Here are just a few photos from my Atlanta experience so far. As you can see, we had a lot of foodie ventures. I’m also now even more in love with Ponce City Market and will be a regular visitor. Cheers to new experiences!
Here are just a few photos from my Atlanta experience so far. As you can see, we had a lot of foodie ventures. I’m also now even more in love with Ponce City Market and will be a regular visitor. Cheers to new experiences!
Women empowerment is not a cookie cutter phrase. It’s real work. It’s a celebration of who we are, what we accomplish, and overcome on a daily basis.
I was reminded of all of that this past weekend after attending “Black Women United Day of Unity” in Atlanta, Georgia. Before attending the day’s festivities, I started incorporating the hashtag, #WomenSupportingWomen as a way to acknowledge the work women are doing in and around the Charleston, SC area in which I reside. I also make it a point to acknowledge those who may not be in close proximity as a show of solidarity and support.
It was only right that I was told about this incredible event from an equally incredible woman, who also happens to be my sorority sister: Davida Roach. Davida is the owner of Hair Bakery Boutique LLC, Dear Deanndra, and the creator behind her new blog, Davida’s Diary. She is the epitome of a true girl boss.
The event took place inside of the Georgia State Capitol. Upon walking in, we both couldn’t help but to really take everything in. The fact that we were attending this important event inside of an important space where laws are created and talked about, and important people dwell, to just seeing so many brown women in one space, in their best attire, ready to take in any messages received. I didn’t quite know what to expect, because I didn’t know that I would be there. But there was so much confirmation in the messages spoken.
For starters, Glenda Williams of MEG Enterprises says ” I recognize what it took to protect yourself, especially as a Black woman.” It went hand in hand with universal messages of sisterhood, and caring for others , and being honest about your personal journey. She encouraged everyone in the room to “rise above hurt, understand healing, and what it takes to push beyond the odds.”
Imani Baskins, who moderated the event, made a powerful statement on vulnerability. She says,” Vulnerability is our super power. Sometimes, what looks like a flood is a cleansing.”
As a Black woman, I can honestly say that it is very hard to stand firm in being vulnerable. Simply because there is a lot to take on in my own day to day life that requires me to be strong, and to carry the weight of it all in order to simply survive. It’s HARD. But vulnerability is like a doorknob. You have the control over how much the door opens, and what you let in or out. The power is in the capacity in which you give. But you can’t afford to not give anything if it only holds you back. We can’t allow ourselves to give in to fear.
Renee Peoples, of The Peoples Network says, “You have to find that happy place within yourself that you can go to, that no one can tamper, despite all of the voices in your head.” And on the same note of allowing ourselves the energy to be selfish with our emotions and protecting of that energy, Glenda Williams says, “As we grow and build, sometimes we leave ourselves out.”
In that moment – over a dozen women chose not to leave themselves out of healing. Everyone came for something. Whether it was shared with a fellow woman there, or kept quietly tucked away in their minds for them to hold, women were being fed what they needed to take home with them and really get things going.
I know because I was one of those women in the room. Taking notes. Physically and internally. Intently listening to what each woman on that panel had to say. The energy around me was filled to the brim with emotion. As a Black woman, I don’t often talk about my experiences with being a Black woman in this world. I don’t always get the chance to talk openly about my experiences and what they mean for me as I continue growing into womanhood. Being in a space where that didn’t really matter at all – but in fact was embraced, was just the medicine I needed to recover from past traumas of self-censoring for the appeasement of others.
I was embraced.
I was loved.
I was lovingly criticized.
I was seen.
And with this simple hashtag, I want women to feel the same. As I continue to do more with my own works, I hope that everything I do has an underlying foundation of women empowerment – and not just the sister circle of, “Yass Queen!” and “Black Girl Magic”, but real hard conversations, centering moments of clarity, and collaboration without competition.
What does supporting women look like for you?
“Everything I’ve spoke, I’ve done.” – Missy Elliott
Words are power. At a very young age, I’ve heard this phrase and have tried to make sure that every word I speak is one of positivity. Confidence however is something I’ve always struggled with. Even as a current 25 year-old, I realize that the confident words about who I am, my character, my work ethic, even my looks almost always comes by word of mouth from those who have known me for some time, or are amazed by our first encounter. I guess that’s why I struggle with often times needing to be validated. If I’m not told I’m doing well, most of the time, I don’t feel like I am. Self-validation is hard for me, because it feels like I’m being more self-centered than confident.
What has been inspiring me to break out of that habit has actually been closely watching Black women creatives both on a mainstream level and in close connection who truly are doing the damn thing.
Take Missy Elliott for example. I honestly can’t believe God blessed me to grow up in such an era where Missy’s creativity was all in our face to bask in. From the eclectic music videos, to empowering words and raunchy rap tunes. Missy clearly is never afraid to be herself.
Aside from her outward appearance, what really gives me inspiration is the way she feels about herself. All while still being humble and appreciative of the work, skills and talent of those around her! In a recent interview I happened to stumble across on LinkedIn, Missy Elliott shared that “everything she spoke, she’s done.” When reading those words, I couldn’t help but to get chills, and really pause and take a moment to understand what that means for ME.
I’m surrounded by advocates of the belief that words are power, and who believe in their hearts that manifestation is real, especially when words of the tongue, and the heart’s intentions align. So being reminded of that is also a full reminder to hold myself accountable. I’m exactly where I need to be for the time I need to be here for. I’ve spoken this very moment into existence through desires of the heart and intentions.
Just a year ago, I told myself that I wanted to find more ways to serve my community and tell more of the stories of those not often told in mainstream media. Since then, I’ve managed to take on quite a few clients and roles that have allowed me to do just that. All while running a company (Conqueror Movement) that is always working to elevate the way we tell those stories.
While I didn’t envision things happening quite like this, I had a true desire for freedom and more intentional living. The end result was inevitable.
And even the things I have yet to witness because of the uncertainty of time in God’s promises, I need to walk in those habits, and visions, and feelings as if they are already my own.
But to do that means you have to be confident.
And as I said earlier, confidence and I struggle quite a bit. So, how then can I truly level up?
It starts with getting comfortable being uncomfortable. We all love a sense of security, and protection. We desire to have it in alot of things. And with ourselves, we are our biggest protectors. But, we’ve got to start making it acceptable for us to fall, in the same way that we prioritize success and coming out on top. We have to desire learning what our fall could teach us, and not always seeing it as a bad thing.
The end result is the focus point. The part of the story that motivates us to even have a story in the first place. I believe that everything has a unique purpose, and being confident that the purpose and your true intentions align is powerful because it’s ordained.
I’m beginning to walk a little differently with all of this information, and really see my success taken to new heights. I’m learning how to observe myself, my habits and my resources, and really being focused on how to live the life I desire.
Sometimes, the only obstacle in the way is you.
It’s a very hard reality – but one that is necessary to come to terms with on the topic of moving forward and upward. Since the last time we’ve talked, life has been forward moving in a lot of ways. From really soaking into this transition I’m in of finding my voice in the media world, and better ways to serve my community, to putting my mental health first, and changing around quite a few priorities.
Whether you’re a full time working millennial, or a person who desires to create more, you understand the complexities of the spaces above, but also how freeing it can be. I’ve had to come to terms with some very harsh realities, and I believe in transparency no matter what position I’m in. One story can always help another.
For starters, it’s okay to change your pace/ explore other interests.
When I resigned from my dream position at the top of the year, it was very hard to cope with at first. Many of the thoughts I had inside of my head were: “Yes, I’m happy, but why do I feel like I’ve failed?” When I began introducing myself without the title attached, it felt like I was losing something – or not believing enough in my own abilities and what I’ve been able to bring to the role in the first place. I had to constantly explain why stability does not equate to my unhappiness. If I’m feeling off balance in any way, that deserves my full attention. Sure, things will be uncomfortable, but what does your bigger picture look like, and are you living it?
Second, no one has the power to duplicate who you are, and the unique qualities you have, and that is your power.
In my current space, I’ve had alot of time to think about who I am. It may sound silly, but sometimes, you forget. You forget about what you bring to the table – whether it be in your professional life, your personal life, romantic or platonic relationships. Instead, you become occupied with the journeys of everyone around you, and just how much you amount up to that. It’s an unhealthy thought process, because it doesn’t allow you the space to be genuinely happy for other people, and their wins. After all, you won’t know just how much a person has lost to get to that point. Everyone’s burden looks very different. Everyone’s plate wasn’t constructed the same way.
If you’re a fan of music, and the Dreamville team, there’s a song on the collective’s newest project, Return of the Dreamers, III, out called “Sacrifices”. The song features a break down of what sacrifices mean to the four artists, including J.Cole, Smino, Earthgang, and Saba. Just a couple of the lyrics that stood out to me that I’ve really resonated with over the past few months are:
“I put my heart and my all in my art…” and “You can’t be everything to everybody.”
There’s so much more the song has to offer lyrically, but I want to stay true to the topic of getting out of my own way, and what that process has looked like for me. Stepping away from a professional role that clearly maps out my time and places a certain cap on my creative limits allowed me to really explore what creative freedom looks like. It gave me more time for much of my other on going responsibilities such as my digital media space, The Conqueror Movement, and further building my freelance brand, #LifeThroughArt.
Putting my all into my art meant being more present and innovative. What does the community need to see more of? How can I show myself, my talents, and those of others the value and worth I feel has been missing? While I have taken some time to regroup and reset, I have also been taking just as much time to plan and execute a few ideas, such as extending The Conqueror Movement’s single-day networking mixer to a three day event. I’ve also managed to plan and conceptualize three video projects, and one branding project for women-led initiatives.
On the flip side, it’s taken a lot to hold myself accountable emotionally. In a lot of ways, I categorize myself as a people pleaser. I love to show up for others as much as I can. My support is very extensive and can look like emotional, financial or physical (i.e – talking one on one, cooking, being a shoulder to cry on, physically showing up to events, etc.) aid. I’ve always defined support as being able to do freely those things without asking for anything in return. I realized over time how burdening that definition can be, and so my sacrifices have started to adjust. I’m thinking more of how I feel, and what I can reasonably give. I’m allowing myself more time to be alone, and not really having to explain my desire to do so. I’m allowing people the access to show up and support for me out of their own genuine feelings. And I’m being honest and transparent about the position I’m in and what that looks like.
Which brings me to my next revelation – actions may speak louder, but words are still necessary.
This life owes you nothing. And the people around you owe you nothing. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. Essentially – you have to approach many familiar situations as being brand new. People are allowed to change and grow, without you. Opportunities can genuinely be meant for someone else. Time can be perfect for one, and the opposite for another. While your actions may be loud enough, you’re not exempt from speaking. What does an opportunity mean for you? Why does a person’s involvement in your life matter to you? What exactly does that involvement look like? In many ways, social media has made it easier for us, but I will speak mostly about myself, to communicate my exact thoughts through memes, and shared tweets or statuses because sometimes you just can’t find your own words. But in moments where there is opportunity to let your voice lead the pack, quiet energy is the opposite of what’s needed. Assumptions are the downfall of alot of things. Make your intentions clear.
Getting out of your own way is a journey. There’s no guide book on it. There’s no three-step and elevate process. It’s just your journey. And it takes time, and patience, and sacrifice, and words and action. It takes accountability from yourself. It takes a lot of long nights. Emotions you may not want to deal with, but need to face in order to close the door and open another.
Returning to this space of vulnerability is necessary for my next step, and for those who identify with this, I am here to encourage you, and to be honest.
Welcome back to Unwritten.
When you enter inside Grand Central Station, located on Remount Road in North Charleston, you’ll instantly feel drawn to many places. One of which you’ll find tucked away to your left with a beckoning aroma and soothing tunes.
3rd Eye Lounge becomes your home away from home.
It becomes hard to drop in for five or ten minutes when you’ve become curious about the beauty inside. Ikeoma Divine, the creator, welcomes you in with a smile. Though mostly introverted, the conversations you will have with her will place you on higher ground.
One of the first things she will tell you is that the answer lies within you. She provides the tools to help you acknowledge what you’ve already known to be true. I guess that’s why there’s a level of comfort within her dwelling. Creating a space of authenticity. That is what she provides by doing it all flawlessly.
Are your chakras aligned?
Over the next seven weeks, Ikeoma will lead others a journey of self transformation. Through her Rootwork for Self Transformation course, she will help others remove blockages and stagnation of 7 energy points all connected to one’s emotional and physical body. This will all be done through rootwork rituals helping you to explore the imbalances of seven chakras.
For more information, visit https://oriinstitute.com/course/rootwork-for-self-transformation/ to explore and sign up today.
You can find out more about the safe space Keke has through 3rd Eye Lounge here:
It’s been two years now since I launched my very own website, and two years since I vowed that I would use it as a way to create memories and projects that I can be proud of. Here we are at the top of 2017, almost done with month one! I feel like there is so much in store for the year, and even though the challenges are unforeseeable, I’m learning how to celebrate myself and things I do well, and appreciating the harder moments when things may not always go as planned.
Last year, I couldn’t have imagined I would’ve accomplished as much as I did. As I discussed in my previous blog piece, “Because Life Is: About Being Humble” there were many things I fought hard for that I didn’t know if I would ever achieve. Now, I’m embracing a more confident side of myself that knows I deserve those things…and will continue to strive for the very best.
A big part of that new found confidence is learning how to simply say “thank you” when someone notices your hard work. A big thing for me is that I could never bring myself to say those words. I always combatted them with a compliment to the other person, or shrugged it off as no big deal. But, in fact it is!
Learning how to recognize that hard work goes into everything I do is an inner fight, but it’s necessary. Because if I don’t recognize it, how can others who barely know who I am do the same? Being your own worst critic is no excuse to shrug away every accomplishment as something you “just did for fun” or “because you had to”.
So, I’ve begun to use thank you a little more. And I’ve begun to really meditate and focus on the things that I’ve done well that will hopefully push me to further excel and produce great works.
How do you get over humility versus self doubt?
Serving yourself up compliments, or better yet acknowledgement, is not cocky. It is necessary. How are we making sure that we continue to bring our very best to the table each and every single time? We can’t do that if we don’t learn to recognize our accomplishments for ourselves.
So, start celebrating those small victories!
All about being humble.
It’s almost the very end of 2016, and it feels like I have nothing left to give to the year.
It almost seems as if I don’t have the energy to rejoice for 2017.
This year was a very hard fought year. Meaning, I fought for everything I earned and took no prisoners: (schemers, leeches or negativity) along with me. This year was full of learning lessons that needed to be learned at the perfect time. While I think it’s important to focus on resolutions and things you want to attain for the next year, sometimes it’s necessary to sit back and look at all of the things you accomplished right now, and even placing a focus on the things you needed more of that could better serve you in the year to come.
What I realized about 2016, and almost every other year prior, is that I’m really good at being there when others need me. I’m also very good about being in 5 different places at one time. But what I didn’t realize is how unhealthy all of those things really were when I wasn’t inserting myself into the equation.
College fed into my need to multitask. I felt like I always had to get everything done in a timely fashion. Most of that meant sleepless nights or writing out works in the car, in other classes, or avoiding sleep at all costs. Now, cheers to adulthood where none of that is possible! Literally – try producing a show in your sleep. You’ll be very disappointed when you prepare for the day and breaking news happens.
I have a weakness even while adulting that allows me to believe I can still do those superhero things and not feel any consequences of it. But how I was wrong. In college, you had an idea of how your day would go, and it wasn’t uncommon to sprinkle things in where you felt they were the perfect fit. I wake up daily now and I never know how my day will go (even this blog post was unplanned). It’s just the nature of life.
But just because I can’t tell the future, doesn’t mean I have to ignore making rest and happiness a mandatory objective in my daily life. I realize that lack of sleep is not quite what I need to thrive if I want to succeed and grow daily. I need to give back to myself in the biggest, but smallest ways. I can’t ignore those moments when my body tells me, “you’ve done enough.”
What exactly is enough?
That’s something I could never really define, and I’m having a hard time figuring that out even in this very moment. Because I know the path I’ve chosen to take with my career and passions, I should be content, right? Things should be good, right?
But what happens when others around you take a different path?
I have friends from all walks of life, many of them with the most creative spirits. They’re not aspiring to be journalists. They’re aspiring to get their art off the ground. They’re aspiring to have freedom. They’re aspiring to travel more, enjoy life a little more. Maybe become doctors, lawyers, attend graduate school. Become a nomad?
All of these journeys have their influences, but what many people don’t quite tell you is that they also have the ability to make you doubt yourself and your own passions and your own path. I can’t tell you how many times this year alone that I thought I wanted to quit because things weren’t quite going as I expected. When things just didn’t seem to be worth it anymore. But then I realized why those feelings were setting in.
It goes back to humility. The act of selflessness. The act of appreciation. I wasn’t separating myself from my past life of college fun, freedom to be a journalist and a poet and an artist all at once. I wasn’t allowing myself to transition into the now moment of my life to really appreciate what’s happening and how blessed I truly am. If the people around you don’t motivate you to want THAT kind of lifestyle, it could either be one of two things:
In this instance, I knew my friends were DOPE. I needed to check THYSELF.
Going forward, I want more humility sprinkled into my daily life. I want more joy and peace with my journey and more of an appreciation for what God has blessed me with. Someone posted a question on Twitter, asking their followers to reflect on the things they accomplished this year, and encouraging them to celebrate themselves. When preparing my answer, I realize my track record is a high one and very groundbreaking. To graduate college and almost immediately get my dream job in my desired career field is nothing but the grace of God. To live in a new area that is filled with hope, light and love is the icing on the cake. To be in a position where one day I can better provide for myself, soon enough giving back to my family all they’ve given me in the simplest gestures. It’s very encouraging.
2017 is a promising year, but honestly, I can’t even bring myself to focus on resolutions when I haven’t quite yet finished up celebrating me making it through this year.
So cheers to 2017, but also, cheers to the journey of 2016 that is preparing me to move into a better way of life.
“Always stay gracious”