A couple of weeks ago my sister sat me down and asked me to watch a new music video by Keri Hilson. I am not necessarily of fan of Keri Hilson, but whenever Ciona invites me to check out something music related I do.

When I saw the title I was all ready for the “cheese,” but then the 4-minute clip began, revealing the song’s deeper message that all women are beautiful as she takes on the likeness of legends: Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, the Andrew Sisters, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson and TLC.

Check it out…

I have not read any interviews with Ms. Keri Hilson, but I think it is safe to assume she was very intentional about choosing to thread the story with the beauty of blackness that has graced our screens and radios for decades.

I love it.

A week or so after Ciona shared the video with me I decided to invite two of the teenagers I serve in ministry with to check it out. It did not take all of 30 seconds for me to realize the deeper meaning and awe was a bit lost with them, as they quickly were like What is she doing? Who is that?

Pause, I had to take a pause and I actually just stopped it and found a funny youtube clip to show. Maybe Swagga Wagon, I cannot remember actually.

During the pause I started thinking about some pop culture icons who are African-American or the Caucasian-American legends who they may have recognized, whose presence on the screen possibly would not have distracted them from the deeper message or lead them to miss it all together.

The truth is, even I had to ask Ciona who the Andrew Sisters were.

All of these things pointed me towards a book I picked up during my sabbatical in October called I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America and a blog idea a friend shared with me for the month of February. Over the next few weeks, possibly months, I am going to blog about Black women who changed the United States of America. We can learn together the stories of women who have been marginalized within a society that for centuries has seen a particular shade of woman’s story as being the norm.

Over the next couple of weeks may we listen to the stories & voices of some of the most beautiful women of the USA and be inspired to claim our own beauty as we live light.

Ciona D. Rouse: She shines! a lover of God and the world, a poet, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a woman of prayer, a writer, an artist and a yogi who has inspired me daily to claim my inner & outer beauty. She has made a number of contributions to the USofA as a co-creator with God over her 31 years of life, but one of her greatest contributions was her book offering "Like Breath and Water