For this edition of Black Girl, using my favorite social medium, Twitter, I sent out a request for creatives of all kinds to send me examples of their work if they wanted to be interviewed. I thought at most I’d get ten or fifteen submissions from girls in HBCUs in the DMV; however, after a few hours, my DMs were flooded with exceptionally talented young women who do everything from visual design to poetry at schools like Tuskegee and North Carolina A&T, all the way down to the AUC and beyond. And although they varied in creative fields, level of experience, and location, they all shared the same basic goal - to excel at the highest level in their respective endeavors.
The first girl I spoke to was Maya Randolph, a freshman at Clark Atlanta University from Dayton, Ohio with a passion for spoken word.
What or who inspired you to pursue spoken word? How long have you been doing it?
The high school I graduated from was a performing arts school. I auditioned for writing and got accepted. Ever since then, I literally just fell in love with poetry and the performance part of it. I’ve been writing and performing since I was 13, so it has been about six years now.
How often do you write? What are your favorite topics to write about?
I try to write a piece every month or freestyle in my free time. My favorite topics to write about are problems in society because when I am performing, everyone truly feels it.
Are you working on any pieces right now that you’d like to share a bit about?
Right now I am working on a mental health piece. I believe mental heath is a sensitive topic that many people are struggling with to truly understand so I am currently writing about my own experiences with it.
If you could give any advice to someone who wants to start doing spoken word, what would it be?
To anyone who ever wants to write poetry and/or perform spoken word… dig deep into yourself, realize you have a voice in this world and go for it. It takes time and precision. If you truly have a gift for poetry, you’ll know it.
How long did it take you to get everything together?
December of 2017 is when I made my official cartoon. I made about 50 sample hoodies that I gave out to different friends and family, who were in different parts of the country, just to test the market. Receiving nothing but great reviews, I knew this was something I had to put in motion. Therefore, 10 months later, October 2018, I was able to launch the first drop of Auntie Mami apparel. This is just the very beginning of what I have to offer for the remaining of the year and the future.
Who do you envision wearing your clothes and why?
I want any creative to rock the brand! Because at the end of the day, that’s what the brand is all about - creativity and being unique. From kids, to mothers, to celebrities like Nick Cannon who already got his - the brand is open to everyone and anyone.
Any other creative ventures you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?
I have a show called FRiED coming out early 2019! It’s basically a cooking show/game show/ music platform all in one! Each episode, I’ll have a different musical guest participate in different segments, challenges, and more! The greatest cooking show twist you can think of.
The last person, Kiara Nelson, a junior at North Carolina A&T, is a YouTuber and graphic Designer with her own business, Natural Boss.
You also have your own business, Natural Boss! Tell me about that and what inspired you to create it.
Natural Boss (naturalboss.com) is my baby! It’s a graphic design and freelance business that goes above and beyond to provide young WOC, entrepreneurs, and students to help establish their brand. I created it after wanting graphic design services of my own. I did a bit of looking around on social media and many designers were charging hundreds to thousands of dollars for services. Their work was amazing and their pricing was fair, I just couldn’t afford it. I took to YouTube to learn the design elements I wanted to learn and started providing a service to others around me, charging what I thought was reasonable for college students. I decided to form my LLC and dedicate my business to ensuring that I could provide amazing services at a smaller price.
You’ve explored different creative interests over the last few years. Any idea of what you’ll want to specialize in after school?
No idea. Ha! Honestly, I’ve been able to get my fair share of work in video production, marketing, event planning, web design, branding, and graphic design. I enjoy it all. I like to say that my dream job doesn’t exist yet and that I will make my own career/position when that time comes
Written by Iyana Botts