Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Asha Boston of The Dinner Table Documentary.
In a December 2017, a tweet went viral of a daughter gifting her Mom a trip to London for Christmas. Receiving almost 60,000 re-tweets and over 207,000 likes, it was the kind of tear-filled moment that leaves you filled with restored hope and Holiday cheer.
My mom doesn’t ask for much and since she was a child her one and only dream was to go to London for Christmas…this year I surprised her with the gift she’s always wanted….a trip to London, leaving tomorrow, on Christmas 🙂 pic.twitter.com/PqmvMeaQqw
— Asha Kay B (@AshaKayB) December 24, 2017
While social media can be a veil of superficial behavior to garner online popularity, the originator of this tweet, Asha Boston, is inspiring both online and in real life. Long before she was able to gift her mother a dream trip, she had giving back to young multicultural girls in the form of media education and outreach via The Dinner Table Doc.
The Intersection of Essence Magazine, Sesame Street and Reality Television
“I wanted Black women to see a reflection of themselves that doesn’t condemn their character but celebrates of their tapped and untapped potential to be great…”
The Dinner Table Doc is intentional in combating stereotypical portrayals of multicultural women in the media. The creation of Boston’s non-profit was inspired by a unique blend of unsuspecting mediums: Essence Magazine, Sesame Street and reality television.
Essence has successfully engaged its audience in showing that Black women are multi-faceted. Its content coupled with the Sesame Street’s informing yet entertaining content inspired Asha to also capitalize on the addictive qualities of reality television—but reverse the often negative portrayals of multicultural women in these shows. Additionally, the company name is also antithetical to reality television portrayals that women are unable to sit and have dinner together without drama ensuing.
Although this venture is one-third of each, it coalesces to create a transformative experience for young multicultural women and those interested in media alike.
The Dinner Table Doc
The Dinner Table Doc creates safe spaces for multicultural young women to share their truth through media literacy and self-esteem building workshops. At the non-profit’s core is the ability for young multicultural women to craft a “reflection of themselves that doesn’t condemn their character but celebrates all of their tapped and untapped potential to be great.”
Their programming includes: Beyond The Table; their annual community outreach dinner, “Hot combs n’ Sunday Dinners;” and their annual community summit, “The Miseducation of Brown Girls.” In October 2017, at their most recent creative summit, young multicultural women were exposed to unconventional careers in the technology and entertainment industry, via intimate workshops and larger plenary sessions. Amongst the professionals in attendance was the Director of Digital Design at Sesame Street, Breonna Rodriguez. Not only was Ms. Rodriguez’s presence and career journey inspiring to the participants, it was also a personal triumph for Asha.
Throughout all of their various programming, the power of multigenerational community building and allowing attendees to live at their fullest potential is evident—having serviced over 400 girls in the Brooklyn, New York area. With its recent 501(c)(3) designation and 2016 nomination as a change agent by the White House Council of Women and Girls, The Dinner Table is continuing to evolve and find innovative ways to rectify societal problems. Alongside events and their newsletter, within five years, Asha aspires to be operating out of an official headquarters equipped with a production studio for young women to come in and create media.
“As much as it hurts, I’ll continue to put pressure on the glass ceiling because it needs to be shattered”
Asha Boston: An Online and Real Life Inspiration
Although Asha’s career converges at the intersection of her cultural identity, media and entrepreneurship, regardless of your intended career, she encourages: confidence; graciousness; and to always stand in your truth—knowing who you are, what you desire and moving purposefully toward your goals. She credits these qualities for allowing her to navigate spaces that often lack diversity as “it’s not lack of skill that results in challenges while working in media but rather the adversity that results as a multicultural woman” that can often result in a misinterpretation of personalities.
Online and in real life, Asha Boston continues to inspire and push for additional doors to open for other multicultural women to flourish. This powerhouse is transforming the future of media by ensuring that all young multicultural women are not only heard and respected but have a seat at the table.
To keep up with Asha Boston’s endeavors, follow @dinnertabledoc and @ashakayb via Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to their email list for updates.