So I went shopping in my closet the other day and found some gems - some classic pieces that turned into a whole fit!
TANK - This is the only piece of the puzzle that is brand new. A classic white tank from UNIQLO. I snatched this and two other little must-haves from the store at the Beverly Center last week. GAH! Love that place.
SKIRT - So one of my besties had to part ways with this bebe black faux leather mini. It had served her well but the curves she's gained (in all the right places, mind you) turned into a friendship perk in my favor. I did have to squeeze a little to zip it all the way but we did. Oh yes, we did.
JACKET - This emerald green scene stealer found me! I was looking for a very specific color dress at a consignment shop in Studio City a couple years back, and this jewel fit too well not to take as well. The brand is irrelevant. The cut is the story!
NECKLACE - Last summer my soon-to-be-fiance and I traveled by train from Rome to Florence, Italy (!!) I stumbled on this cool shop with tees, handmade jewelry, books, scarves, tanks. Think Anthropology meets Melody Ehsani. I found a few gifts for family and picked up this necklace that constantly gives me an excuse to tell where it came from.
RIGHT RING - I wore this ring on my first carpet. The Footloose premiere here in LA. Easily top 3 moments of my life! It was a gift from a friend who bought it from a mutual friend who was selling all kinds of beautiful crystal jewelry. Gotta love the friendship perks!
LEFT RING - This OM ring was one of ten that took forever to arrive from an online purchase... It's the only one that didn't end up in the trash 10 minutes after opening the package... The internet can suck sometimes. Don't get had.
SHADES - I freaking LOVE these! I wear them practically every day here in the Golden State. They're KOMONO shades that were gifted during a day party celebrating a friend's birthday at the LINE Hotel last summer in K-Town. Major come up.
SHOES - Classic black suede stiletto platforms. I'm pushing it with these... but these were my first 6" stilettos and I just can't let them go! I snatched these up maybe 5 years ago from ALDO. I'm just going to keep telling myself they're classic because I don't plan to stop wearing them any time soon.
MORAL OF THE STORY - Seek classic pieces and make stylish friends! I love this look. Do you?
I didn't think I cared about the Royal Wedding...
I am a bit like Prince Harry... an iconoclast. I have never been obsessed with the monarch, nor terribly impressed with their grand gestures of opulence and influence. Why should I have been? I am an American. An African American. A woman who knows her history. The history of colonialism, imperialism, neocolonialism, and the slave trade... propagated on the content of my ancestry, in large part by the generations upon generations of the royal family over there in Buckingham Palace. Like most of us, I have felt justifiably detached and instinctually unmotivated to join the bandwagon of wde-eyed dreamers looking up at the castle. The headlines were sufficient. The Netflix show, The Crown, offered a new interest. But again, I am compelled by my DNA to give no more than polite acknowledgment of the main events and keep it moving.
When the news of Prince Harry dating the bi-racial American actress Meghan Markle began rolling in, however, my polite acknowledgment was accompanied by a raise of the eyebrows and one of those cocked head nods. Oh okay, Prince Harry. I see you. He suddenly seemed to be the realization and expansion of Princess Diana's global, humanistic perspective. He was breaking tradition in a bold and modern way, simply by courting Meghan. He defended her and his choice to be with her against the inevitable bigotry and vitriol that lines the underbelly of the west. I was becoming a fan.
I don't remember when I found out they were engaged. I don't recall ever knowing the date of the wedding until it was less than a week away. The Friday before the big event, I laughed as my hairdresser responded to a client under the dryer, "Why would I wake up at 4 a.m. to watch their wedding? They're not going to wake up to watch mine." I agreed. No extra effort would be made on my part either. I was certain I'd see the highlights the next day without even trying.
So before leaving to go bring some value to my community, I scrolled my Instagram, saw the dress, the reception dress, the tiara and the image of her pageboys and bridesmaids following her up the steps. I paused for a while on the image of her and her mom waving through the window on their way to the chapel. But all in all I was satisfied. The two of them looked radiant. I was happy for them both.
After teaching my drama workshops and absorbing all of the benefits of having been of service to the enthusiastic teens who attended, I found myself on the couch, deciding whether or not to press "Watch" under the picture of the glowing Megan and Harry on my streaming service. I had already received giddy texts form my aunt, grandmother and mother who had obviously watched. Why not. We'll have something to talk about.
3 1/2 hours later I am typing hearts and flowers on twitter for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex with stars in my eyes and a girlish grin.
It was Meghan, it was the Gospel Choir, it was Serena Williams and Oprah Winfrey, it was the cellist, Sheku Kanneh Mason. It was the passionate Bishop Curry quoting Dr. Martin Luther King that hooked me. And not just because they are American excellence, but let's just state the obvious. It was because they were black. And they were not bystanders, they were not wide-eyed dreamers. They were the story.
It was Doria Ragland. Gorgeous, proud, emotional mother of the bride, Doria. So familiar. She was my aunt, my mother, my professors from university, my mentors. She was me.
And let's just be real. The Royal Wedding was specular. I have a sense I am as feminist leaning as the Duchess herself, but what woman would deny such a grand affair for her day? None that I know personally. And as far as I am concerned, The Duchess of Sussex, like all women and especially all intersectional women, deserve to feel like a princess at least for a day.
Congratulations, Duke and Duchess! May your fairytale continue to bring the west ever closer to harmony.
Reclaiming My Time
T I M E
T I M E WASTED
T I M E MANAGEMENT
T I M E IS RUNNING OUT
T I M E IS FLYING
T I M E TO FINALLY FIGURE IT ALL OUT
T I M E AS A CONSTRUCT
T I M E IS ON MY SIDE
T I M E IS MY BITCH
T I M E WITHOUT BEGINNING
T I M E WITHOUT END
T I M E
Today is my mother's birthday. Naturally, our conversations in the previous days have been reflections on the passage of T I M E. She and I share similar feelings these days about birthdays coming and going and piling up as they do. So consequently one begins to ponder how exactly the years have been spent, how one has succeeded, failed, survived, thrived and well...wasted countless hours, years, and precious T I M E on fruitless pursuits. But my mother is a survivor! She is a hero, a heroine in the truest most literal definition of those words. She deserves every comfort, every joy; and if I am to be a testament to her indomitable strength, and master the T I M E that I have as Enisha in the pursuit my own version of distinguished success, than my mother will know more comfort and know more joy.
Last night heading from our rehearsal in Beverly Hills, a castmate of mine and I were ruminating about the nature of disagreements. She offered some sage wisdom: "If it's not going to matter in 5 years, why let it bother you for 5 minutes?" I'm pretty sure I have heard that one before but if so it's been years. She is right. It's a wonderful way to diffuse any situation and get back to the heart of the people involved. I put that one in my pocket for a rainy day. But I have to admit, I started thinking about the things that have mattered 5 years later. And how fast 5 years go by. And how much T I M E I have wasted in the past on attempting to hold on to a relationship that was eclipsing my priorities and clouding my judgment. I was thinking in that moment that I am also pretty damn proud that I have learned from old mistakes and have since had the wherewithal to acknowledge a bad thing coming. Ain't nobody got T I M E for wasted time. Not anymore.
On Saturday I made a new determination to wake up earlier. Listen, I am a morning person only when necessary. I typically have no problems waking or being alert and ready to face the day once I am vertical. But maaaannnnnn, I really love sleep. It's delicious. My skin loves it too. However, I am aware that I can accomplish more daytime things with more daylight hours. So, I have been greeting the day about 2 hours earlier than normal, feeding the 4-legged princess of the castle, saying my morning prayers, studying some literature for the sake of my own human revolution, and then getting the day poppin! Yes, I have reclaimed my T I M E!
In April, my grandmother turned 80. I am only allowed to write that because it's only now becoming obvious that she is a grandmother. That she is in fact aging. But the truth is, this woman is ageless, T I M E less! Effervescent and magnificent! Hysterical and glamorous at the same time. I call her by her first name, as do her children, this having been established as the only way to address her long before I came into the world. Trust me when I say, it is the best way to show her the respect that she commands. Man, I love that lady! Anyway, none of us discussed really age when it came to her before now because the number never made sense. It never matched. And frankly it didn't matter. She has managed to make T I M E her .... you know. And I like to think I've got just enough of her in me to be confident that I needn't worry about a thing. Afterall, T I M E might just be a construct of the matrix.
I hate the learning curve. I always want to just skip to the point of mastery and ride that thing out into the sunset.
I can't exactly pinpoint when this happened. But at some time after a long history of being the teacher's pet, the honor student, the perfect attendance, dean's list, magna cum laude awarded (and modest little twat) that I am... I stopped loving being a "learner" There's a concept in developmental psychology that explains that once we've hit a certain age and life benchmark we gather and store new information as "crystalized learning." Basically we're not little sponges anymore. We're just learning the necessary bits for the tasks at hand. Clever, relevant and everything that all of the people who used to cheat off of my work were trying to explain to the rest of us over-achievers: "None of this extra crap is going to matter when we get into the real world."
If you are an Industrial Architect you probably don't need to know the kingdom, order, family, or species of salt water vertebrae in the Mediterranean Sea for job security. You've got to be a whiz at mathematics and have a passion for design and city planning. Makes sense. You need to learn your skill, master your skill, and love the process.
Oh, the process.
So as an actor the P R O C E S S is a vast micro to macro web of "hurry-up and wait" and "be ready at all times" and "right place at the right time" intersecting at various shades of green from "greenroom" to "too green" to "greenlit" to "green screen." Basically a bazillion variables that are all just a means to do the thing that you love, tell stories.
And the only way to tell those stories is to put in the work. Learn your lines. Rehearse your beats. Discover the character. Find the truth. Practice it. Make mistakes. Fail forward. Loose your inhibitions. Learn, rehearse, discover, find, practice and repeat until you reach that euphoric moment of truth which allows you to throw it all away and just be. (*Pauses for the moment.)
Every new side, scene, job, level has its own curve and it's maddening being at the bottom of that dip when you thought you had it but realize you don't and mastery seems like a hopeless dream. Ugh. I HATE IT!!! Where is my sunset?!
Anyway... just a little "discouragingly realist" pep-talk from me and the learning curve.
Basic or Bad
A few months ago I watched the new episode of an acquaintance's YouTube show. The whole premise of the show is super cute. They are a group of LA chic ladies making waves in their respective fields and using YouTube to discuss topics that their subscribers care about: mainly fashion and relationships. And about 2/3 through this particular episode one of the hosts was recounting her aggravation with a guy she'd been dating who expressed that he preferred girls who wore less make-up only to find out that he was courting other women who were always "beat" (that is to say, highly made up). Classic F-boy behavior! We’ll save commentary on that for another post... (See: Relationship Herstory)
So, she turns to one of her co-hosts and in a throw-away says,
"He got me out here looking like a 'Basic'".
Her co-host laughed with a shake of the head. Pfft. He got the wrong one! Do I look like a basic? Boy Bye.... (non-verbals)
And I've been mulling over this concept of what makes a Basic B!+&% ... "Basic", ever since. Is it not having your face beat to the gods every time you leave the house? Is it not getting your hair laidT into a brand new style every two weeks? Is it not snapping a photo for the gram wearing all Fendi cause all the celebrities did it plus or minus one day of Nicki Minaj's new single Chun-Li? Is it not knowing who CardiB was before Bodak Yellow cause you don't have time for reality tv?
If those are accurate assessments than I am GOOD with being a "Basic"! Don't get my wrong. I have a strong appreciation for fine living. Looking good, eating good, feeling good are qualities of life I enjoy now and look forward to enjoying into the future. But my career and life goal inspirations don't fit that picture above.
Social media has us idolizing "Bad B!+&%s" and selling wolf-tickets for followers. I don't stand in judgment, and I am not mad at anyone for figuring out how to make the money moves that work for them. But I don't think Kerry Washington, Evita Robinson, Ava Duvernay, Stephanie Allain, Mara Brock Akil, Yara Shahidi, or Lena Waithe worry about whether anyone thinks they are Basic or Bad. They are influencers without the gram. They always look good because they reflect beauty in their words and deeds. They have longevity because they have built a foundation based on sustainable qualities. And the designers come to them, hunTee!
No one would ever call these powerhouses basic. And I would wager they didn't concern themselves with trying to be anything other than authentic. That's my kind of a "Bad Bitch"
How do you define a Bad Bitch?
enisha b jane
In my own words.