Today I am speechless, last night, I had a lot to say. Here’s my 2022 Media Influencer acceptance speech at Power Play NYC’s 2022 Gala:
“Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone can verbalize it. I learned this early on in life when I used journals to chronicle literally everything that was happening to me.
I would write letters to family members + friends. To my mom especially after getting in trouble for something. And as an adult, it is how I believe I kept my long-distance relationship going with my now husband.
From my parents divorce at 7 years old + being the only [email protected] attending a private school while we lived in Dayton, OH, I remember writing about understanding that my skin color was something I would have to defend from that moment on.
Writing was just the best way I knew how to communicate.
At 13 years old, I had a clear vision of writing for a fashion magazine, sitting at my desk in the corner office of a high-rise building, typing away while occasionally looking up to catch the hues of the Manhattan skyline. At 13 was also the time I faced my childhood trauma of my sexual assault at the age of 5. In that moment, writing became my saving grace.
I wrote a book about it called “5 Steps to Fabulous” + when I told a friend about it her question to me was, “What makes you think you have the know how to tell others how to live a ‘fabulous’ life?” I mean, have you seen my outfit tonight?
In all seriousness, here’s the truth…when you’ve been abused, when you have lived managing depression, when you’ve been gut punched by a friend, you are only able to get to a better place when you share those stories out loud. Whether writing it or speaking it, you begin to connect with other people who have gone through similar things, and you no longer feel alone, unseen, unworthy.
Fifteen few years ago, I would have let that friend’s question break me. Today I know that I was divinely appointed + accept that my know how is my story. In sharing your story, you set others free.
I would first like to thank God for this humbling opportunity in receiving this award. Thank you to the PowerPlay NYC Board for seeing the value that my voice + company brings to the media space. Thank you to my incredible team whom I couldn’t do this without. People who are committed to the work we do at BELLA Magazine + aim to push the content boundaries + storytelling in order to allow those who look like us + who also don’t -to embrace who + what they are.
I believe firmly that in the media we have a responsibility with the messages that we are sending, especially to young women + BELLA aims to empower + be a positive agent of change. BELLA aims to be a reflection of the world we live in. I am so grateful to know that when I say, “you’re going to think I am crazy, but”…my team now smiles and says, “bring it.” Especially you two Lynette + Jennifer.
Thank you to my husband, my fiercest supporter + my 2 boys whom have sacrificed so much for me to be able to live this life where I still manage somehow to make them proud.
If you take away anything from my words tonight, please let it be my version of this quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,…because if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
Thank you so much.”