#Blackluxury has been circulating around social media for a hot minute! It has been liberating seeing images of Black women living the dream in fashionable designer clothing, expensive cars, taking luxurious vacations, and simply living their best life. Besides the obvious jaw-dropping visuals, the hashtag and accompanying photos conjure up a lifestyle that positions Black women on top. The ubiquity of these images creates an energy that motivates us to think big and go hard for our goals. It urges us to recognize that now is our time to claim our greatness and do it with style and flare. Though the #hashtag is relatively new, let’s not get it twisted this is not the first time Black women have achieved the rich life. African queens like Nefertiti come to mind, ruling over empires while dripped in gold and precious jewels.
We have a legacy of Black luxury but what exactly does that mean? When we look beyond the surface we see that Black luxury is not how luxury has been coined by white men. As Black women, we have always done things on our own terms and with our own finesse. And it’s no different when we define what luxury means to us. Make no mistake about it Black luxury definitely includes owning wealth and high networth individual security. However, for many it includes collective uplift as well. Think back to the wealth of Black Wall Street and the many other towns during that era where Black people resided in entire cities filled with our own businesses. Black women like Maggie Lena Walker who in the early 1900s was the first Black woman to be a bank president (St. Luke Penny Savings Bank). Her vision for the bank was of Black people growing our money together to financially uplift each other. In addition to running the bank, she ran a newspaper, a department store and a life insurance company. Can you say bauce!
We hear so much in the media about the challenges we have had to overcome. We see the hard and tragic stories of Black women short changed, abused and taken advantage of. We have survived so much. Yet Black women are also happy, carefree, silly, flawlessly beautiful, creatively innovative and incredibly rich. Black luxury allows us to see ourselves in a state of joy and elegance; things often not associated with us.
Black luxury is a unique and varied point of view that speaks from the souls/voice of the women themselves. We create a Black luxury lifestyle that fits our perspective and vibe. We choose to live on our own terms in the most elevated way. Try on some Black luxury to see how it fits. For inspiration, here are 5 Black women totally giving us Black luxury in their own unique ways:
Who can’t but LOVE Gabrielle Union? She is an acclaimed actress of Being Mary Jane fame, media maven and entrepreneur. Over the years she has amassed a huge social media following (19.7 million IG followers at last count). You’ll often see images of her on a yacht or at glamorous Hollywood premiere. But what takes her lifestyle to Black luxury status is her focus on authenticity and vulnerability.
Image source: The Independent
She has very publicly shared some of her most painful moments including a long struggle with endometriosis and infertility. She is taking things even further with a new initiative she recently announced with LinkedIn called “Getting Real with Gabrielle Union.” which is all about redefining what being a professional means.
If you want to talk bank, then Mellody Hobson is the ultimate. Born to a single mom of six, Mellody grew up in poverty. She talks in Harpers Bazaar of her and her family often having the lights turned off or getting evicted. This ignited in her a curiosity about money and achieving. She worked hard in school, which led to her graduating from Ivy League Princeton University. After Princeton, she got a job at Ariel Investments, one of the few black owned financial investment companies in the country.
Image source: Wall Street Journal
She is currently the co-CEO and President of the $15 billion company! Mellody is also the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation, co-founder of The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and a philanthropist.
YouTube Star, Lyn Allure serves up Black Luxury with tips and advice she shares with the 500K plus combined subscribers on her social media accounts. She described on British media site, Black EconomicsTV that she is a first generation Canadian who grew up in low-income housing. She was urged to pursue a safe career by her parents and worked in corporate accounting/finance until she discovered her knack for all things business via YouTube.
Image source: Good Girl Gone Boss
She left her 9-5 and limited mindset behind to build a six-figure empire including her Good Girls Gone Boss brand that provides female entrepreneurs with a supportive community and business coaching.
Bozoma Saint John
Speaking of branding, there is likely no more impressive Black luxury model than marketing guru, Bozoma Saint John. Having worked in marketing at Apple and Uber, she is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix. She is listed as #1 on the Forbes’ 2021 The World’s Most Influential CMO’s list. Bozoma is a first-generation American and works hard to showcase the beauty, style, and glam life of Black women across the diaspora.
Image source: PCMA
She is always advocating for authentic self-expression within the corporate space. One of the touches she adds to Black luxury is the theme of sisterhood in her support of other Black women and their endeavors having created the #ShareTheMicNow Instagram initiative; alongside Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Glennon Doyle, and Stacey Bendet. She is the creator of the BadAss workshop and author of upcoming book, The Urgent Life.
We couldn’t talk about Black luxury and leave out travel. There is nothing more opulent than jet setting around the world on a private plane to a far away island. At the 2021 World Domination Summit she talks about growing up as a child in the South Side of Chicago and not allowing her circumstances to hold her back. She had a vision of being a travel host on The Travel Channel and started on that path by creating videos of her own travels that she paid for herself by boot strapping any way she could. And boy has she gone far! Kellee Edwards has traveled to over 50 countries.
Image source: Outside
She used her dreams to fuel her above her fear of heights and water to become a licensed pilot and scuba diver. Kellee adds a flavor of adventure and discovery to Black luxury having been acknowledged as one of the most important people in travel by Conde Nast. She achieved her dream and is currently the host of The Travel Channel’s Mysterious Islands. She also recently launched a podcast with Travel + Leisure Magazine called “Let’s Go Together” to amplify diversity in travel.