Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just The Beginning.....

Just the Beginning...

I didn't want to wait one moment to write this blog to update you on my
trip to a fabulous women's event at North Carolina Central!For those of you who you don't know I am a serious advocate for women. I have been groomed to be this way since my entire life has been inspired by empowered women!

North Carolina Central University is one of 2 public HBCU'S that has a thriving women's center. Upon my arrival I was greeted with more love and respect than I ever anticipated. Beyond their amazing hospitality, they are huge advocates for rape and domestic violence prevention. It was awesome to be invited by such a trailblazing university.

My first afternoon there I signed autographs and spent a great deal of time with some of the female students. What we shared was a covenant bond. They poured their hearts out to me and I did the same with them. This was no ordinary autograph session! This was a moment, ordained by God and I was determined to soak it up.

The purpose of this event was to celebrate 8 young women who completed a university supported program that would help them become healthier and productive women! How befitting, the program is entitled " The Circle Of Sisters". I felt like they welcomed me into their intimate circle and I am so grateful for that. You know, everyone shouldn't be welcomed in your
circle... so I didn't take their warmth for granted.

The weekend ended with a lovely banquet where I was asked to address the graduates. My final words for them was that THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING...

I say the same to you...

Prepare yourself for the great things that God has in store for you!

The young ladies and staff of North Carolina Central have truly changed my

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Be Resurrected!

Be Resurrected!

Greetings Family!

I pray that you had an amazing Resurrection Sunday. In the midst of the Easter season the world has been constantly moving and changing. We have made history in beginning the process of Universal Health care, an issue that was near and dear to me as a small business owner. Additionally, I was blessed to be apart of the opening of the new Women's business center in Washington, Dc. This business center is one of several that has been launched across the country to encourage minority to women to define their own destiny. Lastly, I was blessed enough to experience the Word of God yesterday at my home church.

In the midst of the changes, growing pains, and self-realizations, the greatest message I could offer you today is to BE RESURRECTED!

What do you mean Shayna by be RESURRECTED?

Great Question!

Sometimes in the midst of our life process we let our own selves get in the way of progress. We want to blame everyone and everything around us  instead of looking in the mirror! We must be determined to LIVE ON PURPOSE, even when it is unpopular. This is why we must applaud our President! He stood in the face of adversity and fought for what he believed in! Yes, it was unpopular! Yes, he lost the approval of those in the African American community, BUT HE MADE UP HIS MIND THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE A JUSTICE SEEKER INSTEAD OF A PEOPLE PLEASER!

And in the end he RESURRECTED and CHANGED ( And Still Changing) this country!

I write today to encourage you to get up and move forward! Although you may have to walk alone... remember the walk that our Lord took to save us from sin. All he had was his purpose and his God....

The same applies to you...

oh yeah!

You have me too...



Sunday, March 14, 2010

I use to wear flowers in my hair when I was 16. I chose the gardenia to enhance my simple bun and pearls. It became my signature. Oh, how I thought I was original! Ha! Little did I know the history behind the flower that I took for granted.

Family, it's Women's History Month. I thought that as Miss Black USA it would be a waste of a blog not acknowledge the beauty of this month. I must admit, for years I allowed the month of March to come and go without ever taking a minute to breath the air that my SHE-roes provided me with. You know, the air that God gives willingly, but oppressors tried to make us pay for? Yeah, that air. However, this year as your Miss Black USA and a TRUE advocate for the lives of young women, I could not let this moment pass me by.

History is powerful. It defines our foundation, and can set the tone for our liberated future. I learned while in Ghana a fabulous lesson: EVERYTHING has history and EVERYTHING has meaning. The Pain we've experienced: HAS MEANING. Our names: HAS MEANING. Our victories: HAS MEANINGS. The flower I wore in my hair: HAS MEANING.

Therefore I was not surprised to see Mo'Nique on her Oscar Night, wearing the flower that once adorned the hair of Hattie McDonald, the woman who won an Academy Award for playing a feisty slave in " Gone with the Wind".

I honor these two women today and their history. Sometimes we forget that everyone has a story. We all have had a series of events that have led us to the moment where the world celebrates us. We weren't there when Mo'nique, like many "Precious" young ladies, was molested by her brother. We weren't there when Big Sister Hattie suffered from Breast Cancer before it was popular, or when her Academy Award was stolen from Howard University during the race riots of 1960's. No, we weren't there. But TODAY, we can celebrate their history and how their history has enhanced the very essence of who we are as extra-ordinary people.

I haven't worn a flower in my hair since I was 16. But, I think it's high time I bring it back out. And this time I'll know that it's meaning runs deeper than the sea filled with the tears that our SHE-roes have shed in order to ensure that we could be here today.

Your Sister,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Moments from my moment....

Hello ALL!

I am sorry that I have been so M.I.A! It has been a very busy time in my life and I must apologize for not keeping you informed about my travels. I am going to do better ( smile).

If you haven't heard I had the honor of attending the NAACP Image awards! Last year I watched it from my living room but this year I was inspired as I sat in the audience with Miss Black USA 1995! God is so good...

The beauty of this experience was truly found not in the glitz and the glamour but in seeing the humanity in stars that we so often place unrealistic standards on. I saw Jill Scott laughing with Mo'nique until they had tears in their eyes. I saw Anika Noni Rose crack jokes during commercial breaks. I saw Tyler Perry show emotions about the recent death of his mother. THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE... 

They deserve our prayers. They deserve our respect. They deserve their own space and place to be human. 

I thank God for the gift of learning this lesson. If it had not been for Miss Black USA... I may not have learned it in such a fabulous way.

I am on my way to working on my second book... I promise we'll talk real soon!

Much Love,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visons from the Mother Land...

I have a vision now. I'm pretty sure I thought I had one before visiting Accra, Ghana, but I didn't.

My journey to the mother land is leaving me "write-less". I am struggling to find the words to express the beauty that GOD graced me to experience. The only words that come to mind are some that I borrowed from my senior year English professor, " Through my visit, I learned to have a VISION for a liberated future". PERIOD.

Liberty, or freedom, starts in the mind.

As I walked through the slave dungeons I thought of how oppressed my ancestors were and how oppressed we are as a people today. I decided that I owe it to them to live free!

My message TODAY is to not let anyone or anything hold you captive. Your ancestors and your God have already paid the price for your freedom. SO, before 2010 ( You don't have to wait), do what you need to do to be FREE!

For some it may be letting go of an unhealthy relationship or opting to stay home to study instead of partying in the club. I'm not sure what you're battling or what may be holding you in bondage- but, I KNOW IT'S TIME TO COME OUT AND HAVE A VISION FOR YOUR LIFE!

I dare you to dream again...

Our ancestors are watching....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Place Where Even Your Dreams Believe....

When my flight touched down in Atlanta I must admit I was more than exhausted. I had worked a full day and was trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was going to be on the set with Tyler Perry in less than 24hrs. The thought alone was exhausting!!! Nonetheless, I managed to take a "big girl pill" whilw applying my false eyelashes (smile) in order to be camera ready!

I was still struggling to understand how on earth I managed to get a ticket into the hottest place in the ATL, but my chaperon for the day ( Much love and adoration to Ms. Joy!) reminded me that the favor of God is given without my input- thus I must walk in it!

That was the recurring theme yesterday at Tyler Perry Studios. With every step and gracious care that his staff gave me, I knew that I was not deserving of it- yet God was determined to show me that my steps were ordered.

The true beauty in being Miss Black USA is not the "possibility" of being seen, but the sure knowledge that I don't need to be seen by people in order to please God. He looks at who you are when no one is around. He seeks to know the girl behind the jewels.

Yesterday, I got a glimpse of the man behind the movies, books, stage-plays, and multi-million dollar business! Mr. Perry's "dreamland" of cinema and television inspired me to do more than TALK about my dreams, but have the audacity to make them a reality.

Beyond the star studded lunch and dressing rooms I noticed the true star quality was in the humility that EVERY staff member of his dreamland possessed. They wore who they were proudly, yet humbly offered it to millions of people- proving that we have nothing to prove and everything to share.

I was no longer exhausted, but re-energized.

My dreams were believing...

And knowing that is priceless...

- Shay

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Exdous: The Miss Black USA Movement back HOME...

"It feels like I'm home", I answered as my students inquired, what does it feel like to represent black women across this nation.  The answer seemed to slide off of my tongue with very little thought. It was an answer that I didn't prepare while standing in front of the mirror, or while dreaming of wearing the crown- it just happened.  My students didn't ask any follow-up questions, they simple received my answer as if they understood that being Miss Black USA was more than a title, but a calling that I answered on August 3, 2009.

I will never forget the way my dear friend Kimberly Brown, Miss Black Alabama, squeezed my hand when my name was called as this years winner. It was in that moment that I accepted this new position. It was in that squeeze that I received her blessing as a sister- it was a feeling that made me walk a little taller; stand a little stronger. 

My name is Shayna Y. Rudd. I am a curse breaker. I was never suppose to be Miss Howard University, Miss District of Columbia, grace the stage of Miss America, OR the Stage of Miss Black USA- But God saw fit for me to not only grace those stages, but to leave his spirit as a reminder that " Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE with God". Thus, I am merely his vessel, who gets to wear things that sparkle. 

My first few days as Miss Black USA were humbling. Trust me, it's not easy balancing the title, My non profit ( The LadyDiva Corporation, www.ladydivaforlife.com), and lesson planning for some of Washington DC's most intelligent 10th graders, but I managed to find a way to make it all work. It wouldn't be possible without my firm belief that the gifts of God are without repentance. Thus, I try not complain about the work load, or allow others to make me wish away the gifts he's given me. Please remember, God makes no mistakes. His promises will manifest themselves in HIS timing. Stand Still and know that your time is coming! Just be in a position to receive it. I can honestly say that this time, I was prepared because I allowed God to try me thru the fire in order to pave the way for me to presented as pure gold. The Beauty of being presented as gold, after being humbled greatly through trials, is that God gets ALL the glory- I am merely a living example of how fabulous he is.

As I walk through my days knowing that I represent the past, present, and future of the Black woman , I am reminded of every dream that I also represent. From my great grandmothers desire to graduate from high school to her daughters desire to learn to read, to my cousins passion for me to understand the curse that I MUST be determined to break and my students desire to see themselves as more than victims of rape- this time is for more than you and I. It's for them. So, I challenge you to live your dreams and live the dreams of "we" as well. Our lives are ours to live, but choose to live them with a heartbeat that connects with others.

This is the first of many entries that will chronicle my journey as Miss Black USA 2009. However, please know that you are reading the words of an emergent woman. One who has made and will continue to make mistakes, but has found the beauty in her flaws and hopes to help others find it too. I am the chosen one for this time, but I realize that all of this attention, and acclaim doesn't make me any more of a woman that the battered woman in a shelter, the sister who sells her body, or mother who is addicted to crack. We are all one. I need you in order to be me. Thus, I need you to be Miss Black USA. Every person shares in this moment with me and I feel honored to be the representative of such a rich people. 

Home is where the heart is. Therefore, it is no surprise that I feel home as your queen. I embrace this moment. I manage it wisely as God is clearly the owner. And I vow to you that this title is a movement towards a greater understanding of who we are as a people. Therefore I challenge you to MOVE towards something greater, truer, deeper...

MOVE towards the greatest parts of you....

and then I promise you too will be home.

- Shayna Rudd, Miss Black USA 2009  aka "Shay"