The living embodiment of radical self love, Oakland based award winning poet, activist and transformational leader Sonya Renee Taylor recently launched The Body Is Not An Apology (TBINAA), an online platform dedicated to creating a more equitable, compassionate world one person at a time. Sonya believes when we break self imposed barriers that prevent us from accessing our fullest potential, we become vehicles for change, capable of creating a positive impact on a global scale. TBINAA’s website offers a digital magazine, a diverse collection of articles ranging from gender, sexuality, body image, to mental health, disability and spirituality. The list is extensive– one of TBINAA’s goals is to have content that is relatable for everyone.
I particularly enjoyed scrolling through the pages of “Put An ‘H’ On It,” where people recall stories of how they handled (hence the h) certain situations and obstacles in their lives. Another favorite, Bad Picture Monday, encourages us to exercise our ‘radical self love’ muscles by posting what we may consider to be unflattering photos of ourselves. Through this exercise, we lose notions of perfectionism, realizing the beauty in our ‘flaws.’ The community and forums on TBINAA allow users the opportunity to connect with one another on articles and forum discussions. And if you can’t make it to one of Sonya’s inspirational live speeches, TBINAA offers webinars for those who want to further their skills in radical self love. The current webinars listed are 10 Tools for Radical Self Love and Raising Your RUHCUS: Getting Free From Body Shame (FYI both are very reasonably priced and currently half off the original price.) RUHCUS (pronounced ruckus), an acronym for The Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge 4 Us, is a 30-day Transformational Healing project designed to launch the journey of radical healing over areas of shame, trauma, fear, and pain in our emotional, spiritual, and physical bodies.
July 5, 2011-Sonya’s first video explaining the concept of the RUHCUS project and her own 30 day challenge
The Body Is Not An Apology: How It All Began
In this picture I am 230lbs. In this picture, I have stretch marks and an unfortunate decision in the shape of a melting Hershey’s kiss on my left thigh. I am smiling, like a woman who knows you’re watching and likes it. For this one camera flash, I am unashamed, unapologetic.- Sonya Renee Taylor
February 9, 2011, Sonya posted the above photo of herself in a bustier with the attached comment on her Facebook page. Reclaiming her body, Sonya unintentionally sparked a movement as others posted their own photos and personal journeys of self love onto the social networking site. Seeing the overwhelming number of responses, Sonya created the Facebook page The Body Is Not An Apology. Today, over 43,000 members have joined TBINAA’s Facebook page.
In June of this year, Sonya decided to take her vision further by creating a space that served as an interactive online platform accessible to people around the world. Realizing this was no easy task, Sonya, along with her leadership circle, launched the When We Say Yes crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to build the online community. To promote the campaign, along with her message of radical self love, Sonya asked people to submit videos of times when they said yes to something in their lives that would have otherwise kept them in fear and doubt if they chose to instead respond with no. The campaign ended in August, raising over half of the $80,000 goal.
Denise Jolly’s of the Be Beautiful Project When We Say Yes video
To celebrate the official launch of The Body Is Not An Apology and to thank her supporters, Sonya hosted an official launch party this past Saturday at Betti Ono gallery in downtown Oakland.
Photos of The Body Is Not An Apology’s official #WhenWeSayYES launch party at Betti Ono gallery.