Actress Tatyana Ali and beauty blogger Patrice Yursik, founder of Afrobella.com, lent their voices to My Black is Beautiful’s Imagine a Future campaign. The initiative’s aim is an effort to reach one million girls through the Imagine a Future documentary, which features various celebrities and public figures spreading the message of black beauty. Ali and Yursik are advocates of the movement and took the message to the Black Girls Rock! show over the weekend.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the two women to talk more about their efforts with MBIB’s Imagine a Future, as well as some business tips. Read what they had to say.
Tell us more about My Black Is Beautiful’s Imagine a Future.
Tatyana Ali: My Black is Beautiful’s (MBIB) Imagine A Future (IAF) campaign provides encouragement, empowerment and community to black girls and women. Self-esteem and confidence lead to agency. We can only change the world if we believe we are worthy. We are encouraging black women and girls to become leaders in their communities by celebrating those who have. Presenting the 2015 M.A.D. Girl awards at Black Girls Rock! this year was truly an honor. I believe creating positive images begins with celebrating one another, especially our little sisters.
Why did you want to get involved with this campaign? What was your role in the documentary?
I became involved with this campaign because I love MBIB’s mission to reach and teach one million black girls, over a three-year period, that their Black is Beautiful. In the Imagine A Future documentary, I shared my definition of beauty. I told my personal story about the ongoing process of becoming and remaining a confident woman.
What other projects are you working on that we should look out for?
I’m producing several projects in varying stages of development. I’m very proud of two short films that I’ve had the great pleasure to be apart of. The first is called Samaria, by filmmaker Kiel Adrian Scott. It’s a beautiful story of survival. A young woman in desperate need of kindness is torn between the worlds of the haves and have-nots.
The second is by filmmaker Mark Columbus, and it is called Teachers. A 10th grade teacher in a struggling high school goes to great lengths to make sure one her of fledgling students passes her final exam. This short film explores the intersection of education and poverty.
You’ve maintained a solid career over the years. From a business angle, what advice can you give up and coming entertainers who want longevity in the industry?
This is an interesting question for me at the present moment. I am taking stock of what I’ve tried and accomplished thus far and determining where I’d like to go next. From a business perspective, I can add to the many voices that say it’s important to think of yourself as a brand and that it’s important to maintain relationships so that others are as invested in your success as you are. I believe that helping another reach their goals will bring you closer to yours.
I could say that adaptation is key; that you must always go above and beyond what you are asked to do or that your work will be your calling card; that your reputation will precede you everywhere you go; that you should practice, practice, practice. But, I think the readers of Black Enterprise already know these. They have almost become mantras in success literature.
The advice I would like to give is to remain true to yourself and to never hand over your integrity. It’s easy to forget to check in with yourself when you’re pursuing a dream, but those most intimate choices greatly determine your course and legacy. Don’t be fooled by the hype. Remember that it’s your dream!
Read the next page to get Patrice’s take on Imagine a Future, plus her favorite Michelle Obama moment.