Twenties Unscripted Takeover is a special week-long feature series highlighting twenty-somethings who are “taking over the world” in music, art, film, social activism and business. Today’s feature chronicles Chaédria LaBouvier’s journey through the world of film. When I reached out to a few Twenties Unscripted Takeover participants to ask if they had recommendations for other potential interviewees, Stacy-Ann pointed me in the direction of Anique. I knew a recommendation from Stacy-Ann would be solid and Anique did not disappoint. She is actively involved in her community and was recently chosen as one of the ambassadors for the “My Black Is Beautiful” campaign. Meet Anique.
You were recently selected as one of the “My Black Is Beautiful” ambassadors. What sparked your involvement in this initiative?
Professionally I do marketing and communications for a nonprofit organization so I’m online most of the day.
I first saw the ad for the competition on my Facebook feed while I was working and I thought to myself “Wow, I could do this… I could really do this.” It was right up my alley.
I’m known amongst my friends and family for being passionate about social issues that impact African Americans, women and youth. I’m also known for bringing light and inspiration to those the lives of those that I love. I felt that this would be a perfect opportunity to share my love for our community and our African American sisters who don’t always have a safe space to express themselves and celebrate their beauty.
Can you tell us more about the #NotforSale social media campaign you launched? What sort of response and feedback did you get from that campaign?
The #NotforSale campaign was launched in response to over 200 girls from the Village of Chibok in Nigeria being taken from their school this past May.
I found out about the girls being taken almost two weeks after the incident via Instagram. After bringing the news of the tragedy up to friends, family, and colleagues I realized that many people were still unaware due to low media coverage.
I was really frustrated that these young women were just taken like objects, and there are societies in this world that foster and support the ideology that women are for sale: spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Women are not your tokens, trophies, or war prizes. I thought to myself, “…we are not for sale!”
I reached out to my networks and asked people to post pictures of themselves, their sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, sorors and tell the world why they are #NotforSale.
There was a great response. So many people submitted entries, people even produced short videos. BET News eventually got informed of the campaign and featured #NotforSale in a segment about Boko Haram and the young women who were kidnapped.
I have plans to take #NotforSale offline and into the community as a way to inform people about human trafficking and to continue the conversation about the value of women in our society.
How important is it for black women to define beauty for themselves?
It is imperative that Black women define beauty for themselves because there are people being paid to tell you that everything, except for what your blackness represents, is beautiful. Those same people profit from black women internalizing the idea that everything except for who they are is beautiful and that they need to purchase, or nip and tuck things to help them align with an unreal and non-diverse standard of beauty.
Feelings of aesthetic inferiority are often inherited generationally so we have to start loving ourselves now, no matter what shade or size, to ensure that the next generation of black women have that love.
How you define the terms “community” and “sisterhood”?
Community is family that is created through common language, values, shared history or location, and shared experiences in life. One thing that I love about community is that it has the potential to be birthed and fostered anywhere.
Sisterhood means so much! I have five sisters and the most amazing sorors. Sisterhood is a special gift of love, support, friendship, counsel and reality checks. It’s an experience of mutual respect, love and honor. It’s a bond that can be put through any test and come out unscathed. I maintain in tough seasons and evolve in seasons of growth because of power of sisterhood.
In your ambassador finalist video for “My Black is Beautiful” you said that you are on a journey of self-discovery. What are some of the most significant revelations you’ve had throughout that journey?
In your twenties learning about the world and yourself away from your family and hometown is a crazy experience. On my journey of self-discovery I’ve learned two major lessons:
- I can do everything I envision doing, but not all at once. Also, even if I have the ability to do something it’s important to check and see if it’s aligned with my purpose.
- God made me special, and I am the only one that can execute my unique purpose. Therefore I should love everything that makes me fit to be Anique. My skin, my hair, my curves, my laugh are all things that make me who I am. All aspects were crafted purposefully and are essential to my being.
Often times, millennials are accused of “slacktivism” or passive activism thanks to social media. What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe activism must extend beyond social media?
Online activism is important because you can inform a mass amount of people about social issues and garner attention quickly. This form of activism becomes challenging and even somewhat ineffective when your iPhone battery dies. There are real live people in our communities that need people to love on them and to coalition build to problem solve. Many of the people that need activists’ support don’t have ideal access to the internet and computers and we are telling their stories without them. You must translate online action into real life action.
What advice would you give to young women looking to get more involved in their communities?
The community needs us! We are innovative, compassionate, and perfect to get our hands dirty making the world a bit better than how we inherited it. We are all super busy but it’s so easy to start serving. Become a mentor or big sister to a young woman. Make it fun and plan service outings with your friends. Remember all the people who have sewn into you over your lifetime? Pay it forward!
The power of change and progress always rests in the hands of the youth. It’s our time!
At an early age social entrepreneur Anique Hameed was exposed to the important role of everyday people in uplifting and maintaining society. She touches the community in several ways including serving as the Founding Director of Eternal Life Project, Co-Founder of Essence of Progress, a P&G My Black is Beautiful Ambassador, and a Volunteer Ambassador for the Be The Match bone marrow donor registry. Anique is an alumna of Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she studied Legal Communication and African American studies. She is currently studying to receive a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.