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Be Your Own Wingman

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Hey y’all! Happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve been having a great week so far. The rain finally cleared up yesterday after a stormy weekend so my favorite wingman, Dexter, and I were eager to get outside.  I really wanted to wear my new sunglasses and Dexter needed some yard time.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about blogging lately. As much as I love creating new content every week and meeting blogger babes from all over the US, the blogging world is starting to remind me of something that I don’t like: cliques. When I was living in NYC it was blatantly obvious. Full disclosure: I did a lot of things alone when I was living there.  Some things by choice (I’m used to being my own wingman) and others because my peeps were busy during the week.  I would go to events and no one would talk to me. They would just stay in their little circles, talking and Snapchatting away, and glare at me as I walked by as if I would dare interrupt their conversation to say hello. As I walked around the event, I’d see some of them whispering to each other about a piece I’m wearing (shoes, usually) that they liked but wouldn’t tell me that they liked it. Hello, I can see you whispering about me! Side note: why is it so difficult for women to compliment one another? I’m an adult and if I see a woman wearing something I like, I tell her – even if it’s something as minor as her nail color. But I digress. So I’d circulate around the room to look at the collections (since that’s why I was invited in the first place), maybe grab a bite to eat if there’s food, make my purchases if I see something I like, track down the PR person who invited me personally to thank them for the invite, and then leave. Each event, I would walk in with an open mind that THIS time would be different and each time I’d be equally disappointed. Same thing, different day.

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On the way home, I’d start thinking if there was something I could have done differently. Did I not smile enough? Should I have brought a friend to make socializing easier? After a few events, I stopped going altogether. I appreciated the invites to preview collections because these brands valued my opinion but I didn’t want to subject myself to the ostracism. I come across as this boss babe who doesn’t let anything get to her but deep down I’m actually a really sensitive person.  Then, one day, I finally figured out what the real problem was: my skin color. I’m going to keep it 100 since that’s what I do and this is MY blog. The blogger world is racist. There. I said it. And before you say, “but there are plenty of bloggers of color who are major players in the industry” or “but maybe if you worked just as hard as they do”, hear me out. How many brands repost photos of black bloggers wearing their products?  Or do ad campaigns with black bloggers – more on that in another post.  Personally, I’ve been reposted by Nicholas Kirkwood twice on their Instagram feed but the only brands that have reposted full photos of me are smaller brands (that also happen to be black owned) like Fashion Pow Wow, Mess in a Bottle, and Tees in the Trap.  How many fashion sites feature black bloggers in their content? Go check Who What Wear and Refinery29 really quick and come back. I’ll wait. I’m always looking for fashion inspo and I get disappointed that I don’t see more bloggers who look like me on their sites or in magazines. It seems the only site that black bloggers and fashionistas can make headway is on Fashion Bomb Daily. Again, I’m personally grateful to have been featured on their site twice. How many black bloggers do you see at fashion week? None. And the black people you DO see are stylists, entertainers, and magazine editors. Also, I do work very hard on building my brand as a blogger. Blogging isn’t my full time job but I do my best to balance work, my personal life, and CCB Diaries. Could I do more? Of course! But it’s not for lack of trying. First and foremost, I create content because I love styling outfits. I didn’t set out to make a living from blogging nor do I ever want to. Do I make some money? Sure. But it’s not my primary objective. I could go on and on but I know you have things to do today so we’ll save that for another time.

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But what it really boils down to is this: you want my money but you don’t want me. Not going to lie, I’m used to being the only black person in the room. I’m used to being followed in department stores. I’ve been given that look of “there’s no way that she can afford anything in here so I’m not going to ask if she needs help” numerous times.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s any less hurtful. I LOVE fashion. I always have and I always will. But there’s truly a diversity problem in ALL levels in the industry. We’re making progress on the runway but off the runway there’s still a lot of work to be done.  I’m not expecting everything to change overnight but maybe this post would start a conversation. And to all my fellow bloggers out there who are reading this, we’re not in high school anymore. Please, try to do better.  You aren’t my competition; I AM MY OWN COMPETITION.

xoxo, CCB

P.S. If you see me out in public, don’t be afraid to come up to me and say hi. Or if you just want to pet Dexter and ignore me altogether, that’s cool too 🙂

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thomas Falkenstedt

    This is a horrible problem you’re describing here, dear Amber! I really haven’t thought about it like that, but if it’s true (which I in no way doubt) the fashion world has a problem. I would like to point out a lovely exception to that though and that is the the male blogosphere where black people, Asians mix with white people get equal amount of publicity, at least in my opinion. I can only say f you to those stuck up bimbos you’ve come across and am truly sorry you’ve ran into cliques like that. And regarding being followed in department stores… Just think of that saleswoman who tossed Oprah out of a store as she thought “that black woman can’t afford this”. Boy was she fired faster than probably anyone in world history so far. The fact that this remains a problem cannot be disputed though and all we can do is be open to each other and be friendly. I, just like you, tell people I love their shoes, nails, hats or whatever regardless their sex, skin color, ethnicity etc.
    Keep up the fight!
    xoxo
    Thomas

    http://thomasfalkenstedt.com

  2. Jackie

    Amber, this is great post. There is such a lack of diversity in blogging world and it’s frustrating. I love Who What Wear but rarely do I see any bloggers that I feel look like me. It’s often feels like you need to be the right kind of black and that’s just sad. I think it’s awful that other bloggers in NYC would shut you out. We should all be embracing and supporting each other. It’s discouraging. Thank you for being so open and honest.

    xo, Jackie
    stylemydreams.com

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