Sweet Blackberry

I first heard about Sweet Blackberry on Another Round (my favorite podcast), they were interviewing Karyn Parsons (you may know her as Hilary Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air). Karyn was speaking about her passion project, Sweet Blackberry; as a new mom she noticed there as a deficit in children's books that featured characters of color. It's something I noticed too; when I was growing up the only book where I saw myself reflected was Addy Walker, the slave girl from the American Girl series (I highly recommend this article from Brit Bennett, she explains why Addy is so problematic). And while it's important to instill that sense of history in our children, it's a pretty heavy topic for any child.

Where is the black version of Amelia Bedilia? How about an all black Baby Sitters Club? It doesn't exist. 

Sweet Blackberry's mission is "to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere." and boy, do they. As an adult, I'm ashamed to admit my first time learning about Henry "Box" Brown was via Karyn on Another Round. Sweet Blackberry has animated features on Netflix too! 

So, what are you waiting for? They have a kickstarter campaign to help bring The Bessie Coleman Story (the first African-American pilot) to life. You can donate as little as $5, every pledge helps!

Artist Spotlight: Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is an artist who began drawing at age 3. A lot has changed since then but his passion for creating art remains intact. Recently, I saw this stunning cover of The New Yorker and fell in love. 
Inspired by Norman Rockwell Kadir's paintings are full of heart and soul. However, his most recognizable piece may be the cover art for Drakes album "Nothing was the Same" . 
He has worked with Coca-Cola, Sports Illustrated, Dreamworks and more.

See Nelson's gallery here: Kadir Nelson or purchase a painting here:

The Black ABCs

Thanks to amazing blogger extraordinaire, LaTonya Yvette for posting this card on her instagram. It lead me down a joyful rabbit hole. "The Black ABCs." was published in 1970 by the Society for Visual Education in Chicago, Illinois. They were originally produced as oversized school posters and flash cards, the cards contained this quote on the back: "The pictures are of people and situations particularly relevant to many city children and thus can make the reading readiness program in city schools more meaningful."

Melissa Stewart is an Austin, Texas based artist and educator who has an adorable Etsy shop called Meow Kapow which specializes in retro wares. It took Melissa five years to collect a set of all 26 the original posters, and an additional five years to restore them using Photoshop.

You can purchase the full set here (I did!): Meow Kapow Vintage Alphabet

Artist Spotlight: Alanna Airitam

I had the pleasure of working with San Diego artist Alanna Airitam on her "Being Heard" series; a thoughtful look at the diverse lives of woman who often find themselves stressed, anxious, and unheard in todays society.

Her latest series is called The Golden Age; drenched in opulence, royalty, and inspired by masters like Botticelli, her rich textures and romanticized subjects are exquisite. What makes Alanna's homage different is the bodies she chose to adorn. She features black bodies, of all shapes, ages and sizes. The Renaissance after all, wasn't exactly known for it's diversity. Alanna's series is a love letter to Harlem, a plea to save it's great landmarks from gentrification.

Bravo lady, I am so so proud of you! 

Artist Spotlight: Brittsense

Through photography Brittsense hopes to "bring back the trust, communication and most importantly unconditional love that is lacking within Melanated Communities all over the world." 

Her photography places a magnifying lens over the parts of the United States that is often ignored, or misinterpreted. Where there is struggle, there is also love. Her images immediately threw me back in to my childhood. This photo series is very important.

See more of her work here: Brittsense

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible." - Maya Angelou 

Awkward Black Girl, in an Awkward Black Store

I am fully obsessed with the Awkward Black Store collaboration with Kashmir Thompson; a 26 year old talented artist who I've been fangirling over for a while now. It makes me so SO proud to see that she has joined forces with Issa to create the above Maxine 50/50 tee, I mean, it is TOO perfect. 
If you don't know who Issa is, it's too late. Your pussy is definitely broken.
See more of Kashmir's brilliant and bright designs: SHOP

Liv & Dom do NUDES

Liv & Dom are adorable UK-based twins who create bright, kitsch homewares. Their strange (in a good way) ceramics are intended to be incense holders and magnets, but they are conversation starters and deserve to be featured in your abode. 

Shop all their pieces here: Liv & Dom do Etsy + Live & Dom do Tictail

Artist Spotlight: Janelle Draws

Janelle is a Toronto based NINETEEN year old student (let that sink in), and although she may be young her illustrations are extraordinary. See more of her work on tumblr or support her art via Society6.

Who's Bewbs?

Group Parner's boob pots are delightful. You've likely seen these ceramic pieces on Instagram or gracing Nylon. Issac Nichols is a Brooklyn based artist who creates whimsical nude planters. Sure, he makes pots that are SFW, like these adorable geometric faces but where's the fun in that. 

Calm your tits, he also pays homage to the male member as well.

Issac, I love your irreverent take on the body, keep up the great work! 

Artist Alert: Chad Sell

Chad Sell is a Chicago-based illustrator who creates these fantastic depictions of queens from RuPauls Drag Race. If you don't know what Drag Race is, dig yourself outta that hole baby girl. RuPaul's Emmy winning show is currently on its 9th season and airs Fridays on VH1.

Anyways, back to Chad. He creates these vibrant glorious pieces of art paying homage to current and past contestants. Drag is an art form and Chad honors its colorful creativity and reflects each queens personality in his prints. 

You can view more of chads work on his website, although I highly encourage you to purchase one of his prints from his Etsy shop