Greetings and welcome to the official Dope Dame website!
I am Rashida Clarke, founder of Dope Dame, NYU MSW Graduate, community advocate, and organizer. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in a housing project in East Flatbush. My family is from the beautiful island of Barbados. Like most other migrant families, my great grandmother was looking for a better life for herself and future generations.
I was primarily raised by my mom and grandmother. My mom did her best but wasn’t always able to be there for me as a child would hope. Along with the lack of resources in my community, my desire was heightened to be an agent of change. My grandmother, Marlene Hope was my everything! Specifically, she was my nurturer when I was hurt or sad, my ear when some boy broke my heart, and downright the best Bajan cook you’ll ever meet! While I had my grandmother's nurturing spirit to care for me, I lacked support in other important areas. For example my education, my personal, and professional development. This lead to many years of struggling with depression and failed attempts of trying to find myself in different schools, clubs, bad relationships, and the neighborhood.
I finally took a good look at what my values are and why I honor them. Determination, Passion, Resilience, and Integrity are the values I carry with me daily. My journey through life lead me to these principals and I hold them dear to my heart. Which lead to my passion to advocate for vulnerable children and families. Over the last ten years, I have been working with children and families within communities of color. Throughout my professional career, I have aided in ensuring that vulnerable children and families are in safe and nurturing environments. I believe that when we educate, support, and provide the necessary resources to children, we can cultivate a society where people of color can obtain equal access to the world’s vast opportunities.
Today I bring you, Dope Dame because I believe there are so many young women of color struggling to find themselves while being surrounded by unavoidable barriers. This brand is for you, wear it with it pride, and believe every word on your shirt because you are a Dope Dame!
I hope this will help you along your journey.
All the best,