Live Your Dreams
My first love has always been music. It has always been a big part of my life and I have been singing since I was able to talk. My stepfather was an aspiring singer who became a successful road & tour manager for many hit artists of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, and he made sure there was always music in our home. There were always people in our house, singing and harmonizing acapella in our living room. My early influences were The Supremes (Class, Style & Elegance at all times!), Dionne Warwick & Nancy Wilson (voices as smooth as butter!) and Aretha Franklin (The QUEEN of Soul…Period). At nearly 6ft tall in the 6th grade, I was an awkward child and music was the thing that gave me comfort. Although these groups and their music would influence me and help guide me towards a career in entertainment. My greatest inspirations would unquestionably be three wonderful women in my life: My Mom, my Aunt Jessie & my Aunt Lil.
My mom has always been (and still is) one of the most beautiful women that I know. She was a “Diva” before the term was popular. A fashion student in high school, she bravely experimented with makeup and wigs and had a style all her own. She was beautiful without really trying to be and she showed me the importance of “making an entrance” wherever she went. She bought a red covered Betty Crocker cookbook when I was kid and she cooked EVERY RECIPE IN IT….REPEATEDLY!! Although we were cash poor, birthdays were always special and she made sure EVERY Christmas was a merry one. I followed my mom everywhere, I was so proud of her!! I knew she was beautiful and I wanted to show her off to everyone and be just like her. She taught me how to be a humble winner and a gracious loser. Through her example I learned to treat others as I wish to be treated and to love the same way. She showed me how I could be in an environment but not of it. She is a graceful and regal in a way that I try to emulate to this day. She encouraged me to excel in everything that I did and even every now and then she even allowed me to be myself. At 16, she gave up her life to make sure that I could have one. The words that I spoke about my mom on Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance show this past year on Oxygen Networks was my own way of honoring her.
My Aunt Jessie was my mother’s oldest sister and smart as a whip. I was the only girl child in our house and she doted on me. She taught me how to count with a deck of cards and she taught me how to read at the age of 3. When I won trip to Rome, Italy for winning a poetry contest in junior high school….She immediately went out and bought me a brand new wardrobe. She excelled at numbers and was the sort of luck with cards & money that casinos hated. She had exquisite taste, was sophisticated, and loved vodka and dangerous men who loved to drink as much as she did. She spoke her mind, right or wrong; whether you wanted to hear it or not. She broke my heart & fascinated me and I loved her fiercely.
My Aunt Lil is the youngest and the funny one. She was the one who baby-sat with me the most and I loved being around her. She has always been able to make me laugh when I was down. From her I learned that it’s okay to laugh at your self, to be who you are. To this day she showers me with love and kisses whenever I see her. When I am feeling down it is her voice and her eyes that remind me that no matter what happens in my life, I am always loved.
These three powerful women helped make me into the woman that I am today. Together they equipped me with the tools that I needed to get started on this journey called life. From them I’ve truly learned that with age comes wisdom; that I alone am responsible for my own success and my own happiness. They have shown me that you cannot have loved without pain and without pain you cannot grow. I must love myself before I can expect anyone else to love me. And above every thing else, I must continuously do things that feed my soul; and the only way that I could correctly honor these magnificent women is to share with others the remarkable gifts that they so unselfishly gave me with those who’s lives am I blessed to enter.
Be encouraged, do what you love and love what you do!