Years in Tampa Bay
I’ve spent 18 years in Tampa Bay.
My hustle job title is a children’s author.
What do you do?
I write and illustrate children’s books. On the side, I hustle to go to local events such as read alouds, book signings, author events, Great American Teach-In, and I’ve done some campaigning to tie in with my books.
Why do you do it?
I do it because as an infant I’ve always found myself writing and illustrating stories. I’ve never grown out of it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the impact that books have on children, just like they did for me. Seeing children say, “Now I like to read” because of me, has such an impact, how could I stop? I continue to do it not for myself but for children and families. I’ve seen them become inspired as they’ve seen a young person of color write and illustrate their own stories. I also continue what I do because I donate funds in benefit of asthma at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
I blame my mother for how I got started. She would read to me while she was pregnant with me. Since then I’ve always had this fascination for reading, writing and drawing. I would always write these big long novels as a child. My first book came out when I was 11 years old, since then I’ve learned more about publishing.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
A common misconception is the amount of money authors make. Especially Black authors in the industry. Top three problems Black authors face are bias, equal pay and working with others who understand our culture.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
The most challenging part of the hustle is currently gathering support for my new children’s campaign I’ve launched titled #IMAGINE2020CHILDRENSTORIES.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
The most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped me is to not forget your audience and do what you love to do.