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Jun 22, 2021

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews TaKiyah Wallace, Founder and Executive Director at Brown Girls Do Ballet. In 2012, TaKiyah, who is a former gifted-education teacher, shifted her life’s mission to empowering women and girls through the arts. Her nonprofit organization — Brown Girls Do Ballet — began as a photo project after searching for diverse classical ballet programs in Dallas, Texas. This small project has now grown into a full-blown organization. She was the recipient of the Girls Rising Creative Challenge Award and has been featured as a 2020 Adidas Gamechanger.

Takiyah — who has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Dance Magazine, and Dance Teacher Magazine — understands the value of celebration and positivity. And, now, she spends her entire life inspiring young girls to do great things — just as she has done. On the podcast, TaKiyah discusses the birth of her company, the great work that her company is doing throughout the world today, and the immense value of celebration.


Moving Quotes:

"We are in the business of celebrating. We don't call people out for things that aren't happening. We celebrate things that are actually happening."

"Eight years ago, I would have never predicted that Brown Girls Do Ballet would be here. I didn't feel like it was my place to be in this world, telling these stories. But I'm here now, and I want to make sure I'm doing my best to tell things the right way."

"Reprimand me in private. Give me critical feedback in private. Celebrate and amplify, in public, the people who are doing the right things."

"At the most minute level, I'm helping young people get to where they want to go."

"When you have people who are 'doing the thing' and who are willing to reach back and help that next generation, it goes to show what is possible."

"As long as you keep our core values intact, it's okay to say 'no' to certain things."

"Just keep doing. Just keep working. Chip away until you get it how you want it to be."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:33: TaKiyah gives a history of her empowering nonprofit Brown Girls Do Ballet.

10:27: TaKiyah speaks to her company’s booming Instagram account (140k+ followers) and briefly reiterates the mission of Brown Girls Do Ballet.

11:55: Wallace discusses the importance of mentors and gives specific examples of how mentorship has played a huge part in her company.

15:50: Wallace, who has a contagious energy, explains how she celebrates her work and gets others excited about the work as well.

21:02: Wallace describes what was the most difficult part of founding her company.

26:44: TaKiyah, who was an educator prior to an entrepreneur, shares how she was able to carry some principles from her first career into her second career.

33:30: Wallace shares the backstory on her nomination as a 2020 Adidas Gamechanger.

35:56: Wallace discusses some short term goals for Brown Girls Do Ballet.

38:24: TaKiyah shares with listeners how they can get involved, specifically, with supporting the mission of Brown Girls Do Ballet.

40:46: TaKiyah gives some advice around building careers and pursuing dreams.


Bullet List of Resources – 

TaKiyah Wallace

Brown Girls Do Ballet