Sista Spotlight: Hair fandom leads to Black Girls Like Us

Tia (left) and Toya operate the popular blog, Black Girls Like Us

(The Spotlight is an occasional Sunday feature profiling SistersSistas and everything in between)

I’ve never met Tia & Toya, but I’ve been a fan of their blog, Black Girls Like Us, ever since I read this hilarious post about Tia’s love for Common and Jeremy Piven. Because I also share that love, I’ve been a frequent reader of their musings on life, music and other aspects of pop culture. When they’re not blogging (Toya handles social media, while Tia deals with the techie stuff), they spend their time together laughing really hard, like “somebody help me, I think my spleen just burst from laughing”, and watching marathons of ‘Friends’. (Tia is Monica; Toya is Rachel). They were kind enough to answer questions about their blog, and how they make their friendship work.

Spotlight on: Tia, 30s, Toya, 37. Sistas for 11 years, co-bloggers for 9 years

Location: Nashville, TN

How’d you meet? First impressions?

Tia: “My first impression of Toya was, ‘She has AWESOME hair.’ I approached her in the parking lot of our church and asked her about her fabulous curly hair. At the time I didn’t know that we would not only be roommates but eventually be best friends and co-bloggers. I honestly didn’t know what to think about her initially. During that period in my life I wasn’t really open to friendships with women. But after living together for a while and learning that we are almost polar opposites personality-wise, we found that we actually have a lot in common.”

Toya: “I thought (Tia) was a student at TSU.  I always saw her by herself in sweats in the back of the sanctuary at church.  The first time we met I was standing outside and she walked up to me, touched my hair and said “How did you get your hair to do that?”  We struck up a conversation and discovered that I was looking for a new place to live and she was looking for a roommate. We lived together for about 5 years but I don’t think we became best friends until our last two or three years of living together.”

Brag a little. What makes Tia/Toya a good friend?

Tia: “Loyalty. I remember I found out my ex- was married. I was devastated. Toya was at a concert and I called her and told her what happened. She left the show and came home and found me curled up on the floor of my bedroom. For me, that cemented our friendship. We don’t leave concerts…EVER.  Toya loves me unconditionally. She’s the kind of friend who wants the very best for me. And she won’t co-sign on my crap. If I’m doing something that’s not on the up and up, Toya is the kind of friend who will call me on it. A true friend won’t let you wallow in the mud. A true friend wants you to be great. I’ve never questioned whether Toya wants be to awesome in life. I instinctively know that she does.”

Toya:  “Man, Tia is the most reliable person I know. … The day I knew Tia was not only a great friend but my best friend was when I had entered this radio contest to get gas for 10 cents a gallon. I was broke and gas was crazy high. I woke up in the morning, found out where they were pumping gas for 10 cents a gallon (as did half of Nashville) and made my way out there one Saturday morning.  I was so eager to get out there that I didn’t eat and I am borderline anemic. The line was huge and between the August heat and eating no breakfast, I was absolutely delirious. Somehow, Tia made her way downtown, found my car in line and brought me water and snacks. That’s when I knew she was ride or die.”

Birth of Black Girls Like Us?

Toya: “Tia and I were talking about all of the silly scenarios and situations that we felt were unique to us; two black women who grew up in the suburbs liking everything from Tupac to New Kids on the Block.  We talked about how we’ve had to battle stereotypes and other things we had in common. I don’t know who said it first but one of us said “These things only happen to black girls like us” and it stuck.  We initially started writing things for our friends to read. It wasn’t until we added a view counter did we realize that there were people overseas that knew more about our lives than most people we see face to face did.”

Tia: “We try to blog daily. It doesn’t always happen though. Topics are random. I’ve found that works best from my point of view. Planning ahead doesn’t always work out. We write about what we know. We write about what we’re feeling. While we have approached the same topics in the past, our personalities offer different perspectives that I think our readers appreciate.”

Why do you work as Sistas and co bloggers?

Toya:  “It’s really cool having something that you own together that allows you to express your commonalities as well as your differences.  It’s been a great way of documenting our lives’ journeys together, that’s for sure.  I think having that documentation over the years has allowed us to look at one another’s growth. We didn’t start out wanting to be writers and now that’s something we both would like to do.

“Tia and I work as friends because we are so very much alike in the areas that matter but we are different enough in the areas that don’t.  Tia has strengths that I marvel at because the things she is strong at I am pretty much terrible at. Also there’s a level of responsibility we feel for one another. We know God brought us together and we honor that and are very grateful to Him for it. We have each other’s back no matter where we are in the world.”

Tia: “I think because we’re different we work well together. They say opposites attract. I think there’s SOME truth in that. We’re different enough that we can complement each other but not so different that we have NOTHING in common. There has to be some level of shared interest or relationships don’t work.

“No one is trying to be a superstar. It’s a joint venture. No one keeps track of how many posts they’ve written compared to the other person. My feelings aren’t hurt if she writes a post that gets more page views than the last one I wrote. We’re a team. We handle our blog as co-captains.”

Current role of Sista(er)hood in your life?

Tia: “I would like more friends, period. Because I travel A LOT it makes it hard to establish relationships with anyone. When it comes to women, I don’t like the catty, frenemies relationship that we see on television. I want to do life with women who have shared interests and goals. I don’t want to have to worry about your motives all of the time. I want covenant, long lasting relationships. So while I am open to meeting new people and getting to know them, I’m in no rush to have a huge circle of friends. I’d rather have a few good, honest and true friends than a bunch of acquaintances I can’t rely on.”

Toya: “I really am satisfied with the level of relationships that I have with other women. I  am fortunate to have some fantastic friendships with some really great women.  I’m always open to new relationships with people.  As far as sisterhood though, there are only a few people I give that title too. Funny enough Tia is not one of them. I’ve never seen us as sisters at all. We’re just Tia and Toya and as simple as that sounds, it speaks volumes because outside of my husband, I am not trying to be an “and Toya” to anyone else. We really do have a great friendship and no matter how many friends I have, Tia is irreplaceable.”

(If you and a close friend would like to be featured in the Sista Spotlight, please email me at  shay.words{at}gmail.com)

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About Shay

I'm a fan of good friends, good food and good writing.
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2 Responses to Sista Spotlight: Hair fandom leads to Black Girls Like Us

  1. Pingback: Sista Spotlight: All grown up, childhood friends embrace their similarities & differences | Sista, You've Been On My Mind

  2. Pingback: Sista Spotlight: Glittery shoes bonds first grader to lifelong mentor | Sista, You've Been On My Mind

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