Delilah Dee: A symbol of positivity and inspiration
After going through struggles of self-identity and mental health, young Philadelphia entrepreneur Delilah Dee used these experiences as an opportunity to reflect and make a change, not only for herself, but for others. Photo: Yesid Vargas/AL DÍA News
Delilah Dee, born and raised in North Philadelphia, didn’t always fully embrace her full identity. Growing up, she was proud to be of Puerto Rican and Peruvian descent, but would often not detail her Peruvian background, despite being raised by that side of her family.
“The Peruvian community isn’t well represented here,” she said. Therefore, when she’d tell her peers she was half-Peruvian, many didn’t know what that meant, as more Latinos in Philadelphia are from Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican and Colombian backgrounds. That eventually caused her to feel a bit embarrassed about that part of her heritage.
However, this internal struggle soon helped Delilah come to realize a bigger, overarching topic of concern: how Latinos understand, discuss, and explore their cultural identities.
“Now that I reflect on that,” she said. “it was a real pivotal moment that when I realized the issues that we have within the Latino community.”
Reading books, putting herself in different settings, and interacting with people of diverse backgrounds helped her better understand the importance of culture identity, and also ignited her desire to talk more about it.
“It kind of made me just want to dig deep into my cultural roots,” Dee noted.
The young entrepreneur now serves as a voice of positivity and inspiration for many—especially the Latinx community and women of color, among other minority groups.
While a student at Penn State, Dee was going through what she called “a very dark period of my life.” Her grades began to suffer, as did her relationships with others.
To cope, Dee often looked up inspirational stories—human interest stories, people overcoming adversity, among others—ones you don’t often see covered in mainstream media.
“There wasn’t like a designated platform where all the content was positive, where all the content was showing struggles and adversities and what people had to do to get through that,” she said.
So Dee decided to do something about that.
“Why don’t I start a blog, or create a website where I can have all positive content like this?” Dee recalls thinking to herself. She did just that.
What started out as a blog that shared celebrity stories grew into a video series and is now a full digital content and events agency, Delilah & Company. The site is a platform that aims to stand for those currently working hard to achieve their dreams, and inspire people to want more out of life through the positive content and messages it pushes out to the public.
Early on, it was difficult to generate increased traffic as managers and publicists declined left and right.
Naturally, she began to question why no one would give her a shot and help increase her exposure. However, she knew she had a unique idea for a platform—one that she felt was important and deviated from the common celebrity gossip sites. So, she didn’t give up.
“With celebrities especially, when they see the glitz and glamour, a lot of people tend to forget, they went through blood, sweat and tears to get to where they are right now,” she said. “So that’s what I wanted to share.”
Eventually, prominent people did begin to take notice and appreciate the sharing of the positive messages on the site—singer, songwriter and actor Tyrese Gibson being among the first.
Plastered throughout the company’s site reads: #OccupyingYourMindset, a concept that took a while to fully grasp.
“It’s not something that happens overnight,” Dee said.
Originating the hashtag around the time the Occupy Wall Street movement was at its peak, Dee thought it would be the perfect mantra for her new platform.
“Once you take control of your mind, you take control of your life,” she said. “Although you cannot control what people say or do, the one thing you always have complete control over is how you react to every single situation, how you let any situation affect you.”
Dee had to understand where she was mentally and change her mindset in order to keep herself moving forward. This understanding has helped her continue to produce content and promote positive messages of inspiration, despite many hardships and challenges along the way.
“It’s all part of the journey,” she observed through her entry into entrepreneurship.
“We’re just trying to change the way people think, we’re just trying to change how people see and view their lives, and just try to make better lives,” Dee said.
Dee wants the site’s content to show people what can happen when you don’t give up on yourself no matter what struggles or adversity comes your way.
Dee’s role as the founder and CEO of Delilah & Company has given her the opportunity to travel to various cities across the U.S. to conduct interviews, host and cover events, and speak on some discussion panels.
But Philly remains where her heart is.
“Philadelphia is my home,” she said.
While some people may prefer to move to a larger city or media market—such as New York or Los Angeles—Dee has a different approach. She hopes that as her company continues its growth, she can establish its headquarters right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I don’t think it’s like me being stuck, but it’s just, like, me kind of wanting to economically help my city, as well,” she said. “This is the city that raised me, and I don’t feel like you need to leave the city to become successful.”
The goal is to eventually secure an affordable, open space in North Philly that can accommodate the various people within the community who may need it.
“I want to create a co-working space for entrepreneurs and creators in general that don’t have a lot of money to spend, but they need a place just to dig in and do work.”
Dee is a representation of what a changed mindset can do for an individual. Through her content, she serves as an inspiration for a wide range of people. Sharing positive messages of hope and inspiration and helping make an impact on others are what keeps Dee going. It doesn’t seem like she’d want it any other way.