How We Met
For months, I camped outside his office, sent excessive emails and even followed him to classes that didn’t have my name on the roster.
I needed an internship and Professor Kenneth Jones was the plug.
He still is.
When the man finally came through, I asked him how it happened.
He responded with two words that changed the trajectory of my career: Shannette Prince.
She was a power producer at the NBC affiliate in Orlando, WESH 2 News. As a graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU), she made a way myself and two others to intern that summer.
The professors in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication are ministers and they only preach internships. I was just a freshman, but it was already Spring and I wanted to be compete.
The gig was only two days a week and it was 90 miles away from home. In order to pull it off, I stayed with my cousin in Kissimmee two nights a week. On Tuesdays, I drove back to Sebring to work part time at a clinic as a nurse’s assistant. I made that drive for 10 weeks.
Going into the experience, I just wanted to be Oprah Winfrey, but I came out as Georgia Dawkins. I no longer wanted to just read the news, I wanted to write it.
Even after the internship, she continued to mentor me; however, the lessons she taught went beyond the navigating newsroom politics.
In the past 10 years, Shannette has shown me how to be a working mother and an entrepreneur. As a single mom of two Black boys, she has accomplished more than most. With limited resources, she provided them with a life nurtured by love.
Last year, I got a chance to see the boys for the first time in years. They are so beautiful. Isaiah and Cameron are two brilliant Black boys and I am beyond proud of them. I can’t be proud of them without being proud of her.
In 2010, when I graduated from FAMU, Shannette drove up from Orlando to celebrate with me and my family. She brought me the gift I wanted the most.
From the moment I first saw it on her wrist, I wanted my own. Instead, she gave me hers. The inscription on the silver chain bracelet read, “Power Producer.” But, just below that line was something I had never noticed before, “Shannette.” Her name was also on the bracelet, but it was all the same to me.
This gift was her stamp of approval. Like a mama eagle pushes her eaglets out of the nest, Shannette gave me a little nudge. She knew I was ready to fly.
I'm still soaring.
Shannette, you are too dope for words.
Shannette Prince is a connector, coach, business owner, and mother of two #BrilliantBlackBoys.
Shannette coaches young, single mothers on college completion, career readiness and parenting while leading the Young Mothers Residential Program at Project Row Houses. She graduated from the program as a teen mom.
Her most recent venture is Africa On My Back, an ecommerce store currently specializing in African print backpacks. Each backpack is made in Ghana, West Africa providing local jobs to the economy, as well as bringing awareness of the African continent and to its descendants in the US.
Shannette also founded BLK Brilliance Media which is a digital platform that celebrates, highlights and glorifies the men and women who are excelling in their profession, shaping their communities, or living the life they have always dreamed of.
If that is not enough, this mompreneur is raising a 14-year-old and 9-year-old as a single mom.
How You Can Find Shannette
Instagram: @shannetteprince @blkbrilliance @africaonmyback
Facebook: Shannette Prince; AfricaOnMyBack