February 5th, 2020, Atlanta, GA / Giselle Ave. Media — This is a public service announcement: If you are black, or a woman, or an entrepreneur— or a black woman entrepreneur, I highly recommend that you watch a new documentary on Netflix titled “She Did That.” Created and Executive Produced by PR Consultant and Founder of “In Her Shoes,” blog, Renae Bluitt, this documentary highlights the path of extraordinary black women in entrepreneurship as they share their stories of resilience, strength, and empowerment as Founders & CEOs of their own companies. If I could rate this documentary on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the greatest — I’d give it a 20!
The documentary opens in New York City, with an introduction from Renae Bluitt, sharing why she decided to create this film. The media is known for portraying negative images of black people in general, especially black women. In contrast, the media also makes a sincere effort of reporting data that highlights how quickly black women are becoming entrepreneurs. A recent study by Guidiant Financial revealed that:
Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. growing by 322% since 1997.
But, who are they and who will tell their stories? “She Did That,” eloquently shares their personal testimonies of why they decided to start their businesses, and how they scaled their companies into household brandnames. I was personally moved by this documentary because I was reminded that I’m not alone on this journey of paving my own way. As a professional black woman, it’s so exhausting to have to “be a certain way,” in order to be accepted, even if you’re just as talented and as educated as your counterparts! I blogged about “Why I Decided to Start Bringing My Entire Self To Work,” in 2017, and just a year later in 2018, I left corporate America for good.
The truth is, today’s corporate structure is not designed for us to advance and get paid our worth. I can speak from personal experience, and I was so relieved to learn that many of the women featured in the documentary were also simply TIRED of playing the game, and finally decided to bet on themselves. It takes a lot of courage and grit to walk into entrepreneurship full-time, but like many of the women featured, many times the universe forces you out of your comfort zone and into your purpose. It’s truly a blessing in disguise, and it helps you tap into a part of you that would never be revealed while working in corporate America.
Representation Matters, At All Ages
My favorite quote was from Nigerian Blogger turned New York Times Best-Selling Author, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, her words resonated with me to my core! As a first-generation Igbo girl in America, I’ve always felt different and out of place. I spent most of my formative years struggling with my own identity because I didn’t know ANYONE like me! I was always “awkward” yet popular, and I’ve always had an unforgettable vibrancy about myself, but I would often shrink myself (as many girls are taught to do) to make others feel more comfortable. Learning more about Luvvie’s journey to becoming a best-selling author inspired me to keep writing, keep blogging, and to keep going! In today’s economy, there are so many ways to create the life you want and “She Did That,” presents a first-person point-of-view of how you can take an unconventional path and still be both financially, spiritually, and professionally successful!
Support Is A Huge Piece of the Puzzle
We often see the highlight reels of “success stories,” via social media, and we see the followers, the likes, and the digital support, but who is working behind the scenes to encourage black female founders to stay in the game, in real life? A solid support system. I was delighted to see the inclusion of black men in the conversation. Whether you come from a legacy of black business ownership, or you are married to a supportive, loving man who wants to see you win — a solid support system is the most important piece of the puzzle! The truth is, no one is really self-made. We all need support and encouragement to keep going after our dreams. I’m grateful for my loving, supportive husband because he continues to be the anchor of this ship! It takes a certain level of maturity and confidence to be with a woman with big dreams, and I’m proof that the right man wants to see you win — not hold you back.
Lastly, there was a quick conversation about collaboration over competition. I’ll be honest, I spent most of my early career looking to collaborate with other like-minded women, but there was more competition present than genuine collaboration. But, this film inspired me to keep hope alive and to keep creating because soon enough, the right women will be attracted to my cause, at the right time.
Watching this documentary felt like I was sitting in a room full of like-minds, while creating a safe space to share our personal struggles and challenges of full-time entrepreneurship. It also gave me permission to soar as a courageous black woman in business, and to continue to create my own lane while leaving my mark on the world.
If you’re looking for a friendly reminder of WHO you are and WHY you started, I encourage you to stream “She Did That” on Netflix today!
They did that, and I’m doing this!