February 14, 2023
On Confidence, Courage and Color
Awards season is in full swing, and you KNOW the Grammys from this past weekend has been all over the interwebs. I wasn’t gonna watch it, at first, but I decided to anyway because well: FOMO. 🤦🏾♀️ And IDK about your timeline, but the live-tweets from my Twitfam are too entertaining to miss in real time. 😂
Overall, it was a good show, that was actually full of color, milestone moments, and good vibes. The Hip Hop tribute was A1 (*whispers* til the new music came on). Whew. And what we’ve been talking about most is how Beyoncé made history, becoming the most awarded winner in GRAMMYS history (33) – just for RENAISSANCE to lose “Album of the Year” on the very same night. 😳
It was a rollercoaster of emotions. But although we know our girl is gon WIN (at life) anyway, it brought up certain things.
Why do people have a problem with confident women (especially confident Black women)?
A conversation I’ve been having with friends, who are dynamos and leaders in their own right, is how often they have been in conflict with people who simply didn’t know how to deal with their assuredness. 🧐You ever said something with full confidence and someone felt attacked simply because you were direct? Yeah. That. And have you ever seen someone start acting weird towards you after you shared an accomplishment? Also, that.
It’s this weird thing that happens way too often to Black women. People want to humble us. When we walk in rooms, heads held high, on Team Take No Sh*t, folks are rooting for us to fail. Folks be ready to be on the “Told you so” bandwagon soooo bad. And the hardest part is, we KNOW this. The whole GRAMMYS thing brought this bit up for me too.
Despite being nominated four times, Beyoncé has never won album of the year. 🤨 That even though she is the person with the most GRAMMYS ever, she hasn’t won their TOP award yet because we aren’t given the prizes we deserve. Instead, we’re appeased with smaller awards and told to be happy about it. An Academy voter went on the record (anonymously) to say he didn’t vote for her to win AOTY because “every time she does something new, it’s a big event and everyone’s supposed to quake in their shoes — it’s a little too portentous.” So you admit to not giving her what she’s due because you feel like she wins TOO much?!
There’s a different type of gaslighting that occurs in the way people treat those on the margins, who are successful, that forces us to constantly have to over-prove our worth. People try to humble us by making sure we aren’t given TOO much shine, TOO much credit or TOO many props. They wanna cut us down to size so we can stay in the place they’ve designated for us.
But you know what we do anyway??? WINNNN. Which brings me to:
Be unapologetic about your greatness.
The world has told us that we need to be humble, because somehow it’s supposed to make us better. But they use “humble” to mean we should shrink ourselves, doubt ourselves and question everything about us that is amazing. That we should spend our lives trying to be modest, and somehow, that humility has been turned into perpetual self-deprecation. And if that’s the case, humility can go to hell. Let folks have it!!!
For me, humility isn’t even about arrogance, or thinking I’m better than someone else. It’s about knowing that who I am and where I am isn’t just a product of my hard work, but of the privileges I have, the God who anoints me, and the purpose of my life. Being humble says NOTHING about me being CLEAR about how amazing I am, and how dope my accomplishments are. It doesn’t mean my confidence is an insult to other people. And it surely doesn’t mean I’m supposed to shrink. THAT takes courage.
There’s a chapter in my book Professional Troublemaker called “Own Your Dopeness” and I needed that to be in print forever because I’m sick and tired of the ways folks try to diminish us, simply because they can’t walk in their own exceptionalism.
So stop covering up how amazing you are and start gassing yourself up like you should. Speak about your accomplishments. Make that post. Send that text. Brag about yourself and your work with exclamation points instead of question marks. So what if they roll their eyes? Who cares if they unfollow you? Anyone who is upset that you are doing well, celebrating your accomplishments, or owning your dopeness, is an enemy of progress.
Who you were born to be, the testimonies you have, the mountains you’ve climbed, deserves voice and space. You owe it to yourself to be unapologetic about it. Your greatness isn’t to be silenced. The one thing you will not do, is shrink, because your dopeness makes other people uncomfortable.
Here’s how I see it: if my light is too bright for you, put on some shades. Maybe avert your eyes. And learn to deal with it because if you don’t, you just gon stay mad. 😎🤷🏾♀️
Like I said in my TED talk, “In a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to YELL.”
But on to what reminds me to be confident no matter what room I’m in.
Bawse up with your lips!
For over a decade, one of my go-to ways to hack my confidence has been putting on red lipstick. Most days, I’m not rocking makeup. But I will throw on a red lip to make myself feel good, quick. It’s really a security blanket, of sorts. It’s my reminder that I’m a baddie, no matter what room I’m in, or how raggedy I’m feeling that day!
A few years ago, I found THE PERFECT RED LIPSTICK when I saw my girl Kahlana Barfield Brown rocking one. I sent her a message INSTANTLY like “Ma’am, give up the details NOW!” It was BAWSE LADY by The Lip Bar. I ordered it and from then on, I’ve been obsessed.
Bawse Lady is a liquid matte that looks amazing on EVERYONE. Like… every skin tone, whether cool or warm. And it stays on FOR HOURS, even after you’ve eaten or drank. And did I mention, it’s an instant face lifter? 👀 I use it to distract people from the dark circles I might have under my eyes on any given day. 😅
Plus, the founder and owner of The Lip Bar is Melissa Butler, a dope Black woman from Detroit who built this company from the ground up. And I’m so prouf of her!
So yeah, that’s my confidence cheat code. Red still scaring you a little? No worries! They make shades and formulas for every mood. AND they have amazing face and makeup items too. Honestly, you can’t lose with anything Lip Bar, from their concealers to powders. And their “Rich Auntie” pink lip is my 2nd fave to rock.
GET SOME BAWSE LADY IN YOUR LIFE
Because the Lip Bar is about that #BlackBizLuvv life, they are giving y’all 10% off their products if you click the link above or use the code LUVVIE10 at checkout.
Oooo by the way. I wanna know, what is YOUR security blanket for confidence? Post a comment below and tell me what you use as your cheat code when you’re not feeling your best, but need to walk into a room like you own it. What do you listen to, wear, say, do? 👀👀👀
Disclaimer: I receive commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this newsletter. All thoughts and vouching are mine. I keep it 💯!
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Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and entrepreneur who thrives at the intersection of culture, business and leadership.
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Luvvie has visited over 25 countries, and averaged over 110,000 miles of travel a year. This is a guide to pass on cheat codes she’s learned to create as little chaos as possible while traveling.
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