What advice would you give your 12yr old self?
"Dear 12yr old self, you are beautiful, strong, intelligent, and should never apologize for that. People will regularly try to put you down for being different, and try to squeeze you into a narrow definition that suits their purpose. But you cannot be defined by anyone else, because your experiences are your own. Don’t let your desire for social approval drown the individuality longing to express itself. Your blackness is a gift, not a curse. Your hair is AMAZING just the way it is. The way others treat you is not reflective of your worth, it is a result of ignorance, jealousy, and hate. You may want to internalize this treatment as something you deserve or were born with, but you can’t. You have to remember that the unfair challenges life has presented you are why you continue to grow stronger, smarter, and more beautiful each day. Your ability to love after enduring so much hate is transformative and one day you will connect with yourself in a way you didn’t know was possible. Radical self love is on the horizon and it is incredible."
What do you see in the young generation today that makes you happy?
"Something I see in younger generations today is the growing access to different narratives not traditionally told by history curriculums or on your average television network. When I was young, I watched shows with predominantly white characters who defined the societal standard for beauty. There has been a surge in minority communities, and a serious effort to include voices that have been silenced and forced into narrow, one dimensional characters. The effect that true representation has is powerful, and now young women are growing with a confidence I never had. Social media has provided a platform for so many new and important voices to speak. Young women are growing up valuing themselves and supporting one another and it’s amazing."