Michele Seymour


ANewSlay

What's your name?

I am Michele Seymour

Who are you without defining yourself by the roles you play in life?

I am an Amazon woman because I am a 6 foot woman and proud of all of it! I am a creator, community protector, a magical black ass girl...and just dope!

You were born and raised here, right?

Yep, born and raised in New Orleans East, in the 7th ward. That's where all my people are from. I grew up no less than 15 minutes away from my entire family and I loved it! I think it has given me a completely different worldview, by being from here. Sometimes I get really sad, when I meet people from here and they talk about how much they hate being here and how terrible New Orleans is. It is difficult because it's so much crime, but crime is bred from lack of opportunities, access, racism, general white supremacy, and oppression. I look at New Orleans and it's one of the most African cities you can find in the entire country and that helped me to appreciate the culture and my identity here because I am important to this and if I want to see change then I'm going to have to be apart, that enacts that, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Who better to influence your city, than the people who are from here, but also the people who come here and invest their time and commitment to being here too.

You will never hear me say that I am embarrass to be from New Orleans. I love being from New Orleans! I think it makes us such a unique group of people to have this experience, like where else can you get a week off for Mardi Gras and watch a second line come down the street?

Name of business/organization?

1) My heart work, is a nonprofit called Project Butterfly New Orleans

(she is co-directing it) which is an African-centered, rites of passage program for young black girls from 9th-12 grade.

2) I started my own makeup blog on Instagram called, A New Slay, which is dedicated to my journey as a budding makeup artist/ makeup enthusiast and also really wanting to just provide a really easy and accessible way for people to get involved in makeup.

How do you hope to expand A New Slay?

So what I really want to do as far as expand is get into tutorials. One of the things I've noticed when I was learning how to do makeup, was the lack of black women present as far as media, doing makeup tutorials specifically for black women. So I wanted to be that person to open up the market and make it accessible to everyone. I also want to make it accessible where you don't have to have $40 foundation and $70 eye shadow pallets to make it happen. You can use drugstore products and your everyday products to really turn out amazing looks through practiced techniques and being consistent with practicing.

Do you think that Project Butterfly and ANewSlay could do something together through partnership?

Yeah, definitely! I have already been doing that work of creating skincare and beauty products through Project Butterfly, with our girls, who we call our butterflies in training. They have their own self care and body product line called, "To Primp a Butterfly," which is a play off on Kendrick Lamar's, "To Pimp a Butterfly," album. We have also taught the girls, in the program on how to make bath bombs and beauty products (like lipstick). So there is definitely a way to get the girls to create products and then I could create a whole skin care tutorial on showing people how to make these products at home and being resourceful with what they have.

What led you to start?

Project Butterfly:

I was fresh out of college and had recently turned 23 years old and was working with my first real job at an after school program called College track, formerly called Urban League College Track. I started as a tutor and I loved it. I had a really good repertoire with the young people I was working with and so the Faith Director, Shredren Burnside, thought I was great. I appreciated that, being young and someone seeing I had a potential for doing education in youth work. She told me about a workshop that they were offering called, Project Butterfly and she thought I would be excellent at it, so she paired me with the lead instructor, Rashida Govan.

I sat in on this workshop and fell in love with the fact that black girls had a space in this building to talk about things that were effecting them, but also to be reinforced into their cultural identity, to be so black and beautiful. I knew then, that I had to be involved in som