Category Archives: Women Empowerment

The Healing Powers of Bondage and Rope Play

Did you know that masturbation and femme self pleasure does not have to be penetrative?! As obvious as it is I recently came to this realization. Partnered or alone, penerative sex has long been my norm- that is until I challenged my pleasure practice to intergrate new sensations. I used to limit my pleasure to one area of my body, which was limiting myself from feeling the depth of pleasure when I engage my Full body. Now I can bring myself to orgasm without penetration in its place the power of sensation of touch and noticing of my body. I’ve learned how to do this through Bondage and rope play.

At the intersection of my Healing and Pleasure journey exist Bondage. I am in the month nine of practicing this sensual art form. I became interested in BDSM culture by follow Asha, Black Dom on instagram. Her practice is centered on using BDSM as a tool for Healing Trauma while also engaging the body in pleasure primarily on Black Femme bodies. After following her for some months, I paid for a phone consultation that changed my life for the better. Through our conversation we discussed many things – who I am, my interests in kink, and my health both physical and mental. From that information she gathered, she assessed what type of play would be best for me. I was fortunate that my kinky interest for BDSM play aligned with what she believed would fit my personal needs: Rope play and bondage!

Rope play and bondage is soothing for folk that experience anxiety and depression because when tied properly it simulates the same comfort as a newborn being swaddled. Asha explained to me that us humans never grow out of that need of being held to help ourselves calm down and rope play brings about those comforts. She then explained to me steps to follow as I began my journey into Rope play and bondage . First step was learning the Ropes, Literally.

Asha suggested the best rope length to begin with and for me to learn them intimately.First, I had to get used to tying them around my limbs and body (with surgical scissors always handy!) before allowing myself to be anyone’s lil rope bunny. As I tie the ropes she invited me to breathe. I make it a practice to notice my breath with each movement my hands make with the ropes in them. I let my mind focus on what I am doing- how tight or loose I am tying them and any adjustments I need to make, in real time.

Although her suggestion was for me to practice my ropes alone without partnered play for the first three month of play , I am now at nine months of solo play. In this time I have found ropes to be a useful tool for when I feel a range of emotions from anxious, overwhelmed, sad, and sexy. I play music for myself, burn incense and begin my personal session: I mediate in my ropes. I take sexy selfies and videos when the mood strikes me. I feel and touch all over myself and ropes everytime ensuring it is always enjoyable. In those moments I feel deeply powerful to know that I can grant myself both peace and pleasure with my Ropes and my own two hands.

2019’s Top 10 Femme Rap/ Hip Hop Artists You Need to be Listening to

As many of our’s Hot Girl Summer come to a close, I felt it would be best to recap the music we have been blasting this past season! Here is a countdown of the some of the best femmes that dropped songs within the year. If you missed out on the festivities this summer, don’t even worry – I included dope femmes that give us music for all four seasons !

Pap Chanel

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Rapper Pap Chanel, Instagram

This young lyricist brings the punches on her tracks . On her latest EP released across platforms she unleashes the whiplash crazed tongue of hers in songs like freestyle and more- Listen here!

Sampa the great

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Sampa The Great, Instagram

Feel the gap of the vast Black Diaspora close listening to this rapper. Sampa infuses sounds of her home in Zambia , Africa Traditional Religion , speaking power of matriarchy with a flow that is a modern twist if Erykah Badu was a spokenwordsmith. Listen as she invites listeners to breathe, to dance, and to move into Action.

Desiree Kee

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Desiree Kee, Instagram

she is a personal fave ! this Buffalo Based Rapper lyrics encompasses her journey through mental health , love and navigating life as a Black femme in a male dominated society. Her content isn’t the only thing of value- her artistic take with beats and visuals are an additional treat. Stream her music here!

Creatrx

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Creatrx, Instagram

self- described as “high priestess of sounds. who create ratchet spiritual, channeling ancestors, fall into some higher spiritual dimensions.” Listen here! !

Megan Thee Stallion

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Megan Thee Stallion , Instagram

Creator of thee Hot Girl Summer Playlist does not shy away from stating her worth is not for negotiation. and that her goals are for her to obtain. She does this all while giving us bops to twerk until our knees give out – give her latest album a Listen here!

Tierra Whack

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Tierra Whack, Instagram

Think Weird kid mixed with mad scientist typa vibe and you get one Whacky World. Tierra’s mastery of lyrics over dizzing beats will have your ears begging for more! Listen to her latest single!

Saweetie

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Saweetie, Instagram

Saweetie channels unapologetic Black Girl vibes as she plays with fun lyrics about what she likes and how she is seen. Give her a Listen!

Oshun

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Oshun, Instagram

This magical duo of conscious rappers focuses on their spiritual path intersecting with the current movement for Black Liberation. Become filled with nostalgia as they mix vibes reminiscent of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu with their own unique sound. Listen to their beautiful journey here!

Doja Cat

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Doja Cat, Instagram

Doja playfully dabbles with different beats and her flow giving us new flavors of music to move to. Listen to her latest music here!

Rapsody

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Rapsody, Instagram

I had to give a honourable mention to OG femme rapper Rapsody who released this ode to Black Women.  It would be a great injustice to us if I bypassed her latest star studded album, Eve. Listen to her as she uplifts the memories of famous Black Women with songs like Sojourner and more !

Meet Van Life Voyageurs Jennelle Eliana and Alfredo !

Last month I stumbled across the cutest duo:  Jennelle Eliana, an adventurous Woman of Color and her pet snake Alfredo, a spunky black eyed leucistic python. On her nineteenth birthday Jennelle made the decision to pursue van life to avoid the high rental cost in California and live a tiny life style that she had long been envisioning. On her YouTube channel where over 2 million subscribers tune in to watch her videos that last no longer than 20 minutes each Jannelle captures her daily journeys to a dope soundtrack.

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Jennelle and Alfredo on their Birthday

I first came across Jennelle through a Black Girls Who Love Anime Facebook group. When I saw her decked out van equipped with a living space layout, I was intrigued enough to check out her youtube. I quickly became obsessed after watching her first two videos and am now devoted watcher and subscriber.

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Jennelle in her cozy van home

What I love most about Jennelle is her bubbly personality. I enjoy how she opens and closes each video  in her own unique way and the incorporates humor into the climatic moments she encounters. I admire Jennelle’s willingness to be vulnerable and open with us her audience about her past struggles and current triumphs- she doesn’t shy away from being emotional . I was also drawn in by her humility as a young person who is trying to navigate life as an adult with all of it complexities and wonders and opportunities it presents. I find her and her channel an inspiring snapshot of what life has evolved  into for us a People of Color and as Womxn: Exciting and scary. The fact that Jennelle is honest about the time she felt unsafe as a woman traveler and the means she takes to protect herself is a testimony of how Women and Femmes of Color must navigate our lives in this world.

Whenever I need a quick mid-day or night pick me up I turn to Jennelle and Alfredo so, if you haven’t caught on to watching – I invite you to do so Now! Signing off in the words of Jennelle “Toddles!”

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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!

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.