Black History isn’t just reserved for the past, and it’s not just about celebrating those that have come and gone before us. Every day there are new accomplishments and achievements to celebrate and honor as proof that we can literally do anything we put our minds to. Our latest inspiration?

An all-Black women rowing team collectively known as the Team Antigua Island Girls.

Representing for the Caribbean, the team is comprised of women who have already made an impact in their own individual ways: Christal Clashing, the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics; Elvira Bell, Level 2 Learn-to-swim Instructor and a certified health coach; Samara Emmanuel, the first Antiguan woman to become an RYA certified yacht captain; Kevinia Francis, the visionary of the group and a title-winning, all-around athlete who excels in basketball, cycling, martial arts and track-and-field; and Junella King, a sailing instructor, who, as the youngest member of the team, turned 18-years-old right before the race. While King did not participate in the historic race, she trained with the team and served as an alternate.

“Growing up, I know I used to look at certain sports and say, ‘Okay, I can’t do that because I’m not white. White people don’t do this sport and Black people don’t do this sport,’” Francis revealed to Essence. “So it’s about breaking down those misconceptions and those barriers. We can actually do any sport that we choose. You just need to have determination, dedication, practice, and get out there.”

Photo: Team Antigua Island Girls

Together, the team completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge last month. Hailed as the world’s toughest rowing challenge, it involved a 3,000 mile trip from the Canary Islands to the team’s home in Antigua.

After battling seasickness, fatigue, a near capsize on Friday night, and other obstacles, the Antiqua Observer reported that as the women rowed into the country’s historic Nelson’s Dockyard, they became the first all-Black team to row across the Atlantic ocean.

Even more incredible? According to Essence, the crew had no previous rowing experience before 2018. The squad is also intentional about giving back to their communities and have a charity, Cottage of Hope, which offers short-and-long term residency to girls who are abused, neglected or orphaned.

Susan Kelechi Watson 37, is a Jamaican American actress best known for her character “Beth Pearson” in the NBC drama series “This is Us”. The series follows the lives and families of two parents, and their three children, in several different time frame. What is particularly fascinating about the series is Susan’s sterling interpretation of her character which is arguably the ‘star’ of the series. Speaking on life before getting the role in the series, Susan says:

 “A month before I booked This Is Us, I was like, ‘Maybe I should move to Montreal and work in a coffee shop. I had friends who were praying for me. I was leaning on a support system to believe for me when I was finding it difficult to still believe the dream for myself. All of the sudden I just believed again, like, I didn’t come this far for it not to happen. I’m going to enjoy this again. It’s the best thing I have to give. So I had to get my personal joy back, and then things started to change.”

Speaking on the reception, audacity of hope and belief her character has given to the black community, she says:

With my representation of a black woman in the world today, there’s such a powerful response from my community about what it means to have black representation on television. That response is so overwhelming and so strong that I just have to express my own gratitude for it, because I understand the necessity for it. I grew up with that need. I still have that need. I’m thankful that I get to fulfil that need for so many.

Then there’s the aspect of me as a woman and the camaraderie. They just feel like I’m their best friend; this character’s their best friend, and so many women say, “I’m just like you.” Or the goal is to sort of be similar to Beth; it gives them a way to kind of strategize, and helps them to move through their life.

Also, we talked about adoption on the show, and now to be able to talk about fostering, it’s really just such a great opportunity to open that door to that conversation as well. So many people have been through fostering, they understand the complications that come along with that, and so appreciate this story line, and I’m so thankful I get to be a person who represents that.

So I feel really good about what she’s offering people, whether it be a representation of being an African-American woman in this world, her representation as a woman, of being a woman that other women can identify with, and also of being an advocate for fostering, and for kids who think that maybe they won’t have a chance later in life.

Susan is a Bachelor’s degree graduate of Fine Arts degree from Howard University and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program.

Culled from Deadline Hollywood

Nigerian music star Tiwa Savage has been announced as one of the artists that will perform at the 8th annual EssenceBlack Women in Music”—an official GRAMMY Week event – this February.

The event is being held to salute the year’s extraordinary GRAMMY nominees and fête four-time GRAMMY winner Erykah Badu on the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking debut album, “Baduizm.”

Talking about having Tiwa sing at the event, Essence President Michelle Ebanks says “Our collaboration with The Recording Academy underscores the mission of our ‘Black Women in Music’ platform. Essence, like the GRAMMYs, has always been at the forefront of recognizing the genius of so many artists and influencers—from iconic legends to the next generation’s international rising stars, like Tiwa Savage. We also applaud our event sponsor, Lincoln, for returning once again to support the vision of this event.”

Big ups to Tiwa Savage!

Source: Bellanaija.com