December 18, 2017
Women of color have long been (and frankly, continue to be) the most marginalized, most overlooked grouping of our population. Black women are systematically kept down and told to stay down in the face of adversity time and time again. And in that face of adversity, they refuse to abandon their strength and continue to be the disregarded backbone of culture, style, and grace.
From practically inventing the blues and rock ‘n’ roll (Bessie Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, Odetta) to the recent vote in Alabama where Black women showed up in droves to elect Doug Jones, their massive contributions to society are either whitewashed (when profitable and easily accessed by capitalism) or shamed and belittled (when seen as too loud, too much, too different). The bottom line is that it is way past due for these women to get the acclaim and platforms they rightly deserve.
Spending a morning scrolling through her social media feed, Brandi Williams came across photos of the 2017 #BlackGirlsRock event which inspired her to create a function that would honor flawless, true, just and real women. “This is about honoring how Black women show up as advocates for our community and each other. We don’t always do this by standing on the front lines of a protest or showing up at council meetings,” Williams said. “Sometimes your revolution is how you love and care for the community so that those who are protesters, politicians and activists can continue to do their work publicly.”
Enter A Seat At The Table Awards (ASATA), an awards ceremony founded by Davita Galloway and Brandi Williams. Galloway is a creator of Dupp & Swat, a creative studio that celebrates all forms of expression from fashion show production, poetry events, and wardrobe styling to photo shoots with celebrity clientele. She has also served as a Stylist for Africa Fashion Week New York for several years and is Executive Director of venture and non-profit CrownKeepers, which works to provide opportunities and platforms for the Queen City’s creatives. “When Brandi approached me with the idea, I was all in. It’s always great to collaborate with dope women to create a needed outlet for other fly and intelligent chicas. Brandi and I are more than ready to applaud those who rarely get their due,” Davita said. Williams is an accredited public relations professional turned “broker for change” who serves as the leadership chair for the Hip Hop Caucus Charlotte and the founder of juice crü, a grassroots social movement that teaches people to leverage their personal and collective power to create change. She is also launching The Real Magnolias in Winter of 2018, a project that will share the experiences of Southern Black Magnolias. All of these things are only a sliver of what both of these empowered, vibrant women are capable of and do on a daily basis.
Rightfully sharing its name with Solange’s 2016 album, ASATA aims to elevate Black women in the Charlotte metro area during a Spring 2018 ceremony so they may claim their rightful place in a triumphant tomorrow. “There are so many Black women that make contributions to Charlotte and surrounding areas, but they don’t get recognition,” said Williams. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for the sistas who aren’t in the establishment to get recognized for the work they put in daily. We should know these sistas because their contributions are helping make us stronger as a people and a community.”
ASATA is looking for “all Black queens, 18 or older in the Charlotte metro that are dope, professional, creative, sincere, authentic and sexually free.” Williams says ASATA should honor those brave and fly within the local Charlotte community: “What we are recognizing has nothing to do with things that are on your resume. We are honoring the things that are true to Black culture. We are honoring women who have helped, continue to help and will continue to help grow and heal our community. We are honoring what I call the 4 F’s of Black culture :: faith, family, food and fly!”
Encourage and inspire these powerful women by nominating them through ASATA’s website until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, January 6. Voting on the submitted nominations starts Monday, January 15 and winners will be announced at the ceremony in March.