Ever since a young age, I’ve always had an infatuation with writing. In grade school I would turn my spare composition notebooks into mock magazines. One of the first profile pieces that I’ve ever written, while I was in the 3rd grade, was about my great grandmother’s journey from South Carolina to New York during the Great Migration. In 8th grade, when we were assigned to pen a piece about our favorite television show, my teacher thought that my “106 & Park” review was “too good” to be written by someone my age and when she realized that it wasn’t from another source she ended up apologizing and praising my writing skills. Throughout high school and college, writing a 20-page paper the day before it was due was something light for me. Today, on National Day on Writing, with two blogs and an ever-growing list of bylines for other outlets under my belt I’m paying homage to three African American women who have inspired me to pick up a pen and pursue my passion.
The first Maya Angelou book that I picked up was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It was this book that sparked my love affair with writing. The way that Angelou powerfully described her upbringing inspired me to write compelling stories.
The first Sistah Souljah book that I read was The Coldest Winter Ever. Even though some of the content in her book might have been a little too explicit for a middle schooler, all my friends were reading it so I decided to buy the book on 125th Street in Harlem and sneak it into my house. I was captivated by the imagery that Souljah was able to convey through her words. She made Winter’s story so relatable that it felt like she could be someone who lived in my neighborhood. I appreciated the rawness of the novel and I try to incorporate that sense of honesty into my writing today.
dream hampton is another writer that I look up to. I admired her ability to delve into the lives of some of entertainment’s most notable people and show us another side of them. Her work in the industry has truly inspired me, especially when I took my first step into the realm of journalism, penning profile pieces for Dime Magazine.