The Millennial Womanism Project (TMWP) Presents “Millennial Womanists To Watch”
A monthly profile highlighting emerging voices doing incredible work in ministry, the academy and in social justice work.
Name: Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou
City: Oakland, CA
TMWP: What does it mean to be a millennial woman of African descent in ministry, religious studies, or faith based social advocacy?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: Being a millennial women of African descent requires fierce dancing with God (thanks, Karen Baker-Fletcher!). It means showing up in each and every space knowing that you are worthy, called, equipped, and empowered. It means knowing and accessing our power via portals that are otherworldly: the Spirit of the divine, the wisdom of the ancestors and constantly pushing the frontier while asking, “What is the work God and our foremothers are calling us to do?”
TMWP: Tell us about your work? What inspired you to do this work?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: I am creating an online platform for Black women survivors of male sexual violence, particularly those in communities of faith. Like 60+% of Black women, I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I grew up in church and I’m a survivor of father-daughter incest. There are thousands of women for whom “Father God’” doesn’t mean safety. As an Afrocentric Christian minister, I want to be the clergywoman I needed when I was a kid, and as a poet and Emmy-Award winning television producer, I know the importance of harnessing the power of narrative for social transformation.
TMWP: How does your work expand traditional womanist epistemologies?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: Statistics don’t always change people, but stories do. Womanist theology privileges our life experiences as sacred texts. Thus, my work’s hermeneutic is anchored in and fueled by Black women’s liberation. By clearing the patriarchally-soaked brush of rape culture in the Black Church (and society, at large), we will be able to create a clear space for the voices of those most affected by male sexual violence. I’m pushing progress by intentionally and holistically addressing a systemic evil that so many Sistas have endured, and doing so with a heavy emphasis on innovation, technology, and social entrepreneurship.
TMWP: What can we expect from you within the next year?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: This year was all about preparation. I was a part of the inaugural cohort of FTE’s DO GOOD X Startup Accelerator. DO GOOD X nurtures Christian social entrepreneurs who wish to do good in the world. The 8-week program helped me to ideate and refine my project. Next year, I am launching beautiful scars, a non-profit organization that shifts survivors from silence to storytelling. I will continue to preach prophetically, speak bodaciously, write authentically, and advocate fiercely. My goal is to amplify the voices of Black Christian women survivors of male sexual violence so that the conversation reverberates from the parking lot to the pew from the pulpit to our public policy.
TMWP: How can people support your work?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: People are always welcome to support me with financial resources (PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Chase QuickPay, checks, doves, olive branches). I also embrace social capital! I am in special need of legal counsel (copyright and incorporation paperwork); and technical support, including logo design and branding, as well as a fully functional website that includes a customer relations management system.
TMWP: Where can they go for more information and updates?
Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou: Everyone should visit my personal website especially, if you’re interested in participating in, supporting, or partnering with beautiful scars!
Twitter, Instagram: @LyvonneP
Millennial Womanism is an emerging concept developed by Liz S Alexander and Melanie C Jones that seeks to draw upon a unique womanist epistemological and methodological framework utilizing a millennial lens.
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