Tag Archives: choose

Black Women vs Shea Moisture

For several days I’ve been observing the Shea Moisture public relations nightmare. The reaction on social media has sparked so much of what I wrote about in my book Breaking Through The Black Ceiling. Here are my thoughts about the situation:
  • This isn’t the first time Shea Moisture has “offended” people of color, it’s just the first time some people noticed. The company previously had an ad featuring a white baby which also caused an uproar.

 

  • Although I feel Shea Moisture had a disproportionate number of people of color represented in their recent ad, as a black business owner, I (still) wonder why people of color don’t think we (black business owners) should be allowed to earn revenue from consumers that don’t look just like us . Money is green and necessary for businesses to operate. That’s a fact. Businesses don’t exist for likes, the actually plan to make profits unless they structure themselves as a not for profit organization. White owned companies make revenue off of black people everyday. Many black people work for such companies and use their products daily. Let that marinate.

 

  • Hair care products are primarily marketed to WOMEN, who have a combined $5 TRILLION in spending power in the USA alone, so a smart business owner in the hair care business, who knows this would want to target ALL women in their ads. Several companies do. Loreal does it. In fact, if you open the May 2017 ESSENCE Magazine (a popular monthly publication which celebrates women of color), Loreal has paid for a 2 page FOUNDATION ad that includes several women of all races and complexions, along with a…      wait for it …..      Black MAN.  And before you get mad about that, men often need makeup applied when they’re ACTORS and MODELS. Contrary to what you see on social media, everybody isn’t perfected by the use of Photoshop. To me the ad makes sense.

Loreal cosmetics knows their products, and those of their competitors are used in film, television, theater and may be used by men, including make up artists.

As a woman, I’m not at all offended. As a business owner I’m not mad at Essence Magazine for securing that bag. There’s nothing to see here. It’s business. And it’s not bad business

  • Yes, Shea Moisture messed up in their casting process, and someone there should have insisted on having more diversity represented, prior to or after seeing the ad, however Carol’s Daughter also has women who aren’t black in their recent ads for their products. Are we going to get mad about that too, or naw?

 

  • The right to solely use products including ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter or castor oil are not exclusively reserved to black folks. In fact, if you make such products and only target black people as consumers, you’re greatly limiting the amount of revenue you could potentially make, doing your business a disservice. Black business owners SHOULD capitalize and profit off of our greatness too and that means thinking GLOBALLY instead of locally in some instances.
For the record, United Airlines is still winning the PR fuckery of the year award. Pepsi is still in second place. Shea Moisture is like #6 or something, bit they’re definitely not on the top 5. The mistake they made doesn’t hurt anyone directly, physically, financially or minimize important social issues with the assistance of a Kardashian. It was a bad idea, that can also serve as a wake up call towards something more important; how women of color make changes to address a lack of diversity. 
Instead of complaining on social media and “modeling” on Instagram, some women of color who aspire be seen for likes should show up for the next casting call held by Shea Moisture and make a difference that way – by going out for the opportunity to positively represent diversity. And more women of color should become educated to work in the business fields related to advertising and marketing so they can apply for the jobs that make those decisions in the marketplace.

The lesson from this issue to women of color is become the change you want to see in the world and secure a bag in the process. Otherwise, diversity will not be the goal for a lot of companies, including ones you’re already consumers of.

Turn Down For What?

Often we go through our lives concerned about what others think to the degree that we diminish ourselves. Too often, women in particular, down play our talents, dumb ourselves down to seem less educated or intelligent and quiet ourselves up to seem less intimidating. There’s that word – intimidating. I’ve heard that a lot  in my life and until I reached my 30s I honestly didn’t understand what it meant. Men often said I was ‘intimidating‘ to them and that’s why it is difficult for men to ask me out or commit to a relationship with me. I thought it meant I was doing something wrong. I later came to the realization that wasn’t the case. In fact what I grew to understand was that

Strong Women Only Intimidate Weak Men ~ Dr. Farrah Gray 

Recently, the extremely talented Mo’Ne Davis was verbally attacked  on Twitter by a male college student who called her a “slut” because he was jealous of her.  Yes, jealous. That was his motivation whether he would admit it or not. He didn’t like that Mo’Ne Davis was shining brightly, so he called her a “slut” on social media in an attempt to take her down a notch and throw shade at her. He wanted Mo’Ne to turn down so he could build himself up. His envy of her success drove him to behave like a jealous person does – ignorantly – and he lost his opportunity in return. Mo’Ne, being the exceptional young woman that she is, forgave him, asked his college to reinstate him and publicly stated;

“Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way. I know people get tired of seeing me on TV. But sometimes you got to think about what you’re doing before you do it.

I admire her forgiveness, however, I have issue with her saying “I know people get tired of seeing me on TV” and here’s why:

As women, in general we turn our light, our shine, and our accomplishments down too much, too often and to make other people feel better about themselves just because they want to see our light lessened.  We do it in the work place, we do it at social events, we do it at family reunions and we do it with the men in our lives. As a result, we are paid less and disrespected more. We shouldn’t do this to ourselves, each other or teach other young women, like Mo’Ne, that they should either. If being successful in any shape, form or field results in others feeling envious of you, that isn’t your fault and it isn’t something you should apologize for. You shouldn’t stop doing the great things you are doing in your life or career because someone feels intimidated. You can’t control other people feeling jealous of you. You don’t have to lessen yourself to build others up. If a person’s jealousy doesn’t motivate them to do better for themselves, that’s entirely too bad for them.

I no longer care about how intimidated someone else feels when it comes to my appearance, my success, my intelligence, my height or anything else that makes other people feel ‘some type of way‘ when I enter a room or express myself.  Especially not a man. That is their issue to resolve, not mine. I will continue to be the amazing woman I am and anyone, man or woman, who can’t handle it doesn’t have to stand in my sunshine. They can go find a dark shadow to lurk under. And if Mo’Ne Davis was my daughter, I’d tell her the same thing.

The next time you encounter a situation where someone is attempting to diminish your shine, say this to yourself until you feel it resonate within yourself like the sun itself

I shine brightly, I am intelligent, I am successful, I am happy, I am beautiful, I am self assured, I am gifted, I am talented, I am loved. I live within my purpose, and I strive for personal greatness, so turn down for what? 

 

IWD – It’s Not What You May Think

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women from all around the world, past and present. Today we also reflect and advocate on behalf of women’s issue and gender equality and social equity.

At Super Woman Productions and Publishing we contribute to International Women’s Day by hosting the only official IWD event in Michigan each March 8, called Women’s Day Tea. This year isn’t any different. However, for the first year this year, I ran into a small roadblock. In Detroit, I’m accustomed to people being behind in receiving and sharing information. I’m also accustomed to people not being receptive to something that is different from what they typically know about or are exposed to. Detroit isn’t the most innovative place in the world, like it once was.  It takes time for people to understand the value of something “different”.  Although I’m accustomed to these factors, I don’t accept them and I find ways to work around them.

This year, however, I received a lot of inquiries from women business owners whose only interest in Women’s Day Tea was to be a vendor at the event. I literally received messages on social media, by phone and email asking if there were any vendor tables left for the event. They didn’t seem to understand that vending wasn’t the purpose of the event and that I only offer four vendor tables to create an added feature and opportunity for women-business owners in Detroit, that would help them to meet and interact with other successful women in hopes it will encourage them and help them economically. Most of the women who contacted me by phone immediately dismissed me (practically hanging up on me) when I told them that vendor tables were sold out, and they didn’t allow me an opportunity to invite them to attend. Women who contacted me by email, didn’t accept my invitation to attend and responded with “let me know next time you have an event with vendors”.  Very disappointing.

When I vented about this sudden upswing of women business owners only wanting to be vendors at events and not understanding the importance of IWD as a whole, someone had the audacity to suggest that I should just turn the event into a vending event since so many people seem to want that and, in essence, just take the women’s money since they didn’t know any better.  That’s not the type of business woman I am and that does not contribute to the purpose of IWD.

In my post event surveys from Women’s Day Tea for two prior years, attendees stated that the event vendors were not the primary reason they attended the event or would attend again. Those who attend, attend to celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day more than they attend to buy products from vendors at the event. In fact, their attendance still supports women-owned businesses, and attendees network with each other and hopefully support each others’ businesses and community projects after the event concludes. So, if my paying attendees have an understanding of the goal of the event and attend because of that goal, why would I want to shift the focus to please those who don’t have an understanding? I wouldn’t. And there are thousands of other events all over Michigan, throughout the year, if women want to buy a vendor table for a few hours or an entire day. I stuck to my guns. I did not turn Women’s Day Tea into a vending event or expo.

As a result this is what happened:

I received an email from an internet television program asking if they could cover the event; they now have a level of exclusivity and “bragging rights” because they get to cover the only official International Women’s Day event in MichiganWalt Disney Pictures contacted me and asked if they can send representatives to give away promotional items to the event attendees. Of course I said ‘yes‘ and it may turn into future business opportunities with Walt Disney Pictures. At the last-minute, for online ticket sales, tickets were still selling. I woke up this morning to emails from women asking if they can pay at the door.

At 6 pm today, Women’s Day Tea will take place as planned. The ladies who attend today will have a delicious and fun time, receive gifts and giveaways, network and celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day with one another. Selected women in attendance will be awarded as #MakeItHappen honorees. Those women who opted not to attend Women’s Day Tea because they only wanted to be a vendor, have unfortunately lost out on opportunities to be vendors at the I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference in August at Wayne State University, where we have up to 20 vendor tables available.  I have learned that sometimes passing up one opportunity because it doesn’t fit what you think it should, results in other missed opportunities. I truly wish more women in Detroit would realize that. That’s today’s lesson on being short-sighted, I suppose. 

Experience; A True Teacher

We have all experienced disappointment, rejection and loss. I myself experienced a tremendous amount this year alone. My mother died, I lost friends and I lost opportunities. All of these experiences forced me to make adjustments, changes and sacrifices. What I thought was going to be one of the best years of my life, turned into one of the most difficult. I was hurt, sad and even felt depressed throughout each experience I weathered. In spite of the negatives, I learned from each situation and as a result I also experienced positive growth.

While I was going through hidden pain, I was still having positive experiences. This year I became a correspondent blogger for Six Brown Chicks and I got to meet a woman I admire greatly as a result; Zondra Hughes. I was in featured in several articles written by talented journalists and bloggers, one of which was published in Italy. I finished my second book and (to my surprise and delight) it reached number 34 in the world on Amazon’s Urban/Regional list of eBooks. In a couple of weeks that same book Breaking Through the Black Ceiling will become available in paperback for purchase.

I had a lot of obstacles come up against me this year, some that were truly unthinkable and others that were completely frightening. Details of one of those obstacles is actually the topic of one of my next books. We won’t even begin to discuss my nonexistent love life. I no longer date. It just doesn’t work out well for me, so I’d rather avoid it than endure it. I still learned from the lack of romance in my life this year as well. I learned that it’s better to be happy and alone, than be miserable trying to force your love on someone who doesn’t want or deserve it. This year I opened up about my past experience with domestic violence for PURE Magazine, I mourned the loss of my friend and mentor, Mark England, and I made some very difficult decisions for my family. I also had to say ‘no, thank you’ quite often for the sake of my own sanity.

This year, I also learned the importance of forgiveness, not for others, but for you. I learned how much I truly value certain friendships, but that I don’t need the ones I lost. I learned that loyalty is often expected, but rarely received. I learned that it is often difficult to be your authentic self, but doing so gives you strength and takes away any negative power that others may have over you. I learned that I have the ability to shape my destiny and purpose, while still living the life that is written for me in the Master’s Plan. I learned that sometimes I won’t be happy, but I will be strong. I learned that my apprehension related to fame is hindering my success, and I decided to change that.

Experience is a true teacher. I truly believe that even the negative things that have occurred to me, not just this year, but throughout my life, served a purpose and were meant for me to learn from. Experience shapes us as individuals. We can’t always control what we go through, and everything we endure in life won’t be pleasant. However, we can make an effort to learn from every experience, good and bad, so that we can become better than we were before. I hope that all of the experiences I had in 2014 will strengthen me to become more resilient, stronger and more purpose driven, so that I can have more wealth, better health and happiness in the days and years to come. I want to continue to make a difference in the world using my voice, my creativity and my words, leaving behind a legacy that will influence others to do the same. I hope the same for you as well.

Next year already holds a great deal of promise and opportunity for my life and career. What I lost in 2014 will be replaced with more abundant and positive experiences in 2015. The obstacles, fear, pain and disappointment from 2014 will no longer exist.

All that will remain is me

Better than I was before.

 

The Gift of ME

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to YOU! 

Happy Birthday to ME! 

I am so happy to be alive to celebrate the many achievements I’ve had over the years. First, a moment of transparency: I didn’t give any Christmas gifts this year.

From where I sit, I AM the GIFT.

I have given my friendship, loyalty, knowledge, encouragement throughout this year to others, without expecting anything in return and often without any reciprocation from the receivers. I have invested my own personal funds to provide opportunities and programming for the community in which I reside. I have volunteered my talents. I have given of my time and had it wasted, and I consider my time to be very valuable. I have done a great deal more and sometimes I haven’t even been told ‘thank you‘. In spite of whatever I did or didn’t receive in return, I keep doing for others because I believe in being a blessing to someone else, because I have been blessed. Even those who have been ignored by me were being given the Gift of ME.

As a society, we have gotten so accustomed to working hard all year-long just to put ourselves in debt to make other people happy, that we have lost so much of the meaning of Christmas in the process. Yes, it’s nice to give, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to give on one day a year. If you give of yourself throughout the year to others, whether you know them personally or not, you have done well. I have literally watched people operate under pressure as if they absolutely must buy someone in particular a gift and it must be wrapped and in their hands on Christmas day or the world will come to a screeching halt. I refuse to live my life that way. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the Gift of ME, doesn’t have to be bothered with me. To me, it’s really that simple.

When you decide that you’re not going to spend your hard earned money for the sole purpose of making others happy, a few things will happen:

1. You’ll have more money 

2. You’ll find out who your true friends and loved ones are

3. Because of 1 and 2 you’ll have less stress in your life 

4. Because of 3 you’ll be happier and healthier

You’re more than welcome to continue to brave the malls and stores throughout the month of December in an effort to get the best deals, if that is what you want to do. I actually have some investments in those stores, so I thank you in advance for your contribution to my dividends. However, before Christmas comes in 2014, I encourage you to examine more closely WHY you spend the money on the gifts you buy and the people you buy them for. If the purpose is to say ‘thank you’ to someone, there are cards for that and I’ve heard some people are very partial to hearing the words. If the purpose is to impress others, please understand that they may not be impressed or like you because you bought them something anyway. If the purpose is to make yourself feel good, you won’t be feeling so great when that credit card bill comes, or an unexpected bill comes and you don’t have the funds to pay it because you spent money on gifts to give to others.

The best gifts I ever received were items I actually needed, could use to make my life simpler, that would save me money over time, or related to an experience I wanted but might not have had the money or time to get for myself. When shopping for someone next year, keep that in mind: What do they need? What could they use to make their life better or save them time? What might help them save money over time if you buy it for them? What would they like to experience? Gifts that make people’s lives better or even saves them time could be you hiring a house or carpet cleaner for that person. A closet organizer (person or system) is also a great option. A example of product that a person can use to save money would be a drinking water filtration system for someone who buys bottled water or an at home soda machine for someone who drinks soda. I have both and they work great. I love gifts that provide an experience. A gift certificate for the movies, tickets to a play or concert tickets are thoughtful gifts because they provide an experience for a person and often don’t cost a lot of money. Your time is a great gift to give to anyone. Because we have such busy lives and so much technology at our hands, we often let time rush by us and use ‘quick’ means to communication. Calling someone instead of texting them so that you can actually have a conversation with someone is a great gift to give. It shows that you took time out for them and that they matter to you.

I’m 39 years young today. I almost didn’t make it to this age. So I’m thankful just to be here and hearing ‘Happy Birthday‘ is an awesome gift to receive for me today. Today also marks my personal countdown to my next milestone birthday in 2014 when I turn #FabLife40. I don’t want any gifts then either. I just want some of my friends and family to celebrate with me in St. Maarten. Those who can attend, will. Those who can’t attend will miss a fabulous Christmas celebration full of margaritas, palm trees and sandy beaches. Either way, next Christmas, just like this Christmas, everyone will receive the Gift of ME.

By the way, Super Woman Productions and Publishing is the official Media Sponsor for Finding My Way Home on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Royal Oak Library.

What I Learned About Myself From Dealing With My Critics

Don’t let people determine your worth based solely on their experiences or lack thereof.

Don’t let people make you feel like you need to compete with them.

Even before I was ever called Super Woman, there were always people who felt like they could tear me down with their own insecurities. They would try to damage my self-esteem, determine my value, tell me what I couldn’t do and what I’d never do. I thank God for the strength and empowering words and gifts from my grandparents that were instilled in me so deeply that I never fell too deep into what other people thought of me or wished of me, that I couldn’t come back to the surface. Even to this day, people still try it. I’ve had people smile in my face and lie on me behind my back. I’ve had people try to associate with me to improve their own self-worth and when their plans failed, they tried to curse me in the name of God. I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to.

People  claim they don’t like The FabLife Radio Show. But they don’t have a radio show, never had one and wouldn’t know what to do with one if they did. I don’t care, as long as people continue listen. Them listening to a show they claim they don’t like is giving me ratings (smile). If they don’t listen, I don’t care about their opinion because I know that it comes from a place of prejudice. I’ve had over 50 celebrity and subject matter experts just in the first year of broadcasting the show. We constantly have people email us requesting to be guests on the show. I must be doing something right.

People claim they don’t like FabLife Apparel and Accessories, yet they’ve never seen it. They try to say it’s never going to sale and no one is going to buy it. Well people have bought it, even before a single print ad or commercial has been seen publicly. Those people bought it because they like what it stands for and when they wear their shirts, they wear them proudly. Now when the doubters and haters see a celebrity walk down the street wearing one, they will all will want one, too. That will be coming soon.

Some people don’t believe in me. Some people dislike me and yet they have never met me. Many of you have the same experiences on a daily basis; at work, at school, even from relatives. Being a public figure doesn’t change that, it just exacerbates it because it’s thousands more people looking at you everyday. That in part is why I’m not too quick to be in public all the time. I never wanted to be a celebrity and I’m not keen on that word being used to describe me. I’m intelligent enough to know that I can only control that to a certain degree. The more successful I become, the more likely the word “celebrity” is going to be used to describe me. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people call me, as long as they have the respect enough to spell my name right.

I realized awhile back that many of my experiences growing up and in the first 20 years of my adult life were a form of boot camp to prepare me for what I deal with now and will deal with as the Super Woman Brand grows. My own ambitious nature will not allow me to ever stop striving to be successful and help others. Therefore, I needed to have a coat of armor to protect me from what the world likes to dish out. As much as there are some things about my changing lifestyle I don’t much want to deal with or have caused inconveniences, I realize they are necessary. At least I didn’t wake up in the lifestyle completely unprepared and naive to it. I was gradually introduced to it and educated it on by those with more experience than myself. I was able to observe it from a realistic standpoint for a number of years before it because a part of my day-to-day experiences. I didn’t ask for any of it, but it’s the Master’s Plan for my life. If I try to fight it, I will only lose. If I embrace it, I will always be happy.

While others are doubting me, lying on me, trying to discourage others from supporting me, opportunities are getting bigger and better. The Super Woman Brand is embarking on a publishing project that will allow writers in Detroit to become published in early 2014. We’ve entered into a business relationship with Live Nation, the largest concert and venue promotion company in the entire world. We’re going to travel to other states and broadcast The FabLife Radio Show while there. We’re shooting commercials and print ads for FabLife Apparel and Accessories. We’re sponsoring and producing events in early 2014. We’re expanding our business services and our national reach. We’ve already lined up our signature events for 2014, including our official International Women’s Day event in March, our I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference in August and so much more that I get dizzy trying to remember it all.

This year I was awarded the 2013 Confident Woman Award, I was recognized in the seventh edition of Who’s Who in Black Detroit. These acknowledgements indicate that I’m doing something right. While other organizations and publications honor and acknowledge the same people year after year after year, it is the smaller publications that I respect and appreciate most because they are the ones that take the time to actually seek people others may not know about yet, who are doing great things in the world. Like yours truly. This year for the first time I went from inside the pages of magazines, to being on the cover of one; Detroit CEO Magazine’s first print edition includes myself, Lacretia Rogers and Mahogany Mignon. If by chance you don’t know who they are, I encourage you to research them further. The magazine will be available to buy soon and details about the event will be shared with Super Fans.

I don’t do what I do for “likes”, I do what I do because I love it. My work fulfills me as an individual, it heightens my purpose in this world. I don’t have to compete with anyone. I am my only competition. My goal is to be better each day than I was the day before. No one can diminish that, make me doubt myself for that, make me quit or make my hurt, because I choose to live my life with purpose. It may be a purpose they don’t like or understand, but that is not my concern or problem to solve. Those who have been supportive of me for the last five years will still be five, ten or fifty years from now for the same reasons.

What happened to all of the people who tried to damage my self-esteem, determine my value, tell me what I couldn’t do and what I’d never do?

Some of them are dead, some of them are still poor, some of them still haven’t done anything with their own lives, some of them are miserable.

Had those people spent more time improving themselves, reaching their goals, competing with themselves instead of criticizing others, they too, could have accomplished much more. Life is too short to concentrate on others more than you concentrate on yourself. Life is too short to spend it talking about others and not reaching for your personal greatness.