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8 Boss Women On Moving In Silence & How To Find Your Own Rhythm

These women see through the veneer of accolades straight to impact in its truest sense and form.

Workin' Girl

Women, specifically women of color, are making their dreams come true and impacting their communities and the culture and we're killin' it. The number of businesses owned by Black women in the United States in 2018? 2.4 million! We've been building an impressive army of entrepreneurship, generational wealth, and influence while seemingly no one was paying attention. It can be asserted that Black women have been moving in silence, building lives and generations long before the idea snuck into song lyrics and subsequently cemented itself in popular culture as a life and business principle.

So what is it that sistas are doing and how are we doing it so well?

Sometimes we do more looking up to the smaller percentage of people who've become household names than we spend connecting with and learning from the wealth and experiences of those whose stars are steadily rising. So, I tapped 8 incredible Black women – I mean truly amazing, everyday women who walk, talk, live, and create in impactful ways. Women who see through the veneer of accolades straight to impact in its truest sense and form. Keep reading to find out why there is success in learning to move in silence.

Deanna M. Griffin, Co-Founder of Crownhunt

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

Moving in silence looks like doing the work instead of just talking about it. We live in an age where it's easy to position or brand yourself a certain way without having the sweat and receipts behind it. I like to focus on the results – brainstorming launches, developing timelines and budgets, identifying partners and collaborators, writing/editing/scheduling/promoting... whatever has to be done to get my ideas off the ground before I start bragging about the work. The celebration can come later.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

Be transparent. If you are figuring it out, while making mistakes, share that. It's easy to think that "the hustle" means looking like you're killing it all the time. People are quickly turned off by that and it's devastating to come off as a fraud when you were just trying to "fake it 'til you make it". This is why we created the Crownhunt newsletter, which surprisingly doesn't focus on hair but on our journey to tell our inner Impostor Syndrome to STFU. We're hoping that our decision to be transparent will pay off.

Follow her on Instagram: @crownhunt

Princess “Coach P” Owens, Wellness Expert/Holistic Health Coach

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

Moving in silence for me is actively practicing wisdom and patience while I work the plan. You move with care and understand that it's not a secretive thing but a sacred experience. You don't just guard your visions/goals but it's an out guarding the process. Trust no one with your dreams but self and the creator. It's hard not to share the good parts. "Everyone else is flourishing and being magical, I want in".... but never share the story until they can feel/see the glory. You share after manifestation has taken place, on your own time in your own way.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

Social media is a space where your influence, value, and even likability is often attached to "wins". We often use these platforms to prove that we belong by being pretentious in our sharing. You can't fake energy. You may fake a lifestyle for a bit (even that will get exposed) but you can never fake magic. Trust that you will always belong – even as you are. Do the work in authenticity. Take care of YOU, so that you'll never lose YOU in the process. Be you.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @coachpsays
"Never share the story until they can feel/see the glory. You share after manifestation has taken place, on your own time in your own way."

Yetti Ajayi-Obe, Owner of YettiSays & Founder of Certified 10

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

I actually have a love/hate relationship with this idea of "move in silence." I don't necessarily believe one should be shouting their every move from the rooftops, but I don't subscribe to the thoughts of every power move should be done in silence – unless you're Beyoncé, of course. I think us WOC, especially those of us that are wellness advocates, need to be more open and honest about the process of producing and creating, because truthfully, it takes a lot [out] of a person. I tend to "move in silence" naturally, but that's only because outside pressures and opinions do something ridiculous to my anxiety. I have an internal team I work with because they provide me the balance I need. But I think talking about the process can aid in making sure there are more of us Black and brown women sitting at the table.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

"Only you can do what you do. Only you can reach certain people. Only you can speak to your story. And by not doing what you're meant to do on this Earth, you're robbing this world of a service only you can provide." – I'm not sure if this is something my therapist coined, or if it's an official quote, but this is what I refer back to when pressure, anxiety, and whatever else interferes with my work. It's not about the numbers, the money, or the cool opportunities. It's about the reach, whether it be two people or two thousand. It has nothing to do with what the next person is doing. It's about your why, and what you're doing to fulfill it. Honest and authentic work will always trump whatever is being done for the looks of it.

Follow her on Twitter: @phenomenalyetti, Instagram: @yettisays

Jasmine Katrina Smith, Founder of Pure Communications & Co, Faith & Lifestyle blogger

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

"Moving in silence" to me means staying focused on my work and the quality of it. It looks like supporting a fellow influencer and/or entrepreneur while keeping my goals aligned to what God has instructed me to do. It's not always easy because comparison can come to defeat my progress, but I find solace in knowing I'm focused on exactly what God's last instructions were until we're ready to move forward to the next thing.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

If I could offer one tip, it would be to remember that we don't work to please man, we work to glorify God, and by doing so, that means we're called to produce fruit (ie: we should have results). Looking the part can only carry you for so long, character is developed in the discipline and your calling is fully manifested by your character.

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram: @jkatrinasmith

"Looking the part can only carry you for so long, character is developed in the discipline and your calling is fully manifested by your character."

Shayla Racquel, Writer, Director, Filmmaker

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

For me, "moving in silence" doesn't necessarily mean to be secretive about my trajectory through the film industry. I think it means to have discretion and discernment about when, where, and how I announce my moves, and to allow my work and my work ethic to speak for itself. At times, it is difficult to move in silence. We feel like we have to make those grand announcements not for self-gratification, but to receive validation from others. I remember watching a Film Independent keynote address by Ava DuVernay, in which she talked about "desperation vs. doing." She said that we should never "ooze desperation," instead, we should make a way out of no way, and just do. "The only thing that moves you forward is your work," were her words, and as an independent filmmaker who is in the beginning stages of my career, those words were cemented in my spirit, and since hearing that, that is how I've decided to move.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

Think of finding your work rhythm as building your foundation. You need a strong foundation to have something solid to stand upon – something you can always go back to, even if you want to start over with what you're building. When people concern themselves more so with how people "perceive" their work/work ethic rather than concerning themselves with their actual work, something is going to fall through the cracks. It gets harder and harder to keep up the facade when you actually aren't doing anything, and the truth will always be revealed in the end. Focus on your work, build your foundation, and don't concern yourself with what everyone else is doing – focus on you.

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram: @ShaylaRacquel

Shefon Nachelle, Artist, Founder of Etcetera Creative

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

I instinctively interpret it as "do more, say less". I realized that a part of my desire to make others aware of what was happening in my life, was about validation. That I, or my work, did not have meaning without the approval of others. That dangerous slope became a thief of my freedom, my creativity, and personal sense of value. "Moving in silence" is not just a sentiment that reflects when we should practice discretion, but is also a display of internal confirmation. It re-routes you from a place of needing the recognition of others to one of focus on execution and finishing.

Of course it is not easy, but when I think about my personal icons, they are in deep trust of themselves and their work. So, I often consider what tasks I am taking up for myself and if they are driven by my desire for approval. Those that are not, allow for a personal peace that facilitates moving in silence.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

I believe there are moments we grossly underestimate the time, work, and study required prior to regarding ourselves as an authority in any given field of work or subject matter. Sometimes even those labels, of entrepreneur and influencer, transport us to a place that often relies on deceptive exteriors and are disingenuous. The truth about learning craft is that we fail constantly, it takes a long time, and it is hardly ever as beautiful as our pre-planned photo shoots at our favorite coffee shops.

Even though I have spent almost ten years in design and most of my life as an artist, there is so much that I have yet to learn, to experience. My good internet friend, Ann Daramola, offers an urgent affirmation to "Face Your Work." That is the tip I would have wanted someone to give me. Just do the work. The hard work. The invisible work. The uninspiring work. The work is enough. In the words of astrologer, Chani Nicholas, "The only way to manifest epic projects is to bow deeply to your daily grind."

Follow her on all social media platforms: @shefonnachelle

"'Moving in silence' is not just a sentiment that reflects when we should practice discretion, but is also a display of internal confirmation. It re-routes you from a place of needing the recognition of others to one of focus on execution and finishing."

Amber Gabrielle, Founder of Oh She Went Global, CEO of The Lit Lady

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

For me, it means that I spend more time putting my head down and doing the work instead of blabbing about it every step of the way. This doesn't mean that I never say anything about my current projects, but boundaries must exist. This concept has been drilled into my head since childhood, and I shall pass it on to my future children. For the most part, it's easy for me to do more than I talk, because I see people on social media who DON'T practice this and frankly, it's nauseating. I don't want to be the nauseating girl. Haha! I've noticed that this concept of "moving in silence" has gotten pushback in recent months, and people will assume that you're elusive, or a failure, if you don't post what you have going on. Well, others may choose to blab their plans from here to Addis Ababa, but I'll continue to keep quiet until I have results worth speaking about. Then, and only then, will I talk about what I've been doing, in hopes of providing wisdom and value to those coming after me.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

I feel that sometimes, the ambitious community consumes unbelievable amounts of information, but does very little when it comes to applying that information to everyday life. It's one thing to post pretty, inspirational memes on Instagram and tweet quotes from the book You Are a Badass; it's quite another to take all the advice you're constantly being hit with, and intentionally make it useful to you. So, I challenge everyone reading this to think of the last piece of information you consumed that you found valuable…I mean valuable to the point where you highlighted it, posted it with a YAAAAAS caption, sent it to your momma and her prayer group, all that. Take that piece of information, advice, whatever it is, and commit to implementing it in your life for the rest of the year. I would absolutely LOVE to hear what your results are!

Mia Jones-Walker, Digital Media Specialist & Mental Health Advocate

What does moving in silence mean to you? Is it easy? Why or why not?

Moving in silence is a process of waiting patiently for the manifestation to come forth, pursuing purpose with due diligence. It consists of putting in the work and fulfilling my tasks at hand without seeking external validation from my peers or calling attention to me doing the work. It's not easy to move in silence when you consider our natural need for acceptance – we want to be recognized (often prematurely) for each increment in the process but that congrats cannot supplant taming the steps we still must walk out. Premature applause can cause us to become short sighted on the full journey ahead. Moving in silence requires a resilient attitude, enduring without despairing, or envying whoever surpasses you in achieving their goals.

What is one tip you would offer Black women entrepreneurs/influencers as they figure out their work rhythm in a world that seems to value the LOOK of getting things done more than the discipline of actually doing?

Know that discipline is the key to moving forward. Set your pace realistically according to your interest (how often you want to engage your audience balanced with the demands of your life) and give yourself grace to take a breather when you need to!

Featured image by Jasmine Katrina.

Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)

Originally published January 14, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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