As she sits cross legged on a blush throw rug in her Brooklyn apartment, Victoria ‘Vic’ Styles recounts the first time she ever felt connected to true creativity. The then-24-year-old had just moved to Los Angeles from Alabama after dropping out of university, mere months before graduation, with dreams of becoming a fashion designer.
“It was the only sense of normalcy I had ever felt,” Styles says. “I felt a sense of peace. I felt a sense of home.”
For the average person, this kind of change would seem daunting, scary even, anything but stable. For Styles, this drastic move was near-kismet. Growing up with a high-ranking military father, Styles had grown accustomed to moving around. “Every two to three years of my life, I picked up and moved to somewhere completely new,” she says. The crazy thing for Styles was that for the first time in her life, she wanted to stay.
“I was thrown into this world of creative transplants,” Styles says. “I’d never met that many people who thought and felt and held the same values around autonomy and creativity that I did.”
Now 37, Styles’ has gone on to add community-building to her repertoire. She is an influencer with almost 70,000 Instagram followers and cohost of Kontent Queens, a podcast about content creation and building social media following. More importantly, she is the creator and owner of Black Girls Smoke, a platform curated for women of color in the cannabis space to share weed-related stories and advice, gather for smoke sessions, and get educated about the plant so they feel empowered and see themselves reflected in the marijuana world. Like many Black female cannabis users, she felt underrepresented and criticized when it came to marijuana use. So, she created BGS in 2020 as a way to remedy this. “[Black women have] been placed in this box of if you smoke weed, you’re ghetto. If you smoke weed, you’re unproductive. If you smoke weed, you’re not successful. And I wanted to change that.”
Styles represents one of a growing number of Black women who aim to make the cannabis space more accepting of women of color. After leaving the fashion scene and her job as an assistant for Hollywood stylist and television personality Taylor Jacobson, she began a blog and eventually started working with brands like Nike and Adidas. At the start of 2020, she moved to Brooklyn for a change of pace; however, she found herself thrown with the difference between living in a community with large accessibility to different forms of weed and living in one with limited access. The biggest shock came when the coronavirus pandemic hit and people were forced to stay indoors. “I moved to New York as a single black female,” she explains while describing her frustration trying to purchase weed during the pandemic. “Most people who drop off and deliver weed are men; so, now I have a man that I don’t know, coming to my place of residence, to deliver drugs to me illegally.” She also added that communication with these random men would often be untraceable, creating an additional feeling of unsafety.
As a survivor of sexual assault at 18 years old, Styles felt that making female cannabis users feel safe was of utmost priority, leading her to create Good Day Flor, a cannabis company with female weed delivery personnel that delivers in both New York and L.A., from her BGS brand. Although she knows the legality of her business sits in a gray area, Styles contends that she’s “willing to take on the risk of compromising myself and my business to help keep women of color safe, because I’ve used this as a medicine.”
Styles’ love of marijuana surrounds her every being and is one she does not hide anymore. Growing up, her mother, an herbalist, would encourage natural remedies for almost any ailment — so it’s no surprise Styles would eventually go on to turn to earth to access her creative side. From the pre-rolls that occupy a prominent space in a glass jar on her bookshelf to the natural smell of incense that fills her home, Styles’ appreciation for the marijuana plant is one that cannot be missed.
Partnered with her love of weed, creativity is something that seems to reverberate throughout Style’s life. Kia Marie, Styles’ Kontent Queens podcast cohost who she met decades ago, says Styles’ creativity is both palpable and contagious. “She’s an artist,” Marie says. “She’s someone who you can definitely feel what she creates and that’s important.”
While Styles’ work in ending the stigma many women of color often face when engaging with weed might seem revolutionary, some others have paved the path for her to make such waves in the community. Mary Pryor, co-founder of Cannaclusive, an organization that creates fair representation of minority cannabis consumers in the industry, began doing so decades ago and says that she not only has a great appreciation for Style’s work in the community but also has a familial love for BGS, calling Cannaclusive the latter’s “big sister”.
Styles still has dreams of expanding BGS into a lifestyle brand and creating a wide base of women who feel seen in the cannabis space. While she might not know exactly what her next steps will be, her creativity has gotten her this far and she knows it is only the start.
“My whole mission in life, my whole platform is rooted and based on being a source of motivation and inspiration for women of color,” Styles says about her future. “That’s what I want to do.”