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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inspired Leadership: Engaging the Voice and Embodying Advocacy

  • Author(s): Jacobs, Kamra Angelica
  • Advisor(s): Porter, Lisa
  • et al.

The journey of finding my voice has forced me to show up and be seen in my work. I silenced my own voice at a dehumanizing call center, as a faceless target for frustrated customers. l discovered the power of connection by embodying advocacy and engaging my voice and body in my work. Primarily, I listen to my gut and trust my intuition. Secondly, I advocate by speaking up for those who cannot advocate for themselves. During the Streamers production process, when I felt the twinge in my gut, the stagnation of oxygen flowing to my head, or the tightening in my throat, I paid attention.

In Streamers, Carlyle says, “That’s the black man’s problem altogether. Too much feelin’. He too close to everything. He is, man too close to his blood, to his body.” I am close to my body and previously chose to hide so I was not labeled as an “angry black woman.” Fear of that stereotype dominated my work and silenced my voice. I dreaded the dissonance that is necessary for dynamic collaboration. When Streamers placed the challenges of race relations, nudity and violence in my lap, I chose to engage by ensuring the actors felt heard and understood. This was a vulnerable place and I was their advocate while continuing to nurture the creativity of the process. Being close to my body and engaging my voice is my key to effective and inspired leadership.

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