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Life & Work with Daya Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daya Brown.

Hi Daya, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
From the words of Langston Hughes in his poem titled, Mother to Son, “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” The journey of getting where I am today has consisted of blessings & curses. My gifts have stemmed from pain and insecurity and became the solvency towards my healing. This short life that I have lived so far has not been consistent with constant contentment and flowers. Many tend to look at my success and fail to see the true colors within it. They have failed to see that I have fought with those who were drowned in hate, the heart has chattered, self-love became intangible, dreams felt too far fetched, and sleep no longer was my friend. However, I would do it all over again because my success is not just about me. It became a means of breaking generational cycles and for my little brother to understand it is never too early to follow your dreams. I found my love of poetry in my sixth grade ELA teacher classroom, Ms. Jackson.

I started writing poetry when she introduced me to the beautiful writings and teachings of Maya Angelou. I was astonished that her words left me mesmerized. That same night, after getting home from school, I ran to my room and started writing in a random journal until I couldn’t write anymore. I started to learn the writings of Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, and James Baldwin. In my earlier teenage years, my writings became about healing, once my one home became two, and my life started to move in a suitcase. Many neglects what divorce can do to a child. At that very moment, the pain became my greatest inspiration as I was living in a world that was once whole in my eyes, then started to crumble into pieces.

The journey of becoming an award-winning journalist, poet, creator, and transformer is not an easy thing to uphold as well as being a co-founder of the Scholar Social, a podcast and organization where it becomes the bridge of the social and intellectual. This company is carried out with my amazing colleagues: Zayla Bryant, Jonah Ruffin, Jayla Jackson, and Sanai Edwards. This work inspires us because we build spaces so that there is continuous cultivation of voices, talents, and prosperity not only for teenagers like ourselves but for everyone to be presented with an opportunity that was never given to them. I pray that the work I continue to do throughout my lifetime will spread to generations, whether that is through words spoken, films, and even books. My success that is being built today is to continue a legacy that will inspire so many little girls to make their dreams a reality.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would love to say the journey of getting where I am today has been filled with bliss and pleasure. However, I cannot. From a very young age, many elders said to me, “You would be great one day.” I wish I would’ve known the means of casting this spell of greatness. I wish I would’ve known that in order to understand my power, I would have to go through the depths of Hell. In my earlier years, I understood the world more than I needed to, causing me to be inflicted with continuous hurt by family and friends. The struggles of divorce soon became struggles of understanding, being enough as an individual, and learning how to love. The list can go on and on about the struggles that have surfaced through this journey. Pain became my greatest inspiration while writing on a notebook seeking for healing.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My work consists of being a poet, transformer, creator, journalist, and co-founder of the Scholar Social. Many may ask what a transformer and or creator is. Being a transformer is the ability to walk in a room and speak words of wisdom and leave your audience with joy and encouragement to fulfill their next steps. In terms of being a creator, in the next coming months, I will be transforming my poetry into visuals to share my love of film.

As a writer, you have to realize that once you share what you wrote on a paper to the world, it no longer is just about you. It becomes about the healing of the world too. My writings tend to make my readers feel an array of emotions because I try to hit from many angles that are cohesive with one another. These different perspectives take my audience on their roller coasters. To be a writer is to provide healing, prosperity, and even hope to your audience.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Living in Atlanta is like waking up in a small New York City. In Atlanta, there is nothing not to like. There is an array of foods to partake in on a Saturday evening or Sunday brunch. The streets in Downtown Atlanta are consistently filled with those fighting for their rights. My personal favorite is waking up on a Sunday morning and deciding to run to a small cafe. Even more so, the joys of Ponce City Market. Here is a place where you can enjoy the astonishing views of the great city of Atlanta and indulge in excellent foods. One of my favorite restaurants in Ponce is Bellina Alimentari, where you can enjoy a gourmet Italian meal. My favorite dish would have to be the G.A. Shrimp, which is truly a must-have. After your meal, you can pick up a beautiful bouquet at JJ’s Flower Shop. Ponce City Market connects to the Atlanta BeltLine, which is perfect for a Sunday evening stroll in the city.

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