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Our Rhythm, Our Blues highlights the celebration and sorrows of marginalized voices through history, stories, music, and visual art.

“They want our rhythm but not our blues”.

Volume Two:

Ladies First

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Vol. 2

Ladies First

Throughout history, womxn have banded together. Through our worldwide community, we have led movements, created change, and formed lifelong friendships and families from different backgrounds and circumstances. Volume 2 is dedicated to the stories of these womxn. Our peers, our leaders, our future.


01.

FROM THE EDITOR

Ladies First

By Erica Nicole

Ever been a part of a secret club? One with a million+ members, that you see everyday but only speak to a few? A clutb that is so secret, you at times forget that you even have a membership; only to be reminded within those intimate conversations amongst female friends that you are not alone.

A private society that SUPPORTS one another. UPLIFTS when a member is down. Builds a COMMUNITY within and around. PROTECTS the many facets of life and its future.

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02.

Ruthless

By Franchesa Kirkpatrick

Today we are Ruthless.
R.B.G. made such changes for equality.
Seeing her movie and being a living part of
Her movement.
Living by being independent, my own person.
We all have equal responsibility to bring up the next generation.
When we look at Ruth’s life and words.
True equality, leadership, naturalization,
Justice, choices.
Her fight for activism. Lead and
Others will join! Endure for change!
Anger, envy and resentment zap energy and are
All a waste of time.
No favors for my sex.
Citizenship is a constitutional principle.
I belong in a place where decisions are made.
I demand to develop my talents.

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GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

white girls with skateboards

GRLSWIRL

GRLSWIRL is a grassroots, all-female skate community focused on uniting women through skateboarding, empowering them to break gender boundaries and inspiring them to start a revolution by harnessing inclusivity and friendship.

WEBSITE
INSTAGRAM

girls with skateboards

PROPER GNAR

Proper Gnar is a woman owned skateboarding, and streetwear brand created by Latosha Stone. As an artist, she is set out to create hand drawn designs and bold statement pieces that aren’t just things to wear or ride on, they’re works of her art.

WEBSITE
INSTAGRAM


The ethnicity is obvious — it’s in our food, it’s in the music we listen to, it’s in the books we read, it’s in the way we live, it’s in the company we keep and the dances that we do. I don’t have to make a conscious point about it, because I know who I am.”

PHYLICIA RASHAD, BUSTLE.COM



03.

Queendom

By Erica Nicole

Mother Nature
by Hillary Wilson

Let me tell you about where I reside —

Where we walk with a stride of ancestral pride. A place crafted by a higher power. See, each day of rising is the “golden hour”.

Sun kissed skin, as warm as a summer eve. An internal identity that shines and sings. Like a gentle breeze we all hear the song that tells us we belong.

In our best leggings, sweats, and kicks. Jeans, button-ups tucked, and Chucks. Sequins and Pumps. We all walk with a gleam in our eye that let’s everyone know our pride will not just lay down and die.

See where I reside —

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“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

OPRAH WINFREY


04.

Motherland Drip On Me: A Cultural Embrace of Afro-Caribbean Motherhood

By Maya Davis

Race and identity is at the center of black consciousness in the United States as we struggle to defend our humanity and fight to preserve the dignity of our history and culture.

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05.

My Gloria Steinem Story

By Andrea Bass

Gloria Steinem is my goddess, beginning about age 17. As feminist-editor of Ms. Magazine, Steinem shows up like a superstar, whether in the Playboy Bunny outfit she wears in an exposé for “Show” magazine or a belted mini-skirt with long legs at her Selectric typewriter. I devour Ms. because it makes me feel empowered to climb up and advance my education and earning-power.

Fast-forward to me in 1990s New York City: an MBA, one miscarriage, 20 pounds, and two babies later.

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06.

Letters from the Grave: A Story Of Heartbreak & Understanding

By Nia Khalilah

It was May 15, 1997 the day I turned 19. My boyfriend and I jumped in my lil hoopty and drove from DC to New York. We had an amazing weekend, lots of shopping, checking out delicious restaurants, hitting up a few clubs and partying all night. I mean when you’re visiting the City that never sleeps, you don’t either.

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07.

Creating Through Chaos

By Lindsay Bolin Lowery

In sickness and health. Couples say it—promise it—on their wedding day, but most don’t really know what it means until they grow old together. J.C. and I knew it long before our day at the alter. Actually, it was more of a plywood platform than an alter. My dad threw it together quickly and it was my only hope of keeping the mud off my dress that day. After a week of hurricane rains, the ground was soaked but our spirits were high. We made it this far, so come hell or very-probable-high-water, we’d be husband and wife before the day’s end.

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GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

lil kim misa hylton and mary j blige

KIM, MISA & MARY

Respect the architects. Misa Hylton redefined what fashion looked like to R&B and Hip-Hop artists in the 90’s. Her styling for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim redefined what women “should” look like in the industry. Together, these three visually shook up the industry and showed that to be truly successful means being authentically who you are. The styles that Misa Hylton created for both women did not change their presence, it enhanced it. They were, and still are game changers in the industry.

LIL’ KIM INSTAGRAM
MISA HYLTON INSTAGRAM
MARY J. BLIGE INSTAGRAM

harlem fashion row

HARLEM FASHION ROW

Brandice Daniels spearheaded the collaboration [HFR x LeBron 16] with Nike for Lebron James by sourcing prominent and impactful designers from the Harlem Fashion Row community. She decided to go with Project Runway alum Kimberly Goldson and contemporary lifestyle designers Undra Duncan and Fe Noel to co-design James’ HFR x LeBron 16 sneaker. Read about these women and their collaboration below.

SOURCE: FORBES.COM


“Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.”

MARGARET CHO


08.

Monopoly’s Lost Female Inventor

Source: National Women’s History Museum

For generations, the story of Monopoly’s Depression-era origin story delighted fans. Often tucked into the game’s box, the tale revolved around Charles Darrow, an unemployed man in Philadelphia who dreamed up the game in the 1930s. He sold the game to Parker Brothers, not only saving him and the company from financial ruin, but becoming wealthy—a Cinderella story made of cardboard and real-life Monopoly money.
The trouble is, it isn’t exactly true..

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09.

In Society’s Image

By Clarice Pacheco

Even before the moment we are out of the womb, society has a plan for us. A plan that consists of a set of guidelines that we are expected to follow according to our biological sex. We live in a world where our biological sex is the deciding factor of how we communicate, behave, and physically present ourselves. No questions asked as to why we should abide by these societal expectations, until we become aware enough to selflessly embrace our own individuality. It is when we realize that the physical body we are born in, is just a home sweet home for our soul. Society wrongfully emphasizes the significance of our externality and not enough of our internality. We flood our minds with what we think we should be, how we think we should look, how we think we should act. Our beauty, intelligence, and worthiness is most valid when it comes from the soul. So much of our time wasted away. So much of our focus shifted outward rather than inward. We must understand that we are more than just our physical being. We are more than a body. The human body is temporary; it does not define who we really are at the core. Overtime, our bodies surrender to the aftermath of life. Our soul, our inner truth is what is most important in our lifetime; as it represents permanence. It is better to follow our truth than society’s truth. The word of society is powerful, but our inner authenticity is what holds the true power.



GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera

Source: The New York Times

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, pioneering transgender activists who were at the vanguard of the gay rights movement, will be immortalized in a monument that may be placed down the street from the Stonewall Inn, the city said on Wednesday.

Ms. Johnson and Ms. Rivera were both drag performers and vibrant characters in Greenwich Village street life who worked on behalf of homeless L.G.B.T.Q. youth and those affected by H.I.V./AIDS. They are also believed to have been key figures in the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising who fought police as they raided the gay bar on Christopher Street.

The planned monument will be publicly announced on Thursday in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the uprising, which was a seminal moment for gay rights. It is also part of the city’s effort to fix a glaring gender gap in public art. Statues of L.G.B.T.Q. individuals are virtually nonexistent among the city’s monuments, and the city says the dedication to Johnson and Rivera will be one of the world’s first for transgender people.


10.

Put Your Hand Up

By Kellie Mendes

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been the victim of police brutality. I’ve heard this phrase uttered more times than I can count. I am always partially shocked and completely thankful that I am always one of the few, if not the only, minority with their hand not raised. Being Cape Verdean and Puerto Rican, growing up not just in New Bedford but in the projects, raised primarily by a single mother who was on disability and food stamps–Oddly enough I had an ideal childhood, with everything I ever wanted.

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11.


By Sarah Bellum Mental

I text where were you?

To God and wait for response
dot
dot
dots
dashing in
and out.

While the message
vanishes

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lauren thomas drawing
12.

Riders on the Storm

By Lauren Thomas

My sweet Ryder has been on this planet for eight rotations and yet I still hear his dad sing this song to him nightly. This has always been his lullaby; his special song. I have few memories of his first months; only nightmares appear where smiles should be. But, I still remember this song on repeat. For you see, I battled my internal demons during that time. I was drowning in my postpartum psychosis. I was solely focused on surviving, rather than caring for my newborn son.

He was born on the night of our move into the farmhouse of my dreams. My labor was precipitous. Instead of the peaceful birth I had planned, he arrived frantically into a shallow bathtub stained yellow from well water.

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13.

I am Able

By Tanesha Halstead

I am a woman. And like so many women, I’ve lost myself along my journey.

Two of the happiest moments of my life was graduating college and the birth of my children.

After having my children and also being in a relationship, that was not fruitful to the woman I was to develop into — time stood still. Everyone was moving, growing and expanding.

I slowly started to realize that I had lost myself.

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14.

18 months of Postpartum: Narrative Thought

By Lee Nowell-Wilson

He came fast
Demanding fear to exit
You gotta lean into it, Lee, lean into it, they say.
“NO”
But I’m required
No other road
The bow must bend
And I, the only to bend it
The head must be crowned
Only I to crown it
Landscape must move
Only I to move it
The body to be fabric

Now my big, ballooned boobs are back

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“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”

SERENA WILLIAMS



15.

Tequila & Tonic

By Nkenge Jones

Calming the deepness of my breaths
Staring at red wine circles on his kitchen counter
I can’t move from his eyes
I don’t want to
It’s safe here
He got the heat on Hell and I’m suffocating in bad decisions
Alexa play “If Only for One Night”
Alexa play “Leave, Get Out”
He has smoker fingernails
Fingerprints
His arm around my waist
“I want somebody to walk up behind me”
Ohhh that’s my neck
Please God let that moan have been in my thoughts
That was him
Never mind
Go off then

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16.

Dear Other Woman

By Nichole Miller

Dear Other Woman,

Let me start by saying that I don’t blame you, nor am I threatened by you. But I am affected by you, and by the actions you shared with the man I used to be in a relationship with. At least half the onus is on him, but I ask you to take a moment and be accountable for pursuing someone in a committed relationship. To gain pleasure at the pain of another is, at best, distasteful.

Though, given what little I know of you, I suspect that I may be foolish in writing this and thinking that I may be able to say anything that can be heard by someone still enveloped in the armor of their youth. Perhaps a little later down the road, once your armor has a few more chinks in it, you will reflect on this…or maybe you will cut it away immediately…the choice is yours. Regardless, it is my attempt at compassion, which is the best thing I have to offer you.

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GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

black women in film

AVA, ISSA, LENA, SHONDA

Even though they are not an official Girl Gang, they stand together in the film industry; changing the narrative around stories focusing on women and Black America. Ava Duvernay, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and Shonda Rhimes combined vision within the last decade has elevated how we see women on the screen and how we view the lives of African Americans.
If you all need matching bomber jackets, let us know – we’re happy to design them for you!


“I have to stop and believe that the Root of my talent, is a tree growing in someone else’s yard”

Aja Naomi King,
ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood


17.

Reasons to Jump

By Diesha Banner

I mean let’s be honest…I check quite a few boxes. I’m single, a mother, entrepreneur, sister, daughter, friend, cheerleader, auntie, niece… and the list goes on depending on who you ask. As I take time to reflect on what I’d share in this piece tons of thoughts race through my head. So, this is just a clearing house. My life changed forever when at a fresh 19 years old I lost the one guide I thought would always be there. My mom was definitely the one person I thought would ALWAYS be there and to lose her I thought would surely be the loss of me. But fast forward to nearing the 24th anniversary, boy has life been one hell of a ride.

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GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

republic restorative distillery

REPUBLIC RESTORATIVES DISTILLERY

We are Republic Restoratives Distillery. We celebrate an outspoken and disruptive attitude towards the production of quality American spirits. In life and business, we are inclusive but opinionated. We are founded by friends, women owned and led, funded by the community and unafraid of challenging convention. Working with us means betting on the underdog. We aren’t defined by being women-owned or crowdfunded but it’s the heart and hustle of our company.

SOURCE: REPUBLICRESTORATIVES.COM


18.

Pivot on Full Street

By Carmen Settles

First thing’s first, I need to explain the awesomeness that is me. I’m a product of 2 parents who have molded me, guided me and showed me nothing but love and supported me during this journey. I took the lessons from the grill that my father taught me and the hustle mentality from my mother who was successful in her own right and owning her own business and applied the two together to become Full Street Wings.

Obviously this rat-race lifestyle was not for the kid. It’s just like when Neo found out about the Matrix from Morpheus.

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GIRL GANG

Meet some
of our
favorite
womxn.

thespicesuite

ANGEL & THE SPICEGIRLIN’ MARKETPLACE

Angel brings gourmet, exotic and tantalizing spices, infused oils and other culinary delights to customers in a hip, quaint and comfortable, atmosphere. The aesthetics and energy at The SpiceSuite mirror Angel’s home—​ welcoming, engaging and fun! SpiceGirlin’ is a membership club. Each women-owned business has a product that is handmade or uniquely sourced that is sold during specific, recurring pop up shops at The Spice Suite and offers monthly educational webinars, workshops and seminars to enhance members knowledge in business, branding and professional development.

SOURCE: THESPICESUITE.COM


“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish”

MICHELLE OBAMA


We are Womxn. Here us Roar.
See us Dream. See us Create.

We are Womxn. Watch us Lead.
Watch us Unite. Watch us Inspire.

kaleidoscope prism view

Like the view in a kaleidoscope,
women are multi-faceted,
colorful, and every changing.
Like a kaleidoscope, our colors,
shapes, and forms are better together –
we blend and overlay
our experiences, creating narratives
that change our worldview
and create progressive movements
throughout history.
We are Womxn. Hear Us Roar.

VIEW OUR VOL. 2 KALEIDOSCOPE EXHIBIT
AT ANNAPOLIS TOWN CENTER



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