Live your best life! Love your best life!

Oprah Winfrey’s enduring LYBL philosophy inspires us.

As founder and editorial director of her eponymous magazine, Oprah encourages us, through her stories, to make the world a better place with the “in excelsis” version of ourselves.

Over the past 18 years of reading O, the Oprah Magazine, I’ve learned how to build a framework from my worst failures and biggest successes, and how to hold my values and virtues sacred.

It took a long time, and it wasn’t always easy.

When I was 20, I became the first African American Radio City Music Hall Rockette. The year was 1987, and New York City was still three years away from electing its first black mayor.

My triumph was marked with conflict. As a young color-barrier breaker in the deeply-exclusionary modern American dance industry, did I ever feel discrimination or prejudice? Ask me when I hadn’t!

Thirty-two years earlier, when Arthur Mitchell became the first African American dancer in a major ballet company at the New York City Ballet, it was nothing short of a miracle. Back then, black dancers weren’t hired no matter how good they were!

Unlike Mr. Mitchell, I was spared the indignities of pre-civil rights America, but I wasn’t spared the antagonism.

Like Swiss watchmaking, the nexus of The Rockettes is tradition and precision, and I upset the mechanism.

Did I want to overthrow the system? No! I sought to change it by demanding full inclusion within its core values, to open-up possibilities, and to broaden the language of the historic art form.

Using Oprah’s LYBL tenets, I’ve polished the qualities that I hold near and dear, and I’ve compiled them into a simple ABC guide to be rolled-out every Wednesday.

Live your best life! Love your best life!

A is for Altruism

B is for Beauty

C is for Change

D is for Discipline

E is for Etiquette

F is for Forgiveness

G is for Graciousness

H is for Humanity

I is for Ingenuity

J is for Justice

K is for Kindness

L is for Love

M is for Motivation

N is for Noble

O is for Order

P is for Pride

Q is for Quality

R is for Risk

S is for Sportsmanship

T is for Trust

U is for Unafraid

V is for Veracity

W is for Wisdom

X is for Xenial

Y is for Youthful

Z is for Zeal

Live your best life! Love your best life!