SUPERBOWL 2017 COMMERCIALS: MY TOP MEANINGFUL FEEL GOODS!

Millions of Americans tuned into the Superbowl this past weekend, it is one of the greatest events of the year and for a non-sports person like myself, the “Superbowl magic” takes over  and makes me watch.  But I am not even going to sit here and lie to you guys though, I fell asleep right before the Patriots started making a comeback.  Yup, you can definitely judge me and I cannot be mad at that.

Anyway, in honor of one my favorite parts of the super bowl, the commercials,  this will be a post about my favorite ones that I like to call: “meaningful feel goods”.  With everything going on in our country now days, I opted for the ones that weren’t too heavy but that had, I believe, powerful meanings and they made me feel good (hence the title). If you caught them too, good for you but if you didn’t, enjoy!

    1. A 10 Haircaire: In for 4 years of bad hair (sorry, this made me laugh). To me, this wasn’t only about hair, it was about inclusion.  Loved it!
    2. Audi: Father- Daughter. “Equal Work, Equal Pay”
    3. Avocados from Mexico #Avosecrets. My thoughts: basically, no wall.
    4. Airbnb: (We accept). More Inclusion!

Honestly, there were many others that I also enjoyed. I doted on the Nintendo one because the girl had this beautiful natural curly hair and I am a Nintendo fan. I actually own the old school Nintendo that was re-released (judge me not!).  Another good one was the 84 Lumber with the mother and daughter making that journey towards the Mexican border. This ad highlighted, to me, the determination, resilience and strength of the immigrant. This is something that my family and I can relate to because we are immigrants ourselves. After googling 84 Lumber though, I purposely decided  not to place this in my top list because I found some “interesting” facts *side eye*.

Moving on, it is clear that current political events are  affecting many areas in our country, including our super bowl commercials. Whether these companies created these ads  because they truly believe in them or just to draw in customers, it is interesting to see many of them taking clear stands on current issues.  I take my hat off to them because despite the risk of loosing customers that may not agree,  they invested  in compelling, true,  feel good and sometimes comical advertising.  So, my message to these companies is: Know that  if there is ever a time that I need what you sell, I will buy. 

To my readers, if you enjoy Superbowl commercials as much as I do, I hope you enjoyed these.

 

HIDDEN FIGURES MADE ME DO A SELF-CHECK!

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp

Can we have a round of applause for this film and for the amazing Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and the surprisingly funny and witty performance by Janelle Monae? Their performances, along with Kevin Costner, Kristen Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali and everyone else in between made this movie what it was. This is the greatness that occurs when true actors come together with amazing chemistry to make a movie people!

Anyway, there were so many layers to this film that I don’t even know where to begin. First, lets talk about the fact that these were black, educated women who were not afraid to show it. They were all determined to be the best in their field with no excuses. This got me thinking, how many excuses do we make daily that stops us from being the best? I literally had to check myself while watching this movie and really ask, am I being great? These women were excelling in the 1960’s while dealing with segregation and overt racism in the workplace, with no one to really stand up for them. What is our excuse? 

As I continued to watch the film, not only did I think about them being inimitable in their field but I also thought about their fortitude. The scene when Octavia Spencer was kicked out of the library with her sons made me think about the amount of strength it must have taken to be in her shoes back in those days.  If having the will to just comply and walk away when what you really want to tell them is to have several seats isn’t strength, i don’t know what is.

Furthermore, enveloped in all of the black girl magic  that was filled with power and excellence, we also saw the portrayal of the fact that women can be professionals, mothers and wives. Amen to that! They didn’t show much detail on the intricacies of their marriages or relationships with their children, but it was pretty clear that they juggled it all.

Ultimately, after going through all of these thoughts in my head–yes, I think alot– I still came back to the same question, what is our excuse? This film was  a demonstration that neither race nor gender should stop you from being the best at whatever it is that you want to do. I am not saying that racism isn’t prevalent or that women have equality in all areas, because we all know that isn’t true. What I am saying is that to be able to rise above any of that takes sheer determination  and tenacity. It also takes embracing who you are, putting to use the special gifts given to you and only you, and not to allow external factors to stop you.  This movie left me nothing less than extremely inspired and motivated to be great, because everything that these women embodied is in me. Its in all of us; so really, we have no excuses.

BIG HAIR, DON’T CARE

Art done by my cousin, Nicolle Isajar. Instagram Nicolleisajar

For the most part, as women and young girls we can all agree that our hair is important to us right? We care about its look and ultimately if it looks good, we feel good.

My hair was definitely a major part of my self-esteem growing up, maybe a little too much. I remember one morning my pre-teen self was sitting cross legged on my bedroom floor, looking in the mirror examining my hair. I had combed through my coils to stretch it out with the hopes that it would somehow loose its natural texture and transform into a silky smooth mane.  Well, that did not happen and my hair just got bigger. I recall being extremely agitated and upset at my big puffy hair, so I found some scissors and–you guessed right–started to cut away in an attempt to remove the “fluff”. Nevertheless, my mother found me and screamed “Como se le ocurre!!”.  I was un-phased by her reaction though,  because at that moment I wanted different hair, I wanted “pretty” smooth, long hair.

The present me thinks back on this and knows that my hair was not the problem. The standard of beauty showcased by society and the media was the issue. The ingrained ideals that straight, long hair is prettier was also one of the main culprits and the conversation around  “good” and “bad” hair definitely penetrated my pre-teen brain.

The truth is that if I could talk to myself back then, I would show up with my ‘Big Hair, Don’t Care’ attitude in all of its glory.  I would tell me how much I presently love my type 3 spirally curly hair. I would emphasize that my hair is a part of my identity and a representation of my roots. I would beg myself not to waste time trying to live up to standards of beauty that were created to cripple me and lock me into a box. Most importantly, I would repeat  over and over that ‘God made no mistakes when he created every inch of me, including my hair!’

Overall, what I am trying to say in all my rambling is,  don’t believe the hype behind any “standard of beauty” fed to us in spoon fulls daily by the media and society. Be your own standard of beauty. Embrace you and your natural curly, kinky, fro, wavy  or whatever hair and don’t care because in the end, that is what beauty is about.

 

I feel that as a human being on this God given earth you haven’t really lived until you have done something for someone else and worked towards a cause that is greater than you.  Centered is here for just that, a cause greater than me. It’s most important project is to help displaced women and girls.

Displacement is a major issue worldwide, particularly in my home country Colombia. There are some astoundingly negative effects and consequences for women  that find themselves in this unfortunate situation. I decided that I wanted to be a part of the solution to this problem. Lending my voice as an advocate to help displaced women anywhere in anyway is my goal.

The other focus of Centered is my perspective on what it means to be an Afro Latina woman.  As many of you know may know(or not), I am Colombian but most importantly I am black. I have always been proud to be a black Colombian woman, and Centered is a space to not only showcase my pride, but to touch on topics, some light and some heavy, that other women and young girls can relate to. This is a place where women will be celebrated not just through my lens but from time to time, films that celebrates brown, black and all women alike.

To me this blog is my “why not?”, it is my fearlessness shining through. It is a place where I can talk about the things that I am passionate about and important parts of me that I proudly embrace that keep me balanced.  Centered is a part of my decision to be someone that ‘happens’ to life and not just let life ‘happen’ to me.  I hope that others get inspired to do the same, to pursue their passions, embrace themselves and do something for the greater good. I hope it inspires others to find their balance, if they haven’t already.