Q&A | An inspiring talk with "I Found My Voice" founder, Cherisse Bradley
Like many performing artists in the beginning of 2020, Flint native Cherisse Bradley would have never predicted that she wouldn’t be able to hit the stage due to the pandemic. But like the old saying goes, the show must go on. This year, the multifaceted singer, producer, dancer and activist is streaming her annual I Found My Voice event online.
The live performance show will take place at Comma Bookstore, and aims to help survivors of sexual and domestic abuse find healing through music, spoken word, dance and visual imagery. The event will be streaming live on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram on Sunday, December 27th for free with a suggested donation of $20.
Along with the show, Cherisse will also be premiering her new song titled "Voice Is Life" which is the official theme song for I Found My Voice.
She's also a part of GoodBoy Clothing and Natroil Grooming Co.’s exclusive “GoodGirl” collaboration that was inspired by women who are making good culture. The collaboration includes t-shirts, a women's fragrance line, and a limited edition hoodie that Cherisse is seen rocking in this article.
She managed to fit The GOODS into her busy schedule while she put the finishing touches on the show. In a Q&A below, she spoke about life during the pandemic, the challenges of producing a virtual show, “good girl” culture and more. Keep reading to get “the goods” on Cherisse Bradley and her awe-inspiring I Found My Voice event.
The GOODS: First off, how have you been doing throughout the pandemic? How have you been holding up?
Cherisse Bradley: “It's been a rollercoaster ride. I'm grateful that I have not had any immediate family members affected with COVID-19. However, it has been an enormous stress on my community and my people. I have friends that have lost immediate family members. I have a lot of empathy, and also a lot of sympathy for what's going on. And it's almost like, the whole world is going through this collective trauma. You know? So, for the most part, I've just been trying to stay grateful. And when it feels like it's just too much, I just kind of come back to that. A lot of the community has been affected a certain way, but I'm resilient so I'm adjusting to it, but it has been an emotional roller coaster.”
TG: How was the process of setting up the virtual show versus your annual live show, and did you hit any snags while executing your plans?
CB: “There were different challenges in different ways. One thing, having to deal with different artists in a bunch of different cities. As far as the show was concerned, that was a little bit challenging, and having to use the budget towards sending money out to get pre-recorded performances in other states, and navigating with people's schedules. It worked in my favor in some ways. For example, [there were] a lot of people in high demand that I wanted to work with creatively, but could not do it. COVID-19 has slowed them down and given them time.
It has pushed us to think outside of the box, and find other ways to expand while reaching others. So, in some ways, it has been challenging, and in some ways, it has opened up more opportunities. I am able to reach more survivors, able to work with more people, and to have access to the world through the internet, as opposed to just the Flint, Genesee County and surrounding area communities.”
TG: What can we expect to see and experience from the virtual tribute concert?
CB: "The online concert series which is called “Voice Is Life!” will feature myself and Mama Sol who will be up for her first performance since her cancer came back. She's had her surgeries and everything, so we're very excited that she's joining us again this year.
Harold Green out of Chicago, Steffanie Cristi’an out of Detroit, and musician extraordinaire, Jared Crawford out of New York who is phenomenal. I was so glad to have him here. He just blew everybody away at the taping, so I'm very excited for everybody to see what we have in store.”
TG: How did the “GoodGirl” collaboration come about with you, GoodBoy and Natroil?
CB: “This collaboration with GoodBoy is something that just fell in our laps; the timing was right. I am very honored that Oaklin contacted me to be a part of the GoodGirl release, and everything that it stands for, the principles of being resilient and being courageous. Being an entrepreneur, a Black woman and a survivor, everything that the brand stands for is very much a part of the principles that I have underneath my brand and the things that I stand for. So, it's kind of like a win-win. It's something that I've always wanted to do with Oaklin, and I kind of saw this a few years ago. It's something that just presented itself to where we can both be able to help one another and have like-minded principles underneath two different brands.”
TG: We’re all about making good culture over here and acknowledging and different spectrums within it. With that said, what does “good girl” culture mean to you?
CB: “Good girl culture to me means being a woman that is courageous. Someone who has fears and who has obstacles, but has the courage to be able to walk through them and to walk over them and to overcome them. And to be able to take their circumstances, no matter how bad they are, and to be able to flip it to use it for their good. To always be able to think of solutions based within the problems that they're being faced with. To be able to overcome and be resilient.”
TG: What advice do you have for young women who are looking to make a difference in their community like you?
CB: “I would first and always suggest to make sure that you check yourself in your healing process to make sure that you are standing on solid ground. When you embark upon working with others in the community, and with other survivors, you want to make sure that you are okay because those kinds of things can be very triggering if you are not at a certain place within your process of healing. Keep your motives and your heart pure, stay confident in what you do, and connect with like-minded people within the community. That's going to help inspire you to continue to keep pushing. And again, just surrounding yourself with people that are going to continue to pour into you and to support whatever it is that you want to do.”
To check out and support the I Found My Voice online event, click the link below for details, tickets and more.
Also, to stay up to date with Cherisse Bradley, follow her on:
Also, visit the website: ifoundmyvoice.org
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