The Simmon’s Sister interviewed by Blackvoices for Black History Month

Vanessa and Angela Simmons have built an empire of their own.  With entrepreneurial skills nurtured and supported by their Father and uncle Russel, these sister have moved above and beyond and expectations set upon them.  Already with two reality shows; a successful footwear line Pastry which has become a super entity of it’s own; these sisters are ready to bring their talent and skills to Hollywood, with their own production company, Simmons Two.

The sisters took some to time to interview with Blackvoices to share their excitement for upcoming ventures; their past achievements; their ideas on being role models for young Black women; and to reflect on the importance this month

Editor’s Note: For Black History Month, we’ve chosen to not only remind readers of African Americans’ rich past, but to also spotlight some of the young people who’re poised to make history in the coming years — our “black future.”

When you think of Black History and Black Achievement, what do you think of, and how
do you see yourselves fitting into that legacy?

Vanessa: When I think of Black history and Black achievement I think of all the people that fought hard to make sure we have the rights that we have today. We now have equal rights and opportunities. I think of the people who fought so hard for us to have those rights–my grandfather included. As far as continuing it, I think my job here is to encourage and inspire people to fulfill their dreams and go for it no matter the circumstances or situations you come from. That’s the legacy I hope to leave behind with my family name and all the things in entertainment I do.

Angela: The first person that I think of of course is Martin Luther King Jr. What has happened over time is tremendous…I think about the power and the unity and how much times have changed. I feel like for my sister and I, young girls in the industry, we’re paving our way and starting our own companies, us as CEOs is not something you see everyday and I really feel like we’re inspiring a lot of young kids to do the same thing.

Vanessa, you mentioned your grandfather, was he very active in the civil rights

Vanessa: You know what’s so funny growing up I really didn’t know about it and my professor in school for Black history reminded me so much of my grandfather so one day I told him and he’s like yea, actually me and your grandfather used to march together in D.C. and other places for civil rights. And then I started looking into more. It made it more realistic than something that just happened years ago before our time. I’m happy that my family had a part in doing that.

How does the legacy of Black history impact you today?

Vanessa: I think that being able to see things growing up and watching other Black people make moves it gave me a sense of inspiration and a sense of the sky can be the limit for me. The people before me have done great things and gave our culture some depth and richness. I feel their fearlessness which is something that I’m tackling– to be fearless.

Who would you identify as history making in your field?

Vanessa: Acting wise, this is someone I’ve actually looked up to my entire life: Halle Berry. I feel like she broke so many barriers as far as the acting world goes. There’s also people like Dorothy Dandridge who actually Halle Berry played and she’s the one who opened my eyes to the greatness of people who came before us and the struggle they had to go through which was entirely different. The women that came before us that were actresses and broke through in a time where it just seemed like it would be impossible. She’s definitely my idol as far as acting goes, and I just admire the way she broke down barriers. She didn’t even think about it, she was just doing what she loved to do.

Angela: I would definitely say my father, my uncle, and my family. They definitely are the reason I’m doing what I’m doing, so that would definitely be the chapter before mine. Whenever I am faced with challenges I like to take their advice but I also am able to watch them and how they handle business and learn from that. I can go to the source or I can watch the source. But I don’t like to ask them everything I like to figure things out for myself as well.

Who are some innovative people in our generation that are making a difference in their

industry today?

Angela: There’s a lot of young kids I see will make a lot of impact like Willow Smith and my little brother. You didn’t see that before. The fact that the youth and our generation are coming up and really doing what they want to do, and just being able to be proud. Now you don’t have to be a certain age to do what you want to do or a certain race. You can be and do what you want as any race and at any age. Seeing the younger generation take charge is cool.

Are there still barriers to be tackled?

Vanessa: With acting I think there needs to be more roles created for us. There shouldn’t just be three or four movies that come out each year with Black people in it. We have just as rich of a history and just as much of a story as any other race on this planet. As far as entrepreneurship I’m just going to keep doing what I do and breaking down barriers and showing that you can be young and do it you can be Black and do it. It’s about showing people your worth, showing people that you’re worth it and not having an ego.

Identify your role in your field.

Vanessa: I’m learning and taking notes and trying my best today. I’m up and coming and I’m looking forward to breaking down some more barriers and hopefully creating more opportunities for people like myself. Me and Angela we started our own production company, Simmons Two, so we plan on bringing you guys some good quality programming soon from film, to tv to web content. I’m completing my screen play with one of my best friends from college and just creating opportunities is what its all about. You have to get out there, you can’t wait for other people to get things done, sometimes you have to do it yourself. You might not know where the funding will come from or any of that stuff but you just have to create and do. Do some of the things you want to see done, be the change that you want to see in the world.

Do you think that the work you are doing now is leading to creating a legacy?

Angela: My sister and I we are working on an empire. I would hope to leave a legacy because there’s so much I want to do and so many people I want to help. I know that the work I want to do isn’t normal, and if I can impact a large group of people there’s definitely a legacy behind it and there’s something special there and something to teach and something to show. [I see a connection with ground breaking women like Madame CJ Walker] because she did exactly what my sister and I did. But she was the first to do it. She actually laid the road that made it possible for us today to make these choices.

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One Response to “The Simmon’s Sister interviewed by Blackvoices for Black History Month”

 Esterlin Valdez  04.28.2011 | 11:43 am

I love everything you girls stand for… You guys are .the best role model

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