Since moving to Chicago I’ve had the pleasure to encounter some truly remarkable people who have inspired me to do more and be better.
Among those people are the Watkins sisters. The two of them are so passionate about being the change they want to see in the world. You can’t help but be inspired by being in their presence. Karyn is the co-creator of The Red Pump Project and blogs about charitable initiatives over at The Fabulous Giver. And her sister Brittany created B Girls, Inc, an organization dedicated to celebrating, mentoring, and thereby preserving black girlhood.
I reached out to Brittany to ask her what inspired her to create such an organization, and what B-Girls, Inc. is all about.
“I started B-Girls, Incorporated as a result of the passion I have for enriching the lives of Black girls, because I am a Black girl. This organization is about celebrating our individual identities, while acknowledging the collective bond we have because of shared experiences. For me, Black girlhood is more than just about a period of adolescence. I believe it’s a spirit, culture, and lifestyle. As a result, even as a 24 year old woman, I can still relate to a 16 year old high school girl.
Not to mention, I feel that as Black girls we are just so misunderstood. Part of this comes from everyone having a role in defining us, except us. From our socio-economic status to the music we listen to and internalize, those factors play a large role in our development. So B-Girls, Inc was also about allowing us to define who we are, on our own terms. We also want to move to a point where we are reversing the self-esteem issues that come from hearing we aren’t pretty enough, not smart enough, we’re too loud and ghetto, etc. As a young girl, and even now, I am so far from perfect and I want girls to know that even in my imperfections I am wonderfully made. There is a serious attack on the spirits of our children, and anything I can do to reverse the pathologies in our community, I’m going to do.”
Brittany’s doing her part to effect meaningful change, and this Saturday in Chicago, B-Girls is hosting their first ever event, Be Beautiful, Be Smart. It’s a pre-prom day of empowerment for teens, including sex education workshops, make-up, and manicures. And admission is FREE!
“The idea for Be Beautiful, Be Smart came about because I wanted to address issues of at-risk behavior in a fun way and exciting way. It’s easy to want to engage in spur of the moment behavior as a teen and I want to help change that culture with positive conditioning. It’s dangerous to have teens engaging in risky behavior because it stunts the period of mental maturation by taking them out of their element forcing them to confront adult consequences with an adolescent mentality. So Be Beautiful, Be Smart is all about education, prevention, and making the lessons relatable to what’s important in their lives. The make-up and manicures will get them in the door, but I’m more concerned about what they walk away with when the event is over.”
I love the concept of B-Girls, Inc. and I know this is just the beginning of so many wonderful events and positive changes to come!
That sassy tee she’s wearing in the pic? It’s available on B Girls Tees.com!