A mean round of typical Charleston traffic couldn't keep us away yesterday as we made our way back to the Hampton House in Beaufort, SC to attend the Queen's Roundtable event with Queen Quet. Unique and I left right after work to hit the road, but if you live here in Charleston you know that we kind of set ourselves up for a rough ride when we decided to hop on Hwy 17 at 4:30 PM DURING some intense post-eclipse traffic.
Long story short, be better than us when it comes to finessing these Charleston roadways, y'all.
The first time I saw Queen Quet was a little over a week ago at Cane Rhum Bar here in downtown Charleston. I went in for a dope brunch event hosted by Charleston's own Chef BJ Dennis and The Cocktail Bandits, and I could NOT stop staring at this one woman in the dining room.
I was there with my boyfriend Devon and my girls Andrea and Chevy when my eyes kept drifting to this one woman over and over. I'd never seen her in my life, and couldn't figure out why I kept wanting to LOOK at her. When Andrea leaned over and told me that she was Queen Quet, my eyes felt like they grew three sizes.
I wasn't going to miss my opportunity to hear her speak, even if traffic did stop my shine for a lil' bit. And LISTEN... she dropped soooooo many gems. The biggest one that stood out to me surrounded the concept of adornment. Being black people in America, so much of our existence outside the home is consumed by making ourselves more palatable to the majority. I've been thinking hard about this specific phrase from Queen Quet since last night:
"Anything you adorn yourself with, you should know what's in it."
This hit me on a personal level, because I've lived most of my life up until recently trying to do what I think others wanted me to do. My own sanity suffered because of it, because (let's be real) everybody who says they're for you ain't really for you. Ever since a health scare back in 2015, I've made it a point to cast out any interactions and relationships that don't contribute to my mental and spiritual well-being. It does still take work, but exercising that right to choose your own path goes a long way toward protecting your spirit. Don't thank me, thank Queen Quet for that one.
As an artist, activist, fashion designer, environmentalist, historian (for more in the list of greatness visit her website, because mama is EVERYTHING, in the best sense possible), the Queen Mother of the Gullah Geechee Nation spoke about the negativity she faced along her journey in the fashion world as she encouraged other black people to outwardly celebrate their culture and take pride in the heritage that we carry. All of her anecdotes still ring true today in regards to the ways some people dampen their blackness to appease others, and when she said that we were people of the sun and that people should look at us with that same excitement that they watched the recent eclipse with it took everything I had to stay in my seat and not yell out "YES!!!"
After filling up our spirits with Queen Quet and feeling reaffirmed in the power and joys of being black, Unique and I needed to fill up our empty stomachs. We left straight from work, and dinner was calling. We were in luck through, because Donellia reached out to Mr. Jason and Jason's Seafood and Wings asking him to stick around and feed us before we went back to Charleston.
AND FEED US, HE DID.
Let me tell y'all. I adorned myself with those wings, and I could tell that love was all up and through them. I left that place so happy, because not only was my stomach fed but my spirit was topped off by Mr. Jason right along with that glass of sweet tea that tasted just like my mama made it.