RIP Aaliyah! We Remember Aaliyah on the 15th Anniversary of Her Death.

Hey Lovlies!

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the great Aaliyah making her transition. That was a particularly problematic couple of weeks, with this happening not too long before the tragic attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

I remember August 25, 2001 like it was yesterday….I was preparing for my last year in grade school that would take place on August 26. I woke up that morning to MTV (because that was usually what I left my television on the night before. I was a teenager, after all), and the MTVNews special announced that Aaliyah, along with six members of her crew, perished in a horrific plane crash. I. Was. DONE FOR.

aaliyah

She was so incredibly beautiful.

Like, we lost Left Eye of the group TLC four months prior and now we had to say goodbye to Aaliyah, of all people?! My little 17 year-old brain could not compute. I loved and envied her style, her hair, her voice. She was my idol. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that she was to expand her personal brand, moving into designing clothes and being casted in larger, better roles. She was to be in The Matrix sequels; she won the lead role of Honey in Honey; she and best friend Kidada Jones were in the beginnings of creating a clothes label geared towards teenagers.

15 years later, my brain still tries to cope with the loss. She would’ve been such a great performer and global force to reckon with. Yes, we have the wonderful Beyonce and the very talented Rihanna (who, for the record, I am a HUGE fan of). But Aaliyah would still be the greatest. I’m convinced. And for that, Baby Girl, I hope you continue to Sleep in Peace.

Rashad Rawkus created this awesome mix of some of Aaliyah’s greatest hits (which I was personally hurt when I realized this morning that major streaming services does NOT have most or any of Aaliyah’s albums). Please swoop your hair over your face, break out your best Tommy Hilfiger ‘fit, and enjoy this great mix!

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Black Girl Magic… It’s Lit

If you know me, you know I’m an avid sports watcher. The only two sports you probably wouldn’t see me watch and be enthused about is golf and basketball. Golf is because I think it’s overly boring. Basketball is because I think the players are crybabies.

But that’s neither here nor there.

I have been watching the Olympics as long as I can remember, and was even supposed to go to Rio de Janerio for the 2016 Olympics for at least a week to be a live spectator. Of course that didn’t happen, because zika. And also: money.

So, alas, I’m stuck watching and live streaming the games from home. I first began live streaming at work this past Tuesday with the finals of the Women’s team gymnastics. I couldn’t wait until NBC Olympic Primetime to see this dynamic group show what they’re made of and I was glad I didn’t wait. They first blew away the competition in the qualifiers two days prior but absolutely killed the game in the finals, taking the gold and leaving the other teams to snack on their dust.

Final Five

The Final Five. Picture taken from NBCOlympics.com.

Y’all? Y’all. This team won by a margin of a little over eight points. That is like a football team winning a game by a margin of six touchdowns. CRAZY. And what makes it even better is how absolutely diverse this team is. I mean, this team was anchored by gymnastics great Simone Biles, who is probably the greatest gymnast to ever walk this earth.

As if Black girls everywhere couldn’t feel any better about themselves, having two black girls just make history for US gymnastics, on Thursday night our awesomeness stretched to both the Olympic pool and back to the Gymnastics center.

At 3 pm EDT the top 24 gymnasts in the world competed for the chance to call themselves Olympic All-Around champion. Led by Biles, the two-hour long program consisted of  sit-on-the-edge-of-your-chair and pearl-clutching moments. As the very last gymnast to complete the all-around, Biles took her time and blew the competition away with her floor routine, finishing more than two points in front of second place.

THAT’S ASTOUNDING.

To really put that in perspective, Biles finished with a larger lead than all the Olympic All-Around champs from 1980-2012 COMBINED. That’s just super human.

Biles

Girl. Yes. YES. Picture by: The Chicago Tribune.

After that display of sheer dominance in a sport where, just four years ago, was lilly white, you would think there would be no way things could get any better for black women in these Olympics.

Wrong.

In comes underdog Simone Manuel, who wasn’t even on anyone’s radar to medal, let alone swim the fastest time, take home a gold medal in the 100m freestyle event AND still be humble about the entire experience. Talking to Michelle Tafoya a few minutes after tying with Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal, Manuel had this to say:

“I hope that I can be an inspiration to others, so this medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.”

Manuel1

Yes, girl. You did that! Picture via: The Chicago Tribune.

I was tearing up as Manuel was tearing up, because this is such a pivotal moment in the sport of swimming. I know that race shouldn’t matter all the time, but as a black woman living in a time where we are most definitely not safe, this is a beautiful sight. As many black people on Twitter pointed out, just this time last year a bunch of kids were beat up and manhandled by police officers for partying at a community pool because concerned white neighbors believed these kids had broken into their community when they were actually invited to a pool party.

Even though these two beautiful, black ladies worked hard for their respective titles, and probably never thought that they would become a symbol for black women in America, they certainly have. These two have left black woman stereotypes standing on it’s head. The Simones have shown America how fierce we black women can be with a little determination, a lot of confidence and tons of support. We are unstoppable. We are magical.

It’s so lit.

Under Construction

Hey lovely people!

I know it’s been forever since I added anything here but I’m just informing everyone that I will be back soon to update, engage and gossip about the happenings in the world. I will also (hopefully) be starting a podcast soon and you will be able to catch all the episodes right here every week! So bear with me while I get my act together to bring you more good info!

 

-Kyla Larke