Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy Saturday and last week of Black History Month! Can you believe that the month is already coming to an end? The month went by so fast! I hope that you all have been supporting Black folks throughout this month through actions such as reading these blog posts! Today I have such an inspiration to me on the blog. I had to save the best health profession for last (no shade to my beautiful Black allied health professions haha). Nancy, OTR/L will be concluding the Black is Beautiful mini blog series with her amazing story. Before we get into it, I am gonna hype up Nancy real quick because she is a person to have in your network!
Unlike everyone else that I have interviewed thus far, Nancy is unique in the fact that I did not meet her at UC San Diego, lol! When I was delving into my occupational therapy (OT) journey, I was desperately searching for Youtube videos on how to be the best competitive applicant and what the field of OT was all about. I came across her Youtube channel, LovelyyOT. After watching her first video, I was hooked. She shared gems and unique insight regarding her experiences as a travel OT, an OT in a SNF, and an OT in entrepreneurship. Nancy is so intelligent and has so much wisdom to give. She further inspired me to pursue OT, as she gave me the confidence as a Black future OT to share my story and to be an advocate for our profession. Moreover, she is so selfless. She took time out of her busy schedule to read my personal essay and give me feedback, which was so kind of her to do and served as a confidence booster throughout my application process. She truly is goals and is making waves in OT. Below is her story. Let’s get into it!
Irene: What is your name/pronouns?
Nancy: Nancy Yamoah, she/her
Irene: Give us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE!
Nancy: I am a God-loving Ghanaian and occupational therapist, specializing in adult geriatric rehabilitation. I am popularly known as LovelyyOT on social media. I’m your favorite OT Auntee with all the tea lol.
I’m a visionary, founder of the Therapist of color/TOC network, created for people of color therapists and students, and co-founder of BLACK IN REHAB. I am also the author of 3 E-books for therapists. My business provides consultation for students and clinicians as well as yearly workshops for new grads.
My goal is to continue to inspire other healthcare professionals to do more with their degrees and live on purpose, be their true authentic self as well as create a better healthcare system for older adults.
Irene: Choose three words that come to mind when you define “Blackness”. Define each word in relationship to Blackness. Why did you choose these three words?
Nancy: Bold, resilience, beautiful
For you to be authentically Black you have to be bold. This world tries so hard to imprison Black people – the way we talk, walk, dress, etc. The way we show up is constantly criticized, so for me it’s important that am bold in my blackness.
Resilience because it takes strength to be Black. You have to be internally strong.
Beautiful because Black is beautiful, from our skin to our features. The way we are is beautiful.
Irene: What is the MOST beautiful thing about being Black to you?
Nancy: My skin color and my heritage/culture. I am Ghanaian and I love the richness of my culture and my background. The way we speak, our accents, our food, our cultural outfits, who we are is everything.
Irene: How has your experience been as a Black person in your respective field thus far?
Nancy: Like I always tell others, life experience can happen to you or you can enjoy it and be a full participant in life experiences. I always choose the latter; my blackness in healthcare has been a wonderful experience because I take an active role in making that happen in every way you can think. I speak up and advocate when needed, I ask for the money I deserve and I will correct you on everything even if you say my name wrong. We get to choose everyday to be victims or conquerors.
Irene: How do you plan on showing up for the people as a Black person in your respective field?
Nancy: I have started many platforms and events on social media for both Black and POC and I will continue to support them in this way. Black in rehab is one that I am a co-founder of and very proud of. If you are interested in becoming a rep in your city, contact me.
Irene: Any advice, gems, or words of encouragement for future Black people who want to pursue your field?
Nancy: Refer to answer 5, and do not let your color determine what you can or cannot accomplish. This world is your oyster; show up and speak up for yourself. You deserve to walk into a room and pull up a seat. Remember that your power is not in what others gave you permission to do; it is in what you give yourself the permission to do. Don’t wait to be invited! Initiate, create, move.
Irene: What is one of your favorite songs that fit/exemplifies that Black is Beautiful?
Nancy: African Queen by 2face and Black is Gold by Wale
Irene: How can we support a fellow amazing Black person like yourself? Do you have any projects, businesses, creations, etc. that you are working on that you would like to speak briefly about and/or that we can support?
Nancy: Black in rehab – we have an in person event every Juneteenth weekend in a different state. Join us on IG. We will start hosting more events throughout the year as well. See you in ATL this year.
I also have 1:1 consultations for new OTs. You can book that via Instagram as well as other services and ebooks I have on Lovelyy_ot on IG.
Irene: Can folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!
Nancy: LOVELYYOT on all social media platforms including Youtube.
Irene: Anything else you want us to know about you or anything you want to share with the readers? Feel free to drop it down below!
Nancy: Be yourself, be unapologetically BLACK! Refrain from the need to prove yourself. You don’t need to prove nothing to anyone. You are enough for whatever dreams you may have.
Yall, isn’t Nancy such an iconic woman? So well-versed in so many settings, so many platforms, and most importantly, she connects to so many people. Support our favorite OT Auntee! Her consultations are so helpful! I will be a new grad next year (whoohoo) so best believe I will be reaching back out to my OT Auntee for her guidance. I have yet to meet Nancy in person buuutttt these Black networking events across the nation is something I am going to have to hop on so that we can finally meet! Black in Rehab – what an uplifting space! If yall get the chance to go to ATL this summer, definitely check the event out!
My goodness, does the Black is Beautiful mini blog series really have to end? I am so sad! This has been such a fun series to put on for you all and I have been blessed to have reconnected on a deeper level with all of my interviewees. Each person is so special to me and honestly, we could really all just start our own interdisciplinary clinic and treat people in our communities. I have thoroughly enjoyed featuring all of these amazing individuals on my blog and I hope that you all come away from this series further understanding the vastness of Blackness and how glorious our melanin is. We are the people who are at the frontlines treating you all and helping to restore yall back to health and well-being, remember that! Thank you all again too for supporting me by reading this blog, sharing it with others, and following me on Renrenspeaks on Instagram! Please subscribe as well to get the latest scoop on the content I have coming your way! Stay Black Blackity Black, yall!
Peace and love,