Redefining The “Strong Black Woman” Dynamics

If you glance in Webster’s dictionary, the term strong is defined as the capacity for exertion or endurance. When you state that someone is strong, it is often received as a proud statement or a compliment; however, over the last couple of years, African American women are choosing to redefine their strength.

When I was growing up my mom always would say that she was raising me to be a strong black woman and I didn’t realize later in my life I would loathe the term of “being a strong black woman”. As I begin to grow into my womanhood I embrace being a strong black woman and it became a badge of honor. Friends and family would be in awe of how strong I was when I went through traumatic challenges in my life. But it became a strain to carry the weight when everyone depended on me to be this superwoman. I became angry and hurt because I wasn’t asked about my well-being. I felt like people assumed I was doing well because I held on to being “a strong black woman.”

In 2018 after hitting burnout, I decided to slowly unravel the strong woman persona and release myself from the superwoman black girl syndrome. While saving everyone else, I didn’t realize I needed to save myself. Now in this new revolution of women taking back their power, making their voices heard, and standing up for their rights, we are redefining terms that have crippled our growth to become limitless.

Below are a couple of ways you can redefine the strong black woman dynamics:

  1. Ask For Help. If you need help, reach out to someone. Needing help doesn’t mean you are weak, but it means you are brave enough to trust someone with your vulnerability.
  2. You don’t have to be the strong one. If you are the only person in your group where everyone comes to you for strength, then find another circle. However, if you find that you like being the person everyone depends on, there may be deeper issues where seeking therapy is necessary. 
  3. It’s okay to say you don’t know. People may identify you as a strong black woman because you seem to be the expert on everyone’s problems. It is okay to tell others that you don’t have the answer and for them to seek professional advice or help for their issues.
  4. Create a new narrative about “the strong black woman.” It is up to us to create new stories about a black women. 
  5. Representation. You are your best representative as a person so make sure you are expressing yourself the way you want others to see you. (Think of adjectives beyond strong to describe yourself). 

Fashion Interview with Abi Ishola, Creator of Beyond Classically Beautiful

As we close out our series entitled the Three F’s: Feminism, Fitness & Fashion this week we will focus on Fashion. In this post I had the pleasure to interview Abi Ishola, the creator of Beyond Classically Beautiful. She is also the creator of  Script & Sightings and making big moves in her industry.

The Inspirational Corner: It is such a pleasure to interview you and connect with you. I was captivated by your movement when I stumbled upon your profile through Twitter. Thank You for being our Fashion feature.

Abi Ishola: Your Welcome!

The Inspirational Corner: For people who do not know who you are please give us an idea of who you are and your business?

Abi Ishola: My name is Abi Ishola.  I’m the creator of, a style blog that covers people of color.  I’m also the creator of Beyond Classically Beautiful, a new beauty movement that started as a photo story to celebrate the diverse beauty of black women.  The idea for the project came to me after the New York Times referred to Viola Davis as “less classically beautiful” than lighter skinned black actresses.

The Inspirational Corner: This movement is powerful and truly needed for African American women of all shades. What was the concept behind your fashion brand and why was it important to convey this concept?

Abi Ishola: The concept behind my brand is capturing real people who own their unique style and beauty as they move about in the world.  Street style and my writing are the main focuses (hence the title, Scripts and Sightings). It’s also a space where I highlight style and art projects I produce, such as Beyond Classically Beautiful. It was important for me to convey that concept because it is the kind of blog I would want to visit.  I want it to be a source of inspiration and thought for people.  It’s not just about highlighting fierce style.  The goal is to celebrate black people in all of our glory.

The Inspirational Corner: We live in a world where fashion is consistently defined by outer appearance, how would you define fashion and why?

Abi Ishola:Fashion and style are a way of life.  The way we dress usually determines how we feel about ourselves on any given day.  It also gives the people around us an idea of who we feel we are.  It is truly an expression that speaks louder than words.

The Inspirational Corner: Where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to fashion and beauty?

Abi Ishola: I draw inspiration from my friends.  I draw inspiration from my family. I draw inspiration from New York City and all its highs and lows.  I also draw inspiration from the beautiful brown women I encounter everyday.  There’s nothing like seeing a beautiful black woman moving about, looking confidant, and owning her style.

The Inspirational Corner: As a woman how important is fashion to you and how do you utilize your own personal fashion into your fashion business?

Abi Ishola: Before I started my blog I went through a period of not really following fashion.  A part of me thinks I lost myself in that sense. I maintained a cool and polished appearance, but I lost my passion to push the envelope when it comes to style. I moved to New York City to pursue a career in the fashion world and I worked in the industry years ago.  I left the fashion world with somewhat of a bitter taste in my mouth.  So I think as time went on, I also lost my passion for shopping, reading magazines, and following the who’s who in fashion.  But after I had my daughter, I rediscovered my love for expression through dress.  There’s something about becoming a mother that reignites you in every way. So now I use my brand as inspiration to reacquaint myself with the fashion world, but on my terms, and embrace a rebirth of my personal style.

The Inspirational Corner: Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?

Abi Ishola: I really don’t have a favorite fashion designer when it comes to what I choose to wear.  I wear what I like no matter who made it.  However, I do admire the work of Alexander McQueen.  He was a true artist.  His work was complicated, dark at times, yet beautiful.  He was a true visionary.

The Inspirational Corner: Do you believe your fashion brand has impacted the world around and why?

Abi Ishola: I’m so pleased with the response to .  I also believe I’ve made an impact through my latest project, Beyond Classically Beautiful.  The response to the project has been awesome.  It was received well by the press.  But the best part is that so many women reached out to me and simply said thank you for representing us.  I treasure that.

The Inspirational Corner: What fashion legacy do you plan to build?

Abi Ishola: I want to build a legacy of being a champion for black women.

The Inspirational Corner: The Inspirational Corner slogan is Live Bold. Live Loud. Live Authentically. How are you living bold, loud & authentically?

Abi Ishola: I’m living bold, loud, and authentically because I’m living a purposeful life.  I’m also allowing myself to take risks and let the chips fall where they may.  Most importantly, I’m using my fears to push me closer to my goals.

The Inspirational Corner: What would be your advice for those who have a desire to have their own fashion business or brand?

Abi Ishola: Begin today, take risks, and have fun!

For more info on Abi Ishola go to :