crowns, camer(a)s, cotillions- oh my!

Somehow, last week, I managed to completely miss President Obama's final State of the Union address. What I did not miss on my social media timelines, however, were the mentions of how stunning the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) looked in her marigold dress, by designer Narciso Rodriguez. Once again, Michelle Obama effortlessly slayed the presidential game with style and poise, while supporting her husband, the POTUS during his final State of the Union address as U.S. President. 

 FLOTUS Michelle Obama, looking flawless at the 2016 State of the Union.

FLOTUS Michelle Obama, looking flawless at the 2016 State of the Union.

Now, while I luuuuv me some Michelle Obama and applaud the various positive initiatives that she's launched over the past half-decade, this post is actually about recognizing the positive moves being made by women - specifically, women of colour... right here in my own backyard:)

As I mentioned last week in my "2 yrs loc'd" post, I recently had my locs re-tightened by my fave hair stylist. What I failed to mention is that in addition to being a wonderful hair stylist and indie salon owner, my loctician, Mz. Jacqui, is also heavily involved in a local annual project called The Afro-Caribbean Cotillion. If you've never heard of a 'cotillion', it is essentially a formal ball type of event, at which young women are presented into society (or into their communities). The Afro-Caribbean Cotillion is just that... with a twist.

It was created specifically with young women of African or Caribbean descent in mind. This cotillion is unique in that it fuses African and Caribbean values and traditions with modern day mentoring on issues such as: positive social interaction, showing respect to others and increased self-confidence for young women of colour. Hearing my loctician speak of her involvement in such a positive event always puts a smile on my face- especially when we live in a time and space where young girls of colour can often be portrayed in a less than flattering light... or in a "less than" light, period. I am actually excited for my niece to be at an age where she can participate in this type of cotillion, if she so chooses. So, shout out to Mz. Jacqui and to all the lovely women who are serving as mentors and organizers of the Afro-Caribbean Cotillion! Your work is so appreciated and soooo very necessary.

This past weekend, I also had the pleasure of getting to know another young woman of colour named Bri, who started her own photography business about five years ago, and who now works out of her own studio. While scrolling through my social media a few months back, I happened upon an event that she was advertising though Facebook. The event was called "Naturally YOU: the project". Of course, being a self-professed naturalista, the event immediately caught my attention. Invited, was any woman who was open to being photographed in their natural state (i.e. bare-faced/no makeup, no fancy clothes, no overdone hair). So, I signed up and attended the shoot this past weekend.

The experience was informal, comfortable and fun! The photo session itself was super quick and easy thanks to Bri's trained eye; and her studio was a warm and inviting environment. After my photos were taken, I stuck around to learn more about Bri and a few other women who had come through to participate in the project. I learned that in addition to being a photographer and mother of seven (yes - you read that right: SEVEN!), Bri is also the founder and main organizer of an annual local event called Blush.

This sponsored annual event is designed to create an evening of pampering, hair, makeup, nail/hand massages, dancing, and swag bags for ladies of all walks of life, in celebration of women and International Women’s Day. The inaugural event was launched in 2013, with an attendance of about 130 ladies. Just two short years later, attendance at Blush 2015 skyrocketed and basically tripled! Way to go Mz. Bri! You are literally doing the most... in the best way possible. Keep shining!

It's really dope to become aware of all the positive power moves women of colour are making in my own city. And when possible, I plan to support them or at the very least highlight them here on my blog, as I'm sure there are others out there like me, who are always in search of inspiration and motivation to make positive moves. 

... Whatever you do, ladies - never leave home without your crown. Never.

 Photo found on

Photo found on

Slay on, slayers...


Shaolin Says.

To learn more about the Afro-Caribbean Cotillion, visit: OR

To see more of Bri's photography work, visit:

For more on Blush 2016, visit:

Shaolin "J" Style


Creative writer. Professional ranter. Canadian-born. Caribbean blood. Probably the worst introvert you'll ever meet.