On Costume Controversy, Calculated Confusion and Culture Tags

This week kicked off with a bang, as I pissed off all the Swifties by pointing out the unavoidable reaches of whiteness when it comes to success. But I stood on business and I said what I said. It’s actually right on time because Black History Month is HERE and it’s a leap year and we got one extra day so we gon let folks feel it! 💪🏾

When I say we won’t shrink, I mean it. The truth often hurts but who said it needed to be palatable to begin with? That brings me to today’s rant:


People are talking about “mob wife aesthetic” and NOW folks are crying about cultural appropriation? 

The online universe has birthed yet another trend that’s got everyone talking: the “mob wife aesthetic.” Picture it: big hair, bold makeup, fur coats and an attitude that says, “I know where the bodies are buried because I helped dig the holes.” Carmela Soprano is the Matron Saint. And now we’ve got folks popping out of the woodwork, crying foul over cultural appropriation. Really? NOW? 🤦🏾‍♀️

Carmela Soprano

Meanwhile, Black and Brown folks, indigenous folks have been talking about cultural appropriation ad nauseam for decades. 🥴 We’ve talked about locs, bindis, and so many other ways people’s cultural markers have been used as “trends” to talk about and profit off of. We’ve yelled about it, written about it and have often been met with confused faces of people who can’t seem to grasp it. You’d think we told them to write us an essay about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. We get ignored or gaslit instead of understood. 

But now people are steering up controversy talmbout “my culture isn’t a costume” related to Carmela Soprano, who is FICTIONAL, mind you, I’m like “oh so now you get it? Now it makes sense?!?” It just took the fictional wife of a fictional mob boss on a fictional show to grasp the concept. Ahhh… that’s intriguing. 

IJY - Luvvie

Whether or not it is appropriation, isn’t my issue. Cultural appropriation is a serious issue that deserves our attention and understanding. It’s about power dynamics, history, and the ongoing struggle for respect. But why do some of us get ignored and some of us get validated when we talk about harmful “trends?” I find it QWHITE interesting. 🤔



Some people are committed to misunderstanding you. 

I’m a writer and lover of words. Being understood is really important to me. And I’ve learned to be better at using my words to get my point across. I consider it a superpower that I can relate big information in small bytes. 🧠💡

That’s why the older I get, the more I realize that no matter how great we are as communicators, we cannot always prevent people from misunderstanding us. We cannot always say the exact thing that will allow people to listen, empathize or see our full hearts and humanity.

And that’s okay. We might spend a lot of time and energy crafting our message, filtering ourselves, only to still not be heard. It happens.

I think about this whenever people ask me “how are you not afraid of saying tough things? How do you make sure people receive it well?” 🤔💭

Me: If I say what I need to say in the best way I know how, the rest is not up to me. 

In my TED talk, I offer up these questions as checkpoints for us to use when we wanna say something that might not be easy, or that we’re afraid about the response: Do I mean it? Can I defend it? Did I say it thoughtfully?

If the answer is YES to all three, I say it and let the chips fall. 

Do I mean it Can I defend it Did I say it thoughtfully - Quote Graphic

The truth is, some people are absolutely committed to not seeing or hearing us. No matter how thoughtful we are, no matter how simply we’ve said what we have to say, or how hard we’ve tried to make it land well. It is out of our control how others will receive it. 🤷🏾‍♀️

I think about the late, great Toni Morrison, who said “The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do.”


It is not our jobs to flail ourselves to try to be misunderstood. We need to become okay that from time to time, we will be misunderstood on purpose, by people who find it easier to disagree with us than to see our varying perspectives. 😒 Side-eye them and keep it moving, friend. 

Because what we not doing in 2024, is giving ourselves mental papercuts to get seen or heard. 


Have a great game night and support a Black-owned business!

I participate in Black History Month YEAR so as for me and mine, we do whatever we can to buy BLACK. This month, doe, I really wanna make sure I lift up Black-owned businesses that have found distribution at large retailers. Why? Because they are under microscopes to continue to sell on those shelves they’re now on. ☝🏾

One of the brands I LOVE and I credit with helping us get through the COVID pandemic lockdown is CULTURE TAGS!

CultureTags - GIFCulture Tags is a dope game where you are shown a card with an acronym on it, and given the category. Then the person holding the card gives you clues to guess what it is. So IYKYK (if you know, you know). Categories like 90s R&B, Family & Friends.

It’s soooo fun! Also, it was created by one of my fave people and fave geniuses Eunique Jones Gibson. It’s simply a vibe and you should buy one or two. Makes a great gift! 🎁


Anywho, I already shared that I’m kicking off Black History Month with Culture Tags and making the Swifties clutch their pearls – how are you celebrating this month?

Disclaimer: I receive commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this newsletter. All thoughts and vouching are mine. I keep it true.

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