BuffaLowe Says: FC Exclusive with ‪Deja Lawson, ‬Owner of Brahma Body Butter [INTERVIEW]

Combing social media on a regular day at the beginning of this month of May, a post on Twitter caught my eye. It was someone sharing a post about some good looking body butter, so I floated around to locate the source of the original tweet and I soon found out, it was Deja’s Brahma Body Butter who happens to hail from my hometown of Buffalo, New York.

I’m huge on natural and holistic health and wellness so I was very curious to learn a bit more about Brahma Body Butter and Deja’s path to start this type of business.

Read our exchange below:

BuffaLowe: First of all thank you for taking time out to chat with Flagrant City.  Please introduce yourself to our readers and followers and let the people know who you are and what it is that you do!

Deja: Hello and thank you for giving me this opportunity to chat with you about my amazing Brahma Body Butter! My name is Deja Lawson, I am 24 years old and I currently live in Buffalo, NY.

I am a full time abstract artist, certified holistic crystal and aura healer, cat mom and body butter maker!

When did you realize you had a passion for a holistic lifestyle and how has that journey to good health been for you?

My love for holistic healing came from wanting to create a better lifestyle not only for myself but for my family and those around me. My mother and aunts have always been into holistic healing, creating creams, flu shots and cleanses all from plants and spices so naturally I was taught to heal others which caused me to be inspired.

Holistic therapy and healing has been around for many years, not only in my family but around the world, and with new products coming out that smell good but were chemical based, I feared holistic healing would disappear or just be another trend, so its something I wanted to bring back for good.

For whom did you create this product and why?

I created my fabulous body butter due to my sibling’s skin reacting badly to chemical based lotions and moisturizers that he had been using, which caused severe eczema.

Why is your product so special, and what ingredients do you use that set you apart in this field?

Instead of opting for another chemical based topical cream to seek relief for my brothers inflamed skin, I decided to reach into my bag of old tricks and knowledge and create a moisturizer that would be safe, chemical free, organic, GMO free and all natural.

My Brahma Body Butter is extremely special, using fair trade Shea Butter that not only gives back to our skin, but gives back to those in Ghana that harvest this beautiful moisturizer, fair trade Cocoa Butter, Hemp Oil, Rosehip oil, Jojoba Oil and mixed essential oils creating a cruelty and paraben free product.

This moisturizer is quite different from other body butters because each jar is blessed with certified crystal therapy, using my personal cleansed crystals placed on the lid of each finished jar, burning sage and palo santo, letting the smoke pass through with pure intentions of love, beauty, healing and relief from all skin issues.

What piece of advice would you offer to other young people pursuing their dream to own their own business?

A piece of advice I’d give to young entrepreneurs creating their own business is to never give up. Ever. If you have an idea and you believe in it then put your whole heart into it, even if people tell you your idea won’t work or you should give up (like I had many people tell me!), keep going.

When your intention is clear and your energy is real, you can create anything you put your mind to. What you think is truly what you manifest, it all starts in the mind…

What’s next in store for yourself and your brand?

What’s next for me, is to keep spreading knowledge and education about living a more natural lifestyle, starting with what we put onto our skin, setting up my products in educational workshops and demos, smoke shops, botanical and black owned businesses.

I can’t wait to create new products through the Brahma Body Butter line, including CBD oil infused butters and much much more!

You’re a girl after my own heart looking to incorporate CBD oil into your butters soon. I’m not sure if you know but I have two cannabis lifestyle brands, Rhonda Jane & The Dope Mom Lifestyle Collective that advocates for the benefits of this plant. Hopefully we can work together and support each other in these endeavors. It was so great speaking with you Deja and learning more about you and your budding business, Brahma Body Butter!

Thank you again, àṣẹ !!!

Right now you can order Brahma Body Butter through Deja’s online Etsy shop here: brahmabodybutter, through her personal Instagram @dejas.photos or her business Instagram @brahmabodybutter!

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Around LA: Keep It Vertical Closet Grand Opening [3.9.19]

Come out on Saturday, March 9th, 2019 in Los Angeles from 1:00 to 3:00pm to help Jhoe, owner of the uplifting lifestyle brand, Keep It Vertical , celebrate both her new store’s grand opening and her birthday!

There will be free cake and champagne! This fabulous and fun event will be hosted by Amber O’s Lip Service, food will be available for purchase by Chill Eats.

Media and photo booth will be done by Milk It Media!

Also, the Keep It Vertical Closet will carry Flagrant City Apparel from the Rhonda Jane site, in-store! Make sure you stop by and support young Black entrepreneurs!

An Ode to Black Womxn & Reclaiming of our Sexuality

I have been blessed to be able to document and share with y’all my journey of finding and intetgating Pleasure in my life – Especially as we are living in a moment in time where black womxn are defining our own expression of sexuality and dictation of autonomy. For me, Reclaiming my erotic sensual self has been essential in my pursuit for liberation. I understand now, more than ever, that many of my life’s experiences with sex, sexuality and gender are directly linked to the oppression I, as a black womxn feel- and know that this isn’t limited to just Me.

Combahee River Collective 1977, Instagram: @sanyuestelle

For the generations before me, categories for black womxn sex workers and queer folx were crafted in such a way that they carried the brunt of our people’s trauma and abuse. Abuse from white people who hated them because of the color of their skin. Abuse from the black community who hated them because of their queerness and the hatred of both groups for them being women.

Since before my conception, my genders’ expression of sexuality had long been demonized in such a way that when I began to explore those parts of myself in adolence, I became apart of a bastardized group of people in my society: Ones degraded with names such as “fast“, “slut“, “whore“, “hoe“, and “thot“. Ones who can quickly and quietly be disposed of when sex becomes more than an “immorality”, to out right violence (from those who hold measurable power due to white superimist patriarchy) on our bodies.

It’s important to know that when society mastered how to reduce myself and my black femme/ womxn to sexual objects with no agency is when all unjust power dynamics were born. And while learning how to live between the thrawls of being fuckable or not, there is never in a black girl’s childhood, adolence, or budding womxnhood told that sex can be pleasurable for us. That sex can be healing for us. That sex can be integrated in our magic.

Due to that ignorance, some sister womxn go considerable lengths to distance themselves from eroticism, to avoid being outcasted with the other sexual deviants. That fear of embracing one’s sexuality and gender influences them to deaden parts of their bodies and kill off the sacred parts of their souls, in hope that, in this dilapidated state they will attract love and protection from Men. Men who, ironically in the covers of darkness, secretly seek out the womxn called “whore”, the man called “queer” , and the person who’s gender can’t be named in binary terms.

It’s these sister womxn (who have been nicknamed “pickme’s”) when finds out of these other love affairs, becomes aware that deadening herself did not bring what patriarchy promised her- she did not get the abundance of joy, wealth and family or a great man, but a poorly orchestrated facade in addition to her lived experiences from state sanction oppression.

Misogynoir defined, instagram: @iheartericka

Here’s where the cycle of oppression perpetuates itself: Pick me’s, these sisters that find themselves trapped by the lies of patartichy while also feeling into the loss of her erotic self – becomes bitter towards those who haven’t, and blames her sisterfolk for daring to live outside of the great Lie. This is dangerous, because when womxn despise or hate other womxn for exploring their erotic sensual selves, it opens the way for apathy. They become apathetic toward the ostracized girl and womxn who becomes pregnant in need of assistance when the man has gone absent. Apathetic to the survivors of sexual assault and abuse to the point of implying that the punishment to sexual exploration is to be met with Rape and assault. In their apathy they become complicit agents to the same forces that oppress and harm them.

When you support known abusers, when you stay silent when you know abuse is happening, or go as far as finding fault in the survivor’s of Abuse- you are a part of the problem.

I know after generations of being sexual objectified and oppressed by society through a form of osmosis we pass down from one generation to the next how to navigate and adapt to a world that denies us survival and autonomy. In the process of this we internalize a form of self hate so deep that can only be healed with tender love and acceptance. And in this healing, that erotic sensual self that was believed to be dead, is given the opportunity to live within her again.

Be Sex Positive, Instagram: @recipsforselflove

Being a womxn or femme doesn’t mean we all must have the same relationship to sex, sexuality or gender in order to gain our collective liberation. In fact all of these exist not in binary terms, but on a spectrum that grants us freedom to live comfortably wherever we fall in relation to each other.We do however, have to have the same understanding and acceptance to join ourselves in the united efforts to dismantle systems that are in place to oppress us. So that when the dust settles, we may be able to determine our own systems of power and justice for the protection of generations of young black girls and womxn to take and follow when we are long gone.

How I Overcame the Myth of Singleness

Soon I will be celebrating my second year of singleness! In this time I have enjoyed this opportunity of discovering parts of myself: articulating the ways in which I give and accept love, accepting my sexuality, to exploring more of my political identity. In this past year I have become enthralled with Audre Lorde- mostly due to how deeply I identify with her.

Audre Lorde, a queer black woman writer and mother of two, dissected society through her experiences in her literature. She often created terms for the systematic forces that have long gone unnamed like “mythical norms”.

“Somewhere, on the edge of consciousness, there is what I call a mythical norm, which each one of us within our hearts knows “that is not me.” In america, this norm is usually defined as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian, and financially secure. It is with this mythical norm that the trappings of power reside within this society.” (Audre Lorde, sister outsider)

As a practice while I explore where my political identity lie as a feminist or womanist; both or neither- I view society through the lens of mythical norms that I encounter, seeing the intersection of my privilege and oppression.

Everyday I enter the world I am treated differently depending on what I wear, on how I speak and who is with me.Wheather I am alone or with my children, there is a stigma attached to the stares from strangers that is constant: that I am lacking or missing something since a man is not present.

In our society women’s  worth and value are linked to our relationship with men. As young girls and women we are conditioned to believe that whatever treatment we can sustain and how much labor we can give men determines our value or strength. Our worth then depends on our relationships that we have with them – as romantic partners, in the workplace, in friend circles, etc… Subconsciously in the minds of most, women are still seen and judged in this regard.

When I became pregnant at eight-teen I dealt with the prejudices that people within my religious and general community projected onto me. Since I defied the expectation of preserving myself for a man in marriage by exploring my sexuality and using my body for my own pleasure in my youth, my son was a punishment fitting of my moral crime. I internalized for a long time feelings of worthiness and dutifully responsibility attached to this identity.

Over these past two years, I since discovered the power of my self-worth and know those myths of worthlessness I had internalized are untrue. I, like everyone else have inheritable worth. I am deserving of the love I give myself and those around me. I am deserving of all those who love me. I exercise my power by asserting my wants, my need, my desires for a potential relationship and not accepting less than that. I maybe alone in single statues, but I am not lacking or lonely.

Here’s a list of a few tips that have helped me along this journey that I want to pass along to y’all :

  • Be in relationship with you : set a side time to do things that bring you joy- whether that be things you already enjoy and experiment with new things you’ve never tried before.
  • Learn your love language: do you know how you accept love that makes you feel whole ? Do you know how you enjoy giving love to others? – take the time to write that down, or discover it if you don’t know.
  • Honor your commitments : set scheduled time for self care and follow through. Care for yourself in specific ways – clean your house, tackle your insecurities, go to bed at a set time, eat and drink what will keep your body whole, healed, and healthy.

My femme singleness is just one of the many intersecting pieces of my identity. Being black, queer, a mother, and non-Monogamous add layers of confusion to the outside world. Me being something that is different from what has been defined as normal means living in a state of nothingness constantly subjected to all forms of unjust violence. I am rarely extended the protection or care from folks that are not woman, or black/ of color, or queer, or poor.

There are many folx that exist with me at the intersection of multiple identities. We empower ourselves and each other through love and affirmations. By imagining a world where we are not governed by mythical norms that oppress us and using our power to create them.

#womenwithgoals June 2018 Success Feature – Rhonda J. Lowe of BuffaLowe PR, Flagrant City + Rhonda Jane [Interview]

Screenshot-2018-6-20 June 2018

Thank you to Women With Goals for selecting and interviewing me for their June 2018 Success Feature.  Sometimes it’s hard not being recognized for you efforts and strides in your career field, mines being journalism, entertainment media and PR.  It was extremely refreshing to be highlighted and acknowledged, in addition to being able to share my experiences with others.

To view the full interview, please take a moment to visit the #WWG website here: https://women-with-goals.org/sf/rlowe/

-BuffaLowe

20 Femme Rap/ Hip Hop artists You Need to be Listening to

Spring 2018 has already blessed us with new releases from Cardi B to Nicki Minaj to our beloved Janelle Monàe who are some of the biggest female rap artists/ lyricists in the Hip Hop game currently. Beyond the debate who is more talented amoung them, the Real question is what other femmes are out killing it in this genre? And as Scandals pop up each day, I have gotten tired of  trying to figure out if its still okay to listen to your problematic fave, so I ‘ve composed a list of some talented femme MCs out that are perfect for your spring to summer playlist!

Nitty Scott

New York City native, Nitty Scott is an Afro – Latina rapper / poet that infuses her cultural identity in the sound of her music. She uses her lyrics to promote femme empowerment using a fun sound you can’t help but move to. Listen Here!

Princess Nokia

Afro Latina rapper Princess Nokia has an underground cult following of her unique style that incorportates alternative music scene with hip hop. In her music she tells the stories of her youth and praises black women across the diaspora with catchy hooks. Give her latest EP a listen !

Cam & China

Cam & China are a black american femme duo that make what can best be described as femme trap. These two spit rhymes that validate black femmes and we can relate to that while incorporating the sounds we have all grown to love in trap. Give them a listen Here!

Junglepussy

Another New York City native on the list!  This sex positive femme raps about femme empowerment and self love for black women in lyrics that are as smooth as the beats she gives us to bounce our asses to. Listen to her latest single Trader Joe!

BbyMutha

BbyMutha is a Mother of four that does not let that piece of her idenity police her content of her artistry. She puts her experinces as a baby mother in her music that vaildates so many women like herself (myself included!) Don’t let that fool you though! She does not shy away from  speaking on  her sexuality explicitly  in her lyricism. Give her a Listen !

Sydanie

Mother and Tornoto native mixes Grunge sounds into her own style of reggeaton / hip hop. Her lyrical content reflect her experiences of being a black femme in the Black Diaspora and her feels that move her into her activism. Listen to her latest single Flirt!

DonMonique

DonMonique has already began to expand beyond her base and brand as a black fem trap rapper. With popular hits like “Pilates” and “Drown” DonMonique is the music will make you feel an even badder b*tch. Listen to her latest single 30 Block!

HopHop

Alabama native based out of Buffalo, NY Hop Hop uses classic Hip Hop flows for her new wave sound. Her music range from fun storytelling to addressing topics of racial tension, politics, and femme empowerment. Check out her latest single Scratch!

iRawniQ

This LA based raper puts the rawness of queerness into music by addressing sexuality and gender with iRawniQ unique sound of electro- Hip Hop. Listen Here!

Noname

Chi town native, Noname has gotten her acclaim in the local scene in beyond for her melodic voice and flow. Noname gives the perfect narrative for the bittersweet black experiences and the feels encompassing this, Give her listen Here!

Dreezy

Chicago native Dreezy has been holding down the hip hop scene with her confidence that drips all through her music. Her east coast flow and lyrics with some of the most enjoyable punchlines make for a great listen. Listen to Here!

Rico Nasty

D.C native Rico Nasty is a High energy freestyle/ rapper that has dubbed her own sound as sugar trap. In her music she incorporates her bold persona with 90’s pop culture and unapologetic blackness. Listen to her latest single Hit That !

Big Freedia

Although she is not new, I had to do an honoray mention to this Queen. Big Freedia reps New Orlean’s Bounce Music scene, a sub-genre composed of queer black folks that were not accepted into the Hip Hop community because of their idenity. Bounce fuses traditional rap with adlibs and House music to create this iconic sound that has made brief appearences in mainstream music (Beyonce Formation & Drake’s Nice for what ).Listen to her latest single Rent !

Kari Faux

“The hottest thing out of Little Rock” LA based rapper Kari Faux’s sweet voice over R&b and 90’s inspired beats is a vibe of its own. Her relatable lyrics about dating and millienial life will make you laugh and her music enjoyable, Listen Here.

Angel Haze

New York rapper Angel Haze uses her poetic experience in her music with her lyrics that encourage femme unity / empowerment with a rawness that will leave you reeling. Listen to her Here !

Audra the rapper

Self described as soulful ratchet uses electro sounds and hip hop beats in her high energy sound. Listen to her Here!

CupcakKe

Known by most for vuglarity, CupcakKe is a dymanic MC from Chi town that has made her rise to fame by her unapologetic reclaiming black sexuality. With hits like “Deep Throat” to  “Pedophile” CupcakKe uses her platform to normalize sexual positive for femmes while also highlight the sexual voilence in our communities. Listen to her latest single Quiz!

Leikeli47

This femme leaves much of herself to her listeners imagination , Leikeli47 use fun hooks and lyrics over different sounds that are great to hype yourself up with. Listen to her Music here!

Dai Burger

Another great turn up artists uses R&B/ pop music sounds into her music with lyrics that highlight femme experiences in high energy fun delivery. Listen Here!

Kamaiyah

Unapologetic femme rapper spits lyrics about being open sexually and being proud of her identity in her music that is also great to pregame and turn up to. Listen Here !

MaDamn Noire Reclaims the ‘Angry Black Woman’

On March 31st at the closing ceremony for FREE AGENT, MaDamn Noire strolled up to the stage with a white Barbie doll on a leash in tow. I was eager for the performance as I already knew that it would be the representation of MaDamn Noire frustration of whiteness. In preparation MaDamn Noire , Obsidian, Curtis Luvell, and I held a ritualistic ceremony where each of us gave a blessing over MaDamn Noire and her performance. I’ve come to love and cherish my relationship with each of these beauitful black femmes, we poured that love over her as a reminder that her life long dance career aligned with her knowing her fullness in her idenity that she was more than ready for this. It was scared, intimate and healing space that we held just for ourselves among the others preparing for the show.

As the music started so did she, MaDamn Noire was the embodiment of the rage black women feel and the liberation from letting it free not afraid of who may see. On the stage she moved fiercely with a sexiness that felt natural to the raw anger energy. Over the music and the crowd roaring their delight of consuming her vibrant dancing, her body screamed its disgust from the treatment that white folks have put her through. Challenging major Grace Jones vibes she bites then spit out the head of the Barbie in the face of a woman in the front row that sent the crowd into a louder uproar. In that moment my heart swelled with pride for her boldness and it ached for her sacrifice she had made performing this in a predominately white space.

Black folks in the audience knew that with each twirl MaDamn Noire swung that Barbie above her head represented what she really wanted to do after every unwarranted hair grab by a white woman that just wanted to feel it. Black folks knew that with each shake she gave that Barbie was for each time she was harassed by a white coworker that went unnoticed, for each condescending comment made to her face and every stereotype that had been nailed to her back. She danced for every slight and large injustice, mircoagression, and hidden racism that black femmes face daily that looks at us with thin lipped smiles and eyes that willingly go blind to black violence. She danced to communicate that we will not idly play along with your games. We will not entertain without forcing you to see what you have done to me, to my people, and our collective ancestors. We will disrupt all aspects to your lily lives as ours has been until you work to correct the harm that we are currently in.

She trotted off the stage and out the door giving the perfect end to the event. I felt joy of her releasing so much of the pain we suffer through, I felt her soul being free as she let her artistry channel who she was physically. I felt healed watching her reclaim what I had been told until now was some far off mythology of liberated black femme sexuality.

Photo cred. @pjeightyeight/instagram.com