I was born in a small town in the Midwest - Kokomo, Indiana.I’m a Midwest girl with city girl tendencies. She/Her/Queen
What makes you #VERYYOU?
I am forever growing. Who I was and who I currently am are not who I have to remain. I recognize that I have the authority and ability to evolve. I keep spiraling up. I try to do it with grace and humanity remaining kind and tender to myself in all the shifts and changes. I challenge myself to be curious instead of self critical. The combination of all of these things makes me completely myself.
What do you think is the most precedent issue for women that you want to see change and improve for all women?
I can not separate my womanhood from my blackness so everything for me is intersectional. Racism and sexism are huge points of focus for me. My work centers around racial justice because mental health, racism, sexism, social justice all are linked. I’d be thrilled if in my lifetime the ideas we currently uphold around gender were dismantled which would create space for us to really look at these other issues more seriously.
What’s one thing that gives you confidence
My intuition. My ancestors, which might be the same force. My ability to hear the inner workings of the universe really helps me navigate my life. My intuition has never led me in the wrong direction so it’s my secret weapon.
How long have you been singing/performing? What are your future goals? (As an artist/personal)
I have been writing since I was a child. I didn’t realize it was poetry or that even being a poet was a thing I could be until I was 19. That is when I became serious about it and the last 18 years have been filled with adventure and opportunities for reflection. My goals as an artist are the same as they have always been, to remain true to myself, reflect the love and glory I know as God and to allow myself to be used to better the spaces I’m in. In terms of my personal goals, HAPPINESS, liberation, love, joy and travel
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
Beauty for me is about confidence, comfort and effortlessness. About things being honored in the rawest form. When I think of beauty, I think of nature. Of sunlight, the ocean, of laughter, of linen and carefreeness.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Did it pay off? Or: Can you tell us about a time you had to overcome a fear? How did you do it? Was there a trigger?
From age 19-29, I was part of and then went on to become the first female producer and host of the nation's largest weekly poetry venue. In many ways, I grew up there and in that community. At 29, I left and went out on my own. I had to figure out what the next stage of my life and career would look like. I was angry and scared but certain I deserved more. I asked the universe for everything meant for me and then my life exploded into more beauty than I ever could have imagined. Which is to say, it was completely worth it..
Its interesting just seeing how far beauty has come. However, it seems like it was a force of hand. If none of this happened - #MeToo,, the rise of black lives matter - it probably would have been business as usual. When it comes to inclusion, do you think beauty is hitting the mark?
Beauty in no way is hitting the mark. Nearly no industry is. Being forced to make statements so as not to lose a portion of your customer base is not the same as understanding that white supremacy is the very fabric of american and long ago should have been rejected. Having black models while still paying them less than their white counterpart is not equity. Diversify your leadership. Be transparent about your practices. Center black and trans folks, create and MAINTAIN environments that do not harm while supporting their thriving. If a company is not doing THAT then where is the evidence that what is being done matters? The consumption of Black brilliance has always been incredibly high, the compensation to Black people should exceed that.
Social Media has evolved into a powerful tool for change, especially for the current generation of top models. How do you make it work for you?
I keep it very simple with social media. I post what I want, when I want. Typically that is one IG post a day and stories when I feel like it. I don't use social media to its fullest capacity. It is an opportunity to witness me, to keep in touch, to see my latest project but I intentionally underuse it to maintain the actuality of my life. It is helpful to have a presence but I understand how it can also be a cage and an echo chamber. At the end of the day, I want to live in real life not on the internet.