Naomi Sims and Nella Larsen

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In my first year, I took an English 110 Class. The class focused on fashion in film and literature, which I didn’t think I would be that interested in until I took the class. It was there that i found this profound book titled ‘Quicksand’ by Nella Larsen who was a Afro-Caribbean/Danish-American woman in the Harlem Renaissance. Let me repeat that, a mixed-race, female, author during the Harlem Renaissance. The book was a fictitious/autobiography  account of Helga, who was –surprise, surprise — an Afro-Caribbean/Danish-American woman in the Harlem Renaissance. In the grand scheme of me existing as a mixed woman in the modern age, this book spoke to me.

Anyway, for the final, we we’re to write a paper on a prominent figure in history. I chose Naomi Sims, who many consider to be the first black supermodel. Here was my proposal: For my research project on a fashion Icon, I wanted to study the fashion forward image of Naomi Sims. She owed much of her success as a model in breaking the mold of all black women of the time being seen as ‘wild and crazy’. She became the first black woman to appear on the cover of Ladies- Home Journal and most say she is the first African American model. But, not only has she modeled clothing, she has also created her own line of affordable wigs for African-American women and is accredited to inspiring many clothing lines of the time. She is accredited to showing the world that ‘Black is Beautiful’.

So, now you may be thinking “Why are you posting this paper now? Why does this matter?” Because this was the most extensive research paper I’ve ever written. And I frickin nailed it.

Lemme just- can I just-I’m gonna brag for a sec.
I don’t consider myself a profound writer. Yeah, I can turn out an ok short story, but research papers are never something I’m confident in. I don’t ever expect to win any prizes for them. I always  need help or feedback for my writing. AND I always did the bare minimum for the grade. But then I got assigned this paper.
I don’t know what it was, maybe because I was charged with all this racial identity discussion or the fact Naomi Sims is only ever talked about in obituaries but I worked for this paper. Now, I want to say, again, that I don’t consider this paper an magnificent piece of work. But good golly miss molly. 10 pages with 3 pages of notes, 2 pages of bibliography, 1 page of index AND a cover page.

So I wanna personally thank Dr.Tolliver for this class, and his insight into the paper. (Ok I lied a bit, I asked for his help and we did do a couple of exercises where other sin the class looked at the paper but still) Because this is definitely going in my writing bank.

Read The Paper Here


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