Navigating adolescence was an uphill battle for South Carolina-bred entrepreneur TiffanyJ. The pressures of fitting in with her peers, her ongoing struggle with low self-esteem and depression and dealing with the complexities of a torn family that had been ravaged by divorce led to her first suicide attempt at 12 years old. Sadly, stories similar to TiffanyJ’s have become far too common amongst Black youth today. According to a study released by JAMA Pediatrics, the suicide rate for Black children is twice the rate of whites. Further research revealed that the suicide rate amongst Black girls between the ages of 13 and 19 increased by 182 percent between 2001 and 2017. While the experiences of Black youth are not monolithic and there are several different factors that come into play that shapes their lives, the alarming trend must be addressed. TiffanyJ is on a mission to prevent other Black children from becoming statistics and has been dedicated to using her creativity and artistry as a source of empowerment through her brand Super Beauty.
The music artist, motivational speaker and business owner has always been passionate about using her own experiences to help others heal from their trauma. As a teen, she coped with her depression by turning to songwriting. In adulthood, she continues to utilize her creativity to heal. In 2018, she launched the Super Beauty doll line. The plush doll was created to empower Black girls who have found themselves in the same shoes that TiffanyJ was in as a child. Designed to help youngsters overcome depression and other forms of mental illness, the doll says over 20 positive phrases of upliftment. The Super Beauty mascot travels around the country to speak to young girls at schools, churches, and camps.
For TiffanyJ, it’s all about representation. “The most rewarding thing about this journey is the responses that I get from what I’ve created. I can honestly say it has been an overwhelming flood of positivity. The joy people get has been the best part of it. It’s confirmation that you’re operating in your purpose,” she told NewsOne. “There is one girl that has every piece of merchandise that we’ve ever sold. She ran up to me at a festival with so much joy. Those types of interactions keep me inspired and motivated.”
In 2019, the entrepreneur has taken her brand to new levels. Continuing her mission of empowerment, in February she launched a book called ABCs for the Culture which aims to teach youth about Black history. The book features Black facts from A through Z; some of which won’t be found in regular school curriculums. In the book, “B” stands for the Black Power Movement, “N” is for natural hair, and “S” is for soul. “Paying homage to Black history and culture and sharing our culture with others so they understand the richness of being Black was my ultimate mission. I wanted to inspire and empower our children to be proud and unapologetically Black,” she said.
As far as what’s on the horizon for TiffanyJ and the Super Beauty brand, she plans on creating more books and dolls. She also wants to create Super Beauty bedroom decor and coloring books. Cognizant of the struggles faced by Black boys TiffanyJ is developing a character named Handsome Hero so they see themselves reflected.
All in all, the entrepreneur wants to continue to help Black youth overcome depression. “Mental health is such a taboo in our community and that’s our biggest hurdle. We have to start showing people that it’s definitely okay to not be okay and we can’t shame them into silence,” she said. “Sharing your story is really powerful. It builds a sense of community and lets individuals know that they’re not alone.”