Carmen Jones is the founder of The Black Girl Social Club. We had the pleasure of speaking with Carmen and learning more about her organization and what inspires this Queen with a mission!
The Black Girl Social Club is such an amazing organization for women of color! Can you explain to our audience the origin of The Black Girl Social Club and what inspired you to create a safe space for us Queens throughout the world?
Thank you! Well, BGSC, the "idea" came to me in December of 2019. At that time, I was really looking to be in community with other like-minded Black women. I am not originally from Atlanta, GA, and wanted to have a network of people I could depend on. I ended up hosting a Girls' Night that was just so powerful that people actually kept asking when the next one would be. At that time, I was also getting a lot of feedback on social media from other women who were interested in the places I was going, and what I was doing- I figured I needed to just create a little community of women. Little did I know, 3 years later, that community wouldn't be that little at all.
The BGSC has reached so many people all over the globe! What have been some of your most memorable highlights since creating this vision?
Some of our most memorable times have certainly been our recent conference here in Atlanta with Tabitha Brown, where we hosted members from all over the world, our leadership retreat in Ft. Lauderdale, which was truly life-changing for our leaders and our team. But more than anything, the way we've been able to give back to our communities through the organization has been incredible. We also have legitimately saved lives with this organization. We've gotten countless emails and texts sharing how much of a positive impact we've had in our members' lives during some very dark times. THAT is the kind of stuff we live for. The IMPACT is how we get our kicks.
Your name alone has given you a head start for greatness! Carmen, what was your childhood like? What were your aspirations as a young woman and how has your current journey been inspired by the values instilled in you in your upbringing.
My childhood was truly amazing. I grew up in a very small town in Prince George, VA-just outside of Richmond, VA. Both my parents were hard-working, intelligent and caring people who were certainly big fish in a small pond. They gave me the best childhood and exposed me to so many things early on. One of those things happened to be theater-which is why my name is so ironic. But the values that my parents instilled were all the values that have been transferred over to BGSC. I grew up in a household where we valued education, community service, leadership and integrity. My parents believed in working hard and doing the right thing. My father was extremely passionate about the development and empowerment of Black people. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am now.
I see you have connected with so many other inspirational powerhouses such as the magical Tabitha Brown! Do you have a wish list of other iconic Women of Color that you would like to connect and collaborate with?
Of course!!! I have a LONG list, as we are not short on EXCELLENT Black women, but I'll keep it brief. My top picks right now would be Oprah, Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, Morgan Debaun, Tracee Ellis Ross, Myleik, and Meg thee Stallion, specifically around her mental health initiatives and the violence and bullying she's had to face recently. I'd love to connect with each and every one of these women.
Empowerment groups and brands centered around Black women have grown by the multitude. Women of Color have disproportionately been underpaid and underserved in the corporate world and many other economical, industrial and social demographic components. Due to these circumstances, it is more important than ever for Women of Color to have organizations that give us the flowers we are so deserving of. What has been the driving force for you as an unapologetic cheerleader for Black Women?
My driving force is simply that I am a Black woman, my friends are Black women, and some of the most important people in my life are Black women. What happens to us is important to me. Our quality of life is important to me, and I want us to be happy, healthy and whole. I have been able to witness the impact of this organization and that is what wakes me up in the morning.
As the founder of such a powerful organization that focuses on Women of Color, I commend you for creating an organization where Black women can truly feel celebrated. One huge component of valuing ourselves as Black women is embracing the practice of self-love. Self-love is the core of understanding our self-worth and our value in order to manifest the best in our lives. What does Self-Love mean to you and what role has it played in your life and career?
Self-love to me is self-determination. One of the principles of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia. This means we are able to define ourselves for ourselves. When you know who you are-have knowledge of self and are confident in THAT, there's nothing you can't do.
You seem to have to be one busy woman on the go with many responsibilities. With everything that you do within your career and BGSC, how do you cater to your mental health and self-care?
This work can be really fulfilling, but also really draining. I am very intentional about resting and enjoying my personal time. I work out, write in my journal, get massages, spend time with my puppy, and recently, I started a podcast called The CEO Sermon Series, that focuses on mental health for entrepreneurs. It's been an excellent outlet for me.
Lastly, what self-love affirmations can you offer our audience to inspire them to follow their dreams?
I've been saying this a lot lately, because I mean it-The first person you have to sell yourself to is YOU. If you don't believe it, no one else will. It all starts with how you see YOU.
Thank you again, Carmen for being a part of our Queen Spotlight! It has been a pleasure to learn more about you and The Black Girls Social Club! What can we expect next for BGSC?
We look forward to continuing to expand, more partnerships, organizational development, and another phenomenal conference on the horizon. 2023 is going to be our year! (C) 2022