Hannah L Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race and her work has been featured online at Cosmopolitan, The Bitter Southerner, Harper’s Bazaar and Revolt TV. In 2019 during Super Bowl Sunday, Hannah’s poem, "All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy," which addresses the protest by Colin Kaepernick, was shared by film writer, producer and director Ava DuVernay, and then shared by Kaepernick. The poem has been viewed more than two million times.
Hannah’s commentary on life and challenging others to dream bigger have been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Hannah Drake was featured on the Tom Joyner Morning Show with Jacque Reid to discuss her international movement, Do Not Move Off the Sidewalk, which addresses the power of holding your space. Hannah was selected by the Muhammad Ali Center to be a Daughter of Greatness which features prominent women engaged in social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice. Hannah was selected as one of the Best of the Best in Louisville, Kentucky for her poem Spaces and recently was honored as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Kentucky Governor recognizing an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, and nation. Labeled as a change agent, Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”
And finally, I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want!
Period. I am grown. I have worked incredibly hard to get to this point in my life. A point where I love me. I love the me that is staring back at me in the mirror. I am confident, and I own where I am going in life. The girl I was 20 years ago is not me now. I am fully aware of the woman I am and the woman I am becoming. I can do whatever I want and I do not need permission from anyone to do it! I am grown. And I do grown woman shit!
To all the women reading this blog, GO OUT TODAY AND BE GROWN BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO BE!
Every woman I know, KNOWS THIS LOOK! It is a mix of, “I wish this fool would,” “You got me twisted,” and “I got you right where I want you!”There is nothing more powerful than women who know who they are and refuse to be intimidated. Hell hath no fury like a woman that is sick and tired of your bullshit and that has receipts!
I wanted to make a video of the poem and include photos of celebrities that have been influential in my Becoming journey, but I also wanted to include women that I interact with daily. I made a Facebook post asking for photos and what happened next completely blew my mind. Over 200 women posted their pictures, and they started to share their Becoming stories. Immediately I knew I didn’t need any celebrity photos in the video. These women were so powerful, strong, resilient, and faithful. They were enough. Their stories made me smile, made me cry, made me rejoice at their courage to share their failures, their pain, and their triumphs. What I thought would be a simple Facebook post immediately became more significant than me. I want to share their stories below in the hope that something will inspire you to start on your road to Becoming.
Dear White People, please stop saying that you do not see color. We all know that is a lie. Short of having an issue with your eyes, you do see color. However, you believe by saying that you do not see color you are saying something that proves you “can’t be racist” and shows that you are progressive and edgy. In fact, you sound ignorant.
A few days ago on Facebook, I was tagged in a post by Rani Whitehead. Her post is below, and I have copied it in its entirety. I believe this conversation was more significant than me responding to her on Facebook and I wanted to share it with my readers so they can see two women have a conversation about race.
Did a Black man really ask Black people to put ourselves into the shoes of a White person? Are you KIDDING ME, Cory? WHAT SHOES? Shoes of privilege? Shoes of cognitive dissonance? Shoes of denying racism exist? Shoes of “just get over it?” Shoes of Make America Great Again? I don’t need to step into the shoes of White America.
In an industry that is heavily male-dominated, with labels crafting who they wanted to be the next “It Girl,” Cardi’s B carefree, no holds barred, style took the world by storm. Gone were the days of industry curated and crafted interviews. Cardi B took to social media to air her grievances, share her story, discuss her sex life, and offer a multitude of clapbacks that had us begging for more. Who else could dog walk Tomi Lahren around the world?
This month is our month! So Black people, I need your shea butter melanin skin glistening, Fenty gloss bomb poppin’, and afros, braids, wigs and weaves shining as we throw it back like we are takin’ over for the 99 and the 2000! I promise you, Black people are so amazing that when I read things about Black people, I think, “Damn Black people are so ridiculously dope! If I weren’t Black, I would be like, “Damn I wanna be Black!”
You would think that everyone in Kentucky would rejoice. What an amazing way to honor a man whose very name brings honor to the city. However, that was not the case. While many people were pleased, the comments soon popped up on social media calling into question why Muhammad Ali is worthy of this honor? Truthfully, I found the comments to be typical. It was fine honoring Ali when they could just wear a t-shirt with his image on it. It was all good as long as Ali remained the person they constructed in their heads that suited them. It’s cool as long as it’s the Ali that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. They love that Ali. That is the Ali that doesn’t make them uncomfortable. That is the Ali they can brag about to their drinking buddies. That is the Ali that doesn’t challenge their way of thinking. Similarly, to the whitewashed version of Martin Luther King Jr that so many have constructed and that we will read “convenient tweets” about on Monday, as long as it’s the Ali that doesn’t ruffle their feathers, there is no problem. But do not forget it was here in his hometown of Louisville where Ali was called, “the Olympic nigger,” and was denied service in a “Whites Only” restaurant after returning from the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960.
It was such a small gesture, but at that moment, it meant so much to me. It was bigger than a basketball game. It was a moment that I got to see two Black men show love, support, and brotherhood towards each other. We often see Black men portrayed in the media in a negative light and finally, the world was able to catch a glimpse of true brotherhood.
I was also reminded to tell my Black brothers, “Chin up!”