Happy Women’s History Month, my sistas! It’s customary to look back in reflection, adoration, and exaltation of female historical figures that have paved the path for us. This is a practice that I often incorporate in my writing as a public theologian because I recognize that had it not been for the Black women who paved the path for me long before there was a “me,” I would not have the liberty to do the critical work that I do.
However, it’s good to diverge from tradition–even good traditions–every once in a while. As I was thinking about Women’s History Month and considering which of my historical sheroes I’d like to honor, my mind took me in another direction. Instead of Nannie Helen Burroughs, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Harriette Tubman flashing through my mind, I kept seeing my fellow Hallmark Mahogany sistas. Sometimes, as humans, we take for granted those whom we are in close proximity to and those who make up our village, but I want to resist that common temptation by lifting up a few of my sistas in our Mahogany writing community. I had the privilege of meeting and learning more about them during our Mahogany retreat last year and building outside of our regular meetings.
I think about my sista Faitth Brooks who just released her book, Remember Me Now, who I’ve gotten to know and build a deep connection with. I’ll never forget the first time we met was over brunch last summer, and with tears in my eyes (a biscuit in one hand and a mimosa in the other), I started sharing the challenges I was facing in life at the time. I’m the type of person where if you ask me how I’m doing and you’re a safe person, then I’m going to tell you the whole truth. On that day I felt safe to be a blubbering mess. And a mess I was, y’all! But Faitth did not judge me or my tears—she received me, pressed in, and empathized with all the fifty-eleven things I was dealing with at the time. I will never forget her kindness and graciousness toward me.
Then there’s Imani Bashir, who is the flyest Muslim woman you will ever meet. Imani is a global citizen, travel journalist, and a mother. She is always on the move, and I love watching her social media to see where sis is headed next. Between her travel schedule and mine, it’s hard to connect on the phone, but we DM each other every now and then to check-in. I just admire her bold approach to life and adventurous spirit.
Then there’s my sis, Alisha Reed, who is a pharmacist and queen of self-care. No, really, she is a certified wellness ambassador, y’all! Self-care is what Alisha does. When we spoke one-on-one at the retreat, she shared some of her story with me about how she became a young widow who is raising her child alone due to her husband’s untimely death. I was moved by her authenticity, transparency, and how she opened up about her life and journey. Later that day–and very on brand for Alisha and me–we were at the spa. In between our massages, we talked about our dating lives and these dating apps. Whew, chile… What’s understood doesn’t need to be explained. Just know that we had some good cackles and built a genuine connection that I cherish to this day.
I’ll never forget the hilarious time I had with Jamie Grace, Kennesha Poe-Buycks, and Faitth as we cackled about my dating life. Then there’s my amazing retreat roommate, Eniola Abioye, who is a powerhouse worshipper, evangelist, writer, and amazing person. And she is very passionate about La Loba perfume (get her an endorsement deal! She deserves it). (If you were at the retreat, you’d know that I’m serious.) But even greater than her love for La Loba is her love for Jesus, and she prayed a beautiful prayer over me before we departed that I haven’t forgotten. It takes a prayer warrior to know a prayer warrior, and I recognize Eniola as such.
It’s always risky to name people because you inevitably leave folks out, but please charge it to the word count and not my heart. If I had the room, I’d go on and on about every single woman in our writing community because they are all amazing and ought to be celebrated.
Which woman in your life and in your village would you like to acknowledge for Women’s History Month and why?Leave a Comment