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Conversations with the Inspiring Sekaya Harris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sekaya Harris.

Sekaya, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In college at Howard University, I was a photographer. A damn good photographer. That became my identity. After graduating, I did that for a while. I liked it, but photographing was something that I enjoyed. But I was not a photographer. Defining myself as a photographer well through high school and college, I didn’t know who I even was without that label. How do I identify without my identifier?

On the journey toward repackaging myself with a new label, I became many other things. I was an art museum guest relations associate. I was unemployed. I was one of those people in Sam’s club you avoid eye contact with because if you didn’t, I’d approach you and hound you about sampling and buying a product you don’t really want. I was host at a traveling children’s art gallery. I tried to be a lawyer, but to my mother’s dismay, I was not that either. And then finally I was unemployed again.

Somewhere circa age 25, I stumbled into the film industry and became an Art Department Production Assistant. I worked with the most amazing Art Department Coordinator that really showed me the ropes and very soon after, I became an Art Department Coordinator myself. Then a Set Dec Coordinator, and then a Props Coordinator. The film industry reinvigorated a passion in me that I have had since a chid. The love for storytelling. It was amazing to work on many different films and shows and encounter different scriptwriters, all with different writing voices and perspectives. That got me really thinking and helped me to realize myself as a writer with a specific voice and a perspective to share.

With this flame ignited, I set out on a mission of creating a graphic novel series. Not only did I begin it, I finished it. I had it illustrated. I rewrote it. I had it re-illustrated. I had a focus group. I had it re-illustrated again. I published it! And that, to me, is when I truly became a writer.

Has it been a smooth road?
It certainly has not been a smooth road! But that does not mean it hasn’t been worth it. The difficulty for me was not necessarily the work I had to do in physically creating the book. It was the work I had to do on myself throughout the process. I dealt with things like insecurities, discouragement from setbacks, and imposter syndrome. If I could give any advice for young women starting their journey, it’d be to not let fear stop you. All of those difficulties that I had to work through all generated out of my fears. Will I actually be good at it? Will I ever even be able to finish this? Do I even belong here? I had to understand that all of those were rooted in my fear and even though they ALMOST halted me a time or two, I could not allow them to stop me from achieving greatness.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a speculative fiction author with a focus in Science Fantasy. My focus so far in my writing career has been short stories and graphic novels. I have recently published Nafera: Dynasty of the Six Shadows V1, which is a part of a series of graphic novels I am planning to release. Nafera V. 1 is a tale of good versus immortal evil framed by Egyptian mythology.

I am most proud of being able to create and share a superhero story based around Egyptian Mythology but presented in the Black form. I feel that often times, people and cultures of the Black Diaspora are either severely under-represented or becomes “white washed”. I am so proud to offer representation to Black people, and specifically black women, in an industry that is predominately white and male.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I believe one of the biggest barriers for a black female graphic novelist is actually our underrepresentation. Sometimes when there is an industry that is typically dominated by a certain race or gender, it can be hard for anyone outside of that race or gender to feel that they have a space there. I believe that the more representation we receive in this space, the more other black women will be able to envision a space for them at that table and take it!

Pricing:

  • $20 per book

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Toralai Films

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