'You Need to Tone Down Your Blackness!'

Interracial handshake
Interracial handshake

In recent months, there has been a lingering discussion regarding celebrating, advocating, and voicing "Black" issues. As an entrepreneur, I use my platform to showcase social media marketing strategies, branding, and business related topics. However, being a black woman all my life, I also use my platform to bring awareness and change to social issues including racism.

From an early age, it was evident my blackness would sometimes mean I'd be treated unfairly. After years of watching, witnessing, and experiencing racial injustices, I found ways to take the anger, sadness, and disbelief, channeling those feelings into positive, actionable measures.

While attending North Carolina Central University, I organized my first fundraising protest in support of Jena Six. The six black teenagers in Louisiana convicted of beating a white student in 2006 proceeding racial incidents. As the story continued to unfold throughout the media, I rallied together students raising money towards the teenagers legal fees. Back in 2006, I accepted my position as part of improving our society.

As I've excelled in business, I've aligned my brand to include advocating for social issues including our lingering racial divide. This decision has led to many opinions from counterparts stating I should tone down my blackness. I'm told being an outspoken, dreadheaded female sharing topics about race relations would result in my demise.

Instead, "Be more inclusive..."

When I imply #BlackGirlMagic, this statement isn't to divide or diminish another race. When I share how Blacks are more likely to be imprisoned for similar crimes than our white counterparts, this is not to be divisive. We continuously are shown examples of how race has impacted education, health, mental health, socioeconomic, and various others societal issues. These concerns deserve our voice and advocacy.

During my years at my HBCU, I was honored to pursue electives directly related to my ancestry. These courses created opportunities to examine critically how systemic racism affected black people on so many levels of our societal structure. It became evident that a collective approach will be needed to make a significant change.

I made the decision to utilize my platform to bring awareness to social issues and brand myself as the dreadhead boss lady who outspokenly shouts #BlackLivesMatter while supporting causes that lead to positive change. I will not compromise my blackness for financial gain. As we continue to progress as a society, we will soon have no other choice but to address and improve the racial divide.

In the meantime, I will do business with anyone who aligns with my message and mission to bring about positive change for all people, including black people.