What were you known for in elementary school?
Were you known as the weird one? The cool cat? Teacher’s pet? The teacher’s turmoil?
Whoever you were back then, 9-year-old Brendan “BJ” Boggus want you and every other kid to know that you’re “kool”. So much so, the future entrepreneur and his mother, Breana, are working on a business all about celebrating yourself just as you are called “BKOOL the Brand.”
“My first name starts with a B and I’m ‘kool,’” Brendan said. “’Kool’ to me means special. I want kids to see my logo and know that they are ‘kool’ just like me.”
So, what’s “kool” to Brendan? Being yourself and being there for your friends.
BKOOL the Brand is essentially an anti-bullying campaign. Brendan said he wants to buy clothes for kids in need and host fundraiser events, the proceeds from which will go towards his community of Town Creek, a small town in Alabama. He wants kids to call him if they are being teased and need encouragement.
Because you know what is not ‘kool?’ Being bullied. Brendan started the brand after enduring fatphobic comments from his classmates.
“It’s not funny to make fun of people,” Brendan said. “I had a friend (die of suicide) because of bullying. He was nice to me. He was ‘kool.”
Breana said her son expresses himself through love and kindness. He always offers to help the elderly put groceries in their cars.
“He is very inspiring to me even while he is using his own kid lingo” she said. “He may not know all the words to say, but he speaks from a place of love and kindness.”
Since Brendan’s business is in its infant stages, BKool the Brand’s website is still under construction but you can support the blooming business by reaching out to Breana at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Black Girls run
Jay Ell Alexander is making sure no sis is left behind on the running trail.
Richmond, Va., mother and author has been CEO of Black Girls Run since 2019. The nonprofit organization encourages Black women to slay their health goals through running while also tackling the stereotype that “Black women don’t run.”
Alexander found sanctuary in running because it gave her time to connect with herself and community. After noticing an absence of Black women while running marathons, she became Black Girls Run’s national public relations and branding director in 2011.
One of the main goals of Black Girls Run is to lower the obesity rates among Black women. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four out of five Black women are overweight. She upped her running game after she became CEO in 2019, the same year she gave birth to her son. She weighed 300 pounds and could barely run a mile. But she changed her diet and signed up for a virtual marathon a couple months after giving birth in February 2020.
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Alexander said the first race was hard postpartum was rough, but she didn’t focus on her time. Only on the finish line.
“The hardest thing about getting into shape after having my son was learning my new body. There was no ‘snapback,’” Alexander said. “I had to slow walk my training and that was a huge mental adjustment for me. Allowing myself time, grace and being okay with not being okay was how I overcame it.”
It’s been a year later and Alexander has lost 115 pounds. She said she wanted to encourage other mom’s that their health goals are possible. Some tips from her:
- Keep moving and celebrate the small wins
- Allow yourself grace.
- Enjoy the journey.
- You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself, too.
Black figure skater wows fans
If you want to experience an expression of true Black freedom, follow Black Montreal figure skater Elladj Baldé on Tik Tok and Instagram. I promise you’ll be swooned by his videos as he glides (or flips!) like a graceful Black bird across the frozen Lake Minnewanka in Alberta, Canada.
— Jonece Starr Dunigan (@StarrDunigan) January 24, 2021
Baldé is a retired competitive figure skater who inspires millions of future Black figure skaters through his social media accounts and his nonprofit, Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance, which strives to challenge the racial inequities that keep Black, indigenous skaters of color from being successful in the sport.
Baldé told CBC News that the competitive figure skating world tried to put him in a white, European, almost elitist, box. So he broke out and now encourages both Americans and Canadians to embrace their authentic selves.
“I would love to encourage people to pursue their passion, whatever that is,” Baldé told reporters. “And hopefully, the next generation that comes into the sport will no longer have to deal with some of the things that us older generations … had to experience.”
Stay authentic by embracing your Black magic. See you next week!
How are you celebrating Black Joy? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your happiness and laughter with us! Also, take a minute to check out and join the Black Magic Project’s Facebook page where we celebrate and discuss Black culture and community.