Steph • Teacher and Owner, Black Unicorn Collective
I met Steph, the owner of Black Unicorn Collective , at a yoga event a few years ago. She is a teacher and shares a yoga practice that celebrates our own unique experiences in our bodies while helping us release the stress of daily life and celebrates the magic in all of us.
Steph’s story began and continues here in Denver, but to really understand her story — or any of ours for that matter — is a question of when she meets someone new. She shared that her story exists in relationship to others, and she feels who she is is a collection of everyone she’s met. She carries parts of the people she encounters and allows them to unfold further and deeper into her relationship with self.
During our conversation, we talked about her decision to attend Howard University and how the institution molded her blackness. Steph, who was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, also shared the challenges of being Black in Denver. She said that seeing the rampant gentrification in historic neighborhoods and not the people who created that history hurts.
Steph is a Gemini, artist, mother, elementary school teacher, college professor, healer, lightworker, inquisitive seeker, and certified unicorn. When I asked her to describe Denver in one word, she replied, “Confounding”. Keep reading to learn what it means to be Steph in Denver.
Who are you?
I am a spiritual being living a human expereince. I am very much a strong, confident, brilliant Black woman who is very insecure and protective of her creative expression. I am a constant work in progress or in becoming.
What does it mean to be you?
It means to be in constant conflict. I don’t like conflict externally because I am in such conflict internally. I think I was brought here to make peace with the idea of duality.
What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?
Ms. Badu coined the phrase, “analog girl in a digital world.” It often feels like that sometimes. Being of a place, leaving that place, and returning to that place, experiencing the changes both positive and negative. Feeling both welcomed and marginalized. It’s an interesting duality.
How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?
This was the best training ground in understanding white supremacy. It’s really ‘nice’ here and being exposed and learning that ‘nice’ made it easier in some sense to exist out in the rest of the world. I existed in spaces and places typically deemed white from a young age and my parents made sure that my sister and I took up space in those places joyfully with abandon, so now the level of fucks I give and the amount of shit I take is very, very low.
What do you love most about living in Denver?
For everything that it is and isn’t and through all of its complexities, it is and will always be HOME. The comfort within that is what I love.