S3EP9: The Future is Female: Health, Art & Advocacy ft. Dr. Amutah-Onukagha & Saint Vaughn
I hope March has blessed you with peace, love and prosperity so far!
March is recognized as Women's History Month and for me, its a time where I am not only extremely grateful to have superwomen in my life but be a woman! I wouldn't be where I am without the incredible strong women I have grown up with and met along the way. Their strength, their effortless swag, intelligence and encouragement is what motivates me to keep going, growing and spreading that joy to other queens I meet along this beautiful journey called life. One of them is my mom and she celebrated her 50th birthday this month so major shoutout to my forever queen!
Women's History Month not only celebrates the women around the world in the past who have paved paths for us to live, experience and prosper in multiple fields but also the women today who are doing that work for our women and girls. This month on ºF-TV, we had the blessing to have two phenomenal queens on our stage who through their work, their presence and their greatness are uplifting, educating and empowering our community!
I had the pleasure of meeting Tufts University Professor, Dr. Amutah-Onukagha back in December of 2018 and I was so hyped when she confirmed that she could join us on the show! As you can imagine, a Professor's life, especially a phenomenal Professor like Dr. O is busy! She teaches multiple subjects such as Health Disparities and Social Justice, Program Planning and Evaluation, and Minority Women’s Health. One of the disparities she is passionate about is maternal health. We had a very great discussion this episode on the effects of maternal health on Black Women and Women of Color and you must tune in!
As I shared with Dr. Amutah-Onukagha, I never knew that maternal health was such a big health disparity for black women until I read about the unfortunate death of Social Justice Activist, Erica Gardner. This beautiful soul advocated daily after the unjust death of her father Eric Gardner. I admired her strength and courage to speak out against police brutality and encourage her peers to know their rights. It was a major shock to me when I found out about her sudden death in 2017. Erica died of a heart attack, she was 27. She is among an alarming number of women in America who die during pregnancy or within one year of childbirth.
Dr. Amutah-Onukagha gave us the full insight on the maternal mortality crisis and also shared some deep history into why there's such a huge health disparity and lack of trust in the healthcare system amongst the black community and their medical providers.
"Personally and professionally as a women of color, this disparity does not need to exist. We are in the United States who has the best technology, the best highly trained doctors, but yet we still see this disparity for women of color who are 243% more likely to die from complications of childbirth."
Moreover, Dr. Amutah-Onukagha emphasized and shared some tips on how we can also advocate for ourselves. She encourages all of us to speak up at every doctor's appointment, even if its just a checkup.
1.) Make a list of questions to ask
2.) Bring a trusted friend if you need a second ear
3.) Most importantly, speak up! If you there's something bothering you physically or mentally, your provider can connect you with the resource or service you need. If you feel uncomfortable with your medial provider or feel like you don't have a trusting relationship, know that you have the right to switch providers.
YOUR HEALTH MATTERS
As a black women knowing that maternal health disproportionately affects us has really encouraged me to get in the know. Dr. Amutah-Onukagha shared some really exciting news about her upcoming event, the 2nd Annual Black Maternal Health Symposium happening at Tufts University on Friday, Aril 12th! Not only will there be an amazing panel of guest speakers but audience members can also gain a great amount of knowledge on their overall health & wellness and access to resources they or a friend might need. Plus they'll be FREE food and FREE childcare!
You can register at here or register the day of! I'll be there :D
Watch the entire interview with Dr. Amutah-Onukagha here on our Youtube Channel!
We also had the blessing to witness the talent and grace of Ms. Amber Irene aka Saint Vaughn. The former Berklee College of Music student shared her artistic journey with us. She cited jazz musician Sarah Vaughn as one of her many musical influences. In fact, its what inspired her stage name! Amber's father is a musical minister so gospel and music in general was always in her environment.
We first got a glimpse of Amber's talent when she visited our show this past January as part of Safiya Leslie's talented band. Everyone in the studio was intrigued by the huge bass that accompanied her while she and her crew played beautiful music together. Their performance as a whole was pure magic and in many ways, help set the vibe for this season! So I was beyond excited when Amber shared that she is starting off her solo career!
Amber shared many fun facts with us such as her first reaction to playing the bass. "I didn't want to play the bass, I wanted to play the violin." Being the tallest kid in her class at the time made her a primary candidate to play the bass. Her teacher begged her and it was definitely worth it! Amber conveyed how thankful she is for sticking to it and how playing the bass has opened many more doors for her. She also plays the guitar, sings and she writes her own music!
ºF-TV: If music was a recipe, what ingredients would you need for it to be a hit in Saint Vaughn's terms?
"From my perspective, something that moves you, some inspiration. Like an experience that you've had or a memory or a flower that's a little bit brighter than the other one. Something that inspires you. And then lyrics. Lyricism is my favorite, writing is my favorite overall." She says overall, its Lyrics, inspiration and passion!
Amber also shared how growing up in Flint, Michigan and Ferguson, Missouri has impacted her. As one can recall, Flint is still experiencing the water crisis and the effects of the unjust death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, still effects residents today. Amber expressed how she has used music as a tool to express her feelings and speak out against social injustice. She performed one of her singles, 'Black Magic' on our stage! Here's a glimpse
You can see the joy and effortless swag when Saint Vaughn is on stage! One of the things I admire and respect about this colorful soul is that she is truly committed to creating timeless, meaningful music! She shared with us that her upcoming EP will be released this Spring and we can't wait!
Its an honor to witness the growing legacy of Saint Vaughn! We hope that the future opens many more doors for this multi-talented young spirit! Please support and follow her journey as an artist by following her on social media @SaintVaughn. Watch the entire performance on our Youtube Channel here! Trust me, you'll feel the groove!
As always I am so thankful to our guests for sharing their time, their wisdom, their GREATNESS with us! It gives me so much joy to create this platform and connect with beautiful souls like Dr. Amutah-Onukagha and Amber Irene! Please support these superwomen. We need them and they need us because women make history everyday! Let's encourage them to keep shinning, keep soaring high and spreading their unique magic everywhere!
This was the best way to celebrate the spring season! Hope the universe will comfort all of you with peace, love and prosperity as we blossom into the season!
Catch our next LIVE episode on Thursday, April 25th @ 8:30PM!