How do you love the skin you’re in when the world tells you you’re not refined?
You’re not beautiful.
You’re not worthy.
You’re not whole.
You’re not smart.
You’re a thug.
You’re less than human.
How do you keep from breaking? Wanting to wash away the skin you’re in.
A month made to celebrate your kind represents a month that revisits the trauma of your shackled and chained ancestors, which in turn breeds trauma within.
But still you persist. You walk the line of the burden that was handed to you at birth.
Shared words of resilience that carry us forth from 28 minds, bodies, and souls of Black Excellence during the month of our celebrated culture, Black History Month. In these words, we rise in love and understanding.
Anthony Winn Entertainment
“Black Excellence is not an act. It’s a HABIT!”
Deep South Onyx
“You’re built with the spirit of perseverance. Resistance and change aren’t new to our vocabulary, they’re embedded within.”
Afro Pride Advisory Board
“Make sure that incorporating excellence in one’s life is a habit not a singular act.”
Ujima Men’s Collective Executive Director
“I live my life in the light and not in the shadows. I want my life to illuminate the possible by living authentically, purposefully, and intentionally Black in all facets of my life.”
Health Promotion Peer Navigator
“There is no better moment than the present to reclaim my time.”
Executive Director of TransInclusive Group.
“I often tell people the key to success is knowing your worth. The most valuable virtue is the love that one has for themselves. You have the full authority to control the narrative of your life.”
HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Board of Governors
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are,” by MLK.
Ederick E. Johnson
“Every day I serve and give everything of me to my community, so when the time comes for me to die, I will die knowing I’ve given everything in me …. I want to die empty.”
Director of Strategic Outreach and Engagement for the Human Rights Campaign
“I’m thankful to be living my best life and reminding folks that every day is a celebration of Black history. What we do today is history tomorrow. Make it worthwhile.”
Creator of the initiative CAOBA
Vice President & Program Director of Unity Coalition
“Vybe – Visualize yourself better everyday.” By unknown
Owner of Carvelle Bikes
Regional 8 Deputy Director of the Florida LGBTQ Democratic Caucus.
Community Affair Advisory Board of City of Wilton Manors Member.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” by Prominent Feminist Activist, Author Audre Lorde
Minority Coordinator at High Impacto
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Bible Philippians 4:13
Holistic Lifestyle Coach
M.S. Sports Management
Owner of Top Notch Sports & Fitness
Advisory Committee Member of Afro Pride for Health Disparity in the Black and Brown Community
“Don’t chase the bag, the man/woman or the status. Just make room to be able to flow with your purpose by acknowledging God in the season he has you in. The right people, and right opportunities will always find you.”
Queen of the Palm Beaches
Miss Florida F.I. at Large
“It’s not what you go through, it’s how you come out of it that makes you strong.”
“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within”
Director of Development-Administrative & Executive Department
“Life is meant to stand for something and fall for nothing. With privilege comes great responsibility. As a gay black male in society, it’s my responsibility to stand with pride, walk with a high level of dignity, and inspire the next generation.”
“There is POWER in finally finding pride in who you are; and a liberation of self when that pride & power doesn’t come from the validation of others.”
“Not Everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” By James Baldwin
Heetizm Myami Founder
“Your vision in life is the gateway to your destiny.”
Imperial Pageantry System
“Nothing happens by Chance but for Change. Always be True to you…Be Bold, Be Daring, Be Beautiful but always be Unapologetically YOU.”
PJ’s Chit Chat Coffee Shop and Speakeasy
“The Beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” By B.B. King
Mother of the Haus of Yas Performance Collective at Villain Theater in Miami
Host of Amazing Colossal Karaoke at Kill Your Idol on Miami Beach
“My skin is a gift, and my skin is a burden. Through my art I take both and make magic.”
“I dared to imagine. I dared to hope. I dared to dream. I dared to fight, for a better world. And because of that effort, the world is so much better.”
Entertainer and Community Activist
“It’s important to move according to energy and not ego.”
Assistant General manager of The Pub
“Just be you! The raggedy ones behind you will adjust!”
Vocalist and Entertainer
“I love the skin I’m in simply by being authentically me and walking in my truth. I am extremely proud of the man I am today and how I display Black Excellence in my daily life.”
Ghenete ‘G’ Wright Muir
Co-Founder of Thou Art Woman, Law Professor and Writer
“My parents always told me how beautiful and brilliant I am and taught me to love the skin I’m in. They filled our home with Black imagery—gave me an Ethiopian name and raised me to believe that my color is not an obstacle to greatness. I’m grateful to my parents and ancestors for paving the way for me to live this fully liberated life.”
Melba De Leon
Board member, Associate, Ambassador Volunteer
“Not everyone will understand my journey. That’s okay! It’s my journey to live and I’m grateful for it!!!
“Love The Skin You’re In: 28 Quotes From Black Excellence” are personal words of wisdom, strength and courage from empowered black and brown people who stand tall everyday even when life is on their back weighing them down.
Photo by Jessica Felicio