I have a personal connection to Mahogany that led to me meeting a friend for life. I won’t even go into the complete details but suffice it to say that first dance amidst mahogany led me to have an affinity for it to this day. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate its smoothness and strength. It is even known as a wood of protection.
As my appreciation for mahogany grew, I never thought that it would cause me to truly find its meaning amongst the trees in the Gullah/Geechee Nation as I sat in a circle of women that would strengthen one another as the ancestors encircled us in GODly energy that protected us. Mahogany was what brought us together to honor the healing energy that enters the souls of those that are truly open to it as they traverse Sea Island soil with those of us whose roots are inextricably tied to this land. That healing energy brought about love, laughter, clarity and “Girlfriendship.”
I have been blessed to work with some of the most outstanding people in the film and television business. They stand out because they are sincere and not simply seeking to be transactional. The sincerity of conveying not only beauty but the power of a story that all women that have ever been a part of a circle of true friends can feel came through because of the vessels that were called upon to deliver the lines. The directions on how those lines would land or simply float in the air above the Sea Island sand was left in the gifted hands of Keshia Knight-Pulliam. Watching her work in person surpasses any role that one can see her play on TV. Her heart comes through the depth of her eyes as she looks into yours to connect with you so that you can hear one another even when no words are spoken.
When SiStar Pulliam and I met, there was a mutual appreciation of the power that we have in ourstory and our legacy as Black women. I let her know how I have appreciated the evolution of her career and the dignity that she has carried through it all. When she and I saw each other on Edisto Island, the embrace was one that felt like it had been years since we had spoken. This was a hug that cousins give you when they come home after having been away for awhile. As we let go, I saw nothing but smiles surrounding us. Prior to that, it felt like no one else was even there. We went into our own zone.
As each person that was a part of the team that I was introduced to spoke and shared, the circle seemed to widen. They all appreciated learning what Gullah/Geechee culture is so that they could not simply portray it, but honor it. They were here to leave a mark-a Hallmark!
Like many women, I believe I was led to watching Hallmark Movies during the Holy Days season. I found myself seeking out the channel to see what place they visited next and what story would remind me of my daily mission-saving the land of the locals. I sat back and envisioned storylines that I would write for this station and even took the time to visit the massive Hallmark building in Kansas City as a part of the visioning. So, when I was told that the film that I was asked to consult for this time was a Hallmark production, I gave thanks to GOD as I simply smiled.
Smiling was a part of every day for me working on “Girlfriendship.” I can’t forget the first smiles that I saw from SiStars Tamera Mowry-Housley, Lyndie Greenwood, Krystal Joy Brown and Samantha Beaulieu and Brother Brad James. Their smiles and stories made every hour feel like minutes. (Believe me, you spend a LOT of hours making a film!) I treasured the moments that we had to discuss the importance of my beloved Edisto Island and to hear of the things that they experienced on the weekends after they traversed this sacred space.
The sacredness expanded each time I was touched by the masterful hands of the hair and makeup team which included Scoobie West and Demi Dixon. Their positivity and professionalism wasn’t made up at all. The glow that they each added didn’t come from products, it came from their souls.
The power and energy from the souls that had been brought together to sit in the circle amidst the Sea Island foliage radiated from the screens as each line was delivered. As we sat out on the beach, I wondered if what was truly delivered were the sisters that sat there appreciating the beauty of not only this place but also the beauty of us as a people. In the circle of “Girlfriendship” each hue reflected the beauty of my mahogany sculptures that I often polish. As the sun shed its light and the salt water hit our faces, we shined as I am accustomed to seeing my sculptures do. I am praying that what I felt in the midst of this circle of power comes through as Hallmark’s Mahogany film, “Girlfriendship” comes into the homes of all of you.
“Girlfriendship” premieres on the Hallmark Channel for the opening of
“Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Awareness Month”