ELLE Magazine is also celebrating black beauty for their September issue! Actress and beauty entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross is the magazine’s cover star and Kerry Washington interviews her for the issue, which is devoted to the State of Black Beauty. The issue was spearheaded by the Black girl coalition at ELLE.com—digital beauty director Chloe Hall along with Nerisha Penrose and Angel Lenise—their new franchise will spotlight Black creators and trailblazers through recurring columns and annual cover stars, celebrating the beauty of Blackness in all its complexity and splendor. WE LOVE IT! Special shout out to our girl Angel Lenise at ELLE!
As for September’s issue, we’re particularly excited about one of the online features — a series of audio testimonials from 20 real women who share the microaggressions they’ve faced because of their natural texture or hair styling choices— from a beauty editor whose middle school principal scolded her for wearing braids to an engineer swarmed at a party by a handsy “Can I touch your hair?” crowd. London-based graphic designer Joelle Avelino’s illustrations serve the backdrop for the profoundly personal experiences with videos produced by ELLE.com’s supervising video producer Angel Lenise.
Last but not least, the Tyler Twins, Mariel and Katherine Tyler, whose great-grandfather, Garrett Morgan was called “the Black Edison” for being an early inventor of relaxer, shot a photo essay of the 2020 Bronner Bros. Beauty Show. WE know all about Bronner Bros, but now ELLE is letting the whole world know.
We love that ELLE brought Kerry Washington together with Tracee Ellis Ross for Tracee’s cover interview just days before the two hosted the DNC on back to back nights. Check out some highlights from the interview below:
Tracee on creating her hair line, Pattern and why its purpose goes beyond the products they make:
KW: “I want to start talking about you and this incredible journey with your company. It’s born out of your own journey with your hair and you’ve now given so many of us a better toolbox to be able to be on that journey with you. I want to know when the idea to birth Pattern came to be. How did that happen?”
TER: “It started as such a personal relationship with my own hair and feeling like I didn’t have the support to find what I needed. Not just in terms of products, but in terms of how to love myself. I was very supported in my family around my hair. But in terms of seeing all different kinds of versions in the wallpaper of my lives out in the world, I wasn’t seeing it. And I was getting confused. All of the things that I was taught from the media were like, I was supposed to have easy breezy beautiful hair. Bouncin’ and behavin’. My hair didn’t blow in the wind! All of these things didn’t match up.There was a void, in both seeing ourselves in our natural, authentic beauty, and also having products that would work for us to do our hair naturally—to wear it the way it naturally came out of our heads.”
TER: “I used to shop at all the beauty supply shops that were on Wilshire and one of the stylists was like, “You don’t know the amount of people that come in here with a picture of you pulled out of a magazine and they want your hair. If you were to do a line of products, you’d be a millionaire.” I was like, “What? My hair?” And, you know, there was no social media at the time so there was no connection between the community and me. It took about ten years to create Pattern. The mission is two-fold, to create effective products for the curly, coily, and tight textured community. The second part of the mission is to be an active space to celebrate Blackness and the power of Black beauty.”
Wow… It took her 10 years to create her line?! Have you tried Pattern yet? We have and it really is very conditioning and moisturizing. Also we’re definitely among the many women who were inspired seeing Tracee on TV rocking her natural hair.
On why advocating for yourself, especially as a Black woman is a form of resistance and having issues with the word “empower”:
KW: “Sometimes we can feel like speaking up on our own behalf looks like ego. But asking for what we need—whether it’s a friend at an awards show, or speaking up in the hair and makeup trailer, or in our relationships—it is a part of how we express our work, not necessarily our ego. How do you navigate that?”
TER: “With a lot of support. It takes a lot of courage to advocate for yourself. As a woman, and as a Black woman, advocating for yourself is actually a form of resistance. It is how each of us push the world to make sure that the real estate matches the reality of who we are and what we deserve.”
KW: [Snaps fingers] “Preach and poetry! It’s true. To be part of a marginalized population, as women, as people of color, as both, just the act of saying “See me, hear me, don’t push me to the side, just value my presence here in the center of this moment,” is terrifying but necessary.”
TER: “And every courageous act that a marginalized person takes opens up a space for somebody else.”
KW: “It’s for community.”
TER: “It is. I like to use the acronym for ego of Edging God Out. Often, if you look at it from that perspective, then speaking up for yourself is being of service to the god within you. It is you stepping up and saying, “I deserve something better. I have issues sometimes with the word “empower,” like, “We’re going to empower you.” Because often, for so many marginalized people, yes, they don’t have power on the outside, but they do have that power in the inside. The system is mirroring back a powerlessness. That’s not the truth, but we so often believe in the system—because how could you not?—and you think that’s the truth.”
That’s certainly a different perspective!
We love that ELLE did this sooooo much. Check out more photos from Tracee’s feature below.