There’s nothing like spending a Saturday in Atlanta getting primped, pampered and inspired. That was certainly the vibe at HBO’s 2 Dope Queens Atlanta Beauty Bar on February 9. Seriously, where do I begin? I’ll start with when I first walked in. I can’t lie – the environment was pretty dope, no pun intended. Snoblife, which proved to be the perfect setting, hosted the event. It was completely free (attendees didn’t even need to register) and featured three 30-minute panels MC’ed by the amazing Tahira Joy, founder of The Cut Life.
And in between sessions?
Attendees could snap photos with panelists, take advantage of complimentary manicures, massages, facials and enjoy the sounds of none other than female DJ Traci Steele. I have to say, one of the best moments was when she urged the crowd to sing along with Tevin Campbell’s Can We Talk. When it became clear the audience didn’t feel like belting out the classic chorus, Traci reminded us that we were there to celebrate and clap it up for dope queens, including her, as she is one of the only female DJs making moves like she is. It didn’t take long for the audience to change its tune and start singing and dancing along; aiming to prove Sean “Diddy” Combs wrong and show that Atlanta really does like to dance.
So, let’s talk about these sessions.
The first one was all about Black female entrepreneurship and was bound to make our hearts smile. It informed some and reminded others that Black women are taking over the business game… literally. We’re the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country right now. And the panelists, Monique Rodriguez, founder of Mielle Organics, and Serial Entrepreneur Koereyelle, told us all about their experience and motivated us all to stay true to ourselves as we embark on any business venture.
One of the most quotable moments comes from Rodriguez, who told us to, “Do what you feel God has called you to do, not what you feel the gram has called you to do.”
That was kind of an ongoing theme throughout all the sessions; to not look at our female counterparts’ highlight reels on Instagram wondering where we went wrong, but instead to be inspired by who we are and set goals that we know will fit who we are called to be. Ultimately, the biggest lesson for entrepreneurs in the room was to find our own niche. In a crowded industry, we were urged to think about what makes us stand out. Rodriguez and Koereyelle gave the idea to look at others in the industry and see what’s missing and what’s lacking. If it’s something we’re passionate about, that’s a hole and void we can fill.
The second session, Polishing Your Crown, featured actress and philanthropist Keshia Knight Pulliam and multi-million dollar real estate producer Brandi Hunter-Lewis. This session was so amazing! Keshia, who we’ve pretty much grown up with, told us that we should never be afraid to dream big. While she made history at a young age, she made it clear she’s not slowing down anytime soon. She encouraged us to create words of affirmation, and as we continue along this journey of happiness, to never lose sight of our true value. Keshia also expressed how important it is to treat everyone the same, no matter if they are the janitor or the CEO. Brandi added that we need to show up every day and have a standard of excellence as we fight life’s battles to become our best selves. After losing her husband at 29 to violence on the South Side of Chicago, Brandi relocated to Atlanta with her and her three boys, determined not to let them have the same fate. She continues to polish her crown as a real estate powerhouse and dropped gems that helped her get to where she is now. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” she said. “It’s not selfish to take care of yourself and do things that bring you peace.”
And the inspiration and motivation only continued from there. The final panel dove into self-love, health and wellness. The panelists were Nikia Phoenix, the founder of Black Girl Beautiful, and Tasha B., who works as a professional dancer that you may or may not have seen grace the stage with Beyonce at her 2018 Coachella performance. In this session, attendees were reminded that self-care and self-love is all about tuning out the noise and tuning into our inner selves. It’s about turning a place of lack into a place of abundance, ignoring the messages of we can and can’t do, and what we can and can’t be. Phoenix said it best when she explained, “Self-care doesn’t have to cost you anything. It’s going to cost you more if you don’t let go of things.” The best part is that self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. I think we all love a day at the spa (I mean, who didn’t love all of the complimentary services at the event?). But if your wallet is saying, “I’m good luv, enjoy,” some free forms of self-care include turning off your phone, lighting candles, reading a book, or even taking a bath.
Tasha B. also pushed listeners to love everything about ourselves and even what we go through during the process. She opened up and said it’s never a bad time to check in on our friends because they might be suffering in silence just like we all have in the past.
“It’s okay to unplug from social media and take a break and reflect from yourself instead of paying attention to what everyone else is doing,” Tasha told us as she revealed she’s going on a social media cleanse herself soon.
“Focus on mental health just as much as you focus on a snatched waist.” – Tasha B.