Sunday, September 12, 2010

Focus... for the hater hating on Michaela

(Fashion in Action, September 2010, Lincoln Center)

So, I am blessed to have mentors. I have one for every passion I've ever had. I maintain those relationships for as long as I possibly can (my longest I've had since I was 10 - Julia Chance, formerly at Essence Mag and now at Heart & Soul). Since moving to BK I have found another that I love dearly - Michaela angela Davis. Her love for young Black women is greater than any love I've ever seen. It's like the love new fathers have when holding their baby girl for the first time. Or like that first eye-to-eye contact a bride and her groom have during the walk down the aisle. Or like the love a mother has when her daughter comes fully dressed into the living room for prom... That kind of love. A doting, a respect, a humbling gut-centered joy. To be in her presence is the most magical and blessed thing.

I found out early on in my relationship with her that there were people in the world that had a hatred toward her. It was hard to believe. Like... how could you hate Susan L. Taylor or Michael Beckwith? She's a mix of the two! And I COULDN'T believe it. Until... I saw it with my own eyes. First it was in a youtube comment, beneath a clip that showed her talking with a room full of young jr/high school girls about abuse (in all forms). It was a completely inspiring event (I was there) and someone had the nerve to say some bullsh*t under the clip!

And today... (my heart is heavy) I go to a beautiful salon in the Meatpacking District (owned by a sister - YES a Black woman has a dope a** salon in the Meatpacking District, and she is FIERCE) this afternoon to have a conversation with Kierna Mayo (Co-Founder of Honey Magazine), Esther Armah (Host at WBAI), and Michaela. We speak on Essence's new Fashion Director, the tribute to Black Fashion Directors on the opening day of Fashion Week, and hear about Kierna's journey to create and ultimately have to walk away from Honey Magazine. It was a beautiful, beautiful afternoon, with cupcakes, laughter, and tears. I got to invite three of my friends who are each on the verge of something BIG (Marisha - Face Art, Tolu - Fashion, Daricia - Fine Art). I come home, and read a post online that is an attempt to blast Michaela.

Ah, hellz to the nah! Michaela IS... One of us - whatever the hell that means (in reference to Rae's comment below). I take that back... I'm not on the boat Rae's in, so she's not one of "y'all."

This is her comment, and my response.

Rae said:
If I may give you my honest and uncensored opinion.. I think Michaela Angela Davis' issue with the hiring of Placas as Essence's fashion director boils down to racism plain and simple. Her issue has been that Placas is white, and not that she's not qualified, not that she isn't doing a good job in stepping up Essence's fashion game and delivering it to its readers, not that she hasn't helped aspiring black designers. It's because she's white and Davis' tunnel vision mind, it "should've" been a black person to get the job. I have found her to be extremely disrespectful to Angela Burt-Murray, doubting, questioning and judging her position, decisions and expertise. What happened to sisters lifting sisters up Michaela? Davis has publicly blasted Angela over this and it's sickening.

I also think Michaela's own insecurities over her light complexion are the driving force behind these over the top, dramatic outburts she has: "a girlfriend has died." She overly compensates to be "down" and to assure others (herself) that she's one of us. I think this protest is just another example of this.

No doubt the fashion industry is lacking in color overall. THAT should've been the message to deliver if there was one to be. Not continuing to bully Elliana Placas or Angela for their positions at Essence.
September 10, 2010 8:51 PM
Sallomé said:
Whoa Rae... Sounds like you have a personal grudge against Michaela angela Davis. Simmer down sis. If you want love to be spread, be the change that you'd like to see.

There had to be a non-Black Fashion Director hired at Essence. Otherwise, how would the average Jane know - as you point out - "the fashion industry is lacking in color overall." We can't get enough attention on the issue UNTIL someone like Michaela draws our attention to the fact that the only DEFINITE Black woman at fashion week is no longer a guarantee. Both Elliana Placas and Angela are big girls and can speak for themselves. Michaela isn't the only woman that was jarred by their choice. She's just the only one with a voice/opinion mainstream media will hear.

When Elliana is on a red carpet somewhere representing Essence somewhere and the reporter sticks a mic in her face and asks what Black women think about (fill in the blank)'s line... you, me and the rest of the sisters across the country are going to lean in and wait for the answer. She won't know. She'll have to start asking some Black women. Period.

*Quan (organizer for photo above) says: Fashion In Action was truly a success and a reminder to my generation that just because someone planted a seed so that we can sit in the shade...does NOT mean that we should not plant seeds of our own!