Musea Leadership as a Woman of Color


Recently, there has been conversation about the moniker "Cosmic Cowgirls", which is the parent company of the Intentional Creativity Foundation and Musea (I believe that's how it all works, but I know this is where everything else sprang forth from...). It was brought to the Co-Founder's attention that some people of color may have a concern with the name because of the negative connotation in which the word "cowgirl" is viewed.

I personally never had a problem with the word, even though I understand the etymology of it. These are my thoughts on the topic...

Image courtesy of Musea (www.musea.org/cosmic-cowgirls)

During the ensuing discussion, Shiloh Sophia reminds us that "the name ‘cow girl’ and ‘cow boy’ were once terms used to refer to those who were cruelly stolen and enslaved from the motherland of Africa. They were used [as] a diminishment, because they cared for the animals but weren’t considered worthy to call by name. They passed their wisdom onto the settlers - learning about the care of animals often came from those who tended the farm." And for me, although the term was used to diminish people we must look past that and to what those people brought to the table.

They were leaders. Experts in the field of raising and tending to farm animals. Without their knowledge and expertise, farming as we know it today would not be possible -- there would be no one knowledgeable enough to raise the animals needed to support the farming efforts. Then they took it a few steps further and created a sport which showcased their talent and skill with these animals. These cowboys and cowgirls took something negative and reframed it to what they wanted it to be and are proud to be a "cowperson"...

They are badasses in their field, proud of what they do, and honored to be called by the "cowgirl" (or boy) title.

As a Cosmic Cowgirl, I view my Self as one of the badass women that walks between worlds. My head in the stars, my feet firmly planted on the ground, my heART on my sleeve... That's the (short) description of what Shiloh meant when she created the Cosmic Cowgirls brand. It means that I am capable of seeing beyond the restrictions of this physical life and body, that I am firmly rooted in this world as well as that of the cosmos, that what I cause and create in this world is cosmically life changing -- what this world needs.

To that end, I have never felt marginalized by any of the organizations tied to Cosmic Cowgirls: Intentional Creativity Foundation, Musea Center for Intentional Creativity, or Mothership Inc. I have been invited to share my gifts with the Cosmic Cowgirls umbrella of organizations on many occasions, as well as encouraged to blaze my own trail with their backing and support. Cosmic Cowgirls actually seeks out women leaders without regard to race and helps them to broaden their reach as the women contribute to the work of the organization. They have a mission to ensure inclusivity on all levels.

And I have been included in powerful ways...

I just recently returned from a trip to Sonoma California, the location of Musea Center for Intentional Creativity, where I participated in the VIVID : Tapestry workshop weekend (held November 4th through 6th). This included co-leading a metacognitive drawing IC Session live, being present on the livestream throughout its duration, and managing the tech for some of the Zoom calls that were part of this weekend. For the 7 days I was there, helping to organize and manage all of events, enjoying the energy of the sisters that were present as well as the space and the art contained therein, I was given opportunities for leadership, in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Me and Guild Member Milagros Suriano-Rivera leading a metacognitive drawing session during the live VIVID : Tapestry event.

In late November, Shiloh asked me to be part of the Prisma team. Prisma is the newest offering in Intentional Creativity, and the year-long class begins in January 2022. I am also a Co-Curator for the museum, helping Musea bring awareness to women artist and their art -- art from women all around the world regardless of their perceivable connection to Musea. I have been presented with numerous opportunities for leadership within this umbrella of organizations.

If we think about it, part of the core practice of Intentional Creativity is transforming our old stories, healing those wounds, and moving forward. Could this renewed use of the term "cowgirl" be part of the paradigm shift, propelling us into the future that we are creating for ourselves? Can this future be grand enough to tell the new stories of today's Cosmic Cowgirls without marginalizing those who paved the way?

We each need to honor our own thoughts -- on this and any other topic. I honor you as you honor me. I will pay homage to the Ancestors who were cowgirls, as well as to modern day cowgirls. And I leave you with a few examples of the beautiful, powerful, badass cowgirls of today:

https://www.upworthy.com/the-cowgirls-of-color-put-a-fresh-spin-on-americas-long-history-of-black-cowboys

https://www.washingtonpost.com/photography/2020/01/27/cowgirls-color-seek-inspire-new-riders/

https://theundefeated.com/features/11-year-old-cowgirl-kortnee-competes-at-the-first-televised-black-rodeo/

https://localnewsmatters.org/2020/08/12/black-cowboys-cowgirls-continue-to-share-rich-culture-little-known-history-of-old-west/

Four Women of Color Leaders with Shiloh Sophia during the VIVID : Tapestry Weekend
(from left to right: Sumaiyah Wysdom Yates, Milagros Suriano-Rivera, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, Lauren Adorno-Weatherford, and Anasuya Isaacs)