By Davu of the BlackSPEARience
Happy Joyous June. Rise in the month of summer beginnings. Shine like a beautiful pearl, the birthstone of June. School’s out. The days are long. The weather is hot! 2021 Nation is reopening from the long quarantine last year. It’s a month of celebrations, events, historic moments, birthdays, and holidays. The first official day of Summer began on June 20, Caribbean American Heritage Month was first officially observed June 2006, and Black Music Appreciation Month was proclaimed on June 7,1979. If you are a Gemini then you share birthdays with Mike Tyson – June 3, Skip Marley – June 4, Junior Reid – June 6, John Carlos of 1968 Black Power Fist Olympics – June 5, Jumaane O. Stewart – June 7, Prince – June 7, Beyonce – June 13, Tupac – June 16, Venus Williams – June 17 and Phylicia Rashad – June 19.
We also want to remember our Ancestor’s historic events.
- Harriet Tubman freed more than 700 enslaved – June 2, 1863.
- Soweto uprising in South Africa – June 16, 1976.
- Mae Jemison becomes first Black female Astronaut – June 5, 1987.
And don’t forget OUR Independence Day JUNETEENTH when enslaved Africans in Texas were the last to receive word or “announcement” on June19, 1865 of the abolition of slavery in Texas, USA.
Now make way for the Queens in June. Your Queens Inc. is an African Royalty Character Entertainment Company whose mission is to evaluate, educate & express the dynamic lineage of historic Queens & Kings through storytelling, song and dance. Your Queens Inc. was founded in 2015 by Creative Director Ekiuwa Asemota aka Eki (eh-kee) designer, dance teacher, entrepreneur in Brooklyn, New York. Your Queens inc. has provided service & entertainment to organizations, public schools, colleges, counseling centers, special events, festivals, and much more. Your Queens has quite a resume and they have been featured in Essence, The Root, Afro Punk, Hot 97, Elle Magazine, News 12, Enspire, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Wire, CBS New York, and CUNY TV.
I had a chance to be blessed with Royalty and speak with the Queen, Founder and Creative Director Ekiuwa Asemota about this African Royalty Character Entertainment Company’s mission to teach today’s youth and adults the beautiful Royal lineage of African Kings and Queens, while up against the constant cycle of injustice and racism, i.e., George Floyd’s murder & protests, depression surrounding quarantine 2020 and doubt and fear stemming from the COVID-19 Pandemic, masks, and vaccines.
Eki thanks for giving me this time my Queen. First what does your name mean and where is your family from?
Eki means “joy”. My full name, Ekiuwa means “anything I touch I give blessings to.” I am the daughter of a Nigerian father and Dominican mother. There happens to be Royal blood on my father’s side as told by my Great Grand Ancestors. I was raised in Nigeria from age two to nine years old with a disciplined, hardworking, structured work ethic and environment, then we moved to New York, which continued my journey and is where I connected to the cultural blend of the Brooklyn, Caribbean and Afrikan Roots.
Who or what inspired you to become a dancer, teacher and a business owner?
God is my guide and since I was nine, I have been on a mission in my life to dance and learned to create and teach following my purpose. My parents are my source of inspiration and real models for business ownership and entrepreneurship. My family owned the African Cultural Shop on Flatbush Ave., a resource for the Black community of African descent and cultural consultants to community leaders, politicians, cultural icons and celebrities. They were also, longtime vendors at the International African Arts Festival for many years. My father had an accounting business and my mother owned and operated a daycare well into retirement. With these examples, and everyday life the Creative Director/Entrepreneur was in my blood.
What gave you the vision to create this Blacknificent company into a profitable business?
GOD, Rasta man, a kids party and my self-image combined gave me the vision. I was in business already as EKI’s Famous, which consisted of jewelry, dance, and teaching. Then in October 2014 I was invited to a four-year-old kids birthday party for a young Black girl who had two princesses of European descent hosting and saying where’s the Black/African Princesses? As I’m driving home the Creator answered my question earlier and appointed me to do an African costume Party. At first, I questioned the idea because growing up I had my own self-identity issues. In November driving with my purple headwrap on and across the street a Rasta shouted “hey, hey, roll down your window!” Reluctantly I rolled it down and said “yes” and he said, “You look like queen of Sheba”, who I was just researching and that was the period at the end of God’s divine vision to me. We needed to see more representation and self-esteem building. After extensive research & a photo shoot January 2015 Your Queens Inc. was born.
Are you the only African Royalty Character Entertainment Company?
We are the first registered 501(c)3 African Royalty Character Entertainment Company in the country or the world for that matter.
How did Your Queens navigate through the pandemic into this new normal?
We became motivated by the Your Queens mission and went virtual. Inspired by Disney succeeding during the Great Depression, I concluded that Your Queens can Rise as well. First, we went live on Instagram in April 2020, then started doing virtual performances for kids, groups and organizations. We started a podcast and YouTube show called “Behind the Crown” and we are now up to season 3. We have been booked and busy and appreciative.
This is a big year for Your Queens Inc., 6th year anniversary of empowerment, Juneteenth celebration and the Premiere Documentary of the birth of Your Queens INC. Can you give us a hint on what the documentary is about? What is most rewarding to you on this journey of your creativity?
Wow I am very excited and nervous to celebrate our 6th anniversary as of January 11th, and also this year for the first time, we are honoring seven Black men in our Your Queens journey that has supported us for the six years, like our fathers, husbands, boyfriends, videographers, and other Men. Please RSVP at yourqueens.com. All I can say about the documentary is it’s about the journey of the six years, events behind the scenes, growth and other surprises of Your Queens Inc. streaming on Juneteenth (June 19) at 5pm eastern standard time. My heart is full. I love to celebrate small and big. Life is precious, especially during this pandemic. I always Tell my students and Queens when I teach and dance, “if you can make your audience laugh, cry and applaud then you’ve done the healing work.” I get to see our people healed by images that look just like them. Your Queens changed my life and made more comfortable in my skin so I can stand up tall.
You brilliantly bring the great past to the present what’s the future of Your Queens Inc.?
We are bringing more healing, more empowerment and higher self-esteem. We started Your Queens Inc. Rites of Passage programs for young queens and kings. Becoming a household name. Merch, Party products, Your Queens TV, podcasts and programming of Black love, Finance, Mental Health and healing is the focus. Training and teaching our young princesses and princes to take over and continue the Your Queens Legacy.
We say Asante Sana (thank you very much) and continue to Crown Eki and Your Queens Inc. as a major contributor to the Black/Afrikan Consciousness, self-esteem and self-empowerment for all HUE-MANS across the diaspora.
To support and book a real live Queens and/or Kings for your special events go to www.yourqueens.com. You can also find them on Instagram @yourqueensinc, on Facebook.com/yourqueensinc and on YouTube – Your Queens Inc.
Learn Ourstory ….issa….BlackSPEARience…pass the Spear…
Davu is a Proud Baba, Hugzbond, Jegna & BlackSPEARience speaker. Curating culturally, empowering people, places and things for OUR communities to experience OUR Greatnes$. Wearing locdsince.com “Juneteenth since 1865” t-shirt, lounging on the steps of a Brooklyn brownstone, sipping on a Mango Sea moss smoothie, listening to Chronnix. To link up for Cultural Empowerment writings, promotions, and curating DM him on Instgram @dahvoo.