Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Truth Is... #BMJFinale

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple." Oscar Wilde. The truth is that love comes in different forms and can be defined in so many different ways. There is no set way or route to love, every relationship is different and unique. What may seem feasible for one relationship, maybe challenging for another. I have always been amazed about love and the dynamics of relationships; How couples meet, what attracts men to certain types of women. What can I say, I am a lover of love.

In the two hour Season Finale of #BeingMaryJane, MJ encounters a roller coaster of emotions that forces her to confront the truth. MJ realizes that she is still in love with David (Mr. Do Not Call) and the content of their relationship is exposed. It is revealed that David is privy to MJ stealing his perm and when confronted David tells MJ that if she wanted a baby all she had to do was ask. As the episode progresses, David accuses MJ of being crazy. Why do black men consider "US" (BLACK WOMEN) crazy? We're not crazy!!! Well...maybe MJ is for stealing David's sperm, but haven't we all done something a lil crazy in a relationship?

A host of other incidents occur in this episode. MJ's friend Terrance played by Luda commits suicide. MJ's brother, introduces Ma Dukes to some" medicinal" marijuana. Ha. Ha. Ha. That scene was hilarious! Niecy, MJ's niece (sc) gives birth to her daughter Isabell and the father of her baby finally steps in. Bravo! However, what is most intriguing to me in this episode is the COME TO JESUS MOMENT that MJ has with herself. She realizes her mistakes and is brave enough to confront them, although highly intoxicated in the process. MJ apologies to Avery and what her affair did to their marriage and encourages Avery to take Andre back. That takes a lot of courage and maturity. We might not agree holistically with MJ's past behavior, but as MJ's father said concerning the Terrance situation, you gotta make it right and she did!

While professing her love to David, MJ calls herself a ride or die chick. She says and I quote, "I'm the real thing." Which reminds of Jill Scott's song "The real thing in stereo" One time for Jilly from Philly. #LoveHer

How many of us have been "ride or dies" only to be hurt in the end. I believe the key is to being a successful "ride or die" is to be in a committed relationship. Women we must commit ourselves to men who are worthy. Men who have PROVEN that they care and love US. They have expressed their love and commitment and they feel the SAME exact way or greater for you as you for them.

While I was preparing for a women's conference call with the group Church Girls Rock last year I discovered that I was a gallon lover. I love on a gallon level, most Scorpio's do. (Discalimer - I am a Christian, but I believe there are some true characteristics of horoscopes). I am guilty of loving men who were only giving me pints. I allowed this to go on for years. Until I had a COME TO JESUS MOMENT and finally realized that the love I have to share is set aside for someone special, for my gallon mate. My heart, will match his heart.And my love and compassion will finally be appreciated.There is no greater feeling than being free to love. I wish the same thing for Mary Jane and other women in similar situations. I have read many critics on the show Being Mary Jane via social media and how the show uplifts infidelity and adultry, which I honestly disagree. The show #BeingMaryJane simply illustrates the reality of the world we live in. Reality doesn't make it right or wrong, but it makes it valid. There are many women looking for love and desperate to obtain it. There are women and men who cannot be alone, so they stay in unhealthy relationships and start other relationships on the side like David did in #BeingMaryJane. It doesn't make it right, just makes it real.

Today I was reading the March issue of the Essence Magazine and they share some interesting statistics on women, dating and relationships. Essence reports that 75% of Black women 35 and older have been married (Fewer than 10% of Black women we surveyed believe this is the reality.) Also, 81% of Black women are open to dating a man who makes less money, but 56% are firmly against dating a man who is more than seven years younger than them.

This show has addressed many issues: suicide, friendship, love. relationships, teen pregnancy, marriage, infidelity, work-life balance, lust, race, minorities in corporate america, issues of being a successful Black woman, sexuality and a host of others. Will there be a second season of #BeingMaryJane I hope so, but in the meantime and in between time I'm going to love LaShannon. Loving LaShannon means letting my light shine, embracing my brown skin, curves, locs and allowing myself to be loved. I implore all of my woman: single, dating, in between, married, divorced or "it's complicated" to celebrate your womanhood. Celebrates what makes you you!

I would like to thank everyone who joined the twitter conversation everyTuesday night with me. To all who thought my words were worthy of a retweet, favorite and a reply and to those who read and followed my blog as I recanted each episode of #BeingMaryJane. I appreciate your support.

Notyouraveragemodel is a blog covering the multi-dimensions of #faith #fashion #love and #entertainment. With each blog post it is my desire to encourage, motivate, uplift and share something positive. And I will continue...

It's the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Not your Average Model: Behind the Seams: Evelyn Onyejuruwa - A Cultural Trendsetter

Not your Average Model: Behind the Seams: Evelyn Onyejuruwa - A Cultural Trendsetter: Some would argue that fashion and style are both a lifestyle. Style is something that is innate and inherent, while fashion is learned and ...

Evelyn Onyejuruwa - A Cultural Trendsetter

Some would argue that fashion and style are both a lifestyle. Style is something that is innate and inherent, while fashion is learned and observed. I’m a lover of all things fashionable. But, I’m particularly interested in cultural trends. Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with Evelyn Onyejuruwa (on-yeh-Joao-roo-wa), a cultural trendsetter, a Nigerian native raised in South Florida and the Founder/CEO of Ankara Miami, a South Florida based event planning company committed to promoting positive and progressive people and trends in the African Diaspora. Here’s what Evelyn O had to share…


Not Your Average Model: Good afternoon Evelyn O. First, I would like to thank you for this opportunity and congratulate you on your many achievements. For those who may not know Evelyn please tell me a little bit about yourself?

Evelyn O: I am a giving woman. Really into my culture. I appreciate the beauty of it and it is my goal for everyone to see it. If Ankara Miami is a way to achieve this goal then so be it.

Not Your Average Model: As Miss Nigeria Florida 2011-2012, in 2011 you founded Ankara Miami,
a South Florida based event planning company focusing on promoting other progressive Africans and "Redefining African Cultural Trends. What encouraged you to start your company and what has your journey been like? 

Evelyn O: I felt like there was a void for more progressive and upscale cultural events and I wanted to fulfill this goal. I enjoy planning events and Ankara Miami is an avenue. I have people in my circle who are supportive about what I’m doing and show their support through monetary donations, assisting me, providing encouraging words and positive energy. Because of this my journey is fulfilling. In South Florida there are a lot of Latin inspired traditional events, which makes it difficult when introducing an African event such as Ankara Miami. Ankara Miami is more about breaking trends and showcasing what being an African is like by introducing African events.

Not Your Average Model: The media portrays some parts of Africa as an impoverished and desolate continent. As a native Nigerian please describe Africa through your eyes.

Evelyn O: Our continent is rich, beautiful, It’s home… The family ties, the history behind our culture is very rich and there is so much to learn. There are parts of Nigeria that I haven’t visited and that I’m not aware of. It makes me very appreciative of where I am in life and what I’m doing.

Not Your Average Model: How is African culture different from Black culture?

Evelyn O: Being deeply rooted in something is what Africans possess. I believe that African-Americans are looking to have that connection. Some African-Americans don’t realize that a lot of what they do stems from something else. It stems from Africa. African-American culture is rooted in African culture. We are appreciative of people who want to learn more about our culture and willing to share our knowledge.

Not Your Average Model: What does it mean to be Nigerian in America? Describe your experiences growing up in South Florida?

Evelyn O: Kids can be kids. I come from a God fearing family and I didn’t have low self-esteem. I was raised to be strong in myself. So whatever nonsense I endured during school it didn’t really affect me. Although, I was reared in South Florida, it’s important for me not to forget where I come from. I have embraced the culture here, but have not forgotten my Nigerian roots. There are people I need to show that I haven’t forgotten.

Not Your Average Model: What are some Nigerian traditions you uphold?

Evelyn O: Some of the traditions are respect for elders, family values, being that village for my cousins, keeping connected to people back home, not forgetting where I come from and focusing on the positive. It’s significant for me to pass these traditions and values to my children.

Not Your Average Model: Ankara Miami will host the third Annual Ankara Fashion and Cultural Show on 2.22.14 at Florida International University . I have attended both shows in 2012 and 2013. Wooohooo #teamsupport, and I was truly impressed with both. What can attendees expect from Ankara Miami 2014?

Evelyn O: They can expect Modern African wear and ideas on how to incorporate African fabrics into every day wear. African accessories are big now, so fashion attendees will learn how to integrate it with casual wear. Designers will have pieces from the runway available for purchase. In addition, there will be vendors, live artwork, red carpet, African music, high fashion and African culture all in one room, real sexy like.

Not Your Average Model: lol Sounds good to me. Can’t wait! As we observe New York Fashion Week this week, do you believe that African style has influenced mainstream society? If so how?

Evelyn O: Yes, I believe that it has. If not through fabrics definitely with prints. We see lots of tribal prints and the mixing of fabrics with prints. There a lot of African designers being featured in mainstream fashion. In the last couple of years we have observed African inspired fashion in clothing and department stores. It is my goal for African fashion to not just be a trend.

Not Your Average Model: Who are some African designers who have made a mark on African trends?

Evelyn O: Korto Momolu , BCris Couture (New York), Sumahrie Collections (LA Sierra Leon),OYATO Designs & Artistryo (Nigeria),Jama Collections – (Sierra Leon and Jamaica)to name a few.

Not Your Average Model: I read on the Internet that Ankara Miami is partnering up with Macy's for Black History Month with an event called Era's of Black Style. Go Ankara. Go Ankara. What an honor?! How does this event coordinate with your cultural show?

Evelyn O: For years we’ve seen African fashion infused in mainstream fashion. We saw it in the 1950s and 60s with dashiki’s. Partnering with Macy's is showing that African fashion is nothing new. It’s proof that our fashion is more common and not just a trend.

Not Your Average Model: God has truly shown favor on your life. You were crowned Miss Nigeria Florida 2011-2012 , Cultural Ambassador for the City of Miami Gardens and 2013 South Florida's 40 under 40 black leaders of today and tomorrow to name a few. What is your greatest achievement to date?

Evelyn O: I don’t have a specific achievement. Every time something happens in my life, every achievement I’m grateful. I’m blessed for everything big or small. Three years ago we hosted our first fashion show and it was a really nice show, but this year we’re partnering with Macy's, it’s unbelievable! Being able to achieve something that I set my heart on is rewarding.

Not Your Average Model: Women are on the move, setting precedents, operating in leadership positions normally occupied by men. It is the first time in history that the president of Florida A&M University and Florida Memorial University are both women. Who are some of your mentors and women you admire?

Evelyn O: My mother is my mentor. She has an incredible story. We weren’t impoverished, but we come from humble beginnings. My mother came from Nigeria and was able to be successful here in the United States. She just completed her doctorate degree and balances church activities, family, work and school all with grace and humility. She is a blessing to my life; my friend, mother and mentor.

Not Your Average Model: As a young entrepreneur and cultural enthusiast what motivates and inspires Evelyn? 

Evelyn O: Each little success makes me want more. My support system is phenomenal. I have positive people around me. My friends and sorors. And that is always a good thing.

Not Your Average Model: In one sentence describe the legacy you would like to leave behind.

Evelyn O: I want people to be proud of what I’m doing. I want my family particularly. If I am not here I want my legacy to transcend through time. I want people to see me in a positive light, describe me as a good person and that I tried to do my best. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a scripture that I live by, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take."

Evelyn Onyejuruwa, a cultural trendsetter, entrepreneur and a woman on the move.
South Florida you don't want to miss #AnkaraMiami2014. I hope to see you this Saturday, February 22, 2014 at  FIU Kovens Conference Center 3000 NE 151 Street Miami, FL 33181. Tickets are $35 in advance an $50 at the door. Purchase tickets at Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 8pm. Come red carpet ready.

For more information on #AnkaraMiami visit Like #AnkaraMiami on facebook and follow #AnkaraMiami on Twitter and Instagram @AnkaraMiami. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#PlatinumTable - It's Complicated

This week's episode of #BeingMaryJane has me quite befuddled. Possibly because of my internal quarrels with love and relationships or simply because I have observed so many of the mistakes that Mary Jane has made on this week's episode within myself and people whom I know. On last week's post I shared that I wasn't ready for marriage and low and behold I stepped out over the weekend and met someone. Ha. Ha. Ha. Won't He do it! Guess who has a Valentine *raises hand*. Sound the alarm lmbo. But, I digress...

As we embark upon Valentine's Day this week, I am left to ponder the complexities of love, relationships and what each woman desires from both. This week's episode of #BeingMaryJane opens up with Andre searching for an apartment accompanied by MJ, because he is in fact "divorcing his wife." Andre's new apartment will not be available for another month and guess who volunteered to allow him to stay with her, M to the J. My first reaction was momma nooo. Are you crazy, MJ??? But in her world it makes sense. She loves Andre, so why would she allow him to stay in a hotel or bunk with someone else if she has availability. So now they're lover/roomates...I guess. I'm sure this is not the ideal situation for MJ. In contrast, some women would argue a piece of man is better than no man at all. Hey singer and songwriter Betty Wright even wrote a song describing this topic Although Andre is living with MJ and claiming her as his lady (well at least to the real estate agent) they cannot be seen in public together. I wonder why? Because dude is still married. #NumberTwoIssues

As the episode unfolds, MJ and her family attend the Jack and Jill Scholarship Dinner for the United Negro College Fund (one time for HBCU'S - Historical Black Colleges and Universities). Despite momma Helen pimping her husband (MJ's father) to obtain a platinum table at this elite event because "she is a founder and it's her time to live now,"the character David, Mr. Do Not Call reappears. RIGHT ON TIME! Now that Andre is "conveniently" living with MJ. David is as handsome as ever and to MJ's surprise he is still in communication with her parents.While sharing an intimate moment on the dance floor, David admits that he is dating someone and they are headed to seriousville. MJ is DEVASTED. Wouldn't you? Have you ever dated, conversed or talked with someone and stopped and found out months later that they were in a committed relationship, engaged or married??? *raises hand*. It makes you second guess yourself and wonder if something is wrong with you. Am I not the commitment type?

After watching #BeingMaryJane, my best friend asked me why is MJ mad about David dating someone else. My response is that she possibly still possesses feelings for David and wants what David has; Not necessarily with David, but with Andre and she realizes that she cannot have what she so desires. Or can she? If MJ makes the difficult decision to discontinue her relationship with Andre and not settle for less than what she deserves the possibility of commitment is amplified.

Wise men have told me that women possess the power in a relationship. We control what happens and what we allow to happen. Alice Walker states, "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." Women we have the power. It's only COMPLICATED, but we allow it to be. Let's change our ways and subsequently change the world.

Happy Valentines Day to all the lovers and lovers of love. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Number Two - Being Mary Jane Week Four

MISTRESS, SiDe ChIcK, side PIECE or NUMBER two. Some of us have played this role in relationships or know someone who has willingly or unwillingly. In this week's episode of Being Mary Jane, the concept of being “number two” in a relationship unfolds. We find out that Andre (MJ’s boo thang) and his wife Avery have been in counseling for 6 months. During one of their counseling sessions Avery describes how much she has sacrificed for their marriage. It SEEMS like women sacrifice the most in relationships. We give our all: time, love, our bodies, our identities to inherit there's and in return for what?

As the counseling session progresses Avery describes Andre as being a good man and a great father. But she poses the question, “then why are you cheating on me?” DING. Great question Avery. In the words of my daddy, “TALK TO ME.” Andre responds, “She sees me for who I am now. She's fun.”  Are women so focused on what “our image” of a man should be that we ignore who they really are? It appears that men just want someone to love them for who they are and grow to love who they will become.

As Mara Brock Akil would so have it, in this episode MJ is the guest speaker at a luncheon that Avery attends. Somebody say “awkward.” Avery shares with a group of women that her husband is cheating on her and proceeds to ask MJ why men cheat on their wives. But ten points for Avery, for making MJ uncomfortable for sleeping with her husband. “Up your sex game, years and years of bad sex and they fall out of love with their wives” is MJ’s response. So I pose a question, is sex an integral component in a relationship? In this episode, Avery attempts to please her husband orally and it was an epic fail. Noooo Avery, please stop. I always joke with my friends and tell them when the Lord blesses me with a husband sex WIL BE on the menu and will occur OFTEN lol. Yes, it will! Whenever and wherever my husband wants it, because at this point I am able to engage in sex with no restraints, no reservations and no shame. Sounds good in theory right, BUT when you work a full time job, endure the demands of motherhood, running a household, family, friends and extracurricular activities, sex may not be a top priority. As women do we get so involved in our careers and the business of life that we forget about the romance, fun and the reasons why we embarked on the relationship from the beginning?

The #2 Speech

When Mary Jane gave her riveting “number two” speech I know all the side chicks were like "heeey, who run the world" lol. But honestly, don’t side chicks want the role of number one anyway? My mother and I debate this all time, I feel that all women do not want to be married, but she differs. There are some women who are satisfied with just being "number two".  Are you?

I have always been the type of woman to just want one man. I never needed a bunch of dudes to "holla" at me. I just wanted one man to find me special, because I am. To believe I got it going on, because I do J.  Someone I can truly be ME around. I have realized these last couple of weeks, that what I desire most is companionship, simply a friend. I believe that friendship is the foundation for a successful relationship. Although I desire to be married, I believe that I am not ready for such an important role at this juncture in my life. I'm surprised that I'm even typing this. I really am.  Maybe, I'm being selfish, or simply realistic. But I want to be able to bring something valuable to the table. So, I am diligently working on being the best LaShannon Petit and building my company and brand Styling Purpose, LLC. Maybe I will meet the Mister while doing this. I know that God’s timing is different from ours and through faith and patience I will inherit His promises. I am trusting His word and His timing. 

I am Not Your Average Model and thank you for reading. See you next week on twitter @Lala_bangs for the 2 hour season finale conversation.