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Meet Cheyenne Tyler Jacobs of She Will Speak Series in Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheyenne Tyler Jacobs.

Cheyenne, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I think it all started in the third grade. I have a vague memory of being bullied in class and instead of arguing back and forth I actually started writing a poem. I know it is interesting. I believe though even at an early age I felt the best way to process and share my thoughts and emotions was through my writing. I started to believe that I was getting better at writing and even tried to submit my words to a grade school anthology series my school participated in. Despite knowing that I was indeed the bomb my work was never chosen actually my brother got selected… I never fully got over that haha. But I did keep writing. I just never shared my work with anyone for fear of continuous rejection.

It was not until Sophomore year of High School where my parents volun-told me, to perform at my school’s MLK Celebration that anyone heard my words again. The feedback I received from the crowd was indescribable and I decided to keep writing and to share my work when I found an opportunity. During my Senior year of High School my English teacher had our class participate in NaNoWriMo and I learned how to create my own book.

In February of 2013, I decided if no one else was going to publish my words well I will and my first collection of poetry “The Mind of the Teenage Drama Queen” was born. After graduating and going to college I was finding myself continuously reflecting and re-finding myself. Like many I went through doubts, trauma, and trying to find my place in this world. I had decided that with all I had experienced it was time to maybe start putting my poetry out there for the world to see. So, I took to social media.

I quickly started building an identity as @SheWillSpeak on Instagram!  Originally it was a space to share my work, and in doing so I found healing and the relief of letting go of my hurt and trauma. It gave me both a sense of strength and freedom, as well as comfort in being vulnerable.

As my community grew, I had individuals begin to share their stories with me. I received messages like “I inspired them to share” or that “they felt healing from my pieces”.  After that, I wanted to create a space for women to feel safe enough to share their stories and their truths. To educate, inspire and build a community for each other. That’s how the She Will Speak Series was born! Our mission is to build a community through the empowerment of Women with education, awareness, and the arts to cultivate healing and change.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A smooth road? Oh no no noooooo. I have had my ups and downs but a few prominent ones are at the forefront of my mind. One of the biggest lessons I learned was knowing who to have involved with my platform and business. When I first started building the She Will Speak Series I allowed others to convince me that their assistance was needed. Well, not only were they wrong but it almost destroyed my platform! I was left to deal with cleaning up the mess and defending myself for over a year from social media bullying. It was a nightmare. But that is when I learned what truly praying for discernment means within my life and my business. To know what folks and opportunities will help to build me and which ones will keep me stagnant or cost me my emotional and mental health.

I also had to look my own self-doubt in the face because I was limiting myself. I questioned the validity of my platform and myself and continued to question if I had “deserved” to be someone who was running a business. I realized that regardless of the doubts I was doing the work, like hard work, and deserved to sit at whatever table I chose. I learned to be prepared especially in regards to being a Black Woman in business. I find myself being continuously questioned and I have even had to defend my presence as a business owner.

Lastly, growth was surprisingly a struggle as I continued because as my business grew, I often worried about not being able to grow with it. When the She Will Speak Series first started, we just held bi-annual anthologies and now we host workshops, give grants to the community, and I even started a new component which is book consulting to help indie authors create and market their books. I have already had the opportunity to work with some amazing writers and assist with the publishing and marketing process.

It is not easy creating a business or platform and then sharing it with the world for others to utilize and judge. Even with the downfalls you will soon learn everything becomes a lesson that will help you down the road. As annoying as some situations and moments were, I am blessed to have had those experiences and wise enough to know never to put myself in those positions again!

She Will Speak Series – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The She Will Speak Series has a mission to build a community for Women empowerment through education, awareness, and the arts to cultivate healing and change. Our motto is “All inclusive, Women Centered” we welcome all to our events and conversations but uplifting women is the center of those conversations. We host bi-annual anthology series and workshops that align with monthly celebration and awareness topics. We specialize and are known for giving women the space and opportunity to share their stories and their voices. Which is the best part of this organization because seeing the one on one messages from community members makes me feel that we are doing our part.

I have also found new joy in helping people, especially women create and market their books. I strongly believe everyone has a story and a voice and we should not try and speak for people but instead give them the opportunity and platform to speak. I believe that is what also makes us different from other platforms that center writing and storytelling. We encourage the one on one experience and really lean into what our community needs to give them the space to express themselves. Seeing these books come together and seeing the author’s face is beautiful and it assures me the She Will Speak Series is on the right path.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I would like to first and foremost thank God for everything in my life and for blessing me with a family that is supportive. My family is always supporting what I am doing and my parents are my biggest cheerleaders and educators! Also, my siblings keep me on my toes haha. I would like to thank Maira Rosa and Jennifer Santos who have helped guide me since my Junior year of college! You both have seen the light within me even when I do not see it in myself. I would like to thank Zaniya Lewis for helping me grow as a leader on the Executive board for the YesSheCanCampaign and for resilience as a leader for women and youth. I would next like to thank my mentor Astrid Ferguson who is an author and poet as well and a certified life coach. Astrid and I speak daily and during the difficult times in my business she was there to give me the guidance and the support to keep going.

Although I started this by myself, I would not be where I am today without the She Will Speak Series team! I would like to thank Mageanta Dean, Yvette G. Santana, Elisabeth Heffernan, Gabby Alvarado, Cristal Garcia, Selena Frongillo, and Fatima Keita. These women show up every day and hit the ground running and I could not ask for a better team. I would like to thank the wonderful organizations we have been able to partner with such as End Rape on Campus, GoLiveGirl, and the YesSheCanCampaign. Lastly, I would like to thank my cousin Richetta who opened her home to me when I wanted to move to Atlanta you did not have to but you did and I am forever grateful. There are so many people along the way I have met in this journey and every one of you has touched my heart and my life and I thank you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
First pic (me laughing): Elmer Quintero

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