Atlanta- WNBA Atlanta Dream’s Center Imani McGee Stafford is blossoming with becoming a leader on and off the court. She is not the most vocal person in the world, but she puts her energy into improving herself, as well as helping her team any way that she can. She does the little things on the court that puts her team in the position to win. However, what she does off the court is a breath of fresh air.
Imani suffered a traumatic experience as a child with being sexually abused by a family member and suffers from depression. She has attempted to take her life on multiple occasions, but during the darkest period in her life, she found solitude within poetry. Poetry was something that excited her and brought life back into her. “Poetry helped me find my voice and the confidence to tell my story,” Imani said. “The more I dove into poetry and shared it with others, I realized my problems weren’t unique. I would go to open mic and poetry slams and watch poetry videos on YouTube and hear all these people speaking openly and authentically about issues that were similar, if not the same, like mine.”
Imani dealt with the pressure of being overshadowed by her mother Pamela McGee and brother JaVale McGee, who both played at the pro level in basketball. Despite Imani labeling herself as the “Black sheep” of the family, she has been an inspiration to others by being a voice in the community talking about depression, anxiety, and sharing all of her darkest secrets with the world. She is using her platform to shed light that even the people who you think have it all, may have some problems of their own.
With a purpose, platform, and a vision, Imani is trusting the journey that she is on, with each person she has reached has given her strength to keep talking about the issues that America has swept under the rug. America, especially in the Black community needs more people like Imani to have an honest conversation about preventing suicide attempts as well as living with depression or anxiety.