I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.

Five years of Formation. It's Earth Day and Black Lives Still Matter

Letter from the Editor

By: Erika Ellis

Nelson Mandela said, "May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears." And I think deep about not only the personal choices I make but the ones we make collectively.

In 1996, I made a promise to the Earth that I would never be a “litter bug” and I would recycle, reduce, and reuse. Here we are, twenty-five Earth Days later and this personal pact is just a natural part of my lifestyle. I’m not the most eco-friendly homegirl on the block but my recycle game is on point and I don’t litter, so I’ll toast to that.

Because big changes start with small choices.

Choices are complex and may seem like change is impossible. Even when the outcome is what you hoped, as it was with George Floyd’s murder trial. We’re learning the verdict, guilt on all counts, while simultaneously learning about Makhia Bryant, another child murdered by the police. This is one week after the police murder of Deaunte Wright, and the released body cam footage of police killing a child: 13 year old, Adam Toledo.

Black folks are painfully close to the song of police brutality and likely have their own remixes which play out the extra barriers white supremacy places in your path to catch you slippin.

If you are Black, you don’t have to actually be caught slippin, you can just be perceived as such and it’s enough to punish, criticize, or end your life. It is exhaustive and incessant grief. On one hand, we encourage mistakes as part of life learning, but on the other, those mistakes (real or perceived) are justification for Black death. 

Black people deserve the freedom to choose their paths without the projection of fear at the hands of white terrorism. I just want to see Black people live through their arbitrary choices, be it at a traffic stop, in the workplace, or recycling.

Erika Ellis is editor and creative director of Homegirl Magazine creating meaningful media and celebrating Black womanhood. Follow Erika on Twitter or connect at iamerikaellis.com

Where are the resources for surviving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources while Black?

By: Ann Daramola

Professional and personal development resources need to be mindful of the stakes Black people face in the workplace.

How do you show up to work the day after the police kill another Black person?

The answer is both “you don’t” and “you don’t have a choice” because: capitalism.

Diversity, inclusion, and equity resources are all oriented around packaging up white guilt into a performance that’s acceptable. Meanwhile, Black people are still not advancing into positions of ownership. At the center is very much still the *feelings* of non-Black people. [It’s those feelings that] are extensions of the human resources mandate to keep employees in line for the company (and we know how HR do).

I just want us to be honest. D[iversity, Equity, and Inclusion] ain’t it. Being a working class or white collar worker that is Black and not a man means you’re gonna be gaslit by every means available to these systems. Black equity is anathema to them. Literally bad for business. Please. Working class white collar workers. Let us be honest with each other.

It’s not even about showing up or not showing up as your authentic self or using the right pronouns or flagging micro aggressions. It’s about gritting your teeth through their meetings and getting your work done before your dental insurance runs up and you get pushed out.

It’s about documenting every single interaction, task, project, accomplishment, email, and meeting so you don’t end up gaslighting yourself when things go sideways.

It’s these things that no career development resource covers.

They tell you how to get in and get out, so you can get in somewhere else, not how to stay sane when the white woman in marketing across from you “yaaas queeens” her way to a promotion all with “she/her” in her Slack bio.

Where are those resources?

That’s my rant. I’m still the Only Black Woman on my team. Still maintaining. Let me know if you know of any resources that are addressing the extra labor of being Black at work or if you’re interested in building one with me.

Not all of us are going to run businesses. Most of us are going to be Black and employed and you know what? There is dignity in our labor, too.

Ann Daramola is a writer, software engineer, and digital worker creating web-based tools for people who use stories to make liberation possible. Follow Ann on Twitter or read more at anndaramola.com

Homegirl Reads: Start Ghetto

By: Homegirl Magazine Staff

Author La Tetra O. writes:

“There is something about "START WHERE YOU ARE" that seems to exclude people like me.

I couldn't put my finger on it before, but It was easy for a person like me to feel...invisible. Talked over, talked around. Ignored. When I sought comfort from writers and speakers that claimed to be motivational mindset shifters capable of changing my life for good, I'd leave with nothing because they were not writing for or talking directly to me.”

Start Ghetto is about embracing the unideal as a part of your success story.

Each page meets yourself in honesty about the circumstances preventing you from doing 'the thing'. Start Ghetto addresses real-life blockages you may be facing without the excessive positivity you're used to enduring in response to real-life obstacles.

Start Ghetto asks the questions that reveal the source of inaction or slow action with relatable, digestible, and applicable activities. Build your own meaningful and soothing self-talk required to set goals. Learn to plan with your unique odds and stop working against them.

Start Ghetto is over 200 pages of pulling your own card and meeting yourself where you are, however ghetto.

Black Business We Love: Hogoe Kpessou

By: Homegirl Magazine Staff

Hogoe Kpessou is luxury and hand crafted handbags, apparel, and accessories. Named after the 22 year old West African designer from Togo, the name Hogoe Kpessou was often responded to as: “ Well I’m going to butcher this one.” followed by a slow gaze and awkward attempt.

Hogoe Kpessou is using the name pronounced: “HO” “GO” “EH” “ K” “ PEH” “ SUE” or just Hogoè for short, to build a stunning fashion brand.

Follow Hogoe Kpessou on Twitter or shop the latest collection at hogoekpessou.com

Celebrating Five Years of Beyonce’s Visual Album: Lemonade

Five years ago today, Beyoncé released her sixth studio album Lemonade.

Lemonade peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200, selling 3 million copies worldwide, winning 2 Grammys, 7 BET Awards, 1 Billboard Music Award, and 8 Video Music Awards.

Lemonade was released to universal acclaim and all the singles from the album are certified platinum.

Look at the material.

And if anybody knows where we can get the Gucci fits from the Formation music video, hit our line.

Next Level, Please

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