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hattie: /hAE-tee/ home or estate ruler

belle: /bel/ (noun) a beautiful girl or woman

HATTIE BELLE, LLC is named after my paternal grandmother, who gave me my name--the one she was saving for the daughter she never had. Her name has multiple meanings and layered significance. Passed down to her, it literally means a beautiful girl or woman who rules her home. I was told stories about her matriarchal reach. Burdened by an illness that would rob me of the opportunity to know or remember her, I am told she demanded respect and reverence--refusing death until after I was born. Her face favored my father's, I later learned, as I stared at it for recognition. I had never seen her image until a few years ago when a relative sent me a picture of a picture--her face dulled by the Polaroid, mine faded with other female kin in the background. I am told I inherited her love of writing and way with words--which means she shaped my whole life in the moniker she saved for me. Hattie shared her name with her mother and mother-in-law, meaning it is mine from both sides of my father's family. I imagine that if she had lived, my grandmother would have loved me fiercely as her namesake. It feels fitting to honor her (and the other women who shared her name) by making her name mine--securing her/my/their legacy as ours. Hattie Belle is a consultancy that offers thought leadership and creative ideation through public speaking, public writing, and public intellectualism. 



The only picture I have and have ever seen of my grandmother, Hattie Belle Boylorn. (I am the infant being held in the background).


“Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it, to open doors, sometimes, not even closing the book--leaving the endings open for reinterpretation, revisitation, a little ambiguity.”

 –Toni Morrison

“[Writers] write because we need to make sense of the world we live in; writing is a way to clarify, to interpret, to reinvent."

 –bell hooks

 “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

 -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


"I have spent my life undoing language until it works for me. We must not only repossess the language, we must deslaveryize it . . . I write for young girls of color, for girls who don't even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive. I can only change how they live, not how they think."

 -Ntozake Shange

“I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame."

 –Alice Walker

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My paternal grandparents' marriage license, noting the lineage of the name. My grandmother, the bride, "Hattie Belle Jeffers," her mother, "Hattie Jeffers," and the groom, my grandfather's mother "Hattie Zellar Williams Boylorn."


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