In 2010, Glenneisha Darkins was a freshman at Florida A&M University when she was involved in a horrific car accident that changed her life. She was thrown from her vehicle and thrown from the car, leaving her a quadriplegic.
In the years after the accident, Darkins, 25, has used her Instagram account as part of her journey towards healing, including sharing her portraits of pop culture icons that inspire her — and because she is permanently unable to use her hands or legs, she controls the paintbrush with her mouth.
Among the icons she paints are Tupac, Cam'ron, and Biggie. Ask her who is the most inspiring to paint, though, and she'll say Beyoncé.
"[Her music] is uplifting, it's empowering. Her music is timeless, like, she's a real artist," Darkins told Revelist over e-mail.
"Her music reminds women that we can be more than just mothers, wives, [and] every label society has given women. Her music speaks in terms of power. [She is] a businesswoman who handles business."
The first thing Darkins did once she had recovered from the accident was write a book. She self-published "Freedom Chair: The Open Diary of a Quadriplegic" on Amazon in 2014, which she describes in great detail the emotional pain she went through after the accident:"I loved writing, and it was my form of therapy," she said. "When I wrote ['Freedom Chair'], I wanted to be as raw and detailed as possible, because so many people are not really aware of the physical and mental trauma that quadriplegics and other (spinal cord injury) patients have to go through in order to feel complete and normal again."
Once Darkins began to feel more at peace, she says she stopped writing, and felt like she wanted to do something else. That's when she discovered painting."I was never an artist. I never drew anything so the beginning was me playing around. But as I begin to practice more, I found that to be therapeutic."
In the way that painting is therapeutic for her, so is sharing her work on social media."Social media has been great to me because how I chose to use it," she said. "It really made me feel more comfortable to express myself in a way that I would have never done before.
"As people begin to cheer me on and praise my hobby, it even made me feel more appreciated and loved. That's all we all want is to feel, appreciated and loved ... especially the disabled community.
I also talked with Darkins about this new Beyoncé era, and asked what she hoped for from the new album prior to the release of "Lemonade."
"I hope for another great body of work. Don't care for quickie singles. I hope for a mixture of '4' Beyoncé and 'BEYONCÉ' Beyoncé. Really don't matter. I just know she won't disappoint!
(After the album dropped, she just responded with one sentence: "I love it.")
As for what she would want to do if she had the chance to meet Queen Bey, Darkins had a very sweet, simple answer:
"I would want to paint and eat. She's into painting and she could probably teach me some stuff as a viewer. Since I enjoy painting and visiting art museums like her, why not?"
But when asked about her greatest source of inspiration, Darkins did not cite her idol. But she did have a perfect Beyoncé-esque response:
Not to sound conceited, but me. Despite my arms and legs not moving, I still have a movable neck and mouth, therefore I will use it to do other things [besides] make demands.
"[Post accident], I have gained a sense of self that allows me to be more authentic. I had adapt to this new way of approaching things ... which is why I say my journey was needed. I had to learn how to adjust and adapt to this new way of [dealing] with things that isn't putting my lips [to] a bottle... or a blunt.
If it weren't for my accident, I truly don't believe I would have known who I really am.