Empowerment Through the Pen
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” Queen K, Precious Bradley and Jelina Sheppard are three women that embody this quote. They have learned how to empower young ladies who face adversity, and have shared their knowledge and experiences with others through their writing. Through books and blogs, these ladies have made an impact on women and girls of all different ages, sizes, and backgrounds.
Queen K is an author and activist from Bermuda, a small island about 700 miles from the coast of North Carolina. Queen K now resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her two-year-old daughter after graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 2011. Through her activism and protest Queen K quickly became a notable leader in her community as the Black Lives Matter movement came about. However, she quickly began to realize that while what she was doing was important, it wasn’t changing anything or contributing to the solution of police brutality and an unjust government system,
“I had to learn the hard way, begging for permission and assistance from the very people who intend to keep us oppressed was not the solution,” said Queen K.
The Black Lives Matter movement has played a large role in the life that Queen K now leads as well as the inspiration for her two children’s books, I Have Good Hair and I Love My Hair. Both books were inspired by her personal emphasis on the importance of self-love. The books encourage children to embrace and love the hair that grows out of their head.
“In order to love others you have to love yourself. Loving yourself means understanding who you are, your family history, why you react the way you react, why you like the things that you like, and how you developed. And when you love yourself you will be able to be confident in your decisions and yourself,” said Queen K.
Her daughter also served as another inspiration for her books as she wanted to ensure that she matures in truth and transparency so that she will be able to make her own conclusions and live her own life. Queen K strongly believes that in order to break the cycle you have to start with the children so that they may spread the knowledge and the love that they have acquired as children. The next writer also felt that it was critical to share the love and knowledge that she received as a child with other young girls.
Children’s author, teacher, birthing doula, and student activities coordinator, Precious Bradley graduated from North Carolina A&T in 2013, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications with a concentration in broadcast production. She now resides in Jacksonville, Florida where she began a career in Education. As a child, Bradley’s mother always stressed the importance of literacy and writing, and encouraged her to use it as an outlet, as well as a therapeutic way to relieve stress. Bradley’s students are mostly students of color; however, none of the literature read in class show a representative of them.
“The characters didn’t look like them and my students were uninterested. I made it my personal mission to collect and to read books to my students that they could relate too and something they would be interested in,” said Bradley.
This served as the main inspiration for her children’s book, Precious Baby You’re Mine. This book is about the exchange of positive energy and the essence of love by promoting individuality for girls and women of all ages. She acknowledged that all children don’t receive the affirmation and support that she received from her mother, so she was determined to pass down the message so that she may empower others as her mother had done for her.
“In return, I get to watch others feel the love as they read the words on the pages, continuing my mother’s legacy and the legacy of love,” said Bradley.
She believes that no dream has been placed in your heart that you wouldn’t be able to achieve, but that it is important to be humble, patient, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,
“As cliche as it may sound, you can do anything to put your mind to,” said Bradley.
The next writer followed her heart and made her dreams a reality as she battled against any obstacles in her life.
Author, singer, teacher, motivational speaker, and most importantly mother, Jelina Sheppard graduated from North Carolina A&T receiving a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. When Sheppard’s best friend passed away because of a heart attack, writing began to serve as a therapeutic source of healing for her. Sheppard’s five-year-old son, Karter, however is the inspiration for her children’s book, The Boy With No Shadow. This book serves as an aid for parents who may not know how to address being a single parent with their children. Sheppard knew that eventually her son would begin to ask questions about his father, and she wanted to be fully prepared for the conversation. The Boy With No Shadow is about a little boy who grew up without a shadow. The shadow is a representation of an adult or parent who is meant to guide you.
“Regardless if you have a shadow or not you are still destined for greatness. The sun will send everything you need to be successful in life,” said Sheppard.
Not only is she an author of books, however she also shares her writing through her blog, “With love, J. Sheppard”. This blog is about intimate relationships and places emphasizes how to become a resilient person, even after a breakup. Motivating others to say what others are afraid to say, Sheppard’s blog is meant to serve as a guide to navigating your life and maintaining healthy relationships whether it be spiritually or with friends. Everything has not always been easy for Sheppard, however she is a firm believer that when your hard work doesn’t pay off, you must dry your tears and keep pushing.
All three women have overcome great obstacles and have found a positive outlet through their writing. Regardless of what they go through they exert confidence, strength, and perseverance. Not only do they write for themselves, they write to make a change and to encourage others who may also be facing hardship.