I’m one of those girls who genuinely appreciates the communal culture of the ladies restroom in a bar or nightclub. It’s just something beautiful about being smushed in there together, sharing bobby pins and compliments in a drunken haze. This is one of those moments, just sober with more explanation.
I wanted to share some uplifting women I’ve come across lately that put a smile on my heart, in hopes that they’ll do the same for you. I’m a believer that when you see someone doing something great, you should spread the word. Or in the words of my brother TJ, you better share. There’s enough blessings and knowledge to go around for all of us. Don’t ever try to snuff out someone else’s light, thinking it will make yours brighter. It’s so important for us to encourage and love on each other.
Although it’s short, there is someone on this list for almost everyone. These wonderful women are fashion designers, spiritual teachers, business women, marriage counselors, writers, actresses, activists, and speakers. You may be wondering, ‘Well what in the world could these women have in common?’ To that I would respond, there’s a light of confidence, wholeness, and authenticity shining off of all of them in their own special way. In light of the recent article I posted about reevaluating your friendships (Check Your Circle), I thought adding these women to your life at least virtually would be a definite circle upgrade. You may be familiar with these ladies (because I’m not hip), but just in case you’re not, here they are.
Sarah Jakes Roberts
Sarah Jakes Roberts is the co-pastor and first lady of One Church LA, which is now The Potter’s House at One LA. Yes, pastors are this fly now, get into it. I’ve attended One LA about 5 times now, but I never had the honor of catching Sarah preach in person so I had no idea what I was missing out on. Until one day my good friend (shout out to Liy Liy again) told me she watched a sermon of hers that was powerful so I decided to give it a try. Sarah’s love for God, gift of speaking, and transparency immediately caught my attention and kept it. I later found out that she is also a business woman, author, and mother. Thanks to Sarah, my new prayer to God is “Change my mind.” I’ll let her explain why to you. It is powerful!
You most likely recognize Yvonne Orji from her character Molly on Insecure (whom we’re all pissed off at right now for letting Dro hit it in the bathroom while his wife was at the dinner table (don’t talk to me about spoilers, it’s been a month)). While Yvonne’s character, Molly, is never afraid to get hers, in real life Yvonne is actually a virgin at the age of 33 and choosing to wait until marriage. What I love about Yvonne is her flat our refusal to compromise her morals for fame or the desire to be loved. She unapologetically embraces her decision to wait without pushing it onto others or passing judgement on their life decisions. She uses her platform to empower others and stan for Jesus Christ. As if that isn’t enough, she keeps a sporadic harlem shake, DMX impersonation, and body roll in her front pocket in case of emergencies. Watch a powerful TED talk by Yvonne about the things everyone should wait for whether they are waiting to have sex until marriage or not here. Did I mention she’s a comedian?
I ran across Nichole Lynel on my Instagram explore page. I originally clicked on the picture because she had a really cute skirt on. Once I got to her page and looked around, I realized that the skirt was a piece from her newly released clothing line full of fashionable options for every situation from the beach to the board room. After following Nichole for only a few weeks, I’ve seen her impeccable work ethic and commitment to customer service play out consistently. She keeps the hits coming and still makes time to engage with her followers, sharing wisdom, business tips, and encouragement. I’m currently waiting on my second purchase from her online boutique (pictured above) and she’s promised me that some white satin pieces are coming for my pre-wedding event needs. I’ll be waiting by my computer with bated breath until she drops it, without a doubt that it will be perfect because she’s just that good. If you’re looking for a major wardrobe upgrade and want to support a black business, go check out Shop Nichole Lynel. For entrepreneur inspiration and encouragement, go check out her Instagram page as well. You will not be disappointed.
OluTimehin is a writer and activist who centers her work around urban development, sexual and reproductive rights, gender, and queerness. I came across OluTimehin through her Ted talk on the atrocities taking place in Lagos, Nigeria by way of governmental land grabs. She poetically portrays the horrors being inflicted on the coastal communities causing us to question the destruction we allow our government to reign down on those we subconsciously deem worthless. I was especially impressed by an essay OluTimehin wrote, “I didn’t get raped, someone chose to rape me.” In her essay, OluTimehin explains how she reluctantly corrected her “auntie” who attempted to blame her for a man’s choice to rape her as a teen. While doubting whether she should correct her auntie or not OluTimehin decided, “I have nothing to lose by speaking up when someone is harming me. If they truly care about me, they will listen and adjust their position. If they don’t, they don’t truly care about me and I’m better off alienating them by insisting on being treated well.” I wondered how many of us would be more empowered to stand up for ourselves with this mindset.
Fran is your health and wellness go to woman. I know I’m late on the Fran train (I didn’t just get on but…), but just in case you’re later than me, here you go. You can find Fran on YouTube, The Friend Zone podcast with the hilarious Assante and Dustin, Insecuritea podcast during Insecure’s season, Color Full Lives podcast, or on one of her Super Natural Wellness Tour pop-up stops. Fran is going to teach you what to eat, what to drink, what to put on your skin, what to put in your hair, and how to think. You’re going to feel better, live longer, and be grateful. You’re welcome.
If you are looking for more positive energy on your timeline, Sopha Rush will never disappoint. Sopha is full of light, positivity, and goodness that she willingly pours over onto everyone she encounters. She shares encouragement, inspiration, and testimonies to God’s goodness in her life to her followers on a regular basis. She’s going into her second year of marriage and as I am preparing for marriage, I personally appreciate her honesty about her struggles and the lessons she’s learning along the way. Sopha emits a genuine desire to get to know her followers from having meet ups with them at coffee houses to writing them encouraging letters. For her birthday, she asked her followers to send in encouraging letters, not to her, but for her to share out to be a blessing to someone else. How beautiful is that?
Well, this was fun. Maybe I’ll do it again some time. Who are some women who uplift your spirit?