The only thing that sells better than sex, is luxury. The defining, pursuit, and curation of luxury has always been a cornerstone of marketing. Black people, especially Black women, are often marketed the lifestyle of luxury. But when it comes to partaking in such, there still seems to be a sense of shame or guilt.
In their new podcast, Girl I Guess, Karen Civil and hair and beauty boutique maven Ming Lee touched on Black luxury and the stigmas surrounding it in Season 1’s Episode 2 | Welcome To The Club. It started when the ladies discussed how others respond to their success, with them believing that when other people don’t find your level of success attainable, they’ll act as though you cut the line to get ahead.
“I read a comment the other day. I bought a new car, she was like ‘Oh, girl, I thought you had to trade in your other one and get another one.’ I was like, let’s normalize Black girl luxury,” Lee said, to which Civil responded in defense of her co-host, “That Lambo is still sitting in the driveway, don’t do me.”
“There was no trade-in needed. But it seems like it’s unattainable or unreachable for Black women to be successful,” Lee added. “There’s gotta be somebody behind her. There’s nobody…I tweeted not too long ago, in a relationship I went G-Wagon and Range Rover. Being single I went Lamborghini and Maybach. It’s with or without.”
Black women certainly deserve luxury. Whether that is in the form of spa days and getaways, designer purses and shoes or sports cars and high-end homes, we need to move away from the narrative that being Black means struggle or doing well but not too well, while getting it out of the mud and luxury is something that is exclusive to an elite club we were never supposed to have access to in the first place. While there is no end to Black luxury being displayed back to us in fashion, music, film, entertainment and the arts, when it comes to our personal lives, we are expected to be much more reserved. The truth is, we deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labors, especially when we’ve earned them.
“People don’t realize, I really do work hard. I really go to work. It’s blood, sweat and tears,” Lee said of her success. “There is no driving force behind me. I am the force. I’m the table, I’m the chairs, I’m the f*cking silverware, the napkins, the cups, the juice, the f*cking entree. The sides. The dessert.”
Civil jumped in again to affirm her, saying, “Matter of fact, I built this f*cking table, so I’m going to enjoy my meal.”
“Let’s normalize it,” Lee responded.
“That has to come from a place where people have to be comfortable with other people’s success,” Civil said. “But certain people are never going to be comfortable with other people’s success until they attain it.”
“It’s so easy to get, Lee added. “If you take all that energy you’re using to tear down somebody or to pick apart somebody else’s sh-t and you put it towards yourself, trust me, it’s gonna come. It’s gonna come.”
Whether we partake in luxury privately or choose to share these moments publicly, there seems to be an air of internal and/or external backlash that takes place to make us feel like we don’t deserve it, or that we shouldn’t share our successes and the rewards that come with them outwardly, lest we offend or ostracize others. This was evident in the recent Birkin bag backlash. With Birkins begin a marker of success, but Black luxury not being openly accepted, people will question if the Birkin is even real and if its owner even deserves to have it. Nevertheless, we should be proud of what we do for ourselves and never feel ashamed or unworthy of receiving and experiencing beautiful things. Let’s normalize Black luxury and remember Black women were some of the originators when it comes to owning and experiencing fly things.
You can watch the full episode of the Girl I Guess podcast on the Joe Budden Network, but see the clip of the conversation at the 44:45 mark below: