3 Women, 3 Different Lives, With 1 Cause

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Valencia, Shannon and I (left to right)
Photo Credit: Keston De Coteau

Valencia (or V as I say), hair stylist and diva for days, is an energetic and loving mother of six beautiful children committed to success. V speaks her truth without apology or a second blink. She’s a pull yourself up by your stilettos kinda lady. Period.

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Beauty / Style Editor, Valencia Pearl
Photo Credit: Keston De Coteau

Shannon (or Shan as I call her) never met a pair of cowboy boots or timberlands she didn’t like; she writes and sings freedom music. Big ideas keep her up at night, and she relentlessly pursues them. Oh, and Shan has some famous big cousins, too. Have you seen Braxton Family Values?

Blog Co-Editor, Shannon-Eli Braxton
Photo Credit: Keston
De Coteau

My roots are spilt between Honduras, the South, and East Baltimore. They call me a workaholic and activist (my husband Kes says I want to save the world), but I am simply committed to the passion of purpose. Heart warrior, poet, standing tall in heels any day of the week (doesn’t every good fashionista?); faith and family nurture my soul.

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Blog Founder / Editor, Emelda De Coteau
Photo Credit: Keston De Coteau

3 women, 3 different lives, with 1 Cause. What’s that? Living life in color and on purpose, while inspiring and empowering you to do the same.

Well, last Sunday, despite frigid chilly November air and relentless winds, we tucked away our insecurities and fatigue. We headed to Baltimore’s Herring Run Park for our fall photo shoot, big girl shoes and all, y’all.  Glamour on an otherwise mundane Sunday afternoon. Check!

Shan and I spent the weekend obsessing about our hair, makeup, and clothes; as we drove over together in the car, we anxiously checked the mirror. Was every hair in place? Eye shadow defined?

Yet in the end, it all comes down to collaboration, those moments of magic when everything coalesces without effort or pretense. Keston (Keystone Productions) my husband and creative partner, shot these photos in under thirty minutes, while our children played, even throwing the leaves you see in these photographs.  This is part of what it means to live in color! You embrace the flow, and let go.

American media deceives us, convinces women jealousy and bickering are second nature. “Reality shows” portray us at one another’s throats for entertainment – particularly women of color. Over and over again, the message repeats: “Women don’t get along.”

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Valencia, Shannon and I
(left to right)
Photo Credit: Keston De Coteau

Well, ultimately, it’s up to us to shut out the noise. Refuse the boxes; their narrow definitions of femininity. We can and do get along, every day. Collaboration is beautiful and liberating! Valencia, Shannon and I dwell in possibility, as poet Emily Dickinson once wrote. Three women, three different lives, with one cause – living fully and color! Come along with us on this journey; you will soar.

Live In Color! – Emelda

Talk to Us
Do you believe the hype that women cannot get along? Why or why not?

 

Finding Beauty in a Hard Place

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”
― Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew from Concrete

Remain open to beauty, and you notice it exists everywhere, often lingering conspicuously in those hard places, sitting among boarded up houses, broken glass and buried dreams.

Like so many hip-hop greats, Tupac Shakur shared profound lessons with us, but his poem, “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” about beauty in unexpected places, resonates so deeply with my spirit. These lines about that unlikely blooming rose echo most loudly: “Funny by keeping it’s dreams; Pac wrote, “it learned to breathe fresh air.”

I am sure we were quite a sight yesterday; me wearing 3 inch stilettos, a vibrant dress, while holding my daughter Naima; Shannon-Eli, blog co-editor with Timberland boots, electric blue eyeshadow, and Keston, my husband and blog multimedia director, photographing us against colorful murals, epic in scope.

Artistic beauty pouring out from an unlikely place, along Greenmount Avenue, a street in Baltimore synonymous with crack and poverty, vulgarity and despair. I felt my body loosen as the sun lightly enveloped my arms and legs; for the first time in months I walked through this street I often drive by and saw it anew.

One feels a different sense of a place when walking, a kind of connection with the people who inhabit the space; you come to share an experience, if only for a moment.

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There is beauty in taking time to see what you would otherwise ignore, jumping out of your comfort zone, and discovering when you move out of your own way, you soar.

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As we headed back to the car, an older man passing by curiously asked how our photo shoot went; “we looked beautiful,” he said earlier as Shannon and I posed and laughed with one another. “What were we doing it all for?” he wanted to know. Shannon told him it was for our blog, Live In Color, and to visit us online; he said he would check us out, with an easy smile, and I believe he will. Connecting with another human being and bringing the light of art, there is authentic beauty.

Live In Color – Emelda

All photos taken by Keston De Coteau, multimedia director for Live In Color blog, filmmaker, photographer and founder of Keystone Productions