#WomenSupportingWomen

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.

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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.

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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?

 

 

Falling in Love at the Right Time.

Thank you.

For the unwavering love, the support, kind words, and for your listening ears. When it comes to creating something on your own, you take a leap of faith with every decision you make. From what the name of it will be, and what it represents to you, your desired audience and who exactly you are talking to, and most importantly, the words you will say.

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For a long time, I struggled to answer all of those questions, and questioned why I wouldn’t make ground with my company.

When I started taking more time thinking of those things, and less on comparing my road to others, I started to see the changes.

The Conqueror Movement: a communications platform connecting Black millennials of the Carolinas, inspiring them to use their platforms to give back to their communities.

To be a conqueror means to overcome any and all obstacles standing in your way. I overcame many things to keep this going, but because the journey was never about me but on the people I could inspire with this, it wasn’t hard to keep moving with it, to allow it to still be a major part of my life.

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Last week, I got to see a 5-year vision come to life. This platform was created to see Black millennial creatives come together, connect with others from the same state and communities and really working together to create something positive, and I’ve begun to see just that.

My company (wow, still surreal to say) held our very first event last week in Charleston, SC entitled “Falling In Love With Your Passion”. This intimate networking mixer was something our team thought people could really benefit from. But we wanted people to gain more out of this, so we came up with the concept of talking relationship style. How can you maintain a relationship with your passion despite the obstacles you face and wanting to give up?

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Since the event, we’ve gotten lots of messages asking for more from us, and we are pleased to give it to you.

But before doing so, I wanted to take a moment to soak all of this in, and I encourage you to do the same every time you accomplish something new. Too often, when we finally reach a goal, we don’t take enough time to enjoy it, reflect on it, and really learn from it.

It took us 5 years to get to this point. I didn’t have a team for 4 years, and now, I have two amazing gentlemen (pictured in the first photo above) who have really supported me through this journey. I didn’t have a readership before, but now, there are many people, most of whom I don’t know, who are watching closely for what’s to come.

Great things truly take time, and I’m grateful for the amount of time that it’s taken to learn and grow. It’s takeoff time now.

– K

 

Because Life Is: Putting one foot in front of the other

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How do you handle hard situations without losing yourself in your problems? It’s always hard when you have an idea of where you feel your life is going, where your steps are taking you, and thinking that you have control of it all. But, I learned very quickly that I do not.

I never quite knew how to answer that question. And with being so young, there’s a lot more that I will experience in life that I won’t know how to handle. But, I’m learning the hard way that it’s all about embracing the journey. Embracing the hard steps, and never giving up on myself before I show that I have something to prove.

This month alone has really tested the way I see myself and how much I feel I’m personally capable of.

Being a creative, an entrepreneur and a journalist sound like they aren’t interchangeable or could mesh well together, but they find their ways. I could flourish in all aspects, dive head first into my works and not have a problem doing so many things at once from sun up to sun down. I’ve always been involved with so much, and I always feel the need to act on every idea that comes into my head (However, I have quickly learned that is a recipe for disaster!). But when do you make time for what’s happening personally? To deal with the personal emotions that make their way into your everyday life?

That is something I hadn’t quite figured out, just went with the flow. There’s nothing wrong with not having a strict plan, but there is a problem with ignoring the very things your mind needs to take care of.

As business creatives, we tend to develop this machine like mentality that we can push off things, conversations and conflicts and channel any negative energy into our works.

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Looking at this month alone, I have lost way more than I gained from not being real with myself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in answering “I’m fine” to every “How are you?” question. But what happens when you’re not and more things continue to happen?

There was a moment I had this month where things just kept happening. And it was never really anything that people have done towards me themselves, but it was mostly the act of knowing what I deserve and making some hard decisions. But I thought saying “I’m fine” would just alleviate the need to deal with those things head on. But you only do yourself a disservice when you don’t.

The same effort and energy you put into making sure a plan is carried out and it works in your career is the same effort, time and energy you need to put into your personal life.

Show people around you how much you really care. Have those hard conversations if it’s on your mind and you know you can’t be your best self until those feelings are expressed. Be intentional about the growth you want to make and get real. Because at the end of the day, you have one life to live and you don’t want to go through life feeling stagnant and in the same place years from now.

There’s nothing wrong with needing to deal with the hard stuff.

And when it’s all said and done, make sure you continue your walk and put one foot right in front of the other.

 

Because Life Is: About Celebrating your Victories

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.

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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”.

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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?

  1. Write a list of the biggest things that you’ve done that either surprised you, or you feel you really did well and tried hard at this.
  2. Take a look at that list, post it if you need to! Then really pat yourself on the back, because those are things at some point in life you didn’t know how to do.
  3. When someone offers you a compliment, say thank you. Even if you don’t believe it at first, they do! Write it down, and post it on your wall, or someplace you can always see it. I guarantee you, the way you see yourself will begin to transform.

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!

 

Because Life Is: a second chance.

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Life is a beautiful journey you have to go back and rediscover time and time again just to really appreciate it. I found myself at times during these past few months being so invested in the perfection of having a lifestyle that I could be proud of. When I say that, I mean that I began to think very superficially about things I felt I needed and things I feel like I should accomplish. I wanted everyone to acknowledge that I was putting in work, and with that comes the need for constant likes and compliments. I got lost in the idea that if I helped and supported others, that eventually the same due respect would be given.

But life serves you up lessons in unique ways.

I questioned a lot of things, the most consistent being whether or not I was good enough for much of the very things that I wanted to accomplish.

I’m so grateful for the reassurance that many of my greatest friends and family have surrounded me with.

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I’ve had to ask myself countless times again and again how much my dreams are worth, all while reminding myself of my worth and that it means something.

This series, #BecauseLifeIs is going to be very transparent and very real.

Everything that you could think of — from parts of my life I rarely discuss to love and relationships to career journeys.

Stick around for it all, and thanks for the support, always.

-KD

Thank you + Hello again

I appreciate you.

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for the friends and loved ones I have who called or sent messages checking in on little ole me during Hurricane Matthew. It was greatly appreciated all the same.

I’m also grateful to be typing this up in my own apartment space where thankfully there have been no damages due to the storm, the power still works, and everything is exactly how I left it. If I learned nothing from this weekend’s 24 hour coverage of the storm, I’ve learned to count my blessings, no matter how big or small.

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The Live 5 news team did an amazing job coming together these past few days to bring our viewers any information we could to keep them safe. As a producer, this is very important to me. I value those who love us and what we do because only a smidget of it is actually seen on camera. A whole lot of the work comes from behind the scenes with decisions on who covers what, how that is presented to the viewers and for how long.

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I didn’t get many pictures of the newsroom over the weekend, but let me tell you: it was a whole lot of hustle and bustle! Many of us spent the night at Live 5’s headquarters so that we could all safely and with rest make sure that we were ready for the day’s events.

We stressed.

We laughed.

We fellowshipped.

We were all together in one space. Not everything goes well 100%, but our main goal is what the viewer needs from us, and we all came together to get it done.

While many may still be feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew, I want to send lots of encouragement and light your way. Make it to all of your destinations safely, and remember that my team and I are always on your side, no matter where you are.

-K

P.S. I promise, I will blog often. Look out for personal notes and things on Mondays ❤

 

“I Am Change,” T-shirts available now.

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Cheers to stepping outside of comfort zones and really making things happen within the community.

For the past few years, I have always tried to figure out ways that I could expand the conversation of news media through my communications platform: The Conqueror Movement. Many moments have presented themselves, and we’ve addressed many issues that hit close to home, such as the common stereotypes of the African American male, the natural hair movement and how it’s perceived to other cultures, and now the constant discussion of identity and representation of African Americans in news media (their portrayl, stories that often don’t get discussed, stories that aren’t discussed enough, misconceptions, etc.).

Many have also expressed to me that the platform needs a shirt – and people would actually wear it.

But, I wanted to do something different.

I wanted to create a message – a message that people could identify with and be proud of.

So, I reached out to one of my good friends, Devin Green who is a phenomenal graphic designed and illustrator who owns his own clothing company, Style Clothing Co

He created this vision for me based on what I expressed above and the current campaign I was leading  “I Am Not My Skin”. Thus, “I am Change, I am not the Problem” was born.

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This design was inspired by the voices of many who always seem like they have to explain the importance of their existence because of something as simple as race or gender.

This message couldn’t be more relevant, especially now. By challenging this notion that color tells a lot about who a person is, or gender, we defy what many people begin to call “reality” when it is simply not.

I am hoping that this will not be the end all, be all for The Conqueror Movement, and that we will continue to bring forth many different initiatives and opportunities for conversations like this to occur. This won’t be the last you see of the movement this year, but this is the start of what supporting the initiative looks like. Without you, growth won’t be possible. Invest in the local game changers and change makers.

To support the initiative of the Conqueror Movement by purchasing a t-shirt, click here.

Love,

Khadijah Dennis