Growing up I have heard stories of my great grand mothers’ endurance, strength and wisdom. I have experienced moments with my mother and grandmother that have taught me what is to be a phenomenal woman. All I can do is pray that I live up to their standards that they have set and expect me to go beyond.
Eva Estelle Middleton, Viola Johnson, Millie Johnson and Wanda Petty are strong African American women in my history whom I naturally look up to. They have paved the way for my family lineage and will be forever recognized and remembered to the individuals they have touched.
One of the most important lessons that I have learned, is to know where you have came from as you create your own history, for what you do in your present will build a solid future for your self and others who follow.
As I create my own history, I look to Janelle Monáe as she is creating hers for she has spoken words that have resonated within my soul.
“I feel like Harriet Tubman, except I am trying to free people through underground music, to free themselves creatively and inspirationally.”
She looks to history as she molds her own future in order to inspire others.
I free myself. I choose to escape creatively on a daily basis. As I listen to her music it inspires me to let loose. With time being set aside for just me my ink and my blank journal awaiting to be marked with my raw emotion, my brushes to stroke on a blank canvas to release tension.
“I feel like I have a responsibility to my community and other young girls to help redefine what it looks like to be a woman. I don’t believe in men’s wear or women’s wear, I just like what I like. And I think we should just be respected for being an individual.”
Encouraging inspiration and creativity bleeds beyond my medium onto my attire.
Individuality is key. What you wear should not fulfill the need to be different. You are different, just be you! No one can define who you are based on what you choose to wear.
“When I started my musical career I was a maid, I used to clean houses. My parents—my mother was a proud janitor, my step-father who raised me like his very own worked at the post office and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. And that’s why I stand here today in my black and white and I wear my uniform to honor them.”
For Monáe, her attire is more than what many people define as “dope” or sense of expression. It is worn in humility. That tuxedo, crisp and crisp is not simply fashionable, as it breaks the standard boundaries, it also pays tribute to those who worked hard to provide and see her thrive.
I seek to be as humble as she is and always remember those who worked and sacrificed to assure my long-term success.
“It’s up to me to help change the world, I cannot look at everybody else, I can only do what I can do.”
Majoring in communication with one minor being social justice, I feel a load on my back to change the world. Being at Cabrini a divide is split; those of us who ‘get’ the education of the heart, the desire to go serve beyond one’s self and do it with great passion and others who simply don’t catch the Cabrini change the world bug/ It is not to tisk-tisk any one who does not find the need to do so but this inspired and reminds me to focus on what I can do as an individual who desires to live in a classes world.
In 1976, six years post the bicentennial of Black history week, the U.S government recogned the expansion of the month. Gerald Ford spoke and declared “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Today, my intent is not to sale to you why she is great. Nor is my purpose to prove to you why she deserves to be written in history books and not just followed on twitter by her “Androids.” I am, writing my friends, to inform you of you she has left a place on my heart. For history is beyond any book that can be written.
“I really just want to encourage and inspire people to use their freedom in a positive way and in a way that is inspiring to other people. I want to continue to pass down the seeds of change within the world. I think that it can start with just one person. Just like a rumor can get carried on, so can inspiration.”