Sam I am.
At least that’s how I felt watching the Netflix Original series, Dear White People ¾ a spin-off of the 2014, critically acclaimed satirical movie that bears the same name. With a mixture of hard-hitting puns and a play on stereotypes, while addressing recurring issues among yt and Black folk, it reflects our current cultural climate.
Sam White, a militant radio host on the campus of a fictitious Ivy League University, battles with the duality of being a biracial woman. Even though I’m not biracial, I understood Sam’s struggle with identity and love. I grew up a military brat who could’ve easily used that “I don’t see color” excuse folks use now, because honestly, I didn’t know the difference between Black and white until I moved to an all-Black neighborhood. Itwas then I realized how different I am. How Aerosmith and Wham! weren’t the songs of choice for my classmates, or how much I enjoyed Star Trek Deep Space Nine and conversely, how I knew all the words to NWA songs, found solace in the Native Tongues, and wanted so desperately to attend an HBCU, in which later I got my wish.
Like many authors and persons of the arts, I'm a person who has been through a lot in my life—from adolescence all the way up to adulthood. It's an ongoing process that a lot of times, pours out into my stories. One of the main things I hear from my readers is that they can see and feel me in the story that I write, so it has in essence, been a lot of writing fact into fiction. For the longest time I feared transparency because there were areas of my life that I had not yet confronted, and I wasn’t comfortable with letting the world see me so candidly. Ironically, the writing provided me with an outlet allowing me to transfer . . . hide behind . . . live through . . . my characters.
In honor of my 27th birthday last month, I wanted to share 10 lessons that life has taught me over the years. Starting with:
1. You Are Your Brand.
Whether you’re an aspiring fashion stylist, you run a nonprofit organization out of the goodness of your heart, sell weight loss pills, starting out as an unlicensed nail tech, you’re a freelance writer or blogger, YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Only you can define yourself and what you bring to the table. Make a statement in your own life and own it!
Behind the Brand is a Pretty Entrepreneur series. We pull back the sheets and give you more insight into the people behind the brand. We are blessed to feature Nyeesha D, Williams. I truly believe that we find healing and purpose in our story and Nyeesha embodies that statement. Check out our Q&A below.
Hey Sis, We like to get all up in your business for “Behind The Brand” it gives others a peek inside. Can you state your name, where you are from and tell us a little about your business/work, and are you a full time entrepreneur ?
Ha! Good thing I’m as transparent as they come. I don’t mind you being in my business, quite frankly me telling my business is exactly why I’m an entrepreneur. My name is Nyeesha D. Williams and I am a Philanthropic Inspirer and Counselor who inspires and motivates teen girls and women through counseling, artistic expressions and entrepreneurial consciousness. I am a full-time entrepreneur, a mother of three, a wife and a hustler. This hustling mentality came from my birth place of Newark, N.J. #BrickCity
There’s a special kind of magic that happens when a woman of color sees a positive representation of her likeness in the media. At first glance she’s in awe, enamored even. She then begins to study said woman, examining her appearance, calculating her movements, and paying close attention to how she carries herself. She watches how she communicates her thoughts, beliefs, and passions--careful to see how others respond to her presence. Next, she makes note of their similarities. See, this part of the magic is key. While many argue that comparison kills confidence, this form of comparison could very well save a life. This woman begins to see that there are others with qualities like her who are not only surviving, but thriving as well. And that if this woman can make it out here in the world, so can she. At least that’s what I was thinking to myself when I first saw Janelle Monáe dancing across my TV screen back in 2007.