Meagan Good 2021 - Power Issue
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Meagan GoodSource: Cécile BOKO / iONEDigital

Meagan Good has a clear definition of power that she learned — through years of public scrutiny — to harness with masterful control. With unshakable faith and an uncracked foundation built on ideals she inherited from her mother, Meagan is good at keeping the haters at bay. The beloved Black actress, with films credits like The Intruder, Think Like A Man and the most recent Death Saved My Life, has built up a skin of armor, albeit a dewy one, and an impenetrable layer of confidence throughout her 26-year career.

“To be a powerful Black woman is to be unapologetic,” the soft-spoken actress tells me for our cover story interview via Zoom. True to her casually chic style, Meagan Good appeared on the video call, comfortably dressed in a vintage tee, while taking a break between filming scenes for a new TV show. These days, the beauty is rocking cascading goddess locs — a hairstyle that has become one of her signature looks.

As a teen, Meagan set her sights on Hollywood success, something she knew would not be easy. But having grown up as part of the only Black family in a predominantly white neighborhood would give the charming youth her first brush with double consciousness and how her Blackness intersected with her experience as a woman.

Now, 39-years-young and seasoned, the married actress, producer, designer, and overall influential figure is teaching us a thing or two about living an authentic, purposeful life. Through the criticisms of being a Black woman who owns her sexiness, she’s graciously clapped back in a way that shows she will not be silenced. From a young age, Meagan’s mother instilled a sense of authenticity and individuality in her, so she’s always had a firm understanding of what it means to stay true to herself.

“To stand in your truth even when it’s scary, even when you will be misunderstood or you’ll be labeled a certain way,” she explained. “To have the strength to just say ‘no this is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what I think I should put into the world, this is what I know that I’m called to, this is my purpose.”

That’s not to say, however, that the journey to a place of power and self-awareness, was an easy one.  In the early days of her career, she struggled to find peace amid the criticism that comes with fame.

“Dealing with hundreds of nice things people would say and then like 40 mean things someone would say –  initially I took it really personally, I took it really to heart. It really hurt my feelings and broke my heart I was like, ‘Why? I wish they could see my heart,” she said. “I think over time [you learn] that it’s OK that not everyone sees your heart. God doesn’t show it to everybody because God can’t trust everybody with it.”

Holy Matrimony

Those lessons would prepare her for her union with entertainment producer, author, and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin. Fans immediately fell in love with the power couple, but Meagan’s sexy image also made her a target for Christians across the globe, many of whom criticized her clothing choices and demanded that she “cover herself up” when out in public with her husband. It seemed like no matter what she wore, or how she presented herself, she was often on the receiving end of negative commentary. It’s an unfair trope often hurled at Black women, whose bodies, attire and sexuality are under constant scrutiny.

“I think at a certain point in time, I wasn’t afraid, but I knew that every time I stepped into it, at some degree, I was walking out to the firing squad and that grieved my spirit,” she said.

It was Meagan’s strong sense of self that allowed her to persevere through the negative chatter.  “There was nothing I could do because I can’t be anyone else except for who I am. I know that God loves me and God, I believe, is proud of me. Anything that is not in alignment with that is just not for me. I think now at this age, I don’t really care as much anymore.”

Meagan Good
Source: Cécile BOKO / iONEDigital

That sense of self has been a long time in the making. Between defending her sexy image as a woman married to an ordained Minister, to recently facing rumors she bleached her skin, Meagan can’t be broken with words.

“I do truly feel that I’ve never been apologetic and I’ve always walked in my truth,” she said.

It was that experience and compassion that inspired her to speak up in protection of other Black women dealing with the same criticism in the public eye. Recently, singer Chloe Bailey shared a tearful video on Instagram live as she explained the backlash she received after participating in the silhouette and bust it challenges. The emotional reaction struck a chord with Meagan.

“It breaks my heart to see her have to go through that. And again, getting free of what other people think of you is a process. You know, it depends on the person. Depends on how they download things – what it feels like to their spirit – so you can’t just tell them to get over it,” Meagan said. “The truth is these people don’t determine your destiny, these people don’t determine your purpose. They don’t determine the call that God has on your life. The only way for you to continue to walk in that purpose and that destiny and that calling is to be authentically yourself and knowing that along the way, some people are not going to get it and that’s okay,” she continued.

It’s not lost on Meagan that she is part of a generation of Black people standing firm in their power and challenging boundaries. And with so many of us walking in our purpose and embracing our individuality, we are seeing one of the most powerful Black Renaissances, with Black women leading the charge. Whether through our art, our activism or our votes, Black women continue to be at the forefront of social change, something Meagan tells me is a constant source of inspiration.

“I’m thankful to be young enough and old enough to understand it. I am thankful to play any teeny tiny role in any of it,” she said. “Which is kind of a sad thing, but kind of an amazing thing in the same breath because it has to happen. I think what happened during the pandemic was the biggest civil rights movement the world has seen in terms of all these countries and I mean everywhere – all 50 states – everyone was participating,” she said. “We are seeing the shift that is affecting everything everywhere in really amazing ways, but I do think we still have a very long way to go. We’re heading in the right direction, slowly but surely,” she said. “I’m just like let me do my part, whatever that means and whatever that looks like. Let me do whatever I can to help whoever. You know, wear the crown, but also carry it.”

Power Moves

For Meagan, an extension of her power is tapping into her innate creative instincts. This past January, Meagan directed, produced, and acted in her first film, If Not Now, When? Then, in February, she released a music video she directed for Diarra Sylla, a new artist from Senegal. The powerful video, Set Free, dissects the racial injustice that Black people experience in today’s world. “It’s a video that I’m really proud of,” Meagan said. ” It’s about empowerment, and it’s about what’s going on in the country and seeing what’s been done to us but also seeing what we’re capable of,” she continued.

Meagan Good
Source: Cécile BOKO / iONEDigital

Meagan’s creative influences extend far beyond acting and directing. She’s also tapped into the haircare industry. Back in 2015, she fell in love with Ciara and Teyana Taylor’s faux locs hairstyle. Intrigued by the look, she did some more research and came across a photo of Lisa Bonet’s hair that had curly, loose tendrils combined with her locs. After consulting with her stylist Myesha Oliver, she was connected to Dr. Carrie who executed the goddess faux locs install on Meagan. As she began to wear them more frequently, the style caught on like wildfire. Together, she and Dr. Carrie marketed their own goddess locs for consumers to purchase.

Unbeknownst to Meagan, this new hairstyle would direct her to the next business venture. Good Girl Wraps was birthed from the need to keep her protective style out of the way while she slept and worked out. “I talked to Dr. Carrie and I was like why don’t I create a particular hair wrap that’s not just for goddess locs but is also for all faux locs, braids, and twists. You can wear it if you have curly hair. It’s something that will protect your hair and would keep it from breaking,” she said. After developing the product, she realized there was a huge demand for them in the haircare market.

Meagan Good
Source: Cécile BOKO / iONEDigital

Still, despite all that, her feet remain firmly planted on the ground. “I rarely sit back and look at how far I’ve come but when I do, I feel very thankful,” she said. “I feel very humble. I feel extremely grateful and privileged.”

If I learned anything from Meagan, it is that she has found the formula to living a powerful, authentic life. Between her unwavering relationship with God, and her strong sense of individuality, she is prepared for the battles that life throws her way. A strong sense of self is important when you’re navigating the world. We often allow people to steal our power through their criticisms of who we are and how we should live our lives. When you stand in your truth and affirm your power, you take your life back – unapologetically.

Cover Credits:

Photographer: Cécile BOKO @bokocecile

Cover Story: Marsha Badger @Introvertnthecity

Deputy Editor: Shamika Sanders @Shamika_Sanders

Makeup: Jorge Monroy @makeupbyjmonroy

Styling: EJ King @ejking21

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