I was the oddball.
The token black girl.
The girl who snorted when she laughed and played Magic with her pals during lunch.
While other kids were listening to New Kids on the Block, Marilyn Manson, Pantera, and Britney Spears, I rocked & grooved to Ska music, Sublime, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Journey, Steely Dan, Christian rock, Miles Davis, Billy Idol, AC/DC, No Doubt, The Police, old school hip-hop, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and of course Prince....and anyone who worked or played with Prince: Sheila E., Rosie Gaines, Maceo Parker, Larry Graham, and countless others.
My tastes were eclectic and while I wasn't allowed to, I dreamed of putting bright colors in my hair and singing in a rock band. Gwen Stefani, Debbie Harry and Stevie Nicks were some of my favorite female lead singers.
I didn't know very many kids with the same tastes as mine, especially any black girls.
That's why when at the age of 7, I met my older cousins Addye & Crystal, and saw that Addye rocked Prince's symbol on the back of her Tracker, and Crystal had blue dread locks, I knew I had found kindred spirits. Both artists, music & pop culture junkies, and free spirits, I immediately grew fond of them and they became my favorite cousins. With them I could talk about anything creative-writing, arts, music, my favorite guitar riffs or lyrics in a Prince song....they were and always have just been like the kick ass older sisters I never had.
Crystal is an art teacher and one of the best DJ's in NYC. Every year she crashes the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and meets the musicians she and Addye grew up listening to. Addye is a graphic designer and everything about her and her work oozes creativity, pop culture savvy, and uniqueness.
Simply put, she makes stuff for "That Chick"-the ones who live their lives out loud, expressing their creative flair and quirky nature. The ones who defy stereotypes, sticks to their guns, live with style and purpose, who are ahead of their time, and always keep you guessing. Whether you're a brown chick, white chick, or yellow chick, her designs are for you, and I love that about her work.
She strongly believes in creating items for women & girls that help them embrace both the edgy and cute sides of themselves and that is why I'm trying to help her make her dream of becoming a small business and a brand for "That Chick" on a large scale happen.
She recently submitted an application for a grant from Chase in their "Mission: Small Business" initiative. Business from all over the country are applying and hoping to be in the running for a $250,000 grant to help them either launch or grow their small business.
In order to become eligible for the grant, each business that applies needs to receive at least 250 votes from those who believe in and support them.
Would you consider voting for my cousin Addye & her design house Joyfantastic Design? Voting is simple and I know she would so appreciate it. All you have to do is visit the Mission: Small Business website here, click "Login & Support" which allows you to login through your Facebook account, search for "Joyfantastic Design" and vote. It's very simple, and she's sooooo close, she just needs 32 more votes to make it to the finish line.
If you'd like to read more about her, you can check out an article she was recently featured in over at Hidden City Philadelphia here, and you can also check out her website for her "Yay 9!" line of tees & accessories, www.yay9.com
If you do vote, THANK YOU. Addye and her work mean a great deal to me, and if she gets this grant, hopefully I can score & rock some more of her fab tees like this one :)