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Sista Show Off: Jam Donaldson - Clumps of Mascara
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Sista Show Off: Jam Donaldson


Welcome to another post from the Sista Show Off series! In this series I like to show some love to other companies, blogs, businesses, organizations or just regular ladies like myself who are paving the way for women everywhere! Let me feature you! Shoot me an email at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com

As a beauty blogger, I can’t help but find beauty in everything! The way we speak being one of them. I once took a course in college called Black English. In it, I learned how language among African Americans was critical to survival. We even focused on Ebonics and “the hip hop language”. But, the line has to be drawn somewhere. Let me introduce you to:

Jam Donaldson Designs


The bio from her site says, “Jam Donaldson has shown she’s a force to be reckoned with on the internet. Her website www.hotghettomess.com is one of the most highly trafficked African-American owned websites in the world. The site has been stirring up controversy, praise, ire and powerful discourse since its inception in 2004. The site continues to grow and evolve and hopes to be a facilitator of edgy, racial dialogue for years to come. She hopes to partner with organizations that are working to help the community do better. A portion of proceeds from merchandise is donated to grass roots organizations that are helping us do better, one person at a time.”

Bad sista, ain’t she? (<---example of Black English, lol!) I had the opportunity to interview Jam.

1) So what was really the defining moment for you to start creating these t-shirts? Was it a particular song or saying that irked you to the point where you said, “I’ve got to do something,”?

I guess people using the word”conversate” has always been a big pet peeve of mine. Initially, it was typically used by the urban community and you can frequently hear it in hip-hop and R & B. Though as communities begin to mesh through popular culture, you can hear it used by any and everyone. Its use is spreading. Like the plague. My blog is actually called Conversate is Not a word, and I got such a big response to the title, that I thought it would be cool to create some shirts based on usage errors in English. So many people may not know what they are saying is incorrect and it may just cost you that next job. Just wanted to take a unique, humorous slant on the high-end t-shirt markets and start some conversations… Plus everyone has Ed hardy and Affliction tees, I think its time to do something different. So I created Jam Donaldson Designs and the response has been great.

2) As a beauty blog ClumpsOfMascara.com tries to find beauty in anything that represents us and language, without a doubt is one form of representation. How can we erase words like “conversate” and “irregardless” from our vocabularies?

I think its as simple as having the hard conversations with each other. So many people are afraid to challenge errors like this because it comes off as pretentious and elitist. You never want someone to feel like you’re turning your nose up at them. I thought these shirts were a funny, light-hearted way of doing this, no one gets their feelings hurt and at the same time you can look hot.


3) I did not know how prevalent “conversate” was in music until I went to your website. Any idea where this word came from? It doesn’t even sound right!

It’s really funny! I think it has been used so much, most people don’t even know its wrong. I have no idea where it came from but it looks like its definitely here to stay.

4) I am so glad to get the opportunity to present a young female entrepreneur to the Clumps of Mascara community. You have no idea how much of an inspiration you are to us. Any words of encouragement that you can drop to help others who may be considering pursuing entrepreneurial ventures?

I firmly believe that the path to happiness if following what makes you happy, what satisfies you. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but its infinitely rewarding. Even in the tough times of starting a business, its so much more fulfilling than working for someone else. It requires hard work and a passion. I’ve never started any project to make money. I only start projects because I have an idea or want to create something I think is important. I find when love and fun and integrity are the source of your businesses, the money will come eventually because people sense your sincerity and passion. You have to be willing to take risks and jump out there into the scary unknown sometimes , but its soooooo worth it. You wont be successful everytime. Lord knows I’ve had some disasters but you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and keep it moving. We all have bad experiences at jobs, but that doesnt stop us from getting another one. Entrepreneurship is the same way. I have a quote that I love by Kipling that says, “No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” That says it all.

5) Ohmigoodness, have you heard this one too? “Pacifically” instead of “specifically”?

Absolutely–that one may actually end up in the new Fall designs for the shirts… LOL.

6) Do you think we should get rid of slang all together?

Absolutely not. I think our slang and colloquialisms make us who we are and are a big part of our culture. I use a ton of slang, bad english and cuss words. The big thing is simply knowing there is a time and place for everything. Its when you cant distinguish when slang is appropriate and when it isnt, that we run into trouble.

7) And because we are beauty obsessed folx….do you mind telling us your favorite beauty product and why?

I have a couple of beauty products — one is the Arbonne bronzing powder for my face. I don’t wear a lot of make up so this gives me a great glow while getting rid of the greasies. I also wear my hair natural and my favorite hair product is Kiehl’s “Just Out of the Shower” its a hair gel I can put on my hair while it is wet and it keeps it nice and curly without making it hard or drying it out.

You can find out more about Jam Donaldson and her designs here. And while you’re at it….check out her Conversate is Not a Word blog.

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  • Virtuous Blue

    I will admit that for a while I thought the “hotghettomess” site was a bit counterproductive and only perpetuated the “Black people are always tearing each other down” theory. However, I do see where she was going with it and I definitely do love her blog “conversate is not a word”. Didn’t know she had merchandise as well. Just might get that “conversate is not a word” shirts, since I get so irritated when I hear people say that word lol. Great interview Brit.

    Kenya
    VB

  • My Fashion Frenzy

    Thanks for sharing all of this. I must check everything out today. =)

  • Wes

    Great post!… A few months back I featured a giveaway of her tees- I really like the concept; very original.

  • Lorie

    Irregardless! I hate that word. I hear executives in my office use. People with degrees are using a word that doesn’t exist in meetings, presenations. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for this word-loving gal. Thanks for sharing this lil slice of heaven with us!

  • Lorie

    or I could actually spell presentations correctly… ha!

  • Product Junkie Diva

    Conversate is not a word…I LOVE IT. lol
    PJD

  • yummy411

    great interview. i’ll def have to check out the hgm website to see what it’s talking about. it’s been blocked where i am now. i was under the same assumption the VB was… that the site promoted airing dirty laundry, tearing each other down,etc.

  • PBW

    I usually don’t like message t’s, but I want every one of these t-shirts.

  • Brown Girl Gumbo

    Oh I’ve heard about her t-shirts!! What a great idea! THanks for sharing. :-)

  • Apple Diva

    Too funny! My parents and I are always joking about conversate and irregardless. My dad’s fave pet peeve word is “tooken”, supposed to be taken. I love the shirts!! thanks for showcasing them.

  • (fŭng’kē) [blak] [chik]

    Her site is definitely one of my favorites!!

  • Charmaine

    I love her site!!! I’ve been a faithful viewer of HGM for a while now. I love how she’s doing things her way, it’s great.