It is officially International Women's Day and I have another anthem for you. I hope you enjoyed "You Don't Own Me" by Leslie Gore at the beginning of this reading. Personally, it gives me all the feels of a head strong woman who is in charge of her own destiny despite what others, especially men, have to say about her. This song was released in December of 1963 and is considered one of the ultimate women empowerment songs. I'm not sure of the first time I heard the tune, but it was used in the ending scene of one of my surprising favorites, "The First Wives Club" featuring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. (I'll share the scene at the end so you enjoy it like I do. 😉)
We're still celebrating Women History Month and International Women's Day, I'm bringing you 2 women of the past and 2 women of the future today. So, let's get into it.
Women of the Past
First up is Zora Neale Hurston. Born January 7, 1891, Hurston grew up to be an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. Although she was born in Alabama, her family moved to Eatonville, Florida when she was around 3 years old which she used as the backdrop for multiple stories she created.
Some of her literary works included poetry, novels, essays, and plays such as Sweat, The Sanctified Church, Passion (in the book Negro World), and her famous Their Eyes Were Watching God. A film was later created based on this popular novel. Film credits list documentary footage of her field work in Florida and Haiti.
Spanning an almost 30 year career, Hurston participated in both anthropologic and folkloric fieldwork. She was a major player at the height of the Harlem Renaissance and was very controversial in her works. In fact, after Zora Neale Hurston passed in 1960, it was said that an order was made to burn the papers she'd written. Thankfully an officer, and friend of Hurston, put the fire out. Otherwise, we would have missed out on much of her posthumous literary collection.
Our second woman of the past is fashion designer Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, better known as Coco Chanel. She was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur, France. Thrown into an orphanage by her father at the age of 12 and raised by nuns after her mother's death, Chanel learned to sew while there in the orphanage, which is how her career was cultivated.
Gabrielle began being referred to as "Coco" during her stint as a singer in Vichy and Moulins. There are multiple theories on how she acquired that nickname, one being that it was a shortened version of the French word cocotte, meaning kept woman. This theory was further believed based on Chanel's relationships with two friends who were both wealthy men and were instrumental in helping her business getting off of the ground.
Starting off in the business of selling hats in 1910, Coco Chanel expanded her franchise to fashioning couture clothing and eventually perfume. It is said that the term "little black dress" is due to Chanel revolutionizing an outfit most notable worn in times of mourning and making it a fashion icon piece.
During the 1930s, Chanel had to close her stores due to the economic depression and WWII. But, not to give up, Chanel returned to the fashion arena in her 70s and is part of the name brand lines of fashion still thriving today, 50 years after her death.
Women of the Future
Boss Babe of the go, non-stop hustler, southern belle, and sometimes known affectionately as Pooh by our family, are all things we can refer to our next woman of the future as. My cousin, Whitley Collins is breaking that word 'dream" down and replacing it with DONE! Whitley is the founder and owner of Whit Collins Studio, an esthetician business, specializing in waxology and brow artistry. (Sidenote: Her business is open to genders of all types)
As a customer of Whit Collins Studio, I can personally vouch for the excellent customer service, gentleness, and all-around good spirit when entering her space. In fact, her business has become so popular over the 4+ years that she's been diligently building her clientele, all while working under other building management, that she just celebrated purchasing her very own storefront.
Whitley has always been a hard worker and hustler (it's a family trait). Even in high school, she started her own business selling snacks to her fellow students and was able to stack her money for things such as her senior dues and extras that teens indulge in during their off-time from school. After graduation, that determination didn't slow done at all. To say I am proud of her is a gross understatement. She continues to sharpen her skills and seeks out new ways to improve her business all the time. She even teaches one-on-one brow and waxology classes with real clients to practice with. Continue to soar high in your success, my beautiful cousin and making us all feel beautiful/handsome with your skilled hand.
My second woman of the future is actually someone I've never met in person. As a matter of fact, she lives in the UK, somewhere I've never stepped outside the airport of. Leng Lu is a young woman I met through a group we have in common on social media that I joined about 6 months ago. She is the owner of a lingerie boutique, Clu London, with the aim to "redefine the standards of society", not only in regards to a woman's body size, but also with her skin tone.
Many automatically assume that sexy sleepwear is bought and worn to entice and please your partner. However, at Clu London, her mission is to help women of all walks of life on their journey of self-love. Not everyone has a partner to indulge in those fantasy-filled moments of passion. So, are those women not allowed to feel beautiful in their own skin? I think not, boo! And Leng Lu at Clu London wants to make sure of that.
The business was founded in 2020 and Leng Lu takes pride in carefully selecting the inventory that best fits her brand. This is why the products are run in limited quantities. There are different options to choose from in style and inventory is continuously building. Sizes vary between Small-XXXL depending on the piece. So, go check them out and get you a nice number and look sexy for your-damn-self.
Lu is not only the owner of this seductive business, she is also a musician and singer/songwriter. She's studied under the same space that has been occupied by some well-known artists, such as Jessie J, Adele, and Amy Winehouse. (Other powerhouse women who should be celebrated for their contributions) She has roots hailing from the beautiful island of Jamaica, where she's also done music with popular artists with. Her music mission is to "put dark-skinned women on the map in the music industry; especially in the UK."
With all of the wonderful, beautifully talented women I've featured today, they all have at least one thing in common: They all wanted/want women to feel empowered to feel their best in their own skin, no matter the hand they've been dealt. So, remember, no one has the ability to make you feel less than unless you allow them to because guess what, THEY DON'T OWN YOU. 🙃😉😘
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