Letter from the Editor: Take Up Space, Sis

take up space sis

First, I want to start this Editor’s Letter off with complete and utter gratitude for how well-received our first campaign, “Redefining the Hustle” was. So many of you blew me away with your kind words and reposting links and it made me so full. The idea behind the campaign was a realignment after a year (and honestly, probably longer) of hustling backward and doing all of those things I thought I should be doing to be successful based on the cloud of content online and it took away from what I actually should’ve been doing.

I’ve never felt more aligned with my work and my words than I have since releasing “Redefining the Hustle” and I pray the feeling only intensifies and that my words, and those of the women I’ve collaborated within this space so far, have roots and wings for those who need it, in the way that they need them.

Thank you for seeing my vision and respecting it.

Now onto our latest campaign, “Personal Space.” I wanted the next campaign, and each one going forward to build and expand on our general ideals as a brand but also falls natively behind the previous campaign and corresponding posts.

After releasing “Redefining the Hustle,” I realized how deep the term went and actually decided to nix our old tagline and the ideas for the newer one and use “redefining the hustle” as the new tagline and a consistent theme throughout our work. It means so much more than just us as a brand representing ourselves and relaunching but also we’re reminding ourselves that growth doesn’t end, it redefines itself for whatever season you’re in.

Once we’ve decided on our own personal and professional definitions of hustling, it’s time to put it into practice and discover how we show up for ourselves.

Our new campaign “Personal Space” is a continuation of how we professionally create our own spaces and give life to our ideas but figuratively and emotionally, as we develop and allow ourselves the ability to be who we’re called to be without apology.

That moment of revelation reminded me of the flashback scene of Khadijah James in her brownstone kitchen covered in kente cloth racking her brain trying to think of a name for her hip 90s magazine. “Mhm what flavor,” Regine said sarcastically as she ate the food that Maxine prepared for her. And immediately Khadijah yelled “THAT’S IT. FLAVOR! THAT’S THE NAME OF MY MAGAZINE”

Just like how “Flavor” can mean so many different things to Khadijah, so can The Bronze Hustle mean to me. That’s how I felt when my mind wandered into exploring the topic of personal space. It’s a huge topic but it’s relevant in so many different areas of our lives.

As I’m writing this, news stories are circulating and tweets are threading regarding our thoughts around abortion and women’s rights. Even in that, I think of personal space: all of these men are making laws around someone else’s uterus. Not even a uterus they came from or the one they may sleep next to, but ones they have never and probably will never meet. Yet another person intruding on our personal space and our bodies.

I think of how our physical space was taken from our ancestors as they were forced to board boats and starve along the journey. I think about our mental and emotional space that was taken as a long term effect of slavery. I think of the spaces brown and black people were confined to in movie theaters, in restaurants, in bus stations, in church, and in college. I think of my mother shushing me in public spaces for being “too loud.” I think of the white girl who told me my skin looked “good on me” at a college new year’s party. I think of all of the sly remarks of me being pretty, likable, and different from other black girls.

I realized what the girl at the party said and the deeper meaning into other similar comments:

“Wow, I didn’t expect you to be dark skin AND pretty. I didn’t expect you to be in this room and take up so much energy and space not caring about making us all uncomfortable because of your skin.”

I’m so grateful for this beautiful black millennial generation that truly has turned respectability politics into old news. I’m grateful that I run a brand where I have the ability to expand and speak on topics I’m interested in. I’m blessed to be able to sit at a computer and create these posts because there was a time when my people weren’t even allowed to read, let alone publish their thoughts.

I’m reminded in my personal spaces that I don’t speak for women of color, I speak for Black women. I speak for those who got doors shut in their faces, for those who were told “you should learn how to read” at work (yes, that really happened to me and yes, I was furious), for those who got the “this used to be the bad part of town” spiel in Ubers knowing we once lived in those same neighborhoods and know many people who still do.

In essence, you will respect me. You will put respect on my name. And you will respect my space. Periodt.

The “Personal Space” campaign is all about Black women unapologetically expanding, being better versions of themselves and taking up space. We’re not shrinking for the sake of someone else’s insecurity or expectations.

The “Personal Space” campaign is all about Black women unapologetically expanding, being better versions of themselves and taking up space.
— Shay Duriel, Creator of The Bronze Hustle

“Personal Space” is also the act of literally expanding into different niches, purchasing domains and spreading our work beyond social media. Figuratively making our presence known and cultivating what it means to be a woman who is the loudest version of herself in every room.

I’m extremely proud of the collection of posts as well as the release of our new newsletter, Creative Control, and how this campaign will add depth to our narratives. I hope you enjoy each piece and take what you need from it.

With love, S.

Read the new set of posts below: