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!


Stephie says:
August 1, 2008, 1:04 pm
I just wanted to say that the older I get the more I long and love to embrass my beautiful culture. Black people are truely unique and every way. We need to come together and stay proud of our selves, stay beautiful and Black!!!!
LBellatrix says:
August 1, 2008, 1:18 pm
Amen @ Stephie...Living in one of the whiter states of the union where the few black folks don't always seem to see each other, I like to be reminded that there are people who appreciate the idea of black beauty as well as black community. Because seriously...sometimes I wonder where that appreciation went... Even though not all of those ladies at that Gorgeous Black Woman post are showing 100% natural hair, the larger point is that it's past time for sisters to stop fearing their own natural texture. I'll definitely bookmark it.
ebonys says:
August 1, 2008, 1:25 pm
Hey Afrob, The artwork featured here is fantastic. I thought the photo by Caroline Bwomono looked very much like model Tennille Stoute from Barbados. When I actually clicked on the photo on Gorgeous Black Women the photo is linked to images of Stoute, so the photo is incorrectly tagged. Just thought I would point this out, photos of Caroline Bwomono can be seen here http://www.fashionmodeldirectory.com/models/caroline_bwomono/showphoto/19429
bella says:
August 1, 2008, 1:46 pm
My bad, ebonys! And good looking out! I will make this correction as soon as I get home from work. Both women are gorgeous, but that's definitely Tennille!
Styleis20/20 says:
August 1, 2008, 12:53 pm
Stunning! Would loe to hae this in my home.
Mezzo.Soprano says:
August 1, 2008, 3:32 pm
I wish you well on the vote for Best Writing in a BLog!!! You are already the winner to me girl.. I Love these prints, where can I buy one??? Oh yea, I received my Creme of Nature winnings!!! THANKS SO MUCH And I LOVE the products.
Lisa says:
August 1, 2008, 3:36 pm
Bella, I hope that you'll get a print that inspires you. I bought a print for an ex-boyfriend stationed in Guam in the Air Force, and his Captain owns the original. She thought his was also an original. The trick is to have it professionally mated and framed. Being a Black woman is truly a blessing. We hold our own and age so gracefully. Thanks for the Raphael Saddiq song...makes we want to listen to "Be Here" from Instant Vintage (now that was the jam), and I miss Lucy Pearl (sigh).
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
August 1, 2008, 5:22 pm
Hey bella,that song just made my day a little better.It's nice to hear a man sing a song that feels like it's for you.You have my vote sistah.
Island Spice says:
August 1, 2008, 6:06 pm
Hey Bella I will definately be voting when it starts. twice if i can lol. those pix are beautiful the second one is my fave.
.bianca. says:
August 2, 2008, 5:51 pm
Another beautiful site with lots of energy. Thank you! From the flow of the "conversation" to the features. I am transitioning from relaxed to natural and I found the picture of Caroline Bwomono to be absolutely breathtaking. I am hesitant of wearing a TWA, but I'm already so close I'm thinking I should just dive in! Truly an inspirational photo.
TJ says:
August 2, 2008, 9:39 pm
I grew up in Louisiana, and have been a fan of Clementine Hunter's art since I was a young child. I have had the opportunity to see several of her paintings and they are really powerful and energetic pieces. I like the painting by Boscoe Holder called upsweep and the one of the girl in the straw hat with the bright flowers. I love the way he captures the beauty of Caribbean women.
regina says:
August 3, 2008, 6:47 pm
Awesome pictures!! They do us so much justice!
Vivrant Thang says:
August 3, 2008, 8:15 pm
I had to give my vote to SB for Best Writing lest I be voted off the island. LOL! But I did vote for AfroBella as best Culture blog. But I'm sure your readers will hold you down on the Writing because you are certainly very deserving.
ceecee says:
August 4, 2008, 12:21 am
I voted for you Bella!
Danielle J says:
August 4, 2008, 10:20 am
I love the paintings so much. They make me smile. Too often Black folk don't appreciate our worth. I love being Black and wouldn't change it for anything.
Product Junkie Diva says:
August 4, 2008, 10:25 am
1)You have my vote Afrobella! 2)Love the art, just beautiful. 3)As soon as I heard Raphael's song I too had it on repeat. In fact I was blasting it this morning.
Bebroma says:
August 4, 2008, 10:37 am
I voted for you! I have to say, it was SO much easier this year, they did a good job streamlining the whole process. Lovely song, so innocent, no bump-and-grind overlay, just sweet promises of love and devotion. Been a long time since I heard something like this. Beautiful art! Thank you for the exposure.
Get Togetha. says:
August 4, 2008, 10:58 am
Black is Beautiful! There's so much about us that's so wonderful and blogs like this are a testimony to that! I will vote for you Bella because you are such as positive influence on the Blogosphere. Tenille is killing it in that pic. Simple, Pure, and Chic.
warrior11209 says:
August 4, 2008, 1:12 pm
voted for you - the pics are beautiful . I have noticed that as I get older I am aging like fine wine - getting better in everyway with every passing yr. We are beautiful!!
Y M Williams says:
August 4, 2008, 3:13 pm
I love, love, love the the site GBW and it is one of my favorites. I will definitely buy the artwork of Mr. Holder. Clementine Hunter also had a plate selection that was sold at Sandra's Hill Harris Gifts in Alexandria, LA. Heres another artist that I think that many of you will love, Karin Turner and you may check her out at:www.karinsart.com. Her artwork is very inspirational and quite beautiful. If you attended this years Essence Music Festival, many of you may have seen her work.
Dad and Mom says:
August 5, 2008, 10:02 pm
We voted for you of course. We only hope it went through (smile). You know how it is, right?
L.M.N. Harris says:
September 26, 2008, 6:49 pm
Thanks for linking to my Boscoe Holder article on www.MyCaribbeanGateway.com - It's no longer there, but I'm glad you enjoyed! I already tossed in my vote for you; keep on shining your light!