April 14, 2023
On Living History, Life Hacks and Limited Swag
Last weekend was my very FIRST DELTAversary! The historic inaugural line of the Chicago Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, my sisters of 🔺79 Stages of Evolution 🔺️and I celebrated 1 year in the sisterhood. So I was in these streets (which is a story I’ll tell y’all another time about getting threatened by a dude who was hangry in a Harold’s Chicken at 11pm while waiting on biscuits, and I blame my sorors 😅).
My linesisters and I did an epic photoshoot, brunched, partied and really reveled in a year of service, sisterhood, scholarship and social action.
But can we get into the Power Suit Baddies, real quick??? 💁🏾♀️ Cuz we did that!
We’re looking like we’ve been sent on a mission to solve a complex crime that occurred at a global conference. 😂 And the main suspect is an evil billionaire who is trying to defund all our public services. So we need to find who this secret engine is and bring him to justice. 🕵🏾♀️
Lowkey, we really do need people on the case, which is related to what’s on my mind this week.
We are living in a dystopia.
I remember reading history books and being like “wow, it really must have sucked to live during those times” about various notable events in history. 😫 Like… I’d be shooketh for the people who we were reading about.
Now, we legit ARE those people. Between global pandemics, tyrants ruling countries, insurrections, taxes and now the full on attack on all things knowledge, women’s bodies and science… we are living in a dystopian nightmare. 😵💫 Every single day, some news drops and I facepalm so hard I give myself a headache (like the Dalai Lama asking a young kid to suck his tongue. Cuz WTAF??). And at this point, I’m like CANCEL EARTH. Let’s just be done because this place is a raging dumpster fire.
Last year, Missouri passed a new law outlawing “explicit sexual material” in school libraries. So books like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and even ‘Batman: White Knight’ were removed from school libraries.
Now, their Republican-controlled House has decided to completely defund public libraries. All because the Missouri Association of School Librarians and the Missouri Library Association filed an ACLU lawsuit challenging the banning of these books. 🤦🏾♀️
LIBRARIES being defunded is truly a nightmare. And the GOP is officially a death cult that’s anti-knowledge and anti-all good things at this point. 😭
Generations after us are gonna read (hopefully) about this time and pity us cuz we’re living the Hunger Games in real time. 😩😩😩
Being able to say “I don’t know” and ask questions is a life hack.
One of the things I’m practicing is saying “I don’t know” more often. “What is happening in the world?” Me: I DON’T KNOW. 🤷🏾♀️
The ability and humility to say “I don’t know” is a superpower, I’ve discovered. Because not tying yourself to the trap of having to KNOW IT ALL means you are open to learning more, and you will seek out resources and guidance. It makes me seek out (and work with) people who are more competent than me in areas I’m weak in, which has actually made me stronger. 💪🏾
Plus, you will start letting people know that you don’t belong on pedestals (cuz those are for statues).
I talk about excellence as a habit a lot. But being excellent is not about having expertise in ALL areas. It’s not about necessarily being a Jill/Jack of All Trades, master of none. I think it’s about mastering ONE thing, being competent in many others. ☝🏾 But whatever you tie your name to, is consistently GOOD. None of this is about knowing everything all the time. That’s too much pressure anyway.
I ask questions often too, because what I don’t know, I want to learn about and understand.
Society has tricked and conditioned us into thinking that having all the answers is somehow a sign of competence and leadership. So then we act like we know everything. Feeling like we have to hide the fact we don’t know something, as if we should be ashamed of any lack of knowledge. Walking around unsupported and unnecessarily stressed for no reason because we have to achieve expectations we said that we could, knowing we didn’t have the required skill set or answers that would make it a whole lot less difficult in the first place. 😩😫 IT’S TEW MUCH.
So, I’ve become close friends with the phrase “I don’t know.” And it’s led to my constant growth, especially as a human, friend, leader, CEO.
Great leaders understand that every single time we avoid saying “I don’t know”, we rob ourselves of a valuable opportunity to learn or be taught something. And the best leaders ask good questions to find the right answers.
So the next time you are asked something you don’t immediately know the answer to, even when your instinct is to provide a conversation stopping quick reply, retort or comment, 🤔 pause and consider speaking truth to power by starting with “I don’t know…”
Gag everyone by wearing this Let Them Choke t-shirt.
Y’all remember 2 weeks ago when folks were saying LSU’s Angel Reese was “too much” because she became an NCAA champion with confidence and talked trash as she did it. One thing the world is gonna do is tell Black women to be less confident, less assured. Folks try to humble us. 😒
People have a problem with confident Black women. And an obsession with trying to humble us. When we walk in rooms, heads held high, assured that we belong, folks are rooting for us to fail. But we win. We win anyway. 😤
Well, I wanted to remind us all of that, and what I said:
It went viral, and y’all said you want the t-shirt! Well, I tapped on Kalilah Wright of Mess in a Bottle, and said “let’s give the people what they want!” 😏
And that’s why, on behalf of Angel, Sha’Carri and the countless number of us Black women who have been told we are too much, too confident, too colorful, Kalilah and I have dropped a limited edition collaboration. 🙌🏾 The Luvvie Ajayi Jones x MESS t-shirt that says, “Do not break yourself down into bite-sized pieces. LET. THEM. CHOKE.”
The shirt speaks for itself, and is ONLY AVAILABLE for order until April 20, 2023! You have ONE WEEK to grab this t-shirt and it’ll be gone. So get yours, and say it with your FULL chest.
🗣️🗣️🗣️ LET. THEM. CHOKE.
So all the folks out there that get mad every time we win with gumption, just gonna have to stay mad.
What else should people stay mad about? 🤔
Disclaimer: I receive commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this newsletter. All thoughts and vouching are mine. I keep it true.
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Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and entrepreneur who thrives at the intersection of culture, business and leadership.
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Luvvie has visited over 25 countries, and averaged over 110,000 miles of travel a year. This is a guide to pass on cheat codes she’s learned to create as little chaos as possible while traveling.
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