Black Girl Wellness Round-Up

The internet is rich with wellness affirming resources for Black women and girls. Below we curated some of our favorite online spaces for resources, inspiration and advice relating to wellness and lifestyle. Check them out and let us know where you go for wellness resources!


Therapy for Black Girls
IG: @therapyforblackgirls
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is a psychologist out of Atlanta who runs this phenomenal online space to encourage Black women and girls’ mental wellness.  In addition to hosting a podcast and weekly online chats exploring various mental health topics, she provides awesome tools for finding your own therapist!


Blackgirl ln Om
IG: @blackgirlinom
Black Girl in Om is holistic wellness platform for women of color focused on sharing wellness practices and affirming self-love, self-care and self-empowerment. Besides following them on Instagram and listening to their podcast, I highly recommend visiting their website and basking in the beautiful and inspirational images of Black women experiencing wellness.





Dear Black Women
IG: @dearblackwomen
This affirmation movement was begun by Florence Neal who wanted to create safe spaces for Black women by Black women. Visit the website to learn about upcoming events, read the affirmations of the week, listen to the podcast or even share your own affirmation!


Alexandra Elle
IG: @alex_elle
We love us some Alex Elle! From her insightful “hey, girl” podcast focused on sisterhood and storytelling, to the vulnerability she shares on her Instagram account as she navigates entrepreneurship, motherhood, relationships and self, this writer teaches us how to love ourselves more.  




Gettin’ Grown
IG: @gettingrownpod
Gettin’ Grown is a podcast hosted by two 30-something year old Black women who are figuring out adult life. Their conversations engage a range of topics including financial, relational, and emotional wellness.  





Food Heaven Show
IG: @foodheavenshow
These dieticians provide advice, ideas, recipes and resources for pursuing nutritious and delicious living. In addition to their website and Instagram account, their podcasts explores a variety of wellness related topics. Y’all, nutritious living never looked so good!





Living Over Existing
IG: @livingoverexisting
This resource offers excellent advice for Black women entrepreneurs. Listen to their podcast or visit their site for strategies for taking care of self and business!





Black Minimalists
IG: blkminimalists
For those of us interested in cultivating wellness in our lives through simplicity and intentional community, Black Minimalists is a great resource. Check out their monthly podcasts for discussions on being black and living a minimalist lifestyle.




Written for TBP by Erin M. Stephens
Cover image courtesy by CreateHer Stock

I am a change maker. I am a healer. I am an activist. I am a supporter, advocate, and educator. I am a labor and delivery nurse. I wear many hats during a 12+-hour shift, but by far, the most prominent is as a Black woman first.

I am reminded of the origins of gynecology, when my ancestors were used as guinea pigs for painful, intrusive procedures and experiments WITHOUT analgesia, because it was “common knowledge” that Black people, especially Black women did not experience pain in the same way as our White counterparts. Recently I have become very introspective regarding this calling on my life. I have begun to think more deeply on the cultural and social implications of my work, and how history has continued to shape the experience of being a patient of color in a system that has never been on our side. Working as a doula led me to Labor and Delivery, with the final goal of midwifery. I was also informed by my grandmother once I began this journey, that her grandmother was a lay midwife and delivered many babies with no formal education. It is ingrained in me; similar to the way that music and dance inhabit my soul. It is inescapable. In a field largely dominated by White women, it is a joy to have patients see a nurse that looks like them that understands them on a deeper level with an unspoken connection. Birth work is intense, exciting, and a true labor of love, and it is of great importance to my identity.

One would (naively) assume that medicine has taken such strides that race should not still be a factor. It is important to note that the highest mortality rate in the U.S. in childbearing belongs to Black women. Regardless of education level and socioeconomic factors, we are three to four times more likely to die, according to the CDC.* Our babies are also disproportionately affected as a result. As highlighted in the documentary “Death by Delivery,” Black women are suffering and no one can explain why. The documentary delves into a simple answer- racism. It is because of racial bias that one of the most recognized, talented, and valued athletes of our time, Serena Williams had to convince her providers that she had a blood clot following delivery, despite having experienced this condition before. What could have happened had she not taken control of her care and insisted profusely that she be listened to?

The silver lining of the current climate of Black maternal health is the recognition that it has gotten. Collectives such as SisterSong and Black Mamas Matter are doing formidable work socially and politically, and Black Maternal Health Week garnered much attention on social media and in numerous areas of the country. The goal is to show lawmakers and change agents why reproductive justice is of such importance. For those unaware of the concept, reproductive justice is defined as “the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, social and economic well-being of women and girls based on the full achievement and protection of women’s human rights.” It is with this concept that we hope to aid in destroying disparities. For there to be significant change, it must occur not only at a political level, but also within the hospitals, clinics, and offices where medical care is provided. Providers must eliminate bias from their practice and work to provide equal care across all patient populations.

Until we reach that point, what can we do?  Advocacy and education are the most important factors. If you are pregnant or planning to be, stay abreast of research. Even if you’re not, it is important to be a proponent of your health. Not to the extent that you become addicted to Google and become so consumed in “signs and symptoms” that you become a neurotic mess. Maintain a working knowledge of what is normal and what is not. Seek providers that care for your well being that listen and RESPOND ACCORDINGLY when you have concerns. Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. You know your body more than anyone so when it shows you that something is wrong, listen.

I am confident that we will make significant strides and end this crisis. If you’re interested in doing groundwork there are many avenues to pursue. Find your local reproductive justice organization or simply follow some on social media to stay aware. Read books. Become a doula, or a labor partner. Vote in local and national elections. Advocate for yourself and the women in your tribe. We have the power, strength, and fearlessness of the many women who have come before us. Let’s put it to use.

Resources for further study:

Killing the Black Body, Dorothy Roberts


Death by Delivery

Black Mamas Matter 


Written by Kara Simpson for The Beautiful Project

Y’all know those folks who make you feel good, just being in their company? My friend Ali is like that– she truly possesses the gift of encouragement. We met while working in student affairs at Duke University and became housemates not long after.  As our friendship grew over that year and the years that followed, I found myself in constant awe of her grace, kindness and how thoughtful she was in how she engaged others. When I met her mother a few years later, I felt the same warmth, welcome, and encouragement.  It is no surprise that these women have chosen to make their life work about supporting the mental and emotional well-being of others. We invited them to write a guest blog about ways Black girls and women can experience wellness in their lives. Read below for valuable tips for managing stress and cultivating mental and emotional wellness.

~ Erin


Stress is everywhere. Whether it’s the result of micro assaults to your sense of wellbeing or pressure you put on yourself, when the demand exceeds the resources, stress is the result. The 24-hour day of childhood feels measurably longer than the rapid-fire 24-hour cycle of today. Ironically, we are doing more and enjoying life less.

Working for someone else may pay the bills, but the job of taking care of you is the most important job of your life.  As women, we are often the glue that holds our families and communities together. Thus, taking care of ourselves, is not a selfish endeavor, but one that has ripple effects, benefitting our children, partners, friends and neighbors. Learning to manage stress is one of the best skills you can have in your tool box. The constant feelings of stressing and pressing have a way of taking their toll on your body and your life.  Most of us already know about the importance of eating right, getting enough sleep and regular exercise. Listed below are five additional stress management tips to help you achieve more balance in your everyday life.

1. Learn to be mindful. Pay attention to what you fill your mind with. Focus on activities and relationships that are affirming and life-giving.  In our current political climate, the line between staying informed and subjecting yourself to harmful imagery and narratives can be hard to decipher. Be selective, as the mind goes, so goes the rest of you. Monitor your newsfeeds and your media intake and don’t hesitate to take a break.

2.Watch your diet. That includes how much technology you devour on a daily basis, as well as what food you use to fuel your body. Does your diet give you more energy to take care of business or does it make you less energetic and productive?

3. Practice deep breathing on a regular basis. Your breath is a powerful tool to reduce stress and anxiety. Take a deep breath in.  Now let it out.  You may already feel a difference.  Taking a moment for a few slow and mindful breaths can provide you with an opportunity to stop and re-evaluate your current state.  Is this thing I am stressing about, worth my energy? If not, let it go and move on.  If so, channel that energy into coming up with a plan of attack.

4. Live the life you love and love the life you live. It’s your life. Listen to your inner voice first. Then and only then seek the counsel of trusted family and friends. If the dream job is causing your dreams to be nightmares, it’s O.K. to change your mind. We spend a tremendous amount of time trying to get other people to change when the only person you can change is you. Change you and you change the situation.

5. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.  We learn to say “No” before the tender age of 2 and then we spend the next twenty years being socialized to be polite and say yes (this is especially true for women). Reclaim your “NO”.  This means setting boundaries and being truthful and honest with yourself and others. Saying yes when the right answer is no may sound good in the moment, and it may even get the accolades of others. However, don’t be surprised when stress starts to creep into your life, and you find yourself feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Not taking responsibility for your choices and blaming others for the outcome of your life is called giving the power for your life to other people. Ask yourself, who have I given my power to? Then go get it back.

It’s your life. Make the most of it. Don’t let stress rob you. Finally, if stress is robbing you on a regular basis, don’t hesitate to call the stress police. A good therapist or life coach should be on your speed dial. Don’t wait for a crisis to occur, invest in your emotional savings account today.


Dr. Alexandra Scott and Dr. Sandra M. Hardy are a dynamic mother daughter psychologist team committed to furthering Black women’s wellness.

Over the last few years we have seen a rise in conversations about self-care. And let’s be real, these conversations are so necessary. In TBP, care-for-self is a central value and we create space for regular check-ins around our individual wellness. But we also realized a long time ago that self-care wasn’t enough— we needed to put in practice strategies for collective care.  But what does it mean to pursue wellness in and as a collective?

There have been a few different strategies we have employed over the years to center wellness as part of our collective work as image-activists, such as:

  1. Dedicating group conversations to reflecting on the ways gender, race and other intersecting identities shape our lives and the tensions that arise from these intersections.
  2. Creating spaces for us to experience physical and emotional wellness as a collective. This has included coming together to visit exhibits in a local museum, gathering together over good home-cooked food (shout out to Pamela!), always having feel good music playing at our meetings.
  3. Mobilizing Sisterhood As Activism to care for, cover, defend and hold space for one another.
  4. More recently, reflecting on the emotional labor involved in our image-activist work, which  validates the emotional and mental demand of this work while also affirming the relational and personal benefits that come out of it.

Ultimately, we have realized that a collective-care strategy is about creating and holding space for ourselves and our sisters to be real about our mental and emotional state of being, while also instituting accountability in our sisterhood for engaging in relational and individual care work.

While groups spaces and practices are key to our collective-care, relationships are at the core of this type of care work. It’s those “hey girl, hey” check-ins we do within our group that push past the surface “I’m ok” answers to get to vulnerable truths. It’s in these smaller conversations where we ask, “Did you go outside today?” Or “How are you taking care of yourself?” These conversations can range from easy to difficult, particularly when we see or experience the evidence of self-harm, self-sabotage, or selfishness (disguised as self-care) in our sisters.

Davia Roberts from Redefine Enough (a community of women devoted to wellness and wholeness), talks about the importance of checking-in with our sisters in an episode from their podcast “Affirm.”  She offers tips for having these tough conversations, especially when there are red flags of mental health issues. As we each continue to practice care-for-self, consider, what does it mean to care for my sister? How can I make collective care a part of my care strategies this year? Find the episode, “My Sister’s Keeper” here:

written by Erin Stephens for TBP

“Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.”

-Maya Angelou




photography by Kaci Kennedy for TBP





won’t you celebrate with me

Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010

won’t you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate 

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

HaPpY NeW YeAr Beautiful Ones!!

2017 is here and we, the staff of The Beautiful Project, are very grateful to be alive, healthy, and committed to the work of our organization. We have big plans that we can’t wait to share with you at the proper time! Until then, there is yet much work to do.

As we all well know this new year commences with the inception of new leadership in our government. For many of us, this is a scary, confusing, maddening time. While we proceed to experience all the feels and processes, we must emphasize the importance of caring for ourselves. Wellness practices are integral to our survival and armor for the fight we have ahead of ourselves as we continue to make space for ourselves to make our art, speak to the people, make moves in business, teach our children, love our people, care for our babies, and do whatever else it is that we believe we have been purposed to do. In order to ward off distractions, stay centered, clear and focused, we must be well. What is in your wellness plan? Check below for a few elements to include in your plan. Choose which components will suit your needs and be sure to implement them, choosing one practice per day, for at least thirty minutes. Be well, dear sisters, BE well.


Engage Spiritual practice: Whether you connect your spirit to power through prayer, reading truth or meditation, there are a number of spiritual practices that are helpful in realigning and anchoring your your soul.

Fitness and Nutrition: Eating healthy, delicious food and moving your body regularly are practical means to preserving your health from the inside out. Drinking plenty of water, or at the very least, more than usual, fuels your energy and aids in flushing out toxins with one simple move. If you’ve had your morning cup of coffee or tea, make the next two water.

Connect with Community: Who are your people? Reach out to them. Be with your people, either all at once, or one on one meetings over a span of time.

Make Time for your Hobby: I heard someone say, time isn’t something you find, it’s something you make. Whether its reading, writing, crafting, photography, hiking, anything that you enjoy doing, make the time for it. You will walk away with more energy and inspiration than you can imagine.

Make a Playlist: You know the songs, the ones that you jam to, the ones that make you feel seen and heard, those that make you think and those that get you going? Yeah, all of ’em. Make a playlist and put it on while you work or just as the soundtrack for whatever you are doing in your day. No time to make a playlist? Connect to Spotify, Pandora or other such streaming apps that have them already available to you.

Rest: It may seem like a given, but getting plenty of rest is a must when considering how to care of oneself well. While having the leisure to take a midday nap would be ideal, most of us can’t enjoy that luxury. Perhaps you can start by going to bed 30 mins to an hour earlier than usual? If your schedule doesn’t allow for this either, then consider observing practices that are restful. For example, cut your screen time. Avoid rousing conversations and situations where possible. Choose to be alone and spend that time being conscious of and enjoying your solitude.

We’re certain there are other practices that should be on this list. What do you do for self care? Share with the group and lets equip each other to care for ourselves well.

Move in power.

We’ve got this.

Image Credit: Weekend Collective


In The Beautiful Project, it is our practice, to gather, in safe spaces that we create and cultivate with one another and for one another, and just be; we think aloud the thoughts that have been making their way in and through our psyche. We laugh aloud. We eat good food. We cry. We ask questions. We explore. And we do this for our wellness because we understand what it is to live in these bountiful black bodies, in this world, at this time.

Last week was an exceptionally difficult time for so many of us. So, when we gathered, we did so in hopes of working through the things that had happened in the world that made so much sense and yet none at all. We took some time to work out our thoughts through conversation and we viewed The Door by our beloved Ava DuVernay. Then we talked some more. After our talk, we created what became this manifesta, expressing the things we wanted to be reminded of in a moment like this. Each of us, bit by bit, section by section offered her thoughts, unedited. These are the things that we endeavor to claim as we continue to create space for ourselves and our sisters.

We offer this to you, in hopes that it will bring life, joy and hope to you, in the same way that it did for us. Whether you claim it and state it in part or in its entirety, our hope is that this little piece of writing will give you strength to face this new day and those ahead with a little more boldness and awareness than the days before. Love, hope and determination for all of you, from your sisters at The Beautiful Project.


You are not alone.

Someone else may have a better understanding or

different insight on what you are feeling and going through.

Look out for each other.

We are protectors.

We give and we show love.

We feed and nurture each other.

We show up.

Oftentimes others are able to see your strength when you can’t.

Show up for me and I’ll show up for you, over and over again.

Force me to see the sun.

I tend to get stuck, but your support carries me through.

The journey that we are embarking on, like all the ones before it, is not one of solitude;

it is one of solidarity. 

Trust the journey and the people you’ve chosen to make it with.

We have a fight ahead of us. It’s true. But it’s ok to breathe. In fact, please do?

Matter of fact, for a whole day, call your girl and breathe, play, together.

I see you. I’m here. Give me your hand. There’s nothing new under the sun. Seeds planted on sorrow’s ground yield wisdom.

Our cycle brought in a harvest enough to prepare a feast for you.

Come and dine with us. Indulge. And take leftovers.

Open the window and bask in the light. For though it may seem dormant, our joy is not gone.

Joy. Suffering. Sharpening. Acceptance. Keeping. These are the pillars of sisterhood. These are the mile markers that remind us of where we’ve been, how far we’ve yet to go, and call up who was there to witness the journey.

Since the early part of the summer we have made space for black women and girls to tell stories recalling and detailing experiences they’ve shared with other black women and girls around the themes of joy, suffering, sharpening, acceptance, and keeping, tenets of The Sisterhood Creed, used by its members as the governing document for relating to women in The Beautiful Project and the world at large. We are so grateful for the many women who responded, using vulnerability as a vehicle to share honest accounts of courage, tenderness, strength and growth with all of us. We’ve learned so much, privileged to sit in the seat of the listener. Real sisterhood, the kind that endures, is not easy. But when its real, it’s sweeter than sweet and it moves you, bone deep. If, by chance, you missed any of the stories featured on our site, please, put on your favorite playlist, grab a cup of tea, then go back and take some time to read through them. It will be time well spent.

As we close out this campaign, we are clear that our commitment to the Creed endures. We hope that these stories have served as a tool, reminding us all of just how important and healing and necessary the sisterhood really is. We hope that you will continue to come back to the Creed and truly allow it to govern your interactions with all black women and girls. Use the chart to focus in on your personal sisterhood and figure out how to cultivate a community among them that serves and protects everyone involved. We are kindred, not alien. We are more alike than we are different. And we are here, available to love and hold one another up as we make our way through this thing called life, unified. We are so much better together.

It is our joy and honor to share a sisterhood story from Shawnda Chapman Brown of Brooklyn, NY, Research Analyst / Social Justice Advocate/ Jamaica’s Mom. She’s the realest. Keep reading below to find out why we think so and see if you don’t agree. We salute you, Shawnda.

My friend Felicia and I still laugh about the time she had to get me out of jail.

The episode lives in infamy alongside the time I helped her harass her boyfriend’s girlfriend at the mall, and the events that followed her introduction to the magical combination of vodka and orange soda. But little does she know, I had wandered into one of the darkest holes of my life and wouldn’t have found my way out of it without her.

I think I was in shock. I sat there on the cold cement floor for hours before I’d even thought of making my call. Who exactly would I call? What exactly would I say? And how exactly did I get here?

It was after midnight and I was in a holding tank that was buzzing with activity. One by one a steady stream of women, like myself in some way or another, got up to make their calls. We’d all found ourselves on the other side of freedom and desperately required some assistance. The cacophony of voices echoing throughout the room made it difficult to hear or be heard on the speakerphone in the center of the cell.

shawnda2016I’d always thought that many things were possible for my life. Marrying Idris Elba – eh maybe. But becoming a victim of domestic violence – not a chance in hell! After all, I’d always prided myself on being a strong woman. To feel better, I would say that my partner and I had been fighting, implying that I had a choice and that most of all, I was no victim. In actuality however, I had been getting my ass kicked with dizzying regularity for months. One evening, I was head butted so hard that both of my eyes turned black. In fact, I’d been beaten so severely that I suffered from spells of vertigo for years after the relationship ended. I suffered mostly in silence.

One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do was to pick myself up from that floor, out of my anger, and out of my shame to call for help – to admit that I needed help. When I did, I called Felicia.

The room quieted as I gathered myself and made my way over to the phone. My pants were torn on one side from waist to hip, skin and panties exposed.


“Hey Felicia – It’s Shawn.”

“Oh hey girl.” Her voice was like a hug, and I desperately needed one.

“What’s happening? – I’m surprised you’re up.”

“I’m watching a documentary, Bowling for Columbine – have you seen this shit?” she asked.

Our friendship has always had an interminable quality, never limited by time or space. As such, we cackled for the better part of 20 minutes about that documentary, and about being Black in America before she stopped, as if somehow she’d forgotten her manners.

“Wait, what are you doing? – I don’t recognize this number”

“So uh yeah – I’m in Jail”


“Yes bitch – jail!” I declared.

“Why in the hell didn’t you interrupt me?” she demanded in response.

As mascara stained tears slid down the red lump beneath my eye, I took a few breaths and began to explain. It was my partner’s birthday. We had plans. I baked a cake from scratch. Scratch. Three layers, red velvet. I decorated it with fresh flowers. Used my last money to buy a present. My very last. He stood me up. Came home to change after midnight. Going to the strip club. So he said. Punched me in my eye when I protested. Like a man. Choked me. Pressed my face to the ground. Wasn’t the first time. Who the hell did I think I was? Police came. Handcuffed me when I refused to talk. They didn’t understand, I couldn’t talk. His family survived on the money he sent home each month. It was literally how they ate. I couldn’t talk. Threatened to kill his ass if he put another hand on me though. Didn’t want him to go to jail. Just wanted him to leave. Instead, I was charged with a Second Degree Felony.

“Damn! Don’t worry girl – I got you!” she assured.

And she did.

As I made my way back to my chilly spot on the floor, the buzzing resumed. Having overheard the entire conversation, the pretty chocolate girl sitting beside me looked up and smiled. “Your ass is crazy” she said “and don’t nobody know it.” We both laughed. She was right.

It’s clear to me now, that in that moment, love and sisterhood saved me. It healed me. It allowed me the space to be flawed, and confused, and human.

Not only did my friend not judge me – she sat down with me in the middle of my mess and helped me to sort everything out. During that tumultuous time we danced, we ate too much, we laughed at stupid things, we learned to make proper cocktails and I learned how to walk away.

Only recently have I been able to understand the true magnitude of that gift. Sisterhood is like a river flowing over and around you, sustaining you, filling in the gaps, allowing you to rest, polishing you, lifting you up and pushing you forward when you are unable to do it on your own. To Felicia and all of the other remarkable sisters that have poured into my river – I am here because of you, I am a better woman because of you and I am forever grateful.

We live in a world that is mostly hostile and unaccepting of Black women and girls. If one would only take a look at the components of popular culture, politics and education there could be found a teeming sea of evidence to support that fact. We cannot be fooled by the hyper visibility of black women and girls when we are yet still quite invisible and so very misunderstood. The damage and trauma of history linger and make it difficult for black women and girls to openly question and explore blackness and womanhood. So often we are positioned to fit into systems that were created “for us” without much consideration of who we are and what we need, which most simply comes down to managing micro and macro aggressions on the daily and a push toward assimilation instead of individualization and an appreciation for the the uniqueness of the Black diaspora and the varied ways that Black women and girls illustrate their place in it.

Yet we remain.

We continue to strive, thrive, create, make space, innovate, and reinvent our realities for our very own survival, joy, comfort and peace. There is more than light at the end of the tunnel. There are Black women lined along the corridors of the tunnel whispering love, encouragement and acceptance to accompany a journey that at times can feel dark, cold and lonely. There is more than light at the end of the tunnel. There are Black women holding up that light with open arms of understanding and celebration ready to receive you when you make it to the end of whatever journey you find yourself. Don’t believe the housewife, hip hop hype. We are FOR one another more often than we are at odds with one another. Check the stories. And in the meantime, position yourself to personify sisterhood for the women in your life. It’s how we get over. It’s how we stay well here.

Sisterhood as Activism: the act of Black women engaging one another in an intimate, intentional manner for the wellness and goodness of the other; to take up one’s position as kindred, in all of its intricacies, in order to hold space for, care for, defend, cover, another sister.

We believe that sisterhood IS activism so we have worked to exemplify how to use sisterhood AS activism. Please consider the chart below as a facilitator for exercising more intentionality as a sister standing up and holding space for another sister.


“To understand why black women’s public actions and political strategies sometimes seem titled in ways that accommodate the degrading stereotypes about them, it is important to appreciate the structural constraints that influence their behavior. It can be hard to stand up straight in a crooked room.” (Harris, 2011)