|Photographed: George Myrie, Tish Ferguson and Pythagore Antoine|
Photo by Nestle Snipes
October is the month of new beginnings. The days get shorter and the leaves start to fall representing a time of transition! As I reflect on this time of transition I can't help but to think about the beautiful posts I have seen on social media regarding Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence awareness! Beautiful stories which were filled with triumph and overcoming major obstacles. The only way you wouldn't know that October is the month for awareness on these topics is if you were living under a rock. While I am an avid supporter of the Breast cancer awareness movement I found myself paying closer attention to domestic violence more than I have in previous years.
It maybe because of my own life experiences and my awareness to being a better me that made me gravitate towards this topic. The topic of domestic violence is filled with heart ache and pain but when I had the honor of attending the Caribbean Lilac's Hunks4Hope Gala I found it was filled with smiles and triumph on the other side of that. Lila Green is the founder of Hunks 4 Hope (H4H) which is a collaboration of designers, photographers and models to raise awareness and money for victims of domestic violence. The H4H calendar boosts self esteem for women as well as giving us some beautiful eye candy for 12 months straight! Lila finds the most finest men on the planet to be a part of this initiative and Jose Pegan photographs them beautifully! Yes, I said most finest... they are that fine!
|To purchase a calendar visit www.hunksforhope.com|
I had the pleasure of attending this gala to support my good friends known to the world as the "Bearded Dapper Gents" but to me as my loving, supportive, universe given big brothers. I felt like a proud little sister as I watched them being honored for their work with this charity and being in the 2016 calendar. Nestle Snipes even received the Leadership award which was profound. If you aren't following them you need to be! Being in the room to observe such greatness was an honor but what I didn't know was that I was going to leave with my spirit filled to capacity because of the experience.
When I tell you I walked in the room with a halfway broken spirit because of life events in the recent weeks and walked out a whole new person it is no exaggeration. There were women who stood and spoke of their experiences and how they came out on the other side stronger then ever was so inspiring. One moment that stood out in particular was when the Hunks all came up to speak about why they were apart of this initiative. George Myrie touched on the BDG initiative, "A brothers Duty" and how programs like this are needed to help combat the issues of abuse. Another member of BDG Pythagore, mentioned a Facebook post he put up a few days prior which was a question that sparked much convo. The question was "Black Women do you feel loved by Black Men?" Many said NO and I was one of those women. My answer came from a place of feeling like my heart wasn't protected or when it came to matters of the heart black men fell short at making sure the black woman's heart was taken care of. I felt that they were amazing friends, fathers, uncles etc. but weren't the best at loving a woman on an intimate level. I had a moment of weakness where my heart and my intellect collided irrationally. I was at a cross roads. Do I walk away from the idea of "Black Love" happening for me and go down a different path? Now, I'm all for loving who you love and love has no boundaries but to come from a place of wanting to denounce all black men from my love life is not rational or fair. A decision made out of anger, hurt or pain that would discredit all based on a few was blasphemy. My intellectual knows that this problem mainly exists because of systemic issues dating back to slavery but my heart was feeling frustrated and exhausted from life experiences. When Pythagore stood up to speak about this and ended with "I'm here to tell you that WE LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU" to all the women in the room, it was a pivotal moment for me. This moment mixed with the beautiful faces of the many survivors in the room was confirmation for me that no matter what life throws at you don't change, don't budge, just keep fighting and come out on the other side.
|Photographed: Pythagore Antoine|
Photo By George Myrie
Life is about happiness. Life is about overcoming. Life is about living to your fullest potential despite all adversity. The H4H Gala was a true testament of that and a game changer for my own life! Thank you BDG for being so instrumental with this movement and thank you Lila Green for being a light in this world! This is what ultimate beauty inside and out looks like!
|Photographed: The Hunks from the Hunks 4 Hope 2017 Calendar|