• BriJoRae'

Published in KANSAS! Magazine

With #BlackHistoryMonth coming to a close, we just wanted to share one of our latest VICTORIES!

On Valentine's Day, Ty and I had the most rewarding date night ever! We attended the opening of Mulvane Art Museum's latest exhibit, a display of imagery chronicled in the late Brian Lanker's photographic novel "I Dream A World." As we walked through the exhibit, I just couldn't stop massive tears from falling down my face. Lanker had captured the essence and raw beauty of our elders... women like Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and Ruby Dee... women who's stories we truly only hear a touch of in history books. Though their lives have changed the projection of our lives forever, they remain so far from us, glazed in fame and some even colored in infamy.

Prior to the exhibit, in one of the most incredibly humbling experiences of my life, KANSAS! Magazine had reached out to Ty and I, to capture a series of images based on Lanker's work. The images would be featured in KANSAS' 75th anniversary publication: The Freedom Issue, to be released at the Mulvane's "I Dream a World" Exhibit.

As a black girl, most of my life I felt an outsider within my own race. Often, myself and my siblings have been told "we sound white". I've even been told I wouldn't fit in, in certain spheres revolving around predominantly black culture. I've caught flak for marrying a man that's "outside my race". And at some point, it all just made me stop to think, "Well, if I can't be accepted by you, who I've always thought were mine... then who exactly are 'my people'?"

As I walked through the exhibit on Valentine's Day, with my beautifully caramel complected husband on my arm, I felt for the first time in my life, a sense of peace... a complete and utter silencing of all those voices that tried to tell me I wasn't "black enough". Because I looked around that room, seeing women who looked just like me and from everything I've learned of their stories, I KNOW without a doubt, THESE women ARE MY TRIBE. They look like me yes, but more importantly, they were all used by God for His glory. They faced hardships each unique to their own lives and yet still so much of the same. And through it all, by their own mouths the one thing they remember more than anything and declare above it all, is that they prayed. They LOVED God in their fear, frustration, worry, anger and anxiety. And they exalted Him in the GREATEST victories of their lives!


I remember once about 7 years ago, my mom and I were sitting on her couch watching an interview Oprah Winfrey had with Dr. Maya Angelou. Oprah asked Dr. Angelou, "What is your definition of God?"

...and she said one simple word...


Thank you for helping me to remember that though my skin is beautiful, I am and have ALWAYS been, so much more than just a little black girl... so much MORE than anything people can understand on their own.

For helping me KNOW, I am capable of GREATNESS because God LOVES ME and has given me the ability to love ALL.

Thank you Jasira. Thank you Oshara. Thank you Tara. Thank you Chris.



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