Live the BE Life, a California-based organization devoted to positive change and conversation, held its second annual “Black & Beautiful” brunch Saturday in D.C., offering black women a platform dedicated to enhancing the quality of life, self-love, and mental wellness.
The event, themed “My Black is Enough: Embodying Self Love, Embracing My Sisters, and Epitomizing Excellence,” served as a tool to spark dialogue about contentious issues, including the black diaspora, colorism, cultural appropriation, natural hair, body issues and racism.
“Today was just strictly about women empowerment and being around so many beautiful Black women,” said Blyse, a D.C. resident and one of the event participants. ‘It was therapeutic in the sense of, you think you’re the only one going through these struggles and thinking you’re the only one who has these issues, but it was so refreshing to see other women who I could relate to and get that real sisterly bond. Sometimes we just need to take time for ourselves.”
Tiffany Wright, founder of Live the BE Life and the annual brunch, used the event at the Provision No. 14 restaurant in Northwest to broach stigmatizing topics such as “Name a time someone made you feel ugly because you were black” and “Do you ever feel less than or burdened being a woman of color,” in an attempt to rebuild positive images of young black women.
“Right now now millennials are in a weird space trying to affirm their identity and what it means to black,” Wright said. “I’ve been in that space before myself and have even battled depression, but through divine inspiration I slowly began to wake up everyday choosing to live my life unapologetically and embrace my most beautiful self.
“And that is what I want for these girls, for all women,” she said. “Mental wellness is so important because I find it sets the tone for everything else, so we have to start loving people and ourselves and forgiving others and ourselves.”
Though the brunch has a different theme every year, Jasmine Thompson, organization co-founder and event coordinator, said she hopes that each one “will resonate with experiences of all black women.”
The brunch, established in 2015 in Oakland, California, after the death of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died while in police custody in Texas, became Wright’s way of providing a free and safe space for women of color to network and express their most intimate concerns.
“People don’t realize how that affects them mentally and emotionally, so I wanted to create a space where women could talk about these things and give them the tools to take care of themselves,” Wright said.
After a well-received inaugural brunch in 2015, Wright now takes her events all across the globe. This year’s locations include Atlanta and Johannesburg, with future stops planned in Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland.
“Out of my own journey, I was led to build this brand to invigorate the minds, bodies and spirits of feminine beings to understand their strength, beauty, and purpose in this world,” Wright said. “I believe self-love will allow you to walk confidently, give graciously, live fearlessly, and love effortlessly while fulfilling your purpose.”
Portions of the proceeds support StandUp For Kids, an organization that benefits homeless children.
For more information, visit livethebelife.com.