Black History Month: In vogue without ‘vogue’

Beauty blogger Maeling Murphy.

When former Miami New Times editor Patrice Yursik launched her blog, Afrobella, in 2006, her only expectation was that it would serve as a vehicle for self-discovery.

As an African-American woman, she was frustrated that she couldn’t find beauty resources in mainstream media that could give her informed opinions on the kinds of products that worked on natural hair or which brands of foundation flattered darker skin tones.

Before long, Yursik found herself an integral member of a fast-growing community of black women taking their experiences online when Vogue, Glamour and other editorial staples of American beauty and fashion failed them. Ten years and more than 70,000 subscribers later, the rest is history.

“Over time, it evolved from a whimsical passion project into something that wasn’t available for me in the marketplace,” Yursik says. “I created the magazine that I couldn’t find on shelves.”

Maeling Murphy, a materials scientist with an engineering Ph.D. from Georgia Tech, founded her blog, Natural Chica, for many of the same reasons. Launching her site in 2008 as a “hair diary” to chronicle her transition from relaxed to natural hair, Murphy wanted to build a resource for the natural hair community that wasn’t readily available in print.

Yursik and Murphy are not alone. Over the past 10 years, hundreds, if not thousands, of African-American women of all hair textures, skin tones, body types and backgrounds have turned blogging and social media into vessels for sharing their diverse beauty and fashion experiences.

According to Tanisha Ford, author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul and a professor of black American studies and history at the University of Delaware, bloggers are part of a centuries-long tradition of black women using media to create spaces for conversations about beauty that does not adhere to the blonde, white and blue-eyed variety.

Source by usatoday….