It’s finally here, #IMARA2019: The Recap!

Oh #IMARA2019where do we begin? Let’s start with magic: the experience was absolutely magical! Women arrived from all over ready, open and willing for a new & different experience and that is exactly what they received. Upon arrival the TRIBE was astounded by the amazing afrocentric stylish decor also provided by South African Tourism, Cocoon Lifestyle & Cheriyasekasi.

After hugs and smiles, they were greeted with welcome drinks followed with a performance by traditional African Zulu dancers, also courtesy of the South African Tourism. Immediately confirming that they were indeed receiving an unparalleled continental homecoming, that they would never forget. Next they each enjoyed small bites and a shared pampering moment of self care at the amazing foot massage station provided by Shea Moisture. Followed by a pool side gathering, dinner & conversation late into the evening.

Day one was dynamic as we set the tone with a welcome keynote, thanking everyone for showing up for themselves and each other. If they didn’t know it then, they would each soon find out that this would indeed be the adventure of a lifetime! The panel discussions opened up minds and hearts, as we delved deeply into the overarching theme of Identity. Including in depth discussions about Mental Health and what it means to be a Daughter of the Diaspora.

In the days that followed, you could feel the expansion and transformation occurring as we began to explore how we move in the world (Poppin’ in Real Life), and also how we relate to one another (Tribe). All done while remembering to be mindful to still take care of ourselves while having fun… From sensational head massages by Design Essentials; mineral makeup with Ms London Makeup; to silent disco yoga by Facebook and amazing dinners & wine tastings featuring Joburg Wine Club & House Of Mandela wines. We learned & luxuriated. Reminding us that we deserved this time to not only reconnect and reflect, but to also reprioritize where we place ourselves on our own “to do” lists in our daily lives.

Within the next days we ventured out as Soul Travellers to reconnect with our roots, while learning about historically significant events that shaped South African, and even global culture (Impact). But we still made time to reconnect as a group, and have an intimate girl talk powered by Clinique about self-care, skin care and everything in between. Capped off with a private movie premiere by a local director! Reinforcing that IMARA, truly is a safe & sacred space to share our stories. 

The final two days were all about Alignment & Abundance… we reflected on the time we spent together after venturing out on a fun Safari, and hit the spa then went on to celebrate with an amazing dinner & fireside chat, followed by performances and a party under the stars thanks again to Shea Moisture, South African Tourism and Cheriyasekasi.

On the last day, we reluctantly prepared to say our goodbyes during the fabulous yet relaxed al fresco brunch. Then headed off to shop in Jo’burg, before our final emotive departure.

In all, we shared stories, experiences, resources and supported each other in true sisterhood. Our week was full… and so were our hearts. We remained grateful, as we reflected on all that we experienced. How we were able to learn, grow, truly connect & transform, deeply within such a short amount of time together

All because we showed up open and willing and held space for one another. Realizing that even though we may come from different places and circumstances; that we are all one, that we are all enough as we are, and that no woman is alone. She just has to find her TRIBE. This, is IMARA. Created for US by US… women. In loving kindness with the pure intention to change the world, starting with ourselves and each other; one woman at a time.

Thank you to all of our partners, including Ethiopian Airways, for supporting the vision and helping to bring it to fruition. We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you again to the women, who showed up for themselves and each other. IMARA wouldn’t be the same without you and the magic you bring. We are eternally grateful, and very much looking forward to doing it all over again, next year. We hope that you join us again for #IMARA2020 & beyond. Thank you!

Curating Change,

Victory & Tori

Co-founders, The Colored Girl & IMARA Retreat

#TCGTech Guest Blog Feature: My Social Canvas x Deisigning a #GirlCode Movement by Tatiana Mangram-Rock


I am Tatiana Mangram-Rock, a self-proclaimed artsy/techie woman, and I like inspiring, empowering and educating marginalized communities. About two years ago, I had the opportunity to design a phone case that a large company (Verizon) saw the value in offering across stores nationwide; and Truthfully, opportunities like these seem impossible until they’re done.

The experience I’m about to share has been a reality thanks to My Social Canvas – a social impact fashion company whose products are designed by girls (like me), for girls. Two years ago, I was completing my Associates in Computer Science, and was excited to read about participating in a Design Hackathon that would provide a new approach to workshopping – a project to mirror the roles of business, technology, and design in the industry; an opportunity to bring a concept from the ideation phase to execution with other participants from various industries. I immediately thought, “dope I can’t wait… finally, a Hackathon that isn’t limited with students from the same majors, with limited scope”. It was also encouraging to see that some pretty prominent names in the fashion industry would be involved; i.e. Zac Posen and Rebecca Minkoff respectively.

This was all happening at a time in my life, where I was restarting. I had returned from school after a two-year hiatus, and often questioned, “What does choosing a career in tech look like for me?” I went from an art-type of girl to a techie, and believed participating in this, would allow me to stretch the muscles I needed to develop.

The Hackathon was exciting, unconventional, and inclusive. My group naturally meshed over the few hours we had to come up with an idea we would feel proud of. We were asked to design a case that wouldn’t be technical – not an invention of sorts that charges your phone or tells you the time or reminds you of notifications. Instead, a case that would tell a story of its own. We were asked to design a case that was feminine and techie. I’m glad the feminist spirit immediately rang through me and teammates Nadia Marjanovich and Melanie Greene at that point. We asked, what is “femininity”, from a marketing perspective? We didn’t want the design to be limited to the color pink, or a textured fur, or other conventionally misinterpreted ideas of what being a woman on-the-go meant. So, I came up with the idea to add a technical perspective through code. This is where #GirlCode was birthed. Every day women are not defined by a gender role, and all women should be able to walk around with a statement piece, that reminds them and others what wonderful people they are. Being inspired by the literal walls in the space we created that day, we discussed how a styling of text would be the best way to share our vision. My influence was infused in the design – an HTML framework that is used to describe, in code, what makes a woman amazing.

#GirlCode was made to be empowering, encouraging, affirming mantra of sorts – expressing that each woman is (or can be) a boss, who is FABULOUS, witty, BOLD, fearless and a list of other things… innovative, daring, educated, able, Imaginative, and techie! We collectively came up with all the adjectives to inspire, that didnt require you to be a tech wiz, to get the message.

Looking back, I didn’t know what the outcome of that day would be.. I was  nervous before the event, and invited my friend and former classmate, Tionna Wilson, so we could go together, as examples of young black women in tech. Through our morning conversations, some of the girls I spoke with had interned with big-name fashion companies in the past, or had been from the same schools. It was interesting that the group was so diverse, just as I for example, found the opportunity from a school email and my computer science professor. But still, at that moment, I wondered how many girls like myself and Tionna could have been there, but weren’t able to be because their life experiences were a little different. How many young women decided not to pursue careers in tech, because they are the minority (in that industry), didn’t see other women present and so decided to take another path?

At the end of the Hackathon, I was eager to thank Lisa Mayer, My Social Canvas’ Founder, and CEO, for the opportunity and give her feedback about my experience, and offer my support in the creation of her next Design Hackathon. I’m glad I reached out and said thanks, because she was so receptive; and because of that, more young women got the chance to meet the people and share experiences like I had that day.

There are so many opportunities for young women out there. Some will surprise you. Like when two years later when the phone case you designed is sitting on shelves nationwide at Verizon stores. But, overall, a lot of opportunities begin by starting a conversation.

Diversity is a buzzword these days. But more than that, it is a conversation starter where influencers can be held accountable and offer opportunities that bring ideas which change the world – inspiring one person, one executive, and one girl at a time. That’s what my relationship with My Social Canvas has blossomed into – that is what the message of #GirlCode is about!

Thank you to Verizon,  My Social Canvas and The Colored Girl for this opportunity to tell my story… and just know that you too, can encourage women and girls to do the same and more.

You can find our #GirlCode cases Verizon nationwide!

What I Know For Sure…

In celebration of my 40th revolution around the sun…

“I WASN’T READY…. all my life I have been preparing for this moment. The moment to FULLY own it… to fully walk in my power, be confident in who I am, and let my purpose set my soul into an ineffable blaze that would incinerate me, and then birth me again, like the phoenix. Now its time… of that I am certain. And now… I am ready.”

I turned 40 on June 2nd (shocker)! This age is a milestone for many. But more specifically women. As I join the 40 club, I can honestly say that I feel a plethora of emotions rapidly running as the undercurrent to my fierce determination, focus, and zen. I am learning to fully surrender, trust the universe & god and KNOW there are certain truths that will outlast us all. I am letting go. Clearing the path, so that I cam be a path to others and  be a light. This is what arriving to the 4th floor means to me. Oh and honey, there is so much work to do! Lives to change, and such.

I am also excited to be entering a new phase and chapter of my life. A purpose driven, celebratory, no bullshit, grown af, fully owning my power phase! I proclaim that 40 is the new beginning of an unstoppable, undeniable and incredible era for me. I know this in my heart, and am proclaiming it. I am clear.

I spent most of my teen years battling insecurities; my 20’s partying and trying to “find myself”; my 30’s learning to empower myself  & getting out of my own way (thru much trial and error I might add), to be impactful. If you follow me on social media, you’ve undoubtedly seen my transition and evolution… I am doing the work, and have been very transparent about it. I’ve talked a lot about deeply loving one self, surrender, communication, understanding, compassion, service and purpose these last 2 years and thats’ because I’ve come to find, that these are some of the most important aspects of life.These last few years of my 30’s have been a  tumultuous, amazing, self-discovering and awakening transitional period, that have lead me to a place of greater understanding; and gotten me that much closer to self mastery and walking fully in my purpose. It has been the ultimate preparation, of sorts… for a (soul) marathon that never ends! But we can learn how to navigate the way, and run the race better.

Now while a lot of you are probably flabbergasted by the fact that I look like a millenial, (hello, “black don’t crack”), but am old enough to be a parent to one (yeah, that part.. get into it!)… I wanna talk about something deeper. My story is a very unique one (which I’ll share at another time). But for now, I want to talk about the things I’ve learned…. the things that are both REAL & TRUE. Things I know now, that eluded me in years prior.. what I struggled to understand before I arrived here, at this moment in time.

There are a lot of things that may be transparent, while others are not so obvious in this thing called life… and for me, there are certain inalienable truths that I hold to be self evident. There are things that I could not have felt, fathomed, comprehended or even adhered to until my soul’s progression arrived here. So at 40, here’s what I know for sure:

  1. Love is queen… and intention is king.
  2. How you practice is how you play the game.
  3. Fear is amazing fuel.
  4. Everything happens for a reason (even if we don’t understand it)
  5. The way out, is through.
  6. All things are connected.
  7. Every obstacle is an opportunity.
  8. We are not our thoughts… we are not our feelings either.
  9. Great listening can teach you more than talking ever will.
  10. Sunrises are magical (just like full moons).
  11. Every moment is its own (and cannot be replicated).
  12. Sometimes, questions are more important than answers.
  13. Process matters just as much as progress.
  14. Self care & self love can change the course of one’s life.
  15. The universe reciprocates energy fields (just look at vibes & the law of attraction!)
  16. Details matter. (So do honesty, & attitude).
  17. Timing is everything.
  18. Water is therapeutic.
  19. A good song, a good meal and a good book can all have the same effect on the soul.
  20. Meditation (and prayer) is not a goal driven practice.
  21. Stillness is the move.
  22. Travel expands the mind and heart.
  23. Compassion can be learned.
  24. Class cannot be bought and is not a matter of status.
  25. Money really isn’t everything.
  26. Truly owning one’s power requires knowing oneself.
  27. Relationships matter.
  28. The ego (especially if unchecked) is dangerous.
  29. Karma exists.
  30. Beauty is everywhere.
  31. Faith without works, truly is dead
  32. (Spiritual) Alignment is a major key to unlocking your potential, purpose and impact.
  33. Laughter is medicine.
  34. Intuition is the ultimate compass
  35. Happiness is a choice.
  36. Peace is a state of being.
  37. God is real.
  38. Vibes don’t lie.
  39. Abundance is a natural birthright.
  40. We have everything we need. Anything else is just extra stuff.

I can honestly say (and fully believe) that I am ready for whatever comes my way, But most importantly, I am BUILDING my own way and that’s what relish. There is something so profoundly powerful, and refreshing about knowing who you are, choosing to live your best life no matter what, yet still having a beginners mind while holding boundless amounts of wisdom with endless possibility lying ahead. It’s exhilarating.

All photography by @skinnywashere



Gorgeous Uber CBO Bozoma Saint John wears Cover Fx #PowerPlay in shade P125…

COVER FX never disappoints, and recently at IMARA was no different! We were lucky enough to feature their new matte foundation, #PowerPlay which comes in 40 shades and has a soft finish, that lasts. We absolutely loved the name, as it paired well with our Power Player ladies who attended the retreat as well. Kudos to Cover Fx for A1 branding, while remaining true to their shade range flexibility and cruelty free at that!

Co-founder, vegan IMARA & Power Player Tori Elizabeth radiates in shade N90

We shared the new flawless & fun foundation with our main Power Players of IMARA and they loved it! Each of them with e difference shade of melanin, goddess glow that truly spoke to the brand’s premise that #nudeisnotbeige… and we couldn’t agree more.

Dr. Michelle Henry, Jade Kendle & Terri Matthews glow in shades G100, G+60, G70.

Model Deddeh Howard & co-founder Victory Jones’ melanin glows in shades N120 & G100 

Bloggers & influencer Ivy Coco & Hair stylist Julie Dastine dazzle in #PowerPlay shades G80 & N100

Koshie Mills & Bidemi Zakariyu look flawless in Cover Fx #PowerPlay Matte Foundation G110

We also sent amazing make up artist J. Bailey traveled to Cover Fx HQ in Texas to learn more about the brand’s new #PowerPlay matte foundation, before traveling to IMARA and she said she had a blast and loved the entire line! Watch below for a quick peek into her visit with the brand and some cool IMARA #PowerPlay moments.

Once again, thank you Cover Fx for partnering with us for IMARA, and lacing all of our magical melanin Power Players with your new #PowerPlay foundation to once again prove that nude is indeed not beige! We salute your push for diversity, inclusion and representation.


A Black Fitness Brand FOR US BY US: Culture Fit 


We were fortunate enough to have a beautiful fitness brand as a partner at our first IMARA, and not only did it look great, and work oh so well during all of our amazing yoga sessions with the incomparable Dr. Sanaa “@ladydork” Jaman; but all the ladies loved it too!

From the fun & functional design of the athletic apparel, to the prints and sturdiness of the amazing coordinating yoga mats (which are ideal for hot or regular yoga practices), Culture Fit is definitely a brand to support for WOC in the fitness category. An added bonus: the mats are super soft on top and get even grippier as you sweat it out during your practice! Giving great non-slip traction during practice.

So ladies, if you’re looking for your next yoga mat or fitness gear, check them out! Happy to support black business and also be supported by them too: THANK YOU CULTURE FIT! Keep on doing it, for the culture.




Ladies, there is a new brand we’d love to tell you about for all your yummy skincare needs: Brwn Beauty!

The black owned beauty brand with (natural) scrumptiously smelling products, will have you falling in love with your bath regimen all over again, and glowing. Trust me.

I recently tried the Coco Kisses, coconut & Shea body wash, lotion and hand and body scrub…. and let me tell you: I felt like a little brown chocolate coconut layer cake! I am a sucker for great products, and things that smell amazing, and this line did not disappoint in either category.

My skin was left supple, soft and sweetly fragrant. Also the scrub is great post wax or shave, since it’s sugar based, rather than salt… ouch! All I can say is that I was floating on a Brwn Beauty cloud, all the rest of the day after using this incredible line, and that my melanin glow was super real!

You’d be remiss not to try it for yourself and our friends at the brand even gave us a special discount to share with you for a limited time only. So go to and use the code BRWNGLO, and get yours today!




When I was 19 years old, I took a trip to Morocco with my mother and I absolutely fell in love. If you’re thinking I fell in love with a man, you’re wrong! I fell in love with the city of Marrakech also known as the pink city of Morocco. After my first trip, I felt as if Morocco was my happy place. I could definitely see myself living there sometime during my life time or at least have some property there. I recently returned to Marrakech, Morocco for the 4th time for the 1st IMARA women’s empowerment retreat.

The retreat, (powered by Veyep Sports & Ion 360), was created by the incredible women of The Colored Girl. The ladies of The Colored Girl (Tori Elizabeth and Victory Jones) are real life best friends, who met via Instagram, decided to put their creative minds together, and create a disruptive, pervasive & powerful movement, for women (of color) everywhere.

” IMARA is a mindful movement which aims to bridge the gap, between artists of color and the audiences of color. By creating awareness on an everyday level, using special connections within the communities of color, and correlating these in an artistic way, within an empowering environment; via an exclusive, thoughtfully curated experience. Specifically for women of color, who tend to be the trendsetters within their communities. This is an experience like no other… FOR US, BY US.” – The Colored Girl

These two power houses asked me to speak on the Art of Influence panel alongside beauty personality, Jade Kendle, and founder of the Black Mirror ProjectDeddeh Howard. Together we informed women of color about the power of social media and why it’s imperative to have when owning your own business or building your own brand. For one whole week, the IMARA retreat had multiple panels that included other women such as Bozoma Saint JohnKoshie MillsTerri MatthewsDr. Michelle HenryDr. Sanaa Jaman and so much more.

When we were not listening to powerful women inspire our hearts, minds and souls, we did fun activities in the city of Marrakech that I believe you might find very fun and exciting on your next trip to #Marrakech.

  1. Visit Majorelle Garden and The YSL Museum
  2. Go to The Marrakech Polo Club and watch a Polo game
  3. Take a stroll though the gorgeous La Mamounia hotel

Also, the speakers and participants of the IMARA retreat stayed at Marrakech’s finest hotels, Dar Sabra and Jnane Tamsna.

Dar Sabra

To make sure you are at the next IMARA retreat, follow The Colored Girl on Instagram and Twitter @thecgirlinc


Ivy Coco





POWER. PERSISTENCE. PRESENCE. IMARA was truly life changing. In every sense of the way… also in more ways than we had imagined. Firstly, a gazillion thanks to all of those who supported and /or attended. Tori and I, truly thank you from the depths of our souls. You made IMARA magical!


This was beyond a celebration of excellence & empowerment….When we first started on the journey to create this experience, little did we know we too, also needed exactly what it was that we were building. We worked tirelessly, for months to bring this to fruition. Pushed almost beyond our limits at times, to what almost seemed like our behest. But we persisted and kept the faith. Even though everything we create starts with us, our tenacity and dedication resides in the belief that what we do is so much greater than us. Its FOR US, BY US! (Thanks FUBU for the plug).


Nevertheless, this was the retreat to end all retreats! Or should I say rather, the retreat to begin all retreats?! It was that AMAZING! Literally. These women, from speakers, staff to attendees… most of whom strangers to each other, showed up and poured so much into each other. We fed each others souls at IMARA. Eased each others hearts, and provoked each other’s minds, in the most dynamic, powerful and genuinely caring ways possible. Mass attunement. The likes of which I have never seen or experienced before, ever. At least not to this magnitude. And it was AWESOME. TRULY. We recognized the divine in one another and also the struggle. All of which was met with nothing but compassion, empathy and care. This retreat made us realize that we are indeed a special tribe.


This was also beyond #blackgirlmagic, and orbited in to a whole other realm; that can only be summed up in the hashag: #IMARA. For 7 days we converged, communed, created, collaborated, shared parts of ourselves and lives with each other, with no agenda other than to just be of service to the next woman. To possibly help her grow and live her best life, and to my knowledge: it worked! Everyone came with their armor removed, their hearts and minds open and the magic began to flow. The immediate vibe, and feedback was incredibly heartfelt and overwhelmingly positively filled with so much love. Love for self, and for others. No agendas, just sheer genuine LOVE. The real kind that shows up when you leave all your armor and expectations at the door… and it was insanely beautiful.



This may have been the inaugural launch, so we do not hope to recreate it; but merely build on it. Amplify the energetic vibration of IMARA. We are very much looking forward to the next one, and have already begun working on what that will be. It is our hope that you will join us. Open heart, open mind, bring your magic, and leave your armor at the door… become part of our tribe and let’s celebrate the art of excellence and empowerment together. #IMARAFOREVER!



Check out the full program and lineup for the retreat, here: IMARA Digital Program.


Special thanks to our sponsors & partners:


Veyeyp Sports & Ion 360

Tim Tam


Cover FX

Huda Beauty

Shea Moisture


Brwn Beauty

Culture Fit

Mess in a Bottle

The Wrap Life

The Lip Bar



Naturalista Daily

Jane Carter Solution

Heritage Apothecary


Sustain Natural

Woman’s Touch

The Butter Bar

KNC Beauty

New Secrets Tea


Copper Signatures

M. Harris

Travel Partner: Black Travel Journey

And Media Partners:


Black Enterprise

Fearless Magazine

Color Comm

Hello Beautiful

The Luxe Digest




#IMARA: Power. Persistence. Presence… It Will Change Your Life!

Going to Morocco changed my life. Literally. Traveling there this past summer and spending almost a month immersed in the culture, opened my mind and heart up on new levels I wasn’t even aware I was ready for, or needed. I instantly felt more expansive, open, free, loving, adventurous. It was the place I had read about in books and even dreamed about.

The Alchemist is one of my favorite books (I’ve read it 4 times now) and the images conjured in mind whilst reading that book, is exactly what Marrakech turned out to be. So of course you can imagine, it was  like living a dream come true once I arrived. I was literally speechless, humbled, overwhelmed, peaceful, and overjoyed all at once. I was visiting a place I had never been, yet felt so familiar, and magical. I felt immediately deeply in tune with the energy of Marrakech. This was a place I had once only imagined, and was now IN! Experiencing it tangibly. In the flesh. It was amazing and awe inspiring. Sharing that experience with other amazing women, made it even more so.

The Colored Girl is all about empowering women. That is the heartbeat of what we do and also WHY we do it! Our goal is to always serve our community in ways that help fuel their voices and passion.This is why we created IMARA.

We want to create an experience, space and place for women to connect in an organic, authentic way. For their stores to be heard, felt and possibly impact those listening, for the better. A way for amazing women to bond in an beautiful environment where the culture is unique and inspire one another. We want to create opportunities for life changing moments to happen, in a magical place.

But life changing moments don’t just happen… they can be made, or met when the timing and energy align. Our goal with this retreat, is to create opportunities for that to happen.  For women to commune, share their magic and amplify their power.

We invite you join us for IMARA, to celebrate yourself and other women; and help make it the pivotal, enriching, and impactful experience that will indelibly leave a mark on your soul, and possibly even, change your life.

For more information, and to reserve your spot today, click here: IMARA.