“Beyond the Black Square”

Stephanie Hill shares Beyond the Black Square on The Style Bungalow

I recognize that having a platform where I can openly talk to 200k+ people at any given time is a tremendous blessing and responsibility — one I don’t take lightly. The more I listened, the more I knew what I did last week was merely scratching the surface and “what’s been socially acceptable.” Therefore, I feel compelled to speak about the actions I’m taking in order to be better. I still have so much to learn, but I’ve committed to reversing the course as it needs to go beyond the black square 

If I make a mistake, I hope you can find the compassion and empathy to share your thoughts in a comment below. Much like the past few years with The Style Bungalow, I hope to inspire you to take action because real impact and change stems from this.

I’m an ally  

You’ve probably seen Mireille Harper’s words circulating the internet about how to create a “non-optical” allyship (click here). An ally stands with or advocates for individuals and groups other than their own. This means utilizing your privileges to support other movements…  

Black people have worked tirelessly for years sometimes devoting their entire lives to fighting racial injustices and institutionalized racism. What we’re experiencing is a systemic problem, which is on me to unlearn previous habits that may have contributed to this and learn how to best stand in solidarity, fight for equality, justice and do the work towards antiracism. 

Actions speak louder than words 

Some people participate in digital activations while others protest. For me, listening first is proving to be the most impactful. When I listen, putting personal agendas and experiences aside, I gain a better understanding of what is being asked of me. Then, I’m able to apply that wisdom and challenge myself to be more intentional about what steps I take towards antiracism…starting with those uncomfortable conversations at home with family and friends.

As I reflect further, I remembered just how much I loved mentoring my previous interns and how much I personally grew from that experience. South Florida, in general, doesn’t have many opportunities for fashion so I would love to select one or two candidates from minority communities in high school or college that are interested in learning more about blogging to mentor. I will continue to champion diversity and inclusion because doing so not only reinforces The Style Bungalow’s vision, but strengthens our community.

(If you’re interested in applying for this mentorship, please send your resume to Hello[at]TheStyleBungalow.com along with your social handles and a quick explanation why you’re interested.)  

Last June, we created a series called “Emerging Latin Designers I Love” to support and spotlight small Hispanic-owned businesses that I feel not only speak to my aesthetic, but deserve attention. We’re changing the title to, “Emerging Designers I Love” and will do a better job at diversifying and representing Black designers, like Sindiso Khumalo (LVMH Prize Finalist for 2020) or Indego Africa, among other minority designers who are underrepresented in the fashion industry. Stay tuned! 

I will also do my due diligence to work with brands who are openly in support of racial equality and will continue to make decisions from a place of depth and authenticity.

But it doesn’t stop here…

Going beyond the black square means holding myself accountable to being an ally, continuous learning, championing diversity within The Style Bungalow, my community and home. I need to show up and help undo systemic racism. There’s a lot of work to do but with consistency, I firmly believe we can collectively help reshape our society.  

Cleo Wade sums this up perfectly. “We cannot overcome what we ignore. The more we talk about things, the more we see that the issues are connected because we are connected.”

I’m committing to the “more” part. Let’s keep doing more 

Xo, Stephanie

Resources helping me:

Books: 

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Sites: 

Teaching Tolerance, how to recognize privilege 

#8CantWait, 8 use of force policies that can reduce police violence by 72%

Mapping Police Violence, learn about police violence and how it shows up in cities, states and communities 

2 Comments

  • I appreciate all the steps you have taken to learn and to also teach. We all follow different people for different reasons, and you’re style of writing is one of the reasons I follow you. You speak eloquently and passionately. I’m excited to learn about new emerging designers you highlight in the future.

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