I would like to organize a blog tour to help to spread awareness about my latest collection of poetry, I am Soul. Except, I do not have much money so I am reaching out to bloggers who enjoy poetry to see if you would have the time and interest to host me on your blog this summer.
I would like to present a new poem to each of the blogs that I visit. The days of the tour will depend on the host blogger interested in hosting me. I am open to any blogs willing to promote Indie Authors, though poetry blogs would be a plus. I will provide the following:
I am Soul Book Cover
One new poem per blog
5 Fun Facts about myself
Amazon Author Central Page
Social Media Links
I am willing to put in the work necessary to provide all that you need since I do not have the funds to pay for a tour. All you will have to do is schedule my post according to your time and our agreed upon dates.
Once I have a list of blogs willing to volunteer to help me out (and your dates), I will create a promotional flyer to use to promote the tour. This means that all the blogs willing to help me will get exposure and promotion right alongside me. Your blogs will be promoted, your views will increase and you may just find new followers. Promoting me is not just about me. It’s about all of the blogs willing to participate. We will essentially be promoting each other. Each one, reach one.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please email me at yecheilyah (at) yecheilyahysrayl (dot) com. I will send you the required information this week and see what dates work best for you.
Kanye West, Waffle-House, Childish Gambino, Roseanne, and elderly Black women being manhandled by police is but a snippet of what’s going on. I can turn on my television or more precisely, open my computer, and see a similar scene as a 1960s protest march. I see people sitting in again at restaurants, I see people marching down the streets, I see cops fighting young black boys, and I hear of black bodies being found hanging from trees again (often ruled as suicides.)
This is America.
They say a people without knowledge of its past are doomed to repeat it. I wonder how many of us realize that the past is repeating itself? And I am reminded this is why I write the kinds of stories that I write and why I think Black Historical Fiction is important (and also maybe a tad bit underrated). Often, I see Romance, Urban Fiction and Street Lit praised as the epitome of Black Literature among many Self-Publishers / Indie Authors and Indie readers. But let’s not forget that black history is important too, and should not be left out of the Indie Author revolution.
After my most recent book release, I was amazed at how many people (Israelites, so-called African Americans, Blacks) didn’t know who Marcus Garvey was, what the Universal Negro Improvement Association was, or could make the Marcus and Malcolm connection in the book. (More on this later but briefly,Malcolm X father was a follower of Marcus Garvey and Malcolm’s nickname was Red among other names. I named Nora’s boyfriend after Malcolm X in his honor and gave him some of his characteristics.)
I know that many of us have been awakened to the true knowledge of who we are and have reclaimed parts of our lost, ancient and biblical heritage. We are waking up in droves and understanding the important role that identity plays in the state of Black America today. I am talking about the Hebrew Israelite movement and the number of people returning to the bible as a source, not of religion, but of black history and instruction on how to live on the earth. But that does mean we should toss aside our history in this land as unimportant since it has all played a role in who we are and where we stand today.
To be a true educator, you must first be educated and with extensive knowledge of what you’re teaching and if this is history, it’s even more critical to understand it all. (I am no one special and I don’t know everything. I am only repeating what I have already told myself about how important it is that I study history. All of it.)
Yes, it’s important to know who Moses was, King Solomon, Queen Esther, King David, and all the prophets, prophetesses and servants (who were all Black). But, it’s also important to know who Mansa Musa was and his influence in Timbuktu, Queen Yaa Asantewaa (Phonetic spelling Yah asante wah), Haitian Revolutionary, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Hannibal, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells and so on. These are the people whose shoulders we stand on and knowing their stories are still important. As well as other facts. If we talk about the European Slave Trade let’s also talk about Islamic slavery. If we talk about white slave owners, let’s also discuss Jewish and Native American slave owners as well.
History is important in general because if you don’t know what happened before, how can you properly arm yourself against ensuring that the bad things do not happen again? You cannot focus on repeating only the good things if you don’t know what is good.
Dear Black Indie Readers, African American Historical Fiction is important too.
“Once you change your philosophy you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern. And then you go on into some action.” – Malcolm X
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
For more Black History Fun Facts, be sure to visit the Black History Fun Fact Friday page and to follow this blog for Black History all year around! Revolution, part 2 in The Nora White Story is also now available on Amazon. Free with Kindle Unlimited.
I had the honor of writing a guest blog post alongside some amazing writers on the subject of marketing books as an introvert for Shayla Raquel’s most informative blog. Shy writer? Nervous? Don’t want to put yourself out there? Check us out for tips below!
“How does an introverted author handle book marketing? Well, I don’t know because I’m an extravert. So for the first time ever on this blog, I have asked not one but five introverted, outstanding authors to help you with your book marketing. If you’re shy or not into self-promotion or just feel like, “I literally cannot do this,” then you need to hear what these women have to say. Take it away, ladies!”
On June 1, 1921, in Tulsa Oklahoma, occurred just one of the worst catastrophes to ever grace the communities of Black people. It was then that the systematic destruction of years of building had made manifest in less than 24 hours. Also known as “Little Africa”, the black business district of north Tulsa lay fuming—a model community destroyed, mansions melted down to the ground, hope stretching its mournful arms forward in a desperate attempt to hold on to its dear Greenwood.
Greenwood is a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” due to its financial success that mirrored Wall Street. During the oil boom of the 1910s, which gained the town such titles as “Oil Capital of the World”, the area of northeast Oklahoma around Tulsa flourished, including the Greenwood neighborhood. Home to several prominent Black businessmen, the neighborhood held many multimillionaires.
Greenwood boasted a variety of thriving businesses that were very successful up until the Tulsa Race Massacre. Not only did blacks want to contribute to the success of their own shops, but also the racial segregation laws prevented us from shopping anywhere other than Greenwood, forcing us to be in support of our own people and thus contribute to the success of our own people.
Due to the fact that Blacks could not shop anywhere else, Greenwood became the mecca of opportunity to build up what they had been shut out of. Instead of complaining that they were not included in the all-white Newspaper, they created their own (two). Blacks were discouraged from using the new Carnegie Library downtown for example for whites, so they built their own smaller all Black branch libraries instead. Not stressing over being left out of restaurants, grocery stores, and public schools, they simply built their own on the backs of a drive toward honest entrepreneurship.
Clothes bought at Elliot & Hooker’s clothing at 124 N. Greenwood could be fitted across the street at H.L. Byars tailor shop at 105 N Greenwood, and then cleaned around the corner at Hope Watson’s cleaners at 322 E. Archer. The dollar in this community rotated 36-100 times, taking as long as a year before it left the community (today the dollar leaves the black community in less than 15mins).
These were not people who started out wealthy; they were neither businessmen nor businesswomen, but being locked out the whole of society (stripped from employment in the oil industry and from most of Tulsa’s manufacturing facilities), these men and women toiled at difficult, often dirty, jobs. They worked long hours under trying conditions, but nonetheless, it was their paychecks that built Greenwood and their hard work that helped to build Tulsa. In fact, following the massacre, the area was rebuilt and continued to thrive until the 1960s until integration came along and allowed blacks to shop in areas that were restricted before.
Let this be an example of the power of support, not just for black businesses, but entrepreneurship in general. While liking social media posts is nice, it is financial support, dedication, and consistency that ultimately helps small businesses to grow into larger businesses, to support and hire its own, to thrive and to possibly, empower an entire community.
After everything Yah created, he stopped to praise the work he had done. When he created the lights, it was good. When he created the expanse, it was good. When he created the land and the waters and the sun and the stars and so on, Yah stopped to acknowledge that what he had just created was good. In our own lives, we must learn to celebrate our success along the way and not just what we consider great successes but small ones too. And when I say small I am talking about being able to get out of the bed in the morning. When I say small I mean getting your children ready for school. When I say small I mean cooking for your family. When I say small I mean being able to have a warm cup of coffee in the morning or a cool glass of wine in the evenings. This is surplus. Anytime we can have more than the bare minimum, it’s surplus. Its extra. So when I say small I mean being successful at just getting through the day without going insane.
Miserable people will try to criticize your joy. They will say things like, “ain’t nobody happy all the time.” While you certainly won’t be happy all the time, you don’t have to be happy to be thankful. We must learn not to just promote praise among those finished projects but to also see the good in the unfinished. We must learn to be grateful during the bad times, the tired times, the frustrating times, and the sad times because these are the most important times. In fact, these hard times are probably even more important than the good times because the hard times are cultivating something in you. You are being prepared for something. You are being strengthened for a work. Additionally, being grateful for what you have and celebrating on the way to where you are going builds healthy self-esteem. When you stop and give praise for everything that you have, even if you don’t have what you want, you begin to feel better about yourself, about your life and about who you are.
#2: It’s a Process
Certainly, the Almighty Power could have created everything in one day. Certainly, he is powerful enough and more than capable of doing it but instead, Yah took six days. He took his time making sure that the world was perfect for those who would inhabit it. In our own lives, we must understand that everything is a process. You cannot expect to have everything figured out at one time and you can’t expect to have everything you need at one time. You may find one piece of the puzzle today and the next piece may not come until next month or next year. The next piece may not come until you are mature enough to receive that piece. It may not come until you are in a place mentally to receive it.
Greatness doesn’t just happen. It is a result of years of work, of trial, of failure, and of learning. It is a culmination of experiences and setbacks. It is a process. We must learn to allow ourselves to be nurtured and to be prepared for our destiny and our purpose.
The creator of everything certainly does not need to rest in the way that we do and as previously stated, certainly he could have created everything in one day and be done with it. But he didn’t and I believe it was to show us something. After six days Yah rested on the seventh day and set this day apart. In our own lives, we must understand that there’s no such thing as this 24-hour working life we see on social media and television. You cannot expect to work until you are exhausted and still expect to have enough energy to be productive. Rest and vacation have become a privilege in this world and that’s a shame. Rest is not some privilege. Rest is a necessity. We cannot expect to be 100 every single day. That’s not realistic. Rest is just as important as work is.
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health and is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Going without sleep or rest is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is because our bodies are designed to refuel during rest. This is when we get our wind back. You can run non-stop until you are out of breath and falling over or you can walk and pace yourself so that you have enough endurance to make it to the end. We can try and mimic the “hustle” and “grind” of everyone else and run our health into the ground. Or we can take some time to rest our bodies, our hearts, and our minds.
American Gangster is based on the true story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas who by the 1960s constructed an international drug ring that spanned from New York to South East Asia. The film features Denzel Washington as Lucas and a New York City cop (Russell Crowe) who busted a big-time heroin ring. I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. In no way do I condone selling drugs and yet I will still watch this movie. There’s a little angel on my shoulder shaking her head in disgust and a little devil smirking at me as we both smile while watching Denzel’s swag.
So anyway, I was watching American Gangster last week and I started typing away at the notepad in my phone. Somehow, I had managed to think about writing. These days, I watch movies to see if they are well written as well as educational and entertaining. Eventually, I had come up with a nice little list of things I learned and I thought I’d share it with you.
Lesson #1: Influence
“I want what you got Uncle Frank. I wanna be you.”
One of the most powerful aspects of this movie is the message on Influence. Social influence occurs when someone’s emotions, opinions or behaviors are affected by others. In the movie, Frank’s nephew Stevie Lucas is an excellent baseball player and had been playing since he was a child. Now at the prominent financial level to do so, Frank schedules a meeting for his nephew with the Dodgers. Stevie does not show up. Now that he was part of his Uncle’s drug enterprise, he no longer had a desire to play ball. Instead, he wanted to be a drug kingpin like Frank. Played by the rapper T.I. this was one of the saddest parts of the movie for me when Stevie Lucas said he didn’t want to play baseball anymore although that was his passion since childhood. Instead, he wanted to be a drug dealer.
This movie is a reminder that you are not just living for yourself. The decisions you make and the opinions you give do not just belong to you but can influence the people around you. We don’t have to be celebrities or someone great to have influence. Somewhere, in our little corner of the world, someone is listening to us and silently taking our advice. People are watching you whether you know it or not and whether they speak up about it or not. The danger in this is that people will follow your example. Sadly, even when you’re wrong if they admire you enough.
Lesson #2: Follow Your Own Advice
“The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”
Frank said this to Huey Lucas, his brother, after seeing him hanging out with Nicky Barnes, “one of the biggest heroin dealers in the country,” a 1977 New York Times Magazine article titled “Mister Untouchable” stated. Nicky is known as being arrogant and living a flamboyant lifestyle. In the movie Huey had taken on Nicky’s flamboyant way of dress and his haughty demeanor.
There is so much to learn from this quote alone. It goes hand in hand with the phrase, “the more you talk, the less you know.” Usually, it’s the people who are the weakest who makes the most noise.
Frank then turned around and wore an expensive fur, bought by his wife, to the Ali/Fraizer fight–the same “clown suit” he warned his brother not to wear–and stuck out like a sore thumb. This is what made the police take notice of him and pay attention to him. From this one mistake, they learned of Franks every move.
The message here is to remember to take your own advice, which is not always easy to do if you’re not paying attention. I am sure we all have an instance to which we forgot to take our own advice.
Lesson #3: The Love of Money
“Success has enemies…quitting while you are ahead is not the same as quitting.”
All any black man wants to do is take care of his family, I get that. But Frank messed his brothers and nephews life up. He traveled to North Carolina and recruited his brothers and cousins into his drug empire but he didn’t have to bring them into that. His brothers and cousins were country boys so it’s almost like, to me, that Frank took their innocence. He was the oldest (if the movie is correct in this portrayal) and they looked up to him. He could have used his influence more positively. Even his mother in the movie said: “If you was a preacher they would have all been preachers.” This goes back to lesson one. You have people who watch you and look up to you even if you don’t know it. So, my question is, why couldn’t they invest in the businesses they used as fronts for the drug deals to create real, legit businesses? Because of the love of money.
Lesson #4: The Business Mind
“Nobody owns me though. That’s ’cause I own my own company and my company sells a product that’s better than the competition, at a price that’s lower than the competition.”
There’s a lot to learn about business in this movie. Even if the business was in selling drugs. I believe you can get a lesson from anything if you’re paying enough attention to it. One of Frank’s many lessons had to do with launching a new product that was cheap but still held quality. In the 1970s heroine was often diluted with sugars, chalk, flour or powdered milk in order to stretch it. Addicts understood that the drug would have a lower potency. To create his one-of-a-kind “product,” Frank had to step outside of his comfort zone and go outside of the established heroin supply chain. He cut out the middleman and went straight to the source, a heroin producer in Saigon, Vietnam. In the movie, Frank didn’t dilute his heroin which made it more potent. He also sold it at a lower price.
The lesson here is that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort circles to reach new levels. If you are surrounded by broke people then you will more than likely be broke too. If you are surrounded by people with no vision then all you will ever do is dream. If you want to reach new levels you have to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Want to publish a book? Want to understand how it’s done? Then surround yourself with people who are doing it right and take advice from people who have made it to where you want to be. This same thing applies to any business.
Lesson #5: Not Everything is as it Seems
The final and most important lesson is not to believe everything that you see. Much of this movie is made up by Hollywood. Denzel Washington is a more smooth and exaggerated version of the real Frank Lucas. The real Frank Lucas was not Bumpy Johnson’s driver for 15 years. He was not with Bumpy when he died. The real Frank Lucas did dilute his heroin, though not as much as the other dealers. The real Frank Lucas did collect numerous full mink and chinchillas aside from the one his wife bought and is often mentioned as being just as “flashy” as Nicky Barnes. And the real Frank Lucas is rumored to have been illiterate.
The cop, Richie Roberts, persona was also exaggerated in the movie. He did not have a child and was not in a custody battle with his ex-wife. He also had a much smaller role in the capturing of Frank Lucas.
The lesson here is to remember to do your own research. Don’t just believe the movies you watch, the articles you read or the things that you see on social media. Even salt looks like sugar and spoiled milk is still white. Always double-check your facts.