Community//

Shellice Beharie: “Do not exclude or underestimate people with disabilities”

Do not exclude or underestimate people with disabilities; we are perceptive, insightful and fun. There is bible verse that states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Basically, don’t avoid socializing and engaging with our disabled citizens; you could be […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Do not exclude or underestimate people with disabilities; we are perceptive, insightful and fun. There is bible verse that states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Basically, don’t avoid socializing and engaging with our disabled citizens; you could be missing out on an remarkable experience of a lifetime.


As a part of our “Unstoppable” series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shellice Beharie.

Shellice Beharie was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She lived in Guam as a child and is well-traveled having spent time in Africa, Central America, China, and Europe. Shellice is now settled with her family and charming seeing eye dog, Uma in Southern California. PRINCE AND HIS MOTHER’S CROWN: Tales Within My Mother’s Hair is her debut children’s picture book.

Before Shellice started writing children’s books, she was a creative in the fashion, music, and entertainment industries. After several years learning from notable figures, she launched Blacklisted Couture and showcased her talent at the California Market Center.

In 2016 Shellice lost her vision and was diagnosed as legally blind. She is a member of the National Federation for the Blind where she serves as a chapter affiliate for the Inglewood chapter. Rising to the challenge to redesign her life and forge a new path Shellice began writing and telling stories to her children. As a mother of two boys story time became a coveted period for bonding. PRINCE AND HIS MOTHER’S CROWN: Tales Within My Mother’s Hair is dedicated to the memory of her son Nicholas, whom the Lord took home in 2019. Along with establishing a scholarship fund in his honor at Pearl Prep in Arcadia California, Shellice chose to honor his memory with this imaginative story of a boy and his wild adventures taking place in his mother’s hair.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts. As a child I lived in Guam and was able to travel to places such as China, Indonesia, Africa, Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean. I also lived in Princeton, New Jersey, where I graduated from Princeton High. I attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, from which I graduated in 2003. I then interned with Michael Herrera, AKA M protégé of Karl Kanai at Anoname Denim. After that I interned at

Interscope and Geffen A&M Records in the Marketing Department with Candace Barry. Then I interned at Source Magazine in New York as a fashion stylist with William Rawls. In 2014, I started my fashion label Blacklisted Couture and had my own showroom at the California Market Center. My focus changed, as events in my life changed. I lost my vision and became blind in 2016, and so I forged a new path for myself. As a mother of two boys, I turned my talents to storytelling. I wanted my boys to know how important they are, especially in today’s social climate.

Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you became disabled? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?

I lost my vision due to retinal detachment and glaucoma. I realized that life could not stop when I became blind. I had my sons who needed me, and I needed to continue to be a mother to them. With that in mind I had to learn how to live with my disability. I went to school for the visually impaired, when I learned independent living and mobility skills, as well as, computer and braille. I also received training in order to get Uma, my Seeing Eye Dog.

Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your disability?

The idea of writing a children’s book came from my son Nicholas, who passed on Memorial Day weekend 2019, due to a tragic car accident. His younger brother, Christian, loved to play with my hair and so he kept suggesting that I should write a story about it. In early 2019, I started the process of self-publishing Prince & His Mother’s Crown: Tales within My Mother’s Hair. I found, Outskirts Press, a self-publisher and started the process. I came up with the title, concept and illustrations and contextually dictated how I wanted the characters to be portrayed, including their clothing, scenery, and color scheme. With these descriptions the illustrator was able to bring my characters to life. relied on family members for their review and input.

What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?

My advice to others with disabilities is that they are only bound by the limitations that they set forth in their minds.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my parents for all their help, love, and support.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

In memory of my son Nicholas, a scholarship fund has been set up at his school PearlPrep.org, in arcadia, California, to assist minority students. I volunteered at a drug and mental health rehabilitation center in Pasadena, California, up until the Pandemic in March 2020.

Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.

Physical limitations do not mean a person has lost their intelligence and capability to comprehend what’s happening in their environment. I want people to understand that disabled people are not helpless people. When the mindset changes it will invite opportunities that allow people to show the best of themselves.

Physically disabled people are not always preoccupied, sad and depressed about their situation. A person who has lost the use of their left hand or someone who is blind is not exempt from feeling joy and pain. Like most of our able body family and peers we have feelings and dozens of emotions that change too. We are not stuck in a permanent pity party.

We live socially active lives. If you are an extrovert, losing your site will not change that. Once you have adjusted to your new way of live, you want to resume doing the things you loved.

We set goals and we have dreams and aspirations like anyone else. I am blind, but just like any writer in the world, I want my book to sell well and garner recognition that ushers me into a thriving writing career.

Do not exclude or underestimate people with disabilities; we are perceptive, insightful and fun. There is bible verse that states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Basically, don’t avoid socializing and engaging with our disabled citizens; you could be missing out on an remarkable experience of a lifetime.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂

Michelle Obama. As an African American woman, I have always admired her strength and integrity. Besides being a role model for young girls and women, she believes in encouraging others to be their best. She is intelligent, eloquent, compassionate, and engaging. I would love to sit down and enjoy a meal and conversation with our former First Lady. Whenever I am faced with adversities or discriminatory behaviors, I always reflect on Michelle Obama’s words “When they go low, you go high”.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Books and Stories that embrace differences and Disabilities

by Amber Mark
Community//

Dr. Justine Green: “Be positive”

by Theresa Albert
Community//

Female Disruptor: Jessie Wusthoff is making workplaces more inclusive

by Erika Couto
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.