Angelica Marie, Founder of We Are Karasi
There is so much power in community. It was one of our lovely friends, Ashley Melón, who introduced us to Angelica, founder of We Are Karasi. "Karasi" means full of life and wisdom, and well, who doesn't aspire to be on that level, spiritually? Angelica founded her business focusing on affirmations and wellness for women of color, and why it is important to communicate this to these women. Read more below on today's spotlight!
Angelica, you have a well-versed and creative background - can you tell us what inspired you to create affirmation cards for women of color and pursue in being a doula?
Even though art is part of my profession, it has always been a source of release for me as well. It has helped me express and understand my emotions and process things when I didn’t have the words to do it.
I started making the affirmations as a healing “project” for myself. I honestly had no intentions of creating affirmation cards for women of color. I was creating because I needed it and just putting it out there hoping to inspire someone else. They started to resonate with people and I decided to try making a set of cards for women of color like me. They would affirm different things I was insecure about and tackle other topics I didn’t think anyone would like them, but I’ve had a really great response so I’ll keep doing them!
I was called to doula work because somewhere deep down inside I just felt it was something I had to do for my community. When people ask me why I what made me become a doula, I always say “dying black mamas”. A friend of mine told me I should become a doula and I brushed it off because I didn’t really know what it meant. I’m an artist and I’m not a mother, how could I possibly help other birthing people on their journey to parenthood? I quickly learned that none of that mattered. I have alot of friends who are mothers and some of them started sharing their birthing experiences on facebook. None of them were particularly positive of empowering. I think that’s what really struck a nerve for me. The final straw was reading about what happened to Serena Williams after she gave birth to her daughter. It got me thinking, “if this is happening to one of the greatest athletes in the world, what is happening to people who don’t have access to resources?” That’s when my decision was made.
Based on your experience, what is the significance in practicing affirmations?
For me, affirmations are important because your mind influences the way you think about yourself. Our inner-thoughts have a lot of power over our mood, emotions and how we interact with others. If you tell yourself you suck at something, you’ll never be good at it. If you tell yourself you’re ugly, you’ll never truly feel beautiful. Other people can tell you you’re good at something or that you are beautiful but you’ll never really feel it unless you believe that for yourself. To me, affirmations are powerful because of this. Everyday, you’re giving yourself positive reinforcement and laying internal foundations for the life you want to live and the perception you want to have of yourself. If you wake up every morning and you tell yourself “I’m the sh*t”. You’ll start to believe it and other people will too. When you foster a positive environment internally, you have the power to create one externally.
When it comes to childbirth, we now have various options, but why do you think people prefer home birth?
I wouldn’t say that people prefer home birth more than other options. I think people want to be as comfortable and safe as possible. I think that mothers especially those of color, are gravitating towards home births to get back in touch with the practices of our ancestors and also because of the horror stories that surround birthing in hospitals, as our maternal mortality rates continue to rise. Generally, planned home births mean less interventions, a space you are familiar with and a much cheaper birth. As doulas, we are trained to support birthing people wherever and however that choose to give birth. As long as they are making safe decisions for themselves and the baby.
How does your side hustles reward you or help you get through your “traditional 9-5” jobs?
My side hustles are so rewarding and necessary. As creatives, we’re always creating things for others or simply to survive. I think it’s important to find things that we can be passionate about outside of work or else we will get burned out pretty quickly. It helps me to keep growing as an artist and a woman because I keep pushing myself to do and learn more. My side hustles provide me with a voice I don’t always get to have at my day job.
What do you hope for yourself and career in the coming years?
I just want to keep doing this work. I want to keep empowering women and hopefully step out of my comfort zone to do it on a larger scale. I want to be a doula to the people who need it most, the ones who don’t have access to the resources and I want to continue to use art and design to make the world a little better each day.
Interview by Chary + Emily