Florida A&M hosted “PUSH” a forum for Black Women that focuses on the empowerment of African-American women Thursday evening.
“It was very enlightening to hear from women who have been where we are and I love that they were so open and real,” said Chantel Johnson, third-year psychology student from Miami.
“I really enjoyed it and it was very positive,” said Quinton Stroud, fourth-year Health Science student from Fountain Inn, S.C. “I’m glad I came.”
Speakers included LaShawnna Stanley, Meredith Clark, Helena Andrews, Yolanda Bogan, Michelle Callahan and R&B artist and songwriter Chrisette Michele. These accomplished women shared their views on the modern image of black women and societal issues within the black community.
“We have to remember who we are and carry ourselves with class and grace in the public eye,” said Meredith Clark, a reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. “We have an active role in that bias doesn’t separate us.”
The panel answered questions on sex, health, relationships, money, pursuing passions and fighting stereotypes as women with education.
“We can work our way up, take advantages of the businesses around us, and let them push us and propel us forward,” said Michele. “The point of following your dreams is that you never stop dreaming.”
Helena Andrews, author of “Bitch is the New Black,” said that women should search for men who are on their level.
“Don’t forget your good male friends they can provide good examples of what to look for in guys,” said Andrews.
On love, the panelist encouraged young women to be aware of how they treat men.
“It’s okay to be strong and independent. We have to be conscious of the energy we put out to men” said Stanely, owner of Ethnicity Models Agency.
Half-way through the event the panelist were given a question about Rap Artist Nicki Minaj in relation to the female black image.
“She found a way to brand herself as a black woman from the way she dresses, talks, and its genius really,” said Michele. “I’m proud of her, I hope she grows and talks about different things.”
Michelle R. Callahan, relationship counselor and psychologist said, “Vote with your dollar, if you don’t like something, don’t buy it.”
Near the end of the event the audience was permitted to ask the panelists questions.
Kianta Key, a public health graduate student from Atlanta spoke of mentoring programs at Walker Ford-Community Center that are geared to helping students talk about their problems and overcome them.
“It’s nice for people to come out and speak to the students, but if they’re not using those words to make a positive impact in our community- it’s a waste,” said Key.
After the forum Michele gave a special performance of her song “Epiphany.”
“I think that if we can continue to portray beautiful images of us being together and letting people see that we can get ourselves together as sisters, there is hope,” said Michele.