I am very pleased to announce that the first 16 Dreams interview of the year goes to “femolutionary”, author, television and film producer, ambassador for the arts, youth advocate, public speaker and lover of humanity, Ber-Henda Williams!
Her unique name Ber-Henda, means “Bear Hearted Protector” and Ms. Williams certainly lives up to her name. As the founder of Poetry, Pages, and Scribes and The Power of Girlhood, an outreach program for girls and young women, Ber-Henda has made it clear that supporting girlhood “is a passion not a hobby!”
In addition to supporting young girls through their transition to adulthood, Ber-Henda is a passionate poet who lives by the saying “The pen is her sword.” She has been featured at the Dalley in the Alley, Detroit Festival of the Arts, African World Festival, and The Java and Jazz Series at the Detroit Public Library. She has hosted many other metro area cultural events, one of which is her monthly open-mic poetry series at the Southfield Public Library, Poetry, Pages, & Scribes.
A graduate of Wayne State University, Ber-Henda also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and minor in International Marketing. Her ability to speak fluent Spanish has provided her the opportunity to translate and interpret for both schools and corporations. You can even find the Spanish language in some of her poetry featured in her book Memoirs of the Human Experience: And Everything In Between, Vol. 1.
Keep reading to find out more about Ber-Henda and the lessons she learned at 16 that helped shape her into the phenomenal woman she is today!
16 Dreams: When did you turn 16?
Ber-Henda: I turned sweet 16 in April of 1996.
16 Dreams: Where did you live?
Ber-Henda: I grew up in Southfield.
16 Dreams: What is your sweetest memory from when you were 16?
Ber-Henda: Getting my driver’s license and diamond pendent from my parents.
16 Dreams: Who was a major influence in your life at 16?
Ber-Henda: My high school English teacher Mrs. Whitaker.
16 Dreams: What were your dreams?
Ber-Henda: I always knew I would be a writer of some sort and I love travel and creativity. I wrote love poetry then and still do now. I dreamed of living a full and beautiful life. I always saw myself successful.
16 Dreams: Do you still have any of the same interests you had when you were 16?
Ber-Henda: Yes, but more refined. The older I get the more I seek to establish internal peace and balance. I love, love and life. My dreams are to run a successful publishing and marketing company and have Power of Girlhood all over the world.
16 Dreams: What was the biggest challenge you faced at 16? How did you overcome it?
Ber-Henda: I think like all teenage girls, body image was a huge challenge for me. I was more curvaceous than most girls my age, so my view of myself was greatly distorted. I had to learn to accept my quirks and idiosyncrasies.
16 Dreams: Have you ever had to apply a lesson you learned at 16 in your adult life?
Ber-Henda: Learning to navigate this lead me to start The Power of Girlhood. All of the tools and methods I learned I teach my girls!
16 Dreams: What do you hope to accomplish with The Power of Girlhood?
Ber-Henda: I pray to reach the soul of each girl and help them to access their own power to live a life of purpose and meaning.
16 Dreams: What advice would you give to readers who just turned 16? Do you have any advice you would like to give to their parents?
Ber-Henda: My advice to any young person is to go to the source and find inspiration. I advise them to develop their inner compass for navigating life. I would also say, for them to enjoy their youth because it is so brief. I would advise parents to be transparent. Your child looks up to you more than they may seem. Don’t be afraid if they make a mistake. Life is full of lessons and the more you share and explain your own experience the less likely a teen is to seek unwise counsel.
At The Power of Girlhood they believe that if you can dream it, then they can support it, and they really do. I can attest to this given the fact Ber-Henda played a major role in helping me make this blog a reality. If it wasn’t for her you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now! Therefore, I definitely recommend that everyone connect with Ber-Henda, whether online or in person, no matter what you aspire to be.
You can add Ber-Henda on Facebook at The Official Fan Page for Ber-Henda Williams or follow her on Twitter @Berhenda. Also, make sure you check out her blog http://binthecitytv.com and subscribe to her YouTube channel for B in the City Tv: a new weekly Art & Culture Internet show, introducing some of Detroit’s most talented artists, small businesses and the cultural arts community with interviews, in-studio performances, how-to segments and more. And last but not least visit her Website: http://ber-hendawilliams.com and prepare to awaken the power and passion from within!