iSmileForAngele non profit will be recognized at TONIGHT’S YANKEES game
May 15, 2019

May 15, 2019

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Sharice B: What is the definition of a Community Hero and why are they significant?

Chanel Speedy: A Community Hero is someone who displays the tenacity to continue for the betterment of their surroundings; even while facing adversity. Community Heroes are significant because they start small with implementations to assist parents and children alike.

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The iSmileForAngele non profit has hosted community feedings, toy, clothing and coat drives. The #KickBackAgainstBullying sneaker drive is an Annual event and the donated sneakers are distributed to local shelters with inspiring notes on them. I love Harlem because it has a piece of my heart. It is so historic and the culture was taught to me there. I was also watered and I grew there not only as a person but as a philanthropist, an artist and within the memories it provided shared with my family.

Samantha B: Why is May 10, 2014 significant to you?

Chanel Speedy: May 10th of 2014 was the day before Mother’s Day and one of the most difficult tasks I had to endure and explain in my life thus far. It is of significance because that was the day our grandmother transitioned in life [affectionately known as Gramz and as Angie to her community.]

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It inspired a motivational concept for me and formulated a plan towards spreading grandma’s legacy. As I helped others in need I for one felt fulfilled to continue her teachings and her outlet to the world just by observing her actions.

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Samantha B: I love going to St. Maarten it showed me the difference between the islands and served as a vacation spot to learn there is more to life than your surroundings. What did going to see grandma mean to you?

My life was measured by summers spent in St. Maarten so I always had a reference outside of Harlem of how a different part of the world worked. A plane was a destination away from me to say “I’m on my way to grandma’s house.” It also taught me not to take anything for granted there are a lot more opportunities in the States. You have to make everything happen for you here but there the sense of community is highlighted. The barter system is used a bit more. Grandma had a coconut tree, chickens, rabbits, cooked every meal 6 days a weeks, hung clothes on the line etc but if she needed a lemon I did not mind walking over a plank or in the road without any shoes to exchange bread for her.

The date of May 10th marked a changed in my life in which promoted and encouraged strength, required focus and a new horizon of unfamiliarity.

I have watched my grandmother give so much of herself to ensure that everyone around her was comfortable, feed and just by her dedicating her life to making others smile. The iSmileForAngele non-profit was the perfect opportunity to promote an incentive program in honor of her legacy.

In a few words she was one of a kind, her presence was always felt and I am grateful that I was able to have her within my life. My grandmother gave my life purpose; a greater purpose. #iSmileforAngele that is my inspiration.” – Chanel Speedy

Sharice B: Why is May 15, 2019 another significant date?

Chanel Speedy: Today, is 5 years and 5 days that my smile has been in a progressive state of assisting others to smile with a simple act of kindness. Whether it is a word of encouragement, sneakers to make scholars feel inclusion or teaming up with other local Harlem entrepreneurs such as Gracie Cedres the CEO/Founder of G.R.A.C.E (Granting Resources And Community Enrichment) non-profit for her Back To School Block Party. I appreciate Latoya Wyman the CEO/Founder of Divine Elegance for designing the flyers for my events and lending a helping hand whenever I needed her.

Samantha B: What and who do you want to thank for supporting you?

Chanel Speedy: To my family especially my Maker Of Miracles, my siblings (Sharice, Samantha, Darron), Desmond, Auntie, Avalyn, Gracie, Kimberly, Teenisha, my mentor [I UNDERSTAND], my team and every person who has ever encouraged me, NOMINATED ME, smiled with me and told me to stay splashy. I THANK you, YoU and YOU!*

*[you equates to the scholars who teach me lessons.

YoU equates to people that support me that I don’t know until we discover the art of conversation.

YOU equates to the originator my grandma and the people who know me.]*

Support comes in many different forms and giving back to others is how far we can stretch our hands to show respect to another person. Just as another has done for us. The torch was set down to be fulfilled and it tends to lifted up by the strongest with assistance. I started this solely just so WE could could utter, recite and yell out “I SMILE FOR ANGELE.” Now that’s history.

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Samantha B: Do you have any final words?

Chanel Speedy: Yes, I want to give a special THANK YOU to The New York Yankees organization, The Smile Direct Club and everyone who nominated me to be a Community Hero. Don’t forget to smile today! #iSmileForAngele FOREVER!

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Be sure to watch the second game of The New York Yankees double header at 6:35 pm as iSmileForAngele non profit will be recognized with screen time on the big screen to honor the continuous empowerment to the Harlem community.

Don’t act like you forgot (life after Basketball being my identity)
July 31, 2017

Good morning! Let’s go back, back to when I was captain of my Junior High School basketball team at then WestSide Academy. A fierce, diminutive leader who did not let anyone off easy. I was the confident one who signed autographs on request and my yearbook was filled with comments stating see you in the NBA or you will be a superstar in the WNBA.

This is not my first trophy but my first experience being taking under the wing of a coach who was more like a father figure in the likes of the late Edwin Rosa. He was every players hero because he went above and beyond for you. He was intense, enforcing and keenly interested in your studies. Was this my first trophy no but one of the most meaningful ones because it was under his coaching. I also played at and for Riverbank, Gauchos, Rucker Park, Douglas, Exodus, Milbank and countless other places I’m from Harlem so you seen me play on somebody court before.

My first trophy was in P.S. 180 elementary school beating out all of the boys in suicide. I was a quiet, timid and learned by sight little girl. But when basketball was the topic; I became a different person I lit up with confidence, strength and assurance after hearing comments before anyone saw me perform on the court. I would hear “you’re too little” when I told my late Uncle Ken he gave me the best advice in life. He asked my stats I told him my points, assists and steals. He replied what about rebounds, blocks, charges and I stated “I am just a point guard Uncle Ken.” He said “no you are a student of the game, I watch you study plays and imitate it to perfection. Chanel, you are not too little to do anything in life. You are a player on the court that plays with passion that is bigger than your actual size.

Work on being an all around player and report back to me with the stats I asked for.” Is this a challenge? Everyone knows I am competitive, passionate and protective with anything I love. Basketball was my first love, besides my first love. During my time of coming up while playing basketball I was always the only female so you know I always had something to prove. Here is a portion of my story life after basketball and all that it has taught me in my chat with Rachel Piazza.


I never went to basketball camp I just watched The Knicks games with my mother and mimicked what I saw them do in the park. I was always the only girl. This is me in Junior High School; West Side Academy. This was right before I received my scholarship to St. Michael’s Academy. My monthly tuition was definitely someone’s rent. I don’t know how my mother did it but she believed in me.

Rachel Piazza: Hi Chanel! Can you tell me a little about your athletic background?

Chanel (Speedy): Hi Rachel! Sure. I played basketball since I was in elementary school (P.S. 180) and back then I was the only girl on the team. I earned several nicknames, trophies, traveled and medals. The nickname that stuck with me was “Speedy” at SUNY Old Westbury I was a play maker and defensive specialist all 4 years. The phrase I would chant to get everyone hype was “SIT!” As in sit in a defensive stance to get the team motivated and crowd into it.

Rachel: That’s great! Do you feel like you were a confident player?

Chanel (Speedy): Thanks! I was most definitely a confident player many underestimated me because I am diminutive but I played with a lot of heart and out hustled everyone because basketball was my passion.

Basketball gave me confidence in life because it made you develop problem solving skills, a broader view for presentation and life tactics that you can utilize on a daily basis. Basketball has shaped a majority of my life because you get to learn sportsmanship, social skills, leadership as a point guard, responsibility as I served as a captain and respect for rules and regulations. It prepared me for life scenarios in a way no other recreation has.

Rachel: Were you confident in your abilities on the court?

Chanel (Speedy): I took pride in being on the court and helping my teammates in anyway I could. I was that energy spark player you needed on the court to change the games momentum, get key steals and stops.

My abilities on the court gave my confidence a boost because being a visual player I would study my opponent and attack their weaknesses. Being that I was both fast, ambidextrous and had a series of moves. Including an in and out that allowed me space away from my defender. Basketball taught many lessons through wins and defeats but it definitely made me more aware of my self belief, awareness and overcoming the obstacles of people doubting my natural skill and abilities due to my size.

Rachel: Do you think basketball gave you confidence in your life?

Chanel (Speedy): Basketball gave me confidence to play against guys and girls alike who were older, stronger and more experienced than me and challenge them in competition because I knew I was quicker, more disciplined and had a greater basketball IQ. I had some great coaches that groomed me into the player I am. I didn’t have any formal training, attend any camps when I first started out everything was visual and me imitating plays from what I saw watching Knicks games.

John Starks was my favorite player later A.I. My coach Edwin Rosa saw potential in me and worked on my game. There weren’t a lot of buzz about female athletes when I first started but I followed Sheryl Swoopes when she was in Texas and she was dubbed the female MJ. Later a break through came and the WNBA came along after the defunct ABA and sneaker deals were given and more exposure. It gave me more confidence that it was more than a recreational pastime it could be a possible career.

Rachel: Thank you Chanel!

Chanel (Speedy): You’re welcome. I wish you the best in your present and future endeavors. Thank you for being a beaming light for fighting for women equality.

Life is about wins but learning from your losses no matter what angle it comes from in life. Be it a person, game, scenario etc you have to adjust and incorporate it as a lesson in order to navigate. If I just had the skill of basketball and not honed other skills my life after basketball which ended in me getting hurt practicing in L.A. with the Sparks this would be a where are they now interview.

Which is similiar to the correlation of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love and Basketball character Tanya Randall. I did not want to be Tanya Randall. My advice to every woman in basketball is never go Tanya Randall (chuckles sorry I think in movies and songs that was a Jay Z 4:44 reference). Alongside my vision for myself, my mother and grandmother’s teaching I took education seriously which landed me scholarships and Sallie Mae don’t know my name (you have to sing that in Trey Songz voice LOL). Why do I play all day!


However, honing other skills is important. We as women do not make as much as men so we have to work harder, smarter and secure Plan B, C and D until something is fulfilling for financial stability. I refuse to be placed in a box of creativity or occupation. My mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be at the age of 4 and I believed her. I am an entrepreneur, mentor, writer, public speaker, author, media specialist and the list goes on. My name is Chanel “Speedy” and this is my life after basketball. Don’t act like you forgot. I still have a mean in and out to get pass you haha. Don’t forget to smile today!

Chanel “Speedy”


Rachel Piazza is a women’s rights advocate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt training at Unity Jiu-Jitsu School in New York City. Rachel has a master’s degree in women’s & gender studies and leads feminist self-defense workshops for women and girls. Rachel’s analysis on the empowerment of women through martial arts has been featured in numerous online outlets, including ESPN.com.

As a co-founder of Young Feminists & Allies, the National Organization for Women’s first virtual chapter, Rachel’s work reaches beyond the realm of self-defense. In addition to herTEDx talk on sexist language, her feminist analysis has been sought at national conferences, and in digital media platforms on various topics including race, pop-culture, and politics.

Twitter: @rachelapiazza

Website: http://www.feministselfdefense.com

Email rachel at femselfdefense@gmail.com

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