1. My Grandmother: Ms. Geneva Dennis! Although, I only got to spend a few years with this wonderful woman her memory will remain in my heart forever. My Grandmother had a heart big enough to show love to everyone around her. Every morning she would make coffee for her employees, but she wouldn't stop there. Grandma would make extra pots of coffee just so that the homeless could stop in for a cup! Many were against her decision to help these individuals, but that never deterred her. Her compassion for people no matter their background, circumstance, class, or gender made her such a phenomenal women. Though there are no plaques hanging in honor of her kind acts, I know her name and memory remains in the hearts of the people she helped, even if in the smallest of ways.
2. My Mother: Ameena. Where do I start? This women has always been at the center of my existence and growth. As with many Mothers, my Mom did more than give birth to my sister and I, she comforted us, enlightened us, and much more. For almost a year I laid in a hospital bed fighting for my life, during this time my Mother did not leave my side for a moment. Sleeping in a hard chair without complaint she watched over me and constantly reminded me that I would see outside of those four walls and enjoy a healthy life. Her love, strength, and maternal instincts moved her to act as my personal nurse despite battling her own health problems. Women have made history for many amazing feats, but I believe that it is our Mothers who deserve the greatest award of all! They are the ones that often make great sacrifices to raise, mentor, and encourage the women we read about in the history books.
3. My Sister: Kacia. This young women has been so influential to my success, not only in the business of photography, but in life in general. I have always looked up to my sister and I am proud to call her my role model. Watching her grow up and seeing how she maneuvered over all the hurdles life placed in front of her helped me to admire her even more. No one can understand the bond between sisters, but no one can deny the huge dynamic it plays on the women we become.
4. La Bella Weddings: Sarah. This phenomenal business women, mother, wife, and friend is definitely making history! Doing all this at young age without breaking her warm smile and loving spirit, is a huge accomplishment. Working in the wedding industry can be both consuming and competitive, so it becomes crucial to have someone in your corner who can see and speak positively in the hardest of situations. Sarah is that person for me, she is an altruistic human and I'm so thankful to have her around. Thank you, Sarah, for being a constant light in everyone's life! Need someone to bring love and light into the chaos of Wedding planning? Check out her website below for information!
5. Alex Elle: I have never felt so close to a women I don't actually know...sounds crazy, but I stumbled across this poet/author's page on Twitter a few years ago and she stole my heart with one phrase, "self-care"! At the time I was at horrible place. I was completely overcome with negative thoughts and perceptions of myself. Reading about her journey, her affirmations of love, poems, and words of encouragement guided me through dark times. Alex is a woman dedicated to empowering women! She builds her mantra around loving yourself, accepting who you are, but most importantly knowing that you are enough. This beautiful soul is making history while simotanseouly rewriting the history of how we feel as women. Please follow her and check out her books online. You will not be disappointed!
6. The Next Generation: Alexis. This young lady inspires me whenever I'm around her! Her level of beauty exudes her as she marches to the beat of her own drum. I love to see young women take on this new and beautiful attitude of self-love and self-care. We often make the mistake of thinking that it is only women older than us that we can look up to; however, I believe we can learn just as much from this up and coming generation of young women who are forcing us all to reconsider the status quo. Alexis encompasses the enthusiastic positivity, awareness, and self love we all strive to have. As a force for healing and source of compassion, she can accomplish anything!
7. The Care Free Black Girl: Ms. Kyemah McEntyre, broke the internet a few years ago with her STUNNING self made African inspired prom dress! Now, she has gone on to designing amazing gowns for actresses, Rip the Runway, and was even seen on several TV stations. I LOVE her detailed and gorgeous designs (which are sweeping the fashion industry), but I truly admire her care free black girl attitude. She completely embraces who she is and never strays from that. She challenges the "standards" of beauty, uses her platform to spread positivity, and brings the message of self-love to young girls. Please check out her collections below!