After coming across a photo of Solange and Dawn Richard in my Instagram feed, I immediately thought to myself, “Wow, that would be a dope ass collab!” Of course I made sure to write comment along with several other fans following Dawn’s page.
Solange and Dawn Richard should collab on a track or album because we the fans want it!
Solange and Dawn Always Come with Them Visuals
These two woman are confident in their shit. They are not afraid to take creative risks. There are layers to how Solange and Dawn create an album.
They think so far beyond just the songs, and for me, this provides a certain depth that is reminiscent to the time when people read CD inserts. (Yes, I am old enough to have experienced that.) I am always excited to see the visuals that follow the release of an album or track.
They take listeners to another place
Discovering some of the nuances, or how they use fashion, color schemes, etc. makes Solange and Dawn’s music that much enjoyable. That’s what I appreciate from them both; you are emerged into another world more often than not. For instance Dawn’s latest release “New Breed” is fire and all that we love about Dawn is in this project. I also really appreciate that this is an album grounded in her Native American heritage. She’s doing the work for the culture.
They both know how to put on a damn good live show.
They do what they want and they can do it together on a track!
Solange and Dawn exemplify what it means to be an unapologetic creator. They both push limits and any expectations of women, particularly woman of color. For example Solange new album “When I get home,” though most of it made me uncomfortable, it’s honestly not my favorite, but I can appreciate her artistry. I love that she has the audacity to just create and release wtf she wants, this is inspiring. As for Dawn, her entire come up has embodied the same as she has been creating on her own terms since becoming an independent artist beyond Danity Cane.
Let me know what you think. Do you think a collab with Solange and Dawn Richard would be dope or nah?
As usual ladies, #justdekit! #beacreator
Many of us started the new year with overwhelming positivity and every intention of introducing new life habits like, working out more and becoming more productive. You know, those new year goals. However, many of us struggle to see our goals through for the year. In my own experience, it boils down to two reasons – which I’ll explain in detail – one, falling into a backseat mindset and two, having a limited view on life. There are five actions that have helped me get back on track to achieving my new year goals and I’ll share them with you here!
A backseat mindset will eventually lead to a crash – facts!
First, what’s a backseat mindset? It’s when you are no longer participating in the direction of your life in a way that is active. When I’ve gone into a backseat mind mode, I become complacent and the goals I had set out to accomplish are no longer at the forefront of my mind. Let me say, if you’ve found yourself off track well before Jan 31st, just know you are not alone, but also know that it’s never too late to get back on yo shit!
Now, to get back on track we have to become aware of things causing us to get derailed. Awareness is key! The reality of it all is that each of us will be challenged by different things that can throw us off, such as relationship drama, a family member passing on, some day job bull-shit and just being overwhelmed by all of our responsibilities as creative women in general. Pin point what those things are for you. I have noticed, that I can be easily distracted. I have moments when I lose faith in my ability to make things happen or some real life shit happens and it takes my mind off what my goals are. Yeah, there will be those days or circumstances that take you off track, but you do not have to stay in ‘Defeatedville’ beating yourself up. Success is measured by how fast you bounce back. So dust off and keep it moving. The world does not stop spinning.
Own your power and you can travel a long way
Once you’ve become aware of the very things that can take you off your game, you have to face them and work out ways to lessen their power to offset your plans. This will require a bit of introspection, which involves asking the hard question: Why? Why does this bother me? Why do I react in such a way? Each time that you are faced with something that sets you off emotionally, mentally or physically, acknowledge it and address the cause of your distraction. Ask yourself why, to understand and adjust your mindset. Then get back to handling your business. Do not stay in a backseat mind wallowing in stress or depression. How? Just choose not to. Just Dekit! It will get easier each time you do this. Be patient and compassionate towards yourself in this process. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself less bothered with a shorter detour and a faster bounce back. The goal isn’t to give up on our goals, right? So push through and keep at it. NO MATTER WHAT!
Now it will be difficult to change up your lifestyle because your behaviors and habits make up who you are. However, becoming aware of how you are affected by situations, along with your reactions is powerful. For example, if you know that you stress eat at your job, bringing your favorite healthy snacks to work, will make it easier for you to reach your weight loss goal. Doing these sort of things allows you to play offensively, meaning you will be proactive instead of reactive. Something that has been helping me, which I’ve learned through my meditating practice, is deep breathing. I do this when I feel stress or overwhelmed. It allows me to take a brief pause to collect myself and get back to work. Know that when you take the wheel, not only do you steer your life where you want to go, but you own your power and the pace at which you can go. At every turn, you move on your own terms and will reap the benefits of accomplishing your goals.
A backseat mind can drive itself into a wall it never saw
Being behind the wheel of your life is always best no matter the outcome. Why is this? This is because life is about experiences and experience, so do not limit yourself. The more experiences you have, the more insight and wisdom you’ll have at your disposal to know better. To avoid a backseat mind set, you want to have the knowledge or experience to be able to pivot when needed, making you limitless. This is why the person who never started is worse off than the person who has tried and failed. Live it to tell it, and keep living.
Here are the 5 actions that helped me get back on track.
They may or may not help you. Each of the 5 actions mentioned has made a huge positive impact on my mindset and my productivity. I hope it helps you as well.
1. Start with your meals.
This was a wake up call for me. I thought because I am plant-based and I eat my greens that I was good. Nah. I was also eating a ton of junk, not enough whole foods and therefore lacking in vitamins and minerals. Believe it or not, if you are lacking in any vitamins or minerals it can affect your mood, motivation and can cause depression. So eating whole foods and supplementing if needed is very powerful. How do I know? I did it…I lived it, to tell it. Particularly it was vitamin D, B12 and sea vegetables that really helped me. Listen to your body, it will tell you what works and what you need (or see your doctor).
2. Read or listen to motivating books/music to support a productive mind shift.
You also have to be particular about what your mind consumes. Talk positively to yourself and make yourself a priority. I am talking about high vibrating music. You know if it’s high vibrating from how it makes you feel. Do you feel like you can take on the day or do you feel like you want to rob a hoe? lol Seriously, we all know that music can set the tone for our day or a party, etc. Look out for a JustDekit Spotify playlist.
3. Create very small micro goals from the larger goal.
This means take smaller bites of the pie and before you know it, it’s all gone. Maybe pie isn’t a great example since I mentioned the significance of food. So yeah, um…replace pie with a delicious salad. Breaking down the task to something smaller not only makes it more manageable, but it becomes less intimidating as well. For instance, one of my goals is to get in shape for 2019, so I did like many people and I got a gym membership. Now, I know people that go to the gym for 1 hour or even 2 hours at a time. Knowing who I am and that I hate going to gym because I find it to be boring (among other things), I decided that I would only go for 30 minutes a day. Every time I make it to the gym I mark an X on my calendar. With that said, I also want to mention that your overall goal has to be somewhere visible and easily reviewed; which is why many people start the year by creating a vision board. However, putting reminders in your phone or post-it notes on your mirror or a screen saver on your computer are other ways to keep goals on the forefront of your mind. Sometimes it takes just seeing it everywhere like advertisements. So yeah, spam yourself.
4. Set yourself up to win by removing or limiting the distractions and adding more avenues of support for yourself.
For me, it required that I set boundaries and limits with people in my life. When you make yourself a priority and take care of you first, your time becomes more important and therefore the time spent with others is of more quality. This means it’s scheduled time and you need to be selective with whom you spend your time. To add to this, meditating really helps to calm your mind and allow you to become less distracted and focused. It also allows you to have that internal time for self, you are your best friend any day. It also helps with becoming comfortable with being still while surrounded by noise, which starts out with your thoughts. It’s definitely something to try if you haven’t yet. Start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up.
Being comfortable with yourself and in your own head-space is great, but another thing that can help is having an accountability friend. This person is either seeking to accomplish the same goals or some one you know you that you absolutely cannot bull-shit.
5. Lastly, you must keep a calendar or journal of sorts.
Yes, track your progress. Tracking the progress of a project and your mindset helps you win. Now, different things work for different people. For instances, putting X’s on a calendar or next to a completed task works for some. Writing in a journal nightly or once a week can be beneficial for your mindset. A gratitude journal is like the best kind of journal that you can add to your nightly routine. Or you can record your thoughts on your phone and post it to Instagram or Facebook, whatever works. Some of theses methods like Instagram and Facebook might keep you more accountable and on your game, but the goal is to be self sufficient. The motivation and drive should come from within. What is working right now for me are X’s and some quick journal time. Also, do not think you have to write a novel every day. Right now, I am writing 1 to 2 sentences. But again, do what works for you.
Everything I’ve mentioned here isn’t anything new or magical. Sometimes we over complicate things or the answer is right in front of us. All of the 5 actions can be done by anyone, maybe not all once but that’s okay.
I am a woman just working towards my best life. Basically, when I fall off, I make every attempt to get back up. I don’t claim to be an expert and I am not wildly successful yet, but I am relentless. And you should be too. This life is amazing no matter how you look at it. Everyday, people are turning tragedies into triumphs. Why can’t we do the same? We can! Just Dekit!
The very best to you and yours this new year! Let’s fuck it up, y’all! Make it happen and as usual Just Dekit!
PS: Thanks so much for reading. I hope it helps! Let me know in the comments if it does. Or, if you have a bounce back story or technique let me know in the comments as well.
Hey! So, I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I am back and here with 7 Tips for Women of Color to Elevate. A large part of the reason why I’ve been away is because I launched a new leg of Dekit and that’s Afro Rhythm and Beats. With Afro R&B I host dance/fitness classes. It took a while to get off the ground, but I am back and have some lessons to share that I picked up along the way.
I launched the 1st Afrobeat dance class in Stamford, CT and it’s steadily growing. There have been some ups and downs and a moment when I thought I should throw in the towel, but I pushed through and am still pushing.
1. Authenticity is your new leverage, use it!
Authenticity is the new black! The best thing that any of us can do is be true to who we are. There is a mindset that you must have to create in a manner that is impactful. This is what I realized sets me apart from some of my peers. I have a can-do attitude and if I do not know how, I will figure that shit out. By staying true to myself and listening to my gut, I ran with an idea to launch Afrobeat dance classes. I had to listen to my inner voice. This comes from years of not listening to my inner voice.
Whether it’s a good idea or bad idea or someone thinks it’s not the best time to launch, do you! You won’t know if you do not try. You are not learning if you are not making mistakes.
This leads to the next tip. You are going to have to be uncomfortable to grow and oftentimes that included being stressed, scared, unsure of yourself.
2.Yes, growth is uncomfortable, but comfort keeps you stagnate. Choose growth.
I started the classes because I saw an opportunity to bring something to my city that didn’t exist. I also knew that it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t do it. First of all, I knew nothing about hosting dance classes, didn’t know any instructors or where to find them and I had no idea how much it would cost.
My 1st call to a studio was awkward. I didn’t know what to expect or how I’d be received, but if the classes were going to be manifested I was going to have to go through the unknown and be uncomfortable.
When I came across a studio that I really wanted I was faced with resistance and more feelings of discomfort. This studio was beautiful and at a great location, but they had a complicated process around renting their space. Yes, it was stressful going back and forth with this studio. I mean I was trying to make it work, but all in all, it wasn’t meant to be.
In retrospect, I gained an education and learned something new about myself from that experience. I learned the power of walking away and persistence. It’s a good thing I did because I then found the Connecticut Ballet Center and they are amazing people.
Growth is going to be uncomfortable. Had I given up when faced with these obstacles there wouldn’t be an Afro Rhythm and Beats!
There will be obstacles, but I can’t stop because of the unknown. And neither should you!
3.Show up to reach your goals
Sometimes all it takes is getting up and out of bed. It takes simply sitting in front of the computer. Just showing up and getting to the spot changes things. The 1st night I was late getting to the studio, so the class got off to a bit of a late start. There were also administrative things to take care of for the studio before we could start. Given all this the 1st class sold out! What if I didn’t show up? What if Tamara didn’t show up? If the students didn’t show up to class to reach their goal of getting fit or trying something new?
After the third class the number of students dropped. Now, this has been stressful, but was to be expected I was told by one of the instructors. Like, it happens. But, damn ya’ll it does hurt. No matter how many students show up the instructor and the studio still need to be paid. I had already invested money and time in t-shirts, fliers, marketing, social media, etc. So, it was in these moments when I was thinking I should stop this and refocus my attention on Just Dekit. Despite all the fun I’ve been having I was also losing money. I thought, how long can I keep this going?
These thoughts do not go away, but I do not tend to give up easily. Now, there was a time when that was who I was; the quitter. Today, I’m more stubborn! I’m much more resilient.
I kept showing up and attendance has gradually increased. I haven’t reach my goal yet, so I must keep showing up until that happens. It’s either that or give up. There nothing wrong with having to throw in the towel, but that can only occur after exhausting all options and doing everything within your power.
4.Do not let others cloud your vision because they don’t see the big picture.
I had a conversation with a co-worker about the classes and she questioned if the instructors are African and spoke on how I am not African, how can I host these classes? A bit of context, she is from Ghana, born there and grew up there. So that’s where she’s coming from.
Aside from me responding with I am descendant of American slaves, period. I also made a point to basically say because I can, and I want to!
I have the guts, foresight and vision to create something that is not already being provided in my city. She wasn’t privy to the overall vision and that’s fine, it wasn’t meant for her anyway. She doesn’t have to know what it’s about or why I decided to do the class.
For me it’s bigger than dance class. Afro R&B dance classes are about serving a community of women who are like me and are looking for ways to add fitness to their lives and celebrate culture.
Now, instead of her highlighting her perceived short comings of me, why couldn’t she instead offer support being that she is a real African. That would have been amazing. More about this mentality in an upcoming post.
5.Make the attempts to become an expert
Now, to become an expert takes time and it doesn’t happen from only reading books. It takes action. Because of the actions I took, I now know how to start and launch dance classes. Why? It’s because I went for it. There’s still more I could learn, but I know more than the Stephanie from a few months back. If I had not made the efforts to create Afro R&B, I wouldn’t have gained so much. I gained another level of education in business. I gained a small, but growing tribe. I learned more about people. I learned a hell of a lot more about myself, as far as what I am capable of. The Afro R&B dance classes are also another example of my ability to manifest my ideas.
The next step is the experience of making it a successful Afro R&B!
There’s a long way to go. Who knows how far things will go? One thing I do know is that you won’t know, if you don’t try.
6.To elevate, you gotta walk with change
Okay so, “To elevate, you gotta walk with change,” does not mean keep them coins on you. What I mean is do not walk away from what it takes to create your life, that masterpiece, your business, your impact. Change as we all know it can be difficult, but you better become comfortable with it.
A Creator creates change, period. That’s what we are pressed to do, that’s what the nagging thoughts at night are and the painting that keeps you up is about; it’s about changing something and as a result creating an impact.
This change can be personal or a vehicle for others to experience. In my experience with Afro R&B it was a very clear dose of both. On a personal level I became more comfortable with believing in what I am capable of, pushing through discomforts, and listening to my voice.
Launching the Afrobeat classes caused a ripple of changes. In the process, through the obstacles and setbacks I grew by learning what I did not know. I met people I wouldn’t otherwise have connected with had I not started the class, such as extremely talented instructors Tamara Jones and Margaret Meghie.
Walking with change isn’t always comfortable, but it is usually necessary for growth, it helps build character and allows for us to be able to experience the thrills of life.
7.Make your habits matter for your success.
Once the numbers started to drop I knew I had to pivot. I had to adjust. I learned the more consistent and strategic I was at promoting and speaking with people about the classes the number of students each class would get better. I know it sounds like a no brainer, and don’t get me wrong it’s not that I didn’t know this, but it was putting it to practice. This has always been a weakness of mine. The dance class has made the consequence of not being consistent more tangible.
I’m down to play the long game. I do not have a problem with that, but why play long with small increments of success when you can have a steady amount of growth by doing what works.
To elevate takes time, yes. We all have time and some have more than others, but what you do with your time and how you allocate your time can be a powerful way to elevate. We all can do our part to lift each other up, but it is also most important that we take the time and our efforts to lift ourselves up.
- Be true to yourself
- Take consistent action
- Embrace change as your friend
- Do not let people shade your vision
- Develop your success habits
- Show up
- Comfort is your enemy
Lastly and as always, #justdekit!
All the best,
This snap shot of Jully Black setting Jeanne Beker straight in regards to her feelings and the experience of indigenous Canadians is so real.
“I’m not the one responsible for your feelings” -Jully Black
The fact is that when she says, ” …I’m not the one that’s responsible for your feelings.” This may sound harsh for some people, but it’s so real. At the end of the day you are responsible for your feelings, your reality and your space. Some people can’t take hard truths and the immediate response is to get in their feelings. This can be distracting and debilitating for a creator. I was one of those people and at times I still am, but at the end of the day when you are faced with adversity or challenges it doesn’t serve you to live in your feelings. I’m not saying to ignore how you feel all together, but find a way to acknowledge how you feel, think on it, and ultimately take action to address the situation and keep moving.
Don’t get stuck in the emo fog
That moment when people get stuck in there feelings, I call it the emotional fog aka emo fog. You can’t see clearly, your moving slower or if at all and you’re so focused on the negative that you can’t even consider the upside. This doesn’t help when you have things to do, a vision to manifest or in Jully’s case people she’s advocating for.
Jully Black was speaking on what actionable steps are they going to make for the indigenous Canadians to address their circumstances. Thank you Jully for being a bomb as creator! A strong example of what it means to #justdekit In this space there’s little time to consider people feelings while there are things to be done to address your quality of life or that of others.
A little tid bit, but more to come! #justdekit #beacreator
ALL the best,