Jackie Aina has had an eventful August 2019. She celebrated her 32nd birthday. released her much-coveted eyeshadow palette collaboration with Anastasia Beverly Hills, and last but not least, got engaged to Denis Asamoah in a dazzling surprise engagement in Mykonos, Greece. All of the aforementioned was, of course, done in the glittery, luxe, doing-the-absolute-most fashion we have come to expect from Jackie. See for yourself:
The Launch Video for Her Palette:
To have watched Jackie’s rise over the last 10 years means to have witnessed the growth of a living icon. And I don’t say that as a Jackie Aina stan. She is, after all, human, and I don’t know her personally. But what I do know is that:
- She is proudly unambiguously black. She has an unmistakably black phenotype, which, as we know, often places black women at a disadvantage.
- She is a woman.
- She has used her platform to speak openly and honestly about the challenges black women face in the beauty industry.
- She placed black women at the core of her messaging during a time many of us (myself included), were shy about doing so.
Now, this is not to say Jackie is the first creator to center black women in the creation of her content. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the O.G, Destiny Godley, as indeed being one of the first Youtube personalities to create content for dark skin women specifically.
Jackie, however, was and is the first to be heard, arguably, by millions if not billions, worldwide.
Why Jackie Aina’s Success in Life and in Love Matters To Black Girls and Women
Still, I’ve heard the criticism and I’ve seen her dragged all over social media for one infraction or another. I’ve seen comments such as, “She’s gone Hollywood.” or, “I can’t relate.” And you know something? Sometimes I can’t relate. Hell, I’m just a 30-something-regular-degular-sitting-behind-a-computer-screen-going-God-knows-where-writer, who can’t even remotely begin to comprehend all the fabulousness Jackie has going on. But what does my ability to appreciate luxury have to do with anything? She’s not living my life. And that’s okay. I don’t need or want other black women to be and stay where I am in order to support them. Have we all not all seen enough of black women struggling in life and love to last us a lifetime? I want all black women and girls to see women like Jackie Aina and to know that life is meant to be lived and lived out loud.
I’ve also seen the scathing commentary from folks who may indeed have a legitimate and personal reason to not be on #teamjackie. But truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, none of that really matters. To be clear: I’m not telling folks to love Jackie and everything she does. We’re all adults here and we can pick and choose the folks who vibe with our spirit. No doubt, she, like the rest of us, has behaved badly and burned a bridge or two in her time, but I don’t have to take any of that on to give credit where credit is due. None of us can deny that she is a black woman on the rise, and her visible success means there is hope and there is promise for all of us.
Even her engagement makes a statement. Sure it was fabulous, and that Denis ain’t so hard on the eyes, but more than that, it shows that we, black women, don’t have to settle. Folks can say it’s fake or that it’s for clout, but again, none of that really matters. Hell, when I was growing up, all we had were R&B songs and movies like Love and Basketball, that taught us that you had to allow yourself to be treated like absolute garbage in order to “win” in love. Wouldn’t you take Jackie’s engagement pics as a positive example of black love over Toni Braxton singing about never breathing again or waiting seven whole nights for some negro’s phone call?
“Nobody Wins When The Family Feuds”
Last year I made a commitment to myself to never again publicly shame or criticize another black woman or her business on any of my platforms. I realized that it didn’t serve me or black women as a collective. This is not to say that we are above reproach, but to simply concede that society has already cornered the “let’s drag black women” market. I’m going to cut us all the slack in the world because we deserve it. Jackie deserves it, as well as any and every black woman who manages to get up every day and do it for herself while simultaneously representing hard for the culture. In short? Buy her palette HERE and while you’re at it, buy the Fumi X Juvia’s Place collaboration HERE. And to learn more about black women killing it in business and life read HERE, HERE, and HERE.