Growing up, I never wanted to be Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. I wanted to be Storm from X-Men. Being a beauty queen now, I’m sure that’s hard to believe. Trust me, I was never the girl waiting to be rescued. I was and remain to be the kind of girl that prefers to make her own escape plan and perhaps provide a correct path to shelter those around her. Concurrently, my mother didn’t raise me to disregard the help; she taught me to be appreciative of support. She just wanted me to recognize the potential of my own capabilities. 

Perhaps wielding a crown as my weapon of choice now is pretty ironic, formerly having aspired to be a superhero. But I do love that with my crown, I can encourage young women to pursue their highest ideas of greatness, to not merely fantasize about being a princess when they can be a queen. There’s a strange audacity in considering yourself a queen. It’s an elevated status that requires you to be more than a pretty face that takes glamorous pictures. It requires you to balance the power on your head with humility at your feet. It requires that you bow as much as you are praised, and that you must give as much as you receive. Whether you are a lawyer, a homemaker, or just a dreamer, a woman should always aspire to be a queen.

I was flipping through a magazine when I came across the Yoruba meaning for the R& B artist Sade’s name. It means,“Honor confers a crown.” I loved that phrasing! I loved the entire concept behind such a small amount of words! The phrase emphasizes that the “crown” is not a woman’s glory. The woman’s substance, inner radiance, and the beauty of her spirit make her deserving of grace, of praise. The true crown is then understood as a concept of inner greatness and queenliness, not merely an ornament or accessory. Even for a reformed superhero, that’s a powerful lesson to learn!

Imani Josey

Imani is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. After graduating Howard University in Washington, DC, Imani received her Masters from Northwestern University. Sometime during all of that studying, she danced professionally for the Chicago Bulls as a (Luvabulls) cheerleader, and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Read her short story “North” in the forthcoming Hidden Youth anthology, out November 2016 by Crossed Genres.

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