The impact of having Women of Distinction panels is amazing and can be something magical. Watching Draya speak eloquently about being a businesswoman while wearing her Christian Louboutin red bottom heels gave me life. It helped instil in all of us that a black woman can have it all, especially in college. She stated “Going to college is hard but y’all are doing that and I’m proud of y’all. Stay in school kids finish this. It’s okay to change your mind. Come see me when y’all have degrees at 25 26 and we’ll talk. We can be sexy while still being revered as the boss and we can be mothers, actors, models, and life teachers. Our dreams may seem crazy and too big now, but they can become a reality if we just put our minds to it and hustle hard.” While on this journey, “ Sometimes it’s people that look like friends and family who are haters. You have to learn to ignore that and do not let it distract you from your faith and growth because somebody has to win.” Draya taught us about the art of finesse and how we need to hustle hard and grind to see results in our life. She taught us that as black women our goals are always going to be underestimated in the face of society: “It’s true that being a black women in sports media is really hard. We get it that’s true. Now who cares ? Forget about that . You are responsible to make them respect you.” When Draya said that, I mumbled damn and nodded my head (she nearly snatched my damn edges off), because that’s what we needed to hear as black women striving for excellence. We know about the discrimination that we may face along the way but we have to push that aside and keep grinding in the midst of it. All of the women in the audience were filling the room with “yass girl” and “mhmm” so that’s how you know my good sis Draya was killing it.
Through this panel it felt like we had someone on stage who could relate with our struggles and understand our pain, but she was like a big sister in giving us advice. She taught us about confidence and the truth behind the glitzy glamorous life of social media, “Instagram is a social media of your successes and your failures. Don’t let your likes mess up with your self esteem don’t let that change what you are passionate about. You gotta love this (pointing at her beautiful self) without the filter.” She taught us how to follow our dreams and be in the room where it happens without selling out: People are willing to conform and I even do that for instance when being on a show that made no sense for me. People just wanna be down and I’m guilty of it. But In my opinion it should be the more the merrier I wanna celebrate myself and the other women in the room. I wanna be in.