Introducing Ms. Razjeá Bridges, an unapologetic ,complex, artistic queen from the city of Flint. Attending Eastern Michigan University, Razjeá is majoring in Psychology and Writing, Literature and Language. Here is our interview..
-What was it like growing up in the city of Flint for you and what does being from Flint mean to you?
Razjeá: “ I was actually a pretty sheltered kid growing up. I was always fully aware of what was going on around me as far as what media sees about Flint. I lived there, my family and friends live there. I would be directly affected but, but a lot of times I saw the city from media perspective. Fortunately, being a little closed off from the madness allowed me to keep my focus on the positive aspects of the city, like art, history, culture yknow.”
– What are your thoughts about everything happening within our city as of now ?
Razjeá: “Gentrification is coming… I know it’s coming. And when it does, all those “new” residents will have access to healthy, running water. But the current residents are denied of it… it’s a damn shame.. I’m kinda tired of protesting and the media attention. Everything going on is strategic, unfortunately.. I heard a quote once that said “there’s nothing more expensive than being poor…” crazy isn’t it?”
-As a young Black woman in America, what are some adversities you find yourself facing, or what are some of the things that you find yourself overcoming ?
Razjeá: “I find myself seeing less and less adversities presently. That’s not to say that they don’t exist. They do. Between not being taken serious, not being heard, being straight up disrespected, being seen through false perspective and trying to prove something; I’ve felt all of that. But at some point you decide to know more and do more, then these big roadblocks seem more like tiny pebbles to step over. Humility helps you to keep your ear to the ground. By the time you equip yourself with happiness, focus, and authenticity, anything that felt threatening has probably already been defeated.”
-What does it mean for you to be a Black woman?
Razjeá: “being a black woman… it’s a gift, only rewarded to the strong-hearted and strong–minded, yknow. Some make it feel like a curse, but then you get a good look at them and realize they’re weak. They wouldn’t last a day. Then you realize you’ve lasted many days, and you’ll continue because you’re made for it. ”
– Who are some woman that you look up to , that helped in shaping you into the young woman you are today?
Razjeá: “My mother, Aisha. Yeah she’s one person who is always absolutely 100 with me. Truth tellers are hard to come by, and she’s got it. Not only that, she’s the sweetest. Natasha Thomas-Jackson, my mentor. Keeps me focus on the things I love. Artistry. She’s a lot of the woman I think I want to be as far as career goes.”
-What’s your idea of success?
Razjeá: “Hmm.. success is simply having a goal and accomplishing that goal. That’s it. We always try to overcomplicate definitions as if there’s a prototype that would evenly fit everyone’s aspirations. Nah,”
– What’s your idea of purpose ?
Razjeá: “Purpose is reason, intention even. I started asking myself “why” more often, just to start to explore what self-purpose feels like. I had to accept that purpose isn’t always just one thing and sometimes it changes.”
–How does it feel for you knowing that you are creating your own success story, breaking stigmas and or stereotypes ?
Razjeá: “Hmm, I don’t think I started calling my story a success story just yet. Sometime I got the stereotype. I don’t care though! lol I am who I am and I can say this: I’m different. We all are. Embracing my difference feels like social change in itself. I never cared much for boxes and being inside them, so whatever stigma or stereotype that is pinned on me seems silly the moment I kinda just say fuck it.. lol.”
SN: ( Pretty much sums up the amount of care free Black girl vibes im receiving at the moment).
-I’ve had the pleasure of hearing/ seeing some of your spoken word performances a couple years ago at the University of Michigan – Flint and at Cafe Rhema located in downtown Flint. It inspired me.. with that being said what is Art for you? When you perform do you know that you touch/ inspire people? Who are some Black woman that inspired you to do all that you do with art ?
Razjeá: Art is.. ah man art is just necessary. Design, creation, reinterpretation, all of that is so important to the brilliance of life. There’s art in everything.”
“I’m aware of my impact. It’s gets scary sometimes being so visible. There’s a responsibility to uphold as a speaker, yet I always end up doing it anyway. The bigger the crowd, the harder it gets. Only because it’s all new pairs of eyes and essentially you have no control over what is seen.”
“As mentioned before, my mom and mentor are huge motivators and influencers. I love women like Angela Davis, Erykah Badu, Frido Kahlo, SZA and Amber Rose. Women who’ve been bold in history by encouraging pure freedom.”
–How important is it as a young Black woman, or woman in general do you feel to have self -love and or confidence ?
Razjeá: “Super important. The hard part is the practice. The even harder part is teaching women before they become women. Women, especially black women, tend to be the most disrespected and the least protected. We’re kind of on our own out here, but like I said, we’ve been gifted with this power. Why not prove our strength? Think about it. Why is the world so threatened by the black woman essence? “
– What is something that you love about your journey so far, would you change anything if you could?
Razjeá: ” I wouldn’t change a damn thing love. I can’t imagine what things would be like if one event had been misplaced. I love that I’m allowing the journey to be organic. I have just enough control so that I don’t stray too far away, but still surrendering to the stronger winds to take me on other paths; just to see what I’ll find, and learn. It’s usually more scenic if you view your journey as a series of lessons.”
-If you could give a word of advice or encouragement to a little girl, growing up in the city of Flint what would you tell her ?
Razjeá: “Don’t forget who you are. Don’t let anyone question who you are. Don’t give up on you. EVER. Don’t let anyone take your potential. These little girls back home need to know that beyond crisis, they are powerful and necessary and ready for anything this crazy world has to throw. “
“I encourage breaking free of self inflicted holding pens. I encourage the use of intelligence in every decision. I encourage creating. ~ Erykah Badu