Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Q & A with Shante (Life) Duncan

I was granted the opportunity of accompanying Life on guitar as she sang a love song to her new husband just after their wedding. I watched her build from being an artist, activist, and orator out to save the world to being a married woman with 5 children who lives to create a strong family that knows where their power lies. In all of it, she kept her roots in the spirit of her ancestors. Among her talents, she can put dope lyrics to a beat and can teach anybody how to make a vegan dinner for a bunch of babies. Humans and other such creatures of the Universe, meet Life!

Life is a transformational personality and dynamic speaker. She is a passionate social justice advocate who has written articles and/ or edited for several local newspapers, and magazines. She is a free lance journalist/activist (B.A. in Communication from UMSL) and successful grant writer. To date she has played a major role in the procurement of more than 1 million dollars for several local non- profit agencies and through her business SMD Writing and Consulting Services.

She is founder/chief executive of S.H.E.R.A.H. (Sisters Helping Each Other Reach A Higher Height), a community women’s organization created to empower women to assist in the rebuilding of our communities.
She speaks on a variety of topics including:
-Community Organizing
-Balancing Family and Career
-Natural Family Living
-Personal Empowerment 

“Mama Life” believes that mother is her first and most important role as a human being and that mama’ is synonymous with teacher, spirit guide and leader. She challenges the notion that men are the natural leaders of tribes, families and households, reminds us to re-examine the role of women in antiquity and advocates for a new and balanced power sharing model especially in our post slavery/ modern circumstance.

She is currently working on a memoir that shares her insights and revelations concerning “growing up in the “Hood”, her journey “home to Africa” and her aspirations, thoughts and intentions as a mother and wife.

Blue (B): Where are you from?  
Life (L): I am from the north side of  St. Louis, MO

B: What is the most influential book you've ever read and how did it influence you?  
L: The Four Agreements, it enabled me to put things into perspective regarding my life and how I should be in it.
B: Why did you choose the name "Life"?  
L: The name Life was choosen because for me it represents my journey of self- discovery and love and it encompassess all that I will learn and experience on this journey.  It is the ultimate gift.
B: Who is S.H.E.R.A.H. and what does she want?  
L: S.H.E.R.A.H. is a women's movement and she wants to heal the hurt of the women and replace it with an unfaultering love of self.

B: What is your idea of the perfect dinner? 
L: The perfect dinner for me is curry tofu, brown rice and vegetables at the round table with my husband and children all laughing and talking about the positive things that have occurred in our day.

B: What gives you the willies? 
L: Seeing dead animals in the road.

B: What makes time fly for you? 
L: A good book, journal writing or a really good phone conversation.
B: Describe the last time you laughed until it hurt. 
L: The last time I laughed until it hurt was when my husband did an impression of this woman that we know.  He was dead on and it was hilarious.

B: If you could travel back in time, what would you tell 10 year old Shante?  
L: Always love you.  Never let anyone's ideas of you change the core of who you are.  Be true to you!
B: What's next for Life Duncan? 
L: I'm working on a conference for women scheduled for late summer.  I plan to hit the circuit singing this summer and overall I want to continue doing what I'm doing with my career, family and community, but just a little bit better.
My overall goal is to become better.

Listen to the full interview here
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