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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.

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Originally published January 14, 2019

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

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