I’m writing this last post on my birthday which is pretty exciting. I was born during Black History Month to the surprise of my mother and doctors. I still say they had her due date wrong. *shrug* I’m a little sad that the month of highlighting fierce, intelligent, savvy, beautiful Black women is coming to a close. But lucky for all of us, Black History Month is every month. Black History is made every day. I still have some other women that I’ll be sharing throughout the year and I’ll be doing this exact series again in 2022. For now, let’s celebrate these incredible women.

  1. Nerdia Nadia – Podcaster, Blogger, and Model
  2. Jo Noble – Designer & Entrepreneur
  3. Lauren Chanel Holley – Model & Virtual Event Professional
  4. Merryck Tann-Dickerson – Entrepreneur
  5. Taylor McPherson – Entrepreneur
  6. Kelsey Lemons – Founder & CEO
  7. Mackenzie Tudor – Founder
  8. Miselta Ihekwoaba – Student & Graphic Designer

Nerdia Nadia (@nerdia.nadia)

Podcaster, Blogger, and Model

I want to be as clear as possible, but I’ve also learned how to make more people comfortable with sharing their own story.

When I say Detroit – what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? The Lions? The Pistons? Well, now the first thing you should think of is Nadia – a model and influencer based out of Detroit. With dope ass pink hair, she hosts the Human Blacks Podcast.

Tell me more about Human Blacks podcast!. What’s your elevator pitch?

“We are 2 peculiarly similar black women nerds that love art, sneakers & blackness, almost equally that just click. So much so that we decided to share it with the world, but along with sharing ourselves we are sharing numerous black experiences and black knowledge curated specifically for a black audience.

Through our first 30 episodes, we’ve been extremely blessed to share so many black humans that do things we weren’t aware existed until our adulthood like black doctors, black statiticians, black cannabis business owners, black researchers, black artists, & so many more.

We record with a black podcast network and we are sponsored by black businesses so that we are not just talking about it, but being all the way about it.

Hearing these perspectives not only gives representation, but we aim even higher by getting to know their personal black human story so that anyone listening can relate and laugh along. We are breaking down barriers of what it means to be human and to be black by the literal living examples we connect with.”

What does success look like to you?

“Success, for me, is monetary stability and confidence in my own voice. as long as my true voice is being expressed and I have a few dollars for a vacation, I’m happy.”

How has being a podcast co-host changed you?

“Being a podcast host has only increased my communication and listening habits. I want to be as clear as possible, but I’ve also learned how to make more people comfortable with sharing their own story.

It’s been trial and error, definitely, but monitoring my impulses to make sure I’m listening first and then adding something valuable. I’m also much more aware of the numerous dualities within folx through our varied guests.

There’s something to learn from everyone, just have to listen intentionally.”

Diversify your listening by adding Human Blacks to your podcast rotation!


Jo Noble (@jodavid_designstudio)

Designer & Entrepreneur, Jo David Designs
jo noble

I’d heard so many stories of fashion design hopefuls move to the city and be burned out working for big brands and never getting credit for their contributions. I didn’t mind ‘staying small.’

You may not know this about me, but I actually really enjoy fashion. When I was a kid, I would grab my pad of paper and come up with little designs because I wanted to be a fashion designer (and a comedienne). Now, how many Black designers can you name? How about Black women? Well, I’m here to introduce you to Jo Noble, the designer of Jo David Fashion.

How would you describe your line?

“We’re in the process of rebranding but the feeling and aesthetic will be elevated but still holds true. The Jo David woman is always in focus. My pieces are colorful, tailored, and appropriate for many occasions. I like to worn with separates so you can mix multiple items to fit your style.”

What inspired you to start Jo David Design Studio? Why include children’s wear for luxury clothing?

“I can’t say I’ve ‘always had a passion for fashion’ but I can say it’s been in the genes. My grandmother was a seamstress as many women of her time and my family were, my mother can sew and both my parents I considered very fashionable.

I had a sewing machine when I was younger but didn’t get back into seeing until going to my high fashion show and finding out my school offered a fashion program.

I eventually graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. My family is from New Jersey so I’d never been in ‘awe’ of moving to New York straight out of college like most of my classmates. I’m born and raised in Atlanta and even then noticed the growth and potential Atlanta had for a luxury apparel company from a ‘local.’

My parents are entrepreneurs and that’s the only life I knew. I wanted to at least build my own brand. I’d heard so many stories of fashion design hopefuls move to the city and be burned out working for big brands and never getting credit for their contributions. I didn’t mind ‘staying small.’

Beside me the smaller things sometimes make the biggest impact. I didn’t add childrenswear to the mix until two years.

I noticed lots of patterns and textures in your line. How can someone new to wearing bold prints incorporate them into their wardrobe?

“I listen to customer feedback! It’s been harder for me to make this new collection because I haven’t been able to touch and feel the fabrics. But I LOVE prints. I feel like just one print in your closet will always make the look stand out.

I’ve toned down having so many prints with my new collection, so you know that one has to pop! However, I feel that anyone looking at the new scope of things will see the bold aesthetic of the clothing will come through with colors chosen, new silhouettes and just a little more skin.

For those who want to take a step into my pattern world I sat start simple. Despite my studio full of all the pieces I’ve sewn in a multitude of colors, my favorite outfits is a white t-shirt and jeans.

Even in the best suits and luxury clothes, a white tee and jeans really shows your style. Amp up that look and throw on a patterned coat or blazer. It’s a small adjustment that can be toned done or taken off and still be super comfortable in your look of the day.”

Okay, you can’t tell me that little queen above isn’t the most adorable kid you’ve seen today? All of the looks you see here were made by Jo. Go follow her and check out her designs.


Lauren Chanel Holley (@itslaurenchanel)

Model & Virtual Event Professional

As a natural 4c/z woman when my hair is not relaxed, I am excited to highlight Lauren Holley, a natural model and virtual events professional.

What is your favorite type of modeling work and why?

“I love doing natural hair and beauty shoots. It allows me to show my 4b/4c hair, and also get upfront and personal for the camera. My ultimate goal is to pursue commercial modeling full time.”

What does the day in the life of a virtual event planner look like?

I would consider myself more of a guide, than a planner. I work for a virtual event platform. As an employee for the virtual venue, it is my responsibility to teach client how to use the platform.

I teach them how to upload their content, and how to design their website. My day consists of meetings with clients to ensure they’ve set up their website how they intended.

I provide them with the tools to ensure their event exceeds their goals. I am also answering emails from clients about any questions they have about setting up their website.

What is your dream event to plan? 

Professionally, the Essence Festival. I know that there’s a lot of moving parts but I feel like it’s one of the best events that celebrates Black culture. Personally, my wedding (one day – with the help of a wedding planner).

Virtual events are NOT going away any time soon. And even after the pandemic officially passes, there will always be a market for virtual events. Make sure you remember Lauren Holley – whether it’s as a model or your next event planner.


Merryck Tann-Dickerson (@exhaleproductions)

Founder

Our goal is to encourage marginalized communities to take their mental health more seriously whether that be through conventional tactics such as therapy or less traditional forms such as yoga and meditation.

Meet Merryck, the founder of Exhale Productions. Her company focuses on mental health in multicultural communities and specializes in events and digital content.

What inspired you to start Exhale Productions?

“In a time of true chaos all over the world, I felt like my hometown of Los Angeles needed a moment to tak step back and breathe. There were protests all over the city, highly violent and disturbing content dominating social media, and a whole pandemic that’s left small businesses, creatives and a large population of the city without work and income. A group of friends and I got together and decided that on Juneteenth, we’d organize a picnic and safe space for people to come and truly relax.”

Tell me more!

“Our Juneteenth Exhale lunch featured an outdoor art gallery featuring artwork from people of color, a series of mediation, yoga and work out classes, refreshments provided by small business and DIY crafts. All we asked is that guests bring a blanket to sit on socially distanced and a protest sign to sit on the hill as a form of peaceful protest. For our first event we had roughly 150 attendees.”

Describe a unique challenge people from marginalized backgrounds experience with regards to mental health?

“Our goal is to encourage marginalized communities to take their mental health more seriously whether that be through conventional tactics such as therapy or less traditional forms such as yoga and meditation. Exhale Productions encourages these communities to do exactly what’s in the name, Exhale.”

As you know, I’m a big advocate for mental health. I believe there’s something out there for everyone. With Exhale Productions, more people are able to find what works for them. Check them out and see how you can improve your mental health.


Taylor McPherson (@TayTay_Fierce)

Entrepreneur

Sustainability is important to me because I care about what’s happening to the planet. When you look at the fact about what things like factory farming do to the country, and how much plastic glitter is at the bottom of the ocean it’s depressing.

Fun fact – I met Taylor through a Coachella Facebook Group looking for a place to stay that weekend. Low and behold, all of the people in the house were AWESOME and I’ve been able to stay in touch with many of them. Even the two from New Zealand. Taylor recently broke 10k followers on TikTok as she discusses fun topics like being a woman and my personal fav dating! She’s the Creator of Current Events LLC where she’s had bookings at SUR during L.A. Pride (hey hey #PumpRules friends), BottleRock, and many other events. Learn more about Taylor and the Sustainable Sparkle Bar now.

Why is sustainability so important to you?

“Sustainability is important to me because I care about what’s happening to the planet. When you look at the fact about what things like factor farming do to the country, and how much plastic glitter is at the bottom of the ocean it’s depressing. I try to do my part and make an impact and not contribute to those numbers in every way I can.”

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a womxn, Black-owned business that is often overlooked or minimized by others?

“A big challenge that I face with my business since I’ve been boot strapping it since day 1, is funding. Gaining enough of a profit to be able to responsibly invest back into your business. And then having the education of knowing where to put that funding.”

What does being a successful Black woman look like for you?

“It looks like being financially stable. It looks like having a solid business foundation to stand on that I can scale and recreate in different locations. It looks like being a role model for women everywhere, not just black women. Letting little girls know that they don’t have to grow out of the glitter, they can stay sparkly forever!”

We each need to do our part in helping keep the planet inhabitable so if you’re looking to do that AND add a little sparkle to your life, then check out the Sustainable Sparkle Bar. “The Sustainable Sparkle Bar is a biodegradable glitter company located in West Hollywood, California. The glitter is plant-based and designed to biodegrade in water over time. We specialize in experiential marketing and branding for corporations, brands and individuals at events and music festivals. Our body art tattoo can be transformed into company logo to turn party guests into walking advertisements that sparkle and catch the light all over the room.”


Kelsey Lemons (@sheinthemaking)

Founder & CEO

It can be incredibly difficult having a vision of what you hope to achieve without a road map, but when the stars begin to align, and you see the fruits of your labor, it’s all worth it.

Friends, Kelsey Lemons is one HIGHLY accomplished Black woman. Not only does she run one business, she has THREE. You need to know Kelsey Lemons.

You’re an incredibly accomplished woman. How do you find time to balance your small business and two other ventures?

“Thank you so much! In all honesty, I’m constantly learning every single day. That’s truly what my brand, She, In The Making is all about. Leaning into that process and allowing ourselves the space to learn, grow, and show love to ourselves along the way.

This is my year of working smarter, not harder, so I’ve been investing time and resources into the backend of things, to make running my business as smooth and seamless as possible.

A few things that seriously help me are Honeybook for client management, Flodesk for seamless email campaigns, & Notion for organizing my business and my entire life. If you’re obsessed with organizational systems like me, I actually have some Notion templates I know you’ll love. 

These platforms help me stay so much more organized, streamlined, and set up for success whenever I have a meeting, need to send an invoice, a new client reaches out, or a new member joins Vision In The Making.”

Why is it important for women of color to have digital and IRL communities like Vision in the Making?

“I think so often we come across women empowerment communities but they’re either heavily lacking in diversity or don’t provide consistent accountability. I found myself with so many amazing friends running after their dreams, but without a dedicated community that was keeping me accountable. After searching and searching for this, I realized that I should create one myself.”

How has being a small business owner changed you?

“It has completely changed my perspective on everything. I have to believe in myself and my vision. I have to be my biggest cheerleader and know who my people are to remind me of my ability when I’m in a rough patch. And I am always reminding myself that if it’s something I would invest time and resources into learning to do for a company I was working for, then it’s something I should invest in for my own company. It can be incredibly difficult having a vision of what you hope to achieve without a road map, but when the stars begin to align, and you see the fruits of your labor, it’s all worth it.”

I don’t know about you but after reading about Kelsey, I’m fired up to continue on my purpose. Be sure you follow Kelsey and Vision in the Making!


Mackenzie Tudor (@thetribewoc)

Founder

We need more support, resources and programming that is created for and by WOC. This is where The Tribe comes in. We are committed to ending the pay and opportunity gap for WOC.

The gender pay gap is real and it’s even worse if you’re a WOC. I’m not going to go into details on that today (stay tuned) but what we will do is talk about a woman who is trying to provide the necessary resources for WOC through digital spaces. Meet Mackenzie Tudor.

Why are WOC-oriented digital spaces such as The Tribe necessary?

“It’s 2021 and WOC are only 4% of C-Level positions. We make significantly less than white men and even white women. Existing career and social networks have failed WOC.  We need more support, resources and programming that is created for and by WOC. This is where The Tribe comes in. We are committed to ending the pay and opportunity gap for WOC. We are going to do it by giving WOC the resources and support they need to succeed.”

What was the most difficult part of starting and launching The Tribe?

“I stepped away from my career as a big law lawyer. It was hard to give up the security and prestige, particularly, when there were already so few Black women in my position. I took a risk to do something I was passionate about and it was definitely scary. I also had to prove to the start-up world that The Tribe was needed. There are so few WOC in the industry that the need is not always as apparent to them.”

How has being a founder changed you for the better?

“As a solo founder, it’s all on me. I am the driver, creator and the advocate. For good and for bad, every piece of The Tribe feels very personal. It was definitely an adjustment to go from the corporate world to being a solo founder. It has forced me to be flexible, learn new skills and to believe in myself. But my favorite part is that I get to work with WOC all the time. As someone that was used to being the only one in the room or one of few, it is so refreshing and nice to connect with so many amazing WOC. Furthermore, I get to be my authentic self in these rooms instead of trying to fit into an existing mold.”

Online digital spaces can be cruel. Let’s change that and join ones that are positive like The Tribe.


Miselta Ihekwoaba (@miseltai)

Student. Model, and Graphic Designer

I would love the opportunity to complete further research and work to further address the many inequalities in access to sport & harmful sporting environments, including anti-black racism, gender gaps, & settler-colonialism.

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning an up-and-coming young woman named Miselta. She’s based in Canada where she’s studying Kinesiology! Miselta is also a model & graphic designer.

What types of designs do you enjoy creating?

“When I started off designing, I really enjoyed creating primarily sport-related graphics because I enjoyed capturing and interpreting the intensity of various moments through tools, symbols, and images. I was also extremely connected to a network through my favourite soccer team at the time and designing was another way to bond with fellow fans.

Over the years, I grew to enjoy every opportunity for storytelling through art, so I gravitated towards creating logos and other branding items to help friends and family represent themselves and their goals. Now, I’d say I enjoy creating designs that tell stories and get a lot of inspiration from nature, poetry, architecture, and retro-minimalism.”

You’re currently studying kinesiology. What are your goals after graduation as a kinesiology major?

“Going into my degree, I was very adamant on subsequently studying Physiotherapy and becoming an Athletic Therapist, for either the Canadian or Nigerian Women’s National Soccer Teams – specifically. Progressing into my degree found me a lot more interested in the Humanities aspects of kinesiology, something that I was fortunate enough to have ample access to at my university.

My personal experiences in a quite colonized area of study in a predominantly white institute led me to advocacy pretty quickly, as I yet again found with other students of underrepresented minorities that our safety was rarely upheld in educational settings. Thankfully, this has allowed me to explore and fall in love with sport sociology and sociocultural aspects of sport, especially in a Canadian context.

I would love the opportunity to complete further research and work to further address the many inequalities in access to sport & harmful sporting environments, including anti-black racism, gender gaps, & settler-colonialism.

With my Spanish minor, I also hope for the opportunity to do this work in various countries and help even more people.”

What does success look like to you?

“For me, success looks like having the capacity to create and work to my heart’s content while making an impactful positive change in the lives of others. Getting to the intentions of a lot of my work, I’m finding that I just want to make life a lot easier for black womxn, creatives, and under-represented minorities in spaces where I experienced everything but ease, and where, traditionally, folks don’t want us to have ease. I bring a unique range of experiences from existing in the body that I have for 22 years, and I want to use these, along with the lessons and skills I’ve learned, to positively influence the lives of others. I want to spread peace, joy, and carefree confidence.”

Our young women need our support so make sure you follow Miselta! She’s destined to do great things.


This concludes Black HERSTory for 2021. Next month is women’s history month. Make sure you subscribe to HBIC here and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be doing interviews with women to celebrate how far we’ve come and discuss work we can do now to improve the future.

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