Image Courtesy of TaChelle Lawson
The Black Lives Matter movement has opened the eyes of many Americans to the hard-hitting fact that the way we choose to spend our money directly impacts the people around us. By supporting black-owned businesses, we are making a conscious decision to encourage and uplift black creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners. In turn, the community will have the ability to advance and fight back against a system that has resisted its flourishing.
TaChelle Lawson is a highly accomplished senior executive, entrepreneur, consultant, and mentor. She is the founder of FIG, a brand strategy firm that specializes in restoring brand reputation and sparking new business strategies. Recently, she launched Sassmouth Co., an apparel brand inspired by the realness of black women’s beauty. “We were born with a REAL booty that makes ‘em go ‘damn.’ Lips with NO fillers and skin that is all shades of bomb. No wonder chicks are mad. We’re buying lipsticks and crop tops and they’re buying lip injections and a fake booty. We know it’s not real, but maybe we should empathize...it’s not their fault. Nah. Turn up the sass.” Sassmouth encourages black women to reacquaint themselves with their natural beauty—from lips and skin to body and booty. Lawson’s mission is to uplift black women and help them continue to embrace their natural qualities. “I think that black women right now are at the point where we’ve acknowledged that our beauty is not only original but mimicable. It’s time for black women to reclaim our beauty. Sassmouth is partaking in the overall conversation of black women feeling overlooked and underappreciated. Now we are at the point of saying, enough is enough.”
Sassmouth is a new company that is launching headfirst into the apparel industry. “We’re starting with t-shirts, crop tops, and tank tops. Eventually, the goal is to expand into a lifestyle brand. Soon we will be offering cell phone cases, outerwear, and swimwear. Right now, I am in the works of partnering with a wine company to establish a brand of wine.” Sasssmouth will expand extensively over the next twelve months.
Lawson’s social media experience has allowed her to participate in the trends that black women are implementing. “I feel like social media is a platform for black women to encourage other black women to rock their natural state. I’m a huge fan of that. Socials are providing a platform for black women of every shape, size, cultural background, and sexual orientation—it is allowing those women to connect on something that only black women can connect upon.” Lawson states that the importance of promoting body positivity within the black community is one of the biggest reasons she started Sassmouth. “A big part of our upbringing is being told that so many things about us are not beautiful. We’re conditioned to believe that our hair is too nappy, our noses are too wide, our butts are too big, and our skin is too dark. There is so much about our physical appearance that is not positively enforced. I want people to understand that the way a black woman’s body is formed is not the same as women of other races. And that’s okay. That’s what makes you sexy and original. It’s incredibly important to not only promote that within our community of women but to encourage future generations of little black girls to become comfortable with their bodies so they don’t grow up with the same issues that we did.”
It is extremely common for black girls to grow up facing these outward challenges. The insecurities they face as children often manifest as they become women. “It’s so important to push positivity and embrace that, yeah, you’re different, and that’s okay. It’s not only okay, it’s awesome. And it’s important to make sure that we’re constantly representing that to these girls. There’s always some little black girl looking up to a woman to see how she feels about herself, and that conditions how she feels about herself, in turn. Lawson believes that the biggest opportunity on social media is the limitless number of people who have access to join the movement. “It’s really important to add ‘black women’ to hashtags created for black women. We need to make these messages incredibly targeted and craft a message that’s not going to be attractive to just any woman, but specifically to a black woman. There is a difference. I have friends of all races and ethnicities, but the conversations I have with black women about beauty, health, and wellness seem to be very different than those with my non-black friends. Our concerns are different. When you’re trying to have an impactful conversation, it’s so important to think about who that conversation is for.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, black women have begun to re-embrace their natural looks and stand in solidarity with black lives. They are rewriting what it means to be a black person in America and changing the ways that black women are perceived in American culture. “Black women are taught that our hair and nails need to be done every two weeks at the latest. Which is honestly quite expensive. To continue to embrace our natural beauty, we have to fall in love with our natural selves. It’s that simple. The COVID-19 pandemic was a good opportunity for women to reconnect with how they were born. Take the lashes off, don’t worry about getting your extensions done, or buying a new wig. This has been a time where we have embraced how powerful natural beauty is.
Beyond the pandemic, we can continue with self-love by accepting that this is who we are. During the pandemic, we were loving it! It’s time to be in love with your natural self and not be concerned with how the rest of the world will see you. Unfortunately, that is a big challenge for black women; it’s a real threat. Throughout history, we have felt the need to adopt a Euro-style of beauty. But we have to accept that we don’t need to conform to be beautiful or attractive. We’re more than okay in our natural skin.”
After many years of excessive hair care and beauty routines, Lawson began rocking dreads in her own light. “The compliments I get on my hair are outrageous. I have never, ever felt more beautiful, sexier, and more myself than I have with this hairstyle. There’s a lot of power in embracing what your body naturally does. In your natural state, that’s where you have the most power. That’s where you’re the most beautiful—because only you can be that. You find your style and your natural look that is only you. And why the hell would you want to be anything else?”
Sassmouth can be connected with through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, at @SassmouthCo, as well as their website—www.sassmouthco.com. The brand seeks to hold bigger conversations about black women being overlooked and undervalued, and how we can progress and make positive changes.
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