The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?

The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?
Image: Steven Meisel for British Vogue

After a year of ongoing lockdowns and traumatic racial reckonings, many of us have wondered: When will joy be back on the menu? Now that spring is officially upon us (and the promise of vaccinations, as well) some of us are seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel—and accepting that the world we are reentering is forever changed (for better or worse).

For British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, the April 2021 issue presented an opportunity “to the intoxicating and audacious power of joy,” as he says in the April Editor’s Letter, adding: “Bold colors, exaggerated lines, exuberant smiles, sparkling eyes, glorious skin, celebration and confidence were all in order.”

All the above are embodied in April’s quartet of cover stars (pictured above) models Janaye Furman, Precious Lee, Achenrin Madit and Mona Tougaard. “It goes without saying that they all understood that when it came to projecting positivity, Black joy—in the wake of so much recent reckoning—would hold particular significance,” writes Enninful. “I love how each of these women ran with the theme and embodied the mood of the moment in her own way.”

In embodying the spirit of Black joy, Precious Lee also gave us refreshed perspective on how our concept of “Black Girl Magic” might evolve, as well—especially as we enter the last week of Black HerStory Month here at The Root (also known as Women’s History Month). “All my dreams are connected to uplifting the collective, not just me,” says Lee, who has been making history of her own as a full-figured woman dominating global runways, and now, the cover of British Vogue. “The benefit—and one of the most positive things about being a big Black girl—is that I am creating things for the first time,” she added.

With that in mind, what does Black Girl Magic look like now?

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

Advertisement

2 / 7

Saweetie Covers Cosmo

Saweetie Covers Cosmo

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?
Image: Dennis Leupold for Cosmopolitan

“Last year was the year that I finally became comfortable in my own skin,” says Saweetie in her April 2021 cover story for Cosmo. I kind of figured out what my purpose was.” In case you’re wondering: No, her purpose isn’t to make headlines for her love life—or newly single status following a breakup with Migos’ Quavo. It’s to make highly boppable music—and major moves. After all, in addition to earning a business communications degree from the University of Southern California with a 3.6 GPA, the self-proclaimed “Icy Girl,” “Content Queen” and “multi-hyphenate entrepreneur” recently landed on Forbes’ “30 Under 30" list.

“I think it’s important to show little Black and brown girls that they can be successful in whatever they want to do,” Saweetie tells Cosmo. “If I can do it, you can do it too.”

Advertisement

3 / 7

Leiomy Maldonado Is the 1st LGBTQ+ Face of BLK OPL

Leiomy Maldonado Is the 1st LGBTQ+ Face of BLK OPL

Leiomy Maldonado attends the premiere of FX’s “Pose” at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in New York City.
Leiomy Maldonado attends the premiere of FX’s “Pose” at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in New York City.
Photo: Brent N. Clarke/Invision (AP)

One of the most Legendary (see what we did there?) faces in ballroom culture is now the face of a legacy brand. Choreographer and vogueing legend Leiomy Maldonado, also known as the “Wonder Woman of Vogue,” is now a brand ambassador for BLK OPL, making her debut in a beauty campaign shot by 23-year-old photographer Quil Lemons and an interview with The Cut.

“For over 25 years, Black Opal has created products made specifically for women of color, and today, it is also Black- and female-owned,” said Maldonado, who identifies as Afro-Puerto Rican. “There’s an authenticity with this brand and, more specifically, this campaign. It is clear that inclusivity is a core value of the brand which is why I said yes to being their first trans model. During this pivotal time in history for everyone, especially the LGBTQ+ community, I’m thrilled to be representing Black Opal.”

Speaking to the need for the progress in representation to continue to evolve, she added: “I’d love to see more people like me (from the LGBTQ+ community and people of color) featured in campaigns...Not because it’s a trend, but because beauty brands genuinely want to connect with us. They should be representative of their customers, and I think we all deserve options when it comes to products, shades, formulas, etc. It’s time that we were no longer just an afterthought.”

Advertisement

4 / 7

Slide Title

Slide Title

Storm Reid attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, Calif.
Storm Reid attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, Calif.
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

Storm Reid has a new starring role! The 17-year-old, who first gained national attention as the star of 2018's A Wrinkle in Time, has been announced as Maybelline’s newest spokesmodel, according to an announcement from the beauty brand obtained by Fashionista.

“Maybelline has been in my life for a very long time and as a whole, on a macro level, it is a makeup brand, but it’s a brand that empowers women,” Reid offered in a statement. “I find that so amazing to be a part of their evolution and continue to inspire and impact women and all people through their product. I think it is just so beautiful.”

“I’m looking forward to this new chapter with Maybelline where I will be able to use my voice to champion young women and my generation through my work with the brand,” Reid added. According to Fashionista, Reid’s representation of the brand will include participation in Maybelline’s “Brave Together” initiative as well as fronting a new launch from the brand’s Fit Me line.

Advertisement

5 / 7

Alicia Has the Keys to Self-Care

Alicia Has the Keys to Self-Care

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?
Image: Daria Kobayashi Ritch

The cover story for the April issue of Allure features the woman on fire, Ms. Alicia Keys. Her cover story addresses a lot of the same pressures and anxieties we’ve been facing in the past few months, including feeling put together, perfectionism and mental and physical insecurities. With all of this in mind, Keys launched Keys Soulcare, which offers a range of curated products you can shop for “mind,” “body,” or “spirit,” as well as collections for rituals.

“I want to have a conversation and I want to learn and I want to share whatever it is that’s helped me become more centered,” she tells Allure. “I’ve never felt comfortable in my skin. I’ve never felt like I can depend on myself without having to check with 30 other people to make sure that my opinion is valid. I like the way that I feel right now, and it took quite a while to get to this place.”

Keys further establishes that she wants to be a “self-care mentor”—in doing so, she is sharing her creative process and how that process parallels taking care of your skin and beauty as it is your mental health.

“No matter what you’re doing, you always have to meet yourself there,” she says. “That says something to me that I really like, which has to do with my focus on being more connected to myself, listening to myself, and being able to understand my intuition more than I ever have.”

Advertisement

6 / 7

Million Dollar Megan

Million Dollar Megan

Illustration for article titled The Funk Boutique: What Does Black Girl Magic Look Like Now?
Image: Fashion Nova, Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty images)

Throughout March (a.k.a. Women’s History Month) Megan Thee Stallion has teamed up with Fashion Nova on a program called “Women on Top.” The program is dedicated to backing and empowering women in fashion and beauty and has donated $1 million in grants and scholarships to women business owners and students. The donation period is spread across the month of March and each recipient will receive a minimum of $25,000 to help further their projects and a new recipient is announced each day. A full list of the participants and their work can be found here.

Advertisement

7 / 7

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

DISCUSSION