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FunTimes Magazine

Nicole Keys

Nicole Keys was born and raised in North Philadelphia and defines herself as an ever-growing human being, curious to explore life.

After deciding to leave undergrad in 2013, she pursued a trade in Cosmetology. Soon after Keys worked for a few salons in the Philadelphia area and grew a liking for natural hair and the business behind it. In 2016 she had the opportunity to intern for a local Black women-owned business and began her self-training in social media managing. There was a need within the small Black owned business scene in Philadelphia that she noticed, which lead to Keys starting a social media marketing business with her then partner in 2017, formerly known as The Biz, LLC.

Today, while Keys has since moved on from her former partnership, she still works with local businesses to provide social media managing services. Keys recently created a platform called, The Quiet Black Girl, out of a want to share the stories of Black girls whom may not be the loudest in the room but who still make an impact and whose stories should be heard.

How did you figure out what your passion is?

Well, to start, my curiosity is what leads me. I found it hard to hone in on a passion of mine, because I enjoy doing a lot of things. Growing up, I enjoyed dance class in elementary school. I also enjoyed running track; I did that up until freshman year of high school. One of my other likes was piano; I took lessons at the age of 11 or 12. So, growing up, there were many things I had a passion for but could never choose one. Today, I would like to believe it's my curiosity that inspires me to expand my knowledge in different areas of life.

What else would you like to accomplish?

Well, here's a list: - I want a farm - I want to live on an Island, possibly Grenade and own my own fruit stand - I want to explore one of my curiosities in real estate and find use in vacant land in the inner city and use it for fruitful good. Like growing herbs, food gardens, all things that will nourish and give back to our community. I would like to build a family and mother children with the same curiosity and desire to contribute and share their gifts with the universe. Also, I want to understand and be in tuned with my environment and with nature, I believe it's ever knowing and id one of the things in life that just is!

Has there been any Black role model or mentor who has inspired your vision or accomplishments thus far?

Yes, there was a point in time when I thought back on the opportunities that came my way and who was there to help me get there. I found a theme of being surrounded by women, Black women who saw something in me and gave me a chance to shine and grow. I have worked with and supported a lot of mothers, those with children of their own or individuals they may have adopted and mentored such as myself. This I appreciate and don't take for granted; I honor them and take their strength, wisdom and courage with me.

Do you have any cultural activities or experiences that you feel have enriched your life’s journey thus far?

One thing I thought of was my upbringing, was that I am a north Philly native, from a pretty big family. My cousins were my first friends and helped shape how I move and choose who to be around and how I approach relationships. Growing up, these were the people I laughed, smiled, played, argued and made up with all while knowing that through it all love was at the center of our relationship. Having this type of experience early on in life has grounded me in ways I hadn't realized until today.

What advice would you give to other young people beginning their careers?

Something I learned was to focus on my performance and keep doing the work. It was and is still a challenge for me to define what I do or at one point what it was that I wanted to do. My advice to others is to listen to that voice inside you, and that it's okay to not be sure. One of my favorite quotes from the amazing, Carrie Mae Weems is, 'if you can figure out what you are committed to, then you can figure out how to move forward with your life'

What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?

One thing I have come to realize is that we are not a monolith, from the shades to the shapes, to the environment, the upbringing, practices, and access to education. I find beauty in being exposed to different cultures within Black culture itself because I am reminded of how the world can feel small and yet at the same time be so vast!