Own your influence

I watched the Joe Budden interview with Nicki Minaj… and besides his split seam skinny jeans and her having her purse on her chair on set … I was super impressed with Nicki and Joe. Joe is an interesting character, I’ll stop there. Nicki… I haven’t rocked with her since the “Monster” era…

“Okay, first things first I’ll eat your brains
Then I’ma start rockin’ gold teeth and fangs
‘Cause that’s what a motherfuckin’ monster do”

But she schooled a generation in this interview…

OWN your INFLUENCE

She talked about starting the trend in “pink hair, thick ass” for female rappers and middle part dark hair that has come to be known in this time as “Kardashian” hair. Not that she invented those trends, but that she was the muse behind their resurrection in style. Her points were solid & salient!

But it did bother me a bit, she failed to give Kimberly Jones her due… like all of it… I mean …

But more importantly, it got me to thinking about a really solid statement she made… that when we, especially Black women fail to acknowledge and broadcast our influence we make it easy for people to attribute our style and beauty to White influence that is really just a mimic of us. It happens all the time. “Boxer braids”, the idea that wearing one side of your overalls undone didn’t come from Black folks in the 80s, the sneaker trend, stiletto nails, logo prints on clothes-helloooooo Dapper Dan… I could go on.

But unfortunately, very often when we do speak up and voice our influence even other Black people see us as cocky, narcissistic, and conceited. The number of times Soulja Boy has SHOWED us that he invented many of the popular trends in hip hop, yet he’s taken as a joke until he proves it… wild. For women it’s that much worse. Lil Kim is singlehandedly responsible for making very high end designer houses popular in hip hop and then in pop culture. But she never gets her props. I mean… again…

So it’s time we start… and not just in fashion… because most of us don’t reign there… but… in our everyday lives to own and not license out our influence for pennies. We can only get what we are due if we don’t allow our value to be stepped on so much it’s rendered invaluable… gotta sell the product while the buzz is still powerful.

So if you are championing breastfeeding in the Black community unlike anyone else before you; you are the youngest Black female engineer in a city, state, county; you were the first of your kind in a setting that used your knowledge and example to grow and change; you are a certified FIRST, breaking glass, plaster, and drywall ceilings and walls; or maybe your influence and presence forever changed a thing… anything… speak on it. Let anyone trying to take credit for it today know you started it yesterday. Then when they circle back, tryna get some more of that thing you do effortlessly, charge double. What did Fat Joe say… “Yesterday’s price is not today’s price!” You want this excellence, FYPE!

And when the White girl at Nordstroms admires your manicure and says… you have those nails like the Kardashians… let her know… Nope, I got nails like Queen Nenzima!

Then… “put your number twos in the air if you did it on ‘em!” –Did It On ‘Em, Nicki Minaj

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