When I’m on the strip, where we stand during a match, I feel like I’m taking in a whole bunch of things and like I’m doing a whole bunch of different actions like I can try new things. Fencing also introduces you to a lot of different people. I’ve met a lot of Olympians. It’s really a cool sport.
At my school I feel safe and not safe because of the environment where it is. Some people are racist towards [black people]. In school it’s great because they accept everybody and everybody is always uplifted. But out of school is not. I go to school on 23rd street in Manhattan. The school is predominantly Latino and black. Everybody there doesn’t live in Manhattan. They live in like Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens. But some of the people who actually live in Chelsea are disgusting. Like when I went inside Rite Aid, my bag was in the line but I moved. So when I went back to where I was standing this old guy told me, ‘This is what your kind does. Ya’ll have no respect.’ He was white. I just left. I was like, I’m not even going to buy anything. I just left. I felt disgusted. In this day and time, it’s 2016 and you’re still being racist.
– Inikah John
Pressure In School
There’s more pressure on girls in school because it’s like everyone expects them to do better than boys. That’s how people think, that boys wouldn’t do better than girls academically.
– Crisleidis Ceballo
Black Girl Profiled
What’s happening now in our generation, we’re being profiled now as violent, ignorant, ghetto—that’s the main one. They don’t get to know us and see what we’re really capable of.
Jammin’ & Jumpin’
When I’m jumping, it makes me feel like I have a God given talent because I have something that other people may not be confident to go out and do. They see it and say, that’s hard, I can’t do it. But when I do it, it gives people the motivation that they can go out and do it.
– Sydney Hernandez
En Pointe Ballerinas Photo
Members of the En Pointe Dance Studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were clearly on a slay mission when they took this photo. Considering how the internet pretty much went crazy when they laid eyes on these outstanding girls (and one boy), mission accomplished!