Our parents taught us at a very early age the power of words and how to use our voices to speak on issues that needed to be addressed, or made us feel uncomfortable in any perilous situations. This very same reason led me towards the path of cofounding Urban Bush Babes in 2011, to provide such a platform.
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My twin sister, TK Quann and I have teamed up with the Uber x Empowered Voices project, joining others who will share stories of inflictions and how they used their voices to overcome, or bring light to those who need a platform to be heard. Scroll below to read more.
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Cipriana Quann’s Story:
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TK and I stand firm in the belief that you do not have to like an individual’s personal style, you do not have to understand an individual’s sexual orientation or expect to relate to all social and political issues. You can respect a choice to celebrate how one wishes to be perceived, the freedom and courage to be unequivocally yourself despite bias criticism, the fight to stand up for a justice that does not discriminate against race, gender or economical background. Sometimes we can’t put the shoe on the other foot, that is not the world we live in. We can certainly try and live outside our brained washed preconceived notions, and do the research to find out the true facts before, we place judgments on anyone.
So whether you speak up today or tomorrow we stand with Uber x Empowered Voices because we all possess a power…our voice! Scroll below as TK shares our past and how we dealt with racism.
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TK Quann’s Story:
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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King
My twin sister, Cipriana, and I have teamed up with Uber X Empowered Voices project to highlight the power of using one’s voice and how that has always meant something truly special to us. Those aforementioned words by Martin Luther King have always resonated with me. I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and remember at a very young age I was aware of people being mistreated simply because of the color of their skin. My parents spoke to us about injustice and inequality at a very young age. My seven-year-old mind had trouble processing that fact. I thought, “Why would someone hate the color of my skin? Hate fruit cake or raisins in oatmeal but not a color. That’s silly.” I was astonished that someone would treat someone better or think they were more intelligent because of skin color. Could that really be true? It wasn’t until my sister and I were almost involved in a hit and run that we realized people did not merely reserve their hate for yucky cakes or unappealing dried fruit but actually reserved it for real live human beings.
My sister and I were returning home from school and as we crossed the street it’s what we heard before what we saw that felt like our stomachs dropped to our feet. The kind of stomach dropping feeling when you know you’re really really in trouble with your parents. The kind of stomach dropping feeling when oxygen masks unexpectedly release during unsettling airplane turbulence. I remember hearing three things. The throttle of an engine so loud that it would rival any similar sounds emitted at NASCAR. The jarring screech of rubber tires on concrete ostensibly rattling our bodies harder than a jackhammer. Male voices screaming racial epithets with the kind of hot sticky hate that outmatched the kind of summer day so hot and so humid it felt enraged. A colossal hunk of pick-up metal monstrosity barreled towards us with one intention. Cipriana and I joined hands and ran for cover hoping that the safety of the sidewalk would be enough to deter their wrath. It was and their eighteen and nineteen-year-old ire quickly followed suit with laughter as they sped away leaving in their smoky muffler pipe wake two very confused and tearful twelve-year-old girls.
I always remember that day. It was our first personal and blatant encounter of racism as school girls. I thought, “How often did other people experience this kind of thing. Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? What was being done about it? Was anyone speaking up? Wouldn’t anyone find this scary no matter the color of one’s skin? Wouldn’t everyone not want this for their child or anyone else’s child no matter if they were black or white?”
Unfortunately that day would not be our only encounter with racism however that day ignited something and it’s that something that I think about till this day. All the time. It’s that something that makes me think about those Martin Luther King Jr. words: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” It’s that something that fuels my fire to stand against injustice. It’s that something I want in everything I do. Especially on social media.
So it really hits home that Uber is exhorting those to share their stories in candid ways. Cipriana and I have always been vocal on various subject matters and it is an imperative part of our work; whether it be writing, fashion, modeling, music or traveling. Our work involves multiple interests and it truly means something when we can work with brands and honestly discuss or address different subject matters that are meaningful to us.
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