Hey y’all! Happy Monday!
I’m waking up in Dallas Texas; I made a quick trip here to take part in a memorial service for a friend.
Kelly Ryan Murphy worked on the creative team at Mary Kay Cosmetics in Dallas but prior to that he’d worked in a similar capacity for various publications. He was immensely talented, soft-spoken, a creative genius, just a super caring and wonderful guy who I was lucky enough to call a friend.
Sadly, Kelly died a few weeks ago, suddenly and unexpectedly. The memorial service, at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, was a moving tribute to a wonderful man and a life well-lived.
As Kelly’s life played out frame by frame on the big screen and each speaker gave a loving and moving tribute, it made me ponder a simple question:
What will they say about you?
I’ve always believed that at our core, we all want to know that we matter; that the things we did made a difference and that they were appreciated by someone.
As many of you know, transitioning from relaxed to natural hair has been a huge part of my evolution of the past several years and one that compassionate Kelly watched closely.
When he got to Mary Kay, he asked me to tell him more about my hair, the transition and its importance.
As I explained what it meant, how it was more about self-acceptance and less about hair, he got it, he truly did. Then he went to his bosses at Mark Kay and pushed for a natural hair model in their upcoming campaign.
They turned him down.
But Kelly was tenacious also and he wouldn’t accept no as the answer. He came back to me a second time for help in shoring up his argument that he would be taking to higher-ups.
Well guess what? Second time’s a charm and Kelly managed to get executives to understand his point about the beauty of natural hair.
I was so deeply moved that Kelly didn’t give up. To this day, I’m not sure if he understood the impact that his refusal will have.
As I said at his memorial service, there are going to be young African American girls who will pick up a Mary Kay catalog or watch a commercial and see a model with hair like theirs. A beautiful model, smiling, in love with herself and her hair.
That’s what Kelly did and one of the many reasons I loved him. RIP Kelly. We will miss you madly but your legacy lives on in your family, friends and in your work.
But what about you? What will your family, friends, colleagues, coworkers say about you? When it’s said and done (and it happens for all of us) what will they say about you?
In the meantime, enjoy this video of Mark Kay’s most recent campaign.. and who’s in there with the others? A model with natural hair.