Last July was one of the most amazing times in my life. I went on a “real” vacation for the first time in eight years and got to work an event where the first woman to be elected the democratic nominee for president happened. I was chosen by Diane Stevens, a fabulous hair stylist and salon owner of Cole Stevens salon and my great friend and amazing makeup artist Lola Okanlawon aka @lolasbeautymark to be apart of the official Democratic National Convention glam squad. The experience was life changing to say the least. When I arrived I had no clue what to expect, the first day I met the rest of the squad, and received three security badges giving me the freedom to move around the Wells Fargo center and go wherever I wanted which was a huge deal.
Everybody who had anything to do with politics and the democratic party was there. Bloggers, celebrities, senators, state representatives, congressman and women, mayors, athletes, former presidents, the current president, rappers, comedians, you name it, they were there! As far as the glam squad was concerned, I was one of two black female makeup artists, and several of the black women who came backstage to be glammed up were shocked as hell to see two black bald girls dressed in all black ready to slay them(I could not resist) with our skills. It was obvious that having black artists or hair stylists at these type of events was not the norm, and my counter part and I observed that fast. It wasn’t my first time filling the “only black girl” role, so I did what I always do, and I kept it moving.
The first day I provided my artistry skills for a very diverse crowd of men and women. When asked who they were, or what they did, they all had some amazing stories, and were extremely passionate about the work that they were doing. I guess they had to have been, because these people had been invited to stand and speak at a convention in front of thousands of people and potentially the first female president. Later on in the afternoon, a group of black women, noticeably all aquaintences came back and sat in myself and Lola’s (the other black girls) chair. They seemed to be just as excited to see us as we were to see them, and from that day on, we became their personal glam squad. They were mayors, news correspondents, state representatives, congress women, senators, etc… Besides those titles, they were smart, funny as hell, very candid, and intimidating to those who needed to be intimidated. The were also well educated, and focused on one main goal which was to handle their roles within the democratic party and convention, and get things done.
These women in the four days that I had the pleasure and honor of doing their makeup worked around the clock doing television interviews in what seemed to be every news station in Philly, preparing speeches, delivering those same speeches, cleaning up Wikileaks spills, and strategizing all while dismissing ignorance and racism when those things came in to play.
My makeup chair allowed me to witness a group of women who looked like me, sounded like me, and shared my same tastes in music and humor take on the world like a bunch of female warriors fearlessly chopping down barriers with amazing wardrobes, hair, and makeup. They were humble and kind and even with their hectic schedules, took the time to get to know me and my story, and share a little of theirs. Given the challenges that I know this group of women faced as individuals and as a group based on the color of their skin and of course their gender, they gave me a reason to strongly consider voting for Hillary, not necessarily because “I’m with her” but more so because I see a lot of myself in them.
So to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, current mayor of Baltimore, MD, Donna Brazile, political analyst and interim chair at the 2016 DNC, Marcia Fudge, State Representative for Ohio, and Karen Carter Peterson, senator from Louisiana, and countless other black women working extremely hard behind the scenes I thank you all!!