CULTURE, FEATURE STORY

International Women’s Day: Inspiring Quotes from Amazing Women I Have Connected With These Past Few Years

Happy International Women’s Day! I’ve been blogging for almost six years now and I’m happy to say I have had the pleasure of connecting with many inspiring women. In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share a few blog posts I have written featuring some of those amazing women I have had the pleasure of interviewing or collaborating with.

I added a link to the corresponding blog post after each person’s quote. Click on the link if you’d like to read any of the women’s stories. I hope these excerpted blog posts and quotes encourage you. As we press forward into 2021, I’m excited to meet more inspiring women and share their stories on Good Life Detroit!

Jennifer xoxo

18 INSPIRING QUOTES FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

18 Inspiring International Women's Day Quotes
Photo of me in the summer of 2019 in Detroit. Mural art by Detroit artist Sydney G. James and shirt from Michigan brand and woman-owned business Northern Fashion.

“…I don’t want to come to this earth and leave and nobody knows that I was here. I want to be in the books. I want to be in the history books. I want to be in the museums, and I want my kids to know that you can be your own boss and your own entrepreneur.” — Detroit Artist Judy Bowman — From the blog post: “Detroit Swag: Interview with Detroit Artist Judy Bowman”

“When I come in and I feel a certain way, I’m going to exude that because I am one who believes that with the energy that you portray, you draw. If you want great things to happen to you, you need to create that.” — Dr. Sabrina Jackson — From the blog post: “Dr. Sabrina Jackson to Launch New Fashion Collection at the 2020 Paris Fashion Week

For Jaslyn, brunch is a feeling of community and connecting with family and friends. “Whenever I think about being at brunch, not just this aristocracy, it’s this feeling of community,” she tells me. “You tend to think about spring. You tend to think about the sun. You tend to think it’s mid-morning on a Saturday or Sunday where you’re not really thinking about all the things you need to do. Sometimes plans are created in brunch.” — Jaslyn Ivey — From the blog post, “The Art of Brunching in Detroit”

“This particular event (Black Breastfeeding Week) is really about celebrating those who do breastfeed and really making them feel like you’re not breastfeeding in isolation. Black women do breastfeed their children and let’s come together as a community. I always look at food as communal. We want women to know that feeding is social. Food is communal and let’s do this together.” Kiddada Green, Co-Creator of Black Breastfeeding Week and Founding Executive Director of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association  From the blog post, “Why We Should Celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week”

Detroit artist Judy Bowman at the opening of her art exhibit Detroit Swag.
Detroit artist Judy Bowman and I at the opening night of her art exhibit “Detroit Swag” at Playground Detroit.

“You will be amazed how many writers and female writers we have in the city of Detroit that are writing shows and theater and they’re just not being heard. My endeavor is to push and shed light on what we do, especially for female writers. To just be taken seriously. ‘Hey, I can write!’ I want us to be taken seriously. I really do.” — Claying Woods — From the blog post: “Let’s Change the African American Storyline to Reflect More Positive Aspects of the Community”

“Accessing quality, nutritious meals shouldn’t be a privilege,” Kyd said during her set. “We should all challenge privilege.” — Detroit Poet and Writer Kyd Kane — From the blog post: “An Inspiring, First-Time Visit at TEDxDetroit 2019”

“I mean, understanding that women are the most amazing creatures they are to be able to give life, we should be celebrated in every way humanly possible. Reality TV shows always show women arguing, throwing drinks, and fighting and yelling, but showcasing a woman that is doing something amazing, such as creating an organization, building a business, and being a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a mom…people need to see how hard that it is, but how fulfilling and rewarding it can be and why it’s important to be able to impact our youth. Because our youth are the ones that are watching us.” — Dianna “Miss D” Williams —From the blog post “Catching Up with Coach D from Lifetime’s Hit T.V. Show ‘Bring It!’”

DETROIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND COMMUNITY ACTIVIST PIPER CARTER ON PHOTOGRAPHING ERYKAH BADU

From the blog post, “Piper Carter Talks Photographing Erykah Badu and the Advice She’d Give Women Photographers”

Detroit community activist Piper Carter
Photo courtesy Piper Carter

“I was blessed many years ago when she first started– I photographed Erykah Badu for Spin magazine. That one was really important to me because she represented my generation. She represented hip hop and free thought, and she was a Black woman forging her own way at a time when R&B was all about weave, hair, lots of makeup, and being hypersexual. Showing off your sexual body– assets and things. The music itself was all hypersexual.

[Erykah Badu] was talking about romance or struggling in relationships. Her image was very independent and she decided what she wanted to look like. She wore her natural hair and she liked to wear outfits that were designed by local Black designers.

I lived in Brooklyn at the time in the neighborhood she had been living in and it was pregentrification. One of the artists, who was a fashion designer named Epperson, had been creating clothes for her. He created this amazing outfit just for her. And I shot it on an 8×10 camera, which is a really difficult camera to shoot with because you’re shooting with film.

It’s very expensive. It’s not like you can shoot a hundred frames. Each frame costs $10 to get developed. If you don’t get the lighting right or the pose right, you definitely want to make sure all the elements are perfect before you click the shutter because it’s just one big 8×10 piece of film.

When I photographed [her], it was so perfect. The lighting was perfect. Her facial features, the pose, the gentleness. everything had come together perfectly.” — Piper Carter, Community Activist and Photographer —

“Life truly is precious. At age 40, I have a better understanding now that life is a gift and our time here on this earth is short. Tomorrow is not promised, as the expression goes. We have to make the most of the time we are given, be thankful for our blessings, and try our best to be a good person. I started to realize just how precious life is when a few friends of mine passed away at a young age. It was heartbreaking and served as strong reminders for me to not take my life, my family, and my friends for granted.” — Detroit Blogger Jennifer Hamra — From the blog post: “40 Things I’ve Learned Since Turing 40”

“If you have a dream and you have a strong team, you can literally get anything done.” — Danielle Hughes, Co-founder of The Pose Experience — From the blog post: “See Why The Pose Experience Selfie Museum is an Instagram-Worthy Hot Spot”

“Be open and hear people out. Don’t put yourself in a box. When you take some level of risks, the rewards can be greater.” — Becky Scarcello. Detroit Entrepreneur and Co-Host of The D Brief — “The 4 Career Tips I Recommend for Women Entrepreneurs”

On the selection of the podcasters for “Black As Podcast,” Detroit Podcast Festival co-founder Joy Mohammed said: “We wanted to create an opportunity for Black people to come together and in a safe space that’s for them, by them, and with their voices. I wanted to make sure that we’re not hearing the same narrative. There’s a lot of the same narratives that make us look monolithic because there’s a lack of uniqueness. With podcasting, there is such a low barrier of entry. We really hope [the Detroit Podcast Festival] can amplify unique voices.” — From the blog post: “What Makes You a Storyteller?”

“This is a day about celebrating our extraordinary achievements and being re-energized and impassioned to accomplish even more. My hope is that in observing International Women’s Day, we as a society will be reminded that we should continue to work on removing the barriers women face the other 364 days a year. It benefits us all.” — Keiona Turner, Founder and President of The Give Club — From the blog post: “10 Inspiring Detroit Women Share Their Thoughts on International Women’s Day”

DETROIT ENTREPRENEUR JENNA HAGE-HASSAN ON ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO MOVE THE CONVERSATION FORWARD THROUGH FASHION

From the blog post: “How Two Detroit Entrepreneurs are Encouraging Positive Workplace Culture for Women”

Jenna Hage-Hassan, Co-Founder of Northern Fashion
Photo courtesy Jenna Hage-Hassan, Co-Founder of Northern Fashion

For Jenna Hage-Hassan, co-founder of Northern Fashion, LLC, working in a male-dominated industry has opened her eyes to the sexist workplace language women sometimes face. One particular quality Jenna says she has been misjudged for is being emotional instead of passionate. 

“Every time I felt like I was trying to make a point in a meeting or having a discussion with a colleague, I can’t tell you how many times somebody said, ‘Oh, you’re being too emotional.’ It felt very dismissive,” Jenna explains. 

Together, Jenna and business partner Ludwin Cruz created Northern Fashion to encourage women to “move the conversation forward” by making a statement through fashion. “To me, fashion and what you’re wearing is the most visible everyday artistic medium,” Jenna says. “People tend to really pay attention to it.”

Sydney G. James artwork "Nutrition for the Soul" featured at the "Souls of Black Folk" art exhibit in Detroit.
Photo I took of Detroit artist Sydney G. James‘ beautiful painting “Nutrition for the Soul” which was on display at the “Souls of Black Folk” art exhibit at The Scarab Club in Detroit.

“If everyday folks allow the busyness of their lives to overtake a need for critical self-reflection and questions (How do I benefit from white privilege? How am I complicit by remaining silent?), divisions will continue to mount. The seeds of change come forth through the steady tasks of unlearning, de-centering dominant narratives about black and brown folks, and listening before arrogantly assuming you understand.” — Activist and Writer Emelda De Coteau — From the blog post, “For Breonna, George, Ahmaud, and All of Us on the Margins”

“There’s always something that you can learn from the next person. But some people may choose not to be a student. I love learning, and I think community is important because when you have a really strong network of people who can share advice with you and help you grow in different ways that you can’t even help yourself grow in– it’s a powerful thing to have.” — Jess McKenzie, Founder of The Creative Armory — From the blog post, “Five Questions with Detroit Blogger Jess McKenzie”

“A strong woman is someone who perseveres through all circumstances, good and bad. Soaks in all the learnings from her experiences then gets up a little stronger from them the next day. She knows her worth and is both tender and fierce. A strong woman doesn’t compare herself to others but lifts others up to help them fulfill their destinies, knowing we are all queens.” — Anna Warner-Mayes, Founder of the Lipstick Journey — From the blog post: “10 Inspiring Detroit Women Share Their Thoughts on International Women’s Day”

HIP HOP ARTIST MAHOGANY JONES ON WRITING HER TWO INSPIRING SONGS “BLACK GIRL MAGIC” AND “MELANIN”

From the blog post: “Five Questions with Hip Hop Artist Mahogany Jones

Photo courtesy Mahogany Jones

“I wrote ‘Black Girl Magic’ in 2018, and I had written ‘Melanin’ Fall of 2019. There were a few moments that were happening from Lizzo to Zendaya. It was a lot of highlights– a highlight reel for just Black girl magic and for amazing melanated moments. ‘Well, here we are– out here being great!’ 

And it was also timely and great because, sadly enough, we needed to remind people of how valuable and precious we are when, again, we were hit with a stream of deaths that were happening because of police brutality. I’m just happy to have what I feel like are anthems that we can be proud of who we are and not have to keep apologizing.” — Mahogany Jones, Hip Hop Artist —


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