How has your story motivated you on days when there seems to be nothing to keep you going?

When I look back at the instances in my life where I’ve experienced inexplicable favor, I know it was nothing but God. I feel lucky to have that kind of impenetrable presence and knowledge in my life. Every day, I have the opportunity to extend my love a little farther, my knowledge a little wider, and my faith a little deeper. I’m here to serve, and I’ve got things to do. Ceilings to break… for myself. Opportunities to exhaust that my mother & father never had the support or access to. These thoughts keep me going. Every day I have to breathe is another day I must live in and express my purpose. I am motivated by the freedom and communal support that I have to do so.

In what ways, if any, did you have to pivot to ensure your vision was well executed?

About 13 years ago, I began investing in investigating my own ideas. I had to. My happiness and personal and artistic growth depended on it. I couldn’t wait for someone else to magically understand what percolated my mind. I used every resource I could to “get it out.” Well, I got it out. And truly began to see myself. I saw how LARGE I was. I saw a glimpse of the magnitude of my imaginings. My ideas now had life, sound, and motion outside of me. I was proud, empowered, and set afire with a new flame. And again, I thank God. Supporting my own self-expression gave me the confidence to not hold so much weight in what someone else thought of me. The interesting thing is, after pivoting, even greater outside work opportunities began to pour in. I planted my seeds, watered my garden, and began to reap the fruits of my inner harvest. Another blessing.

How do you showcase the empowerment of Women’s History Month every day?

However, I can be a resource of love, nurture, and encouragement I try to be. All of those things sit very close to the roots of empowerment, in my opinion. Those are also the building blocks with which my mother and many other women in my life have empowered me over the years. Love heals. Nurture softens. Encouragement can change lives. I want to be a part of whatever contributes to brightening the light in this world.

Who are some lesser-known female entrepreneurs from history that you admire and believe deserve more recognition?

If possible, I’d like to speak to the female entrepreneurship that I’ve personally witnessed for over 3 quarters of my life. B.J. Ferguson of Natchez, MS (now living in Atlanta, GA) is my aunt and godmother. After a lengthy and esteemed stint in the pharmaceutical world, she began her handmade wear business with an emphasis on capes. She would sew every cape by hand, add in a matching scarf and greeting card and drive between Rockville, MD, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA, Dayton, OH & Detroit, MI (at times weekly) hand delivering her wears to boutiques. Trying her hardest to build relationships and support fellow Black Women Entrepreneurs. She handmade her own brochures, art directed her own photo shoots, volunteered at community events, and frequently opened her home to others that also needed a supportive space to sell their creative projects. All the while driving miles and miles weekly, …for years. I’d watch her on hands and knees sewing capes for the ill, comforters for the downtrodden, and sending handmade cards and scarves to graduates who just needed a little kindness in their lives.

CAPE ABILITIES BY BJ is where I could see in my formative years that being an independent Black businesswoman was within my reach and right. I saw my aunt’s hands cramp from exhaustion, her brow bent from disappointment, and often accompanied her for miles and miles of road supporting her passion. Her unrelenting will let me know that I, too, was born “CAP[E]ABLE”. The brand became a lifestyle. Grace, tradition, love, hard work, dedication, self-respect, and self-belief. Oh, the power of a cape! Shout out to my Aunt B, a legend and the classiest of class acts. In the history of my life, she is a hero that deserves recognition.

Reflecting on your own experiences, what are some effective ways that male allies have supported you in your career journey?

I have been privileged to work with and befriend an overwhelming number of men who have uplifted, enlightened, encouraged, and gone out of their way to support me. Men that have made me feel seen, heard, and protected. I feel lucky to have experienced a great frequency of that kind of loyalty in various workspaces. I hope I’ve made them feel as uplifted and understood as they’ve made me feel.

How do you balance ambition and self-care as a woman in a demanding business environment?

I strongly desire to entertain and enjoy all of my pursuits in a balanced manner. But I also understand that boundaries and discipline play a major role in achieving that. Falling back in love with myself pushed me towards finding peace within. Whether it was via researching and implementing new vitamins, making healthier adjustments to my eating habits, creating and adhering to personal business hours, or, most importantly, knowing when to STOP WORKING, adjustments had to be made. When you know better, you are charged to do better. I’m a recovering perfectionist and workaholic. Two things that are neither sustainable or in line with the joy and freedom that I want for my life. In learning to believe in what I KNOW of myself and the infinite possibilities of my instrument, commitment to self-care was a no brainer. Wanting to love, nurture and encourage myself became a must. Hmmmm,…a loving mother’s values never leave you.

Currently, McKenzie is starring as Mona Lisa in the hip-hop theater production Syncing Ink, which will debut at The Apollo Victoria Stages. Previews begin on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 7:30PM, and opening night is on Sunday, May 19, 2024. To learn more, visit

McKenzie Frye Credits Include:

A Howard University graduate with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Frye’s Broadway credits include the 2022 revival of for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. Off Broadway and Regional credits include: adaku, part 1: the road opens (BAM), Hippest Trip: The Soul Train Musical (A.C.T.), The Bluest Eye (Huntington Theatre), Syncing Ink (Alley Theatre /The Flea Theater) Wig Out! (Vineyard Theatre), Harriet’s Return (Kennedy Center), Dreamgirls (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), River Deep (Peter Jay Sharp Theater), Damn Yankees (The Black Rep). Film & TV credits include wishing…, The Stronger and Law & Order. @mckenziefrye


Image by Robert Kim