I feel so lucky to have many amazing women in my life. My bonkersly brilliant mum for starters, and all the amazing women in my dear family and friends who have all influenced or inspired me in some way.
I love women in general and feel that sacred connection between them is something I treasure. It´s not about preferring any sex over another, rather appreciating and celebrating the wonder of women.
Thought i´d share some of my other role models, magnificent influences and inspirations here for us all to enjoy. It started small this morning, but there are literally SO many amazing women to cite that i HAD to restrain myself so i could post this to you. So please bear in mind there are heaps missing, but this should hopefully wet your whistle.
Whatever category you choose to identify with, I bid you happy International Women´s Day. X
MAYA ANGELOU – THE HEART OF A WOMAN
This book (on par with Singing and Swinging and Getting Merry like Christmas) is my fave of Maya´s. Charting her journey from California to New York (where she began her work with Black artists and writers in Harlem), her work with civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Martin Luther King (amongst many others) plus the exploration on her move to Egypt, it reminds me over and over the compassion, dedication and absolute necessity for justice. I regularly dip in for her ever witty, acute and inspirational words.
Like animals and interested in meditation? I recently gulped this gem of words which now holds pride of place between the side of my bed and my work desk. The details are simply divine and there are brilliant life lessons in every chapter as Alice talks to her "girls" (chickens) - here´s an excerpt:
"Sometimes, sitting on my green stool and lulled by your complete indifference to the consequences of your natural behaviors, I wish we were more like you. More relaxed with our breasts and bellies and our feathers (of whatever sort) and our heights and weights and how we toss our heads back to drink water or how we sometimes let a leaf of lettuce slip from our fork.
You seem so clear about who you are. So certain that you are just right as you are, that for all your intelligence and maybe in spite of it, you never seem to need a second opinion."
It´s no secret i trawl most second hand book shops to try to find her books (it´s difficult!) and watch her talks regularly (the recent series at The New School has been sumptuous!). This site has been giving me pure and unadulterated LIFE since its conception and features bell´s words juxtaposed with Saved By The Bell´s stills. THANK YOU bell for your wisdom. And, um, thanks, Saved By The Bell for your, um, awesome.
The story of women´s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” - Gloria Steinem
“When I write I am trying to express my way of being in the world. This is primarily a process of elimination: once you have removed all the dead language, the second-hand dogma, the truths that are not your own but other people's, the mottos, the slogans, the out-and-out lies of your nation, the myths of your historical moment - once you have removed all that warps experience into a shape you do not recognise and do not believe in - what you are left with is something approximating the truth of your own conception.” - Zadie Smith
“Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature – all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.” - Twyla Tharp
Check out this amazing clip of Ava directing the last scene of Selma. Wow.
JADA AND WILLOW SMITH
This family, by jove. Have loved Jada since A Different World/Jason´s Lyric years and have always enjoyed her REAL TALK. Seeing her and the way she empowers her daughter to speak up as she respectfully considers and listens (and learns) from her is awe inspiring. *TISSUE WARNING* This video has me blubbing buckets!
"It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting." - Elizabeth Taylor
"I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better." - Frida Kahlo
As the uploader of the video below eloquently shared, "I love everything about this eccentric woman. Her wicked laugh, her confidence, her passion and love for life."
It´s no secret how i feel about this Queen.
THANDIE AND KAY
Celebrating and including all shades of beauty on their brilliant blog -> THANDIEANDKAY
I loved this particular piece Thandie wrote about going to Boots to try to find herself. Here´s an excerpt:
"Recently, I was at Heathrow Airport and cruised into Boots. Of the many smiling faces staring back at me from advertising boards, none of them looked like me, my Mum, or any of the black girls that I know.
I wondered to myself; do black women not go on holiday? Do black women not go on business trips? Do black women not work at Heathrow? Why isn’t this nationwide and beloved shopping destination stocking make-up for ALL the people and places that it serves? The answer you’ll get is that shades for darker skins don’t sell – but I’ve been standing there, for years, and I’d buy it? Meanwhile, I’m feeling unrepresented; twinges of bitterness creeping in. Am I invisible? Does Boots not want me here? Does it think I’m not worthy of some space on its aisles?"
Oh and if you haven´t already watched this brilliant TED talk by Thandie, here´s the link to that golden nugget!
"I wanted to start a revolution, using art to build the sort of society I myself envisioned." -Yayoi Kusama
"Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager." - Susan Sontag
SIX STORIES (best known for her also brilliant book SMALL ISLAND) i´ve recently been wolfing down her entire catalogue, most recently Six Stories, which are a brilliant introduction to her work (and the themes that run through). Every Light in the House Burnin′ broke my heart last year, the story of her relationship with her father. A beauty of a read.
"Why are we doing yoga? For health reasons? Perhaps a walk in the park would be better. To help someone else? There are so many ways of helping people...No, nothing of the kind. No motivation, no aims, only an agreeable appointment for the body to look forward to. We do it for the fun of it. To twist, stretch, and move around, is pleasant and enjoyable, a body holiday." - Vanda Scaravelli
Read my blog post "My Life with Bjork" here.
MARY J BLIGE
on: her definition of knowledge/wisdom and advice for going after dreams. (it´s also her birthday today #teamPisces !)
Queen Chaka. Whenever i need life i think about the fact that she lives up the road in Wembley and all feels right with the world. Here is one of my fave clips of her in action, owning the drums. Skip to 2:48 for the climax!
Basically i´m responsible for around 150,000 of those views this week...
“How do I get my creative juices flowing? I just let it happen. And if I’m not being or feeling creative, I just let that flow as well because that means it’s downloading period. That’s a time where I’m not supposed to be creating. I’m supposed to be learning.”
Giving me life, wisdom and beauty every single day!
I´m free. I just do what I want, say what I want, say how I feel, and I don't try to hurt nobody. I just try to make sure that I don't compromise my art in any kind of way, and I think people respect that."
Throwback to this piece of art (my 20 year old self was in rapture!)
I´ve already spoke (via instagram) about how i miss her...i really do.
Making my life easier since 2011.
GEORGIA ANNE MULDROW
Phew! Have a feeling i´ll be adding to this but until then, who inspires you and why?
Loads of love,