Yours Truly, Jey: Black Panther, Trevor Noah and a $20 Topshop Jumpsuit

 Photos by  Madison Montgomery

I wrote "I choose my blackness more than ever before" in this post from December, and those words are becoming vibrant. I never disliked being half black, but it felt complicated and frustrating. Growing up, I didn't think much about my "blackness" beyond "I need to tame my hair" because I felt burdened by frizz and curls, or "I hope people don't think I'm adopted" because growing up with the Chinese side of my family put a puzzling spotlight on me. Honestly, the root of my aloofness has been my lack of feeling "black."

For a good portion of my life, I have felt unintentionally distant from the soul of black communities. I want this to change. This wasn't supposed to be a piece to share how I feel about the color of my skin, but with gold like Marvel's recent Black Panther movie and a surge of black voices being heard and respected from the forefront of pop culture, I have the sudden urge to express this side of myself and become more in touch with my culture by emerging myself in it. Keep reading for a quick look into what else I've been in the mood for from music to a good read to a proud style bargain moment.


I'M LISTENING TO...

The Black Panther soundtrack. I was nodding my head in major approval when I read Kendrick Lamar was curating an album for the Black Panther movie. I listened to it before watching the movie in theaters and was so excited to see how it would interlace with the film. King Kendrick and Black Panther didn't disappoint, and like the rest of the black community, I've been throwing up an "X" across my chest with my arms and saying "Wakanda Forever" for weeks. The two together and individually are powerful, soft, and sexy. The blackness and spirit of the fictional African nation thrives in both.

Check out the lyric video for "Pray For Me" below, and listen to my other favorite, "The Way" by Khalid and Swae Lee here.


I'M READING...

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While my boyfriend, Vadym, is on his 9th or 10th book of the year already, I've spent more hours reading short poetry books or Instagram captions (I'm such a millennial, it hurts). Knowing that one of my goals is to read more books this year, Vadym is trying to help me focus on the goal. In January, he let me look through a huge box of books he had read and let me take any that sparked my interest. I took at least 10 hoping to start my year with some promising literature. They filled a shelf of my black bookshelf in my bedroom.

It's day six of March and I've only turned my way through two chapters of one of the books V gifted me. "Born A Crime" by Trevor Noah, a hilarious comedian best known for hosting Comedy Central's The Daily Show, is a captivating autobiography. The pages come alive with Trevor recounting his experiences of growing up in apartheid South Africa. It was far from an easy life, especially with him being born as a crime because it was illegal to have mixed children.

I'm excited to learn more about his journey to live his American dream and to also see the future film adaptation, which will star the incredible Lupita Nyong’o.


I'M WEARING...

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I've caught jumpsuit fever.  Although not the most practical article of clothing for when I have to go to the restroom, especially when I realize I practically have to get naked in a public stall, I love them. The patterns are fun, the flowy fits are comfortable AF, and depending on the fabric, jumpsuits can be acceptable for both lounging on a lazy day or going out for an event. I've been a little obsessed with this polka dot and floral one from Topshop. I bought it last fall in Houston when it was on sale for $20.  WHAT A STEAL. I love pairing it with my staple items: a leather jacket, fishnet stockings and old-skool Vans. My friend Madi captured me in this look while we explored downtown Long Beach and I've been on the hunt for more jumpsuits from stores like ASOS, Zara and Urban Outfitters ever since.

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I'M IN THE MOOD FOR...