For Tenisha Garner, growing up as a mixed girl was like being split between two worlds. Garner, who has one black parent and one white, describes the troubling tear between both of her cultural identities: “black wasn’t black enough, white wasn’t white enough.”
As she grew up, Garner felt the usual desire to become a princess that was a reflection of herself, she couldn’t find a perfect match. Sure, there were Snow White and Cinderella, but those only represented half of who she really was. Even today, although Disney seems on a mission to make their princesses more culturally diverse, Garner’s daughter faces the same dilemma of not finding for the perfect princess.
In popular culture, Garner says, “princesses highlight mainstream white beauty.”
That’s why, this past February, Tenisha hosted a “Princess Tea Party” which was 100 percent about children of color being able to adore princesses, while actually seeing someone who looks like them.
The Princess Tea Party was a hit, and sold out in advance. With that success, Tenisha was motivated to create an event that reflects girls of color in every aspect of their life. That event — Curls & Pearls Brunch at Tiffany’s — takes place this Saturday.
The “Curls & Pearls Brunch at Tiffany’s” draws its inspiration from the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s — not in terms of the movie or its plot, but moreso the brand.
Tenisha’s event on Saturday “revolves around girls of color” with the intentions of offering “individuality in feeling comfortable.”
Although both of Garner’s events have the same goals, the brunch is expanded out far more than princesses. The $6 ticket includes brunch, make-up, nail polish, a catwalk for the girls to show off their individuality, and more. Delta and AKA sorors in attendance will provide examples for children of color to believe that they can be doctors, lawyers, and dominate in other job fields where they aren’t well represented.
This event’s only dress code is to dress in what expresses who you are. Garner states “Whatever makes your child feel confident” is the only dress code, Garner says.
The ticket cost will cover the cost of the venue and food. One of Garner’s biggest goals is to make this event “family affordable” so that a diverse range of faces from different cultures have the opportunity to attend.
Looking to the future, Garner has intentions to expand this event so that everyone has the opportunity to feel as confident as these little girls. She plans to incorporate boys and also their families so that everyone is included along this journey.
Garner says she’s gotten some surprising backlash. But, she says, “this isn’t about excluding anybody, this is about celebrating black girls who don’t feel celebrated on a regular basis. This is a space for us. Women (should) stop thinking everything is shade. Build daughters and girls up.”
Garner wants to see a positive change in how people in Madison interact with each other. She describes her native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she describes it as “very different from Madison.” Things like complimenting people on the street was a normal and accepted thing, but happens “not as much here,” she says. She feels like in Pittsburg, people had a “less sense of competition”.
The Curls & Pearls: Brunch at Tiffany’s” event will be held at Madison Turners, 3001 S Stoughton Road in Madison, on Saturday, July 15th from 10:00AM to 12:30PM. Tickets are available on the Curls & Pearls: Brunch at Tiffany’s facebook event page and also on the event’s website. Tickets for this event must be bought in advance before the event, no tickets will be sold at the door.