Farewells have never been my forte. In fact, I’m better known for the French (or Irish, or English, etc.) exit: make a big entrance, help get the party going, then quietly slip out before the evening loses its luster (after paying your share of the check, of course). Though some may find it rude, the art of the French exit is knowing when to go, while hopefully leaving the party better than you found it.
But a good run deserves a proper goodbye, and after four years at The Root, I couldn’t just fade out without a farewell...and so many thanks.
The concept of the “glow up” was in the ether well before former Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton hired supermodel Veronica Webb and me to build The Root’s first femme-centric, beauty and fashion-focused vertical of the same name in late 2017. Reflecting on how the phrase has since been fully gentrified in the years since, I stumbled upon this definition: to “become more mature, confident, and attractive.” Admittedly, I’d like to think I’ve achieved some of the same since Yesha Callahan contacted me just after New Year’s in 2016.
“You should be writing for The Root,” she said.
Pushing aside my intimidation and imposter syndrome, I agreed—unwittingly setting my own glow up in motion.
Nearly two years later, Danielle trusted me to make the leap from freelance contributor to Managing Editor of The Glow Up, for which she’d crafted the motto: “We gloss. We floss. We boss.” Over the next four years, I was allowed to do all of that and more at The Root, experimenting, fumbling, stretching, flexing, and learning from my inevitable mistakes across multiple genres and countless bylines (and more than a few beauty tutorials). Encouraged to build new muscles as a writer, editor, manager and content creator (shoutout to The Glow Up 50, TGU’s Beauty Closet and the “It’s Lit” podcast), I received an education I couldn’t have anywhere or with anyone else but The Root’s incomparable crew.
In Genetta Adams, I found both an exacting editor and de facto mentor, dispensing the kind of tough love that thickens skins and sharpens minds. Monique Judge became both my “work wife” and sparring partner (with a heart of gold), while my “work brother” Stephen Crockett remained at the ready with much-needed comic relief or an empathetic ear (often both).
My Very Smart Brothas Damon Young and Panama Jackson readily accepted The Glow Up as the fledgling yin to their thriving yang (essentially, VSB’s annoying but also very smart little sister); our kinship makes it fitting that our journeys at The Root should end so closely. Michael Harriot’s incalculable brilliance is only eclipsed by his generosity of spirit, while Jay Connor’s laid-back cadence belies his incisive wit; both make it look easy.
Tonja Stidhum, Shanelle Genai and Anne Branigin are the types of uniquely gifted voices who not only made me a better editor, but a better writer. I’m grateful for their trust—and even more for their sisterhood. I’m equally grateful for Terrell, Ashley, Felice, Jessica, P.J., Micaela, Michael C., Melissa, Corey, Alba, Victor, Tracy, Kirsten, Angela, Ishena, Joe, Zack, Teresa, Dara, Natalie, Julianne, Elena, Angelica, Sam, Lyne Pitts and so many more who made an indelible impact on my tenure at The Root—as has each and every reader who has supported us, challenged us, and chosen to spend time with us. It is impossible to calculate all that The Root has given me (even, unbelievably, a life partner). So, for better or worse, thank you.
Admittedly, almost all of the collective of brilliant misfits I’ve thanked have preceded me in moving on, but I’m reminded that The Root has always been bigger than one person or perspective. I hope it will continue to be so as Vanessa De Luca, Tatsha Robertson and the site’s new voices define its next phase.
As for me, I’m on to my next phase—and hopefully, my next glow up. But again, thank you so much for having me; it really was a fantastic party.