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What are you “bougie” about?

From Instagram to TikTok, pictures and videos of Black people, especially Black women, flying on jets, embarking on solo trips, enjoying nature and Sunday brunches with friends have become part of my vision board as I try to imagine a life of joy for myself in way that I haven’t before.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a viral tweet by Brooklyn musical artist, producer and GROWN magazine founder Kaya Nova that challenged Black women to spoil themselves because we are used to making feasts out of breadcrumbs. Black women build nonprofits and businesses despite lack of capital. We’re dodging microaggressions in our workspaces and spending our emotional energy advocating for ourselves in multiple relationships. And if it needs to be repeated, Black women turned the tides of last year’s presidential election.

It’s been time to pour some bubbly and toast to us, sis. 🥂

This isn’t to dismiss the tribulations of the rest of the Black community, nor do you have to invest in that rich Black auntie lifestyle. You can be bougie about books, food and staycations.

While this issue of Black Joy centers on those who are adding more Black magic to the luxury brand business, this is also a call for you to indulge in the moments and things that nourish your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Make sure to forward this email to a friend who needs a reminder to find a little luxury in their lives.

-Starr

Protecting Black creativity

Audriana Osborne

Imagine being hand-picked by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter to diversify the jewelry industry.

That’s the reality of 24-year-old Montgomery, Ala.-native Audriana Osborne, who received a more than $20,000 scholarship to study at the California-based nonprofit Gemological Institute of America (GIA) courtesy of the queen of the Bey Hive and jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz. The Beyoncé Knowles-Carter x Lorraine Schwartz GIA Scholarship takes care of all tuition and expenses so that Osborne and two other Black creatives can focus on pursing GIA’s Graduate Gemologist diploma through distance education.

Osborne plans to take what she learns at GIA and merge it with her law degree to create an innovate, social justice-focused career where she protects the intellectual property of Black creatives. In other words, she wants to make sure to that what was created by Black minds stays in Black hands.

“I think just growing up in a in a town that really has so much history and creativity, we’ve seen how we create and we innovate,” she said. “We’ve seen time and time again how that innovation is taken advantage of. I wanted to be a part of the change of cultivating and protecting that creativity by not just contributing to the creative side but protecting the creativity and thus protecting the legacy.”

Meet Audriana:

This opportunity shoved Osborne into the spotlight, but she has built an impressive resume for herself already:

  • The GIA diploma will be Osborne’s third degree. She already has two other degrees from historically Black institutions. The daughter of HBCU grads studied the music industry at Florida A&M University and learned to advocate for fashion designers of color at Howard School of Law.
  • In May 2020, she became one of the youngest graduates in Howard School of Law’s class of 2020 at 23 years old.
  • She now splits her life between Montgomery and Washington, D.C. as she works for The Cochran Firm, one of the country’s leading law companies.
  • Osborne hopes her legacy mirrors the spirits of her great grandmother and her god mothers.

“There’s been so many incredible and strong Black women in my family,” Osborne said. “I think the greatest heirloom I got from each of them would be their spirit, their tenacity, their generosity and their faith. I think those are the greatest gems I could get from them – how they lived integral lives and how they gave back and how they followed God’s will for their life and really, really impacted everyone they encountered.”

You can read more about Osborne on our website.

Follow the melanin magic

Hogoè Kpessou

Need a little inspiration as you plan out your life of luxury? Here is some ideas follow:

Books on Nails:  Ko Bragg, a writer and editor based in New Orleans, takes the nail art game to a whole new level with her new Instagram by combining her love of manicures with her love of reading. Two things you can expect from this Instagram: A) That Ko’s nail beds will be just as beautiful as the literature she admires. And B) A thorough book review of some of her favorite reads.

Hogoè Kpessou: After moving to Jacksonville, Fla. from Togo West Africa when she was six, Hogoè Kpessou was relentlessly bullied because of her name. Now, the 22-year-old has started using her name to build an empire for herself and her family. She’s trying to break through the luxury brand industry by designing and selling bee-themed bookbags and purses. In the past six months alone, she has sold about $8,000 worth in merchandise and gained a strong Instagram following of more than 120,000 people.

Estelle Colored Glass: South Carolina entrepreneur Stephanie Hall started this colorful brand of luxury glassware in honor of her grandmother Estelle, who was a skilled cook and entertainer. Hall told Southern Living that she remembers going on weekly antiquing trips with her “Big Mama” in Charleston. When Hall couldn’t find glassware that reminder her of her grandmother, Hall decided to the research herself and launched her brand in October 2019.

Sergio Hudson: Remember when Michelle Obama stole the show with her burgundy and plum outfit during President Joe Biden’s Inauguration. That was birthed from the mind of Sergio Hudson, a South Carolina native who now lives in Los Angeles. He’s been making sure celebrities like are dressed to the nines with his stylish masterpieces.

Stay luxurious and keep spreading your own Black Joy!

Until next time! ✨