Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ASA - Be My Man

Nigerian bred, Paris born, singer and songwriter, ASA (Pronounced Asha) has been touring all year promoting her new album Beautiful Imperfection. All of her tour dates are overseas but she made it to New York and L.A. just this month. ASA has a unique style and a post from a facebook friend (Thanks Techecia Thomas) reminded me of an ASA video I adore. "Be My Man" was released in 2010 and has a new age vintage feel. The video takes place in a 1950's style diner. The wardrobe is mixed with some modern items but you can see the vintage direction of the video that fits the Do-Wap feel of the song. ASA's silk red and white polka dot shirt and skinny jeans cuffed to a mid-leg length, are perfect for the video. Check out ASA and her music at She's an international sensation and will soon be a big hit in the U.S. No doubt about it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Renissance Man - Lester Jackson

A GA State Senator friend by the name of Lester Jackson came up in an article that I was reading the other day, so I decided to Google him to see what else he had been up to. In my search I came across a documentary entitled "Black and Red: The life of Lester Jackson". Slightly intrigued, I viewed the hour long documentary, only to discover an interesting and compelling black man of our history that I had never heard of before.

Lester Jackson was an immigrant from Germany; he somehow fled to America without his parents when he was 14 years of age. His adolescent years do not have much documentation, but when he reached his twenties he began to frequent the Harlem Jazz scene in New York. He was a musician, could speak several languages and was a tall, attractive man. Women and men were very drawn to him.

His charisma in New York was evident, which led him to fall into a movie role that eventually propelled him into a movie star figure in New York during the 1940's.

After conquering the black movie scene in NY, he moved to California to become an international soccer player. His fame as a former actor and then soccer player allowed him to become a spokesperson for many social issues.  In his 40’s, he ran for Senator of New Jersey on the communist ticket. But shortly after he ran, Lester Jackson was missing and no one has heard of his where abouts for 25 years. Clearly he was an intriguing person and his short life story is even more intriguing.

Check out the documentary, it was made 5 years ago, and gives alot of insight to a person that you probably never knew exsisted.

 Black and Red: The Life of Lester Jackson

Negro Romance Comic Books

Hey Kittens,

I ran across the bibliography of Orrin C. Evans the other day. A prominent writer of the 40's who was considered the "dean of black reporters" and the "father of black comic books". As a self taught writer, who dropped out of the 8th grade to pursue his career in journalism, he worked for many major publications in the Philadelphia area. He was committed to writing and featuring Blacks, then Negros, in a positive light.

A local reporter and friend Claude Davis was interviewed in a blog that features a post about Orrin.  "As Claude Lewis said in a recent interview; we weren’t very conscious about being left out, it was just the way things were. We identified with Superman, Batman, Submariner and the rest of them without giving much thought to it. If you’ve never seen a black hero you don’t spend a lot of time wondering where they are. Today you would, but back then, there were no blacks in ads. It just didn’t happen." Orrin wanted to change all this. He considered himself an urban American born in the twentieth century, fully integrated into the western world. - htttp://

Inspired by his daughter, he created several comic books that highlighted the romantic, funny, adventurous and sophisticated side of Black people.  The three issues of a romantic comic entitled "Negro Romance" speaks to me most! I have yet to find any documentation about the content within this comic series, but here are three pictures of the only 3 issues that were released.

Orrin had trouble releasing more issues because his printing company stopped working with him. It's reported that publishing companies objected to the positive image portrayed in Orrin's comics. The Black people of this time are truly amazing to me. I find it remarkable that they could maintain a confidence and sense of self worth when the world tried so hard to promote other wise. Just another reason to why I am completely intrigued by this time period.

Be Cool- xoxo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Black Pin Up Girls

I have always been intrigued by the pinup women of the past. I've been researching African American pinup models from the 30-50's and many of the pictures are quite stereotypical and offensive. This picture below is from the 1930's. Its a sexy picture of a black woman however she's dressed up like a mammy and is sitting on a big bag of flour! Come on...

I did however,  run across a picture of young ladies in 1944 who called themselves the "pinup girls". To me this is more like it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Education is the Key

Hi Kittens,

A few days ago, Yale University's School of Medicine honored its first African American Women Graduates.

"We are delighted to celebrate the accomplishments of these extraordinary African Americans who courageously broke the racial barrier at Yale School of Medicine," said Yale School of Medicine Dean Dr. Robert Alpern, "All subsequent students, both minority and non-minority, owe them a debt of gratitude."

One of the graduates, Beatrix Ann (McCleary) Hamburg's achievement in 1948 as Yale's first African-American woman to graduate with a medical degree was not the first barrier broken in her career. She was the first self-identified African American to graduate from Vassar College, the last of the historic "Seven Sister" colleges to integrate.

Coming from a family of scholars and as a African American woman who has achieved a Master's degree, I felt particularly drawn to these ladies and their achievements. Today, African American women have a college graduation rate of 64%. Thank you Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette, M.D. and Beatrix Ann (McCleary) Hamburg's M.D. for paving the way! Oh, and did I forget to mention that these ladies were both beautiful and stylish! Check out this picture, I just love it!

Vintage Summer Suits

Hey Kittens, it's Summertime, and I would want nothing more than a long vacation, an exoctic location and a vintage bathing suit to parade around in all season. My favorite time period for retro suits are during the 60's. They were sexy yet classy and as sophisticated as a bathing suit can get. I'm inspired by this picture that I found, included in the book "Beauty is Goddess" by Deborah Willis. The book takes a look at the beauty of black people dating back form the 1890 post slavery era to present day.

This picture is of four lovely black women posing in Atlantic City (1960's Image: W.W. Norton & Co.) 
So of course after seeing this pic, I began my hunt for the perfect vintage bathing suit. This is what I've found so far!