Lip Gloss Heroes- Meet Quiana!
When we received the entry nominating Quiana Agbai, we were immediately impressed by how Quiana was beautifully described. We looked into all of her accolades and were like, whoa, this woman is the real deal! Quiana is a strong, self assured and caring woman who wants to see our world be a more just and safe place to live in for all of us. It's why we had to choose Quiana as one of our Lip Gloss Heroes 2020.
Here's what was said about Quiana in her nomination: "Quiana Agbai is an incredible force for good in our community and a hero to all who know her. She tirelessly uses her influence and social media platforms to advocate for racial justice an end to gun violence and equity in education and to champion small businesses. She serves in leadership roles with Moms Demand Action the alumni association at Wellesley College and Boston Public Schools (to name a few). She is a kind brilliant brave and steadfast mother wife and friend." We chat with Quiana about her family, life and what she's been up to. Let's just say, she's more badass than we originally thought. Welcome to the SaltyGirl Beauty family, Quiana!
Quiana, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I'm an Ohio native, currently residing in Boston with my husband and 2 kids, an almost 10-year old girl and a 6 year old boy. I'm a Connector, Communicator, and Consultant with a background in advertising. My blog Harlem Lovebirds is an urban lifestyle blog started in 2009 when my family was just starting out in NYC as I left corporate to focus on my family and ultimately start my own company Trifecta Media Group in 2014 which champions small businesses by providing Marketing, Graphic Design and PR services. I appreciate the flexibility of running my own company as it's left room for me to start on a path of activism through involvement with Moms Demand Action, where I was most recently the Boston Community Outreach Lead for 2 1/2 years, as well as volunteering with the Wellesley Racial Justice Initiative. I have been speaking out on social justice issues for years through my social media platform (I'm most active on Instagram: @harlemlovebirds) and have spoken on parenting, blogging and activism-related issues since 2014 at conferences such as BlogHer, Altitude Summit and Mom 2.0.
How would you describe your involvement in your community?
Motherhood really propelled me into a role of an activist. I believe we each have our own journey and for me, the experience of sheltering in place due to an active shooter situation when my family relocated from NYC to Portsmouth, NH in 2014 started that for me. Additionally, being in New Hampshire during the last election (2014-2016) with a newborn at the time allowed me to have a front row seat to a political climate that I wasn't previously aware of. Once my family relocated back to Boston in 2016, where my husband I first met in 1999 while attending college, it motivated me to put down roots as a first time homeowner and look for more ways to get involved in my community from becoming the Boston Community Outreach Lead for the newly formed chapter of Moms Demand Action at the time to now volunteering on the Boston Public Schools' School Site Council for my children's school as well as my role as feature writer in my local chapter of Keep Massachusetts Beautiful. There are so many places to show up, and I hope to not only inspire other moms to show, but also inspire my children by example to always be an active member of their community.
What have you shared with your community in regards to racism, gun violence, etc. that has been impactful and really hit home with them.
Social media has been a really powerful way to showcase my on-the-ground experience of showing up at protests (pre-Covid) as well as what it means to advocate. From showing real-time what it's like to engage with my representatives at the Boston State House on my Instagram Stories to most recently exploring anti-racism on a dynamic Mom 2.0 Facebook Live, being able to give actionable steps for people to show and do the work has really resonated with my followers and community. I constantly remind people online that what I do in that space is more like an iceberg - I show some things but the real work is done offline.
What are you passionate about?
I absolutely love traveling so this Covid period has been a hard adjustment, instead I've leaned into appreciating the chance to slow down from my usual fast-pace and the opportunity to turn into my family by enjoying time together. We've been honing our cooking skills, playing lots of board games, reading and being socially distant as a family out on Cape Cod, which is my happy place. We've recently got into biking as a family so we've been especially taking advantage of the summer weather to get out together. I think in the current era of social distancing and virtual spaces, it'd be great to see more innovation on how to continue to build community while minimizing Zoom fatigue. The struggle is real and I'm always looking for innovation!