I have gotten such a kick out of all of the "Letters to 2016 memes." If you haven't seen one, they are memes or post, personifying 2016 as a whole, highlighting the ratchetness of the year; as it came with many moments of suffering and heartache for our nation and world at large. In 2016, we saw our country fully unmask himself, revealing himself as the monster our parents and grandparents told us he always was. Many of us wrestled with how to maneuver and thrive in careers, relationships, and our homes when it was obvious that our brown and black bodies were being devalued and/or destroyed. We woke up every morning with the ability to breathe, to create, to contribute, and yet, having no desire to give our gifts where they would be taken without appreciation for the giver. In 2016, we experienced grief.
Within the community of BOLD we value celebration and grief. This is the idea that as complex creatures our experiences and feelings are not so black and white, they are mostly grey. We push to create a community that does not limit our humane abilities to only being able to live within one or the other, celebration or grief, but to allow them to amalgamate. We believe this merging is what makes us human. It's the single woman, who desires to be married, standing beside the bride as her maid of honor. It is a friend calling to tell her sister-friend she got the job they were both up for. It is the woman, unable to have children, holding her nephew for the first time. Making a choice to live within the uncomfortable fusion of the two, very complex and vulnerable emotions, is true "whole-hearted" living.
To see where this merging happened in our BOLD community, we challenged ourselves to reach out to 'BOLDIES" and see where they found celebration in the midst of the collective grief we have experienced this year. We hope these answers will remind you of the fullness of 2016 and push you into whole-hearted living!
"Seeing my reflection as a black woman in many excellent works of fine art and publication. This reminds me of my value, richness, and depth as a black woman. That my existence is a beautiful addition to our narrative as a people. God sees black women and He has made us beautiful and strong."
- Amanda Davis/ @mandymandimandee
"Issa Rae getting her own show on HBO (Insecure)."
-J Nycole Ralph/ @jnycoleralph
"Seeing Hidden Figures and being inspired by Lisa Nichols challenge to overcome fear and serve others!"
-Nyla Watson/ @queennyla
"Seeing so many black people who have been working/grinding in the business for years, finally getting their just due. So many Broadway Debuts, one woman shows, and the like, and I witnessed so much of it first hand! Kim Exum, Angela Birchett, Jennie Harney, Joan Anderson, Helen White, Cassondra James Kellam, to name a few."
-Ashley Jenkins/ @ashleywjenki
"So many black women booking and working in theater! It keeps me going. The blessings are close!"
-Ashley Jeudy/ @Ashley_jeudy
(pictured from left to right: Cassondra James Kellam, Kristolyn Lloyd, Helen White, Joanie Anderson, Jennie Harney, Trista Dollison, Kim Exum, Amber Iman, and Angela Birchett.)
-Tia DeShazor/ @tiadeshazor
"Michelle Obama. She has taught me the greatest lesson in grace and class through this election year."
-Rebecca Covington Webber/ @rorowebb
"Any of Michelle Obama's speeches!"
-Zonya Love/ @lovezonya
"Michelle Obama's fabulosity! Watching her last year as FLOTUS."
-Hollis Heath/ @heartofhollis
Michelle Obama's speeches during this last election and Lemonade!
-Talya Groves/ @missgroves_ifyourenasty
"Hillary Clinton getting so close to the presidency (It really IS possible). Michelle Obama existing!"
-Salisha Thomas/ @salishathomas
"The blackness of the Tony's."
-Alexis Tidwell/ @tinytidwell
"Being a part of a group of women that looked like me and were passionate like me and didn't judge me!"
- Kim Exum/ @kim.exum
"Meeting Anna Deavere Smith after 'Notes From The Field', producing BWAY4BLM, and birthing Broadway Advocacy Coalition."
- Amber Iman/ @justskyez
"Birthing my son! I created life. A prince. The first and the only of his kind. The original man. Being the mother of a black man."
- Carmen Ruby Floyd/ @carmenrubyfloyd
What a year 2016 was, if we could talk to her we would say, "you humanized us and reminded us just how resilient we are!" Onward and upward to a whole-hearted life we go BOLD ladies!
Your BOLD sisters