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Opulence, Excellence and Lavishly Jackie: Normalizing Black Women in Luxury

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

My instagram feed has been giving real sexy opulent and lavish vibes lately. Seeing Black women love on themselves through self care and self adornments so unapologetically has been uplifting and so aesthetically pleasing. Honestly, I love to see it.

@blackgirlluxury “A vision board for black women and girls meant to inspire an abundance mindset, however they define it for themselves.”

These accounts, run by Black women, provide us with a glimpse into the many ways Black women globally are deciding to display the opulence of their lives. These representations highlight a life of luxury and wealth - I think the movement is much more than that. The images and captions often encourage Black women to change our mindsets about our worth, desires and what we deserve. Calling for us to see ourselves as people who deserve and can definitely have the “finer” things in life. If that’s what you want.

For most of our history in America, Black women have been told that we don’t deserve nice things. Whether it be us blatantly being denied access to items or service deemed luxury through years of segregation and racism or us not having the resources to acquire luxe experiences for ourselves also due to sexism and racism (misogynoir), the idea prevails in our minds and others that we do not need or deserve nice things. The stereotypes of Black women as nannies, helpmates, backbones, social justice warriors, etc. etc. etc. all take away from any ideas of us wanting things and doing things for no one other than ourselves.

How many times have you heard folks refer to the Black women who aspire to have luxury items as selfish or “bougie”. I’ve heard it too many times. Shoot, I was called bougie once for asking that salt be put on the rim of my margarita glass… Whenever Black women want things that serve them and them only, it’s looked at negatively by too many people. From our dating choices, to our interest in designer bags, or our trips to Tulum and Dubai; Black women, living life out loud just bothers some folks. I want to be free and splurge on myself when I want to. I put in my work with my family and in the community so, respectfully, stay out my pockets!

“How dare you want a $20,000 bag! That money could go to something better! The community, a charity, donations, or anything else that doesn’t have the singular purpose of making you happy.” Thats how I hear the opposition to the twitter hashtag #BlackGirlsDeserveBirkins. No denying that capitalism has created a culture that prioritizes materialism and wastefulness but the expectation for Black women to not partake in the abundance capitalism has afforded us is unfair. Nevertheless, “luxury” can extend beyond material things, some people consider their time a luxury and spend it in ways others may deem frivolous. Black women are often critiqued for that too.

Whereas for others seeing Black women take ownership of their happiness in this way may be offensive, for me it provides a form of reverie in a world that consistently denies us that.

This contemporary opulent image of ourselves is much needed. I know that wealthy Black women are present through reality tv shows and the like but the images and videos shared on social media go far beyond the pretentious characters on popular housewives shows. On instagram I see more than materialism and having nice things just to have them, I see more and more women living up to their wildest desires and choosing not to settle for what others have decided they deserve. These pages can serve to empower and uplift others, I never get the sense that they want to tear down or degrade women. It’s more of a “I have this and you can have it too,” and not so much of the “I have this and you broke b*$!*s can’t!” More, “I’m great and so are you” and less “I'm better than you”.

In addition to showcasing what they are doing for themselves, these women also share how and what they are doing for their communities and others. For the most part they encourage their followers to do whatever makes them feel good whether it be a 4 oz jar of le mer face cream or a relaxing stroll at your local park. Do what makes you feel good.

The lavish life appears differently for multifaceted Black women. I see some deciding to invest in their mental and physical health and others practicing a little self care with gold sea kelp face masks (totally made that up, but you get it :0). Below are a few that I seek inspiration from a few times a week. (INSPIRATION not VALIDATION - there’s a difference)

The purpose of this blog is to share what I've been seeing and how I feel about it. I would love to explore so much more, like the history that has created this narrative for Black women and why it bothers folks so much. Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments or in the forums.

I believe these discussions are necessary, because luxury was never meant to be accessible for Black women. But, like so many other things in America we are the inspiration for and purveyors of luxury globally so let's talk about it.

- Shaquita ✨ (@simply__shaquita)

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