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Dianna Williams has one mission: to empower.
As an entrepreneur, author, and the visionary behind the hit television series; Bring It! a reality show that chronicles the life of Williams, otherwise known as ‘Coach D’, her traveling dance team; ‘The Dancing Dolls’ and her now three dance studios. This working wife and mother is a woman of many hats. With 5 seasons of the show under her belt, heading into season 6 — Williams is changing the lives daily of teenage girls with the Dancing Dolls (DD4L).
With Beyoncé bringing so much attention to majorette dancing through her popular Netflix special; Homecoming, Williams has taken the initiative to further educate those who are just becoming acquainted with this specific style of dance through Bring It! Live. The DD4L enterprise is now hitting the road for a nationwide tour traveling to 25 cities showcasing their signature line and battle dancing along with fan favorites and alumni from the Lifetime television series.
I got a chance to chat with Williams as shared the importance of mentorship, creating your own lane and how to scale and monetize a rapidly growing business.
Danielle Hughes: Majorette dancing is extremely popular in HBCU culture. How were you first introduced? More specifically — how did you find your niche within bringing light to this particular style of dance?
Dianna Williams: The first time I saw a Majorette Dancer was in 1993 as a sophomore in high school. I watched these women at Jackson State University and just knew one day that would be me. These women looked like beautiful, brown Amazons! After so many years of watching JSU, I auditioned. After 6 tries — and ultimately not making their line — I decided to start a team of my own. So many young women in the greater Jackson area needed a positive outlet and creating the Dancing Dolls was the perfect answer.
DH: You’ve created an entire lane within your industry. What were some vital steps that you took to turn your passion and expertise into a lucrative business?
DW: PRAY AND PRAY HARD!!! Nothing that I have done is by chance, it is by grace, Favor and prayer. I threw every moment and every ounce of my time into building this team and this company. The sacrificed hours, loss of sleep, racked up debt and more have all been worth it because as i look at the outcome, God used me to plant a seed and now I’m reaping the rewards of hard work. Seeing the Dolls grow, watching the Dollhouse flourish and seeing the multiple business i have opened bc of this platform is mind blowing!!! I have watched God move in my life that is unexplainable and after the life I’ve had I’m in awe of my God! On the physical side: I studied my craft endlessly, learned to make uniforms to save my clients money, learned to work every aspect of my business inside, leaned to be everything my company needed to survive and bring it like minded staff to make sure my vision stayed at the fore front. There aren’t simple steps to any successful business — there are steps — but NO ELEVATORS.
DH: Why is it important for you to mentor young women and introduce them to life skills and entrepreneurship through the art of dance?
DW: As a kid, there were only 3 dance teachers in my life and 2 of which made a huge difference in my life. I remember being told by them and my grandmother how being the best was only half of what was needed to be great. I had to LOVE IT! I love every aspect of my job and I believe I am one of the best. It is important to use organizations like the Dolls to show why our young girls need mentors. Strong, fiesty and credible ones to make sure our girls know the world is not candy land. My program helps with determination, persistence, positive physical health, balancing school and dance, prioritizing pivotal life events and much more. Parents who let the program work for them and trust the process will see amazing results.
DH: Much of your life has been documented on your hit reality TV series; “Bring It!” and now you’re embarking on a multi-city tour. In addition to your franchise of dance studios, how have you leveraged your social media fame and turned it into an enterprise?
DW: Social media has become a millennial phenom and our fans are the most loyal I’ve ever seen. Having this amazing support system with God at the wheel —everything took off like lightening. I used all platforms I have to market and totally brand the organization. Bring It! created a wave of support from so many for the Dolls and especially for me. Having the fans support me unapologetically is mind blowing! That type of support is rare. For that, I am grateful and will forever do what I do to make so many others smile.
July 5, 2019 at 11:38AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs