I enjoyed doing my first Enjoy Life Interview with Jennifer Belthoff so much that I began looking around for more inspiring people to ask questions about their projects, overcoming fear, and how they enjoy life. I am so excited that Shenna “LaShay B” Townsend consented to be interviewed.
Sienna or “LaShay B” is a radio personality on Huntsville, Alabama’s community connected home for Hip-Hop and R&B. “LaShay B” is her personality handle. She received a softball scholarship to Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a degree in Communications. I met her while helping with Team ML6 for the Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, three years ago. I heard she was working on a project of her own, LaShay B’s Beauties, and got curious. She currently is in the middle of her 2nd Prom Dress Drive.
Check it out!
Tell me the story behind LaShay B’s Beauties Prom Dress Drive? I know there’s a story.
Yes, there is a story; there always is a story, isn’t it? It was about 4 or 5 years ago, I coached Butler High School Softball and while coaching, there were a lot of girls that were growing up differently than I did. I consider it a blessing that I never went hungry, my parents always supported me, and I had a great upbringing. I was enlightened when I saw some of these kids who were struggling with things I never struggled with. After coaching them, I was like, “Something needs to be done.” I thought, “You are in the community; you have a platform. Why not do it?” And that’s how LaShay B’s Beauties came about; I wanted to help teenage girls in our community and use my platform for something good outside of playing Hip Hop and R&B. I started three years ago.
How has it grown?
The first year was 2013. Girls had to qualify with a certain GPA and had to be in need of a prom dress; I really wanted to reach girls who really needed help.
Last year, I was on Twitter and another radio personality out of DC was talking about doing a prom dress drive and I thought, “We could reach more kids that way.” She had major sponsors donating and I said that while DC is not Huntsville, we have listeners and so I got on the air and told them that if they had a new or gently used prom dress, “we need ‘em.” The goal last year was 26 dresses. And we got 100!
This year, the Prom Dress Drive will be open to any high school senior that is need of a dress. The drive will end on March 25th and our event will be at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Providence on March 26th from 2 – 4 PM. Seniors can come out and select a dress and be entered to win hair, make-up, shoes, etc. from local vendors.
So, you are doing Prom Dress Drive right now. What are the other facets of LaShay B’s Beauties?
We did LaShay B’s Beauties Christmas of 2014 and we helped 10 DHR (kids that are in the system) girls. We did makeovers (hair, nails, and make-up) and we followed that up with the Prom Dress Drive.
I am inspired by people who have ideas and carry them out and one of the reasons that good ideas never happen is because people are too afraid to move forward. What has been your experiences dealing with fear, not just with LaShay’s B’s Beauties, but with fear in general? How do you deal with it?
I try to approach things with a confident attitude. I believe that “I can do things through Christ who strengthens me”. It is either a yes or a no. You are going to succeed or you are not going to succeed. You are going to learn from it or you are going to be stubborn. That’s how I try to approach everything.
This year, I had a fear of the Prom Dress Drive not working, only because our listeners last year gave everything that they had to give that could work for these kids. So I said that this year, “They don’t have anything else in their closets.” Then one night I prayed and I got up and said, ‘Nah, it’s going to work.” And I believe this year we will get to our goal of 100 dresses and we are going to do it. We have about 20 (at the time of this interview).
So when you started were there any particular challenges that you had to overcome. Were you ever like “woah! I didn’t think about that!”
Yes there were challenges. And there are still challenges. One was I was getting in my own way.
OK, interesting! Explain that a little bit.
Because this project is my baby, I wanted to have my hand in everything and the project had grown bigger than me. Which is awesome but I became overwhelmed! I think last year, we could have done more if I had just let someone help and not tried to have my hand in everything. That is a challenge!
Another challenge is that people think that their donation isn’t needed – that something is too small. Being in radio, I know a lot of other women in media who told me that they didn’t post about it because they felt like I had all the backing that I needed with my platform. I was like, “No! Everything helps!”
I have started earlier this year and I have more help.
At this part of the interview, Shenna said that I didn’t know that she talked so much, which, to be honest I didn’t. I told her that that was OK though. The “more the better; I’ll just be editing!” We had a good laugh!
What’s your favorite quote and why?
I loved the Bible verse that I quoted earlier (Philippians 4:30) but this is going to be far out there. It’s a in a rap song, I can’t remember which, by Tupac Shakur and I don’t know why it stuck with me:
“Ain’t no killer, but don’t push me.”
Ok! Explain how you apply THAT in your life?
It’s just, don’t tell me no because I am going to figure out a way to do it. Don’t push me in a direction that says I don’t know how to do it or I won’t be successful because I am just going to try to prove you wrong.
My blog is called Shannan Enjoys Life. How do you enjoy life? I love getting ideas from other people.
Humm, I love to travel. I love my friends. I have friends from all over the country and we travel. We are about the same age and into the same things and we meet up every 5 to 6 months. I also like to spend time with my family. Cliché, I know.
A little. LOL. How can individuals get involved with your project?
If you do have a donation of a gently used or new prom dress and are outside of the Huntsville area, you can mail your donation to:
WEUP, 2609 Jordan Lane, Huntsville, AL 35816
If in the Huntsville area, drop them off at the above address Monday thru Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM or contact me on Facebook and I will come to you. We will be accepting donations right up to Friday, March 25th.
Thanks you so much, Shenna!