Hey there! Today the nominations for the 2008 Black Weblog Awards are officially open, and I’m puttin’ myself out there. If I could win Best Writing in a Blog just once, I would be the happiest afrobella you ever did see. If you enjoy what you’re reading, show your girl some love. Enough begging. On to the clicking!

Lauren over at Stereohyped did a beautiful artists’ spotlight on Clementine Hunter, a folk artist from Cane River, Louisiana who has been called the “black Grandma Moses.” I loved the idea of highlighting an artist who connects to your roots. Inspired by Stereohyped, here’s my artist’s spotlight on the brilliant Trinidadian painter Boscoe Holder — dancer who once worked alongside Josephine Baker, choreographer, artist, and brother of famed actor Geoffrey Holder who many of you will instantly recognize from Annie and Boomerang (Strange! It Stinks So Good!). Geoffrey Holder is also a painter, FYI, and like his brother Boscoe, he is inspired by beautiful black women.

Boscoe Holder’s art is lush and moving, the women he captures have soul and class and are just stunning to gaze upon. In this article by L.M.N. Harris (who was once lucky enough to sit for the artist), he explained why black beauty was his main focus:

“I just like black skin! Black just looks so damn good. I’m black, old, tall, lean and wrinkled and I still look good. Black people don’t know their own strength, their own beauty, and I guess I’ve always been aware of it in one way or the other.””

You damn right, Boscoe. Don’t we look good, bellas?

One of my favorite Trinidadian blogs, The Bookman, wrote eloquently of Boscoe Holder’s passing in 2007. In this fascinating obituary from the UK’s Independent, the explanation for his island muse is revealed: “I love painting Caribbean people, especially the women, because they are so decorative. I capture all of the Caribbean in my work, the poverty, the strong black theme, the nature and the beauty. Looking at a painting is like taking a trip. When I look at each of my paintings, I can remember the sight, the taste, the smell, every detail of my life on the day it was painted. I would say it’s more like déjà vu.” Maybe that’s why his paintings feel like going home to me. I yearn to own one someday. You can see a collection of his work at Barbados’ Lancaster Great House here, and buy art prints here.

Do you love Michelle Obama’s style from head to toe? If you want to learn more about her hair, clicky click to read an interview with Johnny Wright, her hairstylist. FYI, Michelle O’s moisturizing hair product of choice is Shea Butter conditioner from Fekkai. Thanks, BellaSugar!

Are any of you attending the Bronner Bros International Hair Show in Atlanta this weekend? Stop by the booth for Shine , a new magazine that caters to African American and Latino hair care and makeup professionals. Their photos are gorgeous. OH! And for my UK bellas, there’s an event called You’re Beautiful, Woman! set to take place Saturday 9th August at the Imperial War Museum. It’s all about celebrating black beauty. Click here to learn more.

Speaking of celebrating black beauty, I gotta put you on to Gorgeous Black Women. This blog is a great source for beauty inspiration, and it truly celebrates black beauty in all our shades and textures. If you’re on the fence about going natural, their Afro Chic and Lovely Locs post could be the inspiration you’ve been seeking. I love this photo of Barbadian model Tennille Stoute. So bold and simple — inspiration for my TWA bellas.

Some of my fave fashionistas are doing fresh new stuff! Andrea from Fly went shoppin’ with her homegirl Rakia, and produced a fun new Fly webisode. I love seeing what’s being worn across the pond, and The Fashion Bomb did a post on London trends that makes me want to go shopping for bold ethnic prints. But I don’t think those quirky little British hats would hold on to my massive cloud of hair.

The Makeup Girl got Botox, and she’s blogging about it! I love reading brave beauty posts like that, because it answers all of the questions you may have had in the back of your mind about the procedure.

To end this post and kick off the weekend, I want to share with you my new favorite song. Soulbounce said it best — Raphael Saadiq’s Oh Girl is simply beautiful. This track has been on steady repeat since the moment I downloaded it. I love, love, love it. I’ve always loved Tone Toni Tony!, and I love the retro sensibility Raphael Saadiq brings to the table. Dude is a genius, and deserves his own Throwback Thursday post soon. For now, click here to let Oh Girl wash over your soul. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Happy Friday!

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