I’ve hemmed and hawed about having big news and the best being yet to come…this is one of the things I’ve been talking about.

I’m a contributor to Vogue Italia’s new site, Vogue Black!


*cue fireworks and the chorus of Hate Me Now*

And I’m not the only one! Andrea of Fly is also contributing to Vogue Black, and Gabi of Young, Fat, and Fabulous is contributing to Vogue Curvy, the new destination for full figured fashionistas.

For me this all began last November with an exciting e mail. And I kinda feel like I’ve been holding my breath the whole time. I didn’t tell my friends, or most of my family. And if you know me, you know HOW HARD THAT WAS. OMG.

Now finally, I can exhale and share the happy news.

When I was originally approached, it felt like someone told me I’d won the lottery or something. And today, to see it’s actually come to fruition…it’s amazing and overwhelming.

Vogue Black launched just yesterday and clearly the site’s got some kinks to be worked out. I have nothing to do with the photos or layout chosen for the posts — I’m sharing and creating original content and it’s as much of a surprise to me to see what photos accompany my words, as it may be to anyone else. Author bios haven’t been posted yet. The posts right now are very photo-heavy and content-light (as my friend Claire of the Fashion Bomb correctly pointed out). But it’s up, and I may be biased but I think it’s awesome. And of course, already the blogosphere is full of opinions about it.

The Cut wrote a particularly cutting post on the topic, questioning the separation of curvy and black beauty from the mainstream. That’s a lot of the criticism I’ve been reading — why does Vogue Italia feel the need to separate into different channels?

My answer is, because throughout the history of fashion, black and curvy has been overlooked. We deserve our own spotlight. Of course, ideally black beauty and full figured beauty would be part of the mainstream – BUT IT’S NOT. Someone please share a link from The Cut about plus size fashion bloggers or black beauty bloggers. Please. I’d love to read it. Because I’ve been reading them for a minute and I’ve never seen one. And who’s to say that material from Vogue Black or Vogue Curvy won’t make it into Vogue Italia? For me as a reader, I think it’s refreshing to find a channel that exclusively caters to what I’m looking for — beauty and fashion inspiration that relates to my reality.

Clutch Magazine just did a great post about this titled Are Black Fashion Bloggers Being Ignored? and I can honestly say that the answer is yes. I think black beauty and fashion bloggers have been just as marginalized and overlooked as black designers and models have been. And we are here, we care about beauty and clothes and hair, and we’re a purchasing market that’s being underserved and unappreciated. It’s amazing to me that Vogue Italia has made this move, when American Vogue and British Vogue don’t seem nearly as engaged. It kinda blows my mind that all of this has come from a country that I’ve never been to, so far away. Note to self – plan trip to Italy ASAP!

All I can say about today is, we’re living in interesting times. Already people are blowing up my inbox and my Twitter page with questions, already some are throwing shade (I see y’all!), and already an interview with me has been posted on The Glamazons blog about today’s news! It’s some kinda wonderful. And I am making sure to be thankful for ALL of these blessings. As Mama Bella told me this morning, “Ask God to guide you in what you say and do, in every minute, every hour of every day.”

I am, mom. And I will continue to do my best to make you and Dad proud!

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Vogue Black. I sincerely applaud Vogue Italia for making this forward-thinking decision, and I hope it isn’t a symbolic, brief act. I believe that this is just the beginning, and I really hope that it leads to beautiful, big opportunities for all of my sisters in the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blogosphere. I’m BEYOND excited and honored to be one of the first to be featured. Now let’s see — who’s got next??


Michael says:
February 25, 2010, 4:44 pm
You seem like such a sweetheart and a hard worker. Very, very happy for good people being afforded great opportunities. Congratulations!
Luvvie says:
February 25, 2010, 4:46 pm
First, congrats on being asked to be one of the bloggers in Vogue Black. I've seen the critiques of the existence of Vogue Black and I think people are really not seeing the point. An international magazine is making it a point to highlight Black beauty. THAT speaks volumes. Anywho, this is the beginning (we,, continuation actually) of great things to come for you! :-D
Peajai says:
February 25, 2010, 4:47 pm
Congratulations! Do your thang girl! I'm excited to see where Vogue Black & Vogue Curvy will go in the future.
TheGhettoFashionista says:
February 25, 2010, 4:55 pm
I cannot tell you how incredibly PROUD I am of you!!
vonnie says:
February 25, 2010, 4:57 pm
so happy for you! many many congrats
Julia says:
February 25, 2010, 4:59 pm
You deserve everything that is coming your way Bella. You are smart, talented, kind, and full of character. Beautiful on the inside and out.
Love Is Dope says:
February 25, 2010, 5:00 pm
Congrats! Looking forward to reading your stuff over there.
Gem says:
February 25, 2010, 5:01 pm
The website is gorgeous. Congratulations; let us know when you post stuff there!
alicia says:
February 25, 2010, 5:03 pm
Hey Bella, I am super excited for you. I am also happy that you see Vogue Black as an opportunity to bring your prespective to the fashion scene, and you are right the sky is the limit. Blog on!!
DWJ says:
February 25, 2010, 5:05 pm
Congratulations! This truly is a wonderful opportunity for you. And as a brown girl who has been to Italy, you need to add that as your next destination ASAP! I've been plotting how to get back since I left the airport!
Camille says:
February 25, 2010, 5:11 pm
CONGRATULATIONS!!! you deserve all the good things in life because you work so hard. you're a shining example of going for what you want.
KhamilianMUA says:
February 25, 2010, 5:25 pm
FABULOUS Strides Mz. Bella! BRA-VO!
Chatel says:
February 25, 2010, 5:33 pm
You are my oodles of inspiration...every day!! And I know for a fact many other women..young & old feel the same way. Congrats;-)
Janelle says:
February 25, 2010, 5:35 pm
Congratulations does not even begin to cut it. This is an amazing opportunity, and I wish you nothing but the best in this next endeavor. Show the world just how beautiful and creative curvy afrobellas and relaxabellas can be through your words. You inspire me to go further with my own writing and push the envelope when it comes to my dreams. Thanks, Bella. I can't wait to add Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy to my daily written diet.
Jessica says:
February 25, 2010, 5:37 pm
Yay! I'm so proud that you've taken this on. I will regularly put my translation software to use on Vogue.it now that I know they are serious about giving credible voices in my communities (both black & Curvy!) a platform.
Maria says:
February 25, 2010, 5:51 pm
I saw the new site this morning. Was smiling to myself, now I know why. Hats off to you AfroBella. It's an accomplishment well deserved.
bella says:
February 25, 2010, 5:52 pm
I am just sitting here, smiling, and soaking up all the LOVE from your comments. Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement and kindness. Thanks to you guys, I'm inspired to keep working hard, and keep being my best. I love you all!
Rah says:
February 25, 2010, 5:54 pm
What an amazing opportunity! Congrats to you!
Phyrra says:
February 25, 2010, 5:54 pm
OMG! Congratz! That's so awesome!
SoFrolushes says:
February 25, 2010, 5:54 pm
looks like Italian Vogue are forward thinking. It has its own language chooser to. love it
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
February 25, 2010, 5:57 pm
Complimenti!!!! If you do make it to Rome let me know. xx
Candi says:
February 25, 2010, 5:57 pm
Congratulations!!! I've been a reader for a little over a year, and your are MORE than deserving of it. Stay blessed.
Eboni says:
February 25, 2010, 5:59 pm
Congrats!! You are an inspiration! And the site has been bookmarked! I love it!
Eddie says:
February 25, 2010, 6:15 pm
Congrats! I'm happy you're happy but I am still one of those people that say the best way to highlight CP is by bringing them into the mainstream, and not opening up something seperate. Like, people complain about the lack of black people in certain magazines. The solution to that seems to be to open up a whole different magazine. Like, why can't we be in the same magazine?
Danielle says:
February 25, 2010, 6:20 pm
I admit, when I first heard of Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy, I wondered, "why do brown models or curvier models have to be on a separate site"? "Why do models over a size two have to be on a separate site"? Why can't they be incorporated into regular editorial content? But I see your point, bella. It is great to see Vogue Italia highlight all kinds of beauty, and most of all, I think it's amazing that you're writing for a Vogue publication. That is MAJOR. But yeah, hopefully they'll come a day when black and brown bloggers, models, and designers aren't seen as aberrations, but as an integral part of fashion, beauty, art and design. (Because they already are, ya dig?) Even better would be black bloggers, designers, and models continuing to pool their resources together and putting together shows, publications, and websites that might be independent of the mainstream. That's happening now and it'd be cool if that expanded. Keep doing you, bella. I've been reading this here blawg pretty much since day one (sorry I don't always comment!) and to see your growth and success makes me feel proud and inspired. :)
Danielle says:
February 25, 2010, 6:21 pm
Argh. I meant "There'll come a day". Dadgum typos.
puff says:
February 25, 2010, 6:32 pm
congratulations!!! i can't wait to read your articles, keep up the fantastic work :)
Nikia says:
February 25, 2010, 6:48 pm
I am SO very excited for you!! I actually applaud the Vogue Italia for doing this. Hopefully, the others magazines/countries will catch on. I understand those that feel blacks (heck, minorities period) and curvy women should be featured alongside the mainstream models, bloggers, etc. However, it will take baby steps. And kudos to Vogue Italia for the baby steps!
BeautyXchangeGirl says:
February 25, 2010, 6:48 pm
Bellísima!!! ;)
Sheena says:
February 25, 2010, 4:56 pm
Congrats! I'm very happy for you! I just heard about the news this morning and I'm very excited! I do applaud Vogue Italia for this effort in bring more exposure to those who have been marginalized in the mainstream.
Amber says:
February 25, 2010, 5:09 pm
Denise says:
February 25, 2010, 7:12 pm
I just learned of the site this afternoon. I am so excited. I am loving the afro love. Will definitely bookmark it. Congratulations!
Denise says:
February 25, 2010, 7:12 pm
I just learned of the site this afternoon. I am so excited. I am loving the afro love. Will definitely bookmark it. Congratulations!
Denise says:
February 25, 2010, 7:13 pm
I just learned of the site this afternoon. I am so excited. Will definitely bookmark it. Congratulations!
Denise says:
February 25, 2010, 7:14 pm
Sorry for the multiple post! Missed the delay. :)
Victoria says:
February 25, 2010, 8:52 pm
Bravo! Much kudos to you, I can't wait to see all the great things in store.
BSQUARED86 says:
February 25, 2010, 9:14 pm
Congratulations Bella! I am so excited about these 2 sites, as I am both curvy and black, lol.
Brittany says:
February 25, 2010, 9:16 pm
This is huge. Huge, I say!!!
Think & Grow Chick says:
February 25, 2010, 7:20 pm
Coming from a fellow blogger and someone who has read your blog from the beginning, I am so inspired, happy, and proud of you! You've been at this when no one else was doing what you do and writing about what you write, and it gives me great joy to watch all of these amazing opportunities pan out for you. Vogue Italy is MAJOR!!!
Leslie says:
February 25, 2010, 9:58 pm
Soulafrodisiac says:
February 25, 2010, 10:11 pm
LIke I told you today - I'm SO very proud and happy for you my friend! xoxo
Dad says:
February 25, 2010, 10:30 pm
Your family and friends in Trinidad and Tobago are very proud of you. We know how very talented you are, but we also appreciate that you work very hard at what you love best . Indeed your committment and dedication come through in every piece you blog and the whole world is paying attention to your growth and development in this new environment. Congratulations and lots of love. D
sandra says:
February 25, 2010, 11:05 pm
Oh...boo the haters. This is an "opportunity" and of course you could one day start your own media outlet. This is just one experience of many and I think you should go for it and learn as much as you can about media and the fashion world...
Moni says:
February 25, 2010, 11:07 pm
Go on Girl! I have been a long time reader and I am so proud of you! Love the site and I know with your contributions it will be one of the best sites ever! Congrats! :)
Geneva says:
February 25, 2010, 11:46 pm
Patrice, I both celebrate and applaud the opportunity you have been given.
Venita says:
February 25, 2010, 9:55 pm
Congrats, Bella. Soooo proud of you. Very. Let's talk.
Venita says:
February 25, 2010, 10:00 pm
Mischo Beauty says:
February 26, 2010, 12:40 am
Caribbean Girl says:
February 26, 2010, 1:04 am
Wow. And I just love yout mom's advice. Wishing u continued success! God bless.
Sabrina says:
February 26, 2010, 1:40 am
Claire says:
February 26, 2010, 4:14 am
Congrats Bella!! You already know you're the bomb:) And to answer your question: I got next!! Do your thing girl! xx, Claire
laura luna says:
February 26, 2010, 4:29 am
CONGRATS! You sooo deserve it! Shake the haters and DO YOU! May blessings be abundant for you!
LBell says:
February 26, 2010, 8:23 am
Congratulations Bella! You continue to shine! Your post made me realize something: The only fashion bloggers I've ever followed (aside from the Sartorialist) have been black! :)
Dom says:
February 26, 2010, 9:31 am
Pooks I have been watching your progress quietly from the sidelines for some time now and you know how proud I am of you. Keep on keeping on and know that the sky is the limit. God bless Dom
Darlene says:
February 26, 2010, 10:08 am
okay so hate me now played in the background while i read your post and i had to LOL. what awesome news and a great forum to continue this conversation you've started on this site about black beauty. i'm not going to be able to keep up with all your writing! (just read your black atlas review of hawaii.) i'm going to have to create a favs folder just for bella contributions in the blogosphere. awesome!! congrats bella on bringing relevant content that resonates with so many of us in all these forums! :)
Nichelle says:
February 26, 2010, 11:33 am
Congratulations! This is fantastic! Sisters are kickin' butts in 2010.
3Piece says:
February 26, 2010, 11:37 am
Bella, Congratulations! You go on and shine as you were intended to. Let those with small minds continue to focus on jealousy that is what they do. j
Courtney aka Glamah says:
February 26, 2010, 11:51 am
Who could hate you! You are Fabulous! Way to go!
warrior11209 says:
February 26, 2010, 12:28 pm
OMG- Congrats, congrats congrats! I wish I had something to send you as a gift...but you have access to the best of the best so my words will have to do!!! I am very happy for you - you deserve every bit of the good things that are coming your way.You are smart, thoughtful and you have worked hard for all that you are receiving!! I know that your family must be sooo proud - I totally understand about keeping this one close to your chest, but now that it has happened tell everyone with GLEE!! I am going to the site now and will bookmark them too just as I bookmarked Afrobella all those years ago. Go 'Bella!!!!
Purple says:
February 26, 2010, 2:19 pm
Congratulations Bella! Umm... on the question of why black or plus size beauty is "segragated," I do see where those commenters are coming from, but I say so long as we have a toe in the door! At least they've made an effort to explore all kinds of beauty.
Purple says:
February 26, 2010, 2:23 pm
"Your family and friends in Trinidad and Tobago are very proud of you. We know how very talented you are, but we also appreciate that you work very hard at what you love best . Indeed your committment and dedication come through in every piece you blog and the whole world is paying attention to your growth and development in this new environment. Congratulations and lots of love. D" PS: Your dad and family are so sweet. They remind me of my own. My dad would write exactly that! Love you Baba Bella! (i.e. 'father of Bella'. That's what we'd say in Kenya)
taryn says:
February 26, 2010, 2:43 pm
Congratulations!!! I'm glad you'll be writing for Vogue Black! You know beauty and fashion and you are not a doormat; you stand up for black women!!! And you're in the Chi! This town's frequently overlooked in beauty & fashion!
Shell says:
February 26, 2010, 2:44 pm
Congrats, Bella.
talktotisha says:
February 26, 2010, 2:46 pm
YAY! Congrats and thank you for being such an inspiration to Bellas every where!
Candy says:
February 26, 2010, 2:57 pm
In this reality tv world, people are often rewarded for bad behavior. It's good to see a good person like you get what she deserves. Congratulations bella.
Nina says:
February 26, 2010, 4:38 pm
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!! Still laughing at those fireworks and "Hate Me Now." Congratulations! May opportunities continue to flow your way so that you may inspire others with your positivity and light. It is no surprise that people are hating, and that they are confused at the "separation" of Vogue is nothing new. People have been grumbling about "Black History Month" for years. They are so oblivious to their dominance that they want us to be invisible (not to mention silent). They are threatened by anything that shines. If they were so enlightened, they'd be out trying to transform fashion, beauty and history, instead of hating on those who do. Keep making your mark and making us proud.
Leslie B. says:
February 26, 2010, 5:12 pm
Loves It!! Congratulations! Don't give one thought to folks trying to "throw shade". Your light is UNDENIABLE as evidenced by your success to date. Stay on your grind girl and do yo thang. BRAVA BELLA:)
Naki says:
February 26, 2010, 7:54 pm
Congratulations! Well deserved!
Gina says:
February 26, 2010, 6:31 pm
The news just keeps getting bigger Bella. Congratulations on another great opportunity. I'm truly happy for you.
cdona says:
February 26, 2010, 8:54 pm
Congratulations!!! God is soo good!!
Naki says:
February 26, 2010, 9:46 pm
Congrats again! I wrote a brief article about it: http://stylechile.blogspot.com/2010/02/vogue-black-vogue-curvy-vogue-talents.html
BK says:
February 26, 2010, 10:13 pm
Blessings are continuing to flow.. you deserve it Bella!!!! you stepped out on faith and you are getting it back tenfold.. Congratulations!!!! now I must add that site to my reader to catch all of your content!
Aisha says:
February 26, 2010, 11:15 pm
Congratulations on all your recent good news! Here's to more in the future...
JenG says:
February 27, 2010, 9:41 am
Congrats Bella!!!!!
Naturibeauty/Shelley Chapman says:
February 27, 2010, 12:45 pm
You are such a powerful attractor of opportunities!!! Girl they are gonna keep coming. I love the way your work has manifested throughout! Congrats hun :)
Londontalks says:
February 28, 2010, 10:45 am
Who could be mad at you for such a great achievement? Well done girl. And your daddy's post brought a tear to my eye... I know your parents must be SO proud of you!
tycajam says:
March 1, 2010, 11:58 am
Congrats again Bella! So happy to have read you before all these accolades and see that you have remained so much of the same very cool chick. It sucks that there is a need to blast the Hate on Me, but it's a hot track and right now you're very simply the hottest Bella on the block ;)
Nicole says:
March 1, 2010, 5:37 pm
I've been reading your blog for over a year now. Congrats, it's quite an accomplishment! I hope you have fun!
pets says:
March 1, 2010, 6:06 pm
Keep networking and keep being true to yourself and good things will continue to come to you. Also, remember to help mentor.
LaTosha Johnson says:
March 2, 2010, 12:14 am
Congrats and keep up the great work. I enjoy reading your blog and can't wait to see what you writer for Vogue Black!
Tafari says:
March 3, 2010, 2:04 am
Boo, I was so geeked when I noticed that you were on of the contributors! My tip was so moist for you!!! I know one thing. Before you blow all the way up. You BETTA give me a photo exclusive!!! Ok? OK! BTW, fuck the shade throwers. They will always be there. Tafari
Hillary says:
March 29, 2010, 12:29 am
Just discovered your site, can't believe I'm just hearing about Vogue Black now. Congrats!