LAS VEGAS – Susan L. Taylor is the quintessential embodiment of grace and class and enjoys universal admiration for her indefatigable commitment and advocacy of the African American community.
This regal author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and Essence editor emeritus has partnered with General Mills for the past three years to celebrate the “Feeding Dreams” campaign, a program that illuminates, supports and pays homage to the everyday people who strive ceaselessly to uplift their communities in relative anonymity and who are honored during the Steve Harvey Hoodie Awards weekend.
“I am so honored about the work that we do across the country with the Feeding the Dreams program, because it is usually people who are known and who are famous who are held up by corporations. But General Mills had the vision, the foresight and the courage to go into our communities and see those who are very quietly doing critical, critical work,” said Taylor.
“The work that I am doing in communities is so synergistic with the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which started after [Hurricane] Katrina. The village is on fire! You all know that. Our village is on fire, our children are losing ground. We have to devote a little bit our time to do what other people won’t do.”
Prior to appearing before a large gathering of white linen-clad fans in the cavernous Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort convention center, Taylor spoke with rolling out about what motivated her to get involved with General Mills and the Feeding the Dreams program, in conjunction the Hoodie Awards, and what she expects it to accomplish.
What was the impetus to align yourself with General Mills Feeding Dreams program and to come to the Steve Harvey Hoodie Awards?
Feeding Dreams is the phenomenal honors program that really elevates everyday heroes, people all throughout the nation who are quietly doing the most critical work, feeding hungry people, housing homeless people, helping people who are trapped in addictions, helping children who have lost their way. These are the people who are hardly ever recognized. They are not famous. They are not well known. And it’s rare that anybody, especially a large corporation, would ever focus on folks like that. So it speaks directly to the work that I’m doing in the communities. And I love Steve Harvey. He’s a race man who loves black people, and who stands up for us and cusses us out if he needs to. So it’s really a wonderful triumph.
What do you particularly say to girls and young women who see your grace and class and want badly to emulate you, but don’t know quite how to get there?
That grace comes from within and you have to find peace within yourself. And that peace is only gotten when you have assured about life and that God’s got your back and that there’s nothing you need to worry about. You don’t have to have your cleavage out or be over the top in any way to attract that partner that we’re all looking for and to be noticed. I really encourage women to really get to love themselves. We learn to love what God made— our color, our looks, our hips, our lips, our hair. And that gives you a confidence and an ease. And when you bring that to the world, it’s love. Self-love is a magnet that attracts love. It attracts all of the things that we want.
I think that spirituality, paying attention to our bodies and what we put into them, that we exercise them, and that we live for something larger than another pair of shoes.