Updated: Jul 18, 2022
I must have been about twelve years old when I recognized that my great grandmother was a little different. l walked into “Regina’s” my great grandmother's beauty salon on 124 street and Lenox. The salon opened in the 30s, until she passed away the same week I was eliminated from the first series of America's Next Top Model in 2003. My great grandmother came from Buford, South Carolina, with a first grade education. She migrated to Harlem and worked as a seamstress until she received an opportunity to buy the beauty Salon. After working for the owner for a short time, she grabbed the opportunity to become a business owner. My great grandmother ended up marrying one of the first black men to have his own grocery store in Harlem. That brings me to two words that changed my life.
…and my great grandmother was in her very own superhero movie.
Let’s just say that there are different types of shape shifters. Some people have great minds that absorb knowledge with speed. They are never mentally stuck and they are clearly shape shifters of the mind. Constantly growing and reaching the greater heights of intelligence. Their minds are constantly moving and growing to create. Einstein is a great example of a mind that did not stop growing. Einstein learned a great lesson at the end of his life. The importance of spirituality in-shape shifting the mind towards greatness with endless possibilities. I recognized that my great grandmother and great grandfather had shape-shifting abilities. For starters, my great grandmother had the ability to not just shape shift herself completely but she believed thatevery person that came into contact with her had significance. I remember the first time I recognized my great grandmother’s superpowers and it was not because her skin was of honey complexion and shined like the sun, she was intentional. Regina had a Mystical ability that was not a secret.
Her purpose was to bring the best out of every human being even if their journey appeared to be dark; she felt that the light within us usually became visible in her company and her job was to help others see it. Before my great grandmother and great aunt, Mary Magdalene adopted me. I had a beautiful afro, the color of honey and fire. As a little girl people gazed at me because of my complexion. My hair color was like a crown that comfortably sat on the top of my head. You could see me from a mile away even as a child. I was adopted at 7 years old out of foster care. My brothers and I were in foster care ran by nuns and a priest up until the day that I left.
It was the first day that I was going to visit with my great aunt Mary Magdalene and great grandmother Regina Powell Randy Haith. I did not understand exactly what was happening but I knew that the nuns were dressing me up for something life changing. My older brother tells this story as a grown man with tears in his eyes. One of the nuns said, “What else are we going to do with her, no one will adopt her with that hair”. She proceeded to go to her desk to retrieve an old rusty pair of scissors. I remember her putting me in between her legs. She proceeded to chop my hair off in chunks. Fast forward years later to America's Next Top Model. Tyra Banks decides to give each one of us a makeover and sends us to one of the top salons in New York City. What happened next was identical to what the nuns did to me. The hairstylist chopped all of my hair off on national TV, while people watched from all over the world. I was devastated. it was not okay. I remember smiling on national TV while stylist that were educated proceeded to use a clipper to cut my hair without washing the gel out. Yes, it was painful but I decided not to say a word and smiled through the situation. I was very careful with where I put my energy in that moment. I lived with a deep-rooted motto.
I am NOT my hair!
I waited until the girl and I got back to the hotel to address the situation. The girls laughed at me but I continued to stand up for what was right. In addition, I knew there would be young girls watching that could be affected by this ignorant behavior. Instead of wasting my energy and anger with what happened to me, I felt like celebrating. Behind the scenes, I asked Tyra Banks to allow me to go to the store. The production team only allowed me go to Duane Reade. I bought a pair of clippers to chop it all off, down to the scalp. When the girls on America's Next Top Model went to sleep. Later that night, I cut all of my hair off. I realized that my great grandmother’s foundation enabled me to become a “shape shifter” of beauty. The day I formerly met my great grandmother I was 5 years old and her first words to me were, “I have waited a long time for your birth. Did you know you are my greatest gift, my grandbaby?”
She proceeded to introduce me to her mother, my great, great grandmother that lived until I was about 11 years old. I learned that I came from a line of women that lived up until about one hundred and ten. She continued with words that activated and connected me to my soul. The purpose had been ordained before I even existed. A reminder of who I was, and what I would become. Today people inquire about my secrets on how I preserve myself. In my skin, I was told I am still passing for my twenties. I silently look and feel young; I prepare myself for my fifties. Consistency and shape shifting for balance: EBONY is important. I could sell you an illusion and tell you that if you just eat healthier or work out 3 days of the week it will change your energy. That is far from the truth, every human being has a different level of energy and it is important to use it correctly. I make sure that before I make any choices, I check in with my heart. The heart chakra uses the least amount of energy. The pure heart is lighter than a feather. It is not about perfection but by paying attention to your poise. If you use your energy for dark decisions then it will delete your energy source of life. Have you ever noticed that when you drink water, which is about 70% of our body, you feel different? The universe is where you are from, so staying connected and truthful about how high and low your energy truly is can preserve not just your body but your life. You can be the richest person in the world receiving purses of water. Keep in mind that if your energy is poisonous, water will not flow properly inside of your body. Yes, water can die if it is not managed correctly. If it is in an environment of fatality, it will slowly fizzle out. Using energy from a light source aligned with your spirit will preserve your drive. This will affect your appearance, health and choices in life.
Everyone is born with a gift to shape shift their talent into a superpower. How do we preserve our energy to execute, shape shift our dreams? I watched my great grandmother and great grandfather who had the ability to cultivate land and grow fruits vegetables and herbs to heal your soul. Never waving, but staying true and authentic to themselves. Not allowing life’s circumstances to stop them from expressing their gift and using it to heal and love me.
Well, I am going to use my energy right now to make it to the barbershop. It is time for a haircut, while I drop some wisdom with the Kings in my community.
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Ebony Haith is a supermodel who walked into our living rooms on the first series of America's next top model. Today Ebony is an up and coming actress, comedian, writer, singer, artist and certified health counselor, but her true passion has always been writing. Recently creating short articles as a beginning intro for her upcoming book called America's next top model (SKIN too rough). Ebony's unique life journey is like no other. This American beauty is using her life experiences and voice to tell her story with wisdom and Grace. In my skin are short articles on the reality of her life circumstances and how she conquers through the most beautiful gift she believes is her skin. Her unapologetic, unique and authentic way of telling a story is magnificent and unique. In 2013, she was written up in the New York Post as one of the upcoming great storytellers of our time, and she's one to look out for. Ebony is bold and says the things we all have thought but maybe didn't know how to articulate. Her life experience is extraordinary. From 24 Foster Care homes to over 13 schools and that's just the beginning of this American woman named Ebony's story, as she has said, a story of immense Grace. Ebony's truth and wisdom is not only refreshing and unique but healing.