Three more black owned businesses to show support…
I tried Calabash Tea for the first time two weeks ago and I was not disappointed. I am a self proclaimed herbal tea connoisseur and Simply Irresistible, Fat Black Pussy Cat, and All Night Long were definitely my cup of tea,
I personally use and love the versatility of the Mented lipstick neutral colors. I discovered them almost two years ago because I was in need of something subtle and natural looking. I have not bought any other lipstick since…well I did purchase 4 different colors (Nude LA LA, Dope Taupe, Brown Bear, and Mented #5).
Urban Elite Beauty came across my radar by happenstance but I decided to try their products to improve the condition of my aging skin. I’ll let you know what the results are in a few weeks.
CALABASH TEA & TONIC IS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING WELLNESS BRAND HELMED BY DR. SUNYATTA AMEN, A 5TH GENERATION MASTER HERBALIST & NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN HAILING FROM A JAMAICAN/CUBAN/NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY. THE START OF A TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE AT OUR MAGICAL URBAN OASIS DESIGNED TO RECONNECT MODERN PEOPLE WITH FOOD AND DRINK AS MEDICINE.
CALABASH DEFINES SEXINESS IN DC’S SHAW NEIGHBORHOOD, SERVING AROMATIC TEAS AND TONICS FOR ALL OF YOUR MOODS, LOCALLY BAKED VEGAN TREATS, KOMBUCHA ON TAP, AND FAIR TRADE COFFEE.
KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson created Mented Cosmetics because they believe every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone. From their original nude lipsticks to eyeshadow palettes to blushes, each of their makeup products is perfectly pigMented to match your skin tones. They want all women, from light to tan to dark skin tones, to feel like they have makeup that actually works for their complexions, so they’ve created the shades to help accomplish that.
Urban Elite Beauty, LLC was founded by David Benton in 2019 and started out as a holistic online beauty supply store. We started out selling hair , extensions, clippers, beard oils etc. January, 2020 I decided to narrow my niche for more of an exclusive product! I stumble upon an idea while watching Benjamin Button on Netflix! I said,” what if I can come up with a product that will keep people young for a very long time” I did research and came up with the perfect product, an anti-aging serum that is now called the 24K Miracle Moisture Serum. It is a serum that fights our daily skin problems, especially as we age, such as dark spots, blemishes, acne, wrinkles, fine lines and more. Using 3 drops in the morning for about 90 seconds and 3 drops in the evening before bed will do miracles to your skin! The 24K Miracle Moisture Luxury Skincare Collection consists of a serum, eye collagen mask, and lip balm, by the way is no ordinary lip balm. It will give you a hint of color that goes naturally with your skin tone. We have helped countless people with their skin issues and look forward to the countless people we are going to help. Please check out a few of our customers who consistently used our products and achieved massive results! For ordering information you can put link https://bit.ly/3eTdJDV in your browser or go to www.urbanelitebeauty.com
Some members (IG handles): @whyhnotduce @whynothauch @whynotneen @whynotflee @whynotgotti
WHYNOTus is a group of young innovators from Virginia. Their mission is to help their brand grow and to push the mentality of people to ask WHY can’t they be the next (superstar/doctor/model/artist/professional athlete, etc.)
They have people in their group who have a strong passion for making clothes, music, designing logos, promoting, etc.
Motivational words for you: You can literally do whatever you want to do in life. Continue to grind and nothing in life is guaranteed to you. Figure out what success truly means to you besides the riches and fame.
In 2017, WHYNOTNeen began graphic designing for fun and ended up teaching himself how to make logos and cover art from YouTube videos. He end up creating the original teddy bear logo, but it was WHYNOTFlee that gave him the name, “Toffi.” At that point, there was no meaning behind that name, but it sounded dope and different so they decided to us it.
Now that the brand has expanded, they decided to add meaning behind it, as originally they just wanted to wear clothing that they like. They weren’t planning on it being a big brand.
That why they came up with:
They wanted to provide their own streetwear brand to their friends and family which has eventually extended to everyone (the Toffi family).
As I was brainstorming what to write about this week, Courtney B. asked me two questions,
“Where are you right now, as in mentally?”
“What is something you’ve been thinking about often?”
So, here’s my response:
I am actually in a great place right now. I’m surprisingly happy, excited and feeling empowered/motivated…mostly, but there’s the occasional anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the other emotions overpower the negative ones.
I say “surprisingly” because there are so many things going on in the world that are out of my control. However, I’ve decided to focus on the things that are in my control, and I just roll with the punches on anything else that comes my way. I’ve been working on not overthinking or stressing, and just living in every moment as it is. Nothing more, nothing less. That has given me a sense of peace. I am content.
I’ve also found myself grateful for the small things more.
Like a sushi date with my boyfriend on the back of his truck.
Like being able to work outside while the sun is shining and
Like being able to drive to my moms house whenever I want to (I haven’t lived this close to home since I graduated high school).
But I’m also grateful for the bigger things that I took for granted before
Like being able to pay all of my bills on-time
Like being in good health
Like having a strong support system.
To the second question, I have been thinking about MANY THINGS! I’m thinking about new passion projects that I am very very excited to share with you all. I am thinking about ways to empower others and support our community, which is partially being done by showcasing and supporting black businesses on this blog and in real life.
Although we are in a very uncertain time, I am very excited for my future. I’m excited to see what’s to come for me, my family, my friends, and my community. I’m excited to see how far we’ll go.
Because of this extremely determined state that I am in, I am the hardest on myself right now, so some days I have to give myself gratitude. You shouldn’t wait for praise from others. Give yourself the credit that you deserve. Pour all of the energy and love you give to others, into yourself sometimes, because you deserve it.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Something that I have been learning to be okay with is imperfection. If you are “perfect” at everything, you have no room to grow. There is no up from there. You have nothing to look forward to. Also, some days you are going to be at 100%, you are going to feel motivated, determined, and happy. But some days you are going to feel lazy, unproductive, and you’re just going to want to sit on the couch, watch movies, and eat pizza; and that is okay too. Self-care days and moments that you are working at a slow pace, are not signs of defeat. They are necessary in order to work at the speed you work at every other day of the month.
Just don’t let those days keep you down. If you have 2 days this month where you’re “not-so-productive”, guess what? You have 28-29 more days to be on your sh** and that my friend is a win. You should feel proud of that. How much has that improved from last month? From the last six months? From the last year? Recognize that progression and applaud yourself for that. Keep growing, you are doing amazing!
My two goals/self-care practices this month are:
#2 : To read 30 minutes everyday for my pleasure. Right now, I am reading “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union. It is best paired with a glass of wine and a burning candle. I will be reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama next month. I was also gifted her “guided journal for discovering your voice,” that I am very excited to start working in.
#2 : Complete the Toffi (I’ll explain more about what Toffi is in a later post) July 30 mile challenge. I was challenged by a friend to run a total of 30 miles this month. It is definitely holding me accountable.
“Where are you right now, as in mentally?” and what are your July goals? Let me know in the comments!!
LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex
Thump In Thought is committed to making a difference in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. We will be showcasing black owned businesses, black created products, culturally uplifting organizations and programs that benefit all, especially the black community.
Back in March, I started plans for my garden in preparation for whatever was coming; food shortages, contamination or the closure of businesses that produce or distribute food. The idea was, if it came down to it, I would at least be able to feed my family. More recently I have been much more intentional with exactly where my money is going, how much and how often. It’s sad to say, there are no black owned grocery store in my county or any of the surrounding cities, that I know of. So how can we support what we don’t have?…we must create for ourselves.
I am proud to say that I am an alumna of Virginia State University, as are my father and one of my brothers, formerly known as Virginia State College for Negroes, Virginia Normal and College Institute, a historically black land-grant university that was founded on March 6, 1882. It was the first fully state supported, four year institution for black people in America.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines HBCUs as, “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education]…”
These were spaces our ancestors created for us to counteract ignorance, oppression and systemic racism. When education went from illegal to unavailable, our ancestors made it possible. Give thanks! I honor my ancestors by taking full advantage of the path made for me. I am the first on my mothers side (immediate family including my siblings, aunts, (I have no uncles), first cousins and grandparents), to graduate with a BS, and MS. My father earned his BS two years before I did, Yes we were on the yard together, making history and herstory, I was PROUD to say the least.
If you care to learn some of the background that birthed these historically rich and preserving institutions, check out the link below:.
VSU is one of 107 HBCUs in the United States that are recognized by USDOE (Dept. of Ed.) http://www.thehundred-seven.org/. It was not my first choice, I attended North Carolina State University first. NCSU is a predominately white instution (PWI) that is also a land-grant university. That decision was based on proximity to my immediate and extended family and the presence of a veterinary medicine program. There was (and still is) only one HBCU that even had a vet school, Tuskegee in Alabama, and I was not going that far from home. I do not regret, for one moment, going from NCSU to VSU, a PWI to an HBCU. I’m glad I had the opportunities to attend both. You might think that would highlight any disparities between the two but instead it allowed me to be even more appreciative of what was gifted and available to me: a wealth of culture that I related to personally, a community that understood what I needed to survive and thrive, faculty and staff that genuinely worked to ensure success for their students, once in a lifetime research and work experiences, access to some of the most amazing minds in academia and let’s not forget HOMECOMING. Beyonce’s Netflix special gives a glimpse into the immense family reunion accompanied by parades, step shows, football games, concerts, and linking up with “brothers, sisters, and cousins” who you haven’t seen a forever. I love my HBCU and who I am as a result of what I did while I was there.
No matter how you choose to continue your education, the decision should encompass a list of things such as cost, location, programs offered and most importantly (to me) where you will be most comfortable to grow freely. The college years are usually filled with self discovery and worldly realizations. We learn better, live better and fare better if your training, education and preparation are done under less stressful, less threatening, more welcoming, encouraging and inclusive conditions.
As we navigate how to continue to enlighten, educate, uplift and support the black community I am highlighting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, especially my alma mater VSU, as well as organizations that support them.
4 things you can do to show your support:
Join the national alumni association of your alma mater
Invest in HBCUs
Talk about them; create and continue a positive narrative
Support them even if you didn’t attend one and uplift them even if you didn’t attend that specific one. I attend events at other HBCUs, I wear there apparel, I share their history and accomplishments. I represent all HBCUs…period
Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Publicly-supportedHBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.
The Tom Joyner Foundation was founded in 1998 as the brainchild of nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner. The mission of the Foundation is to support historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with scholarships, endowments and capacity-building enhancements.
The Foundation has provided necessary support to every HBCU in its 20-year history to help sustain and preserve the legacies of these valuable institutions. Through fundraising and donor development initiatives, $65 million has been raised to support more than 29,000 students attending HBCUs. Additionally, the Foundation has recommended internships, offered matching grant support, and career development to deserving students.
SUPPORT BLACK COLLEGES IS A CLOTHING LINE WHO’S SOLE MISSION IS TO UPLIFT, INSPIRE & ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SUPPORT HBCU’S. SBC WAS FOUNDED IN 2012 BY TWO HOWARD UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WHO SAW A NEED TO SPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT THE SCHOOL THAT CHANGED THEIR LIVES. THE BRAND TOOK OFF FAST WHEN CELEBRITIES SUCH AS TEYANNA TAYLOR, MISSY ELLIOT, CHRIS PAUL, EVA MARCILLE AND MANY MORE HAVE BEEN SPOTTED ROCKING THE BRAND. EACH YEAR THE SBC TEAM EMPLOYS OVER 70 COLLEGE AMBASSADORS & GIVES THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN SCHOLARSHIPS.
To all my young black queens, this message is for you. As well as for your parents, mentors, and educators.
As you grow up, you may go through periods where you feel defeated, insecure, and like you aren’t enough. I am here to tell you that you are strong, unstoppable, and unmatched.
I have felt inequality, racism, and a sense of “otherness” based on my skin color in educational and professional settings, and as a black dancer. Be courageous for those that look up to you and that will follow in your footsteps later. It took me a while to recognize the strength and power that I have, which is why I think it is extremely important to uplift, guide, and inspire our black girls early.
I created a list of statements that my mom instilled in me, as well as some that I’ve learned along the way:
You are intelligent.
You are creative and talented.
You are beyond beautiful. Your mind. Your heart. Your smile. You skin. Your natural curls. Your afro. Your hair in general.
Your melanin is radiant, regardless of how light or dark it is.
You are strong and capable.
You are kind.
Your passion and determination is inspiring.
…and I cannot say this enough – YOU ARE ENOUGH!
I understand that you can hear this from home and yet, the world and society may still make you feel less than at times. YOU ARE NOT. Parents, mentors, and educators, please praise your black queens more often. They need it. You may feel that it is implied, but from experience, it is not always, so let them hear this from you. Read these as many times as you feel necessary and share them with all.
Here are pictures of a few that I’ve been blessed to be a sister to, meet, mentor, or teach. I want you all to know that I am forever proud of you and you are capable of anything you put your mind to. I know it because I’ve seen it. We may not talk to or see each other much, but always remember, I am continuously rooting for you and watching your growth.
Love you always -Alex (or some may refer to me as Miss Alex or Sunny)
Today is a very special day for me because on this day I made my Earthly debut. I know I am not alone, there are a few others, Tupac being the most significant to my life. Anyway, I have been celebrating me and I thinking of what gift would be the greatest, this year at this time.
I am appreciative of all that I have and hopeful for all that’s to come. If I had one wish, or two since I’m Gemini by nature, it would be for any type of racism be demolished and justice be served, in relation to racist acts (individual, systemic, structural, institutional, hidden, blatant).
So, for my bearthday and the rest of this month, I would like you to 1) join me in focusing and collecting energy for . 2) Encourage as many people as you can to do the same. 3)Be a part of positive progression and not a part of the problem.
Take a knee, a moment of silence, honor and say the names of those who’ve lost their lives in the struggle (past and present), think of how or what you can change, think of justice, pray for strength, pray for peace, pray for compassion, pray for humanity, pray for peace, sing (“Better Days are Coming”, “How Many More Times”, “I Told the Storm”, “Encourage Yourself”…some of my favorites), dance, cry, chant, light a candle, burn some sage…whatever you can and feel…7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Does that mean I won’t be praying any other times…no. My goal is to collectively pool our energies for change. I’m powerful alone, imagine the difference we can make together.
Give thanks to those who have been with me thus far. I feel the work we’ve been putting in. It matters not your religion or spirituality. We are united in the human race.
I love my hair, with all of its kinks, coils, and curls. Every strand made by me and my ancestors. I can’t remember if I always felt that way. Though my curiosity and fearlessness can explain my desire to experiment and explore everything my hair was capable of, I’m sure some of my hair styling options were influenced by family, friends, foes, society, television and magazines. I remember one Thanksgiving a friend of the family asked “What made you do that?”, referring to my new baby locs (1998). I said something like “I just felt like it”. She replied with “You were so pretty”. I knew then that I would wear my hair like that forever, lol. Why would being comfortable with and proud of what I was blessed with make me any less beautiful than before? Not to mention the fact that I was no longer putting harmful substances in my body through my scalp by trying to chemically alter the structure of my hair repetitively.
I use my hair as a form of self-expression. Always have. From rocking a fro, cornrows, beads, balls, bows and barrettes, to braids, bangs, ponytails, and asymmetric cuts. I can do as much or as little to it as I want.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane…
Baby Thump and her baby hair. Besides what I can see in pictures, I don’t have a recollection of anything my mother, grandmother’s or aunts did to or with my hair. My O’ma has shared with me, on more than one occasion, that I had the prettiest hair until my mother messed it up; “she was always messing with your hair”.
The first memory I have of my hair being done is from when I was 4 or 5. I remember being so I excited to get my hair pressed and curled. I loved the sound of hair grease sizzling and the curling irons being put into their mini ovens (don’t forget, I was 4). Being burned a few times didn’t scar me enough to dislike it until I was about 10 or 11 but my ears, forehead and nape never forgot. As soon as I was old enough, I told my O’ma that I wanted a “curl”, Wave Nouveau to be exact. And guess what I learned…that had the ability to burn my scalp also. I wore the curl from 4th grade to the 7th grade and I think the drip became more trouble than it was worth. By this time, I was ready for a permanent relaxer, and that shit burned too. A burn so deep that it made me not be able to control my body. I couldn’t sit still long enough, I had an urgent sensation to urinate, although it never relieved the pain. Going to the bathroom would buy me another 2 minutes…every second counted. It didn’t take long for me to realize perms weren’t for me. I enjoyed the shop culture but as I got older, I did not want to spend all day in the beauty salon when I could be doing other things. I still have that same philosophy today. I was not the teenager who always had her hair died, fried or laid to the side. Special occasions were just enough. That’s more than likely when I became more serious about taking care of my hair myself.
I stopped perming my hair when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted to only put things in and on my body that would benefit the development of my growing child. I continued to commit to a more natural and intimate relationship with my hair. I became more and more comfortable wearing my hair without altering it. I wasn’t even coloring it. I became the example that i wish I’d had growing up. Natural, to me, meant no chemicals.
and no conforming. I soon started my first set of locs (traditional) and never turned back. It’s been 23 years.
Natural began to mean, no chemicals or alterations. Natural was what I was. A decade later, I cut those locs off only to install Sisterlocks, and 11 years down the road I am back to my hair, the way it was born…in an afro.
Both of my parents had beautiful, bountiful fros. When I look at photographs I am in awe. Comparing the civil rights and black lives matter movements, we are afflicted with another version of the systemic racism and cultural oppression; 1970’s to 2020, my whole life.
Once upon a time, when African Kings and queens ruled their land freely, hair was spiritual and an energetic life force. Hair styles were reflective of religion, class, rights of passage, tribal affiliation, social status, skill and even fertility. Hair was worn with purpose; a purpose that slavery attempted to slaughter. Hair was the one thing that was still ours, still a source of pride and joy, still strong and demanding attention. According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, between 1525 and 1866, an estimated 12.5 million Africans were dragged, beaten, and stolen from their native land to be abused into not remembering, believing, or speaking the truth. That we are great, that we are ingenious, that we are brilliant, that we are resilient, that we possess powers specific to our people.
Many changes to our hair care rituals were direct results of self-care restrictions. That was done in order to try and break spirits and inject hatred. That evolved into using our hair to set unfair standards in regard to education, employment, and humanity.
*Pictured above (L) my paternal grandmother and my great-aunt; (R) my maternal grandmother and my great-aunt. Pictured below my mother and three of my aunts.
Our hair should be an extension of OUR minds, bodies, thoughts, and actions; not an extension of someone else’s ideologies or interpretations projected onto us. Our hair is regal and defies laws of nature. Onlookers can hardly wait to see what we’ll do with it next, knowing they will be confused as to how we got it to do that and perplexed by the versatility it possesses. Sooooooo many textures and shape variations.
So often, we inherit our ideas and feelings towards hair; how it should be kept, what’s acceptable and appropriate. I wanted to pass on a feeling of confidence and the idea that you don’t have to change who you are for anyone or anything. I wanted to foster self respect and individuality. My youngest daughter and I watched Natural Hair The Movie, together last weekend. At some point, halfway through, she turned to me and thanked me for never perming her hair. I don’t think she’d ever considered the health benefits until hearing it discussed on the documentary. Neither of my daughters have ever had relaxers applied to their hair. I feel great about that. They have a sense of self worth and satisfaction with themselves, as they are, that a lot of people don’t have, their entire lives.
As you can see, I am not my hair but my hair is definitely me, and my mom, and her mom, and hers. I am proud of my crown and I treat it accordingly. I am patient, lenient, nurturing, and careful with it. It can be elastic or brittle, unruly or tamed, impressionable or impressive, lustrous or, juicy or dry, wild or calm.
This past week has been emotionally and mentally draining. I keep saying that it’s super crazy and weird that I’m here to see what’s going on in the world at this moment.
As we know, George Floyd died at the hands of the police on May 25, 2020. We saw what this man went through on camera like many other black men who have been killed by cops. Just like so many other videos I’ve seen on social media, it really enraged me to see that this shit is still … STILL going on today !
I want to say t0 every black man in my life right now, I love you. It hurts my heart to think, well to know that my brother, my cousins, and my black male friends, who are my brothers as well, can easily be killed for no reason at all. They could literally be cooperating with police or just standing there and the police officer could just kill them instantly (without a care)…that there- doesn’t sit right with me. This is America.
This is America…and just how our black men matter…our black women matter…our black kids matter…So many women have been killed by horrible police that are still free.
Sandra Bland (July 13, 2015; TX)
Korryn Gaines (August 1, 2016; MD)
Deborah Danner (October 18, 2016; NY)
Pamela Turner (May 13, 2019; TX)
Emerald Black’s unborn child (June 2019; CA)
Breonna Taylor (March 13, 2020; KY)
We have to come together and keep fighting for equality. BLACK LIVES DO MATTER. No JUSTICE ? No Peace. No JUSTICE? No SLEEP.
Black man.. Black woman.. be strong and keep the prayers high at all times. It could easily be you or a loved one.
Evening Everyone! I just finished praying with my youngest son who is four years old. Trying to explain to him why he’s finding what’s going on in the outside world to be “a little confusing”. I say outside world, because in his world, he know’s he is loved, respected, valued, protected and treated like royalty. He knows he comes from kings and queens. He knows how great we are and can be. He knows he can do anything (that his parents allow). He is full of love, hope, courage, strength, curiosity, and kindness. He is brilliant in every sense of the word. As, his mother it is my job to prepare him for as much as possible and what I can’t provide or control…I pray about.
I invite and encourage you to join me at 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM, every day this month, for collective observances. I will be at my alter with my candles, my stones, my mind and my heart, for at least 10 minutes.
You can #Pause and take a moment to remember those murdered at the hands of the law enforcement, evil doers, and anyone else who unjustly and undeservingly take the lives of our children, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. You can #Pause if you’re not sure whether what’s about to leave your mind by way of your mouth, will be helpful or hurtful. By all means take a moment to think. You may decide that your words are not whats needed or asked for at that time, or ever.
You can #Pray, if that’s what you do. I do believe that prayer in numbers, at the same time, for the same purpose can be powerful and productive. Pray for justice, equality, rights: you know, all the things we deserve and should have. If that’s not your thing then just close your eyes and think. Think about how you can help, how you can be compassionate, how you wish things were better, or just think about the names of the victims you can remember and or name: then say their name with respect and/or remorse.
You can #Protect yourself and your loved ones, by any means necessary. I will do anything for mine…ANYTHING (educate, nurture, fight for and die for). There is nothing more important to me, than the lives I brought into this world.
You can #Protest in whatever fashion you see fit. You can also pray for the protection of those who are protesting and risking their lives for our lives and legacies to be preserved.
If none of that resonates with you, please find it in your heart and conscious to do SOMETHING that will bring #Peace.
This is one of my faves. Describes what I’m doing at 7:00 and 10:00…