BLACK QUEENS OF CHICAGO
This past month on Wardens MidWest Radio we had the pleasure of interviewing Briana Clearly, a multi-disciplinary creative and Vunzai Yeazel, the founder of Gorgeous within. They are both African-Americans, one raised in Zimbabwe but both amazing, activists community organizers.
When I first met Briana Clearly, I was at a local show put on by her and John The Author, a HipHop Raptivist and mentor. Briana came to the stage at the climax of the night and announced that she would be premiering the music video for John’s song entitled “Black Queen.” As the music began to play and the beautiful images of black women of all facets of life filled the screen, I took a second to look around at the crowd. All of the spectators were watching the video in “aww,” were dancing in complete jubilation, and rightfully they should’ve been, the video was one of the best independent music videos, I’ve ever seen.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and Briana had come into Wardens MidWest radio for an interview. Upon interviewing her I discovered her creative talents did not stop at videography. Ms. Clearly is also a photographer, an event planner and activist. She began telling me about Red Cup Karaoke, which is an event hosted on UIC campus at bar 10 Door and has had immense success, with guests numbering into the 300s during a blizzard. She let me know that it was set to be a reoccurring event just to get people to mingle, network, have a good time and lose themselves.
Last week, Vunzai Yeazel, the founder of Gorgeous Within was our radio guest and she informed us as well as the listeners about community involvement, empowerment of women/millennials and the importance to act NOW! Vunzai discussed her experience with traveling, working in advertisement and being the founder of a non-profit.
Ms. Gorgeous Within herself discussed the powerful seminars her organization uses to help women realize their full potential, through action plans, mentorship and community involvement. Vunzai, also informed the radio staff that Gorgeous Within played a big role in getting Issa Rae to come to UIC for the Black History Month Kick-Off today!
Vunzai also expressed her concern for millennials under-minding their potential. She believes there is so much good that can be done from our generation, for our generation. “There are so many under utilized skills going to waste. How many of our heroes died this year, it’s this generations time to step-up!”
This month has taught me and my co-hosts alot about the importance of utilizing resources immediately at your disposal, being inclusive with community and making sure you provide not only yourself with ample opportunity but your neighbors and fellow creatives. Some would be surprised by these amazing feats from women, however, I was raised by one of the most amazing persons I know, my mother. As a child, I would watch my mother accomplish amazing feats of heroism. Me, with the same expression as Briana Clearly’s crowd. Yet now, I can no longer just watch. Nor should you. Rather cultural, social, political or professional, let us join in the revolution respectively!