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BOSS UP

If a breath of fresh air was a person, it would be Sonya Renee Taylor. Even via our Zoom call, the poet, best-selling author, and social justice advocate exudes that perfect mix of grace, intellect, and tell-it-like-it-is candor of your favorite auntie or podcast host. Taylor, who started The Body Is Not An Apology movement in 2011 and wrote The New York Timesbest-seller The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love in 2018, has used her voice and platform to create a profound safe space, and drive a movement behind being unapologetically yourself as a Black woman and embracing all that comes with that journey.

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Before 43-year-old film and television writer Felicia Pride made a career writing for shows like Queen Sugar and Grey’s Anatomy, she had vastly different plans for her life. A business major in college, she’d been pursuing a path in the corporate world, but got her first taste of the possibility of a career in writing. “In college, I had a professor who saw something in my writing,” Pride tells xoNecole. “[The professor] encouraged me to minor in English, but that’s more time and more money – both of which I [didn’t] have.”

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In this special Women’s History Month Boss Up series, we talk to women who are redefining what leadership looks like. They’re deciding, on their own terms, to tap into a fulfilling career, walk their own paths, and embrace the fullness of the impact of Black women when they decide to unapologetically take up space and disrupt in business.

The pandemic has had a tremendous effect on almost all aspects of life, and our careers are obviously no exception. One intriguingly empowering phenomenon within it all has been the boost in innovative and resilient leaders pursuing startups and side hustles despite the challenges.

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In this special Women’s History Month Boss Up series, we talk to women who are redefining what leadership looks like. They’re deciding, on their own terms, to tap into a fulfilling career, walk their own paths, and embrace the fullness of the impact of Black women when they decide to unapologetically take up space and disrupt in business.

With the challenges of the day—a global pandemic (that’s still not quite over), horrifically high gas prices, and the yet-to-be-resolved issue of unequal pay, to name a few—the need to pivot, recharge, and reinvent in many aspects of Black women’s lives has become more and more important for us. The environment today has led to a shift in not only how we live but how we approach getting to the bag, whether that be through a full-time job, a side hustle, a business, or all three combined.

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In this special Women’s History Month Boss Up series, we talk to women who are redefining what leadership looks like. They’re deciding, on their own terms, to tap into a fulfilling career, walk their own paths, and embrace the fullness of the impact of Black women when they decide to unapologetically take up space and disrupt in business.

It’s always empowering to hear about anyone willing to throw fear to the wind to do… well, anything that makes them happy and fulfilled. And when that fear comes attached to a paycheck and a sense of stability, the story is that much more intriguing and inspiring.

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Early last year, thirty-two-year-old Alicia Scott was personally invited to appear on season 13 of ABC’s pitch competition show Shark Tank to try to convince the Sharks to invest in her makeup brand Range Beauty.

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