Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Victoriyah Smith

Please help me extend a warm welcome to Victoriyah Smith. Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Victoria Smith (Victoriyah Israyl) and I am from Gulfport, Mississippi.

What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be able to travel to different countries around the world. I have been blessed to travel to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize, Progresso, Montego Bay, Cozumel, Key West, to name a few places. I enjoy learning new cultures and trying fresh foods as long as it is not pork or shellfish.

I feel you. I love traveling myself. Got a travel buddy? Married?

I am married to my wonderful, loving, supportive husband, Willie. We have shared this life together for 21 years.

Little Book of Abundant Blessings for Entrepreneurs is available now on Amazon.

Beautiful. Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like? 

I published my first book on June 15, 2020, and it was a wonderful feeling.

Oh okayy. You new, new. Congratulations!

Thank you. It took a lot of work, time, and learning technical things to get it in the correct format for publishing; it was definitely a learning experience. I am now working on promoting my book as I work on writing my next book. I know the process will be more straightforward because of my first experience.

What do you love about yourself?

I love that I am a giver. I enjoy helping others and being a blessing to others who are not as fortunate as myself.

In your own words, what is humility?

Humility is being humble in my heart and my actions. Humility is the opposite of being puffed up and high minded. To walk in humility means to open yourself to understand the pain and disappointment of others. It is a welcoming approach to solving violence, anger, and aggression in relationships and society. Humility is being of no form or fashion, but existing in love and understanding as you seek to understand others when there is no peace. Humility is being as a little child.

I love that part about opening yourself up to understand the pain of others. Victoriyah, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given? What made it special?   

My father gave me some wisdom as a young adult after I built my home. He was laying a new driveway for me, and I tried to pay him before he had finished the work. My father looked at me and asked, “Have you seen the finished product?” My answer was “No sir,” and then he said,” Never pay for a service in full until you’ve seen the finished product. Even if it’s your daddy.” Those simple words have been special in my life because it gave me the courage I needed to hold people accountable in business transactions as a young woman.

That’s awesome. Why is writing important to you?

Writing has always been an escape for me. When I became a Sunday school-teacher years ago, writing became a huge part of my life as I would write stories of the bible that would help my students to understand the scripture in a greater way. As I have continued my relationship with the Most High, writing has been a central focus of my meditations as I am being guided by my creator to unfold many truths about the bible. I hope that the truths that are written in my books will help others increase their belief in our creator Yah.

Life is not always pretty, as we all experience hardship now and again and this is magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. What is your best advice for reducing stress?

My advice for anyone experiencing hardship is to understand that there is a purpose for everything we experience. To find the meaning of life is to gain a relationship with our creator Yah and the Messiah Yahoshuah. I believe that by doing that, the Most High gives us understanding and direction in the path we should take in our lives. Pray to our creator Yah, cast all your burdens and troubles on him, and he will lift every burden (stress) and give you peace that surpasses all human understanding.

From the natural perspective, start a hobby, exercise, eat healthily, write more, and evaluate the decisions you are making and set goals to remove anything out of your life that may be causing stress. Our creator will give you the strength to remove those things through prayer.

Beautifully articulated. Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?   

I enjoy gardening. I grow my own cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and peppers. I also have a passion for helping women become their own bosses by giving them the tools they need to succeed. In 2014, I established an organization to work toward that end. It is called “Network of Women Business Owners.” I also enjoy helping the less fortunate individuals in the community with clothes, food, and resources to help them overcome life’s challenges.

Thank you Victoriyah for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Photo Cred. © Copyright 2020. Victoriyah Smith

Bio.

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, Victoriyah received her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Mississippi. Also, she obtained an associate’s degree in Business Management from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. With a passion for helping every inspiring woman become her own boss, Victoriyah shares her proven insights with diverse audiences through training, consulting services, workshops, seminars, and online platforms.

Mrs. Smith is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Network of Women Business Owners, a professional business network established in 2014 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Victoriyah resides in Gulfport, Mississippi, with her husband, Willie, and her (4) children and grandchildren live in Texas. She is available to conduct speeches and facilitate professional development training for professional women groups, organizations, and empowerment business events.

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Black History Fun Fact Friday – Lucy Craft Laney

Welcome back to Black History Fun Fact Friday. Today, we learn about Lucy Craft Laney.

Lucy Craft Laney was a famous educator in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She opened her own school in 1883, which became known as Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in Augusta, Georgia where she served as teacher and principle for 50 years.

Laney was born on April 13, 1854, one of ten children, to Louisa and David Laney. Laney was not enslaved as David Laney purchased his freedom twenty years before Laney’s birth and then purchased his wife’s freedom sometime after their marriage. Laney was taught to read by her mother at the early age of four. By 12 Laney could translate passages in Latin. She attended Lewis (later Ballard) High School in Macon, GA which was sponsored by the American Missionary Association.

Laney prepared to be a teacher at Atlanta University in 1889 (later Clark Atlanta University), graduating from the Normal Department (teacher’s training) in 1873.

Sewing_class_at_Haines_Normal_and_Industrial_Institute,_Augusta,_Georgia_LCCN2003652513
Sewing class at Haines Normal and Industrial Institute, Augusta, Georgia

Laney’s school started out small with just a handful of students. She began her school in 1883 in Augusta. Her school was chartered by the state three years later and named the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. Originally, Laney intended to admit only girls, but several boys appeared and she could not turn them away. By the end of the second year, there were more than 200 Black students enrolled in Laney’s school.

Over the years, Laney made many improvements and additions to the school. In the 1890s, the school was one of the first to offer kindergarten classes for African-American children in the South. She also opened a training center so that black women could train as nurses. The school’s curriculum provided the students with traditional liberal arts courses as well as vocational programs, which was groundbreaking at the time, but that’s not all. Laney’s school also acted as a cultural center for the Black community, hosting lectures by nationally famous guests, and various social events.

Present | Sonia Sanchez

This woman vomiting her
hunger over the world
this melancholy woman forgotten
before memory came
this yellow movement bursting forth like
coltrane’s melodies all mouth
buttocks moving like palm tress,
this honeycoatedalabamianwoman
raining rhythm to blue/black/smiles
this yellow woman carrying beneath her breasts
pleasures without tongues
this woman whose body waves
desert patterns,
this woman wet with wandering,
reviving the beauty of forests and winds
is telling you secrets
gather up your odors and listen
as she sings the mold from memory.

there is no place
for a soft / black / woman.
there is no smile green enough or
summertime words warm enough to allow my growth.
and in my head
i see my history
standing like a shy child
and i chant lullabies
as i ride my past on horseback
tasting the thirst of yesterday tribes
hearing the ancient/black/woman
me, singing hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-ya-ya.
hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-y a-ya.
like a slow scent
beneath the sun
and i dance my
creation and my grandmothers gathering
from my bones like great wooden birds
spread their wings
while their long/legged/laughter
stretched the night.
and i taste the
seasons of my birth. mangoes. papayas.
drink my woman/coconut/milks
stalk the ancient grandfathers
sipping on proud afternoons
walk like a song round my waist
tremble like a new/born/child troubles
with new breaths
and my singing
becomes the only sound of a
blue/black/magical/woman. walking.
womb ripe. walking. loud with mornings. walking.
making pilgrimage to herself. walking.

– Sonia Sanchez

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Sponsor: Tinzley Bradford

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tinzley Bradford, poetry contest sponsor! Tinzley is an author, relationship coach, motivational speaker, and correspondent for Bold Favor Magazine.

Tinzley Bradford was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She’s a single mom who knows all about single parenting while dating. For years through her dating blog, “And You Wanna See My Feet” and her tell-it-like-it-is YouTube videos, she has helped single moms and single women get their love lives together. The relationship coach has also been seen giving single mom dating advice on “Dr. Drew’s on Call” TV show on HLN, and The Single in Stilettos Show with Match Maker and Dating Coach Suzanne Oshima. Her local media 11 Alive News in Atlanta has been featured in a slew of articles, such as Mommy Noire interviewed by Top Relationship Coach Abiola Abrams, Single in ATL.com, Thoughtful Minds United and a ton of other blog post appearances. Tinzley is known for her no-nonsense advice for single women and strongly believes in refusing to settle for any old treatment as the key to living a settle-free life and not tolerating any behavior that is not healthy for you.

A Message from Tinzley

“I write because I want to share my message and help single moms and women make wiser choices when choosing their mates. I truly believe God has given me a gift to educate women by changing the way they view themselves hence changing the way they view what having a healthy fulfilling relationship should look and feel like. I write because I want to heal you, women, who are broken, who have been lied to, taken advantage of, mistreated, used and abused, misled. I want to be that voice of reason outside of your spiritual connection that gives you the courage needed to overcome ALL obstacles, bad or abusive relationships and self-esteem issues. I’m here to inspire, I’m here to encourage, I’m here to share, I’m here to not only help you learn to love yourself enough to not settle, but to love yourself period whether you are in a relationship or not.

Screenshot_2018-04-15-12-14-33-1
Bradford at the10th Annual UnSung Heroine Awards where she has been honored. Congrats Tinzley!

I offer insight on the importance of not settling for unfulfilling relationships which I believe can often lead to drug abuse, depression, abusive relationships, prostitution, sex trafficking, mental illness, and self-hate. Over the years, I’ve seen so many broken women who just can’t seem to get unstuck and many of them have become this way after being in a bad or abusive relationship. I’ve seen people with so much potential become drug addicts, prostitutes, criminals, abuse victims, and many become mentally ill, insecure, and no longer have any get up and go about themselves and they have just given up on hope. I want you to know it’s time out for settling for mediocrity and not wanting better for yourselves. I want you to know that no matter what your past or present situation may look like, there is hope…. You Are More!” – http://www.tinzleybradford.com

The Book

The Settle-Free Dating Method for Women

A beacon of life and hope not only for single mothers but for all women! Tinzley’s Settle-Free Dating Method will SET YOU FREE! “AND YOU WANNA SEE MY FEET” was the book based on the popular lifestyle blog by top relationship coach Tinzley Bradford. The quirky name of her blog came from an unfortunate encounter from one of her many pursers who wanted to judge her worthiness based on her feet when he wasn’t even up to her level to himself. A single mother herself, she’s the daughter of a single mother and the mother of a single mom and for her, the cycle ends now! The Settle-Free Dating Method is more than just a dating guide…this is a way to conquer your relationship life and make it fun, healthy and spicy so you get the love you deserve! Because YOU ARE MORE!

Twitter: @TinzleyB
Instagram: @TinzleyB

Available on Amazon and @ the Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall, ATL Ga.

YouTube: New Poems Added! Subscribe Today #NationalPoetryMonth #Poetry #SpokenWord

New poems have been added to the page! Subscribe to watch Her Skin, Letters to Some of the Black Women Writers who Inspired Me, If My Books Shall Die and more!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE!!

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, Inventor of the Sanitary Belt, a precursor of the Modern Self-Adhesive Maxi Pad

Welcome back to Black History Fun Fact Friday. Today, I’d like all of the women readers to thank Beatrice Kenner!

Some of the most common forms of protection for women during their cycles were grass, rabbit skins, sponges, rags, menstrual aprons, homemade knitted pads, or other absorbents. Usually, women used some form of cloth back in the day. These cloths are why “she’s on the rag” is a popular expression used to refer to menstruating women.

While she did not invent the modern version of the Maxi Pad, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner developed the sanitary belt, one of the first versions of the modern-day pad.

Mary was born in Monroe, North Carolina, on May 17, 1912, and came from a family of inventors. Her sister invented a children’s board game that explored family ties called “Family Treedition.” Mary’s father, Sidney Davidson, patented a pants presser in 1914. According to historian and former U.S. Patent Examiner Patricia Sluby, a maternal grandfather of the daughters was of German and Irish descent who invented a tricolor train light. It’s safe to say that developing things was in Mary’s blood, pun intended.

Mary-Beatrice-Davidson-Kenner

The sanitary belt was a belt used to hold pads in place before designing self-adhesive maxi pads.

Mary invented the sanitary belt with a moisture-proof napkin pocket, but the company that showed interest in the pads rejected the invention because Mary was a black woman. For this, the sanitary belt didn’t become widespread until 1956, thirty years after its design. Learning this has taught me the power of patience and how everything comes to be in its time. It may have seemed like a lifetime to Mary, but eventually, her invention saw the light of day. Mary received five patents for her invention between 1956 and 1987.

While mostly known for her invention of the sanitary belt, Mary had other groundbreaking designs like the toilet paper holder, and the mounted back scrubber and washer for showers. Mary has been an entrepreneur from the start, operating her own floral business in Washington, D.C., when she was not inventing things.

Adhesive Maxi Pads (a sticky side that stuck to the lining of a woman’s panties) were invented in the 1970s, so the sanitary belt did not last very long. But without the belt, someone would not have thought to make things easier by eliminating the belt and just going with the napkin.

If you are a young woman like me and have never used the belt, you can Google Sanitary Napkins (or talk to your mom or grandmother), and learn that the strap was uncomfortable and inconvenient. While tampons existed, using them for younger women was considered sexually improper. (A pretty good article to study up on the evolution of pads can be found HERE.)

Life happens in stages, and good things come to be because someone took a risk on something others may not have found useful. Mary’s invention helped women who didn’t want to use tampons to get by and paved the way for all of the pads currently on the market.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda Edited by Christopher Conte

Title: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda

Editor: Christopher Conte

Print Length: 180 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1507680228

Publication Date: August 30, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B014QBPALM

*I was gifted a copy of this book by the editor*

Crossroads is a fascinating anthology comprising autobiographical essays by several Ugandan women. I loved the opportunity to learn more about the Ugandan culture and the upbringing of African women and how it is different (and in many ways similar) from the upbringing of Black women here in America. Rarely do we hear of what these women endure so it was refreshing to read about it. All of the stories have a common Coming-of-Age theme where the women discuss their experiences coming into womanhood among the customs and traditions of their country. We learn about their childhoods, sex, marriage, career, and livelihood.

All of the stories were compelling but there were a few that really stuck out for me more than the others. I enjoyed the opening story, for instance, about the meaning of names and the cashier treating the woman unfairly because of her name. Personally, I can relate to having a unique name myself and I am often asked the same questions that Nakisanze Segawa was asked.

There were two stories that had the biggest impact on me above all the others. The young women taken from their University without a word, abused  and forcibly imprisoned was heartbreaking. I also found the customs surrounding the Ssengas both fascinating and also odd.

By custom Ssenga’s are paternal aunts who assume special responsibilities and help to guide the women, their “nieces” in the ways of society. They teach the women how to behave, submit to a man, how to display class and grace, they monitor their manners and their ways around the house.

Ssengas teach young women about their bodies, about hygiene and sex and ultimately prepare them to be good wives. I love the concept of having someone there to mentor young women and to ensure they grow to be respectable wives and mothers. The fact that the Ssengas take over this role and not the mother is interesting to me. I found myself wondering if it would help for young women in the States, especially young Black women without mothers, to have this kind of guidance and support instead of having to figure things out on their own or in the street.

What I enjoyed least about the role of the Ssengas is that their teachings go too far, at least based on the testimonies of the women. It’s one thing to teach young women about their bodies and how to be wives but the extent to which these women are obligated to serve their husbands is, in my opinion, oppressive. Some of the acts, in fact, were downright disgusting and unnecessary. I should be clear that I am all for submission. I believe that women are to submit to their husbands like the bible instructs and that the man is the spiritually ordained head of the household.

The problem I have is ways in which Submission has been portrayed, defined, twisted, and distorted all over the world. Not only do women in America have a concept of submission that is not, in my opinion, accurate but so do women in other countries. Submission is not slavery and a man’s authority over his wife does not exempt him from certain duties and responsibilities or give him the permission to be abusive. Men are to love their wives as their own bodies and a wife respects her husband.

I believe that if done properly, submission and authority can work well but if not done correctly, can easily look like slavery as it, sadly, often does.

There are some great qualities that are promoted in Uganda that many women across the globe can benefit from but then there are some things that we may find strange if we didn’t grow up that way.

In what way does earning degrees and having an education balance with being good wives? Do the women defy tradition or follow it?

This book sparks great conversation about the lives of women and is relevant considering the social and political climate of our time.

Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 5 /5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda is available now on Amazon


About the Editor

Christopher Conte is an American journalist who spent fifteen years as a reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal before beginning a freelance career. He has traveled extensively throughout Africa, eastern Europe, and Asia, as a consultant for the World Bank’s International Finance Group. Conte has also worked as a trainer and mentor to journalists in Uganda, and other locations throughout Africa and Asia.