2015 was the year that black women everywhere sacrificed their European beauty beliefs and sucked in gold rays into their bronzed skin from the Sun creating the most unified year of love amongst black women that I’ve witness. The unity of black women in this world is the real reason why 2016 was a successful year for me. My social media buzz came mostly from black women sharing my artwork and genuinely supporting my dream. So for that, Black Girl Magic has always been a soft spot in my heart.
If you don’t believe anything I say believe me when I scream Black Girl Magic is a real thing! There’s something that lifts you out of your comfort zone and gives you this undeniable welcoming spirit when you’re in a space full of magic! I ended 2015 with doing an amazing “Formation” style photoshoot with local qweens in Richmond, Virginia. Dressed in all black was our only commonality. Personalities, crafts and backgrounds created a diverse yet powerful workspace. Just simple conversation showed me that I was surround by a group of strong, determined young women. It was my first time since my VCU days that I felt BGM. (Catch a few shots of floating around social media or at @qweenxblog)
One of my biggest New Year’s goals was to start participating in more events. So I kicked off my year with sponsoring the launch of Folk and their first Sphere event in Brooklyn. When I was first introduced to the idea of a “home” for black women to gather together to be carefree and unapologetic I knew this was a space for me. Having strong minded, creative, brave and BEAUTIFUL women in one room is something that words can’t really explain. It is what was the true definition of BGM! (If you’re in the area and want to experience this yourself please visit FOLK website to get more info about the next Sphere.)
In my journey I’ve learned that having a support system built off something that represents you will give your brand longevity and makes it easier for you to connect directly with your consumers. As an inspirational artist primary for women of color, I am grateful to know that women standing behind my brand are women just like me. I’m not speaking directly on how they look because I don’t believe that “we” have an appearance box you have to fit in. I’m talking specifically about the mindset that we have in common; not looking at each other as competition and having the willingness to help. I can say 4 years ago it wasn’t this easy to get a little advice from another entrepreneur. Actually at one point in time it was hard to even find out where another girl purchased her shoes from. I know that I was raised (by my environment not my parents) to keep my sources to myself, to not help others because they may get ahead and to clap silently. As a 22 year old trying to break into a creative industry these sounded like solid keys to success. Thank God for meeting people who were the complete opposite and showed me that giving a hand to help someone else up will not drag you down. It’s still a common assumption for entrepreneurs but I’m trying to break those habits.
Black Girl Magic really showed me that sharing information, experiences and evening helping can go a long way. It may not be your eye opener or the movement that’s behind your brand and that’s ok. I’m not trying to force a hashtag upon you. I just wanted to give praise to all the women who aren’t afraid to uplift, lend a hand, give some advice or just collaborate with other women. Movements like such is the reason why I decided to take on being a mentor. I want to share with others so that they can build themselves up to one day exceed me. When you have confidence in your brand you don’t have a fear of being overshadow, but that’s a talk for another day.
Here’s some tips to finding your “hashtag” support system:
- Be open to meeting new people
- Go out to events, socialize outside of social media (brunches, conferences, networking happy hours)
- Give out your contact info and actually stay in contact with others
- Research (look up hashtags, trend your favorite social media accounts)
- If you can't find one in your field, be brave and start your owns!
- also check out Brown Girl Fearless a blog I've contributed to in 2016 to meet some fearless women of color