J Feature: Making the Cut for Refinery29’s Hottest Coachella Hairstyles

Not gonna lie, getting back into the swing of things after my trip to the desert has been ROUGH, but nothing can take away my post-Coachella high. It was only made sweeter by an unexpected surprise, my friend spotted my feature in Refinery29’s “Hottest Natural Hairstyles at Coachella” article!

 

 

Check it out below! More on Coachella to come!

 

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J Profile: This Fashion Entrepreneur Was Born to Stand Out – See How She’s Helping Others Do the Same

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Photo by Lindsey Epps-Tucker for UrBoi Photography.

Knowing who you are and being able to embrace individuality is such an important part of life. – Sara A. Crawford-Jones

 From an early age, Sara A. Crawford-Jones had to do just that while growing up with albinism, a genetic disorder that results in a lack of pigment, and a slight visual impairment. Crawford said it “wasn’t very easy” interacting with other kids who did not understand her unique features, but these days she is happy to stand out.

“I feel as though that confidence has allowed me to achieve all of the things I have done within the fashion industry, Crawford-Jones says.”

Crawford-Jones has taken a passion for fashion that was sparked as a pre-teen all the way to the big leagues, having worked with household names such as Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Express, and JoS. A. Bank.

“I loved learning every aspect of the retail and fashion industry from creative director, to production assistant; every encounter from unsatisfied customers, to buying the trending items for the season.”

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Sara as a child with her father. Photo Credit: Sara A. Crawford-Jones

Though she graciously credits those experiences with providing the foundation she needed, she always had an end goal in mind – pursuing her independence as a fashion designer, consultant, and author. “I was born to be a creative entrepreneur. I was challenged with giving all my energy and creative juices to another brand when I truly thought it belonged to my own.”

Within embracing her purpose and being, Crawford-Jones has created a brand that helps other women, and men, do the same by taking pride in their features and figures, and then tailoring their styles accordingly. In the years since claiming her independence, Crawford-Jones began doing personal styling, created her own fashion line, Anara Original, and wrote a book entitled The Playbook to Essential Style, to help women and men explore and define their personal style.

“We all were created differently so why not define your style and explore what looks best on you.” – Sara A. Crawford-Jones

The Playbook to Essential Style provides many must-have tips and techniques for women, and men, including what key pieces you should have in your closet and why, how to create the best foundation so that your garments will fit your body properly, and how to begin to identify your signature style.

A few tips Crawford-Jones says every women should know:

  1. Your essential staple pieces are important – these pieces are the foundation of your wardrobe and offer immense versatility.
  2. Staying fashion forward doesn’t always mean wearing every trend that surfaces. Perhaps, sprinkling in a few accents of a trend and intertwining it in with your personal style will do the trick.
  3. Fashion isn’t just about following a bunch a rules, it should be fun! Explore many styles and combination of styles to identify which is best for you.
Looking to keep up with Sara’s latest projects, or meet her on tour? Visit her website saracjones.com for more information, or follow her at @AnaraOriginal.

 

J Event: Made In America Festival 2014 | Philadelphia

J Event: Made In America Festival 2014 | Philadelphia

Made In America Philly

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again.

Not only does tomorrow mark 8 days until my birthday, it’s also my second year attending MIA in Philly!

I’m traveling down tomorrow morning for a girls’ trip with my best friend to check out the festivities. I will definitely update this post post-festival with all my thoughts on Saturday’s festivities. Can’t lie, I only feel skeptic about the lineup (which I will explain in full later), but I am trying to keep an open mind.

 

UPDATE:

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I had a great time in Philly, but it was exactly what I expected. Let me explain–

We hit minimal traffic getting down to Philly and the first stop was Mad 4 (Mex) on Penn’s campus for one of my favorite meals — margaritas, crispy wings, and waffle fries; highly recommended. We got to the festival a bit late (due to metered parking), so we ended up missing DJ Cassidy, but arrived just in time from Chromeo, on.

Last year, what I loved about the festival was the near-perfect curation which was enhanced by the good vibes of festival-goers. The festival featured action-packed performances from every genre and there were enough mainstream artists to cater to the very diverse crowd. Every 10 feet, I ran into people from all facets of my life — my hometown, college friends, even my coworkers.

This year, I found that my fun came mostly from the silly moments my best friend and I had interacting with the strangers we met throughout the day.

I consider myself a generalist when it comes to music — I like a little bit of everything with strong ties to R&B and pop — but I only knew two people on the bill for the day (J. Cole and Kanye); that didn’t have to be a bad thing, but I ended up being unimpressed with the other acts I saw.

One pleasant surprise was Chromeo. Though I don’t remember not one song, the duo had everyone grooving. (At one point my best friend and I ballroom danced with people we’d met 2 minutes before.)

J. Cole brought a lot of energy to his set and I loved the live band, but I was ready to kick things into high gear and his material just isn’t made for a festival-like turn up, no matter how much he tried. 2 Chainz on the other hand… I digress.

Now ‘Ye I may have slept on. We were so exhausted by the end of the night (grannies) that we chose to stay on the periphery of the crowd and therefore I don’t think we got the full experience. We were off-put by his set-list, which was mostly material from the new album (-__-) for the first 30-40 minutes.

Nonetheless, I haven’t seen Kanye perform by himself since his first album (?) so I’m glad I was able to hear my first Kanye rant.

“What we do culturally is not a joke.” – Kanye West

(I saved that in my phone.)

This year I only saw, at most, 2 people that I knew; despite being in a city with a 40+% black population, the crowd wasn’t diverse at all.

Selfish of me, but my bottom line is this — MIA planning committee, stick to one city and invest your resources in getting one bomb, diverse lineup. It also wouldn’t hurt to have 1+ female artists… like, really.

Two funny moments–

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1. I met June Ambrose! I had just saw her tweet about the festival when my best friend spotted her milling  around the ground level of the VIP section. After fangirling for 10 minutes, my friend finally made her way over to ask for a picture and June was more than willing. As I was taking the picture, her daughter ran up for the ill photobomb. June was definitely on #rockmom duty!

2.We were watching a performance, when my best friend said to me, “that girl looks exactly like Elle Varner, but it’s not her.” Just as I turned around the girl turned her back to me, so we kept trying to discreetly angle ourselves to see her face. She started to walk away (at a brisk pace), so we ended up tailing her like creepers. Eventually, we gave up because my best friend was convinced it wasn’t her. Turns out, it was her, ha!

More pics below:

 

 

Read my tips after attending MIA last year here.

J Thoughts: A Look at Angela Simmon’s Failed Kickstarter Campaign

J Thoughts: A Look at Angela Simmon’s Failed Kickstarter Campaign

Last month, Angela Simmons turned to Kickstarter to raise $25,000 to fund AngelaIAM TV, a visual platform for fashion, music, art, and entertainment.

As a creative, I truly believe in Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms, that make it possible for the average Joe to bring a brilliant idea to life. I am very, very selective in how I spend my money (largely because as a recent college grad I don’t have any), but when I see a project I truly believe in, I can’t help but support.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. Like everything else, I hate that these platforms have attracted more than a few projects that have caused me to raise an eyebrow (most notably Spike Lee’s “Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” campaign).

On one hand, it seems like a no-brainer for celebs and prominent artists to turn to crowdfunding — seemingly, they have the soapbox and fan base to do a little promotion and easily get their projects funding. On the other hand, it feels as if they are intruding on a space not meant for established figures, but for those without access to big-name sponsors and prominent backers.

Although AngelaIAM TV is meant to promote aspiring international artists, which I appreciate, it was unclear how the whopping $25,000 would be used to drastically improve upon the videos she had already begun to create, and why she couldn’t use her resources and contacts to fund it herself. There were many others who felt the same; her comments on Instagram where spattered with negative reactions.

Despite my skepticism I never doubted it would raise the necessary funds, especially with the success of several other celebrity-endorsed projects.

Although Angela heavily promoted the campaign on Instagram, which is connected to her Twitter, both with over  1 million followers, had promotional videos, featured rewards, and a press release sent out to media outlets, she only received 11% of her goal — $2,766 of $25,000.

Kickstarter | The Road To AngelaIam TV

What went wrong?

Emmanuel Mensah, the producer of AngelaIAM TV, addressed the pitfalls of the campaign in an interview with Soo Detroit:

When we first launched our Kickstarter we got a lot of backlash for it. What people don’t know is that we’ve been funding AngelaIAM TV on our own long before we launched the Kickstarter. This is something we’ve been funding but we’re trying to take it on a wider scale and what better way to try to take it on a wider scale than to have people that want to see something like this happen, help us do it. This is all about the people, but it has been hard and difficult because people automatically assume: ‘Why is a celebrity asking for money?’ That’s not the case at all. We want it to be about the people and not have one investor be responsible. We want the people to be responsible as a unit for making something like this happen. (soodetroit.com)

Did the proverbial “people” take a stand? Was the project description not strong enough to gain support? Is it possible she didn’t have enough promotion?

It makes an interesting case study.