BOBBI ELLE: BROWN SKIN GIRL…BLACK GIRL MAGIC

Brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
Never trade you for anybody else
Singin’ brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
I never trade you for anybody else, singin’…


This song has been on repeat in my home since Beyoncé dropped her album for The Lion King. Hearing the lyrics drives me to tears and makes me happy all at once. Watching my daughter, Bobbi Elle dance around the house while belting the lyrics of the song, brings me joy. The other day I asked her if she knew what the song meant.  “Yes mommy…it means my brown skin is beautiful.”

At 2 years and 3 years old, Bobbi would come home asking for her hair to be straight and long like her pre-school friends. She would ask why she couldn’t be “vanilla.” She would play with her white Barbies and call her black dolls “dirty.” Crazy part is…I used to hear other moms talk about this – but never expected to hear those words from my own child…and at such a young age.

I knew that she was in a pre-school where she was one of one. While she developed the best relationships and friendships that she still has til this day – it clearly affected her to not see other girls like her. She just wanted to be…what she saw.

By the time she was 4 years old, I knew we needed to balance out what she was seeing on a daily basis…and since she loved to dance – I found an African-American ballet studio near where we lived, Be Dance Studios.   I took her by to get her registered – and she looked at the roster of girls and said…“wow…they’re all chocolate.”

Her first few weeks into the program…I would watch her watch the other girls getting ready for ballet class…in awe. Her face told me that this was something new and she was intrigued by it all. I’ll never forget her looking at the girls – all different shades of chocolate…in amazement. It was a pretty telling moment for me.  And I knew we had made the right move.

In her first few weeks in kindergarten – she came home with a school project where she had to write her bio…”About Me.” Her dad had been doing morning affirmations telling her to repeat…“I am smart…My skin is beautiful….I am Kind…I am Special.” So it was only right when she had to fill out “I am special because….” She wrote…

“My skin.”

When I read that…I was so happy…and then I cringed.

This “About Me” bio was going to be put up in the walls of the classroom in time for Back to School Night. What would the other parents think? If I read a white child’s bio that stated they were special because of their skin…I would feel a certain kind of way and that child AND parent would get the side eye from me.

I started to erase her answer that I helped her write…and then…I stopped myself.

I thought about all the times she came home wishing she was “vanilla.” Asking why her hair could not be long and straight like her friends. I thought of the times she called her black dolls dirty.

And I pushed her bio away…looked at her and said…”what do you mean you’re special because of your skin?”

“Because my skin is brown…and its beautiful.”

That was all I needed to hear.

All I could say was “I love that answer, Bobbi” and watched her color in that section of her box…brown.

Everything we said and did in the past year to help her embrace her skin color, her hair and who she was – had kicked in.  And I was not about to unravel that.  She had pride…She was confident.  And she had no shame owning it.  And so should I. We fought too hard and too long to be in 2019 fearful or worried about how others will view of us…for loving ourselves…and loving the skin we are in.  And if we’re honest – we’re still fighting.  But that’s another blog post for another day.

Bobbi Elle: Brown skin girl..Black Girl Magic..One Balanced Mama blog

Black Girl Magic Photo Shoot

When Bobbi turned 6….as its our tradion…it was time to do our annual birthday photo shoot. I wanted it to be something that celebrated her and who she was at that moment in time…Black Girl Magic….A Warrior Princess. The Bantu Knots was her idea. She went from wanting “vanilla” to all black everything! I called my friend and hairdresser, Jade Davis…and she went to work. Between Jade and Toni Lowe who styled her and Erica Melissa behind the lens…we captured who she is….BLACK GIRL MAGIC…

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FAMILY MATTERS: OUR HOLIDAY PHOTO SHOOT 2017

Our holiday season usually kicks off with our annual family photo shoot. Its always a fun time for us – and this year was pretty special. We rented a cabin at Oleta River Park for a change of scenery and pretended we were somewhere warm and cozy – although it was 80 degrees outside!

These sessions for us are a time to capture fun times with quality photos that will last a lifetime. As we gear up for our 2018 shoot – I’m looking back at some of my favorite shots taken by Erica Melissa.
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A BOY AND HIS TOYS…..AJ TURNS FOUR!

So AJ turned 4 in August…we were coming off of our family cruise and his birthday was right around the corner. In the past – I’ve partnered with my fave photographer who has shot AJ since birth...and we’ll come up with great ideas and places to shoot their annual photo shoot. But this time – I was tired and out of ideas…and tired. So I called Erica and decided we would shoot AJ in his element….at home…in his playroom…and with his toys. He had 7-day old pool hair, but I didn’t care…I had a tradition of capturing my kids turning a year older – and this was as real as it was going to get. And I loved everything about this session. We pulled out his favorite car, grabbed his Lightning McQueen jacket and he went to work.

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Of course Bobbi would want in – so she went and dressed herself to get photos with her little brother in their favorite part of the house – their playroom.

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I loved that we used our home setting…there will be some point where there is no playroom because they will be all grown up. So capturing what their environment looks like at this age is just as important as capturing them. We used our garage for the shots of him and his dinosaurs….and the front of our home for his race car scene.

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AJ at 4 is your typical active little boy. His growth from toddler boy to big boy is pretty awesome to see. He loves all things Paw Patrol, obsessed with Hot Wheels…and loves animals. As someone who is fearful of dogs – it makes me happy to see how comfortable he is with animals. I did not want him to take that part of me! He’s in his last year of pre-school and although he’s the youngest in the class – he is holding his own. I love that he still shows that he needs me and wants hugs – just not kisses. When I kiss him on the lips – he wipes it off…and gives his head – not even his cheek. Who wants to kiss hair??

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My baby boy is no longer a baby….so I am soaking in EVERY minute. I’m enjoying this stage of growing pains, occasional temper tantrums, picky eating, and innocent fun. This is Amarii Joseph Metelus…my son!

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FIVE AND FIERCE: BOBBI ELLE’S BIRTHDAY PHOTO SHOOT

She’s FIVE…and FIERCE!!!!

Bobbi Elle turning the BIG 5 is bittersweet to me. I just pushed her out yesterday! Where did the time go???  It was not long ago when I shared on this blog my pregnancy announcement:  The Sperm Done Met The Egg.

Many of you have been on this journey with me and have seen her growth.  Doesn’t it make you feel old watching someone else’s child grow up?? Happens to me all the time!

Turning five is a major milestone. Definitely more for me than her.  I mean…she starts real school this year!  I no longer have a little girl. I can barely pick her up at this point – she dresses herself and there are major meltdowns if I attempt to choose anything for her. She’s super independent, knows what she wants and will verbalize it in detail for ALL to understand. If you follow her on any of my social media platforms, then you know that she is a spirited child with a huge personality. While she’s still into her Disney Princesses, she’s also now very much into ratchet music.  And while I’m sad to see her shed the baby girl vibe that I once knew…I’m so excited to see her coming into her own!

For her birthday photo shoot this year – we went with a big girl grown-ish vibe while still capturing the innocence and sweetness of a being a girl. The scene was Lincoln Road on Miami Beach. We used Laduree’s Bakery as our setting…they were sooo awesome to allow us to shoot her there. Plus – we racked up on macaroons (my fave) and espressos. It was a win-win!

Here are some of my favorite shots from our Breakfast At Tiffany’s inspired photoshoot – thanks to Erica Melissa.

We also did shots of her in a fun look – the halter top rose petal shirt that Bobbi was obsessed with!!  Listen…you couldn’t tell her that she wasn’t modeling for Vogue!

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Since her birthday falls a few days before Valentine’s Day – I always get my two loves in a few shots together…sharing a few of those here: Sibling Love: Valentines 2018. Also – check out her Mad Hatter Tea Party/Birthday Party!

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