Miss Irie Blues is one of Tulsa's premier photographers; her work has been displayed at the Philbrook Museum, and many of you may be unaware that she was instrumental in shaping the image of hometown heroes Fire in Little Africa in the group's early days.

Her latest work, "FEMININE = RIGHT," is a nostalgic portrait series that depicts the evolution of Black expression through the media of the late 1990s and early 2000s. "It started off as memories from childhood, going to the hair salons and barber shops with my parents, and just being so inspired by this whole new world of hair and culture," she tells ASLUT.


photography MISS IRIE BLUES + model AUBREY SHINE

These images put you in mind of photos from "Vibe Magazine" or "The Source," unapologetically Black and dripping with so much sauce. From bamboo doorknockers to stylish up-doos, Miss Irie Blues transports viewers to a familiar past with a modern twist.

Through adversity, great work is born, but we were surprised to hear her say, "I experienced a lot of disrespect at the time after I began the series." Most of the disrespect is being given to her by male counterparts in the industry. "A lot of the disrespect that was experienced was just like, as if I didn't know my place as a woman in this world and in the industry," she tells us. But the experience forced a journey of inner discovery for the artist: "While I'm healing and figuring out how I'm not going to let those negative energies and other things take over, I began to study the Yin Yang symbol and the feminine and masculine sides of things, as well as how I can channel these different energies to make it work for myself," she tells ASLUT.

photography MISS IRIE BLUES + model ZHA ZHA and ZIR MARZEL

When you think of this time period "FEMININE = RIGHT" references in hip-hop, mostly male artists will come to mind, ranging from Notorious BIG to 50 Cent. But women are just as important to moving a movement forward as men are. While the guys were wearing Biggie's Versace sunglasses and Coogie sweaters, their girlfriends couldn't wait to see Lil' Kim's new hairstyle on the red carpet next to him.

Women have always been an integral part of pushing any movement further, so why do they get the short end of the stick? Miss Irie Blues suggests that the answer is to "respect the feminine traits along with the masculine traits first in ourselves and then others; that will do a lot for our mental health and our physical health." If everyone adopted this mentality, society and equality would undergo a significant change. Embracing one's feminine side is just as important, valid, and sacred as one's masculine side.

photography MISS IRIE BLUES + model FAITH


Details for the "FEMININE = RIGHT" portrait series will be available in its entirety in February 2023. Stay in the loop with Miss Irie Blues on Instagram @missirieblues and @blueoceansdeep on Tik Tok.