Today we’d like to introduce you to Raven Reid.
Raven, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing at the age of three. I fell so in love with the stage and the costuming and the body pains after I job well done. When I was ten, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine which resulted in a surgery in which two metal rods were put on either side of my spine. The surgeons said I would never dance again. Six months later, with no physical therapy, I put everything I had back into dance. And decided that I would rather dance and be happy than not dance and be safe. I attended Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 as a dance major and continued my education at Ohio University.
While receiving my degree, I had the honor of choreographing for some of the Universities biggest parties. Choreographing for Juicy J concerts, meeting Waka Flocka Flame and being named choreographer of the year. After graduating with my degree in political science, I chose to pursue the thing that makes me most happy, dance. Because of dance I have gotten into modeling. I’ve gotten a chance to record music and most of all, I’ve gotten to learn that absolutely nothing is impossible. Something I do often teach my students. This journey of life is hard, but only we can shape the journey to our liking.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My advice for young women starting in this industry is don’t look left, don’t look right, look straight ahead and know the only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday. I’ve heard so many no’s because of my skin color, my age, my height, my weight, but we continue to fight and grow. Don’t get intimidated when you don’t feel heard or included. Women (especially black women) will always be too loud in a room that never intended on listening to them. Dive right in and go for your dreams, regret is the worst thing to experience.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a multifaceted dancer, I specialize in Modern, ballet, jazz, African, hip-hop, heels, and tap. I currently dance for Reed Dance II, and IBG Movemento. I am also a freelance model, I love modeling because I set myself apart by adding all my dance elements to my pictures. I am also a writer. I have a short children’s story in the works and am excited to finish and premier it. I think I am most proud to be the first Ohio University student to win a choreographers award. I also won The Shyne Award for overcoming obstacles in 2011 and working with Ailey II. I am excited for everything my future has in store.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Nicki Minaj once said “I murdered everybody, and got known for my body.” I think that is one of the largest hurdles. Nicki carried rap music for ten years, not just for women but for the entire genre and she is just known as breasts and bottom. The hardest hurdle for a woman, ESPECIALLY a black woman is that we already have to be 10x better to get half of what men get but we also have to be attractive exotic botoxed beauties. The main thing isn’t talent anymore and so acclimating to a world that wants perfection from women while constantly tearing women down is a struggle affecting every industry today.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Raventhedancer
- Twitter: Drip_rumi
Photos by Kitoko