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BGS Breaking Barriers, Building Resilience Conference Closes with Words from Music Artist Normani

In case you missed it (ICYMI), on July 17-19, Black Girls Smile Inc. held its annual three-day virtual Black Girls Are Magic conference with this year’s theme, ‘Breaking Barriers, Building Resilience: The Path to Empowered Black Girls. Athleisure wear apparel company Fabletics sponsored this year’s event.

Each day’s session began with a 10-15 minute yoga session presented by BGS partners Manifest House and Fabletics to prepare participants for the day’s conversation on their unique journey to mental health wellness. Black Girls Smile Founder Lauren Carson led the event’s conversations, which included insights from clinical mental health professionals to support those in their healing journey and caregivers who need extra tools and resources to help those they care for.

Multi-platinum recording artist Normani kicked off the last day’s session by describing her wellness journey and routine.

“I’m a huge advocate for therapy. I kicked off my weekly sessions back in 2020 and remember discovering I was the first person in my family to attend therapy. Unfortunately, within Black communities, we’re not really encouraged to go to therapy or taught to work on being resilient (especially the women)… it’s sort of generational. I felt like I’m always having to be strong even when my back is up against the wall,”

She goes on to describe how Black women internalize many of the outside influences that plague them and still must “show up” despite them. In her line of work, therapy has allowed her to express herself and provided her with tools that have helped in her relationship with herself and others.

“Therapy makes a world of difference for me — it enables me to find consistent joy. Not only in my professional life, but personally too,” continues Normani.

The conversation between Carson, Co-Founder of be Morr Counseling Regine Dorismond, LCSW, and Normani transitioned to using self-care as a decompression method and a way to be in tune with mental health needs.

Dorismond expressed the importance of being aware of mental health needs and articulating them to those around you. Often people tend to believe that because an individual is with them daily, they witness the stressors in their life–and many times, this is untrue. Dorismond recommends explaining to those closest to you what you're experiencing and what you need.

Normani's expression of self care starts with gratitude.

"...I've missed out on so many amazing moments because I wasn't able to be present. I find myself repeatedly thinking about my next goals or achievements. I’m just thanking God constantly…it’s so easy to take these moments for granted,” responds Normani.

The more than two-hour event closed with remarks about the pressures that can create debilitating actions and build stress, like procrastination and meeting others’ expectations. For procrastination, Carson suggests incorporating tools like making lists, setting boundaries, not feeling the pressure to ‘work on other people’s timelines,’ and being comfortable with saying no.

“When you say yes to someone else, sometimes you’re saying no to yourself,” stated Carson.

“...I feel like also taking off the pressure of being responsible for other people’s feelings,” adds Normani.

“...Some expectations are things that we've created in our own minds…,” describes Dorismond. When managing expectations, it's essential to understand and know what others are asking of you and set boundaries based on their ask and expectations.

If you missed this great event, don’t worry; there are more activations coming your way. Make sure you don’t miss any details by signing up for our newsletter.


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