Black Girl Magic

Spotlighting Black Girls who are out there doing the dang on thing!

Connie L. Johnson

Connie says of herself and her work: 

"I am a writer, a speaker and educator that uses my life experiences, creative gifts and spiritual understanding to relay a message of hope, love and self empowerment. My ultimate goal is to help others achieve at their optimum potential. I am a social entrepreneur who focuses on providing practical solutions to problems that adversely affect the Black community. I am the author of Beyond Measure, a collection of autobiographical sketches that chronicle the lives of eight Kenyan mothers. I hold a B.A. in Child and Family Studies from Columbia College in Columbia SC and a M.A. in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University Chicago."

"I do what I do because I can. I am free to help others, to share knowledge, to write books, to engage others in dialogue and to develop solutions to problems many people accept as a reality. My work is a reflection of my journey to define myself for myself and to remove the labels assigned to me by society and others. I am free to walk to in my purpose without apology. I want that same kind of freedom for who wants it."

DBG got a chance to talk to Connie. Read what we discussed below!

DBG: Why do you do what you do? 

CJ: I do what I do because I can. I am free to help others, to share knowledge, to write books, to engage others in dialogue and to develop solutions to problems many people accept as a reality. My work is a reflection of my journey to define myself for myself and removing off the labels assigned to me by society and others and walking in my purpose without apology. I want that kind of freedom for all who see it's possibility.

DBG: Describe a time when you faced something difficult in your work. How did you overcome it? What lesson did you learn? 

CJ: I'm currently experiencing difficulty financially supporting my work. It takes time, energy and resources to create initiatives, organizations and bring ideas to fruition. I am learning that everything that I do must first glorify God and second be others focused. I sometimes feel as though people don't support my work because they can't or don't see my vision which is all about creating spaces for traditionally marginalized people to collectively thrive and become their best selves. This is a challenge at times because we live in a society that is individualistic in nature. I am learning to be patient by pressing forward despite the obstacles and I believe that as I continue to persist the resources (human and material) will come.

DBG: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment thus far? To what would you contribute your success? 

Connie's first book

Connie's first book

CJ: My greatest accomplishment so far is learning to walk in the fullness of who I was created to be. To achieve this milestone I had to be willing to dissect every lie that I was told about who I am and replace with the truth of God's word. For example, As a dark skinned, Black, poor, overweight woman I was conditioned to believe that I was unattractive and destined for a menial existence. But through the power of God's word, I now stand in the truth that I was fearfully and wonderfully made and that I am a part of chosen, royal generation.

DBG: What is Black Girl Magic to you?

CJ: Black Girl Magic the resilience, perseverance, charisma, creativity, compassion, and humor Black women and girls possess despite the numerous obstacles we face. There is a force that is determined to damage and destroy us. Black Girl Magic is the alternative force that has allowed us to stare those obstacles square in the eyes and declare that "We are more than conquerors!" for generations.

DBG: Complete this phrase: Dear Black Girl... 

CJ: Dear Black Girl, you have everything you need to be exactly who you were created to be. The validation, affirmation and affection you desire lies within your belief that you were made with a purpose. You were not given a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind. It is that power that holds the key to your greatness.

You can find Connie and her work at www.iamconnie.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @iamconnie40.


LeAndra Crystal

LeAndra Crystal was Brooklyn born and Carolina raised. Close friends might jokingly, and lovingly, tell you she’s “from the world,” as she has lived in a variety of environments and has a global appeal. Her Jamaican familial ties, Brooklyn base and southern, Carolina charm blend perfectly to create a wellspring of diverse life experiences. Her wealth of experience is an apparent influence on her body of work as a fine/visual artist, photographer and apparel designer. Her work, across the board, is as multi-faceted, complex, quirky, engaging and, yet, mysterious as LeAndra herself.

LeAndra Crystal has had a pencil in her hand since the age of two, but entered college as a Biology major. It was during her freshman year that she decided to follow her heart’s desire and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Art from the historic Fisk University.

As an artist, LeAndra enjoys experimenting with different mediums and creating whatever is placed on her heart. She is inspired by life, love, culture, the spiritual, and the experience. Her work can be seen in various locations in Nashville, including the Hutton Hotel & the Encore Condominiums.

DBG got a chance to talk to LeAndra about her artwork at 663 Main. 

DBG: Why do you do what you do? 

LC: Ha! This is a funny question. Why? Because I have to. Art is who I am. Not only is it a therapeutic release, it's also my connection to the universe. I believe that my artistic purpose is to stimulate the viewers mind, body, and spirit. I strive to encourage, enlighten, and engage. Hopefully my work evokes some sort of emotion. Whether it be good or bad. Everyone can get something different out of it. To me, that is the true beauty.

DBG: Describe a time you faced something difficult in your work. How did you overcome it? What lesson did you learn?

Some of LeAndra's art. Laquasha owns this beauty!

Some of LeAndra's art. Laquasha owns this beauty!

LC: I have always been really big on detail in my work. Which is why I will always have a love for realistic charcoal portraits. A little over a year ago I wanted to push myself to create more in the abstract. This is a whole different wavelength for the brain. I prayed over it. I meditated. I centered. I let go. I had to release the control that I was holding on to in the details. Once I did, the ideas flooded my mind. I have rough sketches one after the other. I didn't want to loose the visions I was having in my head. Each was triggered by a conversation, a song, an interaction, or a reflection that impacted me in some way. Therefore, they all displayed different emotions. I had never expressed myself in that way and it was liberating! I let go of the expected and road the rhythm of my own vibrations. What did I learn? I learned that I can do both, but letting go is so much more fun!

DBG: What is Black Girl Magic to you? 

LC: Black Girl Magic is getting up everyday and being your best and truest self. Expecting anything more wouldn't be honest.

DBG: Complete this statement: Dear Black Girl... 

The cover of the Quirky Queens Coloring Book. Get you one!

The cover of the Quirky Queens Coloring Book. Get you one!

LC: I love you. 

You can reach LeAndra at the following links: 

www.theleandracrystal.com

FB/IG/Twitter: @663MainFA


 
Krystal Reed

Krystal Reed

Krystal Reed

God-Seeker|Bruncher|Educator|Family Oriented| Fashion Lover|Founder of Linking All Women|Writer

DBG got a chance to talk to Krystal Reed about her organization Linking All Women. 

DBG: Why do you do what you do? 

KR: I believe that story-telling brings healing, hope, and inspiration that helps to move our inner #girlpower needle. Additionally, linking with women from all walks of life serves as a reality source of knowing that your not the only one who's faced hardships and your most definitely not the only one who has achieved successes. Knowing these things, I believe keeps me humbled, grateful, and working daily to Live and Be greater in all capacities of my life.

DBG: Describe a time when you faced something difficult in your work. How did you overcome it? What lesson did you learn?

KR: Most recently, I had to make a decision to postpone Linking All Women's brunch that was originally set to take place this summer. What I had to overcome was the worry to people-please. I kept thinking "What will the people think or say," but eventually I overcame that whole notion by reassuring myself and the team of the current goal we are seeking to accomplish which will bring long-time benefits for the organization. I can say that what I learned from this is that it's ok to take a step back, take a loss to set-up for the come-up.

Krystal at her "I am not my hair" event. It was awesome!

Krystal at her "I am not my hair" event. It was awesome!

DBG: What is Black Girl Magic to you?

KR: Black Girl Magic to me is owning your truth, your power, and being unapologetically you even when it is considered unpopular. God rewards your authenticity, and people will value and appreciate it.

DBG: Complete this statement. Dear Black Girl...

KR: Own the Power in You, You Got the Juice!

You can reach Krystal at the following links:

 www.linkingallwomen.com 

IG and Facebook: @Krysspeaks

IG: @linkingallwomen

Facebook: Linking All Women