Two things have been said to me that profoundly shifted the way I function in the world. The first was "what would you tell someone else to keep them from going what you went through or to let them know they are not alone in their suffering?" That was summer 2016, before I gave my TEDx talk "Black Girl Magic in the Fashion Industry". That question is what set me off on my journey of self-love and it is the reason I dedicated myself to walking in and owning my truth no matter how ugly that truth may be.
The second was "most people spend their entire lives in character, living as a product of the narrative that was written for them; they never realize they have the power to write their own story." That was summer 2017 and it forced me to look in the mirror and evaluate my choices and habits. I could no longer depend on my family history as an excuse to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors and I could no longer center my identity around the things that have happened to me.
Although my family has and continues to endure the harsh realities faced by many Black people in America and Black people across the diaspora (poverty, drugs, violence, separation) I've committed myself to creating the shift and changing my family's narrative.
When my grandma told me she was coming to New York to visit, I reached out to @JoshuaKissi and asked if he could take some portraits of us. What better way to begin rewriting my family's narrative than through powerful imagery?
This is my Grandmother, Nancy Carol. She had her first child (my auntie) at 15 and her second (my dad) at 16. Somehow she still managed to go to school and spent 30 years working for the city of Seattle. Thank God for the strong women who came before me and paved the way. Because of their sacrifices, I am able to be all that I am. Happy #InternationalWomensDay to a real Queen. 👑