I know it's a long one, but stick around to hear a bit about how I got started in the crypto world!
Hi. My name is Ashley, and I'm a nerd. I’m a BIG nerd. A professional nerd. An L-7 of epic proportions. I have known this about myself my entire life. I went to a health-science magnet high school, and I was a chemistry major in college. I was that kid that came home each day from elementary school and would talk my mother’s ears off about what I learned that day in science class. I have always loved learning and sharing information. While that has lead me down a path of despair as far as cool kid rankings are concerned, it also fuels how I spend my spare time and what I make myself aware of. Fast forward a few years and here I am, suddenly a 26-year-old black female in the blockchain/crypto space and unfortunately I must say things are quite lonely.
Throughout the past few years of my life I’ve taken a strong personal interest in learning about digital currencies and blockchain technology. I have been so interested in fact, that not a day has gone by without me thinking about this burgeoning field since I was made aware of it by a college ex boyfriend in 2013. What’s more is that I believe deep down in my heart that black people, and POC in general need to be tuned in. There is so much buzz around crypto, so much potential, so much going on in terms of regulation and growth, so much money to be made, and POC do NOT have a seat at the table. As I seek to learn more information about the crypto/ blockchain space on a daily basis, I am bombarded with images of a not too diverse, but booming marketplace. We are effectively shut out of these discussions and with the way blockchain and digital currencies are poised to shape the future, it is only to our detriment. So, as usual, we cannot wait to be invited, and must insert ourselves into the narrative. It is our duty to ensure our interests are well represented in these spaces that are poised to foster some of the most groundbreaking innovations of our generation.
The most accessible means we all have at our disposal is to use your voice. Share the education and the concepts, share your personal experiences, teach others in your circle about what's going on and how it benefits them. I, like many other entrepreneurs in the crypto/ blockchain space am constantly met with blank stares, awkward judgments, or ignorant comments when I try to explain what I do and why people should care. In spite of this, I have also had moments of intense clarity. Moments when I know I am pursuing something worthy of my time, energy, and attention, and when I am reminded that I am helping to share valuable knowledge with people. It is important to remember that there will be pushback. People will think you are strange. People will resist the information you have to tell them. You have to become an evangelist of what you believe in and lead not only with your voice, but also with action.
Taking action is another way to not only engage in the crypto ecosystem, but it is also a way by which you can support innovative organizations of your choosing. It’s one thing to have knowledge. But if that knowledge does not translate to concrete action in the world then what is the point? Learn about the cryptocurrency market place. Invest in projects and initiatives you believe in. Attend local meet-ups to network with other like minded individuals, or create your own. Receive guidance from trusted resources when you’re ready to dip your toe into the digital currency space. Join Facebook groups and follow the Twitter accounts of innovators in the space. Taking action also means it is our responsibility to take part in the larger discussion surrounding crypto. We need some leaders in this space to stand at the forefront and represent the interests of often overlooked communities. Reach out to local political officials and voice your interests. There are so many steps you can take to become a walking advocate for what you care about. Be part of the change you want to see.
As a technology becomes mainstream, it is often too late to play a role in shaping any aspect of the technological innovation to our interests. Disadvantaged communities are often relegated to the sidelines as these huge life-changing innovations are imposed upon us, without any say in the matter. We are on the verge of mass adoption in this space and the unfortunate reality is that POC are often adapters not the shapers of major societal innovations and this needs to change. Now I am not saying that black innovators in the crypto/ blockchain space don’t exist at all. Those who exist thankfully demonstrate to others what is possible for us to achieve in this space. We just need to focus on spreading awareness in the black and poc community about the digital future that is upon us. It’s time to become knowledgeable and seek representation in these fields so we can be part of shaping amazing technologies and regulations to serve the often overlooked interests of our community as well. As we march forward into the technologically advanced future, I hope that we begin to understand the necessity for diversity in all industries, and the necessity for us to empower ourselves with knowledge and action.
Learn more about my company The Bitmeister
This post is part of a collaboration aimed at exploring the different ways young black women have grown to embrace their existence, with the help of their mothers, no matter where they are from.Read More
I recently had a discussion with one of my best friends, heard a few HORRIFIC breakup stories, and experienced some aggy dating incidents with cis straight men that got my wheels turning. I like to think of myself as a smart, attractive, loving, awesome woman who anyone would be fortunate to have as a life partner. I’m not perfect, but I know what I bring to the table, and I do have certain standards that I believe are beyond reasonable. I won’t go into that, but recently as I’ve been out in these skreets dating and whatnot, all I seem to come across is trash LOL. However, when I DO stumble upon a man that has all of my boxes checked, I get hype at the sense of possibility, only to be met with more trash on the other side. It is important to note that the ain’t-shit dude trash and the halfway-decent dude trash are very different types of trash. I am here to address the latter since that's the hot garbage nonsense that is the MOST FRUSTRATING and similarly affects a lot of the women I know.
These halfway-decent dudes swear they’re great because they may have a degree, probably are kinda smart, attractive, never married, no kids etc. and their mommas have probably wiped their asses their entire lives. Whatever. But the #1 thing that many cis straight men rest on when it comes to their undying belief in their greatness, is just the fact that they are MEN. Dassit. You may be thinking, “That’s ridiculous how can these guys think that? Masculinity in and of itself does not signify greatness” and I would say to that “I KNOW RIGHT?!” But when one remembers that we are living and operating within a patriarchy that DOES affect our daily lives due to social norms and conditioning, you can see how halfway-decent dudes and ain’t-shit dudes alike can walk around thinking their shit smells like roses. It is normalized for men to disregard, disrespect, and deem disposable even the most poppin’ women that may come into their lives. It is normalized for men to PUT THEMSELVES FIRST.
Let me explain. I understand we are all in different stages in life and timing is an important element when it comes to dating. There’s nothing more frustrating than meeting someone you think is awesome but the timing just isn’t right. I also understand that my belief in my dopeness as a woman was not a right bestowed to me just because I was born with a vagina. It takes little girls living in this patriarchal world tons and tons of work, support, and dedication to grow up with even an ounce of positive self-esteem, let alone believe that they are great on their own. Guys don’t have to do any of this work. They are told from the day they are born to believe in their greatness and receive certain privileges accordingly. So god forbid they do basic shit like actually go to college, be gainfully employed, don’t call women bitches on the reg, and are seemingly decent guys. What we are addressing here is the entitlement to greatness as an individual men have that single women are not entitled to and must cultivate.
Like these guys REALLY BELIEVE they are wonderful, perfect, and great all by themselves, and that they will continue to be great regardless of their marital status. They go out into the world and date thinking “I don't have to overextend myself in any way for this person, because I’m scraight either way” and ladies, WE HAVE TO HAVE THE SAME CONFIDENCE. Why? Because the truth is we actually ARE great by ourselves and will continue to be. Men on the other hand are NOT great by themselves LOL. Studies show that married men live longer than single men. However for women, health and longevity overall is only influenced by the QUALITY of their marriage. Long story short, marriage, partnership, aka WOMEN benefit men regardless. Like having a woman in your life LITERALLY INCREASES YOUR LIFE EXPECTANCY BRO.
I am certain there are so many men who will sit and stew in staunch confidence and completeness seated in their masculinity as they march towards death and age horribly LOL. But au contraire mon cherie. Honestly there is NO MAN ALIVE that wouldn’t be elevated by the presence of a bomb ass woman in his life. Yes you may be cool, smart, halfway-decent, and have degrees, but by yourself, you’re BASIC and you need US. A bomb ass woman will literally elevate a man WITHOUT EVEN TRYING. I mean, DUH we create life and are caring/ nurturing creatures. But I’m not even talking on some subservient “lemme cater to you” nonsense. The power that men don’t value or recognize lies in the partnership and the presence of female energy/ influence. One of the major issues in the straight dating world is the fact that so many men don’t value women and consequently, don’t see the power in what a dope queen can bring to their lives. So they sit there lazy in dating because they are entitled, treat women like crap, and pass their days by single, without ever scheduling a dentist appointment which will probably result in them dying prematurely of heart complications related to gum disease LMFAO. Just an example.
Honestly though, women are amazing and I am so through with men acting like we ain’t shit and treating us as such. To use a textbook example, remember that Barack was cool, cute, and super smart or whuteva but that shit is basic. You don’t get cookies for that. What really made him great was his desire to level up for Michelle. Her influence is what turned a halfway decent smoker with a shitty car into the first black President. Don’t get it twisted for a single second. Having a dope woman in your life will only make you better so stop being lazy in dating guys because you’re not great on your own you just regular degular schmegular. If you are a man who can’t see what a woman’s influence can do for your life, you can kick rocks for all of eternity or die early cus #factz.
I want to thank my bestie Megan for inspiring this post with her dope ass insight <3
I was feeling hella angsty and weird this past weekend. There's a lot of uncertainty on the horizon for me, and one of my preferred coping mechanisms is fooling around with makeup and doing my hair. I figured this week-old flat ironed hair from my birthday would make for a dope bantu knot-out. Whenever I do bantu knots, people always ask, "do you wear those out?" and I'm like... YES. We need to continue to embrace our black girl hairstyles and stop relegating them to only be worn in the house. Thanks to the badgal Rih and others for bringing this dope black girl look back into the mainstream. I rocked my "chiney bumps" as Jamaicans call them (which might also be kinda problematic but idk) all weekend. While I was definitely stared at, and the cashier at Trader Joes was rude to me LOL, I received quite a few compliments and that's all that matters tbh.
I also wanted to take some pics inspired by these two dope Kaytranada shots. I was feeling blue after seeing that field of flowers he was laying in, so I used the blues in my Juvia's Place Masquerade Pallete for my eyeshadow look. There was another picture I saw of him with a name ring that I cannot seem to find a source for so I can't link to it, but trust me it was dope. So keep scrolling to see my attempt to replicate it, and to just capture this mood I was in. The hair, the rings, my fav Jesus sandals I bought at the beauty supply, slicked edges, and the hoops made me think "black girl essentials ftw".
I think every black girl has a name ring, chain, or pair of earrings. My mother got me this Ashley ring on my 16th birthday and I was too hype. That ring is now 10 years old! She would be proud because I always lose jewelry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Also pictured above is my high school class ring which I did lose for a while but found again lmao.
Comment below to let me know if you're diggin the vibe and to share your name jewelry stories, bantu knot stories, or what you consider to be other black girl essentials. <3
Oh and bantu knot-out results to come!
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Hit up my 'Ask Ashley' <3
In honor of turning 26 this past weekend, (shoutout to my Virgos) I decided to write a letter to my 16-Year-Old self as a reflection on the past decade of my life.
You still hate it when people call you as Ash. Those Pokemon playing kids in elementary school ruined that nickname for life. You will remember the thoughts you have as you lay awake at night imagining what you and your life will be like at 26. Not completely sure why that was the age you fixated on. Maybe you thought things would be together or you would be the woman you always dreamed of being by then. I am here to tell you, to rest your ever-anxious soul about things. About your future which causes the most anxiety for you. At 26 you have nothing figured out, but that is no reason to panic. You have a degree, quite a few ideas, and several things you’re great at. You are still piecing it all together. You are not in medical school. You are not doing the things you imagined you would be doing. But you are no failure. You have chosen to value yourself beyond your achievements. You have chosen to do the difficult work of redefining what is of value to you. You are not doing the things you were told to do. That is a triumph in and of itself.
You have moved across the country. You have traveled across the world. You have seen sights your ancestors could only dream of. You have seen all sorts of beautiful people. You are blessed. A fortunate little black girl in this world that is so mean to us. So many things that are taken from us, you are fortunate to still possess. You value and love yourself just for being. You make mistakes. You learn from them. You love fiercely. You allow yourself to be vulnerable and exposed without fear. You stand up for yourself. You care.
You still worry. You still cry. You feel. You ache. You are filled with longing at times. You embrace this part of you. The part that KNOWS and FEELS for the world around you. The part that continues to absorb each and every painful experience and converts it to food for your growth. You allow yourself to feel even when it hurts. You've taken up the practice of crying in the mirror. It’s a cleansing and cathartic experience. It helps to ground you in your existence and your humanity. You stare back at yourself and see the same girl, with the same concerns and fears, but for the first time you are finally allowing yourself to step beyond and into a future you have always dreamed of.
Some people just won’t like you. This will always bother you because you care so much. But you will always be you. You will grow to love yourself. You will choose love. You will choose honesty and transparency. You will choose to accept your shortcomings. You will pick your battles. You will savor the happy moments. You will survive the challenging ones as you always have. Things will get real, but so will you. You will be a light to so many. You will be loved and prayed-for and looked up to. You will recognize that you are a work in progress. You will understand that no one has it together. You will learn what you need and do not need in love. You will learn to be through with accepting less than what you are worth. You will define that worth for yourself.
You know you are not perfect. You are not where you want to be. But you are so thoroughly blessed by the universe and you know this world needs you. You prepare to give of yourself. Have no fear. You have a brilliant decade of growth ahead. Step into your purpose, love the journey, and don't worry so much babylove.
I am of you, and I will always love you,
Your 26-Year-Old self
Check out some dope shots from my 26th Birthday
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I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people who came out to celebrate with me this past weekend. A special shoutout goes to my homie Jon Brown for capturing these dope shots of me as I prepared for the festivities, and to my roomie Larahia (pictured acting up with me below) for just being dope.
I flat-ironed the fro for the first time in over year to be extra fancy, and clearly because I am a glutton for punishment. Deets on how well it reverts back to come. My outfit is from my favorite Houston thot store and I think I paid $20 for it. Don't sleep on them thot stores yall lmao. Anyway, below you can see a very thankful, 26-year-old me <3
I'm tired of sharing paragraphs to be met with single words,
I'm tired of speaking my late night musings to wake alone at the song of birds.
I'm tired of giving my precious time to be there when you call,
I'm tired of having to heal myself when it's my turn to fall.
I'm tired of baring the depths of my soul to be met with shallow thoughts,
I'm tired of hoping this will turn to something that it's not.
I'm tired of believing loving words that prove to be untrue,
I'm tired of living in the lie that turned out to be you.
One's relationship with being natural is highly reflective of one's relationship with products. For the last 7 years, I have prided myself on keeping things simple. I never wanted (nor could I afford) to be the girl with a bathroom cabinet overflowing with products that I used only once. I made it my mission early on to pay attention to what actually worked for my hair and consume consciously. I rarely fall victim to the new wave of products or the newest fad because what I have been doing works, and it works WELL. Through this diligence I managed to find a few good products that have stood the test of time. Truth be told, the work of paring down my collection of products to things that actually work and are affordable hasn't been easy. Over time, product formulations have changed, the market has become more saturated, and you learn that sometimes you have to pay for quality. It is rare that a completely new product catches my eye and convinces me to switch up my routine. However, when a product DOES randomly find its way into my life, more often than not, it's for a divine reason. This combination of diligence and serendipity has taken me to where I am today in my natural hair journey, and the following product list is truly reflective of an organically curated process that works extremely well for my hair.
Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree ShampooThis shampoo is absolutely amazing. A stylist friend told me about it and I have seen it work wonders on an array of natural textures. Its concentrated formula is super clarifying without stripping your hair of moisture which is so necessary for us naturals who workout and sweat regularly. A little goes a long way with this shampoo, and the pepperminty feel is an added luxurious bonus.
Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery TreatmentI found this product on a whim. I learned early on that Miss Jessie's products don't really work for my texture of hair. The curly puddings and butters and mixtures didn’t seem to do much else but coat my kinky strands with smelly sticky substance. That was until I went to the Houston Natural Hair Expo in 2015 and received a FULL SIZED (I'm talking the grand daddy 16 oz.) sample of the Rapid Recovery treatment for FREE in a goody bag. I figured I’d give it a try since one of my mantras is to never settle on a man or a deep conditioner that doesn't make my dreams come true. To my surprise, this deep conditioner was rich, full-bodied, and coated my hair while giving it a nourished feel as soon as it touched my strands. As I worked the product through my hair, it gave me that inexplicable feeling you get deep down in your soul when you KNOW a product works. After 45 minutes under a hooded dryer, an overnight treatment, or a few hours walking around with it under a shower cap, this conditioner will breathe life back into your dry and brittle ends. While it is a bit pricy, as the only real splurge in my hair routine it’s worth every penny.
Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle ConditionerThis conditioner is a cheap go to product that a stylist friend put me on to. It works super well on all types of hair. With great slip, this conditioner helps SIGNIFICANTLY with detangling as well as conditioning. It has a lightweight formula that's easily absorbed by thirsty tresses and great for the budget conscious natural. Due to how lightweight the formula is, at times it needs to be pumped up a bit. When using this product for deep conditioning, add in some coconut oil, a raw egg, and maybe even some avocado (for the freaks out there) to see best results.
Virgin Coconut OilNot sure how it works for everyone, but virgin coconut oil is my GO TO oil for everything from cooking to lotioning (not a word) to hair stuff. I love this oil and it's the first thing that touches my strands after I've rinsed out a deep conditioner. Use it as a base for a hair concoction or use on it’s own, either way it works wonders for me and is best used with the L-O-C method ( Liquid-Oil-Cream).
Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter MoisturizerNow this beauty supply vet would've never gotten my attention had I not smelled it first. When I was a stylist at a natural hair salon, I was once directed by the owner to use this product while twisting a client’s hair. This product was on the bottom shelf, in the back, clearly neglected. It wasn't one of the products we typically used. But when I opened the jar, it spoke to me with wafts of a mango infused scent that I couldn't ignore. On top of that, the consistency was rich and creamy and I instantly had to try it on my hair. I went and bought my own the same night and used it on my next twist out. Not only does the stuff smell and feel heavenly, it locks your curls in a moist mango-y protective embrace that you won't ever want to let go of. Definitely a treasure hidden in plain sight.
Eco Styler GelEco Styler is a seasoned vet and will probably be part of my hair routine till my final days. I absolutely love the non flaky, non alcohol smelling formula that doesn't sacrifice hold. It just seems like you can build and build this stuff forever and it won't ever get weird and flaky on you (prob not true). I really believe that Eco Styler gel is the second best gel you can use aside from making your own flaxseed gel (for all us lazy naturals out there).
Style Factor Edge Booster (Sugar Melon Scent)On the tireless pursuit of ever-laid edges, I stumbled upon this line of edge control at the beauty supply store. The variety of scents (like that of assorted jolly ranchers) had me in the aisle for 20 minutes trying to decide which one to buy. I settled on the Sugar Melon scent and didn't expect much from the product except a nice fruity scent to add to my hair when needed. Much to my surprise, this edge control exceeded my expectations. It held unruly hairs in place for most of the day without much fuss, and didn't leave a weird white residue. My cousins who wear weaves even used it to help slay their leave outs and sang its praises during our family vacay to Jamaica. I almost didn't get it back!
So, I hope you've enjoyed hearing how I stumbled upon all of my go-to products. Maybe enough to try some of them out yourself. Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Let me know your experience with these products in the comments. Also, Let me know what your favs are!
Until next time, no one asked, but I'm sharing anyway <3