Five Faces of Inspiration

Many of you often see me post photos, stories, songs etc. about my favorite inspirations on my various social media pages and I know it gets a bit redundant. Here’s the thing, I have sooooooo much appreciation for authenticity, style, TALENT, quality, wisdom and passion and all of the greats in my “Inspiration Nation” OWN those things. I put them on a pedestal, as they deserve to be because in my eyes they’ve earned it. As a young woman, I believe it is important to look up to wise women for inspiration as an example to follow by because we could all use some guidance at times.
Some people find these individuals in their families, communities, professions…it doesn’t matter where you find them, all that matters is that you have them. I was raised by my grandmother and she is my NUMBER 1 EVERYTHNG! She has molded me into such a magnificent being if I say so myself, and I noticed that almost all of the great women I am inspired by are in her generation! Mature, classy, sophisticated, REAL, talented…the list could go on forever! I spoke with my grandmother today about the realization I’d made and she said, “It’s because we were real!”…and I totally agree with her. Another fact I noticed is that all of these individuals had such unique styles that read glamour, elegance, sophistication and class written all over them! Their dress game was just exquisite, just…..I’m speechless. For now I’ll just introduce you to 5 of these amazing women, but trust me there are many many more!
First, I have to introduce the most influential person in my life… my grandmother Velvette Ruth Sutton-Matthews..

My Grandmother, my #1 everything

She is the most free spirited woman I know and has such a spontaneous sense of style, which is where mines comes from. She has taught me everything I know and has always allowed me to be my own person. Now, if she doesn’t like something she will tell me in a heartbeat, but always leaves the ultimate decision up to me. I often look at photos she has on the walls depicting a beautiful young woman that I now call….Mom mom…she was the bomb.com! There is this HUUUUUUUGE photo of her from the seventies that makes me say “WOW” every time I look at it….

“Mom mom” in the 70s, Michelle Obama’s arms don’t have anything on hers!!!! haha

Oh, in the corner you can see a photo of her and my grandfather one Halloween…they were such a power couple!!!!!!!
I could talk about my grandmother for hours as many of you have seen me do if you follow me on Twitter , so let’s move on to my next inspiration who all of you will definitely know… Ms. Phylicia Rashad!

Phylicia Rashad, need I say more?

I absolutely LOVE Ms.Phylicia Rashad!!! I know that most of the reason is because of her role as Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show, but who couldn’t love the best TV mom ever???? The elegance and class she attributed to ”the woman” of those times was unprecedented and is still respected almost two decades later! I watched an interview she did recently and she spoke about how young women would write her letters saying how she had inspired them to become lawyers, what an influence!
She brought something to television that was not seen too often and owned it. Her latest role in For Colored Girls reminded me of how much I miss seeing her on tv. The funniest thing is, before I actually researched it…you could not tell me that Rudy was about 10 years older than me! I thought the Cosby show was still running as a child when I later came to know that it ended when I was just two years old! The magic of tv… anywho, Ms.Rashad has continued to inspire me and serve as the epitome of what a classy, independent woman is. I am determined to meet her this year and although I have no clue how I’m going to do that, I am sure going to find a way!

Phylicia Rashad as Claire Huxtable
I even tried to be “Claire Huxtble” this year for Halloween hahahaha….. thoughts?

Me as “Claire Huxtable” for Halloween.. ha!
Here’s one of my favorite clips from the Cosby show of Phylicia Rashad singing with Stevie Wonder!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvrRUeCsVyc&feature]
Next on my list is the late great Ms.Phyllis Hyman…

Phyllis Hyman, voice of gold and effortless beauty

You ALL know how I feel about this woman’s unmatched talent…I can’t even find the words. She was such a beautiful soul with a magical voice that could mimic, sing, whistle, just….. so amazing. It is so unfortunate that she is no longer with us and it is also a call to action for woman particularly to focus on their mental health because it is so important to your life. I often listen to her music day in and out and each time I seem to be amazed as if I had never heard it before. She never really recognized or acknowledged what a gift she was, but I  know I will continue to keep her legacy alive and make sure my children know what REAL music sounds like! There are a few vids that I NEVER get tired of watching, I’d love to share them with you.

Phyllis Hyman singing “In A Sentimental Mood”

Phyllis Hyman scat battle with Hinton, singing “Take the A Train” CLASSIC!
Phyllis Hyman singing, “Living All ALone” (I’ve never seen someone whistle like that ever in life)…
She is a true legend…her talent leaves me lost for words every time…
Next I’d like to introduce Ms. Anita Baker….

Ms. Anita Baker, the voice that makes you want to love somebody! haha
Now I know ALL of you have seen my Anita rants if you follow me onTwitter! Her music makes me want to love someone! It’s magic, I’m convinced. The truth and passion in her music appeals to your emotions in a very special way that not many artists today can quite accomplish. Her music speaks for itself, here are a few of my favorites…
Anita Baker singing, “Sweet Love”…

Anita Baker singing, “Angel”…
Anita Baker singing, “Caught Up In The Rapture”…

Yes,I’m an Anita STAN! …haha. I just really appreciate quality music and I attribute that to my grandmother because she exposed it to us. I was telling her how much I appreciate that and she just laughed and said, “I just wanted you to have the real deal baby”.

Last but DEFINITELY not least, Tyra Banks… but wasn’t that a given?..oh…
I will spare you and not get crazy with this one, you all know how much I just adore my “Big Sis” Tyra Banks…

Tyra Banks, SUPERMOGUL- effortless beauty



I love that she is so passionate about what she stands for, she is the “big sis” to many (although I’m sometimes stingy on twitter hahaha) , providing support and always reaching out to our young girls to give them guidance to a promising future. She embraces unique beauty and shows that it is in fact even more valued than the “ideal”. She is innovative, a clever businesswoman, and one of the individuals that will be able to make a change in the world with her contributions. Ok, I won’t ramble, because you know when it comes to Tyra I can go on and on. I’ll just stop here and calm down because I feel a Tyra rant coming… watch out twitter!

Tyra at the Kid’s Choice Awards, 2010

My favorite EVER photo of Tyra..

It’s such my favorite that I drew a portrait of it along with another that I like…I call it “Tyra In Two”

Portrait I drew of Tyra, “Tyra In Two”

So, there you have it! 5 of the most influential women and trust, there are many others on that list! Let’s just consider this part 1! I love having such talented people to look up to because they provide encouragement just showing what they have done! I’d love to know if you too are inspired by any of the women on this list… it seems that many people have a place for them in their hearts.

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to follow The Runway Times on twitter for the latest updates!

Sharontina B.

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