Mental health is an extremely important topic that should be discussed especially in communities where such a topic is tabooed. Often, you see mental health being brushed off within minority communities and not too many individuals realize that it’s okay not to be okay and that you shouldn’t feel afraid or uncomfortable when discussing these topics.
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity of interviewing Rowana Abbensetts, founder of Spoken Black Girl, for the Phenomenal Women Project. She is an advocate for mental health and uses her platform to bring awareness to not only mental health, but also self-care and wellness for Black women.
Rowana was born in Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Jamaica, Queens and is a proud Guyanese-American! She sees herself as a curious, ambitious and compassionate woman and when asked why, she stated:
“I’ve always been incredibly curious about everything around me. I love going to museums and exploring new places. Books are the ultimate escape for my inquisitive mind. In order to keep up with all of my dreams, I’ve learned the importance of going after what I want in life. I’m always trying to access the best version of myself. I chose the word compassionate because I find real joy in genuine human interactions. Uplifting other people can be incredibly healing.”
I can definitely see those three characteristics in her work as she continues to be a voice for Black women. Not only is she passionate about being a voice, but she also encourages Black women to share their own stories as well:
“I’m passionate about helping Black women embrace their worth and use their voices. My blog is meant to be a source of inspiration for Black women who struggle with mental illness and my posts encourage Black women to see themselves as powerful and influential beings whose stories can change the world for the better. As a writer, even my fiction is meant to represent the diverse and complex experiences of Black women. I want to continue creating spaces for Black women to share their journeys and find encouragement for self-growth.”
I admire the work that Rowana does; it is important to have online platforms that bring awareness to such issues. I know she has inspired others, but I wanted to know who inspires her and helped her become the phenomenal woman that she is today. When asked who is the most phenomenal woman she knows, she said:
“…my mother, Evelyn Abbensetts. She traveled across the world from Guyana to New York so that her children could have a better life and continues to be a shining example of hard work, perseverance, and resilience for me.”
After seeing that her mother is the woman to thank for such an amazing person I went on to ask Rowana what it means to her to be a phenomenal woman:
“Every woman who gets out of bed in the morning and dares to pursue growth or dares to walk in her purpose is phenomenal to me. Women are so often told what to do and who to be, but I think there’s a special power in defining one’s own destiny.”
Hope you all enjoyed reading about the phenomenal woman of the week. Make sure to check out Rowana and all her amazing work on her blog, Spoken Black Girl!
Until next time!