In the look at me, like me, listen to what I have to say world of social media it’s hard to cut through the noise of thousands of voices declaring, “I’m important.” Which makes it that much more compelling when a definitive voice like Raquel M.R. Thomas’ shines through.
Raquel’s journey towards defining that voice began like many others. She survived a childhood of hardship, growing up surrounded by bad influences and drug abuse. There, however, is where her story shifts from most women’s stories of getting out of the hood.
“I discovered basketball and basketball saved my life,” Raquel says, “I played ball so much that I really didn’t have time to do much else. For me it was school and it was basketball.”
The grit and hard work that was learned on the court prepared her well as she shifted from college athlete to a woman of color in corporate America to entrepreneur.
“I excelled in corporate America, I liked my job and I was good at it but there came a point when it was clear to me that I was making money for other people.”
Check Out: The Purpose and Passion Behind DMR Fashion
And so, Raquel set out to find her voice and make her mark as a successful small business owner with several thriving businesses. These include a daycare, a non-profit called Dream Catchers Foundation, and DMR Fashion “Definitive Movement Rebellion” – a clothing brand and store-front boutique in downtown Columbia. With these businesses and burgeoning career in motivational speaking, Raquel is successfully navigating the pitfalls and the hurdles of entrepreneurship while helping other women shift into becoming their own best selves.
One might think that with juggling multiple businesses along with motherhood and personal development, Raquel would be overwhelmed by so many moving pieces but after spending six months with her; conducting interviews and watching her work, it is clear that she is at her best in these moments.
I sat in on one of her empowerment conferences and watched as she touched the lives of women who related to her struggles, holding their hands and embracing them; teaching them the elements of unleashing their inner wonder woman.
I watched her stand before an entire congregation of church-goers, moving them as she celebrated the hardships of her past as the foundation of her success.
We spoke in-depth about the mission behind her clothing line, DMR fashion. She spoke of the brand being born out of a crucible of injustice with the purpose of complementing the Black Lives Matter Movement and her dedication to ensuring that DMR fashion remains, first and foremost, clothing with a conscious.
I’ve truly had the opportunity to see her in action and it’s evident that one of the reasons her voice cuts through the noise is because of the sincerity, authenticity, and relatability behind it.
Tupac once said, “My life is the most lived life of young black males in the hood.”
Raquel could probably say the same for her youth and young black girls. But unlike so many others, she has successfully found her voice and success without losing a sense of where she came from. And that is a voice worth listening to.