Photograph by Williams and Hirakawa.
Karyn Washington, founder of the For Brown Girls blog, has died of an apparent suicide, reports MadameNoire.com. The influential blogger was only 22 years old.
Washington’s blog celebrated self-love, particularly among dark-skinned women. She also launched the #DarkSkinRedLip project after rapper A$AP Rocky suggested that darker-skinned women should avoid crimson lips. Following her lead, thousands of women of color posted photos of themselves proudly rocking red lips using the hashtag.
While working earnestly to empower women of all races and colors, Washington was also dealing with personal struggles. According to a friend, she had been battling depression and was also finding it hard to deal with the loss of her mother.
Black women, who often shoulder so much burden and to admit any weakness of the mind and body is to be considered defective. Vulnerability is not allowed. Tears are discouraged. Victims are incessantly blamed. We are hard on our women, and suffer as a result.
When your community tells you that you’re better off praying than seeking the advice of medical professionals and medication, you feel shame when you feel your mind is breaking. There is no safe place. To admit to any mental frailty is to invite scorn and mockery.
Mental Illness is Real
secondillestvillian asked: I respect your opinion, but race shouldn't define music. I'm a white female who grew up in a middle class family. Rap is my favourite genre. This should be okay.
You may be right. Perhaps race shouldn’t define music.
But here’s the thing.
Now, maybe not YOU specifically, but let’s say majority white people who love rap, love the rap that glamorizes lack of education, prison time, bodies shot, women raped, living in the projects, etc. etc. Well, if that’s what white people are buying, that becomes the rap that sells, therefore that is what music industries market rappers to be.
When that type of rap music becomes mainstreamed into Black communities, we now have Black youth who aspire to: drop out of school, go to prison, buy guns, do drugs, disrespect women, etc. etc. etc. because those are all the role models Black kids get. You, as a privileged, middle class white female, have a PLETHORA of role models to look up to, that look like you, that provide a visual to right path. Black youth, ESPECIALLY Black boys, do not have those role models (and don’t say, but they have Obama, because that is only one compared to your many.)
Your ancestors- your middle classed, female ancestors- killed my Black ancestors and the last words they heard was “nigger”. Now, I hear white people chanting the word at concerts, white people yelling the word, degradingly at innocent, young Black girls, white people owning the word the used to own us. Because they just love rap music so much they can’t help but sing ALL the words along.
But rap music isn’t about race.
Rap music, is not just a genre for you to like. It represents a culture that needs to be sustained. And because white, middle classed people love rap music, our music is being sold out, objectified, and degraded to make more money from you guys. And there are real costs to that. There are real Black bodies out of school because of that, real Black bodies imprisoned because of that, real Black bodies DEAD because of that.
You may like rap music. Love it. By all means, some of it is really fucking good and on some REAL shit. But if you’re going to love rap music, then you’re going to have to love the culture that started it and that it continues to sustain. And you’re going to have to be conscious about the implications that extend beyond your privilege and respect that. You’re going to have to give this explanation to your white friends when they rap “nigga” out loud. But if you can’t do that, then it looks like rap is about race. And that it isn’t for you.
My pole fell down with me and another person on it, which put a bend in a critical part, so it’s no longer usable until I replace the part or the whole pole. I’m SO SAD I can’t practice cause I’ve been working on it pretty much every day. not to mention this happened during a party we were throwing, half of the guests whom I didn’t know. We were both physically fine after the fall, but I was in a mental mess.
Then I went to a Mad Men premiere party at a local restaurant and met this super cute lady. She invited me to go volunteer with her at a local farm, so I got her contact info. She runs a bunch of music schools for babies to 10 year olds, with different programs such as interactive drumming, music & movement in spanish, and even yoga. She told me a great story about working for a crazy bitch as a live in dog sitter in Rome. When I showed her my cat tattoos she called them “the hottest thing [she’s] ever seen”.
life will be okay.