Aria Francis is more than your typical 22 year old. At such a young age, she's accomplished what most should and more. The college grad and model has already walked in the MODABOX Runway Show, Caribbean New York Fashion Week, and the Harbison Showcase at Made Fashion Week. As early as 11 years old, Francis was getting interested in the modeling and fashion industry and set out to pursue her goals. This Caribbean model gives Creative Smart Girl some insight to the realities of what it means to be a young, ambitious, Black woman in fashion.
Last week while I was managing controlled chaos to ensure that our customers received their Mother’s day gifts, I got a group text message from my mother. The message read, “so my English professor told me I should write a book about my life in Grenada.”
My initial reaction was a laugh. Not because I thought it was a silly idea, but coincidentally I had discussed the idea of writing my mother’s memoir less than a week before I got that text.
It was at lunch during last weekend’s BloggerWeek Unconference that I was expressing to Linda how powerful storytelling can be and how amazing I thought my mother’s story was.
I immediately responded to the group to let them know that my mother’s English professor wasn’t the only one that saw the brilliance in her story or the beauty in her writing.
My mother, on the other hand, needed a bit more convincing. ‘ What do I have to say?’ she inquired. ‘You have a beautiful story, let’s write it together. I retorted.
You see, what my mother doesn’t know is that I’m often in awe of her. How did she do it, I would ask myself.
How did she love her father so much, in spite of his bout with alcoholism? How did she support an extended family on a teacher’s salary? How did she endure leaving her children in Grenada for five years, in search of a better life in the States? How did she manage to raise four decent children all by herself?
My mother is a tremendous human being. The world may choose to ignore women like her, to erase their stories, to shame them into irrelevance. But, her story is my strength.
So mommy, you don’t have to write your story for you. Write it for my siblings and I. Write for our future sons and daughters. Write it for their children. Light a path for each of us with your words.
My gift to you today is freedom, the freedom to write your story without shame or fear of judgment.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Grenada is a tiny island in the Caribbean, tiny is no exaggeration - a dot on the world map. Known as the Spice Isle, it is one of the largest exporters of spices. Grenada is a famous tourist location and every year thousands flock there for an amazing getaway.
But, for me it's home. I grew up on a hill on that tiny island surrounded by family and so much love. We didn't have riches but we had each other and that made my childhood very rich. It doesn't matter how far we've come from latrines and coal pots, I would do anything for just five minutes with my grandmother on that hill again.
Last summer I made a trip home after 15 years...yes 15 years! My immigration journey was a very long and painful one - I'll write about that at another time. The most painful part of assimilation is, that a part of your identity slowly dies. I've quietly hung tight to parts of my culture. During the trip I felt a rebirth, the love and passion for my culture that was laying dormant came alive again. There was a magic in that trip. I feel so connected to my culture again, it's like I just got of the plane at 12 years old with my cassette tapes with soca music and my grandma at my side. It's getting really loud again (maybe it's the soca music), I'm so proud to be Grenadian.
Today is Grenada's Independence Day. Grenada was invaded and passed back and forth between many colonizing European countries, finally it was colonized by Great Britain for 200 years until we gained our independence in 1974.
Happy Independence Day, Grenada. This #islandgirl loves you and rejoices in your freedom!!