By: Torera | March 31st, 2021
Does the name Rashan Ali ring any bells? You may have heard her in your car on Atlanta's HOT 107.9 some years back! You may have also spotted the stunning actress in a few classics like Three Can Play That Game (2007), or in Being Mary Jane (2013). If you missed her on radio and film, you have probably definitely caught Mrs. Smith on TV One during her three seasons of Sister Circle as a talk show host! On top of all of this, Ms. Rashan Ali is also a children's book Author, founder of Sporty Girls Inc. Non-profit, and SO much more! Rashan Ali is truly a woman to admire and has been actively paving the way for women of all ages to aspirer for greater things despite the odds! Even now, the multi-talent is still reaching to accomplish many of her remaining goals. Oh yeah— did we mention that she is a mother and wife as well? So what better way to celebrate the impacts of an admirable woman than to honor her voice during Women's History Month?
Actress, Author, Journalist, Media Personality and Writer, to name a few, sat down and opened up about her own personal battles with gender equality, acquiring respect, learning from other admirable women of prestige, and what waling in her purpose means for her as a Black woman. Mrs. Smith also shared some important words of wisdom everyone should carry with them on their journey through life.
Text in Bold represents XBlaze Magazine. Plain Text represent Rashan Ali Smith
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Did you ever feel limited as a young woman, regarding equality?
I’ve had several experiences, especially in my radio career, that made me feel inadequate as a woman. After returning from maternity leave after giving birth to my first child six weeks prior, I was unceremoniously demoted from being the “lead” of my morning show to the co-host. I was replaced by the male afternoon talent. I was informed about the change at a breakfast with the program director and everyone on the team. My response was brief and direct. “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if I had different genitalia.”
There was no rebuttal, because this statement sat deeply in factuality. After seeking counsel from my uncle, who was a renowned labor lawyer in the city, he told me I had viable pregnancy discrimination case. However, if I had to decide if I wanted that lawsuit (which I would have won) to follow me for the rest of my career or stay and let it all play out. I decided on the latter.
Who were/ are some women that influenced you as an individual?
One of my greatest heroes is the ever so talented and graceful, Robin Roberts. I remember it like it was yesterday when she served as the guest speaker at my 8th grade basketball banquet. At the time, she was the sports reporter for V103 and I remember saying to myself, “I want to do what she does.”
Watching her go on to ESPN and Good Morning America continues to show me that there are simply no limits. Not only do I admire her professionally, I admire the strength and tenacity she showed fighting and beating Cancer twice publicly. The love she has shown her partner, “sweet” Amber and the immense love she has for her entire family is absolutely admirable.
Have you ever struggled with self-love?
I have struggled with self-love in the past. I have since gotten to know “me for me” and understanding why I showed up the way I did. I am certain that the people who have followed my career would think otherwise, but being the greatest version of myself comes from loving and learning who I see looking back at me. I have been in therapy for close to two years and with the help of my doctor helping me to implement practices in my life, I have experienced a new level of awakening and enlightening. I am also reminded often by her that mental wellness is a journey. Now, I pour into myself before anyone else wakes up in the morning. I have learned to be selfish because I cannot serve anyone if I have nothing to give.
To younger girls who feel restricted due to things like sexism, gender roles, and stereotypes, what would you like to tell them?
Younger girls, like my daughters and the girls in my Sporty Girls, Inc. program have to deal with the scrutiny of social media. It is important for them to be able to be openly vulnerable about their thoughts, feelings and actions. The majority of them, including my daughters, have been taught these societal ideals that have been normalized. It is up to women who have been able to open up and be honest with themselves to guide the younger generation to do the same. We have to learn how to be whole: how to feel: how to love: how to grieve: and not be shamed for any of it. We are full human beings and we should embrace ‘being’ more than anything.
What is something you love most about being a woman?
I love the constant evolution of being a woman. I love learning more and more and unlocking the mysteries of life and all it has to offer. I love the limitless opportunity of navigating the world. I also love a good sneaker and a fresh hoodie!! That’s the Decatur in me!
What are your personal views on women empowerment?
Women’s Empowerment exists in several forms. It resides in our Circle of Friends. It allows us to constantly be challenged by other women who simply want to see us win. If we are not cheering each other along the way, how are we truly serving others which, in turn, serves the universe? Women’s Empowerment can also show up in the form of workshops, conferences and seminars. These are good tools as well if the intent behind it is pure.
What are some things you do to try and elevate women?
I elevate women through my Cool Soror Podcast where I get to help share the journeys of women in Black, Greek Lettered Organizations. Every person on this earth has a story and something in their story can help someone else along the way. That is why I believe it is important to be open and candid because it creates a shared experience.
I am also the founder of Sporty Girls, Inc. whose mission is to cultivate, enrich and challenge young, minority women to participate in swimming, soccer, tennis, golf, and lacrosse while developing and fostering lifestyle & academic skills. Since our inception in 2006, we have served over 1,500 girls and young women in the Metropolitan Atlanta area.
Why is it important for females to have an equally heard voice in business and entertainment?
The fact that we are continuing to fight to be heard still baffles me. The effort in which it takes to silence us speaks solely to the oppressor. We have always been brilliant and intelligent, the world is just catching up to it. It’s incredibly important for women to be at the forefront in every industry. We are methodical and radical: smart and sharp: and impeccable leaders.
How does it feel to be witnessing a renowned part of American history with the Vice President of the United States being a female?
I shed tears of uncontainable joy. Not only did it show what we’ve already known, that women can do anything, but it showed just how far this country has come in accepting that truth. I also felt tremendous pride as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. the same sorority as Madam Vice President Kamala Harris.
Many things have changed concerning women and their rights; however, a bit more work still needs to be done. What is something you would like to see adjusted?
There are several issues that we are still fighting for including reproductive rights, economic justice, ending violence against women and racial justice. It is also important that we continue to push for more women to run for office so that we can push for the change we wish to see and rightfully deserve.
How does it feel knowing people look up to you and you hold an influence on the lives of others?
I asked God to put me in position to have influence because I wanted to show people how I imagined God wanted it to be done. When we realize that it’s bigger than us, then we get to see it for what it really is. No matter where we land in this life, we have influence in our office, in the store, everywhere. It is up to each of us to choose it wisely.
If you could reverse the clock, what would you want your past self to know?
Believe bigger NOW.
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE CHAT WITH RASHAN ALI
... but what I do have autonomy over with God's co-creation is [...] what
I do in the middle...