Space creator, community activist and lover of the arts, Shenay Rivers always knew she would one day impact the world. She currently works as Entertainment Manager for the Brooklyn Nets and founder of her own label, Dream Unique Brand. In addition to her day job, she tirelessly gives back to her community through advocating for the equity of Black people. When she’s not collaborating with talented Nets entertainers, she’s busy hosting solution-based conversations around Black trauma through her online community group called Unmute Black Voices. Shenay also curates artistic events in her hometown of Chicago, where she was born and raised alongside her younger sister. Her latest entrepreneurial endeavor is a new YouTube series called Heal Talk with Nay.
Aside from her many professional callings, Shenay’s greatest accomplishment to date has been her pursuit of self-healing. She has strong faith in the Divine Creator and believes that her purpose is to be kind, compassionate and obedient to God’s vision for her life.
Sabreen: Can you give us a background of your previous work?
Shenay: I started off my career in sales with the Brooklyn nets, and have worked my way up to become Entertainment Manager for the team.
Outside of work, I spend my time pursuing personal and community-enriching projects. Much of my free time is dedicated to building my own label, Dream Unique Brand, or hosting solution-based conversations around Black trauma through an online community group called Unmute Black Voices. I also work with Black Creatives Co773ctive, which is a space for creatives of color to empower and educate the Black community and youth of Chicago’s inner city through the arts.
In my new YouTube series called Heal Talk with Nay, I invite friends to share details about their personal healing and spiritual journeys. The goal of this space is to build a community where healers, free thinkers and evolving humans come together to #healtheculture and world through transparent storytelling.
Sabreen: Tell us about your new platform Heal Talk With Nay and why it’s so important.
Shenay: Heal Talk with Nay was a divine message given straight to me from spirit. It’s a space for people who are intentional about their healing to commune with others that are on a similar journey. Whether you have begun your healing journey or not, this space was created for authentic storytelling from the people closest to me - to share their real life experiences in the hopes that viewers can be inspired to heal themselves and feel safe to share their own stories.
This space is important to me because I truly believe that we are here to serve and help each other. As I am on my own spiritual and healing journey, I have not seen content like this. Although there are amazing people who share their stories on social media, I wanted to give everyday people a platform to do the work with someone they trust. My biggest inspiration in making this space is not only to inspire others, but also my sister. We endured a lot of trauma in our lives and I want to show her that it does not have to define us, but it can refine us to be better. I want to make her proud.
God has instructed me to be a space creator, and I aim to stay obedient to that vision to make my imprint on the world.
Sabreen: What do you love most about what you do?
Shenay: Since I do so many things, overall I love to create. Whether it’s making new systems for my team members to make things easier for them, contributing ideas to enhance our performances, or pursuing my own personal projects like Heal Talk with Nay - it’s about having an idea and seeing it through. I have been extremely blessed with so many resources and support from my loved ones and God that I don’t take my ability to create for granted.
Sabreen: What is the best advice you have received to keep you going throughout your career?
Shenay: I have received so much great advice, but I would say what stands out to me the most is to stay present in the current moment, always trust God and bet on myself.
This has helped me push through those really tough days and even the good days. I find that sometimes when you’re flourishing in your career, it’s easy to think “what’s the next thing I can do” and miss the current moment. So I am intentionally working on staying present and enjoying the journey.
Sabreen: What is one thing each person can do to start their healing journey?
Shenay: One thing I would say is honor your feelings. Give yourself grace to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, face all of your emotions and put next steps in place that will honor what you want to feel.
For example, I’m a person who takes on a lot of other people’s emotions all of the time. I rarely make time for myself and I used to feel like I had to be at everyone’s beck and call. Now, I am learning to create boundaries for myself and communicate with my loved ones. The rising is an important time for me. I meditate, pray, journal, do yoga, workout or just stay still to be one with spirit. They know not to contact me during that time. Apple’s ‘Focus’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’ features are amazing for that.
When I am editing a Heal Talk with Nay episode, I communicate that I will not be available during that time and they honor that. When you honor yourself, you will be surrounded by people who will do the same and vice versa.
Sabreen: In honor of Black History Month, name one black woman you look up to or influenced you and why.
Shenay: My beautiful mother Margaret Smith. She is the first Black woman that I ever loved and saw. She helped shape me into the woman that I am now and has allowed me the space to also teach her. She has worked so hard for my sister and I our entire lives. I’ve witnessed how favored she is by God, and even in her low moments, her faith never wavered. She has redefined what strength means to me. My mother has endured a lot in her life and most would say that she is a “strong Black woman” for persevering through struggle. But what I see is someone who is going through their journey no matter how beautiful or ugly it gets and trusting that God will see her through it all. She is thriving and chooses herself first, thus teaching others to do the same. She is my hero - even with all of her imperfections - and I am honored to not only be influenced by her, but impacted in such a way that I believe I can heal the world one person at a time.