It’s no doubt that the grant process is frustrating, especially when most recipients look nothing like me… a woman of color. On the other hand, grants focused on supporting artist of color make it very clear that the “artist” work should encompass the “black experience”.
But I am the black experience.
I am the black experience when I step out into the world and I am judged FIRST based on the color of my skin and not my talents. I am the black experience when I’m constantly in the position of having to fight for my children to be treated equally in a public school institution. I am the black experience when I am in fear and question if my husband will safely return home after a “routine traffic stop”. I am the black experience when I live in a system created against people who look like me.
And my list goes on…
Although I wish the grant process… well life in general, wasn’t biased, it is my unfortunate reality. When I apply, though I do my best and hope for a great outcome, I know that most likely the “look” of the grantees won’t change.
Then on the other end of the spectrum, some of the organizations that fund projects by artist of color has a specific criteria. The topic of focus should include slavery, racial injustice, police brutality, immigration, etc. Is that all the black experience encompasses?
In this case, my work is too black for one… not black enough for the other… and a box I simply can’t fit in.
Does this mean I change the direction of my work? Absolutely not. Although this isn’t the case for all organizations, it is evident that I have to continue working 3 times as hard. But not to worry. I get what I set my mind to. Nonetheless, I do look forward to the day when more opportunities live outside the box. Who knows? I may just start something new… in due time.
You can help me finish my documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.
Join me as I present my research behind my project, meet the women who participated and take part in a Q&A. Book signing to follow.
Sunday, September 9, 2018 5-7PM
Busboys and Poets 5311 Baltimore Avenue Hyattsville, MD 20781
There will be an open menu for food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Tickets are $10. Proceeds from tickets sales will go towards the finishing funds for my film.
It’s been 4 years in the making of research, planning, production, and post-production… and I Am More Than My Hair books are finally here. Thank you to everyone who believed in my project, supported my fundraisers, and gave words of encouragement or resources to help me more forward.
This is not the end, but only the beginning of an entirely new direction. I have to hit the road with books signings, exhibitions, speaking engagements… and of course… I must sell these books.
You can now purchase on Amazon for $39.95. Remember, 10% of sales proceeds will be donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP). I LOVE their mission: “Help change the emphasis from growing hair to building confidence.”
So feel free to order a copy… or 2… or 3. Purchase your copy on Amazon.
UPDATE ON THE FILM
I am still in the post-production phase with I Am More Than My Hair documentary film. I’ll have a narrative rough-cut by the end of new week. However, I’m still raising funds to finish because after receiving the rough-cut, there are other steps needed to complete, such as color and sound correction, original score (music) and footage/music licensing (I’ve been working really hard to get permission for India Arie’s song, I Am Not My Hair.
So far I’ve been given access to footage from OWN TV (Harpo Inc.) and I’m very grateful for the permission granted. Your support to help me finish my film will be greatly appreciated… and it’s tax-deductible. Please share.
Book Launch – September 9 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Busboys and Poets 5331 Baltimore Avenue Hyattsville, MD 20781
I received a proof copy of I Am More Than My Hair book. How exciting!
After review, Robin Benson, my Designer, made a minor change then I gave the OK for printing. All copies are expected to arrive by or around July 23, 2018.
In the meantime, I’m working on plans for distribution, marketing, speaking/book tour and of course… grant applications.
This time around, I’m applying finishing fund grants. And in a few weeks I’ll launch…
iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign
I discovered iFundWomen last month while attending Light City Baltimore. How cool is it to have a crowfunding platform dedicated to women only. Amazing!
After speaking with one of the coaches I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to help cover the finishing cost of I Am More Than My Hair film. I’m almost there. I just need one more push to complete it.
At this point, I will edit the film on my own (rough-cut) and will hire an Editor to complete the fine-cut. As much as I tried to avoid it, I’m guessing the Universe wants me to edit this film. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.
Pre-order your copy
If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of I Am More Than My Hair book, you can do so via PayPal. It will also be available on Amazon but won’t go live until I receive the shipment of books. Pre-order your copy here.
HuffPost covered the Fashion Show!
HuffPost Editor, Jamie Feldman, covered the Bald, Beautiful, & Bold Fashion Show. If you missed it, read more here.
I’m moving into week 3 of my campaign to raise funds for Keep a Child Alive (KCA). In order to help keep things simple I’ve pointed out the highlights of my campaign.
1. What is a campaign? Work in an organized and active way toward a particular goal.
2. 100% of the proceeds from my campaign fund the youth-led peer support groups (the support groups simply help build confidence and empower the youth of KCA)
2. I DO NOT make $ from this. I’m volunteering.
3. Your donation will make a huge difference and positive impact for the children of KCA, who are all affected by HIV/AIDS.
4. The videos ARE MY CAMPAIGN. The individuals in the videos volunteer their time to say a message of encouragement for the youth of KCA.
5. Only $5 from multiple individuals is enough to successfully fund my campaign. Please make your $5 donation here.
I hope this helps to simplify my mission and gives you sufficient information to support the youth of Keep a Child Alive. I appreciate you!
As of today, my campaign for Keep a Child Alive (KCA) is live! I’ve been busy planning, scheduling and filming individual session and editing away. If it were for the generous time of people who’ve volunteered to send a message, the idea for my campaign would not be possible. I can’t thank these folks enough for your support.
Here’s the intro video to my campaign.
Here are the first round of videos. Please donate to my campaignhere.
Remember, $1,000 covers a year’s worth of programming for a youth peer support group. With that in mind, I decided to launch a campaign that focuses on positive message for the youth in the youth-led support groups. My goal is to raise $3,000, which will cover programming for about 3 youth groups.
Here’s how you can help make this campaign a success…
Donate to the campaign. Instead of charging a fee to be filmed and edited, I ask that you please help fund the campaign and make it a success. No amount is too little.
Share, share, share! The more you can share on your social media platforms, email and word-of-mouth the more it will gain more attention and go viral (that’s the goal).
Next Wednesday October 12, 2016 at I will launch my campaign for Keep a Child Alive (KCA). Here’s a recap of my first newsletter and goal…
$1,000 covers a year’s worth of programming for a youth peer support group. With that in mind, I decided to launch a campaign that focuses on positive message for the youth in the youth-led support groups. My goal is to raise $3,000, which will cover programming for about 3 youth groups.
I will film 30-60 second videos of individuals voicing their message of encouragement for the children. Something similar to the recent video I filmed about beauty.
Here’s how you can help make this campaign a success…
I need 20 individuals willing to volunteer a short amount of time (literally 5 minutes) to be filmed for the videos. Family members and friends…I really need you here. If anyone else is interested in participating please contact me to schedule a time to film. The children in KCA peer youth support groups will have access to the videos. I have no doubt that your words of wisdom will be appreciated.
Donate to the campaign once I launch it. Instead of charging a fee to be filmed and edited, I ask that you please help fund the campaign and make it a success.
Share, share, share! The more you can share on your platforms, the most it will gain more attention and go viral (that’s the goal).
It’s that simple!
KCA’s Black Ball will take place on Wednesday October 19, 2016, a week after my campaign launch. If happen to live or plan on visiting the New York City area, please considering purchasing a ticket for KCA’s Black Ball.
My campaign will end on World Aids Day, December 1, 2016 at approximately 11:59pm. No amount is too small and anything you can give is appreciated. Please keep in mind that the children in KCA peer youth support groups will have access to the videos. I know your words of wisdom will be appreciated.
Please be on the lookout for my newsletter about my campaign going live. I sincerely appreciate your support!
It was the fall of 1999. I was in my 4th semester in college and unsure of the direction of my career, but knew for sure I DID NOT want to work for a company for the rest of my life. I just couldn’t stand being told what to do.
If there was one thing in particular I knew about myself is that I was innately creative and had the character traits of an entrepreneur since I was a child. When I was young my grandfather used to bring me with him as he went canvasing around our neighborhood in Corona, Queens, NY.
He was selling countertop NASA water filtration systems, the first of it’s kind to be introduced to home owners. Buyers could connect the hose to their kitchen sink and get clean filtered water.
Despite the actions of my neighbors (nice or not so nice) my grandfather kept going. He never allowed a no to stop him. I didn’t know, at the time, that my grandfather was instilling qualities within me of a future business owner.
I just wanted to give you some background. Let’s fast forward to college…
I always loved to draw and doodled often (more like everyday in every class). Taking a drawing class while in college was my release through all the intense studying.
My art professor was so impressed with my art that he suggested I take photography as an art elective. I’m not quite sure how he made the connection but he was convinced I would do really well.
In the fall of 2001 I immersed myself in photography. I enjoyed being behind the camera and capturing what captivated me. I was intrigued by the process of film and print development and amazed at my new found creativity.
I was in love…
While close to graduation I made a nice niche for myself and connected with a few magazines that were interested in hiring me for future editorial shoots and peaked the interest of several media companies that contacted me to inquire about commission work. I actively participated in exhibitions, artist groups and everything revolved around creative networking.
Then reality hit…
I was really good at what I did and heard it often. I often heard, “I love your work”, yet the appreciation of it didn’t lead to many sales. And I quickly learned that although I truly appreciated the compliments, it wasn’t providing me with an income.
At a certain point, the constant compliments, without sales, brought me to a bitter place with my photography. And when I was hired for work, the constraints of what people wanted, really wasn’t something I enjoyed.
I fell out of love with the love of my life…
But how could I? I thought I was in love?
I took a break for some time, put my camera down, and switched from Government contracting (which I was doing while being a photographer) to contracting with media companies. I tried Photo Editing for a change.
Although I made a great income I quickly realized I DID NOT want to be behind a desk all day. Unfortunately I didn’t want to do commission work that was unfulfilling for me either.
It took a few years, and various business ventures (while working I did Network Marketing and was also in the process of buying a franchise), for me to discover my passion. Through my journey I learned business skills that not only prepared me for my future endeavors but also helped me to redefine my ‘Why‘.
I rediscovered my passion…
See, when I fell in love with photography I was free to create what was beautiful and rewarding for ME, without the worries of being dependent on making an income from it.
In order for me to get back to that feeling, I needed my freedom back…
Instead of depending on my art to make me money, I depend on my art to give me freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom of release. And the freedom to dive into my innate creativity without restriction.
Pelican cleaning it’s feathers at the pier in Oceanside, CA.
Instead, I choose to use my talent to work on personal works such as Feminine Transitions, I Am More Than My Hair and the countless of other ideas in my head. I am still hired as a photographer (by folks I know personally or by referral). But this time around I’m performing the work that represents my style most. And I still own a construction company 🙂
One thing I have learned…
I love being happy and I love to make money. As women we sometimes have a difficult time saying that. But without it we can’t survive…unfortunately. Reading the the harsh statistics about women and money in a dear Sister’s book, Whatever Works (chapter Money and the Elephant in the Room), not only scared the hell out of me but also bought me to new awareness.
So make your money, enjoy your freedom and do what you love.