Introduce yourself and the profession to our readers:
Good day Queens! My name is Jay West, I am a Motivational Speaker, Published Author, Family Therapist (Intern) and the creator of the Queen Up Movement LLC. It is a Women Empowerment platform. I strive to motivate, uplift, encourage, guide, support, pray for, listen to, love, honor and respect each woman I encounter. Be it a long-term friendship or a casual acquaintance. I believe we all have something to offer to each other and building solid relationships are important. I want women to know that they are not alone in the struggles that life will inevitably offer them. We share many of the same challenges in life. Helping each other through these challenges can make a world of difference in how we heal and recover. I want to also rejoice in their victories! Celebrating each other when we achieve our goals is a valuable part of friendships. When Women support other Women, we all win!
What inspired you to pursue this area of interest?
I was inspired to start the Queen Up Movement, LLC as I dealt with several traumas simultaneously. I consider myself a survivor of domestic violence. For many years I hid the abuse and dealt with it in silence, alone. Subsequently, my marriage ended with a painful divorce in 2017 (one of several abusive relationships). I was experiencing trauma after trauma without relief. This same year I was fighting for my sons’ freedom as he was in prison sentenced to 20 years after being arrested for a crime he did not commit, I was denied a well-deserved promotion on my job and the final straw was being betrayed by women who I considered friends. During this painful time, I was overwhelmed with the insatiable desire to help other women. I thought to myself, “You aren’t the only woman going through this pain. You need to reach out to other women who are hurting.” I wanted to help other women to be able to manage the painful events in their lives, support them during the struggle and the healing process. This effort also serves as a form of catharsis for me. We may think that we are strong, and we don’t need each other but we all need support. We are born to need each other. All of us yearn for close connections, it’s an intrinsic need. I believe that seeking help is not a weakness. In fact, it takes strength to recognize that you need help and then ask for it.
What advice would you share with those interested in a similar pursuit?
I would advise any woman who is seeking to pursue this type of motivational forum to “Go for it!” There can never be enough positivity being spread around the world. The more discussions women have will promote strong, uplifting relationships that are reciprocal, the better we will be to, for and with each other. The success of “reality” television shows and the display of dysfunctional friends is not, reality, at least I hope not. I would also advise them to work with other women who share the same platform. This will serve to build unity that can span all cities and states. This is an inclusive movement. I don’t want anyone to feel or be left out. Let’s build, heal and grow together.
Discuss a professional challenge and how you overcame it?
A professional challenge that I have encountered is getting women to admit that we need each other. A lot of women, especially Black women have this “Super woman” mentality. There is nothing accomplished with this mindset except loneliness, depression and a lengthier healing period. It is so much easier when you realize that you are not alone in the painful events that life will inevitably give us. Having support can be beneficial in many ways. Having someone to talk to who has experienced similar heartache brings about understanding, compassion and having the opportunity to have a listening ear without judgment is priceless. It is a daily challenge to assure women that having a support system is important. I just continue the message and keep the movement going. If I can touch one woman, I know that I have completed my mission.
What is next for your brand/business in 2018?
The Queen Up Movement Clothing line will add more slogan T- Shirts and other trinkets to promote the cause. A portion of the profits will be donated to Domestic Violence Victim Shelters and other initiatives focused on women and children. I currently have t-shirts, coffee mugs, clutches and hats for sale. This vision is continually evolving, I am just allowing God to lead me as I humbly accept his instructions and allow his will to be done. I pray that I can impact many lives in a positive and meaningful way. I read a quote from one of my favorite women in the world, Michelle Obama. She stated, “I want to world to value women.” I can appreciate this sentiment, but I would like to add, “I want women to value women.”
How can readers connect with you online and through social media?
I can be reached on my Instagram page @queen_up_movement. I post daily inspirational messages for women to read and hopefully this content will have a positive change throughout their day and life. I can also be emailed at email@example.com. I am available for speaking engagements and am seeking vendor opportunities.