Tell me about yourself?
Ebony: My name is Ebony. I was born in New Jersey and raised in Texas. As a youngin, I was very attracted to magazines and obsessed with the internet. I got into Myspace around 6th grade, and that's when my creative potential exploded. Fast forward to today, I'm studying digital media arts at PVAMU. I'm also a student leader and co-founder of Crooked Straight Media, an artist network/media company geared towards collaboration and brand promotion. Aside from being a creator, I'm a muse and have been a freelance model for three years. The projects I've done with my incredible, creative friends have landed me a beautiful portfolio and the opportunity to be part of Solange's Scales (2017) performance piece in Marfa, TX in the field at 15 untitled works in concrete by Donald Judd courtesy of the Chinati Foundation. Modeling is something I've wanted to do since I was a little girl and never felt capable of because of my dark skin and short/kinky hair. It's been humbling to experience the things God has done for me so far and I plan on continuing to step outside my comfort zone for His Glory.
Have you ever felt left out of the beauty conversation?
Ebony: HA! This really made me laugh out loud. More times than I can consciously remember. Growing up dark, skinny, gap-toothed, and always wearing braids made me the butt of many jokes. I've been called it all from charcoal, blackie, Whoopie Goldberg, Lil Wayne, etc from elementary to high school. Being around guys, I always heard them glorify the very features I lacked: light or white skin, light eyes, long curly hair, thick thighs, etc. I resented women with those features for a really long time. Envy is a hideous disease. It wasn't until I got to college that I started confronting the root of those insecurities and letting them go. Ironically enough, dark skin is "in" these days. Love and hate are just two sides of the same coin. I know now that external validation of fleeting and my true value is in the One who made me.
How important has community been for you?
Ebony: Community has always mattered to me. Even as a little girl, feeling like I didn't fit into any of the communities I was born into. As a first generation Nigerian American, I didn't learn the language or dances growing up. I always felt uncomfortable and out of place when my mom took us to Nigerian functions. Nonetheless, I always respected and found so much beauty in my culture. I was never the popular girl with the most friends, and that rings true today. But I've always been able to attract a tribe of creative people who are unapologetically themselves. That's all the community I'll ever need.
What's the best advice you have ever received?
Ebony: Ahhhh, this is the advice that shifted the entire course of my college career. From being lost, depressed, and unfulfilled as a biology major my oldest brother said to me:
"The biggest mistake most people make in college is not looking up to see what else is out there." That moment is what reminded me of my love for art and graphic design. I added a minor in digital media arts and the rest is history.
What makes you feel unstoppable?
Ebony: The Word of God. The living Gospel of the Lord. That's where I find my strength every single time I get weary.
What is your self-care routine? What music do you listen to?
Ebony: DANCING IN THE MIRROR! Or just dancing freely in general. Singing loudly. Meditation and yoga to start my day. Journaling, I love to write and sketch along the margins. Listening to podcasts and inspirational teachings. I just began to bless my head in the shower, which is a practice I found out about and made my own while reading Tapping the Power Within by Queen Iyanla Vanzant herself. A Seat At The Table by Goddess Solange is one of my favorite albums to jam in the morning & always has me feeling like royalty. Ctrl to remind me that I'm a badass just like our token carefree black goddess SZA. Artists like Noname Gypsy, Little Sims, Vitamin Cea, and Kehlani to affirm that there's beauty in being a work in progress and there's infinite potential in us all. There's also an artist named Londrelle I found on SoundCloud with the BEST sounds for positive affirmations and guided meditations. The intention is to get my mind aligned with my spirit so that all of my words and actions are divinely inspired.
Keep up with Ebony on her journey: