Getting Out of My Own Way.

Sometimes, the only obstacle in the way is you.

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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.Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Getting Back to Me

2017 was all about growth and creating a solid foundation.

On January 1, 2017, I entered this year on the worst term possible. I was struggling with my relationship. Struggling with my self esteem both personally and professionally. I had maintained a lifestyle in Charleston doing my career that I love wholeheartedly, and not being able to afford to live the lifestyle I was “living” in.

But as the saying goes, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

In February, my rocky relationship came to a traumatic end. I would be broken down in the worst way, and would have to find myself again.

In March, I decided to step out on faith with my goals and shifted my focus to The Conqueror Movement, which is my communications platform that serves as a connecting point for Black millennial creatives and professionals. With the help of my two best friends, we created “Falling In Love With Your Passion”. This event would host 50 people in one room, most of who I had never met before personally. The idea of this event was to encourage Black creators that what you do and what you’re passionate about, you must maintain a relationship with it. It must be something that you dedicate your time and energy to as if it were a one on one relationship. It would be the successful catalyst for a great year for my platform. My solid team would go on to create several events and opportunities throughout the year that would help these creators grow, learn and evolve, such as monthly brunch meetups, an annual celebration , of the company, and a documentary showing called “Find Your Light” . But not only did these projects help others, they allowed me to get back to myself and see what my true potential is.

I was pushed in ways I had never been pushed. Pushed to persevere. Pushed to trust the process. Pushed to trust others.

Now that I think of it, that would be the foundation of what I learned this year about myself and what I would learn I need to do for myself.

I learned that energy can be toxic if it’s wrong. Be protective of yours and don’t allow others to steal your joy.

My life experiences are constantly shaping me, and that’s important.

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If you cannot learn from what you do, what you see around you, and even the people you find yourself around, you are doing things wrong.

Looking ahead, I want to be more open about the things I have experienced so that those things can help others. I also want to be more real with myself about where I am, where I want to be, and just learning how to be more unapologetic.

In 2018, you will see a lot more from me, starting with this website.

Things have changed since I last debuted it on my birthday, May 30 of 2015. I have acquired my dream job, I have grown from a youngin’ to a young woman, and I am more confident in my abilities. You no longer need to see the labor of my work, you know what I’m capable of. The question now is: Who Is Khadijah?

You will find out alot more than you could imagine.

Going into the new year, I hope you will visualize your biggest fear and conquer it. I hope you won’t let it define you.

Stay tuned, friends.

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

 

“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

The World is your STAGE.

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On Saturday, June 11, 2016 “The Stage” was set in the private location of the Charlotte Trolley Museum on a street of Charlotte, NC filled with art and a lively energy that was infectious.

When entering the facility, attendees were greeted with the message:

“All the world’s a stage.”

And from then on, it truly was.

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From the neo soul and jazz vibes of the music played, to the lovely cocktails of the contributor, “Just a Sip.” The atmosphere of #TheStage16 was created for everyone to embrace each other and, well, embrace themselves for being present and in the moment.

I found myself soaking it all in. After all, I hardly could believe I had received an invitation to this magnificent event.

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The Stage was created to highlight creative + introspective individuals fulfilling their purpose.

The honoree class of #TheStage16 was a direct representation of that focus.

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Each honoree has made a name for themselves and has created a positive impact in their communities. It is a positive influence for those who attended the stage like myself who are just entering the realm of “the real world” and trying to decide which path to embark on.

I took away small things from each person’s introduction and words of advice.

“Be the change that you want to see.”

“Follow your passions and dreams. Money will come. That’s not your motivation.”

“Always be a reaching hand for someone.”

“No matter what adversity comes your way, don’t worry. God isn’t going to let you fail.”

“Everyone has a responsibility to make this world a better place.”

 

Even getting the chance to interact with friends and people I’ve met for the first time was an enlightening experience.

I remember sitting on one of the couches as I ran into two of my colleagues from the University of South Carolina. We had a full conversation about being the change we wanted to see in our communities and challenging others to do the same.

We also discussed how difficult that could be at times when others around you are not ready to see you make those strides. I responded with a couple of quotes myself.

“You have to be your biggest supporter, your biggest investor, your biggest everything.

I am lucky to be gravitating towards people who want to see positive change just as much as I do, but also being a new graduate and having gone through several transitions with friends and career opportunities, I realize the importance of valuing yourself.

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If you see no value in yourself and who you are, what you are capable of, and you don’t believe in your own dreams and your ability to carry that out, then the journey can be even more difficult because you’re no longer fighting the world, you’re fighting against yourself.

All of these enlightening thoughts came to me in this moment. The Stage.

Having seen what it’s like to see plans fail, friends come and go, opportunities enter into my life that I never imagined would be possible to achieve, I realize that the world truly is my stage.

Coming from the small town of Kingstree, SC where not a lot of opportunities are made available for young people with dreams who want to see the world because they are made to think that it will never be possible for them to achieve greater, it meant a lot to be standing in a room looking at individuals who have defied the odds.

Even the creator who made all of this possible, Mr. Bryant Kirk White, is and has always been since our first meeting, a living example that all of my visions have a canvas.

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Jeremiah 29:10 “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”

The next verse talks about the plans that God has once that hard work is completed. All put into perspective by this great.

Even as I am typing this, things are not all perfect, but things are all aligning in the greatest way possible, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

“All the world’s a stage. What will you do with it?”

For more information about ABevy Inc. or about one of it’s initiatives, The Stage, visit http://www.abevy.org.

To make a donation towards Abevy’s financial endowments that make young individual’s fulfilling their purpose possible, please visit: http://www.abevy.org/the-stage

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Queen City – The Birth of Dreams

The graduate life has been nothing short of fun filled, exciting and most of all, busy for me.

But it’s granted me the experience I’ve always wished to have.

I went from walking across the commencement stage to being on a road trip to Charlotte, NC where the real journey began.

Can you imagine having a dream you’ve always wanted to come true finally happening?

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DiVersitile of Columbia, SC — (left to right: R4L, Brittaney Chatman, Kanisha Keitt, Kendrick Retroversal Houser)

I had the pleasure of meeting 3/4 of this phenomenal group during my mentor, Brittaney Chatman’s production, “A Woman’s Suffrage” back in 2014. It was then that I realized Britt had other hidden talents — she loved music and was an avid performer. Along with that she was a part of a group, DiVersitile, made up of longtime friends who all equally love music. When Britt and I reconnected after graduation and she mentioned that she wanted me to be a part of a project that the group was involved in, I couldn’t say no.

This would mean that I would also get to work closely with Kendrick, who in addition to being a part of the group is also involved with his own platform, Good Food Radio, which stands for  Getting out our Dreams, Focusing on our destiny. 

It’s ironic that the two groups would come together in this instance as my journey with them both has seen this mantra come alive.

When you’re passionate about something, you stop at nothing until it’s done.  -Self quote

The idea of the link up is to get DiVersitile closer to that dream they discussed by finally recording their debut EP.

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For an entire weekend, I got really close and personal with these guys in a recording booth more fit for one person than two and a camera, and super comfortable space for playback and laughter.

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I watched magic unfold, first with music writing, then with the actual recording. It was amazing seeing what every individual  artist brought to the table. Brittaney had a very keen sense of detail — she could hear things within the music that she didnt like, or didn’t flow well that moved the project along progressively.

Kanisha had a knack for bringing it all together with her voice. She could harmonize and improvise. She has a creative spirit and energy that works and really makes things click.

R4L and Kendrick are the heartbeat and the dream makers. Without their knowledge of music engineering and also very constructive, but creative criticism of what works best for the overall song and project, I don’t know how this project could’ve been a success.

“Depending on the story that you’re telling, you can be relatable to everybody or nobody.” – Chance the Rapper

Music has a way of bringing a unique energy and lesson out of everyone. When I was younger, I had this perspective that all it really took to be a successful artist was to have a voice, the ability to write your own music and determination.

Well.

I was right about two for sure. Nowadays, it’s easier to collaborate with a songwriter if you’re lucky.

But it definitely takes alot more than just those things.

It takes alot of time and patience.

For this group, this IS a God DREAM.

But it was also something that won’t be taken lightly.

After a full weekend of recording till the wee hours of the morning and doing it all over again, a celebration is definitely in order once the EP drops.

When it comes to a dream, I’ve seen what it means to never let it cross your mind and not work until your end goal is met. This further shows me what my life will be like, especially over the next year.

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I’ve been learning to count it all as joy, the good times, the easy, the complicated, the unknown. It all leads to something grand. All leads to something bigger and better and more fulfilling.

I’ve learned that having the right people and energy in your circle is super important! You never EVER need to feel like you’re making “moves” and things happen all on your own. Sometimes, you NEED that shoulder to lean on and really get your feet on the ground running all over again.

So let me ask you,

what’s your dream?

How are you making it happen?

Who are you making it happen with?

xo

Khadijah

 

 

 

More Than A Kickback

“Have you ever been a part of something bigger than yourself?”

I’ve always heard this question being asked; in movies, in class rooms or casual conversation.

But Wednesday night, I actually had the opportunity to experience that feeling.

Earlier in the year, I had a sit down meeting with my good friend, DaQuan Blyther. We had worked with each other previously on his brainchild organization, Black and Consciousness Committee which raises awareness and expands consciousness about issues happening in the African American community.

He approached me about an idea. I assume because he knew that any idea he brought to me, I was sure to make sure that it happened. And indeed it did.

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More Than a Kickback would ideally be the space young adults could come to and network with artists and innovators, have a drink after work and turn up in the same space.

We communicated about this for weeks — a little over a month. And then, Wednesday happened.

Through spoken word that moved you, music that grooved you and maybe a few drinks that helped make the first two things easier, it was an unforgettable night.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing experience. Something “larger than myself.” and I hope that there’s more to come of it all soon.

-K

For more information about Smooth Ent and the purpose of the organization, follow @smooth.ent on Instagram!