DALLAS, May 4, 2018 – “Why is it when white women tell their truth, it’s all over the media,” says Dr. Venus Opal Reese, creator of the Black Woman Millionaire Tour and author of the best-selling book by the same name. “Based on conversations I have had with hundreds of black women leaders and entrepreneurs who have attended tour stops nationwide, the word on the street has been that when white women started to speak up about Harvey Weinstein, it was big news. But black women have been saying the same thing for centuries and it wasn’t a headline.”
They aren’t wrong. Studies have shown that sexual violence affects black women at higher rates. More than 20 percent of black women are raped during their lifetimes—a higher percentage than women overall. Professor and journalist Shanita Hubbard provides insight into how this fact is tied to why white women get heard while black women don’t: “Black girls and women are both viewed as hypersexual so our stories are ignored.”
Dr. Venus, a Stanford University graduate and former tenured professor, discusses on her tour that the black female body is a “social non-being.” As such, black women are rendered voiceless, disposable, and powerless. She talks about how this has been the case since the 1600s, when taxes and laws were created to justify the right to black women’s bodies as the labor-producing workforce for the American Dream.
According to Dr. Venus, historically the black female body has been socially positioned in the following ways:
• the workhorse
• the cash cow
• the beast of burden.
“We are still positioned socially to not only work like a slave but to also remain powerless, broke and broken,” says Dr. Venus. “What I have learned from my own experience of living on the streets by the age of 16, eating out of trash cans, and being subject to damn near every sort of violation is this: the way to claim your power is to heal and have your own money.”
Dr. Venus is on the last leg of her national tour based on her best-selling book, The Black Woman Millionaire: A Revolutionary Act That Defies Impossible. “The book deep dives into the healing required to be your own boss and to charge what you are truly worth. During the 4-hour workshop-like tour stops, I cover proven business training we used to gross over $4 million in five years. We did it through healing,” states Dr. Venus, who has been featured in Forbes, Ebony, Black Enterprise, on ABC News, CBS News, PBS, in Glamour magazine, and Diversity Inc.
“It’s time for black women to never have to put up with crap for a paycheck. Or stay in any sort of terrorizing relationship because we need the money. We have access now that our ancestors could never have known to pray for. It’s not only our time, it’s our turn.”