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CEO Angelica Nwandu On Why Your Purpose Is Promised

Media mogul shares how to align your spirit and secure a bag.

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Almost 24 years ago, a six-year-old girl learned that her mother had been tragically murdered by her father (a well-renowned pastor at a local church). Soon after, their father would be sentenced to 28 years in prison, she along with her four sisters would be taken from their home and thrown into foster care, and her life would never be the same.

Later, that little girl would go on to earn a degree and become an accountant, only to be fired from her job and ultimately create one of the most popular platforms in the media world, amassing millions of followers and subsequently securing a serious bag.

We now know the woman in this story to be the creator of The Shade Room, Angelica Nwandu, a boss who now knows that every roadblock in her life has been a blessing in disguise.

Angelica Nwandu

The media mogul and star of the latest episode of UMC's Behind Her Faith (available to stream April 9), a faith based-series executive produced by Insecure's Jay Ellis that features stars like Niecy Nash, Aisha Hinds, and Essence Atkins, recently sat down with xoNecole for an intimate one-on-one conversation about the secret behind her success, and according to Angie, it was nothing but God's love. She explained, "When I was wrong, when I was right, when I was indifferent––He was there throughout it."

On the show, Angie opens up about how her mother's death changed her life, getting to know Jesus midway through her entrepreneurial journey, and how she learned to adjust when she felt like her vision and her values didn't align. We got a chance to catch up with Angie to talk more about her faith, facing her fears, and how to find purpose in your pain and, honey, it was a whole word.

Fear Is Poisonous

Angelica Nwandu

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, and Angelica explained that this was a lesson she learned firsthand.

While you may think you're in the self-doubt struggle alone, our good sis revealed that she can totally relate. The Nigerian-American creative told xoNecole, "I'm going to tell you right now, I've experienced it all. I've experienced doubt, thinking, 'Oh, you know what, who was I kidding? God didn't say this is going to happen for me. I'm not up for this. I can't do this, I don't have the work ethic. I don't have the intelligence––the creativity.'"

"[Fear is the] biggest opponent that I have," she continued. "Because fear, for me, and its impact on me is crippling. It makes it so that I don't do anything. Either I don't do anything or I consider things failures before they've even started."

Angelica explained that while analysis paralysis can become addictive, it's a cycle that she's learned to break by pulling the weeds before they even have the opportunity to grow. She shared, "I've noticed it, that monster of fear just growing and growing and growing, and I've noticed that it is so poisonous to a lot of areas in my life. Fear doesn't just show up in one area. It kind of seeps into all areas. You'll notice it just creeping in, creeping in and growing and seeping into different types of relationships, coming out in different ways."

"You gotta hit fear with technique. You got to figure out how fear gets you––what triggers you and then start breaking that down. Address the triggers. Triggers are places where you need healing. Why am I so scared of failure? Why? Why am I so scared of being alone? Where are the roots of these feelings coming from?"

Coming face-to-face with your trauma is never easy, but Angelica wants you to know that it's always worth it, sis. And as painful as your past may have been, when it comes to discovering your purpose...

Hindsight Is 20/20

Angelica Nwandu

Unfortunately, life doesn't come with a built-in rearview mirror, but if it did, it would likely reveal that hindsight is 20/20 and Angie wants you to know that many of life's roadblocks are only blessings in disguise. Despite facing legal woes, business breakups, and moments of disappointment, the TSR creator remains adamant that faith will take you places hustling won't.

"When I put out that prayer, 'God take things that you do not want me to have––that you don't have a plan for––that are in my life. Anything that's not supposed to be there, make it fall, make it collapse, just cancel the deal, get it away from me.' And when I have prayed that I've seen so many things fall through."

She continued, "I think I've seen big deals fall through with big companies. I've seen things just canceled, get ripped from under my feet. Right? And in hindsight, I look back and I see why those things were taken and I prayed the same prayer."

Angelica told xoNecole that this is a prayer that she's also prayed over her company, but instead of blocking her business, He has allowed it to thrive, "We get hit with these big things and it's like, how did we survive that? Why are we thriving in this time, how are we getting through this?"

Which led Angelica to drop yet another noteworthy gem…

Your Purpose Is Promised

Angelica Nwandu

In the docu-series, Angelica revealed that although she has come a long way from being that seven-year-old girl whose life was uprooted and transformed forever, she has to remind herself that God has been at her side, pushing her further into her purpose every step of the way.

She told xoNecole, "I really do believe that my belief in God is the only thing that's keeping me. When you think about it, what else can I rely on that won't change? That is always the same? That is true to the word that I know for a fact because of not just the Bible, which I love, but because of my past experiences, I know God is real."

While Angelica says she still experiences moments of doubt and unpromising pitfalls along her path to success, she now knows that the valley is where you gain perspective. "I know he's 100 and I know His promises are true." She explained, "And so because I know he has a promise on my life and I know that He's promising for me, when [bad] things happen, yes. Don't get it wrong. There are times where I'm doubting it. But I have to take it back to, well, God has a promise to me. It hasn't come true yet, [but] it's going to come true. His word is true. He will protect me until the fulfillment of that promise, and then He'll promise more. "

"To me, it's about having faith that things are gonna be OK even when they're not. If I lost everything today, I have to have faith that He'll bring it back together. But, see if I don't believe in Him, then what faith could I have? I could have faith in myself. But life is fragile. I have to believe in something bigger than myself and that's big for me. And I think that's what's getting me through."

To check out Angelica's full episode of Behind Her Faith, tune into UMC Thursday, April 9th or click here!

Featured image courtesy of UMC.

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
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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