The Black Women and Creativity interview series is focused on inspiring Black women to tap into their creativity capacity. Our intention is to talk to one hundred Black women, from all walks of life, to share their advice on creativity by answering the two simple questions.
Our next interview is with Joyy Norris. I have known Joyy for over a decade and she is the definition of #BlackGirlMagic. Joyy Norris is a Chicago born and reared photographer, filmmaker, writer and producer with a mind for storytelling across platforms. She works in documentary, podcasting, film curation and programming and freelance writing. Learn more about her work over at www.joyynorris.com and on Twitter and IG.
Read on for some of Joyy’s insight about the creative process.
What does it mean to be creative?
Joyy: Being creative is being able to use your natural born gifts to create original ideas and bring them into manifestation.
What advice/wisdom/encouragement/insight would you give to Black women about navigating their own creative process?
Joyy: Spend as much time as possible getting to know your creative triggers so you can intentionally activate them and work to sustain your creative flow. Also, invest in yourself, through workshops, walks in nature, engaging with art other than yours, solo time, saving toward financially liberating goal, etc. to build your reservoir of knowledge and capital to grow your creativity and creative endeavors.
Thank you for blessing us with your wisdom Joyy! Like, share, and comment about this week’s interview!
The Black Women and Creativity interview series is focused on inspiring Black women to tap into their creativity capacity. In 2019, one hundred Black women, from all walks of life, share their advice on creativity by answering the two simple questions:
What is creativity?
What advice or wisdom can you share with with Black women about navigating their own creative process.
Our very first interview is with Fenesha Hubbard! Fenesha is a brilliant sister who has helped me to understand the power of intention, ritual, and self care. She is a personal growth and learning specialist, who is committed to cultivating and curating safe learning experiences. Learn more about Fenesha’s work at http://www.fenesha.com
Let’s hear Fenesha’s take on creativity:
What does it mean to be creative?
Fenesha: Creativity is the ability to nurture a fertile imagination that is fed by intuition.
What one piece of advice/wisdom/encouragement/insight would you give to Black women about navigating their own creative process?
Fenesha: The key to unleashing your creativity is to trust the process of creative flow, which is unique for everyone. So, it helps to be self-aware. Knowing how you prefer to engage with your inner and outer worlds help to ensure confidence in how you embrace your capacity to be creative. Trusting yourself and loving your unlimited potential makes it easier to stretch your imagination. It is from this place of groundedness that creativity grows.
What are your thoughts about Fenesha’s take on creativity? Comment below!
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Years ago, I was struggling to set boundaries with my time. I was saying yes to every little request that people asked me. All of those little yeses added up and it was slowly draining my energy. I found myself, yet again, having to make a decision to say yes or no to another request that someone had emailed me. Here was my stream of thoughts: If I say no, then I can give them a few suggestions of what to do. Wait that is more work than saying yes.I will just gone ahead and do it. But don’t I have time to do what they are asking. Maybe I could rearrange the schedule to fit it in. I told my friend about this internal battle I was waging and she quietly responded, “No is a complete sentence.” That mantra has stayed with me every single time I find myself in a frenzy of trying to be everything to everybody.
We are often asked to do things that are optional. These optional tasks and requests start to add up. Suddenly we find that every single minute is accounted for in our busy schedule. Our help may bring someone else some temporary happiness,but it definitely doesn’t bring us any joy in the process.
Your time is yours, though. You get to choose. Repeat, you get to choose. You get to do what you want with your schedule. Sometimes this means saying no.
Your no does not require an explanation. If someone is pushing you for an explanation than the request is really a demand (that is another blog post for another day). Sometimes you just simply say no and stand in the power of that decision. Without trying to justify it. Without trying to make that other person feel better. Without trying to come up with alternatives. Without apologizing.
If you have a hard time with this, find you a “no friend”. This friend will hold you accountable when you find yourself in the throes of over-committing. They will lovingly remind you of your power. They will congratulate you when you create more space in your calendar because you didn’t take on the millionth request. I have friends who celebrate when I say no and set boundaries. Positive associations are powerful.
Saying no can be simple. You can say: I appreciate you for thinking of me, but I can’t do that for you right now. Or..I will have some space in my schedule next month, why don’t you check back with me then? Or..No I can’t. After you say no, take a deep breath and release any guilt that tries to creep up.
This is your life. It is your time. It is your energy. Protect it and nurture it well. Say no with power. Take up space in your own calendar unapologetically.
If you want to continue to take up space for YOU, get the Reimagining Your Dreams Challenge Workbook. It is 7 days of saying yes to you and your dreams. Learn more here.
A lot of my work as a coach and mentor has centered around supporting Black women in the quest to deeply care for themselves and create lives filled with more joy. This work has been parallel to my own personal evolution as I learned to reclaim my voice and stand in my own unique power. I am honoring my desires more deeply and creating my life from that space, rather than a space that restricts me. This journey is the foundation of this collective.
Let me explain.
A few months ago, I was talking to my bestie about my goals and vision for my life and business. I told her about the burning desire that I had to create spaces for Black women to dream again without any judgement. A space where we could understand the power of creative energy and find ways to unleash it in our everyday lives. A space where we could come together in community to inspire and encourage one another to live our truth fully.
I knew I had to start somewhere, so I decided to choose a name. Me and my friend looked through the dictionary for the right word. When we happened on the word unbothered, I knew that was the right word for this new vision I had.
Unbothered is defined as : “not experiencing mental or physical discomfort.” It also takes on another meaning which is “to be indifferent to criticism or negative comments.” Being unbothered has been a mantra for Black women and I knew this was the mood that could capture what I wanted to do.
We often have to navigate spaces where people don’t look like us. I know this struggle all too well. We also have to navigate a world that has a narrative about what Black women should and can be in their personal and professional lives. It is exhausting to navigate these spaces and downright stifling. Black women spend so much time trying to hold it together that we inevitably start to neglect our passions, our dreams, and our health. We have to painfully play small in certain environments which blocks our creativity.
Unbothered Black Girl Collective is about coming together in a variety of ways to unravel our stories, desires, and intentions from all the other stories, beliefs, and narratives that are not aligned with our truth. We do this unraveling by taking care of ourselves. By doing what we love. By following our passions. By tapping into our creativity. By embracing joy and play. Basically, we do this by being more and more unbothered by the expectations of everyone else. It’s about moving beyond the status quo and getting to what really matters to us.
I am not entirely sure what Unbothered Black Girl Collective will become and I am open to how it expands. I do know that I will create content and experiences that will give you space to reclaim your dreams, your joy, and your creativity…..and remain more and more unbothered along the way.