Royalty At Its Finest, Getting to know Lost Queens

Royalty At Its Finest, Getting to know Lost Queens

Meet young business owner Eboni M.

The greatest part about this year of 2016 is that the Black community has begun to join and ban together in the midst of all the chaos and injustice happening within the law system in America. Deterring the attention away from current world issues, one topic that has long been ignored is finally starting to come to light. Black owned businesses and why we should support them. One of the many solutions to Black people in America gaining not only human rights equality, but all around equality is to stop following this "American Dream" concept that has been put before since childhood. We must obtain, create, and control OUR OWN. In other words, in order to break the cycle its time for us to stop following this pre-packaged American Dream of working some type of 9-5 that you have no passion for and follow your dream. The human default is to automatically think that something like this unobtainable, its "too big" or "too much". but the truth is you can fulfill any desire that you are passionate about and are skilled in. Especially in this day and age.

After the Alton Sterling shooting, the Black Community came together so strong all over this country, not just outwardly but on social media as well remember the internet is powerful. I'm always making new connects on Twitter and I see so many of the young black youth (the cool kids are like what I like to call them) thriving within these small and sometimes even big businesses that they have created for themselves. They start small and it grows into something bigger more and more every day. It is truly inspiring to see and it's also a reminder that you can do it too. It just takes some perseverance and hard work. Thinking about the potential of the power of Black owned Businesses inspired me to interview one of my fav business owners, Eboni Merriman, founder of Lost Queens.

I've been obsessed with Lost Queens ever since I discovered them through seeing my friend "DazziDazz" (who I interviewed a few weeks ago) model some their pieces. I saw the diversity of the models, the set up, and I thought it was amazing. When I saw Lost Queen's "Formation" inspired photo shoot I fell deeper in love! Ever since I've been keeping up with LQ and many other black business as a supporter and witness that establishing your wildest dream is obtainable.

Eboni is 24-years-old originally from New York City, but currently resides in Richmond, VA. We had a little email chat over the weekend just so I could look in the genius of just what Lost Queens is.

So, when was LQ (Lost Queens) first founded?

"AUGUST 2014"

Where did your Inspiration to start Lost Queens come from?

"I wanted to celebrate black womanhood in all of its fullness and the Pharrell "Lost Queen" song kept looping in my head. I've always loved jewelry so it was just natural to go this way."

So I wanna know about this process its' so interesting! You come up with all of the designs yourself?

"I either work with an individual vendor to come up with Lost Queens exclusives or I choose from a few specific vendor's selections based on what I like."

How is the jewelry made? Is it all made by hand? Do you/will you ever use a manufacturer to produce your work?

"We use a few vendors in LA, NYC, Turkey, India & China currently. We had thigh chains and faux septum clips made by hand in previous collections and we hopefully want to expand to Ghana soon."

How long does it typically take to make a piece?

"We're able to get most of our shipments in on a weekly basis; if something is limited edition and that vendor only made a certain amount, I make sure to note that on it's listing."

Do you have a team of people that help you?

"Currently, I have a creative director that I work with. She's helping me clean up the site, streamline the processes, pull some interns together, and take us to another level. I had an assistant for a few months and I made all of my friends help me in the beginning, but I do almost all of the day to day operations solo."

How did you begin to make connections in business? I feel like living in New York would be an advantage. Was easy to find people (photographers, make up artists, etc) to work with?

"Yeah, I pretty much just used my friends and social media network to find everything I needed. I had a blog in the past with a friend of mine and I've been on Twitter since 2009 so I was able to network fairly easily."

What is your ultimate goal with LQ?

"I want to create a retail empire that impacts and provides representation for ALL Black women"

How far would you say LQ has come since it first started?

"We've come such a long way. We celebrate our 2 year anniversary this month and we've already landed major press and seen our pieces on television, print newspapers and magazines, celebrities, major music festivals, etc."

So now that you've come to this established place in your business, what future plans do you have for lost queens?

"Events, becoming more engaged with our community and growing the business/streamlining our processes."

Cover Image Credit: Lost Queens

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.


Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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