Embracing Luxury As a Black Woman Has Been Hard–Here Is How I’m Shifting My Mindset
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I grew up in Hollywood, Florida in a conventional-ish Black household with working class Nigerian parents. All of my basic needs were met, but when I think back, I didn’t grow up in luxury

Although my parents weren’t penny pinchers, they were religious and that influenced how I felt about extravagant living. Values like altruism, moderation, being content and “money being the root of all evil” stuck with me as a result.  Despite my upbringing, I wanted to wear the latest clothing items in high school because it pacified my low self-esteem and made me feel good about myself. Wearing trendy clothes also took the attention away from me being dark-skinned—something I got bullied about daily. (Don’t cue the sad music. A lot of those bullies have been in my DMs because that’s how the cookie crumbles, dears.) 

My parents would buy me the basics, but I’d use all the money I made from doing hair to buy the latest Converse, Baby Phat, and Dickies at Ross and Marshalls (yes, I’m a ‘90s baby!). Oh–can’t forget the pull-out gold teeth from the flea market and the gold XO set. 

When I became an adult, started making a few dollars, and social media became a thing, I saw more luxury than I ever experienced. This is when I realized I had a strange relationship with it. It felt like it was made for others and not for me. I found myself projecting my internal desire for nice things onto others by judging them for being unapologetically luxurious. I did this by wearing “low maintenance” as a badge of honor and telling every man I dated that I didn’t care about those things. I would also make self-righteous comments about people who chose to dress their kids in designer clothes or buy items that cost thousands of dollars. I would remark that they “should be investing and saving for retirement,” say “that’s a waste of money” or claim they “were just doing that to impress others.” 

A lot of my projecting came from a scarcity mindset. I just couldn’t perceive having enough money to buy luxury items and invest for the future. And to be honest, that was simply because I hadn’t seen it done before and didn’t think I deserved it. Who was I to be abundant and earn six figures? How dare I look like that girl and live like that girl at the same time? How could a mediocre Black girl like me ever be deserving of opulence?

Thank God for a good therapist, healing teachers like Shelah Marie, and shadow work because baby, they got me together. After lots of introspection and a shift in my money mindset, I realized that I do like sprinkles of luxury and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m starting to embrace the idea that it can be for girls like me who don’t come from generational wealth. 

And guess what? I can enjoy extravagant experiences and items and build generational wealth at the same damn time.  

I recently joined the Brown Girls in Luxury group on Facebook and started peeking in there often to normalize seeing Black women enjoying the finer things in life. One of the most beautiful things about the group is that luxury looks different for each woman. Sometimes it’s a high-end bag from Louis Vuitton, other times it’s buying white porcelain dishes from the thrift store. The bottom line is luxury looks good on Black girls–myself included. Shoot, being a Black woman is a luxury experience in itself. And I love that we’re finally getting to a place where we have access to lavish living and can define it for ourselves. 

For me, luxury is about creating top-tier experiences and believing I am deserving of them. And that often goes beyond the material things.