By design, life wasn’t intended to be fair. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. By human nature, if we continually do good deeds, live a life that is driven by high morals, and commit ourselves to a selfish lifestyle whose impetus is based upon altruistic and philanthropic principles then, by default, we should be exempt (or at least expect to be) from the most draconian circumstances that life has to offer. Sadly, this has never been nor probably ever will be the case. Unfortunately, it is one of those curve balls of life that we are helpless to defend against. Thankfully, what we can exert control over is how we deal with these situations. The story of Kebra Moore is a glaring example of how someone who is subjected to even the most inimical circumstances can still prevail triumphantly and, in like kind, send life’s curve ball sailing over the centerfield wall.
In 1999 the world was Kebra’s oyster and she was determined to make pearls of it. Vibrant, beautiful, determined, intelligent, and with a voice that could stop traffic, she was at the beginning of a career that showed great potential and even more promise. Then life, looking to make an example of one God’s chosen, reared its ugly head. On Christmas Eve of that year Kebra was traveling back from New Orleans to Arkansas with her 14-month old son and fiancé to make final arrangements for their upcoming wedding in just a couple of weeks. Their car was involved in a devastating accident that miraculously did no harm to her son and fiancé but, unfortunately, left her as a paraplegic. That is where, as Kebra boldly stated, “the devil messed up badly. He should have killed me.” She recounts how when she was becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Claflin University that she had to learn the poem Invictus by Sir William Earnest Henley. During the most arduous episodes of her ordeal she would constantly recite the last verse of that poem and Luke 1:37, one of her favorite Bible verses: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” and “With God, nothing is impossible.” In an earlier interview Kebra, once stated, “It’s funny how life tries to grab you by the reigns and dictate the terms of your life based on a single traumatic event, but for me I am a God fearing woman and I don’t expect life to be a bed of roses. It wasn’t for Jesus and he was perfect, so why should I be an exclusion to the rule?”
Kebra’s accident (or blessing as she now refers to it) instilled in her an even greater resolve and determination. Failing was clearly not an option. As a matter of fact, her accident accelerated her determined mindset to beat the odds. Her husband jokingly once said, “Keb was always a busy body and constantly on the go and now that God has replaced her legs with wheels, I often find myself completely out of breath just trying to keep up with her…and I’m a Marine Master Gunnery sergeant!”
As a songstress, writer, and musician today you can find Kebra traveling throughout the US on various motivational speaking campaigns and singing engagements. Her slogan, Ability Not Disability, speaks to her life of not making excuses but seizing opportunities. As Miss Wheelchair Mississippi 2013 Kebra has made it her mission to raise awareness not only for service members or people with physical or mental disabilities, but also for addressing the youth and young women throughout America on living a God-first life. She even gained national acclaim as being the cover girl of triumph and success. One of her debut songs, “He’ll Make a Way” was even featured on President Barack Obama’s documentary soundtrack Becoming Barack: Evolution of a Leader and her debut single “Beautiful” , which also appeared on BET and TBN, captures the beauty in all humanity. For Kebra, beauty is not confirmative to what the world mandates. That mold has to be broken. “It is important to embrace the beauty, talent, style, and character that not just celebrates the uniqueness of you but, most importantly, the uniqueness of the God in you.”
Recognized for her beautiful voice, Kebra has had the great fortune to appear on the Dr. Bobby Jones’ Gospel Hour. In addition to having her many accomplishments mentioned in F.A.M.U.’s African American studies text From Imagining to Understanding the African American Experience her song Troubles was a nominated for B.E.T.’s Music Award for Best Gospel Song and Video.
It is likely that at some point, perhaps even in a city near you, that Kebra will be speaking on the goodness of life, in spite of. In January 2015 she launched her Beautiful Campaign which places attention on educating people who have suffered injuries such as hers and that their disability is not a state of the body, rather a state of the mind. This year as I travel throughout the US meeting people in injury hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and disability expos, I want them to see that success moves far beyond a pair of arms or legs. “There is so much more to transcending expectations than having the ability to standing upright. God never intended it that way and as long as there is breath in my body, I will forever be campaigning to the world that everyone is “uniquely you” and if your mind can conceive it, your body, regardless its condition, can achieve it.”
Well said, Kebra. Well said. And whether you are standing to your feet or sitting in a wheelchair, your success and determination deserves a resounding ovation.