Many people informally consider themselves unicorns, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Traci Young-Byron (better known as Supa Black Girl) pop up on your timeline, you’ll notice that she is the epitome of the mythical beauty that graces the world with its presence.
Supa Black Girl was originally known to the public through viral videos of her dance troupe, Young Contemporary Dance Theatre (YCDT), showcasing their impeccable majorette dance skills as Young-Byron cheers them on from behind the camera, “Yessss ma’am! You look good, real good. Brown beauties from the hood– let’s go!”
The first time I saw the dancer was on Lifetime’s “Bring It!” as a fierce competitor to the brilliant Dianna “Miss D” Williams, the Dancing Dolls’ HDIC (Head Doll In Charge). Young-Byron, the small-statured woman who made her television debut, had a big personality that commanded your attention. The tough little cookie dominated the screen, pulling me into the episode of the dance drama, wearing a vibrant purple and pink box haircut that stood six inches tall and showing off her little frame in a colorful sports bra and leggings flaunting the name of her dance company.
“I have always been a loud person especially when it came to my style,” Young-Byron tells ESSENCE exclusively as she recalls her youth. “It was something about bold and bright colors that spoke to who I was and how I wanted people to see me.”
Just like a unicorn, there is something mystical about this extraordinary dancer who is best known as Supa Black Girl, a name that coined herself as a reminder that she was a phenomenal woman. “So growing up you know, I’ve always been dark chocolate,” Young-Byron reveals about the history of her name. “As I got older, I felt like my gift to the world and to the students was on a colossal level– it was super!”
Young-Byron is flattered when she is referred to as a unicorn. “It’s magical. I’m a black girl. I own my color and I try to be everything that is Black Girl Magic.”
With booty sweeping braids that took more than 15 hours to install, the former Miami Heat dancer feels that colorful hair reminds her of where she comes from. “I think that we were taught that colorful hair is ghetto or its hood,” she explains. “And although I’m from the hood, I embrace that. I love that so much, but that’s not all of who we are. I don’t think that’s the way to interpret it.”
A rainbow is one of the few things in the world that can bring a smile to your face on a gloomy day. And as you scroll through Supa Black Girl’s Instagram account, you get a glimpse into the world of unicorns. From dancing to ziplining over a crocodile-infested pool, the daring 42-year-old does it all loud, live, and colorfully, as evidenced by her fashion collections.
“I really big on color blocking, different patterns, and textures,” she explains about her unique style. “I love to kind of mix and match things, but I also like to throw different things around because I just feel like that’s a part of my personality. You don’t know what you’re gonna get from me each day,” she laughs.
Despite the fact that the Supa Black Girl has been dancing for over 30 years, she enjoys fashion and hopes to add sewing to her list of skills. “I would love to learn how to sew,” she shares with enthusiasm. “I would love to be able to create my own pieces. You know, I have so many ideas in my head. And sometimes I can’t find it in the stores or I can’t find it online. But if I’m able to just create it myself, I think that it’s my next challenge.”
While making costumes is on her bucket list, nothing will ever be able to take the place of teaching dance and supporting Black girls to be Black women. “I think it’s so important for me to encourage these Black girls,” she says. “ So, I feel like it’s my job to uplift and affirm each of them while they’re young, and by the time they become adults, they are confident in who they are. I want everybody to feel super, you know, like, you’re that girl.”
Speaking of dancing, one thing is for sure, dancing seems to keep this Supa Black Girl looking good! Always representing the ladies over 40, Byron-Young is always showing us what she’s working with to keep her body in tip-top shape. “While, my diet is not the most ideal, where I lack in healthy choices, I make up with workouts, teaching, and dancing,” she explains. “Dancing also keeps me beautiful by allowing my mind and spirit to be free and at peace. When the inside is beautiful, it radiates on the outside.”
The Supa Black Girl also maintains a young appearance with a daily skin treatment. “I use Rashad Terry’s Global Beauty products that include the Essential Cleanser, Essential Toner, Vitamin C Serum, and Essential Moisturizer. For the body, I use black soap/coffee scrub by Mother of Many. These are my favorite brands.”
Young-Byron wants one thing in particular from those who follow her on social media. “I want people to look at me and feel good when they’re having a bad day,” she says. “People get excited because I’m radiating so much energy, and knowing that I made their day, makes my day.”