Crowns & Style

This is a weekly series from the creative genius that is coiled up and springing from Emiliano Styles.  I loved all the videos so much I had to share. What beautiful, beautiful women live and thrive in this world. 

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  To stay abreast of new videos that come out weekly, click

 Crowns & Style

How To Thrift – Philly Style

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Philly has a wealth of fantastic thrift stores. I love thrifting and I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite Philly haunts.  My first reveal is a Philadelphia gem – PHILLY AIDS THIFT.

 Philly Aids Thrift is wonderful. The inventory is added daily so you could come everyday and find something new. Proceeds go to benefitting work towards AIDS research and relief.

Located in South Philadelphia one block from south street at 710 S. 5th Street. Phila, PA 19147 

Here is my comprehensive step by step guide to thrift shopping. 

Step One

Pick a day in which you have nothing but time to waste with listless meandering. Find a best friend and with an open mind, full stomach and a little bit of money to burn – head to your nearest thrift store. 

Step Two

Begin by browsing. Don’t go with high expectations of finding amazing pieces immediately. Thrifting is like finding love. The best comes when you least expect it. 

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Don’t be afraid to try on crazy, costumes. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to go vintage, embrace 80’s bling, bulk and fringe. You will be surprised at what works for you. 

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Step Three

Take advantage of all that the thrift store has aside from just clothing. You may find some amazing music as well as household items. When I first moved into my apartment, the thrift stores were where I got almost all of my odds and ends such as cups, pots and some of my furniture.  You can find great scarves, jewelry, DVDs, and artwork. Think outside of the box!

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 Mason Jars! Do you know the DIY possibilities of mason jars?!

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Step Four

Have a photoshoot- imaginary or literal. Try on clothes, ask your friend’s opinion, allow them to talk you into items you don’t really like or need! Feel excited by your purchases because you saved mad money and your pieces are unique. 

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 Tsehaitu in this amazing purple and leather blazer. I had to talk her into getting this! Betch whet? She wasn’t feeling it at first. Its amazing isn’t it???!!

Step Five

Go grab coffee or lunch with your BF and enjoy the things that really matter like friendship and shit. 

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  On a serious, preachy note, thrifting is really important. We live in a society where “fast fashion” is as toxic as “fast food”. Companies such as The Gap, H&M, Old Navy and Forever 21 resource majority of their labor to third world countries where the labor cost is inhumanely cheap. People are living on less than $160 dollars a month making our clothing. The labor force which consists of more than 85% women are forced to work long, sufferable hours in unsafe environments. Any unions that are attempted are squashed with beatings and even death. It is modern day slavery.

There is a great cost in lives being wasted and lost under the weight of consumerism and capitalism so that we can buy flimsy shirts for $5.50 and a dress for the night for $40 at our favorite teeny bopper store. For more information check out this video trailer “The True Cost”. You can watch this movie on Netflix.

When you decide to shop at thirft stores, you take away the demand for “fast fashion”, you lessen the effect on the environment, you show corporations that you are aware and strong enough to make your own choices. You wash some of the blood from your hands and pay respect to the hard working, real people you are inevitably connected to in this world. 

Ignorance is bliss. Wake up.

SuperHERoes – Halloween Inspiration

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Recently discovered Paola Mathe of Finding Paola and I am obsessed. She is the shit. I can’t describe the happiness and inspiration I get when I see women gettin’  their lives! Yaaasss!

Anyway Paola and some friends just murdered the damn game with their recent photo shoot as superheroes set out to represent for the misrepresented. Check out some more photos from the shoot and follow Ms. Paola’s badd self on her blog. 

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“We fight for those who are told their tears don’t matter.Where the police hurts more than serves, and eating establishments are built just to shorten the lives of the community. We fight for the strong who have been stripped of their powers. We fight for the invisible.” 

Stay.

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I am in love. Meaning, it’s mutual. I love someone and they love me back. They told me so. I hear it. “What if I told you that I loved you”? I replay those words in my head daily. Filled with all the feelings, I look up. I. see. him. Handsome, sure and smiling. I am overcome with gratitude and resolve. This. is all I’ve ever wanted. He’s more than I’ve imagined. He is love. My love.

I am in love. Meaning, I’m wide the fuck open and for his taking. I’m all in. Exposed. Naked and Vulnerable. In the past, I’ve stretched my body out anticipating civilization, but have only been met by ruins. Here, I am safe. Here, I can be still. Here, we are kind and just.

I am in love. Meaning, I’m devoted. All in. Chin deep. Soaked. Invested. Thinking of the future. Envisioning a future. All his. All mine. All of me. All and all.

I am in love. Meaning, I am thriving. I aim to be my lover’s every(any)thing. His go-to. His best friend. Therefore, I want to be my best self. I am becoming my best self. In his eyes, my reflection is clear and I bask in its glory. I am better now, than before he found me.

I am in love. Meaning, I am in lust. Wide. Open. Ready. Needing all. of. it. Unafraid. Unabashed.

I am in love. Meaning, I am (re)learning. Love languages. Love truths. Love confessions.

I am in love. Meaning, I am healing. I do deserve love. I do deserve peace. I do deserve clarity. I do deserve affection. I do deserve admiration. I do deserve him. I am enough.

I am in love. Meaning, I am terrified. Now, that I have found this. feeling. Now, that I have been loved, I’m afraid. I need love.

-Anonymous.

Undercut Hair Grow Out Challenge!!

I have officially decided that I am going to grow out my hair. I am ready for change. I am ready for challenge. I am ready to rock twist outs and ponytails and have it get on my nerves again. I have a mohawk right now so I have a center section with significantly longer hair and very short hair on the sides. Uggh, this is going to be a bitch to grow out. I refuse to cut it all evenly until my sides grow out some more though. Anyway, here is a video describing my plan of action.

Who else is ready to keep their heads warm this winter? Who else is growing out their shorter hair styles? I think we all should keep one another motivated and away from scissors and barber chairs!  Send me some pics of your starting point for this challenge! I will share yours as well as my growth every 2 months or so to see one another’s progress. Lets get it! 

(Starting point) Oct 2015

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Tag @aroundthewaycurls on instagram with your photos with the hashtag #undercuthairgrowout

Or email photos to aroundthewaycurls@gmail.com

The Conscious Barber : Derrick Banks, Owner of Freshly Faded

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1.Tell us about yourself. What’s your name? Where were you raised? Where do you currently reside? 

My name is Derrick Banks I’m 30 years old I was born and raised in San Diego California and I live here also.

2. How did you become a barber? 

I would say barbering found me, prior to barber college I had never picked up a pair of clippers or cut anyones hair. I quickly learned that college wasn’t for me and decided I needed to pick up a skill. I first went to an electrical school seeking to be come an electrician, they told me they had a 2 year waiting list. I walked out of there disappointed. However around the corner from the electrical school was the barber college, I went in there just to entertain the idea. They told me I could start the next day if I wanted to, that was 10 years ago and the rest is history.

3. How long has Freshly Faded been in business?

I opened Freshly Faded Barber + Shop in April of 2013. The shop actually started as a website www.freshlyfaded.com which was a portal through which I asked my clients to schedule their haircuts through. It also allowed me to blog and express my views and opinions of the world.

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4. Your instagram handle is “conscious barber”. What exactly is a conscious barber? How do you describe the connection between hair and spirituality?

Conscious Barber: to be “conscious” I’d say one has to know first who they are, where they come from, and where they are in the world and in society.  Also after one gains that level of intelligence one must be aware and living in the present moment.

Hair and spirituality: If you look at any group of native people around the world you will see that they place high significance on their hair.  And also they will somehow link hair with the spiritual realm.  I see it this way. Our bodies and everything else is made up of fields of energies vibrating at different speeds, and that energy is shifting and flowing through us out into the world constantly.  One of the areas that gets blocked and doesn’t allow energy to flow naturally is the crown of the head, What I do is I work on the slow moving energy which is the physical (hair) and simultaneously work on the fast moving energy traveling outward from the top of the head.

5. I noticed a photo on social media of a sage smudging performed by you on a client. Can you share the significance of this ritual as it pertains to grooming? How does your clientele respond to such activities going on while in the barbershop?  

I never really liked the word smudging because it sounds as if I’m doing something dirty. All I’m doing is using smoke from the sage to clear up negative or stagnant energy that is built up in the crown area of the client.  I am a healer, what good is it to clean up the outside of your house when your inside is dirty?  Our clients love the experience because they know how they feel afterwards.

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6. Do you see a holistic approach to grooming emerging for men of color? How do the worlds of self care/love and grooming intersect for men?

I think for men it is a bit tricky, we have been tricked into believing that self care/love means that we must sacrifice our masculinity to do so.  I think you can still be very manly and still like to look and feel your best.  Some companies out there have been able to effectively market that, but I think it is extremely difficult.

7. You are a black man. You are a successful entrepreneur. Due to your physical attributes and chosen profession, you are often met with risk – physically and financially. Are you often fearful? How do you deal with your fear? 

I really don’t understand this question.  As a black man in society of course there is a level of caution that you must move with, but fear? No fear is something else entirely, fear is something that limits you from success, that isn’t really based in reality. If black people are the original people of this planet then everything here on earth as long as we live in harmony with it can be used to our benefit. Where is the fear in that? Financially, I know that I am going to alway be taken care of, the whole planet is abundant.  The tree has thousands of leaves the dirt has millions of grains, I guess its just important to know that you can never be lacking of anything as long as you remain conscious of who you are and where you are. That is the key.

8. After reading your blog, watching your videos and seeing your social media posts it is very clear you are proud of your blackness. At the same time you were raised and educated in very diverse communities and your staff as well as your clientele are diverse. What then is blackness to you? Is it simply you being you unbothered by other’s perceptions or is it a matter of conscious (there is that word again) education and redefinition of what blackness is for others? 

Here is another question I’m not sure I understand. What is blackness to me?  Blackness in America as defined by America begins with slavery and continues all the way up to President Obama.  The collective achievements and mishaps of people who were once slaves and are so called free today.  But to me blackness starts with the original people of the planet.  Who brought mathematics, science, astronomy, agriculture, music, art, and spirituality to the world.  From whom everything was stolen from, and their descendants are now suffering the world over.  But some of us are waking up.  We are starting to remember who we are where we come from and where we are going.

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9. What do you think of the natural hair boom that has emerged in women of color?

America’s grip on the standard of beauty for women of color is slipping.  There was a time when they could control the various forms of media, and pump the rhetoric that white skin and straight hair is beautiful and dark skin and natural hair is not.  Now with the presence of the internet how can they spread those lies?  You can see for yourself how beautiful you are.  Look in the mirror, post a selfie and then get the positive feedback from millions of people who are just as beautiful as you are.  Black women there is no one like you, you are the closest thing to God on Earth, the sooner you realize that the sooner our situation will change.  Hold yourselves in high esteem because you have a sacred magic that no one else has.  You are it, and we love you!

10. What is your favorite hair style on a woman? 

I love natural hairstyles on women. I dig the wash and go.

 11.What is your favorite hair cut to achieve on a man? What trend do you think needs to go (for men) what is a classic look that you think will never leave (for a man)?

I like cutting fades and leaving natural nappy textures on the top.  I think it is saying to society look, I’m clean, however I am unwilling to compromise who I am because one of you made up a silly rule that all black males must be bald headed. lol.  Since there isn’t a lot of variation in men’s hairstyling I don’t think any trends need to disappear I just think they need to be more refined.  Brothas with texturizers in their hair though?  Save that for the birds, it’s absolutely terrible.  Short clean cuts with sharp clean lines will never go out of style.  But the cool thing is Brothas can make almost any hairstyle look good, both long and short.

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11. What do you envision for Freshly Faded as it grows as a business?

I think Freshly Faded will mature and branch out into other things. I’ve already done men’s haircare products, t-shirts, and other apparel.  I think I would like to recreate this vibration in other places, and give other people the opportunity to feel a part of this positive movement of consciousness. That sometimes starts with a haircut, but ends up in a shifting of a mentality.

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Thank you Brother Banks for the interview! We love to see our black men riding around and gettin’ it! We are proud of you! 

To learn more about Derrick Banks and Freshly Faded 

Freshlyfaded.com

2850 El Cajon Blvd. Suite 1. San Diego, California 92104

Tues-Sat 10am-6pm

(619) 677-4733

@consciousbarber

@freshfadedbarber

                                                                                                              (Post By Shanti)

“In the Castle Of My Skin” – Sons of Kemet

Hello. Meet my newest obsession in music. Check out the British  jazz band Sons of Kemet. I stumbled upon this amazing video set to the song “In the Castle of My Skin” from the band’s second album “Lest We Forget What We Came Here to Do”.  Once I watched the video, I started vibing to the music and got dammit I am obsessed. Check it out.  

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                                                                                                                 (Post By Shanti)

“Five on the Black Hand Side” by Lamont Hamilton

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Beautiful photography researching and portraying the evolution of the “dap” (acronym of dignity and pride) by photographer Lamont Hamilton. 

Five on the Black Hand Side is a project exploring gestural languages that were born in African American communities during the 1960s and 1970s, including the “the dap” and the black power handshake.”

“The dap originated during the late 1960s among black G.I.s stationed in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. At a time when the Black Power movement was burgeoning, racial unrest was prominent in American cities, and draft reforms sent tens of thousands of young African Americans into combat, the dap became an important symbol of unity and survival in a racially turbulent atmosphere. Scholars on the Vietnam War and black Vietnam vets alike note that the dap derived from a pact black soldiers took in order to convey their commitment to looking after one another. Several unfortunate cases of black soldiers reportedly being shot by white soldiers during combat served as the impetus behind this physical act of solidarity.”

Ahhh, the Dopeness and depth of the DAP

To read more about this project click HERE

                                                                                                                 (Post By Shanti)

“Healthy Roots” Natural Dolls For Natural Girls KICKSTARTER

affbeb9dc8ca5b3f512727beb4448880_original-1   I often pace the aisles of toy stores and I leave empty handed (not just because I am cheap and a bad mother) but because there are NO DOLLS that look like my daughter. Either they are unrealistically proportioned white dolls, scary monster, weirdo, sex kittens, black dolls with straight hair and white features or they are dolls peddling propaganda of excessive materialism and sexism. Where are the dolls and toys which offer education and stimulate the imagination? Where are the dolls which offer companionship to the entire spectrum of young girls? The world isn’t just black and white. The spectrum of brown, red, yellow and every color in between is real and beautiful and in need of representation. My daughter is a beautiful blend of her father’s Eritrean ancestry and my white and black genes. Very rarely do I ever feel that she is uncomfortable in her skin. She is constantly reminded by everyone in her life that she is extra-ordinary, clever, funny, intelligent, kind and beautiful.  Yet every now and then she will express her desire for straight hair and her dislike for her big curly hair.  Each and every time that she has voiced her dissatisfaction is when she is stroking the knotty, stringy straight hair of a doll baby or Barbie (that she was gifted and I hadn’t the heart to throw the hell out).  With that being my struggle, I was really excited to be contacted by Yelitsa Jean-Charles. She is a young artist coming from the much respected art school of RISD. She has created the toy company “Healthy Roots” which offer dolls that represent the variation of the African Diaspora with varying hair textures as well as an illustrated reading book and coloring book which offer basic information about natural haircare. It’s genius!  Here is Yelitsa’s response to the state of toys offered to children of color. 

“I created Healthy Roots to fill that void. Internalized racism and colorism stem from mainstream beauty standards that exclude women of color. The pressure that girls feel to appeal to mainstream beauty standards impacts their self esteem, leading them to use dangerous chemicals like perms and bleaching creams to become “beautiful.” Healthy Roots teaches girls of color self-love through education, diversity, and positive representation. If the toys we play with influence how we perceive ourselves, imagine the kind of impact we can have with a toy that aims to inspire and empower.”

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Easy reading book included w/ doll explaining basic natural haircare

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Real representation of a Healthy Roots Doll

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Doll Concepts

Meet Yelitsa and Learn More about her Kickstarter for “Healthy Roots” Toy Company

Yelitsa is 5 days away from her kickstarter ending. She needs help to bring this brilliant idea and hardwork into realization! She is so close already! 

Support Yelitsa’s Kickstarter Today to Make These Dolls A reality for Our Children!

Click the Link HERE

                                                                                                                 (Post By Shanti)

Shanti In LA

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I was in LA for the first time in June. I went to visit a friend Emiliano Styles and was shown a wonderful time. We went to lofty high rise restaurants overlooking downtown LA, ate delicious octopus tacos in Grand Central Market, went hiking on Runyun Canyon, bike riding in Venice, and found our way into a secret, hidden Cuban bar with a live saxophone player who played to a woman who danced, twirled and writhed her hips until her white vestido fell and she was left to gyrate in only her bra and panties. We ate fried chicken at Roscoes and discovered the talent of Joseph Khalil at the MOCA. We skipped the Hollywood scene and I absorbed the sun rays and buena onda of the West coast without the glitz and glam of Lala Land.

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I especially loved the graffiti-esque murals that brought an urban edge to the romantic curls and scales of the Spanish architecture. I loved the Latino presence in LA. I loved seeing the traditional Mexican cowboy with a shiny big belt and brown, wide brimmed hat, hand in hand with his lovely woman to the “neo” Latino influenced by black culture, cool as a cucumber with Converses, conversing with the distinct West coast Latino lilt “Ehhhhhh, what’s up?”

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 I was in the best of company with Emil. He is a creative inspiration for me. He is an artist, grounded in discipline with just the right shiny sprinkling of idealism and hope.  He is photographing, writing, shooting, directing and editing a beautiful life for himself. He is dope, working hard to be doper. Having well put in his 10,000 hours of practice, he still makes every effort to sharpen his skills and expand creatively. With that being said, he made sure to have his camera on hand  during my visit and documented my time in LA.  He made a video of me! I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you all. He says he wanted to simply capture my curious nature. The video meant much more to me than that. It brought visuals to my daily prayer, “Let it all work out.”

SHANTI IN LA from Emiliano Styles™ on Vimeo.

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