Since the beginning of time, mankind has longed to interpret dreams. Wars have been waged in fulfillment of dreams. Soldiers have believed in the promise of greatness brought forth in visions. Pharaohs have sought out and promoted men into power and position because they were told it would prolong their reign. Kings have broken their religious laws to seek out sorcerers and fortune tellers to determine the next step they should take. Yes, men have lived and died for their dreams.
This thing we call dreams has created opportunities, jobs, and careers for modern day man. We have increasingly seen their role in our society expand -- tarot card readers, palm readers, mediums are some of the names they are given today. Hollywood has glamorized it, created movies, TV shows to explore these types of "interpreters."
It is with great excitement that I introduce you to some of the most extraordinary dream makers that I have had the pleasure of meeting. These women hold a dear place in my life because at one time or another, they graced me with their presence in my dreams.
It's only befitting that I begin with the original Dreamgirl, Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph. She is also well known for her roles in TV shows Moesha, Designing Women, and films The Mighty Quinn and The Distinguished Gentleman. The younger generation may not know that she was the very first Deena Jones, from the original Broadway musical Dreamgirls; Beyonce played the part in the feature film. Ms. Ralph was not only the actress that brought this character to life, but one of the creators of what we know today about this character. The alleged conflict with Ms. Diana "The Boss" Ross, the chatter about how she felt, the division between the cast members--all occurred during the original production. One must do their research on Ms. Ralph to fully grasp how powerful she is. Read her book, Redefining Diva. It blows the mind, moves the heart, and makes us all believers.
Ms. Ralph's presence is commanding. The sound of her voice is inviting. Her smile is mesmerizing. She gives you hope, and makes you believe. She makes you dream. You want to seek what she has, not in the materialistic sense, but in her spirit; that part of her soul that empowers her to move mountains. At first glance, you see a statuesque, beautiful woman, and say "Wow!" But as she begins to read a portion of her story, it invites you look beyond the exterior. Not that she is hiding anything, because if she was, it has now been revealed in the pages of her book. What a gift that one can share, wisdom and experience.
My second dream girl is Ms. Beverly Johnson, the first African-American to bear the title "Supermodel". Her experience I can more closely relate to, because we are in the same industry. Although she was in front of the camera, often our sets were the same. Photographer, makeup, stylist, nails, set designers, and such. We faced similar challenges. We presented ourselves to the same people, editors, designers, etc. Both trying to make it to the pages of iconic fashion magazines like Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Italian Vogue, Essence, Ebony, to name a few. All in the name of beauty... It has been a journey worth documenting in books, and television.
"Beverly Johnson's Full House", which airs on the OWN network, debuted in March 2012. How splendid and brave to take family, friends, and life to the camera for the whole world to see. It takes pure courage to air out family challenges on national television. After years in the public eye, to expose the inner workings of the industry and the ups and downs of day to day life is epic. This show is definitely a must-see.
I come now to a woman I hope to develop a relationship with based on the magnificence of her career. Ms. Crystal McCrary, author, award-winning film, tv producer, entrepreneur, and socialite. This vision of beauty also captured my heart with her book Inspiration- Profiles of Black Women Changing The World. The title alone convinced me that I had to own a copy. But when I saw the fabulousness that graced the cover and the pages of this collector's piece of art, I was speechless. I was proud to have met her through another dear friend, Stacie J. We attended McCrary's book signing, which was held at Hue-man Book store in Harlem. Totally unplanned, there I was in a room with this awesome woman expressing her motivation behind this treasure of a book. As I flipped through the pages, it warmed my heart to know that somehow, somewhere in my life I have met, worked, and touched these women. What an honor.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder how many a film is worth. An entire book, I suppose.
My next dream maker is Ms. Dominga Martin, Founder of House of Ming Production, filmmaker, director, writer, editor and all around dreamer. Her dreams like all of ours started in childhood. Her hometown is Boston, MA where she was inspired by her neighborhood celebrities: New Edition. Don't let the white chocolate skin, topped with freckles fool you. Her soft, girly exterior attracts all. Inside, tales of growing up in Boston's inner city of Roxybury reveal a force to be reckoned with. Martin makes it known that she is no stranger to death, street violence, drugs and hardship. It was the loss of friends to senseless violence which forced her to write, after being chosen to be part of a neighborhood anthology.
Coupled with love, romance, triumph and success, it is those experiences that make her a great storyteller. Her talent for crafting a great story attracted Spike Lee's former producer Monty Ross, who has teamed up with her for her first feature film.
Until It's big screen debut, you can follow Dominga Martin and crew behind the scenes in her docu-series Ready, Set. Go!
If you have the privilege of being in her company, and hearing her speak of the genesis of those visions, you can't help but be moved with passion. To see her success come to fruition is galvanizing. Martin has also given birth to the dreams of others by placing them in front of the camera. She has worked with Grammy Nominated artists such as Floacist, featuring Musiq Soulchild.
The power of dreams is indisputable. If we follow these women and chase after our dreams, then our hope of a positive outcome is very promising.
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