(This is Part 2 of my one-on-one with actress and director Kim Fields, who delivered the keynote address at the 2nd Annual One Woman Business Conference in Houston last month. Missed Part 1? Read Here)
Brother Jesse Muhammad (BJ): Why is there a need to have conferences such as the One Woman Conference that focus primarily on women, in the workplace and in doing business?
Kim Fields (KF): People overall but most especially women, because of the way we are wired, need as much support as possible. And support comes in many different ways. Support comes from information. Support comes from encouragement. Support comes from relatability. There is nothing like going to a place and realizing that “Wow. I’m not the only one dealing with that. I’m not the only one who feels like that. This has happened to you too, I had a similar situation.” So, if you look bak over time or, to refer back to the my son and the Animal Kingdom…in looking at the lion species, the lionesses are always together. They are helping one another, and taking on responsibility for not only their own but also for all of those in their immediate environment and this is true for most species. They used to say that it takes village to raise a child. Well, yea, so what’s happening with the village?
So, right now, I think there is a tremendous need for us to remember that women really do need to stick together and help one another and help lift each other up. We’ve spent decades tearing each other down and being deathly afraid of one another and extremely intimidated by one another. So, at this point I think a conference like this is necessary to solidify the sisterhood, and I don’t just mean that from just a black women’s perspective but overall. Let’s get back to solidifying the sisterhood and to really helping one another. Just because we have the same goals or business should not mean that there isn’t room in the world for us to both exist and succeed, so instead of tearing you down, let us see how we can help one another be better. That is a mentality that we, as Black people, have really, really lost. That we, as women, have certainly lost and a great deal of that, I think has stemmed from that whole male/ female ratio. The mindset that I have to look a certain or be a certain way because for every one man there’s six other women going after that one dude. And I think that mentality has seeped into almost every area in our lives and our existence. So, the need for this conference is birthed out of our way of thinking being so skewed and so jeopardized that we’ve got to start getting back to the middle and remembering that we’re all in this together.
BJ: From your own experiences, what kind of guidance can you offer to your fellow sisters out there that are striving to do something for themselves in business?
KF: I think when people look at me and look at my life, because they feel like since they haven’t seen me on the cover of Jet every other week, having some tragedy or some monstrous issues going, they think that ‘Wow, she couldn’t have possibly been through anything.’ and nothing could be further from the truth. As a business woman, I’ve taken my lumps. I’ve traveled down the road of ‘it’s a hard knock life” . There’s been some missteps and some missed cues and some mistakes. One of the things my pastor is always saying is that you have to look at the word 'mistake' and realize that it is just that, a mis-take. So, take it again. Take it from the top. As somebody who is in front of the camera, if you mess up your lines, that take is no good because you messed up your lines. So, they come in and they say, ‘Okay, Take 2”.
So, that’s how I’ve had to view my mistakes. So that I’m not riddled with guilt. So that I don’t harbor unforgiveness.
There’s a lot of different issues that come with being an entrepreneur or even having the desire to be an entrepreneur. To be in business, to be a leader….and I certainly have been there. I do have a lot of different experiences to share but sometimes it’s about sharing the things that aren’t always said at these conferences. It’s not always about building up women and “empowering, empowering”, run out to the SBA and get you a loan and here’s how you do it and go and do your business and here’s how to make a brochure for yourself.
Some of it is “Hey, don’t forget that empowerment is not synonymous with emasculating your man. Some of it is “Hey, don’t forget that just because you are in power, you’ve still got to deal with your insecurities because an insecure woman whose got any sort of power is dangerous.
So, those are some of things that I feel like aren’t ever said at these types of events and it becomes the “Feel Good Event of the Year” but we’ve got to prick ourselves every now and then and get to the stuff that doesn’t always feel good to say or talk about but at the end of the day, you gotta do the work.
BJ: I read that you got arrested at an Anti Police Brutality Rally. I’m actually impressed. We have so many celebrities and business people who tend to walk on egg shells when it comes to hot button issues, not wanting to offend those who control funding their careers so what has made you so willing to step out and address social issues like that and be so involved on a political scale?
KF: Well, I believe that if you have been blessed to be in a situation where you’ve got any sort of influence or audience or voice, how can you use that for good and not evil? So, no matter what color you are, no matter what age you are, no matter what sex you are, any sort of abuse of power is just wrong. And whether that abuse comes out physically or violently, mentally or verbally, emotionally or spiritually….any abuse of power is just an injustice.
And I don’t believe that God has kept me in the public eye for me to just be on a TV show or movie or in a play, entertain people for 20 minutes or 2 hours, and collect my check and that’s it. I’m not putting that down and that’s fine if there are people out there who live their lives like that. That’s just not my make up. The was that I’m made up and the way I was raised was that if you’re in a position to be able to help someone else, then you do that. Whether it’s in a classroom or at the grocery store or on a much larger scale.
BJ: Thank You for the interview.
KF: Thank You!