Nubienne gets the artistic treatment

Wow, what a wonderful surprise! Today I got an email from Scott Hamilton informing me that he’d drawn my portrait… ummm what? I have no recollection of sitting for a portrait. Scott had in fact drawn my portrait from my profile picture, an image that I love. I am honoured to have been a part of this artist’s 100 faces project and you can check out his blog here and his facebook page here.

 

Thanks again artboy68!

"Beautiful Nubienne" ©Scott Hamilton (artboy68) 2012

Black like Barbie and Me

*Updated to include the lastest images and designer credits.

 

When I was a child my mom searched high and low to get me dolls that looked like me–my parents we very black conscious—but even as they found black Barbies, way back in the late 70s black Barbie had dark(ish) skin but always, always the Barbie I got had the inevitable waist length, swishy straight hair.

Vintage Barbie

I grew up believing that Barbie was the ideal beauty and that black was indeed beautiful but only if black was simply white with black skin. I coveted long straight hair that I could brush like I brushed Barbie’s and when I was six I got my first relaxer and I was thrilled, I brushed it and I swished it and I felt beautiful. When I was nine I was almost bald from the chemicals and had to have my dry, broken hair cut to near army specifications.  When it grew to an inch or so I was told that I would finally be able to get another chemical, the Jheri Curl. My mother and her hairdresser told me that this was the only way that they’d be able to “manage” my thick, kinky hair and I believed, trusted, that eventually I’d get my hair back to Barbie’s length and texture. Even though I had long since given up my Barbie dolls I desperately wanted to be considered beautiful, and so without thinking about it I began my quest for perfect, acceptable hair, for Barbie hair.

Barbie’s hair was straight, it was long, it was brush-able and it was pretty when I heard other girls speak of what was pretty  they often said “oh, her hair is so pretty, just like a dolly” I was indoctrinated and I didn’t even know it. I was 17 when I finally ditched my obsession with straight hair and embraced my kinky, nappy hair but it has been a struggle in the years since because society still places a premium on straight (or not kinky) hair and the process of indoctrination starts before we are even aware such things are affecting our young girls.

A few years ago Barbie got a makeover, her DD breasts (implants I think) were scaled back to a reasonable size and she got a little thicker in the middle (thank goodness because that 18″ waist was freaking me out) she acquired several black friends  in the forms of Kara, Grace, Chandra and Trichelle but even as she got a little soul, Barbie’s long hair still flowed straight down her back and little girls who were black like me still coveted her tresses. We had bought into the fiction that Barbie was selling, that long straight hair was beauty and that if we could pretend that it was growing out of our heads like Barbie that was even better. The mainstream black hair industry is built on this fiction and some of those little girls from my youth had grown up and were making the weave shops happy with the results of unaddressed indoctrination.

Warning! This video is Not Safe For Work (Language)

Well, now that we all feel a little dirty, I will say that I applaud Mattel’s efforts to make Barbies that actually look like black women although I remain disappointed that they are all apparently addicted to weave like liquored-up West Coast socialites. What to do about the issue? I recently decided to make a Barbie that I wished I had when I was five, Barbie with kinky hair almost like mine, with inky black skin like mine and with clothing and accessories that didn’t look like she’d just left the set of a Lil’ Wayne video.

Here she is straight out of the box with her swishy long hair

Before

and here she is with her pipe cleaner curlers

and with the curls

and finally with her new, fierce ‘fro  and wearing a one-shouldered shibori top and pearls.

After!

 

 

Kara is wearing Alexis Campbell Resort Wear 2012 Photo Credit: Risée Chaderton 2012

 

Chandra's hair by Hajar Mohammed of Hapi Loc Groomers and her outfit is by Ayeba Asher Photo Credit: Risée Chaderton

somebody is going to love her birthday gift!

Credits:

Alexis Campbell – clothing and accessories,

Christine Kumchy – Shibori  fabric (shirt)

*Ayeba Asher – Traditional African Clothing Designer

Leigh Weatherhead- Principal doll stylist

Adrian Charles: Lighting Assistant

Risée Chaderton – Photography, hair and styling

Liming in Puerto Rico with Liat

 Last year, I had the opportunity to go shopping in Puerto Rico, whoo hoo! Article and images below with a link to Zing Magazine where the story appeared this month.

 

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The Caribbean is often a mish-mash of culture, of peoples and of experiences, and our neighbour in the north, Puerto Rico, is no different; She shares her history with Spanish conquistadors, with Amerindian peoples and with African slaves almost equally, and yet her inextricable link to the United States is often her defining characteristic. 
In 1493 when Columbus made his second voyage to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico was one of the islands he claimed in the name of the Spanish crown. The Amerindian people he found there, the Taino, were enslaved and in the end nearly exterminated. But, as with many Caribbean people, the story of the original inhabitants of the island still lives on in the hearts and minds of many Puerto Ricans. 

Pigeon handler at Capella del Cristo- Old San Juan © Risée Chaderton 2011

Today this island is filled with modern sky-rises set against a backdrop of verdant tropical expression. From majestic mountain ranges and tropical forests in the centre of the island, to coral stone caves and wide expanses of sandy beaches along the coasts, Puerto Rico has a little of everything. 

The rich history of the island can be seen in Old San Juan in the blue cobblestoned streets and Spanish forts, and in the Taino petroglyphs that can be found in the mountains of El Yunque National Rainfrorest. Many people visit Puerto Rico for its rich and diverse history – but they are also tempted by its varied shopping options. 

Closer than Miami, and with excellent and affordable accommodation choices, it is an easy decision to take a quick flight to San Juan in order to shop until you drop at one of the many large malls. 

Plaza Las Americas is one of the largest malls in the region, and with shopping options ranging from Abercrombie and Fitch to Macy’s and Charlotte Russe, bumping into a Caribbean neighbour, arms loaded with shopping bags, isn’t such an usual thing. 

 

San José Church - Iglesia San José © Risée Chaderton 2011

Carolina Mall has a much smaller variety of stores but remains at the top of the heap for many bargain-hunting fashionistas. Savvy shoppers will be happy with the choices: high-fashion Mango with its designer line and sleek store; Best Buy and Radio Shack for the techies; Aldo for shoppers with a shoe fetish; American Eagle Outfitters for the rugged but stylish, and G by Guess. And if all that shopping works up an appetite, the variety of food is astounding, from Pizza Hut pizza to Japanese teriyaki chicken, my favourite stop was Strawberry farms, with its homemade cookies and chocolate-dipped everything. Bags, shoes, make-up, food and accessories can easily create a credit card crisis during a casual stroll through this mall! 

Once your shopping is complete, LIAT has partnered with Cargo Solutions International located in Barbados to help you get your purchases home without the hassle of overweight fees. They even help you make an informed choice between barrels or durable containers, depending on your budget, and offer a pick-up service from your hotel.

the wide expanse of Carolinas beach © Risée Chaderton 2011

 

If you want a hint of culture to spice up your shopping trip make your way to Old San Juan, where the architecture will take you back a hundred years, and the juxtaposition of Ralph Lauren and jalousied windows somehow makes perfect sense and where the best food is often found by abandoning your tour guide and following the locals. The best breakfast I had during my time in the city was in a tiny café where no one spoke English. Here I was served mouth-watering fresh orange juice, home made bread and coffee potent enough to impress any aficionado. 

James Larkins of The Parrot Club © Risée Chaderton 2011

 

The city is more than five hundred years old and its history as a military fortification is evident in every stone. The streets are paved with a unique blue brick that lends an air of artistry to the city. Its brilliant blue colour is a residue left by the iron baked into the clay. Many stories tell of the bricks being brought to Puerto Rico as ballast on the ships of the Spanish, but most Puerto Ricans disavow that tale, telling instead a more likely story of English foundries, iron kilns and a desire to maintain the historic value of a city as well as a little old-fashioned mystery. The city’s architectural integrity is maintained by strict town and country planning laws that restrict the type of new buildings that can be erected. This ensures that the city remains beautifully enshrined in its historically accurate mask even as the people evolve and flow through it like a tide. Old San Juan was founded in the early 15th Century as a military site used to defend the island from many who came after Columbus and tried to claim her.

The gates of Old San Juan © Risée Chaderton 2011

Even today most of the protective walls remain, and the main fort, Fort San Cristobal, rises like a sentinel in the East, silent and insurmountable. Monuments to Christopher Columbus are numerous on the island, despite the fact that many Puerto Ricans seem ambivalent or mildly irritated by the mention of the Genoese sailor.  James Larkins, a resident of Old San Juan, described the dichotomy this way: ‘Puerto Rico is a country of contrast and controversy. Many people are not very happy about Christopher Columbus,’ he shrugs, ‘but the statue is still there.’ In the shadow of that statue in Plaza De Cólon you will find local craftspeople selling jewellery made of sea shells, clay beads and bone, wooden mortar and pestles. It is one of the few places I visited where I was able to see indigenous art—in the shadow of Columbus. 

Gates of Old San Juan in the morning © Risée Chaderton 2011

Puerto Rico is historically rich, culturally vibrant and visually stunning, and it is certainly a shopping stop not to be missed.

 

Risée liming on the street in Old San Juan— I'm working, I swear!

Random Beauty

I just came across this fantastic tutorial and thought I’d share, I am going to be wearing this look for the Christmas party…this look and my hot pink silk dress. Lookout!

I used Black Opal’s now discontinued “Goddess” on my lips and Black Up’s Shimmery Sublime powder to create a holiday shimmer.

I am also sick today so if I look a little tired forgive me and I’ll get back to longer commentary when I am better.

Rihanna moves closer to busting up Madonna’s record

Rihanna scored her 11th American number 1 hit with the Calvin Harris penned “We found Love”; the accompanying, controversial music video had tongues wagging from Bridgetown to Ireland and back again.

The Barbadian star holds the record for the fastest accumulation of number one singles, as well as the honour of being the youngest musician to have ten number 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. She seems happy to chew that record up and spit it out, though, as she now has eleven number 1’s, and shows no signs of slowing down her hit-making train.  She is edging closer to the all-time record of the long-reigning grande dame of pop, Madonna, who has twelve number 1 US singles, but still has a long way to go before she can catch diva Mariah Carey, who still comfortably holds the record with eighteen— the most number 1’s for any solo artist.

The  talented and media savvy Barbadian singer has alway emphasised her Bajan roots, and seems to have comfortably referenced the dialect of her homeland in the title of her upcoming album “Talk that talk.” The Bajan dialect phrase “Talk yuh talk” is frequently used to dismiss gossip and Rihanna has regularly been dismissive of people who have had negative things to say about her. In “Cheers, Drink to That”, she sings: “Life’s too short to be sittin’ round miserable/ People gon’ talk whether you doing bad or good…”, and online she tweeted recently about sex tape rumours involving her and JCole: “We don’t believe U, U need more people…AND of course an actual sextape! #slownewsday.”  Rihanna has been loudly saying, “talk yuh talk” to the world for some time now, and it is fitting that her sentiments have now been immortilised in an album title.

Fans are still waiting on the soon-to-be-released track listing from “Talk that Talk”,  but all manner of speculation abounds. See the latest rumoured track listings here.

Rihanna with Coldplay on Princess of China.

Audio only

Rihanna’s new album “Talk that Talk” will be available on November 21