UNBREAKABLE: Katrina Walker

Art Direction: Angelo Ellerbee Photography: by Keith Major Fashion Stylist: Llewellyn Jenkins Beauty/Hair/Makeup: Johnny Gonzalez.

When I met Katrina Walker at an event hosted some time ago, one would never know that she was a teen bride and mother of four who faced abuse, poverty and homelessness. Yet when talking to Miss Katrina, she shares another side to her already amazing life. One full of creativity, tenacity and an unwavering acceptance of never stopping, never quitting.  Taking what live gives her and finding a way to change it, or even master it, all the while inspiring others to do the same. Recently she shared this journey to success in her recently released book, UNBREAKABLE- the Katrina Walker Story, published January 2017. But on this day, we sat and talked directly to the source!!!

Hello! How are you this evening? I’m fine! How are you? You doing ok?

I’m great! You’ve been busy, a lot of meet and greets in this area and all the work that you do all over, it truly means a lot that you’re spending a little time with Urban Tymes today!

Thank you so much for having me! I really appreciate it, and everyone has shown me nothing but love here. I’ve really met some amazing people with good hearts and good spirits. So thank you again for having me!

I got a chance to read and learn more about the motivator, the self-made millionaire, the woman that has that fire to get you going into your goals and dreams and destiny.  The mantra that you have embraced is “Against All Odds.”  It’s the main thing that you constantly preach and share with everyone you come in contact with. What’s the secret?  What’s the key thing that keeps you motivated every day? I think, to be honest with you, when I look back on my life….I was just born to be the way that I am.  Going back as early as I can remember,  as early as four years old, remembering going up in a close knit community, with four streets , and that fifth street…Black people knew to turn around at that street!  So even at four, I would ask questions, like most people wouldn’t ask the question, just go to the store and get a Double Cola or an RC Cola. Those were the things that Black people could drink, but me myself, I wanted to know, “How come we can’t have Coca Cola?” So it started early with me, I just knew the difference.  As I got older, my mother used to say “You know what, (she used to cuss) you like good #$%^!” And I did! Any struggle growing up and coming up, I just knew how to come through it. My mom, who’s not with us any longer, I remember her saying this to me one day sitting at her kitchen table. She was a little skinny woman, resembling Cicely Tyson, and she sat at the table and had her hands down Carey, and she  brought them back up and said “I’ve never seen nobody go down and come up!” and she would  take them down a little further, “like Katrina!” Her voice would boom like Dr. King’s…. and I’m looking at her, and I knew she was wondering where did this girl come from?

Once I got married and went through the domestic violence, and got to the point where we (me and my children) didn’t have anything, I had a husband that would go out on me, coming in and daylight is hitting him in the face,  I would look at my little children, my babies, and I knew that we weren’t supposed to be poor and down the valley. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, so that was me, always trying to figure things out, I wasn’t lazy. God gave me a brain, and with this brain I have to use it. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon or want someone to give me anything, I’ve always been a person to get out and make it. If my mother would give me a quarter, I would take that quarter and form a business with that quarter!

She shared also during the interview, how she held a variety of jobs, as early as eight years old. From collecting bottles and selling those bottles back to the store owners, to ironing sheets for women and promoting that ability via word of mouth. “ I remember telling the women,  these sheets are going to feel really good to lay on!”  Promoting her skills in ironing while her friends were out playing.

Today’s young women are going through so much it seems, into uncharted territory.  What are your thoughts? My thoughts are taking it back to the basics. The only thing I had back then was on tv seeing Diahann Carroll being a lady, and my mom. Those women were ladies. The young ladies today, they are very intelligent, I think a lot of them just want that love, and a lot of time they just don’t know. I heard a young man once say, “She’s just a boot girl!” I don’t want my young women to stoop down for a boot, or a pocketbook.  If you like those things, know that you can get them yourself!  As women, we live a tough role, I’m a mother, with four children.  My young ladies are smart, very intelligent, but they have to know this, that they are bigger than a boot or a pocketbook. I see them and there’s so many things that they can do, there’s no excuse! I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, and I see this man, blind, out here doing what he do, still getting it to this day….there’s a lot of us that don’t have a handicap or something keeping us back. So we need to just get up off our butts and do it. Back then, like my grandmother used to tell us “Start from the bottom, crawl before you walk!”  To my young ladies, I tell them, number one, keep God first! You don’t settle for anything, but love yourself! Don’t sit around and let people misuse you and you have to take it. Don’t be the side chick; you sit up in the driver’s seat!  You don’t let a man only see you at night and can’t take you out in the day. Never let a man misuse you, you become the wife if he truly loves you, don’t be the side chick, it’s not cute!

Ms Trina (can I call you that?) You are dropping that wisdom for our young sisters!  It’s not cute, you don’t settle for less when you can be the best! God gave you two arms; learn how to wrap them around yourself first. You gotta love yourself!

RainbowKidz Learning Center is more than just a learning center, but a place for young minds to reach their full potential. How did you bring life to this program? When I worked at Federal Express, Fred Smith, the owner of the company would come out and talk to us, I took advantage of what this man was saying. And I was thinking to myself, I don’t want to work here for the rest of my life. I’m not going to be an old lady working for Federal Express!  Everything I’m learning here, I’m going to take and start my own company.  I started thinking and wondering, who’s keeping these folk’s children? Everyone does not work a “9 to 5” or “6 to 6” anymore, so I’m going to start a daycare center! I’m good with children,  I love them, and everything he talked about with his business, the quality , people, service and profit….I use it, but it was a different concept with the children. I want to give the best quality and service to the children; and their parents will not have to worry about their babies.  The food, nutritious, a full curriculum, the parents can drop the children off whenever they like. That’s the way you have to think, outside of the box.

Let’s talk about the “BE “Foundation…..the ”Blind Eye” Foundation. I know that is truly a project dear to your heart.  It is. I’m the type of person that if I could make sure everyone could eat steak, I would.  I want to see that everybody wins!  The BE Foundation came about because I know that people “see” things but they don’t. If it’s not their immediate family that they truly love, a lot of times folk don’t really care, unless it’s happening to them.  I had a nephew that lost his life to crack cocaine and everybody, knows somebody that’s on drugs, and I came up with the BE Foundation because a lot of places don’t open their doors, and these people, they are lost.  Pushing baskets and carts, cut off from their family, and rock bottom.  Dealing with a drug addict, is very hard.

What I’m doing with the BE Foundation, is hiring a full time nurse and a doctor on staff and give these people that need these services a second chance at life, the ones that truly want.  It’s a disease! I want to help these people, when it’s zero degrees outside and the church doors are closed, to give them a warm place, a clean place and some help. So many times, they are hurting, because they have no one to talk to, to trust.

So tell us, what truly inspires you?

People, truly helping people.

To learn more about this amazing , motivational woman, visit:

Website: www.mskatrinawalker.com

Facebook: thekatrinawalker Instagram & Twitter: @mskatrinawalker