Due to the conclusion of Black history month drawing near, I wanted to end the month highlighting books that I have come to love. These books have offered me inspiration and motivated me to keep going, when I have come to some dead ends in my business. These books have uplifted me not just as a businesswoman but as a WOMAN. The unique experiences these black women have gone through I can identify with and I appreciate their transparency because it has helped me to grow as an individual. I hope that these books will offer you the same enlightenment. Here are two books that I highly recommend:
1) Woman of Color by Latonya Yvette– Latonya is a stylist and lifestyle blogger who wrote this incredible book that highlights not only her personal style but her life as a mother and woman. Her book is a mix of childhood experiences from the past up until where she is at today. In her book are beautifully styled photos of herself and her children in addition to classic photos from her childhood where she is slowly but surely turning into a fashionista. Each article of clothing she reports holds a special significance to her due to her ties to certain people in her life. She also includes personal interviews with other black women who speak of their own experiences as being women of color. I especially love how they highlight how their childhood experiences have shaped the types of mothers they have become and what they hope to instill in their own children. They discuss insecurities they have as women and mothers and how they practice self-care. I always see women as mothers on social media who look so pulled together so it’s refreshing to hear how some women struggle with the transition into motherhood. Latonya also talks about her own personal struggles in having a baby in her early 20’s to losing one shortly after. Latonya is the epitome of someone who carries herself with such grace, style, and coolness. She even gives you tips on how to style black hair, clothes if you have limited items in your closet, and do your makeup if you have limited time as most mothers do. I absolutely love everything about her from her not so perfect smile to her wide nose and big fro. She is absolutely beautiful and is the epitome of the confidence I hope to develop as I journey through womanhood. Society puts so much pressure on women to “have it all” but we don’t have to and can still attain happiness through accepting ourselves just as we are.
2) The Queendom Code of Conduct- 12 Laws to Women In Business– This book is written by a phenomenal and powerful woman that goes by the name “Angela Brand.” I first met her at the One Woman International Conference in Raleigh where she dominated the room during her presentation with her big personality and energy. I remember running down the aisle several times to get the books she was giving away because I was in such awe of her. I knew that anything she had written would change my life. Unfortunately, I did not get a book this way and was very disappointed when other women walked away smiling from ear to ear with their books. So imagine how pleased I was when I went up to her table to look at her merchandise, that she handed me a book FOR FREE. I hugged her so graciously full of appreciation for the opportunity to gain knowledge of how to become a successful brand.
Well I am still reading this book, savoring every bit of it because it is THAT good! It’s like eating a delicious piece of chocolate or enjoying a nice glass of wine. It is so refreshing that I want to make sure I take it in slowly rather than pummel right through. She talks about her own personal history being a single mother on welfare and struggling to make it on government assistance while trying to start her own businesses. She tells the story of trauma being sexually abused as a young girl by multiple people and how that has shaped her life as a woman and mother. She offers insights from other female black business owners that can help someone starting out in their own business to know how to brand their business. Branding is extremely important. Marketing is extremely important. As a new business owner, I underestimated the importance of good marketing until I had to do it. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is a HUGE learning curve. So that is why it is important to read literature that can offer you guidance on how to do it right. It is important to receive mentorship either in person or otherwise that can walk you through creating your own personal brand. From reading her book, I learned that it is important to be genuine and to be yourself. Don’t try to be like other businesses and do it their way, just because they are successful. Do what feels natural to you while taking into account your target audience. I can’t give away all her gems but if you want to learn more, get her book. You won’t regret it!
Anyway, as you already know (hopefully due to my successful marketing), I have a newly released book that came out on Valentine’s Day called Suzy the Dressmaker. I hope that you all take a look at this book as it is already holding special significance in certain people’s lives. One mom reported that it allowed her daughter to give her fear a name by calling it “anxiety” and to open up more about her past experience being bullied. I appreciate hearing this feedback because this is exactly my goal in creating my book series, the Heroes We Know Collection. I wanted to identify and simplify the symptoms of different developmental and behavioral health challenges so that children can understand. I write books for children not adults. My hope is that adults will appreciate the books I write but it is more important for children to get the message behind the books because this is who I write books for. It makes my heart smile when children and parents get the message behind my books.
In addition, Read Across America day on Monday, March 2nd is right around the corner and the big push is for not just Dr. Seuss books to be read but books that cover a wide range of diverse populations. So, I ask you that if you don’t buy my books, PLEASE buy a book that is either written by a person of color or is written about a person of color. We need to show our children that diversity is something to be embraced and not shunned.
As we come to the close of Black history month for 2020, I want to say it has truly been a great one! I can’t express enough how proud I am to be black woman and how I will continue to carry myself with style and grace while not holding back my own personal TRUTH. As a friend of mine always told me when I would speak poorly of myself or a situation, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel, Kira.” Not anymore… not anymore.