Papier Passions

Gurls Talk: A Letter To The Women Who Inspire Me by Mélat

For International Women’s Day, we’ve collaborated with model Adwoa Aboah and Gurls Talk, her mental health community for young women, on a limited edition self-reflection notebook. It’s full of inspirational quotes from the Gurls Talk podcast guests, like Serena Williams and Janaya Future Khan, and features prompts to help you express yourself freely.

To celebrate the launch of this very special journal, we asked a couple of members of the Gurls Talk community to pen letters of reflection for us. Here, Ethipoian-American R&B artist Mélat writes to the women who paved the way for her.


To the women who inspire me,

Growing up, I was the shyest one in the room. I had always felt this confidence dancing inside of me, yet its origins seemed to escape me. I loved what I loved, I believed what I believed and no one could stifle the conviction in my heart. Although my actions were often halted by my insecurities, I couldn’t shake this feeling of a dormant fire burning deep within.

I searched for reasons why this confidence persisted within me. However, I had faith the answer would reveal itself in time. I now understand it was because of you.

You women who silently and loudly showed me what it meant to push forward. My whimsical mother, my gracious grandmothers, my powerful aunts, my courageous sisters, my priceless girlfriends, and sometimes even strangers I’ve never met. You remarkable women are how I identified my little light and always knew that it would shine.

You women are the melanin queens from my school days on predominately-white campuses who made it a point to be my mentors. Though I’ve forgotten names, I’ll never forget how I was warned of the perils of shaving delicate brown skin and how to best avoid the scars that often come with it.

You women are my grandmothers in 1920s-1980s Ethiopia who empowered yourselves to find autonomy. You literally fought for your lives, while still being the nurturing matriarchs of not only your own children, but for an entire community.

You women are like my mother who told me to go right back up to that boy at school, and “tell him he is white poo-poo,” after I ran crying home because he said my skin looked like chocolate poo-poo. That day I learned to stand up for myself. That day I learned strength from you women.

I watched you fight boldly through a world that didn’t respect you yet somehow you always found a way to greet me with a warm smile. I observed your courageous actions and took notes. The lessons, bravery, and beautiful failures showed me how to amplify my own light.

Today they call me confident, inspiring, courageous, and kind. But what they don’t realize is that it’s because of you. The gifts instilled in me by you women who were so kind to share them.

Thank you all for loving me enough to guide me in becoming the woman I am so proud to be.

Love always,

Mélat


Mélat tells stories of love in all its facets – whether romantic or platonic, beginning or ending – because love is, in her eyes, the only truth. Born and bred in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas, this first-generation Ethiopian-American, is the eclectic soul of modern R&B.

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