Ariel Rainey is a media and entertainment professional from the Englewood community in Chicago who is passionate about the arts, community and family. She is the founder and executive director of the Hustle Mommies nonprofit organization, chairman of the Junior Board of Trustees for the Universal Hip Hop Museum and is a consultant for various brands.
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Women of color must be in the decision making seat because we add a perspective that is more flavorful and help keep companies from having a one-track-minded approach. It also helps with situations (such as the #METOO movement) where women are often placed in a box or sexually profiled to be lowered or even eliminated.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
I would thank Taraji P. Henson because she is definitely a Hustle Mommy! Taraji moved to LA with a few dollars in her pocket and her son to make her dream come true. That is the spirit of what the Hustle Mommies organization is all about and she continues to hustle! That hustle has led her to become one of the top actresses in Hollywood.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition? What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?
I think it is a cute hashtag, but I do not see it often as I would like to see collaboration between women. There is a wave of events happening where women are doing the same thing yet with a different name which only lessens the value and impact of that event. I would love to see more women come together and start riots of womanhood (especially women of color). My partners and collaborators MUST have passion or determination or it will not work for me. My passion fuels my projects and I cannot work with anyone whose energy is off while we are seeking to make an impact.
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
How can one be successful without risks and mistakes? I rather take a risk or make a mistake and learn from them than to not try at all. Those risks and mistakes are what shapes you as a person.
What inspires you to show up at work every day?
My kids and my Hustle Mommy demographic! My kids have dreams and my hustle comes from making sure that I can make them come true. The Hustle Mommies we service sends messages of how they look up to me or how they don’t have anyone and I give them hope. I cannot let them down.
How did you determine your career path?
God led me here! I actually wanted to be the next Advertising Executive of Chicago amongst my ten other dream jobs LOL! However, God gave me this mission to impact moms in the “hood” and to be a force in the urban philanthropy world.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I let God tell me what things I need to change! As I grow as a Woman and Professional I EVOLVE according to his will
What are the do’s and don’ts for young women in business?
The top things I would advise to the young women seeking to launch businesses is to respect the OGs! Get a mentor who is a powerhouse and allow them to mold you into a force just like a few of my mentors have done for me. Also, do not be heavily influenced by what you see on social media because innovation is what creates legends. Stay in your own lane!
Name three successful female role models and explain why you admire them.
Oprah Winfrey: Auntie Oprah is one of my favorites because she made her name a powerful thing yet did it through empowerment and by being a transformational influence for her audience. That is goals for me and the Hustle Mommies!
Misa Hylton: Misa Hylton is someone who created the iconic styles of the 1990s Hip Hop and R&B golden era and was a Mom through the entire process. She is so fly and is a very sweet person. Her iconic looks on Lil Kim and Mary J. Blige has made her a legend in the fashion world and that is so admirable!
My grandma, Shirley J. Rainey: My grandma is my heart! She endured a lot in her life yet raised her children and grandchildren to be lovers of the Lord. She gave me the love of music and God. What’s a better gift?!
How do you successfully grow from failure?
I believe in meditation, therapy and life coaches. You have to restore yourself spiritually, mentally and emotionally to recover after a failure to ensure you have learned from it. People do not like talking about the importance of mental health, but as a Mom and Business Owner, I know that this is best. Taking an “L” is draining and you must protect yourself!