When I started wearing my hair curly, I panicked. I stood in the mirror fully dressed agonizing over my outfit, here I was making an earnest attempt to wear a color other than black and white and I looked like I'd stepped right out That 70s Show. And even worser still, I wasn't even Donna or Jackie, I was Hyde's random sister, Angie, added in the last seasons of the show and removed just as quickly. I was a gimmick. While a quick trip to literally any store or a flip through a magazine will clue you in at once that 70s are back and the aesthetic of the decade with lots of bold prints, earth tones, suedes, leathers, denim, and fringe as the muse of the moment, I felt like an absolute dork. I'd walked out of my comfort zone and straight into a insecurity, albeit a very small one. My knowledge of the 70s stems entirely from my mom who spent her childhood in the decade and who for every Halloween in recent memory has dressed up as some variation of Foxy Brown, the titular character in a series of blacksplotation films played by the marvelous Pam Grier. And while those movies and the rest in genre carved out an important place of relevance in the mainstream for Black culture, I always felt uncomfortable with the caricature. Growing up, as a kid who never spoke AAVE--a dialect that still sometimes feel foreign and forced on my tongue--in part because I grew up in West LA, in part because I went to a private school (an all black private school that did a good job of "Huxtablizing" us), I get more scared of appearing inauthentically black, than I do feeling like a poser at a show for a band I don't know. It's a bizarre feeling: to not feel in control of something as intrinsic to our identity as how one is perceived because of our skin. It's particularly maddening for me, because I take so much pride in having agency over the my appearance through the way I dress. I love my curls. They a crown I wear with an insurmountable wealth of pride. But I felt suddenly self conscious that my appearance would become a gimmick, that my hair, my stripes, my earrings would be seen as a costume. I used to make fun of my mom for dressing up in the same platforms, paisley shirt, hoops, denim bell bottoms and long shearling coat, while I pranced around in some Disney princess getup handmade by my Grandma (usually another variant of Mulan because she was badass), but my mom would always say: "I'm not dressing up, this is who I am. In getting dressed today, I'm understanding exactly what she meant. Foxy represents more than just the jive talking dialogue allowed her to speak. Her voice was a fearless representation of a black woman on screen kicking ass, being sexy, being powerful, and being fierce. As I was walking to the park to take these pictures, I felt just as badass. . . just as foxy.
Top: H&M, Skirt: Zara, Cape: River Island, Shoes: Steve Madden, Necklace/Bracelet: H&M, Rings: Urban Outfitters