There are so many people in this world that I admire. Each of them having a unique quality that I aspire to emulate or attain. This can be said about the one and only:
Back in 2003, when American Idol was all the rage, I remember watching her audition in awe. The way she commanded the room. The way she stood there with this amazing presence. I saw something in this woman that I had never seen in myself. Flash forward to 2014, I had a chance meeting with her at an event in Las Vegas. We were both at the Human Rights Campaign's "Time to Thrive" event and I had never heard someone speak so proudly and boldly about the needs of LGBTQ Black queer youth.
Frenchie is never afraid to speak her mind and that is why she is this weeks Rainbow Spotlight.
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with her about her journey and what visibility means to her in the work that she does.
Our conversation began with us talking a bit about her history, how she got into theater and what she believes the world should know about her and her journey. What I will say is that the one thing that I absolutely loved about our conversation was that she made it a point to emphasis the important of education and how liberating being educated can be.
Learning early on in our conversation that both her parents were college educated but struggled to provide for her and her family helped me to understand how problematic higher education can be for Black educators.
"Education was my ticket out. My father would always say, education has always liberated more people than all of the armies in the world. But my parents kept it real with me. They told me how hard it would be for me as a Black woman..."
Frenchie expressed that even though she grew up on the small streets of Inglewood, Calif., her parents instilled in her the importance of taking life by the horns and setting out to achieve whatever you believe you want to accomplish.
When asking her what she is passionate about, she shared that she is passionate about visibility. Frenchie shared that while reality television can be quite cumbersome, having those opportunities really afforded her the platform to speak openly about women's rights, queer rights and the right to just be who you are.
Something important that was shared in our conversation was the idea that in order to live you life to the fullest, you can't be scared to take risk or to be who you are truly meant to be. Frenchie took me on a walk down memory lane as she shared her experience at Howard University, how she landed her first major role on Broadway and how she found the strength to leave the country to go to Germany to work with a theater company there.
"Everything happens for a reason. Because of my experience on Idol, I landed R.E.N.T. I got to play the Fairy Godmother in 'Cinderella'. My full circle moment was doing 'Aint Misbehavin' on Broadway and getting a grammy nomination. The same show that I did when I was at Howard University...I believe that fate and God led me to all of the things I've done".
When asking Frenchie how she felt about being seen viewed as role model for the LGBTQ community, she made it known that she is honored and thankful to be seen as such.
"I am a lot of things that society tells me that I am not suppose to be. I curse, I am feisty. I am not perfect and I recognize that our youth people aren't perfect. But that is what makes this world great."
Frenchie made it known that she believes that all queer people, specifically queer Black people need to examine what truth means to them and how walking in their truth can be a source of light and freedom. When talking about her dreams, Frenchie wants people to fully own who they are.
"Society teaches women that they can't live in the fullness of who they are. I want to prove that to be wrong."
As it stands, Davis is still working on completing her first album, but she wants the world to know that she is going to continue to do things her way. She makes it known that queer Black women, her strength and tenacity comes from this place of resilience and she believes that hard work, struggle and sometimes pain is the what makes us our best person.
"If your expecting the work to be easy, don't play yourself, but pain is our greatest teacher."
In asking her what's the one thing she wanted folks to know, she made it a point to reiterate that the struggle continues to be and will always be real, but the glory is in the glow up.
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to learn more about her journey and got a chance to connect with her on a personal level.
To find out more about Frenchie's journey or to learn more about where you can see her live, visit her site here!