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Meet Jay Styles Author of Become Inspired:Your Next Steps

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Styles.

Hi Jay, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m originally from Lithonia, GA which is located on the eastside of Atlanta. I graduated from Lithonia High School and went off to Middle Georgia College which is now known as Middle Georgia University in Cochran, GA. A small town is in the middle of nowhere sitting between Macon State and Fort Valley University, but this is where my journey started and led me to where I am today.

While attending MGC, I stumbled upon the start of my journey in the entertainment realm as a college promoter helping my good friend Lamar plan his birthday party which led to further interest in the world of entertainment while also coming out of my shell and nurturing my gift in effectively communicating with people.

At the time, I majored in computer science but after attending a seminar at the school and listening to a local radio DJ speak, I knew that I was majoring in the wrong field and switched my major over to journalism because at the time, the college did not have a mass communications department so the closest major was journalism.

So I followed this path while attending MGC and promoting some audacious lingerie parties for the college students with my good friends TJ and Lamar. We had every local college in the area driving 3 to 4 hours to attend these parties in this very small building referred to as the “cochran club” with a capacity of 100 and another 100 people waiting outside to come in. It was crazy. This is when I knew bigger things were in store for me and introduced me to the business side of entertainment and birth my entrepreneur spirit.

While attending MGC, I was also placed in developmental classes because of my poor SAT scores and back then, you were not able to take your core classes until you were able to pass the final exam test with flying colors to get out of these developmental classes. I was in math, reading and writing. At this time in Georgia, the rule was if you failed three times that you would have to sit out of school for a year. I witnessed a lot of people get kicked out of school for a year and never returned. The rule was a setup for black students to fail and to hold us back, but I was determined to push through.

Fast forward, 3 1/2 years, I finally graduated with my associate’s. At the time, MGC was a two year school and if you were in developmental classes, it would take longer to graduate because you were not allowed to take any of your core classes plus the added time if you had to take the classes two or three times. I passed the writing and reading on the first try, but the math portion I had to take three times and on the final try, I passed. For me being able to graduate despite these challenges boosted my confidence and I knew I could do anything. My time at Middle Georgia College molded the man I am today and after I got through this, the rest of my school journey was a piece of cake.

In 2005, I attended Columbus State University to continue on with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. I graduated from there in 2007 and began working at the local radio station Davis Broadcasting. I started from the bottom working in the promotions department driving the promotions van around town to events and setting up for live radio remotes. I eventually got my own show on weekends and six years later, I’m a household name around town. I planned events around town which I learned how to do at MGC years earlier, but one of the events became really popular amongst the locals and college students. It was known as the Urban Cafe.

I met a friend while in Columbus named Smitty who introduced me to the Urban Cafe which he and another friend hosted the event before while in college and was pretty successful. The Urban Cafe had live poetry, live bands, live performances and even some comedy. It was definitely a neo soul experience and a great date night for couples. The Urban Cafe hit off instantly and was a success but like all things nothing good or bad lasts forever.

In 2011, I packed up all of my clothes, a small tv and my GPS and drove 3,000 miles to California. I had contemplated on this for about eight months and finally made the decision to act on it. I admit that I was scared, but I knew that if I did not try that I would regret it for the rest of my life. And, I’m so glad that I made the decision to step out on faith.

Upon moving to Los Angeles, I worked part-time at Home Depot in Columbus, GA and put in a transfer to the Los Angeles Home Depot. It was the only way for me to guarantee an income so that’s what I did. When I arrived in Los Angeles, the apartment that I was prepared to move into was a complete dump and as I’m trying to look for other apartments, it was harder than I expected to secure one. The landlords were hard to find and literally, I could not find a vacant, decent, and affordable apartment so I was homeless for about four days living in a motel on sunset blvd until I was able to move into my place.

About two weeks later, I got a job at CBS radio as a producer and I worked there for six years until I was laid off. I learned so much working here, I must admit, but I put in a lot of work and a lot of long hours with too little to show for it within the company. I was frustrated because I was not getting the opportunities that I was qualified for and always passed up. The last two years were a nightmare and the passion I had for radio was no longer there. It was not fun anymore and I wanted out. CBS radio was not the equal opportunity employer that I thought they were and that they advertised to be and I’ll leave it there.

That last year of working with CBS radio, I began my transition as an entertainment correspondent for an online black entertainment company owned by Lee Bailey called EURweb. This gave me a lot of experience interviewing celebrities on the red carpet such as Forest Whitaker, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosario Dawson, Will Ferrell and even Denzel Washington. But even interviewing A-list celebrities, I knew that a bigger purpose was in front of me and I just needed to figure it out.

The year I was laid off from CBS radio due to restructuring of the company, I went on vacation in Costa Rica and I was hit with an epiphany to tell stories through writing. I’ve honed my writing skills over the years by working for CBS and writing articles for the website as well as writing articles for EURweb. I always wanted to produce a documentary and so a couple of weeks went by and I got a message on Instagram from an aspiring entertainment journalist asking me on my journey and how I got to interview these celebrities. I then said to myself that Instagram gives a false perception that the journey goes without challenges and obstacles. So, I thought to myself why not create a documentary series on highlighting the journey of successful people and showing the transparency in their journey. This is when I created season one of the docuseries Become Inspired in 2019 and later created season two in 2020 which is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

I then decided that I wanted to write my first book which I actually started to write ten years before I moved to Los Angeles but mentally, it just wasn’t time so it did not happen. Fast forward 8 years to 2019, I knew that I wanted to write a book to help people but was still unsure on the direction that I wanted to take until my friend Barak helped me come up with an outline. I then saw the vision for my book Become Inspired: Your Next Steps and started back writing in 2020 during the shutdowns and finished writing in July of 2020.

My book was published on August 9th, 2021 and I love getting messages from people on how the book has helped them stay inspired and push through during the challenging times. The book Become Inspired: Your Next Steps is a transformational book on shifting your mindset and reigniting your inspiration in the process. The book consists of exercises at the end of each chapter so you can take action on what you just read. I even have a contract at the beginning of the book to help keep you accountable for following through on completing the exercises and making a promise to yourself not to try and read the book in one sitting. You can find the book on Amazon, Walmart, Target Barnes and Noble and everywhere books and ebooks are sold. You can even go to your local Barnes and Noble’s customer service desk and order the book there and pick it up in the store.

I’m looking to help others turn their testimony into a book and offering a course in October 2021 to help you do that. I believe we all have stories and challenges that we go through to help the next person so why not help someone by sharing your story and how you were able to get through that part of your life. If you would like more information, you can email me at info@blackwallstreetpublishing.com

I wanted to take my time and share my story in its entirety to help you understand that every path in my journey led me to where I am today and that through every detour, I picked up a skill or two that I now use for my true purpose. So I encourage you to focus less on how long it will take you to get to your destination and focus more on what the journey is teaching you. When you begin to develop that type of mindset, you start to cultivate an inner peace of knowing that you are right where you are supposed to be.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’ve had challenges all throughout my journey. There is no glory in the story without challenges right? I think for me, most of my challenges came from giving a career or man all of my power. What I mean by that is believing that if I work hard for a company, that the company would notice and promote me to a better position. It wasn’t until I began to look out for what I could do for myself and put myself in positions that unchained me from even going through some of those challenges. I think we have to start getting our power back and put ourselves in positions to win. If you’re not getting the right opportunities at the company you work for, then begin to figure out how you can create your own company. We are all going to have challenges and obstacles, but I would rather have those challenges in building something for myself instead of the other way around.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m most proud of being able to complete my book Become Inspired: Your Next Steps. It’s definitely a HUGE accomplishment and takes a lot of not only discipline to stay on your writing schedule but to also be in the right mindset to write freely.

I’ve found that my new purpose is teaching others how to “turn their testimony into a book”. In my nine weeks course, I give you all of the information you need to help you get started on selecting your topic, identifying your demographics (who are you writing for), fleshing out the chapters titles and subtitles in the book, to outlining and writing the book. Then, I walk you into the self-publishing phase and how to find an editor, cover designer for your book and interior designer for your book. I will also give you some marketing strategies that I’ve used as well.

If you would like to sign up for my next course email me at info@BlackWallStreetPublishing.com to get on the wait-list. It’s first come first serve, so don’t wait.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I would like to thank my wife who has been there from the beginning as well as my family for always encouraging me even when they did not quite understand my profession. And to everyone that supported me from afar, I truly appreciate you for liking and commenting on my social media post as well as purchasing my book. Thank You!

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Image Credits:

Meech @meech213 Angela Pequeno @angelapequenophotgraphy

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