How One Photo Quietly Says Black Lives Matter

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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Photo Credit : Gordon Parks

Eloquent resistance. These two words somersault in my mind as I study Gordon Parks deceptively simple photographic portrayal of a mother and her daughter in segregated America, circa 1955.

In her own way, this striking and elegant woman refutes the American narrative about people of color – illiterate and undignified.

She and her daughter stand in subtle defiance, shattering  long  held  assumptions about black women and girls – unfeminine, ugly, and invisible.

Despite living under legal segregation, they assert, with their bodies, we refuse your vulgar categorizations.

We are here. We will not cower under the weight of hatred. We matter immensely.

This is the essence of  today’s Black Lives Matter movement; the right to simply exist, beyond the barriers of hatred and fear, because at the core, even within our differences, there lies a shared humanity.

When we refuse to see one another, genuinely see another person, we extinguish ourselves, our own light. If I tell you your life does not matter, I run from myself, constructing an identity that is married to your pain, struggle and subjugation.

Let us come to realize not only our own worth, but the value of other black lives and experiences who are marginalized, creating a world where no voice is silenced.

Nicki Minaj Collection at Kmart

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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Nicki Minaj surrounded by models at collection opening in October
Photo Credit: Vibe Vixen

A few months ago, someone nonchalantly mentioned Nicki Minaj launched a clothing line at Kmart (October 9 officially). Honestly, my first thoughts were pink, cheap, cheesy, and next! I had zero confidence in her collaboration with the big box retailer.

Still, I think of her as a style icon. She reintroduced pink and red lip hues to young African-American women. Those full bang wraps she rocked remain smoking hot, and that oversized bum inspires booty photo shots, and butt lifts all over the world. She is hip-hop’s Lady Gaga – sexy, raunchy, and over the top!

Photo Source:  Blond-a-holic Buzznet
Photo Source:
Blond-a-holic Buzznet
Photo Credit: Complex Magazine
Photo Credit: Complex Magazine (October / November 2010)

Despite all of this I remained uninterested, especially with overwhelming work and family obligations. Well, on Christmas Eve with just an hour to spare, I hit Kmart, less than a mile from home. Other holiday shoppers hurriedly searched for presents; talk about an intense mood.

I intended to buy Bentley and Zion (my 2 baby boys) pajamas. I looked to my right and there it hung, the Nicki Minaj collection. Against all of my reservations, I stood mesmerized for several seconds. Yes. My eyes squinched, the bottom lip dropped. The line is presented like visual art; it’s vivid and eye catching. Wait. Am I standing in Nordstrom or Kmart?

What Christmas Pajamas? In a matter of seconds, this Baltimore woman became a “Barb” in Nicki’s world. The collection is beautiful, sexy, unique, well thought out, and true to her personal style. All the pieces I selected were under $30, and the sweetest part? I could take an additional 40% off!

Well, I hear your next question. Where would you wear these clothes? I think of it mostly as unique party wear. There are some pieces for the office, like a tailored white blazer with a large gold button.

But you know what? This is ground zero for rebels, bad women who resist regular, and love to break rules. Sound like you? This is your line.

My only precaution is to care well for these pieces, laundering on a gentle cycle, and purchase your true size. The fabrics look great, but are not as resilient as higher end ones. Sizes range from small to extra large so if you have curves like I do there is a range of beautiful, tasteful options to express your personal style.

Beauty and fashion for the masses! No matter what your bank account looks like, you too can be fashionable, fabulous and bold!

Live In Color – Valencia

I’m Not Sorry for Daring to Dream

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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Photo Credit: Keston  De Coteau, Keystone Productions  Hair / Makeup by Valencia Pearl
Photo Credit: Keston
De Coteau, Keystone Productions
Hair / Makeup by Valencia Pearl

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Life often beats dreams out of us. Practicality takes over, and before long a mortgage and car note have us sitting in an office or cubicle typing some minutia that means nothing in the end.

Sometime in adulthood, usually around the age of thirty, our youth-obsessed American culture says if we have not become a “success, ” hang it up and accept mediocrity. Perhaps it’s the rebel and activist in me, but I refuse to surrender and live outside my destiny. I am worth the life, the dreams, I seek.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
– Albert Einstein

It’s one of the reasons I founded Live In Color blog earlier this year. I dream of reaching millions of people through the power of words, photography, and video, with messages of empowerment, inspiration and hope.

Nothing in my background says I dare dream so boldly. My family is not wealthy. There are no degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton University hanging on the wall, no extensive connections. Still, none of this will stop me. Why should it?

Every invention, work of art, or piece of music we enjoy exists because someone, somewhere, did not apologize for their dream and pursued it relentlessly.

So, no, I am not sorry for dreaming, climbing out of boxes, stifling stereotypes and limitations people place on women, people of color and mothers. Our dreams have no expiration date. I will dream and work until my last breath, no apologies. No regrets.

Live In Color! – Emelda


I’m Not Sorry – The Movement

Join us in the I’m Not Sorry movement. It’s about accepting ourselves, our flaws, our truths, without regret and judgement. Do it in this moment. Stop apologizing for yourself, and start living!

We’re releasing details soon about a reader contest. We want to hear from you about what you are not sorry about.

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