PBS + AOL Present Makers

by Princess Distress

PBS + AOL video initiative, Makers features hundreds of inspiring personal stories, anecdotes, and musings from the "Women Who Make America". The videos are short; the series is abundant. So far, these are my personal favorites:

What Makes A Bad Bitch?

by Princess Distress

A Bad Bitch is a queen. She stands out from other women, most notably for the strength of her personality, and her knowledge of her own worth. She is determined, dynamic, fierce, and passionate. Whether by her looks, lifestyle, or talent She displays confidence in what she believes and the actions she takes. A Bad Bitch is anything but typical.

Let’s face it: There are “good girls” and there are Bad Bitches. Good girls conform, and please. Good girls follow rules set by others, and their farthest aim in life is to stay in their lane. They might act out here and there, but they expend most of their energy in being satisfactory and keeping the approval of others.

For decades bitch has been applied to confident, strong women as a derogatory term - used mainly by those who feel threatened by the power of a fearless woman to achieve her goals without asking permission. But labels - mere words - do very little to deter active and courageous people. Popular Bad Bitches like Kelly Cutrone, Madonna, and others, don’t allow the projections of an insecure society to stop them from expressing themselves or living according to their passions. In this way, bitch has transformed from an insult to a compliment, a badge of boldness.

True confidence comes from within - and this quality is what makes a Bad Bitch. She listens to her inner voice. She trusts herself, and her decisions. She lives unapologetically, by her own standards, and in the face of a world that does not often - in fact, rarely ever - has her back. It is by going against the grain, by bucking conformity and social expectation that Bad Bitches actually build their strength, and even better, their reputations.

Whatsoever a Bad Bitch endeavor to undertake she achieves because she knows she can do anything she pleases. A Bad Bitch is honest, and true to herself. She is responsible only for herself. Others’ response to the way she lives her life is entirely on, and up to them. A Bad Bitch will always keep going.

Letter From The Editor

Q: Why, and What Is Hella Bad Bitches?
A: [Because I felt like it] Hella Bad Bitches is an expression of ability, confidence, intelligence, and pure badness.

I got the idea for Hella Bad Bitches in April of this year, after reading a tweet by Lavenda Monroe. We worked together on Chris Carr’s All I Think Is Pink music video shoot in January 2010. After the shoot everyone involved became Facebook friends, and I also began following Lavenda on Twitter. Our acquaintance is just one example of the awesomeness of social  media to connect people, and expose them to ideas and information, experiences and expressions they might otherwise never share.

Lavenda posts tweets regarding her opinions on relationships, self worth, and knowing and seeking out the best for herself, among other things. One night, after two years of reading her posts and going, “Oh snap!” and “Yessss!” to myself this exact thought hit me: “That’s a hella bad bitch right there.” A minute later I made a Tumblr blog with that title, with the intention of showcasing others just as confident, expressive, and unique as Lavenda, and countless women before her.

Cover Girl: Lavenda Monroe Is Bad In The Best Ways

by Princess Distress

Meet Lavenda Monroe - a creative and inspiring beauty. Her name originated with a lip ring. She picked the color because purple is her little sister's favorite, and the type of ring she got just happened to be called Monroe. Lavenda easily acknowledges the obvious with regards to her moniker.

"It speaks volumes," she tells me. "Every time you hear her name you know her presence, and her beauty. I love Monroe."

Lavenda began modelling at the age of ten, and got serious about it eight years later. As a dancer she often had to update photos, and her nontraditional, rule-breaking nature led Monroe to create her own lane. Her signature style is the confidence and determination she brings to a shoot; Lavenda hates being told what to do, or how to pose. She's in command of her body, and image, and it shows.

The Bad Bitches S.A.F Pledge

by Gia Shakur

I want you and I to make a pledge everyday for the rest of our lives. The S.A.F. Pledge is an affirmation for independent, business-minded, trailblazing neo-women. Its purpose is to fortify our habits for attaining success and happiness, ensure greatness and catapult us from obscurity to opulence. S.A.F. isn't self-help. It won't instantaneously turn your life into a frilly tampon commercial.
S.A.F. is for the woman who genuinely believes in her gifts and talents, but because of outside factors - economic, environmental, educational, or personal issues - is not yet living to her fullest potential. Oh! To be young and inspired, working a shit job, and living hand to mouth money. The three fundamental commitments of S.A.F. are to be Social, Active, and Forceful.

Grève to En Toma Capturing The Global Tuition Struggle

by Princess Distress

Emma on the move.
Emma Francis-Snyder and Sara Beth Curtis are first-time filmmakers capturing the tuition struggle, and student response in cities like Montreal, Santiago (Chile), and Mexico City. They're currently raising funds and collecting footage for their debut documentary, entitled Grève to En Toma.

Emma and Sara met this year in a Women's Studies class, and became good friends while participating in Occupy Wall Street. Their work as student activists and Student Union members at C.U.N.Y's Brooklyn College in New York bonded them further.

While addressing the tuition hikes, and other issues on their campus the two were inspired by successful student mobilizations around the world. The friends decided to grab their cameras "and document radical student history in the making." Examples from C.U.N.Y's past - successful protests and occupations which achieved access for minority students and created ethnic studies at the university - also motivated them produce an honest documentation of the present movement.

Strange Carousel: Relationships, Sex, Social Ties

Life in NYC, and How To Survive It

by Vienna Boa  

It seems that no matter how interesting a place is or how beneficial it can be for you at a certain moment in time there’s always a downside creeping up steadily, until you can no longer tolerate your status quo, and have the aching feeling that it is time to move on.

In New York, we feel this pull and thrust quicker, more acutely, more powerfully, than other cities.  A certain glamour exists in the sentiment that each moment cannot last forever. There’s always be someone new to discover, always different opportunities, friends, jobs, lovers, or apartments, and rooms.