Juneteenth: Celebrating our Black Community!

Juneteenth: Celebrating our Black Community!

At SOPHIE BLAKE NY, our vision has always been to celebrate and uplift our female community and SB Tribe. Today, marks a special day for our Black Americans across the country, a day of independence  and a chance to honor and celebrate Black culture. 

For 155 years, Black Americans across the country have memorialized Juneteenth  or  June 19th.  On Tuesday  June 15, 2021, the U. S. Senate unanimously passed a bill establishing June 19th, as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US Federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

A bit of history about the day. While the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the Confederacy on January 1, 1863, for over two years, Texas was the slaveholders’ last refuge. It was on June 19, 1865, General Granger entered Texas with Union forces to issue a direct order notifying Texans that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished. June 19th marks the day that the remaining 250,000 enslaved  Black Women and Men in Texas were finally granted freedom and notified that slavery was abolished. 

In celebration of Freedom and honoring Black culture, we are spotlighting two special Women in the SB Community who have taken the time to share their thoughts on Juneteenth. 

Meet: Joy Kingsley-Ibeh

Joy Kingsley Ibeh profile image for Juneteenth

She is the the CEO and Founder of Kingsley Model + Talent Management, and Lead Stylist for Style By Kingsley.

  2. Tell us about yourself and how you got into Fashion 

I've always been in love with fashion and the modeling industry ever since I was a child.  I remember seeing Naomi Campbell on the cover of Vogue Magazine for the first time, and it changed my life and how I saw fashion.  It was the first time I saw someone who looked like me, a black woman, with full lips, brown skin, and high cheekbones.  My journey into fashion was through the modeling industry at the age of 25, when I did my first photoshoot and was signed by a small local modeling agency.  Years later, a few magazine covers, features, runway shows, and national ads later, I took all my experience and love for fashion and started my wardrobe styling business and modeling agency. 

3. Tell us something fun about yourself or something you are proud of?
I've had the opportunity to be a part of some really fun and amazing things in my life.  But one of the things I'm most proud of is my volleyball career.  I was the recipient of a full athletic volleyball scholarship at George Mason University, and went on to play professional volleyball in Vught, Holland, for Bonduelle VVC. Since childhood, sports have been so instrumental in who I am, and fostered my competitive nature to do my best in everything I do.  

4. With Juneteenth just around the corner we wanted to know what it means to you?
Juneteenth means so many things to me, and I'm happy that more Americans are finally learning about it.  It symbolizes freedom, survival, endurance, hope, and a future unchained.  But it also is a reminder of just how far we have to go and what we as Black people have endured in this country.  Although it's the day Black Americans celebrate being officially free in this country, in many ways we are still bound by a system that continues to oppress us, appropriate our culture and hold us back.  As I have in past years, I will continue to celebrate Juneteenth as our freedom day!!  

5. What progress have you seen in our society and what  would you like to see change 
for the future?
I believe Americans as a whole have become more engaged and informed about the social injustices currently happening and what has happened in our country's history that has shaped our country.  I see people of all races not being afraid to stand up for what is right and lending their voice to the voiceless or marginalized groups in our society. When I see our youth standing up, protesting, fighting for inclusion, fighting for justice and surrounding themselves with diversity, it brings me hope for our future.  However, the biggest change I want to see is a drastic change in police reform.  The time is now and as the saying goes "be the change you want to see in the world".  So I will continue to speak up, stand up and be unapologetically Black.  

 

Meet: Kimberly Brickus

Kimberly Brickus- Blog post about her thoughts on Juneteenth

Everyone calls her Kimmie! Kimmie is the Boutique Manager and Wholesale Executive for Sophie Blake New York.

 

What do you do at Sophie Blake NY?

I run the day to day in store. We are a  tight team, we share all the daily duties from merchandising the store, visual displays, floral designs, curating new brands and most importantly customer relations and selling.

We are currently expanding into wholesale so researching stores that fit our vision and aesthetic to carry Sophie’s jewelry collections is also my responsibility.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into Fashion? 

I got into fashion because of my father Vernon Brickus. From the moment he designed and hand stitched my Halloween costume when I was 7 I was hooked! I grew to truly love and be inspired by fashion from mentors Mr. Ernest Marks who owned Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase Maryland , he taught me about the business side of fashion. Which isn’t the most glamorous part but the most important to be successful. When he passed away his store had 40 amazing years of high end retail success. LaShea Green, Couture Buyer and Boutique Manager of Saks Jandel. She taught me the beauty of fabrics and shape and the quality of a garment which gives a designer longevity in the business. Then there is Romona Keveza who designs the most incredible Evening  & Bridal Gowns. Her passion for design and how she develops a collection from the sketches to the fabrics to how she presents it to the public has been the best education. We have a wonderful friendship. I learn so much from her everyday.

Just a few days ago Juneteenth officially became a Federal Holiday   we wanted to know what it means to you?
June 19th known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day marks a dramatic day when Federal Troops were sent into Galveston TX in 1865 ensure all enslaved people were free 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. As a woman of color who still experiences racism and the disproportionate harm it can cause I still strive to be seen as equal not less than because of the color of my skin.

What progress have you seen in our society and what  would you like to see change for future?

Have things gotten better? Lately it doesn’t feel that way. Some days are better than others but I still have HOPE and that’s powerful to me.

We want to thank Joy and Kimmie for taking the time to express their thoughts on Juneteenth. We also want to share that Today through the end of the month (June 30th) 100% of the proceeds from our online store will be donated to Black Women’s Health Imperative

Xoxo 
SBNY Team