February Spotlight: Cass Dieudonne

“IT’S IMPORTANT TO HIGHLIGHT AND SEE BLACK FOLKS BEING BLACK FOLKS WITHOUT THE EXPECTATION OF EXCELLENCE ALL THE TIME. WE NEED TO SEE MORE OF THAT.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background both personally & professionally. 

I am a Social Worker and Pole Dancer based in New York. Personally, I think it’s funny that I am both of those things because I think of myself as being a bit awkward but I am extremely passionate about what I do!

How does your experience as a Black woman inform (or affect) the work that you do?

My experience as a Black woman affects everything I do. I believe that it is important to think about how one's identities can affect their perspective and actions, which is important in the type of work that I do when working with others. I am a Black woman, first-generation woman, and my multiple identities affect how I see the world. 

What's one thing that you've seen, read, or heard that has given you hope for the future?

Seeing Black joy on TikTok has definitely given me some hope for the future! It’s important to highlight and see Black folks being Black folks without the expectation of excellence all the time. We need to see more of that.

What impact do you want to leave on others?

This is a tough one! Honestly, I’m growing and I feel like I’ve changed a lot in the past year. I do not necessarily have an answer for this because I am still figuring it out myself!

How are you celebrating joy for yourself in today's current climate?

By [allowing] space to do nothing sometimes. Even during the pandemic, I’m busy and my home has become my workspace, so sometimes scheduling a time for me to do absolutely nothing but relax and clear my mind has bought me so much joy and peace. I like to dedicate Saturday mornings to that time. I water my plants, do some fancy skincare stuff, and chill. 

We’re passing the mic to you now… rather than this being a question that we’re asking you we want to leave this as a spot for you to say anything, whether you want to open up a conversation around your personal experiences, Black History Month, etc or if you want to leave a community with a question or questions. Anything that is meaningful to you and that you want to share.

I want to leave off saying to Black folks that our existence, in general, is excellence. The history of Black folks throughout the diaspora should be explored much more and deserves more than a month.

Connect with Cass here.