I remember my parents would tell me that it would take me going to college to find people, especially young women, that I shared qualities with. Growing up, it was hard to find people that were future focused like me. At the time, street and gang culture reigned supreme. It seemed as if you only caught the eye of girls if a colorful rag was hanging out of your pocket and you threw up gang signs or you played sports. It was disheartening. A normal person would just conform to that environment. It’s easier that way.

However, I continued to push on. I believed my parents when they told me it would be greater later. It took me getting to my HBCU and seeing that they’re were beautiful black women about their business that respect my hustle. Just this past Sunday, I had the privilege to be around 33 black women from differing HBCU’s that gave me more respect for the heart and hustle of black women. One of them is Briona Adams of Lincoln University in Missouri.

Briona stood out to me when I first encountered her in our HBCU All-Star GroupMe. I never imagined that I’d see a young woman my age that was as aggressive in promoting her business and her brand as I was. She almost matched my hustle! The first day she was put in the GroupMe, she told us that she could make custom shirts for us and that she’d even make us a Polo and a T-Shirt at a discount bundle of $40. Of course, I was one of the first to purchase them.

To say that I was satisfied with the quality is an understatement. The compliments for my shirt have been numerous. The flight attendant on my Delta flight back to Atlanta even said something about it, saying, “Alright Fort Valley!” as I got off the plane. It made me even more satisfied with how Briona delivered my products to me.

After we left the reception, my room Ato and I decided to go on and get some sleep because we knew we had to be up for the 6:00 AM shuttle to the White House compound. I was preparing my clothes and supplies for the next day when I got a call from Briona. I was surprised, moreso because my phone is always dry and no one ever calls me, but surprised none the less! She told me she just arrived at the hotel and she wanted to give me my shirts. I told her my room number and it only took her 4 minutes to come up and deliver the shirts to me.

A custom FVSU HBCU All-Star Polo shirt, designed and created by Briona Adams.

I opened my door and saw Briona all of 5’2’’ with light brown skin and a disposition that work comes before play. I could tell she was tired, as it took her a while to make it out to DC. She had the unfortunate circumstance of missing the reception where the White House Initiative on HBCU’s honored the newest class of HBCU All-Stars. It hurt that I couldn’t meet her but I finally got a chance to in this happenstance encounter.

I asked her after seeing her lightly sweating with her hand on her hip standing in a resting position, “Are you tired?”

She smiled and replied, “I am but I wanted to make sure I gave you your shirts before I got some rest.”

To me, that defines Briona. She’s a hard worker that understands her priorities. She knows that there’s so much more than what’s in front of her and wants to build generational wealth for her family. Her background has made her strong and sharpened her focus. She runs her businesses like a Fortune 500 CEO, the second coming of Oprah. She puts some grown men to shame!

Briona inspires me. Now it’s time for her to inspire you. Check out my exclusive interview with Briona below!



Randall Barnes

You can contact Briona Adams, 2017 HBCU All Star and Miss Black Missouri US Ambassador,  for all of your creative needs below:

Phone: (314) 755-5166

Email: [email protected]