A daughter of Gary, Indiana, Flaunt Your FLY! founder Nicolia "FLY" Kelly  was embedded in a background rooted in artistic independence and individual expression.  As a student of Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts, from the sixth through twelfth grades, she was afforded the opportunity to hone artistic instincts, while being incubated in a community of similarly talented cohorts.  Asserting herself artistically soon transcended to other avenues.  It was the confidence acquired while attending Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts that would enable her to navigate other life endeavors.

It was while attending DePauw University that this “confidence” would be most tested as she was repeatedly denied admittance into an organization in which she pursued entrance.  Every year she heard, “No.” and every year she became more determined to persevere in her truth.

I honestly have always wanted to be a part of a progressive community of Black women. I think that’s why not being accepted hurt so much. I couldn’t understand the basis of my exclusion, and no one explained it to me.

Nicolia believes cultivating and maintaining relationships with Brown women is as necessary as breathing.  Without having to shrink, she has been wholeheartedly and authentically embraced.  Some of these relationships have transcended friendship. She knows them now as Sisters.

I don’t think a lot of women understand that the majority of the oppression we feel as women are caused by us. The suspicion, judgment, and criticism with which we treat other women, is the way that we have been taught to see each other. And who does that serve really? This negative perception only damages our own selves because as Brown women we are a microcosm of a collective “whole.” If we can grasp the emotional maturity to deconstruct the negative ways we have been taught to view and relate to ourselves, embracing other women will become second nature.

These and other collective experiences highlight the significance that positive nurturing among women of color serve.  Despite prior acceptance issues, she (and other women) can experience meaningful & authentic female relationships.

We need a place to congregate. A place to exchange and transform each other’s lives with our stories and experiences.
— FLYKELLY