My goal was to found a program for magical Black girls that taught them from an African-centered lens and Black Feminist and Womanist framework to be body positive, sex positive, LGBTQ affirming and trauma-informed.
I came to my sister friend Gabrielle Clark & Briana Monique (love y'all) late Feb./ early March and said please join BLM Philly because I have a program idea and it will change and save some lives. They both said yes, took the lead on the program and if all goes well we will have this program in other cities. It’s called #FromOurMothersGarden . It’s inspired by Black Feminist, Ntozake Shange, and her book entitled “Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo” and also Womanist, Alice Walker (In Search of Our Mother’s Garden).
My heart is full. I love you Gab. You kept me informed every step of the way. You are a force, and the leader that Black women and girls need to see.
After a handful of the
world’s most beautiful women came strutting down a catwalk overlooking
NYC’s East River at the Christian Siriano x Lane Bryant runway show
today, out came actress Danielle Brooks to close the show. Wearing a
flowing gown the color of sunshine and lemons, she raised her arms up in
the air as the crowd cheered.
Brooks, who plays Taystee on Orange Is the New Black, is the face of the new collection,
but she had never modeled in a show before today. “It was such a rush,”
she said. “I am so glad I had so many women backstage to help me to
know when to, like, make sure that I’m walking in the middle and not too
far to the right. They were so helpful.”
Brooks spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about embracing her body as it is and why she decided to post a shirtless gym selfie last year.
What is it like now to be part of this body-positivity movement? You
know what? I always hoped to be that girl that I wanted [to be] when I
was younger, and to be that person is really incredible.
What do you mean “to be that girl”? When
I was growing up, there weren’t too many women that really embraced
being curvy, especially in television. Now I get to be that person that
says I love who I am. I don’t have to change. I don’t have to go on some
Have you ever felt compelled to do that? I’m
not saying I haven’t felt compelled to do it, but I’m embracing who I
am. Being comfortable in my skin has really led me to all of these
beautiful opportunities. If I were trying to change who I was, then none
of this would have manifested.
How long did it take you to get comfortable with yourself? It started with Orange Is the New Black,
really. It was when I first booked that job and they made me a series
regular. That’s when I realized I’m perfect the way I am. When I went in
and they asked me to [audition] with no makeup and with my natural
hair, it just was like, OK, yeah, there is a place for me in this business.
that was how they asked you to audition? As yourself? Yes. As an inmate,
but yes. At the time, I was auditioning for mothers that had kids and
at the time I was 21 and I was like, I’m so young. Or
I’d have to play the big, fat, funny woman, you know? I found a spot
for me that got to show all of the colors. Now I get to really show the
world and other girls that want to be in this career that they can do it
too and they just need to embrace who they are. Don’t try to be anyone
that you aren’t.
feel like you really went to another level of embracing your body when
you posted that gym selfie, just you in your bra. What made you do
that? There are so many things that hold you back when you’re a
curvy girl because society tells you you’re not supposed to do certain
things. Even wearing this dress — this is the first time I’ve ever worn a
dress this low-cut.
No way! Were you afraid? Yes. I
mean, you want to do it right. You want to feel comfortable and you
want to do it in a classy way. There are so many things that you’re told
you’re not supposed to do because of whatever society tells you. So,
that’s why I posted that picture. I was like, “No, I want to go to the
gym with my shirt off. I want to have that freedom within myself. This
is my body. I love it. Why should I be ashamed of it because you’re
uncomfortable?” I did it and everybody liked it.
Do you feel happier now? I
do. I never thought that I’d be on a runway wearing Lane Bryant with
Christian Siriano’s name on the back of the label. It’s pretty surreal
in a lot of ways.