Recently, I sat among numerous strong, likeminded, and beautiful people of color within the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. For years, I have watched “Black Girls Rock” on television, and been in awe of the positivity in the program. I watched the pre-recorded program and made note the quotable statements, memorable performances, and other awe-inspiring moments. Admittedly, I found it a powerful reflection of myself and a reminder of the greatness God has endowed upon me! Yes, I and so many others “Rock” and just maybe one day, I will be among this distinguished group. To my surprise, my hope of someday is now a reality!
I sat on the front row, of the first tier, thrilled that my view was totally unobstructed. (When you are barely 5’ – even in stilettos it can difficult to see the stage clearly.) Looking down at the stage where so much talent would soon be standing, I felt such pride and belonging. I gushed over the various hairstyles—from weaves to naturals to bald—and outfits that represented the strength and uniqueness of our culture. The opportunity to witness a diverse group of women and men, supporting each other, and celebrating “us” was an experience I will never forget.
I found myself in a theatre filled with outstanding thinkers, leaders, entertainers, philanthropists, and more. I enjoyed the entertainment such as the soul-stirring performances by Ledisi and India Aire. I also laughed at the humorous nature of Tiffany Haddish and Issa Rae, and saw so many others amazing people. The entire time, I felt comfortably connected. For the first time in a long time, I sensed the collaborative strength of women. We were of different walks of life, have different aspirations and are making (or have made) a personal contribution to the world. This night, we came together to appreciate, be appreciated and demonstrate how amazing Black girls truly are.
Of course, I was excited to be in the same room as entertainers I have seen on screen, heard on radio or read about in articles. Yet it is about so much more than that. I am ecstatic to learn that over the past few years, I unknowingly captured the attention of a quiet but attentive supporter. A woman who believes in giving of her time, talent, energy in support to causes she believes. I am so fortunate, that Mrs. Maxine Bagley considers my work through “Success 1st” to be support-worthy. So much so in fact, that she offered me the opportunity to attend the live taping of “Black Girls Rock”. While we sat together during the taping, we had the opportunity to chat and enjoy the festivities. My new mentor shared her time and wisdom with me and I am blessed and wiser for it. I am still reeling, humbled and in awe of her support. So I have a suggestion for when you are in the presence of an outstanding thinker, leader, entertainer philanthropist, person...embrace it and let it inspire you! I did.
Last night in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love aka Philadelphia, something awesome and inspiring happened. The movie "Beyond My Skin" premiered to a sold out venue at the historic Devon Theatre. What made the premier awesome is that this feature length film was written, directed and edited by Miss Aniya Wolfe, a teenager who calls Philadelphia home.
Aniya produced a moving, and time-appropriate piece with “Beyond My Skin". The challenges that the three main characters deal with are real, the issues are relevant and the acting is believable. Throughout the entire movie, there are twists and surprises that left myself, and no doubt the entire audience, gripping the edge of our seats.
Considering the intense and moving nature of the topics, Anaya did a beautiful job. She allowed the actors to pour themselves into scenes dealing with topics which are often difficult to discuss. At the same time, her writing and directing provides enough information to lead the viewers to conclude for themselves.
With the premier of “Beyond My Skin” this 15 year old star demonstrates that when given the opportunity, youth can and will do amazing things.
Founder & Speaker, Success 1st Inc.
Parents, educations, leaders and all other youth supporters.