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THE GREATEST!

I was taking my daughter to school yesterday when a man who looked to be homeless got on the bus talking about how according to the Mayan Calendar the world would be ending today.
My first thought was to dismiss him as crazy, but the more he talked the more he started to make sense. Before long, I started wondering if the world might actually end. Well, I’m still here, but I haven’t been able to get that man off my mind. That one belief must have shaped his life in so many different ways. What are some of the things he did or didn’t do simply because he believed the world was ending?
It caused me to think about my own beliefs and how they’ve shaped me. Where would I be if I believed something different?
Well…
I’d be a supermodel. No, I’d be an übermodel. When supermodel Linda Evangelista said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 my rate would have been $1,000,000. I would hold the record for most magazine covers in the world because my face would be featured on the front of every magazine. Baby mags would use my baby photos, wildlife mags would turn my face into a lion, and political magazines would use me as peacemaker. There’d be nothing I couldn’t do. Oh, and I’d have a standing invitation at the White House to meet every President for as long as I live. That invitation would extend to every other leadership body on the planet because everyone would want to meet “The Face of a Generation.” Me, with my nappy hair, frequent belly and scarred up legs from too many years being a tomboy, would represent not a perfect generation, but a real generation where people could boldy be themselves. A place where beauty simply is just because a person says so and believes it to be true. Kinda like Jesus healing people because he believed it to the point that others believed it too. That is strong belief! The ability to out-believe everyone else and even convert them to your belief, even if it seems crazy!
But instead…
I believed when people told me that my nappy hair wasn’t good enough because it wouldn’t go curly and that is the look that reigned at the time. There was also my nose. One modeling agent suggested I get a nose job. I didn’t do it, but it surely got me thinking. Forget that I always carried a little pouch in my belly and a little roundness in my face. God forbid I ever model with those defects even though centuries ago a little pudge was a clear sign of beauty. However, the granddaddy of all beliefs, the one that was like kryptonite to my career, stated that I could not be a supermodel because I was black. Well, not just because I was black, but because there was already one black supermodel out there: Naomi Campbell. That one belief followed my every move like the Grim Reaper from New York to Paris to London.
Now, to be fair, it was true that whenever I went to a modeling agency for representation the message was usually the same, “We already have a black girl.” And though the other black girl looked nothing like me, the underlying message was, “We don’t want your kind.” Meanwhile, there were as many different white girls as there were colors of the rainbow.
But regardless…
If I had believed that it was possible for me to be an übermodel I would have held my head higher than any other girl, white or black, that ever walked through the doors. They would have made room for me because my confidence would have preceded me like Muhammad Ali! Just knowing me would have made them money.
But I walked into agencies ready for them to turn me down. I probably beat them to it, “I know, you already have a black chick.” And even when I did get represented, sometimes by the very same agencies that I didn’t believe would take me, that damn Grim Reaper stayed on my back, whispering into my ear every time I went out for a job. “No, I can’t work for Vogue. They already used a black girl this year” or “That photographer won’t like me because he only uses really dark girls. I’m way too light.” Imagine how stupid I felt when Tyra Banks came along on the heels of Naomi Campbell, thus proving me and everyone else wrong, there was room for another black supermodel- a light-skinned one at that! Oh no! Didn’t she get the memo?! She wasn’t supposed to do that! It wasn’t written! At least not by the small thinkers that believed in what THEY said. You know THEM. THEY say this. THEY say that. THEY are responsible for squashing so many dreams that THEY should be arrested for mass murder! If only I would have told them to shut the f*ck up! How different my life would be.
But not all is lost…
I’m still here so there’s still time.
What do I believe today?
I believe that I have what it takes to be the greatest writer that ever lived. Like the ones who go down in history as the voice of their generation and then get quoted so much that their quotes get quotes. Huh? Yea, like that. I want my work to be translated into every language ever spoken now and into the future so that even in the bushes of the most indigenous tribes, even on future planets, they are talking about something I said. I want my work to remain on the New York Times Best Seller List for at least 25 years after my death, thus inspiring millions of people to become writers just so that they can bump me off of my throne. I want parents to start teaching their babies the alphabet at six months old because they can’t wait for them to read my work. I want to write the next great American novel in Pig Latin. I want to write the Next Testament of the bible. I want to become richer than Bill Gates and make no apology for it. I want to be sent beyond the moon solely because I want to see new things to write about. I want to fly, I want to soar, I want to go where no man has ever gone before. I want to be cool, really cool with Barack Obama. Like, I want him and Michelle to be my dawgs. I want to thank him for seeing an America that would let him, a man with values and enough chutzpah to change the world, become President of the United States. Twice. I want to buy Will Smith a drink because he didn’t fall into the trap of believing that there wasn’t enough work for black actors in Hollywood. That belief cut my acting career before it got started. And then there’s Mark Zuckerberg. Dude didn’t even finish college.
Enough said.
I want to thank all of the pioneers for showing me that it is possible to go where no man has ever gone before. In fact, that should be the only destination since that is the space that is wide open. Everyone is fighting for what already exist because they can’t believe that they could be the one to start something new. If only they believed. But I know better. Me, with my scars and belly and nappy hair will be standing in a space all my own doing something totally original, until someone else comes along. Because that usually happens when someone opens a door. All the like-minded people who were waiting for another option in life, those who had the same idea but were afraid to do it, and those who you simply beat to the punch, come rushing in, ready to do things in this new space. My God, there’s soooo much room! Kinda like when Columbus “discovered” America. Then they start putting their own spin on things, and it gets really interesting. But no matter how many people show up, and how much they do, you will always be remembered as the one who opened the door.
That is a life worth living, a life worth believing in!
My God, I am the greatest writer to ever live!
The greatest writer to ever live!
The GREATEST!

Erickka Sy Savané

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11 Comments
  • Sidra Smith
    December 23, 2012

    Be inspired!

    • ginac
      January 5, 2013

      I totally am! This was A-Mazing!!! Thanks for sharing on Twitter!!!

  • peoplewhowrite
    December 23, 2012

    got me singing “all things are possible to him, that can inJesus’ name believe!!” indeed! we gotta believe.

  • Selina
    December 30, 2012

    Work of pure genius!!!!!!

  • benb
    January 5, 2013

    Been a fan of Bitches Brew since the Trace magazine days. So glad you’re back! You’re the greatest ever!

  • rosie
    January 5, 2013

    I believe I can be the greatest singer that ever lived, and I will do it!
    Thank you for being so unapologetic about what you want from life, and sharing it with us! I can’t wait to read more from you!

  • MKING
    January 9, 2013

    I am so damn inspired I feel like conquering the world! You are the greatest and so am I!!!

  • Ivostar
    January 11, 2013

    If you are reaching for the stars, getting to the moon doesn’t seem that far fetched anymore! great article!

  • Ta-ning Connai
    January 26, 2013

    I think that’s why God gives us more than one gift per lifetime. So that when we don’t follow His voice the first time (the Voice that says YES), He’s got another chance waiting in the wings.

  • erickka sy savané
    June 21, 2013

    Hi Brady, thanks for reading my blog first of all!
    As for any advice…
    I’d say to really think about what you have to say. What’s your blog about?
    Why do you want to write it? What do you want people to get from it? Who are you
    writing it for? Then think about how you can say that as uniquely as possible. I believe
    the best way to do that is to be yourself. Then think of ways to get it to the
    people you want to read it. Find out where they are.
    After that, the work will speak for itself. If you’ve done your job as a writer or whatever
    it is that you’re trying to accomplish, maybe you want to let people know what’s hot in fashion,
    people will like it and it will succeed.
    Now I say all that because that’s what I’m doing, but I’m still new as well so time will tell, won’t it?
    Good luck to you and, oh, trust that whatever you do have to say is important enough for someone to care. You
    have a point of view and it deserves to be out there as much as anyone else’s! So just go for it!

  • Ashlie Ayanna
    August 1, 2013

    You have no idea how much you’ve just inspired me. I too wanted to go into modeling (AND BE THE GREATEST) ever since I was a little girl. But as soon as I worked up the courage to try, those same voices showed up in my head – “you’ll never be good enough”, “you’re black and they already have enough black models”, or “you don’t have a fun enough personality, they’re gonna turn you down in 5 seconds flat.” BUT I’m here to declare that thankfully (seeing as that I’m 18) it IS NOT TOO LATE FOR ME. With the help of Jesus I WILL pursue my dreams of becoming a model, and I WILL SUCCEED. Even if it turns out to be for only a few years, I will be so GREAT that people will still be talking about me long after I’ve stepped off a runaway and left the view of a camera lens.

    So once again, THANK YOU. You ma’am are already fulfilling what you’ve set out to do and YOU WILL BE GREAT.

    Sincerely,

    Ashlie Ayanna

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