23 Women Share The Affirmations They're Speaking Over Their 2023
Affirmations have the power to change everything around you if you just believe. With your words, you can immediately tap into a new belief system that can shift your life like never before. Creative director J. Ivory is a self-proclaimed Affirmations Queen who is known for being a visual storyteller and manifesting the life God has for her. In doing so, she has learned there is so much power in words and even more so in spoken words.
“The words we speak can either hurt us or heal us. I believe that your words are the most powerful weapon that our humanity has. Believe it or not, you are the very result of the words you have spoken over your life. Positive words have the power to change your life," she told xoNecole.
When it comes to manifesting your destiny, J. Ivory proclaims that you should think of affirmations as the pathway in which you want your actions to go. “You manifest affirmations best by doing the work and some of it is really hard work. I often tell my clients, 'If you see it, you can have it.' Visualize and write out how you see your highest/best self and start showing up as that person every day. Get to know the person you want to become. Be specific. What do they eat? How do they dress?” she asked. J. Ivory went on to say, “What books are they reading? If the person you want to become is financially free and wealthy, and that’s what you are affirming, then you need to ask yourself, 'How does my current spending habits and mindset align with the wealthy and financially-free person I want to become? What are some changes I can make today that I can be consistent at that will get me closer to my desired outcome?'"
Above all, she wanted to make sure folks realize that affirming the life you deserve calls for you to be unafraid of the specifics. “Sometimes, I find that people think that affirmations are some type of magic trick.” One thing to take away from J. Ivory's knowledge about affirmations is the importance of your actions aligning with your words.
In 2023, we want to be intentional about how we speak in every way. Since being about the action is a part of the beauty of manifesting affirmations, we rounded up 23 women to share the biggest affirmation they are speaking over themselves this year. Here’s what they had to say.
Tasha McCaskiel, Social Media Strategist and Creator of Black Girls in Media
Courtesy of Tasha McCaskiel
"I affirm a new and long-lasting love because 2022 was such a self-love year for me, and it was great. I also thrived professionally. [This] year I affirm room for a lifelong romantic partner! God has plans to prosper me, not to harm."
Terrica M. Wright, Founder and Co-Owner of The High Esteem Society
Courtesy of Terrica M. Wright
"I give myself permission to be all that God has called me to be. An affirmation that got me through 2022 was 'Know who you are and whose you are.'"
Kimberlee Ward, CEO and Founder of Eternal Balance Candles
Courtesy of Kimberlee Ward
"I am enough and worthy of the life I desire. I am speaking this affirmation over 2023 because this is the year to not only sit in a place of healing but recognize I deserve to enjoy and revel in what is on the other side of that healing. I want my awareness of what I know to be possible to expand toward the life I desire. I do not intend to act small or be small in my wants.
"As a 31-year-old Black woman, I deserve to have the luxuries of life and for my business, Eternal Balance Candles to become a six-figure business. I am speaking this affirmation over my life in 2023 to let myself know that I am enough and I can be in a place where I am thriving and not just surviving. I want myself to know that the survival mode I have been in served a purpose, to thank my physical body and mind for the changes it made through the hardships, and for me to know now is the time to shine being authentically me."
Mercedes Matthews, Meditation Instructor
Courtesy of Mercedes Matthews
“'It’s not what it cost, it’s what it’s worth.' This is my affirmation for 2023 because it reminds me to get comfortable making investments in my life that bring ease. The affirmation that got me through 2022 is 'Here I am, so here I’ll be.' A gentle reminder to be completely present in every moment possible."
Rechelle Dennis, ESSENCE Girls United Lead
Courtesy of Rechelle Dennis
"'Take more fucking risks and love being uncomfortable!' It is important not to fear the power that resides within you. Find allies and people who can help you harvest your talents. How can you grow to the best that you can be without optimistically facing the unknown? 'Believe in yourself' is the corniest phrase known to mankind but it really got me through 2022. If you don’t believe in yourself and who you are, you can’t expect anyone else to. Everything starts within."
Kimberly Ndubizu, Founder and Host, Rich Little Brokegirls
Courtesy of Kimberly Ndubizu
"'There are no limits to what women can achieve because there are no bounds to what women can dream.' For years women have slept the wildest dreams— today we are rested, determined, and will stop at nothing to see them true. Never doubt your intuition, it knows exactly where you are meant to be."
Rocquelle Porch, Podcaster of Black Style Anecdotes and Content Creator
Courtesy of Rocquelle Porch
"'I can do hard things!' There are some things I want to accomplish in 2023, financially, professionally, and creatively. Doing so won’t be easy…requiring some sacrifice and grit, so I will be reminding myself of this daily, as I strive to reach my goals. The grass is green wherever I am."
Chasity Hart, Theater Teacher, Singer and Actress
Courtesy of Chasity Hart
"'Weight doesn’t determine my worth. Even if I’m afraid, I will do it. If I can dream it, I can have it. No one is me, and that is my power. I will thrive outside of my comfort zone. I will face resistance with action and faith. I am not what I’ve been through. I am who God made me.'"
Rasheda Crockett, Actress
Courtesy of Rasheda Crockett
"'God loves me and in love there’s no fear.' 'All things are possible' was the affirmation that got me through 2022."
Courtesy of Cashmiyr
"'My intuition is clear and powerful.' 2022 was an extremely transformative year for me. Through the difficulties I’ve faced I came to realize that when I challenged or ignored my inner voice, I struggled the most. Fortunately, with the help of these lessons, I’ve arrived at a place where I don’t dare question the power of my intuition or the validity of my experiences. I know and feel that implementing this affirmation into my life will be incredibly beneficial, and I’m looking forward to meeting the woman I’ll be this time next year because of it. I believe in my strength and in life’s generosity."
Roberta Tabb, Digital Designer and Author
Courtesy of Roberta Tabb
"I am only getting better. If I want it, I will get it. Last year’s mantra was, 'I am wealthy, emotionally, mentally and financially.'”
Kenniqua Howell, Content Creator, Storyteller and Social Strategist
Courtesy of Kenniqua Howell
"'I am worthy of all the good life has to offer, and I will continue to climb higher because there are no limits to what I can achieve.' Why? I’m so quick to question why I receive good things and in 2023, I am stepping into my full potential. I am no longer allowing people, things, jobs, etc. decide what I am capable of. In 2023, I am ready to wow myself and show myself that I am my wildest dreams and can achieve so much more than I think. I am no longer doubting myself, getting everything I deserve, and accepting every single thing… because I am worthy of it all."
Jennifer Francis-Smikle, Digital Media Strategist and Video Production
Courtesy of Jennifer Francis-Smikle
"'I choose joy.' I want to do things that make me happy, make me smart and also serve ME. Oftentimes, I noticed that we are doing things to make others happy or doing things that will cause the least amount of turmoil with others. I am on the path to changing that for 2023. I celebrate all wins, big and small."
Daphine Bush, Influencer
Courtesy of Daphine Bush
"'I have the nature of love. All that I encounter will flourish in love.' This is my mantra this upcoming year because [the] God I love can and will empower us to lead our lives with love. We can spread love, walk in love, and abide in love despite what we experience and this new year, I’m always determined to love others and myself with the love of God. Last year's affirmation was, 'Be intentional.' I was determined to be intentional in all things. I was focused on my family, on my health, and on my relationship with God."
Shanika Graham-White, Content Creator and Cookbook Author
Courtesy of Shanika Graham-White
"'My year of restoration is unfolding. Every seed that was planted shall harvest in every form of my life.' This is what I'll be speaking over 2023 because it reminds me that my sowing in faith, perseverance, and patience will all reap something plentiful beyond what I could ask or think. 2022’s mantra was, 'Just keep going. Persevere, be consistent, and remain focused.'"
Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, Content Creator
Courtesy of Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe
"I am worthy of all that comes my way. I don’t want to doubt any of my blessings. What I’ve hoped and prayed for is rightfully mine. Show me how good it can get."
Abigail Ogun, Digital Marketer and Travel Creator
Courtesy of Abigail Ogun
"2023 is a year of intentional growth and execution. I say this because I've spent a lot of time learning more about the content creator industry and how to turn it into a profitable business, as well as testing different methods to see what works for me and my audience. In 2023, I'm excited to jump into the deep end, implement everything I've learned and grow into my goals. I will take life as it comes and see the lessons in everything."
Marie Zoumanigui, Actress and Content Creator
Courtesy of Marie Zoumanigui
"'My thoughts become my reality.' I did a lot of trusting my abilities in 2022, it’s time for me to believe those abilities will get me to where I want to be as long as I keep working on them and putting the work in. 'I trust in my abilities' helped me get through 2022."
Tanisha Cherry, Influencer and Content Creator
Courtesy of Tanisha Cherry
"'My ambition and drive for success are balanced, healthy and in alignment with my highest good.' I'm dedicating 2023 to being locked into accomplishing the goals that will get me to that next level professionally. But at the same time, I am going to do it by remaining true to who I am and trusting my intuition along the way. Around the middle of 2022, I found myself being sad about not showing up for myself the way I need to and not having a support system to lean into. During these times, I had to remind myself that although I am feeling this, I am going to be okay."
Devana Turner, Technical Recruiter and Content Creator
Courtesy of Devana Turner
"Nothing is more important than my mental and physical health. I will say no and say no often. No matter what your intentions are, take accountability for the impact."
Anita Aloys, Digital Content Creator
Courtesy of Anita Aloys
"'I can accomplish everything I set out to achieve because fear is not a trait of a bad bitch.' This affirmation is so important to me because my goals for 2023 are huge and a little scary but I am determined to face them fearlessly as I'd love 2023 to be my best year yet! In 2022, I affirmed, 'I am receiving everything I deserve and the universe is aligning for my good!'"
Melissa Chanel Carnegie, Entrepreneur and Content Creator
Courtesy of Melissa Chanel
"'I’m only going to get better!' I saved an Issa Rae TikTok this summer and it has stuck with me! [This] a reminder of where I’ve been and if I continue being my best self, I’m only going to get better! 2022 taught me that asking for help is a sign of self-respect and self-awareness. Asking for help has always been hard for me! This year I was able to practice and understand that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. This affirmation helped me with that!"
Klarke Foreman, Model, Graphic Designer and Business Owner
Courtesy of Klarke Foreman
"'I can do hard things.' Adulting, pursuing a dream, nurturing relationships, and establishing healthier habits internally and externally are all challenging (and that's just to name a few). But what's even harder is staying the same. I am choosing my hard, especially if it's for the betterment of myself. The affirmation that got me through 2022 was 'I am conquering my fears and becoming stronger each day.'"
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Featured image courtesy of Marie Zoumanigui
- Returning Home: Why ‘Black Is King’ Was An Affirmation Of My Search For Identity ›
- 10+ Affirmations That We Took Away From The 'Harlem' Cast Girl Chat ›
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Queen Latifah On Her Journey To Self-Acceptance: 'I've Been Trying To Maintain My Freedom To Be Me'
Actress and rapper Dana "Queen Latifah" Owens is defying societal standards by refusing to be confined in a box regarding her personal and professional life.
Owens, who has been a part of the entertainment industry for over three decades, is widely recognized for her empowering songs and the variety of acting roles she has obtained throughout her career, among other things. The list includes Living Single, Set It Off, Chicago --with which she earned an Oscar nomination-- Just Wright, Girls Trip, and most recently, The Equalizer series on CBS.
Owens is also very tight-lipped about her personal life. However, in 2021, The Last Holiday actress showed appreciation to Eboni Nichols, who is reportedly her partner, and their son Rebel after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.Since then, Owens has revealed why she doesn't want to be defined as anything but herself and how she maintains her sense of freedom. In a resurfaced video from theGrio Awards, Owens opened up about those topics when she accepted the Television Icon Award for her past contributions
In a clip uploaded on theGrio's Instagram account last week, Owens explained that she often had to fight to be herself because "the world" kept trying to put her in a box based on what society thought a woman should be.
"My whole life, I feel like I've been trying to maintain my freedom to be me. And the world is trying to put these things on me to stop me from being who I am," she said.
Further into the speech, Owens explained that although many would have their own opinion about her from what the media spews out, she would continue to be herself by wearing "beautiful gowns and dresses," playing in the dirt, participating in basketball games with men and loving who she loves because that's what makes her happy.
The Beauty Shop star also added that despite her celebrity status, she would continue to show respect for others because that's who she is as a person and how she was raised.
"So I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to because that's part of me. I play in the dirt. I play basketball with the boys because that's me,” she stated. "I love who I love because that's me. I love all of you who have supported me. I give you your respect. I don't have to be above you because that's me. I know me."
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