This interview features a special young lady, Christian Basie. Christian is an entrepreneur and a woman of many talents. She runs three businesses: Sonnies Vision for Healing Hearts, CNB Home Visual Services, and My Style Apparel. Much of her passion is fueled by pain which allows her to be a blessing to many people. I was fortunate enough to hear Christian speak at a recent event, and her story touched me. I hope it does the same for you. Enjoy!
Nic Abraham: Christian, thank you for being with us today. Go ahead and tell us about yourself.
Christian Basie: First of all, I want to say that I’m honored that you allowed me to be on your podcast.
Nic: Thank you.
Christian: Very humbling. My name is Christian Basie. I have a nonprofit organization called Sonnies Vision for Healing Hearts. We do everything, but our primary focus when we started was to focus on adolescent males. We do lots of things as far as giving school supplies, haircuts, helping with school clothes. We have done winter coat drives and things like that, just a bunch of things. I also have a business called CNB Home Visual Services that launched when I was 22. I prepare taxes. I prepare 1099s, W-2s for small business owners. I also assist with different financial options. I do life insurance, and things like that, to help our community become more educated with different financial options and ways to save money.
I also have a t-shirt line called My Style Apparel where all of my designs are custom made. I have about five designs out. I usually come out with one design a year. They aren’t race specific, but cultural specific. I have one with Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, and Lina Horn on it. It has beautiful in the canvas. Just things like that. I have a Mohammad Ali tee. Those are some of the things I do.
I also write in my spare time. God tells me to write, so I’m also working on some writing. That’s a little bit about myself. Oh and I’m a mom. I have a 7-year old daughter. I just try to stay grounded. I try to keep myself busy and be an example so that she can see that anything is possible.
Nic: Awesome. With the Sonnies Vision for Healing Hearts, how did that come about? Not too many women have businesses or organizations that focus on males. They’re usually geared toward young girls. How did you come up with that concept?
Christian: The reason I came come up with Sonnies Vision for Healing Hearts and why it’s so near and dear to my heart is because I’m the oldest of three from my mom. I got to be clear about that, because I do have siblings on my father’s side, but I really don’t know them. Our father was a drug addict, so he wasn’t around, and I watched my brother struggle with many things. I always knew he was a good kid. He was my baby brother, but he struggled with not having a positive male role model and not knowing basic things that a young, African-American male needs to know of African-American society.
He was shot and killed at the age of 22. It was just something in me that wanted to give back. I feel like if he would have had some of the tools that we are offering and some mentoring, like, “You don’t have to go that route. You can go this route.” I think if he had a father, things would have been different. He would not have made the choices he made. Maybe he could have slowed down a little bit–wouldn’t have moved so fast. He would have had something different to look forward to. That’s near and dear to my heart. I’m passionate about it because I feel like we got to do something about it. These young men need to know that we care and that there is another route and that doesn’t involve being a statistic.
Nic: For sure. I commend you on that. I’m sorry to hear that the ministry was birthed out of pain, but at the same time, so many businesses and ministries come from pain.
Christian: I’ve had lots of pain in my life, so I got to be honest and say that a lot of things that I’ve been touched to do have been from hands-on experience. It’s always been from hands-on experience.
Nic: With the death of your brother, what other ways did that change your life?
Christian: It changed my life in so many other ways. I don’t know if you remember the speech I gave at the 100 Women In White event, but the day that my brother passed, early that morning I was at the abortion clinic. I was getting ready to take my daughter out because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of possibly miscarrying, which had nothing to do with my brother, but it just made me see things in such a different way. It made me have more faith in God. It brought me closer to God. It was His way of showing me that I had to slow down so that I could pay attention to the choices I was making in my life.
If I didn’t slow down, I was going to regret some of those choices and have to pay tremendously for them, my daughter being one of them. If I would have had an abortion that would have been a choice that probably would have haunted me for the rest of my life. I would have had to ask for forgiveness and just cope with it. It made me become a better person. It showed me some of my strengths.
It showed me the strengths that I was blessed with. And as far as being compassionate, I was blessed with understanding. God had to literally sit me down and I had to see things in a different way for me to continue to move on because I was hurt. I was deeply hurt. I didn’t know what to do when I lost my brother. It showed me so many different things.
Nic: I know one of your mottos is, “Break the habit of feeling like you have the world on your shoulders alone because we are all in it together.” Why is this motto significant?
Christian: Oh my gosh–Experience! My mom and grandmother raised me. My grandmother was an extremely prideful woman. She was older and old school. Some of my ways used to resemble how she was. Lately, I’ve changed a little bit, but I’ve always just felt like I can do everything on my own. I don’t need anybody. I don’t have to ask anybody for anything. I don’t like people throwing things back up in my face. This thought process made things tough for me.
I had to face things that I probably wouldn’t have had to face if I would have been more upfront with what’s going on with me. Recently, my grandmother told me that God has a way of making you get on your hands and knees when the time is right. At this moment in my life, my daughter’s father is incarcerated. I wouldn’t say that I was a single mom, because she does have a dad, but he’s just not present right now. I’ve been forced to ask for help, which as a good thing.
I had to realize that I can’t do it by myself. I have to accept help. When things get tough, when my load becomes too much for me, I have to reach out to those people who love me and let them know what’s going on. I’ve learned how to do that. It’s making things much easier for me, and it’s forced me to breathe a little easier and also be a great example for my daughter. It’s a sobering thing. When you grow up a certain way, and you’re used to a certain type of people, you have to recondition yourself to be able to accept those handouts, and just know that sometimes you have to be on the giving end and sometimes you have to be on the receiving end.
Nic: If there was one thing you could tell the 18-year old you, the 18-year old Christian, what would it be?
Christian: To definitely slow down. SLOW DOWN! When I think about who I was when at 18, knowing what I know now, I’d have to tell myself to slow down. I moved entirely too fast. I would have stayed where I was in school. As far as with men, I definitely would have had a major pep talk with myself. Guys that I gave a chance that didn’t deserve a one that took and made me carry so much resentment and anger. I was just looking for somebody else to validate me. Yup, I definitely would tell myself to slow down. I would tell the 18-year old Christian those things.
Nic: It’s so crazy because hindsight is 20/20. As women, we learn from experiences. There are so many things that my mother told me and when I look back I’m like, “Oh she was right.” I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, without those crazy experiences.
Christian: That is true. I agree with that. I feel the same way. My grandmother used to talk to me. We were real close. I sit back now and I just say, “I understand granny.” I couldn’t relate back then because my life wasn’t there, but now, I can relate to some of the things that she told me because I understand now.
Nic: Well, Christian, we’re going to close up here. Do you have anything else you wanted to share or discuss?
Christian: I just want to say to all the ladies out there listening or going through something, or maybe made it through and are just trying to find themselves. As I said, I’m still trying to find my way, but always try to remember to speak life into yourself. It helps so much. It helps tremendously. You have to know your worth. As women, knowing what we are capable of is key. We have to know that we look good. We have to feel good before we can expect anybody else to validate it. It’s almost like when you walk out the door and you get a compliment and say, “thank you,” but already know within yourself, not just with looks, but with anything that you do.
I just want our women to speak life into themselves. When we speak life into ourselves, it allows us to transfer that positive energy to our children, to our male counterparts, and all males. Right now in our society, in our community, our males need that so much. Just continue to speak life. That’s all I want to say over everything else. Continue to speak life and get in touch with your spiritual being and everything will be okay.
Nic: Those are words of wisdom. Christian, thank you so much for being with us.
Christian: I thank you for having me once again.
Nic: No problem thank you.