9 years ago, I changed my life. I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t go into it with intent. I noticed a void, I felt a lack of inclusion. 2006. Natural hair hadn’t yet become a movement. Plus size fashion was in some dark days. I wanted to read consistent information for me about women who looked like me and cared about the things I cared about. There were a few blogs I was into, and I was inspired by them. On a very whimsical night, a friend made the right suggestion at the right time. We bought a domain name. I took a chance, and decided to put my voice into the ether. I figured if I felt this way about natural hair and multicultural beauty, then maybe others did too.

Flash forward 9 years, to the day. Today, yours truly was named one of WWD’s 50 Most Influential People in The Multicultural Market. It all feels very symbolic and serendipitous and auspicious and validating. It feels like 9 years of consistent work has been recognized, and I appreciate the recognition more than I can say. I’m still pinching myself. Me. In WWD! As one of very few bloggers on such a prestigious list! I’m still absorbing it and considering what it means.

Afrobella WWD 50 Most Influential People in The Multicultural Market

So many things have changed and improved in the multicultural beauty world since 2006. From where I sit, we’ve come a long way but we still have so much further to go. I still yearn to see real change and holistic diversity in terms of product development and brand ownership, in terms of behind-the-scenes bigwigs and decision makers in fashion, cosmetics and media, in terms of true diversity beyond lip service and occasional symbolic gestures. I’m excited to see the evolution.

So many of us are rising up to be the change we want to see, and that’s been one of the coolest, most beautiful, most inspiring things to witness in this natural hair and multicultural beauty space – the rise of the entrepreneur. Think of how many small businesses in that vertical launched since 2006. Think of how much things have changed since 2006, in terms of the diversity present in the kind of products that are available on store shelves across America. Think of how many small businesses focusing on natural hair or makeup for women of color; how many bloggers, makeup artists, and media personalities have taken the reins and risen to prominence since 2006. The internet did that. The online natural hair and beauty movement did that. We shifted the balance of power.

In 2006, right around this time, I went live on my first ever blog post. Here it is, in case you’ve never read it before. All these years later, and my manifesto is the same: “Afrobella is dedicated to all of the women who have made a similar decision, to embrace and enhance their natural beauty.” Still. Doing this work for 9 years has taught me a few things I’d like to pass on. A few life lessons, if you will. Here we go:

1 – You are stronger, more creative and more capable than you realize. Smarter, too.

2 – Hard work will never go out of style and ultimately, never let you down.

3 – Love who loves you. Surround yourself with people who support you, believe in you, and encourage you to be great.

4 – Content will always be king, and consistence is crucial.

5 – Be genuine. Know yourself. Life is too short to pretend to be anything you’re not.

6 – Self care is essential and should be intentional. You have to take care of yourself before you can truly, effectively take care of business.

7 – Recognize the value of your work, but operate from a center of integrity. Your values and your moral compass are priceless.

8 – Develop your own voice, find pride in originality. Comparing and copying will only hold you back from actualizing your true greatness.

9 – Love learning. Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything.

10 – You have the power to change your own life. The first step? Get out of your own way.


Within the past year alone, I’ve learned so much about myself and my capabilities. I always say that my career is a never ending exercise in rising to the occasion, and truly that’s been the case for the first half of 2015. I’ve found myself in the midst of opportunities that are far beyond what I could have imagined for myself. I’ve had to make some tough decisions. I’ve tried my best to under promise and over deliver, and I’ve had some experiences that have taught me so much about what I am willing and able to do. And the year isn’t even over yet!

I couldn’t have predicted much of the past 9 years, so all I can say in conclusion is, I can’t wait to see what’s next. I keep saying “the best is yet to come,” and it keeps getting better. So I’ll say it again. Thank you for supporting me through 9 wonderful, exciting, fulfilling years. I’m going to keep doing what I do as best as I can do it. I’m going to keep trying to be better and braver. The best is yet to come!


Ria says:
August 15, 2015, 2:01 pm
I love this post! "I didn't go into it with intent" but yet based on an inspiration, you put yourself out there, took your passion, worked hard, plugged away and it all paid off. You certainly paid your dues! Congratulations on 9 fabulous years! And if you don't mind I'm sharing this post with a class of "undeclared" incoming freshmen that I'll be teaching this fall to prove that hard work pays off, passions are worth pursuing as a career choice and the arts are vitally important.
Tamara | Natural Hair Rules says:
August 15, 2015, 6:04 pm
Congratulations, Patrice! You've set a standard for bloggers like myself & given us something to aspire to. You always lift up others and pay it forward! I look forward to witnessing your continued sucess! I love this statement! "So many of us are rising up to be the change we want to see, and that’s been one of the coolest, most beautiful, most inspiring things to witness in this natural hair and multicultural beauty space – the rise of the entrepreneur". It's so true!
Joanna says:
August 15, 2015, 6:52 pm
As a Trini-American, I am so inspired by you. Congrats on your success. I'm sure there are much bigger and better things in store.
Nicole (Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge) says:
August 15, 2015, 6:56 pm
Congratulations Patrice! Great tips, and some of them which i now live by. I pray that the next 6 years I too will be celebrating 9 years. Thanks for laying the foundation.
Mischo Beauty says:
August 15, 2015, 7:16 pm
Congratulations, lady! You're a true inspiration!!! Xx
Jaye@Curvatude says:
August 15, 2015, 7:41 pm
Congratulations lady! Kudos to you for all your hard work!
Veronica says:
August 15, 2015, 8:12 pm
Wow what an awesome journey it has been! Its been great reading along with you through these years and these triumphs! Keep up the great work and congrats!
Sasha-Shae says:
August 15, 2015, 8:53 pm
How exciting!! Congratulations Patrice, so well deserved and very inspiring. Can't wait to see what is ahead and how much you continue to grow.
Lexie Clement says:
August 15, 2015, 10:26 pm
Thanks so much for this list, the points really spoke to me (especially 2, 3 and 10). As a Trinidadian wouldbe-blogger, you're one of my biggest inspirations. Also congratulations on your 9 year anniversary!
Marielle Legair says:
August 16, 2015, 7:52 am
Congratulations on the recognition Patrice! Great life lessons too : )
Danielle says:
August 16, 2015, 11:23 am
Patrice!!! Congrats!!! One of the many things I've always loved about you is you have always been genuinely sweet, kind, and thoughtful. I remember when you and Lianne first followed me on Twitter I thought I had hit the Two inspirational women working in the field I loved wanted to follow little ole It's amazing to see how much has changed in the industry and so much of that is thanks to you. You deserve all the accolades and praise and all the good stuff. Here's to another 9 years!
LaNeshe ( says:
August 16, 2015, 8:15 pm
#6! Congratulations.
Dani Faust says:
August 17, 2015, 2:47 pm
Maaaan listen. Those 10 lessons spoke to me just now. No. They YELLED at me. Getting out of my own way effective immediately. Congrats to you. You've always been an inspiration. You deserve ALL the accolades and recognition. Thanks for always bringing the goods.
Serema says:
August 19, 2015, 1:09 pm
Oh you are a true inspiration to all of us junior bloggers just hoping to do what you have done for curly haired folks! It is simply phenomenal. Thank you for your words, your expertise, and your inspiration!
Nia Myles says:
August 19, 2015, 4:10 pm
CONGRATS ON 9 FABULOUS YEARS!!! Thank you for your dedication and commitment to forging a blog that continues to inspire and unite women of all ages and nationalities. Praying all your heart desires continue to manifest. Blessings
Hairstylo says:
August 21, 2015, 10:24 am
Long time reader but first time commentor on here! Congrats on your 9 great years.
Chris De La Rosa says:
September 2, 2015, 9:53 pm
Very inspirational... here's to another 9 + years!
Dixie says:
September 24, 2015, 10:29 pm
Big congratulations to you. You are such an inspiration. You bring to us so much beautiful content. Wishing you many more years of gorgeous goodness.
Rose says:
December 16, 2015, 10:15 pm
This was really, really great. I wish you the very best in your personal and business life in the years to come. xo
Kreyolicious says:
June 27, 2016, 11:56 am
Wow. Congrats. So inspiring!