“Even if you’re going through hell, keep going!” This is one of Rashida’s most inspiring quotes by the motivational king, Les Brown. Rashida knows about going through hell. A Florida native, Rashida is the only girl among 6 siblings. She was born into what seemed like hell on earth, yet through it all, she discovered a burning desire to become a talented performer. At a young age Rashida was destined for success as she won numerous acting awards, including a prestigious Ruth Eckerd Hall Scholarship and the Florida Thespian Festival Superior award.
A HELL OF A SUCCESS STORY
The“Dark Skinned Activist”
The St. Petersburg Times wrote about her crowning achievements at the tender age of 13. Soon after that, life’s trials shook the foundation of her chances at achieving her dream. Rashida’s self- esteem was brutally assaulted at every turn by classmates who made her life a living hell. Known as “black and ugly” “monkey mouth” and “African Booty Scratcher”, she was told by many that she would never make it as an actress. Living on the streets and all alone by the age of 14, Rashida endured poverty and sexual exploitation. Although homeless, beat down, busted and disgusted with life, Rashida held fast to her dream of acting.
With God’s help she escaped the poverty and sexual abuse and by age 17, she earned a GED, found employment, saved money for an apartment and enrolled in college. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a Master’s Degree in Political Science, Rashida moved to LA to pursue her acting dream.
In 2006 she wrote, produced and starred in her autobiographical one-woman show, The Ice Cream Lady’s Dream. Inspired by the dark skin mental abuse of the main character and a speech Rashida delivered on dark skin in 1998 at St. Petersburg College, she decided to write A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge in the summer of 2006. This groundbreaking play spurred an international movement recognizing the beauty plight of dark-skinned women and girls.
After three years in LA Rashida relocated to St. Petersburg. After returning she continued to write, speak and perform the play with the theme of uplifting dark skin beauty. She taught in Pinellas County Schools and St. Petersburg College and appeared on television’s The Forensic Files and various theatrical productions, including TV Commercials.
Rashida launched the website Actortube.com, a video sharing site to promote actors, actresses and performers and in 2008 she founded ICLD Productions. ICLD is the first production company of its kind, producing plays specifically about the dark-skinned female experience. Since 2006, Rashida has been performing as 5 characters in the groundbreaking play A Dark Skinned Woman’s Revenge. Select venues include The University of South Florida, The Atlanta Black Theatre Festivaland The Washington DC Black Theater Festival. Her most recent appearance is in the 2015 documentary film UNSPOKEN: The existence of colorism in Trinidad and Tobago.
Rashida has been recognized by her peers for her stellar acting talents. In 2012, she won the Playwrights Red Carpet Award.She won “Actress of the Year” for her heart wrenching performance as Georgana Nelson, a badly treated dark skinned, mentally ill woman in A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge. Rashida has been featured in local and national newspapers and on numerous television programs. In 2013 she made the cover of the Floridian Magazine.
Rashida is on a mission to change the world for dark skinned women and girls. Her talents as an actor and orator are reflected in her ongoing efforts as The Dark Skinned Activist. In 2014 Rashida made history. Inspired by the play A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge, she created the International Dark Skin is Beautiful Campaign, the first in the world to uplift the beauty of dark skinned women and girls. An expert on the plight of dark skinned women and girls, Rashida tours the country speaking about the issue of dark skin beauty. Sought after for her unique views and expertise on dark skin, Rashida has appeared on The Tommy Sotomayor Show, Questions of a Lifetime and was seen by millions as the feature story on Bay News 9. The highly anticipated book version of the play will be available in 2015.
Rashida is one of the lead panelists on the Girls Change the World Workshop in Pinellas County Schools. She is also a keynote for the Great American Teach–In. From High school students to churches, to theaters and community organizations, Rashida inspires audiences through her unique style of energetic, entertaining, raw, honest and engaging insight. As The Dark Skin Activist since 1998, Rashida is passionate about using her talents as a performer to change the course of history for dark skinned women and girls around the world.
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