Those of you who’ve been following The B Werd since the beginning of this year know that I’ve had quite a bit to say in regards to minority issues in America, specifically Black lives. I was moved by what Jesse Williams had to say at this years BET Awards and shortly after I wrote this article, we were all taunted by Jesse’s speech being followed by the back to back killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I followed those two stories so closely that it kept me from blogging for a week. I found it nearly impossible to carry on with scheduled content without speaking up and that resulted in this post. I was hesitant to say anything at all, which made no sense to me seeing as I built this platform specifically to have a place to voice my views and share thoughts with all of you. No other bloggers I followed were mentioning social injustices. Their day to day lives went on with #ootd posts and coffee breaks without a single mention of black lives mattering. That wasn’t me. I cared too much to keep quiet.
When I saw Shayla and her friends at New York Fashion Week in these literal statement pieces, I felt SO proud. *cues “yaaaaasssssss girl!”* Proud because these young women had the courage to not only talk about the problem, but take action. What better way to get people to talk about these issues other than to wear them on your back during the biggest week of predominantly white fashion events? Let me tell you, there’s no better accessory than controversy mmmk? Her photos quickly went viral, setting off her #slayforachange hashtag. She was featured on the Fashion Bomb Daily as well as Yahoo and of course, Ebony.
Soon after getting home, Shayla reached out to me regarding a documentary she filmed about all of the events leading up to fashion week that she’d ironically titled “Fashion Weak”. She would be debuting this film in Houston and wanted little ol’ me to facilitate the panel discussion. Of course I not only obliged, I was honored and excited.
She rented an art studio downtown for the debut and easily filled it up. The documentary was about 75 minutes long and took us from laughter to rage and back again but everyone was without a doubt engaged. They touched on what sparked their actions to the skewed media portrayal of blacks. Once the documentary was over, we opened up the panel discussion to all those who attended. Some simply complimented them for speaking up, some had sincere questions about how to deal with those issues with others in their lives and others offered advice based off of how they’ve made room for the necessary conversation.
If a space doesn’t exist, you have to create it. Shayla did such a great job of allowing her love for fashion and her passion for culture coexist. It was a necessary reminder that we’re not the only ones thinking what we’re thinking or longing for change. Follow the young women who created Fashion Weak and be on the lookout for what they do next. Use the #SlayForAChange hashtag to keep the conversation going.