R KyleLynn Floyd

ARTIST & ENTREPRENEUR  

 

On September 8, 1989, R KyleLynn Floyd was born to Margaret Lynn and Rodrick Kyle Floyd in Los Angeles, CA. As the first daughter of very loving parents, she was given the name R - representing "Our" first born. Her middle name, KyleLynn, is a combination of her parent’s middle names. According to her Nana, R was a beautiful child adored by all.  Walking at eight months, R has always pleasantly surprised not only her parents, but also captivated the attention of any audience she encountered.

Due to the climate of the neighborhood and the aftermath of the L.A. Riots, the Floyds sought out a safer neighborhood to raise their daughters. R's mother grew up in Altadena and thought this would be an ideal place to raise R and her younger sister, Cheyenne. Three years after she started attending Linda Vista Elementary School, R was identified as a gifted student and tested into the gate program for Pasadena Unified School District.  ​

 

R was accepted at Westridge School for Girls in the fourth grade.  In the first few years of Westridge, R thrived. A true performer at an early age R frequently participated in dance, theater and music programs (piano, violin, vocal) while excelling in her studies. However, by the time she reached middle school, she began to actively rebel. At the time, neither R nor her parents understood why she was acting out in school.​

Coming from a successful, open-minded Black family, no topic of discussion was taboo, making R privy to many different worldviews and informative conversations. Free thought, self-expression, and kindness have always been a way of life within the Floyd Family. R was raised in a comfortable home with an abundance of family, extended family, and friends all from different walks of life. With a welcoming presence in the Pasadena community, the Floyd house was always entertaining and hosting events.  R was exposed to many professionals in fields ranging from the entertainment industries to industry professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and bankers.  The exposure to so many positive intersections within the Black experience contrasted starkly with the narrow view many Westridge families had of Black people.​

 

As one of few minority students, and the only student in her class of sixty-eight girls, from fourth through twelfth grade that identified as Black, R began to feel the isolation of being perceived as an anomaly. She was expected to live up to and represent various stereotypes that did not reflect her reality.​

 

While she did interact with Black kids outside of school at neighborhood summer camps and extra curricular programs, socio-economic and lifestyle disparity dictated she face the same type of probing questions about the validity of her race due to her privileged lifestyle that she experienced within the private school community.

 

Raised with the awareness of the strength, beauty, and achievements of her Black ancestors’ history, she did not want to assimilate to her environment nor the expectations of her peers. Their understanding of Black people was limited due to their lack of exposure; one apparent assumption was that Black people simply did not travel. Traveling was a Floyd Family tradition - R took her first overseas vacation at the age of three - and yet, the weight of her classmates’ disbelief was ever present. This was nearly impossible to navigate because education and exposure through experiences and traveling were a fundamental part of her upbringing.  Upon traveling to a new country, R's father would assign a topic about which she would write a report to share with the family.  Topics ranged from food-culture, family dynamics, cultural practices and traditions to the general history of the land.  ​

 

After attending a diversity conference in the tenth grade, R returned home feeling overwhelmed.  Her trajectory in life had abruptly shifted. Having finally acquired the words to articulate the emotional trauma she endured daily in the form of microaggressions, she was able to understand how socio-economics and racial prejudices can hinder the way in which people interact. This experience drove her to utilize her family’s established L.A. roots and, with the support of her parents, seek out the cultural experiences they reminisced about.​

 

Senior year, R decided against attending college. Through her education at Westridge she had the opportunity to meet science, business and art professionals and experts in their fields. Raised in a home of professional entrepreneurs, R always knew she wanted to build a company greater than herself - she just had no clue which direction she wanted to go in as she knew she could be successful in any field she chose. This path was not openly supported at a school that prides itself on its 100% university acceptance rate.​

 

Judgmental peers and disapproving parents only served to reinforce her resolve not to surround herself with the same type of mentality for another four years. Although they did not agree with her decision, her parents were empathetic to her experience and chose to support her regardless. Working directly with her parents to help manage the family business enabled her to gain valuable skills that she was able to transfer to her own business ventures.​​

R did not see college providing the life experience and knowledge to build the company she desires. Exploring cultural relics in Mexico, discovering the manufacturing possibilities in Hong Kong, being captivated by the hotel and tourism industry of Kenya, experiencing firsthand the living conditions in underprivileged communities in Cuba, and touring museums in various European countries have all influenced R’s globally minded vision to improve the world by empowering individuals.

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© R|18 by THE EIGHTEENTH LETTER // 2019