I can’t believe we’re already more than half way through the month of February. Where is the time going? If you haven’t had a chance to read Week 1 & Week 2, don’t worry, there’s still time. I mean, they’ll be there forever right — it is the internet. Get ready to meet another fierce set of seven Black women who are doing the damn thing.

  1. Kim Kyne – Artist & Designer
  2. Amirah Jones – Poet
  3. Tanesha Graham – Small Business Owner & Herbalist
  4. Jazmine Bunch – Community Organizer
  5. Taylor West – Social Media Strategist & Boutique Owner
  6. Yeny Ferreras – Photographer & Graphic Designer
  7. Jael Umerah-Makelemi – Illustrator & Art Director

Kim Kyne (@kimkyne)

Artist & Designer

It’s my way of processing life and communicating ideas I can’t find words to express.

Get to know this artist with a love for pushing boundaries, Kim Kyne.

What inspires your art?

“My art is inspired by my experiences and emotions. It’s my way of processing life and communicating ideas I can’t find words to express.”

Where can we follow you / find your work?

Please follow me on Instagram (@Kimkyne)! To purchase prints of my work you can find me on Society 6.

Describe a piece of art that changed you and why?

“Carrie Mae Weems’ ‘Mirror Mirror’ and her Four Women series.

The way she addresses race in her work is cathartic. It’s taught me that I can not only bear inequity, but also own and transmute it.”

Art is often a way for many of us to express ourselves. For some, that’s in the way of words. For others, it might be music. For Kim, it’s visual. Please be sure you give her a follow and pick up a new piece for your home.


Amirah Jones (@lookinthemirah)

Poet

I thought about how important it was as part of my healing process to get my story out and tell the world how multifaceted anxiety and sadness can look like but that there definitely is a beautiful, bright light on the other side.

When you hear the word poet, what’s the first image that comes to your mind? If you’re reading this in 2021, there’a good chance you’re thinking of Amanda Gorman (leggggend!). Now, I’d like to introduce you to another beautiful, Black woman who brings to light issues with her words, Amirah Jones.

How did “The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphasis” come to fruition?

“I’m 28 and have been writing poetry since I was in middle school.

When I first moved to NYC back in 2015, I was writing a lot and would go to open mics every once in a while at NuYorican down in Lower Eastside. Fast forward to the middle of 2018, I had someone special in my life who had been there for years, me and him were really close, and when things got really sour between us I was completely crushed.

I also had been dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression before this due to things with my job at the time, feeling completely unhappy with where I was in my life, so that on top of having my feelings hurt was just a bad combination.

In the midst of pulling myself back together, I started thinking about all the poems I had piled up throughout this crazy time in my life. Also, I love butterflies and I always felt I connected so much with them because in their life they transform into a butterfly, they’re so carefree and flowing in the air as they please.

I am also an Air sign, Aquarius, and I also move at the beat of my own drum. As I started to feel better and make healthy changes in my life like becoming pescatarian then vegetarian, journaling, not suppressing my feelings, I thought about how important it was as part of my healing process to get my story out and tell the world how multifaceted anxiety and sadness can look like but that there definitely is a beautiful, bright light on the other side.

The following year, on January 22, 2019 I released ‘The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphosis’!”

How can the arts be a benefit to more people?

“The arts is such an amazing aspect of life because they are so many avenues you can dive down! From writing, to painting and singing, they are numerous ways for people to express themselves creatively.

I love writing and it’s such a big part of my life but I’m also a freelance wardrobe stylist, so my mind is constantly coming up with ideas for shoots and ways to style different outfits.

The way the arts can be implemented into your life is so simple because just adding something like journaling to your everyday life can help drastically change your mood and the trajectory of our life.” 

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in publishing your book?

“Always be authentically yourself is one of the biggest things I’ve learned from publishing my book. My whole entire life my family had raised me to be someone who is honest and naturally comfortable in my own skin.

In ‘The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphosis,’ I’m being super vulnerable and just letting all my feelings out in the table. That’s something I wasn’t use to doing because even though I was raised one way, the older I got the more I saw people not take my feelings and thoughts into considerate, which in turn caused me to just hide them altogether.

I have had so many people tell me how much they’ve been able to resonate with my words because they are there or have been there before. If I wasn’t being authentically myself when I wrote the book, it wouldn’t have been a true reflection of who I am and essentially I would have been telling someone else’s story. It is perfectly okay and actually super beautiful to be vulnerable. There’s no need to hold back your feelings, however you feel speak on it!”

Wow. What an amazing outlook on life. Amirah brings forth some of the experiences we can all relate to in “The Stages of Me: Poems of Growth & Metamorphosis.” You can purchase a copy for only $13 from her website here.


Tanesha Graham (@tonics_teasbyt)

Small Business Owner & Herbalist

Tonics & Teas by T seeks to use tea and herbalism to connect people with the herbs and plants that can help them find emotional, physical and spiritual balance and wholeness.

In my time working from home, I’ve started drinking more tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cup of coffee but I’ve also been working on improving my health. With that, I’ve started drinking more tea. Tanesha Graham is more than just a tea expert – she’s an herbalist. So for those of you looking to improve your health from the inside out, then she’s got options for you.

There’s been a rise in tea drinking in the states – why do you think more people are drinking tea?

“I think it’s due to a number of reasons. As we gain new neighbors and get to know our communities better, there’s been a sharing and exchange of cultures.  

Tea is a mainstay in many cultures and varying ways. With travel being limited and periodic lockdowns in place due to COVID-19, many please went online to find ways to pass the time and I think many have come across tea, and it’s many uses and variations, and taken to it.”

What are some unknown benefits to drinking tea?

Well, for me and many others, there is a ritual, a certain process, that we follow when we make a cup or pot of tea.  When my anxiety kicks in and I’m frazzled and shiftless, I’ve found that the process of making tea calms me.

From the initial process of choosing one of my already blended mixes or making one especially for that cup, picking my tea cup or mug, which tea strainer I’ll use, to carefully getting my water to the right temperature for my specific blend choice, all of that requires attention to detail.  

Making tea can bring you comfort and peace.

Tonics by T, the elevator pitch

Tonics & Teas by T seeks to use tea and herbalism to connect people with the herbs and plants that can help them find emotional, physical and spiritual balance and wholeness.

During your daily life, don’t forget to find moments to take time for yourself. Get some teas from Tonics by T and add a new, self-care ritual to your day.


Jazmine Bunch (@TravsWorldProject)

Community Organizer

After experiencing a tragedy that is all too common in America, Jazmine decided to make sure her brother’s name continues to live on. In the aftermath of losing her brother to violence, Jazmine started Trav’s World to help those around her. While still new, there so much to her story and Travis’ that needs to be shared.

I think the largest barriers to preventing gun violence is understanding some of the true root causes: poverty, safety and security, a lack of resources, systemic racism.

Tell us a little about your brother.

Travis was 26 years old. He had a son, Malachi, who turned 3 years old just weeks after his death. He was a father. A brother. An uncle. A son.

But above all, he was a person.

He was intelligent, loving, joyful, and a hustler. He graduated high school in 2012 and before passing, he held two jobs as a welder and an employee at John Deere. He was a country boy at heart, so he loved fishing and riding bikes. He was a true daredevil, and he surely took life for a joy ride whenever he could.

He personified courage and life so well that we carried burdens he was too carefree to hold on to. I loved him for his fearlessness.

I pray that when he left here, although we couldn’t be there for him he held onto the strength he always seemed to have. I watched him grow, we grew together. There may have been a few years where I wasn’t there, but for me, he’s always been there.

And 21 years just won’t ever be enough.

What are some of the largest barriers to preventing gun violence that aren’t talked about enough?

I think the largest barriers to preventing gun violence is understanding some of the true root causes: poverty, safety and security, a lack of resources, systemic racism. Understanding that gun violence is a public health issue stemming from systems that don’t offer equal opportunities and resources to people who come from low socio-economic communities, allows opportunities to address the issue through the lens of prevention and rehabilitation rather than criminalization.

How can a financial donation impact Trav’s World projects?

A financial donation would have a huge impact on Trav’s World and the initiatives that we hope to spearhead in my hometown and the surrounding area.

As a home-grown, grassroots, passion-fueled service initiative, aside from a $1500 service-learning grant, everything that we do is based on fundraising and donations.

I recently led a toy drive fundraiser that gathered a little over $1,000 for brand new toys for 16 children, as well as donations of brand new and gently worn sneakers and toys from people in the community.

My goal is to have a fund to support burial and funeral costs for unexpected loss for families who’ve lost a loved one to gun violence. This fund is already being put to use as the community has already suffered a loss of a mother of 3 due to a gun incident.

All other funds would be used for event programming and initiatives, donations, and drives.

Gun violence is an all too real reality for many people. Jazmine’s been able to turn her grief into action to help those around her. Please, sign-up for her next event and follow Trav’s World Project to stay up to date on ways you can donate and help fight gun violence.


Taylor West (@IVEboutique)

Social Media Strategist & Boutique Owner

I think if I really feel happy and acknowledge the blessings God has granted me, than I truly am successful.

Social media has met its match with Taylor West. And while she enjoys finding creative ways to use various platforms, she also has a passion for fashion.

Who are some of your fashion icons?

Some of my fashion icons are Rihanna of course, TheChicNatural, a influencer and blogger, and highlowluxe!

What does success look like to you?

Success to me is when I truly feel fulfilled emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually. I think if I really feel happy and acknowledge the blessings God has granted me, than I truly am successful. 

What are 3 pieces of clothing every woman should own?

For me, I LOVE to layer. So I think everyone should own at least one classic leather jacket that can go with every outfit, a nice, sleek pair of black booties, and one quality pair of jeans that can be dressed up or dressed down.

IVE Boutique is place where you’ll find pieces by the one and only Taylor West. Skip the fast fashion of H&M and shop small.


Yeny Ferreras (@yenystudio)

Success looks like a CEO Latina woman running my own business while being a full-time mom, helping local shops, new business owners, and social media content creators expand their vision fearlessly.

Yeny Ferrars is a Black Latina with multifaceted talents: Adjunct lecturer, mom, photographer, graphic designer, and founder of Yeny Studio.

What is your favorite genre to photograph and why?

“My favorite photography genre is portraits because it allows me to tell someone else’s
unique story from my point of view.”

How does your unique life experience give you perspective in your creative work?

“My unique life experience gives me perspective in my creative work by getting inspiration
from others and being a multitasking queen.

Since I became a newly single mom, my life experience as a content creator has flourished in photography, graphic design, and digital marketing.

For example, every Friday, I have a photoshoot session with my son to showcase
our memories of him growing up on our social media and, for me as a mom, to show all these
photographic memories with him.

At the same time, I was more of a visual content creator, but now I have found a spark in self-care writing through my mommy blog.”

What does success look like to you?

“Success looks like a CEO Latina woman running my own business while being a
full-time mom helping local shops, new business owners, and social media content creators
expand their vision fearlessly.”

For Black History Month, Yeny is doing a special project “Empowering Your Roots” to “homage to the Caribbean tribal communities of Tainos.” Please follow her and learn more about this Black Latina woman.


Jael Umerah-Makelemi (@nubiartuk)

Illustrator & Art Director

The constant suppression of our emotions is something that’s almost imprinted into a lot of us. We’ve seen the women and men within our families do the same, so for a lot of us, it’s second nature.

As you know, I’m a big proponent of taking care of your mental health. If you read my blog There’s a Mindfulness Practice for Everyone, you’ll know that I struggle with Depression and Anxiety. I love seeing how women find ways to not just tackle their mental health, but to also harness it into something positive.

What challenges do you find are unique to Black women seeking self-care?

“The main challenge I found when seeking self-care is actually letting my guard down and being open to being vulnerable. It’s hard for Black women, especially because we’re painted as these powerhouses that don’t experience pain and the only emotion we’re portrayed to express is anger.

The ‘Angry Black Woman’ trope is something that we’re all aware of, but this portrayal of Black women is a way to silence us, weaponize our emotions and use it against us. Many of us carry so much that we constantly feel like we have to hold it in, and the minute we dare to express how we feel, we’re judged for it. The constant suppression of our emotions is something that’s almost imprinted into a lot of us. We’ve seen the women and men within our families do the same, so for a lot of us, it’s second nature. 

Self-care can be so many things and many Black women like myself choose therapy as part of our self-care journey. Many Black women that seek therapy want someone that understands them. It can be difficult to encounter therapists that look like us as there is a lack of diversity within the mental health workforce.

For some Black women, finding a Black female therapist is essential to creating a path towards overall wellness, so not being able to find one can become a really big roadblock in their path to self-care.”

What’s one step everyone can take to improve their mental health today?

“One step that everyone can take to improve their mental health today is to do something for you. We can become so caught up in day-to-day life especially during this difficult time, that we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves. So whatever makes you happy, whether it’s dancing, spending time alone, talking to your loved ones or just binge-watching your favorite shows, do one thing that makes YOU happy!”

What is your favorite piece of art you’ve created and why?As

My favorite piece I’ve created so far is the animated illustration piece I created for Converse. It encompasses what I’m about and what I stand for. It’s also a piece that challenged my creative ability and that’s the type of art I love creating the most.

You can follow Jael and commission work from her – and definitely should. Jael creates art centered around Black women, mental health and self-care. She’s open for commissions and sells her artwork.


There’s only one week left for Black HERStoy 2021 and you definitely don’t want to miss out on reading up the next seven women. Be sure to follow I’m the HBIC so you’ll receive updates when the next post goes live.

March is Women’s History month we’ll be doing a deep dive on verticals where women are shattering the glass ceiling. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram where I’ll be doing Weekly Wednesday chats to celebrate women’s history month.

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