Tag Archives: alyscia

The proof is here!

20180509_132238.jpgI received a proof copy of I Am More Than My Hair book. How exciting!

After review, Robin Benson, my Designer, made a minor change then I gave the OK for printing. All copies are expected to arrive by or around July 23, 2018.

In the meantime, I’m working on plans for distribution, marketing, speaking/book tour and of course…¬†grant applications.

This time around, I’m applying finishing fund grants. And in a few weeks I’ll launch…

iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign

I discovered iFundWomen last month while attending Light City Baltimore. How cool is it to have a crowfunding platform dedicated to women only. Amazing!

After speaking with one of the coaches I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to help cover the finishing cost of I Am More Than My Hair film. I’m almost there. I just need one more push to complete it.

At this point, I will edit the film on my own (rough-cut) and will hire an Editor to complete the fine-cut. As much as I tried to avoid it, I’m guessing the Universe wants me to edit this film. ūüôā I’ll keep you posted.

Pre-order your copy

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of I Am More Than My Hair book, you can do so via PayPal. It will also be available on Amazon but won’t go live until I receive the shipment of books. Pre-order your copy here.

 

HuffPost covered the Fashion Show!

HuffPost Editor, Jamie Feldman, covered the Bald, Beautiful, & Bold Fashion Show. If you missed it, read more here.
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My Encounter with Beauty…Reflected Through My Lens

I vividly remember questioning beauty at the age of 10. There weren’t any examples of little brown girls that looked like me on TV, magazines and definitely not on billboards. As I went through the early stages of puberty my body, as well as my mind, went through the transitions.

At the time, and for the first time, I questioned beauty. I wondered if I fit the picture of “pretty. As I was going through these changes an encounter with my aunty lead me to believe I truly wasn’t beautiful. It lead me to doubt my worth.

My aunty looked me directly in my eyes, as my face was full with pimples and discoloration, and said to me with her distinct Trinidadian accent, ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre getting ugly.‚ÄĚ Although my father made it a point to always tell me that I was beautiful, on that day my father‚Äôs words had no significance.

I allowed those three words to make me lose sight of loving myself unconditionally. My confidence crumbled in a few seconds.

Eventually, and as I went through adolescence, my father’s positive affirmations became constant reminders of my worth. Then I began to understand what the true meaning of beauty…and I was her.

Once I became a mother I found myself consistently reassuring my child of who they are and made a point to create a space of feeling comfortable in their own skin. I came to the realization that I do this with my children because I didn’t want them to be negatively impacted by outside influences as I was.

I do however recognize that they cannot completely avoid this reality. School and family can be the biggest influence of our own self-perception. Positive or negative.  Regardless, I have faith that with the support of my husband and myself, our children can and will overcome self-doubt.

Through this journey I recognized I created projects that in some way are a reflection of my personal experience.  In some way I believe I am speaking to the little girl inside me that was affected as a child.  I unconsciously focus my photography to represent raw and unaltered (without Photoshop) beauty.

Amber-17

I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful MeThrough my photography I gave birth to photo books that celebrate the natural beauty of women and girls. The first being Feminine Transitions and my current project I Am More Than My Hair. In the near future my hope is to also create documentaries that reflect the same concept in a video format.

It’s a start on creating positive change and it’s a blessing for me to be a deliverer of a healing revolution.

Blessings for 2015!

I Must Confess… 2014 Was Not An Easy Year.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that 2014 was not an easy year for many of us. Personally, I believe that keeping disappointment to ourselves does not bring forth healing change. Being honest does. Honesty opens connections.

Either way, I leave 2014 behind and look forward to positive change in 2015. I wholeheartedly see abundant opportunities and I’ve done my best to put things in order that has created personal growth. In that, I wish you many blessings and changes for the better in 2015 and beyond..

Peace & Blessings,

Alyscia Cunningham


EVENT REMINDERS

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Photography Book Talk with Alyscia Cunningham

When: January 9, 2015 7:30pm ‚Äď 9:30pm

Where: College Park Arts Exchange Old Parish House

Website:
For more info: http://www.cpae.org/node/606

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On January 12, 2015 I will launch my Kickstarter campaign for my upcoming book, I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me. I really need your help to spread the word. Want to see a sneak peak? Click here to view the draft version of my campaign.

I Am More Than My Hair: New Project and Crowdfunding Campaign

So I’m finally letting the cat out the bag. In a previous newsletter I mentioned I was working on a new project but didn’t give any specifics. ¬†And¬†I’ve received tons of calls from friends and family inquiring why they haven’t heard much from me lately.

To tell the truth, over the past several months I have been in hiatus. Besides taking some needed time for myself, doing mommy duty and starting amazing entrepreneurship classes with Empowered Women International, I have been focusing on an upcoming photography book project.

Today¬†I am¬†SUPER EXCITED to¬†announce to the world…¬†I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me!
I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me

I Am More Than My Hair is a photography book celebrating the beauty of baldness (bare headed).  It includes participants who have lost their hair due to alopecia, cancer, trichotillomania or any other hair loss condition as well as those who cut their hair in support of a loved one.

On January 12, 2015¬†(changed date to reflect the criteria of a successful campaign and to give me more time to organize), I will launch a crowdfunding campaign for my upcoming book and I ask for your support in helping to make it a success by spreading the word. $25,000 raised will help me with the production of I Am Not My Hair as well as professional assistance with marketing, design, editing, layout as well as assistance from a publicist and administrative assistant. In other words…through my first book I’ve¬†learned that¬†hiring a professional is a tremendous benefit. And although I remain self-published, ¬†I am making some tweaks this time around.

Serene getting a henna crown by henna artist Deepti Khona, founder of Henna Harmony DC Metro. Serene did not loose her hair but instead shaved it in support of her friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. That's a true friend.
Serene getting a henna crown by henna artist Deepti Khona, founder of Henna Harmony DC Metro. Serene did not loose her hair but instead shaved it in support of her friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s a true friend.

As with Feminine Transitions, I Am Not My Hair is a social-change project paying tribute to the girls and women who’ve lost their hair involuntarily and to those who cut their hair in solidarity.
I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me

Through this journey I have noticed there is an undeniable radiance in bare headed females. In my opinion, attention isn’t drawn to them due to¬†a lack of hair. Instead their features become more captivating. You truly see raw beauty as hair is not a distraction.

“The best way I can describe my experience is without the focus on hair you truly see the soul.”

Simply beautiful!

I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me

Until then, expect a newsletter¬†about my participation at EWI’s¬†¬†upcoming Artisan Food & Marketplace¬†as well as other unique holiday gift ideas.

Please also share share this information with any girls and women that may be interested in participating in my project. My contact information can be found on my website www.Alyscia.com.

Peace & blessings,

Alyscia

Aging Gracefully

In September 2012¬†an email with the subject “Aging Gracefully” was forwarded¬†to me by an artist I met briefly prior to this day. ¬†In the body of her email she wrote, “I saw this and immediately thought about your book.”

It was an article written by¬†Madisyn Taylor titled, “Seasons of Beauty: Aging Gracefully“. ¬†Not only did I love the topic (it is the message of Feminine Transitions) but her writing truly caught my attention as it was also graceful. ¬†Beautifully written.

I reached out to Madisyn, to let her know how much I appreciated her article on DailyOM.com (it was my first time knowing about this site as well).  She responded with gratitude and I joined her email list.  I wanted to read more.

Somehow Madisyn’s¬†articles brought me back…

As a child, I used to often journal, write stories and poetry.  It was my creative escape. I loved writing and English was my favorite subject (as long as I was busy creating my own stories).  After I became a mother I seemed to have put that on the back burner.

It was time for a change. I happened to start-up writing  again two weeks prior when I started a blog.

Around the same¬†time, I was actually searching for a ghostwriter to compose¬†the introduction section of Feminine Transitions. ¬†I honestly thought I couldn’t do it.

I just didn’t connect with the writing samples sent to me. ¬† It didn’t feel as if it were me speaking from my experience. It wasn’t heartfelt.

I decided to reached out to Madisyn and ask for a recommendation. She made it real simple, sharing her outlook. She said I do not connect with the writings because I did not write it.  And advised that I take some time out of the house, with a cup of tea and simply begin to write from the heart.

To make a long story short, I did exactly as she said…at Starbuck’s.

Not only did I create an introduction that I sincerely connected with but I gained my confidence in writing once again.

I say all of this to say…thank you Madisyn. You were a tremendous aide in my writing journey…and it continues.

I look forward to one day writing a narrative.

 

Photo meme from Alyscia Cunningham's image from Feminine Transitions along with a quote from writer Madisyn Taylor

My Trip to California…I’m Still In Love

Photo of tree at La Jolla Cove. Taken in San Diego, CA.
I just liked the texture and shape of this tree in La Jolla Cove. Taken in San Diego, CA.

It was a pleasure to return to California for the second time this year (my second time thus far). Once I arrived, my reasons for falling in love with this place the first time, immediately came back to me.

Photo of a fisherman and pelican on the pier in Oceanside, CA.
A fisherman and pelican on the pier in Oceanside, CA. The fisherman would feed the pelican smaller fish from his catch.

There’s something about the sunshine, beautiful landscape and laid back energy that soothes my soul. ¬†I simply connect with the land innately.

The best way I can explain is to say California connects with my spirit.

Photo of pelican cleaning it's feathers at the pier in Oceanside, CA.
Pelican cleaning it’s feathers at the pier in Oceanside, CA.

Alyscia takes photos on the Oceanside Pier in Oceanside, CA

Photo of an optical binocular on Oceanside Pier.
An optical binocular on Oceanside Pier. I haven’t seen one of these in a while.
Photo of the Oceanside Pier.
Headed out of Oceanside back to Del Mar, CA.

I don’t believe in perfection, so as anything else, it has its ups and downs. One of the biggest downs being the lack of cultural diversity on the south side of Cali (San Diego), which is the area I adore¬†in particular. However, I haven’t visited northern California as yet. That will be my next trip.

My children, being in a classroom where they are¬†not singled out¬†as the only black¬†¬†is very important to me. All things considered, before making the leap I realized I have some planning to do.¬†That word “planning” is a bit foreign to my spirit.¬†I almost always get up, go and know it will all work out.

At this point, however, I realize that for the sake of my children and sanity (this mama will be at the school everyday if there are issues) planning is our best option.

Regardless, I still breathe spontaneity :).

My reason for visiting this time around was to speak at the Green Festival in Los Angeles. The organization selected me as a presenter and I spoke on the topic “Embrace Your Natural Beauty”. As always, the audience was receptive to my message.

It was eye-opening¬†to hear a man’s perspective of beauty at the end of my presentation. ¬†He asked for the mic to thank me for my appearance¬†then went into a brief personal story about his experience.

He said he struggled for many years with low self-esteem,¬†was over 400 lbs while in his 20’s-30’s¬†and pretty much¬†lost hope. He then mentioned how much of a blessing it was to¬†have met his lovely wife (pointing her out in the audience). The¬†love she showed him gave him hope once again.

She saw past what HE thought was unattractive and loved him for who he was. From then, learning to love himself in his own skin,  and gaining a different perspective, led him to loosing  close to 300 lbs. He also worked through his issues of low self-esteem.

How wonderful was that!

Although I am sure there are other men/boys who¬†have encountered similar struggles, this was the first time that I’ve personally heard¬†a man openly express¬†his experience¬†of self-imagery, challenges and triumph.

I realized that men have trials of self-acceptance as well.  Unfortunately, I believe they do not have the opportunity or platform to express it as they should.

Our society tends to focus on women and girl empowerment. Although it is vital (this is my focus as well), sadly we forget our boys.

The fact is, just as a little girl learns how a man should treat her by the relationship she has with her father, our boys learn from us their mothers.  And in many cases (not all of course Рjust putting that out there for my sensitive debatable folks) how a man treats his significant other is a direct reflection of the relationship he had with his mother.

My point is, we tend to¬†forget our boys but we can’t afford to. We need to hear more of their stories and aid them through their human experiences.

So maybe it’s time for Masculine Transitions? Something to think about.

Photo of a little boy for Alyscia's upcoming book project 'Masculine Transitions'.
I started shooting ‘Masculine Transitions’ back in 2010. I focused on Feminine Transitions and therefore didn’t continue but I am reconsidering finishing this project. This handsome young man is my nephew.

Back to my story…¬†

After the Green Festival, I met up with a few of the ladies (and a husband) of Black Female Photographers (BFP). That Saturday, September 14, 2014 was the 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day (#NBFPD). It provides an opportunity for our sisters in photography to reach out to their communities and with them, explore the beauty of their cities through photo tours and to share their love of photography with others.

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

Not only was it nice to connect in sisterhood, but was wonderful to associate off of social media (I joined via Facebook over three years ago) and learn about the history of that particular area of LA. Fellow BFP Ysa Adams, was a wonderful host. Much thanks and admiration for Kym Scott, the founder of BFP, for organizing this annual event!

I had to depart from the group earlier than the others since I had to get ready for a meet and greet¬†with WAM!LA (Women, Action & the ¬†Media, Los Angeles). ¬†Before¬†the Ladydinner with WAM!¬†I met up with Angela McCrae, a friend who move to LA from MD. Angela and I went to elementary, Jr high, high school and college together (the 2 months of college I bared at Morgan State University before dropping out and going to Montgomery College – the university scene just wasn’t for me).

I first met Angie in the 6th grade (when I first moved here from NY). After 23 years, she still possess the character traits that I believed connected us from the very beginning. We were always cool. That’s true sincerity. I always say, little people are simply that. LITTLE PEOPLE. Their personalities don’t change, it only develops. With that in mind, make sure your raising good people.

Nonetheless, it was great seeing you Angie!

Alyscia and her friend Angela and I at a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica, CA.
Angela and I at a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica, CA.

Later (yes my day continues) I finally meet up with the ladies of WAM!LA as the special guest for the Ladydinner at Lula Cocina in Santa Monica. I was invited to talk about my book Feminine Transitions.

Photo of myself along with the ladies of WAM!LA (Women, Action and the Media Los Angeles) for the Ladydinner in Santa Monica, CA
At the #Ladydinner with WAM!LA (Women, Action and the Media Los Angeles) in Santa Monica, CA.

First off, I truly believe in the core values of WAM! and feel it is in line with my message of social change that I currently and will continue to promote.

That night, I networked with an amazing group of women, had great conversation and a delicious meal.  Special thanks to Melanie Klein for organizing such a wonderful event! We shall meet the next time around.

Overall, and once again, I had such an exceptional time.

Weeks before leaving for California, I connected with two San Diego Meet Up groups. Black Women of San Diego and Women Hikers of San Diego. I’m sorry I didn’t¬†¬†capture any pictures of the Meet Ups but the memory will always remain.

One thing I cannot deny is the power and connection we create as women. I am a firm believer in the “village” saying as well as the power of sisterhood. Unbiased, trustworthy, loving, lean on me type of sisterhood love. Despite our situations, status and decisions we make in our lives, when we get together we connect on a level that relieves stress and ignites inner strength.

We create life, calm the beast, kiss a cut, make it feel all better and are the true nurtures of life.

Together as girls and women, WE ROCK THE WORLD. So let’s rock!

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With that in mind, I am learning not to judge as we are imperfectly perfect. At this point in my life, I choose who I allow the privilege to be a part of my life. However, I understand that we are all human and our current circumstances are in most cases an outcome of our past. As long as one is willing to listen and be honest, completely honest, with one another (something I always say…if you don’t want honesty, don’t ask me for my opinion), our experience in this world will be much more rewarding.

I give thanks for the light of the universe for always granting me favor (even if I may not see it at that very moment).

Thanks to my Uncle and Kiva Zip contributors for making my trip to the west coast possible. Thank you my dear Sister Trista Hendren for your dedication in support of my campaign and spreading the word like wildfire. You consistent posting helped to make it a success! I have nothing but love for you.

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Wishing everyone healthy family relationships, genuine friendships, and true love and happiness.

Peace & blessings,

Alyscia