Queen Boss: Madam C.J. Walker

Many self-made bosses jumped for joy when they heard about Netflix coming out with a new series, centering around the life of Madam C.J. Walker. It was inspired by her great-great grand-daughter A’Lelia Bundles’ biographical book “On Her Own Ground”. As Black History Month comes to an end, let’s all learn more about the first black female millionaire in America.

Humble Beginnings

Madame C.J Walker’s real name is Sarah Breedlove. She was born on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. Her parents were slaves. By the time they had her they were free, which made her the first in her family to be a free-born child. By age 7 she was an orphan and by age 14 she got married. One of the reasons she married so young was because she was trying to escape an abusive household. By age 20 she was a widow and had a 2-year-old daughter.

Ambitious Spirit

Sarah knew she did not want to live a life of financial distress. Plus she had a baby looking up to her. So by 22, she moved to St. Louis Missouri. There she became a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she met many business-minded black men and women. This inspired her. She was a washerman only making a measly $1.50 a day, but she had dreams of building an empire.

By the early 1890s, Sarah had financial troubles and a scalp disorder. Her hair was falling out and she needed a solution. She became her own hero and created hair care treatments with home remedies. She used Annie Turbo’s Malone “The Great Wonderful Hair Grower”. Annie was a successful black hair care entrepreneur. She recognized her ambitious spirit and hired her as a sales agent.

From Rags To Riches

Sarah moved to Denver Colorado in 1905. There she fell in love with Charles Joseph Walker, an advertising agent, and got married again. With that marriage she reinvented herself, learning about marketing from her husband. She changed her name to Madam C.J Walker and created her own hair care line. Her husband was a great supporter. He was the driving force behind her getting promoted all across the country. Before she knew it, she went from making $1.50 a day to gaining thousands of customers and employing 3,000 workers. Indianapolis became the state where she relocated, and from there she built a factory for her products. She created countless job opportunities for women of color. She educated, trained, and encouraged many through her various clubs/conventions. With 40,000 workers in the United States, Central America, and the Carribean, she truly transformed herself into a self-made boss. Her net worth was the equivalent of several million dollars by her late 40s.

As she got older, she developed high blood pressure, which caused the health of her kidneys to deteriorate. But that did not stop her from being a kind, giving person. In her will, she asked that one-third of her money be given to her daughter. The remaining two-thirds was to be given to charity.

To this day there are hair products bearing her name. Madame C.J Walker Beauty Culture is available at Sephora retailers. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in the remembrance of her. She proves that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, your past does not determine your future.

madamc.j.walker

Sources:

Featured Image Credit: fromgirltogirl.com

https://www.biography.com/inventor/madam-cj-walker

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/madam-cj-walker

https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/madame-c-j-walker

How Cornrows Saved Slaves Lives

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Image Credit: Face2Face Africa

Cornrows have a long history. They hold a lot of significance in African culture. It is worn by children, men, and women all around the world regardless of their ethnicity. Originally from the Sahara region, paintings show that this hairstyle has been worn even in 3000 B.C.

The most known way to wear it is straight down, which each cornrow paralleling each other. But it also can be worn uniquely in zig-zags or by mimicking the form of a snake.

In the Carribean region, it is called “canerows”. They do this to respect all of the slaves that planted sugar cane. What many World History classes won’t teach you, is that cornrows are lifesavers.

Cornrows Were Used As A Map To Escape

In many African communities, cornrows convey a person’s social status, age, marital status, and even their amount of wealth. Blackdoctor.org has written this about cornrows: “Depictions of women with cornrows have been found in Stone Age paintings in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara, and have been dated as far back as 3000 B.C. There are also Native American paintings as far back as 1,000 years showing cornrows as a hairstyle. This tradition of female styling in cornrows has remained popular throughout Africa, particularly in the Horn of Africa and West Africa. Historically, male styling with cornrows can be traced as far back as the early nineteenth century to Ethiopia, where warriors and kings such as Tewodros II and Yohannes IV were depicted wearing cornrows.”

When the Atlantic Slave Trade occurred, millions of innocent civilians were stripped from the Motherland against their will. Some rebelled by jumping off the slave ship before they even arrived on the land. They viewed death as a better option than a life of being treated as property. Others who fought back where terminated immediately. And some cleverly used another approach.

Upon arriving on North/South American soil, slaves were forced to shave their heads. Slave owners claimed that the shaving of their heads was just for sanitary purposes, but it was more behind it. Thick African hair has a lot of weight to it. Some slave owners would say that our hair was “unruly” and a distraction. This was a tactic used by Whites to strip Africans of their identity and culture. But not every slave would keep their hair cut. Some would grow their hair out because they had a masterplan in mind.

Cornrows are styled in a neat and tidy way. The creative geniuses amongst us used this beautiful hairstyle as a map with directions to escape plantations. All across North and South America paintings have been seen of zig-zag cornrows. A story that proves this is the story of Benkos Bioho.

The Brave Benkos Bioho

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Image Credit: Alchetron

Benkos Bioho was a King that was captured from Africa in the 17th century. He managed to find a port city on the Colombia Carribean coast. It took several attempts to escape from his masters. One day he finally managed to escape. He then proceeded to build San Basilio de Palenque.

This King strategically built a walled city within a foreign land that he was forced to be in. It was with the intent of saving slaves and giving them a place of refuge. A place that they can experience freedom while getting their lives together.

After building a village, he invented a new language. Then he got an army to assist others to freedom. He came up with the idea to create maps in cornrows.

Most slaves did not know how to read or write. And even if they did know how to read or write, if they were caught writing messages of escape, they would have to bear extreme punishment.

Cornrows were a way to communicate without getting caught.

Braids And Gold

Another informative fact that many do not know is that gold and seeds were hidden in slave braids. After escaping, to survive you needed food and money. So the seeds were used to plant their own crops. The gold was preserved so they could make transactions on their own land. Today San Basilio De Palenque still stands. It has a population of about 3500 people.

In this modern age, from West Africa to North Korea you can see humans showing off their own version of cornrows. We no longer have to hide gold in our hair. We can proudly intertwine them over our braids. The tradition of wearing this hairstyle will be popular for years to come.

goldcornrows
Image Credit: Youtube

Sources: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/how-cornrows-were-used-as-an-escape-map-from-slavery-across-south-america

https://www.edtimes.in/africans-used-to-hide-escape-maps-from-slavery-in-their-hairstyles/

Ten Super Cute Winter Items for 2020

We are already in the second month for 2020. The snow is falling and the humidity is gone. Climate change is in full effect. With winter blowing cold air and giving us freezing temperatures, one should make it a priority to bundle up. With all the layers that have to be put on, fashion must be a part of your everyday wear. Here are 10 super cute outfits that will leave you dressed to impress.

The Bank Blazer

smiling woman standing near railing
Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

Are you feeling like a boss? Then have no fear, the bank blazer is here! What is lovable about this look is the fact that it is very professional looking. It will also add some warmth to your body while you feel comfy. If you want to keep it simple, just add a white T-shirt underneath.

Long Sleeve Sweater Dress

photo of woman wearing blue long sleeved dress
Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

Sweater dresses are a must-have because we all have those lazy days where we do not want to throw on a whole suit. We just want to slip into a long dress without adding too many accessories. Wear a sweater dress and some knee-high boots, to save yourself time.

High-Waist Button-Leg Pants

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Image Credit: May Kool

High waist pants are a great way to show off your figure. If they are plaid they can easily be worn with a plain turtleneck. Show off ’em legs gurl!!!

Maxi Dress

red haired woman in white and black floral sleeveless maxi dress
Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

Maxi dresses are an affordable, colorful item. It can be worn under a long coat. They are usually made out of thin materials so you can layer it with a wool sweater.

Faux Leather Wide-Leg Pants

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Image Credit: Pretty Little Thing

With wide-leg pants on you are leaving ample room for leggings to be worn underneath. Also, there will be plenty of space for knee-high socks and boots. Add a bold cheetah sweater and you will be good to go!

Puffer Jacket

Drakepufferjacket
Image Credit: High Snobiety

The puffer jacket was made infamous after Drake was seen wearing it and doing the salsa to hip hop music. Very creative move on his part. Another musician that used a puffer jacket to make his song go viral was Big Shaq. The irony of his music video was the fact that on a very hot day he was seen in a heavy jacket screaming “Mans Not Hot”. On a beach. While everyone else was wearing shorts and flip flops. This jacket will increase the heat on your body for sure.

BigShaq
Image Credit: Hip Hop N More

Bohemian Midi-Dress

woman standing behind trees
Photo by Joy Deb on Pexels.com

The bohemian look is full of multicolors that can be worn with hiking boots. These dresses are light, so make sure to wear layers.

Capes

women s blue long sleeved dress
Photo by Ayshen Ergun on Pexels.com

Are you feeling like a hero? The classical look of capes has transformed into a modern trend. It can be worn in a casual way or as eveningwear.

Shoulder Pads

tots90s
Image Credit: Tots 90s

The 1980s look is coming back because vintage is the new savior. You want to look like an office owner but don’t want to break your bank? Then buy a shoulder pad coat suit from your local thrift store.

Faux-fur

woman wearing brown fur beanies and white and balck top
Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

Environmental awareness is at an all-time high. With global warming causing concern for many, wearing real animal skin is no longer in demand. You can shield yourself from freezing temperatures with faux fur.

Sources:

https://www.vogue.fr/fashion/article/the-17-fashion-trends-you-need-to-know-for-fallwinter-2019-2020

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/g29553913/winter-work-outfits/