Do You Live As If Your Soul Is Free?


Reflections on Freedom for Women Today

The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation of the United States intended to free the bodies of African American slaves. Because of lingering Confederate control, the decree could not be implemented in some places still under its domain. So, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved Black people received word of their freedom on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. On this great day, later known as Juneteenth, 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.

Smithsonian Magazine* says, “The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865–1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation as a whole. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation and even sue slaveholders for compensation.”

As a Black woman, I am acutely aware of the generations of Black women who came before me who did not have the privileges I have today. The privilege of choice. I’m also staunchly appreciative of the way they have paved for me, starting with Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, and today Oprah and even Tamron Hall.

Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

As we roam freely in and out of places and spaces, I ask you to consider if you were to embrace fully the privilege of your freedom, what is it that your soul most yearns for? What would you do if I told you that when the body has been conditioned to the worst possible circumstances, that the potential for this to influence your mind is second nature.

As we prepare to honor and celebrate the nation’s second independence day this June, I posit today if you realize your personal freedom? What are you struggling with as a whole, and is what is holding you back real or imagined? If you felt that you had NOTHING and no one holding you back, free of others opinions of what you should do or say, what would you do? Where would you go?

I will never forget when I was 16 years old living in Memphis. I had this burning desire to wear braids. My mother loved getting my hair straightened and would host photoshoots at our home of my hair after I got a fresh perm. But, as for me, I couldn’t wait until hair grew out some so I could feel the texture emanating from my scalp. I kept thinking, I know what my mom likes, and what my friends look like, but what if I just love my hair the way that it is? Over time, I freed myself of the perm with a big chop in 1996, and ever since then have been natural.

Wearing my hair as I do is just one reflection of me feeling free to choose what I wish to do as I please. Other examples are me choosing a non traditional field of advertising, being an entrepreneur, being unmarried and moving from Memphis to Chicago to New York to New Orleans, in pursuit of life fulfillment and soul nourishment.

So, today I ask you as we all celebrate this country’s second emancipation day, Juneteenth, what is that thing your soul truly craves to have, be or do. Because you, my friend, are free to be whatever you desire. Our ancestors have paved the way, and desire that everyone have the freedom to become, go and create as they please.

This Juneteenth, me and the Freedom at The Mat Krewe are hosting a celebration of our personal freedom called Freedom Fête in New Orleans. We are honoring the Holiday by connecting spiritually with the ancestors, experiencing healing movement, talking about our personal freedom journeys and enjoying some freedom inducing music. Our leading ladies of wellness include Faith Hunter, Shanda Domango-Brown, Morrisa Jenkins, Dr. Courtney Arianne Washington and Cecily.

Learn more about our event here. Hope to see you there as we celebrate our freedom, honor our beings and work to become what we are intended to be.



The O Blog | Marketing POV by Olivia F. Scott

Olivia is a C-Suite Marketing Exec & Founder. An NYU & Loyola Professor, she has led mktg at Carol's Daughter, VIBE, Live Nation, Ogilvy & more for 25+ years.