All posts by noirdelacreme

black femme mom trying to discover my identity while navigate the complexities of parenting •aspiring poet/historian of local LGBTQ+ stories• she/her/they

Lady Entrepreneurs: Produced By Girls – Zine 1 (Review)

I was overly excited to read this Zine by looked at it alone. The classic black and white marble composition notebook cover felt nostalgic to adolescence: the way it would become decorated with amateur graffiti, magazine cut outs of favorite celebrities and teen heartthrobs glued onto the few empty spaces. Also, 3D Glasses were included to be used on certain pages! 

This zine featured 5 talented young women of color, that were pictured on the cover in the cut out form.  

Each page reflects the personality of the young woman it shared itself with in a magazine cut collage form. 

The first page featuring Megan Harris- model, artist, graphic designer and part owner of Beatnik Parlor Ice Cream , is covered in a variety of ice cream cones, palm trees and California vibes reflecting Megan’s hometown. Megan is pictured in the lower corner with thick coiled shoulder length hair looking directly into the camera. Megan’s story was deeply inspiring for myself personally with her being just two years older than myself. At 26 she has left her hometown in Sacramento to NYC to further her career. 

Her advice for to aspiring entrepreneurs was simplistic which made it seem even more achievable for myself and all who read. 
On the back of Megan’s page is a goals worksheet for the reader to list what goals they have for themselves and business! 

Annabel’s page is covered with a variety of foods as well as pictures of her food truck/ mobile kitchen. Anabel is pictured in the lower corner, a beautiful young girl smiling holding a toddler in her arms. 

One of the impressive things about Anabel is that age of eight years old she has already created a delicious diverse menu that feeds many in the DMV area. Her words echo the importance of seeing women and girl bosses, starting as young as herself, proving anything is possible. 

Alias Kadir’s page background is decorated with large frosted green grapes and light pastel colors. Alias is pictured in the corner with shoulder length curly hair looking away from the camera over her shoulder. This seventeen year old explains how she found comfort in music. Alias also included how she is looking for queer artist and artist of color’s work that she wants to share via her platform. This is also something near and dear to my heart, the inclusion of queer and all artist of color is needed, our work is truly unique and needs more visibility. 

Essence Hayes’ name is spelled out in bold red block letters. Across the back of her page is a city’s outline with building lit up a night sky . By her name and along the bottom of the page are some of her pins. Essence is pictured at the bottom of the page looking directly into the camera. Essence is a painter and jewelry maker that came up with Coloring Pins, a collection of pins that are inspired by black hair styles. Looking at these pins give a more nostalgic feelings as it showcases classic black hair styles as Bantu knots and braids. 

Essence describes her journey to get her business to where it is today. From her set backs and obstacles, Essence continued on pursing her vision and has no intentions of stopping now. 

The last lady entrepreneur in this issue is Eli. Using the 3D glasses given at the front of the zine you can see the overlapping red and blue clustered pictures of Eli come to life. Eli’s outlook on art medium and Philosophy was both refreshing and left me excited to see what she will accomplish artisticly. 

On the next page PBG has an important reminder that the reader can see with the 3D glasses. The last two pages are interactive for the readers encouraging the reader to bring their ideas to life.  

After reading this Zine I felt revitalize to continue the work that I’ve been doing : with writing, with organizing and modeling .

What was most inspirational about these young women is how at their age they have envisioned their dreams and brought them to life. To find out how they succeed and overcame their adversity, read this Zine ! 
Also show support to these wonderful women by following their social media accounts and their work. 

Their presence in their fields are needed, let’s make sure it can remain. 

 Reclaiming My Time 

I’m sitting with and processing emotions from interactions I’ve had over the past week. This has been forcing me to acknowledge my social conditioning : how I default in handling situations and the result that has on myself.

I was raised heavily in Assimilation Culture and by Respectability Politics: that if I did mind my manners, speak properly, tamed my hair- then white people would not be an issue, and if they were, to avoid Any confrontation. I’ve never witnessed my parents prioritizing their Blackness over whiteness. Without noticing, I began doing the same as I’ve gotten older- that is until recently.

In the past year I’ve been spending more time in Black and Brown only spaces, spaces that center Blackness and organizing with People of Color collectives. In these spaces I’ve realized my conditioning and how it stems from systematic self preservation tactics pasted on generationally. Returning to work in a predominately white space has triggered how I see myself, my Blackness in reference to how I handle whiteness.

I didn’t realize the problem I had with prioritizing whiteness until fellow organizer and friend brought it to my attention in the wake of Charlottesville both in a conversation we had on it and later in an important piece on this topic.*

I was telling her how I was avoiding going to places because I didn’t want to talk with white people about what had recently happened. She shifted the conversation and my view from avoidance to standing in myself and simultaneously refusing to talk about matters that made me uncomfortable.

Friday I remembered her words after enduring a rant at work from a white man on Charlottesville, how it was staged, the manufacturing of a race war and how now isn’t the time to worry about race. Despite my attempts to end the conversation it didn’t stop until my boss intervened. I felt at the end of it exhausted from listening to him, exhausted from his entitlement to my time, and his ignorance of his privilege that has resulted in so much violence.

As a Black American womxn, I felt insulted and triggered by his reduction of over 400 years of oppression and violence to singular moments of eruption of race relations when white supremacy feels threatened by our fight for liberation.

I noticed in this moment how it felt to let my identity come second in an interaction that:
1. Did not need to be had,

2. Would not reflect negatively on my job performance, had I centered myself

3. Would be more loving/ honoring to myself to center my identity.

White people have created and we’re raised in a society that has always put their ideas first, gave themselves room to be expressive without judgment which in turn resulted in them believing that they can encounter any interaction in that way. Where as Black and Brown people were not, we have always made space for whiteness.

Now, however is optimal time to enact Auntie Maxine Waters words and Reclaim Our Time.

I urge all my Black, Brown and all intersecting identities to stop, give yourself space and reclaim your time in the face of whiteness- supremacy and toxic masculinity.
Stop yourself in interactions ask ‘ am I prioritizing self or whiteness?’ – if the latter, reclaim that time.

To futher quote her words in the Just Resisting post “Are we actively in this moment, joining and working to build a world we want to live in? A world that centers us? Are we engaging in the work that prepares us for what we’re so obviously up against?”

End that respectability/ assimilation mindset and reclaim your unapologetic Blackness : in your interactions, in demanding our rights, justice and the continued fight for liberation.
I’m still working on this – from my organizing to my own personal experiences and my hope is for you to do the same.

*Please read the rest of Just Resisting’s Post and if in the Buffalo area be sure to check out JR’s Political Education Kickoff!on the 21st!

Salon Talk Podcast One Year Anniversary Celebration !!(Review)

Over 20,000 listeners, 46 episodes and many special guests later, (one of which is our very own Rhonda Lowe in episode 16!) the past year has been eventful for the ladies at the Salon Talk Podcast and definitely worthy of celebration! 

This one year anniversary podcast party took place at the 9th Ward at Babeville, a snug venue with exposed brick walls and intimate seating around a low platform stage. Dj Mr. Illmatic kept the party flow going before and over the course of the night’s show. 

Kicking off the celebratory live anniversary episode, Yolanda Smilez, comedian and past podcast guest, opened with a raunchy comedic set. Her set was engaging and hilarious take on her own sexuality, the audience’s , and her relationship with the podcast had everyone reeling in enthusiastic laughter. 

When Arica and Fee took the stage the energy was high and emotional as they both took turns recapping their first year together and the success it has amassed . They praised those who have been supportive of their growth and that played huge roles by honoring them with gifts and shout outs.

 

The Salon Talk Live podcast episode featured some the the podcast’s iconic conversations starters with the addition of audience engagement. They addressed popular culture topics like Insecure’s #TeamIssa and #TeamLawrence debate (#TeamIssa over here!) and theories on what will happen next on Power. 

The open conversation with the audience remained after special guest and musician Mickiee Moscoto took the stage from the the icebreaker question to the visuals of her an impromptu twerk lesson with Arica – which was a definite bonus! 

Salon Talk represents blackness in its fullness while highlighting the growth and success within the local black community here in Buffalo. Salon Talk’s one year anniversary is the celebration of black Womanhood: our life, beauty, and sexuality. 

I feel so privileged to have been apart of this celebration and look forward to listening to new episodes every Wednesday! 

‘Along The Edges’: An Artistic Wonderment of Black Femme Imagination 

Along Allen Street in a quant buffalo art space called Pine Apple co. is featuring the art instillation ‘Along The Edges’ by Obsidian Bellis, a local black femme artist currently on raise.


“‘Along The Edges’ is predominantly inspired by the emotional labor of black femmes through adversity expressed with elements of mysticism and nature.” -Best described by the artist herself Obsidian.


Obsidian’s artistic style can be described as a mixture of mythical creatures with strong influences of black Afro- American culture. Obsidian also highlighted that her work is inspired by thriftier trinkets and items she would see at her grandmothers house .


On August 4th, opening night of this exhibition, Obsidian featured the talents of Curtis Lovell vocal accompaniment to Ebony’s Burlesque performance that embodied all the elements of Obsidian’s pieces. Curtis Lovell’s original songs vocalized the imagination and Ebony’s hypnotic movements brought the fantasy of the night to life.


The collision of still , dance, and vocal art entranced the audience to a silence, stopped and brought people in off the street to witness this magical performance. The celebration of black femmes creativity created a warm radiating energy that consumed the artists as well as everyone in that space.

All the pieces featured and what remains , are currently up, but won’t be for long!
‘Along the Edges’ instillation ends on August 27th!
Stop in for the last weekend to experience the fleeting moments of this black girl magic instillation!

Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival Review 

The inaugural Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival kicked off its event with an amazing blues performance by Zuri Appleby, best known for playing with Nick Jonas as his bassist and closed with the anticipated performance of Venzella Joy, best known for playing with Beyoncé as her drummer. These famous Buffalo natives performances got the crowds excited and secured the heightened energy throughout the Festival. 

Beau Fleuve was held at the Buffalo Riverworks, a new and unique venue for an festival that was quiet the same.Upon entrance to the venue, there was a restaurant and bar with a large open space that would be used as an Exhibit Room featuring art exhibits, fashion art, speaker series and vendors. 

Along the back wall there was an entry way down to an arena that offered space to two main stages ,the river stage, more vendors and a stair case that lead to the silent disco located on a stage above the middle of the two main stages. 

On these three stages every art form imaginable was on display: all genres of music from country,Hip Hop, R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz, Indie and more, dance, spoken word, and live performances by painters & barbers. 

Amidst all this talent performers often found themselves competing with each other for space to be heard by their audiences. The amount of talent showcased at this event was astonishing and at time confusing.

 From the festival goers I had the pleasure of speaking with they all wished there was an event program given upon entry detailing the time/location of each performance to ensure they didn’t miss certain sets, but were also optimistic that by next year’s festival these minors kinks would be worked out.

Some of the highlights of the night were the Neo -Soul performances from Drea D’Nor and Lindsay Niccs that drew some of the largest crowds. We Stole the Show and The Pit Dance Crew raised the energy of the crowd as they interacted with festival goers within their sets. But above all, it can be agreed upon that the Silent disco was a definite favorite. 

Upon arrival to the silent disco stage each person is given special headphones that can switch from the three different dj’s mixing on the stage in front of them, these headphones would light up the color of whatever station they were currently listening to. The liveliest time of this was during Truey V’s set where crowds swarmed in circles dancing out to current and classic popular music as well as tunes from Buffalo’s own underground scene.


My personal favorites of the festival were the youth performances, the food, and the overall vibe of the festival. 

The multitalented set performed by the students from Buffalo Center of Arts and Technology was both beautiful and refreshing to see the amount of talent these youth possessed, what they were capable of when given creative freedom and a platform to showcase it. The indoor restaurant offered a delicious twist to the traditional Buffalo Chicken Wings with their Duck Wings rendition, which is meatier than their fellow feathered friends but with all the great flavors of a buffalo wing ! 

Festival goers were all in high spirits and friendly creating a welcoming family friendly environment. There was a strong sense of community among the artist that were mostly all Buffalo natives, their support of each other’s crafts extended beyond their performances, but also to their growth and accomplishments. 

I can go on about the wonderful experience I had at this Festival, it was truly a unique celebration. A celebration of a new Buffalo were artists are given not just space to showcase their craft and perform but a community that fully supports them.  

I look forward to attending next year’s festival and hopefully seeing the work of many other artists from the Buffalo & Western New York area. 

About Marielle Smith

Marielle Smith is a Buffalo, New York native and single mother of two beautiful children. Marielle enjoys writing poetry and short stories that highlight her experiences as a queer black woman, both the joy and struggles that personhood entails.

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Over the past year Marielle has dedicated her time as a community organizer working with Just Resisting, a People of Color Community Organization that focuses its efforts on social justice, inclusion, and self- care / reflection. She was drawn to this organization when she experienced the centering of black femme voices and the validation of experiencing all emotions while also incorporating art into this movement.     Marielle feels that art, in all its different mediums, is not only important to be a part of activism, but is an act of activism in itself. Art serves as a way to heal, it expresses a narrative and point of view that needs to be seen in order to address and solve the issue within the community.

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Marielle also spends her time working with the Buffalo- Niagara LGBTQ+ Project, a local history project that conducts research and preserves the history of LGBTQ people. This history project is currently working on documentary style interview series composed of trans- activist and documenting their personal archives into Project’s archive base at Buffalo State College Library. Marielle is head of the POC Subcommittee, which focuses on the stories/history of people of color and preserving them for future generations.

In her spare time Marielle enjoys attending art shows/exhibits of various artists and brunching with friends where mimosas flow endlessly.