As a teenager I had the roughest time getting along with my mom. Lord knows out of adolescent frustration I prayed for impending death for myself and, sad to say, even sometimes for her. Every time I asked her for anything the first answer was capital "N," capital "O." I don't think I ever even got the full question out before the same answer smacked me in the face: "NO."
Even as a 'A' and 'B' student it still wasn't enough to garner her respect. I became heavily involved in the house of worship we attended, just to get away from her. I would do anything to find peace.
Looking back on my past I can see that this woman, my mom, my queen, my divine tour guide through this life was in fact my savior. She saved me from myself and prevented the damage that I could have done to others. Now I praise the woman who sacrificed her very being for my sister and myself.
Adrienne Leon has single-handedly devoted her very fiber to the safety, education and mentoring of her two daughters. She took us on jobs and to school with her. She took us out to gatherings and social events that put us in places that molded who we are today.
Her love for her daughters gave us character and the ability to see things from a new perspective. Because of this, when I see women doing things that men are typically mostly known for doing, I revere them.
Thus the reason why I was drawn to Rowena Husbands, celebrity photographer and entertainment manager who got her start by watching a professional photographer take photos of her daughter. After seeing what he was doing she realized, "I can do that!" And the idea was born. She used her daughter as her muse and was able to translate a hobby into a blossoming career.
I recall meeting this personable woman, attractive with a great smile. I was more in awe of her because through all my years working Fashion Week I had become adjusted to seeing men behind the lense. If there were women working, they were assistants. But seeing Rowena, a full-fledged photographer, I was floored. A woman, a black woman, doing this and calling her own shots. Bingo!!! Not an assistant!!! Score!
Eighteen years later, Husbands has photographed everyone from P Diddy, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Angela Davis, to Busta Rhymes, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Mariah Carey, to name a few. She has been hired by the best to give them her best.
When I started blogging, I looked for the most amazing people I came across in my career who I wanted to give a voice. Rowena Husband immediately came to mind.
At first she was confused. She thought I wanted to use her to reach her clients but I assured her, no mistake, it's you I want to interview. I want to hear your story. I want to show other girls that they too can be self-made stars.
She reminded me so much of my mom. Her character, her ability to stand tall, to go for what she wanted. She demonstrates the courage to dare to defy society's vision of women. And now that she has her own assistants, she gives them room to shine by letting them behind the lense. In return, she hopes these young women will continue to pass the torch in the industry, which is still dominated by males. Her desire to create a legacy that will transcend one's own success is more than noteworthy, it is inspiring.
Her current projects include a series of books and getting her own studio in Manhattan where she can continue to tell her stories through the art of photography.
Rowena Husbands, mother, entrepreneur, photographer and all around blessed human being. We salute you.