Being a Queen: How Shamaria Jordan Is Empowering the Next Generation of Black Women

advocacy empowerment Jul 07, 2022

Black Girl Advocate founder Shamaria Jordan is where she is now because she wanted to become the person she didn't have as a child.

The apparel company owner grew up in a family who struggled with alcoholism and drug addictions, and for several years, they experienced homelessness. One memory that still sticks out is when they moved to Minnesota in ninth grade and her new school didn't accept her transcript. Instead of continuing on her honors track, she had to retake classes she had already taken.

"My mom didn't know what to say to make sure that I was in a place where I could actually grow and develop," she told the University of Minnesota in February 2022.

Now, Shamaria is helping today's young Black women receive the resources and the empowerment they need to thrive. In her personal life, Black Girl Advocate, which she began after George Floyd's and Breonna Taylor's deaths, raises awareness about the oppression and injustice Black girls face. In her professional life, she is the program coordinator at Minneapolis' Office of Black Student Achievement and the teacher of the BLACK Culture Class, also known as the Queens class.

From the end of 2021 through the spring of 2022, Shamaria had used her apparel sales to raise funds for a cultural and academic trip to Nashville in April for some of the young women she has built relationships with. The trip's itinerary included Tennessee State University, Medical College, American Baptist College, and Vanderbilt University, and Shamaria connected the four high schoolers and two college mentors with other Black women at each campus. "The girls gained personal experience and testimonies that helped shape how they thought about school and their lives," she says, reflecting on the experience.

No matter what form Shamaria's passion takes, it's without a doubt that it's all about Black girl advocacy. Through her work, more people will become Black girl advocates, too.

Looking at what you do, your passion seems to lie in helping youth. How did you discover that passion?

I am 100% passionate about helping young people. Ever since I was a child, I told myself that I would help young people. I originally wanted to be a social worker because of the troubles I had in my childhood, but then right before college, I felt a calling to youth ministry. Although I believed I would become a youth pastor, God had other plans for me. I went on to get my master's at the University of Minnesota in youth development leadership. So my heart has always been with young people; it has just aligned that I would go to school for it, and now I know the academics behind it.

What do you teach in your Queens class?

The Queens class was created in the Office of Black Student Achievement as an affinity space for black girls in Minneapolis Public Schools. The class is called the BLACK Culture Class, which stands for Building Lives Acquiring Cultural Knowledge. In this class, we cover all things related to and for Black women. We learn about our history, passions, identities, goals, future, and everything in between. This class is needed because Black girls need an affinity space to be themselves and feel supported. 

How many students take your Queens class every year, and when did it start?

This is my first year in the office, and I have about 60 students across North Minneapolis.

What inspired you to start Black Girl Advocate?

Black Girl Advocate (BGA) is an apparel company that I started before working in the Office of Black Student Achievement. BGA is a facet of my heart made into a tangible thing. Growing up as a Black girl, I didn’t have anyone who looked like me to help me through my life, and I didn’t come from a home of healthy Black women to understand how I should be—it’s something I am teaching myself right now. I desire to be the woman to the girls that I didn’t have growing up. I desire to give them experiences that I didn’t have. I desire to show them parts of the world and themselves that I didn’t get to see at a young age.

What is your goal for Black Girl Advocate?

My goal for Black Girl Advocate is to ultimately make spaces safer for Black and Brown girls and women. For them to be able to operate at maximum wholeness regardless of who’s in the room. My goal is to change the narrative of Black women and girls in the U.S. 

Tell us a bit about the college and cultural trip you took in April.

The trip was originally planned for January 27-31, but since there has been a spike in COVID, we are pushing the trip back to spring break in April. … The trip is more than just a college experience; it's cultural as well. Many of these girls have never been outside of Minneapolis, so being able to get on a plane is opening their worldviews.


Visit for the latest apparel. While the college and cultural trip may be completed, Shamaria's work hasn't stopped as Black Girl Advocate has begun a formal mentorship program for young Black women, so consider supporting the brand through clothing purchases, an online donation, or by reaching out to partner on the mentorship program.


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