YOU GOT THIS, GIRL!’s very first #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY is the extraordinary Danielle Jai Watson, also known as Dannie Boston. She is an outstanding woman and a positive influencer as an artist, dancer, actor, writer, philanthropist, wife, and new mother. There really is no stopping Danielle when it comes to achieving greatness.
Danielle has always been extremely driven and hardworking. She graduated a full year early at Pepperdine University with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, a minor focus in International Business, and Grant Writing for non-profits, all while perfecting her dancing and acting skills under the guidance and mentoring of the legendary Debbie Allen. It’s to no surprise that Danielle’s dance career took off immediately after she completed university, and she danced with top artists in the industry such as Usher, Beyoncé, Pharrell, Will I Am, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, and Nicole Scherzinger. At the peak of her career, Danielle and her husband, Dion Watson, invested all of their time, efforts, and hearts into creating a youth social justice program in Compton called Discover.YOU™, Inc (http://www.discoveryoucompton.org/#whoweare). They have their very own facility where they focus on providing Performing and Liberal Arts classes, tutoring, and mentorship opportunities to youth in the community.
We applaud Danielle Jai Watson for having the heart and courage to start something so meaningful and necessary in our world. She’s making a tremendous difference in her community, and she’s an excellent example of achieving success through working hard, staying kind, and following your passions. Danielle is a girl who’s GOT THIS.
How did you discover your passion for dance and then discover the idea of giving others the opportunity to experience the arts?
Dance is a part of my genetic makeup. I am a passionate person, and that transcended into my dance. I truly believe it is a gift that I have been blessed with, and I show my gratitude for that gift by giving it all that I have. I was aware that I was consciously (and at times subconsciously) living my life experiences every time I stepped on stage, and people were genuinely moved by that. Every time I had an opportunity to dance, the story felt so real to me because I was able to relate to it in some capacity. I found the humanity in every move, and if the love or passion wasn't there, I took a step back. I have always strived for the honesty in my art, and that has sustained my love affair with it. Philanthropy is just as much a part of my makeup. I was born into a family of human rights advocates. I have been studying advocacy my entire life, and have watched it first hand. Giving of myself is simply a part of who I am and how I was raised; so it comes second nature to me. I follow my heart in both areas, and the rewards have been immeasurable.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is ever-evolving as my spirit grows, relationships strengthen, I let go of things, and redirect my focus onto other areas. But, my very first inspiration to become an arts enthusiast will always be Ms. Debbie Allen. I saw her perform a one woman show at the Kennedy Center when I was 12 years old. That was the first performance I had ever seen, and the only thing I could think was that I wanted to make people feel the same way I felt watching her in the audience. That single moment evolved into a career whereby I was inspired by the places I traveled around the world, and the people I met along the way. I have always been inspired by my family, and what I believed at times were their extraordinary beliefs in who I could become. Now, I find my purest inspiration in my husband and son because they get all parts of me - the crazy, sane, courageous, dramatic, calm, wild, focused, doubtful - they get everything and then some. And in that honesty, the fact that they love me as hard as they do void of judgment, I have found my greatest inspiration in every single thing that I do. So I no longer seek inspiration. I let it come organically.
We love that you are the embodiment of doing it all and doing it well. Can you talk about how all of your different roles have shaped you as a woman?
As a wife, I learned that love can be easy. My husband encouraged me to find the deepest love I could muster up and to pour it onto myself. He showed me how deserving I was, and that changed my life and my intention. As a mother, I have really learned what it means to love unconditionally, and I have tapped into a much greater sense of purpose. I also learned just how powerful a woman’s body is, and that we are true superheroes. As a teacher, I have learned the power of words. That has taught me to slow down my speech and to become much more mindful of what I say. As a mentor, I have learned to apply the principles I use to encourage others to my own life. As a dancer, I learned that I didn't have to always speak. I could let my life do the talking, and I didn't have to react on impulse because I had the perfect creative outlet to find my freedom. As a college graduate, I learned that I can be all things. I loved being in a classroom just as much as I loved the stage. That helped me to find balance, keep an open mind, and to forego mediocrity at all costs. As a current student of economics, I am constantly learning that I have so much more to learn, and that I have barely scratched the surface of my capabilities. As an entrepreneur, I have learned to go in to every situation with a powerful mindset. As a philanthropist, I have learned that there is no limit to how big your heart can be. I feel like my growth is unstoppable, and in giving back I am more encouraged moving forward. As a writer, I have found a new security in my thoughts and am learning to stop second guessing myself. I am sure, and in the same breath I am open. As a daughter, sister, friend, and any other role I take on, I continue to learn and remove judgment. In my open state I receive what I need, and I find peace knowing that I am becoming the person I have always wanted to be.
What advice would you give to your 10-year old self?
You are not crazy, you are creative. You are not “cute for a black girl”, you come from royal stock and it will be praised. Your body is not weird, it is flawlessly flawed for the man who will love and protect it. You cannot be put into a box because you are everything. You don’t need to be tamed. Go hard. You don’t need to know it all because the beauty in life comes when you realize you know nothing. You don’t have to control anyones opinion of you, all you have to do is exert energy into the uplift of yourself and your people. You are not a viable option, you are the only option. Stay strong in your belief in love because it will absolutely pay off. Fairytales exist. Remain humble because the ego is detrimental to vibrations you put out into the universe. Do what makes you feel great because you will remain in a place of acceptance. You are not strange, you have an intuitive gift that needs to be protected. Your passion will take you places that you dream of. So keep dreaming and hold on to your childlike curiosity. Your compassion will cause you to change lives. Your story will be used in magnificent ways that will touch the lives of many. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of respect. Demand it and embrace it. You will create the life you want. Stay focused. Remain a lover of change and growth. Love to let go. You are the one you dream of becoming.
What's your definition of a YGTGirl?
She is vulnerable, honest, aware and engaged. She does not have it all together, and that’s what makes her love of life and spirit so infectious. She is all things and she doesn't have to convince anyone of that. She isn't afraid of her feelings because they are her tools to manifesting everything she wants. She is learning or has mastered the art of refusing to dim her light to appease to anyones insecurities, ego, or unbridled opinions. She loves hard, fights for what she wants, craves learning, never runs away from something new, and she sees what others call adversity as blessings - because she knows that in her hardest moments, the strongest self will emerge. She is humbled by life. She isn't out to prove her worth, but she is ok with letting you know exactly who she is. She is deserving of greatness because it is her birth right. She is a student of nature and is connected. She is all things. And she is worthy of all things.