Quirky, Brown Chick: Jamila Rowser

July 30, 2015
If I had it my way, all of the quirky, brown chicks of the world would come together, become friends and sing kumbaya while listening to Solange and drinking craft beer. Until that day comes, I present to you the Quirky, Brown Chick series. Meet Jamila of Girl Gone Geek.
1. How would you describe your personal style?
My style is pretty moody because it’s based off how I’m feeling that day. My closet is a blend of geeky shirts, African wax prints, kawaii clothes, bright prints, mens tees and even some Lolita pieces. Although my default look is all black everything. I have so much black I could be an honorary Addams family member.

2. What song are you vibing with right now?
“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” by Jamie xx featuring Young Thug and Popcaan. When I first heard that song I listed to it on repeat for an hour straight. It has everything I’d want in a summer song; a fun upbeat sound, a dancehall artist and a trap rapper.
3. Favorite place that you have traveled?
My mom was in the Air Force, so I’ve lived and traveled the world my entire life. Wanderlust is in my blood. Out of all of the places I’ve been Rome is my favorite with Marrakech, Morocco as close second. Being a military brat, I have to also add that Hawaii is my favorite place that I’ve called home. I lived there 8 years and it was paradise.

4.Favorite passtime?
Asking a geek girl to pick just one favorite pastime is pretty tough, but I’d have to narrow it down to reading shoujo and josei manga. Manga are Japanese comics, and my favorite categories are shoujo and josei which are for young and adult women. My favorite stories range from innocent high school love to mature and depressing young adult drama and millennial stories.
5. What is something about you that people wouldn't expect?
This is pretty tough since I feel like I either blog or tweet about stuff that I like. But I guess some people would be surprised to hear that I love chopped and screwed music especially chopped not slopped by OG Ron C and his Chopstars crew.

6. Tell us about your blogs!
I started Girl Gone Geek back in 2010 as a way for me to talk about my geeky obsessions. Back then, I didn’t have a lot of friends who liked anime, video games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy. Geek culture has always been apart of my life, and I wanted an excuse to talk about it and hopefully make some geek friends (which I did).

Over time, my blog goal changed. I realized that I wasn’t the only one who felt alone in my geekiness, especially being a black geek girl. So Girl Gone Geek became a way for me to show other geek girls that they weren’t alone. Even if they don’t have any other geek friends (right now), they weren’t the only girl who loves anime and comics. There’s a comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, even if it is over the internet. I had no idea my blog would grow in the way that is has. It’s still hard for me to believe some of the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of Girl Gone Geek.

Straight Outta Gotham is a tumblr blog I created last year where I make memes and GIFs out of geeky rap lyrics (there are more than you think). I was recently asked by TIDAL to create a San Diego Comic Con inspired playlist which I named, “Straight Outta Gotham: Geek Culture in Hip-Hop”.

Last but not least is Geek Girl Brunch, which I co-founded with my friends Rachel and Yissel. It’s a meet-up group of ladies who geek out over brunch. Our goal is to create a safe environment where identifying geek girls can be themselves to give voice, network, create friendships, inspire each other and hang out! It’s our IRL safe haven for geek girls which is something that’s pretty hard for geek girls to find. We launched last year in NYC and has grown rapidly since then. We already have over 1,500 members and 64 chapters around the world!
7. What/who inspires you?
I’d say the stars have been a strong inspiration for me these last few years. Living in NYC you can’t really see the stars because of the light pollution which really bums me out. The stars remind me that we’re apart of an infinite and amazing universe and not seeing them really messes with me subconsciously. Sometimes it makes people feel small, but it makes me feel important. Out of all of this, I exist. Thinking about stars in that way has inspired some comic book stories I plan to write in the future.

8. What stereotypes about the Black community do you wish you could destroy?
All of them really, but, to pick just one would be the stereotype that black people don’t read comics or play video games. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a testament to that. This stereotype gives comic and video game publishers the (poor) excuse to exclude blacks from being on creative teams or not creating black characters in their stories and media. They have the mindset of, “Well if they aren’t reading/playing it, why should we include them?” The same could be said about women as well, especially women of color. I even spoke about this on the Women of Color in Comics Panel at New York Comic Con last year.

When they do include us, it’s just one character here or there and they honestly expect that to be enough. Something else I’ve been seeing a lot lately are publishers appropriating parts of black culture that they feel they can make money off of and label it as them being diverse. But when you take a look inside their offices and creative teams, they are still majority white and male.

When it comes down to it, there’s a lot of systemic racism and sexism in geek culture which we clearly see in the comic book and video game industries. The stereotypes that people of color and women don’t play video games and read comics is part of the problem.

9. Anything else?
I’m all over the internet! You can find me here:
Twitter: @girl_gone_geek
Facebook: /girlgonegeekblog

Brown Love Stories: Tamara and Nathan

July 29, 2015
I am honored to introduce to you Tamara and Nathan. You may recognize Tamara from her popular blog and shop, Baydian Girl, her blogging network, Caribbean Girls Who Blog or perhaps from her articles on the Huffington Post. Tamara and Nathan have known each other since their freshman year of college. Please enjoy the wonderful and quirky-cool story of their love below!
1. Names (His and Hers) 
Nathan Sykes and Tamara Holder
2. Ages ( His and Hers) 
25 and 24
3. Length of relationship
3 years collectively
4. How did you two meet?
We met during his freshman orientation while we were playing a game of Capture the Flag.
5. What makes your relationship "quirky" or unique? 
Since the quirks are what make you unique, we'd say that being complete opposites in personality, race, profession and culture sets our relationship apart. Nate is from Pittsburgh, PA where he grew up in a close-knit community and excelled in sports. In high school, he was a jock and he recently completed his college degree in Sports Management/Business. Tamara, on the other hand, grew up in Bridgetown, Barbados and migrated to the US. She was a tomboy and a nerd and not really interested in sports. Currently pursuing her MBA, she has a passion for fashion. Overall, our relationship is unique because we embrace our differences and support each other despite of them. What's even cooler is we have the similar names. His is Nathan and my middle name is Natania, which is derived from his name.
6. What is one quirky habit that you have learned about him? 
He is extremely good at financial discipline. It's quite intimidating actually.
7. What is one quirky habit that you have learned about her? 
She changes her hair every month, literally.
8. What will the back cover or your love story read.
Second Chances.

Make sure to check out Tamara on her blog and shop, Baydian Girl and to follow both Tamara and Nathan on social media!
Tamara: Instagram | Twitter
Nathan: InstagramTwitter


The Melanated Bosses Series: Julian Kiganda

July 27, 2015
Inspired from the "Melanated Goddesses" movement, I present to you the Melanated Bosses Series: a series highlighting young, brown woman bosses from all over. Meet Julian from Bold & Fearless.
1. Tell us about your entrepreneurial ventures!
My name is Julian B. Kiganda and I am the founder of Bold & Fearless, an inspirational online magazine for women of Africa & the Diaspora who are passionate about finding and living out their purpose. I started B&F in 2013, right before I decided to shut down my design & marketing firm I had run for almost 15 years. Since launching Bold & Fearless, I have produced several products that are meant to empower, inspire and motivate women to live out their best lives including Quote Cards, live events, and videos.

2. Did you experience any unforseen struggles when starting your business(es)?
There are always going to be struggles. In my first business, I didn't realize how long it would take to build a clientele. I also didn't foresee that I would eventually have to close it down and start over. Because I've been through so many storms in business, the most important thing I've come to understand is that having a purpose, passion and a plan, and you're willing to work hard, you will eventually get to where you need to be.

Embracing Your Life's Story, No Matter How Unideal It Is

July 23, 2015
Side-note before we get started, thank you so much Amber from All The Cute  and Anna from Working Chix for the striped dressed that I received above as a part of your Oh My Stripes Giveaway back in May! I've obviously been having waaaay too much fun in it this summer.

This morning, I was listening to one of my favorite blogger podcasts, Make It Happen by Jen Carrington of JennyPurr and she was featuring one of my favorite quirky business women (and hopefully future life coach), Maya Elious.
One of the main topics on the podcast was about discovering your passions, building your brand and accepting your life story as a part of who you are. This message really stuck out to me. How many of us are ashamed of what we have been through, conditions that we were borned with or the childhood that we had and use these as excuses instead of embracing them as a part of who we are? 
Maya talks about how she is a first generation American with African parents who value education and what a shock it was to her family when she decided to drop out of college and pursue her online graphic designing business full time. "College dropout" is now a part of her story and I think she does a great job of embracing this and spinning it into following her passion. She also talks about the struggle of growing up in America with African parents. I know so many people who see their childhood as a disadvantage rather than embracing the lessons that they were taught, either directly through their parent's struggle or indirectly by observing what not to do.

There comes a point in everyone's life where you can no longer blame your life's story for your short-comings. In the podcast, Jen talks about having a debilitating mental illness that she didn't want to accept as a part of her story, but later learned to embrace it and has opened up about it on her blog. One of the worst things that a person can do for self-growth is to be in denial of their real self. It's easy to hide who you really are and go through your day covering your truths with makeup and cute clothes; however, it is not fufilling. Be open and embrace the quirks, both good and bad that make you who you are. I've noticed how freeing and relieving it feels when we finally decide to say, "you know what world, this is what I was given, this is the heartache I've been through, and this is who I am. You can either accept it or step outta my way."

The moment that you embrace your life's stuggle, whether it be growing up with horrible parents, battling illness, being abused, or simply being different, it can no longer hold you back. 
Do yourself a favor and free yourself. 

The Festival That Celebrated Black Love in San Francisco

July 22, 2015
The first annual Black Love Festival was held this past weekend in San Francisco...and it was beautiful. 

The goal of the festival was to call "for international recognition of the importance of self-care, self-healing, respect for one another and collective efficacy in the black community.”

The festival featured live music, spoken word and art from local artists in the Bay Area. People from all over poured love into the cause, supporting the festival's tagline, "Using Love As Liberation".

You should already know how I felt when I heard about this festival. I smiled from ear to ear. 

Make sure to help this festival grow by supporting it on social media.

Nicki Minaj & The Angry Black Woman Stereotype

July 21, 2015
Getty Images
So a few hours ago, I hopped on Twitter to do my daily posting when I am hit with headlines about Nicki Minaj "destroying" MTV and "attacking" Taylor Swift.

My first thought: dang, Nick, really?

To my surprise, these headlines came from a few tweets that Nicki Minaj put into the Twittersphere after being notified that "Anaconda" and "Feeling Myself" weren't being nominated for MTV Awards Video of The Year (Say what? We all know that Feeling Myself was fire by any standard.)


She and her fans continued with sentiments about how Black women are treated in mainstream media:

Quirky, Brown Chick: Lhurve Davies

July 21, 2015
If I had it my way, all of the quirky, brown chicks of the world would come together, become friends and sing kumbaya while listening to Solange and drinking craft beer. Until that day comes, I present to you the Quirky, Brown Chick series. Meet, Lhurve Davies of her self-titled blog.
1. How would you describe your personal style?
My style is a fun mix of everything although I'm a bit more inclined to minimalist and vintage fashion. I also like experimenting although there are some things I'll never be caught in, for example, platform heels. Even the thought of wearing one of those things is terrifying.
2. What song are you vibing with right now?
Right now I'm really loving Classic Man by Jidenna.
3. Favorite place that you have traveled?
Britain. I love the cobbled roads, the food, the shops!, the buses which are ALWAYS on schedule (a rarity where I'm from) and of course, the picturesque scenery (handy when taking photos). What I don't like is the cold (brr).

4.Favorite passtime?
Watching movies (mostly sci-fi or comedy ) , reading (mostly sci-fi or comedy, lol) and shopping.
5. What is something about you that people wouldn't expect?
I love food! My first thought whenever I go somewhere is whether food is available or not. And I like cooking although not as much as I love eating. I'd rather be the person tasting this and that than being the cook.

6. What/who inspires you?
My family inspires me. My friends inspire me. Other fashion bloggers inspire me. Basically, I get my inspiration from anywhere and everywhere and I count myself fortunate for that because there are people who find it hard to be inspired at all.

7. What stereotypes about the Black community do you wish you could destroy? 
I wish I could destroy the stereotype that Blacks are inferior, especially Blacks in the so called third world countries.
8. Anything else? 
Live well, laugh hard, love everyone, think positive and remember to always keep the Faith- this is something I try to remember everyday  because I'm aware of how short life is and how frustrating things can get some times. My people say 'mi o raye nonsense' meaning I don't have time for nonsense. So I try to focus on the positives and make on the most out of everything. In a nutshell, I'm just me :)
You can follow me on Instagram: @lhurvedavies
Or on Twitter: @lhurved
And please check out my blog : www.lhurvedavies.blogspot.com

I See Myself in Sandra Bland

July 19, 2015
Sandra Bland, a beautiful black woman, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, and a candidate for a new job could have been any woman; however, due to a minor traffic violation, she is now dead from "apparent suicide". A video was released that shows Bland's arrest from a group of unneccesarily hostile white police officers as she was traveling to Texas. Bland was also

Pop culture blogger, Awesomely Luuvie, spoke out on her Facebook about the situation and said the following:

"The thing about Sandra Bland's story is that she could be any of us. She's the vocal sister yelling ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬. She's the person road-tripping in the summer. She's the young professional who is trying to move up in the world. She's the sometimes not perfect driver who made that traffic violation. She is easily any one of us. And now she's gone because she got arrested, slammed to the ground, taken to jail. The idea that she hung herself is unacceptable, unbelievable and absolutely preposterous.... I SEE myself in Sandra, and that frightens me more than I can articulate. I am so sorry that we have to add ‪#‎SandraBland‬ to the list of people who became hashtags at the hands of police in America. ‪#‎SayHerName‬"

I cannot agree more with Luvvie's statement. At only 28 years old, Sandra Bland could have easily been me or someone that I love. I'm outspoken about the Black community, I'm a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and also a young professional. I fit the profile and I live in the South.

Please keep the family of Sandra Bland in your prayers and hold the Waller County Police Department accountable for revealing the truth of how Sandra Bland died.


Brown Love Stories: 3 Things I Learned About Love (Guest Post)

July 16, 2015
We find love in the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected ways, at the least expected times.
All the quotes you see about strength, and pain, and love are true. Once you let go and let God, all things are possible. Put your faith and your hands in God and watch what happens. Your tears, your calls, and your prayers do not go silent. If it something He has also wanted for you, He will give it to you. Not on your time, but on His, which is always, always, always right on time. I often find myself asking, “How did I come from such a place of pain, turmoil, heartbreak, a place of consistent unhappiness, to being with the man I have always dreamed of in such a short span of time?” Here are the three things that I learned:
 1. God's plans are always bigger and better. I went to West Africa summer of 2014 with the goal in mind that I would improve myself as a travel and portrait photographer, teach photography, and immerse myself into a new country while meeting new people. Little did I know that this trip would end up mainly being a trip for personal discovery, personal growth and for personal relationships. Around the same time that I decided that I was going to be traveling to Senegal and The Gambia, I was connected with my husband to be on Facebook. We have mutual friends; his best friend is my close friend’s husband. Once I arrived to The Gambia, it was his family who took me in and gave me a place to stay during my one-month stay. It was he who helped me throughout my whole trip, taking me to the places I needed to visit to get the photos I wanted to capture, to learn about the history, and to make sure I was okay. We clicked the first day we met. Despite language differences (English is his second language; English was my best subject in school), we just get each other. I feel safe and comfortable with him, and we know how to have fun together and make each other laugh and smile. Everything after that was a whirlwind, but I can say we are both truly happy seeing all of this was a part of God’s plans.
 2. You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Long distance in any relationship is hard, but it is even harder with an immigrant spouse. I have witnessed the hardships of having a long distance and cross-cultural marriage but now it is my turn to experience it. The struggle is so much better with the right companion and support system by your side, who can be there for you if not physically, then spiritually. It is a simple feeling that just automatically gives you strength when the love is mutual and reciprocal. All I knew was that I wanted to be with a good man who understands me, who lets me be myself, who mutually wants a happy, adventurous, monogamous, and long lasting marriage, where we also build up each other to be a better version of ourselves. To find him halfway across the world in a country I barely knew anything about was very unexpected but I’ll take it!
 3. Lessons are always to be learned, every day. There is always room to grow. Every person is not perfect, but the right person is perfect for you. There is a reason why the one you are meant to be with is called your other half. The older you get, the smaller your circle gets. This is something you grow to realize as you move through the different chapters in life. Be careful who you trust and who you talk to. It is so easy to go from telling too many people about your relationship, to not enough people learning about your relationship. Not everyone will understand your relationship. It is manageable, especially in today’s world of social media. If you don’t remember anything else from this post… Be open to love, expect the unexpected, and be patient. If you are truly ready for love, and you love yourself, you will not know which direction it will come, your responsibility is to just be prepared.

 -Zaakirah
www.zaakirahnayyar.com
Atlanta based photographer and travel blogger

The Melanated Bosses Series: Olivia Johnson

July 13, 2015
Inspired from the "Melanated Goddesses" movement, I present to you the Melanated Bosses Series: a series highlighting young, brown woman bosses from all over. Meet Olivia of Liv Lovely.
1. Tell us about your entrepreneurial ventures! 
I am a freelance writer, and recently started my own blog Livlovely.com, THE place to flourish in your career, relationships and life! I am also a freelance videographer and video editor with a business in the field (Silver Iris Entertainment). I am expanding that to offer photography and graphic design, I want it to be a visual marketing firm. Lastly, I am the executive producer, director, and co-host of "The Lady's Guide: Lead, Love, Learn", a web talk show centered around the advancement of women in their personal and professional lives.

You Better Watch Out. White Girls Are Getting Thick.

July 07, 2015
If you are a black girl in America, there is a 90% chance that you have heard someone say this, according to the hashtag, #HowItFeelsToBeABlackGirl. The sad thing is that you most likely heard this comment from a Black man that you know. In the recent decade, having curves has been popular for people of all ethnic backgrounds, including White women who are stereotyped for preferring a slimmer figure.

So how are you suppose to react to the comment, "You better watch out because these White girls are starting to get thick out here"? Do you just brush it off? Or do you respond to it firmly and get told that you are insecure or an "angry, Black women"? There is no good way to respond to a comment that shouldn't have been said in the first place.

Why as a Black woman should my self-worth be determined by the pants size of my non-Black friends?

Comments like these are why people assume that Black men and Black women don't get along and perpetuate the perceived stereotype that a Black men prefer White women. It suggests that the only reason that a Black man would choose to date a Black woman is because she has a fuller backside, not because her thoughts are stimulating and her beauty is radiant. This also aids to the stereotype that features that are prominent to Black women look better on White women (Kylie Jenner tried it with her dreads and lip injections).

The thought that a Black woman's worth is dependent on how her body looks is not something new.  It dates back to African practices, slavery days and is embedded in hip hop culture. For someone reason, people feel the need to undermine the power and beauty of Black women by subjecting us to sexist practices.

So, in short. If a White woman decides that she wants to invest her time and calories into getting her preferred figure, that's none of my business and in no way determines my self-worth.

What are your thoughts?

About Us

Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

Email Bryanda Law, Editor-in-Chief
editor@quirkybrownlove.com