Thursday, July 23, 2009

I AM My Sister's Keeper: Why "Brown Girls" Mean So Much To Me

A few days ago, a co-worker asked me why I chose to develop the Brown Girl Collective and what I hoped to accomplish by starting this group. While his question was innocent, it really caused me to reflect on the journey that led me to creating a place for sisters to network. Please allow me to share a part of this journey with you.

As I mentioned in my last blog, The Evolution of a Brown Girl and Her Dream, I have always had a desire to create a magazine of sorts for African-American women, even though my career took another path. Additionally, I became heavily involved in the church a few years ago and felt a call towards Christian ministry, which I began to pursue with all of my heart. During that season of my life journey, I created an online ministry for women (Fruitful Vine Ministries), attended seminary, and became ordained as an associate minister at my local church.

I truly loved Fruitful Vine Ministries because it gave me the opportunity to "minister" to women (and a few men) all around the world. I enjoyed serving the people at my church and delivering thought-provoking sermons to the congregation. I grew excited whenever I had the opportunity to reach out into the community and assist those who were in need of a helping hand. I learned a great deal about my Christian faith and met a host of wonderful people while I was attending bible school. However, in my private time, I always felt as if I was heading in the wrong direction.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Evolution of a Brown Girl and Her Dream

Back in the 70s, when I was a child, I always loved to read magazines, especially Seventeen, Teen and Right On! I got a thrill out of reading the articles about boys and makeup in the teen mags, while Right On! was all about the Black celebrities of the day, namely the Jackson 5, the Sylvers and the Soul Train dancers. I had posters of all of my favorite stars taped to my walls and I would look at them every night until I drifted off to sleep. As I dreamt, I envisioned developing a magazine that would be the best of both worlds: one that would talk about the issues of adolescent girls who had brown skin.

 Much to my dismay, one day my father banned all magazines from the house, since he thought that they were full of trash. He still wanted me to read, but his idea of quality work involved classic novels like A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights. To make matters worse, I was required to write a book report about each book that I read and present it to my parents. Since I wanted to write for a magazine, the writing part wasn't so bad; I was just more interested in being like Cynthia Horner, Right On! Magazine's young editor-in-chief.