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Imani Smith

3095

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

5x

Finalist

Bio

I am a first-generation college student who has to pay her own way into college. My dream is to be an author and filmmaker, but also an artist who uses multiple mediums to express herself and express messages of hope and love to all people. I don't have much to offer in the way of money, but I consider myself to be extremely dedicated to anything I set my mind and heart on, and I am very dedicated to quality friendships, loving others outside of myself, challenging myself to learn harder subjects, and never ceasing to hope no matter how dark any circumstance may be. I've gone through a lot throughout my short seventeen years of life. Everyone has. My life at one point looked very bleak, but through perseverance and the unconditional love and grace of several people in my life, I was able to get up, and turn the tables on the path my life was headed. I'm also the kind of person that doesn't fit in. Not because I'm intentionally countercultural, or seeking to be society's pretty version of "weird", but that I, simply, am myself. Simple as that. I am most passionate about art in all forms. Any art, I love it. Gotta have it. I'm the kind of person who loves to explore and try out new things. Speaking of which, trying out this website is a new thing too! :P I've been writing since I was in the 4th grade, creating art since I was in the 1st grade. I love to sing, I love to dance, and I love being myself. I'm teaching myself how to play the guitar as of now, and I've taught myself how to play the piano. Of course, there's always room to grow and improve. <3

Education

Greenville Technical College

Associate's degree program
2022 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities
  • Minors:
    • Psychology, General
    • Fine and Studio Arts
    • English Language and Literature, General

Goose Creek High

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Cinematography and Film/Video Production
    • Painting
    • Creative Writing
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Freelance Artist

    • Dream career goals:

      Freelance Artist/Director

    • CSR/Team Member

      Coldstone
      2021 – 2021
    • CSR

      Stoner's Pizza Joint
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    JROTC

    Varsity
    2018 – 20191 year

    Awards

    • 1st Place Hanahan Drill Competition, 1st Place Stratford High Drill Competition

    JROTC Drill Team

    Club
    2018 – 20191 year

    Cross-Country Running

    Varsity
    2019 – 2019

    Research

    • Cinematography and Film/Video Production

      BCA Creative Writing — Filmmaker
      2017 – 2021
    • Novelwriting

      Berkeley Center for the Arts: Creative Writing — Novel-writer/Author
      2020 – Present

    Arts

    • Berkeley Center for the Arts Film Festival 2017

      Creative Writing/Film Production
      Where is Buzz Lightyear?
      2017 – 2018
    • North Charleston Arts Festival

      Creative Writing
      North Charleston Arts Festival
      2018 – 2021
    • School

      Choir
      GCH Choir Production 2019, , Boulder Bluff Choir Production 2012 & 2013
      2011 – 2019
    • BCA Creative Writing

      Performance Art
      National Scholastic Art and Writing Competition
      2017 – 2021
    • Independent

      Cinematography
      "From Sam" film, "Stuck in INT." film, "Listless" film
      2019 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      National Honors Society — Volunteer
      2020 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      BETA Club — Volunteer
      2018 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Cocoa Diaries Scholarship
    As a young black woman, I've experienced what most would call 'quiet racism'. Nobody's ever been outwardly prejudiced toward me, but I've had a lot of those surprised stares, offhanded comments, and general distance between me and others who operate in spaces that they don’t feel I belong. For instance, I was enrolled in three Advanced Placement courses throughout high school. There were several moments where when I was called on to share, a lot of the non-black kids (mainly white) would gawk and ogle at the fact that I was speaking with a certain level of vocabulary, or that the input I provided was intelligent--that I'd even had intelligent input to provide at all. It was discouraging at times, and, unfortunately, many times I would choose not to speak up to avoid that painful feeling of alienation. What was even harder was the distance I felt toward others of my own race. A fair portion of the black girls around me during high school seemed to conform to the pressure put on by society to only be interested in surface-level things. I found that whenever I was authentic with how I felt and the things that I was interested in, I would be treated as weird, awkward, annoying, or stuck-up. That hurt the most. I felt like a foreigner in my own skin. I hope that through my experiences, I can use my voice, my art, and whatever tools life affords me to help change the narrative that black women only care about material objects, that a black girl can't contribute to an academic discussion, and that young blacks don't have a place inside an advanced course, no matter how hard they work. I hope to promote equity and understanding so that people outside of our experience can look at my story and realize how they may have fit into the role of the alienator. Hopefully, through learning that knowledge, they can change their actions for the better. I pray I can provide the space through the words I say, and the songs, films, and poetry that I create, for young black girls to feel empowered in who they are. Unashamed for pursuing things they enjoy, regardless of whether it "confirms" or denies a stereotype. I hope to also encourage those who do feel pressured to conform that they are much more than the definition of other’s expectations, but that they are the summation of all of their efforts to better themselves and the world around them. I pray that through my actions, we can create a world where the idea of 'normal' is replaced with the truth of equality in differences, and community in individuality.
    Mental Health Movement x Picmonic Scholarship
    To anyone who’s dealing with anxiety, I want to apologize. There was a time in my life where I didn't fully understand how anyone could have to take a physical pill to deal with any sort of emotional or mental stronghold--something that's invisible. I didn’t understand how someone could be made paralyzed just by the voices inside their mind. I didn’t understand how you could open your eyes, and have no strength to look out your window and greet the sun. Much less to rise and greet the day. It wasn’t that I hadn’t dealt with mental health before; it was that I didn’t understand it. So whenever hard times occurred, I singled them out as isolated incidents, unrelated to my total wellbeing. I have PTSD, and as of late, that has manifested into a general feeling of anxiousness at times, compassion fatigue, and, yes, panic attacks. I don’t take medication for it, but I want to say that I know now why it comes to that for so many people. I am so sorry. I don’t wish any of the feelings I’ve had onto anyone, and it breaks my heart that so many of my generation face this. Anxiety is one of the cruelest human emotions that we as people, unfortunately, will encounter throughout our lives. No matter who we are. Regardless of however you steward, cope, heal, or journey through this kind of experience, I want you to know that I understand you now and that I see and love you. I’ve been an artist as far back as I can remember. I’ve always loved artistic expression. My poetry and my songs have been wonderful tools for processing my emotions. I hope that through being authentic in my music, raw with my poems, honest through my paintings, and unashamed through my films, some young person in the future, or even a person in my generation, can look at my story, hear my words, and be endowed with the strength to persist and continue. Sometimes, that’s the only key you need to unlock the door to your healing.
    Little Bundle Supermom Scholarship — High School Award
    The simple fact that I can apply for scholarships like this one is due to my mother’s hard work. While both of my parents came from low-income families, my mother never stayed in one place during childhood. The greatest gift she could’ve given me was the opportunity to live in one state, grow up around the same people, and pursue my dreams. She never got the chance to do that, only finishing her associate’s degree after having me as a twenty-year-old mother. And her mother, or my grandmother, never got to see that. My mother told me the story of how her mother died when she was only fifteen. It was due to throat cancer, and she spent the last weeks of her life barely able to speak. After she’d passed, my mother and aunt were tossed around from house to house, relative to relative, nobody able to truly care for and encourage her the way her mother had. Without that supportive voice and caretaker in her life, my mother wasn’t able to do the things that she’d wanted to do, financially and emotionally. She originally wanted to be a model, and work in television and broadcasting. Ironically, that’s one of the fields I desire to work in as well, so my parents often comment on how if she’d still had her mother, or had a stable place to finish high school in, that she’d be in the place that I was. Hearing this over and over again has always caused me to evaluate and be thankful for just how much opportunity that I’ve had in my life, and the opportunities I’ve had for my future. I was able to stay in one state, in the same district, with a lot of the same kids all of my life. I was able to enroll and stay in the arts magnet school program at my high school, Berkeley Center for the Arts, for all four years of high school. My mother lived to see me graduate. My father lived to see me graduate. My mother didn’t have either of her parents. Though she isn’t perfect, as no one is, my mother is my superhero. From staying up late to work in manufacturing and receiving hearing loss as a result, having to deal with my dad being away for weeks or months at a time over the road as a truck driver, and even becoming a single mother after their divorce, my mother made many hard sacrifices for my sake. I can’t imagine being pregnant so soon after high school and having to take care of another life while barely being able to start your own. However, as difficult as I know I’d made things for my mother, I’m very happy that I was born her child. Without her in my life, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. She’s been my ride-or-die pal, in many situations the one person who understood how I felt, my greatest cheerleader, my strongest defense against some of the harshness of this world. She’s always encouraged me to follow my heart, follow my dreams, and follow the lead and guidance of the Father. I can’t be more proud and more thankful for all that she’s done for me. I truly am living in the shoes she’s set out, doing all of the things that she would’ve done if she’d had what she gave me: a home. Not just a house, not just food on the table, not just a bed and sheets. A place to come to for rest and shelter, to heal and to hurt, then to smile once more. Even after she’s long gone, I will never forget her as the woman who holds the entirety of my heart. Mama.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    There was an NAACP conference happening at my school with the Goose Creek chapter of the organization. The principal specifically asked my teacher if I would be willing to perform at the conference. I performed it in front of Tuskegee Airmen veterans, NAACP members, school administration and staff, and my family. My goal with reciting that poem was to prove to the world that I have a right to be where I am, and that they will not silence me. I will cry out with my voice and show them just how human I am. (Article screenshots included in application.)
    Mirajur Rahman Self Expression Scholarship
    Brynn Elliott "Tell Me I’m Pretty" Scholarship
    A woman that has inspired me significantly is my mother. Following the divorce between my mother and my father, she was thrust into the position of single parenthood. However, she took that sad time with stride, not letting it stop her from providing me with the best environment possible to prosper. During their marriage, my mother had to work late hours into the night to pay for our bills and make sure that I had what I needed. I remember my aunt and I going to the manufacturing plant every night around eleven or twelve to pick her up. I couldn’t see why she was working so hard, especially since she was suffering damage to her hearing because of it, but as I got older, I began to understand. My mother didn’t have the opportunity to finish her education. She had to take care of me, and could only go as far as her associate’s degree. However, she wanted different for me. She took me to all of my school events. She sat in the audience of my Spoken Word performances, cheering me on. She even pushed me to join cross-country. She encouraged me to go to counseling, and took me to the church where I would meet amazing people who never fail to inspire me. My mother kept me in the same school district, going to the same schools my friends and classmates did, whereas she moved around throughout her childhood and never had the chance to befriend her peers for very long. She helped me pursue my artistic passions and dreams, celebrating my love for creative writing and my four-year journey through the arts magnet school in my high school, whereas she was forced to give up on her own dreams. All of this time, I realized that she’s been giving me what she didn’t have. No matter her imperfections, mistakes, and errors in the past, my mother has genuinely imparted a golden opportunity. The greatest thing she imparted to me is the importance of sharing my story. And no matter wherever my art takes me, in music, songs, films, poetry, dance, or wherever else, I will never stop telling people of the amazing mother who helped me become who I am today.
    Brandon Zylstra Road Less Traveled Scholarship
    When my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Kats, assigned us to write short stories and poems as a part of our English instruction, I treated it as another way to get a good grade. So, I did it. Upon receiving each prompt, she would give us several days to complete our stories. Once finished, every student was to stand at their desk and share. However, the assignments were not what I’d perceived them to be. There was something more profound that was calling to me from deep inside. The writing wasn’t just more classwork to occupy my hands while Ms. Kats read a novel at her desk. This was an impartation. Something that Ms. Kats had gifted me—knowingly or unknowingly—that made this experience life-changing. The fire to learn. A yearning for exploration. I could create ideas and worlds from only a thought—a poem from watching a bird take flight or the ocean buckling and churning. This flame would guide me. I sat with it each day, pencil to paper, classroom quiet save for the hums and whispers of active thought, the scrape of their writing, the scratch of their erasing, all surrounding me as I came to love this ache. The way it hungered for stories. The more I read, the more I wanted to write. I fed it, and it provided for me. The irony was that the schoolwork forced me to think about writing creatively instead of academically. The impartation gave me the strength to do so. Instead of limiting this to something I did just because of class, I let it become something I did because I loved it. I loved to write. Writing, to me, is like riding a bike. It comes naturally for a lot of people, but there was a point in every person's lives when they had to release their fears and be pushed forward. All of the possibilities in front of them: falling, getting hurt, being unable to control where they go, at some point, had to stop being obstacles in their way, reasons not to get on, or excuses not to try. If you want to move forward, you can’t keep holding yourself back, and you can’t let anything else hold you back either. My parents separated when I was eleven, but the divorce became official my sophomore year of high school. At the time of the separation, I was entering middle school. I was still a kid. I could’ve given up on my dreams—I even reached a place where I wanted to. However, I still pushed myself, and joined my school’s Writing Quest, an annual writing competition at our local technical college against other schools in the area. If I hadn’t kept up with my writing during that time, I wouldn’t have joined Berkeley Center for the Arts: Creative Writing, and I wouldn’t be here today. My writing helped me get through it. My plan throughout college is to finish and publish the novel that I’ve been working on since junior year of high school, and, while dual majoring in Cinema Media Arts and English with a creative writing emphasis, taking classes in other mediums as well: visual arts, music, songwriting, dance, and photography. The next step is entering the art world. While completing my education, I will submit to publications, sign up for performances and competitions, and anything else that will push me outside my comfort zone. With hard work and perseverance, I pray that I can show people who I am, what I stand for, and make an impression on them.