Friday afternoon while driving eastbound down I-20 on my way to the Fro Fashion Week conference I told my travel buddy, "I have to get a picture with Kim Coles."
Known best as Synclaire from the hit television show Living Single, actress Kim Coles is one of my favorite comedians and a champion of natural hair. Coles decided to start wearing her natural hair after realizing she was hiding behind those long, long micro-braids we all remember her sporting in the 90s. (Read more about her transition at Afrobella.)
She devotes much of her time now encouraging naturalistas with her own story and inspiring all women through her G.I.F.T.S. program. This weekend she was the keynote speaker and celebrity guest at the Fro Fashion Week conference.
I imagined getting a picture with her at Friday's Penthouse Party would be a big ordeal. I figured she'd be surrounded by some entourage and would make some 10 minute appearance at the party and then be whisked back to her room. Boy was I wrong.
Kim Coles was unbelievably approachable and even gave me a big bear hug when I told her how much I'd been looking forward to meeting her. Here we are:
|Kim Coles and I|
Then, while we naturalistas were working up a sweat (and not worried about sweating out our perm) grooving to tunes like BBD's "Poison" and Rob Base's "It Takes Two," Ms. Coles hit the dance floor too!
|Kim Coles is in the center getting her groove on|
But that was just the beginning. Saturday Coles gave a very uplifting talk on life transitions, offering sage advice derived from the concepts behind her G.I.F.T.S. program, which stands for Grateful, Intention, Forgiveness, Triumphs, and Self-love.
Be grateful every day, she reminded us. She was very transparent and shared that once Living Single was over and she was no longer getting steady acting gigs she found herself depressed. A friend recommended she start keeping a gratitude journal so that she would write down things she was thankful for and not dwell on what she didn’t have. Things turned around. Opportunities and resources began to landed in her lap. When you’re grateful for all God has given you, she learned, God gets excited and gives you more!
Be intentional with a sort of spiritual to-do list. Make a list of all the things you will do each day that will help nurture your spirit such as “I will not get angry in traffic” or “I will not allow my co-workers to upset me today.”
Forgive those who have hurt you. You probably don’t remember Coles much from In Living Color, but that was actually her first Hollywood job. It was a short stint because, Coles said frankly, there wasn’t room for her and Kim Wayans (sister of the show’s producer Keenan Ivory Wayans). But Coles didn’t hold on to any resentment toward the Wayans. She let go and moved on. And if she hadn't she would have missed the wonderful blessing that was Living Single.
Celebrate your triumphs and silence all those negative thoughts about yourself. “There are so many more things right about you than wrong,” she said.
Self-love, of course, is essential. Coles has a tattoo on her wrist that reads: “Goddess.” She said it is her reminder to never stay in relationships with people who don’t treat her as such. Just think of all the heartache that could be avoided if we all followed this rule.
One of the things that stood out to me most about her talk (aside from the fact that she’s just as funny, beautiful, kind, and down-to-earth in person as she is on TV) was her revelation that she could share her gifts and be her authentic self whether she had an acting gig or not. Her life, she realized, is about sharing the gifts of laughter and love and that’s something she can do if she’s starring on a hit TV show or waiting tables at Applebee’s.
What are the gifts you’re meant to share with the world? How will you share them today?